Trustees Retain Uncontested Seats

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New Hyde Park Village Board trustees Donna Squicciarino and Rich Coppola retained their seats in an uncontested, low turnout election last week. Squicciarino received 60 votes while Coppola raked in 73 tallies with 78 residents voting.

 

“I’m enjoying it,” she said of her time on the board. “I’m learning from it and it’s a wonderful opportunity.” 

 

Squicciarino’s just the second woman to sit on the village board. Resident Florence Lisanti, whose term ended in 2001, was the first.

 

Squicciarino was appointed trustee in April 2013, filling the seat vacated by then-trustee Robert Lofaro, who won the mayor’s seat in March after then-mayor Daniel Petruccio decided to not seek re-election.

 

Squicciarino is eager to see the Memorial Park project complete. The board recently selected Metro Paving LLC. to handle the revamp of the park, which is the scene of cracked basketball and tennis courts as well as a rocky walking path.

 

“The biggest problem has been Mother Nature,” Squicciarino said of the park project. “I’m worried about when we can begin, but more concerned about when we can be finished.

 

Right now, the ground is still frozen so we can’t start, but hopefully soon.”

 

Senator Jack Martins recently procured $200,000 in grants for the park’s restoration. New Hyde Park also earmarked $75,000 of village funds toward the project.

 

“I feel like I need to be more involved in the projects that are going on,” Squicciarino said. “This is the first big project for me. There are many people working on this and it’s important.”

 

Coppola, a 17-year trustee, has been a mainstay in New Hyde Park for 37 years and a 33-plus year New Hyde Park firefighter. He is the liaison to the New Hyde Park Little League, fire department, New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, Nassau County and auxiliary police.  Coppola is also a past member of the parks commission.

 

“I appreciate the residents confidence in me,” he said. “I would have liked to see a higher turnout but residents are either very happy with what we’re doing or there’s some apathy. We are keeping the tax rate in line with the government’s requests.”

 

The veteran trustee is also eager to see street and road projects completed in New Hyde Park. With the winter weather blast in early 2015, road repaving is a concern of Coppola’s.

 

“We have a goal for the street projects,” he said. “It gets a little harder because so many roads that have been good were messed up because of the snow.”

 

Coppola feels villages are tasked harder each year to comply with New York State mandates, including tax cap restrictions and other related costs, including health coverage. New Hyde Park ratified its new employee contract in February. The six-year contract runs until

 

2020, with an 11.5 percent salary increase over the length of the contract.

 

“The costs of increases in salaries, medical…it gets very hard,” he said. “But employees will be paying a portion for [benefits] in the coming years.”

Employees will receive 1.75 percent bumps in 2014 and 2015. From 2016-20, workers will get 2 percent increases each year.

 

For the first two years of the contract, all employees get free medical benefits. In year three and four of the contract, workers will contribute 5 percent to medical insurance. In the final two years of the new agreement, village employees will need to kick in 10 percent towards the benefits package.

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