The town’s in good shape
ISLIP TOWN—During the 2016 State of the Town Address last week, Supervisor Angie Carpenter reviewed past developments while envisioning a strong future outlook for Islip in the years ahead in a speech at Islip Town Hall.
Carpenter noted that improved finances have put the town in a stronger economic position, citing a March report by Moody’s Investors Service ratings agency that upgraded its financial rating from AA1 to AAA with a “Stable Outlook.”
“This is an accomplishment that everyone in the Town of Islip government has a right to share,” said Carpenter, who noted that Islip is currently one of just two Long Island towns with such a rating. “This upgrade…is very reassuring, and certainly affirms that the policies and procedures that were put into place when I took on the responsibility of this office last year are working.
“With the town’s AAA bond rating and the very favorable interest rates we enjoy, this might be the perfect time for us to commence a dedicated effort to protect and improve those assets,” added Carpenter. “But that can’t begin to happen without the continued confidence and support from all of you – our Town of Islip stakeholders.”
Carpenter also commended the town’s recent budgeting practices and procedures, noting that the town had instituted zero-based budgeting to its spending plans, assuring that no project moves forward unless it is deemed essential.
“I am pleased that together with the cooperation and support of the town board, we were able to establish a strong budget process,” said Carpenter, who noted that she is currently working with the town’s financial advisor and Deputy Comptroller Jim DiCiccio to create a five-year financial plan for both operating and capital budget planning. “We worked closely with our commissioners to tighten budgets as necessary, making certain that each and every taxpayer dollar spent is done with the utmost scrutiny.”
She also noted that the town’s budget has remained under the state tax cap, with a “modest” 1.58 percent tax increase this year. In addition, the town’s general fund balance has increased for the second straight year – none of which was used to fund its operating budget.
Carpenter also acknowledged increased activity among local real estate and construction markets as a demonstration of economic improvements.
“A total of 8,812 building permits were issued in 2015 – an increase of 8 percent over 2014 and this year is trending upwards,” she said. “Personnel has been increased in planning/building to help expedite permits, generating additional revenue. This was a major issue when I arrived, given the large number of vacancies in this department.”
Meanwhile, she described economic development as “very brisk,” noting that the active projects handled at Islip’s Industrial Development Agency over the past two years has surpassed any previous two-year period in its entire 42-year history.
“These projects have invested more than $250,000,000 in private sector money into Islip Town, creating and saving more than 4,000 jobs,” she said.
Carpenter stated that Islip’s set of unique assets and resources – including historic buildings, beaches, parks, marinas, golf courses, Fire Island and Long Island MacArthur Airport – would keep Islip’s business environment competitive for many years to come. Recent developments at LIMA include working with state and county officials to build a customs facility for commercial flights, as well as two new airlines – Elite and National Airways – slated to commence flights.
“LIMA is truly a gem in the Town of Islip and is on the cusp of a meaningful expansion of service,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter also highlighted the efforts of the town’s commissioners and officials – a number of whom were newly hired or appointed in the past year.
“Our employees, and our residents, top the incredible list of assets we have in our town,” she said.
The most recent hire is Aviation and Transportation Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken, who was voted in by the Islip Town Board last Tuesday.
“We welcome the commissioner to our team and look forward to working with her as we take our airport to new heights,” said Carpenter.
In addition, Carpenter pledged that her administration would continue to improve transparency with residents.
“Our roles and responsibilities are basic: to listen to the needs of our residents, provide the necessary leadership to fulfill those needs, and strive for a better, stronger community,” she said. “Residents have a direct line to my office through our Constituent Services staff.”
Carpenter also referenced the ongoing cleanup resulting from the dumping scandal at Roberto Clemente Park.
“A very high priority for the town is the re-opening of Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood,” she said. “We have formed an advisory committee of community residents as we await approval from NYSDEC so that we can move forward with the restoration of Roberto Clemente Park.”
Ultimately, Carpenter said that she is dedicated to bringing the Town of Islip into the best shape possible.
“I am committed to working hard and making the tough decisions that will continue to improve Islip Town’s finances, its current bond rating, the quality of life for all our residents in all our hamlets,” she said. “[My goal is to] leave town government and its assets in a better place than it was when I took office.”
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