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.
The only incumbent in the race for two seats, Ann Gallelli, is a 70-year-old mother of two, who has lived in the village for 38 years. Gallelli is retired, after working as an entrepreneur and at IBM Corp.
Gallelli is currently finishing her fifth non-consecutive term as trustee, and has served 12 years non-consecutively as the Croton Planning Board chairperson. Gallelli and Andy 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?
Gallelli: I think the most important issue right now, and is always the most important issue, is to maintain the high level of service, actually even add to our level of services, while keeping our tax level down and decreasing it. That's always the biggest issue.
What would you do to help control taxes in the village?
I'm going to do what I have done over the last several years as trustee, and that's going to be constantly looking for ways that we can add efficiencies to the services we offer. And that we can, actually expand some of our services but reduce the costs involved by sharing with other municipalities.
I'm going to be looking at how other municipalities handle similar types of problems, because all of us have the same problems, and as a member of the [Westchester Municipal Planning Federation], I'm working all the time with members of other municipalities in Westchester.
What's the most positive development in the village, in the last 12 months?
I can think of many things all together, I think it's seeing that the village has been able to keep its budget in check and it's taxes low, and at the same time embark upon some very, very serious projects that are important to people in the community, specifically the water projects.
But I've also seen in the last 12 months a swelling of community spiritedness that indicates to me that people are taking more pride in their community and more interest in how their community is developing. And when people are taking that interested, it's always a positive thing for Croton.
What would you like to see in Croton's future?
In the last 10 to 15 years I've seen tremendously positive changes in the village that have come about through things that the village has done itself. The purchase of the parking lot for one thing, the acquisition of what is now Croton Landing, it was huge. The extension of the road from Half Moon Bay North so you no longer have to go over the tracks was huge.
These were the beginning steps of making the whole village a more user friendly, residential friendly place. And now I think we've seen the logical extension of this, we've seen the commercial area on North Riverside become more active, where we have The Tavern and Ocean House.
Recently, we've seen the upper village take steps to come back to be a commercial center where people like to go, and I see that ultimately happening in Harmon and the area where CVS is, and Croton Commons as well, and I think all these things are starting to come together, and I want to continue to take steps to keep us all moving forward in that way, to get that result.