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Last updateMon, 15 Oct 2018 3pm

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Pool 7The Scarsdale Pool Complex will celebrate their 50th Season with a variety of festivities this weekend! All Scarsdale residents are invited to attend for a live band on Friday evening July 20 from 3:30 PM – 7:30 PM. No pool membership is required and no guest fees will be charged on Friday night.

On Saturday and Sunday July 21 and 22, the fun continues with more live music, a trivia contest, a scavenger hunt, float races, pool games, giveaways and more. A full schedule of events can be found on the pool website. Pool membership is required for entry on Saturday and Sunday, but members can bring as many guests as they like for the 1969 guest fee of $1.50 per guest.

Please come to the pool for a weekend of fun and celebration!

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flowers1During a relatively short meeting this Tuesday, the mayor and trustees made note of completed projects, such as the opening of he Library Loft, and looked ahead to others, most notably, the redevelopment of Freightway.

Mayor’s Comments
Mayor Dan Hochvert mentioned July 4 festivities held in Arthur Manor and Greenacres, and thanked organizers for their efforts in arranging the celebrations for their neighbors. He also mentioned that some residents expressed concern about individuals unexpectedly coming to their homes and claiming to be from ConEd. “The ConEd folks are installing smart meters,” Hochvert explained. “One of the advantages of that is ConEd will be able to tell if the power is out at a particular house…they had some difficulty doing that after the storms at the beginning of March.” Con Ed is expected to complete the installations at the end of 2019; the utility is supposed to send notification to those households affected prior to installation. For more information, visit coned.com/smartmeters.

Manager’s Comments
Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards discussed the visioning study for the Freightway redevelopment site, submitted by the Freightway Steering Committee. After reviewing the study, which highlights what residents would like to see at the site, the village administration will begin the process for selecting a developer. “The first step is the distribution of a “request for expression of interest” (which) will garner information from the development community on suggested conceptual development plans, zoning paradigms and creative financial methods,” according to Richards. It also will assist and identify qualified developers that have experience in constructing and financing complex, mixed-use transit-oriented projects. Once feedback is obtained and evaluated, a short list of possible developers will be created, and those firms will be asked to respond to RFPs. The request for expression of interest will be issued on Monday, July 16; developers will have until October 2018 to respond.

Trustee Reports
In following up on Richard’s report, Trustee Jane Veron mentioned that she, along with the Village Planner, attended a seminar on autonomous vehicles and smart parking solutions, which provided additional insights which may be applied to the Freightway project.

Veron also reported that the village’s Communications Committee produced and distributed postcards to encourage residents to subscribe to the village’s “Notify Me” service. Members of the committee also recently met with village board and council leaders to discuss ways to make the application process more informative and efficient.

Veron then discussed the library’s recent transition to the Library Loft. “The library board is so appreciative of the village staff’s incredible hard work in moving the library to its temporary location… DPW... did an amazing job, and were so committed to this move. In addition, our library staff worked around the clock.” Additionally, she expressed thanks to residents for their support during the process. Hochvert added, “It’s amazing how efficiently they have organized a much smaller space… The staff there seemed very happy because they are functioning in a way (that) a professional library should.”

Veron concluded by announcing that the new Scarsdale Business Alliance will host a sidewalk sale in Downtown Scarsdale from Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28. “There is huge interest among merchants; we have new merchants that have opened, and merchants that are coming from within the greater village center area to share their merchandise…”

Trustee Matt Callaghan reported on recent Scarsdale Fire Department activities, including participation in the Arthur Manor July 4 parade and fundraising efforts for the Westchester Band. He also noted that the Scarsdale Pool will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year and acknowledged the work of pool staff behind the scenes who keep the facility running.

Trustee Lena Crandall began her comments by thanking village staff who were involved in organizing the annual fireworks display at the pool complex. She then discussed the meeting on additional tree code amendments that was held just hours before. Specifically, the size requirement for replacement trees has been changed from three inches in diameter to two, as smaller trees are more likely to thrive and are less costly for the homeowner.

Trustee Carl Finger discussed the most recent Law Committee meeting, also held earlier in the evening, to examine the possibility of limiting the presence of gun and vape shops in and around Scarsdale. He encouraged residents to review the proposal, which is available at scarsdale.com, and submit their opinions on the subject.

Public Comment
In the public comment portion of the meeting, residents voiced concerns about issues that have been discussed before, including the village’s appointment process, the administration’s priorities and the installation of distributed antenna systems (DAS).

