Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We Stand Corrected


In our previous post from Thursday, January 22, 2015, entitled Town Looks Gift Horse In The Mouth, we erroneously sided with Town Clerk Judith Beville regarding her objecting to her office having discretion to approve or deny the issuance of licenses to Massage Parlor applicants. She asserted that there is a difference in this bill compared to the Town’s existing 1977 Cabaret Law. She stated that Cabaret license applicants were seeking an additional license for an existing business and the Massage Parlors were new businesses starting new. Ms Beville was (and remains) wrong with her stance. We had agreed with her assertion on its face value and have since found that her assumption is incorrect.

We mentioned in our article that the proposed Massage Parlor bill, crafted by Edgemont and other residents and submitted through the Edgemont Community Council to the Town Board, had taken portions from several other communities’ Massage Parlor Laws already addressing the Massage Parlor issue. It also addressed the Town Clerks Office’s approval or denial of an applicant’s license request. The portion of the law regarding the Town Clerks Office’s involvement in the licensing process is copied verbatim from the Town’s existing 1977 Cabaret Law. Regardless of what Ms Belville believes she will do or not, her actions are limited.

The history of the Cabaret Law was to give the Police Department a better ability to go after organized Crime which the Cabaret Law helped them do. All cabaret owners seeking a license had to fill out an application. The Police Chief, the Building Inspector and the Fire Marshall subsequently reviewed those applications. If they approved the application, the town clerk simply issues the license and the establishment would then have to obtain a special permit from the town board and proceed to a public hearing.

There have been allegations that brothels in Greenburgh are fronting as massage parlors. In fact, one resident even said if you see the word “spa” in the name, it’s probably a front for prostitution! Another allegation is that underage girls or sex slaves are being forced to work in them. Our police department’s investigatory work appears to substantiate this information with major raids conducted in 2013 and in 2010. But the police chief says that doing prostitution stings is very expensive and consumes resources of other law enforcement agencies, and even when the Town gets the help, the businesses reopen again shortly after, as if nothing had changed.

Some of the information required for a license is the disclosure of who actually owns the Massage Parlor/Company, a background check must be performed to ensure the applicant has not been convicted of a crime or have a criminal record. From the Building Department and Fire Marshall’s side of the application, the location must conform to all building code requirements and to all Fire Code requirements. Also objecting to the proposed bill was Town Attorney and Environmental Expert Tim Lewis. He deleted the portion where the Town Clerks Office issues the license and would have the Town Board issuing the license. So if there was a denial from one of the approvers, the Town Board will not issue the permit. The applicant would then be required to appeal to the Town Board. Appealing to the denying agency makes no sense as was pointed out by Town Zoning and Detail Expert Ella Preiser. Mr Lewis also favored a 120-day moratorium on Massage Parlors. If we don’t have any law about Massage Parlors, creating a moratorium to stop (or slow) them is not legal.

We are convinced that the proposed bill should be adopted once it receives minor changes, such as the Town Clerk shall issue the license pending approval or denial of the three actual approvers from the Town: the Police Chief, the Building Inspector and the Fire Marshall. If any of these three wish to deny the application, the Town Clerk shall simply not issue the license and state as much to the applicant. No discretion for or against the application shall be exercised by the Town Clerk’s Office. At the point of denial by any or all of the actual authorities having jurisdiction, an automatic appeal is mandated to the Town Board. Consequently, all discretion and responsibility, whether real or assumed, is removed from the Town Clerk and falls exactly where it belongs. This bill should be adopted unchanged. Only then will we begin see A Better Greenburgh.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Town Looks Gift Horse In The Mouth

Two issues of late, completely different from each other, are dogging the taxpayers yet again. This one is about a bill that was drafted by several residents to limit/prohibit/regulate Massage Parlors in the Town - specifically due to the proliferation of them in the Edgemont section and other areas of the Town. The second is about another study for the needed inspection of the former Frank's Nursery property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road (a future article).

About two years ago, an Edgemont resident attended an Edgemont Community Council (ECC) meeting and spoke of the proliferation of massage parlors and the "undesirable" clientele they attracted. We were there when one of the speakers said if the name had the word "spa" in it, they were probably conducting sexual acts beyond a simple massage.

Soon after this meeting, it was brought out into the open at a Town Board meeting. Since only good news can come from Town Hall, Mr Feiner tossed this hot potato to the Police Chief. Now, almost two or so years later with little action on the issue town-wide, the problem is once again in the forefront of the news. Other news media sources, mostly those content to regurgitate Mr Feiner's one-sided press releases unchallenged, have occasionally broached the subject whenever the police have made arrests. Perception being reality, a fine line that Mr Feiner understands how to exploit, had him doing the Feiner shuffle and trying to push the Town Board into enacting a temporary fix while a long-term solution could be had.

The Edgemont Community Council’s President, Robert Bernstein, North Elmsford resident and Zoning Expert Ella Preiser and several others worked together to craft a document to address the Town's burgeoning massage parlor growth. While government is nothing if not taxing and regulating (some say over-taxing & regulating) its residents, this bill was constructed in hopes of fostering tighter control over the creation of these shops. The bill that was offered to the Town with no cost received a chilly acceptance from all. At the last Town Board meeting, Mr Bernstein took to the microphone to bemoan the changes Town Environmental Expert and Attorney Tim Lewis had made to the bill. There were two sticking points: 1) that the Town Clerk is given discretion to approve or reject the licensing of massage parlors; and 2) the Town Attorney deleted the portion about the Town Clerk approval, taken word for word from the Town’s existing Cabaret Law.

ABG has mentioned often our desire for the Town Clerk to remain silent during Town Board meetings. However, she did make a valid point during the discussion of whether or not the Town Clerk should have the ability to deny the application. According to Mr Feiner, who typically shifts his position based on favorable crowd reaction, said he had a problem with the Town Clerk’s office having the ability to approve or reject a license application. As was explained by Ms Beville, the Cabaret Law and Massage Parlor licensing were very different. Her licensing approval or denying capability under the Cabaret Law is to allow an existing business an additional service, such as entertainment. Under the Massage Parlor bill proposal, the Town Clerk’s office would be in a position to grant a license to operate a new business. Surprisingly, we agree with the Town Clerk.

Further discussion between Mr Feiner and Mr Bernstein was periodically interrupted by Town Attorney Lewis. Finally, after hearing Mr Bernstein’s complaint of how he was not contacted at all while the Town Board altered the proposed bill, all parties agreed to try to change the bill that accommodates both sides. Regardless of the future collaboration on the Massage Parlor bill, Mr Feiner again insisted on introducing what they already posted to show they were taking action. Vociferous objections were made as it did not make sense to introduce a flawed bill when a corrected one could easily be had. The Town Board ignored the public’s input.


The Town Board has become increasingly reactionary with so many issues. They have become predictably wrong on the items that they do focus on, such as the Fortress Bible Church discrimination (taxpayer cost: $5.5M), termination of the WestHelp contract (taxpayer cost: $1.2M/yr), former Frank’s Nursery no-sale (taxpayer cost: $3.5M+remediation), Comprehensive Plan (taxpayer cost: unknown), tax certiorari adjustments (taxpayer cost: $100K to 1M/Town Board meeting). The list is almost endless. 

