In what has become the most contested political battle in the town/village of Harrison this year, there are now four candidates seeking the elected receiver of taxes position, as business manager Helen Pesce has announced plans to run as an independent.
Pesce, a registered member of the Independence Party, said she plans to primary for the right to run on that line against Rosa Mastrogiacomo-Luongo, a registered Republican who already secured the endorsement of the Independence Party. But Pesce, 53, added that regardless of the outcome of the Sept. 12 primary, she will also run as an independent candidate.
The manager of CTNY Limousine, Pesce highlighted her community involvement when discussing her qualifications for the position of tax receiver. She has spent 14 years on the town Beautification Foundation, nine years on the Board of Assessment Review, and has also been a member of the PTA, the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.
“With my background I just felt that it could be a good fit for the position,” she told the Review. “As you get older, you say, ‘What is my purpose in life?’ I always love to help people; I’m a natural networker with people. I’m a natural people-person.”
Pesce added that she was entering the race armed with innovative ideas to shake up the tax department. She said that she wanted to make the tax roll available for viewing online, bringing Harrison in line with neighboring communities. “Almost anywhere, nowadays, you can go online and get your tax information,” she said. She added that she would like to conduct tax seminars or webinars for Harrison residents, helping them to better understand the tax code and their personal tax bills. Pesce also said that she would like to find a way to make it easier for seniors to pay their taxes. “It would be nice if the tax collector could—in case someone couldn’t get to the office—go pick up their check for someone who is disabled,” she added, although admitted that she didn’t know whether this would be legal.
Ultimately, Pesce could run against as many as three Republicans in the November election. In addition to Mastrogiacomo-Luongo, registered Republican Michael Giordano has announced his intention to primary for the right to run on the Republican line. And Maria Mioli Pennella, also a registered Republican, is running as a Democrat, with endorsements from the Conservative, Working Families and Woman’s Equality lines.
The receiver of taxes is elected to a four-year term with an annual salary of $101,050 per year. Election Day is on Nov. 7.