April 15, 2006 Newsletter
April 15, 2006To My Rye Brook Friends and Neighbors:
March madness has ended with surprise winners in both the men’s and women’s tournaments; the Major League Baseball season has opened with both the Yankees and Mets already planning to meet in the World Series (hope springs eternal); and in the Northern Hemisphere, the eternal spring brings the hope for the future and a promise of new beginnings. The change in seasons affects Rye Brook’s calendar as well.
At Village Hall, the Board of Trustees is moving ahead to adopt our 2006-2007 budget. After holding two public workshops and a Public Hearing on April 11, the Board is scheduled to consider a budget that will result in a 5.9% increase in Village residents’ taxes. This increase, which reflects no cuts in personnel and enhancements to the services and programs we provide for all residents from our seniors to our pre-schoolers, is, once again, one of the lowest in Westchester County. While the increase is slightly above the rate of inflation for the Metropolitan Area, given the amount of contractual and mandatory increases we are obligated to pay, we are very pleased with the budget process and outcome, and for the hard work our Village staff devoted to this work product.
The coming spring also means making some physical changes throughout the Village. Our Highway Department has stowed its snow removal equipment for the season, and you can already see our staff tending to the new greenery at our parks, and along our streets and the “islands” that abut some of our roadways. Shade trees are also being pruned and, in some cases, new trees are being planted, a fitting sign that we are working hard to preserve our environment and to continue to earn our status as one of America’s “Tree Cities.” Work continues at a rapid pace at our Athletic Fields complex on King Street and on the remediation at Rich Manor Park. The Village Engineer is also doing a physical audit of our streets and roads in order to identify candidates for repaving and curbing.
Speaking about the physical look of the Village, as you can see, a number of residents are currently improving their homes or planning to undertake expansions. This is gratifying for a number of reasons and confirms the faith our residents are placing in the future of Rye Brook by enhancing their property value. Of course, the whole Village also benefits from these improvements “as a rising tide lifts all boats.” Thus, investments we make in our homes and properties generate positive returns for all of us. On a related issue, the Board instituted a temporary moratorium of subdivisions and site plan approvals in the Byram Ridge section of the Village (Hillandale Road, Edgewood Drive, Beechwood Boulevard, Loch Lane and Woodland Drive) in order for the Board of Trustees to determine whether any changes in the current Village laws are necessary and that would impact that area. Among the items the Board will consider is the possible “up zone” of that section to an R-25 zone from its present R-20 designation, or possible amendments to the regulations within the R-20 zone. The moratorium will expire 180 days from its inception, and I have already appointed a Task Force, chaired by new Trustee and former Planning Board member Patricia Sanders Romano. This Task Force, which itself has a 90 day life span, is charged with the assignment of bringing to the Board of Trustees its findings and recommendations.
The coming of spring also brought changes to the Board with the aforementioned Ms. Romano being elected to fill the seat vacated by our very able Rick Buzin, who chose not to run for re-election but to devote his talents and energies to other community activities. I am pleased to report that an outpouring of community volunteers enabled us to put new faces on our various Committees, Councils and Boards, and I want to thank with deep gratitude those residents who have served our Village for so long and so well. We appreciate all the time and effort they have devoted to their fellow Rye Brook neighbors.
As we look ahead over the next several months, the Board and staff will be focusing on several new and some ongoing matters, including: traffic and parking (as usual); determining the fate of the “Keyhole” and Garden Inn applications; and changes, both large and small, to our codes, laws and regulations as we continue to address quality of life issues.
Finally, I want to thank the residents for re-electing Joan Feinstein and me to another term. We, along with Pat Romano, Paul Rosenberg and Michael Brown, will do our best to serve you and to protect your welfare. We cannot do our jobs if it were not for the help and support we get from our volunteers who serve on our various committees, and, of course, Chris Bradbury and the entire Village staff.
Have a happy and good spring.
Lawrence A. Rand