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From the Mayor: Village Comprehensive Plan Is Both an Aspirational Document and a Working Template PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Jul. 10, 2019:  The trustees and I continue to finalize our 2019 comprehensive plan. Though sounding innocuous like a document headed for a bookcase shelf, it is actually a very important instrument for village governance. This will be the sixth community plan for Bronxville: the village’s first overall plan was adopted in 1971 and subsequently reviewed in 1980, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2009. The plan actually fulfills a statutory obligation so wisely placed in our village code by our prior governing boards.

Essentially, experts in planning, design, traffic, and development are hired under one umbrella firm to look at the village from 30,000 feet and assess whether we are achieving optimal aspirations for the village.

In essence, the overall goal of the plan as envisioned is to:

  • Preserve and promote the special architectural character and appearance of existing buildings and neighborhoods.
  • Maintain the natural landscape of the village.
  • Retain the pedestrian scale of buildings, streets, and open spaces that currently exist.
  • Encourage land uses that are appropriate to the existing pattern of development and that will help ensure the economic stability of the whole community.
  • Mitigate the impacts of flooding on residential and commercial properties within the village. 

The subcategories needing review to preserve the village character include:

Residential Areas 

  • Preserve the quality and character of existing single-family residential zones.
  • Retain the roughly even balance between single-family and multi-family units.
  • Achieve the appropriate balance in regulation to ensure that new construction and large renovations maintain a reasonable scale in relation to lot size.

Transportation and Parking

  • Promote policies to help ensure convenient and safe traffic flow on the village street network.
  • Ensure adequate public transportation services, particularly for residents without access to private automobiles.
  • Enhance pedestrian safety throughout the village and create opportunities for alternative vehicles where possible.
  • Ensure an adequate supply of parking for commuters, shoppers, merchants, and other visitors to the central business district (CBD) consistent with the residential character of the village.

Commercial Uses

  • Maintain the "village" character of the CBD through careful control of land uses, storefronts, and signage; adequate building maintenance; and ongoing streetscape improvements.
  • Maintain and improve the mix of retail stores, services, and other commercial uses that are geared to the needs of local residents and those in adjoining communities.
  • Ensure that any new development is related in scale and character to the existing buildings within the CBD.

Open Space and Recreation

  • Preserve and enhance existing public open space areas with special attention to seating and landscape improvements, including along village streets, parking lots, and the Metro-North plaza area.
  • Encourage continued use of natural landscape elements within existing development.
  • Ensure high-quality maintenance of existing recreation facilities. 

Community Facilities

  • Maintain high-quality services and facilities for village residents.
  • Ensure efficient use and maintenance of public services provided by the police department and the department of public works. 

Tax Base 

  • Achieve fiscal savings without sacrificing existing high-quality village services.
  • Maintain balance between user fees and the costs of providing services.
  • Preserve the commercial property tax base in the CBD.
  • Conduct regular revaluation updates as needed to ensure that assessed property values are consistent with real estate values and other conditions.
  • Enforce regular assessment updates of individual properties to reflect any improvements that may change their assessed value.

As an illustration of how the plan will guide changes in village codes and policies, the planning and zoning realms provide specific examples. 

Even just during the course of the comprehensive planning process, the village board of trustees adopted Local Law 1-2019 to amend Chapter 112, Building Construction Regarding Demolition Permits in response to concerns over “teardowns” of vulnerable historic homes. Through stakeholder engagement, members of village boards and committees, and the public, it was clear that there was a need to address the issue of homes being torn down with larger homes, sometimes out of context with the neighborhood, being built on-site.

Local Law 1-2019 places additional constraints on demolitions as a “circuit breaker” that provides the village with tools to encourage construction that is historically contextual and proportional to lot size. 

After our comprehensive plan review, it is now clear that the definition of floor area ratio (FAR) components needs to be examined. These include how basements and attics are included in FAR calculation. In the same vein, our zoning code could enact new provisions to better maintain the proportionate ratio between homes and lot sizes without infringing on residents’ ability to make reasonable modifications. In addition, home renovations projects are now lasting for long stretches, negatively impacting the quality of life in neighborhoods. Rules on the length of permits, contractor parking, and road damage will need to be considered.

