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Last updateThu, 19 Apr 2018 11am

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thank youMany residents came to the podium at the Village Board meeting on Tuesday March 28 to thank Mayor Jon Mark and Trustee Bill Stern who both completed their service to the Village. Here are comments from former Village Trustee David Lee, LWVS President Deb Morel and Darlene LeFrancois Haber, Ron Schulhof and Michelle Sterling who have championed many sustainability initiatives in the Village.

David Lee:
Jon, when you left the Board of Trustees back in 2013 after serving two terms as trustee, I told of how even before I became a trustee you showed me the type of person you were. You, Kay Eisenman, and I were the three CNC trustee candidates that year, you two running for your second term and I for my first. The three of us were to participate in a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters since we had an independent candidate on the ballot running against us.JonMark

In preparation for the debate, you prepared for all three of us what was at least a 10-page outline detailing the major issues of the day.

From that first experience with you, I said back then that I quickly came to see you as:
-Generous with others in sharing your knowledge

-Prolific in turning out relevant materials

-Someone possessing a powerful command and memory for the issues, and
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A person of great intellect, capable of understanding and presenting issues in an insightful and organized fashion.

I then added in that 2013 farewell speech that in the two years during which we served together on the board , I had come to see not only how true my first impression of those strengths of yours were, but that I had come to see others as well – especially, my recognition of :

Your exceptional conscientiousness in your preparation for understanding the issues we had to address and your dedication to our goal as board members for doing the very best we can for our Village.

As I look back today on your time as Mayor, I see those same descriptions as applying so fully to you.

But, I now want to add something more.DavidLee2

You and your colleagues on the Board this year came under intense pressure from many sides to try to deal with a very difficult situation. Criticized roundly by some, you all, but especially you, Jon, as Mayor, who were more targeted than anyone else, showed class and dignity as you listened to, and showed respect for, all comers, notwithstanding that the same treatment was not always returned your way.

And in a sense, I suppose that's how it sometimes needs to be - from both sides. If residents are angry and without decision-making power, they need to be able to show the intensity of their feelings, if that's how they feel they will be most effective at persuading the decision-makers.

While from our Mayor, we dearly need the kind of demeanor and character that you displayed, leading by example in having our Village Board accord respect to all our neighbors.

You're a classy guy, Mr. Mayor, and all of us in the Village are indebted to you for, among other things, the dignity that you lent to the office.

To Bill Stern from David Lee:

Trustee Stern – Thank you

Bill, you have been a gift to our Village Board. We saw that in your passion and intellect on display earlier this evening in your comments. Knowledgeable beyond measure and likeable beyond measure, you bring your special brand of expertise to the board and it's terrific. Your passion for sustainability and the environment, Scarsdale Cable-TV and the Library, is un-paralleled on the board - and most timely in our Village. Your engineering and business background brought a hugely valued perspective to Board discussions. Your colleagues on the Board looked forward to hearing what you had to say and learned to rely on your expertise and your wisdom. At Village Board meetings, you comfortably addressed contentious positions taken by some of our residents and did so persuasively, while always showing respect for the other's position. And your lucid, un-scripted liaison reports of meetings you have attended or events you have witnessed were often the most entertaining parts of board meetings.

WilliamSternYou have been a terrific member of the Village Board, bringing integrity and a wealth of experience that helped the Board immensely in its decision-making. Thank you for your devoted service to our Village.

Deb Morel

debmorelGood evening. My name is Deb Morel and I am the President of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale. On behalf of the League's board, I would like to honor and thank outgoing Scarsdale Mayor, Jon Mark, and Scarsdale Trustee, Bill Stern. Both Jon and Bill are exemplary public servants who approached the task of governing our village with great care, enormous commitment and impressive responsiveness. Through my work with the League, I have had the opportunity to observe and work with Jon and Bill on various civic matters, and I want to acknowledge the tremendous service each has done for Scarsdale over the years.

Bill Stern, a long-time resident of Quaker Ridge, has served two full terms as a Village Trustee, starting in 2013. With a masters degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in physics, Bill brought strong technical knowledge and insight to numerous village board discussions. Among other things, he has been a champion of sustainability initiatives in the Village, most notably his work on drafting and helping to enact sensible and progressive Village laws and regulations for residents' installation and use of solar panels on their homes.

