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Affordable Housing Heats up Nonna and Smith

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – The candidates for the District 3 County Legislator election squared off in a debate Thursday night at the Mount Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla.

For incumbent John Nonna and challenger Michael Smith, the hot topic of the night was the issue of the affordable housing settlement . Smith, a Republican, reiterated to the crowd that there were things in the deal he wished worked in a different manner for the people in District 3.

“John and I just disagree on this manner. There are things in that deal that, had I been legislator, I would have handled differently,” Smith said.  “As a representative of Mount Pleasant I believe Mount Pleasant should have been protected better.”

The two candidates spent nearly an hour of the hour and a half long debate going back and forth about the affordable housing settlement. Smith said Mount Pleasant is one of the eligible 31 communities listed in the settlement and may have major expense costs in the future as a result.

Yet Democrat Nonna insisted that was not the case since Mount Pleasant never signed the participation agreement and is simply listed as eligible because of the percentage of blacks and Hispanics in the town.

“Smith is playing a dangerous game going around saying that Mount Pleasant has to pay this,” Nonna said.  “They’re going to point to him and say ‘you admitted this.’”

The night began with opening remarks from each candidate before questions were asked during the debate portion. The other topics discussed included future goals, Citizen Charter Commission, the current legislators and the role of public safety. A short Q&A session preceded closing remarks by each candidate.

“I think tonight let the people clearly know what both of our values are,” Nonna said.

The debate was moderated by a member of the Mount Pleasant Rotary Club, which sponsored the event.

“John and I can go on for hours debating about topics, especially the affordable housing issue, where we just don’t agree,” Smith said.

District 3 encompasses Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, and Sleepy Hollow, and parts of Greenburgh, and North Castle and Briarcliff Manor.

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