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Westbury Mayor, Village Justice Prioritizing Safety

Two leaders talk local issues with CP Civic Association

While Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro and Village Justice Thomas Liotti admittedly don’t agree on much, the two local leaders, who both live in Westbury, are making safety here in Carle Place and Westbury a point of no contention.

“It gets pretty hot between us sometimes,” explained Cavallaro, regularly cool and collected in his ways.

Liotti, who has served as village justice for 21 years, was the featured speaker at the Carle Place Civic Association’s March 21 meeting in the school library and Cavallaro was in attendance to update residents and answer questions.

“Preserve and protect the residential character of the community” was a promise former Westbury Mayor Ernie Strada had asked Liotti to keep upon assuming his post as village justice – and Liotti believes he’s upheld the accord over the last two decades.

Liotti has worked with Cavallaro to enforce village code and oversee local criminal laws, such as vehicle and traffic violations. There are nearly 15,500 documented residents living in the Incorporated Village of Westbury, said Liotti, but undocumented residents often tie into village affairs, such as illegal housing.

“We had one case where 25 people were living in a basement apartment and renting out beds, just beds, at $300 a week for an eight-hour shift,” Liotti recalled.

At the March 1 village board of trustees meeting, Cavallaro announced a proposed local law to increase fines for illegal housing violations repeat offenders and promote less plea-bargaining in the village court.

Also, Cavallaro regularly emails residents regarding ongoing and breaking news within the community, including a recent communication warning residents about a million dollar prize-claiming scam.

The Village of Westbury Clerk’s Office received calls from several out of state individuals stating they received a letter in the mail saying they could claim a million dollar prize if they sent $19.99 to a PO Box in Westbury. Cavallaro said he informed the 3rd Precinct and the Westbury postmaster of the scam and noted in the email that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

“We are blessed with a mayor who shoots out these emails all the time. He’s at every meeting. He’s everywhere. Peter Cavallaro is a great mayor – an example for anyone who wants to be involved in public service,” Liotti said.

The mayor highlighted another issue in an email blast, explaining his concern following a recent vehicular fatality on a section of Jericho Turnpike where the speed limit is 55 miles per hour, as opposed to the 30 or 40 miles per hour limit on Jericho Turnpike in most other residential areas. The email to residents came after Cavallaro had written to Senator Jack Martins, Assemblymen Charles Lavine, Michael Montesano and Tom McKevitt regarding the issue.

“I asked for consideration of the placement of a traffic signal or additional signage or pavement markings at that location, and elsewhere in the stretch of roadway bordering on the village,” Cavallaro wrote in the email.

Liotti and Cavallaro have also taken measures to make themselves available to the public and ensure they know how their tax dollars are spent. Cavallaro regularly hosts meet the mayor sessions with village residents while Liotti issues a welcome letter for anyone appearing in the village court and has also authored an informative pamphlet for pro se defendants (those who wish to represent themselves without an attorney).

The next village board of trustees meeting is April 5 at Village Hall. For more information on what’s happening around the village, visit www.villageofwestbury.org or call 333-1869.