It is again time to reflect on our accomplishments over the past year. As always, we have been busy this year with ongoing projects and new projects that will help to improve the town. I’ve said it again and again; it is truly an honor to serve the citizens of New Castle. Over the past year, I have brought residents into the process and engaged them, listened to your concerns and ideas, and governed in a transparent fashion. I have tried to bring vision and fresh ideas to the table; even if those ideas come from others. And, most important, I have acted in the best interests of the entire community. I am very proud of the progress made throughout the year, and I will mention a few highlights:
- 2018 Budget
- Bond Issuance
- Chappaqua Downtown Revitalization
- Chappaqua Performing Arts Center
- Chappaqua Crossing
- 2017 Comprehensive Plan
- Hunts Place
- Railroad Crossing Safety
- Distracted Driving
- Pedestrian Safety
- Neighborhood Speed Awareness Campaign
- Recreation & Parks Smoking Ban
- Regulation of Vape Shops
- Raising the Age for Tobacco & Vape Product Purchases
- Town Hall Basketball Court / Inclusive Playground
- Our Seniors
- Arts & Culture Committee
- Mandate Relief Committee
- New Castle Youth Civics Action Committee
- Emergency Preparedness Committee
- New Castle For Inclusion & Diversity Committee Celebration
- Every Person is Connected
- New Castle Health and Wellness Committee
- Keeping and Raising of Chickens
- More Workers Compensation Savings
- Ethics Code
- Double Utility Poles
- Millwood 200 Year Anniversary
- Millwood Sewers
- Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project
- Millwood Replica Train Station
- Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden
- Millwood – NYSDOT Yard
- Millwood – Cell Service
- Westchester County Airport
- Saw Mill Sewer District
- Electronic Community Sign
- Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
- 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.
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
We went out to bid for a project manager, and awarded the contract to Boswell Engineering. We went out to bid for our construction firm and awarded the contract to ELQ Industries, Inc. This project will accomplish the much-needed repair, replacement and upgrading of critical infrastructure systems in our downtown business hamlet, including sanitary sewer, stormwater, water mains and roadways. The project also includes streetscape improvements: new lighting, sidewalks, curbing and landscaping. Residents can look forward to new wider sidewalks, attractive new public spaces, new crosswalks and traffic/parking improvements. Our groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 13th. Water Main has now been installed. Temporary water main has been removed. Sewer installation has commenced. 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). In addition, John Kazawic has, and will continue to, attended monthly, televised Town meetings and provides an update.
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. Click here for spring schedule. In addition, a capital fundraising campaign has been initiated by the Friends of the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, being established to provide financial support to ChappPAC. We also have received an anonymous donation of $30,000 to be used for children’s programming. John Fanelli, our theater manager, has done an incredible job. Thank you to our Arts & Culture Committee, as well as Friends of Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. Click here for Facebook page.
Whole Foods store opening is planned for the spring/summer of 2018. Lifetime Fitness is planned to open by the summer of 2018. Lifetime Fitness already has a Chappaqua Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/lifetimeathleticchappaqua/. As part of the approval of retail at Chappaqua Crossing, Summit Greenfield was required to pay for improvements to the Horace Greeley High School entrance drive, estimated at $1,300,000. This work was done this summer. It is now three lanes wide. The final piece of the high school entrance project – a traffic light at the intersection of Roaring Brook Road by the Education Center – will be installed during summer 2018. The rest of Roaring Brook Road will be paved at that time. Lower Roaring Brook Road was already repaved – that too was paid for by Summit Greenfield. We also brought to an official close a pair of lawsuits that filed against the Town back in 2011. It’s been a long road. Given the cards we were dealt in 2014, I’m proud of what my administrations have accomplished at Chappaqua Crossing.
Back in December, 2015, the Town Board approved housing in the Cupola Building. The iconic Cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing is being adaptively reused for 28 units of affordable housing, 10 work force, 25 market rate units. 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 2018.
