Saturday, May 19, 2007

ABINANTI PRESSES FAA TO CONDUCT HEARINGS IN WESTCHESTER TO CHANGE FLIGHT PATHS

County Legislator Tom Abinanti should be praised for calling on the Federal Aviation administration to conduct hearings in Westchester County on its proposed plans to change airplane flight paths in and out of metropolitan area airports.
Hearings were held in Stamford, CT and in Queens. Westchester residents did not have sufficient opportunity to comment on the Preferred Alternative Redesign plan, which will have a significant environmental impact on Westchester. There should also be an extension of the comment period.
I'm planning to join Legislator Abinanti in writing to Steven Kelley, FAA-NAR, c/o Michael Merrill, 12005 Sunrise Valley Road, Reston, VA 21091. It would be appreciated if readers of this blog would send similar letters.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks
paul, thanks tom

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that our legislator and supervisor are working to protect our quality of life.

Anonymous said...

it's about time thank you to both of you.keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

By working together much can be accomplished.I do hope that this will be enacted asap.TY

Anonymous said...

Paul, Please Vote No! on the Volunteer firefighter Tax break

Anonymous said...

The entire town board is likely to vote yes! This is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

No it's not a good idea!!!!!!!!
it makes no sense for anyone living in Hartsdale,Greenville and Fairview, who already pay a high price for fire protection. We should not have to pay twice.

Anonymous said...

If Eddie-Mae Barnes and Steve Bass vote for this, I will do everything I can to help defeat them at the polls in November. If they vote for this thay are catering to the Villge vote, because this does not help the unincorporated area at all!!

Anonymous said...

What about Feiner -- he is the one pusching this

Anonymous said...

This to me is the height of Feiner giving away the store. He doesnt he know how much this will cost. And he doesnt care. He lives in a gated community, where homewoners pay less tax than comparable value single family homes.

Anonymous said...

Where there are paid firefighters an volunters,do we not pay something toward their retirement,after so many years of volunter service.if so I would think this was enough for them.

Anonymous said...

Not only do the "volunteers" get retirement benefits, they can take the state income tax credti for $200, instead of Feiners proposal. and Feiners proposal is worth less than 200 for the average homeowner. So what it comes down to, is feiner wants the people living outside of the volunteer districts to subsidize the rich volunteers. The middle class volunteers get no benefit. And what does Feiner care, he lives in a volunteer district.

Michael Kolesar said...

For the record once again. The various Engine Companies that supply their members' services are not per se part of the respective Village governments. Second, a majority of the residents and property in the entire Town are protected by these organizations.
Ardsley, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington and Tarrytown all protect ares outside of their respecive Villages

Sorry about that Greenville, Hartsdale and Fairview fire districts, but you are the minority.

Third, the cost to the "A" budget taxpayer is minimal. For example, I have calculated that if 400 individulas qualify for this (their benefit is a whopping $10.00)(meaning that they have 5 or more years of service) and if the average reduction in their assessment is $1,600 (meaning that their property is assessed at $16,000), then the average cost to all "A" taxpers with a property assessed at $15,000 (supposedly the Town average) will be (hold on to your seats) $.10 (ten cents per year). If your property is assessed at $20,000 (fully 1/3 above the Town wide average, the cost rises to $.14 (fourteen cents)per year

By the way all of you who reside in the Greenville and Hartsdale fire districts, how about getting the $300,000 back from the Fairview fire district - that's real money and clearly doesn't / didn't benefit the majority of the Town.

PS For all of the "Anonymous" bloggers, anybody want to identify themselves so we know which fire district you live in - Fairview residents expecially!

Anonymous said...

So because we are a minority it is OK to throw money away

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 1:56 PM,

If helping to preserve a valuable community service is "throwing away money", that's your opinion. Time will tell how the various members of the Town Council vote on the issue.

By the way, where do you stand on the Valhalla and Fairview "gifts"? Who are you and in what part of the Town do you reside? What are your biases?

Anonymous said...

I live in the Glenville Fire District.

Anonymous said...

Kolesar once again doesn't know what he's talking about.

He assumes that the only firefighters who would benefit from the property tax exemption live in the villages and that, accordingly, the only money the tens of thousands of taxpayers in Hartsdale, Greenville, and Fairview fire districts are being asked to pay is to cover the minial cost of these village residents town taxes.

In fact, the proposal also covers part town taxes for all volunteer firefighters who serve in the villages' all-volunteer departments who happen to live in the unincorporated areas.

No one in town knows how many volunteers this applies to, but the costs could be substantial.

What Kolesar also doesn't seem to grasp is that if the amount of money here were so trivial, as he suggests, why then are the firefighters fighting so hard to get it?

