Monday, January 14, 2008

LIBRARY TOUR--PAY STATIONS FOR PARKING FOR NON RESIDENTS...RENTING SPACE?

I spent some time this AM touring the new library --which is under construction. Insurance and utility costs are going to be high. Some suggestions for discussion:
1)Instead of placing parking meters at the parking area - we might want to consider having less expensive pay stations (similar to the pay stations that are located all around the county). Residents of unincorporated Greenburgh could receive either a free parking sticker or pay a nominal fee for an annual sticker. Non residents would pay a larger fee for an annual sticker or pay at the pay station every time they use the parking facilities at the library. I anticipate that many people who use the library will not be Greenburgh residents. Yet--Greenburgh taxpayers are footing the bill for the new library.
2)The library will be very big. We should consider renting space to a bookstore, to computer companies, etc... to help offset costs --and to help us maintain the level of services residents expect.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Renting space is the right thing to do.You should rent out the whole place.
Paul you were right about this library,that it was not needed .
We were satisied with what we had it was more than enough.
no matter what you try to do will not be enough.
The director and all his associates should loose their position.
The money that the taxpayers will have to come up with is much more than this present budget.
The town board that was sitting at the time knew what they were doing.
Because they had so much hatred for the supervisor that they voted to have this expansion .
Get back at Feiner BUT they didn't see further than their hatred what the consequenses would be for the taxpayers.
I wish you luck Paul but I think whatever funds are collected from parking will do didleyswat for the residents.

hal samis said...

Hasn't the Library done an excellent job communicating their side and explaining why they can't afford to provide the same level of services? Even with more money than last year.

Not on the basis of what they ASKED for but on the basis of the money they have been given.

Maybe employees everywhere should take a page from the Trustees' handbook: "Boss, if you don't give us more money we're just going to work one less day a week."

Anonymous said...

Rent out space. Thought they needed all that space.

Anonymous said...

The library director and his notorious staff wanted a state of the art building at the tax payers expense.
In another blog someone asked how many of the library board live in the unincorporated part of Greenburgh.
Dear library board you will have your building maybe in 2009 without furniture .
The people in Greenburgh who voted for expansion,have got to be so dumb because at the moment they[the library] are functioning out of smaller quarters than before.
Are you people blind..

Anonymous said...

utilities? won't the geothermal system help with that? are their solar panels?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Supervisor,

You proposal to charge residents of the Villages who may visit the Library is a great way to sow some more divisiveness. Get the facts first about who uses what. Many residents of unincorporated Greenburgh use both Village and other Westchester Libraries at no "parking" cost. If my data is still reasonable, there were something like 40,000 transactions from unincorporated Greenburgh residents at the Scarsdale Library and 25,000 at the Ardsley Library just to mention two a few years ago. Bad idea. Might also not comply with the Westchester Library System rules about equal access. Please think and research before you post these ideas.

A Greenburgh Burgher said...

The Feiner Blog: They call it that because it is tool the Supervisor uses to cause disension among the people of Greenburgh. It is obvious to anyone who glances at the postings initiated in this blog that Feiner has a fascination for matters of the library. Isd this his way of making it easier for the Library Trustees to set in motion the making of a Library district apart from the Town. As it is Feiner has no authority over the day-to-day workings of the Library, but he does command its budget, and therein is his power to distort, misstate, misquote, misrepresent, deceive and instigate.

Perhaps it is the politicians' penchant for bashing anything they can't control. After all, the library is the only department, the only receiver of taxes collected by the Town over which neither the Supervisor nor the Town Board exercises operational authority.

If this Supervisor cared as much for the services the citizens of this fair town deserve and if the supervisor cared at all about the total tax burden imposed on all the citizens of Greenburgh, then pergaphs he wouldn't have thoughtlessly and unilaterally without consultation have cut the library as deeply as he did, and perhaps he would be as vocal about the Fairview and Hartsdale Fire District taxes that historically are among the highest in NY State and approach the amount of tax paid to the Town by those living in unincorporated Greenburgh. Ah, but that's a separate taxing authority and far be it to advocate for the citizens over something he has no control.

The supervisor seems particularly enamored of special taxing authorities that add to the complexity of all levels of government, multiply the elections and separate budgets that tax payers are asked to approve and ultimately do nothing to staunch increasing tax burdens.

See this article on why special districts tend to be more costly and less efficient: http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-oplifut0708w,0,6074227.story?coll=ny_news_opinion_util

The Office of the NY State Comptroller notes that there are some 900+ towns in NY State and almost 7,000 special districts statewide. And it's not for nothing that the Comptroller states "The Office of the State Comptroller has long promoted the potential benefits of intermunicipal cooperation and, when appropriate, consolidation between local governments providing the same or similar services. Similarly, there are opportunities for achieving economies through cooperation and consolidation within a single local government."

