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.
- Last Updated: 16 December 2016 16 December 2016
It is difficult to believe that we are at the close of another week in Ossining, time flies when you’re having fun (and, when you’re getting things done!)
On Monday, we participated in a Connecting our Community meeting with Superintendent Ray Sanchez, Ossining Village Mayor Victoria Gearity, Town Councilwoman Kim Jeffrey, Village Trustee Quantel Bazemore, and a few concerned Ossining residents to address concerns about how our community will strive to protect the rights of our residents under the incoming federal administration. I am pleased to say that we walked away with some specific projects to work on going forward that will help those in our community to make meaningful connections with groups and organizations that can offer support and legal advice to those feeling vulnerable. The Village of Ossining has already passed several resolutions in support of a unified Ossining, and the Town will hopefully be following suit during a Special Meeting of the Town Board on Tuesday evening following our Work Session. If you want to get involved, there is a great opportunity to do just that: tonight, Friday December 16th at 7PM, the Hudson Valley Community Coalition, Neighbors Link, Community Voices Heard and Proyecto A.L.C.A.N.C.E will host a Community forum at the Ossining Public Library. Come to show your support for any of our neighbors who are feeling disenfranchised, celebrate the victories we have shared thus far, and begin thinking about the path forward.
On Tuesday, my office participated in a call with Ron Kamen of Earth Kind Energy, who is working with Sustainable Westchester to bring cleaner vehicles and power solutions to municipal fleets. We are the first community to begin working with Ron on this important project, and we learned a lot about the degree to which municipal fleets contribute to carbon emissions in Westchester County and the extensive grant funding available to make the switch (pun intended). We are excited to hear what solutions Ron comes up with based on the discussion, but I think it is safe to say it won’t be long before you see Town seals on the sides of some electric or solar powered cars zipping around Ossining!
At the Town Board Meeting on Tuesday evening, the Town Board passed a resolution adopting the 2017 Town Budget, which included a tax reduction in the Unincorporated Funds, helped along by the shift of some of our Mortgage Recording Tax revenue into that Fund. We also had a modest increase in our General Fund tax rate, which will cost the average Ossining homeowner around $22 for the entire year. Taking the time to look over the budget line by line with the Town Board gave us all a deeper appreciation for what an incredible amount of services are covered by the Town General charge; for less than $400 a year, all Ossining residents have access to our beautiful Town parks, Town, County and School tax collection, assessment services, a Town Clerk, a Town Court, our Senior Nutrition program, the summer concert series and the fireworks, a budget office, grant administration and the Town Board. I want to thank the Board and all of our Department Heads and staff for their tireless work to provide exceptional service to our residents—we are incredibly appreciative of your dedication.
On Wednesday, Carla Castillo from NY State's Clean Energy Communities Program paid us a visit to discuss our next steps towards becoming a Clean Energy Community which would allow us to apply to a certain pool of grant dollars for green infrastructure projects. It made me feel so proud to see the progress that has been made in the Town over the past ten years—between helping to start Green Ossining to the wildly successful Energize and Solarize programs to Community Choice Aggregation and LED streetlight installation, we are ahead of the curve in many respects and I look forward to pushing us even further to conserve as best we can while creating a more walkable, connected, community.
Later that day, I really enjoyed attending the ribbon cutting ceremony and abbreviated tour of the Museum in the Streets program which everyone can now enjoy. This was spearheaded by the Ossining Historical Society and Historic Preservation Commission and is a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to stroll the streets of our Village and learn about the history that is the foundation of our community today. Look for the posted signs all around town. Kudos to all those who participated in making this possible! I also headed over to the Briarcliff Fire House for the Eagle Court of Honor, in celebration of the completion of 8 Eagle Scout projects completed by local scouts, including one in our very own Gerlach Park. Congratulations to Chris Krajca, William Morrissy, Brendan Krupa, Eric Schmid, Steven Orientale, William Jones, Liam Montgomery and Terence Baity on this incredible achievement.
