Thursday, November 30, 2006

November: Miscellaneous

The purpose of this Miscellaneous topic is to discuss any town related issues you feel are important. Please post any issues you wish to discuss in the comments section of this post. Thanks!


James Foy, President & CEO of Riverside Health Care (which oversees the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry) will be my guest on my WVOX AM Radio program (1460AM) this Monday, December 4th at 11 AM to noon. A committee established by NY State has recommended the closure of this hospital. Listeners can call in live at 636-0110 to chat with
I have introduced a resolution before the Greenburgh Town Board urging the state to save the hospital --which has served Greenburgh residents and residents of the river villages for over 100 years. The hospital is a short term non profit health care facility that has 50 beds -- the average length of stay is seven days or less. It provides general acute in patient, out patient and emergency medical and surgical care to patients. The Town Board meeting will take place at Greenburgh Town Hall at 7:15 PM on Monday night, December 4th. This hospital is a very special place. Many people appreciate the personalized care given to everyone who goes to the hospital.
If you are interested in joining the citizens campaign to save the hospital please e mail me at

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

library update

I have been advised that the library construction, which had been scheduled to start this fall, has been delayed. I have been told that the bids are over budget in excess of a million dollars. I will be working with the Library Board and the Town Board to bring the library construction costs within the approved bond dollar approval ($20 million referendum). I have asked that this be discussed at the Town Board meeting on Monday, December 4th at 7:15 PM.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry may close

Sad, bad news for Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry. A state panel has recommended that the hospital (which has served many Greenburgh residents for years)be closed down. The panel that made the recommendation was charged with reorganizing NY's health care system. The Hospital is affiliated with St.John's in Yonkers.
The hospital plans to wage a campaign to keep the Community Hospital open. Interested in getting involved? Let me know.
This is not the first time that the hospital has been threatened with closure.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why commuters are standing on the train this week...

Metro North has taken 124 trains (one third) out of service to repair flat wheels. This has caused many commuters some inconvenience - there are fewer seats and overcrowding on the trains. The wet weather, falling leaves, caused slippery conditions on tracks causing train wheels to slip. Wheels flattten out. The wheels have to be made round again. Hopefully, commuters taking the train from Hartsdale and other train stations in Greenburgh will see some improvement next week.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Ardsley Mayor Jay Leon has advised me that on Thanksgiving day, in a driving rainstorm, four Ardsley firefighers returning home on the Saw Mill River Parkway saved a family that was stuck in a submerged car within the overflowing rapids of the Saw Mill River. The 4 firefighers saved the family which included a 3 and 1 year old. They did not seek or expect any credit.
A special thanks to firefighters Don Black, PJ Murray, Lenny Breindel and Michael Carson for their valor and their spirit of community service. I would like to honor each of the volunteers at an upcoming meeting of the Greenburgh Town Board.
During the past year Ardsley Mayor Leon has pushed the town to turn foreclosed property at the waterwheel into affordable housing for volunteer firefighters. Our volunteer firefighters are always ready and willing to be of assistance to the community. They give to us. We should give back to them. If we lose our volunteers because of the lack of affordable housing - Ardsley and Greenburgh will lose a great volunteer department made up of very dedicated, brave individuals who always put your safety first.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Edgemont civic leaders are encouraging the Greenburgh Town Board to approve a moratorium on residential development on Central Ave. Residential development does not generate the same amount of taxes as commercial development. Commercial development on Central Ave generates taxes for the Edgemont school system and no additional students to educate. What are your views?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Opposition to Indian Point Extension Mounting...

Entergy announced the day before Thanksgiving (when no one was paying attention) that they will seek permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the license of Indian Point through 2035. The Town of Greenburgh was the first locality to approve a resolution a while back opposing the re-licensing. About 20 local governments have joined Greenburgh in opposing the re-licensing. Hundreds of elected officials from the Hudson Valley also oppose Indian Point. Governor-elect Spitzer, Congresswoman Lowey, Congressman Engel, Congressman-elect Hall also oppose Indian Point.
These are some concerns:
*** Indian Point continues to be a terrorist target. President Bush, in his State of the Nation Message shortly after 9/11, stated that maps of nuclear power plants were found in Afghan caves. Indian Point is a high profile location, just like the World Trade Center.
*** 20 million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point. A meltdown would have catastrophic consequences to the entire metropolitan area.
*** There is no viable evacuation plan for Indian Point. No where to where to hide!
*** Radiocative water was found under Indian Point's power plant. The radioactive water has grown to the size of the Central Park reservoir.
*** Insurance companies won't cover damages from nuclear accidents.
*** Emergency sirens keep malfunctioning.
You can join the effort to close down Indian Point. Visit the web site: or
Entergy claims that Indian Point is safe. If they are wrong - the consequences would be enormous. We can't take a chance.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


