Deadline for tax exemptions nears
The deadline is coming up for a number of real property tax exemptions available to residents of the towns of Huntington, Islip and Babylon.
Residents must file for these exemptions by Monday, March 2.
Taxable Status Day is Sunday, March 1, so the deadline has been extended to March 2.
The deadline is for the following exemptions:
The Basic STAR Exemption; Enhanced STAR, which is available to seniors 65 and older; Limited Income Seniors Exemption; Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers Exemption; Veterans Exemptions; Persons With Disabilities and Low Income Exemptions; Home Improvement Exemptions and First Time Homebuyers of newly constructed homes exemption.
Some towns have limited exemptions for buyers of existing housing; contact the assessor's office for information. Huntington: 631-351-3226 or huntingtonny.gov/filestorage/13749/13851/17258/17286/Residential_Property_Tax_Exemptions.pdf; Babylon: 631-957-3014 or townofbabylon.com/; Islip: 631-224-5585 or townofislip-ny.gov/departments/assessor.
-- DEBORAH S. MORRIS
Village bond rating upgraded to stable
A bond rating agency revised the outlook for the Village of Old Brookville to stable from negative last week, citing improved budgetary performance and flexibility.
The agency, Standard & Poor's, rates the village's general obligation credit AA, two notches below its highest possible rating.
"We consider Old Brookville's economy to be very strong, characterized by extremely strong wealth and income," the agency wrote in a ratings report.
The report said the predominantly residential village is "very affluent" with projected per capita buying income at 337 percent of the national average. Village officials are projecting budget surpluses in 2014 and 2015, a change from the preceding two consecutive years of operating deficits. In 2013, the village issued $725,000 of budget notes, a short-term form of deficit borrowing. The village had expenditures of $4 million in 2014, according to its unaudited financial statement.
Standard & Poor's said the village's liquidity is adequate and the rating could improve if it continues to build and maintain reserves greater than $500,000.
-- TED PHILLIPS
Blood donations fall due to bad weather
The recent spate of bad weather has affected the New York Blood Center's inventory of blood donations.
More than 3,000 units of blood have been lost because snowy conditions have canceled many blood drives, according to a press release from Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport.
The hospital will hold a blood drive in the main conference room on Feb. 19 from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at 201 Manor Place, Greenport.
Donors do not need to make appointments to participate, and all donors will receive a gift certificate to the hospital's gift shop or the Green House Grill Café.
For more information, contact the hospital at 631-477-5100.
-- SOPHIA CHANG
Chief of staff's leave forces town to hire
The Glen Cove mayor's recently reappointed chief of staff has taken an unpaid leave, causing the city to hire a part-time clerk.
"I wasn't expecting the leave, but after certain personal events, it didn't come as a surprise," Mayor Reginald Spinello said.
The chief of staff, Zefy Christopoulos, said when reached by telephone that she is on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.
The council unanimously approved the appointment of Sarah Finkelstein-Waters as a part-time clerk in the mayor's office at a wage of $15 per hour, retroactive to Jan. 20.
Christopoulos was reappointed as the mayor's chief of staff in a split vote at the Jan. 13 City Council meeting. Spinello created the position, which has an annual salary of $63,240.
Spinello first tried to reappoint Christopoulos in December. He cast a tiebreaking vote on the reappointment, but City Attorney Charles McQuair determined the charter did not allow the mayor to vote on some appointments, including Christopoulos'.
-- MACKENZIE RIGG
County building to go red for heart health
In recognition of the American Heart Association's National Wear Red Day, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano plans to light the dome of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building red this Friday.
Marking its 11th anniversary, the National Wear Red Day supports events in the area to help educate the public on the dangers associated with cardiovascular disease -- the nation's No. 1 killer of women.
"It is imperative that the message be reiterated time and again that cardiovascular disease kills and women are the primary victims," Mangano said.
In 2014, the American Heart Association launched its new "Life is Why" campaign to create a more personal connection with people to ask themselves why they should choose to live healthier lifestyles.
Mangano said the AHA's Go Red For Women campaign -- sponsored nationally by Macy's -- urges women to take charge of their health. He urged county employees to wear red on Friday, and to make a donation of $5 or more to support research that helps ensure women are represented in clinical studies. Each participant will receive a "Life is Why" Go Red for Women red arm band or a Go Red pin to wear as well as receive information about making healthy choices.
For more information, call 888-694-3278 or visit GoRedForWomen.org.
-- SID CASSESE
Village wants to hire civilian commish
Westhampton Beach Village officials want to hire a commissioner to supervise their 11-member police force, less than two months after promoting a new chief.
