Incumbents Damon McMullen and Jerry Maline are running unopposed for two open seats with four year terms on the Northport Village Board of Trustees. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at on Tuesday.
- Village Trustee, Commissioner of Parks & Waterways and Athletic Activities
A past commander of the , Damon McMullen, 56, said he is a community leader with the power to motivate others and tackle the task at hand. These qualities, coupled with an ability to compromise, are the winning combination in a Village Board comprised of members whose opinions often vary greatly, he said.
"We disagree on a lot of things and go different ways, but we do all the research and come together at some point to do the right thing for the Village."
Village code mandates the creation of one's own party during elections and, drawing a parallel with Village Board dynamics, McMullen is running under "the Harbor Party." He said his party has no political connotation, but rather highlights a unifying force required for a progressive community. "Everyone looks to the harbor as a community. That represents trying to take care of the village not just for me but for my kids and their kids."
As commissioner of parks and athletics, McMullen's top priorities are to get minor parks such as , , and Soper Avenue pocket park, up to par, with the ultimate goal of bringing all parks to a maintenance-only state.
Handicapped access to the Steers Beach bathroom, new playground equipment and repairs to the floating dock at Scudder Beach, and new sand around the swings at Soper are among projects slated for this year. Crews have already begun cleanup and plantings because of the mild winter, with some parks getting the addition of new shaded areas.
"We're going to be doing some planting down in the ball field. We're going to try to create a shade area, and we need to put the trees in now so that in another two years they'll grow into canopies."
Supporting the many business and arts and culture tie-ins in Northport such as Family Harbor Nights on Main Street, sidewalk dining, and concerts in the park, are among McMullen's proudest accomplishments. Though finding the money for such programs is never easy, he said that the board has been able to do a lot with very little during a rough economic climate.
"People say, 'cut the fat.' What fat? There's nothing left," McMullen said of the 2012/2013 budget process. The Village was able to keep within the confines of Governor Cuomo's two percent tax cap, though it was no easy feat. "Through the whole budget process we argued-- whether it's $100 here or there-- all of a sudden it's somebody's salary. And it has been a struggle over the last two years in particular."
McMullen said he expects budgeting to remain a struggle over the next four years because of the lingering tax cap legislation, stagnant economy, and increasing pension and healthcare costs, but constantly reminds himself of his motivation to run for trustee in 2008.
"I wanted to be involved particularly in the budget process because it's very important to try and keep taxes down," he said. "I know how much my mother, who was retired and on a fixed income, found it difficult to live around here."
McMullen said he and the other village board members are always looking for ways to save taxpayers money whether it is through pursuit of grants to subsidize the sewage treatment plant upgrades, or on a smaller scale through the use of paper ballots in Tuesday's election.
Running unopposed for reelection is like a thumbs up for the hard work that he's put in, he said. "It's humbling and gratifying at the same time because it makes us think we did do a good job."
- Village Trustee, Commissioner of Personnel, Planning & Development
Jerry Maline, a trial attorney by trade, believes that young families are the key to Northport's future. A father of two young children ages 9 and 12, he has resided in Northport for over a decade, coaching basketball, soccer, and baseball and attending school board meetings.
Northport will see more young families put down roots in the community as housing prices fall and properties start moving, said Maline. It is up to them to become more involved in local government by attending village meetings and volunteering.
"We would never say no and give them support from the different departments," he said at a Meet the Candidates Meeting hosted by the Northport Chamber of Commerce last week.
Road repairs are one of Maline's top goals for the next four years, for which he emphasizes long term planning, careful budgeting, and community involvement.
"This is one of the things we discussed when I first got elected in 2008 when I was going to be trustee of long term planning. How badly do you want all the roads paved? Are we going to pay a private contractor to do it? Do you want to bond it? Money is inexpensive to borrow now, but are we willing to add to our taxes each year to get all the roads paved in, say, three years and then put them on a five year schedule where we can budget for it and keep them in good shape? That's something I think all of the community needs to be involved in for us to decide."
Maline has a long commitment to community involvement and organized the Scudder Avenue petition to combat speeding on Scudder Avenue in 2004 and coordinated anti-speeding strategies with the police chief. He has served as a soccer, baseball, and basketball coach for both his son and daughter and as the third grade chairperson of the Eaton's Neck Basketball League. He is also actively involved in the St. Baldrick's campaign.