The Town Board has taken action on a number of key matters and is moving ahead with others – you’ll read about settling litigation on our vape law, while still adopting one of the toughest local vape law in the state; first budget work session for 2020 budget which will stay within the tax cap while providing needed services; approved a labor agreement with our office workers (Teamsters 456 – White Collar Unit); established a Complete Count Committee with the goal of counting every individual in Bedford in the 2020 U.S. Census; and established subcommittees to the Planning Board to develop a new Town Comprehensive Plan. 

This free event open to all. 

 Sunday, September 22, 2019
ADOPT A PRISON
 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Bedford Town House
321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills NY

See more below:
NEW POSTS
Highlights of the September 17
Town Board Meeting

Budget Work Session

Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provided an overview of the budget process, emphasizing that the budget being prepared is compliant with the New York State Property Tax Cap which requires very tight departmental funding levels.  He explained that he has worked closely with me and with each of the department heads, starting the process late last year in light of our expectation that it would be quite challenging.  

As I have mentioned, we are taking a conservative approach with regard to the 1 point increase in sales tax, 20% of which is distributed to the Town (based on population). Some municipalities are comfortable with including the revenue figures as forecast by the County, however, we only are budgeting 50% of the projected figures the bulk of which is assigned to certain contingency budget accounts. 
Comptroller Zambrano reviewed with the Board the proposed budgets of the following departments: Assessor, Libraries, Police, Tax Receiver, Planning, Personnel, Finance, Town Clerk, Supervisor and Town Board. Comptroller Zambrano and his staff have incorporated wage increases as provided under the collective bargain agreements with the Town’s employees, as well as increases in the cost of health insurance, retirement and other related costs. 

Each of these budgets, except for the Police Department, is relatively small and entails minor changes from 2019 budget appropriations.   
Updated Budget Work Sessions:
Adoption of New Local Law
Regulating Sale of Vape Products

The Town Board held a public hearing to implement a settlement of litigation against the Town which resulted in an injunction against the Town barring enforcement of our existing vape law.
Our thanks to Sally Corbett who speaking for herself and Charles Delapenna of the Town’s Drug Abuse Prevention Council, commended the Town Board for proceeding with a local law restricting the sale of vape products. The law is one of the toughest local laws in New York regulating such sales. 
Please see my September 6 newsletter for the details. 
Congratulations to Mark Thielking
Director of Energy Resources and Sustainability

The Town Board enthusiastically appointed Mark Thielking, the Town’s former Director of Energy, to serve our town on a pro bono basis for a six month period as Director of Energy Resources and Sustainability.  

At 7:30 in the morning following the appointment, Mark graciously met with me to discuss getting to work right away to serve the Town. As I mentioned last week, we have known and worked with Mark for more than decade. He is highly regarded as one of the leading experts in climate action in New York State and beyond.

Please see my September 13 newsletter for a further discussion.
Congratulations to Roger van Loveren

We congratulate architect Roger van Loveren for his appointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  A 28 year of resident of Bedford, Roger is a well-regarded architect primarily in residential work outside of the Town.  

We thank Roger for his willingness to serve.
Subcommittees to Develop New Town Comprehensive Plan

As I discussed last week, the Town is moving forward with developing a new Town Comprehensive Plan (TCP) which sets out the official land use policy of the Town and presents goals as well as a vision for the future to guide official decision-making.  This is especially important as we install a sewer system for the business districts of Bedford Hills and Katonah. 
We are seeking residents with the interest and certain skills, experience and expertise to participate in subcommittees to help write the plan.  

The Board adopted a resolution to utilize topic-specific subcommittees to hone in on key areas of the TCP.  The Planning Board will oversee and direct the entire process and with a consultancy firm write the draft plan. Following work sessions with the Town Board, the Planning Board will incorporate comments and revisions and ultimately submit to the Town Board a proposed TCP.
So back to the subcommittees – here are those which the Town Board created by resolution at the Town Board meeting:

  • Mini hamlet master plan subcommittees; one for each hamlet center: Bedford Hills, Katonah and Bedford Village
  • Transportation infrastructure subcommittee
  • Horse Farms and Other Agricultural Uses Subcommittee
  • Sustainability Subcommittee

The next step is the Town Board, on recommendations from the Planning Board Chair, Planning and Director and myself, will appoint the members of each of the subcommittees and their respective chairs. 
In incorporating the recommendations of the Planning Board, the Town Board concurred with the request to enlist help from residents with certain skills and experience. 

