Friday, October 20, 2006

TUESDAY HEARING ON LIBRARY CONTRACT

This Tuesday the Westchester Library System will be holding a hearing at 6 PM at the WLS headquarters - 540 White Plains Road, Tarrytown to discuss the proposed Elmsford/Ardsley library contract. The town will be losing a million dollars+ over 4 years because Elmsford was able to shop around for library services at a reduced price. The Ardsley/Elmsford agreement won't necessarily mean that Elmsford residents will use the Ardsley library. Under the terms of the WLS library agreement anyone can use a library card at any library in Westchester. Many Elmsford residents will continue to use the services of the Greenburgh Library because they have an Ardsley card.
I think that this agreement will create long term problems for the library system. Smaller libraries will probably close down their operations --these communities will shop around Westchester for discounted library card prices. There will be price wars -- communities will compete with each other to sell library cards to other localities at cheap rates.
This is not about Ardsley-- this is not about Elmsford. This is about the future of the Westchester Library System.

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Paul. Glad you're speaking out.

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh is losing $1 million in 4 years, according to the Journal News because Elmsford signed a contract with Ardsley.Unincorporated Greenburgh used to receive more than $250,000 a year from Elmsford for the library. Thank you Bob Bernstein for getting the villages angry at us. This is what we are getting from your lawsuits ---a tax increase.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

This was an arrangement that Feiner encouraged -- go back to the Ny journal news. dont blame bernsteint -- feiner encouraged this.

Anonymous said...

Elmsford's situation is rather unique in that it is surrounded by unincorporated Greenburgh. All other Westchester villages either have their own libraries or have had the opportunity to choose which of its contiguous municipalities from which to contract library services.

I don't think this is a worthy cause to fight. Just give poor little Elmsford a break and let it drop. Greenburgh looks like a big bully in this situation.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, WLS, as an independent party, sets rates. Greenburgh was not a bully; instead Feiner encouraged/coerced Greenburgh into giving bargain rates to Elmsford and then went too far.

The reason that WLS requires a municipality such as Elmsford to contract with a contiguous library is that common sense will tell you that residents of the area without a library will use the closest libary in the system. Driving this point home, Ardsley did not even require Elmsford people to go to their library to get their new cards, they got them at the Elmsford town hall.

This is a problem that Feiner created, by encouraging Elmsford to break the WlS rules for a bargain rate.

Two weeks ago Feiner was applauding the Elmsford -- Ardsely arrangement -- which he helped create.

Anonymous said...

Ardesly has violated the code of service that they signed.

WLS should immediately invalidate use of Ardsly cards for WLS (that would mean they cant use the cards at libraries other than ardsley). So much for the Ardsly people claiming that they are in the right, that they are only doing this so the Elmsford residents can have libary service. What malarky -- they want the money, knwoing they will not be providing any srevice.

Then NY state should take away their charter.

Anonymous said...

It makes no sense for everyone to be fighting each other. Bob Bernstein's lawsuits have created chaos, anger --let's be a community again. Everyone worked together and cooperated with each other until Bob Bernstein's lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

You created this problem, by pushing Greenburgh Public Library to provided service at less than the Westchester Library System rates. You want Elmsford to have library service, but not pay the going rate. The Westchester Library Service, an independent party, sets standards which you chose to ignore.

Your offers of "help" -- oh please

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein is the only one sticking up for unincorporated greenburgh. We are tired of getting overcharged. Elmsford must pay what is fair, according to WLS standards. Otherwise, Ardsley may issue libary cards good for use at Ardsley only.

This is not the case of Greenburgh bullying anyone. This is Greenburgh not wanting to get taken advantage of. We should not have to subsidize the villages.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous at 9:29,

Gee, the villages are tired of fighting. The unincorporated Greeenburgh is tired of being overcharged or underpaid. Why should we subsidize the villages? They should pay what is fair. Unincorporated Greenburgh has no elected officials to represent us. Feiner keeps losing cases, but doesnt care. We in unincorporated Greenburgh are gratefule for Bernstein.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous at 8:41,

Greenburgh is not being a bully. Elmsford should pay the WLS mandated rates. It is not entitled to something for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Gee paul, the tone of this blog is a lot different than the tone of the october 3 blog.

Anonymous said...

how interesting...look at the blog posts: the last few blogs were posted at 9:54; 9:45; 9:35; 9:32; 9:30. Is this the same person blogging - trying to create the impression that there are more angry people out in the community than there really are.
Almost everyone I know is happy with the outstanding services offered in Greenburgh & with the responsiveness of our elected officials.

Anonymous said...

God forbid any of you take a look at NYS Ed Law and see how wrong the WLS and Greenburgh are. Elmsford and Ardsley are only doing what the law allows.

Also why should Elmsford or for that matter anyone paid more for 80% less with satellite library sites?

Also what about all the people from Greenburgh who only use the Ardsley Library...oh that's right that's ok they are from the Green.

Anonymous said...

No one I know from Greenburgh uses the Arsdely library -- people do use Scarsale and Whtie pLains.

The Code of Service is clear -- and it has been violated

Anonymous said...

to 10/21/06 8:38 AM

You should visit your library and do a bit of research....the "Code of Service" is in voilation of state law......go look it up.

Also take another five minutes of your time and call the Ardsey Library and ask them to tell you how many people from Greenburgh use their library....your in for a big big surprize.

Please let us know how you make out with your research and your phone call.

Anonymous said...

The WLS keeps stats on net borrowers etc.

would not call ardsely -- they know they are in violation of code of service --

Anonymous said...

The code of service as adopted by the WLS and signed by Ardsley (I guess we see what there word means to them) as been approved by NYS

Anonymous said...

Was it in Greenburgh that the old saying "never let facts get in the way" came from? It sure looks that way.

Anonymous said...

Since you know so much about the State approving the WLS Code of Service please enlighten us as to when and how the State approved it. Also maybe you could let us all know where in State Law does it allow for the contiguous rule.

Anonymous said...

If by Greenburgh you are referring to Paul Feiner, you got that right

Anonymous said...

I believe the Code of Service was approved by the State Education Dept in 1999 (but it may have been 2000, and there may have been revisions, not related to this issue in the interim). The documents submitted with the code (as indicated by state dcouments availabe to the public) included specific reference to Elmsford, and it not having a library.

And know it all Mr. Feiner, who previously suggested that the WLS have standards for libraries, if he had done any research, would have learned that the state, which charters libraries, sets standards. But once again, he makes suggestion without understanding the issues, as long he thinks it will help the Villages.

ardsleyan said...

about half the users of the ardsley public library reside in unincoporated greenburgh. the ardsley public library came into being due to greenburgh's refusal to accomodate ardsley residents library needs.

ardsley was locked out of veteran park in the early 1980s, long before mr bernstein moved to greenburgh.

paul feiner pushed for elmsford to have library access when he was a county legislator. then he was pandering to elmsford. now he claims to be a champion of the greenburgh public library. lol

the problem solver is now the problem. he pits town against village and vice versa when its convenient for him. we all lose especially in ardsley.

