Westbury residents will see familiar names when they head to the polls this month, with no challengers opposing the incumbents in the election for the village board.
Mayor Peter Cavallaro and incumbent village trustees Joan Boes and William Wise are seeking reelection in the Tuesday, March 21, election. Each will be seeking a four-year term. Cavallaro said even though it’s an uncontested election, he and his fellow Action Party members take the process seriously, and urge people to vote.
“I think we’ve done a good job. I think we merit being returned and reelected,” said Cavallaro, who’s served on the board for 18 years, eight of those as mayor. “I think we’ve been thoughtful about what we need to do to improve the community going forward. That’s been recognized by different outside sources, whether it’s the state with the grant or Moody’s or Vision Long Island. Our goal is to move those priorities forward.”
On the top of the priority list for the next four years is implementing projects with funds from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant. The implementation of that will generate multiple projects, including potentially rezoning areas that are currently underutilized to encourage transit-oriented housing, as well as doing streetscape improvements and upgrades to the senior center.
“It’s going to be a busy and exciting period in the next couple of years,” Cavallaro said. “I think we started those things and brought us to a point where we can capitalize on them. We have a great team in place and I think we really should be the ones seeing these things through.”
Also on the to-do list in the near future is the replacement of the Post Avenue train trestle and overseeing the local implementation of Governor Cuomo’s desired third track project. And while Cavallaro anticipates many positive things coming up in the next four years, the next term will also come with its share of challenges. Among those are continuing to grapple with illegal housing and finding ways to provide more visible police protection, as well as trying to trying to stay under the tax cap.
Boes, a trustee since 2001, said the fiscal management of the village over the last few years is a particular point of pride.
“We have always adhered to conservative and prudent fiscal practices and the efficient delivery of services,” Boes said. “We are proud that the village has maintained the lowest tax rate possible. Ours is among the lowest village tax rates of any comparable village and our bond ratings are the highest in the village’s history.”
Wise, a trustee since 2006, echoed those sentiments, saying that the village has been strict on spending while not sacrificing services.
“We’ve worked very hard to control our discretionary spending, and we have made operational changes that have led directly to savings for our taxpayers,” said Wise. “While the challenges on local government continue to increase, we are committed to making sure that our services are delivered in the most economical and efficient way possible.”
And though there will always be challenges, Cavallaro noted that the board is proactive in facing them and looking for opportunities to do things better.
“I think we’re doing a good job and we’re in a better place than last year or four or eight years ago,” Cavallaro said. “Maintaining the community the way the residents want requires a lot of hard work and thinking outside the box, and getting resources and help from other levels of government. And you never know what the next day or year will bring. You always have to be nimble and wary of what’s going on.”