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From the Mayor: NYS Mayors' Priorities Affecting Westchester and Bronxville PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Feb. 13, 2019:  I am writing this from snowless! Albany while meeting with my government colleagues from around the state, including those from the 45 municipalities in Westchester County.

Our goal as mayors is to speak with a unified voice and use whatever collective influence we have to make our legislators aware of our concerns and priorities.

Albany's policies quite often affect our local goals of maintaining essential services, improving our aging infrastructures, and streamlining our processes. As residents are fleeing New York State in record numbers, it is critical at this juncture to make our collective voices heard in support of the local property tax payers.

The following are some of our major priorities. I have culled the list to include those most affecting Westchester communities and Bronxville in particular.

Replace Proposed Cuts to Local Municipal Funding with an Actual Increase. Though this funding has not increased in over a decade, the governor now proposes the elimination of this funding to every Westchester village and seventeen out of the nineteen towns in the county. As many of my colleagues have quite aptly said, "It appears the tactic was to slowly strangle a program to such a low level and then propose extinction." For our village, this return of our tax dollars back to the village amounts to almost a full percentage point on our yearly property tax bills.

Tax Cap Infrastructure Spending Exclusion for Municipalities. State government projects, as well as school districts, are granted an exclusion for capital and infrastructure projects from the calculation of the two percent tax cap. However, municipalities, which must do the lion's share of infrastructure repairs, are not. The result is a powerful disincentive to repair the underbelly of one of the nation's oldest states. On every level, the current policy makes no sense.

Reform the Gross Receipts Tax. Under current law, cities and villages can impose a gross receipts tax (GRT) on the gross income of utilities operating in their communities. The GRT is one of the very few sources of non-property tax revenue still available. My Westchester colleagues and I endorse increasing the maximum rate at local option to 3% (already granted to Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers) and expanding the scope to include cellular service companies such as already granted to New York City and the state itself.

Increased Funding for Water and Sewer Infrastructure. Partly thanks to the tax cap, the NYS comptroller estimates a multiyear funding deficit of $65.7 billion for municipal infrastructure. Westchester supports any funding aid sent in this direction.

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana. All of the Westchester elected officials are concerned as to the wording of the proposed bill and the ramifications. (I will be attending an info session dedicated to the subject on Monday.) Currently, the state budget would legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 years of age and older. County governments and cities within a county with a population over 100,000 would have a local opt-out option to allow them to prohibit any establishment or operation involving the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of cannabis. Villages such as ours would not.

Interest Rates on Judgments. The Mayors' Conference supports the governor's 2019-2020 executive budget proposal to tie interest rates on municipal judgments and accrued claims to the market rate as is done in most other states, as opposed to the unrealistic current rate of a flat 9%. If enacted, this would not only generate savings for local governments but would also remove the current incentive for plaintiffs to unnecessarily delay proceedings.

Removal of the MTA Maintenance Tax. Clearly, the most unknown New York tax every community – but none in Connecticut on the same rail lines! – is a portion of a $19 million Metro-North tax fund collected at the county level. The money is described as needed for covering the cost for garbage collection and snow removal from the MTA platforms. Bronxville pays over $40,000, while Greenwich pays zero for the same services.

Authorize Municipalities to Charge for Services Provided to Tax-Exempt Properties. Approximately $866 billion in property value in New York State is exempt from municipal and school property taxes, with most communities like Bronxville having about 25% of properties within our borders tax exempt. Our mayors' group supports legislation that provides a local option to charge tax-exempt properties for the cost of services such as police protection, fire protection, street maintenance, and lighting and sanitation.

Reform the Scaffold Law. Enacted in 1885 and the last one of its kind in the United States, New York's Scaffold Law holds contractors, employers, and property owners absolutely liable for gravity-related injuries, even if the worker was grossly negligent. Municipal governments, as significant property owners, are faced with widespread liability for these accidents, resulting in insurance premiums in New York State 300% to 1,200% higher than every other state in the country.

I close with a cautionary tale. The governor's budget proposes to extend red light camera enforcement program for Albany, all of Nassau and Suffolk counties, and our neighbors Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle, and New York City. 

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: Bronxville's Many Green Efforts of the Last Decade; Mary Liz Mulligan, Chair of Green Committee, Passes the Reins

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville Jun. 26, 2019:  Mary Liz Mulligan has stepped down after ten years of exemplary leadership and tireless effort as chair of our...

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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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