Friday, January 25, 2008

WORK SESSION AGENDA--THIS TUESDAY, JAN 29

Work Session of the Greenburgh Town Council Members
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
(All Work Sessions are Televised Live on Channel 76)

Beginning the first Tuesday of Feb work sessions will be streamed live on the internet

1:00 p.m. Reorganization
2:00 p.m. Super Stop ‘N Shop proposal
3:00 p.m. Hastings/Irvington Fire Contracts

4:00 p.m. Streaming Meetings – George Malone
Scheduling department head meetings to discuss overtime/vacancies in their departments (months of Dec/Jan)
Requesting that Library Board, Recreation Board and Community Center Advisory Board meetings be televised
Requesting final report Carter Ledyard (5 minutes) scheduling meeting once report is finalized
4:15 p.m. Review applications for Library Board Vacancy
4:30 p.m. Update: New Commissioner/Deputy: Theodore D. Young Community Center (search committee) Audit Theodore D. Young Community Center)

4:45 p.m. Executive Session – Personnel
5:30 p.m. Adjourn
The Board will reconvene the Work Session at 7:30pm and will be meeting with residents of
80 East Hartsdale Avenue to discuss the Library Cybermobile and resumption of Sunday Library
hours as well as other concerns.

February 5th Work Session (tentative)

• Theodore D. Young Community Center Needs Assessment – Carla Rubinger
• Permanent citizens budget committee to address E. Hartsdale Ave. parking (representation to include parking authority, residents, businesses
• Should E. Hartsdale Ave. sidewalk sales be expanded to include more weekends as was the case last year?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dont think any employee should get their salary doubled.

Anonymous said...

What is the TDY CC needs assesment? Where is the money going to come from????

Anonymous said...

The idea of "expanding" sidewalk sales on East Hartsdale Avenue is a cruel joke.

Last year, Feiner rammed through a change in the town code calling for sidewalk sales on every weekend on East Hartsdale Avenue, all summer long. After the flooding, which caused millions of dollars in damage to merchants along East Hartsdale Avenue, Feiner argued that this was the least the Town could do.

In fact, after the law was changed, not one single store along East Hartsdale Avenue held a sidewalk sale that summer. And why not?

Because none of the stores on East Hartsdale Avenue carry merchandise which can, as a practical matter, be offered along the EHA sidewalk.

Nevertheless, Feiner rammed the law through and the oblivious members of the town council, assuming Feiner had done his homework when he had not, supported him on this.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 3:04 PM,

You wrote "...and the oblivious members of the town council supported him." Where was their (the oblivious town council members') legislative aide during this? What did he ever do? Thank goodness this position has been eliminated from the budget as your comment only confirms that it was a no value or very little value added position.

Anonymous said...

It's really not fair to blame the former council aide for this silliness.

Feiner told the town board in public session at a regular Wednesday evening meeting that the East Hartsdale Avenue merchants desperately needed this sidewalk sale provision.

No one on the town council thought to cross examine Feiner at the meeting to see whether he was telling the truth.

On the other hand, residents who spoke up at the public hearing on the issue pointed out that at most one store might benefit from a sidewalk sale -- hardly a reason to change the law, they said. However, comments from residents were ignored by town council members unwilling to question Feiner's judgment on this, and risk being accused by Feiner and his campaign machine of being unsympathetic to the needs of EHA merchants.

This was a phony issue from start to finish.

Feiner needs to update emails/blogsite said...

Paul two comments:
1. In the village of Harsdale the holiday lights Wreaths are still being lit a full month after the holiday costing the tax payers $$$$. Why these have not been taken down is beyond me.
2. Living in 80 East Hartsdale Avenue We were not told about this meeting until your letter came in the mail and posted on your blogsite. In fact we were told the meeting would not be at 80EHA. it would be nice if we had accurate info.

Anonymous said...

The meeting on E Hartsdale Ave was always going to be held at 80 E Hartsdale Ave. Some of our senior citizens don't have cars and wouldn't have transportation to get to Town Hall.
Thank you Mr. Supervisor for your accessibility and community outreach. Nice thing to do. Makes seniors feel important.

Anonymous said...

Are more services suggested at TDYCC??

Where is the money going to come from?

Will taxes go up more, or will something else get cut?

Anonymous said...