During the holiday season lots of Greenburgh residents are interested in helping the hungry and homeless. This is a time to appreciate our good fortune. Bloggers may be concerned about leaves, A & B budgets, parks & zoning issues. These are important issues. Unfortunately, there are people out there who worry about issues that are evening more important: finding shelter in the evening and food for their children.
There are many organizations that provide help to the less fortunate. Here are a few:
*Union Baptist Church, Manhattan Ave, Greenburgh (948-6439)--the church has a food pantry for the hungry. They welcome donations.
*Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless - 48 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 35-37, White Plains, NY 10601 Phone: 682-2737. The coalition has a long list of many organizations that seek donations.
*The Sharing Community, 1 Hudson Street, Yonkers serves a Thanksgiving Day meal on November 23rd at noon. Volunteers needed. Call 963-2326.
*YWCA of Yonkers (shelter and food pantry), 87 S Broadway, Yonkers -will distribute holiday food for Thanksgiving. Volunteers needed 963-0640 X 102
*El Centro Hispano (St Bernard's Church), 346 South Lexington Ave, White Plains distribute holiday foods to clients. Donations of spanish foods, rice and non perishable items are needed. Call 289- 0500.
* Grace Church Community Center, 33 Church Street, White Plains serve Thanksgiving meals. Donations welcome 949-3098 X 100
*ARCS Hawthorne 40 Saw Mill River road, Hawthorne --food donations welcome 785-8356
*Community Opportunity Center of the Tarrytown's, 105 Wildey Street, Tarrytown 631-7340. Food donations welcome.
The above is just a small sampling of groups. If you know of any other organization that is searching for volunteers or donations please post your comments on the blog.

ON another matter- a few weeks ago I reported that a Dobbs Ferry family faced eviction from a Greenburgh owned apartment that the town acquired due to foreclosure. The building is substandard and is unsafe. Good news---the family found a new apartment in Greenburgh and will be moving into their new new home on December 15th. We raised $1241 to help the family pay their one month security. Thank you for your help! This family will have a happy and stress free holiday season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

nature center suggests nature center as satellite library

The Town Board met tonight with representatives of the Greenburgh Nature Center. The center came up with an interesting suggestion: setting up a trailer at the nature center as a satellite library location. This concept is very interesting. After the library closes for construction the nature center (satellite library) might want to house books dealing with the environment, energy conservation, science, animal life, farming, etc... The nature center has a loyal following - lots of visitors. The satellite location at the nature center would probably be very popular. The nature center is conveniently located - on Central Ave and would provide Edgemont residents with a convenient library location. Many parents bring their children to the nature center year round. Some additional children library programs could be provided at the nature center.
During the summer months visitors to a nature center library satellite location could read a book and enjoy nature at the same time.
A very interesting and helpful idea...

East Hartsdale Ave gets holiday lights donation from Westchester Greenhouse Farm

In recent years I have received a number of complaints about the lack of holiday spirit on E Hartsdale Ave. The holiday decorations looked old and uninviting. Thanks to a generous donation form Westchester Greenhouse Farm (450 Secor) we have placed attractive new holiday lights on the avenue. The street looks very attractive. We're grateful for the donation and look forward to your additional suggestions - regarding ways we can make East Hartsdale Ave and the rest of the town more holiday friendly. Your comments and suggestions, as always, are welcome. In addition to decorations - your suggestions for additional holiday programs would also be appreciated.
Happy holidays!

