Tuesday, Dec 11th

Last updateTue, 11 Dec 2018 2pm

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sidewalk sale 5Scarsdale shoppers flocked to the Scarsdale Sidewalk Sale in search of deals from their favorite stores on July 26-28. Scattered showers forced the shopper to huddle underneath tents and awnings but did not dampen their enthusiasm for the search through racks and bins. Many stores offered free samples, including Bango Bowls which provided a taste of their açaí bowls. Other freebies included lip tint from Babo Botanicals and Italian ices courtesy of the Scarsdale Fire Department. Food, books, clothing, jewelry, gifts and discounts on services sweetened the pot.

Sidewalk sale 3There was something for everyone. The Scarsdale Police and Fire Departments each had their own tents and taught children how to stay safe. Children could also get their picture taken in a fire truck.

On Friday and Saturday food trucks from Westchester Burger Company and The Souvlaki offered hungry shoppers a full menu. On Saturday, children gathered in Chase Park to hear a free performance from Songs for Seeds, which also offers music classes for children. The children sang and danced along with the band, and had a great time.

Commenting on the sale, Darci DeMatteo, the new Executive Director of the Scarsdale Business Alliance said, "The Scarsdale Sidewalk Sale was a wonderful event. The town was buzzing and we were thrilled to be able to collaborate with the village, the police and fire departments and the merchants to create energy, lots of foot traffic for the retailers and enthusiasm among the community members. We are thrilled the new Scarsdale Business Alliance was able to pull this together in such a short amount of time and we look to make it even better for next year."

Ken Giddon, President of Rothmans added, "The Scarsdale Sidewalk Sale was a huge success! It’s not only good for the merchants to generate sales in the summer months, but it’s an amazing opportunity to see so many residents out and about socializing, shopping and having fun."


Sidewalk Sale 1sidewalk sale 4Sidewalk sale 2

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Freightway SiteOn Monday, July 16, 2018 Village officials distributed a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) to the development community for the Freightway Site.

The site is a 2.5 acre Village owned property currently used for commuter and merchant parking in an aging five-story parking garage and two surface parking lots. The site is located between Scarsdale Avenue and Garth Road, and includes:
• the Open lot which bounds Popham Road to the north;
• the Freightway Garage site; and
• the Beatty Lot, located south of the Freightway Garage.
The Scarsdale Metro North train station is north of the site and the tracks are located to the east of the site.

For the past 30 years, numerous studies have focused on the site, due to its key location in the Village Center. In March 2017, the Village Board of Trustees established a Freightway Steering Committee (FSC) to develop a visioning study for the site. The final Visioning Study (Study) incorporated a broad and meaningful public engagement process, and was guided by the FSC and supported by technical planning and market professionals. The Study provides a community-based vision that ensures future redevelopment, enhancing the Village Center while meeting local needs. The Study was completed and presented to the Board of Trustees in February of 2018. The Village Board of Trustees (BOT) views the development of the Site as critical to the evolution of the Village Center, and has commenced a two-step process to engage a preferred developer. The first step is to develop and distribute the RFEI which is designed to garner information from the development community on suggested conceptual development plans, zoning paradigms and creative financial models. This process will identify qualified developers with construction experience and the financial wherewithal to complete complex, mixed-use, transit oriented development projects.

Once the RFEI responses are evaluated, a short list of developers will be created and a Request for Proposal developed. The Request for Proposal will include information obtained from the RFEI submissions. The selected firms will provide a detailed proposal describing their proposed development plan, the associated zoning, and the preferred financial model to successfully complete the project. The responses to the Request for Proposal will be evaluated by Village officials, resulting in the selection of a preferred developer for the Freightway Redevelopment Site.

The Request for Expressions of Interest is located here. Read the Visioning Study here.

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flowers1During a relatively short meeting this Tuesday, the mayor and trustees made note of completed projects, such as the opening of he Library Loft, and looked ahead to others, most notably, the redevelopment of Freightway.

