who is seeking re-election. Click here for Bianco's responses.Editor's Note: We asked the candidates for Yorktown Supervisor – incumbent Michael Grace and councilman Nick Bianco – a series of questions before the Election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Here are the responses by Supervisor Michael Grace,
Patch: Why did you decide to run for re-election?
Michael Grace: I decided to run for re-election to continue what I believe is the significant progress my administration has made to make Yorktown more livable and more affordable.
We cut taxes in 2013 and my preliminary budget calls for a second consecutive year of tax cuts. We accomplished this by cutting the costs of services, without a reduction in the quality of services rendered. We also for the first time set a reasonable fund balance policy for the town’s general budget and the special improvements district taxes. We have automated our procurement system allowing greater efficiencies with less staff.
We have begun the process to digitize town records, adopted emergency management protocols, opened a permanent emergency management operations center, started the Citizen Emergency Response team, reconstituted a Vehicle and Building Grounds oversight committees to manage the town’s assets. We moved forward in adopting an executable capital budget to restore the town’s vital infrastructure, consolidated and reallocated staff for greater administrative efficiencies.
My administration has also been successful in transforming the Town’s reputation from a business hostile environment to a pro-business environment. As a result we were able to approve the renovation of the Jefferson Valley Mall, are moving ahead to rezone portions of Route 202 back to commercial designations, approved a new 27000 square foot medical arts building in Jefferson Valley and have seen over two dozen new businesses open up in Yorktown. Our pro-business get it done philosophy has also generated new investment interest in our deteriorating commercial tax base. We will soon see applications for the revitalization of the commercial areas in Jefferson Valley, Mohegan Lake, Crompond Corners and Yorktown Heights.
Lastly, we have worked hard to re-energize the Yorktown Sprit. I am especially proud of the inaugural award winning holiday Lights parade and the Randy Zapakin community service award, as well as the creation of Yorktown Organization United, a consortium of Yorktown’s not-for-profit volunteer, charitable and faith-based organizations, the goal of which is to strengthen those organizations through the sharing of resources and expertise.
I decided to run for re-election to keep the momentum going towards the revitalization of Yorktown.
Patch: What personal or professional experiences qualify you to serve as a supervisor?
Grace: As to my qualifications, for Supervisor, I believe my record speaks volumes as to how I can make a difference to Yorktown’s future. My past experience as the town attorney over a 16-year period allowed me to hit the ground running with a very small learning curve. As a result we have been able to accomplish a lot in very little time.
Patch: What are the top three issues facing town residents?
Grace: The top three issues facing Yorktown can be best summarized in one word...TAXES. The single most important goal of government has to be the lowering of the tax burden. It is not just the homeowner that suffers by having to pay higher taxes. High taxes impact everyone’s property whether residential or commercial. High taxes stifle economic growth, kills entrepreneurship and disincentives new investment in the town. It is incumbent upon every level of government to do whatever it can to reduce the costs of government.
In doing so, it is also imperative for local government to be creative and accommodating to incentivizing new commercial/business investment in the town. Local government needs to partnership and promote commercial/business investment.
Lastly, I believe that is imperative for local government to find ways to bolster community spirit, community pride and the exceptional volunteerism indigenous to Yorktown. It is my hope that Yorktown Organization United will be just one of the means to let our volunteer and charitable and faith based organizations thrive thereby enhancing Yorktown’s quality of life.
Patch: Describe your campaign platform or how you differentiate yourself from your opponent's platform?
Grace: I believe my candidacy is in strong contrast to that of my opponent. We both have records that the voters can scrutinize in making their decision. While Nick Bianco has served Yorktown admirably over a 16 year period; unfortunately, he remains in a mindset that has not evolved to address the issues now facing Yorktown. Yorktown needs to progress and it can do so without altering its intrinsic, bucolic character.
Development and redevelopment are not mutually exclusive concepts form the preservation of the character of the Town. The former can enhance the latter. We have the ability and the intelligence to create an asethically pleasing and economically vibrant community. The answer is to seek meaningful cooperative investment in the town. The mind set of constantly resisting any progress for the sake of “preservation” will make the latter impossible.
Yorktown needs to move forward. Yorktown can move forward without ever losing its character.
Patch: Should you be re-elected, what would you like to achieve over the course of your term?
Grace: Should I be elected I will continue to move ahead with the progress already made. It is my hope that some of the projects and visions I have put forth in my first term will become realities in my second term, such as the relocation of the Highway Garage, the development of Depot Square, the continued improvements along Route 202, new community signs for our entrance ways and a strong Yorktown Organization United.