NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)— An investigation is taking place in Nassau County after taxpayer money was spent on new landscaping projects that now need to be redone.
Michael O’Donald of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan he is outraged at what he calls a “landscaping boondoggle.” The town of North Hempstead authorized a $100,000 landscaping borrowing plan after the association pleaded for plantings to enhance the boulevard divide along Hilldale Avenue.
Day lilies, rose bushes, azaleas and hostas were planted, but never cared for, as they withered and wilted.
Highway workers reported a broken watering truck, but residents want to know why those workers earned overtime.
“I and other people get out there and clean and weed and it died because you didn’t water. You have the little, rinky dink garden hose. This is insane, this is the wealthiest town in Nassau County,” O’Donald said, adding that he was “incensed” his tax dollars were used in this manner.
Flowers were thirsty in the heat, weeds sprung up from lack of mulch and plants were damaged when delivery trucks drove over them, according to residents.
A second group of plantings died in New Cassel along the Prospect Avenue median.
The Hyman family said some of the flowers were stolen.
“It did look nice when it was growing at one point in time, but now a waste of time and a waste of taxpayer money,” Yvette Hyman said.
Ultimately, the town paid for the plantings without borrowing, but the supervisor said concerns arose about the Highway Department’s monitoring of the project and overtime pay.
The once beautiful flowers were delivered and planted by local nurseries – Eagle in New Hyde Park and Vigliotti’s Great Gardens in Westbury.
“You can’t expect your flower beds to look terrific if you don’t water, weed, fertilize when necessary, not a piece of furniture,” Charles Vigliotti said.
The town supervisor said she has directed the town attorney to review the median plantings projects. The finance director must now approve all Highway Department overtime.
Town officials would not disclose how much overtime was paid related to the landscaping project.