CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Croton-on-Hudson will hold a three-way Democratic primary Thursday in conjunction with the primary date for state offices. It's the first village primary to be held in September in Croton since the Village Board of Trustees election, historically held in March, was moved to November by referendum.
One of the candidates in the primary, Andy Levitt, is a 44-year-old father of two, who moved to Croton in 2008. Levitt works as an attorney at O'Hare Parnagian, a multi-disciplinary law firm in New York City. Trustee Ann Gallelli and Levitt have been endorsed by the Croton Democratic Committee. Candidate Kevin Davis is independently seeking the Democratic nomination.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Jessica Glenza: What do you think is the most important issue in the village right now?
Levitt: I think the most issue in the village is reasonable commercial development and encouragement of local business in a way that retains the character of the village.
The most important issue in the election is the qualifications of the candidates. There really are not, if any, significant policy differences among the three candidates, but I think that when you look at the three of us, I think Ann and I are just a lot more qualified to make the kind of decisions the trustees have to make. We both have significant career and educational experiences, we both have made investments and bought homes in the village, we either raised or are raising our kids here, and we're in a position to understand the concerns of Croton residents who are more of less similarly situated to us, and I just don't think the same is true of our opponent.
What would you do to help control taxes in the village?
We've already gone down that road with the Harmon rezoning. I think that ultimately improving business to business tax base is the key way to reduce taxes. Certainly, we need to look at what kind of village services could be handled in coordination with the town or something like that. I would not support combining, getting rid, of the village police force or anything like that.
But I think we need to look at ways we can cooperate with the town and other municipalities in order to control costs, but I think by and large the main way to keep residential taxes in check is to build a viable business tax base.
What's the most positive development in the village, in the last 12 months?
Well, can I say two?
I think the passage of the Harmon rezoning, and I'm personally excited about the new Black Cow space, and the new Umami restaurant. I think the movement of some businesses back to the upper village I think is a terrific development.
What would you like to see in Croton's future?
My kids graduated from high school, but not too soon. I would like to see a thriving commercial area in our already commercial districts, but of a scale that is suitable to Croton. I think the very nature of the area is going to kind of ensure that, we're never going to have big box stores in Croton, and I wouldn't want them. I like Croton the way it is, but in order to maintain it the way it is you need to make little tweaks. The Harmon business district was set up and zoned for an era that's not going to return.
For example, the car dealership is not big enough for a car dealership now, and it's too much of a hulking empty structure for anything else, so that's part of the whole goal of rezoning it. And I would just like to see people in Croton, it’s such a nice place, and everyone is so uniformly nice, until every once in a while when it comes to Croton political issues when everyone seems to become unduly vicious, and I'd like to see people sort of working together to try and resolve whatever issues we have, and keep Croton moving forward in a nice way, as trite as that may sound.