Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014: Happy New Year!

ABG would like to wish our readers, friends and families a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Greenburgh’s Year In Review; A Reality Check

Mr Feiner’s latest campaign is promoting what has happened in Greenburgh during the course of the year. As expected, his spin of Town events is less than forthcoming and what he does discuss lacks a certain honesty. We’ve decided to provide a balance to Mr Feiner’s “Year End Spin”, because while it may spell “YES”, it’s certainly a “NO” for most of us. Note: not all comments from Mr Feiner appear in their entirety. Check your email or weekly mailing from him for their entirety.

Mr Feiner says: On the positive side the town initiated some important action steps that will help the town save money long term and manage your tax dollars more efficiently. 

Reality Check: Most of the expenses incurred by the Town weren’t from storms or natural disasters. Most were the direct result of Mr Feiner’s actions, often illegal. His management skills are non-existant and certainly not efficient. If it weren’t for the management skills of his Department heads or the Town Comptroller, there would be no management in Greenburgh.

Mr Feiner says: We’re one of a handful of communities that have maintained our triple A bond rating. 
Reality Check: He’s correct. But, as we’ve posted before, its only a benefit if we are borrowing money and/or offering bonds. That hasn’t happened and our infrastructure has continued to suffer because of his ignoring of routine maintenance throughout our Town. It’s almost like a student getting an “A” on their first assignment and the parents bragging that their child is an “A” student. Pay a little bit now or a whole lot more later. Mr Feiner always opts for later.

Mr Feiner says: We are complying with the tax cap levy for the third consecutive year. 
Reality Check: He’s raised our taxes this year by 3.4% which is not below 2% and certainly not compliance. Do you recall just reading his statement above, “... and manage your tax dollars more efficiently.”? How can he manage more efficiently if he doesn’t understand that 3.4% is more than 2%? 

Mr Feiner says: We're undertaking reassessment.
Reality Check: Mr Feiner has kicked the reassessment/revaluation “can” down the road for twenty years. The Town’s last revaluation was last done in the 1950s. During his campaign against Robert Bernstein for the Democratic Primary nomination, the issue of reassessment was a hot-button topic that forced Mr Feiner into acquiescing it should be done. While he continues to drag his feet with reassessment, the Town’s minimum certiorari adjustment payouts at each Town Board meeting averages $100,000. The highest adjustment in one meeting was just above $3,000,000! The higher numbers seem to be occurring more often than not.

Mr Feiner says: ...replacing our street lights with efficient lighting.
Reality Check: While this will prove to be good long-term, Mr Feiner insists on purchasing all new lights throughout the Town, which is an unnecessary expense, especially given the financial plight he has put us in with so many guilty verdicts to pay for. The Town should slowly replace failing lights and ones that either have increased usage or excessive maintenance with new, energy efficient ones in a systematic, scheduled approach. 

Mr Feiner says: ...transitioning to a new sanitation truck that will require fewer employees. 
Reality Check: The one-arm bandit, as it is referred to, has severe operational issues based on geography and topography. If the conditions aren’t perfect, the truck’s extension arm used to pick up the garbage container won’t work. In fact, several residents that observed the Town’s demonstration for the truck, noting it didn’t even work under their ideal conditions, also noticed Mr Feiner’s video recording doesn’t show the difficulties experienced that day. Our Town employees are one of our greatest assets and eliminating them through automation may be viable at some point, just not here. Plus, residents will need new, larger, customized garbage receptacles for the one-armed bandit to work. So a couple that may generate one, possibly two bags of waste (13oz. each) a week will now have to replace their smaller, more easily handled receptacle with one of these monstrosities. The Town also has a size limitation as to the size of a garbage can that can be used/lifted by our employees. We guess that’s being “tossed out”.

