PORT CHESTER, N.Y. As residents of the Village of Port Chester ring in the New Year by making New Years resolutions, Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla is making a few of his own.
It is my dream to ultimately make Port Chester a best practice model for local government, and I think were headed that way, Pilla said over the phone. My two big resolutions for 2012 are just examples of that best practice model.
The two resolutions Pilla said are the continued collaboration by the board of trustees to achieve win-win outcomes and solutions, and continuing the lightening of the load on village property taxes.
While our new trustee election brought us a board with diverse opinions, members of the board have not, at times, been respectful in their disagreement, Pilla said.
The new trustee election, which was held in June 2010, came as a result of a lawsuit won by the U.S. Department of Justice claiming the villages Hispanic population was not being adequately represented at the polls.
As a result, the village adopted a cumulative voting system, similar to a system used to elect a publically traded companys board of directors, in which each voter is given six votes one for each seat on the board to use at his or her discretion.
The vote ended up yielding the highest number of voters for a board of trustees election in the villages history. The vote, which elected Port Chesters first African-American and first Hispanic board members, is just one of the win-wins Pilla said he is referring to.
He is also pleased with the villages proposed Sewer Rent Project, which looks to change sewer rent from being based on property value to usage.
Ive always wanted to shift burden away from property taxes, Pilla said when asked how he came up with the system. Its a matter of getting our staffs and board to think out of the box, to consider other possibilities.
Pilla hopes the project, which is scheduled to go into effect in June, will serve as a model for other government services like garbage and recycling.
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