Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 year in review

2011 YEAR IN REVIEW Paul Feiner

. I looked at the archives of my reports and my files and was pleasantly surprised at the many happenings that occurred during the year.

Since last December I have personally read or written 41,194 e mails (sent to or from my town e mail account according to my computer). Many of the e mail correspondence pertained to the hurricane and storms we had earlier this year --and the power outages. Received alot of e mails from residents about leaf collection and flooding. Send out frequent updates about job opportunities to the unemployed. I personally read every e mail sent to me and try to respond quickly to every question, complaint, suggestion. Here are some of the highlights of 2011.

· TOWN COMPLIES WITH TAX CAP The town approved a budget that complies with the new tax cap approved by the NYS Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. A Citizens Budget Oversight Commission, consisting of about 25 dedicated volunteers, worked day, night, and weekends all year long helping the town identify ways to save money.

· FLOODING-REMOVING DEBRIS FROM RIVER. Greenburgh and the Village of Elmsford public works departments cleared debris from the Saw Mill River to reduce flooding problems in the future. United States Senator Chuck Schumer came to Greenburgh and endorsed our initiative to clear debris from the river. Our hazardous mitigation plan was approved by FEMA and the state - enabling the town to become eligible for flood mitigation efforts (elevating homes, buyouts, drainage enhancements). We hired a consultant to help us apply for grants. Other communities are following our lead and are also clearing debris from both the Saw Mill River & Bronx River

· CREWS CLEARING UP DEBRIS AFTER HURRICANE, STORM. After Hurricane Irene our town cleared significant debris from our roads. 6000 people were out of power. The Theodore Young Community Center’s first floor and gym flooded. In 2011 Senator Gillibrand helped the town secure over a million dollars in FEMA reimbursement for the 2010 storm - money we had hoped to receive but hadn't. We hope to get reimbursed for the 2011 storms. Our CERT volunteers volunteered their time during the storm and opened up emergency shelters for neighbors who needed a warm place to stay overnight.

· ARTS BEING FUNDED PRIVATELY. The Lanza Foundation will be donating private dollars to pay for many town programs. The entire arts and culture budget in 2012 will be paid for by the Lanza Foundation. In the past the arts program was paid for by taxpayer dollars.

· EQUAL RIGHTS. Greenburgh was one of the first localities in NYS to comply with the new state law providing same sex couples with the right to marry. Marriage ceremonies were held at Town Hall on the first day (a Sunday).

· 911 WALL RESTORED. We restored the 911 Memorial Wall on Central Ave. 1,711 tiles painted by individual artists from around the county are located on the wall. An artifact from the World Trade Center will soon be placed on the wall. The tiles that had been placed at the wall after 9/11 had fallen. The wall restoration was paid for by private donations.

· WESTHELP. Westchester ended the contract with WESTHELP, the homeless shelter that provided transitional services to 108 families, in September. WESTHELP was built by Andrew Cuomo in the 1980s. The town had received $1.2 million a year from the contract (we're the landlord). We are currently negotiating a lease with Ferncliff (an organization that provides housing and educational services to the developmentally disabled). It is anticipated that the town could receive close to a million dollars a year in revenue if the lease with Ferncliff falls into place. However- we probably won't receive the rent dollars until 2013.

· NEW BUSINESSES. During the past year we've attracted some new businesses to town. Among them: Blinds to Go, Bio Med, Acorda Therapeutics and new bio tech companies, Shoprite (Stop & Shop is under construction), Captain Lawrence, 5th Ave. Chocolatiere, a new green energy store on Central Ave. near the A & P, the Yoga Station, Cari Blue Cafe, Bosphorus Restaurant on E. Hartsdale Ave., Weight Watchers at Crossroads Shopping Center and much more! H Mart will be replacing Pathmark on Central Ave. and is expected to open in February.

· NEW RENTALS. Avalon II on Taxter Road is building over 400 new apartments. They have already started renting their apartments.

