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Questions for Bronxville Candidate Longobardo

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – The March 20 village elections are quickly approaching and even though newcomer Guy Longobardo and incumbent Anne Poorman are running unopposed for the two open seats on the Bronxville Village Board, The Daily Bronxville is asking candidates to weigh in on pertinent village topics.

Longobardo is the first of the two candidates to have his answers published.  He is running on the Republican, Independent and Conservative lines. Poorman’s Q-and-A will appear on The Daily Bronxville later this week.

Tell us about yourself.

Guy A. Longobardo. Age 50. I have a business and a legal background. I raised my two daughters here and both graduated from Bronxville High School, one in 2008 and one in 2010. I have lived in Bronxville since 1969, went to the Bronxville School and then to Williams College, where I majored in economics and I received my law degree from Columbia University.

What qualifies you to be a village board member?

I have been actively involved in the village for a long time. I served as deputy village counsel from 1991 through 1996, was a member of the village's Long Range Planning Task Force and more recently served on the zoning board, from 2007-2009. I also served as a member of the Non-Partisan Committee and I was active at the Bronxville School before my daughters graduated, serving on the high school council in a number of capacities.

What would you like to accomplish if elected?

I think that the most relevant skill that I would bring to the position of trustee is that I am a problem-solver. I work hard to find solutions to problems and to implement those solutions. I was trained as a lawyer and have worked for much of my career as an attorney. I also have significant business experience, including as CEO of a troubled company that I was hired to bring out of bankruptcy. As a result of my professional experience, I have been involved in, and had responsibility for, a wide variety of matters and have experience in business, legal, financial, and employee issues. I would like to use my skills and my experience to work with the other trustees, Mayor (Mary) Marvin and Village Administrator (Harold) Porr to find solutions to the issues that arise in the village and to implement those solutions.

What are the three biggest issues facing the village today?

I think that the three biggest issues are as follows:

Village residents face an imposing tax burden, not just from the village and the school, but also from the County of Westchester, the Town of Eastchester and the fire district. The challenge is to work to ensure that those taxes that the board can actually control—our village taxes—are kept as low as possible, while at the same time maintaining the level of services village residents expect. This has been made more difficult because the New York State imposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases does not have a carve-out for capital expenditures by the village and at the same time that the state is imposing a cap on tax increases.  It also imposes unfunded mandates on the village, such as pension contribution requirements and the provisions of the Wicks law.

The flooding situation. The repeated flooding in the area of the school and Garden, Meadow and Tanglewylde avenues and in the Paxton Avenue/Parkway Road area disrupts the village, in addition to having a financial cost. It disrupts our school, disrupts our children's educations, disrupts the lives of residents and disrupts businesses in the village. FEMA recently recommended funding approval for planning and design work on a project that will help mitigate some of the impact of storms, particularly in the area of the school, and it is essential that this project be assessed and pursued in a cost-effective manner as expeditiously as possible. This requires the efficient marshaling of the engineering, planning, financial and construction resources and coordination with the school administration. I believe that this is something that I could help with.

The impact of the Affordable Housing Settlement on the village: While in my view there are serious questions about the manner in which former County Executive (Andrew) Spano acted—in both the signing of the false documents that gave rise to the original legal action and in negotiating a settlement that binds local communities that received no benefit from those falsehoods, the county and its towns and villages are impacted by the settlement. There are issues created by the attempt of HUD to impose requirements that override local laws and also by its attempt to expand the terms of the settlement. However, the village has an obligation under the agreement to work to find appropriate locations for the development of affordable housing. I believe, as with the other issues, that I can help the trustees, Mayor Marvin and Mr. Porr work to find solutions that meet the village's obligations under the settlement.

Would you change anything about how the village board and the library board handled the dispute with Laura Eckley.

As a long-time village resident I know a number of people on both the library and village boards and know them to be hardworking, intelligent and ethical people, who have volunteered their time to serve their fellow villagers. I only know about the dispute involving Ms. Eckley from what I have read in the news and I believe that it would be inappropriate for me to opine on how the dispute was handled by either board, or by Ms. Eckley for that matter, as I have not heard the facts from those involved.

It is looking likely that Bronxville will receive $6 million to complete a flood remediation project. But the village and the school will have to raise 25 percent of the total cost of the grant. What are your thoughts on how to raise those funds and how you will garner public support for the plan?

As I note above, flood mitigation is a critical issue for the village. Because the flooding impacts a very large proportion of village residents—those who have children in the school or who live in the areas impacted by flooding—it would seem logical that there would be support for a well-thought out solution. I have not had the opportunity to speak to village or school officials about the funding issues, but I would suggest that at least a portion of the funding be obtained through the issuance of bonds. Thankfully the village has done a terrific job of maintaining its excellent credit rating, which has the effect of lowering our borrowing costs.

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