Mr Feiner says: The disappointments: our failure to sell Frank’s Nursery (we will try again next year) and our unsuccessful (so far) efforts to persuade the county to approve a lease to convert WestHELP into affordable housing.  
Reality Check #1: Mr Feiner only sees TWO DISAPPOINTMENTS?! Frankly (no pun intended), these aren’t disappointments. These are out-and-out screw-ups created and perpetuated by Mr Feiner and his Board! The failure to sell the former Frank’s Nursery property lands squarely on Mr Feiner’s shoulders. HE met with GameOn 365 privately to foster an illegal lease before the Town acquired the property through foreclosure. HE created a phony referendum for the property. HE lied that the Town would be receiving $5 million dollars over 13 years with the deal. HE turned down a viable offer for the property for $3.5 million dollars. HE said during the Democratic Primary debates that the Town would auction off the property. Then, HE decided to postpone the auction and change it to a bid. Clearly, as mentioned in the opening, “...manage your tax dollars more efficiently,” rings a bit hollow. 
Reality Check #2: The WestHelp debacle was intentionally created by Mr Feiner in a search for Valhalla votes or a problem he could swoop in and fix during what would become an “eye-opening” Democratic Primary! His Town Board was complicit by voting to go along with him rather than be “Sonya’d” out of office. Knowing he would face serious opposition during the last election, he laid out his plans two-years prior by allowing the abandonment of the WestHelp facility. He left the facility open to be pillaged/ransacked, infested by animals and mold growth so he could say it needed to be torn down. Then he could finally remove any homeless, low income or affordable housing at the WestHelp location. This would be Mr Feiner’s payoff to the Valhalla residents since two Greenburgh citizens, retired Justice Herb Rosenberg and former Supervisor Candidate Robert Bernstein, brought a lawsuit against Mr Feiner for illegally paying the Valhalla School Board millions of dollars to accept the WestHelp facility. These two citizens recouped about $1.2 million dollars for the Town. Now it appears the Town will probably lose the right to manage the property, costing the Town its largest non-tax income of $1.2 million a year.

Mr Feiner says: We’re replacing water meters which will enable water rate users to feel more confident about the accuracy of meters and will reduce our costs. We are embarking on an effort to repair, renovate and paint our water tanks.
Reality Check: First, the water rates in Greenburgh rose 102% over the course of two years. Why? According to Mr Feiner, the old meters were costing the Town money. Instead of raising rates 102%, perhaps Mr Feiner should have been addressing water rates each year. He claimed he didn’t do this because he didn’t want to raise taxes on the Town’s taxpayers every year. How thoughtful. Instead, he thought two incredibly massive hikes were better. Do you recall, “save money long term and manage your tax dollars more efficiently”? Second, the maintenance of the water tanks is something that should have been happening all along. But in order to maintain our Triple-A bond rating, it was better to let them deteriorate and kick that can down the road than to maintain them.

Mr Feiner says: Westchester lost its AAA bond rating from Moody's. Greenburgh kept our AAA bond rating from Moody's and Standard & Poor's in 2013. Only 1% of localities in the nation have an AAA bond rating from both S & P and Moody's. 
Reality Check: First, Westchester County’s bond rating is of no concern to the Town and does not affect the Town’s bond rating. Second, being in the 1% of communities with a Triple-A bond rating means little if it’s not taken advantage of. The Town hasn’t really benefitted as much from the Triple-A Bond Rating as Mr Feiner has using it as a campaign tool.


Mr Feiner says: We're planning to redevelop various parks/recreation facilities: Massaro, Veteran, Presser, Travis & Yosemite. Among ideas: replace cabanas at A.F. Veteran Park with a pavilion, outdoor sports: ping pong tables, shuffleboard, maybe miniature golf, and a spray area at Massaro. We will use non taxpayer dollars (developer escrow funds) to pay for these enhancements.
Reality Check: Developer escrow funds may be able to fund various projects, but this is simply pandering as real issues languish. Mr Feiner promised the North Elmsford Civic Association security cameras for Massaro Park. He and former Police Chief DeCarlo discussed where the funds could be taken from to purchase and install the $80k worth of cameras. They have received nothing from Mr Feiner or the Town beyond lip service.

Mr Feiner says: Community Development Block Grant grants “On-Hold” because of feud between HUD and Westchester. The Town of Greenburgh had counted on over a half a million dollars in federal CDBG grants to enhance Manhattan Ave and for other projects. Among them: sidewalks on 9A in North Elmsford. HUD...has denied Westchester County communities federal dollars for CDBG programs, designed to help lower income populations. I wrote to our federal representatives asking if the administration of CDBG could be turned over to the state. We should not be a victim when we have done nothing wrong.
Reality Check: “The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs”. While Mr Feiner may not have done anything wrong “this time” and may have had projects he wished to engage in with that money, he’ll need to make other plans or simply forego those plans. Playing the victim may work for some of his “gimme-gimme” constituents, but real leaders don’t stomp their feet and complain about not getting their way and try to change the playing field. Reality sometimes bites. 

