Candidate who worked with Bush, Pataki and Clinton touts ticket’s economic development platform for Stony Point
BY RAQUEL OKYAY
Officials must address a “value crisis” as Stony Point residents continue to buckle under some of the highest taxes in the region, Stony Point Town Council candidate Thomas Basile told the Rockland County Times.
He is running alongside town supervisor candidate Dylan Skriloff (C,R,I), a local newspaper publisher, and GOP council candidate Jim Monaghan (R,I,W), a retired lieutenant from the NYPD. The candidates are running on a platform of economic development.
“Very high tax rates, falling home values and a shrinking commercial tax-base is forcing people out,” he said. “We have a flight issue in this community coupled with a lack of confidence that the government is working to lower taxes and provide more value for everyone’s dollar.”
The small business owner and adjunct professor at Fordham University graduate school is also the former executive director of the New York State GOP. Basile explained that tax policy and state mandates on local municipalities make the state of New York an unfriendly place for growth. “The Empire State used to be the place you came if you wanted to be successful. Over the last 10 years, we have sunk to the bottom of the index of personal and economic freedom.”
The state’s tax policy and mandated-costs are placing burdens on local municipalities who in turn increase property taxes which drives-away new business, he said. “In this section of the county we have lost over 2,000 jobs.”
Basile began his career with the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation during the George E. Pataki administration and went on to serve in the administration of Pres. George W. Bush in Washington D.C. where he was named director of Communications for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He also handled a number of special projects for the White House and State Dept. including Bush’s meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 2002.
“I want to give back to my community because I am raising a young family here,” said Basile, who is a married father of one and one on the way. “Before this election is over our family will grow by one with the birth of our daughter. We need to protect the quality of life for the next generation.”
The Fordham Law School graduate said his career has well-prepared him for a role in local government. “I have worked in government at the state and federal level and worked in the private sector including on marketing and economic development issues.”
Basile who accompanied former presidents Bush and Clinton to South Asia after the great 2005 tsunami said, “I have the right experience-mix for the challenges we face.”
Basile, the principal of Empire Solutions, a management-consulting firm that works with companies, organizations, governments and campaigns, said economic development will reduce tax rates for residents. “Stony Point has a depressed economic climate because the local government does not focus in a well-planned and coordinated way on spurring commercial development and incentivizing the investment community. “
“As a result Stony Point has falling home prices, rising taxes and a population that is increasingly distant – dissatisfied with their quality of life,” he said. “Seven out of ten people tell me one of three things: I’m leaving, I want to leave, or I wish I could.”
“The people lack the confidence in their government to be able to solve the problems that impact them,” said the public affairs expert. “We have a responsibility to try and turn that around.”
“Our ticket’s plan includes improving the relationship with the local business community, redevelopment of the town waterfront and a pro-active, organized approach to attracting investment capital,” said Basile, who also is a contributing writer for Forbes. “We cannot continue to do the same thing in the same way, and expect a different result.”
“Stony Point is a wonderful place. We are bordered by Harriman State Park and the Hudson River. We are fortunate to live here,” said the former advisor to the defense dept. in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. “One of the greatest battles of the Revolutionary War was fought here,” he said.
The Battle of Stony Point took place on the evening of July 16, 1779, where a highly trained, select group of George Washington’s army defeated British troops in a swift and daring assault under cover of darkness.
Basile said the Town of Stony Point has a unique history and valuable resources that need to be better leveraged. “In our economic planning we must work to try and bring tourism, visitors and other investors into our town. That’s the way to keep our greatest resource – our people.”
Election Day is Nov. 5.
Note- Skriloff is the editor of this newspaper