Tuesday, January 29, 2013

notes from captain lawrence website--an interview with me and my dad...


The Feiner Things In Life

For Paul Feiner, longtime town supervisor of Greenburgh, home of Captain Lawrence, it is hardly beer-drinking weather. Paul prefers a beer in the heat of summer, preferably after a long bike ride or run.“On a hot day, there’s nothing like a good beer to quench your thirst,” he says.Instead, it’s 20 degrees out. But when Captain Lawrence produces a beer called the Pride of Elmsford (the village of Elmsford is part of the town of Greenburgh), Paul is happy to come by the tasting room and give the hearty ale a taste.The Pride of Elmsford is an American pale ale brewed with English yeast and five malts, and dry hopped with U.S. hops. If you missed it, the Greenburgh Daily Voice gave the brew some love.Paul does as well.“Very good,” he says with a satisfied smile.Paul, the supervisor since 1991, has a special guest in tow: his 91 year old father Phil, who has volunteered at town hall for the past 20 years, keeping an eye on town finances. Phil clearly has a nose for numbers, inquiring about Captain Lawrence’s yearly barrel output, and the alcohol level on the various brews. All pack more punch than what Phil used to quaff in the Air Force. “They gave us 3.2% beer,” he says while sipping the Captain’s Kolsch (ABV 5.5%, if u’re scoring at home). “You had to have a lot of them to get happy.”

Paul admits he’s not a beer connoisseur; he’s perfectly fine with a Bud or Coors. But he credits beer with helping get his blood pumping again after running the New York Marathon six years ago (“I couldn’t feel my feet,” he says), and he’s positively pumped to have a world-class craft brewer in Elmsford after spending its first six years in Pleasantville. “In a year, Captain Lawrence has definitely become the most popular business in town,” says Paul. “It’s definitely put Greenburgh on the map.”Paul will be back at the brewery February 14. Every month, the Westchester Municipal Officials Association, a collection of town supervisors, mayors and councilmen, gets together, and Greenburgh hosts the February wingding—at Captain Lawrence, naturally. “It will probably be the most successful Municipal Officials Association dinner we’ve had,” says Paul.When he’s not running the largest town in Westchester, home to over 88,000, Paul unwinds by running or cycling around the county. He mentions a Special Olympics bike ride he took with John and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. years ago, from Westchester to Vermont. He’s cycled from here to Washington several times as well. “I may be the slowest cyclist, but I always finish,” he says.Paul continues to lure new businesses to Greenburgh. He says he can go the extra mile for them by talking them up on his WVOX/1460 AM radio show (he’s also the rare town supervisor with a blog, at pfeiner.blogspot.com), and offering a degree of service other town chiefs may not match. Recently, he sent Captain Lawrence Brewing owner Scott Vaccaro a Wall Street Journal article about a bicycle built for 16, called the PedalPub, that he thought might be a great marketing opportunity, cruising down the Bronx River Parkway on Bicycle Sundays, adorned in CL logos.“If a business has a problem, they can reach out to me and I’ll call back in a few hours,” he says. “We want the town to be partners and help them be successful.”

Captain Lawrence’s arrival, Paul adds, has sparked interest from other businesses. “Any time a company like Captain Lawrence comes to town, it creates positive momentum,” he says. “It makes it easier to attract other businesses.”

Paul laments that budget cuts have made Westchester “less fun.” But with an ice rink, golf driving range, mini-golf, the Sportime USA amusement center and various kiddie gyms all a 9-iron from the brewery, Elmsford has emerged as Westchester’s playground. Paul, who’s currently pushing for a new sports complex on Dobbs Ferry Road, credits Captain Lawrence for adding a little zip to the region.

“A place like Captain Lawrence is a little different,” Supervisor Feiner says. “It makes the county a more fun place to be located in.”

greenburgh planning 225th anniversary on march 7

The Town of Greenburgh will be celebrating its 225th anniversary of incorporation (1788-2013) this year. A few months ago, a small group came together for the purpose of discussing the possibility of a celebration and the 225th Planning Committee was born with Councilwoman Diana Juettner and myself, Judith Beville, Town Clerk serving as the Co-Chairpersons. (Twenty-five years ago, former Town Councilwoman, Lois Bronz and former Town Clerk, Susan Tolchin, served as Co-chairs of the Town’s Bicentennial). The actual date of incorporation was March 7, 1788 and, to commemorate that date, there will be a reception (6:30pm) and program (7:30pm) held at Greenburgh Town Hall on Thursday, March 7, 2013 as part of the Town Board Meeting. (The Board agreed to make an exception regarding their usual meeting night – Wednesday – for this special acknowledgement.) We are also in the process of planning and proposing events/ activities, town-wide to involve our Villages, as well, to be held during and around the week of July 13 – July 20, 2013 – the main week of celebration, culminating with the annual Greenburgh Day at Anthony Veteran Park on July 20th.

We invite our local school districts to involve their students in celebrating the Town’s 225th birthday with an event prior to the end of the school year and encourage our Civic Associations to plan events to take place during the warm weather months that, too, celebrate the Town’s 225th. We invite your ideas, as well, for possible activities/events! Please share your ideas with Jbeville@greenburghny.com and djuettner@greenburghny.com. Thank you!

If you have any old photo’s of Greenburgh or of some elected officials/community leaders/events that took place in our town – please advise. Hope to see you at our 225th Anniversary Celebration on March 7th—special Town Board meeting.


Monday, January 28, 2013

clarification re: Newsday article -Ferncliff

I sent this clarification to our county officials re: Newsday article about Ferncliff.

