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Santa and Friends Davis Park 20182On a bone-chilling Sunday afternoon, December 9th, 2018, the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association celebrated its 90th annual holiday sing and tree lighting ceremony in Davis Park. This annual event in Davis Park began in 1918, the founding year of the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association.

The day’s festivities began with a brief speech by Scarsdale Village Mayor Dan Hochvert to those gathered in Davis Park about the significance and vital role that neighborhood associations play in the community in Scarsdale. Village Trustee and Arthur Manor resident, Matthew Callaghan, and his wife Georgann Callaghan, were also in attendance and had the chance to catch up with many old and new friends.

The crowd then sang their favorite Christmas and Hanukkah songs which were all magnificently directed by the voice of Arthur Manor’s Jeanie Bongiorno. Hot chocolate, brownies and holiday cookies were provided by all of the volunteer residents who pitched in to help out and make the day a special one in Arthur Manor.

Following the group sing, everyone’s all-time favorite, Santa Claus, arrived at Davis Park in true style AM2in an antique 1946 Scarsdale Fire Department truck driven by Arthur Manor’s own Michael Keating.

After Santa completed his rounds in Davis Park with many photographs taken and all of the candy canes handed out to the children, Santa Claus left the group at Davis Park, departing in Michael Keating’s vintage fire truck to visit other holiday celebrations in Scarsdale and beyond.

The day’s event ended with the lighting of the Davis Park tree. The tree lights were strung earlier in the week on the Davis Park tree under the direction of Scarsdale’s Superintendent of Public Works, Benny Salanitro, and his dedicated Pubic Works’ crew.

This year’s holiday celebration was sponsored by Heather Harrison of Compass Realty. Heather grew up in Arthur Manor and has many fond memories of this fun filled annual holiday event in Davis Park.

This annual festivity in Arthur Manor’s Davis Park is also only made possible by the collective efforts of the many Arthur Manor volunteers including especially the Marcus, Roche, Porco, Bartalos, AM3Salazar, Stuart and Bongiorno families, and all of the other Arthur Manor volunteers too numerous to list here. The Arthur Manor Board of Directors wishes to thank everyone who helped to make this year’s 90th celebration so special.AM4AM6AM7AM8AM9AM1

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Streetlight Picture1Scarsdale Village will soon replace 1,510 streetlights throughout the Village with energy-efficient LED streetlights. Following a pilot program to test the lights, the LED Streetlight Committee recommended moving forward with the LED upgrade on all residential roads that have not already been converted to LEDs. It is anticipated the installation will begin in early 2019.

This phase of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project is expected to save the Village approximately $80,000 per year in electricity costs for an annual return of 22% and a full payback of the initial investment in four years. The lights are expected to last up to 20 years.

This is the second phase of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project. In May 2018 approximately 300 streetlights were replaced with LEDs. Once this second phase is completed, over 90% of the streetlights in Scarsdale will have been converted to LEDs.
A copy of the LED Committee’s report can be found here.

The LED Streetlight Committee can be reached at with any questions or comments.

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langfordandliMary Langford and Rena LiThe Section 1 Volleyball awards dinner was held November 19th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains. Two Scarsdale High School seniors (and varsity team captains) -- Mary Langford and Rena Li -- were named All Section and All Conference.

The Junior League of Central Westchester held their holiday boutique on November 7 at lake isle Country Club.

We found wonderful hats, scarves and sweaters, beautiful jewelry, home décor, food and more. Twenty percent of all vendor proceeds were donated to the JLCW, supporting its mission to improve the lives of individuals and families in Central Westchester County including White Plains, Eastchester and Greenburgh. Some of the programs the JLCW runs include the Westchester County Diaper Bank, which provides diapers to families in need, monthly literacy and book donations to Head Start children in White Plains, and several others.

Dunkin’ Donuts, now known as simply “Dunkin’ has opened in Hartsdale. The store is sleekly designed, bright and welcoming. Find all your favorite coffees, along with donuts and sandwiches.

JLCW1JLCW2JLCW4JLCWBakeryDunkinDonuts from the new Dunkin' in Hartsdale

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MedalsSamantha Ho and Maddie Seltzer After completing their first undefeated season (9-0) in school history and winning their League, the Scarsdale Varsity Girls Swim and Dive team won their post season Conference tournament and tied for 2nd place in the Post Season Section 1 Meet. The final step in this historical season were New York State Championships, held on November 16-17 at Ithaca College.