Jon Mark grew up in Scarsdale, and has served in Scarsdale government for many years. From 2010 to 2014, he served two terms as a Trustee and, during those terms he was called upon also to serve for periods of time as the Scarsdale Police Commissioner, Fire Commissioner and Deputy Mayor. A year after the end of his final trustee term he was nominated and won the position of Scarsdale Mayor. With his characteristic blend of candor, practicality and humor, Jon opened every village board of trustees meeting with a clear and comprehensive run-down of the issues and developments residents needed to know about since the last meeting, and was always meticulously conscientious about following up on questions and requests from the community. And I, personally, have admired Jon's seemingly limitless patience, respect and attention for all citizens during the public comment periods. Jon and Bill, we are truly grateful to both of you for your service.

We would also like to welcome and congratulate the Mayor-elect, Dan Hochvert, and Trustee-elect Seth Ross as they begin their first terms. We congratulate Trustees Matthew Callaghan and Carl Finger as they each begin their second terms. Finally, we thank Trustees Pekarek, Samwick and Veron for their continued service. We wish you all the very best.

Michelle Sterling, Ron Schulhof read by Darlene LeFrancois Haber

Mayor Mark:

Thank you for your service as Mayor these past two years. It has been a pleasure working with you. Scarsdale has seen a number of exciting sustainability initiatives launch under your leadership and is a better place for it. From LED Streetlights to supporting the county reusable bag initiative to the updated recycling guide to organic landscape management to initiating the review of solar and most recently the food scrap recycling program.

You have always given time to hear from volunteers, whether it be during public comments, committee meetings on the 3rd floor or just a phone call. You always came to the table with an open mind, listened and advocated for bringing volunteers into the process. You supported the creation of joint resident-village ad-hoc committees on important initiatives. This brought volunteers into the fold which thankfully made us volunteers a part of these programs and the village will continue to be the better for it.

Who would have thought two years ago that you would be giving a food scrap recycling demo, with a kitchen apron on no-less, to the Greenacres neighborhood association? While we are sad to see your time on the board come to a close, we fully expect to see you walking the train platform with food scrap starter kits in hand giving demos! In all seriousness thank you for your service to the community. You will be greatly missed.

Bill Stern:

Thank you for your service as a Trustee for the past 4 years! Your intelligence, thoughtfulness, and unending commitment to doing what is right for the residents of this community has been very apparent, and is tremendously appreciated.

In particular, each of the three of us applaud your unending support in the mission of caring for our environment. You very clearly reflect the knowledge that human-caused climate change, a fact NOT a hoax, is harming not only our earth, but – as a physician-scientist I can unfortunately say - our personal health. You know that "It's not only happening in the Arctic Circle, it's happening here. It's not only a problem for us in 2100, it's a problem now. And it's not only hurting polar bears, it's hurting us." As a result of your vision, and in your capacity as Trustee, you have clearly taken ownership of this issue and consistently expressed to your fellow Board members and our community that we are stewards of our earth – and we need to leave it in as good of a condition if not better for generations to come. That is evident.

Thank you for your leadership, your constant support and advocacy. We have witnessed that you have not accepted the status quo on this issue. In contrast, as a result of your conviction, as Trustee you have sought to prevent more environmental harm by supporting initiatives which reduce heat-trapping pollution through reducing energy waste and by accelerating the transition to clean renewable energy. Energy saving initiatives such as solar promotion and led street lighting, on organic land management promotion, on the food scrap recycling and energy composting initiative - on these and on all environmentally beneficial initiatives you have stood with each of us and advocated. For this - and for everything else you have done for our community - we thank you Bill. We will greatly miss you as Trustee. The three of us have discussed how to clone you...
But while your time on this Board is at its end, we are each wholly confident that you will continue to make your voice heard as an advocate for a better and healthier community, and a better earth.

We look forward to joining arms with you as a cherished member of our community in this mission.

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Are you a weather watcher? Here's one for you. Anton Seimon, a 1983 graduate of Scarsdale High School will be at the Scarsdale Woman's Club on Sunday April 2 to share his experiences as a seasoned storm chaser and climate scientist. Come here his talk, "Requiem at El Reno: Encountering Earth's Largest Tornado."

The event is free and open to the public. Learn more at www.scarsdaleforum.com.

climatechange

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calendarThe 2017-18 calendar for the Scarsdale Schools has been approved by the School Board. Superintendent Hagerman announced that it has been adjusted to comply with legal requirements for instructional hours per week and instructional days per year. There are a total of 184 days of instruction with very few half days.

Superintendent Hagerman presented a revised school calendar for 2017-18 at the March 6, 2017 meeting of the school board. The calendar includes 184 days of instruction for the 2017-18 school year.

He noted that the district must hold full days of kindergarten to qualify for state aid for those days. However, for the upcoming school year the full days will begin on September 25 and the district will forfeit about $17,000 in aid. For next year this policy can be discussed and changed.

