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.
This was another short week in the Town of Ossining, as all of the staff are off for the holiday weekend. This has been such a whirlwind few weeks for all of us that this weekend will certainly be a welcome change of pace.
If you are staying local and don't have family or friends nearby, the owners of the "Little" restaurants in Mount Kisco are continuing their generous tradition of offering a free meal to anyone between 11AM and 2PM. On this very special day, they believe everyone deserves a little pampering, and I couldn't agree more. Even if you don't join them this Thanksgiving, I urge you to patronize businesses like the "Littles" (Little Kabab Station, Little Drunken Chef, Little Crepe Street and Little Spice Bazaar) who give so much back, and set such a great example of what it means to be a community.
On Friday, November 25th, WESPAC, along with Concerned Families of Westchester, Westchester for Change, the Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia, and local chapters of the NAACP and ACLU, will be co-sponsoring a march and rally in downtown White Plains to show support for “Make Westchester A Sanctuary”. This is a great opportunity to stand alongside our many friends and neighbors who are feeling threatened by the national conversation, and remind our leaders that our County is one of inclusion where everyone deserves to feel, and be, safe. All will gather at the Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue Fountain at 12PM.
When you have had your fill of leftovers, I encourage you to join me in celebrating “Shop Local Saturday” on November 26th. Ossining has an astounding number of local business who all count on our support, and this is a great excuse to get out and explore! Start your day off at First Village Coffee or Picante for a latte, browse the beautiful selections at Melita’s, pick up a new dress at Hot Societe, get a trim at Vaza or Shine Salon, and pop across to the farmer’s market to supplement your buffet of leftovers. Or take a drive over to North State Road and check out The Shop at Club Fit for some motivating new work out gear, or buy a gift for your honey at the Chocolate Chalet to say thanks for washing the turkey pan. You could even stop into Wondrous Things or Holbrook Cottage for a beautiful hostess gift for the holidays. Help our local businesses know you support them this weekend, and every weekend, by shopping local.
This coming Wednesday, November 30th, support the Ossining Upper Elementary PTA at the Holiday Shopping Boutique and Karaoke Night. Stop by between 6 and 9PM to pick up some holiday gifts and maybe perform a song with a live band to back you up. Mike Risko Music at 144 Croton Avenue will host, and proceeds go to benefit the Ossining Upper Elementary PTA.
Next weekend, Campwoods will be hosting their annual Holiday Craft Fair. Stop by the Campwoods Grounds on Saturday, December 3rd between 11AM and 6PM or Sunday, December 4th between 11AM and 4PM, for handmade artinsal gifts such as ornaments, pottery, jewelry, scarves and more. Refreshments from The Wobble Café will be available for purchase.
Also on Sunday, December 4th at 2PM, the Ossining Community Christmas Crib will celebrate its 61st anniversary with a dedication at Washington Square.
Although it’s a while away, I want to draw your attention to a very special event scheduled for December 5th. The Ossining community will be kicking off an exciting initiative next month to improve educational opportunities for Ossining's youngest learners, called Ossining Basics. Ossining Basics is a collective impact, community based campaign to get our children ready to learn so that every child starts their school years with as much love, support, and as many vocabulary words as possible. Everyone can contribute and this is a community-wide effort. Learn what this initiative is about and how you can participate by attending the campaign's kickoff on December 5th from 6:30pm - 8:00pm at the Ossining High School Library.
Did you know that we had a new police chief in Ossining on Monday? Giovanni Toribio, the 5 year old son of our Parks Department employee Juan, was named Chief for A Day on Monday. Gio is one of the bravest little guys around, and has been battling pediatric cancer for the past several months. I had the opportunity to present a certificate to our new Chief and thank him for keeping Ossining safe on Monday, with his police dogs and SWAT team in tow. Thank you to our police department, especially Chief Sylvester and Lieutenant Carpenter, for putting together a special day for Gio and his family.
