by Rick Pezzullo
“We’re always looking to maintain services and make improvements and at the same time keep taxes as low as possible.”
Since 2000, as a village trustee for five years, and the last 12 years as mayor, Drew Fixell has been a mainstay in helping shape the Village of Tarrytown, but he’s not looking to rest on his laurels.
Fixell is running unopposed for a seventh term on November 7 with Democratic Committee-endorsed running mates, incumbent trustees Deputy Mayor Tom Butler, Becky McGovern (Ind.) and Doug Zollo (Ind.).
“There are always challenges in making Tarrytown a better place,” said Fixell, an executive of a family-owned financial investment firm who holds economic degrees from Harvard and Cornell universities. “There are always improvements that can be made, and it is rewarding and satisfying when things improve. With all that is happening in our village, the response to our government has been a positive one.”
Enhancing the village’s waterfront has brought particular satisfaction to Fixell, along with the opening of Tarrytown’s first-ever outdoor public swimming pool this summer, which more than 1,000 residents signed up for.
“I’ve only received positive feedback,” Fixell said of the pool. “The riverfront is looking wonderful. It’s the quality of life projects we’ve accomplished where I think we’ve made some very big leaps in making Tarrytown an attractive place.”
Such improvements have led to an increase in property values in Tarrytown, according to Fixell, who remarked, “Rents and home prices are rising, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for many people to afford to buy or rent in the village. Sometimes you’re a victim of your own success, and I am concerned about that too.”
“We don’t have a tremendous amount of control over our revenues and spending. We have a limited number of tools,” Fixell explained. “We operate under a tax system that leads to significant commercial assessment (and tax revenue) reductions despite strength in the local economy. We’re always looking to maintain services and make improvements and at the same time keep taxes as low as possible.”
With more people visiting Tarrytown, parking in the village is always at a premium. Fixell stated that Tarrytown was in “the last stages” of eminent domain proceedings in acquiring 21 parking spaces behind the former Citibank on Broadway that have been off limits since the bank closed last year.
He noted a longer-term project that could add more parking is a parking structure that may be built next to Village Hall, which is a concept that is being discussed in the station area planning initiative.
“The concept is to trade waterfront property that is currently used for parking to a developer who would then build a garage,” Fixell said. “It would provide commuter parking and more parking to Main Street.”
Tarrytown is also continuing to brace for more traffic when the former General Motors site in neighboring Sleepy Hollow is developed. Some minor changes being pondered are a traffic signal at Franklin Street and Broadway and improvements on the H-bridge.
“There are really no infrastructure improvements that can make a big difference on traffic,” Fixell said. “It remains to be seen what will happen there. It will take place very slowly. Simply removing parking spaces on Broadway just to speed traffic through the downtown is not an acceptable approach.”
Fixell reminded residents that access to the new bridge from Broadway will return once the entire span is completed next year.
“There have been quite a few slow afternoon commutes,” Fixell said of the traffic jams on Broadway. “Once the bridge is completed, traffic will move much more smoothly.”
Butler, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and Project Manager for Tishman Corporation/AECOM, served last year as deputy mayor, is the Liaison to the Planning and Zoning Boards, and is seeking a seventh two-year term on the board. McGovern, a retired teacher, is the Liaison to the Parks and Recreation Department and the Village Seniors; she is running for a sixth term. Zollo has been a trustee since 2005, after serving a previous two-year term from 1999-2000, and is the liaison to the Police and Fire Departments.