The three candidates for two seats on the Southampton Village Board of Trustees, incumbents Nancy McGann and and former mayor William Hattrick Jr., sparred Thursday in a debate at the .
Below is a selection of the candidates' answers and synopses of their opening statements. Watch the video of the debate at the village website.
Bill Hattrick, Former Village Mayor
Foremost, Hattrick said he is running for trustee because the five-member village board is currently controlled by one party. “My number one reason is to restore a two-party system in Southampton,” he said. “I think it's time that you took a chance on somebody else.”
He also said four of his children earn a living in the village and that 14 of his 20 grandchildren live in Southampton or adjacent Tuckahoe.
Paul Robinson, Incumbent Trustee
“I’ve been here my whole life, graduated from the high school in 1964,” Robinson said, adding his two daughters teach at Southampton High School. “I too have an investment in this community.”
He touted his six years of experience on the board and said he is very active in and ambulance matters, serving as a village commissioner of both.
He noted that has doubled its number of volunteers since he took office and shortened its response time. “A minute or two makes a difference in a matter of life or death,” he said.
He said he also successfully pushed for technology advancements for 911 dispatch.
Nancy McGann, Incumbent Trustee
McGann said she has been a village resident for more than 30 years and her son graduated from Southampton High School. She works in real estate and is currently the managing partner of Town and Country.
She said in her six years on the board, she has made it a priority to improve the village business district for the residents, families and guests who spend time there.
She said she works with the Southampton Rose Society and local garden clubs to beautify the village and add amenities such as new benches, more aesthetically pleasing trashcans and safe walkways. Beatifying downtown serves to stimulate business and create a buzz, she said.
She also said the village board authorized outdoor dining at restaurants — “a huge success” — and put in state-of-the-art playground equipment at Windward Way and parks.
Top of To-Do List
Hattrick said he wants to address the disparity between how much money village residents put into the Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund through real estate transactions and how much money the CPF puts back into the village to preserve land from development.
He specifically wants to see driving range on County Road 39 preserved, through the purchase of development rights, he said.
Robinson said she wants to finish planning for the business and cultural area of the village, such as finding a new tenant for the building and changes to downtown zoning
McGann said she wants to finish the process of revising the law to align with the village’s business district master plan. “We have to have laws in place to protect the historic nature of this community,” she said, adding Nugent Street and Windmill Lane development should mirror Main Street and Jobs Lane.
Preserving Open Space
Robinson said there is unfortunately little open space left in the village to be preserved. He took a jab at Hattrick: “Eighty percent of the open space disappeared in the 1980s and the 1990s,” he said, adding that “people who were in the office in the 80s” should have addressed open space then.
McGann said the mayor is working with Southampton Town toward CPF recommendations for preserving open space and farmlands.
Hattrick said that if the development rights for the driving range across from the on County Road 39 are not purchased, he fears it will be developed into a shopping center and devastate downtown Southampton Village.
Business Community Challenges
McGann said the biggest challenges are escalating rents and the state of the economy. “This is a very tough retail climate,” she said. “There is no doubt about it.”
The village business district is a “cleaner, neater and more attractive place to live” since her ticket joined the village board six years ago,” she said, noting that last winter, village businesses added white lights to sidewalk trees.
Hattrick’s response was brief: He thanked his daughter, Erin Hattrick, for fostering the Christmas light project.
Robinson lauded the village ’s efforts in the business district and also said he wants to push for a sewer system downtown. He said the village business district had 120 apartments above stores in 1970, but now it is down to 20. Sewers would allow for the comeback of apartments and for new restaurants, he said.
Parrish Art Museum Building Future
While Robinson and McGann said they wanted a cultural use for the village-owned facility once the Parrish moved out in 2012, Hattrick said he sees it as a great location for a village hall.
Watch the video to see the candidates' opinions on:
- Debt obligations
- Sharing of municipal services
- A waste treatment plant for downtown
- Fire department matters
- The village ethics board
- Police contract
- Term limits
- Condo development
The election is June 17 at the .