Friday, November 21, 2008

WORK SESSION TUESDAY ON BUDGET

The Town Board will be reviewing the proposed 2009 budget during the next few weeks---looking for additional cuts and modifications that could be made.
We encourage your attendance at the meeting. The first of our reviews will take plae on Tuesday afternoon. Feel free to watch the meeting on TV or on the internet (www.greenburghny.com).
PAUL FEINER






Town of Greenburgh

Work Session Agenda of the Greenburgh Town Board

Tuesday – November 25, 2008 – 2:00pm

(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 Library – Budget Review



3:00p.m. Planning Department – Budget Review/Revenue Update



3:30p.m. Building Department – Budget Review/Revenue Update



4:00p.m. Police Department – Budget Review



5:30p.m. Adjourn

89 comments:

A day late and a dollar short said...

It's been reported elsewhere on this blog that the tax increase in unincorporated Greenburgh is now 9% instead of the 7.7% that you previously announced. Is that true? The explanation was that the "interest income" was exaggerated. Is that true? If so, why haven't you announced these important new developments?

And also, why didn't you make any reference in your post to the public hearing on the budget that's scheduled for this coming Monday, Nov. 24? Isn't that when the public is supposed to provide its input? Instead you tell us to come to your work sessions, but we all know work sessions aren't really for the public -- you hold them during the day when most of us work -- and besides, the public doesn't get to speak at these work sessions anyway.

Paul, we watched you at the last public hearing on the budget on November 12. You sat there ignoring the speakers and fiddled with your blackberry instead. None of us got the impression that any changes would be made. You acted like you could care less what the public had to say. And your colleagues on the town board didn't act any better.

So why now all of a sudden are you interested in what the public has to say? And why should anyone believe you?

Disgruntled Greenburgher said...

Welcome to the Land of the Absurd -
Mr. Feiner and the Town Board have absolutely no control over how the Library chooses to spend it funds once those funds have been allocated. The other three departments expenditures are directly controllable on a continuing basis throughout the year. So, our increasing inept officials decide to spend twice as much time discussing what is beyond their ability to control (govern) as they choose to spend discussing what they can. Further, the Community Resource Department and the Parks and Recreation Department - which between them are the largest part of the Town's budget and the most in need of fiscal discipline - aren't even on the agenda!
We need professional management - not politicos pandering to the lowest level of common interest. Lamenting about what you can do nothing about is not a substitute for leadership. Where is the plan to reassess properties and prevent the loss of further assessibles? Investing $6 million once to prevent the losses which are already greater than $9 million EACH AND EVERY YEAR FOREVER is a sound strategy. Crying about how terrible the economy is and shifting the blame is not leadership. Even the simpliest minded of folk should recognize this as the cynical politically motivated theaterical performance it is and just say "GO" which as any Xposure grad should be able to tell you are the first two letters of "goodbye greenburgh grafters."

Down with the Peoples Democratic Republic of Greenburgh, its Paulitburo and its Commissar!

Anonymous said...

At least the Library doesnt have no-show jobs and no-bid contracts -- thats what happens when Paul and the Paulettes get invovled.

hal samis said...

Mr. Feiner:

Enough of this bs! You are showing us in detail the Agenda of the Tuesday Work Session which occurs AFTER the Monday Town Board meeting.

Generally the Town Board does not permit the public to contribute to work sessions. Fine.

But the most important thing that the Town has facing it is the 2009 Budget. On this matter, which you keep promoting house calls to gather input, you do everything possible to limit discussion of the Budget at the Town Board meeting.

According to the Agenda for this meeting, you and your cohorts have determined that what is really important on this night is for the public to:
1) honor the girl scouts (scouts have parents who vote)
2) honor Alfreda Williams (whom you did not honor by having her join you on your ticket last year)
3) Tappan Zee Bridge (a report from the consultants regarding a bridge that isn't being built so fast in an economy that isn't able to afford it and that Greenburgh has little to no influence over)
4) GIS website (because we already spent the money)
5) Town Clerk cable update (because we still don't have anything to read or discuss)

All of these distractions which you have scheduled are in now way critical to the Town going forward and with the exception of the photo ops could just as easily be held over to 2009.

The real purpose is to use up the meeting's precious time allocated to hearing from the public, comment (with or without answering questions) and the public hearing on the Budget. Of course you could extend the meeting beyond the 11:00 curfew, but you know that very few residents will stay around after sitting through your early hour sideshow.

So while it certainly of some limited purpose to post about an afternoon work session that most residents are unable to attend, the one opportunity you have to get residents to come to Town Hall to offer input on the Budget, you use your authority to schedule timeless filler with the only purpose to prevent the public from enagaging in Budget talk is public and on camera.

That's the beauty of the so-called meetings in living rooms. There are no witnesses, no records and very little meaningful input. On many of these visits, is the tentative Budget whipped out to point to a line item?

When are you going to stop crapping on the public?

Anonymous said...

The Scarsdale Inquirer published an op ed from Bernstein. A misleading article. Bob now wants the town to stop feeding hungry and poor senior citizens who benefit from our meals and wheels program.
Lots of half truths, half facts. Am surprised at the Inquirer for failing to fact check.

Anonymous said...

No, Bob only wants to feed the people who live in TOV. We cant feed the world.

Anonymous said...

I think that Bob just wants to limit the costs to the Town Entire, since the cost is included in the "A" budget. Better late than never Bob, but if you check the tapes of the budget sessions TWO years ago, you will hear that another person raised these very same issues. Welcome aboard !

Disgruntled Greenburgher said...

Dear Mr. Feiner blogging anonymously at 7:22PM

Wny is it the responsibility of only the Town of Greenburgh to feed the homeless of Central Westchester?

