Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Zoning Nightmare Proposal

This past Thursday night, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met to discuss several applications before them. The first one on the agenda was from Foundation Shelbourne (Shelbourne) – again. They had already been before the Board hawking their proposed assisted living facility at 448 Underhill Avenue, which is the current home of the Sprainbrook Nursery, and were turned down. Their proposal in a residential neighborhood is simple. They will purchase the property from Al Krautter and his family for several million dollars. They will remove everything there and build their proposed 80-unit, four story facility in the middle of a residential neighborhood. According to the lawyers for Shelbourne, they only need a few variances to conform to code. If you don’t listen to the lawyers, the project violates the new Town Assisted Living facility code recently written (by Brightview Assisted Living) and adopted by the Town Board several years ago! According to them, however, they are making a residential proposal.

As mentioned previously, the Assisted Living Zoning code was written by the attorneys for the Brightview Assisted Living facility and custom tailored for their then-proposed Glenville takeover. They specified the height requirement, the acreage needed, the need for a State or County right-of way within 200ft and so on. There are other points, but these are the most salient and what was again being regurgitated to the ZBA this night. To their credit, even though the lawyers droned (more on drones in a moment) on, the ZBA members appeared to pay attention. The ZBA is actually the last line of defense for homeowners to not lose their neighborhoods. However, with the last few appointments made by Mr Feiner, that privilege is slowly being lost.

The fact that Mr Feiner wants this project to move forward for whatever reason and at any cost is more than troubling. This project is very much reminiscent of another inappropriate commercial project in a residential neighborhood that he endorsed and even held a phony referendum for: the GameOn 365. With that project, he claimed an 8-story sports bubble placed in a residential neighborhood was perfectly acceptable! While Mr Feiner enjoys a relatively unscathed lifestyle in his gated community, he has no qualms about devaluing your home or neighborhood to satisfy the financial needs and wants of his developer friends.

During the ZBA meeting many points were made by the attorney’s for Shelbourne, although many if not most were simply their opinion. In fact they showed a flyover video recorded by a drone of the property. They claimed to have unanimous Planning Board and Town Board support. This point is correct. Mr Feiner wants this project and these two Boards’ members know not to go against him or be “Sonya’d”. So they are for it. They claim there will be less impervious space and they are remediating the existing flooding on the northwest corner. Perhaps, but remediation usually entails regrading and altering the terrain, ultimately moving the water from one location to another. A key point, then, is who will get stuck with the water? They plan to extend the sewer lines into the existing ones in the area. New, larger sewer piping will be linked for these 80 units into the smaller existing sewer lines already in place. With a failing infrastructure throughout our Town being ignored by this administration, we don’t think this is a very good plan. Finally, attorneys claimed they worked closely with emergency responders at their other facilities to respond to alarms without lights and sirens. We know this cannot be correct.

The Shelbourne attorney’s tag-team presentation insisted multiple times that the residents for this facility will come from our Greenburgh neighborhoods. They will not be welcome if they are on Medicaid or have no assets to pay their way into this high-end facility. They also claimed to have ten facilities operating elsewhere and three of them are on less than the required 4-acres of property. Yet they have never said where these facilities are. Why does this matter?

Because as you agree to insert any commercial facility in a residential neighborhood, it sets a precedent that then allows any commercial facility to appeal for a variance and build where they want, whether appropriate or not. Likewise, when you have a Town Board who refuses to follow the zoning and dare we say Comprehensive Plan for the Unincorporated Town, you’ll get fractured neighborhoods, lack of continuity with looks, traffic and feel all being compromised. Is that what our homeowners signed on for when they purchased their home? We doubt it.

At issue are the same two points Shelbourne refuses to accept and know they don’t have to, mostly because they have Mr Feiner on their side fighting their fight. But the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, as we mentioned before, is the Town’s and its residents’ last line of defense. This proposed facility needs variances because the property is too small at 3.79-acres instead of the required 4-acres and is over a mile away from the State or County right-of-way that is required to be 200ft or less. The Town allowed Brightview’s attorney’s to write the current Town Zoning ordinance. That ordinance was tailor written for their facility at Rt. 119 and Benedict Avenue. It overwhelmed the rest of the neighborhood, is exclusionary to Greenburgh residents on Medicaid or without any money to purchase a space and doesn’t blend in with the surrounding area. 