Its time for some new blood to start circulating in Town Hall. When residents are forced to write bills our legal department seems incapable of doing, its time for a change. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Elmsford Fire on North Goodwin Avenue



Top to bottom: View of fire scene
View of White Plains Avenue facing north








At approximately 10 PM last night, the Elmsford Fire Department was called out to a structure fire in at 88 North Goodwin Avenue just north of White Plains Avenue in Elmsford. Arriving fire crews witnessed flames coming through the roof. As hose lines were stretched from hydrants to the trucks for water supply, an aggressive interior attack of the fire was mounted by fire crews while a 10-75 was broadcast across the County from the Richard A. Flynn Fire Training Center’s 60 Control, the radio operations arm of that facility. Elmsford firefighters, battled not only the fire, but the cold weather and difficult conditions. They had the fire knocked down and the scene under control approximately 20 minutes after their arrival. No injuries were reported. Numerous fire departments assisted including Irvington, Tarrytown, Ardsley,Valhalla, Hawthorne, Fairview, and Hartsdale.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Scam Continues...

Once the inflated and oft-failed 2014 report from Mr Feiner was distributed (see our previous post), it was time for him to circulate his phony agenda for "improvement and change" for 2015. Year after year finds Mr Feiner regurgitating the same propaganda as part of his “good news only” campaign from Greenburgh Town Hall. The sad part is that a) it’s more of the same in the guise of campaigning; b) most of it will never come to fruition, giving him more opportunities to campaign; and c) it is not improving Greenburgh and d) we pay for it all in more ways than one. We remember when Mr Feiner would return some of his salary if he failed to fulfill his initiatives. That ship has long since sunk.

Here’s his “new” 2015 list. As is our policy, we have not edited Mr Feiner’s text, but have provided our commentary to his bold and numbered points are in italics below each:

The following is our Agenda for Improvement and Change 2015
MAJOR MATTERS TO BE BROUGHT TO CONCLUSION IN 2015
1.    Complete environmental review of Frank’s Nursery which could ease concerns of potential purchasers.  
ABG: Residents requested the property have testing done to find out what contaminants were on the property. Playing games with semantics, a popular pasttime of Mr Feiner, he instructed a testing company to focus on a limited area of the site for testing, ignoring the rest of the property’s space that was used as a dump by the City of White Plains Urban Renewal. The debris from these old buildings classically used what we now know are carcinogenic materials such as asbestos, lead and more. Mr Feiner ignored everyone’s pleas to clean up the site before trying to do anything with it. ABG believes his ultimate goal is to gift the property to his friends and their “paper” company, GameOn 365.

2.    Schedule, hold auction and sell Frank’s Nursery.
ABG: The scheduling and auctioning of the property has been postponed numerous times by Mr Feiner while we believe he tried to finagle a way to gift the property to GameOn 365. Once the town hired GA Keen Realty Advisors as an auctioneer for the property, they informed the Town that without remediation per additional environmental reviews, potential purchasers would not bid on the property for the amounts being suggested. They mandated knowing how much environmental cleanup work and costs will be required before building on the property.  Sadly, the property could have been sold with full remediation performed by  House of Sports in Ardsley. It was Mr Feiner who said no to their offer of $3.5 million plus remediation.

3.    Obtain county approvals for rental of WestHELP complex and convert abandoned units into affordable senior citizen housing. 
ABG: It was Mr Feiner who decided the Town would break the lease with then County Executive Andrew Spano and now Rob Astorino. It was Mr Feiner who insisted on leaving the building open to be ravaged by pilfering, animals and mold and more to cause its intended decline and ultimately its condemnation. This was done to seek more votes from the Valhalla community. In the meantime, roughly 250 residents were awaiting housing through the Greenburgh Housing Authority that might have been halved had the property been converted as originally intended. This was and still is solely Mr Feiner and his Town Board’s fault. Currently, the County is working toward reclaiming the property.

4.    Schedule community outreach meetings and then a public hearing on Draft Comprehensive Plan after it is released. Adopt a Comprehensive Plan for the unincorporated area of the town.
ABG: There were numerous sessions held at Town Hall. Mr Feiner insisted the committee travel about the Town and have the discussions. One issue the committee had with this is the lack of ability to record the proceedings. Now that Mr Feiner’s “go to” guy, former Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden, has left, Mr Feiner appears bent on subverting the committee for his own means.

5.    Install new boiler at indoor pool at Theodore Young Community Center. 
ABG: For years Mr Feiner has been saying the Town will sue the vendor for repairs and/or replacement for both the TYCC and the Library. This year the Town has adopted the new slogan, "Why fix it when we can talk about it." That's what has transpired here. After too many years of inaction, this will become a capital expense for the taxpayers when it might have simply been a maintenance expense earlier on.
 
6.    Install supplemental boiler at Library. (Library closed several days over a year ago due to lack of heat.)  
ABG: One of the problems of the Town Board being the Lead Agency on any project is their lack of knowledge at so many levels and general disinterest in most projects. In fact, an ABG staffer overheard two different Board members on two different occasions say they still hadn't reviewed plans because they have too much to do. Yet, instead of abstaining from voting on the project in question, the Councilmen voted in favor of approval without having reviewed the plans! Finally, with regards to the library, it was Mr Feiner and his Board who moved the location of the geothermal heat pump system from its original location to the other side of the property. And, it was they who compromised it by only drilling down half of the required depth necessary for it to work. Without the proper depth, geothermal heat will not work. BTW, frozen sprinkler pipes just burst again in the children's section of the library.

7.    Expand one arm garbage sanitation truck to other neighborhoods.
ABG: They anticipate savings but refuse to provide any figures. This is one of Mr Feiner’s well-developed scams. Now he is saying they will expand this program even before any conclusive performance metrics can be provided to substantiate its value.
8.    Make traffic safety improvements in Ardsley and on Jackson Avenue using funds from a settlement regarding the Ridge Hill development.  
ABG: This money has existed for years and had it not been pushed by residents, ABG is convinced Mr Feiner would be content to continue to ignore this issue.

IMPORTANT INITIATIVES ALREADY UNDER WAY
1.    Comply with tax cap when adopting 2016 budget and continue to look for new sources of revenue and efficiencies as well as new shared service opportunities.  (For residents to receive a check from the state, NYS is requiring communities to comply with the tax cap and initiate sharing/consolidation efficiencies.
ABG: Receive a check? Is that why Mr Feiner touts staying below the NYS Tax Cap? Hardly! This is nothing more than a campaign initiative by Mr Feiner to be able to brag about staying under the cap. What he should be saying, and what the mainstream media ignores is that he he raided $4 MILLION (a 40% decrease) from the Reserve Funds, putting us in jeopardy of defaulting on certiorari challenge refunds.