Mr Feiner says: The Town Board settled the Fortress Bible lawsuit for $6.5 million. We had rejected the application of Fortress Bible to build a church on Dobbs Ferry Road in 2004...The church took us to Federal Court and we lost. Our primary insurance carrier has agreed to pay $1 million dollars towards the settlement before the end of 2013. We are seeking additional reimbursement from another carrier. I have written to our Congressional delegation requesting that an independent traffic safety official from the federal government be available to local governments to verify whether or not traffic safety objections are valid –if they are the proposed church, synagogue or mosque would locate elsewhere. 
Reality Check: Mr Feiner was found guilty of seven counts of discrimination, destroying evidence, lying under oath and more to keep a church from building a new church and school on property they purchased in then-County Legislator Thomas Abinanti’s neighborhood. Abinanti, having been elected State Assemblyman, has since moved to Tarrytown, where a Village Board engages their constituents and doesn’t punish their neighborhoods with bad projects as Mr Feiner routinely does. Our Town Board rushed the settlement that might have been for less money but the discussions had the amount conversationally pegged around $8.5 million dollars if they hadn’t settled. However, Board members Juettner (also part of the guilty verdict) and Sheehan both stated they felt the Town could have done better in the negotiations. Mr Feiner assured the public during the Democratic Primary debates that Town insurance would cover the entire settlement. At the Fair Practice Committee hearing, Mr Feiner said his opponent Mr Bernstein, was lying when Mr Bernstein stated that after reading the insurance documents, the Town would not be covered. Mr Feiner waved papers in the air insisting he was right. He lied. The fact that Mr Feiner wants access to a state traffic official is nothing more than another of his deflections. When residents question traffic reports in their neighborhoods, he insists they are bound by them. Traffic is not the issue in this case, prejudice is!

Mr Feiner says: The Greenburgh Health Center opened in 2013 on Knollwood Road. New sidewalks were installed.
Reality Check: Partially. What Mr Feiner doesn’t discuss is that sidewalks were to be installed in both directions. The developer for the GHC (actually the Mount Vernon Health Center corporation) and the condominiums next to it both defaulted with installation of sidewalks southbound toward Dobbs Ferry Road. Weren’t both developers required to put up a bond (Triple-A rated or not) to guarantee construction compliance? Isn’t there an escrow account that was created that could pay for the sidewalks? Why weren’t these funds taken advantage of by the Town to complete the work they claim they can no longer afford. There are other issues with the new health facility to be discussed at a later date.

Mr Feiner says: NY State constructed new sidewalks on Central Ave. which is a good thing, but failed to finish the job. 
Reality Check: Naturally, with a Triple-A bond rating, we could simply finish the job, but, we won’t. It’s easier and offers more political capital if Mr Feiner just complains about the state.

Mr Feiner says: The Greenburgh Town Board approved a new law amending the zoning ordinance of the town by adding a definition of assisted living facilities and by creating a special permit criteria allowing for such facilities. Some of their units will be offered at discounted rates-making them more affordable.
Reality Check: Why bother to have zoning? The Town again had a developer’s attorneys write a law allowing the developer to build a large facility on an undersized lot (similar pattern: Westhab, Dromore Rd., Central Ave @ Army Rd., GameOn 365) that they wanted, with their size requirements and conditions being obliged, not the neighborhoods. The Town’s Legal department, Building department, Comprehensive Planning Committee, Zoning Board, Planning Board are all apparently incapable of drafting a zoning change for the Town. The zoning change that the Town couldn’t wait to enact will have a negative Town-wide impact in years to come. As to the one project that sparked all of this, the discounted rates the Supervisor mentions is temporary and does not allow Medicaid clients to live there. It seems that Mr Feiner and Brightview are only interested in providing discounted, subsidized, low income housing in Fairview or not at all. 

Mr Feiner says: The NYS Legislature approved our request to straighten an S curve along Jackson Ave. (near Jackson & N. Sprain Road).  The town, villages of Hastings and Ardsley received $5 million after the Ridge Hill lawsuit settlement to make safety improvements on roads impacted by Ridge Hill.
Reality Check: The financial ability was there because of the settlement. The amount of land required from the state to make this happen was about a three-foot wide strip of land in the curve. Its much ado about nothing. Now lets see if it actually gets done.

