Monday, May 20th

Last updateMon, 20 May 2019 10am

You are here: Home The Goods
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

hurleyssteakWestchester County’s dining options include many steakhouses and many pubs. If you can’t decide between a steakhouse and a pub, your answer is a visit to the new Hurley’s Steakhouse and Pub in New Rochelle. On busy Division Street a home furnishing store has been completely gutted and transformed into a tastefully decorated new place to dine – Hurley’s Steakhouse and Pub. Owned by Paul Hurley, a seasoned restauranteur, the charming Mr. Hurley grew up in Dublin where he trained as a bartender and restauranteur. Upon coming to New York, he used his skills to open many restaurants in city hall, midtown and uptown Manhattan locations. Hurley said, “New Rochelle needed a spot like Hurley’s. With its opening in November, New York City came to New Rochelle. Our goal for the restaurant is to keep our guests happy and have them make many return visits. A very important quality of a restauranteur is the ability to talk to everyone. It is a hospitality industry. The best part of the business is when a guest enjoys the experience and returns often. If I were dining here I would like to share a table with my family. I would start with lobster bisque or baked clams followed by one of our Irish dishes or a sirloin steak.”

The restaurant’s design is the work of Hurley’s talented wife Finola, who works behind the scenes. The pub area has a large well stocked marble bar and several high tables. Charming bar related artwork lines the walls. You can order from the regular menu here or enjoy snacks from the pub grub selections. They include Buffalo wings, cheeseburger sliders, colossal shrimp skewers and mozzarella sticks, to name a few choices. The main dining room boasts a glowing stone fireplace surrounded by comfortable leather chairs. Brick and dark wood and tufted brown leather banquettes give a warm cozy feel to the dining room. Care is even evident in the rest rooms. The ladies room walls are lined with photos of movies leading men and the men’s room has photos of actresses. Upon entering these areas a smile is sure to come to your face.

hurleysoystersExecutive Chef Manuel Balcon, who worked with Hurley in the city, heads the kitchen. I was seated at a white linen clad table and was graciously served by waiters Mario and Ruben. Tuna tartare arrived as a combination of ripe cubes of avocado and very fresh tuna marinated and tossed with white and black sesame seeds. The generous mound of goodness was garnished with sesame topped cucumber slices. Next, the popular baked clams were small, whole and tender with a well flavored crumb topping. Fresh lemon and a buttery sauce added to the plate, nice for dipping. Future beginning might include crab cake, sizzling Canadian bacon or char grilled sizzling oysters or perhaps the very popular lobster bisque. For a lighter start, a classic Cobb, Caesar or iceberg wedge salad or a lovely arugula salad with beets, goat cheese, pistachios and a raspberry walnut vinaigrette are good starters.

The steak and chop board offers prime fillet, tomahawk ribeye, New York Sirloin, porterhouse, veal chop, rack of lamb and short ribs. We savored the prime fillet. It arrived as ordered black and blue with a sprig of herbs as a garnish. There were typical steakhouse sides of creamed spinach, and hash browns. We ordered Brussels sprouts, quartered and tossed with bacon and drizzled with honey. The honey added a nice flavor. We also enjoyed a selection of wild mushrooms and onions. A variety of sauces are offered with your steak, but I prefer mine unadorned.

With Hurley’s background beginning in Ireland, some Irish traditional fare is offered here, as well. Would I try Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, or bangers and mash? It was chicken pot pie that I chose. The individual oval casserole was chock full of white meat chunks of chicken, carrots, celery and potatoes in a creamy sauce. Topped with house made puff pastry it was very satisfying.Chicken Pot Pie

Weekends offer nice options at Hurley’s. Try the Sunday brunch from 11- 4. Some choices are lobster omelet, eggs benedict, corned beef hash, challah French toast and a Hurley burger. Paul Hurley indicates that,” Sundays are made for prime time Sunday roast. They offer roast prime rib of beef with horseradish cream, mashed potatoes and vegetables with natural beef au jus.

Monday through Fridays offer a prix fixe lunch, a good value with choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert. If you enjoy an early dinner during the week, take advantage of the early bird special dinners. If sandwiches are your desire, try a selections from the sandwich board, each served with French fries. Roasted chicken club, salmon BLT, prime rib dip, and corned beef on rye are some choices. Hurley’s extensive and ambitious menu seems to offer something for everyone. Popular entrees of grilled salmon, surf and turf shrimp fra diavolo, seafood towers and a variety of burgers are possibilities, as well.