Jacob Frishberg (Montrose Road) opened by stating, “The Voters’ Choice Party is compelled to point out… the inability of our mayor and village trustees to follow…best practices in important village appointments. This time it is a critical village position – the replacement of the village attorney.” He explained that a leader of the party, Robert Berg, upon hearing of Wayne Esannason’s pending retirement, contacted village hall to stress the importance of appointing a highly skilled replacement and later suggested a search process guided by a group of talented lawyers who live in Scarsdale. However, Angela Martin, the village’s director of human resources and deputy village attorney, soon was promoted to replace Esannason. “No one else was considered for the job. The village manager recommended Ms. Martin and the mayor appointed her with the approval of the trustees, except for one,” said Frishberg. “The job was not advertised; no search was made for any more-qualified candidates… We residents are entitled to have the best-qualified village attorney work for us… Had the position been advertised, doubtless, dozens or scores of excellent municipal attorneys with decades of relevant experience would have applied.”

Bob Selvaggio (Rochambeau Road) followed and began his comments by thanking the village board for the hours they put in to “do a good job for Scarsdale.” He then went on to discuss the need for the village to develop “data-driven action points,” and criticized the administration’s focus on issues such as the tree code, and gun and vape shops. “I have to ask… do you have any data… that show widespread community support for enhanced penalties on homeowners who… take down their own trees? Do you have any reason to think that the likelihood of a gun shop or vape shop seeing sufficient profit potential in Scarsdale market is significant...Do you have any data to indicate that these issues make the list of our residents’ top 50 concerns?” To illustrate his point, Salvaggio referenced a recent traffic survey of Scarsdale residents analyzed by Brice Kirkendall-Rodriquez and Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez, which provided insights into residents’ concerns about walking, driving and cycling in the village. Data collected from survey respondents led to specific recommendations to improve traffic safety. “These are the types of data that should be used to establish government priorities,” he said. “I suggest that the village should address actual issues that residents face, such as the impact of tax reform on housing costs and property values, lack of transparency in hiring and appointment practices, and traffic and road conditions.”

Zoe Berg (Tisdale Road) concluded the public comment session by addressing the need for village officials to respect residents and cautioning the village about the installation of DAS throughout Scarsdale. “A few days after… I stood before you to express my science-based concerns regarding the potential installation of (DAS) near schools and residential homes, Wayne Esannason… spoke ill of me…among other senior village representatives…This completely inappropriate and unprofessional behavior… made us all wonder, if the village attorney is besmirching one concerned resident, is he besmirching other residents in public settings?” She continued, “Speaking ill of the people you represent is corrosive to community good will and community engagement.” Berg then discussed the DAS issue, stating that the systems will expose residents to a classified carcinogen day-in and day-out, and that wireless radiation exposure is associated to numerous ill health effects. She has asked the mayor to meet with her to discuss the issue prior to negotiating with Crown Castle, the telecommunications vendor that would install the systems, to no avail. “Mayor Hochvert… you need to educate yourself beforehand… Crown Castle will make claims that wireless radiation is not dangerous… You need to be fully equipped with the work of honest scientists who don’t have a financial stake in the telecommunications industry… All I’m asking for here is that our mayor, and even members of the board meet with a wireless radiation expert before starting negotiations.”

In response, Hochvert said, “We are meeting with another municipality that has a court case on radiation. And, as you have indicated, we cannot (say no) on the basis of radiation, but we are going to work with another municipality to see what they have had success with, and why they are in court. We have to go through the right process; we don’t just arbitrarily say ‘radiation is a problem, so therefore…’ We have to find another way to deal with the concerns you’ve expressed.”

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AngelaMartinAngela Martin has been named Scarsdale Village AttorneyAfter 19 years in Scarsdale, Village Attorney Wayne Esannason announced his decision to retire, setting off a debate about the process for the selection of a new attorney and ultimately the promotion of a current member of the Village Staff to that post.

Wayne Essanason has served as Village Attorney for as long as many can remember. All of the Trustees and the Mayor expressed their gratitude for Esannason’s work on behalf of Scarsdale. Mayor Hochvert said that “The work [Wayne] has done has always been a conservative one that protects the village from his perspective, and I think without it we would’ve probably been way behind the eight ball on a number of cases.” Village Manager Steve Pappalardo said “I’ve always appreciated Wayne’s thoughtful and research advice and legal judgment, but more importantly, his affinity for Scarsdale and for protecting the village’s best interests.” Trustee Finger referred to Wayne as “accessible" and Trustee Ross said, “Wayne is a Scarsdale fixture.”

