Friday, October 31, 2008


Every halloween, since I have been Town Supervisor, the Police Chief and I drive around the town - monitoring conditions. The town asks many police officers to work Halloween night- - trying to make sure that you and your property are safe.
Tonight the chief and I knocked on doors of residents who have had complaints in the past. We also drove around different sections of the town. I am very pleased to report that this was the most quiet Halloween night in memory. The police radio was, for the most part, quiet. We did not see lots of kids walking the streets and did not observe any mischief. During the time I was in the police car - there were no reports of any defacing of property. I was pleasantly surprised -- I had thought a warm Friday night (no school tomorrow) would have encouraged more kids to walk the streets.
I would like to thank Chief John Kapica and the entire police department for a job well done. The police presence on Halloween is making a difference.


LEAF ANGELS WANTED I just received a call from an 89 year old woman who was advised by a police officer that she will be fined if the leaves in front of her house are not removed. She does not have the physical ability to rake the leaves that are on the road and comply with the law. Her gardener comes once a week—cleaning up the leaves from her home. But, some leaves somehow land in front of her house after the gardener leaves.

A number of years ago the town started a program: SNOW ANGELS. We help senior citizens shovel their driveways. I’d like to extend the program and have leaf angels. Leaf angels will help seniors and disabled residents comply with the law –so they can avoid the fine. If you are interested in volunteering – please e mail me at or call me on my cell: 438-1343.



Last year the Town of Greenburgh adopted changes to its Sanitation Code that prohibits the piling of leaves on any public street or pedestrian walkway. While it had always been illegal in Greenburgh to pile leaves in the roadway, enforcement was not possible unless a police officer or Sanitation worker actually observed the leaves being piled in this manner. This change in law creates a presumption that the resident or landowner, whose property most closely abuts the leaf pile or leaf bags, actually "directed, suffered or permitted the leaf pile to be placed in this location". This subjects the resident or landowner to a fine of no less than

Leaves may continue to be piled on the public right-of-way or on the resident’s property closest to the road for Town collection provided this does not obstruct a pedestrian walkway. Residents whose property contains a wall, shrubs or other obstruction that prevents the piling of leaves on the right-of-way or on that portion of their property closest to the road, must bag their leaves for collection and place the leaf bags as close to the roadway as possible. Under no circumstances shall leaf piles or leaf bags be allowed on any public street or pedestrian walkway.

These changes were adopted to address the public safety issues created by leaves being piled on public roads. Although we are in the process of notifying residents and landscapers about the new law through the use of various types of media, you can assist us by advising your gardener, landscaper or neighbor of this change. Thank you for your assistance in this matter and for your cooperation in helping to keep Greenburgh safe

$150 or more than $500 per offense and under the law each day the violation continues constitutes a separate offense.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


October 30, 2008
TAX HIKE IN “B” BUDGET WILL BE 7.7% Total appropriations: $61,767,273
TAX HIKE IN “A” BUDGET 9.6% Total appropriations: $14,791, 264