Edgemont Resident said...

Dear Ardsleyan,

You are the first unbiased person from the Villages -- I can only hope there are others like you.

and maybe with voices like yours we can work compromises. There are so many resources that can be shared. We are just sick of Feiner making us give away money.

But I have to say, the Library contract did not help. If all you wanted was to give Elmsford library priviledges, you could have given them cards good for Ardsley only. But the library didn't. They did not even make the Elmsford people come to Ardsley to get cards -- it was a sham, and Ardsley gets more money while the Elmsord people are still using Greenburgh Library. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Dear Ardsleyan,

If you are correct that 1/2 of the users of the Ardsley library are from unincorporate greenburgh, you should discuus that at the next WLS meeting. They have rules to try to deal equitably with these situations.

Of course, after you signed the contract with Elmsford, I would not expect a warm reception.

Anonymous said...

10/21 8:06 PM

You are confusing the WLS Code of Service with the WLS Plan of Service. They are two different items. The Plan of Service which is required by the State was reviewed and approved by the State and is subject to updates as required by the State. The Code of Service is a local document and has nothing to do with the Plan of Service. The WLS Code of Service has not been approved by the State as claimed. The WLS Code of Service is simply a local policy document which improperly supercedes State law when it comes to the contiguous issue. Like I said before don't take my word for it take ten minutes and look it up. The Greenburgh Library Director, Library Board and now the Supervisor are providing incorrect and misleading information....look it up.

DEMLEADER said...

Supervisor Feiner is doing the right thing. He wants to provide every child in Greenburgh with the opportunity to benefit from a library card. He also wants WLS to have standards that will apply to all libraries. If elected officials from around the county start shopping around for library cards at discount rates - there will be fewer libraries in Westchester and fewer books. It will be cheaper for some communities to have a contract with another westchester library than to maintain their library.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Dear Dem Leader,

Dont you see the inconsistencies in Feiner pushing for a reduced rate contract for Elmsford and eventual break up of WLS and reduced book selection for everyone? Why couldnt he meet with WLS before all this? Now the damage may have been done.

Paul Feiner said...

During the summer I had sought numerous meetings between Elmsford & Greenburgh Library officials. I wanted to meet to see if we could resolve this matter. I also expressed concern that ELmsford would leave Greenburgh --resulting in the town losing over $250,000 a year. The Library Board insisted that they were an independent board and refused my requests to participate in the process and told me to bud out.

view from a villager said...

ardsley is perhaps inadvertently bringing competition to a government service. feiner was the champion of bringing competition in cable television. what a hypocrite.

Greenburgh Supporter of Schools and Library said...

Ardsly is not bringing competition. They have no intention of actually providing service to Elmsford. They have insufficient parking, etc. and are not even requiring Elsmford residents to come to Ardsley to get their new cards. Verizon intends to provide service, not just charge for it and let people steal Cablevsion service.

Anonymous said...

There are bigger issues for the Town to deal with than battling Elmsford's library situation. Let the two villages, the WLS and Unincorporated Greenburgh's independent library board handle the matter. The Town takes on way too much, which results in neglect of everyday Town services and big-picture Town obligations.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately we would not be in the position if Feiner had not pressed GLP to provide reduce rate service to Elmsford. He created this problem. He should have encouraged Elmford to play by WLS rules.

So are you saying that Feiner can create problems and then just walk away?

Anonymous said...

10:31, what are those rules?

Anonymous said...

With everybody using the net now, why do we need such a big library? Everytime I went there it just seemed to be filled with Howard Johnson residents beating the heat or passing time? Wonder what the turnstyle numbers are now that the "ho-jo" closed?

hal samis said...

As usual the blog topics get twisted away from the topic. Just look at the heading "Should the Library become an independent Library District?". Yes or No. Filled with Feiner criticism but without the conclusion "yes" which would remove it from the Supervisor's alleged meddling at the Library and schools. A "no" would infer that the Town should run the Library as a department and exercise greater due oversight than the Town Board has done in the past.

Let's examine the Elmsford situation with bullet points because for once I don't have the answer and everyone may be right and everyone may be wrong...or both.

*The WLS will be the final word.

*The comments that Feiner urged the acceptance of the original service contract may be damning unless the reality is examined. Yes he wanted to bring Elmsford into the loop. Elmsford can neither afford to create their own library or afford to be without library services for their residents. The original contract and the renewal contract did put unincorporated Greenburgh residents at an economic disadvantage compared with Elmsford residents. On a per capita basis, Elmsford was paying less than Greenburgh and they were only paying on the basis of the annual operating costs. At the time of the original contract there was no building expansion underway.

I got involved with the service contract over two years ago when I (perhaps not the very first to notice?) read the contract and did the math and complained, but then I complains so much about the Library Board's competence. I was told that the basis of the charges was on comparative assessment ratables but I argued that on this basis, the wealthiest property owner in Elmsford might still pay less than poorer residents of Greenburgh. At that time I wasn't aware of the WLS "guidelines" specific to a formula. But, I suspect that the Supervisor wasn't either and certainly the Library Board said nothing to upset this apple cart and at the first renewal (not an automatic renewal but a new contract signed by Howard Jacobs of the Library Trustees) of the original contract -- and along the same lines, nothing was changed regarding computations.

From the Library's perspective, the Library, as existing, and following the new construction, the actual cost of servicing Elmsford is insignificant; the service contract income is almost pure gravy on our Greenburgh turkey. And the Library Board also gets to add Elmsford stats (number of cards, circulation, turnstile attendance, etc.) lumped together with their own which was helpful when making the case for the largish and costly expansion.

* Elmsford officials (again, let the WLS decide) acted in the best interests of their residents -- even if it is a little reminiscient of Pearl Harbor. They saw an opportunity to pay less and pass the savings on to their own residents' tax bills. Of course the intention was never to use the Ardsley Library for anything other than entry into the WLS confederation. And, there is no question, that the Library Elmsford residents are actually going to use, will be Greenburgh.

HOWEVER, there is also an issue of timing. Some time soon, probably after the first of the new year, no one is going to appear at the door of the Greenburgh Library. It will be closed except for a few small locations that are not so much closer than to go to the actual Ardsley Library where there will be a real, full service Library operating during Greenburgh's shutdown. So there is some real world basis to jump ship at this time, not only due to the savings in cost. Then too, on a point that I respect in their judgement, Elmsford could have executed a two or three year contract but instead chose to go for four years. Elmsford recognizes what most Greenburgh residents do not: that the construction which is already nine months behind schedule (not even a spadeful of earth has yet been turned) and that the Trustee's dream of a two year construction period will likely turn into three years with "one to grow on" (they think the geothermal issues are over, guess again) and thus the four year period was especially intuitive.

