- Last Updated: 19 July 2016 19 July 2016
As many of you have heard, a construction crane collapsed around noon today at the Tappan Zee construction site, causing the bridge to be closed in both directions. Please see the below information we've received from Westchester County and do your best to make alternative travel plans. We are happy to hear there were no major injuries and hope for everyone's safe trip home tonight. We realize this information is mostly applicable to folks travelling to the other side of the Hudson, but feel free to share with family, friends and coworkers.
Construction crews continue with the removal of the crane from the bridge. Structural engineers will need to perform a bridge inspection to determine structural integrity. Initial estimates indicate this closure will continue well into the PM Rush.
MASS TRANSIT: TAPPAN ZEExpress (TZx) bus service is currently unable to operate over the bridge. For this evening's commute, TZx customers departing Grand Central Terminal (GCT) should consider staying on the Hudson Line train to Ossining, where they can connect to the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry. TZx UniTickets will be cross-honored by Metro-North. Free TZx shuttle buses will transport riders from the Haverstraw Ferry Landing to the Palisades Center Park & Ride (Lot J), and will provide service on an as-needed basis to points west, including the Palisades Center Stores, Nanuet, Spring, Valley, Airmont and Suffern. Customers to the Nyacks should transfer to TOR #59 at Palisades Center Stores.
RAMP CLOSURE – N/B Sprain Brook Parkway ramp to W/B I-287 due to Tappan Zee closure
ROAD CLOSURE – N/B US Hwy 9 at US Hwy 202/6 (Annsville Circle) due to Tappan Zee closure (Intermittent closures for traffic control)
ROAD CLOSURE - N/S I-87 at Tappan Zee Bridge due to a fallen crane
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 15 (I-287) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 14B (Airmont Road) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 14A (Garden State Pkwy) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 14 (State Highway 59) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 13 (Palisades Interstate Pkwy) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 12 (State Hwy 303) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
RAMP CLOSURE – Exit 11 (US Hwy 9W) ramp to S/B I-87 due to Tappan Zee closure
- Last Updated: 22 July 2016 22 July 2016
This continues to be a difficult time in our nation and the world. We all started and ended this week with very heavy hearts. On Tuesday, as I was thinking how to start our Town Board meeting, I happened to open an email from Nely Galan, a very inspirational woman I recently heard speak at Barnard College abouther new book "Self Made." Interestingly, she had some words which encapsulated many of my own feelings, so I quoted her (in a slightly condensed version), and I'd like to share her words with you here as well as they are just as pertinent regarding the events in France.
"To say the events of the past week in this country have been tragic would be a monumental understatement. We're a nation overcome with suffering, divisiveness, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. But as painful as all of this is to witness, in these moments, we must, in the inspiring words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 'accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.'
These are the exact moments when we must ask ourselves the tough questions: is this the best we can do? Is this the best I can do? What can each of us do every day to stand up for ourselves and for others? Are we being our bravest selves? Are our voices ringing loud enough to be heard? This is when we tap into every ounce of grit we have, for the crucial, if not sacred, sake of being part of the solution."
Here in the Town of Ossining, we have a dedicated community that has experienced some very difficult times in our past, but has rallied to find solutions. In the coming weeks and months, expect to hear more about what we can all do to find ways to heal, and to build. To all those who have lost family members in these tragic events, we send our love and prayers and promise to work harder, stand up for ourselves and others, be our bravest selves and help make sure everyone is respected and loved for exactly who they are.
We have been hard at work in the Town on a variety of projects, a few of which I'd like to share with you here. I mentioned that we had applied for an ADA-compliant kayak ramp and new kayak rack for Louis Engel Park, and we are now working on a CFA (Consolidated Funding Application) for an open space corridor project. The grant is due at the end of the month, and we are looking forward to sharing the proposal with you once complete.
We are also making progress on the sanitary sewer improvement project at 9A and Route 134. Our engineering contractors have been hard at work designing the project, and just this week, the Board approved survey work on the right-of-way to properly mark out the easement we will need once construction begins, and the plans were submitted to the Westchester County Department of Health for approval. We owe a big thank you to our Water Superintendent Andy Tiess and Highway Superintendent Michael O'Connor for guiding us through this process, and also to Highway Foreman Johnny Martin for visiting the site with me this week and coordinating with our engineers.
The Tax Office is also preparing for the Foreclosure Auction scheduled for August 10th. While this is not a pleasant process for anyone, following through with a foreclosure when property taxes are severely delinquent is the only way we can protect other taxpayers. If you or someone you know may be interested in purchasing one of these properties, you can find all of the information here.
At Tuesday's meeting, we adopted two new Local Laws, one to implement a development moratorium in the Town, and one to mandate the installation of "Emergency Access Systems", which is commonly known as a KnoxBox, which will help our emergency responders to enter properties in an emergency without having to break down doors or walls. We also set the wheels in motion for our Public Hearing on the "Phase-In" legislation for the tax impact from the Town-wide revaluation. The Local Law will be posted shortly--come and let us know what you think! The Public Hearing is scheduled for our next Town Board meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, July 26th at 16 Croton Avenue at 7:30PM. At that meeting, we will also hear from our auditors, O'Connor Davies, about the results of the Town's 2015 audit, and have a discussion about capital needs we've identified for our Town Parks and Dale Cemetery. I hope you can join us for this informative meeting.
We have some great events coming up this week, but I am most looking forward to the Waterfront Concert Series show featuring Soul Projekt tonight! I hope to see you there! Cool off with the nice Hudson River breezes and the sweet sound of jazz, soul, and R&B from this super talented Ossining-based band.
- Last Updated: 18 July 2016 18 July 2016
The next meeting of the Planning Board of the Town of Ossining, will be held on:
*Please Note The Alternate Location*
Ossining Community Center
Ossining, NY 10562
Planning Board Meeting Agenda
- Mr. Ray Sanchez, Superintendent of Ossining School District
- Butler Subdivision, 2 Hillcrest Drive, 3-Lot Subdivision – PUBLIC HEARING: pdf Legal Notice: Butler 7 20 16 (14 KB)
- Joanne Schneider, 74 Hawkes Avenue, 2-Lot Subdivision- PUBLIC HEARING -Continuation
- River Knoll, Multi-Family Development, 40 Croton Dam Road, Re-Zone & Site Plan
- 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!