CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The first fall election in Village of Croton history is around the corner and three candidates are running for two vacant Village Trustee seats. One candidate, Virginia Calcutti, is a registered Democrat but is running as an unaffiliated write-in candidate. Democratic incumbent Ann Gallelli and primary winner Kevin Davis will be listed on the ballot.
Calcutti is a 74-year-old retiree of the Croton-Harmon School District, where she was a secretary for 24 years. She is a faithful attendee of Village Board meetings, and recently served on a task force to analyze the Croton Volunteer EMS. She lives in the village with her husband of 51 years.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Jessica Glenza: What are the three biggest issues facing the Village of Croton?
Virginia Calcutti: Taxes, which is always the big one no matter where you live, trying to stay within that 2 percent tax cap.
The other big issue in the village is the modification, slash, improvement of Croton Point Avenue. They want to put in a bicycle-pedestrian path and walkway, I think there's much more involved in the project than they thought in the beginning, and the cost is above and beyond what we should be looking at in this economic time.
It's my understanding that the village is legally responsible for the bulkhead at the yacht club. The village is doing a feasibility study to see if anything else can be done with that property. The village will go into negotiations with the yacht club, to discuss the rent and let's just say other issues.
The bulkhead is going to supposedly cost the village $3 million, however, no one has come up with an actual figure.
What concerns you about the yacht club repair?
Well, first of all I think the village needs to come up with exactly how much it's going to cost. The yacht club pays $12,500 a year to lease that property, a new lease has to be negotiated. They can't stay there for $12,500; the rent has to be renegotiated.
How would you address those issues?
The 2 percent tax, we need to go through that (budget) with a fine tooth comb. We need to stop spending money on consultants, we need to stop spending money on consultants. I feel the budget process is moved along too fast. We need to cut out in our budget, and be realistic about others. Then maybe we can stay within that 2 percent tax cap.
The modification and improvement of Croton Point Avenue, this whole thing started as a bicycle-pedestrian path and walkway. Now it's become, in my opinion, a huge construction project. I think that the board knows that this project is above and beyond what they thought. We need to close the books on that.
When it comes to the yacht club, we need to look at the feasibility study seeing as we're paying $17,000 for it and then decide what kind of negotiations we're going to move forward with.
What would you do differently than the previous office holder?
I would like to work with my fellow board members to listen, and respond to, our residents when they ask questions. That is not being done now; the board does not like to answer questions. And I want to work toward our residents being part of our community and have a voice in our community, and that is lacking now.
What would you do to lower the tax burden?
My main thing would be to go through this budget, that this budget needs to be looked over more closely. Last year I think they came in with a budget of 6.7, and came down to I don't know what, by taking out little nothings. You've got to look at your overall budget, you've got to cut out certain things. But the main thing is to look at that budget closely.
Why should people vote for you?
Because I want to represent them, I've made myself a self-appointed representative for them, I've been bringing things to their attention for over two years, and I think I can do a good job for them. I think I can be their voice on the board.