Three candidates are vying for two trustee seats in Northport Tuesday. And as the two incumbents tout their accomplishments, the challenger says he entered the race because of unhappiness with one of those measures: the village's recently enacted historic preservation law.
Bill Friedman, who says the ordinance made him so unhappy he decided to run for the village board, is challenging incumbents Henry Tobin and Tom Kehoe for one of two trustee seats. Tobin supported the historic preservation measure. Kehoe voted against it.
Homeowners in mind
Friedman, 69, a real estate attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant issues, was an outspoken opponent of the ordinance as it moved toward adoption. He faulted it for adding layers of required approvals for owners of houses 100 years or older seeking to change a home's exterior.
If elected, he said, he would move to have the ordinance modified or even rescinded.
"I'm unhappy with the concept of this law, and I'm unhappy with what this law does," said Friedman, who ran unsuccessfully for the board in 2004. "It takes away from the homeowner and gives to a bureaucratic board the right to control what I can do to my house."
He also said he would propose setting limits on property tax increases so they could not exceed the rate of inflation. And he wants e a lawsuit settled that was filed last year by former village treasurer Mary Claire Krumholtz, who sued the village after being cleared of wrongdoing in a discrepancy in the amount of overtime she claimed. He said the way in which she was terminated was improper and she deserves to have a "name clearing" hearing.
The village has countersued Krumholtz.
Eye on the long term
Tobin, 55, supported the historic preservation measure, along with Mayor George Doll, who is unopposed in his bid for a second term.
Tobin, an antiques salesman who serves as the board's finance commissioner, said that if elected to a second term he hopes to establish long-term capital planning projects, including road and sewer repairs and upgrading life-saving equipment for the police and fire departments, and to establish policy to ensure the long-term financial health of the village.
"In order to hold the line on taxes over the long term, you need long-term planning," he said, "and capital planning is an important part of that."
Tobin, who in 2002 unsuccessfully ran for mayor, said his accomplishments include the Saturday morning farmers market, sidewalk dining, Movies in the Park, a streamlined application process for residents who apply for various approvals, and the village's financial health.
"Our debt is low, our bond rating is high," he said. "And as times continue to be tough, we are in good shape to meet the challenges ahead."
He also counts as an achievement the board's ability to work together when trustees have differing views.
"We are a well-working board that gets things done," Tobin said. "We are not tied up in partisan animosity and infighting."
As for the former treasurer's lawsuit, he said it would be improper to comment beyond what is public knowledge on pending legislation.
A business perspective
Kehoe, 60, who has owned a wholesale seafood company in East Northport for 20 years, said his business acumen is good for the village.
"I have brought to the village discussion a perspective that I think was missing and that is of a business person," he said. "Someone who has their feet firmly on the ground understands that you have to pay as you go, not create a lot of debt, and live within your means."
Kehoe, also running for a second term, serves as the village's commissioner of sewer and sanitation, commerce and police.
"I understand what has to be done to not only survive, but prosper and move forward and get things done," he said.
The accomplishments he cited include creation of the Business Development Committee, a group of professionals, civic organization members and business leaders.
They discuss "what's going on, what can we do, what do you need," Kehoe said.
One of the first things the committee did was establish a collection site for garbage from restaurants so it would not overrun sidewalks.
As for the former treasurer, Kehoe said, nothing can be done until the lawsuits are settled.
"You have to let the process play out," Kehoe said. "You have to wait to see how everything gets resolved."
The four-year trustee term pays $3,600 a year.
Voting takes place at Village Hall on Main Street from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.