City Discusses Changes To Charter

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A total of 10 public hearings were held at the recent Glen Cove City Council meeting to discuss amendments to the city charter based on the recommendations of the charter review commission. Additionally, two city buildings will soon be equipped with solar power.

The council passed a power purchase agreement with Harvest Power LLC, for purposes of designing, constructing, installing, operating, maintaining, replacing and repairing a solar photovoltaic electric generation system for the firehouse at 10 Glen Cove Ave. and the Glen Cove Senior Center at 130 Glen St.

Carlo P. Lanza from Harvest Power discussed the proposal for solar panels on the roofs of both buildings. He said installment will yield the city approximately $114,000 in future energy savings over the 25-year agreement at the firehouse and an estimated energy savings of $171,000 over the 25-year term of the agreement at the senior center.

“Harvest Power will install, maintain and warrant all equipment at the site for 25 years,” Lanza said. “The city lays out no money and has no initial expense, but pays a monthly charge based on the metered power system produced.”

Tony Jimenez asked how the construction would impact the firehouse.

“During the installation period, there should be minimal to no major disruption to the functioning of the firehouse,” Lanza said, noting they would coordinate with the chief.

Carolyn Willson, chair of the city’s charter review commission—which consists of 13 community members—made recommendations for adjustments to the charter. Before she presented the findings, Spinello clarified that the council will vote on the adjustments after the second part of the public hearing later this month, when all council members are present, as Councilman Tim Tenke was absent.

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Carolyn Willson, chair of the city’s charter review commission (Photo by Tab Hauser)

“We started working on this last May,” said Willson, noting they invited input from the city attorney, the controller, building and public works directors and police chief, but not from any elected official.

“Most of what we did was housekeeping; we’re trying to get it up to date, we’re trying to eliminate any contradictions,” said Willson.

The first charter was written in 1918, when Glen Cove first became a city. Since 1979, she said “piecemeal things” were added and they found lots of contradictions. The commission made changes to six out of 10 articles.

Willson discussed the changes to several sections, mainly changes in language in order to clarify certain things, such as the hours of operation of city hall and that council members be “physically present” to cast a vote.

Steve Gonzalez questioned the removal of the word “exclusive” of the mayor for voting on appointments.

Councilman Roderick Watson agreed with that point and asked if the mayor could be the tiebreaker. Former councilman Tony Gallo said he is against allowing the mayor to vote on appointments.

“I believe by adding in that provision…it makes the office of the mayor even more powerful,” said Gallo. “I believe it would be best for the city that the mayor does not have that ability.”
Another public hearing will be held to review another section of the charter at the June 7 city council meeting. The charter and revisions can be viewed online at the city’s website.

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