Desserts of key lime pie, cheesecake, chocolate mousse are among the many desserts.

For a dining experience including steaks and chops, pub fare and Irish specialties and much more served with Irish hospitality in a beautiful warm setting, pay a visit to Hurley’s Steakhouse and Pub in nearby New Rochelle.

Hurley’s Steakhouse and Pubhurleyssurf
15 Division Street
New Rochelle, NY
(94) 738-6000

Recipe:
Hurley’s Steakhouse and Pub Tuna Tartare (serves 2)

Ingredients:

300 grams sushi grade tuna in small cubes
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsps. toasted sesame seeds
Seaweed salad, recipe below
1 avocado finely chopped
Handful chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime, fresh
Pinch salt and pepper

For the sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
2 spring onions, chopped
2 Tbsps. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. each of sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey

Directions:
Add the cubed tuna, green onions and sesame seeds to the bowl of sauce and mix together. In a separate bowl place avocado, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper. Garnish with seaweed salad (recipe follows) and toasted sesame seeds.
Seaweed Salad:
Ingredients:

1/2 ounce dry mixed seaweed
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
½ Tbsp. sesame oil
½ Tbsp. soy sauce
½ Tbsp. sugar
Salt to taste
½ Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
½ scallion finely chopped

Directions:
Place seaweed in bowl with cold water. Soak for 5 minutes and drain of excess water. Whisk together remaining ingredients and toss with seaweed. Place on top of the tuna tartare.

LWVS3 4The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale (the “League”) thanks members of the Board of Education (the “Board”) and District Administration (the “Administration”) for participating in a panel at the League’s General Membership Meeting and School Budget Information Session and addressing questions on the Proposed School Budget 2019-20 (the “Budget”) on March 4, 2019 at Village Hall.

The following statement reflects the consensus of League members at a Consensus Meeting held immediately following the Information Session.

Position

The League supports the Scarsdale School District Proposed Budget for 2019-20 and recommends that the community vote “yes” to approve the proposed Budget on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Scarsdale Middle School. The League offers its comments and recommendations regarding certain budgetary items as well as the budget process, which we hope will be considered as the Budget is revised and finalized.

Budget Overview and Noteworthy Features

The proposed Budget is $160,782,597, with a budget-to-budget increase of 1.86% ($2,933,190) and a tax levy growth of 2.27%. Per the District, the estimated tax increase for an average assessed property valued at $1,595,700 would be: $422 for Scarsdale residents (representing a 1.77% increase) and $1,259 for Mamaroneck residents (representing a 5.88% increase).

According to the District, the Budget accomplishes:
- The advancement of high-quality teaching and learning consistent with SET 2.0
- Support of teaching and learning initiatives in advancement of SET 2.0, including STEAM implementation.
- Staffing levels consistent with historical philosophies and community expectations
- Enhanced Safety, Security and Emergency management; and
- Additional air conditioning units to cool learning spaces on high heat days
- Facilities improvements and upgrades.

The proposed Budget increases staffing at the high school to 158.0 FTE, an actual budget increase of 3.0 FTE; including 1.0 FTE combined STEAM/ Math position, 1.0 FTE Science position and 1.0 FTE Special Education position. District-wide, the proposed staffing reflects a 2.0 FTE net increase from 2018-19. This includes 1.0 FTE, which was a transfer from SMS to a district-wide assignment, as well as 1.0 FTE Psychologist.
Commendations

The League acknowledges, with appreciation, the substantial time and effort that goes into developing the proposed Budget and thanks the Administration and Board for their additional effort spent in preparing for our March 4 Information Session. The League would especially like to commend the panel -- the impressive team -- at this year’s Information Session for their candid dialogue. The information provided and the panel’s responsiveness to the League conversation and questions at the meeting was well-received and much appreciated.

The League commends the Administration for making the Budget Book available early in the budget development process. The Budget Book allows a comprehensive view of the myriad components of the Budget and through this tool there is an enhanced understanding of the Budget itself. The League further commends the Administration for adding the League questions and Administration answers to the District website; we believe that this is a valuable resource for the community.

