Monday, March 05, 2007

WEEK OF MARCH 5 GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY...POST YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT TOWN ISSUES...

Please post your comments about town issues.

33 comments:

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Mr. Supervisor:

As I have previously stated, this blog offers the community a useful vehicle to offer our views on a wide range of issues. However, each week, we seem to start all over on some items and thus lose the history and thread of previous comments. If possible, I recommend that some kind of index by subject be created and, if possible, all history be moved. This will save a lot of repeat comments and let new visitors easily see what has transpired in the past on a particular topic.

end visual clutter said...

After residential real estate projects are finished and all the units are sold, the developer's original signage seems to remain scattered throughout the town (for decades in some cases) causing visual blight and clutter. In the future, any approvals should be conditioned on the removal of these directional marketing signs by a date certain. A bond for compliance should be posted to insure that if the developer fails to remove them, the town will at no cost. Some of these signs include those for Boulder Ridge on Sprain Road and some of the co-ops on East Hartsdale.

WaterWheel property languishes said...

What is happening with the WaterWheel property? Its an eyesore and one where no tax revenue is being generated to pay village and town bills.

correction - west hartsdale said...

oops - meant west hartsdale

Anonymous said...

A & P acquires Pathmark

The Times article says they may to divest some stores. We should talk to Lowey. Divestiture is not necessarily in our best interest -- eventually we will lose a grocery store in eihter Hartsdale or Edgmont. This is not good.

Anonymous said...

The EDGEMONT CIVIC ASSOC. fought against a supermarket going unto the property south of the Red Lobster,now your worried about loosing a supermarket, Next time mind your own business .The assoc, is the cause of all the troubles in Greenburgh.Signs are too high,too much space, not enough parking.Central avenue has more empty business now than all the years that I have lived here[20].THE ASSOCIATIONS are watching homes that are being built, roads,trees,and the such.Are you worried that you won't have a place to shop.You should be worrying how our taxes will be going up.Every time one of these places closes we loose monies.

Sick of Edgemonters said...

Civic Leaders in Edgemont have themselves to partially blame for high school taxes. They constantly fight commercial projects on Central Avenue (see Midway Shopping Center Expansion). Since the Town usually caves into the Edgemonters, the size and scope of these projects is severely curtailed or eliminated alltogether. The property owner then sues the Town for Certiori and typically wins, thereby reducing the taxes paid by their property. Potential tax revenues are never realized because the new property tax and sales tax that would have been generated by these new stores are eliminated by the failure of the Town to stand up to the Edgemont bullies and approve these projects. Then the Edgemont Association and Greenridge Association have the gall to complain about school taxes. The taxes are high because the very same people fight against commercial development which would have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the school system while not increasing the student rolls by 1!

from 8/20/02 grassroots for greenburgh website said...

Supervisor Feiner Admits Taking Documents! During the hearing on the Solomon Schechter School request for a waiver from the moratorium, Hal Samis questioned why Councilwoman Timmy Weinberg seemed unprepared. Supervisor Feiner admitted he had gone through her file and removed documents Ms. Weinberg needed regarding the application.

Anonymous said...

Francis--why don't you identify yourself?

Feiner should come clean said...

More importantly - Feiner - why did you take those documents?

