Town of Huntington

Dogs will be permitted into Huntington’s Heckscher Park begining Jan. 1. Photo by Media Origins

On Jan. 1, the Town of Huntington will begin a three-month pilot program to allow leashed dogs in Heckscher Park, subject to certain limitations. If the trial period is successful, the pilot will extend in three-month increments to gather data from use of the park in different seasons.

The program is the result of a town board resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol (D), developed in response to a petition that circulated this past summer calling for better access to the park for dogs and their owners.

Greenlawn resident Karen Thomas helped draft and circulate the successful petition campaign this past summer.

“Over 2,500 dog owners have spoken and the Huntington board listened,” said Thomas.

Cergol announced her position on opening up the park to dogs on a trial basis in a Sept. 5 Times of Huntington news article. The resolution she drafted was unanimously approved at the town’s Oct. 16 board meeting.

“The relationship between dogs and humans continues to evolve, and it is becoming increasingly common to see dog owners and their canine family members together in public places,” Cergol said. “I am excited that we are about to extend this option at Huntington’s downtown signature park and look forward to our partnership with [the nonprofit Long Island Dog Owners Group] in ensuring the pilot program’s success.”

LI-DOG is a nonprofit advocacy group looking to increase access for dog owners to public spaces. It’s president, Ginny Munger Kahn, was designated as the lead public education campaign coordinator.

“Our job is to make sure all the dog owners know that it’s in their best interest to follow the basic guidelines,” she said. “Overall, respect other park users. That’s the key.”

Specifically, this means keeping dogs on a leash less than 6-feet long and under control. No retractable leashes are allowed, and people are limited to no more than two dogs per individual. People are also expected to clean up after their dogs once they do their business. People, Kahn said, are good with this part.

“People have precedence over dogs on the path,” Kahn said. “Step off the path onto the grass as people pass by unimpeded.”

Heckscher Park’s trails, which are more narrow than other town pathways, suggest that this is an important part of the guidelines to remember.

Cergol formed an advisory committee that includes representatives of her staff, various town departments, LI-DOG and the town’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities to create the educational program. The group has met twice and has developed program guidelines from those gatherings and individual conversations.

The committee has so far planned to post signage at various spots in the park, including all the major entrances. A video to be aired on the town’s government access television channel and on its social media pages and LI-DOG’s pages will demonstrate what is allowed and what is not. They’ve also developed informational cards to hand out to dog owners in the park.

“We believe ultimately having leashed dogs in the park is a really good thing,” Kahn said. “For one thing, dogs influence socializing among people who don’t know each other.”

They also deter geese, which are fouling the parks pathways.

 

Government officials, Town of Huntington Public Safety officers, the Town of Huntington Fire Marshall and members of the Huntington and Dix Hills Fire Departments came together to announce that the Town of Huntington will be cracking down on people who choose to violate the law and park in marked handicapped spaces and fire zones. The town will be ramping up their efforts and will be out making sure to check that all cars parked in handicapped spaces have valid permits.

“The holiday season is here and parking lots are full. When there is an unoccupied handicapped parking space, it is tempting to park there for just for a few minutes to quickly run into a store. Parking in handicapped spaces violates the law. Valid permit holders must then park further away forcing them to walk longer distances endangering their health or they return home unable to do their shopping. We must remember that only those that have a valid New York State permit are permitted to park there.” stated Councilman Cuthbertson. “Parking in marked fire zones puts everyone at risk by obstructing those areas that are reserved for first responders in case of emergencies or evacuations. Please consider people’s needs before you park in a place that inconveniences another person or puts lives at risk just to park closer to the entrance of the store”

For anyone who chooses to park illegally in a handicapped parking space will receive a minimum fine of $230. If you park in a fire zone you can expect a minimum fine of $200. Both carry maximum fines from $600 to $630.

Supervisor Lupinacci stated “The Town is doing everything it can to ensure accessible parking is available for those who need it. This year, we made substantive amendments to the Traffic Code that introduces real consequences when there is a failure to respond to a parking ticket, which is making drivers think twice about parking in handicap spaces.”

