BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. – Annexation, Scarborough Park and traffic were among the topics discussed Wednesday night at a debate among candidates for the Briarcliff Manor Board of Trustees.
The debate was hosted by the People’s Caucus of Briarcliff Manor and featured the three candidates vying for the two spots on the board in this year’s election. The candidates are Mark Pohar, who is seeking re-election to his second term on the board; Cesare Derose, a lifelong Briarcliff resident who manages a hardware store in town; and Larisa Wayne-Paulmeno, a retired civil engineer and trustee of the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society.
The candidates said that they would be open to exploring the possible annexation of Districts 17 and 20 of the Town of Ossining into the village.
Paulmeno said that the move would not put a strain on the village in terms of services provided, and that the addition of 1,100 residents “without significant additional services will result in tax relief through efficiencies without significant additional cost to the village.”
Derose said that he would welcome the new residents to the community. “I would keep an open mind. To add residents, while not straining our resources and adding tax benefits, I can only see being a benefit.”
Pohar said the board is exploring the proposal and doing due diligence to make sure it is beneficial to everyone. “We’ll hopefully see a decrease of taxes, an economy to scale and reduction of redundant services,” he said.
Proposals have been made to improve Scarborough Park and deal with erosion, but so far the project has not come to fruition. Paulmeno said that she would use her experience as a civil engineer to address the park’s issues, and maybe scale back the project and first deal with the aspects that need attention. “I understand this is not a high priority during these difficult financial times, but if we can find an economical way to improve the area, I think it should be done.”
Pohar said some state funding had fallen through, but that he and other board members still wanted to improve the park. “I think we have a commitment to -- even if we don’t have the funding -- to take steps and perhaps start small, and start working to preserve the park and start at the shore and the soil to prevent that from further eroding, and we can move forward from there.”
Derose said that he knows from his experience in construction that projects of this nature can take time, but he would be willing to explore the issue. “I would be open minded to any creative solution.”
The candidates also said that they would be willing to address traffic in the village, particularly Route 9A and North State Street. Options discussed include widening the road and adding a right-turn lane, which would require working with the state Department of Transportation and the Westchester County Board of Legislators.
The caucus will hold a vote on which two candidates to endorse on Jan. 22, from 3 to 9 p.m., at the Village Youth Center. Village elections will be held on March 18
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