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New Charges Against Hempstead Town Clerk, 2013 Town Budget and Parking Permits

A weekly look-in at news in the Town of Hempstead.

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.

Click here to read more.

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.

paul September 30, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Sure lets all jump on the WE WILL SETTLE OUT OF COURT amount of money.... I bet the list will grow.... And probably are all friends that are ganging up on Mark.... "A total of three women in their 20s have made allegations “of a sexual nature” against Bonilla, describing a “hostile work environment.” Attorneys are vultures.... I want to see how this plays out.. We will see.....
Maria Bianca September 30, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Felix - thank God you post the same thing over and over again. The animals should be given three days to be picked up and if not then put them out of their misery.
Maria Bianca September 30, 2012 at 09:46 PM
What really amazes me is that you all give Kate Murray the credit for somehow inventing patronage jobs. I cant imagine that no politicain ever before KAte ever thought of patronage jobs what a great idea. GET A GRIP ON YOUR LIVES every politician in creation takes advantage of patronage jobs.
Felix Procacci September 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Maria Bianca, I never posted this information before. There is information I do post over and over, because I want people to know how their Town is being run. I am not sure what the purpose of your post is. I do believe (from talking to residents) that many people are unaware of what goes on in the Town. What are you upset about? If I post something you already know, don't read it. To respond to your other post about patronage jobs, yes Kate Murray didn't invent them, but she hasn't done anything to at least keep it at a reasonable level so at least the people that are being hired have a job to do and are being paid a proper salary. I posted data about other governments, and I'm sure there is patronage in those areas too, but the costs don't even come close to the levels Supervisor Murray approved for the Hempstead Animal Shelter. The data I posted shows that the Hempstead Animal Shelter is mismanaged and there is no accountability. If you don't care about what your government does, don't read articles pertaining to politics.
Robert Demarco September 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Not to the extent its done in TOH. I have a very good grip on MY life and I resent my hard earned, honest tax dollars going to people who are in make work , overpaid jobs. The perfect example is that Horan woman from the kill the kitty video. She should have been fired, not rewarded.
Citizen Kane October 01, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Taking a patronage job from the Town of Hempstead is like "selling your soul" to the devil. Just look at what's going on there?
Citizen Kane October 01, 2012 at 12:27 AM
After reading all of the updated and adjusted stories of this past week in Newsday, I am deepened toward a much bigger question? The recently intensified attempt at nobility by the Town of Hempstead seems artificially magnified from the norm and should not go unnoticed. Most of us, due to media brainwashing and conditioning never seem to follow these stories. We become dumbed down by their confusive evolution and then lose interest. I completely understand the urgency here which is top priority, but I wonder where that urgency has been otherwise to the equal, if not greater injustices of the past? I am not a fan of Mr. Bonilla’s for my own personal reasons however; I can certainly separate those feelings from “what is justice”, by reserving judgment until all that facts are in. When others read of the injustices regarding the Town of Hempstead, I would suggest they be received in good faith, and perhaps as more factual than fictional. When this Town of Hempstead divisional scandal is over, there will likely be another from the initiated rekindling of the past, and one getting closer to the core of the machine. I believe that day is “soon to be here.” I have no political or financial interest in the “Patch,” but I would like to acknowledge their contribution to Long Island as a credible the news source, and for their complete and comprehensive coverage. They are the community pulse of Long Island.
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 01:05 PM
@Robert - is there some allowable extent than? Pleawe tell us how many allowable patronage jobs is acceptable? Every politician in history has used patronage jobs. If you think anyone after Kate is going to change it you are out of your mind
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 01:07 PM
@Felix -you have posted the same junk about the animal shelter all the time. Just let the shelter euthanize all the animals and we wouldn't have these problems.
Felix Procacci October 01, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Maria Bianca, what I post is not junk, it is fact. The only way government can be reformed is if the people know ALL the facts. I do not know why you are against someone telling the truth about the operation of a government. Kate Murray is NOT going to give you the whole truth, and neither is Newsday. How can people make informed choices on Election Day if they don't have all the facts? Again, what are you objecting to in my posts? Again, what I posted about all the Long Island shelter budgets, I never posted before. But why would that matter anyway, someone may be reading my comment for the first time. I have no way of knowing who reads my comments. What is your problem with my posts, you don't like people to be informed?
Robert Demarco October 01, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Believe me, Maria, I am of sound mind. The people who are out of their minds think it is ok to have unchecked patronage. There will always be some patronage but Kate and TOH have taken it to unprecedented levels. There is supposed to be a civil service system to make it fair, but that is just a suggestion to this administration. To answer your question, NO patronage is acceptable to me. Jobs should be posted and competed for fairly. Why do you defend someone like Murray, unless you or your family are the recipients of a pastronage position. Just saying.
Robert Demarco October 01, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Yes, let's kill all the animals, Maria. You have got to be kidding. By the way, Felix is one of the most knowledgeable posters on this site. Maybe your one of the nine at the Shelter who make over $100K.
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
@Robert - if you ever expect zero patronage then you better give up the fight now as we both know regardless of the politician it will never happen. I am not defending Murray at all. I am just pointing out the REALITY of the situation that patronage always exists regardless of who is in office.
