WHITE PLAINS WEEK the FRIDAY NOV 9 PROGRAM ON WHITEPLAINSWEEK.COM AND YOUTUBE AND WWW.WPCOMMUNITYMEDIA.ORG NOW

WHITE PLAINS WEEK NOW!

JOHN BAILEY  PETER KATZ JIM BENEROFE

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THE LOCAL ELECTIONS

THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS

THE TRUMP ACOSTA BATTLE OF THE PRESS ROOM-4 MINUTES THEY DIDN’T SHOW YOU ON THE NETWORKS–SHOCKING! SAD! RUDE! 

LIVE! WHITE PLAINS WEEK GOES THROUGH THE NEWRAMP METERS ON I-287

THE NEW $100 BIKE VIOLATION FINES

THE NEW LOW GREEN ENERGY ELECTRIC RATES GUARANTEED FOR TWO YEARS NOT TO INCREASE!

WINBROOK PREPARES TO START ITS 2ND BUILDING REPLACEMENT

THE 440 HAMILTON AVENUE PILOT AGREEMENT

AND

MORE

7:30 ON ALTICE CH 76 AND COUNTYWIDE ON FIOS CH. 45

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County Executive Proposes Raising Taxes 2% in 1.9 Billion Budget Presented Today

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. November 9, 2018 (Editor’s supplemental information in bold italics Updated November 10):

County Executive George Latimer released his first County Operating Budget for 2019.

The budget continues funding for vital services for County residents, while remaining within the State property tax cap and utilizing none of the County’s unrestricted general fund balance.

Latimer said: “I am proud to present this budget to Westchester taxpayers and the Board of Legislators – my partner in responsible government. This year, my Administration held more true public input sessions on this budget, and other County matters, than any Executive had before. These sessions resulted in this budget. It is time to move Westchester forward together and plan not just for the now – but for the future.”

In this budget, funds are allocated to keep all essential services for County residents, to pay all County employees the 2019 State minimum wage of $12 per hour, increase support for our daycare and not for profit service providers and implement the raising of the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old.

This is done with a modest 2% increase to the property tax levy – well below the 5.7% tax cap Westchester is afforded, according to an independent audit.

(Editor’s Note: a 2% property tax increase on this year’s $2,400 County Tax on a $650,000 home in White Plains would increase the White Plains resident owning such a home $50. A home assessed at more than $650,000 would pay more depending on your assessment.)

The 2019 budget, projects the true cost of running County Government for the year. Previous budgets, like the 2017 Westchester County Operating Budget had run a $32 million general fund operating deficit

(Editor’s note: a $35 Million deficit budget was passed by the Democratic majority legislature last December under County Executive Robert Astorino. Astorino’s  plan to cover that deficit through leasing the Westchester County Airport have been put on hold by the present County Executive.)

For 2018, the projected general fund shortfall now stands at $39 million.  This budget hole of $71 million (2017 and 2018)  is roughly a 50% reduction in the County’s rainy day fund. As noted by each of the three major rating agencies and the Office of the State Comptroller, continued reliance on these funds is not sustainable.

The 2019 budget includes a host of strong financial decisions aimed at restoring order to Westchester’s fiscal house, including:

·         A County hiring freeze;

·         Renegotiated Contracts;

o   $4M annual savings on Liberty Lines contract

o   New RFP for Corrections healthcare

o   Improved risk assessment

·         Shared Services implementation;

·         Innovate reoccurring revenues like the NuEnergen “Demand Response” program;

·         Collective Bargaining stability;

o   First time ever, CSEA contribution to healthcare

·         County Space Assessment/Consolidation; and

·         Streamlining Capital Program implementation.

This budget includes core beliefs of the Latimer Administration, including:

·         Westchester County Property taxes kept at or below the State tax cap;

·         Basic Westchester County services and facilities maintained for all County residents;

·         Establish a multi-year game plan to ensure long term financial solvency for the County; and

·         Open and transparent communication with all.

(Editor’s Note: The official news release in the budget does not mention the good news of the county sales tax windfall the first 9 months of 2018 and what will be done with this windfall in the 2019 budget.

Westchester County sales tax dollars increased ½% in September with the important fourth quarter holiday sales period starting. Through the first 9 months of 2018, Westchester County has earned  $408,569,137.

If the county matches its 2017 pace the next three months it will take in an additional $136 Million in the three months, earning an all-time County Sales Tax “Handle” of $544 Million. Last year, the county earned $525.5 Million in sales taxes. 

