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Pilla Regains Seat As Port Chester Mayor In Close Win Over Ceccarelli

Dennis Pilla regains his seat as mayor of Port Chester. Photo Credit: File photo
Gene Ceccarelli, village trustee, fell short of beating Pilla on Wednesday. Photo Credit: File photo

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Former Mayor Dennis Pilla regained a seat he lost in 2013 on Wednesday, in a narrow victory over village Trustee Gene Ceccarelli.

Unofficial returns from the Port Chester Village Clerk's Office put Pilla ahead of Ceccarelli by 1,213 votes to 1,115.

"I can hit the ground running,'' Pilla said after his apparent win, saying he wants to develop a 100-day plan of action with the Port Chester Board of Trustees. "I'm going to load up the bases with some quick hits in the first 100 days to have an immediate impact."

Port Chester's two mayoral candidates differed the most over whether to build a new municipal center in the village's downtown. Pilla ran as a Democrat and on an independent line called "No Municipal Center."

The mayor's seat has a two-year term that begins on April 1, and pays $12,633 annually.

Ceccarelli, who ran for mayor on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, supports construction of a new police and court building at the corner of Poningo and Irving streets.

Pilla was first elected village mayor in 2007 but was defeated in 2013 by Neil Pagano, a Republican who decided not to seek reelection.

When Pilla was mayor, a study identified four possible sites to relocate police headquarters. Pilla estimates a new center could cost as much as $40 million and should be require a public vote.

Ceccarelli said misinformation was spread about the plan including its cost. He said the plan was not to buy the property, but have the National Development Council own and rent to the village.

The current police/court building is deteriorating, with Port Chester investing as much as $400,000 in the past year just to maintain it, Ceccarelli has said.

Ceccarelli chose to run after Pagano decided not to seek reelection, saying he didn't want the village to stagnate on projects like the municipal building and an overdue repair of a waterfront bulkhead -- which Pilla promised to take care of when he was mayor.

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