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ECC DECEMBER MEETING TO FOCUS ON FIRE DISTRICT BOND, SIDEWALKS AND MASSAGE PARLORS

The Edgemont Community Council will be holding its monthly meeting on December 1, 2014 in the Faculty Lounge at Edgemont Junior Senior High School.

The agenda for the meeting includes a discussion on the fire district’s $1,785,000 bond referendum which will be held next Tuesday, December 9, at the Greenville Firehouse.

The bond referendum is separated into three propositions, each of which has been recommended unanimously by the fire district commissioners. Voters will be asked to weigh in on each proposition separately.

The first asks for permission to borrow up to $285,000 to repair and renovate fire headquarters. Since a major renovation was completed in 1991, a series of updates are called for such as a new roof, waterproofing, and parking lot repaving.

The second asks for permission to borrow up to $550,000 to pay tax certiorari refunds. Tax certiorari refunds are payments made to commercial property owners in Edgemont who successfully petition the Town for reductions over multiple years in their property tax assessments.

The Town has informed the fire district to expect an unprecedented level of tax certiorari claims to be settled over the the 2015-16 period as the Town completes its town-wide reassessment project. The district concluded that the amount of refunds it will be called upon to pay cannot be covered by the district’s operating budget.

Ironically, the while the Town is telling tax jurisdictions it collects taxes for to expect an unprecedented amount of tax certiorari refunds over the next two years, the Town itself reduced by 40% the fund it maintains to cover its own obligations in that regard.

The 40% reduction was transferred to the Town’s fund balance to be used to subsidize next year’s tax hikes so that town officials can tell voters in an election year that they’ve met the state tax cap.

The third and largest proposed borrowing is for up to $950,000 to replace the district’s 13-year old ladder truck which is approaching the end of its useful life.

Fire commissioners who met with the ECC at its October and November meetings said there was unanimous agreement that time was running out for the district to borrow funds for these purposes before historically low interest rates start to rise.

Polls will be open at the firehouse from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Incumbent fire commissioner Walter Groden is on the ballot for re-election.

Also on the agenda for discussion at Monday’s ECC meeting will be an update on the police chief’s recommendation that new sidewalks be installed on Seely Place, Ardsley Road and Fort Hill Road, as well as a review of the Town’s proposal for a 120-day moratorium on granting permits for new massage parlors.

The legislation, introduced by the Town Supervisor, has been criticized on the ground that because Greenburgh doesn’t currently grant permits for new massage parlors to open anyway, his proposal will actually encourage new illicit massage parlors to open.

The police chief reported at the ECC’s meeting in October that Edgemont had become the capital of illicit massage parlors in Westchester County. The ECC is expected to draft its own proposal to replace the one the Town Supervisor introduced.

The ECC meeting is open to the public.

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