- 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: 16 December 2016 16 December 2016
Presentation to Malissia Williams in Honor of Bobby Williams: County Legislator Catherine Borgia
- Planning and Zoning Analysis Discussion, Continued: Planning Consultant David Stolman, F.P. Clark
- Unity Resolution
Executive Session: Contracts
- 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: 13 December 2016 13 December 2016
Tuesday, December 13th, 2016- 7:30PM
Birdsall-Fagan Police/Court Facility
86-88 Spring Street, Ossining NY 10562
pdf 12-13-2016 Agenda (124 KB) (Updated 12/13)
All Board Meetings are televised LIVE on GO-TV, on Channel 78. Taped shows are repeated every Thursday at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Channels 78 and 18.