As snow piled onto the Town of Harrison during an early January storm, the Jan. 2 Town Council meeting began with the inauguration of the town’s returning elected officials.
Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican, told those in attendance there was a big year on the horizon for the town, from plans to fix flooding problems, to implementing recent updates to the town master plan, to changes to the Platinum Mile and more.
“We have a lot to accomplish…moving forward,” Bel-mont said. “We’re a group of people that does the best for the Town of Harrison.”
Town Council members Joseph Cannella and Marlane Amelio as well as Town Clerk Jackie Greer and Receiver-of-Taxes Nancy Masi were sworn in by Westchester County Judge W. Denis Donovan. Most were joined by family members, including Amelio’s father and Town Republican Committee Chairman Bob Amelio.
Also in attendance was state Sen. George Latimer, a Democrat, who congratulated the re-elected officials and told the Town Council to prepare issues affecting local communities for a Jan. 22 state budget hearing.
“This is a good time to highlight any legislation for state approval,” Latimer said. “We will continue to push for the hotel tax.”
Getting a hotel tax in Harrison has been a longtime quest for local officials as well as Latimer and state Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat. After the state Assembly passed a home rule bill in September 2013 to give property tax relief to residents and spearhead the additional hotel tax, the tax has yet to meet the approval of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who swore “no new taxes” when he took office in 2011, or of the Republican-led state Senate, which Latimer hopes to change in the upcoming year.
Neighboring municipalities, like Rye, New Rochelle, White Plains and, most recently, Rye Brook, impose their own 3 percent taxes on patrons as well as a Westchester County 3 percent tax already imposed. The hotel tax would allow Harrison to instill a 3 percent tax on all rooms booked at Harrison’s two hotels, The Renaissance Westchester Hotel on West Red Oak Lane and the Hyatt House on Corporate Park Drive.
-Reporting by Phil Nobile