Comments and Recommendations

General

While the League appreciates the Board’s efforts to manage the impact of tax increases on residents, we are aware that educational needs are constantly changing and therefore the League seeks to ensure that our school budgets not only maintain but also continuously enhance Scarsdale education. The League notes, with some concern, that overall, the 2017-18 and 2018-19 budgets, as well as the current proposed Budget represent very tight budgeting practices. The League continues to encourage the District to consider unforeseen expenditures and unpredictable cost increases in their budget planning process.

Security

The 2019-20 Budget line for Security is $1,294,031, which is an increase of $824,418 over the current year, 2018-19. Included in this Budget line is $805,407 specifically for visitor management and building safety personnel. The League acknowledges that the evaluation and implementation of security at Scarsdale Schools is an ongoing process, however, we hope through this process and in the implementation of enhanced security measures, that the District is able to mindfully maintain the warmth and community feeling that is an essential aspect of our schools. The League strongly recommends that the Board engage in increased outreach to solicit broader community feedback in order to understand how the community at large views and understands the complex issue of school safety and increased security measures. The League believes that there is much benefit to proactively obtaining more nuanced and qualitative community feedback in order to determine values and priorities, particularly with regard to such complex issues.

In addition to community outreach, the League requests that benchmarking information and other research be made public to educate and contextualize additional Budget funding in the area of security. The League hopes that through this information, the community will have the opportunity to better understand how similar schools in Westchester and beyond have approached increased security. Further, by viewing District recommendations within the context of benchmarking and research, the community would be able to understand which measures have been considered and found to be most appropriate and effective for districts like Scarsdale. The League hopes that the goal of implemented security measures is that these measures not only incorporate best practices but also reflect and connect to the values of the entire Scarsdale community. The League further recommends that the District Safety Committee continuously seeks and receives input from local law enforcement as well as the community at large.

Staffing and Class Size

The League notes that a Scarsdale education has long been regarded as a leader amongst its peers and we recommend that the District continue to aspire to educational leadership. The League notes that the District continues to support the elementary class size policy and the Middle School house structure. The League also notes the District’s commitment to High School student choice. However, the League recommends that the District ensure that there is adequate personnel to protect student choice at the high school. The League notes that this effort requires focus on many levels. The League values a high school where teachers have time for students -- to support the social, emotional and academic -- where there is small class size, and where students have flexibility both in and outside of the classroom for learning opportunities and support. To create and promote these opportunities for students, the League acknowledges the importance of protecting class load and scheduling for teachers and guidance counselors as well as preserving class size.

The League believes that the inherent flexibility required to meet student needs and the ability to reassess student needs are essential components of a Scarsdale education and that both are time and labor intensive for teachers and guidance counselors. Furthermore, the League believes that individualized instruction and the opportunity for student research are hallmarks of a Scarsdale education and make Scarsdale an educational leader.

In addition, and in light of the conversation on student social/ emotional issues at the high school, the League is concerned about the increased student per dean/ guidance counselor ratio at the high school and we ask the Administration to look more closely at the trend. The League notes that classroom teachers are the first line of defense in regard to observing student social/ emotional issues and a teacher’s ability to detect and address problems or refer the student to a counselor may be impeded by an increased student per dean/ guidance counselor ratio.

The League recommends that the Administration and Board continue to reflect on and provide appropriate staffing to protect the academic well-being of the high school. The League believes that staffing should be reflective of an underlying high school culture that supports academic choice, allows each student to forge a personal connection to an educator and provides a safe, healthy environment in which students can develop and grow.

Leadership

The League values Scarsdale Schools’ educational leadership. The preservation of educational leadership requires a strong and proactive commitment to continuously enhance our educational program, K - 12, while keeping the community informed. As such, the League recommends that the Administration and Board provide clear and concise explanations of Budget decisions, in addition to a broad overview of what is physically needed at the building level so that our community will have the ability to make informed decisions on Budget priorities. In addition, the League believes that the Strategic Plan is critical to maintaining and enhancing Scarsdale educational excellence as it creates a path forward for the Administration and Board. It also provides an opportunity to inform the community of future plans so that they are given context for District-recommended Budget choices. The League recommends that any Strategic Plan long-range financial proposal include vision and future development not just for capital improvement, but as well for programmatic and curricular investment.

With regard to the current strategic planning process, the League strongly recommends that the Board proactively solicit broad community input to better take the temperature of the community and to develop a full understanding of views on the variety of complex issues that face the District.

