The month of October is traditionally one of our busiest, and this week, we did not stop moving!
Out on the road, our Highway Department has been hard at work preparing for the paving at Haymount Terrace and Studio Hill Road.
Using our annual bidder for paving, our Highway Superintendent worked closely with our Engineering Team to make sure that all issues were addressed, including some specific drainage concerns and plans to restripe once the job has been completed.
We do not yet know when the contractor will be starting the actual paving, but it should go quickly now that our guys have it all ready. Looking forward to seeing the finished product!
I started the week alongside my fellow Ossining elected officials and staff to congratulate the Westchester Bank on their branch opening at Arcadian Shopping Center. The Westchester Bank has been a supporter of our Summer Concert series, so it was great to be there to officially welcome them to Ossining.
Last week, we met with all 9 of our departments on their Requested Budgets. The next few weeks will entail taking a closer look at all requests, including comparing spending over past years and reworking our five year Capital Plan, and this process will culminate in the Supervisor's Budget submitted on or about October 30th. After that, it will be the Town Board's turn to take a look and meet with departments again before we finally adopt the 2020 budget in mid-December. We will keep you posted as to the date and time of both the presentation and the public hearing on the budget as soon as we have finalized plans.
Speaking of the Town Board, we held a Special Meeting yesterday morning to pay bills and attend to urgent business, some of which included approving a Capital Project to purchase and install some new playground and adult fitness equipment in three of our parks. After a tour with our insurance agent a few weeks back, we noticed that several of the pieces we currently have had reached the end of their useful life, most slated for replacement in 2020. We also have heard and seen that adults in our community have been using the kid's playground equipment to get a quick workout in while their tots enjoy the spray park or the swing set, so we figured, why not give them some equipment of their own?
We are hoping to get the new pieces in the ground before winter, but magnetic kettlebells, resistance training and steps for box jumps will be just a few more reasons to look forward to Spring! Thanks to our Recreation Advisory Board and Superintendent of Recreation Bill Garrison for their feedback on our ideas.
Also yesterday, the Town and Village recognized the Fifth Annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day. In partnership with LiveOnNY, the organ recovery organization for our area, we formed "Team Ossining" to participate in this annual push to get as many willing New Yorkers registered as organ donors, for the fourth year in a row. This year, our focus was on the staff members of the Ossining School District and Ossining Public Library. It has been so meaningful to participate in this lifesaving effort year after year, especially considering the fact that New York trails behind all the states in the country in terms of registered organ donors -- only 35% of New Yorkers have joined the registry. This is true even though 92% of New Yorkers support organ donation!
I have personally witnessed how organ and tissue donation can transform lives of patients and their loved ones, so I encourage you to consider joining the national registry online. It's not too late to register in person either. Come to the Town or Village offices this week and we can still add you to our Team Ossining effort. Thanks to LiveOnNY's efforts, there is hope that this statistic will change -- New York has had one of the top ten fastest growing registries. I am sure our efforts locally as Team Ossining and LiveOnNY's larger campaign, gives hope to the nearly 10,000 New Yorkers waiting for a lifesaving transplant. For the past two years, Team Ossining secured the most enrollments for a municipal team, so I am excited to see if we are able to repeat that success again this year! Thank you to Mayor Victoria Gearity, Senator David Carlucci, representatives from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia, for joining me to recognize this important day. Also huge shout out to Ossining Schools Superintendent Ray Sanchez and Ossining Library Director Karen LaRocca-Fels for being such great partners this year, as well as Elizabeth Blye from the Ossining Schools for being an amazing advocate for this cause after experiencing how a liver transplant saved her mother's life.
Meanwhile, our Clerk's Office has been hard at work preparing for Election Day and early voting. This year, you can cast your ballot starting on Saturday, October 26th. The early voting location in Ossining will be the Community Center at 95 Broadway. The hours for early voting are as follows:
- Saturday, October 26th and Sunday, October 27th:12pm to 5pm
- Monday, October 28th, Wednesday, October 30th and Friday, November 1st: 8am to 4pm
- Tuesday, October 29th and Thursday, October 31st: 12pm to 8pm
- Saturday, November 2nd and Sunday, November 3rd:12pm to 5pm
As always, on Election Day, November 5th, you can vote at your regular polling place from 6am to 9pm. As a reminder, the Town Board has put forth three ballot initiatives to ask voters to convert the elected positions of Town Clerk, Receiver of Taxes, and Highway Superintendent to appointed positions. If you would like more information about these ballot initiatives, please visit the Project Forward website.
