- Last Updated: 18 April 2019 18 April 2019
This week is marked by one thing above all others, and that is the retirement of longtime Town Superintendent of Highways Michael G. O'Connor. Michael G's last day was yesterday, after serving in his current role since 2006, and before that, as a Town Board member since 1990. The Town Board recognized Michael G. on Tuesday night at our Board Meeting and presented him with a proclamation naming April 11th, 2019 as "Michael G. O'Connor Day" in the Town of Ossining.
We also had an awesome cake made for him, featuring one of our very own Highway trucks in "Municipal Orange."
We also celebrated Michael's last day on the job with him last evening at the American Legion, where Michael's family, friends, and co-workers gathered to wish him luck and congratulate him on a job well done.
The Town Board also gave him a plaque to commemorate his fine service to the Town of Ossining and our residents.
We know Michael G. will no be going far! He and his wife Mary made their home in Ossining many decades ago, and Michael is a devout community servant. Between the Boy Scouts, Senate Hook and Ladder, St. Ann's Church, the Central Committee of Organized War Veterans, Ossining Post 506 American Legion and the Town Democratic Committee, we expect to see Michael out and about even more now that he is living the good life in retirement!
Earlier this week, we met with Stephanie Reinert from Stephen Tilly Architect to review the most recent version of the plans for renovations to the Dale Cemetery Superintendent's Cottage.
After many years of hard work refining the scope, we are very excited to be moving closer to the bidding stage to complete construction by the end of 2019. Stephanie is an expert in historic preservation, and as Dale Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places, the renovation will be completed with an eye towards preservation. The renovation will focus primarily on the front elevation and porch, addressing the most critical aspects of the building.
Additionally, we plan on including in the bid a few wish list items that we can select from once we get actual bid prices and evaluate what fits into our budget. These wish list items include some of the aspects of the building that are not critical and could be completed in future phases of renovation, but would be really nice to complete while construction is already underway, like restoring the roof to its original material, which was metal. At next Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting, Stephanie will be giving a presentation on the scope for renovations to the Dale Cemetery Superintendent’s Cottage, and I look forward to sharing this work with you.
It has also been a big week for our Senior Nutrition program. One of two new Chrysler Pacifica hybrid vans was delivered on Tuesday!
Obviously we took it for a spin (around the parking lot of the Highway Department-- no plates yet).
It was a smooth ride and we loved how flexible the seating is! Our Auto Mechanic Helper Chuck had already gotten a demo and showed us all of the different options for storage and how to work everything (it's a little complicated). We just need to get some steps for the side doors (it's sort of a long way down for our seniors) and then we will be good to go!
This van will replace the 2015 Transit that was rear-ended and totaled last year. Since we got such a good deal on the first one, another is coming! We had planned to replace the 2005 Chevy Astro Van, which recently became somewhat more urgent-- there was a problem with the driver's side door that could not be remedied without fabricating a brand new one. So, before long, we will have a matching set of these sleek white vans, and they can run on gas or electric power! Lucky for us, we have charging stations all over Town-- at Engel Park, Ryder Park, Cedar Lane Park, and at the John-Paul Rodrigues Operations Center. We also just found out that we will be receiving some funds from CDBG this year to purchase a fully-electric bus for the Senior Nutrition program. Ossinings Seniors are going green!
Then on Thursday, Victoria from my office, Senior Center Site Director Kathy Asaro, and Town/Village Engineer Paul Fraioli met with an architect to discuss plans for a renovation to the kitchen utilized by our Senior Nutrition Program. The kitchen is due for an upgrade, as a few of our appliances need to be replaced and the layout just doesn’t match the current functions of our program. We are hoping to get some grant funds for this project from Westchester County through CDBG in 2020, and the first step of requesting these grant funds is defining the scope and budget for the project. We are hopeful that once the renovation is complete, our staff will be able to better serve our seniors!
The League of Women Voters of Westchester annually hosts a Running & Winning workshop for high school juniors at the YWCA in White Plains in partnership with the Westchester Community Foundation. It's so exciting to be in a room with so many of our elected female officials in Ossining and around the county and state. It's also reat to see all these young women interesed in oursuing a run for office in the not too distant future. I hope we were able to inspire them!
Thn last night, I attended the State of the County with County Executive George Latimer, where we learned about some infrastructure improvements in the works for, amon other things, Playland. I got to meet Coaster, this guy who is the new mascot that accompanies the dragon coaster. Can't wait for summer!
Today I was honored to be asked to once again join Sing Sing Superintendent Capra, Village of Ossining Mayor Gearity and other elected officials as we remembered the tragic attempted escape at Sing Sing on April 14th, 1941 when Prison Guard John Hartye and Ossining Police Patrolman James Fagan lost their lives in the line of duty. We thank and appreciate all those Corrections Officers and Ossining Police Officers who put themselves out there every day to make sure our community is safe, even in very difficult circumstances. It's also a time to remember how intrinsically connected our history is to that of the prison and to acknowledge the continued work we are all doing to memorialize that connection in the Sing Sing Prison Museum, which is actively moving forward, and will also have a large criminal justice component.
Finally, we also want to remind everyone that Town/County taxes are due at the end of this month. April is a busy month for the Town of Ossining’s Tax Office!!!
Our Tax Receiver Holly Perlowitz, Deputy Tax Receiver Patti Cunningham and part time Tax Office Support person Martha Quitusaca are busy:
- Collecting 2019 Town and County taxes due April 30th from 10,161 parcels owned by our taxpayers who:
- Come into our office
- Mail their payments
- Pay online
- Pay their taxes through an escrow account
- Providing taxpayers with the amount of taxes they paid in 2018 so they can file their person tax returns – ‘tis the season!!!!
