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1 Hickory Ln3 of 19.jpg3 Hickory LaneOn Tuesday March 19, the Scarsdale Committee for Historic Preservation (CHP) denied applications to raze two significant Tudor homes, located at 3 Hickory Lane and 75 Morris Lane.

Previously, the owners of 3 Hickory Lane received permission to subdivide the property and plan to build a new home on the empty lot at the intersection of Hickory Lane and Olmstead Road. According to architect, Bana Choura, who is a former member of the Committee for Historic Preservation, the owner had hoped to renovate or sell the existing house at 3 Hickory. However, right before the owners closed on the property in 2017, the home’s water heater malfunctioned, and pipes and radiators burst throughout the structure, causing significant water damage. Faced with the added work and cost of cleanup and repair, the owners now are seeking to demolish the house. Currently, it sits vacant and is listed for sale by Houlihan Lawrence for $2.350 million, which is $50,000 more than the price the developer paid for the home and the additional lot. The house and remaining .84 acres of land are currently assessed at only $1.359 million, so the asking price is $1 million more than the assessed value.

Choura, a former member of both the CHP and the Scarsdale Board of Architectural Review, reported that the home requires a gut renovation and said, “I know this committee’s responsibility is to assess and evaluate the exterior aspects of the house, and its historic relevance, not the interior conditions. I do respectfully request that you consider the hardship due to the cost of repair, not only to replace the full heating system but to the damage to all the structural elements, both visible and invisible… After obtaining preliminary estimates for the repairs and to bring the house up to date… it was very clear the excessive cost is not justified, nor does it make economic sense.”

Masterful or Not?
Choura then argued that the structure did not meet any of the village’s five criteria to determine historic value. “I examined closely 3 Hickory Lane and applied all the criteria contained in village code… to this home… It is my professional opinion that none of the criteria set forth… is satisfied, and that the CHP, hopefully, will issue a certificate of appropriateness...”

As published previously, the home was designed by noted architect Charles Lewis Bowman, a onetime McKim, Mead & White draftsman, and built in 1929. Much of the Tuesday’s discussion focused on whether Bowman could be considered a “master” (even though the CHP and trustees considered him as such in 2017), and whether the structure truly embodied “distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction.”

Choura began her presentation by stating that, “This home, like thousands of other homes, was built in the village during the most prolific building period in village history, and hundreds of those homes have far more intricate design, detailing and craftsmanship than this home.”

Bowman, a resident of Bronxville, was a highly regarded architect in his time, and designed 53 homes in Bronxville, 52 of which still stand. Known for his “Stockbroker Tudors” and “Cotswold Cottages,” he designed houses in accordance with his clients’ wishes. However, Choura argued that Bowman was not considered an expert who produced work of “high artistic value.”

One of the CHP members countered by reporting that Professor Andrew Dolkhart, the architectural historian, had described Bowman as “an important talent and leading figure in the design of historically informed suburban residences that were popular in the New York Metropolitan Area in the 1920s,” and that Bowman’s “designs received recognition during his lifetime, and were published in most of the common and professional popular architecture and design magazines.”

Another committee member who visited the property stated, “Going and seeing it, it’s truly the work of a master. The detailing, the construction techniques… the exterior is… largely intact. While there might be some interior damage that requires a gut rehab, the exterior does not present itself that way. With (Dolkhart’s) report stating that, not only was the architect recognized during his lifetime… it goes on to list all the elements of the building, and says the entire design holds together in a highly successful manner… I think it is representative of a work of a master.”

While Choura agreed with Dolkhart’s general observations, she maintained that the professor did not use the term “master” in his description of Bowman, and did not refer to the home as “historic.” Further, she asserted that the building did not represent the best of Bowman’s work, nor did it rise above the level of other Tudor homes of the same period.

Going Public
Before beginning the public comment session, the CHP clarified Choura’s assertion that the owners would not have made the application had there been no water damage. Then, the current real estate listing for the property, which states “…Water damage limited to a few secondary rooms…” was entered into the record.

