Monday, Dec 17th

Last updateThu, 13 Dec 2018 4pm

You are here: Home Section Table Village Voices
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Mark-SvedBeverley Sved,  a 25-year Scarsdale resident and a dedicated volunteer, will be the 2018 recipient of the community's highest award, the Scarsdale Bowl. The Scarsdale Bowl is awarded annually to "one who has given unselfishly of time, energy, and effort to the civic welfare of the community," according to the Bowl founding documents.

Terri Simon, Chair of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, said "Bev Sved is a volunteer extraordinaire whose long, broad and deep commitment to our community and calm, smart consensus-building has moved Scarsdale forward and inspired countless other residents." Sved will be honored at the Scarsdale Bowl dinner on Wednesday evening, April 25th, at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle. Simon encourages all members of the community to attend: "The Bowl Dinner is a warm and uplifting opportunity to celebrate the spirit of volunteering that permeates our Village and makes it truly a community." The Bowl Committee will send out invitations in mid-March. However, one need not receive an invitation in order to attend the Dinner, and the Committee encourages all who are interested to sign up for the Dinner on the Scarsdale Foundation website here. 

"The Scarsdale Bowl was initiated in 1943 to recognize an individual's outstanding contributions to thTerriSimone civic life of this community," said Simon. "The Dinner gives us an annual opportunity to honor a stand-out volunteer who exemplifies an approach to which we can all aspire." The Bowl Committee, a diverse group of 16 community volunteers, selects the recipient after reviewing many worthy candidates who are nominated by the community. The annual tradition of awarding the Scarsdale Bowl is maintained by the Scarsdale Foundation. The Foundation engages in a broad range of philanthropy in the Scarsdale community and supports many local institutions. One of its primary functions is funding and distributing need-based scholarships to deserving Scarsdale High School graduates and Scarsdale residents in their sophomore through senior years of college.

Last Sunday evening, the Committee voted to honor Beverley Sved, or as everyone in the Village knows her, Bev. Delegates from the Bowl Committee, including Simon, Scarsdale Foundation President Randy Guggenheimer, Foundation Liaison to the Committee Seth Ross and Committee Secretary/Treasurer Robert Jeremiah arrived at the Sved home to announce their selection. Sved was completely surprised and described getting the news about the honor as "unexpected and incredible." "I'm blown out of the water!" she said. When Simon told her that so many people were and are involved in our community because of her, Sved said, "That's so nice! That's so nice to hear!"

Sved is an engineer and Chartered Financial Analyst by training, and had a long and successful career at IBM in the areas of Corporate Strategy, Business Forecasting and Industry Analysis. At the same time she began taking on volunteer responsibilities—large and small— in Scarsdale, including serving as a Village Trustee from 1998-2002 and as Mayor from 2003-2005. In addition, Sved was a director on the boards of the League of Women Voters of Westchester and the Scarsdale Forum (both organizations in which she continues to be actively involved), a Trustee and then Vice President of the Scarsdale Foundation, a member of the Village Board Finance Committee and the Planning Board, President of the Westchester County Historical Society, a director on the boards of the United Way and Scarsdale & Edgemont Family Counseling, President of the Overhill Neighborhood Association and Chair of Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents.

The community is invited to join the Bowl Committee on April 25th at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle to honor Beverley Sved who embodies Scarsdale's spirit of volunteerism.

Add a comment

Communications CommitteeThe Scarsdale Ad Hoc Communications Committee reconvened last week to continue its efforts to improve communications between Scarsdale Village government and residents.

After completing its first year of work in November, the group presented the Scarsdale Board of Trustees and village staff with a detailed communications plan and recommendations. The plan outlined activities to enhance the relationship between Scarsdale administration and the public, increase residents' awareness of government policies and procedures, and promote greater public participation in village affairs.

As a result, the board decided to extend the committee's work into a second year, during which it will continue to advise village staff on communications issues and provide assistance in completing suggested initiatives. Specifically, the group has been charged with maintaining and increasing resident subscriptions to "Notify Me;" updating new resident information; developing promotion materials for Scarsdale resident boards and councils; updating and standardizing village forms, applications, handouts and other documents; reviewing and drafting department overviews and FAQs; and, monitoring the village website, scarsdale.com, to suggest improvements in user experience and functionality.