Dear Citizens of Greenburgh:
Earlier this year the Town’s bond rating was increased by Standard & Poors to AAA, the highest possible bond rating a municipality can receive. Few municipalities have this top bond rating. We also were recognized by Money Magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the America” – one of only four municipalities in New York State to earn this prestigious distinction in 2008.
During the good economic times your Greenburgh government responded to your demands for many outstanding, high quality services. Greenburgh residents have enjoyed superior programs, incredible services and responsive employees who work hard to make you happy.
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. This has been all the more difficult because we have little or no control over many revenue and expense items. Our health insurance costs will increase by an estimated $1 million in 2009 over 2008. We expect to ask all employees to contribute to health costs when we renegotiate our labor contracts. In addition, the New York Power Authority has advised us that utility costs will increase by over 34%. Revenue drops include a decrease in New York State financial assistance. Interest income has also fallen as rates have dropped to about 2%, down from 5%. Compounding this, our mortgage tax revenue has dropped approximately $600,000 to $700,000. Unfortunately, the list is very long.
Nine months ago I recruited a diverse and talented committee of Town residents to help address the 2009 budget. This Citizens Management and Budget Review Committee was created for the purpose of examining ways and making recommendations on how to hold any increase in the Town’s real estate tax to single digits for fiscal 2009. The Committee has been meeting regularly since February, 2008 and submitted a 2009 proposed budget report to the Town Board on April 28, 2008 – projecting a 2009 tax hike of at least 17%, while the Town Comptroller predicted a tax hike in 2009 of over 20%. The Committee insisted that we make deep cuts to address this unacceptable tax increase.
The proposed budget that I am submitting achieves the goal we announced last year to hold 2009 tax increases in unincorporated Greenburgh to under 10%. We have succeeded. The unincorporated tax increase is 7.7%. The villages will also be kept under 10% with an increase of 9.6%.
The Town provides many services to unincorporated Greenburgh. We do not have a large “A” budget (serving unincorporated Greenburgh and the villages) so the dollar amount is very small. To keep the tax hike in the A budget under 10%, I will be asking the Town Board to un-designate some funds that had been allocated to future court house expansion. Because of the economic conditions, I believe it is unwise for the Town to undertake a major courthouse expansion at this time. Delaying this capital expenditure is important in this time of belt tightening for all. We have turned the 2009 budget challenge into an opportunity to remake the way the Town does business. The new proposed budget reduces the size of government.
The Town has to live within its means and that of our taxpayers. I recognize that many people will be unhappy with some of the service cuts. These are hard choices. However, we must be responsible and prepared for what many believe will be a deep and prolonged recession. The 2009 budget significantly reduces spending without cutting the heart out of Greenburgh services.
RESTRUCTURING GOVERNMENT - COMBINING MAINTENANCE STAFF, ELIMINATING NEED FOR NEW LIBRARY MAINTENANCE HIRES - The proposed budget restructures the way the Town is operating. In the past the Theodore D. Young Community Center (TDYCC) and Town have had separate maintenance departments. In the 2009 budget all maintenance will be under one department, Public Works. This restructuring will eliminate the need to hire new maintenance staff for the Library (which had been requested). We will now be able to secure more productivity from the existing workforce. Another area for consolidation that will be pursued in 2009 is merging the transportation departments of the TDYCC and Parks Department. We are also reviewing the possibility of privatizing part of our payroll operation – replacing a payroll position with a private payroll company. The Town Board will be meeting to evaluate such companies at the end of November.
CONFERENCE EXPENSES - I have directed the Purchasing Department not to process any requests for transportation, meals or hotel reimbursement for any conferences in 2009 other than contractual travel requirements (for example, police officer training).
PART-TIME - The Town has a number of part-time employees working at the Parks Department and TDYCC. Some are receiving high hourly wages. I believe that we could reduce some of the part-time costs by soliciting bids from contractors to provide specific programs and services. We want to make sure that the hourly fees we pay are in line with what other municipalities, community centers and YM/YWCAs, pay for their programs. We will give this serious attention in 2009.
ENERGY COSTS - Our energy conservation coordinator will be devoting significant time and effort to help the Town develop a plan of action to reduce our internal energy usage and the prices we pay. Last year the Town Board hired a firm to complete a comprehensive plan, which calls for an evaluation of Town operational facilities. The consulting team chosen will visit and provide a preliminary overall condition assessment of the Town facilities, as well as the police station and the fire stations, judging each building’s general condition using a standard ratings system. Necessary improvements will be ranked according to their urgency (immediate, 2 years, 5 years, etc.).
In particular, the Consultant team will identify improvements that could reduce each building’s energy consumption and overall environmental “footprint”. The primary focus will be on reducing electrical and fossil fuel consumption and increasing comfort and indoor air quality through air sealing, insulation, window and door glass, mechanical equipment (HVAC, plumbing and electrical) and lighting fixtures.
The consulting team will also suggest “green” retrofit strategies that would be appropriate for those buildings, such as “green” roofs, geothermal heating and cooling, solar water heating, photovoltaic electrical generation, porous paving, site storm water management, etc. Consideration will also be given to recommending green building guidelines for incorporation into relevant Town codes and ordinances.
OUR GOAL: a 10% reduction in Town utility consumption in 2009 in municipal properties and facilities.
