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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.

HeyJoe November 03, 2011 at 01:01 AM
i think Wehrheim and the rest of the town board needs to go but some of you people who feel that only elitists should run the government are out in rightfield. the elitists havent had such a great track record running the country or the economy. take a look around. working and middle class people are entirely capable of holding office. the elite have run this country's economy intto the ground. its time for the 99% to take the reins.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 03, 2011 at 01:30 AM
I would never assume that pushing a broom and picking up leaves is good honest work.
Frank Mercuri November 03, 2011 at 03:05 AM
I am quite versed on management having been a general manager of manufacturing companies and a Government rep for the USAF.According to your logic, unless one meets the standards you cite, one should not apply and those presently employed in government , senate and assembly are not qualified. You again miss the point, anyone is allowed to run for an office. It is their constitutional right and you want to take that away by citing an acceptable criteria to run. As to their qualifications it is up to the electorate to decide not this forum. You are electionaring by tearing down an individual to sway others to your likes or dislikes. People do have a mind of their own. I would like to point out those drop outs that became sucessful like the late Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of Microsoft. Hard work and determination make for success .
Tom Gillen November 03, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Good point. I bet Ed Wehrheim's level of education represents more residents than someone who has a law degree.
kathryne November 03, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Seriously, your argument is "growing blight of vacant stores on Main Street" and "failure to improve the crumbling Psychiatric property"? Let's address the KPPC issue- it is state owned land. It has NEVER been the responsibility of Smithtown nor will it be if Mr. Werheim does not achieve re-election. The town can yell, scream, pass "blight resolutions until it is blue in the face but unless the whole of local gov't- state senate, assembly members, etc plus the public put together a concerted effort nothing will be done. A single council member means nothing- you can't lay the blame for the KPPC anywhere near Mr. Werheim's and Mr. Creighton's feet. As for the growing blight of vacant stores on Main Street, really? When businesses are contracting, not expanding, it's also hard to blame Mr. Werheim for current economic conditions. Just yesterday, another nationwide company, Syms and Filene's Basement, closed. Look, if you want to support another candidate or a change in the current regime, have at it, Angela. But you should take your own advice and provide well thought out, relevant arguments to support your opinion. "Lack of communication skills during Hurricane Irene"???? Mr. Werheim was supposed to spearhead LIPA's communication to local municipalities? Try giving us facts, not something you read off an opponent's talking points.
lisa costello November 03, 2011 at 02:13 PM
EVERYBODY>>>GET OUT AND VOTE!
vincent krauss November 03, 2011 at 02:32 PM
I like ed vote for Ed & Bob good dudes
Frank Mercuri November 03, 2011 at 02:40 PM
1. Growing Blight? Businesses leave for lack of customers. Shopping at the mall does not help local busness. Cress florist closed its doors. main street is a state road and with a lot of traffic. Businesses have come and gone. KP has the similiar problem. Lots of traffic going through it. These are major issues and one councilman cannot solve it. It requiers state county and town inputs. The town looks for businesses but businesses also look at the infastructure. Would you open a business on any of these main streets with all the traffic and noone stops not even for a pedestriasn to cross? 2. Rising Crime Rate? I thought that was the responsibility of our law enforcement to control 3.What is the lack? Please explain. 4. What skills are needed to know that by looking out the window one sees a storm. What skills do you seek in this situation 5.. The town has no responsibility or jurisdiction of that property. It is under the jurisdiction of the state. 6. The town needs lots of "nursing" not major surgury. 7. The smartest cardiologist is not nessesarily the best surgeon 8 I am not defending anyone. You are the accuser. I still say you do not get it. Every person has the right to run for an office. The ballot box determines the result. You are setting a criteria. The constitution has no criteria. As to one lineers, they usually say more than wordy text.
