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), and challengers Bruce Buchholtz (R-C), William Monti (R) and John White (IN).
The Daily North Salem asked each of the Town Board candidates to provide a brief biography and answer the same three questions. Rosmarin's biography and responses follow.
Rosmarin, a 15 year resident of North Salem, lives on Mills Road with her husband, Ken Fellerman. She has an MBA from Yale University and a BA from Middlebury College. For the past 25 years she has worked as a management consultant. Currently her work focuses on developing and financing 1-6 MW solar systems in New England.
Her involvement goes back years before being on the Town Board. Her work with the Land Preservation Alliance resulted in residents passing two local referendums approving funds that purchased a 66-acre parcel in Purdys and a 63-acre conservation easement at Bloomerside.
As a director of Concerned Residents, Rosmarin did the financial analysis of development in town. Her studies were key in understanding the impacts of proposals such as the Conference Center.
She started the campaign to save Mills Road when a former administration proposed moving the Lions Club building and turning Mills into a thoroughfare. Her work thwarted that initiative and today she is working with the Historic Preservation Commission to make Mills Road a local historic road to ensure its long term protection.
As councilwoman, she chaired the Open Space Committee and brought that plan to adoption, salvaging a state grant in the process. An integral part of the Comprehensive Plan, it identifies important recreational, scenic, historic and ecological spaces throughout town.
As a founding member and treasurer on the executive committee of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, Rosmarin has helped develop programs and secure grants and works with residents and the town to obtain energy-related financial savings.
She is part of an administration that's kept the town taxes stable in this declining economy. In addition to the above, she has an active membership in the Open Land Foundation, Improvement Society, Historical Society and Bridle Trails Association.
1. What is your position on the Westchester Affordable Housing Settlement and how it will affect North Salem?
The town is working to comply with the Westchester Affordable Housing Settlement while striving to make sure our affordable housing fits in with the community. Because North Salem does not have a downtown with a range of shops, a bus line or adequate sites within walking distance to the train, we do not have the characteristics specified in the countys affordable housing parameters.
Of the three sites that were zoned for affordable housing about 10 years ago, one is close to obtaining approvals on 13 units that will be integrated with full price units and which the developer will surround with wooded open space. A second one is being considered for senior housing and a small mix of non-seniors. Working with non-profits and utilizing county funds to rehabilitate existing housing on a select basis is also an option. Additionally, North Salem has accessory apartments throughout town and some may qualify and be counted toward the settlement. We continue to work with the county on these initiatives.
2. How would you feel about a Property Transfer Tax in North Salem?
I am not for a property transfer tax. Given the state of the housing market, I can't imagine a transfer tax in the foreseeable future.
The real issue with the transfer tax is that Monti and Buchholtz are using it as a campaign stunt. They are aware that no one on the Town Board (including me) is for it. And, they know that no one is considering new taxes. Pretending, in order to get votes, that new taxes is an issue is misleading, self-serving and disrespectful to our neighbors.
Buchholz must know that the transfer tax is not a 2% across the board tax. Has he not read the open space section of the Comprehensive Plan? Conservation easements and purchased development rights keep property on the tax rolls, protect it from being developed and preserve the character of our town.
Unlike Monti and Buchholz who are openly pro-development, I want to keep the rural character of North Salem. I will continue to work with residents and look for ways to keep North Salem the way it is.
3. How do you think Governor Cuomos 2% tax cap on town and school district budgets will affect North Salem?
The Town Board has already shaved a lot of extraneous expenses from our budget. We have also identified ways to provide services at a lower cost, so the 2% tax cap will have minimal effect on our budget.
The Peach Lake Sewer District and Croton Falls Water District both have had major capital projects recently. The cost to residents in those two districts (and only those districts) exceeds the 2%. Consequently, while the town tax increase will be less than 2%, the town board had to override the cap so that the Peach Lake and Croton Falls residents can repay their loans. For everyone else the 2% will apply.
The more important issue is identifying ways to save money for the town, the school and the residents. As most people in town are aware, I have been a leader in developing, funding and promoting cost saving energy programs. I have and will continue to give presentations to neighborhood groups outlining how they can save money utilizing the Energize North Salem program. In addition, I helped North Salem conduct an energy use inventory and will be working with a broad range of residents to develop a climate action plan. These two activities will not only identify how the town can save, they will position us to get grant monies for upgrades.
I am also involved in developing some innovative regional programs wherein with neighboring towns we will be able to participate in the energy market thereby enabling our residents to realize real savings from reductions in the cost of power. Additionally, I am developing programs with neighboring towns that will enable us all to benefit by sharing services and getting better rates because of the enhanced buying power that comes from working as a consortium.
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