So why isn't Feiner promoting simpler instead of divisive government?

Anonymous said...

Reflections on the last two bloggers:

1.This isn't a village-town issue. There should be no parking for anybody who needs to use a library. It is a sad commentary on the fiasco that the library trustees have brought to Greenburgh that we are thinking about parking fees. And I fear that this is just the beginning.

2. Paul Feiner may propose too many ideas, but he was 1000% right when he tried to halt the rush to building a new library. The library trustees think of themselves as virtuous and infallible, and they are wrong on both counts. Unfortunately their bad work cannot be reversed.

Anonymous said...

Renting space to a bookstore?! LOL! As a previous comment said, please think before you post these ideas.

Anonymous said...

Pay for parking at a public library?! That just makes no sense. It would be like paying for parking at town hall or at a school. Do any other libraries in the area charge for parking?

hal samis said...

Dear 5:36 soapbox,

Perhaps you have learned from the Library that, because if either the Library or you say it, it becomes the starting point for fiction and that is not the function of this blog.

The October 1 submission from the Library to the Supervisor was not a budget but a request for funding.
Just because the Library asks for doesn't ordain the original dollar amount. The only time any requests from Town departments become their "Budget" is after the Town Board has voted to approve the entire Town Budget. Any money taken out over the course of the budget year would properly be called a "cut".

The only unilateral reduction made by the Supervisor occurs when he submits a Tentative Budget to the entire Town Board. This version may add or subtract money to various department requests. In the Library's case it submitted an incomplete request, leaving out the salary for the Director and the Assistant Director and the add-ins that originate from the Town Comptroller's office.
If these missing amounts were added to the Library's request, their total request would have been around $4.4 million instead of the $3.8 million that the Library claims. Apparently Feiner reduced the $3.8 to $3,640,000 that the Library squeals about as being cut $155,000. And, not by himself, but through the action of the Town Board was another $200,000taken bringing the Library's turn at the municipal troth filling up their tank with the final figure, $3,440,000 being allocated for 2008

$4.4 million, $3.8 million, $3,640,000 and the final $3,440,000
these figures should be measured against 2007 Library spending of $3,070,000 (which included the add-ins from the Comptroller's office). Not exactly poverty row for the Library. Not what Mr. "Burgher" suggests is a politician bashing what they can't control. So, all of his posting posturing comes down to whether you believe the writer or the facts.

Truthfully I know nothing about fire districts so I will even concede his arguments regarding them. However what happens at a fire district is not the proof for what happens to the funding for the Greenburgh Library.

But as even a Superlawyer would know, the case can't be won without introducing the evidence. What this blogger does, and I have to allow that this has been a favored technique of Sponge Bob, is to introduce his or her own conclusion as though it were evidence. Thus we read at the beginning: "The Feiner Blog: They call it that because it is a tool the Supervisor uses to introduce disension among the people of Greenburgh".

This is merely an opinion. There is no proof or data to support this and who are "they"? However, because the writer hopes, you the reader is stupid, he or she introduces some proof about fire districts hoping that YOU will think they have something to do with the Library, even though fire districts have nothing to do with Library's, while Greenburgh's is a town department under State education law. Why are we being told about special districts? Because that's what was lying around waiting to be used in the case of mistaken identity.

So much so that at the posting's end you are supposed to walk away with the re-affirmation of only the writer's opinion: "So why isn't Feiner promoting simpler instead of divisive government".
And that conclusion is based solely on the writer's opinion (opinion because nothing in the posting was introduced to support that what Feiner is "doing" is divisive) and not from anything mentioned on this blog topic. So the trick is to make you want to agree even though the body of the posting had absolutley nothing to do with the introduction and conclusion. When Mr. Bernstein or Mr. Sheehan do this time and time again, it just means that myself and others have to spank them publicly and lift them by their ears and say "no, no!...bad doggy."

What readers should take away is that in what the Library would call a bad year for their funding, they eliminated the cybermobile, Sunday hours, the book-drop all because they didn't have enough money to support them. However they have enough money to spend $180,000 more in 2008 than was spent in 2007 just for more books, cds and dvds. They have enough money to hire more part-time clerks. They have enough to increase their contingency fund.
They have enough to give out-of-line (higher than other town employees get) salary increases to favored employees, they have enough...

