Petitions Submitted for a Referendum on the Ward System in North Castle
September 9, 2014
The Committee for the Representation Referendum, led by Anthony Futia, North Castle’s former Superintendent of The Sewer and Water Department, has presented petitions to the North Castle Town Board for residents to vote on three propositions.
Proposition #1 reads:
“Shall the ward system be established for the election of councilmen or councilwomen in the Town of North Castle?”
Proposition #2 reads:
“Shall the number of councilmen or councilwomen of the Town of North Castle be increased from four to six?”
Proposition #3 reads:
“Shall the Town of North Castle voters limit the total amount of annual compensation to be paid to the six town councilmen, to the total amount of annual compensation paid to the Town’s four councilmen in fiscal year 2014?”
Town Administrator Joan Goldberg says the budgeted salary for the four town board members in 2014 is $18,136 each, or a total of $72,544. If the total compensation were divided by six town board members, each town board member’s annual compensation would be $12,091.
All the petitions for propositions begin as follows:
"TO: THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NORTH CASTLE
We, the undersigned, electors of the Town of North Castle, qualified to vote upon a proposition to raise and expend money; and, in number, equal to at least five per centum of the total votes cast for Governor in said Town, as the last general election held, for the election of State Officers, on November 2, 2010, do hereby state that our place of residence is truly slated opposite ours signatures hereto, and do hereby petition that they be submitted to the voters of said Town, pursuant to section 81 of the Town law, of the State of New York, at a special town election, a proposition as follows:"
The 52 pages of referendum petitions include over 400 names that were duplicated for each of the three propositions and then submitted to the North Castle Town Clerk’s office on September 2, 2014. Town Clerk Anne Curran says 5% of the total votes canvased during the 2010 election would be 227. But that number needs to be verified. If 227 is the correct number of signatures required, Futia’s signed petitions appear sufficient to require a vote on the three propositions.
An e-mail dated August 21, 2014 sent to many residents by Tony Futia, who worked for The Sewer and Water Department of North Castle for 40 years, says, “North Castle neighborhoods have not been well represented on the Town Board” and they “deserve local representation.” In the e-mail, Futia proposed that a ward system of North Castle would separate the town into six different areas, with the “exact boundaries to be set by the Board of Elections, if the referendum is successful.” Futia added, “The purpose is to provide a board member from each of the major areas in town (Banksville, Windmill, Armonk, East Armonk, Whippoorwill and North White Plains) or wards, who would look after the needs of their neighborhood as well as work for the Town as a whole.”
There were 8,641 registered voters in North Castle in June 2013. Of the 52 pages of petitions, with over 400 signatures (witnessed mostly by Tony Futia and dated between July 27 to September 1), a large majority of the signatures had addresses in North White Plains or White Plains, with only 15 signatures of residents from Armonk, West Harrison or Bedford. If a sufficient number of signatures on the petitions are valid, the three propositions will appear on the ballot throughout North Castle in the November 4, 2014 election.