Wednesday, June 03, 2009


The New York State Senate joined the New York State Assembly in approving a historic new law that will enable voters to collect petition signatures to consolidate local governments, fire and special taxing districts. After petition signatures are collected - consolidation initiatives would be voted on by the people impacted. New York State has more than 10,500 governments that impose taxes and fees. This law makes it easier for the public to decide what level of government they want. It provides the voters with a mechanism to reduce the costs of government and local property taxes by making government more efficient.
The bill was initiated by the Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo. School districts are exempt from the bill. I am disappointed that county governments are also exempt--I have suggested that a study be completed to determine whether county government should be eliminated or merged with other counties (Connecticut, much of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have no county governments, This new law should provide the public with the ability to eliminate waste, inefficiency and duplication.


Anonymous said...

The ability to start the consolidation process was always there. It required petitions with 33% signatures of the eligible voters.

The new bill lowers the threshold to 10%. What this means is that in a village or district, a very small minority of the residents can start a process that then requires studies, manpower, hearings and lots of taxpayer money. Only after much time and money is expended would this go to referendum - time and money that most small municipalities don't have.

Consider that many people will sign anything that's put in front of their faces without reading it, usually out of politeness or expediency.

Then consider that in a village of 10,000, where 70% of the voters are registered, 700 petition signers can start the process. That's only 7% of the residents.

Consolidation is okay, if there's an identifiable consensus of residents who want to go through the time and considerable expense the process entails. In my view, 10% of the registered voters doesn't come close to reaching that threshold. Ultimately, this is just another in a long list of state unfunded mandates that will cost you more money.

hal samis said...

Riding coat tails Department

Such a historic law and somehow Albany "overlooked" County government. This doesn't stop our Supervisor. He sees this somehow as a victory to achieving his goal of eliminating County government.

Meanwhile, nothing is ever posted by the Supervisor which opens the door to discussing the growing list of Greenburgh problems. Problems that are not being solved despite the few jobs found by those who don't have a clue as to where else to look for help wanted postings.

Mr. Feiner stated at the last Town Board meeting that he is committed to seeing next year's tax increase will not exceed 8% -- good news to those who also believe in half-pregnant or a three year increase of 39% But what was overlooked is that he also said that the Town Board had not yet started to discuss next year's budget. Thus, the 8% number has no basis.

Hello CSEA, you sat back and got cowed by the threats of firings and thus did not get the CPI increases you were entitled to and that taxpayers paid for (being included in that year's budget).
At the same time you sat back and watched new hires getting starting salaries higher than those they were replacing. Grin and bear it time. So, where are you now? Mr. Feiner has already sketched his 8%increase scenario as including lay-offs. I'm betting that the layoffs won't include Town Attorney Lewis, TDYCC Director Carter, Town Assessor McCarthy or the ever-deserving Commissioner Madden.

I'm also betting that the Town will still have an Arts Council costing $65,000 and that Councilman Morgan will still be double-dipping by collecting a bonus for health insurance he already receives.

I'm also betting that Ray Thomas and Xposure will be back and that at "no cost to taxpayers" the Deputy Director of the TDYCC and a staffer will still be leading 18 residents on a spring tour of southern colleges. "No cost" does not include their salaries for the week and the re-deployment of others to handle their workload.

And, when is the Town going to bond the $12 million balance of Library funding, prior year's capital budget items, etc.? Let's sit back and watch interest rates rise because the Town doesn't want to fess up to a lowered bond rating. The last bond rating was due mostly to the Town possessing a Fund Balance Policy which, of course, was thrown out at the first sighting of political danger. Previous year's tax increases (the rust years) were achieved only by invading the fund balances. Fund Balances exist in the first place because taxpayers were over-charged in taxes collected during the "golden" years so the excess revenue would grow the Funds. In other words, the "lower" taxes (31%) paid in the last two years were only possible because taxpayers had already overpaid in still earlier years.
And whereas, the coming year may find just enough left to buy down the tax increase again, 2011 will be the final straw.

Fortress Bible? Well let's appeal and move that expense to the future (the future being any year without a fall election).

NYS Pension obligation? That's the kind of misfortune that a Fund Balance should be used for. Readers will note that I was early in my forecast, warning the Town Board of what was coming by two years.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of the mounting financial problems. If you have a stomach for more, the Assessor's office is a good starting place.

Those who follow Town Board, Planning and Zoning Board meetings know that there are a boatload of land use problems as well.

However on this blog, the topics are about free concerts in Hartsdale, help-wanted ads and County government just say no.

It's a typical day in Dogpatch USA.

Anonymous said...

