Friday, July 11, 2008


Town of Greenburgh
Work Session Agenda of the Greenburgh Town Board
Tuesday – July 15, 2008

(All Work Sessions are Televised Live on Cablevision Channel 76, Verizon 32 and are streamed live. Work Sessions and Town Board Meetings will be aired each Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 7:02am and 4:45pm. Each segment will run for approximately 6 to 7 hours, depending upon the length of the two meetings.)

2:00p.m. Special Meeting
2:30p.m. Interview: Library Board Candidate
2:45p.m. Interview: Conservation Advisory Council Candidate
3:00p.m. Cablevision Agreement with Town of Greenburgh
3:30p.m. Budget Review: Office of the Town Attorney
3:45p.m. Implementing Sewer District Audit Recommendations
4:15p.m. Part Time Workers and Consultants
4:40p.m. Budget Review: Town Comptroller
3:45p.m. Executive Session – Legal
5:30p.m. Adjourn

East Hartsdale Farmers Market Live Outdoor Music Series – Performances to Date

July 12th – Jonathan Flaks – One Dog, Man (Solo Performer)
“A little bite of Classic Rock” : 10:00am – 2:00pm
July 19th and September 6th – Westchester Harp Ensemble: 10:00am – 11:00am
July 26th – Charles Montgomery: 12:00noon to 2:00pm
August 2nd – Julie Corbalis
also Al Frankel and The Blues Dogs
October 11th – Ceasar Cantori

We are looking for more jazz artists! Please contact Judith Beville, Town Clerk at: 993-1500

Upcoming Work Sessions

July 22, 2008 – Work Session – Tentative
• Budget Reviews –Parks & Recreation, Theodore D. Young Community Center
July 29, 2008 – Work Session – Tentative
• Budget Review – Police Dept.

House calls / Community Outreach Meetings:

• Monday, July 21st – Irvington (time/place to be determined)
• Monday, July 28th – Valimar (time/place to be determined)

Work Session Summary – July 8, 2008

Third Floor & Basement Apts. For Rentals
Rev. Dr. Edgerton, Assistant Pastor, Union Baptist Church and longtime community activist, has made several requests to the Town Board to allow residents of the Fairview Community to rent third floor apartments and basement apartments as a means of augmenting their income, particularly in light of the recent tax increases. He presented a letter from the office of State Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky regarding a response from the Department of State’s Division of Code Enforcement and Administration addressing the question of sprinkler requirements. Supervisor Feiner and the Town Council members agreed that, for them, safety is the number one issue. Supervisor Feiner will write a letter to the fire chiefs to comment on the request and the Board agreed to review code requirements for basement apartments after receiving the recommendations from the fire chiefs.

Budget Review: Dept. of Planning/Zoning
As Commissioners continue to support the Board’s request for continued budget cuts, the Commissioner of Planning, Community Development and Conservation Thomas Madden reported that this year (to date), Planning has saved 508 hours in overtime. Further, he will not be replacing the Deputy Commissioner position and he is working on a revised fee schedule for applications to the Zoning Board of Appeals as well as to the Planning Board.

Budget Review: Assessor’s Office
The Town Assessor reported that the department will receive a $45,000 grant for data collection and scanning. Other initiatives are in progress.

Budget Review: Building Department
In projecting new revenue, the Building Inspector John Lucido reported that fire alarm and sprinkler fees will generate additional revenue for next year; the Building Department does not offer programs so none can be cut; and the Code Enforcement Officer hired last year provided additional enforcement and the fines generated exceed his salary/benefits so his position should be maintained.

Town Board Meeting Rules and Procedures
The Board conducted another review of the proposed Meeting Rules and Procedures (Resolution TB 1).

Library Board Interview
Mr. Frank Musantry was interviewed for a vacant position on the Library Board.

Executive Session

End of Work Session


Anonymous said...

reading thru the agenda one wonders why the villages are part of greenburgh?

i suppose fulton park is wondering the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute Paul,are the Fairview residents the only ones struggling to make ends meet.
Give us a break.
You know white people would like to rent their basement apartments.
Is this town only catering to a chosen group.
First of all you should be ashamed to follow this request to receive a followup by the fire chiefs.
If this is granted to the Fairview residents you have to by law change the laws to fit each and everyone in Greenburgh.
We all pay taxes and have the same bills every month.
The ones making the request already have an income from the second apartment.
We have no income since we comply with the laws.
Just remember if you make this change you can be assured that the rest of the town will seek the same consideration.

Anonymous said...

If I get the cardinal to write you a letter concerning my struggle with taxes and bills will you consider my request to convert my one family home into a two or three family dwelling.
The homes in question have enjoyed for many years the extra income from the third apartment now because the building department is cramping down on illegal apartments these people want to make the premises legal.
They had the extra income for so many years one may say for free.
Why should the laws be changed for the ones that did not abide by the laws all these years.
Is this town now starting to play games with its residents.
What makes this reverend so special .He should have come foward not only for Fairview resident but he should have considered all the other residents.
You on the town board must not make an acception for a few.
Either you change the laws for all or just drop the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

What if get my Rabbi to write? I have to pay for a Bat Mitzvah this year.

Anonymous said...

Oh Oh what will I do to survive the fact that I live here in Greenburgh.
My Con Edison will reach eight or nine hundred dollars this coming month.
Will I be in line to ask a favor to have my home converted to a two family residence.
My property ,school and fire taxes are so high that I will have to have some relief.
What is the waiting list up to or can I pass up to the front if my pastor comes to bat for me.
Please let me know so I could get the ball rolling for the conversion.
I'll do everything legal by getting all the necessary permits.

