Is Rye City Councilman a maverick or a lone wolf? At last Wednesday's city council meeting, Sack tried to push additional budget reductions that would have kept the budget flat – a zero percent increase – versus the 1% increase that was finalized. Sack – not the budget – was cut down in a 6-1 vote.
Today in a MyRye.com guest column, Sack talks about missed opportunites. What doe you think? Leave a comment below.
By Councilman Joe Sack
At the year-end budget meeting, I voted for real change and bold action. My council colleagues did not join me.
I voted for a "zero percent" tax increase. After years of unsustainable tax increases, and especially in these tough economic times, with many Rye residents out of work or on fixed incomes, we needed to take the practical and symbolic step of keeping taxes flat.
I voted for structural reform to the City's law department. As per the report I authored with Judge John Carey, in order to manage out-of-control legal bills we needed to require the corporation counsel to handle most litigation for a reduced flat retainer fee, instead of farming the work to expensive charge-by-the-hour outside counsel.
I voted to keep Rye Golf Club affordable. With fees at our public golf and pool facility more than doubling in recent years, and with the cost of a family membership now significantly even more expensive than the average total City tax bill, we needed to keep rates down this year.
I voted to stand up to unfair treatment from Westchester County. Faced with a contract that would require the City to snow plow the County's roads for a small fraction of what it actually costs us, rather than roll over in the hope of currying favor with them, we needed to set the tone that we won't be pushed around, especially when it comes to Playland.
And on all these items, I voted alone. These proposals were all defeated, 6-1.
Although I am in the minority on the current council, my sense is that more Rye residents than not are sympathetic to these points of view. In any event, it's what I think is right.