Talk of the Sanitary Districts, among many other allegedly autonomous "taxing jurisdictions" in the Town and County, has become all the rage - or should we say, outrage.
Recently, Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony Santino addressed the Baldwin community (Sanitary District 2) at a Town Meeting, and suggested that residents are "willing" to pay more for sanitation services provided by the Special Districts in order to keep "local control." The Councilman also intimated - backed up by a statement from Marty Carroll, Manager of Sanitary District 6 - that folks "enjoy" paying more for services, such as garbage collection, in one form or another, 6 days per week. [See the Baldwin Herald stories, Levinson: Shut Down District 2 and Levinson: Business in the Dumps.]
Sanitary District 2, even at twice the cost paid by those serviced directly by Town Refuse, is still a bargain compared to what residents pay in Sanitary District 6 - $655.68 per year for a home valued at $350,000. We surmise that residents serviced by District 6 reap even more "enjoyment" in doling out the big bucks, their "willingness" to pay trumping the most philanthropic among thosed serviced by Sanitary 2. :-)
Councilman Santino and his colleagues at Town Hall are beyond incredulous when they assert -with impunity - that the "vast majority" of residents are "willing to pay the higher rates;" that we "enjoy having local control over services." Who's "willing?" Given the choice, who would willingly pay more than double for services otherwise offered to residents serviced directly by the Town of Hempstead?
As for local control, who's kidding whom? The Sanitary District elections are a farce. [Most folks don't even know that there are elections, let alone that they take place whenever it is they do take place. Is it in August? December? February 30th? Thanks to the Baldwin Herald, we know that District 2 elections will be held on July 28th.] And look at the Commissioners. Local control? Try control from GOP Headquarters in Westbury.
In Sanitary District 6, there are a paid Manager, 6 paid Commissioners, 17 paid Supervisors and a General Counsel who also happens to serve as Town Attorney. It would be a joke, but we can no longer afford to laugh!
In Sanitary District 2, there is a move afoot - initiated by the South Hempstead Civic Assocdissolve- to "disolve" the District, turning the task of trash collection over to Town Refuse, where the same job could be done by the same people at less than half the cost to taxpayers. [ See http://southhempsteadcivic.org/sanit2.htm.] There is also a very real challenge to the District's monolithic rule, with a local community advocate vying for a Commissioner's seat presently held by one of the party regulars.
Would that the local civic associations in the areas served by Sanitary 6, and other so-called "Special" Sanitary Districts, follow the courageous lead of the South Hempstead Civic Association in Sanitary 2 and begin the process to dissolve these outmoded taxing jurisdictions. Those same hard-working employees who now so ably serve District residents can pick up our trash at less than half the cost under the auspices of the Town of Hempstead. We are certain that residents would be delighted to cede that "local control" and that aforementioned "enjoyment" just to keep more money in their pockets!
Would that more of us open our eyes and read the line-by-line "take" on our Tax Statements, comparing what we pay to what others in nearby communities, within the same township, pay for the same or similar services. And then, would that more of us open our mouths and take a stand against disparate taxation for these very same Town services.
We don't know about you, but we don't "enjoy" paying more and getting less. And we're no longer "willing" to be played for fools - by the Town, by the Sanitary Districts, and by an inequitable system that taxes both credulity and the pocketbook!