By Jon Craig
City Court Judge Jo Ann Friia administered oaths of office Monday night to White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and three incumbent Council members who were reelected in November: Democrats John Kirkpatrick, John Martin and Beth Smayda.
The newly seated council then unanimously elected Martin as the next council president, succeeding Smayda.
There was no action to fill a vacant seat on the seven-member Council, left open by Ben Boykin, who was elected to the County legislature.
The mayor thanked residents and city employees. “People who live here love this city,” Roach said. “Everyone on this council is focused on what is in the best interest of this city. We brought fiscal stability to this city. We’re seeing an interest in development of our downtown parcels. It is a city that gets right to work. We have a lot of great things coming. Our best years are ahead of us.”
During public comments before the start of the formal Council Meeting, Stuart Levine, owner of Vino 100, raised concerns that are likely to become Martin’s thorniest first order of business as council president. Levine said he’s opposed to a proposed addition to Chapter 4-25 of the White Plains Municipal Code that would require certain establishments including restaurants, bars and liquor stores to install a particular type of video camera system.
Levine says he has adequate security, but that the new ordinance would require installing a different style/make of camera that points straight toward the street. Police and building department officials would have access to each store’s video. The new equipment would cost thousands of dollars, Levine said and place a burden on new businesses. At a minimum, Levine said, existing businesses should be grandfathered in so they do not have to upgrade or replace their security systems at their cost. He said he was speaking for many other businesses downtown. Why can’t police just send an email blast to all downtown businesses to be on the lookout for suspects of crimes, he asked. It would be more effective.
The council took no action on the ordinance, which was set to have a second reading Monday.