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Tax Cap Sparks Pleasantville Trustee Candidates

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. –  In 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Pleasantville and signed a law that places a 2 percent tax cap on municipalities. On Thursday night, the cap was the big topic of discussion as the four board of trustees candidates met for a debate.

Stephen Lopez, an incumbent trustee, said it is important for the village to stay within the cap.

“Since I’ve lived here in Pleasantville, I have seen my taxes quadruple over the years and my salary has not quadrupled,” Lopez said.  “I think it’s important to live within our means.”

George Dolce, a challenger candidate, was more open to the idea of overriding the cap.

“I think it gives the community a goal that they should reach for,” Dolce said.  “But if it’s something that we need to override in order to maintain our services then it’s something that we may need to do.”

The candidates gathered Thursday evening for a final debate before Tuesday’s village election.  The debate, held at village hall, was hosted by the Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce.  Questions were created by the Chamber of Commerce based off suggestions submitted to them from Pleasantville residents.  The debate was moderated by chamber member and Pleasantville resident Steven Lord.

The four candidates are vying for two positions on the Pleasantville Board of Trustees that are up for election.  None of the candidates are affiliated with a national political party.

Incumbents Jonathan Cunningham and Lopez are campaigning to retain their seats on the board.  Cunningham is running for his fourth consecutive term and Lopez is running for his second consecutive.  Dolce and Colleen Griffin Wagner are running as challengers. Voters will have the choice of two out of the four candidates.  Trustees serve three-year terms with no term limit.

Other topics of discussion were village infrastructure, green initiatives and a new recreation center among others.  Each candidate was also asked which one quality they believe would make them an asset to the board.  Lopez said his passion and ability to fight for what he believes in.  Cunningham said his problem solving ability.  Dolce said that his ability to manage in a dynamic fashion, while Wagner advocated her strong communication skills.

The position of village mayor will also appear on the ballot Tuesday as current Mayor Peter Scherer will run for the same position in an unopposed race. Scherer will be running for a second consecutive term after originally being elected mayor of Pleasantville in March 2009.  The mayor serves three-year terms with no term limit.

The village election will be held March 20 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at village hall on Wheeler Avenue.

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