North Hempstead 2024 budget not voted on before Election Day

North Hempstead 2024 budget not voted on before Election Day
Resolutions to approve the 2024 North Hempstead budget were not voted on by Election Day. (Photo by Karina Kovac)

The North Hempstead budget for 2024 will not be approved ahead of Election Day, breaking a pattern set by former Supervisor Judi Bosworth, whose administration began in 2014. 

Six of the seven members of the North Hempstead Town Board were in attendance Monday night for a special meeting to approve next year’s budget. The town board meeting on Nov. 2, the original voting day, was adjourned so the public could be properly notified of corrections made Thursday morning to the $163.9 million preliminary budget. 

Democrat Robert Troiano, who works with the Nassau County Board of Elections, was not present at Monday night’s meeting. Troiano told Republican Supervisor Jennifer DeSena Thursday night he would not be able to attend any meetings on Sunday or Monday. 

Democrat Council Members Peter Zuckerman and Veronica Lurvey abstained from voting to untable the resolutions to approve the budget while Mariann Dalimonte voted against it, each citing the need for full attendance to approve the budget. 

“I believe that it is imperative that all council members are present for this hearing,” Zuckerman said before abstaining. 

Lurvey concurred with Zuckerman while Dalimonte reiterated her previous stance from Thursday that she would vote against untabling the resolutions unless everyone on the town board was present. 

DeSena said board members can attend meetings via Zoom because of a town law passed last year and that she is disappointed in her colleagues for not being transparent. 

“I’m worried about what might come next, what is being hidden until after Election Day that people don’t know about that might affect their money,” DeSena said. “I’m very disappointed that we all came here and that some of us refuse to do our duty and vote on the budget.”

Before voting to adjourn the meeting, Republican Councilman David Adhami said that politics won over transparency for residents. 

“This would have taken 15 minutes out of everybody’s day, 20 minutes tops,” Adhami said.

During the Thursday meeting, North Hempstead Director of Governmental Research Steven Pollack said corrections that were sent to the town board on Oct. 27 and Nov. 1 were originally incorrect and he resubmitted them with additions to the corrections this week, making them completely accurate. 

The resubmitted corrections were not posted on the town’s website for 24 hours by the beginning of the meeting Thursday, so the budget could not be voted on according to Robert’s Rules of Order, which dictates meetings. 

The corrections made to the budget were not amendments, but updates to the budget based on new information, fixing typographical errors and fixing corrections between the tentative and preliminary budgets. North Hempstead Town Attorney John Chiara alerted Interim Comptroller Paul Wood to the mistake Thursday morning, who then told Pollack in order to get the correct information updated to the town’s website. 

The corrections were not amendments made by any council members. It was a town employee, Steven Pollack, who re-submitted the corrections. It was a run of the mill procedure to make sure all the numbers lined up but this situation is from human error.
Wood is Paul Wood, the interim comptroller for North Hempstead.

The town’s Comptroller Department for two budget seasons has been vacant. Kristen Schwaner, the comptroller appointed by the town earlier this year, resigned unexpectedly this August.

The town has also been without two deputy comptrollers and Finance Director Paul Wood has been the acting comptroller during the budget process. 

The next North Hempstead Town Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14. 

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