Wednesday, February 14, 2007

COMMUTERS WALKING ON SLIPPERY ARDSLEY ROAD, NOT SIDEWALKS WHEN ARDSLEY RD SIDEWALKS NOT CLEARED OF SNOW

I believe that the town should clear snow from sidewalks on Ardsley Road. If the town does not assume the responsibility of snow clearing on sidewalks - I think we should contract with an outsidecompany to provide the service. I have seen a number of commuters walk on this slippery, dangerous street (Ardsley Road) when sidewalks are not cleared of snow. Ardsley Road is used by pedestrians to get to and from the Scarsdale train station.
I strongly urge the Town Board to schedule a meeting to discuss this matter and to hold a public hearing on a sidewalk policy (an action the Board claimed was a high priority last year).
If a commuter walks on Ardsley Road because sidewalks have not be cleared - and a car skids because of slippery road conditions, there could be a horrible accident.
There are other sidewalks leading to schools/train stations/bus stops that should also be cleared of snow by the town.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

dangerous situation

Anonymous said...

dangerous situation

Anonymous said...

The Town Board should put the safety of its residents first. Don't look back and regret being penny wise and pound foolish.

Anonymous said...

The Town should, if it hasn't already, enact a law that all property owners are responsible to clear the sidewalks that border their property and then enforce the law with esclating fines if necessary. Works great in other municipalities. If one starts clearing this particular sidewalk, where does the Town draw the line? You couldn't get enough human effort to do the job in a timely basis Town wide.

town violating law said...

The town is already required by state law to clear the ice and snow off the sidewalk on county-owned Ardsley Road.

The law setting forth this obligation is Highway Law Section 140, subpart 18, which states as follows:

"The town . . . shall . . . maintain all sidewalks in the town constructed by the state adjacent to state highways and all sidewalks in the town constructed by the county adjacent to county roads and, when authorized by the town board, cause the removal of snow therefrom, and the cost thereof shall be paid from the miscellaneous or other town funds."

Edgemont leaders have been telling Feiner for years that the town is obligated to do this on Ardsley Road.

But Feiner's been thumbing his nose at this state law requirement for years. The reason? There is no legal authority permitting the town to charge only unincorporated Greenburgh for the cost.

Because there is no state law directing otherwise, removing the ice and snow from the Ardsley Road sidewalk is a town-wide charge.

Because Feiner puts politics ahead of people, this is yet another matter of public safety that year after year doesn't get resolved. We're no closer to getting this issue resolved this year than we were when we raised it last year, and the year before that, etc.

Anonymous said...

Based on Anonymous' posting at 9:50 AM, he/she quotes the law "... when authorized by the town board..." Whrere are the other 4 members (Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan) of the Town Board on this? Why haven't they taken any action? As Mr. Samis points out on another posting, it only takes 3 votes. It just seems to this person, that there is a lot more blame to share than just the Supervisor.

Anonymous said...

Your right.....There are four members on the board. Two are idiots,and two are on the board too long. WE NEED NEW PEOPLE.

hal samis said...

What if the Town of Greenburgh "purchased" existing Village sidewalks (just those in strategic locations, say located by schools, used by commuters, by stores, etc...not those identified as "vanity" sidewalks) and thus by taking over those which were built (paid for and maintained) by the Villages, the playing field would now be leveled through reimbursement.

This would then allow the Town to build sidewalks townwide, wherever needed; built and maintained on the same basis as those selected above.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.

It's a Feiner problem said...

This is a Feiner problem -- not a town council problem.

Because Feiner has so politicized the "A/B" budget issues, he's become like the ice on the Ardsley Road sidewalk -- completely frozen in his position.

If, as town supervisor, Feiner directs the Town Board to cmoply with the law, he risks losing in an election year his "pro-village" credentials. Because village residents constitute a majority of the town population, Feiner puts politics before people's safety.

But because Feiner has so politicized the issue, if any three members of the town council were to work around him and do the right thing, Feiner would do what he's done before -- and attack them as being anti-village.

