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Community security was the focus of a work session prior to the 8-13 meeting of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees. The Board heard a report and assessment of the Scarsdale Police Department from Police Chief Andrew Matturro and queried him on department affairs. Matturro was proud to announce that the Scarsdale Police Department is the only department to have national accreditation in Westchester County and is among a select 1,080 departments with that distinction nationwide.

Matturro provided an overview of crime in town, reporting that burglaries were down to only two so far this year, along with a reduction in DWI arrests. Even identity thefts have declined.

When questioned about the department’s relationship with the school district, Matturro said that he attends quarterly meetings with Director of Students Services Eric Rauschenbach, Security Chief Mike Spedalliere as well as Jay Genova from Scarsdale Family Counseling Services where they review and share information. He said that communications inside the school buildings is being enhanced and when schools conduct drills and lockdowns, police are on site to observe and evaluate. A police officer is a member of the District Safety Team as well.

At the Board of Trustees meeting, Matturro shared the following recommendations from the department on safeguarding your home against burglaries:

-Watch the crime prevention videos on the Village Website.

-Alert police anytime if you see something suspicious at 722-1200. He noted that if you call 911 from a cell phone you will reach the state police and you should ask to be connected to the Scarsdale police.

-Consider using home video surveillance systems

-Make your home appear occupied – leave lights and televisions on

-Use motion sensor lights outside

-Use quality locks and deadbolts

-Consider using a motion detector inside and set your alarm when you are not home

-Be an observant neighbor and alert the police

-Be careful about the use of social networks that may let people know that you away.

A group of older residents who lives at 50 Popham Road in the Village attended the work session to express their concerns about safety when crossing Popham Road, including the timing of Village streetlights and some blind corners that pose a hazard to pedestrians. They say crossing Popham Road is dangerous for residents of 50 Popham and for people going to medical appointments at Overhill Road or going to HSBC Bank. They asked for the Village to have a review of the traffic.

Village Manager Steve Papplardo responded, saying, “We can meet with the people in the neighborhood. We have done studies in the past but we are always looking to improve.”

At the subsequent meeting of the Village Board Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick commented on the following:

-The Village reviewed their cyber security following ransom attack at another municipality. The Village has enhanced security to protect village records and continues to have an active dialogue on cyber security.

-New York State approved a 1% increase to Westchester sales tax to 8.375%. The mayor said that two thirds of village revenues are derived from property taxes and this increase in the sales tax could provide additional revenues to the Village. However, though Scarsdale is projected to receive $900,000 more in sales tax, the first $180,000 will be used to replace state aid that is being discontinued. Samwick said, “We will wait to see how the Village’s share materializes.”

-The Village has purchased its first electric vehicle using incentives from state and county grants. Maintenance costs will be lower and overall, it is less costly than purchasing a gas vehicle. If it operates as expected the Village will look to purchase more electric cars down the line.

Subdivision Fee:

During Public Comments, an attorney for real estate developer Bobby Ben-Simon spoke about the recreation fee for a three-lot subdivision on a 3.75 acre lot at 2 Cooper Road. The site will be subdivided to retain the original home, built in 1914, and to build two additional homes. The Scarsdale Planning Board approved the subdivision and recommended a fee of 5% per lot. The attorney asked for that fee to be reduced to 4%. She said that the higher fee was “not proportionate to the impact the new households would have on the Village.” Later at the meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution to assess a fee of $125,000 or 5% for each of the two lots.

Youth Tennis:

Bob Harrison came to the podium with trophies and reviewed the results of the 35th youth summer tennis league. He thanked the recreation department and league directors and announced the winners of each of the draws.

Scarchella Music Festival:

During comments from the Board, Trustee Jane Veron invited the community to attend the first Scarchella Music Festival on Saturday September 14 from 12- 6 pm in Scarsdale Village, hosted by the SBA. She said it “will increase vitality in the village center and allow us to enjoy local bands.” Zachys will have two big tasting tents with wines to sip and enjoy, there will be food trucks and restaurants will sell food outside. The PBA will host a cookout and there will fun for the entire family.

In an ongoing effort to increase communication with residents, Trustees Seth Ross, Rochelle Walden and Jonathan Lewis spoke to residents at the Scarsdale Pool and found it very worthwhile.

Ethics:

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday September 10 on changes to Village Code regarding ethics of elected officials and Village employees. The changes specify which elected officials and employees are required to file an annual disclosure form, the annual due date and the penalty for failing to do so. View the proposed changes to the code here:

This revision may have been prompted by an April 2019 statement from the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale that said, “Board of Trustees’ Conflicts of Interest," and read as follows:

"The League encourages local volunteerism and appreciates the fact that trustees often have a history of active involvement in community-based organizations before they are elected to office. In keeping with the spirit of fostering the community engagement of all residents, and in accord with Trustee Arest’s comments at the information session that “the trustees are elected to represent the entire community,” the League commends the Board for self-regulating and adhering to the practice of discretionary recusal in the face of potential, real, or perceived conflicts of interest stemming from the activities of Board members’ spouses and immediate family members who engage in local advocacy and have volunteer roles in local organizations, boards, and councils.

