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Mayor’s Monday Morning Message

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Land Use Planning & Water Taxation

There are two important meetings happening this week for anyone interested in having a voice in planning the future of Ossining. Tomorrow at 07:30 p.m. you are invited to attend a public hearing on the draft update of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan. Click here to review the draft chapters that the Steering Committee has been working closely with village staff and BFJ Consulting to create. Click here for the zoom link for tomorrow’s virtual meeting. For information about an event related to a particular proposed development, see below.

Last week’s village board meeting included discussion of the proposed local law for special events. On Wednesday we will be voting on a resolution to call for a public hearing on this local law. The fee schedule related to the new special events law has not yet been presented to the Village Board. We intend to keep the public hearing on this proposed local law open while we consider how the related fees will impact event organizers. As was pointed out at last week’s meeting, the fees should reflect the demand of a given event on village resources. Click here to review the current draft legislation.

We also had a presentation about the Village’s latest request that the Schools, Town and Library boards grant tax exempt status to the Ossining Water System properties. Village staff recently attended a Board of Education meeting to discuss our request and potential impact of both action and inaction on granting tax exempt status. NYS allows for water utility properties to be charged property taxes if the properties are located outside the bounds of the municipal government that owns them. It is not a common occurrence and might make sense for some privatized water utility properties. These are the only publicly held parcels in Ossining that pay property taxes.

The Ossining Water System provides water to both the Village and Unincorporated Town of Ossining. Several parcels, notably the Indian Brook Reservoir and the Water Treatment Facility, are located in Unincorporated Town of Ossining. When we made the request to Westchester County five years ago, they granted tax exempt status immediately. Though this is an unusual circumstance, it is not without some precedence for the County. The current property tax structure unfairly burdens all water users in the Village and Unincorporated Town as we contribute twice to the property tax collection—first when we pay property taxes to the schools/town/library, and second when we pay our water bill which then goes, in part, to pay schools/town/library property taxes. Click here for the discussion of this topic at last week’s work session. There is some garbled sound at the beginning of the presentation, but it subsides quickly.

The agenda and transcript of the full work session can be found at this link.

Community Connections

Join me at Village Hall tomorrow for Open Office Hours from 10:00 am to 12 noon. The public is invited come by to ask a question, offer a suggestion or raise a concern about anything village related. If you prefer to meet me outside, weather permitting, please call my cell phone 914-640-0575 when you arrive and I’ll bring a couple of folding chairs onto the front lawn for us.

To reach out by e-mail any hour:

Hybrid Meeting on Wednesday

Wednesday we will host a hybrid legislative session at the Joseph G Caputo Community Center and on zoom. Click here for the full agenda, and supporting documents, and the virtual meeting link. The meeting will open with a continuation of the public hearing for proposed local law 7 related to protecting village wetlands.

With regards,

Victoria Gearity
Ossining Mayor