The League notes that our education system is what attracts people to Scarsdale, thus it is imperative that Scarsdale sustain its position as a leader in public education. The League appreciates that our new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Edgar McIntosh, is doing a listening tour in the community, as he shared at our Information Session. We encourage and support his taking the time to learn, understand and know the community. The League encourages continued public presentations of initiatives, both for curriculum and facilities, that include benchmarking data and research, so that the community can better understand and know the type of curricular innovation that is taking place at other comparable public and private schools. The League supports and encourages the District’s pursuit of forward-looking curricular initiatives and program enhancements that continue to provide opportunities and environments that stimulate innovation and educational excellence for both students and teachers.

Plant and Capital Improvements

The League notes that Plant Improvements are budgeted at $1,459,000, representing a 7.16% budget-to-budget decrease; Capital Improvements are currently budgeted at $1,085,000 representing a 16.54% budget-to-budget decrease from the 2018-19 budget. Given that several of our schools were built over a century ago, thoughtful facilities planning and capital improvement are of utmost importance. Our buildings must maintain and enhance student learning; and be safe, sustainable and flexible spaces able to support 21st century innovation and future programs.

Regarding District-wide air conditioning, the League looks forward to hearing about a sustainable, long-term plan and timeline for completing efforts to create safe, comfortable, learning-conducive environments for all Scarsdale students.

State Calculated Tax Levy Limit (the ‘tax cap’)

This year, the allowable tax levy growth under the New York State “Tax Cap” law is 2.94%, thus the current proposed Budget is .67% below the tax levy limit. The League notes that the proposed Budget is $967,017 below the tax cap. The League understands the desire to keep tax levy growth as low as possible; however, the League is concerned about being far below the tax cap with regard to planning for next year’s budget. If we are not spending up to the cap, our allowable levels for the following year are lowered. Furthermore, the League encourages the Board to be mindful about the upcoming legislation regarding the Tax Levy Limit Law.

Advocacy

The League reiterates our recommendation from the past several years that the Administration and Board take on a greater role in advocacy and leadership for our District. The League strongly recommends that the Administration and Board create a Legislative Advisory Committee in order to monitor the many legislative issues that currently affect Scarsdale Schools and public schools in general. Currently, there are opportunities for Scarsdale to advocate productively on issues including the Con Edison gas moratorium, the Tax Levy Limit Law and other legislation that directly impacts our community.

Board Process

In conclusion, the League recommends that the Board provide the community sufficient information and time necessary to view any Administration or Board member Budget recommendation within the larger context of District educational goals, a master facilities’ plan and through the lens of Scarsdale’s role as an educational leader. The League continues to recommend that the Board be more proactive and wide-reaching in soliciting input, feedback, and engaging in dialogue with various community members and groups in order to better and more fully understand the views of their constituents as well as broader community priorities. This may be achieved, for example, by Board coffees, focus groups, formal invitations to specific neighborhoods to attend certain Board meetings, etc.. The League believes that a more complete picture of community feedback, combined with relevant expert opinions and research, will serve to enhance Board decisions on complex issues and their implementation as well as facilitate community understanding and appreciation of Scarsdale Schools.

We thank all members of the Administration and Board for consideration of our statement. The League looks forward to the release of the Board’s final Budget iteration resulting from having considered community comments.

Sincerely,

Leah Dembitzer
School Budget Study Portfolio Chair
League of Women Voters
Scarsdale

Linda Doucette-Ashman
Co-President
League of Women Voters
Scarsdale

Janice Starr
Co-President
League of Women Voters
Scarsdale

SethRossThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Seth Ross, Candidate for Village Trustee:

For most of my 23 years in Scarsdale I’ve been an active volunteer and privileged to serve in a number of capacities, from volunteer firefighter to chair of the village Planning Board. Each role in which I’ve served has required relevant substantive knowledge as well as the ability to communicate, to understand the issues and concerns that a situation presented, and to work with and sometimes lead other volunteers in decision making. My experiences and skills as a civic volunteer have served me well in my first term as a trustee on the Village Board.

As a member and then chair, first of the village Zoning Board and then of the Planning Board, I needed an understanding of land use issues, a working knowledge of the legal constraints and requirements that govern a municipal land use board, a familiarity with the Scarsdale community, and an ability to engage with my fellow board members to arrive at appropriate decisions. As chairman, I had to run meetings that were orderly, civilized and on-track and that gave everyone with something to say an opportunity to be heard.

