Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine was sworn in for his fourth full term last Monday, this time for four years. He laid out his goals for 2020 after taking the oath of office.
“2020 is going to be a year of challenges, but it’s also going to be a year of opportunities,” Romaine said in his speech.
Housing, infrastructure and zoning
One of Romaine’s top priorities for this year is to create more affordable housing in the town. He cited the high and rising expenses of living on Long Island and vowed to create opportunity for more people.
“We want this to be a town for everyone,” Romaine said.
The supervisor is also looking at the town’s zoning strategy and how over the next several years, the board will be rethinking how the changing economic landscape impacts brick-and-mortar stores. He added that the board would aim to prevent traffic congestion and overdevelopment.
“There’s a place for development, and there’s a place for preservation,” Romaine said.
Romaine also targeted transportation methods, calling on the MTA to invest more in Long Island and electrify the three lines that touch the town of Brookhaven (Montauk, Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson). He added that the MTA had not given the town or the island its “fair share.” The supervisor also called on the county and the state to integrate the bus and train systems so public transportation could be more effective for those who rely on it.
On the environment, Romaine said the town needed to address climate change. He noted photos he’d seen of places like Mount Sinai or Mastic Beach, which have been experiencing frequent flooding.
“There are those who will deny [climate change], but it is undeniable,” he said.
Romaine said the town was currently powered by 50 percent renewable energy, but that was “not enough.” There are solar panels on most town-owned properties, including the ecology site, Town Hall and the composting facility. He reiterated the board’s goal for the landfill to close in 2024, and it would then be replaced with an energy park.
Romaine said the town needed to have a plan for what to do with garbage when the landfill closes. He said because the town won’t bury garbage, Brookhaven could either burn it (which is what currently happens most often) or ship it somewhere else.
Romaine added that town, county, state and federal governments all needed to be involved in reviving an adequate recycling program. Since the market collapsed a couple years ago, he said, there is no market for a lot of materials. He also called on the state to change its laws around restrictions on recycling glass and certain kinds of packaging.
Romaine said his motivation was his grandchildren, wanting to create a better future for them and all children.
“We owe it to them,” Romaine said. “I’m going to continue to try everything I can to try and come up with the best policies for their future.”