Sunday, Aug 07th

SpragueRoadThe Village Board approved a resolution to study the future of the Scarsdale Pool, granted a 2% increase to union employees who work in Village Hall and heard a plea from Edgewood residents to address speeding and dangerous drivers on Sprague Road at their meeting on September 28, 2021.

Pool Assessment, Community Outreach and Design Proposals

On the matter of the pool, the Village Board held a work session on September 21, 2021 to review a proposal by Lothrop Associates who was one of nine firms who responded to an RFP to explore options for the pool. After considerable review and interviews Lothrop was chosen unanimously to do a market study, community outreach and design three concepts for the next generation of the 50 year old facility.

As the Mayor said, “The Pool Complex is a community treasure and requires reinvestment. It was built over 50 years ago, and while it remains a beautiful site, the infrastructure that supports the pool complex hobbles along with obsolete parts, inefficient systems, and regular breakdowns. Our pool enterprise fund struggles to sustain itself with declining membership and increasing costs. If we do nothing, it will one day cease to operate.”

Trustee Arest said, “The pool has reached the end of its useful life.” Trustee Brew said, “Since the complex is not up to code, every time something breaks, it has to be brought up to code and it is complex. Though the pool is supposed to be self-funding, membership has gone down and we need to figure out what people would be willing to pay for.” Trustee Crandall said, “Any update to the pool will help people with disabilities who would like to use the pool. Seniors have voiced concerns about the steep entry. Having a public pool in our community is a tremendous asset.”

One resident, Bob Harrison, objected to the proposal. He called in to urge the trustees to hold off on a vote. He said, “I am concerned about the pool proposal. You have not given the residents the opportunity to tour the pool and enough time to consider the proposals. Don’t spend LarchmontYachtClub$114,000 on this now. I think it is too much. One of the pools they (Lothrop) designed was at a yacht club – that has nothing to do with what we need. This is overkill. We could use the $114,000 to address the problems at the pool. I don’t think you should approve this tonight. Give the community a few more weeks.”

The Board voted unanimously to approve the proposal.

Two Percent Increase for Union Employees

In other business, the Board of Trustees voted to grant a 2% pay increase to union employees who work in Village Hall. These employees did not receive an increase last year as the Village had enacted austerity measures due to the COVID crisis. The Mayor recognized their professionalism and the fact that the non-union employees had received a similar pay increase. These raises are not retroactive.

Elevator at Village Hall

Village Manager Robert Cole said that the elevator at Village Hall Elevator will be renovated and therefore out of service for about two months beginning on Wednesday September 29, 2021. He encouraged residents who need the elevator to contact staff by email. However, for those who require assistance at Village Hall, the first floor staff will call someone from an upper floor to come downstairs. The elevator repair is expected to cost $185,000 and was approved by the Village Board. The Village received a $50,000 CGD grant to defray some of the cost.

Taxi Licenses

Trustee Lewis read a resolution authorizing the licensing of 10 taxi licenses in the Village, down from 22 licenses before COVID. He said, “The Village has issued an average of 22 taxicab licenses over the past decade. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, only 10 taxicab licenses were issued in 2021, correlated to the considerable decrease in train ridership.”

He noted a drastic change in ridership on Metro North, which is down from 4,511 weekly riders in 2019 to 1,700 in 2020. This decrease in ridership will impact the need for taxi service.

car2Scarsdale Concours

The Trustees agreed to a resolution authorizing the Scarsdale Concours car show in Scarsdale Village on Sunday October 3, 2021.

Traffic on Sprague Road

During public comment, Elizabeth Bardt Pellerin of Madison Road and Edgewood neighbors came to the mic to present a petition with 138 signatures asking the Village to take additional steps to ameliorate speeding on Sprague Road. She noted “increasing noise and speed on Sprague Road” and said the road is narrow and visibility is limited by the incline and parked cars. She said that commercial and construction vehicles use the road to travel from Eastchester to New Rochelle and said many young families walk on Sprague Road to get to Davis Park. She said there are ten intersections but only two four way stops. She asked the trustees to implement all measures necessary to restore the residential nature of Sprague Road.

Matthew Martin, Edgewood Neighborhood Association President concurred. He said , “The Neighborhood Association is not endorsing any particular approach but asks that the board to do a study or analyze data.”

