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You are here: Home Section Table Village Voices From the Village Board: Leaf Blower Ban, Band Concerts, Village Manager Search and Tax Grievances
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From the Village Board: Leaf Blower Ban, Band Concerts, Village Manager Search and Tax Grievances

westbancAs an increased number of residents become fully vaccinated and Covid-19 case numbers continue to decline, things are started to feel back to normal for the Scarsdale Village. During the Board of Trustee Business Meeting on June 8, Mayor Jane Veron addressed some of the events that will be reinstated this summer, such as Westchester Band concerts, and the full return of Village staff to Village Hall.

Mayor Veron spoke about many topics in her comments, and her full statement is available at the bottom of this article: Here is an excerpt from her remarks where she addressed acceptance and safety in Scarsdale:

“One of the unifying themes of this board is the strong desire to Stand Against Hate in all of its myriad and insidious forms. We stand strong to support Black Lives Matter and to stop AAPI Hate. We recognize Pride month and support the LGBTQ community. And just today, we reaffirm that we will not tolerate antisemitism. We have joined with the United States Conference of Mayors and the American Jewish Committee to lend our name to the Mayors United Against Antisemitism. We all aspire to a world that celebrates what makes each of us unique, and we expect Scarsdale to lead with a welcoming and inclusive spirit.”

Mayor Veron also spoke about the search for a new Village Manager. She stated:

“By our May 24 deadline, we received fifty-six applications for the Village Manager position. Over the past couple weeks, GovHR conducted further vetting and follow up and narrowed the field to the top 14 candidates. GovHR is now performing extensive background checks, media searches, reference calls and zoom interviews. The Board and GovHR developed carefully crafted questions specific to Scarsdale needs, reflecting the input we received on your survey responses. After the completion of this evaluation round, the Board will receive a full report from GovHR. The next step will be a comprehensive review and discussion to identify the top candidates who will be invited to advance to the next round. The Board anticipates conducting in person interviews the week of July 19. We will also provide an opportunity for staff and the public to meet the top candidates to offer their input.”

Leaf Blower Ban

During Village Manager Pappalardo's comments, he addressed a topic at the forefront of many residents' minds – gas-powered leaf blower enforcement. Although the Board banned the use of these noisy and disruptive blowers at this time of year, enforcement and education of the new law is a challenge. Handouts were provided to residents that summarized the new law, and summonses were issued as of June 1, 2021. While the village focused on education and awareness of the policy in May, they will now be issuing penalties. Thus far, 4 violations have been issued.

Resident Susan Douglas highlighted this issue during Public Comment and stated that when she talks to people who are violating the ban, they usually say they didn't know about the change. She asked what the Board is doing in terms of outreach and communication. Deputy Manager Rob Cole emphasized that May was an education period and that the village handed out notices, sent direct mailings to every landscaper in the database, and notified the landscaping association. In addition, warnings were issued to 71 homes violating the law in May, and communications were posted on the village website and spoken about extensively at Board meetings. Manager Pappalardo also stated that the village hired two additional part-time Code Enforcement Officers. With the current staff, the village will now have coverage seven days a week to respond to complaints and enforce the law.

Tax Grievances

Manager Pappalardo also announced that Grievance Day Hearings will be held on June 15, 2021, between 10am-12pm and 7-9pm. The village will hear taxpayer grievances and review the formal complaints over the summer. Any reductions determined after deliberations will be filed by the village by September 15, 2021. Thus far, 40 grievance applications have been filed, and the filing deadline is June 15. During public comment, longtime Scarsdale resident Bob Harrison said that he is available cost-free to help people file their grievance charges. If you have any questions about the process or need assistance, you can reach Mr. Harrison at 914-646-4054 (cell) or 914-725-0962 (home).

Kyle John Barry

During the meeting, the Board adopted four measures. These included Supplemental Appropriations for Capital Budgets for Road Milling and Paving, the Levy of Village Taxes for 2021-2022, and the authorization to hold the Scarsdale Business Alliance Annual Sidewalk Sale. The final measure was the acceptance of a gift to honor Scarsdale resident Kyle John Barry. Kyle grew up down the street from Davis Park and recently passed away just days after his 28th birthday. He attended Edgewood Elementary and Scarsdale High School, and his friends and family gifted the village $1,400 to purchase a new bench and hornbeam tree in his honor in Davis Park.

