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Rare Harrison Mayoral Primary Election Ramps Up In Final Week

Campaign signs have cropped up all over Harrison for the first primary election for mayor/supervisor in more than a half-century. Incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont is being challenged on Thursday by Phil Marraccini, a former two-term mayor/supervisor.
Campaign signs have cropped up all over Harrison for the first primary election for mayor/supervisor in more than a half-century. Incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont is being challenged on Thursday by Phil Marraccini, a former two-term mayor/supervisor. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Re-Elect Ron Belmont campaign signs have popped throughout the town of Harrison. The first-term mayor/supervisor is being challenged in Thursday's Republican Party primary by Phil Marraccini, an attorney who held the elective office from 1994-97.
Re-Elect Ron Belmont campaign signs have popped throughout the town of Harrison. The first-term mayor/supervisor is being challenged in Thursday's Republican Party primary by Phil Marraccini, an attorney who held the elective office from 1994-97. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Phil Marracini, 64, who served as Harrison mayor/supervisor from 1994-97, is challenging incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont in Thursday's Republican Party primary election. Both also are seeking votes on the Conservative and Independent party lines.
Phil Marracini, 64, who served as Harrison mayor/supervisor from 1994-97, is challenging incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont in Thursday's Republican Party primary election. Both also are seeking votes on the Conservative and Independent party lines. Photo Credit: Provided
In May, Harrison Supervisor Ron Belmont, far left, was among the public officials taking a tour of WESTMED Medical Group's facility at 3030 Westchester Ave., the first new office building on what's now dubbed the "Medical Mile" in more than 25 years.
In May, Harrison Supervisor Ron Belmont, far left, was among the public officials taking a tour of WESTMED Medical Group's facility at 3030 Westchester Ave., the first new office building on what's now dubbed the "Medical Mile" in more than 25 years. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Dr. Timothy Morley, medical director at NY Health & Wellness, left, cuts a ribbon in January to celebrate the opening of his new center at 450 Mamaroneck Ave. with Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, far right.
Dr. Timothy Morley, medical director at NY Health & Wellness, left, cuts a ribbon in January to celebrate the opening of his new center at 450 Mamaroneck Ave. with Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, far right. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont spoke at the opening of the MSK West Harrison medical center, also along Westchester Avenue, in October 2014.
Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont spoke at the opening of the MSK West Harrison medical center, also along Westchester Avenue, in October 2014. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Phil Marraccini, who is challenging Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont on Thursday in a primary election, provided this photo along Halstead Avenue to illustrate what Marraccini calls "a steady decline in public services."
Phil Marraccini, who is challenging Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont on Thursday in a primary election, provided this photo along Halstead Avenue to illustrate what Marraccini calls "a steady decline in public services." Photo Credit: Provided/Phil Marraccini

HARRISON, N.Y.. -- In the final week of campaigning for Harrison mayor/supervisor, both Republican candidates are leveling harsh criticism of one another.

Thursday marks the first primary election for mayor/supervisor in half a century in Harrison. There also is a rare Republican Party primary runoff of four candidates for two part-time Town of Harrison justice seats.

Belmont, 58, and Marraccini, 64, also are seeking primary election votes on the Conservative and Independent ballot lines on Sept. 10. The winner will face Democrat Elizabeth Schaper in the Nov. 3 general election for mayor/supervisor.

Marraccini, who served two years as mayor/supervisor from 1994-97, said, "It really is ridiculous how they've let the town deteriorate."

"It's all lies,'' Mayor Belmont responded on Thursday. "I disagree with just about everything he's said."

Belmont, a non-affiliated voter, is the Harrison Republican Party's endorsed candidate. He served as director of Harrison's Parks and Recreation Department for 35 years ending in 2009. He lost his first race for mayor/supervisor in 2011.

"Harrison is in a state of spiraling decline,'' Marraccini said. "Increasing taxes. Decreasing services. Decreasing property values. There is absolutely no leadership or vision on the Town Board.. . . .Harrison is far behind Rye, Mamaroneck and Port Chester."

Belmont disagrees: "Harrison is ready to bloom. We just have to be moving in a positive direction. . . . The accomplishments go on and on and on."

Harrison barely had a fund balance in its operating budget when he began elective office in January 2014, Belmont said. Today, the town/village has $15 million in so-called "rainy day" reserves.

Marraccini, an attorney, said Harrison should be spending money on infrastructure projects, such as road paving or public parking instead of borrowing for downtown flower boxes, sidewalks and other "window-dressing landscape projects."

Both candidates have wide name recognition in Harrison. Marracini's brother, Anthony, is Harrison's longtime police chief.

Belmont points to Harrison's recent economic revival, with extensive redevelopment along Westchester Avenue and a major housing/retail project planned next to the village's Metro-North railroad station, among others. The village also has been sprucing up its parks and renovated its main public library.

Marraccini said he opposes building new high-density housing projects downtown. The Republican challenger said a new movie theater, more parking and retail development is what's needed near the Harrison train station -- not 143 more housing units.

In Thursday's primary election for two town justice seats, incumbent Justice Nelson Canter, a registered Republican, and incumbent Justice Marc Lust, a registered Democrat, are running against endorsed Republican candidates Joseph Cannella, a town councilman, and Pasquale Gizzo.

Lust, who was arrested for drunken driving in December 2014, also is running for a fifth-term as town justice on the Democratic and Independent party lines in the Nov. 3 general election. He is awaiting trial in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Return to Daily Voice for more coverage of the judicial primary election.

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