NEW POSTS

Highlights of the Town Board’s May 7 Meeting 

Revised Proposed Climate Action Resolution

Sunrise Katonah leader Luc Giner took the podium and explained to the Board the revised resolution calling upon the federal government to take action to combat climate change by adopting goals to expand renewable power sources and reach a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.  

Luc worked with Deputy Supervisor Lee Roberts and me to develop the revised resolution, which represents a compromise but also retains the spirit of the original resolution.  

I thank Luc and Luc’s colleagues at Sunrise Katonah for their impressive work on this critical issue.  The Board adopted the revised resolution unanimously.  
Proposed Revision in Local Law for PACE Financing
 
The Town of Bedford is a founding member of Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), also known as Energize NY. Sarah Smiley, Director of Member Services for EIC explained the new program and proposed local law to implement it.
 
“People may be familiar with us from the Energize Bedford campaign which helps homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades. EIC is the non-profit, statewide local development corporation that implements Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, financing, on behalf of our member municipalities which includes the Town of Bedford.  I’m here tonight because we are introducing a new product, called Open C-PACE, to better suit the needs of our municipalities and to facilitate more impactful clean energy projects.
 
To review, PACE financing is an alternative form of capital used by commercial and non-profit building owners to fund energy efficiency upgrades or to install renewable energy systems. It can be used for 100% of the project’s cost and can be repaid over the expected life of the improvements, which is generally 20-30 years, and transfers to the new owner if the property is sold. This allows property owners to improve their buildings to reduce their operating expenses and positively impact the environment. PACE is a public benefit authorized by state law, which enables municipalities to secure repayment of the financing through a benefit assessment lien on the improved property. 
Our new program, Open C-PACE, removes any administrative and financial obligations from the municipality, while still enabling you to offer this public benefit. With Open C-PACE, we create a benefit assessment lien that is separate from municipal taxes, allowing EIC to bill the property owner directly and administer collection of the payment. The municipality will not add need to add a charge to the tax bill, and it will not be responsible for guaranteeing payment from the property owner.  The PACE lien is now subordinate to municipal taxes and still senior to non-municipal liens. As with the old PACE program, we will require lender consent if there are any mortgage holders on the property. 
 
Our new Energize NY website lists capital providers who are approved to participate in Open C-PACE. They will do the underwriting and determine whether they finance a project and how much financing they will provide. Property owners will benefit from having a choice of capital providers, creating a more competitive market and less expensive capital.
 
If a property owner does not pay the annual PACE installment, it will be up to the capital provider to enforce the delinquent PACE lien using the same timeline of foreclosure that the municipality follows for delinquent tax liens. To do so, the capital provider must first pay off any delinquent taxes owed by the property owner. 
 
As program administrator, EIC will confirm that the project complies with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Commercial PACE Guidelines. NYSERDA supports the new direction of our PACE program and they are excited about the potential of Open C-PACE to facilitate big projects that can significantly reduce emissions and are encouraging the adoption of this new program across the state. We are also seeing interest from property owners who want to use Open C-PACE to incorporate clean energy components into their development projects. Using Open C-PACE will enable building owners to go much further in the levels of energy efficiency that they achieve.
 
Because Open C-PACE operates very differently from our original PACE program, it requires that the Town adopt a new local law and authorize a new municipal agreement with EIC.  The enabling State law authorizes municipalities to offer PACE, and we can only implement the program on your behalf. So even though you won’t be administering the program, you still need to enable it through the local law to offer the public benefit. EIC provides those template documents.  Enabling Open C-PACE opens the door for more capital providers to fund improvements to the building stock without creating risk or obligation for the municipality.”
 
Town Counsel Eric Gordon advised the Board that he reviewed the proposed local law and recommended its adoption.  C-Pace Documents

Recognizing that the new program will further reduce any risk (presently minimal) and enable Energize to significantly expand PACE financing, the Town Board agreed to proceed setting a public hearing for 8:00 PM on May 21.
Leaf Blower Use Limitations

OFF SEASON LIMITATIONS FOR USE OF LEAF BLOWERS
GO INTO EFFECT MAY 15, 2019. 

 In accordance with the  local law adopted by the Town Board on June 19, 2018 the use of gas-powered leaf blowers is prohibited on certain designated streets (link to hamlet zone list) in the Town's hamlets.

In addition, town-wide hours of permitted use are set. These limitations are part of a wider initiative to promote cleaner, quieter methods of landscaping and property maintenance, while still enabling property owners to maintain their lawns and grounds well. The Town is also launching an education campaign for residents and landscapers about healthy yard practices, and collaborating with landscapers regarding electric equipment options.