Mayor’s Comments

Good evening everyone and welcome back Village staff. You’ve finally all returned to Village Hall, no longer working in cohorts but united together. It is so nice to see Village Hall back to normal, in new normalcy kind of way.

The Board is now two months into our term, and as we’ve been describing in our communications, we have established a clear process to study and manage priorities for the Village. Our new framework provides a roadmap with accountability and transparency. With weekly Tuesday work sessions, we continue to press forward on all fronts, making sure each pillar and enabler of government receives attention. I will highlight a few tonight:

Quality of Life Pillar

Over these past couple weeks, the Quality of Life Pillar has been prominent in our minds. Quality of Life is a somewhat ephemeral concept. While sometimes hard to measure with clear metrics, we certainly know when it is strong. There are most definitely environmental factors that connote good quality of life - a strong infrastructure, reliable public safety, economic vitality and the beauty and peace of tree-lined streets - but those are not sufficient. To achieve the highest quality of life, everyone must feel a sense of belonging. Each resident, worker, friend, and visitor must be put at ease and feel welcome when in our Village.

One of the unifying themes of this board is the strong desire to Stand Against Hate in all of its myriad and insidious forms. We stand strong to support Black Lives Matter and to stop AAPI Hate. We recognize Pride month and support the LGBTQ community. And just today, we reaffirm that we will not tolerate antisemitism. We have joined with the United States Conference of Mayors and the American Jewish Committee to lend our name to the Mayors United Against Antisemitism. We all aspire to a world that celebrates what makes each of us unique, and we expect Scarsdale to lead with a welcoming and inclusive spirit.

The arts also play an important role in lifting up and binding together the community. To the many residents and fans who have flooded our inboxes asking for the reinstitution of Westchester Bands concerts, we are thrilled to report that Brian Gray, our Superintendent of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, and Steve Pappalardo, our Village Manager, moved heaven and earth to pave the way for the Band’s safe return. We will be back to the Thursday night rhythm and a new sense of normalcy. More details to follow.

Infrastructure, Municipal Services and Sustainability Pillar

Our Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Coleman and his team are diligent when it comes to tracking and repairing our infrastructure. Roads are always at the top of our residents’ wish list, and we have kept them a high priority even during the pandemic. Tonight you will see that we will be able to increase our NYSDOT funded road milling and paving budget for 2020/21 and 2021/22 by $375K. We are eager recipients of supplemental NY State funding.

In the water department, we also keep up-to-date on our repair needs so that residents enjoy a clean and reliable water supply. The recent report shared at our May 24 work session outlined a multi decade plan to make needed improvements. With this road map, we will have the foresight to make proactive plans and measured improvements, synchronize with road repaving, and ensure that future generations have no reason to worry. We also position ourselves at the ready should we receive Federal infrastructure grants that seem to be percolating in Washington.

Public Safety Pillar

We are exceedingly lucky to have extraordinary public safety officials who work tirelessly to keep us safe and secure. Our police, fire, SVAC, and public safety volunteers are among the very best. One of the cornerstones of public safety success is the partnership forged with stakeholders. Later this week, the Village and the School will come together in a 2x2 to talk about our collaboration. We will review our collective approach to traffic volume at the schools, communications amongst Village and School colleagues, and our coordinated emergency response.

Special Assignments

In addition to our work on Village Pillar fundamentals, we continue to press forward on our special assignments. First and foremost is the Village Manager Search which continues in earnest. By our May 24 deadline, we received fifty-six applications for the Village Manager position. Over the past couple weeks, GovHR conducted further vetting and follow up and narrowed the field to the top 14 candidates. GovHR is now performing extensive background checks, media searches, reference calls and zoom interviews. The Board and GovHR developed carefully crafted questions specific to Scarsdale needs, reflecting the input we received on your survey responses. After the completion of this evaluation round, the Board will receive a full report from GovHR. The next step will be a comprehensive review and discussion to identify the top candidates who will be invited to advance to the next round. The Board anticipates conducting in person interviews the week of July 19. We will also provide an opportunity for staff and the public to meet the top candidates to offer their input.

A second special assignment, the Pool Complex Market Study and Assessment, is being queued up for discussion at an upcoming work session. The working group along with Deputy Village Manager Cole have discussed the objectives of an RFP and the Committee of the Whole will review the document and its goals this month. Our hope is to add this item to a work session in short order, and we invite the public to zoom in. Stay tuned for final details.

 

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