I have taken the liberty of changing my earlier tag line to reflect the newly revealed burden of my fellow Greenburghers to feed the hungry and homeless of Central Westchester -
Down with the Democratic Socialist Republic of Greenburgh, its Paulitburo and its Commissar!

Anonymous said...

Paul has aspirations -- county state or federal govt. He wants all to want him. But we cant afford it.

Anonymous said...

Please contact the Greenburgh nutrition program. The town does not--I repeat does not--subsidize communities out of Greenburgh that contract with us for meals and wheels services. The town actually receives revenue for this service and is able to enhance services offered to seniors who reside in unincorporated Greenburgh and its villages. Haven't read the column in the local newspaper but have seen the comments in pfeiner.blogspot.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10:31. The meals program makes money off the meals sold to surrounding communities. Get your facts straight. Make a phone call and find out the truth before you write.

Anonymous said...

I recall a meeting of the Town Board a year or two ago. The question Bob raised was brought up. The answer: the town makes money from the meals and wheels sales to other localities. Bob Bernstein should be forgiven for making an honest mistake in his fact gathering. Wonder if he will show some integrity by writing a retraction in next weeks Inquirer.

Feiner can't handle the truth said...

Dear Anon at 10:31 (aka Paul F)who obviously has read Bernstein's column today and apparently can't handle reading the truth:

Please read your own 2009 budget book at page 90, which lists ALL sources of revenue for the "Greenburgh Nutrition Program."

You won't find any sources of income listed from ANY communities outside of Greenburgh. The only sources of income listed are from the sale of meals ($243,268), which includes the sale of meals to Greenburgh seniors, and state aid ($152,931) and federal aid ($122,852).

The biggest contributor to this regionwide program is the Town of Greenburgh ($285,852).

So, if there's other revenue coming in from communities outside of Greenburgh, where ya hiding it Paul? Why hasn't it been in your budgets for the past 6 years?

Oh, and you won't find it anywhere listed in the town's financial statements either. We checked there too.

And one other thing. We know it's you Paul writing these silly things because you still don't seem to understand that the program in which meals are delivered to homebound seniors is called "Meals on Wheels" -- not "meals and wheels." You made the same mistake when you blogged about the program back in September -- and you were mocked for getting the name wrong then.

And if you knew anything about the Greenburgh Nutrition Program, you'd know that most of the meals are delivered and served not at seniors' homes but at central locations. In Greenburgh, those locations are in Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry and at TDYCC. Your budget book doesn't tell us where the meals are delivered in the rest of "central Westchester."

More Feiner half truths revealed said...

How can the town make money off the meals sold to other communities? The town's policy, stated in its guide to services, merely asks for a "suggested contribution of $2.50."

The guide then says, "However, NO ONE is denied a meal because of inability to pay. Contributions are private and placed in a box away from the registration desk."

Why aren't the communities where these other seniors live paying their fair share to Greenburgh for the cost of this nutrition program? Why is it the responsibility of the Town of Greenburgh for bear this burden?

Anonymous said...

Dear 11:12, please reread page 90. $42,000 Nutrition Program contributions are from Greenburgh seniors, $20,000 Home Deliv. Meals contributions are from greenburgh seniors, $43,000 S.N.A.P. contributions are from greenburgh seniors. All the money in $243,268 is money paid by the Towns of Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester for the service.
Why don't you make a call or two to get your facts straight.

More town half truths said...

Greenburgh taxpayers shouldn't have to "make a call or two" to find out what the supposed "facts" are.

There is no mention on page 90 (or anywhere else for that matter) of any contributions from the Towns of Eastchester or Mt. Pleasant. If the $243,268 represented what these municipalities are paying to the Town of Greenburgh for its nutrition program, the town could easily have said so, just like it lists contributions from the federal and state governments, but it doesn't.

Likewise, the town nowhere says that the "nutrition program contributions" come from "Greenburgh seniors." Nor does it say that the $43,000 in SNAP contributions come from "Greenburgh seniors." Where does this information come from?

If any of this information is true (and if the town doesn't put it in its budget book or in its financial statements how would anyone know that it is), it might be worth explaining to the public how it is that in prior years, the amount for the "sale of meals" was substantially higher than it is today, while the amount that Greenburgh taxpayers are paying was substantially less.

For example, back in 2003, the amount from "sale of meals" was $279,363. Today, it's $30,000 less. But Greenburgh's taxpayers were paying $132,925 back in 2003 and today that amount has more than doubled.

All this goes to show that the business of preparing and serving meals to seniors who live outside of Greenburgh is NOT a business that the Town of Greenburgh should be engaged in. In fact, Greenburgh's inability to get its facts straight in its own documents demonstrates why this is a social services program that is better run by Westchester County, which can be counted on to be far more transparent than the Town of Greenburgh has been.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob (aka most of these blogs): Why don't you call Gerry Byrne next week and get the right answer? Greenburgh is not subsidizing Mt Pleasant or Eastchester.

Anonymous said...

If the town can't put the truth out in its own documents, why would a phone call to Gerry Byrne clear up the matter? Sounds to me like if the town has a reasonable explanation, it should be reflected in the town's own documents and if it isn't, the taxpayers should be told why not.

Anonymous said...

11:53 are a lazy fucking idiot who wants to be spoon fed information. Grow up!

not happy said...

The majority of the meals are sold outside of Greenburgh. We're told by some anonymous town source (aka Feiner) that Town taxpayers and town seniors supposedly pay $285,852, plus some $62,000 (voluntary contributions and SNAP contributions), and that the Town gets from Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester a total of $243,268.

If that's so, then Town of Greenburgh taxpayers are indeed subsidizing the Towns of Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester.

Why is Greenburgh in this business?

bob should write novels said...

Bob Bernstein has a habit of stretching the truth. He should write novels.
The town ain't subsidizing the program.

stop the personal attacks said...

