Economic development is essential to the vitality of our community. By enhancing the value of commercial properties in our village, we create new amenities for village residents (such as the diverse group of businesses that have moved to our community in the last 5 years) and help lift the tax burden on homeowners by broadening our tax base.
The most important initiative in this area has been Harmon Rezoning, which has allowed for mixed use development in the commercial section of Harmon. Harmon Rezoning was vigorously resisted by the political opposition, culminating in an unsuccessful, frivolous lawsuit against the Village. Already, new investments are being made in this section of our village and blighted and decaying building are being replaced.
We have worked diligently during the long slow economic recovery to make sure that our Village has stayed financially sound by making thoughtful choices to reduce our costs, while still keeping a tight rein on taxes. We pledge to continue that practice.
We will continue our thoughtful and truly conservative approach to taxes and expenses that has kept our tax bills as low as possible. Under our administration, in the past 7 years, Village taxes have barely risen – an average of only 1.35%, which is far less than any of our Westchester neighbors. By contrast, the Croton Republicans backed the previous administration that oversaw an average 7.37% yearly tax increase during the four years they were leading.
And we have maintained and even expanded Village services and infrastructure while insuring we get the most or our money. Just one example of this forward-looking leadership is that we secured $1.7 million in federal and county funds that cut the cost to the Village of the Croton Point Ave. project by nearly two-thirds. We pledge to continue to think ahead, to plan creatively and look for those kinds of opportunities so that we all get the most for our tax dollars.
Investing In Infrastructure
Croton Point Ave.
We felt strongly that the Village has done the right thing in adopting and executing the plan to improve Croton Point Ave. We have led the way through the years of study, research, planning and fiscal due diligence that have gone into this decision.
The Village has secured funds from the federal and county governments totaling $1.7 million. Between 61-68% of the total estimated cost of the project will be covered by that money. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this vital work done for around 1/3 of what it would otherwise cost the Village.
The current conditions on CPA are unsafe for cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bike riders.* Without a sidewalk on both sides of the street, no traffic controls at either entrance/exit from Route 9, and only sporadic control over the turns in and out of the station, every day presents real safety hazards.
It would be irresponsible and extremely shortsighted not to move ahead as quickly as possible with these improvements.
*FYI – The new bike lanes will cost just 4/10ths of a cent out of every dollar spent.
Better, Cleaner Water
We support the Village’s on-going infrastructure project to provide better, safer drinking water to the residents. The Village has been replacing pipes as quickly and safely as possible, and will continue to until the system is fully modernized.
Some residents have expressed concerns about certain additives that may have to be put in the Village water supply. The county requires that additives be used to prevent corrosion. We are convinced that the Village has done its due diligence in researching and selecting the most effective, safest substances available. If and when this happens, the treatment will extend the useful life of the system.
Protecting Our Environment
The Croton Democrats support the Village’s continued participation in Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit consortium of local governments that work together to reduce energy costs and promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Recently, Sustainable Westchester partnered with the Village for the Solarize Croton-Cortlandt Campaign, a unique discount buying program that uses a tiered-pricing structure, town-supported education and outreach and one competitively selected installer to dramatically reduce the cost of solar. Ongoing and upcoming Sustainable Westchester projects include:
- Community Choice Aggregation: “Community Choice Aggregation is a municipal or countywide energy procurement model that enables communities to put out for bid the total demand for electricity and natural gas of participating homes and small businesses and purchase energy on their behalf. Aggregating consumers on a large scale creates the market clout necessary to negotiate lower rates with private suppliers. CCA is currently available in six states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. New York will be the seventh. Over five million customers nationwide are served by a CCA program. Most programs have grown steadily and shown customers consistent savings. Sustainable Westchester has been authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to implement the first CCA program in the state in Westchester County.”
- The Municipal Buyers Group: a partnership to install over 15 megawatts of solar photovoltaic generation capacity on facilities owned by local governments in Westchester County.
Protecting Open Space
The Croton Democrats are committed to preserving our Village’s open space and creating an improving opportunities for the public to enjoy the natural beauty of our community. The latest development is the acquisition of Gouevia Park, a 15 acre estate with a river view donate to the Village by the late John and Laurel Gouevia, at no cost to the taxpayer.
As someone once said, “Collecting the trash, plowing the snow, and providing public safety are not Republican or Democratic issues.” We are neighbors, and there is no need for us to be sniping at each other when there is important work to be done in this Village.
We are committed to that idea. We have no intention of deriding or vilifying our opponents, and even if someone treats us disrespectfully, we will try to always respond with respect.
We also commit to listening to the residents of the Village and to working with anyone who is willing to work with us.