From today's NYT:

"In Wednesday’s Senate debate, opponents argued that consolidation could lead to longer response times for firefighters and less regular pickup of garbage.

“Response time, as everybody knows, is life and death,” said Carl L. Marcellino, a Long Island Republican. “No amount of consolidation is worth putting someone’s life at risk.” "

From Paul a few days ago:
"Every locality in New York State should be granted permission to install these red light safety cameras. Safety is important all over! Running red lights has caused 850 deaths and thousands of injuries each year. If red light cameras save one life it is worth it."

So Paul, considering your stance that saving one life is worth any price, where do you stand on the consolidation of fire districts?

president obama in cairo said...

paul - after reading this i would hope you would stop the childish and unamercian deleting of blog posts you dont like:

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas. They are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.

Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear. Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments, provided they govern with respect for all their people.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they're out of power. Once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others.

answers needed on county govt said...

those advocate getting rid of county government must tell us who and a what cost the following services will be provided:

social services (including child support enforcement)

board of elections including voter registration

county clerk (land records, legal documents, etc)

public adminstrator

district attorney (environmental crimes, high tech crimes, etc)


consumer protection

corrections (county jail etc)

public works

emergency services (bomb squad, arson unit emergency evacuation, etc)

parks, recreation and conservation
(18,000 acres of open space etc)
historic sites

westchester county airport

county highways

medical examiner

bee line bus and para transit

environmental facilities (kensico dam, waste treatment plants)

the list can go on and on

Anonymous said...

Where do I sign the fire department consolifation?

FOIL their salaries.....200,000 plus for a 70 year old who should have retire long ago. We pay almost the same taxes for Town taxes as we do for Fire many fires are there in all of many #*?!+# fire trucks do we need in this town???? How many 200,000 dollar comissioners do we need? CONSOLIDATE!!! FOIL salaries...FOIL call volume!!! Enough is enough

Anonymous said...

This would be a great time to make a Greenburgh Fire Department, isn't the Hartsdale Fire Commissioner retiring soon?

Is it true what the previous poster wrote? Do we pay almost the same amount in Town tax as we do fire tax (I will look when I get home, my husband does the taxes) if so that is rediculous. The only time we see the firetrucks is at the A and P....putting miles on the trucks to try and justify their existance....mean while they are buying food for their gourmet dinner...must be nice. Oh yes, and they are parked in the firezone while shopping, with their engines running-wasting gas and polluting my air!

Anonymous said...

Edgemont's fire district works just fine. We don't need consolidation, which is just another Feiner-drive gimmick to distract attention away from his fiscal mismanagement of the Town. Our fire taxes went up less than 2%this year. Our town taxes, which are double that of our fire taxes, went up 8% this year, and 21% the year before. The last thing we in Edgemont need right now is to lose control of our fire district -- and have it placed in the hands of the town.

Anonymous said...

Is 8% or less a promise from Paul?

Anonymous said...

Dear President Obama in Cairo:

You have expressed noble thoughts, but here in the Dictatorship of Greenburgh (not to be confused with the Democracy of Greenburgh), if one exercises his / her constitutional right to free speech, especially if you are an employee, you are banished from the land of the "free". Just ask Patricia Roper or Michael Kolesar.

"Personnel" issues? Don't be fooled.

Your last sentence hit the nail squarely on the head. Now do something !!!!

fat pension said...

Taxpayers are now contributing 7.5 percent of the payroll costs to the fund for most workers, and about 16 percent for police and firefighters, whose pensions are more lucrative than those of other public servants. Contributions from workers and profits from the investments pick up the rest of the tab.DiNapoli said a "ballpark" figure of the higher rate in 2011 is 11 percent for most workers. He'll announce the final figure in September. A similar increase for police and firefighters would drive up the cost to taxpayers to more than 23 percent of what those workers' salaries are.

Hartsdale Home Owner said...

Anonymous 3:08 from Edgemont wrote
"Our town taxes, which are double that of our fire taxes."

I also live in TOV but in Hartsdale; in the current year GIS listings, my town taxes are $3400 and my fire district is $2850(county comes in 3rd at $2100). How come the town taxes are 2X the fire district in Edgemont? Is the tax rate for Edgemont's fire district significantly lower than in Hartsdale?

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the unions and we will all save money.

The unions dictate what and how much raises should be for the firefighter and the police.

This goes for any other company that has to answer to unions.

Just take a look at the big companies that will be going bankrupt this week. Why have they failed ??The unions are to blame.
We should realize all this bailout money that is being given to these large corporations will be paid by the taxpayers for many generations to come.

