Monday, November 10, 2008

BUDGET HEARING WEDNESDAY NIGHT

The first of the 2009 budget hearings will be held Wednesday night at 8:30 PM at Greenburgh Town Hall. Hope to see you at the hearing.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

lets hope juettner announces her resignation - she has cost the town millions with her incomptence.

allin said...

TOWN OF GREENBURGH

Employment Opportunities

Paul what are you waiting for let the news out dont wait for mid December

hal samis said...

Dear 4:34,
Is this a regional variant of Allen, Allan, Alain or is it the betting term?

Perhaps there are more than two employment opportunities coming and the Supervisor laready knows about them.

We can only hold our breath and pray. Afterall, the Supervisor is not one to put out four press releases when one would do. Right?

allin said...

Sonja Brown

Francis Sheehan

Diana Juettner

Kevin Morgan

will one of you let out the NEWS

Anonymous said...

It has been suggested that this comment be moved -- why cant we sell, via the appropriate methodology, i.e., sealed bids, the 119 property and put the court house/police station on other proeprty we own, like taxter ridge, harts ride, gleenwoods?

Anonymous said...

New Rochelle budget calls for 8.25 percent tax increase
By Aman Ali • The Journal News • November 10, 2008

NEW ROCHELLE - Residents can expect to see the city portion of their tax bill increase by 8.25 percent next year under a proposed 2009 budget released today.

"Essentially, our expenses are increasing at a pace faster than our revenues," city manager Charles Strome III said. "Unless things change, we're going to have difficult budgets like this for the next few years."


The city will increase taxes despite the plan to cut expenditures by about $4.5 million from the revised operating budget in use now.

The proposed $150 million budget includes a property tax rate of $164.97 per $1,000 of assessed value. A home assessed at the city average of $18,000 - with a market value around $750,000 - would pay a total of $2,969.46, or about a $266 dollar increase.

Mayor Noam Bramson and City Council are expected to receive the budget this afternoon. Strome said he anticipates the budget passing with minor changes when the city votes on it next month.

good news said...

kriss resigned
hope juettner is next

Anonymous said...

Since Paul posts on this blog during work hours, I would argue that this blog constitutes government property/services. Consequently, the IP addresses collected by the bp site meter should be public information, or even subject to FOIL.

Anonymous said...

if your so concerned about a site meter and ip addresses why do you sign in under anonymous. This web page belongs to google not the town of greenburgh. Read their privacy policy

Anonymous said...

2:40 : you have no idea what you are talking about. I have a google blog (blogger). I put a site meter on my blog that tracks IP addresses information about every visitor to the site. I can tell who the obsessives are who sign in everyday. in many cases, with some more information , you can more or less figure out who the visitors are. Its easy to figure out who's signing in from work and who from home. Often you can identify who the person works for. There is very little anonymity on the net. For example, the IP addresses of posters on this site could be very useful information.

Anonymous said...

There are leaves in the street everywhere!!! I was on Birchwood Lane and Cross Hill Road today and there are piles of leaves everywhere!! It is very dangerous when driving a car around a bend and have to drive on the left side of the road because of these piles...What is the point of having laws and fines if we do not enforce them?

Mr. Feiner...could you please answer?

Anonymous said...

well we who watch the town board meetings from home will not be able to see the goings on.

The town cable office who does the filming does not know what they are doing.

We have not had cable for close to one month.

Could this be a ploy by the town so that residents will not be able to exercise their opinions .

It seems kind of odd that since the budget hearings started we have been without cable .
Funny it;s just the Greenburgh channels.

Paul whats the answer.

Anonymous said...

You should postpne this hearing because we cannot see it on TV.

What is wrong with your your system at town hall.

Marc Herman said...

To address concerns about the Bpath counter, no IP addresses are being collected or stored. While it is true that many companies may utilize services such as Google Analytics to collect information about target consumers, there is no such scripting contained within this blog. Any counter data (a simple running tally of visits) is stored on Bpath's servers, not the Town of Greenburgh's or my own. Furthermore, an IP address does not reveal one's identity or name. I hope this has helped to alleviate some concerns.

Anonymous said...

Paul it is ashame that the residents do not have the oportunity to see the town meetings on Verizon cable for the paqst three weeks.

Is you teleperson capable of handling the problem at hand.

The problem is coming from town hall equipment.
If the guy needs help have him call Verizon instead of taking away the only means that we the residents would know what is going on by watching cable.

How come he made this situation go on for so long?
You had to be getting calls right and left but I'm sure that went to the wayside.
.
We pay good money for this service and you too receive money from Verizon so why are you letting this problem go on.

Anonymous said...