Anonymous said...

Gee you should have told the residents that there would be a possible change in the laws governing multiple dwellings while the pope was here in Westchester.
Instead of going to Yonkers we would have asked him to visit Greenburgh to help out the residents who are hitting on bad times.
Come on Paul now you can see how you have opened a can of worms considering making any changes for a few.
Hard times are hitting all of us.
Do we come crying to you for changes to be made in our favor.
Do we get men of the cloth to represent us in this matter.
Does a man of the cloth have so much power that he can have this board change the laws to favor his parishoners.
If he does well make room for the rest of the reverends to plead all of our cases.

Anonymous said...

Have your Rabbi show up at a town hall meeting to plead you case.
If he writes a letter it may be thrown out because you come from the wrong part of town.
We have to say that the town is only looking at one picture instead of checking out the overall picture.
How stupid does this board think the public is.

Anonymous said...

May I ask this board a question----
What the hell are all thinking.
Have you considered what you will be doing if this demand it considered.
The laws that were put on the books by the previous boards will go out the window and once you make this change you cannot go back.
You will be impacting the school system more than it is today.
Instead of saving a buck it will cost the residents in paying more taxes.
The services have to increased.
Are you ready to tell the taxpayers that their tax rate will go up because some homes will be converted from two family to three.
Think about what will happen so I suggest that you had better put this to sleep and don't help it wake up again.

Anonymous said...

2:00p.m. Special Meeting

Huh? What's that about? Open to the public?

Anonymous said...

The Supervisor objected to the request made at the meeting. Good work!

Anonymous said...

Tell the woman and Rev to Move, if they do not like the housing laws that are in place. These laws were put in place for the safety! of the people , and for our firefighters. Houses were not made to put apts in basements and attics. They are fire traps. People will be hurt or killed, if you crack under this pressure. These housing laws (codes)were made for everybody in the State, not just Greenburgh. Please DO Not try and change these codes

Anonymous said...

Sheehan you seem to vote on almost everthing to harm the residents.I think you have a fire fighter in your household would you jeopardise his life by passing basement or attic appartments?
I hope not.

Anonymous said...

If these owners have the money to convert their homes into three family homes they have enough money to pay their bills.
Construction work costs are sky high.

Anonymous said...

What?! Convert a single family to a three family to augment income because of tax increases?

1)surrounding property values go down due to overcrowding of people & their vehicles 2) the rest of us are burden with paying for these new Greenburgh residents as we educate, entertain, feed, babysit & police them. 3) overall quality of life in the neighborhood diminishes.


Paul, You are under the false impression that the rest of TOV is wealthy enough to to continue to provide charity to a select group of people. We are not! Stop this craziness!

Anonymous said...

As many have said on the blog if you can't continue to live here move.
Many of them have substaintial state aid ,food stamps and free health benefits.
They have a community center that gives out lunches.
They have a center that provides free baby sitting allat our expense.Now they are looking to convert their homes to multiple dwellings.
They have got to be kidding.
We have the same problems to meet our expenses on time,but what we get we pay for and what we want we pay for too.
No freebees in this part of town.
If the laws are changed for them beware of what you will be starting in this town.
If we think taxes are high now think again if the changes take place.
Town board throw this petition out the window it is not satisfactory for the entire Greenburgh society.

Anonymous said...

By the way did the Housing Authority come up with the money for the private Greenburgh police protection.
The bishop also spoke reguarding this matter that they owed nothing .
Make sure that the money is payed plus interest.
That money belongs to all the people in Greenburgh and should be paid.

They received the services they have to pay.
Another question;;are they still receiving the free protection?????

Anonymous said...

Sheehan's son is on the list to be hired at the Hartsdale Fire Department. Let's see how Francis behaves for any Hartsdale related issues until his son is hired. I bet he gives Hartsdale whatever they want.

hal samis said...

To 7/11 @ 10:52,
Good job!

This blog topic which says "work session" is not entirely correct.

At 2:00, before the Work Session starts, is a Special Town Board Meeting being held in the auditorium. The Town Board cannot vote on Resolutions at a work session. After the Special Meeting is the Work Session. By the way, the Agenda for the Special Meeting is noticed on the Town website -- the Town Board is meeting to vote on the held-over Library Change Order #47, increasing the costs in the project by $49,300.

Come to Town hall and watch the Town Board and Al Regula try to squirm out of this one:
PW7 Change Order #47 to Howell general construction contract

"Whereas, the original contract value was determined by the project specifications prepared by the Town's design team; and
Whereas, from the date of the original contract the cost of asphalt has escalated significantly along with many of the costs relating to installing it; and
Whereas, the area to be paved could not have been made available for the work and earlier due to ongoing demolition and utility related excavation work; and..."

Thus the bill for an ADDITIONAL $49,300.

Asphalt HAS increased in cost.
Does anyone know whether the billed amount is reflects these increases accurately? Does the Town know what portion of the total asphalt purchase order is being used for the delayed areas? Does the Town know for how long the cited delay existed -- a month, a year? and how all of these together become $49,300.

Does the Town understand why the required asphalt was not ordered in advance -- at the time of the award of the contract -- with a forward arrangement in place to deliver in the future? At worst, it would be stored on the contruction site until used.

Did the Town execute contracts which left it unprotected against rising costs? Was the contractor not required to either hedge, purchase a forward delivery or exercise some means or was the contract so favorable that no protection was required because the Town/Regula had deep pockets?

If the project was always "on track" as per Al Regula, why was "the area not available"?

