Wednesday, April 30, 2008


From the Politics on the Hudson blog, looks like my old stomping grounds are getting radical.

Spurred on by anger over high taxes and proposed raises for County Legislators, the move to abolish Westchester County government may not be rolling yet, but it’s at least at the starting line. Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Yonkers City Councilwoman Joan Gronowski hold their first joint meeting of the Committee to Abolish County Government, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Will Library on Central Avenue near Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers. The meeting is open to the public.

Among the first actions the committee plans will be a petition drive calling on New York State to commission an independent study to look into Connecticut’s experiences and how that state, which abolished county government several decades ago, manages.

Ask Massachusetts, too. They did it in 1997. Here’s how you do it. It’s quite simple.

1. Counties continue to exist as geographical entities.
2. County sheriffs continue to exist and be elected from the county constituency. They and their deputies become state employees.
3. County clerks continue to be elected from the county constituency. They and their staff and registries become state employees and entities.
4. The middleman is eliminated, your sales tax is 5%, your property tax is lower, and yet essential services are maintained. Remember - it’s Massachusetts, not Mississippi.

Massachusetts is smaller than New York in every way, so it might all be easier in practice, but perhaps it’s time to more seriously look into this.

Photo from MV Jantzen @ Flickr

Comment Read more about Abolish County Government, Erie County, Westchester, WNY


Some creative E Hartsdale Ave suggestions from Hal...what do you think?

Proposal #1
How about free Saturday parking in Hartsdale during the summer? Even as an experiment.

I'm sure that the Parking District has historic records of collections and ticketing on Saturdays.
I'm sure that the Parking District can estimate what the effect of losing this revenue would this to take effect.
I'm sure that this would be accompanied by a reduction in payroll without any ticketing administration being in place. Who wouldn't want not to have to come to work on a summer Saturday?

1) many Hartsdale residents are away on summer weekends and parking revenue drops off anyway
2) the Parking District already allows or tolerates the loss of parking revenue from the cybermobile and farmer's market
3) that free parking would encourage those living within, say a mile, who would already be behind their steering wheel leaving to shop elsewhere (say at stores along Central Avenue with free parking) and might consider a stop in downtown were parking available without the threat of incurring a ticket
4) it would be a welcome gift to merchants
5) merchants would have to see this as a good things and NOT hog the parking for themselves, even to the extent of ratting each other out
6) it is an experiment for a limited period, belated recognition for flooding
7) designated free all-day parking areas would be provided for those taking the train or having visitors
8) it is economically feasible
9) the idea can be sold to both resident and apartment dweller alike, the town/parking district help those who help themselves

Proposal #2

Merchants being provided with permits for unlimited free parking in the least desirable parking areas. This would likely give them less reason to hog metered street parking.

Proposal #3
Selling single use parking "debit" cards or tokens as "units" to merchants in bulk at a discount or even at full face if the idea is tenable. In turn, merchants would give them to customers as shopping rewards. Bank and credit union could use them in promotions to open an account or buy a CD; retailers might award "x" tokens with each purchase totalling "y"; restaurants with the additional purchase of wine or dessert, health club with membership or renewal of membership... a token of appreciation from and in recognition of...

The beauty of this as a promotion is that it is not redeemable anywhere else and under the use it or lose it marketing doctrine, it practically insures that customers will return to Hartsdale and perhaps a return visit to their "host" just to take advantage of their free parking and maybe even repeat the cycle, purchase = parking

Proposal #3.1
The parking "units" above are numbered. A monthly drawing is held; the winning number gets a month free parking pass. This is not a lottery as the holders of these units did not pay for their entries.

Proposal #3.2
The parking units are sold to merchants at a premium to their equivalent parking value. The excess goes into a fund for downtown Hartsdale improvements. Such improvements to be chosen by the Parking District as the eyes and ears of downtown.

Proposal #3.4
Owners of vacant stores might purchase these units as an incentive to tenants who sign a lease. The tenants in turn would have a no-cost grand opening gift to those who visit the store.

These are just a few ideas I am throwing out. I have no investment in them one way or another.
Hal Samis

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The town has reserved some parking spots for those who share rides to get to our town hall. The spots are located near the entrance to Town Hall. This initiative, first proposed by former Energy Conservation coordinator Nikki Coddington, is designed to encourage employees and Town Hall visitors to ride share.
The Town Board plans to appoint a replacement to Nikki Coddington at our May 14th Town Board meeting. Funding for the replacement will come from grants and from a suggested new building permit application designated fee that can only be used for energy conservation initiatives. Our part time energy conservation coordinator earns about $29,000 a year, with no benefits.

NEW RESIDENTS RECEPTION ON MAY 6TH--VETERAN TOWN PARK, 6 PM. Are you a new resident of the town? If yes, please attend our new residents reception on May 6th. To RSVP please email


The town has reserved some parking spots for those who share rides to get to our town hall. The spots are located near the entrance to Town Hall. This initiative, first proposed by former Energy Conservation coordinator Nikki Coddington, is designed to encourage employees and Town Hall visitors to ride share.
The Town Board plans to appoint a replacement to Nikki Coddington at our May 14th Town Board meeting. Funding for the replacement will come from grants and from a suggested new building permit application designated fee that can only be used for energy conservation initiatives. Our part time energy conservation coordinator earns about $29,000 a year, with no benefits.

NEW RESIDENTS RECEPTION ON MAY 6TH--VETERAN TOWN PARK, 6 PM. Are you a new resident of the town? If yes, please attend our new residents reception on May 6th. To RSVP please email


These are difficult times. A few weeks ago the town received a triple AAA rating from S & P. Our bond rating went up! The New York Times had their credit rating reduced today. See the following Crains report. In fairness, the town has the ability to increase taxes, which the Times can't. However--I'm still proud of the fact that we have received the highest bond rating in town history, despite the economy.

Tough Times: S&P cuts to a notch above junk
The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, but remain just one notch above junk status, and a negative outlook means another downgrade could occur.

April 29. 2008 2:02PM
(AP) - Credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Tuesday cut its long-term rating on newspaper publisher The New York Times Co., as its advertising revenue continues to fall.

