Monday, April 30, 2012

tax hikes depend on county legislators

Greenburgh town officials are scheduled to meet with Westchester County Legislators this Tuesday at 1 PM to discuss the future of the WESTHELP site. The town has rights to the property and hopes to generate revenue from the property. Some options that could generate significant revenue to the town require the approval of members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. The meeting on Tuesday will be held at the County Office Building, 8th floor. Greenburgh Legislators who represent the town on the Board of Legislators are Mary Jane Shimsky, Alfreda Williams and Michael Smith. The revenue the town receives from this property will impact taxes in both the villages of Greenburgh and unincorporated Greenburgh. If members of the County Legislature do not work with the town in helping us obtain the maximum revenue for the property tax rates could fluctuate by over 10%. Every 40,000 dollars in revenue equals about 1% of our tax rate --in the town's "A" budget--which impacts village/unincorporated Greenburgh residents. Some of the options under consideration could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for Greenburgh taxpayers. OPTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION-- FERNCLIFF MANOR (ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES HELP TO DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED) Town to receive between $550,000 and a million dollars a year in revenue if property is rented to Ferncliff. It is currently located off of Saw Mill River Road in Yonkers. Its school and administrative building is more than 100 years old. The residences are small and camped, and trailers are used as auxiliary classrooms. The facility as is must be replaced as per orders from the State. The new facility would serve 56 residential children plus 8 day students. All of the students are profoundly disabled, most with severe autism or autism-related disorders, as well as physical disabilities. They require constant assistance and in most cases cannot care for themselves. Consequently they do not leave the campus unless escorted, nor do they require any services from local schools. The children are at Ferncliff because schools are not equipped to handle them. Residents live at Ferncliff until they are 21, at which point they are transferred to a residential facility for adults, generally a group home. Ferncliff does not intend to run a group home at the Greenburgh site. AFFORDABLE HOUSING - The Town Board has been discussing an agreement with the Greenburgh Housing Authority to provide seniors with affordable housing. The town would have to maintain the property -which could be costly. If the single room units are converted to larger units the renovations could be expensive. There may be some additional work required to comply with federal guidelines dealing with the disabled. Currently half of the apartments are on a 2nd floor--without elevators. One option that could be considered would be to create affordable senior citizen housing on one floor and student dorms for students studying to be nurses on the 2nd floor. An intergenerational initiative. We need to determine how much revenue this option would generate for the town. Seems like it would generate less than Ferncliff --will ask that this be analyzed. SELL THE LAND AND SPLIT THE REVENUE BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND TOWN - The town has rights to the land for a specific period of time. The land then goes to the county. An option that was suggested late last week: the county and town should sell the land (tax credit sale) to a developer for affordable senior housing. It was pointed out that the property is worth about $15 million dollars. Under this option the town would receive $7.5 million in revenue from the sale. And, the county, school district, town would receive annual taxes. New York State has to comply with the tax cap. We have been using our fund balance (savings account) to subsidize programs so need every dollar we can get. We are very proud of the fact that we are one of 15 local governments in the entire state of NY (out of more than 1,000) that have a triple A bond rating--the highest rating a local government can receive--from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's bond rating agency. If we are able to generate significant revenue from the property we will not only be able to keep taxes down but will be able to maintain our high bond rating in the years to come. PAUL FEINER

