Vanessa Tamari elected as Great Neck Park District commissioner

Robert Pelaez
Vanessa Tamari was elected as a Great Neck Park District Commissioner on Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Ruzz)

Vanessa Tamari won Tuesday’s election for Great Neck Park District commissioner.

Tamari received 1,803 votes, nearly 700 more than second-place finisher Dorothy Feng, who received 1,121 votes. The three other candidates failed to receive more than 300 votes, with Grace McGirr receiving 281 votes, Victoria Goodman receiving 110 and Gary Aquilone receiving 61.

Tamari, a park district resident for more than 25 years, has been a volunteer throughout the community, serving as co-president of the Great Neck North Middle School PTO from 2019-21 and as a parent representative on the school district’s Shared Decision Making Committee. She, her husband and two sons, she said, are active members of the park district.

Tamari said she has also managed a real estate investment portfolio with properties on the east and west coasts. She touted her ability to maintain budgetary and financial records that would also be an asset to the district.

A lawyer with more than a decade of experience practicing insurance defense, she said her legal background will serve the residents of the park district in an effective manner.

“Through my work with these cases, I have learned the importance of preventative maintenance of grounds and facilities and conducting frequent inspections to ensure repairs are done to avoid accidents and injury,” she said in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset.

Tamari will begin serving a three-year term in January, replacing longtime Commissioner Robert Lincoln, who announced earlier this year he would not run for re-election.

Great Neck Water Pollution Control District Commissioner Steve Reiter was re-elected to his role in the organization in an uncontested race, receiving 198 votes.

“I want to thank everyone who helped, supported, and took the time to vote for me,” Reiter said in a statement to Blank Slate Media. “I promised to continue working hard alongside my co-commissioners and staff to keep the District a model of economic and environmental sustainability. Thank you all for placing your faith in me once again.”

Reiter, a Great Neck resident for more than four decades, said helping secure $12 million in grant funding for various upgrades to district facilities is one of the things he is most proud of during his eight years as commissioner. The funding, he said, allowed the district to create the county’s first grease-receiving station, conduct upgrades to its sewage treatment facilities and add a third microturbine.

“You do these additions and they go a long way in ensuring that the facility will remain in the forefront of wastewater treatment technology for years to come,” Reiter said in an  earlier interview with Blank Slate Media. “We’re protecting the environment through sustainable practices, so it confirms our commitment to supplying, I think, the best possible service at the lowest possible cost to our taxpayers.”

Earlier this year, the district was awarded a $150,000 grant to conduct a sewer feasibility study that could incorporate homes in the Village of Great Neck Estates and Harbor Hills into its collection system. Reiter said the results from the study have not come back yet but if they are positive, the district will apply for more grants to conduct that incorporation process. Reiter said people with failing septic systems have reached out to the district, asking if they can be incorporated into its system.

“As opposed to replacing a septic system, which we know is not the optimal way of getting rid of nitrogen, I think it would be in everybody’s interest to see whether or not we could accomplish doing that,” he said.

Reiter touted the work of other commissioners and the district’s staff over the years, emphasizing all of its achievements are a result of the entire team. Reiter said he wants the public to know he is committed to ensuring all of the ongoing and future projects undertaken by the district will be accomplished.

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