Verizon is not a town owned company.

hal samis said...

Dear 8:41,
It is more of a shame that the Town wants to renew its franchise agreement with Cablevision. Obviously Cablevision is shaking in their boots having to match the tough deal that Mr. Sheehan negotiated with Verizon. You may remember the word that promised residents the sun, the moon etc.
Say it again for the record, Mr. Sheehan.
COMPETITION.
"I'd like to thank all the people who worked really hard on this..."

Yet curiously enough, Cablevision still can't seem to get its equipment or the town's equipment or the town clerk's office (all the king's horses and all the king's men) and get microphones that work, pictures that are clear and sound that is audible without buzzing. Amazing since pictures transmitted from the moon come in sharper and with crisper sound.

So this brings us to why. Either it is Cablevision's fault or it is the Town's. We know the Town Board thrives on confusion. We know that the Town Board is reviewing the unsigned franchise agreement (or not as apparently the Town, its residents and Cablevision aren't looking at the same agreement) but what better opportunity than withholding consent to this agreement UNTIL the broadcast problems are resolved for once and for all (hasn't the last ten+ years of inferior cable just flown by).
Perhaps this will either force Cablevision to get their system in order, get the Town's facilities in order or stop covering up for the Town. End the confusion now!
He says, she says....Verizon must be laughing.

Anonymous said...

Paul I want my company Verizon to televise the town meetings as they have done before.
Why is it that the other towns and City of White PLAINS ARE TELEVISED BUT NOT GREENBURGH.

Could it be that your person in charge has to be replaced.
He has to be doing something wrong since Verizon says that their lines are clear and the problem rests in the town's operation.

Does this have something to do with Cablevision and their contract??????

We the residents are paying money to Verizon for complete services but for some reason the town is not fullfilling their responsibility.
Enough of this BS and give us back the viewing of all town meetings.

What are you hiding from the public??
WHy is it that this happened at such an improtant time when our budget is being discussed.

Good timing Paul.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased with my town government. Town staff-- you are awesome!

wake up csea!! said...

Gov. David A. Paterson dropped the budget hammer on Wednesday, proposing $5.2 billion worth of cuts over the next 16½ months, with Medicaid and education, the two largest pieces of the budget, bearing the brunt of the pain.

The governor said he would not seek layoffs, but state workers are being asked to forgo a previously negotiated 3 percent pay raise for next year, a move that would require the labor unions to reopen their contracts. Labor leaders have already expressed reluctance to make such a move. The governor is also proposing to make state workers pay for a greater part of the bill for their health care benefits.

The governor said during a press conference on Wednesday morning that Wall Street had “bailed us out” for years, but “now the well has run dry” amid Wall Street’s turmoil and the state must halt its free-spending habits.

“We’re not going to get out of this quagmire we’ve built until we reduce our spending,” he said.

Anonymous said...

Let's lay off police officers but spend millions of dollars on a new library and health center. That makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

Sell the albatross of a library to a company like Mack-Cali or any corporation and recover most of the money that has already been lost. We can download or stream thousands of books, newspapers and other publications from a cell phone let alone a home computer. The parking lot was never full before the internet and certainly was never full before the so-called improvement. The money would have been better served upgrading libraries at each individual school.
If the library has been able to function out of limited space at town hall, why would it need an addition at a cost of MILLIONS. Cut losses and sell that eyesore to cover the basic operating costs of the town rather than laying off essential workers. Library workers are not essential in an economic crisis, but I'm sure more are needed now for the expanded building. But the employees that actually provide essential services are under the town's guillotine. Does that make sense???

Anonymous said...

Paul it is a crying shame that you have not checked into why the subscribers of Verizon cable have not been able to see any town meeting for the past three weeks.

You cannot say that you didn't know that his was going on.

If you have a problem with Verizon tell the public this way we can take the necessary steps to change to something else.
Your silence in this matter is not appreciated.

Is there a reason for this black out??

It seems very convient that this would happen at such a crucial time when the budget is in play.

I'd like an answer as to why you made this go on now entering the fourth week.

Anonymous said...

Hal and Ed--

Since this meeting has been blacked out would you both be so kind as to give us heads up as to what was said and done.

I know that the public relies on your word to set the budget matters straight.

THANKS.

If you haven't heard we have not had meetings via Verizon cable for one month.

Was this done on purpose so we at home would not see or hear what was going on.
Well the town is getting away with it.

They keep say it's not our fault.

Anonymous said...

WHITEHEAD CONSIDERED FOR TDY C/C DEPUTY?!?!?!?

