delivered his 2012 Annual State of The Town Address at in Port Washington on Tuesday. The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington and Manhasset.
Kaiman highlighted such accomplishments as expanding the town's ; growing , allowing senior citizens to age in place; enhancing a school recycling program; establishing an e-waste collection program and increasing attendance in town parks and recreation programs, including two revamped facilities.
He said that in 2011 the town was recognized for its outstanding and comprehensive “performance measurement” system by the International City/County Management Association. And, that in 2010 both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s upgraded the town’s bond rating to Aa1 or its equivalent, the highest credit rating in the town’s history.
Kaiman also focused on the town's controversial Buildings Department, pledging to turn it into "a model for others throughout the region and throughout the country."
"We are not there yet, but we are well on our way," he said.
Kaiman said that when he first took office in 2004, he reviewed all town departments. During that process, he found that the department was "broken."
"I made the decision, to virtually shut down the department, clean house and start over," he said. "We added new technology, new managers, new personnel, new policies, made new laws, and advanced a new approach. It was painfully slow and it was frustrating."
The slowdown saw a dramatic decrease in certificates issued, with as few as 2,734 permits and 1,891 certificates of completion in 2007, versus 4765 permits and 3,500 certificates in 2005. And there were as few as 1,300 certificates issued in 2009, Kaiman said.
Fast forward to 2011, when the town issued issued 4,753 permits and 3,589 certificates. The department is also striving to becoming nationally accredited, he said.
"Our permit and certification processes are much faster than they once were although problem applications can find themselves delayed for months," he noted.
Still, he said the department was striving to achieve additional improvements.
"We have learned that even strict enforcement, ultimate code compliance, and intense investigation are not the only goals," he noted. "We have learned that we need to respect the impact of our policies on our residents and businesses. Delays cost money, strict enforcement of violations, new and old, create stress, frustration, and have financial consequences."
To address those concerns, he said the town now meets regularly with architectural, contractor and real estate broker associations along with attorneys, government managers and those involved in code enforcement. And in March, Kaiman aims to hold a public conference where residents can share their experiences and ideas.
"We are on solid ground and always striving to do better," Kaiman said. "Our good works have been recognized and acknowledged by independent analysts in various fields and the public is getting the benefit of a government that truly works for the people on so many levels in so many ways."