Mr Feiner says: Our arts & culture program is funded in its entirety by the Lanza Foundation. Other funds went to our Special Olympics program, our nutrition program, and Hartsbrook Barn.
Reality Check: Without the Lanza Foundation, the proverbial “Golden Goose” for the TYCC, Mr Feiner would be required to better manage our money and the programs offered. While we don’t mind the Lanza Foundation’s help to the Town, we’re still concerned with Mr Feiner’s statement, “...save money long term and manage your tax dollars more efficiently”.

Mr Feiner says: The town has been trying to rent out the abandoned WestHELP homeless shelter.
Reality Check: Mr Feiner caused this debacle. He’s the reason it is vacant and in need of millions of dollars in repair! He illegally tried to tear the facility down and offer it to a school from Yonkers as a tenant all to placate the Valhalla voters no longer receiving illegal payments from the Town. He then tried to hire an unproven management company to run the facility and pay the Town rent, in effect collecting rent from the County and a private and favored contractor. The Town is now in place to lose $1.2 million dollars a year in non-tax income.

Mr Feiner says: New affordable housing opens at 222 Old Tarrytown Road. Apartments are being leased to families whose income ranges from $22,000 to $69,000 a year.  The town finally sold the Waterwheel property in Ardsley for $1.2 million. 
Reality Check: The apartments Mr Feiner references are advertised to anyone throughout the state. Mr Feiner and his Town Board repeatedly stated that the apartments for the proposed 7-story apartments would be for Greenburgh Municipal employees, teachers, police and firefighters. When that was proven a lie, changes were made for it to be “only” four stories. Mr Feiner and his Board rubber-stamped the project through every process faster than any other project in the Town’s history. Ardsley’s Fire Department had approached the Town to purchase the property to build affordable housing for firefighters and ems volunteers and were scoffed, ultimately being turned down. Apparently, its okay to offer affordable housing for non-residents.

Mr Feiner says: We started the year thinking that we would sell Frank's Nursery to Game On, a business that wants to build indoor sports facility at the abandoned Frank's Nursery. After a competitor (House of Sports) offered the town $3.5 million (with conditions) we decided to have an auction in 2014. We will sell the property to the highest bidder. 3 members of the Town Board voted to ask the Commissioner of Planning to rezone the entire Dobbs Ferry corridor for recreation uses.  Game On also announced that they have an option to purchase the Golf Range on Dobbs Ferry Road.
Reality Check: The Town should have sold this property at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road to Elm Street Sports, operating the successful House of Sports, in Ardsley. The Elm Street Sports cash offer of $3.5 million was twice that of Mr Feiner’s favored and unproven startup “company”, GameOn 365. The conditions “issue” manufactured by Mr Feiner was nothing more than a deflection to buy more time for GameOn 365 to try to raise the capital needed to make the purchase. They currently do not have the funds to do so. And, the one question that still remains is: what can the property be used for when the current carcinogenic contamination is taken into account? Mr Feiner and his obedient Town Board continue to this day to refuse to say. Then the Town Board voted to research creating a new type of zone creating a Recreational Corridor, which is merely another deflection and way for Mr Feiner to limit other interested bidders access to the property. As to the “option to purchase” the golf driving range by GameOn 365, it’s just that. They are simply a company that has signed a meaningless contract to have the right of first refusal to purchase it. Again, they don’t have the funds to do so and this deflection was probably one suggested by Mr Feiner.

Mr Feiner says: Chris McNerney replaced Joseph DeCarlo as Police Chief. 
Reality Check: ABG congratulates both Chief Joseph DeCarlo for the job he has done for the Town and welcomes Chief McNerney and wishes him well.

