The candidates for Clarkstown Town Council split down party
lines when it came time to discuss their positions on term limits at Thursday’s
Candidates Forum in Congers.
Republicans John Noto and George Hoehmann said they favored term limits. Democrats Robert Pitkofsky and Stephanie Hausner opposed term limits. Hausner and Hoehmann are both incumbents, seeking re-election.
“I think it’s good to get a turnover over time in any government body,” said Hoehmann of Nanuet.
Hausner said she did not think term limits were necessary because that is the purpose of elections. The New City resident said term limits could result in the loss of good people and good relationships with other levels of government.
Campaign reform including the end of cross endorsements needs to be addressed first said Pitkofsky of New City.
Noto, who is also on the Preserve Rockland-Clarkstown line, said political offices are not meant for lifetime employment. The New City resident said there should be a change of people in elected offices and that imposing term limits would eliminate a lot of issues, which develop because officials lose their focus on the people.
Town Supervisor candidates Brian Moran of New City and Alex Gromack of Congers spoke about financial issues. Moran is running on the Preserve Rockland-Clarkstown line against Gromack, who is the incumbent and candidate of the Democratic, Working Families, Independence and Conservative parties. The Republican candidate withdrew from the supervisor’s race in July.
“I’m worried because I see along with a lot of other members of this community a town that is going in a bad direction,” said Moran. “Our taxes are up. Our schools are closing. And money is being spent on what I think are the wrong things.”
Gromack talked about the strength of business confidence in the town citing the soon to open Shops At Nanuet as an example.
“Our revitalization programs in every hamlet are bringing new opportunities and new business and expanding our business tax base,” he said.
The candidates had different thoughts on the greatest challenge facing the county and town.
Noto said taxes were the problem and out of the box solutions were needed to deal with them. Hoehmann said spending was the issue and creating greater efficiencies such as shared services with other towns or the county would be a priority if he were re-elected. Pitkofsky said ways to attract young professionals to the county and enable senior citizens to stay are key concerns. Hausner also said demographics particularly the county’s increasing senior population could not be ignored.
While Moran spoke about keeping Clarkstown the same and avoiding problems like those facing East Ramapo, Gromack said the town has the most stringent penalties and strictest zoning codes in the county.