The Northern Westchester Examiner

State Senate Candidate Addresses Property Taxes, Infrastructure

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Democratic candidate for the 40th Senate District Robert Kesten hosted a public forum last month in Yorktown where he addressed the issue of property taxes and its relationship to infrastructure investment.

Throughout the February 26 meeting at the VFW Post 8328, Kesten explained that creating infrastructure and enhancing the town’s economic sustainability could lower property taxes and attract a new generation of residents and businesses that would help the community thrive.

“Part of the problem that Yorktown faces, as does much of Northern Westchester, is our lack of viable infrastructure,” Kesten said. “Setting priorities, setting agendas, understanding where we want to be and what the steps for getting there are vitally important. By adding the kinds of things that are necessary in order to enhance life we change the dynamic, we change the worth of our own homes.”

Kesten stressed the need to fill the empty storefronts in the downtown area, implementing more sidewalks as well as providing affordable transit and housing. While Yorktown provides affordable housing, Kesten said it’s not enough for its growing population. The limited mass transit and daily congested traffic is also a deterrent for people who want to live in the area, he said.

He added that officials have an opportunity to work with neighboring municipalities to transform Northern Westchester into a financially viable hub that could entice people into moving into the area and ultimately salvage taxes.

“If, for example, we want to see Cortlandt and its villages and hamlets survive the Indian Point closing, building a stronger infrastructure and working more closely with its neighbors will be essential to ensuring citizens the opportunities they will need to achieve economic success,” he said.

He also suggested streamlining the healthcare system and moving to a single payer process would increase property values and save residents upwards of 25 percent of local homeowners’ property taxes instantly.

Kesten, who announced his candidacy against State Senator Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) last fall, has been hosting public forums throughout the 40th Senate District discussing issues such as taxes, the environment, jobs, mental health, opioid addiction, and the closing of Indian Point. The South Salem resident said the forums are about keeping residents informed so they can make intelligent decisions about their families, homes and communities.

“What’s most important is that we’re all in this together,” Kesten said. “This isn’t about me, this isn’t about any one individual, this is about a collective group of people that happen to call the 40th Senate District their home.”

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