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December 16th, 2017- January 5th, 2018


Regional Updates

PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of $10.4 billion and operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a 12-year contract.

They have pledged to build a Long Island utility with PSEG's same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements they’re planning, but in the end, they will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job: It’s their mission. 

:Today marks the eight time that I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the State of the State. Serving as your Governor has been the privilege of my life. Especially as I have had the good fortune to serve with legislatures who have the political will and the talent to tackle the great issues – and we have."Today marks the eight time that I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the State of the State. Serving as your Governor has been the privilege of my life. Especially as I have had the good fortune to serve with legislatures who have the political will and the talent to tackle the great issues – and we have." -NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo

"I firmly believe we can meet these challenges if we recognize they are not partisan political issues; they are Nassau issues. And it will take all of us working together in a strong bipartisan manner to deliver real results for the people we represent." -Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

 

"Hempstead isn’t just a town, it’s a home. It’s our friends, neighbors, the people we see at the supermarket and on the train platform, on the school playground and in the church parking lot. It’s the people we interact with every day. People who work hard for their money and families and deserve better.” -Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen

 

“You’ll see a large increase in the number of town board meetings; we are going back to at least two a month and some that will occur in the evening. -Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci

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LI Lobby Coalition Heads to Albany for State of the State Address

Members of the Long Island Lobby Coalition headed up to Albany this week for an annual pre-State of the State Dinner and for Governor Cuomo’s 8th State of the State address.

This year was the coalition’s 10th year with nearly 100 organizations in support and 40 groups represented for the upcoming Lobby Day. Those attending the Long Island Lobby Coalition pre-State of the State Dinner included Vision Long Island, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Suffolk Alliance of Chambers, Long Island Building Trades Council, Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, Kings Park Civic Association, Hicksville Chamber of Commerce and others. 

Nice to see a number of Long Island and New York State officials stop by including former Governor David Paterson; Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan; Senators Phil Boyle, Todd Kaminsky, Elaine Phillips, Jon Brooks, Ken Lavalle; New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblymembers Chuck Lavine, Ed Ra, Christine Pelligrino, Anthony Palumbo, Andrew Raia, Michael Fitzpatrick and Andrew Garbarino; Nassau County Executive Laura Curran; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino; and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen and Councilwoman Erin-King Sweeney among others.

Vision Board and staff spent the following day in Albany with the Long Island Lobby Coalition for the Governor's State of the State speech. The Governor's very thorough address covered jobs, economic development, infrastructure investment, clean energy, the opioid epidemic, rising homelessness, and health care among other issues. Some areas that related to Long Island that were noteworthy included MTA/LIRR investments for modernization, needed subway upgrades, a proposal for congestion pricing, the Grumman plume, offshore wind, and the Federal government’s new tax plan A $100 million third round of the successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative was also announced. The governor mentioned that there is a $4 billion budget shortfall, not including a $2 billion cut in healthcare funding from the federal government.

The Governor's 2018 Policy Book is available here, and you can see the video of the State of the State here

Induction Ceremonies Held for Nassau County, Towns of Hempstead, Huntington

Vision Board and staff were present for the inaugurations for multiple elected officials this week, including Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, and Huntington Township Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.

In the Town of Hempstead, Supervisor Laura Gillen and Clerk Sylvia Cabana were inaugurated, with
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer speaking along with Lt Governor Kathy Hochul. The Town's Transition team along with other dignitaries joined the stage along with hundreds in the audience at Hofstra University. Hon. Laura Gillen closed by saying "Town government should not be about partisan politics. We need to move forward together."

In Mineola, onlookers braved freezing temperatures for the inauguration of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer spoke along with NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo. The County Executive spoke about transparency in government along with an openness to help support smart development in our downtowns as well as the Nassau HUB. “We have to restore trust in government. We have serious financial issues as well and I am very committed to creating a vision and implementing a vision for true economic development,” said Curran after the inauguration.

