Budget Transfer for Mid-Year Salary Adjustments - In order to reward and retain good workers, several employees were given mid-year raises. These increases were between 9% and 38% of current salary and were primarily funded with $212,059 from the reserve fund. Typically, items discussed at the Work Session are moved for approval at a Regular Meeting two weeks later but at staff’s request, these raises were approved the same night.
Extending the C-2 Zone to include the adjacent Hunter Tier Parking Deck so the site could be used for a 100% affordable housing project. The Hunter Deck is in severe disrepair and requires significant repairs. The stated goal is for the Village to partner with a developer who specializes in fair and affordable housing to develop a building with all affordable housing units as well as provide parking for village shoppers and parking for residents. The BOT directed staff to proceed with the environmental review required to affect the zoning change so that the Village can issue a Request for Proposal from developers.
Repairs at the Community Counseling Center on Stanley Avenue have been significant. The Center offers family and group counselling services to local families and provides in-school counseling and life skills curricula. The last phase of the repair is the windows which were originally discussed last Spring and are key to ensuring that all of the previous work is not ruined by water infiltration from rain and storms. The Board of Trustees is set to consider the new window program at its February 13 meeting.
Introduction of the Budget Committee: In light of two brand new and one relatively new Trustees having taken office, the Budget Committee, led by Chair Charles Guadagnolo, came to introduce themselves and their work to the Board of Trustees. The Budget Committee is one of many active volunteer boards staffed by residents. Specifically, the Budget Committee works with staff to provide analyses, look to identify cost savings and revenue generation and has been instrumental in the adoption of a reserve fund balance policy, developing a Capital Spending Plan, a revised Village Procurement Policy and an analysis of the Police Department’s reimbursement rate.
Budget Committee Project re: reimbursable police overtime: Budget Committee member Ellen Hauptmann created a survey of what other Westchester County municipalities bill out as reimbursable police overtime (when you see police officers monitoring traffic around private construction sites the taxpayers are not footing the bill). The analysis showed that the Village could (and should) charge a higher rate to cover the actual costs. The higher rate will be implemented, saving the taxpayers money.
Regular Meeting Highlights
Dedication of a new park - the Rockland Pocket Preserve as requested by the Committee for the Environment. The new park is located along the Sheldrake River at the gateway to the Industrial Area and bounded by Fayette, Concord, Center and Rockland Avenues. Working with the Village’s Tree Committee numerous volunteers cleared the site of invasive plants and have planted new trees and over 600 native plants with more to come this Spring.
Leave the Leaves Program: Rather than removing fall leaves from parkland, they will be left on the ground to create a hospitable winter habitat for pollinators, such as butterflies, since they are important components of the Village’s ecosystem. The hope is that residents will be inspired to do the same with their own leaves.
Dog Park at Harbor Island: The Board also voted to fund the much-debated dog park along the Boston Post Road between the County Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Historic School House. The project is estimated to cost $95,000. Details on the administration and management of the park including whether it will be limited to Village Residents or open to non-residents will be finalized at a later date.
Police Department to Get Body Cams
Thanks to the efforts of Chief DiRuzza, a grant for $84,000 has been awarded by the Department of Justice for a 5-year lease agreement for body cameras for our police department. The total expense for the lease will be $165,690 with the remainder funded by the Village. Most of that is already in the current budget.
Firemen’s Carnival Scheduled
Mark your calendars! The Carnival will be held from June 27 – July 5 this year.