As a long-time board member of the Scarsdale Forum, I had to get a handle on a broad range of issues affecting the community and to organize and supervise the committees I chaired. Just as importantly, I came to understand that Scarsdale is a place where public service and volunteerism truly matter. My experience as a trustee of the Scarsdale Foundation, as chair of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee, and as an active participant in our nonpartisan system as chair of the Procedure Committee and an elected member of the Citizens Nominating Committee all reinforced that understanding.

At times, it feels like my volunteer work is my career, but I have a paying job as well!

As an attorney for over 30 years, I’ve had to advocate, persuade, compromise, draft and review complex documents, oversee the work of others, and generally do whatever is necessary to achieve my clients’ objectives. I’ve developed the ability to analyze issues and to get a handle on complex situations. I’ve learned to develop an approach to a problem and then implement the solution. I’ve had to master the power of persuasion coupled with the ability to compromise, and the discipline to set priorities and to get things done, often within a tight time frame. Most importantly, I’ve been able to work effectively with other people.

This background prepared me well for my responsibilities on the Village Board. All of the outreach, the dialogue, the planning, and the decisions boil down to a single job description: the trustees are here to serve the community. And on our Village Board, unlike many other governing bodies, each trustee represents the interests of all residents across all neighborhoods. That’s why I am so proud to have contributed to the accomplishments of the Village Board over the past two years.

As a trustee, I’m in constant dialogue with local residents – other volunteers, friends and neighbors, people with complaints about things that are happening (or not happening) in the village, people with ideas for improving our local services and facilities and for using our resources more effectively, and people who simply want to have a better understanding of how our village government works. Input from village residents informs everything the board does, and I relish the interactions with the public. In these challenging times, it’s become increasingly important not just to govern well, but to act and communicate in a way that instills confidence in residents.

The next two years will present not only challenges but also tremendous potential and opportunities for progress. The Village Board has begun work on a project that I expect will bring dramatic change to Scarsdale: the redevelopment of the Freightway site. We have a great deal of work to do before this undertaking becomes a reality. I think the thoughtful and creative development of this currently unattractive and under-utilized site in the middle of our downtown will be one of the biggest changes Scarsdale will see in our lifetime.

I’ve enjoyed my service as a trustee, and I believe I still have contributions to make to our village. I hope I have earned your vote for a second term on Tuesday, March 19.

SAS Catalog Cover SpringSummer 2019Scarsdale Adult School welcomes spring with an all-star line-up of special events as well as an exciting selection of classes in humanities, languages, writing, career development, personal finance, arts and crafts, photography, fitness, card and board games, health/wellness, and “edutainment.” Registration is already underway at www.ScarsdaleAdultSchool.org.

Hot topics include best-selling author visits from Randi Hutter Epstein (Aroused), Jill Schlesinger (The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money), and Jonathan Haidt (The Coddling of the American Mind) and local notables such as Mimi Rocah, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and current MSNBC legal analyst.

This semester includes many new health and wellness courses. Mindful writing, mindful eating, and creative journaling supplement the more general classes in yoga, meditation, qigong, and acupressure. Melissa Wetzstein will introduce intuitive nutrition practices with a spring cleanse and summer sustenance series.

Followers of Marie Kondo or those curious about her popular podcast may take a workshop with Karin Socci, the first consultant for Marie Kondo be certified at the platinum level.

Next semester’s walking tours include public art installations and galleries throughout NYC as well as architecture tours of Brooklyn Heights, Central Park West art deco, the Woolworth Building and and the Arthur Manor neighborhood of Scarsdale. Additional theme tours include Edith Wharton’s New York and the Audubon Mural Project in Harlem. Artists and art historians will highlight the latest exhibits at the Met, the Guggenheim, MoMA, and the New Museum.

Noteworthy new history and current event topics include:
● Gerrymandering and the 2018 Election Results
● The Current State of Immigration
● Bioethical Issues in Contemporary Society
● Supreme Court Roundup
● Churchill, Britain’s Incomparable Leader
● Law and Order: Anti-Semitism in Europe
● Understanding Foreign Policy through Memoirs and Current Events

Literary discussion groups cover teen literature with Scarsdale Middle School English Department chairperson Denise Del Balzo, the stories of Grace Paley, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead trilogy, picture books, poetry, as well as perennial favorites BookTalk with Harriet Sobol, contemporary memoirs with Lori Rotskoff, and short stories with Marilyn DeRight. Single-subject classes will focus on A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza and Becoming by Michelle Obama. Movie matinees explores the element of suspense.

