FALLSBURG -— In a decisive electoral victory, Mike Bensimon has emerged as the Fallsburg Town Supervisor-elect, capturing 70 percent of the vote according to the unofficial results from the …
FALLSBURG -— In a decisive electoral victory, Mike Bensimon has emerged as the Fallsburg Town Supervisor-elect, capturing 70 percent of the vote according to the unofficial results from the Sullivan County Board of Elections, and on January 1, he’ll take the position.
The Brooklyn-born auditor says his background in governmental oversight brings a unique set of skills and a commitment to transparency to his latest role.
Bensimon didn’t plan to get into politics, but in 2021, he ran for the town board. He learned from that experience this time and used those lessons in his recent campaign.
“I’ve always been a big proponent of what government has the potential to do,” said Bensimon.
This time, he mentioned that he made an effort to be visible, interacted with more community members, and engaged with stakeholders.
His experience includes roles in the Sullivan County Office of Management and Budget and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, State Auditor, and Inspector General’s Office positions, which he says will help in his new role as the Fallsburg Town Supervisor.
Since childhood, Bensimon has had a keen interest in understanding how things work. He used to take things apart to explore their inner workings.
He maintains this sense of exploration, and he says he is now eager to delve into understanding where the town’s tax dollars are being allocated.
While Bensimon says he is happy that he won, he was disenchanted with the low turnout of voters, he said, especially during an “off year” in elections.
“That’s something that we’re going to have to address to try to get out the vote next time around because it really is a shame,” Bensimon said.
According to the unofficial election results, less than 2,000 Fallsburg voters came out on election day.
The town is proposing changes to zoning in Loch Sheldrake to some parcels to stop residential housing development and replace it with commercial instead.
Bensimon has stated a preference for comprehensive planning committees rather than making changes piece by piece.
Given the ongoing development in Fallsburg, Bensimon says he knows the strain on the current aging water and sewer systems. While he can’t express a full opinion as he’s not in office yet, he believes that new developments should not be allowed to connect to the water and sewer infrastructure if the system cannot handle it.
Addressing concerns about staffing and turnover in the Fallsburg Building Department, he pledged prompt action upon assuming office and said having such a high turnover rate was concerning.
“It’s very problematic. I need to understand what their challenges are, especially when it comes to staffing. And the building department has had a lot of turnover for various reasons. That’s very important to me because it’s our responsibility to make sure services are running smoothly; we cannot create any stumbling blocks for the public,” said Bensimon.
Bensimon outlined plans to make town meetings more accessible to the public by posting archives online. He stressed the importance of open discussions during work sessions.
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