BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Spring Valley – Allan Thompson, a longtime Rockland resident and former mayor of Spring Valley, is hoping to make a comeback in this year’s crowded campaign for the mayor of Spring Valley, running on a platform which seeks cooperative, urgent and effective solutions to the village’s stagnant financial state and corruption troubles.
“There is wasted time when you can sit at the table and negotiate in good faith and you get more accomplished,” Thompson explained in an interview with the Rockland County Times. “This is what I intend to do when I get back in August.”
Characterizing himself as a fiscal conservative with an intense focus on village-level affairs, Thompson claimed he helped save Spring Valley from near bankruptcy through the issuance of municipal bonds to plug up the deficit and the sale of the train station to Metro-North, earning the village $3.6 million and helping to push the village’s bond rating up to A3 status.
“Running the village is no different from running a corporation,” Thompson said. “The bottom line is that for the village you are giving service and you are taking peoples’ money by the way of property taxes and fees and so forth, and so you’re supposed to be very careful and you’re supposed to give the very best service there is.”
Thompson, a graduate of the Kennedy School of Business at Harvard who has lived and operated businesses in Rockland since the late 1980s, is not coming into the race from a vacuum, either. Before his stint as mayor in 1993, he ran for the village’s Board of Trustees twice, making valuable connections throughout each stage.
In particular, Thompson touted his lobbying efforts that eventually brought $170 million to the Union State Bank of the first Banking District in Spring Valley. If elected, he hopes to continue his work attracting banks.
In the wake of the bribery scandal which ensnared Mayor Noramie Jasmin and former Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, Thompson’s first actions will focus on cutting out corruption and waste, he said. In office, he hopes to conduct a complete forensic audit of Spring Valley and its village departments, reduce all discretionary salaries by ten percent and review all village-owned or leased cars for possible cuts.
Many of Thompson’s other major goals for Spring Valley are continuations of his market-based tax policy. As such, Thompson plans to draw new businesses to areas such as the neglected storefronts of Main Street with tax incentives and both state and federal assistance.
“Commerce is what drives the growth of a village,” Thompson said. “We need commerce here badly, and so I am ready, willing and able. I have the leadership skills and I am ready to work.”
The business renewal is only part of his broader plan of urban renewal. To protect new businesses, Thompson also hopes to centralize police and government downtown and keep the tax rate below the two percent state cap, allowing greater opportunity for entrepreneurs and residents to thrive without crime or heavy tax burdens.
Thompson’s plans are tailored to the particular issues facing Spring Valley, but he explained he is the same man with the same connections. Hence, he hopes to work fast with connections he already has on all levels of government to boost the village’s economy, using all tools at his disposal.
“I won’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Thompson said. “I know where to go for what.”