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Mineola election for mayor, trustees focuses on development

Two candidates are running for mayor and four candidates, including a husband and wife, are seeking two trustee seats.

Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, left, is

Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, left, is seeking another four-year term while facing a challenge from former Mayor Larry Werther. Photo Credit: Composite: Village of Mineola, left, and Regis Gallet

A husband-and-wife duo are looking to unseat two Mineola trustees in the March 20 election while former Mayor Larry Werther is challenging current Mayor Scott Strauss for his seat.

Werther, 65, served as a trustee between 2003 and 2013 and briefly as mayor in 2011. Regis Gallet, 47, and Cristi Gallet, 43, are challenging George Durham and Dennis Walsh for two trustee seats in the only contested trustee races in the village.

The two trustee seats come with four-year terms each and a $14,500 annual salary. The mayoral seat is a four-year term with a $29,000 annual salary.

Werther and the Gallets, who are running on the same party ticket, said they are candidates in part because they think Mineola is being overdeveloped.

“There are four, huge, multi-family [housing] projects coming to or already in the village and it’s starting to make us look like a borough of the city,” Werther said.

He cited the 192-unit apartment complex being built on Searing Avenue, the 266-unit apartment complex under construction on Second Street, the 275-unit apartment complex that opened on Old Country Road, and the 312-unit apartment complex built on Third Avenue. Werther and the Gallets said developers of those apartment complexes were given millions in tax breaks after Mineola’s board gave the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency its support.

“Why not give those tax breaks to small businesses,” said Cristi Gallet, who owns a Mineola sports bar called the Recovery Room. “There’s a lot of small businesses that are struggling here.”

Regis Gallet said he is running because the board needs fresh blood.

“I have no mudslinging to do against those people,” Regis Gallet said about the incumbents. “but I think we need a new direction.”

Despite the tax breaks, the four new apartment buildings are generating revenue that the village otherwise wouldn’t have, said Strauss, 55.

“Those buildings would not have been built if the developers didn’t use the IDA program,” Strauss said.

Durham, 54, said although developers aren’t paying their full amount of taxes on those buildings, they are still paying a portion, Durham said.

“The monies from those buildings allow us to purchase new vehicles for the department of public works, fire trucks, and redo our parks,” Durham said.

The incumbents said they want another term so they can help shape Mineola’s future. Walsh, 67, said he is particularly interested in keeping roads and curbs repaired and overseeing downtown development.

“I’m very interested in what goes on in the village,” Walsh said. “I’m the only [board] member who hasn’t missed a meeting, so I’m dedicated to what I do.”

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