OSSINING, NY — October 15, 2019 — On Election Day this year (November 5th), the Ossining Town Board will ask voters whether they support the conversion of the elected offices of Tax Receiver, Town Clerk, and Highway Superintendent to appointed offices.
The Election Day vote is the culmination of the first phase of ProjectForward, a grant-funded effort by the Town to engage voters on the broad concept of streamlining and modernizing town government. A resident survey and multiple engagement forums and formal public hearings allowed residents to react to the aforementioned concepts developed by the Town.
“This is entirely in the hands of our Ossining voters,” said Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg.
“We have made the case that we will save money in the future by working towards combining the offices of Tax Receiver and Town Clerk, which positively impacts all voters in the Town. And the Highway Superintendent position, which only services residents in the unincorporated area of the town, would still exist, as would all the staffing and services. But we’d get a lot more flexibility to negotiate future efficiencies while preserving town services.”
The Town of New Castle, Town of Cortlandt, Town of Yorktown, Town of Greenburgh, and more have shifted at least one of the positions of Clerk, Receiver or Treasurer, and Highway Superintendent from elected to appointed. The Town of Mt. Pleasant recently added a referendum to their November 2019 ballot to eliminate the elected office of Highway Superintendent. Residents of the Town of North Castle recently voted to eliminate the elected Office of Receiver of Taxes. Within the Town, both the Villages of Ossining and Briarcliff Manor have appointed Treasurers, as well as appointed positions equivalent to Superintendent of Highways. The functions of a Village Clerk are performed by an appointed “unclassified” employee in the Village of Briarcliff Manor. In the Village of Ossining, the position of clerk is shared with the Town of Ossining through an inter-municipal agreement.
The three separate ballot initiatives will be available to vote upon starting October 26th with early voting. In Ossining, the early voting location is the Ossining Community Center, 95 Broadway, Ossining on the upper level and will be open from October 26th–November 3rd with hours as follows: Saturday, October 26th and Sunday, October 27th, 12 pm to 5 pm; Monday, October 28th, Wednesday, October 30th and Friday, November 1st, 8 am to 4 pm; Tuesday, October 29th and Thursday, October 31st, 12 pm to 8 pm; and Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd, 12 pm to 5 pm. On Election Day, November 5th, voters will vote at their regular polling places from 6 am to 9 pm.
“This is not a radical proposition,” said the Supervisor. “The reason so many of our neighbors are doing this is that the era of the tax cap and SALT (increased federal taxes), and the rise of new technologies, have made modernization and streamlining of small government a priority for everyone.”