S&P cut its corporate credit rating and senior unsecured debt rating to ''BBB-'' from ''BBB.''

''BBB-'' is one notch above ''junk bond'' status. The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, but the outlook is negative, meaning another downgrade could occur.
''The rating downgrade reflects a worsening pace of decline in advertising revenue at the company's newspaper publications,'' said S&P credit analyst Emile Courtney in a statement.

Despite weakening ad revenue, The New York Times has a diversified and quickly growing online revenue base. S&P expects online revenue will begin to offset print revenue declines over the next few years.

Monday, April 28, 2008


-----Original Message-----
From: John Lucido
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 10:05 AM
Subject: RE: Commerical sign on Columbia Ave, Hartsdale

Mrs. Bellino was issued eighteen summonses before the Zoning Board of Appeals denied her sign variance. She removed the sign after she received the decision, however, last week the sign went up again and we issued four more summonses. I’ve since been advised that Mrs. Bellino has retained counsel and is appealing the decision of the Town to New York State Supreme Court.

John Lucido
Building Inspector
Town of Greenburgh

-----Original Message-----

Dear Paul,

I am writing to you on behalf of a number of people in the neighborhood who see that the same Blum and Bellino sign that was removed about 2-3 weeks ago is back up again. And we want to know why.

The Minutes of the Meeting in February indicated that this sized sign was unanimously voted by the Board to be removed. After several weeks, because the sign was still there, several neighbors called the Town and were told that she had 30 days to remove the sign after the posting of the Meeting results. By the time I called in early April, I was told that she was in violation, was being fined each day the sign remained up, and that the Town attorney was taking her to court the following Wednesday to get it removed. While I was unable to attend the Wednesday court session, several neighbors were and agreed to go. I called the Town attorney and left a detailed message on her phone that if she would simply call me back and tell me what time the court session was, I would tell the various neighborhood residents who wanted to attend. While the attorney never called me back, the sign was then removed within the following day or 2.

So now that this exact same-sized sign was installed again this week, we are wondering what is going on. I’m told that several people made calls and left messages so it isn’t as if the Town officials aren’t aware of it. Please see what you can find out and let me know.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The position of treasurer would require a commitment of approximately two or three hours a month and to be present at our monthly meeting, the first Monday of the month at 8:PM. The mail in the volunteer mail box at Fire Headquarters on W. Hartsdale Ave. would have to be checked for bank statements some time before the monthly meeting.

A short report would then be presented by the treasurer to the membership regarding the status of our accounts at the meeting.

Someone who has had some experience with this sort of work would be greatly appreciated. E MAIL: WINART1@AOL.COM. Irwin Rosenblatt is the ex-captain of the department.


Ardsley Mayor Jay Leon & village officials, County Legislator Tom Abinanti, Greenburgh Town Board members Sonja Brown, Kevin Morgan, Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan and I will be sponsoring a community meeting at the Ardsley Community Center on Thursday evening, May 1st at 7:30 PM.

  The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss issues of concern to you. There is no specific agenda. The goal: to hear your concerns. We will respond as best as we can.
To give you a taste of the topics that could come up:

1) The reconstruction of the Ashford Ave bridge.
2) The promised reconstruction of Macy Park

3) The future use of the waterwheel property. We are currently reviewing options - all of which include selling the property to a developer who will construct town houses that will include affordable housing to some degree.

4) The proposal by the County Executive to purchase land on 9A near Ardsley and to turn the property into a tax exempt county office building -- to house the Board of Elections. Legislator Abinanti & the town have expressed opposition to the proposal because the property will not generate revenue for the town and school district.

The next comprehensive meeting will be held on April 29th at 7:30 PM at Woodlands High School. This meeting is being held for residents of Secor/Ridge Road. However, others can attend. Share your input on taxes, traffic and infrastructure, affordable housing, public facilities/services, environment, public safety, quality of life. PAUL FEINER

Friday, April 18, 2008


Town of Greenburgh
Work Session Agenda of the Greenburgh Town Board
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 (NO WORK SESSION THIS TUESDAY)
(All Work Sessions are Televised Live on Cablevision Channel 76, Verizon 32)
All Work Sessions are now streamed live.
1:15.m. Executive Session – Discussion – Candidates:
Energy Conservation Coordinator Position

1:30p.m. Cabrini Affordable Housing re: Main Street, Dobbs Ferry

1:45p.m. David Doynow—request to purchase a very small parcel of town land

2:00p.m. Parcel Q – Councilman Francis Sheehan

2:15p.m. TDYCC: Commissioner’s Salary, Job Advertisement,
Greenburgh Affordable Housing (Hastings, Knollwood Rd.
- Councilwoman Sonja Brown

2:45p.m. 2009 Forecast – Michael Kolesar, Comptroller

3:00p.m. Special Meeting

• Tree Decision - Broadview
• Tree Appeal Hearing – Old Army Road
• Appointment of Energy Conservation Coordinator

5:30p.m. Adjourn

May 6, 2008 Work Session – Tentative

• Philanthropy Department – Winsome Gordon
• GHA Account Receivable, 1st Quarter Financial Review, Internal Controls (findings to date), PBA: Dental Claim; PBA: Spousal Retiree Medical – Michael Kolesar
• May Visit, Bar Out List – Councilwoman Sonja Brown
• Tappan Zee Bridge – Murray Bodin
• Helene Orce: Edgemont Fire District
• Hevelyn Road
• Leaf Blower Ban Laws
Work Session Summary – Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Hevelyn Road
The Town of Greenburgh is considering a request to repave Hevelyn Road (located off of Knollwood Road) as the road has not been paved in over seventy years. The town has fixed potholes on the road for many years and has also provided snow removal/garbage collection services. Before the Board decides on the project, the Town and the Village of Elmsford must resolve the question regarding whether or not Highway Law 189 allows for the Town to “take-over” the specific road.
Town Comptroller, Michael Kolesar announced that the Town is “on-target” for a 5.2 million dollar serial bond refinancing which will save the tax payers 275K over an eight year period of time. (*Note – On Thursday, 4/17, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner was informed that the Town of Greenburg’s bond rating has been upgraded to AAA, the highest rating a municipality can receive from Standard & Poors Bond Rating Agency.) Less than 3% of all communities in the nation have AAA bond ratings.
Richard Greenspan Property Bridge Repair
A portion of the Town’s share for the repair of this bridge will come from FEMA.
Gerry Byne, Commissioner, Parks and Recreation requested to revisit this issue at the May 6th Work Session.
Theodore D. Young Community Center
The RFP, developed by Councilwoman Sonja Brown and Councilman Francis Sheehan, formerly approved by the Board, authorizing the solicitation of a consulting firm to conduct a needs assessment at TDYCC was presented in its final format. The job announcement for the TDYCC Commissioner’s position is now available on the Town website. Press releases will be sent to newspapers advertising the position. A salary range will be presented for Board discussion. Acting Commissioner Valerie Whitehead and staff presented a comprehensive overview of program currently offered at TDYCC.
UPDATE –WESTHAB-----I have spoken to representatives of WESTHAB. They are planning to downsize their proposed workforce housing proposal and will present the Town Board with a new plan within the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