Award Winning 2017 Comprehensive Plan
The Town Board adopted the 2017 Comprehensive Plan, and we did it the right way – with community participation! It’s been 28 years since the Town’s Comprehensive Plan was last updated. Over the past few years, residents and volunteers, planning consultants and advisory board members, Town staff and officials have worked collaboratively to develop our new Comprehensive Plan. Our Comprehensive Plan combines resident input with best planning practice to establish policies that will guide New Castle’s growth and governance over the next fifteen to twenty years. This process involved an unprecedented amount of community input. The desires, hopes and opinions about New Castle form the basis of the document. Our 2017 Comprehensive Plan received the American Planning Association Meritorious Service or Achievement Award. The award honors excellence in local planning endeavors. Now that we’ve adopted the 2017 Comprehensive Plan it’s time for the current Town Board to prioritize our goals. This process has already started in the context of preparing the 2018 budget.
Like so many others, I was appalled when a prior Town administration approved a 28-unit affordable housing project at 54 Hunts Place. The project site is a vacant 1/4 acre lot that is sandwiched between the Quaker Street Bridge (Route 120), the Metro North Railroad tracks and the Chappaqua exit off ramp on the Saw Mill River Parkway. The location is not suitable for residential housing of any kind. Nevertheless, in 2013, the Town rezoned the property and granted approval for Conifer Realty, LLC to erect a 4-story residential apartment building that will rise alongside the Quaker Street Bridge. Conifer’s affordable housing project on Hunts Place raised serious questions about public safety, housing stigmatization and the astronomical cost of developing this particular site for residential housing. The first phase of the construction which involved remediating the environmental contamination on the property, which was used to run a kerosene, fuel oil and gasoline supply business between roughly the 1930s and 1960s, began. The Town retained our own environmental consultant, WCD Group. Our environmental consultant’s opinion was that only low grade organic vapors were generated in the immediate vicinity of the excavation, and that these vapors did not travel any measurable distance from the site.
Railroad Crossing Safety
We wrote a letter to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, and, once again, reiterated our request to be added to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) list. We pointed out the need for design and construction of a bridge over the Metro-North Railroad grade crossing at Roaring Brook Road and its intersection with the Saw Mill River Parkway, less than a quarter mile from Horace Greeley High School, NYS Route 117 (truck route) and the multi-use Chappaqua Crossing. We introduced our Red Flashing Lights graphic to remind drivers to wait for gates to rise AND for the red lights to stop flashing – that’s the law. Lastly, 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”.
New Castle is leading the effort to combat this dangerous epidemic on our roads. Our education and enforcement efforts are being used as a model across the state, and has been recognized at the National level. Jacy Good and her husband Steve Johnson began offering their Distracted Driver Diversion Course to persons ticketed for distracted driving offenses in New Castle. The course is given at Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. They share their incredibly powerful story of an accident, caused by a distracted driver, that killed Jacy’s parents and left her with a traumatic brain injury. While no promises or commitments are being extended, completion of this one-hour course prior to your pre-trial conference date will be given favorable consideration in determining whether, and to what extent, any plea bargain is offered. We also introduced a new video regarding our Distracted Driving Diversion Course. New Castle Police Chief Charles Ferry, Police Officer Chad Golanec and Ben Lieberman presented “Advances in Combating Distracted Driving” at the 2017 Empire State Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Conference. We received some nice recognition by American Automobile Association. New Castle’s intense publicity campaign and strategic deployment of officers allowed its police department to issue more texting summonses than the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse police departments combined”. New Castle was listed as a success story! We also had a great meeting with six representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). They wanted to hear about our efforts here in New Castle so that it can be replicated on a national level. I was proud to be in Albany for 2017 Distracted Driving Awareness Lobby Day. Advocates from across the State joined NYS Senator Terrence Murphy, Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz and Ben Lieberman to educate legislators about “Evan’s Law”, named after Ben’s 19-year-old son who was killed in a distracted driving accident. This legislation has bi-partisan support and would make New York the first state to attempt a distracted driving policy that enables police to examine phones at an accident site using the “Textalyzer”. Governor Cuomo directed his Traffic Safety Committee to study the “Textalyzer”, which would be used to detect if a cellphone was used immediately before a crash.