Monday, November 20, 2006


There is a report in today's Journal News ( that the satellite library that was going to be placed at the E Hartsdale Ave parking site is on hold so the Library Board can study legal issues. The Parking Authority is expected to make a decision by late December. The parking authority had offered to absorb some of the costs associated with placing the satellite library at this location. Critics had expressed concern that the permit holders were subsidizing the library.
I think that an E Hartsdale Ave satellite branch library is very important and thought that this proposed location would have been one of the most successful temporary sites while construction of the library is taking place. It's my hope that this can be worked out. One possible compromise suggestion: If it is determined that the Parking Authority does not have the legal authority to absorb some of the costs - why can't the Library pay rent for the satellite location?
When the Library closes down for construction of the new & expanded library - there will be only a few very small satellite library locations. Current possible locations include small rooms at the Town Hall, Multipurpose Room - Veteran Town Park, Theodore Young Community Center. Over 70% of the library books will be placed in storage.
We need to find additional temporary locations so that library services can be provided for our residents. East Hartsdale Ave is a very important location!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Yesterday, the Town Board met with the Commissioner of Public Works and with representatives of TRITON & the library's architect to discuss the status of the library expansion. We were advised that bids were over what had been estimated.The architect indicated that the bids were not substantially over budget estimates so the project can proceed without re-bidding/major delays. The architect is currently reviewing the bids and will recommend sometime in the next few weeks whether the low bids should be accepted. Design alternates (cutbacks in the project) are being considered to keep the library expansion within budget. The current estimate is that construction won't start until mid to late December of this year or early 2007. The construction should take about 2 years once work starts. For over a year I have called for a project manager to oversee the library construction. This expansion is currently about 7 months behind schedule (before the construction starts).

Should the Town fine candidates for campaign signs that are not removed after an election is over?

Should the Town Board approve a new law that would require all campaign signs to be removed after a specific number of days after an election? If signs are not removed by the candidate - should town public works crews remove the sign and fine the candidates for each sign that we remove?
Your input would be appreciated.
How many days should we give candidates to have their signs removed?
What should the fine be?
In some communities candidates must provide the locality with a deposit at the beginning of the campaign -before any signs are placed at given locations. The deposit is refunded at the end of the campaign after the signs have been removed. Should we require deposits?
In other localities candidates are required to advise the locality where signs are going to be placed. Any thoughts?

Friday, November 17, 2006

leaf collection ideas --alternatives to proposed law

I have some concerns about the proposed new law that would authorize summons to be issued for leaf piles on streets/sidewalks. These are some concerns:
1)The law will pit neighbor against neighbor.
2)The proposed law could be costly - everytime a summons is issued the officer/town employee who issued the summons will have to appear in court (which could include overtime).
3)The proposed law is impossible to enforce fairly. How can one be sure that the person who gets the summons was responsible for placing leaf piles in front of his/her house? It's possible that a neighbor had their landscaper put the pile of leaves on the neighbors house. How can we make sure that we're giving summons to the right party.
4)If different town departments are asked to enforce the law (police, public works) it's possible that some people may receive multiple summons from different departments - which will get people real angry.
5) We should step up efforts to encourage property owners to be good neighbors and to voluntarily place leaves off the roads.
NEW IDEAS--------------WHAT CAN BE DONE-------------
1)We should consider doing what Scarsdale started doing a number of years ago: paying landscapers a dollar figure for every load they dump at the dumpsite. This will reduce the amount of leaves our own highway department has to pick up.
2)If this is done the Town Board should license landscapers who work within the town.
3)The town should immediately take steps to increase the leaf collection process. We should contact our work force and offer overtime --increase the number of hours for leaf duty. NEGATIVES: If we require our workers to work 7 days a week and there is a snow storm in December - will our overworked & tired employees be able to do their snow removal duties at the level we expect? I would like the Board to authorize more overtime for leaf collection.
4)If our full time employees are not able to work more hours on leaf duty or if we still need additional help we should issue an RFP to private contractors to help the town with leaf collection duties. The private sector could assist our town employees. In the past we have been told that most of the contractors are busy during this season -- however, if we issue an RFP and reach out to the private sector we will know for sure.
The above are just some thoughts that I have. I'm posting this on the blog because I want to do the right thing -- and want your input.

energy conservation coordinator saves taxpayers almost a million!

An article in today's Journal News ( about the Town Board decision earlier this week to authorize the sale of a federally subsidized housing complex reported that "the company agreed to give up a request for a $1 million tax break, opting for a one year tax break worth about $50,000." Special thanks to Nikki Coddington, our energy conservation coordinator for her efforts. Nikki advised town officials and the new building owners that they could be eligible for technical and financial assistance through a state program for energy efficiency in multi family buildings. This informaiton addressed some of the building owners financial issues and was a major factor in their decision to drop the tax break request. The vote highlights the fact that energy efficiency technical and financial assistance is out there and can improve residents quality of life. For more information about our energy conservation initiatives call Nikki Coddington at 993-1649.
Hat's off to Nikki for her excellent work. This most recent accomplishment is just one of many contributions Nikki has made to our town.

Departmental Budget Review

The Town Board will be reviewing my proposed budget. This is the schedule of meetings with department heads:

November 9, 2006

To: Department Heads

From: Alfreda Williams

Re: Departmental Budget Review

Please note the following schedule for Budget Review by the Town Board. In addition, please have copies of your original budget request available for Town Board members.

