REMINDER: Vacancies on Zoning Board of Appeals and Veterans Advisory Committee

Zoning Board of Appeals
 
There is a vacancy on the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for which the T own Board is seeking applicants. T he Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is a five-member quasi-judicial board that allows applicants to appeal denials or other negative decisions of the Town’s Planning Board, Building Inspector or Town Board (though appeal for some negative decisions are not to the ZBA but rather to court).
 
T he ZBA also grants certain Special Use Permits (others are issued by the Planning Board) such as for private clubs, private schools and churches and may issue variances granting relief from various Town codes.

If you may be interested in serving on the ZBA, please submit your resume together with a cover e- mail or letter to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.


Bedford Veterans Advisory Group
To learn more, email supervisor@bedfordny.gov
Bedford Village Fire Dept. Parade
Friday, July 26, 2019
Bedford Village was the hot spot last Friday evening as our Bedford Fire Department and neighboring Companies paraded their best and brightest through the Green.
Photos by MaryAnn Carr
Tree Maintenance and Planting Program

Why we’re taking action:
 
To recognize and appreciate that trees produce oxygen, capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide air purification, prevent soil erosion, control flooding, assist in water purification, contribute to the quality of life by providing cooling shade, provide habitat for wildlife, reduce noise levels, and aesthetically enhance the landscape. 
-Inspiring words from the Town of Greenwich

       We are moving ahead with the Town’s ambitious tree maintenance and planting program based on a plan which was funded by a grant from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The Town, following Conservation Board study and recommendation, selected the Davey Resource Group (DRG) to carry out the one year study of trees and potential tree planting sites on certain Town properties, including the hamlet parks, other Town green spaces and Town rights of way along Town roads. DRG issued a comprehensive Tree Maintenance and Planting Plan, which the Town has adopted resulting in the largest tree maintenance and planting program in the Town’s history. I know of no municipality in New York with as ambitious a program on a per capita basis.  Under the Town’s Capital Plan we are funding $65,000 per year for each of 2019, 2020 and 2021 for maintenance and planting.  
 
      The Town’s Recreation & Parks Department for the most part will carry out DRG’s maintenance plan for Town parks and green spaces, though some outside contractors will be used. The Town’s Public Works Department, also for the most part, will be implementing the maintenance plan for the Town’s rights of way along Town roads, and will be utilizing Town contractors more extensively for take-downs and pruning.  
 
    I met on Thursday with the group to discuss the planting plan. The tentative plan is to plant as many as 30 trees this Fall. The Parks Department aims to plant 10 and 20 would be planted by a contractor selected by the Town.   The group will be carefully selecting species and size of each tree, hand picking each one, and also carefully choosing the corresponding planting location from the 561 potential locations which the DRG Tree Maintenance and Planting Plan identified, and other appropriate sites. 
 
 My thanks to the committee comprised of Heather Langham of the Tree Advisory Board, Linda Merrill of the Bedford Garden Club member, Virginia Maybank of the Bedford Garden Club, Simon Skolnik, chairman of the Conservation Board, Susan Roos of the Conservation Board, Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn, Deputy Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Kim O’Brien, Comptroller Abraham Zambrano, Parks Foreman Tom Megna and Park Arborist John Goodman.  

Planning Board Review of Cell Tower Applications

The Planning Board, under federally imposed time limits for review of cell tower applications, is moving ahead expeditiously in its review of the cell tower applications of Verizon Wireless for a proposed cell tower on Hickory Lane and Homeland Towers for a proposed cell tower either at the Petre Glass property at 29 Haines Road or at the Town’s property at 425 Cherry Street. Recently holding separate meetings on each, the Planning Board has engaged expert, independent consultants to provide a dispassionate and objective evaluation of the applications including visual impact reports and other materials which the applicants have submitted. 

 CityScape is the consultancy firm reviewing Homeland Towers’ application and Center for Municipal Solutions is the firm reviewing Verizon Wireless’s application. 
 
We will continue to keep the community informed. 
NYSEG Rate Increase Filing with
Public Service Commission –
Public Comments Requested

As you may have read, NYSEG requested that the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) approved proposed increases in its electric and gas rates to take effect in April 2020. The PSC has scheduled public statement hearings “to gather public input” on the proposal which will consider the comments in its decision on the case. I attach the July 30, 2019 letter and fact sheet which the Department of Public Service (DPS) sent me. 

