Village of Rye Brook

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March 2015 Newsletter

                                                                                                                March 23, 2015

To My Rye Brook Friends and Neighbors:
 
I would like to bring you up to date on some issues that your Board of Trustees has been working on since my last newsletter.  We finished a very productive 2014 with a number of noteworthy accomplishments for the Rye Brook community. 
 
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.  Our most recent audit report for the Village’s fiscal year was a clean audit. Rye Brook maintains a healthy fund balance and low debt.
 
The 2014-15 budget featured a decrease of 0.11% in your village residential property tax.  This was achieved despite our increasing services to village residents. 
 
This is the third year that the New York State tax cap legislation is in effect for local governments.  You should be aware that the restrictions of this Albany-created cap on the tax levy continues to make budgets difficult to prepare without a subsequent reduction in unfunded state mandates (which was promised by Albany, but never delivered).   In developing our budget, we keep in mind the long-term stability of the village in performing essential services, while maintaining capital investments.  Our goal remains to keep your village taxes as low as possible while still delivering essential and quality services desired by the community, while continuing to re-invest in the village’s infrastructure.
 
Zoning Code Simplification – We made tremendous progress in 2014 with respect to zoning code simplification, and making our regulations less restrictive.  We are very proud of the recently implemented zoning code changes:
  • We simplified the code to address modifications to single family homes that currently require site plan review by the Planning Board.  This will likely result in far fewer homes needing costly and time-consuming site plan approval.
  • We implemented a new approval process which will eliminate reviews by both the Village Board and the Planning Board for certain commercial applications.
Comprehensive Plan – Now that the Rye Brook Comprehensive Plan is complete, and was accepted by the Village Board on June 24th (the plan is available on our website at www.ryebrook.org), the Village Board is in the implementation phase.  We are in the process of reviewing and prioritizing the items recommended in the Comprehensive Plan.  Some of these recommendations will lead to code changes, and some will lead to policy changes.  This prioritization and related discussion will take place at regular Village Board meetings.  One of the first items we approved was the submission of a restriping plan of the King Street intersection over the Hutch/Merritt Parkway to the NYS DOT so that drivers are “channeled” into designated through lanes and turning lanes for safer travel.  The village has been working closely with Greenwich, CT to address traffic flow and safety concerns on this roadway.  
 
Reporting Potholes:  Every winter brings additional potholes that need to be repaired.  In the colder months, these repairs typically involve filling a hole with “cold patch” which often does not last as long as the hot asphalt mix that is applied in the non-winter months.  Winter pothole repairs using “cold patch” will often have to be filled multiple times throughout the season until more permanent hot asphalt can be applied in the fall, spring, or summer.  In Rye Brook, pothole repairs can be the responsibility of the village, the county or the state depending upon who owns the roadway.  Please go to www.ryebrook.org/pothole or contact the Public Works Department at 939-0753, to report a pothole or road maintenance problem.  See the chart below to report road issues for non-village owned roads:
 
Road Responsible Government Entity Phone Number
King St. (in NY), Westchester Ave. New York State DOT Region 8 (845) 437-3332
King St. (in CT) Greenwich Dept. of Public Works (203) 618-3001
Ridge St., Bowman Ave. WC Dept. of Public Works (914) 995-4951
 
Rye Town Dissolution – As you are probably aware, Rye Brook has been working over the past several years with the Town of Rye and the Villages of Port Chester and Mamaroneck (representing Rye Neck) to determine whether it makes sense to dissolve the Town of Rye.  The Rye Brook Village Board has always been and continues to be strongly in favor of dissolution of the Town of Rye.  I’m happy to announce that so far, the Villages of Mamaroneck and Rye Brook voted in favor of Rye Town Dissolution.  We look forward to the Village of Port Chester and the Town of Rye Boards taking this up in the near future. 
 
Affordable Housing – The construction of the affordable housing project on Ellendale Avenue is nearing completion.  We look forward to residents occupying these new homes.  There is also a new affordable housing application which has been proposed to the village for ten units of affordable housing as part of a larger residential development at Reckson Executive Park on King Street.  Village Board and Planning Board deliberations and public hearings for this application will be open to the public.  Check the village web site for dates and times, or sign up at www.ryebrook.org/alerts to receive emails of meeting agendas as they are posted.
 
Reducing Village Energy Costs – Although the cost of oil and gasoline continues to drop, the cost of electricity continues to rise.  In order to reduce our electricity costs and reduce the Village’s carbon footprint, we recently implemented an agreement with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for a program that seeks to band together (taking advantage of economies of scale) multiple NY State municipalities for the design and purchase of LED street lighting throughout the village. 
 
Music in the Park – Due to the overwhelming support by the community of our two free Music in the Park events last summer at Pine Ridge Park, we anticipate more of these events taking place during this upcoming summer.  As summer approaches, we will send emails and update our website with more specific information.
 
