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: 14 July 2016 14 July 2016
As you may know, last week Governor Cuomo signed the “phase-in” legislation proposed for the Town of Ossining, which allows the Town to institute an exemption allowing property owners whose taxes stand to increase to apply for a “phase in” of the taxes associated with that new assessment. We have received several questions from residents about how this legislation may affect them, and I wanted to take some time to address the questions as we move into the Public Hearing process.
The law itself ( you can find a copy here) allows for a phase-in for one, two or three-family homes that fit a defined set of criteria, including but not limited to STAR eligibility, having no delinquent taxes or building violations on the property, etc. So if the law has been signed by the Governor, you may be wondering where the Town Board comes in. The Town Board has the discretion to decide at what level of tax increase residents will be allowed to apply, and the decision made by the Town will be described in Local Law #8 of 2016, on which we have scheduled a Public Hearing for Tuesday, July 26th. As of now, the discussion has only addressed properties whose taxes would have gone up in excess of 25%, although this has not been finalized. It is also worth noting that properties are not allowed to apply for the exemption if their increase in taxes is a result of property improvements discovered as a result of the revaluation, or as a result of a lost exemption of another kind.
In the event that a property fits all of the necessary qualifications and is approved for the exemption, the taxes they are scheduled to pay in the coming two years will be “phased in,” so that in the first taxable year (using the September 2016 roll), they will pay 34% of the increase, representing an exemption of 66%. In the second taxable year (using the September 2017 roll), they will pay 66% of the increase, representing an exemption of 34%, until finally in the third year, they will pay 100% of the taxes based on their assessment.
If we illustrate this using real numbers, it may look something like this: A home’s value went up from $300,000 before the revaluation to $400,000 after the revaluation, and the property taxes on the home went from $10,000 to $12,500 as a result. Assuming this homeowner was qualified and successfully applied, they would receive an exemption, but only on the additional $2,500. In the first year, the tax bill would reflect 34% of the difference ($10,850), and in the second year, the tax bill would reflect 66% of the difference ($11,650), before coming to the full tax bill in the third year (for argument’s sake, we will assume there was no change in tax levy during this three year period).
We have gotten a few questions about how these exemptions will affect, if at all, property owners who do not apply for the exemption, whose tax obligation has not changed as a result of the revaluation, or those who are expecting a tax decrease based on a decreased assessment. The truth is that everyone’s bill will be affected for the two years during the “phase in,” but probably much less than you’d assume. Please keep in mind that any exemptions are only on the increase (in this case, $2500), not the entire tax bill.
According to our Assessor, there are just 572 properties of the 10,200 parcels in Ossining that would qualify based on the criteria using 25% as the cut-off, which is just over 5% of Ossining parcels. However, many properties that fit into this category have already filed a grievance with the Board of Assessment Review and will be lowered below the 25%. Additionally, property owners have to “opt in” to be considered for the exemption, and not everyone eligible will do so.
We have heard from a few of you that you feel it is unfair to those who have been long over-assessed, who will continue to pay more than your fair share in order for others to be granted this exemption, which is certainly a fair point. It is important to note that if you feel your property is over assessed, you are afforded the opportunity to grieve your assessment every year. However, an important factor of assessment is that properties can always be lowered, but without a full revaluation, there is no mechanism in place (in the absence of new construction) to raise individual assessments as property values increase. This exemption is meant to serve as a transition period to soften the blow for those who, through no fault of their own, have been paying less than the amount of tax that corresponds to the true value of their property.
I encourage you to follow our progress on this final stage of the reval—the process to enact this exemption will need to be a quick one, since the roll will be finalized by the Assessor on September 1st. The Assessor’s Office is hard at work preparing the exemption application, and we will keep you posted as to when it will be available and by what date submission will be necessary.
Additionally, we wanted to share some information about our Waterfront Concert Series, which this past week was moved indoors to the Community Center due to the threat of thunderstorms. A big thanks to everyone who braved the drizzle to join us, and a special thanks to Breakfast for the Boys and the Gyro Uno Truck for rolling with the last minute venue change.
I hope you'll join us for this week's concert featuring The Soul Projekt. This group is a big Ossining favorite (you may remember them from the 2016 Inauguration or from various other appearances around town), and the weather looks good for Friday night, so be sure to join us at Louis Engel Park for the show!