SANITATION - We will be eliminating non curb-side pickup of garbage, saving the taxpayers approximately $300,000 and $400,000 in salaries and benefits per year with the elimination of five positions.
PARKS and RECREATION - This department will reduce expenditures by approximately 7% or more in the B fund, totaling approximately $300,000 or more (not including benefits savings). To achieve this reduction, the department is eliminating three full-time positions, cutting back on part-time/seasonal personnel, curtailing pool and tennis hours and reducing or eliminating some special events and programs. Co-sponsored programs for summer youth baseball and softball will continue, but will no longer receive Town funding support.
In 2009 the summer outdoor swim season at Anthony F. Veteran Park will be reduced by three days (Sunday May 24th (Memorial Day Opening Weekend), and the last weekend of the season after Labor Day – September 12th and 13th) to a total of 87 days. Hours of operation at AFV Park will be reduced in June and late August during weekdays only. Massaro Park will be reduced by six days to a 77 day season. The swim season at Massaro Park will be from June 14th – Sept 7th with reduced hours.
The following activities/events will be cancelled: Massaro Park Adult Summer Basketball League, Movie in the Parks, the Celebrate Greenburgh drive-in movie, Breakfast With Santa and the Adult Open Gym program (the program will now charge a fee). In addition, special events hosted or sponsored by the department will be scaled back.
TOWN ATTORNEY - The Town Attorney's Office proposed 2009 budget is approximately $1 million. This reflects a spending reduction of approximately $200,000, a 14%-15% decrease from 2008. The Town Attorney’s Office will accomplish this spending decrease by eliminating a Deputy Town Attorney position, reducing Litigation Disbursement expenses, and by eliminating the $65,553 Town Attorney’s Confidential Secretary position, instead allocating roughly half that amount for part-time general secretarial services. Significantly, the 2009 proposed personnel salaries reflect no increases over 2008. Note also that Litigation Disbursement expenses are generally incurred when the Town is a plaintiff in litigation or when the Town is a defendant and there is no insurance coverage.
TOWN ASSESSOR - The Assessor’s proposed 2009 budget represents an approximate 7% decrease from the previous year.
POLICE DEPARTMENT – The 2009 proposed budget reduces the number of police officer positions by approximately six. Overtime will be reduced as well.
DATA PROCESSING - For 2009, the Data Processing Department’s proposed budget has been decreased by approximately $20,000, or 4%-5% from 2008. The Data Processing Department will accomplish this decrease by reducing the use of consultants and decreasing hardware purchases.
PLANNING DEPT - The 2009 proposed Planning Department budget eliminates the Deputy Commissioner position and cuts overall expenses by approximately 13%. The department is planning to institute new fees and cost recovery measures on applications to help generate additional revenues.
TAX OFFICE - The proposed 2009 Tax Office budget eliminates conference and seminar expenses and reduces part-time hours during non-collection months. The overall budget has been reduced by about 3%.
THEODORE D. YOUNG COMMUNITY CENTER - The proposed 2009 Theodore D. Young Community Center budget, like the Parks Department, reflects reductions of approximately 7% or more compared to 2008. Under new management, a total departmental review of all components of the operation is already in progress. The Center will increase fees and secure program and activity sponsors to defray costs such as summer camp trips. The Center will also pursue creating entrepreneurial initiatives that will provide monetary benefits to the Town.
5% REDUCTION IN TOWN FUNDING FOR LIBRARY - The new Library will receive a 5% funding cut. I do not anticipate major cuts in services to the library.
I believe that in 2009 the Library must use all means necessary to raise private dollars so they can maintain services to the town. For example, we should be allowed to name Library rooms for generous benefactors. We should also consider renting space at the Library to offset increased costs. We should even accept dignified advertising. I pledge to work hard with the Library Board and Library Foundation on library grant outreach efforts.
BUILDING DEPARTMENT - In 2009, the Building Department’s proposed budget contains little to no increase in spending.
GREENBURGH NATURE CENTER - In 2008, the Greenburgh Nature Center (GNC) received 32% of its operating budget from the Town. To compensate for a proposed budget cut from the Town and additional expected cuts in state funding, the GNC will reduce cleaning services from an outside contractor, reduce expenditures to operate its gift shop, reduce animal collection costs, increase the number of staff members writing foundation grants and further increase organizational emphasis on developing financial support from the private sector.
I am very pleased that the anticipated double digit tax hikes will be avoided next year. I also believe that the Town should look at these cuts and reorganization as just the beginning. We have to reinvent the way government is run. Residents of Westchester pay the highest taxes in the nation. We must end that distinction. In the coming year I will work aggressively with members of the Town Board to find additional ways to cut spending and to manage the Town in the most efficient manner possible.
This year the entire Town Board worked with me in helping to prepare the 2009 proposed budget. As I did, they insisted on getting tax increases below 10%. Members of the Board met with department heads on a weekly basis, going over the budget line by line. The entire Board, Sonja Brown, Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan and Kevin Morgan, also made house calls with me during the summer months – asking residents for their input on spending, taxes, services, etc. I am very grateful to them all for their hard work and dedication. They have spent many weekend and weeknight hours on Town business, which is way beyond the call of duty.
This proposed budget should be considered a work in progress. The Town Board will start reviewing this proposed budget immediately. We will continue to call in department heads and look for ways to make the budget better. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed budget. Modifications may be made until the middle of December.
We look forward to your input and advice.