The materials state:
  1.  DPS staff is in the process of evaluation whether – or to what extent – a rate increase is justified. “DPS Staff represents the public interest in these proceedings and evaluates such requests with the goal of ensuring safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates.”
  2.  “NYSEG projects that the average residential monthly electric bill will increase by $10.20 (or 13.5% on the total bill). The average monthly residential gas bill will increase by $1.03 (or 0.9% on the total bill.” 
  3. How you can find out more about the NYSEG proposal and how you can provide your comments.  Comments are requested by August 26.
 
NYSEG has asserted that the rate increase would allow it to carry out improvements to its system to improve reliability and increase resiliency, which would include “important initiatives and investments” in vegetation management; Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI); system hardening; automation and topology; and promotion of clean energy technologies, including electric vehicle projects.   

You may recall that earlier I had reported on the June 27 Municipal Officials’ Meeting which NYSEG held.  I attach the presentation which among other things discusses NYSEG’s capital plan , including infrastructure work in Bedford Importantly it also discusses NYSEG’s rate case (see especially pages 28 through 37). 
 
       
Internet Service Issues?

From time to time we hear from residents who are experiencing service issues with their internet service provider, whether Verizon FIOS or Optimum. We’ll try to help. 

Please feel free to contact Phyllis Cohen at pcohen@bedfordny.gov or me and provide the following:
 
  • Name
  • Address
  • Account number
  • Phone number(s)
  • E-mail address
  • Description of the issue (dates of intermittent or lack of service, etc.)
 

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR  
WEEK OF 8.2-8.10


COMMUNITY NEWS
Recreation & Parks
SPRING BROCHURE

THIS WEEKEND:
PRESENTS
SUMMER THEATRE 2019
Performances:
Thursday August 1 – 6:30pm
Friday August 2 – 6:30pm
Saturday August 3 – 2:00pm & 6:30
SAVE THE DATE(S)

Katonah Museum of Art invites you to the
Summer is served at the KMA Block Party
6:00 – 8:00 PM

Saturdays August 10 , September 14
Thursday August 22

Mark your calendars for a series of cool evenings complete with drinks, gourmet food trucks and great music celebrating what makes the KMA the place to be. Enjoy a curated selection of bands and performers across many genres.

AUG 1:  Sami Stevens Trio R&B
AUG 10:  Peter & The Four26 Fan Favorites
AUG 22:  Foxanne Indie Singer Songwriter
SEP 14:  Mark Morganelli & The Jazz All-Stars American Popular Songbook

$20 members, $25 non-members. Tickets include complimentary soft drinks, craft beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Children under 18 are free. Bands subject to change. Rain or shine.
Light refreshments served. Click here to purchase tickets.
The County Veterans Service Agency
Community Outreach Day

Wednesday August 14
Mt. Kisco American Legion
At this event, there will be information and assistance for services such as VA Benefits and a host of other booths/services. Our thanks to the County Executive Office and Veterans Service Agency for this event.
County Service Information for Seniors
The Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services has the latest information on upcoming events, programs, activities and services available to seniors, families and caregivers.
PRIOR POSTS OF CONTINUED RELEVANCE
Incentives for Electric Vehicle Purchases
 
Over the last couple of issues of this newsletter, I’ve mentioned the financial and environmental benefits to municipalities and individuals which electric vehicles provide. As you may know, the Town of Bedford in partnership with Sustainable Westchester’s Clean Transportation Program is alerting residents to the attractive discounts and rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles.  

These include the following:
 
  1. The federal tax credits have entered the phase-out stage (a credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in any federal tax liability you may have and so is far more valuable than a deduction).  The phase-out varies by manufacturer depending upon their EV sales. Fortunately the $7,500 credit for the Nissan Leaf still is in place.
  2. Up to $2,000 instant discount off the sales price through New York State.
  3. $5,000 instant discount off the sales price through Sustainable Westchester’s agreement with Nissan of New Rochelle for Nissan Leafs.
 
Please click here for a complete list/chart of popular electric vehicle models and the applicable discounts and rebates. 

Also, don’t stop there, if you don’t see the model your considering, please contact Ron Kamen of Sustainable Westchester’s Clean Transportation Program at ron.kamen@earthkindenergy.com . Ron has offered to go into the dealership with you to negotiate a special discount (no guarantees, but he’s been pretty successful at this).
 