Say it isn't so! Somebody pinch me!! The same Whitehead who is under police investigation, for hiring 5 people including her felon nephew to work no show jobs? These five people claimed to work 50 hours a week as part timers when the building was closed for evening programs. Huh? The same Whitehead who cried like a baby to the TDY Advisory Board? The same Whitehead who fired the Pool Director? The same Whitehead who never finished college? The same Whitehead who never supervised ANY f/t staff before being given a DOUBLE SALARY raise when appointed Interim Commissioner? The same Whitehead who gave away a $10,000 free day to Playland for the TDY Summer Camp, yep you read it right, that one day trip cost taxpayers $10,000. The same Whitehead who failed to inform the public about the Exposure Program? The same Whitehead whom staff protested her appointment in the Journal News? The same Whitehead who didn't start ONE new program since her appointment? The same Whitehead who has bought staff morale to its lowest levels? The same Whitehead who hasn't brought in one extra dime in grants? The same Whitehead who got the job without anyone else being considered? The same Whitehead who needs Councilwoman Brown to hold her hand to do her job? The same Whitehead who disappeared for 5 days when the Greenburgh Police entered the building?

Nooooo it can't be! I want to wake up from this bad dream!
Now before any of the folks she has taken care of respond, tell me one item here that isn't true. JUST ONE! This will be a long wait.

Greenburgh ranked number one for the poorest promotion standards in the USA!!!

hal samis said...

Wow!
And if even a small percentage of these allegations are true, that would still be reason enough for the Town Board to decide not to have this matter prosecuted. Because that is what the Town Board plans to do, sweep it under the rug.

How about what I learned tonight.
(This occurred off camera during a break in the meeting.)
Ms. Brown and Ms. Whitehead have no idea how many students are registered in the Xposure programs.
Even though I asked in an email Monday to the Town Clerk for this information. Remember the Town Clerk's introduction of ask and ye shall be answered program. This too is sinking out of sight.

In any case, Sonja thinks around 128, Valerie doesn't remember and I countered with how about 88? This would be the math approximation of around $25,000 said to be taken in by the Town from the $300 registration fees.

"Oh there's more students because some of them are on scholarship" volunteered Ms. Whitehead.

Oh, that's a new one on me I said. When did the Town Board vote for this scholarship program and what are the qualifications to be in it, I asked.

"We've always had scholarships" said Ms. Brown.

But you haven't always had the Xposure Program, have you, I asked.

And then the meeting resumed.

But taxpayers, anyone remember being told that some children get a free ride while others do not?
In a follow-up posting I shall cut and paste my questions to the Town Clerk.

hal samis said...

Email sent to Town Clerk Monday
Questions to be answered at the 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?


Al Regula (DPW/Library)
How can be the handicapped ramp and the gate by the children's garden be called "enhancements" when they were requirements of the site plan approval by the Town Board?
Since they were known to be requirements, over a year before bidding packages were sent out, why are these requirements, the subject of Change Orders?
Many things have changed since the May Referendum, the required number of parking spaces for example. The parking, the ramp and the gate however were known in advance.


Edye McCarthy (Assessor)
How did your $2.4 million mistake occur?


Francis Sheehan (Town Council)
You were the champion of this policy approved in December, 2007. At that time, you told the public that this was created so that never again would the Fund Balances be wrongfully invaded. Do you justify the Supevisor's use of Fund Balances in the 2009 budget?


John Kapica (Police) Kevin Morgan (Town Council)
Are there any statistics (the last ten years) that correlate crime rates and crime occurence in Greenburgh and the number of actual employees receiving full year paychecks from the Police Department budget? If so, please enumerate by year? Likewise, what is the correlation between crime rates and numbers of crime occurence and overtime?

Diana Juettner (Town Council)
When is the Library to open for patron use?
Has a final resolution for the disposition of the Cybermobile been reached?
What was the "mistake" regarding the Library Change Order (voted upon by the Town Board and mentioned by Estelle Palevsky (Library Building Committee) at the subsequent Library Board of Trustees meeting?"

Needless to say, this segment was put off as long as possible by Mr. Feiner.
This "send in your questions" started life at Town Board meetings with the questions being read by the Town Clerk BEFORE three minute comment so that the public could respond to the answers. Of course, the Town Board has changed it so that the questions are to be read after the three minute public comment period and those answering can lie at will because there will be no opportunity to challenge.

Needless to say these questions did not get answered because the Supervisor seized upon a opportunity to cut short this segment. This is another slice of Feiner's transparency in government seeking creative ways to hide the truth.

I shall explain further tomorrow. To those who can watch the rebroadcast, take particular note of how many times Tim Lewis interrupts the meeting with new ways to curtail public comment or ask the Town Board if they want to hear from the public. I guess he has finally accepted that he knows little regarding law so he wants to make himself useful performing as Feiner's manservant. Obama he is not.

