Approaching the November 8 election, the Democratic slate for Village Board of Trustees has been the subject of some pretty wild accusations by our opponents. This is where we set the record straight.


Q: Are the Democrats trying to rezone more than 40% of residential lots in the Village to R-6? Won’t this make these homes nonconforming, and devalue property?

A: NO. The Democratic Trustees have not supported the proposed zoning change from R-5 to R-6. Moreover, they strongly oppose minimum lot size rezoning that depreciate the value of your properties, require disclosure upon a sale that the property is non-conforming under the zoning code, or require a variance from the ZBA to add a deck or an addition.

The BOT is holding hearings on several zoning recommendations from the bi-partisan Planning Board to address neighborhood concerns about large new homes being built on small subdivided lots. One Planning Board recommendation would rezone R-5 residential zones to R-6, making 15% of single-family homes newly non-conforming for minimum lot size (21% of homes in the Village are already “non-conforming” under the current code). This would limit the ability of some people to subdivide their lots for building purposes.

The Board of Trustees, by consensus, has requested review by three key Village land use boards, and public feedback, before making a decision on this change. Representatives from the three boards will be meeting on November 10 in the Village Courtroom; the meeting will be open to the public. 


Q: Did Trustee Leon Potok oppose the ban on selling puppy mill dogs in the Village?

A: NO. Leon opposes puppy mill sales, but was concerned about the possibility of the Village being sued. The Village Attorney was also concerned and advised all members of the BOT to hold off in its vote for just two weeks, in order to obtain legal advice from New York State confirming that the proposed ban did not violate NYS law.

Leon followed the Village Attorney’s advice. When the Board went ahead with its vote before receiving legal clarity from the State, Leon abstained. He did not vote “NO.”

It should be noted that poorly-thought-out postures and positions have cost Village taxpayers dearly in litigation in recent years.


Q: Did Trustee Potok vote against the US Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control project because it failed to meet consistency requirements? Does he believe that flooding is “not a big issue, only a general issue”?

A: NO. The Board, including Leon, voted unanimously in favor of a letter to the NYS Department of State strongly supporting the Army Corps project. The Democratic Trustees and Trustee candidates are unequivocally in favor of the Army Corps project.

While voting his support, Leon insisted that the project reflect resident concerns and be consistent with environmental sustainability in the Village. As a result of Leon’s efforts and input from residents, the Army Corps is revising its plan, which now will include keeping the Columbus Park pedestrian bridges and the Ward Avenue bridge, upping the project’s cost from $72 to $82 million to be funded largely by Federal and State authorities. The revised plan has been deemed consistent by the New York State Department of State. Some details, especially related to property easements and environmental concerns, will be worked out during the design phase of the project.

The partial quote was excerpted out of context, from an interview in a local newspaper two years ago. In it, Leon simply observed that flooding is top-of-mind for some residents and less so for others.


Q: Have Democrats on the Board raised Village taxes?

A: MISLEADING.  Since 2012, when the current Democratic majority was seated, every vote to increase property taxes has been non-partisan, with the Mayor voting along with the Democrats. Neither Mayor Rosenblum nor the other Republican on the Board, Deputy Mayor Louis Santoro, has offered ideas for alternative revenue sources or for reducing expenses.

On the other hand, Leon has saved Village residents more than $2 million by challenging proposed Water Board rate increases—against Republican opposition. 

Q. Did the Village Democrats waste taxpayer money by hiring additional lawyers on the Jefferson Avenue Bridge case, even though the Village already had the Village Attorney working on the case?

A: NO. Democratic Trustees insisted on retaining special counsel to ensure that the Village would be represented by lawyers in the specialty field of municipal construction litigation. The goal was to save the Village from potentially costly claims against it, by leaving no stones unturned.

The Democratic Trustees also sought to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest for Village Attorney in reviewing the Village’s own role in events that led to the litigation.

In fact, special counsel saved the Village from a massive claim against it, by pointing to critical precedents shielding the Village from certain liabilities.


Q: Have Democrats tried to strip the Mayor of his rightful powers and privileges—like taking away his office and parking space? Isn’t this undermining the balance between government branches?

A: NO. Under Village Law, the Mayor is a member of the Board of Trustees, our legislative branch. The Mayor has no executive authority. Instead, our executive “branch” is the Village Manager position now held by Rich Slingerland. By law, the Mayor’s only special role on the Board is to serve as its presiding officer and maintain civility at BOT meetings.

As part of clarifying roles and responsibilities, all Trustees now may use the Mayor’s office if needed, and executive matters are clearly directed to the Village Manager’s office. Beside the Mayor’s former parking space, a second parking space was requisitioned, and the two BOT spaces are now shared by the five Board members.


Q: Did the Democratic Trustees waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on multi-space parking meters? Are the meters defective? Are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of meters sitting in a storage unit? Do the Democratic Trustees want to buy more of these meters now?

A: NO. Democrats voted to purchase 16 multi-space meters at a cost of $130,000, as recommended by the parking consultant hired by the Village. The $130,000 cost includes $6,200 to buy each meter, plus the installation expense.

The meters are not defective. A parking study by Village staff showed that they are less likely to fail and be vandalized than other meter models being considered. If installed on Mamaroneck Avenue, the multi-space meters would generate more than $300,000 in incremental net revenue per year as compared to single space meters, according to the most recent analysis by Village staff.

All but two multi-space meters have been installed. Twelve are installed in the parking lots, as recommended by the Parking Advisory Committee. Two were placed on Mamaroneck Avenue, initially as part of a Village study of various meter models, and now for the convenience of drivers who park in the spots behind CVS. Two meters are being held in storage for parts.

Democrats have asked the Parking Advisory Committee to look into replacing these meters with more user-friendly ones, or to retrofit the ones we have, which would cost $30,000.  

Q: Did Democrats initiate an increase in parking rates and an extension of meter hours?

A: NO. The Parking Advisory Committee, chaired by Republican candidate Maria DeRose, recommended that the Board increase rates and extend hours, as previously recommended by the Walker study. Democratic Trustees voted in favor of this recommendation.

Q: Did the Democratic Trustees “push” the Village to buy multi-space meters, and does Trustee Potok now advocate installing more multi-space meters on Mamaroneck Avenue?

A. NO. The Democratic Trustees initially sought to follow the recommendations of the nationally known parking consultant hired by the Village to purchase and install multi-space meters throughout the Central Business District. When community members voiced concerns, the Democratic Trustees created a volunteer Parking Advisory Committee and stepped back to allow the Committee to review the issues.

At present, the Board of Trustees is waiting for the Committee to complete its review, including consideration of a detailed parking study prepared by Village staff, and to present its recommendations to the Board. Until then, advocating for one meter model over another would be inappropriate and premature.

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