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Patch Chat: Mayor Talks Key Food, Old Mill Court and 2013 Budget

Mayor Fran Murray addresses residents' concerns on incidents stemming from Old Mill Court area.

Rockville Centre Mayor Fran Murray sat down with RVC Patch to discuss residents' concerns over incidents stemming from, how close the village is to filling its , and an update on the new Key Food replacing .

RVC Patch: In a we ran on the site, residents said they are over some of the incidents stemming from the Old Mill Court area in the village. What is the village doing to combat these issues?

Mayor Fran Murray: I know that a good mayor will surround himself with people who know what they are doing. I’m not an expert. When people came to me and said there was an issue in the Old Mill Court area, I went to our expert — our police commissioner. He sat down with the board and explained the issues going on down there that had not been addressed over the past four years. I can’t tell you what they are — it’s pretty obvious though — but we have been working diligently with other law enforcement agencies to rid Rockville Centre of those problems. And as you see, there have been arrests already. Only reason there’s arrests is because we’re going after it and we’re going to clean it up.

RVC Patch: Do you have an update on what's happening with the biggest business vacancies in the village?

Mayor Fran Murray: Waldbaum's went out of business, which I have no control over. It’s not village property, it’s private. Key Food bought the bankruptcy notes. We have no control over that either. Just last week, the owner (of the new Key Food) was in my office and he explained to us that it will be a unique, special test of a new type of store for Key Food. They are gutting the store, ceiling to floor, and it will be a high-end Key Food. We want quality people coming into rent or buy in our village. We have a vibrant downtown and empty stores don’t sit well with me. With Key Food, I think it will be wonderful. They plan on drawing from Lynbrook and East Rockaway. I don’t think it hurts King Kullen. It brings more people to the area.

RVC Patch: What about the and the ?

Mayor Fran Murray: Since I became a mayor, the word is out that it’s not the "Land of no" anymore. We’re pro business, we want to fill up our stores with the right clients, even though we don’t have total control over that. Three different individuals have come to us about redoing the RKO. Right now, one person has a bid in on it for retail stores and a doctor’s office. They may be tearing the building down, they’re not sure what they want to do. Another national chain restaurant is looking at it and there is another person who would like to put a cultural arts center in there with dining on the roof. We have three people that are ready to go, it’s just who gets there first.

The Holbro property on the highway is about 10,000 square feet. We have two people who want that. One is a high-end steakhouse, the other is a gourmet hamburger place.

On Harmon Drugs — there are two people who want to move in there. One is a “doc in the box,” the other is a grocery store. People are going to fill up these stores in the next couple years. Without a doubt, we will be at 99 percent occupancy in the next year and a half if all these people do what they say they’re going to do, and I believe they will.

RVC Patch: How much will the 2013 village budget increase from over the current fiscal plan?

Mayor Fran Murray: Cuomo let's us put out a resolution to override that (two percent) tax cap. We have great services in this village. Do you pay a little more for RVC police? Yeah, do you want them? We believe you do. We have the best fire department in Nassau county, our garbage services are great, our electric is wonderful. We have our own water, we’re pretty much self sustaining in this village.

The board has to vote to override the tax cap levy and we’ll do that Tuesday night. It doesn’t mean that you go over the tax cap, but we are. If you don’t put a law in place before you go over, you’re in a lot of trouble (the village is assessed financial penalty that affects the following budget). Our proposed budget is 6.9 percent, but we're trying to bring it down.

The governor said we can only raise taxes by two percent. He sent us a bill for three percent. Raising our taxes three points. Here's why. They lost money in the stock market and they are still catching up; the bill is for retirement funds and medical insurance. It’s not his fault; it’s the way the market went. That will probably continue for two more years. So every point our taxes go up, it's $275,000, so he just sent us a bill for $750,000 above what we're already paying. Our taxes are going up three percent just from that bill, another 1.4 percent is going up because house values are down. So we’re already at 4.4 percent before we’re doing anything. So we’re only raising it by two percent and that’s because we don’t know what the police department will get in the next contract. I'm the first mayor to take the PD to arbitration. I love our police, but I have to answer to the residents. 