2.    Hire firm to conduct a comprehensive review of the Town of Greenburgh Department of Public Works.  (This is part of the Town’s ongoing initiative of having town departments examined by external reviewers.  We recently had an external review conducted of Town Court operations.)
ABG: First, having the review is fine except that the reviewers are impotent to make any changes. This responsibility falls back to, you guessed it, the Town Board. The problems in the Court still exist so the logical conclusion is a similar fate after the study is done. Mr Feiner hired a new Court Clerk from Port Chester to run the Town Court Department. She was there only briefly when Mr Feiner announced to the Town Board he needed to almost double her salary. ABG believes he told the Board to vote in favor of her salary increase or be “Sonya’d”. After increasing her salary as instructed the newly appointed and extremely well-paid Court Clerk bolted back to Port Chester, able to parlay her higher Greenburgh salary to a comparable one in Port Chester. Once gone, we learned she provided the Greenburgh Courts with little or no relief other than a higher Greenburgh Court Clerk salary for the next person and we still don't know how many tickets remain unpaid!

3.    Continue oversight of reassessment process and hold information meetings around town as needed.
ABG: This is another one of Mr Feiner's empty sound-byte campaign promise with no substance. Reassessment hasn’t been done since 1956. This should have been a priority when he took office in 1978 and every year since. Even the Town Assessor has stated publicly the reason the cost of reassessment is so high (over $3 million) is because it hasn’t been performed for so long.

4.    Apply for federal and/or state funds for sidewalk construction, especially near schools, to address pedestrian safety concerns.
ABG: Unfortunately, we've heard this promise every year and repeatedly at Town Board meetings as promises to various neighborhood groups begging for sidewalks and improved safety for pedestrians.
 
5.    Finalize plans and funding for Veterans Memorial at DeSanti Plaza, East Hartsdale Ave. Encourage parkland funds (non-tax dollars) be used to reduce costs.
ABG: Any outside funds can be applied for but has no guarantee of fulfillment. Consequently, we may never see a Veterans memorial. Another empty promise.

6.    Initiate mentoring program for architects/engineers in cooperation with Greenburgh Central School District.  
ABG: We want to encourage all students, not just engineering students, to find mentors and for all of our schools, not just Greenburgh Central 7. If we did that, even kids in Mr Feiner's neighborhood might get mentoring. 

7.    Resolve heating/air-conditioning issues at Town Hall.  
ABG: See #5 under Major Matters. It's obvious there is a costly theme here.

8.    Use electric car for the Department of Public Works. 
ABG: Ironically, Mr Feiner couldn't wait to install an electric car charger at the library, eating up one or more precious parking spaces from an under-sized parking lot. That was another empty promise made in the heat of a campaign. All Town cars should be replaced through attrition with electric cars except emergency response vehicles.

9.    Secure funding for building a new playground at the Lee F. Jackson Elementary School on surplus school property, advocating for use of parkland funds (non-tax payers’ dollars).
ABG: See #5 above.
 
10. Demolish the old kiddy pool at Massaro and replace it with a new spray pad. (Funding was secured using parkland funds - non-tax dollars last year.) 
ABG: Non-tax dollars? Really? All of the money, regardless of how it is acquired is ultimately taxpayer dollars.

11. Work with the Greenburgh Nature Center on our town-wide initiative, working with schools and businesses to introduce and develop conservation/sustainable practices, including food waste management. 
 ABG: Funny, we thought this was already happening according to Mr Feiner.

12. Lobby NYS to approve a 9A bypass.  (The town has been working with the business community, neighboring villages and the county on a plan to reduce traffic congestion on 9A in the vicinity of 119 and north of 119.) 
ABG: Lobby? Really? When Mr Feiner really wants something, such as the Finneran Law to be changed for his friend's benefit, he simply calls his best-buds Tom Abinanti and Andrea Stewart Cousins, snap his fingers and they do it for him. Since he hasn't addressed traffic congestion, and in fact added to it through over-development, it’s obvious this is just more rhetoric.

13. Finalize and approve a plan for and begin implementation of infrastructure improvements for the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District.  (Significant costly infrastructure improvements have been identified as needed in capital budgets/plans for 2014 to 2016, as explained in a report prepared by the town’s Water Advisory Board (WAB), and submitted for discussion with the Town Board mid-2014. 
ABG: Mr Feiner has ignored Town infrastructure for his entire career in Greenburgh. Most politicians know they can kick the can down the road because they won't be around to have to deal with it. Mr Feiner screwed up by ignoring and staying longer than he should have.

14. Create an index of names of the more than 125 veterans who have been interviewed as part of the veterans living history initiative and submit updated tapes and listings to United States Library of Congress for archiving. 
ABG: We have no issue with this as long as convicted felon and Deputy Town Supervisor Alan Hochberg stays out of it.

15. Lobby the State to do maintenance on the Saw Mill River and demonstrate that an ongoing river maintenance program is in place.  (If that doesn’t happen, the Town and the Villages, probably at our cost, will need to perform crisis management remediation of the river flooding problems.) 
ABG: This is the job of local politicians. And while they are at it, why won't he do the same for the Bronx River? Mr Feiner has done nothing to help the residents along the Bronx River corridor.

16. Increase diversity of programs (Educational, Cultural, Social, and Recreational) within the Department of Community Resources (TDYCC), strengthen existing programs and create partnerships with faith based, volunteer, and corporate entities to maximize community outreach. 
ABG: Mr Carter is doing a fine job administering the TYCC and will do even better if Mr Feiner refrains from interfering with his operation.
 
17. Address Cable Access TV audio issues. 
ABG: We're told at each Town Board meeting by Ms Beville who is in charge of the video department, that they are working with the vendor on this problem. Apparently, nothing is being done and it seems to be another ploy from Town Hall to keep all information from being heard and disseminated by the public.

18. Formalize Board Oversight of Town Courts. 
ABG: They've had 22 years to do this. Why wasn't it done already?
 
19. Conduct quarterly reviews of Budget vs. Actual Expenditures.
ABG: Isn't this why we have department heads and commissioners? The public should be able to ask on any day what the ratio of Budget vs. Expenditures are and receive an answer. This is pure politics.

20. Continue cooperative relationships with villages to reduce paving costs and repave more roads.  
ABG: The Villages within the Town have maintained a purchasing consortium for about the last ten years. Mr Feiner made the decision to not participate and pay higher prices than they did for all materials.

NEW INITIATIVES
1.    Implement online payment of Greenburgh Consolidated Water District water bills.
ABG: Amazingly, this requires so little to do and yet it is made out to be a major project.
 
2.    Allow Greenburgh Consolidated Water District customers to track their own water usage online, enabling users to quickly spot any irregularities, leakage, etc.
ABG: Mr Feiner has been promising this for years and never delivers. 
  
3.    Exploring feasibility of installing solar panels on town buildings/facilities.
ABG: While the Return on Investment (ROI) may or may not support doing this, and there are a number of different plans to choose from, we're confident that Mr Feiner will soon just announce we're getting solar panels, like it or not.

4.    Continue oversight of reassessment process and hold information meetings around town as needed. 
ABG: See # 3 earlier.