On Thursday, Councilwoman Karen D'Attore, Village Trustee Quantel Bazemore, Town Budget Director Maddi Zachacz and I joined many from the region at a forum hosted by the regional think-tank Pattern for Progress to discuss the real meaning of the word gentrification and the benefits and challenges it can provide to communities. We heard from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., as well as panelists including lenders, developers, planners and the Mayor of Beacon to hear about some successes and pitfalls they have experienced. It was enlightening and inspiring and we hope to bring you more information about how it can help fashion the Town's vision in the weeks and months to come.
We also hosted the Indian Brook Croton Gorge Watershed meeting and heard from Village of Ossining Water Superintendent Andy Tiess, who presented to the 5-municipality group about the Indian Brook facility, its systems, capacity, plans for the future, and how the health of the watershed impacts its operation. We are hoping to apply for a Greenway grant to help develop a model zoning code for an overlay region to protect the watershed well into the future. More on that soon.
Finally, I attended the All Ossining Party with many of Ossining's staff, our friends and neighbors, last night. Antipasti di Napoli was looking bright and festive, and the food was phenomenal, as was the company. The music (provided by the always energetic DJ Johnny G) kept spirits high. It was a wonderful night celebrating all of the great community groups in Ossining-- we are incredibly fortunate to belong to such an engaged and interconnected community.
On a related note, as we all get into the holiday spirit later this month, please don’t forget the biggest gift you can give to the planet: lower rates of consumption. During this time of year, we tend to do everything to excess—driving, shopping, eating, and the like—all of which can be detrimental to the environment. Whenever possible this holiday season, please take a beat to consider the planet, whether that means investing in LED string lights, using recycled wrapping paper, or even donating to a special charity instead of buying more stuff for friends and family. Check the table below, sent to us by the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation as part of their "Reduce, Re-Use, Rejoice" campaign, for even more ideas on how to stay green this season. The earth will thank you!
Along with the Unity resolution I mentioned earlier, the Town Board's Work Session discussion will also include a review of what is hopefully the final revision of our draft local law to integrate recommendations from our Comprehensive Plan into the Town’s Zoning Code. We will also be honoring longtime Ossining resident Bobby Williams, who passed earlier this year. County Legislator Catherine Borgia will be joining us to present Bobby's wife Malissia with a recognition from the County Board of Legislators, and we look forward to being able to celebrate Bobby's life and the wonderful contributions he made to our community. I hope you will join us at 16 Croton Avenue on Tuesday, December 20th for this important meeting.
As we head into a relatively quiet weekend in Ossining, I want to remind everyone that we are looking at a few more days of frigid cold temperatures. Please take special precautions to bundle up before heading outside, keep pets indoors, and check in on elderly friends and neighbors. We are expecting to see a little snow overnight and into tomorrow, so please also be advised to stay off the roads when possible (they are easier to clean when they're empty!) follow the no parking overight regulations in the Town, and when the snow is done falling, avoid shoveling or plowing snow into the street. It makes for dangerous driving conditions for your neighbors, not to mention it makes it much harder for emergency responders to get where they are needed.
And, if you see the guys out salting and plowing, be sure to wave and say hello!
- Last Updated: 09 December 2016 09 December 2016
I am just back from visiting Albany, where I was invited to attend the 2016 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards, and congratulations are certainly in order. The Sing Sing Historic Prison Museum project was awarded a $500,000 grant from the State of New York! We are so incredibly proud of all of the hard work that went into this proposal, and I hope you will join me in congratulating the team on this incredible honor and testament to the countless hours that have gone into this project thus far. It is only the beginning!
On Monday evening, I was joined by Councilwomen Jeffrey, D'Attore and Feldman at the kickoff of the Ossining Basics initiative at the High School. It was wonderful to see so many Ossining families learning about how to get their children, and the children in our community as a whole, ready to learn and engaging with the "classroom" all around us. We learned all about the program, how the initiative extends from our homes to our local businesses, and we even got to sing a few songs. Not bad for a Monday night! (Thanks to Councilwoman Feldman for the great photo!)