We can cut some of the calories out of the TYCC, increase efficiency. Taxpayers will save money. There will be better programming.

Anonymous said...

Enough to cover doubling salaries of Feiner supporters???

Anonymous said...

Who is the feiner supporter you are talking about? The Town Board hasn't made any appointments. Hasn't set any salary.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has the best interest of the Center in mind wants the best person for the job as Commissioner, Questions you won't see answered; 1- What did Ms. Whitehead do to merit such consideration? 2-Why wasn't anyone else considered for the job? 3- Why wasn't the Center Advisory Board allowed to participate in the selection process? 4-Feiner's answer; "Whitehead has 28 years" and "passion" for the job. Huh? Is that the best he can come up with? Lastly... gone are the days of a ceremonial "greet and meet" CEO. Let's have a working CEO who keeps our taxes low by securing funds for their Dept. Such was the case with Bill Lawyer of the Nature Center who for over 25 years raised 1/3 of the Nature Center's budget via his own efforts. We can't afford to give a double salary increase to a political hack.

hal samis said...

Thanks Sponge Bob, for reminding us of last year's sidewalk sale in Hartsdale. Maybe this year money will be on sale outside the credit union.

However maybe you were watching "Spartacus" on dvd and the word "ramming" was still fresh in your mind but, as colorful or wishful as the word may be, could you explain a little more clearly how "ramming" works on the dais at a Town Board meeting?

I think the other poster was not so much blaming Mr. Kaminer as noting that last year's four defenseless members of the Town Council had a staff aide at their disposal specifically hired to explain the intricacies of new laws to them and do their legwork. Unfortunately, this function became interpreted as how to help their re-election campaigns and not how to help them decide matters of state. And, even without the ministrations of the aide, how is it possible to portray all four adult Council members as suddenly so trusting of Feiner's word on this matter in a year consumed by WESTHELP (now we believe, now we don't) and other electioneering squabbles.

If no one other stores could or didn't want to take advantage of the new law -- or still don't -- then no one is getting hurt either.

But what is so wrong about a new law that was and skewed as sympathetic to Hartsdale Avenue merchants. Just because you failed to elicit support from the Town Council, probably because no one asked you first. However if it was no catastrophe to pass this law, surely you have bigger fish to fry other than using it solely to remind us that you are still around. All of Feiner's supporters are shaking at their keyboards.

Because, if you feel you have to weigh in on this issue, let me summarize how it appears.

First you argued against the law saying that it was for the benefit of one or two stores at best. The law passed and you say only one store participated in the sidewalk sale.

So, if the law is being extended, it should not because either no one is going to take advantage of it other than one store and thus it is not going to be a problem to anyone so therefore the law should not be passed again this year.

The cruel joke is that you can find nothing more important to argue. It's a long way down from discussing A and B budget matters or moratoriums for Edgemont; still it's a lot safer than attending secret meetings to acquire land for an Edgemont Village Hall.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand who or what Mr. Samis is talking about. Sounds to me like he's got a personal issue with someone out there and he's expressing himself in a very hateful manner.

What I do know is that there were no sidewalk sales on East Hartsdale Avenue last summer. So I tend to agree with the blogger who wondered why Mr. Feiner feels the town now needs to expand the law to allow more such sales when no one thought it was necessary to take advantage of the law in the first place.

Personally, I think Mr. Feiner should be spending his time cutting spending and lowering town taxes. 19% is a huge increase and I'm not buying that it was not his responsibility.

hal samis said...

There were no sidewalk sales because the problem was that the goods that could be sold were -- water damaged goods and not in condition that shoppers would find desirable -- or allowable under other laws.

There are several stores that sell services which likely won't benefit from sidewalk sales.

The liquor store, although desirous of the opportunity, is prevented by State law.

However, there are other stores which sell food either packaged, loose or cooked which could benefit.

Many residents have attended NYC street fairs and know that this is possible.

However, the allowing of sidewalk sales does not have to be determined by whether merchants participate or not -- or even whether they have the capability of doing so, like following their priorities recovering from last year's storm devestation.

The current concern would appear to be for finding a way to help the merchants recover lost business -- even a year or more later. If the merchants don't want this help or can't or won't use it, this doesn't make the offer of help such a terrible offense. Certainly there will be ample opportunity for the public which opposes the measure to register their opposition.