5.    Work with Friends of Library and Library to open up a free book exchange on East Hartsdale Avenue.
ABG: I don't think the Friends of the Greenburgh Library really need Mr Feiner.

6.    Develop a plan to address the outdated and inadequate Police Headquarters and Courthouse site.  Discuss a plan for constructing a new Police Headquarters and Courthouse. (The town will study rezoning and selling the current site on 119 to determine how much that would offset the cost.  Are there grant opportunities?
ABG: Again, more hot air. This has been discussed for years and years now. They were originally going to use the former Frank's Nursery property for the Police station and also the library. But it's too contaminated.

7.    Launch a new recreation and facility software program for the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Community Resources (TDYCC) that includes online registration, a feature not previously available.  
ABG: Adding a feature into the software is something the Recreation Department should have been addressing for a long time now. 
 
8.    Secure capital funding to dredge Crane Pond in Edgemont as a means of alleviating the algae problem and to repoint the spillway wall that is presently leaking.  
ABG: Again? 

9.    Work with the Greenburgh Nature Center to create a Children's Wing and a site plan for our building and grounds to reflect our growing needs and continued community outreach.
ABG: As a business leasing space from the Town, what does this mean for taxpayers? Almost all of what the GNC does is geared mostly to children. Is building on this space environmentally healthy? After all, many in the area are clamoring against building on Dromore Road.

10. Pursue plans to establish an organic recycling location in Greenburgh. 
ABG: Isn't this already on the list elsewhere?
 
11. Promote yearlong recognition and celebration during 2015 of the Greenburgh Nature Center’s 40th Anniversary, and our role as community ambassadors.
ABG: Again, a private company should be responsible for their own recognition and celebration issues. Focus on running the Town.

12. Create a New Residents’ Club.
ABG: Will they pay for membership or will their tax increases cover membership? This doesn't mean anything. After the newness of being a member wears off, they'll be able to join the rest of us in the Beleagured Taxpayer Club.

13. Support a commercial vehicle enforcement detail by the Greenburgh Police Department using non-taxpayer funds to purchase the vehicle scales.  (This enforcement will help protect and preserve the town’s roadway infrastructure and the significant fines for serious infractions serve as a deterrent.) 
ABG: It will never happen.

14. Encourage and promote the Police Department’s use of social media with the goal of getting timely information to residents quickly. 
ABG: If this isn't already happening, it should be.
15. Develop a policy for water rate increases to be implemented in 2015 to address infrastructure issues, a need highlighted by the town’s Water Advisory Board (WAB) in mid-2014. 
ABG: Will the water policy be administered by Mr Feiner and the Board or an independent agency? Mr Feiner is the one wreaking havoc with our water bills and related increases.

16. Form a citizen’s advocacy group to help lobby state and federal lawmakers for funds and legislation that will benefit the town.
ABG: We wonder who will be included in this group? Mr Feiner's friends, convicted or otherwise?
 
17. Explore with state representatives the feasibility of affordable assisted living facilities or of requiring a certain number of units in yet to be approved assisted living facilities to be affordable for the less rich.
ABG: This is rich! It was Mr Feiner who canceled the contract with the County to shutter the WestHelp facility in Valhalla seeking votes from that constituency. The taxpayers are losing $1.2 Million per year and about 100 or so families don't have a place to live.
 
18. The Office of the Town Clerk and the Cable Access Television Department intend to explore the feasibility of upgrading the television studio to create greater potential for generating revenue. 
ABG: They just did an upgrade and its terrible! Again, why fix it when we can talk about it?

19. Formalize Board Oversight of Town Courts.
ABG: See #18 in previous list of Important Initiatives Already Underway. 

20. Conduct quarterly reviews of Budget vs. Actual Expenditures.
ABG: See #19 in previous list of Important Initiatives Already Underway

21. In 2015, we anticipate reviewing the water rate development process. We need to develop a procedure to calculate water rate changes and implement this process in 2015.  This issue was also highlighted to the Town Board in mid-2014.
 ABG: See #15. Shouldn't all of this happen together as a concerted effort?

22. Seeking hotel tax for town and villages from state legislation.
ABG: Like his friend Mr Abinanti who believes raising the tolls on the New Tappan Zee Bridge will not create a hardship, Mr Feiner incorrectly believes taxing visitors to our area who stay at our hotels is not a hardship. Here's a fact from the real world: most hotels rely on business travelers for the bulk of their income. Some have restaurants and some don't. If corporations see the costs are too high in one area they will either stop coming to the area or tell their employees to stay somewhere else nearby and drive to where they have to go a little more than they may have wanted. It happens all the time. And to Mr Abinanti, who has two well-paying jobs, ten dollars a week more in tolls on top of the twenty five is a tank of gas, groceries or maybe pizza for a struggling family. Get off your high horse and represent the people, not your own interests.

The electorate must start paying more attention to what they are being fed from the elected officials. They must insist on being heard by our elected officials. Its time to think differently. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why Fix It When We Can Talk About It

Making sure he appears concerned with what residents of Edgemont want, Mr Feiner placated them by sending out a GBList email stating the Town Board will vote on a resolution on a sidewalk feasibility study near the Edgemont Schools. This move on his part is ludicrous, while the need for sidewalks and safety is paramount. We're concerned of the many areas throughout the town where children, as well as adults, are forced to walk in our streets and put themselves at increased risk. Why only have a pinpointed effort for such a vital and necessary safety issue?

Having the Greenburgh Town Board vote on Wednesday evening on a resolution authorizing the Commissioner of Public Works to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a traffic study to determine whether sidewalks should be built along portions of Seely Place, Ardsley Road and Fort Hill Road is a waste of time. It's a waste because the need exists and this is another deflection by the Supervisor. Because these streets lead to schools is no reason to segregate the rest of the Town from any study, let alone this one! Once again ABG believes Mr Feiner is reacting for his fear of the wrath of Edgemont and their stated desire to incorporate as a Village. Please don't misinterpret what we are saying. We endorse sidewalks near the schools but there are many other areas that need them as well throughout the Town.

Mr Feiner claims, "over the years a number of parents have called for sidewalks at these locations so children can walk more safely to school." Again, another unsubstantiated "factoid" from the corner office. "In addition to this action step the town has been in contact with federal and state officials to review grant opportunities. Recently, the village of Ardsley built a sidewalk on Heatherdell Road -leading to the Ardsley High School using federal dollars." What Mr Feiner fails to mention is that only Ardsley's elected officials secured the funds without Mr Feiner or the Town's involvement and built their sidewalks in record time. Mr Feiner has never "stepped up" to secure funds for sidewalks in any portion of the Town. Why the sudden interest? Edgemont spoke and Mr Feiner cannot afford to have them incorporate and secede from the Town as a Village.

"If other neighborhoods near schools are interested in having the town review the feasibility of building sidewalks near schools please advise. This can be an ongoing initiative for the town." This is pandering at its best, by the best. He will ask for anybody to submit their request for sidewalks and depending on whether they are an affluent or poor neighborhood will determine the level of participation by the Town. Ultimately, we don't believe other neighborhoods in need of sidewalks will ever see them, money will not be secured for Edgemont but will be diverted from other budget needs to deliver a bone to Edgemont. 