If you’re not sure that the size really makes a difference, go there and see how their facility looms over the edge of the property and overpowers the area. Shelbourne’s requests for variances will probably be approved by the newer half of the Zoning Board. However, this request is cut and dry. The variances should be refused because the variances are bigger than a simple variance such as moving a set back distance from 50ft to 40ft. Shelbourne is looking to cavalierly overturn Town Zoning code for their financial benefit. This must not be allowed to happen. If Shelbourne truly wants to build an assisted living facility in Greenburgh, they should seek a different location. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Armed Forces Day!

We would like to thank all our Men and Women who are on Active Duty and our Veterans - For their Service to this great Country!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Benefit Car Show


























The Westchester Corvette Club is having their Annual Spring Dust Off Classic Car Show at Arroway Chevrolet in Mt Kisco this Sunday. The car dealership usually clears out all of their inventory to allow the classic car owners room to display their vehicles. This year, the Westchester Corvette Club is donating a portion of the proceeds to the Just Imagine Making Miracles Yours Foundation (J.I.M.M.Y.). The J.I.M.M.Y. Foundation has a ten-year legacy of helping sick children and the families.

We hope everyone will come out to what promises to be a terrific car show based on previous ones they’ve held and help to support the J.I.M.M.Y. Foundation in the quest to help sick kids and the families.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Town Board Makes Mockery of Process

We’ve previously written that Mr Feiner, and naturally his Town Board, favor the Foundation Shelbourne Assisted Living facility proposed at the site of the current Sprainbrook Nursery. Sadly, once Mr Feiner wants something, he’ll do whatever it takes to be successful. He previously tried to stop the Fortress Bible Church of Mt Vernon from building in State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti’s former backyard. He, and ultimately we the taxpayer, was subsequently sued in Federal Court and found guilty of discrimination, lying under oath, destroying evidence and four other counts. Town Councilwoman Diana Juettner was also found guilty in that action. No stranger to violating the law or bastardizing "the process" for his own gain, Mr Feiner and his Town Board has done it again.

At the last Town Board meeting, Mr Feiner prematurely held a public hearing for the SEQRA process, calling the hearing “optional”. The G10, as well as others, were out in force and all of them questioned why this SEQRA hearing was being done? SEQRA stands for State Environmental Quality Review Assessment analysis. The analysis is usually done once a project proposal has been approved. This one was not - except by Mr Feiner, which in bizarro-Greenburgh, is enough.

At issue for the proposed 4-story, 80 unit assisted living facility, is that it does not meeting the zoning requirements for the location and would require numerous variances to be allowed. You may recall several years ago when Brightview Assisted Living proposed their facility overlooking Rt 119 at Benedict Avenue (across from Stop and Shop), they wrote the zoning code for the Town. ABG and others protested it but were overruled when the Town Board adopted it almost verbatim. The code they submitted included every nuance that they had put in the plans for their facility. ABG cannot help wonder why the Town has a legal department that cannot write our own codes, regulations and laws?

This proposal requires a proper use variance. It does not have one. The Zoning Board of Appeals issued a determination on April 21st regarding an appeal by the Edgemont Community Council of then-Building Inspector John Locido’s ruling that the project did not need any variances to build its facility on the nursery’s location. One factor in play here is that the facility must, by the Brightview-written Town code, be 200 feet from a state or county right of way. That condition was easily met by Brightview with Rt 119. Shelbourne’s nearest state/county roadway is Central Park Avenue, which according to the Town Building Department is 6,025 linear feet away. The attorneys for Shelbourne have stated it is less than that if you go in a straight line. Another major issue requires another variance as the property itself is 3.79 acres and the code, again written by Brightview to accommodate Brightview’s own project, requires 4 acres! And, while maximum height shall not exceed 3-stories or 40 feet, this proposal tops out at 56.7 feet. There are several more variances and issues that the project would need to proceed. The Town Board’s myopia at the time Brightview was attempting to take over the Glenview neighborhood didn’t allow them to see any of this as an issue because Mr Feiner wanted Brightview’s project to go through. They all ballyhooed the G10 when these points were challenged. In fact, they went out of their way, as did others in the Town, to stand firm and say numerous times that there were no other parcels that could accommodate an assisted living facility anywhere in Unincorporated Greenburgh!

