The passing of the recent uncontested elections in the Village of Farmingdale marked a new beginning for the Restoration Party, which has remained at the helm of the municipality for much of the last decade.
Remaining at the helm of Farmingdale Village government....The Farmingdale Village Board, shown from left to right, are: Trustee Marialyce Denauski, Trustee Michael Kelly, Mayor Joseph Trudden, Trustee Dr. Benjamin Giminaro, and Trustee Vincent Sotis. -Photo by Richard Bove
During the March 21 elections, 151 residents cast votes, all in favor of the unopposed Restoration Party incumbents, in addition to 8 absentee ballots, according to Village Clerk Treasurer, John Giordano. Voted into office for another term were Mayor Joseph Trudden and Trustees Vincent Sotis and Michael Kelly. They serve alongside Trustees Marialyce Denauski and Dr. Benjamin Giminaro, also Restoration Party members.
In recent interviews, the officials expressed pride in their accomplishments for the village, and hope for its future.
"I think we can all say that the best thing about this job is that we can help the people," said Trustee Kelly, noting that he and his colleagues have helped improve the lives of Farmingdale people through keeping the tax rate down and an aggressive downtown revitalization program.
The Village Restoration Party was started in October of 1991 by Trudden, who won his first bid for mayor, in 1992, against Mildred DeMarco. Since that time, Trudden noted, he and his fellow Restoration Party members have made real strides in improving the village, primarily through maintaining Farmingdale's no tax increase record, now up to 11 consecutive years, and such downtown revitalization programs as new brick sidewalks and street lighting, and the train station restoration. The village board points to such other accomplishments as: winning the Nassau County Village Officials Association Good Government Award in 1998, the upgrading of fire department and department of public works equipment, much of this funded through grants, increasing the number of code enforcement officers from one to three, and the number of housing code officers from one to two, and the securement of grants for the planting of over 300 trees.
Grant funding has been key to the downtown revitalization, and has been made possible by the research and grant-writing of Village Clerk-Treasurer Giordano, and lobbying efforts by the board, noted the mayor. Effective use of grants have also played a role in keeping the tax rate down, as has using a zero-based budgeting method, he added.
Among other accomplishments, the board added that they have enjoyed a close working relationship with the 8th Precinct of Nassau County Police and the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce.
Yet, the board has much more, still, to achieve, noted Trudden. "We're not done yet," he said.
Among the officials' goals are a program to hang wooden signs in front of each store on Main Street. Also in the cards is the construction of a gazebo for the village green, which would serve as a stage for the popular Village Pops Wednesday night concerts in the summer and other community activities. Architectural plans have been drawn up by Trustee Sotis, a local architect, and the project is out to bid. Construction is expected to begin in the fall. "It's going to be a beautiful addition to the village green," said Sotis. "It's going to give a permanent home to our Wednesday night concerts, plus a permanent base for Saturday night social affairs."
"That and the signage would add charm and quaintness to the village," said Trustee Kelly. "Because people seem to want to go back to the quaintness of an old town."
In addition, the board is gearing up for the arrival of the U.S. Open 2002 at the Bethpage State Park's Black golf course, located in Farmingdale. The village hopes to harness the national tourism traffic of the event to give exposure to Farmingdale.
Ongoing negotiations with Farmingdale's day laborers about where they will gather to be picked up for work will also continue to be an issue for the village board. Most recently, following protests by the workers about the village's ticketing of trucks at Conklin Street pickup sites, the village has agreed to allow the workers to gather on municipal property on Elizabeth Street.
The initiation of a road reconstruction project will also be an ongoing focus. The program will entail curb replacement and repaving the street. According to Kelly, the village will begin the project with the areas which most need improvement, and will finance it mostly through grant money.
"I hope that the work we've started and the work we're going to do in the future, will entice our children to stay here, and their children to stay here," concluded Mayor Trudden. "So that we can make this a generation town."