Walking when it’s dark outside can be dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur during hours of darkness. New Castle Police want to help residents BE SEEN and stay safe. New Castle Police are offering residents a free pedestrian safety reflector. Officers will also be carrying reflectors in police vehicles to provide to pedestrians walking in dark areas. These reflectors can easily be attached to your clothing or items you carry to help increase your visibility while walking. They can also be used on a dogs collar to make nighttime dog walking safer. The reflectors will also be available at the police station.
Neighborhood Speed Awareness Campaign
Problems with speeding vehicles often involve local drivers who are daily roadway users and live in or nearby the affected neighborhood. In addition to selective traffic enforcement, radar speed signs & additional signage (curves, hidden driveways, etc), our police department is introducing our Speed Awareness Campaign. A Speed Awareness Campaign is an effective way to remind local drivers to lower their speeds and be extra cautious in residential neighborhoods. Our police department has 25 “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” lawn signs & 4 “Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25” metal street signs.
Recreation & Parks Smoking Ban
We passed a new rule prohibiting smoking in our public parks.
Regulation of Vape Shops
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.
Town Hall Basketball Court / Playground
Since 1998, the Town has been looking to install a lighted full court basketball court. This is finally becoming a reality! This will be an inclusive playground – accessible to children of various physical abilities. We issued a Request for Proposals for the preparation of Conceptual Plans, Construction Drawings and Construction Documents for a lighted basketball court, playground area and parking lot improvements located at the New Castle Town Hall. The proposed lighted basketball court will be 84’ x 50’ with 10’ clear zone. The proposed playground area will be a minimum area of 4,000 square feet, but we hope much bigger. We would like to integrate the new playground with the new basketball court. We awarded the contract to Eberlin & Eberlin. That’s the same company who designed the basketball Court in Bedford Hills Memorial Park. We have received $325,000 in grants – $200,000 from Senator Murphy & $125,000 from Assemblyman Buchwald for these projects.
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.
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 committed to upholding the Paris Accord – reduce our emissions 26 percent by 2025, based on 2005 levels. This electric shuttle bus will help us achieve that goal! We already added an electric vehicle to our fleet. The New Castle SAB has been studying our current streetlights and looking into the environmental and financial benefits of converting to LEDs. They are working with Scarsdale and the Westchester lighting consortium. Our Sustainability Advisory Board is also working on a composting program where residents drop their food scraps off at the recycling center, at no charge, which are then collected by Sanipro and delivered to a central composter. We are leveraging a program developed by Scarsdale that has been very successful. The cost of the program are offset by the savings on tipping fees. Food scraps account for approximately 15% of municipal solid waste. Composting is an important waste reduction strategy. Many school districts, including Chappaqua Central School District, are already doing it. Lastly, we held a Roundtable Discussion about how being a Green Community can &/or should help draw new people to our community (especially Millenniums). We discussed how our sustainability initiatives make our residents more environmentally responsible, and saves them money. Greener in every sense of the word!
Arts & Culture Committee
Lots of exciting Arts and Culture happenings in New Castle. The Town Board voted to change the name of the Wallace Auditorium to the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center. The Town Board also approved the appointment of John Fanelli of Lighthouse Youth Theater as our new theater manager. We are well on our way to making this venue the premier destination for arts and culture in northern Westchester. Our Arts & Culture Committee also sponsored lots of great community events. Check out their Facebook page.
New Castle For Inclusion & Diversity Committee
Our Inclusion & Diversity Committee continues to work to create community awareness about differences in others as related to race, religion, cultural differences, sexual preferences and gender identity. The Committee sponsored a logo contest and 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. Our “All Are Welcome Here” hangs in the lobby of our Town Hall. Small banners can be found around Town. We also introduced our new “Build Trust – Reduce Crime” flyer. These flyers were distributed around town and the message will also be printed on business cards for our officers to carry with them. The New Castle Police Department wants all people – regardless of their immigration status—to feel comfortable talking to its officers. They will not ask about someone’s immigration status! Their message is simple: Crime victims should feel comfortable reporting crimes. Witnesses should feel comfortable reporting crimes!
