May 3, 2018

Dear Scarsdale Friends and Neighbors,

The last couple of months at Village Hall have been dismaying. This administration continues to make decisions without ascertaining the community's priorities and without relevant data. The Mayor and Board of trustees are refusing to answer questions about why they do not determine resident priorities and why Village Hall has not created and implemented a long-term financial model and plan. Additionally, Village officials were not able to produce any data about whether indeed Scarsdale's tree canopy is in danger before ramming through a tree code on April 24th.

After repeated requests from Voters Choice Party members, a meeting to discuss Village Hall priorities took place April 24 at 6 pm. Unfortunately, only at 7:21 did the mayor start talking about priorities, and the meeting ended at 7:30. The Board has spent a year talking about trees and recycling, which while important, means that other key issues are neglected: road repair, traffic safety, impact of new federal tax laws, and fair property assessments in Scarsdale.

Additionally, it has been over a month since a talented Scarsdale volunteer was unexpectedly not reappointed to the Board of Assessment Review, the important body which determines your property assessment, upon which your local and county taxes are based. The Scarsdale Mayor and Trustees are refusing to answer why they did not reappoint her. A number of us had questions of the Mayor and Trustees at the April 24th Board of Trustees meeting, and they refused to answer. Was she dismissed because she is a Voters Choice Party supporter? We are very concerned about the chilling message that our officials are sending to Scarsdale residents. Watch the third public comment section in the April 24 BOT meeting video . Please write to Mayor Hochvert and the Board of Trustees and ask for transparency on how volunteers are appointed to boards.

The Voters Choice Party respectfully requests a financial contribution from you. The funds will be used to pay for hosting this newsletter and to expand its distribution. Also, the funds will go toward updating the Voters Choice Party website , advertising our newsletter on Facebook, and hosting community events to discuss what is going on in our village and your concerns. Any donation is accepted gratefully. Please mail your check in the name of Voters Choice Party c/o 32 Tisdale Road Scarsdale 10583.

Feel free to forward our newsletter to other residents. We welcome them to sign-up by emailing us.

Shabbat Shalom and Have a Good Weekend!

Former Mayor Beverley Sved
is Awarded
2018 Scarsdale Bowl

In her acceptance speech, former Mayor Sved called on Scarsdale residents to think about the impact that the new federal tax law will have on the Village of Scarsdale. "For those of us who choose not to move to more tax-friendly parts of the country, local tax relief will depend on scrutinizing every school and every government expense and cutting taxes through shared services." She also spoke about the fact that Scarsdale needs a new type of volunteer. New volunteers will be "smart and knowledgeable of the workings of village government and school administration, willing to take risks, able to compromise, and to act-not for special interests." We salute Sved for her words and hope that Scarsdale residents will follow her sage advice.
Where is the Spring in Scarsdale's Spring Housing Market?

In the first quarter of 2018 inventory was up, yet only 26 houses sold in Scarsdale. This represents a 46% decline in comparison to the first quarter in 2017. 

Buyers with exceptionally high incomes woke up on January 1, 2018 understanding that without doing anything differently, the changes to the federal tax provisions made them wealthier, and they pulled the trigger and bought spectacular homes in Scarsdale. Their income levels likely increased, despite losing virtually all the SALT(state and local tax) in their financial diets, thus feeding their appetites for luxury homes in our beautiful community.

In contrast, professionals earning fine (but less extraordinary) livings are feeling more cautious about what the impact of the tax changes will mean to them. In other words, for this segment of the buyer pool, losing SALT made the prospect of buying a new home less tasty.

Scarsdale Mayor Denies 90% of Scarsdale Subsidizes 10%

The Village is now trying to justify the excess water rate cut with the explanation that excess users are the majority contributors to capital projects. I hope the village is not suggesting that we want to encourage excess consumption! Furthermore, if excess consumption is what funds our capital projects then why would we want to cut the rate?

Did you know that there is a Scarsdale household that consumes over 10,000 gallons of water per day at a cost of almost $53,000 a year? This is 38 times what the median Scarsdale household consumes. For this level of consumption, this household will receive almost $2,000 off its water bill this year, and 51 Scarsdale households that do conserve water will be stuck making up the difference .

If we were to add up all of the water consumed by just the top 100 residential consumers in Scarsdale for the last year, it would be enough to supply drinking water to the entire city of Flint, Michigan for a whole year.

When Trees Fall in Scarsdale,
Do Trustees Hear Them or Us?

Are you perplexed about this tree thing? There seems to have been a lot of heat (but not much light) generated by Scarsdale government in crafting a new tree ordinance – drafts and re-drafts, and comments from unaffiliated members of the public during Village meetings that seemed to have been unanimously in opposition to it. Do you wonder, then, why this ordinance was approved by the Scarsdale Citizen Non-Partisan Party’s Board of Trustees and approved unanimously no less?  Do you wonder if there was evidence of any significant support for this proposal outside of the vocal interest group that agitated for it? Or, like me, did you perceive a groundswell of opposition? Moreover, are you wondering if there is any reason to think this is anything more than another Village Hall solution in search of a problem ? Are you wondering whom these Trustees represent?

