Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner has asked Alan Hochberg, former President of the Poets Corner Civic Association to chair a citizens commission to review the feasibility of consolidating the three paid fire districts in Greenburgh (Fairview, Greenville, Hartsdale). Police Chief John Kapica recently released a detailed analysis highlighting the costs of the three independent fire districts.

The cost of funding our Greenburgh police dept which serves the entire unincorporated section of Greenburgh is $22,568,898.
The cost of funding the three paid fire districts (Hartsdale, Fairview, Greenville) which serves about 73% of unincorporated Greenburgh is $28,035,331.
The town has contracts with seven fire protection districts (volunteer departments) to serve the remaining sections of unincorporated Greenburgh. That cost is $1,913,981.
The comparison: $22,568,898 for the police/ $29,949,012 for fire protection in unincorporated Greenburgh

A report in the July 1st issue of reports that Pace University’s Edwin G. Michaelian Institute for Public Policy and Managemetn found that homeowners and businesses in 10 Westchester communities could save an estimated $47 million a year in fire insurance premiums if their fire districts consolidated. The study: A Case for Consolidation” was commissioned by the Westchester County Career Chiefs Association in 2005 and was paid for with a $56,000 state grant.

The commission which Hochberg will chair will evaluate the feasibility of a 2010 referendum. Recently, Governor David Paterson signed legislation allowing citizens to place on the ballot a referendum on consolidation of fire districtS and local government services. Hochberg, who recently retired as executive director of the Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-el, said that he has lived in Greenburgh for over a quarter of a century. “Our goal is to maintain or improve services while cutting expenses that can be achieved by consolidation.”

A commission is being formed. We’re looking for volunteers to serve on the commission or to assist in research. People interested in getting involved should contact

A series of neighborhood meetings will also be held. The first informal meeting will be held at Secor Park on Tuesday night, July 28th at 7 PM. Mr. Hochberg is also assisting the town on budget issues and is serving as a liaison to the citizens budget committee. Feiner said that we will examine how we can create greater efficiencies in all town departments.


Anonymous said...

Because Kapica presented you with this report does it make right.

Paul this could be a blessing in disguise for us to get you out of office.

Is Kapica or the famous mistake assessor the ones to believe. Let's have a look at Kolesar's reports to see what his take would have been.
I do know that his report covered all the things that were being done without knowledge of the consequences.


Anonymous said...

I would like to know how much this commission is going to cost the taxpayers. Isn't premature to form this committee when there is no way in hell that the Greenville voters will ever approve this legislation, therefore all the reports and commissions are more money being wasted and a smokescreen to hide the real problems in the town.

Anonymous said...

I asked before and you deleted my comment... Who is thyis Hochberg??????

What does he know about the fire dept???????.

Anonymous said...

Is this gonna be like the time Paul tried to take over the driving range on Dobbs Ferry Rd then suddenly changed his mind because the taxpayers were furious at him???

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

There are three fire chiefs but you forgot to put all the salaries of the captains,lieut.and sargents and the patrol officers.

Dosen't this add up to about four million dollars.

Sir you do your math and leave the fire dept. alone.
Tell me are the residents complaining NO so shut up

Anonymous said...

6:30 just quit the disfunctional police dept and take the test for the fire dept. after that see what you think

Anonymous said...

oops 7:31

An AFFILIATE said...

Hartsdale Residents BEWARE -
You lost your schools to consolidation - now you are being asked to sacrifice your fire district too.

Anonymous said...

8:35: I live in Hartsdale and I currently pay almost $2,900 per year for the fire district. Having researched property tax numbers in other places, I'm confident that this approaches the highest fire district tax rate in the United States. Do I get the best, most modern, and highly trained fire dept in the US? Possibly, I do. But you know what? I'm don't have an endless supply of money to hand over in taxes. Our fire depts. should manage to provide professional service with budgets that tax residents at numbers comparable with the rest of the country. If they can't do this, perhaps there is a culture or management style that needs reform. If consolidation saves me some money while maintaining adequate fire protection, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

