Taxed Out



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It was our usual monthly editorial staff meeting. Seven editors and I were sitting around, hashing out story ideas, mulling over photographs, ruminating on writers, determining deadlines, when—out of the blue—I asked, “What is the number-one issue in the County?”

Without hesitation, Features Editor Nancy Claus answered, “Taxes.”




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Odds are you, your next-door neighbor, and your town busybody would have answered similarly. Taxes! We all gripe about them. But in Westchester, it seems, it’s become an art form. Are we justified in our near-incessant grousing? We asked freelance writer and Harrison resident Dave Donelson to look into the matter. Dave did and you can read what he learned on page 38. It’s fascinating, eye-opening. What effect did this assignment have on Dave’s view of the County?

“I have been paying Westchester property taxes for more than thirty years, but I always just figured they were the cost of living someplace special. That changed as I started working on this piece. The more I dug into why our taxes have gone out of sight, the more I realized the importance of paying attention to the way our schools, county, and municipal governments spend our money. Quite frankly, it’s not a pretty sight.”

So, um, is he thinking of moving elsewhere?

“I’m not moving—yet,” Dave says. “Besides, I’m too much of a reverse snob to ever live in Greenwich.”

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Articles Editor Marisa LaScala spent weeks and weeks researching and writing her wonderfully informative—and, yes, fun—piece on summer fun (see “37 Ways to Get Out and Enjoy Summer,”). Among other cool things I found to do on her list, I plan to check out the Walkway over the Hudson this summer.

What had Marisa learned writing this piece? “I didn’t really need convincing that Westchester is the place to be during the summer,” she says. “I was already convinced. Other people try to leave where they live during the summer and escape to weekend houses miles away. Westchester really comes alive in the summer, and I always have the most fun just staying put. We really have everything here that you can associate with summer—beaches, parks, outdoor restaurants, boats—and nowhere is prettier than the banks of the Hudson River.”

Anything else? “Summer isn’t long enough,” Marisa says. “We have thirty-seven things to do, some of which involve multiple steps/outings, but we only get fifteen weekends to do them in. “On a related note,” she adds, “can I get some more vacation time?”

No doubt Marisa will soon be putting in for time off. After all, she’s going to need it. You see, Marisa’s getting married at the tail end of the summer (in Westchester, of course)—and she plans to go on a week-long “mini-moon” in the Hudson Valley. That sounds like another variety of Westchester fun.

Esther Davidowitz

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