"This is a link to an organization promoting safe routes to schools. http://saferoutesinfo.org/funding-portal/federal-funding-101" Mr Feiner can certainly provide all the links and informational resources he wants. This is just more deflection by the master. There is no intent to fulfill any neighborhood's request for a safer environment for our kids and our neighbors. Otherwise we would have already seen sidewalks on Old Kensico Road, Hillside Avenue, Knollwood Road by the Community College and Knollwood Road by the Mount Vernon Health Center doing business as the Greenburgh Health Center. We'd have seen sidewalks on 9A where two pedestrian deaths have already taken place. We'd have already seen sidewalks on Dobbs Ferry Road as well as 9A from Ardsley to Elmsford, and from Elmsford north to the Eastview area.

This is nothing more than a campaign effort to fool people into believing something is being done in the name of safety and "the children." Sadly, if someone gets hit by a car, he'll be able to say they were trying to address it. It's another open-ended empty promise. The reality is this is simply more of the same rhetoric from Town Hall and Mr Feiner. When the willfully ignorant taxpaying residents start paying attention, they'll see it's time for a change. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Year In Review - The Rest Of The Story


We’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Each year Mr Feiner emails, publishes and mails his review of 2014 to residents. We deem this an unnecessary and costly event for taxpayers. Many items he alludes to have nothing to do with him but he chooses to include them. It’s his list and he can put  in it what he chooses. Similarly, since it’s his list, most of his efforts are not accurately recounted and that is why we do our rebuttal list. Please note that ABG has not edited Mr Feiner's points.

Here are some of Mr Feiner’s highlights that were emailed to the thousands of names on the Town’s infamous GBList email addresses list held so closely to the vest by Mr Feiner. Those not on the list will be mailed letters via snail mail. While all of this could have easily and more cost-effectively been posted on the Town’s website, it doesn’t allow Mr Feiner the same campaign publicity and results. As such, we want you to see the other side of the year in review and have included our take on his take.

PF:  Unlike some communities in NYS, the Town has complied with the tax cap every year since the State Legislature recommended that local governments keep tax hikes under their recommended tax cap levy. The Town Board unanimously approved the 2015 budget last week which  again complies with the  tax cap.

ABG: What Mr Feiner conveniently doesn’t mention is that in order to squeak by under the tax cap, he and his Town Board raided the Reserve Funds of $2 MILLION (40%)! This is money that would normally be used for tax certiorari settlements and lawsuit settlements against Mr Feiner and the Town. There are plenty of claims. The Town, along with the school and fire districts, averages several hundred thousand dollars to $1 million per Town Board meeting in certiorari and lawsuit settlement refunds. This is hardly the time to “steal” money from one fund to cover another. The real issue here is the misappropriation and/or use of funds by this Town administration. Unfortunately, the one-party Board of political hangers-on will follow Mr Feiner’s instructions to ensure re-election.

PF: Town maintains AAA bond rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s---an accomplishment only 1% of communities around the nation can be proud of.  Communities around the nation have experienced bond rating declines. It’s nice that Greenburgh continues to have the highest rating possible from two independent agencies.  Our Aaa rating equates to over $200,000 in interest savings over the life of the debt service.

ABG: In order to maintain this bond rating, the Town borrows very little. Without taking advantage of the low rates, Mr Feiner and his Board have neglected the Town infrastructure to the point of serious degradation of drainage systems, roadways, parks, buildings and more. Regular maintenance on Town owned buildings is ignored until what would be considered normal, less costly repairs turn into catastrophic repairs requiring much more financial commitment.

PF: The new sanitation truck that picks up garbage with an automated hand is now operational.  We’re able to manage with one employee, not three on a truck and anticipate significant savings of your tax dollars.  The Town will continue to expand this method of garbage collection with more routes and new trucks in the coming years.

ABG: They anticipate savings but refuse to provide figures. This is one of Mr Feiner’s well-developed scams. He’ll say something will save us money or blurt out an unsubstantiated dollar figure, while there was no study done, no definitive amounts offered and we’re simply supposed to take his word for it. Now he is saying they will expand this program even before any conclusive performance results can be had or used to substantiate its value.

PF: I meet on a regular basis with retired local management consultants, corporate executives who volunteer their time--offering valuable suggestions on how the town could be better managed. We started the 2015 budget process early in the year and they helped identify over a million dollars in new sources of revenue or cost reductions!

ABG: After all these years of saying this, he still has not learned or used proven management techniques and processes that the business world uses daily. Nor has his claim provided us with these new sources of revenue. The budget he provides in the 11th-hour has minimal opportunity for change by the time the public, who are the real team of reviewers, gets to see it.

PF: Howard Reiss was appointed as the new Fairview Fire Chief earlier this year. He’s trying hard to reach out to the community.  Mike Goldstein was elected Hartsdale Fire Commissioner and Clarie Pizzuti was elected Commissioner of the Fairview Fire Department by large margins. Both were supported by residents who would like to see fire district spending monitored more closely.  A new citizens committee - the Fairview Fire District Monitoring Committee- was formed.  The Fairview, Greenville & Hartsdale fire departments worked with the town –participating in our 9-11 memorial and annual Veterans day memorial event.

ABG: Chief Reiss was appointed the new Chief of the Fairview Fire Department and we wish him well. What Mr Feiner doesn’t say is that he mounted an attack campaign against then Fire Chief Anthony LoGiudice, who resigned due to health reasons. Mr Feiner conveniently doesn’t mention it was he who was responsible for the creation of the Fairview Fire District Monitors Committee and posted his long-time friend and cohort to run it. The Fairview and Hartsdale Fire Districts had new candidates run for one open seat in each district’s Board. We are convinced that both candidates for each district were handpicked candidates by Mr Feiner. The one for Fairview was a member of his fire monitors club. Interestingly, when Mr Feiner lives in his home in the gated community of Boulder Ridge, he is protected by an all-volunteer Fire Department and not the paid fire departments in Greenburgh. When he lives at his mother’s residence in Scarsdale, he is protected by the (paid) Scarsdale Fire Department, also not one of the three paid fire departments in Greenburgh. He pays the lowest fire protection taxes and should let the public take care of their respective fire services and stay out of politicizing them!

PF: The town has started promoting organic recycling to residents- an initiative that will eventually reduce the amount of garbage by over 30%.  Thanks to the Greenburgh Nature Center for leading the way!

ABG: He has said this before and there is nothing new here. The Greenburgh Nature Center is a private organization that rents their space from the Town. What is not mentioned is how Mr Feiner arrived at a 30% reduction of garbage figure and how this will be accomplished.

