The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the editor:
The change of control in the state Senate has resulted in many new policies. One change we should all applaud is the new attitude regarding taxpayer-funded cars for politicians. Although given an automatic allocation of nine cars for Democrat Senators, only Ms. Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) took her Ford Explorer SUV—a vehicle weighing almost 5,000 pounds and having a city mileage of 19 mpg (that assumes she has a base model; other configurations only get 16 mpg).
The other eligible Democrats declined to take taxpayer-funded cars, but unfortunately the Republicans took all three cars they were allocated (Ford Taurus cars). The Senate also has five cars purchased but currently unallocated; hopefully the new attitude of the Senate Democrats will lead to a reduction in the taxpayer-provided fleet.
Our Croton Board of Trustees should follow the example set by the Democrats in Albany. Taxpayers should not be paying for personal use of vehicles. The next time the Board of Trustees negotiates an employment contract for a Village Manager, the provision allowing for personal use of a village vehicle should be deleted.
Taxpayers should not be paying for daily commuting expenses, particularly not in a carbon-spewing gasoline-powered car. The environmental impact may not be great, but there is a principle involved and our municipal leaders and politicians should lead by example.
The village has never publicly provided a list of municipally-owned vehicles; a few years ago the estimate was that there are over a hundred vehicles in the fleet. Both for fiscal and environmental reasons, Croton should do a comprehensive review of the current fleet and requirements going forward.
The example set by the new Democrat leadership in Albany with regard to taxpayer-provided vehicles is one which should be emulated by politicians and municipalities across New York State.