At next Tuesday's Town Hall meeting, October 15th at 7:30pm at the Ossining Public Library's Budarz Theater, we will be joined by Tiffany Zezula from Pace Unversity's Land Use Law Center to discuss next steps for undergoing a new Comprehensive Plan. As you might remember, the Town received a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Climate Smart Communities Program to complete a new Comprehensive Plan with Sustainability Elements. Tiffany is most certainly a local expert in Comprehensive Planning, she has worked with New Castle, Tarrytown, and many other local municipalities on their plans, and stays up to date on current trends in planning. Tiffany and her team at Pace will be helping us specifically with community engagement, but we are also excited to learn more from her expertise as we move forward with assembling our Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and soliciting a planning firm to assist in developing the plan. I strongly encourage you to join us Tuesday evening to learn how to get involved in this important process to inform the future of our community.
Tonight, Sing Sing Kill Brewery is hosting a fundraiser in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, with some great live music. The $10 donation at the door will go towards RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) to support the amazing work they do for refugee and immigrant families along the Southern border of the United States. They will also have a special brew, infused with salt, lime, and chili, on tap for the occasion!
On Saturday, the Ossining Historic Cemeteries Conservancy is holding a Gravestone Cleaning and Restoration Workshop at Sparta Cemetery. Join in this fun event and experience the history of Ossining firsthand. Community service credit is also available!
This time of year is budget season in the Town and Village of Ossining, as well as Westchester County. As the County finalizes their 2020 budget, County Executive George Latimer is looking for public participation to help make important decisions about how your County tax dollars are allocated. There is one session coming up this week (October 15th) in Yonkers, but also one a bit closer to Ossining in Peekskill on October 23rd.
We are just one week away from the Forest O'Fears: The Haunting at Cedar Lane! Grab your tickets now for four nights of Halloween fun, including the infamous Haunted House and Trail of Horror both weekends, with field games the second weekend for the whole family. There will also be tasty treats courtesy of some local food vendors on both weekends. Croton Tapsmith will be serving beer the first weekend, and Sing Sing Kill Brewery will take over the beer operation for the second weekend. The mostly volunteer team behind this production has been hard at work to put on an excellent event -- I can't wait to see all they have in store for this year! All proceeds above and beyond the costs to run the event this year will go to the SPCA of Westchester, so don't miss the opportunity to support a local non-profit while enjoying a spooky October evening at Cedar Lane Park.
If haunted houses aren't exactly your thing, there are so many other events scheduled around Ossining next weekend --
It's not your ordinary BBQ -- it’s an inclusive, community-focused, cultural event. The Big-OSS BBQ offers an afternoon of live music, entertainment, craft beverages, & food cooked on an open flame. A local showcase, the Big-OSS BBQ recognizes and aims to celebrate the diversity within Ossining. Each food vendor is invited to provide a dish of what open flame cooking represents in their culture, whether it’s jerk chicken, paella, or BBQ spare ribs. The public is invited to enjoy the afternoon by the waterfront on October 19th for this community event.
On Saturday, October 19th, New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef is hosting a community celebration to recognize the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage. At the Ossining Historical Society starting at 1pm, Assemblywoman Galef has invited women in our community to read a portion of the Declaration of Sentiments, which was written in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, and modeled after the Declaration of Independence, demanding equal rights for women. The Declaration of Sentiments was a document that shifted the course of women's rights in the United States, and certainly brought us to where we are today, shepherded by so many influential and strong women throughout history. I have been asked to participate, and I am so honored to stand alongside the many female leaders in Ossining and remember those that came before us to ensure that we have equal rights today. Please save the date, and plan to join us for this moving celebration.
Next Sunday, head over to Ossining's local farm, Fable, for their 2019 Farm Fest. With lots of local artisan vendors, food, fresh fruits and veggies, AND the opportunity to feed the chickens, how could you go wrong?
Tickets went on sale just last week for what has become an annual event here in Ossining-- make sure you move fast on this, both seatings traditionally sell out weeks prior to the event!
Save the date for the Little Bertie Genealogical Society's presentation on veterans and their families from our own community, that served during World War II and the Korean War. It is sure to be a compelling story of the sacrifices veterans and their families made during this time in history, and an opportunity to reflect on the continued themes of service and sacrifice today.
As a reminder, Town offices will be closed on Monday, October 14th for the holiday. We will be back in business on Tuesday, October 15th and look forward to serving you then! I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend.