Saturday, March 08, 2008


On Saturday morning the Town sponsored a kickoff meeting for our comprehensive plan. Over 50 people attended and participated in very interesting breakout discussions dealing with economic development, transportation, quality of life, land use and other issues. The comprehensive plan consultants/committee have created a new web site: Summaries of the meetings will be posted on the website.
The next meeting will be held this Tuesday at 7:30 PM at the Irvington Recreation Center and will focus on E Irvington/Glenville concerns.
I learned alot from the exchange of ideas and look forward to attending all the upcoming meetings.


Anonymous said...

Samis...Sheehan...Preiser...McNally...Garfunkel...Feiner...Rosenberg..Bernstein...O'Shea.................What, no omments???????

Didn't any of you at least enjoy the free breakfast????????

Anonymous said...

Come on Francis...This is embarressing. Why don't you contact your old disciple Young Kaminer to write in some posts? After all, the Comprehensive Plan is your baby Francis and it seems like no one cares. I guess most of the non-elected officials, department heads and board members who attended Saturday must have went for the free breakfast.

Anonymous said...

I guess this plan is going to be shoveled under the rug.
MAke it a free supper for attendees and maybe you will et one hunded or more attending.
Can you and the rest of the town that this plan is of no interest to the public because by now we have seen that you on the board do what you want .

Anonymous said...

Talk about embarrassing ... "must have went" ... Yikes!

hal samis said...

Anyone question why this meeting was held at the multipurpose center?

An out-of-the way location, not served by public transportation and out of the reach of the town's live broadcast facilities.

Surely, serving breakfast wasn't the only consideration.

Groups that use the multi-purpose center, like the Library Board of Trustees, rather than using Town Hall, do so for a purpose.

Surely there were weekend days that were not otherwise booked at Town Hall.

And the purpose is not because the "sponsors" truly want to encourage public participation.

Their public statements not withstanding.

Anonymous said...

These were my comments that were posted on an earlier, now closed site.

I attended the inaugural meeting of the Comprehensive Plan effort at the Anthony Veteran Center. There were approximately 30 people there who were not intimately involved in Greenburgh Town government. In other words, besides the Supervisor, the Town Board members, some commissioners, members of various town boards and some community activists, there were very few citizens. Of course, the weather wasn’t terribly inviting, and the publicity was sparse. According to the latest information, the yellow information survey, which was inserted in the Parks and Recreation publication, has not been returned in any discernible numbers.

The meeting, which lasted a few hours, attempted to collate information from the attendees on their specific interests. These subjects varied from the following: quality of life issues, neighborhood sanctity, commercial development, sidewalks, parks and recreation, signage, traffic, taxes and a host of other smaller concerns. Of course, the current Board, and the Supervisor, were saddled with this last minute $400,000 contract by the outgoing and defeated Board. Personally I was not impressed with the session, the turnout, and the focus of this effort. This reminds me of the last “parks and recreation” effort that was done a few years ago. Most of these expensive plans wind up on a shelf collecting dust. Their recommendations are too expensive and they quite often remind me of the metaphor regarding the re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Hopefully we are not the Titanic or anything close to that ill-fated vessel.

My feeling is that this money would have been much better spent developing an “Economic Development Board” that would deal with the following: developing and encouraging commercial development on Route 119, Central Avenue and Route 9A, lobbying the state on giving incentives for businesses, having the State and Federal government halt their practices of saddling communities with unfunded mandates, and pressuring our state assembly and senators to focus more on the tax burdens on Greenburgh. The schools currently consume about 60% of our local property tax revenues, and with a decline in sales tax revenues, along with the abandonment of commercial property and givebacks on taxes, as property values decline, our community will be under continued economic pressure.

