Happy Friday! Hope you’re staying warm and dry at the end of a cold, rainy week. 

We had a very busy Town Board meeting Tuesday. First, more personnel updates: as expected, the Town Board accepted my resignation (effective December 31) at this week’s meeting. However, because one of our Council Members was not able to appear in person, we did not have enough Board members present to vote on a motion to appoint Deputy Supervisor Liz Feldman to serve the remaining year of my unexpired term. That resolution has been tabled until next Tuesday, December 20, at which point we expect to officially make the appointment.  

The Town Board also accepted, with regret, the resignation of Victoria Cafarelli from her position as Administrative Assistant and Budget Director in the Supervisor’s Office, effective December 31. I have known Victoria professionally since she started interning for Assemblywoman Sandy Galef when she was just 14 years old. At the time, she was also teaching CCD at St. Ann’s, a student in the acclaimed Ossining Science Research Program, a leader in Junior States of America, and a high honors student, among many other responsibilities. She has continued to exceed all expectations as an employee and a leader in various roles, diligently executing all responsibilities while also, at different points in time, earning her bachelors’ and master’s degrees in public administration, and pinch hitting as Town Clerk. We are incredibly fortunate that someone so intelligent, competent, and kind has chosen a career in public service right here in our community! While her departure from Town government is a loss for 16 Croton Avenue, I know that she will continue to serve the Town and the Lower Hudson Valley well in her next role. 

There were also happy personnel changes this week! We were very excited to promote Martha Quituisaca to the role of Administrative Assistant and Budget Director in the Supervisor’s office, effective January 1, 2023. Martha has been working for the Town for several years now, first in the Tax Office, and now as Deputy Town Clerk. She has contributed so much to these offices during her years with the Town, all while completing her Masters in Public Administration from John Jay College (just like her predecessor!). She is already learning the ropes from Victoria and we are confident she will hit the ground running in January. We are so proud of Martha and cannot wait to see all she will accomplish in this new role in her continued service to our community.

In other good news, we passed a resolution increasing the real property tax exemption available to senior citizens. County law now enables seniors to exempt all medical and prescription drug expenses that were not reimbursed or paid for by insurance from their income calculations. These exemptions, combined with the recent increase in the income level one can receive while still qualifying for the tax exemption, will make it easier for senior citizens to afford to age in place in Ossining. We are always looking for ways to improve affordability, while making fiscally responsible decisions that enable us to maintain services.

We also officially adopted our 2023 Budget! The final budget is tax cap compliant and contains a 6.5% tax rate decrease for the Town General Fund and a 6.3% decrease for the Unincorporated Fund. This does not necessarily mean that the amount you pay in taxes will go down; it means that because the overall pool of assessed value has increased, everyone can pay a slightly smaller piece of the pie. Thank you to everyone who provided input during the budget process. A huge round of applause is due to our incredible finance team of Comptroller Dale Brennan, Deputy Comptroller Liz Naccari and Budget Director Victoria Cafarelli, as well as all of our Department Heads, for their input and work helping us put forth a sound budget for 2023. This budget will continue to help keep our community environmentally, economically, physically and mentally healthy while working toward improving equity. 

Lastly, we passed resolutions for a number of intermunicipal agreements to secure key services for next year and beyond, as well as authorization to enter into an agreement with Mike Risko Music to administer the Summer Concert Series part of RiverJam, in 2023. Thank you to the Riskos for once again helping to select an awesome line up of diverse musical styles and coordinate the bands so we can offer another great summer of music, food, and fun at the Ossining Riverfront. It certainly feels nice to think of warm summer days as the temperatures continue to drop! 

In other news, the season of giving continues! Tomorrow, December 17 from 12 - 2 PM, State Senator Pete Harckham and I will be hosting a holiday food drive at the Ossining High School parking lot. If you can, please pull together some non-perishable food items to donate and stop by! Collected items will benefit the Ossining Food Pantry. The most needed items are listed on the flier below.

There are also multiple ongoing drives for holiday gifts, winter clothing, and more. We are hosting a Toys for Tots box here at Town & Village Hall (16 Croton Avenue)!

If you’re in need of generosity as the temperatures continue to drop, help is available for your home heating costs. The New York Public Service Commission expects heating costs to rise by at least 20% this winter, which will undoubtedly be a huge burden for many households. If you are anticipating difficulty with paying your heating costs, check out the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). HEAP can help eligible households with assistance to pay their energy bills this winter.  Learn more about this program and other ways to reduce your heating costs by visiting www.ny.gov/heat. If you are low-income and behind on your bills, you can learn more about the Electric and Gas Debt Relief program here. The deadline to enroll is December 31st, 2022.

That’s all for this week! For upcoming events and more, keep scrolling. Happy Hanukkah to everyone who is celebrating! All are welcome to join in the fun for the menorah lighting in Market Square on Tuesday, December 20.


If you’re doing some last-minute shopping for the holidays, be sure to do it locally and #ShopSmall! We will see you soon - till then, be safe and healthy. 


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