In his first month as Islip Town supervisor, Republican Tom Croci has had little time to ease into his new position, noting the new administration started working quickly on a budget deficit he said is larger than anticipated.
According to Croci, who incumbent Democrat Phil Nolan this past November by less than 500 votes, the deficit facing Islip is $26 million, higher than the $10 million he expected to find when he took over the top administrative position at Town Hall.
“It is a great challenge and we have a great team here,” Croci said. “We will work with a new budget task force to look at ways to continue delivering services but also figure out a way to deal with the deficit without raising taxes.”
Croci said the new task force is expected to include Republican Councilman Steve Flotteron — the longest serving member of the town council — Ed Gullason, a professor at Dowling College and former member of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, town employees and the town comptroller.
“We want to cast a wide net to come up with solutions,” he said.
Croci noted that he would like a series of recommendations from the task force to him by the summer since the budget formation process for 2013 starts in late summer and early fall.
While the Croci administration tackles the town’s budget deficit, the new town supervisor is also focused on other issues. Chief among them is the creation of a new oversight structure for council members that will give each supervision of certain Town departments.
“We feel this will provide those with an issue or complaint a direct point of contact on the board,” he said. “There is nothing more frustrating for someone with a problem then not knowing who to speak with. Now, there will be a council person to handle these situations.”
In his first month on the job, Croci has also found time to speak with residents in many communities across the township. He noted that he has attended numerous community group meetings, many of which he met with during the campaign.
“We have gone back and had the opportunity to not only hear their concerns but now have the ability to take action,” he said. “One example was the feedback we received from the recent snow storm. Residents that had previously complained about the Town’s response called to thank us for sending plows to places they had not been in the past.”
As Croci tackles issues like the budget deficit and developing new ways to streamline the delivery of services to local residents, he does so with a Town Council that is all Republican.
In this past November’s election, Islip voters the GOP control of Town Hall for the first time in four years. Republican’s John Cochrane and Anthony Senft easily defeated the Democrat-slate of incumbent Gene Parrington and first time candidate Renee Oritz.