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Democrats Retain Majority In Peekskill, Republicans Gain Three Seats

Peekskill mayor-elect Frank Catalina and his Republican slate gained three seats on the Peekskill Common Council after absentee and affidavit votes were counted.
Peekskill mayor-elect Frank Catalina and his Republican slate gained three seats on the Peekskill Common Council after absentee and affidavit votes were counted. Photo Credit: File Photo

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Peekskill Republicans were the big winners on election night, though the Democrats will retain their majority on the council.

Absentee and affidavit voters were counted on Wednesday, Nov. 20, revealing that Republican Joe Torres, incumbent Democrat Drew Claxton and Republican Vincent Vesce were elected to the council with 2,103 votes, 2,094 votes and 2,058 votes respectively.

Vesce defeated incumbent Democrat Marybeth McGowan by three votes. Republican Chris Hanzlik, who came in 5th, lost by nine votes. Democrat incumbent Andrew Torres came in 6th with 1,993 votes.

Democratic Councilman Darren Rigger said the Democrats would not ask for a recount.

Republican Frank Catalina defeated three-term incumbent Mayor Mary Foster 52 percent to 48 percent. Democrat Vivian McKenzie won a special election over Republican Leslie Detres to serve an unexpired term on the council.

Catalina said the city was on financial life support.

"We intend to move quickly and aggressively to restore the City to a stable financial footing," Catalina said. "The tax base will expand as a result of real growth and not inflation."

Catalina said he has spoken with City Manager Anthony Ruggerio and that he will accept no deficits during his time in office.

"He should estimate his revenues accordingly and to make adjustments, monthly if necessary, to the budget as the year unfolds," Catalina said. "I have requested the city manager to wrap up all outside contracts with consultants, advisers, outside engineering firms and to conclude all ongoing 'studies' before Jan. 1st as I campaigned on a platform that repudiated all such unnecessary spending."

Catalina said he plans to dismiss Peekskill's outside counsel and public relation firms and will not have police at public meetings.

McGowan thanked the residents for their support.

"I am very proud of the work I have accomplished over the last four years and know that Peekskill is a better city today than it was when I first joined the council," McGowan said. "I know [the Democrats] will work in a bipartisan fashion to continue the progress we have made in re-establishing Peekskill as a Hudson Valley destination."

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