Anonymous said...

OK PAUL WHAT WAS RESOLVED OR WHAT WASN'T .

WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT TOOK PLACE IF ANYTHING.

Anonymous said...

Does the budget contain a reserve for what I anticipate as litigation by Ms. Roper?

Concerned citizen said...

Sonya, please answer Hals questions. I don't agree with any students getting a scholarship. Thats why we pay taxes to GC7. For free education.

Anonymous said...

No one will answer Hals' questions because they know that he is right in asking.

Whatever Fairview wants Fairview gets at all the taxpayers expense.

Scholarships for this program is ridiculous.
Who pays for this scholarship program. I do hope that it is not the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

"Scholarships" is just a polite way of saying that certain friends of those in political power get to use the program for free. Do you think for one minute that Sonya paid the $300 for her daughter to participate?

Anonymous said...

Sonya is only on the board in the first place because, she wanted a free summer program at WCC paid by the town. It was turned down by the board and she had no other job, so she ran for the town board and won on Paul's coat tail. Now she she spends our money on the kids at the center for anything she wants. Why do you think Valarie Whitehead is where she is!

rotten in denmark said...

Someone needs to look into the legalities of how grant money is obtained, how the town spends it, to benefit who and on what.

Paul's latest defence of spending matching tax dollars to these grants for nonsense at TTDYCC, is to say all are welcome to participate these grant/matching tax funded programs.
I suspect this can't be true. There's got to be something very wrong with this.

Anonymous said...

Want to bet if you FOIL the Town for the application for scholarships to the Xposure program they will be right there with Raymond Thomas' resume?

Anonymous said...

Many of us never knew that grant money was to be matched by taxpayers.

I now see why the" word "grants it overly used at meetings.
If it weren't for Samis who explained this to us on the blog we would think that it was something good to help ALL OF US.

Has anyone noticed where all this grant money goes and above all who have to pay into the matching of funds.?

I don't think that I have to say where you all know where.

Paul why is this so. You keep taking not to use the word stealing to satisfy the north end of town.
Thanks Samis.

I do hope that some workers do reach out to you to enlighten you as to what has been going on in this town.

Much has been said on the blogs but not in detail.
Someone that is retiring has a very good track record that if his workers come foward he will have to run from the job.

hal samis said...

Sent to Diana Juettner and the Town Board. Ms. Juettner is the Town Board liaison to Parks and Rec and she thought she had scored a point off Samis at the Budget hearing. Readers will be comforted to know that Juettner is still playing the part of Juettner.


"It is understandable why you so seldom speak. Perhaps you are smart enough to recognize that you really don't understand what is going on around you when you attend meetings of departments that you appear at as the Town Board's liaison. Perhaps it is because that as a village resident and not responsible for paying unincorporated taxes, you don't really care what is going on. This alone is a good argument for removing yourself as the liaison to Parks & Recreation and the Library.

So, in one of your rare speaking opportunities before the public, you asked Mr. Byrne after my turn at the podium: Don't we make money on tennis instruction and he dutifully came forward and said yes. However, no blame intended, he did not have the data to support that conclusion at the meeting but was kind enough to supply it to me this afternoon. We spoke by phone thereafter. Whereas you thought you had negated my comments re the needless costs of tennis instruction, what in fact you accomplished was again expose your basic lack of knowledge of how the world runs. Perhaps you will take note and observe the conventional wisdom of not asking a question, in public, that you don't already know the answer.
Your dais neighbor, Mr. Sheehan, has already registered his concerns about dealing with a better educated public and has railed against being asked to confirm on camera what is known to only a few in private.

Perhaps when the police report on the Community Center is "completed", you will be asked a question or two, so be prepared.

Now here comes a matter of interpretation. If you include things like tennis permit fees and guest fees as revenue you get a break even against the costs of providing instruction. However I am not addressing whether or not the Town should offer tennis FACILITIES to residents for which the Town should indeed levy fees etc. Instead,

I am addressing only those line items relative to tennis INSTRUCTION and the costs to provide instruction as compared to the revenue stream provided by these instructors. And here I find that it costs the Town roughly $30,000 to be in the tennis instruction business.

per Gerry

Revenue
tennis instruction $19,501
tennis clinic instruction $37,333
private tennis instruction $3,476
Total $60,310

Expense (salaries)
tennis director $32,077
assistant tennis director $10,955
part time tennis staff $48,040
Total $91,072

Net loss to Town $30,762

This difference does not include any maintenance costs specific to instruction and it does not include any benefits or additional costs associated with paying salaries.