I want to thank Superintendent Ray Sanchez, Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning Carrieann Sipos,and Ossining Public Library Director Karen Larocca-Fels for partnering to spread word of this event, and this campaign throughout our community. We are so fortunate to be part of a community that embraces learning at such an early age, and I am honored to participate in shaping the next generation of Ossining in such an innovative and exciting way.
Earlier this week at our Town Hall Meeting, the Town Board gave a hearty “thank you” to the volunteer Boards that so often go unrecognized. We honored members of the Town Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Ethics, the Board of Assessment Review, our Environmental Advisory Committee, the Recreation Advisory Board, the Mid Hudson Ambulance District Board, and Green Ossining with a certificate, and we asked the Chair of each Board to prepare a few words about their peers and the work that they contribute. We honored over 60 people on Tuesday night for their regular service to our community, proof that Ossining truly is “the Volunteer Spirited Town.”
This coming week, the Town Board will be holding a Regular Meeting at the Courthouse on Tuesday, December 13th at 7:30PM, where one of our agenda items will be to adopt the 2017 Town Budget. This has been a lengthy process that was not without challenges, but the Town Board will be adopting the Town of Ossining’s sixth tax cap compliant budget, providing for the continuation of the fine services that the Town offers without causing undue burden on our property owners. The Town General Fund will see an increase of roughly $0.02 per thousand assessed for the average Ossining household, or an increase of about $21.94 on their tax bill. The combined Unincorporated Funds (20 and 31) will see a 5.24% rate decrease over 2016, which will equate to around a $46.50 savings for the average Unincorporated household. We also have modest increases in our Special District funds (Water, Sewer, Fire, Lighting, Refuse and Ambulance).
We were able to see an ever lower rate than previously anticipated as the results of the “phase in” legislation came through—in the Tentative Budget, we estimated that everyone eligible for the phase in would apply and be approved. Since the actual numbers turned out to be much lower, thus raising our assessed value, the tax rates were even lower than anticipated. For a look at what changed between the Tentative and Adopted budget, you can look pdf here (76 KB) —aside from the Mortgage Recording Tax shift into the Unincorporated Fund, the changes were minimal, and we are pleased with the results. I want to thank all of our Department Heads and all of the Town’s staff for the hard work they do every day for our community—I truly believe that our services are exceptional, and they are the reason. Congratulations to all on a job well done.
Before I remind you of the excellent events about Town this week, a few reminders. There are still several affordable units available at Harbor Square. Please share the information below with anyone who you believe may be interested.
Also, there are still tickets available for Thursday’s All Ossining Party, to be held at Antipasti di Napoli. I hope you will join me in celebrating another wonderful year in Ossining!
Here are some great events coming up-- I hope you are enjoying this festive holiday season in Ossining.
Come check out Ossining author Robert Stava's great new book and take home a signed copy!
Down to Earth Farmer's Market: Come celebrate!
We will celebrate our 25th year in Ossining at the Farmers Market on Saturday. Please join us for free cider and doughnuts, 10AM-12PM!
NEW at the Farmers Market this week:
Welcome Pahucki Produce to the market and be sure to stop by their stand if you are looking for mushrooms. Add spice to someone's life this year by giving them a giftbox of Bombay Emerald chutney or Ayurvedic spices.
The outdoor market runs through 12/17/16, the winter market opens 1/7/17 at the First Presbyterian Church of Ossining!
Mike Risko Music Production of The Lion King Kids
What: Come see an amazing production of The Lion King Kids starring Mike Risko Music Students. This 45 minute musical will take you on the adventures of Simba and the Circle of Life. This is a great show for kids of all ages. Four shows to choose from. Admission is free but reservations are required.
When/Where: Sunday 12/11 @ 6 PM (Mike Risko Music) Sat 12/10 @ 1 PM & 3:30 PM (Ossining Library Budarz Theater)
Contact: www.mikeriskomusicschool.com Please specify which performance you would like to see.