The village board has scheduled a public hearing for tomorrow evening on the proposal to hire a civilian commissioner, who would report to Mayor Maria Moore and rank higher than the new chief, Trevor Gonce.
Gonce, a former lieutenant who has been with the department 19 years, was promoted to chief Dec. 11 to replace Ray Dean, who retired in June.
In Westhampton Beach and the four other East End villages with police departments, village board members serve as commissioners.
Trustee Charles Palmer Jr. said the village board wants to hire a commissioner with police experience from outside the department to "shake up the culture" and implement "fresh ideas."
Candidates include a New York Police Department official who is considering retirement, Palmer said. Civil service rules prevent the village board from hiring an NYPD officer as chief before he serves as a patrolman in the department, which is another reason officials are seeking to create the commissioner post, he said.
Palmer said the village board wants the commissioner to finish drafting new rules and procedures for the department that would allow it to receive accreditation from New York State.
He said officials plan to set the commissioner and chief's salaries so that the positions, combined, cost less than the former chief and lieutenant.
After Dean retired, the village board considered a number of options -- including dissolving the police force, sharing a chief with a neighboring department or hiring a chief from outside -- before promoting Gonce.
Trustee Ralph Urban said Gonce is "overworked, and he needs administrative support" in the form of a commissioner.
Gonce declined to comment Tuesday. Moore did not respond to requests for comment.
-- WILL JAMES
Building department, superintendent on tap
The Lattingtown board plans to hold a hearing at its Feb. 18 meeting to establish a village department of building and code enforcement.
Village officials said last week that the action would codify the way things are already done. If enacted, the board will consider adding a new chapter to the village code that would create the position of superintendent of the building department. Currently, the village has a building inspector. The department could have deputies, assistants and employees though at the moment such an expansion is not being considered.
"It would be a one-man department," said Mayor Clarence Michalis.
Anyone seeking a building permit or certificate of occupancy would need to obtain a "written favorable determination" from the department before getting final approval from the building superintendent, the mayor or village clerk, under the proposed code.
-- TED PHILLIPS
Bikers to renew vows for Valentine's Day
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Harley-Davidson of Nassau County will celebrate Valentine's Day by starting the weekend with eight couples who share the special bond of "Biker Love."
"Before revving up their engines for Valentine's Day, the motorcycle-riding couples will be making a memorable pit stop at Harley-Davidson of Nassau County," Murray said in a news release.
She will marry or renew the vows for the couples, replete with their bikes, on Feb. 13 at the motorcycle dealership in North Bellmore.
At 11 a.m. the couples and friends will form a motorcycle procession from Newbridge Road Park at 2600 Newbridge Rd. to the nearby dealership at 2428 West Sunrise Hwy. (just east of Newbridge Road).
The ceremonies will begin about 11:30 a.m.
A chapel of "Biker Love" will be assembled at the dealership, featuring a motorcycle-line aisle, life-size murals of the couples, a pink, white and red festooned arbor, bright floral arrangements and a variety of other Valentine-themed decorations.
"We're thrilled," said dealership owner Lawrence Altholtz.
Though all spots have been booked for the ceremony and reception at Harley-Davidson of Nassau County, said town officials, riders are welcome to partake in the "Biker Love" motorcycle wedding procession.
-- SID CASSESE
Free animal adoption on Valentine's Day
The Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter is inviting local residents to attend "My Furry Valentine" Feb. 14, when all pet adoptions will be free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Adoptions will include spaying and neutering, age-appropriate vaccinations, microchipping and testing for heartworm and feline AIDS or leukemia. All adopters will receive a special Valentine's Day goody bag for their new pet.
"We know that residents will fall in love with the cats and dogs we have," Town Supervisor Kate Murray said.
Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney added: "Valentine's Day is the perfect day to bring a new furry friend into your homes and hearts."
Families are invited to take a picture with Cupid and their newly adopted pets to remember the day. There will be a gift table for local children.
The shelter is at 3320 Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh. For more information, call 516-785-5220 or visit toh.li/animal-shelter.
-- SID CASSESE
So, what do you think of winter events?
Long Beach city officials are asking residents to complete a survey on winter events and activities.
The city's program "Long Beach Listens" created the survey to review events such as the city's Winterfest at the Ice Arena and Christmas and Hanukkah activities. Officials are asking for any suggestions or ideas for new events.
The survey is available online at longbeachny.gov, at the Long Beach Public Library and in the lobby of City Hall, 1 W. Chester Ave.
-- JOHN ASBURY