Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Greenburgh Town Board will hold our second budget hearing on the 2009 budget tomorrow evening (Monday, November 24th) at 8:30 PM. Before the hearing begins the Board will honor Ardsley girl scouts who helped veterans on veterans day. We will also hear a report from the state re: status of Tappan Zee bridge. The TZ bridge construction alternatives will impact Greenburgh and our villages. This briefing is one of a number of TZ bridge briefings we have had in recent years.
Since the proposed budget was submitted the town comptroller's office has been reviewing the document -looking for technical corrections.
First, we have some "technical" corrections to headcount information - these are non controversial as they adjust the parenthetical disclosures for certain lines to conform with what is in the current budget.
Second, there are the changes resulting from the corrections to the "I" fund. Not debatable per se, must happen, although there are some tax rate implications if no other revenues are found or appropriations reduced.
Third, there is the combination of minor revenue changes (lower interest income) and some changes to heat, electric and gas and oil based upon establishing some consistency across all departments. These changes would result in a small additional increase in taxes. However, I am urging the Board to look for revenue increases or additional cuts and anticipate that we will avoid an increase in taxes over what the projected budget recommended.
The Town Board will be spending substantial time reviewing the 2009 proposed budget in December. The budget must be approved by December 20th. I anticipate that additional public hearings will be held and that some additional cuts, modifications to the proposed budget could be approved.


Feinerspeak translated: 9% hike said...

What Feiner did not say, but should have, is that due to these corrections and modifications, the tax hike for unincorporated Greenburgh is now 9%, rather than the 7.7% that Feiner had announced.

Why can't the supervisor come clean when the public when it comes to financial matters? Also, why aren't these corrections posted on the town's website so that the public, when it shows up for the hearing tomorrow night, won't have to wade through them right then and there?

Anonymous said...

By the time December comes we will be looking at a double diget tax hike.

Feiner is playing games to look like the good guy.
It's a crime that the rest of the board helps him along.
Sonya will be fighting for every program available for the center regardless of the cost.
We know that that she will get what she wants at our expense.

The other members have become deaf mutes. Good for them.
This way we only have to bitch about two of them Feiner and Sonya.

The more we tell you to close or sell the center both of you find other avenues to screw the public.
we all saw what happens when the supervisor refuses to answer questions at a town meeting.
This goes for Sonya also.
She gives out information that we already know about.

How can we have a good government when we have no one to answer questios truthfully.

We don't need a briefing on the bridge what we need is someone who will turn this town arround to give us what we pay for not what you all want.

The town meetings are becoming a laughing stock throughout Westchester.
No where has there been a circus atmosphere at meetings like there is here in Greenburgh.
Why because answers were not given to those who asked them
This is not the first time,but you don't seem to realize that your silence is the true answer.
Keeping quiet proves that whatever is asked is correct and you who are elected officials are one hundred percent dishonest.
Defending yourselves is not a crime but what you all do at meeting is incriminating you further.
So we have open government WHERE


There will not be a 9% tax hike. The Town Board will find additional revenues or will make additional cuts. The Board has until December 20th to adopt a budget.

Feiner not candid: it's 9% said...

Feiner is not being candid with the public. Based on the latest information from the town comptroller's office, as a result of the adjustments and corrections, the town entire net impact is about a $355,000 increase and the TOV increase is about $325,000. If there is no additional use of fund balance or other cuts or other sources of revenue, the combined tax rate increase would rise to either 8.8 or 8.9%.

Since this is information that has been shared with the town board, including Feiner, why doesn't Feiner think it's appropriate to share it with the public? Doesn't he understand what open government is all about? If there is to be a public hearing on the budget tomorrow night, doesn't he realize that the public has a right to know where things stand as of this evening?

Feiner continues to act as if the people of Greenburgh are stupid. We are not.


Sorry to disappoint you. The corrections and modifications are being offset, eliminating the need for a 9% tax hike.
SOme people wish for the worst. I don't.

Feiner still not candid said...

Gee, this is like pulling hen's teeth! If the "corrections and modifications" are being "offset" so there "won't be a 9% hike," kindly tell us what the offset are. There is a public hearing on the budget tomorrow evening. Don't you think the public should have the same information that you have, don't you give a rat's ass what the public thinks?

Anonymous said...

Obviously, FEINER STILL NOT CANDID has no knowledge of the budget process. The Town Board will hear from the public. After hearing from the public the Board members will make adjustments to the budget. The Board has till December 20th to approve the budget.
Seems like the above blogger wants the budget to be a mess and that he or she is disappointed with the generally positive reaction the budget has been receiving.


The town did not have a town engineer for months. There were vacancies in the community center.
I agree. There probably won't be a bigger tax hike.
I also agree. Some people are very upset that everyone in town hall is working together--just like Obama and Hillary!

Anonymous said...

