Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Trump"ing Nassau County Parks

Parks Group Sounds Off On Park Operations

Nassau County, You’re Fired!”
By Bruce Piel
Chairman, Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)

Nassau County, which was established over 100 years ago, included a government designed to provide and improve basic services for its residents. In the last decade that government has become a joke. The county for all intents and purposes is rudderless and spends more time avoiding its responsibilities than meeting them. Perhaps it is time to dissolve the current county government and develop an alternate plan to meet the needs of its citizenry.

After successfully promoting a $100 million dollar bond issue to acquire and improve parklands, Nassau is opting to give most of their parks away. Instead of maintaining and improving county roads, Nassau again proposes to give their roads to the towns. Instead of providing a first class county hospital for all its citizens especially the indigent, the county divested itself of the Nassau University Medical Center by abandoned it to a newly created public corporation and walking away. Two major sewage treatment plants have been allowed to deteriorate through neglect and deliberate under manning. Police protection has been compromised by alienating the professional police officers who provide out security. The list goes on and on.

Our county legislature, through internal warfare, has become an embarrassment. Fights over leadership positions and censuring members for voting on behalf of their constituents instead of along party lines have brought the business of that body to a dysfunctional crawl.

Instead of providing quality day to day services, Nassau government concerns itself with issues like raising cigarette taxes and outlawing trans-fats from hamburgers. This is intolerable. It is time for taxpayers to demand a radical change.

Imagine the tax moneys saved by dissolving the current county government and turning over its functions and responsibilities to the Towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay . Actually, based on populations and size these entities could become counties in their own right. All Nassau facilities and services could be divided based on the geographical boundaries to the 3 towns. Regional services such as sewer treatment could be turned over to NY State. Nassau Police could either be divided up and managed by each town or merged into the State Police. Reduction or elimination of duplicate services between the county and town would represent a substantial tax savings to all residents.

Our initial reaction to the transfer of county parks was to fight such foolish, politically self serving acts that would only deprive county residents of the parks they paid for and incur additional costs to the receiving town’s residents. But on reflection, this might herald the solution to this dysfunctional county government. It is time for all taxpayers in Nassau to say Nassau County, You’re Fired!

Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 783-8378
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A bit of partisan flailing, do you think? Do you mean to say that county government during the preceding Gulotta years wasn't "a joke?" Sure. And the joke was on us!

As for our illustrious County Legislature, yeah, it is an embarrassment. Still, does anyone remember the county's Board of Supervisors?

The thought of turning additional government functions over to the local townships, where efficiency is nonexistent and control all but disavowed -- why, even parks are managed as "special taxing districts" -- well, just don't get us started. [We are conjuring up images of Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, pitchfork in hand, digging up the flower beds at our local parks, and rezoning them for illegal accessory apartments.]

Yes, we all want to know what happened to that $100 million dollar environmental bond -- and the $50 million dollar bond before that -- but labeling county government as dysfunctional, and turning matters over to the lunatics who've been running the asylum at the State and in our townships, is clearly not the answer.
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1 comment:

  1. Mr. Piel, have you taken temporary leave of your sanity?? Don't let your frustration with County drive you to ideas that are completely unrealistic. The Town of Hempstead??? They can't even close down a crime ridden, drug infested hotel in West Hempstead that's been plaguing the village for over 10 years.