Today we introduce you to Rye City council candidate (and current councilwoman) Julie Killian
What are the three most important issues for Rye in 2014?
- Financial Sustainability
- Settling Union Contracts
- Improving Infrastructure
Rye Playland. Questions:
- Which of the Rye Playland alternatives do you favor? I am in support of SPI but I want to review all changes to the original plan when details are made available to ensure they are in keeping with what is best for Rye.
- Do you believe the financial performance of Rye Playland has been misstated by the County Executive (yes or no) and should the financial statements of Rye Playland be audited by an independent auditor? No.
- What’s your favorite ride at Rye Playland and why? I like all of Kiddyland because it reminds me of being there with my kids when they were young.
Rye City Budget and Infrastructure. Questions:
- What percentage of the city’s budget is comprised of healthcare and pension contributions? Pensions and Healthcare (excluding dental and vision) costs are approximately 24% of our budget. Total employee costs are approximately 84% of our budget.
- What can and should Rye be doing to control city employee healthcare and pension costs? Pensions are managed by NY State so the only way for Rye to control pension costs is to keep salary costs under control. Employees are under one of two healthcare plans and we need to evaluate whether one or the other is better for our employees and the City. We also need to be cognizant of Obamacare and the impact it may have on our healthcare costs. The fines for exceeding stated levels of a “Cadillac” plan are 40% of all premiums above that level. All of our current employees pay a share of their healthcare premiums but employees do not pay for healthcare when they retire.
- Infrastructure in Rye: The Central Avenue Bridge in Rye was replaced this year, six years after it was washed out in the floods of 2007. Questions:
- What are the three most important infrastructure projects in Rye City?
- The projects that will be funded by the bond offering especially the sewer projects.
- Upgrading Station Plaza.
- Creating and improving crosswalks and sidewalks and additional improvements to downtown.
- Is it ever appropriate to defer needed infrastructure maintenance or improvements even if in the end the deterioration results in a more expensive project? It is generally not desirable but each situation must be evaluated on its own merit.
- What is the best way to fund infrastructure? Combination of grants, operating income and debt depending on the nature of the project.
- What are the three most important infrastructure projects in Rye City?
Flooding in Rye. Questions:
- What has been done in Rye since the 2007 floods to mitigate future flooding? Sluice gate has been put in at the Bowman Ave dam. Many people in flood prone areas have raised their houses when possible and the City has been helpful in approving those projects.
- What still needs to be done to mitigate flooding concerns in Rye City? Flooding is a community problem and the City must work with our neighboring municipalities and the County to find solutions especially additional places for water retention upstream where the water comes from. Rye must also continue with the new analysis to evaluate other solutions and to do a peer review of conflicting flood reports of 2008 and 2012. The City must continue to install gauges downstream that will give us more information about water flow in various conditions. The water that comes off the Sound is a different issue and we need to evaluate that situation when the FEMA flood maps are finalized.
Rye Town Park. Questions:
- Should Rye City own and run Rye Town Park, yes or no? No it belongs to Rye City and the Town of Rye, which includes Port Chester and Rye Brook.
- If the government entity Rye Town is dissolved and goes away, should the park fall under the ownership and control of Rye City, Westchester County or someone else? It is wonderful asset to our City and the surrounding areas and should continued to be operated in a cooperative manner with Rye City, Port Chester and Rye Brook all working together for the good of the park and all area residents.
- Should dogs be allowed off leash in the park, yes or no? Yes before 9:00 am.
The TD Smoke Shop on Purchase Street. Questions:
- Should the Smoke Shop stay open, yes or no? I love the Smoke Shop!
- Should the Smoke Shop stay open even if it means the City needs to intervene with the building owner or others, yes or no? Intervene can mean many things. In general the City does not get involved with the running of local businesses. However, the City is always willing to help citizens and local businesses and the City should always provide an environment that is safe and clean especially downtown so our businesses can prosper and citizens can have a place to gather, shop and dine.
The Rye Golf Club has been mired in scandal and badly mismanaged. Questions:
- Does the Rye City Manager Scott Pickup hold responsibility for mismanagement and if so, what consequences should befall Mr. Pickup? There is much blame to go around. The important thing is that the City goes forward and makes the necessary changes whether they be structural, personnel or financial.
