Greenburgh town officials are scheduled to meet with Westchester County Legislators this Tuesday at 1 PM to discuss the future of the WESTHELP site. The town has rights to the property and hopes to generate revenue from the property. Some options that could generate significant revenue to the town require the approval of members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. The meeting on Tuesday will be held at the County Office Building, 8th floor. Greenburgh Legislators who represent the town on the Board of Legislators are Mary Jane Shimsky, Alfreda Williams and Michael Smith.
The revenue the town receives from this property will impact taxes in both the villages of Greenburgh and unincorporated Greenburgh. If members of the County Legislature do not work with the town in helping us obtain the maximum revenue for the property tax rates could fluctuate by over 10%. Every 40,000 dollars in revenue equals about 1% of our tax rate --in the town's "A" budget--which impacts village/unincorporated Greenburgh residents. Some of the options under consideration could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for Greenburgh taxpayers.
OPTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION--
FERNCLIFF MANOR (ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES HELP TO DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED) Town to receive between $550,000 and a million dollars a year in revenue if property is rented to Ferncliff.
It is currently located off of Saw Mill River Road in Yonkers. Its school and administrative building is more than 100 years old. The residences are small and camped, and trailers are used as auxiliary classrooms. The facility as is must be replaced as per orders from the State.
The new facility would serve 56 residential children plus 8 day students. All of the students are profoundly disabled, most with severe autism or autism-related disorders, as well as physical disabilities. They require constant assistance and in most cases cannot care for themselves. Consequently they do not leave the campus unless escorted, nor do they require any services from local schools. The children are at Ferncliff because schools are not equipped to handle them.
Residents live at Ferncliff until they are 21, at which point they are transferred to a residential facility for adults, generally a group home. Ferncliff does not intend to run a group home at the Greenburgh site.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING - The Town Board has been discussing an agreement with the Greenburgh Housing Authority to provide seniors with affordable housing. The town would have to maintain the property -which could be costly. If the single room units are converted to larger units the renovations could be expensive. There may be some additional work required to comply with federal guidelines dealing with the disabled. Currently half of the apartments are on a 2nd floor--without elevators. One option that could be considered would be to create affordable senior citizen housing on one floor and student dorms for students studying to be nurses on the 2nd floor. An intergenerational initiative. We need to determine how much revenue this option would generate for the town. Seems like it would generate less than Ferncliff --will ask that this be analyzed.
SELL THE LAND AND SPLIT THE REVENUE BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND TOWN - The town has rights to the land for a specific period of time. The land then goes to the county. An option that was suggested late last week: the county and town should sell the land (tax credit sale) to a developer for affordable senior housing. It was pointed out that the property is worth about $15 million dollars. Under this option the town would receive $7.5 million in revenue from the sale. And, the county, school district, town would receive annual taxes.
New York State has to comply with the tax cap. We have been using our fund balance (savings account) to subsidize programs so need every dollar we can get. We are very proud of the fact that we are one of 15 local governments in the entire state of NY (out of more than 1,000) that have a triple A bond rating--the highest rating a local government can receive--from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's bond rating agency. If we are able to generate significant revenue from the property we will not only be able to keep taxes down but will be able to maintain our high bond rating in the years to come.