The Town Board’s myopia at the time Brightview was attempting to take over the Glenview neighborhood didn’t allow them to see any of this as an issue because Mr Feiner wanted this project to go through. They all ballyhooed the G10 when these points were challenged. In fact, they went out of their way, as did others in the Town, to stand firm and say numerous times that there were no other parcels that could accommodate an assisted living facility to be built anywhere in Unincorporated Greenburgh!

At last week’s Town Board meeting, many residents spoke favorably about the the Krautter family and their contributions to the neighborhood over the years. This is exactly why this “hearing” was being done and what Mr Feiner had hoped would happen. It would validate his position to move forward with this project. Others noted that this isn’t about the Krautter family and is about an inappropriate proposal for that particular location. Tor Krautter, the son, spoke passionately about the nursery being at that location long before the homes were built there and that this was his parents one shot to sell the property. We agree that the nursery was there first and will willingly concede them that property as long as it remains a nursery.

Whether good or bad, the zoning and the Town have changed and while everyone seems to support a nursery at that location, the Town should not allow an inappropriate assisted living facility there. While he and others see Shelbourne as their best option, there other developers who may be willing to purchase the property and build within appropriately zoned requirements. If Shelbourne is truly committed to this project in Greenburgh, they can find another location which conforms to the Town’s code. It’s time to stop giving developers carte blanche in our Town. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Fast Tracking Senior Living Facilities, the Latest Green-Light Buzzword

As a developer, if you want to build in Greenburgh, what could be better than to have unfettered access to parcels of land that are otherwise inappropriate for certain zoned usage? Several years ago the active buzzwords needed for approval morphed from homeless shelters to workforce housing and now to assisted living. This new solution is simply to propose an Assisted Living facility and offer all kinds of tax revenue that Mr Feiner will be able to trumpet on the developer’s behalf. The first meeting will be behind closed doors in the corner office. The next step will be an informal proposal at a Town Board Work Session, followed up with a proposal at a regular Town Board meeting. By then, all of the various departments will have gotten in line and the “sails” will have been raised by Mr Feiner enough for the deal to be ready for Town Board consummation. Such emerges the case with the Shelbourne Formation, Inc., also know as Shelbourne Assisted Living Facility.

Is justification really necessary for the consummation of this project or will a preemptive act with the Town Board’s heavy handed stamp-of-approval suffice?  As this is one of Mr Feiner’s pet projects, approval is not really necessary – it has been mandated and will go through with minimal resistance. We’ve seen when he wants a project to happen, it’ll be the proverbial “done deal”. He will send an email blast from his much-coveted GBList, professing the advantages of approving this project, regardless of the merits or accuracy of the conjectured information. A court has ordered him to share the list with a local civic association but he has still refused to surrender it! Why is this important? Because as he spreads misinformation to residents, the civic association is seeking to inform its members of the rest of the story – something that hasn’t happened in years.

The Town Board will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. It is regarding the environmental review process (SEQRA) associated with special permit applications submitted by Shelbourne Senior Living. ABG believes this to be a phony justification hearing strictly for the purposes of slanting the application forward on Shelbourne’s behalf. The assisted living facility is proposed to be built at 448 Underhill Road, the current home of the Sprainbrook Nursery. The Sprainbrook Nursery, which was opened on Underhill Avenue in Edgemont by Al Krautter's parents in 1944, has been struggling for the past few years, reducing its staff from about two dozen employees to just Krautter, his wife Heidi, and a handful of others.