Then, nine residents urged the CHP members to reject the application and save the building. Among those who spoke was Lisa Kleinow, who lives next door to the property. She pointed out that in a previous real estate listing, the home was promoted as “… designed by noted architect Louis Bowman, who is credited with having created the Tudor style in Bronxville and Scarsdale.” She continued, “They used the Bowman name as a noted architect and the reason that this house is what it is. For it to be torn down now… is just a travesty.”

Emily Kronenberg, an architect who lives in Scarsdale, said, “I went to see this house three times, in it’s damaged state. Luckily, the water damage was only in some back, servants’ rooms and some hallways, and none of the exquisite architectural details of the living room, entryway, powder room… the dining room… It’s a very minimal area that’s damaged... This house is exquisite…. In my humble opinion, it is architecturally significant and masterful.”

Lee Miller, who is an architectural woodworker, stated, “I find (the house) breathtaking…” Referencing his firm’s recent renovation work at the Cartier mansion he said, “I can attest to the fact that the woodworking, the joinery, the quality of the wood... (are) superior. It’s not something I see every day and, on some level, it eclipses the woodwork that I saw at the Cartier mansion. Bowman did 53 homes in Bronxville… 52 of those 53 homes are still standing. It speaks volumes about him and what he’s done.”

Soon after public comment and discussion among themselves, the six CHP members who were present voted unanimously to reject the application, and were met with applause.

An “Ordinary” Tudor…75MorrisLane
Next, the CHP heard from John Cotungno, the architect representing the owners of 75 Morris Lane, which was designed by architect Franklin P. Hammond. In justifying the application to demolish the home, also listed for sale by Houlihan Lawrence, Cotungno was brief and to the point: “This is a decent house, but I don’t agree with the report I received yesterday from the professor…. In looking at (the house), it’s an ordinary Tudor. It looks no different from any other Tudor I’ve been doing additions to… I do agree that they use four materials – brick, stucco, stone and timbers – and it does have a slate roof, but that’s true of just about every Tudor.”

He went on to say that he has worked on many Hammond houses in Scarsdale, and he didn’t believe the architect was particularly noteworthy or famous. “He’s a good architect; I even compared him to myself… He definitely wasn’t as famous as Bowman.” When discussing 75 Morris Lane, he asserted that the home possessed details “here and there that are OK, but not out-of-this-world, not totally unique.”

When asked about Professor Dolkhart’s statement: “The juxtaposition of large and small stones in different colors and textures, and red bricks on the main façade is highly unusual, and appears to be unique in the village.” Cotungno said that he couldn’t say if the façade was planned or if it was the result of Hammond simply using materials that were available at the time. He added that he didn’t believe the design was noteworthy, despite the fact that Dolkhart asserted that it was extraordinary and wrote,“75 Morris Lane is a significant house in Scarsdale.”

The CHP members then reviewed the history of the home and its various owners, including its first owner, entertainment lawyer Arthur F. Driscoll, who also served as mayor of Scarsdale for a year. While discussing that the home may not rise to the level as 3 Hickory, one of the committee members noted that it probably was more of a prototypical example of Tudor architecture, rather than exemplary. However, at 6,267 square feet, the house is quite large for the time period, and, since no significant alterations have been made to the building, it is in its original state. This, along with Dolkart’s statement, seemed to sway the committee toward preserving the home prior to public comment.

Residents Weigh In
Sara Hawkins provided additional information on the home’s history, including details on Driscoll’s legal career. One board member then responded by saying, “When we talk about a high-level executive… certainly it’s interesting… and should be considered.“ Another added, “Does that mean the house has historical significance? I don’t know. “

Eric Lichtenstein pointed out that 75 Morris was proposed as a Scarsdale landmark in the village’s 2012 Cultural Resources Survey, conducted by architects Li/Salzman and Dolkhart, yet 3 Hickory was not. Therefore, if the application to demolish the Hickory home was denied, certainly, Morris should be preserved as well.

