Election season has arrived in Manorhaven and Sands Point with both villages set to head to the polls on June 21.
Incumbent Jim Avena of the Manorhaven Residents Party faces current trustee John Popeleski of the People’s Working Party in the contest for a two-year term as mayor.
For the past six years, Avena has served as mayor. Popeleski has been a trustee during this same period.
Popeleski, who has spent much of his career in the public sector, believes that the mayoral seat is his next step in giving back to residents.
“One of my joys is working with the public and serving the public,” he said. “I did it for over 30 years and being a mayor would be like the same thing.”
Four candidates are running for two trustee positions with a two-year term. Current Deputy Mayor Rita Di Lucia and Dan Garcia represent the MRP and incumbent Harry Farina and Monica Ildefonso represent the PWP.
Garcia sees running as a way to advance Avena’s agenda of fiscal responsibility. He said he will continue to support him regardless of whether he wins.
“I want to be part of the team that keeps it going to fruition as opposed to seeing all the advancements and all the positive change stop in midstream,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, I think that has a strong chance of happening if we lose — if [Avena] loses in particular. So I’m ready to make sure that if I win, I can help him.”
The village’s public infrastructure is one of the most contentious issues in this cycle. Discussions by locals and town officials, notably about roads, dominated May’s Board of Trustees meeting.
“Getting as many roads paved as are needed is at the top of my list,” Avena told Blank Slate Media. “We have paved more streets during my tenure than the previous 20 years combined, but there are still some that should be repaved.”
Maintaining fiscal responsibility with taxpayer money is another aim shared by both parties.
In Sands Point, the electoral field is significantly smaller.
In two races for trustee posts, incumbent Rebecca Vitas Schamis and Sloane Ackerman will run unopposed. The term is for two years.
Residents of Manorhaven can vote at Village Hall from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sands Point will hold elections from noon to 9 p.m. in its Village Hall.