Susan A. Berland was first elected to the Huntington Town Board in 2001 and re-elected to full four-year terms in 2003, 2007 and 2011. She is a widely known and well-respected Huntington civic leader and attorney. She is a past Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of House Beautiful at Dix Hills, one of the leading civic associations in the Town of Huntington, and a former President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Huntington Recreation Association. She is a member of the Board of Directors of International Dyslexia Association of Long Island and has served as Honorary Co-Chair of Suffolk County Toys for Tots.
For six years, Susan served as a New York State Assistant Attorney General, prosecuting parole violators and representing the people of the State in a variety of litigations. Subsequently, she held the position of Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Huntington, heading up a campaign to eradicate illegal and dangerous multiple dwellings and working with both Republican and Democratic administrations to prosecute criminal violations of the Town Code. She has been deeply involved in environmental efforts – working to protect open space and fragile aquifers, to avert over development, to assist frustrated homeowners in the control of rapidly spreading bamboo, to reduce traffic congestion – and in countless educational, cultural and religious endeavors throughout the Town.
As the Town’s first full-time Council member, Susan’s door is always open. Susan has been an untiring advocate for fully open and accountable government, bringing long-needed reforms to the Zoning and Planning Boards and leading the successful effort to televise all board meetings and make them available online. Under Susan’s leadership, the Town of Huntington has continued to provide the quality of life taxpayers deserve, while holding the line on taxes, strengthening our local tax base and protecting the Town’s solid bond rating – the best on Long Island. Susan actively protects Huntington’s environment and dwindling open space and is responsible for the Town’s ban on toxic wood-burning devices and promotes the Town’s “Dark Skies” outdoor lighting standards, volunteer-staffed “Keep Huntington Beautiful” days at our beaches and the Town’s “Historic Cemetery Steward” program. Under her leadership, hundreds of acres at over 30 sites have been saved from development and preserved for generations to come, and our parks and ball fields have been upgraded.
Susan has continually fought to ensure a high quality of life for Huntington’s residents. She has recently sponsored legislation to place limitations on bamboo in response to constituent complaints about its intrusiveness. Susan spearheaded the first “anti-blight” legislation in the Town, which assigns a point system to various types of blights, fines the property owner if blight is not removed and places the property owner on a public “blight registry” until the property is clean and code compliant. On the Town Board, Susan has led the battle against illegal housing, continually revising and strengthening the Town Code to aid in its enforcement, and she is working closely with the Department of Public Safety and the Suffolk County Police Department to ensure a presence that deters crime, promptly detects wrongdoers and protects law-abiding citizens. Susan teamed with the Huntington Station B.I.D. in the Town's first graffiti removal program, both of which are well-established anti-crime measures.
Susan recognizes how important seniors, military service personnel, veterans and first responders are to the Huntington community and has led the expansion and improvement of our Senior Day Care Center, continued the Residential Repair Program for the elderly and secured grants for SeniorNet. Susan’s “ARMS” legislation –"Americans Reactivated for Military Service" – assures that Town employees activated for military service do not suffer economic hardship from serving our country. Susan works hard to provide programs and resources to Huntington’s youngest residents. Susan’s Huntington Youth Council brings students from each of the Town’s high schools together to develop a sense of community and responsibility. Under Susan’s leadership, numerous self-funded athletic, educational and cultural programs have been developed and expanded. Susan’s annual publication of the Volunteer Resource Guide gives residents the ins and outs on volunteering in the Town.
Susan is a graduate of the Hofstra University School of Law and of the State University of New York at Albany, where she served as a New York State Senate aide. She lives in Dix Hills with her husband and four children.
Maintaining a top bond rating for the Town of Huntington
Councilwoman Berland has been instrumental in the maintenance of the Town of Huntington's AAA bond rating, which was decided upon by three different Wall Street firms. The Town of Huntington recently sold $9.88 millions in bonds at a favorable rate of 2.82 precent.
Increasing Government Transparency By Televising Public Town Meetings
· Spearheaded the initiative to televise Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings for both Cablevision and Verizon subscribers in addition to making all recorded meetings available on the Town of Huntington website homepage (http://www.huntingtonny.gov).