You may have such skills, experience and, of course, interest and time to serve your community:   
a.     Skills, professional expertise and experience which should be considered:
  1.  If possible, each subcommittee should have one member with who is a member of the Planning Board or who has demonstrated expertise in planning.
  2.  If possible, each of the three hamlet subcommittees and the Horse Farms and Agricultural Uses Subcommittee to have one member who either is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals or has demonstrated expertise with zoning codes and variances. Each of the hamlet subcommittees should also have an architect member, and someone versed in historic preservation and/or local history.
  3. The Horse Farms/Agriculture subcommittee should also have at least one member who is active in Bedford’s riding community and/or has experience on a horse farm and one member who is a member of the Wetlands Control Commission, or has other experience with wetland issues.
  4. The Transportation Infrastructure Subcommittee should have at least one member who is an engineer, one member with demonstrated expertise in transportation and infrastructure and one member active in the cycling community.
  5. The Sustainability Subcommittee should have at least one member who represents Bedford 2020, one member from the Conservation Board, and one member from the Wetlands Control Commission or has demonstrated experience with wetland issues.

If you are interested, please submit your resume and a cover letter or e-mail to supervisor@bedfordny.gov and kindly copy dcourtneybatson@bedfordny.gov and josterman@bedfordny.gov  

Complete Count Committee – the 2020 Census

We are pleased that Westchester County Planning Director Norma Drummond joined us at the Town Board meeting to make a compelling presentation on the critical need for counting every person in Bedford.  With the Town Board’s creation of a Complete Count Committee, we will become one of 17 municipalities who have taken such action. 

Why does it matter?  Primarily MONEY.  The census is critical to funding from the federal, state and county governments.  Did you know that the Town receives a portion of sales tax revenue that support our community such as funding for our senior programs, community activities, paving, and libraries? And that the portion of the sales tax revenue we receive is based on our population? 

We intend to vigorously work to ensure a complete count.  Please see my September 13 newsletter for a further discussion.

The resolution establishing the committee provides a target date of the October 3 Town Board meeting wish to appoint residents to the committee as soon as possible. 

Here, too, the Town is seeking residents with an interest and time to serve your community:
Between seven and nine residents of the Town of Bedford to include representatives of the faith-based community; schools; seniors; veterans; and historically undercounted populations in the Town of Bedford (we are interested in at least one resident fluent in Spanish).

If you are interested, please submit your resume and a cover letter or e-mail to supervisor@bedfordny.gov and kindly copy lfumagalli@bedfordny.gov and josterman@bedfordny.gov   
The 2020 Census – JOBS!

DID YOU KNOW?   There are jobs available right now for the 2020 Census.  2020 census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020   

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country – especially field jobs ascertaining addresses and census takers. 

Hours are flexible and the pay rate is quite competitive at $21.00 per hour for a census taker in Westchester County

And as a resident getting paid for your work, if you are assigned to Bedford, you will be helping your town get a complete count.
New Collective Bargaining Agreement
with our Office Workers

The negotiating teams of the Town of Bedford and the Teamsters 456 - White Collar Unit, which represents the Town’s office workers, met several times starting on January 25, 2019 to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the period January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2022.  

The Board set certain parameters for the Town’s negotiating team with a view to producing a fair, equitable and fiscally responsible CBA.
Please see my September 13 newsletter for a further discussion.
OTHER NEW POSTS
Next Steps on I-684/84 - The “Corridor Study”

The NYS Department of Transportation has launched a study of the I-684/84 Corridor which will set forth recommendations for major renovations and reconfigurations of the highways from the interchange of the Saw Mill River Parkway/Route 35/I-684 up to the intersection with I-84 and I-84 East to the Connecticut line. The study should be completed by the fall of 2020. CDOT Presentation

The DOT held its kick off meeting with mayors, supervisors, other elected officials and representatives of the MTA and other stakeholders on July 25 to introduce us to the DOT team (under the able leadership of DOT’s Regional Planning and Program Manager Sandra Jobson), their consultants, provide a brief overview of the project and field questions. The next step in the involvement with Transportation Partnering Committee meeting for this study effort on Monday, September 16 inviting mayors, supervisors and other elected officials to discuss their greatest concerns and objectives.  

I wish to thank Town residents Peter Nardone and Geraldine Zikely, both of whom are engineers with familiarity with major roadway projects, who joined me at the meeting. I met with Peter and Geraldine to discuss the approach, project and priorities , and they graciously worked on very short notice to compile a list of recommendations which I distributed at the meeting and presented to the DOT and their consultancy firm.

I should note that since 2014 a consortium of elected representatives (of which I am one), under the leadership of North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas, compiled a list of recommendations.

We are aligned in our approach and will work collaboratively to achieve objectives:

  • Relieve congestion – especially the bottlenecks at the intersection of SMRP/35; Goldens Bridge exit and I-84/684
  • Collaborate with the MTA to encourage use of trains and other public transportation (more parking at commuter lots, more and better located park and ride lots, easily accessible connections between lots and railroad stations).
  • Noise concerns – noise barriers
  • Consider ground mounted solar panels in DOT rights of way; EV charging stations at park and ride and rest stations. 

Please note that the DOT will be reaching out to the community (we’ll help) with a public meeting in December to solicit your input and those of our neighbors along the highway and any others who’d like to have their voices heard. Stay tuned! 
Reminder – No Knock Registry Law

We are receiving reports of unscrupulous, deceptive and fraudulent tactics of door to door salesman.  Please be reminded that the Town Board amended its solicitation law to provide a No Knock Registry . It prohibits such solicitation to the homes of residents who complete a request to be listed on a “no knock registry”. The law does not infringe upon political, educational or religious activities.  

The new law is now in effect. The Town Clerk maintain s the registry.   If you wish to sign up, you can find the No Knock Registry form on our website.

You also can c ome to the Town Clerk’s office at 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills NY to register and obtain the decal, or for your convenience, fill out the form and mail it back. 

Displaying the decal is not a requirement for being on the Registry. Peddlers and other solicitors who are issued permits from the Town allowing them to go door-to-door will be required to download the current "No Knock Registry" list each day that they are in the Town.
Update on Wireless Master Plan

With the Planning Board considering applications for large wireless facilities – that is, cell towers, our Wireless Facilities Working Group is moving ahead with the consultants to develop a wireless master plan for the Town.  

The consultancy firm, CityScape Consultants working with Federal Engineering will be holding a public Initiation Meeting in October 22nd at which the consultants will provide a presentation and field questions and comments from the public.  

One of the principal objectives of the Wirele ss Master Plan is to lay out a path for a robust wireless communications netwo rk for both our first responders, including police, fire and volunteer ambulance and other agencies and cellular service providers. As an example, we have been made aware by ESS, the communications consultants to the Police Department, that the PD’s system needs a significant upgrade as it is nearing obsolescence.

We will continue to keep you apprised.
REMINDER
It’s Leaf Blowing Season –
Change Over in Rules Affecting Hamlet Zones
Youth Climate Strike Day

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR  
WEEK OF 9.20-9.28

THIS WEEKEND:

September 21, 2019
Katonah Art Stroll
CB Gallery:
FADE

Opening Reception
September 21
during the Art Stroll

New Series at the Bedford Playhouse

Lunch & A Flick begins on September 24!
Lunch at 12:30 followed by a classic film hit.
Friday September 13- Sunday September 15, 2019:
The Antioch Baptist Church kicked off their
125th Anniversary Weekend by "Walking the Hill"
The congregation was out in full force on Friday September 13 in the evening to begin the celebratory weekend. beginning at the Bedford Hills Train Station, the joyous song and community spirit filled the air on the walk up Main Street to the Church.

Saturday, September 7 th
Scenes from the Revolutionary War and
Re-enactment on Bedford’s Village Green
 
The Burning of Bedford 
Photos by MaryAnn Carr
SAVE THE DATES!
September 28 from 9am-3pm
FDR State Park - Rt 202, Yorktown

The Biodiversity of Bedford
September 29 -Noon-3pm

In cooperation with Bedford 2020, Bedford Audubon, Mianus River Gorge and the Town of Bedford, and in alliance with Inaturalist ( National Geographic and California Academy of Sciences) 

PRIOR POSTS OF
CONTINUED RELEVANCE
 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.  
Update on I-684 $13 Million Paving Project
Members of the Team that moved this forward in front of i684 before the press conference. Front row ( l to r:) Lee Roberts, Kate Galligan, Kitley Covill, Chris Burdick, Shelley Mayer, Andrea Stewart Cousins, Marie Therese Dominquez, Peter Harkham, MaryAnn Carr. Back row: Don Scott, David Buchwald, Lance MacMillan.
On Thursday, September 12, I joined State Senator Shelley Mayer, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Peter Harckham and Assemblyman David Buchwald in a press conference celebrating the I-684 paving project at long last coming to fruition. We were honored to be joined by New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.
The $13 million project will provide asphalt pavement for the first time on the 50 year old road surface providing for safer, quieter and smoother travel.  It covers approximately two miles from Harris Road to just north of Exit 6 (Route 35 overpass).   This is a robust project which has sufficient funding to see it through to proper completion.  
I am delighted that the project will go beyond a temporary fix pending the outcome of the Department’s corridor study.  It will cover all lanes and exit and entrance ramps for the entire length of concrete road surface.  It also will address drainage problems and replace broken guide rails.   The road crews first are preparing the concrete surface, including replacement in the entirety of some badly deteriorated concrete slabs. The job is scheduled for completion in late November/early December, subject to weather and other unforeseen developments.    
Town Board Member MaryAnn Carr, Bedford Commissioner of Public Works Kevin Winn and Peter Nardone, who was instrumental in providing crucial data on safety issues regarding 684.
Community should please take note on project impacts and schedule:
  • A good portion of the work (but not all of it) will be carried out at night from 9:00 PM through 5:00 AM to reduce impact on motorists. One lane of traffic always will be kept open.
  • Motorists are advised that a closure is expected on the northbound and southbound ramps for Interstate 684 to and from Exit 6 (Route 35), nightly Sunday, September 15 through Thursday, September 26 from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., while crews perform construction activities, weather permitting.
  • Motorists should follow the posted detour and anticipate possible delays. We are grateful to NYS DOT Engineer in Charge Dina Colavito for ensuring that the detours will not take traffic onto local roads. 
  • As I mentioned last week, we all need to recognize that throughout the duration of the project, it will be noisy, dirty and the project sites will be floodlighted for the safety of the workers and driver. Please be patient.
Agreement with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for $1 Million Grant for Sewer Project

My thanks to Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn for securing a $1 million grant from DEC to help fund our Phase I sewer project.  

Commissioner Winn is submitting to the Town Board for approval an agreement providing for the grant and the Town’s responsibilities regarding it.  
NOTICE:

School Taxes become delinquent after September 30. 
Please pay them on time. 

Our Tax Receiver has posted to the Town website the following notice regarding the collection of school taxes for the 2019-2020 fiscal year for the school districts.  
Tax bills were mailed out on August 23. If you did not receive your tax bill please call the Tax Receiver’s office at 914-666-4475. You also can pay your taxes online .
September 3, 2019 Town Board Meeting 
in the

some excerpts from 9.13 below:
Public Statement Hearing on
NYSEG Proposed Rate Increase

On September 5, I submitted a statement to the New York State Public Service Commission at a public statement hearing in Yorktown with regard to NYSEG’s filing with the PSC for a 22.7% rate increase.  I do not believe that it is appropriate for the PSC at this time to grant NYSEG a rate increase. I consider the proposal unconscionable for a number of reasons:
 
1.        NYSEG’s unacceptable performance both for lack of proper preparation for, and poor response to, the March 2018 prolonged and widespread power outages.
2.       NYSEG previously had received a rate increase in 2016 funds for which should have been applied to the vegetation management and infrastructure improvements which NYSEG stated in its filing would be financed from any increase granted under this year’s filing. 
3.       NYSEG should proceed with the overdue projects to achieve greater resilience and reliability for its electricity distribution system.
4.       The PSC has not concluded its [investigation] into NYSEG’s performance in regard to the March 2018 power outages; an investigation requested by County Executive George Latimer, State Senator Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman David Buchwald, the Town of Bedford and other Westchester municipalities.
I addressed several components of the rate filing, as well as certain omissions from the rate filing.
 
Vegetation Management
           
NYSEG stated in its filing that it will provide a more robust vegetative management program (tree trimming and removal).  The more robust program would include “ground to sky” trimming, which has proven to be quite successful in Connecticut, and removal of the debris/wood if the property owner does want it. I am very pleased to have learned that NYSEG’s proposal includes the removal of the debris/wood, which has been a sore point for years.  NYSEG should, however, align its vegetative management program with Con Edison’s. Along with other northern Westchester supervisors and County Legislator Kitley Covill, we have asked the PSC to require NYSEG to adopt a three year trimming schedule, as in Con Edison’s service area, rather than the present five year schedule.  This will reduce the incidence of hacking and, in certain cases, destruction of trees which provide shade and screening.  The shorter schedule would allow a more sensitive and careful approach to tree trimming, while still reducing tree-related downed wires and outages.   
 
