. . .Comes Talk Of "Effective Consolidation" And "Smart (even vertical) Development"
Could the winds of change be sweeping through the often hermetically-sealed hallways of Hempstead Town Hall?
Town of Hempstead Councilman, Ed Ambrosino, long a good friend of and an active participant in the community he serves, pens an eloquent blog on his website, where a recent entry caught our attention.
He blogs of maintaining quality services without the death knell of increasing taxes, at a time of a contracting tax base and shrinking revenues.
"Governments cannot maintain all services (the 'wants of the people') without finding additional revenue to fund the basket of wants," says Ambrosino. "Instead, we need to identify the needs, efficiently address the needs through municipal cooperation and effective consolidation and then find the revenue to fund the needs of the people."
Did he say "consolidation," the heretofore bane of Town Hall?
"We need to encourage smart development and go vertical where vertical is not antithetical to the essence of suburbia," declared the Councilman, long an advocate, as well as ardent fighter, for redefining the burbs as precursor to rebuilding suburbia.
Is there a shift at Town Hall away for the Levittownization of suburbia, where "think small" is the vision of a new myopia? Could the door be open to fresh, if not entirely grand, ideas, where, as Ed Ambrosino concludes, "we need to take political risk and stride with bold steps to save government from collapsing in a pile of financial chaos resulting from the pressure of political expediency."
Sure. These are only words.
Still, words preceed action, and knowing Ed Ambrosino as we do -- a man of his word -- we sense that the status quo is no longer quite as comfortable or sustainable at Town Hall as once presumed.
Change, it is said, must come from within. True of both the individual and of our cherished institutions.
It is quite possible that Ed Ambrosino, and folks just like him, commited to our community, represents just such change. We hope so, as the very future of Long Island depends on it.
Ed's a keeper, for certain.
"We need to charge the users of services without burdening the populace for the needs of the few."
Right you are, Ed. Let's hope the powers-that-be aren't intent on creating a special "salsa lessons" district.
The wave of the future, in Hempstead Town and across Long Island -- perhaps even all of New York -- may appear as a mere ripple. Like the tidal wave of a tsunami far off shore, the momentum is always forward, the awesome power and tremendous impact, just below the surface.
- - -
Getting What We Need From Our Government
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you just might find
You get what you need
Who knew that Keith and Mick were writing the quintessential balancing test for government?
If only we would listen.
We can’t always get what we want. We cannot have brand new roads, beautiful parks, free health care, salsa lessons without an increase in governmental revenue. Something has to give.
When a municipality is growing, and vacant land is being converted to ratable property (such as homes, offices or stores) government's revenue increases without raising individual property taxes. When expansion ceases, the supply of revenue slows to a trickle.
At that point, government must cut back on services or find additional sources of revenue. Government’s divining rod points to one reliable, yet politically unpalatable, source of revenue: raising taxes.
Cutting services and raising taxes force us back to the words of Messrs. Jagger and Richards. We must decide what we need, and not just we want. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently pointed out - servicing the needs of a constituency is the principal reason we have governments. “ That to secure [unalienable rights], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Governments cannot maintain all services (the “wants of the people”) without finding additional revenue to fund the basket of wants.
Instead, we need to identify the needs, efficiently address the needs through municipal cooperation and effective consolidation and then find the revenue to fund the needs of the people.
We need to encourage smart development and go vertical where vertical is not antithetical to the essence of suburbia.
We need to become energy intelligent and not depend on energy sources that are wasteful, redundant and inefficient.
We need to charge the users of services without burdening the populace for the needs of the few.
Lastly, we need to take political risk and stride with bold steps to save government from collapsing in a pile of financial chaos resulting from the pressure of political expediency.
Cherry Red should not be the color of our balance sheets.
It should be the color of Mr. Jimmy’s favorite flavor.