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As 2013 fades into history, I thought I would highlight some
of the highlights of the year.  2013 was
a year of accomplishments but also of disappointments. On the positive side the
town initiated some important action steps that will help the town save money
long term and manage your tax dollars more efficiently. We're one of a handful
of communities that have maintained our triple A bond rating. We are complying
with the tax cap levy for the third consecutive year. We're undertaking
reassessment, replacing our street lights with efficient lighting and
transitioning to a new sanitation truck that will require fewer employees. The
disappointments: our failure to sell Frank’s Nursery (we will try again next
year) and our unsuccessful (so far) efforts to persuade the county to approve a
lease to convert WestHELP into affordable housing.  Here are the highlights of 2013:



 



225th ANNIVERSARY OF GREENBURGH - 2013 was the 225th
anniversary of the town. We had two celebrations: During the winter we
re-enacted a Town Board meeting from 225 years ago. Members of the Town Board
and department heads dressed in colonial attire. This summer we had fireworks
at A.F. Veteran Park.



 



REAL ESTATE VALUATION - The Town Board approved a plan &
funding to revalue all properties. This is the first time in more than 60 years
that this action is taking place. The initiative will significantly reduce
certiorari actions saving the town millions of dollars.  Reassessment will stop the bleeding
(certiorari tax refund actions) and is more equitable. There will be more
stability and predictability re: taxes. A number of other communities in
Westchester are joining Greenburgh and Yonkers and will hire the same company
to conduct the reassessment, which will save taxpayers a great deal of money.



 



LED LIGHTING - The Town Board is embarking on an ambitious
program to replace lighting with LED lighting. We anticipate saving millions of
dollars with the more efficient lighting. 
All lights to be replaced within 3 years.



 



NEW SANITATION TRUCKS TO USE ONE PERSON INSTEAD OF 3 - The
Town Board authorized the purchase of a new kind of sanitation truck that will
help us reduce costs long term - a one arm bandit sanitation truck.  The truck uses one employee instead of three
and automatically picks up garbage.



 



ANOTHER INFRASTRUCTURE ENHANCEMENT - We're replacing water
meters which will enable water rate users to feel more confident about the
accuracy of meters and will reduce our costs. We are embarking on an effort to
repair, renovate and paint our water tanks.



 



AAA BOND RATING - Westchester lost its AAA bond rating from
Moody's. Greenburgh kept our AAA bond rating from Moody's and Standard &
Poor's in 2013. Only 1% of localities in the nation have an AAA bond rating
from both S & P and Moody's.



 



NEW IDEAS FOR PARKS USING NON TAXPAYER DOLLARS - We're
planning to redevelop various parks/recreation facilities: Massaro, Veteran,
Presser, Travis & Yosemite. Among ideas: replace cabanas at A.F. Veteran
Park with a pavilion, outdoor sports: ping pong tables, shuffleboard, maybe
miniature golf, and a spray area at Massaro. We will use non taxpayer dollars
(developer escrow funds) to pay for these enhancements.



 



CDBG FEDERAL GRANTS ON HOLD BECAUSE OF FEUD BETWEEN HUD AND
WESTCHESTER - The Town of Greenburgh had counted on over a half a million
dollars in federal CDBG grants to enhance Manhattan Ave and for other projects.
Among them:  sidewalks on 9A in North
Elmsford. HUD decided to punish Westchester County for failing to comply with
the housing discrimination lawsuit and has denied Westchester County
communities federal dollars for CDBG programs, designed to help lower income
populations. I wrote to our federal representatives asking if the
administration of CDBG could be turned over to the state. Greenburgh is one of
the few communities in Westchester that is not part of the federal government
lawsuit. We have an excellent record - approving affordable housing
voluntarily. We should not be a victim when we have done nothing wrong.



 



FORTRESS BIBLE - The Town Board settled the Fortress Bible
lawsuit for $6.5 million. We had rejected the application of Fortress Bible to
build a church on Dobbs Ferry Road in 2004 after receiving advice and analysis
from the police chief and traffic consultants. 
The church took us to Federal Court and we lost. Our primary insurance
carrier has agreed to pay $1 million dollars towards the settlement before the
end of 2013. We are seeking additional reimbursement from another carrier.  I have written to our Congressional
delegation requesting that an independent traffic safety official from the
federal government be available to local governments to verify whether or not
traffic safety objections are valid –if they are the proposed church, synagogue
or mosque would locate elsewhere. The federal laws make it very difficult to
deny religious institutions the right to build a house of worship –even if
there are legitimate safety reasons.



