Mayors from throughout the Roslyn community are considering proposals to consolidate purchasing between their villages in an effort to cut costs and help residents maintain eligibility in the state’s new tax rebate program.
“We thought it’s time to get together and pool our resources because all these costs are killing our villages,” said Village of East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz, whose village theater served as the setting for a meeting Thursday between village, town and state officials.
In attendance were Village of Roslyn Mayor John Durkin, Village of Roslyn Estates Mayor Jeff Schwartzberg, Village of Roslyn Harbor Mayor David Mandell, Village of Old Westbury Mayor Fred Carillo, Village of Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips, Roslyn School trustee Adam Haber, North Hempstead Town Councilman Peter Zuckerman (D-Roslyn), state Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) and state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola).
“It’s not very often that we have a gathering of so many mayors and state officials in one room. It allows us to get great insight,” Lavine said.
Koblenz suggested the mayors consolidate public works and infrastructure contracts and formulate an agreement with the Town of North Hempstead.
The meeting was meant to serve as the first of several as the villages prepared plans to collaborate on contracts, Koblenz said.
Mandell said the villages should also align their accounting programs and the language used in their budgets so officials are not confused in identifying programs considered for consolidation.
The gathering of mayors and other officials was sparked in part by a desire to take advantage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new property tax freeze initiative, through which homeowners and municipalities cutting costs could receive rebates.
“This is exactly what the governor thought would happen,” said Mark Pattison, the State Department’s director of local government services.
To be considered eligible for the rebate program, residents must have a combined household income of less than $500,000, and live within a government entity that submits a proposal to the state outlining three-year cost savings of 1 percent each year from 2016-18 in compliance with the state-mandated tax cap.
The deadline for proposals is June 1, 2015. The state has a July 31 deadline to approve or reject the proposals.
“As you can see, the mechanics of this are going to be extraordinarily difficult,” Martins said.