With Election Day less than two months away, Patch is providing lots of information on candidates at every level—local, state and national.
We recently touched base with the five candidates running for a seat (either District 6—which covers the northern and eastern sections of the Town of Southeast, as well as a portion of the western area—or District 7—which covers the Village of Brewster, the remainder of Southeast, and an eastern bit of the Town of Carmel and the Hamlet of Mahopac) on the Putnam County Legislature. We asked each the same set of questions.
Legislators serve for three years and are limited to four terms. The annual salary is $35,136.
Here are responses from Cathie Sloat, a Democrat running for District 6. She's lived in Southeast for seven years.
Patch: Talk a little about your family, community activities (past and/or present) and occupation, please.
CS: I am the mother of two grown children and two grandchildren. I am the owner (for over 17 years) of a business called Sew What!?, a workroom which designs and fabricates custom home furnishings — window treatments, slipcovers, etc.
- Trustee and membership chairperson of Landmarks Preservation of Southeast
- Board member of The Milltown Association
- Master Gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Vice chair of the Southeast Democratic Committee
P: Would this be the first time you've held public office?
CS: I have not served as an elected official. As a self-employed woman I will bring a new perspective to the legislature.
P: Why are you running (which major issues are you looking to tackle?)?
CS: I am running to give residents a clear choice this November.
- Sales tax revenue sharing: Putnam County should share some portion of sales tax revenue with its towns, or reduce the amount of sales tax we pay. We also need to prepare for the future. As Internet sales grow, our sales tax revenue may shrink.
- Economic growth: We need to promote sound economic growth that will pay Putnam residents a living wage. With our highly educated and qualified work force, corporate growth is preferable to retail growth.
- Tourism: With Putnam's beauty, easy access via mass transit, and the bike trail, we should be attracting more day-trippers from the New York City area.
P: Are you in favor of the 2-percent property tax cap?
CS: The 2-percent property tax cap is hard to hold to since the state passes along unfunded mandates to the county and towns. While taxes need to be low, a 2-percent cap can curtail routine maintenance, which can lead to larger bills when infrastructure becomes unsafe and fails.
P: What's your take on the Crossroads 312 proposal? Do you support it, as laid out by the applicant?
CS: While I certainly favor an upscale hotel and some retail, this project is too large for its 52 acre site. Even more importantly, the Crossroads 312, as proposed, sets a dangerous precedent as far as future commercial zoning in Southeast. This project is 11 times the square footage allowed. Even on a "case by case" basis, Southeast would be unable to turn down even small rezoning requests without avoiding costly litigation.
P: What's your stance on term limits for Putnam legislators?
CS: I agree with the current term limits for the legislature. Government, especially at this level, should be considered public service, NOT a career.
P: What's your take on sharing county sales tax revenue with towns and villages?
CS: Sharing or reducing sales tax is one of the most important issues. We need to be competitive with the counties that surround us. In addition, Southeast passes along a great deal of revenue to the County, yet receives little in return. Over three-quarters of New York State counties share sales tax revenue. We should as well.
P: What's your take on the emergency response efforts by local municipalities (namely Brewster and Southeast, as well as the County) over the past year (Irene, the October storm, etc). Did it suffice? If not, what needs to change?
CS: Last year's storms showed how unprepared Southeast and Putnam were. Each town needs a shelter and better communication system. Southeast now uses , and will be coordinating this system with the county. The on Doansburg Road is the best possibility for a shelter in Southeast. Now our job is to get this information out to the public. We need to stress how important NY-Alert is in any emergency situation.
P: What's your take on the possibility of a veterans cemetery in Southeast? , and although there has not been much news on it since, it was a controversial topic. Are you in support of it?
CS: Our veterans deserve the best, and the location chosen in Southeast is simply not the best we can do. It is too small, too steep, and has power lines and the east branch of the Croton Reservoir running through it. In addition, there are valid concerns regarding the cost of perpetual care. We need to find a better, more compatible site.
Editor's note: Patch asked each candidate the same questions. Some chose to respond via email, while others opted for in-person interviews. None of the responses were restricted by format or word count.
Stay with Patch today and tomorrow for profiles on the rest of the legislature candidates. And be sure to for more information on all the races that affect folks in Brewster and Southeast.