The village board recently adopted a resolution to transfer the village’s birth and death records to the Town of North Hempstead—a cost saving measure that will benefit the village in the long run.
“Over the last 100 years, we’ve gone from the occasional local birth or death to having a major hospital here,” said Village Clerk Joe Scalero. “A number of years ago when the village was struggling financially, there were three extra staff people in the clerk’s office. Between all of the existing staff, they shared these [registrar] duties as basically part-time functions.”
A typical village produces 100 to 300 records a year. Since Mineola has NYU Winthrop Hospital, it produces 5,000 to 6,000 on birth records alone. Due to increased duties, staff members are now doing registrar duties full-time.
“What was shared between the four to six other employees as part-time is now the full-time duty of two employees,” said Scalero. “It doesn’t generate the revenue to pay for those employees. We are now at a point where because of state imposed limits as to what we can charge for those fees we will be entering a phase where if we stay in the business of registrar, we will be losing money on it.”
Anyone seeking birth or death records from NYU Winthrop Hospital has to come to Village Hall for records, meaning that close to 85 to 90 percent of the people the village serves are not village residents.
“We have a duty to provide equal service to everyone, but that means that staff cannot perform the duties that I think our residents come to expect,” said Scalero. “The mayor and I have worked closely on this along with our treasurer and in order to stem the hemorrhaging of money that is going to begin this year, we’d like to get out of the registrar business.”
By law, the town has the primary responsibility for registrar functions and must absorb those functions if the village opts out.
“By opting out, the [Town of North Hempstead] will absorb those functions,” explained Scalero. “We’ve already been in communication with them and they are eager to take this on with their staff with no problem.”
According to Scalero, the two current staff members who currently handle registrar functions can be repurposed to do other duties that will directly serve the village residents.
“[The transfer] will begin in what is estimated to take 12 to 18 months,” explained Scalero. “Over time as we transfer physical records to the town, we’ll notify the public. I anticipate this being closer to 12 months. The town just needs time to physically take the records and digitize them.”
NYU Winthrop Hospital and funeral homes will be notified at some point.