State of Emergency – Feb. 18, 2021

Due to the winter storm, the Village of Lake Grove Mayor has issued a State of Emergency beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday February 18, 2021.

All parked vehicles and basketball hoops must be removed from the roads to accommodate plowing efforts.

Thank you for your cooperation with this very important matter.

Mayor’s Note: Dealing With The Tax Cap

The following is a note from Lake Grove Mayor Robert Scottaline …

As most are already aware, we are operating under the New York State Tax Cap.  The tax cap applies to all independent school districts and all local governments outside of New York City, and is intended to capture the broad range of property taxes levied in New York.

The so called two percent tax cap is a bit misleading. As per the guidelines, we actually were only permitted this year to have an increase of much less than one percent. While this may appear to be a positive thing to most of us paying extremely high taxes to live on Long Island, to a  Village it is an extremely challenging financial hardship.  Villages operate for the most part with a very strict budget and see little of the high taxes paid by most.  I encourage all Village residents to look at their Village tax bills. After deducting the fees for garbage removal which is paid out to those who are contracted vendors, the balance is what the Village has to work with.

The cost of paving roads, concrete for sidewalks and aprons, sand and salt for snow removal, fuel for trucks, and employee benefits continue to rise. With a budget that has no fat to cut, we started a few years back getting as creative as possible to cut spending.  Older, less efficient vehicles were replaced with new energy efficient vehicles. Solar panels, waste oil burners and metal recycling all helped in lessening the pain of the cap. Lighting fixtures at  Village Hall have been replaced or retrofitted to use bulbs requiring less energy for the same amount of lighting. HVAC systems have been upgraded and thermostats settings are set to be as efficient as possible while still providing employees with adequate comfort.

We are also taking a close look at how employees will be replaced going forward as full time employees retire. Promotions unfortunately are put on hold, while negotiating bargaining agreements are more difficult each year to find compromise that will be fair to both employer and employee.

No one wants to hear that we can no longer provide all of the services that we have grown accustomed to. No one wants to hear that we are going to vote to exceed the tax cap. The reality is, that we are running out of options and the Governor’s cap is hurting local government. That is, the level of government provided by those living within our communities. Those that care most about our communities and those working the hardest for our communities.

We will continue to conserve, operate at a high level of efficiency,  maintain services and stay within the limits of the tax cap as long as possible.

JUST THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW!

Remembrance Day celebrated at local cemetery

The Lake Ronkonkoma Heritage Association created a “Remembrance Day” event at the Lake Ronkonkoma Cemetery in October to pay tribute to all veterans buried in the location at Five Corners.

There are 123 veterans buried in the cemetery dating back to the Civil War.

From the Mayor’s Desk: Inside Look at Being Mayor

The following is a new column by Lake Grove Mayor Robert Scottlaine … 

mayor1-262x300What does it mean to be the Mayor of an Incorporated Village?  I guess that depends on the individual. I consider myself to be a conscientious individual that can be construed as being a micromanager at times. I believe the reason for this is that everything that occurs in our Village is a reflection of how well I do my job. The job that many of you have entrusted me with.

What being the Mayor means to me is having not only a responsibility, but an obligation to try to create a better Village than the one I inherited. Ten years ago the board first appointed me Mayor when the former Mayor resigned to take on a new position within the Village. Through no fault of that administration, the Village faced some challenges. There were blighted properties in some of the most visible areas of our Village. To those that only passed through our Village on Middle Country Road, this was a very negative representation of how beautiful our Village actually is. While we do not have the benefit of a true “downtown” area we still have one of the larger shopping districts in Suffolk County.

Our location is ideal if you are commuting by railroad, car, or even by air. We are close to several wonderful medical facilities. Diverse, well-manicured developments provide housing for almost every working class of people. Clean and well maintained parks are the envy of surrounding areas. All of these benefits make our Village a very desirable place to live and raise a family.

What we have done to create a positive impression of a Village that cares, is to hold developers and retailers to a higher standard. Architecture, design, square footage, signage and location are all seriously considered before allowing projects to go forward. Gone are the abandoned service stations. The blighted lots that became dumping grounds now have attractive buildings with beautiful landscaping.  Developers are also told once they are built out, “If you want to add square footage somewhere on your parcel, you must eliminate an equivalent amount of building square footage” on that parcel. We already have more than our share of traffic.

Our Department of Public Works has been completely overhauled with new equipment having very little impact on our general fund. Efficient vehicles and lower maintenance cost along with impact fees have helped to create a department that is not only fully prepared for the day to day maintenance of our Village, but one that is fully prepared to handle some of the more common and uncommon storm issues that we may need to deal with.

Being the Mayor to me is being a part of making all of the above happen. None of this happens just because of me. Holding an executive position, it is important to remember that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. From the Village Board to the office staff and the DPW staff, I am surrounded by the best. I remind them all of that very often.

I am very proud to be the Mayor of the Incorporated Village of Lake Grove. I realize that I have been given a wonderful opportunity to serve this community. Along with the Village Board and our employees, I hope to continue to serve and to improve the quality of life here in Lake Gove, as that is my obligation to the residents for allowing me represent them for as long as I have. As I have said, it may mean different things to different people, but to me being re-elected five times as Mayor since my original appointment means that the residents care about how much I care, and for that I am very grateful. It means that I must live up to that trust and serve for all of the right reasons, sincerely, honestly and maybe with just a bit of micromanaging.

Very Truly Yours,

Robert J. Scottlaine,  Mayor