From: Paul Feiner

Sent: Monday, January 28, 2013 9:52 AM

To: Jenkins, Ken; Shimsky, Mary Jane; County Executive (WEB); Plunkett, Kevin J.; Williams, Alfreda; Smith, Michael; 'tjaesq@aol.com'; 'abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us'; 'scousins@senate.state.ny.us'; 'janis.morris52@gmail.com'

Cc: 'JCavanaugh@empireplanning.com'; Town Board; Timothy Lewis; Townclerk

Subject: correction to ken's comments

Clarification: in the following newsday article ken Jenkins indicates that the county will not get any money from the 50 year lease re: westhelp property. Not true! The town only gets the rent for the first part (until our 20 year rights to the property expire). The county will get the revenue after that –for the balance. It’s my hope that the Legislature will schedule a vote (up or down) in mid February so we could move on. We are not interested in fighting with the county. If the County Legislature says yes to Ferncliff the developmentally disabled will have a terrific quality of life at this campus and town officials will be most appreciative since it will help us keep taxes down (and since town officials are passionate about helping this population). If you say no, we will lease the property out to an affordable housing developer. The town will generate much less revenue from affordable housing each year resulting in larger tax hikes for residents of Greenburgh and the villages. Personally, I think Ferncliff meets the affordable housing requirements since most of the population is lower income.


Affordable-housing demand should boost, not hurt, Ferncliff's proposed move, backers say

Originally published: January 27, 2013 5:02 PM

Updated: January 27, 2013 7:33 PM

By JOHN DYER john.dyer@cablevision.com

Photo credit: Elizabeth Daza
Special education teacher Molly Conway, 33, helps Justin Irizarry, 17, play a tambourine and sing along during class at the School for Adaptive & Integrative Learning at Ferncliff Manor in Yonkers, (Dec. 13, 2012)


WestHelp decision expected

Because students from low-income families live at Ferncliff Manor, the school for developmentally disabled children, the school should be able to relocate from its aging campus in Yonkers to a county-owned site designated for affordable housing in Greenburgh, proponents say.

"There's 10 to 15 percent affordable housing in most projects," said Legis. Michael Smith (R-Greenburgh), who said most Ferncliff students are from Yonkers, Mount Vernon and similarly distressed cities. "This is around 80 percent affordable given demographics. This is a highly, highly diverse population."

The new argument in favor of Ferncliff's move is the latest bid by the school's advocates to overcome political and legal hurdles that have prevented a relocation for months.


MORE: Lawmakers back Ferncliff's move to county site
Westchester Dems would join GOP for Ferncliff deal
More education headlines


Greenburgh has a lease to the site, a former homeless shelter on county land on Knollwood Road near Westchester Community College. But the lease stipulates that the property be used solely for affordable housing.

Until recently, the stipulation was viewed as a roadblock. Westchester County Board of Legislators chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and others have resisted Ferncliff's move in large part because they argue that they don't want to lose an opportunity to erect affordable housing. Now Ferncliff advocates believe they can frame the debate to get over the Democrats' opposition.

"In a legal case, if they really want to argue about affordable housing on a technicality of the lease, our children are from low-income families," said Stephen Madey, Ferncliff's director of educational services. "Sixty-four kids would move in there."

State regulators have told administrators that Ferncliff needs to upgrade its antiquated facilities. The school would receive around $15 million in state funding to renovate the former homeless shelter, Madey said. The state also would provide the school with $500,000 to pay Greenburgh rental payments for the property, he said. The state requires the school to have a 50-year lease wherever it relocates.

The issue could come to a head soon if school administrators, Greenburgh officials and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, submit a new draft lease for Ferncliff's relocation to legislators, as expected, this week.

"My hope is that the Board of Legislators will schedule a quick vote on Ferncliff sometime in February," said Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

County legislators need to approve extending a new lease but not necessarily changing the affordable-housing requirement. Under county law, extending the lease for that much time requires the approval of a supermajority, or 12 votes, on the Board of Legislators.

A majority of legislators has signaled support for the move. But it's not clear whether Ferncliff can assemble a supermajority.

Jenkins is already countering Feiner and others' arguments in favor of the move. He didn't see why Greenburgh should receive the $500,000 a year if a school, rather than affordable housing, is built on the land. He might support Ferncliff's relocation by extending the lease to 50 years, he said, if the county rather than the town received the rental payments.

"We aren't getting a dime for what the supervisor [Feiner] is proposing on our property," Jenkins said. "We should take our property back, and we can determine what we'd like to do."

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Friday, January 25, 2013

library repairs needed-long term: 2ndary boiler

The Greenburgh Library had to close early yesterday and today because the heating system failed. We have experienced other problems with the mechanical systems at the Library since the library was built a few years ago. Problems this season have included the failure of an electronic control part, failure in a control valve, and just recently failure of another compressor. Experience has shown that a failure of just a single component creates significant problems maintaining adequate heat in the building. Repairs (a new part) will take place on Monday. Hopefully, the library will be much warmer on Tuesday.
We need to come up with permanent solution (more than replacing broken parts) so we don't experience heating and air conditioning problems every time the weather gets very cold or hot. I met with Genie Contrata, head of the library today, Victor Carosi, Commissioner of Public Works and Rich Fon, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works. Have been advised that the best solution is to appropriate funds in the capital budget for a secondary boiler to work during these excessive temperatures. I support the request and will ask that this solution be pursued. The next step: to engage a consulting engineer to design a solution to this problem.
The library is only a few years old. I believe the town should seriously consider taking legal action against the designers/contractors of the library. We paid $20 million for the library and our residents and library staff should not have to put up with lack of heat at a new library.

midway seeks expansion central ave/ardsley rd


The Midway Shopping Center plans a renovation initiative. In an effort to continue enhancing the Central Park Avenue corridor, they are proposing an expansion of retail/restaurant space via the construction of two additional structures and the first major renovation of parking and landscaped areas in twenty years. This focuses the need for significant site changes which could also enhance and help to resolve many automobile and pedestrian circulation conflicts which have existed at the center since it was constructed in the 1950’s.