PF: The town has been successful in collecting significant  back taxes owed to us --an initiative that will continue.  Since the List of Delinquent Taxes was filed with the County in April 2014,  62 parcels have been removed from the  delinquent List (2 parcels were removed because they are owned by the State and the remaining were removed because of full payment or a new tax agreement).  A total of a little less than $3.1 million of delinquent taxes was either paid in full or subject to new tax agreements (including current taxes paid in order to be eligible for the tax agreements).  There have been 22 new tax agreements.  Of the 62 parcels, 40 were single family, multi-family or condos.  I have worked with Westchester Residential Opportunities helping families who owe back taxes come up with plans so they can keep their properties.  We continue to receive additional payments from those owing back taxes.

ABG: First, it’s about time! The Town has been delinquent under Mr Feiner’s tenure for going after tax-cheats, tax-evaders and others delinquent in paying their Town taxes. While Mr Feiner had 22-years to collect back-taxes and deliquent taxes, he chose to ignore the problem. During Mr Feiner’s tenure, the tax-paying residents have been subjected to double-digit tax increases, increased fees and increased fines for various violations when they may not have had he done his job. The need to generate revenue by Mr Feiner is only exacerbated by a) his managerial incompetence and b) his constant ignoring of problems that would be better addressed sooner, rather than later.

PF: The town has upgraded our software. The new  Munis Enterprise Resource Planning Software centralizes our financial processes. Many benefits to the town: We will be able to do a better job tracking expenses per department during the year. In 2015 we expect to implement more internal control procedures that will enable us to cut costs. Sometime in 2015 we expect to be able to  be able to collect water bills payments electronically.

ABG: As a rule, most if not all, software companies exist by generating revenue via their upgrades. Since this software will track expenses per department, what was the expense of this software upgrade? Also, each budget season finds Mr Feiner arbitrarily cutting departmental budgets without regard to the items he decides are unnecessary. Our department leaders do a reasonably good job of explaining their expenses during the year. And while ABG does not believe municipal budgets should have categories labeled “miscellaneous” that go beyond $1,000, it is up to Mr Feiner and his Board to rectify that. But they won’t. This point by Mr Feiner is meaningless.

PF: The town hired an auctioneer, GA Keen Realty Advisors to oversee the sale of  Frank’s nursery on Dobbs Ferry Road. We delayed the auction after being advised that additional environmental reviews were needed. Potential purchasers want to have a better understanding how much environmental cleanup work will be required before building on the property. Woodard & Curran Engineers will be conducting the environmental reviews and has been in contact with the NYSDEC. There is significant interest in the property from potential purchasers.

 ABG: Delayed? The delay was based on the delay by Mr Feiner and his Board by ignoring the property’s contamination after ownership was transferred to the Town through foreclosure. Then Mr Feiner attempted to secretly enter into an illegal lease with a "paper" company. Residents requested the property have testing done to find out what contaminants were on the property. Playing games with semantics, a popular pasttime of Mr Feiner, he instructed a testing company to focus on a certain area for testing, ignoring the rest of the property’s space that was used as a dump by the City of White Plains Urban Renewal Project that tore down the old Macy’s and surrounding structures. These old buildings have classically used what we now know are carcinogenic materials such as asbestos, lead and more. Mr Feiner ignored everyone’s pleas to clean up the site before trying to do anything with it. ABG believes his ultimate goal is to gift the property to his friends and their “paper” company.

PF: Many of the problems at the Town Court have been resolved. Over a year ago the Town Board contracted with an independent audit company to conduct a study of Town Court operations. The court has already implemented many audit recommendations leading to improved internal controls and efficiencies. We are about to embark on another major independent study of operations-- of our Public Works department. 

ABG: The problems still exist. Supposedly there were millions of dollars in unpaid traffic and parking violations that Mr Feiner brought interns to address. Eager to do whatever is asked of them, interns cost us little, offer no expertise and provide Mr Feiner with multiple press releases about what a great job they are doing. Do we really want to trust our millions of dollars of income to interns? The obvious answer is, “No!” Mr Feiner hired a new Court Clerk from Port Chester to run the Town Court Department. She was there only briefly when Mr Feiner announced to the Town Board he needed to almost double her salary. ABG believes he told the Board to vote in favor of her salary increase or be “Sonya’d”. Fearing Paul’s wrath and possible excommunication, they did as instructed. Soon after, the newly appointed and extremely well-paid Court Clerk bolted back to Port Chester, able to parlay her higher Greenburgh salary to a comparable one in Port Chester. Once gone, we learned she provided the Greenburgh Courts with little or no relief other than a higher Greenburgh Court Clerk salary for the next person and we still don't know how many tickets remain unpaid!

PF: The town spent $3 million dollars on road repaving on streets throughout the town. The town and villages within Greenburgh jointly purchased significant amounts of asphalt for road repaving, saving many thousands of dollars.  Very pleased that New York State listened to our concerns and repaved W Hartsdale Ave, a road that was in desperate need of repaving.

ABG: Most of the roads in need of repair in the Town merely get patched as having an unused AAA Bond rating yields little in infrastructure maintenance. Getting NYS to pave certain roads thjroughout the Town is our elected leaders’ job! Ironically, the Villages within the Town have maintained a purchasing consortium for about the last ten years. Mr Feiner made the decision to not participate and pay higher prices than they did for all materials. Again, saying “we saved many thousands of dollars” is an empty statement. How much did we save?

PF: By collaborating with other municipalities in Westchester, the town has saved significant dollars with our reassessment initiative.  The town hired Tyler Technologies to collect data.  Updates on the progress of the data collection can be found on the home page of the town website: www.greenburghny.com.  Town Assessor Edye McCarthy and I have been meeting with numerous civic groups during the year answering questions about the reassessment process. This is the first time in over 60 years that all properties are being reassessed.  Once reassessment is completed there will be more stability, fewer tax certiorari refunds, reduced legal costs.

ABG: While what Mr Feiner says here is technically true, the fact remains he is at the root cause for not doing revaluations. Trying to split the expense of doing revaluations with other communities might have saved us a few dollars, but we paid out millions of dollars to comparatively save pennies. Another example of a lack of management skills and a waste of time meeting with retired local management consultants and corporate executives! His time might be better spent sending less campaign mailings out and enrollment in some management classes.

PF: The town is in the process of moving forward retrofitting our lights to more efficient LED lighting. Taxpayers will be thankful because there will be major savings of taxpayer dollars.

ABG: Mr Feiner and his Board decided to replace current light fixtures and bulbs to an added cost of just over a half a million dollars. Again, what are “the major savings” and how long will it take for us to reap those benefits? Those questions go unanswered. As does the question of why not wait and replace the fixtures and bulbs through attrition, when the equipment actually fails?

PF: John Sexton was appointed the new Library Director. Thanks to the Greenburgh Library Foundation and a grant from NYS, the library has invested in two self check machines that allow patrons to check out their own library materials --saving staff time and costs.

ABG: Congratulations and good luck to Mr Sexton. The Greenburgh Library has a competent staff who are usually eager to assist but has remained a political football for Mr Feiner and the the Library Board. That said, the two check-out stations will certainly alleviate the ill-conceived and ill-placed check out desk that routinely finds itself backed up with patrons checking out books, cd’s and dvd’s. Again, how much savings in staff time and costs are we netting? Please provide facts and figures. As for saving staff time, they work in the library and are doing library tasks. Whatever they are doing is their job. More importantly, ABG would like to see Mr Feiner and his Board stop holding the Library budget hostage each year just to prove he can.

