The PCCA asked each of the Greenburgh Town Board Candidates a series of questions that we felt were most pertinent to our community. Below are the responses from Eric Zinger:
- What is your position on Edgemont Incorporation?
As many people are aware, Edgemont is trying to become the 7th village in the Town of Greenburgh. I believe that Unincorporated Greenburgh is much stronger united, and hope that Edgemont does not incorporate into a village. Edgemont represents 17% of the population of Unincorporated Greenburgh and 27% of the tax revenues. Were Edgemont to incorporate, that revenue would disappear immediately, and remaining Unincorporated Greenburgh residents would be left with a combination of service cuts and/or tax increases.
However Edgemont is not the enemy. We are all part of one Greenburgh, and the Town, particularly Supervisor Feiner has done a poor job of escalating the tension between the Town and Edgemont. The Town Board unanimously approved funding to hire private investigators to go into Edgemont residents home and trick them into signing affidavits that they did not mean to sign the incorporation petition. There was the infamous Father’s Day hearing 2 years ago, scheduled with less than 24 hours notice, after the Town secretly ruled on a Home Rule resolution without public notice. These actions were both wrong.
I’m running because I want to repair the relationship between the Town and the Edgemont community. I believe eventually, there will be a vote on incorporation and when that vote happens, I hope Edgemont residents choose not to incorporate. You can also see my response to the question of Edgemont Incorporation in the debate about 54 minutes into the video. http://greenburghny.swagit.com/play/06142019-507
- And, as a Town Board Member how would you address the impact of their incorporation to the rest of the Town if it were to happen?
If Edgemont were to incorporate, we would have to take a hard look at every aspect of Town Government to see what is most necessary to preserve. It is hard to see a future with an Incorporated Edgemont that doesn’t result in some combination of service cuts and tax increases put in place to balance the budget. There is the possibility that Edgemont could look to contract back with the Town for some essential services. If that were the case, any agreement would need to ensure that unincorporated residents were strongly represented at the negotiating table, to ensure that the full and total cost of those services were covered by any intermunicipal agreement.
- In what ways can the Town Board more effectively work with both the School and Fire Districts?
We need a Town Board that is supportive of our School District and Fire Districts, but also respects that those are separate government entities. I was disappointed that Councilman Jones and Councilman Sheehan, who do live in GCSD stayed completely silent on the GCSD bond referendum.
Now more than ever we depend on our local government to respond to the needs of our community. All elected officials need to work together to lead Greenburgh into the future and we need leaders who are going to be outspoken advocates for our community.
Regarding the Hartsdale Fire District, I am excited about some of the things that are happening there. I think that Jason Muldoon has been an excellent addition to the Hartsdale Fire Commissioner Board. We are looking at selecting a new Chief in the coming year with the retirement of Chief Rush and that will be an important decision that will help shape the future of the department.
- How would you propose to address the current Town need for a new Police Headquarters and Court House?
I would encourage anyone who is looking to learn more about this topic to watch the May 22nd Town Board meeting where a presentation was made regarding the facilities conditions. You can watch that presentation here- http://greenburghny.swagit.com/play/05222019-1989/#0
It is clear that improvements are required at the facility to properly accommodate our female police officers, our handicapped citizens, and all those who use the facilities. I elaborate on this more in my next point, but this is why it is so important that our tax dollars be spent as efficiently as possible. We have real infrastructure needs in our Town that need to be addressed; we need to ensure that we are spending taxpayer dollars for maximum return on investment. We cannot be wasting money when real needs like the Police/Court facility exist.
The Court and Police facility is long overdue for an upgrade, but we must be conscious of the large cost as well. Any plan that we come up with for both purchasing a suitable location, and construction, must fit in the new age of the capped SALT deduction, and not place an onerous burden on taxpayers.
- In your opinion, what is the most critical issue that the Town Board is currently facing that will most significantly impact the 526 households of the Poets Corner Residents?
In my opinion, the most critical issue is controlling property tax growth in the new, uncharted era of the SALT deduction cap. To that end, in my first two years I will only vote for budgets that hold the property tax rate flat. Greenburgh residents need tax relief while the town assesses the impact of the SALT deduction cap. This is very much possible in the current environment with reduced tax certiorari’s, higher than ever County Sales Tax Revenue, and most importantly smart budgeting. This past year the Town Board created a new position, a position that Supervisor Feiner himself has referred to in the past as “A gigantic waste of taxpayer money”. We need to disband the route 9A TIF district and return over $300k a year property tax revenue from special interest projects to the general tax base. We need smart, data driven budgets, to ensure our tax dollars are spent with maximum efficiency.