This is a critical time for Islip.
The town's MacArthur Airport has financial problems and lost two of its four airlines this year. Residents are frustrated after the town board passed a budget for 2015 that increases taxes by 5.8 percent -- thanks to an amendment shamefully slipped in by a councilman just minutes before the vote. Two huge, regionally significant projects are pending -- Heartland Town Square and the Ronkonkoma Hub, which is across the Brookhaven Town line but will affect development at the airport.
Those are some of the challenges awaiting the town's new supervisor, as Tom Croci leaves to join the State Senate. Managing Islip's response to the illegal dumping fiasco -- which now includes the indictment of two former town officials and a prominent businessman with close ties to the local governing Republican Party -- is only part of it.
Complicating the task for Croci's successor is the control over town affairs exerted by town GOP chairman Frank Tantone and the likelihood he or she will be beholden to the party leader. The town board will name a new supervisor, but Tantone is coordinating the search.
The field includes two board members -- Trish Bergin Weichbrodt and John Cochrane Jr. -- as well as Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore). Whoever is named would have an advantage in the race for a full term next fall.
Critical times make for critical choices. Keeping partisan politics at bay will be a formidable task.