Two incumbent trustees seeking re-election in Great Neck Plaza are facing a challenger who says he wants to be the voice of younger residents in the race for two two-year at-large board seats.
Incumbents Gerald Schneiderman and Lawrence Katz are running under the United Residents Party. Schneiderman said he is not registered with a national party. Katz is registered as a Republican. The duo's challenger, Jonathan Stein, is an Independent representing the Village Plaza Revival Party. The board is made up of four trustees and the mayor. The trustees are paid $10,000 a year.
Schneiderman, 74, has lived in the village for 44 years and is a managing partner of Manhattan-based mPress Graphics LLC, a design and printing firm. He was appointed to the board in 2000 to fill the unexpired term of Jean Celender, who is now mayor, and has served seven terms.
"I have dedicated myself to improving the quality of life for the residents, business owners and visitors," Schneiderman said. "For the last few years, we have not gone over the governor's 2 percent tax cap and have not raised village taxes for six out of seven years."
Katz, 51, holds a law degree and does corporate tax work for an accounting firm in Manhattan. He is seeking his second term. He has lived in Great Neck Plaza for 15 years.
"Our priority is to continue to improve the village infrastructure without raising taxes," Katz said, adding that it can be achieved by obtaining additional government grants. He said more stores also need to be "encouraged" to open in Great Neck Plaza.
Stein, 39, a business litigation attorney, has lived in the village for two years and said it's time for a change. Great Neck Plaza has become a place where younger people cannot afford to purchase property and put down roots, so they are not as involved in the community as they could be, he said.
"There's apathy among that group," Stein said of the village's younger population.
"There's no such thing as a starter home," said Stein, who rents an apartment in the village. "The youth is passing through and don't pay much attention to what's going on in the community."
He said his priority would be to create an economic development plan to attract businesses such as trendy restaurants that would perhaps bring in wealthier young people who can afford pricey homes but are now settling in more vibrant areas.
Voting takes place March 18 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Great Neck Plaza Village Hall, 2 Gussack Plaza.