The ZBA working for Huntington
· Delivered on her powerful campaign promise to make the Zoning Board of Appeals more accessible to residents. Passed sweeping legislation that not only required all meetings to be open to the public, requiring the ZBA to be open, more accountable government agency.
· Sponsored legislation to require more stringent training and education requirements for members of the Board of Assessment Review, ZBA and Planning Board.
First to Take Strong Stance Against Creation of T.O.D. in Huntington Station
· Councilwoman Berland was the first member of the Huntington Town Board to publicly denounce the creation of a Transit-Oriented District (T.O.D.) in Huntington Station.
Spearheaded the initiative to build the newly renovated state-of-the-art ice rink
· With the help of the Department of Parks and Recreation, Councilwoman Berland has spearheaded the building of a desperately needed second skating rink at Dix Hills Park. The addition of another rink will increase the amount of ice time that is available for our hockey leagues and recreational skaters in Huntington and will generate additional revenue for the Town.
Safety and Security Issues
Holding Landlords Accountable for Potential Code Violations
· Passed sweeping legislation permitting inspections of the common areas of properties that contain multiple dwellings, ensuring the safety of the residents and holding landlords accountable for possible code violations.
Working to eliminate blight within communities
· Spearheaded the first "Anti-Blight" legislation in the Town, which assigns a point system to various types of blights, fines the property owner if the blight is not removed and places the property owner on a public "blight registry" until the property clean and code compliant.
Established the Town's first sustainable graffiti-removal program.
· To supplement Councilwoman Berland's fight against blight, she has joined with the Huntington Station Business Improvement District to create the Town's first voluntary graffiti removal program.
Keeping Huntington Drivers and their Passengers safe in times of Emergency
· Along with the Division of Handicapped Services, Councilwoman Berland reated the "Red Dot Program", a townwide initiative that will give emergency personnel immediate access to information regarding medication or illnesses if the person being treated is unable to communicate. Residents are asked to fill out a "Red Dot Health Information" pamphlet, which comes complete with a red dot decal. The pamphlet is placed in the glove compartment of a vehicle and the decal is placed on the read passenger window of the vehicle.
· Councilwoman Berland instituted a "Catch and Release" program in the Town of Huntington through our Department of Public Safety's Division of Animal Control. This program allows the Division of Animal Control to set traps in areas known to have feral cat populations. The cats are safely trapped and transported to a local veterinarian where they are spayed/neutered, given a rabies as well as a feline leukemia vaccination and returned to the location from where they were trapped. This program is an effective and humane initiative that controls the feral cat populations in the Town and protects our public health.
· The Councilwoman sponsored a resolution creating a progressive fine schedule for those who continue to park in commuter spaces in the Town of Huntington without a commuter parking pass. This resolution is an excellent tool to deter repeat offenders from parking in spaces at the train station that Huntington commuters so desperately need.
· Sponsored legislation that approved the Service Award Program Certification for many volunteer ambulance corps throughout the Town of Huntington.
· Continually supports funding for the Town's Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
· Sponsored legislation that provided healthier food for animals, known as Science Diet Pet Food, to the Huntington Animal Shelter.
· Co-sponsored legislation that altered the terms of the Home Share Program for Huntington residents to pair up those who cannot afford housing with those who own housing.
· Sponsored legislation to change parking patterns in front of Birchwood Elementary School so students and parents walking to school have a wider area in which to walk to safely get to school.
Advocating for our Disabled Residents
· Fought tirelessly to make sure that handicapped parking spaces remain open for only those with handicapped permits. Thanks to legislation increasing fines for violations, the Town has moved one step closer to ensuring that handicapped parking zones remain accessible to those who are physically challenged.
· Spearheaded the administration and growth of the handicapped parking program by not only appointing volunteers to enforce the handicapped parking laws for the Town of Huntington but also revising the law issuing handicapped parking permits.
