NEW POSTS
NOTICE: School Taxes delinquent after September 30 – please pay them on time.   Our Tax Receiver posted to the Town website the following notice regarding the collection of school taxes for the 2019-2020 school year
Tax bills were mailed out on August 23. If you do not receive your tax bill by September 3, please call the Tax Receiver’s office at
914-666-4475. You also can pay your taxes online .
Coming up at the September 3, 2019
Town Board Meeting 

Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment to Table of Uses – Residential (Affordable Housing)

The Town Board will hold a public hearing at 7:55 PM on a proposed amendment to “Table of Uses – Residential” which provides notice to developers. By way of background, the Town Board recently adopted amendments to the Zoning Code to allow the placement of affordable housing units off site for subdivisions of five or more units, under certain circumstances.  

The law provides authority and flexibility to the Planning Board to modify the required minimum lot size for affordable housing units.  In order to make the changes more evident to persons seeking to develop subdivisions, our counsel and Planning Department advises that a note be included in the Table of Use Regulations – Residential.  Read the Proposed local law here.
Public Hearing on Amendments to
Local Law on Alarm Systems

The Board will hold a public hearing at 8:00 PM on proposed amendments to the Town’s local law pertaining to Alarm Systems in order to ensure that all outstanding permit and false alarms and fees can be collected and to ensure timely notice and an opportunity to be heard.  

The amendments provide as follows:
  1. The Town Board is to designate an “Alarm Administrator” for issuing permits and licenses for alarm systems.
  2. An Alarm Appeals Board comprised of the Town is established to hear appeals from determinations of the Alarm Administrator.
  3. The term “Alarm User” is added to clarify who is subject to fees and charges for permits and for false alarms.
  4. In the event that an alarm user refuses or fails to pay for fees and charges, then following notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the Town Board, the Town Board may include such delinquent fees and charges on the property owner’s property tax bill, similar to the provision for delinquent water charges.  Read the Proposed local law here.
Proposed Settlement of E-Cigarette Litigation

As readers may recall, I reported earlier this year that certain local businesses selling electronic nicotine delivery systems, also known as e-cigarettes, brought an action against the Town requesting that the Supreme Court, Westchester County grant a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the Town’s law which prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes in the Town, except in the RB Business District (which is the commercial area of Route 117 in Bedford Hills). The basis for the Court’s determination was that the Town did not have the authority to prohibit the sale of this product in a particular zoning district when the basis for the Local Law was that the sale of the product was detrimental to the community in general.  The litigation was brought by certain businesses which are currently selling e-cigarettes and other related products outside the RB-Business District. 

The Town’s counsel has carefully reviewed the options available to the Town with regard to the injunction and the ability to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes and related products.  Counsel has recommended that the Town Board settle the litigation with a compromise in which the Town Board will adopt a new Local Law using its general police powers allowing businesses and their successors which presently sell e-cigarettes outside the RB-Business District to continue to do so in the same location. However, any business would lose such exemption if for a period of six months or more, sales are discontinued. In addition, any businesses that are not currently selling e-cigarettes and related products outside the RB-Business Districts shall be prohibited from doing so. The proposed settlement also precludes the plaintiffs in the existing litigation from challenging the new Local Law.   
The compromise would continue to provide strong restrictions on the sale of vape products and is a sensible course of action which avoids the possibility of a less desirable outcome should the Town appeal the Court’s action and lose on appeal.   Read the Proposed local law here.
OTHER POSTS
Annual Budget Work Sessions for 2020

The Town Board will be meeting in work sessions on the 2020 Town budget.  Comptroller Abraham Zambrano and I have been meeting with each department head on departmental budget requests.  

As earlier explained, we continue to take a conservative approach to budgeting to assure no surprises as the budget year unfolds.  In the vein, we are discounting substantially any projected increase in sales tax revenue owing to the 1 point increase in the sales tax.  We will bring in a NYS Property Tax Cap compliant and responsible budget which will continue to provide a high level of services to the community. 
In my capacity as Supervisor, I have appointed Abraham Zambrano as the budget officer for the 2020 budget. As budget officer, he is required to file a tentative budget with the Town Clerk before the end of October.  

Over the course of November, the Town Board will review the tentative budget and make any changes whereupon it becomes the preliminary budget. I am scheduling that a public hearing on the budget for the Town Board’s December 3 meeting.

