Three elected officials in Asharoken Village announced their bid for re-election on Monday morning.
Mayor Greg Letica and Trustees Mel Ettinger and Laura Burke all hope to land a third term in office in the June election.
“It has been an honor to have served the village alongside Trustee Ettinger and Trustee Burke for the last four years,” Letica said in a statement. “We are very proud of what has been accomplished since 2012 and look forward to the opportunity to serve the village in the next two years. Although there are still many important issues to face, we are confident that we will be able to draw together the community, as we have done many times in the past, to reach the best solutions for Asharoken.”
Letica, who has lived in Asharoken since 1957, has previously served as a trustee, village treasurer, deputy harbormaster, police contract negotiator and a budget committee member. In discussing his campaign for re-election, the incumbent touted the village’s strong finances.
“Long term, the village is in excellent financial shape,” Letica said in a letter to residents regarding the budget. “Our reserve accounts are properly funded and will allow the village to make necessary infrastructure improvements, update our police fleet, maintain our Village Hall and properly fund police retirement costs with little to no impact on the following year’s tax rate.”
This year, Asharoken officials have proposed a budget that complies with the state-mandated cap on tax levy increases but also maintains services throughout the village. And, according to a press release from the New York State comptroller, two financial stress tests of local governments in the last four years resulted in Asharoken receiving the best evaluation possible — no financial stress designation.
A major project that the village completed this past year was the construction of a new village hall, which Ettinger began working on almost 10 years ago.
“It has turned out to be fantastic,” Ettinger said of the new building in a phone interview. “It’s a wonderful facility where we not only hold village board meetings, but also court. Functions like the Asharoken Garden Club also use the space.”
As for why he is seeking a third term, Ettinger said, “I love the village. I feel we have accomplished a great deal with the current administration, but we still have a fair amount more to do.”
Ettinger has not only served as a trustee for the past four years, but also as police commissioner for almost a decade, the project manager for the construction of the new Asharoken Village Hall and once as the highway commissioner. He has lived in Asharoken for 25 years.
The village has also taken steps to decrease their environmental footprint.
Over the last four years, Asharoken has signed an agreement with Huntington Town and Northport Village to work together on protecting the water quality in Northport Bay. Asharoken has also made a deal in which its residents can use Northport’s e-waste recycling program, and one with Smithtown Town to initiate single-stream recycling in the village so residents can put all their recyclables on the curb together. As part of the latter agreement, Asharoken transports its recyclables to Kings Park, where Smithtown workers take the material for processing at a special facility in Brookhaven.
Burke has played an integral role in the recycling improvements.
“I helped to implement single-stream recycling in the village, which has been a tremendous success, resulting in tax savings,” she said in an email.
She also edits the village newspaper.
Burke grew up in Asharoken and, after living in the city for several years while working as a marketing executive, she moved back to raise a family.
“I’m pleased to be running for my second full term as trustee along with Mayor Letica and Trustee Ettinger, both residents with exemplary character and work ethic,” she said. “The current board … works well together, considers opposing views respectfully and makes decisions based on what is in the best interest of the Village of Asharoken and its residents.”
Residents have until May 17 to complete paperwork to run for the three village positions.