Please Consider Volunteering for a Village Committee – We are in the process of compiling lists of people who would like to volunteer for a village committee.  For a list of committees, go to www.ryebrook.org and click on Village Government.  If you are interested in volunteering for a committee, please email me at mayor@ryebrook.org
 
Get the latest news from Village Hall – Help us reach you!  Being able to immediately communicate with our residents is critical.  The village has the ability to send out “email blasts” to inform residents of items of interest throughout the Village, and GovDelivery (formerly Nixle) for immediate critical notification via text message and cell phone calls.  We currently have approximately 823 people subscribed to our community email blasts and approximately 1,124 people subscribed to GovDelivery.  If you would like to sign up for important Village-wide information, please go to www.ryebrook.org/alerts
 
Village Board Budget Workshops – Believe it or not, Village Administrator Chris Bradbury and his staff are already working on the 2015-2016 Village Budget (our new budget year begins on June 1).  Our first budget workshop was March 25th and the second will be on April 7th at 7:00 PM.  These meetings (which are open to the public) provide a great opportunity for village residents to discuss fiscal policy directly with the Village Board. 
 
Going out of town?  If you go away on vacation, please put your home on the Vacant House list with the Rye Brook Police Department by calling 914-937-1020.  An officer will periodically check your home while you are away and in the event something is wrong, we can let you know.  Please also put your lights on timers while you are away to make your home look occupied.  Also, you are required to register burglar alarms with the police department.  If you do not have an alarm permit for the alarm system in your home, please contact the Rye Brook Police Department Alarm Clerk at 914-937-7436.
 
Did you know? 
  • Municipal Parking Lot Expansion on Garibaldi Place – This Spring, the municipal parking lot on Garibaldi Place will be increased in size. The village purchased the property adjacent to the existing parking lot and will be expanding this parking area to add spaces.  This parking lot serves both the park and the senior center across the street and will alleviate some of the on-street parking when visiting these locations.
  • High Street Repaving - The village will be paving this busy street this spring, so there will be some daytime periodic traffic disruptions which will affect traffic.  Please watch for further notifications so that you can plan accordingly, especially during commuter hours.
  • Rye Brook Seniors – If you are age 55 or older, please consider joining the Rye Brook Seniors.  This is a very active and fun group of residents that is always thrilled to have more members join them for their wide variety of programs, meals and trips.  Please stop by the AJP Community Center or contact Liz Rotfeld at 939-7904 for information about this amazing program.
  • AJP Community Center - Did you know that the AJP Community Center at 32 Garibaldi Place is also available for rentals?  This center has had many capital improvements in recent years and it is a great place to hold a party or event for a special occasion.  Please visit the center or contact Liz Rotfeld at 939-7904 for rates and additional information.
  • Sanitation – This year’s sanitation calendars are available at www.ryebrook.org/sanitation.
  • Rye Brook Carnival – Mark your calendar for this year’s Rye Brook Carnival which will take place the weekend of May 15-17.
  • Rye Brook Birthday Party – This annual event will occur on Saturday, June 20th in Crawford Park.
  • Updating Pine Ridge Park Playground – Believe it or not, the playground equipment at Pine Ridge Park is more then 20 years old.  This summer, we will be replacing it with exciting new playground equipment.
  • NYSERDA Home Energy Audit – Discover your home's energy waste.  Getting a home energy assessment can help you take control of your energy costs.  It can identify where your house is using the most energy and which improvements would have the biggest impact on your bottom line.  Heating and cooling costs frequently account for 50% of residential energy bills.  Identifying your energy waste can lead to big savings.  Visit: nyserda.energysavvy.com to get an energy assessment.  NYSERDA provides:
    • A free or reduced-cost comprehensive home energy assessment.
    • Incentives to help offset the cost of improvements.
    • Low-interest loans, which you can apply for at the end of the energy assessment application, to help you pay for your project.
Residents are reminded of the following green waste (grass clippings, branches, twigs) collection guidelines: 
  • Place green waste curbside between 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and 6:00 a.m. Wednesday in open containers or biodegradable bags weighing no more than 50 lbs.
  • Tie brush and branches with twine into bundles no thicker than 4” in diameter and no longer than 3’ long.
  • Logs, stumps and large debris will not be collected and must be disposed of by homeowners.
Conclusion
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we took huge strides forward in improving quality of life in the village, while focusing on keeping village property taxes as low as possible.  As always, we welcome your feedback about our progress and initiatives.  Please feel free to reach out to us with any ideas or suggestions.
 
 
Sincerely,
Paul S. Rosenberg
Mayor
Email:  mayor@ryebrook.org
Twitter: @paulrosenberg
 
Quick Links:
www.ryebrook.org/alerts                         Sign up for Village alerts and important newsletters
www.ryebrook.org/sanitation                   Access the Village sanitation calendar
www.ryebrook.org/video                          Watch streaming video of Village meetings
www.ryebrook.org/streetlight                  Report a streetlight out, blinking, etc.
www.ryebrook.org/pothole                      Notify village Public Works of a road repair issue
 

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