Friday, March 16, 2007

TOWN ISSUES SUMMONS TO THOSE WHO DON'T CLEAR SIDEWALKS

On February 22 the town issued 54 summonses to property owners who had neglected to clear their walkways of snow pursuant to the town code. They were required to pay a $175 fine.
Total summonses issued on 2/22: 54
Guilty pleas and $175 fine 20
Adjournments granted by court 28
Cases dismissed 6
I continue to believe that our current policy is not working. I believe that the Town Board should amend the law. The town should assume the responsibility of clearing sidewalks of snow when the sidewalks connect to train stations, schools, bus stops. This issue: safety of pedestrians. Many residents of Edgemont, for example, walk up and down the very dangerous Ardsley Road when sidewalks are not cleared of snow.
The Town Council will be presenting the community with a new sidewalk policy at our March 28th Town Board meeting. There will be a discussion of the issues at that time.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Edgemont civic association leaders have been telling Feiner for years that the snow removal ordinance isn't working.

Feiner now says he agrees and wants to see the law amended. So where's he been? Why after all these years hasn't he put pen to paper and proposed an amendment?

Why should dozens of Edgemont residents have to be fined $175 apiece for not removing ice and snow that the town plows onto the crumbled blacktops that Greenburgh calls "pedestrian walkways," when, as a matter of public safety, the town itself should be assuming responsiblity for cleaning those walkways?

And where's Feiner been on the Ardsley Road sidewalk? How many times does he have to be told that state law (Highway Law 140(18)) makes the town responsible for maintaining that sidewalk, authorizes the town to remove the ice and snow from that sidewalk, and makes the cost a town-wide charge?

One won't find any recognition of that fundamental principle in his "sidewalk policy" from last year. Nope. Rather than comply with the law making these costs a town-wide charge, Feiner insisted that the residents of Ardsley Road be taxed separately -- in a "sidewalk district" -- for the cost of removing the ice and snow.

And Feiner continues not to comply with the law, putting the safety of residents at risk.

Anonymous said...

It's about time,that home owners are fined for not shoveling the snow.THE NEXT THING should be looked into cars parked on the streets overnight.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (alias BBernstein) misrepresents the facts. Feiner has been asking the town to take over snow removal on Ardsley Road sidewalks for a few years. He wants the entire unincorporated section of the town to assume the burden.

Anonymous said...

Fiener may not like the facts, because they are so embarrassing to him, but Anonymous at 5:39 yesterday misrepresents nothing.

Feiner's proposed sidewalk policy, dated May 23, 2006, called for the creation of "sidewalk districts," and further states that, "upon adoption of these guidelines" for the creation of such districts, "the Town will institute a pilot program to effectual snow removal on certain sidewalks in the unincorporated portion of the Town" starting with Payne Street and Ardsley Road.

Feiner's proposed policy thus called for residents of those areas to pay for the removal of snow from certain sidewalks upon adoption of guidelines creating "sidewalk districts."

Feiner nowhere mentions in that proposed "policy" that he wants unincorporated area residents to "assume the burden" of removing ice and snow along the Ardsley Road sidewalk, but no matter.

Even if that's what Feiner meant to say, that idea would violate state law which makes these costs a town-wide charge, and he knows it.

It would also be inconsistent with a state comptroller's opinion from last year telling Greenburgh that the town has no legal authority to impose such charges on its unincorporated areas.

Because Feiner insists on a solution for Ardsley Road which he knows would be contrary to state law, it's clear he's continuing to put politics ahead of people's safety.

It would probably cost town taxpayers, including taxpayers from the villages, just pennies a year to cover the cost of removing the ice and snow from the Ardsley Road sidewalk.

How many times does Feiner have to be reminded that if there is a tragic accident along Ardsley Road, the entire town will be held liable, which will mean that (as was the case with the $9 million tree settlement a few years ago), all town taxpayers, including taxpayers from the town's villages, will be paying for Feiner's politically-motivated short-sightedness.

Anonymous said...