Sadly, public safety is irrelevant. Political control is all that matters.

So what of Samis' idea? Logic dictates that the cost of maintaining village sidewalks could be handled much more efficiently if done by the town on a town-wide basis.

But villages believe in local control and generally don't want anything to do with any town, much less a Feiner-led Greenburgh.

So, in Samis-land, the villages would likely say no to town control and, as long as the law makes it a town-wide charge, they'd veto public safety for unincorporated area residents too.

The problem is, when someone in the unincorporated area is killed or injured because of these unsafe conditions and the failure of town-wide elected officials to remedy the situation, the costs of settling the lawsuit that follows will be a town-wide charge.

How many times do village residents have to be reminded that the non-insured portion of the $9 million tree settlement was a town-wide charge?

hal samis said...

So if I understand it correctly, Feiner is evil personified and has so terrorized the Town Council that they are afraid to act independently with the result that unincorporated can't have sidewalks and someone is going to be hurt or killed and the town entire is going to suffer.

Seems like there can be no other choice for elected, oath-taking officials; three of them must vote for sidewalks...and take their chances on being re-elected. Perhaps Mr. Sheehan and Ms. Juettner, who have three years remaining of their term, only need to convince either Mr. Bass or Ms. Barnes that sidewalks are important.

Perhaps even more important than paying for union apprentices.

And, if either Bass or Barnes goes along with this need, then the Villages shouldn't be angry with them because the uninsured portion of prospective settlements, for wrongful death or injury, will be a townwide expense and come out Village pockets as well.

Sounds like a plan.

But remember, the Town must spend less than $250,000 on each sidewalk construction contract award, so that it can avoid the extra costs (apprentices) of the Bass-sponsored Resolution.

Paul Feiner said...

A few days ago, at our Town Board work session, I asked the Town Board to schedule a work session meeting sometime in the near future so we can address the issue of sidewalks. We need to work together, to cooperate, to move things forward. The first step is to put the issue of sidewalks back on the agenda. This issue should not be politicized.

Anonymous said...

If the issue shouldn't be politicized, is Feiner saying he'll now support removing the ice and snow from Ardsley Road, even if such costs are required by law to be a town-wide charge?

If the issue shouldn't be politicized, is Feiner saying he'll support construction of new sidewalks for public safety even if it means that costs of maintaining existing sidewalks are, as the state comptroller said, a town-wide charge?

DRW said...

I'm new to this issue. Since Supervisor Feiner is checking in on these comments, could he please confirm (or deny) the accuracy of the comment by "town violating law" above?

Anonymous said...

Seems like a silly law. (Still, though a law shouldn't be ignored by the town.) Really, though, property owners should just shovel their own sidewalks - plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

"WE NEED NEW PEOPLE."

Perhaps, but what we really need is a new municipal structure. This A/B unincorporated thing is sooooo antiquated ... and political and confusing ... I live in one village's school district, have a different village's phone number, another non-Greenburgh village's zip code ... It's just nuts.

We need nine villages that are all incorporated - Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, Elmsford, Ardsley, Edgemont, Hartsdale, and (northern Greenburgh) - and no unincorporated lunacy to ever deal with again.

Anonymous said...

The law requiring the town to maintain sidewalks along county roads is not a silly law. These sidewalks were installed by the county not to benefit individual homeowners, but for public safety.

If the town chooses not to remove the ice and snow from the sidewalk, and there is an accident, the town will almost certainly be sued. There is a separate Town Law provision (Town Law 65-a) which would limit the town from liability if it would comply with its obligations to remove the ice and snow.

Feiner's been told about this law year after year, but he pretends not to hear.

The law, like NYC's pothole law, would require written notice of a danger before the town would be liable. But in Greenburgh, not only does the town not comply with the law, it doesn't get the benefits of limited liability either.

So much for good management.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't E Hartsdale Ave aound the train station cleared last night? Isn't this exactly the reason we have the stupid snow parking - for twice a year when it snows. There was no street parkign today b/c the streets weren't cleared last night...