Village Trustee and Committee Chair Jane Veron stated, "The committee has demonstrated a deep grasp of our community's evolving communications needs and has become the 'go to' source for resident input. One of its most popular accomplishments is the newly launched, twice-monthly eblast, Scarsdale Official, which has received rave reviews for its succinct and user friendly summaries of pertinent village issues. " She continued, "Our committee remains energized to deliver on many more of its recommendations in the coming year,"

The committee includes resident volunteers with varied communications, technology, marketing, legal and administrative expertise. It includes Justin Arest, Lee Fischman, Dara Gruenberg, Laura Halligan, ML Perlman, Barry Meiselman, Scott Rompala, Andrew Sereysky and Carol Silverman. Scarsdale Trustee Jane Veron continues to serve as chair; Trustee Deborah Pekarek remains as the BOT liaison; and, Deputy Village Manager Robert Cole also will continue to represent Scarsdale Village administration in collaborating with the group in its work between now and the end of its term in late November 2018.

Stay Informed With "Notify Me" Notify Me

Do you wonder how to get basic village information quickly and easily? Tired of asking your neighbors, "Where did you find that?" Always forgetting when to renew your annual parking pass? To help you stay on top of local news and policies that affect you, the Ad Hoc Communications Committee invites you to sign up for "Notify Me," Scarsdale's online alert notification system. It is easily accessible via scarsdale.com, and particularly useful in learning about rapidly changing issues, such as recent discussions about prepayment of property taxes. Residents may choose what information they wish to receive, such as recreation notices; press releases; meeting notifications; and the village's new, bi-weekly online newsletter, Scarsdale Official.

Laura Halligan, a member of the Scarsdale Ad Hoc Communications Committee and contributor to Scarsdale10583.com, is a local writer, editor and marketing consultant. She is principal of Pinch Hit Prose and provides communications services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits.

Add a comment

cuomo(Saturday December 23, 2017) This just in from the Scarsdale Village Manager's Office: Scarsdale Village will accept prepayment of 2018 property taxes this week. Payments must be made in person through December 29 or by mail, postmarked on or before December 31. No online payments can be made. This follows an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo:

(From the Village) Pursuant to Governor Cuomo's December 22, 2017 Executive Order temporarily suspending certain sections of New York State tax law, the Village is now able to provide for the prepayment of 2018 property taxes prior to the end of the 2017 calendar year. Prepayment of 2018 property taxes may assist property owners in preserving income tax deductions associated with local property taxes that would otherwise be largely lost as a result of the recently adopted federal tax reform measure. The Village makes no representation, however, regarding the deductibility of prepaid taxes which will ultimately be decided by the United States Treasury.

The Village will accept prepayment for Westchester County, School and Village property taxes. As the applicable 2018 tax warrants for all three taxes will not be issued by the taxing authorities prior to December 31, 2017, property owners are asked to pay the same amount for each of the three separate taxes as was owed in 2017. Please be advised that the tax amounts billed for 2017 are available on the Village website, www.scarsdale.com. On the Front Page of the website, click on the icon titled "Property Inquiry" located in the center of the red tool bar. Navigate by street name and address to find your 2017 property tax payment information. If you have any issues accessing the website or have additional questions, please contact the Village Treasurer's Office at (914) 722-1170. The Village Offices reopen on Tuesday, December 26th at 9:00 a.m.

Property owners interested in prepayment can issue one or more checks made out to the "Village of Scarsdale." Pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order, payments may be made in person at Village Hall from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. through December 29, 2017. The Drop Box at Village Hall will be closed at the end of business December 29, 2017. Payments may also be mailed and will be accepted with a United States postmark, Federal Express or UPS shipment dated on or before December 31, 2017. Postage meter marks are not acceptable.

Please note that on-line banking checks issued through personal or business accounts are not postmarked and cannot be accepted if received after December 31st. On-line payments through the Village's on-line payment option at www.scarsdale.com, are also allowed under the Order, however the Village cannot currently accept such payments. We are working with our vendor on creating the necessary file for the 2018 Estimated Taxes. Please check the website for updates in this regard, and please sign-up for the "Notify Me" application on the website to receive additional information on this matter.