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NO STREET PARKING ORDINANCE DURING THE EVENING HOURS.SOMEONE IS NOT DOING THEIR JOB,THEN WE COMPLAIN THAT THE STREETS ARE NOT PLOWED.

Anonymous said...

For those with less time in Greenburgh than the Supervisor, please note that it was Paul J. Feiner who pushed through the current snow removal ordinance to punish landlords on East Hartsdale Avenue for failing to remove snow from the sidewalks in front of their buildings. (If we really had open government I could have gone into the minutes of the Town Board meetings for the year 1992-93 and found the exact date, but because of the overwhelming fear of being discovered as a liar and panderer, Mr. Feiner has not directed the Town Clerk to perform an administrative task. Too bad.)

Mr. Feiner forgot that a town-wide ordinance would take effect not only where he intended, but also where he did not. The fines were anticipated as falling of landlords and condo/coop managers -never having lived in a single family home for which he was responsible, Mr. Feiner crafted a piece of legislation designed to punish nameless/faceless entities without effecting voters.It never crossed his mind that single family homeowners would have to comply too. He screwed it up. Failure to think ahead (let alone outside the box) has been the Feiner modus operandi since his very first election to public office.
Stop! Grow up! Repeal the stupid ordinance.

Take responsibility for mistakes - even if you believe in your heart of hearts that you didn't make them, they happened on your watch. As the senior officer, the ultimate responsibility is YOURS! This is a first principle of command and faithfully adhered to becomes the cornerstone of respect. Your administration is descending into chaos because you do not command - you whine about the failure of others. (Want to read about parallels? Try the transcripts of the Nuremburg trials.)

Anonymous said...

Some of the bloggers would make great fiction writers because they know how to distort the truth. The Supervisor wants the entire unincorporated section of Greenburgh to assume the responsibility of clearing snow from Ardsley Rd sidewalks. By the way--last year the Town Council said they were in a rush: they needed a proposed sidewalk policy from the supervisor. The supervisor complied with the directive of the council. How come the council has not yet proposed another policy?

Anonymous said...

maybe the town should issue itself a summons for not getting sky meadow estates cleared 'till 11am saturday. i am essential medical staff at a facility in westchester county and had to be picked up by a relative on hartsdale road...hundreds of patient's care was delayed because my neighboorhood was impassable...such great service for paying some of the highest taxes IN THE COUNTRY!!!

Anonymous said...

Can anonymous at 11:47 (a/k/a Feiner) explain why, if state law mandates that the cost of removing the snow and ice from the sidewalk on Ardsley Road is to be a town-wide charge, the "supervisor" insists that only the unincorporated areas of the town be the ones required to pay?

Wouldn't it be better for all concerned if Feiner would simply comply with the law?

Anonymous said...

The cost of removing ice and snow from the Ardsley Road sidewalk the few times it snows a year is probably less than $5,000.

According to Feiner's SCOBA report, in 2004, based on the mortgage recording tax revenues alone, the unincorporated areas subsidized Greenburgh's villages by nearly $1 million.

So if the state legislature says the entire town must pick up the cost of removing the ice and snow from a sidewalk along a county road like Ardsley Road, why shouldn't this be a town-wide expense?

It not only seems fair, but it would cost village taxpayers pennies.

Why must Feiner put politics ahead of public safety?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing that the Town Council members (Bass, Sheehan, Juettner & Barnes) won't comment on sidewalk safety? What are their views?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing that the Town Council members (Bass, Sheehan, Juettner & Barnes) won't comment on sidewalk safety? What are their views?

Anonymous said...

Their comments are shared when appropriate in a professional manner, via intelligently written e-mails that we all get. (If you don't, copy/paste the URL below and just follow the instructions.)

I would be pretty disappointed to see any of them communicate via a blog. I don't always agree with the Board, but I respect their professional communications to the citizens.

Town Updates by E-Mail:
http://www.greenburghny.com/Cit-e-Access/webpage.cfm?TID=10&TPID=1870

Anonymous said...

