Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees Work Session 9/20/2011

Plans for Joint Community Television Station Move Along; Library Presentation Shows it is a Vital Resource; Seniors to Get Property Tax Reduction

Here is a look at what happened at the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees Work Session Sept 20.

Joint Community Television Channel

The meeting began with a presentation by a joint Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow committee formed to establish a Community Television Channel and studio. Representing Tarrytown are Dean Galley, Bob Kimmel and Trustee Robert Hoyt. Committee members from Sleepy Hollow are James West, and trustees Bruce Campbell and Barbara Carr.

There is currently an education channel produced by the school system.  Each village has its own government channel, but there is no public channel where programming about community events is aired.

“This would be a cooperative effort by the two villages, something we see too rarely,” said Campbell. “Neither village could afford to do this alone.”

The committee is proposing that the new broadcast/production studio be located in the former Tarrytown Police station and be funded by both villages with PEG grants (Public Education Government) plus franchise fees paid by cable providers to the villages as cost of doing business here. 

Initial funding includes $113,250 in PEG grants ($83,250 Tarrytown; $60,000 Sleepy Hollow) and $38,000 unrestricted funds ($28,980 Tarrytown; $10,000 Sleepy Hollow).

The committee is reviewing six proposals from individuals for the position of station manager and expects to make a decision in October or November. According to the timeline presented last night, the  channel could be on the air as early as January or February, 2012.

Mayor Ken Wray urged the committee to determine what it the project will cost through the end of May when budget decisions would need to be made to keep the channel on the air.

Trustee David Schroedel asked if the committee had considered the impact and cost of the Tarrytown lawsuit against Sleepy Hollow regarding the GM site development on the project.  “What both villages will need to spend in legal fees could fund this good endeavor many times over.”

Hoyt said he would not comment on ongoing litigation.

Library Funding

The Warner Library Board of Trustees participated in a presentation designed to educate the Sleepy Hollow Board on the many services the library provides to the community.

“We are a vital community center and we do a lot more than lend people books,” said Carin Rubensteinin, Warner Library Board chair.

Library Director Maureen Petry said the library programming falls into two categories: needs based and cultural enrichment.  Services include GED preparation, senior benefits such as help with medicare and efiling of taxes, basic computer help and increasingly, help with job searches.  Culture activities include concerts, author visits, playwriting and poetry workshops.

Presentations were also made about the services offered in the children’s room, the teen room and the literacy program. 

“We could not continue to offer literacy services for learners of English without the library,” said library Trustee Nelson Correa, president of the Literacy Volunteers of the Tarrytowns.  Correa said that 85 literacy volunteers provide one-on-one instruction to 40 to 60 students per week, amounting to 1,800-2,000 hours of instruction per year.

Rubenstein said the Warner library costs residents $68 per resident per year, compared to $88 per resident in the other Westchester communities, but that no taxpayer dollars go to support the programming which is funded by grants and donations.  Her comment prompted trustee Campbell to ask “so where does our money go?”

Sleepy Hollow contributes approximately $700,000 annually to the library. Tarrytown provides approximately $800,000.  “This money goes primarily for salaries and upkeep of the building,” said Rubenstein.

“There has never been a suggestion that the library shouldn’t receive the support Sleepy Hollow,” said Schroedel.  “You are the victim of a flawed IMA (intermunicipal agreement),” referring to the fact that the IMA between Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown provides for a 5 percent annual pay increase under certain circumstances for the library staff who are unionized employees of Tarrytown.

“No one else is getting a five percent raise,” said Schroedel.

Petry said the library recognizes the financial constraints facing the village and that it would work with the village to solve funding issues.

Property Tax Reduction for Seniors

Property assessor Fred Gross updated the board on the village’s long-standing policy of offering a property tax reduction to eligible seniors.

For seniors with an income of less than $29,000, the reduction could be as much as 50 percent. The reduction goes up or down in 5-percent increments depending on income.  Seniors whose income exceeds $37,400 are not eligible for the discount.

Last year 29 seniors qualified for the program resulting in a $44,000 tax loss for the village.  This year 26 seniors are expected to qualify.

Updating the Village Code

Village Attorney Janet Gondolfo is working with department heads to review and update the village code which is “woefully out of date.” Obsolete codes such as the dog warden are being deleted because the village now depends on Greenburgh’s animal control services.

“There are also several big considerations that will need the input of the board such as what to do with the Architecture Review Board,” said Gondolfo.

Gondolfo also pointed out the village code does not currently allow tattoo parlors, something the Tarrytown Board is working on.

ASleepyBoy September 22, 2011 at 03:19 PM
While reviewing and updating the village code, someone should concurrently be putting it online. It is absurd for our village to not have completed this by now.
davideac September 22, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Agreed -- putting the code online so citizens (and Village employees) can know what the laws are is vital and has been in the works for years. When is it scheduled to happen?
Robert Solari September 22, 2011 at 06:48 PM
They shouldn't have and powers at all. Who wants someone to tell them what type of siding, fence, door, windows, color, etc. If the Village wants to pay our Real Estate taxes, Mortgage payments, and Insurance then I have no problem with them where I shall plant
Robert Solari September 22, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Telling me where we should plant our trees in front of our homes.
ASleepyBoy September 22, 2011 at 07:01 PM
I respectfully disagree. There should be some level of review as it is vital that our village maintain its historic charm and appeal. However, the level of intrusiveness should be minimal and probably handled by the planning board in as timely a manner as possible. As for planting trees, the village should have some say in order to maintain the safety of its citizens. I have seen too many instances of innapropriate trees being planted (often even by the village) which are either invasive or will grow in such a way as to become a nuisance to neighbors and the public.
Daniel Scott September 22, 2011 at 08:58 PM
A properly structured and run ARB actually protects Village residents and property values, as does a Tree Commission. There is no excuse for the VIllage Code not being online already. And the fact that the Board now has to update the Code before publishing it is alarming. They should upload it as is, and make changes as they occur. It is, after all, still our Village Code (no matter how out of date), and it should be made readily available to residents.
Mr Sleepy hollow September 23, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Theres is a law on the books that states that it is illegal to park your horse carriage on the street without a lantern lit.
Eagle September 23, 2011 at 04:14 AM
I knew I forgot something...
John Anderson September 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I love how your Government tells you what you can and can't do on your property.....
Spencer Benedict September 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM
I attended an ARB meeting where a board member didn't like a homeowners choice of marble. He suggested travertine. Really? How is this not arbitrary and invasive? The homeowners choice did nothing to diminish the value of the neighborhood nor the "charm" of the community. The ironic part is that the board member's house was the eyesore of the block and remained incomplete for several years.
Shar September 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM
John, if ICLEI is involved you can be sure the town will be controlled and citizens will have to get permission to take a shower or keep the temperature of your water as warm as you like. Look into ICLEI. It is coming to every little town and village in America.
Shar September 23, 2011 at 01:10 PM
Scary to say the least:The warnings have been around for awhile now. **Now easy read format USA ICLEI member list included** Right now, in your town and neighborhood, policies are being implemented that will ultimately eliminate your freedoms and destroy your way of life. You need to know what's going on to stop this process. Many town officials are selling us out to global regional development with help from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI): Local Governments for Sustainability. ICLEI is used as one of the mechanisms to undo the political recognition of unalienable rights. http://www.freedomadvocates.org/articles/illegitimate_government/iclei_primer:_your_town_and_freedom_threatened_20090804364/
Mr Sleepy hollow September 23, 2011 at 01:28 PM
We need the trees they help the enviroment ,dogs love them and they are great places for drunk equadorians to pee and sleep!!!
Daniel Scott September 23, 2011 at 01:32 PM
@Spencer: Your example is one of how an ARB should NOT be run. Nothing about an ARB's decision making should be "arbitrary". But there is still need for Village oversite. Start with an extreme example - you do not want someone coming in next door to you an pitching a circus tent, right? They do not have the "right" to do that just because they bought the land. There are health and other concerns, and what about your rights as a neighor to be free from nuisance? Now, start to carve back from the extreme example until you arrive at some reasonable, objective set of standards and guidelines that protect the VIllage, it's residents, property values, etc. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, INVOLVE THE RESIDENTS in setting up your guidelines and standards, so that everyone is part of the process. With the right leadership, I believe (or rather, I know) that this can be achieved where Village residents feel good about the rules in place that protect them, as opposed to constantly feeling alienated, oppressed, etc., by the law. @Shar, I am really not sure what any of this has to do with ICLEI.
Mr Sleepy hollow September 23, 2011 at 01:32 PM
There is No need for the ARB our building inspector gets paid big money to be now called the village architect. Are there any seniors left in town anymore? and why is the Warner library money in question with all of the money the village wastes in friendly political promotions,lawsuits and lawyer fees. Giving the library a few bucks is like giving away candy on halloween.