The Mayor and Village Manager both responded to the petitioners. Mayor Veron said that a study of traffic on Sprague Road is on the Board’s agenda and the Village is interviewing residents and addressing this issue. Village Manager Rob Cole said an extensive amount of work on Sprague has been done, but added, “we need to look at this differently and figure out how to address the elevated level of accidents. We would like to have a consultant come in and look at the entire area – not just at single intersections.” He invited anyone with concerns to stop by his office.”

Liaison Reports

Trustee Ahuja lauded the Recreation Department for a new program called the GRIT Ninja Obstacle Course for young children. It was very popular and will be offered again in the spring.

The Advisory Council on Communications is working on a redesign of the Scarsdale.com website and the Advisory Council on Technology is making progress on long term technology needs for the Village and is also consulting other municipalities.

Trustee Lewis said that Trustees met with other Village leaders to develop public safety processes and improve public safety. Trustees met with School Board leaders Karen Ceske and Amber Yusuf, School Superintendents Hagerman and Eric Rauschenbach, the police and David Raizen from the Scarsdale Village Ambulance Corps.

Trustee Lena Crandall noted that the Village Board has received the Scarsdale Forum’s report with respect to marijuana sales. A meeting will be scheduled to review it.

Trustee Arest said that the Scarsdale Public Library is offering many programs and asked thacoffeewiththemayort the public look at the offerings and participate.

Virtual Meetings: Per Governor Hochul’s order, the land use and planning boards will meet virtually going forward.

The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded a grant to the DATF and Scarsdale Family Counseling Service for $125,000 to fight drug use and abuse among youth. The grant is renewable for five years for a total of $625,000, which is a big win for Scarsdale.

Coffee with the Mayor

Mayor Veron invited residents to “Coffee with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Village Manager” on Wednesday October 20 from 5:30 -7 pm in the dining tent in Scarsdale Village.

roadclosedBy now you probably know that Walworth Avenue is closed from Fenimore Road to Greenacres Avenue. Con Edison is in the midst of installing ten miles of gas pipes, some of it running directly through Scarsdale.

After they complete the first block, they will move north, with the next segment to be installed from Colvin Road to Brayton Road. While they do the work, the street is closed and it’s very challenging for those who live on the street to get their cars in an out of their driveways.

The project has caused a big disruption in local traffic as drivers who want to access the Village from Greenacres have to go to Brite Avenue or Brewster Roads. Brite Avenue was recently repaved at the same time Walworth was closed, causing lots of aggravation for anyone trying to navigate the ‘Dale.

We wondered if the new gas main would allow Con Edison to lift their moratorium on new gas service in Scarsdale and also asked how the presence of this line would benefit locals who put up with the road closures.

We questioned Allan Drury a spokesperson for Con Edison to comment and here is what we learned:

1) Who will be the end user of the gas that is passed through the line?

The project will replace 10 miles of existing 24”main and create a continuous transmission system between gas supplies in Westchester and the Bronx that will allow us to maintain service to customers in the event of the loss of either supply.

2) Where are the two endpoints?

Bronx and White Plains.

3) Who is paying for the extra police who monitor the site everyday?

Con Edison.

4) Have you considered doing the work at night so that drivers are not inconvenienced?

The area is largely residential. Doing the work at night would be inconvenient to residents.

5) Concerning our local moratorium on new gas hook-ups, when do you expect this to be lifted?

We have said that the moratorium could be lifted when a project on the Tennessee pipeline increases the capacity of that line.

6) Some of the businesses in the Village need gas lines to serve customers. Will you be providing service to commercial customers?

The moratorium covers new gas connections. A business that takes over a space that was formerly used by another business can use the existing gas connection.

7) How will Scarsdale customers benefit from this work - especially given the big inconvenience to residents?

See the answer to the first question. The project adds reliability and safety to our system.

mobilegeneratorA large mobile generator is parked on Church Lane.In other energy news, why is there a large mobile generator is parked on Church Lane? According to Drury, "We continue to work on the electric-delivery system to restore it to the condition it was in before Tropical Storm Ida hit the area. In the meantime, that generator provides redundancy and reliability for customers."

