Town of New Castle Supervisor’s Report October 24, 2017

 

New Castle Supervisor’s Report – October 25, 2017

Rob Greenstein
Supervisor, New Castle

Millwood’s 200 Year Anniversary Celebration

Millwood’s 200 Year Anniversary celebration is this Saturday, October 28, 12-5p, Gedney Park.The celebration will take place in the back of Gedney Park. We’re having a beer garden, big stage and band. There will be three food trucks and ice cream. Tons of fun activities for kids including pony rides, inflatables, gaga pit, yard games, bubbles, face painting, pumpkin painting, cookie decorating and other fun activities. Admission is free – pay for food & beverages. We’ll have a shuttle bus and hay ride to get people from the parking in the front field and overflow parking at WestOrchard school to the back of Gedney.

I would like to thank our sponsors:

  • DeCicco & Sons
  • Millwood Plaza
  • Rocky’s Millwood Deli
  • Sunshine Children’s Home & Rehab Center
  • Mavis Tire Supply
  • Summit Grossman
  • Kiwi Country Day Camp
  • Drug Mart of Millwood
  • Millwood Animal Hospital
  • Sari Shaw, Platinum Drive Realty
  • Tazza Cafe
  • New Castle Physical Therapy & Personal Training
  • Dodd’s Liquor City
  • Matero Fine Jewelry & Design Inc
  • Kumon Math and Reading Center of Ossining
  • Houlihan Lawrence

 

2018 Budget

We completed our budget meetings will all department heads. Once again, our tentative 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 $691,063 for 2018 and still remain within the tax cap. However, the tentative budget contemplates increasing the levy by 1.09% or an increase of $224,043, less than one-third the amount allowable under the tax cap for this year.Our tax increase is on par with our prior 3 budgets.

  • 2015 – $9 increase per average household
  • 2016 – $20 increase per average household
  • 2017 – $28 increase per average household
  • 2018 – $23 increase per average household

Our paving budget is on par with our prior 3 budgets, but was increased by another $100,000!

  • 2015 – $1,014,455 – more than in the three prior years combined!
  • 2016 – $897,026
  • 2017 – $822,452
  • 2018 – $922,000

In addition, the Town has maintained our $25,000 funding for beautification. Click here for 2018 Tentative Budget.The Preliminary Budget will be released at our 11/8 Town Board meeting. We will then set the public hearing for 11/28. We hope to approve the budget on 12/12.

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. The capital expenditures we intend to borrow for are listed below. 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 they issue bonds. This will allow 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
Minkel Dam $1,093,000.00
DPW Heavy Equipment (2014) $303,196.00
DPW Heavy Equipment (2015) $597,725.00
DPW Heavy Equipment (2016/2017) $600,000.00
Replace Fuel Tanks $500,000.00
Gedney Park Playground (2016) $143,895.00
Basketball Court/Playground $258,000.00
IT Infrastructure $788,350.00
Wallace Auditorium $150,000.00

Next steps….bond counsel prepares the resolutions with the breakdown of the items we intend to include in the bond. The Town Board will open public hearings. The Town Board must approve the resolutions. After the resolutions are approved, we offer our bond to the market.

 

Westchester County Airport

Back on August 15th, we sent a letter on behalf of New Castle to the County Executive and the Chairman of the Board of Legislators (our own Mike Kaplowitz), expressing our concerns about any airport privatization and expansion. We made it clear that we must protect the quality of life of the residents of New Castle and other communities against any increase in air, water or noise pollution. We also explicitly brought their attention to issues with the current operations of the airport including the increase of corporate and charter flights and the problems this creates for communities in terms of increased noise and air pollution and the operation of these flights at lower altitudes and during overnight hours.In my last Supervisor’s Report, I encouraged residents to report airport noise. As well, I encouraged residents to contact our representative on the Board of Legislators, Michael Kaplowitz so that he can best represent his constituents. I am happy to see that many residents have emailed Chairman Kaplowitz and reported complaints have risen dramatically. I personally visited the Board of Legislators on September 25th and made sure that the BOL was clear on where I and the rest of the town board stood on this issue. I deliver our message right before the 29 minute mark.

While the future of airport privatization has taken center stage, the problem exists now, as many residents are seeing an increased number of low flying and loud aircraft. Make no mistake about it, something needs to be done to protect and preserve our quality of life and our property values. 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. Only Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and Van Nuys Airport in California boast more private traffic. There has also been reports that traffic from Teterboro, which has stricter noise controls, is being shifted to Westchester Airport. 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! Tradewind operates 18 aircraft – up from 12 just two years ago! Their business was up almost 30 percent in 2015. Once again, I encourage residents to contact Michael Kaplowitz, our representative on the Board of Legislators kaplowitz@westchesterlegislators.com. As well, report airport noise using the following form.

 

Welcome Guide

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. To learn more, click here.