After all, the $200 personal income tax credit they'd get anyway this year requires only one year of service as opposed to five for Feiner's proposal and is obviously worth more.

The answer is that we're not talking chump change here at all. We're talking about asking the taxpayers already burdened by having to live in paid fire districts to pay a little more to subsidize the costs of volunteers in Kolesar's community.

Kolesar says tough, he's in the majority and too bad if it's not fair. That speaks volumes about Kolesar.

Anonymous said...

I dont know if Mr. Kolesar just doesnt care about the taxpayers in the unincorporated area or just cant do the math.

I would like to hear from Mr. Kolesar on this.

Anonymous said...

I do not want to hear from Michael Kolesar anymore, He's full of hot air.
Hopefully the Town Board will rethinh their position on this big waste of money

Anonymous said...

hey Michael Kolesar, Why doesn't Ardsley pay for their own Fire Dept.?
When you go out to dinner do you ask the guy at the next table to pay for it?

Anonymous said...

No, he asks Feiner to demand they pay for his dinner

Anonymous said...

The entire Board will vote for the tax breaks. They already made commitments. Francis even told members of the Ardsley Secor Ambulance Corp at their dedication ceremony that there will be some opposition from the naysayers but that the tax breaks will be granted.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear All,

Your anonymous postings can continue, but will you show up and speak your peace in publc, where you can't hide Wednesday night? Probably not. Just continue firing away.

Where do I start. Mr B. I didn't make any assumptions about unincorporated Greenburgh. Basic arithmetic will give one a range. If there are 400 people who qualify and they get an average of $10 each, that's a whopping $4,000.

If there are 200 individuals in unincorporated Greenburgh who help protect their own homes, and you conveniently fail to appreciate that the various "Village" engine companies protect a substantial portion of unincorporated Greenburgh, the "cost" is about $35,000 or $1.69 per year for a property assessed at $15,000. It jumps way up to $2.25 if the property is assessed at $20,000. Combining the previously noted $.10, places an additional tax burden of $1.79 on an unincorporated Greenburgh property owner with an assessed value of $15,000.

My understanding is that the Town has undertaken a survey to ascertain how many individuals will qualify. Aside from "open" government, it would certainly lower the "outrage", if the numbers are lower than I have used, which is what I am hearing. I do agree that before legislation is enacted that the individuals ought to have a pretty good idea as to the cost implications. I'm just trying to put a range out there. If you want to understand the calculations Bob, you have my email.

I agree that the $10 projected average savings in one's "A" tax burden hardly seems worth the annual filing effort and the cost to process the paperwork by the Town Assessor will no doubt be more than that. That's the Town Council's call and as Hal Samis has pointed out over and over and over again, it just takes 3 votes, up or down.

To 5:33 PM let me know who you are and we can discuss.

To 5:48 PM - do yourself a favor and every time you see a posting from me (at least I have the guts to put my name on it), skip it - don't read it. No problems.

To 5:51PM Ardsley does pay for its own Fire Dept. The Village of Ardsley's Board has already enacted this 10% tax assessment provision for its next tax year. So did the Ardsley School District. Again, a majority of the Ardsley School District lies outside of the Village of Ardsley.

When I go out to dinner, the person sitting at another table doesn't pay for me because they don't eat my dinner. But when they share a benefit, that's another story.

Fire away again, of course anonymously.

Anybody here want to call for the return of the $300,000 from the Fairview Fire District, or is that a good use of Town wide funds.

Anonymous said...

Kolesar would have us believe that it's okay for the taxpayers in unincorporated areas who pay a premium for fire protection because they are in paid fire districts to subsidize the volunteer firefighters in volunteer areas served by the volunteer village fire departments -- because he insists the amount of money is trivial.

Perhaps it is, but if it were as trivial as he says it is, then why wouldn't the firefighters be content with the state guaranteed personal income tax credit of $200.

Obviously, they see the benefit as much more significant.

As for the Fairview situation, Kolesar's point is valid -- up to a point.

Absent a demonstration that the $300,000 paid to the Fairview Fire District conferred a town-wide benefit -- and so far there's been no such demonstration -- then consider the money a waste of town-wide tax dollars.

For that, Kolesar should hold those who supported the payment accountable. Since Feiner originally proposed the payment, he should be at the head of the list.

Town councilmembers Juettner, Bass and Barnes also went along with the payments, but at least to their credit, once the law was made clear by the state comptroller, they've withheld further payments until the demonstration of a town-wide benefit can be shown.