The days following our presidential election have proven to be difficult for many. I am extremely troubled by the very unfortunate and hateful actions occuring throughout our state and country. Ossining, and New York State as a whole, are places that value diversity and Governor Cuomo announced this week a statewide hotline to report incidents of bias and discrimination, and directed New York State Police, SUNY Police, and the State Division of Human Rights (DHR) to investigate reported hate crimes throughout the State. Additionally, the Governor is recommending to the State Education Department request that schools hold trainings for staff and students to combat discrimination. New Yorkers who have experienced bias and discrimination are encouraged to call the DHR's toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday- Friday. As always, if you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911. Here in Ossining, as a result of many concerned residents reaching out to Mayor Gearity about what we can do locally to protect children, we are working together with the Village and Social Service agencies to formulate a plan that can help identify resources already in place to support all families. If you are interested in joining our efforts, please let me know. I would like to reiterate that we should all seek to treat others with love and respect, and work to strengthen our country from the local level up, by exhibiting kindness and support in our community every day.
Also on Monday, I attended the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation's Presentation on wetlands. At this presentation, I had the opportunity to learn more about wetlands protection and Westchester County's aquatic restoration program. Then on Tuesday, we covered a similar topic in a meeting with representatives from our neighboring municipalities, the Town of Cortlandt, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, Town of New Castle, and the Village of Ossining. At this meeting, we discussed the future of the Indian Brook-Croton Gorge Watershed Conservation Action Plan, which was first approved in November 2007 and last revised in January 2008. It is very important that as a region we work to preserve and protect the watershed that provides drinking water to the Village and Town of Ossining and the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and is a tributary to the Hudson River.
As I have shared with you before, the Supervisor's Office has been working very hard to secure grant funding for projects to benefit the Town and its residents. This week I attended a workshop about the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund at Greenburgh Town Hall. This grant opportunity is offered through the New York State Archives and would help fund improvements to our records management program at the Town. We hope to have a project identified soon for which to seek funding to help improve accessibility and management of Town records.
Today is the last set of departmental budget meetings with the Town Board, and we are looking forward to the 2017 Public Budget Hearing which will be held next Tuesday, November 22nd. At Tuesday's meeting, we will also be considering a resolution to ask for Home Rule Legislation in order to re-distribute the mortgage recording tax in the way we described at the November 9th Town Board meeting. We are pleased to be able to make this change to our budget in order to give the Unicorporated Town a portion of this revenue without putting Town General services in jeopardy.
Next week will be another short week, as we all take time to celebrate Thanksgiving with our loved ones. If you are still shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, make sure to stop by the Ossining Farmers Market tomorrow for anything you are missing, from local vegetables to pies and other seasonal treats. The Ossining Famers Market is at Market Square on the corner of Spring Street and Main Street, and is open every Saturday from 8:30am - 1:00pm.
The Ossining School District is kicking off an exciting initiative next month to improve educational opportunities for Ossining's youngest learners, called Ossining Basics. Ossining Basics is a collective impact, community based campaign to get our children ready to learn so that every child starts their school years with as much love, support, and as many vocabulary words as possible. Everyone can contribute and this is a community-wide effort. Learn what this initiative is about and how you can participate by attending the campaign's kickoff on December 5th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm at the Ossining High School Library.
We are ending another short week here in Ossining, and Town offices will be closed tomorrow in honor of Veteran's Day. I do hope you will join me at one or all of the events planned around Ossining tomorrow, November 11th. The Central Committee of Organized War Veterans will host a 10AM memorial mass at St. Augustine's Church, followed by an 11AM memorial ceremony at Nelson Park. The Village of Briarcliff Manor will also hold a ceremony honoring the late Lieutenant John Kelvin Koelsch, who was killed in Korea in 1951; all will gather at the Briarcliff Community Center at 11:30AM and will proceed to Law Park at Noon for the ceremony honoring Lt. Koelsch's heroism. If you are unable to join us, I hope you will take some time to thank the veterans in your own life, whether they be a family member, friend or neighbor. We must never forget that our freedoms have a price, and we are fortunate to have those who are willing to sacrifice so that we can enjoy our families, our safety, our nation.
I want to share with you that along with many Town and Village friends, I attended the Sing Sing Swing cruise this past Sunday, where we all travelled "up the river" from Yonkers to raise money for the Sing Sing Prison Museum project. Between the fantastic swing band, the dance lessons, and some great presentations, a fun time was had by all and Historic Hudson River Towns raised a lot of money for a very worthy cause.
