2005—YEAR IN REVIEW
Paul Feiner, GreenburghTownSupervisor
2006 was a busy year for the town of Greenburgh. The following are some highlights:
NO TAX HIKE—The Greenburgh Town Board approved a budget that includes no tax hikes for 2006. The Board was able to reduce the taxes slightly by dipping into fund balance and by taking advantage of the increase in revenues from the Mortgage and Sales Tax.
LIBRARY EXPANSION—This past spring Greenburgh voters approved a 20 million dollar referendum to expand the library. Numerous public information sessions were held prior to the vote.
NEW CODE ENFORCER—The Greenburgh Town Board supported a request I made to add a new position to town staff: Code Enforcer. The position will be dedicated to zoning issues. The officer will respond to written complaints, verify the validity of the complaint and investigate legitimate violations and court appearances when necessary. We will be able to step up enforcement of quality of life issues: littering, sanitation, noise, dumping and other activities.
MORE POLICE---The town will be increasing the number of police officers in the town by 5 new officers in 2006- even with the addition of these officers the town’s police force will continue to have the lowest ratios of police officers to 1,000 residents among surrounding communities. Crime continues to be at a historic low.
Courthouse Improvements—The town has contracted with an architectural firm to prepare conceptual and schematic designs for a major renovation to the town’s courthouse. This project will include some enhancements to the police headquarters building and much needed additional parking. The cost could be at least $10 million dollars. We’ve included in the new budget 2.5 million for court house improvements. It would be prudent to set aside funds now to mitigate the use of debt to pay for this project.
A & B BUDGET CONTROVERSY---There is a feud between the villages and unincorporated Greenburgh residents relating to the historic allocation of funds. The town hired a mediator, former State Supreme Court Justice Sam Fredman to try to mediate the dispute. I have sent a letter to the NYS Comptroller requesting opinions concerning various revenues and expenditures, after receiving a report from the Special Committee on Budget Allocation.
DOG PARK---State Senator Nick Spano announced that he secured $43,000 in funding for a dog park. CountyExecutiveAndrew Spano indicated that the county would make a dog park available to the town at RidgePark. The Parks & Recreation Advisory Board endorsed the proposal.
DEFIBRILLATOR LAW—The Town Board approved a local law introduced by former Councilwoman Timmy Weinberg to require the placement of automated external defibrillators at town facilities and senior centers.
INSURANCE COMMITTEE—Richard Liskov of Edgemont is spearheading a new committee to review the town’s insurance procurements. The committee is reviewing the town’s current insurance purchasing procedures and will be exploring cost savings alternatives.
BAYER EXPANDS—DANNON MAKES HQ GREENBURGH—Greenburgh continues to attract major corporations to our community. Dannon’s national headquarters are now located across from our Town Hall. Bayer HealthCare LLC announced plans to expand its Greenburgh operations and will create 100 new jobs in Greenburgh.
BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE—We created a new town-wide beautification committee to identify gateways in different neighborhoods that need beautification. We welcome new members.
ENERGY CONSERVATION—The town installed high efficiency lighting and occupancy sensors at Town Hall that will save the town a substantial amount of money. We received a grant to power part of Town Hall by solar energy. But, construction related problems (not the town’s fault) will delay the project’s implementation till 2006.
MOODY’S CITES TOWN FOR SOLID FISCAL MANAGEMENT—Moody’s assigned the town an Aa1 rating—the 2nd highest rating a locality can receive. They praised the town for our “Strong financial position” and “solid fiscal management.”
KATRINA –After the Katrina hurricane some residents worked with the town to help victims. One family, Kimberly and Carrie Alvanza, took their home of the market and helped house a victim of the hurricane. Thomas Hester, a former Greenburgh resident who relocated to Biloximoved into the Hartsdale house.
EILEEN WOODHULL ARCHIVE AND RECORD CENTER—We dedicated the new Eileen Woodhull Archive and RecordCenter. The facility, located at Town hall, was made possible through a grant from the NYS Education Department’s Local Government Record Management Improvement Fund. Eileen served as Deputy Town Clerk for 19 years until her death in 2005.