Paul Feiner
Town of Greenburgh Supervisor

Note: Last minute changes were made in this year’s budget to make the tax increase as low as possible. The approximations used in this budget message will be updated by the Comptroller.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Greenburgh continues to be a desirable place for businesses. In the coming months I will highlight new businesses that are opening up in town. Please thank them for doing business here in Greenburgh. In these difficult economic times we need to support the businesses. In addition to the businesses that have received temporary or permanent c/o’s in the past month – STARBUCKS is building a new store on Central Ave. Fuji Mountain Restaurant is in the process of demolishing the old Carvel site on Central Ave and will build a new restaurant. Global Gatherings is being replaced by the New Jade Palace on Central Ave. And, Trustco will replace the abandoned bank on E Hartsdale Ave.
Paul Feiner

Renue Day Spa – 100 North Central Avenue, Hartsdale

Cerullo – 570 Taxter Road – 3rd Floor

Community Mutual Bank – Crossroads Shopping Center, Tarrytown Road,

ABCO Refrigeration – 155 Fulton Street, White Plains

Equisearch – 555 Taxter Road

Kinetics – 555 Taxter Road – 1st Floor

Natural Selection Furniture – 331 Central Avenue, Scarsdale

Dream Dinners – 640 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale

Bushido Karate – White Plains Shopping Center - 53 Tarrytown Road, White Plains, NY

Personal Care Dental – 455 Central Avenue, Scarsdale

HomeGoods – Crossroads Shopping Center – 449 Tarrytown Road, White Plains (Scheduled opening in early-mid November)

Bob’s Dry Cleaning – White Plains Shopping Center – 53 Tarrytown Road, White Plains

Royal Beauty – White Plains Shopping Center – 51 Tarrytown Road, White Plains

SpookyTown – 111 S Central Avenue. Hartsdale, NY (temporary for halloween)

Monday, October 27, 2008


The proposed 2009 budget for the town will be released this Thursday afternoon. If you would like to meet with the Town Board to discuss the budget options --members of the Board will be pleased to meet with you anytime between now and mid December (when the budget must be approved).
E mail if you'd like to meet to discuss the budget options.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


County Lines | Greenburgh
A Lesson in Finance Also Learned at Home
Susan Farley for The New York Times

Published: October 23, 2008

FOR the most part, they are shielded, their parents seldom letting on what is really going on. But trouble has an insidious way of making itself known, and 11- and 12-year-olds in the Town of Greenburgh seem to have slowly come to realize that the American economy is dreadfully sick.

Jasmine Bradwell, 11, whose exuberance is crowned by a ready laugh, knew something was wrong when she visited Costco two weeks before Halloween. “They had plenty of candy,” she said. “Last year they were out.”

Her assessment that people are not buying as much candy may be less than authoritative because she was in Costco before the season’s peak, but Jasmine has also seen how many stores are seductively trumpeting sales and she worries that people have become gun-shy about shopping. Christmas and her birthday are coming up, and perhaps she won’t get as generous presents as in the past.

Lordess Turner, 11, was recently selling chocolates to raise money for her school and, she recalled, “People said they couldn’t pay for it.”

“The stock market is going down, and they don’t get as much pay as they used to,” she said.

Jasmine and Lordess were among a dozen children, most of them sixth and seventh graders in Greenburgh’s schools, who sat around a table at the Theodore D. Young Community Center chatting about the economy. They are part of an after-school practical-business program that Greenburgh is running under a $335,000 contract with a nonprofit firm, the Xposure Foundation.

The students will learn the mechanics of applying for jobs and good etiquette and habits at work. They will also receive $12 a week to save or invest as they see fit. Some money may wind up in partial shares in the stock market, so the students could soon learn about the maddening capriciousness of that beast.

The students, for the most part, don’t watch news programs or read The Wall Street Journal regularly, but the bad news is out there in the ether — in remarks dropped at the dinner table, in stray comments from relatives, in sudden moves friends make because a house has been foreclosed on. Some end up worrying and wondering, even if their parents try to cheer them up.

Giovanni Sanchez, 12, learned that an uncle had been fired. Keyonah Bratton, 11, learned the same about a cousin of hers. Awa Nyambi, 11, a slight, bright-eyed young man, has a mother who works at a hard-hit travel company in White Plains. “Mom was talking about the stock dropping and how they may have to let go of some people, people who work on her team,” he said. “They don’t have all the money to afford to keep them on the team.”

Adriana Bailey’s father works for the New York Stock Exchange, though, like many other 12-year-olds, she doesn’t know precisely what her father does.

“Lots of people at his job are getting fired, and he’s afraid he’ll be in the next round,” she said.

Her eyes glimmered, and she looked palpably upset and a little confused. “He used to buy a lot of stuff, jewelry and laptops,” she said. “He has to stop buying it.”

For one thing, these children are clearly sensing the desperate maneuvers of high finance and the United States Treasury.

“Popular banks like Chase are taking over little banks,” Jasmine said. “People are losing their bank accounts. My mom changed to Chase. Before she had her money in HSBC.”

In many ways, they know their parents’ days of wine and roses are over — at least for a while.

Ciarra Williams, 12, has a friend who had to move back with her father after her mother lost her home.

“A lot of people are losing their houses because of the high mortgage, and it’s causing poverty,” she said.

“My mom’s friend, their house is about to go into foreclosure because she couldn’t pay,” Jasmine chimed in. “It was a nice house too.”

Teara Williams, 12, Ciarra’s twin sister, noticed how her school was trying fund-raising gimmicks like talent shows so it could afford to maintain the school and buy supplies.

