PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – This March, the village of Pleasantville will hold a village election with four candidates vying for two spots on the Board of Trustees. Two incumbents, Stephen Lopez and Jonathan Cunningham, will be on the ballot as well George Dolce and Colleen Griffin Wagner. Residents will have the opportunity to choose two out of the four candidates. Kevin Martin was originally slated to be on the ballot but it was recently determined that his petition was invalid and his name was removed from the ballot. None of the candidates are affiliated with a national political party.
The Daily Pleasantville spoke with incumbent candidate Stephen Lopez about himself and his plans for Pleasantville if he is reelected on March 20.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Stephen Lopez: I’ve lived in Pleasantville since 1989. I have seven children. My wife is a journalist. I have two backgrounds, one as a city planner and one as a landscape architect. What I do is provide coordinated analysis and site-development services for a variety of clients in the private sector and I also do some municipal consulting. I have an office in Pleasantville and I work for a firm in Cold Spring.
What sort of organizations or groups are you involved with in the village?
SL: I was on the Planning Board for 13 years until I was elected as a trustee three years ago. I was a co-coordinator for the Central Business District Redevelopment Committee. I’ve also been an AYSO coach for years and years.
During your time on the Board of Trustees, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
SL: It’s hard because there’s a lot of different issues that the Board of Trustees deals with. One of the more interesting things that I realized when I first became a trustee was that the village of Pleasantville had 60-something vehicles owned by the village. And I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why Pleasantville had that many vehicles. So what I suggested what we do was essentially was purchase new vehicles that we needed and get rid of the old ones. So for example, the Department of Public Works got rid of two old trucks, one plow truck and one sand truck, and purchased a new truck which was a combination of the two. So we were able to cut our manpower in half for those services. Which is one of those nitty-gritty costs that you don’t really realize until you get in there.
What do you think are the three biggest issues right now in Pleasantville?
SL: Budget concerns and the affordable housing settlement are two. And the other biggest concern is the consolidation issue. We’re currently talking with the county about consolidating our police services and we previously looked at the possibility of eliminating our sanitation department.
How do you think you can resolve these issues if you are re-elected?
SL: One of my strongest focuses has been on maintaining a reasonable tax base. My view is that if we can keep taxes low and services good, the opportunities for working within that frame work will be a great assistance for taxpayers like me who feel that the tax level in our community is outrageously high. I was disappointed with the budget process last year that voted against the budget, and this year when the two percent tax cap came up and the board was discussing potentially overriding it, I flat out said I’m not voting for it. I think we need to live within our means the same way we do in our personal lives.