The Building Inspector has his own methods for interpretation, I think based mostly on dollars although those victimized fear coming forward to validate this statement. His more recent definition of an "as-built" is rediculous but the Town lets him get away with it. Go back and look at "as-builts" before Mr. Lucido took office and you will see what an "as-built" should actually look like.
I don't wish to let the Library Board off the hook but quite honestly, they are an advisory board with little or no experience in construction. They can provide a wish-list if they like but ultimately it's up to our elected officials, Feiner and Town Board, to make sure that only the most qualified are hired to oversee a $20 million project. Feiner pushed for Al Regula, the commissioner of DPW to oversee construction. This is the same guy who supervised the construction of the DPW garage. When all was said and done we ended up with a brand new garage that was too small to house sanitation trucks. It's a nice building for lockers, however. How they determined that a DPW employee had the expertise to oversee the library construction is beyond me. I also question whether additional monies were paid to him for this project as he retired soon after construction was completed. Take the money and run!
I'm not a big fan of the library board, per se. I don't think they advocate well for the library and also believe they don't know much of anything about libraries at all. When you put together a board you should be looking for people who have some kind of expertise and/or experience with the subject before them. While I believe some of their ideas with regard to the new library were hair brained, the bottom line is that the Town Board approved their hair brained suggestions and should have known better. Feiner was so angry that Howard Jacobs pushed through on the referrendum that he went out of his way to make sure the construction failed; he put an inexperienced DPW commissioner in charge of construction oversight. Enough said.
The bottom line is that we spent the $20million and should have learned a lesson. Now that we are faced with repairs and yet more improvements, one would hope that they will hire professionals and not rely on DPW as they seem to be doing once again. They need to hire professionals to determine what went wrong and how to proceed to remedy the situation.
We still have a great library - the staff is professional and they provide a lot of services to our Town with less and less funding. Let's hope the Town does right by us and takes the time to map out solutions before they jump the gun with their famously expensive lawsuits that result in only lost tax dollars. View Comment
If you go back and research the original site plan, the Planning Board was not sold on the geothermal proposal and so indicated in their recommendations to the Town Board. You can't blame the Library Board - these approvals were made by the Town Board. The Town should be looking at a back-up generator that can be utilized to power a supplemental heating/cooling system during extreme weather conditions. You'll get more for your money as the back-up generator can provide power during outages and provide a heated/cooled location for residents during these situations. The Planning Board approved a plan that differed signaficantly to that which was actually constructed in terms of the geothermal wells. Not surprising since most of the large scale plans approved by the Planning Board end up being constructed much different than what was approved (Westchester BMW - building was higher than approved, Greenburgh Library - layout and construction of geothermal wells were changed by Town staff who determined that since the wells couldn't be constructed as deep as proposed they would simply add additional shallow wells which obviously cannot produce the same results, Ray Catena Lexus - building currently under construction is much higher and bigger than that which was approved) - why have planning board review if the Town staff has no respect for implementing the actual recommendations and approvals? You almost have to think that something else is going on...maybe someone should be checking financial information of Town staff, Town Officials (particularly campaign funds), etc. I don't think this is just a matter of stupidity - I think someone is getting something they shouldn't be getting. When so many things go wrong one has to ask the hard questions. View Comment
This is so bad on so many levels. First of all, Phil Reisman is hardly objective - he'll support anything Feiner proposes. The issue here isn't Ferncliff. They are a wonderful facility and they provide an excellent service. They are in an unfortunate situation thanks to Feiner and now Reisman.
You need to go back to the beginning to understand what is happening. Whether you like Feiner or don't like him doesn't change the fact that this man simply refuses to follow laws, regulations, deeds, leases, etc. He will not stop at anything to get his own way.
This is just another effort on his part to placate the local neighborhood. And to be clear, the neighborhood is taking a bashing thanks to him as well. There are a handful of residents who protested the original lease with WestHelp because they didn't want homeless people in their neighborhood. The majority of the neighborhood understood that this was not a homeless shelter. It was affordable, transitional housing for those in need.
