PAUL FEINER -- YEAR IN REVIEW
2006 is almost history. In reviewing the year in review - I'm pleasantly surprised at the activity and accomplishments. The following are highlights of the year.
NO TAX HIKE--For the 2nd year in a row the Greenburgh Town Board adopted a budget that does not raise taxes. Actually, the budget for 2007 reduces taxes slightly. I proposed a written fund balance policy to the Town Board that regulates how much fund balance should be maintained in each fund each year.
CABLE TV COMPETITION-- The Greenburgh Town Board became the first locality in Westchesterto approve a cable TV contract with Verizon. We are the first to have cable TV competition. Cablevision has been offering price reductions to some customers who cancel their service.
CON ED POWER OUTAGES--Many residents experienced numerous Con Ed power outages this year. Some homeowners were out of power 5 or 6 times. I organized a lobbying initiative to persuade Con Ed to study the feasibility of placing power lines underground. The Greenburgh Town Board approved a resolution I had introduced calling for a study. Con Ed agreed to conduct the study.
GENERATOR TO BE PLACED AT TOWN HALL -- Most municipalities do not have emergency generators in municipal buildings to provide power in the event of a power outage. The Greenburgh Town Board approved a budget request I made to appropriate funds for an emergency generator at Town Hall. The Town Hall could also be used to provide emergency shelter for seniors and disabled residents in event of a power outage.
LIBRARY- The Town Board approved bids for the 20 million library construction. The construction of the library will start in January, 2007 (about 8 months after the construction was originally supposed to begin). The old Town Hall, which was originally going to be used for a temporary library during construction, will not be used for that purpose. Instead, the temporary library will be located at satellite locations. Demita Gerber, Greenburgh's Library Director, resigns her position - takes a new job in Wisconsin.
LIBRARY CONTRACT-- Bad news for unincorporated Greenburgh, good news for Ardsley: Elmsford decided not to renew their contract with Greenburgh for library services. Instead, Elmsford signed a contract for library services for 4 years with Ardsley. Greenburgh will lose about a million dollars during the 4 year contract. Elmsford residents, who will be given an Ardsley library card, will have library privileges throughout Westchester-including Greenburgh - because Ardsley is a member of the Westchester Library system.
2 HOMELESS SHELTERS CLOSE--WESTHAB closed two homeless shelters in Greenburgh: One in Elmsford and another in the FultonParksection of Greenburgh.
DOGPARKAPPROVED--A bark for the park rally at Town Hall this summer led to the Town Board approving a resolution designating EastRumbrookParkas the location for a dog park. The dog park will be built in 2007.
SHELL HYDROGEN PROPOSES HYDROGEN FUEL STATION IN EDGEMONT--Shell Hydrogen proposed a hydrogen fuel station in Edgemont, just south of Ardsley Road. If approved, the station would be the 3rd station in the United States. The Planning Board will be reviewing the application in 2007.
EDGEMONT WINS $1.4 MILLION CERTIORARI CASE- Usually, when property owners file certiorari actions in court they win or there is a court settlement. Midway lost a lawsuit--saving the Edgemont school district $817,000. THe town worked with the Edgemont school district on fighting the lawsuit.
COMMUNITYHOSPITALAT DOBBS FERRY - A state panel recommended the closure of the CommunityHospitalat Dobbs Ferry. The Greenburgh Town Board joined other municipal boards in approving a resolution calling on the state not to close the hospital. This hospital actually is making money.
CITIZENS INSURANCE COMMITTEE ISSUES REPORT - A Citizens Insurance Committee, chaired by Edgemont resident RIchard Liskov, issued a comprehensive report address town insurance issues.
NEW POET LAUREATE-- The Greenburgh Town Board appointed Westchester's first municipal Poet Laureate, Brenda Connor-Bey.
CABLEVISION WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR HELIPAD: Cablevision withdrew its request to place a helipad at their MadisonSquareGardentraining facility located in Greenburgh - which serves the NY Knicks, Libertyand Rangers team.
MORE LEAF COLLECTION FUNDS-- The Town Board increased the leaf collection overtime budget by $20,000. Hopefully, leaf collection will improve in 2007.
HARTSDALE PARKING --The Hartsdale Parking Garage was renovated in 2006. A committee is being formed to address residential parking needs on E Hartsdale Ave.There is a shortage of residential parking on the avenue.
DECADE OLD HOUSING PROPOSAL MOVES FORWARD: THE Greenburgh Town Board approved findings for Avalon Green - a housing complex in E Irvington(on Elmsford's border) that will include 444 units of housing, 10% affordable housing. The housing was first proposed over 11 years ago. Originally, the developer wanted to build about 800 units of housing. After many years of negotiations with the neighboring communities an agreement was reached.