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Sick of Edgemonters -
When you accuse us of resisting commercial development on Central Avenue and then link it to increasing school taxes, you have the germ of an idea. If commercial development actually added to school tax revenues then it would be self-defeating of Edgemonters to oppose it. The sad fiscal reality is somewhat different. For the last 14 years (and perhaps for longer) it has been Town policy, as administered by the Assessor's Office, to routinely reduce the assessment of commercial properties on Central Avenue because, in the Assessor's opinion, depreciation reduced the fair market value of the properties. The total assessment of Central Avenue within the Edgemont School District has changed very little - though all of us can point to new stores, renovated properties and higher commercial rents - to say nothing of the significant increase in the price of property on Central Avenue. The total assessment of the School District from all sources remains virtually the same as it was in 1993. Homes have been built, renovated, torn down and rebuilt as larger, more impressive single family residences. How is it then that the percentage of property tax collected from commercial properties - which, by the way include rental apartments, co-ops and some condos - has declined - from approximately 65% when the current supervisor took office, to roughly 35% today? Single family residential taxpayers have seen their portion, conversely, rise to nearly 65%. There is no simple solution, much as some politicos would have you believe. Retail commercial space doesn't add children to the schools - rental apartments do, with a vengance. Part of the solution is to change the way schools are funded (the public school financing mechanism was instituted when the ownership of real property was a fair proxy for wealth) - but part of the solution is also to insist commercial properties pay their fair share. The concept of government includes the concept that some personal freedoms and privileges are voluntarily surrendered for the greater good. Tax payments are one form. Commercial development which increases the assessed value of the school district has rarely if ever been the target of opposition. Instead, developers have routinely approached the Town with proposals which are economically viable only if tax relief is guaranteed in advance, zoning variances are granted, or other special accomodations are made. The responsible thing to do is to oppose those projects - for the benefit of all RESIDENTS of the community. It is also responsible to work with developers and the Town to find solutions - that is exactly what the Edgemont Community Council and the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations have tried to do.

Anonymous said...

Lasser,who rules in Edgemont. THE CIVIC ASSOC. They want everything to be in their favor. There are other parts in Greenburgh,that don't yell as much,as your representatives.At town hall meetings who comes up to give their demands,four civic leaders,who seem to know whats going on before the meetings.Someone on the board must be feeding them information.They have too many pages to recite in front 0f the board.AS THEY APPROACH, THE BOARD ACKKNOWLEDGES THEM WITH SMILES FROM EAR TO EAR.tHEY COULD NEVER PREPARE THEIR CASES IN SUCH A SHORT TIME .

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lasser: All tax certiorari settlements impacting Edgemont have been signed off by the Edgemont school board before the Town Board casts their votes.

Jim Lasser said...

To Anonymous on 3/7 at 10:06
PM - A point of information and perhaps clarification. As a former member of the Edgemont Board of Education I can tell you from first hand experience, the Board of Ed is usually presented with a settlement by the Town and passes a resolution to accept the settlement. Until relatively recently when the NY State Legislature passed a law permitting it, the Board of Education didn't have standing to appear nor to receive notice of the claim as a matter of right, let alone participate in the negotiations. The Town Assessor and the Town's chief fiscal officer, the Supervisor, handled all aspects of the certiorari - with the exception that the Board of Education passed a resolution authorizing the expenditure.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lasser, why do you say the Supervisor handles certiorari matters. You know perfectly well that this is entirely a Town Attorney matter. The Supervisor and the Town Council have to pass resolutions approving the settlements, and it is routine after the Town Attorney has made a settlement agreement.

It is a fair thing to ask why the Town Attorney makes so many settlements and doesn't seem to fight. By ringing in the Supervisor you make it a political issue. It would make much more sense to put the Town Attorney's feet to the fire and find out why he gives in so easily.

I know that elections are coming up, but if you don't get that out of your head we will never have real answers or real solutions.

Jim Lasser said...

To Anonymous at 2:32 -
It is unfortunate that you won't disclose your identity - we could have a really interesting and perhaps educational exchange. The Town Attorney (who ever it was at a given moment is immaterial) historically made NO decisions - he/she carried out the instructions necessary to implement the policy directives given to her/him by the Supervisor as the leader of the Town Board - which, incidentally is good managment and of which I am not critical. The Assessor determines the assessment and what impact the change in the assessment will have on the Town Budget. He provides that information to the Supervisor when he presents the proposed settlement. Your implication is clearly the Mr. Feiner is not a part of the process. If he isn't, then he has abrogated one of his most important roles - that of chief fiscal officer of the Town. Leaving aside the issue of whether the Supervisor's control is benign or something else - are you suggesting the functions of Town government run independently of his oversight? (The Town Attorney, the Town Assessor and many others are appointed by the Supervisor, and owe their continued employment to the Supervisor's acquiescence - witness the abrupt departure of Town Controllers and Town Attorneys in recent years). If the Supervisor isn't supervising his appointees he really ought to give his whole salary back.
Post your name and we can continue this discussion -

Jim Lasser said...