“It is imperative to remember to respect the designated handicapped parking spaces and those who need them, especially this time of year. The Town of Huntington will be enforcing parking restrictions and any infractions will be met with a high fee. Park a little farther away during your trips around town and enjoy the crisp holiday air” said Councilman Edmund Smyth.

For anyone that would like to request a New York State Disability Parking Permit application can contact to Town Clerk’s office at 631-351-3206 or online athttp://www.huntingtonny.gov/disability-permits

Community gathers at Northport Middle School for 'sickout' . Photo by Donna Deddy

Northport Middle School students were once again evacuated from several classrooms on Monday Dec. 9 and Tuesday Dec. 10 in response to foul “rotten-egg” odors. The school’s new heating and ventilation system is being blamed. 

“There are a number of factors that can lead to odors in a school building,” said Superintendent Robert Banzer. “We believe the source of the latest indoor air quality issue at NMS may be related to the substantial amount of rain over the past few days.”

The district has hired an outside consultant to review the latest situation and will provide an update to the community once it is complete.

The district has said that laws prevent it from providing information on student health visits, but one parent on social media stated that five kids in one class went to the nurse’s office in response to the odors, according to the child’s account. 

Just last month parents and former teachers held protests, called sick-outs, demanding that the 65-year-old building be closed to address ongoing serious health concerns.

One of the classrooms involved in this week’s evacuation is a newly renovated science room G-51. In 2017, the room was found to sit above a storage area for hazardous chemicals, which have now been removed.

No formal health studies have yet to be initiated, to potentially link the school environment to disease, though Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-East Northport) has requested that the state’s health department conduct a longitudinal study of students and teachers at Northport Middle School. 

More than 18 Northport Middle School students over the last 10 years, according to parent groups, have been diagnosed with rare, environmentally induced diseases, including blood cancers. Retired teachers have also conducted an informal survey that they say raises serious questions about the building’s safety. These health studies, state health officials have said, are often inconclusive. 

For decades, contamination issues have been the subject of ongoing concerns at the school, which has a history of storing hazardous chemicals, in some cases improperly.

Residents are invited to attend the Dec. 12 school board meeting, where Banzer will provide details about relocating the district’s bus depot and refueling station, which is located on the middle school grounds. 

Board member Larry Licopoli has been appointed to a subcommittee comprised of board and community members that is looking to test the soil for an array of chemicals. The subcommittee will be presenting some recommendations during the Dec. 12 board meeting. 

A mugshot of Charles Titone, who police said sexually abused a 6-year old and possessed child porn. Photo from SCPD

Police arrested a school bus driver early on Tuesday, Dec. 3 for alleged sexual abuse and possessing child pornography. The man drove a bus in the Northport-East Northport School District.

Police, which included the members 2nd precinct, along with computer crimes and special victims sections, said they launched an investigation into Charles Titone III, 46, following a tip from the New York State Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Police said investigators executed a search warrant at Titone’s home, located at 250 Depot Road in Huntington Station, early in the morning and arrested Titone at around 7:30 a.m. for allegedly having sexual contact with a 6-year-old and possessing child pornography on his phone. Titone is a school bus driver for Huntington Station-based Huntington Coach Corp. and drives in the Northport-East Northport school district.

Titone was charged with sexual abuse 1st degree and possessing a sexual performance by a child.

The victim was someone previously known to Titone and not a student from his bus route, police said.

Attorney information for Titone was not immediately available.

Titone is being held overnight at the second precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 4 at First District Court in Central Islip.

The investigation is continuing. Police said detectives are asking anyone with information to contact the Computer Crimes Unit at 631-852-6279 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

The Community Food Council on East 5th Street in Huntington Station needs help. 

Over the last three months, the food pantry has seen a 33 percent increase in demand for groceries. 

The nonprofit, all-volunteer organization has been feeding the hungry of Huntington Township since 1972 and expects to provide over 40,000 meals this year. 

They need more volunteers, to pick up bread from Stop & Shop once a week on Tuesday and to work at the pantry. Typically, volunteers help for about two hours at least one day a month.  

