Joe Schramm, 67, is a Democrat running for a seat on the Town Board.
He has run a marketing company for more than two decades. Having lived in Northport for years, he says he is acquainted with the issues and problems that face residents and businesses in Huntington. Outside of his business commitments, he has been active in Northport, including membership in the Northport school district and the police review committees.
But what will he bring to the table if gets elected on Nov 2?
When asked what he plans to do with the vacant lots and offices left empty following the Covid-19 shutdown, Schramm replied. ‘My goal is not to destroy these properties but make an effort to attract big businesses to start operating in our area and hopefully save these buildings.’ He added, “this is a really nice part of Long Island complete with gorgeous beaches– so perhaps we can encourage more TV production in our own backyard.”
But he is under no illusion and is fully aware that the pandemic has hit all businesses hard and attracting larger corporations may take time. Plus it may require offering these companies some type of tax relief, he says.
While Schramm does agree with mandatory vaccines for everyone, he is unsure what will happen when he gets to Town Hall. At the moment, all of Schramm’s employees are vaccinated.
Other issues that he will undertake include making city roads safer, more parking facilities, especially for the handicapped and for employees who work in the downtown area.
He cites numerous issues facing the Town of Huntington, including a “need to restore the voters’ confidence and trust in their elected officials; and striving to provide excellent customer service and improved response time to inquiries and requests from residents and their contractors; but perhaps the #1 issue is the need to establish a responsive leadership team willing to take action on stalled projects like installing sewers, upgrade and improve the safety of our recreational facilities, expanding our HART public transportation system, establish a regular dredging program of Northport Harbor and other waterways, and expand the FLUPSY oyster program.”
He added that “In 10 years, it will be critical for the town to find ways to replace the lost tax revenue from commercial and industrial properties, especially the LIPA plant. The town needs to develop a PLAN B now for the future use of the land occupied by the LIPA plant The plant is currently the single largest taxpayer to the Town. LIPA will likely close, or down scale the plant. It is one of only two locations in the Town that is zoned for industrial use. To re-zone this property would negatively impact the surrounding community. To re-develop this property for further industrial use will also be a challenge to maintain a tax fee at the current level of LIPA’s commitment. Either way, 10 years from now, the town will be struggling to find alternate options to make up for the significant loss of taxes.”
Even he struggled to find a worker for his office. Schramm feels that the lack of employees in restaurants, hotels, and fast-food chains is a national crisis and will require a major effort in education, training, and better hourly wages.
When asked about the closure of our beaches during the summer after heavy downpours, Schramm noted that the city is hilly and with downpours, all the debris and dirt get carried into the harbor. However, he feels that early cleaning of the debris and some type of water diversion plus screens to trap the debris may be a solution- but this is something that needs to be planned and is also an expensive venture.
Asked about hiring for town jobs, Schramm said, “To avoid nepotism and pollical hiring, the Town will need to re-evaluate and establish a new set of job qualifications and skills requirements for all new employees; and require all existing employees to take online instruction courses in order to maintain and upgrade their skill sets while in employment of the Town. Additionally, all employees will be required to adhere to a strict code of ethics that does not permit Town employees to volunteer for, or support any one candidate’s campaign. Failure to adhere to this code would result in dismissal or forced leave of absence, without pay.”
He also noted a need for improvements in road safety. “As an avid recreational bicyclist, I believe that one of the biggest issues to public safety is ensuring roadway safety, especially when a road is shared by autos, pedestrians, and bicyclists. One step is to assign bike lanes that are distinct from sidewalks and the roadway itself especially on major roadways like Jericho Tpke, Larkfield and Route 110. An example would be the pathways adjacent to Route 347 in Smithtown.”
Joe Schramm has his roots in Nassau County but has spent most of his adult life in Northport.