By Carol P. Bartold
Mar. 8, 2017: For the first time since 2006, Bronxville voters will cast ballots in a contested village election for two seats on the Bronxville Board of Trustees.
Republican incumbents Randy Mayer and Robert Underhill and first-time Democratic contender Elizabeth Calderon will make up the slate of candidates running for a two-year term.
Calderon, a two-year resident of the village who registered to vote in Westchester in January of 2016, is a registered nurse as well as an immigration attorney and served for two years as an elected commissioner in the Town of Surfside in Florida. “It’s a small town exactly the same size as Bronxville,” she said, “one square mile and very much like the village in the make-up of single-family homes, condominiums, and co-ops.”
As a commissioner, the equivalent of a trustee, Calderon stated that she was very involved in Surfside’s infrastructure. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side of the town and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, she dealt with water issues as they related to infrastructure. She also participated in the town’s decision to build a new community center.
“I’m going to bring a new perspective,” Calderon stated. “My perspective comes from the eyes of young parents, children, and seniors.” She added that her intention in running for a trustee position is not to threaten anyone, but to focus on “a completely different area of interest.”
Calderon’s primary area of interest is with children. She is interested in the Sagamore Road playground and would like to see another playground in the village. Describing herself as “very much a pedestrian,” Calderon also counts the quality of village sidewalks high among her priorities.
“Bronxville is a charming community,” Calderon said. “It has a great feeling when you walk down the street. I appreciate the proximity to the city and, of course, the school is outstanding.”
Randolph Mayer, a thirty-year resident of the village, served on the planning board, the Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee, and the board of the Bronxville Adult School before joining the board of trustees.
A municipal finance attorney, Mayer noted that he has spent his career learning about the laws that govern the finances of villages, cities, and school districts. “I bring the experience of working with clients who are situated much like Bronxville,” he said. “I’ve seen how they handle their finances and how they receive advice from financial advisors.” Serving as a trustee, he noted, has given him the opportunity to understand financial matters from the opposite perspective and to be helpful in those areas.
Mayer described the job of a trustee as a learning curve that presents many complexities. “I think it’s important for people in the village to be aware that there are many technical matters that the trustees must handle.” Trustees’ responsibilities, he said, range from running and staffing the police department to working with the department of public works to maintain streets and equipment and to figure out what facilities will best serve the department and its fleet of trucks. It also involves managing village finances in planning for budgetary matters and working to keep the tax rate low.
“We want residents and visitors to have a positive and pleasant experience here,” Mayer said. “We want to offer people a sense of community and a sense of caring, not only about each other, but about the environment we all share.”
Robert Underhill, who has lived in Bronxville for 23 years and whose family played an important role in founding the community, served as an alternate on the planning board before being elected a trustee.
“During my twelve years as a trustee,” he said, “I have learned that village government has a lot of moving pieces. It’s surprising how much there is to learn about how it all fits together.”
Because of the number of significant projects in process in the village, Underhill feels that continuity is vital. Having trustees in place who have already committed a substantial amount of time to understanding the intricacies of the projects and seeing them through to completion, he said, would best serve the village.
“I want to be a part of getting those things done,” he said. He cited the opening of the Villa BXV garage on Kensington Road scheduled for this year and adding 200 parking spaces available for village use and seeing the Federal Emergency Management Agency Midland Valley Drainage Project through to completion and operation.
Underhill, with 34 years of experience in real estate investment, feels that his work has given him perspective about the factors that most affect Bronxville as a transit-oriented community and what challenges the village will face in the future. “I believe my background and skill set are uniquely aligned to what the village needs going forward as we think about zoning, land use, retail uses, and density issues,” he said. These are the issues, he added, that will determine the future of Bronxville.
Election Day is Tuesday, March 21. Voting will take place at Bronxville Village Hall from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. There will be no registration day.
Pictured here (from top down): Bronxville Village Hall, Elizabeth Calderon, Randolph Mayer, and Bob Underhill.