- In the future, what needs to be done to place proper auditing and financial controls? Some have called for additional audits; I suggest that the City undertake a more comprehensive process known as Enterprise Risk Management. It is a risk-based approach to managing an enterprise that looks at all areas of our organizational exposure: financial, operational, reporting, compliance, governance, strategic, reputation, etc. All stakeholders must understand the risks and who is responsible for them before they can be appropriately managed. For example at Rye Golf, the City has put some controls in place including requiring hand scans of all employees at the beginning and end of shifts, picking up paychecks, increasing the number of accounting cost centers so that analysis is easier and anomalies are easier to identify. The yearly audit needs to be done by a firm that has hospitality experience and it should be a full audit every year not just one that examines whether procedures are being followed. These are a small subset of the risks that would be examined by an Enterprise Risk Management process.
- What specifically should happen with the dining facility at Whitby Castle? The City does not have the necessary expertise to be in the restaurant business nor does government accounting lend itself to properly managing a food and beverage operation. The RGC Strategic Committee, which I am liaison to, is currently preparing an RFP to outsource the food service business.
- Should Rye Golf Club members be forced to pay a $300 food minimum, yes or no? This is for the RGC Commission and the members to decide.
Green issues in Rye. Questions:
- Is Rye being overbuilt, yes or no? I am glad that there is a new focus on zoning so that we can evaluate what laws make sense for Rye today, 10 years after our last zoning changes. I hope that residents will be equally focused on the HUD’s desire to supersede our local zoning laws potentially making it easier to build anything and create more density.
- Should there be rules about cutting down trees of a certain size or age? The previously proposed tree ordinance, as written, was not workable for the citizens or the City.
- Do you support the plastic bag ban in Rye, yes or no? Yes
- Should we cull the deer population in Rye, yes or no? Yes if it can be done in a humane and safe way.
- What else should we be doing to make Rye a sustainable city? When I hear sustainable I think of financial sustainability because without that there is no money to do the other things we would like to do. The finances of the City have been and will continue to be a priority for me.
Word Association: tell us the one word you associate with each of these topics:
Scott Pickup: Parent
Doug French: Mayor
Steve Otis: Dedicated
George Latimer: Nice
Judy Myers: Stylish
Bill Connors: Police
Rye City: Amazing
Central Avenue Bridge: Done
Bowman Avenue Dam Sluice Gate: Hope
The Smoke Shop: Candy
Rye Little League Parade: Americana
Rye Recreation: Kids
Plastic Bag Ban: Paper
Rye Playland: Rides
Rye Marshlands Conservancy: Wet
Edith Read Sanctuary: Hike
Rye Garnet Football: Awesome
Harrison Huskie Football: Burgundy
Tell Us About Your Campaign:
What “ticket(s)” are you running on? Rye United
Who else (if applicable) is running on your ticket? Joe Sack for Mayor, Kirstin Bucci and Terry McCartney for City Council
What local organizations have endorsed your candidacy? Republican, Independence and Conservative parties
What are the three most important endorsements you have received from local residents? I am humbled by the support and encouragement I have received.
How much money has your campaign raised as of Sunday, October 20, 2013? See NYS Board of Election website for detailed filings.
How much of the money raised to date is from you, your immediate family or relatives? See NYS Board of Election website for detailed filings.
How much of the money raised to date is from individual donations of $100 or less? See NYS Board of Election website for detailed filings.
What percentage of money has been spent on postal mailings to Rye homes? See NYS Board of Election website for detailed filings.
What percentage of money has been spent on advertisements in local newspapers or web sites? See NYS Board of Election website for detailed filings.
What comprises the other major expenditures? See NYS Board of Election website for detailed filings.
Who is your campaign manager and where do they live? NA
Tell Us More About You:
Where do you live in Rye? Forest Ave
How long have you lived in Rye – since what year? Since 1991.
What’s your day job? Mom
If your co-workers (from your day job) were to describe you in a single word, what word would they use? Strict (my kids)
Did you have a summer job in high school and if so, what was it? Camp counselor during the day; waitress at night.
Tell us about your family. I have been married for 24 years to Gary Killian and we have five children, a daughter who is 21 and 4 sons who are 19, 18, 15 and 14.
What’s your favorite Rye area restaurant for “date night” with your partner? Ruby’s.
What’s your favorite Rye area restaurant for take-out or delivery when you are having dinner at home with your family? Al Dente or Water Moon but my personal favorite is the Grandma’s pizza at Piazza—the best!! You can’t forget breakfast-the Parmesan scrambled eggs at On The Way Café are legendary.
Where might we find you on a Sunday morning? Church
What is your most unusual skill? I can solve a quadratic equation.
What is your political affiliation? Republican
Your favorite major league baseball team: Boston Red Sox
Your Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/RyeUnited
Your twitter call: no answer
Your campaign web site: www.RyeUnited.com