Edward Novick was just elected mayor of Old Westbury on Sept. 15, but he already has plans for the village based on years with its zoning board and board of trustees.
Novick had been a longtime resident of the village when he was asked to join the zoning board in 2014. Almost immediately after coming on, he was set upon a massive task.
“I had joined the zoning board and then shortly thereafter, I was asked to do a complete review and analysis of our building code, specifically as well as the method of processing how an individual or resident might actually approach the process of building in Old Westbury,” Novick said. “They wanted really a complete analysis of my perspective on it. And I was set up and chaired a committee to look at this. It was a daunting process because they could take many, many years to just do a code review and analysis. So I was able to accomplish the task and make recommendations in about six months.”
The changes had a dramatic impact on the development that began in the village, Novick says, and resulted in a 40% uptick in the development and building of residential properties in Old Westbury.
“That’s really where I began my sort of integration to the village,” Novick said.
In 2015, Novick was appointed to the board to finish out the term of a trustee who had stepped down.
“I guess based upon the performance of the work that I had done for the village, the board of trustees was very interested in having me come on, and at that point, they asked me to come and fill that spot,” Novick said.
The next year in 2016, Novick was elected to his first full term and took on the role of budget director on the board.
“Any village or any municipality or larger enterprise works on it in a sound economic basis of management,” Novick said. “And you’re dealing with the taxpayers’ money, so you’re obviously wanting to be very, very diligent about that. It’s an interesting thing about a small village, you’re really looking out over your neighbors and over the total benefit to the entire environment. So, I became very focused on revenue generation as opposed to tax generation, I wanted to grow the revenue base as opposed to taxing everybody.”
One of the projects Novick is proudest to have overseen is the renovation of the village’s water system, having acquired a $4.7 million bond for the $10 million project.
“We got the bond because of our AAA rating from Moody’s, there are only 28 municipalities in all of New York State that have a AAA rating, and we’re one of them,” Novick said. “We’ve added a tank in our system, which really gave us a tremendous capacity. Many villages will add steel towers, but if you have the right topography, you could actually utilize, concrete, storage facilities as opposed to the steel towers.”
The mayor added that the Old Westbury police department was a point of pride for the village.
“Not in any way, shape or form am I meant to be political at this particular point in time, but Old Westbury has a remarkable police department,” Novick said. “We have a police department of incredibly trained individuals with not only great sensitivity training but tremendously varied and diversified and capable backgrounds. We’ve actually currently made some hires from New York City, some police officers that have left the city have found their way to us. These are people that have backgrounds in psychology that have backgrounds and criminology that are really sophisticated, and we’re very fortunate to have them.”
A graduate of Cornell University “after spending a year at Harvard,” Novick currently serves as president of manufacturers Dorset Industries.
“I essentially came and begin working in a family corporation called Dorset Industries that really was focused on manufacturing,” Novick said. “We sort of transformed it. I transformed that company into something that was a national company that was doing manufacturing and consulting services predominantly for the supermarket industry and the mass market industry in the United States.”
Novick grew up in Manhasset Hills and attended Herricks High School, eventually graduating from Cornell with a degree in business management and finance. He is married to journalist and former Harvard Alumni Association President Susan Morris Novick, whom he calls his “high school sweetheart.” Their son, a computer scientist, and daughter, who works at Booz Allen, both attended Jericho High School and graduated from Harvard University.
As mayor, Novick says he wants to “take advantage of the opportunities offered to the village.”
“It’s very important as we head into the future that the village really continue to take advantage of its opportunities, to remain as a residential neighborhood but at the same time looking at broadening our demographic as well as do what’s necessary in terms of development,” Novick said. “So we’re thinking that the next phase of what’s coming after all of this focus on infrastructure is really more residential living.”
He adds that he’s looking into ways to fill the village with culture and preserve its history and “bucolic beauty.”
“You know, we have two world-class golf courses, we have the iconic Old Westbury Gardens, which is just a remarkable place which has a broader reach beyond the village,” Novick said. “We in this administration are seeking a much deeper relationship with Old Westbury Gardens. We think this offers our village a real epicenter of, not only being a piece of history but drawing more culture into the into that location. We think that what we’re going to be looking at is preserving our green space, preserving our history, but at the same time balancing that to allow for a greater population of people that would want to live in our village and take advantage of all of the fabulous things that we have in our village.”