Additional information was supplied by Tyler Seifert from the Village: "There is a large portable Con Ed generator parked on Church Lane because there was a substation that feeds Scarsdale that was out. Con Ed needed to hook up the generator while the substation was down and they did the repairs. The generator is still there and connected but offline. They are waiting to make sure everything is running smoothly. The generator should be removed sometime this week."

Library3The staff at the Scarsdale Public Library jumped into action on Thursday, opening the doors to waiting patrons at 8:30 a.m. Hurricane Ida knocked out power and internet service to many Village residents who found refuge at Scarsdale’s new state of the art facility.

The Library was fortunate to have power and internet access, and once the word got out, residents flocked to the Library, filling every chair and table available inside and out. The staff opened all the meeting and program rooms to provide additional work areas. Though the wifi had some issues later in the day, hundreds of residents were able to make phone calls, charge devices, work remotely, and work on school assignments.

library1The hours were extended to 8 p.m., and the Library was busy until closing. Library Director Beth Bermel said, "I am thrilled that the Library was able to serve as the community hub we envisioned when planning the renovation and expansion. It was gratifying to see our residents make use of our spaces and amenities--a dream come true. Many patrons had not yet made it into the Library since we opened, and while I wish it were under different circumstances, I am glad so many people are now aware of everything we have to offer."

Library2

georgefieldOxford Road After Tropical Storm IdaAt the 9-14 meeting of the Scarsdale Village Board the Mayor and Village Manager praised Scarsdale’s Police and Firefighters, the Department of Public Works and Scarsdale Village Ambulance Corps for their heroic work during Tropical Storm Ida. First responders rescued drivers from deluged cars, cleared streets of trees and debris, redirected traffic and assisted residents with flooding.

The Mayor said, “We want to recognize and honor all of these individuals’ unflagging dedication, particularly during these many days of Ida’s wrath and recovery. It did not go unnoticed how our first responders were there pulling us out of harm’s way and how incredibly hard our DPW staff worked to remove debris, even on Saturday of a holiday weekend.” She said “Residents’ losses are heartbreaking. The staff will do an analysis and look for opportunities to improve and mitigate future storm impacts.”

Village Manager Rob Cole Appreciated that noted that many lost memories and photos that were housed in their basements. He said, “Ida was a 200 – 1000 year storm. But there was a storm of equal magnitude in 2007. We need to be more prepared to address these storms. Staff will convene as a group – including public works, engineering and planning to look for ways to reduce stormwater runoff and infrastructure needs to help in the future.”

About the Village’s current stormwater management infrastructure he said, “George Field Park was overrun – it flooded beyond the park – however the retention basin made a huge impact. Cooper Green is designed and intended to absorb large amounts of water in a short time. What else can we do beyond repairs? What are the best practices? We will look at our stormwater management rules to see what more can we do. We will look to build resiliency into our system. We will bring this to a public session for resident feedback.”

Scarsdale Poolpool6

The Mayor announced that Village Staff has sent out an RFP to identify and address infrastructure needs at the Scarsdale Poll which has outlived its useful life and is in need of reinvestment. The work will involve community outreach, the development of three scenarios and a baseline assessment of pool conditions.

Village Bills

Trustee Jonathan Lewis lauded Village Treasurer Anne Scaglione for modernizing the bill approval process. Formerly a police cruiser delivered the paper bills to a trustees house where they would be reviewed and approved manually. Now the bills can be approved online on an iPad. This new procedure is far more sustainable, saved tons of paper and it is much easier to access to data”

Village Board Meetings

The Mayor said that Governor Hochul granted permission for governments to operate virtually, but the Scarsdale Village Board will meet in person for as long as it is possible. Virtual public comments will also continue to be permitted. The Village Board meeting time has been moved back to 8 pm.

Collaboration with the School Board

Representatives from the Village Board will hold monthly meetings with representatives from the School Board to work on matters of shared concern such as traffic around the schools and safety.

Resolutions

-The Board approved a 2% salary increase for non-union Village employees, on the recommendation of the Village Manager and Village Treasurer. These raises are not retroactive and will have a $61,000 impact on the Village budget.

