Monday, November 26, 2007

GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY WEEK OF NOV 26--POST YOUR COMMENTS

Please feel free to post your comments about town issues.

On Wednesday night the Town Board will hold our 2008 BUDGET HEARING. TELL US WHAT SERVICES, IF ANY, YOU'D LIKE TO SEE CUT FROM THE BUDGET.

The alternative: paying an average of about $400 a year more in taxes for town services.

THE TOWN PORTION OF YOUR ENTIRE TAX BILL IS UNDER 20%.

38 comments:

layup said...

sell waterwheel
sell waterwheel

Anonymous said...

It should be sold for FMV -- not a giveawy price -- do you agree 3:34??

Anonymous said...

RIGHT ON========

Anonymous said...

cut some of the do nothing staff, and deputy commisioners and their assistants and their assistants

Anonymous said...

I agree with both of the previous postings. The town should sell the Waterwheel property as well as cut some of the staff. Also requiring homeowners (or their gardeners) to bag leaves would allieviate some of the overtime spend yearly on leaf collection. There are a lot of town employees that stand around and waste a good part of the day. This is especially true of the supervisors.

Anonymous said...

Other towns, etc have better run leaf operations where homewoners/gardners can drop leaves off. Greenburgh cant come up a with a user friendly system. Why not?

Anonymous said...

Regula knows this but he will not say anything to his men and furthermore he will not issue a law to have leaves bagged.
Go through the steets and see what a mess there is,
If the law stated that the leaves should be bagged the streets would be cleanner and safer.
Go through Mt.Joy coming from OLd army Rd.
and see what a mess, all the leaves are pushed onto the roadways.
Al Regula introduce a law to bag all the leaves.
This will save plenty of overtime.and the streets will be safer.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bag Proponents,

One problem may be how the Town disposes of its leaves. The major facility for the disposal of organic material is run by the County and they do not accept bags unless they are the paper kind. The plastic bags that many may be thinking about are unacceptable and the County may impose serious financial penalties to any municipality that does not comply in using this facility.

Of course any public "debate" on this issue would benefit from a clear statement of what is permitted and of course the costs of this "new" direction.

Heaven forbid that policy makers or policy proposers think about the financial costs of their actions.

hal samis said...

So with all the posts about selling the Waterwheel property, anyone care to blog back what is the zoning, what the size of the plot is and what they think fair market value is?

Anonymous said...

If, as Feiner says, Town taxes are less than 20% of "our" tax bill, one assumes he means the total property tax bill for a TOV resident. By extension, that must mean, after doing the numbers, that Town taxes for a Village resident must be close to a whopping 2% of that resident's property taxes. Now, let's see, if village residents REALLY were concerned about taking care of the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free - if the Town taxes in the A budget were raised 25%, it would make a difference of about 1/2 of 1% on a village resident's total tax bill.
Cut the sophistry villagers - your position on paying for Town parks and recreation as provided for under NY State law is now exposed for the racist garbage it is.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

The property should be put up for bids. And you know it.

Anonymous said...

Our volunteer firefighters need housing. Otherwise, taxes in unincorporated Greenburgh (neighborhoods served by the Ardsley volunteer fire depts) will go up because we will have a paid fire dept.

Anonymous said...

Horrors! A paid fire department! Just like a real 21st century community - this isn't Mayberry RFD anymore.

Anonymous said...

Then AFD should buy the land and put up the housing. Of course, my bet is there will be alot of children and raise school taxes, but that is their problem.

No way should there be a bargain sale of the land from Gburgh.

Anonymous said...

How many parcels does the town have in foreclosure.Could somone give us some answers.

Anonymous said...

Most of the others were put up for sale in auction. Feiner held this back cuz Leon wants it. Leon bragged on his website how he had great relationship with Feiner and how important housing was for FD.

hal samis said...

To 9:25,

I don't know nuttin' without facts.
I can't believe all the comments being made about selling the property without anyone being informed enough to talk real numbers...If you know, why hold back and let's put some facts on the table.

Anonymous said...

So instead, when if we dont know what its worth, we should just let Paul give it away. Sounds like a plan to me.

Anonymous said...

Where in anything that has been written or announced, does it lead to the notion that Paul is giving anything away?

Can you try to talk sensibly.

hal samis said...

Who is the "we"?
I don't think the three votes needed on the Town Board have to first be sure that everyone writing on the blog is aware of the facts.

I was thinking more along the lines of all the anonymous bloggers who have opinions but have no basis upon which to form these opinions other than the premise that the Supervisor must be wrong.

Toni said...

I vote for getting rid of town leaf collection. As someone mentioned in a previous post, the leaves are pushed into the street and create a safety hazard. Other towns in the U.S. get along without it just fine.

People here have gotten used to it, but bottom line, it's a luxury service (in other words, expendable) and a safety issue.

samis is right said...

are all the art frills (desanti plaza, town hall curators etc) out of the budget - we cannot afford them and no one will leave greenburgh if these "services" are cut - we cannot afford them

hal samis said...