· Passed legislation that sent a swift message to those attempting to alter or create handicapped parking permits for personal gain: DO IT AND YOU'LL NOW BE FINED $500 PLUS BE ISSUED WITH AN AUTOMATIC REVOCATION OF YOUR PERMIT.
· Sponsored legislation to implement much-needed programs such as training seminars, usage and distribution of smoke detectors and thermometers and computer installation within our Division of Handicapped Services.
· Co-sponsored legislation that ensured the survival of the Summer Recreation Program for the Developmentally Disabled, a program run through the Town in conjunction with the New York State Office of Mental Retardation.
· Supports the ADSC through the County of Suffolk as well as Guildnet, the The Jewish Guild for the Blind.
· Co-sponsored legislation giving funding to the 2008 Access to the Home Fund from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation for accessibility improvements for eligible Huntington residents.
Lead the initiative to Construct State-of-the-Art Adult Day Care Center
· Worked tirelessly to push for upgrades at the Town of Huntington Senior Center, which has been transformed into a larger, more functional and safer environment that now accommodated 35 participants daily. Three handicapped bathrooms have been stalled as well as a handicap shower that include a changing area. The office, kitchen and dining space has been enlarged as well. Councilwoman Berland also advocated for unique sensory and relaxation equipment as well as an independent/small group activity room. In addition, a new entrance foyer, two offices and a separate storage area for arts and crafts, games and day-to-day supplies were added to the center.
Taking a Stand for our Senior Citizens
· Sponsored legislation to continue the Residential Repair Program for the elderly of Huntington. This program provides small household repairs for seniors who are not able to manage such repairs themselves.
· Co-sponsored legislation that renewed a Townwide commitment to the services of the successfully operated Nutrition Program for our seniors citizens.
· Sponsored legislation to secure a $10,000 grant for SeniorNet, based out of the Family Service League, an organization that teaches over 4,000 Huntington-area residents aged 50+ computer skills.
· Has made health food more affordable and easily accessible for senior citizens by sponsoring legislation that gave funding for nutrition services for senior citizens.
· Co-sponsored legislation that created meeting places for senior citizens.
Supporting Town employees who are reservists serving their country
· Passed monumental legislation to support town employees who are called to active duty. "Americans Reactivated for Military Service"- "ARMS" resolution will extend the benefits provided for Town of Huntington employees who are also reservists. "ARMS" guarantees that the Town of Huntington will supplement military compensation for its employees who are called to active duty and away from their full-time jobs so no pay loss will be suffered by their families. Councilwoman Berland reinstated the benefits of the A.R.M.S. in January of 2010 upon hearing that a Town of Huntington employee was to be deployed overseas by the United States military.
Supporting veterans and those who are currently serving our country
· Teamed up with premier sponsor Telephonics Corporation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency and the Town of Huntington Veterans Advisory Board to create a memorial headstone marker available to any veteran buried in a Town of Huntington cemetery. The memorial headstone marker features a gold plate with the words "This Memorial is in Recognition of Honored Service" The marker can be placed adjacent to the headstone and is free of charge to any resident who completes the application and provides a copy of service documentation. The application can be found on the Town of Huntington website at http://www.huntingtonny.gov in the online library section under Citizen Services.
· Preserves the legacy of Huntington's historic soliders by publishing the annual pamphlet "Huntington's War Heroes: A Guide to our Town's Historic Veterans." The booklet features articles on five veterans that have left a lasting legacy in our Town: Peter MacDonald Campbell, Hewlett J. Long, Jacobus Nostrand, Jacob Conklin Walters and John Woolsey. The Guide also contains a list of veterans from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War who are buried within the Town of Huntington. Also included is a list of all historic cemeteries located within the Town: the name and location of each cemetery, the years in which it was active and the number of residents buried there. 'Huntington's War Heroes" also includes both an application to include a veteran buried in the Town of Huntington in future editions of the Guide and an application to receive the Town of Huntington Memorial Headstone Marker.
· Strongly supports the construction of a new Veteran's Community Center in Northport to replace the outdated, 50 year old current facility.