Music and dance appreciation delves into the Great American Songbook, Bach, Schubert, Swan Lake, and early twentieth century composers. SAS audiences can look forward to live performances by Cristiana Pegoraro, the Hoff-Barthelson faculty, members of the New York Philharmonic, and several internationally-acclaimed chamber music ensembles.

Students may improve their French, German, Italian, or Spanish language skills. Aspiring performers can be swept up in song or improv. Arts and crafts opportunities include flower arranging, calligraphy, cartooning, drawing, basket weaving, decoupage, knitting, jewelry-making, metal work, mixed media, quilting, and painting. Photography courses appeal to those with a passion for cameras of all shapes and sizes.

Courses abound on how to jump-start careers or wind them down with retirement and investment planning. From country line dancing to body sculpting, fitness and dance classes cater to varied activity levels and interests. Games galore allow students to hone their bridge game or take up canasta or mah jongg.

With staggered class start dates throughout the year, daytime and evening meeting times, and convenient class locations, SAS is a proven source of round the clock fun and enrichment. Courses are open to all, regardless of residency, and fill on a first-come/first-served basis.

The spring/summer catalog was mailed in January to all Scarsdale residents. Limited quantities of printed catalogs are available at Village Hall and the Scarsdale Library Loft. Visit www.ScarsdaleAdultSchool.org to register, to sign up for the bimonthly electronic newsletter, or for additional information about the dynamic line-up. Call (914) 723-2325 or email mailto:Registrar@ScarsdaleAdultSchool.org with questions.

SethRossSeth Ross is completing his first term as Scarsdale Village Trustee and has been re-nominated by the Scarsdale Citizens Non-Partisan Party to serve a second two year term. Below he responded to some questions about himself and his activities on the Board. Take a look and remember to vote on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself – including your background, experiences in Scarsdale and your professional career?

I grew up in a family in which volunteer community service was a way of life, so when my wife and I moved to Scarsdale in 1995 to start our family, it seemed natural to join the Scarsdale Forum and the Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Department. I was active in both of those groups for many years, stepping down from the board of the Scarsdale Forum only when I was elected to the Village Board. I am no longer an active firefighter but am a sustaining member of Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Company 3.

I soon branched out into other activities, including the Citizens Nominating Committee and the Procedure Committee (which I chaired ), the Zoning Board, Planning Board, and Scarsdale Bowl Committee (all of which I also chaired), and the Board of the Scarsdale Foundation. Service as a Village Trustee seemed like part of a natural progression once I was sufficiently knowledgeable about the community and my family and work obligations allowed for the requisite time commitment.

My wife, Susan (also an active community volunteer), and I have two children, both of whom were raised in Scarsdale from birth and attended public school here. Our daughter is now a biomedical engineer living in California, and our son is a freshman in college.

My training and work as an attorney have provided me with a solid background for community service, and although juggling the demands of two concurrent careers can be challenging, it helps make for an interesting and satisfying life.
Looking back on the last two years, what stands out about the activities of the Scarsdale Village Board?

What stands out about the activities of the Village Board over the last two years is both the positive impact the Board’s actions have had on the experience of living in Scarsdale and the constant and ever-intensifying struggle to minimize our residents’ real estate taxes by controlling the growth of the Village budget.

Over the past two years, the Village Board has taken a number of actions that I believe benefit our residents, including the adoption of a curbside food scrap recycling program, restrictions on the potential locations of businesses selling vaping supplies and firearms, and the revamping of our tree protection ordinance to meet the challenges of indiscriminate clear cutting. We have also taken concrete steps toward the redevelopment of the Freightway site, which I believe will have a significant positive impact on life in Scarsdale.

What have you enjoyed about your service and why do you want to continue for another two-year term on the board?

I enjoy the give-and-take with other Scarsdale residents that service as a Village Trustee entails. My fellow trustees are an outstanding group of residents, devoted to the community and committed to working together in an atmosphere of civil and constructive dialogue. I am constantly challenged by them to think about issues both more broadly and more deeply than I might on my own, and together with them I do my best to reach the best decisions for the community.