If the county resumes its 6% growth rate it has enjoyed through August the next three months that $544 Million could grow to $550 Million, giving the county enough surplus over last year ( when the county earned $525 Million) to cover the $15 Million hole in the budget from the county decision not to lease the Westchester county airport, and devote $10 Million more towards union settlements recently agreed by the County. (The deficit county auditors announced last spring placed the 2018 shortfall at $37 Million.)

The county itself is highly confident it will reach that $37 Million benchmark. In the county midyear economic forecast in July, the county predicted a $555 Million sales tax revenue, even while downplaying the strong 6% growth rate publicly, not even mentioning it.

The County Executive now faces the pleasant prospect of the sustained county sales tax growth (if it just matches last year in October, November and December) of having the deficit now down to $10 Million or wiped out entirely depending on free-spending  confident shoppers flooding the malls and the bars if the county decides to keep the sales tax “windfall” for a rainy day to make their books look better ( by devoting the “windfall” the fund balance) to the auditing agencies which lowered the county bond rating. It is not spelled out in the official press release on the budget where the windfall in the sales tax revenue is going in the new budget whether to fund balance or to take care of the 2018 budget, (with the tax increase taking care of the deficit).

Moody’s,  one of the bond rating agencies lowered the county bond rating to “negative,” October 18 saying “continued deterioration of (its) financial position resulting from large one time expenses over the past two years.”

There is also the possibility that instead of a 2% tax increase they could lower the tax increase altogether and assume the robust sales tax will continue which would take care of that pesky other $37 million deficit. If you have $30 million you did not expect to have now, and could reach another $5 Million at least, where’s the deficit?)

The budget also includes the following decisions from the County Executive:

·         Realistic Projections of County Finances to Bond Rating Agencies and State Oversight Agencies

o   Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings

o   New York State Comptroller’s Office

§  Comptroller Audit

§  Comptroller Fiscal Stress Report

·         Honest Assessment of Actual Tax Impacts to Homeowners

o   Short vs. Long Term Costs

o   County Taxes vis-à-vis Local and School Taxes

·         Honest Understanding of Mandated Services and Discretionary Services

Latimer continued: “This budget strikes a balance between providing the services all of the residents of Westchester expect and deserve, and keeping property taxes at a level they can afford.  The modest increase included in the budget is within the State property tax cap, and acknowledges the hardship the Federal Government has imposed on the people of Westchester through the loss of the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction in the American Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “

Following today’s submission, the Board of Legislators will now review the budget – including meetings with County departments in the Board’s Committee on Budget & Appropriations. Following this review, the Board will submit any additions or deletions to the budget, vote to move the budget out of committee for a final review and end with a vote by the full Board. The final budget will then be sent to County Executive Latimer for his signature or veto.

Latimer added: “I look forward to working with all of the members of the Board of Legislators to deliver a transparent and responsible 2019 Budget for the people of Westchester County. Now is the time to focus on the future, on moving forward – together.”

County Executive George Latimer, who took office in January 2018 as the ninth County Executive. Using inclusion and openness as a foreground, Latimer is fighting to make Westchester a destination for all people to live, work and enjoy. Learn more about Westchester County by visiting www.westchestergov.com

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Governor Andrew Cuomo Wins Third Term in a Walk –60% of the Vote. Democrats Sweep Westchester Delegations. Win New York State Senate Majority.

WPCNR ELECTION 2018. November 6, 2018:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo defeated Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County Executive on election day winning 60% of the vote to win a third term as governor. Mr. Molinaro received 36% of the vote.

Democratic candidates took over the majority of the State Senate which will give the governor potentially a green light for progressive reforms previously blocked by Republicans.

His coattails were long, wresting two longtime local Republicans from the State Senate: Democrat Peter Harckham the former Westchester County Legislator in one of only two close races defeated Terence Murphy the Republican  by a 56% to 44% margin in the 40th Senate District and Democrat David Carlucci defeated former County Executive Scott Vanderhoef in the 38th Senate District.

The lone Republican to win in Westchester in a contested race was Representative Kevin Byrne in the 94th Assembly District

Locally, Andrea Stewart-Cousins the Democrat Senator from the 35th Senate district, running unopposed and Shelley Mayer also unopposed in the 37th Senate District (County Executive George Latimer’s former seat in the State Senate) were elected.

Democratic Assemblyman David Buchwald defeated John Nucolovich, the Republican to win a third term as White Plains Assemblyman in the 93rd District. Buchwald polled 70% of the vote.

