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2015 YEAR IN REVIEW
Release Date: December 23, 2015
2015 YEAR IN REVIEW
Have a healthy and happy 2016. And - A BIG THANK YOU for your help in making 2015 a successful year. Here is a review of some of our accomplishments! Please e-mail me your goals for 2016.
• Town budget complies with tax cap --- lowest tax hike in years. NYS is requiring communities to comply with the tax cap if they want residents to receive a bonus check from NYS. We also had to highlight sharing/consolidation efficiencies.
• Town built or is close to building 1.6 miles of new sidewalks around Greenburgh. New sidewalk in front of Greenburgh Health Center complete in December. Sidewalk built on Benedict Avenue this fall.
• Signed agreement to sell Frank’s Nursery for 3.52 million to Capital Senior Housing (Valterra). 90-100 units of housing on Dobbs Ferry Road. Town responsible for cleanup.
• Greenburgh-School Partnership - a new playground at the Lee Jackson School. Town used non taxpayer dollars to help fund playground (developer escrow funds). Working with the Greenburgh School District. Initiated a mentoring program for architects/engineers. Working on a technology initiative - training students to learn jobs that will be needed for 21st century careers, especially in high wage, high demand careers including computer coding and programming, applications development, network management and data analysis, robotics. We want our students to learn about cutting edge technologies.
• Town maintained, in 2015, our Aaa bond rating from Standard & Poor's and Moody's. Taxpayers to save about $300,000 in borrowing costs because we have the highest bond rating possible (only 1% of communities in the nation have an Aaa rating).
• Police start using body cameras.
• Town and civic groups working more closely. We approved legislation endorsed by the Edgemont Community Council to license massage establishments---giving police the tools to shut down illegal massage facilities that had been used for prostitution and other improper activities. We are working closely with three different Edgemont civic associations on a plan to build sidewalks near Edgemont schools (this school district does not have busing).
• The New York State Senate and Assembly approved a law that enables the town and villages within the town to charge guests a 3% hotel tax. The revenues could generate as much as a million dollars a year to the town. The Governor has not yet indicated whether he will sign or veto the legislation. Should know shortly!
• Worked with the Greenburgh Nature center on our town wide initiative, working with schools and businesses to introduce and develop conservation/sustainable practices, including food waste management. Introduced community to organic recycling at AF Veteran Town Park this summer.
• Student intern organized a series of self-defense seminars for college students. One in five girls who attend college are victims of sexual assaults.
• Town Board approves contract to replace town street lights with LED energy efficient lights in 2015.
• Town Board approves using non taxpayer dollars (escrow funds) so that DeSanti Park can be turned into a beautiful new Veteran's Memorial Park in 2016. We created an index of the names of the approximately 150 veterans who had been interviewed as part of the veterans living history initiative.
• Quick replacement for supermarkets going out of business: Best Markets replaced Mrs. Greens; Acme replaced A & P on Knollwood Road. We still need to encourage a new supermarket to replace the Scarsdale & Hastings A & P.
• Visits by United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hocul to East Hartsdale Ave.
• Comprehensive Plan Committee presented the Town Board with their draft plan which will be voted on in 2016 by the Town Board. We currently have no comprehensive plan for the town.
• Enactment of legislation to reduce Con Ed bills by a few hundred dollars a year. Working with a number of other communities in Westchester on this pilot project that was approved by the NYS Public Service Commission.
• Town Board formed a Human Rights Advisory Committee in 2015.
• Nassau County anti-corruption panel cites Greenburgh's strong Ethics laws as a model for the county to enact.
• The Town Board authorized the Greenburgh Nature Center to build butterfly arbor at the Nature Center - using private dollars.
• To slow down traffic and avoid accidents, new stop sign on South and North Roads.
• Purchase of digital sign board. Police department use the board to inform residents of number of speeding tickets issued on different streets around town. Hopefully, the digital board will motivate people to be more careful motorists. We also purchased rapid flashing high visibility crosswalk light on East Hartsdale Ave. to advise motorists of pedestrians crossing.
• We installed a new supplemental boiler at the Greenburgh Library (the library was closed several days over a year ago due to lack of heat).
• Revitalization of Central Ave. - approving zone change to allow car dealerships on Central Ave. Starbucks to come to Central Ave. - to occupy vacant pea pod across from Hartsdale diner. Best Market replaces Mrs. Greens.
• Comptroller Bart Talamini retires. Town looking for new comptroller.
• Student interns worked with the Greenburgh Nature Center promoting organic recycling this past summer.
• Gigi's playhouse opens in Ardsley - helping families who have family members with Down Syndrome
• Initiating program - barber in training program. Training people who are out of work how to be barbers. Program is now located in Tarrytown.
• We continued to proceed with the reassessment of town properties around town. The reassessment process should be completed in 2016 and should stop the bleeding of certiorari actions (tax refunds). Similar properties will be assessed fairly for the first time in 60 years.
• 10 year olds are reporters - new radio station sponsored by Xposure. 10 year old students enrolled in the after school program learn how to become journalists. They interview officials, community members weekly!
• Using Ridge Hill settlement funds to make safety improvements in downtown Ardsley.
• Regeneron purchases land at Eastview. They continue to expand.
• Pet’s Alive shut down their no kill animal shelter. They tried selling the former Elmsford Animal Shelter. Issued an RFP to other animal shelters in the area. No success. They will be turning over the property to the town in 2016 and we will be turning over the property to Paws Crossed, a nonprofit animal rights group that will be operating the shelter as a no kill animal shelter.
• Greenburgh police successful in locating two missing Greenburgh children who ran away from home.
• Appointed new Veterans Advisory Committee to identify resources for military veterans encompassing Veterans benefits, education and networking.
• Formed Health Care Advisory Board to provide residents with information about health care services people are entitled to and to help residents with individual problems. They could discuss problems with other neighbors who experienced similar health scares and help people cut through red tape.
• We expanded the one arm garbage sanitation truck to other sections of the town. A second truck is now serving the community. And, a third truck is on order. Uses one employee instead of three. And, reduces worker’s compensation claims.
• We hired a firm to conduct a management and operations review of the Department of Public Works. Will review recommendations in 2016. Last year we conducted a similar review of the courts and implemented most of their recommendations.
The above are just a few of the many exciting new initiatives that have been taken since last Thanksgiving to be thankful for. Would like to also thank the members of the Town Board – Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan, Kevin Morgan and Ken Jones, the department heads, town employees, volunteers, civic association leadership and appointees to the Boards and Commissions for your advice and help during the year. It’s a team effort!
Paul J. Feiner