The Village of Baxter Estates swore in three trustees on Thursday all of whom had run unopposed in the June election.
Mayor Nora Haagenson, Deputy Mayor Charles Comer and Trustee Chris Ficalora, who all ran as part of the Oak Leaf Party, were sworn in for two-year terms.
Haagenson received 125 votes; Comer, 123 votes; and Ficalora, 114 votes.
“I am thrilled we had the public’s support, including former elected officials and former mayors, and I know we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Haagenson said. “I was thrilled by the turnout.”
Haagenson joined the Board of Trustees in 2011, after teaching high school English for 35 years.
She was elected mayor in 2015.
Ficalora was appointed the board in 2015 and Comer has been a trustee since 2001.
“Getting elected feels great,” Ficalora said. “I’ve never been in a position to be elected before and to have the community that I live in be happy and support what we are doing, shows that we’re doing the right thing.”
The controversy in the village surrounding the historic Baxter House overshadowed the election, but the candidates laid out plans leading up to June that included plans for the home.
The village recently ordered the owner of the historic home, which was heavily damaged in a fire in February, to demolish the home.
Ficalora, who has often rebutted claims made by a group of residents trying to preserve the home, said, “a lot of Baxter House people didn’t even come out and vote.”
“Despite one organization, there was a lot of very positive feedback to what we’re accomplishing,” Ficalora said. “Please were pleased with what we are doing.”
Before the election, the candidates outlined goals in a flyer sent out to residents, highlighting “Fight those who want to dissolve the village: avoid governance solely by Town of North Hempstead; Continue the reduction and consolidation of village operating expenses; Strengthen capital fund for road improvements and repairs; and continue to pursue state grant money for roads and capital projects for 2018-2019.
The flyer also mentioned expanding visibility and the scope of the village historian, replacing village retaining walls and organizing village social events for residents.
Comer is one of the village’s Manhasset Bay Committee members and has served as the village’s environmental officer, emergency management officer, snow commissioner and is a Board of Zoning Appeals member.
Known as the village’s “handyman,” Comer administers the state’s Storm Water Management Program in the village and conceived the village’s rezoning plan to prevent “McMansionization.”
Ficalora is the village’s budget officer and communications liaison to the residents.
“I think we were all thrilled at the turnout for the election,” Ficalora said.