1037 Boston Post Road Site – The City has received several competitive bids for the City-owned property. The Council is reviewing the bids and will determine next steps in the coming weeks. The Council reversed the decision to develop a Police Station/Court House facility at the site for $25M and put the building up for sale last fall.
The Central Avenue Bridge – The Council and impacted residents got a presentation of the construction schedule last week from the construction management company to include construction phases of substructure abutments, the superstructure bridge deck and roadway paving. Construction will begin the first week in March and be completed the third week of August.
Financial planning – The Citizen’s Finance Committee continues develop the City’s four-year financial plan to look at financial and operational issues for long-term financial sustainability. All local governments across the state continue to face tough economic times four years running now. The increase in healthcare and pension costs has shifted the City’s cost structure. All things being equal, by 2016 the City could be running at an annual operating deficit of $2.4M and are looking at all options to share with the public.
A New Direction for Playland – The County Board of Legislators held a public forum on Playland last week. Based on the work of the City’s own strategic committee established two years ago, my work on the County Citizens Committee, and resolutions passed by the Council in support of Sustainable Playland and the Westchester Children’s Museum that reflect the wishes of residents, we encourage the County to move forward with an agreement based on the letter of intent signed by the County Executive with Sustainable Playland. The SPI proposal has great promise for Westchester residents.
Citizen Emergency Preparedness Planning – A group of residents in coordination with the City continue to plan a citizen preparedness plan that supplements the City’s emergency preparedness plan so that all residents are better informed well prior to an emergency and can take appropriate action as needed. The next meeting is scheduled for March 2nd.
Safety Around Schools
The City is considering hiring seasonal police officers to increase police presence around the schools not only due to recent events, but due to ongoing needs for public safety particularly at pick-up and drop-off times which is consistent with the Board requests going back many, many years.
Land Use Workshop
The City will be holding a workshop with its land use boards and commissions on February 27th at 7 pm prior to the next Council meeting. The purpose of the forum is to provide an education forum for the public on the application process, the scope of each board’s authority, the factors that weigh in their decisions and the laws that may need further review for Council consideration.
Rebuilding Rye Initiative
At a strategic workshop on January 12th, the Council discussed many key initiatives for 2013. One of the most important areas of focus is the list of capital improvements identified to rebuild Rye’s infrastructure in and around our downtown and schools to include roads, sidewalks, and sewers. It is an ambitious program expected to take two years to complete but in the end will improve safety, enhance Rye’s charm and save money in the long run. The list of funded projects and their estimated schedule from the City Planner will be posted on the City Website.
Consistent with most City Departments, the City is establishing a volunteer Technology committee to utilize the expertise of Rye residents in order to make recommendations to City staff in making technology improvements and investments to enhance overall City services. The Council will formally establish the committee at an upcoming meeting.
New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM)
At the NYCOM meeting this month, the Governor is proposing to maintain current NYS funding for municipalities. In addition, he is proposing a stable rate pension contribution option that would smooth out retirement contributions into the NYS retirement system paid by local municipalities for their employees. The plan would call for a stable rate of 12% (employees) and 18.5% (public safety employees) of payroll for a term of 25 years. The rates for the last few years have been much higher and have risen in the current year to 21% and 29% respectively. The proposal is undergoing much debate. Also, there is a proposal to reform the binding arbitration process.