· Co-sponsored legislation to establish the Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption, to financially assist Huntington's veterans, both combat and non-combat.
Led the Charge to Ban the Use of Toxic Woodburning Devices in the Town
· Councilwoman Berland led the charge to ban outdoor woodburning devices in the Town of Huntington, which became effective on Janruary 1, 2010. These devices, which are known to produce highly toxic and carcinogenic particles, will not longer be permitted for use. Praised by many environmental and health organizations such as the NYS Lung Association, the Neighborhood Network and the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, this legislation ensures the safety and public health of residents while keeping our air clean. Councilwoman Berland also authored "A Guide to Woodburning", a pamphlet that outlines the Huntington Town Code as it pertains to wood burning devices and provides helpful tips on how to burn in a safe and clean manner.
Striving to Protect our Community's Environment
· Councilwoman Berland authored the Dark Skies legislation passed in 2005- this hallmark legislation outlines appropriate outdoor lights and their uses to limit the amount of light pollution in the sky and to limit the amount of energy used to light properties. A pamphlet design competition was held for elementary school students in the Town of Huntington.
· Councilwoman Berland in order to protect the health and safety of the residents in Huntington has participated and spoken out against the Intermodal Facility being proposed for the Pilgrim State Hospital grounds in Brentwood. She also participated in two rallies sponsored by The Four Towns Civic Association and The Friends of the Edgewood Preserve, which she attended along with over 650 residents in the Dix Hills, Deer Park and Brentwood community. She and Supervisor Petrone crafted a letter to Gov. Spitzer that was signed by the Supervisor and the entire Town Board voicing opposition to the project. The letter also stated an immediate need for an ancillary roadway parallel to the Sagtikos Pky to relieve the current and prospective traffic on Commack Road.
· Has sponsored and supported several of the acquisitions and park enhancements the Town of making through its Environmental Open Space and Parks Improvement Bond Act. She is committed to ensuring that the Town continues to acquire additional open space. To date, the Town has closed on 239 acres at 30 significant projects.
· Has been an avid advocate of finding alternatives to pesticide use and has wholeheartedly supported "I am Fed Naturally" lawn flag and sponsoring annual Earth Day Environmental Fair.
· Co-sponsored a seminar entitled "Preventing Our Children from Environmental Toxins" with the Department of Human Services Women's Division, the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
· She wholeheartedly supported Town funding of a marine research and education facility at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport and strongly supported and continues to encourage a Town program that provides bilge stocks to boaters in a further effort to keep harbors clean.
· Co-sponsored legislation that gave financial assistance from the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition through the U.S. Department of Energy Association Rocovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
· Co-sponsored legislation to bring more Energy Star appliances into the homes of residents in the Town of Huntington.
· Sponsored legislation that regulated the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the coastal areas of the Town of Huntington.
· Co-sponsored legislation that restored wildlife along the coast of Huntington, which enhanced the number of shellfish along the waterfront of the Town of Huntington.
· Sponsored legislation that extended funding for the services of chemical hauling and disposal for the Town of Huntington Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Storage Facility.
· Co-sponsored legislation for the collection, transportation and disposal of residential waste and recyclables for the Town of Huntington.
· Co-sponsored legislation to apply for and receive funding from the U.S. E.P.A.'s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program.
· Co-sponsored legislation to apply for and receive funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for a pilot Clean Fleet Electric Projecy for an electric vehicle charging unit at the Huntington Train Station.
Knowing that our Youth are our Future
· Councilwoman Berland along with the help of the Department of Parks and Recreation, understanding the needs of children with developmental disabilities, has helped initiate the "Horseability Program".
Recognizing the need to support our schools and children, she sponsored legislation to organize after-school programs such as Natural Helpers and Homework Help within our school districts.
· Promotes her dedication to youth sports and fitness by co-sponsoring a youth instructional lacrosse program and summer youth instructional sailing program. The two programs are available through the Town's Parks and Recreation Department and open to all.
Regularly invites local summer camps, schools and scouting troops in the Town of Huntington to participate in mock town board meetings, and holds discussions regarding the different facets of the Town's many departments.