And the students are mad at the way grown-ups have frittered away money, even as our new Gilded Age has been turning to dross. Jasmine wondered what was the need of a new Yankee Stadium when the old one did the job perfectly well.

“I could see if something was wrong with the building, but who needs a new stadium?” she said.

That sparked an echo of outrage from Ciarra. “They’re going through a depression and they think about a stadium?” she asked. “It makes no difference whether it’s old or new.”

Their sense of the nation’s financial meltdown is already influencing their plans for what they will do with the money they earn. They’re thinking of investing in stocks that rely on what people always do, good times and bad. People have to eat even if a depression hits. So McDonald’s was a stock the students touted.

“I’m going to invest in Apple,” Jasmine said. “They make a lot of money — iPods, iPhones, computers. People like that stuff.”

That brought a chuckle from Raymond L. Thomas Jr., Xposure’s executive director.

“It’s always the kids who know when the next big thing is,” he said.

But Jasmine quickly confessed to some second thoughts about her money.

“I’ll put it in savings,” she decided. “Because the way the stocks are going. I’m going to lose.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


On October 2, 2008, Judge Mary H. Smith of the State Supreme Court granted the Town’s motion to dismiss claims brought by WBRC (Kathwood Road subdivision developers) alleging that the Planning Board unreasonably delayed their application to develop six lots on Kathwood Road in the Orchard Hill section and that the Planning Board selectively deemed the six lots to be in a Critical Environmental Area (CEA) warranting additional scrutiny. In rejecting WBRC’s claim for damages, the Court concluded that there was no evidence that the Planning Board acted irrationally or arbitrarily and that any delays in review were attributed to WBRC’s failure to timely amended their subdivision application.

The Court, in a previous decision, had required that the Zoning Board grant an area variance to WBRC to develop the sixth lot.



Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, Yorktown Councilman Nicholas Bianco, Councilman Kevin Morgan, Sonja Brown, Diana Juettner, Francis Sheehan & County Legislator Thomas Abinanti will hold an important press conference on Thursday at 2 PM at Greenburgh Town Hall to object to the fact that some NYS property owners who are not paying school taxes due to the STAR program are receiving rebate checks from NY state as part of NY State’s school tax relief (STAR program).

Instead of giving people who pay no school taxes at all, the state could use the funds more efficiently by increasing the STAR rebates for people who pay taxes. In Yorktown the state has issued $873,600 to residents who pay no taxes. In Greenburgh the amount is _$1,692,800.
The State Legislature implemented this program to help keep New Yorkers in New York, basically due to the high cost of property taxes. Was it their intent to hand out money to people who are not paying any school taxes or was the intent of the legislation to help people who can’t afford paying the school taxes.

Feiner, Bianco, Morgan, Brown, Juettner, Sheehan and Abinanti believe that prior to issuing rebate checks the state should check to see if residents qualify for exemptions.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I have been reading some of the blog comments about the budget preparation and have reflected on your insight. When I release the budget next week I will not point fingers at anyone. I accept responsibility for the decisions I will be making. I believe that all the members of the Town Board want to do the right thing. The question is: what is the right thing?
This budget is a difficult one. The Board has to make some hard choices---do we raise taxes substantially to offset some revenue losses or do we cut services and quality of life?
Most people who I speak to want the Board to CUT TAXES and to MAINTAIN SERVICES. That cannot be done.
Each major cut will impact services--
If you want your tax increase to be more affordable we will need to close down the library one or two days a week...we will need to cut some terrific police programs...we will need to eliminate some quality of life enhancements like non curb side pickup of garbage...we will need to shut down some parks/community center programs...we will have to reduce the workforce (which will reduce the response time you are used to receiving from town employees). We can't replace retiring employees with new employees.
If you want to maintain the best of Greenburgh lifestyle - you'll have to pay for these services. More taxes. No way around that.
I hope to find the right balance. There is really no right answer. There is no wrong answer. It depends on your finances and philosophy. Greenburgh town taxes are about 17% of your entire tax bill. So-- some major cuts will only impact your wallet by less than $100 a year. The question: Is it worth the quality of life reductions?
THe Board members and myself have been reaching out to residents - trying to find the right balance. Your input is appreciated.


The Library executive director met with the Town Board during our work session today and advised the Board that the Library probably will not be open seven days a week if library cuts are made in the 2009 budget. All departments in the town expect to share some of the cuts in the budgetpain. (thanks, in part, to the bad world-wide economy).
One possible initiative the library should take is to step up private fundraising. I think the library should place a big board on the outside of the library encouraging private donations and offering room naming opportunities for big contributors. We have a beautiful new library that is going to open up soon---I am sure that there are wealthy admirers of the Greenburgh library who would welcome the chance to contribute. This could help the library maintain the level of service residents are used to.