· ENERGY CONSERVATION. We have a new website:, a one-stop resource for energy conservation tips and incentives to reduce home and business energy expenses. Country Club Ridge in Hartsdale is saving $200,000 a year in energy consumption.

· VETERANS. Over 60 veterans of World War II have been interviewed for our living history project by Alan Hochberg (Steve Wittenberg has helped produce the shows).. Their stories will be remembered for generations to come. The Greenburgh library is archiving the living history videos. We sponsored our 2nd annual veterans appreciation barbeque this summer.

· FISHER LANE BRIDGE. We re-opened the Fisher Lane Bridge which connects commuters to the North White Plains train station. Bridge was closed for many months and had to be replaced.

· NEW FARMER'S MARKET. After the A & P closed on Tarrytown Road we set up a new farmer's market at the location. The A & P building remains vacant.

· PROPOSED NEW REZONE COULD CREATE 1,000 TEMPORARY JOBS. The owners of the Landmark at Eastview want to rezone their property for a hotel, stores, retail. 100 acres of vacant land. The proposed development, if approved, would create $2 million in taxes, 1000 new construction jobs and 250 permanent jobs. We are reviewing the application.

· SHARING SERVICES. The Town Assessor assesses properties in the six villages. The villages also have their own assessment unit. A number of the villages in Greenburgh decided to eliminate the duplication and to have the town assume the responsibility for this service.

· LICENSE PLATE READERS. We secured from the District Attorney's office a license plate reader to help us reduce the possibility of burglaries from taking place. the readers are placed on major roads and provides the police with license plate numbers of cars driving on the road. The Town Board is supportive of a funding request for additional license plate readers that can be placed around town.

· NEW ELECTED OFFICIALS. In 2011 Greenburgh voters elected two new Judges (Delores Brathwaite, Walter Rivera), a new Town Councilman (S. Ken Jones), and a new Receiver of Taxes (Anne Povella). Michael Smith will represent part of Greenburgh as a County Legislator. Kevin Morgan was re-elected to the Town Board. Judith Beville as Town Clerk. Arlene Gordon-Oliver as Town Judge. Thank you for re-electing me as your Supervisor.

· FEDERAL LAWSUIT DISMISSED. A federal lawsuit by a former department head who lost his job was dismissed, shortly after a series of depositions.

· LOIS BRONZ CHILDREN’S CENTER WON’T CLOSE. The Lois Bronz Children's Center won't close. Early in the year there was a good possibility that the center would be forced to close. I participated in a campaign to keep this center open - one of the first child care centers in the county geared to low income families.

· STUDENT INTERNS-BERKELEY COLLEGE. Student interns from Berkeley College have helped the town collect back tickets and have helped the court increase revenue. Other student interns work in other departments. This initiative is being run out of the Citizens Budget Oversight Commission. The students are paid for by a federal grant and provide the town with 20 hours of free service a week.

· FRANK'S NURSERY. The town acquired Frank's Nursery and we plan to generate revenue from the property. After we issued a request for proposals for plans for the property from the business community - we expressed interest in leasing the property to a sports facility (indoor sports/dome).

· SNN. During the first six months of the year a new initiative was started: SNN-Student News Network. Students learned about journalism and produced their own show. Alan Brody, a resident of Edgemont, organized the initiative.

· TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE. President Obama and state officials announced that they will be expediting the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge. I have proposed that the old bridge be saved and used as a suburban version of the NYC high line or walkway across the Hudson (Poughkeepsie). I also suggested that wind turbines and solar panels be placed on the bridge, an initiative previously proposed for bridges by NYC Mayor Bloomberg.

· VALHALLA LOSES LAWSUIT AGAINST TOWN. A Supreme Court decision denied the Valhalla School District’s request for funding from WESTHELP. The Judge ruled that the school district owes the town $1.8 million. This decision is being appealed by the school district.

· POPHAM ROAD BRIDGE PROGRESS REPORT. The Popham Road Bridge, which links Edgemont to Scarsdale, has been under construction for the year. Have been working with Scarsdale officials trying to minimize overnight noise and construction related problems.

