The Town of Ossining Administration and Board take great pride in being a transparent government. We pride ourselves on holding Town Hall Meetings every six weeks, posting detailed information on our web page and upholding an open door policy for all. We are upfront about all of the successes and challenges we encounter as a municipality, and we perform all the research to make decisions we feel are right for our taxpayers (although some may disagree), all towards the betterment of the residents and commercial property owners of the Town of Ossining and not for the benefit of any one individual or group.
We have objected, and will continue to object, to disinformation and misinformation. When anyone hears of this behavior, they can look up the facts on the web page or simply call the Supervisor’s Office at 762-6001 to hear it straight from us.
We have exciting news regarding the Town Supervisor’s budget, but before we release the Budget Message, I want to take a few minutes to review with you exactly how local governments function, so that each of you has a clear understanding of the facts when you hear otherwise.
Government 101- Budgets, Assessment and Taxes
There are three branches within the government. The Administration (Executive Branch) not only oversees and is responsible for the whole government, it is also the Department that creates the budget. It is the arm of the governing body that works with every department to make sure they have the funds to maintain the proper staffing levels and have the materials and supplies they require to perform the services paid for by our stakeholders (you, the taxpayer). Some of these functions are facilitating garbage pick-up, protecting you with first responders, maintaining the roads, making sure your home is assessed properly so you pay only your fair share of taxes, or collecting those taxes to pay for all the services (and around, and around).
The Town Board and the Administration
The Supervisor’s Office develops the budgets by working with the Department Heads to determine what they will need for the next year in terms of manpower, equipment and supplies, as well as what projects they want to accomplish, and establishing how they plan to fund those projects. This is the Expense side of the budget, and it dictates how much money it will take the Town to function for the year ahead.
The other part of the budget is the Revenue side, where we use historical data and market trends to estimate the amount of money we will collect from sales tax, mortgage recording tax, and the sale of various permits (like in the Building Department and in the Clerk’s office), all of which will offset the amount that will need to be raised by the taxpayer (the tax levy). Hopefully, the amount of the levy is 2% or less than we asked for the year prior, or one of two things must happen: expenses must be cut (layoffs, reduction of services), or the Town Board (the Legislative Branch) must vote to go above the tax cap. Once one of those two things happen, the Town Board votes on the budget, and each Department Head is then responsible to adhere to that budget.
The Administration’s responsibility is to hold Department Heads accountable for the budget that was approved for their department, making adjustments as needed, but understanding that there is just so much money to go around. This is very much like what happens in a household- sometimes you overspend in one area, and so must cut back elsewhere, as your paycheck only contains so much money- unless you want to dip into your savings account.
An example of this happened last winter, when we experienced 26 snow storms between January and March. Our Salt and Snow Plowing Overtime budgets were overspent, which then required a series of budget adjustments where monies were taken out of Fund Balance (like our savings account) to make up the difference. What we did not do, and never would or could do, was ask the taxpayers for more money than was budgeted. Never does any municipality collect “extra” money over and above what is required by the budget.
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:
To our Jewish Residents/Friends,
May you find peace as you begin your time of solemn introspection during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, continuing through the Holy Days and into Yom Kippur.
While we will continue to run the Town, including holding meetings, we understand our responsibility to make sure we respect all of our residents. We will not close any public hearings, with the exception of a homeowner request to join the Sewer District, during the next two weeks.
Our meeting on Tuesday, September 15th, is a Work Session, during which the Town Board will continue our discussion on the updates to the Vision portion of the Comprehensive Plan, as well as the local laws we have been discussing for the past year (+). There will not be public comment during these discussions with our consultants.
On Tuesday, September 22nd, we will reopen all of the public hearings on Local Laws #5-9 of 2015, as well as open an additional one on the establishment of an Architectural Review Board (Local Law #10 of 2015) and one concerning a request from the family at 73 Morningside Drive join the Sewer District. The ONLY public hearing that will be closed is the one concerning the Sewer District- all others will be adjourned until the October 13th, 2015 Town Legislative Meeting as we continue to listen and tweak the six Local Laws currently before the Board.
Don't forget to mark your calendar for our Town Hall Meeting on October 6th, 2015 where we will celebrate the residents who have had energy improvements done to their homes over the past few years. Come and help us, along with the Villages of Briarcliff Manor and Ossining, Green Ossining, and Energize NY, celebrate the property owners who have taken this important step. The other item on the agenda will be an update of the Town of Ossining Reassessment Project.
We will not be holding a meeting on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015.
Some important numbers to have:
- ConEd – 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633) for any electricity outage. Please make sure you get a work order number. They have improved their systems significantly since Superstorm Sandy, but we have not had a bad storm since then (thank goodness) so this MAY be the test of these new and improved systems. You can also download Con Ed’s app to your Android or iPhone to report outages and stay updated.
- The Town Supervisor’s Office: (914) 762-6001
- The Town Highway Department: (914) 941-2241 (for Unincorporated Area residents)
- The Village of Ossining DPW: (914) 941-4660 (for Village of Ossining residents)
- The Village of Briarcliff DPW: (914) 941-9105
We will be sending out storm update emails- if you have not done so yet, you may want to sign up for NIXLE (an emergency text messaging system the Ossining Police use to communicate to the public).
Town of Ossining Legislative Meeting
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Presentation of Purple Heart
to the Ossining Historical Society for PVT John R. Clark
The organization "Purple Hearts Reunited" and the Department of New York Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1782 in conjunction with Chapter 21
Please read the press release pdf here (78 KB) .
9/11 Remembrance Service
Friday, September 11th, 2015
Louis Engel Waterfront Park
Please join us at the waterfront for a service with all of the First Responders from
the Village of Ossining, Village of Briarcliff Manor, Town of Ossining and OVAC
Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Ossining Public Library
Energize Homeowner Recognition Event
Join us as we celebrate those residents who have completed home energy upgrades
Learn how you can make your home more efficient and save real dollars
Fernando Gonzalez – Town of Ossining Assessor
Melissa Baer – Project Manager Tyler Technologies
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Dana Levenberg, Town Supervisor
phone (914) 762-6001
fax (914) 762-0833
16 Croton Avenue
Ossining, NY 10562
The Supervisor's Office is located on the third floor of the Town offices. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.