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VillageHallThough the portion of your real estate taxes that goes to Scarsdale Village only accounts for 18.3% of the total bill, the services they fund are perhaps the most visible manifestation of your payment. Many residents are not clear on which department is providing which service and how their tax payments are being spent. In an effort to enlighten the public on just what the Village does, the Scarsdale Forum and League of Women Voters presented a session called “Where Your Village Property Tax Dollars Go: An Overview” at Village Hall on Thursday January 10, 2019. You can watch the presentation on video here:

The program was well attended and included presentations from Village Manager Steve Pappalardo, Village Treasurer Mary Lou McClure, Benny Salanitro head of the Department of Public Works, Police Chief Andrew Matturro and Fire Chief Jim Seymour. They explained how the annual $56.5 million in Village taxes are spent.

villagetaxes

Here are just a few facts that may surprise you:

Scarsdale has 91 miles of roadways – 78 miles are owned by the Village and the rest by the county and the state.

5 miles of roads were repaved and 8,000 linear feet of curbing were installed in 2018

The Department of Public Works collected 4,100 tons of fall leaves in 2018.

The Sanitation Division collected approximately 6,700 tons of solid waste, 8,000 tons of organics, 650 tons of co-mingled recyclables, 1,800 tons of newspapers, 14.8 tons of textiles in 2018.

In 2018 the Scarsdale Fire Department responded to 1,778 calls, an increase of 343 over 2017. Why? Chief Seymour says, “My best conclusion was that the automatic aid agreement added roughly 24 responses and there were two significant storms (3/2 & 9/25) in which handed us 50 responses for each. Lastly, through social media and word of mouth, we have really increased our efforts to educate our residents to call us when they need us.”

And Police Chief Andrew Matturo reported that the average response time for police for priority calls in 2018 was 4.05 minutes and for all calls was 4.40 minutes.

What is the cost of these services per household?

The average household pays $832 a year for roads, sanitation and facilities maintenance.

The average household pays $751 for police protection.

The average household pays $629 a year for fire protection.

Another question often asked, is how do our local taxes compare to those paid by residents of neighboring municipalities. It turns out that our rates are pretty favorable.

Village Treasures Mary Lou McClure presented the following bill that compares property taxes in Scarsdale against taxes in Larchmont and Pelham Manor for homes of a similar assessed value:

taxcomparison

And how does Moody’s rate Scarsdale’s debt? McClure reported that Scarsdale has an Aaa rating which “reflects the village’s sound financial position with healthy reserves and history of stable operations, affluent and sizeable tax base favorably located near New York City and manageable fixed costs. The rating also reflects moderate pension and OPEB liabilities.”

Following the presentation, the audience was given the chance to ask a few questions. The first asked if the Village of Scarsdale has considered consolidating services with other municipalities. Village Pappalardo replied that “yes” the Village had considered this many times and is doing what it can to share services with neighboring municipalities without doing a wholesale consolidation. Fire Chief Seymour noted mutual aid agreements with other fire departments to respond to fires in Eastchester and Greenburgh and to have their forces back ours as well.

Another asked if the Recreation Department was self supporting. Village Manager Pappalardo said that the Rec Department puts on 150 programs and 65% of their expenses are covered for fees collected by users. However, the cost to manage the department and maintain the facilities are covered by taxes rather than fees.

To a question about the development of the Freightway site, Pappalardo said, “We have seven responses from developers. The Board is discussing next steps – including drafting an RFP. There is a public comments session on January 22 at 6:30 and you can see all the documents online under “planning.”

To a question about upgrading Village Hall, Pappalardo said, “There is nothing in the budget now, though it will have to be addressed sometime. We need $1.5 million just to upgrade Rutherford Hall. The whole building needs a lot of work.”

Dara Gruenberg who spearheaded the event said, "I am thrilled that the LWVS and Forum collaborated which is unprecedented. The feedback I have received from many who attended and aren’t involved in the Village was that it was very informative and clear. We marketed it to the real estate agencies and a lot of brokers came. I think there were 60 people there. So overall a success! Huge thanks to the LWVS, the Forum, Village Staff, and the committee that worked so hard to put this together."

Learn more about where your taxes go here:

raizenDavid Raizen, Ellen Gross, Jim Maher and Drew HahnScarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps celebrated a year of volunteerism on December 13, 2018. They honored some of the many volunteers who helped to provide advanced life support to the community with SVAC which is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They respond to approximately 1,500 emergency calls each year and employ paid paramedics who work alongside volunteer EMT’s and support crew.

In their new headquarters building they provide classes in CPR and also train EMT’s. SVAC relies on financial support from the community to provide this essential service.

To learn more and donate, click here: http://www.scarsdalevac.com/donate.php

On December 13, the following SVAC members were honored:

Ellen Gross: EMT of the Year
Jim Maher: Paramedic of the Year
Guy Peifer: Educational Excellence Award for Paramedic Instruction
Stephanie Foley Wheelock: Became an RN this year

Congratulations to the honorees.

Photos by Jn Thaler - see more here:

foleyDavid Raizen, Stephanie Foley Wheelock, Guy Peifer, Richard Robinson and Drew Hahn

Toll BrothersToll BrothersDevelopers unveiled innovative plans for the development of the Freightway site at a meeting on Tuesday evening 11-27 of the Scarsdale Land Use Committee. Seven firms presented their responses to a “Request for Expression of Interest” (RFEI) for the Freightway redevelopment project. The RFEI yielded promising proposals that met the village’s objectives in improving the site and appeared physically feasible to complete.

According to Scarsdale Village Trustee Jane Veron, “First, we are delighted to learn that there was strong interest among highly credentialed firms in taking on this development project. Second, we were incredibly pleased that many, if not all, principles of the (Freightway) visioning study seem feasible on the Freightway lot. Finally, we have seen a consistency among attributes from the development community that will enable the (development) of a successful request for proposal, or RFP.”Avalon BayAvalon Bay Communities

She then emphasized that the purpose of the meeting was to share information about specific concepts that were proposed, and not to debate the plans. The firms that responded to the RFEI, which included Avalon Bay Communities, BRP Development, East End Capital, Gateway Development Group, LCOR, LMC/Lennar, and Toll Brothers, offered the village a variety of ideas, ranging from rebuilding just the garage structure to creating an elaborate mixed use development.

Before turning the meeting over to Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards, Veron cautioned that, while these preliminary designs were exciting, it is very early in the process, and the village is reviewing the firms’ ideas without detailed understanding of costs, economic impacts, logistical issues and related matters. “There will most certainly be a time to articulate views and we will provide ample opportunity for that exchange,” she said.

BRPBRP DevelopmentRichards then presented highlights of each proposal. She began by noting that Freightway would be a “transit-oriented development,” reflecting the current trend of creating vibrant, pedestrian-oriented areas centered near transit hubs and benefitting surrounding communities. Richards reminded attendees of the project’s overall vision, stating, “Any future development… should be a signature project that positively contributes to the vibrancy of the village center while maintaining its current function as a commuter parking lot.”

She then referenced the Freightway visioning study, which was completed earlier this year, and East EndEast End Capitalreviewed the seven principles guiding the project, which are to: 1) improve parking and circulation; 2) ensure public benefits are achieved; 3) ensure contextual development (consistency with look/feel of the village center); 4) encourage mixed-use development in support of the village center; 5) connect and integrate the site with the village center; 6) include environmentally friendly/sustainable attributes; and 7) plan for future needs/uses over the long-term.

Richards said that the study was shared with all developers that responded to the RFEI to ensure that they would incorporate the principles and residents’ ideas in their proposals. “Many of the (developers’) concepts were in line with the visioning study. We feel we can achieve what we’d like to achieve at the site,” she said.

Generally speaking, the developers proposed creating a significant number of residential units at Freightway and improving parking capacity; and all but one provided for retail, commercial and/or office space.

GatewayGateway DevelopmentHighlights of the proposals were as follows:

The Toll Brothers plan features:
• A three-story podium parking structure with retail space, and a seven-story garage on the north side of the site;
• A two-story parking podium and five-story residential building on the south side/at center of the site;
• An urban plaza with retail space along the Popham Road bridge to connect the site from east to west;
• An improved alleyway/passage along the east side of the site to provide pedestrians with better access to the train and village center; and
• An offer to investigate construction of a wide esplanade over the Metro-North tracks, connecting Freightway to the rest of the village center.

The East End proposal includes:
• A design that reflects the Tudor architectural style to ensure consistency with existing village center buildings;
• Two publicly accessible plazas east and west of the Metro-North tracks, and a 30-foot-wide “highline” adjacent to the train tracks;
• Commercial/retail spaces, and an open plaza along Scarsdale Avenue, connecting Scarsdale Avenue to Garth Road;
• A service drive that improves traffic flow by separating service vehicles from commuter traffic, pedestrians and public parking; and
• A community theater and music school.

The Gateway submission contains:LCORLCOR
• A five- to six-story residential structure with three levels of parking;
• A “Popham Road Promenade” with ample public and retail space;
• A pedestrian promenade, pocket park and rain garden on Scarsdale Avenue, connecting it to Garth Road; and
• A vehicular or pedestrian bridge over the Metro-North tracks, that arrives at the upper level of the new garage.

