Supervisor, New CastleI have said it again and again: it is truly an honor to serve the citizens of New Castle. From the start, I have believed that your Town Supervisor should be guided by rights and obligations. The rights of the community to be heard and to be informed are critical to a responsive Town Government. And we must always be conscious of our obligations to listen and communicate effectively as we work to address current concerns and problems while at the same time improving our Town and planning for the future. I also recognize that while town-wide issues are my focus, no individual matter is too small for a responsive town government. I welcome those opportunities for more personal contact with residents. As we look ahead, there remains much work to be done, and I will continue to work hard for the entire community. It is my pleasure, then, as Supervisor to provide a quarterly report – 4th Quarter of 2017 – to the community about current Town projects and initiatives.
- 2018 Budget
- Bond Issuance
- Chappaqua Downtown Revitalization
- Railroad Crossing Safety
- Town Hall Basketball Court – Inclusive Playground
- Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
- Chappaqua Crossing – Work Force / Affordable Housing
- Our Seniors
- 120 Sidewalk
- Distracted Driving
- Westchester County Airport
- Welcome Guide
- 2017 Comprehensive Plan
- Saw Mill Sewer District
- Electronic Community Sign
- Keeping and Raising of Chickens
- Vape Law
- EpiPen Legislation
- Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
- New Castle For Inclusion & Diversity Committee Celebration
- Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden
- Millwood – 200 Years at the Heart of Westchester!
- Millwood Sewers
- Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project
- Millwood DOT Yard
- Millwood Cell Service
- Prepayment of Taxes
Once again, our 2018 budget provides residents with the essential municipal services they expect and deserve, repair the long neglected infrastructure and respect the tax cap. We were presented with the opportunity to raise the total tax levy by $701,646 for 2018 and still remain within the tax cap. However, the budget increases the levy by 1.06% or an increase of $219,632, less than one-third the amount allowable under the tax cap for this year. Our tax increase is $23 increase per average household. Our paving budget was increased by another $100,000 to $922,452. In addition, the Town has maintained our $25,000 funding for beautification, and $10,000 for public safety initiatives. Thank you to Comptroller Rob Deary for his financial stewardship which allowed us to once again respect the tax cap even while undertaking the massive Chappaqua Downtown Revitalization project.
As far as our bond issuance, the corresponding debt service will not have any effect on the tax levy or tax rates. As we have discussed in the past, we intend to use our very healthy fund balance (40%) to pay the debt service. Some of the items are reimbursement for previous expenditures. It’s common practice for a municipality to use their general fund for capital expenses then replenish the general fund when issuing bonds. This allows us to combine capital expenditures into a single bond deal, rather than a series of smaller deals, which reduces issuance costs.
- Hamlet/Streetscape $13,780,082.00
- DPW Heavy Equipment (2014) $303,196.00
- DPW Heavy Equipment (2015) $597,725.00
- DPW Heavy Equipment (2016/2017) $568,882
- Replace Fuel Tanks $500,000.00
- Gedney Park Playground $143,895.00
- Basketball Court/Playground $258,000.00
- IT Infrastructure $788,350.00
- Wallace Auditorium $150,000.00
Chappaqua Downtown Revitalization
Water Main has been installed. Temporary water main has been removed. Sewer layouts have commenced and will begin cutting/install shortly. As far as keeping residents updated on the project status, our project manager has a constant presence of our people at the project, a contact phone number and email address for any resident with questions, information boards installed along the project, a QR code which directs residents to a website with project information (which includes a one-year project schedule look-ahead and a two-week look-ahead which details the work elements, timing and location of all anticipate work), and, finally, an offer to add any resident to an email blast which provides up-to-the-minute project information. In addition, John Kazawic has, and will continue to, attend monthly, televised Town meetings and provide updates.
Railroad Crossing Safety
The testing of a new safety system at the Roaring Brook Road grade crossing was activated on November 20th. This new safety system involves both visual and audio warnings when a vehicle remains in the grade crossing zone for a specified period (3-5 seconds), the system activates the blank-out sign advising “Warning, Get off Tracks.” If the grade crossing warning system (flashing lights) is activated due to an approaching train while the vehicle remains in the detection zone, the wayside horn sounds the audible message “Get off Tracks–Train Coming”.
Town Hall Basketball Court – Inclusive Playground
We have received $325,000 in grants – $200,000 from Senator Murphy & $125,000 from Assemblyman Buchwald for these projects.
Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
We had an incredible Fall Season at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center! The 425-seat venue had its grand opening on September 23, 2017 with the first of 12 concerts, plays and performances for its inaugural Fall Season. In addition, a capital fundraising campaign has been initiated by the Friends of the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, established to provide financial support to ChappPAC. We also have received an anonymous donation of $30,000 to be used for children’s programming at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. John Fanelli, the theater manager we hired, has done an incredible job. Thank you to our Arts & Culture Committee, as well as Friends of Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. Nice article in Westchester Magazine about Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. Click here for spring schedule.
Chappaqua Crossing – Work Force / Affordable Housing
Back in December, 2015, the Town Board approved housing in the Cupola Building. This is how affordable housing should be – integrated with work force and market rates units and woven into the fabric of our community. Community amenities will include a large gym and separate exercise room, club / multipurpose room with a kitchenette, community lounge, reading library, package concierge and an outdoor playground area. This is affordable housing we can be proud of! Occupancy will begin early next year.
In the 2018 budget, our senior recreation programming will see an increase of 30.49% or $34,956 to reflect a significant increase in senior programming. We have installed new carpet for the Senior Center.
We finally began the long anticipated replacement work on the Route 120 sidewalk from Grafflin School to Ridgewood Terrace. As far as the section of sidewalk from Ridgewood Terrace to Elm Street, this section of sidewalk is slated to be completed in the Spring of 2018 after Con Ed completes the second phase of its gas main replacement project.
American Automobile Association has issued an analysis of New York ticket data and recommendations for public officials and police departments. New Castle was listed as a success story! We also introduced a new video regarding our Distracted Driving Diversion Course – “Steve & Jacy’s Journey”. The video will be used for police department presentations. It will also be shared with other municipalities to encourage additional courses throughout the county. Thank you to Chief Ferry for initiating this effort, and for Lyle Anderson & Linda Kallner of Get Reel Productions, LLC for producing another incredible video.
Westchester County Airport
Many residents are seeing an increased number of low flying and loud aircraft. There is a huge problem with the amount of lease agreements that are being approved for private and charter airlines which do little to help the average resident in New Castle. These charter airlines are not subject to passenger caps and other airport mitigation techniques. Apparently there is NO restriction whatsoever on private and corporate jets. This article really highlights the problem. According to the article, Westchester County Airport is the third-busiest airport in terms of non-airline flights. According to the FAA, there were about 125,000 charter, air taxi, and private flights at Westchester Airport in 2014 – this represents 82 percent of the total takeoffs and landings there! Once again, I encourage residents to contact Michael Kaplowitz, our representative on the Board of Legislators (firstname.lastname@example.org). As well, report airport noise using the following form.
A few years back, we entered into a public-private partnership with Inside Chappaqua to create a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” guide for current and prospective New Castle residents. The guide, which was distributed in Town Hall and at all major real estate offices in New Castle, is full of Town and relevant information that captures the essence and opportunities of New Castle living. The guide is especially important for those contemplating moving into our area. We will be updating the guide to include the revitalization of downtown Chappaqua, Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, Millwood InterGenerate Garden, DeCicco & Sons, Chappaqua Crossing and highlight our green initiatives to really showcase our great community to potential buyers.
Award Winning 2017 Comprehensive Plan
Our 2017 Comprehensive Plan received the American Planning Association Meritorious Service or Achievement Award. The award honors excellence in local planning endeavors.
Saw Mill Sewer District
The Town has sent out two separate mailings to residents within the Saw Mill Sewer District to try and establish definitively who within the district has sewer service and who is serviced by septic. It is our intention to reach out to all of those residents within the Saw Mill Sewer district who pay the sewer tax but receive no services because they are on septic and ask their permission to include them within a petition to opt out of the district. Once we have received permission we will be assembling a petition to opt those parcels out of the district. That petition will be submitted to the County Board of Legislators for approval. Our time table for this project is Spring of 2018.
Thanks to our incredible Sustainability Advisory Board, we received a $100,000 grant after being designated a Clean Energy Community by New York State. We were the first community in New York State in our size range to receive the designation of a Clean Energy Community. The Town Board approved the use of the $100,000 Clean Energy Community grant for the purchase of an electric shuttle bus. The electric shuttle is expected to eliminate approximately 50 tons of GHG emissions every year! We will reduce our carbon footprint. We committed to upholding the Paris accord, and we are doing just that! Thank you to our SAB for making this grant possible and working on this incredible initiative.
Electronic Community Sign
We are in the process of purchasing two (2) electronic message boards that will be situated across from the Shell station in downtown Chappaqua. We are currently working on a base for our new electronic message board. Thank you to Keiko & Bill Spade for designing the base. Residents will notice a mock-up of the sign as we are testing the visibility from many directions.
Keeping and Raising of Chicken
We updated our town code regarding the keeping and raising of chickens. From the beginning, we’ve been focused on the benefits of keeping of chickens for personal use while minimizing potential impacts on neighboring properties. We also focused on providing for the health and welfare of chickens. This was a thorough and collaborative effort.
