FARMINGDALE — Political newcomer Andy Vellani defeated incumbent Chairman Jim Grant for a seat on the town’s Board of Selectmen in Tuesday’s election.

Vellani received 155 votes, Grant got 66 and seven ballots were left blank, according to unofficial results. A total of 228 ballots were cast.

Vellani, who was sworn in at Wednesday’s board meeting, said he ran a more “extensive campaign” than Grant, which probably contributed to the large margin of victory.

“I put signs out, whereas Jim didn’t put signs out,” Vellani said. “I was up at the Little League Field talking to people out there and finding out what their concerns (are).”

Vellani said he would bring up some issues at Town Meeting “that may not be too popular.” He said his early focus will be studying town finances and addressing perceived problems with inconsistency in awarding contracts for town work.

“I just want to make sure the town’s money is spent responsibly and contracts are rewarded fairly and consistently,” he said. “We’re looking an increase in the (property tax) rate, so we want to do what we can to level that out or reduce in the future.”

Andrew Vellani

Grant, who served on the board for six years, said Wednesday he was disappointed to lose, but said not running an active campaign and rejecting requests from residents might have been a factor in his defeat.

“I think that played a part because I said ‘no’ a lot,” he added, referring to some roadwork requests he received from residents. “People do not like being told ‘no,’ and sometimes that’s what you have to tell them.”

Grant said he might run for a board seat again or serve on the Appeals Board. He said the town’s ordinance bars him from serving on a town committee for one year, but he might ask the Board of Selectmen to waive it for him, if possible.

“There are still some ideas I have that I will try to move forward as a private resident,” he said.

Town Clerk Rose Webster said Tuesday’s election — 228 ballot cast out of about 2,500 registered voters — had one of the lowest turnouts she has seen recently, mostly because there was no statewide question.

A $30 million fiscal year 2020 budget for Regional School Unit 2 was passed locally and districtwide. Farmingdale’s share will be $2,679,316, a $14,659 increase — or 0.55% — over the current fiscal year.

Linda Leet was re-elected in an uncontested race for a seat on RSU 2’s school board with 199 votes.

 

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