And, it should be noted that the salaries are based on a 4.5 month season. Annualized, the Director, for example, would be drawing down nearly $100,000.

Note too that the incremental costs of providing tennis courts for instruction are nominal.
The Town is going to maintain public tennis courts, with or without, providing instruction.

What I had proposed was to institute a system like existing in private clubs in which the tennis pro is given a court (maintained by the club) and it is agreed that it is for his exclusive use to conduct lessons, hold matches or let it sit idle. He keeps 100% of the fees earned for providing instruction to those who would employ him or her. IN RETURN for this free court, he handles the general administration of the other courts (handling court reservations, enforces time limits on courts, collects guest fees on behalf of the club, etc.).
Thus, in Greenburgh instead of paying a tennis director who also teaches, let's eliminate the salary and the revenue and provide a free court or courts so that those giving lessons can teach and the program can operate essentially as before with one difference: it will not cost the Town $30,000 to provide tennis instruction -- an activity which is in considerably less demand from residents than other sports activities that the Town provides.

Here is where I mention the insiders joke that most of instruction is provided not to unincorporated residents but instead to residents of the villages -- I have no problem with this.

As I stated, there are many frills and frou-frou remaining in the Town Budget. This particular expense of unincorporated need not be incurred in these harsh economic times. This is one of these limited market programs which can be underwritten in less troubled times. By the same token, it should be one of the first to go when the Town Board is looking to cut expenses."

And isn't it good to know that this year we are not looking at just the Supervisor's budget, this version is the one vetted by the Town Council as well.

Next up: my annual appeal re the so-called "Council on the Arts" expense. The "Council" is really a one woman Ossining resident parading as a Council.

Anonymous said...

But the massive waste of monies is at the TDYCC. No Show jobs, no bid contrracts. 10,000 trip to playland.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

I dont know what CC you belong to, but where I belong, the Tennis Pro and Assistant Pro are paid salaries, and then members who want pay for lessons -- which also goes to the pro. The pro also gets a cut of the pro-shop sales and free lunches.

But I dont think that is relevant. We arent running a country club. We need to determine what we are losing money and either fix it or get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

The tennis court is working at a loss of thirty thousand plus.
You guys are bonkers.
How can this town go on loosing money for this one sport and then again have the taxpayers pay increase taxes for your poor managerial skills.

Paul I do think that when figures come in from every parkland we will see that you have been stealing our money just to make yourself and the board look good.

I think you should step down asap and take the members of the board that are insink with what you are doing.

How much money was lost throughout the years that was not told to us,and a coverup followed.

Paul you have run a town with one coverup after another.
How can you live with yourself.
Why is it that at work sessions nothing of this one particular loss "in tennis" was never mentioned.
Are the losses sustained but the departments never brought to light.
Jus the good works.

Well again you have run a corrupt government together with some of your department heads.
What were your final words to them "if you won't tell neither will I"

Open goverment my foot. A corrupt government all the way.

Anonymous said...

All of this confirms the obvious.

Paul Feiner and the Town Council (which is under his thumb) only want to provide services to Fairview and the Villages. Tennis, TDYCC all for them.

IT IS TIME FOR THE REST OF GREENBURGH TO STAND UP AND DEMAND THAT WE BE TREATED FAIRLY.

hal samis said...

Dear 9:53,

By any chance, does your Country Club lose money and maybe could use some help? In any case, you are correct, the Parks Department should not be a Country Club run for the benefit of affluent members. Nevertheless, there is some obligation to provide basics to residents. Even to provide the means but not the ends. Tennis courts yes; instruction no. I support swimming lessons because of the larger population of swimmers vs. tennis players and because it is of a life saving consequence to instruct children and adults in how to swim. Perfecting your tennis backhand stroke does not generate the same level of concern.

My post was to respond to a glossing over of the facts at the Town Board meeting. There isn't a lot one can do in 5 minutes or respond to dais comments made after your turn at the podium. I don't want to shut the tennis courts down; I think the Town should provide the basic ingredients for those who want to play tennis since it it not likely that many residents have the means to situate a tennis court on their property.

However, to save taxpayers money and keep expenses down, I am looking for ways to wring the last ounce of fat out of the Town Budget because I know the Town Board has chosen not to do a very good job. Using fund balances and bonding is not brain surgery and more likely is how those needing brain surgery react.

In fact, despite the banner waving by Feiner re holding the line (52? 40 or fight) on CSEA increases, this should be the battleground of LAST RESORT, not at the top of the list. There is rampant waste throughout the budget and for "whatever" reasons, the Town Board chooses to ignore it while the two talking heads (four if you count Juettner and Morgan) on the dais have succombed to Feiner's dictum that the way to go is to wage war on the weakest union, the CSEA. They won't have the balls to go head to head with the PBA and the Teamsters when these contracts expire and these two unions are big campaign contributors and I believe protected as such by the supposed "tough" ethics laws; or at least tough as relayed by Mr. Sheehan.