November 14, 2006

4:15 PM Police

5:00 PM Building

5:30 PM Library

6:00 PM Planning

6:30 PM Town Comptroller

November 21, 2006

3:30 PM Public Works

4:45 PM Town Justices

5:45 PM Purchasing

6:15 PM Nature Center

6:45 PM Town Attorney

November 28, 2006


4:30 PM Parks & Recreation

5:30 PM Tax Receiver

6:00 PM Assessor

6:30 PM Town Clerk

Please notify my office if your appointment date needs adjustment.

CC: Paul Feiner, Superintendent

Town Council

Gil Kaminer

Thursday, November 16, 2006


In recent days some people have expressed some concern about the way WestHELP funds have been treated in the town's budget. A number of people have expressed their views on this blog. I would like to address that question.
When we did the sublease it was agreed by everybody, including the entire Town Board, that grants would be made to the Valhalla School district, the Fairview Fire Department and the Mayfair Knollwood community. How this would be treated on the budget documents and accounted for is something we all left to the Town's Comptroller. None of us are accountants.
We were then told that the grant to the civic association was not legal and therefore we didn't pay it. But because the Town Board had unanimously approved an agreement and had approved a negotiated agreement commiting to help out the Mayfair-Knollwood neighborhood for supporting the 108 room homeless shelter, we decided to keep that money aside and looked for ways to honor our commitment to the community. For me it was simply a way to do what we all, the entire Town Board, had promised to do.
Now I am told that this was wrong. But two Comptrollers before Jim Heslop, and also Jim Heslop, handled it this way. I may be the chief financial officer of the town, but I don't maintain the books. This is done by a professional staff. I don't try to second-guess them. If it was the wrong way to do it, then it will be fixed. But no one can say that I did anything other than what the the entire Town Board agreed to do all along. The Town Board has looked at the budget in past years. The Town Board changes lots of things in the budget but they didn't change anything about the way the WestHelp money was treated.
As I have said often, I don't act alone and I am not a dictator. Everything that I know about this all the other members of the Town Board knew as well. If I made a mistake, the entire Town Board made a mistake. If I am accountable, the entire Town Board is accountable, as well as the Comptroller and the outside auditors who approved what had been done.
All payments and disbursements relating to WestHelp have been recorded, accounted for and audited annually. Only funds authorized by the Town Board in the form of resolutions, have been released to the Valhalla school district and Fairview Fire district. In addition to being audited by our independent auditors the Town provided the NY State Comptroller's office with all documents concerning WestHelp in the summer of 2004. We received a few telephone calls from the auditors in 2004 but heard nothing from them regarding our accounting of WestHelp funds in 2004 or in 2005. We received a draft report from the Comptroller's office regarding WestHelp this week and have not met with the Comptroller's office to discuss as of this writing.
I do not believe in closed government. Every aspect of the WestHelp partnership has been discussed publicly. All funds distributed have been approved at public meetings and citizens have had the opportunity to comment about the distribution of the WestHelp partnership at every meeting. There is no secrecy concerning WestHelp and the partnership.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Tonight, we held an SAT Preparation Review/College Prep Course/BizCamp Information meeting at Greenburgh Town Hall. About 25 Greenburgh students from different school attended the meeting and learned about the proposal - which is included in the 2007 proposed budget. Some of the students were so motivated about the program that they walked from their homes to Town Hall for the meeting. I was impressed with the students -who seem excited about their future. This proposed camp is designed to give our youth the training they need to achieve and exceed their goals. For more information about the camp please read my budget message which is posted on our web site: (look at forms- budget).
If you have a son or daughter who is interested in signing up for the camp (assuming funding is approved in the 2007 budget) please e mail me at We will provide you with the information you need.


