Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ICE CREAM AT THE LIBRARY--students learn real job training skills

Are you hungry? If the answer is yes – take advantage of a new program started by Xposure Greenburgh (the group that runs our after school program at the Theodore Young Community Center). Children who are not in camp are participating in the Greenburgh Tropical Fantasy Italian Ice/Ice Cream Student Entrepreneurial training program. They are learning important business skills and will be selling ice cream at the Greenburgh library on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from noon to 4:30 PM. The dates and times may change depending on customer traffic patterns. The program starts on Wednesday, July 1st at the Theodore Young Community Center and will begin operations at the Greenburgh Library on Monday, July 6th.
The students are receiving training which includes finance, business and customer service skills. Students will contribute a portion of the training programs net monthly profit to the town of Greenburgh as rent for use of the space at the library and the Theodore Young Community Center. Besides learning valuable entrepreneurial skills participating students must apply for library cards and enroll in the Young Adults Reading program. They also will participate in a weekly finance class designed to help them save and invest their money. In addition, they must set aside 33% of their weekly stipend/wage to be deposited into a savings account.
Some of the flavors: Mango (w/real mango), Cherry, coconut, Snickers, Cake Batter, Cotton Candy, Rainbow.
The xposure program received national attention earlier this year when it was featured on the cover of Scholastic Magazine. Raymond Thomas is the founder of Xposure. Jessica Lugo and Frank Critton will be supervising the summer program which runs from 11 am to 5 pm.
The Lanza Family Foundation donates about $170,000 a year to the town for this innovative program –which provides students with real life learning skills.
Starting a student run business has been a goal of mine for many years. The Xposure ice cream initiative hopefully will lead to additional job training initiatives that can help prepare our youth for the real world.
Bill Gates-----------watch out! You will soon have competition. If you reside in unincorporated Greenburgh and would like your child to take advantage of this program – please email me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com and I will forward to the Raymond Thomas at Xposure.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor


Anonymous said...

why not on E.HARTSDALE AVE. on SATURDAY morning 9 to 1 AM

Don't let Feiner fool you said...

In these times of fiscal austerity, with the Town's unincorporated areas having already experienced a 31% town tax hike over the past two years, and a 15%-17% town tax hike projected for next year, it seems utterly ridiculous that the Town has chosen to pay teenagers this summer to sell town purchased ice cream from town purchased electric mobile ice cream freezer carts. Talk about a nonessential expense!

In the meantime, the town's cut budgets for police, sanitation, leaf and snow removal. There appears to be a string of unsolved burglaries. Revenues from mortgage taxes are down, sales tax revenues are down, and interest income is down. The Town's ratables continue to decline -- accounting so far for at least 3% of next year's tax hike.

But the Town continues to operate duplicative recreational departments -- one by Parks and Rec and other by Community Resources -- each with its own set of highly paid commissioners -- running into the millions of dollars annually.

And police compensation is running through the roof, with at least 20 officers earning so much in overtime that they'll be able to retire on pensions that will pay them more than their annual salaries.

The Town has no plan to remedy the financial disaster we're facing. But hey, go have some ice cream. What Feiner forgot to tell you is that, not only are taxpayers pay for the dessert, they're also paying for the kids doing the dipping, the ice cream itself, and the electric carts the ice cream sits in.

Oh, one more thing. Don't believe any of that horse manure that this is about teaching young people entrepreneurial skills. When the Town picks up the entire tab for the business, it's called something else -- and when taxpayers are hurting, as they are now, this type of abuse is called something else yet again.

Anonymous said...

At the library? People are not allowed to bring in ice cream (or any food or beverage), are they?

learn to count said...

dear dont let feiner fool you

i suggest you learn to count

its takes three votes (credit to hal samis)

you want to talk about waste - how about the library where diana juettner is the liaison from the town board not to mention francis sheehanigans and his ramp for no one

and where is juettner on merging parks and recreation with the dept of community resources?

unincorporated greenburgh's civic leaders are so clueless about what they need to do to help themselves. these anti feiner rants are about as appetizing as broccoli flavored ice cream.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest that the proceeds go to Parks & Recreation camps to offset the difference in the higher fees paid there verses TDYCC?

