Everyone seems to know Steve Minicozzi perhaps because of his volunteerism. When asked when he first got involved in his community he paused. That’s because he needed to think, he said, because he estimates that his involvement in Bayville and organizations in nearby villages and towns first began at least 30 years.
“I was brought up to give back and I enjoy doing it,” said the Bayville mayoral candidate. “My father was involved in charities and I got my lead from him.”
His volunteerism is extensive [see box]. And Minicozzi’s commitments have not gone unnoticed.
“I’ve known Steve for decades,” Bob Fagiola, Lattingtown’s mayor, said. “He’s intelligent, hardworking and has an incredible sense of community.”
Those who didn’t know Minicozzi probably do now, since in Feb. 2021 he filled a village trustee seat when David Wright stepped down to become a judge.
In the 15 months since he’s been serving the village he said he’s taken the bull by the horns. He’s been working on improvements to the Soundside Beach bathhouse, which was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, refurbished the ice skating rink and arranged for a five-year window replacement plan at Village Hall.
He’s also been working to upgrade the village website and has made it more user friendly. He’s currently working on creating an app so residents can link to the website and receive notifications on community events and be able to pay their bills electronically.
Minicozzi has focused on upgrading technology for the village. Due to his diligence the building department is slowly progressing to electronic filing, and soon there will be monitors and computers in the board room.
“There are plans for people to be able to file building permits online,” he said, “When someone comes in with plans it’s cumbersome to view blueprints from an easel. Building department software will allow for zoning and architectural review boards to view plans online too. This has never been done before in Bayville.”
Joe Powers, a trustee in Bayville’s Pine Island Association, said Minicozzi will make a fine mayor because of his ability to compromise and get things done. “When he looks at a situation, like when there was flooding in the streets, he was influential in getting people together,” Powers said. “A lot of people talk an issue to death and nothing happens. Steve knows who to call.”
Minicozzi’ s been working on correcting the drainage issue on the east end and will continue to do so, he said.
“The village had one pump to use in the event of an emergency which caused me to lose sleep at night” he said. “I got two additional trash pumps which don’t get clogged with leaves and debris, which are used in the event of major rain. Last year we used them six times. The flooding is an ongoing problem.”
John Doyle, a Bayville firefighter, said he admires Minicozzi’s business savvy. “He understands the ins and outs of dealing with municipalities and knows what to do when it comes to property variances, building codes and how to run a successful business,” Doyle said. “And he’s willing to listen to people and if he thinks he’s wrong, will change his mind. Steve doesn’t dig his heels in.”
Minicozzi said as mayor he would accomplish a great deal. He would revamp the West Harbor Beach complex. “My wish would be to add pickle ball courts, a splash pad, concession stands and upgrade the ballfield,” he said. “The complex is showing its age. I want to create a quality complex, which Bayville deserves.”
Additionally, the Little League fields need some attention. “We need to invest money into it and correct the drainage. We can do this through a bond,” Minicozzi said.
One thing he wants residents to know is that although he has plans for projects and improvements in the village, he will not raise taxes.
“The village reserve funds are as strong as they’ve ever been,” he said. “The New York Comptroller’s Office rated us with zero financial stress. We’ve worked hard to maintain the reserve funds and haven’t had to use them.”
One project that Minicozzi worked hard on was upgrading the ice skating rink, a topic of ire among the community in 2021. He said he first evaluated what needed to be done, discovering there was a drainage problem. “A contractor came and cleaned the drainage pipes and the dry wells and I had the fence repaired, cleared the walkways of downed trees and widened it,” he said.
Lights, handrails, and a blacktop around the outside perimeter of the rink were added. This winter residents were able to enjoy the rink.
Peter Quick, Mill Neck’s mayor, said he has no doubt that Minicozzi would be an effective mayor. “He’s got leadership qualities, is concise and gets to the root of the problem and looks for solutions,” Quick said. “And he gets along with everybody, which is important.”
Minicozzi said he supports the plans that the owner of Steve’s Pier is pursuing, adding that he’s tired of looking at it. There are plans for single-family houses, which Minicozzi said is sensible development. “It would add $30,000 to $50,000 a year in property taxes for the village,” he said. “We need additional revenue and this would help. A development like that will keep our tax bills manageable.”
Minicozzi added that he’s committed to making effective use of the tax dollars the village has now.
Marc Bilbrey, Bayville Fire Department’s chief, and assistant director of Grenville Baker Boys and Girls Club, went to school with Minicozzi. Additionally, they were in the Bayville Fire Department together. Bilbrey has always been impressed by Minicozzi’s ability to raise money for organizations and how well he utilizes resources, which he said, will come in handy for a mayor.
“He’s done so much for so many over the years,” Bilbrey said. “When he’s mayor and he wants to make changes people will look to help him because of all he’s done in the past for them.”