In fact, the parks and the ball fields are fine, the services are excellent, the quality of life is good in Greenburgh, and some of the other problems are small. People grouse about the cost of Taxter Ridge, but in fact, the cost to the average taxpayer for that park is about $7.00 per year. The problems of signage, traffic control, and sidewalks, pale in comparison to citizens being unable to afford to live in Greenburgh, or having their children unable to live in the same community.

I therefore hope that this whole project be condensed to much less than the projected eight month effort, the cost cut dramatically, their progress closely monitored, and their emphasis be on commercial development, a growth in ratables, and tax relief.

Richard J. Garfunkel

3/08/2008 6:43 PM

PS: After reading some of the comments, It doesn't seem like any of the people at the kick-off breakfast comment on this blog. rjg

yawn said...

comprehensive..... plaaaaaaannnnnnn zzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...


This WAS YOUR CHANCE to control all of Greenburgh and you are blowing it!!!! First, you blew it by being so abusive toward everyone in your first two years that you got your friends on the Board beaten badly in the last election. Now, you are blowing it by discussing a plan that is so boring that no one cares!

Richard, really! said...

In fact, the parks and the ball fields are fine, the services are excellent, the quality of life is good in Greenburgh, and some of the other problems are small. People grouse about the cost of Taxter Ridge, but in fact, the cost to the average taxpayer for that park is about $7.00 per year. The problems of signage, traffic control, and sidewalks, pale in comparison to citizens being unable to afford to live in Greenburgh, or having their children unable to live in the same community.

Oh really? Well ok. I give my $7.00 without complaint but the other 14K I spend in taxes should be enough to take care of those "small problems" which contribute to being my being unable to afford to live in the unincorporated area. The schools are substandard, racist & unkempt, the streets are filthy, the parks & recs programs employ people with no enthusiasm or work ethics, and sorry to burst your bubble, Presser Park is a mess. Businesses don't want to come because of the dirty, weed infested roads and traffic. HELLO? Traffic is an issue for the potential retailers on Central.

These "small problems" cause the the bigger problem that you mention. Not be able to afford to live here! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure what taxes get you in Greenburgh and what taxes get you in other areas to see that the dismissed as trivial, swept under the rug, small problems make living here, doing business here, an unwise and unaffordable investment. The attitude that they are trivial is big factor in why anyone would not come to live, do business, or stay here. The larger population of Unincorporated Greenburgh is not wealthy enough to not be concerned about what they get for their money! REAL quality of live issues are considered small? Businesses should not give a hoot what their gateways look like?

I've lived here for 20 years and I can surely tell you that no way in Hades does this town look, feel, or behave as it did back then. We have no pride any longer, and it is obvious, as there is very little to be proud of lately.

You want more commercial business here? You want homes purchased? An attitude adjustment is in order.

Anonymous said...

No one in their right mind is denigrating the cost of living in Westchester, and $14K is nothing to sneeze at, less ignore. Work on Central Avenue is the state's and the county's responsibility, therefore Brodsky, Cousins and others should be pressured to have it upgraded and enhanced. I believe that there should be more state incentives to re-vitalize that thoroughfare. But competition from neighboring areas is and will continue to attract consumers.

As to the parks and the services, most will disagree with you completely. With regards to tax pressures, every community is feeling the pinch and relief must come through cuts and attrition. Revenues are down and budget creep is always there.

I have Tom Abinanti on my show, The Advocates, today at 12 noon- WVOX-1460 am- or live-streaming Listen in, we are going to talk about Westchester and the layering of services, and the multiple taxing agencies.

Maybe we'll get some enlightenment.

Richard J. Garfunkel

wxox said...

richard - can you get your previous shows posted on the wvox site faster?

didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday said...

Richard, I did catch the 1st few minutes of your show yesterday. I did hear your comment about people in the county wanting "all of these services but not wanting to pay for them."
Westchester county is ranked #1 in the ENTIRE country for highest property taxes. Greenburgh is ranked #3! Are we really asking for unreasonable services? If we are ranked #3, what should out town look like and what should we expect?

