Board OKs Block Grant Application

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The Stewart Manor Board of Trustees voted to apply for $65,000 in federal community block grant funds last week, including $40,000 to renovate a bathroom in Stewart Manor Village Hall.

During a public hearing on the proposed application at last Tuesday night’s village board meeting, Stewart Manor Mayor Gerard Tangredi said residents interested in seeking financial assistance for house repairs must apply to Stewart Manor Village Hall for aid. He said repairs covers essential things such as roofs, windows, doors and boilers.

“It’s a great program. It helps our senior citizens stay in their homes. Seniors have been very happy with the help over the years,” Tangredi said. The village board will apply to the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development for the funding, according to Tangredi. He said representatives of that county department would visit individual households to determine needs and retain a contractor to make repairs deemed necessary.

He said two or three households in the village typically receive aid each year under the federally funded program.

Last year, Tangredi said the village received $25,000 for residential rehabilitation projects. He said the village board was unsuccessful in applying for the $40,000 it is seeking this year to renovate a second floor men’s bathroom in village hall to make it wheelchair accessible.

Over the past 20 years, the village has received approximately $700,000 in community block grant funds, according to Village Clerk-Treasurer Rosemarie Biehayn. She said $42,000 of the community block grant funds remain unspent.

Biehayn said 22 residential rehabilitation projects have been completed in Stewart Manor since 2005.

The four board members present at Tuesday’s meeting voted unanimously in support of the application. Trustee Mary Carole Schafenberg was absent from the meeting.

Biehayn said municipal renovation projects funded through community block grants have included installation of an elevator and a handicap restroom in Village Hall, and rehabilitation of the village hall kitchen, which serves local senior groups.

On another financial front, Tangredi said the 2015-16 village budget will be presented in a meeting at village hall on April 14. He said the budget hearing will be preceded by a hearing to consider a local law to enable the village board to exceed the state-mandated tax cap.

Tangredi said he doesn’t anticipate the board will exceed the approximately 2 percent cap on local tax levies, but declined to estimate what the year-to-year budget increase would be.

“Nothing’s really final,” Tangredi said. The current $2.41 million village budget represents a 2.13 percent increase over the previous year’s budget. The 2014-15 tax levy increase is a 1.4 percent rise over the previous fiscal year.

In other developments: Stephen Chin, owner of UMI Asian Fusion restaurant at 78 Covert Ave. said he recently received a letter informing him that the cost of his garbage pick-up would be doubling and asked why. Tangredi said the letter to Chin and other local commercial businesses indicated the higher cost for garbage collection is being contemplated because of the increasing amount of garbage being collected from them by the sanitation department.

“The amount of refuse you’re putting out has almost doubled,” Tangredi told Chin. “The whole thing is under review.”

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