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Letter to the Oceanside/Island Park Editor (Dec. 12-18)

Posted

Time to retrofit the Barrett plant

To the Editor:

In response to the article, “County, LIPA reach tentative tax agreement (Nov. 28-Dec. 4), it is imperative that elected officials and the Long Island Power Authority work together to retrofit the Barrett Power plant as soon as possible to receive the benefits of green energy technologies in the areas of wind and solar power. LIPA’S  CEO Thomas Falcone even said that the utility hoped to modernize the facility. With this modernization hopefully on the horizon, the assessed value of the plant can be brought closer to what the property is now assessed at. 

The Island Park School District’s Board of Education has known for years that the revenue streams that LIPA provided were going to be severely reduced as a result of their tax grievance. It is now time to do more with less and eliminate superfluous titles especially in the area of administration. When Superintendent Dr. Rosmarie Bovino replaced the retiring Dr. Ed Price at that position, the school district eliminated the title of assistant superintendant for a few years and absolutely no one noticed any difference in the proper functioning of the two schools. Recently, this unnecessary title was brought back into the budget.

It is crucial that our officials figure out where expenses can be cut without effecting the education of our students. If principals are properly doing their jobs, there is absolutely no need for this title to be budgeted for, especially in a very small district.

 On a final note, the average school tax for a home in the Island Park School District is $4,729, and will spike to a new average amount of $7,246 (an average annual increase of $2,517 ) by the 2026-27 school tax year, according to LIPA’s projections, which are subject to change. I would like to know if the Herald calculated these numbers with the additional school tax revenues that will be realized as a result of the two brand new condominium developments — one on Barnum Island and the in Harbor Isle — that will be included in the tax rolls by that time?

 Many homeowners purchased their homes in Island Park as opposed to neighboring communities because of the lower taxes there. Additionally, many of these same homeowners spent a good chunk of their savings as well as dipping into retirement savings by fixing and elevating their homes post-Hurricane Sandy.

Asking the residents to absorb these tax increases will be the tipping point as to whether these families will continue to be able to afford living in the community that they love. Failure to trim the fat in the budget by doing more with less and not using the green energy technologies to our favor is a mistake that cannot be made.

Hopefully this letter will be used as a game plan to mitigate these tax increases. There is plenty of time to implement these recommendations. It is time for the leaders in this community to step up and see to it that our school taxes remain affordable.

Gary Levine

Island Park