SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Like the Scarsdale schools 2013-2014 proposed budget, the village Board of Trustees' tentative budget is expected to exceed the state-mandated tax cap, said Trustee Bob Steves, a candidate for mayor.
The Scarsdale Daily Voice spoke with Steves, 67, about his unopposed run for mayor to replace Miriam Levitt-Flisser and his goals for the village. He addresses the 2013-2014 budget plan, which will be released March 20, a day after the village elections.
Steves is serving his second term as a trustee in Scarsdale. He is assistant treasurer at Fordham University and previously served as treasurer at CUNY. He also served on the Scarsdale Board of Education for seven years, including one as president.
Why would you be a good representative in the coming election?
I have a background of service to the village and that background has given me an opportunity to understand the village and different aspects of it. And I have a commitment to public service. I enjoy it, and I am prepared to commit the time to do it well.
If elected, what are the three biggest goals you'd work to accomplish?
One goal, and it’s a continuation of every mayor’s goal, is to communicate fully what the board is doing.
We will, over the next two years, have the completion of the property revaluation in Scarsdale; make sure that goes smoothly. We need to address the question of how best to preserve the historical properties in Scarsdale. That is a question that we will face.
Just a general concern that any mayor should have and that is that the budgets they reside over represent the best value and the most appropriate level of services to the community.
This year, our budget will exceed the tax cap because we believe the level of services we’re going to provide, particularly in the capital area, are the level of services the community wants. There will be a tax increase that will exceed the cap, as the budget is currently constructed; there is room for modifications, but as it is currently constructed. We think that the main concern is that we match the services and the costs appropriately.
Has the local government made any mistakes or had any oversights that you'd try to avoid? How?
I don’t think so. The trustees that I serve with are pretty sensitive to what’s going on. The staff is well attuned. It is a professionally run village. I think there’s always areas you can do things better. You learn. You try to improve. But I don’t think there was any one instance or anything I’m looking to single out to improve.
What is the best part of Scarsdale?
I think it’s a combination of things. But I think it’s the people. It’s a family-oriented community. There’s a lot of support, a lot of volunteerism. It’s the right size. Obviously, there are some physical characteristics such as the setting of the village and its proximity to the city. But the core of it is it’s a community. It’s small enough to feel that you’re part of something. And I think that’s what makes it fun to be part of the government is it's really small enough to communicate with the people.
How can the voters get in touch with you?