If you and your club or organization want to help restock the shelves, the council is in particular need of chicken soup, peanut butter and jelly, pasta, sauce, toilet paper, etc. 

Religious organizations in the area, as well as a couple of food markets and restaurants, provide food or support to the pantry. The group is a member of Long Island Cares and Island Harvest, which both also provide food to  for the hungry. The council is looking for additional support. 

The pantry is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon to give out food and receive donations.

For more information contact Jackie or Steven at 631-351-1060 or email the council at volunteer@comfoodcouncil.org or visit www.comfoodcouncil.org. 

Harborfields High School. Photo from Google Maps

The Harborfields Central School District will host its capital improvement bond referendum vote on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. in the Oldfield Middle School auditorium.

The majority of projects proposed in the new bond referendum are basic infrastructure upgrades such as replacing outdated boilers, repairing cracked sidewalks, improving fresh air intake and replacing deteriorating ceiling and lighting fixtures. Not only have many of these systems exceeded their useful lifespan, but they are no longer compliant with code.

With an increased focus on student and staff safety, a number of security enhancements are also included in the proposal, including the construction of security vestibules at every school. Original doors and hardware will also be replaced to enhance building security.

The proposal includes a number of academic improvements for students, including the renovation of school libraries at TJL, OMS and HHS. The new spaces will provide students with modern environments for group collaboration, while using the latest in educational technology. A new general science classroom will also be added at TJL. A number of physical education and athletic enhancements are also included in the proposal, such as the construction of a new outdoor play area at Washington Drive Primary School and the renovation of the South Gym and the installation of a synthetic turf field at high school.

The proposed bond would cost approximately $20.4 million. Even with the community’s approval of these expenditures, residents will see a decrease in their taxes due to the timing of this bond to overlap with two expiring bonds. This is due to the fact that the district has approximately $52.7 million in debt that will be retiring in 2021 and 2023 from the bonds issued to construct Washington Drive Primary School. The new debt associated with this proposal would essentially “replace” a portion of the old debt.

All eligible residents are encouraged to vote. For information on voting including absentee ballot information, as well as a complete listing of projects proposed through the referendum, please visit the district’s website, www.harborfieldscsd.net.

At its Nov. 19 meeting, the Huntington Town Board moved to take legal action against opioid manufacturers, distributors and sellers to recover the Town’s costs of fighting the opioid epidemic, and conducted other town business.

The Town Board approved the retention of Tate Grossman Kelly & Iaccarino, LLP (TGKI Law) to represent the legal interests of the town  and its special districts. The firm has decades of collective experience with complex mass tort and multidistrict litigation representing dozens of municipalities seeking reimbursement for monies spent addressing the opioid crisis. It will commence an action against the manufacturers, distributors and sellers of opioids, and all other responsible parties, to recover all damages and costs incurred and to be incurred by the Town and its special districts in connection with the opioid crisis.

Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) and Councilman Eugene Cook (I) co-sponsored the resolution hiring the self-described opioid crisis recovery law firm.

“Given the specialized nature of this litigation, hiring TGKI Law will benefit the Town and our residents, not only from their expertise in this area, having represented other municipalities fighting the opioid crisis, including those on Long Island,” said Lupinacci, “but in sharing the costs for their expert consultants with those other municipalities, reducing the litigation costs for our residents, to ensure those who helped create this public health and safety crisis are made responsible for the costs of fighting it.”

The Town’s case will be part of all federal cases nationwide. 

“It is extremely important that the Town of Huntington retain Tate Grossman Kelly & Iaccarino, LLP to handle this complex litigation to recover the financial costs of the opioid crisis, to the Huntington community against the manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of these opioid medications. Unfortunately, this lawsuit will not recover the harm and heartbreak this crisis has brought to the victims and their families who suffer or lost their life to opioids,” stated Cook. “This is a necessary first step to hold the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the monies spent on health care, substance abuse programs, public education, Narcan training and supplies and the criminal justice costs associated with the misuse of these prescription drugs.” 

