The looming winter storm did not prevent a sizable turnout for Supervisor Jon Kaiman's State of The Town presentation at the Harbor Links Clubhouse in Port Washington on Wednesday. More than 160 people attended the event, which was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington and Manhasset.
In his speech, Kaiman talked about the road ahead, the role of Town government and the services it provides. He also emphasized North Hempstead's emergence from dark economic times.
“We did not wait out the storm, but busied ourselves in these last few years," Kaiman said. "The state of the Town is solid, and we emerged through challenge, trial and error. We never lost hope and always had confidence.”
Noting that the Town has maintained a Aa2 bond rating, he added, “From a fiscal standpoint the Town remains cautious, but optimistic.”
Kaiman spoke of infrastructure, such as completing the renovation of the Aquatic Pool Center at , and moving forward with renovation at Manorhaven Beach Park. He discussed low construction rates, which helped put people back to work. He highlighted the 311 Call Center, which has received 167,472 calls in 2010, recently hitting the 500,000 mark this year in totality.
According to Kaiman, the in conjunction with Shelter Connection, helped find homes for 197 dogs in 2010. And North Hempstead’s Project Independence continues to connect seniors with numerous services such as subsidized taxi rides.
“What does the Town do?” Kaiman asked the crowd. “We have to do what people expect to be done. When streets need to be cleaned or sewers need to be unclogged. We need to be responsive and professional.”
Kaiman touted the Town's upcoming Annual Gold Coast Film Festival slated for June 1 through June 5, the first of its kind. And he noted that North Hempstead created the first virtual recycle store, which is available on the Town’s website. “You can find out how to recycle sneakers, eyeglasses or computers,” he said.
He noted, too, that in North Hempstead, residents pay their taxes on time.
Kaiman added that the Town’s Building Department is operational. Yet during the brief question and answer session after the speech, Port Washington Resident Nancy Wright said she is wary about the department’s terrible reputation.
“Architects and builders do not want to build in North Hempstead,” Wright said. “What can you do about this?”
Kaiman said that the Buildings Department plays a critical function. “Architects and several real estate folks do not want to play by the rules and wait to obtain a permit," he said. "Every property has to be accurate.”
Kaiman remained upbeat throughout the entire presentation.
“The Town of North Hempstead is weathering the storm and this is a community that is worth the investment,” he said. “I am proud to be the Town’s Supervisor.”