VCP Letter to Scarsdale Residents

Voters Choice Party

“After 106 years of one-party rule in Scarsdale, you have a choice on March 21st!” 

Vote Row B- Voters Choice Party

Bob Berg for Mayor,  Brice Kirkendall-Rodríguez, Carlos Ramírez, Bob Selvaggio for Trustees

March 15, 2017

Dear Scarsdale Neighbor,

Can you continue to afford to live in Scarsdale?  For many of us, especially the empty nesters, Scarsdale’s crushing property tax burden makes remaining in the homes we have lived in for decades increasingly challenging, if not impossible.  Recent mayors and trustees have betrayed our trust.  Village property taxes have soared 69% over the past decade – double the inflation rate.  The Village government blows through the NY State tax cap year after year, always blaming someone else for not controlling the tax increases.   Meanwhile, our roads are crumbling.  The Village wastes millions of dollars doing and then undoing the town-wide property revaluation. This is your Village. You need to take back Village government and make it responsive to your needs.  The only way you can do this is by VOTING in the Village election on March 21, 2017 for the Voters Choice Party (VCP) candidates.

Scarsdale residents face core checkbook issues that impact the affordability of Scarsdale as well as the essential values of good governance, including transparency, respect for citizens, and open, fact-based deliberative decision-making. In recent years, successive Village Boards in Scarsdale too often have made decisions behind closed doors, acting on agendas withheld from residents and without asking the right questions. This has wasted a lot of our tax dollars. Too many years of one-party, sclerotic governance has resulted in groupthink, mandated consensus, and an endless series of poor decisions that seem to dig us deeper and deeper into dysfunction. You have the power to reverse the toxic effects of the Ryan revaluation, the inequitable treatment of taxpayers, years of breaking the tax cap with impunity, and incomprehensible decisions on major issues by voting for a fresh start.

Fortunately, this year you have a real choice between the VCP and the entrenched establishment. You get it. Just take a drive around the Village. Our Village challenges are clear: high taxes and roads with many potholes. See and hear for yourself how the candidates from both sides responded to important questions at the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum, held on March 7, on Scarsdale Public TV, Compare the openness of the VCP candidates with the others who refuse to tell you their positions on any issues that matter to residents.

We believe in the promise of Scarsdale and want to contribute our combined century of expertise in accounting, economics, financial modeling, law, municipal finance, risk management, and technology, to run Village Hall better and at lower cost to taxpayers.  Please help us reach out to other Scarsdale residents, and vote for Row B, the Voters Choice Party, on March 21st at the Scott Room in the Scarsdale Library.

Thanks so much for your support!

Bob Berg Brice Kirkendall-Rodríguez Carlos Ramírez Robert D. Selvaggio

Here’s What The Voters Choice Party Candidates Promise To Do!

Begin Relieving The Village Property Tax Burden.

We will prioritize spending, institute zero-based budgeting reviews of all discretionary items, reduce careless spending on consultants, and increase staff productivity through technology. The Scarsdale Village tax levy has exceeded the New York State tax cap every year but one since the tax cap became law in 2011.  Unlike the school budget, state law does not allow for voter approval of village budgets. The March 21 vote for Mayor and Trustees is the only way you can express your approval or disapproval of the proposed village budget, which once again is slated to exceed the tax cap. The tax cap is good budgeting discipline, not an annoyance that is overridden every year.

Our Property Taxes Need To Be Distributed Equitably Based Upon Fair Market Values.

Residents are entitled to have a property tax system based upon the fair market value of their properties and that does not cause their property taxes to gyrate wildly year over year. Residents need consistency so that they can prepare their budgets to live in our Village. Tax equity is violated when homeowners subsidize condominium residents at the luxury Christie Place because the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reject the Homestead Tax option in connection with each of the two revaluations.

We Will Improve Village Infrastructure And Get Rid Of Potholes.

Village Hall has not conducted a road condition study in 9 years. Scarsdale’s road repair policy is to repave each road once every 30 years. That means Scarsdale repaves only 2.6 miles out of 79 miles of Village roads yearly. We need to begin an accelerated road repair program financed by low-interest municipal bonds.   

We Will Work To Enhance Public Safety.

Burglaries and assaults have recently increased in several areas of Scarsdale. We support our excellent Police Department and will work with it to catch and prosecute the perpetrators.  We will also work to decrease speeding on our roads and to improve pedestrian safety.

We Reject The Critically Flawed JF Ryan Village-Wide Property Revaluation.

The Ryan revaluation, the second village-wide revaluation in two years, was defective, making it legally and statistically indefensible. Expert residents have detailed the critical flaws in Ryan’s methodology and execution; even the Mayor and Village Manager are dissatisfied with Ryan’s refusal to provide the Village with his model or documentation, as required under contract. Ten months after Village Hall dumped the Ryan mess on residents, it is nowhere near resolution. If the current Board of Trustees were really intent on setting things right, why does the Board undermine its own legal position against Ryan by attacking the Article 78 lawsuit?  Makes no sense. Your tax dollars are being wasted to defend the indefensible.

We Must Straighten Out The Assessor’s Office. Now.

Ten months after the Ryan reval, nothing has changed at the Assessor’s office. The Village has hired lawyers and plans on hiring a consultant to address this problem. However, nothing has been accomplished, another example of the current Board’s dysfunction.

We Will Rebuild Community Trust Through Transparency.

How many times have you been angered when the Mayor and the Board give long-winded rationales to unanimous decisions that are not debated in public? For starters, we will propose a Residents Committee on Property Revaluation to get input on the best course of action to achieve property tax equity.

But we can’t do anything without you.  Please VOTE ROW B on March 21, 2017 — Bob Berg for Mayor, Brice Kirkendall-Rodríguez, Carlos Ramírez, and Bob Selvaggio for Trustees.

Dowload the VCP Flyer

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