The Avalon Bay plan includes:
• One six-level parking garage for commuters and visitors;
• A five-story residential building located above a second, residential;
• A 3,500-square-foot retail/live/work space along the Popham Road bridge; and
• A village plaza at the corner of Popham Road and Scarsdale Avenue.

LMC proposes:
• A design featuring Tudor architectural features with contemporary elements;
• An integrated platform for community concerts, seasonal space for community events and activities, such as holiday pop-up shops and the farmer’s market, as well as a dog run;
• A pedestrian plaza located on Popham Road, along the east side of the development; and
• 40,000 square feet of retail/commercial space (largest amount proposed, but less than the 10 percent of gross floor area required by Scarsdale).

LMCLCOR’s plan suggests:
• A design that incorporates elements of the Tudor architectural style;
• A corner tower and pedestrian walkway similar to the Harwood building;
• Townhomes located on Scarsdale Avenue that are integrated with the development site;
• A 60-foot-wide green space (“The Mews”) connecting Scarsdale Avenue to Garth Road and the Bronx River Greenway, and a public promenade adjacent to the train tracks;
• Changes to surrounding streets, including a curb cut on Popham Road and reconfigured turning lanes on Garth Road, to effectively manage traffic circulation.

And, finally, BRP’s proposal includes:
• A seven-story parking structure, with eight stories of residential space above;
• A pedestrian access bridge connecting the site to Scarsdale Avenue;
• A public open space located adjacent to Popham Road, including a community park, commuter plaza and kiosk;
• A tree-lined, open park to be used for community events and as a local gathering space.

Next Steps

As village officials and staff begin to review the proposals, they also recognize the need for specialized legal services during the redevelopment process. At its general meeting following the RFEI presentation, the board of trustees approved a resolution to hire James Staudt, of McCullough, Goldberger, and Staudt, LLP, to advise and represent Scarsdale on legal matters related to the project. Staudt was chosen for his expertise in municipal economic development projects, and his previous positive experience with the village while working on the Christie Place development.

While the seven designs certainly will generate a good deal of enthusiasm, there’s a long, complex road ahead. The next major goal for the village is to use information submitted by the developers to create a suitable RFP, which may be completed in early 2019. Considering the months required for developers to respond, and the additional time to review the submissions, Freightway’s transformation is still a ways away. But, slow and steady consideration of each option will be critical to a project that will shape Scarsdale’s future.

According to Veron, “We are in the beginning stages of a process that will guide one of the most important and impactful developments in Scarsdale’s recent history.” (To review the complete RFEI presentation, visit the Planning Department page of scarsdale.com.)

Speaking of Redevelopment…

library constructionRepresentatives of the Scarsdale Public Library presented an update on the library renovation/reconstruction project at Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting. Scarsdale Public Library Board President Diane Greenwald reviewed progress to date and provided a short-term outlook on construction. Work began in August, and demolition and asbestos abatement are continuing. Pylons have been completed and sewage lines have been identified to avoid any problems in excavation work.

“We are really moving along and we have a good sense of what (happens) in each phase, and, hopefully, we’ll be on time.”

In addition to collaborating with the construction team, the library’s building committee currently is reviewing bids for external and internal design work. When dealing with the building’s exterior, the committee is looking at materials that complement the local site, such as stone, terra cotta and wood, to ensure that the building blends seamlessly with the landscape. The committee also is working to design an interior space that offers “something for everyone,” and now is considering furnishings that can be used in a variety of ways, and are both comfortable and durable.library construction2

Beth Bermel, Director of the library, also provided an overview of current operations at the Scarsdale Library Loft. She announced the loft’s new winter hours – 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday); 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (Thursday, Friday); and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Saturday) – and acknowledged local organizations that are supporting the library during construction by hosting programs and assisting with circulation.

Bermel also announced that the Friends of the Scarsdale Library will host a second “Casino Night” in March, following the success of the first event, which drew 400 guests.

Laura Halligan is a local writer, editor and marketing consultant. She is principal of Pinch Hit Prose and provides communications services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits.

small 8487219770 300x300What can we do in Scarsdale to diminish the presence of guns and safeguard kids against the dangers of e-cigarettes, also known as juuling or vaping? As we read troubling accounts of shootings throughout the country and reports of kids vaping in school, directly under the noses of their teachers, our local government has proposed some changes to our Village code to restrict the sale of guns and e-cigarettes in Scarsdale. Though the risks are ever present, at least these two proposed code changes will make it more difficult to secure guns and juul pens in town.

There are no outlets currently selling guns in Scarsdale, but vape pens are currently sold at 7-Eleven, at Five Corners Stationary on Palmer Avenue and at the gas station at the corner of Post and Crane Roads.

