I'm pleased to welcome Patch.com to the Internet and to the Long Beach family. Patch will be available for Long Beach residents to find out the latest news about the city and a myriad of information concerning government, recreational and cultural activities. I thank Long Beach Patch for the opportunity to provide its readers with a look at the state of our city.
We are proud of the work we have been doing in all facets of the community, from capital improvement projects, winning federal and local grants to upgrade our bus fleet, installing energy-efficient inductive lighting along Park Avenue, and our new transportation contract with the Town of Hempstead to haul the city's refuse to the Merrick transfer station rather than driving to Suffolk county.
We continue to host at Kennedy Plaza the popular Farmers' Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday from May through November, and Art in the Plaza, held every Sunday during the same period. Also, for the second successful year, the city has assisted in the events of the Long Beach Waterfront Warriors organization, who invite wounded soldiers and their families for a few days of relaxation on our beaches. This year over 35 families were housed by local residents and the Allegria Hotel, and treated to surf lessons and other activities, including a trip to Liberty and Ellis Islands, as well as a tour of Ground Zero.
We have opened new parking lots in the West and East ends of town, and constructed state of the art playgrounds, including several splash parks, as well s handicap accessible beach entrances, and our boardwalk restoration continues as we work with the Army Corps of Engineers about the possibility of a new boardwalk.
Thousands of beach-goers come to our city each year to enjoy our beaches and restaurants, and to listen to the great music of our free summer concert series on the beach three times a week. The city has taken over the Ice Arena on our bay front, and offers a range of programs and sessions for everyone from beginners to hockey players to figure skaters all year.
At last, the city has been able to hold the line on its budgetary responsibility. Last year we were able to reduce taxes by two percent — giving back to the community for a second year in a row. For fiscal year 2010-2011, taxes increased by less than three percent. In summary, the city's tax rate went up by less than one percent for the last three years.
Each year we look forward to annual events such as the arts and crafts shows on the boardwalk and the Fine Arts Show and Fall Festival, both at Kennedy Plaza. We are the City by the Sea, a vibrant, bracing and wonderful place for children to grow-up, and lovely place for grown-ups to enjoy the amenities of city and beach life.
We welcome you to visit our official website at longbeachny.org and view a host of information for anyone living in Long Beach or those interested in this paradise nestled on the Atlantic Ocean.