8th District Legislature
Anthony Piccirillo (left) and Bill Lindsay (right)

Photos provided

8th District Legislature

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
10/12/2017


Anthony Piccirillo (R, C, Reform)

A lifelong resident of the 8th legislative district, Anthony Piccirillo has worked on many campaigns over the years. This year though, he decided to make a go of it against incumbent Legis. Bill Lindsay. He said concerns of the county’s fiscal health has prompted him to join the race.

Piccirillo grew up in Holbrook and graduated from Sachem High School in 2001. He went on to attend Suffolk County Community College and then Dowling College, but left school when a parent became ill. He currently manages Mannino’s Restaurant in Oakdale.

“I want to run because Suffolk County is in the worst [economic] condition in our history,” he said.

The candidate said the county is $175-$200 million in debt and has bonded $2.2 billion, in part to cover the county payroll. “They plunged the county into a hole,” he said, adding that the debt has increased over the last four years.

Piccirillo said that debt has resulted in the fact that there are still no sewers in Oakdale and Sayville. “They raided the sewer and clean water fund,” he noted.

If elected, he said he would include the public in looking over the county budget, noting that the current administration has not been very transparent. He said while looking over the budget he would “hold every county department accountable,” for all of their expenses. “We will not be able to turn the Suffolk County economy around unless we make hard decisions to cut spending,” he said.

The candidate said that the county has imposed unnecessary hikes in fees and new taxes, such as the alarm tax that he would address if elected. He noted that red light cameras are “total money grabbers” and said it has led to an increase in rear-end accidents at a number of camera locations.

“It’s all just about creating revenue,” he said.

If elected, Piccirillo said he would work towards tackling the opioid epidemic on Long Island. “We lead all of New York State in the heroin epidemic, but the Legislature hasn’t sponsored a piece of legislation to address this problem.” He added that county executive Steve Bellone and Gov. Cuomo should declare a state of emergency for the county to draw the much-needed heightened attention to this mental-health issue.

In addition, Piccirillo said he’d like to see campaign finance reform that would prohibit elected officials from taking money from special interests. “This is a bipartisan issue and it’s not right,” he said. “That’s totally pay to play.”

He’d also like to see each elected legislator give up their current jobs to focus on governing their district. “Suffolk County has full-time problems and we need full-time legislators,” he said.

“I want to be a full-time legislator. I plan on working tirelessly for the taxpayer and make sure they are the only special interest in Suffolk County.”

Piccirillo is single and currently resides in Bohemia.

Bill Lindsay III (D, I, WF)

Suffolk County Legislator Bill Lindsay is running for a third term. He is following in the footsteps of his father, who served the same district for 12 years and was the longest-serving presiding officer of the Legislature. Like his father, Legis. Lindsay said he first threw his hat into the political ring to make a positive change in the community.

“I wanted to help our communities to adapt to change so Long Island could be a place where my children can eventually work and continue to live,” he said.

Since elected, Lindsay said he has fought to end automatic pay raises for elected officials and increased transparency by strengthening the Legislature’s reporting requirement for lobbyists. He also put for legislation to consolidate the job of county treasurer and comptroller, saving the county over $1.29 million, and has worked to support regionally important projects.

Lindsay is the chairman of the Suffolk County Legislature’s Economic Development Committee, the vice-chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee and the vice-chairman of the Government Operations and Personnel Committee.

In the community, Lindsay helped create the first handicap-accessible playground in Sayville and he implemented a peer-to-peer drug program in his alma mater, Sachem School District. He has worked on a number of programs, among them to get stricter penalties for parents who don’t pay their required child support and putting an end to speed zone cameras.

Lindsay said he has been focused on tackling the local drug and opioid epidemic in Suffolk County. “It’s an issue that has touched many families in one way or another. I’ve worked hard with prevention and treatment experts and law enforcement with the same goal. Now it’s a much more coordinated effort, and there’s definitely more awareness [to this problem],” he said.

Legis. Lindsay refutes his opponent’s comments that the county’s debt is from bonded money that’s used for payroll. “We are not allowed to bond for operating expenses,” said Lindsay. He explained that the county’s deficit is structural and based on what the costs would actually be the following year. These are set expenses and the approximate cost is known. Sales tax revenue must first go to Albany, leaving a gap that is closed by borrowing short term 30-60 days and is quickly paid back when the money from Albany is reimbursed to Suffolk County.

He said the county debt has actually decreased in recent years. “We anticipate it will continue to go down through 2019.”

Lindsay said he has worked to lower county costs by reducing the workforce by 10 percent. “There are 1,000 fewer employees the past couple of years,” he noted.

He said the county has increased revenue by closing and selling off the nursing home, privatizing various county health centers and also county marinas that have been in disrepair.

“I’ve asked each of the legislators to come up with cost-saving revenue,” he said. One suggestion he has is to eliminate the cost of legislative offices and mandate that only county offices be used.

He is also working on having the over 100 buildings located in county parks rented to either park workers or law enforcement personnel. “That way around $700,000 could come into the county,” he said, adding it would also provide a level of security in the parks.

Lindsay said he voted against the alarm tax that was passed in the Legislature last year. And although he believes the red light camera program needs some adjustment, he said that it saves lives and does not cause accidents as his opponent suggests. “Of 750 polled accidents, only one was attributed to a red light camera,” he said. 

The legislator said he is also working on a new concept by asking the New York State comptroller to work with private equity groups in order to encourage companies outside of New York State to relocate to Long Island. “I’m very excited about that,” said Lindsay. “It’s a long process, but it would have a game-changing effect on the county.”

Unlike his opponent, who wants full-time legislators, Lindsay, who owns an insurance company, says that it’s important to have a level of diversity in representation.

“I consider myself a part-time businessman and a full-time legislator,” he said. “We have representatives in the county who are doctors, lawyers, farmers; it’s a diverse group. We are a diverse county and the purpose of having that diversity is to have citizen legislators, not professional politicians.”

Legis. Lindsay is married with two children. He and his family reside in Bohemia.