10:26: I live in Edgemont. My fire taxes are at least 30% less than yours. However, I'm currently paying a 31% increase in my town taxes -- the highest increase in all of Westchester County. This is because the Town of Greenburgh's dysfunctional government requires me (and you)to subsidize a host of non-essential expenses, such as two recreation departments, each with its own set of highly paid commissioners, a town-sponsored after-school program when all our school districts have their own such programs, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal subsidies to the Fairview Fire District. As my town taxes have skyrocketed, we've experienced cuts in police, sanitation, snow and leaf removal. And you know what? I don't have an endless supply of money either. But consolidation of my fire district with yours would require me to pay more money in order to subsidize your district -- and I need that like a hole in the head. I wish we had a town government that would address its own financial problems first -- before blaming the schools, the county, and now the fire districts for our high property taxes.

Anonymous said...

I live in Fairview where 46% of the properties are tax free. I would like to merge the 3 depts and all the fire protection districts, to lower my taxes! While we're at it, Paul have the State PD take over thr police protection for 1/2 the money. I bet they won't send a trooper to the hospital for ems calls, but a civialn emt or paramedic would.

Stop Subsidizing The Villages said...


Stop GIVING AWAY money to the Village Departments for these so called fire protection areas. You are SUBSIDIZING THE VILLAGES with our tax dollars. Greenville and Fairview are equipped to handle these areas.

Anonymous said...

Just to support my fire tax argument, according to Westchester Co. is the #1 county in the US in terms of property taxes on owner-occupied housing at $8,422 (2007 numbers). The nation median for property taxes is $1,838. Amazingly, my Hartsdale fire dept tax alone is more than $1,000 over the total property tax median in the US.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Since Fairview is the part of town that gives the most votes to Feiner he is seeking to consolidate the fire departments so Hartsdale and Greenville pick up some of their taxes.
There is always a reason why Feiner defends what and how he treats this one part of town.

The property that is tax free was wanted by the Fairview community.
They have to pay for what they wanted some time ago.
Why should the other parts of town pay.
The center and the Bronz daycare center is also in Fairview.
How many children outside of Fairview attend anyone of these centers.
They want it they pay for it.
Yes we do not have as many houses of worship in Hartsdale or Greenville.
Did we request more?NO.
This was one problem that the supervisor did not use his head.
He granted what the Fairview residents wanted throughout the years and now he's trying to let the others pay.

Paul go find another job if you can. We have had enough.
I was against Greenville becoming a village but now I am one hundred percent for it.
Maybe Hartsdale will follow if this happens.
It would be great if they do because we can beat the system with greater numbers.

Anonymous said...

Hochber who?

Is he the new messiah that will save Greenburgh.

Oh please why should we all contribute to the wrong that you Paul have done throughout the years .

Fairview pays higher taxes because they have many houses of worship.
They wanted them so they pay why burden the other areas .
How many house of worship were added since you took office as supervisor.
Where are they??

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same Alan Hochberg who ran the Citizen's Cable TV advisory committee?
As I recall, they couldn't even come to an agreement about issuing a report - and when it finally came out it was disowned by a significant number of its own authors.
By the way, will this "Commission" be a Town committee or merely a set of Supervisor's appointments?
The significant difference is that a Town Committee is subject to NY State's Open Meetings Law. It would be required to post notices of meetings, keep and publish minutes and make its data inputs available for public scrutiny - a real plus for Open Government. As a group appointed to informally advise the Supervisor, none of those rules apply - a good thing for Greenburgh politics as usual.

Anonymous said...

My comment on 7/5 was deleted - so much for open Government. I questioned why a non-elected individual would be appointed as Deputy Supervisor and also who is going to pay for this. While he is not salaried he asked for office space at Town Hall, a secretary, a dedicated phone line and official Town stationary - should a volunteer be sending out any mailings on official Town Stationary? Should a volunteer receive services/office space paid for by Town residents? The Supervisor and Town Board are paid to do this job; why are we appointing a citizen to do it for them? PLEASE DON'T DELETE THIS COMMENT AS IT CONTAINS TRUTHS THAT SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO TOWN TAXPAYERS!

hal samis said...

"It's the same old song but with a different meaning since you've been gone..."

"OK kiddies, what time is it..."
It's Alan Hochberg time again.