HEALTHCENTER—The Greenburgh Town Board approved an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to require special permits for Health Centers. This vote was an important step that will lead to the relocation of the GreenburghHealthCenteron Knollwood Road.
DOGS AND PEOPLE RESCUED—A flood on June 29th resulted in 27 people and 3 dogs being rescued by the Greenburgh Police. The Technical Rescue Team, formed in 197, as a response unit for extremely hazardous and difficult situations, used boats for their rescue mission.
RIDGE HILL—The Town continues to fight the proposed Ridge Hill development – a 3 million sq foot development on the Yonkers/Greenburgh/Edgemont border. We’re concerned about traffic. The Town Board authorized the funding of a special legal counsel and traffic consultants. We paid for mailings sent to Yonkersresidents homes alerting them to the problems they can expect if the Ridge Hill development is approved. A motorcade around Yonkersand Greenburgh was also organized this summer. Yonkersvoters elected a new CityCouncil President who is much more sympathetic to our traffic related concerns.
TREE CODE—The Town Board continues to review proposals to tighten up our tree code.
TEAMSTERS CONTRACT SETTLED—Our relations with labor continue to be good. We unanimously approved a 5 year contract with the Teamsters. Teamsters will receive a 3% annual increase. All our union contracts have been settled.
COURT REVENUES—The town court has been collecting much more revenue in 2005 than in previous years. Internal controls have been tightened.
BUBBLE OVER TENNIS COURT—The Town continues to negotiate with Sporttime to place a bubble over our tennis courts. They would build, at their expense, a bubble. The tennis facilities at AF Veteran Park, would be privatized during off peak seasons. The town will receive between $125,000 to $271,645 dollars in rent each year. Sporttime, at their expense, will pay for the bubble, reconstruct and resurface hard tennis courts, construct 2 new tennis courts, build a clubhouse and resurface one outdoor basketball court and two handball courts. The agreement hopefully will be finalized next year.
TRAIN STATION OVERPASS—Metro North completed the new pedestrian overpass at the Hartsdale train station.
HARTSDALE FIRE DEPT –Residents of Hartsdale approved plans to expand and renovate the two fire houses in Hartsdale (W Hartsdale Aveand Central Ave). The cost: $7,497,000.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING—8 new units of senior citzen affordable housing are being built on Manhattan Aveand Oak Street.
MORE COOPERATION WITH POLICE_ The Town of Greenburgh and the villages in Greenburgh are seeking to improve the ability of the police departments to communicate with each other. Presently, the seven police agencies that service the town have four separate radio frequencies resulting in efficiency and joint responses to major occurrences in any one of their jurisdictions. We are seeking funding so that the police departments could use common technologies. We are also funding a Marine Unit to patrol and conduct rescue operations off the 11 miles of shoreline in the Hudson River. And, are funding a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) unit.
FINALIZED CABLE TV STUDIO LOCATION—The Town Board finalized a decision to build a new cable TV studio at Town Hall, using part of the mail room for the studio. A good compromise!
MORE OPEN SPACE—We closed on a donation of 16.5 acres of vacant land: TaxterRoadin East Irvington.
PARKS ENHANCEMENTS: The town hired a consultant for the Taxter Ridge management plan. We renovated cabanas at the pool, completed renovations at PocanticoPark, secured funding for phase I of the E Rumbrook Park Renovations, made improvements at the snack bar deck at AF Veteran Park.
9A BYPASS—We resumed efforts to lobby the state to fund and implement the 9A bypass which will reduce traffic congestion in N Elmsford, Greenburgh and Tarrytown.
RE-ELECTION—I am grateful to the voters of Greenburgh for re-electing me to another two years as your Town Supervisor. I look forward to having a good working relationship with all the members of the Town Board, with civic leaders. Thank you to our former Town Councilwoman Timmy Weinberg for her years of service. And, welcome Councilman Francis Sheehan. I continue to welcome your feedback. Call me anytime.
My home phone is 478 1219. My office: 993-1540.