Village Trustees met on Monday night December 10 to review the propose code and came to consensus on the following proposal. Under proposed revisions to Village code, shops selling guns would be limited to the retail area around Garth Road (VCR 1.0 District) and could not be closer than 250 feet to places where children are present such as schools, nursery schools, day care centers, playgrounds or houses of worship. This law will regulate the sale, delivery or transfer of firearms and ammunitions as follows:

The provision will also regulate the manner in which guns and ammunition are sold and stored, requiring the following:

-All ammunition shall be kept in a locked case or behind the counter in an area not accessible to the public

-No firearms shall be stored, exhibited or displayed in windows

-All firearms shall be located in a locked display case, counter or storage area with no access from the public. The keys or codes to such areas shall not leave the control of authorized personnel.

When the store is closed:

-All firearms shall be stored in a locked fireproof safe or vault located at the business.

-All firearms must be secured by a hardened rod or cable of at least ¼” in diameter and shall be secured with a hardened steel lock that has a shackle. The lock and shackle shall be protected or shielded from the use of a lock cutter and the rod or cable shall be anchored in a manner that prevents the ready removal of the firearm from the premises.

-The store must have an alarm system and surveillance cameras that are operational when the store is open and closed. Surveillance footage shall be retained for six months.

Under the new law, the sale of E-cigarettes and components would also be regulated to put some distance between sale locations and sites where children are present.

The code would prohibit the sale, transfer or delivery of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) or ENDS supplies such as e-liquids, atomizers, cartridges, and flavoring within 1,000 feet of:

-Any public or private school
-Nursery school
-Day care center
-House of worship
-Youth center, playground
-Park
-Library
-Arcade

It also specifies that any locations selling ENDS or supplies cannot display them in the store window and cannot be accessible inside the store without assistance.

Village Staff is finalizing the proposed code and a public hearing will be scheduled at an upcoming meeting of the Village Board to invite feedback from the public.

ThanksThe following was sent to Scarsdale10583 from Madelaine Eppenstein who chaired the Procedure Committee who ran the CNC election on 11-13.

Thank you to Scarsdale voters! On Tuesday November 13, several hundred Scarsdale citizens turned out throughout the day and evening, from 7-10 AM in the rain and from 2-9 PM, to vote for their neighbors seeking seats on the non-partisan Citizens Nominating Committee. According to Procedure Committee Chair Madelaine Eppenstein, the following volunteers who ran as representatives from their elementary school district were elected for a three-year term (unless otherwise noted to fill additional vacant seats of one to two-year terms):

Edgewood: Sergi Flaster; Linda Killian; and Stephen Baer (1-year term)
Fox Meadow: Richard Pinto; Jill Spielberg
Greenacres: Jon Krisbergh; Alan Lewis
Heathcote: David Bunzel; Adam Rilander; Bob Wolloch (2-year term); and Anne Zink (1-year term)
Quaker Ridge: Lee Fischman; Larry Dobosh

Beginning this month, these new CNC representatives will join current CNC members in their due diligence review of non-partisan hopefuls for the village offices of Mayor and three Trustees. The 30 elected members of the CNC will then nominate candidates by the end of January 2019 to represent the non-partisan party’s slate in the village-wide election on March 19, 2019.*

Procedure Committee Vice-Chair Eric Cheng added that last week “the voters ratified all twelve amendments the Procedure Committee proposed to the Non-Partisan Resolution, the governing document of the non-partisan electoral system. A copy of the newly amended Resolution is available on the Procedure Committee’s website here.

Ms. Eppenstein and Mr. Cheng extend their sincere thanks to Scarsdale voters, and to the members of the Procedure Committee and election day volunteers for their support of the non-partisan system that is “free from partisan controversies and from electioneering for party advantage.” Above all, they are grateful to the candidates for their civic commitment and public-minded spirit by standing for election to serve as volunteers on the CNC and to serve in Village office.

The members of the 2018-2019 Procedure Committee, whose term extends through January 31, 2019, are: Charles Baltman; Sarah Bell; David Dembitzer; Eric Cheng; Madelaine Eppenstein; Timothy Foley; Jeff Goodwin; Mayra Kirkendall-Rodríguez; Eli Mattioli; David Peck; Pam Rubin; Gregory Soldatenko; Nancy Steinberg; Michelle Sterling; and Bruce Wells.
Public and Media Contact: Madelaine Eppenstein, Chair, By Email: meppenstein@eppenstein.com

*Under New York State Election Law, candidates outside the non-partisan election system may also run for village office by obtaining the prescribed number of signatures on a nominating petition.

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