Reginald Spinello, incumbent, is serving his first term as mayor and seeking re-election for mayor of the City of Glen Cove. He is running on the Republican, Democrat, Independent and Conservative party lines.
“Everything I have done has a plan and I have followed through on it,” said Spinello, speaking of his accomplishments over the past two years. “I think that with the team I’ve put together, we’ve been very successful in what we’ve accomplished.”
He spoke about the crackdown on illegal housing, which has brought money into the city, as well as helped to improve the quality of life for many residents. He said he has held the line on taxes, as there have been no tax increases this year and a reduction in taxes for commercial properties. In the last two years, he has brought in 35 new businesses, which have created 250 new jobs; moved development projects forward; cleaned up old lawsuits; added programs and done work for the Glen Cove Senior Center; brought the police force up to full staff; and created the voluntary separation plan for city employees that he said will save the city $1 million over the next three years.
“And with that savings, I was able to boost morale and create 22 promotions,” said Spinello. “Plus, I was able to hire new people at a lower salary and at a lower contribution to the pension plan. Every class of employee now contributes to medical benefits.”
A point of contention on the 2016 budget is the sale price of the waterfront project, which Spinello included as $3.5 million, anticipating the closing of the property as early as the end of the year, with a shovel in the ground in March 2016. He explained that since the project began in 1994, it has been through an assortment of changes and that the most recent “reduced the overall footprint.”
He said phase one includes park space, an amphitheater, an arts and culture center, several marinas, a restaurant and a coffee shop. He said the ferry terminal construction will probably be completed by the end of year, then will go out for a Request For Proposal (RFP).
“I believe and stand behind the waterfront project as the key to turning Glen Cove around,” said Spinello.
He said he expects the project to create 465 construction jobs, plus, about 525 jobs are expected to be created as a result, which will translate into about $20 to $25 million into the local economy.
“About 2,500 new people can move in and spend money in the local economy,” said Spinello. “It will be a boon to downtown and to home values. The whole thing at buildout will probably have an assessed value of $240 million, so that converts to quite a lot of taxes.”
He said the city has a responsibility to pay for the infrastructure, according to the land disposition agreement, and using the formula of tax incremental financing, “as you start to build, you get to borrow against the incremental increase in value.”
“The city is not responsible for the repayment of notes, the redeveloper is,” said Spinello. “So, the city would cover their expenses, plus have a surplus; the schools would cover their expenses, plus have an even greater surplus.”
He added: “We’re not going to do this project if it doesn’t work economically, and right now, it appears to be working very well economically.”
He said the borrowing of $100 million that a lot of people are worried about “does not go against the city” and it’s “non-recourse to us.”
“You do this in steps so nothing is too far ahead…you’re only borrowing what you need to go along,” he said.
Included would be money for the road work. The resolution to fund the road project passed in September.
“They city has spent between $10 to $15 million, the redeveloper has spent anywhere between $30 and $40 million. We’re both vested in the project, nobody’s going to let this fall apart. The consequences of doing nothing are going to be a lot worse than moving forward.”
Spinello said the expenses have continued to go up in the city; this year he said there was a $1.5 million increase in expenses that were contractual obligations and he didn’t raise taxes.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this if our controller wasn’t comfortable with it,” said Spinello. “I used the number of $3.5 million of the proceeds for the budget; it’s a very conservative number because there are also obligations that the IDA has for repayment of loans. The money flows to IDA, then to city. In addition, there will be fees that come in…that number could be $10 million or more and when it comes in, I will clean up the unfunded deficit and then there will be money in the coffers to sustain us.”
He said the money could start to flow through next year, as soon as the property closes.
“Our finances will take a 360 degree turn for the better and it’s not one-shot revenue,” he said. “There will be a new revenue stream flowing into Glen Cove and once we clean up the unfunded deficit, our credit rating changes.”
He added, “If you look at it, there’s nothing like it in New York. We’re working out a public-private partnership here and it really is teamwork at its best. Saying no is just silly; if you want to blow this project up, you can expect your taxes to be double because, where are we going to the get the revenue from and what’s going to replace it?”
He concluded: “I’ve kept every single promise and the job isn’t done yet. I want to really finish the job on taxes, I will stabilize our finances, I will continue to grow the revenue. I think it’s an honor to serve as mayor and I think I deserve another two years.”