Clark April 07, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Trident of truth you sure are spewing lies and sound like a cry baby because you took a job in the private sector. The csea is getting 0,0,1.5,2,2. Which is by far the lowest paid work force on the island. Maybe you should have taken a csea job years ago when it wasnt so attractive and we would have to hear you whha whhha whha big baby.
Kevin O'Reilly April 07, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Apples and Oranges. You are referencing salary increments with no reference to actual salaries and benefits. Are you a CSEA member?
Kevin O'Reilly April 07, 2012 at 12:24 PM
So if we peel away the Russian doll layers the real Village Chief is Schussheim. You may be right. I have seen him arrogantly park his village vehicle at the entrance to Citibank whilst using the ATM, blocking the driveway. All this while the parking lot is practically empty 20 feet away, which he has just driven thru. Mike - the Taxpayers are watching. Pls do as you would have others do. Park legitimately.
Kevin O'Reilly April 07, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Excellent suggestion. @Anthony, a point to raise with the Mayor when he next allows a press conference on crime, our Villages biggest problem.
Clark April 07, 2012 at 12:41 PM
What difference does it make Kevin. By the way Kevin, Mike Schussheim has kept the village at a triple a plus bond rating for years. Other villages and cities, Long Beach, have been down graded and have to borrow millions to make pay roll. Not rockville centre. So maybe you and trident should have done better in school and we wouldnt have to listen to you complain about a person who rides on the back of a garbage trucks salary.
LSaunter April 07, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I've been reading the Patch since it's inception, Anthony you're too nice of a guy. You believe everything that is told to you and I think the people who are running this town, the mayor and school district is using you. I agree with the above post that you really didn't push the issue with the Mayor. I have not been happy with any camp for years, I have no favorites. I'd like to say I call each situation as I see it. That being said. The Mayor needs to stop, doesn't he know he won so now he has to move on, stop finding fault with the prior administration it doesn't look good and it makes us more aware that he doesn't have any answers for RVC's problems. If memory serves me right the prior administration was there for 4 years. Most of RVCs problems developed because of neglect from the administration prior to Bossart. The Mayor's father was lucky that the economic times were as such that RVC became vibrant on its own. By the end of Father Murray's era there were backroom deals made regardless to the impact of the Village. Not so much with the Bossart administration, now we are back with the Murray family and there are more backroom deals going on. Did the Mayor surround himself with friends who stroke his ego,who have their own agenda or with people who have the VIllages best interest at hand? I think we need to realize that we are not Manhasset or Port Washington and we have to do what it right for our town. Stop trying to be like the Jones.
T April 07, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Kevin I agree that they should rid the place of crime. When I grew up there it was a peaceful place. I feel the people that where arrested there shouldn't be able to still live there. I agree with the background checks, they do that in NYC. I just really don't want to see the good people that live there get kicked out because of the bad.
T April 07, 2012 at 01:39 PM
@Peter I think the cameras are needed and would help rid the community of criminals. The only way for crime to go down is to get the criminals out. This would be the eyes of the community when the police are not around.
Kevin O'Reilly April 07, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I agree. Thank you.
Kevin O'Reilly April 07, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Clark, I did very well in school (and life), thank you very much for your concern. Do you have anything constructive to add to the topic? Btw I never mentioned anything about sanitation workers. What's your beef in that regard? I hope that you did well in school too. Cheers!
John Morrissey April 07, 2012 at 02:16 PM
LSaunter is so right. This mayor's backroom deals make me want to move out of RVC. I noticed the other day a RVC chief's vehicle parked illegally parked at the village garage. When I asked if there was an emergency I was told the mayor hired his friend. I know the mayor volunteers for RVCFD and that explains his glowing remarks about the firedepartment but enough is enough. The FD budget is ridicules. Do we really need a new truck? The RVCFD has better equipment then the city.
LSaunter April 07, 2012 at 10:43 PM