Anonymous said...

Where is Steve Bass? Last year many of us cheered Steve on when he successfully pushed for a resolution directing the Supervisor to draft a proposed sidewalk policy. After the Supervisor came up with a plan Steve lost interest in sidewalks.

Anonymous said...

Come on Steve. Follow up. Work for a sidewalk policy as you promised.

Anonymous said...

After pledging that he wouldn't do it, Feiner still seems determined to politicize the issues of sidewalk construction and removal of ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads.

Thus, Feiner refuses to say whether he's support sidewalk consruction if it means that, as the law requires, the cost of maintaining existing sidewalks must be a town-wide charge.

And he refuses to say whether he's support removal of ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads, like Ardsley Road if, as the law requires, that cost is also a town-wide charge.

And Feiner refuses to say whether, if the town council took the bull by the horns and took these corrective public safety measures, he wouldn't condemn them for being "anti-village."

No, all Feiner can do at this point is politicize by blaming the town council for not making him do what he himself should have done years ago. So, Feiner now chooses to single out Steve Bass.

This is a perfect example of Feiner continuing to put politics ahead of people, even when public health and safety are on the line.

Anonymous said...

The law does not require the costs of sidewalks to be paid for town wide. Go to law school!

Anonymous said...

MR FEINER,
REGARDSLESS OF THE MERIT OF THE
PROPOSED SIDEWALK MAINTENANCE ON
ARDSLEY ROAD,IT SEEMS TO ME
YOU SEE WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE TO
MAKE YOUR POINT.
WHO IN THE WORLD WOULD BE WALKING
ALONG ARDSLEY ROAD TO THE
SCARSDALE RAILROAD STATION? AND
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU ACTUALLY
SEEN WALKING IN THE ROAD AFTER
A SNOW STORM.
YOUR EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS TO FURTHER
YOUR PET PROJECTS ARE LAUGHABLE
BUT SO SAD.

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 12:13, what is your point? I've walked up and down Ardsley road in this week's storm and the aftermath of the storm, as have a number of my neighbors. Because the sidewalks are not cleared, we've walked in the street. It's incredibly dangerous.

Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable how the focus here is on the politics of this situation. Plain and simple IT'S DANGEROUS and our government should be doing something about it NOW. At the very least, whoever is responsible for delivering the message to the homeowners who aren't cleaning their sidewalks, please do it now. It's been three days and not a flake of snow has been removed from in front of two of the houses below Overton Road. I look forward to the lawsuit when someone gets seriously hurt walking in the street.

Shame on Feiner said...

State law (Highway Law 140(18) makes keeping the sidewalk along Ardsley Road free and clear of ice and snow the Town's responsiblity.

This is both logical and proper because cleaning this sidewalk is a public safety issue, and public safety is the town's responsibility.

State law (Town Law 65-a) goes even further and rewards towns that assume that responsibility by limiting their liability in the event of a lawsuit.

Edgemont's leaders have been telling Feiner about these laws for years.

Feiner won't comply because he knows the cost of such cleanup is a town-wide charge and, especially in an election year, he doesn't want to upset any voters from the villages.

He'd much prefer to have the town council order the cleanup so that he could blame them for angering village voters.

Or he might just order the town to clean up the sidewalk and send the bill to the neighboring homeowners, and see if they exercise their ample legal grounds to object.

Residents of the unincorporated areas need to let Feiner know how they feel about politicians like him who are so determined to promote themselves and get reelected, they put politics ahead of public safety.

Anonymous said...

1.43 pm
When Mr. Feiner Speaks of Ardsley
Road,I relate Ardsley Road to
Greenburgh,which would be west of
Central Avenue.
It seems to me that Mr. Feiner
and many others think of Ardsley
Road as the road east of Central
Avenue,that part of Ardsley Road
to me is part of Scarsdale.
Maybe Mr. Feiner makes all his
observations east of Central
Avenue.
If so,will he maintain the western
part of the road as well?