The Overall Site Layout Plan depicts the primary proposed action involving the construction of a third out building; a two (2) story, 10,800 square foot structure located in the northwest corner of the property. This building will have approximately 5,400 square feet of ground floor retail and 5,400 square feet of second floor restaurant space with outdoor seating. Additionally, a forth out building with 3,500 square foot restaurant/retail is proposed near the southeast corner of the first out-building. The space between these two structures would ideally be utilized as an outdoor seating area. Rounding out the brick and mortar renovations, an 800 square foot addition to the first out building to increas the Panera Bread dining area is also proposed. 2

The parking area will be reconfigured to provide improved traffic circulation, pedestrian access and additional landscaped islands. One item of particular note is the consolidation of the Ardsley Road site entrance. Currently, there are four different curb-cuts providing one-way only ingress and egress. The realignment of this driveway not only provides a more coherent interior traffic circulation but also benefits pedestrian access and truck deliveries as well.

Renovations to the southern portion of the site are also proposed. To accomplish this, one existing curb cut which provides access to Central Park Avenue is proposed to be closed. This driveway closure will enable the reconfiguration of vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns and provide attractive opportunities for interior landscaping. There are no additional structures or building renovations proposed on the southern portion of the lot.

Additional landscaping is proposed within the Central Park Avenue right-of-way. Midway has made initial contact with the NYSDOT regarding the potential of landscape enhancements in this area and were advised that similar improvements have been completed within the Central Park Avenue right-of-way in Yonkers. While the site as a whole is an existing non-conformity, this minimal expansion will serve to further diversify the type of tenants in the center.

If you would like copies of their more detailed proposal please e mail me. Town officials are reviewing the application and will discuss at upcoming meetings. Your input is welcome.


With the new year and in celebration of The Native Plant Center’s 15th anniversary, we offer you a wonderful new selection of native plants in the pre-sale to our 14th annual Native Plant Sale.

On our website and on the Town of Greenburgh website is a freshly designed catalog and order form that makes shopping easy. Choose from among 50 native wildflowers, ferns, shrubs, trees, vines, groundcovers, and grasses. Other plant species will be available on sale day, April 27, at Westchester Community College. New this year are three special collections that allow you to sample plants attractive to wildlife at a significant savings.

You have only until February 15 to take advantage of this pre-sale.

Please spread the word about our pre-sale to your members and share with them our catalog and order form.

We thank you for your patronage, which helps support The Native Plant Center in its mission to promote the use and conservation of native plants.

Carol Capobianco

Director, The Native Plant Center

Westchester Community College

75 Grasslands Road

Valhalla, NY 10595


Paul Feiner

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Edgemont Community council page needs some clarification

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the questioning of the police department not contacting the Seely Place School regarding the robbery yesterday at the Shell Gas station at 1000 S. Central Ave. The Edgemont Schools were not advised to enact security measures yesterday for several reasons.

The robbery was reported to police at approximately 3:00 p.m. By the time units arrived at the scene and gathered facts it was after 3:00 p.m. Our preliminary investigation revealed that a firearm was not observed. Also, the suspect was tracked by police canine units to Yonkers and there was evidence found in a bordering side street that also corroborated this fact. There were many important questions that investigators could not get answered until after 5:00 p.m. Despite what some concerned residents would like the community to believe, we were confident relatively quickly that the suspect left the area.

In closing, I wish to again assure you that members of the police department are committed to the safety of all residents of the Town of Greenburgh and if there was the slightest chance of a danger to the students and teachers of the school they would have been notified.

Joseph J. DeCarlo

Chief of Police

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hat's off to Governor for recommending reform of NYS Arbitration laws impacting salaries of police/firefighters

the years I have called for the elimination or reform of state arbitration panels - which have the power to set salaries of police and firefighters. The arbitration panels have made it very difficult for local governments to keep taxes down since we have no control over part of our budget.

I was thrilled to learn that Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the reform of the arbitration panel laws today. The Governor is suggesting that arbitration panels be barred from increasing compensation by more than 2 percent a year if a municipality meets criteria for a “fiscally distressed” municipality. New Jersey adopted a similar law a few years ago.

The Governor said that employee compensation should follow the same 2 percent guidelines that municipalities face with the 2 percent tax cap. In addition, arbitration panels will be required to take into account the rising cost of health care when ruling on contracts.

I believe that this proposed law, if approved, will make it easier for every locality in the state to resolve contract disputes with public safety unions. Right now there is little incentive for unions to stay at the bargaining table if they disapprove of the local governments offer because they know that arbitration panels will probably mandate larger increases. Local governments settle contracts at higher amounts than they could afford because they know that the arbitration awards will be even more costly if they don't settle. During the height of the recession some arbitration awards were in the 4% salary hike range-state wide.

Personally, I'd like to eliminate arbitration panels. I think local governments should be able to set salaries for all employees. But, I recognize that lawmakers are unlikely to take that step. The Governor's proposal is a great step in the right direction.

