Town’s credit rating upgraded by S&P
The Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency has upgraded its outlook for the Town of Brookhaven from stable to positive.
The agency affirmed the town’s AA+ rating on Wednesday, citing Brookhaven’s balanced budget, adequate cash reserves and the strength of the local economy, “which benefits from participation in the broad and diverse New York-New Jersey economy.”
Last week, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed its Aa2 rating for Brookhaven and said the town’s outlook remained “stable.”
Both reports were issued as the town prepared a pair of bond sales totaling $96.3 million.
Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the bonds — $90.6 million for capital improvement projects, and $5.7 million to settle a lawsuit over a zoning dispute — were sold yesterday at interest rates of 2.66 percent and 2.65 percent, respectively, far less than the town expected.
“This will save us, over the life of these bonds, well over $1 million,” Romaine said. “This is something that we’re very happy about.”
Standard & Poor’s said it expects the town’s financial condition “may strengthen” over the next two years. But the firm cautioned that the town’s budget performance had been “weak overall” in recent years, due to increased pension and health care costs, and reliance on erratic revenue streams such as landfill fees and mortgage taxes.
— CARL MACGOWAN
Nassau plans forums on tax assessment
Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) and Nassau County’s Department of Assessment will present two free tax assessment workshops on how to file a grievance of your property assessment with the county’s Assessment Review Commission, officials said.
Experts will provide assistance, guidance and information on the tax grievance application process. A question-and-answer session and one-on-one assistance follows. The grievance-filing period is until March 3.
A workshop will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. in the North Bellmore Library, 1551 Newbridge Rd. The other workshop will be at 1 p.m. on next Friday at the Wantagh Library, on 3285 Park Ave.
For more information, call Denenberg’s office at 516-571-6219.
— AISHA AL-MUSLIM
Meeting planned on proposed dog park
Councilman Kevin LaValle plans to host a public forum Thursday on a proposed dog park in Selden.
Town officials have said they plan to build the 3.09-acre park adjacent to an existing town park between Boyle Road and Corvair Lane. The town board has not scheduled a vote on approving the park.
The forum is to start at 6 p.m. at Middle Country Library, 575 Middle Country Rd., Selden. For information, call 631-451-6647.
The town has constructed several dog parks, which typically have areas where pet owners are allowed to walk and play with their dogs, town spokesman Jack Krieger said.
“It’s important that residents get all the information that they can before the town board considers approving a dog park in their neighborhood,” said LaValle, who is in his first term and represents the town’s 3rd Council District. “I look forward to meeting with the community and hearing what they have to say.”
In addition to the discussion of the dog park, town animal shelter director Ashley Boyd is to discuss the shelter and its adoption programs.
— CARL MACGOWAN
Property tax session set for homeowners
A workshop will be held Monday in Levittown for Nassau homeowners seeking information on how to dispute their county property tax assessment.
County Legislative Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) is hosting the event, scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. at the Levittown Public Library, 1 Bluegrass Lane.
Homeowners have until March 3 to file an assessment grievance application. The event will detail how to fill out the application seeking a correction in assessment — and potential property tax refund — and will provide a forum for other questions on the process.
Grievance applications will be provided at the workshop. Anyone with questions may contact Gonsalves’ office at 516-571-6213.
— Paul LaRocco
Stranger awareness for little children
The town’s Youth Bureau plans to offer a free, four-week program on stranger awareness for students in grades K-2 and 3-5.
The program focuses on teaching elementary students skills to build their confidence in saying “no” to uncomfortable situations. Topics will range from definitions of the term “stranger” and safety in the home, neighborhood and online, officials said.
Kelly DeVito, executive director of the Smithtown Youth Bureau, said the K-2 program was held for the first time last summer and the grade 3-5 program is new. Both were sparked by interest from parents, she said.
“I think they had wanted it just because of the things going on in our town and our community,” DeVito said. “There have been break-ins and they want to get as much information as possible to their child.”
In the group with younger students last year, participants drew pictures of what they thought strangers looked like. Many of them depicted monsters, DeVito said.
“Strangers look just like everyone else. It’s important for them to see that,” she said. “We want to give them the skills to help them remain safe.”
Younger students will role-play to see what they would do in situations with a car coming up to them and learning the importance of knowing their telephone numbers, among other activities. Older participants will have an open discussion about how to tell the difference between a “good or bad person,” write sentences about home safety and select from multiple-choice answers about what to do in different scenarios, DeVito said.
The K-2 group will take place on Mondays, March 17 to April 7, from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. The 3-5 group will run on Tuesdays, March 18 to April 8, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Both programs will be held in the community room of the Horizons Counseling and Education Center, 161 E. Main St., Smithtown. Registration is required.
For more information, contact the youth bureau at 631-360-7595 or email Lisa Belli at email@example.com.
--LAUREN R. HARRISON