Glad there won't be a bigger tax hike. THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

There will be a double digit increase - but it will only show up at the very last moment and Feiner and the Board will point out that when they calculated the budget, the increase was less than 10%
The decrease in assessibles is the key. Because the tax roll is shrinking the expenditures will be pread over a smaller base and the result will be a higher than estimated tax rate for the remaining properties.
A Feiner idea - much better than telling the truth.

Feiner Not Candid said...

If Feiner would choose to be candid with the public about the now-estimated 9% tax hike, the public might be able to provide more meaningful input at this evening's budget hearing. Nobody is looking for another double digit tax increase. What we're looking for is a town board that understands that it is important to cut the pork before cutting into essential services. Cutting into essential services, which is what Feiner has done with the police, garbage, leaf pickup and snow removal, while preserving the pork, is one of the reasons why the Town is unable to balance its budget without drawing down funds in reserve from the fund balance. Feiner must think Greenburgh taxpayers are stupid not to see this. We are not stupid.

Anonymous said...

Sure we are - we've re-elected him and his chosen cohorts for almost two decades. Boy, talk about not learning from experience....

stop the subsidy? said...

bernstein says the town is feeding large chunks of seniors in central westchester who live outside the town at a cost of $300,000 -

can anyone dispute this without double talk?
if its true - it must stop asap!!!

hal samis said...

Does this mean that the Town Board will have to get serious about the patronage positions of The Council on the Arts and the Hartsdale Sculpture Curator?

Does this mean the elimination of the private tennis instruction at Veteran Park?

Does this mean the elimination of $10,000 trips to water parks?

Does this mean that the $200,000balance of the Comprehensive Plan is going to be called a capital expense and bonded? Will we be able to afford anything recommended at its future delivery?

Does this mean that programs like Xposure will go the way of all messes?

Does this even mean the elimination of the Town's cash buyout for health insurance not opted for by Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan (both have outside plans from employers) and Kevin Morgan (he already gets paid-up medical coverage from the Town per his "disability" but has no guilt about taking the cash buyout in lieu of his eligibility for redundant health insurance now as a Council member).

Tonight will be, as usual, a farce, but a badly timed one at that. Tomorrow is the work session on the Budget so maybe thereafter we'll see the new budget. So. if you're really into wasting time, attend tonight and watch the three ring circus ahead of the Budget hearings. Knowing what the State doesn't know about the Tappan Zee bridge promises to be a time waster and a yawn. I wonder why the Town Board can't just sit through this at their leisure and break it down into a 5 minute report or email the conclusions to a less eager public. OK, I'm not really wondering...

Hey do any girl scouts want to say something? We'd love to hear from every one of you.

And let's hear from the Town Clerk and Mr. Sheehan on how tirelessly they are still working on the contract with Cablevision. Gosh, when you stop to consider what would happen if we didn't have competition?

Finally, we want desperately to know about the upgrades to the GIS system because this will help reduce ratables much more faster than in the past.

I haven't decided, yet, myself about going tonight. However, if you have only time to look at one thing in the budget, read Feiner's letter of transmittal. Then read it again. And know too, per Mr. Sheehan, this is the budget approved by the Town Council.

Anonymous said...

Obamha and Hillary are working together wait ans see what will happen after a few month when the president will notice how she will be stepping on his toes to get ahead,
You think that the town board is working together, brother they are preparing for the elections.
Don't you think that it is odd that they are silent on many topics.
They seem to be afraid to make a mistake.

hal samis said...

Forgive me, it slipped my mind, must be getting old department.

Will the Public be allowed to see, perhaps like in years past, a written compendium of the changes to the budget?

Read Mr. Feiner's original post and note where he cites three areas of change. Wouldn't it be nice were the public to know what the Town Board knows and not have to wait until tonight's hearing is over? The Public shines best when it is not restricted to using 25 watt bulbs.

hal - please clarify said...

hal - do you mean to say that morgan, juettner and sheehan take cash from the town in an amount equivalent to what it would cost the town to insure them if they did not have a medical plan from another source?

if thats the case - they should run out of town.

but i await your understanding.

btw - seems no one has refuted bernstein on his claims visavis the town 's feeding program.

hal samis said...

Gee, the original topic has gone to the archives. I'll just have to leave my bagged emails here.

Sent just now, to Tim Lewis.

Donald Cannon is, I believe, the Chair of the Citizens Management and Budget Review Committee. How can you not be aware of a citizen "who gave tirelessly and generously" of his time? Wouldn't it be interesting to see how much he walks away with?