Our Tax Receiver Holly Perlowitz took over the reins of the Tax Office in July of 2018 and has been working hard to keep taxpayers informed about how taxes work in the town (she even prepared this neat visual!)
Holly's office also is charged with preparing clear bills and working with a fulfillment center to get them in the mail in a timely fashion. Her office also sends out e-mail alerts reminding when taxes are due and welcomes new home owners and those proud taxpayers that have paid off their mortgages (what a financial accomplishment!) and now take on paying their own taxes instead of relying on their mortgage company (it’s a whole new knowledge base they need to navigate)!
The Tax Receiver’s Office works very closely with their Municipal Building neighbors, the Assessor’s Office, who maintains the Ossining property owners database to make sure that mailing addresses are correct, and responds to taxpayers questions about their assessed values and exemptions. According to Holly, the Tax Office Manifesto is to (1) answer phone calls with a smile and enthusiasm, (2) respond to e-mails within 3 hours and (3) to approach every taxpayer with the intent to respond wholeheartedly to their requests and make sure they leave feeling like we are doing all we can to serve them. We have gotten such great feedback from our residents about the customer service they get from Holly and her team. Keep up the great work, ladies!
It's going to be a busy weekend around Ossining coming up-- it's going to be a soggy one but much warmer than it's been-- starting to feel like Spring again! If you are planning to venture into the city, take note-- Metro North schedules change on Sunday, April 14th-- check them out here.
If you're looking for a family-friendly activity tonight, check out Friday Night Flix at the Ossining Public Library. Doors open at 6:45PM for a 7PM showing of "A Dog's Way Home" at the Budarz Theater-- enjoy this heartwarming "tail" and free popcorn and drinks and keep it close to home tonight.
Tomorrow (Saturday, April 13th), come on down to the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center for the Eggtastic Carnival with two sessions (10AM and 11AM). Come play games, win eggs, and be sure to bring a camera so you can pose for a photo with the big bunny. Annie and Safari Bob will also be there to provide entertainment. Be sure to register in advance for this program, as both sessions will fill up! Call 941-3189 to reserve your spot. This event is best for families with children ages 2 to 9.
Not hopping out of your seat to meet the bunny? There are some other local animals who need your help! The SPCA on North State Road in Briarcliff will be hosting an invasive vine cutting workshop and “party” this coming Saturday (April 13th). Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardner Donna Sharrett will be on hand to tell you what needs to go, and then you will be “unleashed” to “Untangle the SPCA!” The fun starts at 11:30AM—make sure to bring your own gloves, hand pruners and garden loppers.
Is your family new to the Ossining community? The Ossining Public Library is hosting a special "Parent Connections" event tomorrow (Saturday the 13th) beginning at 11:30AM in the Sally Read Dow Children's Program Room. Our friend and library staffer Scott Craven (also, the Town of Ossining Historian and former OPD Police Captain), will introduce you to Ossining and other parents while your children (ages 4 months to 4 years) enjoy storytime and babysitting. What a great way to get to know your new community!
Did you know that April is Earth Month? There are so many ways you can learn more about how protect our environment at events in Ossining over the coming weeks. The Ossining Documentary and Discussion series hosted their first of two Hudson-river centric presentations last night, with Councilwoman Jackie Shaw on the panel. Don't miss next week's special event at Sing Sing Kill Brewery, where a series of three films will be shown. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about Green Ossining's Earth Day Festival and the Riverkeeper Sweep.
Speaking of which, Ossining's 9th Annual Earth Day will take place on Saturday, April 27th. We just got a big write-up in The Gazette, so check that out! Plans have been underway since last May so you will not want to miss this year's offerings. Special thanks to Green Ossining and Suzie Ross for taking on this incredible endeavor. Here in the Town Supervisor's office, we have been working with the Village of Ossining DPW to plan our shared booth. We are hoping to highlight the many environmental initiatives the town and village have been working on. We are also hoping to share an update on our Millwood-Ossining Go! Bike/Pedestrian Corridor project too -- stay tuned!
There is still time to order your rain barrels and composters through Green Ossining and the Greenburgh Nature Center, they are 50% off through April 24th! Once you've ordered, you can pick them up on Earth Day at the Ossining waterfront.
There is a lot on the calendar for Saturday, May 4th, so mark your calendar now! Firstly, the 4th will be the 2019 kickoff for OHCC’s gravestone cleanings—this one will take place at Historic Dale Cemetery at 104 Havell Street between 9AM and 12PM. No experience is necessary, the experts will show you how it’s done—just make sure to wear clothes you won’t mind getting wet or messy, and bring along a willingness to learn about Ossining’s important past.
The Green Ossining Community-Wide Tag Sale will also take place on Saturday, May 4th-- the deadline to register is April 19th, so don't wait much longer!
There as been a lot in the news lately about the measles outbreak in Rockland with some cases popping up in Westchester. The Westchester County Department of Health will offer three measles vaccination clinics coming up-- if you or someone you know has not been vaccinated, now is the time!
Finally, I want to thank my office staff and the rest of the Town team for helping out on two very important initiatives for which we received awards this week. This is the Town's 20th Year of being a Tree City, and we also were honored by LiveOn NY for getting the most enrollments by a municipality in our catchment area. While there is a lot of work that comes with being the administrative center of the Town, it has always been my philosophy that we should make time for these critical "extras" to put Ossining on the map for environmental issues and public health. Special thanks to Budget Director Maddi Zachacz and Confidential Secretary Victoria Cafarelli for always going the extra mile for our community! You guys rock.
Also, don't mind the vulture. Alfred is a permanent fixture in our office and he goes back a long way-- as guardian of our claim vouchers, he is truly the unsung hero of 16 Croton.