Steven Bellone was sworn into office as Suffolk County Executive on January 1, 2012. He is the 8th County Executive in County history. He previously served as Babylon Town Supervisor from 2001-2011.
County Executive Bellone, who represents more than 1.5 million residents, has focused his efforts on saving taxpayer dollars through Government Reform, boosting Economic Development to create local and lasting Suffolk County jobs, improving Long Island’s Water Quality to protect the region’s water supply, and enhancing the Quality of Life of Suffolk residents by improving public safety and investing in County parks and roads.
Government Reform efforts to consolidate and streamline operations have been a central priority to County Executive Bellone. He inherited a $500 million dollar deficit, and has since reduced the size of County Government more than any prior County Executive by over 10% — saving taxpayers more than $100 million a year.
Under his plan to consolidate services and save taxpayers additional dollars, Bellone has proposed to merge the offices of the County Comptroller and County Treasurer, which will eliminate duplicative services and patronage positions that will result in more than a million dollars a year in savings. Bellone saved taxpayers an additional $25 million per year after overhauling government health services and privatizing previously-run County health centers. Under County Executive Bellone’s leadership, new County employees are now paying into health care for the first time in County history. In addition, Bellone has frozen general fund property taxes and kept all taxes below the property tax cap.
Previously as Town Supervisor, Bellone trimmed the government workforce while maintaining the same high-level government services. He reduced the town’s debt every year, while delivering a $4.3 million dollar tax cut to residents.
County Executive Bellone’s Economic Development plan has focused on building innovation economies throughout Suffolk County to attract highly-skilled and knowledgeable workers, and to keep young professionals on Long Island. His Connect Long Island vision aims to invest in an upgraded rapid transportation system that will conveniently connect universities, research centers, downtowns, and parks. The plan is designed to strengthen local businesses by expanding natural customer bases and develop the necessary infrastructure to provide residents with north – south transportation options. Bellone’s signature downtown revitalization efforts include transit-oriented developments such as Wyandanch Rising, Ronkonkoma Hub, Heartland project and the East End Transportation plan.
As Babylon Town Supervisor, Bellone launched Wyandanch Rising in 2002, a comprehensive, community-based revitalization plan that redevelops the area surrounding the Wyandanch Train Station into a walkable, pedestrian-friendly, vibrant downtown. Bellone has continued to lead visioning efforts as County Executive. Upon completion, Wyandanch Rising will include a mixed-use neighborhood with affordable housing, retail and office space, public plazas, restaurants, community center and gallery space. As a result of these revitalization efforts, Wyandanch Rising was recently selected to be the future home of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
County Executive Bellone has made improving Long Island’s Water Quality one of his administration’s highest priorities and introduced the Reclaim Our Water initiative. Failing and unmaintained septic systems and cesspools have created an excess amount of nitrogen pollution in the region’s water supply, becoming a serious threat to Long Island’s water quality, coastal vegetation, wildlife, quality of life; and has already decimated the once iconic shellfish industry.
Bellone has worked extensively with state and federal officials to secure a historic investment of more than $380 million to help reduce excess nitrogen pollution, invest in waste water infrastructure and help to protect coastal vegetation and marshlands, which act as the final buffers against storms such as Superstorm Sandy. The County has identified 360,000 unsewered homes that contribute to nearly 70% of the nitrogen pollution load. Bellone’s initiative identifies sewering, upgrading current waste-water infrastructure, and installing advanced on-site waste water treatment systems in areas through Suffolk County.
Water quality experts and industry leaders believe this initiative will significantly reduce nitrogen pollution, helping to rebuild coastal vegetation, increase property values and improve Long Island’s water quality.
Quality of Life issues have been a major focus of Bellone’s career. As County Executive, Bellone has implemented an intelligence-led policing model, which has resulted in a 17% decline in countywide crime in his first two years in office. In 2013, Bellone passed the nation’s toughest monitoring and enforcement law to end the clustering of sex offenders. As Babylon Supervisor, he targeted serial code offenders and slumlords by creating the Quality of Life Taskforce and naming a special prosecutor for quality of life cases.
As an Army veteran, Bellone is committed to supporting and enhancing veteran service programs throughout the County. Bellone announced that all funds raised from the 2015 Suffolk County’s inaugural marathon will support local veteran organizations. In addition, County Executive Bellone ran the 2014 New York City marathon in conjunction with the Hope for the Warriors foundation. In Babylon, Bellone raised nearly half a million dollars for wounded soldiers by sponsoring annual Soldier Rides with the Wounded Warrior Project and Run for the Warriors.
County Executive Bellone led a comprehensive emergency response plan to coordinate disaster relief efforts, including region-wide collaboration with local, state and federal officials during Superstorm Sandy.
In 2006, Babylon was the first Town on Long Island to adopt Energy Star standards for new home construction, saving residents money on their energy bills. Later that same year, Babylon adopted the most comprehensive green building code in the nation. In 2008, Bellone created the first property assessed clean energy (PACE) efficiency program in the country, Long Island Green Homes.
Bellone is a graduate of North Babylon High School and he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Queens College in 1991. Enlisting in the US Army in 1992, County Executive Bellone served as a communications specialist stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During his service in the Army, he was awarded commendations for meritorious service and earned a master’s degree in Public Administration by attending night classes at Webster University. Bellone earned his Law degree from Fordham University and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1999.
County Executive Bellone resides in West Babylon with his wife, Tracey, their two daughters, Katherine Ann and Mollie Elizabeth, and his son, Michael.