Jack Miller, a former, longtime member of BAR then said, “Contrary to what John says, there is corbelling and usage of materials in this house… I’m an architect and I don’t know how this house was constructed. I don’t know how some of the brickwork was done, how some of the timbering was placed, or how some of the stonework was incorporated. It is marvelous… It has such incredible detail and work. As far as its siting and floor plan goes, it’s a meandering wonder on the lot; it’s really interesting to see.” Miller then went on to question why the owners are refuting the architectural value of the house when their real estate listing states, “One of Scarsdale's premier properties with fabulous curb appeal… Built in 1929, this majestic estate offers exquisite architectural details and remarkable craftsmanship.”

In response, one of the CHP members stated that, while informative, real estate listings do not determine a home’s significance, and that factual information and expert opinion, such as Professor Dolkhart’s, is more important in assessing each property. Further, each property is judged on its own merits, not compared to other structures. However, another member noted that a real estate listing can be considered a statement from the owner, and conflicting statements should be noted in the review process.

After a brief discussion, the committee voted to deny the application to demolish 75 Morris, with five members agreeing, and one abstaining.

Will the Other Shoe Drop?
As they consider their next steps, the owners of each home have a right to appeal the CHP decision and may file a petition of hardship. So, either or both of the homes are still in danger of being lost. Given the Scarsdale Board of Trustee’s track record of granting past hardship claims, and recent protests of CHP members, what happens next is anyone’s guess. However, recent changes to village preservation code and efforts to draft new, landmark preservation legislation may make a real difference in retaining the village’s architectural history in the future. Stay tuned.

trusteesThe Non-Partisan Party Slate: Seth Ross, Rochelle Waldman, Marc Samwick and Jonathan LewisThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Jonathan Lewis, Candidate for Village Trustee:

I am running for Village Trustee on Tuesday, March 19 on the non-partisan slate. I am a great believer in our non-partisan system of government — it’s how Scarsdale became Scarsdale. But I also firmly believe that Scarsdale is at its best when it innovates, and when it focuses on what it does uniquely better than any other community in New York. My career has taught me to do more with less, while being innovative, impactful, and taking the long view. These are the lessons I’d bring to the Board of Trustees.

First, a little about my background. In 2004, I co-founded Samson Capital Advisors. We were seven working partners with no clients or revenues. By 2015, when we sold our company, we managed about $7 billion in assets under management and had over 30 employees. Our reputation for being careful was earned during the financial crisis.

I am now Chief Investment Officer and a member of the management committee at Fiera Capital US, which now has over 120 employees and manages more than $20 billion across a range of asset classes. As a Chief Investment Officer with expertise in finance, municipal bonds, and risk management, I would bring this knowledge to the position of Village Trustee.

I have been a member of Business Executives for National Security, a nonpartisan organization where senior executives provide pro bono consulting services to the federal government, bringing best business practices to national security issues. I chaired reform initiatives on intelligence and served on pro bono assignments related to the structure, staffing, and compensation of the intelligence community. I served on a multi-year task force on how to improve domestic security. I have worked with executive branch actors from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the CIA, and members of Congress to ensure federal, state, and local governments collaborate properly to keep everyone safe. I would bring this perspective to policy discussions about public safety. JonathanLewisJonathan Lewis

I have been very active within the Scarsdale volunteer community, as a past president of the Scarsdale Forum, and as an elected member of the Scarsdale Board of Education.

My term as president of the Scarsdale Forum from 2008-2009 occurred during the financial crisis, when I instituted major changes to enhance the vibrancy of the organization during some difficult times. I appointed an investment committee to establish guidelines and define the asset allocation strategy for the organization.

In terms of policy, I brought experts from SUNY Albany to meet with our board to lead a planning discussion about digital government initiatives. In reaction to community concern about the number of tear-downs that were occurring, I created a new committee on Neighborhood Character. In the years that followed, the Forum weighed in on the discussion of neighborhood character and preservation. During my term, with an investment plan in place, and membership up, the financial stability of the organization was also strengthened.

