The Daily Yorktown asked the candidates for town board and town supervisor the following five questions: Why are you running for your position? What are the biggest issues facing Yorktown? How do you propose to fix these issues? How are your solutions and approaches different than other candidates? What experience do you have to hold such a position?
Dave Paganelli is a Republican, Conservative and Independant candidate for town councilman.
1. Why are you running for your position?
My wife, Nancy, and I have lived in Yorktown for almost 30 years and our two daughters went through the Yorktown School District. I am a local business owner in Yorktown. I own and manage the Travelers Rest Restaurant. In this economic environment, we need someone on the Town Board that has actual experience in dealing with downturns in the economy in real-time money. I believe that I can turn the lessons I have learned in running a small business into practical solutions for our Town.
2. What are the biggest issues facing Yorktown?
I believe the three biggest issues facing Yorktown are the following: 1) its Finances, 2) Business Development, and 3) Long-Term Planning.
Yorktown’s finances are being stressed. The problem is twofold. We are faced with increasing expenditures and declining revenues. We need to maintain our fiscal health to keep the Town viable and to maintain the Town’s credit rating.
Contractual requirements for our employees are increasing expenditures. Employee expenses, which include salary, medical, dental, retirement, etc., represent 78% of our total Town expenditures. These expenses are responsible for most of the tax increases and we have little control over these increases because they were previously contracted.
Unfortunately, our revenues are being stressed at the same time. We are experiencing challenges with tax collections, reductions in sales tax collections and declining mortgage tax receipts to name a few.
Yorktown’s lack of business development is another problem. Our tax base has been virtually stagnant. We have only experienced a 3% increase in the tax base over the last ten years. We have had almost no new business development. Businesses are extremely important to our taxpayers. Empty commercial spaces hurt that equation. No revenue, no rent collected, and potentially no taxes paid.
We have avoided new business development in Town for a long time and as a result many potential businesses established themselves in neighboring towns. When this happens, not only do we lose out on increasing our tax base and tax revenues, but we also experience the added traffic and congestion to our streets and thoroughfares.
The third biggest issue facing Yorktown is our inability to plan long-term. Due to our stressed finances and the economic environment, we are unable to make long-term plans for capital improvement projects and technology enhancements. Our inability to make long-term plans will likely cause issues in the future and put an undue burden on our residents. We will be required to fix things on the fly when they break instead of prudently planning upgrades and enhancements to avoid these problems.
3. How do you propose to fix these issues?
I believe that we will need to continue to make the difficult decisions to keep our finances healthy and to keep an adequate General Fund Balance to maintain our credit rating. These decisions may include; consolidating or reducing services; reductions in our work staff, preferably through attrition; and increasing revenues through tax base increases.
We have to keep our local businesses viable. Doing so contributes to our Town’s fiscal health. Strong local businesses provide jobs, pay property taxes and make our Town attractive and a great place to do business. This in turn will attract new businesses and will help to keep our property taxes stable. We need to show prospective businesses that Yorktown is a great place to set up shop.
I recently launched a “SHOP YORKTOWN – SHOP LOCAL” program. I challenged every Yorktown resident to make immediate changes to their buying and shopping habits to benefit Yorktown and its businesses. I’ve challenged them to make more purchases in Yorktown. I developed a “Shop Yorktown – Shop Local” sign and logo which businesses are displaying in their windows to remind our residents about the importance of shopping locally.
I am on the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Counsel. We need to work harder to reach out to prospective businesses to promote Yorktown’s business community and the benefits of doing business here.
Once we fortify our finances and strengthen business development we will have the means to execute long-term planning needs. Proactively, we can establish our long-term capital improvement and technology enhancement needs now. Once they are identified, an action plan needs to be employed to prudently work these into our long-term plans and budgeting.
4. How are your solutions and approaches different than other candidates?
My campaign platform is extremely different from my opponents’ platforms.
My history shows that I have worked hard supporting many local charities throughout my life. These charities have raised money to assist others and to give back to Yorktown and its residents. I’ve made a career out of giving back and supporting volunteers.
Through knocking on voters’ doors and releasing issue-oriented newspaper ads, I have tried to reach out during the campaign to show the voters where I stand on issues. I have discussed the seriousness of the economic climate we are now facing and the need for someone on the Town Board that has actual experience in dealing with downturns in the economy in real-time money. I have showed you how I can turn the lessons I have learned in running a small business into practical solutions.
Instead of complaining about what isn’t working in Town, I have taken action to make a difference before I get into office. I have launched the “BUY YORKTOWN – BUY LOCAL” program to support Yorktown’s businesses and to make our residents aware of the importance of our local business community and buying locally.
If elected, I promise to continue the conversation.
5. What experience do you have to hold such a position?
As a business owner I bring a broad spectrum of strengths to the table with my background; financial prudence, long-range planning and sound business practices. I come from a customer service oriented industry and I plan to bring the same dedication and work ethic to the Town Board. I’ve had to make tough choices in this economy to keep my own business viable and I am prepared to do the same thing for the Town.
I have worked hard supporting many local charities throughout my life. These charities have raised money to assist others and to give back to Yorktown and its residents. I’ve made a career out of giving back and supporting volunteers. My goal is to bring the service back to public servant.
I welcome the input of others. I do not believe that I have the best ideas or the only ideas. I believe our residents often make great suggestions but unfortunately they are not always heard on the Board. I promise to never shut down the flow of valuable information. I promise to keep our government transparent. I will always listen to the input of others whether it’s from the business community or our concerned citizens. And I promise to always listen with an open mind and to keep the conversation going.
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