Scarsdale’s 7 state qualifiers each had success, earning points for Scarsdale and Section 1, which earned the most points of any section in the state:

1 Meter DivingDiver2Maddie Seltzer
Maddie Seltzer, So, 6th Place
Samantha Ho, Sr, 9th Place
Katelin Du, Sr, 19th Place

200 Yard Medley Relay, 14th Place
Anya Pabby, So - Megan Lee, So - Joy Jiang, So -Danielle Eforo, So

200 Yard Individual Medley
Megan Lee, So, 15th Place

100 Yard Breaststroke
Megan Lee, So, 18th Place

100 Yard Butterfly
Joy Jiang, So, 5th Place

100 Yard Backstroke
Joy Jiang, So, 10th Place

400 Yard Freestyle Relay - 20th Place
Anya Pabby, So - Megan Lee, So - Joy Jiang, So -Danielle Eforo, So

diverSamantha Ho

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11 Cohawney RoadThis analysis was submitted by Scarsdale resident Lee Fischman. Last year he co-chaired the Scarsdale Forum's Assessment Revaluation Committee and authored a draft report on the 2016 revaluation which was not published.

Property assessments are a cornerstone of Village finance and yet are based on an imprecisely valued asset: homes. They therefore tend to be notoriously inaccurate, unstable, and often controversial. When they get too far out of whack, a municipality-wide revaluation is called for.

What’s the state of Scarsdale’s assessment? The following analysis uses data provided to me by Village staff. I’ve had my work reviewed by at least one qualified, neutral person and will gladly provide it to anyone else who asks (contact the Editor and she will forward the request). A footnote describes what data was left out of my analysis , which runs from 2010 through June of this year. In the charts below, the term “Roll Year” is used, but since roll years are updated in the fall, the roll year 2017 actually includes the first six months of 2018. I could not provide an analysis past June 2018 because disqualifying “condition codes” were not yet applied by staff to certain records; I would urge that these be amended on a timelier basis, or a decision to conduct a future revaluation could be needlessly delayed for lack of information.

Equity is a critical aspect of assessments; residents want to know that owners of differently valued properties are each “paying their fair share”. The leading statistic for this purpose is currently the Price Related Bias (PRB). Below is a chart of Scarsdale’s PRB over time.


Pricing bias was decidedly negative in the years leading up to the 2014 revaluation, indicating that assessments undervalued more expensive properties. The 2014 revaluation appears to have flipped assessments to slightly favoring less expensive properties. While continuing to use the 2014 roll, in 2015 assessments become strongly progressive, at a level which probably was outside of reasonable bounds. The reader may recall that the Assessor cited market price movements as a major reason why a new revaluation was necessary, although she did not show them.

The 2016 revaluation resets the PRB to a nearly equitable level. This surprised me, as I distrusted the 2016 revaluation as much as anyone else! However, by the following year, using data from September 2017 through June of 2018, the PRB again trends towards greater progressivity. Preliminary indications (not published) are that this trend continues.

How accurate have initial assessments been over the years? The following chart tells the story. Prior to 2014, properties were on average over-assessed. In following years, they seem on average to have been under-assessed. Final, post-grievance assessments could have lessened the (positive) extremes seen below, provided a homeowner took the chance to grieve. Of course, an average is just that, and so the vertical lines show the spread of assessments. (For you nerds, they extend 1 standard deviation either way and assume a symmetric distribution.)



The 2014 revaluation also appears to have increased the average error in assessed values versus sales prices; this aligns with a major criticism of the estimating method used in the 2014 revaluation, that it introduced additional error into valuations. Interestingly and surprisingly given problems with the 2016 revaluation vendor, that latter effort appears to have modestly reduced overall error. Further results indicate that while the 2014 revaluation did nothing to improve valuation accuracy, the 2016 valuation brought assessment accuracy to its lowest point since 2010. That is even more amazing considering that this author believes the 2016 revaluation involved guesstimates.

These statistics matter a great deal because they deeply affect our pocketbooks, our sense of fairness, and they change over time. The public needs to be shown this information and probably more, on a regular basis and next time preferably not by a private citizen, but by Village staff. We need to publicly monitor the health of the current assessment, and together understand when new revaluations are required.

1) My analysis excluded:

• Christie Place sales
• All data with inadmissible condition codes
• New construction or renovations within two years, on the reasoning that assessments would be out of  date for these.
• Land sales

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