Vision Long Island board and staff members were also present at the Town of Huntington's inauguration ceremony where Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli, Councilmen Edmund Smyth and Mark Cuthbertson were all sworn in alongside Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.  Mr. Lupinacci is Huntington's first new Supervisor in 24 years.  He began his speech by thanking his family and supporters while singling out his late mentor, Assemblyman James Conte.  The newly elected Supervisor also made sure to note that while he had run on a message of change for the 350+ year Town, he does not intend to dismantle the previous administration's work but to build on it.

Congratulations to all of the newly elected and reelected officials thought Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Some Long Island Downtowns Provide Needed Housing for Seniors

The New York Times recently published an article that spoke to the continued demand for housing for aging baby boomers, including some Long Island downtowns that have built developments that are desirable for those looking to stay on Long Island in their golden years.

Developed as a place to raise a family, Long Island— like many other suburban areas that grew and thrived in post-World War II America— is graying. While new communities on the island were built for baby boomers back when they were babies, the latest wave of new development — country club-style living in communities for people 55 and older — hopes to help ease them into their retirement years and beyond.

Age-restricted housing has been around for decades, but until recently “there hadn’t been that focus on creating a lifestyle for aging baby boomers,” said Michael Dubb, founder and chief executive of Beechwood Homes. Many of these suburban homeowners are now empty nesters who no longer need a big house, don’t want to deal with landscaping or snow removal, and want to live with others who are at the same stage in their lives, he said.

In areas near downtowns and train stations, 10 age-restricted developments with a total of 1,430 units have been built since 2012, stretching from Mineola east to Patchogue, said Vision’s Director Eric Alexander. “With this demand and an aging population,” he said, “we anticipate more projects being proposed, approved and built.”

You can read about the several Long Island communities that have developed much-need housing for aging baby boomers here

Governor Cuomo announces Minimum Wage Increase and Paid Family Leave

Vision was out this week with a cross section of LI's labor community to hear Governor Cuomo mark the kickoff of New York's Paid Family Leave program along with the minimum wage increase.

Employees may take the maximum benefit length in any given 52-week period. The maximum benefit is eight weeks during the first year, 10 weeks during the second and third years, and 12 weeks the fourth and subsequent years. The 52-week clock starts on the first day the employee takes Paid Family Leave. Paid Family Leave coverage will be included under the disability policy all employers must carry. The premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions, with some of the deductions already beginning. What is noteworthy is the modest cost of the program with the maximum of $85 annually, or roughly $1.50 a week contrasting with the important benefit. The maximum employee contribution in 2018 is 0.126% of an employee’s weekly wage capped at 0.126% of the annualized New York State Average Weekly Wage, which is currently $1305 per week.

Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible after 26 weeks of employment. Employees with a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible after 175 days worked. In limited circumstances, employees whose regular work schedules are temporary or seasonal may opt out of Paid Family Leave. Citizenship and immigration status do not impact a worker’s eligibility for Paid Family Leave.

Effective the beginning of this year, minimum wage in Nassau and Suffolk counties increased to $11.00 per hour for all employers, regardless of workforce size. In Nassau and Suffolk, minimum wage will increase $1.00 per hour per year until it reaches $15.00 per hour in 2022.

Elected officials in attendance included New York State Senator Jon Brooks; Assemblymembers Michael Fitzpatrick, Christine Pelligrino, and Anthony D'Urso; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Minority Leader Kevin McCaffrey, Legislators Kate Browning, and Doc Spencer; Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen; Town of Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens Smith; Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Anthony Macagnone; Town of Huntington Councilwoman Tracey Edwards; and Village of Rockville Centre Mayor Frances Murray.

The Long Island Business Council, Suffolk Alliance of Chambers and Vision supported Paid Family Leave. Kudos to the Governor and legislature to see it enacted. You can read more about the Paid Family Leave here, and the minimum wage increase here

Town of Babylon Gets Feedback on Town-wide Mixed-Use Code

The Town of Babylon held a public hearing on a Town-wide Mixed Use code recently. Five spoke against with two speaking in favor. Vision sent in a letter of support but missed the rescheduled date due to other conflicts. 

