Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy is running to retain the job against his predecessor and a former village justice in an election that will determine the village’s next four years of fiscal stability.
Kennedy, former Mayor Andrew Hardwick and attorney Stephen Drummond, all Democrats, are each leading their own slates of candidates for the two open trustee spots also to be filled in Tuesday’s election.
Kennedy is running on the Unity Home Rule Party ticket with incumbent trustees Carmen Pineyro and Ronald Ellerbe.
Hardwick is running with trustee candidates Juana Prado and Frank Grossman on the Hardwick Team 2017 Party line.
Drummond is leading the One Freeport Party ticket with trustee candidates Phillip Prestamo and Angel Vargas.
Kennedy, 62, is running for his second term and said the village’s financial stability will be the biggest issue facing the next mayor. He touted his record, including raising the village’s reserves to $10.5 million from about $1.5 million.
Freeport has not had a tax increase for the past four years and managed a $2.5 million state-mandated increase for retirements and medical payments, Kennedy said, adding the village has avoided residential tax increases through controlled spending, resulting in increased revenue and decreased expenses.
“The ability to be financially secure in this village could help in all aspects,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he wants to continue the beautification of North Main Street and development of downtown Freeport, including the sale of the Plaza West development to add senior housing and mixed retail to keep older residents living in the village.
Drummond, 49, served as village justice for four years until 2013. He is a partner in the Queens-based Drummond & Squillace law firm and previously worked as an assistant Queens County district attorney. He also served for six years in the U.S. Marine Corps and remains a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Drummond has issued an eight-point plan he said he would enact as mayor. He said the plan would generate income through tourism, marketing and economic revitalization. The proposal also includes transforming waterways by installing boat basins to create jobs. He also plans to attract new businesses to vacant buildings with tax incentives for hiring Freeport residents.
“My methods to generate income will ease the tax burden and focus on policy committed to public service,” he said.”
The Hardwick team is focused on retiring bond debt, an effort Hardwick said he started while in office. Hardwick, 59, was first elected Freeport’s mayor in 2009 and currently oversees security operations for the Hempstead school district. He launched an unsuccessful bid for Nassau County executive in 2013 and was defeated in 2015 when he ran for Freeport village trustee.
Hardwick declined to be interviewed and referred all questions to his publicist. During a candidates forum last month, Hardwick forecast a fragile financial picture for the village and questioned the debt burden.
Hardwick said in his campaign literature that as mayor, he would review all capital projects and bonds, and limit outsourced consultants. He said he would implement new performance measures, including quarterly reviews of revenue and expenditures to reflect accurate budget projections.
He said he would reorganize economic development efforts to include developing the village industrial park and beautification on North Main Street.