The Town of Bedford also has one of the highest (if not highest) number of electric vehicle charging stations per capita in the state, because we want our residents to have flexibility whether they are commuting to New York or enjoying one of our hamlet parks.  
Pollinator Pathways
 
You may have heard talk of “pollinator pathways”.  So what are they and why are they beneficial?  Let’s start with bees, butterflies, birds and other insects and animals which help pollinate flowers and plants, without which we have no food. According to the United States Forest Service, over 80 percent of flowering plants depend on insects or animals to help them pollinate. These insects and animals are the pollinators. Their habitat has been fragmented, reduced, compromised and damaged over the years.  We can help by forming connections or pathways between green areas by keeping them healthy for the pollinators.  The Town of Bedford long has supported the Healthy Yards Program.  Please consider joining the Healthy Yard program . It’s easy to carry out and actually will reduce your yard and other landscaping costs.
 
Filippine de Haan of Bedford 2020 has graciously provided the following links for more information: Westchester Pollinators
 
Also the Bedford 2020 website has a special page for Bedford: Healthy Yards
Interstate 684 & Interstate 84
Transportation Corridor Study
 
The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched a corridor study to identify enhancements along the Interstate 684 corridor from the Saw Mill River Parkway north to Interstate 84 and Interstate 84 from Interstate 684 east to the New York/Connecticut state line.  

DOT Regional Director Lance MacMillan stated “the goal of the transportation corridor study is to identify short-term and longer-term investments to facilitate regional economic competitiveness.  The study will address traffic operations, safety, movement of commerce and integration of regional public transportation services.”  DOT selected Stantec Engineering for the study which will culminate in a list of recommendations to “guide future infrastructure investments and secure funding”.  

The study focus areas are:
 
  • I-684 Main Line from Exit 5 in Bedford to Exit 9 in Southeast.
  • I-684 Interchange with Saw Mill River Parkway (SMRP)
  • I-684 Interchange with I-84
  • I-84 Main Line from Interchange with I-684 to the NY/CT line.
 
DOT launched the process with a meeting yesterday with key stakeholders at which DOT introduced the study team, discussed the overall study goals and objectives and reviewed public involvement plans.  Public involvement will include a Transportation Partnering Committee comprised of chief elected officials in each municipality; public workshops; and individual stakeholder meetings. 

To ensure that Town of Bedford priorities are represented in the discussions, I intend to actively participate in the Transportation Partnering Committee.  
 
The target completion of the study is December 2020. Find out more.
  Alerts – Update on Road Work

Con Edison Gas Main Work on Huntville Road
 
As I reported earlier, ConEd started its gas main replacement project on Huntville Road about two weeks ago. Work hours continue at 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM with a lane kept open at all times with flaggers to direct traffic.

The gas main project is expected to be completed in about two to three weeks, weather permitting (recent substantial rain had lengthened the project duration) after which temporary pavement to be installed followed by permanent restoration. We’ll continue to keep you posted.
 
 

Sidewalk Repair and Replacement on Route 117
 
Our thanks to the Village of Mount Kisco and their great work of sidewalk repair and replacement following the completion of the Village’s water main replacement project along Route 117.  The sidewalk work will continue for the next few weeks. 
Highlights of the July 16, 2019
Town Board Meeting

Appointment of Christopher Soi
Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Department


I am delighted to announce that the Town Board has appointed Christopher Soi to succeed Bill Heidepriem, who served so ably in the role.  He will be joining us effective August 12, 2019. He is transferring from the Town of Yorktown, where he served as the acting Superintendent of Recreation and Parks. 

Chris has over 20 years of experience in promoting and providing community recreation programs as well as managing and improving parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brown University and a Master’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from SUNY – Cortland. In addition, Chris holds multiple certifications related to recreational activities and pools. We look forward to him joining us and are confident that his expertise will be a benefiting addition to the programs of the Town’s Recreation and Parks Department and all three hamlet parks.  Resume
Update from Our Senior Advocate
 
New to the job, Rosemary Vorel gave us a glimpse of her busy schedule in her first few weeks as the Town’s Senior Advocate.   Rosemary's report to the Town Board.

Rosemary Vorel can be reached at rvorel@bedfordny.gov and by phone at 914 882-5886. Our thanks to the Senior Advisory Committee for proposing the position and helping to establish it.
Sewer Project – Proposed Agreement with NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)

As I mentioned last week, we are making excellent progress on Phase I of our Sewer Project (see discussion below of Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of New York and the Town). A key component of Phase I is our partnership with DOCCS, presently the owner and operator of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).  A special state law enacted last year authorizes DOCCS to convey ownership of the WWTP to the Town of Bedford for $1.   

The Town Board approve at our meeting the request of Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn to authorize me to enter into an agreement with DOCCS which among other things provides the basic terms of the transfer of ownership, the sewer rent to be paid by DOCCS when it becomes a customer of the Town’s sewer district and other matters consistent with the Term Sheet between the T own and DOCCS which was entered into in 201 7.