Through the hosting of the Feiner blog, taxpayers are given the opportunity to affirm that, they too, have had enough!

The Greenburgh Burgher said...

Despite the myopia that runs throughout Mr. Samis's response, nothing inherent in his posting contradicts the fact that what the Supervisor has brought us thus far into his new term is a 19% tax increase, service cuts and a certain level of dissension and polarization that does not bode well for the next 2 years. To paraphrase one former national politician, what the town needs is a period of deliberation and consultation, lest the citizens of Greenburgh be robbed of the time needed for careful analysis of what may lie before them...and that includes further tax increases,further cuts to library and other department budgets and operations, a new special taxing authority (for the library)as the Supervisor proposes, etc.

That there is such dissension in the air is indicative of, despite what some may think, that such deliberations have not been collaborative or consultative, in the true senses of those words.

All matters should be on the table and discussions entered into with a spirit of accommodation and compromise on the part of the Supervisor, other members of the Town Board consulting with the heads of departments and the Library Trustees.

It is a distortion of democratic principals to think that in a representative democracy such as ours it is always necessary to bring the competing voices of the citizenry into these deliberations before all options have been thoroughly investigated and vetted. Then and only then should the Supervisor, the board and the Library Trustees have public hearings to present and justify to the public the plans which they believe are best for the all the people of Greenburgh.

Let's not visit on our town the hostility, the gridlock, the smug, self-centered, know-it-all attitude, and the unintended, unforeseen consequences of half-baked poor planning that have become the recent hallmark of our national government.

I'll get off my soapbox now, Mr. Samis, so you can get on yours.

Anonymous said...

Hey burgher what cooked your brain.
Put the blame on the four council member and not the supervisor for the hike in taxws.
The four board members are to blame for the hike because they voted on many things that Feiner was against.
You cannot say that Feiner did not do the best he could but when the odds have been against one person for the past 2 years ones' hands are tied.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the Greenburgh burgers first posting (and I agree with Samis' answer to it), but I agree with greenburgh burgher's 10:15 posting.

The Supervisor asks too many questions of the public. The public has feelings, but much of the time doesn't have the information necessary to make important decisions. That is why we have a representative democracy. We elect people to doi the work to get informed and study issues so that when decisions are made they are based on care and thought and considerations of available alternatives.

Asking the public what it wants before the Town Board undertakes a problem is inviting chaos, and that is what we have at Board meetings. Even informed members of the public are not usually prepared to answer such questions without careful consideration.

feiner deficit disorder said...

at the end of last year, we heard about 40 vacant units of affordable housing....

apparently that report was sent down the memory hole.

mismanagement at the housing authority just aint as sexy as metered parking at the library

Anonymous said...

The Greenburgh Burgher sounds awfully like a cousin of Princess "Chee" Berger, the fall person in the latest swan song gasp of the 2007 election.

Now the "blog" is supposedly sowing dissension in Town over the library monolith. For whatever it is worth Supervisor Feiner wanted a "go slow" approach to crazy and excess spending. He wanted library repairs, library upgrades, wanted to lease out the rest of the site to a paying entity and offered all sorts of creative altenatives that the Library Board, their acolytes and their allies on the Board rejected and resisted.

Parking fees can exist as "user" fees, and since the "Burgher" pointed out that we have just experienced a 19% tax, maybe he/she will suggest more property tax increases?

I suggest that the "wags" out there start listing the services they wish to cut if they wish to curtail tax increases!

There has been ample evidence that the Supervisor has been a prudent voice regarding the expense side of the budget. He has attempted to hold back spending in many departments over the years. How has this caution been addressed? He has been accused of short-changing infrastructure, cutting back safety, not having park fields cut often enough, and more and more. But the same "wags" who scream about the tax increases want sidewalks, more hours for facilities, want expanded services and wanted a bigger library.

Something logically has to give!

I also note that I see no one protesting the lack of a real library. Where are the pickets? People find other library facilities throughout the town and county, and I wonder whether without the old library reading in Greenburgh has completely disappeared. I guess it hasn't!

The critics of the Library Board were right a few years ago and they are right now. The Library Board flummoxed members of the Town Board, who are now history (Barnes, Bass and Weinberg), and the remaining member, Ms. Juettner should also wise up to the new realities. The Library Board's faux hearings reached a miniscule fraction of the public and the referendum was merely an attempt to set up the Supervisor for defeat in the oncoming 2005 primary. They found their issue, but the Supervisor was wise enough to stay basically neutral. It won by a sliver, and if it had been defeated, even by a few votes, and with Feiner's active opposition, the Board would have placed it on the day of primary. In my view that was what they really wanted. They would have pitted the Library vs. the Supervisor in the primary, and they certainly would have had enough votes to overcome the Supervisor's ultimate narrow victory!

