Additional misdemeanor charges were filed Thursday against Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, who allegedly had considered paying a female subordinate $10,000 after she had filed a claim of sexual harassment against him.
Bonilla was arrested last Friday after the Republican town clerk "attempted to obtain intimate photos" of the aforementioned subordinate.
A total of three women in their 20s have made allegations “of a sexual nature” against Bonilla, describing a “hostile work environment.”
Bonilla is currently charged with two counts of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petit larceny. He has already entered a plea of not guilty and is expected to return to court on October 26.
The Bellmore resident has not yet confirmed whether or not he will resign from his position as town clerk.
Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and members of the town board have called for Bonilla to resign in the wake of the scandal.
2013 Town Budget
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray presented her 2013 proposed budget on September 28. The proposal reduces the tax levy on all Town of Hempstead residents by 0.5 percent, or $1.3 million overall.
The $419.4 million 2013 budget accounts for $262.2 million to be paid via property taxes with $15.3 million in mortgage recording revenues, $3.8 million in state per capita aid and $13.2 million in refuse disposal revenues.
“In this difficult economy, neighbors are economizing and prioritizing their spending to make ends meet,” Murray said. “Town residents deserve the same responsible budgeting and unflinching fiscal decision making from their government leaders. I am proud to present a budget that reduces total town taxes, controls spending under our discretion and justifies the highest Wall Street credit ratings available.”
Murray also touted that her budget does not rely on “gluttonous borrowing” or one-shot revenue items to achieve balance.
“My 2013 budget shows the highest regard for taxpayers by reducing the town’s tax levy without resorting to fiscal gimmicks,” she said.
The budget also reduces the about paid to the town’s debt, which is down 15 percent from 2010. Salaries have also been cut by 1.2 percent in 2013. The budget also includes $50 million in capital projects including construction of a 16,000 square-foot recreation and social center and downtown beautification projects in Oceanside, Baldwin and Elmont.
“I am proud to present a budget that is fiscally prudent, maintains all programs in full force and reduces the tax burden for Hempstead Town residents,” Murray said.
“Pilot” Resident Parking Permits Program at Bellmore Train Station
The town is launching a new “pilot” permit parking program for a portion of the parking lots at the Bellmore Long Island Rail Road Station.
Town resident permits will be issued for 227 commuter-parking spaces that are being established exclusively for Town of Hempstead residents. Currently, all 1,800 parking spaces at the Bellmore train station are open to commuters from any municipality. The new pilot program aims to ensure more parking opportunities for town residents who utilize the train stations.
“We believe the launching of this parking program at the Bellmore train station will provide greater parking access to our residents who utilize the train,” Murray said in a statement. “The issuance of resident parking permits at the Bellmore train station will certainly be welcomed by our township’s hard working residents who commute to work every day.”
Residents can obtain the Hempstead Town resident permits on October 11-12 and October 18-19 at the Bellmore Rail Road Station.
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Animal Shelter Fees Waived
The town is waiving fees for new pet adoptions at its shelter in Wantagh as well as providing low-cost rabies vaccinations during their annual pet fair and rabies clinic on October 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Residents adopting a new pet will have their fees waived for adoptions, rabies vaccinations, spaying/neutering and microchipping. The shelter has also partnered with the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association to provide rabies vaccinations for pets that already have a home for $10 (free rabies shots, spaying/neutering and microchipping applies to pets adopted at October 6 event).
“We at the Animal Shelter are proud to once again host the annual Pet Adoption Fair and Rabies Clinic in conjunction with the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association,” said Shelter Director Cindy Iacopella. “We encourage all residents to come adopt a new furry pal while adoption fees are waived or bring their existing pet to have it vaccinated against rabies.”
All residents seeking to have their pets vaccinated must register in advance by calling the shelter at 516-785-5220 (limit of 3 pets per family).
The town will also be providing dog licensing services for $10 for a spayed/neutered pet (must provide spay/neuter certificate) and $18 for a non-spayed/non-neutered pet.
Microchipping will also be available for a modest fee of $25.
All payments at this event are cash only. All dogs must be on leashes; cats in pet carriers.