A copy of a statement I made in 2010 about this matter follows.
Release Date: May 17, 2010

I have sent letters to County Executive Rob Astorino, all the members of the Westchester delegation to the NYS State Legislature, members of the business community and Town Supervisors/Mayors in Westchester urging them to support a proposal to eliminate arbitration panels.
The county, local governments and fire districts have NO CONTROL over salaries of police and fire fighters. We can negotiate salary agreements. However, if the unions are not pleased with what we are offering our employees –they have the ability to go before an arbitration panel which dictates the salary hikes. As a result of this state law salary increases for emergency service personnel usually exceed inflation. Paul Feiner
In recent months many Westchester residents have complained about high property taxes. The New York State Legislature could and should respond to the call for reform by amending the state law that prevents local governments, fire districts and the county of Westchester from unilaterally deciding on the salaries of police and fire fighters. There is a need for an amendment to the Taylor law so that the salaries of police & firefighters are not determined by arbitration panels. In my opinion, the salaries should be decided by local elected officials who are responsible for the approval of a budget. How can you expect local elected officials to control budgets when we don't have any control over the setting of salaries of a large number of our employees?
The Police & firefighters benefit from larger salary increases than many localities can afford because of a labor law (Taylor Law). This law was approved to prevent police and emergency services from striking. In lieu of not being able to strike, the police & fire fighters are able to go to an arbitration panel if they can't reach a collective bargaining settlement. The arbitration is run by a panel that has given very favorable contracts to the PBA & firefighters union over the years because the PBA & firefighter unions has a voice along with local governments in the selection of the panels.
The reason why salaries of police and firefighters are so high is because the way the arbitration panel comes to a decision is based on comparing like areas. Even in these economic difficult times when so many people are out of work, arbitration panels are awarding salary increases of over 4% a year.

Elected officials have to make difficult choices--do we settle contracts and award increases greater than what we would give other employees but less than what arbitration panels have awarded other localities to avoid arbitration panel determinations OR do we reject contracts --only to see an arbitration award made that is even higher than that we think we could afford? If we don't settle we are taking a big risk. If we do settle we may be granting increases that we normally would not grant, if there was no arbitration panel in place?
Another negative to the arbitration concept-- if members of the PBA or firefighters union receive a large increase, members of the Teamsters and CSEA (which are not subjected to arbitration procedures) have a stronger case that they, too, should be entitled to larger salary adjustments? How can local governments justify giving some employees a 4% increase and others a zero or one percent increase? The CSEA and Teamsters use the arbitration awards to push for salary increases for themselves.
If our state lawmakers want to help local governments cut back on spending and if they would like to see property taxes come under control - the elimination of arbitration would be an important step.
Taxpayers who are concerned about the high cost of government should reach out to all candidates for state-wide office and our State Legislators and ask them to support this needed reform.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Monday, January 21, 2013

town to honor nicholas lombardi wednesday night

Today our nation celebrated the inauguration of our President and Vice President and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. These leaders inspire others. On Wednesday evening the Town Board will recognize a young man from Greenburgh (who is not as well known- yet- but who also inspires - thanks to his involvement with autism.

The Greenburgh Town Board will honor Nicholas Lombardi at our Wednesday night Town Board meeting-- which begins at 7:30 PM. Nicholas Lombardi has been helping his younger brother, Joey overcome the challenges of autism for many years. Joey, a happy young student at the ardsley schools, uses sign language to communicate and has benefitted from the special needs programs offered by the school district. Nicholas Lombardi is an exceptional brother. He is always there for his brother but also has donated many hours of his time helping others with autism.

Nicholas Lombardi created a button that states "I'm not misbehaving I have autism. Please be Understanding." Nicholas sells these buttons on his web site and on the autism speaks website. His slogan has been trademarked and has been sold all over the world.
Nicholas Lombardi has raised over $75,000 for Autism speaks. Nick is a respected public speaker who speaks at benefits and fundraisers, volunteers with special needs children every Sunday for years. He also works at summers teaching special needs children to swim. Nick is a hero to his brother and to so many who live with autism. He will be attending Manhattanville College in the fall. Our community is lucky to have someone like Nicholas living here. He has made a great difference in the lives of others.
check out this website: www.autismbutton.com

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ferncliff responds to anti developmentally disabled article in journal news

Explore now...
Re “Razing WestHELP would waste taxpayers’ money,” Thursday Community View:
Bob Bernstein repeats the false claim that Ferncliff would destroy vacant housing worth up to $20 million. Only an appraisal can determine the value and to my knowledge there has not been one. Ferncliff plans to re-use the main building as a school, along with the roads, utilities and other infrastructure. Therefore much of the value will remain intact. The original complex was financed by a $12.45 million Housing Finance Agency bond in 1990. So that was the cost to the taxpayer.
He also states there are nearly 50 schools in the Hudson Valley region that are like Ferncliff. In truth, there is only one, and it is Ferncliff. Our school provides housing and education for young people classified by the state as “hard to place” due to their severe developmental and physical disabilities.
No other school in the Hudson Valley accepts these youngsters. In fact, many such children from our area are housed in facilities out of state due to the shortage of appropriate places anywhere in New York, let alone the Hudson Valley.
If we close, our children will be sent to facilities far from their families.
And why must we move? Because our children live in a building that is more than 100 years old and attend school in trailers!
Mr. Bernstein makes much of the original agreement stating that WestHELP should be used for senior citizens or municipal workers. It is unfortunate that children with developmental disabilities that come from families of limited means were not included in that agreement more than 20 years ago. But surely Mr. Bernstein can understand it is time to consider rectifying this omission.
Patricia Saich
The writer is assistant executive director, Ferncliff Manor, Yonkers.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

suggestion I made in tomorrows NY Times-how to help older unemployed residents find work

To the Editor:
Federal and state governments could help older victims of downsizing by approving legislation giving employers a one-time tax incentive if they hired older workers for new full-time jobs. That would both encourage job creation (as the credit would be given only for new positions) and motivate businesses to take advantage of the vast skills of older workers.
A reinvented approach is needed to help older people who desperately want to continue to work and contribute to society.
Greenburgh, N.Y., Jan. 13
The writer is town supervisor of Greenburgh.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


The Town Board has decided to sell the old Frank's nursery property on Dobbs Ferry Road. In November voters approved a referendum by close to 70% margin, supporting a sports facility at the old Frank's nursery site. On Tuesday, at our 9:30 AM work session, we will discuss the next steps. In December of last year we had the property appraised. The appraisal results are posted on the town website: www.greenburghny.com.


