Maintenance of Manhasset’s Plandome Road has been virtually ignored by the North Hempstead Town Council, resulting in a dangerous two-lane roadway, a dearth of available parking and empty storefronts, council candidate Mary Kay Barket said Thursday.
Citing accidents along the town-controlled portion of Plandome Road between Northern Boulevard and Colonial Parkway, Barket said the installation of additional crosswalks and turn signals “should have been done years ago.”
“I feel I don’t have enough eyes to know what’s coming at me,” said Barket, who is running on the Republican, Conservative and Reform party lines for the 4th district seat against incumbent town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck).
Barket also suggested the town relinquish some of the spaces in its employee parking lot, located behind Town Hall at 220 Plandome Road, and create a shuttle service that would run back and forth from Macy’s, located at 1100 Northern Blvd.
Improving safety and increasing parking along Plandome Road, she said, would further attract businesses to the area and prevent the roadway from “becoming a cut through to Port Washington.”
Barket said the lion’s share of the blame for the lack of upkeep falls on Kaplan, whom she accused of voting in favor of projects proposed by her fellow Democrats on the council and generally “not being very welcoming to the issues and people of Manhasset.”
“I think if you represent a district, you should represent every member of that district,” Barket said.
In a statement, Kaplan campaign spokesman Ryan Mulcahy said the councilwoman “is proud of the work she has done over the past four years on behalf of the Manhasset, Great Neck, and Roslyn communities.”
“Working with Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the bipartisan town board, much has been accomplished to move forward important initiatives in the unincorporated areas of the council district, as well as cooperative work with the villages in the district,” Mulcahy said. “Councilwoman Kaplan is very proud to be seeking reelection on her strong record of responding positively to and getting results for her constituents.”
The town’s fourth district includes the villages of Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, North Hills, Great Neck, Kensington, Kings Point and Thomaston as well as unincorporated areas in Manhasset and Great Neck.
Unincorporated communities are in most need of representation on the council, Barket said, as they are not also governed by a village board.
She said that many village leaders she has met with on the campaign trail have told her they primarily need their council member support environmental projects that arise and ensure roads are plowed following snow storms.
Barket said she would unveil her full political platform in the weeks prior to the election but said she would seek to cut wasteful spending from the town’s budget and reform its building department by digitizing documents and creating an online submission system for permit payments and application forms.
“The devil’s in the details, but you have to look at those details. You’ve got to spend the time,” said Barket, who added she is still analyzing the town’s 2015 budget.
Barket said she also would not have supported a salary increase for town officials — from $40,000 to $55,000 for town council members, $90,000 to $115,000 for the receiver of taxes, $85,000 to $105,000 for the town clerk and a smaller $5,000 raise to $138,000 for the town supervisor — which was approved before Bosworth took office in January 2014.
“If businesses were run the way the town is run, they’d be out of business,” she said.
Kaplan was elected in 2011, having previously served on the town’s board of zoning appeals and as a trustee of the Great Neck Public Library, where she served as vice president and chairperson of its policy and bylaws committee.
A mother of four who runs a part-time actuary consulting business out of her home, Barket is a board member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary League and Association for Children with Down Syndrome in Plainview, and is on the advisory committee for the Matthew Foundation for Down Syndrome Research, but has never held public office.
She has also been active with the Sisters of Life, Good Counsel Homes and Our Lady of Grace Montessori School.
Though she said she is “unaffiliated” to a political party and would remain so if elected, Barket has consulted with council Republicans Angelo Ferrara (New Hyde Park) and Dina De Giorgio (Port Washington) and other GOP leaders for campaign advice.
Last Wednesday, Barket received the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) during a fundraiser in Great Neck, the second she has held within the district thus far.
“He’s a great guy,” Barket said of King, who she said appeared as a favor to her husband, attorney Bruce Barket. “He’s very generous.”