How about a lesson in equality and fairness?


Here's a clue to the desperate financial straits the Town faces. The bond which was to be issued to pay for the library expansion has not be issued. Why? It certainly would have been, with long term rates for tax exempt AAA borrowers near historic lows but short term "bridge" loans almost impossible to get. Several things might prevent the Town from bonding the debt. Could it be that Mr Feiner (as is the Chief Fiscal Officer and therefore responsible) is unwilling to show the Town's balance sheet to the rating agencies. Could it be that even the Town's auditors have now caught onto the Town's unusual method of accounting and will not issue a "clean" opinion? Could it be that the new controller is about to lose his job because he won't sign off on a financial statement he knows is inaccurate? Could it be that the Town's expert negotiators (they took advanced lessons from William Shatner and Ray Thomas) have been unable to arrange suitable terms with the lenders? How about a little open government to go with the ice cream at the library?

Anonymous said...

Wow - are you kidding? The Lanza family has nothing better to do with $170,000?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

*waves to Paul @9:08*

Taxes will surely go up and more services that are important to the greater part of TOV, will be added to the "dead" list along with curbside pick up.

Programs at Parks & Rec will be cut and those that remain will require higher fees.

TDYCC budget will not be cut, again, and everyone will get a free ride, Thomas will make a bundle, his kids will "earn" our money, free BBQ and we'll provide the transportation.

Nice job Paul!

Anonymous said...

Something doesn't seem right about this. Are the teens learning about business by making the ice cream (i.e., buying and mixing the sugar, cream, milk, etc,), transporting and selling it? Or is some Xposure adult simply buying ice cream (presumably in discounted lots) while the teens do no more than harangue library patrons into buying ice cream "for the benefit of kids"? If the latter, what funds are being used for the outlay (certainly not investment profits)? If town funds are being used, who is the 3d party ice cream vendor - and how is that company chosen? What does "profits" mean in this context (i.e, are the kids being exploited for someone's else gain)? If this were the boy scouts or some church group, I wouldn't care, but we are talking about a local government program that is tax payer supported. I worry that someone is taking advantage of these kids.

Anonymous said...

Dear 10:44 -
You are absolutely correct. Mr Thomas and associates are taking advantage of the kids, and Mr Feiner and friends are condoning the behavior.

Anonymous said...

they must set aside 33% of their weekly stipend/wage to be deposited into a savings account.

So....we pay them during the school year and now we are paying during the Summer too.

Who is funding this program? The Lanza grant doesn't as that +++++ our tax dollars was spent on the school year Xposure program.

Paul, There are many families outside of Fairview that have hit the skids financially. Many no longer have health insurance.

It makes me very angry that you seen to be under the belief that non-blacks are living high off the hog.

Just ask a few Hartsdale families. You will be surprised what you'll hear. You should be ashamed of yourself.

hal samis said...

sent to the Library

"On what basis is this organization being permitted to sell ice cream, etc. outside the Library?

It is my understanding that the one year contract with them commenced July 1, 2008 and expired June 30, 2009. Without a contract in force, they are just a commercial, for-profit business.

Does the Library have a written policy describing what may and what may not be sold from this cart? Before any vendor is allowed to sell merchandise and, despite the Library Board of Trustees agreeing to this, I should hope that the Library has a written policy covering all vendors who sell their goods to the public on Library property. What insurance does the Library carry should someone get ill from Xposure wares? Who from Xposure has agreed to abide by the rules and in what form? Who is going to enforce such rules as the Library may orally, verbally or otherwise prescriptively communicate? Will Library personnel be deployed outside the building to see that such agreements are adhered to? Where is the Xposure cart going to be stored overnight?

A visit to the Xposure website discloses under "replication" that Xposure would like to expand to new locales. If the Xposure "employees" are dressed in Xposure t-shirts and the cart is decorated with Xposure trappings, is this not an advertisement and perhaps solicitation for the program? It is not enough that the Town provides the program, residents (and non-residents?) must enroll and pay a $300 enrollment fee.

