Leon Potok Meet the Candidates in Patch.com

Our final Patch.com interview is up with candidate for trustee Leon Potok.

Read the full interview


Q: What are some of the major issues facing residents in the Village of Mamaroneck?

Leon: The primary issues facing residents are taxes and planning for long-term financial health, preserving the character of the village and mitigating flooding and its impact on residents. Residents pay property taxes to the village and deserve to receive affordable, high quality and efficiently delivered services in return. The role of the Board of Trustees is to strike a balance between minimizing the tax burden on residents, both current and long-term, while providing the level and quality of services that help to make our village an attractive place to live.

Residents most highly value our village for its small-town character, quality of life, diversity, community, and environment. The challenge we face is to maintain affordable property tax rates without watering down land use laws that grow the tax base but would undermine the village’s special character, quality of life and environment. Flooding poses a risk to the physical safety of residents and the value of their homes and property. Shortsighted zoning laws allowed construction of homes and commercial buildings in the flood plain without adequate safety margin for periodic floods. We can now see the consequences of such short-sighted planning. The village needs to identify and implement affordable measures to mitigate flooding, and to coordinate its plans for helping homeowners and businesses in the flood plain to recover and rebuild from periodic flooding. 

Q: As a board member, how would you help make the village a better place to live?

Leon: I hope to make a difference when it comes to the issues of finances, land use decisions, and flooding, as well as the overall environment for citizen dialogue and involvement with government.I would work with the village administration to consider all opportunities to reduce costs, improve services and raise non-tax revenues. I would make sure that land-use decisions protect our special small-town character, environment and diversity.  

The impact of flooding can be mitigated to a limited extent through periodic silt removal, clearance of river obstructions and maintaining storm drains and catch basins. Just as important, we need to be prepared as a village to help residents and businesses access information and financial and community support when we are hit with future floods, so that residents and businesses can recover and rebuild quickly.Lastly, the board should make its decisions as transparent as possible. All decisions should be based on thorough review and analysis of information, and made in a process of open engagement with residents, volunteer committees and village employees. 

Q: What has your experience working for the Village Budget Committee taught you about working in public service?

Leon: I have learned that the village is fortunate to have committed volunteers and employees who truly care about the village and its residents and are dedicated to making the village a better place to live.However, the dedication and commitment of volunteers, employees and elected officials is often stifled and undermined by a sense of inertia, where it is too often difficult to get things done for fear of upsetting the status quo. Unlike the private sector, where competition can create a sense of urgency, the public sector often needs elected officials and voters to inject a sense of urgency in order to get things done. 

Read the full interview

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