* The "villain", since one is always needed, of these undertakings is Ardsley which has slapped Greenburgh in the face, perhaps to address outstanding, perceived wrongdoings. Ardsley is the only "clear" winner in this dispute. And like, Elmsford, their own residents will win through lower taxes due to this new found source of income. They have found a way to offset taxes that they feel are not theirs to bear.

* The Supervisor is correct in stating that he was not allowed to be part of the Elmsford negotiations. That was the decision of the Library Board. Even though the Trustees have no "portfolio" (being not even elected town officials) to execute contracts, especially of the sizeable dollars involved while they were negotiating with those who had such credentials; they refused to allow Feiner to sit at the table...even though he is also the Town's Chief Financial Officer.
This was inexcusable.

Now, don't get me wrong, on the face of it there was little to be done because Elmsford saw an opportunity to pay less during a period when Greenburgh's services would be severely diminshed. Maybe that could have been cause enough to get around the per capita arguement; it the Greenburgh Library, not the Elmsford Library, not the Greenburgh-Elmsford Library. So their timing was good to save starting year one about $75,000. On the other hand, maybe this would have been a consideration/basis that Feiner would have latched onto. Maybe the Town Supervisor has some other "goodies" or some other trade-offs available in his bag of tricks that are not available to Howard Jacobs and the Library Board. That is speculative but there is no excuse to not allowing Feiner to participate.

If he were present and the result were the same then everyone would be blaming Feiner anyway. If he found a "quid pro quo", chances are he would be blamed anyway. So, even though there was little chance of success, there was less reason not to invite him to bargain.

Anyway, the "hammer" is held by the WLS and the final result is how they decide to proceed at Tuesday's meeting.

*In the Scarsdale Inquirer (as I have noted elsewhere) is this prominently displayed quote from Councilman Sheehan re the Valhalla issue:
"Every $400,000 is approximately 1 percent of the budget for unincorporated Greenburgh. When we allocate $400,000 to any cause, it raises taxes 1 percent".

I'm not sure that the math works exactly that way but Mr. Sheehan and the rest of the Town Council then went ahead a voted to surrender the immediate $439,000 that was at issue. The point is that where is Mr. Sheehan on this issue. Since Feiner didn't even get to appear at the negotiations with Elmsford, residents would expect to hear similarly from Sheehan and the Town Council, words something like:
'Every $250,000 that Greenburgh doesn't receive, raises taxes by $250,000.'
And demand an explanation from Howard Jacobs, head of the Library Board. At least he could turn to his right on the dais and ask Diana Juettner, Town Board liaison to the Libary and ask "What's going on?'

Greenburgh Supporter of Schools and Library said...

Dear Mr. Samis,

The supervisor had a place at the table after he insisted on a reduced rate contract with Elsmford. The GPL has no ability to deal fairly when the supervisor undercuts them. The WLS standards are per capita, not per ratables. If we had a superivsor who supported the library instead of making it enter into a sweatheart contract with Elsmford maybe we could have looked to him for help. We cant.


But heah, if you had your way, we should forget about the library bond, cancel the whole thing and find some rinky dink library willing to take a few bucks to get us all WLS cards that we can use at Scardsale, White Plains or even better Ardsley. Sounds like a plan to me.

Ellen Gerstein said...

I'd like to speak out in support of the Ardsley library. My family and I used to live in unicorporated Greenburgh and were regular patrons of the Greenburgh library. We were thrilled by the size and scope of the library, and the adult and childrens programs offered. When we moved to Ardsley, I was concerned to see such a small library and wondered how it would serve my family. Those fears were totally unwarranted. Angela
Groth and her team run a wonderful library that I consider to be one of the gems of Ardsley. Their selection of new books and magazines is more than sufficient for my needs, there are tons of DVDs, and the children's library is a treasure. The programs offered for children are up there with the ones Greenburgh provides. And I can tell you I see tons of Hartsdale residents in there, so yes, Greenburgh residents do come to Ardsley. As, I believe, will the Elmsford residents to get the great service and hospitality of Ardsley Public Library. I think Elmford made a wise choice - with the usually exceptional Greenburgh library going into mothballs, Ardsley is just the kind of small but attentive library to suit it's needs. Elmsford and Ardsley are doing what the law allows, and hopefully it will benefit both of them.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Gerstein,

No one is knocking the Ardsly library facilities, but if they were sincere about offering Elmsford service, why did they not even require the Elmsford residents to come to the Ardsley library to get their new cards (they can pick up them up at the Elmsford City Hall, conveniently located on 119, down the street from the GPL).

Maybe Ardsely can pick up some more money by selling WLS cards to Briarcliff Manor -- and then they can vote down their bond -- and they wont use Ardsley either.

If Ardsley gave out Ardsely only cards to Elmsford residents no one would be complaining. But that is not what Elmsford wants.

Congrats on helping destroy WLS. If you have your way it will be gone in 2 years. No member will vote for a bond, knowing their facilities can be used by others without payment.

Watch for White Plains to start charging for nonresidents also. There will be no value in being in WLS.

Good work Ardsley -- if you succeed you will bring down WLS.

Ellen Gerstein said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't see a problem with outreach on the part of Ardsley's library in offering library cards to Elmsford residents at their town hall. What you see as sneaky and underhanded can also be interpreted as providing a service and a time to introduce themselves and their services to the Elmsford community. Good for them for taking the initiative to do that. This will hardly bring down the Westchester Library System.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Guerstein,

If the Elmsford people wont even come to Ardsley to get their cards, which library do you think they will use?

Ardsely is not trying to provided service, they are trying to provide WLS cards without providing service, but charging for it.

Next year, maybe Dobbs Ferry will underbid you for the Briarcliff contract. And so on and so on. The larger libraries will not want to stay in WLS.

hal samis said...

Dear Greenburgh supporter of schools and library,

I hope that is not how you sign your checks, otherwise you might fall victim to carpal syndrone (correct spelling).

Are you talking about the Supervisor undercutting the GPL in 2006 or some long ago time. If long ago, Howard Jacobs renewed on those terms three years ago.

I know the WLS is per capita (did you learn that elsewhere or from what I wrote) however the existing contract, (renewed once, was based on rateables which I complained about, not because of the WLS but because of its unfairness to unincorporated residents. It is the per capita cost which incited Elmsford to jump ship at a convenient time to when the Libary was basically shutting down. What Elmsford is paying for at a time when the GPL "closes" is joining the WLS, the cheapest location their interpretation of "contiguous" will accommodate.

"If I had my way..." I would fire the members of the Library Board of Trustees. I have no problem with an expanion of either the size, 46,000 square feet, or the cost, $33 million with interest.
What offends me is their attempt to manage the facts and disguise the project failings. They successfully won the May 2005 referendum held then so that construction could begin Spring 2006. It probably won't begin until January, the earliest. Who have you been talking to? Who do you blame?

If you think you've got Feiner by the horns pre-referendum (which you don't based on what has happened since), what specifically has he done since the referendum to delay or block the project? Why is the project behind schedule? Why is is still 46,000 feet but lots of pre-referendum promises have already been down-sized to stay within budget -- even before anything has started? List your claims and I'll take you through your misinformation point by point.