-----Original Message-----
From: Timothy Lewis
Sent: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 1:07 pm
Subject: RE: questions for answers at Town Board meeting

There are 117 students currently enrolled in the XPOSURE Program. 87of the students paid the full $300 fee and 30 students were assisted with scholarships. All of the fees collected pertaining to Xposure were deposited into Town Budget account B.15.2002.02, a revenue account for the TDYCC which the TDYCC utilizes to pay expenses. The term of the contract is from 8/1/2008 to 7/31/2009. The cost to the Town (net of Lanza Foundation funding) is $167,550 which are Town funds already in the TDYCC budget matching, and in addition to, the $167,550 Lanza grant funding. Mr. Thomas’ remuneration is $35,600 paid from the grant funding. I am unsure who Mr. Cannon is or his remuneration. Winsome Gordon of Philanthropy had drafted a detailed budget and may have additional information but she had a death in the family and is out of the country.

Tim Lewis
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2008 2:15 PM
To: Timothy Lewis
Cc: Townclerk
Subject: Fwd: questions for answers at Town Board meeting

I am still waiting the reply from you with regard to the answers to the questions asked of Sonja Brown. As you recall, you volunteered at the Wednesday Town Board meeting to ge the precise answers. Surely this cannot be so difficult task unless you are finding that no records are being maintained.

-----Original Message-----
To: townclerk
Sent: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 2:38 pm
Subject: questions for answers at Town Board meeting

Sonja Brown (Town Council)
Re Xposure, as of close of business, November 7, how many students are registered in the Xposure program(s)?
How many of these have paid the $300 fee?
What entity gets use of these $300 fees?
Am I correct that the current Xposure contract began July 1, 2008and ends June 30, 2009?
What is the cost to the Town (net of Lanza funding) for this initial year?
What is Mr. Cannon's remuneration?
What is Mr. Thomas' remuneration?

Now we know that the cost per student is $2641 (after subtracting the $26,100 in paid fees) taxpayers. Not a bad haul for a program which began in October and will likely end in June.

Maybe Al Regula should get in this business. Eighth graders are natural candidates needing to know how to build a sanitation garage.

hal samis said...

Dear clarify,
No they get $2000 or $2500 in lieu (this was so long ago that I asked I forget)of a more costly policy paid by the town. And this buyout is available to all Town employees finding themselves in a similar situation.

The difference is that the other Town employees have not paraded about town and promoted themselves as seeking every means to keep taxes down. Since the Town Board has the voting power, one would think that they would police their own backyard before looking elsewhere.

The noble thing would be to just say no and save the town money since they claim to be so concerned about saving taxpayers money -- selflessly without looking to profit from the situation.

hal samis said...

On another blog, Ed Krauss wrote that the Supervisor would try anything not to leave much time for public comment on the budget at the Public Hearing on the Budget. At this writing, the Hearing has not yet started.

What Ed wrote was that Feiner would bring in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and interview each member. Tonight, Feiner brought in a children's chorus from Dobbs Ferry? This item was not on the Agenda.

Whom does Feiner consult with regarding what's on the Agenda. Obviously the children's choir (at least 20 kids) did not hear about their booking just 10 minutes before the Town Board meeting. Obviously it was planned well in advance.

Do any of the Town Board members object to this? The Feiner team travelling in tandem the road to the wreck.

Anonymous said...

Health insurance should be provided to those that don't have it. If someone has health insurance from another source (like Morgan, Sheehan. Juettner) they should not get extra compenation. They should be happy that they are covered and not look for a bonus.

Same with other employees who have coverage already, such as employees who are covered under a spouse's plan. They are insured and don't need the town's insurance and that should be that. Even if the town were not in a financial bind, there should not be such bonuses.

Anonymous said...

We all know how much the bridge will cost but above all we have found out how dangerous it is for motorists.
Why are we permitted to use this bridge when there is so much knowledge about the decaying problems.
Goes to show you how bad our government is when they are all knowing of what could happen.
Was this presented to us to prepare all of us of how much our taxes will increase ?
What else is new?

more scandals in the burgh said...

juettner morgan and sheehan should be ashamed of themselves

how low cab they sink to take town money for health insurance they get elsewhere!!!

this is scandalous

thx hal for enlightening us

Anonymous said...

While I'm certainly not defending J,M & S, health insurance is part of compensation and in other companies where the employees spouse carries it, the company compensates the employee for electing not to participate. it is unreasonable to ask that they fore go it completely as it penalizes them for something compensation that thier spouse earns. Not fair.
A reduced monetary compensation should be explored for all employees with other, outside HI benefits.

hal samis said...

Dear 11:08,

How does it penalize employees if they have already opted to take their spouse's health care or their own plan from another job.

However I have limited the discussion on purpose to just three persons, Juettner, Sheehan and Morgan, for a good reason.

Here we have PART-TIME employees being offered fully paid health care coverage.

Here we have PART-TIME employees who say they are working hard to cut out any fat in the budget for the purpose of reducing taxes.

And most egregious of all is PART-TIME employee Kevin Morgan who has free health care coverage already provided by the Town of Greenburgh. Because of this, he is able to collect a buy-out. Does this seem to be a little over the top? Does double dipping sound like a viable descriptive?