Has sponsored legislation for funding through the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities for creating summer recreation program as well as a Young teen Program.
Co-Sponsored legislation to authorize Dix Hills Golf Course for Special Olympics, for the LI region as well as legislation in support of the Northport comprehensive Youth Plan.
· Sponsored legislation to authorize agreements with Suffolk County Youth Bureau for various programs essential to the youth of Huntington.
· Sponsored legislation that provided numerous youth services through the Suffolk County Youth Bureau's Comprehensive Youth Service Plan for 2008.
Founded the Huntington Youth Council
· Established the Huntington Youth Council in 2003. The Huntington Youth Council is comprised of exceptional high school students from ten high schools located within the Town of Huntington. They meet several times a month to discuss the issues that affect the youth of the community and plan events that engage their peers in local issues. Under the leadership of Councilwoman Berland, the Huntington Youth Council has raised thousands of dollars for local non-for-profit organizations by organizing innovative fundraisers. They have organized the follow events throughout the years:
· The Summer Youth Fest - The Huntington Youth Council organized a "battle of the bands" fundraiser at the Harry Chapin Stage in Heckscher Park that featured vendors from local not-for-profits in the Town of Huntington. The event raised money for the Huntington Arts Council.
· The "What's on your Plate" Hunger Banquet - The Huntington Youth Council organized an innovative and interactive banquet in the gymnasium of Huntington High School which educated students on the issue of hunger on both an international and local level. The event featured guest speakers from local not-for-profit organizations such as the Interfaith Nutritional Network, Island Harvest and the Family Service League.
· The "Shoot for the Future" Basketball Tournament - The Huntington Youth Council raised over $600 for the Family Service League's Lockwood Pre-School Program by holding a three-on-three basketball tournament at Half Hollow Hills High School East. The money raised purchased the tables and the chairs for the new location of the pre-school at St. Hugh of Lincoln Church.
· The "Town Throw Down" - The Huntington Youth Council sponsored a day of sports events at Park Shore Day Camp to raise money for the Dolan Family Health Center. High Schools in the Town of Huntington compiled teams that competed against one another in a variety of athletic events such as soccer, basketball, European handball, tug-of-war, pie-eating and more. The event has raised over $3,000 for the Dolan Family Health Center. The money raised purchased vaccinations for children in the Town of Huntington and allowed the Dolan Family Health Center to expand their pre-natal care unit.
· The "Youth Forum" - The Huntington Youth Council has coordinated the Town of Huntington "Youth Forum" - a Town Hall meeting held by high school students for high school students. Held in the same fashion as a Town Board meeting, the Huntington Youth Council compiled the agenda on issues that are important to the youth of the community, such as recycling and affordable housing for young people.
Co-sponsors the annual Hunting-Tony Awards
Councilwoman Berland co-sponsors the annual Hunting-Tony Awards held at Northport Village's John W. Engeman Theater. The Hunting-Tony Awards honors students who participate in high school performing arts programs and features twenty-four categories that recognized acting, singing, choreography, stage crew and design, orchestra pits, costumes and playbill design. A panel of volunteer judges attends the play and musical productions performed by all nine public high schools within the Town of Huntington and determins the winners by using a standard judging rubric.
Building the Town of Huntington Anne Frank Memorial Garden
· Councilwoman Berland spearheaded the initiative to establish the Anne Frank Memorial Garden at Arboretum Park Melville. The Garden, designed by local landscape architect Steven Dubner, depicts Anne Frank's strength and perseverance as she strived to overcome severe adversity during the Holocaust. The Garden will bring visitors on a metaphorical journey through the life of Anne Frank and will commemorate events such as "Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass" and Anne Frank's time in hiding. The Anne Frank Memorial Garden unveiled in June of 2010 and is open free of charge to the public during normal park hours (sunrise to sunset).