And, if you're so sure that Feiner is behind the Library's problems, than sigh your real name to a petition to make the Library into an independent Library District, free of Feiner's "meddling". But, first you should check with your Library masters...this may their fondest dream of dreams.

To others, stop making a big deal about getting Ardsley cards in Elmsford. We agree that the intent is not to have Elmsford residents fighting for parking spaces at the Ardsley Library. If they don't have to pick-up their cards in Ardsley, this one time event is not the issue. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Samis,

The original contract, a sweatheart deal, was signed by and pushed by Feiner.

I dont want an "independent library" because I saw how vicously Feiner went after the Edgemont school budget, and the indenpendent library would be helpless against Feiner..


I dont sign my name becuase I am want my garbage picked up. You can only sign your name if you support Feiner.

Anonymous said...

What part of "contiguous" dont you understand?

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Mr. Samis,

You make some valid points, but as long as Feiner is Supervisor, there is no room for any but defensive maneurvers. You say he may have created these issues, but move on. Until he moves on, that can not happen.

edgemontvoter said...

I live in Edgemont. I have called Paul Feiner and have complained about town services in the past (leaf collection is an example). I have given my name. I even wrote a letter to the editor to the Scarsdale Inquirer criticizing the Supervisor years ago. What did Paul do? He called me back. He had the commissioner of public works call me to. Was there retaliation because I criticized him? No. Has my garbage been picked up? YES
I don't always agree with everything Paul does but I know that he is responsive to anyone who calls him. I also know that Paul Feiner tries harder than any other elected official I know.

Anonymous said...

Dear Edgemont Voter,

You are obviously a Feiner supporter. You have every right to be.

But dont kid yourself. He comes after anyone who doesnt support him. He may use people like Jason Gooljar -- but it is the same thing. Sheehan had complaints about vandalism, Bernstein about libel, both coming from Gooljar's website. I have tremendous respect for Sheehan and Bernsetin to stand up for unincorporate Greenburgh, but I cant afford to.

Anonymous said...

One point Feiner was right about --
Tuesday night is about the future of WLS.

Anonymous said...

Questions of the day.....how many library cards have been issued through the Elmsford Village Hall to date?

a. 50
b. 150
c. 10
d. 300

Get it right and win a prize.

How many library cards have been issued as of Friday to Elmsford residents by the Ardsley Library?

a. 1078
b. 125
c. 3000
d. 550

Get it right and win a prize.

Good Luck........does anyone who flaps their fingers on their keyboards in here do their homework?

Anonymous said...

and who do you get the numbers from

the same ardsley library people that signed the code of service providing that only contracts with contiguous areas would be valid for obtaining WLS cards?

so no problem, GLP will prvide minimal service during consturction, you keep the money, and we will all come there.

we are already paying for Ardsley, we should just regard it as another satellite library

Anonymous said...

Can anyone monitor use of internet by GPL holders v. Ardsly card holders at GPL?

Does anyone even want to monitor every use of libraries?

Unfortunately this grab by Ardsely will just encourage every library to give as little service as possible and then have its members use WLS.

But you knew this, that is why your mayor told people not to worry about parking or traffic issues.

so please stop playing it innocent, you can nto have it both ways.

and i for one will remember this, ardsley will never get membership into Veterean as long as I am breathing

Anonymous said...

oh and to the soon to be unemployed staff from GPL, try applying to jobs at Ardsley and good luck

Anonymous said...

I think we should focus on positive, GPL will be under construction.

Directions to Ardsley -- it is on American Legion, you can take either Ardsely Road or Heatherdale to American Legion. The small parking lot is just to the North of the library, with a very samll park in between the parking and the library. Not a lot, but you can usually get a spot.

Lets work on getting a return box in Edgemont and Hartsdale, maybe at the schools. Bus service is on Ardsley Road.

Sounds like a plan, they so many of us use their library.

hal samis said...

dear anonymous(s)

So it was not the contract negotiations for the renewal of 2006 that you are holding Feiner responsible for but those of 1999.

Being he wasn't allowed to participate in 2006, your charge of a "sweetheart" deal seems to be scultped to fit another story nearby or another blog topic and not what really happened re the Library which is the topic of this blog section.

The wonderful thing about these blog comments is if, even when posted by the legion of anonymous: rumor, heresay and just plain ignorance will be outed by those more knowledgeable. Oftentimes, some residents who actually know what is happening but just like to throw stones, are the ones who choose to remain anonymous. You are correct to worry about your garbage but there's no current remedy for picking up inane statements on blog postings.

to another anonymous,

If Feiner created the issue by allowing Elmsford to access the Library at a better rate than Greenburgh residents, then he was wrong but at the time, 1999 there was also existing a Library Board of Trustees, a town attorney, a town comptroller and that old stand-by, the Town Council. No one thought about these things in a pre-Bob Bernstein world. If the terms of the contract of 1999 violated the WLS coda, who would know better, Feiner or the Library Board or the Library Director? Can anyone make a factual charge that the 1999 library service agreement was signed OVER the objections of the GPL Board of Trustees? Does anyone want to make the charge that the first renewal was signed (Howard Jacobs' signature) OVER the GPL Board of Trustees' objections? If they didn't know any better, then it is a below the belt blow to single out Feiner.

Today, both the Town Board and the residents are more aware that there are many areas of governance that should be "visited" carefully before voting. The Town Council is making a great show of looking, investigating, pondering many matters before them -- and then voting the same way as the Supervisor. That's why blogs like these are important because residents can bring their own knowledge to the attention of other residents, if not to elected officials. Residents and bloggers have learned that the government doesn't have all the answers and when it screws up, we are ready to pounce. Some residents, unfortunately, are just laying in wait for the opportunity to condemn.

If we recognize that things have changed; that the Supervisor is not all knowing while the back-up to is that there is another access point to prevent mismanagement -- the Town Council, now assisted by their Legislative Assistant. Nothing "wrongful" gets passed in Greenburgh without three votes in favor. If you would always have the Supervisor as one of these votes, then, where and why, did the requisite other two votes come from?

Let's try and pick a point to go forward understanding this simple procedure, if not today then soon. But let's start now by throwing out all the old garbage. Let's say that what happened in another world, in 1999 no longer counts, especially since the WLS was the higher court then and is now...and who better to know their rules than the Greenburgh Library Director and the Greenburgh Library Board of Trustees? Knowing this, let's try and forgive them for their and Feiner's comingled ignorance which somehow seems (according to bloggers) to have something to do with Elmsford signing up with Ardsley. The only reason I repeat that the Supervisor should have been involved in 2006 is not, that the Library Board confirmed ot tolerated an understandable mistake -- which they did, is that Feiner is responsible as the Town CFO; it is his signature that SHOULD appear on the contract (the Library Board has no binding signing power over monetary matters); there are some bargaining chips that Feiner holds (chips not held by Howard Jacobs) relative to Elmsford but unrelated to the Library. And, somehow whatever happens, whether he is present or not, Feiner always gets blamed.

