By Stephen J. Kotz
It’s doubtful anyone in the crowd of about 50 well wishers who gathered at Union Cantina restaurant in Southampton Village on Friday was surprised when Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman announced he would seek a second term in November. It was, after all, a billed as a fundraiser for the first-term incumbent, even if he refused beforehand to reveal his plans.
“I’m already getting a lot of questions about what my plans are,” Mr. Schneiderman said after reciting a list of accomplishments in his first year in office. “Tonight I am announcing that I will be seeking reelection.”
Mr. Schneiderman pointed to the town’s Aaa credit rating from the credit rating agency, Moody’s, to a cut in the tax rate that came with his first budget last fall.
“From a financial perspective, we are in really stellar shape,” he said, noting that Moody’s had praised the town for attention to the kind of infrastructure and quality-of-life improvements that make the town a good place to live. “We did a tax cut, too, which is not an easy thing to do,” he added. “We were the only town on Long Island that cut the tax rate this year.”
The supervisor said that the town did so without cutting services and had hired additional police officers, launched a new Office of Housing and Community Development, taken steps to streamline public safety and code enforcement operations, reached a settlement with the town’s union over a number of issues, and would soon be unveiling legislation to combat water quality issues.
He also announced that Adam Grossman, the current vice chairman of the town Zoning Board of Appeals, would be appointed chairman to replace Herb Phillips, who recently retired, and that Julie Keyes, a Sag Harbor resident, would be appointed to the town Architectural Review Board.
“I love this job,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “It’s in my heart.”
Mr. Schneiderman, a member of the Independence Party who was cross-endorsed by the Democratic Party, was joined by Democratic town board members, John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad.
Mr. Bouvier, who was elected with Mr. Schneiderman in 2015, is starting the second year of a four-term, so he is not running this year, but Ms. Lofstad, who was elected in a special election in January 2016 to complete the term of Councilman Brad Bender who was arrested on federal drug trafficking charges, is up for reelection.
“I would love to run again,” Ms. Lofstad said.
“Tonight is Jay’s night,” she continued, adding that she had met him more than a decade ago when he was a county legislator and she was a community activist opposed to the placement of trailers housing sex offenders at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton.
She said Mr. Schneiderman is committed to problem solving. “He’s has a plan,” she said. “And if that plan doesn’t work out, he’s got three or four other plans.”
“He’s such a thoughtful, nice man,” she said, before turning to the supervisor and adding, “I’m so honored to work with you.”
Mr. Bouvier said he was excited Mr. Schneiderman would seek another term, adding he hoped he would be running for a third term in 2019 when he is up for reelection.
“We have done a lot of good things,” he said. “We’ve done an awful of work in this first year and we have a lot of plans to do a lot more.”