Two Northport Village trustees and one challenger are running for two open trustee seats in an election that has candidates focusing on water quality and fiscal accountability.
Incumbent trustees Damon McMullen and Jerry Maline are running, as is challenger Joseph Sabia, a former Northport-East Northport School Board member. Village trustees have four-year terms.
McMullen, 60, is running on the Harbor Party line for his third term. He is also the village’s commissioner of police and of wastewater treatment, and previously was parks commissioner.
“I love it,” McMullen said. “I feel privileged to be able to do this. Every day I learn something new and exciting. Hopefully, I’m doing right by the village residents.”
McMullen led the upgrade of the Northport wastewater treatment plant, which dramatically improved the harbor’s water quality. The plant’s nitrogen emissions are down to about 4 pounds per day — from 18.6 pounds per day in 2013, McMullen said.
If re-elected, McMullen said he still has plenty of work ahead.
“We’re moving on to putting in a new shoreline pipe [along Woodbine Avenue], which is the biggest step in rebuilding the whole sewer system,” he said. “That is going to be a main concentration.”
Maline, 53, of the Truth and Reason Party, is seeking a third term. He is the village’s commissioner of parks, of technology and of personnel.
Maline said he’s used his expertise as an attorney to better serve the village in all of his roles as a trustee.
Maline said he helped when the village negotiated a 12-year contract with its police force, much longer than the typical three-year contracts for local departments. Officials said it cost the village roughly $250,000 in legal costs every time the village enters arbitration with the police union.
“In the long run, that’s going to save the village money,” he said.
The police contract will yield other savings because it takes more steps to become a full-pay officer and new police officers start at a lower retirement level, Maline said.
Challenger Joseph Sabia, 60, is running on the Citizens Party line. He’s the owner of Northport-based Sabia Car Care and previously ran unsuccessfully against Northport Mayor George Doll for that seat.
Sabia cites his experience on the Northport School Board and his commitment to the community as reasons to vote for him.
“I’m very dedicated,” he said. “I believe in transparency, I want to keep the village as beautiful as it is. I have a lot of ideas. I believe in term limits, and I want to save us money.”
He also said clean water is a top priority, suggesting the village use beet juice instead of salt and sand on icy roads because it’s less harmful to the harbor.
Sabia also said bureaucracy in the village’s building, housing and code compliance department must be addressed.
“A lot of people tell me that they’re afraid to approach the building department,” Sabia said. “They want to do things in their homes and they don’t because they’re afraid. I want the process streamlined.”
Voting is 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 15 at Northport Village Hall, 224 Main St.