Scarsdale Needs Anti-Nepotism & Patronage Policies

Scarsdale Village Attorney stated that Scarsdale does not have written policies for choosing residents for boards, and presently, two trustees' relatives are on boards. "I recommend that you have a written policy and processes on how you choose residents for volunteer boards, councils, and committees and that the information be easily available on  I have been sending questions to you, and unfortunately, they are not being answered."

Scarsdale Officials are Ignoring The
Board of Assessment Review

Why were the two new members appointed to the Board of Assessment Review when they just moved to Scarsdale within the past two years and have no real estate background and clearly don’t have the statutory qualifications for the job – that is, they don’t have the expert knowledge of real estate values in the Village of Scarsdale? Will anyone answer my questions? If not, why not? Read more
Grievance Day

Get your documents for Grievance Day on June 19 ready ASAP. That is the only day to grieve your property assessment that determines your local and county taxes. Make sure that you include comparables of houses sold in your area and pictures to show construction grade of your house. It is very advisable to include an independent appraisal of your house in your package of supporting documents for you to argue your case. Plan your presentation carefully, because you only get five minutes to make your case.

Here are additional valuable tips on preparing your grievance from Robert Berg, who is a volunteer member of the Board of Assessment Review and who co-chairs the Scarsdale Forum's Property Assessment Committee.

We are concerned about how the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) will manage its work load this year. For some unexplained reason, the Mayor and Board of Trustees did not reappoint a talented volunteer to the BAR. Fortunately, three experienced volunteers remain, but unfortunately Trustee Seth Ross, in his capacity as former chair of the Personnel Committee, chose two residents who have no background in real estate or property valuation, and who have never served on the BAR previously.

Shady Tree Law and Washed Up Water Rates

The Voters Choice Party took Village news to the people last week and distributed this flyer to commuters at Scarsdale Train Station. We had good feedback from residents who want to discuss issues relevant in our lives.

Get Involved. Village Decisions are Hitting Your Pocketbook!
Upcoming Board of Trustee Meetings

May 8, 22
June 12, 26
July 10, 24
August 14, 28
Board of Trustees Meeting,
Tuesday May 8, 8:00pm

The Mayor and Board of Trustees will hold a meeting this Tuesday, May 8 at 8pm at Village Hall. All residents are welcome to attend and participate in public comment.

Have Your Voice Heard! Please take a look at the calendar to see the dates for upcoming Village zoning, architecture, historical preservation, municipal, and trustee meetings. If you cannot attend meetings, please write to the mayor and to the Village clerk with any of your questions or concerns and ask for a response.

Your Comments Are Requested

The Village would like to hear from you if you experienced any problems during the two big winter storms. You may write to Storm Stories ; this email automatically forwards to the NY State Public Service Commission. There is a State Assembly Task Force being formed to find solutions outside of ConEd responses.
Scarsdale Schools

School Board Election on May 15 is Contested

School board elections are different than Village elections. Candidates run for specific seats. Alison Singer is running uncontested for one seat. Woody Crouch and Pam Fuehrer are running for the other seat.

Anyone who will not be in Westchester County for the school board vote may apply for an absentee ballot by email or regular mail, or in person. Voter registration and applications for absentee ballots are available here , at the district clerk at the board of education offices or by request to Ms. Honore Adams .

The Board of Education election and budget vote are May 15 at the Scarsdale Middle School. The polls are open from 7am - 9pm. Documents about the budget can be found on the school district site .

School Calendar

The calendar for 2018-2019 has been finalized. This school year, winter break is two full weeks from December 24 to January 4.
We Welcome Written Contributions

Do you have anything that you want to say to the Scarsdale Mayor and Trustees and are not being published in a local blog? Please send us your letter, and we will publish it in our newsletter insuring that it gets to Village Hall and our thousands of newsletter readers.
Letter to the Editor

" I just felt compelled to write a note of appreciation for all her work for The Scarsdale Forum and community at large. I have enjoyed being her co-chair of the Education Committee. I will certainly miss her, and with time the Forum members and Board might miss her, too."

Out and About

Take a Hike ! The Journal News has a list of great trails in the Hudson Valley. The Journal News also just published recommendations for outdoor dining .

Westchester Family has an events calendar with lots of fun activities this weekend for the family. NY Metro Parents Westchester also has an exciting line-up of events listed for May and June.
Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway are back! This is one of Westchester’s longest-running and popular recreational programs, and it starts this Sunday, May 6. The program is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program runs May 13 and 20, June 3, 10, 17 and 24, and September 9, 16, 23 and 30. No dates in July or August.

Visit our website Voters Choice Party !