Typically town-wide or certainly larger regional attempts at zoning generate less support than community focused projects.  The concept the Town exhibits here is a good one and should proceed in some form once the residents and property owners’ questions are answered. Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said town officials will respond to the questions raised at the meeting in the coming weeks. He said he did not know if or when the town board will vote on the issue.

The permit would be the first of its kind on Long Island, and if approved, it would allow for buildings of up to 40 feet tall with 80 apartments on lots up to 2 acres in business, industrial or multi-residential districts. The permit would override other zoning requirements as long as the buildings fit in with their surroundings and contain a “compatible mixture of uses.”

Mixed-use buildings as tall as four floors would be possible under the proposed permit to help rejuvenate commercial districts, town officials have said. But at a town board public hearing on the plan, civic leaders and residents said such development would change the suburban character of their neighborhoods for the worse, and that new residents would burden schools and infrastructure.
 
Bruce Murray, a Babylon Village resident, said the buildings allowed under the permit would address the desire of many millennials to rent apartments in lively downtowns, and said such residents rarely impact school districts. Five people expressed concerns or opposition to the new permit during the usually less-attended event, including four civic association leaders, who said the permit would change the character of neighborhoods.

To put in proper perspective, sixty-six of the last seventy-seven public hearings for mixed-use and downtown projects have received more support at public hearings than opposition over the last 5 years on Long Island. 

Farmingdale Downtown Redevelopment will Slow

The Village of Farmingdale has taken a balanced approach for their downtown growth, with an upcoming proposed mixed-use project by Staller Associates likely being the last for now.

The development to date has brought back many retail vacancies and boosted the tax base and property values. However, “after the Staller project, the board’s intention is to sit back and take a look and see how things are going,” Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said. “Staller will probably be the last project for a little bit of time in the downtown.” A four-floor, 54-unit apartment building with commercial storefronts on Main Street being proposed, which would bring the total new transit-oriented units developed since 2012 in the downtown and train station area to 311- close to the 375 units the village’s 2011 master plan envisioned being built out downtown over 25 years.

The master plan’s high number on apartments to be built is in part do to parking and infrastructure limitations, as well as concerns on traffic impact. On the upcoming project, The Loft at 333 Main Street, Ekstrand said the village board is not going to budge on the required residential parking. “It’s wrong for the apartment dwellers to take spots away from our downtown retail,” Ekstrand said.

Vision’s Director Eric Alexander said he was not surprised by the flurry of development. “We knew it was going to move at this pace. There was pent-up demand. Community support at the hearings in Farmingdale has outweighed opposition, but that may start to change as you get to the final sets of projects, as the parking issues get more challenging,” Alexander said.

The Loft at 333 Main would be built on the site of a former CVS pharmacy and other stores, requiring an alley from Main Street to a municipal parking lot to be moved. The new building would reduce existing commercial space to 7,888 square feet from 25,525 square feet, to reduce the need for parking. The plan currently calls for three fewer parking spaces than the 90 that the village would require for the number of apartments. A public hearing has been scheduled for March 5th on the proposed development.

You can read more here

Millenials Identify Westbury as a Unique, Diverse Community

Being named by Money Magazine as one of the best places for singles to live, and the NY Times listing the village, and with the New York Times mentioning it among several areas on Long Island that are ideal for 20- and 30-somethings looking to strike out on their own, the Village of Westbury has become a hot spot for millennials.

With 15,146 residents, the village is an epicenter of diversity, being home to about 4200 millenials and a racially diverse demographic. Several Westbury’s millenials recently remarked about their area being one that is unique on Long Island and believe in the importance of cultural diversity in their hometown.

