When I last wrote to you, we were on our way to the Village and Town of Ossining Holiday Party-- what a wonderful time we had! There was delicious food (including some yummy "pot luck" desserts) and we all were able to spend time together, which is sometimes difficult, since we all do our daily work in different places around Ossining. An especially nice moment was when Councilwomen Karen D'Attore and Liz Feldman joined me in declaring December 1st, 2017 "Kim Jeffrey Day" in the Town of Ossining, and to give her a lovely proclamation. Everyone in the Town and Village got to wish her a fond farewell all together.
Also, as promised, all new employees were called to the front to sing a holiday song for the crowd-- I will admit that I have heard more rousing versions of "Jingle Bells" in my time, but our gang can be a tough crowd, it's a lot of pressure! We had only one employee to contribute-- our newly elected Receiver of Taxes Holly Perlowitz, who I can say put up a valiant effort and represented for the Town! (Larry Abreau Jr., who has been working for our Parks Department for many years, was also included, as he is now our regular part-timer after having retired from the Village, but he ducked out before the music began. Sad face.)
Speaking of Holly, she would like to offer a reminder. As proposed tax reform at the Federal level remains uncertain, many folks have opted to pay their second half school taxes (usually due by the end of January) in December 2017, so as to preserve the ability to deduct them for 2017 tax purposes. Of course you should always consult a tax professional about how to handle your personal finances and filings, but we want to make sure it's on your radar. Whenever it is that you choose to pay, you have a few options. You can use this link to pay online, or you can always pay by mail or by visiting the Tax Receiver's Office on the 3rd floor 16 Croton Avenue.
Although less than a week has gone by, it feels like much longer, we have been so busy! On Tuesday, we had our first Town Board Work Session as a foursome, but it was a productive night. Mark Theilking of Energize NY came to visit us and speak about the proposed changes to our PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Financing law, and the Board was supportive in moving forward, which in this case means calling for a Public Hearing. Are you familiar with PACE? Terra Tile in the Unincorporated Town used this financing structure to add solar panels to their roof-- the annual payment is levied on their Town/County tax bill, and we turn it over to Energize. It's a great system, but there have been many commercial or not-for-profit applicants who, for one reason or another, could not fit the requirements of the program. Now that there have been changes to the State legislation, the Town will consider adopting the provisions allowed by the State which will enable us to offer this funding to more worthy projects from businesses in our community that want to lead the charge in energy savings (which means more money in their pockets to hire employees or expand their offerings).
Later, we were joined by our Town Assessor to discuss the possibility of some new legislation, which would make it impossible for any dwelling units that want to convert to Condominium status to reap certain tax benefits. Just to reiterate, the Town Board has chosen not to consider Homestead because we believe it would have a negative impact on the community and specifically the commercial sectors over time. It is irreversible. Nevertheless, we do not believe the current system is a good one. We do not want to go backward. The Village of Ossining passed similar legislation back in 2009, and the Town Board decided that it was worth exploring in an effort to protect the overall tax base. We will be calling for a public hearing in the not so distant future to hear from the public. We will likely not get it on the calendar in 2017, so keep your eyes peeled in the early part of 2018 for more on this topic.
Please do not forget that the Town Board will be meeting at an unusual time this coming week-- our Regular Meeting, which normally takes place on Tuesday evenings, will be moved to Monday morning (December 11th) at 8:30AM in observance of the 1st night of Hanukkah. We will begin with a short Work Session, where Keith Gordon from Cedar Lane Arts Center, will discuss some fees he proposes for renting the space there, and then we will head into a short Regular Meeting to pay our bills and adopt our 2018 budget. Once the meeting is over, the Town Board will adjourn into Executive Session to interview candidates for the vacancy left by Councilwoman Jeffrey's departure. On Wednesday, December 13th at 6:30PM, the Board will adjourn directly into Executive Session for the same purpose. We hope to announce who will be appointed to the Town Board for this one year term at our December 19th Town Hall Meeting.
Our Parks crew is getting closer to the end of their work at Gerlach Park. The guys did the trenching work for the new electric lines, and our annual bidder will be there shortly to lay the conduit and get the electricity to the bathrooms back up and running.
They are also getting closer to finishing the ADA-accessible ramp between the pavilion and the restrooms.
It's looking a little less than ideal right now, but once the grass is restored and we get the ramp paved, it's going to be a beautiful place to spend a sunny afternoon with family and friends. Special thanks to our Parks staff for pushing hard to get this project finished before the snow creeps up on us-- it'll be here before we know it!
Finally, yesterday was a big day for me. Along with Ossining Village Mayor Victoria Gearity, I was honored by Pace University Law School's Land Use Law Center with their annual Groundbreaker's Award for the collaborative work we have done to envision new transportation options in Ossining. I am pleased to be able to work with the Village, as well as the great folks at the Land Use Law Center, on exciting projects such as our proposed urban circulator, for which we have applied to several grant programs together. I am very proud of our hard work and I look forward to seeing some of these projects come to fruition in the very near future!
We are expecting a few inches of snow during the day tomorrow (Saturday), so I expect many of you will be staying put. However, take a look at some of the events we have coming up in Ossining this coming week, including the last three shows of Westchester Collaborative Theater's "Fractured Family Tales" tonight and tomorrow. I plan to be there closing night, weather permitting.
Finally, don't forget our other community holiday events coming up, including Breakfast with Santa tomorrow (Saturday, December 9th)-- there are two seatings (one at 10AM and one at 11AM), so be sure to call the Recreation Department at 941-3189 to reserve your spot! Also mark your calendar for the Menorah Lighting on Tuesday, December 12th, hosted by Chabad of Briarcliff-Ossining.
If you do decide to venture out tomorrow morning, the Ossining Farmer's Market will be open between 8:30AM and 1PM-- head to Market Square and grab some yummy bread for toasting and enjoy a cozy day at home, the snow is your excuse!