| by Rick Pezzullo |
With the village doing well financially and many projects underway, Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell said he was somewhat surprised to be challenged this year, particularly by the person he unseated 10 years ago whose only attempt to return to public service since then was an unsuccessful run for the Irvington Board of Education.
However, Fixell, who is running on the Democratic and Tarrytown United party lines, stressed he was proud of his administration’s accomplishments and was hopeful residents would see no reason to return his opponent, former mayor and trustee Paul Janos, to office.
“I believe we’re doing a good job and hopefully the residents will recognize that,” Fixell said. “We’re going to run on our record. The village just keeps moving forward and is doing very well. I don’t think change for change sake is necessarily positive.”
Before being elected mayor, Fixell, a financial analyst who holds economic degrees from Harvard and Cornell universities, served five years as a trustee. He emphasized that under his leadership, the tax levy in the village has increased annually by 2.9% since 2005 and 1.4% since 2008, as compared to Janos’ administration from 1999 to 2005, where the tax levy increased by 7.3% annually.
In addition, Fixell noted the village’s bond rating has increased two levels over the last 10 years.
“Financially we’ve been very successful,” he said. “We want to keep going with waterfront improvements, affordable housing, the outdoor swimming pool, and additional projects for the train station area—Just getting better all the time with a conservative financial approach.”
Fixell said he would be paying close attention to two major projects that sandwich the village: the new Tappan Zee Bridge and the mixed-use development planned on the former General Motors site in Sleepy Hollow.
“We’ve always worked well with our neighbors. We never put up walls between us, even when we were in court,” Fixell said. “It doesn’t do us any good to be in any battles.”
He maintained the seven members of the Tarrytown Board of Trustees being together for the last eight years has had its benefits.
“We’ve been together but we’re not a block. We haven’t been stagnating,” Fixell said. “I don’t believe we’re stuck in our ways. We’ve shown we can adapt. We’re not all automatically on the same page. We hear what people have to say. I think experience is very valuable.”
Janos is running alone on the Our Town Party line. Former owner of Tarrytown’s Main Street Café, Janos is currently director of sales and marketing for National RE/Sources at Hudson Harbor. Repeated phone calls left for Janos on his personal line at his office seeking comment on his reasons for looking for a second chance as mayor were not returned.
With the Hudson Harbor project still not completed and the Board of Trustees regularly discussing matters related to the development and surrounding waterfront, Fixell questioned how Janos could provide any unbiased input given his current position with National RE/Sources.
“I would imagine he would have to recuse himself from everything with the waterfront development, anything that touches upon his employer,” Fixell said. “It would be a pretty peculiar situation. On its face it does create an apparent conflict of interest.”
Polls will be open on Wednesday, March 18 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.