New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 1/23/2018
Supervisor, New Castle
Dr. Bill Flank – Gabby Rosenfeld Award
Last night we honored Dr. Bill Flank. After 27 years, Dr. Flank has resigned from our Environmental Review Board (“ERB”). Dr. Flank has been a member of the ERB since 1991, and chair since 1999. In addition, his involvement with the Chappaqua Boy Scouts is legendary – over 30 years. Dr. Flank has been Chappaqua’s Boy Scout Troop 1 Scoutmaster since 1990. During that time, over 80 Boy Scouts have earned the rank of Eagle Scout! Last night we advised Dr. Flank that he will be the next recipient of the Gabby Rosenfeld Award. The Gabby Rosenfeld Award honors a resident for their dedication and service to the Town. The award will be presented to Dr. Flank at our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner later this year.
Chappaqua Downtown Revitalization
Very happy to report that Con Ed gas main replacement project is finally complete! Con Ed restoration crews will be back next week – during the day – to remove the last remaining plates and back fill the holes. Con Ed overhead will be in town in the coming months to work on the relocation of some 16 utility poles. We need to move these poles as part of the street scape project (wider sidewalks will leave existing poles in the middle of our new sidewalks).
This Monday we resumed our night construction schedule – 8 pm to 5 am. We expect all work crews to be engaged in night work until at least March. Our crews have been essentially idle for 2 weeks. Although Con Ed had very little work to complete, they were asked to stop work between Christmas & New Years. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Con Ed back until Monday. Without Con Ed, our contractor couldn’t do their work since our work was near a gas line.
Our work will now be concentrated on the corner of lower King Street and Greeley. Specifically the removal of the existing 4 foot diameter man hole at that corner and the installation of a new 7 foot diameter manhole that will be the anchor of the new sanitary sewer system we are installing. They will only be shutting down lower King and North Greeley. They have kept – and will continue to keep – 2 way traffic from King to South Greeley all night. They will not be closing lower King until 9 pm. Click here for weekly updates & two weeks forecast.
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AAA Bond Rating
I am happy to report that Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a AAA rating to our $17.1mm bond offering. This will reduce our borrowing costs.
Resolution Urging Governor Cuomo and NYS Legislature to Adopt New Legislation to Help Alleviate the Economic Burden
In late 2017, Congress enacted new tax legislation that has the potential to increase the federal income tax liability of residents in the Town of New Castle and elsewhere across New York State by placing a $10,000 limit on the amount of state and local tax (“SALT”) deductions. Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature are reportedly exploring strategies to offset the increased tax burden that is being placed on taxpayers in places like New Castle. Some of the strategies reportedly being explored by state leaders include a new employer payroll tax with a commensurate credit against state income tax liability, and allowing individuals to make contributions in lieu of taxes to the state treasury or a specific state fund to enable taking the full amount under the charitable deduction.
New York State municipalities such as the Town of New Castle generally lack the statutory authority to participate in charitable fund-raising activities or the power to unilaterally enact tax legislation. While the Town Board took a proactive approach in late 2017 insofar as accommodating residents who wished to accelerate their payment of school and other local property taxes, looking ahead, the Town’s legal options appear extremely limited insofar as providing residents relief from the increased tax burden being placed upon them by the federal government. We passed a resolution calling upon Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to explore all options, including but not limited to the enactment of statewide legislation, that will help alleviate the economic burden that is being placed upon New York State residents by the recently imposed federal income tax limitations on SALT deductions. We sent our resolution to Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblyman David Buchwald, Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein, Chair, Committee on Ways and Means, Senator Catharine Young Chair, Finance Committee, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Resolution Requesting The Introduction of Home Rule Legislation To Allow the Leasing of Space on Sports Field Fences in Certain Town Parks
We are requesting that the NYS State Legislature introduce Home Rule Legislation to allow the Town of New Castle to lease space on its sports field fences at Gedney Park, Millwood Park and, the Recreation Field for the purpose of advertising with the revenues derived therefrom to be used solely for maintaining these and other Town parks and supporting recreational activities and programming therein. We sent our resolution to the New York State Senate and Assembly Home Rule offices of Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman David Buchwald.
Town Hall Basketball Court / Playground Project
Last night we created the capital account for the town hall basketball court / playground project. As many are aware, with assistance from New York State Senator Terrence Murphy, the Town has secured a $200,000.00 SAM Grant (State and Municipal Facilities Program towards the funding for this project. In addition, due to the efforts of New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald, the Town will be receiving $125,000.00 towards the playground area. We continue to work with our Environmental Review Board to explore the location of the basketball court.
I met with the RoboChaps. The RoboChaps are studying how water is being used locally and how to reduce water use. I look forward to working with them on their campaign to raise awareness to help people reduce water use. They have designed a detection application.
Scan the QR code to download their incredible app.
Woodard and Curran presented their Millwood Hamlet Sewer Feasibility Study to the Town Board last week. This is the first step in the process of bringing sewers into that Millwood Hamlet. Their presentation can be found here.
Electric Shuttle Bus
In December 2016, the Town of New Castle became the first community in New York State in its size range to receive the designation of a Clean Energy Community (“CEC”). On December 19th, a prior Town Board passed a resolution directing Town staff to modify and resubmit all applicable grant administration documents to reflect that the Town intends to use the CEC grant exclusively for the purchase of an electric shuttle bus. Town staff was directed to proceed with identifying a vendor for the purchase of an electric shuttle in accordance with the Town’s procurement policy. I am happy to report that Town staff found a smaller & less expensive 9-16 passenger electric bus. After the state rebate, the electric shuttle will cost $88,000. After the $100,000 grant, we will have $12,000 left over for LED street lights. The electric shuttle bus will 7be handicapped accessible and have a 145 mile capacity on a single charge.
North County Trailway
As part of the Empire State Trail initiative, NYSDOT is proposing to make improvements to the North County Trailway on Route 100, between the Route 9A interchange in Mount Pleasant and Route 133 in New Castle. The time frame for construction is spring 2020 with completion fall 2020. We are also talking to the County about our replica train station and the possibility of including funding for it in their bonding.
Westchester County Airport
We recently learned that New Castle has a right to have a member appointed to the Westchester County Airport Advisory Board. We will be nominating someone. That person would then need to be interviewed & appointed by the County Executive Latimer subject to confirmation by the County Board.
Railroad Crossing Safety
I have contacted County Executive Latimer to request his help as a member of the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Council. We are encouraging the council to sponsor a bridge over the Metro-North Railroad grade crossing at Roaring Brook Road and its intersection with the Saw Mill River Parkway.
I am setting up a meeting with NYS DOT to discuss their requirement that we must take 8 feet in front of every house and an additional 5′ snow storage to construct a sidewalk on a state road. That requirement was not in place when the 120 sidewalk was constructed. This requirement makes it exponentially more difficult and expensive to improve pedestrian safety.
Safe Exchange Location – A Safe Place for Craigslist, eBay & Other Online Exchange Sites
We want residents purchasing items on Craigslist, eBay and other online exchange sites to feel safe when making the exchange. We are looking to establish a safe exchange location outside the police headquarters which is under 24 hour surveillance. This would offer residents a safe alternative from the obvious risks of meeting a stranger for an online sale.