What's with the personal attacks again on Bob Bernstein? Whoever is saying the Town is subsidizing meals in the Towns of Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester seems to have the facts and figures to support what he or she is saying. Whoever is attacking Bernstein seems to be engaged in pointless namecalling.

Anonymous said...

If we have Greenburgh residents on a wait list for meals on wheels, and are providing for non-Greenburgh, this is outrageous and must end. Why cant Paul care about us?

Anonymous said...

Paul wants to look good in everyone eyes.

He has to coverup most of his mistakes but we all thank God that there are some people that unearth the truth but at the same time they are called quacks.

What else does he give away.
We know of all the freebees for both centers.
At the last work session he mentioned the money owed by the housing authority more than one half million dollars. Has this problem been solved.
I don't think so he likes to make things look great in the Fairview area but he seems to forget that it was taxpayers dollars that were being used.
I don't agree with Regulas new law that garbage will not be picked up by homeowners garages ,the garbage has to be brought curbside for pickup.

Why in hell did he {regula} get the ok to purchase four or five new small dump trucks.
He screwed the taxpayers again.
He screwed with the library which put a worse burden on us.

You too screwed up since you wanted to give a big back yard to your friend so you went ahead to make a deal with the state and county for Taxter dump.
The Attorney general should be investigating this and many other transactions that have taken place here in Greenburgh.
What we need are more so called stool pidgeons to report all the wrong doings that are heard or seen.
time because you will see that The public is kept in the dark until it is too late. there has to be a remedy for now but comes election time we hope that all will change.
We all know that you are just juggling figures for this upcoming budget to make the public believe that you are trying.
What we get this time arround we will have to pay double the following years.
May I ask if you did not have Sheehan at the table checking out all the figures would you have the capabilities to put out a good budget.
If you did not have Kolesar to tell you what and how to do things legally what would the tax rate be.
You have two good men on board that know their business but at the same time make you think that you are doing all the work.
Who deserve the parises???????
Paul you sold each and every homeowner down the river.
You never saw further than Fairview for what reason we will never know .You did this in not thinking about the other part of town,
If we a rebelling now we have a good cause. If we have to get outside Albany help we will do so.
You method of spending our money in one area has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

The funds the town receive from Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester enables the town to provide additional services to seniors. Our town is not subsidizing Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester.

Anonymous said...

According to the figures unearthed by Anon at 12:02 am the Town is indeed subsidizing the Towns of Eastchester and Mt. Pleasant. If the Town has figures that show that is not the case, it should put them out for all to see. Right now, though, it sure looks like Greenburgh is taking it on the chin, and at a time when every municipality should be tightening its belt, this is wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that even if Gburgh recieves money for MOW from Easthcester, etc., costs have gone up and we are losing money on it. Just like the tennis lessons.

We need to tell Paul that every non-essential program must be self-funded or explain why not.

hal samis said...

All that is going to come of this is that Feiner is going to speak into the camera and tell the public, ever since he started at the County Board of Legislators, about how he has always been concerned about the humble, the tired, the sick, the meek, the poor, the hungry AND the elderly, the infirmed, affordable housing, the girl scouts, swim teams, the homeless, the Library AND, that parkland has increased and the bond rating has risen to the highest level.

That all of this has been paid for by residents is something that only the nitpickers would bring up.

What bloggers should really be concentrating on as next year's election season begins is the rising cost of printing "certificates of appreciation" to hand out to residents (voters) at Town meetings.

This is another hidden cost in the budget.

However, regarding the nutrition program, nowhere do I see anonymous posters make the claim that the "revenues" from the program offset the costs of the program, bringing the cost to taxpayers down to zero. In point of fact, the program does provide benefit to those Greenburgh residents who depend on it to make ends meet or even to prepare meals that their age or infirmities prevent them from doing. That and the realization that the program serves other communities with similar needs would seem to be the argument to have the County run such a program for the benefit of eligible residents Countywide. Greenburgh does not have a monopoly on those in need. However, while Mr. Feiner doesn't believe in County government, he does believe in Greenburgh curing problems beyond its borders. Even if they are as far off as Darfur. It must be near that time again to put the President-elect and the United Nations on notice that we care and remind others that the Greenburgh Town Board still seeks a moratorium on capitol punishment.

What is not mentioned in the aononymous chatter is whether the nitrition program should be outsourced and get Greenburgh out of the food service business. Divide the total cost to run the program (don't forget to add the employee benefits and the capital costs) by the number of meals distributed and see how much each meal actually costs.

Then, when you make that call to Mr. Byrne, you may want to ask him a different question.

Anonymous said...

Hal-
You miss only the point that if the nutrition program, like TDYCC, were outsourced, it would no longer be a place for no-show jobs and political favors.

Anonymous said...

WHITEHEAD STILL MAKING THE BIG BUCKS AND DOING NOTHING!

Finally a qualified, educated Commissioner with an established track record has been hired for the TDYCC, However in a total waste of taxpayer dollars, Whitehead who is under police investigation is still getting the double salary raise, not punching in, leaving the work place, and doing absolutely NOTHING! Why is Sonya so determined to champion this misfit!?!?!? Whitehead must have the goods on someone. What a rotten message to honest town employees who are working hard every working day. Worse still is the public sees the ENTIRE Center as being under investigation when it is ONLY VALERIE WHITEHEAD who committed thief of services crimes. But the whole Department's reputation is being made to suffer because of her selfishness, greed, and need for power. A blind person could see that she accomplished NOTHING during her time as Interim Commissioner. She gave away the farm to no show staff, including her nephew. So now as a result of her overspending, legitimate services will need to be cut. She is an affront to any person who is decent. Yet she dares calls herself "blessed". Actually she is indeed blessed...