-The Board agreed to a $250,000 settlement with the contractor for the library. The contractor, Nirim, alleges that delays in the project timing due to late Village approvals cost them $554,640 as they were unable to complete their work in a timely manner. After discovery, the Village and Nirim negotiated and agreed on a settlement of $250,000.

-They awarded a contract for $32,207 for leaf vacuum machine parts to Lacal Equipment Inc. of Jackson Center, Ohio.

-They approved an agreement with the Village of Pelham for use of the Village of Scarsdale Transfer Site at the Recycling Center along with an Intermunicipal Agreement with Westchester County for hauling of organic waste.

-They approved $24,000 for aeration, seeding and fertilization of athletic fields by Alternative Earth Care.

-They accepted a gift of $1,000 from the Scarsdale Raiders Youth Football Organization for the signage to name Crossway Field for Richard “Rippy” Phillips.

Public Comments

Kevin Lilly of 79 Huntington Avenue objected to the new leaf blower policy saying it was “too restrictive.” He asked that the board extend the months when usage would be permitted and said battery operated leaf blowers are not as effective and need to be recharged. He said, “I do my own lawn. I have a long driveway and sweeping it is too much. I was hoping we could extend the hours of use for gas leaf blowers to include Saturdays for those who like to do their own lawns – and allow use beginning in March.” Furthermore he said, “I think the policy of fining the landscaping company, the worker and the homeowner is over kill…. And added, “I hope you don’t eliminate leaf vacuuming.”

Jane Kauffmann of 98 Cushman Road came to object to proposed development at 80 Garden Road but was told that the matter would be before the Planning Board on Wednesday September 22, 2021 at 7 pm.

She said, “We have the Sheldrake River on our property. During the storm if we didn’t have electricity, our basement would have been unlivable. We moved into this house 44 years ago. The water table is very high…. If we dig a hole for a plant, we find water. I just replaced all my sump pumps and got commercial ones.”

Bob Harrison of Fox Meadow Road reported that the new comfort station at Scarsdale Middle School is 75% complete, thanked the Village for building it and said he looked forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Trustee Liaison Reports

Randall Whitestone commended the Village on the 9-11 ceremony at the Scarsdale Public Safety Building. He said, “We lost 3 to 7 residents on that terrible day. I think it was proper and fitting that we took time out to remember them.”

Jonathan Lewis reported that trustees met with colleagues on the school board and discussed areas for collaboration and institutionalizing these meeting protocols. Lawyers will recommend legal structures to facilitate collaboration.

recruitmentThe Procedure Committee invites Scarsdale residents to run for a position on the nonpartisan Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC). As one of 30 volunteers on the CNC you will interview, evaluate and select candidates on the nonpartisan slate running for positions on the village board of trustees in the March 15, 2022 village-wide election.

A candidate for membership on the CNC must be a qualified voter (U.S. citizen and 18 years of age or older), and a resident of Scarsdale for at least two years. The filing deadline for two simple CNC application forms is Wednesday, September 30. The CNC election will be held if in person voting is feasible at Village Hall on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from 7 AM to 9 PM, or by mail-in ballot.

The CNC meets only 5 or 6 times on weekday evenings beginning at the end of November. CNC meeting dates for 2021-2022 are: Monday, November 29, 2021 (Organization Meeting); Wednesday December 8, Wednesday December 15, Wednesday January 5, Wednesday January 12, and if necessary Wednesday January 19. If in person meetings are not feasible, the CNC will meet virtually on the Zoom platform instead.

For more information contact the Chair of the Procedure Committee, Becky Bach, Edgewood, at beckybach@gmail.com and Vice Chair Richard Pinto, Fox Meadow, at rpinto10583@gmail.com. The other members of the 2021-2022 Procedure Committee, the nonpartisan group of Scarsdale volunteers who administer the nonpartisan election of a new group of 10 members of the CNC annually, are: David Bunzel, Heedan Chung, Larry Dobosh, Madelaine Eppenstein, Lee Fischman, Sergi Flaster, Sarit Fuchs, Sal Jain, Linda Killian, Jon Leslie, Alan Lewis, Michelle Lichtenberg, Abby Olsen, Matt Martin, Barry Meiselman, Adam Rilander, Andrew Sereysky, and Greg Soldatenko.

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