David Dwinell, Receiver of Taxes, advised the Board during our work session that tax collection in September (first half of school tax bill) was slightly higher than last years collection. I was pleased with this news - in light of the bad world wide economic crisis.


The NY State Legislature is slowly phasing out the STAR exemption programs. This is information that the assessor provided Town Board members with. If your school tax bills have increased - this is one of the reasons.

Assessment Tax Years 41854 41834 RollYear BASIC Enhanced

2007 2008-2009 3,490 * (3300) 6,590* (6,250)

* Amount supposed to be Billed

2006 2007-2008 3,670 6,940

2005 2006-2007 3,860 7,300

2004 2005-2006 4,060 6,760

2003 2004-2005 4,270 7,110

2002 2003-2004 4,490 7,480

2001 2002-2003 4,590 7,840

2000 2001-2002 4,670 8,250

1999 2000-2001 3,420 8,686

1998 1999-2000 1,830 9,140

October: Miscellaneous

The purpose of this Miscellaneous topic is to discuss any town related issues you feel are important. Please post any issues you wish to discuss in the comments section of this post. Thanks!

-Marc Herman

Monday, October 20, 2008



Sunday, October 19, 2008

XPOSUREKIDS RADIO FEATURED -- please listen to program

Please visit XposureKidsRadio and listen to some of wonderful radio clips our Xposure Greenburgh 6, 7 and 8th graders created during Thursdays program.
The students split into 4 groups and selected the following topics: Breaking Oil dependence, Wall Street Meltdown, Entertainment, Sports.
They researched each topic using the Internet and were tasked with writing the copy, and uploading it to the Smart Board teleprompter which they controlled. Each group was then given a max of 2 minutes radio time for their show
There are still a few openings for students interested in this very special after school program -- a program that I think will be replicated in many other school districts in the coming years.
The Lanza Family Foundation has increased the grant of $167,550 by an additional $17,000+, reducing the town's after school contribution to about $150,000. In years past the town has spent as much as $190,000 on after school programs --so this year we are reducing our contribution and getting a substantially better program.


The county has advised the town that the Mortgage Tax revenues for the six months ended September 30, 2008 was down 36.3% from the comparable six month period in '07. This is bad news and highlights the need to make cuts in the upcoming budget. The budget will be released in less than 2 weeks.
The Town Board has been meeting with department heads discussing budget options/cuts. We have already met with the TDYCC, Parks dept, Town Atty, Assessor, Comptroller, police dept, public works. This Tuesday we will be meeting with the Library to disuss their upcoming budget.
The library is different than other depts--once the Town Board approves a budget the Library Board can make shifts in the budget without consulting the Town Board. A few new members of the Library Board will take office in January, 2009.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


This past week the Town Board awarded a contract to resurface various streets in Ardsley, Elmsford, Hastings, Tarrytown and Greneburgh. We were able to reduce costs by bulk purchasing. The town and each of the villages will assume the costs of the work applicable to their governing entity. This is a small but important cost savings initiative. We're working hard to reduce the costs of governing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I'm amazed at how popular our new dog park is --at Rumbrook Park. I have stopped by the park a number of times since the park opened. the park seems to be getting lots of great use--every day of the week, at all times of the day. This park will probably be one of the most popular recreation areas in the entire town park system.
We're planning to work on fundraising for the park and will be selling bricks to dog owners. They will be able to put their name, the names of their dogs on the brick and write a short description. The bricks will be placed at the entrance to the dog park.
The funds raised will be used to enhance the park.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Gordon Parks lived in Greenburgh. He was a (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) groundbreaking American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. He is best remembered for his photo essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft. There is a growing movement in the town to name the new library, which is set to open in December, 2008 in honor and in memory of Gordon Parks.
The auditorium at the library could be named for another great american--Cab Calloway. Cab Calloway, the world famous musician, also considered Greenburgh his home. Our town is rich in history. The new library should highlight the contributions of some of the people who lived in our town who made a lasting impression on the world.
What do you think?

Sunday, October 12, 2008


In recent weeks more and more people have stopped by my office seeking employment. Unfortunately, the town is experiencing the same economic problems that the rest of the world is facing - and is trying to avoid hiring new employees. HOWEVER, I would like to try helping unemployed Greenburgh residents find work.
If you know of any job openings in your business (clerical to management--any opening), please e mail me at I will share the info with residents who are seeking employment.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Spano's security squad costs $100G above estimate
By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
The Journal News • October 9, 2008

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WHITE PLAINS - Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano's security detail cost taxpayers $412,224 last year - nearly $100,000 more than the estimate previously provided by county officials.

The three-detective squad last year amassed $138,514 in overtime pay on top of $273,710 in base pay to protect Spano, payroll records reviewed by The Journal News show.

That trumps numbers provided by county Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Belfiore for an Aug. 24 article, when he told the newspaper that the security detail would cost taxpayers about $320,000 this year.