The comprehensive plan not only serves as an aspirational document but as a working template to jumpstart changes in policies and procedures in order to maintain the character of the village for future generations.

Pictured here: Mayor Mary Marvin.

Photo by N. Bower

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff


 
From the Mayor: Report on New York State from the Mayors' Conference; Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Discussed PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville


Feb. 27, 2019:  I spent part of last week in Albany at the annual mayors' conference to get a grasp of what was happening at the seat of government and its possible effects on Bronxville.

The experience was quite worthwhile as a primer on our state in general, much of the information courtesy of talks by Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Sadly, New York State is two very different states – one Rockland County and south and the other “upstate.” As illustration, many of my upstate colleagues’ number-one priority was dealing with the proliferation of “zombie homes” – empty residences that have been abandoned and/or taken over by squatters, decreasing the value of entire neighborhoods. Currently, there is no time limit for banks to execute foreclosure proceedings, so homes are left desolate for years on end. One colleague was so frustrated by their blight he had their DPW board up all the windows and doors at taxpayer expense.

State Overview

  • Unemployment statewide is at 3.9% vs 9% during the height of the recession, with 975,000 more jobs added than were lost during that same period. However, 90% of the newly created jobs are in the counties from Westchester and Rockland south. Many upstate counties saw the unemployment rate decrease locally because people simply left the job market.

  • The direct municipal aid to 400 New York villages including our own was not reinstated. Nine of the ten villages in “fiscal stress” lost all their state aid.

  • The average property tax in New York is $22,000. As a result, many residents are impacted adversely by the SALT cap of the $10,000 property tax deduction.

  • The state has an unanticipated shortfall of over $2 billion in expected tax revenues.

  • North of New York City, 58.3% of properties receive some level of tax exemptions.

  • New York State receives 90 cents in return for every dollar it sends to Washington. The average return to states is $1.19 with only New Jersey and North Dakota having a less favorable rate of return than New York.

  • New York State has never had a municipal bankruptcy, but 37 communities (2.5%) and 14.5% of counties are in “fiscal stress.”

  • New York, via the attorney general’s office, has 200 pending lawsuits against the federal government, many of them directed at the EPA.

  • The New York State pension fund has an all-time high value of $207.4 billion, though it lost $197.3 million in the month of December. The Pew Research Institute rates our pension fund in the top four nationwide with assets at 90% plus needed funds for the 1.1 million people in the system.

  • Currently, the state treasury is holding $14 billion in unclaimed funds with over $468 million returned to taxpayers in fiscal year 2018. (We at the village had $140.00 found and returned!!)

  • The last time the citizenship question was asked on a Census was in 1950. In 2010, 69% of New Yorkers responded vs a 76% response nationwide. Only 61% of New York City residents answered. Census responses not only could help staunch the loss of any more congressional seats but the data is also used as a matrix when dealing with health emergencies. As example, when Long Island City had a massive measles outbreak about a decade ago, Census numbers were used to calculate the needed number of vaccines, resulting in a major shortfall of needed medicine.

  • The one piece of potential legislation of most concern to mayors that was laid out in the governor’s executive budget was the legalization of cannabis and the corresponding retail outlets, resulting in the creation of an entirely new government agency, Department of Cannabis Management.

  • As written, the legislation would legalize recreational cannabis for those 21 and older. County governments can opt out and prohibit any cannabis operations in their respective counties. If a county does not opt out, cities within having a population of 100,000 may opt out independently. (Yonkers is the only qualifying city in Westchester.) Communities such as ours would have no say save promulgating zoning regulations that meet a nebulous standard of “regulations that do not make the operation of dispensaries unreasonably impracticable.”

Last week, the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and the Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association announced their opposition to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

  • They cited data from Colorado where drugged driving rates have more than doubled, insurance rates have increased, and local governments are forced to retrain entire police departments and police dogs and increase security near these establishments. At present, the projected revenue of $83 million in FY2021 will not be shared with any local governments.

