By CHRIS EBERHART
Richard Steigelman, an incumbent fire commissioner, lost to newcomer Peter Incledon in the Dec. 10 Eastchester fire board election, and then sounded off on the state of the board’s finances under its current chairman.
Steigelman, who lost by a 487 to 282 vote margin, said he believes Incledon, who was endorsed by fire board chairman Dennis Winter, will continue to vote in favor of Winter’s spending trend, which he said will cause the nearly $17 million fire budget to continue to increase and burden the taxpayers further. The budget has grown by roughly $2.5 million since 2010.
“[Chairman] Winter doesn’t care about the taxpayer. He’s a multimillionaire. He’s going to keep on raising the taxes. And that’s a fact,” Steigelman said. “The [fire] district is going to go broke.”
Meanwhile, Incledon couldn’t be be happier with the results saying, “I’m excited to join the board. I wanted to be a part of the board more and more the closer we got to the election.”
Incledon, a Bronxville resident, won the Leroy Gregory Post and captured 96 percent of the vote in the village, which accounted for the largest voter turnout, equaling roughly a third of the 769 total votes cast; while Steigelman, a resident of unincorporated Eastchester, won Eastchester Town Hall, Tuckahoe and the Chester Heights section.
Steigelman said the board—particularly Winter and Co-mmissioner Jerry Napolitano—are spending too much money on projects like the North End firehouse renovation, which has been ongoing for appro-ximately two years.
Steigelman said the fire dis–trict spent approximately $630,000 during the life of the project, which was supposed to be finished around Thanksgiving, but the firefighters have yet to move back in. Steigelman said the district is paying more than $43,000 in rent for what was supposed to be a temporary firehouse on Summerfield Street and a trailer with a shower and kitchen.
“I don’t know what’s taking them so long,” he said, referring to the two years spent on renovating Fire House No. 5.
Steigelman said the volunteer firefighters offered to install new cabinets, and the career firefighters offered to refurbish the upstairs of the north end firehouse like they did for Station No. 1 for about $60,000, which would’ve saved the fire district about $140,000 in taxpayer money.
“The fire district could’ve saved a lot of money,” Stei-gel-man said. “The volunteer fire-men, who have carpentry, architectural and construction bu-s-i-nesses, wanted to redesign the up-stairs of Station No. 5 for less than $60,000 like they did for Station No. 1, but Commissioner Winter turned down their proposals because he said [the fire district] would get sued if someone got hurt.”
When Winter was asked about Steigelman’s claim that he doesn’t care about the taxpayers, Winter laughed and said he found the comment amusing.
“You just need to watch the last five years of board meetings to know where I stand,” Winter said.
Steigelman also blamed Win-ter for a lack of communication on the board, saying, if he missed a meeting, he nor commissioner Raymond O’Hare were ever notified by Winter about what transpired at the meeting even after they inquired about it.
“I definitely felt like there was a disconnect,” Steigelman said. “[Fire commissioners Steven Baker, Winter and Napolitano] were not letting other commissioners in on what they wanted to do, and I think that’s wrong.”
“Looking back,” Steigelman said, “I donated my time, and I think I did a pretty good job. But I would never run again, not while Winter is on the board.”