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deciccos(Updated April 9) Trader Joe’s on Post Road in Scarsdale is closed until Thursday April 9 after the death of an employee from Covid-19 early Monday morning, April 6. According to the Washington Post, the employee had underlying health conditions. The store is closed to give workers “time to process and grieve.”

The store will continue to pay employees during the closure and will clean and sanitize during the closure.

The Trader Joe’s in Hartsdale was closed for a few days last week from Monday March 30 to Thursday April 4 when an employee tested positive for the virus. The store was enforcing social distancing by limiting the number of shoppers in the store, having shoppers line-up outside, offering hand sanitizer and opening from 9 am – 10 am for seniors.

H Mart on Central Avenue is now taking employees' temperatures before they begin work. Sean Kim, the office manager at H Mart in Hartsdale reports these measures they are taking to keep employees and shoppers safe:

-We've been checking our employees temperature before work.

-We provide masks for our employees everyday,
-We set the first hour of business hours for seniors, (as of today, 9am to 10am)
-We reduced number of customers allowed in at one time,
-We marked 6 feet distance both outside and check-out counters for social distancing,
-We provide hand sanitizer and unused gloves also wipe the handle of shopping cart at the entrance,
-We provide a receptacle outside for used masks and gloves at the exit.

At DeCicco’s in Scarsdale, shoppers are also lined up outside and plexiglass partitions have been installed between the cashiers and shoppers. The store is well stocked.

A Time for Unity

SOS logo art 2020 Final(This letter was sent to us by the Scarsdale Bowl Committee)
Dear Scarsdale Community: Based on the recent developments with the Coronavirus and the recommendation by the Department of Health to avoid large gatherings, The Scarsdale Foundation has rescheduled the Scarsdale Foundation Bowl Dinner to Thursday, September 24th.

We look forward to honoring BK Munguia and Jon Mark together as we celebrate them and all Scarsdale volunteers who make Scarsdale Shine On.

We appreciate your understanding and support during these unusual times. All sponsorships, table hosts, and donations will remain pertinent and all purchased tickets will be transferred and honored on our new date.

Please continue to honor your friends and neighbors on the new Scarsdale Foundation Honor Roll scarsdalefoundation.org/honor-a-scarsdale-volunteer-2020/ and celebrate volunteerism.
If you have any questions, please contact us at ScarBowl@gmail.com. More information is also available on the Scarsdale Foundation website.

The Scarsdale Foundation supports local families who need financial assistance for college and celebrates volunteerism that helps Scarsdale shine.

Partner Sponsors: Advantage Testing, House of Flowers, Advocate Brokerage

contingencyfundScarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick sought to inform the community, update them on the delivery of essential Village services and assuage concerns about the fiscal health of the Village at the first virtual meeting of the Village Board via ZOOM on Tuesday March 24, 2020.

He called for compassion, saying, “Let’s take care of each other, as we always do - reach out through phone calls and emails to our neighbors and friends, especially seniors and those directly impacted by the Coronavirus. Although we cannot be together physically, we can do our part to keep our community strong and connected.”

He shared that the Westchester County Department of Health reported 38 positive cases in Scarsdale as of 3-24-20. In order to curb the spread of the virus he reminded everyone to:

-Stay Home, Save Lives;
-When outside of your home, be sure to practice social distancing; and
-Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

He asked people to practice social distancing and to drive slowly and carefully as so many are out walking and running in the streets.

He said the Village and Board’s top three priorities are:

-The health, safety and welfare of our residents, Village employees, and local merchants
-Delivery of essential Village services
-Fiscally responsible and prudent management of the Village budget.

Turning to the discussion of the 2020-21 Village budget he said that statutory deadlines are coming up quickly. The deadline to file the draft budget was Friday March 20, a public hearing needs to be held with a vote no later than May 1, 2020.

In order to hedge against losses in revenues and the rise of expenses due to the COVID-19 crisis, Village managers have reallocated $300,000 from the 2020-21 budget into a COVID-19 contingency account. From this year’s budget they have allocated $1.25mm for a total of $1.55 million into the reserve account. Furthermore the Village Manager has directed Department Heads to restrict spending to essential items required for the operation of the Village and for their response to the current pandemic.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer joined the call and shared some important information about the crisis. He said, “There is no road map on what to do.”

