Port Washington holds three unopposed village elections March 21

Port Washington holds three unopposed village elections March 21
Clockwise starting from the top left: Mary Jo Collins, Frank Genese, Max Frankel, Robert Weitzner, Nora Haagenson, Maria Branco, Charles Comer. (Photos courtesy of the Flower Hill village clerk, the Baxter Estates village clerk and Robert Weitzner)

Three Port Washington villages will be heading to the polls March 21 to cast votes for numerous positions, all of which are filled with incumbents running unopposed

Flower Hill, Baxter Estates and Port Washington North are each hosting elections next week.

Flower Hill residents will be voting on three trustee positions that are currently held by Mary Jo Collins, Frank Genese and Max Frankel.

Collins and the other trustees are running for the Flower Hill Party.

Collins has worked on Wall Street for 40 years predominantly in fixed income and has been living in Flower Hill for 11 years. She started her term as trustee in June 2020.

She told Blank Slate Media that some of her notable work has been achieved with the collaboration of the whole board, including repaving and updating drainage on Middle Neck Road, modernizing the village’s records, additional parking spaces in the village and increasing transparency between the village and its residents.

What Collins said she is hoping to achieve if re-elected is continuing efforts of cost-saving for the village and revenue expansion to avoid increasing taxes for residents, finding ways to foster resident participation with the village and its board of trustees and continuing to support the highway department.

“The common denominator is to continue to focus on our village and try to maintain it as the special place that it is,” Collins said.

Genese and Frankel did not respond to a request for comment.

Genese is an architect and the principal at N2 Design + Architecture. He has been a trustee since 2016 and currently serves on the Town of North Hempstead’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission. He was previously on the village’s architectural review board and planning board after serving as the Munsey Park village architect consultant for 11 years.

Frankel, a born and raised Flower Hill resident, joined the board in 2021. According to a fall 2021 newsletter from the village, Frankel works as a commercial underwriter and previously worked for Citigroup’s troubled asset loan sale/syndication group.

Baxter Estates residents will also be voting on three positions: mayor and two trustees.

Mayor Nora Haagenson and trustees Charles Comer and Maria Branco are running for re-election, the only candidates officially on the ballot.

Haagenson, a Baxter Estate resident since 1975, has been mayor since 2015, making this upcoming election potentially her fifth term in the office. She said during this time she has been dedicated to her village and her efforts are not finished yet, hence why she is running for re-election.

During her tenure, Haagenson said her accomplishments have included securing nearly $1 million in grants from the state, digitizing records, establishing an independent planning board, not raising taxes forveight years and coordinating renovations throughout the village utilizing grant money.

Looking ahead if re-elected, she said she plans to renovate Baxter Beach, which she said is in dire need of refurbishing, as well as further beautification of the village.

Haagenson has also opposed Gov. Kathy Hochul’s housing plan, which would require municipalities with MTA stations to rezone for higher-density residential development, including the Town of North Hempstead. If re-elected, she said she would continue fighting against this plan.

Comer and Branco did not respond to requests for comment.

The Baxter Estate village clerk was unable to provide how long Comer has served as a trustee, but her records date back as early as 2009. Comer is the principal for investment strategies at Family Office Advisors, of which he co-founded.

Branco has been a trustee since April and previously served on the village’s Board of Zoning and Appeals.

Port Washington North’s residents will also be voting for their mayor and two trustees. The offices are currently held by Mayor Robert Weitzner and Trustees Matthew Kepke and Andrea Scheff.

All three incumbents are running unopposed and for the Port North Party.

During Weitzner’s 18-year-long tenure as mayor, he has accumulated a long list of accomplishments. These include preventing any debt build-up in the village, creating the village court, various infrastructure projects to repair the streets, sidewalks and curbs, collaborating and creating the bay walk and expanding the commercial sector.

Looking forward, Weitzner said if re-elected he would like to expand recreational facilities in the community, build a village hall, finish repaving all roads – which has been 60% done – and maintain the village’s top rating for fiscal stress by the state’s comptroller.

“Before I leave I want to leave the village in as best possible hands,” Weitzner said. “I don’t think the board’s work is done and certainly my vision of what the village can be. That keeps me focused and striving for more.”

Kepke has been a trustee for the village since 2014. During that time, his accomplishments have included expanding businesses in Soundview Marketplace, sponsoring the law that restricts tobacco sales to people 21 years and older and expanding and improving the bay walk.

He said he wants another term to establish a system to get people from the train station uptown to the village via public transportation and other means as well as continuing infrastructural projects like repaving roads.

Scheff was unavailable for comment.

Andrea Scheff has served on the board since last summer, when she took over for her husband, Sherman Scheff, following his death. Sherman Scheff had been a trustee since 2008.

All elections will be held on March 21.

Flower Hill residents can vote at the village hall, 1 Bonnie Heights Road in Manhasset. Polling will take place from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

The Baxter Estates election will be held at the village hall, at 315 Main St. in Port Washington. Polling will begin at noon and the village hall will close at 9 p.m.

Port Washington North’s election will be held at the village hall, at 3 Pleasant Ave. in Port Washington. Polling will take place from noon until 9 p.m.

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