Nita Lowey easily won reelection in the 17th U.S. Congressional district, as did Eliot Engel in the 16th, Sean Maloney in the 18th.

Amy Paulin, unopposed was returned to the  NY Assembly 88th District; Gary Pretlow without opposition to the 89th District, Nader Sayegh was elected to the 90th Assembly District; Steve Otis, unopposed, to the 91st, and Tom Abinanti  unopposed to the 92nd District; Sandy Galef facing no opposition, to the 95th Assembly District.

 

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WESTCHESTER POWER CUTS GREEN ENERGY RATE TO  7.9 CENTS PER KILOWATT HOUR

LOWERED GREEN RATE AVAILABLE TO BOTH RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS—LOCKED IN FOR 2 YEARS FOR WHITE PLAINS AND 23 OTHER WESTCHESTER CITIES & TOWNS

WPCNR THE POWER STORY & COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. November 5, 2018 UPDATED NOVEMBER 6 IN BOLD).:

Westchester Power/Sustainable Westchester reported to the Common Council Monday night that the consortium comprising 24 towns and cities, including White Plains that the competitive bidding has produced a lower green energy rate than they had anticipated: 7.96 cents per kilowatt hour.

The new green energy rates will be announced to White Plains residents and businesses in the next two weeks, which Mayor of White Plains Tom Roach said cut other offers of green power in half.

White Plains and the 23 towns in the Sustainable Westchester Consortium which pooled their purchasing power, had agreed to proceed with the Memorandum of  Understanding  two months agowhen Westchester Power told them they anticipated a rate of 8.26 cents per kilowatt hour.

Now that has been cut below 8 cents, and guaranteed for two years beginning January 1.

Jasmine Graham spokesperson for Westchester Power/ Sustainable Westchester told the council that savings for the average White Plains consumer the first two years of the program was $238 per residential customer. She said that White Plains alone had (through its participation in the program) had saved the equivalent of hydrocarbon emissions that would be achieved by taking 13,000 cars off the road for two years or the planting of 10,000 seedling trees over 10 years.

The program, Ms. Graham said would be sending out letters to White Plains residents this month currently in the program and as well as  those not participating. Those not wanting to participate automatically in the program simply have to send a card (included in the mailing) to opt out of the program. However, if they should opt out, they give up the security of a fixed electric rate for 24 months.

Ms. Graham said that Constellation New Energy would again be the supplier of the green energy, which would be generated mostly by hydroelectric power generated in New York State by the national supplier, Brookfield.  Graham said towns can still be added in to the consortium ongoing through the length of the contract.

Virginia Steinberg, of Sustainable Westchester told WPCNR (after the initial rates were presented in August), that representatives from two towns in the  Westchester Power consortium and a climate change expert had assisted them in persuading suppliers to lower their bids resulting in the 7.959 cents per kilowatt hour rate for both residential and commercial customers.

She said the bid review team consisted of Town of Bedford Supervisor and Sustainable Westchester Vice Chairman, Chris Burdick, Town of Ossining Supervisor Dana Levenberg,  who expressed concerns and why the suppliers needed to make savings more attractive to smaller towns (in the county) and the Director of the Pace University Climate Center, Karl Rabago. Rabago also holds positions in the energy industry, including Commissioner on the Texas Utility Commission.

“With commercial pricing set at the same rate as residential, this means small businesses in our program will see a 20% cut in their electricity supply costs come January,” Steinberg pointed out, quoting from a news release.

Steinberg noted to WPCNR via phone Tuesday morning that the new rate is equivalent to Con Edison rates from 5 years ago. Steinberg said the new rate is 2 cents lower than the original commercial rate originally estimated in August, and now lowered through negotiations to the present 7.959 cents. She pointed out the new rate is a great stabilizer for small businesses in towns and cities because power expenses can be counted on not to flucuate for two years and they can be using non emissions producing energy.

 

You may see Ms. Graham’s 7 minute presentation to the council by clicking on this video:

Afterwards, the Mayor entertained questions from the council that raised several key issues. You can see the 5 minute Q & A by clicking on this video.

The Common Council also asked four key questions of Ms. Graham  which you can see by clicking on this video:

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Greenburgh Reports Deceptive Text Messages Misdirecting Voters to Wrong Polling Places

WPCNR ELECTION 2018. From Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. November 5, 2018:

  Some residents have reported that they have received text messages regarding a change of polling locations. Please ignore this information and report to the polling place designated by the Westchester County  Board of Elections.

Your correct polling place (which closes at 9 PM) is the same polling place you always vote at. You can click on to this outstanding League of Women Voter’s site:

https://www.vote411.org/ or call the  Greenburgh Town Clerk’s office at 989 1501 to confirm your voting place. The 411 site works and should tell you the correct voting location.  The following is an e mail I received from a resident (I deleted their names, e mail) containing the troubling text message:

Has anyone else received info trying to confuse you about your voting location? If yes–please advise. E mail me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com

Paul Feiner
greenburgh Town Supervisor
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COMMON COUNCIL SET TO  DELIVER WESTCHESTER POWER  PROPOSAL RENEWAL OF GREEN ELECTRIC RATES; APPROVE HALL AVENUE APTS; PILOTS FOR 440 HAMILTON APARTMENTS, WESTMORELAND LOFTS AND RAISE BICYCLE SCOFFLAWS VIOLATIONS FINES TO $100 PER VIOLATION.

 

WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL PREVIEW. November 5, 2018:

The Common Council will is expected to hear Westchester Power’s suggested rate for green-sourced electric power to White Plains tonight at 55 Main Street as the monthly Common Council meeting.

Westchester Power is the organization that created the consortium of 24 cities and towns  including White Plains two years ago, which combined cities’ purchasing power to secure green energy rates that source electricity exclusively  from wind, solar, water technology supplied sources. Westchester Power rates for the green power were lower the last year and a half than Con Edison consumer rates.  The details of the new 2019 rate that White Plains customers may receive should White Plains renew the agreement, may be disclosed tonight.

On the Public Hearing lineup, the council will resume a hearing on the approval of two apartment complexes on Hale Avenue, adding  127 apartment units (rentals) and 170 parking spaces. The city will receive $393,500 in a payment that will be used for creating a park and recreational facilities and acquiring land for same, as part of an city decision to not require the legislated number of parking spances.  The complex is on the agenda for a vote on the approval of the project this evening.

440 HAMILTON PROJECT of 468 APARTMENTS SET TO MOVE AHEAD

On two other development fronts, the Common Council is set  to approve, on the consent agenda, sales and mortgage tax breaks for the development of the 440 Hamilton Avenue on North Broadway into apartments, the tax incentives were approved by the Westchester Industrial Development Agency two weeks ago. The city will be reimbursed by the IDA for a portion of the sales and mortgage payments.

The city will be reimbursed in part by the county 2-1/2% ($995,640)  of total sales tax abatements expected to be $40 Million. The city will be reimbursed for 1/2% of total mortgage taxes, $648,319 out of a total expected mortgage tax of $129 Million., according to the common council agenda details.

However, as part of this agreement the City of White Plains agrees to a 18-year Payment In Lieu of (property)Taxes program to go into effect in three years.

The PILOT equals the PILOT in duration on the City Center project that was built from 2001 to 2003. The City Center pilot is still in effect.

Over the eighteen years of the PILOT, the landowner  (American Equity Partners) will pay the city $31,300,000 in total property taxes.

The Common Council is also poised set to approve tax incentives the Westchester IDA approved for the Westmoreland Lofts project on Westmoreland Avenue.

The Lennar Corporation is being given a one year extension on the site plan for the Broadstone apartment project planned for behind the restaurant row at the corner of East Post Road and Mamaroneck Avenue, due, according to the details on the Common Council agenda due to a change in ownership. (The project was supposed to have started three months ago, but it has not, hence the need for the site plan extension.)

The city is also selling two pieces of city land at auction that have been foreclosed, 8 Rutherford and146 Orawaupum Street. Inquire, if interested to the City Finance Department. The minimum bid for 8 Rutherford Street property is $150,000. The Orawaupum property requires a $140,000 bid.

Targeting Bicyclist scofflaws

In a surprise on the agenda, the city is raising the fine for bicycle violations by bicyclists from $10 to $100.

