Board Meeting Recap Feb 27, 2023
The Board of Trustees (BOT) met for its first Budget Hearing of the year, discussed the basic numbers, the potential increases and giving staff guidance on how to proceed.
The projected initial budget includes a 9 % increase ($2,487,000 dollars higher). This increase would be significantly over the tax cap.
Because the budget must be adopted on a tight schedule the BOT voted to allow a tax increase in excess of the NYS tax cap – just in case they need to use it. Exceeding the cap would not only cost taxpayers more in their Village property tax, but it would also eliminate the NYS property tax relief that qualified homeowners have enjoyed for many years when the Village tax increase was under the tax cap.
Village Manager Barberio discussed methods of offsetting the increase with new sources of revenue, including winter storage of boats in Harbor Island Park’s Parking lots, selling General Parking permits for commercial vehicles, adding a 5% fee on library tax collection, and a per unit stormwater fee to offset river maintenance.
Prompted by Trustee Lou Young’s concern about the effect that exceeding the tax cap would have on taxpayers, there was a discussion of alternatives such as service cuts, above-mentioned revenue increases as well as tapping into reserve funds. The Village Manager was asked to enumerate what he called “deluxe services” (e.g., backyard trash pickup) and present them to the Board.
Later in the evening, the BOT adopted the budget hearing schedule and all meetings will be televised.
Presentation by the Community Counseling Center
Executive Director, Dr. Mark Levy, Dr. Alan Dienstag and Katie Sawyer, of the Community Counseling Center presented a report about their activities. Founded in the 1970s by the Towns and Villages of Mamaroneck, Village of Larchmont and the Mamaroneck School District, provides counseling services and support programing to local children and families, turning no one away regardless of their ability to pay. The LMCCC reaches more than 1,000 school children and between 200 and 300 individual and family cases. For more information about the Community Counseling Center click HERE.
Fair and Affordable Housing
The BOT agreed to schedule a public hearing to expand the Fair and Affordable Housing requirements to all residential zones in the Village. Developments of from 5 to 9 units will be required to provide one Fair and Affordable unit; developments of more than 10 units will require 10 % of the units to be affordable.
Similarly, there was a discussion of Adjusted Median Income (AMI) – the income requirements for Fair and Affordable housing. Evaluation of AMI and the ability to incentivize developers to build at lower AMI’s will be explored.
At the urging of Trustee Yizar-Reid, the Village’s Housing Discrimination law (which was adopted in 1970) will be reviewed and updated to include all excluded classes as there have been changes since the law was adopted.
Four Year Terms and Elections Moving to Even Years
There was further discussion of the extension of trustee terms as well as the move to even year elections. Trustee Young caused confusion by advocating for adoption of the law heard last week for extending Board terms and scheduling a public referendum in November.
Trustee Young’s motion to add it to the Regular Meeting agenda failed. The BOT awaits a revised law from the Village Attorney that will extend all Board terms to four years and move elections to even years, which, if passed by referendum, will take effect in 2024.
The BOT agreed to move for adoption at the March 13, 2023 meeting, a policy to include the installation of solar energy generation equipment wherever possible, in capital projects on Village-owned buildings.
Two years ago, Port Chester dissolved its Court and it was consolidated with the Rye Town Court. The BOT has requested that the Village Budget Committee review the cost savings achieved in Port Chester’s experience to see if there could be any similar savings in the Village if the Village Court was turned over to the towns of Mamaroneck and Rye. Abolishing Village Courts would require residents and law enforcement personnel to travel to wherever their matter was being heard rather than keeping the Court local.
A recommendation of the Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee to install large diesel pumps at the confluence of the Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers, under the Railroad and Halstead Avenue bridges to reduce river levels in the lead up to and during a storm event was considered. Staff will explore this $3 million dollar project.
The BOT held three public hearings in which they adopted a Map Revision to the FEMA Map, changed the keeping of the Code to an electronic version, and limited defense costs for elected officials, employees and volunteers. The Board of Trustees approved the new Engine 41 and scheduled a public hearing for March 13, 2023 on a partial property tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.
They scheduled another Public Hearing for March 13 to modify Fees and Costs – see the article HERE in this issue.
At the recommendation of the Traffic Commission, the BOT rescinded a “No Parking” restriction on Stuart Avenue, that stemmed from a long-completed mitigation program and removed some parking spaces on Mt. Pleasant Avenue at Stanley Avenue, to enhance visibility at the intersection.
Benches at Harbor Island Park were donated in memory of Michael Scott Magee and retired Police Chief Joseph DelBianco.
The Poetry Garden, dedicated to our first Poet Laureate, Mary Louise Cox, a beautiful space with child-appropriate sculptures, pretty plantings and comfortable seating will be enhanced with a new sculpture which reads, aptly, POETRY.The garden is a joint project between the Village, Village Arts Council and the Cox Family.The Cox Family’s generosity continues with the commissioning of the sculpture and its funding.