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh is responsible by law for maintaining what passes for sidewalks on Ardsley Road beginning at Edgemont's border with Scarsdale, which is approximately where Ardsley Road meets Garth Road.

hal samis said...

All this nonsense about politicizing the sidewalk issue...
Do any of the legal minds who write on this blog know how it would be possible for: the Town Supervisor, the Town Manager (since that has been offered as the cure-all) or even Steve Bass, to effect a sidewalk construction policy, a sidewalk repair policy or a snow removal policy -- all by themselves. Such matters are undertaken by a vote of the entire Town Board. Such matters are, in part, undertaken by dollars specifically committed, say in the upcoming Capital Budget review, and this in turn is accomplished by the vote of the entire Town Board.

Other than to smear, why are bloggers continuing to make Feiner, or even Bass, responsible for matters that are beyond their individual abilities to either make happen or postpomne indefinitely.

If residents want sidewalks, they must find methods of achieving consensus not polarization.

Or if they merely seek a forum to
harass but not to create the mechanisms to get needed sidewalks built, then blog away.

But don't thinkl that you are convincing anyone that your interest is genuinely about getting sidewalks for kids walking to school or commuters enroute to the train.

All Feiner has done to unleash the newest round of criticism is to write that he seeks to get it back before the Town Board at a work session. Perhaps bloggers should attend this session to see for themselves how the spirit of cooperation is maintained...

Anonymous said...

Hal Samis, I don't know who you are, but I assure you my interest is genuinely about the commuters walking to/from the train. Ardsley Road hill is a public danger to those who walk up and down it on a daily basis.

Two years ago, the town did clean the sidewalk after snow storms. The town should be doing so now.

Feiner is to blame said...

Sorry Samis, Feiner has only himself to blame here.

Edgemont leaders began clamoring for sidewalks in September 2003 when the ECC presented the Town Board with a list of dangerous streets where ECC believed they were needed.

The request was ignored. In fact, when the speaker went past the alloted five minutes, Feiner ordered the microphone turned off.

Nevertheless, 2003 being an election year, Feiner told Edgemont residents he supported sidewalk consruction.

But soon after the election, Feiner told Edgemont residents that he didn't think the town had any legal right to build sidewalks unless, of course, Edgemont taxpayers were to pay for the sidewalks themselves.

When Edgemont leaders said this was preposterous and provided him with the law that made clear the town had the authority to build sidewalks where needed for public safety, Feiner insisted on first getting an opinion from the state comptroller's office.

Months went by and nothing happened. Then, in January 2006, the state comptroller issued an opinion that said not only did the town have the authority to build sidewalks, but the law required their costs to be a "town-wide" charge.

So what did Feiner do? He ignored the opinion and called for the creation of an unincorporated area sidewalk "district" - which the comptroller made clear he could not legally do.

So, we're at stalemate. Everyone agrees there are ways to construct new sidewalks needed for public safety without charging village taxpayers.

But because Feiner never complied with the law with respect to paying for existing sidewalks, and he's never complied with the law with respect to removing ice and snow from sidewalks abutting county roads, nothing can be done about new sidewalks until the town finds a legal way to deal with its existing sidewalks.

Sorry Samis, this is not a case of Feiner being picked on.

To the contrary, this is a case of a public official thumbing his nose at the most basic obligation of a municipality -- public safety -- because he fears a few critics from the villages might label him "anti-village" in the next election.

Feiner has been presented with options that would be satisfactory to both the unincorporated areas and to the villages. For example, he could support the creation of a sidewalk district in old Edgemont to pay for the cost of maintaining their beautiful red brick sidewalks which are NOT needed for public safety.

But Feiner doesn't want to do that either for fear he might lose votes there.

So who exactly is to blame here? Who exactly has politicized the situation to the point where the town board is literally incapable of taking action?

hal samis said...

Were all of the other members of the Town Board, specifically the Town Council, on vacation when Edgemont leaders presented their sidewalk grievances? You didn't present your case only in front of Feiner, did you?