Thursday, April 26, 2012

free tree seedlings..frank's nursery meeting

Free tree seedling if you stop by at TOWN HALL FRIDAY Friday, April 27, 2012 is recognized as Arbor Day in the Town of Greenburgh. While the Town held its Arbor Day observance at the Greenburgh Nature Center this past Sunday, visitors to Town Hall during the remainder of this week are encouraged to visit the Town Forestry Officer, Aaron Schmidt, at his office in the Department of Community Development and Conservation, on the 2nd floor of Town Hall. Feel free to ask questions, pick up educational materials, and take a free tree seedling home with you to plant with your children or grandchildren (while supplies last). For more information, please contact Mr. Schmidt directly at 993-1511 or at INFORMAL MEETING ON MAY 1ST AT 8 PM AT GREENBURGH TOWN HALL TO DISCUSS FRANK’S NURSERY The Town of Greenburgh owns 6.89 acres of land that had previously been owned by Frank’s Nursery. Frank’s Nursery filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and did not pay taxes. The town took over the property. Last year we issued a request for proposals to redevelop the property. We put up a sign encouraging people and businesses to submit options to the town. We received three responses from applicant - two responses were to buy the property outright and a third response was to demolish and construct an indoor sports dome on the property through a fifteen year ground lease. Game On’s proposal was the preferred option. The proposal includes a 15,000 sf clubhouse attached to a 94,000 sf air structure with an outdoor soccer field at the rear of the site. The air structure will have 4 turf playing fields and two hard court surfaces. The town will receive substantial revenue from the lease. The proposed building systems will be constructed in a “temporary” manner to satisfy the Town’s fifteen year ground lease in which the air structure is quickly and easily removable and recyclable and the front clubhouse building will be constructed in such a way that can easily be added to and/or adapted by the Town, as its steel frame and curtain wall skin are also flexible in design. Game On’s proposal for 715 Dobbs Ferry Road leaves substantial open space on the property and in addition to the natural buffers including trees, shrubs and landscaping, Game On will maintain an expansive open grass area on the rear of the property. A representative of Game On will be at a very informal meeting that I have scheduled for Tuesday evening, May 1st at 8 PM at Greenburgh Town Hall. If you have any questions about the application you are invited to attend the meeting. This won’t be a formal meeting. This is an opportunity to interact with a representative on a one-on-one basis and to have your questions answered if possible. The Town Board has not finalized any contract. Before any contract is voted on it will be posted on the website and there will be opportunities for the public to comment. An anonymous letter was sent to residents containing inaccurate information about the proposal. The goal of this meeting is to provide a representative of Game On with the chance to explain the proposal. PAUL FEINER

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

abandoned gas station can re-open...leaves to be bagged..waterwheel affordable housing meeting postponed

The Greenburgh Town Board cleared the way for Cumberland Farms to open up a convenience store and pumping station on Central Ave and Old Army Road tonight. The boarded up station now can reopen as a permitted use. I am very pleased. It sends a powerful message to the business community that the town is determined to do what we can to replace abandoned vacant storefronts with new vibrant stores. The abandoned station has been an eyesore for years. And, many Edgemont residents have complained! The Board also approved a local law to require property owners or the agents to place leaves in bags for pick up and collection. We hope this new law will encourage residents to mulch their leaves. The new policy, which is currently in place in the villages and in many communities in Westchester, will enable the town to pick up leaves once a week instead of once every six or seven weeks. We will be able to cut down on overtime and assign crews to other duties--making sure drains are clear (will reduce flooding), cleaning up the roads, etc.. Waterwheel affordable housing meeting postponed to June... I spoke with the attorney who represents the waterwheel affordable housing project in Ardsley. The town has been working with the village of Ardsley trying to turn foreclosed land into affordable housing opportunities. Although approvals have been given for construction-- no work has started. Some members of the Town Board and I have expressed concern. We asked for a progress report and received the following statement. " As stated we are moving forward, the land use approvals are all secured and we are down to a few final pieces needing to fall into place to permit us to proceed to closing on the property and constructing the project. As a result, please postpone our appearance at the work session next week until June when we expect to be in a position to finalize our plans with the Town. We will continue to inform you of our progress in the interim. Thank you." I am very pleased. Seems like the affordable housing proposal is back on track. PAUL FEINER