These are but a few questions that should be answered -- and the existence of a written policy would be the absolute minimum.

Anonymous said...

what if someone was to choke on the ice cream do they have insurance

Anonymous said...

I want to set up a frankfurter stand outside the library.
If someone is selling icecream without a permit from the building dept I want the same done for me.
My friend wants to sell tacos how about issuing licenses to both of us.

Anonymous said...

Look at what is happening here in Greenburgh.
The parks are going to the dogs.
The library is now hosting the exposure program to explain how to make and sell icecream.
If this does continue i suggest close some parks but above all close the center and being most of the programs to the library.

Anonymous said...

Dear 9:08 - how can you be sure what the tax rate will be? If you recall back in 2007, pre-election, Feiner & friends indicated less than 15% - the night before the election they informed us that it would be over 20% - unfortunately the notice came too late. This current tax year the Town Board voted for a 2009 budget with highly inflated income estimates on sales tax revenue and mortgage tax revenue - will that result in a higher tax increase in 2010 or a depleted reserve fund to cover their butts? I think our great leaders should give up their salaries to make up part of the difference...if they can't do the job they shouldn't get paid.

Anonymous said...

The Lanza family needs to stop giving Feiner money for these rediculous programs! They always end up costing taxpayers in the end. We're subsidizing the Exposure program, now we'll be subsidizing ice cream! Feiner seems to involve himself in everything except managing our Town. He wants to take over the fire districts and parking authority. Look at his track record, do we really want that? It's just other areas to start gouging the taxpayer. My Town taxes have increased over 100% since he has taken office. Thanks but no thanks, I would rather leave the other districts to themselves. Don't blame the fire districts for the high taxes in fairview and hartsdale, blame the Town - they keep approving non-profits which results in higher taxers for the rest of us. Look at the Eatern Orthodox church on W. Hartsdale - over 90% of their congregants come from outside the Greenburgh area yet the property operates off the tax roles. It's time to change the laws with regard to these agencies. There has to be a proportionate tax imposed upon them based on their service to their community; if 90% come from outside than they should only receive a 10% tax break...maybe they'll start developing within the areas of their patrons instead bleeding the life out of us. Hartsdale and Fairview have an extraordinary high number of these non-taxed entities...the result in higher taxes for the rest of us. More and more have poured into our borders in the last 18 years of the current administration.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone in the Lanza foundation read this blog to see how their money is squandered but above all how much burden they are putting on the taxpayers back.

There are many places that their money can benefit those that never ask for a dime from anyone.

Feiner is playing games with these good people always crying that he needs funds Pray tell me what for.

Anonymous said...

If Anonymous (Paul Feiner) 7/01/09 9:08 AM is willing to support his projection, I just bet that there are others who are willing to share with the public how they come up with their projections.

The statement that there will not be a tax hike of 15 - 17 % doesn't make it happen. Remember Nixon's pledge about Vietnam - "I have a "plan."", but he wouldn'r "reveal" it.

Mark Weingarten had a reasonable forecast and he's an attorney with no real background in the finances of the Town of Greenburgh, when he commented at the public hearing on "Stop N Shop" that there was a 20% tax hike coming. He doesn't know how close he is.

So here's some predictions The Supervisor will continue to stonewall about 2010 as long as he can, hopefully through the Democratic party primary. Of course, just stonewalling says that he doesn't know what the heck is going on, but most voters (of those who in fact vote in a primary, won't know or care and he's banking on that). Can anyone really believe that a year ago the Town had two independent financial projections (both based upon NOT USING FUND BALANCES - per adopted Town policy) and now in 2009, the Town has taken a major step backward and has NO FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS. Me thinks that even Comptroller Talamini has prepared projections and they aren't pretty, why else is the Town Board starting "budget reviews" this early? Of course if one FOILs for these, even though they are just facts and by Robert Freeman, FOILable, the Town will come up with a reason to stop access. Second, in order to get to a tax hike of less than 10%, the Supervisor and Town Board will throw away the bond rating (and that will cost taxpayers for 10 to 20 years) and deplete if not bankrupt the Town. Here comes the State Comptroller's office just as they had to step into Yonkers to try to straigthen out the financial mess of Feiner / Sheehan (the other 3 (Juettner, Brown and Morgan) are pretty much clueless).