In order to get that "handful" on board, Feiner negotiated what the NYS Supreme Court has deemed an illegal contract to pay off the Valhalla School District, thus reducing the school tax for that same "handful." I believe there were less than 3 students at any one time impacting the Valhalla School District but somehow that equated to a multi-million dollar pay-off. The money wasn't used for eduction however. It was used for retreats, cruises, meals, etc. The Court ruled and Valhalla and the Town made a pennies on the dollar settlement to reimburse Greenburgh tax payers.
Feiner dragged his feet in renewing the lease with Westhelp two years ago. While he denies doing so, correspondence relating to that delay have surfaced. Liar, Liar...Anyway...Westhelp walked away due to the delay which cost the Town taxpayers $1.1 million dollars in rental income from this property. So what does he do next? He finds a tenant that will be less offensive to the "handful" - Ferncliff. Again, they're the victims in this. He went to them, they didn't come to him. But, they are a private for-profit agency and don't fit the protocol for the use intended by the lease with the county which was that this site shall provide affordable housing and if not, the lease would end and the use would be determined by the County, not Paul Feiner. Ferncliff would have to demolish the existing buildings (which by the way are the hallmark for what affordable housing can and should be). The taxpayers paid for the construction of these affordable housing units but somehow Paul Feiner and Mr. Reisman thinks it okay to demolish housing that is less than 25 years old in order to make way for a private for-profit use.
The County said no to do this proposal and demanded the Town, specifically Paul Feiner, respect the spirit of the lease. So now what? Paul Feiner decides that the Town will no longer maintain the structures while they stand vacant even though the lease requires that he do so. The units were abandoned by the Town - no maintenance and left unsecured. Units were flooded and are now moldy. Appliances and tubs and sinks have been stolen from most of the units. If he wasn't allowed to raze the structures to make way for Ferncliff in his effort to placate the "handful" he would let the property fall into disrepair so there would be no alternative but to demolish it.
This is who he is and this is what he does. He does it at the expense of all Greenburgh taxpayers except for the "handful" who don't care about the rest of us. So, Mr. Reisman can write all the lovely articles he likes about Ferncliff - how about writing the truth about Paul Feiner?
Paul Feiner actually had the audacity to take credit for this action on his blog. What a pig this guy is. The County was already working towards the cancellation. Does it ever end with this media hog? View Comment
Vicki Simmons has been an outstanding community volunteer. She has served Greenburgh residents well, particularly those in Fairview who are affected by fire district taxes. All fire district taxes are going up. Could there be more cost cutting? I'm sure there can be but the day to day operations aren't what's hurting the budgets. The retirement system has to change. As with all NYS agencies, the retirement system needs to be looked at. It's clear that many abuse the system with high overtime numbers to bump up their pensions. The system itself needs repair or perhaps even replacement. Those managing the investments haven't been doing a great job which is why the employer expense is so high. Changes can only be made ligislatively on the state level. There has to be more control and oversight on investments from the fund, reducing the amount of overtime that can be calculated towards pensions and perhaps even giving municipalities the option to opt out of the State Retirement system and allow them to offer 401k's. This is a tough one for our State leaders - the taxpayers are choking on this one huge budget expense but changing it could be political suicide due to the unions throughout the state who will be affected by it. Reform of the system is the only thing that will work. The question is whether or not we have State leaders who are willing to put their necks out for their constituents. View Comment
I don't know why I always say I'm amazed when it comes to Feiner's actions. This man has absolutely no respect for the law and does only what it is in his best interest. This is yet another attempt by him to placate the Mayfair Knollwood neighborhood who faught, and unfortunately won, in this instance to not have affordable housing in their back yard.
The WestHelp campus was a shining example of what affordable housing should look like. The units were beautiful. And, up until the Town lost the lease with them, they were well maintained. I will correct myself, the Town didn't lose the lease, they took every step possible to not renew the lease with the County.