So, instead of being labeled a killjoy or just criticizing without providing a solution, I saw the tennis instruction salaries as the problem and privatizing instruction as the solution. The tennis courts remain open; the instruction no longer is the town's responsibility and residents who desire instruction can make their own arrangements with the instructors. Net savings, $30,000+.

Now let me go to my favorite pork barrel expense, one being offered the protection of the Town Board, year in year out.

Feiner writes in the introduction to the tentative Town Budget:

"The world, nation, state, county, private sectors and local governments are now all experiencing hard economic times. In response, we have to make financially responsible adjustments to the Town's budget. The Greenburgh Town Board has been unified in working to address expected shortfalls in revenue, offset inflation and minimize the impact of the world-wide economic crisis. Together we have identified effective ways to cut expenditures and increase revenues while minimizing the impact on Greenburgh residents."

See, there's a world-wide crisis and against that gloomy scenario (none of which are the Town Board's fault), I ask how can the Town Board jusify the continuing cost of "The Council on the Arts"?
(page 35 of the budget).

This year's departmental budget is $60,699, a reduction from $64,577 in 2008. However, the "Council" is just one Ossining resident whose fee remains at $52,402, the same as in 2008. The reduction results from not paying the artists $2500 and $480 worth of awards and prizes, reducing travel mileage by $650 to $1,200 WHICH ITSELF IS STILL A RIPOFF FOR AN ENTIRELY LOCAL PROJECT but she comes from Ossining and to disguise what would be a higher fee, she gets paid separately her cost to drive to and from Town Hall the few days she appears. She is an independent contractor, not Town employee so there are no additional benefits just as there is no accounting for how many hours she puts in.

What does this "Council" do?
She hangs pictures in Town Hall, primarily along the hallways leading to the cafeteria now serving as the Library. Come Monday November 18, the pedestrian traffic along this route will vanish since the Library will start shutting down in Town Hall. These pictures, by the way, are offered for sale, some quite costly and oftentimes not even the work of Greenburgh residents. She, Sarah Bracey White, also hangs pictures in the multi-purpose center under the same terms.

I am told that few of the works have been sold although empty spaces with placards remaining would indicate that some sales have occurred. I am not suggesting that the Town seek a "cut" for sales but that the artists who primarily benefit (exposure, if not sale proceeds, and ego) should hang the pictures themselves and bypass Ms. White. We are paying much more hourly for this service than the MET or MOMA pay their unionized hangers.

She also runs poetry contests and readings. Whereas poetry is not the most widely tracked component of literature (and I am not arguing for or against its standing) its elimination from the list of Town supported enterprises would not be such a severe loss when taken in the context of the Supervisor's introduction "to minimize the effect of the world-wide crisis".

Am I taking on the stance of the philistine? Am I anti-art and poetry? Not at all, I am just opposing what I see as a gimmick at best and more political pandering at worst.

And here's the cost-free alternative. The walls owned by the people, if need be decorated, can be offered to resident artists directly, no costly middlewoman involved. Certainly Mr. Feiner can ask by town elist or his blog for artists to come forward just as easily as he asks for bus tour sponsors. Surely the taste police need not be involved; surely someone on the existing town staff can be contacted if the dsiplayed artwork is considered "offensive".
But, hey, let's take it a step further. Why not give art teachers in Greenburgh schools this display space to hang the work of their students? Art of the people on the space owned by the people and at no cost to the people. Sound right for a world-wide financial crisis?

And doesn't it seem odd, that when the public will no longer be walking back and forth on these "gallery" walls upon the library departure, the only "public" that will actually see the art is the CSEA workers at Town Hall. Somehow I think that ahead of this perk, they would rather have some more money in their pay envelope to buy bread.
However, the Town Board by funding this one woman Council insists that they eat this $60,700 piece of cake instead.

And, to remind taxpayers, you are already paying for gallery space at the new library.

As for poetry, child and adult alike, well there's always the usual suspects to pick up the slack. We do maintain schools in Town don't we? We could provide this under the auspices of the Community Center. And the Greenburgh Library will be more than happy to encourage poetry appreciation and run contests under the roof of its vast building. Or, anyone interested in joining a poetry appreciation club or writing class, contact the Supervisor or, gasp, visit a nearby "Y".

