North Hempstead District 6 Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte is vying to be re-elected to her seat, advocating for policies that protect the quality of life for her constituents despite town partisanship that affects communication with the supervisor.
Dalimonte, a Democrat, is being challenged by Dave Franklin, a Republican who previously served as Port Washington’s police commissioner.
A fourth-generation Port Washington resident, Dalimonte began her tenure on the board in 2020. She said she ran in 2019 because she felt like there was no voice in the community alerting residents to what was going on.
“I ran because I felt that everybody in the community should have a voice,” Dalimonte said. “Everybody should know what’s going on.”
Prior to taking office, Dalimonte was the director of operations for Sony. She said during this time she was commuting into the city and felt disconnected from her home base of Port Washington as she did not have the time to be involved in her community.
But once she became a stay-at-home mom, Dalimonte finally had the time and became involved with various local boards.
It was at this time that she began to understand how many others in the community felt disconnected, just as she had when she worked in Manhattan.
To combat this issue when she took office, Dalimonte started sending out newsletters at least once every two weeks which address= prominent issues in the community when they arise and recap developments after every town board meeting.
Understanding the struggle with community disconnection, Dalimonte said her newsletters are a way to keep people informed easily without requiring them to devote time they may not otherwise have.
When asked why she’s running again, she said her response is easy to give: “I’m doing this for us. I’m doing this because I want all of us to have a voice and I want to advocate for us.”
Dalimonte said the most important issues she is concerned about in the town are lowering the cost of living, the changing environment and flooding, and protecting the local quality of life.
She said one avenue for addressing the quality of life locally is through the town’s budget while still keeping taxes low.
“We have rising taxes on Long Island that are forcing families out,” Dalimonte said. “I feel that that is something that we need to look at.”
North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena submitted the town’s tentative budget with a 10% tax cut, which Dalimonte said she is concerned about.
Dalimonte said that while a tax cut is important, $3.6 million from the general fund is being added to the budget’s projected revenues to balance the expenses, which she fears will negatively impact the budget for the next year and beyond.
“It’s not really balancing the budget the right way,” Dalimonte said. “It’s like you’re taking from Peter to pay Paul. Well, eventually that’s going to end.”
In addition to the $3.6 million hole, a contract deal has just been cut with the town’s union workers, which was done after the budget was submitted. She is uncertain how that contract will affect the budget’s balancing act between revenues and expenses.
“Would I like to give a tax cut? Absolutely, of course I would,” Dalimonte said. “You can’t just look at this year, you have to look at the future and to make sure because I don’t want to vote on something that could eventually in two years, four years, five years bankrupt the town.”
Dalimonte said the budget is also missing aspects she finds important for the community, including $19,000 removed for the Manhasset Bay oyster program to fix the water quality, $2 million cut for road paving and $1 million taken out for sidewalks.
With the recent North Hempstead comptroller’s sudden resignation in August just about a month before the budget was due, the town board and the supervisor have pointed fingers over who is at fault.
Other notable employees in the budget and purchasing departments have also quit on short notice, about which Dalimonte said in response: “Look at the administration.”
She said she views Supervisor Jennifer DeSena’s budget as an example of election politics.
She said that since DeSena took office, communications between her and the supervisor have been strained despite her efforts to work with her.
“My door is always open,” Dalimonte said. “I will work with whoever is in that position, but it has to work both ways.”
Dalimonte said that when DeSena started her term, she sent the supervisor a five-page document highlighting the issues concerning District 6 to inform her about what’s going on in the town, but the supervisor never replied nor took her up on an offer to discuss it.
Dalimonte said there is absolutely no communication from the supervisor.
“It’s very, very sad. It’s not right,” Dalimonte said. “But I am telling you, as an elected official I will advocate and do whatever I can for my district.”
Dalimonte, alongside Councilmember Veronica Lurvey, has asked the attorney general to investigate the supervisor’s hiring of a Republican donor without a contract as a hearing officer for a town personnel matter, which the Nassau County comptroller refused to investigate. She said he was not hired through a town board resolution, was paid more than the town’s designated amount and is not on a list of attorneys who can be hired.
“This is not political,” Dalimonte said. “Whether this happened on Nov. 7 or Nov. 8 after ELection Day or it happened in January of 2022, I would have stood at the steps of town hall and done this.”
Dalimonte said District 6 residents should vote for her because she’s a straight shooter who does her research and votes for the best interest of her community, not for party politics.
“I am a real person, people know they can contact me any time of the day, I’m always there for them and I work really hard for my district because I really care about my district,” Dalimonte said.
The full interview with Dalimonte an be viewed on The Island 360’s YouTube channel.