Like the immature moron that he is, when Feiner didn't get his way with the County to raze the building for private use he took the low road and let the units fall into disrepair so that they would have to be razed. Is it just me? I don't understand why every citizen in this Town is crying foul. This is how Feiner operates time and time again. When he doesn't get his way he takes every opportunity to do things in an underhanded way so that it has to work out his way, legal or not. It was the same with Fortress Bible. He wanted a fire truck (a truck that even the fire department didn't request) in lieu of property taxes because the Church is exempt. He destroyed evidence in the case and was found guilty of this by the State courts. Has anyone pursued this? At the very least the State Attorney General should have reacted to the Court finding that Feiner and Company acted illegally. Not only should he have been removed from office, he should have faced criminal charges. Could it be the fact that his wife works for the NY State AG that blocked the course of legal action? Probably.
The fact that he has allowed a million dollars of income fly out the door in this case with WestHelp is yet another example of his poor management of our Town. The fact that he has allowed the structures to deteriorate is shameful. 2013 will be two years in a row now that he has not allocated one single penny in the Town budget towards the upkeep of this facility. The County should sue the Town for the costs to renovate and break the lease with the Town. I say this as a taxpayer and know that it will cost me but the law is the law is the law. At some point even Feiner should be made to respect and abide by the laws that govern all of us. View Comment
Our residents assist each other without the need to have Paul Feiner soaking in the glory. I want to speak to WestHelp. The reason it is uninhabitable is because Feiner wants it that way. He has allowed it to, rather has aided in the lack of security which is why sinks and bathtubs and stoves, etc. are missing. The units were left unlocked so everything was stolen. The Town is responsible for the property yet he has not diverted any manpower to maintain the units. Why? Because he wants it to fall into a state of disrepair in support of his want to demolish the existing units so that he can lease the property to an assisted living and/or facility for the disabled at half the rent he was receiving from Westhelp. Why, again? Because this is his way of saying "I'm sorry" to the immediate neighbors of the property who lost in the lawsuit against Valhalla schools. Don't forget, Greenburgh taxpayers paid to have the Westhelp property constructed for affordable housing, yet Feiner wants to tear it down for a private for-profit use. He might be the only knuckleheaded elected official who wants to tear down beautifully constructed affordable housing when everyone is trying to figure out how to build such housing. THIS MORON NEEDS TO GO. He is out of touch, insensitive to those in need (even though he claims to be the "angel" for the disinfranchised, LOL), inept, irresponsible, corrupt, etc., etc., etc. Dirtbag is the best word I can find for him right now. View Comment
It's ironic that the Town (Feiner) and State (Cuomo) have taken the opportunity to criticize Con Ed and other supporting utilities during the aftermath of Sandy. Only Astorino (& I'm a Dem, Not a Rep) made sure to be clear that he would wait until all was said and done to assess the situation - he went so far as to say that he knows they are all working hard and around the clock.
For the other knuckleheads - did you get out into every inch of your community to witness the devastation. Westchester was crippled by this storm yet not as bad as all the areas all along the east coast. We were actually quite lucky by comparison. 9 to 14 days without power is inconvenient and difficult, particularly with the cold and another storm. At least we have homes to go back to.
I watch the utilities make repairs in a small area of Edgemont yesterday - from Clayton Rd. to Sheridan and from Old Lane to Annadale - there had to be 20 to 30 various types of trucks and an abundance of labor. The area was devastated with huge fallen trees, downed power lines and utility poles and damaged transformers. They worked all day and managed to get the power restored. This was one small part of Town - imagine the scope and scale of the entire eastern seaboard. How could our elected officials believe that power could or should be restored in days or even a week given the massive destruction and devastation? I think Con Ed and other utilities and restorative services are doing an excellent job even after being without power for 9 days. When I went through the area I understood why it was taking so long. They were also taking the time to trim back the surviving trees so that this storm doesn't take them down.
Now for our elected officials, particularly Mr. Feiner - no maintenance of our trees and/or infrastructure at all. Zip, Zero, Nada. DPW trucks not deployed throughout the Town to help with the tree removal and pick up of debris. Edgemont is lined with piles and piles of brush and branches from the storm not to mention the cut-up remnants of the hundreds of trees. No one is knocking on doors to make sure residents are okay or if they are in need of assistance, supplies, water, food, blankets, etc. They have no phones or internet to reach out to the Town. Many are elderly. The Town's infrastructure is in disrepair. The Town is lucky that we didn't get the rain with "Sandy" otherwise we all would have been under water as the storm system in the down is crumbling and inadequate. Ask them how many studies they've paid for to address this issue and whether or not they've done anything in response to these studies? No, UhUh, Nyet.
