The Town of North Castle is one of the first beneficiaries of a new law passed by State Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) that reduces the cost of holding special town elections. Back in 2014, North Castle held a special election, triggered by a voter-initiated petition, at a cost of nearly $50,000. Part of the reason for the high town cost of these special elections across New York State was a requirement that the town pay for two to four member voter registration boards in each and every election district in the town. In North Castle, which has eleven election districts, the state law therefore mandated hiring at least twenty-two temporary workers. Assemblyman Buchwald won unanimous legislative support for changing the law to allow one or more boards of registration to serve this function for the entire town, as the town board finds fit to carry out this task.
At the time of passing the bill, which with the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo became Chapter 372 of the Laws of 2015, Assemblyman Buchwald didn’t know which towns would first save money. However, it turns out that North Castle is having another special election this upcoming Tuesday, May 23. This one will allow voters to decide whether the local receiver of taxes should be elected or appointed. The new law enabled North Castle to consolidate voter registration efforts into three locations in town, one in each of the hamlets comprising the town, Armonk, Banksville and North White Plains. The upcoming election will cost the town thousands of dollars less than the special election held in North Castle just three years ago as a result of this change.
“I am pleased that the change in state election law I initiated not only started with a special election in North Castle, but also sees North Castle become one of the first towns to benefit,” said Assemblyman David Buchwald. “Thanks to this new law, North Castle residents will make their voices heard on May 23 with the knowledge this election is costing local property taxpayers less than before.”
“When it comes to mandate relief, Assemblyman David Buchwald walks the walk.” said North Castle Town Supervisor Michael Schiliro. “This change in state election law is saving our taxpayers real money while maintaining the ability for people to vote in town special elections. I applaud the Assemblyman’s continuing efforts to work with our town to find meaningful solutions to unfunded mandates. We have a real partner in Assemblyman Buchwald and I know that his is fighting for us in Albany.”
Assemblyman Buchwald’s 2015 legislation was endorsed by the Association of Towns of the State of New York. The Association represents over 900 town governments. “Before this legislation, towns assumed great expense to be able to hold special elections within their borders,” said the Association’s Executive Director, Gerry Geist. “The Association of Towns is thrilled to see a town be able to offer more residents the opportunity to exercise their voices in special elections at less cost to taxpayers, truly putting a positive twist on the phrase ‘doing more with less’ that we hear so often these days. This legislation is a win-win for towns and New Yorkers everywhere, and the Association of Towns is proud to have worked on this legislation with Assemblymember Buchwald.”