GREAT NEWS----------I have been advised that the Town of Greenburgh’s bond rating has been UPGRADED to AAA, the highest rating a municipality can receive from Standard & Poors Bond Rating Agency. I spoke to the Standard & Poors analyst who was assigned to review Greenburgh’s finances. He indicated that very few municipalities in New York State (less than 3%) have AAA bond rating. In Westchester County the following communities also have earned the prestigious AAA bond ratings from Standard & Poors: Bedford & Harrison. The last time S&P upgraded the town’s bond rating was in 1998 when our bond rating was increased to AA+. A high bond rating reduces interest rates.

Moody’s (another bond rating agency) maintained the town’s bond rating agency as Aa1 (the 2nd highest rating) and commented on the “town’s healthy financial position driven by strong financial management, affluent and sizable tax base and low debt position with rapid payout.” Moody’s also said that they expect “that Greenburgh will continue to maintain healthy financial operations given formally adopted financial policies, long term planning and a stable revenue mix.”

This is fantastic news for the town. Members of the Town Board ( Sonja Brown, Diana Juettner, Kevin Morgan, Francis Sheehan & I ) have been working with our Comptroller’s office ( Comptroller Mike Kolesar and Deputy Comptroller Bart Talamani) –trying to manage our budget and finances in the most efficient manner possible. Late last year the Town Board approved a fund balance policy for the town. We are tightening up fiscal controls. We are refinancing our bonds –which will save taxpayers about $275,000 over 8 years. Town residents face a bigger than usual tax hike this year. We have learned from the 2008 budget process. A new citizens budget advisory task force has been working hard—providing town officials with input that will help us give the taxpayers great value for their dollar. We can handle the up’s and down’s of the economy and will work harder than ever to run the most efficient government possible.

I would like to thank the Town Board, Comptroller Mike Kolesar, Deputy Comptroller Bart Talamani, the entire town staff & community volunteers for working as a team. A copy of the report will be released in it’s entirety after it is publicly released by S & P.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Soggy anniversary
The flood, a year later
In Hartsdale’s business district, two vacant storefronts stand as haunting reminders of what passed though here one year ago and what some fear might come again. They are flanked by 11 retailers and restaurants that have reopened along East Hartsdale Avenue, two with new ownership, since the nor’easter last April left this business block under several feet of flood water and sank some recovering victims more deeply in business debt. Before that weekend storm and severe flooding, an HSBC bank branch and one of the block’s two dry cleaners occupied those empty stores. Neither returned after the flood. Prospective tenants there have looked but walked away.Last year’s flood “was an aberration,” said Martin Deitch, founding partner of Aries Deitch and Edelson Inc., the Hartsdale real estate company marketing the vacant buildings. “However, trying to get retailers or companies past the concept that it can happen again is a huge hurdle. Everyone has this concept that it’s going to happen. It’s a perception that’s difficult to overcome even though it’s great real estate. The town is vibrant.”Deitch said he is in talks with another bank that might open a branch there. He is talking too to small merchants to lease the space. For owners who reopened, business has not been what it was before the flood, a few said. First the rising water, now a receding economy has hurt them.“Businesswise, it hasn’t come back,” said Phil Benincasa Sr. at King-Aristocrat dry cleaners. With the spring flood wiping out the busiest dry-cleaning and garment-storage season, “We lost a year’s business almost and it really hasn’t recouped.”“People form certain habits. They find other places to go, places to shop, places to eat,” said Benincasa. “All the businesses here are suffering, even the ones that stayed open” across East Hartsdale Avenue.Benincasa said he still is waiting to receive the federal Small Business Administration loan for which he was approved after “reams of paperwork.” In Westchester County, the SBA approved 60 disaster loans totaling $10,609,600 to businesses stricken by the April flood.“How will I use it? To catch up on all the bills I haven’t paid,” the dry-cleaning merchant said.Benincasa was one of eight Hartsdale business owners who last year filed a lawsuit against business district landlords, the town of Greenburgh and the Hartsdale Parking Authority, which operates a public parking garage directly behind the row of flooded buildings, seeking unspecified damages for an allegedly inadequately designed, overloaded and neglected storm drainage system that they claim caused the flooding. Owners said they do not expect the lawsuit to be settled soon. One owner said storm drains have been regularly maintained by the various parties responsible for them since the lawsuit was filed. Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner last week said the town board commissioned a study of flooding on East Hartsdale Avenue and is waiting for a final report on the causes and both short-term and long-term recommendations.“A lot of people got hurt,” said Dee Francetic, whose eponymous hair salon on East Hartsdale Avenue was not in the flood’s path. “Fortunately, the town is coming back to life and merchants are doing better.” After a slow winter in the business district, “Maybe with the spring it will give us a chance to have a better year,” she said.At Enrico’s Pastry Shop and Caffe, a steady stream of customers picked out favored sweets from glass display cases one morning last week. Hartsdale residents Joseph and Michelle Floriano opened the popular and well-stocked bakery last October, naming it after the original Enrico’s started 57 years ago by Joe Floriano’s parents in the Morris Park section of the Bronx.The previous bakery on the spot, one of the flood victims, “just kind of fell flat” in recent years, Floriano said. The Bronx transplant had his eye on the location for some time, he said, and he has brought business back to the avenue since acquiring it. “Holidays, we had lines outside the door and down the block,” he said.“The area needed some kind of stimulation,” said Floriano. Employees at Enrico’s next-door neighbor, Rite Aid Pharmacy, told him their store’s business had gone up as much as 25 percent since the bakery brought back shoppers to the block.
Another new business on East Hartsdale Avenue, Hunan Village II, has replaced a former Chinese restaurant closed by the flood. Since opening at New Year’s, “Business has been OK,” said Gloria Jeng, whose husband, chef Jimmy Zheng, heads the kitchen staff.Still, business could be better, she said, and the flood is not to blame for the lack of customers.“I think people eat out less because of the economy,” said Jeng. “The takeouts are not as busy and people order less.”At Harrys of Hartsdale, the upscale eatery that anchors one end of the business block, owner Steven Palm has observed much the same with his business. “As far as the flood recovery, we have recovered,” he said last week. “Now after the flood, now you have a new situation” that comes with a sinking economy.Palm, whose Westchester Restaurant Group also includes Underhills Crossing in Bronxville, lost an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 in business during the six weeks he was closed after the flood and another $400,000 in lost restaurant equipment, inventory and infrastructure. A year later, he is still in litigation to collect from his insurance company, which denied his claim because the flood was an “act of God.” Palm said he took out a $350,000 disaster relief loan from the Small Business Administration “just to survive.”Now, “With the hard economic times that we’re experiencing, I think everyone has been hit with a decrease, if not just a flat line, in sales,” he said. By closing one day a week since February and introducing a lower-priced tapas menu, Harrys of Hartsdale has been able to maintain last year’s sales figures and improve cash flow, Palm said. But the restaurant’s 30 percent increase in food and gas expenditures this year cannot be passed on to customers, “otherwise we’ll put ourselves out of the market,” he said.In the slowed economy, “A lot of the high-end restaurants are getting hit more than the mid-range restaurants because we’re a luxury, not a necessity,” he said.“We went through this in 2001” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Palm said. “You’ve just got to ride the wave.”


