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Letter to the Editor: Why Neil J. Pagano Wants to Be Port Chester's Mayor

Republican, Conservative and Independence candidate in March 19 election.

Letter to Editor

I’m Neil J. Pagano and I’m running for the seat of Mayor of the Village of Port Chester in the upcoming .

I have lived in our Village just about all of my life.  My family and I have invested in it and operate a successful real estate, appraisal and insurance business here that is now going into its 83rd year of operation.  This is all front line – in the trenches experience.

Although I’m new to the elected political arena I have had at least one foot in the governmental process being a member of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee since 2007 and as Chair of the Village of Port Chester Industrial Development Agency.

During my 2 year tenure as the Chair of the Industrial Development Agency, in addition to making other significant administrative changes and upward financial adjustments to certain other existing PILOT leases, my activities also involved:

  • Personally negotiated a bond transaction with the King Street Apartments that will provide the Village with about $4.1 million in payments over the life of the bond term.  Also included in that amount was a $600,000 upfront payment made directly to the Village that would later be used to purchase open space near Edgewood Park and make needed technology upgrades in our Building and Code Departments.
  • Creating nearly 60 jobs with the majority going to Port Chester residents with the Restaurant Depot deal and froze the property tax assessment that would have gone down about $3 million because of the significant reduction in size of the former building.
  • Leading a Marina Task Force with the Waterfront Commission and its Chair to craft a Marina development vision that will take one of our greatest but severely underutilized assets and maximize its revenue generating capabilities.  Once completed the process will reform our waterfront into a boater-friendly, attractive facility with transients docks, public restrooms, pump out stations and a formal administration plan to oversee the management of this all but forgotten and overlooked gem.

Once elected, one of my objectives will be to refocus the role of the Mayor and unify our Board by reaching across all party lines, thereby breaking the gridlock to move a number of stalled projects forward.  I believe I am uniquely suited to the task because heretofore I have not been aligned with any political party nor do I come with any political baggage.   The fact that I have been endorsed by the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties helps support that statement.

Since my discharge from the military in 1965, I’ve witnessed and lived through all of the grand experiments and schemes foisted on us by our village fathers and we have all lived with the consequences - some good, others not so good. Among the good and enlightened decisions made during that period, and one which I feel is most important, is our present Village form of government – a Community run by a Village Manager and full-time professional staff but responsible to the Mayor and 6 Trustees whose collective purview is making policy.  If left to operate as former trustees Joe Carlucci and Bill Davidson designed it in 1975, the structure works and is very effective - so long as it is not interfered with by part time politicians who have a much more grand vision of their role.  I will fight to retain, refocus, and protect this system because, in my opinion, it was not only one of our Community’s better decisions – it is the heart of village operations. It doesn’t need fixing. The politicians just need to be educated and restrained.

My primary objectives will be in the area of economic development, with additional focus on our infrastructure. The main points are to:  1.) stop the lip service and empty rhetoric by really developing plans to expand our tax base; 2.) seek other revenue sources, not only from grants that always come with strings attached but real income generating opportunities; 3.) address once and for all the issues of our collapsing Bulkhead and our failing Police Headquarters facilities no matter how difficult those solutions may be; 4.) obtain Code Enforcement relief, and; 5.) provide the support facilities that our downtown requires in order that it can continue to grow.

Much has been said and much has been written in the blogs and in hard copy publications about the development of the United Hospital site by the Starwood Company. We have to engage them intelligently and, for once in our Village’s history, begin to tell the developers what the Village wants and needs instead of the other way around. Do we have all the answers? Heck,  No!   But I’m confident with the constitution of a new board and focused leadership that is committed and joined together once again by consensus we will find the right solution for our Village. You simply don’t blow away a property owner who is already invested in our Village and who wants to pump an additional $200 million dollars into our community or send mixed and confusing signals to him so long as those dollars are “smart dollars” and so long as the development doesn’t further burden our schools, infrastructure, and overall quality of life.

I’m committed to insure that the Starwood development strategy must be one that brings “net tax dollars” into the community and not those that burden it. Cost of Services analyses is critical.  Do I want to see 800+ apartments at the United Hospital Site?  No way. Make that clear…..NO WAY……BUT……we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot either.  We must find creative ways to engage the idea of “smart development” and negotiate with property owners who are already in the game and attract others by creating effective financing packages that utilize both the IDA and our newly formed Local Development Company to bring those “net tax dollars” into our income stream. We have the tools.  They are the Village’s expansion tools but have not been used creatively enough to undertake the development tasks that our Village cannot afford to lose. I believe I have the “in the trenches experience” – not just a corporate-level-view but the hands on type of experience that gets things done.

Believe me - I get it and I AM impatient.  The combination of tax base expansion and the increase of our revenue stream must both be a part of our development formula.  We can only cut a budget so much before you are into the bone. Too much time has been wasted and, the Village and you and I - the taxpayers - are paying the price for failed performance each and every time we write the check to pay our property tax bill.

I don’t “need” the job as Mayor.  I just “want” it.