To Anonymous at 2:32 -
It is unfortunate that you won't disclose your identity - we could have a really interesting and perhaps educational exchange. The Town Attorney (who ever it was at a given moment is immaterial) historically made NO decisions - he/she carried out the instructions necessary to implement the policy directives given to her/him by the Supervisor as the leader of the Town Board - which, incidentally is good managment and of which I am not critical. The Assessor determines the assessment and what impact the change in the assessment will have on the Town Budget. He provides that information to the Supervisor when he presents the proposed settlement. Your implication is clearly the Mr. Feiner is not a part of the process. If he isn't, then he has abrogated one of his most important roles - that of chief fiscal officer of the Town. Leaving aside the issue of whether the Supervisor's control is benign or something else - are you suggesting the functions of Town government run independently of his oversight? (The Town Attorney, the Town Assessor and many others are appointed by the Supervisor, and owe their continued employment to the Supervisor's acquiescence - witness the abrupt departure of Town Controllers and Town Attorneys in recent years). If the Supervisor isn't supervising his appointees he really ought to give his whole salary back.
Post your name and we can continue this discussion -

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lasser, you are probably a very good person with whom to discuss things. But I won't post my identity. I have seen that whenever someone says anything even mildly supportive of Paul Feiner, or is critical of any Town Councilperson for any reason, that person is vilified, called all sorts of names and accused of all sorts of bad things. I don't need that.

Anonymous said...

Lasser,with all your comments,most of them wrong,are you preparing to run for office again.

Anonymous said...

Ah but when Lasser is right he'd make a pretty good supervisor - and you've not said what is wrong...

Anonymous said...

Jim Lasser was a former President of the Edgemont School Board. He also served as a member of the school board. During his tenure the school district was involved in a major building expansion. Was it problem free? NO. Jim's lack of management skills cost the school district time and money.

Jim Lasser said...

I am proud of the construction done by the Edgemont School District - and acknowledge that the lack of public construction project experience probably made the job more difficult.
To those who think that hiring an experienced project manager will make everything better - remember that the Edgemont projects were professionally managed from the very beginning. Also remember that School Board members are not paid anything for their service. Town Board members, despite being "part-time" are paid. Full-time Town employees, from the Supervisor to the heads of various departments, are paid competitive salaries. One would hope they brought along experience commensurate with their paychecks.
In fairness, any public construction project which falls under the purview of the Wickes Law is unlike any private construction project ever attempted. The rules are, at best, arcane. I suspect that there is no one reading this blog who can identify a single project built under Wickes which hasn't resulted in a law suit. Law suits, delays and disputes with both labor and contractors are inevitable (and anticipated by putting some additional "padding" into the project budget).
I am proud of my service to my community. I spent countless hours trying to do what I believed reflected the needs and aspirations of my community. My name has always been attached to my work - even now I sign what I add to this blog. As for the insinuation that I'm writing to this blog to move along a desire to run for office - I'm not interested. My life has changed and my community as well. I remain interested and involved, but clearly do not reflect the hopes and fears of the vocal (or at least the blogging) segment of the community.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the blogging segment of the community and their counterparts at Town Board meetings, with a few valued exceprions, give a bad name to democracy. Most residents don't spend their energy attacking those who try to speak honetly, such as Mr. Lasser. This blogging segment gives a false and very bad picture of our community.

