Thursday, February 22, 2007


I read the recent blog post by former Ardsley Trustee Mike Kolesar suggesting that the town reach out to the county and ask the county to reimburse the town to remove snow from Ardsley Road sidewalks. I have followed up on the suggestion and have written to the County Executive.
When sidewalks are not cleared of snow many commuters walk to and from the Scarsdale train station on the narrow,steep road, not the sidewalks. This is dangerous. If the county would help the town with the costs of snow removal alongside this county road - it might be easier to persuade other town board members to support my request that the town assume the responsibility of snow removal on sidewalks along Ardsley Road.


Anonymous said...

Feiner's request is a good example of what's wrong with his leadership.

Before writing to the county executive demanding reimbursement for the costs of removing ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads, like Ardsley Road, one would think the town supervisor would take the time to research the issue and figure out whether there is any legal basis to demand such reimbursement.

But no, without doing any research at all, Feiner writes to the county executive and complains that the county needs to help the town because homeowners along Ardsley Road aren't doing their job in removing the ice and snow and conditions are dangerous. (yeah, he left that part out of his blog).

That's right, in an effort to persuade the county executive to reimburse the town for costs the town has not yet agreed to assume, Feiner blames Edgemont homeowners for not doing what state law says the town itself should be doing.

If maintaining sidewalks along county roads is governed by Highway Law 140(18), which it is, then the town itself is responsible for maintaining such sidewalks and, should the town board elect to remove the ice and snow from those sidewalks, then, according to Highway Law 140(18), that cost is supposed to be a town-wide charge.

Where in Highway Law 140(18) is it written that the county has any obligation to reimburse the town for such costs?

Before writing to the county executive demanding reimbursement, wouldn't it have made sense to find out why Ardsley gets reimbursement from the county when it removes ice and snow from certain sidewalks?

All Feiner would have had to do was ask, and then think through whether the Town would have a comparable argument to make.

But no, in an effort to show he's being helpful, when in fact he's being anything but, Feiner writes a letter that in no way makes the case for any county reimbursement.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous: What have you done to help resolve this dangerous situation?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous must realize that one can get a lot more accomplished if one doesn't care who gets the credit.

In this case, give credit to the Edgemont Community Council, which has been telling Feiner for the past three years in a row that under Highway Law 140(18), the town is responsible by law for maintaining sidewalks abutting county roads, such as Ardsley Road, that the town board has the authority to remove ice and snow from these sidewalks, that the cost is supposed to be a town-wide charge, and that, because this is a matter of public safety, the town cannot shift this responsibility under state law to individual private homeowners whose properties happen to abut such sidewalks.

The ECC has also told Feiner, each year for the past three years in a row, that if the town were to assume responsibilty for removing ice and snow from these sidewalks, under Town Law 65-a, the town would receive a limited immunity from liability in the event of an injury and that, by continuing the town's policy of not removing the ice and snow, the town remains fully liable, and that if the town were to be found negligent, the cost would be a town-wide obligation.

It is difficult to imagine how any responsible public official could ignore these requests year in and year out, while these dangerous conditions are allowed to continue.

Village residents should understand that it is in their interests, as well as those of the residents of unincorporated Greenburgh, to elect town officials who will be responsive to matters of public safety such as this.

The reason should by now be obvious. Having already been required to shoulder part of the burden for that $9 million liability settlement arising out of the tree accident, village taxpayers will likewise have to shoulder the burden should a pedestrian ever be killed or injured because the town did not take responsibility when state law says it should have.

Michael Kolesar said...

I may be wrong and i will recheck, but my recollection about the tree settlement costs was that the OSC ("Office of State Comptroller") indicated that the cost could have been charged also only to the unincorporated portion of the Twon, since the insurance policy that partially covered this unfortunate incident did not protect life or property in the Villages. The Town Board in its finite wisdom, decided to sock it to the Villages.

As to the "$9 million", I think that the previous posting isn't correct. With interest, it is more like $12 million. I recall that there was cash taken from the Town fund balance of about $3 million and the rest was bonded. But then some have called me not a very good accountant on these postings.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mr. Kolesar, you are wrong on the facts.

You seem to be under the misapprehension that the town could have charged the cost of the uninsured portion of the $9 million tree settlement to the town's unincorporated areas.

In fact, there was no legal basis to charge only the town's unincorporated areas.

The reason the settlement was made a town-wide charge is that the accident occurred in a park district. Park districts are, by law, managed by town-wide elected town boards.

Here, the town board, as managers of the park district, was arguably negligent for not having had tree inspection program in place in any of its park districts.

While in theory only taxpayers in the park district would be liable for the negligence of the district's management, here becuase the district's management was a town-wide elected town board, the courts have held that such liability for negligence must be a town-wide charge.

Understanding the reason why this was a town-wide charge underscores why the town faces similar exposure should an accident occur as a result of its failure to clean the ice and snow from sidewalks along county roadways, such as Ardsley Road in Edgemont.

The fact that the state makes this cost a town-wide charge demonstrates why village residents of Greenburgh need to pay attention when the town chooses not to spend money on public safety measures such as these.

And finally, you may wonder why did the comptroller's office even suggest that the tree settlement might have been chargeable to the unincorporated area?

The answer is that Feiner sent the letter to the comptroller's office without even disclosing the most critical fact that the accident occurred in a park district.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous:

Thank you for the corrections. I just wish you had the "courage" to identify yourself. I noticed that you were "silent" about the $12 million or so amount. Is it beyond your self esteem to acknowledge that maybe I was "right" on something?

