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4 candidates seek 2 seats on Huntington Town Council
Huntington Town Council members have four-year terms and earn $76,841. They cast individual votes to adopt laws on issues ranging from zoning to recreational programs. They vote on the town budget, which determines the local tax rate, and set the level of services provided by the town.Here are this year’s candidates:
STUART P. BESEN
BACKGROUND: Besen, 45, of Northport, is also on the Independence and Working Families lines. Besen, who is running for his second term, is an attorney with a practice in Garden City.
ISSUES: Besen said he is proud of initiatives he has sponsored in his first term, including establishing a landmark computer-mapping program that enables police and public safety personnel to closely monitor sexual predators in established sensitive areas. Other workshops include teen driving, baby-sitting education and Internet safety training, as well as “green” initiatives, including the hybrid incentive program. “I’m very proud of the sound fiscal management of the town in tough economic times,” Besen said. “I will continue to work to keep taxes down, [and work] on environmental and ‘green’ initiatives and other quality-of-life issues that make Huntington a great place to live and work.”
BACKGROUND: Cook, 47, of Greenlawn, also is on the Conservative Party line. He owns an asphalt and concrete company in Westbury. This is his first run for office.
ISSUES: Cook says he is discouraged by the voting records of the town board members, does not believe they are acting in the best interests of the people, and wants to see more effective management of taxpayer money. He said taxes are out of control, and there is too much patronage spending. He is in favor of council districts and term limits for the town board. “I’m very proud to be on a team with Mark Mayoka and Bill Dowler,” Cook said. “All of us are business people who own our businesses, and we are not professional politicians,” he says. “With their experience as CPAs and my knowledge of infrastructure, we can bring positive change to the town.”
BACKGROUND: Cuthbertson, 43, of Huntington, is running for his fourth term and is also endorsed by the Independence and Working Families parties. He is a lawyer with a practice that specializes in commercial real estate, municipal litigation and the representation of municipalities and school districts.
ISSUES: Cuthbertson touts his 11 years on the board advocating for quality-of-life issues and sound fiscal management. He has supported environmental legislation to protect the steeply sloped landscape of Huntington and sponsored the Open Space Bond Act, which allocated $30 million to fund park improvements, historic preservation and open space acquisition. As part of this effort, he said, funding specifically earmarked for the implementation of renewable energy projects has been developed for the town.
MARK L. MAYOKA
BACKGROUND: Mayoka, 45, of Cold Spring Harbor, also is on the Conservative Party line. He is a certified public accountant. This is his first run for office.
ISSUES: Mayoka said he is running for office to reduce spending and lower taxes. He said he was motivated to run after he wrote a book about financial crisis planning for small businesses: “I was researching small businesses in Huntington, and I was in shock at how the government wasn’t coming to aid and help guide them through the crisis. I said this is just not right.” The way to reduce spending and taxes, he said, is through streamlined government, consolidation of government services, and competitive bidding. “Huntington needs new leadership, and I am ready, willing and able to accept that challenge to make Huntington a better and more affordable place to live,” he said.