Old Westbury officials held their second town hall meeting Thursday to update residents in an open forum about ongoing village projects and changes to day-to-day operations.
Mayor Fred Carillo welcomed the crowd in the village’s public works garage behind Village Hall with Trustees Cory Baker, Leslie Fastenberg and Edward Novick.
Fastenberg focused her remarks on her “dream of a new Old Westbury, where our real estate is highly valued, our community is beautiful and where litter is rare.”
A proponent of the village’s inaugural Farmers Market this summer, Fastenberg said the beautification committee has been working hard around the village but recently realized not all visions could become reality under the current budget.
A new nonprofit organization, Friends of Old Westbury, was recently formed to help fund some of these beautification projects. The group is separate from the village and raises money for projects outside the budget.
Baker, also the village’s police commissioner, said the force currently employs 26 officers, including Police Chief Robert Glaser. Baker said the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust tournament this summer brought approximately 14,000 people to the Glen Oaks Club during the weekend and caused “minimal inconvenience” for the residents.
Novick, who filled in for Trustee Marina Chimerine, who also serves as commissioner of public works, spoke about the expansion of the village’s new water meter pilot program, which will reduce the workload of public works employees and keep residents up to date on their water use though a mobile app or website.
“Each and every resident would be able to monitor their water usage on a daily basis, a monthly basis, an annual basis, and at the same time, that information would completely eliminate the potential for any error or excess labor in reading the old meters,” Novick said.
Carillo said currently employees read the meters and write the numbers down by hand before returning to Village Hall and transposing the number a second time, leaving space for human error resulting in incorrect billing. Novick said the new system will also help residents who are out of town check that their usage has not increased from a leak.
Novick also said the village’s newest well, No. 7 located behind Old Westbury County Club, has been drilled and the village will seek to install a one-million-gallon water tank as well as a well house through approximately $3.7 million in bonds. Novick said no decisions have been made, and residents would have to approve bond measures.
“We expect that well will be online by this time next year,” Novick said.
Novick, the village’s budget officer, also said the village has improved its accounting measures, updating them to new technology allowing officials to examine the budget regularly.
“Realistically, if you’re running a corporation, you have to be able to look within the confines of your systems to see exactly how it’s running, and that’s another issue we’ve overcome,” Novick said. “We can look at our projected budget versus the actual budget and stay on track.”