The Shelbourne Senior facility is proposed as a four story, 80-unit, 70,000 sq.-ft. assisted living facility building, with off-street parking, landscaping and related amenities. Numerous approvals are required for this project to move forward. Special permits are needed from the Town Board, which will encounter little, if any resistance and be granted post haste. Area variances from the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals seem to be in flux now that the Zoning Board of Appeals ruled against the former Town Building Inspector John Locido, who retired last month, overturning his determination that no variances were required to construct the 80-bed facility. New Town code, written and submitted by the Brightview Assisted Living Facility’s attorneys, created a customized path to allow assisted living facilities in residential neighborhoods only if they are within 200 feet of a state or county right-of-way, excluding parkways and interstates. The nearest state or county right of way is nearly a mile away. The code also requires the property to be 4-acres, which this is not. And, while the Planning Board must also approve the site plan and steep slope and watercourse permits, we see little, if any, resistance there. Interestingly, when a homeowner seeks to make small additions to their homes, a years worth of permits and approval processes along with other hurdles often make moving a more viable alternative to remodeling.

Some like assisted living facilities because it offers the chance to encourage elderly family members an option to remain local while seeking to remain independent. Some see that as a win for the school districts as it promises revenue without the school district having to invest in more children. Discussing the tax revenue for the Town and various agencies involved with the operation of the facility within its neighborhood offers conflicting thoughts.
In fact we’ve been promised over a 10 year period that the Shelbourne facility will generate approximately $5 million in total property taxes – which would include $3 million to the Edgemont School District, $500,000 to the Greenville Fire District and $900,000 to the town. Of course, let’s not forget that Mr Feiner promised the Town $5million if we approved the GameOn 365 sports bubble arena in a residential neighborhood – which was proven a figment of his imagination. 

While $3million would be a windfall for the school district, the $500,000 to the Greenville Fire District may turn out to be an inadequate amount of money for the amount of alarms generated by the facility. How so? There will certainly be fire alarms from that location. But there will also be ambulance calls, known as aided cases for that location. Greenburgh Police will provide the bulk of the medical services per se, but the fire department will also respond and assist, as will volunteer ambulance corps (who will receive no money). As seen with the Hebrew Home and the Fairview FD, their responses are almost daily and in fact sometimes more. As with all fire departments, volunteer and career, if there is an alarm, they will respond, regardless of the money generated through taxes.

Other impacts related beyond the projected requests for emergency services, is the location and delivery times coupled with traffic issues during their normal course of a business day. Subsequently, the impacts of the proposal to surrounding properties should be a significant concern.

While the desire to build assisted living facilities appears noble at first blush, the apparent tact here for the developers is nothing more than finding a legal way to construct four-story apartment buildings in inappropriate locations throughout the Town. Additionally, numerous assisted living facilities throughout the state are running into financial difficulties. Sadly, most of the seniors who have moved into them have signed over their estates to do so, leaving them with little or nothing to fall back on should the facility fail. One such facility is operated by the Hebrew Home on Grasslands Road next to the Westchester Community College campus. They, and now their residents, are in financial distress as they are experiencing significant difficulties with their model. Likewise, The Esplanade in White Plains which has failed as an assisted living facility is being converted into a multi-family housing unit. Was that the plan all along?
There is a public hearing this Wednesday on May 11th at Town Hall to discuss whether or not to move forward with the Shelbourne Assisted Living Facility. There are too many issues, questions and problems with this proposal for it to move forward. We hope many residents will recognize this and come out to tell the Town what they think about this. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sports Authority Announces All Stores Closing

We originally posted an article on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 that the Sports Authority chain had filed for bankruptcy protection. Sadly, they have announced plans to close all of their stores and liquidate their inventory and assets.

Sports Authority has changed direction and decided to try to sell off its assets rather than trying to reorganize under bankruptcy protection. Initially, the sporting goods chain, said it would close or sell about a third of its 463 stores but stay open as a more streamlined company. The company’s lawyers said it had changed its approach.

