Suffolk budget officials have identified $73 million in projects the county can remove from its books as part of an effort to reduce $429 million in county debt.
At a meeting Tuesday of the Suffolk Legislature’s Debt Reduction Committee, county budget director Connie Corso gave lawmakers a list of more than 100 projects that could be eliminated from the “pipeline debt” — approved projects for which the county has delayed borrowing for construction.
Corso told the bipartisan panel that all projects under review were either completed, terminated, came in under budget or had received federal funding, but count as debt because the legislature had not voted to “close out” the projects.
Among the projects was a nearly 10-year-old plan to build a satellite processing center for motorists arrested on driving while intoxicated charges. The facility was scrapped in favor of holding offenders at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Yaphank, Corso said.
“These are some of the projects that ... we authorized the debt but never issued the debt and the project is either discontinued or completed,” Corso told lawmakers.
The committee was established in June as part of a package of budget amendments that added $22.3 million to County Executive’s Steve Bellone’s 2015 capital budget and $58 million to his three-year capital plan.
Presiding Officer Duwayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said the committee will meet again on Aug. 26th to discuss the proposed project eliminations and any other debt reduction recommendations. The panel plans to submit its recommendations to the legislature in September, Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said.
— LAURA FIGUEROA
Hearing to discuss Villa apartments plan
The Glen Cove City Council and planning board have scheduled for Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. a joint public hearing over density at a proposed 196-unit apartment complex.
Last week, the planning board announced it would vote to adopt a findings statement on the application by Queens-based developer Livingston Development Corp. for a project called the Villa at Glen Cove but decided the council should weigh in. The findings statement is an opinion by the board about the application and a step in the approval process.
The project faces fierce opposition from some residents who say its scale would be out of place in their community of single-family homes and would hurt property values and quality of life. Half a dozen protesters held signs that read “Stop the Villa Project” at the July 29 meeting.
“On the advice of counsel, they recommended we don’t adopt our finding statement tonight,” planning board chairman Thomas Scott said after meeting.
Scott said the developer has the right to build 80 units on the property and was seeking density bonuses to allow 120 more units to be constructed than would otherwise be permitted by adding parking, recreational amenities and off-site improvements.
The board said the parking and recreational amenities met the requirements for the bonuses, but the off-site improvements, which would give the developer an additional 40 units, did not.
— TED PHILLIPS
Workshop to focus on solar technology
Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) plans to host a training seminar tomorrow for local government leaders to review key strategies and possibilities for developing local government-sponsored solar installations.
The 7:30 p.m. seminar will be at Malverne Village Hall, 99 Church St.
Curran’s release said the event will be in conjunction with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, New York Works, the City University of New York and others.
According to the release, “solar photovoltaic installations can lower municipal energy costs, saving taxpayers money while improving the environment. Many New York local governments, however, have not yet taken advantage of this cost-saving technology.”
“This workshop is so local government leaders can see the benefits solar technology can have on their budgets,” Curran said.
— SID CASSESE
Diabetes program begins Wednesday
A free four-week program on managing diabetes will be offered in Wyandanch starting Wednesday.
Sponsored by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), the program is being conducted by the county’s Department of Health Services in collaboration with Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.
The program consists of four weekly classes that will offer suggestions for keeping blood sugar in a target range, choosing a healthy meal plan and finding a balance with food, exercise and medications.
According to the state Department of Health, more than a million New Yorkers have been diagnosed with diabetes, and there are an estimated 450,000 additional people who have diabetes and don’t know it due to a misunderstanding of symptoms.
Since 1994, the number of people in the state who have diabetes has more than doubled, according to the health department, and it is likely that number will double again by the year 2050.
The classes will meet every Wednesday in August from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 17 S. 20th St. in Wyandanch. To register for the classes, contact Anastasia Loper at 631-727-7850 ext. 340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— DENISE M. BONILLA
Cancer fundraiser heads to local pools
Lynbrook Mayor William Hendrick and the board of trustees, as well as state Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), have announced the village’s fifth annual Swim Across America Event will take place on Saturday.
Lynbrook’s part of the national fundraiser to fight cancer will be at its pool in Greis Park, starting at 7:15 a.m.
“We are hoping for another successful turnout for this wonderful cause,” said Hendricks, noting that Lynbrook raised $17,000 last year. “This event is extraordinary, and we applaud the efforts of its founders, Julie Bergin and Kelly Stapleton [of Lynbrook], for organizing ... its success.”
Bergin noted that the Nassau/Suffolk swim committee sponsors 13 pool swims for the fundraiser around Long Island from May to October.
“Our swimmers [in the bi-county] have raised over $6.2 million to fight cancer since 2001, and we hope to raise $600,000 in 2014,” she said Tuesday.
— SID CASSESE
Firehouse to host blood drive event
A blood drive will be held Aug. 13 at the Manhasset-Lakeville firehouse, sponsored by the fire department and the North Hempstead Town clerk’s office.
The event is to take place from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the 2 Community Dr. East site.
“Summer is the time of year when blood supplies are their lowest,” Town Clerk Wayne Wink said in a statement.
Contact Joe Guarini at 516-680-5317 to make an appointment. Walk-ins will also be taken.
Anyone wishing to donate must weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 16 years old. Those who are 16 must have parental consent. Donors must also bring government-issued identification with them. Donors will receive a free T-shirt and be entered into a contest to win gift cards to local restaurants.
— SCOTT EIDLER
New laws set on driveway lengths
The Village of Farmingdale, at a trustee board meeting Monday, enacted restrictions on the size of residential driveways.
Under the new ordinance residential homeowners will need to obtain a variance to pave more than 35 percent of their front lawn area. The restriction will prevent homeowners from paving their entire lawn, something that has happened in a few instances in recent years, Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said.
“We don’t want everybody to start paving their lawns,” Ekstrand said Tuesday. “It takes away from the beauty of a quaint village.”
Homeowners will need a permit to put in driveways and the new rules set a maximum width of 25 feet. Circular driveways will be allowed, but only when the street frontage is at least 75 feet wide.
The new rules don’t apply to existing driveways.
The law is less restrictive than a similar one passed in Mineola in June that prohibited paving more than 25 percent of a front yard.
Farmingdale’s law will take effect once it has been accepted by the state secretary of state.
— TED PHILLIPS
Music fest to raise Sandy relief funds
The Freeport Blues and Jazz Festival will be at Cow Meadow Park this Saturday and Sunday, the second year of the event to help superstorm Sandy victims.
“In addition, the Long Island Blues Relief Fund’s outreach also will be toward helping aspiring visual artists and musicians in our community’s high schools,” said Frank Napoli, a local restaurant owner, guitarist and founder of the nonprofit Relief Fund that produces the festival.
In the spring, the fund held a poster contest for this year’s festival to win a scholarship donation.
Festival tickets — $35 for adults and $15 for children under 11 — are slightly cheaper for multiple days or adults online at freeportbluesandjazzfestival.com.
Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended. Packed lunches and beverages can be brought in, but no glass bottles or coolers. Food and beverages, including alcoholic, will be sold inside. There are many more normal prohibitions, such as drugs and weapons.
Parking on local streets near the park will be barred by Freeport police. Parking will be available at the Long Island Rail Road station, from where free jitneys will take patrons to the park.
Among the nearly 20 acts over the two days will be blues singers Zora Young, Pamela Betti, Long Island’s Carolyn Harding and 2010 Living Blues Award guitarist Joe Louis Walker.
For more information, go to freeportbluesandjazzfestival.com.
— SID CASSESE