Brentwood resident hopes to be ‘catalyst’ for important issues
Joseph Fritz is challenging Islip Town clerk Olga Murray for her post in the upcoming elections.
Fritz, a Brentwood resident and East Islip-based attorney, wants to be town clerk because he sees it as not just an “administrative position” but as a place where he can be a “catalyst” and provide input on important issues pertaining to the town.
“The way I look at it, [the] town clerk is a public official who has a point view and should exercise it in an appropriate fashion,” he said.
Fritz has run for elected office numerous times in the last 40-plus years.
The last time he was on the ballot was in 1993 when he ran against former Islip Town supervisor Pete McGowan. Since then, Fritz has been limited mostly to primaries, which included an unsuccessful run for the New York State Senate in 2016, on the Women’s Equality line. He also served as a member on both the Islip Town Zoning Board of Appeals and Brentwood School District.
Fritz said he is running for town clerk in opposition to the Island Hills and Heartland developments in Sayville and Brentwood, respectively.
In regards to the Heartland project, he worries about the burden it will put on the Brentwood School District. Fritz noted a report from last month that stated South Huntington school officials were proposing a more than $115 million bond referendum that would make upgrades in all district facilities.
He argues that in South Huntington’s case, pretty much everything is already in place. But, should Heartland come about, Brentwood would potentially have to construct new school facilities and staff them. This, Fritz estimates, would cost the district at least $300 million per school, which taxpayers will have to fund.
As for the Island Hills project, Fritz stated, “We do not need more stress on the environment and community. We don’t need to create, in a suburban environment, an urban environment.”
He also supports discontinuing the parking meter program in downtown Bay Shore, which he said works as a tax on residents and discourages foot traffic, thus hurting the local businesses.
On a smaller scale, Fritz said he would like to have a study done to see how the clerk’s office can be updated. He would also like to put a notary—someone who is authorized to perform acts in legal affairs—on staff for residents.
Fritz said a version of this service already exists within the town clerk’s office, but insists it’s mainly reserved for town projects. “We pay taxes, we should have a free notary for anything,” he added.
In addition, Fritz would like to see the town provide residents, for free, a place to store wills. He explained that those who are interested in services like this can do it through Suffolk County, but the facility is located in Riverhead.
“There’s nothing inappropriate about having [the documents] stored in a reservoir in the Islip Town clerk’s office,” Fritz said, noting it is unlikely any other clerk’s office in the state provides these services. “It would make [our] clerk’s office unique.”