The Town of Greenburgh doesn't have its priorities straight and the whole Ardsley Road debate is a disgrace. The town's solution is not working. I lived in Tuckahoe for 10 years and there is no way that the village's government there would compromise citizens' safety by engaging in petty arguments about who should clear town road's sidewalks. Instead of spending thousands of town dollars on employees hanging out in court all day on March 14, they may want to get those employees to spend some time clearing ice/snow. It is pretty unbelievable that the Town of Greenburgh, after fining so many residents in February for not clearing bits and pieces of their sidewalks, did not bother to clear the Ardsley Road sidewalks after Friday's ice storm to be in compliance with the law. I walked down the hill this morning and fell on my back.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 3/18 3:13 PM,

First, wht don't you identify yourself? What are you afraid of? The tone of your posting suggests that many of the individuals who are posting comments are "unprofessional." I resent your comment especially without identifying yourself (Mr. Kaminer???)

Don't read this blog if you are upset with the manner in which some people communictae. But then of course the other Council mmebers who only communicate in a "professional" (i.e. some kind of press release drafted by a former reporter paid for by taxpayers to make incumbents look good) manner would lose significant intelligence about how some members of the Greenburgh feel about various issues.

Anonymous said...

Comparing Feiner to the Nuremburg trial defendants is a new low on this blog. Some of the spineless bloggers need to get a life. Slandering Feiner is not what life is all about.

Charles Lewis said...

Reading this has made me feel less persecuted by the ragged state of Tarrytown Road. At least we have a well-plowed street to walk in (albeit, a well-plowed street with 40mph traffic) when the various malls, businesses, and municipalities fail in their responsibilities to clear the sidewalks.

This is definitely a safety issue. I suggest that our elected officials try the short walk from the Town Hall to the White Plains train station to see what I mean. They should note the number of frozen footprints along the way that are testament to the constituents who take this risky route every day.

Anonymous said...

When we owned a house in the city of New York,we had laws that were acted upon.If we didn't shovel the snow in front of our homes or businesses,we would receive summons.Why is it that our attitudes for laws has changed since we moved to Greenburgh? If we all pitched in ,we would not be fighting a loosing battle .Why should other municipalities pay for the removal of snow on Ardsley road?If everyone in the town has snow removal of sidewalks ,yes we should be charged town wide for the expenses.To me it sounds wrong that the people in neighboring villages have to pay for the removal of snow on sidewalks going to the train station in EDGEMONT.

Anonymous said...

The New York State Legislature has determined that the removal of ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads, such as Ardsley Road, is the responsibility of the town, and that the cost must be a town-wide expense.

The town-wide expense here would be minimal -- probably less than a few pennies a year for most village taxpayers.

But Feiner refuses to comply with the law because he doesn't like the part about the cost being a town-wide expense.

The New York State Legislature has also determined that village taxpayers should get more money than unincorporated area taxpayers get from mortgage recording taxes collected town-wide.

Under the state's formula, in 2004 alone, unincorporated area taxpayers in Greenburgh subsidized village taxpayers about $1 million through the mortgage recording tax disbursements.

The fact that Feiner still refuses to seek town board authorization to spend the few pennies it would take to remove the ice and snow from Ardsley Road shows just how shamelessly willing he is to put his political interests ahead of public safety.

Anonymous said...

edgemont citizens get your shovels and clean your sidewalks, we have many roads all around greenburgh that don't even have sidewalks. It is the responsiblity of home and business owners to keep the sidewalks clean.

DRW said...

I live in the Manor Woods section of Hartsdale and on any snowy morning my street is visited by at least half-a-dozen teams of day laborers eager for shoveling work. I choose to shovel my own walk but many of my older neighbors avail themselves of these services which are relatively cheap. As evidenced by my neighborhood, it really isn't that difficult for people to arrange one way or another to get their sidewalks cleared the four times a year we have accumulation of snow of more than a dusting.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 3/20/07 10:48 AM (aka Bob A/B)

A - your writing style is so unique, why don't you just give it up and put your name with your postings?

