OSSINING, N.Y. At a forum sponsored by the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce, candidates for Ossining public offices offered their ideas for drawing businesses to Ossining, from reducing municipal regulations to offering tax incentives and guidance.
"I heard a story of a business on South Highland that had hung a sign, and someone told her she couldn't hang the sign even for ten days (to announce the business opening)," said Robert Terilli, a Republican and Conservative candidate for Ossining village trustee. "We need to ease ordinances to enhance business opportunities so that the businesses can ease tax pressure on homeowners."
The question of what can be done to draw more businesses to Ossining was one of four to six questions that were asked to every candidate running for village trustee, town council, town supervisor and county legislator at the candidate's forum held in the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center on Wednesday night.
Other questions addressed candidate's backgrounds, how candidates would continue with the momentum to consolidate services after Ossining village and town courts are consolidated, and how candidates would balance keeping taxes down with offering quality services.
Bob Daraio, a Democratic, Independence Party and Working Families candidate for village trustee said elected officials need to actively talk to people to get them to open businesses in Ossining.
"An example is at the farmer's market I met someone who was selling artisanal chocolate who was looking for a new space," Daraio said.
Daraio told the Brooklyn chocolate maker that he should move to Ossining, and gave him the contacts of some realtors.
During the forum for town supervisor candidates, Republican, Conservative and Independence Party candidate Peter Tripodi criticized an attempt by the town to pass a zoning law that would have forbade auto businesses from rebuilding if their building burned down.
"I think we should let the economy determine what businesses are on North State Road, not an out-of-town consultant," Tripodi said.
Susan Konig, the Republican and Conservative candidate for County Legislator District 9 which covers parts of Peekskill, Ossining, Croton, Cortlandt and Briarcliff, said in order to attract businesses, the county needs to take some responsibility for reducing property taxes.
"The county of Westchester has the highest taxes in the nation and that doesn't draw business," she said. "People are leaving the county and taking their money with them."
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