Check the overtime of those that have civil service jobs. It is a known fact that they put in more hours in the last two years than they did in all the years that they worked.
The union dictates this to them.

We are in a big hole right now and it will be getting bigger if nothing is done to the unions.

Consolidation will not help Greenburgh in any shape or form.
If the county takes over maybe we will have a chance to survive.
Folks we are dead and we will be getting deader.

Anonymous said...

In Hartsdale, Fire District taxes are about 82% of town taxes; in Edgemont, however, Fire District taxes are about 62% of town taxes. The tax rate for Edgemont's Fire District is significantly lower than in Hartsdale, which is why Edgemont would oppose consolidation.

Anonymous said...

Let's get better leadership and maybe things would start to get better.
If this does happen it will take a long time to see the light of day.

We do not need consolidation of the firehouses. Maybe the police .
Take a survey to see which department has the most overtime to their credit right before retirement That should be the one to be consolidated with the county or state..
I could see the police department but that's all.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Cuomo does not have any knowledge of how badly the Greenburgh town is being run.
If he knew I'm quite sure he would get rid of it before any petitions went out.

Anonymous said...

Dear 5:33 if only the unions were to blame I would agree with you. But working for the town under the direction of management that is not in the union and the backwards jobs they have you do which cost more money to the taxpayers than anything else. Look into management if you want to find waste. But make sure you bring a dump truck its going to fill up with waste real quick with high cost jobs.

Anonymous said...

In the real world or private sector most big companies realized that you don't need as much management directing the workers. For example IBM didn't think one guy managing 15 employees was getting their worth out of the manager so now they have one manager for every 30 employees. But in the town you have one manager or highly paid supervisor to oversee the work of 5 guys or less. You want to cut the fat Paul Look in the offices around you and around town. Plenty of waist.

Anonymous said...

the shame of it all, is, there are alot of people on here, that do not have a clue !

Anonymous said...

M&M is a fantastic candy but the M&M that we have employed here in Greenburgh MAdden and McCarthy are the worse.
Why are we paying their salaries but above all why are they still employed.

Anonymous said...

There cannot be any form of consolidation if the assessor and Madden are still here .

Get them out and maybe the plan will work.

election history in greenburgh said...

feiner, sheehan and juettner.

thats the democratic ticket for 2009.

seems all the naysayers were ignored.

feiner will be elected to a historic 10th term.

Anonymous said...

Its all over folks, just 4 votes.

Pat Weems Is A Winner said...

The Town's Democratic Party Committee last night made no endorsement for Town Supervisor. A previously unannounced candidate, Pat Weems, received around 44 percent of the weighted vote, while Feiner received about 40 percent. Ms. Weems received most of her support from Fairview, Hartsdale and Edgemont.

As a prominent woman in the African American community, and as a long-time community activist throughout unincorporated Greenburgh with support even in places like Fulton Park,and roots in the town that go back far longer than Feiner's, Ms. Weems should not be counted out.

In fact, she's already gathered a team of supporters to carry petitions and, given the overall dissatisfaction many in unincorporated feel with taxes in unincorporated rising more than 31% in the past two years, and Feiner offering nothing more than platitudes and empty promises, she may well be our next supervisor.

landslide in the making said...

you mean the same weems that spewed hate for the villages?

weems probably knows less about greenburgh than berger.

with sheehan and juettner on his team, its going to be feiner in a cakewalk.

Anonymous said...

Pat Weems stands for change. The people in unincorporated Greenburgh desperately need a change in local government. Village residents don't seem to care much about the town this year. I hope Feiner underestimates her.

Anonymous said...

weems has been fighting this present system for some time.
We do need a change .Whatever changes she will make will benefit the whole town.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Did the Democratic party endorse Juettner and Sheehan or do they have a fight on their hands.

Anonymous said...

If Obama made it Pat Weems can too.

weems - you must be joking said...

pat weems has zero support other than with the dreamers who make up the antifeiner brigade of the town democratic party

weems stands for nothing outside of being against feiner (which means she is against juettner and sheehan)

weems' 15 seconds is almost over once the villagers see in print what she has said at town board meetings and learn who is behind her dubious candidacy

btw pat, do you have a resume? do you support exposure? can you name any of the village mayors?

Anonymous said...

4:32, the "leaders (and I use that term loosely) of the Dem party have traditionally not supported Feiner. Every time they put up someone against Feiner that person gets trounced. It speak volumes that there was not even support for Ms. Weems, whose qualifications are what?

That the voters support Feiner demonstrates just how out of touch the leaders (like a certain Edgemont lawyer) is.

Peter Zenger said...

