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Requesting that Town Board provide public with advance copy of Frank's lease before vote
Release Date: August 21, 2006

 The Greenburgh Town Council has scheduled a vote on Tuesday at 6 pm re: authorizing the signing of a lease agreement  with Franks nursery owners for a temporary library location. Frank's will be used as a temporary library for up to two years -- while construction of the current library expansion takes place.  I will be out of town till Wednesday mid afternoon. Over the weekend I sent my colleagues on the Town Board a few e-mailings requesting that the vote be delayed till later in the week. Other members of the Town Board will be away next week. Since the construction team wants to start moving ahead with the library construction plans I suggested a vote anytime from Wednesday evening, Thursday, Friday or Saturday--before other council members leave for vacation.
  I feel that before there is a vote authorizing a lease with Frank's the public should be provided with a copy of the lease agreement and have at least 48 hours to review the document. Currently, no information about the proposed lease is on the town web site.   I also believe that the Town Board should provide full disclosure, in advance of the lease authorization, of all tax reduction agreements for Frank's that have been negotiated. At the time of the vote - all documents should be in ready to be signed. We should not authorize the signing of a lease until all members of the Board have read the document. 
  I requested that I have a chance to review the contract in detail before a vote takes place.  As chief financial officer of the town I feel I have a responsibility to make sure that the town taxpayers are getting maximum value for our tax dollars. An important lease agreement authorization should not be voted on before it becomes a public document and before all members of the Town Board have had a chance to review the document.I also believe that if the public had a chance to review the proposed agreement before a vote takes place --SOMETHING THAT ALWAYS HAS HAPPENED WITH OTHER CONTRACTS--that we might be able to spot problems before they take place.  We can't avoid costly mistakes or major problems with the library construction. Every member of the Town Board MUST EXERCISE OUR OVERSIGHT RESPONSIBLITIES.
  I am inclined to support Frank's as a temporary library location. I also had discussions with the former assessor about the proposed tax reductions for Frank's a few months ago. My major concern is that we provide the public with information about this agreement before the agreement is voted on. I also want to avoid mistakes.
  Last year I expressed my support for a library expansion but also indicated that I had strong concerns that the town was rushing the library expansion without doing due diligence. In recent months the following has happened: last year, before the referendum, the library indicated that the old town hall would be used as a temporary library location. Now, after the referendum, we are told that this is not feasible. Last year, before the referendum, we were told that the library construction would start in the spring of 2006. Current plans are for construction to start in late October (or later). The construction team has advised that the construction costs are hundreds of thousands of dollars over the initial estimated budget and design changes have to be made. Mistakes have been made. I hope that the Town Board will consider my recommendations. With proper oversight we can have a great new library that provides the public with maximum value for your tax dollars.
PAUL FEINER
GREENBURGH TOWN SUPERVISOR



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