North Hempstead town hall meetings back in-person

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North Hempstead lawmakers, though sitting behind protective plastic, met with the public face-to-face at a town hall meeting for the first time since Governor Cuomo's executive order on holding government meetings via video conference expired. (Photo by Samuele Petruccelli)

Town of North Hempstead legislators held their first in-person town hall meeting last Thursday since March 2020, authorizing a Long Island steel company to construct a 9/11 memorial at Manhasset Valley Park.

Though councilmembers unanimously approved over 60 resolutions on the agenda, the recent expiration of an executive order issued by Gov. Cuomo meant nearly 13 items had to be rescheduled from their original dates.

Previously, Cuomo’s COVID-19 state of emergency authorized local government meetings to convene virtually via video conference calls.

That order then expired on June 24, after North Hempstead had posted the legally required notices stating upcoming meetings were to be held virtually. Since the authority for virtual meetings ended, those notices no longer complied with the law.

Accordingly, new notices for the in-person hearings were issued and the dates were pushed back.

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said she welcomed to again being face-to-face with residents in town hall.

“One of the best things about doing this is actually interacting with people,” Bosworth said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “We had a lot of interactive things that were happening, but there is no substitute to seeing people in person and having that kind of interaction. It’s a different dynamic.”

Before voting on resolutions, the town council heard from residents in a session of open time. One resident said he was concerned about the town’s enforcement of a partial ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.

“There are 230,000 people in the town of North Hempstead,” Bosworth said. “I’m not going to tell you I know each and every one of them, but I know the ones that are active.”

The town of North Hempstead was gifted two beams from the collapsed twin towers at th4 World Trade Center. One is currently displayed on the second-floor lobby of town hall. The other, which will be displayed at another location in Manhasset, is approximately 19 feet tall.

“The goal is that it will be there to recognize the 20th anniversary,” Bosworth said. “The best-laid plans often go astray, but that is certainly the hope.”

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