This group almost accomplished their electoral coup. They tried the same trick with the Bass initiative to have a referendum in Edgemont over the Dromore Road property and its potential impact on their schools. Of course that gambit, engineered by Edgemont's so-called super lawyer, never worked out. Just read about all of it in the Deposition.

I suggest that one day Sheehan, Bass, Barnes, Juettner, and their Edgemont buddies be forced to swear under oath what had really happened in the Dromore Road deal.

These constant arguments that plague Greenburgh are initiated by same carping critics who lust for power, have a visceral dislike of the Supervisor and believe in the "endless" campaign.

The public spoke in 2007 loud and clear, and despite local characters, who undertand little about the rule of law, civics, the US Constitution, and Greenburgh local law, the electoral process worked.

With our form of government, we expect our elected and paid representatives to make the hard decisions.

Anonymous said...

11:56
The words that you have spoken together with those of Samis and Krauss should make the Feiner haters wake up.
Because of their hate we the residents have to suffer for a few more years to undo what the four members on the board have done for the past two years.
Yes we have to be honest that the board was against Feiner before Sheehan took over but not to the extent of this present one.
Well now we have two new members that will be representing the residents fully yes there will be some problems but they will be solved for the best interest of All of Greenburgh not just for a chosen few in certain areas.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Dromore Rd will be settled in the courts.
If so the four together with their mastermind will have to testify under oath.
But they have been lying to the public right along what will change when they get on the stand.

Anonymous said...

In essence people are starting to understand what many bloggers have aluded to. There cannot be a disconnect in the citizen's mind between revenues and disbursements.

There is no doubt that in one of the richest counties in the country, there are limits to growth regarding the expenditure side. Currently with our myriad of over-lapping constituencies, both municipal and education budget creep is straining the capacity of the average homeowner. Besides all of that unhappy news, the County is spending $1.77 billion, and the Bill Ryan thinks he's underpaid.

The county is quickly turning into a rich and poor environment, where young blue collar workers and civil servants cannot afford to live or even buy a house. These individuals are vital to our well-being, and the fact that many of them have to commute 75-100 miles daily in a car that guzzles $3.50 per gallon gasoline is criminal.
Just do the math, and one can see how bleak the future could portend.

This reality continues to drive the inflationary cost of government. It is the start of the death spiral of many of these locales. As budget creep grows, taxes increase, home values decline, and people move out, business property is abandoned, or downgraded and certiories are awarded and the tax base shrinks.

This viscious cycle continues to spin out of control. Basic services are obviously always needed, but if our financial base continues to degrade, who knows what economic and social disaster will emerge.

My sense is that public-spirited people should get together and start helping government work to priortize our needs. We must work to make sure that these needs are put first, foremost and paid for. The deficits in California, NJ, and New York State are staggerling, and that reality does not bode well for us.

We must learn to live with less or we will eventually be a 3rd world country living with nothing and experiencing the same upheavals that these countries endure.

There will come a day, sooner than later, that we will have to face the need and reality of consolidation of educational districts and municipalities, and a shifting away from sales and property taxes to local income taxes and regional disbursements of revenue.

This will take hard choices and leadership. But the need for change and creative alternatives must now be strongly considered.

Richard J. Garfunkel

gaffy still daffy said...

so richard, are you calling on feiner to end the illegal westhelp deal that sent millions of unaccountable dollars to valhalla?

or are you calling on feiner to undo foolish purchases like taxter ridge?

its 2008. when are you going to wake up?

Anonymous said...

To 4:38

Are you still harping on the WestHelp issue. I thought that was discussed, rehashed and regurgitated in the election, and it seems, by the way, the whole Town Board voted for it at the time. Of course there is a new Board and if the subject comes up, as it may, they'll all review it.
By the way the public didn't seem to care when they voted in a landslide against the insider dealing party chairperson, and the do nothing log-sitters that were once on the Board.

Land management is a key authority granted to our elected officials and I assume they will be judicious in the future. It will be interesting when another piece of land, abutting the Greenburgh Nature Ctr, and at Dromore Road will be adjudicated.

I will not be surprised, when the case is settled that certain sitting Members of the Board will be forced to resign in disgrace.

So keep on banging the drum slowly. I am sure when it is said and done, you and your thoughts will be lonelier than ever.