Anonymous said...

Let's assume for a minute that Elmsford and Greenburgh entered into a new contract, no Ardsley in the picture. Elmsford pays Greenburgh 35% more in the new contract and with the satellite sites gets 80% less service. Elmsford people realize the satellite service is not good and start going to Ardsley and White Plains instead of the Greenburgh satellite sites. Is that ok? Of course it is to Greenburgh, they get all the money and provide 80% less service and cause the Elmsford people to go to elsewhere. What is fair?

By the way, most of you go on like we are talking about tens of thousands of people here. We are talking about maybe a few hundred regular library users, that is it.

Oh let us not forget that there are no less then five other service contracts in the county that don't pay on a per capita basis. You know why? Because the Code doesn't say they have to nor does State law.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Samis and Anonymousej

No one liked the original deal, but FEiner pushed it through and Feiner signed it. So stop protecting him.

And he taught Elsmford that Unincorporated Greeenburgh should subsidized the villages deserve to be subsidized -- just like the villages get subsidized on parks and recreation.

And I see the next poster actually admits that White plains might be carrying a load during renovation -- but ardsley still wants those $$$

Those villages just think every $$$ belongs to them.

Some of hte other below rate contracts are older grandfathered contracts. And some are in Norther Westchester where costs are less. Both parties agreed on it. Of course GPL just has Fiener who wants unincorporated greenburgh to subsidize villages at every chance -- that is where the votes us -- and if he destroys WLS in the process he will just walk away.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ardsley "Moochers"

When you first started your library, it was out of a storefront. But your members received WLS priviledges, and WLS was there to encourage you and help you grow. Without WLS, would your members have been patient? I doubt it.

Now you take advantage of Greenburgh wanting to go through a major renovation. WLS was there for you when you needed. How can you flaunt there rules now? On the pretext of providing service to Elmsford -- no because you are thieves.

Dont preach that Greenburgh will be providing minimal service -- we all remember the service you provided in your initial years and yet you still received WLS cards.

This is an important lesson you are teaching the young members of your Library -- that it is OK to steal.

But of course, you have had Feiner to teach you and Elmford, that the Villages are entitled to subsidies from unincorporated Greenburgh.

dano said...

"the Villages are entitled to subsidies from unincorporated Greenburgh"

By current, albeit archaic state law, it is true that a village is entitled to subsidies from its town. It's time to eliminate our town/villages arrangement altogether. Just imagine how much less drama and more efficiency there would be.

ardsley voter said...

I think we should all stop fighting! The town provides Ardsley with some good services. I know village residents whose lives were saved --thanks to the police ambulance services. Greenburgh and the villages also work cooperatively on a very special program for the disabled.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Dear Ardsly,

Of course you want to stay -- but only if Greenburgh continues not to charge for what you are supposed to be charged (all parks open town wide, which is all except the Veterans pool) and you can continue to gut GPL

hal samis said...

to the anonymous who said:
"no one liked the original deal but Feiner pushed it through and Feiner signed it..."

and how do you know this?
how can I substantiate this?
is this recidivism?
could this be fiction from an anonymous but "impeachable" source?
again, according to the book of Bernstein, "don't tell me, show me".

Like the anonymousE (or is it a typo) but given that it is by you, is it about you also?

Anonymous said...

To 6:20am,

Grandfathered in? Where do you people invent this stuff from. The WLS has never, I repeat never, reviewed any previous service contracts...not even the previous ones between Greenburgh and Elmsford. Grandfathered....want to buy a bridge?

And lower rates up north? The code's theory is based on the County per capita not the local per capita.

Stop listening to the GPL propaganda and do your own homework.

Anonymous said...

So what if WLS never reviewed a contract before, maybe they never had an aggrevied party before.

This is like saying that if my house is broken in to once, and I dont file a police report, I lose the right to

What Ardsley did was not right. They know it. The WLS has said it was unprecendeted. Fiener encouraged it.

Anyone who watched the last council meeting sees how he bullied the council and anyone who doesnt agree with him.

hal samis said...

I don't really like being the traffic cop for this issue, an issue which I am really interested in -- the Library. Apparently to wade past the mud flinging (on both sides) and get to the truth, the traffic cop, on balance, is going to be perceived as defending Supervisor Feiner, not that there's anything wrong with that...

I am heavily vested in knowing the facts and it is perplexing why this issue apparently requires that anonymous comments take jabs at the Supervisor for actions that he was not involved in.

The last posting encourages the fiction that Feiner encouraged Ardsley to woo Elmsford away from the Greenburgh Library. Were this true, I am sure that the Library Board of Trustees would hire an attorney to commence a wrongful affections suit. This last statement is, of course, as absurd as other postings you read throughout these blogs.

Tarring and feathering is simple.
Residents who promote it without cause are simpletons.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Dear Mr. Samis,

Mr Feiner prided himself on arranging the original sweatheart deal with Elmsford. He has never cared what anything costs the unincorporated Greenburgh, treating us as just a non-voting pocketbook -- which I guess we are to him. To say that we can fix the library problems with him as Supervisor is possible, but not easy. You raise a lot of good points, but there are way to many who do not trust Feiner, which makes solutions difficult. He should have encouraged Elmsford to either pay the going rate or start their own library. He did not do so. Unfortunately, it appears that he finally realized the folly of his approach -- or maybe just realized that he has antagonized more voters. And he did win by a slim margin last time. Maybe you want to consider running. You appear to be looking for solutions.

hal samis said...

Dear fellow bloggers,

There is one aspect of this issue that I don't see appearing here where it belongs for discussion. On one of the other blogs relating to the Library, someone has likened this Elmsford/Ardsley agreement as the natural extension of competition and noted the recent events regarding Verizon and Cablevision as the common touchstone.

Competition is not the issue in the WLS situation. Let's for this discussion put aside the "contiguous" issue and say that any community without or proposing to shutter their existing library is allowed to choose from a menu listing all the members of the WLS system and allowed to pick one from only one column. Let's also stipulate that, this choice which will become the "host" Library of "seller", can negotiate any fee arrangement that is acceptable to the "buyer" of library services.

There is no competition based upon providing services. The choice is not being made based upon which Library has a larger collection, more services, better events, a larger physical plant, a newer physical plant or even proximity. The competition is based upon which Library charges the lowest price.

The very lowest price can be $1.00 (consideration) which probably represents 100% profit if the "buyer" is located far away the "seller's" physical plant.

Because what is really being sold here is not a particular Library, not services, not capacity...What is being sold is a "unipass" to use the services of the entire system. This means the ability to physically appear at any or every Library building in the system or to call upon the resources of any or every Library in the system and having them deliver and pick up their resources from any Library of the "unipass" holder's choosing.

