Know The True Facts Before You Vote

2
237

Petitions are in and village elections are set for March 16. In New Hyde Park the positions for mayor, village justice and two trustees are up for grab.

This year, it’s exciting to see a few new parties established—The Unity Party, The Beautification Party and the Common Sense Party. I wish all the candidates the best. I am personally committed to help with a smooth transition and look forward to working with all the reelected and newly elected board members.

What I do find disturbing during this election season is the negativity, false statements and accusations put out on social media about the current mayor and some of the board members that I sit with. I get that not everyone may agree on decisions, codes, etc., but to demoralize members that have dedicated countless years and hours to serve their community is wrong and disrespectful.

Despite what you may read on social media, every member that currently sits on the board has one primary purpose—to selflessly serve the community and make New Hyde Park a great place to live. No hidden agendas; no political aspirations; no personal gain.

Niche.com confirms that we have achieved just that and lists New Hyde Park as a great place to live. It gives New Hyde Park an A+ rating with the median home price up by 4 percent since 2019, completely contradictory to comments on other social media platforms.

Granted, is there room for improvement? Always. Have mistakes been made? Yes. But when there were mistakes, corrective actions were taken. An example of this is the previously created Development Incentive Bonus Overlay District. Following the legal proceedings of the hearing, the board listened to the residents. The project was stopped, we took a step back, scrapped that development, took the community input and now will be stepping out to develop an overall master plan with intense input.

What our voting residents need to understand are the real facts and accomplishments that have been achieved the past few years. These include:

  • Successful acquisition of a $75,000 grant for an emergency generator for the village hall
  • An excellent financial state rating on an external audit, with a surplus of $300,000 for fiscal year ending May 31, 2020. The best since 2011
  • A financial cash reserve built up to $2,426,573 that will now help the village remain financially sound despite the COVID-19 shutdown
  • Awarded Tree City USA for three consecutive years based on the village’s Beautification and Tree Planting Landscaping program
  • Reconstruction of South 9th St., 5th Ave. and North 6th by MTA/Third Track Project based on what the board negotiated in a Memorandum of Understanding
  • Acceptance by the MTA of a Village Beautification Committee developed landscaping plan that will rebeautify our village with trees and bushes in areas impacted by the Third Track Project.
  • Upgrades to our village parks that includes new pickle ball, basketball and bocce ball courts and benches. This included the creation of Purple Heart Way at Memorial Park
  • Funding and grants in process for the design and construction of a new DPW garage
  • Implementation of “My VNHP” app for residents to report issues, receive news, etc.
  • Upgrades to both the interior and exterior of village hall, currently in process
  • Elimination of Covert Avenue and New Hyde Park Road grade closing, reducing traffic on residential streets, increasing safety and reducing train noise.

An ongoing objective by the village has been to maintain and keep the suburban look and feel. This is a challenge as the world continues to expand and modernize. The Third Track Project directed by the state is a prime example. Other times we have been successful, such as the Harley Davidson dealership withdrawing its application.

I am glad to read that the new parties share the same objective, but they must be committed and hold to this objective. The mayor and village board members must remain objective and operate under the guidance of federal and state laws. Members cannot be influenced by who they know or where they live. This becomes difficult at times.

One of the comments I hear is “The board just falls in line and does whatever the mayor wants.” This is completely inaccurate. What you see at public board meetings is a unified front, after much work and discussion.

Negativity, false statements and accusations are not what New Hyde Park is about. As the elections nears, I encourage residents to get educated, understand the true facts and know your source. The time is now to get involved. Visit the village website at www.vnhp.org, download our new “My VNHP” app and join us at the village board meetings. An educated voter understands the true facts and will vote for the right candidate.

—Village of New Hyde Park Trustee Rainer Burger

2 COMMENTS

  1. Trustee Rainer,

    I have compiled a list of FACTS and they are as follows.
    It took close to two years and countless pleas from village taxpayers thereafter for the NHP Board of Trustees to finally repeal the law that enabled the transit-oriented development at 300 S. 12 Street when over 600+ residents objected to this project — and the Board repealed it a few short weeks prior to an election, too.