As to the WestHelp money, I am sure you know it wasn't really ours! I am sure you know that we would have never gotten the money if there wasn't a deal to funnel it to Valhalla. Maybe you believe that this came from our taxpayers. Come clean! But of course you maybe confused or just venal.

As to Taxter Ridge. I am sure that if you were sincere you would have to admit that the support for its purchase came overwhelmingly from the people of East Irvington, and the adjoining areas as a buffer against further development. Personally I have no dog in this fight, and I believe that a majority of the people want open space and orderly growth for their roads, school sytems and sewers.

But for sure our greatest threat to our economic future is a luddite mentality, and I see no consistancy regarding the positions of the Feiner critics.

When he has worked slowly with developers, some people accused him of being in bed with them. When they were restricted by steep slope and wetlands regulations, his critics carped that he stultified growth. When people clear cut old trees he sought legislation to prevent that from happening. But the legislation was bottled up for years by Bass and his Edgemont patron. He was then accused of violating property owner's rights. Is there no issue the CABAL and its fellow travelers won't harp on, and carp over?

The Feiners haters, like the old barracks song about "old soldiers never die, they just fade away,"
will eventually fade away.

Richard J. Garfunkel

pity greenburgh said...

mr garfunkel - feiner is not a leader. he is a one man band mostly for himself. he has no vision other than what he can milk for a press release.

the town has become more divided under his long reign.

why is feiner such a failure? because for years he surrounded himself with rubber stampers who where happy to take it where the sun dont shine so long as he funded their campaigns.

feiner has a talent for getting re-elected. wow! he's a career politician going nowhere fast.

he wouldnt last a day in the private sector (and who would hire him anyway?).

poor greenburgh.

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Pity,

Hold the presses, stop the mail, housing prices are on sale

Now's the time to make your move
a clean break, a getaway behooves

Away from Feiner one would surmise
would be your object not exit prize

Thousands of places you can go
Paul won't follow and you won't tow

Be ready to roll, you've spread the alarm
Now its time to buy that farm

G'burgh's no longer that rural place
More red lights shine in your face

His job is tough, the going's much
Giving him credit, you're no easy touch

But voters voted and the name they chose
Was Paul Feiner, none other arose

If poems are writ by fools like me
Please start the year by allowing his victory

And like I say if you still find the ride is rough
Best leave now, vanish in a huff

We'll miss you not, we'll help you pack
Just promise us you won't be back

haiti on the hudson? said...

hey - lets rename greenburgh - haiti on the hudson - papa feiner - supervisor for life already in the house!

btw hal -are you submitting that poem to the town's poetry competition? dont count on a prize unless the judge and jury is good old papa paul

Anonymous said...

How about renting it out to a medical group.
Doctors are always looking for a large place to set up their practice.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

White Plains charges for parking.

hal samis said...

Dobbs Ferry has no parking other than metered street parking.

Hair brained scheme said...

Forget metered and permit parking!

Parking meters and machines need maintenance. Money needs to be collected frequently, sorted and counted. Permits need to be sold,printed and accounted for. Enforcement is necessary.

How much will it cost to buy meters or change machines, issue permits, collect and account for the revenue and provide enforcement? How much will this cost? LOTS!

The first ticket issued will result in an outraged call to Feiner who will look to be "helpful" and we'll be back here discussing if fines should be $7 or $.50.

Forget about it!

Anonymous said...

I agree that pay parking for everyone is fair. But let's go one step further - let's get the Hartsdale Parking authority to oversee parking at the new library. Wouldn't that be a trip!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. Pity,

But your blindness and hatred seem to have clouded your understanding of government and your judgement.

Political people and leaders have their place, plain and simple. For you to say that Paul Feiner couldn't get a job in the private sector, you know? You are an expert? You don't sign your name. You could be on the Board, you could have been defeated last November, you could be a commissioner in someone else's pocket. You could be anyone! So Paul has had the problem of being popular with his constituents and has won election after election, is that a crime?

Greenburgh operates quite well in fact. The mayor of a large city in Westchester told me, with others this morning, that he admired Greenburgh, its parks, its facilities, and thought it was a model for NY and America. So what's your real axe to grind? I believe that governing is never easy and in these times it is doubly difficult.

Stop carping, pick up you bags and get out. There are many other communities that I am sure you will be equally disatisfied in!

Richard J. Garfunkel

Anonymous said...

Read Howard Jacobs' piece in this week's Scarsdale Inquirer.

Anonymous said...

Howard Jacobs should be run out of town.

Anonymous said...

The community center's nearly $4 million budget is a whole lot bigger than the library's $2.8 million budget.

What's more, the Town Board has line item control over the community center's budget.

