Sunday, November 26, 2006

4 Ardsley Volunteer Firefighters Save Lives-ANOTHER REASON FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER HOUSING AT WATERWHEEL

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.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone appreciates firemen. The issue is that land belongs to Greenburgh, and to in effect, give it to the Ardsley fire district is not fair. Everyone is sick of Feiner cutting special deals.

Paul Feiner said...

If the town turns the property into affordable housing for volunteer firefighters residents of Ardsley and the unincorporated section of Greenburgh will benefit. The Ardsley volunteer fire dept serves both the village of Ardsley and parts of unincorporated Greenburgh. In addition, volunteers respond to emergencies in Edgemont, Hartsdale and other communities when there are major fires. Creating affordable housing opportunities for our volunteers serves all of our interests. It's sad that anonymous disagrees.

Anonymous said...

Most of Greenburgh, including Edgemont and Hartsdale, is primarily served by other districts, with paid personnel. I guess you think it is sad when anyone disagrees with you.

This is one of the massive giveaways, like the Valhalla deal, like the purchase of the Taxter property (which protects the Irvington School District). The issue is not helping firemen, the issue is that the Supervisor and the Council should focus on town issues.

And hasnt Ardsly got enough with the money from the library contract? They dont need more -- tell them to use that money.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

We all respect our first responders, but I think we need to ask some questions.

1. Will the housing be only for Ardsly fire personnel, or all Greenburgh first responders and other municipal employees and volunteers (which would necessitate some type of lottery).

2. Have we thoroughly investigated all other subsidies, especially section 8, which would allow ardsley to purchase the property, and then rent out at affordable rents? I would have hoped we learned from the Manhattan/Fairview apartments that we do not just have town subsidize, but we pursue all other alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Feiner -
Please stop and take a moment to consider the long term implications of establishing affordable housing eligibility using a criteria like being a volunteer firefighter. The courageous men and women who fill those volunteer slots serve without pay for many reasons, and we accept the gift of their efforts without reservation. They deserve our thanks and appropriate recognition, but making them eligible for affordable housing may not be the best choice. Have you considered what will happen when a volunteer stops being a volunteer? What if she (the volunteer) becomes pregnant and can no longer be active? Should she lose her affordable home? Should the Town be required to evict her if she cannot pay the fair market rent? I cn see the Feiner blogline now - "Pregnant Firefighter to be Evicted from Affordable Housing - Help Her Find a New Home Before Town Council Acts".
If a pregnant firefighter is perhaps beyond your imagination, will the Town evict volunteers who retire by reason of age, change in regular employment which takes the individual out of district making her/him unavailable to respond? Who will determine the whether the volunteer is sufficiently "active" to qualify for affordable housing? What objective criteria do you propose to use to measure? Finally, are you ready, willing and able to evict tenants who are no longer eligible? If the affordable housing is for a job classification, you must be willing to clear the apartment for the next eligible person as soon as the current tenant no longer fills the job slot which made him/her eligible. Failure to do so leaves the affordable housing occupied and thus puts suceeding volunteers at a disadvantage. The mere creation of affordable housing does not solve the problem - but it sure looks good on the surface.
The exact same unpleasant result can be reached by making any job classification eligible - substitute Teachers or Sanitation Workers for Volunteer Firefighter. Job classification does not work as an eligibility type. Having been married to a long-time volunteer firefighter, I note from first hand experience that Fire Districts do not recognize volunteers by reducing their property taxes - as the Fire District property tax is a significant expense, perhaps the simple expedient of rebating the taxes to volunteers might be worth exploring.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Zenger,

You bring up some interesting points. I think we should all think about when Port Chester's United Hospital went out of business. Some employees lost both their jobs and their apartments. Although the firemen are volunteers, they do receive substantial benefits (pension, Veteran park eligibility), and that as their physical abilities are much more critical to their jobs than most of us, this is a potentially devastating situation (when they are physically unable to be firemen).

Your idea of property tax subsidies, which should be available as a passthrough to landlords to reduce rent if they are tenants, is a superb idea.

Anonymous said...

Another thing,

is there any section 8 housing in greenburgh? if there is a waiting list, can we give volunteers and first responders priority

Anonymous said...