B - since you quote the various laws so often, may I remind you of the following from the Town of Greenburgh code:

ARTICLE V Snow and Ice Removal [Amended 2-23-1994 by L.L. No. 1-1994]
§ 430-15. Duty to keep sidewalks free of obstructions.
The landowner of any property abutting any street, highway or road in the Town and the occupant of any premises where a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway has been installed are required to keep the sidewalk bordering the property or premises free and clear of snow, ice, dirt or other obstructions within 24 hours after an obstruction is created. In the event that the obstruction cannot be removed without damaging the sidewalk, the use of salt and/or ashes is permitted to the extent otherwise permitted by law.
§ 430-16. Failure to remove.
If any landowner or occupant fails to keep his property or premises free and clear of snow, ice, dirt or any other obstruction as set forth in § 430-15 above within 24 hours, the Town may perform removal and bill the costs to the landowner. Any work performed pursuant to this section shall be a lien upon the property until paid."

While the State Legislature may decree unfunfed "mandates". i.e. that a Town is responsible for the sidewalks along a County road, so too may a Town decree that property owners are responsibile for their sidewalks even if they are along a County road.

Where have the Gang of Four been? It's not just one person who is responsible for this situation. Why does the Gang of Four need something from a Town Supervisor to enact legislation? Aren't they capable of independent thought? It didn't work that way in Ardsley when I was Trustee. I didn't wait for the Mayor to draft legislation or "approve" it. Leaders know how to lead and followers follow.

Could the Supervisor do better, in my opinion yes. But that doesn't excuse the total lack of leadership from the others. Can you imagine one political party having 80% of the seats in Congress and being unable to craft a meaningful piece of legislation? Incredible !!!

Anonymous said...

It's not clear what to make of Kolesar's post.

By quoting the town code's snow removal ordinance, is Kolesar seriously suggesting that the town can lawfully excuse itself from liability for unsafe conditions on sidewalks by shifting to property owners the responsibility for removing the ice and snow?

If so, he'd be wrong about that.

The state has decreed that the town remains legally responsible. If there's an unsafe condition along the Ardsley Road sidewalk, and there obviously is, the town can't avoid liability by telling homeowners it's their problem.

Then, letting Feiner off the hook, Kolesar blasts the Town Council for not fixing the problem itself.

Here Kolesar is being disingenuous. Kolesar knows that the reason Feiner won't fix the problem is that he doesn't like that part of the law which makes the cost of removing the ice and snow from the Ardsley Road sidewalk a town-wide charge.

By refusing to fix the problem, Feiner's daring the town council to fix it themselves -- so that Feiner can then accuse the town council in this election year of being "anti-village."

Kolesar is being disingenuous about this because, as an Ardsley trustee, he was part of the crowd that, instead of getting the town to comply with the law, needlessly politicized the differences between the town's villages and unincorporated areas.

Instead of going after the "gang of four" as he calls them, Kolesar could be a lot more constructive if he aimed his howitzer at that other "gang" -- his former colleagues on the so-called Village Officials. Committee.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Bob A/B, (still afraid to put your name out here with some of us)

I am not being "disingenuous". I agree that the Town has a responsibility to clean up, if the property owners don't. What the Town should and can do under its laws, is to bill the property owners for the cost of this service. Then we get the following result. (A) transfer the cost from the "B" budget for this cost and then it is immediately offset by "Fines" or "Other Revenue" billed to the property owner (or are you going to object that the fine came from unincorporated Greenburgh and should stay in the 'B" budget, whereas I am in "accounting terms" matching the costs with the revenues). Thus the Town meets its legal obligation to clear the sidewalks and nobody, neither the general unincorporated taxpayer nor the Village taxpayer foots the bill, just the property owner who isn't doing their civic responsibility.