I think that you and Edgemont should bear some responsibility if you continue to fail to understand that it takes at least three to tango.

But I think you do get it. You just want to find another stage from which to attack Feiner. If you expected to walk away with sidewalks and you feel you have the comptroller, public safety and everyone else on your side, how come you still can't get three votes from the members of the Town Council? Because they're certainly not political either.

How many times do you want to play the same song. Each time you do you know you're going to get the same reply. If you're so right, then how come the Town Council doesn't act?

Just because you say the Town Board is incapable of taking action doesn't explain why? They ran for office; they get paychecks; two of them even ran successfully against Feiner's slate in the last election.

And still they don't come to your defense? Either Edgemont doesn't really want sidewalks, weren't good children and Santa didn't stop at their homes OR perhaps they should start also pointing the finger at Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan.

Because if you're so right about Feiner, then you're so wrong to keep pushing the pointer back at his face. If you truly believe you ain't gonna get sidewalks from him and you truly want sidewalks, then why do you keep following the path of neurotic behavior. It isn't working so why keep repeating what doesn't work?

On the other hand, if you think you're going to get action from the Town Council, then let them do what Feiner won't.

And do me a favor, while you're waiting for their help, please hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

I cheered the Town Council on when Steve Bass introduced the resolution last year directing our Supervisor to propose a sidewalk policy. I was proud of our Town Board when they approved the resolution. I am now furious. Feiner proposed a sidewalk policy. Sure, there were problems with the proposed policy. It needs some changes. However, it was a great start. It is simply outrageous that the Town Council won't take any action. They haven't discussed the proposed policy since the summer. They haven't scheduled any meetings. They care about one thing: politics, not good government. I'm angry!

Anonymous said...

I cheered the Town Council on when Steve Bass introduced the resolution last year directing our Supervisor to propose a sidewalk policy. I was proud of our Town Board when they approved the resolution. I am now furious. Feiner proposed a sidewalk policy. Sure, there were problems with the proposed policy. It needs some changes. However, it was a great start. It is simply outrageous that the Town Council won't take any action. They haven't discussed the proposed policy since the summer. They haven't scheduled any meetings. They care about one thing: politics, not good government. I'm angry!

More feiner blather said...

The prior two anti-Bass missives were undoubtedly posted by Feiner himself. He's used the same formula message in prior anti-Bass missives.

The point here is that Feiner continues to put politics ahead of public safety. He's drawn a line in the sand.

Samis argues that if Edgemont were really entitled to sidewalks as a matter of public safety, then the town council members should just do it. He conveniently ignores the fact that if they did, Feiner will accuse them in an election year of being anti-village.

It's a sad reality that residents of the town's villages, who pay only 4% of the town's property taxes, but who constitute a majority of the town's populatoin, get to have so much to say about what gets done, and doesn't get done in in the unincorporated areas, but they do.

It's pathetic (but not unexpected) that Feiner shills like Samis think that's okay and that the best Edgemont can do is just accept the situation, pay for our own sidewalks if that's what we want, or just find some new cross to bear.

However, residents of Greenburgh from both the unincorporated areas and from the villages are smart enough to recognize dysfunctional local government when they see it.

So Feiner now thinks these controversial issues should be discussed at work sessions and Samis invites all bloggers to come watch.

What Samis doesn't say is that Feiner attends work sessions only sporadically these days, the sessions don't start on time, usually around 4 p.m., Feiner leaves early (at 5 p.m.) to pick up his daughter and rarely returns, and what passes for discussion is constant bickering, with Feiner throwing temper tantrums that everyone's out to get him, and the others complaining that Feiner doesn't do his homework and doesn't seem to care about solving town problems anymore, and that his only interest is his latest self-promotion scheme and photo-op.

Fortunately, these work sessions are taped by a private citizen. One of these days these tapes will be played so that all residents of the town can see that how truly dysfunctional Feiner and the town council have become.

Anonymous said...