In addition to a Yonkers store at the Cross County mall, Sports Authority has a store in Elmsford.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Town, County and Fire District Taxes Due Monday Night

TOWN, COUNTY AND FIRE DISTRICT TAXES DUE MONDAY NIGHT BECAUSE APRIL 30TH FALLS ON WEEKEND

The town, county and fire district taxes are usually due on April 30th. However, because today falls on a weekend you have till Monday night to pay your tax bill!  The office of the Receiver of Taxes will be open Monday till 7 PM at Town Hall. You can also pay online or by credit card.

Welcome to the Greenburgh Tax Office Website

This office collects annually, over a quarter billion dollars for the County, Town, Fire districts and 10 School districts located in Greenburgh.  It is the largest municipal collection agency in Westchester.
Please feel free to look over our website, for information that may be of importance to you.
ON-LINE TAX PAYMENT BY CHECKING ACCOUNT (ACH DEBIT) 
The Town of Greenburgh now has the ability to accept tax payments by ACH Debit of your checking account via the website.

This is a direct debit of your checking account for payment of your tax bill. There are no fees or surcharges associated with this type of payment.

To make a School or Town/County tax payment click here (Checking Acct)
ON-LINE TAX PAYMENT BY CREDIT CARD

The Town of Greenburgh now has the ability to accept tax payments by credit cards via the telephone (1-800-272-9829) and internet.

Since the town cannot absorb the service fee charged by the credit card companies, (these companies will not allow us to pass this fee along to the public) an outside firm had to be retained. Please be aware that this firm charges a significant 'convenience fee' to process your tax payment.

Official Payments Corp. is the same company that is utilized by the IRS and several State tax collection agencies.

For more information about 3rd party internet online payment click here 

To make a School tax payment click here (Credit Card)

Tax Office General Information
Dear Taxpayers,
Please make note of the following important points regarding payment of taxes. DUE DATES:
Town/County bill mailed on March 31, may be paid by April 30 without penalty
School bill mailed on August 31

1st half must be paid by September 30

2nd half must be paid by January 31
NO BILL IS MAILED IN JANUARY
MAILING ADDRESS:

177 Hillside Ave.
Greenburgh, NY 10607

Checks should be made payable to:

Greenburgh, Receiver of Taxes
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Last day of collection ONLY 9:00am - 7:00pm April 30, Sept. 30 and Jan. 31

All National Holidays Closed
Christmas Eve ½ day- 12:30pm
New Years Eve ½ day- 12:30pm
NOTE:

If you reside in a Village, please contact the Village Hall for due dates.
If you are a new owner or have recently satisfied your mortgage please contact the Tax Office immediately.
Failure to receive a bill does not allow us to waive penalties for late payments.
We honor the U.S. Post Office Postmark only, not meter stamps.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or a member of my staff at (914) 989-1550.
Very truly yours,
Anne M. Povella
Receiver of Taxes

Sales Tax in the Town of Greenburgh is 7 3/8%
The following zip codes are at least partially located in the Town of Greenburgh or one of it's Villages:
Ardsley 10502
Ardsley-on-Hudson 10503
10522 Dobbs Ferry
10523 Elmsford
10530 Hartsdale
10706 Hastings-on-Hudson
10533 Irvington
10583 Scarsdale
10591 Tarrytown
10595 Valhalla
10603 White Plains
10607 White Plains



Monday, April 25, 2016

Town Board Caves, Tries New Scheme

Stay tuned. Same Bat-channel, same Bat-time, same Bat-garbage. That’s right, once again Mr Feiner has set up the Town Board to help him appease the Edgemont Community and stave off another threat of secession from the Town while using the Rivertown communities in the forefront and make Edgemont appear almost secondary in his latest scheme. 

Scheduled on the Town agenda for the next regular meeting is TB-1 (below). 
 TB 1 - 4/27/16
Resolution of the Town Board of the Town of Greenburgh requesting that the New York State Legislature authorize the Town Board to phase in the transitional taxes for certain residential real property that increased as a result of the Town-wide Reassessment.

