Christopher Halajian Monitors Budget Approvals in North Fork Districts
Christopher Halajian always monitors any elections in the North Fork districts, with a particular emphasis on both Southold and Mattiuck. The latest votes was less about candidates and more about budgets, however. As always, whether the votes are cast on a Monday or Tuesday, whether they are for the police or for schools, whether they focus on a certain estate or a certain route, tensions ran high. Now that it is over, however, everyone can breathe a collective sigh of relief and even have a toast or a drink to another successful election.
Christopher Halajian Reports on Budget Approvals
Greenport was the only Suffolk County school district that asked its community to pierce the cap on tax. Hence, when a budget vote was held on Tuesday, Greenport officials were tense and worried. In just three years’ time, voters have been asked twice to approve a budget. And, once the results came in, there was a 60% approval. This was thrilling and officials across the board are truly grateful for this. It means that there is now a $19,038,000 budget for the 2018-19 time period. It also means that the community truly supports its school district and the education of their children.
Meanwhile, all five North Fork districts went to the polls and approved the budgets. At the Greenport school board, Sonia Spar received just 170 votes as the challenger and was therefore defeated by Daniel Creedon, who received 221 votes, and Barbette Cornine, who received 229.
Meanwhile, there were no candidates at all running in New Suffolk, and only write in votes were received. There was a tie between Jim Baker and Lauren Grant, who received eight write in votes each. The district is tiny, but it has created a significant impasse for officials. Tony Dill, the school board president, is likely to first speak to both individuals and ask if they would be interested in the position. Should they both want it, then a second vote will have to be held. Although a tiny district, this is not the first time it has had to face significant controversy. Indeed, there has been some concern that the school may have to close. On their budget, a 1.6% tax levy increase has been added, which does mean they remain within the tax cap. Thankfully, the school was able to make significant savings when Martha Kennelly, a teacher, resigned from her position.
In Mattiuck and Southold, there were truly overwhelming majorities. There was a 76.4% majority approval in Mattiuck and a 79% approval in Southold, which is almost unheard of. Additionally, in Southold, Amy Bennett had to concede defeat with 295 votes against John Crean, who received 225 and Paulette Ofrias, who received 390. Both were therefore re-elected to the school board in the elections.
In Oysterponds, meanwhile, an 85% approval was counted, which means no issues were raised there either. All budgets have now been approved and the schools are once again ready to be operational.