Keeping Islip on track
BY NICOLE FUENTES
Back in 2015, Angie Carpenter took over the role of Islip Town supervisor after being appointed to finish Tom Croci’s term when he was elected New York State senator. In March of that year, she was elected to her first full term. She is hoping to continue her work for another four years.
Carpenter was previously a small-business owner when she was elected Suffolk County legislator in the 11th District in 1992. She served several terms before being elected Suffolk County treasurer in 2005 and was elected twice more to that office.
During her time as supervisor, she said, she is most proud of her work at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. Since taking office, the town has removed 40,000 tons of debris at the public park and created a basketball court, playground and opened the once-shuttered pool. Next year, she said, the new spray park, featuring a water pad for wheelchair accessibility, will be open.
As for the playgrounds across the town, she has redone Atlantique, Benjamin’s Beach in Bay Shore, which features a pirate ship and zip line, and playgrounds in Holbrook and in Oakdale.
“Little by little, we are getting to all the parks,” she noted of the 20-plus pocket parks in West Islip, Bayport and others that have also been re-energized.
She said she has also increased the paving budget and back-filled hundreds of thousands of potholes.
Carpenter, though not advised by her attorney, responded to the Bay Shore meter issue by saying the chamber originally requested the meters to help with Fire Island parking issues; however, the chamber rescinded their decision when it became an issue for employees working on Main Street.
“They needed a parking management program, and a lot of people were in support of it,” she said, explaining that the meters were paid by the entire Town of Islip and to remove them would be a financial burden. Also, she said, there is ample free parking, multiple 15-minute parking spots and all spots are free until after 6 p.m.
As for the Island Hills project in Sayville, she said, she hopes to come up with something that the community can support without wasting tax dollars and fearing a lawsuit. However, she said, as the proposal currently stands, she can’t support it.
“I hope there is a way we can come up with something the community can support and doesn’t change the character of the community,” she continued. “The fact is, I am not in the pocket of the developer,” she added, explaining that it is the taxpayers who give her the votes.
Carpenter also has her eyes on the environment, with two solar farms at the capped landfills and as the only municipality with a compost facility. She is also proud of the hatchery program, which started earlier this year and produces 20 percent of the cultured oysters in the entire state. Currently, the town is also in the final stages of getting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s approval to farm an additional 1,400 acres of bay bottom in addition to the current 100.
Also on her agenda is to continue to further her Opioid Task Force and the Light the Town Purple event in September.
Upon first entering office, she called in personnel to look over all the town’s operations to see what was being done right and wrong, as well as the crediting agency to raise the town’s rating to the highest AAA rating. Carpenter explained that she also took the budget and rather than seeing numbers and spreadsheets, she developed it to be more narrative with goals.
“It wasn’t very transparent,” she said of the spreadsheet budget.
Carpenter also rejuvenated the once-decrepit animal shelter, made the town-owned MacArthur Airport profitable and self-sustainable again, and opened the town’s permit department one night a week as well as implemented pre-permitting meetings.
“It saves time and money with a better application,” she said of the meetings. “And at the end of the day, we are taking a vacant piece of property and putting it on the tax rolls.”
She also created the airport, business and disability advisory boards and established a parks foundation to help raise money through the nonprofit exclusively for the parks. Next year, she said, a new serenity garden will be created at Brookwood Hall in East Islip. During her time in office, she also restored the ballroom and created a playground at that location as well.
If re-elected, she plans to continue her work with the parks foundation and address all the town marinas by hiring an engineer to rate which ones need repairs.
“We have gotten a lot accomplished, but there is still a lot more to do,” she said. “Supervisor is a very rewarding position. I am very hopeful the residents will reaffirm what we’ve done and continue to let me move Islip forward.”
Carpenter and her husband reside in West Islip. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.