I think Con Ed has done the best it could in response to such an enormous and devastating storm. Feiner and Cuomo need to own up to their failings - especially Feiner who has had more than 20 years to make improvements and has done absolutely nothing. Shame on him! View Comment
I think our elected officials need a reality check. Cuomo and Feiner have been bashing Con Ed and other utilities about what they perceive to be "inadequate response" to Hurricane Sandy. I had the opportunity to witness a crew hard at work in Edgemont yesterday. Please note, this is not my neighborhood so there is no bias. They had at least 30 assorted vehicles within a 6 block radius. They were repairing wires, installing transformers, installing poles and most importantly, had cherry pickers (3 on Old Lane alone) cutting back tree branches as a preventative measure from future storms. If this small neighborhood required such a tremendous response, how on earth could anyone believe that there could be enough manpower and equipment to get neighborhoods up and running any sooner than they did. This storm was so much more devastating in terms of wind damage than anyone could have imagined. It ran up and down the eastern shores of the US. While being without power for 8 days is inconvenient, it's amazing given the widespread damage that lights were restored within 8 days. Westchester did get hit hard in terms of power but nothing like the loss being experienced in Staten Island, Queens, Conn., Long Island and of course all throughout New Jersey. I think Con Ed and they support teams have done an outstanding job given the magnitude of the damage. Local officials should stop bashing them and start taking care of their own infrastructure to minimize this type of damage in the future. View Comment
There are several legal issues - 1) Should the proposition have been on the ballot to begin with in General Election - don't believe so. 2) Info on the ballot was misleading and one-sided akin to handing out campaign lit at the polling places which is illegal 3) No mention of the recent report indicating high levels of carcinogens on the property. Great town that we live in...now they're really trying to kill us. View Comment
The tiny little village of Elmsford is delivering wood and blankets and had their roads cleared in pretty darn record time. Kudos. Greenburgh and Feiner, not so good. How could a Town this large do so little? We have a huge parks & rec dept. along with a huge DPW dept. Why haven't they been deployed to do the same? Our crews are dedicated but leadership has to come from the top. Our guys would work for nothing if they were supplied with the resources to reach out. This is 8 days without power and it's freezing - the next catastrophe we'll hear about is pipes freezing in peoples home because there's no heat. Feiner and his angels? Really? This guy will do anything for a photo op and publicity. He's very much like Mike Bloomberg - they are the entitled. They don't know what it's like to do without. They don't know what it's like to go for more than a week with heat, hot water and lights. They only know what they want, they forget that they work for the people. The people are telling Feiner to sell the Franks Nursery property and move on. Make the taxpayers whole again. But Feiner, like the infant and self-serving moron he is, chooses to ignore us. I hope the State or Federal gov't will follow up on the Appelate Court finding and bring criminal charges against him. He's not only a moron, he's a criminal. View Comment
Wow. He looks happy, well fed and warm. What about the rest of us. Cold, hungry and grungy after a week with no hot water, lights or heat. Many of us can't afford to keep paying for take out. Today it was a bagel and a couple of bottles of water for me. Does boulder ridge have power? Doesn't matter, town hall does and his salary allows him to eat. If I can't get to work I don't get paid. Com Ed has it's own issues but when you consider the damage they're stretched pretty thin. Feiner on the other hand has a huge DPW dept., where are they? He keeps cutting police and hasn't paid overtime for extra patrols and assistance. I couldn't get out of my driveway for three days. He should stop the photo ops and do his job. He's done less with his presence than Ernie Davis did in his absence. View Comment
I was at the library three times since the hurricane. It was bustling with residents of all ages. A great place to study, stay warm, charge a phone and/or laptop, use the many computers, attend a program, etc. How the Town could even entertain selling off part of the property to a private developer is beyond me. The library is such an important part of our community center. The staff are working long and hard to make all of us comfortable. Some have even volunteered to work longer hours and come in on Sunday to support our community. The Town needs to stop slashing the library budget and treating it like an unnecessary service. It has proven to be the most necessary service of all during very difficult times. The library came through for us in this storm, the Town, not so much! I haven't seen a DPW truck or Con Ed truck and it is now 4 days since the storm passed. Maybe we should rethink whether or not we need a Town government at all. View Comment