Those that shared their thoughts on their village had a positive view on their future there, saying that they would like to raise kids there, that the village is affordable with close proximity to the city, and quality education. Danielle McDougall, a student at Adelphi University, discussed the diversity of the village, saying that “diversity does not just evoke an image of a group of people whose identities differ by race, religion or sexual identity. Diversity becomes more powerful when it is linked with inclusivity, referring to efforts put in place to ensure that all the people within a community are on a level playing field.”

You can read more about the positive views of Westbury by millenials here

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli Releases Statement on Federal Tax Reform

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently released a statement regarding the Federal Tax Reform bill prior to its passing in Congress, cautioning that the bill’s passage will have negative effects on New York.

"The Republican tax bill moving forward in Congress remains a bad deal for New York,” wrote DiNapoli. "The cap on state and local tax deductions would nullify billions of dollars' worth of deductions claimed by an estimated one million New Yorkers.”

"Without further action, the bill would force significant cuts to Medicare and would eliminate numerous other programs, including the Social Services Block Grant, federal highway aid for emergencies and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, the bill is also expected to result in higher health insurance premiums or loss of coverage for many New Yorkers.

"The legislation will drive up the cost of borrowing for state and local governments' capital investments by eliminating the option for advance refunding of outstanding debt. In the past four years alone, this option has generated approximately $1.1 billion in total long-term savings for the state. Local governments, school districts and public authorities in New York have achieved similar savings.

"This bill will also add to New York's heightened uncertainty surrounding state tax revenues and federal aid.

"I urge members of New York's Congressional delegation to oppose this deeply troubling legislation. It has far-reaching and negative implications both for our state's economy and for individual New Yorkers all across the state."

 

LI Business News Top 40 Under 40 Event February 8th

The Long Island Business News has announced their 40 Under 40 honorees, which is scheduled for February 8th from 6-9 at the Crest Hollow Country Club.

Since 1998, Long Island Business News has taken nominations for outstanding members of the business community on Long Island who are 40 or under. These future leaders of Long Island have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector. They have a proven track record of career success, are involved in mentoring and promoting their profession and find time to give back to their communities.

Great to see our good friend from East Rockaway and Friends of LI partner Dan Caracciolo recognized along with key staff from Smart Growth supporters Molloy College, PSEG Long Island and Rivkin Radler honored as well.  You can see the list of awardees here, and register for the event here

Upcoming Apprentice Recruitments for Two Unions

Two Long Island-based trade unions have announced upcoming apprentice recruitments.

The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for Plumbers, Local Union #200, will conduct recruitment from Jan. 10 through March 28 for 20 plumber apprentices. Applications must be completed in person at 375 Central Avenue, Bohemia from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Wednesday, excluding legal holidays, during the recruitment period. All applications must be received by March 28, 2018.

The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for Operating Engineers, Local Union #30, will conduct recruitment from Jan. 22 through Feb. 02 for 25 stationary engineer apprentices. Applications must be picked up at the union office located at 16-16 Whitestone Expressway, Whitestone, Queens between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays, during the recruitment period. These applications must be returned via U.S. Postal Service certified mail and postmarked no later than Feb. 16.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma (such as TASC or GED). Plumbers Local 200 applicants must be residents of Nassau or Suffolk.

Other requirements apply. For further information, applicants should contact their nearest New York State Department of Labor office, Plumbers Local 200 at (631) 567-3083 or Operating Engineers Local Union #30 at (718) 847-8484 ext. 239.

NYS Climate Smart Communities Grant Program Funding Available

Funding will be available for inventory, assessment, planning and implementation projects that advance the work of municipalities in addressing climate change. Priorities for the 2017 round include specific adaptation actions that reduce flood risk and increase preparedness for future extreme weather conditions, specific mitigation activities related to transportation and reduction of food waste, and specific Climate Smart Communities certification actions that advance municipal ability in the future to implement adaptation and mitigation projects in the identified implementation categories.