If you read the wording in TB-1, you’ll realize that this scheme will allow the Town Board to approve requesting the NYS Legislature to authorize (or not) the transitional revaluation tax increases only to certain residential properties based on the recently completed reassessment performed by Tyler Technologies. ABG believes this is illegal! It is a calculated risk that Mr Feiner has decided to undertake. How so you might ask? It’s simple really. What this resolution does is give Mr Feiner the ability to say that he and his Board were trying to help the Rivertown communities, as well as Edgemont, with the Phase-In. Why?  Because the decision has already been made prior to the upcoming meeting to not move forward with the 5-year Phase-In deal! Look at TB-3 (below)


Near the top of the agenda is the heading DECISIONS Under that is TB-3. 





Obviously, Mr Feiner has told his Board they will not be moving forward with the five-year Phase-In proposal offered by Edgemont. Rather, Mr Feiner is positioning his NYS legislative friends to take the heat if the Legislature fails to approve a different Phase-In to only those people who revaluation increased their taxes! Again, ABG believes this to be illegal. But Mr Feiner will look like a hero to the recently awakened Villages, as well as Edgemont, whose appraisals have sparked discussions of mass real estate sales, and by doing this, Mr Feiner believes they might stand down. To the uninitiated Village residents, they will all look at this ploy and think Mr Feiner is truly trying to help them. The rest of us know better.

Mr Feiner had said publicly that he was for and then shortly thereafter came out against the Phase-In process. Once Tax Assessor Edye McCarthy came out publicly against the proposal, Mr Feiner reaffirmed his stance against it. Once he waffled, ABG knew this deal was dead. When the Legislature fails to either act on this or refuses to approve it, Mr Feiner can and will say he did everything possible to help those whose backs he put against a wall. And, he staves off another secession threat from Edgemont. So what you ask? So plenty.

ABG’s understanding is that approximately 27% of the revenue from the Town budget comes from Edgemont. Much, much less comes from the Villages. So while Mr Feiner can fake sincerity with the Villages by making this request, he won’t really get hurt with them if the Legislatures say, “No!” However, if they do vote against the Phase-In option, which was originally proffered by Edgemont, he can say, “I did exactly what you asked me to do. It’s not my fault.” This is why he is often referred to as Teflon Paul.  

But, this really is his fault, as well as all of the other Town Boards for the last 60 years who chose to ignore revaluation for that time period. Specific to Mr Feiner is the last 24-years while he has been Supervisor. So yes, a good part of this is his fault as well as Town Board members Sheehan, Juettner, Morgan and Jones. But, no worries. The “willfully ignorant” will re-elect them once elections roll around. You see, voters in Greenburgh have short memories and ignore bad and costly behavior by our elected officials. Need examples?

Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner were found guilty in the Fortress Bible Church lawsuit. Also included was former Board member Steve Bass who has moved up into Westchester County government. Mr Feiner specifically was found guilty of lying under oath, destroying evidence and more. Guilty verdict cost to the taxpayers: $6.5 million. Then there’s Mr Feiner’s illegal termination of the WestHelp contract with the County. Cost to the taxpayers: $1.2million PER YEAR. The list is almost endless, but we’ll stop here. This must change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Greenburgh Is Not Kansas

Watching the meeting held in Irvington about a week ago, ABG was impressed with Mayor Brian Smith's demeanor and ability to keep the meeting on track, and allowing an interchange between him and his constituents. Smith, a Republican, is more of a Mayoral figurehead along with the Village Board, as Irvington employs a Village Manager. Regardless, the guest speakers were Mr Feiner and Ms McCarthy from the Town of Greenburgh. Their attendance was more a political calculation than a problem-solving one. You’ll recall Mr Feiner used to bill himself as a problem solver. Now, however, he is more of a problem creator.

