The new year may be only a few days old, but local leaders are wasting no time in setting their priorities for 2013. The Herald asked elected officials and community leaders what they plan to focus on this year.
State Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Republican who represents the 6th Senatorial District — which includes East Meadow — said that his top priority is to restore fiscal soundness to both the government and taxpayers. “We need to do both at once,” Hannon said, “so state government, the local governments and the school districts do not solve their challenges on the backs of the already challenged taxpayer.”
State Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, a Republican from East Meadow, said that dissolving the Long Island Power Authority remains one of his biggest objectives. After Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, LIPA’s slow response in restoring power drew a firestorm of criticism. Its response in central Nassau County, including East Meadow and Salisbury, was particularly slow, and thousands of homeowners endured up to two weeks without electricity.
In November, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order establishing the Moreland Commission, to investigate the preparation, response and management of New York’s utility companies in a series of hearings. In a written release, Cuomo stated that the commission would not only investigate the companies’ response to Sandy, but also to Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011.
McKevitt said that the hearings are continuing, but he expects the commission to issue a report and recommendations by the end of January. “It looks to me that [the Moreland Commission] is going in the same direction that I’d like to go,” he said, “which is to dissolve [LIPA] and sell off the assets to a private company.
“We’ve gone through two of these storms in two years,” McKevitt added, “and I refuse to go through this again.”