On November 2, Southampton Town voters will cast their ballots to determine town leadership for the next two to four years. Events over the past few years make plain that effective local leadership make a huge difference in our lives. Leaders should be judged by the day-to-day management of town services, execution of public policy initiatives and contributions to community cohesion.
Based on the performance in these areas, local voters should reward the current administration in the November election.
Two government services that can be measured to demonstrate sound management are crime statistics and trends in financial performance. Regarding the former, Southampton Town’s crime rate decreased by 25 percent from July 2016 to July 2021. Major crimes dropped, from 457 in the period July 2016 to July 2017, to 345 in the period July 2020 to July 2021.
Regarding town finances, debt management is exceptional, as demonstrated by the reduction in outstanding long-term debt by 38 percent from 2014 to 2021. Noticing this performance, Moody’s Investors Service assessed a AAA rating to the town’s $82 million of outstanding general obligation bonds, thus saving the town thousands of dollars in interest payment.
Similarly, other public policy issues have been met head on. In the past few years, projects were initiated to improve water quality and energy efficiency; ensure community supported land use decisions; ensure protection against the public health scourges of opioid addiction and COVID-19; and build community-supported workforce housing units.
Across Southampton Town, from Eastport to Sag Harbor, community projects dot the landscape. Expanding sewage capacity in Westhampton Beach contributes to water quality improvement while facilitating business expansion, and purchasing solar compactor units for Sag Harbor improves that village’s environment. Other projects, too numerous to list, are making our communities safer, healthier, and more vibrant.
Perhaps most rewarding is the effort to demonstrate that diversity, inclusion and respect are just not words but foundational tenets of our local ethos. The creation of the Edith Windsor Heart Project and the recognition of Shinnecock’s most sacred burial ground in perpetuity provides ample evidence that all voices are welcome and heard in Southampton.
Vote the Democratic ticket in November.
Mr. Anthony is a former chair of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.
One fine body…