After considerable discussion and a vote, the Trustees chose to promote the current Village Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Angela Sapienza-Martin to the position of Village Attorney. Martin graduated from Pace Law School in 2009, and served as the Assistant and then Deputy Village Attorney between 2009 and 2012. In December of 2012, she was appointed to her current position as Director of Human Resources and Risk Management. Village Manager Steve Pappalardo has referred to Ms. Martin as ”factual and dependable” and said she “possesses a unique skill set that will benefit the Village.” Since she understands the inner workings of the village, Pappalardo believes her promotion will allow for a more seamless transition from the Village staff perspective. She will also be able to provide the new HR director with assistance as he/she transitions into that position.

During the public comments period, however, some citizens demonstrated concern over Ms. Martin’s appointment. Gregory Kirchoff, spoke on behalf of Bob Berg, who wanted the Village to form an advisory committee before the board voted on a new Village Attorney. He expressed concern over her appointment due to “lack of litigation, criminal justice, constitutional law, and reevaluation experience,” and believes there may be a more qualified attorney outside of the current village government. He also attacked her effectiveness at her current position as Director of Human Resources because he claimed that the labor contracts which she negotiated “seemed to hit [Scarsdale residents] pretty hard”.

Bob Selvaggio mirrored Berg’s comments. He stated that when he hires attorneys for his financial consultant firm, he always makes sure to interview at least five candidates. He believes that perhaps some attorneys from Scarsdale would like to be considered for the position, and a panel should be assembled to “assure Scarsdale gets the best for their money”.

Before voting on Ms. Martin’s appointment, each trustee gave a brief statement on why they chose to vote they way they did. Trustee Arest stated that he was impressed by Martin and believes she will grow into a superb Village Attorney, but expressed concern over process. He believes the most important consideration in voting is how the decision is made, and not just the decision itself. Since he believes a standard requirement was not met, he voted Nay. Trustee Callaghan said that the Village Code is based on successive management, and voted Aye. Trustee Crandall expressed some similar concerns to Trustee Arest, but noted that Ms. Martin has the right temperament for the job, and that hiring from within will allow the Village government to operate efficiently, which is important during times when many people are concerned about future tax bills, and voted Aye. Trustee Finger, Ross, and Veron also voted Aye, and Trustee Veron stated that this decision had been deliberated extensively by the Board. Mayor Hochvert voted Aye and previously expressed his support for Ms. Martin saying she is “an individual thinker” and did an excellent job negotiating with very aggressive labor unions in her current position.

Besides Ms. Martin’s appointment, the issue of potential DAS antenna installations in Scarsdale was addressed in public comments. Zoe Berg, Robert Berg's daughter, stated that three times this week she tried to schedule a meeting with Mayor Hochvert and a wireless radiation expert to discuss the dangers of installing DAS antennas. She wants the antennas to be installed far away from schools/homes due to potential health hazards. Following her comment, Mayor Hochvert addressed her concerns, stating that potential health detriments will not be discussed until Crown Castle (the maker of the antennas) comes back to the Village with a full proposal. Once the proposal is submitted, the village will look to experts on both sides. Trustee Finger also stepped in and read aloud a portion of federal law that states, “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.” He concluded that the Village will not be able to choose to install the antennas far away from schools and homes solely on the basis of environmental impact.

Bob Harrison used the public comments to promote registration for the Scarsdale Youth Tennis League, where he serves as the Volunteer Director. Kids aged 6 to 18 of any skill level are allowed to participate. The matches will take place from 6-8PM on the Middle School Tennis Courts for four weeks beginning July 10th, and the cost is $50.

The contracts for the library construction project were also discussed. The board voted to approve four contracts for general construction, plumbing and heating, electrical work, and mechanical work at the library. Niram, Inc. of Cedar Knolls NJ was selected from six bidders and awarded the $10,307,00 contract for general construction at the library. Also selected were S & L Plumbing and Heating Corp., Healy Electric Contracting, Inc. and ABM A/C & Heating Inc. Trustee Veron expressed gratitude to the library for informing citizens about the upcoming construction via post cards, and noted that the book and media drop at Olmsted will remain open through July 4th. The new Library Loft at Supply Field is expected to open on July 5th. Trustee Crandall also thanked Bartlett Tree Service and the Scarsdale Public Library for moving two previously donated trees away from the construction zone to sites near the adjacent pond. One tree was a flowering dogwood, and the other was a Japanese maple.

During the public hearings, the board approved two Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for improvements to 2 Drake Road and Wayside Cottage. The estimated cost for the improvements at 2 Drake Rd is $52,000, and the estimated is $524,000 for Wayside Cottage. The Village covers half of the cost. The President of the Junior League of Central Westchester, who has leased Wayside Cottage since 1953, expressed gratitude for the grant. The Junior League trains and promotes volunteers and serves the community by helping low and moderate income women and children by providing immunizations, shelter, foster care and more.