 

Peter Scully, Suffolk County deputy county executive and water czar, responds to questions from  TBR News Media’s editorial staff:

1. You’ve been called Suffolk County’s water czar. Why does Suffolk County need a water czar?

The need for the county to have a high-level point person to advance the water quality agenda of County Executive Steve Bellone [D] is a result of two factors: The high priority that the county executive has placed on water quality issues, and the tremendous progress his administration has made over the past seven years in building a solid foundation to reverse decades of nitrogen pollution that has resulted primarily from the lack of sewers in Suffolk County and reliance on cesspools and septic systems that discharge untreated wastewater into the environment. The county executive succeeded in landing $390 million in post-Hurricane Sandy resiliency funding to eliminate 5,000 cesspools along river corridors on the South Shore by connecting parcels to sewers, and the county’s success in creating a grant program to make it affordable for homeowners to replace cesspools and septic systems with new nitrogen-reducing septic systems in areas where sewers are not a cost-effective solution, prompted the state to award Suffolk County $10 million to expand the county’s own Septic Improvement Program. These are the largest investments in water quality Suffolk has seen in 50 years, and the county executive saw the need to appoint a high-level quarterback to oversee the implementation of these programs.

 

2. Which groundwater contaminants are the highest priorities for Suffolk County? 

In 2014, the county executive declared nitrogen to be water quality public enemy No. 1. The nitrogen in groundwater is ultimately discharged into our bays, and about 70 percent of this nitrogen comes from on-site wastewater disposal (septic) systems. Excess nutrients have created crisis conditions, causing harmful algal blooms, contributing to fish kills and depleting dissolved oxygen necessary for health aquatic life. They have also made it impossible to restore our once nationally significant hard clam and bay scallop fisheries, have devastated submerged aquatic vegetation and weakened coastal resiliency through reduction of wetlands. Nitrogen also adversely impacts quality of drinking water, especially in areas with private wells, although public water supply wells consistently meet drinking water standards for nitrogen.

Other major contaminants of concern include volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs. For example, there is perchloroethlyene, historically from dry cleaners; and petroleum constituents — most recently MTBE, a gasoline additive — from fuel storage and transfer facilities.

Then there are pesticides. Active ingredients such as chlordane, aldicarb and dacthal have been banned, but some legacy contamination concerns exist, especially for private wells. Some currently registered pesticides are appearing in water supplies at low levels, including simazine/atrazine, imidacloprid and metalaxyl.

Emerging contaminants include PFAS, historically used in firefighting foams, water repellents, nonstick cookware; and 1,4-dioxane, an industrial solvent stabilizer also present at low levels in some consumer products. 

 

3. Are the chemicals coming from residential or industrial sites?

Contamination can emanate from a variety of sites, including commercial, industrial and residential properties. Many of the best-known cleanup sites are dealing with legacy impacts from past industrial activity. Examples include Grumman in Bethpage, Lawrence Aviation in Port Jefferson Station, Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton and the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in Calverton. There have been hundreds of Superfund sites on Long Island. Fortunately, most are legacy sites and new Superfund sites are relatively rare.

More recently, the use of firefighting foam has resulted in Superfund designations at the Suffolk County Firematics site in Yaphank, Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton, and East Hampton Airport. The foam was used properly at the time of discharge, but it was not known that PFAS would leach and contaminate groundwater.

The county’s 2015 Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan found that some chemicals, such as VOCs, continue to increase in frequency of detection and concentration. While some of this is attributable to legacy industrial plumes, experts believe that residential and small commercial sites are partially responsible for contamination. This is partly because any substances that are dumped into a toilet or drain will reach the environment, and because solvents move readily through our sandy aquifer. Septic waste is, of course a major of contamination. Residential properties can be also responsible for other pollution, such as nitrogen from fertilizers and pesticides.

