By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Apr. 14, 2021: Now that the Bronxville Board of Trustees has ratified its operating budget for fiscal year 2021 -2022, it is time to focus on our capital plan for the same period.
Use of Federal Stimulus Money
As a prelude, I will share some additional good budget news that at the Board of Trustees most recent meeting, just this past Monday night, we voted unanimously to take $65,000 of the federal stimulus money projected to be given to the Village to lower the Village tax levy to 2.98% from the previous rate of 3.6% that was published in my budget column. This still necessitated a tax cap override as our tax cap ceiling this year was pegged to the rate of inflation and would only allow a 1.3% levy increase. This proved untenable given the cost of the many unfunded mandates we receive from the State of New York, most notably the pension fund obligation, that do not nearly correspond to the current tax cap limit.
The recent 2022 bond issuance that I mentioned in my column on the operating budget two weeks ago will be the prime source of funding to continue our capital programs. To recap, it was a bond of $13,250,000 for a period of 22 years at a rate of 1.77%, a 50 year low for us in the municipal bond market. We also locked it in before the recent trend upward.
The funding will be used to complete our DPW facility, last remodeled in 1942, and give us the indoor space for both our staff and equipment that meets all current best practices for working conditions and equipment longevity. Additionally, the DPW design includes roof cross supports and electrical conduits to support the installation of solar panels. The Village has been in communication with the New York State Power Authority and NYSERDA to assist with funding such an installation. As an update, we expect final restoration of the property on Palumbo Place, including landscaping and paving, to be completed by midsummer.
Bond Funds are also being used to cover the cost of improvements to the Parkway Road parking lot that we acquired from the Avalon Corporation and to continue our very ambitious sewer cleaning, maintenance and lining initiative throughout the Village. Our sewer rehabilitation program is in Phase 3 and will now include Woodland Avenue and the West side downtown business district, principally along Palmer Avenue and Parkway Road, as a priority. Due to some sustained grant writing, we have received multiple awards from the State which will partially offset the cost of this very expensive but needed undertaking.
We continue our very aggressive paving and curbing program to keep our roads in the best condition possible and expect to spend $450,000 on roads this summer. Chief among those the streets to be addressed will be the remainder of Pondfield Road from Crampton Road to Gramatan Avenue.
Also covered by the bond issuance will be $100,000 for a Sewer Jetter truck. This truck will enable the Village to remedy blockages and backups with an immediate response and speed of repair as we will no longer have to contract out. The time savings prove to be a major cost benefit both to the Village our residents.
We are also focusing on the rehabilitation of Bacon Woods Park, the large expanse of green space that straddles Kensington Road and Sagamore Road. We conducted a previous bid process for improvements to the property that came in extremely high. As a result, we are in the process of reevaluating our options for the park while also including the need to address nearby residents’ concerns relating to drainage and curbing issues on Beech Tree Lane.
Other initiatives in our capital program include the purchase of additional digital speed indicators as so many neighborhoods are requesting them. We also need to turn our attention to our heavily used Sagamore Road playground and replace well worn equipment. In addition, we will be adding more electric charging stations in our Garden Avenue parking lot.
Suggestions From Comprehensive Plan
With additional funds remaining, we plan to review all of the suggestions by both the planning professionals and residents, gleaned from our recent Comprehensive Plan. To reach the goal of maximum walkability, which was an overwhelming desire of Villagers, we will be reviewing the ease of walking at some of our intersections including Midland Avenue at Pondfield Road as well as the intersection of Kraft Avenue and Park Place in particular.
The definitive resident response to our comprehensive plan questionnaire was, in essence, to keep our Village the same in quality, without doing much adding or subtracting, but rather maintaining all we have in good condition so this is the overriding objective of our capital plan. As we start prioritizing projects, feel free to reach out with any suggestions or problems you believe need addressing throughout the Village.
Photo by A. Warner
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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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