· DOBBS FERRY ROAD/WEST HARTSDALE AVE. TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENTS AND SIDEWALK COMPLETED. The sidewalk, drainage and road improvements finally were completed this year.

· GELSPRAIN. Construction started on a new housing development off of Ardsley Road. 24 new homes to be built.

· MULCHING-LOVE ‘EM AND LEAVE ‘EM. The town is working with the Nature Center and Irvington environmentalists trying to encourage people to mulch their leaves. This would save the town significant dollars. It is anticipated that In 2012 the town will change our leaf collection policy and require bagging of leaves.

· NATURE CENTER. We approved the construction of a pre-k playground at the Nature Center (using developer escrow funds, not taxpayer dollars). We're supportive of an initiative of the nature center--to build a high tech trail for disabled adults.


· NEW YORK SCHOOL FOR DEAF WON'T CLOSE. At the beginning of the year there were reports that the state would not fund the New York School for the Deaf and the school, located in Greenburgh, would close. I helped the school with their lobbying efforts and the school has been saved.

· JOB CLUB. Over 3 years ago I started a job club. Almost every day I send residents who are out of work job leads. I estimate that I have helped over 80 people find employment during the past few years. I have also set up a site: (greenburgh jobs group) with job postings.

· HELPING VICTIMS OF JAPANESE EARTHQUAKE. After the Japanese earthquake the Town Clerk, Judith Beville, organized a fundraiser to help the victims of the earthquake.

A special thank you to the members of the Town Board for their help during the year: Diana Juettner, Kevin Morgan, Francis Sheehan and Sonja Brown. Councilwoman Brown will be ending her tenure as Councilwoman on December 31st. Good luck and good health to you! Thanks to the department heads, our employees, our volunteers, members of the Boards and Commissions that help make Greenburgh a great place to live in and work at.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

town board to appoint court administrator...swearing in tomorrow..statement by judges

The Greenburgh Town Board will meet tomorrow morning in executive session to interview three finalists for Court Administrator. We anticipate making a decision on before the swearing in ceremony.

Theodore Jones, an Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court—the equivalent of the US Supreme Court for New York State) will officiate at the swearing in ceremonies of the three new Town Judges—Arlene Gordon-Oliver, Walter Rivera and Delores Scott Brathwaite this Thursday at 5 PM at Greenburgh Town Hall.

Our goal: to make Greenburgh the best local court in New York State. Hope to see you at the ceremony.


Judge Arlene Gordon-Oliver, newly elected Judge Delores Brathwaite and newly elected Judge Walter Rivera have already begun working in a collaborative manner to address the issues facing the Greenburgh Town Court. They have issued this joint statement:

“We have met with the Hon. Charles Apotheker, Supervising Judge of the 9th Judicial District, to discuss the current state of affairs of the Greenburgh Town Court, court personnel and protocols going forward.

We have also met with Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, Town Council Members and Court Administrator Regina Hill to review and discuss the budget for 2012 insofar as it applies to the Greenburgh Town Court.

We agree that with the departure of Regina Hill our first joint task is to select a new Court Administrator and to that end we have already begun the interview process.

We have agreed to add additional night court sessions to tackle the backlog of Vehicle & Traffic Law cases.

The three Town Justices are looking forward to the new term of office commencing on January 1, 2012 and are honored to serve the Town of Greenburgh in this capacity.

We renew our pledge and commitment to work diligently and as a team to address the legal and administrative issues that are before us. ”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 budget approved

The Greenburgh Town Board approved the 2012 budget today and also approved the capital budget for 2012. The budget complies with the tax cap which was approved by the New York State Legislature earlier this year. The tax hike that was approved will be 3.3% for residents of unincorporated Greenburgh and 3.5% for residents of the villages. New York State law allows localities to factor in pension contributions to the tax cap calculation. A number of government entities around the state have voted to overturn the tax cap. The Town Board decided to comply.

When the budget was initially proposed in October we anticipated 6 layoffs. The Board reduced the layoffs to two positions. Four employees in the parks department who were slated to lose their jobs will be transferred to vacant positions that we were planning to fill in 2012. We are eliminating other positions by attrition. There will be a night court on Wednesday evenings. The additional night court should result in the collection of significant additional revenue in 2012 --reducing the backlog of uncollected tickets. We decided to ask the part time prosecutor to work full time for the town --so we can aggressively pursue collections of back tickets and dispose of court cases in a timely manner.

Most of the departments within the town made cuts to their budget. Some recreation/community center programs are being eliminated. Cuts have also been made in the library budget. Fees are increasing for town programs. And, we're going to require bagging of leaves in 2012. The town had been receiving $1.2 million a year from the county/WESTHELP in revenue. Westchester County terminated the contract with WESTHELP at the end of September --causing the town to lose the revenue. We are negotiating (but have not yet finalized) a contract with Ferncliff (an organization that provides services to the developmentally disabled). We won't be able to count on the significant revenue until approvals are granted--which could take us into 2013.

We also approved a capital budget. $1.5 million dollars will be spent on road resurfacing in 2012. $69,000 will be spent for license plate readers which will help the police catch people who commit crimes. Our phone system is being replaced --at a cost of $200,000. We're spending $500,000 for a new software system. We have obtained a $169,000 grant for LED lighting installations (energy efficient lighting).

The budget, in its entirety, should be posted on the town website: tomorrow.

Although the budge has been approved all the Board members recognize the fact that we have to work very hard to tighten up --to make government more efficient and leaner. The economy is still bad. If further cuts are not made additional layoffs may have to be made a year from now.

To help keep the pressure on to find additional cost savings measures---I will be meeting with the CSEA leadership twice a month to provide them with updates on financial matters and to hear their suggestions--starting in January. I hope to meet regularly with the Teamsters and PBA. Our employees need to be included in the budget process. We can learn from their suggestions. Members of the Town Board have requested to be part of the budget process year round. A new citizens budget oversight commission will be formed to follow up on the recommendations made earlier this year. The commission will also study options (consolidations, restructuring, privatization,increasing health care contributions of employees)--that could lead to additional savings.

Special thanks to the Town Board, Comptroller, department heads members of the Citizens Budget Oversight Commission, employees and citizens who testified at the budget hearings for your feedback and participation. We need to have a strong partnership in the coming year. The challenge: to turn budget difficulties into an opportunity---reinventing government.


Monday, December 19, 2011

should tax exempt properties pay for sanitation services?

Not for profit properties are exempt from property taxes. Some communities in the region have created a separate enterprise fund and charge everyone a fee for sanitation services. The comptroller, Bart Talamani, has been looking into this concept for some time. If we collect a fee for sanitation services (instead of a tax), tax exempt properties would be charged for sanitation services--revenue that would keep taxes down. the town of Greenburgh is currently researching the number of tax exempts in town and are trying to determine the additional revenue that we would receive if this initiative is approved. An enterprise fund would also provide residents and businesses with choices: possible competition down the road. Residents and businesses would be able to easily compare the cost of our sanitation services to the private sector. What do you think? The property tax cap, which the NYS Legislature and Governor approved earlier this year, should motivate all officials to think out of the box --to look for new ways to manage government. The six villages in the town have their own sanitation services and would not be impacted by the decision of the town. However- they may be interested in this concept as well.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

eat, party, go to Greenburgh's holiday party Wed and on Friday join Weight Watcher's in Greenburgh

You are invited to join us at our annual Holiday party on Wednesday, December 14th. If you're going to lots of holiday parties and adding some extra pounds that you want to lose you'll be happy to note that Weight Watchers is opening a new store at 433 Tarrytown Road (Crossroads Shopping Center). Eat this week, go to your parties, don't feel guilty about attending and eating at the Greenburgh Holiday celebration on 12/14, and next Friday stop by at the grand open celebration of one of our town's newest additions--WEIGHT WATCHERS. I am pleased that in these difficult economic times our town is attracting some interesting new stores --replacing vacant buildings. Have a great, healthy and happy holiday season!
A Multi-Cultural Holiday Celebration at

Greenburgh Town Hall

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Come to Town Hall and celebrate the Holiday Season with Merriment and Mirth!