Other than having occupied the seat for the last 18 years, what exactly are Mr. Feiner's qualifications?
He isn't qualified to deal with the fiscal issues confronting the Town (See the unbonded Library debt and the declining fund balances)- he's clearly proven that.
He isn't qualified to establish and maintain appropriate financial controls (see the NYS Auditor's report) - he's proven that.
He's not a tax reformer (see taxes up 31% in the last 2 years)- he's proven that.
He isn't concerned about the impact his decisions have on the community (see Fulton Park, the Metz Reservoir and Dromore Road) - he's proven that.
He isn't concerned with honesty in government (see the TDYCC Police report scandal) - he's proven that.
This isn't a personal attack - merely a short list of areas in which the Supervisor has a proven track record of failure.
ABF is a poor choice - but how much worse can things get?

Anonymous said...

and pat weems is a credible alternative?

The Superfluous Dem Comm. said...

It's a sad state of affairs when the town democratic executive committee designates Sheehan and Juettner. They don't, for the most part, if not at all, go to town board meetings or even watch them on cable, (because at last half of them live in the villages.)

If they did, they would know that Juettner has done nothing during more than 18 years in office, especially for her village- Ardsley, or the other villages and lastly for the unincorporated. Unlike Feiner who works very hard at getting elected, Juettner is just a hanger-on, doing nothing other than being on a slate...sometimes with Feiner other time not. It's a great job when you say and do nothing and still collect over $500,000 plus a pension and lifetime healthcare.

Sheehan is an arrogent twit who is also condescending and will do anything to get elected. Sucking up to Feiner is this campaign's meal-du-jour.

Trusting Sheehan is a fatal flaw.

So how in good conscience can the exec committee designate these two when they know nothing about how they operate and only how they behave in front of the committee when they come?

Not designating Feiner is a joke. Clearly he doesn't need them. They are an impotent group of know-nothings and do-nothings masquerating as powerful political operatives.

The chair of this "powerful" democratic Committee was beyond embarrassed when she ran against Feiner. Not because he is good (which all who bother to know him, know) but because she didn't know what the hell she was doing, and she was politicaly "gurued" by someone who knew less.

Greenburgh will continuously remain in the mess it's in (and even get worsre) as long as we have no leadership...irrespective of party designation.

The primary culprit is the Greenburgh voter. If not for you, Feiner would be retired to raise his daughter and dream up "unreachable stars." (Credit to 'The Man From LaMancha'")


Mr. Zenger: Did you support Feiner when he opposed the library expansion? Did you ever commend the town --four or five bond rating upgrades (AAA last year)? Did you object to the two consecutive zero percent tax increases the years before the big hike? Have you compared the cost of governing Greenburgh with neighboring villages?

Peter Zenger said...

Yes, I opposed Mr Feiner and supported the library because I believe that the first thing a tyrant does is shut off access to information. (I may have been mistaken, given how poorly Mr Feiner's appointees to the Library Board of Trustees performed, but that is a subject for another time.)
Yes, I objected to the financial manipulation that led to 2 years of zero percent tax increases because those budgets were based on stealing from the "surplus". (And I voted for Lasser in 2003 when he said the budget was constructed with smoke and mirrors.)
Governing the villages isn't Mr Feiner's job - governing the Town as a whole is. I was as upset as anyone when the Court decided that the Town entire was liable for the fallen tree on Central Avenue - and even more upset to discover Mr Feiner had decided to skimp on insurance coverage to keep our taxes down. The resulting settlement is CLEARLY and SINGULARLY the responsibility of PAUL J. FEINER, the "man who know's what's best" for us.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Z:
Did you ever write a letter to the Town Board objecting to the two consecutive zero percent tax hikes? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

The only fire trucks you see at the A&p are the Fairview trucks that do park in the fire lane. Hartsdale has a standing order against this. As to buying their "gourmet food" what do you care what they eat. It is paid for by the firemen themselves. Does anyone tell you what to make for your dinner? About consolidation the commissioners do not get paid unlike the town board and if Paul Feiner can't even run the town now how do you expect him to handle running the fire districts?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Hartsdale fire dept shops at pathmark and they do not park in the fire lane.
The greenville fire dept. shop at A&P and they park to the side.

But what business is it of yours as to where or who shops at what stores.

Could it be that you are writing a book?
Our fire dept. chip in to buy the food for the day.
Feiner cannot run this town honestly anymore since he has bad people running the show.
What he needs to to fire some and maybe we can catch a break.

Tell me paul what month will you name after the assessor.
You can't make a mistake as she has done over and over again remember there are twelve months in one year.but the biggest goofoff got the of March.

answer please said...

