By Maylan L. Studart
Outgoing Mayor David Tanner is happy to be leaving one more completed project for East Williston.
Three new welcome signs compliant with the town’s new LED initiative were approved last year and are now up on the main entryways into the village.
“It’s something I always wanted to do. However, it wasn’t feasible because of the topography in the location,” the mayor said.
Tanner, who did not seek re-election after eight years as mayor, will be succeeded on Monday night by newly elected Bonnie Parente, who served as his deputy. He said he had been thinking about putting welcome signs at village entrances since before becoming mayor, but village code would not allow construction in one of the main areas he wanted.
Then he noticed a few years ago that it would be feasible.
“It’s only when we did that historic walk and we saw the lamppost that the idea came to me to attach a sign to it,” he said.
By attaching the sign to a lamppost on East Williston Avenue on the village’s entryway from Old Westbury, construction was not necessary because the post is used as the base for the sign as well as providing lighting at night.
The lighting in the lamppost is another signature achievement of the outgoing mayor. The East Williston Board of Trustees approved a program at the end of 2018 that would replace all of the village’s incandescent lightbulbs with LED lights, which are better for the environment.
It is a significant investment that will save a lot in utility costs, Tanner said. The board approved an agreement with RealTerm Energy for installation of LED lighting in the village for $150,000.
The project will be paid for by a $100,000 state grant authorized by former state Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) that now will come from newly elected Sen. Anna Kaplan’s (D-Great Neck) office with the remaining $50,000 designated in the village’s approved fiscal 2019 budget.
“There’s a five-year cost benefit to it,” Tanner said. “The project will pay for itself in just five years in cost savings.”
With the exit of Tanner, East Williston Trustee Christopher Siciliano is now spearheading the LED program for the village.
The mayor looks fondly on the new welcome sign since it is something he had always wanted to do.
“It’s very welcoming to the community and it just enhances the character of the village,” Tanner said. “I’m happy to have finished my tenure. It’s a lot of responsibility managing a community successfully, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Tanner was part of several major projects in the village during his 21-year tenure in East Williston’s government. He oversaw development and reconstruction of Village Hall, repaving of village roads, the resolution of the water conflict with the Village of Williston Park, as well as sidewalk improvements along East Williston Avenue and the new LED project that he says he is “leaving in good hands.”
Tanner also improved the village’s finances and leaves it with an investment-grade AA+ credit rating. He also reduced village taxes by more than 10 percent over the last eight budget cycles. He will remain a resident of the Village of East Williston and continue his work as a municipal financial adviser at Liberty Capital Services.
Tanner said he is certain Parente will be successful.
“I think Mayor Parente will do a wonderful job,” he said.