New State Sen. Thomas hosts town hall meeting

May 24, 2019

Originally published in Mid-Island Times on May 23, 2019.

The Levittown Public Library was another stop in a series of New York State Senator Kevin Thomas’s Town Hall meetings. Over thirty people attended the meeting, which took place on Thursday, May 16th.

Topics at the meeting included everything from legalizing recreational marijuana in the County to the expansion of the underground plume in Bethpage.

One Levittown resident asked about the plume and its possible long-term effects on people and its expansion to other areas in the district.

“Do you support multiple controls in the restoration efforts of the Bethpage plume?” asked the resident. “I know remediation work has been done on the ground soil but I haven’t heard anything about fixing the water itself.”

Thomas said that $100 million has been secured to restore the water wells underground, but that he has to speak to Bethpage Water District Superintendent, Michael Boufis, to get a better idea of a plan.

“Millions of dollars has been secured to better our water infrastructure and to try and contain the spread of the plume to other communities,” said Thomas. “I have spoken to several different water district’s and learned about their robust systems in which a well is immediately shutdown if any unusual substance is detected. I know Bethpage is looking into this.”

Another resident inquired about the placement of cellular boxes and antennas near school’s and residential properties.

Thomas said that he recently introduced a bill in the Senate, where telecommunications companies would have to get permission and necessary permits in order to put cellular boxes near people’s properties.

“As it stands now, if the utility companies currently have an easement on a property, they have the right to place these boxes there,” said Thomas.

He said that he understands resident’s concerns about radiation levels, and that this bill would give discretion to the homeowner, allowing them to grant permission or not.

Another issue covered was the proliferation of so called ‘zombie homes’ on Long Island, particularly in the Town of Hempstead.

Thomas said $200,000 has been secured in the Town’s budget for zombie homes, and that a study is being conducted what can be done about them.

“Just to get this straight, zombie homes are houses that have been foreclosed on and are in bad condition. They bring down property values in the area and raise people’s taxes.”

He said the study is looking to get national organization’s like Habitat for Humanity, to renovate the homes and other possible solutions.