As election day nears, the mayoral and village trustee race in Sag Harbor Village is heating up, but over in neighboring North Haven Village, this year’s election season promises to be quiet as current trustees Jeff Sander and Russell “Jim” Smyth are running unopposed. Sander, a local business owner, is currently wrapping up his first term as trustee and was named as village deputy mayor in 2008. Smyth is a 47-year resident of the village and is entering his third term as trustee. Before becoming a trustee, Smyth served for eight years on the village planning board.
In the coming years, Sander would like to see the village acquire more property for open space preservation. He pointed out that the village recently purchased a 2.2 acre plot of land.
“I hope we continue to use whatever funds are available to buy parcels. This is one of the most important [projects] for the village,” noted Sander.
Although Sander has taken a keen interest in acquiring additional open space for the village, he added that it’s imperative for the village to remain fiscally conservative as the East End faces an uncertain economic future.
“One of our biggest challenges right now is continuing to manage our funds in a responsible way,” explained Sander. “All villages including ours are being impacted by the economy. Revenues are down in part because of decreases in the fees collected for building permits and other permits, though our costs continue to rise. This year we had to replace the heating system in village hall.”
Smyth concurred on the need to preserve open space and practice fiscal responsibility, but added that the board needs to continue keeping the village’s deer population at bay and beautifying various points in the village, similar to the recent round-about beautification project. Over his last term, Smyth said the village has worked on updating its website and improving office operations, and will continue to do so over the next couple years.
“I don’t foresee anything new confronting the village,” reported Smyth. “We just want to continue the work we have been doing. Most of the village projects are things we have been continuing for years and years.”
“The deer is always something in the back of our minds and we are always dealing with waterfront and dock issues,” continued Smyth, who added that the village is relatively small and primarily residential with only one commercial business in North Haven.
Overall, Smyth noted that the current North Haven village board has established a certain rhythm that he would like to see continue in the future.
“We have a strong group of people on the board who have been working together for a while,” said Smyth.
“I can provide some expertise and some good judgment to village politics. I enjoy working on the board,” added Sander of his forthcoming candidacy.
“They are great trustees. I am glad they are rerunning,” said current village mayor Laura Nolan. “They have certainly been an asset in helping me on the board and I am happy there isn’t a contested election this year.”
In fact, the Village of North Haven hasn’t seen a contested election since 2007.