The League likewise encourages members of the Board of Trustees to be more cognizant of the Board members’ own current activities and affiliations, volunteer and otherwise, with regard to Board action and Board liaison assignments. The change from the Board’s committee structure to full Board working groups may diffuse the impact of any single member’s potential conflict of interest, real or perceived; however, just as the Board has addressed spousal or family issues by means of discretionary recusal, the League urges the trustees to consider whether their own current activities present a potential, real, or perceived conflict that should trigger recusal from particular issues that come before the Board.

Trustees then approved a lengthy stream of resolutions:

-$100,000 from the 2018-19 Village Fund Balance will be spent to remove underground fuel storage tank

-The Village approved the sale of surplus vehicles for $34,500.

-They agreed to execute a license for SCARVAC to install a radio and antenna on the Boniface Water Tower at 72 Garden Road.

-They accepted a gift of $50,000 from the Friends of the Scarsdale Library for the renovation of the Scarsdale Library

-They agreed to a funding request of $49,000 to continue the Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Aging in Place Initiative.

-They approved spending of $16,334 for the Southeast Consortium to provide therapeutic and recreation services for disabled individuals.

-They rejected bids for a drainage project at Winston Field near Boulder Brook and will look for grants and alternative solutions. According to the resolution, “The project budget anticipated a design solution involving installation of curtain drains throughout the field, the project design professional determined that, given soil composition and the goal of making the field playable within a 24-hour period following a rain event, a more significant level of field renovation would be required than was originally anticipated.”

-Brad Cetron of 28 Oxford Road was appointed to the Board of Architectural Review to fill the unexpired term of Mera Faddoul.

DemsEngelAndrea Stewart-Cousins, Ben Boykin, Amy Paulin and Eliot EngelThe Scarsdale Democratic Town Committee held their summer fundraiser at the home of Amy Paulin and Ira Schulman. It was a particularly high-spirited event in part because of how successful both State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins have been in Albany since January. This year 33 bills sponsored by Paulin passed both houses and Cousins reported that a total of 900 bills were passed. George Latimer spoke eloquently about democracy.

The Democratic Town Committee is galvanized to work for continued results in the upcoming election cycle.

In attendance were Amy Paulin, Andrea Stewart Cousins, Ben Boykin,George Latimer, Elliot Engel, and several judges. Local officials included Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick, School Board member Ron Schulhof, past mayors Jon Mark, Bob Steves, and Carolyn Stevens. Democratic Committee Chair Mark Lewis presided.

Andrea Stewart Cousins spoke how she appreciates representing Scarsdale because:
1) The smooth transitions from one Village administration to the next.
2) She doesn’t have to worry about what we are thinking because we tell. (That was a laugh line). Dems1Michelle Lichtenberg and Andrea Stewart-Cousins
3) She appreciates the Village’s support over the years.

GirlSweating

With temperatures expected to soar to 96 degrees on Saturday and 97 degrees on Sunday, the Westchester County Health Department has issued a heat advisory for the county, and Village Hall has also sent out a warning about the extreme heat. Here is a note from County Legislator Benjamin Boykin:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With high humidity and temperatures forecasted to exceed 95 degrees in the County Friday through Sunday, the Westchester County Health Department is issuing a heat advisory. As humidity and temperatures rise, residents should avoid strenuous activity, drink lots of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and take precautions to prevent heat-related illness.

Heat stroke is a serious and life-threatening condition that claims many lives nationwide each year. Symptoms include hot red, dry skin, shallow breathing, a rapid, weak pulse and confusion. Anyone suffering from heat stroke needs to receive emergency medical treatment immediately. Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke and immediately cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency help to arrive.

Another concern during a heat wave is heat exhaustion. Seniors, young children, people who are overweight or who have high blood pressure and those who work in hot environments are most at risk. Signs include headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness and exhaustion, as well as cool, moist, pale or flushed skin. Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should move out of the sun and apply cool, wet cloths to their skin.

Those who plan to travel by car should prepare their vehicle before hitting the road. Always travel with a spare battery, and avoid leading radios, phone chargers and other accessories running when the engine is not. Check to make sure your air conditioning is properly functioning and coolant is at the proper level. If you plan to travel in less populated areas, bring water and an umbrella for share if it becomes necessary to leave the car. Always keep air flowing throughout the vehicle, and seek shade when parked.