Now that the Schechter School debacle is behind him, now that the Cable Advisory Board is behind him, in his retirement Mr. Hochberg has found that he has the time to answer the call of public service and off he marches to serve the Town Supervisor once again.

Actually he doesn't need to march that far with a Fire Station about an 1/8th mile from his home.

The problem that residents face with the return of Mr. Hochberg is that because of a lack of volunteers, it is the same faces who are recruited -- unfortunate prior efforts do not disqualify square pegs from being forced into round holes.

The Schechter School debacle was over tree-cutting. However more serious was the Cable Advisory Board which broke up after Mr. Hochberg argued to keep the Public Access stations under the direct control of the Town Supervisor. Interestingly enough, the former Francis Sheehan, citizen, opposed Mr. Hochberg's view as did the public in the manner of Ella Preiser, Bill Greenawalt and myself.

Now that we face another round of "h-e-e-e-e-re's Alan", it remains to be seen how open to input and open to record keeping this Commission will subscribe to in fulfilling its mission. At this writing I have no testimony to present on the issue itself; my tardy but leery weighing-in is conditioned on the manner in which this recast "l'affaire dreyfus" came to light -- the Chief of Police reviewing the Fire Department; itself a recast irony pot calling the kettle black. Don't be naive and assume that this predated the news from Albany by coincidence or foresight -- the news event was long blowing in the wind. The various Greenburgh Police departments which have long and successfully evaded such similar scrutiny (instead choosing random, occasional minor bites of the apple) might consider undergoing the same degree of Inquisition but for the claim of religious freedom -- with overtime being the targeted religion.

However as for this "Commission" and "Deputy Supervisor" with or without trappings, the important consideration is whether they conduct their business in the open at public meetings with minutes taken. Will they produce FOILable documents? Why the title "Deputy Supervisor" and how does this comply with NYS Town law?

The screenplay from Casablanca says it all:

"I am SHOCKED to find that there is gambling going on in this establishment...
"Round up the usual suspects".

Anonymous said...

who else is on this committee?

Anonymous said...

Bozo the Clown

Anonymous said...

Cable Board member Alan Hochberg presented suggested new rules governing GATV and justification for the new rules. His recommendations included a future "independent, not-for-profit governing board" for GATV that would receive all negotiated revenues and would be responsible for hiring/supervising employees. Mr. Hochberg's recommendations stated that he "intended to remove from politics, decisions affecting the operation of Cable television."
Residents Bill Greenawalt, Hal Samis, and Francis Sheehan also outlined their concerns with Mr. Hochberg's proposal.
Mr. Hochberg agreed to further refine the recommendations. The next meeting of the Cable Board was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24, 2003.
Mr. Samis said his frustration was fueled by Mr. Hochberg reneging on his promise to create a truly independent cable board.
Hochberg, she'd have him thrown out of Town Hall. [Ms.
Mrs. Preiser told CGCA members that Town Board members persuaded Mr. Hochberg to withdraw his resignation.
Ella Preiser and Bill Greenawalt said they witnessed the exchange between Mr. Samis and Mr. Hochberg following the Cable Board meeting and saw no threat of violence.
Some CGCA members also expressed dismay that Mr. Hochberg would threaten to resign over being called a name by someone exercising First Amendment rights but would not resign in protest of the Town Board's stonewalling of residents' ability to exercise their First Amendment rights on the town's Public Access Television station.

Anonymous said...

Published on: 8/20/2002 Last Visited: 10/29/2008
Blase Spinozzi, President of the Hilltop Farms CA, and Alan Hochberg, President of Poet's Corner CA, provided information on this proposal to build a 500-seat church and a school for 150 children on Dobbs Ferry Road, on a six-acre parcel abutting the northbound exit to the Sprain Brook Parkway.
Mr. Hochberg noted that religious institutions are entitled to special consideration under the law and a municipality can only deny approval based on environmental, traffic or quality of life issues. He stated that any house of worship is a wonderful addition to a community but agreed with Mr. Spinozzi that this is the wrong location and that development at this site would have a negative impact on the area. Mr. Hochberg mentioned that Poet's Corner is united in opposition to the current application but may be willing to negotiate if the numbers are reduced. He noted any discussion was premature at this point since the applicants have not answered environmental questions posed by the Planning Department.