PF: Town Clerk Judith Beville has been overseeing our internship program for students. Many students have worked on interesting projects during the year and summer months. In 2014 one of our summer interns was profiled by SUNY Albany as one of their outstanding students and featured on WCBS radio for the work she did as an intern. And, last year a student intern was selected to compete in a game of JEOPARDY (he won a game!).  We continued training students interested in a career  in journalism with our student news network program.

ABG: Thankfully, the Town Clerk’s department is staffed by some very competent people, allowing Ms Belville to spend her invaluable time with extraneous affairs that will do little to improve the Town’s operation, cost-effectiveness, communications and more likely furthers her political employ. Perhaps she should be focusing on improving the new video systems that have not worked properly since being upgraded.

PF: Veterans Living history initiative -- Alan Hochberg and Steve Wittenberg have already conducted over 125 interviews of World War II and Korean conflict veterans. These interviews are broadcast non stop during the Memorial Day and Veterans day weekends. Each of the interviews is about half hour long.  A new committee made up of veterans is planning a Veterans memorial at DeSanti Park on E Hartsdale Ave.

ABG: While the Veteran’s Living History idea is a good one, and we believe in giving convicted criminals a second chance, we are not happy about how convicted felon Alan Hochberg tried to position himself a veteran and reap whatever accolades he could from that. We wonder, once a criminal...?

PF: The Town Board created a new Human Rights Liaison Committee to work with the Westchester County Human Rights Commission.
ABG: This seemed to be a duplicative committee. But it’s always Mr Feiner who says we should do away with County government. So this is contradictory and perhaps simply a political positioning move.

PF: Union Baptist Church located on Manhattan Ave celebrated their 100th birthday this year. Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church celebrated their 75th!

ABG: Congratulations to both Houses of Worship!

PF: Edgemont schools was named the best school district in the United States by www.businessinsider.com.

ABG: Edgemont has had numerous feuds with Mr Feiner and his Town Board, which sits poised to incorporate and get out from under the Towns horrible fiscal, failing infrastructure, tax and legal incompetence. Nothing about the Edgemont schools is attributable to the Town and is in part why the Edgemont Community is so critical of Mr Feiner and his Board’s actions.

PF: The Greenburgh School district (previously called Central 7) is partnering with the town - working on a very exciting ACE mentoring program. Students who attend the school district will be able to mentor with architects and engineers. Participating students will be eligible for scholarships of between $1,000 and $10,000. Tahira Chase was appointed the Interim School Superintendent this year.  The mentoring program for architects and engineers will start in January, 2015.

ABG: While we endorse almost anything to help improve our students, this limited program does nothing to allow help to the majority of students who may not be of the same academic accomplishments as hopeful engineers. Mr Feiner and his Town Board have absolutely no input or gravitas in this program. Congratulations to Tahira Chase on being appointed the INTERIM School Superintendent. What does this have to do with an engineering program?

PF: Westchester County is continuing to work on replacing the Crane Road bridge. Some residents of Edgemont complained that work was taking place throughout the evening -disrupting sleep.  I think that governments and contractors that do construction work during the evening should be required to offer immediate neighbors a free hotel room while the  overnight work takes place-if the work will continue past midnight and into the early morning hours. We did this a number of years ago when a shopping center in Greenburgh was repaving their parking lot during evening hours.

ABG: While its always good to sympathize with residents, this is exactly the type of thing local elected officials should be addressing for their constituents. We’re sure Mr Feiner has done his usual rope-a-dope and sent letters to other elected officials seeking them to get involved with correcting this travesty but doing little if anything himself.

PF: The town completed a stormwater project in December after we received  a grant from the Bronx River Watershed initiative to redevelop the northeastern portion of the Town Hall parking lot. The goal: to implement storm water retrofit project capable of providing water quality treatment for stormwater runoff from existing impervious areas. Impervious surfaces have a direct connection to pollutants located within storm water runoff and the quality treatment of existing impervious areas with the Bronx River watershed

ABG: While this sounds phenomenal, it does little if anything to help residents in the area as once the riverbed overflows with flood waters, the residents homes get flooded. This project was like throwing stones to fill the Grand Canyon. We’ve written many times about how to address the flooding problem. Unfortunately, the Town, County and State all sit on their thumbs and do nothing to provide any actions to give relief to the river-bound area residents. And, while there was a lot of hoopla around cleaning the debris from the Saw Mill River in Elmsford, that was a directive conceived and implemented by the Village of Elmsford, not the Town. Nothing like that has even been attempted or done at the Bronx River.

PF: We’re moving ahead with rezoning plans to allow for car dealerships on Central Ave.  Significant tax revenues!  807 building permits were issued in 2014 (as of last week) compared to 627 in 2004.

ABG: What the Town is actually doing for the three car dealerships is passing new zoning restrictions preventing new car dealerships from opening on Central Avenue in the Greenburgh stretch of Central Avenue! This scheme was concocted by the three existing auto dealers and their attorney's to prevent future competition from entering “their” space. Many believe these actions border on anti-trust liability for the Town although our ├╝ber-legal department believes otherwise.

PF: Saks 5th Ave outlet is opening up their new store on Route 119. The new outlet might motivate other high end stores to consider Central Ave and 119 for their stores in the coming years.  A new yogurt store on E Hartsdale Ave is a big success. And- Ben’s deli will  open up their new deli on Central Ave in January, 2015.  The Zoning Board granted Deli Delicious (deli located on Route 119) permission to proceed with their application for a drive through window.

ABG: Saks 5th Avenue OUTLET is not the same as their flagship store opening. Since Mr Feiner lacks any business acumen, he is remiss in believing this will start a spurt of high end retailers to locating on Central Avenue or even in Greenburgh. Congratulations to Ben’s Deli upon their impending opening. We understand that Town bureaucracy has slowed their opening. The final atrocity is the Deli Delicious drive-through window, allowing for the entire property to be paved with blacktop, setbacks ignored and trees removed.

PF: 40 years ago I got my start in public life by successfully pushing for the closing of the Bronx River parkway on Sundays for bicyclists. In 2014 Bicycle Sundays celebrated their 40th anniversary.

ABG: While this is a nice idea, although not practical, the County struggles each year to find funds to pay for the enormous overtime required to afford County Police officers to work this event. This is the same County government and workers Mr Feiner seeks to eliminate.

PF: A gun range on Ardsley Road was shut down by Con Ed after bullet fragments hit a woman. Other bullet fragments were found on residential properties. Since this incident I have been contacted by others around the state who have experienced similar problems. We learned that outdoor gun ranges are not regulated by the state or federal governments.  A new state of the art indoor gun range opened in a commercial area of Greenburgh (Elmsford) this fall.