This law is very much in keeping with emerging trends across Westchester and the country at large in response to the health and environmental benefits of reducing the pollution and noise caused by gas-powered blowers and leaf blowers in general. 
OTHER NEW POSTS

Vaping at John Jay High School and Fox Lane High School
 
A number of parents whose children are in John Jay High School and Fox Lane High School contacted me regarding their concerns about vaping in the high schools.  There has been concern expressed in social media regarding vaping at both Fox Lane High School and John Jay High School.  At the outset, I should emphasize that the Town Board’s role is in supporting and assisting both school districts.  We are on hand to help. I have spoken with Bedford Central School District Superintendent of Schools Chris Manno and Katonah-Lewisboro School District Superintendent of Schools Andrew Selesnick.  

Both districts are diligently working to maintain a safe and drug-free environment for their students. Both are very much aware of the challenges presented by vaping, and both are working to address those challenges. Their efforts include increased educational programming for students and parents (both during the school day and outside the school day), increased monitoring of bathrooms (while complying with State regulations around access to and privacy in bathrooms), and updated Codes of Conduct that clearly identify consequences for infractions.

Both stress the need for an active school - community partnership on this issue. Parents and students are invited to report regularly their specific concerns and any specific information they may have to school officials.  The issue of vaping will require a sustained school, family, and community partnership if we are to make a difference in the way our children view this latest challenge to their health and well-being.
 
 
Update on Court Decision Barring
Town Enforcement of Vape Law

Related to the discussion above of vape use in the schools, the Town Board is considering its options with regard to the court decision against the Town, as reported last week, which granted vape sellers a preliminary injunction against the Town’s enforcement of its vape law. By way of background, the Town’s local law, adopted last year, restricted the sale of vape products to the retail business district on Route 117.  Certain owners and/or operators of gas stations and convenience stores sued the Town. We are disappointed that the Court has initially determined that the Town’s zoning authority cannot be used to restrict the sale of vape products as provided in our local law preliminary injunction

The rampant use of vape products poses a significant health issue impacting youth in the Town and around the country, and the Town believes that steps should be taken to limit access to vape products beyond Westchester County’s age restrictions and that is why the Town Board adopted the law. We are carefully reviewing the decision and our options at this time, including possibly appealing the Court’s Decision, and will make a determination shortly about how we intend to proceed.  The Board met with its counsel earlier this week and we are reviewing our options. I will continue to keep the community informed.  
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 sources 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).  

Given the upswing in cyberattacks, we are pleased that the Katonah Village Library is presenting a panel discussion on Cybersecurity and Privacy:

Katonah Village Library Presents:
A Community Experts Panel and Discussion on
CYBERSECURITY & PRIVACY
Thursday, May 23 at 7pm
at the Katonah Village Library
 
Katonah Village Library with the Town of Bedford, Bedford Police, and the Katonah Chamber of Commerce
 
Panelists include 
 
Melvin Padilla, Bedford Chief of Police
Lisbeth Fumagalli, Bedford Town Clerk
Stephen Filler Chief Legal Counsel, Joule Assets
Michael Schechter CEO, Computer Experts Group
Christoph Sawyer Tech Expert and Digital Artist
Mary Kane Director, Katonah Village Library
 
Moderated by Heather Flournoy, Patron Tech Support at Katonah Village Library and Cybersecurity Compliance Officer at Computer Experts Group
 
Topics and Discussion
►What is: A virus? Ransomware? Cookies? Cybercrime? A breach?
►Do you know what’s available about you on the web? 
►How do local businesses adapt in the era of cybercrime?
►What can we do to protect ourselves, our families, our businesses, 
  and our community?
Update on Implementation of Bedford’s Reusable Bag Law
 
Following hard work on the part of the Reusable Bag Task Force (RBTF) in partnership with the grocery stores, Shoprite, DeCicco’s and Key Food, we find broad embrace of the program for the 10c fee on single use plastic or paper bags, which went into effect on April 1.  The fee goes to the retailer which helps defray significant expenses which they incurred with a massive distribution of over 8,000 free reusable bags, training of employees, advertising in circulars and other media to help the community adapt to the new law. 
 
We are still sorting out the recently enacted New York State law to ban plastic bags.  Please note the following:
  • The New York State law does not go into effect until March 2020 and until such time the Town’s law is in full force and effect.
  • There is a provision to allow Counties and large cities to adopt a 5 cent fee on single use paper bags.  We very much support such an action. It is unclear what the effect of such action would be for Bedford’s 10c fee and whether it would be pre-empted. 
  • You put the bags in your car, but did you bring them into the store?Grab your bags: Please be sure to put reusable bags into your car the next time you go shopping. Avoid the 10c fee for single use plastic or paper bags that goes into effect on April 1. We don’t want you to pay a dime!