Special thanks are due to Stephanie Lynn for organizing the event, HHRT's Executive Director Jerry Faiella, Dana White and Art Wolpinksy (pictured below), Henry Welt, Tracey Corbitt, Mark Sarazen, Rochelle Udell, Hornblower Cruises, GE, and so many others who made this event possible. I am looking forward to continuing to work with you in the future to include more interested folks in making this dream a reality for Ossining and the Hudson Valley as a whole.
Councilwomen Jeffrey, D’Attore, Feldman and I, along with many Town and Village officials, attended the Ossining Rotary’s Byington Scholarship Fundraiser on Monday night, where we were offered a chance to nominate a Town Employee of the Year. We were hard pressed to choose just one, so the Rotary generously allowed us to nominate our incredible Father/Son team, Matteo and Mario Velardo. Matteo has worked for the Town Highway Department for almost 23 years, and Mario for the Town Parks Department since 2001. If you know these two gentlemen, you will understand how very deserving they are of this recognition, and I was thrilled to join the Rotary in celebrating their hard work and commitment.
Our Town staff was hard at work this week on a variety of projects. The Town Board met with three more department heads on Monday to discuss the 2017 budget, and I am pleased to say we are generally seeing eye to eye about how department needs should be addressed this year. We also had a discussion in Work Session last night about moving a portion of the Mortgage Recording Tax, currently applied to the Town General Fund, to the Unincorporated Area fund, which is a conversation that has been ongoing for some time. We took the opportunity to revisit this going into the 2017 budget, when we could deliberately plan this shift rather than try to make it work midyear. The effects of making this move are relatively minor, resulting in a roughly $7 total increase for the average Ossining household over what they would have paid in the Tentative 2017 budget ($22 instead of $15). The Board is aligned to move this forward for the sake of fairness, and we will be passing a resolution requesting the appropriate Home Rule legislation at our November 22nd meeting.
Our Town Highway, Parks and Cemetery staff have also been hard at work on two different paving projects in the Town. We had shared with you at the end of October that the Town and Village were both out on Grandview Avenue preparing the road to be re-paved. After a few days of milling and shimming the road, and working together to install new curbs, the road has been paved and is looking great! A big thanks is due to our Highway Superintendent Michael G. O'Connor and Village Engineer/ Interim Village Manager Paul Fraioli for working so collaboratively to getting this shared road in better shape for all of our residents.
The Town guys have also been doing some extensive drainage work in Dale Cemetery's Section 9 over the past month, and sections of the road were re-paved by our annual bidder earlier this week. We are so glad to get this work done before the winter season, and want to thank our Superintendent of Cemeteries Pete Connolly for coordinating this work, and of course, to our Highway and Parks staff who built the drainage swale to keep our new road dry, and as a result, hopefully much safer. Great job, everyone!
There are a few great events going on tonight in Ossining that I want to share with you. The Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series will be hosting "Consuming Kids" in the Budarz Theater at the Ossining Library, which is a hard look into the marketing machine that has been built to advertise to our children. You can catch this screening tonight, November 10th, at 6:30PM, seating starts at 6:15PM.
The last I spoke with you, we were heading into Halloween weekend and the Town Parks Department was making last-minute preparations for the Forest O'Fears at Cedar Lane Park.
I am so glad to share that this was an incredibly successful event. I bought my ticket for the first ride of the night and boy, was it scary! I want to extend a special thanks to Fern Quezada and the Ossining Historic Cemeteries Conservancy, who spent countless hours planning the scenes, coordinating volunteers and props, and getting the word out about the hayride-- thank you, Fern! I also want to give a shout out to the Town employees who helped with the design and implementation of what I am sure is now becoming an Ossining tradition.
Councilwoman Liz Feldman and I kept the celebration going on Monday night at the Halloween Spooktacular celebration in Market Square, which replaced the annual Halloween DARE celebration at the Recreation Center. Our first responders and other Town/Village staff helped to plan a "Trunk or Treat," and local business owners as well as all of Ossining's adorable ghosts and goblins came out in full force for some safe Halloween entertainment and trick or treating. Congratulations to the Ossining Police and Ossining Recreation on a job well done.