Ardsley volunteer firefighters save unincorporated Greenburgh residents taxes. If we don't provide the volunteers with affordable housing in the community they serve the district will eventually become a higher taxing district like Greenville, Hartsdale and Fairview which have paid fire departments. The Ardsley Volunteer Fire Department does a very good job protecting us. We should help them.

no brainer said...

Why do some people have to be negative about--EVERYTHING. Affordable housing for volunteers is a NO BRAINER!

Anonymous said...

Dear Zenger:
There are affordable housing for volunteer firefighters in other communities. It works!

Anonymous said...

dear anon at 9:58

can you explain why residents in the higher taxes fire districts you name should contribute through that land to subsidize you? There is more to greenburgh than ardsley

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should look at a compromise, that some of the apartments would be reserved for the ardsley firemen, but some for others in greenburgh (maybe based on % of ardsley to greenburgh in population)

Anonymous said...

If we lose the Ardsley volunteer fire department because young people can't afford to live in Ardsley taxes of residents of the unincorporated Greenburgh section of town located within the fire district will see enormous increases. This proposal (or a compromise option as a blogger suggested) is essential.

Anonymous said...

Where is there affordable housing for volunteer firefighters? We might be able to learn from their experiences. To say something "works" is one thing; to see how it works is another.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1:06 -- what about all the residents of unincorporated greenburgh who are NOT in the Ardsely FD???

Anonymous said...

Every part of the town receives benefits that other parts of the town do not receive. Edgemont has Crane Pond, Cotswold Park & the Nature Center. The town also contributes towards Edgemont Rec and Edgemont camps. Fairview has the Theodore Young Community Center. E Irvington has Taxter Ridge. Glenville has Glenville Woods. Hartsdale has Hartsbrooke and Webb. This is what a community is about. I support the Ardsley volunteer fire department housing. Makes good sense to help save the department.

Anonymous said...

I know these guys personally, and I don't think they would have done anything else. Congrats on the the good move.

However, as usual, Mr. Feiner neglects the AWESOME career firefighters and departments of this town, who are out there everyday saving lives. Whether it's through proactive moves, such as fire prevention, education and inspections and training in such advanced fields as technical rescue, or responding on numerous EMS calls and all types of emergency situations, it's the VOTING volunteers that the supervisor seems to lavish his attention on. We are lucky to have career firefighters, and as Westchester becomes more and more expensive,peoples jobs and families consume more and more time, and a firefighters training and time requirments increase, it's ridiculous to dump even more money into something that in the long term probaly will become obsolete. I agree that volunteers should have an affordable place to live within the communities they serve, and it is a very nice gesture in return for the manpower they provide, but with pensions, subsidized housing, tax discounts, etc, how much are we really gaining versus a career department?

Although I am a career firefighter, I too would like to live in the town I serve. I do now, but it's not affordable in the long term, plus the school system is absolute crap.

If we create this affordable housing, are we GUARENTEEING response times and adequate minimun manpower at EVERY emergency, or would these taxapyer subsidized dollars be better spent paying for more manning in our town's career FD's?

Anonymous said...

Hello All!

I created this blog as a spinoff to my other blog ( http://www.x635.blogspot.com ) because I wanted to document further some of the propaganda that comes out of the Town Supervisor's Blog (http://www.pfeiner.blogspot.com ) and document some of the issues he continuously neglects in this town, especially Hartsdale.

Living and working in this town, this town has so much potential yet is misguided and many parts neglects. Don't get me wrong, I love this town, it just is so frusterating to see some of the simple things not taken care of. I hope by writing this blog I will bring attention to some of the issues that concern me, much like I did with the Barnes and Noble Closing article in the NY Times.

I have a ton I want to write about, so I hope you will stay tuned.



http://greenburghtruth.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon at 7:10

Greenburgh contributes peanuts to Edgemont -- and big time for Hartsdale, Glenville Woods and Taxter.

No comparison.

Anonymous said...

Todays NY times had the Community Hospital in Dobbs Ferry on the list of hospitals to be closed. Can the hospital be used for affordable housing?

Anonymous said...

It is important that government not be reactive. Our elected officials should be proactive. If the Ardsley fire dept becomes a paid department there will be big tax hikes for residents of the fire district. It will be a crisis for elected officials. If the Town Council builds affordable housing for volunteers now we can avoid a future crisis. That is good management.