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


MEETING WITH WESTCHESTER LEGISLATORS ON WESTHELP TUESDAY, MAY 1ST AT 1 PM Westchester County Legislator Alfreda Williams has invited me to a meeting of a committee of members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators on Tuesday, May 1st at 1 PM to discuss the future of the WESTHELP property. There are two options: 1) the town could enter into an agreement with Ferncliff (an organization that provides services to the developmentally disabled community). We could receive significant revenue --close to a million dollars a year in revenue if the County Executive and County Legislature approves that agreement. The other option: We do not need county approval to use the property for affordable housing. If the Ferncliff proposal is not approved, the Town Board has decided to ask the Greenburgh Housing Authority to manage the property for us and to convert the units into affordable housing opportunities. The town would receive much less revenue from the Housing Authority if the property is used for affordable housing. A meeting was held with the Greenburgh Housing Authority to discuss this option last night. I believe that the Ferncliff option is a much better fit. The developmentally disabled would benefit greatly by living in a campus surrounding. Ferncliff does a great job providing quality services to the disabled population. And- Ferncliff has been working with the town on developing the land for the disabled population for about a year. I hope the County Executive and Legislature are supportive. Waterwheel affordable housing status update---meeting May 1 at 9:30 AM Is the county still interested in helping the town/ardsley convert property into affordable housing? I have invited the County Executive, Legislators and developer to a Town Board work session meeting on Tuesday, May 1st at 9:30 AM. The first topic of the agenda: the status of the waterwheel property. The town of Greenburgh and village of Ardsley entered into an agreement to create affordable housing opportunities on town foreclosed property known as the waterwheel. We approved the agreement in 2010. The village approved all the agreements months ago. The village of Ardsley granted all the approvals but the construction has not yet started. We would like to discuss a timetable for construction and payments to the town. The town is also counting on the revenue from the sale of this property. PAUL FEINER

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I always enjoy marching in the Elmsford Little League parade. Who wouldn't? Last year MLB superstar Darryl Strawberry marched with us. Today former Major League Baseball player and manager Tommy Lasorda marched with the Little League players, parents,coaches and officials. Tommy had great advice for the players- if you lose don't worry. The major league players also lose games!.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Standard & Poor’s assigned the town it’s highest bond rating –AAA on April 20th. In their report they indicated that “the town’s budgeting practices have been very conservative.” The report indicated that “Greenburgh’s management practices are considered good under Standard & Poor’s Financial Management Assessment.”

Earlier this week we received more good news. Moody's has assigned Greenburgh the highest bond rating possible Aaa. According to the opinion, which was released today "the Aaa rating reflects the town's affluent and sizeable tax base, sound financial position with strong fiscal management and low debt profile." They indicated that they "expect the town to maintain a healthy financial position given conservative budget practices and management's demonstrated commitment to maintaining ample reserve levels."

Earning the highest bond rating possible from two independent agencies is a big honor. There are 932 towns, 62 cities and 553 villages in New York State. Only 15 local governments in the state of New York have Aaa bond ratings from Moody’s. Greenburgh is one of the 15! It means that we can borrow at lower interest rates---saving you money.

Another reason to be proud: many local governments around the nation are experiencing municipal bond rating down grades (see following). If you google Moody’s Bond rating downgrades or Standard & Poor’s bond rating downgrades you’ll appreciate how difficult it is for local governments in these trying economic times to keep high bond ratings.
We will continue to work hard to manage your town efficiently. Special thanks to the Town Board, Department heads, town employees, civic leaders and volunteers for your partnership in making the town one of the highest ranked communities in the United States.
Paul Feiner
Downgrades Felt at Local Level
By WSJ staff | The Wall Street Journal – Thu, Aug 18, 2011 3:00 AM EDT

Jeannette Neumann and Michael Aneiro
To city officials in Manassas Park, Va., Standard & Poor's one-notch downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating was relatively mild compared with what the firm sprung on them last month.
The tiny city's credit rating was reduced to triple-B from double-A minus—a five-notch tumble.