If the delay was due to the tardiness of the geothermal drilling (the aforementioned "utility"), likely since at the time the five contracts were accpeted and agreed to by the Town Board, the geothermal contract was for an entirely different assignment (5 deep wells per contract not the 40 shallow wells needed, 5 wells located alongside the Library per contract not the 40 located around the plot needed) than what was really the requirement.

That there were delays as a result was inevitable. That this is the fault of the Construction Manager (with the complicity of Sheehan, Juettner and Regula) is clear. Let the Construction Manager, who was responsible for obtaining the permits to allow the 5 deep wells but failed to do so -- not even APPLYING for the permits because it knew that they would not be granted, eat this extra expense.

The Construction Manager is responsible for running the bidding process and, knowing that the deep drilling by the NYC water aqueduct was not going to fly, should never have sent out RFPs for drilling the 5 deep wells. When the Construction Manager was caught and had to admit that they were switching geothermal plans, it persuaded the Town Board that seeking new bidding for the new protocols was not necessary. Thus the Town ended up with an accepted drilling RFP and voted to award the contract -- even knowing then that the accepted and awarded proposal was not what was going to happen.

Following the construction start at the end of January 2007, several change orders were passed to alter the useless geothermal drilling contract. If delays occurred in the drilling which subsequently caused the delayed laying of asphalt over the well locations (Al Regula and the Town's Commissioner of Planning, Thomas Madden, have stated that there are no above-ground geothermal elements and thus no amended site plan requirement) then these delays are the fault of the Construction Manager whose job is to MANAGE. For the record, the 40 wells are located mostly under the asphalt paved areas.

The Town Board has already voted to pay $10,751 per change order #33for a new curbing job to be removed and redone because it was originally done incorrectly and not up to code.

The Town Board relies on Al Regula to tell them what to do. The change orders submitted to them for vote arrive at their desk only AFTER Regula has approved them.

Al Regula's role in this mess is another topic to be treated separately, on the blog and elsewhere.

However, in front of the Town Board Tuesday is their chance to take a stand. They tell you how concerned the Town Board is about rising expenses, rising taxes and how difficult it is to make cuts, eliminate jobs and programs.

Let's see how difficult it is for the Town Board to stop flushing tax dollars down the drain when none of the above "drastic" measures is applicable. Watch your Town Board in action at the Special Meeting.

And those of you who want to run interference and post your other issues please note that this blog topic concerns THIS TUESDAY'S Town Board Special Meeting followed by a Town Board Work Session.

Attic and basement apartments, white vs. black, bishops, reverands, popes and rabbis...ARE NOT on the Agenda of either of these Town Board follies.

Whether you were in favor of the Library expansion or not, this is not about the Library but about whether the Town Board is going to take a stand on something they can do now; something that will save taxpayers $49,300 and has nothing to do with overtime or A/Bernstein allocations or Freeman or Finneran.

Like I say, watch them squirm.

Anonymous said...

Samis You know very well that in the eyes of Feiner,Sheehan and Juettner Regula cannot do anything wrong.
You can bet your bottom dollar that they will vote yes for the money to save regula's .
I'd like to know how much money he stuffed in his pockets this time arround.
Check out the other projects that he supervised or purchases that he made they would be very interesting.
As far as this guy Regula goes he only knows one color and that is green.
He did say that the project was on target several times during town meetings but this board as you know is deaf.
Regula where has the money gone.

the sky is falling, the sky is falling said...

Psssst...would someone tell Hal "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" Samis that the $49,300 in library change orders he's bellyaching about now is, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal in a $19.8 million construction project.

Change orders are the norm in a major construction project. They usually result from the normal give-and-take that occurs when there are a number of trades whose jobs must be coordinated with a plan that cannot anticipate all the uncertainties that can arise in a construction project of this scope. As a result, change orders usually represent compromises between the owner, the general contractor and the subcontractor who's responsible for doing the work.

By law, the costs of the change orders cannot exceed the $19.8 million that the voters approved for the cost.

So, let's assume Samis is right, and the $49,300 should be charged back to anyone other than the town. If we fight over it, the work won't get done, and the library won't open, at least not on time. If we launch a lawsuit over it, the cost of prosecuting the suit would quickly exceed the $49,300. And where would that leave us?

This $49,300 is a fraction of a decimal point in terms of the total expense. It may represent a compromised figure in itself. If we try to blame the architect, the general contractor or the subcontractor, for screwing this up, you can be sure there will be finger pointing the other way. Samis, of course, doesn't care about any of this.

He just wants you to know the sky is falling because if he keeps saying it over and over again, he knows that eventually everyone will start believing it must be so, and they too will start squawking that the sky is falling. Pretty soon, we'll all start saying it.

And maybe we'll forget all about that 21% tax hike this year and the one coming next year, the decline in town services, and the town's full time elected official who's responsible for both. Samis would like that. So would Feiner.

Anonymous said...

9:33 you deserve the big tax hike. Whether the problems are caused by Feiner, the Town Council, the department heads, or whoever, if you don't listen to what is being done and find excuses and point fingers at people like Samis who are telling you, then it will go on and on and on.

The sky is really falling in Greenburgh and people like you explain it by repeating the word "Feiner" over and over. That is why people like Al Regula and others like him keep on screwing up.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon at 9:46, the library is responsible for only 2.8% of the 21% tax hike. That means that for all his ranting, Samis has been shooting at the wrong target. Listen to him all you want, but he doesn't have a clue when it comes to why Greenburgh can't get its financial house in order. Times are tough all over, but there's only one municipality in all of Westchester County that had to increase taxes by 21% and it wasn't because of the library expansion.

hal samis said...

