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Bronxville Government and History

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Trustees Authorize Tax Levy Cap Override for 2019-2020 Budget; Marvin, Underhill, and Mayer Sworn in for Two-Year Terms PDF Print Email

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By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter     

Apr. 17, 2019: Business before the Bronxville Board of Trustees at its annual meeting on April 8 included the swearing in of three members following the annual election in March and adopting a local law to authorize an override of the state-mandated two percent tax levy cap for the 2019-2020 village budget.

Bronxville Justice Court Judge George Mayer administered the oath of office to Mayor Mary Marvin for her eighth term as mayor; Robert Underhill for his eighth term as trustee; and Randolph Mayer for his second full term as trustee.

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Enacted in 2012, the New York State annual property tax levy increase is capped at the lesser of two percent and the rate of inflation. In continuing to review and revise the 2019-2020 budget, which must be adopted before May 1, village officials are seeking ways to reduce costs and keep the tax levy increase within the two percent allowable for the upcoming fiscal year.

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The board unanimously adopted Local Law 2-2019 to authorize an override for 2019-2020.

The trustees have authorized a tax cap override every year since the state implemented it. “We try extremely hard to stay under the cap,” Mary Marvin stated. “We may not have to use it, but we must pass an override by state law to have flexibility.”

Jim Palmer, village administrator, noted that, while certain entities, such as schools, can apply exemptions to the cap and calculate a legal levy increase greater than two percent, municipalities do not have that option. He said that some communities, in an effort to comply with the cap, have removed items from their general budgets and created fee-based services. “We don’t do that,” he emphasized. “We do everything we possibly can to minimize the impact on the community with any type of increase.

Mayor Marvin described the tax levy cap as “frankly ludicrous” in the face of an aging infrastructure because it strips away the incentive to make needed repairs and upgrades. Trustee Underhill stated that the state mandate effectively removes the village’s ability to govern locally. He added that the trustees are very aware that changes in the federal tax laws and the loss of the state and local taxes deduction have placed an added burden on village residents. “At the same time, we can’t compromise the quality of life we have. It’s a fine balancing act.”

In an effort to reduce costs, Palmer and Marvin said, the village has entered agreements with both the Village of Tuckahoe and the Town of Eastchester to pool purchases of blacktop for paving and implementation of the Swift911 emergency alert system. The village also shares parking enforcement officers on a part-time basis with area communities, as well as Justice Court judges.

“Now, more than ever, we have to do more with municipal neighbors,” Marvin said, “and we have to do more with public-private partnership to keep the numbers down.”

The trustees adjourned the public hearing on the 2019-2020 budget until such time, prior to May 1, when they meet to adopt it. A copy of the proposed budget is available on the village website.

Pictured here (from top): Mary Marvin, Robert Underhill, and Randy Mayer being sworn in.

Photos by C. Bartold



 
From the Mayor: Public Works and Beautification Projects PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville


Apr. 17, 2019:  Now that spring is finally here, the village is abuzz with public works projects, some a joy to look at as we refurbish parks, others sources of frustration due to road closures and detours.

Palmer Avenue Bridge. Usually, the projects are village driven, but now many Westchester County projects that affect the village have reached the top of the queue. Chief among them is the Palmer Avenue Bridge and related road closure, which began on April 10 and is expected to last until June 28. These needed major structural repairs have been years in the planning and by necessity are coordinated solely by the county based on engineering work schedules, public bid outreach for the mandatory request for proposals (RFPs), and then the awarding of the contract. In an ideal world, we would have loved the major closure to be over the summer months, as would every other community, but it was not ours to choose. For added information, Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division posted a number 914-995-2555.

Midland Avenue Bridge. Next on the county’s capital projects agenda that will greatly affect Bronxville traffic flow is structural repairs to the Midland Avenue Bridge. They are major, including the actual raising of the center bridge supports. The project is expected to go out for bid in June with future construction dates premature at this time. The repairs are further complicated by the fact that it impacts the entrance to the Sprain Brook Parkway and Con Edison has decided to take the opportunity of the opening of the roadbed to install a new gas line along Midland Avenue. As soon as we receive any additional information on the timetable, we will share.

West Pondfield Road Bridge. Last in the series of county capital projects is a repair of the West Pondfield Road Bridge near River House. Only in the engineering phase, we expect this project to commence in 2020. All of the above projects are a result of needs assessments based on collaboration between the State Department of Transportation and the Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division.