If you say that the country is responsible for maintaining something and they don't, why isn't town hall getting on top of this? If the town is responsible for quality of life issues, cleanliness, maintenance, have we not paid enough to enjoy these things?

Sorry but I disagree with you. If ranked, the conditions of our roads, parks and facilities would not make anywhere near the top 10 or 100 for that matter. Who can afford so little for so much?

It's just not enough to continue to say "look at what we have! It's fabulous!EVERYONE THINKS SO" any longer. It's just not true. You may be able to fool the newcomers but we old timers don't buy it. As for not wanting to pay for it, we really don't have much of a choice, do we? We pay for top shelf services and get bottom shelf generics and are made to feel like skinflints for expecting a better return on our investments by comments such as yours.

Anonymous said...

Listen to the rest of the show! I think you would find it worthwhile. Taxes are much too high here, obviously, but 60% go to the schools and that burden is causing most of the unhappiness. Many of the schools are not delivering to the middle-level student, therefore the obvious complaints. Tom Abinanti focused on many of the issues that face this region.

Again, I assume you meant county, not country, but the Town of Greenburgh is not responsible for major state and county roads.

The state and federal unfunded mandates, plus Medicaid are large burdens place upon our tax bill. Is there bloat in the $1.7 billion County budget, I am sure there is!

Our conversation focused on the problem of duplicated services, the layering to political entities, the large amount of tax districts, the cost of small school districts, and the power of home rule. I am sure Mr. Abinanti would love to hear from some of the wags who contribute to this blog with their new and dynamic solutions to our problems, but, please sign your name when you write him.

If you are picking a fight, so be it. I never said our roads were excellent, I think they are horrible, that our supermarkets were terrific or anything else did not need impovement. What I did say was that we are considered the eighth richest area in America. Therefore expenses are high and the ability to attract people to direct and run our schools, and our other departments of government, is also high.

If you wish to hear the whole interview, it will be on line in a few days. and you can comment on the show on line.

With regards to cost-cutting, we have had only two Democratic County Executives in the 20th century. Most of our political history was dominated by a GOP run County Board of Supervisors, and now Legislature, along with a Reoublican county executive. Why did the Republican Party start to disappear? What happened to their role as the conservative answer to "big" government? The ball is in your court!

We obviously need an active and vital two-party system to manitain proper "checks and balances." Where is it?

Some unnamed wag may call this bloviating, but these are critical questions that must be addressed. Maybe the public was just fed up with GOP rule! What did Patacki do in his 12 years? What happened to taxes and economic development in upstate New York? In actuality Hillary Clinton has done an excellent job as our Senator, and she has a strong record of bringing back some of the Federal revenue to our state.

Richard J. Garfunkel

Maybe you would rather be living in West Va., or Alaska where Sens. Byrd and Stephens are the kings of local pork!

random response to garfunkel's good post said...

abinanti is a good county legislator but refuses to return emails.

however, he is too ideological when it comes to environmental issues. for example, he voted for taxter ridge even after the price was about twice what it should have gone for because the county refused to get an updated appraisal.

as for republicans, they have just moved elsewhere. utah perhaps?

as for patakti- spitzer was right, the state was rip van winkle.

as for the entire state government, if they all went away for 6 months, would anyone miss them?

bruno, silver and patterson are mostly irrelevant - what happens in ny is largely dependent on what happens elsewhere. the best example being a recent one - washington dc

woe is us.
at least feiner answers his emails.

ps - richard do we need to send a search team to rescue from your ill fated trip to taxter ridge?

Anonymous said...

I am on Taxer Ridge every day, that's where my day job is. With regards to many of the other issues that you and others have mentioned, there are no easy solutions. The best type of leader is the one who can spread the pain evenly and make everyone feel they are not worse off then the next. For references read the biography of Thomas Corcoran, FDR's legislative assistant in his first two terms. A story is told by FDR on how he had to carve a pheasant to make everyone feel that they got the best piece.

