By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Nov. 7, 2018: If thirteen years as Bronxville’s mayor has done anything for Mary Marvin, it has increased her enthusiasm for the village and her affection for its residents exponentially. First elected mayor in 2005, Marvin has helped guide the village through significant changes as well as tangible and intangible improvements.
“I am so grateful for the job,” Marvin said. “I’ve gotten back ten times what I’ve given, and I have learned so much from residents.” She, like rest of the village trustees, does not receive any salary for her work in village government.
Marvin learned about public service early in life. “I grew up in a house where you had to give back in some way.” Her father was a doctor who volunteered to treat inmates in a prison near her hometown. “It wasn’t a choice; it was a happy duty,” she said. She added that in watching her father, she was able to see nobility in public service.
It was while working for Nelson Rockefeller, Marvin noted, that she caught the spirit of love with which he interacted with people. He simply loved people, she said. Following Rockefeller’s lead, Marvin credits her interactions with village residents as contributing the most to her education and growth as a public official. “I have gotten to know a real cross-section of people,” she said. “It’s a privilege to learn what people think.” She feels that listening has helped her and the trustees establish an approachable local government that encourages connection with village residents.
“When you listen to people, you can make a difference. Even a small difference can be important,” Marvin noted. “I get a great sense of joy at the end of the day when I know I’ve been able to help someone, even if I can do a small thing for them.” She went on to say that people are easy to help because, for the most part, they are kind, civil, and understanding. Marvin described village government as a resource broker for residents that can provide a wide range of assistance and information.
In addition to holding elected office in Bronxville, Marvin has also served a one-year term as president of the Westchester Municipal Officers Association, a group made up of officials from Westchester County towns and villages. The group convenes to study issues that are of concern to the municipalities and takes action on them for the benefit of public safety, health, and welfare of citizens.
Since Mary Marvin was first elected as mayor, the village has seen completion of Villa BXV on Kensington Road, which not only added 54 residential units to the tax rolls, and almost 200 public parking spaces to the village inventory, but also cleaned up a toxic site that had lain contaminated for many years. The village and its school district applied for, and received, significant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to install the flood mitigation system on the school campus to prevent damaging flooding from severe storms. The village has gone online with the Pango pay-by-phone system, which allows drivers to make cashless payments and pay for parking from remote locations. The village has undertaken an improved outdoor lighting design and updated 100-year-old sewer pipes throughout the community. A reconstructed Garden Avenue parking lot has improved traffic flow and drainage with the addition of permeable surfaces and an updated drainage system. The village worked with the Town of Eastchester and the City of Yonkers to repair the Parkway Road Bridge after the New York State Department of Transportation closed it for structural deterioration.
A comprehensive property assessment facilitated a rolling assessment system that has established a three-year cycle of reassessing every property in the village. As a result, the village has seen a marked decrease in the number of grievances filed and the amount of money paid out to satisfy tax certioraris. The village code has also seen several portions streamlined to reduce the burdens of the permitting process. The goal is to promote a vibrant business district that appeals to businesses wanting to open in Bronxville.
Projects in process and commenced under Marvin’s leadership include an update of the village comprehensive plan, last modified in 2009, and the purchase and reconstruction of the Avalon parking lot on Parkway Road.
“I love coming to village hall,” Mary Marvin declared. “The staff is so capable, positive, and helpful. That level of support allows us to do the things that will really help our residents.”
Photo by A. Warner