Pascuale Gennarino November 03, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Honestly Howard... your pathetic crying about an article on KP Patch is proof alone that you don't have what it takes in politics. Turn off the lights and walk away now. you should be ashamed. Return the campaign donations.
vincent krauss November 03, 2011 at 03:02 PM
howard4smithtown.com should be howard4dogcatcher.com
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 03, 2011 at 03:03 PM
I have a BA Economics and use it a battering RAM to destroy lesser men and amaze the ladies. I get jazzed about the college discount on my auto insurance and GM car at "special" prices. These discounts Ed Wehrheim could never get…Sorry Ed.
vincent krauss November 03, 2011 at 03:03 PM
howard4smithtown.com should be howard4dogcatcher.com any questions?
Tom Gillen November 03, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Ed forgives you
bill breuer November 03, 2011 at 04:09 PM
If we are not better off today than we were 4 years ago, we owe it to ourselves to vote against all incumbents. If all is good, we stil vote for the non-incumbent to avoid a landslide.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 03, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Looking at Mr. Altshuler with Mr. Wehrhiem. Randy, I suggest that while pursuing political office never wear a double breasted suit. You’re a very smart guy I’ll think you will get it.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 03, 2011 at 08:24 PM
Mr. Knispel, still no response to my Oct.29 email(see previous post) A new question; Are you a legitimate Candidate or a Blowhard?
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 03, 2011 at 08:33 PM
How would you know if he is right or wrong about anything?
George McKnight November 03, 2011 at 08:56 PM
I find it really funny how in every write up on this race everyone is trying to push the age factor in their articles. It doesn’t matter if its on line or in print, well it looks like you are all about age discrimination. Is it that seasoned people scare you or just that they know better, and you bring nothing to the table. This is a pattern so it shows me that its coming from one side. I hope that all the senior citizens see this as clearly as I do and come out in droves to vote for the 60 and 70ish councilmen. Bring ideas to the table and leave your bias to older citizens at home.
rhonda November 03, 2011 at 09:24 PM
Pretty much all opinion based on speculation. No facts. No information other than hear say. And promises made with no actual plan on how to deliver them. Still going downhill here in Smithtown with the new Hurricane Irene Tax. Why?? Only Smithtown got socked with a "cleanup tax" Thank you Mr. V, Mr. C and Mr. W. ((you lost My Vote)) What's appalling is these officials are sitting on a $22 million dollar reserve - For What. A $5 million reserve is acceptable, 22 million is outrageous For the first time in my life, I’ m crossing party lines To VOTE for New Guys and NOT the Tax Mavens
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 04, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Hello Rhonda, I would be interested knowing your views on the Smithtown Library services & budget?
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 04, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Mr.Knispel, still no response to my email "Hello Mr. Knispel, In response to your vision for the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center. How exactly would the Town go about acquiring the site?"
Howard E. Knispel November 05, 2011 at 02:05 AM
Peter, I did not get an e-mail from patch today. Did you run my profile?
Peter Verry (Editor) November 05, 2011 at 02:21 AM
@Howard, It was the final story I ran on Friday. http://patch.com/A-n2yg
Howard E. Knispel November 05, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Matt, Your question is not a simple one because I am not involved in current negotiations and therefore can not comment about where we currently stand regarding obtaining the property. 14 years ago the State offered the property to the town for $1. The town turned it down. Recently the town tried to obtain 50 acres (about 10% of the property). The state turned the town down. The State is not going to give Smithtown the best 50 acres and be stuck with the rest. It's going to be all or nothing and the town has to assume the cost of clean up. But if my proposal is followed this can be done over a long period of time and the cost bourne by the energy company that leases the property. If Smithtown agrees to obtain all of the property and assume the clean up, I believe the state will agree.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) November 05, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Mr.Knispel, I appreciate your responding to my question and agree with you(depending how structured) leasing KPPC to alternative energy production firms and\or demonstration projects has merit easily coexisting within the site as currently situated and as you say “costly abatement would be avoided.” I will add that these projects could fund site remediation over time. Utilizing the site for these projects is actionable by the state they could also use the revenue. What you propose is not new being just one of many potential scenarios. Based upon my recollection the State never offered the KPPC site for $1 to any one including the Town of Smithtown. However, I do recall the Town was considering offering $1 for KPPC the site but never did. The State did in fact receive one unsolicited offer for $1 and rejected it Click link- http://goo.gl/Q90Y1
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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