The sky IS falling.I told you that even before tax increases came into fashion.It is a shame that the poster @9:33does not have room on his plate for more than one issue.  Perhaps, limited processing capacity is the culprit; perhaps not enough memory chips on his shoulder?So what's another $49,300?  Part of a much larger amount of money WASTED during the Library expansion.  I'm talking not about the (funny how $19,867,000 always gets rounded down to $19.8 vs $19.9 - guess $67,000 doesn't count either) cost of the expansion; I'm talking about how the taxpayer's money is being misspent.The poster would have taxpayers just turn the other cheek.  Oddly, I think even the Library Board of Trustees would prefer having the wasted money go back into the project than just give the Construction Manager and Al Regula free reign to flush it down the drain OR WORSE.Please don't try and reinvent the construction business for blogger benefit.  I am well aware that change orders exist, are often the norm and are often necessary.But there is another side of change orders or, at least, a side effect of the process that is far more troublesome than just the knowledge that conditions change.It is in the final 6-8 months of construction that the flow of change orders increases.  One could argue that those designing the project should have been a little more anticipatory of problems.  But still they are not omniscient and manure does happen.That does not mean pouring curbs to a less than code height is acceptable.The Architect and the Construction Manager should be aware of code requirements.  They don't have to be familiar with our Town budget problems; however they should be aware of and RESPONSIBLE for the work they are paid to do.  If they bid on and accept work in Westchester or New York State or Rochester, they should be familiar with their code requirements.  If they bid on and accept work in Monmouth County or New Jersey or Clifton, they should be familiar with those code requirements.  If they aren't, as is our situation, then why should the Town pay?But Mr. Anonymous, while trying to dismiss the waste of money or forgive the wasters, raises a note of concern.  Trying to collect the $49,300 would be a losing proposition were the Town to prosecute. One doesn't need to be a superlawyer to recognize that the party taking it to Court would not be the Town but the party trying to collect.  If the Town Board votes against paying for the Change Order, the contractor, Howell, will be the one determining whether the legal process is worth it.  All the Town has to do is just not sign the check and it is up to the other side to fret. Interesting too is the math which suggests that fractional decimal points don't mean anything.  Thus. $49,300 here or $10,751 there don't mean anything.  The kind of logic that Francis Sheehan has used before, often in public.  "Even if one person were to use the handicapped ramp...thus the true $175,000 cost of Sheehan's Folly can be dismissed as but a decimal fraction.  Conversely, if the Town were to spend $1,000,000 on a project and a dispute over $49,300 came up, it would be ok to be concerned because it was 4.9%.  And if the project were $100,000 then the Town Board best be concerned because 49.9% was wasted.Yes, that's what Sheehan is famous for, lecturing when he knows the audience can't respond to the fallacies in his argument.  But it doesn't work here on the blog."But if we fight it the Library won't open on time..."  Right now I suspect that the Town, like any purchaser, has not paid all of its bills on receipt.  It is even more likely on this kind of project that the Town still owes money for other already completed work.  It is also likely that the Contractors have been advised that both logically and legally, that they had best fulfill their Contract obligations to preserve whatever claims they may assert or defend.  And, even more likely, is that they want to finish the job so they can pull their workers and equipment off this job and go on to the next -- leaving the outcome to be decided either by negotiation or by a court.  So, when it comes to crying "the sky is falling", Anonymous 9:33 is not the picture of innocence is he?  And, if the claim in question is that the extra cost was due to unanticipated delays, then the Library is not opening "on time" but merely at the time that the revised estimates allow.
But permit me return to the notion touched upon briefly: that change orders are the norm.  That may often be but there is also an ancillary observation that applies to this particular construction project.  No one but Al Regula has even a tiny measure (let's borrow from 9:33 "fraction of a decimal point")of construction knowledge and allow that the members of the Town Board have no choice but to depend on Regula; that the Library Board of Trustees have to depend on Al Regula; that the Town Comptroller has to depend on Al Regula.  The Comptroller can check the addition; the Comptroller perhaps can guard against double billing; the Comptroller cannot vouch that X yards of asphalt are required, that the price of asphalt is Y and that the price of asphalt was Z on the anticipated date of use and that the price was -Z when the contract was executed.  Or any of the thousands of items that might be questioned were someone to wake up and ask, like the emperor's new clothes, how was the $19.9 million actually spent.  If the change order was to use a 100 watt light bulb instead of the contracted 75 watt bulb, who can argue this if there is a cost difference?  Who would know if a 60watt bulb would do just as well?  Who would know if they used a 60 watt bulb and charged for a 100? Of course, the Town has Al Regula; his construction resume for the Town reads Multipurpose Center and Town garage -- both built for much less money and both resulting in major problems.  Naturally you would want to turn a $19.9 million project over to him WHILE he is also running the Department of Public Works: sanitation, snow removal and highways -- construction, repair and weedwacking.Surprise: his engagement by the Town Council meets his counterpart at the Library Board of Trustees by their selection of a construction liaison, Estelle Palevsky, a former reading teacher.  A star-crossed duo that must have been a blessing to the Construction Manager.  And, what could make it even better was the music to Triton's ears that the Town Supervisor and the Town Council were bitterly split over the library project.

Does the Town Clerk's office issue licenses to steal?  Maybe even after the dust settles, the best that residents can hope for is to fine the parties for operating without a license.So, into this conflux of persons, events and circumstances, we enter the stage of the project life when the change orders start coming and because they are change orders (and everyone smart knows about change orders says 9:33) nothing is askew and wasn't Robin Hood really a good guy?And, horror of horrors, what if the Architect and the Construction Manager start pointing the finger back at the Town?  But 9:33 accuses me of both being "soft" on Feiner and of "not caring about this".