Again, just in case you have missed the red flag: the Town Board (agreed an earlier Town Board) voted to grant themselves full-time health care and retirement benefits for their PART-TIME efforts. Presumably that Town Board was not focused on ways to save taxpayers money.

If you want to compare what is the norm in the private sector, how many private sector companies provide fully paid health care coverage for their PART-TIMERS?

Do you get it, yet?

I think it is outrageous and would expect that the Supervisor would not only admit this but take immediate action to end this shame.

How about it, Paul?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it policy that to qualify for benefits, any town employee must work a minimum of 20 hours per week?

hal samis said...

If it were policy, ask yourself who created the policy.

If it were policy, ask if the kids hired for summer are eligible for paid medical and other benefits.

If it were policy, I'd want to examine the time sheets of the Town Council.

If it were policy, you would be quick to say so; not to pose it as a question dressed up in the wrappings of a statement.

If it were policy, I suspect you are reading without your glasses on.

Anonymous said...

What we need is Town Manager, and then elimiante all payments -- salary and beneifts to supervisor and counciel.

Anonymous said...

Unhappy Hal get your facts straight. You are all over the road like a drink driver. Does it really excite you when you ramble and few listen. Move out

hal samis said...

Dear 3:06 (aka FEW)

I guess you are listening.
I'm so excited.

Anonymous said...


To 4:30 pm, instead of playing "guess the blogger", how about doing something intelligent like showing how Whitehead was justified in hiring all those extra staff during the summer? Why is SHE, NOT the CENTER, under Police Investigation? It's easy to attack bloggers. What’s the matter? Are the answers too painful for you? What a kick in the head to have good people get laid off because of the misconduct of one person, VALERIE WHITEHEAD. Her stamp on the Center: A $10,000 one day trip to Playland? Running away from the Police? Crying at an Advisory Board Meeting? Hiring problem staff including her felon nephew? No Education. No one else interviewed for the Job as Interim Head? Letting a private swim team get pool time with an outstanding $20,000 bill? DEMOTION IS NOT ENOUGH.


Anonymous said...

Was this briefing necessary.

I must say after listenng and looking at all the pictures if anything should happen on that bridge the people in charge left themselves open for multi law suits because they knew of these problems before hand and still allowed the public to think that the bridge was safe.
Instead of pouring hard earned money into the repairs over all these years they could have started to build the bridge
which would have been completed before all this information was given to the public.

Paul do you think this was a good idea to have this briefing .
The only thing that it has done is to alarm the people who use the bridge every day.

Anonymous said...

TO 2:39 and 2:41…


To answer your question, no, I wasn't interested in being the Temporary Commissioner. Though after all the damage Whitehead has done to the Dept, I'm very sorry I wasn't given that opportunity. Certainly myself as well as many other more qualified staff would have done a far better job. At minimum, we would have never hired any no show part time staff. This needless waste of taxpayer dollars used up the budget where it is now necessary to lay off hard working staff during the Holiday Season. Bad enough the TDY Center's reputation has to take a hit because of Whitehead's misconduct, but to tell staff they have to either be laid off or work a reduced schedule because of Whitehead's overspending is disgusting. Think about it. How would you like to work hard while those in the same building are not only working at a higher pay rate but supposedly putting in 50 hours a week when the Center was closed to evening programs? What message does this send to dedicated workers? It just isn't a decent way to treat people.

It is a common practice to do a credit check on Dept. Heads during the hiring process, The Town Council ignored the recommendation of doing a credit check on Whitehead. If they did their homework, they would have discovered an extremely low rating for Whitehead who has in fact had her paycheck garnished. If she couldn't manage her personal finances, how on Earth did anyone expect her to do a good job with the TDY budget?

It is like asking Ted Bundy to baby sit your kids. NOT SMART!

For crying out loud the woman can't even manage her car (red Ford Taurus station wagon). It's a mess!!!! (Some neighborhood people think she sleeps in it!)

While she was hiring all these staff, no one knew what they did nor the hours they worked. Despite her obviously limited budgeting skills, why didn't she give any consideration to those staff who work legitimate programs? Didn't she care about these people enough to make sure there was money left in the budget to pay them for the rest of the year? Hopeton and Barbara never made those kinds of mistakes. These people depended on Center paychecks to feed their families, what was Whitehead thinking?

On the subject of the Investigation, many of us remain hopeful that justice will prevail. After all, the police don't get signed statements from 15+ staff without a case. Plus take the video security tapes and sign-out sheets. Remember the guy from the County was under investigation for months before the Police nailed him.


Anonymous said...

The police can't arrest anyone at TDYCC because, they are too busy training for tech-rescue or bringing patients to the hospital
Cut these programs now, so the police officers can do their jobs