Happy Friday everyone!
First things first-- it will come as no surprise that we are all watching the weather nervously for what may be our first big snow event of 2019. After participation on the New York State OEM and Con Edison conference calls, it sounds like we can expect not only rain, not only heavy snow, but possibly some ice too. The weather prognosticators are predicting 6-12” of snow by Sunday afternoon with a quarter inch of ice on top. On Sunday and Monday, they are predicting high winds and very cold temperatures for our area and even possible coastal flooding with a full moon and high tides Sunday morning. We held an Emergency Management meeting with the Village of Ossining on Wednesday to make sure all our departments and first responders were prepared and ready. Con Ed has brought in 200 additional line workers and we will request a municipal liaison to work with us and the Ossining Police directly if necessary. We are hopeful that the worst of it will pass us by, but better safe than sorry. Please take all the regular winter storm precautions (full tank of gas in your car, extra batteries for flashlights, buy some non-perishable food and bottled water if you're on wells, charge your devices, etc.) and observe parking rules in your neighborhood—for the Town, it’s simple—no overnight parking is allowed at all until after March 31st, rain or shine. Of course, we ask you to make it as easy as possible for our crews to clear the snow, and please remember not to push your shoveled snow into the street or leave your car partially sticking out of your driveway which creates unsafe conditions for everyone.
Town and Village offices are closed on Monday in observance of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, but rest assured, we will be working hard in the event of storm related issues.
As this storm is likely going to involve some heavy snow, ice and wind, we may experience downed trees and downed power lines. If you do see a downed power line, stay clear and call Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED and call your local police department. Now would also be a good time to download the Con Edison app to your Android or iPhone—grab your account number and you won’t have to re-enter it in the event that you need to report an outage later on. You can text “REG” to “OUTAGE” (688243) to register for text alerts too. Keep an eye on the Town website and Town Facebook page, the OPD Facebook page, Twitter page etc. for any weather-related delays, closures and general updates related to the possible inclement weather-- we will be in touch over the weekend as the forecasts solidify. As mentioned, Con Edison has already informed us that they will be deploying more than 100 of their own overhead resources and have called in more than 200 contractors for the coming days, so we hope we will be fully covered in the event that some of our neighborhoods do lose power.
On a related note, there are still many seasonal decorations on individual gravesites at Dale Cemetery. We respectfully request that you remove these by February 1st or they will be removed by cemetery staff, weather permitting, the first week of next month. Thank you for helping us to keep our beautiful spaces clean as we get the grounds ready for snow.
Please remember the 2nd half of Ossining and Briarcliff Manor school district taxes is due by January 31st. You can come drop off your payment in person (the Tax Office on the 3rd floor of 16 Croton is open Monday through Friday, 8:30AM- 4:30PM, except this Monday when we will be closed, and will be open until 6PM on Wednesday the 30th and Thursday the 31st for your added convenience). You can also pay your bill online, which is an easy and inexpensive way to get instant proof that your payment was received (subject to collection from your bank) for the $1.50 e-check. As of last fall, you can use the dedicated postal slot at the Ossining Post Office, which will get your bill delivered to us directly, or you can mail your payment to us. Please keep in mind that, if you choose to mail your payment, we can only accept a payment as timely if it has a postmark made by the United States Postal Service (USPS) dated on or before 1/31/2019. If you use "Bill-Pay" from your bank, please be aware that the date you process your bill-pay request is not a valid USPS postmark, so you must recognize the risk of timely payment. Make sure you leave plenty of time for your payment to arrive at our office!
We are also working our way into exemption season, and I wanted to share the following information from our Town Assessor:
“The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance reminded property owners age 65 and over who are applying or reapplying to receive the Enhanced STAR exemption in 2019 that they must now enroll in the Income Verification Program (IVP). Those already enrolled in the IVP don’t need to take any action to continue receiving their Enhanced STAR exemption. New IVP enrollees will likewise automatically receive the exemption each year they’re eligible.
In the first year of enrollment, the assessor will verify eligibility based on the income information provided by the homeowner. In subsequent years, the New York State Tax Department will automatically verify eligibility. As a result, homeowners will no longer need to renew the exemption or share income tax returns with their local assessor’s office.
