As part of our “5 for 5” series — designed to help GreaterPatchogue.com readers better navigate the 2015 Elections — we asked county candidate Frank Tassone to give us five great ideas, or policy goals, that could be set in motion in the next five years.
Tassone, 44, lives in Patchogue Village and works in Brookhaven Town’s waste management department, where he manages energy efficiency projects and works on zombie home demolitions. He’s running for Suffolk County’s 7th District on the Republican, Conservative and Reform party lines. Election Day is Nov. 3.
Make a push for Brookhaven Memorial
Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center has served Brookhaven’s South Shore communities for nearly 60 years. The hospital has invested in a wide array of healthcare services that have enhanced the lives of children and families throughout our region. Presently, Suffolk County is considering a sale of its John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility to Bronx firm that has been cited for multiple violations at other facilities they operate in New York State. It is likely that this NYC-based operator would outsource patients and jobs if they acquired the John J. Foley facility.
I believe firmly that selling the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Home to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital would mean an expansion in care for patients within our community, especially in the areas of dialysis, veterans care and pediatrics. Brookhaven Memorial also serves as one of the largest employers in this region (employing 2,500), and the acquisition of the John J. Foley center will provide job opportunities for local residents who live right here, while continuing to have an impact on our local economy.
An eye on open space
Helping to ensure that we are preserving critical areas of open space is important. Over the last several years, I have worked closely with representatives from our town to revitalize the East Main Street/Montauk Highway corridor between Route 112 and South Country Road. Part of those efforts included removing the Plaza Theater structure, development of Swan River Park (formerly the Nesenger Auto Dealership), and helping to expand sewer lines between Route 112 and Grove Avenue.
Our goal was to spur economic activity and reinvigorate this stretch of roadway. In an effort to expand on those successes, I would like to preserve an environmentally sensitive area of property known as the Ragusa site. This 20-acre site is located on the bank of Swan River, which flows into the Great South Bay. In addition, I would like to see the property to the east of Swan River Park protected as well.
This site is currently home to a used car dealership, and the addition of this property to our open space program would not only be a wonderful addition to this area, but would also provide additional opportunities for park enthusiasts, while continuing to revitalize this specific area near South Country Road.
Ice skating during the holidays
I would like to work officials within the Village of Patchogue to bring a safe, mobile winter ice skating rink into the area. We would obviously have to find the proper location but I would like to see if Shorefront Park could be considered as one potential site (as long as it does not adversely affect alienation laws).
Having a skating rink between Thanksgiving and New Year’s would provide a wonderful recreational opportunity for children and families throughout our area to enjoy, especially during the holiday season.
I would also envision having food stands available for local area businesses so that those who are taking advantage of this amenity can stop, enjoy the surrounding beauty of Patchogue Village, while having a hot chocolate with their families and friends. What better way to bring more holiday spirit to our community.
County finances and good jobs
It was recently reported that Suffolk County is facing a $176 million budget shortfall, and those figures may rise if sales tax revenue continues to come in below the original projections. Our debt is in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion, and there are always constant concerns about companies leaving our region because of high taxes, high utility costs and an overall high cost of living.
As our students and younger populations are graduating college or learning critical trades, and look to enter the job market, the continued increase on our cost of living in Suffolk County will make it even more difficult to compete against other states and regions across the country. Therefore, our fiscal policies moving forward should place a significant emphasis in getting our finances back in order, ensuring we are making smart investments in our critical infrastructure, and helping to create a vibrant economic climate that can attract good paying jobs.
Don’t let up on zombie homes
One of my responsibilities within the Town of Brookhaven is working on the demolition of abandoned zombie homes throughout the town. This is a critically important program because it allows the town to take action and remove these eyesores within our communities. We all know the detrimental effects they have on our property values. From Robinson Avenue, to Frank Street, to Anthony Street, to Carver Boulevard, we have worked with residents to develop solutions to these abandoned and unsafe structures. These are the types of issues that have a direct effect on our communities, and by working closely with our town officials, we will ensure the continued success of programs like this, which goes a long towards improving the overall quality of life of our neighborhoods.