The next two years
Current mayor Ray Fell and Challenger Bob Morris.

courtesy photos

The next two years

Story By: GLENN ROHRBACKER
6/6/2019


Ray Fell: incumbent

Mayor Ray Fell is running for his fourth term to lead the Village of Bellport. He first ran in 2013 and has lived in the village for over 40 years. 

Fell said he plans to continue the work that has mostly started during his tenure. He wants to see the Bellport dock project completed, which will replace the bulkhead and stormwater drains. The project stalled during the engineering process this past winter but was approved to begin construction later this year. Fell also wants to see the repaving of Station Road and Bellport Lane, as well as replacement of the stormwater drains on Bellport Lane. He is also putting in a grant request for work on the community center.

Fell also wants to continue to address the issues at Ho Hum Beach, specifically the pavilion. He is eager to have the village’s work permit approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation and begin soliciting funds to perform the work, which would move the pavilion inland. And he is looking forward to completing the project at the highway yard.

Another priority for the incumbent is to keep the village financially stable, an effort he is proud of over his previous terms. He said the village is at an AA+ rating, the second to highest. He added that over $6 million in grants have been secured from the county, state and federal governments, and will continue to use them to offset costs. 

Fell acknowledged the issue of recycling, which has many residents concerned. There is currently no effective way to recycle glass, and the restrictions on other recyclables have increased due to new town rules. Fell said he and the board would continue to look for solutions, as recycling glass would come at a financial cost to the village, and there’s nowhere to place it.

“Recycling is a major problem that everyone is struggling with,” Fell said.

Fell is asking residents to look at his past accomplishments and the progress the village has made in choosing their mayor on June 18. He also wants them to focus on where the village can go, and how it can improve.

“My leadership will get us there,” he said. n

Bob Morris: challenger

Bob Morris is running for mayor in Bellport, challenging the current incumbent. He grew up in West Islip and has been a resident of Bellport for 11 years. He is a tutor at the Bellport Boys & Girls Club and an active member of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society.

Morris is running based on new ideas, he said. He wants to bring communication, conversation, and alternative solutions to the residents of Bellport. Morris appreciates the collaboration that brought the newly renovated bowling alley back to the Community Center, but believes this type of effort should be more frequent. He said his view working with the village board in recent years has been an inability to be open to new ideas.

And ideas he has. Morris wants to see new amenities to benefit village residents, like a community swimming pool that could be located at the golf course. He is concerned with the amount of money that would potentially be spent on golf course renovations, based on a master plan proposed early this year. 

“It’s a town that functions very much as kind of a beacon of an idealistic place,” Morris said of the potential the village has to improve, adding that it is an “exciting, wonderful … microcosm.”

The ideas Morris is suggesting would not raise taxes, rather he would use new ideas to limit or lower taxes. He’d like to see an inn built where two buildings on the course are slated for demolition. However, the plan does say the buildings would be replaced. He would also like to see, as a result of the rebuilding of the dock later this year, the parking spaces in front of the yacht club removed and replaced with a walkable area, where people could sit and enjoy the bay. He said there could even be some type of concession available to offer visitors and make money for the village.

As the election on June 18 approaches, Morris hopes residents will look around at what they would like improved and make a decision to go in a new direction.

“I understand fully how governments are set up to be useful to communities in need,” he said.

VILLAGE ELECTION

Election Day: June 18 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Community Center

Registration Day: June 8 from noon to 5 p.m. 

*Must have valid ID, which is not issued during registration*.

The mayor and two trustee positions are open.