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Taxes among top issues for Stewart Manor candidates

A sign on the corner of Covert Avenue.

A sign on the corner of Covert Avenue. The Village of Stewart Manor is east of the Village of Floral Park, south of the Village of New Hyde Park, and west of Franklin Square, and the Village of Garden City. (Nov. 4, 2011) Credit: Amra Radoncic

Controlling taxes is cited as a key issue among the three candidates vying for two one-year terms as trustee on the Stewart Manor village board.

Two of the candidates are appointed trustees seeking to serve the year remaining on the terms of those they replaced. The third candidate is a political newcomer.

Village Party candidate Mary C. Schafenberg, 64, an elementary school principal in Long Island City, lost a bid for trustee last year, coming in third in a race for two trustee seats. But she was appointed to replace Gerard Tangredi, the Village Party candidate who was elected mayor.

Schafenberg said she is running in order to continue in the same office she now holds.

"We would like to continue what we've started and are concerned about maintaining village finances and continuing village services without raising taxes," Schafenberg said, referring to the other Village Party candidate, Orlando Sa.

Schafenberg did not respond to requests to elaborate on her campaign position and provide biographical information.

Sa, 51, was appointed trustee in November after Deputy Mayor/Trustee James Lynch retired for personal reasons. Sa said he essentially agreed with Schafenberg in that "we've got to keep taxes reasonable and maintain a vibrant 'Main Street.' "

Sa retired in 2005 from the New York Police Department after 20 years of service, first as a patrolman, then a narcotics detective and finally, a sergeant in charge of the trademark counterfeit squad.

Challenger, William Grogan, 76, said one of his reasons for running is that he dislikes the idea of "government leadership by appointment," referring to Schafenberg and Sa.

"Let's do this the American way, and let the voters decide," Grogan said.

He said he retired as a senior account executive from IBM when he was 71 and that he is an active member of the village fire department.

"I want to keep taxes as low as possible, while still delivering essential services to taxpayers," Grogan said.

"Moreover, I have the time and the business knowledge to make a positive difference in this great small-time village."Stewart Manor village trustees are paid $2,000 per year. The election will take place March 18 between noon and 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 120 Covert Ave.

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