2008-10-23 / Other News

Residents Are Informed On Local Concerns At Monthly Civic Meeting

By Dara Mormile

Nearly a hundred residents attended the Informed Voices Civic Association monthly meeting at Holy Family Monday evening to obtain important updates on community services and local quality of life issues, including the mortgage and economic crisis.

Captain Milt Marmara, commanding officer of the 69th Precinct, addressed residents' concerns about abandoned foreclosed homes. Some said they are worried these homes have become hangout places for kids who skip school, as well as squatters and drug dealers.

"We call the police when we see kids go into the house, but by that time, they're gone," one resident said.

Marmara said he would refer the complaints to his anti-crime unit and community affairs officers and will make sure there are frequent visits to the abandoned houses, many which have not been boarded up.

Another issue discussed was higher energy costs for homeowners compared to a year ago. Representatives from HeartShare, in collaboration with a program called Empower New York, said their organization offers free home energy audits to help residents determine if they can save fuel costs by other means.

Representatives Charlie Davis and Joe Guarnello (in photo at left) offered a presentation on the city's energy program, which is co-sponsored by Honeywell. Those living in one- to four-family homes are eligible for an assessment if they use inefficient and costly appliances.

"Legislation was recently passed by the federal government for energy companies like Con Edison to put money towards community programs," said Guarnello. "This particular program is funded by a System Benefits Charge - so it's something you're already paying into as a customer. You can arrange to have appliances such as your refrigerator replaced and a representative will give you tips on how you can lower your heating bills using cost-effective methods."

Packages with energy-saving material was also made available, which included caulking, a compact fluorescent light bulb and a thermometer.

"Even if you rent, you're eligible," Guarnello said. "You're also eligible if you're enrolled in a utility payment assistance program such as HEAP."

For more information on the Empower New York Energy Assessment program, call 1-800-263-0960.

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