  • Representatives from Massachusetts recounted their recent experience with legalization. Statewide, the legislation passed 53% to 47% in a public referendum, so the issue remains very divisive. Local communities can ban implementation but need a two-thirds voting majority. From the date of enactment of legislation to retail operation takes from 18 months to two years.

I will be watching the path of this legislation very carefully as the legislative year progresses.

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 

 
From the Mayor: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Police, Safety, Parking, and More PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville


Jan. 23, 2019:  The following is a year-end compilation of the most-asked questions of village staffers as well as issues that have generated the most inquires/confusion.

This is also an opportunity to say thank you to every village employee. We truly have the finest, kindest, most professional group of people dedicated to our village. It is an honor – and a joy – to interact with them every day. It makes my job truly a pleasure.

Police – Safety – Parking

Our parking enforcement officers, per New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, cannot stop drivers who cross double yellow lines to park. Only a trained police officer can make the stop. As reasoning, consider the scenario – a driver is stopped and the car is stolen or unregistered or the driver is dangerous – only a trained police officer is equipped at this juncture to handle the aftermath. In addition, any yellow-line violation must be witnessed by a police officer. A video taken and delivered to the police department does not constitute legal grounds for a ticket.

In the past, we have used overtime funds, especially near the holidays, to monitor this violation. However, in 2018, our police department dealt with an unprecedented number of highly unusual incidents, including a pervasive mail fraud scheme, a store holdup, and personal crimes, which depleted our funds at an unprecedented rate.

Our parking enforcement officers have defined routes. They cannot stand and wait, cross the street, or issue a ticket in another parking enforcement officer's zone. Routes can be tracked and errors in enforcement can be found.

Six national holidays trigger free parking in the village: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Meters are strictly a tool to ensure parking turnover for our merchants. Without meters, someone could park in front of their stores, walk two blocks, and spend the day in New York City. Meter operation is related to store openings and has no relation to the esteem the village holds for any holiday honoree.

The old adage “oh it’s the end of the month, so the PD must be under pressure to write more tickets” is just not true. Our village police department has no quotas. In truth, if one is stopped for a New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law violation, e.g., speeding, the village receives a flat $15 regardless of the face value of the ticket. Given the time expenditure of the police officer, court clerk, and judge adjudicating the ticket, it is very much a money-losing transaction. Tickets are issued for safety concerns only.

Note:  Cameras authorized to record speeding are not authorized in New York State. Only a few cities have received a waiver, including our neighbor Yonkers.

Crosswalks, to meet requirements, must be from a corner to a corner unless a nearby construction project creates temporary exigent circumstances.

Our police department has measured and re-measured village streets and has not yet found a continuous stretch of road that meets width, visibility for turning, and safety standards for bicycle lanes. Simply painting a bike lane symbol is not the answer, as is evidenced by the configuration on nearby Palmer Road.

If you witness a friend or neighbor in any kind of need, do not hesitate to call our police department desk at 914-337-0500. If you wish to remain anonymous, it will be totally respected. The goal, whether a teen or senior, is to get immediate help for one’s friend.

If you do not have a garage or driveway as a part of your property title or if you plan to move to a village property that does not have parking, you may put your name on the parking waiting list either in person or online under the header Bronxville Reserved Space Sign-up (one space per household).

Note: The space previously occupied by the former renter or owner of your new home does not run with the property.

Administrative Functions

There is a great deal of confusion generated by the Bronxville address – village vs postal code.

If someone pays their taxes to the village, the state allows us to issue handicap parking permits, offer spaces in the village-owned parking lots, and give a discount for the use of recreational facilities. Services such as these are offered in every community in which you write your property tax check.

The village can issue birth certificates for babies born within the village boundaries. The first two documents are free and then $10 each thereafter. If born within New York State, one can order a birth certificate online for $30 (a cost closer to the true cost of processing these documents).

Vital statistics such as the above are not “foilable” under the New York State Freedom of Information Law.

New York State also regulates all penalties and time periods for tax payments. We have no discretion whatsoever at the local level to revise penalties or extend payment periods.

In the same vein, new residents of the village who qualify for the STAR tax exemption must now apply directly to the state and not the village.

One hundred percent of any credit card fees associated with an administrative transaction at the village are passed through to the credit card company.