A municipal resolution from the lead applicant authorizing application submission and documenting the availability of local match in the event of grant award must be submitted at the time of application.

For general information and questions on the Climate Smart Communities Program, please contact the Office of Climate Change, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Climate Change, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, 518-402-8448, climatechange@dec.ny.gov.

NYS DEC Technical Assistance Grants Available

The New York State DEC continuously accepts applications for Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs). TAGs are a citizen participation tool available to eligible community groups to increase public awareness and understanding of remedial activities taking place in their community. TAGs are available to eligible community groups for the purpose of obtaining independent technical assistance in interpreting existing environmental information about an eligible “significant threat” site being remediated in the State Superfund Program or Brownfield Cleanup Program. Technical assistance is intended to help the grant recipient and the community it represents to understand existing environmental data developed about the site, comment on site remedial activities and proposals and share this information with the public.

Funding is limited to $50,000 per site, with no matching requirement. A community group must be a nonresponsible party community group or one that is in partnership with another nonresponsible party community group. The group must be a 501(c)(3), and a group whose members’ health, economic well-being or enjoyment of the environment may be affected by a release or threatened release of contamination at the eligible site. The group must be one whose membership represents the interest of the community affected by the eligible site. Eligible sites must be Class 2 sites on the New York State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites or sites being remediated under the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program that the DEC has determined pose a significant threat to public health and/or the environment.

For more information, you can visit the DEC’s site here.

Government Affairs Position Available With LIBOR

The Long Island Board of REALTORS® (LIBOR) is looking for an experienced government affairs person to augment their successful division.

This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee(s) incumbent in this position.  Employee(s) will be required to follow any other job-related instructions and to perform any other job-related duties requested by any person authorized to give instructions or assignments.

Requirements:
Minimum of eight years relevant experience in an elected official’s office, a trade association or a corporation in the government affairs area.
Bachelor’s degree in Political Science/Communications or related areas
Registering (and Reporting) as a Lobbyist in NYS, NYC, Nassau & Suffolk Counties
Knowledge of the legislative process at various levels
Understanding of the internal (informal) political process
Must be perceived as non partisan and able to deal with both sides of the aisle
Superior writing and oral communication skills
Some experience in political fund raising helpful
Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, Internet Explorer

Physical Requirements:
Ability to travel through three county area
Attend state level meetings twice a year
Attend Lobby Day in Albany
Attend out of state meetings as requested (GAD, DC, etc.)

General:
Augment the Government Affairs function with an emphasis on expanding and intensifying our outreach program on (but not limited to) the county and township level.

Specific:
Refine and execute a formal outreach program designed to establish close working relationships with key officials and their staff.
Focus outreach on county and township level contacts.
Develop reports on contacts position on Realtor issues and evaluate commitment and support based on our priorities.
Write appropriate articles and position papers in support of Board goals and programs in the governmental area.
Assist in the promotion of RPAC fund raising.
Through prior experience ensure that we have access to key officials related to issues essential to Realtor interests.
Assist with related Committees.
Provide in person updates to the membership at Chapter & Division meetings

Salary is commensurate with experience. ($70K-$75K) plus benefits.

If you know of an interested applicant – please have them respond via email with their letter of interest and resume to rkaplan@lirealtor.com and cc the info to adellItalia@mlsli.com

Turning Parking Spaces Into Grocery Stores

The Moby Mart is an autonomous, staffless, mobile store, turning every parking space in the world into a potential new 24-hour store. 

By putting the store on wheels retailers can avoid the increasingly high rental prices in many cities. Instead of leasing a brick-and-mortar store they can patrol the bus in the center during the busy hours, stopping for customers by the sidewalk. This turns every parking space in the world into a potential new 24-hour store. What makes the Moby concept truly disruptive is the fact that contrary to other stores, Moby can be mass produced, without the limitations of real estate. 

You can read more about Moby Mart here

Smart Talk

Editor:
Chris Kyle, Communications Director

Newsletter Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

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