We may have already passed the point of no return to slow the Titanic down so as to avoid the iceberg ahead.

However what we can do is chip away at some of the ice to make sure that they it doesn't resume returning to stick us each year.

That's why the little things which add up can mean a difference. There is not going to be a fresh surge of revenue to the Town, only rising expenses which is why packaging these packages of $325,000 or 1% decreases of non-essentials is so important to deal with NOW and not ignore. and yes I know that I am twisting the numbers that the Arts Council is an A versus B budget item, so lets say the savings to unincorporated residents is only $30,000. Or the cost of one Town Council member before benefits and perks.

Nevertheless, ff the Town Board is sincere about reducing taxes, then why do they resist taking the first step.

The Arts Council Department contains an independent contractor who does not receive benefits however she receives $52,000 for very part-time work. This work is selecting and placing the artwork which is displayed in Town Hall and the multipurpose center and running the poet laureate contest.
First off I believe that in the best of times, the government has no business judging good art/culture from bad and in times of a 23% and 5% tax hikes, the government has no business being in this business at all. Especially since this Department costs taxpayers $64,000 which includes $2500 to artists, artists who often are not even Greenburgh residents. Would it be a surprise also to learn that the displayed works are for sale for the personal gain of the artists? Now there can still be art in Town Hall and all it needs is a volunteer to manage who hangs when and where. The artists, who should be grateful for the opportunity to display their for sale work, can transport and hang their own work. OR, how about the schools select artwork by Greenburgh students for Town Hall display? As for poet laureate, well why do we provide for a Library which is calling itself a cultural center if not to handle this chore?

Mind you, that the artwork in DeSanti Plaze is an additional expense costing about $3500 (B budget) for a "curator" who makes quarterly selections. Best handled by volunteers if at all. So far what I have seen has been spectacularly unimpressive but the point to take away is how to save $3500 which is a frill not a necessity. I doubt that many visitors even notice these objet's d'arte.

Need I do the math to remind you that these figures represent one year and that by multiplying them by the number of years, the cost grows larger.

I am prepared to and shall post additional non-essential items to show how to save upwards of $1,500,000 non-essentials from the operating budget or following the formula, 5% off the 23%.

Readers should ask why the Town Board resists making these cuts. Why do they insist on retaining them. Do they not understand that a growing number of residents can no longer afford large tax increases?
Keep reading Greenburgh Democracy to seem the new posts. Bother the Town Board, ask why can't we eliminate these items, what is so sacrosanct about them or as 5:56 writes, "no one will leave Greenburgh if these services are cut".

Or are they just political pork?

hal samis said...

Budget cutting #2

The Scarsdale Inquirer last week reported two Police news events.
Taken together they are the local version of yin and yang.

"Town and village police look to sharing to cut costs"

There is a song in the musical "Sweet Charity" about a lovable hooker who sings "Maybe this time..."

Which is fitting because as the article illustrates, this is not a new idea but merely a refried can of worms. But even before we get to the rejection stage for the grant-financed study, we have to get the grant to finance the study and this leads to the question: What if we don't? And how long is the process from application to getting the money?

And if we get the money and if the study is done, and if the recommendations make sense, then and only then: "Maybe this time..."

However onto the more recent and relevant story, "GPD riding high with Segway". Apparently this was "ghostwritten" because no one at the Inquirer wants to take the credit for printing the Police Department's press release. However let's look at the new toy, not as the Department wants us to, but at its practical reality when in service because we are the taxpayers facing a 23% tax increase.

The format will be "pr piece" and my response.

"the first of its kind in Westchester County"

Isn't that warning enough? And since Greenburgh is facing a 23% tax hike, maybe to remain competitive, other communities should get out their order books.

"The Segway is a self-balancing personal transportation device with two wheels that can operate in any pedestrian environment...will use it to patrol East Hartsdale Avenue"

I'm thinking that the pedestrian environment on East Hartsdale Avenue is not the problem but the vehicle environment on one of Greenburgh's only two east-west streets is. Does this mean that the Segway will be better equipped to run over pedestrians when in pursuit of a felon or enroute to the scene of the crime or in response to a dispatch. Does this mean that the Segway will be limited in its patrol while the officer answers all the questions from passing gawkers? Memo to burglars. Act as a team, have one of the crew stop the officer and ask questions about the Segway performance while the other members commit the robbery. And how often does this alleged "patrol" occur. You would think that the GPD is making a continuous back and forth sweep of the Avenue which --- it is not.

"The Segway cost the department $5,900 initially and maintenance is expected to be minimal outside of recharging the vehicle"

No more than say a flashlight.

"It can zip down the avenue at 12.5 mph"

East Hartsdale Avenue is, what, a half mile long? And the officer, in his prime, can cover this distance end to end in what, 6 minutes by walking or 3 minutes running? For all those occasions when he knows what's happening at the other end of the Avenue and can drive around the pedestrians and other vehicles that might be in his way to...Any chance that his might be summoned to a destination just a minute away by foot? And when it is zipping along at 12.5 mph, what happens if it has to stop quickly, say to avoid running into someone? And what happens if does hit someone?