That number was based on an average of $5,000 in combined overtime pay per month through the first seven months of the the year - averaging out to a year-end total of $60,000 - plus combined base salaries of $261,600, Belfiore said.

But based on the 2007 records, the overtime costs were significantly higher last year, when the three detectives averaged a combined $11,542 per month in overtime pay, the records show.

"I don't have any quarrel with the county executive having a driver sometimes and a car," said George Oros, R-Cortlandt, the minority leader on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. "But I do think it is a little excessive that it totals almost half a million dollars.

"That's a lot of money at a time when people are really hurting out there in so many ways and are worried about losing their jobs or may already have lost their jobs," Oros said. "Now's the time to really look seriously at all these types of things."

Officials at the County Executive's Office did not return calls seeking comment. Officials at the county Department of Public Safety said that neither Belfiore nor the department's spokesman was available for comment yesterday.

Spano, a Democrat, is one of only two top county leaders in the state who have taxpayer-funded security details. Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who leads the state's second-largest suburban county, is the other. Westchester ranks third in population, outside of New York City.

In Westchester, taxpayers also pay for hotel accommodations for the detectives when they travel with Spano. Those costs totaled $5,435 since 2003, according to county records. The newspaper reported the costs Aug. 24 as part of a continuing series of articles on spending by county officials.

The reports included revelations that Spano and his two top aides cost taxpayers $171,000 over five years in travel, meals, fuel and cell-phone expenses, including $93,000 for the county-owned vehicles that they drive.

Other newspaper reports focused on the county board, which spent more than $150,000 in travel, cell-phone and food costs between 2003 and last year, including taxpayer-funded trips to conferences in Hawaii and Scotland.

The Journal News also reported June 1 that Gary Kriss, a top aide to county Board of Legislators Chairman William Ryan, D-White Plains, spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on electronics, software and books, with some of the merchandise shipped directly to his home in South Salem, and with at least one of those items purchased in his wife's name.

Kriss' spending records were subpoenaed by Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore two days after the article appeared. Following the subpoenas, county board officials asked Kriss to turn in his county-issued cell phone and BlackBerry and he has since been on paid vacation leave while the investigation continues.

The County Executive's Office defends its travel, phone and food expenses. Belfiore said in the Aug. 24 article that the security detail was necessary, saying that some of Spano's critics "are perhaps too passionate in their reaction and sometimes just mentally unbalanced."

But Oros, the board's minority leader, questioned the extent of police protection afforded Spano.

"I don't see the need for a 24/7 security detail," Oros said. "I don't see any problem with him having a driver: It does help him operate more efficiently. But I don't think you need one to ferry you around to social events and governmental events on the weekends and in the evenings."


Remember Mickey's old fashioned hot dog stand? The stand had operated for 78 years on Jackson Ave but was closed down in 2007 because the hot dog stand did not comply with our zoning laws. Mickey's son, who took over the business from his late father, applized for a zoning variance. Good news! The old fashioned hot dog stand is coming back to Jackson Ave. The Zoning Board approved the variance request.
The ZBA noted in it’s decision that the location of this property -- along a heavily-traveled road adjacent to two major highways and high tension electrical transmission towers -- and its relatively small size renders it unique, unmarketable and not conducive to any other use permitted in the R-20 District.
The ZBA noted that the hot dog stand is located in a properly licensed truck which is only located on the property for several hours a day in good weather; there are no permanent buildings of any kind on the property and none are needed for the proposed use. Similarly, the applicant’s other modest retail uses: selling flowers on Mother’s Day, Valentines Day and Easter Sunday and selling Christmas trees for two or three weeks before Christmas, are also very limited in time and nature.


Saturday, October 04, 2008


In a decision dated September 26, 2008, US District Judge William Connor of the Federal Court dismissed claims brought by S&R Development, LLP., against the Town alleging, among other things, that S&R was denied a constitutional right to develop a 3,200 square-foot property in the Central Avenue Mixed Use Zoning District ("CA-Zone") in Edgemont. S&R had contended that the property was zoned CA which would have permited 75 apartment units in a multi-family complex. Town records, in contrast, reflected an R-20 zone which would permit at most (2) one-family homes.

Judge Conner concluded that S&R's constitutional claims were not ripe for judicial review because S&R had not exhausted all other possible remedies. Specifically, the Judge concluded that S&R could have sought a "use" variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to permit a multi-family complex after it learned that the property was zoned R-20 . The Judge further concluded that S&R should have pursued remedies available in state court for just compensation or Declaratory Judgment.