Blessed by Greenburgh taxpayers who AREN'T calling for her termination.

Anonymous said...

One thing that has become totally clear over the last few years is that Bernstein, while saying some true stuff, will cleverly mix in some lies in order to paint himself as the savior of Greenburgh and blame Feiner, the town council, a department head, the villages, and any program that he doesn't like.

It is not attacking Bernstein to be skeptical of what he says. He has been found out many times. He needs to be checked out and exposed when he lies.

We need to deal with real problems, not fake problems that Bernstein throws at us.

Anonymous said...

If Greenburgh is providing meals to seniors outside of Greenburgh, and the numbers show that the program is costing Greenburgh taxpayers around $300,000 a year, then Bernstein should be thanked -- not attacked -- for bringing that waste of taxpayer dollars to our attention. If he's wrong on the facts, show that he's wrong, but so far, nobody seems to be able to show that he's wrong.

Finally, I don't know that Bernstein's been shown to be wrong about anything. Yes, an appellate court reversed the ruling in his favor on Taxter Ridge, but the Court of Appeals is going to decide once and for all what the law is on that subject -- and I for one am grateful that Bernstein has had the tenacity to pursue his argument that parks open townwide should be paid for townwide.

Anonymous said...

I am Anonymous 1:06 PM answering Anonymous 2:18 PM.

I am not saying that Bernstein is wrong about the meals being served to non-=residents. If he is right he should be commended for saying so.

What I am saying is that Bernstein has sent us on many false alarms, and just because he says something is so doesn't mean that we should accept it as being so. We should ask the Town Board or the Comptroller and insist on an answer. Instead we are getting anger and accusations, as though what Bernstein said is a proven fact. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if what Bernstein said is full of holes. Let's ask and see.

What I have seen, no matter how much you defend him, is that Bernstein plays his game of throwing something provocative out there, people start getting angry, and it may all be false or there may be a sound reason. But Bernstein gets his ego running and gets his praise from those who have believed and who have often been conned. The Scarsdale Inquirer always lets him use that newspaper for his games.

As far as his lawsuit goes, I read the opinion written by the appeals court. They all but called Bernstein an opportunist and said that he was trying to get the town to violate the law. Bernstein has asked the top appeals court to declare the Finneran Law unconstitutional. Seems like a very long shot to me, but we will see.

Anonymous said...

The comptroller will answer your questions but you will not receive any answers from the supervisor or the town board.

Bernstein,Samis, Krauss,and many others have asked many questions and none of them have been answered.
The entire boards silence lets you know that it is better to keep silent than be caught in lies.
They have been lying to us right along that they would not know the truth if it stared them in the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Dear All:

Go visit the Supervisor's blog for November 2006 under the topic "Why are the tax rates different ... and scroll down to an entry dated 11/14 2006 posted at 3:38 PM.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the previous posting, it's October 2006 near the top of the list

Well, well, well said...

I just checked the blog entry and it looks like the Town comptroller, Mike Kolesar, two years ago raised the issue of the Town's subsidizing meals delivered to senior citizens outside of the Town. Here's what it says:

Michael Kolesar said...
Greenburgh Nutrition Program

The details of the Greenburgh Nutrition Program are presented on pages 87 through 90 of the tentative Town 2007 budget. Some interesting deductions are as follows:

1. Town wide the taxpayers will contribute $223,166 towards this program.
2. The total number of projected meals is 132,500 (page 87). Thus the taxpayers are contributing / subsidizing this program to the extent of $1.684 per meal ( $223,166 / 132,500).
3. Of the 132,500 meals projected to be provided, only 61,500 will go to residents of the Town. Thus 71,000 (132,500 minus 61,500) or 53.5% of the total will go to non-Town individuals.
4. Therefore I conclude that the taxpayers of the Town of Greenburgh are contributing approximately $119,583 ($1.684 X 71,000) to outsiders.

While I have a good social heart, shouldn’t a program that does so much for individuals outside of the Town be handled by say the County? Over 10 years like this (and this is consistent with the prior year), we are talking about more than $1,000,000 “donated” by the taxpayers of Greenburgh to other municipalities. We are very kind in Greenburgh.

11/14/2006 3:38 PM

Looks like Kolesar said two years ago what Bernstein said in this week's Inquirer. The Town Board ignored Kolesar and they'll probably ignore Bernstein too. It's kind of ironic though, to see these two guys on the same page.

Anonymous said...

They don't understand the program. Town is actually better off selling food to other communities. Greenburgh taxpayers are not subsidizing Eastchester and Mt Pleasant. The towns only extra costs are food. There are no extra staff hired.

ed krauss said...

I just heard a rumor from an impeccable, irrefutable source who only told me this if I didn't give away her Fox Meadow Road identity. True to my Bronx upbringing, even under torture I will take it to the grave- well not exactly to the grave.

Mr. Feiner with the complete, unanimous support of the board, has invited the Morman Tabernacle Choir to the next Town Board/Budget hearing meeting.

No big deal,right? Wrong. He intends to invite each of them up, one at a time, and give a "short" bio for each.

At 11:00 PM, he will give a "short" explanatory speech about Greenburgh's "open goverment," and to show what a "democratic" town we have, he...and the board, will curtail the curfew, and extend the meeting until each member of the choir is recognized.

At 2:00AM, with no one left in the audience, Diana asleep, Francis with a well deserved frown, Kevin with his usual friendly smile, Sonja with a look of wonderment, Judith with nary a word to say and Tim whipering ever so faintly, "now supe, now, you can end the meeting LEGALLY without once discussing the budget, Paul thanks the audience- wherever they are, gives another short 30 minute sermon on decency, morality, and the American way multitasking on his Feinerberry.

And to, Joe and Jane 6-pack, the budget is still a virgin- untouched by human hands or thoughts.

