On Tuesday, March 21, we will be running for election to the Pelham Village Board of Trustees.
We hope to bring a fresh perspective to the board, along with a commitment to fostering a sense of unity and optimism to move our community forward. If given the opportunity to serve, we intend to advocate for the following:
1. Increased community engagement to build a new, collective vision
2. Responsible and creative policies to revitalize our local economy;
3. Sustainable initiatives to preserve our home for the next generation.
Many residents have candidly expressed to us a sense that there is “a deep disconnect between those who run the Village and those who live in the Village.” Addressing this disconnect will be our first priority. After all, the most important job we have as potential trustees is to elevate your priorities and concerns. Engaging the community to develop a new Comprehensive Plan will give us the ability to do just that. Unlike previous planning efforts in 2007 and 1989, we envision a process that is far more intentional about receiving input from as many people as possible: we will knock on doors to speak directly with residents, meet with local businesses and non-profits, visit with community groups, houses of worship and seniors—and even meet with our kids at their schools. At the core of those meetings will be one central question: What can we do to help you thrive?
In our own small way, we’ve already begun this work. You can share your priorities and concerns at PelhamForward.com.
In addition to engaging the community, we believe we must revitalize our local economy in a responsible way. Generating additional business activity—and revenue for our local government—is critical to reducing the property tax burden we all feel. What often seems to be overlooked are the many ways to generate economic activity that don’t require changes to existing zoning laws and building regulations.
For example, due to recent efforts at the state and county level, production for television shows, films and commercials has soared in the last few years. It’s generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for towns throughout Westchester, including Bronxville and Mamaroneck. In 2015, Mount Vernon brought in over two hundred thousand dollars in film permit fees alone. This is an industry that can be custom-made for our Village, given Pelham’s historic architecture and scenic downtown. Unfortunately, we are one of the few places not enjoying this recent economic activity.
We will lean on Chance’s 11+ years of experience in this industry, as a film producer and professional actor, to streamline our permit process and develop an incentives package to attract location scouts looking for places to shoot their projects. In addition to the financial benefits, bringing this industry to Pelham will provide a boost for our local culture and supplement the work done by Pelham's arts organizations. It’s easy to forget that not all industries require storefronts. Film production is just one example. From farmers markets to mobile art galleries, there are tremendous opportunities out there.
Finally, we believe that if we truly wish to move our community forward, we must make decisions that will benefit Pelham’s next generation. With Ariel’s 15+ years of experience working on environmental issues, she will champion the numerous ways we can make our village more sustainable, including: increasing recycling and reducing organic waste; encouraging green building design and renewable energy use; establishing bicycle lanes; and pursuing clean energy retrofits for village facilities, which could save us thousands of dollars in heating and fuel costs each year.
Governor Cuomo recently recognized New Castle as the first designated Clean Energy Community of its size in the mid-Hudson region, making it eligible for large amounts of clean energy-related grants and additional funding. With the release of New York State’s clean energy goals for 2030, now is the perfect time to embrace efforts that promote sustainability. We believe Pelham should be at the forefront of this movement.
It’s a privilege to run for the Village Board of Trustees. We’re excited to find ways to engage our community and leverage our innovation and creativity to move Pelham forward. If elected, we will do everything we can to ensure that Pelham’s future is a bright one. On March 21st, we hope you give us the opportunity.
Please join us for a Party with the Candidates from 7-9pm on Friday, March 17th 2017 at the home of Chris Reim and Colleen Stokes, 14 Benedict Place, Pelham NY. Drink wine, be merry and talk local politics.
@PelhamForward on Facebook