Fellow Residents –
It is indeed turning out to be a busy time, with much on the Village’s agenda. One of the many positive developments that I want to preview for village residents are promising discussions well underway with Dobbs Ferry to share a single Superintendent of Parks and Recreation across both communities. These discussions were precipitated by the retirement of our previous Superintendent last year, which gave us a chance to examine alternate ways of doing things and try something new that would deliver more services for less money, an attractive prospect in an age of 2% tax levy caps.
There are two objectives to this effort: first, this would save each community tax dollars by sharing the salary expense of the Superintendent, and, secondly and more importantly, a chance to increase the range and depth of programs available to each community by relying on the joint Superintendent to help us identify where to share or develop new efforts across the two villages. The effort has the support of the mayors and Boards of Trustees of both villages.
Each community has appointed their own working groups and they have been meeting together to examine issues regarding how such an arrangement will work, as well as identifying a couple of possible areas where joint programs might make sense. What this does NOT involve is a merging of the two departments, any lay-offs of existing personnel, shutting down existing programs, or merging of beloved and very village-centric programs like the Halloween window painting or the holiday activities. The Hastings pool will continue functioning as it current does, with no expansion to the current numbers of non-residents allowed membership to the pool (currently set at fifty).
While we are moving quickly on this effort, it is worth stressing that this is being structured as a trial with a one-year review cycle. We would be evaluating this effort at set points through the year, and if it doesn’t work, we would figure out what to do at that time.
The working group members who are helping us on this are, for Hastings, myself, Village Manager Frobel, and Parks and Rec Committee member Joanne Baecher-DiSalvo and for Dobbs Ferry, Village Administrator Marcus Serrano, Facilities Committee Member Drew Coburn, and Budget Committee Chair Robert McCloughlin. These groups will report back to the Mayor and Board, as well the village's Recreation Committees.
We expect this exploratory work to be completed this month and will be presenting the concept in our March 19th Board of Trustees meeting. This sort of cooperation and sharing is likely to be the best way we can achieve some economies of scale and be able to offer more variety and programming for less tax dollars. That’s exciting and worth trying and we look forward to sharing the plan in more detail with the community on March 19th.