Nevertheless, we're stuck with it.

Which brings me to another subject. Why is anybody picking on Bob Bernstein,Hal Samis, Me or for that matter anyone with zero say in this so'called budget?

Why don't you focus your anger on thems that can, but won't do anything about it?

Whether you're for or against Feiner et al, those who attack those who Feiner et al,are dilutional. It's your money this inept, incompetent supervisor( that's his title NOT a description of what he alledgedly does)is pissing away faster than an open fire hydrant- as in $100,000 to the Fairview fire dept. bubkus to the other two.

Every aspect of this "non-leadershits" group is so frustrating to anyone with a triple digit IQ that blood pressure medication is at the top of tax payers' med list.

I'm tired of trying to figure out why ANYONE would defend this FRAUD. He can't run his own household, his own town, and he spends time- our paid for time ( maybe that's a positive on second thought, because during that time away from Town Hall,he can't huck up our town- trying to dismantle County goverment with his usual superficial vetting if vetted at all.

He's a complacent, arrogent know nothing who's fooled 50.1% of voters in this town.

RETIRE HIM! RETIRE HIM! RETIRE HIM!

Ed Krauss

Anonymous said...

Are you the same Ed who used to have a contract with the town--doing printing business?

Anonymous said...

Ed: Did you hold a political party position when you were doing business with the town?

Anonymous said...

60 pd

Police cuts hurt Edgemont said...

Today's Journal News has yet another story showing how Feiner's cuts to essential services, such as police, are hurting residents. At the same time, Feiner continues to preserve non-essential spending including having Greenburgh subsidize meals for seniors in towns outside of Greenburgh.
Read on:


Recent burglaries leave Edgemont residents uneasy
BY STACY A. ANDERSON • THE JOURNAL NEWS • NOVEMBER 23, 2008
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EDGEMONT - Recent burglaries in Greenburgh have made residents more fearful, as the police department plans to eliminate six positions in a townwide effort to make budget cuts next year.

Thieves ransacked a home on Underhill Road in Edgemont after entering through a back sliding door on Nov. 14. The recent incident continues a string of burglaries that have struck the unincorporated area over the past year and a half.



Edgemont resident Robin Schaffer said the staffing cuts would impact the force strength in responding to incidents.

"If you cut that, what does it mean to response time?" he asked. "The response time deteriorates. It's five to 10 minutes now. What is it going to be after?

"It's a terrible fear a lot of people have," he said.

Schaffer spoke against the cuts this month at an Edgemont Community Council meeting to discuss the 2009 budget with Police Chief John Kapica and the Town Board.

Next year's police department budget would eliminate six officer positions, reduce overtime and cut spending for equipment and consulting.

"You could have 100 more officers and there still will be burglaries," Supervisor Paul Feiner said. "You will never be able to provide guaranteed protection."

"We've never had zero crime," Feiner added. "I don't think there is any community in the country with no crime, but we are going to do our best."

Feiner said the town is continuing to review department spending to provide the most efficient management before the budget approval next month.

Kapica could not be reached for comment.

Edgemont's council president, Robert Bernstein, said residents are outraged and frustrated by the planned cuts and recent break-ins.

"They are angry because this illustrates that the town is cutting essential services that serve Edgemont," he said. "We are basically left with the feeling that they don't care about us."

There have been other burglaries in Edgemont and Hartsdale.

Police Sgt. Robert Whiting said Tyrone Pickett, 54, of 146 Spring Side Ave., New Haven, Conn., was arrested Nov. 11 after trying to break into a vacant home on Old Colony Road in Edgemont.

Pickett was reported as acting suspiciously and caught in the act by police after he propped a ladder against the home, then attempted to run away, police said.

On Nov. 17, a thief stole a television from Edgemont Junior/Senior High School by climbing through a unlocked window.

On Nov. 19, a thief entered a home on Meadowview Drive in Hartsdale through an unlocked side door and stole a computer.

Whiting said the burglaries are still under investigation.

Anonymous said...

7:58 -- you are nuts. If no extra staff is needed to handle other towns, then we need to get rid of delivrey to other towns and put delivery person on part time (do we only have one) or cut number of delviery people. We can also cut on gas and wear and tear of delviery vehichle.

Anonymous said...

Bob: the town is not subsidizing non residents. Just because you wrote an article in the Inquirer doesn't mean it's true.

Anonymous said...

We have both Bob Bernstien adn Mike Kolesar complaining about this -- give it up.

Anonymous said...

There should not be Town residents on a waiting list with nonresidents getting meals.

Anonymous said...

BUT WHAT IS THE TRUTH???????

Disgruntled Greenburgher said...

The truth, Dear 8:55 is that Greenburgh suffers from almost 2 decades of neglect and amateur management.

When the current supervisor was elected the population of the entire town was less than 50,000.

The social services we pay so much for today were modest, and many residents, myself included, applauded the efforts to improve the baseline standards.

The Supervisor's lack of expertise in fiscal matters seemed unimportant - after all, we thought, the current tax rate is sustainable as long as revenues grow because the base is growing.

We felt that the Town had an obligation to express, on behalf of its residents, its feelings about national and international issues - and we loved having a Supervisor whose unscripted comments frequently reflected our own frustrations.

We loved the idea of the villages providing a sense of community and diversity within a larger framework - and we agreed that folks who had community amenities that satisfied them should not be required to pay for amenities not easily accessible to them.

The problems we face now are the result.

The Supervisor's financial illiteracy resulted in his (and it is the budget HE is responsible for preparing the Town Board's equally ignorant members try to "adjust") failures to invest in appropriate infrastructure and ill-considered penny-pinching are no longer charming. They threaten the quality of life which attracted us to Greenburgh originally.