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Lasser,

What has just recently caused you to emerge from hibernation? It is always refreshing to hear from an old friend; even one with an opposing viewpoint(s). And anyone who has problems with Howard Jacobs (Library Trustee Chair) can't be entirely wrong.

However, I have to look something up before I file my counter claim.

In the meanwhile, does your "signed" blog presence signify anything more than just the position of a concerned, Democrat and Edgemont resident?

Please let the participants in the blog world know if it has to do with the approaching September/November follies.

Anonymous said...

How about getting a town manager ? It's probably the best answer to many of our problems. Attending other town meetings in different villages,no one has the circus atmosphere that one see in Greenburgh.we have two mutes,and two bafoons ,that make these meetings a total mess. I was told that they all have degrees in ,law, teaching and the such. One would have never guessed this.Their behavior is that of imbeciles.What we need is business degrees to get us out of the position that we are in now.GOOD MANAGEMENT MAKES THE TOWN .

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Mr. Samis -
My signed presence is most definitely not the prelude to a campaign. The end of my silent period is the simply the result of my concerns about the library and the dysfunctional symptoms exhibited by both Supervisor and Councilpersons. Greenburgh residents deserve at least some respect and consideration rather than being pawns in a psychodrama. It seems to me that a civil discourse which includes both the facts and well-considered opinions might be worthwhile, and might offer some worthy solutions. You may take this as my General Shermanesque declination - though I think Groucho Marx was much funnier.

Anonymous said...

Town services are excellent. Tax increases have been non existent for 2 years and low before. Crime is down. Who's complaining?

Anonymous said...

Tax increases have been low because the Town has failed to maintain its infrastructure. Wait til you see the bills for doing the kind of complete cleanup fixup on Town properties that are necessary. We moved out of the old town hall because it was so delapidated it couldn't be fixed. Now we are doing it to the Theo Young and Anthony Veteran centers - maintenance isn't sexy and doesn't make voters nearly as happy as low taxes...

Michael Kolesar said...

First, although I am a resident and taxpayer of the Town, fortunately I reside in one of the Villages so the impending financial impact will not hurt my checkbook as much as it will those who pay taxes in the unincorporated area of the Town.

What am I referring to? For Fiscal / calendar year 2007, the Town Council is using about $7 million of money that it really doesn't have to hold down taxes. If you listened carefully to the last public hearing on the budget (Dec 13th), you would have heard one Council member talk about how there was recognition that the Town needs more police personnel, yet the Town Council wasn't including these positions, while using $4 million or so of unincorporated cash. Does that make sense, when the first year cost of adding a police member is between $60,000 and $70,000? It would have been somewhat more understandable if taxes were rising and there was no money or an insufficient amount, but why give it back when you have glaring and readily acknowledged needs? And what about the infrastructure needs that a previous poster stated? How about accelerating the street repaving program if you have so much cash?

Then there is the issue of the unrecorded, unfunded liabilities for post employment benefits, mostly health coverage, that will in my estimate top $25 million for the Town. The Town Council doesn't want to address this one. While they didn't create it, leadership demands that they address it. Not this Council.

Anonymous said...

The Town has no concept of repairs and maintenance. They did not maintain the old Hartdale parkign garage. Now, the the new one, by the station, has massive water leaks. There are sheets of ice on the first floor. Not only is this an accident waiting to happen, it will reduce life of facility.

hal samis said...

The Town does not "own" or is not responsible for the Parking Garage.
Hartsdale Parking, an independent "Authority" is the culprit. Address your complaints on this to Stephannie Kavourias (Executive Director) c/o Ruth Jacobs (Hartsdale Parking Board) c/o Howard Jacobs (Greenburgh Library Board).

Anonymous said...

and who appoints theses people

and who allows them to have all meetings at 4 with no circulated agenda.

this stinks

Anonymous said...

Ask Barnes about the garage.This should be run by a company,How is it that a husband and wife team are at the head of two of the bigest disasters in Greenburgh?