Please see the May 9 report of RBTF to the Town Board:

Update from the Traffic Safety Work Group

The Traffic Safety Working Group, which meets every other month, met on April 25 at which Sergeant Patricia McGraw of the Bedford Police Department provided an update on several matters.  My thanks to Sgt. McGraw for her minutes of the meeting:

Speed Boards:
We presently have 8 speed boards around town. Two of these boards (Cherry St/Park Ave and Pound Ridge Rd/Seminary Rd) are permanent (hard wired). Two more (Cherry St/Reyburn Rd and Bedford Center Rd/Succabone Rd) will be made permanent in the near future. The remaining four boards will be rotated around town. Data collection of speeds from the boards continues to show the effectiveness of decreased speed even with the board being up for a long time frame.
 
Speed Studies:
Eight studies have been conducted year to date.
 
Safety Equipment:
Two additional radar units for patrol cars for enforcement have been ordered.
One additional radar recorder (for speed studies) has been purchased.
Two additional speed boards were purchased earlier this year making the total number of speed boards eight.
 
Consideration for Speed Humps on Babbitt Rd:
Babbitt Rd has many adult and children pedestrians due to having an elementary school on it and close proximity to the train station and bus stop. The group is evaluating speed calming options. At this time, the speed board on Babbitt Rd (30 mph zone) has decreased speeds of drivers. The 85th percentile prior to the speed board was 35mph for both lanes. Post speed board, the 85th percentile is 27 mph for southbound lane (facing the board) and 31 mph for northbound lane. The police department will keep this board at this location and will continue to monitor the data over time. At this time, there is no immediate plan for implementing speed humps due to the effectiveness of the speed board.
 
Rt 117 and Green Lane/Con Edison gas line project/Village of Mt Kisco water line project/117 town border line:
The roadway at Rt 117 and Green Lane was paved by Village of Mt. Kisco. The water main work is almost complete and curbing repairs are to be done by mid May. Green Lane south will be paved by Con Edison. In addition, Con Edison will be doing curb to curb paving and roadwork.  
 
The Bedford Planning Department and Village of Mt Kisco Planning Department are set to have a meeting to discuss the intersection at Rt 117 (on the border) near Foxwood Circle. The intersection will be modified to make entrances directly opposite each other.
 
Bedford Hills Fire Department crossing concerns:
A pedestrian was recently hit (not seriously injured) while crossing near the fire department. The traffic safety work group has been evaluating this area and ways to improve upon safety. One change that has already been made was to eliminate two parking spots opposite the fire department. Future steps included striping the entire area in front of the fire department, adding LED blinking lights when there is a fire call, adding flashing lights to the existing stop sign (off of northbound Rt 117 into Depot Pl) and putting in a rapid rectangular flashing beacon in the cross walk which can be activated by pedestrians.
 
Village Green (Rt 22):
Some concerns have been raised about the safety/visibility of making a left turn off of southbound Rt 22 onto Village Green. Different plans in changing the road configurations have been considered. However, it is likely that changing the road configuration may cause traffic backup issues due to the high volume of traffic. Presently the visibility at this left turn does meet traffic code. This is a state road and any suggestions would have to be made to the state department of transportation. We are looking into accident history and will do a radar recorder speed study in the area as well to obtain further data. 
 
In addition, we are considering adding a rapid rectangular flashing beacon and LED lighting in the present crosswalk near the theater to enhance pedestrian safety. Pedestrians are strongly encouraged to use the crosswalks. There is one near the theater and the post office.
 
Other Concerns:
One member brought up the issue of vehicles making U turns in the area of the Bedford Village Fire Department causing safety concerns. The police department will monitor this concern.



Vacancy on Traffic Safety Working Group

 The Town Board is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Traffic Safety Working Group which was established to work with our staff to help identify and form solutions to traffic safety issues, such as excessive speeds, pedestrian safety, and difficult road conditions.  In 2014 the Town Board established the TSWG to advise the Town Board for the following purposes:
 
  •  Promote and encourage street and highway traffic safety.
  • Formulate street and highway safety programs and coordinate efforts of interested parties and agencies engaged in traffic safety education
  • Study traffic conditions on streets and highways, study and analyze reports of accidents and causes thereof, and recommend to the appropriate legislative bodies, departments or commissions such changes as deemed advisable in rules, orders, regulations and physical changes to the roadway, signage and other components of the roadway system
  • Conduct meetings on a regular basis and invite to such meetings parties and agencies, public and private, interested in traffic regulation, control and safety
  • Promote safety education for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Obtain and assemble motor vehicle accident data, and analyze, study and consolidate such data to evaluate potential changes to the roadway system and for educational and informational purposes
  • Coordinate and  direct  local  activities  related to the implementation of the state highway safety program, as approved by the governor or his designee
  • Make reports/recommendations to the Town Board as necessary.
  • Provide a sustained and systematic mechanism and clearing house for considering concerns about traffic safety.


The meetings of the TSWG are open to the public.  


If you are interested, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter (or explanatory e-mail) to me at supervisor@bedfordny.gov , which I will share with my colleagues on the Town Board. 
Further Update on Repaving of Route 117
 
We have gotten an update from the engineers for the Village of Mount Kisco to the effect that the paving should take place and be completed by first week of June.
 
By way of background, Consolidated Edison replaced a gas line along the length of Route 117 from the start of the business district in Bedford Hills south into Mount Kisco.  The replacement required digging up Route 117. The work was not completed in time for repaving last Fall leaving the road surface in poor condition.  The Village of Mount Kisco also had to replace water mains under Route 117.  As Route 117 is a New York State road, NYSDOT regulates the work on the road and specifies necessary restoration. NY SDOT has previously mandated, and Con Ed agreed to comply with, curb to curb restoration of the portion of 117 disturbed by Con Ed as part of two NY SDOT highway work permits.  I called the meeting to confirm the project scope and ensure that the project is undertaken as promptly as possible.
 
There is approximately 1,200 feet of curbing along Route 117 which needs to be repaired or replaced prior to the repaving.  It is anticipated that the curb work will be completed mid-May.  Paving of Route 117 then be scheduled to be completed, weather permitting, to be completed by the end of May or early June. We re-confirmed that it will be a curb to curb repaving from Green Lane
 
We reconfirmed with all parties that Con Edison’s restoration would be curb to curb (rather than only the southbound lane) running from Green Lane south to a bit short of Barker Street in Mt. Kisco.  A single lane of traffic will be kept open.  The work be carried out at night after 9 PM to minimize disruption.  To minimize disruption to the businesses and those traveling Route 117 during the day, work would be carried out from 7 PM to 5 AM
 
PRIOR POSTS OF
CONTINUED RELEVANCE

Employment Opportunity

Part Time Parking Enforcement Officer

The Bedford Police Department is seeking a qualified candidate for the position of part time Parking Enforcement Officer.

GENERAL STATEMENT OF DUTIES: Patrols an assigned district during a specified period for the enforcement of all applicable ordinances and parking violations and issues summonses for such violations; does related work as required.
 
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, ABILITIES AND ATTRIBUTES:
  • Familiarity with the geography of Bedford and the location of private and public parking facilities
  • Ability to enforce the ordinances and regulations with firmness and tact
  •  Ability to keep simple practical records
  • Ability to orally communicate clearly and concisely
  • Ability to learn the procedures and regulations involved in the enforcement of the parking ordinances and other standing violations
  • Ability to use computer applications or other automated systems such as spreadsheets, word processing, calendar, e-mail and database software
  • Ability to read, write, speak, understand, and communicate in English sufficiently to perform the essential duties of the position
  • Tact; courtesy; physical condition commensurate with the duties of the position.

MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE: Graduation from high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENT: Possession of a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State at the time of appointment

Please send resume and letter of interest to: BedfordPolice@bedfordny.gov
Proposal to Allow Bed & Breakfasts

  Bedford Village resident Abbott Fleur spoke at the Public Comment period asking the Town Board to consider amending the Zoning Code to allow bed and breakfasts.  Each member of the Board expressed an interest in and general support for the concept. I mentioned that there are many considerations and concerns to address including traffic, parking, septic and other impacts.  We need to move forward cautiously and obtain the input of the business associations, civic organizations and the community generally.  Of course, we will rely heavily on the review and recommendations of the our counsel, the Planning Department and most importantly, the Planning Board which likely would be responsible for acting upon any application for a special use permit to operate a bed and breakfast.   




Approval of Lease with Bedford Hills Historical Museum 
 
The Board approved a lease with the Bedford Hills Historical Museum for a portion of the lower level of the Town Office building at 321 Bedford Road [link to lease] .   The Museum will be returning to space in the lower level which it used for several years until it needed to vacate to make room for the temporary headquarters of the Police Department during the renovation of the police station.  In addition to other requirements under the lease, the Museum will be responsible to maintain, repair and keep the space in good working order at all times. The Museum will be responsible to pay the Town in advance a monthly sum of $50.00 for the prorated share of the utilities as it relates to “the use and occupation of the Premises”; this amount is the equivalent average monthly costs associated with lighting, heating and cooling the prorated area being leased.
 
We are pleased that the Museum, a wonderful asset to the hamlet, will be coming back to Town Hall.   After the Museum has painted and done other work, there surely will be a grand re-opening event to celebrate its return.



Your Electric Bills
 
If your household is at all like mine, I’m sure that you’ve been getting letters and phone calls regarding the electricity you buy.  I’d like to help you sort through it and offer resources to further evaluate your individual situation.  

The bottom line: stick with the successful Westchester Power program: Direct Energy in NYSEG service area and Constellation Energy in Con Edison service area.  

If you’re already in the program, you don’t need to do anything .   If you’re not in the program and are interested in participating, we’ll help you switch to it.  If you’re not sure, we’ll help.