Open government - NOT.
Honest governmant - NOT
Who cares - for Feiner it's a paycheck and a pension, no more, no less.

Anonymous said...

The Lanza family is very generous. I doubt however that they question the use of their money; if they did they would never give it. What a waste of money - ice cream @ the library? Give me a break. Wouldn't their money better serve the Town residents to bring back the bookmobile. The seniors and children throughout Town really need this service restored. Feiner killed the budget and blamed it on the library board. It's his politics as usual and he is not interested in the quality of life for our citizens. Forget the ice cream - bring back the bookmobile!

Anonymous said...

So the Board raises taxes 20 or even 30 percent? What are you going to do about it? What do Paul & Co. care what TOV home owners think? You can't beat 'em (they will always win re-election) and you certainly can't leave (as evidenced by the ever increasing number of "for sale" signs in Hartsdale). Besides, in any place in Westchester (or NY state) any different?

Anonymous said...

This is just so embarrassing. I have no idea where to start. "Bill Gates- watch out"? Seriously, do we believe this will make any difference in the lives of these children?

hal samis said...

Sent by email to the Town Board and the Library.

"Please be advised that to sell ice cream (pre-packaged or by the scoop) the County Board of Health requires the completion of a separate "Mobile Application" for each cart along with the payment of $240 per cart. Part of the education process for the children is learning about the costs and requirements of doing business -- as I'm sure that the adults in charge of this program have no doubt already secured such permits. Right?

Selling food without a license (even in anticipation of gaining one) is against the law.
FOIL request for copies of these permits will be submitted shortly."

ed krauss said...

It's grossly unfair to compare Michael Jackson to Paul Feiner. On his best day, the "Glove" could not dance around issues as adeptly as "twinkle toes" Feiner.

A better comparison, I submit, is Paul Feiner and Raymond Thomas. They are both Conmen Extraordinaire.
With smoke and mirrors (as well as extraordinary antennae and a keen nose for what voters want-not necessarily what you give them, BUT what you tell them) Paul has built a very successful career in politics.

Mr. Thomas has conned the Town Board of Greenburgh and the Lanza family into underwriting a farce(my description) of a superfluous after school program and has followed that up with some very questionable "marketing" programs and a rollout that will enhance him and only him.He's almost like a "near-Robin Hood." He takes from the rich (and not so rich) and gives to the Thomas'.

I grew up thinking America was the land of opportunity, little did I suspect it doesn't compare to Greenburgh the land of the Slieght of Hand.

Sorry Michael you cn't compete with Paul, and not slick enough for "Ray," and I don't mean Charles.

hal samis said...

Dear July 6, 8:32
It pains me to have to deflect your anonymous criticism against the Supervisor/Town Board and direct it to where it properly belongs but the facts are the facts.

In 2008, the Library said that their budget for that year was insufficient to support the continued operation of the cybermobile (a $160,000 expense said then Library Board President Howard Jacobs)and shortly thereafter both the cybermobile and Sunday hours at Town Hall were dropped.

The Lanza Foundation kicked in enough funds to maintain the cybermobile for about four months which ended in June 2008. The Library Board still maintained that they could not afford to operate the cybermobile for the remaining six months, this despite the free use of a driver from the TDYCC payroll.

As for Sunday hours, without referencing my files, I believe that the Lanza Foundation also contributed to allow the Library to remain open for at least part of the year.

However, the Library Board of Trustees which had pledged to maintain if not expand the cybermobile service, especially during the down-sized construction period, LIED to its patrons otherwise known as taxpayers.

As the end of 2008 neared, the Library set upon a circuitous path with the goal of being allowed to transfer Operating funds (the "inadequate" budget)to a newly created Capital account. And in all haste, they received Town Board approval to do so. Thereafter the Library transferred $100,000 from the Operating SURPLUS now about $200,000 to the Capital account for the purpose of buying what was needed but no could no longer be charged against the inclusive but near bankrupt Construction budget.