The agreement with DOCCS is subject to any final comments of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection as reviewed and approved by our counsel. 
Moving Ahead on Adams Street Highway Building

As I’ve mentioned previously, the Town is moving ahead with the $4.1 million highway building. The new 7,000 square foot metal building for maintenance of the DPW Highway Division fleet of vehicles and equipment. The new facility will create much safer working conditions for our equipment maintenance employees, giving them adequate space to move between equipment being serviced, and greater ability to raise equipment to work underneath. It will also increase the life of equipment going forward by creating additional indoor storage in our existing building.

Adding two years of life to the six additional pieces of equipment that will be stored inside would save approximately $20,000 per year in equipment replacement cost. The project is underway and is scheduled for completion in March 2020.  
 
At the Town Board’s meeting the Board approved the request of Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn to authorize me to enter into a professional service contract with Calgi Construction, for the project. The contract is in the amount of $56,160 for a 26 week scope, and is subject to attorney approval and receipt of required insurance.
Co-Sponsorship of Community Events Approved


The Annual KVIS 5K Road Race

The Board approved a co-sponsorship in the amount of $2,477.36 of the September 7 KVIS 5K Road race. 

This is a wonderful community event which raises funds for KVIS all of which go right back into the town.  As an example, KVIS donated a considerable funds for the glorious plantings along Katonah Avenue fronting the train station. We are grateful for KVIS’s partnership with the Town.
 


Proclamation for Luc Giner
July 19 was declared "Luc Giner Day in all the Land" as stated on the Proclamation by the Town of Bedford during a noon-time presentation attended by Town Board members and Luc's family, who prepared a home- made Paella with a dessert to celebrate the occasion.

Many thanks to Luc for proposing the resolution, and to Deputy Supervisor Lee Roberts for helping to craft the language of the resolution, sent to Washington from the Town of Bedford in support of legislation that urges federal action to further goals necessary for the sake of our planet.
Alerts – Road Work
Con Edison Gas Main Work on Huntville Road
 
  ConEd started its gas main replacement project on Bedford Road near Huntville, Sunrise and Orchard.
 
Work hours will be 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM, and they will keep a lane open at all times with flaggers to direct traffic. Temporary pavement will be placed flush with the existing asphalt as they move along in the project.
 
The job is expected to take one month for the gas main to be complete and temporary pavement to be installed. Permanent restoration will occur after that.
Work on Long Ridge Road in Stamford
 
Beginning July 24 through mid-August , The State of Connecticut will be carrying out a bridge project later this month right across the state line. A four week closure of Long Ridge Road to through traffic between Erskine Road from the north and Old Long Ridge Road from the South.
 
Due to the impacts on the Town of Pound Ridge and the Town of Bedford, our two towns have been working closely to prepare for the impacts.
Our thanks to Pound Ridge Police Chief David Ryan for advising on the following detour route for motorists whose destination is Stamford via Long Ridge Road:
 
For those that use Long Ridge Road to access the Merritt Parkway , it is also accessible from High Ridge Road. The entrance is about 4.5 miles into Connecticut from the New York state line.

If the approach is from Route 172:
1 .    Avoid Long Ridge Road.
2.    Take Route 172 to Route 137 (High Ridge Road) and turn right to take
Route 137 into Stamford.
 
 
If attempting to navigate Long Ridge Road :
1 .    Stay on Long Ridge across the CT state line.
2.    Make a left onto Old Long Ridge Road and an immediate left on Rock
Rimmon Rd then a left onto May apple Rd to High Ridge Rd in Stamford (Rte
2020 Budget Work Sessions
We begin work soon on the Town’s 2020 budget.  Comptroller Abraham Zambrano and I will be meeting over the summer with each department head to review his or her proposed departmental budget.  A few key points as we launch the budget season:
 
  1. We are committed to staying within the NYS Property Tax Cap. 
  2. As with previous budgets, we will be conservative in our projections of revenue and expenses. 
  3. As I’ve mentioned in the discussion of the increase in Westchester County sales tax which takes effect on August 1, I intend to follow Comptroller Zambrano’s cautionary advice not to count on a significant increase in sales tax revenue.

The following is the tentative schedule for Town Board budget work sessions beginning in September:
Heat Smart Offers Attractive Opportunities
Thanks to a grant from New York State Energy Research & Development, homeowners in the towns of Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge now have a unique opportunity to determine whether heat pumps might provide a more comfortable home while saving on energy bills.  Heat pumps draw from either the ambient air (air source pumps) or the earth (geothermal pumps). Geothermal provides a constant temperature of about 54 degrees allowing for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. 
 
