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Three Questions For North Salem Board Candidate Buchholtz

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Election Day is on November 8 this year. In North Salem, there are four contenders for the two open Town Board seats. They are incumbent Amy Rosmarin (D-IN-Ind), Bruce Buchholtz (R-C), William Monti (R) and John White (IN).

The Daily North Salem has asked each of the Town Board candidates to provide a brief biography and answer the same three questions.

Responses from each candidate will be published over the next week. Bruce Buchholtz's biography and responses follow.

Bruce Barton Buchholtz attended elementary school in Croton Falls and Purdys, where he was a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout and a Little Leaguer. He graduated from North Salem High School and holds a BA from New York University, Washington Square College of Arts & Science.

He is founder, chairman and managing director of Fairfield Resources, Ltd. , a diversified management consulting firm noted for executing eight figure transactions. He would like to bring his financial acumen to bear on the serious budget issues facing North Salem. “If I can work with diverse boards of directors of major corporations, worldwide, surely I’ll be able to work effectively on our town board with my neighbors”.

He presently serves as vice chairman of the North Salem Historic Preservation Commission and is on the executive committee of the North Salem Historical Society. He is a dedicated member of the Croton Falls Volunteer Fire Department, where he serves with “an incredibly committed and genuine group of neighbors”. He and his family are also active members of St. James Episcopal Church and supporters of the Ruth Keeler Memorial library.

Buchholtz proudly points out that his three-year-old son, Maurice, is the fifth generation of the Buchholtz family to live in North Salem. He feels that his upbringing in this town “has instilled in me an abiding respect for its traditions, heritage, scenic beauty, natural resources and its rural character.”

1. What is your position on the Westchester Affordable Housing Settlement and how it will affect North Salem?

I believe that our commitment to affordable housing must be structured to fit our local way of life and rural character so that it is as unobtrusive as possible. There is senior housing already proposed in areas previously zoned for this sort of development. Some of this may fall under the guidelines established by the settlement. Wherever it is practicable, I believe in adaptive reuse of existing structures. During this campaign, I’ve walked on virtually every street in North Salem. There is a great deal of property for sale, some of it through the normal course of events and others as a direct result of the sharp economic downturn. Let’s adaptively reuse our existing inventory before we even consider large scale projects that aren’t in keeping with our rural character. In any event, we’ve already spent a great deal on legal fees so let’s not make that mistake again. It is time to move on and put this matter behind us.

2. How would you feel about a “Property Transfer Tax” in North Salem?

I believe that we have to have a sensible open land policy in the first place. Let’s wait until the economy has righted itself to even consider buying open land, and even then only on an extremely limited basis. One of the reasons that people move here is that North Salem is so unspoiled. I support open land to the extent that it doesn’t create more taxes. If there are critical parcels of open land to be discussed, let’s conduct the process on an above board, case by case basis, transparently and selectively through bonding or referendum. Many in town are critical of this tax as an infringement on individual property rights. For every parcel that is taken off the tax rolls, that means our tax base shrinks and everyone else has to pay to make up for it. Frankly, an automatic, across the board 2% tax will actually lower our property values. Are buyers and real-estate agents so naive as to not consider these numbers as part of the equation when making real estate decisions? I think not. In any event, it has been my experience that once a tax has been enacted, it is awfully hard to get it off the books. People in North Salem want lower taxes, less government intrusion in their affairs, fewer regulations and less government, in general. Let’s keep taxes low to encourage families to stay in North Salem.

3. How do you think Governor Cuomo’s 2% tax cap on town and school district budgets will affect North Salem?

We’re going to be just under the cap here except for a few exceptions. Candidly, the number is merely a guideline and allows local governments considerable leeway to address critical issues such as infrastructure and unfunded mandates. A more aggressive approach that I plan to take in the future is to “push back” against many of these unfunded mandates from White Plains and Albany so that North Salem can receive the fair deal our neighbors expect and deserve. Unless spending in Westchester County and New York State is brought under control, North Salem has little chance to achieve its own objectives on a long-term basis. We’re severely impacted by a tremendous drop-off in tax revenues across the board in North Salem and, as a result, an unfair burden has been placed on homeowners. In order to keep North Salem affordable, we’ve got to be incredibly resourceful by examining every avenue to cut spending without reducing services.

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