As this is my first column in the Rockland County Times, I think it’s a great opportunity to fill in the readers as to what has been going in in Orangetown since I first took office in January.
Most recently, I’m proud to have delivered a budget that actually reduces the tax levy here in Orangetown, which was made possible by months of intense work on the expense and revenue side of the equation, which resulted in both a reduction in authorized headcount (without a single person losing their job thanks to a new retirement incentive and vacant position policy) and an increase in interest income of about $500,000 per year due to renegotiated deals with local banks.
I was also proud to lead negotiations between the Town and the two school districts wholly located within our town that resulted in a full time School Resource Police Officer being stationed in both Pearl River and Tappan Zee high schools. After years of a single officer sharing part-time responsibility for the jobs, these officers have already embedded themselves in the districts and have been involved in keeping our kids safe from the dual threats of violence and drug activity they face, all while serving as positive role models.
Immediately upon entering office I also began our new Orangetown is Open for Business initiative. That began with now-ongoing grand opening ribbon cuttings for new businesses in town and our Featured Business Resident listing, in which great local businesses are highlighted on our Town website and social media. It continued with the hiring of an Economic Development and Tourism Director, who is also now responsible, after edits to our Town Code, for managing film permitting and growing revenue from that source to the Town.
That initiative continued with our Pearl River Downtown Revitalization/Transit Oriented Development Study, which is looking at ways to revitalize that downtown and give our young adults a place to live in our downtown between graduating from college and raising a family. That study is due back within the next couple of weeks, and meanwhile we have gotten underway with an Adopt-a-Spot program, with the first locations – Braunsdorf Park across from the train station in Pearl River and the train station itself – unveiled on Tuesday of this week.
It’s definitely clear that in Orangetown we’re working at full speed and with complete focus to Preserve our Town, Grow our Economy, and Lower our Taxes, and I look forward to continuing to share updates on our progress here in the Rockland County Times. If you know of a local business who would like to be a Featured Business Resident or have a ribbon cutting, or if you know of one that would like to be a part of our Adopt-a-Spot program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.