ABG: First, Mr Feiner said he wanted to close this outdoor gun range housed in a sunken quarry and surrounded by rock walls to the applause of residents. Second, Mr Feiner lied to the public at a Town Board meeting when he said he didn’t want to close the gun range down. Then he proceeded to send out emails via the GBList endorsing a shutdown. The gun range had safely existed for about 70 years without incident. While we don’t doubt something hit the leg of a resident, the lab results were inconclusive and did not substantiate the claims made against the gun range. It didn’t matter. Mr Feiner made up his mind to close the range and that’s what happened. The outdoor range offered an environment that cannot be duplicated for police officers to learn in. Yes, there is an indoor range opened in North Elmsford that we understand will charge about twice as much and not be available as much to the gun enthusiasts.

PF: Over 5 years ago I organized a job club that has assisted the unemployed find work. We’ve helped over 200 people find part time or full time jobs. WJCS, the library and I also co-sponsor job forums during the year with excellent speakers who have helped people improve their job search strategies.

ABG: Sadly, there are no employment agencies in Greenburgh or our area and are relieved Mr Feiner is filling that void. At least Mr Feiner doesn’t have any Town issues requiring his time.

PF: Garrett Duquesne is the new Commissioner of Planning. The Comprehensive Plan Committee is revising their draft plan, based on community input. The new plan, once adopted by the Town Board will help us attract and keep businesses in the town, thereby improving our tax base.

ABG: First, congratulations to Mr Duquesne. We have always believed him to be forthright and pleasant to work with and wish him well. Second, the Comprehensive Plan could have been released earlier but Mr Feiner routinely added more issues for them to address every time a political hot potato landed in his lap. The first draft release found many, many issues that the residents and civic groups disagreed with. There were also many points added by former Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden who had his own agenda for Town-wide expansion. Thankfully, he has left us. We await the final draft.

PF: Working with Edgemont community leaders and residents of the unincorporated section of Hastings on child pedestrian safety initiatives --which hopefully will lead to more sidewalks near schools.  Have been in contact with Congressional representatives and the United States Department of Education to learn more about federal grants that will be made available to local governments for sidewalk construction.  The police department and Town Board approved the installation of no parking signs during school hours on Seely Place.

ABG: The safety issues were brought to the attention of the police and Town Board through a video presentation and many parents complaining. Ironically, the parents are a large group of the offenders. Let’s hope the police can do something positive before someone gets hurt.
  
PF: Hastings on Hudson initiated an interesting deer birth control study. They hope to bring down the deer population by 35-45% over five years. They seek to inoculate as many does as can be reasonably captured during the period allowed by the DEC license with a immunocontraceptive. they will repeat the effort over 4 subsequent years monitoring whether the deer population drops.  If the Hastings experiment works Greenburgh might be interested in expanding the initiative.

ABG: Where is the Greenburgh Nature Center, our Animal Control people and frankly, hunters? We can cull the growing deer population as had been done in the past and it would be quicker than doing another study. We hate to quote Greenburgh’s new slogan so soon, but “Why fix it when we can talk about it?”

PF: I received many complaints early this year about mail delivery and worked with United States Postal authorities and our congressional representatives to improve service. There has been a significant drop in complaints.

ABG: Could the drop in complaints be that the Post Office ignores them all and people just give up? It’s just like trying to get action from Town Hall.

PF: New water meters have enabled the water department to monitor individual water usage. We look for variances in usage and when someone’s water use is higher than it usually is we contact them to determine if there is a leak. We have saved some residents thousands of dollars.

ABG: There it is again, “We have saved some residents thousands of dollars.” And again, there is no actual amount of money proffered. Could it be because it didn’t happen?

PF: Thankful to the snow angels, TV angels who volunteer their time helping the disabled and elderly clear their driveways of snow and remove old TV sets to the highway garage.

ABG: While it’s good to help others and there is nothing wrong with his snow angels program, its also called being neighborly when you help a senior citizen or disabled neighbor with snow removal. Most people just don’t use it as a campaign tool.

PF: construction has started on a 22 unit affordable housing at the old waterwheel property in Ardsley. The new affordable housing units, once it opens up, will offer volunteer firefighters and municipal workers needed affordable housing opportunities. The building should be completed in 2015.  17 units will be affordable. 5 workforce housing.  Brightview Assisted Living facility is under construction in the Glenville/Tarrytown section of unincorporated Greenburgh.

ABG: The Waterwheel project had been broached years ago and turned down. What the above point makes is that 17 units will be offered through a lottery to residents throughout the state and 5 units will go to Ardsley volunteers or municipal workers. It’s pure hype. Brightview, amidst picketing by area unions for unfair wages being paid, will not allow Greenburgh residents on Medicare to move in there. And, the zoning that was created for the entire Town was specifically written by and will benefit Brightview, not the surrounding neighborhood.

PF: Mariano Rivera, one of the most dominant relievers in major league history opened up the Elmsford Little League games earlier this season.  ALSO PLEASED that Madison Square Garden recently responded to a request I made to allow a limited number of students to visit their training facility which is located in Greenburgh ---and to interact with some of the stars at the facility.  The first tour (with about 20 students) will take place in January, 2015.  Had the honor of shaking the hand of President Obama when he visited Tarrytown earlier this year to discuss the Tappan Zee bridge construction project.

ABG: Mariano did visit the Elmsford Little League, but Mr Feiner had nothing to do with it. The MSG organization routinely offers tours and having the President come to Westchester only highlighted the lack of traffic solutions currently suffered by residents and guests.

PF:  The town opened to residents new outdoor exercise equipment at Travis park.  A new playground at Yosemite Park also was dedicated.

ABG: The new exercise equipment at Yosemite Park was not the brainchild of or implemented by Mr Feiner. But we’re happy to see it there anyway.

PF: The town has been working with residents of Edgemont on improving pedestrian safety at the Seely place School. No parking signs from 7 AM to 9 AM and 2 dPM to 4 PM on Seely Place and Henry Street were placed. We are considering constructing more sidewalks near schools around the town and have reached out to the federal and state governments expressing interest in applying for funding.

ABG: We’ve already commented on some of this. However, Mr Feiner loves to talk about sidewalks and then turn his back on those neighborhoods seeking them. The saving grace here is that it is the affluent area of Edgemont and their threats to Incorporate would have a devastating effect on Town finances in general and the taxpaying public as well.

PF: Progress is being made to complete the missing link at the South County Trail between warehouse lane and Main Street in Elmsford. Westchester County has proposed an 8 foot wide 3,300 long asphalt pathway .

ABG: While this is nice, it is all County controlled and Mr Feiner and the Town have no dog in this race.

We haven’t gone in depth with the Fortress Bible settlement ($6.5Million), still abandoned WestHelp ($1.2Million/yr+daily deterioration and remained purposely off of Mr Feiner's list), Tax Certiorari refunds, Frank’s Nursery property ($3.5Million), Massage Parlors, Dromore Road, Sidewalks, Million-dollar payments for property, Video department issues and more. Don’t worry, the truth must prevail and as such, we’ll be back with more real information for you.