Mr Feiner says: Smash Burger opened up two restaurants in Greenburgh. Bareburger opened up another hamburger restaurant on Central Ave., joining Jakes Wayback Burgers. Ben's Deli, a kosher delicatessen had their ground breaking ceremonies at the old Spiga Restaurant on Central Ave. Mrs. Green’s opened at the old Morton Williams on Central Ave. Crossroads Shopping Center spent over a million dollars with a new fa├žade. Lane Bryant, Chef Central, Dress Barn, Petsmart are new tenants. 
Reality Check: Opening burger restaurants is all well and good. Sustaining them and having them become a fixture is the Town is more difficult to do after the newness wears off. We hope they endure and do well. While we welcome Mrs Green’s to the abandoned Morton Williams location, they are two very different stores. Mrs Green’s offers a nice produce section at reasonable prices. In doing some comparative shopping, we see many all natural products which appear to cost significantly more than a “regular” supermarket. We wish them well too. The vacancies at the Crossroads Shopping Center has impacted many in the area, most significantly with the loss of the anchor store Waldbaums/A&P. When we wrote of their closing years ago, the manager of the store stated the inflexible union rules and the generally cash-strapped residents not spending on extras and theft led to the stores demise. Our understanding is DSW will be going into that location. We wish all of the tenants in Crossroads much success. Although, we could still use a supermarket...

Mr Feiner says: We’re reviewing a request to rezone Landmark at Eastview, land that includes the headquarters of Regeneron, a bio tech company and Madison Square Garden's training facility. The rezoning of the property for mixed use could generate close to $7 million dollars in additional taxes per year.
Reality Check: The rezoning proposal was again made by a developer who has proposed a cacophony of mixed uses on the 100 acres and written the zoning change as well,  seemingly putting everything but the kitchen sink into the proposal to assure passage. While Mr Feiner mentioned $7 million dollars in taxes, that will be the maximum amount if every available space is rented. ABG believes that is doubtful. Plus, Regeneron and Home Depot are not happy about the proposal. Stay tuned.

Mr Feiner says: We're going to produce you tube videos[sic] highlighting why Greenburgh is a great place to live. Each you tube taping will feature a different neighborhood.  We had our first planning meetings in 2013.  We expect to aggressively start this project in 2014.
Reality Check: While its a promising idea, the first video was much too long, focused on all of the same thing and was a poor opening salvo. What needs to happen is to map out a specific message to be conveyed beyond the generic and non-specific, Greenburgh is a great place to live. Their video doesn’t explain that. Perhaps George Malone of the Town’s video department, babysitting a host of YouTube-raised interns, can piece together a two-minute video to show communities how this should be done.

Mr Feiner says:  NYS is now requiring registration for STAR. The assessor's office has been devoting many hours responding to resident inquiries. Those who do not register could lose significant tax breaks.
Reality Check: Sadly, our Town Assessor spent more and more time telling residents not to call her office because they had nothing to do with the STAR program instead of offering to be a source of information to her real employer – us – the taxpayers. Our guess is they were too busy doing assessments. Mr Feiner’s advice is actually good. But property owners aren’t applying for STAR, they are REapplying. This is being done to weed out the abusers of the program. We suggest all residents reapply for the STAR program if they haven’t already because Mr Feiner is raising taxes this year by 3.4%, staying under the 2% NYS Tax Cap and will be raising them again.

Mr Feiner says: Court Audit. Over the years the town has had problems with our town court. We hired an independent auditor to do a detailed internal audit. They provided the Town Board with a few dozen recommendations that will improve internal controls at the courts. We are placing more internal controls in all departments.
Reality Check: There are certainly problems with our Town courts. But an audit was merely another deflection to mask Mr Feiner’s less than desirable hiring practices. First, he hired one person from another community who got her salary increased to a higher salary by threatening to leave. Once it was where she wanted it, she pit her old employer against the Town. When they matched her now-higher salary and benefits, she left Greenburgh. Mr Feiner and his Board hired another person and in short time had her salary increased to six figures plus benefits. When the publicity from her ran out, he brought in interns to help clean up the backlog of unpaid tickets. When pushed to provide how much of a dent these interns made in recouping money from tickets, how many tickets they cleared and why the employees couldn’t do this work instead of interns since we are paying them, he remained silent, never providing the public with any answers. 