Mr. Feiner - if the ballot proposition fails you have once again exposed the taxpayers, myself included, in yet another lawsuit. There is nothing in your lease as i read it that allows the town to terminate the lease due to a failed referendum, shame on you and the Town Board for signing this lease before the public had an opportunity to vote. Obviously you don't care what the taxpayers think and you also don't care that you have cost us over $10,000 million in lost lawsuits. View Comment
This property should be sold to a developer who will conform to the zoning which is RESIDENTIAL. I pay $20,000 a year in taxes and should not have to have an 80' high silver bubble looming over my back yard. It should be sold so that the taxpayers can recover the taxes lost on the property over the last decade. How is that the Town is allowing this non-conforming use in a residentail neighborhood and there will be no SEQR review and no traffic studies - didn't they just lose a $5 million dollar lawsuit with Fortress Bible Church because they denied them to build in this SAME residential zone even though the zoning permits this use under Federal Law? The whole thing seems shady to me. The rent the Town will earn will never properly compensate the taxpayers. Feiner needs to go - this is yet another negative impact on our wallets. View Comment
Mr. Feiner thinks we should give everything away. Special discounts for the unemployed? Really? I'm employed and barely holding on. Where's my discount? I can't afford to pick up the share, sorry. Not when my greenburgh property taxes keep going up and my pay has been the same for the last 4 years. Nothing is free - it costs someone else, always and all ways. What's my 2% tax increase really going to be this year? 4% or 5%. Keep taking properties off the tax rolls, then it can go up even more. Keep inviting and losing lawsuits. I have dig deep to pay for your Fortress Bible mess, $5 to $7 million. You've lost income from the Westhab contract. What else is Mr. Feiner going to cost me. The only blank hole in my household budget now falls under the category of Paul Feiner screw-ups. Thanks but no thanks to your MTA discount card - pay for it yourself! View Comment
To Juanita... I'm a greenburgh taxpayer who can't afford another property off the tax rolls for another park. This 80 foot high bubble doesn't belong in a residential neighborhood. $20,000 in taxes a year should afford me a better view than a big silver bubble. Parks and Rec should address the need for more field space with the existing properties designated for that use. This bubble belongs in an industrial/commercial zone, not in a residential area where our taxes are already forcing us to move. View Comment
I hope Bonnie Orden considers running against Feiner in 2013. We need to get this guy out of office and bring in someone who understands and respects the law and knows the definition of ethical. View Comment
Oh and let's not forget how upstanding our town board members are....in a spirit of keeping our taxes stable they elected to not take pay increases. What they didn't tell us is that they increased their health insurance buy-outs from $5000 a year to $9000 a year, and all four take the buy-out. That's a 12% a year increase. They approved that increase under the radar. they also didn't tell us is that they are the only four part-time town employees offered health insurance and therefore eligible for the buy-out. Could they be more dishonest? There is an endless list of unethical and illegal actions going on in our town and no one seems to care. We keep voting these morally and ethically corrupt people back into office. View Comment
He absolutely knew better but once again the laws that govern the rest of us have nothing to do with him. As usual, acting like a six year old, he got his hand slapped and now has to put the cookie back in the jar. Start adding up the cost of resources to respond to this....town employees using their town-paid time to try to clean up his mess. How does anyone think this man has an ounce of honesty or integrity? His assistant supervisor is a convicted felon, convicted of fraud and did time in a federal pen. He,s been given full access to town financial info and files...does the town have a crime bond to protect us? Of course not... There isn't an underwriter who would issue a bond for a convicted felon. The commissioner of the tdycc is also rumored to be a convicted felon but this we don't know for sure because the town won't release his resume to the public. So why should we expect Feiner to be honest and ethical when those he surrounds himself with are proven to be everything but. View Comment