Mandate Relief Committee
In 2014, the New Castle Town Board established a Mandate Relief Committee based on the belief that certain New York State Mandates have and continue to impose significant financial restrictions on our Town, restrictions that must be addressed in order to ensure the stability and sustainability of local services to residents. This past year, the mandate committee sent letters to Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman David Buchwald requesting an update on whatever efforts they have made, or are currently contemplating, to provide mandate relief to New Castle residents. Senator Terrence Murphy sponsored legislation that prevents local governments and taxpayers from being burdened by unfunded mandates. This legislation passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. Our Mandate Committee also appeared before the Town Board and provided an informative presentation. As they indicated in their presentation, more work needs to be done & unfunded mandate relief must remain a top priority. I could not agree more.
New Castle Youth Civics Action Committee (“YCA”)
We approved the creation of the New Castle Youth Civics Action Committee (“YCA”) to increase youth participation in local government. Our youth should add their voices to local policies, practices and services offered in the communities that concern them. Our youth are valuable stakeholders, capable of contributing to the vibrancy of our communities. This committee will teach democracy by giving young people first-hand experience of decision-making in a democracy. This committee will empower youth to act as advocates for themselves and their peers through identifying and representing the needs of the youth community. We had over 30 kids attend our first meeting.
Committee Preparedness Committee
We all hope that a disaster will never happen, but we want to do our best to give our residents the peace of mind in knowing that they are prepared as possible to protect themselves, their family and their neighborhood if it should. NCPD hosted “Civilian Response to an Active Shooter” to help citizens be better prepared should they be in the vicinity of an active shooter incident. We also continued to prepare New Castle citizens to effectively respond in the initial phase of an emergency or disaster and focused on neighborhood preparedness. Throughout September, National Preparedness Month, we provided daily tips and advice on how residents can prepare for emergencies. You can see all tips here.
Every Person is Connected (formerly known as Exceptional People Committee)
Once again, our Every Person is Connected Committee (formerly known as Exceptional People Committee) took part in the “Light It Up Blue” campaign to raise awareness of autism. They also sponsored a Nature Walk for People of ALL Abilities and Garden Craft Workshop for People of ALL Abilities. They are responsible for the handicap playground swing at Gedney, and working with Councilman Jeremy Saland on the new inclusive playground at Town Hall.
New Castle Health and Wellness Committee
May was Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and our New Castle Health and Wellness Committee hosted a very informative educational presentation on tick and Lyme Disease prevention and awareness. Ticks are out in force this year, especially in our area. Learn how to protect yourself from tick bites, what to do when you find a tick, and what symptoms to look for with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases found in Westchester County. Lots resources have been updated to the Town’s website.
Keeping and Raising of Chicken
We updated our town code regarding the keeping and raising of chickens. From the beginning, we 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. Thank you to Councilwoman Hala Makowska for preparing a matrix that allows us to review and compare how various municipalities handle how the eggs are used, permitting, gender, quantity limitations, set-backs, sanitation, coop/building, predator/nuisance, noise & animal welfare.
More Workers Compensation Savings
I’m happy to report that we continue to save money on our workers compensation premium. In 2014, we started working with a new insurance broker, Foa & Son. We switched our workers compensation carrier and immediately saved $222,565. Besides saving money on our premium, Foa & Son offered safety training programs to town employees. As a result of this commitment to safety, we have drastically reduced our workers compensation claims. In fact, based on our safety record, we are now eligible for a program that provides an additional premium reduction. Although the full amount of our savings won’t be known until the end of the policy term we expect savings of $145,00.00 this year. Based on our premium in 2013-4 which was $772,967, over the past 4 years we have saved over $1,000,000!
