Since the local political parties will be preparing their list of candidates for next years (November 2021) election, I thought I should be the one to tell our Cortlandt community first that I will not be seeking the Cortlandt Town Supervisor elected position next election year.
I am announcing my retirement for the end of this two year term effective December 31, 2021. It is with a heavy heart and sadness that I make this announcement since I love Cortlandt and all of its wonderful people very much. It has been an honor to be Cortlandt’s Supervisor for all of these years. 2021 will make it thirty years and I was an elected Councilwoman first for one term. Therefore, for thirty four years I have had the privilege of serving this great community.
I have always taken the trust that people have given to me when they elected me to be the leader of Cortlandt seriously, humbly and with great pride. Every single day I always said to myself how can I make Cortlandt even better than it already is and how can I reach out to every neighborhood, organization, group and individual to make their lives better. That has always been my goal.
I raised my two children (twins) Ali and Jeff in Cortlandt. They have gone on to lead very successful lives and are truly kind and giving people. They are my pride and joy and my legacy. They have their roots in Cortlandt and have so many fond memories of growing up in this excellent community that gave them lasting friendships, a good education and values that stay with them today. My daughter and her husband (Tom) have two boys, my grandsons (Oliver and Jeremy). They are amazing and are the light of my life.
I will have served this great town for thirty years as Town Supervisor and prior to that four years as a Town Councilwoman. I am very proud of all the achievements and accomplishments I have worked on over these three and a half decades including: our Advanced Life Support (ALS/Paramedics) programs and for bringing in the 911 system to Cortlandt. Also, I was the original supporter and negotiated with Lakeland School District to purchase their then closed elementary school for our Town Hall. I’ve been the first elected Supervisor in our lovely Town Hall. I also negotiated with Metro North to build the Cortlandt Train Station (in two phases). I promised 30 years ago to keep town taxes very low and have delivered on average for 30 years only increasing town taxes by 1% for this entire period at the same time having very low debt, a completion of over $160 million in capital projects (infrastructure, paving, water tanks, etc.) and will be leaving a strong fund balance (savings account) of close to $20 million dollars, four times of what was in this fund when I started.
I’ve been so proud to work with our Veterans on their many important issues, to put up many memorials and to hold many wonderful Veteran ceremonies throughout the years. These men and women are heroes. I have worked hard over the 30 years to monitor the safety of Indian Point, to co-chair important closure task forces and now to be part of the overview of the soon to be decommissioning project. Also, I have always been there for our residents throughout the major storms, power outages, the pandemic still ongoing and of course the tragic day of 9/11/2001. Our Youth, Senior and Recreation programs are the best anywhere and I’m so proud of my initiatives to expand upon them over these years; Cortlandt Waterfront Park located on the Hudson River, Community Center expansion, water spray park, mini golf, new tennis courts, a new bathhouse and snack bar and playground all at our town pool campus; lacrosse, softball, soccer and little league fields, many other playgrounds, roller hockey rinks and of course our Youth Center was constructed during my administration to name just a few. I’ve worked on economic planning along with our economic advisor.
I have been able to increase our open space for trails and parkland by 100%, saved and preserved lakes, ponds and streams, passed many strong environmental laws (wetlands, tree, aquifers and steep slopes, etc.) to which we never had before and balanced all of this with rational economic growth (Cortlandt Town Center, Cortlandt Crossing, many smaller businesses have opened during these years) and our hospital has expanded and is now owned by the NY Presbyterian Hospital system. Many new jobs have come into Cortlandt over the years and more to come.
I feel proud that the majority of our employees (200) reside in Cortlandt and that all of our summer youth jobs are Cortlandt residents, as well. Also, along with our team I have completed three Master Plans.
The following events have been my ideas and initiatives implemented by our Recreation and Conservation Department, DES – Parks Division and my staff: Cortlandt Family Fun Day, 5K Run, Winter Wonderland, Egg Hunt in the Spring, Dog Park and Dog Parade at Halloween, outdoor concert and movie series at our Waterfront Park and I have supported all of our senior and youth center events each year. There are too many to list but I’m so very proud of these achievements. I have enjoyed working with all of our excellent employees over the years and serving with many town board members who have made contributions, as well.
Also, I’ve enjoyed working with everyone in our two Villages (Buchanan and Croton-on-Hudson). I especially love attending activities for our Youth and Scouts.
I pledge to work with the next leaders (Supervisor and Town Board members) elected next November and to make it a very smooth transition in order to achieve my original goal to do what’s right for this very special town and for the many residents and families who call CORTLANDT HOME.
We will have one more year (2021) to continue working together. Let’s make it our best ever!
Thank you so very much. I love you all and I love Cortlandt!
Supervisor Linda Puglisi