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Smithtown Animal Shelter

The Smithtown Animal Shelter has many kittens for adoption, the little ones are handled and socialized by our volunteer staff they are friendly have their initial shots and de-worming.


 

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Letter To Editor - Smithtown’s School Board Got it Right

Smithtown’s School Board Got it Right

As noted by Mr. Colletta on his letter to the editor on December 10th I was the only veteran who opposes the adoption of the Alternative Veteran’s Exemption and I do so on many levels.   As person who became a veteran by being drafted and having my military occupation specialty of light weapons infantry I guess I have as good a reason to ask for a little more as anyone but in fact I do not.  As a member of this community for over thirty-five years I feel it is neither the time nor our school boards responsibility to raise taxes on the majority of our residents.   As many families are still trying to dig themselves of the worst economic recession since the 1930’s is now the time to hit then with another tax increase?  I think not.  Also, if our elected officials in Albany, who we compensate with both a paycheck and daily expenses can not take the time to find the money to pay for legislation then maybe they don’t deserve carry the banner of “We Support Our Veterans”. 

But wait, our representatives in Albany really would have a problem with using state money of pay for a school tax exemption.  Their problem would be that stems for the fact that since 2010 to balance their budgets Albany has reduced our state school aid by over twenty million dollars.  So I think they would have a major political problem if they continue to short change our children while paying for this tax exemption.  And what a burden our legislature has placed on our school board.  With reduced state aid our school board had to make some very hard decisions on what programs to cut so our budget targets could be met.  In addition, our state legislature continues to leave in place laws governing public workers unions that make it almost imposable to negotiate contracts that reflect the realities of the hard economic times we have all been through.

The other evening many of the speakers noted that many of the veterans in the community are retired as I am.  As I mentioned the other evening, if a member of the community is over 65 and of limited income they can apply for a state sponsored program that could cut their entire real estate tax rate by over half.   All it takes, similar to the star programs, is filling out a form and showing your adjusted gross income is below $37,400.   Now that is real tax assistance in place today and funded by the state.

Now as the only veteran who spoke against the this exemption I find it odd that for the past six years I am one of the only veterans who has taken the time to attend many of our school board meetings and lend support to those who fight to both control spending as well as improve the learning experience for our students.  In addition, I have been a volunteer to a number of our high school clubs that support both business and technology competitions.  I guess that old concept of  “don’t ask what your country can do for you but what can you do for your country” still resonates with me.  I wish more of my brother and sister veterans would do so as well so they would be a little more objective when it comes to our schools and the people who support them. 

With great respect to this community,

Robert Foster

Smithtown

Wednesday
Dec102014

Letter To Editor - Shame On Smithtown School Board

(Smithtown School Board rejected (5-2) a proposal to grant Veterans a school district tax exemption called the Alternative Veteran’s Exemption. Voting in favor of the proposal - President Christopher Alcure and Trustee Theresa Knox. Opposed - Vice President Joanne McEnroy, Trustees Gladys M. Waldron, Louis Liguori and Matthew Morton.)

 

I have been a resident in Smithtown for 41 years and also a Vietnam Veteran. Last night I attended the public hearing for the Alternative Veteran’s Exemption. To date nine School Districts have adopted the State Basic Maximums: Cold Spring Harbor, Commack, Elwood, Half Hollow Hills, Hauppauge, Kings Park, Lindenhurst, Northport and West Babylon. After listening to public speakers most of whom were for passing this exemption and only one gentleman who claimed this exemption should not be passed, the meeting took a small break so the School Board could convene on a decision. Ten minutes later five members voted Nay and only two voted yes. I wonder how many of these board members were Veterans. 

It was my understanding that the most it would cost non-veteran homeowners amounted to $88 more per year. The reasoning they gave was that “they” ( school board members) did not sign up to make decisions like this and blamed Governor Cuomo for putting them in this situation.  If that was there poor excuse, then how come nine other school district board members approved the exemption? Therefore they claimed to have no choice but to throw Smithtown Veterans “under the bus” and not approve the exemption. I am 71 years old and the majority of us are either within that age group or older, so many of us may not be around too much longer. In addition I doubt we will not have too many returning from the present conflicts moving into Smithtown because they can not afford to live here. This exemption would have helped us to have a little better quality of life, but instead the board voted against it, shame on them all.

Sincerely,

Joseph Colletta

P.S : the Board had no exact number of Veterans in Smithtown nor did they know how many Gold Star Parents reside in Smithtown. I would venture to guess we have no more than 1600 Vets in Smithtown, some of which have a service connected disability. 

Tuesday
Dec022014

Letter To The Editor - 2015 Smithtown Budget – “Déjà Vu, AGAIN.”

2015 Smithtown Budget – “Déjà Vu, AGAIN.”

In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It’s Deja Vu all over again.”  Back in 2012, the Town Budget was unceremoniously passed by DEFAULT.  The result was that some members of the then Smithtown Town Council voted to abstain (NOT TO VOTE, either way) on the budget.  Therefore, that year’s proposed preliminary budget, an “unofficial” budget, which was presented to the public for their review and comments, was enacted.  At that year’s one and only Public Hearing, two residents spoke, Howard Knispel, 2012 Town Council Candidate and I, raised some important issues and concerns, regarding various budget items.  Perhaps these concerns were overlooked by the Town Council?

At this year’s only Public Hearing, Gary Schnirman, SDC Committeeman, addressed the $30,000.00 per year increased stipend to Deputy Supervisor Tom McCarthy. As before, I proposed, at the very least, the Town Council should provide residents with additional meetings to discuss and review the proposed Budget.  Once again public comments were disregarded.