Just like the appearance of impropriety has gained a foothold in ethics laws which the anonymous bloggers firmly embrace, so too is it possible to be in the midst of the appearance of Hartsdale business erosion while the national economic concerns are not likely to miss being felt in Hartsdale either.

I repeat, does sponge bob have anything better to do than be in a huff over this trivial matter? If making this observation and question is considered "hateful", then the much vaunted Edgemont School District needs to offer adult education courses.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the point of Mr. Feiner wasting everyone's time passing a law to expand sidewalk sales for stores that don't seem to be interested in such sales. Wouldn't it make more sense, Mr. Samis, for Mr. Feiner to be cutting spending so we taxpayers don't have to face another huge tax increase? Why aren't you in favor of that Mr. Samis, or maybe you don't pay taxes Mr. Samis?

Also, Mr. Samis, I know this must mean something to somebody out there, but would you mind letting the rest of us in on your private little joke about sponge bob and Edgemont? I have no idea what you're talking about or what it has to do with allowing more sidewalk sales on East Hartsale Avenue or the 19% tax increase or cutting town spending.

Anonymous said...

To 1:23, you must be the only person in Greenburgh who doesn't know who sponge bob is -- the superlawyer himself. He mamages to turn every conversation into a Feiner-bashing exercise, no matter what the subject and no matter how ridiculous it is.

Anonymous said...

I still don't see the point of Mr. Feiner wasting everyone's time passing a law to expand sidewalk sales on a street where none of the stores seem to need or want them, when there are a lot more important things that need to be addressed like that 19% tax hike.

And I really don't see how it benefits Mr. Feiner for his defenders like Mr. Samis to turn any criticism of Mr. Feiner's priorities into a personal attack on some lawyer we're all supposed to have heard of who, as far as I can tell, hasn't ever said a word on this blog or in the Journal News or at any town board meetings about any of this.

hal samis said...

ah but someone looking like that lawyer did speak about the proposed sidewalk sale last year...and at Town Hall...at a Town Board meeting --
maybe you need not go a step or two further to tell...

that the only time wasting about this law is done by those of us on the blog; how much time do you really think Feiner needs to ask for a sidewalk sale.

Finally, didn't last year's Town Council also have something to do with the 19% tax hike? One way to reduce taxes might be to eliminate the entire Town Council expense if everything comes down to just the Supervisor.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Lets stop living in the past.

What is this council and supervisor going to do about taxes? And increasing assessables isnt goint to work in the short term.

hal samis said...

Golly, I'm not the Supervisor or a member of the Town Council.

Why don't you ask them.

Are there two Hal Samis? said...

Hal, you can either give your opinion or not, but if you dont start saying something about where to cut expenses, I guess that means you dont anything should be cut.

Which is consistent with Mr. Feiner saying we are not overtaxed.

hal samis said...

Dear 11:05,
Your new question is not what appeared at 6:28, that one being: what is the Supervisor or the Town Council going to do.

If, instead it is my opinion that is being elicited, then I have a few candidates for cutting expenses -- but these are not put forth with anything approaching the same degree of analysis that I put into the Library. I am not an employee of the blog, just a resident.

The Assessor's office got even more money in the Final budget than the Tentative budget allocated. My problem is why? At the same time The Town is required to use outside appraisers for cert cases, we are spending ever increasing amounts of money for a department which ends up settling certs and paving the way for even more cert cases with unfavorable results. Were ratables going in the other direction, I could see some logic but this department's increasing budget seems to be throwing more good money after bad.

Intuitively I feel that the Police Department could replaces some uniforms with lower paid civilians.
And, the standing rule seems to be to allow the Chief to buy capital equipment for any contingency which I suspect could be handled by the County, perhaps arriving a few minutes later. The Chief's copyright line "What if someone were to die" just doesn't hold water any longer and I can cite an instance where convenience becomes the real master over safety.

I would love to nab the DPW and undertand their budget, more toward knowing just how many workers are actually employed vs how many they are authorized to employ. I think that this department should be split up which in turn would make it less of a bar to replacing Mr. Regula.

However, none of these departments are going to receive the scrutiny they deserve until the Town finally hires a competent and willing Town Comptroller -- one who can create, instill and administer systems that will document productivity.