Tenants who reside at 90 Manhattan Ave, 100 Manhattan Ave and 33 Oak Street won an important victory at a late night Town Board meeting on Tuesday/Wednesday (meeting ended at 1:15 AM). The Town Board unanimously approved a resolution consenting to Fairview Housing Development acquiring Fairview Manhattan Apartments.
The new property owner agreed to make capital improvements at the buildings in an amount not less than $8.25 million. Rents for tenants who do not qualify for voucher programs due to income, will not double -as tenants had feared. Over income tenants will see their rents increase by 12 and a half percent each year until the tenant pays portions of the rent that equals the then current HUD approved rents.
In the event that the federal government terminates the enhanced preservation voucher program the new buyer agrees to forego one hundred percent of the reduced amount of the voucher for the first 12 months, 50% for the 2nd 12 months and 25% for the 3rd 12 months.
Finally, the new agreement authorizes a one year tax break. For about 30 years the building had received tax breaks. At the end of the one year there will be no additional tax breaks for the building. This will save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Special thanks to Nikki Coddington, our energy conservation coordinator, for saving the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. She located energy conservation grants that enabled the buildings to be renovated without town tax dollars.
I am very pleased that this agreement was approved. Tenants had expressed concerns for over a year. We involved the tenants in the process. They attended numerous meetings. Instead of feeling neglected by the town - they partnered with us. This became a win-win for everyone. We will keep 3 buildings of affordable housing affordable. Tenants will see their lives enhanced as a result of major building improvements. Tax breaks for the building will end. Rent hikes won't result in tenants being forced out of their homes. We will maintain the diversity of the buildings.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


On Tuesday, November 28 from 3- 7 PM the county is sponsoring a Safe Teen Driving Education Fair. The fair will be held at the Westchester Marriott, Tarrytown. This is an open house highlighting prevention programs and resources that schools and communities can use to help educate teens and their parents about safe driving. Featuring Driving simulator, Multi Media Presentation, SADD, MADD, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and more. Car crashes are the number one cause of death for 16-21 year olds in the United States. This fair is designed to prevent and reduce these tragedies in our communities. For more info call 995-4115.

Monday, November 13, 2006

New TZ bridge could lead to bus/train station in Greenburgh/Elmsford

An interesting article in today's Westchester County Business Journal ( that if the Tappan Zee bridge is replaced that there will be up to 15 new transit stops along the way. Elmsford/Greenburgh was listed as a possible stop. This could include bus terminals or train stations. There are a variety of options: buses, commuter trains or small light rail trains. As the business Journal article pointed out - once an option is chosen there are other questions that must be answered. WHere will commuters park their cars? How many parking spots are needed near the planned stops? How many acres of property will need to be set aside for parking areas?
I have included $30,000 in my 2007 proposed budget for a consultant study to identify issues that will impact the town regarding the TZ bridge option. The study has the support of other local officials and the Conservation Advisory Council. We want to make sure that your interests are advocated before the state finalizes any decision.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


In my proposed 20007 budget I included $50,000 in funds to commence the updating of the Town's Comprehensive Master Plan. The plan update will provide a framework for future development in Greenburgh. The updating of the comprehensive plan has the support of the 3 land use Boards in the town - the Planning Board, Zoning Board and Conservation Advisory Council.
The issue as I see it is whether the plan should be done all at once - the cost would be a minimum of $300,000 in 2007---perhaps as much as $600,000 over the course of the review, according to town officials. I prefer studying a section of the town at a time, reviewing the recommendations, implementing the suggestions and then moving on to another section of town. Obviously, if the study is done in segments the costs associated with the study will be less in 2007.
I think that this is the more fiscally prudent option. Consider a homeowner who wants to renovate a house. Most people do one room at a time and live with it. Then, when more funds are available they do another room. In addition, while a master plan is important - we have to recognize that unforseen events or laws passed elsewhere by a nearby community can negate the recommendations of our consultant. We can anticipate the future - we can't guarantee that our predictions will take place. Look at Ridge Hill - in Yonkers. 10 years ago no one in Greenburgh anticipated a Ridge Hill development. If we had completed a master plan 9 years ago that did not include Ridge Hill it would be outdated today. 10 years ago no one even considered the possibility that the Tappan Zee bridge would be replaced. Now, a master plan has to incorporate the impacts of a new TZ bridge on Greenburgh.
I believe that this will be a major discussion during the budget process and welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Turco's food market on Central Ave has been sold to Morton Williams. Morton Williams sells similar high quality/fine foods in NYC. Turco's has been one of the major food stores and destination locations on Central Ave in Hartsdale since 1976. Welcome Morton Williams. Thank you for the memories, Turco's.

Friday, November 10, 2006


In the capital budget that I submitted to the Town Board this year I included funding for sanitation back up safety cameras. This project will place cameras on the back of the refuse trucks allowing the driver to view activities behind the truck. This safety feature is a benefit to employees that work on the back of the truck and the public. There have been major accidents around the region and nation. This is an important safety enhancement. The Greenburgh Town Board, this past week, awarded a bid for 19 Safety Vision Rear Vision Camera Systems to Tri State Equipment Rebuilding for $11,305.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


In the 1990s the town completed an open space study. The study led to the acquisition of parkland, a new steep slope and wetlands ordinance. Other recommendations were made. At last nights Town Board meeting I requested Mark Stellato, Commissioner of Planning, to provide the town with a detailed analysis highlighting what recommendations have been implemented, what suggestions have not been implemented, what is under active consideration. I also believe that the public deserves to know if any of the recommendations were rejected.
That study cost the taxpayers over $250,000 to complete. It's important that when the town completes a major study that its recommendations not be allowed to gather dust. I also believe that the Town Board should require annual post reports to be issued after consultant reports are commissioned.