Exceptional People of New Castle Committee – Chappaqua Performing Arts Center

We have an incredible Exceptional People of New Castle Committee whose mission is to find ways to better the lives of those with special needs. We also have an incredible Arts & Culture Committee whose mission is to bring more arts & culture experiences to New Castle. I’m looking forward to our tour of the Prospector on Thursday November 9th with Councilwoman Lisa Katz, Chair of our Arts & Culture Committee, Shannon Mrazik, chair of our Exceptional People of New Castle Committee and John Fanelli, our theater manager. The Prospector Theater is located in Ridgefield, CT and provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities. We hope to follow the model of the Prospector Theater for our Chappaqua Performing Arts Center.

2017 “Award Winning” Comprehensive Plan

The Town of New Castle’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan was chosen to receive this year’s NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association Meritorious Service or Achievement Award. The NY Metro Chapter represents some 1,400 practicing planners and other people involved in the planning and design of the region’s communities. The American Planning Association advocates for good planning practice. The award honors excellence in local planning endeavors.

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner – Gaby Rosenfeld Award

Last year, at our 1st Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, I spoke about the importance of saying thank you. Specifically, extending the thanks of our Town Board and on behalf of our residents to the volunteers who do so much for New Castle. Next week we will once again honor our volunteers who are builders without brick and mortar. Each of our volunteers have helped build our community through sharing their special talents and commitment to benefit others without seeking personal gain. We will honor 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 will be presenting the Gabby Rosenfeld Award to honor a resident for their dedication and service to the Town. Both Marion & Gray Williams have been nominated to be 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. Gray means so much to our town. Gray’s endeavors in searching for and memorializing our Town’s history benefits us all. Our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner scheduled for November 1st, 6:30pm, Kittle House.

Millwood Sewers

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 tentatively scheduled for the end of November.

Millwood Sidewalks

Two separate RFP’s were prepared and placed on the Empire Bid Net website on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 regarding the Proposed Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project. One RFP was for Professional Engineering Services for the preparation of Preliminary & Final Design Plans, Bid Documents and Construction Management & Inspection Services, which is due on Thursday, October 26th. Once received, a full evaluation of the lowest three (3) proposals will be performed and a recommendation memo will be prepared and placed on the November 7th Town Board Work Session. The second RFP was for Professional Services for the land acquisition over and across the property of 230 Saw Mill River Road (Santomero property), which is due on Thursday, October 26th as well. Once received, a full evaluation of the lowest three (3) proposals will be performed and recommendation memo will be prepared and placed on the November 7th Town Board Work Session.

Saw Mill Sewer District

Last summer we sent letters to 1,500 residents who own property in the Saw Mill Sewer District requesting information as to whether or not they are serviced by sewer or septic. If they are within the Saw Mill Sewer district, and have septic they may have the right to opt out of the district and stop paying taxes for services they do not receive. We reminded them that for those residents who reside within the Saw Mill Sewer District and have septic systems, Westchester County would reimburse them you up to $300 of the cost of your septic pump-out every three years. The County will also reimburse them for $275 every six years for septic inspection.We advised them that under certain circumstances, they may petition to leave the Saw Mill Sewer District altogether and avoid the tax. Our letter included a prepaid postcard which residents could use to indicate if their property uses a septic system or sewer. This was discussed in my Supervisor’s Report on 08/16/16.

We recently sent a letter to County Executive Rob Astorino, Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Mike Kaplowitz & Commissioner of Westchester Department of Environmental Facilities Thomas Lauro. Our letter states that these residents derive absolutely no benefit from the sewer district, but yet are taxed as full members of the district. These residents shoulder an unfair, and frankly illegal, tax burden by being included within the Saw Mill Sewer District when in fact they derive no benefit from the District. We advised them that we are preparing a petition to request the removal of some 350 parcels that meet their criteria to opt out. For those that don’t meet their criteria, we requested that they too should have the right to opt out.

 

Roundtable Discussion: Creating a More Valuable Town by Being a Green Community

Thanks to our incredible Sustainability Advisory Board, more residents in our community are Going Green. Many have installed solar panels. 4,600 New Castle households are using green energy, while saving money. As a municipality, we too are Going Green. We have increased our recycling with Single Stream Recycling. We passed legislation such as the Reusable Bag Initiative that has saved thousands of tons of carbon emission. We received a $100,000 grant after being designated a Clean Energy Community by New York State. The Town intends to use our $100,000 award to the purchase of an all-electric or hybrid shuttle bus to provide residents and patrons with a no-cost transportation alternative between the Chappaqua Metro-North Railroad Station, the Chappaqua hamlet, and Chappaqua Crossing. We have saved money by buying an electric vehicle. We will soon be installing LED streetlights, which will save us money. We are a Green Community, for sure. The topic of our roundtable was creating a “More Valuable Town by Being a Green Community”. Do potential homebuyers know that we are a Green Community? Are we doing everything we can to market ourselves as a green community to attract new homeowners?To watch the roundtable discussions, click here.