“Hardening the Grid” for Greater Resiliency and Reliability
 
Speakers at the hearing noted that NYSEG is using a good deal of 1950s technology in its power distribution system.  Over the year and a half since the March 2018 outages, NYSEG has embarked on important upgrades to “harden the grid”, some of which have been completed.  We applaud these efforts, however, there is much more to be done.  NYSEG’s rate filing states that it has significant further projects that it would carry out with the funds from the requested rate increase.  I asked the PSC to require NYSEG to specify on a municipality to municipality basis the projects which would be undertaken, including the schedule for performing the work and the anticipated enhancement in reliability and resiliency which would result.  
 
Geothermal and Electric Vehicles
 
We are pleased to learn that NYSEG intends to launch incentives for residential geothermal and electric vehicles.  I expressed concern that the proposals are vague and undefined, and importantly, there appears to be no plan to collaborate with NYSERDA or, here in Westchester, Sustainable Westchester on these programs.  
 
Response to Outages – Rate Filing is Silent
 
A significant omission in the filing is NYSEG’s plan for improving its response to outages, and in particular widespread and prolonged storm related outages.  I mentioned the following concerns which should be addressed:
 
1.        Failure to communicate with municipalities with regard to the status of storm damage assessment; deployment of make safe and line crews; “make safe” work (de-energizing power lines); clearance of downed lines, tree and debris; restoration of power.  
2.       Failure to coordinate with the public works departments of municipalities.  This has occurred on several occasions. NYSEG skips over valuable assistance which our road crews otherwise would provide in clearing downed lines, trees/debris and opening roads. This is nonsensical as it prolongs power outages.
3.       Dissemination of inaccurate information needlessly causing resident frustration and inability to plan.  The information posted to the NYSEG power outage map is notoriously inaccurate ranging from failure to identify areas with outages, an unreasonable length of time for “assessing” the storm damage and inaccurate and regularly broken estimated time for restoration of power.   
NYSEG president Carl Taylor acknowledged at a recent NYSEG Municipal Officials meeting that the Brewster Division lagged in reliability and resiliency, NYSEG’s substandard performance has taken a toll on confidence and trust; and NYSEG has to do much more to restore confidence and trust. While I commend his candor, it points to a more appropriate course with regard to the 22.7% requested rate increase.  NYSEG should perform now, show significant positive results and then the PSC might consider the filing. No increase should be granted now.   
 
The PSC is still seeking comments on NYSEG’s rate filing.
New Ramp installed at the Bedford Hills Post Office

It is a longer ramp with an low slope and easy access railings.
Our thanks to Al Ciraco, Superintendent of Buildings and Frank Zipp and crew for the installation.
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. 
UPDATE for AT&T Cell Service Customers
Other Internet Service Issues?
My thanks for the post on the Katonah Parents Facebook group alerting me to the AT&T cell service outage (the mention of my name on KPFG triggered an e-mail notification to me – it worked!).  And thanks as well to those who e-mailed us with the specifics.   

We were in touch with AT&T Wireless on Wednesday and Thursday who contacted their field team.  Yesterday, I was put in contact with an AT&T representative higher up in the food chain. I don't know whether she was responsible for the service restoration or whether it was in the works anyway.

In any case I now have a person I can go to other than those lower down who we went to earlier this week when you folks alerted us to the problems. So please do let us know if you have any continuing or future service problems and we'll do our best to get it taken care of. Thanks for your patience.
      
And going forward, for anyone having service issues, here are some numbers: 

Customer Service for Verizon /Fios: 1 800 922 0204

Customer Service for Optimum/ Altice: 718 860 3513

Customer Service for AT&T (cell phone service): 800 288 2020

We’ll try to help after you've exhausted your options with customer service support. Please feel free to contact Phyllis Cohen at pcohen@bedfordny.gov or me and provide the following:
 
  • Name
  • Address
  • Account number
  • Phone number(s)
  • E-mail address
  • Description of the issue (dates of intermittent or lack of service, etc.)

COMMUNITY 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. 
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 .
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).  
 
Senior News
PRIOR POSTS OF CONTINUED RELEVANCE
(CONT)
The Supervisor's Show
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

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.   

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
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

What is happening in other areas of the country:
Yes we love these types of initiatives!
We already started talking about similar initiatives like this with the town.
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
Beaver Dam Yard Waste and Compost Facility

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

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

FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR  click here



TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS   click here
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Previous MONTHLY Reports

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









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

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