From the Mayor: What is Going on in Albany?

By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville

March 8, 2023: Of course, the Governor Hochul’s “Housing Compact” and its implications for our Village is our number one priority, and we work daily with our Westchester colleagues to voice our opposition.

As I have said many times, the concept of expanding affordable housing is beyond laudable but the execution in this plan is devastating for small communities throughout Westchester and Long Island in particular. Our legislators have been beyond supportive in uniting with us in opposition but my greatest concern is the unprecedented influence the New York City representatives have in Albany on our Governor, as they delivered a campaign victory and now loom large in influence. My prior column on the proposed Housing Compact can be found here.

Though by far the most consequential legislation in terms of consequence for the Village, there are other proposals in Albany that affect the Village.

As example, school aid across the state, increased by 10% to $34.5 billion but municipal aid increased zero for the fourteenth straight year in the budget and remains at a static $750 million. The same is true for transportation funding, the Pave Our Potholes Program and the Extreme Weather Recovery Fund. In essence, per the state budget the Village is on its own for repairs and maintenance even though overall the budget was increased by a whopping $7 billion.

In a positive development, in the area of criminal justice reform, the Governors’ Executive Budget proposes to give judges more discretion to set bail by removing the requirement that at the time of arraignment, they must apply the “least restrictive standard” for certain offenses.

The executive budget also increases a “violent crime initiative “by $110 million to $337 million to address gun violence and various adult and youth prevention plans throughout the state. Another $40 million would also added to hire hundreds of new prosecutors to support district attorneys in developing crime strategy and reducing case backlog.

Again on a positive front for the Village in this Executive Budget as in so many in the past, the Governor has proposed changing the current 9% fixed interest rate on all municipal court judgments or accrued claims to a formula fixed to the market rate. If enacted, this would not only generate savings for local governments, but would also remove the incentive for plaintiffs to unnecessarily delay proceedings. The proposed change would simply conform the formula used by a vast majority of the rest of the states.

Similarly hopeful; is a proposed change to the Civil Service system to speed up the process of recruitment examinations as well as offering tests online with immediately scoring.

As background to understand the civil service law presently in action, if the Village needs a new police officer, we “canvas” the current list of test takers. By law, the top three scorers, whether they have the personal skills, interest in small-town policing or personality/character is irrelevant as they must be hired before we can “reach” the next 4 to 100 applicants.

Everyone must play a waiting game, either hoping someone hires them, or they take themselves off the list. That can extend from months to a year plus. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the exam is given so infrequently that a need to hire a qualified police officer that meets the Bronxville requirements can literally take years.

In addition to legislation percolating in Albany, it is also important to take the temperature of our State and understand its health.

After attending a meeting with Comptroller DiNapoli, I learned we are at a 4.3% unemployment rate with 2 million or 87% of the jobs lost during Covid returned to the economy.

Sales tax revenues statewide are up 12% but this number is most reflective of inflation and a 20% increase in New York City tourism post pandemic.

Our New York State Employees’ Pension Fund is funded at 102.9%, the only state in the union funded above 100%. Last year it had a 9% rate of return with half of the pension money invested in the stock market.

Sadly, closing with bad news, we have $1.6 billion in new Medicaid costs and Governor Hochul just added some of that burden as a trickle down to the counties with Westchester getting an unexpected $40 million in new expenses, which will be reflected in our county taxes.

According to Moody’s, we are also the second most indebted state in the country, just trailing California.

I end with an unfortunately apropos quote by Mark Twain who said, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”



Government & History Directory

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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