Saturday, August 25, 2007

library construction update wednesday night

There will be a library construction update this Wednesday night at the Town Board meeting. Among concerns: the status of the geothermal contract.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Samis your going to have a field day with this one.
This time you will have plenty of help coming from Krauss.
I do hope that you will receive the answers to all your questions,but don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

Juettner what's happening with your baby the library.
It seems that Mr. Samis was right along.
If you had done your homework as he did you would have come to the same conclusion as Feiner and Samis ,that the old library should have been refurbished.
As the saying goes we aint seen nothing yet.

Anonymous said...

Hal, please bring a tape measure as a visual aid - I think there are members of the Library Board who need a bit of help grasping the idea of additional piping footage.

Anonymous said...

Feiner and Samis voiced their opinions on the library but went unheard by Juettner and her cohorts. They were so happy to defeat both their opinions that they never did their homework.
This is the way this town will be run if the members on the board are still the same come November.
The library members gave the residents a good snow job because they wanted to keep their jobs, and were promised by Juettner not to worry,everything will be taken care of.
Juettner and the library board,what happens if the money does not even take care of the building itself,could this be turned into a senior citizen complex.
The board cannot expect the residents to fit the bill for the difference.
Now will we need an investigation ,which one on the town board received monies to go ahead with this development.
Can't say that it was Feiner,So Bernstein do your usual thing and find out who took the money.
Knowing your record and since the four are working for you ,you will not investigate. because you cannot tell the truth.
Your visions are based on lies.

hal samis said...

I would hope that the Town Board, having the experts on hand, would allow the Public to ask its questions and get answers to them.

Just in case there is any doubt as to what needs to be answered...so that the Construction Manager is able to ANSWER on Wednesday:

I would hope that the Construction Manager is prepared to discuss the costs of the latest geothermal drilling system; whether this plan will cost the same as the abandoned plan that was bid for $500,000.

I would hope that the Construction Manager/Town Attorney will address the issue of whether this new system requires rebidding, either by a difference in cost or whether more prospective bidders mught be interested with drilling now only at a 500 foot depth rather than 1,5000 feet. It is possible that others did not have the necessary equipment for deeper drilling.

I would hope that the Town Board/Planning Commissioner will address the question of whether this new plan and its attendant placement of multiple drilling locations should require new site plan approval.

I would hope that the Construction Manager will address what is and has been commonly known for some time: that there is not enough money remaining in the budget for the Library to pay for what was previously included as part of the expansion budget, furniture and technology ($978,600 and $186,400).
There already have been notable downgrades and quality compromises called "value engineering" to reduce costs.

I would hope that the Construction Manager will give us the latest assessment of when the constuction only phase (not move in and opening) will be completed. At the last "report", it was announced as the end of June 2008; in the Scarsdale Inquirer two weeks ago, it was quoted as late summer. If it is "impossible" to predict, then these earlier dates should not have been offered.

It is of lesser interest to tell us what we can readily see: that the old town hall has been demolished. What the residents need to know is whether the Referendum dollars are following the drill bits down the wells.

Anonymous said...

Congradulations to Hal Samis, who has done a remarkable job exposing the folly of the Town Board regarding this library boon-doggle. Mr. Samis and I are not allies, friends or or even nodding social acquaintances. Over the years, I am sure we have both disagreed with each other's style. We for sure do not confide in each other.

But he, like no one else, has exposed the silliness, the false promises and the utter waste that this library effort has engendered. Two years ago, I like a number of others worked to find an alternate to this project. Whether it was a mixed use for the property or the Bailey School or some other effort we all knew that this effort was an expensive mistake. The Board, and its allies forced a referendum on the public so they could divide the Town, on this emotional issue, from the Supervisor. He did not take the bait. He was certainly for the library's rehabilitation and for the potential selling off of the extra land for needed senior housing. He had a vision and it was sound. But the Board wanted its way. The referendum barely passed. Even if it had been defeated, the Board would have re-scheduled the referendum on Primary day, 2005 to bring out a supposed pro-library, anti-Feiner vote. This was their cyncical plan.

Again we saw this re-visited with the still-born Edgemont referendum on the purchase of the Dromore property. Again this phony deal was to be used as a way to stir passions against the Supervisor. The drumbeat would have been used to protect the schools from an increase in student enrollment, but the real result would have been to turn the property over to private interests, with the intent on using the property for a Village Hall.

Paul Feiner has never silenced Hal Samis, and over the past year Mr. Samis has looked carefully at the issues that face Greenburgh. His conclusions are his own and they do not need embellishment from me. He can handle himself.

Therefore I hope more sense seeps into the minds of the Democratic electorate over this issue and many others. Paul Feiner, and his friends and supporters stand for open government, transparency and the arena of new ideas. He is not limited with his creativity and energy. His honest efforts will not be easily replaced, so take no chances! Vote for him and his slate on September 18th.

Richard J. Garfunkel

Berger gets it right - Gaffy doesnt said...

Gaffe-funkel strikes again. Paul Feiner told Hal Samis he would send videotapes of his appearances before the town board to his employer! (that was when there was a samis of old who saw what feiner truly was - a power hungry career politician).

We have had enough of Feiner's unilateralism and his frantic efforts to "do things" in order to issue press releases.

One of the biggest issues in Greenburgh is negotiating a way out of the A/B budget mess Feiner largely created by his reckless and negligent actions from WestHelp to Taxter Ridge to the low level of insurance the town had when it faced a catastrophic injury. Berger's recent campaign literature hit a bullseye - Feiner has been in office too long and his job performance is suffering. Greenburgh needs a fresh perspective. We need a long respite from someome like Feiner who lives to see his name in the press. Vote for Berger on 9/18.

hal samis said...

Dear 10:07,

Sorry to correct your trip down memory lane.
What an exasperated Feiner did was ask "would you like me to send..."

But with that in mind, why not ask why the Samis of old did make such a 180o turn to support Feiner.

And oppose Berger, Bass and Barnes and Williams?

Most of it has to do with seeing and then recognizing the necessities of running for an office every two years versus the Town Council's job security of four year terms.

I don't like politicians as a species and politics in general but I do recognize their utility.
Given that, I see nothing worse about a career politician versus a politician dilletante and that would equally apply to the entire Town Board.

It is difficult to view Feiner as "power hungry" because, let's face it, Greenburgh is not the center of the universe, the country, the state, the county although there are some in Edgemont who consider their school district to be.

Greenburgh is really a sleepy, little blip located in lower Westchester County and its only claim to fame is the controversy generated at Town Board meetings and on places like this blog.

How else to explain why the largest local newspaper, the Journal News does not even cover the Town Board meetings as compulsory a task as some of us would like to believe.

However what is really important is that Greenburgh, under Feiner, has allowed this "open government" laboratory to thrive. Even this blog which is, on balance, no hall of fame for the Supervisor is allowed to grow and flourish. How many other politicians sponsor such a forum for an exchange of ideas and argument.

But what about this recurring marketing line from the Berger camp? That Feiner has been in office too long?

Anybody out there work for a living? What if your employer said
to you, "sorry but I have to let you go, you've been here too long".
Most work environments, other than technology, value experience as important. Needless to say, someone lacking experience would argue that expertise is unimportant, that what is needed is a "fresh" face.

And that is Berger's only platform.

But back to what brought me to Feiner's door.

The Library.

A $19.8 million expense for taxpayers and no one on the Town Board was interested other than Feiner. No one was interested in the need, the dollars, how the dollars were to be spent, whether the design was faulty, whether the Library trustees, people lacking construction experience, should be in charge of the program. No one cared other than Feiner. As a resident, his family would benefit as much as any other family from the Library of the future. But he alone saw through the public relations charade and said let's slow things down a bit and let's wait until we understand the project better.

And life with the "temporary" Library hasn't been so horrible either, perhaps the need to spend $20 million (and more is needed) wasn't the great "be all end all" that we were told.