The absolute and complete failure of the Supervisor to nurture the growth of ratables means during his tenure the tax rate has nearly nearly QUINTUPILED - and the means of paying our bills has remained at, or near what it was when he took office. Because he refused to undertake revaluation (last done in 1958) when his own "blue ribbon citizen's committee" recommended doing so in 1993, the Town hasn't a legal leg to stand on when commercial property owners sue to reduce their taxes. The ratio of commercial property tax to residential property tax revenues has REVERSED. When the Supervisor was elected almost 2/3 of the property tax was collected from commercial propertys. Today, residential properties pay nearly 2/3 of the bill. Had the Town revalued it could have classified property by use and developed a fair and equitable division among the property tax classes. Instead, every dollar of residential growth has been offset by a reduction in the commercial sector. The impact is not just on the funding of Town services either. Your school taxes are calculated using the same basic property tax roll. The next time you're outraged by the school tax rate, remember the Town is responsible for maintaining the tax base.

Whether it is the "deer problem", Darfur or the Tappan Zee Bridge, our Supervisor hasn't changed. The difference is that today he uses these issues to distract us from the Town's failures to address issues on which we can have a significant impact. While a Town Board resolution on Darfur will not change the United Nations' Security Council's attitude, a Town Board resolution condemning the duplicity shown by WESTHAB might actually have some impact.

The constant bickering between villages and TOV over the sources and uses of funds in the Town's budget has resulted in a major lawsuit - and now the resolution of the dispute will be in the hands of a court, not within our own power to resolve. The Supervisor failed to act as an impartial mediator and reformer when he had the opportunity, and now whatever happens will not be decided with local input into crafting a solution - it will be a solution dictated from above. Whatever the result it will nurture the bad feelings between the villages and TOV. The hostilities which could have been avoided by leadership have been inflamed and cynically exploited for political advantage - to the detriment of all.

While it is possible to continue this essay, the examples in it are sufficient for me to support my conclusion. We need to change our government. We need professional managers who will operate without polital agendas. We need to reject politicians who divide and inflame us against one another. We will never again be the small, semi-suburban community we were 20 years ago, we can strive to regain the balance we had then, but we must recognize and adjust to reality. The tag "one of the best places to live" should be an earned title, not the result of an editorial error.

Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago the towns population was not 50,000. The town actually had more social service programs than we have now.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that people in our communities became well to accustomed to having someone come up their driveway to take their trash, picking up the pile of leaves in front of their house. These are all nice things but are they really needed. The town even provide brown leaf bags for town residents. If the home owners want to save tax money stop being so willing to take all of the so called freebies, it adds up overtime and becomes a problem like now.

Bussing seniors to both centers and taking them shopping and delivering meals on wheels, they are all great things and I don't knock them.

Everybody keeps looking for ways to save yet the town purchased many new vehicles this year. The town also continues to buy trees to plant in the parks and in front of residents houses. Are new trees needed rite now, or can they wait until we are out of this crisis. The town continues to give away a spot of its land on E. Hartsdale avenue at no cost to a person who displays their arts for free and also gets paid by the town. Now imagine you wanted to rent a table at a fair to display any of your merchandise. Do you think the fair would give you the table for free, pay you to man it, and also let you make profits off of what you sell without seeing any of the take.

Back to the vehicles the year the town had a 23% tax hike they purchased 4-5 new small sanitation trucks, we are talking about the 2008 budget, yet in the year of 2008 which is nearing and end all of the trucks are still sitting in the DPW yard. I guess someone needed one last kickback before they left.

Anonymous said...

Dear Disgruntled Greenburgher.

Thanks for answering my request for THE TRUTH.

I find almost everything that you say persuasive, and the failings that you point out are clear and easy to see if you look behind the spin. Management has been sorely lacking.

I do disagree with one thing that you said. I am talking about your statement regarding the bad feelings between the villages and the TOV. That is one thing that was beyond the Supervisor to manage. That lawsuit was started by Bob Bernstein, who had it in for the Supervisor, and once started it was impossible to stop. The Supervisor and the Board tried to mediate it but there was nothing they could do as long as Bernstein and the villages wouldn't budge. Bernstein used it as a platform for his complaints and he has lost the case, but the bad feelings remain and the distrust continues.

But you are right. Once the court decision comes down we need to try to mend relationships and work together.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:34 doesn't seem to understand that Bernstein's lawsuit was based not on his "having it in for the supervisor" but on the legal principle that parks that are open townwide should be paid for townwide. I don't know what's meant by Bernstein using the lawsuit as "platform for his comlaints" and until the Court of Appeals has ruled, I don't think anyone can say that he has "lost his case."

Bernstein thought it was wrong for the town to saddle the unincorporated area for the town's costs to purchase Taxter Ridge, when the park was to be open to all town residents. He also thought it was wrong for the town to charge only unincorporated area residents for the millions of dollars in costs for the community center, which is also open to all town residents.

These strike me as legal issues that have nothing to do with whatever personal feelings Bernstein may have toward Feiner or vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you say about Bernstein's motives, the fact is that it was the lawsuit that started the bad feelings and it was not the failure of leadership by the Supervisor or the Town Board. There was nothing that they could do to stop these feelings once the lawsuit began.

Anonymous said...

It was not the lawwuit that started bad feelings. It was Feiner increasing spending like Taxter Ridge, and charging it only to the TOV.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased that the town is starting to make cuts and agree with the philosophy that the town should make the cuts gradually. The 2009 budget seems to be a responsible one.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein has said over and over again that he filed the lawsuit only after the town board refused even to to discuss the matter with him. This followed Bernstein's request (and those of other residents) to the town board to hold off on approving the Taxter Ridge purchase until after questions about the legality of charging the costs only to TOV could be answered.

Anonymous said...

Cutting police to a level which Chief Kapica believes threatens the safety and security of the TOV is not cutting gradually. It would have been better if before cutting essential services, the town eliminated the nonessential services.