- 2014-15: $550,402
- 2015-16: $520,672
- 2016-17: $560,178
- 2017-18: $415,021
Our total budget for paving & road improvements for 2017 was $915,452. We also paved the south commuter parking lot. As well, Route 120 was repaved from the Route 133/120 traffic signal to Marcourt Drive. There is no doubt we have a lot of caching up to do in regard to paving. Over the last 3 years, we’ve spent close to $3,000,000 but many more roads need to be paved. Our paving budget for 2018 is $922,452.
As part of our award winning 2017 Comprehensive Plan, we have adopted action plans to develop a comprehensive sidewalk plan to examine the feasibility of sidewalks within and between neighborhoods, as well as sidewalks on all major routes including Rt. 117, 100, 120, 133, 128. We will also examine opportunities to enhance bike, pedestrian and alternative transport between Chappaqua, Millwood and Chappaqua Crossing. 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.
We adopted a new Ethics Code in 2014. We had a joint meeting with the Ethics Board to discuss potential changes to the Ethics Law. The Town Board had suggested a number of specific subjects for the Ethics Board to consider, and further requested that the Ethics Board consider any other areas that might merit review. The Ethics Board only recommended a single change, which involves their ability to receive ethics complaints directly from residents. We adopted their recommendation. We were so sorry to hear about the passing of James Shanman, the chairman of our Ethics Board. James made a positive, memorable and lasting impression on all of us. He will be missed.
Double Utility Poles
Besides being unsightly, double utility poles are an immediate and ongoing hazard to motorists, pedestrians, and property throughout the Town. Double poles also increase the hazard of falling poles due to storms, snow, rain, wind or other weather related events and increase the chance of power outages. We proposed adopting “Double Utility Poles” legislation to fine utility companies when such double poles exist. We also compiled a list of double utility poles. Turns out there are 338 double poles!! Con Edison reviewed our proposed “Double Utility Poles” legislation. They agreed to remove the 338 identified double wood utility poles! That process has started.
Millwood 200 Year Anniversary
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.
We have identified Millwood as a priority area for the construction of sanitary sewers to replace existing capacity limited and failing septic systems. Woodard and Curran have been tasked with technical and financial feasibility study for the installation of sewers in the Millwood Hamlet. Their presentation to the Town Board is scheduled for early this year.
Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project
As many residents know, we received a $500,000 grant, thanks to Senator Terrence Murphy, to install ADA compliant sidewalks and curbing along the intersection of Route 100 and Station Road. In addition, decorative lighting improvements along Station Road will also be included in the project. A second component will install 474 feet of sidewalk improvements including a crosswalk and decorative lighting along NYS Route 100 in proximity to Millwood Park. We awarded the bid for engineering services for the Millwood Sidewalk Improvement Project.
Millwood Replica Train Station
For years, there has been talk of building a replica of the former Millwood train station. We are making progress! Our Town Engineer Bob Cioli has created three scenarios based on three different locations. We are now working with the state & county to make this a reality.
Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden
The Millwood Community Garden is a reality! The area was cleared and leveled. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to order gravel, wood and soil. Town staff installed 85 yards of gravel. We started building 30 vegetable garden beds, each 16 feet long by 40 inches wide. Most of 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 – NYSDOT 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.
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
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.
Electronic Community Sign
We approved a resolution to approve the purchase of an electronic sign to replace the existing Greeley Booster sign 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 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.
By way of background, in 2014, the Town Board held three scoping sessions and ultimately adopted a 36-page Scoping Outline for this project. The Planning Board provided input with respect to the Scoping Outline, as did the Westchester County Department of Planning. Since then, however, the project has changed. When initially proposed, the project called for the adaptive reuse of the existing institutional building. That is no longer being proposed. We requested that the Applicant explain how this project is consistent with our draft Comprehensive Plan. This project must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
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.
Prepayment of Taxes
As of December 27, 2017, the Town started accepting 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).
For More News
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As we look ahead to the New Year, let’s look forward not as individuals, but as a community. Together we can make New Castle an even better place to live, work and raise a family. Progress means that with each turn, more needs to be done, and I will continue to work hard for the community. I look forward to another year of progress ahead of us.