 



NEW HEALTH CENTER OPENS - The Greenburgh Health Center
opened in 2013 on Knollwood Road. New sidewalks were installed.



 



NEW SIDEWALKS ON CENTRAL AVENUE - NY State constructed new
sidewalks on Central Ave. which is a good thing, but failed to finish the job



 



GREENBURGH TOWN BOARD APPROVES NEW LAW ALLOWING MORE
ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES - The Greenburgh Town Board approved a new law
amending the zoning ordinance of the town by adding a definition of assisted
living facilities and by creating a special permit criteria allowing for such
facilities. We allow up to 100 bedrooms to be constructed in an assisted living
facility on four acre sites within 200 feet of a state or county road.  Brightview Assisted living received approval
to build near the Sheraton/Marriott, close to the Tarrytown border. Some of their
units will be offered at discounted rates-making them more affordable.



 



NY STATE LEGISLATURE APPROVES OUR REQUEST TO MAKE JACKSON
AVENUE SAFER - The NYS Legislature approved our request to straighten an S
curve along Jackson Ave. (near Jackson & N. Sprain Road).  The Governor signed the safety improvement
into law. This will make the avenue leading to Costco, Stew Leonard’s much
safer. The town, villages of Hastings and Ardsley received $5 million after the
Ridge Hill lawsuit settlement to make safety improvements on roads impacted by
Ridge Hill.



 



TOWN GETS $200,000 DONATION FROM LANZA FOUNDATION FOR TOWN
PROGRAMS - Our arts & culture program is funded in its entirety by the
Lanza Foundation. Other funds went to our Special Olympics program, our
nutrition program, and Hartsbrook Barn.



 



WESTHELP - The town has been trying to rent out the
abandoned WestHELP homeless shelter.  NYS
rejected our request to lease the complex to Ferncliff, an organization that
provides services to the developmentally disabled population. We then issued an
RFP and approved a sublease with MRH to create affordable housing units. The
town will receive $500,000 a year in rent if the county approves the lease -
millions more than the 2nd highest bidder. We are still waiting for the County
Executive and Board of Legislators to approve the lease. This will be a high
priority in 2014.



 



WESTHAB OPENS AFFORDABLE HOUSING, WATERWHEEL SOLD FOR
AFFORDABLE HOUSING - new affordable housing opens at 222 Old Tarrytown Road.
Apartments are being leased to families whose income ranges from $22,000 to $69,000
a year.  The town finally sold the
Waterwheel property in Ardsley for $1.2 million. We had acquired the Waterwheel
thanks to a foreclosure. The Waterwheel property (across from Macy Park) will
be re-developed and converted into affordable housing.



 



OTHER UNFINISHED BUSINESS: FRANK'S NURSERY - We started the
year thinking that we would sell Frank's Nursery to Game On, a business that
wants to build indoor sports facility at the abandoned Frank's Nursery. After a
competitor (House of Sports) offered the town $3.5 million (with conditions) we
decided to have an auction in 2014. We will sell the property to the highest
bidder. 3 members of the Town Board voted to ask the Commissioner of Planning
to rezone the entire Dobbs Ferry corridor for recreation uses.  Game On also announced that they have an
option to purchase the Golf Range on Dobbs Ferry Road.



 



NEW POLICE CHIEF - Chris McNerney replaced Joseph DeCarlo as
Police Chief.  On November 12, 2013 the
Greenburgh police department SWAT team received accreditation from the NYS
Municipal Training Council Division of Criminal Justice Services. We're the
first multi-jurisdictional team in NYS to receive this accreditation.