One thing for sure, as long as I am a resident of this Town, I will monitor the Town Board's actions or lack thereof. As to the "cost" of clearing the sidewalks, it is a to use a legal phrase and I am as you well know not at attorney, "de minimus". If you get your jollies off on charging a thousand dollars to the "A" budget, go. ( 1 hour X 13 snow events in a "typical" year times $40 per hour cost per a DWP worker). I agree that a majority (As Mr. Samis as quite well pointed out) could make this decision in a heartbeat. I, unlike you, have served in the public arena. The entire current Board lacks leadership and couarge.

My votes were and are open to review. I didn't always "go along". (If you care to review and understand my public record). Come out, come out and stop hiding.

I know who you are. It's a shame you feel so insecure that you won't stand out and identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

If the amounts at issue are "de minimus" as Kolesar suggests, then why haven't village officials demanded that Feiner comply with public safety requirements that, if not complied with, might result in town-wide liability?

Why haven't village officials held Feiner accountable for not even knowing what these legal requirements even are?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob! All sidewalk related policies are made by the entire Town Board, not just Feiner. The Supervisor wants the town to assume responsibility for clearing the sidewalks of snow. The other members want the town to do nothing..

Anonymous said...

All sidewalk-related policies start with the town supervisor and the budget the state directs him to prepare.

Nowhere in Feiner's operating or capital budgets for the past 16 years has he ever proposed having the town remove the ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads, like Ardsley Road.

Feiner's been all talk on this issue, and no action.

Sure he'd love to remove the ice and snow from the sidewalks -- he tells Edgemont residents this every year -- as long as the town doesn't actually have to buy the equipment, pay the overtime, and worst of all, make it a town-wide charge.

Now that this issue's been raised for the umpteenth time, perhaps one or more of the part-time town council members will step up to the plate and act as de facto supervisor in Feiner's place, and do what common sense and the law requires.

But that's not the way town government is supposed to work, even in Greenburgh.

Leadership is supposed to come first from the full-time supervisor, not from a full-time politician who blames everyone on the town board but himself for not doing the job that he himself was elected to do.

Anonymous said...

Feiner's proposal to have the town remove snow from Ardsley Road was rejected by the Town Council members last year. I'm glad Feiner hasn't given up on this cause.

Anonymous said...

Leadership is fighting for the people. Paul Feiner does that. He has my vote.

Anonymous said...

This is a big joke. Paul wants to do the right thing for the people,but the notorious four are always unsupportive of his actions. The four of you are just occupying space,that could be filled with the right people.How about it.

Anonymous said...

The problem here isn't with the town council -- it's with Feiner.

He seems not to be able to get along with anyone in office these days, from the town council on up, and his relentless self-promoting antics just keep getting weirder and more desperate.

If Feiner were sincere about getting the snow and ice removed from Ardsley Road, he'd find out how many other county roads in town also have sidewalks that the town is responsible for clearing, he'd investigate the cost, both in terms of manpower and equipment, he'd work with his colleagues on the town council to achieve a consensus, and they'd together introduce a measure to get the job done.

Feiner has done none of those things in his sixteen years in office. And he's still not doing them.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that someone from the town board answered the comment before this one. The only person who could say that paul does not get along with everyone at town hall ,has to be someone on the town board. I as a resident of Greenburgh have not heard this . If the employees at town hall have a problem they could leave,but i'm quite sure that the town board is to blame for all the short comings amongst the employees. The board should let the employees do their jobs.If town employees were not qualified,they would not be in their positions.DO NOT BLAME PAUL.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan, Bass want Feiner's job so they are trying to undercut everything Feiner is doing for political reasons. They want a constant crisis, not solutions.

Anonymous said...

"The problem here isn't with the town council -- it's with Feiner."

In a general sense, I'd be inclined to agree. Ultimately, though, the problems related to A/B - Village/Unincorporated lie in the antiquated organizational structure of our town.

Certainly the old state laws pertaining to townships are to blame, but we could make a choice to alleviate so much drama by incorporating the unincorporated section into three villages Edgemont, Hartsdale and Fairview. (Surprisingly, this is not a complicated task at the state level.)

Anonymous said...

You must be kidding by suggesting that the unincoporated sections of Greenburgh be incorporated into three villages - Edgemont, Hartsdale and Fairview.

Hundreds of families in the unincorporated area have addresses like Tarrytown, Valhalla, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Ardsley, Elmsford, even though they are not, strictly speaking, part of these villages. My guess is that these people have no intention of becoming part of a newly created Village of Edgemont, Hartsdale or Fairview.

An alternative, if you think it is important for everyone to be part of a village, is for the villages which currently exist, to incorporate into their villages whichever part of the unincoporated Town is closest to them, taking all the commercial assessables into their village. Nice piece of change for village budgets.

Anonymous said...

Postal addresses are unrelated to this. What I'm talking about are the legal municipalities. This "unincorporated thing" is outdated, inefficient, and the source of so much drama that simply does not need to exist anymore in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

Trying to understand you.

Do you mean if I live for example, in unincoroporated Greenburgh on Abc Street, Tarrytown, NY, I will retain this address, but could really be in the Village of Fairview, paying taxes to the newly established Village of Fairview - with a newly established office of Mayor and Board of Trustees of Fairview?

Or if I am in unincorporated Greenburgh with a Dobbs Ferry postal address, I would, uder your plan, become a resident of the legal municipality of the Village of Hartsdale, with all that that entails.

Anonymous said...

Yea, the mailing addresses are pretty odd around here. I have a Scarsdale address in the Ardsley school district. Those villages don't border each other, and I don't live in either. It would be nice to just have a mailing address of Greenburgh, NY.