It is like buying the cheapest seat in the upper balcony with the foreknowledge that you can move down to the orchestra without the risk of being turned away.

Thus, as in every industry which bundles goods and services together into a package, the rules and administration of the package are set by the packager, not by the individual component. If the rules of the packager are not to the liking of the component members, they are, of course, free to not be a part of the package.

In our local contretemps, this means that the WLS (bowing to any higher NYS authority) must maintain and enforce the rules controlling its membership. I assume that at its origin, these rules were agreed to by its founding members and if new libraries subsequently joined, they agreed to abide by the existing structure.

Irregularities that may follow will be those in the nature of interpretation or of encountering unanticipated situations. The current dispute falls into these cracks.

The point is that this issue really supercedes criticism of the Supervisor, the Mayors and of the individual Library Boards. It is a dispute that should be resolved by the proper governing body, the WLS because it is the WLS rules that are the source of the dispute.

Presumably, that is what this Agenda item on Tuesday's WLS calendar is about. What happened in Greenburgh in 1999 or 2006 from actions of the Supervisor, the Town Board or the Library Board is irrelevant to the disposition of the matter.

But all of this depicts how it should be handled in a perfect world. Those of us in the know recognize that, in reality, it is really all about the strife between the unincorporated portion and the villages and this issue is just one more battlefield in the great war which started when Bernstein fired on Fort Feiner.

The war has just caught up to involve the Library.

The WLS may engineer the resolution of the contract issue. Just as the elected Town/Village officials and Boards have little control over the WLS decision, it is equally true that the WLS cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again...even during this appropriately named season.

Paul Feiner said...

On 10/23 at 6:20 AM anonymous wrote that I signed the Elmsford/Greenburgh library contract in 2002. NOT TRUE. I have a copy of the contract which I would be happy to send to anyone indicating that the agreement was signed by Howard Jacobs, chair of the Library Board and by the Mayor of Elmsford. The Library Board is independent of the Supervisor and Town Board. PAUL FEINER

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Dear Mr. Samis,

What Ardsley is also selling is WLS privildeges. That is critical to this discussion, becasue if all Ardsly sold was the use of its own library, this would be a much different discussion. That is why the contiguous rule is important, because with WLS privilidges, the cardholder can use any WLS library and the closest one is often that one.

hal samis said...

Dear Greenburgh taxpayer,

Which parts of my admittedly longish posting did you skip over? Perhaps the ones that you repeated?

independent thinker said...

from the wls terms of service - seems ardsley and elmsford deal falls within the spirit of this provision.

CONTRACT SERVICE

One or more libraries may contract with governmental authorities to extend library service to residents of in-county unserved areas contiguous to that area which each library is chartered to serve, in accordance with New York State regulations and policies. Such contracts should equitably compensate contracting libraries at a per capita rate (based on the most recent U.S. census of population) which is no less than the average per capita expenditure for library service of all public libraries in Westchester County. Contracting libraries will then provide residents of these areas with access to a full range of materials and services at all WLS member libraries by issuing System-wide borrower's cards.

Anonymous said...

Dear Independent Thinker,

Could you revisit this --

contiguous to that area which each library is chartered to serve

Ardsley is not contiguous to Elmsford.

also, they did not charge the mandated rate,

show up tomorrow night and listen to WLS people

Anonymous said...

To 5:40 pm poster,

Independent Thinker hit the nail right on the head.

Definitions of the word contiguous:

From Wordsmyth; "near, but not quite touching."

From Dicitionay.com; "in close proximity without actually touching; near."

And let us not forget that NYS Law does not even allow for such a rule.

In terms of the rate to be charged.
"Such contracts SHOULD equitably compensate contracting libraries at a per capita rate (based on the most recent U.S. census of population) which is no less than the average per capita expenditure for library service of all public libraries in Westchester County." The word should is used not the word MUST. Plus in consideration of the other service contracts in the county that use a lower rate the word SHOULD has already be determined to be fine.

Go to a library somewhere and do your homework.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the Library system will establish standards. If every community knows what the rules are local libraries can decide if they want to offer neighboring libraries a card at cheap prices.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

The WlS has standards, Ardsley chose to ignore them.

Ok maybe we can get cheap cards from somers -- then we can use the 20million so that Greenburgh 7 and Edgemont can have indoor pools like Ardsely

Anonymous said...

Heah,

Briarcliff Manor is trying to get a bond passed -- why dont we get cards from them -- they can use the $$$ and they know we'll never be there.

Of course, they may have a little trouble getting their bond passed if the people there decide just to get cheap cards from someone else.

Anonymous said...

Well -- sounds like by these "contigous" definitions, Greenburgh is contiguous to a lot of libraries -- from Mt. Vernon to the Villages to Yonkers to White Plains

So in the end, Feiner will get what he wanted, he never wanted us to have a nice library and now we wont -- because WLS will encourage every libary just to shop for chearp cards and then go to other libraries. I am certain he is happy tonight. Anyone who loses there job, or doesnt have a car to get to a library -- call Paul

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous,

I think it is too late to get it on a referendum this November, but I think we have to stop the new library. After the WLS tells us what the rules are -- if they intend to have or enforce any rules -- we can start shopping for our own cheap cards.

Anonymous said...

It does bother me that what Feiner couldnt win in an election -- no new library -- he can with this arrangment -- but that's life.

In the meantime, lets keep the old library, and while I see from the WLS rules (do they enforce any rules??) that we can not restrict useage to WLS cardholders except as provided for, but can we at least restrict parking to unincorporated Greenburgh residents -- and also jobs -- I hope everyone employed at the library is a resident of unincorporated Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

And if the Villages leave, they will have to take with them a portion of Town debt -- which I am certain they will fight -- probably using the same attorneys that keep losing to Bernstein

Paul Feiner said...

I have always supported an expanded library. I just wanted the expansion to be done right - in a cost effective and intelligent manner. Last year I had concerns about the proposed referendum. I felt that the library proposal wasn't completely thought out. I warned people that there could be delays (prediction came true)...suggested that Elmsford be consulted (they weren't and now left our library)...and worried about cost overruns (the bids come in next week-let's see what happens).
The voters spoke last year- the will of the people should be followed. The library should be built. Some good, practical suggestions have been made that could help us give the residents more value for their dollar and get an expanded library that everyone will be proud of. I hope that the library board and town board will keep an open mind and listen to some of the modifications that have been proposed.

Anonymous said...

How come none of the know-it-alls have answered any of the factual questions posed in here? Such as the number of cards issued by Ardsley to Elmsford residents (at the library or through village hall)?

The reason why, is most of you don't want to deal in facts. You just want to listen to the misinformation.

Elmsford didn't go shopping for library cards. Ask them how many libraries they talked to. It was only one, the closet.

I find it very funny that in order to get to one of the Greenburgh Library satellite sites a person from Elmsford would have to drive right by the Ardsley Library.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Elmsford has never paid there full load. They did not deserve to be consulted.

