Town board meeting turns into 'Meet the Candidates' night
Four of the five candidates looking to unseat town incumbents criticized the current administration’s handling of key issues during Tuesday’s town board meeting.
Tom Murray, who is challenging Islip Town supervisor Angie Carpenter for her post, said many childhood friends have left Long Island for multiple reasons, including the high cost of living and a lack of affordable starter homes.
“We need a change,” he said. “Unfortunately, the great childhood I had isn’t going to be there for [my daughter] and the next generation, and currently it’s not there for people in other parts of the town. A child in Central Islip should not have a radically different childhood than a child in West Islip or East Islip.”
Murray, an environmental attorney from Bayport, said that while knocking on doors for his campaign, many residents have expressed feelings that their “voices are not being heard,” whether it’s in regards to the parking meters in Bay Shore or the Island Hills development in Sayville.
Murray also called for more hamlet studies like the one being conducted in Bayport. “We need a master plan for the town so we know what we want Islip to look like five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road,” he said.
Leigh-Anne Barde, who is running for one of the two council seats (currently held by John Cochrane and Mary Kate Mullen), also voiced concerns about the direction of the town.
“It’s not hard to see what the vision of this current administration is. Just take time after this meeting and drive east on Sunrise Highway and you will find yourself trapped at the Oakdale Merge or on the Sunken Meadow Parkway,” Barde stated.
In regards to future developments, Barde added, “The infrastructure is not there. The roadways are not built for more vehicles, and our school districts do not have the resources or capacity to add new students. Our quality of life is going down while our taxes are going up, and the concerns of residents are being ignored.”
Jorge Guadron, who is running for the second council seat, also expressed his concern for the high cost of living in the community and took issue with what he described as “roadblocks” for individuals looking to start a small business.
Guadron, a Central Islip resident and small business owner, said the town board should be “streamlining the building process” for small businesses, which he described as the “backbone of any community.”
Guadron also took issue with the condition of certain town parks, roads and beaches. “Our parks are dirtier than ever,” he stated.
During a break in the public portion of the meeting, Carpenter stated that she didn’t want the evening to become a “Meet the Candidates night,” where the different parties debate back and forth about the issues. “I personally am very offended,” Carpenter said, in regards to Guadron’s comments about the current state of certain town parks.
“Obviously, you have not been to Brentwood to see what this town board did with Roberto Clemente Park,” the supervisor said. “It’s an absolute success story and something that the entire [town] can be proud of.”
Joseph Fritz, who is running for Islip Town clerk, has spoken during numerous town board meetings in recent months. “Islip Town, over the last several years, has made decisions that cause me to mistrust the direction of the current board,” Fritz said, adding that the first red flag for him was the Heartland development in Brentwood.
The town board previously approved, 5-0, the first phase of the project, which allows for over 3,000 apartments. The development, pending future decisions by the town board, has the potential for over 9,000 apartments on 450 acres of land on the grounds of Pilgrim State Hospital.
Fritz, a Brentwood resident and East Islip-based attorney, also voiced his opposition to the Island Hills development. “The town should not impose urban standards in a suburban community,” he added. “We don’t need the Town of Islip to morph into Queens.”
Islip Town clerk Olga Murray took a moment to point out that Fritz announced his candidacy for her post during a town board meeting earlier in the year.
“At no time have you once mentioned any of the duties and responsibilities of town clerk,” Olga Murray said, adding that town clerk has three obligations in regards to development. She said this particular post records and maintains both the votes and minutes, and also “conveys any correspondence or concerns, be it ‘yay’ or ‘nay,’ to the town board.”
“The town clerk also does a lot of other things. Perhaps [Fritz] and I, in the future, can discuss the town clerk responsibilities,” Olga Murray added.
Councilmembers James O’Connor and Trish Bergin Weichbrodt were not present for the meeting.
Like what you have read? Click here to subscribe to the Suffolk County News so you can read more stories like this, and find out everything that’s going on in your town!