Legislative achievements include:
- Town of Huntington continues to boast the strongest fiscal health of any municipality on Long Island. The highest bond rating for any town on Long Island and the Town continues to receive one of the highest bond ratings in all of New York State, including a AAA rating from Standard & Poors and Moody’s.
- Worked with Supervisor Frank Petrone and Suffolk County to encourage Canon to develop their North and South American Regional Headquarters in Melville, NY. This project will inject nearly $459 million into the local economy, create over 6500 new jobs and will meet the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold or Silver rating system.
- Continually supports the Huntington Station revitalization efforts. This builds on the positive momentum of the opening of Highview at Huntington, the renewal at the Big H Mall, the formation of the Huntington Station B.I.D. and the approval of a new cultural site at Northridge on New York Ave.
- Supports Downtown Revitalization through Chambers of Commerce, Beautification Councils and Civic Associations utilizing grants for light posts, flags and other features to attract more business to downtown areas such as East Northport, Cold Spring Harbor, Greenlawn and Huntington Village.
- Created a Local Preference Law to grant businesses located within the Town of Huntington a 5 percent margin when submitting proposals against out-of-town companies. The intent of this newly adopted legislation is to keep business and tax dollars within the local Huntington economy when practical.
Environment and Open Space
- Supported the 1998, 2003 and 2008 Environmental Open Space and Park Improvement Bond Acts, which has enabled the Town to purchase over 240 of parkland including Manor Farm, Northport Knolls, Veterans Park, Mohlenhoff property, the John Coltrane Park and 20 acres at Hobart Beach. The referendum funding has also assisted in the renovations and equipment upgrades to parks throughout Huntington.
- Supported major improvements include the installation of five state of the art synthetic multi-purpose recreational fields placed throughout the Town. Two fields at Breezy Park in Cold Spring Hills; one field at Manor Park in Huntington Station and two fields in Veterans Park in East Northport.
- Supported the funding for the major renovation and inclusion of a second slab of ice at the Dix Hills Ice Rink.
- Initiated the earmark of $1 million in EOSPA bond money for the promotion and development of renewable energy projects in the Town of Huntington. As part of this effort, Councilman Cuthbertson created the Renewable Energy Task Force to assist in the distribution of this money.
- Sponsored major revisions to Half Hollow Park in Melville including bocce courts, soccer fields, a golfing putting green and a playground.
- Supported a zone change at Deshon Drive in Melville from Light industry to R-3M Garden Apartment Special District and a transfer of development rights from the Deshon parcel to the property formerly known as Meyer’s Farm at the intersection of Round Swamp Road and Old Country Road – to create “Sweet Hollow Park” at the former Meyer’s Farm location.
- Worked with Suffolk County and the Peconic Land Trust to preserve Richter's Orchard, the 16-acre farm and orchard located in East Northport. In purchasing the development rights, the property will remain a working farm and orchard in perpetuity.
- Together with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, initiated the Pink Flag - I Am Fed Naturally campaign, which encourages homeowners to reduce or eliminate toxic pesticides on their lawns and gardens.
- Limited use of herbicides/pesticides on town golf courses.
- Initiated the Huntington Greenway Trails Citizens Advisory Committee to document and map numerous trails within Huntington. The Committee created a first and soon to be released second edition of the Town of Huntington Trails Guide. The guides contain descriptions of 41 walking trails, 3 bike trails and a blue trail.
- With the overwhelming support of the environmental community, he strengthened the landmark Steep Slope Ordinance that prevented the subdivision and development of hills and steeply sloped land, unique to Long Island's north shore.
- Placed a moratorium on the development of private golf courses in the Town of Huntington. The moratorium was in place so the Town could thoroughly study the impact of development on large portions of potentially environmentally sensitive land.
- Worked to purchase and preserve the Lewis Oliver Dairy in Northport, which contains a one hundred year plus dairy farm heritage.