The Greenburgh Town Board has started to review the budget requests of each department. On Thursday evening we met with three department heads: Town Attorney, Assessor and Planning. Each department head proposed budgets that will cut spending in 2009 from 2008 levels. Our goal: To come in with a budget with a spending cut of about 5%. Because of the severe economic downturn - a 5% spending cut (and service reductions) will only reduce the size of a tax hike, not eliminate a tax hike. A proposed budget will be released by the end of October and the Board will approve a final budget in mid December.
This Tuesday the Town Board will review department budget requests for three departments: Parks Department (2:15); Public Works (3:45 PM) and the Theodore Young Community Center (7:15 PM). Our meetings are streamed live on the internet and can also be watched on public access TV.
Monday, October 6th – 4:30pm to 5:30pm – Knollwood A& P

Friday, October 10th – 4:30pm to 5:30pm - *

Saturday, October 11th – noon to 2:00pm - *

Monday, October 13th – 3:00pm to 5:00pm - *

Saturday & Sunday, October 18th & 19th – Knollwood A& P, Scarsdale A& P

The 2009 budget is going to be a difficult one --for Greenburgh, for every community in the nation. Mortgage tax revenue is down, we are receiving less financial assistance from the state, interest on investments is down, certiorari's are reducing the tax base. We have to make difficult choices. However, your input is important during this process. Are the cuts we are making adequate? Should we cut less or more? Members of the Board are willing to make housecalls. If you would like us to stop by at your house to discuss the budget in greater detail please e mail


Friday, October 03, 2008


In recent weeks some anonymous bloggers have been slandering people's reputations. This is not fair. I was contacted by someone whose integrity was hurt on the blog. If these disgraceful comments don't stop we will have to modify the blog and require registration.
Please focus on the issues. This blog is designed to promote discussion of the issues, not for people to lie about other people.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


The Greenburgh Town Board will vote to appoint William Carter as the next Commissioner at the Theodore Young Community Center (Department of Community Resources) tonight at our 7:30 PM special Town Board meeting. We expect Mr. Carter to start working for the town on November 15th. Mr. Carter indicated that prior to his appointment he will be meeting with community center staff and residents.

Bill is well known and respected in the community. He has been an advocate for our youth and coordinates county funded youth initiative programming. He has been responsible for insuring contract compliance of youth services providers contracted by the county and facilitates all aspects associated with resource allocation of over 8 million dollars in youth development funding.

Bill has also worked with the Educational Opportunity Center of Westchester and with the White Plains Youth Bureau. He currently teaches at Westchester Community College (Adjunct Professor) and worked at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School and Family Service of Westchester.

Bill has outstanding education credentials. He received his MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work and was the recipient of the Eveline Burns Scholar in Social Policy Fellowship. He graduated from Dominican College of Blauvelt (Summa Cum Laude), with a BS in Social Work. He has been invited to give presentations to colleges, educators around New York State and St. Lucia.

He is active in African American Men of Westchester and received his license from the State Education Department as an HIV Test Counselor. There is much, much more I can say about Bill’s background. He was one of the three finalists of our Search Committee –and is highly regarded by those who know him. I think he will be an outstanding Commissioner and look forward to working with him. The town is lucky to have him as our next Commissioner

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


The 2009 budget process is beginning. And, we’d like your input –early in the process. The town’s bond rating was increased in April to AAA by S & P (the highest possible bond rating a municipality can receive). However, all local governments are entering the 2009 budget process without a sense of certainty as to what we can anticipate for revenues and expenditures during the coming year. For example: will oil prices increase or decrease next year? How will gas costs for police and highway vehicles, costs of asphalt products for highways and heating costs for town buildings be impacted (we anticipate our utility costs to go up at least 30%)? Will sales tax and mortgage tax receipts continue to decline?

**Our 2009 insurance costs will increase about $1,050,000 in 2009 over 2008.

**Assessed valuations of property have decreased by over $2 million since June.

**We are receiving less state financial assistance from the state.

**The town is receiving less interest (we used to received about 5% interest, now it’s down to about 2%).

**There has been no growth in sales tax.

**The mortgage tax revenue that we receive is down at least $600,000-$700,000.

The budget for 2009 will be proposed by the end of October. The Town Board has till the end of the year to adopt a final budget. We can cut services and programs. Even if we cut programs there will be a tax hike. But, we can reduce the size of the hike. Or – we can maintain the services we are used to. We want to hear from you. This is the tentative schedule (subject to change).

Please note the revised schedule for budget meetings with the Board:

Thursday, October 2nd

8:00pm – Purchasing

8:15pm – Legal

8:45pm – Planning

Tuesday, October 7th

2:00pm – Parks & Recreation

3:30pm – DPW

5:30pm – Adjourn

7:30pm – TDYCC

Tuesday, October 14th

2:00pm – Philanthropy

2:30pm – Ridge Hill Report

2:45pm – Police Department

4:30pm – Comptroller

5:30pm – Adjourn

7:30pm – Assessor

Tuesday, October 21st

2:00pm – Tax Receiver

2:30pm – Building

3:00pm – GNC

3:30pm – Library