- Last Updated: 11 March 2019 11 March 2019
March sure does come in like a lion! We started the week with a one-hour delay due to a good eight inches of snowfall coming off of the weekend. Since this may be our last round of snow for the reason, I felt compelled to make this.
However, there is always work to be done, and we hit the ground running!
This Tuesday, we had a packed house at the Ossining Public Library to discuss the Homestead study undertaken by the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz for the Town of Ossining. This was a more in-depth look at the impacts that adopting Homestead could have on the Town of Ossining specifically, whereas past studies have looked at other parts of the state that some have challenged do not accurately reflect the NY-Metro area.
At this time, the Town Board has no plans to take any further action. We will continue to receive feedback and work with our State and County counterparts to examine what, if any, of the recommendations from the report of the public might be realistic considerations for them.
On Wednesday, the Millwood-Ossining Go! or MOGO Task Force got together to review some potential designs for improved bikeability along North State Road. Working with our traffic engineering consultants, Sam Schwartz Engineers, these key stakeholders reviewed some potential design alternatives for improving North State Road for better bike and pedestrian access by implementing several infrastructure improvements such as signage and new striping. These improvements will complement other improvements being done by Westchester County and New York State Department of Transportation to the nearby North County Trailway/Empire State Trail. The team at Sam Schwartz is now reviewing the MOGO Task Force's feedback, and will be back to present their recommendations at a Town Hall meeting in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information, and to learn more about the MOGO initiative and plan, visit the MOGO page of the town's website.
At the same time, I took the opportunity to attend the NYMTC (New York Metropolitan Transportation Council) Annual Meeting where the board addressed their regular business and took public comment. We had been advised that introducing elements of the MOGO plan to this board would be a first step in having it considered as part of the Transportation Improvement Plan through which the State allocates federal dollars to projects. We are hopeful that an improved Route 133 might serve as a demonstration project for alternative transportation options and safer cycling and pedestrian use. This was an opportunity we did not want to let pass us by if it could mean bringing in federal and state dollars to help us make safety improvements to our roadways. Stay tuned for more about this over the next few months.
Yesterday, most town offices were closed for Records Retention Day. All of our staff pitched in to determine which inactive records we had stored had met their legal retention period and could be destroyed, as well as boxing up and moving to the attic any records in our offices that need to be stored forever or just for a few more years, but could be moved out of our desk drawers!
We had several Town Highway and Village Building employees on hand to help us move boxes from the attic down to the first floor for storage until the truck came on Friday morning.
This morning, it was all hands on deck when the shredder appeared around 8AM. Our guys from Highway were back, along with even more Village Buildings staff, to bring all of the boxes out to the shredder truck. We had a few handfuls of clerical staff downstairs as well, on the lookout for rogue binder clips and other known shredder-stuffers. This may have been an Ossining record-- we estimate that more than 200 boxes of files met their end this morning. You can almost feel the building letting out sighs of relief!
Thank you for your patience as our staff dedicated much needed time towards this important project. Also a big and very special thank you to Victoria Cafarelli in my office, who organized this Town and Village event during her time as Interim Clerk-- we couldn't have done it without you! Thanks also to Mike Blanco, Juan Toribio and Vittorio Solla from our Town Highway Department for showing a lot of hustle these last 24 hours! (In case you were curious, these guys run on Dunkin Iced Coffee, even in this frigid weather!)
If you're looking to do a little spring cleaning yourself, the Westchester County Shredder Truck will be back in Ossining on April 27th and registration is open for the Green Ossining Community Tag Sale on Saturday, May 4th. Happy de-cluttering!
Today was an exciting day for a few more reasons too-- I spent the morning at the county-hosted Women's Empowerment Breakfast to celebrate International Women's Day. I was joined by Town Councilwoman Liz Feldman and many of our friends and neighbors throughout Westchester, including Bridget Gibbons, the Director of the Westchester County Office of Economic Development. (No we did NOT coordinate these outfits, but we couldn’t resist the photo op!)
It was quite a way to start International Women’s Day with these inspiring women! Thank you to our County Executive George Latimer for organizing such a great event. Hearing from women who are in leadership positions in both the private and public sector, such as Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and State Attorney General Letitia James, and Chef and Restaurateur Bonnie Saran (of Little Drunken Chef, Little Kabab Station, and Little Crepe Street, to name a few faves,) really made me think about how we can kick it up ten notches!
Then, I joined my fellow members of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association board to lobby our State Legislators as they go into their final round of state budget negotiations. Our top priorities are to restore AIM funding to our Towns and Villages, to allow capital improvements to be exempt from the tax cap (just as they are for school districts and for New York State), and to include municipalities in the conversation about Cannabis legislation, since we will be the ones to bear the brunt of the impact if the State legalizes recreational marijuana.
Also exciting? Our new plug-in hybrid Ford Fusion Energi was delivered! This will serve as the new car for our Town Building Inspector, and has become the second alternative fuel vehicle in the Town's fleet. Woo hoo! We are hoping to get a $2500 rebate from New York State now that the car has been registered, and it can be charged at several Town or Village-owned Chargepoint stations around Ossining.
We also have a Chrysler Pacifica (plug in hybrid) coming in a few short weeks to transport our Senior Citizens around town. Green with envy yet?
Lots to do this weekend-- start off tonight with the opening night of Oleanna at the Westchester Collaborative Theater at 23 Water Street-- grab your tickets here.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 9th, Green Ossining’s Repair Café makes its return to the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center at 95 Broadway. Between 11AM and 3PM, bring your tired treasures to the experts and watch them breathe new life into textiles, ceramics, toys, costume jewelry and so much more (just no gas-powered appliances, please). Come down and check out how you can re-use instead of re-place.
Celebrate Women's History Month with the Ossining Historical Society at their March Open House tomorrow, March 9th from 1-3PM.
On Tuesday, March 12th, Teatown will team up with the Croton Free Library to screen "Wasted! The Story of Food Waste," a documentary showing how the food we waste directly contributes to climate change and what we can do about it. The screening begins at 7PM and will be followed by discussion and light refreshments-- this event is free and open to all.
Reserve your spot now for next Saturday's Pancake Brunch at Teatown -- one of my favorite events of the year! On Saturday, March 16th, there will be seatings at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, 11AM and 12:15PM, for a hotcakes, sausage, coffee, and maple syrup produced right at Teatown. Every year, all four seatings sell out so make sure to secure your spot soon by calling (914) 762-2912 x110 -- tickets are $13 per adult and $7 for each child under 12, and tickets cost even less if you're a Teatown member!
Next weekend is St. Patrick's Day -- join the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce to celebrate a few days early at their 2nd annual Trolley Pub Haul. For more information, visit the Chamber's website.
The Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce also featured one of Ossining's small businesses, Tony's Shoe Repair, that has become a pillar of the community during their 50 years in business. Congratulations to Tony and Maria Mastracchio on this remarkable achievement!
April will be here before you know it! If you need some help preparing your 2018 taxes, check out this program at the Ossining Public Library. You could also call IFCA at (914) 941-5252 to see if you qualify for their free VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program.
The temperatures are supposed to warm up a bit next week, but first, we have to make it through some sleet and slush this weekend. Hang in there, spring is right around the corner, I can feel it! Need more scientific proof? Daylight savings time-- don't forget to "Spring Ahead" on Sunday morning!