By John Nugent
East Hills’ Board of Trustees reviewed ways to generate revenue and cut village expenses with Hempstead’s deputy chief of staff, economic development and government efficiency at its meeting Wednesday.
Adam Haber, the Hempstead official who presented to the board, stated that a close examination of Village policies and procedures could reveal many opportunities to operate more efficiently and reduce expenses.
He cited a Grant Thornton study that saved Nassau County $250,000 by converting its payroll from paper checks to direct deposit.
Among other suggestions were the establishment of a foreclosure registry that would produce fees from foreclosure proceedings. Haber, who lives in the village, noted that there are now 42 homes in foreclosure in East Hills.
Also, auditing of telephone and utility bills to identify unnecessary charges and negotiation of credit card processing fees were among a long list of ideas that could result in increased revenue for the village. Haber noted that the Town of Hempstead cut processing fees in half by hiring a new vendor.
The board stated that the idea of installing cameras on school buses to ticket vehicles that do not stop when required is not an option as only the police department can issue tickets for moving violations.
Mayor Michael Koblenz said that the village is always looking for ways to cut costs and added that “taxes have been frozen for eight years.” He also said that the board will be looking further into Haber’s suggestions to automate functions in the building department.
The board also announced that security cameras will be installed at entrances and exits to the Village. A $250,000 grant has been obtained from state Assemblyman Charles Lavine that will be applied toward the total $350,000 cost.
Additionally, the village has enlisted a team of high school students who are available to assist seniors and others who need help with computer skills. There is no charge to village residents for this service.