LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Peter Gross is part of the Lewisboro 2011 team and is challenging for a seat on the Lewisboro Town Board.
Although he has the Democratic Party nomination, he is also seeking the Independence Party nomination and will square off against Team Lewisboro members Rhea Mallet and John Pappalardo in Tuesday’s primaries. A career specialist in corporate finance, Gross shared his views on upcoming primary with The Daily Lewisboro.
What makes you the best candidate to represent the principals and spirit of the Independence Party?
Many of the most important values of the Independence Party are also at the core of why I'm a candidate: I share the Independence Party's belief in the importance of open, inclusive town government, where diverse views from citizens are welcome and respected and open dialog is encouraged. I think these principles have eroded, as our current town board majority makes more decisions behind closed doors and curtails public comment periods. I share the Independence Party's concerns about government's being too susceptible to favoring special interests, rather than all the taxpayers, and I am concerned about what is happening here in that regard. I share the Independence Party's principle that the members of a TB majority should not use their positions to control the flow of information and news about the real issues facing the Town. I share the Independence Party's commitment to honesty and transparency in the presentation and determination of financial decisions.
What is the No. 1 challenge that the Town of Lewisboro is facing right now?
The No. 1 challenge facing Lewisboro now is the current majority's failure to deal with the Town's financial planning process with the levels of professional quality and openness we deserve.
What skill sets do you bring to the table that will help you face that challenge?
I hope that my background in corporate finance law, my many years of business leadership experience and my extensive work on nonprofit boards (including as Treasurer of a $700-million international development organization) can add to the needed skills.
Can Lewisboro’s fiscal problems be remedied without raising taxes?
Higher real-estate taxes pose a serious problem for the Town and its citizens. It is my goal, and that of my running mates, not to allow our taxes to increase at all. But I would not use accounting gimmicks or increase debt so that I could claim we didn't raise taxes. We need to face the difficult issues, side by side with the citizens of Lewisboro. We need to have a better understanding of where greater efficiencies can be achieved and of what services and facilities we can effectively share with neighboring towns. Against any short-term savings, we need to weigh honestly the longer-term costs - both financially and in terms of safety and quality of life - of failing to maintain our infrastructure and public services.
What is the town of Lewisboro’s biggest asset and why do think so?
Lewisboro has many wonderful assets. Among them is the beauty of nature and Lewisboro's reserves, lakes and fields, which are a big part of the reason my wife and I moved to Lewisboro and which are reflected in our home values and tax base and which define so much of our daily life here. As people who know me are well aware, I will fight tenaciously and join my running mates in protecting those assets.