After all, the only reason, that I am concerned about the decimal fractions which he substitutes for actual expenses illustrated by the more recognizable format of substantial taxpayer dollars, is that I want to stifle talk about a 21% tax increase by clouding the blog waters over trace amounts, in this case $49,300 as per the words of 9:33: "which is in the grand scheme of things no big deal".Pardon my "bellyaching".If my ruminations give Greenburgh taxpayers indigestion, take two Tums.  Better yet, use the drugstore brand equivalent, you need to save money somewhere, somehow, someplace.It is no wonder why some interested parties continue to write as anonymous. 

Question of the Day:  Who authored the anonymous comments at 9:33?

Anonymous said...

The multipurpose center and town garage were both built to substandard specifications because Feiner, acting as his own construction manager, decided to cut costs, and taxpayers have been paying the difference many times over in additional capital expenses. Fortunately, Feiner (and Samis) didn't get to cut costs on the library. The taxpayers approved $19.8 million and like it or not, that's what's being spent. Chicken Little should have taken a chill pill. Samis should too.

hal samis said...

To 11:22,

There's that decimal game again.

If you want to play the game of fractions, then consider these.

The bulk of the Town's operating expenses are fixed. Employment contracts for wages and benefits, State and Federal impositions, pre-existing debt service etc. Income is subject to property taxes which, for the most part, are regulated by the County and the State, sales tax which is not set by Greenburgh, mortage tax which is likely to show at year end, a considerable lessening than was earlier predicted.

Then too are the somewhat dubious but staunchly defended studies that never go anywhere in terms of useful outcome: don't blame me I didn't support them.

Comprehensive Plan, Tappan Zee Bridge Study, Hartsdale Flooding, etc.

The above group represents things that while presumed useful did NOT have to be assumed during troublesome budget years. But they were.

All in all, the amount of the Budget that the Town Board has some control over is in the areas of programs, overtime and the like.
In rounded percentages, the only flex power the Town Board has is tinkering with roughly 25% of the budget. And, it is in this area that toes get stepped on. Plotting a safe and dependable course just isn't in the cards when faced with a non-homongenous municipality like Greenburgh. Greenburgh, more so than the other municipalities, which are "problem" free and immune to sizeable tax increases until they happen, faces such problems which are currently surfacing in the Town budget. Greenburgh because of its econmic, geographic and poltical differences is also known as the land of "I'm for me first".

Thus, in the inevitable and pronouced conflicts between incorporated and unincorporated, between rich and poor, between school districts, between black, white and hispanic, between subsidized and unsubsidized, between progress and historic preservation, between "green" and development; between "we need" and NIMBY...

Then add two spoonfuls of national and state economic woes and it is a painful medicine going down.

Even though I don't pay direct taxes I can still extend sympathy to those that do. However, I don't have the quick answer; nor does anyone in an "interest" group have an answer that is good news to other "interest groups".

We'll just have to see how it is handled later in the year when the numbers bandied about become more real.

1) I have publicly disclosed my dissatisfaction with the Town Board which claims no knowledge that a substantial tax increase is coming and,
2) by way of percentages, 2.8% of a 21% tax hike is by my math and using 11:21's example is 13.3% of the INCREASE. Your choice of arms not mine. Ranting about 13.3% is not unreasonable.

In any case, I'm seeking ways to see that this 2.8% of the the already incurred tax hike is spent wisely. What's your problem with that?

hal samis said...

To 11:35,Why did Feiner cut costs?  Because the projects were running over budget.  A tiny, unnecessary part of the narrative, right?And are you placing Al Regula away from the scene of the crime while this was happening?Again, the discussion already assumes that $19.9 million is being spent on the Library.  What is your problem in seeing that it is spent properly and not being wasted or worse?Are you Al Regula?

Anonymous said...

Samis, you aren't making the facts up as you go along, are you? Feiner cut the costs on the multipurpose center and the town garage because he thought the projects could be completed for less money, not because of cost overruns. Feiner issued press releases congratulating himself for that effort. Didn't you get them? Today we're paying for that mismanagement, and the fault was not Regula's. And as for the library accounting for 2.8% of this year's tax hike, that means, in plain English, that the increase would have been 18% without the library expansion. Since no other municipality in Westchester had anything close to that this year, and since no one in elected office warned us last year it was coming, it sure looks like financial mismanagement. So knock yourself out over that $48,000. Sure, the town board members had better know the facts before they vote to approve it, and those facts do have to come from Regula, but the odds are that this is nothing more than a routine change order and if it isn't, it's not worth making a federal case out of. We taxpayers can't afford it. Time to move on, Hal.

hal samis said...

I'll knock myself out for $49,300 not $48,000  -- were you in one of Estelle Palevsky's reading classes?  And I'm discussing the change order now because it is going to be voted on Tuesday.  If you are only impressed by larger numbers, wait until I discuss the entire project and the whole catalogue of change orders.But what you know so far is the $175,000 handicapped ramp, at least $30,000+ in billing errors from Triton for their services to date, $10,500 for replacing the new sidewalk curbs and a few other goodies already incurred, billed and paid.But none of this interests YOU because it is beneath your dignity especially because YOU are very busy working to reduce the looming expenses of the Town Budget.  How about cancelling the remainder of the contract for the Comprehensive Plan and saving the unspent balance of the appropriated $200,000 plus the $200,000 committed but not yet spent?

