The lull of the holiday season is behind us and a new year lies ahead. We have as busy an agenda as we have had in years. A number of issues will challenge us and absorb our energy. They all represent change and adaptation so are positive from a long-term perspective. But, boy, there is a lot on our plate.
We expect to finalize a plan for where the infrastructure (roads and parks) for the waterfront will go in the first half of the year. This will be provided as input to BP for their engineering design of the waterfront. As part of this process, we will be incorporating concerns about sustainability and storm resiliency into the plan, and we are also likely to resolve once and for all the fate of the remaining building on the waterfront.
DPW Consolidation Study
We are also going to oversee a study of the costs and benefits associated with consolidating DPW facilities with Dobbs Ferry. This effort will involve senior management of both Villages working closely with a consultant, reviewing and analyzing facility and equipment needs, financing, on-going costs, etc. for a joint DPW facility. This study's costs will be covered by an $50,000 efficiency grant recently won by the two villages.
A substantial revision to our building code goes before the Board in the next few months, and is likely to result in a environmentally-friendly building code that stresses energy efficiency.
As a result of the spate of storms over the last few years, and fully anticipating that this is no statistical blip, we are looking to institute a network of volunteers ready to step up in times of emergency, improve redundancy in Village systems, create a central point (both online and at Village hall) of useful resources, and otherwise be even better prepared for whatever next nature (and man) throws our way.
We want to continue to work on downtown issues, including improving the streetscape, a market study, and temporary uses of empty storefronts.
Comprehensive Plan Implementation
We passed a comprehensive plan a couple of years ago, and while we have begun implementing certain recommendations, it became abundantly clear we needed help on structuring the work before us. A group of volunteers have been at it now for several months and this year, we will have their recommendations for how to implement the plan. We look forward to reviewing that.
And where would we be without mention of our four-legged co-habitants. This year will finally mark a roll-out of a landmark experiment to try to control our deer population through the increasingly improving technology of immune-contraception. There's going to be more (much more) on this topic out to the village as the program unfolds. We will need volunteers, and patience, as this is rolled out. We will be starting with an effort to gather metrics and begin to create a baseline of the current state of the village to mark the "before" state. This will be exciting. If we are nominally successful, we will not only address our own issue but also provide a tool to hundreds of other communities in similar straits.
There are other projects that will get their due, as well as the usual budget to pass, new personnel to hire, and services to tweak. It’s a full agenda.
I would like to touch on another topic that was on everyone’s mind as well this holiday season, as we were appalled and stricken by the senseless and vicious slaughter in Newtown. For many, this felt like a tipping point, an act of madness that could not just be ignored and passed by. In response, our school district went through a process of re-examining its own security protocols and has changed some practices. But this is really not a local issue so much as a state and national one, where the governing laws are set. I have been one of the early members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, established by Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Menino (of Boston). They’ve issued a concrete set of proposals that I have joined in endorsing. It can be viewed at http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/media-center/letter_121912.shtml. As proposals work their way through the state and national levels, you should participate by expressing your sentiments to your elected officials. The only way meaningful action will occur on this issue is when the public consistently
demands it of their politicians. I personally believe that this is a broader issue than one of legislation, but this is not the forum for that discussion.
Finally, on a positive note, for the first time in recent memory there will be a community breakfast in honor of Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 21. The breakfast, run by group of local residents, will run from 10AM to 1PM at the Community Center. It will honor local community artist Madge Scott and have as guest speaker, Arthur Matthews, an attorney with a history in civil rights. I will send out a separate note with the details later this week. It’s a day off for many people and I hope many of you can join us.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and enjoyable New Year.