In evaluating the two candidates for Mayor of Northport Village, I found myself leaning toward Dave Weber. The reason for this is that he has a couple of years of experience as a Village Trustee. Yes, his opponent Donna Koch was Village Clerk for many years. However, she has no experience as a Trustee and there is a big difference between management experience as a Clerk implementing the policies of the Trustees, and governance experience functioning as a Trustee. I didn’t want to make this my sole criteria, and sought out Mr. Weber to get his position on three issues that are very important to me – holding the line on taxes in the face of the loss of LIPA tax revenue, rebuilding our Village’s business community with many vacant storefronts, and addressing issues of intolerance of diversity which occasionally rears its ugly head.
Mr. Weber was very responsive to my inquiries and said he shares my concern about holding the line on tax growth. He said that never piercing the 2% cap will be a challenge, but that under his leadership he plans to put a team in place that can accomplish this. I think this will be an even more important challenge as there is expected to be a period of increased inflation.
He also shared my concern about our Village businesses and the number that have closed in the past two years at least partly because of the impact of the Covid pandemic. He said a thriving downtown is important for all residents. He cited his experience as a businessman in the Village for many years providing him insight into the challenges our business owners face. He also mentioned that his involvement in the Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations that sponsor events that bring visitors and shoppers to the downtown will serve him well in his ability to continue to help businesses thrive.
Mr. Weber also shared my concern about issues of intolerance and pointed to relationships developed over his years as a Trustee with community leaders who are addressing intolerance, hate, and drug use. He said he intends to leverage these relationships in his role as Mayor to provide leadership and foster ongoing organized events to address these challenges.
After my conversation with Mr. Weber, I found my first impression to be reinforced. His experience as a Trustee, addressing the important issues of the budget, taxes, and holding the line on spending is critical. His experience as a businessman, responsible for employing people in the Village and supporting the tax base, give him keen insights on how to help our businesses thrive and keep the downtown vital for our community. His love for the people of the Village came through loud and clear when he expressed his commitment to actively support community leaders who are doing the tough work of addressing intolerance, hate, and drug use. I hope that readers of this letter will give him their full consideration.
Joseph J. Tomaino
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