The program is spearheaded by Energize NY, in partnership with Sustainable Westchester, Abundant Efficiency and NYSERDA, provides homeowners in the three towns the opportunity to learn whether these new renewable energy choices are right for you.  Energize has launched an ambitious community outreach program to introduce homeowners both to the technology and reputable, certified heating and cooling and energy efficiency experts who offer the latest clean energy technologies including air source and geothermal heat pumps and energy efficiency improvements. The contractors are Bruni & Campisi (914-269-6760), Healthy Home Energy & Consulting, Inc. (9144-242-9733) and Dandelion Energy (833-436-4255)
 
On Thursday, June 26, the Heat Smart team was on hand for the community to explain the program (together with service Tacos). Like to know more?  Please click on this link https://www.heatsmartny.com/westchester or call 914-302-7300 x1     There is no cost or obligation to learn whether Heat Smart is right for you.
 
Our thanks to Lauren Brois, Bedford 2020, the contractors and the Heat Smart campaign team for an excellent presentation.
Update on Westchester County Sales Tax Increase

In my most recent monthly report which was distributed on Monday July 1, I mentioned that the New York State legislature had adopted a 1% increase in the sales tax for most municipalities in Westchester County and that the measure was sent to Governor Cuomo for disposition. 

 The Governor signed the legislation which takes effect on August 1. For those interested, here is a link to the monthly report with the discussion of the effect of the increase. 
Pilot Food Waste Pick-Up Program

The Town in partnership with Bedford 2020 is pushing ahead with measures to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  We’re potentially getting help from the State.  With a 50-50 match grant program, NYSDEC is encouraging municipalities to submit innovative and promising projects for GHG emission reduction.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports: that about 94 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. In 2015, we disposed 37.6 million tons of food waste. Food waste comprises by weight a considerable portion of the solid waste flow going into landfills. Collecting and composting food waste will reduce methane emissions from landfills and lower our carbon footprint. 
 
The proposed project, which Bedford 2020 endorses, is a pilot program consisting of forty families, chosen each year on a first-come, first-served basis, for curbside food waste pick-up. It is proposed that after each year of the three year program, residents on the pilot program wishing to continue the pick-up would make separate arrangements for such services at that time. The total estimated value of donated time over the three year period is $37,855.70 for a total project cost of $75,295.70. 
Autism Registry forms
An Autism registry has been implemented on the Bedford Police Department website. The Bedford Central School District has been given access to the forms to distribute to students and parents. You can also download the forms here .
Recycling News
(click below to read)
Cyber Security – Don’t Fall Victim
           
Most of us at one time or another have had to deal with fraudulent credit card charges, attacks through our e-mails or other schemes to steal funds.  Fortunately, there is a great deal of advice on how to protect yourself. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides excellent practical pointers to thwart scammers using e-mails or text messages to lure you into turning over personal information. Please see https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams .  Another source is https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds   

The website of the Town of Bedford, as previously reported, was attacked and we had to disable the site for a couple of days to restore the website.  

Fortunately, the damage was minor and easily fixed. We have excellent defenses such that no data of the Town, residents or anyone doing business with the Town was ever at risk (online transactions are handled by third parties with robust security systems).  
 
Beaver Dam Yard Waste and Compost Facility

The Town of Bedford Beaver Dam Compost Facility processes recyclable wood waste and leaves from the Town and provides beneficial reuse of the waste as compost and mulch. The facility provides an extremely cost effective method for this recycling as well as an environmental benefit of local recycling with minimal transportation requirements. It is open for residents to dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6” diameter, brush, and leaves), as well as pick up wood mulch and leaf compost. This service is free to Town of Bedford residents between 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM Monday to Friday, excluding Town holidays.

With Spring clean-up and planting season here, you may find these services helpful. I encourage you to review the updated information by clicking on  Beaver Dam Compost Facility on the Town’s website.
THE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT 

FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR  click here



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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Previous MONTHLY Reports

In case you missed them, please refer to my most recent monthly reports:







A regular reader of this weekly newsletter asked why I repeat certain posts from week to week. I do so because not everyone reads my newsletter on a weekly basis, much information provided remains relevant and I wish to continue to alert the community about it. In response to the comment, however, you will see that I've divided the newsletter into two sections "New Posts" and "Continuing Posts". Both sections are relevant and, I believe, worthy of review.

I wish to thank readers for making suggestions and comments; over the years, I've not only changed format but added content based on them
(for example, why the flags are flown at half-staff.