The Village of East Hills recently released their annual budget message for the 2014-2015 document. Mayor Michael R. Koblenz announced that for the fourth consecutive year, the village’s budget would contain a zero tax increase for East Hills residents.
“With the economy still frail, this budget includes no tax increase and still continues the administration’s course of economic prudence,” the mayor said in his annual report. “At the same time, we will continue to provide the finest facilities, programs and services for all our residents.”
Koblenz added that the village achieved its goal by “continuing to maximize the output of our staff, while keeping the number of employees to a minimum.”
Fundraising, he said, came from concerts, fireworks, the Village Calendar and from local businesses. Cost saving measures, Koblenz added, included deferring or eliminating new projects which were not presently within our means and without additional borrowing through bonds or otherwise; refusing for the fifth year in a row to increase compensation paid to experts and professionals; maximizing the useful life of vehicles and equipment; and continuing to benefit from the savings each year from refinancing the current bonds.
“This coming year we will once again defer consideration of several projects which amount to more than $900,000 which have included removal and replacement of the building located on the hill, add a kitchen to the theatre, increase the size and modernize the theatre building, and add to other facilities,” he said.
The village was also the beneficiary of a grant by Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D – Glen Cove) and Senator Jack Martins (R – Mineola) that allowed the village to design and install a generator to provide electricity to Village Hall and the Theatre during emergencies and electrical outages.
The budget will provide for services, facilities and programs that village residents have become accustomed to. They include sanitation services, security, road re-pavement, beautification, tree trimming and removal, administration of the Justice Court, creation of new legislation on municipal local laws including zoning regulations, licensing, code enforcement, fire services, and the operation and maintenance of the Park at East Hills.
Updated facilities include the fitness center, tennis facilities, basketball courts, community lounge, the municipal leisure pool, Park Grille, Snow Mountain, nature trails, woods, dog parks, walking, jogging and biking paths, and playgrounds.
Other programs include The Kids in the Park programs, Senior Activities Committee’s programs, Mayor’s Trophy Softball Tournament, Baseball for Roslyn Little League Challengers, Albertson Soccer League Challengers, Men’s Softball League, and the Women’s Softball League. Events include The Fourth of July Parade and Festival including fireworks, the Labor Day Weekend Concert, Clothing Drives, and Blood Drives, the Annual Halloween Spooktacular, the Olympiad Athletic Competition, Little Maestros and Music for Aardvarks Mommy and Me Classes, Music Idol, Movie Night, Gary the Great Magic Show and Teach-A-Trick Workshop, Art in the Park through painted tiles, Children’s Garden Event and Kids’ Night, plus such senior programs as Military Bridge Night, Museum Visits, Tour at the Metropolitan Opera, Brunch at Belmont Race Track, Technology Workshops, Current Events Sessions, Water Exercise, Casino Night, Local Comedians, Pool Party with vendors, Barbeque with live entertainment and Chinese feasts.
Concerning adverse weather, Koblenz said that the village will continue to participate and comply with all Federal mandates on runoff and spill programs.
“We continued to send regular bulletins during Hurricane Sandy, and during other weather emergencies by employing a firm outside of the State capable of sending the notices out,” Koblenz added, noting past emergencies. “We had developed a comprehensive emergency plan when electrical outages occur.”
“We are proud that Moody’s has given our village one of the highest ratings of any municipality of its size, (Aa1),” the mayor concluded. “Further, it has concluded that our village is economically sound. We have refinanced our bonds to earn significant savings; we have curtailed costs and kept our expenses low. At the same time, we will continue to ensure our residents will enjoy the finest services, programs, events and facilities.”