I have had the honor of serving Nyack as Trustee for the last six years. When my wife and I moved to Nyack, I immediately became involved on many committees, and applied both my urban planning and technology backgrounds in helping our community.
When Jen and I first ran for Trustee in 2009, the Village was in serious financial trouble. It suffered from a structural deficit, years of deferred maintenance, and had no professional management to deal with the situation.
I had a very specific 5 point plan to get us back on track. Looking back on what we have accomplished in the last 6 years, I am proud of our record, and amazed we have been able to achieve so much in so little time.
The 5 point plan, containing 15 specific recommendations, included the following items (see 2009 original):
- Create a more deliberative and open Village Board process
- Investigate consolidation with South and Upper Nyack
- Create an open and transparent Village Hall
- Professionalize the departments and add an administrator
- Create an environment to encourage Economic Development
Highlights of our achievements
- Budget — None of our other achievements would have been possible without stabilizing our budget. When we were first elected, the Village was in a fiscal tailspin, with a C- credit rating that made us unbondable. In just a year, we were able to raise our rating to BB and refinance our debt to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. This effectively erased our structural debt. The reason given by the bonding agency for our increased rating was that we had hired an administrator and were in the process of building the proper policies to manage our finances. We now have a AA- rating which has helped secure our sound financial standing we currently enjoy.
- Street Maintenance Plan and Improvements — With the budget stabilized and the ability to bond long term debt, we could address the deferred maintenance of our streets. We have issued two bonds for major road improvements, which included the major Main street improvements and Broadway end-to-end, along with many of the smaller, residential streets. In 2015, we are in mid-cycle and can not bond, but have been able to repave approximately 10% of our road surface, which is the industry standard to sustain a road network. See the village Street Maintenance project for more information. We have prioritized our streets based on condition and long term maintenance needs and each year residents will notice the improvement in our road network.
- Website/Transparency — I have put a tremendous amount of resources into building a best-in-class website to serve the Village. When I was elected, the Village had a 5 page website with no current information about what is going on. The site I have built connects residents with Village Hall, and accomplishes many of the goals from the 2009 plan. The site has automated alerts that people can sign up for, and a uniquely designed framework that integrates meetings, documents, people, and projects. I am continually making improvements, so please feel free to make suggestions on what you’d like to see.
- Economic Development — We have made a great effort to create a friendlier environment for economic development. We have reduced the costs of development, and improved the regulations and process. Two major cost items we addressed was reducing the building fees for larger projects, which were among the highest in the state, and reduced the requirement for affordable housing form 20% to a more realistic 10%. I am chair of the Land Use Technical Committee (LUTC) which guided the Village Board through three sets of changes to the zoning code, so that far less projects would have to go for unnecessary variance requests.
Work still to be done
- A new Broadway! — This helps fulfill Item 5-C (Streetscape Improvements) — We secured a $1.5MM TAP grant to redesign Broadway. We have hired the consultant and work is beginning. This is an exciting project to make Broadway work better for all modes of traffic, including pedestrians and bicycles.
- Marina — I am very excited about the new marina, and the opportunities for Nyack residents and visitors to access the Hudson river. The marina was in poor shape when we inherited it, and then suffered major damages from hurricanes Irene and Sandy. It took a tremendous amount of work to secure the FEMA and insurance money, but we were successful and are just finishing the repairs this Fall. Now we are ready to determine how we want the marina to be used. I want there to be rentals for kayaks and very small sailboats. One of Nyack’s greatest assets is the river, and most people are unable to use it. The Village actually owns a marina, which is amazing. I believe we should partner with other groups such as the Nyack Boat Club and private entities to run the marina, and not just for a few people who own their own boats, but for anybody who wants to get out on the river on a boat.
- Consolidation — In the 2009 election, one of my five action items was to work on the consolidation of the Nyacks (also, check out my YouTube video). I strongly believe that a combined Nyack would give us a sustainable tax base, and that our downtown and Memorial Park really is for all Nyackers. We did apply for a NYS grant to pay for a feasibility study, but it was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, we have increased coordination with South Nyack for street paving work. We have also begun discussions with South Nyack about a joint effort for recycling pickup. There is much more to do, and I will continue to look for opportunities to get us closer to a One Nyack.
My wife (Rosemary) and I were very deliberate in picking Nyack as the community we wanted to live in. Nyack has the is very important to us: a diverse population, a strong sense of community, a vibrant commercial core, and a traditional and pedestrian-friendly layout.
I got involved right after moving here, and want to use my background in planning and service to help improve our community.
- Foster Solutions (2000-present), my company specializes in web programming, market research, and automated systems.
- Senior Homeownership Specialist for Neighborworks America (2004-2006), a national program for low and moderate income families.
- City of Ithaca Planning Systems Manager (1990-2000) — In charge of or staff for many projects and programs including parks management, downtown urban design, development plans, parking studies, corporate park development, etc. Built and managed City’s Geographic Information System (GIS).
- Nyack News and Views — Co-founder
- Nyack Nature Conservancy — Worked with the Nyack Conservancy Board to develop the Park Plan.
- Member of Mayor’s Task force on the Superblock redevelopment
- Member of the Chamber of Commerce Parking Garage Task Force
- Chair of the Administrative Board of St. Paul’s Methodist Church of Ithaca
- Board President of Literacy Volunteers of Tompkins County
- Habitat for Humanity worker
- American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and American Planning Association member
- Member, Chamber of Commerce of the Nyacks
- Master of Regional Planning, Cornell University (1991)
- BA: Political Science, Amherst College (1986)