OSSINING, N.Y. -- Voters in District 9 got a chance to hear from county Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) and her opponent Peter Tripodi at a candidates forum on Oct. 24, sponsored by the Ossining Chamber of Commerce.
The forum, held at the Ossining Community Center, featured candidates for Ossining village and town government discussing the issues facing the village and town. The race between Borgia and Tripodi is the only contested election on the local ballot. District 9 covers Peekskill, Cortlandt and Ossining.
Borgia and Tripodi discussed such issues as property taxes and the housing settlement.
"The property taxes are an ongoing issue," Tripodi said. "It is forcing seniors and young families out of the area."
Borgia said the county faces the same issue as municipalities.
"We have to take care of infrastructure and maintain the great quality of life," Borgia said. "We have to make sure we care for the most vulnerable people."
Borgia talked about her time as supervisor of the Town of Ossining, where she faced a $1 million deficit and consolidated its police force with the county while cutting spending 18 percent.
"It required very creative thinking and a lot of teamwork," Borgia said. "It involved collaboration and cohesiveness."
Tripodi said while he has served on the Town Board, they have brought in more than 50 jobs.
"That brings tax revenue and building revenue," Tripodi said. "They frequent restaurants and other businesses. I want to take what I've done and expand it throughout the district."
Tripodi and Borgia both agreed the county tax burden can be lowered. Tripodi said he wanted public employee unions to contribute more to their health care, while Borgia pointed to her record of eliminating waste, including consolidating the courts in Ossining.
"That took a tiny bit of courage," Borgia said. "People don't like change. It was silly to have two separate courts when we could have one."
Borgia said the county was well ahead of schedule on its settlement with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that requires the county to build more than 750 units of affordable housing.
Tripodi said he was concerned HUD would mandate the county to sue municipalities to change their zoning, which Borgia denied was in the settlement.
"I would never vote to sue any town or district," Tripodi said. "I have written numerous letters to HUD officials to no avail."
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