Huntington – Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci has released a statement related to the Town’s return to pre-pandemic in-person staffing levels at Huntington Town Hall and the return to in-person public meetings this July:
The decision to return to pre-pandemic in-person staffing levels at Town Hall was made by this administration over one month ago when we started phasing in higher in-person staffing levels in our departments with the goal of resuming 100% in-person staffing at Town Hall by June 7th; this decision was relayed by the administration to all Town employees on May 3rd with the goal of addressing any issues or concerns related to returning to fully in-person staffing within our departments before publicly announcing the return to 100% staffing and in-person public meetings.
Since establishing the Town’s reopening plan, which officially reopened Town facilities to employees from all departments on June 8th of last year, just two short months after the initial mandated shutdowns, we have seen a tremendous amount of cooperation between departments and employees. This cooperation facilitated a fundamental transformation of Town operations, which was necessary given the realities surrounding COVID-19. Just like other municipalities across the United States, we had to rely on best practices and the knowledge, expertise and devotion of countless individuals to put in place a plan that would see us through this complex period of history.
I am very happy to say that we have been tremendously successful so far, and I would like to thank all Town employees for their part in the overall process. However, the process that began at the beginning of the pandemic is ongoing. We are constantly learning about new strategies and techniques and applying them in an expeditious fashion. Furthermore, the needs of the Town vary over the course of the year based on the services that are provided, therefore, our reopening plan has been updated numerous times.
Due to the feedback we have received from our department directors and the success of the month-long phase-in, I am pleased to announce Town Hall is now operating at pre-pandemic in-person staffing levels as of Monday, June 7th, 2021.
While the pandemic made all government agencies take a deeper look at how we deliver services to our residents and businesses, the Town of Huntington was well-prepared to handle the biggest challenge the Town and the nation has faced in decades, if not the past century.
We made use of existing online services and adapted to bring government to the public virtually, keeping the Town of Huntington open for business even during the most extreme phases of the shutdown. Our reopening plan served as a model for other municipalities, we safely reopened Town Hall to the public, continued outdoor Parks & Recreation programming for our young residents last year without a single COVID-19 case among over 1,000 campers, reopened our beaches without a single incident, cut red tape and implemented new processes to assist our businesses in reopening, and generated a budget for 2021 that fell far under the Tax Cap without cutting any services – a rare achievement compared to most Long Island municipalities; we even launched the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, a first-of-its-kind Town court, or tribunal, on Long Island that hears, adjudicates and streamlines the resolution of code violations and quality of live issues.
At Town Hall, we will continue the appointment-based visitor system implemented during the pandemic to make your visit to Town Hall a more efficient process. We are in the process of reviewing a new Town facility security plan and once that is approved and fully implemented we will resume walk-in visits, as in the past, with scheduled meetings being prioritized.
PARKS & RECREATION SUMMER FACILITIES & PROGRAMS
Town Beaches will remain open to Town of Huntington residents only this year. The Dix Hills Pool and the Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo Memorial Spray Park at Elwood Park will be open to residents only by registration only at https://wwwTOHParks.net. Skate Parks at Greenlawn Park and Veterans Park are accessible with a Resident Recreation I.D. Card. All Parks & Recreation summer programming is open by registration at https://wwwTOHParks.net. The Dix Hills Ice Rink is open to all.
HUMAN SERVICES MOVE & SENIOR CENTER REOPENING
Our entire Department of Human Services and all of its Divisions, including Senior Citizens, Disability Services, Minority Affairs, Veterans' Affairs and Women’s Services, are now fully located under one roof at the Village Green Center/John J. Flanagan Center at 423 Park Avenue, Huntington. This move will promote inter-departmental efficiency and help alleviate parking congestion for visitors to Huntington Town Hall.
The Town is still determining reopening logistics for the Town of Huntington Senior Center and Adult Day Care program.
While operational assessments and adjustments were necessitated over the past 16 months, pre-pandemic security concerns were identified with the new policies and procedures implemented to keep Town facilities and services running during the different phases of the shutdown. Town Hall is more efficient, accessible and safe now than ever before for day-to-day operations and our plan is to return to in-person public meetings when security concerns related to large public gatherings are fully mitigated.
We have been eagerly anticipating a return to 100% staffing and in-person public meetings since March 2020. I am aware some have called for a hasty reopening and a return to the way things used to be but we are changed as a nation and as a Town, and for the better; we are smarter, more efficient and the most prepared we have ever been to tackle any challenge. As Town Supervisor and Chief Executive of our local government, I have a different, informed perspective on operations. It has always been a priority of this administration to deliver accountable and efficient services while ensuring the safety of our residents and staffers.
We will return to in-person public meetings in July; public hearings have been heavily promoted as being conducted virtually for the past year and we plan to hold our June 15th Town Board meeting virtually as publicized. The Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals will each determine when they will resume in-person meetings in July based on logistics related to their publicized virtual hearings and other factors.
I look forward to continuing the necessary work ahead, and I am confident that we will continue
to make great strides together. Please stay safe and healthy.
We will see you in person at the July 13th, 2021 Town Board meeting!