The Greenburgh Town Board broke all records last night -- our meeting ended at 2:04 AM. We started the meeting at 7:15 PM. A number of tenants who reside at 90 & 100 Manhattan Ave, 33 Oak Street attended the Town Board to express concern about a proposal to convey the apartments from the current owners to Fairview Housing development Fund Company.
Tenants are concerned that the proposal could result in substantial rent hikes for some of the tenants. They also expressed concern that the proposal relies on enhanced vouchers keeping apartments for some tenants affordable. However, there are no guarantees that the enhanced voucher program will be continued by the federal government.If the program is discontinued those who had vouchers could see significant rent hikes. We are trying to figure out ways to protect tenants who live in affordable housing from having to face significant rent hikes - which could force them out of their homes. We also want to make sure that the landlord can't evict tenants without cause.
The Town Board met with the applicant, tenants, and agreed to continue negotiating the terms of an agreement. A special meeting has been called for Tuesday at 8 PM. We will be asking tenants to meet and provide the Town Board with their recommendations prior to our vote.
I am pleased that the tenants are being consulted --and are partnering with the Town Board in the decision making process. One tenant indicated that he is so worried about the proposal "that he is losing sleep." It's important that tenants impacted by the proposal see government as their friend - and that they recognize that we're not going to give special treatment to a for profit making business unless it's advantageous to the tenants.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The Town Board met on Tuesday evening from about 7 PM to midnight to discuss the proposed tax breaks for the owners of 33 Oak Street, 90 Manhattan Ave, 100 Manhattan Ave. These buildings provide some Greenburgh tenants with affordable housing. We met with representatives of the Fairview Housing Development Fund Company and Oak Street housing. Tenant representatives also attended the meeting.
I am requesting that the Town Board not vote on the tax break proposal tonight. Among issues discussed at the meeting are the following:
1) Some tenants are concerned that if the agreement is approved their rents could double within a year. There should be a longer phase in period.
2) Before approving any tax break proposal there should be an inventory of the building-- an independent assessment of the condition of the building, what repairs/renovations have to be completed.
3) Tenants should be given a voice in determining what repairs will be completed in their buildings.
4) The potential owners of the building claim that most of the residents won't see their rents double because they will be eligible for vouchers. What happens if the voucher program is discontinued by the federal government --or significantly cut? Will the building become unaffordable.
Before tax breaks are given we should do our due diligence and address these concerns.


Edye Beth McCarthy, former President of the NY State Assessor's Association, will be Greenburgh's next Town Assessor. Mrs. McCarthy, who also served as President of the Westchester County Assessor's Association, has been the City Assessor of White Plains since 1999. SHe previously served as Rye City Assessor. She also worked as Assistant Village Assessor for Hastings on Hudson and Pleasantville. She has a Master of Science -Real Estate Degree from NYC. We welcome her to our town. We are lucky to have her work for us -- since she has so much experience in the field and is highly regarded throughout the state. Special thanks to Interim Assessor Dan Whittemore who has worked for the town as our Real Property Appraiser since 1986. He was responsible for a smooth transition after Gerry Iagallo resigned as Assessor this summer.

Monday, November 06, 2006

East Hartsdale Ave to have mini library in 2007

This winter the Greenburgh library will close it's doors for about 2 years. Construction of a new library will start. The Town Board voted to set up mini satellite library locations around the town. Among locations: The Town Hall & the multipurpose center, Veteran Town Park.
I have called for additional library satellite locations so that services can continue to be offered to library patrons. I am very pleased that the Greenburgh Library announced today that a mini branch of the Library will be located in Hartsdale sometime in January. Through courtesy of the Parking Authority, a 40 foot trailer would be located adjacent to the lower level of the Parking Garage "A". Patrons would access the trailer via the alley between Harry's and the Bank of NY or drive into the garage.
The rent is cheap - about $1 a square foot. The parking authority will absorb the cost of electrical hook up (AC, heat and lights) and service. The mini branch will be larger than the cybermobile, hold more books and will be open t hroughout the day including weekends. The cybermobile will not make the stop at the train station thus freeing up more hours for expanded stops.
Thanks to Stephanie Kavourias of the Parking Authority for her help in coming up with the idea. Your suggestions regarding the library during the 2 year construction period are welcome and appreciated.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