SOLAR PANELS DEDICATED AT TOWN HALL-- Solar panels were placed on the roof of Town Hall, partially powering our Town Hall.Our energy conservation coordinator proposed energy efficient standards for new commercial construction, energy efficient standards in the town purchasing/procurement policy and a plan for energy audits and efficiency improvements on additional town facilities. A green energy fair was held.
CHECKOUTBUILDINGDEPT ENFORCEMENT--The Building Department has an online listing of each complaint they receive by offense and disposition. One can now file complaints online.
STUDENT RUN CABLE TV SHOWS--Students now host cable TV shows shown on our public access station.
INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAMS- A toddler/senior intergeneration program was started at the TheodoreYoungCommunity Center. Seniors and toddlers from Union Child Day Care Center participate in these get togethers.
LEASE AGREEMENT WITH CREDIT UNION: The Town Board approved a lease agreement with a credit union to rent space on the 2nd floor of Town Hall. The credit union opened it's offices in 2006.
HISTORY: The Town Historian, Frank Jazzo, organized a re-enactment of the 225th anniversary of AMerica's March to Yorktown. Marchers camped at the Odell House. The use of the Odell House on Ridge Roadin Hartsdale as General Rochambeau's HQ in 1787 as well as the Washington Rochambeau Route Passing through Greenburgh was highlighted.
VILLAGES/UNINCORPORATED: THe dispute between unincorporated Greenburgh and the villages was not resolved. The Town Board voted to appeal a lawsuit concerning Taxter Ridge. A mediation committee was appointed consisting of representatives of the villages and unincorporated Greenburgh. No legislative recommendations have been made.
E Rumbrook Park-- The Town Board approved funds for implementing phase 1 of the East Rumbrook Park Improvement Master PLan. $200,000 was included in the 2006 capital budget.
IMPROVEMENTS IN OUR PARKS: A loop trail was constructed at Glenville Woods -a hikers guide is being prepared. Cabanasas Section E & H have been renovated at FV Park pool complex. New restrooms at SecorPark. Washington Avepark community garden renovated. PocanticoParkredesigned and landscaped. Exterior of E Rumbrook Park Utility Fitness Center building renovated. A new 55 and older adult softball league formed.
HOLIDAYDECORATIONS: New holiday decorations on E Hartsdale Ave. Funding donated by Westachester Greenhouses.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION STUDY COMPLETED --by department of planning.
COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF ZONING ORDINANCE--We hired BFJ Planning to commence a comprehensive review of our zoning ordinance.
COMMUNITY POLICING: THe Town Board voted to increase our police department by 3. We restored community policing at Fairviewto its previous levels. We expanded community policing to serve Mayfair Knollwood. Serious crime continues to be at a historic low. The police expanded basic life support to enable EMTs to administer Epinesphrine and Albuterol (shock/respiratory).
9A Bypass: state officials agreed to go out to bid for 9A bypass which will reduce traffic congestion in Greenburgh/Elmsford/Ardsley.
RIDGE HILL: We have been meeting with Yonkersofficials and the developers of the Ridge Hill development to address traffic congestion/safety issues. The Yonkers City Council approved plans for the Ridge Hill development--3 million square feet of residential, commercial development on the Yonkers/Greenburgh border.
WEBB FIELD: The Town Board received a $97,000 federal grant to landscape Webb field. We finalized a contract with Ward Associates. Concrete walkway/landscaping around wall to take place in 2007.
SIDEWALK POLICY: The Town Board approved a resolution directing me to propose a sidewalk policy. I complied with the request. The Town Board has not yet approved or acted on teh proposal.
CYCLED FROM HARTSDALE TO DC TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH--I cycled to Washingtonfrom Hartsdale to raise awareness for stem cell research. Our group of over a dozen cyclists also raised funds for volunteer firefighter Lorraine Valentini who is paralyzed from the neck down due to a bicycle accident. Our group of cyclists met with Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer in the capitol. Senator Schumer promised to wear a Team Lorraine wristband daily until stem cell research funding is approved by the Congress and signed into law.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING MAINTAINED: ManhattanAve-- The Town Board approved the sale of 3 affordable housing apartment complexes on Manhattan Aveand Oak Street. A one million dollar tax break request was withdrawn after our energy conservation coordinator, Nikki Coddington, was able to find energy conservation grants. The Greenburgh Town Board approved a resolution creating an affordable housing committee, with Councilwoman Eddie Mae Barnes appointed as chair.
FUNDING FOR TZ BRIDGE STUDY: The Greenburgh Town Board voted to fund a $30,000 study of the impacts a new TZ bridge will have on the 287 Greenburgh corridor.
NEW STATE SENATOR--Greenburgh will be represented by a new State Senator. Andrea Stewart Cousins will replace Nick Spano as our representative in Albany.