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Lindenhurst makes 3 hires to help with Sandy-related permits

A look at Village Hall, where the board

A look at Village Hall, where the board of trustees, planning board and zoning board of appeals meet. Lindenhurst is New York State's fourth-largest village with more than 28,000 residents. (June 7, 2011) Credit: Alexi Knock

The Village of Lindenhurst has hired a full-time assessor and two building inspectors to tackle a backlog of assessment challenges and building permits for residents impacted by superstorm Sandy.

Gay Taffel is the village's first full-time assessor in several years, according to clerk-treasurer Shawn Cullinane. Darrel Kost, the village's part-time assessor since 2009, left that position in January when he was appointed to the village board to replace Kevin McCaffrey, who was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature. Since then the village had employed Thomas Donato, assessor for Amityville Village, in an "on-call" capacity, Kost said.

Taffel, who previously worked as an assessor for Floral Park Village, has been given a three-year contract with an annual salary of $52,000. Her workload will be significant, Cullinane said, with a backlog of several hundred assessment grievances along with about 150 challenges from Sandy-damaged homeowners seeking tax relief under a village law passed in December.

"She's got her hands full for some time," he said.

The village also has hired two temporary building inspectors: architect Robert Browne at a rate of $64 per hour, and builder Robert Mallen at $30 per hour, to provide building plan review and structural inspections for Sandy-related building permit applications.

Cullinane said village building inspector Tom Maher is being "pushed to the limit" by hundreds of applications still awaiting approval. The village estimates nearly 200 homes were damaged by the storm and Maher said he receives about a half-dozen building applications weekly. Browne and Mallen will be supervised by Maher. Their salaries will be paid for through a $245,650 federal Community Development Block Grant for disaster recovery.

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