Prior Roundtable Discussions
What Prospective Home buyers are Looking For 
How to Keep Empty Nesters in the Community
Volunteer Opportunities in New Castle
Enhancing Our Business Districts
Mandate Roundtable
Employment Opportunities for those with Special Needs

 

120 Sidewalk

As far as our NYS Route 120 sidewalk replacement project, if you recall, this portion of the sidewalk replacement project started at the west side of the Grafflin school entrance and extended down Route 120 to the west side of Ridgewood Terrace. We began the project in mid-September and followed Con Ed’s gas main replacement work along Route 120. We have installed new granite curbing throughout the length of the span and new ADA compliant sidewalks will be complete by this Friday, October 27, 2017. At that time, the sidewalk will be open to pedestrians. This portion of the project was completed 4 weeks ahead of schedule and under budget. We have also taken the liberty of asphalt patching the section of sidewalk from Ridgewood Terrace to Elm Street that was not replaced at this time. This section of sidewalk is Phase II and is slated to be completed in the Spring of 2018 after Con Ed completes the second phase of its gas main replacement project. The asphalt patch is a temporary repair until we can replace the entire span of phase II in the Spring. Because we completed phase I so early, we have invited Con Ed to start phase II of their gas main replacement project now. They are requesting a waiver from NYS Department of Transportation to start that portion in November 2017. We are waiting to hear NYSDOT’s decision. We would like to thank the community, especially the Grafflin community, for their patience during phase I of this sidewalk project and the we look forward to completing phase II in the Spring of 2018. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact me.

Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden

After Town staff installed 85 yards of gravel, created a “pad” for the garden beds and created a gravel walk way into the area, our volunteers built 18 beds! Each bed is 16 feet long by 40 inches wide. After the remaining 12 beds are built, we’ll be adding soil. I would like to thank Suzi Novak, Jackie Smith, Quint Smith & Mike Wolfensohn for their work on this project. I would also like to thank our incredible Recreation & Parks Department. Lastly, I would like to thank a few local merchants who have agreed to sponsor the Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden.

  • Rocky’s Millwood Deli
  • Drug Mart of Millwood
  • Tazza Cafe
  • Matero Fine Jewelry & Design Inc
  • Dodd’s Wine Shop
  • Rotta Family
  • Sari Shaw, Platinum Drive Realty
  • William Raveis Chappaqua

Millwood DOT Yard

As I mentioned in my Supervisor’s Report back in May, we’ve been working with NYSDOT officials to discuss landscaping at the DOT yard to ensure proper screening (especially for the metal fuel tanks). DOT assured Town officials that they would work with the Town to address our concerns. I’m happy to report, they did! 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. The revised landscaping plan will be planted this Fall.

Town Water Main – Metro North RR

As many know, the Town must replace the water main that runs below the Metro North railroad tracks near Hunt’s Place. The estimated cost has risen from $800,000 to $1.3 million. The reason for the increase is that we were originally going to install a force main – just shove a conduit under the tracks that would hold the new water main. When researching the stability of the soil, to avoid disrupting the railroad tracks and assume liability for disrupting commuter service along the Harlem line, we discovered much rock. We now have to micro tunnel under the tracks to protect them from damage. The increased cost is a result of the micro tunneling. We are also looking for partners – including Con Ed & Westchester County – to help defray the cost.

Distracted Driving

I am very proud to introduce our 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.

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. This is a great example of the Chappaqua Central School District, Town of New Castle & Greeley Boosters working together for the benefit of the community. This new electronic sign will be placed on school property close to where the current booster sign is presently sited. 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. This mock-up is temporarily being used to promote various community activities – like the Millwood 200 Year Anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 28th.

Senior Center – New Carpet

New carpet is scheduled to be installed on 11/01 for install.

2nd Annual Sunday Scramble

Join us on Sunday, Nov 5th (Marathon Sunday) on the recreation field in Chappaqua from 9-11am for running, jumping, obstacles and smiles specially designed for kids. This event will build on our community’s commitment to better health. Kids will exercise while having fun and spending time with their family and friends.

New Castle Community Media Center

New Castle Community Media Center has asked for funding so that they can index our recorded town board meetings. This would allow anyone viewing the on-demand recordings of our town board meetings/work sessions to jump to a particular topic in the meeting without having to watch the entire meeting. The Town Board supports their request.

Smith Street

We are looking into creating a pocket park at the corner of Smith & Greeley after the downtown construction is completed. It’s town owned property and right now the area is being used for construction activities.

Downtown Chappaqua Halloween

Calling all ghosts and goblins, pirates and princesses! The Town of New Castle and Kiwi Country Day Camp are proud to present “Downtown Chappaqua Halloween” on Tuesday, October 31st. Residents are invited to trick-or-treat at your favorite local BOO-tiques. This fun family event will feature lots of candy, fun characters & giveaways. As well, Broadway’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” wants you to get the Golden Ticket! Z100s street team will be there! VISIT Chappaqua’s Trick or Treat Event on Halloween from 3-5 to unwrap the magic. Streets will be open to traffic, so children must be accompanied by adults. Please be extra careful with the ongoing construction.