In Soundview Rising, January 4, 2013
The Mayor of New Rochelle, Noam Bramson, recently announced his candidacy for County Executive. Bramson is used to working on a City Council that has a majority of Democrats who will usually approve his initiatives. In the County he would likely face a thoughtful majority of County legislators who will not automatically "rubber stamp" anything he proposes. The County Board of Legislators have already shown their willingness to approve the 2013 County budget in a bi-partisan way.
Development in downtown New Rochelle has brought few benefits to the City . There were excessive 30 year tax abatements given to Avalon while Bramson was serving. Along with this there has been an increased need for City services in the downtown. Yet City services have been continually cut in recent Council budgets. This leaves all residents somewhat vulnerable.
County legislators know Westchester County now has the highest real estate taxes in the United States. Consequently, the budget they approved complied with the New York State tax cap. The Democratic majority for the New Rochelle, on the other hand, passed a budget that was 6.99%, far above the recommended 2.49% tax cap.
New Rochelle has been unsuccessful in increasing the sales tax. To make up for the lack sales tax in the budget and lowered assessments, fees have been added, e.g. the garbage fee. Gimmicks of this type are not the answer to a healthy vibrant city or county economy.
Noam Bramson has a long way to go to find ways to reduce Westchester residents' taxes. New Rochelle resident Lorraine Pierce said it "should be noted that Noam Bramson is a part time Mayor and is not responsible for preparing the City Budget or running the everyday operations of the City. In all his years as Mayor he has no significant achievements that would warrant his candidacy for County Executive." The Vice President of the South End Civic League, Rosemary Spalin felt, "During his time in office to the City he had overlooked many opportunities for growth in the City. He has limited work experience and has been Nita Lowey's speech writer. How does he think can handle the work of the County?" "Well," Bob Petrucci stated, "it would seem a logical move for Noam's personal ambitions, especially since being Mayor of New Rochelle is a political dead end. However, his limited management experience might be an issue. More importantly, as a Democrat it would seem a problem for the Party as one would think Ken Jenkins should be next in the pecking order and more representative of party members."
Predictably, Bramson's projected initiatives will undergo serious examination in a campaign for County Executive.