County considering Selden land buy
The Suffolk County Legislature on Tuesday will consider purchasing almost 16 acres from the Middle Country School District that would be added to a large recreational park in Selden.
A legislative committee agreed Monday to use drinking water protection funds for the $1.26 million purchase of land behind Hawkins Path Elementary School.
The land will become part of an existing sports complex of baseball fields, multipurpose soccer fields, basketball courts and walking paths that Brookhaven Town is constructing, Brookhaven Councilman Kevin LaValle said.
Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, told the committee that the money should not be paid to another public entity.
Other school districts “will be at your doorstep” looking for money, Amper said.
LaValle said the sale is good for the county, town and school district, which he said couldn’t just give the land away. “Everybody has fiscal constraints,” he said.
Legis. Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) said the county was getting a good price. “The school district could get more if they wanted to turn it into condos or town houses,” he said.
LaValle said the park will be developed in phases over the next eight years at a cost of about $8 million.
School district officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
— DAVID SCHWARTZ
Moody's upgrades Farmingdale's credit rating
Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Farmingdale’s credit rating earlier this month based on the application of new ratings criteria.
The credit rating agency raised the village’s $6.7 million of debt two notches to Aa3, considered “a high grade” from A1, an “upper medium grade.”
Moody’s announced in January that it would review the village’s debt because it had changed its methodology for local government ratings. Under the new methodology, the rating agency said it would give greater consideration to municipalities’ debt and pension costs than it had in the past while decreasing the weight given to economic factors.
Moody’s reported that Farmingdale has healthy financial reserves and a lower-than-average pension while its population has above-average wealth. The village’s challenges include high debt service as a percentage of operating costs, an above average overlapping debt burden, and a modestly sized tax base, the rating agency said. Farmingdale has a population of 8,229, according to 2012 U.S. Census estimates.
Standard & Poor’s revised its criteria last year, but that did not affect its AA rating, considered a “high grade,” of Farmingdale.
— TED PHILLIPS
ANCHOR Earth Day celebration in Hempstead
A group of children with special needs from Hempstead Town’s ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation) program will celebrate Earth Day on Tuesday by joining residents and town officials planting beach grass along the dunes at Lido Beach.
The dunes, rebuilt after superstorm Sandy, are a natural habitat for endangered shorebirds and also a last line of defense for homes against a surging Atlantic Ocean.
The town has acquired more than 100,000 American beach grass plants to put along the dunes in Lido Beach and other shorefront communities. The plants stabilize the dunes through roots that knit together beneath the sand, officials said.
“Working with this caring group of youngsters as they help their Lido neighbors truly is emblematic of what Earth Day is all about,” Town Supervisor Kate Murray said. “By planting beach grass on our sand dunes, we are not only providing a protective barrier for local homes and the coastline community, we are also preserving a natural habitat.”
— SID CASSESE