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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
A Q&A with the Lynbrook village candidates
(Page 2 of 2)
Mary Malloy/Herald
Hilary Becker, Bill McLaughlin, and Mike Hawxhurst

 
What are the biggest issues facing Lynbrook that you want to solve/pay attention to?
The job is not done yet. I want to continue to work hard for our residents, families, and small businesses. Many of our neighbors are still struggling and need our help. Sure, the economists say things are getting better, but unemployment is still way too high, and people are still looking for meaningful and financially rewarding employment. Underemployment is an issue, and will be the issue for the next several years, and until our residents are back on their feet financially, we need to continue to find ways to help them on a local level. Fighting taxes is one of the best ways at helping all of our residents.
 
What accomplishments are you most proud of since being on the board?

  It would be tough to list all of the accomplishments since there were a multitude of challenges being presented to us daily as a result of “Great Recession,” which presented us with many obstacles to balancing the village’s budget, and we did our very best to deal with them so that we were able to keep the tax increases to a bare bones minimum while at the same time improving the village’s bond rating to it’s highest level in the history of the village. So at a time when other communities across the country were having to file for bankruptcy, cutting services, closing down government, and even turning off their street lights, our Board was improving Lynbrook’s bond rating to it’s highest level ever, and fighting to keep our taxes down.   
 
How do you think that village government could run more efficiently?
By revitalizing Lynbrook’s commercial base, and thereby taking a huge burden off of the residential taxpayer, and shifting the burden back to the commercial property owners. The “Great Recession” has had a devastating effect on commercial property values, and when the value of the commercial property values goes down, the taxes go down as well, and the shortfall is shifted to the residential property owners.  We are in the process of reversing this trend, and I personally will continue to work hard to make sure that the job gets done by continuing to make Lynbrook a pro-small business village. The other two major “by-products” of our revitalization plan will be the creation of new local jobs, and increasing the values of our homes. By bringing in new businesses, we are helping to keep the taxes down on our residents, and this will increase the value of their homes,
and increase the value of all Lynbrook properties
in general. 
 
What is your vision for Lynbrook during your next term,
or beyond?

Continuing the revitalization of Lynbrook’s commercial base to create local jobs, and keep taxes down is the major goal for the next four years, however, I also want to personally work with our DPW, residents, and businesses to continue to grow our recycling program. The more we recycle the lower our taxes will be.  We’ve improved our recycling program by 30 to 35 percent, and the main goal was just to increase awareness amongst our businesses and residents. I’m hoping to go even further by improving efficiencies and implementing some new ideas that will get us to the highest recycling rate for all of Long Island.  We’ve also implemented other “Going Green” programs and I want to make sure that these programs succeed at the highest rate possible. I want Lynbrook residents to get the “biggest bang for the buck” from these projects that are ultimately saving our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

 

Mike Hawxhurst

Why did you run for elected office again?
    I enjoy the job of being a Trustee. It has been an honor to serve the residents of this village, and as long as they agree to keep me in office I will serve another term. The job of being a Trustee is like no other, and I’ve learned much in these four years. I want to continue to learn and to put that knowledge to work in the next four years.
 
What are the biggest issues facing Lynbrook that you want to solve or pay attention to?
    The biggest issue that Lynbrook and other villages face is the stagnant economy. Our tax base has continued to decrease as our mandated expenses have increased. Residents and small businesses continue to struggle in this recovery. As we look to grow our tax base, we look for development that fits in and compliments our community. We look for projects that provide long lasting benefits to the residents and businesses already a part of the village.  We have worked closely with both residents and the Chamber of Commerce to ensure this development remains in character with the neighborhood.
 
What accomplishments are you most proud of since being on the board?
    This board has many accomplishments to be proud of but the most important one is that they don’t rest on what has been accomplished already but continue to look forward. The board has kept discretionary expenses in check and has managed overall expenses below the rate of inflation. We have seen many store openings in the past four years and continue to provide an atmosphere where we partner with our Chamber of Commerce. Residents’ concerns are addressed quickly, and we have seen the hard and dedicated work of our village volunteers and employees in the wake of blizzards, hurricanes and most recently Superstorm Sandy. This board has and will continue to deal with challenges head-on and work to ensure the best solution for our residents and small businesses.
 
How do you think that village government could run more efficiently?
    I would have to say the current village government is run very efficiently at this point. We have asked department heads to do more with less and they have responded wonderfully. Expenses have been reduced, and we continue to reduce the reliance on overtime we had in the past. The various department heads are a valuable resource we have in this village and have provided leadership and innovative ideas to continue to provide high quality services at a reduced cost. This elected board will continue to look for efficiencies in each department and implement changes to continue this trend.
 
What is your vision for Lynbrook during your next term, or beyond?
The board shares a collective vision where we look for continued growth on the village.  While the economic recovery is sputtering at the federal level we continue to see interest by the business community in Lynbrook and the board looks to work with these businesses to bring them into Lynbrook.  The board is working hard on projects like the feather factory, the movie theater and the stores under the LIRR to bring these slow moving projects to fruition.  On top of that we continue to look for cost-effective ways to increase services for our residents.  We look to provide more opportunities for our children with activities at the recreation department and library. We have increased programs like recycling that both help our environment and bring in much needed revenue to the village.  But overall this board will continue to work hard to provide the best village government for our residents.

Why are you running for elected office again?
I am running for re-election for Village Justice because I have been a judge in Lynbrook for 16 years and I enjoy the job and the people I work with. I think I can make a positive contribution to the quality of life in Lynbrook. 


Bill McLaughlin

What accomplishments are you most proud of since being Village Justice?
I think the accomplishments I am most proud of is that we have eliminated any backlog of cases, we now dispose of a significant percentage of cases at arraignment, we now accept credit cards for fine payments and we are consistently among the top five Village Courts in New York  based on annual revenues. 

What is your goal for the next term of office?

My goal for next term is to streamline the paper work in the clerks office and expedite trial dates. 

What is your dream for Lynbrook?

My dream for Lynbrook would be for it to continue to be a great place to live and raise children — just as it was for me and for my children. In other words, that it continues to have a small town feel in the midst of the creeping urban sprawl.

 

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