By Peter Clifford
Apr. 1, 2017: Back in October of 2016, MyhometownBronxville published an article about the top ten most expensive villages in Westchester in terms of cost of living. Bronxville was ranked #8. When Mary Marvin saw this, she was incensed.
"The thought that Bronxville was not #1 really got my hackles up, and it takes a lot to get my hackles up," Marvin said. She admits to being extremely competitive, a trait that dates back to when she came in second in the New York State Junior Table Tennis Championship at the age of fourteen. "Some people would have been thrilled with a second-place finish, but that experience seared into my persona the importance of never settling for anything but first, and I have brought that no-holds-barred attitude with me to the job of mayor. The citizens of Bronxville are a very accomplished lot; they expect their children to excel, and there is no reason why the village of Bronxville should not also be #1."
Mayor Marvin called a meeting of the village board in November to consider various proposals for new fees that could help move Bronxville up in the rankings. Here are the ideas that were passed by the board.
1) Pet Fees. Bronxville has never required residents to register their dogs and purchase permits. The number of dogs in the village has grown exponentially in the past few years due in large part to the success of the Pet of the Week column in MHTB. Publisher Marcia Lee says, "Bronxville people have big hearts and even bigger houses, which means that it is not unusual for residents to have more than one dog per family." Mayor Marvin adds, "It behooves us to keep track of the number of canines in our community, especially if the number reaches a point that we can claim to have the most dogs per capita of any village in Westchester."
Unlike other communities that charge a set fee for a dog permit, Mayor Marvin came up with the idea of charging per pound, something she said that people are used to when shopping at the grocery store. "It's only right that people with larger dogs should pay a higher permit fee." Marvin points out, "It is akin to a mansion tax or the tax on very expensive, gas-guzzling cars. And if it encourages people to buy smaller dogs, that would result in less animal waste in our public places and residents' lawns."
Dog owners will bring their pooches to village hall to be weighed. The owner will be issued a tag upon payment of the permit fee for each dog, and the tags should be affixed to the dogs' collars. Any dogs observed without a tag by the Bronxville Animal Control Department after July 1 will be fined $100, and the owner's name will be posted in the weekly police blotter on MyhometownBronxville.
2) Outdoor Lighting Permits. Over the years, Mayor Marvin has received an increasing number of complaints from the small but vocal Bronxville Star Gazers Association about the increase in the number of residents installing outdoor lighting in their landscaping. This has contributed to an excess of ambient light in the village, which makes it more difficult to enjoy the beauty of the night sky.
Mayor Marvin observes, "We would all benefit from taking a few minutes every evening to look up from our cell phones to appreciate the gorgeous array of constellations over our blessed village."
It should also be noted that a research study in Austria on the long-term effects of ambient light on the mating behavior of blue tits shows that female birds are more likely to be unfaithful when overexposed. Many residents have tried to justify their light shows as a burglary deterrent, but Mayor Marvin points out that "there is no evidence that burglars are climbing trees in order to commit crimes."
The village will deploy building inspectors to record how many outdoor lights each resident has, and an annual bill will be issued based on those numbers. Lights over doorways will be exempt.
3) School Drop-off Fast Lane. Taking advantage of the construction around the school on Midland Avenue, the village board came up with the idea of putting in another drop-off lane for the elementary school.
Many parents are rushing to drop off their children and make that morning train or grab their first latte, so starting next fall, harried parents will have the option of paying for a yearly pass that would allow them to use the new lane dedicated to expedited drop-off, by-passing the long car line that appears during the peak morning hour.
Asked to comment on whether this might foster a sense of elitism among those fast pass holders, Mayor Marvin responded, "The Long Island Expressway has a High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. This will be Bronxville's High-Income Vehicle (HIV) lane. Also, by having fewer cars idling on Midland, we will improve the air quality around the school, something that will benefit everyone, regardless of income level."
With the institution of these new fees, the village board is confident that Bronxville will be catapulted to the top of the Most Expensive Villages in Westchester and residents can once again hold their heads high.
Happy April Fools' Day!