As of March 24, there were 25,665 cases in New York State, 3,891 cases in Westchester with 38 in Scarsdale. Westchester County experience its first case three weeks ago in New Rochelle and Latimer said, “This tells you how contagious this virus is. The expansion grows exponentially. If this number continues to grow we run out of hospital rooms in a hurry. The County Center will be a temporary hospital and we don’t know if that will be enough. Glen Island is a testing center and we have more testing centers. We have a long list of people who need testing.” He said, “We are trying to keep the contagion at a level that the healthcare system can handle. We are going to do this based on science – not political science.”

Latimer said that all county parks, including the Bronx River Reservation and Saxon Woods are open and that the county is enforcing social distancing. They are keeping Saxon Woods Golf course open as golf is not a contact sport. The clubhouse is closed.

He also called for retired doctors and nurses to help. The county has set up a hotline at 211 and an email address for questions at covid19faq@westchestergov.com.

About assistance for local businesses, Latimer said, “We are going to have to look to Washington to provide assistance.”

Village Manager Steve Pappalardo shared what the village has done since February 2 to prepare for the crisis. Village Hall closed on March 16 and will be closed until April 17. The staff is working remotely from home on laptops and select Village staff are reporting to Village Hall. The Village Clerk handled 200 absentee ballots in a single day. The Village Court is letting people know that court is cancelled along with all evening meetings. Cleaning protocols have been enhanced and a cleaning company was engaged to clean all village facilities. They used a fogging machine at Wayside Cottage, the Library Loft and the Girl Scout House. The Village has purchased two of these fogging machines with the assistance of SVAC.

Back up plans have been arranged for all Village Departments, Police and Fire in case of illness.
Police have an emergency staffing plan and the fire department has shifted from 10-hour shifts to 24 hour shifts to cut down on the numbers of people coming and going.

Trustee Justin Arest provided more information about the Village’s finances.

He said, “We have ensured that the remaining months of our current fiscal year’s budget reflect the gravity of the situation. Outlined in a resolution added to our agenda tonight we are reducing unused funds and potential discretionary projects in the current fiscal year and putting that money into a COVID-19 contingency account to keep us prepared. Staff has also identified capital projects that will need to be eliminated or reduced in the upcoming FY. Whatever money is not used in either FY contingency account will move into the unassigned fund balance to be used where we determine it is needed.”

He discussed why the entire 2020-21 budget could not be revised at this time: “We have four hurdles before us that make immediately reevaluating the entire budget infeasible. First, we are in the middle of a public health crisis and state of emergency. Our priority has been and needs to continue to be the health and safety of our community. And that leads me to the second hurdle, availability of staff. Our department heads and their teams along with the Village Manager’s Office are working considerable hours ensuring that we can keep essential services running, and that the men and women that perform these services are able to do so safely and hopefully remain healthy. Third, NY State law requires us to hold a public hearing on the tentative budget on or before April 15 and we must have our budget approved prior to May 1. Lastly, we face unprecedented uncertainty. And as uncertainty mounts, so do the number of permutations of possible impacts to our budget.”

He vowed to continue to examine Village finances saying, “This Board is fully aware of the hard work that will be needed. We know that many, many hours of budget meetings and revisions are to come. It is very likely that with staff, we as a Board and we as a community will need to reassess every service and every project. We will also have to reexamine how we plan to pay for them possibly using additional borrowing as well as using our fund balance. In other words, we know that substantial cuts could become necessary.”

Trustee Jonathan Lewis said, “COVID 19 has changed the world…. Municipal bond markets are in a high degree of stress…. We will need to dynamically manage the budget. We need a sensitivity analysis of our revenue stream. We should be able to develop a best and worst case scenario and a decision tree that will increase the probability that our response is strategic and not reactive…. Working together we can write a new chapter…. My thoughts and prayers are with all my neighbors.

Trustee Jane Veron assured residents that “We care deeply about your health and well-being.” She said,”I want to express gratitude to everyone on the front lines. I have confidence that we will bounce back. We prepared the 20-21 budget in a very different environment. What we do know now is that our underlying assumptions must change. … In record speed staff has already identified funds for emergency preparedness…. I am confident that together we will manage through. Do whatever it takes to protect your health, safety and general welfare.”