Felix Procacci October 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Maria Bianca, I do not believe anyone who posts here expects any reforms to produce perfect results. What I believe people want is some sort of rule that require governments to be transparent. Everyone, I believe, never expects perfect results, but what we do expect is when negligence is found, that the Laws protect the citizens from that negligence to continue. Yes, nothing will ever be perfect, but we should always strive to make our government more accountable to the people.
Robert Demarco October 01, 2012 at 04:28 PM
You asked me what I want, not what I expect. I want zero patronage but I expect some patronage regardless of who is in office. This current administration does what it wants and then either lies or withholds information. Their patronage is through the roof.
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 04:30 PM
@Robert - if you expect some then tell me excatly how much is acceptable patronage to you?
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 04:32 PM
@Felix - it really comes down to the point that people whine on here about the patronage that KAte Murray has like she inveted patronage, when they know that whomever is in office - patronage will always exist. We dont live in some fantasyland you seem to think exists we live in the real world.
Robert Demarco October 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Marie, expecting patronage is not the same as condoning it. I certainly do not approve of patronage. Hiring should be done based on the civil service process, which determines qualifications, not on who you know or what you have done for the Party. I hope this clarifies my position on patronage for you. Tell Kate I said hello when you pass her in the hall.
Felix Procacci October 01, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Maria, I agree with your last comment, I don't believe we live in a fantasy world. If the State can provide laws that give more transparency, we wouldn't have to discuss this in an online forum. Every one would have available to them the hiring and spending practices of each agency. Being more informed, would help residents choose better leaders. ie: If each government agency had to present a report of all its employees and justify their salaries based on similar positions in private industry, this would be a way (NOT a perfect way) to help control excessive salaries. Simple requirements like this would go a long way to improving local governments.
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 04:58 PM
@Robert - ojk so how much patronage do you expect - just answer the question and stop avoiding it. There are no superhero politicians out there who will have zero patronage.
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 05:00 PM
@Felix - nice idea but thats not even done in the public world and you would need more staff to provide all that information. But getting back to patronage - can we agree regardless of politican or political party it will always be there.
Felix Procacci October 01, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Yes Maria, there will always be some patronage. On the issue of information provided to the public, there are ways to condense information so it is easy for the public to digest. Again, I don't expect any system to be perfect, but what we have now is a free for all (there is very little oversight). On Wed. Nov 7th, at 7:30pm at the Elmont Library my civic is having a presentation about FOIL. You and everyone else are welcome to attend. I will be presenting my ideas at that meeting.
Robert Demarco October 01, 2012 at 05:44 PM
This is getting really stupid. Technically, patronage should not occur, but it does. They all do to some degree, but it is not right. If you want me to approve or condone it, you are wasting your time. It is well known that the TOH is not transparent and over does it on patronage. Once again, the Animal Shelter is the perfect example. Why is it so important that you try and pin this down. Are you a beneficiary of the system and need to be validated? You are wasting alot of energy on this. I would love to know in what department you work. Just answer the question, or are you properly schooled on TOH secrecy?
Maria Bianca October 01, 2012 at 07:41 PM
@ Rob - yes patronage will always occur it is not just a Kate issue. I do not work for the TOH but I am a realist. The only thing I am trying to pin down is you since you think some patronage is ok. I just want to know how much is ok by you.
Robert Demarco October 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
One last time: I DO NOT CONDONE PATRONAGE. It does and will always exist, but I DO NOT CONDONE IT. NO PATRONAGE IS OK BY ME. You are not a realist if you are in favor of your tax dollars being used for patronage, unless, of course, you somehow are benefiting from it. Maybe you don't work for TOH, but your obsession with my opinion indicates that maybe a family member sponges off the taxpayers. Whatever your problem, I will no longer respond to your inane inquiries.
Citizen Kane October 02, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Good Show Robert Demarco, and I totally agree.
Lorraine DeVita October 02, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Does anyone else see the hillarity in all this or is it just me. It seems SOME people feels it ok for the TOH and Kate Murray to run this Town in any they see fit as long as we DONT GET OUR TAXES RAISED> Hey Kate do what the hell you want with whom ever you want, not qualified no problem, too much money spent on patronage no problem as long as you dont raise our taxes. DID ANYONE ever think if there was even a soupcon of control fiscal responsibilty and oh wait possibly ETHICS, we would probably be taxed FAR LESS? So NOt hiking the taxes to me in not as important as ridding the system of unethical people who are proficient in insuring this town subscribes to the EMPORERS NEW CLOTHES philosophy. which basicaly is based on the masses being HOODWINKED, BLIND AS BATS and bordering on being moronicaly GULLIBLE>
Robert Demarco October 02, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Lorraine, that is exactly the point. How much lower would the tax be if TOH payroll was purged of these patronage jobs? The get nice flyers from Kate in the mail so she must be doing a good job. Uneducated and/or politically connected voters keep Kate in office.
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paul December 27, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Looks like Mark is doing just fine.. http://www.townofhempstead.org/town-clerk All we want to know is, when will Kate the slanderer get arrested? Just asking....

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