On Saturday a prominent Westchester Rabbi and his wife lost their lives after lightning hit their home. I asked the Building Inspector about our the building code. I was under the impression that homes are protected from lightning. This is Building Inspector John Lucido's response:

The State Building Code, Chapter 35, requires grounding rods on all buildings. Grounding rods are connected to the earth and has a ground wire connected from the outside electric service panel to the grounding rod. This protects the electric service from a fire during a lightning strike. It won’t, however, protect if lightning strikes the wood roof rafters then extends fire to the shingles and interior of a house or building. These types of strikes are infrequent but do rarely happen, as was the case for the poor Rabbi and his wife.

John Lucido

Friday, April 11, 2008


Town of Greenburgh
Work Session Agenda of the Greenburgh Town Board
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
(All Work Sessions are Televised Live on Cablevision Channel 76, Verizon 32)
All Work Sessions are now streamed live.
7:30p.m. Executive Session / Personnel – Discuss selection of

Candidate for the Energy Conservation Coordinator position and

TDYCC Advisory Board Interview
7:45p.m. Hevelyn Road – Al Regula

8:00p.m. Bond Refinancing – Michael Kolesar

8:15p.m. MIS – Pandya Dipak and Michael Ng

8:25p.m. Richard Greenspan Property Bridge Repair – Gerry Byrne

8:35p.m. Chief Kapica

9:00pm. Appointments / Special Meeting:

· CAC – Richard J. Ronde

· Additional TDYCC Search Committee Members

· Energy Conservation Coordinator Position

· Housing Authority Report

· Tree Appeal

April 22, 2008 Work Session – Cancelled

April 23, 2008 Town Board Meeting – Cancelled

April 29, 2008 Work Session - Tentative

Ø Greenburgh Housing Authority

Ø Cabrini – Proposed Affordable Housing in Dobbs Ferry

Ø Richard Greenspan Property Bridge Repair

Work Session Summary – Tuesday – April 8, 2008

(Please note the following addition to the Tuesday, April 1, 2008 Work Session Summary:

Councilman Francis Sheehan submitted a report on the Greenburgh Housing Authority tours. The report was distributed to the Board and Town Attorney for the Town Attorney’s opinion re: whether or not it would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy to include the tenant’s names in the report. It was subsequently decided that a redacted version of the report would be submitted to reflect the removal of tenants’ names, only.)

Sunrise Assisted Living Proposal: Follow-Up Presentation

Sunrise Assisted Living, a national provider of senior living residences, conducted a follow-up presentation to their initial February meeting with the Board. During the first meeting, the Board requested that the developers prepare a financial/economic impact analysis as well as an environmental impact analysis. The proposed site is located off Route 119, in the Glenville area of Tarrytown – an area that also borders East Irvington and Watch Hill. Presenters suggested that, with the development, the likelihood of a considerable traffic flow was minimal and that the town would generate significant taxes from the development. Next steps include the submittal of a special permit, a rezoning application as well as a zoning amendment and referral to the Planning Board. The town will undertake traffic, environmental reviews. The Town Supervisor recommended a 2nd follow-up meeting with the Board to include residents from Glenville, East Irvington and Watch Hill with the possibility of this combined community meeting taking place at the community outreach meeting in Glenville. (Date and time, TBA).

Budget Review - 2009: Council Members’ Assignments to Town Departments

Board members will help department heads identify cuts in their budgets. Assignments are as follows:

Councilperson Departments

Sonja Brown Theodore D. Young Community Center & the Dept. of Philanthropy

Diana Juettner Parks & Recreation, Library & the Office of the Assessor

Kevin Morgan Police Depart. & the Dept. of Public Works

Francis Sheehan Departments of Planning, the Comptroller and Building

Paul Feiner Purchasing & MIS

Parcel Q

An Ardsley resident currently has access to property owned by the county (by special permit) and the Town of Greenburgh has expressed interest in purchasing the property. County Legislator, Thomas Abinanti advised the Board to send an updated letter expressing an interest in the parcel. The issue will also be presented for discussion at the May 1st Community Outreach meeting to be held at the Ardsley Community Center.

