On Thursday evening, October 4, at the Scott Room of Scarsdale Library nearly 100 leaders of Scarsdale gathered to honor the members of the Procedure Committee, to hear the Mayor’s address on the State of Scarsdale, and to review important proposed changes in the Non-Partisan Resolution.
Scarsdale Forum President Dan Hochvert (pictured at left) convened the General Membership Meeting of the Scarsdale Forum to which Forum members and the public were invited. At 8 PM, he drew attention from the convivial chatter during the earlier celebration of Procedure Committee members with refreshments and photos.
First orders of business included a reminder of the unique traditions of Scarsdale, a Secretary’s Minutes (Robert Berg) of the previous meeting (voted) and a Treasurer’s Report (Robert Tucker) of a sound financial condition (voted).
President Hochvert invited reverence for and memories of Scarsdale leaders who had died within the last year after contributing greatly to the welfare of Scarsdale. He read the tribute drafted by Carol Stix for David Norr and invited Merrell Clark to read his tribute regarding Charles Cunningham. Both Norr and Cunningham had been outstanding leaders within Scarsdale Forum (and predecessor organizations) and many other organizations related to Scarsdale and to Westchester.
Mayor Miriam Levitt Flisser was invited to the podium to address the State of Scarsdale. Her powerpointpresentation efficiently tabulated the principal matters underway, in which the Village is fostering a better Scarsdale at the present time. She addressed actions in crucial areas that impact Scarsdale families and homes, including 2012/2013 budget, storm water projects, assessment revaluation, bridge construction, Reeves Newsome Pump station modernization, historic preservation and leaf mulching.
The budget $48,445,129 (+3.17% over prior budget) resolves elements that include a 2% New York tax cap, small growth in non-tax revenue, and a tax rate of $238.42/$1,000 (reflecting cap exemptions for such items as growth and pensions).
Storm water projects include South Fox Meadow Drainage Improvements (4 Segments, $2.28 million, considering added segment for Harcourt Woods); South Fox Meadow Drainage Improvements (50% Westchester County grant, 50% bonds subsidized by NYS Environmental Facilities Corp) to be concluded in December with spring 2013 landscaping. Other projects include Sheldrake River Drainage Basin Improvements, now in plans and exploring financial alternatives.
Reassessment of Village property is underway at a projected cost of $1.1 million. New assessments are expected for assessment rolls in 2014 tax year.
The Popham Road Bridge replacement project, at a cost of $17.2 million, is to be completed in December with punch list completion by March of 2013 (construction delayed fourteen months for unanticipated site complications). The Crane Road Bridge, involving two bridges at Bronx River Parkway over Metro North tracks and the Bronx River, are Westchester County’s responsibility. Village officials and Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce are working with Westchester County to orchestrate Scarsdale traffic changes needed over two years and beyond.
The Reeves Newsome pump station will be modernized for $4.1 million with money from water rate, while the recently modernized Ardsley pump station does its work.
Historic preservation work is moving forward, including a comprehensive survey of Scarsdale properties and plans for professional training of volunteers and professional staff who deal with historic property constraints.
Leaf mulching, voted by Village Trustees in 2011, included July training for landscape personnel; tests will proceed this fall in parks while encouraging mulching by all homeowners.
After entertaining questions, President Hochvert thanked the Mayor and introduced a panel to review proposed amendments to the Non-Partisan Resolution. David Brodsky, Chair of the Procedure Committee, summarized the changes proposed to increase public participation. Changes included public participation in the early parts of the first organizational meeting of the Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC) before the committee enters an “executive” period to review personal and private information of all candidates and a widening of the acceptance of absentee ballots to the day of election. A third proposed change dealt with an effort to broaden outreach to new executive leaders of the CNC while continuing the knowledge base of experienced participants.
Further comments were received from Eli Mattioli, Vice Chair of the Procedure Committee and Beverley Sved, Chair of the Scarsdale Forum Non-Partisan Procedure Committee. Beverley Sved’s concluding report of her committee’s work included agreement with the first two proposed changes and discussed several alternatives to the third proposed change.
Additional comments were received in a discussion period, notably by the League of Women Voters, and by other Members. President Hochvert called for a vote on the Report of the Non-Partisan Procedure Committee that had been distributed previously (voted). He then adjourned at 9:30 PM to a convivial afterglow reception.
Other Scarsdale leaders and all residents may review proceedings by viewing Scarsdale’s cable Channel 75 on Friday to Sunday, October 12-14, at 4 PM and at 9 PM.
Contributor Merrell Clark has been a participating member of Scarsdale Forum for approximately 40 years, where he now works primarily on sustainability drives. In other Scarsdale organizations, he has served as a Director at Scarsdale Foundation, United Way, Scarsdale Adult School and Greenacres Association.