OK everybody-- one week until the Tentative Budget is due! We have been hard at work crossing our Ts and dotting our Is to make sure we deliver a budget with the best possible estimates. It's going to be another tight week, but at this time next Friday, we look forward to having a fair, responsible, and tax cap compliant budget to share with the community. The technical deadline for us isn't until Monday the 30th, but we want to go celebrate our submission at the Haunted Hayride next weekend. Can you blame us?
Fern isn't the only one cranking out work at Cedar Lane. After Saturday's PBA 5K, our Parks guys finished some clean-up work along the newly upgraded path around the pond, including a few more rounds with the roller to compact the Item 4, laying down some extra dirt to flatten the path sides and sprinkling some grass seed to cover their work.
They also were able to finish the stonework above the drainage pipe into the pond.
Their work at the Pavilion is coming to an end-- there is still some work to be done at the bathrooms and we are considering re-routing one of the paths from the football field, but that will wait until after the Hayride. Things are looking great, and there is a pretty lush layer of grass covering the spots we had to dig up. It's been perfect weather for outdoor work, and our guys have taken full advantage!
Today, Ossining was one of 555 communities throughout the country to submit an application to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge initiative. This year’s Mayors Challenge invited municipal leaders throughout the United States to submit an innovative solution to a pressing problem in their community, that can be transferrable to any other community facing a similar issue. In the past, the Mayors Challenge has funded cities around the world to innovate solutions to problems all communities seem to face. After collaborating with some of Ossining’s stakeholder groups in various sectors from small businesses to sustainability, we decided to focus in on Ossining’s transportation challenges and submit our idea for a trolley system that incorporates cutting edge technologies from the private sector, including driver-less vehicles and on-demand technology that ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft utilize. We are currently in the running to be named a Champion City this spring, when Ossining would be given a $100,000 to further explore this idea, and possibly win up to $5 million to bring this vision to life. We look forward to hopefully share some good news in a few months, and bring Ossining to the forefront of innovation in the country.
Also today, we learned that the Town is one of 51 out of 127 communities that applied in NYS to receive an Urban Forestry Grant to conduct a tree inventory of trees in our commercial district. Kudos, again, to our resident grant writer Victoria Cafarelli and those organizations who helped us (our EAC and Green Ossining), along with Town resident Donna Sharrett and our Parks Foreman, Mario Velardo, who helped us to find a certified arborist.
Yesterday I attended a meeting to continue discussions with the other 4 municipalities that are in the Indian Brook/Croton Watershed. We have been examining ways to collaborate to make sure protections are in place for this sensitive area.
Today, I participated in the LEARN forum that the Westchester/Putnam United Way has been hosting for the last few years to identify a collective impact strategy that would help improve our two counties. We are homing in on strategies to make sure children are proficient in reading in third grade. Identifying obstacles and strategies to overcome them include looking at boosting attendance, bridging the learning gap that takes place in the summer months, and engaging parents and the community in closing the gap in words a child knows by kindergarten. I am pleased to acknowledge all the hard work already taking place in Ossining to address these issues. We will continue to partner with the schools and local community organizations through the Ossining Basics program as well as the groups the United Way has brought together to work on this critical challenge.
This afternoon, I was joined by Superintendent of Highways Michael G. O'Connor, Town/Village Engineer Paul Fraioli and Green Ossining Chair Suzie Ross down in Scarsdale, where we had the opportunity to visit the Scarsdale Food Scrap Recycling program. You may recall that at the Town of Ossining's October 3rd Town Hall Meeting, we were joined by Michelle Sterling and Ron Schulhof, the folks who organized this program down county, and discussed what a similar roll out may look like in Ossining.
We have decided to include the option for food scrap recycling pickup in our upcoming Refuse and Recycling Request for Proposal and I am hopeful that some of the bidding contractors will find some creative ways to take this on.
In the meantime, we have learned a lot about the amount of food waste that is produced in our communities, and I wanted to share some resources with you on how we can reduce the amount of waste we create, and subsequently pay to haul away.
