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Wehrheim: Economic Growth, Communication Will Improve

The incumbent councilman says he will be instrumental in bringing new businesses to the town and keeping taxes stable.

Smithtown Town councilman Edward Wehrheim said he has given his full-time commitment to a part-time role, and will continue to do so if re-elected next Tuesday.

First issue the Republican incumbent said he plans to attack if still a councilman following Nov. 8 elections is local economic growth.

“The economy is in a pretty drastic downturn… we don’t see anything improving, and economic growth is shrinking,” he said. “[With] business districts and your industrial parks and things of that nature, if they continue to diminish and you can’t intercede to get new businesses in where old businesses leave… the commercial tax base starts to shrink. Residential property value assessments will start to go down and residential property taxes will start to rise.”

Wehrheim said he’s played a role on the town council in rectifying this growing problem. He cited his involvement in the renovation of Smith Haven Mall, helping Bob's Furniture come to Smithtown, and aiding . The councilman said these projects alone brought the town roughly $4,500,000 in tax revenue.

Wehrheim said keeping taxes stable is another issue the town needs to address. In his four years on the council, he said the town has been able to do this by keeping surplus funds at the prescribed standards, maintaining a high bond rating and keeping the debt low.

Although confident in the job he has done thus far, Wehrheim said there are areas that the town needs to improve in, specifically, how it communicates with the public.

Wehrheim cited Tropical Storm Irene as

“I believe we had everything in place, which we did. Our public safety department is our emergency preparedness organization… but I will say that certainly Smithtown could communicate more than we have so that the public gets more information that they have in the past,” he said.

Another concern of the councilman is the community's speculation that the focus of the town board is solely on the north side of Jericho Turnpike and not in the southern areas of the township – which he said is far from true.

“We’ve done extensive work in Commack with our parks system … as well as we have in Nesconset,” he said. “We work diligently with Legis. [John] Kennedy and continue to work… on the residents that are down in the areas with the high water tables, flooding their basements. We’ve done some terrific work with his help … We pay as much attention to the residents down there [southern part of township] as we do on the north shore.”

Wehrheim said his track record is reason enough to be elected to a third term as a councilman.

“I think I have the dedication and quite frankly the experience for the residents to continue working on [the] issues and be successful in doing it,” he said.

Frank Mercuri November 05, 2011 at 04:55 PM
The property I have to reiterate is not under the jurisdiction of the Empire Developement Corporation. It is park land and is under the jurisdiction of the NY state Dept of parks and Recreation. Nothing can ve done there by anyone without park apprval. As a memeber of theboard of directors of the Nissequoque River Stae Park foundation, I will present to the board this coming Tuesday at the Board meeting the miss information that is being presented here. If there is something you all know give the facts so that they can be checked as viable. I do not understand how Mr. Knisper can make such statements. Please go to this link http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/110/details.aspx
Bill Miller November 07, 2011 at 01:14 AM
To anyone who cares about the future of Smithtown: DO NOT vote for Wehrheim to get re-elected. Sure he was the dept head of Parks, because of POLITICS he got there; this town is well known for. He knows how to play the game. Anyone that worked for him at Parks knows full well that Ed only helped a few of the guys at Parks. There are MANY guys that worked will flawless records over 30 years and never got any promotions even though he promised them every year "next year when there is money in my budget",and next year never came. He dangled that carrot in front of you all the time.Promotions were given to those that contributed heavily to his campaign, and were "Thank You's' in the form of being promoted ahead of those that deserved it. Nothing has changed now that he is on the town board, making promises he cannot keep. He is a poor example of what Smithtown residents represents and the only reason our Main St is the way it is - is because of promises he cannot keep. If you are happy with the way Smithtown is, and the disgusting decayed buildings, then re-elect him. I will NOT be voting for him. He is all talk and no action, has been and always will. Send Ed packing on Election Day! By the way, he was a painter at the Parks Dept. I think Smithtown deserves better, don't you??
Bill Miller November 07, 2011 at 06:39 AM
Me too! Time for a change in Smithtown.
Bill Miller November 07, 2011 at 06:41 AM
Are you kidding me?
Bill Miller November 07, 2011 at 06:54 AM
Wehrheim is all talk, was all talk when he was Parks Dept head. Promised his guys promotions and never got anywhere. Glad he is out. Of course the guys he did help are still campaigning for him because they know if he is re-elected they will get promoted again. These guys should work in the the private sector and see that big campgain checks don't get you ahead of others for a promotion. It is all politics, and Mr. Vecchio allows it. Smithtown used to be the envy of others, today it is embarassing to say you live here, we pay very high taxes and yet our Main Street looks like a poor town. The parking situation on Main St needs to change, We should change it to the Main St in Northport - all cars park head-in facing the stores on one side. Incentives to bring in new business. We should have more outdoor entertainment, instead of the once a year festival in June. Kings Park Day had a great car show, did Smithtown? No. Kings Park has a Farmers Market, do we? Nothing is being done to revitalize our town. Nothing. I don't blame the shop owners for leaving. If it werent' for the bank, post office, food shopping or drug store items many would never travel through town. Need a gift - many go outside the town, need something for your house - again outside the town. We need NEW BLOOD on our Town Board, VOTE FOR A CHANGE IN COUNCIL members!!!

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