1. Budget. The new fiscal year of the Village will commence on June 1st. In late March and early April the Board held public workshops to review the proposed budget on a line by line basis as well as a public hearing to discuss the budget. This was the first year the Village was subject to the tax cap passed last year by the New York State legislature. Although the Board of Trustees passed a tax levy increase of 0.73%, which was substantially below Rye Brook's allowable cap on the tax levy, the Board of Trustees voted to override the tax cap. The reason I voted to take such action was to express my displeasure with the imposition of a tax cap by the New York State legislature when it was not coupled with mandate relief. My vote was a protest vote to signify that I believe in local control of municipal taxes.
The overall tax levy increase for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is 0.73%, with the residential, or homestead, portion increasing by 0.28% and the non-homestead portion increasing by 2.00%. I have always thought the tax levy is a better indicator of the impact on the pocketbook of our residents since the assessment of our properties will vary as the fair market value of properties fluctuates.
2. Bulk Pickup. As a cost savings measure, the Board of Trustees voted to reduce weekly bulk pickup. Effective June 1st, bulk pickup will only occur on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. This change will not effect green waste pickup which will continue to take place each Wednesday.
3. Amnesty Program. The Board of Trustees has once again extended the amnesty program which was set to expire on May 31. It will now expire on May 31, 2013 and the Board of Trustees has expressed its view that this is the last extension. This program waives the administrative fee for all work that was completed without a building permit prior to November 2007, and in many cases obviates the need to go before the Architectural Review Board. The fee that is being waived is 12% of the cost of construction with a minimum fee of $500.00 and a maximum of $3,500.00 The Board of Trustees believes that by offering amnesty residents will be incentivized to legalize work that was done without the necessary permits or without obtaining the required certificate of occupancy.
4. Grievance Day, June 19. All residents should have received notices from the Town of Rye regarding their updated property assessments. Every year residents have the right to challenge their assessment by submitting an appeal to the Town’s Board of Assessment Review (BAR). The deadline to submit this information is Tuesday, June 19th. The Town’s website, www.townofryeny.gov, contains information as to the forms and other information to be filed with the BAR.
5. Rye Brook Turns 30. The annual Rye Brook Birthday Celebration will be held at Crawford Park on Saturday, June 16th, rain or shine! This is the 30th birthday of Rye Brook and we expect to have a very special day. The Technology and Communications Commission has spearheaded the production of a video that will document the events that led to the formation of Rye Brook. Many individuals have been interviewed and it is anticipated that the video will be aired at the birthday party. Taxpayer funds have not been used to finance the video. Instead, funds provided by Cablevision and Verizon as part of their agreements with Rye Brook to promote public awareness and access are being utilized. The birthday party is an annual event that brings neighbors and friends together and I look forward to seeing you there.
Please know that I am always available to discuss any issue with you. You can either leave a message for me at Village Hall or call me at my home.
Joan L. Feinstein