On Wednesday I voted against ETPA. The intentions of this program are good for Ossining—keeping the village affordable and protecting tenants. Unfortunately, in practice, ETPA has too many unintended consequences that will be detrimental for the majority of Ossining residents—homeowners, small businesses and tenants alike. It also undermines the progress we’ve been making on upgrading substandard housing—which is one of our greatest housing challenges. Unfortunately, three trustees on the Board saw things differently.
The best thing I can say about the ETPA vote is that at least now we can direct Village time and resources to important initiatives like reopening the Comprehensive Plan to envision the community we hope to be for the next decade and beyond. ETPA has demanded a lot of bandwidth this year, and I’m eager to focus our efforts on initiatives that are forward-thinking, and driven by and for Ossining.
ETPA is only one policy. If we have learned anything with our recent focus on housing, we know there are a lot of strategies for improving our local economy, keeping taxes low, and providing safe affordable housing. With the right leadership, Ossining has a brilliant future.
Our village is in a better position than we have been for many years. Under my leadership, we are experiencing thriving new businesses and progressive policies, while holding the line on taxes. The next step for Ossining is smart mixed-income development that feeds our local economy and balances the needs of our crowded schools.
Like any important decision, I thoroughly researched the pros and cons of ETPA, and the impact it would have on our whole community. It is unfortunate that ETPA supporters often resorted to simplified rhetoric suggesting that if you support ETPA you care about tenants, and if you don’t support this policy, you don’t care about tenants. Understanding the comprehensive implications of tax assessment and heavily bureaucracy-laden state programs demands more than politically charged sound bites. I fought hard for the position I believed in. The votes were cast. We’ll see if there are legal challenges or implementation hiccups, but that’s unlikely. Now it’s time to look ahead.
The debate about ETPA has energized our community. I encourage voters to direct that energy to the voting booth on September 13 for the Democratic Primary Election. Primary elections in an off-year have notoriously low turnout. Off-year General Elections fair only marginally better. Perhaps this year can be different. Elections have consequences. I ask Ossining residents to get out and vote, and I hope you vote for me.