Welcome to the Town of Greenburgh
News & Information  
  Select News to View

Please select the year.
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

Back to Article List

Release Date: November 29, 2010

  Many communities in NYS have independent library districts. The voters elect the members of the Library Board and approve the library budget. The library is independent of town government and town politics.
  Should the Greenburgh Library become an independent district? TO REDUCE COSTS AND INCREASE EFFICIENCIES - should the five village libraries within Greenburgh and the Greenburgh Library join forces and create one independent library district for unincorporated Greenburgh and the villages (the voters would elect the Trustees and approve proposed budgets)? The town cannot unilaterally create a town-wide library district. This would require village/town support.
  If a Greenburgh library district  is established and if the district would include the villages and unincorporated sections of town there could be better coordination of library hours (different libraries could be open on different weekends or evenings and a schedule could be posted when each of the libraries are open). We could maintain high quality services, even if there are future  budget cuts (NYS is considering a law that would limit future town/village/school/fire district tax increases).  Staff could also be moved around to the satellite libraries -- depending on needs. The five village libraries and library in the unincorporated section of town would also coordinate book/video purchases and budgets--possibly saving some money.
  I would appreciate your feedback on this suggestion. Please e mail me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com.  Last week I wrote to the library boards in each of the villages asking for their feedback. I will be meeting with the Greenburgh Library Board this week to discuss.
   Please read the following article in today's Tarrytown Patch about the future of the TZ bridge. The article speculates that there could be tolls on the Bronx River Parkway and Sprain Parkway --down the line. The town will continue to monitor the future of the TZ Bridge and will keep you informed if new tolls are ever seriously discussed by other levels of government.

Ravitch: No Money to Bridge Funding Gap for Tappan Zee Replacement

Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch says the state can't afford a proposed $16 billion replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge. In a new report he recommends new tolls, taxes and fees to raise the money.

"The development and phase-in of a coordinated regional tolling strategy that includes all key bridges and statewide roads, especially the parkway system, could provide funds for projects like the Tappan Zee Bridge."

That could mean new tolls on the currently free-for-all Sprain Brook, Bronx River and Taconic Parkways, as well as an increase to the $5 toll on the southbound side of the Tappan Zee. 

State officials began discussing a replacement for the span, which was built to last for 50 years and is now 55 years old, in 1998. But it was only in 2008 that officials released a vision for the new bridge, a $16 billion project that would include lanes reserved for an express bus line from Suffern to Port Chester and high-speed commuter trains that would run from the upper Hudson Valley to Grand Central. 

Last month, the group appointed to oversee the design of the new bridge announced it had narrowed down a number of proposals to two distinct plans. One would see the construction of a double-decker bridge, with the lower deck carrying trains. The second plan is to build a wider bridge with train tracks running down the middle.

Both designs allow for the construction of a new span that would include space for high-speed rail to be built in the future, instead of forcing the state to pay for the entire project at once.

But the recent forward momentum of the development process has been blunted by a complete lack of funding for the bridge and little consensus on sources for the billions of dollars. After closing most of a $9 billion deficit this year, state officials are facing up to $45 billion in budget gaps over the next three years. 

The fiscal woes have created uncertainty for the state Department of Transportation, the agency leading the Tappan Zee project. The department's five-year, $26 billion capital budget was slashed this year to a two-year, $7 billion plan. A spokeswoman for the DOT did not return calls seeking comment. 

Harriet Cornell, the chair of the Rockland County Board of Legislators, has been heavily involved with the ongoing plans for most of this decade. She said the taboo subject of financing has never been properly discussed.

"So much time has gone into planning for commuter rail that may never come to pass because of its enormous expense," Cornell said. "There really needed to be a better recognition of the realities, not only in this current economic climate, but of the limited resources even five or eight years ago."

Cornell added, "We have had hints about where the funding might come from, but none of it," including tolls, taxes and higher registration fees, "is very palatable and no real plan has been put forth."

On the same day as Ravitch released his report, Gov. Paterson told a radio news host that the state was looking across the Hudson to New Jersey for help in replacing the "decaying" bridge.

"Because it's going to cost $10 to $14 billion to [replace] it, if we designated the Port Authority lines north, that might be a deal that New Jersey is interested in," Paterson said, referring to the jurisdiction of the Port Authority, a bi-state agency that oversees a number of bridges and tunnels.

"If both states shared on the resources, it could get done. Time is running out [and] before there's a major catastrophe, I would think we would want to do this."

The office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not return calls seeking comment. The cost-cutting Republican freshman recently rejected $3 billion in federal funding for a high-speed rail project while voicing support for a proposed extension of the New York City subway to Seacaucus. 

State officials also are hoping to secure federal funding for the project, but no specific grants have been announced. President Obama is pushing for a $50 billion investment in infrastructure projects, though it's still not clear how Republican control of the House of Representatives will affect the proposal. 

Phil Ferguson, the finance manager for the Tappan Zee project, recently acknowledged that the state will have to cobble together funds from a number of sources. 

"There will need to be multiple funding resources," Ferguson said at an October forum hosted by Cornell, the Rockland Board of Legislators chair. "There's no single source that can pay for the whole thing. It's unrealistic to think we can get 100 percent federal funding for project. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us."

While the state scrambles to find funding for the Tappan Zee replacement, it's pouring millions into ongoing repairs on the existing span. A project that began in 2007 will see 28 percent of the metal plates, or decks, that make up the bridge be replaced by the winter of 2012. The state has already spent nearly $250 million on the repairs, according to the Thruway Authority. 

Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo, who toured the bridge earlier this month, said that the repairs are necessary for the existing bridge, which will likely be carrying cars for another decade and possibly longer.

"Even if you decided tomorrow that you were going to build a replacement bridge, you would still need to keep this bridge safe for a number of years," Cuomo said. "So it's really not 'either/or' [replace or repair] at this point. You're going to have to repair and that's what they're in the midst of doing now."

The Tappan Zee was designed to carry fewer than 100,000 cars per day, but routinely handles more than 150,000 now. The bridge was built in the early 1950s during the Korean War, and a shortage in building materials meant that a sturdier bridge couldn't be built. The George Washington Bridge, for example, opened in 1931 and was designed to last 150 years. 

According to state inspections of the Tappan Zee Bridge, one of the biggest structural issues is the deterioration of the wooden pilings, which are beams submerged in the Hudson River that hold up the bridge. The pilings have been eroded by the water, expanded and contracted by extreme weather and chewed into by waterborne worms.

Cornell said she'd like to see continued input by citizens and municipal officials to ensure that the mega-project is on the right track.

"Some individuals have played a very active role in preventing adverse impact on their communities and the environment," she said.

"There has to be a better way of working together on these important regional projects. It's very disappointing to see that the metro region does not have a better and more useful transportation system."?

Officials working on the replacement project are expected to announce the final design sometime in the spring of 2011.

Print this page Print this page Print this page Email this page Email this page

Contact Information | Home | Town Supervisor | Town Council | Town Clerk's Office | Tax Department | Departments | Documents & Forms | Town Code | GIS Maps, Tax and Assessment Information | Agendas & Minutes | Watch Live Board Meetings | Public Access TV On Demand | Links | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | Employment Opportunities | Town Updates by E-Mail | Pay Parking Tickets Online | Pay Water Bill Online | On-Line Tax Payments | Map to Town Hall
Use Mobile Site

Copyright © 2014 Town of Greenburgh, NY. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Cit-e-Net