Along with school board trustees and the school budget, District 15 voters will have the opportunity on Tuesday to vote for their choice of trustee for two seats on the board and its budget.
The trustees have proposed a total $2,912,490 budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, a $69,930, or about 2.4 percent, increase over last year’s financial plan. Voters are being asked to approve a $2,667,140 tax appropriation, which amounts to an increase of about $10 per household, according to the board. The jump is attributed to a 13 percent increase in mandated and contractual costs, such as pensions.
Jeffrey Leb, of Cedarhurst, is challenging incumbent Dr. Stanley Nussbaum, of Atlantic Beach, for a five-year term. Sarah Yastrab, of Woodmere, is facing off against incumbent Patricia Pope, of Inwood, who was appointed to a trustee seat in December. Whoever wins that election will serve the remaining year of the unexpired term.
Background: Nussbaum, 80, was appointed to fill the unexpired term of a trustee a couple of years ago. He won an election last year to finish that term. A retired dentist who has lived in the Five Towns for 42 years, the Atlantic Beach resident has a long resume of public service, including stints as heads of the Five Towns Jewish Council, Five Towns Democratic Club and a commissioner on the .
Platform: “To me, a library is part of the infrastructure of the community. We strive to provide as many services as possible. My platform is to continue to give services to the whole community in the 15th district. We’re still trying to get a proper venue to build a proper library for the community.”
Background: Leb, 32, moved to Cedarhurst a little over a year ago. He works for the Sephardic Community Federation, a public policy organization, and is a secretary at TEACH NYS, an organization that helps ease the tuition burden on private school parents. He also co-founded and volunteers at Project Mazon, which assists families in need by subsidizing their weekly grocery bill. He also worked for a New York City councilman and in the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.
Platform: “I would like to have a forensic accounting audit performed on the library and find out exactly where the money is going. We, as taxpayers, have a right to know. Once that is revealed, I will work on behalf of my constituents to make sure that the library budget is used in the most effective and efficient way possible – maximizing programs that will be used by our youth and seniors and cutting out waste and fraud in the budget.”
Background: Pope, a registered nurse who is going for a Master's degree, was to the board in December. The Inwood resident said she has used the library for the past 30 years. She had considered becoming a librarian, and said this is closest she could get to that job. Pope had worked in a bank and as an assistant to a family court judge.
Platform: “I believe it is part of our civic duty, and as a resident of the Five Towns, a taxpayer and user of the facilities, to be part of what’s going on. I would like to continue to serve on the board and see the new building come to fruition one day. As time calls for the change, if the change is to be beneficial, I’m all for it. I want to serve the community at large.”
Background: Yastrab, 40, who has lived in the Five Towns for 12 years, is an occupational therapist, in which she has “worked with people of different age groups, different backgrounds, and different levels of ability and disability.” She has helped with local political campaigns and has held fundraising events through her synagogue.
Platform: “Since the library is funded by taxpayer dollars, I would like to see increased financial transparency. … In the age of the Kindle and the iPad, the function of the library will likely begin to change. Representing a younger demographic, I would like to explore the different ways we can provide content and services to our constituents in creative, modern ways. Much has been made of the issues surrounding the inadequacies of the current building. The present board has proved itself unable to work efficiently with local government, or with the taxpayers, to make the dream of a state-of-the-art library a reality.”
Polls will be open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at , Number Six School (523 Church Ave., Woodmere), and Atlantic Beach Village Hall (65 the Plaza, Atlantic Beach).