Wyandanch Rising contracts approved
The Town of Babylon has approved more than a dozen consulting contracts and change work orders worth almost a half-million dollars related to work on the Wyandanch Rising redevelopment.
The town board approved the contracts and change work orders that allow paying as much as $458,000 to a half dozen companies.
Wyandanch Rising is the town’s $500 million public-private effort to revitalize the hamlet’s downtown. Most of the contracts concern work related to roadways and parking lots surrounding a new transit plaza near the LIRR train station.
The consulting contracts awarded at last week’s town board meeting are as much as $89,000 to Gallas & Partners of Silver Spring, Md.; as much as $83,500 to AKRF Inc. of Bohemia; up to $82,200 plus $1,500 per diem for site visits by Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects of Vero Beach, Fla.; as much as $75,000 to MKJ, Inc. of Wheatley Heights; up to $57,700 for EGC Group, Inc., of Melville and as much as $52,978 to Sidney B. Bowne & Son LLP of Mineola. The board also approved change work orders for $12,000 for Sidney B. Bowne and $5,000 for Torti Gallas.
Town spokesman Kevin Bonner said the money will come from a combination of grants, bonds and town funds. — Denise M. Bonilla
Free tax assistance for senior citizens
Senior citizens can take advantage of the town’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in for free help in preparing their income tax returns, Town Supervisor Kate Murray announced.
“Our volunteers are highly trained, and are happy to help seniors who may need assistance,” she said.
Seniors who want to use the program must take their completed 2012 tax returns and all wage, Social Security and earnings statements (W-2 and 1099) to one of the VITA sites in the town. Participants also must take interest, dividends, capital gains, IRAs, annuities and pension statements, 2013 property tax receipts, STAR exemption records, social security cards and photo identification with them.
VITA volunteers will be available at 30 locations from early February to the mid-April tax deadline. To find a VITA location and schedule an appointment, seniors should call the Department of Senior Enrichment at 516-485-8100. — Sid Cassese
Fund created to pay off pension-related debt
Brookhaven Town officials have created a fund to pay off several million dollars in debt from contributions to the state pension plan.
The town board on Friday unanimously approved a plan to establish the Pension Contribution Reserve Fund with revenue from the sale of town property. Supervisor Edward P. Romaine had proposed the fund in his Jan. 7 inaugural address.
The town has borrowed about $5 million in recent years to pay its share of contributions to the state pension fund, town officials said.
Romaine said he hopes to pay off the debt by next year.
“It’s grown exponentially,” he said in an interview. “We had to put the brakes on.”
He said he expects to raise $4 million to $5 million this year from the sale of several town properties. The first such sale neared completion on Friday when the town board unanimously approved plans to sell a Center Moriches parcel for $110,000 to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery Association.
Town officials said they plan to sell as many as eight properties, including the former town hall in Patchogue. — Carl MacGowan
Legislator sponsors food drive on Saturday
Suffolk County legislative Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) is sponsoring a food drive for the hunger relief organization Island Harvest in Amityville on Saturday.
“Hunger impacts families and countless hardworking individuals here in Suffolk County,” Gregory said in a statement. “I am proud to partner with Island Harvest, and I am asking local residents in our community to stop by to support those less fortunate.”
Suggested items for donation include canned fruits and vegetables, soups, peanut butter, rice, pasta and cereal. For more information, call Gregory's office at 631-854-1111. The drop-off point will be at the Stop & Shop at 351 Merrick Rd. Donations will be accepted from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. — Nicholas Spangler