Mayor’s Comments
Mayor Dan Hochvert mentioned July 4 festivities held in Arthur Manor and Greenacres, and thanked organizers for their efforts in arranging the celebrations for their neighbors. He also mentioned that some residents expressed concern about individuals unexpectedly coming to their homes and claiming to be from ConEd. “The ConEd folks are installing smart meters,” Hochvert explained. “One of the advantages of that is ConEd will be able to tell if the power is out at a particular house…they had some difficulty doing that after the storms at the beginning of March.” Con Ed is expected to complete the installations at the end of 2019; the utility is supposed to send notification to those households affected prior to installation. For more information, visit coned.com/smartmeters.

Manager’s Comments
Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards discussed the visioning study for the Freightway redevelopment site, submitted by the Freightway Steering Committee. After reviewing the study, which highlights what residents would like to see at the site, the village administration will begin the process for selecting a developer. “The first step is the distribution of a “request for expression of interest” (which) will garner information from the development community on suggested conceptual development plans, zoning paradigms and creative financial methods,” according to Richards. It also will assist and identify qualified developers that have experience in constructing and financing complex, mixed-use transit-oriented projects. Once feedback is obtained and evaluated, a short list of possible developers will be created, and those firms will be asked to respond to RFPs. The request for expression of interest will be issued on Monday, July 16; developers will have until October 2018 to respond.

Trustee Reports
In following up on Richard’s report, Trustee Jane Veron mentioned that she, along with the Village Planner, attended a seminar on autonomous vehicles and smart parking solutions, which provided additional insights which may be applied to the Freightway project.

Veron also reported that the village’s Communications Committee produced and distributed postcards to encourage residents to subscribe to the village’s “Notify Me” service. Members of the committee also recently met with village board and council leaders to discuss ways to make the application process more informative and efficient.

Veron then discussed the library’s recent transition to the Library Loft. “The library board is so appreciative of the village staff’s incredible hard work in moving the library to its temporary location… DPW... did an amazing job, and were so committed to this move. In addition, our library staff worked around the clock.” Additionally, she expressed thanks to residents for their support during the process. Hochvert added, “It’s amazing how efficiently they have organized a much smaller space… The staff there seemed very happy because they are functioning in a way (that) a professional library should.”

Veron concluded by announcing that the new Scarsdale Business Alliance will host a sidewalk sale in Downtown Scarsdale from Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28. “There is huge interest among merchants; we have new merchants that have opened, and merchants that are coming from within the greater village center area to share their merchandise…”

Trustee Matt Callaghan reported on recent Scarsdale Fire Department activities, including participation in the Arthur Manor July 4 parade and fundraising efforts for the Westchester Band. He also noted that the Scarsdale Pool will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year and acknowledged the work of pool staff behind the scenes who keep the facility running.

Trustee Lena Crandall began her comments by thanking village staff who were involved in organizing the annual fireworks display at the pool complex. She then discussed the meeting on additional tree code amendments that was held just hours before. Specifically, the size requirement for replacement trees has been changed from three inches in diameter to two, as smaller trees are more likely to thrive and are less costly for the homeowner.

Trustee Carl Finger discussed the most recent Law Committee meeting, also held earlier in the evening, to examine the possibility of limiting the presence of gun and vape shops in and around Scarsdale. He encouraged residents to review the proposal, which is available at scarsdale.com, and submit their opinions on the subject.

Public Comment
In the public comment portion of the meeting, residents voiced concerns about issues that have been discussed before, including the village’s appointment process, the administration’s priorities and the installation of distributed antenna systems (DAS).

Jacob Frishberg (Montrose Road) opened by stating, “The Voters’ Choice Party is compelled to point out… the inability of our mayor and village trustees to follow…best practices in important village appointments. This time it is a critical village position – the replacement of the village attorney.” He explained that a leader of the party, Robert Berg, upon hearing of Wayne Esannason’s pending retirement, contacted village hall to stress the importance of appointing a highly skilled replacement and later suggested a search process guided by a group of talented lawyers who live in Scarsdale. However, Angela Martin, the village’s director of human resources and deputy village attorney, soon was promoted to replace Esannason. “No one else was considered for the job. The village manager recommended Ms. Martin and the mayor appointed her with the approval of the trustees, except for one,” said Frishberg. “The job was not advertised; no search was made for any more-qualified candidates… We residents are entitled to have the best-qualified village attorney work for us… Had the position been advertised, doubtless, dozens or scores of excellent municipal attorneys with decades of relevant experience would have applied.”