Christmas vacation is only one week this year, from December 25 to January 1, 2018. However, it begins at the close of school on Friday December 22, and reopens on Tuesday Janaury 2, making it a 10-day break.

Here are some other dates you may want to note:

Orientation for 9th grade students:
Wednesday, August 30th

First day of school for K-12 students:
Tuesday, September 5th, with a half day in the morning for kindergarten students and a full day for elementary, middle school and high school students.

Kindergarten students begin with half days in September and full days to begin on Monday, September 25th.

Other highlights include the following:

December Holiday Recess: December 25th - January 1st

February Winter Recess: February 19th - February 23rd

April Spring Recess: March 30th - April 6th

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circleoflifeI'll never forget the day we closed on our house in Scarsdale. We had two kids – ages 1 ½ and 4 and a Mazda that had been vandalized eight times on the Upper West Side. We had been lucky to get a house near the train station at a time when bidding wars broke out over homes that young families could afford. And the truth was we really couldn't afford the house when we bought it – but we figured that in time, our salaries would go up enough so that we would be comfortable and secure.

I had never been to a closing before and did not know what to expect. I arrived with a few certified checks and assumed we would sign some papers and be given the keys to our first house.

Things seemed to be going smoothly with documents passing back and forth between the attorneys. My husband and I were signing this and that when the lawyer from the bank asked for the check for a full year of taxes on the house in advance. That threw me for a loop. Though I had an MBA, what did I know about escrow accounts? I wasn't sure we had the $11,000 in our account. I held my breath, wrote the check and figured we would find a way to cover it before it cleared. Then our attorney turned to us and said, "Would you like to tip the title man?" All I could think was – I'd like to tip the guy but I have already overdrawn our account.

What does this have to do with what's going on in the Village today?

Here's what I think:

Young families who are lucky enough to be able to move to Scarsdale today have similar mindsets. They choose Scarsdale because they want good schools for their kids, a cool pool for the summer months, day camp at reasonable prices and like-minded parents to meet. From the outside, it looks to them like Scarsdale is a well run town – and though the taxes might be a bit higher than in neighboring towns, they figure the schools and the services are worth it.

I recently spoke to one young mother of three who works full time. We were discussing the future of the Greenacres School and I asked her what she thought. She surprised me when she said, "I work every day and I am trying to manage three kids all under the age of ten. I elected people to find good candidates to serve on the school board and the village board and I pay taxes for the salaries of school administrators and village managers. Why do I need to oversee them? I don't have time to go out to meetings at night. They should do what's best for the kids and the village."

So when I hear candidates running for office with promises to cut taxes so that empty nesters can retire here, I think of these young families – who are the lifeblood of our real estate market. Many of them stretched to come here but felt it was important to give their children a first-rate education.

If they had time to focus on the Village election I am sure that most would be surprised to hear that the candidates for the Scarsdale Voters' Choice Party want to keep taxes down, and possibly cut services, so that empty nesters can comfortably retire here.

Bob Selvaggio and Brice Kirkendall-Rodriguez, both from the Scarsdale Voters' Choice Party, appealed to these empty nesters at a recent Candidates Forum saying, "empty nesters and seniors on fixed incomes are being priced out of town."

Young parents might also be surprised to know that the Voters' Choice Party candidate for mayor Robert Berg, orchestrated the first successful "no vote" on a Scarsdale Schools budget in 43 years in 2013 – and pressured the district's superintendent into early retirement. As one parent put it, "Berg is no friend of our schools." He urged voters to vote NO to the Scarsdale School budget, saying, "Empty nesters, in particular, should ask themselves: "How long will I be able to afford to stay in my home?"

When it comes to the Village budget, however, all Berg's hyperbole about making things more affordable for empty nesters is in reality overblown. Village taxes represent a very small portion of residents' tax bills, and in fact all this discussion involves an average tax increase of about $200 a year on the Village portion of the tax bill. Village Manager Steve Pappalardo estimates that the owner of a home assessed at $1,505,238 would pay $223 more in Village taxes for the proposed 2017-18 Village budget.

The real danger is that if elected mayor, Candidate Bob Berg wants to expand his sphere of influence beyond the Village budget. On the Voters' Party website, even though the candidates are running for election as officers of the Village, they offer their views on the school budget too, saying, "As private citizens we will speak out to ensure that the Scarsdale School District tax levy stays within the tax cap" In the Scarsdale Inquirer Berg says he wants to sit down with the school superintendent once every month or two. He says, "There needs to be more communication and cooperation between the two entities," and that he "expects Superintendent Hagerman would be willing to sit down and talk." Does he really want to talk or does he want to pressure the superintendent to save money? That's a scary thought. Though it would be beneficial if school facilities could be used for community meetings, I fear that Berg wants to go beyond sharing space. It's vital to preserve the independence of the School and Village Boards.

