Incumbent Manorhaven Trustee John Popeleski spoke on the importance of and his passion for monitoring various infrastructure projects throughout the village ahead of Tuesday’s election.
Popeleski, seeking his third full term as a trustee, was appointed to fill a seat on the board previously held by Jim Avena after he was elected mayor in 2016. Popeleski retired after 32 years as a public servant, starting his career in the Village of Mineola and working the remainder for the Port Washington Water District. He also spent two decades at the Port Washington Fire Department, first serving as captain and currently serving as the president of the department’s Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company.
Popeleski, who is running with Vincent Costa and Christian Alfaya on the Manorhaven People’s Working Party line, previously touted projects in the village, including a snow program that designated certain areas where snow removal is handled by village employees and other areas for subcontractors, and a push to bring electricity to the village’s nature preserve. Now, he said, Manorhaven’s aging sewer system is the next project the village needs to address before repairs to Manorhaven Boulevard can begin.
Popeleski said that a little over a year ago the village cleaned, relined and put cameras inside the pipes throughout the sewer system. Though progress has been made, he said, it is imperative to make sure all of the necessary upgrades and potential repairs are made to the sewer system prior to any work being done by the county to Manorhaven Boulevard, a county-owned road.
“If we’re going to do any sort of road restorations or anything like that to Manorhaven Boulevard…get all that stuff done now,” Popeleski said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “I am a big proponent of doing a job once and doing it right.”
He also said the village received a new backup generator for its pump station. Popeleski said he had conversations with the Sewer District in terms of the best fuel to use in the event of a natural disaster, such as Superstorm Sandy. A lot of the decisions that go into maintaining the village’s infrastructure, he said, may not seem pressing but go a long way in terms of saving money down the line.
“When I’m sitting there talking to the engineer, we’re always looking for ways to save money,” Popeleski said. “We have to think of the future right away.”
Popeleski, who now owns a local handyman business, said the public service he and the village conducts is anything but a burden to him. Though the work can sometimes cause some ripples in the daily routine of the village and its residents, he said, the work and upgrades to facilities do not present a challenge to him.
“It’s a passion that I just love doing,” Popeleski said. “I love my job as a trustee with the infrastructure work and everything that goes along with it.”
Popeleski also touted the transparency he would continue to bring to the board if he was re-elected.
“I’m a very transparent person, you can ask me anything and I’ll give you the answer,” he said. “I don’t hide anything and myself, along with the rest of my party, want to do what is best for the village and its residents.”