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You are here: Home Section Table Village Voices BOT Reviews Security, Sets Hearing on Ethics and Approves Subdivision Fees for 2 Cooper Road
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BOT Reviews Security, Sets Hearing on Ethics and Approves Subdivision Fees for 2 Cooper Road

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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.

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