The $200,000 surplus came from that "inadequate 2008 budget" that could not support the cybermobile for even a half year of operation. In other words, the Library decided to find the pressure points, the most popular amenities, that would harm their patrons the most and blame it on the frugalness of an unsympathetic Town Board.

Again, the Library stole from their Operating funds to make up for constuction shortfalls so that they would not have to admit that the project was over the approved budget. Other missing items listed in the $19.9 million referendum simply were ignored.

So, if you missed the cybermobile during 2008, place the blame on the shoulders of the responsible parties -- the Library Board of Trustees.

Anonymous said...

Hal Samis has had a grudge against the library board which blinds him to the truth. He knows full well that he worked with Feiner and Friends to try to defeat the project - the public spoke. Like Feiner, he is vindictive. He's petty and childish. He flip flops (much like Feiner) on his flavor of the day depending on who agrees with me. Look out if you don't. Paul Feiner pulled the funds from the Library budget which resulted in not only losing the bookmobile but also some of the furnishings for the new library addition. Say want you Hal, this is the truth! The library should be autonomous of the Town - the Town should not be able to play politics with their budget, board and staff.

hal samis said...

Part one: new blog space limitations in force.

To "anonymous" of course:
I bear no "grudge" against the Library but rather an entanglement based upon the Library construction being the first Greenburgh construction project following the disaster defined by the Court House in White Plains. I wondered then how such a fiasco could occur when the assumption is that qualified persons at all levels are hired to run and perform the job.
The Library's Budget REQUEST for year 2008 is submitted in early Fall, as is the custom, and is for the Library's annual Operating Budget -- not for capital items like furnishings for the new addition -- which were shown as included in the original construction budget that residents voted upon.
Included like the $100,000 for landscaping to name but another.
Say what you want anonymous but, this is the absolute, documented truth. As to why the original $19.9 Referendum authorized amount was insufficient to complete the project as advertised, for that answer I would extend the fault to include both the Town and the Library Boards
Clearly a "professional team" is not the hands down recipe for success as White Plains and municipal projects everywhere prove. Regarding the Greenburgh Library, we didn't even start with that.
In pursuit of the answers and waving red flags at every crucial point, I became as much of an expert (at least to the extent of what I was allowed to see) as anyone and more so than most.
This gradually included operations.
The truth is that the Town Board did cut the REQUEST for 2008 submitted by the Library but what if the Library had asked for $5,000,000 or $10,000,000 and the Town Board still cut this request down to $3.4 million? Would this too be pulling the rug out from under the feet of the Library but even more so?
The absolute, undeniable truth is the Library ended the year with a $100,000 surplus AFTER transferring $100,000 to a newly created Capital account.
This money could easily have maintained the cybermobile for the last half of 2008 and still have left $100,000 in the kitty.
The 2008 Budget request must be viewed against the reality of where the Library would operate throughout the year -- this was Town Hall, not the new building.
The exposed attempt by the Library to squirrel away funds for capital purchases that could no longer be covered by the original $19.9 million authorized by the taxpayers was done at the expense of Library patrons/taxpayers throughout 2008

hal samis said...

part two
Hold onto the thought too that the $19.9 budget included over $3 million for inflation, contingencies and reserves. Thus, running out of money involved not only the amount set aside for contingencies but the extra money received from grants and what the Library did and continues to do by directing, what was given as money for operations, over to Capital spending.
Yes, I would love to see the Library operate as an independent Library District. However despite their mouthing the words, neither the old Library Board nor the new Board has done anything to further that notion. The Library website under Board of Trustees maintains the minutes of their meetings. There is no mention of such at any of the six monthly meetings held so far this year. You have to go back to last Fall when Feiner addressed the Library Board to read that both he and the Library Board endorse the idea -- as the Library Board has advocated for years. Following this Fall meeting ---- nothing. Why? Because the Library knows that it would rather take down the money that the Town Board grants it rather than depend upon the vote of taxpayers and themselves stand for election rather than receive Town Board appointment. Given that under the more recent interpretations of the actual status of the Greenburgh Library, once the Town Board names the sum, they can no longer exercise any control over how this sum is disbursed.
How do you feel about a closed group that is appointed for longer terms of office than any elected Town official and that this group has exclusive control over how over $3.4 million of funds are spent?
A situation not mirrored by any other Town "department".
If monitoring their actions aka oversight is by you a grudge, then show me and readers fact by fact where I have been wrong.