A furthur grievance is the basic result of the Town Budget late Fall scramble which results in an approved budget but nevertheless a budget which is like an evolving work of art.
Each subsequent Town Board meeting Agenda contains items called budget transfers and each of them involves moving money from one repository to another -- thereby destroying the fleeting image of what any department actually receives and what it actually spends as per the anuual budget. A strong Comptroller would close the spigots with the result that the Approved Budget would better represent what each department is actually drawing down and spending.

Does this mean that I don't buy into the formula of praising former employees. Let me state, unequivocally, that I was not impressed by the last THREE Town Comptrollers, starting with Heslop and working back. They had a job to do and how they did it or not did it was their choice. This is not an invitation to incite another round of speculation who was running the show; the reality is that all three accepted the Town's (your taxes) paychecks and abetted, if not creating, a worsening economic picture. That the Town Board chose to ignore the damage is their burden because they deposited their paychecks also.

Let's not dwell on the past and move forward. With this end in mind, the easy answer is to hire a no nonsense Comptroller.

What Feiner is saying, at least my interpretation, is that there are few inefficiencies and that the only way to reduce taxes is to cut services -- something that just won't happen unless a reverse quid pro quo is effected. Having witnessed the Town Board budget meetings and seeing how each "precinct" comes bearing the complaint about paying higher taxes and saying you've got to reduces expenses but not in my backyard. Even at the last meeting, post budget, an elderly gentlemen was insisting that the Town should be provide bus service to and from the Town Board meeting so that seniors could attend.

My assumption is that a tough Comptroller can tear apart a budget and save some bucks but not millions. As for cutting expenses or programs, this will never produce universal agreement.

You may recall that my particular pebble in the shoe is the Arts Council item. A $64,000 item that need not exist; a sinecure that could be done in part b run by the Library (poetry) and in part by the participating artists (hanging their art-for-sale by themselves).

If a Comprehensive Plan is important to some, then a bus for seniors is important to others. If a swim team rings one's bell, the Library budget tolls for another.
When you find the leader who is willing to actually cut the baby in half, let me know.

Personally, perhaps based upon my non-use, I would like to see the Town unload some parkland onto any willing assignee -- even for free. I understand the hurdles and the realities but my observation is that maintaining them into the future is going to be the straw that fell the camel. But then again, the purpose of green space and Parks is not so much for preserving nature or recreation but to prevent development and to protect school districts from students.

I know not for whom the bell tolls;
but a hard rain is already falling.

Anonymous said...

Many bloggers have suggested to sell some parkland.Will this happen I don't think we will see this in the near future.
We cannot maintain all this parkland.
Some one said if the state and county pay their share into the parks the town cannot sell.
This is where money talks and BS walks.
The people that yelled that they wanted more and more greenery have moved away and left us holding the bag.
With all the implimentation of their ideeas we are now paying dearly.
This is what happens what ever they want gets voted in and soon after when their children go off to college they move.
The comprehensive plan will only benefit the people IN EDgemont and the residents will see their taxes going up and up with no way to come down.
We have had too many dictators which led to high taxes.
The new town board should be looking to the future for the lowering of taxes.
Too bad we are looking at least two to three more years of high taxes if cuts are not put into action.
The board cannot be merciful at tax payers expense.
You have to do what is favorable for all the residents of this town.
If the parks have to go so be it.
If the center has to go or their services cut so be it.
If we have to cut jobs in the PD and DPW so be it.
The situation that we are in now and will be in for a long while has got to come to a head
The residents have spoken but the board has been deaf.
If there has to be a salary freze so be it.
Many of us are loosing our shirts with the stock market does anyone care.
MUst we loose our homes too.

Anonymous said...

Paul
Lets make the cuts in personel. Every Department could cut 10% of their staff and the public wouldn't even know it except that the budget would go down.

Anonymous said...

At a minimun, there should be no overtime allowed.

Feiner needs to update emails /blogsite said...

To Anon 1/25/2008 at 5:39PM I told you the meeting was never scheduled at 80 east and had our beloved supervisor read and updated his blogsite he would never have wasted towns tax $$$ with the mailing he did to our block. He has to update more and think before he acts.

Anonymous said...

Let's cut Town staff! Start with the idea that the Supervisor is a fulltime job. Save 1/2 his salary by paying only for time spent on Town business, not his re-election campaign or pandering to special interests!