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10 Questions: Tarrytown Candidate Thomas Basher

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Elections for village trustee are next week, and The Daily Tarrytown is preparing by asking each Tarrytown trustee candidate 10 questions about local issues, what they hope to accomplish and why residents should vote for them.

Six candidates are running for three open seats on the board of trustees. Incumbents Thomas Basher, Mary McGee and Robert Hoyt are running on the Democratic and Tarrytown United line. Challengers Alison Boldyrev, Eleanor Miscioscia and Christine Miscioscia are running on the Republican line.

The following questionnaire was filled out by Basher, who notes that he answered all non-personal questions together with Hoyt and McGee because they are running as a group.

Check back on Saturday for the last questionnaire. For previous questionnaires, check out our topics page .

Please tell us a little bit about you:

I'm president of Laser Print, Inc., a print broker company I founded in 1996. I grew up right here in Tarrytown. I graduated with a B.B.A. From Pace University. I've been a Tarrytown resident for 52 years. After getting married to Anne Marie, we lived for a short time in New Rochelle, but when the opportunity came to move back to Tarrytown we jumped at it. I knew from growing up here that the village had a charm of its own and the people who never stop at volunteering to help each other is a quality that is hard to find. I couldn't think of a nicer place to raise children so we decided Tarrytown was for us. I grew up in Tappan Landind and live there today.

What qualifications make you the best candidate for village trustee?

I think having served for 20 years on the board gives me the qualification of experience. I have always tried to serve the residents of Tarrytown with a common sense-approach, meaning that one must listen to the residents to hear what their concerns are and what directions they want the village to grow. A good example of that would be the open space debate a few years back, and the people decided to obtain open space in different parts of the village so it could never be lost. My thoughts on what a trustee should be are a policy-maker and have the hired professionals run the day-to-day operations of a village. I've seen in the past some try to get too involved in the day-to-day operations, and it just does not work and it's not fair to the department head or the employees.

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

Over the years I have been proudly involved in many organizations, and I will list a few here: Tarrytown Dad's Club, Transfiguration Parents' Guild, Hope Hose Fire Co No. 1, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Knights of Columbus. I have served as liaison for just about every committee over the past 20 years.

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

This Board has continually strived to keep expenditures and taxes as low as possible while still providing the services our residents deserve and expect. As evidence of this, we would point to the fact that our number of employees and salary expenditures have actually dropped over the last three budgets and the amount of property taxes collected has been flat. We are always searching for new sources of revenues other than the property tax – for example, we have requested that the state allow us to charge a hotel occupancy tax and we have received over $12 million in grants.

What are your opinions on affordable housing and Westchester's Housing Settlement?

We have always supported providing affordable housing. For example, we negotiated a commitment from the waterfront developer to provide 12 units of affordable housing at the site of the old village hall. In addition, we recently passed the new model affordable housing law that complies with the Housing Settlement.

What are your opinions on the new Tappan Zee Bridge and how would you address residents' concerns with construction and increased traffic?

Among the various issues we have raised with the state, we are extremely disappointed and dismayed that the new plans do not include any mass transit, in particular Bus Rapid Transit. Further, we are very concerned about the negative impacts of the bridge on our neighborhoods, especially how it will affect the Quay. We have submitted and will continual to submit official documents calling for the environmental review to address these issues. In addition, we will be monitoring the construction process closely and will work with State agencies to ensure that if project moves forward, these impacts will be minimized.

What are your opinions on the lawsuit Tarrytown has filed against Sleepy Hollow concerning the General Motors redevelopment?

Though we were reluctant to file the lawsuit and attempted to negotiate a resolution, we voted in favor of filing because the plans approved by Sleepy Hollow would create unacceptable negative traffic impacts on Tarrytown and there were no effective mitigation measures provided.

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

We clearly are in favor of working with other municipalities and have done so on many occasions. For example, with Sleepy Hollow, we run a consolidated day camp, share Warner Library and are currently working on developing a joint Public Access television station. In addition, we have worked with the other villages in Greenburgh to share equipment and jointly bid contracts, such as those for paving streets. These efforts have yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings to the villages. Also, we have recently submitted a grant application with Sleepy Hollow and Briarcliff Manor to study the feasibility of consolidating our water supply operations.

What other issues need to be addressed within the village?

The timely completion of the Pierson Park Project, implementing more efficient ways to deliver services in order to reduce costs, continuing to improve and update the water system, and always seeking additional revenue sources other than property taxes.

Why are you running for the position of village trustee?

I wish to see the completion of the Riverfront Park. The RiverWalk is complete, but the park and restoration to Andre Brook should be completed by next year, and I would like to see it through. Perhaps it should be said that this group of men and ladies I have the pleasure of serving with are the best total group I've had the pleasure to serve with, and you can be proud to have them represent you as your elected officials. I would be honored to be able to serve another two years with them.

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