Daily Archives: March 15, 2013

Bedford Schools Announce Budget | Bedford Real Estate

Dear Bedford Central School District Parents, Guardians, and Community:

I presented the preliminary budget to the Board of Education Wednesday night.  The budget supports our comprehensive program for the learning and engagement of every Bedford Central Student – yes, every day.  The preliminary budget represents a 1.25% budget to budget increase and is under the tax levy cap of 3.37%.  Highlights of the budget presentation are in the release below. 

Mrs. Susan Elion Wollin, President of Bedford’s Board of Education, noted that school districts do not have the local autonomy that they used to have.   As Bedford’s Board President, and Vice President of Westchester Putnam School Board’s Association who is active on their Legislative Committee, Mrs. Wollin explained several aspects of State regulations and areas of needed mandate relief that are out of local school districts’ control and must be addressed in Albany.   She noted that pension contributions are the largest of the major budget drivers over which the district has no control. 

I will present more information to our PTA and PTO Presidents and other citizens about these regulatory and legislative concerns over the next few weeks. 

I hope you will take a moment to review the budget presentation on the District’s website athttp://www.bcsdny.org/files/filesystem/March%2013%202013%20Budget%20presentaion%20to%20BOE.pdf  (or go to www.bcsdny.org  and click on Budget Development).   The Board meeting can be viewed on BCSD Video On Demand http://bedfordcsdtv.pegcentral.com/index.php  

Thank you.

Jere Hochman

Superintendent of Schools

Reminder:  April 1 and May 3 are school days for all schools

Homes.com offers online reputation ‘playbook’ | Pound Ridge Homes

A new white paper from Homes.com takes a look at best practices for using online directories, review sites and social media platforms to manage a brand’s “online reputation” and keep tabs on competitors.

“Maximizing Your Online Reputation: A Playbook for Engaging Consumers and Winning their Business” is also a plug for Homes.com’s social media marketing service, Social Impact, which is offered at a 30 percent discount.

Before diving into best practices, the 23-page report calls attention to the importance of maintaining a polished image on directory, review and social media websites.  

Citing marketing software developer HubSpot Inc., the white paper said 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Information technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. has found 74 percent of consumers rely on social networks to make purchasing decisions, the paper said.

Given that so many consumers use online chatter to learn about brands, those that cultivate an attractive online image may reap significant rewards, the Homes.com report said. The white paper pointed to a Media Post News report that said that brands with the highest “social media activity” boosted revenue by as much as 18 percent.

Developing the infrastructure for building an attractive online reputation, first and foremost, means creating an online footprint that spans the most popular directories, review sites and social media platforms, the report said. Those include Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and business directories on major search engines, it said.

Third-party websites’ problems are not mine | Armonk NY Homes

A few months ago I wrote that third-party sites like Zillow and Trulia are not my competitors. I offer different services than websites and I can work without Internet access or electricity.

I love it when people get all excited about how many inquires through Zillow and Trulia and Realtor.com go unanswered. Some see it as a big problem.

I don’t see it as a problem at all, and I don’t care if consumers get a response when they inquire through a third-party website. The problem does not impact my income or hurt my reputation as an individual agent. If it did I might care about it.

There are any number of sites where consumers will see my listings, but because my name and phone number are not always apparent they call other agents. I honestly don’t have a problem with that — and if their calls go unanswered, that doesn’t bother me either.

Spring Cleaning for Your Finances | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Messy desk

With spring rapidly approaching and longer, lighter days ahead, you’re likely anxious to renew and refresh. Here are some projects to consider:

Remodel your home

Jump on the remodeling bandwagon! For inspiration, look no further than Zillow Digs (free on iPad and the Web), where you can browse tens of thousands of photos and get estimated costs.

Get new doors/windows

Bonus: If you make energy-efficient improvements, you’ll not only save money long term, but you might additionally qualify for tax credits.


In many areas of the country, the best days for big painting projects are in the spring, when you can finally open the windows (rejoice!) without cold, uncomfortable drafts coming in. Why not give your home a whole new look with fun, vibrant colors to get you in the spirit for summer?!

Wipe out your closet

Are there things in there that you haven’t worn in two years? You know the rule: Toss! Consider selling to consignment or donating to charity and taking the tax break.

Organize your home office

A survey by Brother International shows that most office workers spend 30 minutes each week hunting for paperwork on a disorganized desk. Having a system will not only save you time and alleviate the stress, but likely save you money, too, as being sloppy typically results in things like late fees, higher interest rates and penalty rate increases.


Vera Gibbons is a financial journalist based in New York City and is a contributor to Zillow Blog. Connect with her at http://veragibbons.com/.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.