Sadly, the village has no control over much of the area surrounding the rail station, as it is Metro-North’s property. Our offers to even do repairs by village employers/contractors have been rebuffed because of union and liability issues.

The Scout Field area, both upper and lower fields, are almost entirely in the cities of Mount Vernon and Yonkers and under the umbrella auspices of the County of Westchester (a very narrow land strip abutting Alden Place is village property). As a consequence, our police department has no jurisdiction over the property or activity in these other jurisdictions. 

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 

 
From the Mayor: Governor Cuomo's Legislative Agenda for the New Year and NYS Bills Signed and Vetoed at the End of 2018 PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville


Jan. 9, 2019: Editor's note: This article comprises two of Mayor Marvin's columns, last week's, which is about the governor's legislative agenda for the new year (which MyhometownBronxville did not publish last week, as this is the first issue after the holidays), and this week's, which is about New York State bills that were signed and vetoed at the end of 2018. Both columns appear below.

Governor Cuomo's Legislative Agenda for the New Year

As the new year arrives so does our newly constituted New York State Legislature. January 1, 2019, featured a fully Democrat-controlled legislature for the first time in decades, including the entirety of Governor Cuomo's tenure.

As a direct consequence, the governor broke with tradition and laid out his legislative agenda in a wide-ranging speech before the New York City Bar Association in late December instead of waiting until the January state of the state address. The motivation was to enable the legislature to commence action on his top priorities immediately upon convening, with the goal of passing much of his agenda in the first hundred days. The following are the legislative goals you can expect to be discussed in the coming weeks and months:

Health care. Take action to codify the health insurance marketplace that the state created under the Affordable Care Act and maintain the ACA's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should they be overturned on the federal or judicial level. He also reiterated his desire for the legislature to pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act within the first 30 days of the session.

Taxes. Maintain the millionaire's tax (though not increase it) and make permanent the 2% property tax cap on local municipalities and continue to advocate for the repeal of the SALT tax with our neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut.

Gender Rights. Pass the Equal Rights Amendment to add sex as a protected class. (Nearly a century after it was proposed, New York State never passed the amendment to add it to our state constitution.) In addition, the governor would approve the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which provides protections for those who are transgender and add gender identity to the state's hate crime and human rights laws. He also vowed to put a legal end to conversion therapy in New York.

Gun Control. The governor's goals are directed at three specific measures: ban bump stocks, expand the wait period from three days to ten days for gun seekers who have been flagged by the national background check database, and institute a Red Flag Bill allowing family members or school officials to petition a judge to block ownership if the person is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Dream Act. Governor Cuomo advocates a state-level DREAM Act that would allow those in the country without documentation to qualify for New York State college tuition assistance.

Legalization of Marijuana. For much of his first two terms, the governor was opposed to allowing marijuana for recreational use, calling it a gateway drug as recently as last year. In a major policy change, he is now calling for legalization emulating our neighbors in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Canada.

Environment. The governor set a new goal for the electric sector to reach 100% renewable by 2040. He also advocated for bills to better regulate contaminants in drinking and groundwater.

Education. The governor is calling for a funding model for the state's schools using different formulas than the state education department and major education stakeholders have used in the past with the goal of poorer schools receiving a larger distribution on the local level.

Congestion Pricing in NYC. Vehicle traffic that enters Manhattan at certain times and in certain zones would receive an additional toll, with much of the revenue directed toward improving the NYC subway system.

Child Victims Act. For years, victims have pushed a measure that would extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes and open up a one-year window to revive previously timed-out claims. This year, Cuomo expressed optimism and support that the Child Victims Act would become law.

Ending Cash Bail. The governor's position is that by requiring defendants to put up money or bond to get out of jail while awaiting trial discriminates against lower-income defendants. To remedy this, he would give judges more authority to make their determinations based on the risk to society of release rather than a monetary calculation.

Voting Changes. The governor is in favor of automatic voter registration, early and mail-in voting, and aligning the state and federal primaries, which are currently held on different days. In a major departure, he even floated the idea of making Election Day a state holiday. He also went further than in his past campaign finance proposals and called for a blanket ban on campaign contributions from corporations.