One would have to be deaf,dumb,and blind to see how the four members of the board are encouraged by Edgemont to blame Feiner for the sidewalk issues. One gets more done ,if everyone works together.WAKE UP EDGEMONT.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont's leaders have worked tirelessly within what passes for the system in Greenburgh, but they have little to show for it.

Municipal services have declined, public safety issues get ignored, zoning and planning issues of importance to Edgemont residents get back burnered, developers get favored treatment from a supervisor who has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers with applications pending before the town, and citizen complaints to an ethics board not only go unanswered, but the ethics board's chair hasn't called a meeting in more than two years.

Fortunately, the rest of Greenburgh is catching on to what Edgemont's leaders have already learned.

This is not the time to settle for the status quo and hope for the best. No, this is the time for Edgemont to work together with the rest of the town to come up with new leadership.

Paul Feiner said...

The community, town board & supervisor should all work together to adopt a sidewalk policy. No need for name calling. There is a need for cooperation. I am willing to meet with any neighborhood group, the Town Board so we can move forward to address this issue. This is not a difficult issue to solve, provided we all work together.

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Blather:

Horrors!
If the Town Council would vote for sidewalks, Feiner would "accuse them in an election year of being anti-Village".

Meanwhile, where in my numerous entries did I ever say that Edgemont should stand down and pay for its own sidewalks?

Just another "creative" attempt to shield the Town Council from criticism by your labeling of their inaction as the party line of "shills".

And, yes go watch the Town Board in action as I have invited all to do. There are lots of things I haven't said about work sessions but wouldn't the fairest thing be for residents to attend and judge in person? Somehow, you have cast my invitation to residents as a suspect act.

And, that private citizen doing the taping is not so often seen at work sessions lately.

Being anonymous is really the license to lie and mislead, isn't it? One never knows who is writing, be they members of the Town Council, residents of Edgemont, Bassrooters for Greenburgh or just plain unadorned liars.

The bottom line is that no one on the Town Board wants to build sidewalks and have the Villages pay for sidewalks in Unincorporated area. This includes not only Feiner, but also Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan. With such singular purpose for political reasons, one wonders why only Feiner wears the target?

It's about safety not blather said...

What about the sidewalk problem does Samis not understand?

No one is advocating that the cost of new sidewalks be a town-wide charge.

The problem has to do with paying for existing sidewalks. The state comptroller says that because the town had not created sidewalk districts or complied with the procedures under the state's suburban law for charging only part of the town, those costs must be a town-wide charge.

Coming up with a sidewalk policy thus requires dealing with the problem of who should pay for existing sidewalks.

If elected town officials do not want to burden village taxpayers in an election year with a town-wide charge, they can create individual sidewalk districts and charge only the residents who already have these sidewalks with the cost of maintaining them.

If those residents don't accept being part of a sidewalk district, and the town doesn't want to bear the cost as a town-wide charge, then the town should simply stop maintaining these sidewalks at taxpayer expense.

That seems like a small political price to pay if that's what's necessary to break the logjam and get the town to start building sidewalks where they are are needed for public safety.

Anonymous said...

How about enclosing the strip of sidewalk going to and from the station,with a good plastic bubble. This would solve the snow shovelling problem.

Paul Feiner said...

I intend to take some steps to end the stalemate at the next Town Board meeting: I will introduce a resolution before the Board scheduling a public hearing on a sidewalk policy. I will make some modifications regarding my original policy -so we comply with the provisions of suburban town law. If the Board wants to modify the proposed sidewalk policy that I introduce they are welcome to do so.

Sounds like more of same said...

Feiner's proposal sounds like more of the same.

He says he'll introduce a resolution requiring compliance with the provisions of suburban town law - something his original policy should have done in the first place.

But that won't solve anything because everyone agrees that the town should comply with suburban town law for new sidewalk projects.

The problem is how pay to maintain existing sidewalks.

Suburban town law doesn't address that issue, and that's where the problem lies.

Some of those sidewalks are amenities that benefit only the homeowners whose properties abut these sidewalks.