On January 13th the Journal News ran a front page story on consolidation and the need to make government more efficient. Unless we re-invent the way government runs, property taxes (which continue to be the highest in the nation) will stay very high. I am writing to the Governor and State Legislators with a suggestion: an amendment to the state law to allow voters to not only petition for consolidation but to also have the power to petition for a vote on sharing services,personnel -- something less drastic than consolidation.

In 2010 a law went into effect: the NY Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act". The law provides a process for citizens to petition for a public vote on dissolving or consolidating local governments. The law applies to towns, villages, fire districts and other special districts. Although the law had the potential to reduce the costs and increase the efficiency of service delivery through economies of scale, better coordination and via the elimination of redundant services - it hasn't been very successful. Only a handful of communities across the state (most in small upstate communities) have taken advantage of the law.

Consolidation of local governments hasn't happened to the extent it should because many people are afraid of change. Some object to consolidation because they believe that their local government is run better than the entity that wishes to consolidate with them. Smaller government is closer to the people -even if it is inefficient. People like the access they have with officials at the local level and feel that their voice is more likely to be heard.

Westchester officials have been discussing consolidation for decades - with little success. If the New York State Legislature would amend the law that went into effect in 2010 and allow voters to petition for sharing personnel and some services, without consolidation, there might be less opposition. For example, voters in Greenburgh might wish to keep three paid fire departments independent and overseen by separate elected fire districts. But, they might be receptive to the concept of sharing Fire Chiefs -especially after a Fire Chief retires. Some clerical and administrative positions could also be shared among the fire districts. Residents might not want to consolidate school districts but they might be willing to share School Superintendents after retirements occur (some school districts in Westchester are paying their school superintendents over $300,000 a year, before benefits)--which could save significant dollars. There may be clerical positions that could be shared among different school districts --without consolidation, something that has been talked about for years. Greenburgh and village residents might prefer having separate police departments. But, they might want to petition for a vote on sharing dispatchers-something less dramatic.

The new law, if approved, should also provide residents of different counties with the ability to petition for a referendum to share some county services -while maintaining the independent county governments. For example, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties could share transportation commissioners since buses currently run from one county to another. Most of the social service functions that the county governments currently provide are mandated by the state. I think some of the administration of social services among counties could also be shared--to save taxpayers significant dollars. I have previously called for the elimination of county government or consolidation of counties- Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have no county governments. NYS lawmakers are not open to the idea of eliminating county governments. But, voters might be receptive to sharing personnel, short of consolidation.

If voters would be given the opportunity to force a vote on sharing of services, personnel costs could be reduced and government would be run in a more efficient manner. My suggestion is better than doing nothing, not as effective in cutting costs as consolidation. However, it would help the state reduce the cost of governing and property taxes would also be reduced. Providing the public with the ability to force a vote (via the petition process) on sharing services/personnel is democracy at its best. It provides taxpayers with the chance to force change -even if elected officials are reluctant to rock the boat.


Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Saturday, January 12, 2013

fed's approve buyout of home on babbitt court

FEDS APPROVE BUYOUT OF HOME ON BABBITT COURT..Residents of Babbitt Court have experienced major property losses after storms over the years. Their homes, which border the Saw Mill River, have sometimes been accessible after a storm only by boat. After Hurricane Irene the town was approached by one woman whose property was significantly damaged. She asked the town to apply for a buyout. FEMA authorized the buyout and is requiring the town to post this public notice on our website. The town's share of the buyout will be assumed by the property owner, not the taxpayers.  This is the 2nd major initiative the town, in cooperation with the federal government, has taken to assist residents of Babbitt Court. In 2004 we received an initial federal grant of $800,000 to uplift 7 homes - enabling the homes to avoid property damages after storms.   The town, in cooperation with the village of Elmsford, has also tried to reduce flooding by clearing debris from the Saw Mill River --an initiative we started in 2011.    
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Acquisition and Demolition of Substantially Damaged Structures

Notification is hereby given to the public of the intent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide Hazard Mitigation Assistance funding to the Town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, New York.

The proposed project is the voluntary acquisition and demolition of one (1) property. The property was substantially damaged by flood waters from Hurricane Irene on August 27th and 28th, 2011 or Tropical Storm Lee on September 7th and 8th, 2011. The subject property is located within the base, or one percent chance floodplain (also known as the 100-year floodplain) of the Saw Mill River.

The overall purpose of the action is to remove structures from the floodplain and create open space for the restoration and preservation of natural beneficial floodplain functions. The Town of Greenburgh proposes to acquire the property, demolish all structures and grade and seed the parcels. After demolition and site restoration, the property will be maintained in perpetuity as open space. The property owner has agreed to voluntarily participate in this program.