So, absent the paycheck to Ms. White, art and poetry need not vanish from our resident's lives. And, how successful are these "Council" run ventures? Does the Town Board have a clue? How many residents participate? How many would still follow Ms. White if other no-cost-to-the-town alternatives were publicized?

Not to be taken as an attack upon Ms. White who has her protectors on the Board in any case, I doubt that large numbers of Greenburgh residents will suffer much harm to their life style were the "Council" cease to exist.

And lurking in the wings to be funded in a more stealthy manner is the separate of the "Council" Hartsdale sculpture curator whose $4000 annual pillage and plunder will squeeze in as a Town expense once the budget furor subsides. This dame who runs a local art gallery gets paid to choose quarterly displays of a piece of sculpture which is displayed at that tiny "park" at the train station -- a location not sought out by Hartsdale residents much less anyone from the rest of the town.

It's a good racket. Her primary occupation gives her the raw material and she repackages this knowledge so as to sell it to the Town for a hefty mark-up. And the artists get the benefit of the free to them exposure.

So, from tennis instruction, arts council and sculpture curator, the savings to taxpayers is $100,000 when all costs are figured. Want to bet that I can find more? Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

I agree with you, the Town should provide basic swimming instruction, but shoudld feel no need to provide tennis instruction. We should also feel no need to subsidize competitive swimming teams, like the Silver Streaks.

Anonymous said...

So i see the police dept gave up 6 positions and ofset that by eliminating the street crime unit and putting those 3 cops back into patrol (only 3 cops in that unit, they need more but that doesn't matter any more). Once again the town cuts of its nose to spite its face. At least now I know that if the economy really tanks I'll have a lucrative career selling drugs in greenburgh since there is no one to stop me. Oh wait how about the drug and alcohol task force, well I don't have to worry about them there too busy in the villages most of the time. Besides I think the town board doesn't think we have any drugs in greenburgh. Just wait till the junkies and dealers realize there's safe haven in greenburgh. Let's save some money (5%) and get rid of cops on the road, that way the few shorthanded cops left on the road will be too busy running from call to call and won't be able to give me a ticket because i'm parked in the handicap zone or i'll be able to drive 50mph on manhattan ave knowing I'm not getting stopped and the leaf law who cares, they can't enforce it they're to busy handling more calls with less cops. Wait, tickets generate revenue for the town right (how much is a handicap ticket or a new leaf law ticket, guess it doesn't matter i'm not getting one). Question, less cops means less tickets so that means less revenue for town, so does that means next year my taxes will go up to recoup that lost revenue? Let's take a look from a different perspective, less police enforcement means more quality of life crimes, (ie drugs, stealing from stores, loitering in front of public housing, etc, etc.)So now my property value will drop even more than it already has. It all starts with the little things like simple quality of life issues that are ignored because we can't afford to address them or don't have the time then it progresess into bigger things like crime then it just snowballs into even bigger things, things I don't want to have to worry about. We all worried about the rash of burglaries in the town, just wait till those burglaries become common place. You don't think the criminals take the path of least resistance, why do you think the stores in westchester get stolen from all the time because its easier than stealing in nyc. Greenburgh will soon become the target of more criminals than we are used to. Why? you ask because the good criminals have common sense unlike the characters who run this town. So I save 5% of the police line in my tax bill how much is that anyway, maybe 10-15 bucks a year. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING. Grab your life jacket this ship is starting to sink.,

Anonymous said...

Buddy the nship sunk some time ago.

we got it good said...

Ossining works to cut 18% village tax increase
By Sean Gorman • The Journal News • November 16, 2008

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OSSINING - Village officials are cutting costs from their tentative budget plan in an effort to lower a proposed 18.1 percent tax increase.

Village Manager Linda Cooper wrote in a letter to the Board of Trustees this month that though Ossining is "not quite in the straits of Wall Street," the municipality's financial picture this coming year is still sobering.


Ossining faces a drop-off in revenue while expenses for items like employee benefits and energy costs are rising.

"We've never seen anything like this before where you have such reduction in revenues hitting all municipalities at a time when people are still asking for ever-increasing services," Cooper said last week.

The village is holding a public hearing Tuesday on the roughly $28.3 million spending proposal.

The tentative plan would spend about $2 million more than this year's budget.

The village tax rate next year would be $163 per $1,000 of assessed value under the tentative budget. For a home assessed at $18,000, the village average, that would translate into a tax bill of $2,934 for next year, an increase of $451.

Mayor William Hanauer said last week that village officials have been examining the budget and have "significantly" lowered the proposed tax rate, but he couldn't say where it now stands.

"We're curtailing purchases like cars, and if we don't need to replace a truck, we won't replace a truck, that sort of thing," Hanauer said.

