Event: The Opioid Crisis & Human Trafficking – The Need for a Local Municipal Response

On THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th the Suffolk County Village Officials Association will be hosting a special presentation on two critical issues: the opioid crisis and human trafficking.

Join us for a frank discussion that will provide you with important information on the scope and impact of these issues, as well as practical ways you can become part of the solution and help your community combat these devastating problems.

Among our distinguished presenters will be Suffolk Country District Attorney Timothy Sini and Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon.

Please join us with your questions and insights:

  • Thursday, September 26th
  • Lake Grove Village Hall
  • 980 Hawkins Avenue
  • Lake Grove, NY 11755
  • 6PM – 8PM

RSVP to mail@scvoa.com

We Must Never Forget

Recently, the Village received a piece of steel from the Twin Towers to place in our Village Green/Memorial Park. Through the efforts of our Village Clerk, the Mayor and a Village resident, we were fortunate to make the right contacts. We sent letters and photos of our beautiful park, which also has a Ground Zero Survivor Tree and replica of a FDNY Maltese cross that was issued to President Bush following the tragic attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001.

The steel will be mounted and installed in our park as soon as the plaque memorializing it is completed.  I encourage all to come to the park and spend a moment to reflect and remember. Let’s educate those that are too young to be able to feel the horror and sorrow of that tragic time. They need to know how we came together as a nation, and about the terrible loss of life which continues even today.

Those of us here today and generations to come must realize how important our patriotism is. We must be cognizant of what our flag symbolizes. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may continue to be a free nation. Others have been taken from us just because we are a free nation; those that left home on that ill-fated day of 9-11 to go to work not knowing what would follow. When we continue to put our hands over our hearts, remove our caps, and stand together, we pay respect to all of them.

It is obvious why others strive to come here. We are a great nation with a great history. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We are the nation that put men on the moon fifty years ago. We will never give in to tyranny and only become stronger in our resolve to remain a great country when we are threatened or attacked.

God Bless America

Lake Grove Mayor Robert Scottaline

Mayor’s Note: Village Tax Increase

Yes, unfortunately, Village taxes were increased this year.  While we have been proud to keep tax increases to a minimum over the years, this year was extremely difficult due to a tremendous loss in revenue.

While we were able to absorb a ($10,000.00) ten thousand dollar loss in State Aid last year, the over ($100,000.00) one hundred thousand dollar loss in State Aid this year due to the Governor’s budget cuts hit us extremely hard.  Apparently, the Governor must believe that we have a lot of excess to cut in our budget. Nothing could be further from the truth. Where is that loss in revenue supposed to be made up? It’s obvious that little thought or consideration was put into the decision to cut State Aid pretty much across the board for Long Island. While those in Albany have retained many millions of dollars from Long Island, to make it appear that they are doing a great job with money management, we in turn look bad for having to raise taxes.

Along with the redistribution of taxes at the State level, we also had a large loss of revenue with our recycling. We now receive no proceeds for our recycling materials. Whereas we previously had a contract for years with Brookhaven to be paid for recycling, we now receive nothing due to a lack of interest from those that purchase the recycling from the Town.

Yes, we raised taxes out of necessity, but a quick look at your Village tax bill can be deceiving. Part of the increase on the bill is for garbage removal and dumping fees, which is a pass-through. That money is for garbage removal only and is used for that purpose alone and is not part of taxes to maintain services. An increase in dumping fees due to the weight of the addition of glass, which is no longer accepted for recycling in our garbage is responsible for most of the increase. Removing the garbage fees from your tax bill and then comparing the balance to last year’s bill with garbage fees removed will give an accurate picture of how much your village taxes have increased.

In an effort to keep the increase as low as possible, we had to supplement our revenue side of the budget with a significant amount of money from surplus. These dollars that we keep in surplus are reserved for such adversities like the ones that have occurred this year. It is my hope that we don’t have to dig that deep again in the years to come. You can only go to the well so many time before it runs dry.

I apologize for any possible personal hardships that these increases may have caused and we will continue to do our best to keep our budgets as reasonable as possible while maintaining service to the highest standards that we can.

Working together with other Villages and Towns, we are letting our representatives in Albany know how displeased we are with their budgetary cuts and their lack of support for their constituents that pay some of the highest taxes in the nation.

Very Truly Yours,

Robert J Scottaline, Mayor

From the Mayor: Blighted Properties on Notice

Recently, the Village demolished two houses that have been a blight on the community for years.  Any expenditures involved in removing the structures have been added to the tax bills for those properties.  Changes in State laws now allow municipalities to hold banks and other lending institutions responsible for the condition of abandoned homes.  They are put on notice and given a reasonable amount of time to bring properties and structures into compliance with sanitary, aesthetic, and safety codes. The Village, through legal counsel, is vigilant in making sure that all parties have been notified. In the past, property owners played the shell game of passing these properties around trying to avoid code violations. That tactic is no longer tolerated. The tide has changed, and we now have the tools to deal with this issue.

Respectable homeowners who care for their homes and have an investment in their properties should not have to deal with run-down structures and properties devaluing and creating a blight on their neighborhoods.

Considering the value of homes on Long Island, it is hard to imagine why any person or establishment would allow these houses to fall into such disrepair. While it is understandable that some individuals don’t have the resources to maintain their homes to the high standards of others, it costs little to be neat and clean and maintain at least a minimum standard of curb appeal and safety.

Blighted properties can proliferate.  Neighbors of these homes can quickly become disenchanted with the neighborhood and lose enthusiasm for maintaining their own properties. We will not tolerate this in Lake Grove. Even homes that are occupied and keeping up with their payments must be in compliance with all Village, Town and State codes.

Let’s all work together to keep Lake Grove a beautiful and safe place to live.

Very Truly Yours,

Robert J. Scottaline

Mayor

Village and Town Budgets Take Hit

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, January 15 released his executive budget proposal which eliminates funding from the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program for towns and villages in cases where the funding accounts for less than two percent of the municipal budget. This will eliminate a total of $16.4 million from 480 of the 531 villages in New York State

While I don’t consider this to be a political issue, our Village will lose one hundred percent of our funding. This amounts to $63,199 in New York State aid, along with the substantial cut we received last year. Although the amount received had been frozen for many years, we were still able to maintain services while staying within the tax cap requirements with the help of these funds.

Discussions with Town of Brookhaven Officials have verified that our Town will also be losing a substantial amount of funding from the State.

How much this will impact our budgets and services is yet to be realized.  We do not have any fat in our budgets to cut. While the math in the State budget may work at that level, there is obviously little concern about how it works at the lower levels providing very important services to our communities.

Year after year we struggle with unfunded mandates, rising labor costs and benefit payment increases. Paving expenses, garbage fees and the expenses incurred with snow removal continue to rise, while the State continues to hamper our efforts to stay afloat.

We need to remind our representatives at the State level that we need to be represented in a way that enable us to reap the benefits of the high taxes that we pay here on Long Island. While high taxes here have been a way of life for many years, most of us realized some of the benefits received from these payments. We cannot tolerate higher taxes at this point and certainly don’t want to see our services reduced in any way.

We will, with the help of the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), the Suffolk County Village Officials Association (SCVOA), and constant dialog with our State representatives continue to contest these injustices.

Robert J. Scottaline, Mayor, Incorporated Village of Lake Grove