- Check out "Save The Food," a campaign to help you and your family learn how to keep food fresh for longer, how to avoid throwing out produce too soon, and planning meals ahead of time, all of which will not only help you (and us!) save money, but will decrease your carbon footprint and save water.
- Consider joining the NYS Food Recovery Campaign to learn about the volume of food that is wasted in the US (40%, if you can believe it), and how to help the one in six Americans who lack stable access to food.
- Grab a copy of the documentary "Just Eat It" and ask some friends to watch it with you. You will be shocked to hear how our cultural obsession with "good looking" food is causing billions dollars of loss to our local economies every year.
Finally, we got some great news yesterday that I am incredibly proud to share with you. You may recall that, 2 weeks ago, the Town of Ossining participated in Organ Donor Enrollment Day for the second year via a partnership with LiveOnNY. We were joined by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, County Legislator Catherine Borgia, Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, Ossining Public Library Director Karen LaRocca-Fels and several community members whose lives have been touched by organ donation for a press conference before heading out into the community to speak to folks about enrolling. We learned yesterday that the Town of Ossining got the most enrollments of any participating municipality in LiveOnNY's catchment area, which includes all of New York City, Long Island, and the lower Hudson Valley. We are so proud of you, Ossining!
I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the businesses and organizations in our community who joined with us to get this awesome recognition, including Walgreen's, CVS, the Ossining Ambulance Corps, the Ossining Public Library, the Ossining School District, and Open Door Family Medical Centers for getting on board, to all of those who enrolled with us, and Victoria Cafarelli in my office for her expert coordination of all those volunteers! Each person who elects to be an organ donor can save up to 8 lives, and we got 31 enrollments this time around-- that is nearly 250 lives that can potentially be saved thanks to Team Ossining. Congratulations to all!
We have another very exciting weekend coming up in Ossining-- I hope to see you out and about in Ossining!
At 9:30AM tomorrow (Saturday the 21st,) the Village of Briarcliff Manor, along with their Recreation Department and Fire Department, will host the annual Ragamuffin Parade. The parade marches from in front of the Engineering building at 1360 Pleasantville Road-- costumed marchers will process through the Village to the Fire Department parking lot, where goody bags, refreshments and entertainment will be waiting!
Just on the other side of Route 9A, our Town Highway Department will be hosting their annual Tire Recycling Day. Between 8AM and 4PM, you can bring any old tires to Highway Garage at 85 Old Route 100 (next to the Mrs. Greens Shopping Center off of North State Road) and our staff will take those tires off your hands, no charge. This program helps us to keep our environment a little cleaner, as some folks are wont to throw old tires in creeks or streams to avoid the (minimal) recycling fees. Let us take care of it for you tomorrow!
Also this weekend, The Mike Risko Music School will be joining other local musicians at the "Rock 2 Rebuild" event on Sunday, October 22nd. A group of Westchester Musicians will be playing the music of The Band, The Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band between 1PM and 5PM at the Shenorock Shore Club in Rye to raise money for hurricane relief. Tickets are $40 per person or $10 if you're a student—visit www.rock2rebuild.org for more information on this fun afternoon out for a great cause.
Still looking for plans on Halloween proper? Look no further-- the Ossining Police Department and Ossining Recreation & Parks will host their 2nd Annual Halloween Spooktacular! All are welcome between 6PM and 8PM to join the party on Main Street to get in on the “Trunk or Treat.” You can dance to some great music, strut your stuff in the costume parade, and, oh yeah, grab a few handfuls of candy! We encourage everyone to check out this safe, family-friendly Halloween event on Tuesday the 31st.
I want to remind everyone that the date and time of the Town Hall Meeting regarding the Homestead Option has been changed-- we will be holding this meeting on Tuesday, November 14th beginning at 7PM at the Ossining Public LIbrary's Budarz Theater. We will be joined by Mr. Gerald Benjamin, the Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement at SUNY New Paltz, who also conducted pdf a study about the impact of enacting Homestead in the City of Kingston (3.98 MB) . John Wolham from the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services will also be with us. I hope you will mark your calendar for this informative meeting coming up.