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Upper Brookville’s incumbent mayor faces challenger

Upper Brookville Mayor Terry Thielen, left, and mayoral

Upper Brookville Mayor Terry Thielen, left, and mayoral candidate Elliot S. Conway. Credit: Terry Thielen; Handout

Upper Brookville Mayor Terry Thielen is facing her first election challenger since she became mayor in 2009: a retired Citibank managing director who said the village is “falling behind other villages.”

“The best practices that exist elsewhere don’t exist in Upper Brookville,” said Elliot S. Conway, 66. “I think I could help make a difference.”

Thielen, 67, said residents asked her to run again.

“I think residents are happy the way the village has been run,” said Thielen, who is seeking her fourth full two-year term. She became mayor of the village of about 1,400 people in January 2009, after the death of Mayor Lenice Hertweck.

Voting is from noon to 9 p.m. June 21 at Village Hall.

Thielen is running on the Citizens Association line. She touted her 24 years of village government experience, which began on the zoning board of appeals in 1992.

Thielen said she and five other village mayors successfully shepherded the Old Brookville Police Department through transition after the 2011 decision by Muttontown to withdraw from the then-seven-village department.

She said she also is helping guide the finalization of an arrangement that would preserve 53 of 97 acres off Mill River Road as open space — overseen by the North Shore Land Alliance — and allow development of as many as 13 homes on the rest of the land.

She called it “a model for preserving open space” that maintains the village’s “country atmosphere while allowing for development.”

Conway, who is running on the Upper Brookville United line, is proposing to “use the buying power of 500 homes to get a better deal for our residents” in trash collection, driveway paving and other services.

For example, Conway said, residents now pay widely varying costs for trash pickup, with some bills more than $300 a month. He wants the village to use a single company, as neighboring Matinecock does.

“It could be a much better deal for the residents” because multiple companies would competitively bid for multiyear contracts, he said.

Conway said he would start regular email communication with residents on road closures, snow emergencies, tax payment reminders and other matters, and he would post minutes of village board meetings online as part of an effort to “increase transparency.”

Thielen declined to comment on the email and meeting minutes proposals. But she said she is accessible to residents via email and phone.

Thielen said the village has for decades periodically studied single-company trash pickup, an idea that has pros and cons. One downside is that residents would no longer be able to shop around for trash pickup service and change companies if they’re dissatisfied, she said.

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