Candidates for Bellerose trustee said they want to fix local roads and infrastructure, but acknowledged that the village’s small budget could hamper efforts to resurface streets and fix potholes.
Three candidates in the March 21 election are running for two open seats on the village board of trustees. The top two vote-getters will fill the seats. Each term lasts for two years. Trustees are paid a stipend of $1,500 per year.
Incumbent Trustee Joseph Juliano is running for re-election on the Integrity Party slate with current Mayor Henry Schreiber, who is unopposed in his re-election campaign. Charles Puglisi is running for a trustee spot on the Liberty Party slate and Dan Driscoll is running on the Centennial Party line.
Juliano, 53, was first elected trustee in 2010. He’s served as deputy mayor for the past two years and is running for his fourth term. He previously served as a deputy county attorney for Nassau County and is a managing partner of Franklin Square law firm Juliano, Hansen & Scanlon. He has lived in Bellerose since 1997.
Juliano said he wants to replace the village’s roads but “the cost is too prohibitive” and potholes must be patched instead. He’ll look for state and federal grants in the hopes of avoiding bonds to finance the work, he said.
“Our highway commissioner jokes that we’re patching the patches,” Juliano said.
Driscoll, 52, heads the human relations and employee relations group at Columbia University. He is also a district representative for the labor and employment law section of the New York State Bar Association. He has lived in the village for 15 years.
Driscoll said he’s looking toward the village’s centennial anniversary in 2024 as part of his platform, which includes beautification of Bellerose — including its streets and curbs — and making the village code more accessible and user-friendly to new residents.
“There was a vacancy for the trustee position, and I thought it was time to step up,” he said.
Puglisi, 71, is retired from the New York City Department of Education. He served as the village fire department’s chief from 2006 to 2008. He was appointed chair of the village’s code review committee, as well as grant coordinator and the village website’s webmaster by Schreiber and a previous mayor; he still serves in those positions. He has lived in Bellerose since 1993.
Puglisi ran for trustee in 2009 but lost an uncontested race to write-in candidate Ronald DeSouza. Puglisi said his priority is infrastructure, specifically the village’s streets. But with an annual municipal budget of about $1.6 million, resurfacing the roads “would have to be a major capital investment over a long period of time,” Puglisi said.
So for now, officials are forced to patch the potholes, and “even the cost of that is becoming exorbitant,” and look for grants, he said.