YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A referendum to eliminate the highway superintendent as an elected position in Yorktown will not be put before voters in November.
During an outdoor meeting at Downing Park on Tuesday, two council members joined Supervisor Michael Grace in publicly opposing an appointed highway head and the creation of a department of public works.
Council member Dave Paganelli said he reached his decision following the three-hour July 25 informational meeting with Yorktown Citizens for a DPW, after listening to the concerns of department heads and speaking with more than 70 residents.
"I am very concerned about eliminating an elected position. My concern is that there is not enough time to educate the residents about the pros and cons of an elected highway superintendent versus a DPW," Paganelli said. "Plus, the voters will not be voting for or against a DPW, they would be voting to keep or eliminate the elected position of highway superintendent. We need to keep that in mind. I believe in direct accountability. By keeping the highway superintendent as an elected position, he or she is directly accountable to the voters."
Council member Nick Bianco and Paganelli said it appears creating a DPW would actually cost Yorktown more than the current system, not save $250,000 as the citizens group said.
"I have said repeatedly that I have an open mind on this subject and if it could be shown that taxpayer dollars could be saved and the efficiency could be maintained or exceeds what we have today, perhaps I would sign on to bringing this proposal forward. Unfortunately the committee has not made its case on either of my two points," Bianco said. "In fact, their financial analysis shows the opposite. Not one cent of taxpayer dollars will be saved. In fact, it will cost us money."
Only council member Vishnu Patel said voters should be given the chance to weigh in on the matter.
"The choices we make and the changes we make will later be our destiny. The DPW issue must still be alive. There are many people we still haven't heard from," Patel said. "I will still fight for the DPW. It's the right thing to do. You cannot deny the people the right to vote. You will be sorry."