But, my purpose is not to quarrel over the details. It is simply to remind everyone that Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan were unwilling to risk disfavor with voters by questioning the Library expansion -- at any stage of the process because they viewed it a political liability -- attacking the Library is like attacking motherhood.

Only Feiner saw the problem and risked his political capital by stating that the emperor wasn't wearing any clothes.

If this is what is typical of a power hungry career politician, then Feiner is the man for me.

feiner's record warrants dismissal said...

if feiner was as capable as you claim, he might have prevailed. but he is divisive and no one listens to him (except for acolyte in chief garfunkel). why? because he has stayed too long and alienated too many people.

the other villain here is juettner - a political and talentless hack who until recently was on feiner's campaign payroll. she is there because of feiner. longevity again failed to serve the public.

and what about the voters? if they bought the library board's claptrap, shame on them. going against the library was going to be hard. feiner taking the leading role was a prescription for failure.

finally, you cannot be a johnny one note - on the whole, feiner's record over the last few years is terrible. time for a fresh face. if she stinks, we can throw her out in 2 years.

Anonymous said...

2:25,your full of you know what. Tell the truth,Feiner was against the library from the start.
He knew the many problems that the town would face if they went ahead with the idea.
It was Juettner and the library board,to convice the three stooges on the board that the renovations was the way to go. WRONG.
There was a man named Samis who laid all the bad points on the table,and he too was told that he was wrong.
Now after one year we dont't have a finished product,theres not enough money to furnish this white elephant.
So tell me now ,how wrong was the supervisor.
We know what we have,and from the looks of what we may get no thank you.
FEINER,BROWN,MORGAN,AND BEVILLE ALL THE WAY HOME.

feiner is the problem said...

thanks for proving my point - feiner has been in office too long - too much luggage - he is increasingly ineffective- he is certainly incompetent and his ethics are under scrutiny.

that he couldnt get his message across on the library indicates how much a failure he is. time for a change. 16 years of supervisor pothole is enough.

Anonymous said...

If the library proposition was rushed, it was in reaction to Feiner trying to get the property for one of his developer clients.

Anonymous said...

9:28 your off base .Old town hall was going to be sold which would have bought in some tax revenue.
Feiner was against the expanding of the library,from the beginning .
You say that the proposition was rushed,not by Feiner but by the Four council members.
Put the blame where it belongs.
Juettner 's the laison to the library board so she saw to it that her friends wouldn't loose their jobs if the proposition was defeated.
It passed and where are we now,no where.We may not even have enough money to finish the job.
So my friend who was right the supervisor in refurbishing the old library,or the four jerks who voted for what is up in the air now,and going on and on and more money to be paid out in the end.

Greenburgh Historian said...

Refurbishing costs FAR more per square foot than building new, and any exisiting violations of building codes must be corrected - stuff like adequate elevators and handicapped accessible bathrooms are really budget busters. Most responsible architects will tell you building new is cheaper and results in a better design.
The deal (negotiated in secret by the Town Supervisor meeting with the developers' lawyers - sounds familiar doesn't it?) would have delivered the property to the developer at a price well below market and in violation of the law. New York State is pretty direct about how real property is to be sold by a governmental body. Sealed bid auction is the ONLY permitted method.
Too bad for the entire community that the Supervisor and Town Board decided to play politics with the library.

hal samis said...

There have been several incorrect comments posted. Some by Greenburgh Historian; some by anonymous etc.

Feiner wanted to spend $10 million on the Library. Howard Jacobs, Chair of the Library Trustees wanted to spend $25 million. A deal should have been brokered in between but the Library wanted lots more space to become a "cultural center" and the costs of renovating the old building, HVAC and ADA compliant problems were probably around $6 million alone. The Library would not be satisfied with anything less than doubling its size despite the trend toward online reference materials and the sharing of hard copies of books and av materials through the resources of the Westchester Library system.

Furthermore the Library Trustees would not accept "civilian" guidance which argued for tearing the old building down and replacing it with a center-of-plot one story new building which even at $300 per foot would have been the same cost. Such a building would have resulted in a more functional design with the "cultural center" on one end and the library on the other and not causing all library users to go up a flight of stairs. But the Architect had this ski-slope design laying around the shop and the Trustees allowed him to unload it.