- Worked with Suffolk County to preserve and purchase the 20.7-acre Fuchs Pond Preserve in Northport. This property lies within the West Watershed of Crab Meadow. This acquisition enabled the creation of a nature center that is surrounded by 680 acres of protected open space, encompassing nearly every type of habitat which exists in the Town of Huntington.
- Worked to purchase and preserve the Carpenter Farm property in Greenlawn.
- Sponsored legislation to create a Residential Energy Efficiency Retrofit program to make it easier for homeowners to have greener and more energy efficient homes. This lowers energy costs and the Town’s carbon footprint
- Spearheaded a Building Management System (BMS) for Town of Huntington that will enable Town Hall to meet USGBC LEED Certification.
- Implemented a new energy retrofit program to replace streetlights town-wide with new more energy efficient models, install solar energy fixtures on Town Hall, a LEED based survey of how Town Hall could be more energy efficient, and creation of a Long Range Energy Efficiency Plan to implement energy efficient and green technologies into Town property, fleets, and electronics over the next ten years.
- Help to lead the effort to install a Photovoltaic Generating System at Town Hall as part of the Department of Energy‘s “Better Buildings Challenge” to achieve a 20% savings in energy spending by 2020.
- Co-sponsored legislation to create an energy neutral charging station for five electric cars at Huntington Train Station that uses the solar panels on the roof of the parking garage.
- Championed to have the Town of Huntington designated as a “Tree City USA” from the Arbor Day Foundation, after a 12-month effort between 2011 to 2012, which was also marked by the start of the Town’s landscaping project at Breezy Park in Huntington Station.
Protecting Our Youth
- Partnered with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence [LICADD] and the Suffolk County Police Department to host a Substance Abuse Seminar to understand the warning signs, reduce the devastation caused by heroin and substance abuse, as well as to discuss helpful ways for preventing addiction and how to start a conversation with a loved one who is struggling against this disease.
- Also included a “Shed the Meds” medicine disposal event throughout the program where residents can drop off unwanted or un-needed medications for a safe and echo-friendly disposal.
- Sponsored a seminar on distracted driving – the dangers of texting and driving for teens and their families.
- Created the Huntington Youth Court, a program “for youth, by youth” – where the power of peer pressure is harnessed to prevent delinquent and violent behavior in young people.
- Sponsored the Tobacco Advertising Law, which prohibits cigarette advertising within 1000 feet of a school, day care or park. This initiative was used as a model by municipalities throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties and updated to include beaches. In 2008, Councilman Cuthbertson was honored by the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island for passing a resolution calling on tobacco retailers to sign a commitment to youth pledge, which required the removal of tobacco advertisements from windows.
- Founded the Annual Children’s Halloween Costume Parade in Huntington Village where thousands of children and their parents gather every year to participate in a safe trick or treat program.
- Sponsored the purchase of speed machines and coordinated with the 2nd Precinct and local school districts to use the machine as a traffic calming device near schools.
- Supported efforts in making the Town of Huntington Long Island’s first municipality to allow its residents to access a computer-generated map that tracks the residency of sex offenders. The Town updates this map monthly pinpointing where its Level 2 and 3 sex offenders live and enforcing the law if their residence is within the restricted sensitive areas in relation to schools, playgrounds and day care centers.
- Organized the family oriented “Movies-On-The-Lawn” program at local parks and beaches which draws hundreds of families at each performance.
- Created the Annual “Hunting-Tony” Awards program to recognize and showcase the talented and dedicated high school students who participate in the school’s extracurricular theatrical productions.
- Sponsored the design and construction of a concrete skate park at Veterans Park in East Northport. The TOH was awarded a $250,000 grant through the NY State Environmental Protection Fund Municipal Parks Program, funded by the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund that will support the skatepark construction.
- Sponsored to authorize a pilot use educational agreement with Cornell Cooperative Extension at the Fuchs Pond Preserve for a summer nature study program. The site was acquired in 2002 for the purpose of providing center-based environmental and outdoor learning programs. The Fuchs Preserve Environmental Education Center is a pilot agreement will provide a limited scope of educational services that will enhance the complement of outdoor recreational services offered to Town residents.
