Briarcliff Manor Mayor William Vescio is looking to continue addressing some of the village's ongoing projects in his next term.
"You all know what we have done over the last eight years and hopefully we will continue to do what we have done to preserve the village, increase the quality of services and keep taxes at bay," he said at Wednesday's People's Caucus of Briarcliff Manor meeting. "There are certain things that we as a board, myself in particular, want to finish up over the next two years."
Vescio was officially named the non-partisan village party's mayoral candidate for the March 2013 election on Wednesday. He will appear alongside fellow incumbent board member Lori A. Sullivan and newcomer Mark Wilson on the People's Caucus line.
Current Deputy Mayor David Venditti will not be running for re-election this year.
Among the undertakings Vescio said he wants to put the finishing touches on in the upcoming two-year term are the community room at the Briarcliff Manor Public Library, village field upgrades and pursuing the transition of the village to a co-terminus town-village—independent of the towns of Mount Pleasant and Ossining.
Sullivan, a trustee for the past four years, noted that despite the tough economic times, the village has "been able to increase our bond rating from A1 to AA2."
"And," she added, "we are in the process of being evaluated and hoping we will wind up having a AA1 bond rating."
Said Sullivan, "The real joy of doing this and the fun of it, even though it takes many hours, is seeing the growth and development of Briarcliff and the pride the residents have in it and it makes it all worth it to give the time."
First-time candidate Mark Wilson, a village resident for more than 20 years, introduced himself to the Caucus and village as a community participant and someone who has "always been struck by the exceptional volunteerism demonstrated by village residents" and wants to give back himself now.
"As a chief financial officer and CPA with over 30 years of business experience, I believe that I bring strong analytical and governance skills to the trustee position, as well as a track record of volunteerism within and outside of the village," Wilson said, noting he has coached multiple youth sports and volunteered with Cub Scouts.
If elected, Wilson said, "As a village trustee, I believe that it is important to have both an educated and an open mind when addressing issues and discharging the duties of a trustee. I believe that it is important to continue and build upon the village’s good relationships with adjacent and overlapping government entities. Also as noted by the mayor, in these tough economic times, it is vitally important to maintain the village’s prudent financial practices, with respect to both operations and capital projects."
Residents were invited to ask the candidates' questions on Wednesday—topics ranged from the possible annexation of election districts 17 and 20 (a possibility largely dependent on the districts' residents' actions) from the unincorporated portion of the Town of Ossining to the fate of the Briarcliff campus of Pace University, a property that will not likely be vacated for some time, with the school still waiting to make additions in Pleasantville, Sullivan said.
Alan Grant of Beechwood Way asked the candidates what they plan to do about the erosion at Scarborough Park. Vescio responded that the village has studied the park and applied for grant money to help restore it.
"As with any project, there is a planning stage and then there is an action stage," Vescio said. "The intent of the board is to move forward with this, but over the last two years, we have been held up with the water project and some other things that were finishing up."
The first step in the project will be "the stabilization of the shoreline," Vescio said.
Another resident asked about the housing project currently being erected at 445 North State Rd.
"It's not costing the village anything," Vescio said. "We get 14 units credit. We are so far ahead of everyone else as far as this game goes, it cost us nothing. It was like a no-brainer."
Moving forward, the mayor said he does not believe the economy is improving and the village will need to continue to utilize limited revenues, but continue providing strong services to residents.
"I think the number one priority for us is to continue to be creative in financial and in keeping the taxes down, and at the same time maintaining the quality of services," he said.
Check back with Patch soon for more on the two candidates seeking the People's Caucus line for the village justice position.
The 2013 village election will take place on Tuesday, March 19 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.