4. Which industries currently generate the most groundwater pollution in Suffolk County? 

The county’s Department of Health Services Division of Environmental Quality staff advise that, historically, the major contributors to groundwater pollution in the county were dry cleaners, and fuel storage and transfer facilities. However, current dry cleaning practices have minimized any possible groundwater discharges, and modern fuel facilities are engineered to more stringent code requirements that have substantially eliminated catastrophic releases. Low-level discharges are still a concern, and are the subject of the county’s VOC action plan to increase inspections and optimize regulatory compliance.

There are thousands of commercial and industrial facilities, most of which have the potential to pollute — for example, with solvent cleaners. Best management practices and industrial compliance inspections are key to minimizing and eliminating further contamination.

 

5. The word “ban” is often a dirty word in politics, but do you see benefits to banning certain products, and/or practices, for the sake of protecting the county’s drinking water supply? (The bans on DDT, lead in gasoline and HFCS, for example, were very effective at addressing environmental and human health concerns.) 

Policymakers have not hesitated to ban the use of certain substances — DDT, lead in gasoline, chlordane, MTBE — in the face of evidence that the risks associated with the continued introduction of a chemical into the environment outweigh the benefits from a public health or environmental standpoint. Based on health concerns, I expect that there will be active discussion in the years ahead about the merits of restricting the use of products that introduce emerging contaminants like 1,4-dioxane and PFCs into the environment.

 

6. If people had more heightened awareness, could we slow or even eliminate specific contaminants? As consumers, can people do more to protect groundwater? 

There is no question that heightened awareness about ways in which everyday human activities impact the environment leads people to change their behaviors in ways that can reduce the release of contaminants into the environment. A good example is the county’s Septic Improvement Program, which provides grants and low interest loans for homeowners who choose to voluntarily replace their cesspools or septic systems with new nitrogen-reducing technology. More than 1,000 homeowners have applied for grants under the program, which set a record in October with more 100 applications received.

If a home is not connected to sewers, a homeowner can replace their cesspool or septic system with an innovative/alternative on-site wastewater treatment system. Suffolk County, New York State and several East End towns are offering grants which can make it possible for homeowners to make this positive change with no significant out-of-pocket expense. Consumers can choose to not flush bleaches or toxic/hazardous materials down the drain or into their toilets. Consumers can also take care to deliver any potentially toxic or hazardous household chemicals to approved Stop Throwing Out Pollutants program sites. Homeowners can choose not to use fertilizers or pesticides, or to opt for an organic, slow-release fertilizer at lowest label setting rates.

 

7. Can you offer examples of products to avoid or practices to adopt that would better protect the drinking water supply? 

Consumers can choose to not flush bleaches or household hazardous materials down the drain or into their toilets. Consumers can also take care to deliver any potentially toxic or hazardous household chemicals to approved STOP program sites. Homeowners can choose not to use fertilizers or pesticides, or to opt for an organic, slow release fertilizer at lowest label setting rates.

 

8. Aside from banning products or chemicals, and raising awareness, how do you address the issue?

Promoting the use of less impactful alternatives to products which have been shown to have a significant and/or unanticipated impact on public health or the environment, on a voluntary basis, is a less contentious approach than banning a substance or placing restrictions on its use through a legislative or rulemaking process. Such an approach should only be taken with the understanding that its success, value and significance will depend in large part on public awareness and education.

 

9. What about product labeling, similar to the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General warnings about cigarettes, or carcinogens in California, etc.? Can the county require products sold to include a groundwater contamination warning?

The question of whether the county Legislature has authority to implement labeling requirements could be better addressed by an attorney.

 

10. People, including some elected officials and people running for public office, sometimes say that sewage treatment plants remove all contaminants from wastewater. Can you set the record straight? What chemicals, including radioactive chemicals, are and are not removed from wastewater via sewage treatment?

Tertiary wastewater treatment plants are designed primarily to remove nitrogen, in addition to biodegradable organic matter. However, wastewater treatment is also effective at removing many volatile organic compounds. Some substances, such as 1,4-dioxane, are resistant to treatment and require advanced processes for removal. Evidence shows that the use of horizontal leaching structures instead of conventional drainage rings may facilitate removal of many pharmaceuticals and personal care products, known as PPCPs. Advanced treatment technologies, such as membrane bioreactors, are also being tested for efficacy of removal of PPCPs.

