By Carol P. Bartold
Feb. 15, 2017: For the first time since 2006, the annual Bronxville Village election will be a contested one. Three candidates have been nominated to compete for two seats on the Bronxville Board of Trustees.
The village election will be held on Tuesday, March 21, at Bronxville Village Hall. Polls will open at 6:00 am and close at 9:00 pm.
Incumbents Robert Underhill and Randolph Mayer, both nominated at the January 30 Republican Party caucus, face a challenge from attorney and first-time candidate Elizabeth Calderon, nominated by the Democratic Party at its January 28 caucus.
Underhill seeks his seventh term as trustee, while Mayer will run for his second. Mayor Mary Marvin will run unopposed for her seventh term. The mayor and trustees elected will serve for two years.
Betsy Harding, chair of the Bronxville Democratic Party, noted a "very charged political atmosphere right now" in which many people are interested in and paying attention to political matters."
"Calderon came to the caucus and said she would like to run," Harding said. "She's qualified and has the experience to serve. We talked about it and we nominated her." Harding added that Calderon comes to her candidacy with experience in local government, having served as a commissioner in the Town of Surfside, Florida.
Rene Atayan, chair of the Bronxville Republican Party, pointed out that Bronxville, due in large part to its incumbent leadership, has successfully dealt with a number of severe economic pressures in recent years. "Our mayor and trustees, all of whom have long-term experience in the village, have successfully maintained low taxes and high-quality public services," she said. She listed a low crime rate and continuous improvements to the village's aging infrastructure as prime examples of their accomplishments.
While Harding noted that Democratic candidates have historically not fared particularly well in village elections, she stated, "There is a real groundswell of support for Democratic positions. Perhaps it will translate to the local level and people will want a fresh face."
Atayan said that the Republican Party feels that the current officeholders have a strong track record that speaks for itself. "Their efforts go beyond quality of life," she noted, "and set the foundation for our community's long-term sustainability and high property values."
Both Atayan and Harding see a contested election as an opportunity for voters to give serious consideration to their choices on Election Day. Voters are urged to research the candidates and their records.
Atayan pointed out that a village the size of Bronxville faces extraordinary fiscal pressure. "Our governing bodies must be exceedingly thoughtful and judicious about every decision they make. One wrong decision can literally bankrupt a community such as ours," she said.
Pictured here: Betsy Harding, chair of the Bronxville Democratic Party (top), and Rene Atayan, chair of the Bronxville Republican Party.
Photos by N. Bower and A. Warner