When Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke was first inaugurated in 2018, he said he was hopeful that he could bring positive change to the city. He and City Council members worked to improve water wells and the budgeting system, but heated arguments between Tenke, a Democrat, and the Republican-majority council were a regular occurrence in City Hall.
On the eve of his second term, Tenke acknowledged that things had not gone entirely as he had envisioned, but he felt that the next two years would be more productive, thanks to the election of an all-Democratic City Council in November.
On Jan. 1, at the Robert M. Finley Middle School, Tenke and City Councilwoman Marsha Silverman were sworn in to their second terms, along with newcomers Danielle Fugazy Scagliola, Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, Rocco Totino, John Perrone and Eve Lupenko. Tenke said that the victory of his team reflected the public’s desire for change.
“What we need to do now is move Glen Cove forward,” he said. “Thank you, Glen Cove, for giving us the opportunity to serve.”
In his inauguration speech, Tenke laid out a three-part plan for downtown revitalization, which included the ongoing work with the New York Power Authority to install new LED lights downtown. The next two steps, he said, would include work on the sidewalks to increase walkability and handicapped accessibility, and creating an entrance to the Brewster Street Garage through School Street. These improvements, Tenke said, would facilitate better access to downtown shops as well as the Village Square, which is scheduled to open in March.
The downtown developments are among the top priorities for the new City Council. Throughout their campaign, the new members had expressed their concerns about what they described as overdevelopment in the city, with housing developments at Village Square, Garvies Point and Livingston set to bring nearly 2,000 new residents to town. Fugazy Scagliola said she was cautiously optimistic about the projects, and that she would push to attract retail shops to those sites, the lack of which has given rise to a popular saying in the city: “You can’t buy a pair of underwear in Glen Cove.”
“It’s in the best interest of the city and RXR to bring in more retailers,” Fugazy Scagliola said. RXR Realty, based in Manhattan, is developing condominiums, apartment and retail spaces at Garvies Point and Village Square.
Stevenson-Mathews said the city needed to brace itself for the impact of these projects. “We’re going to have to make some hard decisions as more people start moving in to the city,” he said.
Improving the city’s finances is also another top priority, and Silverman, who pushed for fiscal responsibility during her first term, said she was more than happy to continue leading the charge. She has proposed updating the city’s procurement policies, under which, she has said, Glen Cove operates like a “mom-and-pop shop” rather than a large organization. Her proposed changes were tabled by the previous council, and never put to a vote. She said she would reintroduce them to the new council this year.
Silverman also wants the city to plan ahead rather than sticking to short-term goals, despite the council members’ and mayor’s two-year terms. She urged the creation of a five-year budget plan instead of single-year plans, in order to establish long-term revenue goals, and added that that could also help build a consistent reserve fund in the city budget.
“The public sent a clear message that they wanted things to change,” Silverman said, “and we have to deliver on that.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, who spoke at the inauguration, shared with the new administration a lesson he said he learned when he served as mayor in the late 1990s. The four most important things in Glen Cove, Suozzi said, are the city’s finances, the downtown area, the waterfront projects and improving residents’ quality of life. As long as the City Council made them top priorities, he said, Glen Cove would thrive.
“Tim cares about his hometown,” Suozzi said of Tenke, “and now he finally has the team he needs . . . to make the city of Glen Cove the best it can possibly be. The best days for our city are yet to come.”