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State of the village strong: Strauss

Mayor cites improved bond rating, major private projects in annual speech

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 2:06 pm

Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss declared Mineola to be “on sound financial ground” in his state of the village address on Tuesday night. 

Speaking to an audience of residents and local businesspeople in Mineola Village Hall, Strauss cited the refinancing of $11 million in bonds earlier this year and new building projects as evidence of the village’s economic well-being.

“We have refinanced the loans of prior administrations at a total savings to our fellow taxpayers of $1.3 million over the life of these loans,” Strauss said.

The village’s bond rating went from A1 to Aa3 last year, enabling the bond refinancing. Strauss said the village’s fund balance was also “strong.” 

Strauss pointed to several major construction projects that would represent major additions to the village.

The Winston and Churchill apartment complexes by Polimeni International, which would be breaking ground soon, with the 36-unit Winston complex providing an “affordable alternative” to Mineola’s senior citizens. 

A new diabetes research center about to be built by Winthrop-University Hospital on Mineola Boulevard would provide a new “gateway” to the village, he added.

Strauss said the village board is also working with the Lalezarian Developers to make sure its plans for a new apartment complex at 250 Old Country Road would be in sync with the village’s master plan. 

“These projects are advancing rapidly and will help boost the success of downtown businesses in our downtown area,” Strauss said.

Strauss said the construction projects are further evidence of Mineola’s financial well-being.

“I ask you to consider this: What does it say about the state our village that in a time when other municipalities are struggling to maintain their downtowns that organizations are willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars right here in Mineola? All of these projects have bonus development incentive funds attached to them. This means that we will be able to address our aging infrastructure while simultaneously being able to improve the quality of life,” Strauss said.

Polimeni has agreed to pay the village $3 million in amenities on the Winston and the 275-unit Churchill project. Lalezarian Developers has offered to pay Mineola $3.1 in amenities on the 315-unit complex it plans to build at 250 Old Country Road. 

Strauss also pointed to the conversion of the Raines Building at the corner of Mineola Boulevard and Old Country Road to residential and commercial as evidence of progress in downtown development.

He said dozens of new businesses had opened in the village during the past year and urged residents to support them.

Strauss also reported progress on what he called an “historic” joint flood-relief project between the village, Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead. He said construction bids on the village’s part of the project would be opened next week. 

“This will bring much needed relief to our residents in the Bruce Terrace area and the East 2nd Street commercial area,” Strauss said.

The village, town and county received a total of $2.4 million in state grants for the collaborative project to alleviate recurrent flooding on the border of Mineola and Carle Place.

He noted the recent launch of the village’s new Web site and its capacity to provide residents with notifications on village events, sanitation schedules and snow emergencies.

In addition to seeking new technical efficiencies, Strauss said all village employees are functioning more efficiently.

“I have asked them to literally do more with less and they have. I have tasked them to help us find ways to improve operations and they are doing so,” he said.

He said the village is facing rising employees health-care costs and an unsettled employees union contract, but said his administration would cope.

“We have fiscal challenges ahead of us but we will meet them head-on and responsibly,” Strauss said. “This administration will continue to make the tough but sound financial decisions that will enable us to maintain the quality of life we have come not only to enjoy here in Mineola but to expect from our local government.”

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