I’m Neil J. Pagano. I’m running for Mayor of the Village of Port Chester and I am seeking your support and your vote on March 19, 2013. Thank you in advance for your trust and vote of confidence.  

Neil J. Pagano

Port Chester

FJT March 04, 2013 at 01:27 PM
PC Lover, thanks for bringing this fact about Mr. Terenzi to light. Now I know all I need to know about Mr. Pagano. I will not vote for him.
Anthony Fotia March 04, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Well said sir.
Aidan March 04, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Little John, re-read your own posts. Stop acting like the arbiter of social gentility.
eatingdogfood March 04, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Excellent reply, Bart.
John March 04, 2013 at 01:52 PM
It's always character attacks. And by the same groupies.
Valerie March 04, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Mr. Pagano .... Jumping to another subject ... what are your thoughts about the current "Amnesty" Program ?? Any changes if you are elected ??
PC Lover March 04, 2013 at 02:57 PM
C'mon Bart...everyone knows you only pay taxes on money you make. That's accounting 101. If you owe tax money it's because you had income. If you have income but then don't put aside the funds to pay the taxes on that income then you are clueless. If you are a CPA who hasn't figured that out you are scary. I would not have as big an issue with the tax lien if it was you, since you are not a "tax professional". I have other issues with you....
PC Lover March 04, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Bob, those were appointees...not elected officials. The people had no vote and therefore say in that.
PC Lover March 04, 2013 at 03:38 PM
LOL you are right John, I apologize to those delicate flowers Neil and Sam if I have offended their "virgin ears". Underneath it all, Sam is just a big cuddly softy. Sorry for being such a meany, Sam.
Bart Didden March 04, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Good Morning PC Lover and your correct in principle, but there are many more taxes that just income tax. Many restaurants and retail stores owe sales taxes when they fail. It's human nature and reality as I have seen many businesses fail this way. You collect the sales tax at the time of the sale, but if business is not going so well you use the sales tax money to pay expenses or vendors so you can still stay in business because you believe in your business and personal efforts and that you can turn it around. Many times it just does not work out that way. I avoid this pitfall of human nature you must be so disciplined if it almost imposable when your trying to save your business. Depending on your business volume, sales tax is due quarterly, monthly or even more often if your business is still larger. Small business owners will do anything to stay in business, so there are large penlites and interest if you don't file your returns on time. But most times there is only interest only if you file your return but don't pay on time, its like taking a loan, you just pay interest and maybe a small penalty. There are many unanswered questions and I am not hear to defend or answer any of them, but if Mr. Terenzi was not managing the business and had a key employee, maybe the key employee has shared responsibility?
PC Lover March 04, 2013 at 03:52 PM
PC Proud are you saying that Brian Harrod falsified the legal documents he has on his website? Here is the link in case you haven't seen them: http://portchesterroundup.blogspot.com/2013/03/port-chester-trustee-saverio-terenzi.html You hit the nail on the head....you said Mr. Pagano must "ensure that his employees and family are provided for on a daily basis". It is my fear that in order to do so we may end up with a very expensive deal with Starwood that all of us will be paying for long after Starwood has absconded.
PC Lover March 04, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Good Morning Bart. I get your point Bart...for normal civilians. Your CPA is exactly the person who is supposed to keep you out of that kind of trouble...and even moreso himself. This no different than a lawyer dipping into the escrow accounts. For a CPA to fail to pay sales tax is even worse than failure to pay income tax. There is no excuse. It is money collected directly for taxes which does not belong to you. Again, this is Accounting 101...those funds are to be sequestered. It's not your money to use, spend, lend, or borrow against. Over $100K in tax lien against Mr. Terenzi, CPA...how much of a blind eye can a CPA turn toward the accounting of his own business and then blame on a key employee?
PC Proud March 04, 2013 at 09:13 PM
PC Lover I've looked at the document and let's just say I've had dealings with the NYS Tax Office for sales tax disputes and no document I've ever received has looked quite like that. Also can you tell me where Lawrence Drive is in Port Chester? Perhaps Mr. Harrod meant to type Lawridge Dr. in Rye Brook, a mistake I don't see the tax people making. So if you ask me then I will tell you, something's not kosher with that letter. I will simply ask once again, look into Mr. Harrod's background and record, better yet look at some of the other articles on his site and make up your mind about who is consorting with less than reputable people. In my personal opinion, Mr. Harrod and anyone who, knowing his background chooses to believe or spread his calumny has ceased to have any credibility in my eyes.
PC Lover March 04, 2013 at 10:06 PM
I do not know Mr. Harrod or his issues, however if he falsified legal documents and smeared that calumny on me I'd sue him to Kingdom Come. But if it's true, I just might say nothing and ignore it and hope it goes away...which seems to be what is happening here. If history is any indicator, Sam is not the wimpy, shrinking violet who would let such an affront pass unrewarded.
Susie March 04, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Brian Harrod is only around during election season. I remember him from the last few. He is the ideal person they (democrats) can and do use. Beside having no morals or conscious he has no assets so suing him would be pointless
Anthony R. March 05, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Yes, Mr. Pagano, what are your views on any village programs besides "I could do them better and faster?" How? Specifically what? Give us some real ideas. All attack, no substance...
