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Editorial: Long Island village elections take center stage

The Amityville Police Station housed in Amityville Village

The Amityville Police Station housed in Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in Amityville Village, Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Amityville trustees are seeking to cap earnings of top-paid officers in the village police department, a move they say would save the village $800,000 over the four years remaining in the current contract. By Steve Pfost Credit: Steve Pfost

Say hello to the Green Leaf Party. And the Solar is Cool Party. And the New Horizons, Renaissance, Founders Reform and Pilot parties.

It's village election time. And though the candidates are parts of slates with charming if unfamiliar names, the issues they are addressing resonate across Long Island. If you live in one of the more than three dozen villages holding contests Tuesday -- especially the 10 villages with contested races -- reserve time to head to the polls.

In Mastic Beach, the Island's newest village, six people are campaigning on issues such as reducing spending, improving services, bolstering storm defenses and recording public meetings.

Control of the board of trustees is at stake in Amityville, where one of the two candidates has called for a freeze in base pay for the village's police force to address budget woes.

And the first contested election in Island Park in more than 20 years features challengers charging that the entrenched party plays favorites, as the South Shore village struggles to recover from superstorm Sandy.

Villages play a vital role in their residents' lives. They make zoning decisions, set budgets and taxes, and offer a range of quality-of-life services. Many Long Islanders are passionate about village life. Too often, that's not reflected in voter turnout. Let's change that this time around. Get out and vote.