To My Rye Brook Friends and Neighbors:
I would like to bring you up to date on some issues that your Board of Trustees (BOT) has been working on. I think you will agree that we have had a very busy and productive winter and spring despite the horrible weather!
Before telling you about some of our accomplishments for the past 6 months, let’s put last winter into perspective. The winter of 2013-2014 was one of the snowiest ever on record and dropped approximately 57 inches of snow on Rye Brook (a “normal” winter typically produces approximately 27 inches of snow). On several occasions, the Rye Brook Highway Department plowed our roads for more than 24 consecutive hours in order to keep the roads clear of accumulating snow and ice.
Going forward, our top priorities continue to be focusing on zoning code loosening/simplification, protecting our environment and quality of life, as well as ensuring that village government respects every dollar that comes from taxpayers.
We are still making progress with respect to zoning code simplification and making our regulations less restrictive. We are very proud of the recently implemented zoning code changes:
Comprehensive Plan – In the fall of 2012, the Village of Rye Brook began the process of preparing its first-ever Comprehensive Plan. Although the Village has a long history of planning reports and studies covering a wide range of specific topics, it has never before had in place a master planning document to guide future decisions on development, zoning and capital spending. The primary goal of the Rye Brook Comprehensive Plan is to maintain and improve the overall quality of life for village residents by:
This Comprehensive Plan builds on prior planning efforts and establishes a policy guide for land use within the village.
I am proud to announce that the Rye Brook Comprehensive Plan is complete, and was accepted by the Village Board on June 24th. A copy of the plan is available on our website at www.ryebrook.org. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee for their hard work in helping to put the plan together. In the upcoming months, you will start to see proposed legislative changes as we start to implement portions of the Comprehensive Plan. I would expect that the BOT will start discussing the potential legalization of accessory units in certain residential zones as well as potentially creating an “overlay zone” to encourage “Main Street, USA” development in the area near our commercial shopping center.
Financial – The Village continues to be in sound financial shape. Our debt level is very low and our fund balance (savings account) is consistent with our adopted financial policies.
Since my last newsletter, the New York State Office of the State Comptroller has published a Fiscal Stress Summary Results for Villages. New York State’s local governments are facing a difficult fiscal situation – one that demands continued excellence in delivering services, in the face of declining revenues and increasing costs. This can be a challenging equation for local officials. In recognition of this fiscal reality, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has developed a Fiscal Stress Monitoring System designed to identify municipalities and school districts that are confronting serious financial difficulties and encourage them to strengthen their fiscal position.
The Monitoring System acts as an early warning system, and represents a systematic and objective methodology for identifying the presence of stress conditions on a local government. The Monitoring System employs two types of indicators: financial indicators, which evaluate budgetary solvency (the ability of a local government to generate enough revenues to meet expenditures) and environmental indicators, which capture those circumstances and trends that are largely outside the locality’s control but which have a bearing on its revenue raising capabilities and the demand for and/or mix of services.
Rye Brook did EXTREMELY well with a 0.0% fiscal stress score (and a 22.1% Environmental Indicator). We were one of the very few municipalities in the region to have such a low fiscal stress score. For more information, please visit: www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/index.htm
Signature Flight Litigation – I am proud to report that working collectively with the Blind Brook School District, the County, and the Town of Rye, a settlement has been reached which eliminated the possibility of a large payout by the village and school district to Signature Flight, and will provide guaranteed tax revenue for many years to come. I would like to thank Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, Westchester Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, County Legislator David Gelfarb, Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin, and President of the Blind Brook School Board Nancy Barr for all of their tireless efforts on behalf of our village.
Rye Town Dissolution Study – Rye Brook has been working closely with the Town of Rye and the Villages of Port Chester and Mamaroneck (representing Rye Neck) to study governance and service options for the Town and whether it makes sense to dissolve the Town of Rye. A prerequisite for the NY state legislature to pass the legislation needed for town dissolution would be for each of the villages and the town itself to pass a resolution called a “Home Rule Request”, stating that each municipality is in favor of town dissolution. Rye Brook has always been and continues to be strongly in favor of dissolution of the Town of Rye. Unfortunately, at this point it does not appear that all of the other municipalities are ready to move forward until additional questions are answered. I will keep you updated with respect to future developments.
Get the latest news from Village Hall – Need information? We’ve got it both on line and on social media. Through the village website www.ryebrook.org/alerts you can sign up for meeting and agenda notifications, emergency notifications, village news and other updates. Also, follow us on Twitter @ryebrookvillage and be sure to follow me @paulrosenberg.
Movie Nights – Bring your children to our two remaining FREE Friday night movies at 8:00 p.m. at Pine Ridge Park.
Did you know?
The Board of Trustees and village staff is committed to improving the quality of life in Rye Brook, while keeping taxes as low as possible. We welcome your feedback about our progress and initiatives. Please feel free to reach out to us with any ideas or suggestions.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Paul S. Rosenberg
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