Letter from Joseph R. Membrino
Candidate Urges Citizens To Vote
On March 5, 2020, the League of Women Voters held a forum in the Village Hall Board Room. By luck of the draw, I was chosen among the three candidates for trustee to take the first question from the audience.
A voter asked, “What will you do to address COVID-19.” At that time, we could not have known what the pandemic would mean to our families, our village and our nation. The question was prescient, though; the pandemic soon engulfed us with fear, anxiety, disruption and illness. At the time, my answer was not very useful; I suggested that our public health officials would know better than I what to do.
During the pandemic’s pre-vaccine phase, duties of the village trustees did not abate; fulfilling them just became more complicated—governing in the time of Zoom. The first civic casualty of the pandemic was the March election itself. Twice postponed, it was eventually held in September 2020.
Among our duties that spring was to prepare a village budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We knew revenues would be a major concern because of tourism’s collapse. Trustees very soon reached a consensus that a primary commitment in budget planning would be to preserve the village’s exemplary work force. We protected the paychecks of village employees and staff, even employees like those in the Streets Department, who obviously could not work from home.
The village emerged from the worst of the pandemic on its feet and forward looking. Today, challenges remain, but opportunities for the village abound, thanks to the vision of former mayor Jeff Katz, and the ongoing leadership and dedication of Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Deputy Mayor Cynthia Falk.
As chairman of the Finance and Personnel Committee, I have assisted in the oversight of finance and personnel administration. Thanks to the village’s clerk, deputy clerk, public works director, treasure and deputy treasurer, our auditor has described our government’s activities as “above and beyond” many others whom they audit.
In addition, as the Board of Trustees’ representative on the Water and Sewer Board, I assisted in the oversight of the village’s successful completion of waste water treatment plant upgrades, which will serve the village for decades to come. The staff at the Municipal Water Works and Wastewater Treatment Plant have proven their capability and dedication time and again.
It is an honor to serve the village with collaborative and collegial trustees. I ask for your readers’ votes to continue my service and urge all voters to turn out on Tuesday, March 21, between noon and 9 p.m. at the Village Fire Hall.
Joseph R. Membrino