We passed a new local law regulates the location of vape shops . The new local law prohibits the establishment of vape shops within 2,000 feet of the lot line of any school. The proposed local law also prohibits the establishment of vape shops within 500 feet of any park, playground, library or religious institution. Furthermore, no more than one vape shall be located on any lot or within 1,000 feet of any other Vape Shop. Thank you to councilman Jeremy Saland for raising this issue with the Town Board.
Raising the Age for Tobacco & Vape Product Purchases
We are looking into raising the legal age to purchase cigarettes, other tobacco products, as well as vaping products, from 18 to 21. We are committed to protecting young people, and passing this legislation will help achieve that goal.
We honored a group of incredible kids who pushed for new legislation that allows school bus drivers across New York State to administer epinephrine to a child having a severe allergic reaction. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman David Buchwald, and recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo. This legislation will ensure that children, especially those who are very young, have additional adults that will be able to intervene should a child experience a reaction or anaphylaxis while on a school bus. I commend this incredible group of kids and their parents for their work advocating for this legislation, and commend Senator Murphy and Assemblyman Buchwald for their responsiveness.
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Once again we honored our volunteers who share with their community their knowledge, their appreciation of civic duty and their respect for the rights of others. Starting this year, we presented the Gabby Rosenfeld Award to honor a resident for their dedication and service to the Town. Both Marion & Gray Williams were the 1st recipients of the Gabby Rosenfeld Award. Marian has a long career of commitment to community and national organizations that serves as a model for us all. Grey means so much to our town. Grey’s endeavors in searching for and memorializing our Town’s history benefits us all.
New Castle For Inclusion & Diversity Committee Celebration
We held the 1st Annual New Castle For Inclusion & Diversity Committee Holiday Celebration. The celebration included a display of the diversity logo contest entries, and the winner was announced. Congratulations to Katie Ginsberg for her winning entry
Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden
Town staff installed 85 yards of gravel. We have a “pad” for the garden beds and we created a gravel walk way into the area. We started building 30 vegetable garden beds, each 16 feet long by 40 inches wide. The beds are built and filled with soil. Thank you to all the volunteers. Planting will be next Spring. You must be a New Castle resident to participate. InterGenerate will be managing the garden. No experience is required. To be added to their email list, please email Suzi Novak email@example.com.
Millwood – 200 Years at the Heart of Westchester!
We had an incredible celebration for Millwood’s 200 Year Anniversary on October 28th at Gedney Park. We had a big stage, band, food trucks, as well as rides/bouncy castles, face painting, pumpkin painting, and other fun activities for kids.
The Town of New Castle has identified the Hamlet of Millwood as a priority area for the construction of sanitary sewers to replace existing capacity limited and failing septic systems to encourage economic growth in the Hamlet. Woodard and Curran have been tasked with technical and financial feasibility study for the installation of sewers in the Millwood Hamlet. It is the first step in the process of bringing sewers into that Millwood Hamlet. Woodard and Curran’s presentation to the Town Board is scheduled for early next year.
Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project
We awarded the bid for engineering services for the Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project. Some of the tasks involved include: preparation of preliminary design plans, NYSDOT work permit, preparation of construction & bid documents, bidding process, construction management & inspection services and record drawings
Millwood DOT Yard
Over the last few years, we’ve been working with NYSDOT officials to discuss the appearance of the new DOT yard. Pursuant to our suggestions, stockade fence was installed around the fuel tanks. The garage doors were painted dark brown. The perimeter fencing was painted black. The driveway was paved. Landscaping was planted.
Millwood Cell Service
We are exploring putting a cell tower on the water treatment property in Millwood. This cell towner would be near the Con Ed transmission line towers which would reduce the visual impact. A 1st balloon float was held. To date, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are interested in this site. The town would collect rent from Homeland Towers, while increasing cell service in Millwood.
Prepayment of Taxes
The Town accepted pre-payment of certain taxes that will become due during the 2018 calendar year. The Town accepted these pre-payments under the authority of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order which issued in response to federal tax law changes that will limit the amount of local real property tax deductions in 2018. The Executive Order authorized the pre-payment of real property taxes for which a Warrant has been issued for the collection of such taxes. Accordingly, we accepted early prepayment of 2017/2018 (second half) school taxes, pre-payment of Town and special district taxes (pursuant to a Provisional Warrant signed in response to the Executive Order) and pre-payment county taxes (anticipating that the County will take action to implement the Executive Order). We had 9 people working the Tax office counter, and extended office hours till 7p on Wednesday & Thursday. All checks mailed needed to be postmarked by December 31, 2017.
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