Monday, July 6, 2015

Critical Meeting Wednesday Sets Up Residents to Lose

Once again, the machine at Town Hall is operating in high gear. Subterfuge? Trickery? Or, just more Standard Operating Procedure from Mr Feiner, et al? Willfully ignorant residents are about to be entered into an ESCO without their permission by the Greenburgh Town Board, under the lie of helping them save money on their ConEd bill for the transmission of their gas or electricity to their homes. Transmission is the least expensive portion of your utility bill. You currently pay ConEd this fee which is billed in your monthly statement. If a resident is already a part of an ESCO, how they will be affected has not been answered. Many questions with few answers keep hounding Mr Feiner and his Town Board. We believe many of them go unanswered by choice. Regardless of the issues, we're confident that they will pass this - unless you act now!

We previously wrote about this issue in an article entitled Big Brother Creeps In on June 22, 2015. In that article, we explained how Mr Feiner had singularly decided without resident taxpayer input to enter ALL RESIDENTS into an Energy Savings Consortium Organization called Sustainable Westchester. This will be with a three-year contract with no guarantee of savings from day one through day one-thousand and ninety-five. Your utilities provider will still be ConEd. What Sustainable Westchester is providing is purely a “paper” plan which Mr Feiner continually extols the unconfirmed and unsupported claims of high savings residents will realize, up to $600! The only way these savings will happen is dependent on high enrollment numbers. Mr Feiner is guaranteeing high membership to Sustainable Westchester without having to actually guarantee any savings, service or delivery improvements for the residents. He has yet to furnish any kind of fact-based information with a firm commitment validating savings. Because it's all dependent on this outside organization, when this savings deal “goes south”, he gets to walk away clean, pointing the finger at Sustainable Westchester.

There was a meeting held at Town Hall an hour or so prior to the regular June 16th Town Board meeting. Hosted by Ken Stahn, President of the Sprain Road Civic Association, his goal was to get details of what the plan was from Sustainable Westchester and have residents' questions answered before the Town Board voted for this plan. When Mr Stahn spoke at the Town Board meeting later that same night, he told the Board he wished they would take the same time and effort as the just concluded hearing had been given with exhaustive questions (and few answers – a recurrent theme from this Board) and table the vote. Thankfully, the vote was postponed for two weeks until this Wednesday night's Town Board meeting. But, we've seen this before where the Board postpones and postpones until any opposition is reduced to a few people and can easily be dismissed and then they vote as instructed by Mr Feiner.

DON'T BE DISMISSED - YOU SHOULD COME TO THE MEETING AND BE HEARD! Tell the Town Board not to act on this until all questions can be satisfactorily answered. Demand the Board tell you what the savings will be. And, if they can't, have Sustainable Westchester tell you. Demand the Board tell you what the penalty costs are if you decide to drop out of the ESCO before they commit us to it? Tell the Board if you drop out and want to get back in, there should not be a three day window of opportunity, it should be open ended. Tell the Board you see a conflict of interest because some of the same Board of Directors for Sustainable Westchester are current and sitting Mayors and Supervisors*. Tell the Board you want the ability to opt IN, not opt OUT. Tell the Board there are other questions that need to be answered before any decision is made such as the link of Sustainable Westchester and Solarize Westchester. Solarize Westchester is another solar energy program that Mr Feiner is promoting with claims it too will save them money without telling you how much you must spend before you start saving anything.

Ask why the Town has an employee from the Department of Community Development and Conservation (a contradiction of terms?) dedicated to work on behalf of Solarize Westchester, which has ties to Sustainable Westchester? Just because these companies are not-for-profit should not make what they are doing automatically adopted. Ask the Board if Sustainable Westchester or the Town will refund the difference if Sustainable Westchester's savings don't happen and your costs increase? Tell the Board they should wait and see the savings that are proposed in the current group of Cities and Towns before we jump into this. Tell the Board the Town should not bear the cost of a Town-wide mailing to opt OUT. Rather, tell them Sustainable Westchester should do this.

Go to the Town Board meeting this Wednesday night. Tell the Board not to move this issue forward until real facts and figures are presented. It is critical that this Board “do their due diligence”, “follow the process”, “keep an open mind”, and refrain from their “personal opinions” before acting. You may recognize these catch phrases as Mr Feiner's. He uses them each time residents catch him not being truthful (lying) or violating the law. When Mr Feiner tells you he's spoken to and received emails from many residents who are in favor of this, tell him and his Board you don't care unless he's willing to provide contact information you can verify. Tell him to listen to you. Tell his Board to listen to you. Ask the Board about the Federal Government's accusation that the Town recently submitted an illegal claim for solar grant funding and are seeking reimbursement of that funding from the Town? Get involved and stop the shenanigans at Town Hall. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

* The Board of Directors for Sustainable Westchester include, among others, Noam Bramson (Mayor of New Rochelle), Chris Burdick (Supervisor of Bedford), Tom Roach (Mayor of White Plains), Nancy Seligson (Supervisor of the Town of Mamaroneck) and finally Mike Spano (Mayor of Yonkers, often referred to as the City of Hills, where nothing is on the level).

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