Pretty straightforard from my point of view. (But then I'm just a lame CPA)

As to the "name" calling, Bob you are a better person than this. Let's raise the level of discourse. You remember that it was myself who pointed out that the cost of this, even if not recovered, is minimal. I disagree that only the Town Supervisor sets policy for the municipality. There's a lot of blame across the entire Town Council, but you just won't accept the fact that your "chosen" group has dropped the ball. And what if they realize that they should do something that "might" anger the majority of the Town, but comply with the laws of the State as they (and I when I served) took an oath to do? They need to show some courage and leadership, but that's not happening. They are all more interested in "getting reelected" than truly governing.

Anonymous said...

Kolesar just doesn't seem to get it.

The town cannot as a matter of law legally avoid liability for the unsafe conditions on the Ardsley Road sidewalk -- which is a county- constructed sidewalk on a county road -- by passing an ordinance requiring homeowners there to deal with the problem themselves.

And no, contrary to what Kolesar suggests, this is not a situation where the town "can and should" pick up the cost town-wide -- and then charge those costs back to the homeowners.

The reason is that the state legislature has deemed this cost to be a mandatory town-wide charge. There's no wiggle room here.

The reason is that New York has determined that sidewalks constructed by the county or state along county and state roads, must be maintained by the town at town-wide expense. Period.

Furthermore, whatever legal authority a town may have to regulate sidewalks by requiring property owners to remove snow and ice extends only to sidewalks constructed by the town itself.

Thus, the town has no legal authority to charge individual homeowners for the cost of removing ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads like Ardsley Road -- because the requirement that the costs be a town-wide charge is mandatory.

Politicizing this issue, as Feiner has done, places politics ahead of public safety.

The only recourse available is to the Town Council.

But instead of calling them a "Gang of Four" on this issue, Kolesar would be doing the public a service by reminding his former colleagues on the so-called Village Officials Committee that complying with the law here is a matter of public safety.

Anonymous said...

It's wednesday. Only one week left till the next Town Board meeting. Where is our sidewalk policy the Town Council promised us?

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Bob A/B

Why won't you "officially" attach your views with your name? Who are you kidding??

Fisrt, you continue the insults by referring the the Village Officals Committee as "so-called"? Why??

You refuse to agree or comment that I pointed out that whatever the cost to everyone, it is, in legal terms "diminimus" (if I as a CPA have it correct).

Finally, has the VOC stated that they are opposed to complying with State Law?? I don't think so!!!

Bob, please get your facts right. Your opinions are yours and can be (sorry) wrong, but stop hiding by being "Anonymous" or else stop referring to me by name, when you don't have the courage to identify your positions with your name. Who's a leader? Anonymous or Mr. Kolesar, or Mr. Lasser or Mr. Samis?

Michael Kolesar said...

As a secondary note, why hasn't the "leadership" of the various civic associations in Edgemont approached the offending propoerty owners along Ardsley Road and asked their compliance with the law. After all, it's not taxpayers from Hartsdale, or Fairview or any other section of the Town that have to walk this stretch, but their neighbors.. What friends in the community???

Anonymous said...

Kolesar just doesn't get it.

How many times must Kolesar be told that the Town has no legal authority to require homeowners to remove the ice and snow from the county-constructed sidewalk along Ardsley Road because the State Legislature has determined that the town is responsible for maintaining that sidewalk and that the cost must be a town-wide charge?

Because the law mandates that the cost be a town-wide charge, it is senseless for Kolesar to suggest, as he does, that Edgemont's civic associations should instead be demanding that the town go after the individual property owners along Ardsley Road.

It's also a shame that Kolesar, who says he supports the town-wide charge because it's "de minimus," won't urge his former colleagues on the so-called "Village Officials Committee" to drop its opposition to the town covering this cost.

Instead, he pretends the VOC hasn't taken a position on the issue. That's probably true because the committee doesn't really meet anymore and exists in name only.

However, its self-designated spokesman has proclaimed in recent posts that village taxpayers should not have to pay for the cost of removing ice and snow from any sidewalks in the unincorporated area.

Upon hearing that, even though the law says otherwise and even though he's putting the public safety in jeopardy, for partisan political purposes, Feiner has embraced that position.

Kolesar could do a lot of good by getting village leaders to support this modest expenditure of town-wide funds. But he won't.