- Last Updated: 12 July 2016 12 July 2016
I hope everyone had an easy week back from the holiday weekend, kept cool in the heat, and is ready to keep the summer going with some great activities this weekend, starting with the Waterfront Concert Series show this evening at 7PM, featuring "Breakfast for the Boys"!
*PLEASE NOTE- the concert tonight has been moved indoors to the Community Center due to thunderstorms in the forecast! Come check out some great music, and grab dinner from the Gyro Uno Food Truck!*
Also this weekend, two more outdoor fitness classes will be happening through Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining, a program the Town is offering to get our residents out and moving while spending time in our beautiful parks and open spaces. Tomorrow night at 6PM, Kendra Rossney from Dragonfly Wellness Yoga Studio will be hosting a waterfront Yoga Flow class at Louis Engel Park. Then on Sunday, July 10th at 9:30AM, Enrique Rosario from ICU Fit Training will be hosting another "Sunday Fun-Day" event, also at Louis Engel Park. Come out and enjoy these free offerings and soak in some sunshine while you're at it! The classes continue throughout the summer, take a look at the Mind, Body, Spirit page for more information and dates to mark in your calendar.
Another exciting event this Sunday is the "EcoBeneficial Gardening 101" class at the Teatown Lake Reservation Carriage House, hosted by environmental horticulturist Kim Eierman. This program for adults promises some great information about how the type of plants in your garden, as well as the way you maintain them, can encourage a wide diversity of insect and bird species in your yard. Reservations are required: please call (914) 762-2912, Ext. 110, to hold your spot for this free event, scheduled for 10AM on Sunday, July 10th. Also at Teatown on Sunday will be a chance to practice "Shinrin-Yoku", or "experiencing the natural world on its own terms." Meditative walks are prefaced by an introduction to increasing awareness through the senses. This Sunday's adult meeting will begin at 9:45AM; if you decide to attend, please bring along bug spray and water and be sure to dress for the weather.
With the 90 degree temperatures this week, we have also increased hours at the Spray Park to keep everyone extra cool: through Sunday, July 10th, the Spray Park will be open extended hours (11AM until 7PM), and we will return to normal hours on Monday, July 11th (12PM to 6PM).
With the Town's reduced meeting schedule this summer, we had a little extra time this week to work on some long-term projects. We submitted a grant for the installation of an ADA-compliant kayak launch at Louis Engel Park, which will continue to expand recreational access to our waterfront. I also had the chance to sit in on a meeting about the proposed Sing Sing Prison Museum, where we heard from museum consultants, Lord Cultural Resources, with highlights from their Phase One report that contained recommendations for the museum's missions and goals, business plan, and visitor experience. Plans are moving along nicely and thanks are in order to Historic Hudson River Towns and Jerry Faiella for leading the charge. If you're interested in learning more about Sing Sing, I encourage you to attend an event hosted by the Ossining Historical Society (196 Croton Avenue) this coming Wednesday, July 13th at 7PM; Michael Capra, the Superintendent of Sing Sing Correctional Facility, will be on hand to engage in an informal discussion on a variety of topics related to the prison. Please RSVP by tomorrow by calling the Historical Society at (914) 941-0001 if you plan to attend.
If you missed the St. Ann's Fair in June, the Ossining Fireworks last week, or (like me) you just plain love festivals, make sure not to miss the St. Augustine's 39th Annual Italian Festival, beginning on Tuesday, July 19th and going through Sunday, July 24th between 6PM and 11PM. This great community event hosts rides, games of chance, music and delicious food, and on Wednesday, June 20th, there will be a fireworks show after dark. Not a bad way to spend a summer weeknight!
I know it seems premature, but we received notice today about Westchester Community College's Fall 2016 Afterschool Science Academy, and I just had to share some of the exciting course offerings they have in store. Right at the Ossining Extension Center of WCC, students will have the choice of studying Pullback Car Engineering or Vertical Access Wind Turbines, both of which could be the great start of a career in a STEM field. You can check out the application and session dates here.
If you are already an expert in Vertical Wind Turbines but still want to beef up your skills this Fall, WCC is also offering Heartsaver Training, which is a CPR/ AED course for the "lay responder", or non-medical folks. This American Heart Association Training will tell you how to help children ages 1 to adult, and the certification is good for two years. Get more information on how to protect your family and friends-- check out the Heartsaver course description and application here.
I notified everyone about this in my last update, but just as a reminder: the Town of New Castle has begun the process of reclaiming and repaving Spring Valley Road, a process that is expected to take another two weeks or so. The road will not be closed, but single lane traffic may result in delays. Please plan your travels accordingly.