- Co-Sponsored legislation to create Sexual Predator Legislation. In 2005, the Town of Huntington was one of the first municipalities to pass Child Protection Legislation. Specifically, that legislation provided that a Level 2 or 3 convicted sexual predator could not live within a “sensitive area” – within 1000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of a park. This amended Town Code in January, 2007 with precedent-setting amendments. This expanded the geographical boundaries by forbidding offenders from living within a quarter mile (1320 feet) of not only schools and parks, but beaches, playgrounds, day camps and licensed day care centers as well.
- Urged the NYS Liquor Authority to revoke Melissa Tavern’s liquor license amid numerous health and safety violations. Noting the longstanding history of violence at this location, the NY State Liquor Authority not only denied Melissa’s application but will not approve any license to serve at this location for at least the next couple of years.
- Introduced measures aimed at requiring installation of carbon monoxide detectors in restaurants and other commercial buildings. Proposed an amendment to Town Code so carbon monoxide detectors can be installed quickly in all places of assembly.
- Partnered with the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs for the Huntington Safe Boating Week Festival at Mill Dam Park in Halesite with a Nautical Flea Market.
- Sponsored N.Y. State Boaters Safety Course on the fundamentals of safe boating such as safe loading & operation, navigation rules, getting underway and accidents & emergencies and much more.
- Supported the accessory apartment law and raising the fines for code violations, including the Housing Enforcement Action Team (H.E.A.T) and Operation HAIL Storm (Huntington Against Illegal Landlords) – a major initiative to combat and crackdown on illegal housing and apartments throughout Huntington.
- Hosted a Code Enforcement Summit to review and discuss new and updated Code Enforcement initiatives including illegal housing/apartments and quality of life concerns such as litter, debris, abandoned vehicles and graffiti.
- Increased Fines for having an illegal Accessory Apartments to: a) 1000 to 5000 dollars for a first time offence from 500 dollars b) 2000 to 10000 dollars for a second offence from 1000 dollars c) 15000 dollar maximum of a third offence from 1500 to 4000 dollar maximum d) Doubled the minimum permit fees for having an unpermitted accessory apartment to 3000 dollars but can go as high as 15000 dollars
- Created a zero-tolerance policy to crack down on absentee landlords and those who are repeat offenders for placing apartments into single family homes.
- Authorized the investigation of gas stations with convenience stores that illegally sell alcohol.
- Sponsored legislation to add “feather banners” as part of the Town Code including limiting their use and location, regulated the size of banners and advertisements, and shrunk the size of temporary signs from 90 square feet to 64 square feet
- Adopted a home rule message asking the state legislature to pass a bill and the governor to approve legislation necessary to allow creation of a local civil administrative enforcement bureau to adjudicate violations of local laws and town code in a more timely fashion.
Road Improvements and Maintenance
- Upgraded traffic signals on Larkfield Road, a measure aimed at improving traffic flow on the most heavily traveled road in the Town’s network. The project included installing state-of-the-art, computerized traffic control equipment, wireless connect and emergency vehicle preemption capabilities, energy-efficient LED traffic signal indications and LED pedestrian indications with countdown timers.
- Installed the computerized, coordinated signal system at the 11 Town-controlled signals on Larkfield Road, a move aimed at improving traffic safety and reducing congestion and automobile emissions. The system uses detection equipment, including sensors and the cameras at intersections, to help coordinate the timing of the lights.
- Sponsored the resolution to bond $1.35 million for the reconstruction of Walt Whitman Road
- Lobbied New York State for the reconstructed Northern State Parkway Bridge westbound over Route 110. This 56 million dollar project included building two new parkway bridges—one eastbound and one westbound—as well as reconfiguring on-ramps and exits and widening Route 110.
- Lobbied New York State for Halesite New York Route 110 Drainage and Roadway Improvements. This $18 million dollar project included road alignment, drainage and installation of roundabouts to ease traffic flow.
- Co-sponsored $2.5 million for the renovation of the Mill Dam Causeway in Centerport
- Increased funding for paving and purchase of improved road-paving equipment.
- Lobbied to have a Larkfield Road Signal Reconstruction and Signal Interconnect project installed, for the purpose of reducing delays and congestion on this important north-south roadway. Thereby improving vehicular and pedestrian safety with the addition of crosswalk countdown timers, while also benefitting the environment using energy efficient LED signal heads and reducing vehicle emissions.
Quality of Life Issues
- Sponsored resolution to approve revisions to the section of Town Code dealing with animals, including setting requirements on the proper disposal of pet waste, limiting the length of time animals may be restrained outdoors and establishing guidelines to aid in the prevention of animals being abandoned.
- Hosted low cost spay/neutering program for dogs within the Township of Huntington
- Works with the Huntington Greenway Trails Committee to find suitable on-leash dog walking trails and parks.
- Enacted Legislation For On-Leash Dog Walking On Designated Town Trails. The previous Town Code restricted the walking of dogs to paved parking areas and adjacent walkways and concourses only. The Town of Huntington Greenway Trails Committee reviewed sites in the field with representatives from LI-DOG, an advocacy group that supports greater dog access in parks.
- Councilman Cuthbertson sponsored the resolution authorizing the Town Harbormaster’s Office to establish 5 mph zones during aquatic events and has hosted boating safety forums since then.
- Joined with YAM Community Resource Inc. (a not-for- profit organization dedicated to serving the underserved Haitian population on Long Island) to champion a humanitarian effort in support of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew, one of the hardest hitting storms in Haiti’s history.
- Fought to Keep the Waldbaum's Shopping Center in Greenlawn anchored by a supermarket for the community.
- Enacted legislation to regulate drones so that under Town Code, private property and Town property will be protected from potential intrusive or hazardous use.
- Spearheaded the successful effort to turn away the MTA from using Greenlawn as their train storage and cleaning yard.
- Advocated for residents who were concerned with plan of Pennsylvania-based Company, PPL, to build a 300-magewatt power plant on Townline Road.
- Created and distributed thousands of Emergency Pick-Up Point Charts to the boating community.
- Urged New York State Liquor Authority to limit the number of retail liquor store licenses that can be issued within a geographic area. This initiative was successful in avoiding saturation of liquor stores in the Huntington Station area.
- Spearheaded the installation of a kayak rack – for members of the Town’s Senior Center to use, store and launch kayaks during warm weather months at no cost to seniors.
- Sponsored a well-received Boating Safety Forum held at Town Hall in August of 2012. The Town partnered with the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, Greater Huntington Council of Yacht & Boating Clubs and the Huntington Harbormaster’s Office. In addition, members of the United States Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Suffolk County Police Marine Division, Neptune Power Squadron, local fire departments and Incorporated Villages joined in this endeavor. Topics included Weather & Communication, Vessel Preparation, Emergencies and Search & Rescue scenarios.
- Sponsored a resolution to acquire a new 24-foot Justice Boston Whaler marine law enforcement vessel equipped with twin Mercury 200hp outboards, full electronics and police package – provided at no cost to the Town through a New York State Parks and Recreation & Historic Preservation Marine Law Enforcement Program. The newly commissioned vessel “M-2,” is valued at $175,000 and currently utilized by the Town’s Bay Constables for patrol of its harbors and waterways.
- Sponsored legislation to promote and provide the Town’s Bay Constables with an additional tool for enforcement – by enacting legislation that now authorizes its Harbormasters Office to use discretion in setting temporary 5-mph speed zones. This temporary speed restriction was very well received during the Huntington Lighthouse’s annual Music Fest celebration that took place in the middle of Huntington Harbor over Labor Day weekend in 2012, which helped to keep the waters safe and mitigate crowds.
Better Communication with Constituents
- Supported funding for Huntington @ Your Service a more efficient Citizen Services Management system that improves communication to better deal with constituent inquires.