Continuing the town's policy of requiring unincorporated area taxpayers to pay to maintain these sidewalks is unlawful and bad policy.

Other sidewalks, like the sidewalk on Ardsley Road, are there for public safety. State law makes the town responsible for maintaining these sidewalks, and that cost should be a town-wide charge.

Breaking the logjam will also require drawing up objective criteria to determine when a proposed sidewalk will qualify as a sidewalk needed for public safety.

The same rules that apply to Chatteron Parkway should apply to Seely Place as well as Payne Street, Old Tarrytown Road, West Hartsdale Avenue and any other street noted for its danger to pedestrians generally and schoolchildren in particular.

Never again should residents seeking a sidewalk to make it safe for their children to walk to school have to deal with a town supervisor who thinks he knows better and goes door to door to lobby residents of that street to oppose such a sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me that Mr. Feiner
and many others think of Ardsley
Road as the road east of Central
Avenue,that part of Ardsley Road
to me is part of Scarsdale."

All of Ardsley Road, east and west of Central Park Avenue, is a county road in Greenburgh, not Scarsdale. The Scarsdale line is the Bronx River Parkway.

Anonymous said...

If it truly is the "Town's" responsibility to clear the sidewalks across all of this road, there are sidewalks further west than most comments address. In fact, this road goes through the Villages of Ardsley and Dobbs Ferry, both of which have sidewalks along it. Will the Town be taking over the responsibilty for these as well?

Anonymous said...

Is Ashford Avenue a county road, too?

Anonymous said...

Maintenance of sidewalks built along county roads, such as Ardsley Road, is the responsility of the town.

Removal of snow and ice from these sidewalks is also the responsbility of the town.

The town can choose not to remove the ice and snow, but does so at its peril and the peril of its taxpayers.

State law rewards towns that remove the ice and snow from sidewalks by giving them a form of limited liability for negligence lawsuits when someone is killed or injured. If the town adopts a policy of removing the ice and snow, then the town will only be liable for slips and falls when the town is on written notice of the sidewalk's poorly maintained condition.

If, like Greenburgh, the town does not adopt such a policy, then the town can be liable for such injuries without any requirement that the town be on written notice of a problem.

Feiner has been told about these laws again and again, says he's all in favor of removing the ice and snow, but won't do it if the cost is a "town-wide charge."

Even though the town, as a whole (including village taxpayers) would be liable for any injury, Feiner does not wish to add even an insignificant charge to the amount that the town's village taxpayers must pay.

This is worse than being pennywise and pound foolish.

Michael Kolesar said...

I have been reading the various postings on this topic and decided to to some research given my prior experience on the Village Board in Ardsley. I recalled voting on an IMA (Inter Municipal Agreement) between the Village of Ardsley and the County of Westchester wherein the Village of Ardsley is reimbursed for its costs of plowing and clearing snow from that portion of a County designated roadway and the adjacent sidewalks.

If the little Village of Ardsley has gotten reimbursed for this, why hasn't the Town of Greenburgh gotten reimbursement for all County roads and sidewalks so designated within unincorporated Greenburgh? It only seems fair, when one stops to think about it, that if the County wants a particular road or sidewalk cleared, then the County should pay for it and not place that cost burden on the particular municipality in which the site is located. Since there is not an even distribution of County roads throughout the various municipalities, through the County's reimbursement, this cost is shared by all County taxpayers. So back to the question at the beginning of this paragraph, why hasn't this been explored ????

Smell the coffee, Mr. Kolesar said...

Surely it must have dawned on Mr. Kolesar that one of the reasons "little Ardsley" gets reimbursement from the county when the Town does not is that "little Ardsley" gets to elect officials that are answerable solely to the voters of "little Ardsley" while residents of unincorporated Greenburgh have no elected officials answerable solely to them.

