On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Republican incumbent Donald X. Clavin Jr. will go up against Democratic challenger Wilton Robinson Jr. for the Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes seat. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Click here to find your polling station.
Candidates appear in alphabetical order.
Donald X. Clavin Jr.
- Hometown: Garden City
- Occupation: Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes
- Time in Office: 10 years (2001)
Clavin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Canisus College in Buffalo and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Hofstra University School of Law. He was a trial attorney practicing in all New York courts, as well as the United States Federal District Courts.
Prior to his work with the town, Clavin gained experience in local government while working in the Office of the Nassau County Attorney as deputy county attorney. In the county attorney's office, Clavin was responsible for defending various agencies of government ranging from the Department of General Services to the Nassau County Police Department. After leaving the county attorney's office, he entered the private sector and went on to defend various corporations ranging from Home Depot to General Motors.
In June of 1996, Robinson and his family moved from Brooklyn to Roosevelt. Shortly after moving to Roosevelt, he joined the Freeport/Roosevelt NAACP. A year later, Robinson became the political chairperson of the Freeport/Roosevelt NAACP.
In the 15 years that Robinson has been a resident of Roosevelt, he has become involved or participated in a wide range of organizations and community events. Below is a list of some to the organizations that Robinson has been a member of:
- Currently serving on the board of trustees at Roosevelt Public Library
- Board member, 100 Black Men (Long Island Chapter) — 100 Black Men is an organization that mentors young men.
- Member of HEVN “Help End Violence Now” organization in Roosevelt
- Member of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement) — An organization committed to fair and unbiased law enforcement policy and procedure.
- Member of the New York Civil Liberties Union (Nassau Chapter) — NYCLU is one of the nation’s foremost defenders of civil liberties and civil rights.
- Former Host of WGBB 1240 AM “ Gospel All Night Through the Morning” show and currently host a radio program on WHPC 90.3 FM on the Nassau Community College radio station.
- Active board member of Martin Luther King Center — Long Beach
- Board member Nassau Community College
Patch: Do you anticipate any challenges if elected or re-elected? If so, what challenges?
Clavin: Public service always involves challenges. Indeed, the test of the effectiveness of public officials rests in how they meet these challenges. I’ve focused my career on delivering the finest municipal services at the lowest possible cost. Accordingly, I am proud that our township is freezing all town taxes for 2012 while maintaining all services and programs in full force. Equally impressive is the manner in which we have achieved a budget that holds the line on taxes.
Wilton Robinson: One of the biggest challenges facing the office of receiver of taxes, according to many of the residents of the T.O.H that I spoke with, is a lack helpful information about their taxes and the tax system. The residents would like to be more informed about how they can decrease their taxes, and a clear understanding as to why their taxes are at the level they are.
They also would like for the receiver of taxes to be more of an advocate for the people -- someone who will help them understand where their tax dollars are going and why they are being used the way they are. The people want to know if their tax dollars are being used effectively and efficiently. The residents say that if they better understood how their taxes were being spent they would not be as angry about paying their taxes. They also want to know why some towns pay just as much taxes as other towns, but get less services and resources than other towns.
Being an advocate for the residents of the T.O.H in regards to their taxes, is one of the first things I would do if I am elected receiver of taxes for the T.O.H. Throughout my life, I have always worked hard for the masses; whereas my opponent has shown throughout his professional life that he is an advocate and defender for government abuse and big corporations. The T.O.H needs a tax receiver more than just a collector of taxes.
Patch: What major issues or concerns are you focusing your campaign on?
Clavin: The concerns on which my campaign is focused are no different than my governmental priorities. I believe that by doing a good job governmentally, you set the stage for positive results in elections. Some of the priorities that are on my agenda as the receiver of taxes include presenting tax forums that offer “how-to” information on lowering your property taxes and making it more convenient for residents to pay taxes. My tax forums furnish detailed instructions on challenging property tax assessments, as well as applying for property tax exemptions. My office is making it easier than ever to pay property taxes with online bill payments, Long Island’s only drive-thru tax payment windows, a mobile tax payment office that comes to residents’ neighborhoods, satellite tax payment offices and extended hours for tax payment.
Robinson: An audit of the office of receiver of taxes is one of the major issues that I will be dealing with if elected. I believe that an audit of the office is long overdue. The residents of the T.O.H deserve to have clear transparency in regards to their taxes and tax dollars. Another issue that would be of major concern would be to end the current practice of patronage jobs, and bloated bureaucracy at the office of receiver of taxes.
When I spoke with the residents of the T.O.H., I was asked how could I make it easier for them to pay their taxes, one of the request I received from many elderly and fixed income residents was a monthly payment plan or monthly escrow account. Most people who are on a fixed income would like to have a plan where they would be able to save money on a monthly basis to pay for their taxes when tax time comes around. I advise them that I would look into setting up some type of escrow or savings account for them. This plan would allow residents to put money aside each month or every two weeks to save for the twice a year tax payments. This escrow or savings account would be an interest bearing plan that would help offset some of their tax bill. This is something that I will also look into.
Patch: If elected or re-elected, what would be your goals for the town and how would you prioritize those goals?
Clavin: As I prepare to embark upon my next term as receiver of taxes, my priorities are a manifestation of my commitment to taxpayers. First, I will continue to focus on providing top-notch services at the lowest possible cost. This priority is at the core of the Murray Team’s 2012 tax-freeze budget. Second, I will expand my taxpayer seminar series, an essential tool in providing valuable information on complex property tax issues, while helping residents with new programs to lower their taxes (i.e., automated tax exemption analyses). Finally, I am committed to developing additional measures to make paying taxes more convenient. Those types of conveniences include online bill payment, drive-thru windows, remote tax collection locations and a mobile receiver of taxes office.
Robinson: My first goal, if elected, would be to conduct a complete audit of the office of receiver of taxes, in an effort to clean out the wasteful spending at the office of tax receiver. My second goal is to be a great advocate for the people. The people pay their taxes and put their trust in their elected officials to use the money fairly, efficiently and effectively. I will make sure this done. My third goal would be to govern the office of receiver of taxes with integrity, decency and fairness and with a commitment to serve the people of the T.O.H with honor.
(Editor's Note: Robinson's responses were added after the story was originally published.)