Staff advise that the mere presence of chemicals in wastewater in trace amounts does not necessarily indicate the existence of a public health risk. All wastewater treatment must treat chemicals to stringent federal and state standards. In some cases, such as for emerging contaminants, specific standards do not exist. In those cases, the unspecified organic contaminant requirement of 50 parts per billion is commonly applied.

 

11. Can you provide an example of a place where residential and industrial groundwater contamination concerns were reversed or adequately addressed?

There are numerous examples, mostly under the jurisdiction of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, in which groundwater concerns have been addressed through treatment to remove contaminants. Because health and safety are always the most important issues, the first priority is typically to make sure that people who live near an impacted site have a safe supply of drinking water. In areas served by public water suppliers — Suffolk County Water Authority or a local water district — this is not usually an issue, since public water suppliers are highly regulated and are required to test water supply wells regularly. In areas where people are not connected to a public water system, and rely instead on private wells, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will work with the water supplier to identify properties that are not connected to a public water system and then contact homeowners to urge them to have their water tested at no charge to make sure that it is safe for consumption. 

Over the past several years, Suffolk County, New York State and the Suffolk County Water Authority have worked together to connect hundreds of homes that had relied on private wells to the public water system, to make sure people have access to safe drinking water.

 

12. Are you hopeful about addressing the issues? 

I am hopeful and optimistic about the success of efforts to reverse the ongoing degradation of water quality that has resulted from reliance on cesspools and septic systems. For the first time in Long Island’s history, environmentalists, business leaders, scientists, organized labor and the building trades all agree that the long-term threat that has resulted from the lack of sewers to both the environment and economy is so great that a long-term plan to address the need for active wastewater treatment is not an option, but a necessity. Experience shows that public awareness can be a significant factor in driving public policy.

Assemblyman Steve Stern and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone outside Bon Bons Chocolatier in downtown Huntington Nov. 25.

On Nov. 25 New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) unveiled a series of state legislative proposals intended to help small businesses on Long Island.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy,” Stern said. “They employ half of New York’s private sector workforce and generate nearly $190 billion in payroll receipts, according to the Small Business Administration. Given these statistics, it is imperative that New York State move forward with a business-friendly agenda that supports local economies and fosters our suburban neighborhood quality of life.”

The announcement was held at Bon Bons Chocolatier, a local family-owned business located in the heart of downtown Huntington for 40 years. The announcement came just prior to Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, which encourages consumers to shop locally at the start of the holiday shopping season.

In addition to the owners of Bon Bons, the officials were joined by a host of local chambers of commerce and business advocacy organizations including representatives from the Long Island Association, Long Island Business Council, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers of Commerce, Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and Melville Chamber of Commerce. They all applauded the initiatives and welcomed the extra exposure and promotion for small local businesses as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

“Small businesses are vital to our downtown communities. Not only are they the backbone of our local economy, they are what makes Long Island such a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bellone.

“Small businesses are vital to our downtown communities. Not only are they the backbone of our local economy, they are what makes Long Island such a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family.”

-Steve Bellone

“The new measures Assemblyman Stern has laid out will help strengthen our brick and mortar shops and ensure they have the tools and resources they need to thrive.”

The business-friendly agenda, which will be up for consideration when the New York State Legislature re-convenes in January, includes the following innovative legislative proposals:

• SMALL BUSINESS INCOME TAX EXEMPTION EXPANSION: increases the corporate tax threshold by $100,000 for businesses and farms that employ at least one person and lowers the rate from 6.5 to 4 percent. Coupled with other incentives, these changes are estimated to save small businesses $300,000,000 statewide (A.6309).

• NEW YORK STATE INNOVATION VOUCHER PROGRAM: provides direct funding to eligible small businesses with dollar-for-dollar matching funds to acquire expertise from our outstanding local colleges and universities, government laboratories and public research institutes and facilitate innovation and job creation in New York State (A.45).