With few exceptions, this wish list has been reiterated prior, but given the change of power in the state senate, the initiatives have become much more feasible.

New York State Bills that Were Signed and Vetoed at the End of 2018

Now that the new state legislative session has begun, there was a flurry of bill-signing, vetoing, or pocket vetoing at year's end.

The following is a final compilation of additions to New York State laws signed by the governor since my last column that could directly affect the village.

Brownfield Opportunity Area Reforms: The legislation streamlined the process significantly and even allows for existing plans developed outside of the BOA process to be retroactively qualified for funding.

Lemon Law for Emergency Vehicles: Communities are now allowed to work directly with manufacturers of emergency vehicles for timely repairs and even full vehicle replacement.

World Trade Center Claims: Individuals may file a workman's compensation claim until year 2022 if the claim is related to the WTC rescue effort.

Additional Tax Cap Compliance: Local governments will now have to certify to the state comptroller and commissioner of taxation and finance as to whether they stayed within the parameters of the tax cap formula on a yearly basis. If a law to override was passed and not needed, such local law now must be repealed.

Note: Though the tax cap was exceeded only once since its inception and by an amount less than $50,000, the village trustees have always unanimously passed prophylactic override legislation. The reasons are twofold: major capital projects are not exempt from the cap calculation and my colleagues and I believe in home rule or crafting a budget by those closest to the needs and issues at the municipal level and not in Albany.

SUNY Impact Aid: Certain cities and villages that are home to four-year SUNY schools received financial aid to offset the costs of providing increased public safety services. This type of legislation is the wave of the future, as every community now grapples with the cost of services to tax-exempt properties – be it increased police calls, lighting, ord road and sewer improvements adjacent to the properties.

In an effort to advance Governor Cuomo's continued theme of encouraging municipal consolidations, two major bills were signed to incentivize communities to combine with neighbors. As background, when the governor was state attorney general, his office submitted a bill allowing any citizen of New York State to start the process of the dissolution of a village, regardless of whether he or she lived in that village, by garnering the support of just 10% of the residents who voted in their last mayoral election. To put the governor's bill in context, a nonresident would need to find only eight Bronxville residents to force a village-wide referendum or vote on dissolution. The incredibly flawed bill was amended several times but the new bill that was passed has provisions that require communities to vote on their own dissolution before a consolidation plan and financial impact statement are produced. The Village of Seneca Falls went this route and is now mired in years of litigation as to cost sharing and long-term financial obligations with its merged town.

The personal preferences of residents to dissolve their communities combined with the supposed tax savings have never been validated. Based on a federal census of local governments per capita, there is also no correlation between the number of governmental layers and a person's relative tax burden.

Two of the most intensely governed states are New Hampshire and Oklahoma, yet they are two of the least taxed.

New York and New Jersey are near the bottom in governmental units yet near the top in tax burden. This is the direct result of New York's "trickle down" policy of making local governments shoulder tax burdens shifted from Albany.

The two bills signed to re-energize the consolidation theme include an annual bonus from the state equal to 15% of the newly combined local government's tax levy and a $25 million funding pool made available to local governments who agree to unite with neighboring entities.

Certiorari Funding: Due to the proliferation of outdated property assessment rolls statewide, legislation now further extends the ability of municipalities to finance judgments related to certiorari and small claims assessment awards. (The village has not needed to go this route.)

Justice Court: Legislation provides for more community service opportunities vs. fines and incarceration for the violation of local laws.

Environment: Per new law, smoking is prohibited within one hundred feet of an entrance or exit to all public libraries.

Finance: A state digital currency task force is being created to provide information on the potential effects of widespread implementation of digital currencies on financial markets in the state.

Vetoes: The governor uses his veto power quite sparingly but did veto three measures that would affect communities statewide. One bill would have exposed public entities to open-ended liability by allowing damages against the public owner for any construction contract delays, making public contracts more expensive even over and above the financial implications of the Wick's Law, which adds 15 to 20% more to public vs. private construction contracts.

The second piece of legislation would have provided police and firefighters with a presumption that if MRSA was ever contracted, it was done so in the line of duty unless it could have been refuted conclusively by the municipality.

Also vetoed was a bill authorizing up to 12 weeks of paid bereavement leave upon the death of certain family members.

In early February, I head to Albany with my fellow state mayors to meet collectively and lobby for legislation that would relieve any further burdens at the local government level. I shall keep you informed.


Editor's note
: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 

 
From the Mayor: Key Legislation Passed in Albany this Year PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville


Nov. 28, 2018:  This is the time of year I review what legislation passed in Albany with an eye toward how it will affect our village.

For the tenth year in a row, direct aid sent back to communities--all of our own tax dollars in the first place--remained stalled at $715 million, while direct aid to school districts was increased by an additional billion dollars. The same was true for highway funding, remaining at $438 million statewide, though the $65 million in extreme weather recovery funds that the governor did not include in his executive budget was restored in the adopted state budget.

So for Bronxville’s 2018-2019 budget, AIM funding remained at $64,713 and CHIPS funding totaled $155,600 (which included an additional $45,000 due to the severity of last winter and assistance for pothole repair), respectively, or the equivalent of 2.2% of the village’s $10 million tax levy.

In a departure from recent years, the adopted budget adds a total of $475 million to the State and Municipal Facilities Program ("SAM"). This money--commonly referred to as “pork”--includes $385 million in spending on practically anything that qualifies as capital. Our village government and school district are qualified grantees, so we will be reaching out to Senator Mayer and Assemblywoman Paulin with qualified projects.

Other enacted legislation, though not with such an immediate direct monetary consequence, will impact the village nonetheless. They include changes in opioid and school crossing guard funding, union membership qualification, and sexual harassment complaint procedures. 

The adopted budget creates a $100 million initiative funded by the pharmaceutical industry to support the ongoing--and growing--costs of prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals with substance abuse addiction. The budget also added $30 million to the state’s effort to enhance prevention, treatment, and recovery in opioid-directed programs. 

General municipal NYS law was amended to allow education institutions to pay for all or a portion of the salaries and compensation payable to all newly hired school crossing guards.

Language included in the new budget requires employers within 30 days of hiring new staff or promoting someone to a new bargaining unit to notify a union of such an employee and allow the employee time to meet with a union representative during work hours. The language also allows unions themselves to determine and enforce when and how public employees can opt out of union membership. These provisions are intended to pre-empt the potential negative impact on union revenues from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for the plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME, which challenged the compulsory collection of dues-like “agency fees” from employees who choose not to join unions.

The new budget also includes language requiring state and local government entities to adopt a model policy on sexual harassment created by the state. Provisions include the requirement that all employees receive sexual harassment sensitivity training, the prohibition on mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment claims in employment contracts, and the prohibition of non-disclosure clauses in settlements unless requested by the victim.

Other smaller but impactful laws include the extension to year 2022 for persons to file worker’s compensation claims related to the World Trade Center rescue effort. Veterans will also have easier access to potential benefits offered to them as part of their military service notification. And a personal favorite of mine, given my frequent train travel to Albany, the language adopted will now make it easier to use eminent domain in redeveloping the area around Penn Station.

Awaiting the governor’s signature is a bill requiring the Civil Service Commission to study and issue a report regarding wage disparities in the public sector, including at the local municipal level.

Our state legislature operates on a two-year cycle, so bills that did not make the governor’s desk are literally scrapped and must be reissued and sponsored anew. Over 16,000 pieces of legislation were introduced in the two years passed, many very municipality specific.

As an example, the issue of abandoned property and the foreclosure process is unfortunately endemic in many upstate New York communities requiring immediate legal relief.

It will be interesting in the coming two years to see how our state government may change because of the Democratic Party now controlling both houses for the first time in decades. The familiar “dance” that both parties subscribed to when it was a house divided, Democratic Assembly/Republican Senate, i.e., we can pass bills to assuage our constituents knowing with certainty they will not pass the other chamber but can say, “Well we tried.” We continue as a board of trustees to be vigilant in monitoring state legislation and voice our support or concerns as they impact our village.

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
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