Anonymous said...

Instead of cutting essential services like police, garbage pickup, snow removal and leaf pickup, the town's had all year to eliminate nonessential services like food subsidies to Mt. Pleasant and Eastchester, the $100K gift to the Fairview Fire District, the $167K for the needless police SWAT team, the $12K for the needless marine unit, and the $335K new after-school program which school districts can get for free by contracting with the YMCA which charges parents, but offers financial aid for those parents who can't afford it. It's too bad we have a town government that can't the tell the difference between essential and non-essential services, and continues to waste taxpayer dollars.

Anonymous said...

Bernstein, Samis and Krauss sometimes are constructive. Unfortunately many residents are sick of them because they always are complaining. They should reflect on how they come across to average people. Not good.

Anonymous said...

At the budget meetings, there was plenty of anger. I didnt see any directed at Bernstein, Samis or Kraus.

Anonymous said...

The town board has substantially limited public participation in the budget hearings this year. And I don't think Bernstein was even present at the hearing on November 12. He made his points instead in the Scarsdale Inquirer -- probably knowing that he couldn't possibly get his point across in the measly 5 minutes the town board will allow, and knowing also (if you check the tape you'll see) that the town board will ignore what he and others have to say at the hearing anyway.

Anonymous said...

To the people who constantly bash the SWAT team, get your facts straight. The SWAT team is used for high risk situations in the town and villages. We would never get the quick response and enthusiasm from the county or state teams. In fact it has been the well organized, equipped and trained Greenburgh SWAT team whom has come through and through again for many agencies that have needed a hand in our region. These are DEDICATED officers who do it out of heart and passion to serve and protect.

Anonymous said...

8:38-- I dont think I saw anyone questioning that the SWAT officers are dedicated, just that we'ld rather see the SWAT team cut before ant-crime or patroll. As to them helping other agencies -- that is exactly the point people are saying. Greenburgh taxes should go for Greenburgh services. This idea of helping others is noble, but like the nurtitional program, like the number of non-Greenburgh children in the Lois Bronz day care center, the taxpayers want this revisited. But Feiner wont.

Say "No" to SWAT said...

If we have to choose between having adequate manpower for street patrols or having a SWAT team where there's so little enthusiasm for it in the villages that the town actually has to reimburse the villages for the lost overtime their men incur in undertaking SWAT training, I and my neighbors would choose street patrols. Having adequate street patrols is a "must have." Having a SWAT team that's more "enthusiastic" that the state or county might offer is perhaps a "nice to have" but that's about it. We managed without it before 2005, so we can probably manage without it just fine in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Feiner will do NOTHING to upset the Fairview community.

Does he think that we are blind to how one sided his direction of our tax dollars are going.

He was told many times to sell the center and the Bronz chilcare but he pays no mind.
How many parents pay for chilcare and how much is the charge.
Did we ever get an answer.NO NO>
SILENCE.
Did we ever get an answer as to how many receive free kunches everyday.No answer.\
Silence again.
Did we ever get an answer concerning the amount owed by the housing authority NO
SILENCE AGAIN.
Well they say silence is golden because it keeps you out of trouble.
In this case we know the trouble and we do hope that someone on the board has the courage to explain to us why has our money gone to Fairview over and over again since Feiner took office,

SWAT TEAM-REMEMBER 911? said...

Remember 911? September 11th will never be forgotten. Our nation was unprepared. The SWAT team may not be appreciated today but if there is a terrorist attack in the future we will be glad that our Greenburgh police are better prepared to protect you, me and our families.
If you are looking for ways to fight Feiner, why don't you look elsewhere?

SWAT not needed now said...

When the chief of police says that the cuts in the police staff for next year will result in his not being able to provide the level of protection he believes residents of unincorporated Greenburgh are entitled to receive, then it's time to cut the SWAT team. We can bring it back when the Town once again has its financial house in order.

Of course, none of us really believes that Feiner will cut the SWAT team. He's dug in his heals on this one. It apparently doesn't matter to him that the chief has to disband the street crime unit or that residents are being forced to hire their own security patrols.

Anonymous said...

Street crime unit doesn't have to be disbanded. Police Chief could make less dramatic cuts.

Kapica knows better than Feiner said...

Anon at 10:30 (aka Feiner) thinks he knows better than the police chief. When it comes to fighting crime, who would Greenburgh taxpayers trust more to make the right decisions -- Feiner, a career politician or Kapica, a career law enforcement officer. I put my faith in Kapica.

Anonymous said...

10:37, very interesting! You are almost certainly right that anonymous at 10:30 pm is Paul. Notice that he posted at 10:27 pm on the 11/23 comment board! I guess he's doing his comment reading/anonymous posting late tonight.

Disgruntled Greenburgher said...

Dear 5:24 -
If every opinion which differs from that expressed by the Supervisor is interpreted as an attack - well, that's democracy.
Open government doesn't mean parrotting the same phrase (e.g. "The 80th Best Place to Live", or "We have a AAA bond rating") it means openly and with adequate time in a respectful setting discussing whether "enthusiastic" is worth more tax dollars than "competent" when deciding on SWAT coverage.
It means being able to discuss whether a Supervisor whose "invisibile" financial decisions (like carrying less insurance than recommended because it's cheaper in the short run) is better than a professional manager who may not be as committed to individualized constituient service.
What Open Government does not mean is leaving the people open to the whims of a single official whose regard for the law makes him a direct philosophical descendant of Louis XVIth ("L'etat c'est moi!")

Anonymous said...

We could have 200 cops and still have burglaries in Edgemont/Hartsdale/Fairview or anywhere! The Chief does not have to cut street crime. He should cut swat and tech rescue.Take the inside officers and put them on the road, and at last make all paramedics/emt's civillians!
If we really want to save money, have the State Police take over.
They have of the special units already.