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questionmarkThough no one knows if the IRS will allow tax deductions for charitable contributions in lieu of local property tax payments, Scarsdale officials have enacted new Village code to establish a Charitable Gift Fund Tax Credit which will entitle taxpayers to a deduction of up to 95% of local tax payments as a charitable donation.

The new code will apply to the tax bill Scarsdale residents will receive in July and the Village has published the following on how to make these charitable contributions. Here’s an FAQ with information that is published on the Scarsdale Village website:

What is the Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit?

In response to the federal government’s recent tax code changes limiting future federal income tax deductibility of State and Local Taxes (SALT) to $10,000, the FY 2018-19 New York State Budget authorizes local governments and school districts to create a “Charitable Gift Reserve Fund” (Fund) to offer real property tax credits to incentivize contributions. Click here for a summary of NYS FY 2019 enacted budget tax reforms.

Under the law, such Funds may receive unrestricted charitable contributions for the purposes of addressing education, health care and other charitable purposes. Contributions to the Fund may entitle taxpayers a deduction of up to 95% of those payments as a charitable donation write-off, rather than a property tax deduction, which would not be subject to the $10,000 limitation established for SALT. This is an optional program.

Accordingly, the Village of Scarsdale approved establishment of a Charitable Gift Reserve Fund in May 2018 and adopted a local law in June 2018 authorizing a Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 980-a.

Importantly, the Village’s creation of the fund neither constitutes a program endorsement nor implies taxpayer benefit. Taxpayers are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional to understand the benefits and drawbacks associated with program participation.

Which taxes appearing on my property tax bill are eligible?

Only the Village, County, and School levies are eligible. Special District taxes including Sewer and Water Districts and Refuse Disposal Districts are examples of ineligible taxes. If in doubt about tax eligibility, please call the Village Treasurer’s Office at 914-722-1170 before determining the amount of your charitable gift, as amounts paid the Village as charitable contributions are not refundable.

Taxpayers are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional before remitting a charitable gift pursuant to the Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit program. Amounts paid the Village as charitable contributions are not refundable.

Is this program voluntary?

Yes, this program is 100% voluntary.

What is the likelihood that my payment will be deductible for Federal Tax purposes?

There is no way to currently determine if it will be allowed as a deduction by the federal government. Taxpayers should be mindful that federal law controls the proper characterization for federal income tax purposes. The Treasury Department and the IRS have advised caution and have issued statements that indicate they intend to propose regulations addressing the federal tax treatment of programs like the charitable gift reserve fund adopted by New York State.
What is the downside/risk?

When a Federal deduction is disallowed, taxpayers are potentially subject to interest, penalties, and additional review. In addition, the residual 5% of the charitable contribution would not be returned or refunded if the deduction is disallowed after the payment is made to the Tax Receiver.

What if I pre-paid my property taxes in 2017?

Village taxes pre-paid in 2017 are not eligible for this new program. Review your tax bill for any unpaid balance(s) to determine whether program participation is advisable.

What if my mortgage company pays my property taxes or the mortgage company already paid my property taxes?

The process is more complicated and we are awaiting direction and guidance from New York State on how this will be addressed. Taxpayers should contact their mortgage company to make any payment or reimbursement arrangements. It may be possible that if your mortgage company already paid the taxes, the taxpayer could still make the charitable payment and request a refund. Please note that if this is allowed by your mortgage company, this would mean a double payment until a method is determined to have the bank pay the Fund directly.

Can I make a charitable contribution in an amount less than the full amount due for property taxes?

Yes, taxpayer may make a partial payment of their taxes through the Fund with the tax balance paid by separate check.

Can I earmark the municipal program area that my charitable contribution goes to?

No.

How do I participate?

Consult with a tax professional tax to determine the advisability of your participation in this program. If the program is right for you, follow the steps below.

Once your Village tax bill has been received in July 2018, visit scarsdale.com/gift to complete three fill-in forms:

Village of Scarsdale Computation Form.

NYS Acknowledgement of Charitable Contribution Form RP-980-a-ACC (print 2 copies)

NYS Claim for Property Tax Credit for a Charitable Contribution RP-980-a-CCF

Complete all three forms and submit a hard copy of each in-person at the Village Treasurer’s Office at Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, during standard business hours (9am-5pm); payment in the form of a check(s) is required at time of submittal. You may provide the tax receiver with up to the full amount of your property taxes. If you choose to take advantage of the charitable contribution program, you will also pay an additional 5%. The Village of Scarsdale on-line Computation Form (above) will calculate this amount. Tax payments are due no later than August 1, 2018 by 5:00pm.

