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Roslyn-area mayors discuss, but don't agree to, consolidating services

From left, Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno, Flower

From left, Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno, Flower Hills Mayor Elaine Phillips, and East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz speak at the second Meeting of the Mayors in East Hills, on March 30, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

Roslyn-area mayors met Monday night to sign up for programs and services that could be consolidated to reduce operating costs and make residents of their villages eligible for state property tax freeze credit.

But none of them agreed to share.

The meeting, hosted by East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz at the East Hills Theater, was the second effort toward sharing or consolidating programs including road projects, gasoline purchases, grant writing and automated call system operations.

The tax credit initiative by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo provides rebates to residents of municipalities that develop joint money-saving programs by June 1. The efforts must result in savings of 1 percent annually over the next three years. To receive the freeze rebate, the combined gross income of all residents in a home must not exceed $500,000, and the property must be the owner's primary residence.

Koblenz hosted the first "Meeting of the Mayors" on Dec. 11 to provide information about the options and requirements for eligibility. He said the goal of Monday's gathering was to have mayors sign papers committing to a sharing or consolidation agreement so a plan could be presented as a group.

The first meeting was attended by Old Westbury Mayor Fred Carillo, Roslyn Mayor John Durkin, Roslyn Harbor Mayor David Mandell, Roslyn Estates Mayor Jeffrey Schwartzberg and Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips. On Monday, Schwartzberg, Mandell and Phillips joined Koblenz.

"There really are so many ways that we can work together," said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, who discussed possible shared services at Monday's meeting. "The idea is to work as cooperatively as possible."

East Hills engineers, in providing examples, cited a 10 percent discount in costs and bidding if villages wanted to consolidate road improvement efforts.

But the mayors weren't ready to commit. "We haven't made that decision," Schwartzberg said.

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