Consequently, even if there were a statutory basis for requiring the county to reimburse the Town for the cost of clearing ice and snow from sidewalks in unincorporated Greenburgh that are adjacent to county roads (and Mr. Kolesar nowhere suggests that there is), there are no elected officials answerable solely to the taxpayers in unincorporated Greenburgh who could insist on such rights being enforced.

Only two months ago it was pointed out that the Town had entered into an agreement with the county back in 2001 governing the location of certain homeless shelters, including a homeless shelter for certain undesirable persons (mainly sex offenders) in Mount Pleasant.

Under the terms of that agreement, the county was to provide the town with additional police protection. Because the town's villages have their own police forces, police protection is normally a cost incurred solely by the taxpayers of unincorporated Greenburgh.

But because there are no elected officials in town answerable solely to the taxpayers of unincorporated Greenburgh, there is no one at the town level even interested in enforcing the town's rights under that agreement.

When the issue was raised at budget time this past December, not one town official, including Feiner, explained to the public why unincorporated area taxpayers had to fork over higher taxes to pay for more police protection because of the county's Mt. Pleasant shelter, but no reimbursement for such costs would be sought from the county under that agreement.

Perhaps that may explain to Mr. Kolesar why no one at the town level has ever explored the possibility of county reimbursement for clearing ice and snow from sidewalks abutting county roads (assuming there would even be a legal basis for doing so).

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear "smell the coffee, Mr. Kolesar",

I continue to be amazed at people who won't identify themselves on this blog. I don't know who you are, but I can guess. I served our county for two years in the armed forces to protect our Constitution and the freedoms that others long before me have helped earn and also maintain. Why or what are you afraid of? If you think that a Gestapo or other force will come to your door because you express your opinions, then all of us should be very concerned about our society. We need to focus our efforts here in Greenburgh and not in Iraq.

As to your point about "Town" officials not caring about some things, I agree. The current structure of the Town of Greenburgh doesn't really work well in the 21st century. Join me in trying to make some changes. Maybe you live in unincorporated Greenburgh. Wow, an alliance of Village and unincorporated Greenburgh working together to actually address and solve some issues. Remarkable. But I'll need to know who you are. You can find me very easily. If you don't already know my email, there are many individuals from all parts of the town, both Villages and unincorporated who do.

I'll be waiting for your private, direct reply. I really don't care for this "anonymous" posting stuff.

Anonymous said...

So Mike Kolesar thinks the Town of Greenburgh doesn't really work well in the 21st century?

Let's review the bidding here. Kolesar didn't seem to think there was a problem here until the courts ruled that Taxter Ridge, a park open town-wide, should be paid for town-wide.

His solution, as a resident of the villages who, together with all other village residents, not only have a majority of the town's population, but pay only 4% of total town taxes, was to threaten to sue the town if it didn't appeal to get the decision reversed or get the law changed.

Because he thinks of unincorporated Greenburgh as its own legal entity, which it isn't, he doesn't think village residents should be required to pay any town-wide expenses, even if state law requires it. That doesn't make him much of an honest broker.

He's also worried that the courts might rule that other town parks and recreational facilities that are open town-wide should be paid for town-wide and wants to prevent that from happening too.

But rather than try to resolve these matters amicably, Kolesar, as a member of the so-called "Village Officials Committee," took the opposite position. He joined with Feiner in opposing all efforts at mediating the legal dispute -- insisting instead that the matter be decided by the courts and if that doesn't work, then by legislative change in Albany.

But that's not enough for Kolesar. Nope. Worried that unincorporated area residents might still have too much influence over town government, his most recent idea is to divvy up the town into four wards with village residents dominating two such wards.

That way, to prevent any more expenses from ever being charged town-wide, village residents would be able to secure two of the four town council seats.

So, it strains credulity to think Mike Kolesar should be taken seriously by anyone in unincorporated Greenburgh as someone who could be constructive in helping to solve Greenburgh's problems.

What's needed here are not people like Kolesar, but leaders from both the villages and the unincorporated areas who are willing to work together to place unincorporated Greenburgh on the same level playing field as Greenburgh's villages.

Only then can progress be made.