Herald Life chats with Bellmore-Merrick’s county legislators

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“My number one goal is to be responsive to constituent questions and problems. People elect their local representatives … to solve those kinds of nuts-and-bolts problems that local government can solve. And I’d want the people in Merrick, even though it’s just a small part, to feel that they can reach out to me and that I can help them in any way I can.”

Curran said that promoting affordability in Nassau County is among her top policy goals. She said she wants to help make it “more affordable and attractive for young people to stay.

“The county can help encourage and promote smart-growth initiatives — mixed-use development, such as what you have in Rockville Centre, for instance, and I think Bellmore provides a nice example of that as well, by the train station,” Curran said. “There are models that can be adapted around the county to keep it more attractive and affordable for young people, and that, of course, broadens the tax base for everyone.” Broadening the tax base would help alleviate individual households’ tax bills, she said.

Curran said the county’s property assessment system is largely to blame for high taxes, and she called fixing it “the $64 million question.”

“I think we need to make sure that we have competent professionals in that office doing the assessment,” Curran said. “And something that I think we should be looking at long-term … the possibility of having the towns and the villages doing the assessment. They’re closer to the ground. They know their areas better than the county does. Maybe it’s worth looking at … getting the county out of the assessment business.”

She also agreed with Denenberg on what needs to be done to shore up the Bay Park and Cedar Creek sewage treatment plants, both of which Hurricane Sandy weakened — that is, borrow money to fix the plants as quickly as possible owing to their critical importance.

“From what I hear, [Bay Park Plant is] held together with bubble gum and scotch tape right now,” Curran said. “And I’m worried that it’s an environmental disaster just waiting to happen … I don’t think that we can afford to wait any longer to get it done. But we do have to make sure that there is review, that there are benchmarks, and that it’s done very, very well.”

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