As for getting the money back, don't hold your breath. Unlike the Valhalla agreement, which contained an indemnification clause requiring Valhalla to hold the town harmless for any money wrongfully paid, the Fairview agreement that Feiner negotiated and signed didn't provide for anything comparable.

So if it turns out the payment to Fairview didn't confer a town-wide benefit, then, thanks to Feiner, there's nothing we can do to get the money back.

Anonymous said...

Well this will reduce the cost of Edgemont becoming a village. Sounds good to me.

Michael Kolesar said...

Bob, I certainly do hold the Supervisor and ALL those who voted for it accountable. If the Town Council members don't want to do their homework before they vote on something, stand down. I more than most understand the demands of an elected position. When I wasn't willing to continue to invest the time, I didn't seek another term. Whether any successor does invest the time is their responsibility. I didn't short change the taxpayers of Ardsley and quite a few would like to see me back, but that's not going to happen.

As to the state tax credit, I guess Bob that if you lived in New York City you'd be crying foul, since New York City doesn't have volunteer emergency personnel. The state grant amounts to about $15 million (estimated 75,000 volunteers around the state at $200 each) Why did Shelly Silver agree to this? Probably because he got something in return. It's just that we aren't privy to all of the "give and take".

Bob in your world is everything totally proportional? Is Metro North that you ride into Grand Central subsidized by gasoline taxes and tolls? Maybe you don't like the income tax rates - one size fits all? What about empty nesters paying school taxes? Renters who effectively pay real estate taxes but don't get any deductions? A lot of "injustices" out there. (Your writing style gives you away. Are you going to speak out tomorrow, or sit silently and just post anonymously?)

By the way, I hope you should never pass through some community and have any need for any volunteer emergency services.

Anonymous said...

According to their website, the state's volunteer firefighters lobby took credit for the $200 personal income tax credit.

They thought it was a better way to encourage volunteer firefighters because it required only one year of service, covered renters as well as property owners, and applied to volunteers in both paid and volunteer districts.

The levying of property taxes is not supposed to permit one group of taxpayers living in one tax jurisdiction to subsidize taxpayers living in another tax jurisdiction.

With this in mind, the legislature recognized that in Westchester County, there are municipalities that have both paid and unpaid fire protection districts and, in recognition of the fact that taxpayers in paid districts already pay a premium for fire protection, it expressly exempted those districts from the property tax exemption.

In fact, even though the volunteer fire exemption has been on the books in New York since 2003, no municipality in the entire state has ever approved the exemption so as to require taxpayers in paid fire districts to pay a dime.

Anonymous said...

Why would Greenburgh be enacting this if no other municipality with paid fire fighters did?

Anonymous said...

I think all council members should remember campaign promises re budget allocation equity and harmonizing feelings betwene town and villages.

Especially because this property tax benefit is only useful to volunteers with substantial homes.

Anonymous said...

This proposal is so against the civil service paid fire fighters. It discourages districts from relying on paid fire fighters, becasue residents then have to pay twice, one for the civil service employees, then again for volunteers in ohter districts. How any one for working families could vote for this is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

In Feiner's interview with the Scarsdale Inquiror, he described himself as a fiscal conservative. How is this fiscally conservative? The state income tax benefit is just as good, if not better. Why should the town do this?

John Malone said...

This has nothing to do with paid or volunteer. This tax benefit does nothing for people living in Hartsdale, Fairview or Greenville except cost us more money. I hope this does not pass. The Town already pays the Villages Large sums of money for protection in certain parts of Town that are not in a village and that their FD's cover. When is it going to end ? The $200 tax credit is more than enough.

Anonymous said...

The only member of the Town Board to speak out against the concept of giving exemptions to volunteers was Steve Bass. But- then he changed his mind and voted with the rest of the Board to grant the exemptions.

Anonymous said...

He changed his mind when he actually listened to residents concerns and, togethor with the rest of the council, except Feiner, dealt with these concerns fairly and compassionately. Thanks to Bass, Sheahan, Barnes and Juettner.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why the council passed this volunteer exemption. The next thing that they will be voting on is to get rid of the firefighters and have an all volunteer group. Their answer to this will be that the taxpayers will save a lot of money in doing this.

Anonymous said...

Please he listened to Kaminer not this own mind. Bass was against this from the onset,he changed The because da boss told him to do so.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear John Malone:

Just a clarification, but the entire Town does not pay for fire protection provided to those portions of unincorporated Greenburgh protected by the various engine companies. Only the unincorporated properties located in those various districts pay. The amount is reviewed annually by the Town Comptroller.

Anonymous said...

Because the town comptroller oversees the above mentioned,does this say that he is correct.Come on he has made so many mistakes,in his overseeing matters.