Sag Harbor Village elections are coming up in June and though there’s still another month before petitions are due at village hall, we’re already seeing a sizable field of candidates both for mayor and trustee seats.
Great! We say bring it on. It’s indicative of the passion the people in this village display and it’s what we’ve always loved about this community. It’s not just one faction throwing its hat into the ring this time around — we’re seeing a diverse group of people who really want to see Sag Harbor succeed.
With a month to go, we may expect to see even more candidates enter the fray. Ultimately, that’s positive. One of the worst things that can happen to a community is apathy, but Sag Harbor is apparently not prone to apathy this year — proving this is a vibrant population with strong opinions.
But populations change, and as residents in the greater Sag Harbor area have become more involved, the fact is, the village population continues to shrink. More part time residents and weekenders take over homes previously occupied by year-rounders, leaving fewer potential candidates to fill these offices. It’s particularly hard to find qualified people willing (and able) to serve on the volunteer village boards.
So, given the challenges, we’re pleased to see this time around both new faces emerging as well as some familiar folks who have lots of experience in village government.
Also encouraging is the fact that a number of candidates are stepping up to the plate as solo candidates, rather than running as a block. Not to say that teaming up with a slate doesn’t make sense, but it’s great to see people running on their own terms. Independent thinking means these are people who wanted to seek office in order to tackle specific issues.
And when it comes to issues, we have a few we would like to see the village board make a priority in the coming years. A major one is Long Wharf, and we hope the village takes a proactive approach to its management by developing a comprehensive plan for that facility.
We’re also still embroiled in the police contract. The reality is no matter what happens in arbitration the cops have been working two years without a contract. Once this is settled, the village board will likely be right back at the table working on the next one. As a result, we advocate for an immediate and truly productive discussion about the future of policing in Sag Harbor.
This needs to be a comprehensive discussion. The cost of police services is an issue that has been raised time and time again. We would like to hear candidates in this election talk about taking a real look at long-term costs and suggesting real alternatives. What are the legislative solutions locally and what can be pursued on a state level to make policing more affordable? Also, as a community we need to ask what we want. Do we believe the cost justifies what we’re getting? These are big questions about police services and it’s important the dialogue include the entire community rather than just the board debating amongst themselves.
Environmentally speaking, we also think Sag Harbor needs to start looking at stormwater runoff issues as well as in-ground septic systems and perhaps revisit what can be done to keep them from affecting the waters that surround us. The bay is our livelihood and it’s what makes this place so appealing to those who aren’t fortunate enough to live here year round.
This is a small village, but the issues are big. So we encourage all comers in this year’s election — and bring along inventive ideas for making this place work better for all of us.