Mr. Hochberg stated that he would keep the CGCA informed on this issue and will seek CGCA support as the application proceeds before the Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board and Town Board.
Alan Hochberg reported that officials from the Solomon Schechter School contacted him about the need to change the school's softball field to a hardball field. He told them he was willing to set up a meeting with his civic group and called Planning Commissioner Mark Stellato about the issue. He learned that the Town Board had not granted any waivers from the Moratorium Law for properties containing steep slopes, but that the school had already applied for a waiver claiming a hardship - the school won't be able to play in a hardball league. Mr. Hochberg called the school back, told them there was no reason to meet, that the application was inappropriate and should be withdrawn. He noted his community would oppose the granting of a waiver, but would be willing to discuss the issue when the moratorium is lifted. The school's leadership was shocked the community would oppose this request for a waiver. The school's lawyer said an exception should be made for the school and threatened a lawsuit.

Mr. Hochberg requested that the CGCA support the Poet's Corner CA in its opposition to granting a waiver at this time.
Alan Hochberg asked for clarification about the vote. He said he voted in favor of sending the letter because he agrees Town Board meetings should be held inside; however, he noted he had not polled his neighbors and could not bind his civic association to the vote.

hal samis said...

Dear 9:12 and 9:16,

Your random connects read like the visual equivalent of rapidly spinning the dial which changes radio stations.

Since you have source material saved from the shredder that would connect the dots into something that makes sense, perhaps you could even venture to editorialize a point a view, even one protected by being anonymous.

I shall make one comment from my memory bank "last visited" some time ago. Mr. Hochberg did want an independent GATV but one under the control of the Town Supervisor.
If that makes no sense to you, it didn't make any more sense then.
I await your clarifications.

Anonymous said...

Kapica should do a study of the poor response from his police officers concerning the pistol whipping of a Greenburgh/Hastings resident. Why did the Police responding to the scene take no immediate action? Why did they knock on the front door while the suspects fled through the back? Why were they scared to take immediate action even when THEY KNEW that the lives of the people inside depended on it?

It seems that the Greenburgh Police are not inclined to take action to protect the lives of taxpayers if THEIR OWN lives are placed in jeopardy. Witness the refusal to take any action at the shopping center when it was reported that hostages were inside being held by the robbers. Kapica's Legions would not take action until the entire SWAT Team was in place. The Fire District study is just a way for Kapica and Feiner to take the heat off of their poor performances.

Please Note: NONE of the three paid fire departments look at a fire and say, "Gee, it is just too big for us right now, let's wait until we get more people and equipment here before we take any action." Unlike Kapica's Legions, the Fire Departments take immediate action to save lives!!!! Kapica and his legions should take note and learn how to do their jobs!

Anonymous said...

RE: Hartsdale Residents BEWARE - You lost your schools to consolidation ..."

Actually, Hartsdale residents voted to merge G7 and G8; they did have the option to merge with G6 (Edgemont). This was a long time ago, and of course now it turns out that that was a bad decision for Hartsdale residents to make.

Anonymous said...

Fire department consolidation might be nice (or not), but who's the chair of the commission to get Greenburgh to execute its everyday responsibilities (such as ignored building code violations, huge accounts receivables, neglected weedwacking, etc.)? If the town would take care of matters it's responsible for, I might support optional town activities such as a fire district study. Also, I'd rather that the town take care of eliminating its own duplicate services issues such as recreation before delving into non-township matters like the fire departments.

Hartsdale Home Owner said...

12:53: we've been over this history many times on this board. You are correct that Hartsdale did vote to merge with G7, but - here's the historically interesting part - only after it had rejected the merger AND a court had ordered that Harsdale's voting district be merged with G7 for purposes of the merger vote. Remember, the late 60s and early 70s was the last major wave of school consolidations and the time of court-ordered degregation. Hartsdale residents opposed merger with G7 (probably for a combination of good and less pleasant reasons) until the government rigged the vote by diluting Hartsdale's votes in a much larger voting population that supported merger. Is any of this relevant? Not really, except to explain why we have the convoluted system that exists today.