Bob Selvaggio (Rochambeau Road) followed and began his comments by thanking the village board for the hours they put in to “do a good job for Scarsdale.” He then went on to discuss the need for the village to develop “data-driven action points,” and criticized the administration’s focus on issues such as the tree code, and gun and vape shops. “I have to ask… do you have any data… that show widespread community support for enhanced penalties on homeowners who… take down their own trees? Do you have any reason to think that the likelihood of a gun shop or vape shop seeing sufficient profit potential in Scarsdale market is significant...Do you have any data to indicate that these issues make the list of our residents’ top 50 concerns?” To illustrate his point, Salvaggio referenced a recent traffic survey of Scarsdale residents analyzed by Brice Kirkendall-Rodriquez and Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez, which provided insights into residents’ concerns about walking, driving and cycling in the village. Data collected from survey respondents led to specific recommendations to improve traffic safety. “These are the types of data that should be used to establish government priorities,” he said. “I suggest that the village should address actual issues that residents face, such as the impact of tax reform on housing costs and property values, lack of transparency in hiring and appointment practices, and traffic and road conditions.”

Zoe Berg (Tisdale Road) concluded the public comment session by addressing the need for village officials to respect residents and cautioning the village about the installation of DAS throughout Scarsdale. “A few days after… I stood before you to express my science-based concerns regarding the potential installation of (DAS) near schools and residential homes, Wayne Esannason… spoke ill of me…among other senior village representatives…This completely inappropriate and unprofessional behavior… made us all wonder, if the village attorney is besmirching one concerned resident, is he besmirching other residents in public settings?” She continued, “Speaking ill of the people you represent is corrosive to community good will and community engagement.” Berg then discussed the DAS issue, stating that the systems will expose residents to a classified carcinogen day-in and day-out, and that wireless radiation exposure is associated to numerous ill health effects. She has asked the mayor to meet with her to discuss the issue prior to negotiating with Crown Castle, the telecommunications vendor that would install the systems, to no avail. “Mayor Hochvert… you need to educate yourself beforehand… Crown Castle will make claims that wireless radiation is not dangerous… You need to be fully equipped with the work of honest scientists who don’t have a financial stake in the telecommunications industry… All I’m asking for here is that our mayor, and even members of the board meet with a wireless radiation expert before starting negotiations.”

In response, Hochvert said, “We are meeting with another municipality that has a court case on radiation. And, as you have indicated, we cannot (say no) on the basis of radiation, but we are going to work with another municipality to see what they have had success with, and why they are in court. We have to go through the right process; we don’t just arbitrarily say ‘radiation is a problem, so therefore…’ We have to find another way to deal with the concerns you’ve expressed.”

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Pool 7The Scarsdale Pool Complex will celebrate their 50th Season with a variety of festivities this weekend! All Scarsdale residents are invited to attend for a live band on Friday evening July 20 from 3:30 PM – 7:30 PM. No pool membership is required and no guest fees will be charged on Friday night.

On Saturday and Sunday July 21 and 22, the fun continues with more live music, a trivia contest, a scavenger hunt, float races, pool games, giveaways and more. A full schedule of events can be found on the pool website. Pool membership is required for entry on Saturday and Sunday, but members can bring as many guests as they like for the 1969 guest fee of $1.50 per guest.

Please come to the pool for a weekend of fun and celebration!

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questionmarkThough no one knows if the IRS will allow tax deductions for charitable contributions in lieu of local property tax payments, Scarsdale officials have enacted new Village code to establish a Charitable Gift Fund Tax Credit which will entitle taxpayers to a deduction of up to 95% of local tax payments as a charitable donation.

The new code will apply to the tax bill Scarsdale residents will receive in July and the Village has published the following on how to make these charitable contributions. Here’s an FAQ with information that is published on the Scarsdale Village website:

What is the Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit?

In response to the federal government’s recent tax code changes limiting future federal income tax deductibility of State and Local Taxes (SALT) to $10,000, the FY 2018-19 New York State Budget authorizes local governments and school districts to create a “Charitable Gift Reserve Fund” (Fund) to offer real property tax credits to incentivize contributions. Click here for a summary of NYS FY 2019 enacted budget tax reforms.

