Suffolk County Authorizes OTB To Declare Bankruptcy
Suffolk County officials authorized Suffolk Regional Off-Track-Betting Corporation to pursue Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
received unanimous approval from the county legislature Wednesday morning in a special session to seek permission to declare Chapter 9 in order to reorganize. The measure was signed by County Executive Steve Levy that afternoon, allowing the corporation to move forward with filing for bankruptcy on Friday.
Suffolk OTB plans to move immediately to begin restructuring the company, according to President and CEO Jeffery Casale. He said the corporation is at least two to three months behind in paying out to tracks, where normal operations call for settling bills within 30 days of the end of each month.
The company's re-organizational plans call for the closure of several of its 11 facilities, reducing down to six or seven on-site betting locations. The Hauppauge Raceway and the two other properties it owns will be remain open, Casale said. However, the Huntington location on Jericho Turnpike will be closed by the end of March.
"We have been mulling about that for quite some times. It's not the kind of facility we want to show," Casale said.
The closures and layoff of employees will occur over the next two to three months, Casale said. The corporation has already laid off approximately eight employees, and expects to layoff another eight to 10 during further restructuring. Others will be shifted into its telephone betting department, which continues to grow.
East End Politicians Rally Support To Create Limited Sunday Bus Service
East End politicians are making a second attempt at bringing Sunday bus service to their residents, by narrowing their focus on specific routes and who's paying.
Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, is sponsoring a second bill to offer Sunday bus service on the S92 and 10C routes after an effort to offer countywide service was vetoed by Levy in January.
Schneiderman has limited his focus to these two Sunday routes, claiming they have the highest Saturday ridership of all routes in 2010. Passengers of these routes would face a 50-cent rate increase, to $2 per ride to cover the extended service.
The rate increase would not affect Suffolk County taxpayers across the board, which had been Levy's reason for vetoing the countywide Sunday bus service.
The bill is expected to come before the legislature for a vote at its general meeting this upcoming Tuesday.
For more on this story and local bus riders' reactions, read the
County Executive, Police Announce Murder Rate Drops in Suffolk
Suffolk County officials announced violent crime, particularly murder/manslaughter, have been greatly reduced early in 2011.
Levy joined with Police Commissioner Richard Dormer Wednesday to announce there has been a 100 percent decrease in murder within Suffolk County. There have been zero reported murders/manslaughters between Jan. 1 and March 15, 2011; as compared to 10 reported cases during the same period in 2010.
This appears part of a larger trend as officials said violent crimes have also dropped by 36.7 percent between 2010 and 2011 based on a Jan. 1 to March 6 comparison. Police reported forcible rapes dropped 30 percent, robberies fell by 42.2 percent and aggravated assaults were down 28 percent.
"These latest statistics show that our dedicated crime-fighting efforts in Suffolk are working — and working very well,” said Levy, who noted that violent crime in 2010 had been cut by 10.4 percent versus 2009, in a press statement. “The dramatic 100 percent reduction in murders, year to date, should be a source of pride for the police department. While the overall violent crime rate was down sharply, there was concern over a rising murder rate. But it appears that anomaly has waned.”
Other crime activity in Suffolk County also fell 18.9 percent based on these early reports. Police report property crime is down 17.4 percent, larcenies down 19.7 percent and motor vehicle theft is down 34.8 percent.