During my time on the School Board, we had to contend with the then-new state law establishing the property tax cap. We had to balance the need to provide a great education for the 21st century, while being mindful of the economic challenges our stakeholders faced in the aftermath of the financial crisis. One of the most impactful new ideas we funded was called the Scarsdale Center for Innovation. It was a low-cost initiative that had the power to unleash the creative energies of our teachers and administrators for the purpose of reengineering our curriculum.

Scarsdale’s leadership in education and our reputation as innovators in that field are what set our community apart, and I believe we need to innovate in our local government to succeed in this challenging era. I believe that if we approach the challenges of our time with fresh perspectives, we are more likely to innovate our way to deliver on the value proposition of living in Scarsdale. If we succeed, Scarsdale will remain the most attractive choice for home-buyers seeking to build a happy and successful future for themselves and their families.

I am confident that, if elected, with my my colleagues on the Village Board I can help Scarsdale succeed, and I ask for your vote on March 19.

CarolSueNealeCarol Sue Higgins Neale, born December 21, 1938 in Orange, Virginia and died February 19, 2019 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, after battling pneumonia complicated by a blood disorder. Sue was a devoted and loving wife, mother, and soon-to-be grandmother, and had a broad network of friends from her many years of community involvement and public service in Westchester County.

Sue lived in Scarsdale, around the corner from Edgewood School, for over 40 years. She attended Radford College in Radford, Virginia and finished her degree at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. Sue began her career in Washington DC working in the Justice Department from 1961 - 1965, and the West Wing of the White House in the final years of the Lyndon Johnson administration. In 1969 she moved to New York City to work for the Wagner Commission on local government, and soon after met her husband Henry to whom she was married for 47 years.

After leaving the workforce to raise her children, she returned to public service and spent the final decade of her career managing the office of New York State Assemblywoman Audrey Hochberg. She was forever giving back to her community and was involved in many volunteer organizations and local political groups, including 25 years of service for the Scarsdale and Westchester public libraries.

Although Sue grew up in the country and always had an affinity for rural life, New York was her adopted city, and she was constantly drawn to its arts and culture. Sue loved playing mah jongg, spending time at her country home in the Hudson Valley, the NY Times crossword puzzle, and participation in her book club for over 30 years. Sue was smart, funny, and always had an opinion to share.

She is survived by her husband Henry, her son David, her daughter Laura, and five brothers and sisters. Friends will be received at Bennett Funeral in Scarsdale on Friday the 22nd from 4:00 PM – 8:00PM, and a service will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Scarsdale at 11:00AM Saturday the 23rd.

Here are tributes to Sue from local friends and leaders:

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin

“You couldn’t be around Sue Neale and not smile. The two things that always stood out to me about her were her dry sense of humor, and her passionate and generous spirit. May her memory be a blessing to Henry, her children, and all those in Scarsdale and Westchester County who benefited from her many years of dedicated volunteerism.”

Neighbor Tim Foley

Sue and Henry were among the first people I met when my family and I moved to Scarsdale years ago. What a great introduction to Scarsdale Sue proved to be! She was unfailing kind, always asking after my children, and always prepared to tell it like it is with a wink and a smile. With her years of service, particularly with the Scarsdale Democrats and with the Westchester Library Board, our community was unquestionably made better by her efforts.

Mark Lewis Chair, Scarsdale Democratic Town Committee

Sue Neale served for many years as a district leader for the Scarsdale Democratic Town Committee. She devoted herself to helping the community and county in which she lived and fought to have the best candidates the Democratic Party could put up both on the local, state and national level. Whenever the Committee needed help, Sue was there volunteering her time and effort. When I would ask for guidance, Sue always took the time to talk and advise me. She will be missed as a district leader and a friend.

Ben Boykin, Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and 5th District Legislator

“Sue was a wonderful individual who will be missed by all of us. I enjoyed the time that I spent talking with her on various issues. She loved the rural life but was very comfortable with the city and suburbs and the cultural and arts offerings. Sue dedicated her life to public service helping others. This is a great loss for her family and friends and for the people of Westchester County.”

