Doug Zollo – Tarrytown – Incumbent Trustee
Doug Zollo owns a manufacturers representation firm, and has been in the business for about 30 years. His wife owns a property management firm that operates out of the same building on South Broadway. They have two children, both in college, who attended Transfiguration school. Zollo has lived in Tarrytown for about 27 years. He was a trustee for one term in the early 2000s and is now serving his third consecutive term.
1) Name some of your proudest accomplishments in office.
I think, for the board as a whole, probably completing many projects that languished for a long time.
We all talk about Village Hall, Eileen Pilla wanted to build a Village Hall more than 15 years ago. It was favorable to some and not to others. There were a group of people that campaigned against it and they defeated the proposal to build it for $3.8 million and it languished until we built it for almost $11 million. A lot of people that defeated it are still around, so good job, we built a similar building in the same place for a lot more.
Finally getting two fire houses built. We had two trucks with no fire houses, one for ten years and one for five years. There were a lot of disagreements and infighting and nothing got done, but we finally got it done.
Developing the waterfront, Pierson Park, the RiverWalk. We got the asphalt plant moved from the waterfront, we redid Neperan Road and I haven't even talked about our water system upgrades.
You can let projects languish or you can be active and get them done, and we did, and yes we incurred debt in a responsible and fiscally smart manner.
2) The village is roughly $41 million dollars in long-term debt. Do you feel this is dangerous?
I think it is dangerous to have $41 million worth of debt if you can't pay it back in a responsible manner. We're paying it back and we're doing that without any significant tax increases.
If our tax increases are more this year, it's because of things we can't control like health care costs, union contracts and pension contributions that the state mandates. It has nothing to do with debt and it has nothing to do with discretionary spending.
3) Can you name any mistakes that have been made over the past two years, or things you would do differently?
Hindsight is 20/20. The one thing we would have done differently, in a perfect world, we would have better safety procedures and controls in place to protect our staff for obvious reasons. I wish we had done, years ago, what we are doing now.
Aside from that, I don't know if I would do anything differently, but there are a lot more things I would like to do. Can things be done differently, yeah, but things change so drastically year to year, but I don't think we made any serious mistakes along the way.
4) Some people have advocated for the removal of village staff and members of the fire department, or, that these individuals should step down. What is your position on this?
I think if any of them deserved to be scrutinized they would be, I don't think that they do. Did Michael Blau make a misstatement at an inappropriate time, yes he did. Does that warrant dismissal? No it does not.
5) How do you feel about the tone of discourse at Village Hall trustee meetings?
I think it is horrible, but if you look at it, it's the same cast of characters singing a different tune. They want Scott Weaver suspended, now they don't want Scott Weaver suspended. They want to fire Michael Blau, they don't want to fire Michael Blau, they want to fire Michael Blau.
If you want to be constructive, if you want to give us constructive criticism and do something productive, we welcome the input. If you want to be naysayers, if you want to come in and knock people, don't come in and rant and rave and not be constructive because it doesn't do anyone any good.
6) What is the biggest obstacle to overcome in the next two years?
One of the greatest is going to be how we finance costs that we can't control like pension funding and health care costs or state-mandated obligations. There are obligations that we can't control. There is a limited amount you can tax people and you have to find the resources to fund these things without breaking the back of our citizens
The other thing is safety controls for all the workers in the village, they deserve the best training and procedures available. That is an obligation we have.
7) Have you been, or are you currently, involved in any government committees, civic organizations or volunteer efforts?
The only one that is active where I take an active role is as the liaison to the Fire Department. We're developing a lot of great training programs with Pro Safety.
8) Are you in favor of re-starting a lawsuit with Sleepy Hollow over traffic mitigation plans pertaining to the GM development?
We're definitely going after them to mitigate the traffic problems that will occur. Traffic is not going to go north. It's going to go south to our train station, to the bridge, to the city, to 119. It's a big problem for us. I know we're in the throes of starting that process again.
9) How do you feel about shared services? Do you approve of the proposed plan to consolidate the Parks and Recreation departments of the two villages and the school district under the leadership of TUFSD?
In reading the last report I found a lot of conflicting statements. It just doesn't makes sense some of the pieces of the report.
If it creates efficiencies and savings and better utilizes the limited resources we have, I am all for it. If it is just going to be a government boondoggle, I'm not, and I'm not convinced either way yet.
10) Are there any final comments or issues you think are important that you would like to share with our readers?
I've been a trustee for eight years. I don't do this because I need something to do, it's because I have a sincere desire to really serve the residents well and I think we do. I've been on boards that were very fractured and divided. We have a very nice board, but we all slice it and dice it different ways. You've got very liberal Democrats and you have people who are very conservative, people like myself. It's not about labels and its not about political parties, it's about doing the right thing.
When people ask me why I do it with all the stuff that is going on, I say it's because I'm really not comfortable with who might do it if I don't. It's not a knock on these other people running, but I think you have to understand the community and be involved in the community and you have to be someone who wants to make it as good or better than it can be.