Friday, March 30, 2007

Good article ...

Good article by Jerry Kremer in the Long Island Buiness News where he kindly references my Oyster Bay 2000 plan. Just one thing he got wrong. I won my race for Town Board in 1993.

Maybe Oyster Bay 2000 was the reason .... maybe just dumb luck. Who knows?

Full text of Jerry's article:

Yes, Virginia, there’s too much government

By Jerry Kremer

Friday, March 30, 2007

One-day business trips to some far-off city usually end with a lot of fatigue and not much to show for it.
My recent trip to Virginia confirms what a group called the Rauch Foundation announced in a newly released study, which complains that Long Island has too much government.
From the minute the cab driver drops you off in Northern Virginia, there is a marked difference in the look and feel of the residential and business community. Things are happening in suburban Fairfax and Loudon counties, which are not far from downtown Washington; the Rauch study compared those two Virginia counties with how things function on Long Island.
Long Islanders pay 50 percent more in property taxes and are not particularly satisfied with their local elected officials. But the most glaring finding of the study is not exactly a big secret: Long Island has 127 school districts for a population of 2.8 million people, while the two Virginia counties – with 1.3 million people – have three school districts.
Long Island school districts spend more per student on construction costs, even though the Virginia counties are building as many as six new schools in a year. The Virginia counties have 58 fire stations, compared with 381 on Long Island. One could go on and on contrasting the regions, but all the statistics all end with the same results: Long Island is overtaxed and overburdened.
County Executives Levy and Suozzi both agree that we have too much government and have pledged to do something about it, but their powers are limited. Many of the Island’s 400 government taxing districts have been created by the state Legislature, and you can’t abolish them without Albany’s approval.
It’s hard to pinpoint why the Island has so much government, but it isn’t a recent happening. Many of our towns and villages were created in the 1700s and most communities cherish their status. Everyone likes having their own school district, so their children can wear a sweatshirt with a community logo.
The effort to consolidate school districts in Suffolk County is not new. Many years ago, then-County Executive Patrick Halpin formed a commission to investigate school mergers. I chaired that group. We devoted countless hours to an in-depth report that pinpointed which school districts should be consolidated and why.
The study showed there were districts still in existence that transported all their children to other districts. There were districts with only one school building. At least 15 districts wanted to be merged with their next-door neighbors, but their neighbors didn’t want them – even though state law gives financial incentives to any district that welcome a merger with a neighbor.
Suffolk’s Levy has urged villages, towns and school districts to combine such services as security, borrowing, health insurance and transportation. The last known candidate for office who advocated consolidating specific departments was Oyster Bay’s Louis Savinetti. He had a program, flow charts and specifics. He lost.Nassau’s Suozzi is pushing for a $750,000 study on reducing layers of government, and has gotten the Hagendorn Foundation to contribute $250,000 to that effort. That sounds encouraging, but in the end, the leaders of the Island’s many fiefdoms will have to decide their own future – and to date, there is no record of any elected official, anywhere in this state, voting him- or herself out of office

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