Library Budget and Construction

The Library has a construction budget of $19.8 million. Genie Contrata announced the existence of approximately $400. thousand in grants for the purpose of library construction enhancements. Discussion centered around the question of whether or not the grants should be used for enhancements or applied to lower the bond amount. Town Supervisor, Paul Feiner, requested that the library conduct an analysis to determine the impact on the library development should the funds be applied to lower the debt rather than on enhancements. He also stated that a termination date for Triton should be considered.

Hastings Affordable Housing

Guidelines for selection state that there must be a neutral list – open to anyone and not restricted. There are currently 2 Town employees and 2 Town residents who have indicated an interest in moving into the four designated affordable housing units. The town will send an e mail alert to residents identifying the availability of the 4 housing units to unincorporated Greenburgh residents.

Old Army Road

Applicants (Edgemont residents) applied for a tree removal permit (for a number of trees) in order to clear land for the construction of a house. An appeal of the initial decision must be heard by the Town Board – as per law.


In January, a petition was initiated for a zone change to build an affordable housing unit on Tarrytown Road near Fulton Park Apartments. The following steps have been taken toward the project’s development: The Town of Greenburgh declared intent to be lead agency, the developers appeared before the Planning Board and a public discussion will be held at the Planning Board meeting on April 16, 2008. The applicant has modified plans – they reduced the height of the building and number of units by 2.

Draft Resolution to Expand the Theodore D. Young Community Center’s Advisory Board

Councilwoman Sonja Brown has initiated steps to expand the Advisory Board by 2 members. Town Attorney, Tim Lewis will write the resolution and present it for approval at the April 10, 2008 Board meeting.

Annual Financial Disclosure

Only those individuals who serve as members of advisory boards who make decisions will be asked to submit financial disclosure forms.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The Greenburgh Town Board unanimously approved the following resolution at last nights Town Board meeting authorizing a work off taxes program for up to 15 senior citizens. Eligible seniors will receive $8 an hour and can work up to 100 hours. The income is taxable. We are pushing the NY State Legislature to adopt legislation which has been enacted in other states that would authorize participants to receive income tax free tax credits. This is a pilot program. We want to test it out. I hope that if the program is successful we will be able to expand the initiative. I also am hopeful that school districts and the county government will also consider similar programs. Questions? Please call me at 993-1545 or e mail me at Applications are being accepted by Pauline Kirkland (


WHEREAS, approximately 125 communities around the nation offer seniors who are experiencing difficulties with their tax bills the opportunity to work off part of their bill; and

WHEREAS, the localities that currently offer seniors this program are able to provide seniors with tax credits – free of state income tax; and

WHEREAS, efforts are being pursued in Albany to amend the state law to authorize local governments in New York the ability to offer senior citizens the opportunity to receive tax credits if they work off part of their property taxes; and


WHEREAS, until the state approves such a law the Town cannot provide tax credits to seniors, but, in the interim, can create a limited number of part time jobs for senior citizens; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board would like to establish a tax work off program for seniors who are on fixed incomes; and

WHEREAS, under the pilot program that the Town will establish, taxpayers must be at least 65 years of age, not have more than $36,000 in household income, and reside at the location in which the abatement is being applied; and

WHEREAS, participants will receive an hourly rate of $8.00, for a maximum of 100 hours and a maximum of $800 per senior per fiscal year, with the requirement that all work performed must be done on municipal property; and

WHEREAS, the Town will limit this pilot program to 15 participants during 2008 and issue a report to the members of the New York State Legislature regarding the program at the end of the year;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board of Town of Greenburgh hereby authorizes a work for taxes pilot program for up to 15 eligible senior citizens who will work for the Town on a part-time basis, receiving an hourly rate of $8.00, for a maximum of 100 hours and a maximum of $800 per senior per fiscal year, with the requirement that all work performed must be done on municipal property; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that to be eligible the taxpayer must be at least 65 years of age, not have more than $36,000 in household income, and reside at the location in which the abatement is being applied; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the seniors participating in the program shall be advised that all income is taxable and that their income can impact their STAR benefits, and the participants shall be required to sign a statement indicated that they have been advised of these potential impacts.

Submitted: 4/9/2008 Revised: 4/9/2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


WWW.GREENBURGHNY.COM (ARCHIVES--TOWN BD MEETINGS)--April 8. This portion of the meeting started about 3 hours into the meeting.


Supervisor Feiner,
It was nice speaking with you at Sustainable Hastings last weekend. As requested, here is the link to our company's website which will provide you with much information.

Also, there is an event coming up on May 18 that I thought you should know about. Known as Greasestock, the event started several years ago with a group of vegetable oil car enthusiasts. It has grown into a more broad-based alternative energy festival, with over 50 veg-oil cars driving in from a dozen states as well as exhibitors displaying a variety of alternative fuel technologies with a sustainable lifestyle theme (solar, air-power, bio-diesel, etc.). It is a great event that gets tremendous media coverage (NY Times, Journal News, CNN/RNN, local papers, etc.). It is held on the grounds of Peter Pratt's Inn, in Yorktown Heights and it would be great if you could attend. The website is

Please feel free to contact me if yiou have any questions.

Thank you,

Jon Bernz
V.O. Tech, LLC
10 South Moger Avenue
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 USA

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Task force may be the beginning of the end for wasteful county government
By Phil Reisman
Journal News columnist • April 8, 2008

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Some years ago, an ambitious study called Westchester 2000 looked into ways of streamlining the county's disparate municipal governments and school districts.

It was a top-down concept, aimed mainly at consolidating services on the local level. The goal was to slow down runaway taxes, but in the end only a handful of suggestions were ever adopted.

Perhaps the time has come to flip Westchester 2000 on its side. Why not look at the issue from the bottom up and examine the possibility of abolishing county government? Give it a name - Westchester 2100.