"For us to have been downgraded with the problems of the economy, we were expecting that," says Gary Fields, Manassas Park's finance director. "But maybe a notch. Maybe two notches. We were quite surprised at the size of the downgrade. I don't really understand."
Similar confusion and frustration is spreading through other cities, counties and municipalities bruised by steep downgrades. Since June 2010, S&P, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have made 196 so-called super-downgrades on municipal bonds, according to research firm Municipal Market Advisors.
[More from Municipalities Abandon S&P After Ratings Downgrade]
Super-downgrades are defined as cuts of at least three notches on the letter-grade scales used by the firms.
The ratings firms say the multinotch downgrades are extremely rare and when they do happen they are often tied to bonds where investors already expect volatility, such as bonds that depend on property-tax revenue at a time when the real estate market is depressed.
The super-downgrades pushed yields on the downgraded municipal bonds higher and could increase borrowing costs the next time affected cities, counties and other municipalities need to sell bonds.
"Anytime you have your name associated with a downgrade, that's not good PR," says Jeremy Niedfeldt, a financial adviser to Osceola County, Fla. Last month, Moody's cut its rating on about $38 million in bonds issued by Osceola County by three notches, citing a "continuing decline in pledged property tax revenues." The county itself remained high investment grade.
Critics say super-downgrades are unfair punishment by the major firms responding to heightened focus by regulators on the timeliness and accuracy of their ratings. Their actions are "not about rapid credit erosion this year or last year," says Matt Fabian, managing director for Municipal Market Advisors. "It's about several years of things getting worse, and the rating agencies weren't able to catch it."
[More from Expense Report Confidential]
S&P, a unit of McGraw-Hill Cos., declined to comment on the super-downgrades. Fitch said its multinotch downgrades during the past year represent less than 1% of the firm's U.S. municipal-ratings actions. Many of the super-downgrades affect bonds tied to property taxes, which are suffering as shrunken real-estate values hurt property-tax assessments, according to Fitch, a unit of Fimalac SA.
Moody's managing director Robert Kurtter said that the municipal finance market is undergoing "unprecedented stress" and that "where there are dramatic or swift changes in credit quality, we take rating actions accordingly." Mr. Kurtter said that multinotch rating actions are "extremely rare" and that the sectors that are "most vulnerable to sharp moves in credit quality are healthcare, housing, and project finance—not state and local government credits."
The super-downgrades come at a time when local governments are also dealing with knock-on effects of S&P's downgrade of the U.S. rating. The City of Los Angeles and two other municipalities that voluntarily commissioned S&P's to rate their investment portfolios have dropped those ratings this week after being downgraded, largely due to their holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds.
San Mateo County, Calif., said Wednesday that it won't renew its contract with S&P to rate a $2.6 billion investment pool.
The portfolio was downgraded last week because it is mostly invested in U.S. government securities. "We found the whole process of the downgrade flawed," says Sandie Arnott, San Mateo County's treasurer and tax collector.
[More from Stealthy Tracking Tools Raise Questions About Self-Regulation]