 The Town of Bedford is proud to have renewed its participation in Community Choice Aggregation operated by not-for-profit Sustainable Westchester and known as Westchester Power.  The good news is that it is a great success saving Bedford residents on their electricity bills. And perhaps even more important, in the face of the urgency for action to combat climate change, we have offset greenhouse gas emissions through our participation in the Green Option.  

Here are some key facts regarding the program:

  • Stable, fixed rates.
  • Guaranteed 100% NYS source renewable energy supply.
  • A rate which is lower than the previous twelve month average rate for NYSEG/Con Edison.
  • A single bill issued by NYSEG or Con Edison.
  • Opt out any time with no penalty or premium.
We’re here to help with whatever you’d like to do. Please contact Westchester Power at (914) 242-4725 or online at https://www.westchesterpower.org/  Feel free to contact me any time at 914-666-6530 or supervisor@bedfordny.gov .  
Update: Septic System Program Reinstated

We are pleased to announce that the Septic System Repair, Remediation or Replacement Reimbursement Program has been reinstated.  The program is made possible under an inter-municipal agreement (IMA) between the Town and Westchester County. The County provides the funding for the program under the East of Hudson Water Quality Improvement Program.  The County is requiring certain revisions in the program. 
 
Late last week the Town received the second $750,000 tranche of funding under the IMA with the County.  And late this week the Town received new rules from the County Planning Department governing the program.  Among other things, any project whose total costs are estimated to exceed $20,000 is subject to the County Planning Department’s pre-approval, and for all projects, the property owner now will be required to submit photos evidencing the failure as well as certain additional documentation. 
 
Please read the reimbursement criteria carefully before commencing any work for which you will be seeking reimbursement.
Vacancy on Tree Advisory Board
 
The Town Board is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board. The Tree Advisory Board was established for the purpose of advising the Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, Planning Board, Wetlands Control Commission, Town Board, Highway Department, Recreation Department and other agencies and offices of the Town on matters relating to the preservation, planting and removal of trees.  
 
The Board advises the Town on the health of trees, helps develop tree planting plans and plans and participates in Arbor Day activities.  
The BRLA is in a
SEARCH FOR AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The new position will be part-time, working from home, ideally someone 
with an equestrian background living in Northern Westchester.

For more details please contact BRLAEDsearch@gmail.com  
Update on Bedford’s Recycling Program

Some residents have asked me to clarify what may be recycled and what may not and whether Single Stream recycling is still in place.  Be assured that we still are continuing our Single Stream (SS) program here in Bedford and it is working well.  As you may be aware Bedford was the first northern town to convert to SS about five years ago and we have had and continue to have great success with this program.  

We were very pleased that Bedford won the award last year for the having the highest recycling rate in Westchester County.  Our SS program continues to thrive because of our concerted outreach and our materials are taken from the Somers Transfer Station to the City Carting material recovery facility (MRF) in Stamford, where City has built a state-of-the-art SS processing system about five years ago and has added capability and more sorters over the last year as the China disruption occurred.   

Because of market changes, Bedford has modified our recycling flyer and no longer accepts film plastics or bags and a few other small items at City Carting request, but we have found during our recent Zero Waste Challenge (ZWC) that we continue to collect and recycle over 98% of our prior list by weight.   We are also paying our carters a small recycling surcharge to enable City Carting and other Bedford haulers, which enable them to continue the SS program.  City Carting has assured us that their MRF is working well and they plan to continue and in fact expect the markets to improve. 
City indicates that with new equipment and more sorters they are able to maintain a low contamination rate and product marketability, which is likely to be something that other less efficient MRF’s have difficulty with.  

Please visit the Bedford 2020 web site at http://bedford2020.org/waste-and-recycling-task-force/ for more information and don’t hesitate to call me with any questions. I also suggest that you may wish to consider participating in our Community Composting Program for food waste operated in partnership with Bedford 2020.
See http://bedford2020.org/communitycompost/ for more information and thanks for recycling. 
Town of Bedford Justice Court and Justice Erik Jacobsen
 
The Town of Bedford Justice Court is a separate branch of the Town government. It operates under the New York Unified Court System.  There are two elected justices serving the Town’s Justice Court; Justice Erik Jacobsen and Justice David Menken. 
 
I was copied on an Administrative Order dated April 22 issued by Michael V. Coccoma, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, in which he directed that all judicial matters currently pending before Justice Jacobsen be reassigned to Justice Menken and that no additional judicial matters be assigned to Justice Jacobsen until further order of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge.  
 
Arielle Bryant, Special Counsel to the District Administrative Judge for Town and Village Courts, advised me that Justice Menken would be furnished additional judicial assistance as needed to ensure that the Justice Court did not fall behind in adjudicating cases before it.  On April 25, Bruce E. Tolbert, Acting Administrative Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit notified the Bedford Justice Court that he assigned Virginia Collins, Village of Pleasantville Justice, as Acting Town of Bedford Justice for all purposes as needed during the absence of Justice Jacobsen for the following time period: May 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019. The assignment is in addition to her other duties and responsibilities.
 
