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From The Mayor: Statewide Budget Process Underway; Key Proposals That Will Impact Villages PDF Print Email


By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Feb. 26, 2020: The State budget process is well underway as Governor Cuomo has unveiled his 2020-21 Executive Budge, which is the template for all initiatives and resulting spending.

I have reviewed the documents and culled the following proposals that will have the most impact on Villagers both individually and in the upcoming budget.

Criminal Justice Reform

Most critical is the fact that the executive budget does not include any specific proposals to address the state-wide concern regarding the criminal justice reforms.

Not only do many of the initiatives in the bill passed in the last legislative session affect very legitimate concerns about safety, but there will be a huge impact on the upcoming Village budget in the neighborhood of $150,000 plus just to meet the discovery and new documentation requirements.

Coupled with this unprecedented unfunded mandate is the decision not to increase unrestricted State dollars to municipalities, happening for the eleventh year in a row despite the enormous new monetary burden placed on local government.

Recreational Cannabis

Of great potential impact is the Executives Budget proposal to legalize recreational cannabis. County governments and cities with a population over 100,000 are granted the authority to opt out, but Villages such as ours could not.  

In addition, though three levels of taxes are going to be levied on the industry, none of the money flows to local governments.

The whole issue is compounded by the fact that as yet, there is no test, like the breathalyzer, to detect driving while impaired and the character change possible in a downtown when dispensaries are situated next to local businesses catering to children and family needs.

E-Bikes and E-Scooters

The Executive Budget would also legalize the operation of E-bikes and E-scooters for individuals 16 years of age and older. Based on the legislation, they would be permitted on every street in the Village, save for dedicated school zones.

Wireless Facilities

Of great concern is state-wide is language in the budget that would establish uniform procedures affecting the siting of small wireless facilities. Uniform procedures would further the goal of the industry to eliminate all local oversight of wireless siting decisions on municipally owned and controlled rights of way.

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Money has been added to the budget to support water and wastewater infrastructure though the needs far exceed the appropriation. Additionally, in the past, the appropriations have been limited to those communities experiencing an emergency, thereby penalizing proactive communities such as ours. The hope would be that any funding going forward would be based on the amount of pipelines and mains owned by a municipality so as to incentivize communities to invest in their aging infrastructure.

Some other smaller in scope but impactful proposed initiatives include:

Ban On Styrofoam

State-wide ban on all uses except for pre-packaged food that is sealed prior to delivery or Styrofoam used to sell raw meat or fish.

Mother Nature Bond Act

The Mother Nature Bond Act is a three million dollar bond that would require approval via state referendum. The proceeds would be used to make environmental improvements to preserve and restore the State’s natural resources and reduce the impact of climate change by funding projects to restore natural habitats, protect open spaces, reduce flood risks and improve water quality.

Union Disclosure

Provisions in the budget would allow public employers to provide the personal information of new hires to a union without fear of constituting an unfair labor practice. The proposal supports the notion that access to this private information will ensure that unions remain up to date on the local government’s new employee hires.

Public employers would also be mandated to provide union access to their new employee orientation process.

Manual Election Recounts

The State Election Law would be amended to require county boards of election to conduct manual recounts of ballots from any general, special or primary election in the following circumstances: if the margin of victory in a state-wide election is 0.2% or less of all ballots cast; in any other election for public office including Village elections if the margin of victory is 0.5% or less.

STAR Credits

The Executive Budget provides that no STAR credits or exemptions be granted to property owners with delinquent taxes.

Court Restructuring

Following the suggested changes promulgated in a September 2019 report, the State’s Court of Claims, County Courts, Circuit Courts, Family Courts, and City Courts would be abolished. In lieu of them, the State would create a new type of court called a Municipal Court, which, along with the State Supreme Court, would handle all of the cases handled by the former courts.

Criminal Justice Reforms

While the Governor did not advance specific proposals to address the now widespread concerns regarding last year’s Criminal Justice Reform legislation, he noted that reform is an ongoing process and that he and the Legislature need to respond to relevant facts pertaining to implementation issues.

The above take on great importance since there is one party control, and it is that of the Governor, the odds increase quite significantly that the above mentioned initiatives will be approved and codified in some form by the end of the session.

Photo by A. Warner

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 do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


From The Mayor: Courage Under Pressure

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By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville Mar. 25, 2020:  To all my neighbors, Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under pressure,” and I can attest that our Village is filled...

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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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