Interactions with Scarsdale residents who are not on the Village Board are also a major part of the job. I communicate regularly with a wide range of community volunteers, as well as with residents who may not be generally engaged in civic affairs but have concerns that they want the Village Board to address.

I hope to continue as a Village Trustee because I believe that in this way I can help to improve the quality of life for all village residents and because my service on the Board has been a very positive experience so far. I look forward to continuing work on the Freightway redevelopment because the success of this project is particularly important for the betterment of the community.

What were your committee assignments and what if any resolutions were passed from those committees?

Last year, I chaired the Personnel Committee and served on the Land Use Committee. This year I chair the Finance Committee, have continued on the Personnel Committee, and also serve on the Law Committee.

The Personnel Committee fills openings on Village boards and councils as diverse as the Planning Board and the Advisory Council on Senior Citizens. As Chair, I led the effort to place dozens of residents on those boards and counsels, providing the village with a range of vital services.

The recent revision of the tree protection ordinance and the restriction on potential sales of firearms and vaping supplies were deliberated on by the Law Committee before their adoption by the full Village Board.

It is important to understand that, although a resolution originates in a committee, the entire Board participates in each committee’s meetings. All of the Board’s resolutions, therefore, reflect the collective wisdom of the entire Board rather than just one committee.

What are your views on the development of the Freightway site?

The Freightway site, consisting of approximately 2 ½ acres of Village owned property in downtown Scarsdale, is not only unattractive but substantially under-utilized. The site detracts from the character of our downtown as a whole, essentially leaving a void near the center of what should be a unified mixed-use district. The garage located on the site requires either replacement or a significant expenditure of funds in order to put it into proper condition.

We need to do something about the site, and our Village government is taking a thoughtful approach to the situation. The Freightway Site Redevelopment Study completed last year was the product of an intensive effort by numerous volunteers to help think through what the community wants on the site and what would most benefit the community for decades to come. The responses received from several developers to the Village’s Request for Expressions of Interest have given us a preliminary indication of what might be built. The Village is now working on a Request for Proposals, which will lead to a better developed picture of the possibilities. There is still a great deal of work (and many opportunities for discussion and community input) ahead of us, but we know enough now to have high hopes for the site to be developed into a major community asset. Although the potential benefits to the community are significant, the planning must take into account issues including the inevitable increase in traffic and the amount of parking that will be available to those who require it.

The Freightway project is likely to be the biggest change Scarsdale has seen in a very long time. I am confident that it can be an extremely positive one.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing the Village now?

Probably the greatest challenge facing the village is, as always, the need to maintain the facilities and services on which our residents depend, and in some cases improve on those facilities and services and adapt them to meet changing needs, in a fiscally responsible manner. Keeping taxes as low as possible while addressing our community’s various needs and priorities has always been a challenge. The statewide cap on local tax levies that came into effect in 2012 made the challenge even greater. The limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes imposed by the federal government created yet another cause for concern.

By way of perspective, Village taxes comprise only about 18% of our residents’ total real estate tax burden, and much of the Village budget is beyond the discretion of the Board. Employee benefits comprise a very large share of Village expenses, and these and other costs are largely dictated by collective bargaining. On the whole, significantly cutting expenses in the areas where we are able to do so would lead to relatively small tax savings, and substantial declines in the level of services and the quality of the facilities our residents enjoy. The Board has been, however, constantly vigilant about balancing these issues to minimize the Village portion of the tax burden on residents.

The work that needs to be done in order to develop the Freightway site so as to maximize its value to the community is another significant challenge. It is, however, a challenge coupled with a wonderful opportunity.

What had you hoped to accomplish that remains to be addressed?

I think we can do more to protect the character of our residential neighborhoods. One way to do this is to take further steps to ensure that new construction and renovations are in harmony with what already exists. This is a difficult task, though, as it not only involves potential limitations on private property rights but, if we are not careful, can actually make Scarsdale less desirable by impeding the updating of our housing stock to address the changing needs and desires of current and prospective Scarsdale residents.

It has been proposed that historic properties in Scarsdale be pre-designated for preservation. I believe that such a measure might not only facilitate the protection of structures of historic value but make the process of historic preservation more predictable. Should I be fortunate enough to be elected to a second term, I look forward to having further conversations on this and other proposals to help preserve our village character.

Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop