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Five Questions for North Salem Board Candidate Buchholtz

Bruce Barton Buchholtz attended elementary school in Croton Falls and Purdys, where he was a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout and a Little Leaguer. He graduated from North Salem High School and holds a BA from New York University. 

He is founder, chairman and managing director of Fairfield Resources, Ltd., a diversified management consulting firm. 

He has served as vice chairman of the North Salem Historic Preservation Commission and is on the executive committee of the North Salem Historical Society. He is an active member of the Croton Falls Volunteer Fire Department. He and his family are also active members of St. James Episcopal Church.

Buchholtz proudly points out that his three-year-old son, Maurice, is the fifth generation of the Buchholtz family to live in North Salem. He feels that his upbringing in this town “has instilled in me an abiding respect for its traditions, heritage, scenic beauty, natural resources and its rural character.”

He is officially endorsed by the North Salem Republican Party Committee for the Tuesday primary and is the Conservative Party Nominee on the November ballot.

1. Why are you running for Town Board?

I would like to give back to North Salem, through continued public service.

2. Why should Republicans vote for you in the primary and how are you different from your competition?

I grew up in North Salem and I have a unique perspective on the town, the people and the issues. My candidacy was endorsed by the North Salem Republican Committee and I fully support individual property rights and oppose the “Property Transfer Tax” at this time. It is a doubly regressive tax that would drive down property values when buyers and sellers realize that they are obligated to pay even more sales tax, as well as for the fact that it would continue to remove property from our tax rolls at an inopportune time.

North Salem and the rest of the country are still in the throes of a pernicious recession. We’re earning considerably less in sales tax now and it is foolhardy to drive down revenues even further. I’m not an ideologue and I could see a time when the economy improves where it may be necessary to openly and transparently buy critical open land on a case-by-case basis through bonding or referendum. But to accomplish this “under the radar” is simply deceptive and, equally importantly, makes no economic sense at this critical time.

3. What is the biggest issue or problem in North Salem right now and what would you do about it? 

Aside from the “Property Transfer Tax,” North Salem is obligated through a legal settlement to promote moderate income housing here in town.

During this campaign, I’ve literally walked on every street in North Salem. I’ve observed many dozens of houses for sale. Some of them are being sold through the normal course of events but many are on the market as a result of high taxes and economic hardship.

Wherever possible I believe in adaptive reuse of existing structures to address the needs of moderate income housing. During 2011, I’ve attended conferences of the Westchester County Municipal Planning Federation and have seen the positive results of adaptive reuse and also learned that there is county, state and federal grant money available for this very purpose.

Why not fully integrate newcomers into our community rather than separate them from the mainstream?

4. If you have previously served in political office, what was your greatest accomplishment? 

My greatest accomplishment is that I have NEVER served in political office. I don’t owe anyone any favors and I bring a fresh perspective to government gained from three decades in business.

I do have volunteer service as Vice Chair of the North Salem Historic Preservation Commission and, during my tenure, landmark designations have increased by over 25 percent. I attribute this considerable success to a committed group effort by the entire Commission and I’m truly proud to serve with them.   

5. What would you like to see in North Salem that is not currently part of the community?

In my lifetime, the paucity of jobs in North Salem has been endemic.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had some low-impact businesses here that created jobs? I’m not advocating large businesses that would create additional traffic and further strain our fragile ecosystem but, rather, high wage, high-tech jobs that provide our residents with employment opportunities and a broadened tax base. Small businesses are the backbone of America.

Incidentally, we don’t have a pharmacy nor a full time dry cleaner here in town. There is a 2,000 square foot pharmacy in Somers that is tastefully built in colonial style and is in character with existing architecture in North Salem. Similarly, surrounding communities have successful dry cleaners where the actual processing takes place off-premises. Thus, no harmful chemicals would be released into our environment. Wouldn’t it make sense to also attract a few basic service businesses to North Salem?

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