Moving Village Forward - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1787233

Moving Village Forward

Mayor Jesse Warren is by far one of the most productive and involved mayors that Southampton Village has ever elected. He has tackled problems that previous administrations had struggled to address for years, all while leading during the pandemic.

Mayor Warren inherited a downtown with record-high vacancies, and after two years in office he has reduced vacancy rates to record lows. One ingredient to his success was a project that he implemented called the Storefront Art Project, which mandates that vacant storefronts display art by local artists in their windows. This draws foot traffic while helping local artists gain exposure.

He also lowered property taxes on assessed values for the first time in 20 years and lowered the overall tax levy for the first time in village history. Because his administration implemented a zero-based budgeting system, his fiscal year 2020-21 budget yielded a $3.7 million surplus, most of which will be used to fund a sewer system to revitalize the downtown.

Previous village mayors had long been attempting to fund a new septic system, but Mayor Warren was the only one able to come up with the funds to do so. The new sewer system will revive our stagnated downtown, which physically cannot accommodate any more storefronts due to an outdated sewage system. The new system will mean more restaurants, stores and cultural venues for all to enjoy. It will also make room for affordable housing by providing septics for apartments above storefronts.

In the face of adversity, Mayor Warren’s stamina and dedication to this village were on full display: from holding mask drives to creating the East End’s first testing sites to posting weekly Instagram livestreams about COVID-19, Mayor Warren led Southampton to have some of the lowest positivity rates in the country. He was a symbol of hope and responsible leadership for our community during the pandemic.

If Mayor Warren could accomplish all of the above even during a pandemic, imagine what he could accomplish with another two years, this time unencumbered by the pandemic. He is who we need to move this village forward.

Dawn MacDougall