Finally, the Town Board will be meeting on Tuesday night (July 12th) for a Regular Meeting/ Work Session at the Courthouse. We have a pretty packed agenda, but one item of special importance comes to mind. When the Town went through the reval process, the concern of many residents was that their assessments would increase to a level unsustainable for their family. As you may recall, I had asked our representatives in New York State to draft legislation to allow for a "phase-in" of certain assessments following the reval process over the past few years; they successfully carried it, and the Governor signed it earlier this week. The Town Board will be discussing our part in this process at Tuesday's Work Session, which will be to decide upon a level of increased assessment that will allow a property owner to apply for an exemption, and call for a public hearing to enact a local law setting that threshold. I am grateful to our legislators for taking up the cause of Ossining residents, and I want to extend my special thanks to Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Senator David Carlucci, and to Governor Cuomo for allowing our eligible property owners to have some time to plan for this coming financial change for their families. Similar legislation was passed for the Town of Greenburgh, and LoHud published a comprehensive article about the process, which you can find here.
Please see below for some other upcoming events-- I hope to see you out and about this weekend in Ossining!
- Last Updated: 12 July 2016 12 July 2016
Well, today we are a little tired, but it's a happy kind of tired-- the Independence Day Fireworks last night were phenomenal! We couldn't have asked for better weather, we had a beautiful sunset and delicious food to eat, all while accompanied by incredible music and a fantastic fireworks show. Thank you to all who worked so hard to make Ossining's big night a success, especially our Town and Village Parks staff, the Police and Fire Departments, Recreation Superintendent Chris Soi and his staff, Interstate Fireworks, Powderfinger, and the always incredible KJ Denhert. I look forward to working alongside everyone for the rest of the Waterfront Concert Series and making this summer one to remember! I hope you'll join me next Friday night (July 8th) for another great night featuring "Breakfast For The Boys".
(If you're looking for more live music during the week, the Ferry Sloops "Summer Music Series" continues this Thursday, July 7th, with Deuces Child, an acoustic duo, at Shattemuc Yacht Club. Admission is free, and the show starts at 7:30PM.)
Last Friday, along with some community members, I got to tour the Indian Brook Water Treatment Plant and get a "behind the scenes" look at how our water is collected, treated, processed and transmitted to our homes and businesses. I have toured this facility in the past, but there is always more to learn, and this visit was especially timely: the Village has started an extensive project to restore the earthen dam that holds back the Indian Brook Reservoir, and we found the Treatment Plant staff were friendly and informative hosts. A special thanks to Chief Operator Steve Ho, Village Engineer Paul Fraioli and Water Superintendent Andy Tiess for an education in flocculation, filtration and everything in between.
Last Saturday was also an exciting day-- Town Councilwomen Karen D'Attore, Liz Feldman, Kim Jeffrey and I spent the early evening with the Ossining Fire Department at their annual Inspection Dinner, and boy, were those engines looking fine! We then headed up to Anne M. Dorner Middle School for the kickoff to Ossining's Relay for Life event, where the Town and Village formed "Team Dodge Against Cancer" in honor of former Supervisor Martha Dodge. This is always an incredibly touching event, and this year was no different. The bravery and perserverance demonstrated by the survivors was an inspiration to us all, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in such an important community event. At last count, the Ossining event raised $39,721.34 this year for the American Cancer Society-- thank you for your generosity, Ossining!
- Last Updated: 12 July 2016 12 July 2016
Another glorious week in Ossining is another opportunity to highlight so many good programs and projects here in our Town.
Yesterday, along with many of you, I attended the Ribbon Cutting at Henry Gourdine Park at the Harbor Square Residences at the Ossining Waterfront, and we were fortunate enough to avoid the forecasted rain. Henry was a real community treasure and we hope that the Village Park that now bears his name can also fill a similar role in connecting our community to the magnificent Hudson. Town Councilwomen Kim Jeffrey and Karen D'Attore and I were joined by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, County Legislator Catherine Borgia, County Executive Rob Astorino, and of course, Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity and Village Trustee Quantel Bazemore, for this long-anticipated occasion. I am so glad to welcome this beautiful space into our inventory of park space in Ossining. A reception was held on the top story of Harbor Square after the ribbon cutting, and if you have yet to take a tour, I can't encourage you enough to do so. I will let this view speak for itself.
