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League of Women Voters Debate Part III: Town of Mamaroneck Town Council

In a three part series, debates for candidates for County Legislature, District 7, Mamaroneck Village Mayor and Trustee and Mamaroneck Town Council will be covered in the Patch.

Attendees packed the Town of Mamaroneck’s courthouse last Wednesday night for the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Larchmont-Mamaroneck’s debate between candidates running for County Legislature District 7, Mamaroneck Village Mayor and Trustee, and Mamaroneck Town Council.

Erin Malloy, a former LWV of Westchester County president and former mayor of Irvington, moderated the debate.  All participants gave an opening statement and were then presented with questions from the LWV and the public.  Each segment concluded with a closing statement by each candidate.

In Part I of the series that ran on Patch Thursday, we covered the debates for County Legislator, District 7. In Part II, we covered the debates between candidates for Mamaroneck Village Mayor and Mamaroneck Village Trustee.

In Part III, the debates between Mamaroneck Town Council candidates for two open seats includes incumbent running on the Democratic party line, newcomer running on the Democratic party line and newcomer running on the Republican party line.  is also running on the Democratic party line unopposed for Mamaroneck Town Supervisor. 

In her opening statement, Wittner—who has served the town for 16 years while in office—reminded voters of her many years of her dedication to environmental issues, having raised $2.7 million in grants while chair of the Town of Mamaroneck/Village of Larchmont Coastal Zone Management Committee and chair of the Long Island Sound Watershed Intermunicipal Council, Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“I know all functions of all boards,” she stated simply. 

Katz has over 14 years in the financial services industry and has been actively involved in the community through the Larchmont Gardens Civic Association, and Murray Avenue PTA.

Marcus is an attorney in private practice and is currently serving on the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Little League Board and as an alternate member of the Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals.

For more detailed information on the candidates listed above, please click the highlighted names above for Patch candidate profiles.

When asked their strategies on the upcoming two percent tax cap, all candidates agreed that tough choices would need to be made in order to preserve the level of public services that the Larchmont-Mamaroneck community is accustomed to.

“The county didn’t remove mandates…we’re equally determined that they don’t have an impact on services,” said Wittner.

And, more ambitiously, Katz said, “It will take some tough choices and going through the budget line by line so there’s no gimmick to it.”

Similarly, when asked their opinion about the town sharing services with Rye Neck, the candidates agreed that, while open to the possibility, a more careful study would need to be done to determine what, if any, benefits would result from the merger.

“I’m not sure we’d be in a position to consolidate with Rye Neck,” said Wittner.

On the topic of revaluation—a project that the town has already set the wheels in motion for—it was agreed that there was unfairness in rolls that have remained unchanged since 1968, causing many residents to challenge their assessed taxes.  However, one concern was raised.

“Reval can be a scary topic...[there must be] a very hard look taken at the consequences of reval,” said Marcus, continuing, “We don’t want an unexpected tax burden on people to force them out of the community.”

On the topic of taxes, keeping them manageable seemed to be a unifying theme in all candidates’ lists of top priorities if elected.

Citing the need to maintain fiscal responsibility and maintain the two percent tax cap, Marcus said he would focus on making sure there were, “no radical tax swings that families can’t afford.”

With a two percent tax cap on the horizon, obtaining community feedback on what services are important versus what to cut back on would be an important area of focus for Wittner.

And, echoing a common theme, Katz said, among the residents she had spoken with, “Taxes are the most common complaint.” Her priority would be to increase the communication between the town and residents and hopefully encourage a more open dialogue that would reflect community opinion.

In her presentation to voters, Seligson said she planned to focus on keeping taxes low while still maintaining a high level of public services, increase environmental awareness and reduce energy costs.  Some of her plans to reduce energy consumption include converting more of the town’s vehicle fleet to hybrids and modernizing the Hommocks Ice Rink.

But, after many years of service to the town, Seligson is prepared to move up.

“I’m ready after being on the board for 12 years,” she said.

 

Elections will be held Nov. 8; please visit the Vote411 website to register to vote or to find a polling place.  For a complete voter’s guide to all the candidates, please visit the LWV of Westchester’s website here or pick up a copy from the Mamaroneck Public Library.

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