STILL THE TORTOISE--I ran in the marathon in 5 hours, 18 seconds, coming in 29,684 out of 38,000

Over the years I have participated in many long distance charity bike rides. I've ridden from northern Westchester to Vermont and from Hartsdale to Washington DC. I almost always finish at the back of the pack. I have been given the name "THE TORTOISE" to highlight the fact that I'm slow but finish the event.
Today I tried the NY Marathon for the first time. In fact, this was the first time I ever ran more than 13.2 miles. I completed the race in 5 hours and 18 seconds. This will never appear in my resume! I finished 29,684 out of 38,648.
My brother in law - Michael Trenk - who persuaded me to give the race a try did much better. He came in 1032 out of 38,000 - completing the race in 3hours, two minutes and 51 seconds. He was about two minutes behind Lance Armstrong.
I also was a bit of klutz during the race. Close to the Central Park finish line - I missed a step and fell. I received some cuts. Fortunately, I have an excuse for my slow run so I don't feel that bad. I was not injured.
The race was a tremendous experience - a true life highlight. Participants enjoy the diversity of NYC -- we ran 26.2 miles through every borough in NYC. There was music from different neighborhood groups throughout the race. And, tremendous cheering from the spectactors throughout the run. I met runners from all over the world - from Japan, Latin America, Europe. I even spoke to a blind Japanese runner from Tokyo who was holding someone's hand while he ran. There were amputees running, a numer of disabled marathon runners. It was a great event. I encourage everyone who has a chance to participate in the run next year to do so.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I'm all excited! This Sunday I will be running in my first NYC Marathon. Actually, this will be the first time I will run more than a half marathon. I ran the Westchester half marathon in about 2 hours and one minute.
I will be wearing a NO WHERE TO RUN -CLOSE DOWN INDIAN POINT TEE SHIRT when I run. During the race I hope to chat with other runners about the need to close down Indian Point. There won't be any place to run to if there is an Indian Point meltdown or terrorist attack.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


TO: Greenburgh Town Board

FROM: Greenburgh Planning Board

DATE: November 2, 2006

SUBJECT: Comprehensive Plan Update

The members of the Town of Greenburgh Planning Board strongly request the Town Board to fully fund a Comprehensive Plan Update in the 2007 Budget in order to provide a framework for future development in Greenburgh. The vote was taken at the Board’s November 1, 2006 meeting with all seven members present. Six voted in favor and one abstained.

The Planning Commissioner has recommended the amount of $300,000 be added to the Budget in order to implement a thorough and useful Comprehensive Plan Update. In the opinion of the Planning Board this amount is on target. The amount of $50,000 that was added to the Budget will not achieve the goal of producing a useful document that will provide the framework for a code revision and assist the Town’s Land Use Boards in their future decision making. The Planning Board does not wish to invest its time to participate in a process that will not achieve the desired end result.

The update should address all areas referenced in Section 272-a (3) of New York State Town Law including the identification of the goals, objectives, principles, guidelines, policies, standards, devices and instruments for the immediate and long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development of the town located outside the limits of any incorporated village or city, including land use, resource protection, public services and public infrastructure;

To this end, the Planning Board recommends that the Town Board add the amount of $250,000 to the $50,000 put in the 2007 Budget for a total of $300,000 as recommended by the Planning Commissioner and appoint a Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee to initiate the process.


Zoning Board of Appeals


As part of our 2007 budget discussion the following report is presented for your review regarding our building department. This is the 4th in a series. Previous reports were posted for the police, recreation dept, assessors office.

Building Dept

PERMITS issued 1735 in 2006 compared to 1,507 in 2003 (January through September) 1779 in 2005

New single family residences: 11 in 2006 compared to 14 in 2003 11 in 2005

Residential additions/alterations 209 in 2006 compared to 229 in 2003 197 in 2005

Commercial additions/alterations 102 in 2006 compared to 70 in 2003 77 in 2005

Plumbing permits 305 in 2006 to 286 in 2003 313 in 2005

Electrical Permits 430 in 2006 to 446 in 2003 524 in 2005

HVAC permits 72 compared to 85 in 2003 88 in 2005

Elevator permits 161 compared to 91 in 2003 1157 in 2005

Other permits (sign, tent, tank, etc..) 445 compared to 286 in 2003 412 in 2005


1,845 in 2006…1,970 in 2005…1956 in 2004 and 2,615 in 2003


Notice of violations issued

404 in 206…623 in 2005..780 in 2004…272 in 2003

Summonses issued 288 in 2006…106 in 2005…134 in 2004

Complaints answered 217 in 2006 (not available for 2003-2005)



