Chris Budrick is the Democratic candidate for Bedford supervisor. He is an incumbent councilman on the Bedford Town Board. This interview is edited for formatting but not for content:
Patch: Why are you running?
Burdick: I believe I can help the Town applying my nearly six years of experience as a Town Board member helping to hold down taxes, provide good services and preserve and protect the beauty and semi-rural character of the Town. Experience matters – direct experience serving on the Town Board and working through tough issues. The present supervisor and most past supervisors first served on the Town Board.
Patch; How well do you think the current town board has governed and what, if anything, would you change?
Burdick: The Town Board has done a good job. As Supervisor, I’d ask the Board to join with me in looking at every service we provide to see how we can provide it more efficiently and at lower cost. I’d also regularly seek the views of the community through public discussions on issues which matter to them – before holding formal public hearings and taking action. As Supervisor, I’d reach out regularly to speak one on one with residents.
Patch: How would you describe the town board's current relations with the school boards of Bedford Central and Katonah-Lewisboro? Should the town board work with them more closely on common topics?
Burdick: The Supervisor works directly with the Superintendent of each of the school districts. Where we have issues of common concern the Supervisor brings in the Town Board in the discussions – such as the KLSD consideration of closing KES – a possibility which I strongly opposed and the Supervisor’s letter to the KLSD reflected the views of the Board not to shutter it. We might consider periodic meetings with the Superintendent of each district.
Patch: Earlier this year Patch reported on the possibility of having Bedford Hills and Katonah use alternative wastewater treatment instead of traditional septic usage. Would you support a switch?
Burdick: Septic systems which function properly are environmentally sound. We need to be careful not to make the assumption that every property owner’s septic system is in imminent danger of failure. A large scale sewer system would be prohibitively expensive. We need to address known problems such as in downtown Katonah. Recently, the Department of Environmental Conservation advised that it now would allow the Town to pursue a pilot project to utilize alternative wastewater treatment, also known as an enhanced treatment unit.
Patch: The town is one of several municipalities considering participation in a joint property revaluation. However, according to an interview you did with The Record-Review recently, you stated that you would not support a revaluation and cited the fact that not all of the communities that share school districts are participating. Would you change your mind if each of them decided to join?
Burdick: I would review it, however, it should be noted that a revaluation is not a panacea. Any system will have problems. I also am concerned about taking on a $900,000 expense, as I stated in the interview.
Patch: You brought up the idea of updating Bedford's comprehensive plan during the recent League of Women Voters candidates' forum. What process would you like to see for doing this?
Burdick: The last Comprehensive Plan was the result of a Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, of which I was a member, reviewing the plan for over two years with a planning consulting firm. I would consider other means of handling it, but this worked well.
Patch: How should Bedford proceed, going forward, with handling Westchester County's affordable housing settlement?
Burdick: As I’ve stated, I believe that it’s a non-issue for Bedford, because the Town has done a good job in providing affordable housing. We have been ahead of the curve for years. We are one of the very few municipalities which has an affordable housing arm, the Blue Mountain Housing Development Corporation, (created in 1980) whose purpose is to provide affordable housing. Our zoning code, since 2005, has an affordable housing provision that has worked well through the good work of the Planning Board. I consider my opponent irresponsible and alarmist to assert that our zoning code is under attack.
Patch: Mount Kisco is considering whether to consolidate its police department with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety. Somers and Lewisboro note that they have part-time police departments and have state police support. The town, meanwhile, was given a fiscal projection study that predicts budget deficits for several of the coming years. Should Bedford study a switch to either model as a budgetary savings measure, given the deficits projection?
Burdick: We need to consider all options, however, we should also consider the impact on response time, police knowledge of the community and its accessibility and its relationship to the community.
Patch: Bedford's three hamlets have several of their own recreational services, such as separate pools and separate camps. However, given the deficit projections released recently, can having three of each recreational amenity be sustained?
Burdick: The three hamlet parks are run well and efficiently. I oppose consolidating them.
Patch: How would you describe the relationship between the town board and the merchants in the hamlets? Is there anything you would change?
Burdick: As Supervisor, I would meet on a regular, scheduled basis with representatives of each of the business communities. I also think it would be beneficial for the Town Board to meet in work session.