So how'd the Town Board do when, facing a 23% tax increase, it came to cutting a budget over which it had line item control?

While slashing the library's budget, and then whining about the library board's decision to eliminate the cybermobile and Sunday hours, the Town Board barely touched the community center's budget.

That's right, while cutting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the library's budget, and then blaming the library board for being insensitive, the Town Board barely layed a finger on the community center's $4 million budget.

What's more, while complaining about the library staff getting raises, the Town Board never questioned the fact that the community center has so many residents working there these days, no one actually knows -- or will tell -- how many there really are. And no taxpayer can tell by looking at the 2008 budget.

Make no mistake, year in and year out, this is entirely Feiner's responsibility. Why is it fair game for him to take shots at the library, which is a critically important resource for poorer families and schoolchildren from Fairview, but not fair game for Feiner to take a much needed closer look at the community center.

hal "marcus" samis said...

I'll address Mr. Jacobs letter in another venue but suffice it to say that the entire Library problem is personified in this letter from the President of the Greenburgh Library Board of Trustees and his comment:

"Paul has a little regard for the truth as he does for the Library, its patrons and its volunteer board".

One might have expected that Mr. Jacobs would distinguish himself by writing with honesty but alas, the truth is nowhere to be found therein.

Certainly, his introduction is not the path that will lead to salvation for a needy Library and his letter shows that he is neither a leader or nor one who has the best interest of the Library at heart -- seeking only redemption for himself.

For Scarsdale Inquirer readers whose appetite for news from the world's battlefields -- be they in Iraq, Israel or Afghanistan, Mr. Jacobs has fanned the flames of the Greenburgh war -- a war that neither he, or more importantly, the Library can win. And this stupidity will not win him more friends at the Greenburgh Public Library Foundation which is soliciting money so the Library can open with furniture etc. Because, who would want to donate money to an institution that holds its patrons hostage to the power plays that the Library Trustees are hatching in secret. Scratch that -- Steve Bass may ask the President of the United States to ask the United Nations to...

Bring it on says Mr. Jacobs "And, inevitably, there will be responses to this letter from people espousing other "facts" to support his (Feiner) political agenda."

Talk about paranoia "He (Feiner) now apparently believes that, fresh off his election victory, he can deal the library a knockout blow".

If Mr. Jacobs is correct, let's reduce the Library budget to zero, save the taxpayers $3,440,000 if the Library is closing.

And note that the Scarsdale Inquirer center encapsulated this quote "The town charged the library $325,000 for maintenance on a building that has been closed for a year". Not even giving ME credit for pointing this out in 2007's budget where it was $310,000but what Mr. Jacobs ignores is what I pointed out then and now. This is a "bookkeeping" device to spread the Town's expense over all departments -- not based on actual use or expense but just to apportion it. My argument, then and now, is that it doesn't work when there is no building and that it could as easily be reapportioned higher at other existing departments -- but this is an agrument over form not substance. Mr. Jacobs (the truthful) has chosen to focus on only one side of the equation -- if this EXPENSE did not appear on the Library budget, neither would an approximate $325,000 of FUNDING (the Library does incur some repair and maintenance costs for their use of their assigned space) be given to the Library. In 2007, if the $310,000 did not appear as an expense, the Library allocation would have been similarly reduced. The idea of funding departments is based on their expenses just like if the Library decided not to buy books, would they receive the same amount of money from the Town?

But if Mr. Jacobs insists on playing Brutus to Feiner's Caesar, then he will find me there on the Senate steps. That is the certain "inevitability" that he reads from the broil and babble...scratch that...boil and bubble from the water that he lost control of.

hal samis said...

Golly, while I was at the keyboard another cartoon figure popped up.
And think that some people spend money to play video games...

Let's deflect the heat from the Library and point to the Community Center.

Here we go again. Just three votes but instead in the previous years, the Community Center votes were five including the vote from that phantom Fairview Community fakir, Eddie Mae Barnes of Edgemont. However anonymous 10:20 wants to make it only Feiner's hurdle.

So now, in 2008 when Feiner IS taking a hard look at how the Community Center is run, we are witness to the cowards emerge online to fault the Supervisor for not stepping in to see that the Center was better run while elsewhere condemning him for taking an interest and not RENEWING the employment terms of the Center's two top honchos who just might have had something to do with all of the problems existing there. By the way, how many people work at the Library if transparency is your leitmotif.

And, maybe we'll never know the problems at the Community Center.
Elswhere on this blog the CAC is worrying about leaf blowers; perhaps dear Anonymous you might want to worry about the document shredding party led recently at the Community Center because, assuredly, I'm sure that your tax dollars have paid for shredders at the Library too.