During public comments Bob Berg sounded dire warning about the economy which he said, “has come to a halt.” He said that the Fed has predicted a 50% drop in the GNP next quarter and called the stock market “a bloodbath” He continued, “The situation is far worse than the 2008-9 financial crisis. He then called on the Village to convene an emergency meeting and reduce non-property revenue by $5 million, saying “What the Village Manager and Mayor said is insufficient.” He said, “We have a terrible situation here and we have to engage in a dialogue about what to cut. We have to create a conservative and sustainable budget by May 1.”

Mayor Samwick responded to Berg saying, “We have identified $3.5 million for use in case of emergency. We have made a first step and we will continue to be diligent. Every meeting will include public comment. This is a collaborative group effort.”

Mayra Kirkendall Rodriguez also forecasted financial distress. She said, “The past three weeks have been difficult. I heard a woman wondering if she would have to go on food stamps and a man who built his business wondering if he would lose it. I spoke to a mother waking up at 3 am to get a food slot for delivery.” These people live in Scarsdale. Scarsdale’s median income is $250,000. Of those who earn less than $250,000 the average is $146,000. What do you propose to do for the people you represent? The bond rating doesn’t pay for food on the table.
I know Village staff works very hard. I am concerned to hear that there has been behind the scenes activity. There is a sunshine law. All of those revenue assumptions have to be changed.”

Yingyong Chen said, “As a Village it might be beneficial to have scenario analyses.”

Later in the meeting Trustee Jane Veron relayed what she learned from Frank at De Cicco’s Market in Scarsdale who reports that the food supply is good. Some items like hand sanitizer are available in limited quantities. They are working hard to keep up with delivery requests but it’s difficult to keep up with demand. The store is open at 7 am with an hour for seniors to shop. They are closing at 7 pm each night to give staff time to restock the shelves and they have hired an outside cleaning service to clean the store.

Trustee Rochelle Waldman shared a report that Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling is open and operational. Youth outreach workers are available and Maryellen Saenger from the Aging in Place program is in touch with seniors and available to help. The SFCS Gala, originally scheduled for May, will be rescheduled for October 8, 2020.

MichellewithLatimerMichelle Sterling with County Executive George LatimerEach year the Citizens’ Nominating Committee (CNC), a group of volunteer citizens elected by residents, thoroughly vets candidates who apply to serve on our Village Board of Trustees. I’m proud to have served on the CNC this year. It’s a non-partisan system - which means that we don’t look at their political affiliation and they don’t run on a specific agenda. What we look at are their qualities as citizens and people in order to determine which of the candidates will come into office with an open mind, and with no personal agenda, so that they can do what they believe is best for our community as a whole. As I look around at the partisan politics surrounding us at every level of government, I am extremely glad that we have a non-partisan system here in Scarsdale.

This year, once again, the nonpartisan system is being challenged by those who claim that they represent the interests of our town but have time and again shown us that their claims are little more than words and uninformed slogans. For example, they don’t attend important budget meetings and working sessions, which are all open to the public and is where much of the Village’s unglamorous hard work gets done. Members of their slate sue the Village rather than try to work collaboratively through concerns. And they attack and insult many volunteer residents simply because they disagree with their positions or just don’t like them. These are not the qualities of people who should be considered to lead our community.

This year the CNC has proposed two excellent candidates who have completed two-year terms and are eligible for one more term: Justin Arest and Lena Crandall. I have had the pleasure of working with both of these trustees on several sustainability initiatives such as the implementation of our Scarsdale Food Scrap Recycling Program, our LED streetlight conversion and our ongoing project of working to ensure that our Village properties are maintained organically and without toxic chemicals. Working with Trustees Crandall and Arest, I can say that they are both intelligent, hard-working and thoughtful decision-makers. They always listen, consider the facts, and involve our Village volunteers in order to make the best decisions and get to the best results for our community.

On the slate to replace Trustee Veron who is finishing her final term as trustee is Randy Whitehouse, who I believe will contribute to the Board with his new perspectives, communications skills and past Scarsdale volunteer experience.

I’m grateful that these three highly qualified individuals have volunteered to serve our community.

Please Vote for Row B Arest, Crandall, and Whitehouse on Wednesday, March 18 at the Scarsdale Congregational Church.

Michelle Sterling
Brayton Road

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