Just a reminder, according to the city municipal code, bicyclists are required to

  1. Obey all traffic control devices, signs and other control devices applicable to vehicles
  2. Are subject to all of the duties, applicable to the driver of the vehicle
  3. No bicyclist shall ride a bicycle upon any public sidewalk within White Plains.
  4. Ride on the right On bike routes. Every person operating a bicycle upon the roadway of a public highway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of such roadway as practicable and shall not ride two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. If a usable path has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicyclists shall use such a path and shall not use the roadway.
  5. No person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.
  6. No person riding upon a bicycle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.
  7. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
  8. Packages: No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.
  9. A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than astride and seated upon a permanent seat attached onto.
  10. NO PARKING except upon a roadway against the curb or upon a sidewalk in a rack to support the bicycle or against a buiding or at the curb, as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

 

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TEAM IMAGE CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF SYNCRONIZED SKATING IN WESTCHESTER AT PLAYLAND’S ICE CASINO. 100 SKATERS ON 9 TEAMS SO READY SHOWCASE THEIR PROGRAMS, TAKING THEM TO THE ICE FOR THE FIRST TIME

 

100 SKATERS FROM THE NY-NJ-CT AREA POSE FOR A TEAM PHOTO AT TEAM IMAGE PEP RALLY AT PLAYLAND ICE CASINO SUNDAY AFTERNOON TO START THE SEASON

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT! THE  TOP OF THE LINES: JUNIOR TEAM PERFORMED THEIR CLASSICAL JAMES BOND PROGRAM BELOW (CLICK THE ARROW TO TAKE THE ICE WITH THEM!)

COMING AT YOU, READY OR NOT!  “SNOW PLOW SAM”TEAM PERFORMS IN PUBLIC FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME–AND NONE OF THEM FELL AS THEY SKATED TO  “BUBBLES” BELOW

THESE BEGINNERS MANY OF WHOM ARE SISTERS OF MEMBERS OF THE OLDER TEAMS GROW UP AND STILL SKATE LIKE THE TEAM IMAGE ADULT TEAM BELOW MADE UP OF 24 TO 34 YEAR OLD WOMEN WHO SHOWED THEY HAVE NOT LOST ANY OF THEIR GRACE CHARM, SPEED AND FEARLESSNESS: NO HELMETS, NO PADS, JUST NERVE!

 

Team Image was founded 30 years ago by Sylvia J. Muccio who passed away a few years ago, but her legacy team lives on and grows stronger every year. She would have been so proud today!

Today, 100 skaters from New Jersey, Connecticut and New York skate on the 9 Team Image Syncronized Skating Teams. Their legacy has helped build syncronized skating in Westchester County  and over the last 15, contributed to the reputations of the east coast teams who now regulary compete with distinction in the valley of syncro (the midwest).

The Team Image teams are closeknit and remain friends for years after they have parted, but they themselves never stop skating.

For more about Team Image go to www.teamimagesynchro.com

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AUTUMN IN PEEKSKILL NEW YORK USA.

WPCNR VIDEO ROVER MOMENTS TO REMEMBER. NOVEMBER 3, 2018:

At this time tomorrow, 5:15 PM it will be dark, because you should turn your clock back one hour to get back onto Eastern Standard Time.

Even though the winds were strong out of the Northwest turning up white caps on the might Hudson off Peekskill, New York USA, autumn was lavishing extraordinary shades and hues and memories. Just watch this video:

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK ELECTION PREVIEW on THE INTERNET–NOW WHITEPLAINSWEEK.COM AND YOU TUBE

t

THE WATCHERS ON THE RHINE

ON

THE VOTE COMING UP THIS TUESDAY.

ALL THE CANDIDATES AND THE TOMATO CANS

WHO’S RUNNING, WHO HAS NO OPPOSITION, WHO HAS NO CHANCE

TRUMP GOES TRICK OR TREATING

GEORGE LATIMER GETS HIS FLU SHOT.

THE AVENOL VIRUS IN JERSEY–SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED? THE MEASLES OUTBREAK IN ROCKLAND–WHAT’S BEHIND IT?

THE GOVERNOR ON THE PITTSBURGH SHOOTINGS

AND MORE

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Feiner: Con Ed Explains Why Gas Line Repairs Required in Greenburgh

WPCNR THE FEINER REPORT. From Town of Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. November 2, 2018:

Have you noticed that there are lots of roads in Greenburgh and the villages within Greenburgh that have steel plates on roads roads–covering up gas pipes they are working on? Have you seen Con Ed trucks digging up the roads and addressing their underground gas infrastructure?  Con Ed spent $8 million enhancing the gas infrastructure in Greenburgh this year and they will spend millions more next year– in Greenburgh and around the county.

There is a motto – “no pain, no gain”. Although the Con Ed gas infrastructure work is necessary, residents who live near the locations where the gas work has been taking place are inconvenienced. The roads are a mess during construction, it takes many weeks before the work is completed and the roads repaved.

At the last Town Board meeting – representatives of Con Ed summarized the work they are doing around town and answered questions. The link to the meeting is below:

https://youtu.be/bC4wVcfMGyA

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