CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Croton United is hoping to strength its control on the village board in Tuesday's municipal election.
Dan McNatty and Mark Aarons are running for two seats on the village board looking to unseat Democratic incumbents Brian Pugh and Ann Gallelli. Last year, Croton United swept the municipal elections and now they hold a 3-2 edge on the board.
Croton United, which calls itself a community organization, was formed several years ago and is made up of Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
McNatty believes his financial background is needed on the village board and he is concerned about high debt and spending.
"Given the impact to residents of financial decisions made by the board I think my experience will be a valuable addition," McNatty said. "I am also committed to ensuring all issues are discussed openly with proper consideration given to all points of view when making decisions."
McNatty said he would like to see the village find a use for several vacant land parcels and wants to ensure the Gouveia property is open to the public as soon as possible.
If elected, McNatty would like to reduce overall debt levels, institute a conflict of interest policy on the board, institute a communications policy for the board and work with the Financial Sustainability Committee to reduce spending and property taxes.
"Many of the Board’s decisions have significant financial impacts on the taxpayers," McNatty said. "Sometimes the true costs of things are not immediately evident due to how they are presented. I believe my experience will enable me to ensure that any financial implications are properly understood by the Board prior to making decisions."
Aarons is running having spent five years on the Croton Planning Board. He said he was concerned about transparency from the Croton Democrats.
"The prior board believed that elected officials were not required to answer the questions asked by residents during public meetings, going so far to rename the segment during public board meetings as “public comment,” as opposed to “public participation” to make it clear to the public they were not to ask questions," Aarons said. "There is no place for such antagonism in a democratically elected governing body, and particularly not on such a local level."
An attorney for more than 35 years, Aarons said he can suss out when consultants are providing useful information or just fluff.
"Not all consultants are created equal," Aarons said. " Knowing when to challenge one, versus when to take their advice can save a village from both a lot of pain, and tax dollars."
If elected, Aarons said he would like to more scrutiny on the village's bidding process and put forth an effort to bring tourism into the village.