7 % increase is because we are now funding projects at the high school. I read it right here on the Patch, we have to pay for the transformers to be installed at the high school so they can have their lights. Sure they say there are 3 or 4 possibilities but we all know which one is it's going to be, any fool can see, the Village is going to pick up the tab. I think it has something to do with the Mayors cabinet related to someone on the fundraising committee for the lights.
Kevin O'Reilly April 08, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Mr Saunter, I don't believe that the Village is legally permitted to charge capital electric Installation projects against general taxes. Ths would need to be put into the Electric account and recovered via electric charges.
Dave Kloven April 08, 2012 at 01:15 PM
The CSEA workers make peanuts compaired to the average village resident. Their raises are minimal and justified. Put down your NEWSDAY and face the facts.. You live in RVC and recieve premium services.. These services keep RVC a desirable place to live which helps your home values.. These services are what seperates RVC from surrounding communities.. Every single upscale community in Nassau County has its own PD, sanitations, electric, water etc. .. Cutting or eliminating these services would be a disaster.. Would you want to rely on Nassau County?? This is not the time to be penny wise and dollar foolish.. If you can not afford the taxes , its time to move..Our taxes are NEVER going down .. they may stay the same for a short time but they will always go up.... Id rather pay more in Village tax and recieve premium services then pay the same Village tax and have services cut, programs cut,run down parks and recreation center... Just my 2 cents
Kevin O'Reilly April 08, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Are you by chance a CSEA employee? Two cents don't go far in this village and the services are far from "premium".
Frank April 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM
To entire panel. So far, this is what Mayor Murray represents to me: 1. Old School Richard J. Daley Chicago Machine style politics - at its Worst! Get the word out and tell the people to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. We know this: -OMC sucks -Hugh uptick in Crime -Fast rising population density with meager public support (Avalon, Molloy Dorms) -Businesses in town are suffering -Public welfare projects in this economy is a slap in the face -Ballparks are not the "missing link" for a better neighborhood Start calling out this administration on the promises this platform ran on. We voted for change, not more of the same. Fix the core problems and RVC will recover.
Dave Kloven April 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM
hey trident aka "the former trustee" aka dave krasula , arent you a retired federal employee? recieving a healthy pension, health benefits and yearly cost of living adjustments?? ... I also believe you get lifetime health benefits courtesy of the Village because you were a trustee ...... I dont see you giving much up? FYI your ave CSEA employee will see an average raise of 300.00 to 500.00 per year, but to pay for it , they sold out the unborn... new employees start at about 5000.00 less ... imagine that ....... Who can aford to take that job now? .. and before I go Dave, What did you do for this village? hmmmm , ahhh , I know what it is, "The Krasula Sanitation Deal" , that was a whopper ...... Lynbrook and East Rockaway are still looking to thank the Village for that one...If memory serves me, they bought the tractor trailers and we supplied the drivers in a 3 village sanitation system... But good old Dave stepped in, saw a penny somewhere and jumped all over it without reading the fine print in the new contract regarding recycling and all we heard was whoops ...... It surprises me you feel secure enough to speak at a Board Meeting... and particularly regarding employee contracts since your enjoying a pension with benefits yourself ... Why does a trustee get lifetime health benefits after they serve the village for 4 years? .. Hey Anthony, maybe you can ask Mayor Murray and find out how many former trustees are enjoying health benefits still on the Villages back?
John J Fox Sr. April 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Get a LIFE Frank read a book-take a walk!!
Frank April 13, 2012 at 04:15 PM
John J Fox Sr. I got a life. a good one. don't want this town to go to hell. And OMC is the maw of hell that is killing this town. And why don't you take a hike if you got nothing to say? You're a Big ol' "L" in my book.
