Message from Presiding Officer Robert Calarco
Welcome to the official website of the Suffolk County Legislature.
I am deeply honored to have been elected to serve as Presiding Officer. It is humbling to have the confidence of my colleagues, and I am proud to serve alongside truly engaged people who bring their best to governance. As legislators, we share the goal of safeguarding the quality of life you expect as residents and as taxpayers of one of our nation’s greatest places to live.
When I was first elected Presiding Officer in the beginning of 2020, I never could have imagined that a global health pandemic would upend the entire year. In just a week’s time, we completely changed our way of operating to accommodate safety guidelines and prioritized the needs of the public amidst the crisis. Our ability to put everything aside and act as one is a hallmark of how we in Suffolk County put our residents first and is one of the reasons I am so proud to be a part of this legislative body.
Despite the challenges presented in 2020, we as a body undertook work on the agenda before us. We passed numerous pieces of legislation on diversity and inclusion, open space and farmland preservation, and updates to the county’s wastewater code. We addressed budgetary challenges head on by dramatically reducing the county’s bonding and taking the responsible approach of allowing for a budget that acknowledges the changed economic landscape.
In 2021, we will continue our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, and with a vaccine now being distributed there is hope that the end of the pandemic is within reach. We will work with our federal and state partners to address our financial challenges, and we look forward to building out sewers in Patchogue, the Mastic Peninsula, Deer Park, Smithtown and Kings Park, which will help protect Suffolk County’s water and provide an economic boost to downtowns.
Important projects await Suffolk County in the coming year. The legislature’s special committee investigating the death of young Thomas Valva will continue its inquiry and offer recommendations to address any systemic issues that are identified, and our Fair Housing Task Force will present its report with suggestions for preventing housing discrimination. Additionally, the legislature will soon be presented with a plan to reinvent policing in Suffolk County as we continue efforts to build trust and confidence between our police and the communities they protect.
Our county is best served when we all – government, the public, and the private sector – work together. After a difficult 2020, I know we will come back stronger than ever, and I look forward to this opportunity to work in partnership with you. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.