Congressman Eliot Engel

"Our progressive light shines less brightly today with the loss of Sue Neale. Sue’s contributions over her more than half-century of work with Democratic candidates and elected officials is immeasurable. There is not a Democratic candidate serving the Scarsdale area whose campaign was not enhanced by Sue’s efforts and tireless support. We could always count on Sue to tell it to us straight; she was never afraid to tell us exactly what she thought and how we could be better. I send my deepest condolences to her husband, Henry, and their children. May her memory and the good work she has done be a blessing."

Friend Terry Singer

Sue and I connected through a Scarsdale Adult School class, where we shared a mah jongg table 4 years ago and played together since then in a weekly game. Conversations with Sue were always lively, we often spoke about politics, family, her home upstate, and just about everything including her love of libraries. Sue had a unique wit, and a warm, wonderful sense of humor that will be remembered by her friends.

DearFolksBill Doescher and Traci Dutton Ludwig at StarbucksEveryone has a story to tell – or in the case of Bill Doescher, 41 stories.

Weaving memories into stories, Doescher has just launched a richly recounted memoir – Dear Folks: Essays and Insights from a Public Relations Leader – that was celebrated by a book-signing event at the Scarsdale train station Starbucks last Wednesday, Feb. 27.
The venue was an appropriate location for the signing because Doescher and his editor Traci Dutton Ludwig often met to discuss chapters at that Starbucks. “For about a year, we became regular features at Bill’s favorite table by the window. We’d bring a laptop and work there like it was a satellite office,” Dutton Ludwig said. “Since [Manager] Annie, [resident photographer and barista] Mark and the entire wonderful Starbucks team generously shared in the excitement of our project, we were delighted to come full circle and celebrate the finished book there. It felt like coming home.”

Dear Folks is a book for everybody. It provides sound lessons and strong insights culled from a career and life that took Doescher from a sportswriting job at a regional Binghamton, NY, newspaper to top communications positions with blue-chip companies in North Carolina and Manhattan. Its conversational narrative style resonates with personal experiences uniquely connected to Doescher’s roots in Utica, NY, his education at Colgate University and Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, his esteemed career in the public relations field, his dedicated service to Jackie Robinson Foundation, his exemplary volunteerism as a 40-year-long resident of Scarsdale, NY, his commitment to his church, his passion for golf and other sports, and his role as a husband, father and grandfather.

With a title inspired by the “Dear Folks” salutation used in the weekly family letters written by Doescher’s father and grandfather, the book’s episodic narratives are entertaining and thought-provoking. They appeal to various niche audiences as well as to anyone looking for a good read.

In his professional career of more than 50 years, Doescher has been recognized as an energetic public relations leader who saw the industry grow up with him. Two chapters, in particular, survey the field of PR from Doescher’s point of view. One involves the need for authentic and meaningful diversity within the PR industry, and the other projects how the PR profession will change as it adapts to 21C parameters. These chapters, and others, vividly portray Doescher’s talents for clear thinking, insightful observation, anticipating outcomes and developing sensible philosophies. All are personal qualities that, indeed, helped Doescher succeed in his career.

Highlights of the book are many – some expected, some surprises. While the Vice President of Advertising & Public Relations at Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Doescher recommended and supervised the company’s sponsorship of a PGA golf tournament, the Heritage Golf Classic, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Later, Doescher’s longest corporate communications role was with Dun & Bradstreet, where for 22 years, he held increasingly responsible positions, including senior vice president & chief communications officer and publisher of D&B Reports magazine. As a former president of both the PRSA Foundation and PRSA-NY, Doescher received well-deserved leadership recognition. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious John W. Hill Award by PRSA-NY.

In the book’s foreword, editor Dutton Ludwig remarked, “Bill’s stories demonstrate the value of engaging life with authenticity, curiosity and resolve.” She further observes that Doescher is a natural storyteller with the ability to always find the right story, at the right moment, for the right audience.