Please understand that the prepayment of some, all, or none of these property taxes is optional. Should property owners avail themselves of this option, the necessary adjustments to the payment amounts will be made during the normal tax billing cycles in 2018.

Add a comment

budgetgraphIn response to repeated calls for a long-term financial plan for the Scarsdale School district from community groups, Superintendent Hagerman and Assistant Superintendent Mattey unveiled the first phase of a long term plan at the Board of Education meeting on 12/11/17.

Mattey explained the annual budget process and outlined the primary factors that drive the budget formulation including salaries, pension contributions, projected enrollment, anticipated revenues, debt service, health insurance costs, estimated fund balance and the state tax cap.

Taking a look at the current picture, he gave projections for 2018-19 for the district's contributions to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and Employees Retirement System (ERS), two expenses that have been volatile in the past. He reported that TRS, now at 9.8% of salaries is expected to go up to 10.5-11% for the 2018-19 school year, which could mean a $750,000 expense increase for Scarsdale. ERS, now at 15.1% is expected to remain flat at 15%.

He explained that mandated costs, such as water filters on district taps and fountains to mitigate lead will now cost the district $30,000 a year, and explained that these costs are sometimes difficult to predict.

budgetexpense


Overall, Mattey estimated that the 2017-18 school budget would close out at $151,169,598, which is $1.1 million or .74% over the actual 2016-17 school budget.

Expenses for 2017-18 at $154,341,066 are estimated at $6.9 million (4.72%) more than the 2016-17 expenses of $147,380,706. Much of this increase is due to salaries and benefits which went up when the district added new personnel last year.

fundbalance2The district will end the year with a $3,171,468 million decrease in the fund balance from $23,422,731 in June, 2017 to $20,251,263 in June, 2018. Contributing to this decrease is $2.8 million that was used to fund shortfalls from the 2014 facilities work. The district had $1.29 million in tax settlements from the tax certiorari reserve and health insurance costs are expected to be $700,000 higher than last year.

Still unknown are energy costs, which are driven by winter weather. Mattey anticipated that heating costs will also rise due to expanded facilities at the high school.

The district expects to use $1.1 million of this fund balance towards next year's budget. That would leave the district with 3.57% in reserves. The state allows the district to hold a maximum of 4% of the budget in a fund balance.
fundbalance

 

 

The board was provided with historical data dating back to 2011, showing enrollment, tax cap rates, revenues and expenses. Mattey cautioned that the historical and trend data was not a reliable source of budget estimates for the future, but good information to consider. He said that some of the numbers are volatile and difficult to predict. Pension contributions, health insurance, utilities and the state tax cap are outside the district's control and therefore variable and unpredictable.

Mattey asked the Board to help project some of these factors in order to build a long-term plan.

Scott Silberfein asked how accurate the demographers are in estimating future enrollments. Bill Natbony asked if there were educational initiatives or new programs that the administration would like the board to consider.

Dr. Hagerman responded saying, "We're in a time of transition; Lynne Shain has announced her retirement –- that means will have a new curriculum person come in.... We have new spaces that will present opportunities. We talk about 21st century classrooms.... So we need to think about the future in terms of programming and space usage. Are we going to have answers to all of those questions by February 15? I am skeptical. There has to be elasticity that allows us to make changes each year. We have added a significant number of people over the last few years, so we won't have a big wish list this year. And we know we're at the top of our tax levy with the presentation tonight."

Lee Maude and Art Rublin asked Mattey to do two versions of the projection –including a base or optimistic case and a downsize case. Chris Morin suggested that the district employ forecasting tools used by other Westchester-Putnam districts and also form a budget planning committee to assist with finances and forecasting. Morin thought the administration should focus on long-term facilities planning, an area where the district has knowledge, data and control.

The timeline calls for further discussion of the trend analysis and budget parameters at upcoming meetings.

Art Rublin called for the administration to allow time for the community to comment on the proposed budget early on. Scott Silberfein asked that community members be given the opportunity to comment early at meetings so that they don't have to stay until 10 or 11 pm to speak.