Keeping Huntington Beautiful
· Has continued citizen service projects as part of her "Keep Huntington Beautiful" days. She leads annual community cleanups in areas including downtown Huntington Village, the historic Ezra Carll House, Gold Star Battalion Beach, the Old Historic Burial Ground, Middleville Cemetery, Manor Farm, Centerport Beach, and Crab Meadow Beach.
· Frequently sponsors legislation to issue Certificates of Approval to historic districts throughout the Town of Huntington to maintain the historic integrity of our town.
· Spearheaded legislation that restored the Colonial Arsenal in Huntington Village and the Old Burial Ground.
· Advocated the annual Art in the Park Fine Art and Crafts Festival by sponsoring legislation allowing the Art League of Long Island to use Hecksher Park for the grand event. Also permitted local artists to display public art installations in Hecksher Park.
· Sponsored legislation that approved the 2009 Public Art Plan and accepted many displays of public art, as well as supported the development, fabrication, and installation of many artistic exhibits.
· Sponsored legislation that appointed volunteer park and garden stewards.
· Spearheaded several sophisticated community enhancement projects with the EOSPA committee, including the renovation of the entrance to the "Village on the Hill" community in Dix Hills and the beautification of the wetland pond and its surrounding environments in Loft Estates.
· Led the Town of Huntington's efforts to beautify and restore the historically significant Middleville Cemetery on Middleville Road in Fort Salonga. The Middleville Cemetery Restoration Project was completed in collaboration with the Town of Huntington and the McGill University Alumni Association, the Fort Salonga Civic Association and the Northport Historical Society. Councilwoman Berland appropriated funds to build a new and secure fence around the perimeter of the historical property and organized community clean-ups for the cemetery.
Established the Town of Huntington Historic Cemetery Stewards Program
Councilwoman Berland created the Town of Huntington's Historic Cemetery Stewards Program, in which volunteers are asked to visit and evaluate a historic cemetery within the Town. Cemetery stewards are asked to submit 2 biannual status reports, one in April and one in October, on the condition of the cemetery. This program allows volunteers to play an active role in the preservations of these historic properties and gives the Town of Huntington important information on how to keep them properly maintained. Registration for the Town of Huntington's historic cemetery stewards program can be done online on the Town's website at http://www.huntingtonny.gov.
Protecting the Welfare of those Who Donate to Charities
· Spearheaded a new law that requires owners of clothes drop-off bins to register through the Town. The new law, which has received community and local business praise alike, ensures that residents looking to donate to charity and make a difference in the lives of others are not taken advantage of.
· Was Instrumental in assisting the Sheryl Steinberg Collins Foundation, which was established when Steinberg Collins, a long-time resident of the Town passed away in September of 2005. The Foundation, with the help of Councilwoman Berland, erected a new playground in Hecksher Park.
· Publishes the annual Volunteer Resource Guide, which is a compilation of volunteer opportunities offered by various organizations within the Town, and will provide students and adults alike with a convenient way to choose how they can provide community service. The Premier Edition of the Town of Huntington Volunteer Resource Guide was available as of September 2006 in high schools, libraries and other locations within the Town. Please feel free to call 351-3173 if you would like a copy mailed to you directly.
Supporter of Our Water and Boating Community
· Sponsored legislation urging the NYS Legislature to mandate boater safety courses before issuing boating licenses.
· Sponsored legislation that executed an agreement with the Sagamore Rowing Association to allow the organization to temporarily store their equipment and boats at Huntington Bay's Fleets Cove Beach. This legislation allows the rowing association to continue their rowing and sculling programs for both youths and adults as renovations on the Coindre Hall Boathouse are underway.
Recreation and Sports
· Sponsored legislation to provide Youth and Adult Rowing Programs at Coindre Hall.
· Co-sponsored legislation giving sports organizations permission to use town facilities.
· Co-sponsored legislation that allowed for the installation of aluminum bleachers for assorted sports fields throughout the Town.
· Sponsored legislation that provides bus service to many recreation programs across the Town of Huntington.
· Sponsored legislation for Spring, Summer, and Autumn storage at town marinas.
· Has urged both the County of Nassau and the Hempstead Town Board to support the Lighthouse Project.