Mr Smith opened the meeting with a briefing of why they were there and turned the microphone over to Mr Feiner and Ms McCarthy. Mr Feiner did his typical rope-a-dope, saying little that made sense and handed the microphone as well as the hot potato to Ms McCarthy. While she was speaking, many would ask questions seeking clarity about what she was saying.
“Let me finish,” was her standard response. Irvington residents aren’t used to be treated poorly by their elected officials! In Irvington, their leadership routinely engages in conversation and normal back-and-forth dialog. Some people bristled or left when this happened. Irvington residents never participated in one-sided government like Greenburgh leaders are wont to do.

At this week’s Town Board session, the Town hosted a “hearing” about whether to institute the Phase In process for the revaluation/tax assessment implementation. What the public didn’t know was that this measure, while being offered as an interim solution to ease the burden of the new tax increases to residents getting hit the hardest, is not going to be adopted. This was nothing more than another Feiner deflection so the Town leaders can make their decision at a work session and avoid the wrath of the public during this closed session! Sadly, the Irvington residents came to this hearing thinking they had a shot at relief. They should have read the never-present sign at the entrance to the Town Hall meeting room that says “et residens cave”, Latin for “let the resident beware”!

There seemed to be an even amount of residents pleading for and a concurrent amount pleading against the the Phase In option. Fulton Park Vice-President Tom Bock stated he was not only concerned for those whose taxes would be increased, but that certiorari settlements at tonight's meeting alone would be over $2million dollars! This Phase In will perpetuate these refunds and may ultimately help those hardest hit, but it penalizes those who previously overpaid as well as keeping the certiorari settlements alive. The only way to reduce them is to do a revaluation at 100% and level the playing field.

Ah, a level playing field. After all, Mr Feiner and his Board boasted that by doing this revaluation, the Town would have a certain tax fairness. But, here was another sore point that the primarily Irvington residents kept bringing up and Mr Lewis, Town Attorney and the night's referee, kept trying to steer the conversation away from. That was leveling the playing field by having all options on the table, most notably the Homestead Act! The Homestead Act deals with changing the tax rate for condominiums that were originally constructed and sold as condominiums. Apartment buildings that became condos or co-ops do not count. Currently, condos pay the commercial tax rate, which is significantly less than the residential tax rate. Mr Feiner and his Board voted to not adopt the Homestead Act option during an unimpeded work session several weeks earlier.

Valid and coherent arguments made by both sides make this issue a thorny one. Edgemont residents already know what it is like to be disappointed by this administration. Mr Feiner is nervously seeking a way to appease them. If Edgemont decides to secede from Greenburgh, incorporate and become a village, the Town loses a tremendous amount of income, which Mr Feiner cannot afford given his illegal actions and guilty verdicts. The residents of Irvington, some coming to Town Hall for the first time, believed they were making their case to a receptive group of elected officials, as they are used to in their own village. They were, and still are, in for a rude awakening. Mr Feiner has probably told his Town Board that the loss of a couple of hundred Irvington votes won't stop them from getting re-elected. It's the same old song with the other residents that will now be paying higher taxes!

ABG predicts in the end that Mr Feiner will instruct his Town Board to vote against the Phase In plan. They want to be re-elected so we believe they will go along with whatever he tells them to do or be Sonya'd. Residents of Irvington just received the Greenburgh welcome and kiss-off. Sadly, they will simply be another group that Mr Feiner has managed to offend within the upcoming seven days. ABG believes at the next work session, the Board will vote to not adopt the Phase In plan without regard to trying to see if it could work. The Master of Deflection has done it again. He put off two different groups of people who believed what he said, not knowing as the G10 does, that it was all a ploy to get away from the crowd to make the decision.

Finally, the one tell-tale indicator that this was not going to bode well for the residents is the fact that there was a heavy police presence at this meeting (probably on overtime). Usually there is only the police chief in attendance. We counted about a dozen officers in the auditorium and the lobby, although most were on their cell phones during their time there. Mr Feiner was afraid. But to the G10, it told us that they were there to protect him from an angry crowd. There was no need for them to be there, but it's the way Mr Feiner thinks as he has been making poorer and poorer decisions. Not to worry. He will still be re-elected as will most, if not all, of his Board, allowing more ridiculous and bad decisions to be made. It has to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.