By ASHLEY HELMS
The Village of Larchmont Democratic Party nominated incumbent trustees Marlene Kolbert, Peter Fanelli and current Mayor Ann McAndrews to run in the 2014 village election. All three are likely to be unopposed.
The mayor and trustees were nominated during the village’s Democratic caucus on Jan. 28 in anticipation of the March 18 election day.
As for potential opponents, the Larchmont Republican Party hasn’t nominated a candidate to run in a village election since 2006, according to Deputy Village Clerk Brian Rilley.
The due date to submit a petition to run on the Democratic or Republican line was Jan. 30, but Rilley said anyone who is interested in running as an independent candidate has until Feb. 11 to file a petition with the required 100 signatures.
The Board of Trustees is currently comprised of four Democrats and one independent, John Komar.
After being elected to the board in 2002, Kolbert is running for her seventh two-year term as trustee. A 45-year resident of the village, Kolbert said she is running to keep environmental concerns at the forefront. She said her time on the board has been with the sole interest of keeping Larchmont a great place to live or to make it better. Larchmont elections are almost always uncontested because it’s hard to energize people to run as trustees are unpaid and a seat on the dais does not include healthcare benefits, Kolbert said.
“People have to be inspired to be involved in their community,” Kolbert said. “But we’re always looking for new blood.”
During her tenure on the board, Kolbert said she has worked to pass Larchmont’s reusable bag initiative, which banned the use of plastic bags in 2013, as well as limiting the use of gas leaf blowers and banning pesticide use in village parks and streetscapes.
Kolbert said she has worked on a village climate plan that will hopefully reduce greenhouse gasses by 20 percent by 2015.
“It’s just small steps because we’re a very small village, but we’re working really hard,” she said.
In the 1990s, Kolbert said she was also instrumental in blocking proposals to build a 55-story apartment complex on Davids Island off the shores of New Rochelle. She was active in organizing public opposition to the proposal throughout the 1980s. Kolbert also spent eight years on the Mamaroneck Board of Education; four as president in the 1980s.
A lifelong village resident, Fanelli is running for his second term on the Board of Trustees. Initially, he made his first run at political office in 2006 as a Democrat on a three-candidate bipartisan coalition ticket that included one Republican and one Independent, but the coalition was defeated by Jim Millstein.
Fanelli wants to “keep Larchmont, Larchmont” by working on flood mitigation initiatives and rebuilding failing infrastructure. He said he supports the Palmer Avenue streetscape project, which is intended to revamp streetlights, benches and other fixtures along Palmer
Avenue. The project has hit several delays and has drawn the ire of some residents who want several trees that are slated to be cut down to remain intact.
“We’re trying to get more stores around Palmer Avenue once they do the streetscape,” Fanelli said. “A lot of exciting things are taking place.”
Fanelli said one of his biggest initiatives is to bring in new water meters that allow the village’s Water Department to remotely monitor water usage in homes and businesses across the village. This is going to make it easier to find possible leaks and wasted water. A price tag for the project hasn’t been calculated just yet and the village will be paying for it, but Fanelli said it’ll save taxpayers money in the future.
“Say you’re using 100 gallons of water every two or three months, then you’re using 500 gallons. Then we know there’s a problem,” Fanelli said.
McAndrews is running for her second term as mayor. She served as a village trustee before becoming mayor in 2000, but was off the board between 2002 and 2003 and 2011 and 2012. She said she was asked to run for mayor in 2002, but was defeated by Ken Bialo, a Republican, and her time on the Larchmont Board of Trustees was up.
McAndrews echoed Fanelli’s statements about the new water meters and said the village will also be repairing the two tanks that supply the village with water. Keeping infrastructure up to date is important going forward, she said, and she wants to manage village government in the most efficient way possible.
“I’ve explained that this village is a lovely old house on the sound,” McAndrews said. “But sometimes it needs major capital improvements.”
Mayor and trustees serve two-year terms without compensation.