Dozens attended last night’s Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Community Association monthly board meeting in Flanders to listen to the candidates that are running for Southampton supervisor and town council this November.
On the Democrats’ side incumbent Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Councilwoman Julie Lofstad were joined by Tommy Lee Schiavoni, a Sag Harbor resident.
The Republicans’ ticket is comprised of supervisor candidate Ray Overton, a former Southampton Town Trustee from Westhampton, Thea Dombrowski-Fry, a Hampton Bays resident, and incumbent councilman Stan Glinka, who was elected in 2013.
Schneiderman said that since he’s supervisor taxes have been lowered by 3 per cent, town debt has been reduced by $12 million and the town has received a Triple A rating from credit rating agencies.
“I will keep my promises and fight for the people in this community,” said Schneiderman, a former county legislator and current Town supervisor since 2016.
He emphasized the environmental preservation efforts undertaken by the town board, including the preservation of 400 acres and waterway protections.
Schneiderman also said that there’s been a 1 percent reduction in crime; four new police officers have been hired by the town police department, he said.
He emphasized the importance of the Flanders, Riverside, and Northampton area saying he has an “open door policy” and he’s always tried to bring the government to the people it represents by holding work sessions and other community-driven events in the area.
“I enjoy serving this community and I want to continue seeing Southampton Town moving in the right direction,” he said.
Overton, who’s running for supervisor for the first time, said that there are still many things that are not “going well” in the Town of Southampton. Currently a general manager at Mulco Inc, a plumbing and HVAC company, he said he had spent his life in business management and his job is to “come up with resolutions to problems.”
“My job has been to get things started and move things forward,” he said.
He said that although the Riverside, Flanders, Northampton community is a diverse, united one, he recognized the issues that are affecting it and he wants to make the community vibrant once again.
He said that he has been listening to the community and cited a meeting he had two years ago at the Phillips Avenue School where people said “they were scared.”
He referred to drug use and drug dealing, as well as prostitution in areas where “people are not spotted.”
“There needs to be coordination and trust between the community and the police force to solve these issues,” he said.
Glinka, a town councilman for the last four years, has made a career in the banking sector for 24 years and is currently a vice president for Bridgehampton National Bank. He said he looks forward to keep serving the people of the town.
“It has been a humbling, but rewarding experience,” he said.
Glinka has worked closely with police and code enforcement and serves as a liaison with those units. He said he had participated in several ride-alongs in the Flanders, Riverside area and knew the hamlets very well.
Incumbent Lofstad, who grew up in Hampton Bays, was elected in in a special election last year. She worked for the Port Authority of NY and NJ, but moved to Hampton Bays to help her husband run his commercial fishing business and decided to become a community advocate. She worked in several projects closely with then-legislator Schneiderman and founded a nonprofit organization called Hampton Bays Mothers Association.
“I worked to help families in need,”she said.
As a councilwoman Lofstad said that for the past 20 months she has worked in big and small projects, but that they are all “equally important.”
She said she helped improve the Flanders road rest stop, removing garbage cans and turning it into a text stop.
She emphasized the need to protect the environment, as well as the need for more affordable housing throughout the town.
“I plan to keep working hard on behalf of the whole community,” she said.
Born and raised in Water Mill, Dombrowski-Fry has worked in the Southampton school district and is a former police officer. This is the first time she is running for the town council and she said she decided to do it because she felt she wanted to fight to make the East End a place her 13-year-old son would be proud of when he grew up.
“My dad told me this was the perfect place to grow up and raise a family and he was right. I want to be able to say the same thing to my son in the future,” she said.
“The people need a voice. I want the privilege and honor of being your voice,” she said.
Schiavoni said last night that the time was right for him to run. A former social science teacher who currently sits on the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals and the Sag Harbor school board, he says his career has taught him a lot, mainly the importance of preserving the future.
“I was inspired to run when I learned the governor of the state of New York had put $2.5 billion into the state budget for water quality. We need to take care of our bays, waterways and ponds and tackle the issue of nitrogen-loading head-on,” he said.
He said he appreciates the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton area and felt great energy there.
“You care about your community and I know the Town board can help you and we can do better, that is one the reasons I’m running,” he said.