Anonymous, you aren't overlooking the facts as you go along are you?The multipurpose center got SMALLER because the project was over budget and thus completing the project for less money meant not spending more.  And since these projects were before my time in Greenburgh, I didn't get any press releases. The fault wasn't Regula's?  Again, are you Al Regula?  Was Feiner standing onsite wearing a construction hat?  Was Feiner in the construction shed pouring over the blueprints?  Was Feiner operating a backhoe?  Give us a break and assume that we know the difference between issuing a press release and running a construction job. But for your money, rather than rehashing the mistakes of earlier construction jobs, jobs which you admit that "today we're paying for that mismanagement" and shift your wisdom to the construction mismanagement of today while it's happening.  Or, are you waiting for TOMORROW to write "today we're paying for that mismanagement"?Your bias is not unlike NIMBYism.  It is ok to criticize the mismanagement of construction projects just as long as no one criticizes the mismanagement of this construction project. So however I turn, either the amount of the change order is too little to be concerned about; either it is odds-on just routine, either it is not Regula's fault, either it is not the Town Board's responsibility to scrutinize expenditures brought to their attention or it shouldn't become a federal case. We don't need the feds; that's why we have the State Comptroller's office. I am still amazed that you are so in to defending a change order that presumably might save taxpayers and the Library money? Are you sure you're not Al Regula or Triton or Howell? Since you've got nothing constructive to offer, why not just move to one of those communities which didn't yet bill their citizens for the true cost of running the government. And, if you read the newspapers, lots of well-known blue chip companies were doing fine, coining money right up to the minute before they announced losses in excess of $600 billion and counting.  The difference between Greenburgh and other communities is that the bad news has been, for the most part, "outed" already; elsewhere the clock is still ticking.

NOTICE:  Writing indoors on the blog is a good defense against exposure to harmful rays of the sun.  However, if in doing so, the following symptons are exhibited, discontinue at once: dizzyness, nausea, stupidty, laziness in obtaining facts, inability to write useful solutions, tendency to dwell on the past, paranoia, blurred vision, ie seeing feiner instead of feiner, feelings of persecution, anxiety and a tendency to forgot your name.  If these symptoms persist even after blogging stops, consult the Republican Party.  

ed krauss said...

7/13, 9:33AM

From your pseudo-analytical posting, I gather you are in the construction business. So am I.

My take, however is 180º away from yours.

First I'd like to say the $49,000+ dollars is not a big deal, but it is indicative of something wrong. The key, as Samis points out, is why the need for the change order? The same can be said of a number of "redos" i.e. the redoing of a curb which did not pass muster, cost $10,000+ to redo, and many other thousands, that add up to hundreds of thousands that could add up to a good deal more.

As someone involved as you seemingly are in major construction projects and the budgeting process, you surely know that there is always a "fudge factor" included when a long term project is budgetd.

The Various levels of contractors and subcontractors estimate the specifiatons, drawings and length of time before their specialty comes on line, before they comeup with their bid. In some cases the higher up "contractor" issues a final scope which must be signed and a final bid offered. When accepted, that becomes the bible to be followed. CHANGES which are beyond the agreed to scope are "add-ons" formalized by a change order.

The change order Samis refers to is a function of the construction manger's error. He was counting on X# of thermal wells, and through ignorance or neglect was required to CHANGE to 8X. This had a chain reaction which caused a delay in black topping. Yes it was a change order, but it was due to CM error, and Samis is not preaching "the sky is falling," he's pointing out, because no one else did the Town should not pay for this Change. The redoing of the curb, for $10,000+ is another "oops" not the fault of the town and the town should not pay.

The problem he is pointing out is that the change orders which total G-d knows how much are simply approved, by rote, and passed on to the Board who in turn,ignorantly, sign off, on something they have no clue about.

As far as holding up the project because there should be a revisit by a knowledgeable party to determine which change orders the town is responsible,and which they are not, is in the interest of all of us.

TRUth be told, I don't think anyone in this town knows a thing about whether, and by how much, we were ripped off, if at all-which I seriously doubt, just based on what Samis pointed out. And we should owe him a debt of gratitude and not attribute political motives to anything he is saying.

I am certain that many thousands of dollars will fall out of the "tree" once we start shaking it.

By the way, because we spend no more than the referendum amount does not mean this is a success.And what is unknown, is how much itwill cost us down the road replacing or repairing lower quality items.

I am equally certain we are not getting what was contracted for,for $19,900,000.And, it is part of the reason we have a 21+% tax increase which will be followed by a "first cousin," of 20+%.

Anyone who has followed my give and take with Paul Feiner Knows with certainty, I am one of his most ardent critics, however, the problem with the super, major F---up of the library construction project can not be laid at his feet. He was out-voted 4-1 repetedly. So if you want to come back at me, too, for giving "cover" to Paul, please do so with evidence and not "your opinion."

Anonymous said...

Ed, the difference between the library and every other problem is that the taxpayers had a chance to vote on the libary.

Anonymous said...

If Hal Samis is "chicken little," after reading Ed Krauss' know-nothing post, where he's "certain" we're not getting what was contracted for in the library project, he's equally "certain" that one of the reasons for the 21%tax hike this year and the 20% tax hike next year, and he labels the library project a "super f**k up," it's hard to know whether he's "henny penny," "cocky locky," "foxy woxy," or "goosey loosey." Just as Krauss blindly follows the tripe Samis is selling, as if it just has to be true coming from him, so too Krauss believes the "sky is falling," and gosh darnit, it's just not Feiner's fault because Feiner was outvoted 4-1 between 2005 and 2007. Well guess what Ed, virtually all the change orders have occurred this year, 2008, and they've all been approved unanimously.

