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Close races mark several Long Island fire district elections

Several Long Island fire districts reported close races after commissioner elections were held Tuesday, where the difference between winner and loser hinged on a handful of votes.

In the Lakeland fire district in Ronkonkoma, Richard Ricci defeated Michael Maher by two votes, district manager Michael Timo said.

Adding to the complications were "three affidavit votes that were counted, and there were an additional 12 ballots declared void," Timo said. "So that's created a bit of mess."

"I don't have any gripes and I don't mind losing if that's what really happened," Maher said. He said he plans to challenge the results because he was concerned about issues with the number of registered voters matching up with the number of ballots cast, and possibly incorrect addresses on the affidavit ballots.

In Farmingville, incumbent John J. Caputo was re-elected for a third term by a single vote over former commissioner Robert W. Wallace.

"I have questions because the district runs its own elections," Wallace said, though he does not plan to challenge the results. "I'd just like to see the absentees and the affadivits."

Farmingville district secretary Julia Wilson said the election proceeded without problems Tuesday.

In Wading River, former chief of department Thomas Colitti narrowly won over incumbent James Meier by two votes. District secretary Steve Connelly said he does not know if Meier will challenge the results. Meier could not be reached for comment.

In North Bellmore, the district has yet to declare a winner in the close race. District superintendent John Calouri that, while Mark Collins leads Robert Bazarewski by about 27 votes, there were 31 affidavit ballots that still have to be considered by the Nassau County Board of Elections.

On the South Fork, the Bridgehampton fire district also has not declared a winner in the race between Philip Cammann and John O'Brien, or the outcome of a referendum to increase the length of service from one year to five years for retirement benefits eligibility.

In Manorville, Dennis Hendrickson defeated Albert Lindahl. Voters also passed a proposition to establish a capital reserve fund for the purchase of truck equipment.

In Jericho, incumbent David Marmann defeated Glenn Gilberg. District secretary Marge Blaise said the torrential nor'easter on Tuesday definitely hurt voter turnout.

"You couldn't get down (routes) 106, 107," Blaise said. Those roads were flooded near the polling site, she added.

With Lauren R. Harrison

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