David Krasula April 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Mr Kloven, I am NOT "trident." If I have something to say, I'll do so using my actual name. The CSEA workers do not make "peanuts compared to the average village resident." Many of the folks living here are civil servants, retirees, and others making do from payday to payday. The figures I quoted at the last Board meeting were the actual salary amounts paid to one of our sanitation workers, and many of them work no more than 6 hours a day so that they can go down to the beach or run their lawn care businesses. Remember, when you include wages, health insurance, and retirement, that driver costs the taxpayers $120.000+. I am proud to have been in federal law enforcement for over 25 years and worked hard for the pension I now receive. Btw, I paid 7 1/2% per year of my total salary for that pension. Most of our employees pay nothing toward their pensions, although some did pay 10% for up to the first 10 years of their employment depending on the Tier they are in. But those terms are decided in Albany. I do NOT receive heath insurance coverage from the Village. Only elected officials who have served for at least 10 years receive that benefit. Per the initiative of Chuck Joyce, we passed a law requiring former elected official who were not already receiving free coverage (I think there were 7 or 9 people) to pay 20% of the premiums thereafter. Since I'm getting close to my character limit, I'll address your other points in a following post.
David Krasula April 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Contnuing my response to Dave Kloven's piece, the new sanitation disposal contract is saving taxpayers more than $500,000/year. Yes Lynbrook bought a few trailers and tractor, but RVC taxpayers were subsidizing the cost of transfering their garbage to the Covanta plant. When we tried to get Lynbrook and East Rock to pay their fair share of our operating the transfer station, maintaining the trucks, and driving the loads, they wanted no part of it. They wanted RVC taxpayers to continue to help them out. As to recycling, there were contracts already in place and we weren't able to negotiate new ones. I'd love to see more recycling here in the Village, and new contracts to get better rates for what we do recycle, but that's for the current administration to deal with. One of the benefits of living in RVC is the services we pay for. But there are other ways to provide for some of those services, and pay for them.
Frank April 16, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Who's excited over the new Key Food? Anyone? .... beuller... beuller.... beuller
RVC native April 16, 2012 at 11:31 PM
not me... there are so many other supermarkets around. wish we could have had that Home Depot when we had the chance.
Frank April 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Tell me about it. This town is fanatically driven on permits, fences, parking, and every other little annoyance of everyday life, but heaven forbid they have to lift a pinkie to solicit quality businesses into RVC.
Frank May 11, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Wow, the anticipation of Keyfood opening soon is titillating... Come on people, even Mayor Murray said it best "...With Key Food, I think it will be wonderful...." LH...
Frank June 06, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Well, two months past and the only thing I've heard the Mayor talk about is the ballfields... Residents' expressed outrage over Old Mill Court have not died down, but try to get an update from Mayor Murray! You must've been a master of dodgeball in school Mayor! Love the following comments "..we’re going after it (section 8 crime) and we’re going to clean it up." Yeah, OK. You got a year long eviction backlog at Nassau Courts with no signs of easing and you just granted more section 8 housing in RVC. You're not going after the problem, you're exacerbating the problem! "...our electric is wonderful." first hot day of the year and we get a power outage. You want to raise rates but won't answer my question about the NYPA tie in to abate increases in BENEFITS, PENSIONS, and SALARIES for village employees. Who do you represent?
guy who skateboards January 31, 2013 at 11:08 PM
why cant Rockville Centre just make a friggin skatepark? doesn't rvc have enough friggin baseball feilds??? kids have been asking the town to make one for longer then ive been alive and they never do so, why not just have some variety in the town instead of just excepting one group of people. im sure we all know rvc people can be very stuck up at times and they can be racist at times too but whats wrong with having a skatepark?
guy who skateboards January 31, 2013 at 11:10 PM
thats what you should expect from a mayor who is the son of the last mayor... gagaha
guy who skateboards January 31, 2013 at 11:12 PM
listen clark. shut up long beach just went through hell with the storm. have a heart friend
guy who skateboards January 31, 2013 at 11:13 PM
yeah lets minimize our privacy by being watched 24 7. thats just what is happening these days.

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