- Ensures Constituent inquires be immediately routed to the relevant department within Town Hall.
- New Constituent Portal that can be accessed 24 hours a day and Seven days a week on the Town Website.
- There is also a new Android/iPhone app that allows constituents to access the constituency portal via their smartphones.
- Arranged for a Veteran's Burial Benefit to be made available to the Huntington veterans. The benefit was lost between different levels of government for several years and now veterans can take advantage of it through the Town's program.
- Supported enhancements to the Town Veteran's Plaza located at Town Hall.
- Funded special projects for the disabled – more than $23,000 in the last three years and established the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.
- Supported the Handicapped Parking Enforcement Program, which collects nearly $90,000 a year in fines by dispatching volunteers with cameras to catch those who are using Handicapped Parking places illegally.
- Sponsored legislation to purchase a handicapped floating beach chair for Crab Meadow Beach in Northport to assist those from getting from the parking lot, to the beach and ultimately to the water.
- Spearheaded the F.I.R.E. Scholarship Award Program. In order to help recruit, retain and honor first responders for their committed service and dedication to the communities where they volunteer, the Town of Huntington has provided annual F.I.R.E. Scholarship Awards, a tuition reimbursement grant, which awards a $500 scholarship to four outstanding responders. The funding for the scholarship is provided through the Firefighter/Emergency Medical Services Incentive Recruitment Enhancement (F.I.R.E.) Program.
- The Firefighter/Emergency Medical Services Incentive Recruitment Enhancement (F.I.R.E.) Association was created in 2004 by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson with the intention of enhancing recruitment of firefighter and emergency medical services volunteers and to promote public awareness of the need for volunteers in our local departments. Required that portion of fines collected be dedicated to public information outreach and marketing program to attract volunteers for Huntington’s volunteer fire/ems departments has utilized print, television, a website and direct mail campaigns for this purpose and local departments have received help with their volunteer recruitment needs in the form of brochures, banners, signs and recruitment materials.
- Helped establish the Emergency Operations Center where communications and operations during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy were headquartered.
- Fought for tax breaks for emergency responders.
- Facilitated the donation of pet oxygen masks from the Canine Fence Corporation to all Huntington Fire Departments and annexes.
- In order to help recruit, preserve and honor first responders for their committed service and dedication to the communities where they volunteer, the Town of Huntington has provided annual F.I.R.E. Scholarship Awards, a tuition reimbursement grant, which awards a $500 scholarship to four outstanding responders. The funding for the scholarship is provided through the Firefighter/Emergency Medical Services Incentive Recruitment Enhancement (F.I.R.E.) Program. The F.I.R.E. Scholarship Award Program was an initiative that was spearheaded by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson four years ago.
- Sponsor of the Annual Huntington Tulip Festival. The Town plants over 20,000 tulip bulbs in Heckscher Park in the Spring and when the flowers bloom, the celebration attracts more than 5,000 people. The event was based on Cuthbertson's dream to bring more family-oriented events to Huntington.
- Initiated the Town of Huntington's Community Mural Project, utilizing teen art apprentices from the Huntington Youth Bureau's Project Excel, who worked under the guidance of a professional artist, to create a vision of sailboats and the Huntington Lighthouse in Huntington Harbor. This huge mural can be seen at the rear of the municipal parking lot on the west side of the 200 block of New York Avenue in Huntington Village.
- Hosts the Annual Bocce Special Olympics which draws dozens of families in support of this extraordinary program and the annual Huntington vs. Babylon Bocce Tournament.
- Coordinated with the Suffolk County SPCA to provide low cost spaying and neutering to Town of Huntington residents’ pets.
- Co-sponsors the annual Family Earth Day Expo at Town Hall to coincide with the global celebration of Earth Day – typically the third Saturday in April. This encourages and includes e-waste recycling, personal documentation shredding, a green expo and the Touch A Truck Event allowing those present to climb on, touch and learn about the different aspects of trucks displayed.