Anthony Santino (R)
On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony Santino sat down with editors and the publisher at Anton Media Group to discuss his campaign to earn election as the Town of Hempstead Supervisor on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Santino has 30 years of town hall experience, working for four of the past town supervisors, including 22 years as a town councilman and more than six years at the director of communications.
“I’ve seen it all, hurricanes, blackouts, good economic times, bad economic times,” said Santino. “I certainly think I have the background and the experience to step into the supervisor’s role, as the CEO of an entity that is bigger than four states.”
The 2010 Census counted the town’s population in at 759,757 people. The town operates with a less than $440 million budget and hundreds of full- and part-time employees.
“I won’t need any on-the-job training to roll my sleeves up and go to work on January 1st,” said Santino. Although he has an overall view of all that happens in the town, his job as councilman is to maintain and take care of what is happening within his town district.
Main Issues In Town
According to Santino, taxes and services are the two main issues in the township.
“Any one can give you the best services if they keep running taxes up,” said Santino. “You have to manage it every day, find ways to do things as well, if not better, but cheaper.” He likened running the town and being a town board member to running a business.
“The town tax bill is really minimal, considering all of the services you get.” The town taxes are comprised of general town taxes and part-town taxes (incorporated village residents).
“We’ve been able to lower the town tax levy on either or both of those components 16 times.”
One of Santino’s future goals will be creating housing opportunities for young people, a foremost priority.
“It’s a shame you have young people who grew up in the community, go away to college and come back saddled with tremendous student debt,” said Santino. “If they wanted to come back here to where their parents are, their basic choices are an illegal apartment in someone’s basement or garage, or moving back into the room that they grew up in, Bon Jovi poster included.”
Also in Santino’s vision are balancing growth, jobs and economic development in the town.
“If you’re waiting to support a project that absolutely everyone agrees with, you’ll do absolutely nothing,” said Santino. “You have to have some vision, some leadership; think it out, review it, give it some good thought.”
He praised the approach of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center development in the Uniondale/Coliseum area.
“The thing that I’m always going to be fully mindful of, priority number one, will be keeping taxes low,” said Santino. “It’s what people want; it’s what people need.”
Santino said one thing he’d like to continue to be known for is being constituent-friendly. Santino said he regularly holds public forums for his constituents in his district. “I’d also like to initiate some kind of ‘311 system’ as a town-wide information service and also make the building department more user-friendly.”
“The response has been good; I like meeting the people, talking about the issues, getting my point-of-view across,” said Santino. “I’ve been out there virtually every day since the nomination came through in May, and keeping full schedules at night and on the weekends.”
He respects the election process and says he is not overly confident.
“You always run as if you’re 10 points behind; you never know what’s going to happen,” said Santino. “On election night, no matter how it turns out, I’ll feel good about the campaign because I don’t think there was one other thing I could have done.”
Visit www.santino2015.com for the councilman’s up-to-date campaign information.