• REDUCING COMMUTING COSTS AND BUSINESS EXPENSES THROUGH TAX INCENTIVES: designed to enable workers to offset commuting costs (by as much as $265 per month) and save employers through reduction of payroll tax liability; this plan may also reduce traffic congestion and pollution with mass transit incentives. (A.7264).

• SMALL BUSINESS TAX-DEFERRED SAVINGS ACCOUNT PROGRAM: allows small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to deposit profits into a tax-deferred savings account as an incentive for both job creation and economic development in New York State (A.7693).

• FUTURE OF WORK COMMISSION: to study and research the impact of technology on workers, employers and the economy of the state of New York and develop a plan to keep the state’s economy competitive, durable, equitable and sustainable while protecting and strengthening middle-class jobs for a new generation of New Yorkers (A.8446).

The proposals, officials said, all represent “outside the box” approaches to help retain our existing businesses and attract new ones through a combination of tax incentives, collaborations with colleges, universities and research institutions and proactive anticipation of new technological advancements.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Long Island’s economy and thus I commend Assemblyman Stern’s plan to lower taxes and reduce costs that would help these companies grow and succeed,” said Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association.

The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers of Commerce stated that brick and mortar businesses, offices, manufacturing and service contractors are at a disadvantage when the economy turns. The proposed legislation, they said, allows small businesses the opportunity to save “tax free” in good times and establish that rainy day account.

“As policy makers, we have an obligation to listen to the concerns of our local business community and work together to create a business-friendly environment to keep our homegrown workforce on Long Island both now and for generations to come,” Stern said. “I am proud to support these innovative measures, which are key to sustaining and growing our local economy, and I urge my colleagues in the State Legislature to do the same.”

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Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) has announced the launch of the Passport Parking app, which has made paying for metered parking more convenient since its deployment at the Huntington LIRR station on Oct. 17. It is already being used by parking patrons in Huntington village, even before deployment of signage for a full launch has been completed.

    “We did a quiet launch to work out any issues with the deployment before promoting it to the public and it appears that the app has been very well-received — it’s very easy to use,” said Lupinacci. “We’re already seeing people use the app in Huntington village, where our team is completing signage installation but the app is already active.”

The Passport Parking app is an alternative to paying at the meter for metered parking on Railroad Street, Broadway and in Municipal Lot 15, where the Huntington LIRR station house is located. Passport Parking signage now appears near the on-street spots and in the parking lot at the Huntington LIRR station displaying zone numbers.

Lupinacci added: “The app is more convenient when it’s raining and for commuters trying to catch a train. You never need to use a parking meter again.”

Passport Parking is active for all metered parking at the Huntington LIRR station and in Huntington village. The Town expects to complete the installation of Passport Parking Zone decals on parking meters and on the numbered poles marking metered parking spaces in Huntington village this week. Zones are broken down by street. The zone decals on the numbered poles in the village will be visible from the street as the driver pulls into the space, enabling payment from a cellphone inside the vehicle. Stand-alone zone signs will also be installed in the various zones in the village after the decal placement is completed.

In the meantime, anyone can view the Passport Parking Zone numbers, assigned by street, on the Town website to pay for parking with the app now: www.huntingtonny.gov/parking-app.

  “Complaints related to parking meters at the train station have dropped to zero since the roll-out of the app,” said Peter Sammis, director of public safety, which oversees the parking meter team.

During a five-person Request for Proposal  evaluation performed by the Town’s Department of Public Safety, Passport Parking had a significant existing install base, providing the best quality of service, cost, uptime, data integrity and an outstanding merchant validation process described as “best in class.” The app serves as a convenient, user-friendly alternative to the parking meters, which will remain in use.

Parking patrons can download the Passport Parking app, found on the App Store or the Google Play Store, then enter the corresponding zone number, the parking space number, the length of stay (with the ability to add time later via the app) and payment info to complete the transaction.

It should be noted that parking in metered spots remains free for vehicles displaying valid disability parking permits and license plates.

More on the Passport Parking App: www.huntingtonny.gov/parking-app.