Earlier this summer I cycled from Hartsdale to Washington DC to raise funds for Lorraine Valentini, a Hartsdale resident and former volunteer firefighter. Lorraine fell off her bicycle on memorial day, 2005, injured her spinal cord resulting in paralysis below the neck. Over a dozen of us cycled to DC. We met with Senators Clinton & Schumer, Congresswoman Lowey and leaders of organizations promoting stem cell research. We raised over $40,000 for Lorraine.
Some good news --- Lorraine is back home! She is still paralyzed below the neck. For more information about Lorraine please visit the web site:
Contributions to help offset some of the medical costs are still being accepted and are appreciated. Contributions can be dropped off at my office and should be made payable to National Transplant Assistance Fund.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


This is the 3rd in a series of interesting facts about Greenburgh. In recent days I posted info about the police dept and parks & recreation dept. on this site.

Special thanks to Acting Assessor Daniel Whittemore for providing me with this info…

*Assessors office responsible for assessment of 28,150 parcels.

13,650 parcels in the villages…14,497 parcels in unincorporated Greenburgh


Village gross worth: 11.5 BILLION DOLLARS

Unincorporated Greenburgh worth: 13.5 BILLION DOLLARS

Total Gross worth: 25 BILLION DOLLARS

Total Taxable Worth: Greenburgh 20 BILLION DOLLARS

Compare to White Plains: 8.5 BILLION DOLLARS…Compare to Yonkers: 16 BILLION DOLLARS

2,430 veterans received veterans exemptions

3,400 seniors receive STAR exemptions

In 2006 858 grievances filed—total =850

164 residential, 624 commercial, 25 condominium, 45 cooperative

In 2005 there were 773 grievances

126 residential, 562 commercial, 32 condominium and 53 cooperative.

Hope you find the above info as interesting as I found it. PAUL FEINER


Bids for the Greenburgh Public Library expansion were opened today at Town Hall. The contracts that were bid on were: general construction; HVAC-Mechanical; plumbing; electric. The bids seem to be within the $20 million library budget. The next steps: we will review the bid documents, review qualifications of those who bid on the job; review the proposed contracts with the attorney and then make a recommendation to the Town Board. It does not appear that there will be any need to reject the bids or require the architect to modify his proposed expansion plans so that the construction can stay within budget.

I have asked the Commissioner to post the bids on our web site –which should take place within a few days ( –under forms).


Fairview Manhattan Apartments


Serge Joseph, the attorney representing the tenants of Fairview Manhattan Apartments . In short, the attorney for the tenants offers several recommendations:

1. That the Town require the current owner or Marathon to retain an independent and licensed engineer to undertake a physical condition survey of the subject premises and to supply the Town Board and the tenants with a copy of any report generated therefrom. (This recommendation suggests that proposed rent increases are unsupported the rehabilitation that is contemplated).

2. That in the event the “enhanced Section 8” voucher program is de-funded, and preservation vouchers are unavailable, that the proposed new higher rents not be sought by Marathon Development. (This recommendation may be agreed to and supported by Marathon Development).

3. That the Town require Marathon Development to afford financial protection to tenants whose rents would increase because they are not eligible for preservation vouchers. (I do not think this recommendation is one that the tenants believe will be seriously considered).

Several Alternative Proposals are also offered by the tenants..

Alternative 1. Permit Marathon Development to purchase Fairview Manhattan pursuant to the Private Housing Finance Law but limit rent increases to those deemed reasonable by HUD after application based upon needed capital improvements and renovations in the building, as opposed to the current proposed increases of $1,050 for a one bedroom apartment; $1,260 for a two bedroom apartment; and; $1,460 for a three bedroom apartment.

Alternative 2. Allow the Tax Pilot and regulation of Fairview Manhattan under the Private Housing Finance Law to expire in 2009 and allow the Development to become subject to the EmergencyTenants Protection Act of 1974 (“ETPA”), which regulates housing not subject to the Private Housing Finance Law and allows an owner to apply for rent increases based upon (a) lease renewals (b) major capital improvements and (c) hardship.

Alternative 3. Allow the tenants at Fairview Manhattan the option of purchasing the Development and preserving it as affordable rentals or converting it into Affordable cooperatives or condominiums.

Tim Lewis