Westchester Chapter Of Women's Council Of Realtors Meets With Mayors

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The Women's Council of Realtors President Roseann Paggiotta, back row second from right, welcomed six mayors and representatives to the group's meeting. The moderator, Leah Caro, Principal Broker of Bronxville-Ley Real Estate, second from left, back.
The Women's Council of Realtors President Roseann Paggiotta, back row second from right, welcomed six mayors and representatives to the group's meeting. The moderator, Leah Caro, Principal Broker of Bronxville-Ley Real Estate, second from left, back. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- The Westchester Chapter of the national Women's Council of Realtors hosted six Westchester County mayors and their representatives Monday at the group's March meeting.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, Mayor Ernest Davis of Mount Vernon, Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina, Ossining Mayor Bill Hanauer and Mayor Tom Roach of White Plains and a representative -- Wilson Kimball -- of Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano spoke to the 100-member group and guests about their respective communities.

Council President Roseann Paggiotta introduced the program and Leah Caro, President and Principal Broker of Bronxville-Ley Real Estate was the moderator. Each mayor spent time talking about his community then the group answered questions from the audience.

"White Plains is not only home to our residents but a second destination spot for many Westchester residents," Roach said. "It's the first place many teens are allowed go to when parents allow them to travel. We are a destination city for shoppers and those looking for restaurants and entertainment."

Hanauer spoke about the revitalization of Ossining with building on the waterfront, Main Street and elsewhere.

"Main Street has undergone a face lift and we have a much-improved downtown streetscape," Hanauer said. "Avalon Bay is already partially occupied (on the waterfront)."

Kimball said the real estate community is an integral part of of the growth and success of every community. Yonkers is developing along its waterfront with residential and commercial real estate.

"There are things happening all the time in Yonkers, with 200,000 people moving and growing in all directions," Kimball said. "You (realtors) can help change the face of a city and our Mayor Michael Spano supports your efforts to build the community."

Bramson said his city has tried to accentuate the blend of commercial, residential, cultural and mixed use real estate in New Rochelle.

"We've seen some success over the last 20 years in all aspects of development for our communities," Bramson said. "It's is often difficult to build projects. For hose of us who are engaged (in development), we need to be working together to build our communities. That's why I'm pleased to be part of this event."

Davis said Westchester's communities are tied together and good planning the key to improvement in struggling towns and cities.

"We've tried to engender our community with a sense of purpose," Davis said. "Although we have often not seen expectations fulfilled, we have a history of producing great people. Mount Vernon is seeking real estate development and we are there to support that effort."

Catalina said he has begun supporting the real estate community by working to repeal the one percent exit tax on sellers of properties and other levies. The mayor said the city must improve its school system to make its real estate more attractive.

"Peekskill is open for business," Catalina said. "We want to make it more welcoming for developers to build (in the city). We're three square miles of great real estate. And we have the Hudson River, which can help Peekskill move forward. We're reaching out to developers (such as Ginsberg) to come in and invest in rebuilding."

The Women's Council of Realtors has 16,000 members nationwide and 300 local and state chapters.

For more on the Women's Council of Realtors, visit the organization's website

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In the past two weeks, more than 140 petitioners have signed a petition I created to eliminate the transfer tax in Peekskill: http://www.change.org/petitions/frank-catalina-eliminate-the-transfer-tax. Three local realtors have signed the petition and organizing efforts are just getting underway. I initiated this effort because my family and I will be paying at least $3,000, or the equivalent of nearly a 50% property tax increase, when we sell our home in Peekskill this year. We do not call that a "transfer tax" - we call that deeply unfair to homeowners. This local funding mechanism does not promote good governance, and it needs to go. I invite all interested to sign the petition - particularly if you live or work in Peekskill.

Who's Bramson kidding? New Rochelle hasn't had any development that didn't come with massive tax abatements for well over 25 years. He'll try to tell you that the new residents won't use this or that service but they do. And the problem then becomes everyone's problem because the remaining residents then have to pay extra.

Pathetic remarks from Mount Vernon's mayor.