Dr. Hagerman commented, "We understand our tax levy amount. We don't anticipate having a lot of FTE (full time employee) recommendations – and those were time consuming.... It's not going to be a complete rollover of the budget, but I don't think there is going to be a lot that will be a surprise to the board. We're not going to ask for what we don't need."

Watch the budgeting discussion here

Add a comment

26CushmanWhen all the members of the Committee for Historic Preservation resigned from the committee in November, 2017 saying that the current Village code did not allow them to prevent the demolition of any homes, we were surprised and hopeful. We were surprised because in our memory an entire committee had never made such a statement, and hopeful because we thought that this would compel the Village Board of Trustees to make some meaningful changes to the code. In fact, former members of the committee suggested some changes that would align with the historic preservation code in nearby towns and make it possible to save some of the historic homes in Scarsdale that are being razed at an alarming rate.

However, we're not sure what if any changes will be made at all.

The Village Board of Trustees has replaced all of the committee members, and the new committee chair, Lucas Meyer was quoted in the Scarsdale Inquirer saying that he believes that only "15 structures in the Village need to be preserved for posterity." Could this mean that almost all applications for demolition filed will be approved? We wondered if this was Meyer's personal point of view or a new standard for the committee? Either way, this interpretation of the code does not even align with the current village code. If the CHP simply approves all demolition applications, no one will need to appeal a decision to the Board of Trustees and the homes will be lost without any consideration.

We were also surprised that local architect Bana Choura was reassigned to the committee. She previously resigned after a conflict of interest as she works on designing the homes that are built on the properties where applications for teardowns are filed. Why couldn't the trustees find someone who has not previously had to step down from the committee... and someone from outside the Village?

We also wondered if the trustees would consider the recommendations from the prior members of the CHP for changes to Village Code that would allow at least some of our homes to be preserved.

And what about the Cultural Resource Survey Report of all of Scarsdale's properties done by architectural historian Andrew S. Dolkart and Li-Saltzman Architects in 2012? The study surveyed the "architectural fabric in order to identify buildings and areas of particular architectural or historical significance." They identified a list of the most significant individual buildings "ranging from colonial-era farmhouses, to mid-nineteenth century rural villas, to architecturally distinguished suburban homes from the early decades of the twentieth-century , to exceptional mid-century Modern houses. The report says, "We realized that what is so special about Scarsdale is the cohesive nature of the built fabric. While we continued to look at each building individually , we also looked to groups of buildings that give a distinctive character to the village. Thus, the survey has identified twelve "Study Areas," where groups of buildings of high quality and with architectural integrity relating to their original design, create cohesive neighborhood ensembles "20Mamaroneck

The report suggests both individual properties as well as historic districts for preservation. Would the trustees consider ways to recognize those properties and districts and incentivize preservation of the facades?

We wrote to the Mayor and several Village trustees with our questions and here is a response from Mayor Dan Hochvert:

1: Regarding the appointment of new committee members:

After the Village Board and Staff learned of resignations of the previous Committee for Historic Preservation (CHP), they recognized there were 3 applications for Certificates of Appropriateness scheduled for hearing on 12/26. A concern was that if the Village was not able to abide by its Code which requires hearings for such applications by the CHP to determine if the applicants' properties were historic, the applicants might seek judicial approval for demolition of the property. To prevent that outcome, volunteers who had previously served on the CHP were asked if they would temporarily serve while longer term volunteers were sought. The resultant CHP consists of some members with previous CHP experience and some members who have interest in historic properties.

2. Regarding the Chairman's view that only 15 properties in Scarsdale warrant preservation:

It is important to note that the Code gives each member of the CHP one vote and requires a minimum of four votes for a decision. New York State law also requires that if fewer than four members of the CHP vote either for or against the application for a C of A, it will be deemed a default denial and the applicant may appeal to the Village Board.

3. Regarding proposed changes to the preservation code:

The Village Board received recommendations from the members of the previous CHP and will schedule public discussion of them as soon as possible in the face of a busy budget development schedule.

(Photos are taken from the 2012 Cultural Resources Survey by Li-Saltzman Architects.)

Add a comment
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop