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


Anonymous said...

Does Feiner understand that we just had a 23% budget increase? Or does he just not care?

blame game flawed said...

why blame feiner alone. sheehan and juettner voted for this too.

Anonymous said...

silly gimmink!

hal samis said...

I apologize for not speaking out on this matter sooner instead of after the fact.

But I am troubled to see that NONE of the five members of the Town Board had any serious reservations that might have led to a different voting result.

OK, seniors are burdened by the rising taxes and the Town has found a way to offer some relief to them; relief which adds to the burden of all other taxpayers and the seniors themselves who are paying taxes to support their own employment.

Still the idea can be viewed as a heartfelt response to the plight of those presumed to be living on fixed incomes.

I have to question though whether the underlying premise is sound:
that people have an absolute right to own their own home -- through thick and thin. Most seniors who must suffer the consequences of a rising tax environment are likely in possession of an asset which has appreciated sharply since it was purchased and equally likely at their age they own the property free and clear of a mortgage. Thus, by offering this tax relief, Greenburgh is creating a subsidy for those who have already have a considerable net worth, albeit it likely an existence of real estate rich but cash poor.

But what about those without the safety net of owning a valuable asset, a home? What about those who are not in years seniors and also feel the impact of rising taxes?

What about those younger, still working but burdened by the costs of sending their children to college?

If the government wants to get into the business of providing benefits then why restrict it by age? Isn't that discrimination?
If the government is now concerned about hard times, then open the floodgates and let anyone with a demonstrable hardship benefit from such largesse.

There is equivalent private sector $10.00 an hour work for hard-pressed seniors...i.e. practically every CVS is seeking part-time workers as do most retailers because part-time is the magic panacea since it eliminates the substantial costs of providing costly health benefits, Walmart and Starbucks being the exceptions.

The Town's maximum of 100 hours yields the same income as what any willing and able to work senior can earn in just 5 weeks @20 hours in the Christmas season; such retail jobs often go begging to the dismay of retailers.

The point is that there were alternatives available which would not increase the burden upon those who cannot add hours to their day to take on additional employment because toiling at their regular jobs to pay their own taxes (and now those of the participating seniors) limits their availability to take on such part-time jobs.

And what about those home owning seniors who face the same tax burden but are unable physically to work or are unable to get to such work opportunities.
They must still pay their taxes and now must share the cost of providing for those that can work for the Town while the very conditions that prevent them from working (likely medical) are the costly expenses that further endanger their ability to pay rising taxes.

While the concept is meaningful and well-intentioned, the conundrum is that the very conditions that make it commendable in Greenburgh are the same conditions that argue against its implementation. The costs of this program are paid by taxpayers, those that are not participating in this program and even by THOSE THAT ARE participating in this program. There is no free lunch. There is a cost that has to be extracted from someone's pocket.

That would argue that this program should be funded by a grant (either from a foundation) or from the state or federal pork barrel -- which of course is also taxpayer supported.

Since the problem is really one of how can some taxpayers afford to pay their property taxes and thereby remain in Greenburgh, the answer need not have been one provided by the governmen when there is a viable alternative producing the same dollar benefit (if not the possibility of earning even more than the Town's cap) and that is:

Get a part-time job at a store or in the service sector. They are always looking for seniors to accept part-time work.

Earning the Town's $800 maximum payout would be child's play in the private sector while this choice would not be a burden upon those that must make up the difference.

After all, if this were merely a matter of the Town offering part-time work, the Town already provides part-time opportunities.
See Parks Department or the Library, for example.

So what is all the promotion regarding this re-inventing the wheel?

And in those locales that already sponsor similar programs, are their citizens suffering 23% tax increases or are they communities that can AFFORD to offer work for taxes without it finding its way to the budget bottom line?

As a person who resents government encroachments into the private sector, I say let those that need help work for private employers; especially since these jobs are available. What the Town might have done instead at little cost to its taxpayers is maintain a list of which local companies are seeking part-time hires.

Really, if that appears harsh consider: what's the big deal over working part-time for the Town or for some private sector employer? As taxpayers, one hopes that the $10 an hour jobs are really jobs and not make-work assingments.

Last night, Mr Feiner intervened and prevented the Town Comptroller from answering my question which essentially was: has the die already been cast which will result in a 2009 tax increase of 15% or more?

What the Mr. Feiner said was that the Town Board is united in a goal to keep a tax increase under double digits. Let's say 10% is the reasonable result of their efforts.

This means my next question will be: In dollars, how much will the Town have to reduce spending or increase revenues to get from, say a 15% increase, to a 10% increase.

With that number as a goal, residents will have an early window into policy so they can make their own determination of whether this is indeed a possibility.

Maybe the calculation of 15 seniors times $8.00 an hour times 100 hours plus required payroll taxes and social security payments, say $12,000 in total won't stand in the way of this new Town Board determination to keep taxes down.

Or not.

And now that you realize that all the fuss was over a total cost of $12,000; you probably recognize that the senior citizen equivalent of the "Make a Wish Foundation" need not feel threatened by the Greenburgh initiative.

Problem solved. 15 Senior residents will now be able to remain in Greenburgh.

Put that in your Comprehensive Plan and smoke it.

Just five votes.

samis doctrine revised said...

hal - there is just one vote

meet mr and ms juettner morgan sheehan feiner brown.

next week there should be a resolution on creating a dept of silly walks

Have you recovered from tim lewis' explanation about the risks in the sportime contract or francis' explanation of whether a comprehensive plan is really required?

Anonymous said...

It seems that the board is double talking to confuse the public.
I do think that we are in for a greater fall than we have now.
None of their explanations make sense.
It's getting very hard to attend these meetings that have no beginning and no end.
To me it looks like they rehearsed behind the scene and then they come forward to do their acting.
Yes Kolesar was cut off at the pass and from the look on his face he didn't seem like a happy trooper.
I think the board has met a person[Kolesar]that will not take any guff or have the board dictate to him as to how things should be done.
He knows his job and boy do I hope thathe will show the board how wrong they have been running town affairs.
This is what we the residents needed a person who voices his findings and not afraid whom he offends.

Anonymous said...

good idea.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Feiner: I think this is a cute idea. But where specifically in the budget is the $12,000 coming from? Please respond.

Anonymous said...

An earlier analysis (another occasion on which Mr.Feiner failed to comment)pointed out that the real cost of the maximum $800 per recipient benefit was close to $1,200 (after increased insurance and administrative costs were honestly accounted for). The blogger asked the very sensible question "Wouldn't it be better just to forgive the taxes rather than indulge in this fantasy?" A question worth repeating. Simplying forgiving the taxes would allow 50% more seniors to be assisted - and at no net change in expenditures...
Dumb, and the inability to think through the consequences of one's actions, are forever!

Go Samis Go said...

Mr. Feiner,
How does one enter the lottery to become one of the "Lucky 8"?
Does it require being a "real" democrat or has Garfunkel relaxed enough to let any registered Democrat participate?
Doesn't there seem to be a disconnect between having a property tax bill and having a maximum income of $36,000?
Who will pay the costs of this experiment in Socialism? Surely it will impact EVERYONE not included in the program by raising their taxes.
May one infer that this is purely a publicity stunt?

Anonymous said...

Friends in Boston tell me that this program works!

Anonymous said...

It would work quite well in a large city with many job openings; in fact it would probably save money for large cities.

But where is the $12,000 coming from in Greenburgh's budget?

Anonymous said...

THe work off taxes program also is successful in small communities in Massachusetts.

Anonymous said...

We need to make work on the budget job 1 for the Town Council. They need to start real cuts.

Anonymous said...

Councilwoman Sonja Barnes has saved the town hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars at the Theodore Young Community Center. Thank you Sonja!

Anonymous said...

Pray tell how did she accomplish this.
If she could do this with the center what happened to the rest of the facilities and together with other departments.
Why just the center?????????

Anonymous said...

The community center and the PD are the only dept's that were(are)wasting money. How did Sonja save the money anyway

Anonymous said...

Big deal -- hundreds of thousands -- what % is that.


Anonymous said...

That's right since when does a police person make three times his salary in one year.
Look into this picture.
We have not had a hands on chief for sometime.
Wake up Feiner we need a hellava change in this police dept.
I think the officers run the deptartmnet since they do what they want.
Finally the chief has to justify some of the overtime since the burglaries in Edgemont,now the residents see patrol cars riding arround.
Where have they been hiding up to now????
Drastic changes have to be made in all the departments that are eating up our tax dollars.
The services are the same but less is being done to justify overtime.
A double diget tax this year has been a rude awakening to many of us and above all the comments made at town hall meetings and work sessions.
Television and repeating the meetings is a great thing,since what is said live is sometimes forgotten,BUT we all have a second chance to have explore every word and demand that was made.

Anonymous said...

This PD is the most mismanged one around. We should IMMEDIATELY get bids from county and/or state police and then give kapica a choice, come in at bid +10% or we go with bid.

And lets do this before we need new public safety building. My guess, once we get rid of overhead, there will be more space available in that building.

Then we can go to work on Public Works and Highways.

Anonymous said...

Clean up the disfunctional police dept.
If it cannot be done within get or hire someone that can make the changes.
At one time we had a police department that was run as a business but things have changed throughout the years.WHY?//
Kolesar a question what would happen to us if all the residents held back their taxes?
Maybe this should be the solution to our problems.
The Police dept. has more men today but you know what the territory of Greenbugh has not changed.Why do they need such a large workforce.
We have the same services as years gone by but the amount of overtime and personel has doubled if not tripled.
Kolesar you have a lot of work ahead of you lot's of luck.

Anonymous said...

This blog was established for residents to express their concerns about town government.
I must say a lot of things get mentioned but I have not heard of any changes made to help with the taxes.
Today they say they are diung this to save money and in the next breath they ar looking to spend more money.
I think dementia is setting in on most of our town board.
They think that they are doing what the residents want but it is really the opposite.
What this town needsis good managerial skills.

Anonymous said...

I agree, lets go back to the number of Police Officers, and levels, 10 and 20 years ago and compare to now. Now I understand cost of living has gone up, but lets compare a simple charge, # of officers, # of serious crimes, # of arrests. I think the table would speak for itself.

Anonymous said...

Why is everybody picking on the police department Do these naysayers have facts to back up their allegations?

Anonymous said...

No one is picking on the police dept.
Some figures were given to the publis at the last town meeting. It only gave overtime for five officers all detectives.
What happened to the other overtime records?
Wouldn't be a bit surprised if the detectives are ready to retire.

Anonymous said...

I agree with earlier comments. I would like to see listing of number and rank of personnel 10 and 20 years ago, and number of serious crimes. How many officers have been promoted, not saying they arent qualified, but do we need them? How many "lifestye" arrests are being made to justify number of police. The police may be nice people, but we can not afford 23 % tax increase.

Anonymous said...

At 4/11/2008 7:08 AM, Anonymous said...

Unless you have some shady financials to hide, Mr. Feiner, you should have responded to this already.

Anonymous said...

The Town should contract with the State Police and or County Pd for protection

hal samis said...

Dear 6:23 of 4/14,

I only asked for the five highest

Don't worry I've got my sights on the other shoe.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

At 4/14/2008 10:05 PM, Anonymous said...
At 4/11/2008 7:08 AM, Anonymous said...
Unless you have some shady financials to hide, Mr. Feiner, you should have responded to this already.