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Supervisor Warshauer to Embark on Fifth Term

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – With eight years already under his belt, Gary Warshauer (R) is about to embark on his fifth term as Pound Ridge supervisor.

The supervisor, like the entire slate of Pound Ridge candidates this year, is running unopposed in the Nov. 8 election.

Warshauer, 57, is an architect by trade. His firm, Warshauer, Mellusi and Warshauer, which was started by his father in 1956, is based in Hawthorne. He’s married to his wife Cielo and his two grown sons, Jonathan and Eric. He began his Pound Ridge civic service in the ‘90s as a member of the planning board – a perfect fit for someone with an architecture background. He served on the planning board for seven years, six of them as chairman.

He was then elected to the town board twice, but in the middle of his second term he decided to run for supervisor when Joy Simpkins decided not to seek re-election. He defeated current town Councilman Dan Paschkes and has been the supervisor ever since.

The Pound Ridge town government recently received a glowing audit report and Warshauer said the secret to keeping the town fiscally healthy is taking a conservative approach to managing its finances.

“We’ve been historically conservative,” he said. “We keep the government small and rely a lot on volunteerism. All the boards and commissions, the fire department, and ambulance corps provide value and the cost is lower than it could be otherwise.”

Warshauer said camaraderie has developed between the town volunteers and agencies such as the police department, highway department and maintenance department.

“They do a significant part and don’t get paid for it,” he said. “You saw that particularly during [Hurricane] Irene. The groups all worked together, which provides value to the community at a relatively small cost.”

The supervisor said the town board always tries to maintain a healthy fund balance in the budget, which is used to offset fiscal challenges when times get hard.

Recently, because of the economy, the town has had to eschew raises for its employees and Warshauer said the workers have been more than understanding.

Warshauer said one of the biggest challenges that he and town board face is the same in most towns – keeping tax increases at a minimum.

“I’m concerned going forward,” he said. “We’ve had some modest tax increases because of loss of sales tax and mortgage tax revenues. I think they will come back up slightly, but probably never to what they were.”

He said he also worried about unfunded mandates from the state as well as other contractual obligations that the town has no control over.

Another issue that the town is confronting is the quality of water – particularly in Scotts Corner. It’s located in the drinking watershed of Stamford, Conn., and has had issues with its septic systems, which are at capacity. Businesses moving into Scotts Corners are required to provide filtration as dictated by the county health department.

“The county has required traditional septic designs,” Warshauer said. “[Town Councilman] Dick Lyman is trying to get them to consider some more flexible systems and accept alternative technologies. We’ve been lobbying and I think the county may be close to agreeing.”

Warshauer said Pound Ridge’s big draw is its quality of life, which stems from volunteerism – such as the fire department and groups like the Lions Club. However, he worries that young adults may not be able to afford the cost of living here and will move away, leaving an aging population to shoulder the burden.

“We need to figure out how to keep the future generations here,” he said. “Because the volunteer spirit is what we are all about.”

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