Anonymous said...

Gee Hal, a document shredding party at the community center? Do tell.

In fact, given your penchant for scandal, it's remarkable that you don't tell. And neither do Greenburgh's elected leaders. Presumably, they know about the document shredding too -- after all, how would you have known about it Hal? -- but no disclosure of this shocking news on the blog. No press releases either. How come?

Funny, here's something that sounds really scandalous -- a document shredding at a community center that takes in $4 million in taxpayer dollars a year (a lot more than the library)-- and it merits only a snide comment in passing from Samis. Not a peep from anyone in elective office.

But the library gets its budget slashed by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Feiner blasts its board day after day (joined by Hal's amen chorus) for cutting services the library board says the library can no longer afford to provide.

Sounds like somebody in elected office has a case of misplaced priorities. Why aren't you raising a ruckus about this Hal? Or were you too shell-shocked by the response you got when you addressed a roomful of mostly African Americans at town hall as "you people?"

Perhaps the cartoon character here, Hal, is you.

hal samis said...

Dear Perry White* @ 11:40,

Because I don't know.

I heard about the highlights through a private citizen who learned about it in a manner I didn't question or ask the source. Why I heard about it was in response to my question about what went on at the recent Town Board Executive Session that went into overtime and causing that night's "land use meeting?" to start over an hour later than scheduled.

Clearly all five members of the Town Board have not publicly discussed this; perhaps this is an example of working together or perhaps their hands are tied preventing a public announcement.
But why do you come to me? Ask at the source -- either the Town Board or ask the shredders. Public Comment at Wednesday's Town Board meeting might be your golden opportunity.

You are 100% correct that I did make a mistake in choosing my words poorly when referring to the audience as "You people" and it was not intended but happenstance when speaking, not from notes, but on the spot and under time pressure. It was not meant to be a racist utterance. If it was interpreted that way, for that I do apologize. However, in the context of what I was attempting to say and to whom I wanted to say it, it may or may not be understandable. I recognized a lot of people in the audience who had once spoken in support of the Greenburgh Health Center's need to expand their facility and move to a parcel on Knollwood Road. At the time, pressure was applied to the Town Board because without getting the Board's approval, the GHC said they "would be evicted from their existing location and forced to close". That is now almost two years ago and the GHC is still in place without a lease. However, 5 days before the subject Town Board meeting, the GHC lost their opportunity to secure low interest financing for the construction of their new building.

They lost this window of opportunity because in the intervening year, the GHC had not completed their application in time. This will result in a further delay and probably incur more costly financing -- if obtainable at all in this market. What I wanted to convey to those who supported the GHC at Town meetings, was that should the GHC find reason to return to the Town Board and seek new concessions because they "might be evicted and forced to close" that it was solely the fault of the GHC management and not that of the Town Board -- and that I wanted the clients of the GHC, some present at the Town Board meeting, to understand that distinction.

All too often, Town Board meetings are taken over by recruited citizens who are urged to come to the meeting to lend support for a cause: be it the GHC, the management team of the Community Center or those seeking a moratorium in Edgemont or those seeking the acquisition of parkland in East Irvington. These issues are not themselves matters of race; they are matters of recruiting warm bodies to testify; those who are often not given all the facts, just fitted out with the drama invoking shards.

So being shell-shocked is not quite the result. Did I speak the wrong words in introducing the topic? Yes. Will I be able to move on? Yes. Definitely!

As for the Library versus the Community Center, I speak out on issues I understand. Having studied the Library Board for five years now, I feel I am qualified to do so.

Do I have a clue what goes on at the Community Center? No. Can I cover all bases? No. Is this an issue I should be concerned about?
Perhaps but probably not. I don't live near the Community Center; I don't pay taxes and I don't use the Community Center. Some residents, who do, came to Town Hall to express their concerns. That is their interest and their right.

However, I do use the Library and my initial interest, which grew the more I learned, arose, not with the Library fulfilling its function, but from pursuing my curiousity after reading about the White Plains Courthouse construction "snafu". I could not comprehend how a project could end up in such a morass of blame when during the process, not a word of warning was forthcoming -- either from those directly involved or the local media. With that mindset, along came the Library seeking its expansion and had it been the Courthouse instead, then that would have become my focus.

But perhaps you are familiar with the expression: "familiarity breeds contempt"
The Library Trustees supplied me with cause.