Local governments in Los Angeles and Manatee County, Fla., also have defected from S&P since it cut ratings on 73 funds with "significant exposure" to U.S. Treasurys and government-agency securities.
"They unfairly penalized us for following best practices," says Dan Wolfson, finance director in the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller's office in Bradenton, Fla.Other local governments with downgraded investment funds say they are wrestling with whether to opt for Moody's or Fitch instead of S&P. Those two companies have affirmed their triple-A ratings on the U.S.
"It's just kind of mind-boggling at this point," says Shai Francis, finance director for St. Lucie County, Fla., which is likely to make a decision by the end of September.
Peter Rizzo, senior director in S&P's fund-ratings group, acknowledged that the U.S. downgrade by the firm might cause some local governments to "feel frustrated, and I imagine some are re-evaluating whether they have a need for the rating."
As for super-downgrades, analysts say the number of such cuts has jumped since 2009, though exact figures before then aren't known. Lisa Washburn, also with Municipal Market Advisors, said that the "heightened regulatory environment" and "the fiscal challenges facing municipal credits set the stage for some significant negative rating actions over the past year."
Last year's Dodd-Frank law makes it easier for plaintiffs to sue the firms, which gives the firms more incentive to review their ratings regularly, municipal analysts say. Proposed rules by the Securities and Exchange Commission would require firms to disclose more about how they decide on ratings—and their accuracy.
The raters themselves have placed greater focus on surveillance of outstanding ratings. In July, Michael Rowan, a Moody's managing director, told lawmakers that the Moody's Corp. unit began in 2010 to "conduct at least annual reviews of all credit ratings, except those that expressly indicate they are not subject to ongoing monitoring."
According to Municipal Market Advisors, super-downgrades peaked last October. In July, there were six such downgrades. Matt Dalton, chief executive of Belle Haven Investments, a White Plains, N.Y., investment firm, said some bondholders are worried about a new wave of super-downgrades "as these rating agencies scramble to get more current on their issues."
Manassas Park officials were stunned by S&P's five-notch downgrade on July 20. The rating firm blamed "significant and rapid deteriorations of the city's financial position." City officials complain that S&P didn't give enough weight to good news such as a 5.2% rise in property assessments for the current fiscal year. Assessments help determine property-tax revenue.
In addition, S&P incorrectly called Manassas Park a county in an initial version of the firm's downgrade report and said the city had recently increased employee salaries, even though that hasn't happened since 2009, according to Mr. Fields, the city's finance director.
S&P corrected the errors but went ahead with the downgrade despite objections from city officials. Jim Zumwalt, Manassas Park's city manager, said officials have no plans to stop using S&P to rate their bonds.
—Prabha Natarajan contributed to this story

1. Moody's downgrades Milwaukee's bond rating - TODAY'S TMJ4
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
3 days ago – Moody's Investors Service has slightly downgraded Milwaukee's bond rating because of concerns about the city's poverty rate.
2. Coralville bond rating downgraded | The Des Moines Register ...
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5 days ago – Coralville officials plan to meet with advisers this week to discuss the city's financial situation in light of a bond rating downgrade, council ...

National news
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Moody’s to downgrade 162 local governments rating, Cantor’s district hit hardest!! (1 post)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

good news--another person found a great job

received this good news. I deleted college where perry got job and his last name to protect his privacy.. Don't get discouraged.
Subject: I have a job
Hi! I just wanted to tell you some good news. I have a job. I just started working today as an Analyst in the Finance Service Center at ____ University. I will be involved in talking to users in dealing with questions they may have in switching the accounting software that will be at ___ University. Thank you for your assistance in helping find a job.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



A few years ago the town of Greenburgh started a very exciting initiative—the living history initiative. We have interviewed about 80 veterans of World War II and air the video’s on public access TV and replay the interviews during special holidays- like Memorial Day and Veterans Day. We are discussing the possibility of taking some of the veterans to Washington to hand deliver the video tapes to the Library of Congress. A representative of the Library of Congress has expressed interest in archiving the taped interviews.

We would like to expand the program and interview local survivors of the holocaust. There is an urgency since the numbers are dwindling. At the same time – it’s important that our local survivors be able to record their stories and have them preserved for history. Unlike some of the other holocaust programs – we will make this very local—which will be even more meaningful to young people. It is my hope that the tapes will be archived at libraries and at town hall. I also hope to present copies of the interviews to schools for use.

I would appreciate it if you would encourage holocaust survivors from Greenburgh to contact me or Alan Hochberg, coordinator of this program if they are willing to be part of the living history of the holocaust survivors initiative. Alan was executive director of Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanuel. My e mail is Alan’s is


Monday, April 16, 2012



Last week I sent out an appeal --asking someone to adopt Smokey, a dog who lived in a shelter since 1997. GOOD NEWS! Smokey went home today! THANK YOU!