Important information

Taxpayers are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional before remitting a charitable gift pursuant to the Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit program.

Amounts paid the Village as charitable contributions are not refundable, regardless of the income tax deductibility of such contributions. Program participants should be aware of media reports suggesting the Internal Revenue Service of federal government may take action to disallow income tax credit for charitable contributions made through this program.

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JonathanLewisThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Jyoti Ruta.

Jonathan Lewis, a neighbor and friend whom I have known for 10 years, is running for the 16th Congressional District seat. The District includes Northern Bronx and Southern Westchester County.

Jonathan was born in Mount Vernon and lived his early years in Eastchester where his father, a WWII veteran, was a Town Democratic Party Chairman. He obtained his BA in history from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and returned to New York to obtain his MBA from Columbia University. He settled in Queens, where he met his wife, Laura, whose mother was the sole support of her two daughters.

Jonathan developed a career in fixed income investing and ultimately started a firm with colleagues. His work experience provides him with the expertise to understand the economy and what it is means to be an entrepreneur.

After the birth of their son, he supported his wife in her desire to go to law school and he helped make it a reality with financial support and rearranging his schedule to help care for their infant son.

After Laura graduated law school, the family moved to the District in 2001, where Laura worked for the Pace Women’s Justice Center, representing victims of domestic violence for several years. In 2006, their daughter Hannah was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was six years old. Devastated, the family became educated on how to manage Type I diabetes and became active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Westchester, where Jonathan served as a board member and Chapter President.

I was working alongside Jonathan on a committee in 2010 when I was saddened to learn that their older child had just recently been diagnosed with Type I diabetes as well. Jonathan and Laura work hard to help their children stay strong and focused on life.

In addition to JDRF, Jonathan has been an engaged community volunteer, working in numerous local organizations. I came to know Jonathan through his work on the Scarsdale Board of Education, where he focused on fiscal responsibility while maximizing resources to enhance professional development, among other initiatives. I was impressed by his ability to gain consensus to achieve the results our schools needed. These skills will enable him to be an effective Congressperson.

Jonathan is dedicated to improving education for all. He currently serves on the board of Yonkers Partners in Education, having started as a mentor to students, helping them complete their college applications. His involvement with Yonkers’ students provides him with insight as to the challenges and needs of the District’s other neighborhoods.

As an educator, I am well aware of the serious issues facing our schools, including school safety, students’ mental health, testing, strict mandates from state and federal governments, faculty performance evaluation standards, and declining school budgets. I believe that Jonathan will bring to bear his knowledge and experience to fight for our children and education for all.

Jonathan is also experienced in matters of foreign affairs, having served for 25 years with a non-profit organization called Business Executives for National Security (“BENS”) whose main purpose is to bring best business practices into the realm of national security. Further, he has written two books on foreign affairs. His volunteer work with BENS has afforded him the unique perspective of first-hand knowledge of the workings of national security as a civilian and he was awarded the CIA’s Agency Seal Medal.

Jonathan’s life has prepared him for this Congressional seat.

As a child listening to his grandmother talk about the horrific state of czarist Russia, he knows the plight of immigrants. Jonathan understands that immigrants come to this country to improve their lives and the lives of their families and contribute to their communities. He will work hard to protect immigrant families and ensure that immigrant families stay together.

Jonathan knows the importance of quality health care and believes health care is a right and not a privilege. It’s time to put the interests of our citizens ahead of the big pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Jonathan will fight for a single payer health care system and controls on the costs of prescription medication.

Jonathan is committed to women’s rights and will fight for laws that protect a woman’s right to reproductive health care, equality in the workplace and protections against sexual assault and prosecution of those who commit sexual assault.

We live under the constant threat of terrorism, and I believe that Jonathan will bring his knowledge of national security issues and be an important stabilizing influence in the current, chaotic administration.

Jonathan is for real campaign finance reform. Jonathan has vowed to not take a penny of special interest money to reduce the influence of special interest groups on our democracy.

Jonathan Lewis possesses the willingness to reach across the aisle and work in a non-partisan way to achieve results, a lacking characteristic in Washington these days. We need a Congressperson with the intellect to solve complex problems and who is energetic, ready, willing, and able to serve the diverse citizenry of the 16th Congressional District, in order to bring about the solutions we need.

Please learn more on his website jonathanlewisforcongress.com.

I urge all my friends, neighbors, and registered Democrats of the 16th Congressional District to vote in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday June 26 for Jonathan Lewis.

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