This change applies only to seniors 65 or older applying for the Enhanced STAR exemption or those who have the exemption included in their property tax bills. This doesn’t affect those who receive a check for this exemption because New York State Tax Department already verifies income eligibility. If you already receive the Enhanced STAR exemption but aren’t yet enrolled in the IVP, you must renew your application for the Enhanced STAR exemption and enroll in the IVP. The forms were already mailed to you, please submit as soon as possible but prior to May 1, 2019.
If you’re also receiving the senior citizens exemption, you’ll still need to annually renew that benefit with your assessor. The renewal application will be mailed to you the first week of February.
In the past, seniors who qualified for the senior citizens exemption were automatically granted the Enhanced STAR exemption. Beginning in 2019, you must apply separately for both exemptions.
The deadline for all exemption (Veterans, senior, disability, county fireman, clergy, nonprofit organizations, etc..) applications and renewal is May 1st 2019. Please call the Assessor’s office if you have any questions at 914-762-8274."
Activities later in the weekend may be postponed or canceled due to the snowstorm, so always call ahead or check Facebook! We do know the Joseph G. Caputo Center will be closed on Sunday due to the storm predictions. However, as of now, here's the lineup for this week in Ossining:
I hope to see many of you tonight at the Steamer:
The Rio Nova performance at Good Choice Kitchen, scheduled for Saturday night, has been canceled due to the forecast. We sure hope it will be rescheduled-- who couldn't use some hot jazz in this freezing weather?
We will be observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day all around Westchester County and right here in Ossining this weekend, so be sure to check out some of these local events. On Saturday, January 19th, Ossining's Cooperative Scholarship Fund will be holding their annual fundraising event in the Ossining High School auditorium at 3PM. This event honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and is dedicated to closing the achievement gap. Ossining educators and elected leaders will be joined by guest speaker Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey to celebrate this year's honorees, including William Broadnax, Mary Rainey and the late Kadoza "Woody" Worthy. Tickets are $30 each.
Then on Sunday, January 20th, join BOMA (Briarcliff Ossining Ministerial Association) for an Interfaith Service of Remembrance at Congregation Sons of Israel at 1666 Pleasantville Road in Briarcliff. The event begins at 7:30PM and will feature special guest speaker Abdulmalik Negedu, a Muslim Chaplain and educator speaking on the topic “Our Common Beliefs.” All are welcome. There is a snowdate of Monday, January 21st, also at 7:30PM, for this event. Please call CSI at (914) 762-2700 to confirm.
Once again, please be reminded that Town of Ossining offices will be closed on Monday, January 21st in observance of the holiday. We will be back bright and early on Tuesday, January 22nd to assist you. Monday is a day of service throughout our nation-- is there some small way you could contribute to making things better for others this weekend? Contact the Ossining Food Pantry, the Ossining Children's Center, IFCA, or houses of worship right here in Ossining, they can always use a helping hand and the more, the merrier! Find more events, or projects you can help with, here.
If you plan to travel out of town this weekend (and if the trains are running), please be advised that on Monday, Metro North trains will be running on an enhanced Saturday schedule in observance of the holiday, which means there will be 40 additional trains on the schedule. Take a look here before you head out, and dress warm! That wind down by the waterfront can really whip when you're waiting for a train, even when the temperature is not in the single digits!
On Wednesday, January 23rd, if you are a registered voter in the Village of Briarcliff Manor, be sure to get out and vote! Peoples Caucus voting day will take place at the Youth Center on Van Lu Van Road between 3PM and 9PM.
On Saturday, January 26th, Westchester Collaborative Theater will host their Midwinter Rock to Rap Dance Party featuring DJ Johnny J, a local Ossining resident and popular live event DJ for many decades. Come dance off your post-holiday blues and boogie with your friends and neighbors, starting at 6:30PM down at 23 Water Street. Tickets are $20 at the door, and there will be a cash bar and refreshments available. Visit wctheater.org for more info.
Stay warm out there, and please check back throughout the long weekend for updates on this winter storm!