The bright spot at the end of all of this upheaval will be the repaving of the Bronx River Parkway from the Sprain Brook Parkway north to Scarsdale.

Department of Public Works Facility. On the village capital project front, we are in the final engineering phase of the rebuilding of our department of public works (DPW) facility. Last overhauled in 1942, the project is long overdue. The plans have been tweaked thanks to the input of our DPW staff. As a result of consultation, a more appropriate washroom area has been added, as well as a place for overnight rest during storms and outages. The garage will house all of our complex equipment, adding years to its usable life, and the entire facility will become much more eco-friendly, including solar panels on parts of the roof. The historically attractive brick façade will be repaired, not replaced, so residents of Normandy Terrace will have a consistent classical view.

The reconfiguration will also add parking spaces, hopefully to the benefit of the nearby schools and the senior citizens program.

Parkway Road Parking Lot. If you drove by this week, you would have seen a concrete mixer pouring the new sidewalk from the Parkway Road parking lot to the train station. Work continues to progress on schedule on the lot itself. When completed, ideally at the end of June, the village will have 80 parking spaces, the majority of which will be leased for commuter use. We hope to accommodate residents on Parkway Road with some additional parking options as well and the lot can be used all weekend for west side businesses and restaurants. It also will be much more aesthetically and ecologically appealing with tree pits, improved drainage, scooter parking, a charging station, and safe bicycle storage.

Upon school year completion, sanitary sewer pipes, chiefly along Midland Avenue, will be lined and attendant repairs made, most prominently near the Midland Avenue/Tanglewylde Avenue environs.

On the beautification front, the village is partnering with the Bronxville Beautification Committee (BBC) to refurbish Bicentennial Park, the pocket park on the corner of Meadow Avenue and Pondfield Road.

As I write, surveyors are at Bacon Woods Park, which straddles Kensington and Sagamore Roads. We have commissioned Gisolfi and Associates to draw up plans for refurbishment immediately following. This open space is a village treasure, and we are committed to making it a beautiful and functional oasis.

Many more village capital projects are in the queue, including additional teardrop lighting on the west side near the railroad station and body cameras for our police officers.

The trustees will prioritize after reviewing the village survey results so we remain attuned to the needs and desires of our taxpayers. 


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.

 
Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee Seeks New Members: Application Deadline Saturday, April 27 PDF Print Email

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By Susan Meaney, Member, Bronxville Committee for the Non-Partisan Nomination and Election of School Trustees


Apr. 17, 2019:  The Bronxville Committee for the Non-Partisan Nomination and Election of School Trustees (“NPC”) is seeking candidates for new members. 

The NPC has 21 members, three elected representatives from each of the village’s seven voting districts serving staggered three-year terms. The NPC was formed in 1936 to foster the election of trustees of The Bronxville School on a non-partisan basis.

Residents can have their names placed on an electronic ballot for election to the NPC by submitting an application found on www.bronxvillenpc.com by 5:00 pm on Saturday, April 27. 


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.

 
Bronxville Historian to Speak About Bronxville and World War I PDF Print Email

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By Suzanne Pratt Davis, Member, Board of Directors, The Bronxville Historical Conservancy


Apr. 17, 2019:  The Bronxville Historical Conservancy is thrilled to announce a public lecture on Bronxville and World War I by village historian Raymond Geselbracht on May 5 at 4:00 pm at the Bronxville Public Library. “Bronxville’s World War I—Service at Home and Abroad During the Great War, 1914-1918” will be presented by Geselbracht using photographs and documents from the Bronxville History Center.

“The biggest surprise I encountered during my research on Bronxville and World War I was the way in which a war, which started with an assassination in Bosnia, reached so powerfully 4,000 miles across the world into the lives of the people of the little village of Bronxville,” said Geselbracht. In the lecture, he plans to detail the stories of Bronxville men who fought in Europe during the Great War as well as the efforts of Bronxville women on the home front.

For more than two decades, Geselbracht worked at the Harry S. Truman Library as special assistant to the director and as a supervisory archivist. Prior to those positions, Geselbracht was an archivist with the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Materials Project and an archivist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

Geselbracht is the co-editor, with David Acheson, of Affection and Trust: The Personal Correspondence of Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson (2010). He has also penned numerous articles on the personal lives of Harry and Bess Truman, including “The Love Story of Harry and Bess Truman,” (White House Studies, 2001) and “Harry Truman, Poker Player” (Prologue, 2003).