Sorry Ed, your time has come and gone. You know nothing about construction or, more specifically, the management of construction projects. You know nothing about how change orders are agreed to or, more specifically, how these particular change orders were agreed to. You're simply buying what Samis is selling because it suits your own particular political pretense of the moment.

Go back to selling doors and windows. See if you got any buyers.

ed krauss said...

Anon 4:36
If I follow your posting correctly, because they(the tax payers) voted on the library project- by the way I voted for the referendum, so I do have a say- they have given their permission to be screwed.

As smeone who worked very hard to get it passed, I am doublly upset.

You see I'm "virtually" certain because of the inept mismanagement of the administration( as clearly evidenced by their voting to approve major dollar amount bills, the contents of which they have no conversency with and should only be approved when, and if, it is explained to them by someone competent) which is integral to causing a 21+% tax increase, followed by another one next year.

Our only salvation, this year, is that in other years, most typically last year, Mike Kolesar was not on board to give them(the Board) a heads' up to start looking at ways to save the tax payers double digit tax increase. This year, because, and only because of his fiscal management talents we may see something less outragious...but I doubt it.

Regarding the library construction project, I am no longer "virtually certain," I am completely certain it was mismanaged.

So the fact that we voted on it does not soften the blow.

But it's not too late. If we do smething about it NOW!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mike Kolesar said the library expansion was responsible for only 2.8% of this year's 21% tax hike. So Ed Krauss is just blowing hot air.

ed krauss said...


You know whether I'm right or wrong doesn't really matter. And, the 4-1 refers back to Feiner trying to get an owner's rep to oversee the project.

As far as change orders are concerned, I deal with them regularly in my "door" business. But you who shoot from behind anonymity, and are all-knowing about whatever the #!@*
don't realize we are ALL getting less, much less than we are paying fo, and you are shooting arrows at me and Samis.

I sincerely hope A-Holes like you are in the minority, becuse there are too many who would rather denigrate, anonymously of course, that investigate the smoke that may be apolitical fire.

What IF Samis is right?

Selling doors is very necessary and profitable, because every entrance needs a door. On the other hand G-d gave each of us an asshole, so you're superfluous.

Anonymous said...

And what if Samis is wrong, Krauss? In Chicken Little, the Chicken jumps to a conclusion and whips the populace into mass hysteria, which the unscrupulous fox uses to manipulate them for his own benefit. Samis says he IS Chicken Little. He tell us the sky IS falling. The moral of the Chicken Little story, of course, is not to be a chicken, to have courage, and not to believe everything you're told. A good lesson there for us all, wouldn't you say, Krauss? Or in the vernacular you prefer, would you rather just call us all A-holes?

Anonymous said...

We all know that Krauss and Samis have been right on target expressing their views on the library.
Many of us were duped into thinking that the library should be renovated to this monsterous size.
Many had no chance to vote on this project.
Many of us were against it.
These two men were both for the library project but at the same time insisting that there were many things that didn't add up.
The only one on the board who was against the library was Feiner.
If we followed all the questions that were asked at the various town meetings that were never answered that should have sent up a red flag that something was going on.
When Regula was made to manage the project that in itself should have been a warning to all that we were
heading for a big disaster.
The new comptroller as rude as he is in speaking that's how smart he is to tell the board that the way things are going we will be looking at another large tax hike.
Kolesar has repeatedly told the board that they had better tighten their belts so as to avoid a very large tax hike.
I don't think so because they have become too friendly with every commissioner and chief that it will be impossible for them to state that the departments were and are poorly run.
Each department has done and will do what they want at tax payers expense.
Krauss and Samis should receive many kudos for trying to make a big difference in town government.
We also should thank Preiser Bernstein and many others that asked many questions and are still waiting for answers.
Sorry the answers will not be given because they will incriminate the entire board.

Anonymous said...

So Sheehan's son is becoming a Hartsdale fireman.
I bet if Hartsdale instead of Greenville were asking for funds to help with the purchase of a special truck the money would have been granted.
Right Francis this would guarantee a fire position for one of your own.
Do you have anyone else at home that is seeking a civil service job?
I hope that it is not the police department then we will never get the rundown on overtime and other expenses.

Anonymous said...

Things have gotten so bad that if anyone speaks against the party line of the Edgemont Community Council and the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, that person is condemned. That's why samis and Krauss are getting insulted and mocked, because they speak against the party line. It doesn't matter that they are both right, you can't speak against the party line.

The party line strongly favored this library expansion, and so you dare not criticize any part of it.

This library expansion, and the way it has been carried out, has been a disaster from beginning to end. Too bad. Nothing can be done about it now. But soon it will be seen that the emperor has no clothes.

My thanks to Samis and Krauss. If they had been supported we would definitely have had a better plan and better construction.

Anonymous said...

