With the Patchogue Village Mayoral Election coming up on March 20, Patchogue Patch has sat down with all of the candidates for Q&A and for a quick video pitch on why you should vote for them. Check back to Patchogue Patch for election guides and updates.
Party: Residents First
Patch: Why have you decided to seek office and what makes you qualified to serve as a trustee/mayor?
Powers: I decided to run for Village trustee because I don’t like the direction the Village is headed in. Taxes have increased almost 100 percent in the last eight years. Poor choices have allowed some commercial properties to increase their building size and usage without any consideration for traffic, parking and the impact it has on the residents’ quality of life. High density building makes the village look more like a city than a village. Patchogue Village has a high percentage of rentals, and our 2.2 square mile village cannot support anymore construction. These are some of the reasons I decided to run for Trustee. I want to put the Village resident first, not out-of-town developers.
As a small business owner since 1996, I understand what it means to have a budget and manage people. I am also a structural iron worker since 1989 and have been a foreman and project manager for different construction projects. I am well versed in reading blueprints and have a vast understanding of building concepts. I believe my background will assist me in making prudent decisions that are in the best interest of Village residents
Patch: What are your thoughts on Patchogue's growth over the past five years?
Powers: Some of the owner occupied developments have been good for the community, such as and Bay Village. Bay Village replaced a problematic boarding home that caused a lot of issues for the surrounding neighborhood. It also brought a sewer line down South Ocean Avenue.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t any help to homeowners with cesspool issues since the cost to hook up to the sewer is about twenty thousand dollars per home. It would have been nice if the Village spearheaded an effort to bring down the cost by acting as a coordinator to interested homeowners. As I do believe there would be considerable cost saving with the buying power of the Village. This cost savings would be passed onto the homeowner without any cost to the taxpayers. We should be helping residents not developers.
is one example of poor judgment exercised by our Mayor. Mayor Pontieri increased the size of the restaurant without any consideration for traffic and parking. As a result, the impact on residents’ lives is shameful. Then, Mayor Pontieri decided to lease our village parking lot to Lombardi’s to increase the number of parking spaces available for restaurant use. Those parking spaces were for the residents to use so they could enjoy Mascot Dock and . Now we need a parking permit to park down by Shorefront Park when it was never required in the past.
Patch: What are the two biggest issues Patchogue still faces?
Powers: Two of my biggest concerns are rising taxes and falling property values. One would think that with all these new developments and commercial properties our taxes would have gone down. That has not been the case. Instead, we are left with increased taxes and a decrease in property value. These developments have not helped to stabilize home prices or property taxes. 291 rental apartments are not going to improve these two areas of concerns.
We need to take a hard line on increased costs by controlling them. Residents, especially seniors on fixed incomes, have been hit hard with this recession. The last thing we need is an increase in our taxes. High taxes have a direct impact on the prices of homes. The higher the taxes, the less a property is worth. The Village needs to enforce a tight budget.
Current high density rental developments have put a burden on government services, including the school district. Inadequate on-site parking has led to the congestion of street parking. These complexes were built with high expectations. Unfortunately, the owners of the complexes have neglected to maintain the aesthetic image by providing the apartments with much needed remodeling and/or renovations. With approximately 50 percent of rental housing in the Village, I believe we have already exceeded our quota.
Patch: Are you for or against project and why?
Powers: I am against the project in its entirety. High density rental developments haven’t worked in the past, so there is no reason to believe they will work in the future. Past failures are predictors of the future.
New Village will create a parking shortage and lead to traffic and parking problems. A total of 292 new spaces will be created from what we currently have. Hardly enough considering about 600 renters will occupy the 291 apartments and about 33 of those residents will be school age children, as per New Village. Quick math tell me about 567 renters are going to need to park somewhere? That doesn’t include the additional retail which is about 36,700 square feet of that 21,000 square feet is for nine new restaurants. Plus we need to remember that other commercial buildings currently use our public parking spaces. We will lose public parking spaces if this project gets built. Currently, we have 176 public parking spaces in the interior (Lake Street Parking Lot). Tritec is going to provide us with 88 public parking spaces in that interior space, a loss of 88 public parking spaces. I have a hard time finding a parking space now on a Friday night in the Lake Street parking lot. What’s going to happen when 291 rental apartments are occupied?
Patch: What kind of time commitment would you be able to put toward the mayor/trustee position?
Powers: I will dedicate the necessary time needed to do an effective job as trustee. I am goal oriented and will devote as much time as necessary to achieve the goals of Residents First platform. My number one priority is to serve the Residents of Patchogue Village
Patch: In what ways would you reach out to Patchogue's large Hispanic community?
Powers: I have always been fair and equitable when dealing with people from all walks of life. We live in a multicultural society; therefore, it is important to focus on common need and quality of life issues. I welcome the input from all residents and celebrate cultural diversity, yet I will focus on what’s important for the Village as a whole.
Patch: What's your goal for the makeup of Patchogue's Main Street at the end of the next four years?
Powers: We need the input from the residents to come up with a comprehensive plan. This is an issue that’s too big for one group or person to decide. I will work with the Chamber of Commerce to help to them create a destination of Downtown Patchogue for job generating businesses. We need more day time foot traffic to compliment the many new restaurants that have come to town.
Patch: There are many vacancies on Main Street; how would you propose enticing new businesses to open up in Patchogue?
Powers: First, we need to take an inventory of the current businesses along with a list of available vacant properties on Main Street. Once this is compiled, we can assess what the Village is missing. I will work with Mayor McGuire and the rest of my colleagues on the Board to assist property owners attract tenants, in addition to interacting with brokers to inform them of available properties. I would also suggest coming up with incentives on properties that have been vacant for some time. We need to attract businesses from the industrial parks in Bohemia and surrounding communities to relocate to Patchogue’s main street. These companies will have the benefit of a transit oriented community that has many amenities to offer their employees. The Village residents need more job opportunities.
Patch: What are three of your hobbies?
Powers: I love to garden, walk my two Newfoundland dogs, Hershey and Bosco, and go to the beach.
Patch: How would your best friends/family describe you?
Powers: I will leave that to my older sister and best friend to answer.
“It would be my pleasure to describe my brother Gregory Powers to you. I would like to start out by telling you that he is the best person for the job. Not because he is my brother but simply put he is a man I would put my complete faith and trust in. He has many favorable traits that would make him a perfect candidate for the people. We lost our father at an early age but that never stopped Gregory from achieving anything. If anything it made him more determined to learn things either on his own or with the help of our mother. Greg has never failed at anything he set his mind too. He has always been someone I would want in my corner especially when things get tuff. He is the first person to lend a helping hand when needed; He is both honest beyond measure and trustworthy. He is a dedicated, hard working person who began working at the early age of 10. He started his own landscaping business, as so many young kids do but his was different. He developed a clientele and built the business up having a nice income at a young age. He moved on to iron work simultaneously going to classes to gain more knowledge in his field. I believe he still has his first dollar he ever made. He has always be fiscally smart, saving up his hard earned money and rolling it over into other businesses. He is someone that many people seek out for advice. He is level headed, staying calm when crisis' occur and always figures out the best approach to tackle the problem with. I feel if you put your trust in him you would not be disappointed.” -Michele Powers Molinari, Sister
"Greg Powers is a leader, He is a hard working extremely intelligent person that wakes up and works on his goals in life." -Mike Baltieri.