Ms. Bryant further advised me that the Town is to continue to pay Justice Jacobsen’s throughout his administrative suspension and that the Unified Court System will pay Justice Collins for her services as Acting Town of Bedford Justice. 
Further Update on Repaving of Route 117
 
We are nearing the point where the Route 117 will be repaved.  Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and I met with representatives of NYS Department of Transportation, Con Edison, the Village of Mount Kisco and the Village’s engineers.  As you may have observed, Green Lane has been re-paved.  Line striping will take place shortly.  
 
By way of background, Consolidated Edison replaced a gas line along the length of Route 117 from the start of the business district in Bedford Hills south into Mount Kisco.  The replacement required digging up Route 117. The work was not completed in time for repaving last Fall leaving the road surface in poor condition.  The Village of Mount Kisco also had to replace water mains under Route 117.  As Route 117 is a New York State road, NYSDOT regulates the work on the road and specifies necessary restoration. NY SDOT has previously mandated, and Con Ed agreed to comply with, curb to curb restoration of the portion of 117 disturbed by Con Ed as part of two NY SDOT highway work permits.  I called the meeting to confirm the project scope and ensure that the project is undertaken as promptly as possible.
 
There is approximately 1,200 feet of curbing along Route 117 which needs to be repaired or replaced prior to the repaving.  It is anticipated that the curb work will be completed mid-May.  Paving of Route 117 then be scheduled to be completed, weather permitting, to be completed by the end of May or early June. We re-confirmed that it will be a curb to curb repaving from Green Lane
 
We reconfirmed with all parties that Con Edison’s restoration would be curb to curb (rather than only the southbound lane) running from Green Lane south to a bit short of Barker Street in Mt. Kisco.  A single lane of traffic will be kept open.  The work be carried out at night after 9 PM to minimize disruption.  To minimize disruption to the businesses and those traveling Route 117 during the day, work would be carried out from 7 PM to 5 AM
 
With the objective of keeping on target, I have scheduled another meeting for late May with the representatives of Con Edison, NYSDOT and the Village of Mt. Kisco and their engineers.  
 
I will continue to keep the community apprised.  
MEASLES INFORMATION

We received this information from the Westchester County Department of
Public Heath following reports of some cases of Measles in Northern Westchester:
Update on Parking
 
 The Town Board has been working steadily to improve parking availability and management: parking for residents in the commuter lots and parking for our businesses and their customers and patrons, primarily in the hamlet business districts.
 
At the Town Board’s April 2 meeting, Town Comptroller and Director of the Town’s Parking Bureau, Abraham Zambrano provided the following update on the new since last year online system for resident parking permits in the commuter lots:
 
The Town of Bedford manages and operates eight (8) commuter parking lots with a total of 1,149 parking spaces out of which 170 are metered and 979 are for permit holders. It’s been the Town’s policy to provide parking permits exclusively to town residents and businesses in the Hamlets of Bedford Hills and Katonah. Non-residents are only allowed to obtain permits for lot 3 on Woods Bridge Road. 
 
The management and the issuance of parking permit has been challenging over the years as the demand for commuter parking has increased. With the support of the Town Board, the implementation of a paperless permit system using Parkmobile’s and PCS’s License Plate Reading technology was possible in the spring of 2018; the new software requires that parking customers create an account and submit copies of vehicle registrations before the permit is issued. The new system went into effect on July 1, 2018, the beginning of the parking year.  
 
Keeping in mind that residents have always been able to buy permits for Lot 3 on Woods Bridge Road in Katonah, it is imperative to mention that as the result of the implementation of the new system, we have been able to reduce the number of residents on the wait list as well as the time they wait for a permit for the main lots in both Bedford Hills and Katonah by years. In June of 2016, for all lots, there were four hundred ninety six (496) residents on the wait list and the first person in line to get a permit for Lot 4, dated back to December 2011 and for Lot 1 that date was April 2012.

 As we continue to gather permit usage data, over the past 12 months, we have been able to reduce the number of residents on the list and the wait time. The current wait list numbers and times have been reduced to 248 and the dates are July 2016 and July 2017 respectively. 
 
In May, we will begin the implementation of the Pay-by-Phone system to accommodate daily parking needs and upgrades and signage work are being planned for Lot 7 & Lot RR on Railroad Avenue. 
 
The Town also is working with the Katonah Chamber of Commerce regarding parking enforcement as well as to review the Chamber’s recommendations and requests to ease the crunch of parking availability in the Katonah neighborhood business district. 

We similarly are working with the parking committee of the Bedford Village Business Association.  

We also remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement to acquire from the Bedford Presbyterian Church property off of Court Road for the development of a free municipal parking lot which would run behind the buildings fronting the Village Green. 
Additional hours for Beaver Dam Compost Facility

As you may know, starting in January 2018, the Town Board increased the hours for resident access to the Beaver Dam Compost Facility, which processes the Town’s wood waste and leaves, and offers the opportunity for residents to drop off wood waste and leaves and pick up compost.  There is no cost for residents’ use of these service.
Extended hours are
  • April 13, 20, and 27 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
  • May 4 from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM
  • June 1 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM 

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.

COMMUNITY NEWS
Recreation & Parks
SPRING BROCHURE



COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR  
WEEK OF 5.10-5.18

SAVE THE DATES

Westchester County Recycling News

MAY 18, 2019
Highlights of the the April 2 Town Board Meeting

Town of Bedford to Be Recognized for Fulfilling Gold Pledge – Zero Emission Vehicles
The New York League of Conservation Voters and Sustainable Westchester presented the Town with a Certificate of Recognition for achieving the Zero Emissions Vehicle Gold Pledge to purchase ZEVs for 10% of new light-duty fleet purchases by the end of 2020.  

NYLCV President Julie Tighe and Sustainable Westchester Executive Director Bob Elliot presented the Certificate and Ms. Tighe noted that Bedford was the first municipality in Westchester County to fulfill the pledge and did so a year and a half sooner than the challenge deadline.

 As I noted last week, the Town’s recent purchase of two 2019 Nissan Leafs enabled the Town to complete the Gold Pledge challenge following our purchase last year of an all-electric Chevy Bolt piggybacking a NYC contract.  
 
April 1 Successful Launch of Plastic and Paper Bag Fee

Following hard work on the part of the Reusable Bag Task Force in partnership with the grocery stores, Shoprite, DeCicco’s and Key Food, we find broad embrace of the program for a 10c fee on single use plastic or paper bags, with only a very small number of customers bristling at the new charges.   
 
We are still sorting out the new law to ban plastic bags adopted as part of the New York State budget which was adopted last week. 
 
Please note the following:
  1.  It does not go into effect until March 2020 and until such time the Town’s law is in full force and effect.
  2. There is a provision to allow Counties and large cities to adopt a 5 cent fee on single use paper bags.  We very much support such an action. It is unclear what the effect of such action would be for Bedford’s 10c fee and whether it would be pre-empted. 

You put the bags in your car, but did you bring them into the store?Grab your bags: Please be sure to put reusable bags into your car the next time you go shopping. Avoid the 10c fee for single use plastic or paper bags that goes into effect on April 1. We don’t want you to pay a dime!
New habits take time!
Print out our itty bitty reminder tag
and tape it to your cell phone, purse or in your car.
Amendments to Noise Law Adopted

The Town Board held public hearings on proposed amendments to the Town Code which were developed with our Police Department, Code Enforcement personnel, Town Clerk and Town attorneys, Keane & Beane, to eliminate inconsistencies in sections of the Town Code relating to noise disturbance. There were actually three hearings, two of which deleted provisions in the Town Code and the third which adopted the new provisions.

In addition to intending to eliminate the inconsistencies, we also want the noise law to be fair and equitable. Based on decisions of the Town Justice Court, we need to clarify provisions pertaining to dog barking. The revisions in the included limitations on exemptions to the noise law.   

The following are key provisions of the amendments:

  • To address the inconsistencies, the proposed amendments eliminate the provisions which are difficult to enforce regarding unreasonable or excessive barking and what constitutes a noise violation, and has replaced them with revised provisions to define “Noise Disturbance” and identify specific activities that are prohibited and specific activities that are exempt from the noise regulations.

  • For enforcement purposes, it requires either sworn affidavits from two separate persons in two separate residences, direct observation by the enforcement officer or official, or that the noise level exceeds certain decibel levels as measured with a sound metering device.

  • The revisions continue to permit the use of a sound metering dev ice as an alternative method of enforcement and sets specific decibel levels that cannot be exceeded in residential and nonresidential zones during day time and nighttime hours. The provisions were simplified. 

  • The law identifies a number of noise making activities that are generally exempt from the noise regulations. However, there are limitations with respect to many of these exemptions. In addition, a general provision has been included that the exempt activities cannot exceed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended exposure levels for occupational noise exposure.





DON'T BE A CRIME VICTIM
Lock Your Car

In the past week The Town of Bedford Police Department has seen a dramatic rise in complaints from residents of Katonah regarding larcenies from unlocked motor vehicles in their driveways during the overnight hours. We remind you to secure your vehicles and do not leave valuables in your car. Remember: “If you see something, say something.” The Bedford Police Department operates 24/7/365.

Please call 914-241-3111 immediately when you observe suspicious activity.



Dirt Roads

From time to time especially during spring thaw, some residents ask me why we don’t pave our dirt roads. There also is the mistaken assumption that dirt roads are more expensive than paved roads. I’d like to share with you some considerations. 

  • The Town owns and maintains 33 miles of dirt roads, which are part of the Town's charm and rustic character. However, by their nature dirt roads provide a lesser level of service than a paved road

  • The annual cost of regular maintenance of dirt roads is higher than that for paved roads, however, this comparison does not consider the cost of paving. We now spend $1.3 million each year on paving approximately eight miles of the Town’s 97 miles of paved roads. When factoring in paving costs, the cost of our dirt roads and paved roads is about equal

  • The Town has a long standing policy to preserve and protect dirt roads as integral to the semirural character of Bedford.  This policy is carried in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. “Strategy 8: Dirt Roads: It is the policy of the Town to avoid paving the existing dirt roads.”…  “These roads sustain Bedford’s rural character and serve as an effective traffic calming technique.”  It also is stated that the Town should “maintain dirt roads rather than pave them.”  
 
  • Many of the Town’s large estates which maintain horses front dirt roads. Dirt roads are gentler on horses’ feet than paved roads. Many horses do not have strong enough feet to withstand the pounding on hard roads. Paved roads can also aggravate hoof problems.  Converting dirt roads to paved roads might lead to the disappearance of the horse farms and subdivision of the properties

  • Even should the Town determine to change its policy, the cost of converting dirt roads to paved roads considerably exceeds the cost of our regular resurfacing of existing paved roads. Converting a road from dirt to asphalt would require drainage improvements and four to six inches of asphalt. In addition, regulations of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection would require that the Town secure a stormwater permit for paving more than one acre of dirt roads.  Meeting the stormwater permit requirements may entail installing catch basins, filtering mechanism and other drainage systems to attenuate the velocity and run-off from paved surfaces.
 
  • For these reasons, over the years the Town Board has not considered it appropriate to pave our dirt roads.

As noted in last week’s newsletter, we recognize that winter wreaks the greatest havoc on our roads. This is most evident with the spring thaw and with it mud season, which is most damaging to our dirt roads. It’s typically one of the most challenging seasons for our crews in maintaining the dirt roads.  The Town frequently maintains and inspects all our roads and the most in late winter and throughout the spring.

We will be working as promptly as we can to restore our roads to good condition – though of course, if we are hit with a late season snow storm, snow removal operations will take precedence to provide safe travel. 

While we ask that you be patient with us given the difficulty of the maintenance, we do encourage you to please bring to our attention potholes or other issues which you feel need attention.   Please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@ bedfordny.gov.  

For potholes on the NYS roads traversing the Town (Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172) please call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE. 

We appreciate your understanding and patience.


HeatSmart
Bedford-Lewisboro-Pound Ridge
Has Arrived!
Pictured above are members of the HeatSmart Team , representing Bedford 2020, Lewisboro Sustainability Committee, Pound Ridge Energy Action Committee with Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick, Lewiboro Town Supervisor Peter Parsons, Pound Ridge Town Supervisor Kevin Hansan. 
On Wednesday night at the Bedford Playhouse, local sustainability groups kicked off HeatSmart Westchester, an opportunity to significantly reduce energy consumption, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and help homeowners not only reduce their energy bills, but also increase their year-round comfort and the value of their homes.

Call (914) 302-7300 ext 1. for assistance.  

Save the date for Pound Ridge's HeatSmart event on April 13th.

THE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT 

FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR  click  here

TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS   click here
Update on I-684

Earlier today I testified at a special State Senate hearing in White Plains on public transportation.  On February 8 I had also testified to present the resolutions of the Bedford Town Board urging the New York State legislature to provide funding for the repaving of the 1.5 mile portion of I-684 which runs through Katonah.  As so many are acutely aware, the Town of Bedford for over 20 years has beseeched the State to pave this short portion of roadway, the original concrete roadbed and the only portion of all of I-684 which has not been paved in fifty years when it first was constructed.   [Link to testimony]. 
       
    I urge you to keep up the calls, e-mails and letters to our representatives urging them to pave this dangerously deteriorated portion of the highway.  See below under “Special November 8 Town Board Work Session on I-684” for contact information and thank you for pressing to get this done.


After Hours Rules for Commuter Lots

Town of Bedford Residents that do not have a commuter parking permit are allowed to park for free in the commuter lots Monday to through Thursday from 6:00 pm to 5:00 provided that they have a resident parking decal.

Parking is free on weekends to everyone starting on Fridays at 6:00 pm and on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.


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.


DON'T BE A CRIME VICTIM
Lock Your Car
 
In the past week The Town of Bedford Police Department has seen a dramatic rise in complaints from residents of Katonah regarding larcenies from unlocked motor vehicles in their driveways during the overnight hours. We remind you to secure your vehicles and do not leave valuables in your car. Remember: “If you see something, say something.” The Bedford Police Department operates 24/7/365.
 
Please call 914-241-3111 immediately when you observe suspicious activity.



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Previous e-news issues

Much is repeated in each newsletter, but to reduce the length each week, here are the past few complete newsletters.










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.