Pursuant to federal Executive Orders 11988 (Floodplain Management) and 11990 (Protection of Wetlands), interested persons may obtain additional information regarding this action by contacting FEMA Region II Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Leo O’Brien Federal Building, 11A Clinton Square, Room 742, Albany, New York 12206-5421. Comments should be submitted in writing at the above address within 15 days of this notice

Friday, January 11, 2013

town bd to discuss franks nursery and invitation for new proposals

The Greenburgh Town Board will discuss at Tuesday’s work session meeting a proposal by House of Sports to pay the town $3.5 million for the Frank’s nursery property. We recently had the property appraised for about $1.6 million. Game On had been negotiating with the town for over a year to build a sports bubble at the old Frank’s nursery. They were prepared to pay the town $1.6 million for the property. Both Game on and House of Sports have advised us that they would assume all the costs for the contamination clean up. It’s possible that the Town Board on Tuesday will decide to invite interested parties to submit new proposals. The meeting will take place at 9:30 AM on Tuesday at Town Hall.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

copy of letter I sent to ken jenkins inviting him to meet with Town Board re: WESTHELP

From: Paul Feiner
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 10:15 AM
To: Jenkins, Ken; Shimsky, Mary Jane; County Executive (WEB); Plunkett, Kevin J.; Williams, Alfreda; Smith, Michael; 'tjaesq@aol.com'; 'abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us'; 'scousins@senate.state.ny.us'; 'janis.morris52@gmail.com'
Cc: 'JCavanaugh@empireplanning.com'; Town Board; Timothy Lewis; Townclerk
Ken: I would be most grateful if you would attend the Town Board work session on Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM. I would like to request that you provide the Town Board with a commitment that you will allow the members of the Legislature to vote for or against the Ferncliff lease sometime in February.
Ferncliff has submitted their application to the state. We expect a response in the near future.
Members of the Town Board unanimously support the Ferncliff application. It's a great use for the property. Ferncliff is a terrific cause -they provide essential services to the developmentally disabled population. Ferncliff has offered the town the most revenue ($140,000 a year more than the closest competitor in our recent bid process). The additional revenue will help the town keep taxes as low as possible. And, Ferncliff requires the least amount of local/school government support --also helping local taxpayers.

If you would commit to an up or down vote of the Legislature - it will be very helpful to the town. It's not in anyone's interest to keep fighting - to have an on going feud between the county and town. And, for nothing to get done. If the Legislature says yes to Ferncliff we will be most grateful. If you say no we will promptly award the lease to one of the other affordable housing developers that bid on the property.

I hope you will response to this request and invitation. Hope to see you Tuesday morning. If you can't meet at 9:30 AM board members meet the entire morning -usually till early afternoon on Tuesday mornings. We will immediately call on you--so there will be no waiting time on your part. Our Greenburgh Legislators, Mary Jane Shimsky, Alfreda Williams, Michael Smith are invited to join you at the meeting.


copy of letter I sent to ken jenkins inviting him to meet with Town Board re: WESTHELP

From: Paul Feiner
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 10:15 AM
To: Jenkins, Ken; Shimsky, Mary Jane; County Executive (WEB); Plunkett, Kevin J.; Williams, Alfreda; Smith, Michael; 'tjaesq@aol.com'; 'abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us'; 'scousins@senate.state.ny.us'; 'janis.morris52@gmail.com'
Cc: 'JCavanaugh@empireplanning.com'; Town Board; Timothy Lewis; Townclerk
Ken: I would be most grateful if you would attend the Town Board work session on Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM. I would like to request that you provide the Town Board with a commitment that you will allow the members of the Legislature to vote for or against the Ferncliff lease sometime in February.
Ferncliff has submitted their application to the state. We expect a response in the near future.
Members of the Town Board unanimously support the Ferncliff application. It's a great use for the property. Ferncliff is a terrific cause -they provide essential services to the developmentally disabled population. Ferncliff has offered the town the most revenue ($140,000 a year more than the closest competitor in our recent bid process). The additional revenue will help the town keep taxes as low as possible. And, Ferncliff requires the least amount of local/school government support --also helping local taxpayers.

If you would commit to an up or down vote of the Legislature - it will be very helpful to the town. It's not in anyone's interest to keep fighting - to have an on going feud between the county and town. And, for nothing to get done. If the Legislature says yes to Ferncliff we will be most grateful. If you say no we will promptly award the lease to one of the other affordable housing developers that bid on the property.

I hope you will response to this request and invitation. Hope to see you Tuesday morning. If you can't meet at 9:30 AM board members meet the entire morning -usually till early afternoon on Tuesday mornings. We will immediately call on you--so there will be no waiting time on your part. Our Greenburgh Legislators, Mary Jane Shimsky, Alfreda Williams, Michael Smith are invited to join you at the meeting.


Monday, January 07, 2013

lowest burglary rate in 6 year

article is in today's www.greenburgh.dailyvoice.com.

Greenburgh Burglaries Lowest In Six Years

There were 68 burglaries reported to the Greenburgh Police Department in 2012, the lowest number of incidents in six years.Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The number of burglaries in Greenburgh fell in 2012 to its lowest point in six years, according to the Greenburgh Police Department and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The state agency has compiled the number of incidents reported to police each year since 2007, including the number of violent crimes and property crimes. The Greenburgh Police Department ranked sixth-highest in Westchester County in the average number of incidents reported each year, with 764.
Greenburgh police reported 68 burglaries in 2012, down from 80 burglaries in 2011. During 2012, burglaries were at their highest in July, with 10 incidents, and lowest in October, with only two incidents.
Greenburgh police reported 3,821 incidents from 2007 through 2011. The report includes the violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and the property crimes of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
Greenburgh Police Chief Joe DeCarlo said the department has been making an effort to lower the number of burglaries in the town over the past few years, including the creation of a burglary task force in May 2011.
Police have increased their presence in both uniform and marked cars to attempt to deter burglars, as well as undercover in plain clothes to try to catch perpetrators, DeCarlo said. Police alerted neighborhoods after several night burglaries occurred in Edgemont by leaving fliers on homes' doorsteps, saying the residents needed to add outside lighting to prevent dangerous incidents.
"The nighttime burglaries were a concern — many houses didn't have lights on or timers, so they were inviting burglars into their homes," DeCarlo said. "We did try to be proactive and get the word out. I think it paid off."
Greenburgh owes its high crime incident rate to being one of the largest communities in the county — the Greenburgh Police Department covers 18 square miles, while most villages in the criminal justice report cover two or three, DeCarlo said.
Greenburgh has had two murders since 2007, according to the report.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

students to lobby town board for recycling improvements...thank you from a new business Batteries Plus

