2016 is almost history. It was a very productive year with lots of accomplishments. The sale of Frank's nursery to an assisted living facility, more sidewalks and pedestrian safety initiatives, the implementation of the first reassessment in 60 years, a new Veterans memorial park on East Hartsdale Avenue, the adoption of the first Comprehensive Plan in town history and the opening of a new no kill animal shelter (Paws Crossed) are just some of the highlights. Here's my annual report for 2016. Have a happy holiday season and a great New Year!
PAUL FEINER, GREENBURGH TOWN SUPERVISOR
2016 YEAR IN REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS
1. Finally, after years of controversy, the Frank’s nursery property that the town acquired via foreclosure is being sold to a developer—with community support! A 101 unit 115 bed assisted living facility will be built at the site on Dobbs Ferry Road. The developer agreed to offer ten affordable units to Greenburgh residents at a 20% discount! Assisted living facilities are expensive. We are pleased some units will be more affordable.
2. We installed solar panels at Town Hall and expect to save $622,000 over a 30 year period.
3. We dedicated a beautiful new park at DeSanti Plaza on East Hartsdale Ave in honor of our veterans. A great enhancement –a terrific first impression of Greenburgh & Hartsdale. 150 half hour interviews with veterans can be viewed on demand by accessing www.greenburghpublicaccess.com.
4. Installation of 103 additional ADA-compliant curb ramps around the Town, making sidewalks more accessible.
5. More sidewalks are being built around town: Seely Place (almost done) in Edgemont, Fort Hill Road (work started), Sprain Road (work started), Benedict Ave. (work to start soon).
6. Town Board complies with tax cap in approving 2017 budget. The Town Board has complied with the tax cap every year since the cap was implemented.
7. We obtained CDBG funding for a sidewalk on Secor Road near the Greenburgh Housing Authority development. Pushing for private funding for a sidewalk near the Community College on Knollwood Road and Grasslands Road. Applied for grants to build more sidewalks on Central Avenue.
8. From April 2016 through November 2016 the Town paved approximately 12.46 miles of Town Roadway.
9. Received the Automobile Club of the Northeast’s highest award - one given to only four communities in the northeast for our proactive efforts promoting pedestrian safety: digital radar speed signs, using message boards, more enforcement, promoting motorcycle safety, analyzing traffic locations that need safety improvements. We are organizing a new effort - encouraging pedestrians to wear bright clothing in the evening. Have been distributing free reflector arm bands so motorists can see pedestrians walking.
10. Our first annual new residents’ reception and pool party at the Theodore Young Community Center resulted in an opportunity to highlight some outstanding programs and resulted in new enrollments.
11. Moody's and Standard & Poor's both reaffirming town's Aaa and AAA bond rating --the highest rating a government can receive. Our bond ratings have gone up a few times during my administration and results in six figure savings when we borrow. We have continuously received the highest ratings since 2008. Moody’s based their ratings on our “sound financial position with strong fiscal management, low debt profile, and manageable pension liability.”
12. Progress with county on WestHELP to convert WestHELP into 54 affordable 62+ senior housing units.
13. Building Department initiated plans to demolish an abandoned hazardous home on Teramar Way and is inspecting other abandoned properties.
14. Comprehensive plan approved---first in town history. Will include more town-school partnerships in land use reviews.
15. Regeneron plans a 1,016,190 sq. ft. expansion-- nine new research and development buildings, consistent with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. Greenburgh is becoming the center of biotechnology in New York State. Expansion will generate jobs and significant revenue for the town. TIME MAGAZINE named Tarrytown/Greenburgh bio tech corridor as the "40TH MOST GENIUS PLACE IN AMERICA."
16. Greenburgh and 19 other localities in Westchester signed an agreement to purchase electric power in bulk from Westchesterpower.org. During the first six months every ratepayer saved some $$ money!
17. Town turned over land previously used by Pets Alive over to Paws Crossed – a no kill animal shelter – which opened up last summer.
18. Judge signs order turning over to town 60 properties that haven't paid taxes. In 2013 over 370 parcels representing $19.9 million in delinquent taxes was on the books. We reduced the amount of delinquent taxes by almost $13 million.
19. Governor signed into law legislation approved by NY State Legislature authorizing the town to phase in assessment increases for tax purposes for property taxpayers whose assessments increased by more than 25% as a result of reassessment. This new law, which Greenburgh was the first to adopt in NYS, will ease the impacts of reassessment for about 1000 households. Most of the villages are in the process of adopting the town's tax rolls, reducing duplication (previously they had their own assessor). This is the first reassessment in over 60 years.
20. Created a new committee to help recent college graduates who can't find work find employment.
21. Southern Westchester BOCES agreed to help the town restore the 911 wall (1600 murals on Central Avenue). They are providing the town with recommendations.
22. Created a new committee to promote motorcycle safety.
23. Treated Crane's pond and it worked--not a lot of algae. We installed a second water fountain.
24. Added new pavilion at Anthony Veteran Park.
25. The former Greenburgh Health Center on Route 119 will be demolished. Construction of a new 15,000 sq. ft. retail building with related site improvements/landscaping to take place. Building will be occupied by Harbor Freight Tools. Joyce Leslie building at 250 Tarrytown Road undergoing enhancements.