PC Lover March 09, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Mr. Pagano and Bart Didden..Distance yourself from this train wreck! Standing up for Taxpayers....What a joke! Terenzi called it "an expensive way to borrow money"....what a fool! http://www.lohud.com/article/20130308/NEWS02/303080100/Port-Chester-s-Sam-Terenzi-owes-state-220G-back-taxes?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News
PC Lover March 09, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Good morning Bart. I owe you an apology...I stated that Sam had $107K of tax liens but I was mistaken...it's $220K. Thought I needed to clear up that discrepancy. And further, let's clear up the fact that it's not a character attack...it's a statement of fact as evidenced on the front page of the Journal News today. Do you need me to post the link for you or do you get the paper delivered?
Aidan March 11, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Little John says, "Disparaging people who are trying to make things better is counterproductive and childish." This? From you? Your quotes: " And by the way, the quality of life in PC is terrible. It's dangerous, overcrowded and looks horrible ..." "PC is a mess ..." "It's never going to improve. It's impossible." "Actually, I doubt it will ever get better." "The place looks like a third world country." Holier than thou.
BORN IN PC March 12, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Also Mr Pagano work on cleaning up all the over crowed!!!!!!!! apartments there are lots of them now they calling it rent a room/rent a space not fair to tax payers
Joe Bulfamante March 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Neil, Wish we lived in PC so you could have our votes. With Best Wishes, The Bulfamante Family
Joe Bulfamante March 13, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Neil, Further to our wish to be able to vote, we are keenly aware of your background and expertise, especially in real estate, we also know that you are an honorable person from an honorable family. Having said all that, we strongly believe that you will bring PC to new heights. The Bulfamante Family
Craig Noor March 15, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Mr. Pagano, I have just now read of your effort to devalue your commercial properties by 75 percent for several years, which would severely hamper our tax base, at a time when you are talking about fairness and increasing commercial tax payments. Your response to this was to state that your accountant made errors ... on all of your properties ... for several years. That is difficult to believe and cause for concern over the prospect of giving someone responsibility as mayor of our village. Can you elaborate on how this in itself is not something that would disqualify you from contention - either your accountant is incompetent, or you are taking a do as I say, not as I do approach - neither of which makes me want to vote for you. Thank you, Craig Noor
Craig Noor March 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM
PC Proud, I have read Brian Harrod's blog as pertains to these issues. He does come across as something of a crackpot, however - the facts he has drawn to the public's attention have proven to be true e.g., Mr. Terenzi's owing $220k in state taxes). There are certainly some unsupported allegations and innuendo on his website, which will feed the furor of the blindly partisan in either direction, but - he has put some factual informaiton out there that the Journal News and the Patch and the Westmore News have either not reported, or have reported after the fact.
Aidan March 15, 2013 at 01:07 PM
So that everyone understands Mr. Noor's comments completely ... http://www.lohud.com/article/20130314/NEWS02/303140086/Port-Chester-candidates-challenge-property-valuations
Craig Noor March 15, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Thank you, Aidan. ... people can say what they want about Mayor Pilla's personality, self-importance, ego, etc. (see, I am not a "Pilla operative", just a village resident and property owner with the same concerns of many), I am no great fan of his - but the alternative is alarming. Mayor and Trustee cousins, in and of itself, would be a red flag (not to say a total deal-breaker for me, but - I think sometimes family loyalty can keep people from seeing things objectively, and it matters whne you have tens of thousands of people's interests at stake. ...)
PC Lover March 15, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Good point, Craig. Either the accountant is incompetent or the client is a nincompoop. In todays Journal News his own lawyer calls Pagano out as a liar. Enough is enough with these guys. With Pagano, Didden and Terenzi It's all for one and all for me. Incestuous, political, finagling, dishonesty, underhanded and overbearing... Dirty deeds done dirt cheap. The only defense here would be the "dementia defense" in which case Neil can say as a septugenarian he has no memory, of anything, ever. Port Chester deserves better.
PC Lover March 15, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Amen.
Bart Didden March 15, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Are Your Assessments To High? Feel Like You Are You Paying More Than Your Fair Share? Check out my blog right here on The Patch at - http://portchester.patch.com/blog_posts/standing-up-for-port-chester-taxpayers-you-have-rights-use-them Its all about YOU PAYING YOUR FAIR SHARE
Craig Noor April 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Mr. Didden you are correct that it is about paying your fair share (no need to yell, it is a simple enough concept that you don't need ALL CAPS). However regular people don't have tax lawyers to try do get their property values lessened by 75 percent for several years running a la mayor Pagano. This seems like a slimy thing to do, verging on criminal in my opinion. And Mayor Pagano thus far won't answer publicly whether he has stopped trying to do this. Not very community minded in my opinion. Perhaps you could get an answer from him and report back? I am sure it would be of interest to the readers of your blog. And seeing as how you are related I bet you could get through to him.

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