North Hempstead Democrats voted Tuesday night to allocate $3.8 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for dredging in Manhasset Bay in a resolution opposed by all three Republicans on the Town Council.
The board also approved a four-year collective bargaining agreement with the CSEA Unit 7555, which represents over 80% of the town’s workforce, continued a public hearing on the expansion plans for for New Hyde Park’s Hillside Islamic Center and bid farewell to Council Members Peter Zuckerman and Veronica Lurvey.
Democrat Mariann Dalimonte said there is an emergency in Manhasset Bay that needs to be tended to urgently when offering a resolution to use the $3.8 million for dredging work in Manhasset Bay.
Dalimonte added that the dredging area is by Toms Point Marina, Manhasset Bay Sportsmens Club and La Motta’s Marina, which is the northeast side of the bay where the Village of Manorhaven is located
“We are applying for permits, as of right now we have some FEMA money,” Dalimonte said. The council member called the issue urgent and said if the dredging does not take place soon then future construction could be at risk.
Republicans on the seven-member town board, who starting in January will have a 4-3 majority, said more time should be spent on evaluating the situation, similar to how the board spent multiple meetings to consider bonding $3.1 for the Plandome Road sewer project earlier this year.
“This could have been used for many different projects and maybe we should have had a discussion on this,” Republican Council Member Dennis Walsh said. “But this is what we’re doing in the 11th hour of a lame-duck session of the outgoing board.”
Dalimonte said resolutions have been approved already by the board at previous meetings related to the ongoing town dock renovation, which the dredging will fall under.
Dalimonte also said aside from ARPA funds, which need to be used by 2026, capital plan funding from the town could be put toward the project.
“We need to secure that sandbar,” Dalimonte said. “If don’t secure that sandbar then there are not going to be marinas in Port Washington.”
DeSena said she is not opposed to the project but would have liked to see and discuss more related to the project.
“I think this is rushing to get this vote in while you have the majority,” DeSena said.
North Hempstead received $10,114,021.27 total in ARPA money, which was received in two installments in the summers of 2021 and 2022.
Since then the Town Board voted to allocate $3.1 million for the Plandome sewer project in Manhasset, $2 million for sidewalks on Westbury Avenue in Westbury and $446,000 for the Port Washington Public Parking District.
In other town news, the board unanimously voted to approve the four-year collective bargaining agreement with the local CSEA unit.
CSEA Unit #7555 President Tom McDonough thanked DeSena and her team for being able to agree to a new deal that he said lets North Hempstead remain competitive with other municipalities to attract talent.
The four-year contract will run from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2026.
“I would first like to thank the supervisor and her negotiating committee and the members of my negotiating committee for the time and work they have put into this fair and equitable agreement,” McDonough said. “The agreement is both fair and equitable to the union members, the Town of North Hempstead and responsible to the taxpayers of the town, which a number of our employees are.”
DeSena, Lurvey and Dalimonte commended the union for their hard work and dedication to the town, with Dalimonte calling them the “backbone of the town.”
The town board also continued a public hearing over the expansion plans for the Hillside Islamic Center because town board members did not have the most recent update to the application before them while the applicants did.
It will be re-heard at the Jan. 9 meeting next month.
Tuesday night was also the final board meeting for Democrats Peter Zuckerman and Veronica Lurvey.
Zuckerman, of East Hills, joined the board in 2014 to fill the unfinished term of Thomas Dwyer, who resigned from the board to take a job in the private sector. He will be replaced by Republican Edward Scott to represent the town’s 2nd Councilmanic District.
“I’ve had the pleasure of being a councilman here and having the best workforce that any place could ever have,” Zuckerman said. “I have to thank the residents of the Town of North Hempstead who put their faith in me and having me serve in a position of public trust is really the highest honor. I appreciate it very much.”
Zuckerman went on to thank all members of the town board he worked with during his time and wished the new board members, Scott and Democrat Christine Liu, the best of luck.
Lurvey, of Great Neck, has served the town’s 4th Councilmanic District since being elected in 2019. She was taken out of her current district due to redistricting last year and ran for North Hempstead receiver of taxes, which was won by Republican Mary Jo Collins. Her vacant seat was won by Liu.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the residents of District 4,” Lurvey said. “I want you all to know that I have taken this position very seriously and it has really been one of the most important, influential and challenging tasks that I have ever set myself to.”