Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura A. Gillen filed her 2019 Tentative Budget, which builds on her promise to “right the Town’s fiscal ship.” The budget employs conservative budgeting practices and more transparency, while delivering critically needed investments in the Town’s emergency response and special-needs programs, as well as upgrades to the Town’s aging digital infrastructure.
Supervisor Gillen will host a community meeting to discuss the 2019 proposed budget on Wednesday, October 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Five Towns Community Center. The budget hearings are set for Tuesday, October 16, 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion at Town Hall in Hempstead. The 2019 budget is posted at https://hempsteadtownny.gov/budget/2019-tentative-budget
“We have righted the Town’s fiscal ship and have delivered a structurally balanced budget by employing fiscally sound, transparent, and careful budgeting,” said Gillen. “My administration absorbed millions in unbudgeted costs head-on, and actually delivered a savings for most taxpayers.”
Under the proposal, over 80 percent of resident homeowners will see an average reduction of approximately $14.28, or 1.88 percent in their base taxes (General, Part Town, Lighting, and Refuse Disposal) when compared to their 2018 taxes. The average aggregated levy overall will increase by less than 1 percent (0.74 percent). Under the former administration, the levy was raised 1.9 percent.
Gillen’s 2019 budget reflects zero pay increases for exempt staff, while maintaining essential Town services at current levels.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Proposes Sweeping Ethics Reforms
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen proposed a package of comprehensive ethics reform legislation that would improve transparency and the day-to-day government operations of America’s largest township. The proposal seeks to end the practice of hiring elected Hempstead Town officials’ relatives, and requires employees to disclose familial and romantic relationships with other Town employees in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
The proposal also seeks to prohibit elected officials and appointed staff members, including commissioners, deputy commissioners, directors, and appointed members sitting on the Town’s various boards and agencies, from holding high-level or influential positions in a political party. Furthermore, political solicitations or discussions of fundraising activities between employees and their superiors on Hempstead Town premises would be strictly and expressly forbidden.
“My goal is to remove conflicts of interest, potential conflicts of interest, and even the appearance of impropriety for those who vote on town legislation and hold key decision-making power,” said Gillen. “These proposals may seem like common sense, but they are desperately needed to help safeguard and further strengthen the ethical standards that govern the daily business of our public officials.”
The proposal also mandates that a special “whistleblower form” be made available online for any member of the general public, or any Town officer, employee, or member of the Board of Ethics, to confidentially submit allegations of ethics violations.
“My office has received dozens of anonymous tips and complaints from town employees who are afraid to come out of the shadows because of fears of reprisal,” said TGillen. “When an employee feels they have witnessed or have evidence of an ethics violation or misconduct, they should have every right to report it to the Town without fear of repercussions.”
The Town of Hempstead employs approximately 3,800 full-time and part-time employees.