My professional career began as a C.P.A . After four years as an accountant, I attended the University of Chicago Law School and then worked as a tax lawyer at two highly regarded law firms in Manhattan. I left the private practice of law to serve, under Presidents Bush and Clinton, in the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Tax Policy in Washington, D.C. After the Treasury Department, I rejoined the private sector where I pursued a business career in corporate finance. Several years ago I returned to the practice of law.
Collaboration: For me, one of the most significant priorities – since it affects so many things – is for all of us, residents, town employees and Town Board members alike, to work together in a constructive manner. We are fortunate to have many smart, capable people in our town. They are our greatest resource, and it is critical that everyone work collaboratively for the good and betterment of North Castle. Like any town, we sometimes are faced with tough issues and tough choices that people are passionate about, but working together enables us to find the most viable solutions for everyone. We also benefit from working together by getting to know our neighbors better and thereby enhancing the special quality of life that is part of living in a small town.
Roads: An all-too-obvious problem we all face is the deteriorated condition of many of our roads, which pose safety issues, affect our quality of life and can affect the value of our homes. As your Councilman, one of my major priorities was improving the maintenance and repair of our roads. I have continued to press for a cost-effective comprehensive plan for repaving the many roads that have deteriorated beyond normal maintenance. (I sent a brief eblast about accelerating our road repairs on September 8, 2015. If you did not receive it and would like to receive my future eblasts, you can sign up for them on the Sign Up/Contribute tab.) Development/Unjustified Property Breaks: Another important issue for me is development. To preserve the special character of our town, we need balanced decisions about development that take into account all relevant considerations, including tax and other economic impacts, quality of life and significant environmental issues. An important aspect of this balancing is that we not grant unjustified tax breaks to new projects. For instance, when the Town Board allows residential development projects to be taxed as condominiums, those homes are taxed at roughly half the rate that applies to normal (fee simple) home ownership. In most cases, that’s neither fair to the rest of us who are paying full freight and thereby subsidizing the projects getting the tax breaks, nor warranted by the nature of the development projects granted such benefits. As your Councilman, I fought against unjustified condominium tax breaks – most notably at the Brynwood project and the “old lumberyard” project on Bedford Rd. I will continue to fight to ensure that these tax breaks only are granted when they are needed to encourage a development project that provides substantial extra benefits to the town that are commensurate with the tax breaks. (I sent a brief eblast about unjustified condominium tax breaks on October 16, 2015.)
Retaining Our Seniors and Other Long-Time Residents: It is alarming to see how many long-time residents are leaving North Castle. Our long-time residents are an important part of the fabric of our community and should feel they can remain in North Castle as long as they want. Although everyone’s situation is unique in some respects, some of the common factors I have gleaned from my conversations with seniors and pre-seniors as to why they are leaving (or considering leaving) our town are insufficient housing suitable for downsizing, unaffordable taxes and, ironically, in some cases an increased sense of isolation because so many friends have left North Castle. This is one area where I believe some targeted tax breaks should be considered, but that is not the whole answer. It is important that we address the entirety of this issue with a sense of urgency.
Parking: The parking situation in downtown Armonk and parts of North White Plains needs to be significantly improved. Lack of adequate parking is a quality of life issue for residents and everyone else it affects, and can significantly impact our local stores and restaurants. As your Councilman, I voted to expand the existing Hergenhan Recreation Center parking lot to add long-term employee parking. The logic behind doing this was to free up for customers existing parking on Main Street and in Armonk Square. This is just a start. We need to continue to work to have appropriate parking wherever it’s needed.
North White Plains: If I had a nickel for every time a resident of North White Plains told me they felt like a neglected step-child . . . This problem arises in large part from geographic distance and because the residents of different hamlets are in different school districts. Some real progress has been made in the past two years, but more progress is needed. We all can lend a hand here. A good place to start is by making a special effort to attend events in the other hamlets, and to invite friends in the other hamlets to attend your events. But to really succeed, the Town Board needs to lead the way by making sure that all of our residents realize that we are a unified community where every person and every hamlet is equally important.
Elijah Miller House: The Miller House was George Washington’s headquarters during the Battle of White Plains and at other times during the Revolutionary War https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Miller_House. Although the Miller House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the County has shirked its responsibility to repair and maintain it. The Miller House currently is in such bad condition that it is in danger of collapse. The County needs to repair the Miller House immediately and stop trying to impose on North Castle the future cost of maintaining and operating the Miller House.
HOW I BECAME INTERESTED IN SERVING ON THE TOWN BOARD
I first became interested in serving on the Town Board because I felt that our local government at the time was just not doing right by its residents. Similar to what we see at the national or even state level of government, too much time was being spent arguing when it would have been better spent working collaboratively to tackle important issues that needed to be addressed. This town is better than that. The keystone of good democratic government is everyone working together and compromising when needed to further everyone’s best interests. That is the way I worked with my fellow Town Board members when I was on the Board, even when there were strongly help differences of opinion. That is the way I will continue to work in the future to ensure that North Castle continues to be one of the best places to live in Westchester County.