The following is the schedule of work sessions:   
REMINDER:
Planning Board Public Hearing on Cell Tower Applications

As previously explained, the Town’s Planning Board is reviewing the Verizon Wireless cell tower application for Hickory Lane. The Planning Board is awaiting responses from Verizon Wireless’s counsel regarding the “shot clock”.  

The Planning Board is also reviewing the applications of Homeland Towers for a cell tower at the Petre Glass property on Haines Road and an alternative location down the street at the Town’s offices at 425 Cherry Street.  

It will be considering Homeland Towers’ applications at its September 10, 2019 Planning Board meeting in the courtroom of the Town Offices at 325 Bedford Road. This will be a Public Hearing beginning at 7:35 pm. 
Update on I-684 Paving Project

Last week I announced that following many, many years of advocacy, the concrete portion of 684 running through Katonah will be paved this Fall.  The target date for completion is late November/early December, weather permitting.  

I have conferred with State Senator Shelley Mayer and we have scheduled a press conference for 10:00 AM on September 12 for the purpose of discussing details of the project.  Please save the date/time – we’re working on location. 

We will discuss:
  • The scope of the project – it is a more comprehensive project than discussed a couple of years ago with NYS Department of Transportation in recognition of the reality that it will be many years to secure funding for implementation of the soon to be launched ambitious corridor study of 684 and 84 to the Connecticut border.
  • The anticipated project cost.
  • Importantly, I wish to take the opportunity to more publicly thank State Senator Shelley Mayer, State Senator Peter Harckham with a special thanks to Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins without whom funding would not be possible, and as well to Assemblyman David Buchwald for his steadfast support. And importantly to NYS Department of Transportation Regional Director Lance MacMillan who not only made good on his pledge to get the job going if we could secure the funding in the legislative session which concluded in June but also has pledged funding. 
I once again thank the community; those of you who took up the call to petition our legislators and state government with letters, e-mails and phone calls.  
Also regarding the project, the NYS DOT Engineer in Charge for the project met yesterday with representatives of our Police Department, Public Works Department, Bedford Hills Fire Department, Bedford Fire Department, Katonah Fire Department and Katonah-Bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps to discuss the project schedule and impacts on traffic and the community generally.
The project will be carried out at night, but it will create disruption and inconvenience. Consider alternative routes. 

We all wanted this project, but we all need to recognize that throughout its duration it will be noisy, dirty and the project sites will be floodlighted for the safety of the workers and driver.  Please be patient.  
Update on Saving and Restoring Merestead

As you may know, Westchester County, under the auspices of its Parks Department, operates a 130 acre property known as Merestead located on Byram Lake Road in Bedford.  The historic Merestead mansion is in a state of serious disrepair including leaking roof which threatens the entire structure and artifacts within it. 
I am delighted that Westchester County Executive George Latimer together with County Legislator Kitley Covill are moving ahead with sensible and practical plans to reverse the deterioration.  We strongly support the County’s proceeding brought in Westchester Supreme Court to allow use of a fund created by the original donor of the property to the County to help cover the costs of repairs and relax deed restrictions that prevent the County from using the property as it does other parks. The County would be permitted to sell a select few works of art from the Merestead collection to help finance restoration of the house.  

The proceeding is consistent with the original donor intent.  Combined with County funds, the proceeds from the sale and relaxed deed restrictions will save the mansion and put the County on the path to restore the mansion and the surrounding lands to their former glory.
The Town is working with the County on an agreement between the County and the Town to ensure against unreasonable levels of noise, traffic or other disturbance from events or other activities at Merestead.  

In addition if the County intends to convey all or any portion of the property it would provide the Town right of first offer for nominal consideration. 

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR  
WEEK OF 8.30-9-7


COMMUNITY NEWS


Recreation & Parks
FALL BROCHURE

Recreation and Parks has a
IMPORTANT MESSAGE
REGARDING TRAFFIC SAFETY
ON THE FOX LANE CAMPUS

Superintendent of the Bedford Central School District, Christopher Manno posted this on the Stanwood-Cedar Downs Neighborhood FB page:


NWH Center for Healthy Living Grocery Tours
with a Registered Dietitian

Led by a Registered Dietitian, these tours will help community members choose the healthiest and most cost-effective grocery options.


Space is limited to 10 participants for each tour and
we do anticipate these tours to fill up fast. 
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 after you've exhausted your options with customer service support.

Customer Service for Verizon /Fios: 1 800 922 0204

Customer Service for Optimum/ Altice: 718 860 3513

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.)
 
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 .
THIS WEEKEND:
Westchester Land Trust
403 Harris Road, Bedford Hills, NY 10507


Saturday August 31, 2019 | 10:00am-1:00pm

Make Your Own Ice Cream @ Family Garden Days
Sugar Hill Farm
Bring your whole family!
Join us for fun garden activities and help harvest produce for our friends at the Community Center of Northern Westchester.

Plus MAKE YOUR OWN ICE CREAM during a mini cooking lesson using garden fresh herbs & produce!

Any amount of time you can give is welcome!  
SAVE THE DATE



Saturday September 7

Saturday, September 7 th
 11:00am to 3:30pm

Revolutionary War & Burning of
Bedford Re-enactment on Bedford’s Village Green

Free Family Fun Day
Step back in time as the Revolutionary War
comes to life in Bedford.

Enjoy cavalry demonstrations; an encampment; musket drills and colonial games and dances; blacksmithing demonstrations; lessons with the School Marm; and a grand finale Burning of Bedford re-enactment on the Green.

This fun family day is free for everyone! Visit the Bedford Historical Society’s website for more info at www.bedfordhistoricalsociety.org
or call 914-234-9751.

There will be plenty of free parking and you can purchase food and ice cream from the food trucks on the Green.

Saturday  September 14
6:00 om – 8:00 pm

Katonah Museum of Art invites you to the


American Popular Songbook

Mark your calendars for a cool evening 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. $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.
 September 13-15

September 21, 2019
Katonah Art Stroll
Details to follow.


CB Gallery:
FADE
September 4 - Opening
Opening Reception - September 21, during the Art Stroll.
On view through September 22, 2019:


Sunday, September 22, 2019

SAVE THE DATE
ADOPT A PRISON


Bedford Hills Train Station House
at Depot Plaza

 4:00 – 6:00 PM
County Executive George Latimer will be joining us on September 22, 2019 for this event which the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is co-sponsoring with the Town. 

The Town and DOCCS has a long standing partnership which has been of great mutual benefit.  

The community will have the opportunity to learn about that partnership as well as from former inmates who have made a new lives as productive members of society.  

Learn more about our neighbors in our local prisons, and the “Adopt-A-Prison” program being started by The Town of Bedford, Bedford Hills and Taconic Correctional Facilities, and Interfaith Prison Partnership.
This free event open to all. 
Senior News
Rosemary Vorel - Town of Bedford Senior Advocate
The Supervisor's Show
PRIOR POSTS OF CONTINUED RELEVANCE
PLANNING BOARD UPDATES

Status of Cell Tower Applications

As previously explained, the Town’s Planning Board is reviewing the Verizon Wireless cell tower application for Hickory Lane The Planning Board is awaiting responses from Verizon Wireless’s counsel regarding the “shot clock”. 
 
The Planning Board is also reviewing the applications of Homeland Towers for a cell tower at the Petre Glass property on Haines Road and an alternative location down the street at the Town’s offices at 425 Cherry Street.  It will be considering Homeland Towers’ applications at its September 10, 2019 Planning Board meeting at the Town Courthouse, 325 Bedford Road. This will be a Public Hearing beginning at 7:35pm. 

Bedford Veterans Advisory Group
To learn more, email supervisor@bedfordny.gov
Highlights of the August 13
Town Board Meeting


Next Steps on Sewer Project

The Town’s design engineers, Woodard & Curran, is recommending that the Board authorize soliciting bids for the construction of the sewer project for the Bedford Hills-Katonah Business Sewer District.   

We intend to stay on course with the timelines for the project which I mentioned in my July monthly report. 

For those who did not see it, here they are again:
Please mark your calendar for a Public Information Session which will be held September 19, 2019 at 7:30PM at the Bedford Hills Train Station with further updates on bidding and construction schedule, as well as an opportunity to ask questions about the project. Once construction is underway, we will be posting regular updates on progress and where work will be taking place.  
Master Wireless Plan

The Town Board is acting upon the recommendations of the Wireless Facilities Working Group (WFWG) to enter into an agreement with CityScape Consultants, Inc. for the “Study and Report of Emergency Service and Wireless Telecommunications Infrastructure Master Plan for the Town of Bedford”.  

By way of background, following the adoption on December 18, 2018 of the new Wireless Telecommunications Facility Law (which was adopted for the purpose, among others, to establish uniform standards for the siting, design, permitting, maintenance, and use of wireless telecommunication facilities in the Town), the Town Board this past January appointed the WFWG. 

The mission of the WFWG is to assist the Town Board in addressing cell service deficiencies which may exist in certain areas in the Town which could potentially affect public safety including the ability of the Town’s Police Department, Fire Departments, Volunteer Ambulance Corps and other emergency responders to communicate in the most effective manner with one another and with those who need emergency aid and for those who need emergency aid to communicate with emergency services.  

The WFWG also was asked to develop a consolidated, comprehensive and cost effective approach to the wireless telecommunications needs of the Town and its residents through the creation of a wireless master plan.  
 
The Town’s counsel has reviewed and recommended adoption of the agreement.  CityScape proposal, agreement  and   related documents

Renewable Sourced Electricity:
Petitioning the Public Service Commission

The Town long has promoted low cost electricity from renewable energy sources. Our objective is shared throughout Westchester County which led to the establishment of Community Choice Aggregation, known as Westchester Power.   

I am asking the Town Board to consider the adoption of a resolution calling upon PSC to combine billing for Community Solar with the regular electric bill.

The resolution is in response to the PSC’s June 18, 2019 “Notice Seeking Comments Regarding Consolidated Billing for Community Distributed Generation” (Case No. 19-M-0463). Under present PSC rules, an electric utility customer participating in Community Solar is confronted with a complicated system of separate bills and payment requirements which discourages Community Solar.  Consolidating billing into a single billing statement among all electricity providers and distributors would reduce uncertainty, lower cost and open a vast market for local renewable energy, all of which directly supports New York State, Westchester County and Town of Bedford renewable energy goals. For these reasons, the proposed resolution strongly urges the PSC to take action to consolidate billing among all electricity providers and distributors. 
   
By way of background:
 
There are other actions which the PSC can take.   I am working with other Westchester County elected officials to petition the Public Service Commission for changes in regulations.  

The following is a letter to the PSC which North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas and I are asking other elected officials to sign:
 
We write to ask for your support in rectifying Public Service Commission regulations and, to the extent needed, statutory authority with respect to Community Choice Aggregation and Community Solar. As Mayors and Supervisors in Westchester County, we strongly support the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision and his recently announced accelerated Clean Energy Targets.  We intend to do our part in helping achieve such goals. We are concerned, however, that the certain PSC regulations as well as opaque utility company pricing are harming the CCA program, hampering participation and unnecessarily resulting in “opt outs”.  

We hope that you will give serious consideration to the following proposals:

1.       Transparent Utility Company Pricing  CCAs have immense potential to help meet NYS REV goals, however, the lack of transparency in utility energy pricing and hedging strategies impedes the success of CCAs. New Jersey municipalities have the ability to offer CCA programs that guarantee savings against the utility rate.  Under NJ utility regulation, monthly changes in utility pricing are transparent and published ahead of time, thereby enabling ESCOs to adjust their pricing depending on the utility’s benchmarks. In New York, ESCOs have no way to guarantee savings because they lack this information.  Just as we insist on transparency in government, we need transparency in utility pricing. 

2.       Modify and Eliminate Switch Letters     Our residents are understandably confused and upset to receive switch letters, which assert that they have affirmatively chosen a new ESCO as their supplier. New participants in the CCA should receive a modified switch letter that is CCA-specific.  Additionally, when our respective municipalities renew our CCA participation with Sustainable Westchester and an ESCO supplying electricity, residents should not receive a switch letter. While the ESCO may differ between contracts, residents’ participation in the program has not changed.  The confusion resulting from the unnecessary switch letter to CCA participants leads to lack of credibility for the CCA program and prompts opt outs. The switch letter doesn’t make sense between CCA contracts and should be eliminated.  

3.       Enrollment for CCA Needs to Be Simplified     The DPS requires the same opt-in enrollment process for CCA as other ESCOs. This is inappropriate.  The opt-in enrollment for CCA should be simplified and easy.   A simple and efficient opt-in process will grow the CCA program and thereby support New York’s sustainability and renewable energy goals.

4.       Removing ZEC charges from Community Solar  CCA can be an extremely effective vehicle for facilitating new solar installations at much accelerated rates, in particular, through community solar projects. As currently implemented, the financials for these projects require the RECs to be sold to third parties.  Despite the huge impact of bringing new renewables online, ZEC charges are still assessed. We ask that NYS consider removing the ZEC charges for each watt we create in recognition of the importance of achieving NYS REV goals and the development of local renewables.  This would allow us to move full force into solar projects and it might be an effective model for the entire State. 

5.       Identify CCA as Supplier Name   When residents see a change in ESCO supplier name on their bill, even if it is pursuant to a CCA renewal, they often think they have been dropped out of the program or targeted by slamming, leading to opt outs. There is no need for this.  We propose that the CCA be identified on the bill as the supplier to avoid this confusion.
We look forward to working with you and your Department in moving us ahead toward our common goals.  

Traffic Calming Measures – Speed Humps

One of the most significant issues for our community is traffic with speeding and other dangerous driving being of greatest concern.  The Town Board and the staff have been working to identify and address these issues.  Part of the means of addressing it is through the work of the Traffic Safety Work Group which comprised of staff and residents considers problems brought to our attention and possible solutions.
 
One traffic calming measure is the use of speed humps. I am very much open to considering speed humps. They work. They slow down traffic and make our street safer. Of course they are not suitable on every road where requested. When the Town Board decided to install speed humps on Cherry Street, I recall one resident expressing concern that we were creating a precedent that would lead to requests all over town. I replied that the Town should consider such requests on a case by case and where appropriate move ahead and install them. As to a campaign for them, it should start with the community letting us know especially those on the street where they would be installed. Talk to the homeowners on Church and on Babbitt. See what they think. How would they feel if they have a speed hump in front of their house (bearing in mind that they are noisy when drivers speed over them)?

We need to involve our Town staff to consider what might be appropriate locations. I'm happy to discuss - just send me an e-mail at supervisor@bedfordny.gov or give a call at 666-6530.





Evaluating Solar Panels for Town Facilities

The cost of solar cells, panels and installation has declined over the last several years and coupled with New York State incentives to municipalities, we are working to identify cost effective and appropriate sites. As way of background, the plans for the Police Station had long included carports to extend the life of police vehicles and reduce police officer time in making them ready for operation in inclement weather. We initially reasonably believed the carports would be financed through third party solar developers. Due to a change in tax and state incentive programs through the Public Service Commission, the financial viability for such third-party, tax advantaged projects in NYSEG service area disappeared. As a result, the Town proceeded with the carports at a total cost of $302,436. If the Town had elected to proceed with carports without solar panels, the cost would have been approximately $250,000 or about $52,000 less. It should be noted, however, that the Town will receive a credit estimated at $18,067.50 from NYSERDA reducing the difference to about $34,400. It is estimated that the solar panels will generate over 60% of the electricity needs of the station. 

The status of the carport project is as follows:
  • The carport structure requires a 10 to 12 week manufacturing window, which from the time of the order puts delivery between October 1 and October 15.
  • Once the contractor has a firm shipping schedule, they will coordinate with Chief Padilla on a staging area for the installation work.
  • The contractor will commence the installation work immediately after the steel arrives. We anticipate 3 weeks to erect the carports and another 1 week for the solar array installation and 1 week for lighting, electrical interconnection, punch list and final commissioning.
  • If the steel arrives by October 15, we expect to done and ready to "flip the switch" before Thanksgiving.

In addition, the roof to the salt shed (which is a large structure) at the Adams Street Highway Yard was specifically designed (weight load, pitch and orientation) to accommodate solar panels.  We also will be considering the maintenance building at the Highway Yard. The contractor for the solar carport at the Police Station believes that the salt shed is a good site and the maintenance building may be as well.   

The firm is reviewing plans for the maintenance building and, I anticipate, will be providing feedback. As with the carport, we would bid out the project.   



 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.  
ClearGov – Transparency in Government
 
The Board approved the recommendation from Comptroller Abraham Zambrano to subscribe to ClearGov’s software for digitizing and organizing data and information from the Town Government to present it in a comprehensible format to the public. Please see the presentation regarding the ClearGov platform.

For more information go to ClearGovBedford
Cutting Electricity Bills and
Promoting Renewable Energy

Over the 10 to 12 years, the Town in partnership with Bedford 2020 and with municipalities throughout Westchester County has helped establish Energy Improvement Corporation, Sustainable Westchester, Community Choice Aggregation (a/k/a Westchester Power) and a wide array of programs to promote renewable energy.

Throughout this time two twin objectives have been at the heart of our efforts: reducing energy consumption and saving energy dollars for our businesses, residents and Town operations.   

True to those objectives, the Town Board adopted a resolution to urge the NYS Public Service Commission to consolidate billing for Community Solar programs with the bills of the underlying utility, NYSEG or Con Edison, as the case may be. 
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).      
Living Green
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
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.
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. 
Recycling News
(click below to read)
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.
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).  
 
THE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT 

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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.