CARMEL, N.Y. - On Sept. 12, registered Republican voters will go to polls to decide which two GOP candidates will face Democratic challenger Judie Mirra in the general election for the Town Board in November.
For the Republican primary, incumbents Frank Lombardi and Suzi McDonough will face off against challenger Mike Barile, with the top two vote-getters gaining a place on the general election ballot. Lombardi and Barile won the nomination from the Republican Party during its caucus earlier this summer. McDonough forced a primary by garnering enough petition signatures.
Here’s a closer look at the three candidates:
Incumbent Frank Lombardi is seeking a third four-year term on the Town Board, where he serves as deputy supervisor. Besides the endorsement of the Republican Party, he has the nominations of the Independence and Reform parties.
Lombardi grew up in the Bronx and moved to Carmel in 2003 to raise his family and give his three children, now 19, 16 and 15, “a quality education.” He graduated Fordham University with a degree in political science public administration and received his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law.
He’s served as a coach with the Mahopac Sports Association and is a third-degree member of the Our Lady on the Lakes Knights of Columbus, as well a longtime member and counsel to the Italian American Club of Mahopac. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Lombardi said one of his biggest priorities as a councilman is keeping Carmel fiscally sound and one of New York State’s safest towns.
“A huge threat to our area is the growing drug epidemic,” he said. “I’m proud to say that I sponsored a law that bans the sale of synthetic marijuana in the town of Carmel. I facilitated bringing D.A.R.E. into Mahopac Middle School. I’ve spent time fostering relationships with our schools, non-profit organizations and other government officials because working together as a community is the key to keeping our kids safe from drugs.”
Lombardi said he’s seeking re-election because while he’s proud of what he has accomplished, he believes there’s more to do.
“Carmel is a great place to live, but there is always room for improvement and I feel that my work is not done here just yet,” he said. “We need to build upon the fiscal achievements such as growing our fund reserve balance by 96 percent since 2012 to over $7.1 million and reduce town-wide borrowing.”
He said he will continue to be a conservative fiscal advocate for Carmel’s taxpayers and work to bring job-creating projects to Carmel that reduce property taxes while making sure to preserve the natural beauty and historical features of the town.
“One of the biggest challenges Carmel faces today is affordability,” he said. “If re-elected, I will continue to make efficient and effective spending a priority so that those who grew up in Carmel can come back to raise their families here. I believe that my tenure on the board shows that with the correct strategies, we can save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars while still providing the services that make Carmel a great place to live.”
Mike Barile, who has the endorsement of both the Republican Party and the Independence Party, has been a resident and businessman in the town of Carmel for over 40 years. He and his wife, Lillian, raised three daughters in Mahopac.
Barile’s property management business, Lynlil Associates, is located on Route 6.
“Now that my daughters have taken on an active role in the business, I have decided to do something I have felt passionately about for years—run for councilman,” he said.
Barile is a familiar face at Town Board meetings, often speaking on local issues during the open forum portion of the sessions.
“I have attended more Town Board meetings than any private or elected official,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, I paid for meetings to be televised so residents could see how their elected officials were serving them. It took two years of funding before the board approved what has now become standard practice.”
Barile said he scrutinizes the annual budget religiously, and for the last 20 years has argued for a comprehensive five-year budget plan including a total review of the town code.
“I led the campaign and saw through the development of Sycamore Dog Park (Putnam County’s first) at zero cost to taxpayers,” he said. “I fought to make the park a reality. Unfortunately, a year and a half later, the current board changed the rules requiring a membership for its use.”
Barile said he believes in term limits for board members, contending it’s not healthy for “a community to be led for 12 years by the same officials, regardless of whether they are good or bad.”
He also said he is concerned with the community’s empty storefronts, worsening traffic, the look of its main thoroughfares, and especially with the planning and direction of the town’s future tax base.
“If elected, I will decline the pay and benefits offered by the town and donate it to Mahopac Sports Association (MSA) and Carmel Sports Association (CSA),” he said. “I will not accept any salary. To clarify, the approximate $48,000 would be donated to our town’s most precious resource, our children. Fifty percent will be donated to CSA, Carmel Rams Youth Football and Cheer, and Carmel Rams Lacrosse and 50 percent to MSA to help with children’s sports as our town does not offer an organized kids’ sports program.”
Suzi McDonough is a Town Board incumbent seeking her third term.
McDonough has lived in Mahopac/Carmel for more than 55 years and owned several businesses in town. She has five children and one grandchild.
She is the founder of the McDonough Foundation, which has paid out over $120,000 to people in the community struggling with cancer. She’s donated more than $30,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors.
McDonough is a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Church and executive board member of Purple Heart Homes, as well as an executive board member of Putnam County Women’s Republican Club.
As a town councilwoman, she serves as liaison to the CSEA union, the Planning Board, Cable TV Committee, Recreation Committee, the school districts, lake park districts and the Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association.
She lists her achievements during her tenure on the board as meeting the state requirements for the property tax cap since its inception; increasing the general fund balance and safeguarding an Aa1 credit rating, which reduces borrowing costs (Carmel has the highest bond rating in Putnam County); enacting townwide garbage pickup (only board member consistently voted in favor); the purchase of equipment and vehicles without borrowing; and the establishment of a town website.
“Just as a mother always continues to be there for her children, I want to be there for the residents of our community,” McDonough said when asked why she is seeking re-election. “There is more work that needs to be done and I am willing to continue that challenge. Many residents have watched our meetings and they know I will always fight for them and speak my mind. I am constantly out in the community talking face to face and hearing their concerns and bringing those concerns back to the Town Board. I have, and always will have, the best interest of my neighbors and will continue to advocate for them and be sure that their voices are heard.”
McDonough said that if re-elected her goals are to keep taxes down, improve the town’s infrastructure and continue to work on projects that have already been started, such as finding an alternate water supply for water district 2; the Community Center; state legislation regarding the way utility companies are taxed; addressing New York City’s general impediment to future development and expansion of wastewater treatment plants; and continued support of the police and fire departments.
“The biggest challenges we face are infrastructure problems, state mandates, water/wastewater issues, lack of commercial development, traffic, and the drug epidemic,” she said. “Because of the mandates, restrictions, loopholes, and regulations set on us, we are being taxed out of our homes. We need to be tough and united in this cause.”