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Scarsdale Trustee Candidate Supports Cap Override

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale voters will go to the polls Tuesday, March 20, to fill three Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees seats. The Daily Scarsdale sent five questions to each of the four candidates and will run their responses over the next three days. Here are the responses from first-time candidate David Lee:

"As the one Village Trustee candidate of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party who is not presently on the Board, I would begin by noting that my knowledge about the issues raised by the questions is not nearly as thorough as that of the other two candidates of that Party, Jon Mark and Kay Eisenman. Similarly, my opinions on those issues are still more in the formative stage than is probably true of my fellow running mates.

"However, since my nomination, I have attended as an observer several trustee public meetings – namely, board meetings and finance committee meetings regarding the budget. Those, along with other steps I am taking as part of this learning process, are giving me the beginnings of a deeper understanding of the issues mentioned."

The Daily Scarsdale: Where do you stand on passing a budget that exceeds the two percent tax levy cap?

Lee: I have had more of an opportunity to study the budget than the other issues raised. I agree with the recent decision of the Board to pass a resolution allowing it to approve a budget that exceeds the two percent tax levy. While trying to keep within the tax cap is certainly one of the considerations in creating the budget, other considerations include providing the services expected by our community, attention to infrastructure needs, and undertaking the revaluation project. I think that the work that has been done on the budget to date, even though it would create a budget exceeding the two percent cap, reflects fiscal discipline as well as a responsible commitment to infrastructure needs and revaluation.

TDS: Where do you stand on the roundabout at the Five Corners?

Lee: I have not been involved in any discussions about the roundabout. On that issue, I will limit myself to saying that the other capital projects that the Board is undertaking – storm water and sanitary sewer line work, road repair, the renovation of Fire Station No. 1, and reval – appear to be more pressing at present than the roundabout. I will be interested in studying this Five Corners proposal when economic circumstances make the project viable, such as when matching grant dollars may become available.

TDS: Sanitary sewers, flooding, deteriorating roads... Scarsdale has several infrastructure issues. How would you prioritize the issues, and would you prefer to see more or less money in the budget for each item?

Lee: I wouldn't prioritize in the abstract among these important infrastructure needs, saying that one must be put ahead of the other. Each of these areas of concern need addressing to some extent and it's a question of deciding each year, with the input of the village professional staff, how much money to allocate to each one of them.

For all of these capital needs, it would be great to have more dollars to invest in them. However, as a resident and a prospective trustee, I am very aware that the board must remain sensitive to all sides when striking the balance between spending on projects and raising taxes to pay for that spending.

TDS: What do you think is the most important issue facing the board in the coming year or two? And, while Scarsdale's non-partisan system of government at its core has not come under attack this year, the secrecy that surrounds the choice of candidates and the lack of candidate choices on the ballots have caused some controversy. Would you support any changes that would bring more transparency to the system, including but not limited to nominating multiple candidates and publicly debating issues?

Lee: As to the other questions, I would say that the answers given by my running mates are ones that make good sense to me and represent my thinking as well at this point.

TDS: Those responses from Lee's fellow Scarsdale Citizen's Non-Partisan Party candidates Jonathan Mark and Kay Eisenman:

Most important issue: Experience tells us that there is no one issue – there are several. They include: the budget, storm water management and completing the long overdue village-wide revaluation, among others.

Secrecy: We note that this is not an issue the Village Trustees have any control over as the non-partisan system is overseen by an entirely separate body. There is no limit on the number of candidates who can go on the ballot. Anyone who wants to run is able to do so by petition. As we believe this issue is not a part of a Village Trustee's mandate, we leave the larger question to those who wish to debate it.

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