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Duffy Says His Job is Not Yet Complete

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – With his background as a CPA, Charles Duffy won the supervisor’s race two years ago, promising to get the town back on the right fiscal path. He’s says he’s done that, but the job is not yet complete and he’s hoping voters will send him back to the town house for two more years.

Duffy moved to Lewisboro in 2000 when his wife was expecting their first child, Ethan. They now have two children. He was born in Mt. Kisco and graduated from Horace Greeley High School 27 years ago. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in MIS and an MBA, he gained the experience necessary to sit for the CPA exam with Coopers & Lybrand. He has 20 years of experience as an auditor, budget director, controller and chief financial officer.

If he does win, Duffy will become the first supervisor who was opposed to be re-elected in the last 10 years. He said that lack of continuity has contributed to some of Lewisboro’s problems.

“With it being just a two-year term, it does set you up for failure,” he said. “They can say, ‘see, he hasn’t done anything yet.’ It’s a short term to get all the goals you want accomplished. That’s why I’m running again.”

Duffy said he believes the town is once again on sound financial footing, something he made a priority when he took office. He said Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade this past summer didn’t tell the entire story.

“They were saying, your credit is bad, but you’ve had a good year,” he said. “We didn’t spend more than we took in in 2010 and we need to replicate that.”

He said the 2010 budget had a very modest tax increase - .55 percent – and he was able to accomplish that through staff reductions. For example, three positions (highway department secretary, account clerk and zoning/housing secretary) were reduced from full- to part-time status.

“For 2012, my goal is to have a zero to 1 percent tax increase – well below the state-imposed tax cap,” he said. “Unfortunately, that will include some cuts.”

Duffy said he couldn’t understand his opponent’s claim that his administration was not transparent or didn’t communicate well with the constituents.

“Last time, in my budget process, I had an advisory committee made up of volunteers who attended the work sessions and I plan to do the same thing this year,” he said. “Also, last year I used a budget model and had updates projected on the wall during meetings, many of which were televised. There is no clandestine group at work here.”

Duffy said that during his first campaign, he set priorities and goals. Besides fixing the budget, they included making town buildings more ADA compliant, improving cell service, addressing land use issues and fixing the town’s dirt roads.

“If you set five or six goals, and get three or four of them done, you’ve done well,” he said. “We did well with the budget and ADA compliance. Also our cell tower on wheels is up and running and we’re getting $30,000 a year from that. At our cell tower in Vista we are trying to get more equipment. It has AT&T, but we are trying to add Verizon. Also, Chapel Road is about to be paved and we will be the first community to pave a dirt road under the new, very stringent DEP regulations.”

Duffy said the cell tower on wheels, at 80 feet in height, is still not enough and the town is moving forward with the plan to make it a permanent 160-foot tower in order to improve service in Cross River. That could provide the town with $80-90,000 in revenue.

He also noted that his administration created a land-use advisory task force, at no cost to the taxpayer, that is made up of engineers and attorneys “who understand land use law.” He said the board also appointed the town engineer as the storm-water management chairman.

“These are all critical environmental steps,” he said. “But there are still things left that we have to do.”

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