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10 Questions: Irvington Candidate Rocco Rasulo

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Elections for village trustee take place on March 20, and The Daily Tarrytown is preparing by asking each Irvington trustee candidate ten questions about local issues, what they hope to accomplish and why residents should vote for them.

Three candidates are vying for two open seats on the Board of Trustees. Incumbent Republicans Walter Montgomery and Rocco Rasulo are running against challenger and Democrat Mark Gilliland.

The following questionnaire was filled out by Rasulo. Previous questionnaires can be found on our topics page .

Please tell us a little bit about you:

I am a 52 year old widower of 10-plus years with three grown children: a 27-year-old boy and boy/girl twins that are 23. I am a food service design consultant working for a firm in White Plains, N.Y. I design commercial kitchens and bars worldwide. I grew up in Hastings and have been in Irvington for 25 years. Having grown up in the river towns, I was familiar with Irvington and my wife and I felt that Irvington was the right place for us to raise our family. It offered everything we needed and what we felt was important to raise our children.

What qualifications make you the best candidate for village trustee?

In my professional career as well as my private life, I am asked everyday to mediate issues that come up. Whether it’s sitting down with a room full of architects and engineers at work to move along a construction project, or mediating a tenant-tenant dispute at my co-op, I look to find common ground and try to resolve the issues at hand. Having also served on many Boards of Directors, namely my co-op and several charitable foundations, I am familiar with formulating budgets and have a good understanding of how to balance revenue with levels of service.

What committees and organizations are you involved with in the village and area?

The O’Hara Foundation, The Jason Bednarz Foundation, The 120 North Broadway Tenants Corp., The Hastings South Side Social and Athletic Club, The FACE Committee, The Irvington Woods Committee, The Community Advisory Board, The Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, and The Kayak Committee.

How would you address the tax cap and residents' concerns about higher taxes?

The slight of hand that has made its way from Albany in the form of this “tax cap” is really just an attempt by Albany to pass along the burden of trying to balance tax revenue with providing services. While we are close to bringing the budget in under the cap we are finding it very difficult to try and not cut essential services, which is all that is left to cut at this point. Bringing the tax levy barely in under the cap however, raises a whole new set of problems as the complex calculations required to figure out what your cap number is, is difficult to compute. The penalties for miscalculating are severe and may not be found for years. This may be another totally separate reason for over riding the cap, to avoid the severe penalties for an honest mistake. There have been no less than 77 municipalities that have had discrepancies in their calculations and have had to pay penalties of up to $154,000.00. This would be fiscally irresponsible when it could be avoided by a tax cap override.

What would you do to help revitalize the Main St. business district?

Continue to support the IBIC, Irvington Business Improvement Committee and The Chamber of Commerce in promoting the good business sense of shopping in Irvington. We need to make sure the local laws don’t restrict the businesses and help in any way possible to promote our current business community.

What are your opinions on the Waterfront Rezoning?

In dealing with the waterfront issue, we need to find a happy medium between the legislation we now have and how to integrate the current concerns articulated since we started this process. I’m not sure we need totally new legislation as it raises more concerns than it solves. There are several issues we are all concerned about. The viewsheds and setbacks all need to be addressed as they are very important to everyone. I believe the draft legislation has some very important features and should be incorporated into the current waterfront zoning.

What are your opinions on the Mercy College expansion?

It is apparent that the Mercy College plan is getting the necessary vetting it deserves. The plan is a large undertaking and the environmental impacts and other issues that must be studied, are being studied. I have been at all the Planning Board meetings, with the Mayor when both the Mercy College and Continuum Assisted Living Facility have been discussed to not only hear what the developers have to say but to listen to what the people of Irvington have to say. I will reserve judgment when I hear the FEIS studies on both and see how the Planning Board addresses them.

What are your thoughts on working with other municipalities and government agencies to share services?

These issues have been studied and on a large scale like joining police departments and fire departments, it was found that there would be no appreciable cost savings. On the other hand, Irvington has always sought to share equipment, purchasing power, and things like paving contracts. That is where we can, and do realize fairly significant savings.

What other issues need to be addressed within the village?

The single most important issue facing the village is balancing property taxes with the level of services we have become accustomed to. Westchester Magazine calls Irvington, “The Best Place in Westchester to Live," and I believe they are right. We need to provide our seniors with the services they need and offer our children the programs needed as well. I am committed to working with the village board, our Village Administrator and Village Clerk to find savings wherever possible and to continue to offer the services our residents deserve.

Why are you running for the position of village trustee?

I have been involved in volunteering my time since 1978 when I coached a women’s softball team in Irvington. If I feel I have something to offer then I will get involved. I have a hard time saying no when someone asks me to help. I feel I have the people skills to work together to a common cause. I also like to be involved and am genuinely happy when I can contribute to making a project successful.

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