The problem, Hanauer said, is that Ossining faces a lot of expenses outside its control, such as fuel costs and health insurance for village employees.

The cost of employee benefits for things like medical insurance, retirement and workers' compensation is rising $593,652, Cooper wrote in her letter to the board.

Energy-related costs are projected to rise $332,721.

Among the revenue challenges is a $500,000 expected decline from property taxes because of tax assessment cases, Cooper wrote.

Ossining also faces a $390,000 decline in income from interest on village investments.

Building Department income is expected to drop $398,000 because the village isn't collecting building permit fees for Harbor Square, a long-awaited luxury condominium development on the waterfront that still hasn't been built.

Ossining also is reducing the amount of surplus used to help pay for the budget. Next year's preliminary spending plan calls for using $500,000 of the general fund balance.

By comparison, the village used $600,000 from the surplus to help pay for this year's budget.

Cooper noted in her letter to trustees that all village departments already had their budgets cut by about 10 percent in July.

Bobby Williams, an Ossining homeowner, said a tax increase would have an effect on him. But he said he's in better shape than some people because he still has a full-time job.

He worried about how higher taxes would affect residents who might be facing rising mortgage payments.

"Anything over a 5 or 6 percent (tax increase) is unacceptable," said Williams, who is 62.

Tuesday's hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Police/Court Facility at 86-88 Spring St.

The budget can be found at the bottom of Ossining's home page at www.villageofossining.org.

Reach Sean Gorman at sgorman@lohud.com or 914-666-6481.

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imawatchin wrote:

"We're curtailing purchases like cars, and if we don't need

Anonymous said...

the town should drop 10 cops not six. they just have to reorganize the way they operate. 1 officer to do the schedule is crazy. it should be done by a boss. stop the tech-rescue unit. how many officers are on that detail, 9-10? thats 1 whole shift that could be on patrol instead of training for rescue calls. Stop the police officers as paramedics and make them civillians.

Anonymous said...

Monday at 3:32 pm? Paul stop blogging on your private website during work hours and get back to your job!

Anonymous said...

3:32 PM can also be lunch time! also I think Paul puts in above and beyond
the amount of time he should. I have no problem what so ever when Paul makes a post or answers a question on this blog, as long as he keeps up the good job of answering questions.

Anonymous said...

Since it appears that there is a real investigation going on at the community center. Why hasn’t the community been informed. When employees have been brought to the police station for questioning ,and records are seized that sounds like an investigation .If people were overpaid or paid for doing nothing or no show jobs were given out then the public has a right to know. Since with the financial climate is the way it is and everyone is cutting back this type of thing is unacceptable . If taxpayers money is being wasted due to poor management and greed, Paul you must put a stop to it and get rid of the thief and it’s group of coconspirators

Anonymous said...

LET’S START A HAL SAMIS ACTION GROUP!

Hal, I would like to complement you on your terrific efforts in raising important issues for Greenburgh residents. It is certainly entertaining and more importantly informative to watch you play human polygraph to Paul’s pretentious untruths. To those who have disparaging remarks about your efforts, it’s because (like they said in a certain movie) “They can’t handle the truth!” Don’t forget Hal, Paul has fooled many people with his shtick. It’s effective. He keeps his responses purposely ambiguous and doesn’t commit to a thing.

Hal, you really do represent the model of the activist citizen. I do have a suggestion for you: While your one voice is powerful, demands follow up, and your questions pose legitimate concerns which neither Paul nor most of the Town Council want to answer, they are none the less vital to the concerns of the public. To that end, why not add people to your one voice? Just imagine if fifteen other people asked the same questions you do at the next Town Board meeting?! Personally I would pay big bucks to get a front row seat at that event. We could buy tickets through Ticket Master and when the meeting room fills up we could rent a big screen TV for viewing at Empire City! If this idea interests you, several of us would like to help you in that effort. (Starting an action group. We’ll leave the Empire City thing alone for now.) Please let me know if this idea appeals to you.

To answer your question on the private swim team, the Silver Streaks, there can only be one of the two following answers: 1) She does indeed owe the town money in rental fees plus is not paying an amount which is equal to rental space at compatible neighborhood facilities. If anything why can’t rentable indoor pool space go to bid? 2) All of this is misinformation which should be easily provable by a Freedom of Information Act request. To answer your other question about the TDY Aquatics director, this situation is not dissimilar to a rape victim. First the person endures the horror of a rape, then goes to trial to have some belligerent-win-at-all-costs lawyer attack her character. Hal, you are absolutely correct, the price of asking the wrong questions results in a relentless attack on your employment and character. Now you understand why many people are quiet.

In any case, I wish you much success in your efforts. Keep up the good work.