PAUL do all town workers shop on town time? or is that just a perk for the fire dept

Anonymous said...

The fire department shops on what other employees would call their lunch hour. Stop trying to make trouble where there is none. What you should be asking is how much time Paul Feiner spends on this blog during work hours!!!

Anonymous said...

4:59 tell me when do you shop?
The fire dept does not shop on company time and if they do so what.
Do they answer the calls when an alarm comes in?
How many times they leave the shiopping cart behind to answer the call.
If you cannot say anything good about the best department in this town keep your damn mouth shut.

Feiner needs more nuts like you to help him kill the best thing we have that is the fire dept.

We have good commissioners that run the show not like his commissioners .

answer please said...

5:32 you should be the best department in this town,with the fire districts taxes we pay. I bet your at work right now

answer please said...

why does the fire districts need FIVE commissioners tell me why 5:32 tell me why

Anonymous said...

Yes 8:15, Edgemont barely pays its fair share of aftershool programs for Greenburgh 7, it is high time for them to pay their fair share of Fairview Fired District taxes. The $100,000 per year that the town pays is chicken sh*t.

Anonymous said...

Which fire dept has five commissioners????????

Anonymous said...

Every fire district in Greenburgh has five commissioners. The Town Board has five members. The only difference is that the fire commissioners receive no salary while the town board members do.

Anonymous said...

the problem is that each fire department has a cheif who makes over 200k, assistant chiefs over 200k and the majority of its firemen make over'll see soon....

Anonymous said...

Most Town employees buy lunch on Town time, Highway,sanitation,Parks and Rec, water dept and Police dept. it's the nature of the job. I think we should be worried about more important things.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes the Town should take over the fire districts should have their heads examined. This is giving the Town 100% control of everything. The Town, particularly Feiner, has proven that he has zero fiscal management skills. Two years of no tax increases (election years) resulted in a declining fund balance and 31% tax increase over two years with a likely 10% or more tax increase for 2010. Will he doe the same as he did in 2007? Let's not forget, he campaigned with a promise for no more than a 14% increase and after the election amended the budget for 2008 by calling for a 21% increase. Do you really want this guy running the fire districts? A clear majority of taxpayers don't think so. Let's put it to a vote and be done with it. Feiner will spend another $100,000 on a bookshelf study if we don't. He's famous for useless studies. If we really want to save money why not elimnate local government altogether? Do we need to spend nearly $40 million a year to support our Town government? If we are to study anything, this would be it. The local branches are rediculously expensive and non-essential. Management of the existing services on the Town & Village level could be shifted to the County. The only job losses would be the overpaid supervisor and his commissioners.

ball of confusion said...

some want to end county government
some want to end town government
some want to end village government

sounds like we need a municipal council of niceae to come to some consensus. no one is happy with the current state of affairs.

this apparently was tried in the late 1980s but there was no crisis
as we have now compelling change

Anonymous said...

Pat Weems would be a welcome change. She's a long time resident of our Town and has been involved on the civic level for nearly as long. She has come out in support of various neighborhoods in our Town, not just Fairview. She is not afraid to question Feiner & Co. She's a fair minded, open minded citizen who truly cares about the entire Town. Do we really want Feiner & Co. to continue for a 10th term? This is the guy who ran against Veteran on the premise that Veteran was in office too long and that there should be term limits. I guess when you have no qualifications for another career term limits are not such a great idea.

THERE IS NO FISCAL MANAGEMENT IN OUR TOWN! 31% Town Tax increase over the last 2 years. A depleted fund balance. Cost overruns on the library that were a direct result of poor project management by the Town administration. A new DPW garage that was built too small and can not house DPW vehicles. Continued purchase of large Town sedans (none are "green"). Bonuses and stipends for non-union employees. Health insurance benefits and retirement benefits for part-time elected officials (I'd love to see the time sheets submitted for these benefits!). A runaway budget and blank check for the TDYCC. Five comptrollers over the last 10 years. The list goes on and on. No more Feiner & Co. - enough is enough is enough. Don't buy the propoganda from Feiner about the Town's AAA Bond Rating - it's meaningless in terms of your taxes. The 80th best place to live - the Town paid for that designation. We are being played for fools. Vote for WEEMS.

Anonymous said...

3:15 What the hell have you been drinking? Be careful of what you wish for. Paul might not be the best choice, but he is certainly better than P.Weems.
Please do not scare me with talk like that!!
Thank You!

Anonymous said...

We won't scare you but the problem is we are scared of another term with Feiner and company.

Have you not had enough?