 



HAMBURGER HEAVEN, BEN'S DELI – Smash Burger opened up two
restaurants in Greenburgh. Bareburger opened up another hamburger restaurant on
Central Ave., joining Jakes Wayback Burgers. Ben's Deli, a kosher delicatessen
had their ground breaking ceremonies at the old Spiga Restaurant on Central
Ave. MORE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT- Mrs. Green's opened at the old Morton Williams
on Central Ave.  Crossroads Shopping
Center spent over a million dollars with a new façade. Lane Bryant, Chef
Central, Dress Barn, Petsmart are new tenants. 
We're reviewing a request to rezone Landmark at Eastview, land that
includes the headquarters of Regeneron, a bio tech company and Madison Square
Garden's training facility.  The rezoning
of the property for mixed use could generate close to $7 million dollars in
additional taxes per year. The proposed rezone is being reviewed.  A yogurt store is replacing the abandoned toy
store on East Hartsdale Ave.



 



YOU TUBE TAPES - We're going to produce you tube videos
highlighting why Greenburgh is a great place to live. Each you tube taping will
feature a different neighborhood.  We had
our first planning meetings in 2013.  We
expect to aggressively start this project in 2014.



 



AVALON GREEN seeks 68 additional apartments on Taxter Road,
E. Irvington. In 1995 they built 10 apartments. Last year they completed 444
apartments that are occupied.



 



NYS REQUIRES REGISTRATION FOR STAR - NYS is now requiring
registration for STAR. The assessor's office has been devoting many hours
responding to resident inquiries. Those who do not register could lose
significant tax breaks.



 



INTERNAL AUDIT OF COURT - Over the years the town has had
problems with our town court. We hired an independent auditor to do a detailed
internal audit. They provided the Town Board with a few dozen recommendations
that will improve internal controls at the courts. We are placing more internal
controls in all departments.



 



ENERGY CONSERVATION--BIG BELLY SOLAR PANEL TRASH CONTAINERS
- We placed two solar powered trash compactors on East Hartsdale Ave. These
containers, used all over the world use solar power to compact waste at the
point of collection.  Each solar
compactor can hold about five times the amount of waste as a typical
receptacle, saving taxpayer dollars. 
SOLAR HEATING HOT WATER SYSTEM INSTALLED AT THE THEODORE YOUNG COMMUNITY
CENTER.  Our new gym was installed at the
Theodore Young Community Center, replacing a gym destroyed by flooding.  Another important law was approved promoting
energy efficiency: The Town Board joined other communities in Westchester that
will help businesses save money by making their properties more energy
efficient.  The program is called
Greenburgh Energize NY Benefit Finance Program law.



 



REPAVING - We repaved many streets, including a large
section of E. Hartsdale Ave.



 



MOTIVATING STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE - WCBS radio highlighted
a story about an Edgemont Girl Scout troop that successfully advocated for a
safety initiative at the Greenville School. The troop worked with town
officials and got results.  This summer
student interns working with Town Clerk Judith Beville and I developed a
campaign to promote recycling food waste. We continued the Student News
Network, offering students the opportunity to host their own cable TV news show
and to produce public service announcements.



 



CRANE'S POND DOESN'T LOOK LIKE PEA SOUP- In 2012 Crane's
Pond in Edgemont looked like pea soup. We received many complaints.  We responded -contracted with a company to
apply aquatic herbicide to control the duckweed. The treatment worked.



 



CAMERAS IN THE PARK - Residents of N. Elmsford requested
that we place cameras at Massaro Park to enhance safety. The Town Board agreed
to the request.



 



USING VOLUNTEERS - I meet with retired executives
frequently, soliciting their feedback on approaches that can be taken to manage
the town more efficiently. The team has reviewed our budget, helped write the
RFP for the internal court audit. They have assisted in developing policies for
financial assistance re: parks & community center programs.



 



WATER DISTRICT - We have created a water district advisory
board that is developing a comprehensive long term water plan for the town's
water system. Major infrastructure upgrades are planned to make sure that you
can depend on high quality drinking water.



 



A THANK YOU - Thank you for having re-elected me to my 12th
term as Town Supervisor.  I am as excited
with the job today as I was 22 years ago! 
Every day is rewarding. I love the challenges and enjoy helping
constituents solve big and small problems. I hope you and your neighbors will
always feel free to contact me at my office: 993-1545 or at home: 478-1219 or
on my cell: 438-1343. My e-mail is pfeiner@greenburghny.com. I will always treat
your problems as if they are mine.



 



PAUL FEINER



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