We continue getting your feedback, both through emails and in person at our Public Hearings, on the proposed updates to the Vision portion of our Comprehensive Plan and the supporting laws. We will be having a Board discussion next Tuesday evening (October 20th, 2015) at our Work Session to review your comments and what changes, if any, will be made to the final laws. We are responsible to act in the best interest of all of our residents and business owners, and are required to take many factors into consideration when making these decisions. At the end of this process, some may not think we are going far enough, while others may think we have gone too far, and still others believe, as do I, that we have found a fair balance between all perspectives. We will continue to do our best to accomplish the goal of protecting our environment and our residents, while creating sustainable improvements and tax ratable to relieve the tax burden for all.
We continue to look for feedback on our newest proposed Local Law, establishing an Architectural Review Board, which will give the Planning Board teeth when reviewing and commenting on plans, especially concerning the façade of proposed buildings.
We have so many great projects happening around Town that will continue to enhance this community. Here are a few:
At Louis Engel Park, we are fixing a sewer line issue which caused a smell that would sometimes affect the level of enjoyment while sitting to watch a sunset or listen to a concert. We have completed that project using in-house staff from the Highway Department, and we could not be more proud of their professional workmanship.
Also at Louis Engel, we have removed a portion of the old railroad ties at the entrance to the sitting park in order to eliminate a tripping hazard. In the same area, we are removing the remainder of the chain link fence that runs from the comfort station to the small parking lot, and replacing it with boulders to make the park more inviting, allowing people to sit on the boulders while still ensuring some protection from the vehicles parked right at the edge of the park.
We will be running an electrical line from the Comfort Station to the Spray Park as we continue our project to recycle the water at the Spray Park. This project will not only save a great deal of water from dumping into the Hudson, which costs us financially and environmentally, but will also allow the Town to keep the Spray Park open longer hours, which our residents will appreciate for many summers to come.
We have gotten approval from the Westchester County Department of Health for the recirculation system, which has been a lengthy process, requiring lots of patience and cooperation. We want to thank our Engineering Team, and especially the County Department of Health, for working with us to accomplish this goal.
In Cedar Lane Park, we have begun the process of running new electrical lines in order to have the Pavilion and Comfort Station operational once again, as well as re-energize some street lights around the Park (LED, of course).
Finally, we managed to pave six roads this year without bonding (taking out loans), a project made possible due to tight budget controls and savings from the police contract with the Village of Ossining, supplemented by $160,000 in CHIPS money.
We could not be more proud of our staff or of our IMA partners for their invaluable work on these projects, and on every project we've tackled together.
While all of these physical projects progress, we are busy behind the scenes, hard at work on our 2016 Budget. This process is important because it affects everyone, from our residents and commercial property owners, to our employees and vendors. We are responsible for keeping the taxes in line, not because the state government tells us to, but because it is the right thing to do. We need to treat our employees fairly and maintain appropriate staffing levels, while also holding each of them responsible to get their jobs done in a timely manner, with an eye towards customer service and safety as their top priorities. We need to work with our vendors to ensure every tax dollar is used efficiently, and that we continue to get the best bang for our buck.
Quality of life is a top priority for this Town Board, not only in how we provide day-to-day services, but also in how we spend the tax dollars we collect. It is never about an individual or group- it is, and will continue to be, about what is best for the majority. Every job function, every activity, every project must be reviewed on an annual basis to determine how it contributes to running an effective government, and how it helps to accomplish our goal of making the Town of Ossining a better place for our residents and business owners.
Just some of the questions we’re asking in this budget cycle:
- How can we provide the services that our residents and commercial property owners deserve without burdening the taxpayers?
- How can we continue to attract good businesses into our community?
- How can we attract visitors to our community, and convince them to spend their hard earned money with our local businesses?
- How can we compel the State of New York to review the unfunded mandates imposed on us, our school districts and our Villages, and do a true evaluation to make sure they are necessary and not just a carryover of “we’ve always done it that way”?
This Board is proud of the steps we’ve taken to create more of a business atmosphere when dealing with evaluations and restructuring of departments. We make no decisions in a vacuum, but only act after conducting in-depth research, paired with a great deal of discussion and a lot of advice. No decisions are easy to implement when they involve programming and personnel, but we encourage each of you to make sure you have the facts and look at our research (most of it is on the Town web page) before you come to a conclusion on any issue. When the information is spun by individuals or small groups with agendas, the outcomes may seem unfair, but with the correct information, you may better understand our choices even if you still don’t agree with them. Never has anyone in this administration acted on behalf of a personal agenda, behaved vindictively or acted without reason- decisions are made because they are, and will continue to be, good business decisions.
We will continue to make business decisions as we work on the 2016 budget to ensure taxpayers of this great community, as well as the next administration, will have a sound budget dependent on everyone doing a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Watch for our budget announcements at the end of October.
Below are some other exciting events happening in our own backyard- I hope you can join us.