YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Two people are running for town supervisor this year. Incumbent Ilan Gilbert, a Democrat, is being challenged in his re-election bid by Republican candidate Matt Slater. The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Ilan Gilbert (D)

Why are you running for town supervisor?

Sign Up for E-News

I am running for a second term as town supervisor because I am proud of the work my administration has accomplished in my first year and want to continue to build on our accomplishments understanding that there are things that still need to be addressed.

The infrastructure in our town has been neglected for many years. I am proud of the success I have had in preparing our town to deal with winter storms, including the installation of back-up generators at town hall and the highway garage. I have increased allocations for our Highway Department to deal with snow and ice storms. People have noticed the improvements. I have additionally allocated funds to repair the Mohegan Avenue retaining wall, and negotiated with our local electric utilities resulting in their upgrading of their infrastructure in our town. 

When I came into office, we had roofs that were leaking in town hall, the courthouse, the police station, and at the Water Department. We have already repaired one roof and the other roofs are scheduled to be replaced this spring.

There are areas of our town that are still served by failing septic systems. I have worked tirelessly on behalf of residents in our Hallocks Mill Sewer District, who are relying on septic systems in some of our town’s most ecologically sensitive areas, to acquire funding to enable them to hook up to that sewer system. Though we have funding for the first phase of that project, I want to continue to work so that additional neighborhoods can avail themselves of sewers both in the Hallocks Mill Sewer District and in the Peekskill Sewer District. During April, I expect to meet with residents in some of these additional neighborhoods.

But there is still much work to be done. Years of neglect cannot be addressed in two years. I believe my administration has made great inroads in addressing these problems but I want to continue to work on behalf of our residents to make Yorktown better than I found it.

What do you enjoy about Yorktown and how do you plan to make it better?

I love the sense of community of our town. As promised, I changed the tone of government and want to continue to encourage on a local level the idea we have more that unites us than divides us.

I want to continue to encourage residents’ participation in the decisions that shape the future of our town. I have already taken such steps such as moving courtesy of the floor to the beginning of Town Board meetings and putting the Town Board work sessions on public access television. Also, in that vein, I have created the Economic and Business Revitalization Committee to examine with fresh eyes and perspective how to encourage economic growth and preserve that which makes our town special. They have already come up with valuable suggestions. I believe utilizing this talent shows vision and leadership on the part of my administration and in addition shows a willingness to hear the voices and desires of the members of our community to meet the Town’s current and future needs.

We are blessed with truly amazing and talented individuals living in our town. Perhaps our greatest strength is the intelligence, creativity and dedication of our townspeople. We will succeed if we continue to tap this wonderful resource.

Personally, I enjoy promoting the unique qualities of our town. In doing so, we are balancing our agricultural, historical and rural roots while enhancing our sports facilities and encouraging business growth in our community, all while embracing the town’s motto of “Progress with Preservation.”

Matt Slater (R)

Why are you running for town supervisor?

I am running for Yorktown town supervisor because I believe we need the right leadership for the next chapter of our town. I am a proud product of this community, graduating Yorktown High School in 2004, and now I am raising my family here.

Like so many neighbors I have heard from, I am frustrated by the stagnation under our current administration, while transformative projects are landing in towns all around us. Sadly, Yorktown has regained a reputation of being anti-growth and this ultimately hurts our local homeowners and taxpayers. According to a report by the Chamber of Commerce, Yorktown’s commercial tax base of just 10 percent is already the lowest in Westchester County, which means when revenue is needed, our local property owners become the target.

We are not better off than we were two years ago. There are more vacancies, more stalled developments and more taxes for the residential homeowner.

I have a keen understanding of what it will take to get Yorktown back on track. We need a proactive town government that embraces innovation as a way to cut red tape, maximizes the efficiency of town services and make town government easier to understand for everyone.

Having served more than 10 years in government, including the last four years as a chief of staff in the New York State Senate, I am proud to have been able to deliver for Yorktown in a number of ways already. I have built strong partnerships to tackle the issues that were important to residents such as the traffic light at the intersection of Route 118 and Route 129.

Along with Sen. Terrence Murphy and Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli, we delivered $1.9 million in state funds to fix our roads and an additional $250,000 to repave Quinlan Street this year. We also secured $80,000 for a new weed harvester for Mohegan Lake and tens of thousands of dollars in grant funding for organizations like the Alliance for Safe Kids, Drug Crisis in Our Backyard, Hilltop Hanover Environmental Education Center, and Teatown.

What do you enjoy about Yorktown and how do you plan to make it better?

I love that Yorktown still holds its small-town feel and values that are focused around our families. You can still run into your neighbors at the store, or at a local diner, and as a community we continue to invest in and support our schools, which are nationally recognized in a number of facets.

The problem is costs continue to rise and for years, with a few exceptions, Yorktown has dismissed opportunities for smart growth. Consequently, as the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce has demonstrated time and again, our tax base is focused squarely on our homeowners. This financial stress has pushed hundreds of families who are desperately seeking relief out of our community. Seniors are being forced to make difficult financial decisions and young families like mine simply cannot afford to move into our community.

My plan for Yorktown starts with being proactive. We cannot expect opportunities to come by sitting back in town hall and doing nothing. Just look at the failed expansion of the Jefferson Valley Mall. A proactive town government would have identified the obstacles they were facing rather than spend a year creating new bureaucratic hurdles like our current administration, which moved the goalposts. It is time we change our approach and finally dispel the anti-growth reputation that has eroded Yorktown and build partnerships that will produce good paying jobs and economic opportunities for everyone.

I also believe in the need for innovation. Our town government should be telling people how they can do things instead of why they can’t. Local governments around the nation, and quite frankly the world, are using modern technology to enhance services to make them more efficient and cost effective.

We need to cut through the red tape of an archaic town government and introduce online portals and open data platforms that allow for everything from the submission of project proposals, to the reporting of pot holes and allowing residents to sign up for our recreation programs. It’s the 21st century. We can we order nearly anything from our phones, tablets or computers but we are denied the ability to electronically apply for our town pool pass. These innovative efficiencies will make town government easier to use and give our town employees the modern tools they need to more effectively deliver for taxpayers.