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Schoenberg Wins Write-In Bid For New Castle Fire Commissioner Seat

The Bedford Road firehouse in Chappaqua.
The Bedford Road firehouse in Chappaqua. Photo Credit: File

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Write-in candidate Danna Schoenberg has won a special election to fill a seat on the Board of Fire Commissioners for New Castle Fire District No. 1.

Schoenberg, a critic of a recently defeated proposal to expand the Bedford Road firehouse in Chappaqua, defeated district Secretary Nancy Zezze, who was appointed to the seat last year on an interim basis.

The seat was originally vacated last year due to the death of Gerry Golub. Schoenberg will serve the remaining three years of the term.

Results from the fire district show that Schoenberg received 211 votes to 175 for Zezze. Two other write-in votes were cast. The district also received seven yet-to-be-counted affidavit ballots, five of which were found to be valid. The results from the affidavit ballots will not be enough to change the election's outcome.

Meanwhile, former New Castle Councilman John Buckley will return to elected office, as result show that he easily won an uncontested election for another seat. That seat, which is up for a full five-year term, is currently held by board Chair Chris Weddle.

Buckley served on the New Castle Town Board from 2003 to 2013 and has also served as a Chappaqua volunteer firefighter.

Results show that Buckley received 321 votes. Twenty-eight write-in votes were cast for the seat.

Schoenberg and Buckley will join a board that is made up of five members with staggered terms. The new board's biggest challenge will entail how to proceed, if at all, with a second expansion proposal. The current board has scheduled a referendum for Feb. 7 to decide on whether to purchase the Chappaqua Animal Hospital site next door; a similar proposition was defeated in October.

The fire district is the political entity that governs the Chappaqua Fire Department. It covers the southern and central parts of the town of New Castle.

Weddle told Daily Voice that the new board will have to determine the voting hours.

The current board scheduled Tuesday's election to run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., which was in response to a backlash from voters during the failed October referendum for the building expansion. In that case, the board stuck with the state minimum of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a decision that was followed by long lines and hour-long wait times.

The previous proposal, which called for a three-bay addition that would be built on the animal hospital site, was criticized by residents who argued that the board did not disclose all related costs.

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