BY RAQUEL OKYAY
The editor-in-chief of the Rockland County Times, Dylan G. Skriloff, has energetically answered the call to action to run for Stony Point supervisor in 2013.
“We have the right team of candidates in place with a concrete plan to expand our commercial tax base and help our economy grow,” said the 34-year-old supervisor candidate who is running alongside council candidates Tom Basile and Jim Monaghan. Election Day is Nov. 5.
Skriloff is a Conservative Party member, running on both the Republican and Conservative Party lines, as well as the Independence Party. The GOP slate’s plan consists of holding down taxes, creating a business friendly environment and eliminating waste. “We will not raise taxes one penny,” he said.
Skriloff, who has been the editor-in-chief of Rockland County Times since July 2009 and associate publisher since 2010, said a task force of leaders in the community will help local government find economic solutions. “Those who know what the local market has to offer ought to have an input in this process; we are open to new ideas,” he said, noting that the ticket has received considerable interest in the idea of creating a business task force from many prominent local personages.
“Real estate brokers, builders, developers, and other business owners know how to financially benefit the community,” said Skriloff. Furthermore, a streamlining of zoning and planning process is in order. “The boards have made progress; but we need a full court press to emulate what works.”
The board will implement target tax incentives and fee abatements to offset Stony Point’s reputation for high fees for business start-up. Ultimately, “It’s a free country – the private market will do what it does,” but the government can work with the market to attain desired results, Skriloff believes.
Skriloff graduated Rockland Community College in 2003, where he wrote for the school newspaper. When offered the position of editor-in-chief in 2004, he decided to stick around at the college for another year. After SUNY Rockland, Skriloff was a freelance writer for the Journal News and other media outlets, and in-house reporter for Rockland Business Association. Later he would obtain a full-time reporting position at the Hudson Valley Business Journal.
Skriloff said it was these experiences that prepared him for the editor’s seat at Rockland County Times in 2009, where he also has directed much of the paper’s business operations. “I really jumped into the position and took the reins of a [struggling] newspaper; we became bigger and more powerful.”
The newspaper allowed him the opportunity to cover every corner of the political spectrum and gain a keen insight into local politics, he said. The Rockland County Times became the go-to source for political reporting in most of the county. “Some politicians like me, some dislike me for giving them a hard time, but all have respect for me,” he said.
His political viewpoints tended to side with Republicans on local and national issues, especially in his hometown of Stony Point where the current occupant of the supervisor office Democrat Geoff Finn had successfully torn down previous supervisor GOPer Judge William Sherwood. When the GOP was conducting a search for a candidate for supervisor, he accepted an offer to throw his hat in the ring. He said, “I took some time to think about it, and decided to accept the call to action.”
In January and February of 2013 Skriloff would play a role in exposing the Journal News for publishing gun-owner name and addressee lists of Rockland County and Westchester County residents. Putnam County did not respond to the Journal News’ requests for information, but community outrage came streaming in from people across the state and nation, he said. Ultimately Skriloff’s work landed him on Greta Van Susteran for two prime time interviews. “I was willing to stand up to the Journal News – that added credibility to my newspaper and now my candidacy,” he explained.
The people of Stony Point want to repeal the SAFE Act, passed in mid-January as a knee-jerk reaction to the shooting in Connecticut last Dec., said Skriloff. “There are a lot of gun owners in Stony Point who are not pleased with the new law.”
Across New York State municipalities have been entering resolutions against the SAFE Act since its passage. Rockland County did pass a resolution against the law, but no towns in the county have done so. “Rockland County has five towns; none of whom have passed a resolution against the SAFE Act. I would like to change that,” he stated.
The town council needs to utilize Stony Point history more effectively, Skriloff said. “The Battle of Stony Point was a turning point in the Revolutionary War. There are some families in Stony Point that go back that far.” In some ways, the Revolutionary war still lives on here today, he said. “Stony Point is what old-America feels like. Our identity is what makes us great.”
Twenty-fifteen will mark the 150th year anniversary, aka sesquicentennial, of the town’s founding, said Skriloff. “This is a great opportunity to promote tourism and identify with our history, which dates back to the Revolutionary War when we were part of the Town of Haverstraw.”
Unfortunately, too many people are trying to leave Stony Point, he said. “They are leaving because the local economy is not doing well. If we can work on keeping residents here, the entire town will be rejuvenated.”
Stony Point could benefit from utilizing a nearby popular tourist attraction – the United Military Academy at West Point, which is about a 20-minute drive away, he said. “The scenic academy campus overlooks the Hudson River and is a national landmark.”
There are a few things, he said he would do right-away if elected supervisor. “I would immediately give back the expensive car, cap my salary, and institute term limits – retroactive to this election.”
“My opponent wants to be supervisor for life. I think an eight year term-limit would suffice,” said Skriloff.
If given the opportunity, he said he could make life better for Stony Point residents. “I will give it my best shot.”
Skriloff said his opponent Geoff Finn is running on the claim he’s lowered taxes in the 2014 budget, but that claim doesn’t tell the whole story. “Mr. Finn and the board received a lump sum payment of $2.3 million on a 40-year lease for a town asset [cell towers] that had previously been bringing in $140,000 per year. That lump sum was worth approximately 15 years of cash, paid up front, on a 40-year lease. The $140,000 is no longer going to be coming in to the town annually, so the tax cut is a one-time move and not indicative of a long-term trend,” he said.
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