September 25, 2018

dinapoli.pngLICA Honors Local Legislators & Comptrollers

On Friday, Sept. 14, LICA was pleased to welcome more than 200 guests including 30+ local elected officials, to their Annual Bi-County Legislative Breakfast. The meeting opened with the pledge, led by LICA’s 2018 PAC Honoree, Jim Gaughran who is running for NYS Sentate (5th District), and a brief welcome by Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim. LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst then greeted our guests and provided the attendees with an industry update featuring current infrastructure projects including private, public works and ongoing LIRR projects, as well as the status of the state’s capital plan and MAP 21 program. Herbst also spoke of LICA’s ongoing efforts to try and obtain funding to finish reconstruction of Route 347, and noted the upcoming referendum on water quality put forth by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Herbst then asked the County Executive to call up the legislators and other elected officials in attendance to receive a small award from LICA, presented by LICA Chairman Jim Pratt, in the form of a contractors’ measuring wheel, reminding them that their “success will be measured in both miles and milestones.”

Following that presentation, Herbst hosted a joint discussion with Nassau and Suffolk County Comptrollers Jack Schnirman and John M. Kennedy (respectively) regarding county payment policies and procedures among other related topics. Comptroller Kennedy spoke in depth about the need for government to upgrade their system operations and adopt technology which will greatly improve efficiency, saving both time and money. He noted that the cost for his county to issue one paper check was $2.28, versus 25 cents to make an electronic payment. And when you issue more than 225,000 checks a year, the savings add up quickly! Comptroller Schnirman provided the audience with some simple yet important guidelines for contractors to remember when submitting claims for payment to avoid delays.

The keynote address was presented by LICA’s special guest speaker, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. DiNapoli applauded Herbst for his leadership and LICA for their continued advocacy (specifically mentioning our recent “Fix This LI Road” campaign), noting that over the years LICA has helped win important budget increases for critical transportation and infrastructure funding. The Comptroller went on to provide an update on the economy (both locally and statewide) in the areas of unemployment (LI is at 3.9%, below the 4.3% state average), jobs growth, sales tax collection, tourism and housing markets. DiNapoli’s comments then turned toward the state budget, noting both positive trends and areas of concern. He referenced his office’s Cracks in the Foundation report, which found that New York’s local governments need to invest $250 billion over the next 20 years in transportation and wastewater infrastructure, just to keep them in good repair. The local bridge report they released noted that the average age of local bridges is 59 years and that 12 of Long Island’s 155 bridges are structurally deficient with another 63 labeled as functionally obsolete. The Comptroller stressed the “need to plan ahead and strategically target our capital resources.”

DiNapoli also touched on the topic of timely payments, gladly acknowledged LICA’s internal findings that NY State was the fastest to pay contractor claims, averaging 22 days (compared to the slowest, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, which averaged 94 & 95 days respectively). He ended his remarks noting that as State Comptroller, he will continue to work “shoulder to shoulder” with LICA to send a clear message that a modern, safe transportation infrastructure means a stronger, more prosperous New York. LICA then presented the Comptroller with an award for his dedication and service.

In addition to thanking our county and state comptrollers, LICA also wanted to acknowledge the work of several local comptrollers who work hard every day to “keep the engines of government running smoothly” as noted on the sticker that adorned the old-fashioned oil cans which LICA presented to them, together with a certificate of recognition. LICA was pleased to honor:

  • Comptroller Steve Ballas, Town of Oyster Bay
  • Comptroller Kevin Conroy, Town of Hempstead
  • Comptroller Kristie Hansen-Hightower, Town of Southold
  • Comptroller Peggy Karayianakis, Town of Huntington
  • Comptroller Joseph Ludwig, Town of Islip

The September breakfast event also included the debut of the new Fall issue of LICA’s Long Island Road Warriors magazine, which featured NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Region 1 Director Patrick Beckley as the cover and lead story. We were pleased to present Patrick with a framed cover photo of his special issue.

LICA would like to thank everyone who attended, especially our generous sponsors (below) who supported the event. To see more photos from the event, visit the photo gallery here

Bridge Sponsors:

  • Edward Ehrbar, Inc.
  • Grace Industries/Haugland Group
  • IUOE Local 15
  • IUOE Local 138
  • Posillico
  • Teamsters Local 282

Highway Sponsors:

  • KDV Law
  • JESCO, Inc.
  • NUCO Painting Corp.

LI Road Warriors Magazine is Here! Place an ad or find out more here.