“People love the way Bill is able to share himself and his experiences through his stories. I saw that firsthand when people would stop by and chat while we were working together in Starbucks last year. Bill’s stories immediately connected with them, and they’d absolutely light up as listeners,” Dutton Ludwig said. “This same quality comes across in the book. There are many takeaways in the book, many delicious bites of wisdom to inspire reflection and thought. Since Dear Folks is equally about Bill’s life and career, it feels very whole and very real.”

Addressing Doescher’s professional acumen in the field of public relations, Maria Russell, a professor of public relations at Newhouse, was quoted in the foreword: “Bill was never content with the status quo. Like others who preceded him in PR, Bill was and is a pioneer in almost everything he does.” Whether teaching investor relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, advising CEOs, publishing a magazine, managing corporate communications departments during changing times, or mentoring students and colleagues, Doescher has always been “a counselor’s counsel.”

This description rings true, even in chapters outside Doescher’s professional career. We see the glimpses of the future man in boyhood stories about Doescher watching his father save neighbors’ lives from an assailant and later about Doescher taking care of his mother’s old classic car, as well as stories about his Aunt Elsie’s belief in him, his lifelong friendships with “The Utica Boys,” and his tenacity and determination to get into graduate school despite a less-than-perfect undergraduate GPA.

According to Dutton Ludwig, “Although Dear Folks is Doescher’s first book, its richness of detail makes it feel as if Doescher has been writing it his entire life. The author’s voice is immediate and authentic, and the lessons conveyed by storytelling are generous, personable, humorous and wise.”

Published by PR Museum Press and released in January 2019, copies of Dear Folks: Essays and Insights from a Public Relations Leader can be ordered online from Barnes & Noble (bn.com) and Amazon (amazon.com). The book will also be available at additional local Dear Folks events, forthcoming in the spring and summer.

AmyPaulin2013State Assmeblywoman and Scarsdale resident Amy PaulinScarsdale made history on Tuesday night February 13, 2019 when the Village signed on as a plaintiff in a lawsuit to challenge IRS rules regarding the deductibility of state and local taxes in charitable gift reserves.Trustees voted yes to join a lawsuit that, if successful, could help states beleaguered by the new SALT provisions to recoup most of their lost tax revenues.

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin is leading the charge to contest these rules which deny residents the right to pay into a charitable gift reserve and deduct local taxes from their federal tax returns. As Paulin explained at the meeting, “The US Congress decided to limit SALT deduction last December. At the time group of tax professors from around the country wrote a white paper about what they believed could be done if SALT was adopted. One of the options was establishing a charitable fund and we folded that proposal into the state budget, along with New Jersey and Connecticut. Dan Hemel, an SHS grad now at the University of Chicago was one of the authors of that white paper.”

She continued, “Scarsdale established a charitable fund along with Rye and Rye Brook. However the IRS came out with rules that created a chilling effect. Assemblyman David Buchwald and I brought a group of local leaders together and wrote comments on these IRS rules and regulations. We are still awaiting the final regulations. When they come out, we want to be in a position to challenge them. The best plaintiffs are towns that have already formed charitable trusts like Scarsdale and Rye. The state stands to lose $2.3 billion in local taxes. The potential harm to our communities is great.”

Why Scarsdale? The resolution says, “The implementation of these regulations as drafted would harm Scarsdale residents who have already made donations or who might seek to make donations in the future to the charitable gift reserve fund, and would directly harm the ability of the charitable gift reserve fund in its capital raising efforts as envisioned under New York State law.”

Paulin said, “Scarsdale will be taking an action to protect our residents. The liability to the village is nothing. We have formed a 501C4 to assume the liability.” She explained that tax attorneys from Baker and McKenzie of Chicago, Illinois would draft the papers pro bono and no work by the Village would be required.

The resolution before the board was to execute an engagement letter to provide no cost legal services in connection with participation as a plaintiff in challenging internal revenue service charitable gift reserve fund regulations.