Under the law, such Funds may receive unrestricted charitable contributions for the purposes of addressing education, health care and other charitable purposes. Contributions to the Fund may entitle taxpayers a deduction of up to 95% of those payments as a charitable donation write-off, rather than a property tax deduction, which would not be subject to the $10,000 limitation established for SALT. This is an optional program.

Accordingly, the Village of Scarsdale approved establishment of a Charitable Gift Reserve Fund in May 2018 and adopted a local law in June 2018 authorizing a Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 980-a.

Importantly, the Village’s creation of the fund neither constitutes a program endorsement nor implies taxpayer benefit. Taxpayers are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional to understand the benefits and drawbacks associated with program participation.

Which taxes appearing on my property tax bill are eligible?

Only the Village, County, and School levies are eligible. Special District taxes including Sewer and Water Districts and Refuse Disposal Districts are examples of ineligible taxes. If in doubt about tax eligibility, please call the Village Treasurer’s Office at 914-722-1170 before determining the amount of your charitable gift, as amounts paid the Village as charitable contributions are not refundable.

Taxpayers are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional before remitting a charitable gift pursuant to the Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit program. Amounts paid the Village as charitable contributions are not refundable.

Is this program voluntary?

Yes, this program is 100% voluntary.

What is the likelihood that my payment will be deductible for Federal Tax purposes?

There is no way to currently determine if it will be allowed as a deduction by the federal government. Taxpayers should be mindful that federal law controls the proper characterization for federal income tax purposes. The Treasury Department and the IRS have advised caution and have issued statements that indicate they intend to propose regulations addressing the federal tax treatment of programs like the charitable gift reserve fund adopted by New York State.
What is the downside/risk?

When a Federal deduction is disallowed, taxpayers are potentially subject to interest, penalties, and additional review. In addition, the residual 5% of the charitable contribution would not be returned or refunded if the deduction is disallowed after the payment is made to the Tax Receiver.

What if I pre-paid my property taxes in 2017?

Village taxes pre-paid in 2017 are not eligible for this new program. Review your tax bill for any unpaid balance(s) to determine whether program participation is advisable.

What if my mortgage company pays my property taxes or the mortgage company already paid my property taxes?

The process is more complicated and we are awaiting direction and guidance from New York State on how this will be addressed. Taxpayers should contact their mortgage company to make any payment or reimbursement arrangements. It may be possible that if your mortgage company already paid the taxes, the taxpayer could still make the charitable payment and request a refund. Please note that if this is allowed by your mortgage company, this would mean a double payment until a method is determined to have the bank pay the Fund directly.

Can I make a charitable contribution in an amount less than the full amount due for property taxes?

Yes, taxpayer may make a partial payment of their taxes through the Fund with the tax balance paid by separate check.

Can I earmark the municipal program area that my charitable contribution goes to?

No.

How do I participate?

Consult with a tax professional tax to determine the advisability of your participation in this program. If the program is right for you, follow the steps below.

Once your Village tax bill has been received in July 2018, visit scarsdale.com/gift to complete three fill-in forms:

Village of Scarsdale Computation Form.

NYS Acknowledgement of Charitable Contribution Form RP-980-a-ACC (print 2 copies)

NYS Claim for Property Tax Credit for a Charitable Contribution RP-980-a-CCF

Complete all three forms and submit a hard copy of each in-person at the Village Treasurer’s Office at Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, during standard business hours (9am-5pm); payment in the form of a check(s) is required at time of submittal. You may provide the tax receiver with up to the full amount of your property taxes. If you choose to take advantage of the charitable contribution program, you will also pay an additional 5%. The Village of Scarsdale on-line Computation Form (above) will calculate this amount. Tax payments are due no later than August 1, 2018 by 5:00pm.

Important information

Taxpayers are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional before remitting a charitable gift pursuant to the Charitable Gift Reserve Fund Tax Credit program.

Amounts paid the Village as charitable contributions are not refundable, regardless of the income tax deductibility of such contributions. Program participants should be aware of media reports suggesting the Internal Revenue Service of federal government may take action to disallow income tax credit for charitable contributions made through this program.

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