On November 20, the date by which State law requires that a town must pass its next year’s budget, the Smithtown Council voted.  Their vote was: two members voting for passage, two against passage and one abstention.  The result, as in the past, the budget passed by DEFAULT.  Yes Yogi, they did it again?  

Elected officials are elected to lead and make choices.  The fact that the preliminary or “unofficial” budget had to be amended, because of issues regarding the transferring of (highway personnel to the sanitation department,) cannot happen until July, 2015 is worrisome.   The other concern is that the $30,000 additional salary stipend to the Deputy Supervisor, who abstained from voting on the budget, after first voting to approve it, then reversing his decision is more troubling?.  I agree that the duties and responsibilities of the Town Council have changed due to “economic development and other issues.”  But, the Deputy Supervisor’s position should be considered as one of an administrator and not be an elected official.  Certainly not an elected Town Council member, whose allegiance would be to the Supervisor and not the whole Council.  By the way, the Deputy Supervisor will still receive the $30,000.00 salary increase, by DEFAULT.

Now, regarding the Smithtown Ethics Board rendering an opinion, “The act of voting on the salary increase gave an appearance of a conflict of interest,” on the subject of the Deputy Supervisor’s voting on his own salary increase.  Mr. McCarthy should postpone accepting this “unofficial” increase until as he stated, “ he will work with Ethics Board moving forward to make sure future incidents involving the ‘appearance of conflict’ do not take place for any appointed or elected official”  Then, if and when the Town Council promulgates a new salary structure for its elected officials, the Deputy Supervisor should reject the stipend and instead, allocate those funds towards a full-time, non-elected Assistant Supervisor, whose main duty would be to aid the Supervisor and the rest of the Town Council in fulfilling its responsibility of Town governance.

Richard S. Macellaro, 1st Vice-Chair

Smithtown Democratic Committee

Sunday
Nov232014

Letter To Editor - A Taxing Reversal

A TAXING REVERSAL

“Read my lips no new taxes.”  This untrue catchphrase was uttered by former President George H. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention.  Then he raised taxes. 

“Majority Republicans in the Nassau County Legislature said last week that they will not contest County Executive Edward Mangano’s 3.4 percent property tax increase, ensuring it will stand.” (Nassau will hike taxes 3.4% as GOP drops fight. Newsday 11/10/14)

 “The Oyster Bay Town Board unanimously passed an unannounced 8.8 percent property tax levy increase in its 2015 budget Tuesday.” (Town’s 8.8% tax hike, unannounced, Newsday 11/17/14)

“Islip’s town council approved a $134.4 million budget for 2015 this week after an amended budget was submitted by a councilman just before the vote took place after the room has cleared out — increasing taxes by 5.8 percent.”  (Islip council OKs tax hike, Newsday 11/20/14.)  In the same article,  “Oyster Bay’s (budget) overriding the tax cap … after it held a public hearing on a budget proposal that had no tax hike.”  

Smithtown also increased Property Taxes by $11.56 per house hold. (Smithtown Budget includes cuts, raises, jobs transfers, Newsday, 10/06/14)

Nov. 17 marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s his famous “I am not a crook” line at the height of the Watergate scandal.

I am not troubled by the mantra of “Tax Revolt Party.”  However, it is most disconcerting when we willing accept a Republican leaders’ reversal of their stand on raising taxes.  That’s what’s Revolting!  

What’s even more revolting in not paying a fair share of taxes?  Taxes are what we pay for the lifestyles we choose.  Taxes are a Government’s life blood.  Elected officials should be honest about raising taxes.  

We can reverse the growth of raising taxes by consolidating local governments, School Districts, Fire District, etc., and eliminate the dualities of elected officials’ positions. (Approval of Suffolk County’s Proposition 5 is a Smart start.)  Then perhaps, we could afford tax exemptions for Veterans, dramatically impact overall spending and therefore reduce Property Taxes.  And that’s no lie.

Richard S. Macellaro, 1st Vice-Chair -Smithtown Democratic Committee.

Tuesday
Nov112014

Letter To Editor - John Kennedy Says Thank You!

To the Editor:

            To all of the citizens of Suffolk County, and to the citizens who went to the polls on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, I wish to state my heartfelt thanks, and to express my sense of humbleness and appreciation for putting your faith and trust in electing me as Suffolk County’s next Comptroller.  I have been honored to be the Legislator for the 12th Legislative district for these past 10 years, and have always done my best to be a strong advocate for the district and for all of Suffolk’s citizens. Along with my team, including more then 60 interns, we have worked to address issues such as groundwater flooding, improvements at Lake Ronkonkoma, construction of safe areas for our law enforcement to conduct important vehicle safety inspections, preservation and improvement of the Suffolk County Fire Academy, or simply assisting a senior citizen in accessing their HEAP heating benefit.  We have successfully resolved more than 2000 constituent cases in our time here in the Legislature, and have had the privilege to recognize over 100 Eagle Scouts.  It has always been my firm belief that hard work, perseverance and dedication will withstand any amount of mudslinging, lies or misstatements that some in politics have a penchant to stoop to.  You have proven my beliefs correct, and for that I thank you.

            I have been proud to be you Legislator, and eagerly look forward to serving you as County Comptroller. Our County still faces significant financial challenges, and I commit to you that I will use all my energy and effort to insure that your tax dollars are being spent properly, and for the intended purpose. As many have said, the Bulldog will be the Watch dog.  For that opportunity, I am most grateful.

           As always, I am only a phone call away, and will certainly see you out on the trail, whether at a blood drive, Gold Star award, Ice Cream Social, or at the many fundraisers for worthy causes that we support.  Thanks again, and stay tuned.

Sincerely,

John M. Kennedy Jr.

Suffolk County Comptroller-Elect