Monday, March 23, 2009

Town Of Hempstead Begins Valet Parking Initiative

Or So The Property Tax Hike Would Portend

Forget about a chicken in every pot, or even a Murraygram in every mailbox. How about valet parking for every homeowner in America's largest township?

Well, not quite. Still, looking at the latest tax levy for the Town of Hempstead-County of Nassau -- where the tax for the local public parking district increased from last year by a whopping 136.33% -- the Town should not only be parking our cars, they should be picking us up at the front door and taking us grocery shopping.

Granted, the tax rate and ultimate tax for public parking districts is a mere pittance compared to, say, Town Park Districts, Town Refuse Disposal Districts, and even Town Lighting Districts, but gee fellas, in these tough economic times, couldn't you at least give us a break on parking?

The tax rate per $100 of assessed value for the Town's local public parking district (1.804), according to the 2009 General Levy, is three times greater than the tax rate for the County's Environmental Bond (0.678).

All right, so its less expensive for taxpaying homeowners to park in a Town of Hempstead lot than it is for them to have their garbage collected (Sanitary District 6 tax rate per $100 is 46.575), for local water delivery (14.535), and for fire service (20.091), but really, a 136% increase in a single year?

Of course, in order to park in a Town of Hempstead lot, you have to drive over Town of Hempstead roads, where the tax levy -- a hefty $60,489,831.86 for Town Highways/Repairs & Improvements -- has increased but 11.72% over last year. So, where are those repairs and improvements, anyway? [And whatever happened to the millions of dollars the Town "bonded" several years ago (concealed in one of its "tax freeze" budgets) for highway/roadway repair and maintenance?] This year, an extra pothole tax. Next year, a special district to help fill them!

Okay, we still question why we're paying almost $131 million this year for Nassau County Police Headquarters (nearly twice the levy for the County's general purposes), but then again, we're paying nearly as much for trash collection as we do for police protection, so who are we to complain?

Look. We all want first class services. That's why we live in suburbia. But are we getting our money's worth on Long Island, in Nassau County, and/or in Hempstead Town, where is all of this money actually going, and are what can only be categorized as significant increases in the local tax levies substantiated?

A little transparency and more accountability would be nice. Efficiency should be the norm, not the buzz. And could you send the car around Noon tomorrow to pick us up?

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