This is a note a constituent sent to me...
Please let your daughter know that today Smokey went home. He was surrendered as a puppy in 1997 and has been there since. Get on the website and follow the twitter. There is a pic with his caretaker of many years saying "goodbye.
Thank you for all you do and all you have done for Pets Alive Westchester. There are several hundred more animals that need homes


I am pleased to report that Moody’s has assigned Greenburgh the highest bond rating possible: Aaa! They commented that Greenburgh’s Aaa rating “reflects the town’s affluent and sizeable tax base, sound financial position with strong fiscal management and low debt profile.” “Conservative budget practices”.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Mayor Drew Fixell and the Village of Tarrytown should be congratulated for being named one of the prettiest towns in the United States by Forbes. Tarrytown is one of six villages located within the town of Greenburgh.
I think that one of the reasons why Tarrytown achieved this distinction is because of good planning decisions over the years. The Tarrytown Village Board, Zoning Board, Planning Board and Conservation Advisory Board have insisted (over the years) on great planning and have made excellent land use decisions. These decisions have helped Tarrytown maintain its charm and unique qualities. Tarrytown is known for its history. Washington Irving, the Underground mansion, spectacular mansions, Lyndhurst and much more. The Hudson River views are spectacular, the parks are great. And --the restaurants are outstanding! Great concerts and shows are performed at the Tarrytown Music Hall, one of the most charming theaters around.
I am sure that this honor and recognition will help our area attract more tourists and will be good news to the small businesses in our community.
Congratulations--again--to a great village on this impressive honor. Glad they are part of our town!

Monday, April 02, 2012



westchester and rockland residents should receive discounts --just like Buffalo

In recent months there has been substantial discussion about some aspects of the Tappan Zee Bridge plan: mass transit on the bridge, the possibility of having a Tappanbridge park, and train station at the bridge are some issues that have received some attention. There is another issue that deserves more public discussion and attention: how much is it going to cost Westchester and Rockland residents to cross the bridge?

The Executive Director of the NYS Thruway Authority has estimated that tolls on the new bridge will be similar to those of other Hudson crossings. Current cash tolls at the George Washington Bridge are $12, with E-ZPass, $9.50 peak hours (6-10 AM, 4-8 PM: Saturday and Sunday 11 AM-9 PM) and $7.50 off-peak. Note almost the whole weekend is peak toll! These tolls are already being considered for increases again. By 2017, when the bridge is built, the tolls will be much more.

We need to protect Westchester and Rockland residents from bearing the full brunt of this cost as this structure is a lifeline for the ENTIRE State of New York- not just Westchester and Rockland Counties! During 9/11, it was the only way supplies made it in to NYC from Stewart Airport! Both counties need reasonable access cross the bridge

for work, shopping, recreation and family, which an unreasonably high toll would

prohibit. It would also have a negative impact on the economies of both counties. Clearly, legislation is needed to protect the residents of both counties from

unreasonable tolls.

Our state lawmakers need to address this. We need legislation similar to the provisions in Buffalo. Buffalo lawmakers were successful in getting the state and Thruway Authority to agree to special toll arrangements - a residential rate for Westchester/

Rockland residents. In Buffalo the Thruway Authority allows residents who cross the Grand Island Bridge to pay only 9 cents to cross the bridge vs. $1 for everyone else.

Why should the state allow residency discounts only for Buffalo commuters? If residency discounts are allowed in Buffalo they should also be offered to commuters

who cross the Tappan Zee Bridge. The following is from the NYS Thruway Authority website: Thruway Grand Island Resident**: Receive a $0.91 discount per trip ($0.09 versus the cash $1.00 per trip) on the Grand Island Bridges. Proof of Grand Island residency required. No minimum usage is required. Residency status is subject to

periodic review. If this plan is selected, the $25 required prepayment in Box B of application is waived. Plan Code: (GIR) - Required Prepayment ($5.00).

* Attach a copy of one of the following: vehicle registration, driver's license, or utility bill. A vehicle registration may be used on only one E-ZPass account. Residency status is subject to periodic review. ** You must provide a copy of your driver's license, utility bill or lease agreement AND a copy of your vehicle registration for each E-ZPass Tag requested. A vehicle registration may be used on only one E-ZPass account. Residency status is subject to periodic review.

Paul Feiner

Greenburgh Town Supervisor