This Wednesday some students who are in 3rd grade to 8th grade and who are enrolled in the Xposure after school program at the Theodore Young Community Center- will make a presentation to the Town Board. They will urge the Town Board to purchase more recycling bins to place at the Theodore Young Community Center. After the Town Board hears the presentation of the students (which will take place at 7:30 PM--first item on the agenda), the Town Board will consider voting on a resolution which was prepared by the students implementing the recommendation. If the resolution is approved this student drafted resolution will be the first legislative action to be approved in 2013.

The Xposure after school program receives substantial grant assistance from the Lanza Family Foundation. The Xposure program targets children and adolescents in lower income areas. They provide students with a taste of science, technology, nutrition, finance (students invest real dollars in the stock market), civic activities. The Xposure program was also profiled in Scholastic Magazine, ABC TV, the NY Times and in other media over the years.

I got my own start in politics when I was a student. In 1973 I successfully lobbied the members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators to appropriate $50,000 for the first bikeway in Westchester-on the Bronx River Parkway. The following year I served on former County Executive Al Del Bello's Bicycle Task Force and successfully pushed for the closing of the Bronx River Parkway on Sundays in the spring/summer for bicyclists--a program that is still popular today. Because of the positive experience I had when i was a student lobbying for changes - I decided to make a career out of public service. If lawmakers had ignored the initiative I was advocating for or had said no, I might have chosen another career. It's my hope that the students who attend the Town Board meeting on Wednesday night will also leave with a positive experience about government and their ability to influence decision maker's. Who knows--one of the students making a presentation on Wednesday night could be a future United States Senator, NYS Governor or town official? It's also my hope that Xposure and schools around the town will have students lobby for additional initiatives. The best way students can learn about government is to speak out about issues they are concerned about and to push for changes they believe are important. The xposure presentation on Wednesday should be a beginning.
For info about xposure check the following website...

_A few weeks ago I encouraged residents to welcome one of Greenburgh's newest businesses -BatteriesPlus (located near Planet Pizza). The community responded. Please see the following thank you letter from the owners of the business.
If you know of other new businesses that are opening in the town, please advise. I would like to share the good news with town residents and encourage the community to be supportive.
From: eros.corpus@batteriesplus.net [eros.corpus@batteriesplus.net]
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2013 10:58 AM
To: Paul Feiner
Cc: jennifer.corpus@batteriesplus.net
Subject: RE: Batteries Plus Bulbs

Hello Paul,

Simply want to take the time out and personally thank you and the whole town of Greenburgh for their overwhelming support by shopping at our store. It truly validates that my wife and I have picked the right area to open and help our local community for all their batteries and bulbs needs.

As a courtesy, we'd like to remind everyone to get a FREE battery test to ensure their cars have the proper CCA (cold cranking amps) especially during winter where the temps can drop and unfortunately kills their batteries. For more information about our company kindly visit www.batteriesplusbulbs.com

Thanks again and look forward to seeing you at our ribbon cutting ceremony.


Eros and Jennifer Corpus 300 Tarrytown Road, White Plains 997 9400 (near Planet Pizza)

Friday, January 04, 2013

one arm bandit sanitation truck demonstration tuesday at 9:30 am-January 8,2013

The Greenburgh Town Board will meet Tuesday morning, January 8th, to discuss capital budget requests that department heads have forwarded to the Town Board for consideration. Among the more innovative requests: funds to purchase a one arm bandit sanitation truck. The truck that we are looking at purchasing will be at Town Hall at 9:30 AM for a demonstration. We will set aside cans along the new roadway just above Town Hall so Town Board members and the public can see how the trucks operate. You are invited to attend this work session demonstration.

The Greenburgh Town Board is considering the possibility of purchasing a ONE ARMED BANDIT -- a new, more efficient garbage truck that uses one employee instead of three to pick up garbage. As employees in the sanitation department retire the workforce would shrink. Communities that have purhased the truck report faster service and fewer workers compensation claims by injured public works employees. The City of White Plains has been using these vehicles. The Town of Harrison is also interested in the truck.
The “One-Armed Bandit” is an automated refuse collection truck that has the capacity of auto-loading refuse containers three to four times the size of a regular garbage can. It also is capable of making 700 to 1,200 stops per route with a single operator, “all while increasing efficiency for the residents and safety for the operators,” said a report on the system.
When we purchase the truck the town will provide residents with a free, special large container that can be secured by the remote arm on the garbage truck. On collection days, residents will place the container in the street and with a space of four feet between the container and parked vehicles, mailbox, trees or other obstacles. The trash truck driver can then safely pick-up and place back the container in the same location. The automated trash collection program has proven to work well in all types of weather including snow and rain and containers can withstand winds of up to 45 miles per hours.
The program is expected to be less costly than the current system where employees manually place the refuse in the rear loading packer trucks. We will test the truck on some streets initially - and if we like the truck will purchase additional trucks in future years.
Paul Feiner

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

what are your goals for 2013? Wall Street Journal praises Hartsdale

Have a happy and healthy new year. Please take a moment to think of some initiatives that you would like the town to focus on in 2013. What action steps would you like to see the Town Board take this year to make Greenburgh an even better town? What do you like? What don't you like? We can always improve. Please e mail your suggestions to townboard@greenburghny.com . Suggestions will be discussed with council members Ken Jones, Diane Juettner, Kevin Morgan, Francis Sheehan, Town Clerk Judith Beville and department heads.