In closing, once you get over the newness of the new Library, take a tour and realize that 35% of the space is dedicated to staff and their operations. Eyeball it yourself and if you truly believe that lesser space could have served the same purpose (where it is located it cannot easily be converted to patron needs of the future)then your reasons for staying anonymous are obvious.

Anonymous said...

Samis - you should know better or rather, you always claim to know better than everyone else. Would you really take on a capital project to fulfill just the needs of today without considering growth over the next decade or two? Yes, there appears to be extra space at the library and that's a good thing. Wouldn't it have been rediculous to build just for the present with no consideration for the future. Or better yet, perhaps the library should have been built like the DPW garage which was not built big enough to accomodate the trucks (which was the reason for building it in the first place). Get over the library and move on already.

hal samis said...

Curious that you think I should "move on" and forget about the Library. It would be just as easy for you to move on and ignore my comments.

Thanks for granting that extra space exists. Now locate what you call extra space and let's see if we agree on where it is. If you are thinking about the space I am thinking about, then tell me how it can be used for patron needs of the future.

A few hints to avoid.

1) the second elevator serves only the staff and is located deep in the heart of circulation territory. Therefore, this can never be used by patrons without a total redesign.
2) the enormous entrance
3) the space under the stairway
4) the space on the upper level between the elevator, the stairway and the children's area
5) the children's area
6) the former loading dock now on the opposite end from where books are processed.

What I call wasted space is all the space under the new wing which is provided for back office AND all the space behind the ground floor computer "training" room which is even more library offices and the offices upstairs for the reference department and the asst. library director.

All this ignores the basic premise that libraries of the future will require LESS space rather than more as personal ownership of computers in this part of the country reaches 125%, Library materials are less often found as hard copies and instead as downloads and the reference department becomes all computer directed.

Whom is Amazon and Sony selling portable book-sized computer readers to by the hundreds of thousands? At least one has been sold to a Greenburgh resident. The era of building larger buildings to house hard copies (be they books or dvds) is officially over and the Librarians who saw this coming got their projects underway just in the nick of time. So much for the perception of future needs for more space.

Hence the conclusion that the Greenburgh Library's present size is not the Goldilocks story but rather a waste of taxpayer money. The excess capacity would be far more excess had its floorplate been realistic rather than intended to hide the excess. The Library of tomorrow was really built to the scale of yesterday and there is no case made that this space will serve the future needs.

If anything, what Greenburgh might need in the future is a performing arts center and this should not be a turf war between those with the ability to mount such productions and those who can check in book returns. In any case, the Library housing cannot successfully serve those needs (start with ceiling height and go from there) were all the books and dvds be carted away.

Anonymous said...

So there are many things going wrong with the construction for the new library..What else is new was not the head of the DPW put in charge. Did we expect good workmanship in his hands.

What ever he did turned to crap.
He was given many praises for all the screw ups.
This is the way this town is and has been run. Garbage in garbage out.

hal samis said...

Oh, did I forget..."It's raining, it's pouring you must be standing in the Library entryway"

But it's the taxpayers who are getting soaked as the approved change orders for this problem alone continue to get approved by a non-caring Town Board.

Call me harboring a grudge but I'm really old fashioned in that I think that the contractors are responsible for their own shoddy work; that the Construction Manager just forwards the bill is how the project went over budget.

Anonymous said...

We'll try a second time, since the first comment was deleted. Mr. Samis' comments about the Library transferring $100,000 is correct and supported by a Town Board Resolution on October 2, 2008 - TB - 1