26. Installed new spray pad at Massaro Park in North Elmsford.
27. William L. Carter Foundation gave 4 scholarships to worthy students...offered student musicians a free summer jazz clinic...started a mentoring program and took young people to Madison Square Garden.
28. Enrollment in Greenburgh Central has gone up due to improved reputation of the school district.
29. Westchester County Parks Foundation implementing a suggestion I made last year to organize a graffiti busters initiative.
30. Controversial Jefferson application near the Village of Ardsley was withdrawn. Residents were very concerned about the impact the proposed 272 rental apartment complex would have had on the local school district and traffic.
31. Painted water tanks--addressing infrastructure concerns. Others will be done also.
32. Opened new dreamcourt basketball court at Old Tarrytown Road Park.
33. 3,400 LED street lights installed - to cut streetlight energy usage by 61%.
34. Greenburgh Shopping Center on Knollwood Road improves striping in their existing parking lot.
35. 11 year old reporters from Greenburgh Xposure have their own radio program.
36. Our Greenburgh Police Department is first law enforcement agency in the county that committed to outfitting each patrol officer with their own individual body camera.
37. Organizing a new initiative: musicians to perform for homebound elderly.
38. Proposal submitted to lease former Scarsdale A&P to a 24 hour fitness facility on Central Ave. Application is before the Planning Board. Hyundai car dealership approved and opens on Central Ave.--first new dealership since we approved the use on Central Avenue.
39. Town Board adopts law that will enable the town to close down illegal massage businesses that employ unlicensed masseuses. A lawsuit filed against the town in NYS Supreme Court was dismissed.
40. Town Board approved parking on East Hartsdale Ave. during winter months, with exception of snow emergencies.
41. Discussions with community - new possible look in 2017 for Manhattan Avenue: trees and islands in middle of road to reduce speeding and make the avenue look more like a boulevard.
42. We plan to repair indoor pool at the Theodore Young Community Center. An attractive new roof will be constructed on the building in 2017- providing pool patrons with natural light.
43. Working with Westchester County Association- pushing for high speed broadband gigabit service that is 14 times faster than current service.
44. Trader Joe's to expand on Central Avenue. A compromise was reached with some members of the community. No driveway will be built at North Washington Avenue. Expansion of a medical office building near Best Buy approved.
45. Town Board appointed new Town Comptroller, Roberta Romano, after former Comptroller retired.
46. Former Commissioner Bill Carter, who led the Theodore Young Community Center, passed. Former Deputy Commissioner Andre Early appointed as new commissioner. Steve Fraietta appointed as Building Inspector after John Lucido retired.
47. Town Board approves creation of a Beautification Committee for East Hartsdale Avenue.
48. Town Board appoints additional members to the newly formed Human Rights Committee.
49. Greenburgh Police Department holds our first annual successful National Night Out at Town Hall, a wonderful
50. Board approves resolution against SPECTRA AIM pipeline 105 feet from Indian point Nuclear Facility.
51. Town obtains $225,000 grant from the New NY Bridge Community Benefits Program and used it to purchase a new rescue vehicle.
52. Town received a $55,000 grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for a new SWAT vehicle that was purchased.
53. Town received a grant of $15,880 from the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, to train our officers in the specialized area of Elder Abuse.
54. Greenburgh Housing Authority plans to build affordable 62+ senior housing on Manhattan Avenue that will have no impact on local school district.
55. Hartsdale Parking District created pay stations at two sites, a convenience for motorists. The district is looking at alternative ways for users to pay metered parking rates. (Some parking authorities let people pay by phone.) District is independent of town government.
56. Greenburgh Nature Center became the first nature center in Westchester to achieve the green best business practices certification. The Nature Center worked in partnership with the Edgemont School Foundation and Moses Feldman Family Foundation to implement a materials management/recycling/food waste composting program at the school district’s three campuses. The Nature Center, with the support from the St. Faith’s Foundation, delivered over 150 programs to students at R.J. Bailey. And sponsored an indoor exhibit (with support from Con Ed) “A Forest’s Life” to highlight the importance of forests for maintaining the health of our environment.
57. The Greenburgh Nature Center - with the generous support of Cathy Capasso and Steve Sprague, constructed a Native American longhouse and wigwam, to support a new and exciting education platform, The Native American Experience.
58. The Nature Center continued the development of our Native Plant Meadow and completed construction of a uniquely designed Butterfly Arbor, which sets the natural stage for our yearly Butterfly Exhibit.
59. One of the most successful Summer Jazz Series to date sponsored by the Department of Community Resources named for William L. Carter featuring Grammy award winning and local artists that entertained record attending music enthusiasts.
60. Approval of Hackley school expansion which will include a brand new athletic complex (under construction).
61. Construction of electric vehicle charger stations at Sheraton Hotel/Stop & Shop. The electric charging stations are another contribution to sustainable development in the town, which is a prominent component of the Comprehensive Plan.
A special thank you to Town Board members Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan, Kevin Morgan and Ken Jones, as well as Town department heads and employees, for working with me to accomplish the above. And, special recognition to retiring Planning Board Chair Fran McLaughlin for her 22 years of service on the Planning Board, 17 years as chair. Thank you to Town Clerk Judith Beville and Town Attorney Tim Lewis for overseeing our internship program which introduces local high school and college students to town government. I also want to thank our civic leaders and volunteers who serve on different advisory and policy making boards for your hard work and dedication to the town. We look forward to 2017 and what we can do to help you and the Town.