For her column this week, Mayor Mary Marvin shares the latest news from around the village:
I thought I would take a week off from discussing our 2012-2013 budget deliberations because it is frankly grim and instead highlight the many, many positive things going on in the Village as we savor this beautiful Spring.
Our library, recently a source of turmoil, is now humming thanks to the yeoman efforts of our Library Board and the able stewardship of our Interim Director, Linda Smith-Shearer. The search committee is working hard to have a permanent director on board by June. The pool of applicants is impressive, bountiful and experienced as many, many people desire to work in Bronxville.
The Village Chamber of Commerce also recently experienced a change in leadership. Peggy Conway, Cornell grad and mother of four has stepped down as Executive Director and Susan Miele of nearby Chester Heights has taken the helm. Peggy’s tenure was distinguished by her energy, her personal connection with our merchants and her unfailing advocacy for the business district at Village Hall. Susan Miele is already at work having met with Chamber officials and community members at a “Meet and Greet” in late March. Susan’s official first day on the job was April 2nd and we wish her much success during these challenging times.
Our Planning Board Chairman, Donald Henderson, is stepping down as he is moving out of the Village. Don was an extremely able Chairman known for his calm demeanor and ability to bring consensus to very complex issues. We thank him for his 15 plus years of impeccable service to our Village. We are greatly indebted to Planning Board member Eric Blessing for agreeing to take on the Chairmanship role.
Our Memorial Day parade planning is already underway. Our Grand Marshal this year will be WWII veteran and former POW George Palmer. We have also endeavored to foster a greater veteran emphasis at our annual event. To that end, we have been working closely with our Town veterans’ organizations.
As you walk or drive around the Village, you may have noticed the sandwich board signs encouraging folks to sign up for our Village e-alert messaging system. The brain child of former Trustee Bill Barton, the temporary signs have yielded tremendous results. Between March 1st and April 14th, 61 new e-alert subscribers joined our system, 26 of whom signed up just last week and another 13 enrolled over the weekend. We now have 1,915 e-mail addresses receiving real time messages from Village Hall. The signs will soon be moved to various other locations throughout the Village to ensure full coverage. You can also subscribe to the e-alert service by going to the Village website at www.villageofbronxville.com
In reviewing the Village budget, we realized that our two recreational venues of tennis and paddle operated at a combined $27,000 deficit which is a significant shortfall. Going forward, we will be obliged to ensure that those using our courts have purchased the necessary permits as it appears use does not match permit sales. Otherwise, in order to make these activities even close to self-sustaining, permit fees will need to be raised appreciably. I welcome resident feedback with suggestions relating to the operation of our recreation programs.
A call from the Federal Emergency Management Agency this past week brought us yet a step closer to the Phase I flood mitigation funding for the engineering and design phase of our pending grant application. If we receive this Federal grant, it has an unprecedented 75% Federal match for every dollar spent. This is a truly collaborative endeavor with our school officials as we work hand-in-hand to secure these monies. The project includes the construction of water detention tanks, automated pumps and storm water piping between the school grounds and the Bronx River. The project continues to receive scrutiny and fine tuning from a number of eyes including State and Federal professionals and School and Village engineers.
The Sagamore Park refurbishment is underway. Sadly, in order to construct the handicap accessible pathway, several trees had to be removed. Though not in good health, nonetheless, we tried very hard to avoid their removal. We will be replanting in the area in June. We expect the park renovation to be completed by Memorial Day.
In just a few weeks, our police department will have a second License Plate Reader (LPR) functioning on a second patrol car. The plate reader has not only generated funds for the Village, but most importantly, it is an anti-crime tool as it alerts our police officers to the presence of vehicles in our community that may have been involved in criminal activity. The system has also been instrumental in apprehending wanted criminals.
Our Avalon commuter parking lot is now open for free public parking every Saturday and Sunday from 7AM until 3AM for the convenience of our residents and shoppers. Our hope is that our west side restaurants will benefit from the added availability. We plan to open the lot for free parking from 7PM to 10PM on weeknights once appropriate signage has been secured and posted.
Please make note of an important change of date. The Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners will be meeting at Bronxville Village Hall on April 24th at 7PM, not on April 19th as previously reported. The Fire District’s budget is actually more than that of Village government, a compelling reason to become educated as to how a sizable portion of your tax dollars are spent.
Finally, so much of the beauty you see in the Village public spaces this spring is thanks to a very active, generous and engaged Bronxville Beautification Council. Their gift of time, labor and funds is so appreciated.