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Mayor’s Monday Morning Message

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Fighting Against Funding Cuts

Last week I joined mayors and supervisors from across Westchester County to voice our objection to the governor’s plan to eliminate local AIM funding. If the proposed cuts go through, that will mean the Village of Ossining loses over $200,000 a year. Holding the line on taxes is one way that we work to keep our community affordable. Today I am in Albany attending the New York Conference of Mayors Winter Legislative Meeting. We will be holding a press conference this morning about the need to preserve and increase funding to local governments. Standing with mayors from across New York sends a strong message that local governments need more, not less, support from Albany.

Last week’s public hearing related to ETPA included comments from several people. Written comments will be accepted through Friday, February 15. Comments may be e-mailed to bot@villageofossining.org and clerk@townofossining.com. Click here to view the portion of the meeting related to this topic.

There were several resolutions related to funding of capital projects for 2019. One of the resolutions failed to get the super-majority required for it to move forward at this time. I objected to bonding $900,000 to re-mediate the interior of 200 Main Street, the bank building. My colleagues and I all agree that clearly it is in the best interest of the village for this marquis building at the entrance of our downtown to become a functioning asset to our local economy. Where we differ is on who should pay to remediate this historic building that has been vacant for decades. Click here to view the portion of Wednesday’s meeting when we discussed 200 Main Street.

I maintain that we should invite private investors to take on this building, and I have every reason to believe there would be interest. The historic structure offers high visibility in an increasingly strong local economy. When the village put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) in 2015, three entities responded and one was selected. Unfortunately, in 2017 the village decided not to continue with that agreement, and the case has been in litigation ever since. Trustee Levin shares my concern regarding the ongoing litigation related to this building. She also expressed hesitation in moving forward with the remediation before we have a clear intention on the use of the building. Without a super-majority of at least four votes, this resolution did not go forward. There is still time for a bond resolution to pass later this year. The question I ask is, why not put it out to RFP and see if the private sector will pay for the remediation instead of burdening local taxpayers?

Community Connections

Open Office Hours with the Mayor will take place tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon in the Board of Trustees office on the first floor of Village Hall. No appointment is necessary, and all are welcome to discuss any topic, concern or idea of interest to you.

Have a burning question or idea, at any hour of the day or night?… E-mail me at mayor@villageofossining.org, the Board of Trustees at bot@villageofossining.org or Village Manager Debbie McDonnell at dmcdonnell@villageofossining.org.

This Week

This week’s work session includes consideration of inviting investors to build a mixed-use mixed-income development on village owned parcel on Water Street. We will be joined by representatives from the NYS Department of Homes and Community Renewal, IFCA and the Housing Action Council who can help us understand how a project of this kind can be an economic catalyst for the waterfront district. I have reached out to Superintendent Ray Sanchez’ office to include the school district in the discussion from the beginning of the process.

As always, work sessions are an opportunity for the Village Board to have discussions with staff and invited experts regarding potential policy or legislative changes. We invite community members to reach out to us by e-mail at bot@villageofossining.org anytime, or to speak during Visitor Recognition at legislative sessions, typically held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

With regards,

 

 

 

Victoria Gearity
Ossining Mayor