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


Anonymous said...

Better yet, abolish town govt, and divide the town into villages.

Anonymous said...

thats a great idea, the town is comprised of villages anyway. just split up unincorporated between, edgemont, Ardsley, white plains and elmsford.

Anonymous said...

Right now it is relatively easy to form a village. That could change. Time to go for it.

Anonymous said...

It would be so sensible to create three villages out of Unincorporated Greenburgh. (Some of the outlying areas could join Ardsley, Tarrytown and Irvington, etc.) The purpose for "unincorporated-ness" no longer exists, and I'm surprised the residents have allowed this to persist.

Anonymous said...

My guess is we would need more than 3, but yes, good concept. My guess is the turning point will be if Edgemont becomes a village.

Anonymous said...

In Memorium
May 1, 2008

Greenburgh residents gathered today at the home of famous lawyer to say their fond farewells and to eulogize the timely passing of the Village of Edgemont.

The services were led by the Honorable David Paterson.

Mourners are asked to send donations to the Comprehensive Plan committee in lieu of flowers.

Those wishing to pay their last respects are invited to join the family which will be sitting shiva at home for the remainder of next week and the following week and the week after that...

hal samis said...

Guess who.

Aw shucks!

Anonymous said...


If Edgemont does become a village, they will have you and Paul to thank for generating support.

hal samis said...

I'm 63.
My family prays I shall live so long as the day when Edgemont becomes a village.

Anonymous said...

If Edgemont becomes a village how much will we have to pay our village manager?
How much will a new village hall cost to build?
How much will it cost for the village courts and jail?

The answer is obvious. It's prohibitive.

lets grow up said...

ardsley, hastings, irvington, dobbs ferry and edgemont should form a new town - rivertown

the balance of greenburgh can be either feinerville or hartsdale or hartsview

tarrytown should join with sleepy hollow and be a part of the town sleepy hollow is in

the era of villages with separate police chiefs, mayors, dept heads, village managers etc is over. we cannot afford it. lets grow up.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Split up Unincorporated Greenburgh. I also agree with Hal. Edgemont doesn't stand a chance...... unless they get a little bit smarter and less snobby about it all. They need to look at Hartsdale. In an attempt to keep "less worthy" they have have to live with the Unincorporated mess. Very, very short sighted.

Anonymous said...

Anon, Edgemont is paying an increasing share of town taxes -- and for what services? Paul thinks villages should get access anyway.

Anonymous said...

It is clear that many more people are dissatified with Town govt. NO WORK should be done re a new public safety building until these issues are resolved.

Anonymous said...


I doubt you really care about village, I think you are concerned about school districts. In order for school district boundaries to be changed BOTH school boards involved would have to agree. That, IMHO, will never happen. Even if it did, the state would have to sanction. That will never happen. Even if Edgemont did agree to take in some or all of Hartsdale (which at one point, it did agree to take in 6 homes contigous with Edgemont) and Central 7 would agree that they could leave, the state would have to agree (which it did not). At this point, IMHO, it is highly unlikely no matter what Edgemont would do that Central 7 would allow anyone to leave, and unlikely that the state would allow it. I strongly suggest you read (or engage a lawyer) to read the state laws on this.

Years ago, Edgemont offered to form a district with Hartsale. Hartsdale declined.

Anonymous said...

Yonkers announced big cuts. Greenburgh should too.

Anonymous said...


Are you suggesting that laws can not be changed? If both parties wanted a change, made a good case for the change, would no one hear the parties out? If people want to form Villages, can we just say don't bother, no one will agree to it.

Any Tom, Dick or Harry can make a case for why they shouldn't be paying the outrageous school taxes to Greenburgh Central. There are so many vantage points to choose from, a good lawyer could make any group, a reasonable case. Since 98% of the children in Hartsdale don't attend GC, all one has to do is ask why.

Again, both parties would want to make a change to effect a change. If the people can't agree to want the change, the laws will remain the same. And so be it.

One more thing.... for me, it's just not a school district thing. The whole Unincorporated area is headed for a crash & burn, Edgemont included, if something doesn't change here.

The hard working, middle class families (non-Edgemont) just can't afford to live here anymore. With the escalating costs at the private schools, diminished availability in Catholic schools, escalating taxes, diminishing property values, less services........ It behoves everyone to try to keep these existing families from leaving and to encourage new families to the area. If home prices in the non-Edegemont keep falling, that means less taxes will be getting paid to the town.

Who is going to pick up that slack? Edgemont? Yep. It's a sure bet.

Anonymous said...

....and one more thing, 10:37.

Someone once offered me chopped chicken liver and I declined. I prefer Foie Gras and could not imagine what this ghastly, cheap version of a fine liver dish would taste like.

Not so long after, I did have some chicken liver. It is absolutely divine and I would defend it as being a food worthy of the most sophisticated pallets. I'm no longer a snob.

Anonymous said...

Right now it is relatively easy to form a village, the majority of the people living in the proposed area just have to vote for it.

I presume you are a Hartsdale resident. Central 7 will not let you go. The state wont agree to it, as they would then have to subsidize Central 7 more. I understand your frustration, but I would suggest your solution is to start running more people for the school board and look to improve local schools.

I would also suggest there are many hard working middle class people in Edgemont. Many people in Edgemont live in apartments and are not wealthy --- instead they made sacrifices for their childrens education. Edgemont is in the lowest quarter of cost of education in the county. The schools do not provide many of the extras that G7 does. There are no buses, no school lunches at the elementary school level. Instead parents pick up the slack.

Anonymous said...

11:02, there would be more than 2 parties to a change -- there would be

1. Hartsdale
2. Edgemont
3. Rest of Greenburgh 7
4. State

Fighting with one party will solve nothing. Talk to your state reps.

Anonymous said...

The way the State police are being investigated by the attorney generals office this town should also be investigated for what has been and what is going on .
If the town board and those that represent us in Albany cannot check into why things are getting out of hand we should go to the one that can help .
We in Greenburg have a problem since whatever goes on, something is always wrong that the State investigators have to be called to check our books.
Does't that make you on the board look foolish over and over again.

Anonymous said...

If you cannot run the town with a plus fund then step down.
I cannot see why you cannot see that what ever you all are doing is putting us more and more into trouble .
We elected all of you thinking that maybe you all had brains but one can see that you are all sitting on them.
The county government should not be abolished but Greenburgh should .
We may have a better chance with the county than what we have now.

Anonymous said...

We have had the same representatives in Albany representing us for too long a time.
Republicans and Democratic parties,could it be possible that you do not have anyone new to run agaisnt the dead wood that is there now.
We need new blood in Albany to represent all of us in this area.
When some one is in office too long he or she does't care about the residents.
If we must have changes we have to have the first change made in Albany.
Haven't you noticed how many changes have been made so far with all the investigations taken on with new people who are now in office.
Our representatives have been arround too long to do us any good.

Anonymous said...

Egdemont would have a better chance if they joined forces with Hartsdale and created a village.

Anonymous said...

What advanatage do you see for Hartsdale in doing this?