Supervisor’s report on latest Town Board meeting
Saturday, July 26, 2014
~ from Supervisor Rob Greenstein
Editor’s Note: Yesterday Supervisor Rob Greenstein provided highlights of last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting in the Town’s e-newsletter. To sign up to receive the Town e-newsletter, click HERE.
• I first want to acknowledge that the Planning Board is working very hard on their comments regarding the Chappaqua Crossing application, and we look forward to hearing those comments. I believe another joint meeting with the Planning Board would be helpful and productive. This is the biggest application facing the town in decades and we must work together to get it right. [The public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing of July 22 was continued to Tuesday, August 12.]
• We heard a presentation from Ben Lieberman on distracting driving, a topic that unfortunately is of great importance to him since the tragic passing of his 19-year-old son Evan after a car accident caused by distracted driving. Evan’s parents have set up an organization to combat distracted driving known as “DORCs”—“Distracted Operators Risk Casualties.” DORCs is committed to changing behavior through educating the public, advocating for enforcement and fighting for legislation. Keep the DORCs off the road! Additionally, the entire Lieberman family has organized a non-profit called “Evan’s Team”, to raise funds and awareness for community concerns and issues. You can learn more about DORCs at http://www.dorcs.org
• We approved the Amendment of Chapter 123 of our Town Code to change the free parking in town from two (2) hours to three (3) hours.
• We approved the appointment of the following volunteers to the Mandate Relief Committee, each for a three year term:
Judy McGrath – Chair
James McCauley – Alternate
• We approved the upgrade of the Town’s NIXLE contract to add features which include the ability to publish a NIXLE feed on the website, social media integration, and geographic targeting.
• Congratulations to Mark Gallagher on his appointment to the position of Police Officer with the Town of New Castle Police Department.
• Congratulations to Police Officer Kelly Close on his promotion to the rank of Sergeant.
What is the Mandate Relief Committee?
Editor’s Note: A group of residents who will examine mandates imposed by the State, the expenses of which fall to local municipalities. Hence the ‘unfunded” that often appears with “mandate”—so the committee will seek legislative relief from unfunded mandates.
Relief from unfunded mandates is certainly a big part of it, but there is something else we need to keep an eye on. It appears as if there is movement backed by at least one town board member, perhaps more, to get the state to exempt capital improvements from the tax cap. If that effort is successful, our taxes will skyrocket. Beware.
Editor’s Note: How will taxes “skyrocket” if capital improvements are exempted? Aren’t capital improvements financed by borrowing and aren’t those bonds or loans paid off gradually, yes, through taxes, but no, not the “skyrocketing” sort. And it seems to me that the board has mainly been talking about financing capital improvements for which we’re desperate: repair of infrastructure for downtown Chappaqua. There are taxes and there are taxes.
What is the actual dollar value of the mandates that we look to eliminate? If New Castle was able to have these mandates lifted, what would be the dollar savings on average per property taxpayer in New Castle? Another words, if these mandates were wiped out, would I as a Taxpayer be saving five dollars a year or five hundred dollars a year? What is the value behind this effort and is it meant to critize one party over another party. Why are we only now looking into mandate relief and did not do this over the course of many previous years?
Taxes and taxes. Pretty soon they add up.
The repair of infrastructure for downtown Chappaqua could be done through some variant of a BID.
Editor’s Note: What town would ever ask a BID to provide water mains?
If a Business Improvement District “BID” is established, the problem is solved for the town residents -NO Taxes- and the business -They fund their own improvements with their own tax dollars.
The editor’s explanation is that EVERYONE pays for improvements that benefit ONLY the down town merchants and landlords, through bonding, instead of those beneficiaries paying for the improvements (which benefit them alone) by themselves through the mechanism of a BID.
Editor’s Note: How do working water mains—that don’t blow—under the streets of the downtown NOT benefit EVERYONE in the town? A B.I.D. might want to tackle planters and improved shop fronts, but water mains? I don’t think so.
What town would ever ask a BID to provide water mains?
A quick look via Google shows many localities that use BIDS for infrastructure, like water mains. In North Carolina, e.g, “Downtown Revitalization is defined in terms of the North Carolina State Statute as projects that include, but are not limited to improvements in water, gas, storm, and sanitary sewer mains, power lines…”
See also other similar results.
Editor’s Note: And around here, as of 2011, there were some larger Westchester Co cities that had them. It’s a lot to ask of property owners when the businesses who rent from them are not thriving. And, I bet, unheard of to ask in such situations for $5 or $6 million for infrastructure.
If the downtown lacks appeal to shoppers and, correctly according to the editor, a BID is designed to create that very appeal, then, why, for cripes sake, do we not have one?
Editor’s Note: B.I.D.s take effort (and $$, from owners of property), and are more common in larger cities. From a Lo-Hud article: http://archive.lohud.com/article/99999999/WATCHDOG/399990161/Westchester-s-business-districts-paid-out-2-5M-2010
Business improvement districts, or BIDs, are nonprofit organizations with defined boundaries that collect a special property tax from all property owners in the district. They are created when a majority of property owners within a proposed district vote to organize one.
We have clever lawyers and citizens (or so we are always told). There could be a variant BID created to go along with, work with, some bonding of capital improvements, and the result could be staying within the tax cap. Business property owners are not starving and could work with the town on creative solutions.
Your definition fits our downtown need. Owners and their tenants decide. The town passed the resutoon and the owners/tenants vote in a veto . Let that procedure happen. Let them vote it down so that the world can see that they do not want to help themselves at their own expense. Let’s bring it in. Let take verrrrry rich landlords explain why they want the rest if us( not them) to pay for their improvements. Who us paying for the improvements to our homes. The hipocrisy is thick and dripping. Out it out there
Bids are created and run by the businesses that are within its district. Just like any government we have. The only difference is that the property owners can opt out. That’s ok. Let them do it so the taxpayers can see that the property owners rejected their own self pay help mechanism. Then, discretionary decisions by the taxpayers( bill payers) US, can decide what if anything we are willing to do to help the rich
Landlords who refuse to pay one cent to help themsrlves
Why has a BID not been approved? The store /property owners can accept or reject it. Whats wrong with this picture ?
Oh , I forgot. The merchants expect an Obama-esq subsidy from the rest of us so that they can pay their mortgages and pay for their children’s tuitions. That is , we pay our mortgages. AND pay for or subsidize the merchants’ mortgages and tuitions for their children on top of our bills. Sheesh
An approved bid shows that the landlords are willing to pay their own freight
Façade upgrades to any village are what BIDs are all about
How come the TB and PB met in executive session last night? Where is the transparency that the new board members promised. Is this in violation of the Open Meetings Law?
Editor’s Note: They are allowed to seek advice of counsel in executive session.