Again, Library Board -- are unincorporated residents given prefenence in hiring? Why not? Parking?

Anonymous said...

Would that be "their"?

Missed a lot of homework during school it appears. Just like on this issue.

On the hiring, guess you never heard of a little thing call Civil Service. Not surprized as State Ed Law seems to be forgotten in Greenburgh as well.

Anonymous said...

Civil Service allows preferences for residents. White Plains libraries limits hiring to residents. Why cant we.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Emsford hasnt left us. The WLS priviledges allow them in anytime they want.

Which is critical that the GPL not accept any funds contingent upon staying in WLS after the renovation

Anonymous said...

That would be great if the GPL left the WLS....the 1,000's of Greenburgh residents who use the Ardsley Library would have to go home.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,

I think some of us might be concerned about losing Scarsdale and WP.

Of course, there might be more of us using Ardsley now that we are pyaing 1/2 of their budget.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Dear Independent Thinker,

The most common defintions of contiguous, are enjoining, neighboring, continuous.

You are reaching.

No matter what happens with the libary, you will never get the Waterwheel property and you will never get into Veterans, in addition to having the satisfaction of destroying WLS

pls post on the Ardsley Village site, like you have been doing with the rest.

Anonymous said...

From the Ardsley Village site, WLS will be taking written comments until 10/31.

I think GPL should hold off any construction committments and temporary space until we hear from WLS.

independent thinker said...

dear anon:

using the waterwheel property for affordable housing was probably not favored by the adjoining stonegate condominiums in ardsley so it was not likely to happen anyway.
as for veterans park, ardsley residents who serve as volunteers on the fire department can already use the pools. the pools run at a loss and usage has decreased over the years. your insistence in keeping it ardsley free makes little economic sense. all you are doing is separating kids and families in communities (greenburgh and ardsley and dobbs) who live in the ardsley school district.

Michael Kolesar said...

From some information just received from the Director of the Ardsley Library (AL), for the period 10/2004 to 11/2005 (admittedly year old data), Ardsley card holders used the Greenburgh Library (GL) for 11,709 transactions, while GL card holders used the AL for 26,920 transactions, or net usage by GL card holders of the AL of 15,211 transactions. GL card holders account for approximately 20% of the total AL transactions. AL card holders account for approximately 2% of the GL transactions. GL card holders also used Scarsdale (43,132), White Plains (21,370), and Yonkers (7,851). I would guess that there might be smaller usage at other libraries, such as Tarrytown and Irvington, which both have boundries with unincorportaed Greenburgh. More to come ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Michale,

Can you also give us internet useage?

I want to know why I have to wait for a computer?/

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

Michael,

You raise some interesting points. While it is late in the game, my suggestions are:

1. Revist entire renovation.

2. Enter into a trade with a real estate company -- the land on 119 for a less expensive site plus some of construction costs. 119 is very expensive. Most libraries are not on the most expensive real estate in the area. Scarsdale is lovely, but not in the Village. When White Plains put up there new library, it moved slightly out of the center of the city. I think it would be in everyone's best interest if we moved the library away from the Elmsford border. If they do not want to pay for our new library, we should not make it convenient for them.

3. Eliminate cost of temporary library.

4. Determine if we can legally have residency requirments/preferences for employees -- other libraries do.

For the record, I am not now, nor have ever been a supporter of Paul Feiner. I am distraught over the latest WLS/Elmsford developments. But we can not ignore them.

hal samis said...

Dear "heah",

Too many viewings of "Brokeback Mountain"?

Anonymous said...

Dear Independent Thinker,

All of Greenburgh Parks and Rec run at a loss, but dont worry, we are coming after you for your share of the Town Wide Parks. That loss is much bigger. The loss on the Veteran pool is small potatoes. We are tired of subsidizing you.

Anonymous said...

I think the GPL should revise its plans. What makes sense to me is that town should give the GPL land for a new library somewhere in the Ridge Road Park. That is just as centrally located as the 119 location. Then the library can sell teh land on 119 for construction costs. We wont need a temporary library, and we will get a nice new library. There is certainly some excess land in the Park -- what do you think Mr. Samis

indep thinker said...

dear anon:

oh if it were as black and white as you imagine. there are subsidies on both sides of the A and B budget. but on the parks you are probably right. if i were feiner i would resign and hand the town keys to bernstein. bernstein would then be able to fashion a resolution of the mess feiner created. maybe feiner could get a job in valhalla? or as a paralegal to mancuso. after all, he did take contracts 101.

ps - there is no such course, its simply called contracts.

hal samis said...

dear anonymisses,

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to tie Mr. Feiner to the agreement between Ardsley and Elmsford. You people continue to play the propoganda 101 card, if you say it enough it becomes true. Never mind that you are playing the very same game you accuse Feiner of doing.

There is no gain to the Supervisor even if he were guilty as charged.
The Library budget won't change as a result because all town departments do not get viewed as private companies, income and expenses must match, taking in less revenue dictates reduced spending. The Library's planned expenditures plus the Town Clerk's plus the Parks Department plus the Comptrollers office etc. together add up to the Town budget. These figures will not change just because Elmsford is not contributing money for a service contract. On the other hand, individual tax bills could rise to adjust for a revenue shortfall, wherever it originates.

If you want to have only Greenburgh residents working at the Library, then you have to start looking for a new Library
Director (ok, she quitting) and a new Assistant Libray Director (ok, she may become acting Library Director) and so on down the line.
Much better were you to insist that the Town's liaison to the Library not be Diana Juettner who is from the Villages because her taxes do not pay for the Greenburgh Library and most of the time she doesn't know what is going on there in first through tenth places. Find her some other liaisonship where it can't hurt unincorporated taxpayers, say liaison to Iraq.

To Mike: Figures and stats are interesting but in this case, they don't present the bigger picture.
The WLS cannot operate a one size fits all or one card opens all doors program while ignoring that WLS does not have any funding to subsidize the larger libraries.

What your figures do suggest is that, assuming everyone reports honestly, each Library should pay a set base fee to WLS, submit usage records to WLS which will then be the clearing house for an elaborate system of credits and debits and then move them to each library's ledger where they will be tallied and the base fee to be adjusted accordingly. Sounds like steady employment for accounting majors.

Or, there should be one Library for Greenburgh with branch libraries within defined areas (could even be village limits). Like the New York Public Library. Or there could be one Library for all the Villages and one Library for all the unincorporated area.

However as I said before, the issue is one for the WLS to resolve. If Greenburgh and or the Villages do not want to be part of the system, they could withdraw.

Or, they could be hope to achieve Library Nirvana and be like the White Plains Public Library.

We'll see soon what transpired at the WLS meeting tonight.

Anonymous said...

A Budget, B Budget, Library Budget.

When the Town uses the library for Town purpose meetings does it pay toward the operational expenses associated with the use? If not, then true library expenses are not accurate and the so called GPL cost per capita is also not accurate.