Mr Feiner says: We placed two solar powered trash compactors on East Hartsdale Ave. These containers, used all over the world use solar power to compact waste at the point of collection.  Each solar compactor can hold about five times the amount of waste as a typical receptacle, saving taxpayer dollars.
Reality Check: The “savings” has yet to be proven or even guesstimated. The trash compactors are solar powered with a wifi “connection” back to an office, presumably one of the Town commissioner’s offices. When the solar panel is blocked, for instance with snow or ice, how long will the compactor work before being disabled by Mother Nature? How much is maintenance for these two receptacles? We assume there is some sort of media required to hold the trash. Is the compacted trash stored as a solid “block” and picked up by sanitation or does it require bags to hold the trash? Is it heavier than lifting a normal trash can we currently use, possibly increasing the risk of injury to our Town employees? Does it use paper or plastic bags? Since these were purchased with grant money, are the special bags supplied? Since these will receive less visits/attention from pickups, how will the smell be addressed? Will retail establishments near these suffer from foul trash odors?

Mr Feiner says: Solar heating hot water system installed at the Theodore Young Community Center. Another important law was approved promoting energy efficiency: The Town Board joined other communities in Westchester that will help businesses save money by making their properties more energy efficient. The program is called Greenburgh Energize NY Benefit Finance Program law.
Reality Check: Solar heating hot water system has been installed and this is good. It will only heat the hot water used for the showers. The rest of Mr Feiner’s statement has nothing to do with the TYCC and its solar heating hot water system installation. Through some creative accounting and financial jockeying, it was FEMA funds that were used for this installation. Additionally, the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) Mr Feiner speaks of is nothing more than a private lender of money as a not-for-profit business that only avails itself to commercial applicants. From the Town website: “Energy Improvement Corporation (“EIC”), a local development corporation, acting on behalf of the Town of Greenburgh, to make funds available to qualified property owners that will be repaid by such property owners through charges on the real properties benefited by such funds, thereby fulfilling the purposes of this chapter and fulfilling an important public purpose.” Why, are there no banks to lend money to businesses? Finally, if a commercial property borrows money from this EIC, and defaults, guess who is responsible? That’s right, us, the abused the taxpayer!

Mr Feiner says: We’re Repaving. We repaved many streets, including a large section of E. Hartsdale Ave. 
Reality Check: Most paving had been put off for an extended period and found the Town constantly patching roads in need of replacement. It seems like Hartsdale gets a lot of attention.

Mr Feiner says: WCBS radio highlighted a story about an Edgemont Girl Scout troop that successfully advocated for a safety initiative at the Greenville School. The troop worked with town officials and got results. 
Reality Check: While we applaud the students activity, ABG is more concerned with why their parents (willfully ignorant voters?) would not petition the Town to make the safety changes? And, they were the offenders! We are also a bit dismayed that the police were not actively involved with correcting or at least implementing a fix? No matter, we do it for the children.

Mr Feiner says: In 2012 Crane's Pond in Edgemont looked like pea soup. We received many complaints.  We responded -contracted with a company to apply aquatic herbicide to control the duckweed. The treatment worked.
Reality Check: First, are there no Town employees that go past the Crane Pond that could inform a supervisor of an issue there? Second, contracting a company to remedy the situation is their job. 

Mr Feiner says: Residents of N. Elmsford requested that we place cameras at Massaro Park to enhance safety. The Town Board agreed to the request.
Reality Check: Yes, the Town Board agreed to the request. But that’s it, they agreed; but there are no cameras. Not in Mazzaro Park and not in the Town budget. Lip service.

Mr Feiner says: I meet with retired executives frequently, soliciting their feedback on approaches that can be taken to manage the town more efficiently. The team has reviewed our budget, helped write the RFP for the internal court audit. They have assisted in developing policies for financial assistance re: parks & community center programs.
Reality Check: Even with all of this supposed expertise, the Town is mismanaged from the top. You’d have thought after all this instruction from these retirees that Mr Feiner might have picked up a few things.

Mr Feiner says: We have created a water district advisory board that is developing a comprehensive long term water plan for the town's water system. Major infrastructure upgrades are planned to make sure that you can depend on high quality drinking water.
Reality Check: Another advisory board without authority to implement or change any policy is another impotent deflection to hide the facts. Many throughout the Town have experienced surrealistic increases in their water bills since Mr Feiner increased the water rates by 102%! These same people have reached out the Water Department who simply says, “You must have a leak.” When they come to Town Board meetings or call the problem solver, they’re told to speak to the Water Department or call a plumber to see if you have a leak. Once you’ve proven there is or is not a leak, call us back so we can (mis)direct you to the water advisory board. We need some common sense here to help our residents get through the difficulties created by Mr Feiner.