In my view our priority should be to maintain and enrich the schools and the services that that attracted all of us to Scarsdale to begin with. We need to finance education, programming, services, facilities and infrastructure and refrain from balking if the tax bill goes up by a few hundred bucks. Young families will benefit from this and empty nesters will too.

If Scarsdale continues to flourish and its schools remain on top, the value of all of our homes will increase. Making Scarsdale into an ideal retirement community should not be the goal. Rather, the priority should be investing in Scarsdale, to attract young families to town to live in this extraordinary community. As an empty nester, this is something I will look forward to when I sell my own home.

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meetandgreetThe Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party (SCNP) will host a series of events between now and the March 21st Scarsdale Village election to allow residents to meet and learn about the experience and qualifications of SCNP's candidates running for the offices of Mayor and Trustees. The schedule of "Meet the Candidates with Experience" events - which are free, with refreshments, and open to the public (including two special Kid Friendly events) - are listed below.

According to Campaign Committee Chair, ML Perlman, "We look forward to introducing the candidates with real qualifications and experience for the challenging job of running Village government. The Citizens' Non-Partisan candidates are a highly experienced group with tremendous depth and insight into Village affairs. In particular, Dan Hochvert, Mayoral Candidate and former 2-term Trustee with an engineering background has the experience, qualifications, and temperament to lead, as do SCNP Trustee candidates Matt Callaghan, Carl Finger and Seth Ross.

The public is invited to attend any and all of the below events to meet the Citizens' Non-Partisan Party candidates, each with the experience, integrity and strength of character to earn Scarsdale's vote on March 21st. If unable to attend, residents may send questions directly to candidates for a one-on-one conversation or a specific answer to an issue or concern.

Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party continues the 100-year tradition of CNC-researched candidate endorsement based on a platform of experience and character as qualifications for office.

Schedule of Events

Monday March 6th – Register to Vote and Meet the Candidates with Experience 7PM-9PM at the Scott Room of Scarsdale Public Library
Deadline to register to Vote is March 10th (Absentee ballots will be available.)

Wednesday March 8th – Eve and Carl Finger Welcome Scarsdale to their home 7PM-9PM at the Finger Residence
Carl is a Sitting Trustee and Candidate for Trustee
RSVP: nonpartisan@scarsdalecitizens.org

Thursday March 9th – Register to Vote and Meet the Candidates
7PM-9PM at the Scott Room of Scarsdale Public Library

Deadline to register to Vote is March 10th (Absentee ballots will be available.)

Saturday March 11th – Kid Friendly! Meet the Candidates with Experience 12PM-2PM at the Scott Room of Scarsdale Public Library
RSVP: nonpartisan@scarsdalecitizens.org

Monday March 13th – Susan and Dan Hochvert Welcome Scarsdale to their home 7PM-9PM at The Hochvert Residence
Dan is Candidate for Mayor and former 2-term Trustee
RSVP: nonpartisan@scarsdalecitizens.org

Wednesday March 15th – Susan & Seth Ross Welcome Scarsdale to their home 7PM-9PM @ The Ross Residence
Seth is a Candidate for Trustee
RSVP: nonpartisan@scarsdalecitizens.org

Sunday March 19th – Kid Friendly! Meet the Candidates With Experience 11AM-1PM @ Scott Room of Scarsdale Public Library
Kindly RSVP: nonpartisan@scarsdalecitizens.org

Tuesday March 21st – Election at Scarsdale Library! 6AM-9AM & 12PM-9PM

Scarsdale Voter's Choice Party:

The Voters' Choice Party candidates, Mayoral Candidate Robert J. Berg and Trustee Candidates, Brice Kirkendall-Rodríguez, Carlos Ramírez, and Robert Selvaggio, will hold a Town Hall Meeting on March 15, 2017, 7:15-9:15pm at the Scarsdale Congregational Church in the Boynton Room, 1 Heathcoate Road.

The Voters' Choice Party candidates are hard-working and accomplished professionals in the fields of accounting, economics, law, media, information technology and risk management who have been involved actively in civic and community affairs in Scarsdale for many years, The candidates will answer your questions about the important Village issues that affect you.

This year the Scarsdale Village election will be held at a new polling place in the Scott Room at the Scarsdale Library on March 21, 2017; the polls will be open from 6-9am and 12-9pm. A Frequently Asked Questions section and the candidates' bios are on www.VotersChoiceParty.com.

 

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