East Meadow leaders look ahead

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Assemblyman Michael Montesano, a Republican who represents Salisbury and portions of East Meadow, agreed that LIPA is in need of substantial restructuring. One of the foremost issues with LIPA, he said, “is the amount of money it spends every year on real property tax to school districts and municipalities,” he said, “and that’s one of the drivers of higher utilities costs.”

Montesano, who lives in Glen Head, said that his top priority is to secure substantial mandate relief for school districts and municipalities to relieve them of financial and administrative burdens that cost them money and manpower.

He said that a mandate relief commission, also appointed by Cuomo, has met recently to discuss how the state can best distribute relief funds statewide. “So we’re hoping to make a lot of headway with that this year,” Montesano said.

County Legislator Norma Gonsalves, an East Meadow resident, said the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Conn., was still on her mind as the calendar turned to the new year. “My top priority is peace and good will,” she said, “and that our friends and neighbors remain safe and we don’t go through the terrible, terrible ordeal that happened in Newtown.”

In December, Gonsalves, a Republican, told the Herald of her plan to petition the state and federal governments, calling for greater resources for young people with mental health issues.

Gonsalves, the Legislature’s presiding officer, said she hopes that recent disasters like the Sandy Hook shooting and Hurricane Sandy will bring about bipartisan cooperation in the chamber, which has 10 Republicans and nine Democrats. “There’s a different tone in the Legislature right now, and I hope that tone continues,” she said. “I’m praying that we do what’s right.”

Helen Meittinis, a Salisbury resident who is the president of the Community Association of Stewart Avenue, said that a spike in crime, and particular burglaries, is of great concern to her. “I’d love to see more cops on the streets. I’d love to see another class [of Police Academy graduates] come in Nassau County,” she said. “That’s what I’m hoping for, because our numbers are so low.”

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