The ceremony was simple but there was a goodly crowd outside of City Hall on a perfect spring evening to watch the swearing in of Mayor Roach as the city’s 18th mayor. I had been on the road much of the day and was fortunate enough to make it to the event and to have my camera – so enjoy the photos. I was actually carrying the right lens for such an event!
The speech was apolitical and I was impressed as Mayor Roach gave thanks to his family and friends and city employees. If nothing else the ceremony signaled an new beginning for a city that has had more than a few growing pains over the past few years.
White Plains has gone through a great deal over the past decade. It went through massive growth during the first years of the 21st century. There was nothing but praise for the “White Plains Renaissance” with super- builder – Cappelli transforming the city’s downtown and creating a true skyline where none existed before. Although the downtown needed to be turned in a new direction – I believe White Plains became a victim of its own success – add a dash of hubris and you are done for.
There is such a thing as too much, too fast and the city was left flat-footed when the biggest recession since the Great Depression hit the city broadside. When you build too much and the buyers aren’t there to absorb the inventory – problems await. When a large percentage of your tax base is based on retail and a major recession hits – it can be cause for concern. Put both of these factors together and – well – you’ve got quite a problem. Not that there weren’t hints of a money problem brewing even before White Plains got smacked with that one-two punch. When former Mayor Delfino was selling city owned land to balance budget shortfalls – it was pretty obvious that there was some rough sledding ahead.
The idea was that the money generated from the newly reinvigorated downtown would pay for all the infrastructure costs – and this did not materialize. As tax rates soared and long time residents felt they were footing the bill for the new downtown while services were being cut caused citizens to fume.
Into this rather explosive mix entered Adam Bradley. Elected mayor in 2010 – he had held office a mere two months when he was arrested and charged with assault charges. The domestic violence charges created a three-ring circus during a time of fiscal crisis. While his trial continued – the city was facing deep budget cuts or a totally mind boggling 19% tax increase. The massive increase was avoided but the city needed a Mayor who could fully concentrate on the needs of the city.
Thus the election and installation of Tom Roach – a long-time member of the City Council came as relief to many residents who basically just needed closure on this situation. Meanwhile the finances of the city are looking up and sales receipts are looking stronger. We all hope an important page has been turned and White Plains is on its way back.
©2011 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – All rights reserved.
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