Ossining Trainer Enrique Rosario is offering this great opportunity for a workout that gives back this holiday season!
Finally, the Ossining Public Library has several events going on this weekend that will certainly get you in the spirit of the holidays. On Saturday, December 10th at 1PM, come make your own unique gift wrap and wrap one gift for a special someone! Call (914) 941-2416 to register for this free event. On Sunday, December 11th, the Library will welcome the Hudson Bells back to the Budarz Theater for a mix of acapella and piano-accompanied tunes, including some Christmas and Hanukkah favorites. The show is free and begins at 2PM. What better way to close out a great weekend?
- Last Updated: 19 January 2017 19 January 2017
I have just returned from the Village and Town Holiday party, and we had such a nice time! The Village CSEA generously invited all of the Town staff to attend, and I was so pleased to see everyone enjoying one another’s company. The Recreation Center gym was filled with delicious food, festive holiday music courtesy of our very own DJ Johnny G, and a whole host of door prizes donated by the Town and Village CSEAs. Interim Village Manager Paul Fraioli invited all new Village and Town staff to come up and sing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” together (apparently it’s a Village tradition)—here we are, making Rudolph very proud indeed! Special thanks to Paul and Jaimie in the Village Manager’s Office for inviting us Townfolk, and to Jamie Faiella and Al Closi of the Village and Town CSEA for throwing such an excellent party!
Before we talk about all of the wonderful activities going on in Ossining this week, I wanted to thank the officers of the OPD for keeping us safe this week as we heard reports of an aggressive coyote in the area of St. Augustine's/ Mystic Pointe/ Eagle Bay. We were incredibly relieved to hear that the coyote had been caught yesterday morning. Although the behavior of this animal was peculiar and it was determined that the animal was ill, it is important to remember that wild animals do live among us and while they are usually more afraid of us than we are of them, they have potential to be dangerous if they feel threatened. We urge you to take particular caution when walking dogs and to keep food garbage covered-- these are your best bets to keep a safe distance between you and our animal neighbors.
The Town Board did not meet this past week, as we were at home celebrating the rare 5th Tuesday, but we have an exciting meeting coming up on Tuesday, December 6th. While you are probably familiar with the Town Board, we have so many Boards composed of volunteers who spend endless hours working to better our community. While we all benefit greatly from their efforts, they are rarely recognized and we wanted to spend our last Town Hall Meeting of 2016 celebrating the people who so often go unsung. We will have representatives from the Town Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Ethics, Board of Assessment Review, Environmental Advisory Committee, Green Ossining, Recreation Advisory Board, and the Mid Hudson Ambulance District Board, and we look forward to celebrating them and all of their accomplishments that help to make Ossining great! I hope you will join us at 7:30PM at the Ossining Public Library’s Budarz Theater for this exciting evening. We will end with a short Special Meeting.
That’s not it for the Town Board next week, however. We will be having a Work Session with our Planning Consultant, David Stolman of FP Clark, on Friday, December 9th at 9AM in the Board Room at 16 Croton Avenue to review the newest draft of our next local law. David has been working on converting an analysis of some recommendations from our Comprehensive Plan into the form of a law, which we decided will need to be completed before we can lift the development moratorium that the Town Board passed in June 2016. Hopefully Friday’s Work Session will be our last before we begin the Public Hearing process and asking for feedback from our advisory Boards. I hope you will join us—you can see the most recent version of the Local Law, which David discussed with us on November 15th, here.
The Town of Ossining will be a busy place this weekend, starting with the Tree Lighting tonight at Market Square-- Ossining High School’s “Gimme the Mic!” sudents and the Mike Risko Music School will kick off the evening with some tunes at 6PM, followed by the tree lighting and Santa’s arrival at 6:45PM. I hope to see you there for cookies and hot chocolate. Many thanks to the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce and Senator David Carlucci for co-sponsoring this annual event with the Ossining Recreation Department.
- Last Updated: 08 December 2016 08 December 2016
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.
- Last Updated: 08 December 2016 08 December 2016
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.