Enjoy hearing about how the holidays are celebrated from speakers and guest artists representing the many cultures that comprise the cultural tapestry of our town!


Please contact Judith Beville,

Town Clerk at 993-1504

Greenburgh Residents Have A Brand New Resource To Develop A Healthier Lifestyle!

Weight Watchers Unveils Its Contemporary New Store Design to Greenburgh.

Weight Watchers is unveiling a newly designed store in Greenburgh with a contemporary, yet welcoming and comfortable environment. The store, located at 433 Tarrytown Road, will be open during regular retail hours, so people can stop in anytime to learn more about Weight Watchers, ask questions, purchase memberships, or simply shop for Weight Watchers products designed to support a healthier lifestyle. Members can also weigh in at their convenience in a way that is more discrete than ever before. This new store is one of 400 being opened across the country this year.

Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Friday, December 16th at 9 AM

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 914-649-0517 or email

Monday, December 05, 2011

Ardsley Village Board approves waterwheel housing

Over a year ago the Greenburgh Town Board approved an initiative to create a workforce -affordable housing opportunity in the village of Ardsley. The town owns the foreclosed Waterwheel property on Saw Mill River Road and agreed with Ardsley officials that the property should be converted into affordable workforce homes. We decided to partner with the village and to turn foreclosed land into an opportunity for a better life for others.

I attended the Ardsley Village Board of Trustees meeting tonight. I was very pleased to watch the Village Board vote --the final approvals for the 22 unit condo development. The village of Ardsley is part of the federal housing lawsuit. These affordable homes will help the village comply with the federal stipulation. Some of the units will be the new home for volunteer firefighters, ambulance corp members or police!

I would also like to congratulate Ardsley's new Mayor, Peter Porcino, on his first meeting. And would like to congratulate Larry Nardecchia Jr on his new term and welcome Ardsley Trustee Nicole Minore to village government.

A special tribute to former Ardsley Mayor Jay Leon who worked very hard on the waterwheel affordable housing meeting. He lobbied members of the Greenburgh Town Board to use the property for affordable housing. He worked with Volunteer Firefighters, ambulance corp members and with residents of Ardsley -- encouraging them to support the project. Without the enthusiastic support of the Mayor it would have been difficult for the project to have obtained all the approvals and for this affordable housing condo to be built.

It is anticipated that construction will start in 2012.


Friday, December 02, 2011

work session agenda holiday party

The Town Board has until December 20 to approve the 2012 budget. We will hold our 2nd public hearing on the budget Tuesday evening at 8:30 PM (or after the library budget presentation). We will hold a 3rd public hearing on the proposed budget on Wednesday evening, December 14th at our regular Town Board meeting. Town Clerk Judith Beville is organizing her annual holiday party on December 14th--right before the Town Board meeting. You are invited to join us for entertainment, music and good food (ALL DONATED).


Town of Greenburgh

Work Session of the Greenburgh Town Board

Agenda: Tuesday – December 6, 2011 – 9:30 AM

(Work Sessions begin at 9:30AM except where schedule changes are made by the Board.)

(Please note that, although the Work Session Agenda is shared with the public prior to each Work Session, the Agenda may be revised at any point up to the start of the meeting as well as during the meeting, if necessary.)

(All Work Sessions are Televised Live on Cablevision Channel 76, Verizon 35 and are streamed live. Work Sessions and Town Board Meetings will be aired each Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 7:02am and 4:45pm. Each segment will run for approximately 6 to 7 hours

depending upon the length of the two meetings.)


· 09:30 AM: Budget Meeting: Building Inspector

· 10:00 AM: Budget Meeting: Town Assessor

· 10:30 AM: Budget Meeting: Courts

· 10:45 AM: Motion for Executive Session by____2nd by____Aye____

· (Personnel/ Legal-Contractual)

· 01:00 PM: Adjourn

· 07:00 PM: Budget Meeting: Library