Also on the per capita subject. How many taxpayers in unicorp. Greenburgh pay toward the Library on a per capita basis? None, they pay through their property taxes so why is there a per capita rate established anyway.

Anonymous said...

For all the misinformationists, did you see the figures that Michael Kolesar reported?

I thought no one from Greenburgh used the Ardsley Library?

Just more GPL proaganda and misinformation to deflect the GPL without basis cry baby stance that Elmsford with merit walked away from the GPL greed and self serving approach.

Two lessons to be learned from all this GPL. History repeats itself, Ardsley walked away 20 years ago because of GPL greed. Some of us do our homework to get the facts and don't simply take GPL misinformation and proaganda on its face.

Give up your greed, let Ardsley and Elmsford be, and get back to work making sure the new Library project doesn't cost the taxpayers another million that you are already over budget without a shovel in the ground. Get it done.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,

Greed? On GPL's part? I think it is on Elmsford and Ardsley's part.

If Ardsely wanted their own library, fine for them. But now they are violating rules they agreed to. Were you at the WLS meeting? Any Feiner had issues with this.

The true losers will be the Greenburgh taxpayers, the WLS and, the Elmsford children, as brought out by astute questioning by the WLS board. But neither the Ardsley Board nor the Elmsford politicians care about the Elmsford children,

In the meantime, I support the thought that has been on the board.

The new GPL must be a location away from Greenburgh and 119. Unincorporated Greenburgh owns larges amounts of parkland. The Ridge Road park, the Secor parks are just as centrally located as the present location on 119. The parks can donate property for the new library. The library can sell the exisitng parcel on 119 to pay for construction.

Even if WLS were to be able to straighten out this mess that Ardsdley has created, we can not trust Elsmford or Ardsley and MUST act accordingly and move the library away from Elmsford.

Unincorporated Greenburgh has never looked after itself. We must do so.

Anonymous said...

Don't penalize elmsford and ardsley children because of elmsford and ardsley politicians. The goal of a library is to encourage people to read.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the blogger who said that we shouldn't penalize the children of greenburgh just because the adult politicians in ardsley and elmsford took action that we don't like. Libraries should be divorsed from politics. Let's make sure more people read books. Two wrongs don't make a right.

GoodGovtGuy said...

Why does everything in Greenburgh need to be blamed on someone? The law of unintended consequences often supercedes the law of good intentions - whether they be those of Feiner, Greenawalt, the members of the Town Council or even Bernstein - whose lawsuit, imho, was properly brought, but rather than bringing fairness and sanity into the process has had the (hopefully) unintended result of promoting fratricide amongst the various parts of town. Lets just calm down, stop pointing fingers and deal with what needs to happen next rather than what happened before. That said ...

The WLS should act to stop the Elmsford / Ardsley deal from going forward. Price shopping for being a part of the County system is simply a terrible precedent. A municipality who doesn't want to provide its own library service should either:

1 - not be allowed into the WLS group (after all, why should the taxpayers of other municipalities subsidize the residents of a community that doesn't want to provide like services?), or, if that's too harsh (and, as a former resident of Elmsford, I believe that is - since all U.S. citizens should have access to a public library, regardless of the stupidity of its local leaders), then

2 - be forced to pay a per capita fee - set by the WLS based upon the average budget of its member libraries - to the municipality with a library facility located closest to its population centroid (the geographic point at the center of its population distribution - something fairly easy to determine by a geographer such as those at the County's GIS dept). This would guarantee universal library access for county residents and provide the financial assistance needed by the library most likely to be frequented the municipality's residents.

Alternative 2 may require county or state legislation (OK - so it would be an unfunded mandate - but library services should be locally provided everywhere, just as public schools and emergency services are). If such legislation is needed, and there's general agreement that it's the right thing to do, then let's get the ball rolling and demand action from our leaders to make it happen.

Meanwhile, the WLS needs to void the current deal in order to maintain the integrity of the library system - else it could be in for a major upheaval with "unintended consequences" (where have we heard that before?).

BTW - a previous post mentioned that Elmsford's being surrounded by only one other municipality is unique in Westchester. That is simply false. A quick look at the map shows a couple of others in similar straits - Buchanan and Peekskill are both fully engulfed by the town of Cortlandt. Larchmont borders two municpalities - Mamaroneck (of which it is a part) and New Rochelle; who do you think would win a bidding war in that fight? What about Pelham, with its two neighbors - the much larger municipalities of New Rochelle and Mount Vernon?

Why should any village provide library services of their own? Do we simply want a series of mega-libraries throughout the major munipalities with very little in the way of local services? If so, then the Elmsford / Ardsley pact is the first step in that direction.

Phillip Chonigman
Hartsdale

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the GPL can take advantage of this reduced budget by refocusing on being an educational institution instead of a competitor to Blockbuster. Like 90% of the people who go to the GPL (let's be honest), I take out a LOT more pop-culture DVDs and CDs than books. While I take advantage of this service, I don't think GPL's buying the latest Lindsey Lohan movie is a good use of my tax dollars.

village observer said...

Dear Good Gov Guy:

The problem is not Bernstein. Its Feiner who refuses to acknowledge he made numerous mistakes when he bought Taxter Ridge and Harts Brook parks. These are townwide facilites open to all and have to be paid for by all residents. Feiner lacks both the intellectual heft and the vision to bring these warring factions together. In fact, he has no interest in doing so for as another blogger correctly noted, uses the dysfunctional town-village arrangement to his advantage. He has lost credibility with the Town Board on the Valhalla matter.We are the losers because Feiner has too much ego but little abillty.

get a life said...

We need solutions -- we need cooperation--we don't need name calling. Get a life!

hal samis said...

Dear bloggers anonymous,

The Greenburgh Library's budget is not being reduced because Elmsford is paying Ardsley not Paul. The Greenburgh Library's budget SHOULD be reduced not only to reflect the services which won't be offered during relocation but also because it is bloated in the first place.

This will be discussed further at the appropriate blog topic.

Again, the Elmsford/Ardsley brouhaha does not affect the budget submitted by the Library Board. Some of you bloggers must operate businesses if you assumed this.
After all, that is what a reasonable man would assume: less income, cut expenses.

Ask your Town Council why not?
Hey, why not ask Diana Juettner, Library liaison...

Anonymous said...

I think we need competence. We dont have that with this Town Board except perhaps with Mr. Sheehan (on a good day.

Anonymous said...

To GoodGovtGuy:

You are geographically incorrect. Elmsford's being surrounded by only one other municipality is unique in Westchester. That is simply true.

The others you mentioned have at least two different contiguous municipalities. For example, Buchanan is contiguous to Cortlandt and to Peekskill; Peekskill is contiguous to Buchanan and Cortlandt.

Elmsford is the ONLY municipality in Westchester County that has only one contiguous municipality. As a result, it's not at all unreasonable that an exception be made for Elmsford's unique island-like situation in the county.

Anonymous said...

11:22 is 100% right. GoodGovtGuy go to a library and pick up a book on how to read a map.