As it happens, something along the lines of a Westchester 2100 is already in motion.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Yonkers City Councilwoman Joan Gronowski yesterday announced the formation of a citizens' task force whose mission will be to weigh the pros and cons of doing away with a top-heavy and increasingly unpopular layer of government, a juggernaut of patronage that carries a $1.8 billion budget as well as a great deal of political baggage.

Feiner has been a voice in the wilderness for years, ever since 1990 when he served on the county Board of Legislators and had an epiphany about the inherent weakness and costly redundancy of county government in relation to the state's overarching power.

At that time, the state refused to permit Westchester to initiate a bipartisan, property-tax stabilization act, which hinged on increasing the sales tax by 1.5 percent. As a result, the county was faced with the prospect of drastically raising property taxes or laying off workers.

In an op-ed piece he wrote, Feiner recalled an instance in 1974 when the county sought to change the name of the Department of Transit to the Department of Transportation. The county board had to hold a public hearing and send a home-rule request up to Albany for approval. After Senate and Assembly committees met on the "issue," the bill was finally signed into law by the governor.

The absurdity of this is obvious.

And now Feiner, with Gronowski's support, has renewed his proposal to kill off county government altogether because, as he put it in a press statement, "about 75 percent of county government functions" are already mandated by the state and federal governments. To them, the question of what county government does and why it is needed is only rhetorical. The state's already in charge, so why have a superfluous layer between local municipalities and Albany?

Feiner's critics would say his timing represents a clever attempt to deflect political fallout from a 21.5 percent tax increase that was imposed in his own town last month. The county property tax rate in Yonkers, where Gronowski is serving her first term on the council, just shot up 24 percent, causing a loud collective groan from the city populace.

Political motives aside, there may be a perfect storm brewing. Three factors are feeding the storm - a persistent unrest about high taxes in general, a spike in anxiety brought about by predictions that we are fast slipping into a long-term recession, if we're not in the midst of one already, and a perception of governmental arrogance exacerbated by such figures as county board Chairman Bill Ryan, whose rapid expansion of the legislative branch has included a recent effort to secure a substantial pay raise for himself and other legislators.

What's unclear is whether the storm will peter out before it strikes Ryan and the other denizens of the Michaelian Office Building. Feiner and Gronowski, who appear to be dead serious, will hold their first meeting at 7:30 p.m. April 30 at the Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers.

Doing away with county government, as was done in Connecticut, presents a huge, complicated challenge. There are 62 county governments in the state, and not all of them have a county executive or a board of legislators. The level of distaste for county government varies from county to county.

Because of competing interests, mustering a statewide effort would be difficult. For instance, shifting the management of services to the state would raise state income taxes to offset some of the reduction in property taxes. That would be popular in well-off suburban counties like Westchester, where many in the middle class own their own homes, though perhaps not as popular in urban areas.

Getting self-serving politicians to voluntarily put themselves out of business would be nothing short of revolutionary, too. Just try to imagine Andy Spano making a declaration that it's time to pack it in.

This would take a lot of time. That's why I call it Westchester 2100.

But there is an alternative, a kind of halfway measure that doesn't have to be carried out in Albany, but in White Plains. Form a heavyweight panel of legal and financial experts, say, 10 in all, whose mission would be to quietly and methodically study the matter from every conceivable angle and then draft a new county charter to reduce the size of government.

Here's just a few results that could come from this. Playland Amusement Park, a perennial money-loser, could be scaled back to a passive park. The Bee-Line Bus Service could be sold to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Either the county Board of Legislators or the county executive's office could be sent to the dustbin of history.

Retained would be the basics - the county clerks, the courts and district attorney and social services.

The next step would be to release the proposal before a major election, especially if an open seat such as the county executive's job was at stake.

That way the candidates would be forced to take a position on it. This isn't just run-of-the-mill arm twisting. It's more like a sumo match.

Who knows? The Feiner-Gronowski effort may be the start of something big.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Yonkers Councilwoman Joan Gronowski announced the formation of a citizens task force to explore the possibility of eliminating Westchester County government. Feiner, a former Westchester County Legislator, has advocated the abolishment of county government since he was a County Legislator. He wrote an op-ed in the NY Times in 2000 –while serving as a Legislator. Councilwoman Gronowski also has experience working in county government. She served as assistant to former Westchester County Executive Alfred Del Bello. The Councilwoman is serving her first term.

A community meeting/strategy session will be held at the Will Library in Yonkers on Wednesday, April 30th at 7:30 PM. We’re looking for people who are willing to spend the time to research the steps Connecticut took to successfully eliminate this level of government. We also want to explore the potential impacts the elimination of county government would have on services and taxes.

Councilwoman Gronowski and Supervisor Feiner decided to hold the meeting on April 30th –the last day taxpayers can pay their county taxes. We feel that the combined municipal and county real estate taxes are forcing people to consider whether they can remain in Westchester. It’s becoming unaffordable and decent, hardworking, long -time residents are moving out.

Approximately 75% of the $1.78 billion dollar county budget are mandates from the state and/or federal governments. If the county has limited control over three quarters of the budget –do we need to have this added level of bureaucracy, said Feiner and Gronowski. County government services could easily be handled by local governments or by the state.

The meeting on the 30th is open to the public. We’re looking for citizens who have expertise in budgets, finance, research, government to help. This is the first of a number of meetings that will be held on the topic. At future meetings we expect to invite officials from Connecticut. We also will invite budget experts, county and state officials to upcoming meetings. Please e mail Paul Feiner at or Councilwoman Gronowski at if you are interested in participating. Feiner’s phone is 993-1545 and Gronowski’s phone is 377-6633.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Town of Greenburgh
Work Session Agenda of the Greenburgh Town Board
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
(All Work Session are Televised Live on Cablevision Channel 76, Verizon 32)

All Work Sessions are now streamed live.

2:00p.m. Sunrise Assisted Living Proposal: Follow-Up Presentation:

Environmental and Traffic Impact Analyses

2:30p.m. Budget Review – 2009: Council Person Assignments to Departments

2:45p.m Parcel Q: Town Historian, Frank Jazzo, Town Atty.Tim Lewis and George Calvi, Ardsley Village Manager

3:00p.m. Library Budget and Construction: Genie Contrata, Al Regula, Triton

3:45p.m. Hastings Affordable Housing: Tim Lewis

4:15p.m. Shamberg Marwell Davis & Hollis, P.C. – Schedule a date for hearing

Re: Old Army Road
4:30p.m. WestHab – Janet Giris
5:00p.m. Draft Resolution – Councilwoman Sonja Brown

5:15p.m. Executive Session – Energy Conservation Coordinator Interview

Library Board Interviews
6:00p.m. Executive Session – Legal
Work Session Summary – Tuesday – April 1, 2008
Town Board’s Question / Answer Session – Improved Procedure

To better serve the citizen’s requests for a more timely response to their questions to the Board, citizens are invited to submit questions to the Town Clerk, in writing via email ( , fax: (914) 993-1626 or by hand delivery to the Clerk’s office by 5:00p.m. each Tuesday before the regularly scheduled Town Board meeting. Questions will be forwarded to the appropriate Department Head or Council Members who will respond to the question during the Wednesday night Town Board meeting.
RFP for Pay Stations at the Greenburgh Public Library

Following a discussion of parking accessibility to public libraries in neighboring jurisdictions, the Board authorized Al Regula, Commissioner – Department of Public Works, to prepare an RFP to allow for the establishment of pay stations at the new Greenburgh Public Library. Among possibilities: provide an annual sticker to residents of unincorporated Greenburgh for reduced or free parking.

Greenburgh Housing Authority

A Housing Authority resident shared concerns regarding the treatment of residents by Housing Authority Commissioners and requested an opportunity for a follow-up meeting with the Board.
The Theodore D. Young Community Center (TDYCC)
On Thursday, April 10th, TDYCC will sponsor “Earth Day.”
Appointments will be made, during the April 9th Board Meeting, for the TDYCC Search Committee’s (for the Commissioner’s position) Chair and Co-chair.
An RFP will be developed by Tim Lewis for the creation of a Grants Advisory Committee
comprised of individuals who will assist the TDYCC Commissioner in identifying the need for potential grants as well as research and recommend possible grant sources to support programs at the Center.

The Philanthropy Department was asked to review the “Rubinger Report” to identify potential grantors from which to solicit consultants to conduct a needs assessment at TDYCC.
Code Enforcement

The most recent code enforcement related issues are those related to snow removal, roomers and boarders, following up on individuals who fail to show up for court appearances and the increase in dangerous dog cases. Residents on Ardsley Road, Fort Hill Road and Hartsdale Avenue in Edgemont have expressed concern over the fact that, following a snow fall, once they remove snow from the sidewalk in front of their homes, DPW trucks come to plow the streets and the sidewalks are, once again, covered with snow – ultimately resulting in the residents receiving fines for being accused of having not cleared their sidewalks. The issuance of summons has been on a steady rise to residents who rent out rooms in their homes to “roomers and boarders.”

waterwheel Property in the Village of Ardsley

The property known as “Waterwheel” is located on Saw Mill River Road in the Village of Ardsley and is currently owned by the Town of Greenburgh, thru foreclosure. The Town Board met with MayorJay Leon and residents of the Village to discuss an affordable housing proposal. The Board and Village of Ardsley will collaborate to develop an RFP to solicit bids for the purpose of developing the property. The RFP will provide flexibility regarding the number of affordable housing units that could be built. Possibilities: All the units could be affordable. There could be a mixture of affordable/market rate.

*Addendum to “Chauncey Estates” – Work Session Summary – Tuesday, 3/25/08

The following statement is added: The applicant was requesting that a conservation district overlay be placed on the property.

The Town Clerk’s evening office hours are the 2nd and 4th Wednesday’s of the month from 5:30 to 7:30 (to coincide with Town Board meetings) except for July and August when the Board only meets one Wednesday. The primary purpose is for marriage licenses.

End of Summary

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I received this interesting commentary about the TZ bridge from George Sherman and Sher Chorost. PAUL FEINER
To paraphrase an old saying, those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat their mistakes in the future.
When the lower level of the George Washington Bridge was built, it was intended for rail which never materialized. Instead, it became a conduit for an enormous increase in car and truck traffic. Could this happen to the Tappan Zee Bridge?
We expressed fears almost 8 years ago that this scenario was a possibility. We felt that the N.Y. State Thruway Authority could build a larger bridge financed by bonds and/or increased tolls. However, ridership projections then, did not rise to a level where needed federal dollars for rail transit would be available because of competition from other higher profile projects. Our great concern was that we could end up with a larger bridge with additional lanes that would be used for autos and trucks..
Up to now, the transportation and the construction components of this project were linked, thus providing some assurance that there would be a transit commitment on a larger bridge. Now with these two elements of the TZ project separated, the Department of Transportation has positioned itself to repeat the G.W. Bridge story.
In addition, we continuously asked during this period; where was the money coming from? There was no answer then and there is no answer today. The problem of money now is more critical than ever as the State and the Federal governments are financially strapped. The chief financial officer of N.Y., Thomas DiNapoli, has said that he doesn’t feel that the State can afford to build a new bridge. He has indicated that our debt is too high, and it is compounded by declining revenues. The funds are simply not there.
The same can be said of the Federal government. The value of the dollar is declining; our deficit is growing exponentially as we borrow for the war and interest on these loans continues to escalate. Because of these economic realities, it is highly unlikely that we will get much help from the Feds. Even if there were dollars available, they most likely will go to transportation projects where ridership projections exceed those of this corridor, i.e. the Second Avenue subway and the L.I.R.R. connection to Manhattan’s east side. We have written about these issues for years. These arguments may sound repetitious but they deserve to be repeated, until those responsible for making the final decisions start addressing them realistically.
Another critical area is our air quality and the effect that it has on our lives. Our region has been out of compliance with
clean air standards for years, and it would behoove us to examine the impact that it has had on our health.
Studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency show that particulate matter, air pollution, increased levels of ozone which has proven to be a consistent predictor of increased death rates and respiratory distress. More than three-quarters of the ozone pollution that we breathe comes from the tailpipes of cars and trucks. Are we adequately dealing with this acknowledged contributor to lung disease, the number three killer in the U.S.? Our children, the elderly, and those individuals who suffer from asthma and chronic heart and respiratory disorders are the most vulnerable. Asthma has quickly become the most prevalent chronic disorder affecting children under 17 years of age. How is our state government dealing with this problem? Where is the public information that we need to protect our health, and how do they plan to mitigate a potential (if not existing) health crisis before our area suffers the same fate as the South Bronx? These critical health-related questions are simply not being adequately addressed. Instead, we are on a path to increased auto and truck traffic via a substantially larger bridge and a wider highway.
No consideration has been given to alleviate traffic flow in the TZ area by building another bridge or expanding the existing bridges north of Rockland where the major growth is expected. Current plans call for all anticipated, additional auto and truck traffic to be sent through this overburdened, overdeveloped and overpolluted area. Even tunnels that could provide our best opportunity to control air pollution, have been removed from consideration for questionable reasons.
Where oh where has rational and regional thinking gone? And where is the outrage from Rockland and Westchester counties? We should be flooding the Department of Transportation, our county officials and our congressional representatives with letters, e-mails and faxes, demanding answers to these questions. To contact the D.O.T.:
Michael Anderson, Project Director
660 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
Fax:914-358-0621 E-mail:
George Sherman, President, Rockland Branch,
Sherwood Chorost, President, Westchester Branch
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


From: Costa, Peter []
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 1:04 PM
To: AL Regula
Subject: Earthday Awards 2008

Town of Greenburgh will be acknowledged on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at The Kensico Dam Plaza during our Earthday event for:

Largest amount of Yard Waste Recycled

· Greenburgh = 15,792 tons

Special Recognition Award: Greenburgh Nature Center

· For their efforts in promoting and educating residents on the benefits of recycling


2 affordable homes in Greenburgh for sale! Meeting tonight. The Town Board required two of the new townhomes that are currently being built to be affordable.






(artist rendering)

Conveniently located on Knollwood Road South of Rt. 119

3 bedrooms/2.5 baths



Income & Resale Requirements Apply

Purchaser’s Maximum Income Limits as of February, 2008

3 Person Household -- $73,150

4 Person Household -- $81,300

5 Person Household -- $87,800

6 Person Household -- $94,300


APRIL 2, 2008 @ 6:30 P.M.




(across Rt. 119 from Crossroads Shopping Center)



(914) 332-4144

The complete offering terms are in an offering plan available from sponsor.

File No. CD-07-0707
Application for Affordable Townhomes

At the

The Preserve at Greenburgh

Located on Knollwood Road, Town of Greenburgh, New York

Complete Applications must be returned to:

Housing Action Council, Inc. at 55 South Broadway, 2nd Fl., Tarrytown, NY 10591,

Postmarked or hand delivered by Friday, APRIL 18, 2008.*

APPLICANT: Social Security #: _____________

Home Phone: Work Phone:

Cell Phone: Email:

Address of Applicant:

CO-APPLICANT: Social Security #: ______________

Home Phone: Work Phone:

Cell Phone: Email:

Address of Co-Applicant:

(if different from applicant)





FIRST TIME HOME BUYER: Yes No If No, explain___________________________

PURCHASERS’ INCOME LIMITS as of February, 2008

No. of Persons Income Limit No. of Persons Income Limit

3 $73,150 5 $87,800

4 $81,300 6 $94,300

*Application deadline may be extended at the option of the Housing Action Council.



All household members must submit copies of the following documents with their application:

_________ 2007 & 2006 Federal Tax Returns with all Schedules

_________ 2007 & 2006 W2’s

_________ One Month’s Most Recent Pay Stubs and documentation of any other income, such as social security, child support, etc.

_________ 3 Months of all Bank, Credit Union Statements and other assets such as CD’s, mutual funds, etc.

_________ Evidence of Down-payment

_________ $25 Application Fee (Non-refundable)

I hereby affirm that the information provided on this application (including any attached papers) are true and complete to

the best of my knowledge. I also understand and agree that falsified information or significant omissions may disqualify

me from further consideration for affordable housing.

______________________ __________________________ _________________

Applicant Signature Co-Applicant Signature Date


A consumer credit report will be requested in reference to the processing of this application, in connection with updates,

renewals, extensions, or monitoring of any credit granted. If such a report is received from a consumer reporting agency,

and credit is denied or the charge for such credit is increased wholly or partly because of information contained in the

consumer report from a reporting agency, you will be advised and supplied with the name and address of the consumer

reporting agency making the report. All information remains confidential.

Please sign on the line below acknowledging your notice of the statement on consumer-credit information and reporting.

_____________________ _________________________ _________________

Applicant Signature Co-Applicant Signature Date



RACE: Black, not of Hispanic origin _____________ White, not of Hispanic origin _____________

Hispanic ________ Indian ________ Arab ________ Asian ________ Other ________

Sex: Male _____ Female: ______


RACE: Black, not of Hispanic origin _____________ White, not of Hispanic origin _____________

Hispanic ________ Indian ________ Arab ________ Asian ________ Other ________

Sex: Male ______ Female: _______

Affordable Townhomes


The Preserve at Greenburgh


(all figures below are estimated)

Three Bedroom Townhomes

Affordable Sale Price $211,115

Homeowner’s 10% Down Payment (21,115)

Mortgage Amount $190,000

Terms 30 years @ 6.5%

Principal and Interest $ 1,260

Real Estate Taxes $ 395

Common Charges $ 280

Monthly Housing Payment $ 1,935

Cash Requirements

10% own funds $ 21,115

+ Closing Costs $ 11,400

Total Cash $ 32,515

Minimum Income Needed to Qualify for

Mortgage with a 10% Downpayment $ 77,400

Note: Additional downpayment required with lower incomes

and debt that exceeds 5% of monthly gross income. Downpayment

and/or closing cost assistance may be available.

Housing Action Council

55 South Broadway

Tarrytown, NY 10591

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Have a question of a commissioner? Submit the question in writing to the Town Clerk by Tuesday at 5 PM. Your question will be answered at the beginning of the Town Board meeting by the appropriate dept head. At the conclusion of this portion of the meeting citizen comments will be taken.