Challenges to trustee nominations in the East and Estates have forced run-off elections in both sections on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Locations and times for each election will be determined by each property owners' association.
The challenges were brought forth during annual resident electors' meetings held Tuesday evening in each of Garden City's four sections - East, Estates, Central and West. Current deputy mayor John Watras' and current sitting trustee Andrew Cavanaugh's nominations in the West and Central respectively were not challenged.
Michele Harrington is set to challenge current village sitting trustee Brian Daughney in the Estates section while former village trustee Jon Segerdahl will challenge current second deputy mayor Nick Episcopia in the East.
Harrington, a long time resident of Garden City, said she's frustrated with the current representation, or lack thereof. "Residents want cooperation, problem solving and altruism, NOT personal agendas and obstructionism," she said.
Harrington says her platform is simple: fiscal responsibility and cooperative government. "Let’s face it, we pay dearly and sacrifice a great deal to live in Garden City!" she said. "This village is at a crossroad and I am concerned that the residents’ voices are not being heard and that we are heading down the wrong path. The time to steady the ship is now!"
Daughney, who was nominated by his property owners' association's Nominating Committee, is thankful for the nomination to serve another two-year term.
"I believe I have established a strong record of requiring that our village budgets hold the line on tax increases, while maintaining services and facilities. I have also sought changes in the manner in which we contract for services with a goal to obtaining cost savings," he said Wednesday. "I have spearheaded village efforts, as suggested by the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee, to review our insurance needs and costs, which resulted in significant savings to the village. I am not beholden to, or controlled by, any special group that seeks to force its will or opinions on the taxpayers. But we also need to look towards the future. For example, as trustee liason to the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Commission, I am working with the Commission to develop public surveys regarding the needs of our seniors and the community at large. For example, I believe we should undertake a needs analysis to determine if the public wants a village recreation center and how much our taxpayers are willing to pay for any such project."
Segerdahl, a 39-year resident who served as a village trustee from the East years ago, said he supports a representative form of government that "respects the wishes of the residents of the East."
"I believe we need to see the big picture and address the issues that drive budget increases, not 'nickel and dime' residents with minor fees," he said. “We have a dysfunctional majority on the BOT that does not respect the wishes of the residents, does not have a vision for tomorrow and does not have a vision for enhancing our village. There is a leadership void and a vision void that I am attempting to fill. It is time to bring a future back to our community, a time for rebuilding our government and a time for rebuilding our village."
Episcopia, who was unanimously nominated by his property owners' association's Nominating Committee to a new two-year term effective April 1, said he's once again honored to have received the nomination.
"As I have done since 2005, I promise to serve the interests of all the residents of the East and never be the captive of any special interest group," Episcopia said. "I will continue the policies of sound fiscal management that over the last six years have given the taxpayers an average annual tax increase of 2.70 percent, compared to an average inflation rate of 3.12 percent. These savings were achieved by cooperating with our neighbors on the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, and by analyzing the absolute necessity of all our expenses and capital projects. This was vast improvement over the period 2000 to 2005 when tax increases in several years more than were double the inflation rate. I am especially proud that this was done with no diminution in services. I sincerely believe I have earned the support of all our residents and I ask for your vote on Jan. 31."