"but the top benefit of the new device...is its approachability...which provided a dialogue between the police department and the community"

Like East Hartsdale Avenue is some crime ridden ghetto where residents fear the Police and run when they approach. Like having a chat with the officer will convince the public that the all is well with the increasing Police Department budget (including capital expenditures) and that this Segway will aid in the war on crime and be useful in emergencies.
What they are saying is that the taxpayer is paying for a riding press kit.

But aren't there some questions that aren't covered? Where is the vehicle stored or it it returned to the Department at the end of each tour? If it is kept in Hartsdale, how does the officer get to the Segway? Is is delivered there and picked up if it is not? How often does it take to be recharged? And where is this done?

What happens to those patrols when it is raining, windy, snowing? How does it do on ice? What protection does it offer the rider in a "high speed" chase? Does the extra 8 inches really give better visibility through doors and windows or does it make the rider more of a target?

But at budget time, the real question is do we still have the original sales receipt and can it be returned?

Anonymous said...

If the town tax is 20% why the hell is the rest 80% going out without a good going over.
Many are taking advantage of our silence too long.
Town employees should get nothing if they dont like it let them leave.
We have reached the end of the rope if they don't understand this it's tough.
Our taxes will not get back to normal unless we start making drastic cuts now not tomorrow .
We have other expenses as they do but the burden that is placed on us this time and in years to come is more than many of us could handle.

Anonymous said...

Dear 2:28PM -
You are a little late to the dance. Folks have been screaming about, and voting down, the GC school budget for years. If you think you have a say in the County budget, dream on. As for the Fire District budget, I'll personally pay your Fire District taxes for the year IF you can name your Fire Commissioners right now from memory. (Do you even know how many Fire Commissioners there are? Or when they are elected - and for how long?)
Those three are most of the 80% which isn't Town budget.
Maybe you should have been listening more carefully and attended a few public meetings of the Board of Ed and the Fire Commissioners.

Anonymous said...

That one can vote on school budgets is an illusion. Even if voted down, the state allows an incresse. The only way to get a real freeze is to control the school board.

Anonymous said...

How does "controlling" the Board of Ed help. NY State and the Federal government mandate certain programs - and those programs MUST be paid for, or the NY State Commissioner of Education steps in and takes over the district.
You think the schools are screwed up now? Wait until you see what having the district run by an unelected Albany official does for both your taxes and the kids' educations....

hal samis said...

Dear 2:28,

Send your Fire District tax bill to anonymous at 4:21 c/o this blog.

Anonymous said...

G7 is not in danger of being taken over by Albany. Things have to get a lot worse.

Is the fitness center at the High School mandated?

Why are teachers salaries higher than average? they ar higher than Edgemont!!!

Mojo said...

Why do we need a Greenburgh at all? Cannot the Villages/County/State handle all duties? Think outside of the box people. Plenty of US citizens do not have this extra layer of tax and government. In the long run, it'll be worth the extra hassle now to sort it out.

Anonymous said...

Hal,
Can you enlighten us about how fire districts, fire commisioners, and fire taxes?

hal samis said...

I don't know anything about Fire Districts, School Districts or Sewer Districts. I also try to avoid A versus B issues because both sides have reasonable arguments that need a learned venue such as the Courts to decide. I try to avoid the WESTHELP issue because it represents a response to a situation that outsiders want to pretend wouldn't trouble them in their own neighborhood while the attempted solution now looks to be in contravention of existing law. Both the A and B controversy and the WESTHELP controversy do not need more opinions; they need resolution which is not within my capacity to provide.

Generally I know what I know but more importantly, I know what I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Hal thank you for being honest. I can see that whatever knowledge you have on certain problems always is about spending taxpayers money foolishly.
You are doing a good job in standing up and being ridiculed for doing so.
Not too many people would do what you do.
Just imagine if you were to become our next comptroller.
Looking back at some of the other comptrollers who by the way did not do such a thorough job you seem to know more than they could ever know.
Should we whisper in the supervisors ear to consider Samis for comptroller?
You not only are knowledgeable but you also have the coohonies to stand up for what is right.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

So basically you support the Supervisor. OK, but dont try to rationalize.

Anonymous said...

I want to know who authoizes expendiutres from "Fund T" which is not included in the budget, adn how that money will be spent.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Loks like your honesty means that you support the Supervisor. I guess that means that the Supervisor is honest too. Birds of a feather etc.

Anonymous said...

There are 5 Fire Commissioners in evry Fire District in the state. Commissioners are in office for 5 years at a time. One is up for election every year. The election is the second Tuesday of December.
This year it is on Dec.11th, and you vote at the different firehouses. Fire Districts in the area areFairview,Hartsdale,Greenville,
Valhalla,North White Plains,Hawthorne,Thornwood to name a few.