As for the Sunrise deal, the problem here was that the Library and its Architect said they didn't need the land which allowed it to become "surplus". I argued that they should not have allowed this until they better understood their plan. For example, even with the Sunrise portion removed, the Architect said that the Library would have room for 160 parking spaces. After the sun set on Sunrise, the Library didn't have the wherewithal for 160 spaces and retreated to 120 per Zoning variance.

But the "deal" with Sunrise was never at signing stage and the important thing to understand is that perhaps more money could have been gotten if the site was sold for another use. The issue, though, also becomes one of what is "right" for the neighborhood and what would work well alongside the Library. The proposed use was the best in terms of suitability, less traffic and aesthetics. Would another strip mall be the best use?
Would another car dealership? There are, or at least should be, other considerations involved.

In any case, if there were any problems associated with the sale, I'm sure that the Town Council would have rejected anything that was not legal or appropriate.

As much as I would like to say Juettner did this or that, her only fault was being asleep through most of the process. Only after residents started verbalizing that the Sunrise deal was premature (before the Library's design and site needs were understood) did Juettner claim credit for stopping the sale. However, employment at the Library was never an issue from either side of the controversy; the Library was never being reduced in size or function.

Another misconception is that Feiner, Juettner or the Library Board screwed up with the Elmsford contract renewal. Elmsford was clearly had been paying less than was proper however why would Elmsford pay more when the Greenburgh Library would be downsized for at least two years due to construction. When they became aware of what was available through the bylaws/loopholes of the Westchester Library System, they took advantage of these laws and the nearing construction start and went to Ardsley because it was even less expensive. Clever move by Elmsford but no fault of Greenburgh officials.

Finally, the new Library will be finished, if not by next summer by some time. My argument is not that it won't get built but that it will be a lesser Library in all respects other than square feet (a politically sensitive issue) in size. To keep the project on the mandated budget, all sorts of cutbacks are underway and will continue. Things like furniture and technology will need to be gifted from "friends of the Library" and that drive will commence in earnest shortly. And the Library has been doctoring its operating budget (citing expenses that won't materialize) so that surpluses are building up in the Library Fund. And when the Library does open, the children's room will be the featured attraction and it is hoped that parents with children will be so happy, that this "success" will overshadow the problems found in the balance of the Library.

There are serious problems ahead with the proposed geothermal system, in approvals, costs and operation. Let's meet again in a month and we'll know more where this is going.

Anonymous said...

Juettner should never have been the liaison from the Town Board as she lives in Ardsley and does not have to pay one cent toward the millions it will cost to build or operate. If Feiner had true guts, he would have demanded she resign.
As Hal notes, Juettner was napping while all the library problems were becoming apparent. Why should she care? It wasnt her money. So again we have another failure on the part of both Feiner and Juettner (who also voted to appeal the taxter ridge decision so she could lessen her tax burden). Berger is right. Feiner has been in office too long and his performance levels stink.

Anonymous said...

Another piece of Berger hogwash received in the mail! Feiner slush fund! Lies and more lies! What desperation. Another chapter of "Desperate Housewives!" She's been slurping too much slush, and in a little while she could replace his Rotundness as gravitationally challenged. Lay off the slush! Contact the US Postal System for mail fraud!

Anonymous said...

Feiner was not a failure with the library,put the blame on the four council members who voted for the resolution,
Feiner was agaist this new project from the begining,and you know HE WAS RIGHT.

Anonymous said...

It would be very interesting to see the vote tallies in the districts as to the expansion of the library.
If someone can furnish these figures it will answer a lot of questions,as to why.

Anonymous said...

Berger's new flyer shows how little she knows about Greenburgh.
Every word that is printed was stated at one time or another by the council members.
Is it the truth ,no just hatred taking another step.,to upset the true democrates.
If we pay close attention to what she has to say,she does sound like a parrot.