Tom Abinanti understands the problems of both Westchester and New York all too well. Are their easy solutions to our over-spending? No! We have a county with a great many young and old, and 28% of the young people are considered below the poverty line.

The people whose children are already educated often resist school taxes. What else is new? Many, like myself, have grown children, living out of state, do not use public transportation and have not used a public pool or ballfield in memory.

The answer here is to make business and commerce attractive to stay. My suggestion is new Empire Zones where entrepeneurs can take advantage of energy subsidies, lower state taxes, and low interest loans. Maybe some businesses can have a "homesteader" type tax rebate from the State. The longer they stay, the more favorable their tax or assessment profile becomes.

But the specter of $4 per gallon gasoline may force communities to increase pay for their commuting workers. People living in Orange and Putnam counties and facing $100mile round-trip commutes will be really suffering.

My belief is that Taxter Ridge pales in comparison. At the moment it doesn't need maintenance.

Richard J. Garfunkel

question for mr g said...

richard i live off 9A near elmsford - how do i get to taxter ridge? where do i park?


ps - looking forward to yoyr interview with mr feiner on wvox

correction said...

oops - feiner's interview with iagallo - thx for the updage

Anonymous said...

The people whose children are already educated often resist school taxes. What else is new? Many, like myself, have grown children, living out of state, do not use public transportation and have not used a public pool or ballfield in memory

Many in Unincorporated Greenburgh/Greenburgh Central have school age children attending private schools. They have the double whammy and resist too. This adds to the problem.

Anonymous said...

I dont use a public pool or ballfield. I also dont get social security, but pay lots in, and doubt I will ever see a nickle.

lump of coal said...

lets see, try and sell your house where there are no ballfields, no public schools, no recreation facilities, no parks, etc.

while one can certainly question the excess of some of these things in greenburgh (taxter, art conservators, white elephant libraries), you have a lump of coal without them to some degree.

Anonymous said...

Gold was against the development of Taxter rd.well now with the closing of a catholic school is he going to forbid the children from going into the Irvington schools.

question about catholic schools said...

can anyone explain why all these catholic schools are closing?

i have heard there are less nuns so they have to pay market rate for teachers - but outside of that, what is going on.

is the catholic population declining in westchester? is there something wrong with the catholic schools?

Anonymous said...

Catholic schools are closing for many reason.
There are less religious teachers.
Teachers deserve higher salary,but the systems cannot afford their demands.
Tuition payed for these schools is way to high and not covering all the expenses.
Parents figure since they are paying so much in taxes they should take advantage of the local public schools and because of this there is a declining amount of children attending the Catholic schools.
There is nothing wrong with the catholic school system it is still the greatest but attendance has gone down to nothing which means the schools have to close their doors.
The parents of a child attending a religious school has to pay double
first for the tuition and then the school tax for the school in their area.

Anonymous said...

The catholic schools in Hartsdale will not be closing in the near future. As long as Greenburgh Central keeps up with it's stellar performance & racist policies, that is.

Anonymous said...

It costs Greenburgh central $21K to educate kids far below the level of the Catholic elementary & high schools in Greenburgh at $3.4K (k-8) and $5.5K (9-11) Go figure!

Areas where the public schools preform well have low enrolment in Catholic schools but the are many private schools as well in Westchester that are thriving.

Anonymous said...

The catholic schools in Hartsdale will stay open because they have 100% enrollment.
The money is coming in to cover all expenses.
When the teachers decide that they want more money then things could become a little touchy.
Everything depends on the enrollment.

Anonymous said...

The catholic school in Irvington will be closing because of low enrollment.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Archdioceses school teachers do not have a contact and are very unhappy. These recent closings may help the teachers settle on a contact. There will be many that leave to work elsewhere but in Hartsdale, there is no fear of closings unless of course, Central 7 decides to engage the entire student population. I doubt it.