Both the Town and Village are hard at work to improve our beautiful waterfront. This week, my office continued work on a grant to install an ADA-compliant kayak launch at Louis Engel Park to add to the recreational activities we offer our residents. We hope, little by little, to add value to this already well-used space in our community.
On June 30th (next Thursday), we will be hosting our annual Fireworks Celebration at the waterfront, and preparations for the day are well underway. This event requires coordination across many agencies, and the work that happens behind the scenes is more than I ever expected! Preparations by our Recreation Superintendent, Parks and Highway/DPW in both the Town and Village, along with our first responders in the Ossining Police Department, Ossining Fire and OVAC, are well coordinated and we look forward to an exciting (and safe) night for everyone. Please remember that the bridges to the waterfront will be closed several hours before the show begins, so plan accordingly!
KJ Denhert and her band will get us started at 7PM, and the fireworks will start at 9:15PM. If you're still up for more excitement after the fireworks, Powderfinger will keep us grooving into the late hours once the fireworks end.
And the best news of all? (Fingers crossed) The forecast looks clear and warm, perfect weather to get together and spend a night at the waterfront. Check out the beautiful poster designed by Ossining’s own Brian Sheridan and come on down!
- Last Updated: 12 July 2016 12 July 2016
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you are somewhere enjoying the beautiful weather with a cold glass of iced tea (yes, June 10th is National Iced Tea Day. Who knew?)
We spent some time this week getting ready for the Village Fair, where the Town will have two booths this year. Between 10AM and 5PM, the Village Fair will be taking place on Main and Spring Streets, with over 200 vendors, delicious food and live music. The Town tables will have information from Green Ossining on the Great Healthy Yard Project, from the Environmental Advisory Committee about the Town's many watersheds, and information about Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining (including some details about the free class this Sunday at Engel Park at 9:30AM). A short walk from Main and Spring is the entrance to the Weir Chamber-- the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct will be leading tours between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. Besides learning about our water system's fascinating history, it's also a great way to take a break from the hot sun! Meet at the north end of the Double Arch Bridge near the Community Center to get the tour started. I hope to see you at the Fair, fingers crossed for great weather! As a reminder, there will be no Ossining Farmer's Market this weekend because of the Fair.
Also tomorrow? The Ossining Arts Council will be hosting the Art Out II Opening Reception at 2PM at the Steamer Firehouse Gallery. Come check out some fresh new takes on the Village through a variety of mediums, more information is below.
The Scarborough Presbyterian Church (655 Scarborough Road) will be holding their annual Rummage Sale tomorrow betwen 9AM and 3PM. Make plenty of room in your car for a bunch of new treasures! And finally, the Ossining Children's Center will be hosting the Dine-A-Round tomorrow evening to benefit the tuition assistance program; this year's event honors former Town Supervisor Richard Wishnie and his wife Marilyn, who are tremendous advocates for OCC and for our community in general. You can get more information on how to join in on this great event here.
The Town passed a series of laws in the fall of 2015, including some updates to how residents should be notified that a property is before the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals. Under this new law, the Town requires signage on the property to alert neighbors who may not have otherwise heard about the action through email or a physical mailer. These signs were put up on several properties last week giving notice to neighbors of the upcoming Planning Board Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 15th. Unfortunately, at least one of these signs was vandalized and the date, time and location of the meeting was removed. While we are not clear on why someone would want to prevent this information from reaching their neighbors, we have decided to opt for different signage going forward which, while making this kind of vandalism less likely, will also provide less information about the action at hand. Instead of providing a meeting date and location, the new signs will simply state that an action is pending on the property and list a phone number for the Town Building Department. We are hopeful that the next batch of signs will be treated more respectfully and that everyone gets the correct information about the acton at hand.
We are also hard at work preparing for the Summer Concert Series (see the flyer below), including getting a bunch of local food trucks on board. Our first concert of the season will take place the night of the Independence Day Fireworks on Thursday, June 30th, KJ Denhert and her band will be rocking out on the Engel Park stage to welcome everyone to summer at 7PM, with a performance by Powderfinger after the 9:15PM fireworks show. These concerts will continue every Friday night throughout the summer, including a bunch of performers new to the Ossining music scene. Mark your calendar for these exciting nights in Ossining!
Tomorrow (Saturday June 11th) marks the start of everyone's favorite, Spray Park Season, also at Louis Engel Park. Come down and cool off between the hours of 12 noon and 6PM on weekends, but once school is out for the summer, the spray park is open 7 days a week.
Below are a few events you may want to attend this weekend and next.