We were also fortunate enough to check out the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps' new four wheel drive ambulance on Monday, when Chief Nick Franzoso gave us an exclusive tour. OVAC will be retiring one of their ambulances that has been out of service more than on the road over the past year, and the new ambulance was paid for entirely by donations to the organization. OVAC has decided to name the new ambulance in honor of former Ossining Town Supervisor Martha Dodge, who was responsible for much of the legwork behind creating the Mid Hudson Ambulance District. We are touched at this testament to all of Martha's good work for Ossining, and we are so glad for her to be remembered in this way.
Earlier today, we had our first round of budget meetings with the Town Board and three of our department heads. A line by line review of the budget is especially beneficial for our new Board Members. These meetings will resume at 9AM on Monday morning in the 3rd Floor Conference Room at 16 Croton Avenue.
Today at 2PM the Town Clerk's Office received the Town of Ossining's 2017 Supervisor's Budget, which I am proud to report is few days early, thanks to the excellent support staff of Budget Director Maddi Zachacz and Deputy Town Comptroller Dale Ferreira. With our allowable levy increase shrinking every year due to the New York State Property Tax Cap, staying under that ceiling was a tall order. However, we managed to assemble what I believe is a responsible and smart budget that ensures our residents are getting the services they need affordably. To learn more about the 2017 Supervisor's (or Tentative) Budget, check out the Budget Office page here. We will be presenting the Tentative Budget at our Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, November 1st at 7:30PM. Please join us at the Ossining Public Library for this presentation, as well as an exciting update on the Sing Sing Museum Project presented by our very own Jerry Faiella, Executive Director of Historic Hudson River Towns. If the project really strikes a chord with you, you can also learn more about the "Sing Sing Swing," a cruise up the Hudson River being held on the afternoon of Sunday, November 6th to support the Museum project. More information can be found on the HHRT website here.
The next few weeks will require the Town Board to jump in and get their hands dirty-- we have several blocks of time scheduled over the coming weeks during which the Town Board will be sitting down with each of our department heads and reviewing their individual budget submissions. These meetings will be held in the 3rd Floor Conference Room of 16 Croton Avenue during the following times:
- Friday, November 4th: 9AM- 12PM
- Monday, November 7th: 9AM- 12PM
- Friday, November 18th, 2PM- 5PM
These meetings are open to the public, but even if you are unable to attend, I encourage you to take a look at all of the posted budget documents and let us know your thoughts. We will hold the Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 22nd at 7:30PM at the Birdsall-Fagan Police/Court Facility, but if you are not able to join us there, feel very free to submit comments to me via email, and I will be sure to include them in the record.
While putting the final touches on the budget took up much of this week, I wanted to share some short announcements with you in preparation for our big Halloween weekend in Ossining, especially the Forest O' Fears Haunted Hayride at Cedar Lane Park on the evening of Saturday, October 29th. Get your tickets online by tonight if you plan to attend tomorrow's event! (See the flyer below with all the details.)
However, I am sad to say that we received some very sad news this past weekend, when we learned that the husband of our Town Clerk Mary Ann Roberts, passed away. Fred "Freddy" Roberts was a kind, gentle man who adored his wife, his two daughters, his four beautiful grandchildren, and his beloved dog, Derf. Fred was a life-long resident of Ossining; he sat on the Board of Directors for both the Ossining Historical Society and the Ossining Historical Review Commission for many years, and his passing is an incredible loss to his Town family and the community at large. Our thoughts are with Mary Ann, Kim, Sarah, and their families during this incredibly difficult time.
In addition to the events below, don't forget about Briarcliff's Ragamuffin Parade tomorrow morning, Saturday, October 29th co-sponsored by the Briarcliff Manor Recreation and Fire Departments. The parade will kick off in front of the Operating Engineer's Building located at 1360 Pleasantville Road, between Bella Maiya Day Spa and St. Theresa's Church, at 9:30AM. Costumed marchers will proceed down Pleasantville Road through the Village, ending in the parking lot next to firehouse where, according to Village Manager Phil Zegarelli, everyone will be treated to entertainment, refreshments and goody bags!
For the rest of the exciting events this weekend, see individual flyers below.