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Taxes, Property Values & Fiscal Responsibility

Our conversations with residents have underscored our concerns about increasing taxes, declining property values, and government’s inability to provide important services at a reasonable cost. We believe elected officials at all levels have a fiduciary responsibility to you the taxpayer to address these concerns; and to devote as much time and energy to reducing your tax burden as they do spending your tax dollars.

As local government elected officials we would take seriously the role of responsibly managing Town budgets, and we would also serve as advocates for residents by working with elected officials at the county and state level to support responsible budgets and appropriate levels of service.

We’ve heard from you and see for ourselves: Your Metro-North commute to the city has become longer and less reliable yet more expensive; your property tax bills have continued to increase while you see more potholes than ever; and you are paying more to government and being left with less money to improve your own property or comfortably pay for your own kids college.  The trend carried forward even a few more years is unacceptable and unsustainable.

We must create a more sustainable financial environment for residents. We look forward to having a conversation on this issue throughout the campaign, telling you what we plan to do about it, and with your support, hopefully leading the Town on this issue as elected officials. This is a priority, or else the Town

Development: Finding the right balance between town and country

Commercial Districts

New Castle has three primary business districts: the Chappaqua and Millwood hamlets, and now also, Chappaqua Crossing.  The commercial success of these areas is important to the vitality of our Town:

  • Impact on Resident Lifestyle: New Castle’s commercial districts are part of the experience and vibe of living in Town, and a chance for the community to come together.
  • Impact on Finances and Town-Wide Services: Our commercial districts help broaden our tax base so that, for example, more roads get paved without further burdening residential taxpayers. Many residents never go to our hamlets based on where in Town they live, but they should still benefit from their success.
  • Impact on Property Values: Downtown is the very first thing anyone looking to buy a house in Town experiences- is this the Town you have always dreamed of calling home.
  • Providing New Business and Employment Opportunities: Commercial districts provide an opportunity for local small-business owners to be founded and for part- and full-time employment for our family members.

The Chappaqua downtown infrastructure project is almost complete, NOW WHAT?

On the heels of a long downtown infrastructure improvement project in Chappaqua we are often asked, “Now what happens?”  Downtown will not suddenly be vibrant because the sidewalks are beautiful, but the upgraded visual and underground infrastructure does provide us with a springboard and opportunity to make downtown better than ever.  We believe we are the leaders that can bring residents, commercial property owners, merchants and Chamber of Commerce, and local government together to make Chappaqua and Millwood a destination experience, not just a transactional experience; and ensure that Chappaqua Crossing is a successful, complimentary commercial center as well.

Residential Neighborhoods

Beyond the core commercial zones we have the bucolic residential, country neighborhoods that attracted many of us to our Town in the first place.  We believe the formula for success and the job of local government in these neighborhoods is straightforward: protect those neighborhoods, maintain the roads, make sure safety issues are addressed, and develop recreational opportunities and sidewalks whenever possible.  Beyond that, residents should be left alone to enjoy their homes, families, and peaceful neighborhoods.

Growth

A word about growth.  We are committed to making our commercial districts a better place for residents.  But progress and growth should not be forced on our Town just for the sake of progress and growth.  We must always ask why are we trying to change the Town? Does this benefit the residents of the Town?  Do residents want this?  As elected officials we are not elected to dictate our beliefs on others, we are elected to represent all residents and execute plans that they support and that benefit them and their Town.  You will never hear a Team New Castle elected official ignoring the voices of residents because we think we know better.

Aircraft Noise over New Castle

The growing impact of aircraft noise stemming from the approach to Westchester County Airport (HPN) can no longer be ignored.  We believe urgent and committed leadership is required to solve this problem for our community.  Through a combination of professional analysis, resident complaints, and advocacy from elected officials, a solution can be found.  Team New Castle will not kick the can down the road on this issue.

The Environment

We believe environmental leadership is more important than ever.  Making a difference is much more than passing a law that imposes change on our residents, however.  Making a real difference requires a community to come together.  While regulation can be a necessary and helpful, it can also polarize residents, financially burden residents, and at the same time still fail to achieve what was intended on paper. The alternative is to inspire residents to try new practices and to change– it can become contagious.

This applies to many areas of environmental concern, but one that has gotten the most attention over the past year in New Castle is the regulation of leaf blowers. Our approach to this issue is not to legislate a ban, but to instead pass practical regulation that leads to quieter and cleaner equipment, and then to invest the time to bring the landscaping community and residents together to establish and promote best practices.  That’s right, resolving this issue requires an investment of time, not simply the passage of strict regulation.  It also requires a solid understanding of the issues and concerns of residents.