Not everyone agreed that this was a good move for Scarsdale. During public comments Bob Berg discussed his concerns that the Village would be open to liability and ridicule and that meetings about the suit were held behind closed doors. He said, “Amy has convinced the BOT that joining this lawsuit is wise. … The discussions were not held publicly…. This puts the good name of Scarsdale in jeopardy. Can you imagine the scorn we will face? The pundits will drag our good name through the mud. She says the 501c4 will pay the legal fees of this litigation. Baker and McKenzie is one of the world’s largest law firms in the country. This will cost more than $1,000,000… The 501 c4 is headed in Scarsdale in Amy’s house. It’s a dark money political action committee. The odor of rotting fish is getting stronger. The red flags are wild – they mean danger.”

Anne Hintermeister of Chase Road agreed. She said, “What happens if we can’t cover the law firms fees? We need more information on this. Who is going to direct the litigation? Does the village have standing to challenge tax regulations?”

Bob Selvaggio of Rochambeau Road argued for a legislative solution and questioned the logic of deductible charitable funds. He said, “The only way to restore SALT deduction is to convince our legislators. The government that touches us most is our municipal government. Scarsdale should have first dibs on our taxes, followed by the state, and then the country. Few of us ask much of the federal government. President Trump should tighten his own belt so we can pursue our own happiness….Few of our state dollars are returned to our schools. Our tax payments are not charitable contributions. This only subjects us to ridicule. They are other avenues to pursue. Empty nesters could argue that there is no quid pro quo – and they should be able to deduct school taxes as charitable deductions. We need to convince senate house and legislators that we need our local deductions.”

Paulin responded to these objections. To Selvaggio’s call to overturn SALT, she said, “Good luck convincing the federal government. Though I hope one day it will get overturned I am not holding my breath. Once you give the money away its hard to get it back. It is going to be hard to reverse SALT. The President rejected Governor Cuomo’s effort to reverse SALT. The Republican Party is not in favor of reversing SALT. I believe the charitable deductions are the best way to mitigate the effects.”

She also explained that there was precedent, saying “There are already active programs across states for parochial schools that allow tax deductions. This is historical – and these arguments will be made. The IRS ruled that all of the tax programs – including all of the existing ones in many states -- are not valid either! It affected so many people – thousands of children. They pleaded with the IRS to reverse their position. If we’re not in the lawsuit, there could be a carve out that doesn’t affect us.”

“So I applaud the Village for being involved – I think this is the right thing to do – we are going to work together to make this the best effort we can going forward.”

Before the voting, Trustees shared their thoughts:

Trustee Justin Arest said, “This is an extension of acts already taken by this government …We can and should do this – we created a charitable fund. This is not a scheme that we are creating on our own. …This is not our only option – but this is our best option now. These tax changes were having a negative effect on our homeowners. It is not about partisan politics – it is what I can do as a trustee to fight for Scarsdale residents.” He voted Aye.

Trustee Matt Callaghan was the sole objector, saying “This represents an unacceptable risk. What happens if the funding stops? Who is going to monitor the activity of this fund and set timelines and milestones? Not many people in Westchester are involved in this. Consider the current political atmosphere in the nation. I vote No – “

Trustee Lena Crandall thanked Palin for the “great effort to protect local residents.” She voted yes.

Trustee Carl Finger said, “The agreement is clear – we have nothing to do with the funding. We will receive appropriate reports. I vote Aye.”

Trustee Seth Ross also thanked Paulin for her leadership and said, “We have an opportunity and responsibility to vindicate those rights. No funds are to be committed. I vote Aye.”

Trustee Jane Veron assured the public that there would be no liability to the village. She said, “We had the opportunity to speak with counsel. And we have no financial risk. We didn’t take decision lightly. We believe it is our duty to protect our residents and I vote Aye.”

Casting the last vote in favor of the resolution, Mayor Dan Hochvert said, “It is okay to take risk when we have so much to gain. Most will not see anything but an effort. I vote aye.”

The resolution passed by a vote of 6-1.

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