As for your perception of "my penchant for scandal", there is another expression that comes to mind: "the pot calling the kettle black"*

*If this blog is read by "mostly African Americans", I apologize for any perceptions of a slur as well as my introductory salutation using a cartoon character.

"We are all bozos on the same bus"

Anonymous said...

I must congratulate Supervisor Feiner, and the new Town Board for their actions regarding the Young Community Center. They have listened to many voices that called for change and they acted. Ms. Barnes, the Town Board liaison to the Community Center, was rarely seen. Where was she when all these complaints were voiced? Where was she when these programs were not put in place? Someone has to be held accountable, and the electorate fulfilled its role in the primary and the general election. The electorate said, "no more!"

I was there on Wednesday and I was able to talk to some of the staff, and a number of the people who use the Young Center. The question was, where was Barnes? She was missing in action. Supervisor Feiner and Town Board Members have been meeting with the community center staff, who are honestly concerned over some of the rumor-mongering hovering, in and around the community, and the impact of the leadership changes. I myself witnessed and listened, out in the hall,to an hour tour d'force effort by Town Board Member Sonja Brown to answer questions and express her views.

There is no doubt that the bloggers cannot have it both ways. One cannot complain about the past without the understanding that this Town Board, over the past four years, has been collectively irresponsible and dysfunctional.

Supervisor Feiner went to the people twice with his own independent slate, which was outside of the boss controlled party apparatus. Despite every type of negative endorsement, and the last minute slams over "choice," conflicts of interest, and Indian Point he barely survived in 2005. In the next two years he faced the Town Board's withering, and often personal attacks on all he proposed and everything he said. The bloggers should understand that reality.

Now we are in 2008, and this time the last minute slams failed. Barnes and Bass, who were caught up in the Dromore Road investigation, are now gone. The party bosses had challenged Timmi Weinberg's petitions in 2005 and threw her off the ballot, which cost her seat. In this election cycle, the public was fed up with the sqabbling, the undermining of the role of the Supervisor, and the direction the Board was taking the Town.

Now a new Board is in, and Kevin Morgan and Sonja Brown will exert their strength and bring this Board into synergy with the public's needs and desires.

With regards to ongoing editorial fight over the library, I would like add my perspective to this debate.

The Library Board's Chairperson Howard Jacobs, first of all, bamboozled the old Town Board into buying into our current unfinished monolith on Rte 119. All of this has been obviously chewed over for years. I applaud Hal Sammis and his persistant effort to bring openess and transparency to this whole library mess. He has exposed for many of us who read this blog, and come to Town Hall, the truth about the library and its Board. Neither Mr. Sammis, Paul Feiner, myself and most other sane people are not anti-library or closet book-burners.

So that you understand,I have never talked to Hal Sammis about the Library Board. Mr. Sammis is an independent thinker, and historically has been a vocal opponent of the Supervisor for a number of years. The Supervisor, who is no fool, has recognised much of the value of his criticisms. I, as a vocal and ardent supporter of the Supervisor, also recognise that Mr. Sammis has added important points to all of the discussions that involve town businees, especially with regards to the library.

Unlike many of the other carping critics who are hate-filled, and power-driven, Mr. Sammis has contributed mightily to the ongoing dialogue that should make government work better.

With regards to the Young Community Center, the Library and its Board, and the other town departments, much reform, openness, and maybe change is needed.

We are advancing into a sea of unknown and uncharted waters. Revenues will be down, not only in Greenburgh, Westchester, New York and the country. We are seeing the market place rocking daily with each new revelation. Something has got to give!

There are going to be tough decisions needed ahead, and the choices will not be easy. The taxing trough is not bottomless. Services for both the schools and the Town are suffering from aggressive budget creep. It will take strong unified leadership to deal with upcoming stormy days. Any casual witness in this Town knows the ongoing problems of Central 7. Reform regarding the running of the schools must also be addressed. Currently a large percentage of our taxes go to our schools and the increases have been much higher than inflation for a number of years. Again hard choices must be made. Not one person, or one Supervisor can address these ongoing problems alone. But new ideas, a consensus regarding governing, and the understanding of the issues are critical to reaching solutions.

Richard J. Garfunkel

Anonymous said...

I passed the large building being consructed on 119 {library]Pray tell why such a large building .
The place looks like a department store with an oversized parking lot.
Were the people involved in voting this monster in deaf,dumb and blind.
Did they vote it in for spite to go against the wishes of the supervisor.
I do think that building could be used for doctors offices like Docs on central ave.
To house only the library is crazy.
The library seems to be functioning good with what it has going right now why can't it continue this way and rent out the entire new building.
IN other words we do not need the whole building to be used as a library.