Anonymous said...

10:38 ...you just dont understand police staffing...the units you want to cut or civilianize are not always men on the road or manpower!

Anonymous said...

1:07 what are you talking about?
I agree with 10:38
We need to make changes in the PD

Anonymous said...

Anti SWAT people let me enlighten you to some facts. The 120K budgeted for all SWAT operations is really a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. The Greenburgh SWAT team is comprised of dozens of officers from the town as well as the incoorperated villages. To the bloggers who think that cutting this 120k line will add up to more officers being on patrol...you are wrong. These SWAT officer are already on the road 24 / 7 as patrolman, detectives, street crime officers, police paramedics/EMTs and police supervisors, they only become a SWAT team when they are called to the task, and they handle the trying task at hand. Once their job is done they all go back to work as regular cops, so there is really no need to eliminate this budget item, it is a part of policing.

Now before you say why dont we just have the county or state police take over. Do you really think you would have the police presence you have now that you would have with NYSP or the county police. The answer is no. Just look to see how many state police cars you see in this region, not too many. Check out their ID license plate next time you are on the sprain in Yonkers because it will be the same car on the Taconic in Yorktown. We have a good and efficient police department made up of men and women who are dedicated to THIS town.

Anonymous said...

Why not make some cuts in DPW and sanitation. Word on the street is that trash pick up is done by noon each day. Most of the guys are napping by then just drive into the sanitation department parking lot.

Anonymous said...

120K here, 120 there, eventualy you get up to real money.

Eliminate SWAT training -- no it wont put more police on the street -- but it is an expense.

Anonymous said...

Why is leaf collection on Saturdays (actually no leaves have been collected on my street -- do they want to make certain they blow around so the police can issue tickets?)? Are people sitting around in afternoon, and then collecting overtime on Saturdays?

Anonymous said...

How about using all of the sanitation employees who are done with there routs by 11-12 and play cards until they punch out at 3:30? Why cant they pick up our leaves?

Anonymous said...

How about telling our assessor to work full time? And these riduculous international appraissal standards -- are they for towns where they dont reasses? Its govt employees telling us to hire more.

Anonymous said...

Thank God that there is one honest department in this town that being the Building Department.
Thanks for doing a good job and bringing in mucho bucks which will help the taxpayers .
Much kudos for each of you.

Anonymous said...

8:37 is most likely a policeman who is afraid of losing his job.
The state police are more than able to take over our Town. they have more resources than you couds even think of. it would definately be cheaper to have them. We should also go to private sanitation and maybe make a county fire dept.

What do you think Paul?

Anonymous said...

I'm not questioning the competency of our police department. It may be the most highly qualified in the state, for all I know. But the argument that we need a "town" police dept. - as opposed to a more financially sensible county run dept. - doesn't seem persuasive. At least on a community relations level, the GPD has no presence. I've lived here 5.5 years and I don't know a single officer by name or face. They have no presence in my neighborhood. The only time I ever see the face of an officer is when the GPD occasionally posts an officer in front of the Hartsdale train station, who does nothing to direct the chaotic rush traffic. Otherwise, I only encounter the GPD when slowing down to avoid the speed traps set in the Presser Field lot and other Central Ave locations late at night. Again, this isn't a quality issue, but as far as making themselves felt as a valuable community resource - rather than a faceless, replaceable contabulary - the GPD could learn some lessons from, of all people, Paul Feiner.

ed krauss said...

Mea culpa. I was wrong. It wasn't the Mormon Tabernackle Choir. It was the Kleine Daman von Dobbs Ferry...standing in for the Mormon Tabernackle Choir.

Nonetheless, it was the ultimate show of contempt the supervisor and his board showed for the people of Greenburgh.

The putative Town Board/Budget Hearing was a pharse.Apremeditated PHARSE.

He/they waited us (those who pay their unwarranted salaries,)out. By the time the "hearing" started there weren't enough people awake, or even present for a "minion."

And this is "open government."

How about the unasked and unanswered questions from the last meeting (cancelled because of a disturbance)

The clerk was willing but the Feiner shut her up, or was it, off?

I resubmitted my question," upon analyzing the 2008 and 2009 budgets, I found the "cuts" used this budget could have been mae last year, thus saving the unincorporated tax payers from a 20+% tax hike.

Drum roll, please,"was it because this year was an ELECTION YEAR BUDGET, and last year's wasn't?"

The answer from a nonforthcoming lying SOB (with apologies to his mother), after truth serum was injected would have been, YES YES YES.

And you know what, his 7.7% is a fabrication too. Just like his $750,000 in lad sales, and his other "Made For Election,"numbers.

The bittersweet thing about shutting out the public from the budget hearing process, and the dissemination of phony numbers, is that the real numbers willappear when the budget is ratified.

He's likethe little kid who covers his eyes, and says, "you can't see me."

Some of us can see through you. With any kind of luck many more will. And then Paulie, you're another statistic Obama has to help get a job.

Anonymous said...

So we got a discount for the GIS system since we were the first in Westchester to get it.

Sure it's our tax dollars .
Tell me what else will the assessor come up with.
She should be fired since she made a two million plus mistake with our taxes.
This is not a way to run a town.
You need people with brains not beebee brains.

Anonymous said...

Paul is it true that the GIS system was purchased because the town received a good discount by being the first in Westchester.

Answer please

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has ever purchased a "large" software package knows that you never, never, never pay "list" price. So pat yourseleves on the back for an unearned "savings".

Anonymous said...

TO 2:39 and 2:41…

DEMOTED WHITEHEAD UNDER POLICE INVESTIGATION

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.

WHITEHEAD MUST NOT GET AWAY WITHOUT A PENALTY!