In the end, Mr Feiner’s skewed version of what happened during 2013 will be published in the daily and weekly newspapers, emailed and mailed out by him to Town residents, sans ABG’s Reality Check. What Mr Feiner doesn’t say is that his Town Board has voted themselves a 10% raise for all elected officials. He’s forgotten that as an elected official, the salary is always listed and a “given”. He should abide by it or not seek office if it isn’t enough for his likes. The same holds true for the rest of the elected officials. He doesn’t discuss the failures of the HVAC systems at the Town Library. Nor does he discuss the water leaks from the ski roof or the unnecessary Sunday closings that could have been avoided with reapportioning $15k toward the library. He doesn’t discuss the electric car charging station at the Library that he insisted be quickly voted through because it was “free”. Nothing is free. There was no discussion of the failed heating system incorporating heat pumps which were incorrectly installed under the parking lots and he signed off on. He didn’t discuss his lack of effort toward alleviating flooding by cleaning the Bronx River throughout Greenburgh as he did for the Saw Mill River; or enlisted the help of our southern neighbors to do the same. He refuses to speak with both Westchester County legislators because naturally, they don’t like him. 

He didn’t discuss his broken promises to residents when he promised to have FEMA purchase flooded resident’s homes, even though he knew their homes could not be purchased until the Town acted first. He didn’t discuss who the genius was who decided to store the TYCC bleachers at the former and contaminated Frank’s Nursery location during the gym floor refurbishing. So now we must replace the contaminated bleachers as the Frank’s Nursery building continued to flood while the bleachers were there. Mr Feiner’s standard answer is that FEMA will pay to replace these bleachers. He didn’t discuss the total amount of money he has cost the Town’s taxpayers between the Fortress Bible Church verdict ($6.5M), WestHelp ($2.4M lost ), and others. He didn’t discuss his lack of trying to control the speeding on Old Kensico Road and Hillside Avenue or a lack of sidewalks there to ensure pedestrian safety. He didn’t discuss the additional vacancies or For Rent signs throughout the Town and our ever growing lack of supermarkets. He didn’t remind anyone that he imposed a new tax on gas stations along Central Avenue just to stay in business in an already super-competitive market. He never discussed the spot-zoning he and his Board implemented in numerous neighborhoods at the behest of his preferred developer law firm. He didn’t mention the flawed zoning maps that are negatively impacting neighborhoods from Fulton Park to Dromore Road. Followers of ABG are enlightened and do know what Mr Feiner does, and what the reality is compared to what he says.

His list is nothing more than another campaign event on the taxpayer’s dime. Only this time it will cost us even more than before. Things need to change at Town Hall; only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas



















ABG wishes our readers, friends, families and colleagues a
blessed and joyous Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Creating Spin From None

Most Town Board meetings see Mr Feiner try to brag about something he did within the Town under his constant campaigning theme. He continually touts that Greenburgh is the 80th ranked Best Place to live based on a flawed magazine article. Ever the opportunist, the truth doesn’t really matter and he knows it. He also touts the Town’s Triple-A Bond rating. If he says (and prints) it enough times, it will be perceived as the truth by Greenburgh’s willfully ignorant voters as opposed to taxpayers. By the way, the Triple-A Bond rating may finally mean something as the Town will need to borrow millions of dollars to pay off the $6.5 million Fortress Bible Discrimination lawsuit’s guilty verdict, which he, Ms Juettner and others are imposing upon Unincorporated Greenburgh taxpayers!

In his most recent campaign mailing, he regurgitates information we perceive as a “fluff piece” from SafeWise, a Rye, NY-based home and community security company, that states Greenburgh is one of the safest places to live. Actually, we’re 38th out of 50. Not a very impressive location on the list. Floral Park is #1 and Bedford is #2. That’s impressive for those communities. Less impressive is our placing.

If you’re not sure who SafeWise is, neither are we. It appears to be a company that is a clearing house for home security systems, comparing features and services from the top five security monitoring companies. They don’t appear to monitor security systems themselves or represent any of the security companies that do or that they write about. You can find out more of what they offer, but not necessarily more about what they do by going to this link: http://www.safewise.com. If you’d like to see more about their article/list about the safest cities, you can go to: http://www.safewise.com/blog/50-safest-cities-new-york/

We found that SafeWise utilizes outdated statistics from the FBI’s 2011 Crime Statistics in their U.S. Report with “our (their) own thorough investigation” and created a comprehensive list of the top 50 safest cities in New York, with 15,000 residents or more as of 2011. Greenburgh has about 90,000 residents, easily qualifying to be on this list of cities. Yet throughout the entire list, there is rarely a mention of crime. It seems more like a tourist information listing for planning your vacation and little to do with safety. Greenburgh is at #38 on the list. Then they also tout Yonkers, as number 46 on the list, above New Windsor (47) and Cortland (50). While statistics prove that Yonkers’ murder rate and general thefts fell in 2011, all other serious crime is up! In fact, statistics paint quite a different picture than the blurb from the list:

Yonkers, NY* is compared to nearest cities:
(Note: Higher means more crime)
Yonkers:
236.2
389.2
46.3
88.4
16.3
105.7
254.5
89.9
67.2
Violent crime rate in 2011
Yonkers:
284.2
U.S. Average:
213.6

Violent crime rate in 2010
Yonkers:
254.7
U.S. Average:
223.2

Violent crime rate in 2009
Yonkers:
270.6
U.S. Average:
238.0

Violent crime rate in 2008
Yonkers:
262.9
U.S. Average:
252.4

Violent crime rate in 2007
Yonkers:
256.6
U.S. Average:
259.7

Violent crime rate in 2006
Yonkers:
280.0
U.S. Average:
264.1

Violent crime rate in 2005
Yonkers:
275.3
U.S. Average:
258.9

Violent crime rate in 2004
Yonkers:
272.6
U.S. Average:
256.0



















































Because the City of Yonkers is framed in this list as a safe place to be, and we all know what the reality can really be, we took a look at Greenburgh statistics as provided by a different source, our own Greenburgh Police:

Part 1 AND Selected Part 2 Offenses
PART 1 OFFENSE2010
IBR
2011
IBR
% +/-
Homicide01
Rape4775%
Robbery2610-62%
Felony Assault29317%
Burglary79824%
MV Theft2322-4%
Larceny5696158%
TOTAL7307685%

PART 2 OFFENSE2010
IBR
2011
IBR
% +/-
Simple Assault5349-8%
DWI127117-8%
Sex Offenses (EXCEPT RAPE)1411-21%
Drug11915732%
Criminal Mischief21524112%
Fraud/Forgery16418915%
Public Order33039219%
Theft Offenses435016%
TOTAL1065120613%

OTHER SELECTED STATISTICS
Arrest Statistics

2010

2011% +/-
Felony238201-16
Misdemeanor867106122
Violation9818690
Warrant14018029
Juvenile81475
TOTAL1225148721

Miscellaneous Statistics

2010

2011% +/-
CALLS FOR SERVICE4243742232- .5
Reportable M.V.A’s13011235-5
Injuries (Reportable MVA’s)287262-9
Impounded Vehicles32138219
Animal Control Total2124237012
Alarm Responses424843091

Traffic Tickets

2010

2011% +/-
 UTT’s Issued – Total65276299-3

Parking Tickets

2010

2011% +/-
Total Issued by Patrols48054668-3
Snow Parking24382110-13
Handicapped206193-6
Fire Zones & Hydrants504427-15

As expected, Greenburgh residents and guests live in a much safer environment than Yonkers although there isn’t much of s spread between numbers 38 and 46. We also wondered how bad things could be in New Windsor, NY, since they are number 49 on this list (we had difficulty with Cortland’s statistics):


New Windsor seems to be a fairly safe place, certainly experiencing less crime than Yonkers and yet it placed at 49. Hmm. The information Mr Feiner relied upon in his campaign piece was (mis)construed for his own campaign purposes. This is not unusual for him. But how many of these campaign letters were printed at 50¢ each( 2-sided print)? We chose this figure as the Town charges resident owners 25¢ per printed page – even though our tax dollars pay for the copier, toner, paper and electricity. Then, there’s postage for 46¢ per mailed envelope. So, for 96¢, Mr Feiner wasted our tax money, employee time and Town resources to campaign on his behalf with skewed information. It’s ridiculous and needs to end. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.
* Yonkers crime data was taken from http://www.city-data.com/