Tuesday, May 23rd

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New Fire Chief to Be Appointed July 12

thomascainThe Fire Department will hold a Transfer of Command Ceremony on Tuesday July 12th at 1 pm. James Seymour will be appointed to replace Chief Thomas Cain who will retire from the department after nearly 32 years of service including 10 years as fire chief. A committee was assembled to interview the four candidates who applied for his position. They named two finalists who were interviewed by the Mayor and the Village Manager who selected Seymour to serve as the new department chief.

The ceremony will be held at 1pm in the Scott Room at the Scarsdale Library.

At this time, Captain James E. Seymour will be appointed as the new Fire Chief and command of the Fire Department will be transferred from Chief Thomas Cain. In addition, one firefighter will be promoted to captain and several firefighters will receive commendations.

Trustees and Managers Respond to Questions about 2016 Revaluation

FairnessThe Village Board sought to appease disgruntled residents at a special meeting on Monday night June 27 to update residents on the status of the 2016 revaluation and grievance process.

Mayor Jon Mark said, "We are aware of the anger and frustration of many residents of the results of the revaluation. Trustee Jane Veron and I attended a portion of the Board of Assessment Review proceedings and saw an orderly process conducted in a civil matter. Residents were allowed to state their case .... and the BAR treated all with respect."

To those who called for the Village to invalidate the new assessments, Mark said, "We are not presently considering voiding the model. We have no independent basis for doing this. The only way to fix this is to do a 2017 reassessment."

He also noted that almost 82% of residents have not contested their assessments, saying, "We are cognizant of the silent majority who have not grieved and effectively accepted the results of this revaluation."

According to the Mayor 1,050 grievances were filed, representing 18.4% of taxable properties in the Village of Scarsdale. The Board of Assessment Review met on June 14, June 23 and will hold additional meetings on June 29 July 1 to allow everyone who wishes to be heard to have a hearing. The BAR will review grievances during the summer and the Mayor said that appraisals can be submitted until September 1, but its preferable to get them in earlier to give the board time to consider the data.

Deputy Village Assessor Patrick McEvily said that 193 people were scheduled to have hearings before the BAR. He said that the BAR will mail out decisions on the grievances on September 15 and that those who are unhappy with the results can file a small claims review (SCARS) between September 15 and October 17.

In response to those who questioned John Ryan's credentials and the Village's process for selecting him, Village Manager Steve Pappalardo shared the following:

Ryan was selected based on the completeness of his proposal and the qualifications of his staff during the process to select a firm to audit the 2014 revaluation. Only two responses were received.

Ryan has 30 years of experience in mass appraisal and holds the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE) designation and is licensed as a certified general appraiser in several states. He provides expert witness testimony on matters of property assessment and mass appraisal modeling.

Pappalardo said that an FAQ sheet with answers to more questions as well as charts analyzing the outcome of the revaluation can be found on the village website. An analysis of the data, can be viewed here

At the meeting, critics continued to express outrage, concern and anger.

Josh Frankel questioned the model formula for square footage of a home, which he said, "Values an 8,000 square foot home at only twice the price of a 2,000 square foot home ...four times as large at twice the price... I believe this is a bug."

He also questioned the number of sales that were not used in the model and claimed that too many were invalidated, or thrown out of the equation. He questioned why the reasons these sales were invalidated were not available.

Brice Kirkendall Rodriguez continued to question the validity of J.F. Ryan's model. He said he believes that Ryan manipulated 16 construction grades to correct the model. He said that when some of the grievers receive reductions, these will raise the taxes for everyone else and told the Mayor that even "more people will be unhappy." He asked the Village to retain an independent auditor.

Mayra Kirkendall Rodriguez repeated many of the points she made at the prior meeting asking the Village to retain an independent auditor to back test the model. She claimed that her group had "uncovered many flaws in the model," including questionable assumptions that had not been vetted. She asked why this second reval had been done, why the results were late and why no one had validated the data. She said, "Was there willful blindness?"

She said that her group uncovered information that showed that other municipalities have had trouble with Ryan's work. She claimed that in Rockingham, Vermont Ryan's assessment was "riddled with inaccuracies and mistakes," and in Westport, CT the town won a one-year delay from the state to cope with irregularities and errors."

She chided the Board saying, "You may claim that you had the best intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You certainly have unleashed living hell on many of us..." She then turned to the audience and said, "Fellow Scarsdalians, I urge you not to let the disgust and revulsion over what is happening lead you to inaction. .... Unfortunately village personnel and elected officials have chosen to abandon us. But, by no means, will my team and I relent in our quest to get this travesty of a revaluation overturned. Please join us, in our pursuit to restore order and decency, in our much beloved Scarsdale."

Lee Fishman suggested that the Village convene a standing committee to explain to residents how their valuations were done. He said, "When you switch a model, results will vary and can really whipsaw the valuation. If Ryan intended to correct outliers why were all assessments revised? The model should have been made fully public. Maybe we would have had fewer problems if it were revealed. ...Was there any consideration given to providing a year over year break for those than changed dramatically?"

Bernard Kobroff asked, "How will the assessor defend this?"

Norm Rosenzweig said, "It is questionable whether the model meets New York State standards. If it is not qualified can't it be voided?"

Another woman in the audience yelled out, "Why are we here if there's nothing you can do? Why don't you just tell us to go home."

Mayor Mark replied, saying "I thought it would be good to listen to you and explain.
There seems to be the impression that we can just toss this thing out and we are unable to do that."

Howard Weitz said, "I would like to suggest a different approach. Has Ryan complied with his contract? Did his people drive by all the homes in the Village? Perhaps we can question his performance and also charge that he had a conflict of interest as he was the monitor of Tyler, just a short time ago? He suggested that there was a breach of contract, and urged the Village attorney to take the matter away from real property law.

Sherry Berkowitz of Ross Road said "I was one of the lucky ones whose tax assessment went up 62%. She asked, "Why were we not given the opportunity to speak with Ryan? Why were we not given the same courtesy the second time around?" She wanted to know if the trustees plan to continue to do revaluations, saying "I will need to have money ready."

Bob Harrison, who was a former trustee questioned the need for the revaluation and said his petition to void the revaluation has 440 signatures on Change.org. He demanded, "Are you going to force us to bring a class action suit?" He said that Dorothy Finger had recused herself from the Board of Assessment Review and called for her resignation so that she could be replaced.

Mayor Mark explained that training was necessary before serving on the committee so that the trustees could not simply name a substitute.

Trustee Carl Finger said, "I think it is worth taking a moment to address the idea of how we feel. When I got on the board last year, they had already taken this step. Some questioned the second reval. Was it appropriate? I said at the time, the board that decided to do the first reval was in the best position to decide on the second reval. On many nights we heard people who were unhappy with the results from the first reval. It is difficult to see the community in such distress. I did not anticipate seeing so many unhappy people. We are listening to you and looking at what we can do better in the future. We are aware that there are things we can do better in the future. We are not in a position to do what you like. We are going to try to look at what we will do moving forward. We are all very distressed – and wish we could assess everyone at a fair value that they believe is right."

Maroon and White Celebrates Spring Athletes

waterhouseWith Graduation Day around the corner, the Class of 2016 says a few more goodbyes every day. Last class, last exam, last week of senior options, last match on the field as a Raider. The spring seasons have come to a close with tearful losses in sectionals. While those athletes continuing their careers on the next level in college will have four more years of camaraderie, team apparel, and bonding, there is nothing quite like wearing your Raider uniform to school on game day. There will be no more homecoming games, Raider Pride week, or pep rallies. For those playing on the club level in college, an era has come to a screeching halt. College no doubt has great adventures in store, but there is nothing like high school athletics, having your friends and family cheer you on. Mom and Dad may not make it to residence hall intramural matches next year.

Tuesday's Maroon and White honored student athletes. Michaela Nicholas will play lacrosse at Franklin and Marshall College. Her brother Stephen Nicholas will play football at F&M. Andrew Liskin will play football at Ithaca College. Michael Rolfe will play football at University of Pennsylvania. Elliot Graham will play lacrosse at Skidmore College. Lindsay Kramer will play basketball at Washington University in St. Louis. Fazl Shaikh will play soccer at Middlebury College. Eryn McDonald will play soccer at Dickinson College. Ethan Raff will play football at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Brendan Knaack will play football for Alfred University. will play football at Ithaca College. Kristine Fink will play volleyball at Michigan Tech. Scottie Berridge will swim for Columbia. Her teammate Bebe Thompson will become her competitor at Yale. Josh Hendell will swim at Dartmouth. Hailey Thornton will run track at U Albany. Gillian Lubin will playlacrosse at Wesleyan University. Eliza Brosgol will play lacrosse at Haverford College.

mw050The final Maroon and White event honored those student-athletes who have played a sport during every single season, three seasons for four years. Ethan Raff played football, wrestled, and competed in Track and Field. Maggie DesRosiers, Josh Klein, James Cotter, Matt Brotman, and George Crowley ran cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. Stephen Nicholas played football, hockey, and lacrosse. Kayle Waterhouse played tennis, basketball, baseball on the boys team, and softball. Teddy DeLorenzo played football and baseball and wrestled.

This year's recipient of the Nonie Knopp award is Stephen Nicholas. He is praised by all his coaches as the "go-to" guy. He is counted on by all his teammates and regardless of the team's performance he does not let them down. On the turf or on the ice, he is a natural leader and younger players look up to his calm demeanor in high-pressure situations.

Jake Nathanson, ski team manager and Varsity golfer, received the Elizabeth Timberger Memorial Award for his contributions off the slopes helping keep the ski team organized and have their events run smoothly.

Michaela Nicholas received the Nina F. Mooney Award bernsteinfor her outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, and worth ethic as a Varsity Field Hockey and Lacrosse star and captain.

The Peppers Awards one male and one female student-athlete that excels in the classroom, in their sport, and in the greater community. This year, Michael Rolfe and Sydney Bernstein were honored for their athletic talent, notable academic performance, and contributions to youth programs in their sports.

The seniors look forward to finding a new community within their colleges that will provide the same spirit and sense of belonging that the Raiders teams did. They will continue to display the Raider values of commitment, pride, and tradition in sports or otherwise next year.

 

 

 

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Delia Ephron to Introduce Her New Novel at Scarsdale Library on July 16

delia honey smBestselling author Delia Ephron will discuss her new book, SIRACUSA, at the Scarsdale Library on Saturday July 16 at 11 am. The book is a thrilling emotional opus set in Italy and performed by a pitch-perfect choir of four voices. Ephron wields her keen understanding of the human psyche to mine the ruins of relationships in her new novel which will be published on July 12 by Blue Rider Press.

New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist whose professional life is crumbling, travel in Italy with their friends from Maine – Finn, his wife Taylor and their daughter, Snow. "From the beginning," says Taylor, "it was a conspiracy between Lizzie and Finn to be together." Written Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, we see friendships and relationships bend and break as secrets are exposed and the couples careen toward Siracusa and disaster. "Couples collaborate," says Lizzie, "hiding even from each other who is calling the shots and who is along from the ride."

Snow, drawn into the adult drama, moves to the center of the story. Snow, Taylor's lookalike daughter, is the catalyst for conflict between the women (Taylor a mother, Lizzie not) as well as a pawn between Finn and Michael. She is the mystery at the heart of SIRACUSA. Is she shy or she is cunning? Do we want to protect her or should we fear her?

Ephron's masterful writing renders each adult character in stark detail- their inner monologue revealing darker truths about disappointments, envy and ambition. In a story that unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller, Ephron also delivers a powerful meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. As the vise tightens, Lizzie ponders, is loyalty a more honorable pledge than love?Siracusa

Pinging between multiple points of view and painting a detailed landscape of both the human heart and the Ionian seaside, SIRACUSA is an electrifying novel about marriage and deceit. As it spins to its shocking and unexpected end, Ephron effortlessly shapeshifts between personalities, offering insight from every character, infusing each chapter with equal parts wit and mystery, and leaving it up to the reader to untangle the truth from a wide net of lies.

RSVP here to sign up to attend the event on Saturday July 16 at 11:00 at Scarsdale Lbirary.

About the Author
Delia Ephron is a bestselling author and screenwriter. She has written novels, including The Lion Is In and Hanging Up; humor books for all ages, including How to Eat Like a Child and Do I Have to Say Hello?; and nonfiction, most recently Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.). Her films include You've Got Mail, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Hanging Up (based on her novel), and Michael. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Her hit play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (co-written with Nora Ephron) ran for more than two years off-Broadway and has been performed all over the world. She lives in New York City.

Mayor Declares June 2 as Gun Violence Awareness Day in Scarsdale

interfaithcouncilMayor Jon Mark took a step to raise awareness about gun violence when he issued a proclamation declaring Thursday June 2 to be Gun Violence Awareness Day in Scarsdale at the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday May 24

Members of the Interfaith Coalition Against Gun Violence attended, wearing orange, and posed with the Mayor and Trustees before the beginning of the meeting. The group was formed in the wake of the shootings in Newtown and is co-chaired by Patricia Colella from the Scarsdale Congregational Church. The group is raising awareness about gun violence and approaching the problem though a variety of tactics. At the meeting, Colella advocated for the passage of laws to ensure the safe storage of guns, asked sympathizers to sell any stock funds they own that include investments in gun manufacturers, recommended visits to websites of organizations that fight gun violence and urged residents to wear orange on June 2 in recognition of Gun Violence Awareness Day.

For his part, the Mayor read the following proclamation:

National Gun Violence Awareness: June 2, 2016 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. In the spirit of supporting a substantive discussion of that issue with the goal of helping to reduce threat to public safety and health posed by gun violence, I offer the following proclamation.
"WHEREAS, the daily killings and injuries of Americans by Gun Violence constitute a significant public safety and health concern in this country and it is desirable that our local communities promote substantive conversation of this issue with a goal of reducing the occurrence of Gun Violence; and
"WHEREAS, many communities have declared Thursday, June 2, 2016 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor and remember victims and survivors of gun violence and to increase awareness among their residents about Gun Violence and its effects on human lives; and
"WHEREAS, this day was inspired by Hadiya Pendleton, who was a victim of Gun Violence weeks after marching in President Obama's second inaugural parade; and
"WHEREAS, Ms. Pendleton was born on June 2, and her classmates decided to commemorate her life by wearing the color orange, a color that symbolizes the value of human life; and
"WHEREAS, the Village of Scarsdale believes it is vital to increase awareness, among its residents, about Gun Violence and honor the lives of Americans such as Hadiya Pendleton who have been victimized by Gun Violence; and
"WHEREAS, the Village of Scarsdale encourages all of its residents to reflect upon Gun Violence and join the members of Scarsdale Congregational Church Interfaith Coalition Against Gun Violence and citizens around the country by wearing orange on June 2nd.
"Now, Therefore, Jonathan I. Mark, Mayor of the Village of Scarsdale, does hereby proclaim Thursday, June 2, 2016 to be
"National Gun Violence Awareness Day
"in the Village of Scarsdale, and on behalf of all Village residents, am pleased and proud to join all associated with National Gun Violence Awareness Day and herein encourage all citizens to support their local community efforts to prevent gun violence and to honor and value human life."

License for Tree Planting:arborvitae

In other Village business, the trustees considered an application of a license for Mendel Hui of 10 Ogden Road to install 34 giant arborvitae trees and a sprinkler line on the border of his property, extending into the Village right of way. According to the resolution, the Village Engineer inspected the area and the proposed landscape plan and determined that the trees would not "create a visual obstruction or unsafe conditions." Hui will indemnify the Village from all claims, judgments and costs and provide a certificate of liability insurance naming the Village as an additional insured. He also agreed to pay a fee of $1,000 for the license. The license would be revocable.

Village Manager Steve Pappalardo said that the right of way is 24 feet wide, double the regular width. He is aware of the trees that were there before and said the Village had torn out the ones that posed a problem. He said that the Village Engineer had inspected several times and said he did not believe the arborvitae would cause a problem. Pappalardo said the Village would continue to monitor the trees once they were planted. Mayor Mark said the license was revocable and if the trees were causing an issue they could rip them out.

Bob Harrison objected to an application and said that the trees would cause an obstruction in the sight line resulting in a blind curve for walkers and drivers. Bob's wife Terri Harrison also spoke on the matter and said that the hedge that was in that spot before created an obstruction that prevented her from seeing oncoming traffic. She told trustees that a young Scarsdale woman was once killed at the intersection of Ogden and Fox Meadow Roads and urged the Board not to permit the planting of large trees there.

Following the discussion, the trustees granted the license to Hui.

Sidewalk Sale:

The Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce received permission to hold the annual Sidewalk Sale on Thursday July 28, Friday July 29 and Saturday July 30, 2016 from 10am to 5 pm in Scarsdale Village.

Gift to the Library:

The Board of Trustees accepted a gift of $100,000 from the Siegel Family Endowment to be used for the Scarsdale Library Master Plan Improvement Project.

Sediment Removal at Crane Berkley Pond:

The Board of Trustees authorized $626,908 to Aqua Cleaner Environmental for cleaning the watercourse and pond of sediment and debris that has accumulated in the drainage system at Crane Berkeley Pond. A portion of the expense will be paid by Crane Berkley property owners and collected in their property taxes. The Village will collect more than half of the expense from the homeowners over a period of 5-7 years.

Wage Increase for Department Heads:

Trustees granted a 2% salary increase to department heads and other non-union personnel no represented by collective bargaining agreements.

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