Next Tuesday the Town Board will start reviewing the 2013 capital budget. We will be addressing infrastructure concerns in the budget.

This past weekend the Wall Street Journal ran a very positive article about Hartsdale. The headline: Hartsdale: It's not Scarsdale, but it's close" (Dec 29-30,2012). The Journal mentioned that Hartsdale "borders the affluent village of Scarsdale as well as the more bustling city of White Plains--and offers its residents some of the best features of both."
The Journal called the hamlets E Hartsdale Ave, part of the town of Greenburgh "quaint and pedestrian friendly."

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Hartsdale: It's Not Scarsdale, but It's Close

    • Melanie Lefkowitz
    The Westchester hamlet of Hartsdale borders the affluent village of Scarsdale as well as the more-bustling city of White Plains—and offers its residents some of the best features of both.
    "It has an ideal location," says broker Marilyn Krizansky of Houlihan Lawrence, who lives in Hartsdale. "You don't have the taxes of Scarsdale, but you have the advantages of being close to a metropolitan area of White Plains, for shopping and restaurants…and it has a residential feeling just like Scarsdale."
    The hamlet, part of the town of Greenburgh, has a quaint and pedestrian-friendly downtown along East Hartsdale Avenue, with larger stores along Central Avenue. About 20 miles from Manhattan and with a Metro-North commute to Grand Central Terminal in as little as 32 minutes, Hartsdale is convenient for those working in New York City as well as in White Plains.
    The area has a population of around 5,300, according to the 2010 Census, and consists of several distinct neighborhoods, including Poets' Corner, with streets named for poets; College Corners, where the streets are named for colleges; and Manor Woods, which is a short walk to downtown.
    In addition to its single-family homes, Hartsdale offers a relatively large selection of condominium and cooperative apartments, many of them within walking distance of the train. Apartment prices range from around $65,000 for a studio to more than $400,000 for large, well-appointed units, brokers say. Single-family houses generally start in the mid-$300,000s and climb to roughly $1 million.

    If You're Browing for a Home in Hartsdale

    The median listing price in Hartsdale in November was $469,000, says Zillow.com, a 10.4% climb from November 2011. By comparison, November's median listing price was $579,000 in White Plains, $1.498 million in Scarsdale and $599,000 in neighboring Ardsley, Zillow says.
    "If you want to pop into Scarsdale for some of the restaurants you can, and you have the same commute [as Scarsdale], but it's certainly a lot more affordable," says Sherry Wiggs, of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.
    Hartsdale attracts young professionals, retirees and empty nesters as well as young families leaving the five boroughs to seek more space, brokers say. Its population is relatively diverse, and in recent years the hamlet has seen an influx of Asian residents, who comprised around 17% of the population in the 2010 Census.
    Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal
    A trail in Hart's Brook Nature Preserve.
    Among Hartsdale's historic sites are the Odell House, on Ridge Road, which served as headquarters for Rochambeau, the French general who served on the American side during the Revolutionary War, and the still-operating Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematory, on North Central Park Avenue, which dates back to 1896 and is believed to be the nation's first pet cemetery. The cemetery includes a War Dog Memorial honoring canines that served during World War I, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year.
    Parks: The Hart's Brook Nature Preserve and Arboretum, a 125-acre green space that was purchased jointly by the town of Greenburgh, Westchester County and New York state in 1999, includes a barn, greenhouse, pond and 2.5 miles of open walking trails. The 236-acre, county-run Ridge Road Park has walking trails, playgrounds and ball fields, and it includes the Miracle Field for children and adults with disabilities, which has a flat, cushioned surface and wheelchair-accessible dugouts.
    Schools: Hartsdale is part of the Greenburgh Central School District 7, which enrolls 1,630 students and has an early-childhood program, three elementary schools, a middle and a high school.
    According to state data, 87% of students in the district who entered high school in 2007 met or exceeded state standards for proficiency in English four years later, compared with 80% statewide. In math, 85% of the 2007 group met or exceeded proficiency standards in 2010-11, compared with 81% statewide, the data show.
    Local private schools include the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, a conservative Jewish day school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade with its lower school in White Plains and upper school in Hartsdale; and the Maria Regina High School, a Roman Catholic school for girls.
    Dining: A number of restaurants are situated downtown on East Hartsdale Avenue, several with outdoor seating. They include Harrys of Hartsdale, a bar and restaurant specializing in steaks and seafood; Vega Mexican Cuisine, a traditional Mexican restaurant; and BosphoRus, serving Turkish and Mediterranean fare. Pas-Tina's Ristorante, another Italian eatery, is on South Central Avenue.
    Shopping: Small shops line East Hartsdale Avenue, with some larger stores on Central Avenue, including a Trader Joe's. A popular seasonal farmers' market is held Saturdays at the Hartsdale train station, and mall shopping is available in neighboring White Plains.
    Entertainment: Movies and night life can be found in White Plains.
    A version of this article appeared December 29, 2012, on page A18 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Hartsdale: It's Not Scarsdale, but It's Close.