ASleepyBoy September 23, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Our building inspector is supposed to review health and safety concerns alone and should not be tasked with making decisions outside of that. The ARB, however, is a panel of citizens whose sole purpose is to make sure that development in our village is consistent with the existing character and planned future character of our village. I for one like that our village would have the authority to prevent someone developing a McDonalds with 40' arches and adjacent multicolored play area somwhere along Route 9. The ARB should not be nitpicking the type of marble, rather they should be their to make sure what it planned and developed is in keeping with the character so as not to create a visible nuisance.
Robert Solari September 23, 2011 at 10:22 PM
If a McDonald's was interested in opening a store on route 9 im sure the planning board would look out for our Villages best interest. I still say No to the creation of a new board. I don't believe its constitutional right to force this board.
John Anderson September 23, 2011 at 11:48 PM
I will check it out. It's important that home owners tame their local politcians before it gets out of hand. People are so focused on Federal issues and forgettting to also monitor the local Village, Town and County Governments, making sure they don't try taking away more freedoms. If things continue they way they are, we will be a poor 3rd world country in no time, or are we already being that we owe $4.5 trillion to Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Oil Exporters, Caribbean Banking Centers, Brazil, Hong Kong, Russia, Luxembourg, and Taiwan and we owe ourselves another $10 trillion or so.
John Anderson September 23, 2011 at 11:51 PM
I'll be darned, Tarrytown NY is a member lol...
Sleepyrules September 24, 2011 at 12:23 AM
People in town should sign a petition and sue the Village for coming up with stupid laws! Including, not paying your taxes with cash. Only money orders and credit cards! LMAO!!
Sleepyrules September 24, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Only Sleepy Hollow! Tarrytown and other Villages don't tell you where you can plant a tree on your property and get permission to cut it down! I called my Insurance Company to tell them that Sleepy Hollow is Liable if 1 of my trees fall down because it wasn't approved by the Village to cut it down! They laughed and told me what kind of crazy law is that?
Sleepyrules September 24, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Fred Gross on Property deduction for seniors making less than $29K in the Village? What Senior making less than $50,000 can own a house in Sleepy Hollow!? LOL!!
Marian September 24, 2011 at 12:40 AM
doesn't the building inspector in conjunction with the planning and zoning boards deal with these issues.
Robert Solari September 24, 2011 at 01:27 AM
You would be surprised how many seniors in Sleepy Hollow make less then $29k. They deserve it! Because they spent the last 50 years paying taxes in the Village that you live in. We should take them off the tax rolls.
Shar September 24, 2011 at 01:37 AM
John, write or send an e mail to your Mayor....they can stop ICLEI by not renewing the agreement at the end of this year. It is all part of the Agenda 21 with the UN and global warming hoax http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/the_global_warming_hoax_how_soon_we_forget.html
Mr Sleepy hollow September 24, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Sleepy hollow could use a Mcdonalds on route nine on rodrieguze corridor. Back in the day the old flower ladies were against any development who remembers the kentucky fried chicken mess back in the 70's. sleepy hollow is always behind the eight ball. It took them a 100 years to finally change the name could you imagine if the politicians back in the days would have allowed fast food on route nine ? with general motors in town. wow it would have been great. I'm thinking most of the highly political senors are all gone they did thier fighting for senior rights and now are all gone to enjoy thr fruits like the new center on lower Elm the only ones left are people like Defelice who was a lousy trustee for many years. it's a damn shame
Shar September 24, 2011 at 11:20 AM
If anyone comes to your door with an environmental petition in hand for you to sign .be very aware yo might be signing your rights away to ICLEI....they are very clever.
Blue September 24, 2011 at 12:34 PM
I like how the town board and the ARB handled the old Tappan motors building. They tortured the owners into building one of the nicest empty buildings around!! How many times has it been flipped since the dealer left?
Spencer Benedict September 26, 2011 at 01:31 PM
I disagree. They paid their taxes and received services in return. If you take them off the tax rolls, then the rest of the community must make up the shortfall. This is what Yonkers did which caused the aging of the general population because of the tax reduction. This in turn leads to less money for the schools and a deterioration of education and other services. There is no motivation for seniors to fund education programs or support the youth. A long term deterioration of the tax base and the community is the result. I respect the desire to help the seniors but I know that I won't be able to afford to live here when I retire. I've always known that. It is part of life. That is one reason that retirees move to tax friendly communities after retirement.
Elaine Marranzano October 06, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Warner Library Director Maureen Petry asked that the following information be posted to clarify the point made in the meeting about raises for library staff: "Salaries for the Library's full time union employees, of which there are nine, are negotiated between the Village of Tarrytown, who provides the library's administrative support, and the CSEA union representing all Village of Tarrytown employees. There has never been a 5% automatic pay increase. The Inter municipal Agreement between the two villages concerning the library stipulates the amount of money each village must contribute each year to cover all costs relating to operation, maintenance and repair of the library. Should there be disagreement between the two villages the increase in support for the library defaults to the previous year's rise in the consumer price index."


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