Why should the residents of Fairview be allowed to rent out third floor apartments.
Since when did Fairview become separate from the town.
Why should they receive this benefit which by the way will be hurting the entire town?
This pastor that keeps making this request should have his head examined.
He will be putting too much burden on other property owners within his parishes
By the way does he not realize what changes have to be made to satisfy his people that in turn would have to be made to service the entire town.
Does he think his people are better than many of us.
We pay enough taxes to keep his people on easy street.
If this request is granted my home is large enough to make it into a four family home.
I will be there with bells on to storm the building department for the permits.
Town board do you want this to happen in Greenburgh.
Change he laws and you leave youselves wide open for legal and illegal apartments.
These people have had illegal apartments in their dwellings for some time and not only did they collect rent but they only paid taxes on a single family.They too also robbed the town out of money and now you are looking into this matter to maybe make changes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Krauss -
Isn't the "fudge factor" you referred to sometimes called the contractor's "profit margin"?
If you were working on a bid document wouldn't you include an allowance for changes in raw material costs, labor costs, operating costs and other items which reduce the profitablility of the job?
Would you bid a job where the CM and the client reduced your cushion to zero and left YOU personally liable for unforeseeable cost increases?
The damn process is flawed, especially when the project falls under the jurisdiction of the Wickes Law.
When Feiner squeezes the contractors' numbers too hard, he then must accept the responsibility for "value engineering" the project. That means understanding the garage for the sanitation trucks will be too small for them to fit - or that the library will not have the amenities sought. But what the hell, by appropriating no money for Taxter Ridge parking and giving away the land at the perimeter of the park without retaining an easement guaranteeing public access, Feiner made only a small mistake by comparison to the CM on the library....

hal samis said...

When the price of fudge goes up, wise contractors would have locked in their profit by ordering the commodity elements at the time of contract -- paying a small premium for the carrying charges until delivery is taken.

Wiser contractors, seeing firsthand the situation in Greenburgh where there are no controls, would say screw it, why bother, I've got a patsy on the line so why worry.

Wimpy bloggers who write under the anonymous moniker shouldn't even bother to pretend that they are writing about the library situation. All they want to recite their litany of historic blunders and assign the blame to
Feiner. How does that help taxpayers today? No one around here is learning from history so why teach it?

ed krauss said...

11:12 AM
I agree with virtually everything you're saying. However, a "fudge factor" is not and should not be the difference between profit and loss. Therefore, it's not the "profit factor."

A bid is put together based on a specific scope, sometimes itemized down to the brand name of parts used, specific colors and quality of paint and type and size of framing, window glass and so on.

The bid is also predicated on when in the continuum of the construction schedule the bidder's discipline is to be installed.Sometimes, in the case of doors, for example, they are on the tail end of the project. So, based on start and estimated completion date the bidder will, after putting together cost of goods, labor and profit, add an amount that takes into consideration anticipated increases in cost of goods and cost of labor, and overhead.

On every project, "a little rain will fall;" on some a "hurricane;" on our library a TSUNAMI.

Yes, the process is flawed. Any time you "estimate" you are still guessing. It may be an educated guess, nevertheless it's still a guess.

What happened with "The Garage" and "The Multipurpose Center" had nothing to do with fudge factor, guessing or even "value engineering." It had to do with squeezing a contractor into a lowball price and expecting to get $10.00's worth of work for $5.00 worth of pay. It was abject ignorance with regard to being one's own GC without even a GED in construction management.

Anonymous said...

There are MANY single-family homes in central Unincorporated Greenburgh - the various neighborhoods off of West Hartsdale Avenue and Road and Knollwood Road between 119 and 100 - that have been converted to two-family, rent-generating apartments (basement apartments, garage apartments, etc.) without permits or any town documentation for tax purposes. I've always wondered why the town chooses to allow this when it's so easy to find out.

Anonymous said...

Fairview has had the best of two worlds by changing single family to a two family.Now they are seeking to legalize the third apartment.
They paid taxes right along for a single but reapped in the rent for multiple dwellings.
So you say there are poor people in Fairview.

Anonymous said...

Boy the residents in Fairview should give classes as to how one can beat the system and get away with it.
They have a special motto crime does pay.

Anonymous said...

Would someone look into the tax base for all of these homes.
Are they paying the right amount How many are renting illegally?
Are these owners receiving assistance from any governmental agency?
These are questions that should be checked and answered.
Another thing are they declaring the rental fees as income ?
Not only is Greenburgh loosing money but the other government agency are loosing big time.
Oh before I forget has the Housing authority paid for the private Greenburgh protection.
See here again is another freebee in the Fairview area.
When will it stop.

Anonymous said...

No, the motto of Fairview is:
A Feiner Place to Live!

Anonymous said...

A Feiner Place to Live ... Yet where he lives in Unincorporated Greenburgh (Jackson/Sprain) is almost the farthest possible distance from Fairview.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul
Did Sonia Brown hire a new staff assistant at the comunity center for $60,000. If so, I thought the Town had a hiring freeze.
Can you answer please?

Anonymous said...

Well see the town has this informal unwritten secret from the public policy that every town board member has a certain amount of money she/he can sort of assign to a pet project or use for hiring folks for purely political advantage. Ms Brown has chosen to use some of hers for this sixty thousand dollar hiring. Don't worry though, she has lots more bucks to spread around fairview as soon as she can convince the supervisor that he can be relected to a tenth term.

predictions said...

feiner will be re-elected
and juettner and sheehan will be out.

Anonymous said...

Why is the Town pushing through the Zoning change to mandate affordable housing? And Fulton Park?

1. They are ignoring comments by neighborhood associations.

2. Does anyone in the Town care about the long term housing market? There was a great article in today's New York Times about how with the current housing/mortgage crises, more people will be sharing houses, etc. Do we really need more affordable housing in the future, or will it naturally open up?

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:51 -
Not only is it far from Fairview, it was far from fair market.
A sponsor's unit at a hefty price concession ...

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that our town clerk is not a yes person.
She speaks her peace without hesitation.You see Paul what new blood brings to your front stage.
This is what is needed in the departments that constantly spend tax payers money.
We need new people to take over so maybe they can try to bring some stability to town spending.