    We lose far more trees in NHP than we replace them. Tree City USA Status involves (1) a citizen-led tree board, (2) a tree care ordinance, (3) a budget of $2 per capita (4) an arbor day proclamation – https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/standards.cfm

    Reconstruction of roads – Trustee Burger resides on South 9th Street; Fifth Ave (between So. 12 and NHP Road remains significantly damaged by multiple potholes, etc).
    The “Beautification Committee” appoints residents and then never meets. The plan for restoring the LIRR corridor is pitifully lacking in scope when compared to our Garden City neighbor’s plan for the rest of the corridor.

    The Village’s DPW building is asked about at almost every Board meeting. This is the first we are hearing about a ‘design’ for a new facility. The present facilities were neglected for so long that they have become a complete embarrassment to our community. Once again, why are the residents are cut out of the process?

    Upgrades to Village Hall? There mousetraps in the bathrooms and other rooms. The building was allowed to deteriorate many years. Presently the outdoor entrance stairway is roped off denying residents access from the NHP Road side. There are many problems that will cost significant funding to address due to being unattended for so long. Our Marcus Christ Community Center has been similarly neglected for many years. It is an embarrassment.

    The elimination of the grade crossings at Covert Avenue and NHP Road were done by the MTA/LIRR – not the Village of NHP. A long list of punch list problems remain since 2018.

    Upgrades to our parks? Our basketball hoops are still missing.

    The Harley Davidson project developers withdrew their application because the applicant went out of business. NOT because the Village stopped the project.

    We are grateful to those who serve. However, there comes a time when new ideas and new perspectives are needed. That time has arrived.

  2. Kim
    First thanks for the response and being an engaged resident. I too am excited about new ideas and perspectives. Let me address a few of your points to give the readers a better understanding.

    With respect to the transit-oriented development – Agree, as I mentioned in the article, we are not perfect and mistakes were made. At the same time, we listened to our residents, stopped the process and now looking to work with our residents on a Masterplan.

    On the trees – We are all aware of the number of trees that were lost due to the construction. The storms of 2020 took a toll on them as well. As announced at the Board Meetings and noted in the article, the Board has an approved Landscaping plan that will plant 100 various deciduous trees, 316 shrubs and some herbaceous species and ground cover in the Village. On top of that the Village will be planting approximately 26 trees at the request of residents. Residents can still apply as well.

    The Beautification Committee has met. Meeting have been reduced due to COVID. But despite COVID, the Beautification Committee is responsible for putting together the Landscaping plan noted above….and it far exceeds are neighbors. The Committee spent several months in 2020, on Zoom meetings, with 3TC and also walked the 3rd Track construction area and surrounding area to come up with the approved plan.

    Discussions with respect to the DPW Building is not new. The Board has been working on a new DPW facility for some time, unfortunately funding has been challenging and COVID did not help, but we continue to pursue. The Mayor has briefed this at Board Meetings when asked.

    Roads definitely need repairs. Totally agree. As mentioned at the Board Meetings a number of them will be redone by 3TC as part of our 3rd Track Project Memorandum of Agreement. For the remainder of our roads, the Village is working on getting a proposal to do a road assessment rating so that we can put together a paving plan.

    Village Hall –Again I agree with you that it needs repair and we are working towards that. It is currently going under renovations as noted in the article. Proposals for reconstruction of the stoops is in. The Board is also looking at exterior renovations. Resident access on the North side is actually preferred as it is Handicap accessible. That said we hope to open the East entrance soon.

    Yes, the elimination of the grade crossings at Covert Avenue and NHP Road were done by the MTA/LIRR – but not without significant village involvement. The Village has spent countless hours in meetings, site walks, etc. to mitigating impacts to the residents as best it can. I can attest to this as I’m the one doing it. Also the safety of our residents has greatly improved and train noise has been reduced as we no longer have the blaring train horns. The punch-list items have been reduced and can’t be completed until MTA completes various aspects of the project. They are no longer briefed at the board meetings as only a handful remain.

    Basketball hoops were taken down due to COVID-19 and the restrictions with respect to contact sports. Floral Park has them down as well. We are evaluating when we can put them back up. With the warm weather approaching, I hope soon.

    And yes, the Harley Davidson project developers withdrew their application because the applicant because they were financially strapped. At the end it benefited the Village in keeping the suburban look and feel.

    Thank you again and I appreciate the feedback. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, but there also has been a lot of work that has been accomplished. The Challenge is listing out what needs to be done, the nice to have’s, and what needs to be paid (The Expenses) and then looking at the funding available (The Revenue) and balancing that…all the while keeping the taxpayers in mind. Not an easy job.

Leave a Reply to Rainer Burger Cancel reply