For tips to prevent heat-related illness and places to stay cool, residents can visit the Health Department website at www.westchestergov.com/health.

Residents who need a place to cool off should check with their municipality for the latest availability, hours and locations of cooling centers, and with the facilities themselves. A list of libraries and community centers that serve as cooling centers is available at
https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/countycenters.htm#westchester.

Elevated heat and humidity can also lead to unhealthy levels of ozone, a gas produced by the action of sunlight on organic air contaminants from auto exhaust and other sources. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forecasts daily ozone conditions at (http://www.dec.ny.gov), or call the New York State Air Quality Hotline at 1-800-535-1345.

The County’s Department of Emergency Services is monitoring the weather forecast, tracking the opening of local Cooling Centers and is in contact with Con Edison and NYSEG concerning the potential for power outages. If you see fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment, Dial 911. Do not touch a downed line or anyone in contact with the line. Always assume a downed line is live. To report an electrical outage call Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633) or NYSEG at 1-800-572-1131. Whether you're a contractor or a homeowner doing an outdoor project, having underground utilities marked is essential to protect yourself and others from injury and prevent damage to underground utility lines, which is especially important during periods of extreme heat and high demand for electricity. Visit https://www.digsafelynewyork.com/ or Call Dig Safely New York at 811 (1-800-962-7962) for more information.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Boykin

greenburghpoliceshieldGreenburgh Police are reporting a case of apparent suicide in the early morning hours of Sunday July 21. Police responded to the area of 340 South Central Avenue at 5:25 am on July 21 where there found a man on the ground who was not breathing. The 34 year-old man was pronounced deceased at the scene from an apparent self-inflicted injury.

According to Sergeant Brian Matthews the scene was secured and a crime scene established. Greenburgh detectives responded along with the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office. No evidence at the scene suggested any foul play.

The investigation is continuing and the identification of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin and the findings of the Medical Examiner.

roadrepavingWhile most of us now are on “summer time,” work continues for Scarsdale Village staff and trustees. This year’s BOT meeting focused on how the village is moving ahead on several fronts and initiatives, and acknowledged that a valued colleague is moving on.

Manager’s Memo
After brief opening remarks by Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick, Village Manager Steve Pappalardo discussed ongoing infrastructure work, including always-eagerly anticipated road resurfacing projects.

He reported that the capital road-resurfacing program began this week and the village will rehabilitate those roads that are in greatest need of repair. Exactly which roads qualify is determined based on independent reviews and inspections by public works staff, and the village’s pavement management survey. Approximately 5.5 miles of roadway will be resurfaced during this summer and fall, along with a number of walkways throughout the village.

Over $1.2 million was initially budgeted for the work, with the trustees approving another $220,000 allocation to help meet the village’s goal of resurfacing roughly five miles of roads annually. New York State will contribute another $490,000 to the effort, along with Con Edison, which will provide $90,000 for restoration work related to recent gas line upgrades/repairs. Papallardo reported that the village also is considering allocating additional unused funds up to as much as $500,000 if needed.

He then discussed ongoing sewer flow monitoring work to determine whether recent repairs are effectively mitigating infiltration of storm water into the village sanitary system. Village staff also will continue to repair cracks/loose joints in pipelines throughout the water district, and attend to a collapsed water pipe near Wynmor Park.

Pappalardo also was pleased to the announce that, after years of discussion, negotiation, and planning, the Hutchinson River tri-municipal storm water project will begin this summer. The flood mitigation project, involving Eastchester, New Rochelle, and Scarsdale, will include replacing four drainage culverts, and de-silting and clearing thousands of linear feet of the riverbed that runs through all three communities. The work will result in much better flow of water and decreased flooding during rain events.

Finally, the village manager provided music to the ears of village resident Bob Harrison, announcing that village staff are working with school district staff to build a comfort station at Scarsdale Middle School. The group has agreed on a plan and has identified a preferred location at the northeast corner of the tennis courts. Exact timing of the project will be determined by the New York State Education Department’s review and approval process.

Library Lowdownlibraryconstruction
Pappalardo then invited Diane Greenwald, Scarsdale Public Library board member, and Beth Bermel, the Library Director, to provide an update on the renovation and construction work at the facility.

“(Over) the last six months we’ve seen a enormous amount of work,” Greenwald began. “There was demolition and, then, it got hard to see anything happening. (But) there was a ton happening; it just was underground. There was plumbing going in and electrical wiring going in, and you really couldn’t see much.” She went on to say that the space is beginning to take shape, with framing and roofing for the addition complete, doorways and hallways defined, a new, more efficient staircase constructed, and the new children’s program room and quiet reading room fleshed out. The library construction committee also has selected interior finishes and furnishings that reflect value, comfort, and function. A variety of furnishings will provide “a seat for everyone,” accommodating numerous users and activities. “Comfort is a funny word. What may be comfortable for me may not be for the next person… Beth and her senior staff (helped us) to really think about the different ways that people use the library… making sure we had a tremendous amount of variety for different tasks and different kinds of bodies … that might use public space.”

Bermel then provided more practical information about schedule and budget. “We’re about 40 percent through the project and the costs are tracking commensurately with the budget plan… There have been some minor delays but nothing significant. We didn’t find any unknown conditions… that I had nightmares about.” She reminded the trustees that, since the renovation is a “Wicks Law” project, it requires significant oversight and well-documented activities and updates, so residents and village management can be confident in overall project management. In summary, Bermel said, “We’re pretty much on track and on budget and we remain hopeful for a summer 2020 opening.” She also added that the library’s paver fundraising campaign has been completed, and the overall Capital Campaign has over 500 donors participating.

Mayor Samwick commented afterward, “(The library project) really is a model of dedication; it’s a model of professionalism and collaboration, of unprecedented generosity… This is overused, so I hate saying this, but this really does take a village.. And, we’re getting to the point that we’re starting to visualize… what a phenomenal community hub it’s going to be for generations to come.”

Public Comment
Madelaine Eppenstein (Autenrieth Road) and Kay Eisenman (Brewster Road), representing Friends of Scarsdale Parks, discussed the five white swamp oak trees recently planted in George Field Park as part of Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science’s tree hybridization trial. They thanked the village’s public works staff for planting the saplings, which will be analyzed to determine how well they thrive in the wild.

Bob Harrison (Fox Meadow Road) encouraged Scarsdale residents to register children between the ages of 6 and 18 to participate in the village’s youth tennis program. The program begins Monday July 15 and runs for three weeks at the Scarsdale Middle School tennis courts. Applications are available at the Scarsdale Parks and Recreation Department or proscars@aol.com; the cost is $50.

RingelFond Farewell
Tuesday marked Josh Ringel’s last BOT meeting as assistant to the village manager. His departure is bittersweet; both the village administration and residents who have worked with Ringel are sad to see him leave Scarsdale, but are pleased to see him advance his career. As reported earlier, Ringel has accepted a new role as assistant village manager for Tarrytown.

In the first of a number of tributes, Mayor Samwick said, “(He) has really done an exemplary job. He’s going to Tarrytown; he got a fantastic job there. Josh, we’re going to miss you.”

Pappalardo stated, “I want to thank Joshua Ringel for his four years of dedicated service to the Village of Scarsdale. Josh has really grown into this job and made it his own, and he’s, certainly, at a point now where he can move on and take on a larger role in a wonderful community, Tarrytown.” “You did a great job, Josh. I hope you learned something here. I hope your memories of the village are fond. And, never shut the door… some of us have come back.”

Trustee Justin Arest, “Our loss is certainly Tarrytown’s gain… I’ve heard from many of our residents about how great it has been to work with you. While we don’t always agree on everything, your ability to listen, and engage in a thoughtful and respectful dialogue is noted… I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.”

Trustee Jane Veron chimed in, “Josh… You have been instrumental in moving our village forward… Residents perceive you to be the problem solver. You are the person who is solution-oriented; you listen; you make things happen… Thank you for the contributions you’ve made to Scarsdale Village; it has been a pleasure working with you.

Trustee Seth Ross followed, “The great joy of serving as a trustee is the people we work with, the people we serve, and you’ve really been a standout among the people I see as my coworkers.. You’re very effective at what you do… and, as your tenure ends, I add to our gratitude. I join the others who have worked with you here in Scarsdale in wishing you the best… wherever life takes you.”

Trustee Lena Crandall then said, “Josh, I have to agree with everything I’ve just heard from my fellow trustees. I greatly appreciated your enthusiasm, your willingness to work hard, and your ability to take care of so many things… I expect to see great things from you… you’re special.”

“Scarchella” in September
Move over Coachella; here comes Scarchella. Trustee Veron announced that the Scarsdale Business Alliance (SBA) will host its own version of the famed Coachella music festival this fall in the village center. The first-ever “Scarchella” is scheduled for Saturday, September 14, and will feature various musical acts in Chase Park, as well as food trucks, wine tasting tents, and children’s activities in and around Boniface Circle and Chase Road.musicfestival

Veron said, “One of the things I hope residents understand is that we care so much about bringing community together…The Scarsdale Business Alliance, a newly formed entity of merchants in the 10583 area, have come together to promote foot traffic and vitality (in our village), and bring (residents) together.” Mayor Samwick followed by stating, “I’d like to send a special thank you to the Scarsdale Business Alliance. In a very short period of time, it has done a really exceptional job, and is really helping to bring vitality into our village center, and we really appreciate all you’re doing.”

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