Anonymous said...

If Ardsley wants to buy the land, fine by me

Anonymous said...

Of course Feiner seeks every possible opportunity to shift value from Town Outside taxpayers to his village constituents. This is just another example. My real question is, on my first and last visit to this blog, why use this forum to debate it? One might as well shout at the Hudson.

See you at town hall Wednesday.

K Beiser

Anonymous said...

K,

I just checked the town website and the Wednesday night agenda is the hearing for police officer ward -- are you there to support the officer or the dominatrix

Dobbs Ferry resident said...

Why do people think only about themselves, as so many of your bloggers do? Why do they always bring up perceived injustices and always throw in Taxter Ridge?

In Dobbs Ferry some years ago a parcel of land (at the end of Rochambeau Avenue) was used for affordable housing for volunteer firefighters. It has been a tremendous success and it has enabled some of these firefighters to remain in Dobbs Ferry when otherwise the rising prices for homes would have forced them out. It cost Dobbs Ferry nothing. Oh, yes, some would argue that the land could have been used for wealthier-type housing, but why do some people always think that the most money is the best solution.

Use the property for housing for firefighters. It will serve everybody's good. We need people who aren't bankers, lawyers, doctors, and other high-income people in order to have a nice community. And we need the volunteer firemen.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, how was that land acquired by DF?

Anonymous said...

This isnt about the firemen v. the lawyers, accoutants etc. This is about the lawyers, accountants from Ardsley v. the lawyers accounants etc from the rest of Greenburgh who dont see why the Ardsley lawyers etc wont take care of their own firemen like the rest of us do.

Dobbs Ferry Resident said...

I don't know how the land was acquired, and I don't think anyone in Dobbs Ferry cared or would have made a fuss about it. Tt just made sense to create affordable housing for our volunteer fireman. In this crazy matket, where homes are becoming unaffordable for even well-off working people, a way has to be found to keep the blue collar people in, and most firefighters are blue collar.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, no one in Dobbs Ferry cared -- because Feiner is always giving away the store to the village people

Anonymous said...

If we do not build affordable housing for volunteer firefighters, police, ambulance corp members we won't be able to attract people to our community who we depend on for our safety and health.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so the Ardsley FD should buy land and build housing. Most of greenburgh does not use the ardsley FD.

Dobbs Ferry resident said...

To Anonymous who said this:

Oh yes, no one in Dobbs Ferry cared -- because Feiner is always giving away the store to the village people

Are you nuts? Feiner has nothing to do with Dobbs Ferry adopting affordable housing for its volunteer firefighters. You are absolutely paranoid, and I think you need medical attention.

I used to think that Feiner wasn't much, but when I read the nutty things that you, and other haters, say, I realize that it's not Feiner's fault that things are screwed up in unincorporated Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

To the naysayers: what are you going to do when taxes go up because we aren't providing housing for essential workers? If affordable housing isn't built for volunteers and municipal workers salaries of municipal employees will also go up. That means --TAX HIKE

Anonymous said...

This idea needs much further investigation, including:

1. Can it be structured as section 8 housing, allowing federal funds to help a developer buy the land? If Section 8, could the town/AFD determine priority on lists for housing?

2. Can the town/AFD partner in allocating units to town/AFD personnel? How many units in all do they think are possible?

3. What happens when tenant is no longer employee/volunteer? Move out period at end of lease?

I think these issues must be extensively researched before any town meeting.

Anonymous said...

Tax Hike?

Some people speak from such ignorance it is amazing.

If the town were to consolidate fire districts, and eliminate many of the redundant costs the village FD's create, then the town would save millions, and be able to provide a professional, career fire department that would have defined response times and personel.

This is just another example of the Town Supervisor looking for votes and meanwhile pissing away taxpayer dollars.

Also, Mr. Feiner's comments on this post clearly shows his ignorance and lack of knowledge about the mutual aid and FD system here in Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

Dear X635: Over 12 years Supervisor Feiner invited Francis Sheehan (then a citizen) to chair a committee to look into consolidating the 3 paid fire districts. Mr. Sheehan spent months reviewing the data but never issued a report.