In 1973, Geselbracht received his doctorate in American history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Photo courtesy The Bronxville Historical Conservancy 

 
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: NYS Budget Includes Pay Raises for Governor and All Lawmakers and Ban on Plastic Bags PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville


Apr. 10, 2019:  The New York State budget passed on April 1, 2019. As part of the budget, Senate lawmakers approved a pay raise for Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul at 2:45 am on the first and the Assembly followed at 7:00 am. Under the measure, Cuomo’s current $200,000 salary will increase to $225,000 in 2020, making him the highest-paid governor in the nation, followed by California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom at $202,000.

The committee also voted in December to increase lawmakers’ salaries from the current $79,500 to $130,000, pro-rated over three years. All of these raises were contingent upon passing a budget on April 1, a truly powerful incentive.

The following are items in the 2019-2020 state budget that most impact the residents of Bronxville:

Purchasing on the Internet. New York is installing the Internet Fairness Conformity Tax, which will require large online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to collect taxes on sales between New York State buyers and third-party sellers.

Prior to the enactment of this tax, sales went untaxed, so essentially 8% on each transaction was lost to state coffers.

Net-net, it will cost more to buy items online, but it could be a boon to brick-and-mortar stores, which have been historically disadvantaged.

The expected revenue is $120 million in the coming fiscal year. A portion of the revenue will go to the MTA for train and subway improvements.

Car Rental North of New York City. New York already enforces a 6% surcharge in the metropolitan area. It will now be extended statewide.

The state estimates the new surcharge will raise $11 million, which will be used to help regional transit authorities upstate.

Fixes to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Long criticized for delayed trains and subways, the MTA faces a mandatory overhaul in the budget.

The MTA is required to have a reorganization plan by June 2019 with a mandate to change the way it appoints board members as well as a requirement of an independent audit.

Tax on Opioid Manufacturers. The plan is to tax opioid manufacturers as a way to pay for addiction treatment services.

Last year, the state passed the same legislation, but the courts rejected the plan, as it explicitly prohibited drug companies from passing the cost on to consumers in New York, resulting in other states picking up the cost. The law was reconfigured per the court’s ruling, but many expect it will lead to higher drug prices in New York. If the new law passes muster, the revenue would be $100 million a year.

Taxes. The budget continues a pattern of lowering income taxes for the middle class. The rates are dropping to 6.21% for incomes between $43,000 and $161,550 and 6.49% for incomes between $161,550 and $323,000. The lower rates are being phased in until 2025, when they will fall to 5.5% and 6%, respectively.

The budget keeps the higher tax rates on larger incomes. It extends the 8.82% rate through 2024 if one’s income is $1 million or more, with expected revenue of $4.4 billion yearly. 

As another way to raise money for the MTA, the state budget includes a mansion tax as high as 4.15% on the sales of residential properties valued at $25 million or more in New York City.

Congestion Pricing. New York is poised to be the first American city to charge this type of toll. The fee will most probably be more than $10 for cars and $25 for trucks with a start date of 2021.

The revenue generated will fund the MTA, but it is still unclear whether certain bridges and tunnels will be excluded from the toll. The decision will rest with the new traffic mobility review board.

Ban on Plastic Bags. Starting in March 2020, the state will ban most stores from giving customers single-use plastic bags. Counties can also add, at local option, a 5-cent fee on paper bags.

Exemptions will exist for takeout food, deli meat, newspapers, garment bags, and trash bags sold in bulk. The money raised from the fee will go to the state environmental protection fund.

Elimination of Cash Bail. Critics have said that requiring people charged with crimes to pay bail to avoid incarceration while awaiting trial is tantamount to locking up innocent people because they are poor. The legislation passed in response to this includes ending cash bail in most cases, save for violent felonies.

In the same bill, the state also plans to give defendants speedier access to evidence that prosecutors may use against them in court.

Affordable Care Act. Fearing the repeal of the so-called Obamacare, New York plans to codify its health exchange into law. So even if the Affordable Care Act is repealed at the federal level, the New York State of Health Fund will continue to serve 4.7 million residents. 

 
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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