The last few weeks have been very difficult for our community. We have been hit with waves of sadness as we lost some very special people. We came together in vigils and funerals with aching hearts for the ones we lost. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families who have suffered these terrible losses. I am sure the support from family, friends, classmates and neighbors is greatly appreciated. It was a credit to our community to see such an outpouring of love and support. The display is evidence that this is a tight and caring community, even if we sometimes conceal it too well.
We were also challenged with several major storms; bringing snow and wind. We had a very large oak tree toppled by the wind that came crashing down on two homes. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the damage to the homes was substantial.
I would like to express my thanks to Superintendent of Public Works and Buildings, Tom Gannon and the men and woman of the Department of Public Works for their hard work in dealing with these forces of nature. Our DPW crews worked around the clock clearing roads from snow and fallen branches. Thanks to their tireless work, our roads were safe and passable. It is remarkable to note that while spending all night plowing snow, our Sanitation crew didn’t miss a pick up. Once again, the best of us comes out in trying times.
Similarly, through many late nights, the Board of Trustees, supported by Village Clerk–Treasurer, Kate Hillmann and Tom Gannon completed another balanced budget. The team kept at it until they once again contained property tax increases below our 2% cap; a feat that gets increasingly more difficult every year. For example, the health insurance line that represents 15% of the municipal budget is projected to increase by 14%. The added uncertainty that the third track project will bring may include unknown costs and the possible disruption of traditional revenue streams; further challenging the financial planning process.
Like an arriving train appearing through the fog, recent meetings with the railroad’s design build team has brought the long-dreaded project into greater focus. The reality of the project and the scope of the disruptions is becoming clearer as we enter a new phase of working in greater details. Things are less theoretical than they were. The early work has begun as the design build team has received limited notice to proceed. Our attention to detail must become more acute and our reaction time quick, as this contract is built for speed.
And yet some more recent New Hyde Park traditions once again provides another glimpse into the wonderful hearts in our neighborhood. Our good friend, and retired Nassau County Police Officer, Nick Mosesso and Deputy Village Clerk Eileen Raguseo organized the St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser to raise money for children with cancer. Meanwhile, Mike McBride and his team are making plans for Katie’s Run to benefit Ronald McDonald House and other people in need. Many people have generously donated to the Leah Kuczinski Foundation, in her dear honor.
Somehow, it feels as if the incredible heart aches we shared in late February and early March has made us more resolved, united, and better able to cope with what are in the end, much less important yet still practical matters. The fact that we work through these challenges together and with a spirit of caring for one another makes New Hyde Park a community that is truly a source of justifiable pride.
Lawrence J. Montreuil
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park