Pending home sales declined slightly in November on an annualized basis for the eleventh straight month. The Pending Home Sales Index decreased by 0.7% from 102.1 in October to 101.4 in November, and was 7.7% below the level one year ago. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
According to NAR, the decline in PHSI may not fully capture the current situation, as it did not reflect the impact of recent favorable conditions mortgage rates. But the housing market has been slowing down this year due to rising mortgage rates.
The PHSI increased 2.7% and 2.8% in the Northeast and West, but decreased 2.3% and 2.7% in the Midwest and South. Year-over-year, the PHSI declined in all regions, ranging from a decline of 3.5% in the Northeast to a decrease of 12.2% in the West. NAR stated that the annual drop in the West may be explained by the growing concerns of affordability due to rapidly increasing home prices in the region.
Existing sales slightly increased in November, but builder confidence fell in December to its lowest value since May 2015 as concerns over housing affordability persist. However, NAR anticipates a solid long-term prospect for home sales, as the current home sales level matches sales in 2000 while more jobs are created now compared to the early 2000’s.
Annual inflation rate in the United States fell to 1.9 percent in December of 2018 from 2.2 percent in November, matching market expectations. It is the lowest inflation rate since August of 2017, mainly due to a decline in gasoline cost. On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent after a flat reading in the previous month and also in line with forecasts. It is the first monthly decrease in consumer prices in nine months, due to a 7.5 percent slump in gasoline prices. Inflation Rate in the United States averaged 3.27 percent from 1914 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 23.70 percent in June of 1920 and a record low of -15.80 percent in June of 1921.
Annual inflation rate in the United States fell to 1.9 percent in December of 2018 from 2.2 percent in November, matching market expectations. It is the lowest inflation rate since August of 2017, mainly due to a decline in gasoline cost. On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent after a flat reading in the previous month and also in line with forecasts. It is the first monthly decrease in consumer prices in nine months, due to a 7.5 percent slump in gasoline prices.
Year-on-year, prices fell for gasoline (-2.1 pecent compared to +5 percent in November); new vehicles (-0.3 percent compared to +0.3 percent); medical care commodities (-0.5 percent compared to +0.6 percent); and apparel (-0.1 percent compared to -0.4 percent). Also, cost slowed for fuel oil (1.9 percent compared to 16.1 percent in November); transportation services (2.8 percent compared to 3.3 percent); and used cars and trucks (1.4 percent compared to 2.3 percent). On the other hand, inflation went up for electricity (1.1 percent compared to 0.6 percent); food (1.6 percent compared to 1.4 percent); medical care services (2.6 percent compared to 2.4 percent); and used cars and trucks (1.4 percent compared to 0.4 percent) but was steady for shelter (3.2 percent). Also, cost rebounded for utility piped gas service (2.3 percent compared to -2.1 percent). Excluding food and energy, consumer prices increased 2.2 percent over a year earlier, the same as in November and matching forecasts. On a monthly basis, the gasoline index fell 7.5 percent in December. This decline more than offset increases in several indexes including shelter, food, and other energy components. The energy index went down 3.5 percent, as the gasoline and fuel oil indexes decreased, but the indexes for natural gas and for electricity increased. The food index went up 0.4 percent in December. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in December, the same increase as in October and November and in line with forecasts. Along with the index for shelter, the indexes for recreation, medical care, and household furnishings and operations all increased in December, while the indexes for airline fares, used cars and trucks, and motor vehicle insurance all declined.
A Union flag hangs across a street of houses in London. d
British house prices took a pre-Brexit hit in December, falling by the most in monthly terms since mid-2012 and rising by their slowest pace in nearly six years in annual terms, according to data from mortgage lender Nationwide. The Perth deck contractors build pergolas, patios and decking all throughout the Perth area. Timber is our specialty and we use locally sourced, sustainable products. We design, arrange local council permits and engineering certification to build your very own customised timber structure. We work alongside our customers and within their budgets to achieve their desired look when building the outside area of their dreams. When it comes to workmanship, we here at Working Class Hands wouldn’t put something together if it would be unsafe, inadequate or poorly made and we use only the best products where the budget allows. We don’t sacrifice price for quality and our work reflects this, just check out our google reviews. We are committed to customer satisfaction through building using quality sustainable materials and through our Perth based property maintenance services. We offer free advice and can even keep your new build looking as good as new with an ongoing maintenance plan, if required. Whatever your idea may be, we will work alongside you to create the perfect space to suit your property and take care of all the details, so you won’t have to.
House prices fell by 0.7 percent from November, the biggest monthly fall since July 2012, Friday’s data showed.
Compared with a year earlier, prices rose by just 0.5 percent compared with a 1.9 percent rise in November.
Both readings were below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
Nationwide said it expected prices to rise at a “low single-digit pace” in 2019 but its forecast was dependent on we buy houses Sacramento the economy continuing to grow modestly, something that looked “unusually uncertain.”
Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to overcome deep opposition in her own Conservative Party to the Brexit divorce deal she agreed with other European Union leaders, raising the prospect of an economically damaging no-deal departure from the EU in March.
At the time of the referendum, Nationwide’s measure of house prices was rising by about 5 percent a year.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said last month that in the event of a “disorderly” departure from the EU — not the central bank’s base-case scenario — house prices could slump by 30 percent as part of a broader economic shock.
Americans are on the move, but where are they moving to and from?
Interactive Map: To understand inbound and outbound percentages for each state, use the legend. To view reasons for moving and demographic data, select the year and state that you would like to view using the dropdown menus. (If you are using a desktop computer, you can use your mouse to click and select a state.)
Americans are on the move, relocating to western and southern parts of the country. We love moving from Los Angeles to another city as it brings in excitement and also new adventures in life. The results of United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, revealed that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8 percent of New Jersey moves being outbound. The study also found that the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration was Vermont (72.6 percent), with 234 total moves. Oregon, which had 3,346 total moves, experienced the second highest percentage nationally, with 63.8 percent inbound moves.
States in the Mountain West and Pacific West regions, including Oregon, Idaho (62.4 percent), Nevada (61.8 percent), Washington (58.8 percent) and South Dakota (57 percent) continue to increase in popularity for inbound moves. In tune with this trend, Arizona (60.2 percent) joined the list of top 10 inbound states in 2018.
Several southern states also experienced high percentages of inbound migration, such as South Carolina (59.9 percent, this makes moving to Greenville very popular) and North Carolina (57 percent). United Van Lines determined the top reasons for moving south include job change (46.6 percent) and retirement (22.3 percent).
In the Northeast, however, an outbound moving trend by roping in some great movers continues. New Jersey (66.8 percent), Connecticut (62 percent) and New York (61.5 percent) were included among the top 10 outbound states for the fourth consecutive year. Midwestern states like Illinois (65.9 percent), Kansas (58.7 percent), Ohio (56.5 percent) and Iowa (55.5 percent) saw high outbound relocation as well.
“As the nation’s largest household goods mover, our study allows us to identify the most and least popular states for residential relocation throughout the country, year after year,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines. “These findings accurately reflect not only where Americans are moving to and from, but also the reasons why.” Consider using a professional moving company for your next move.
The National Movers Study reveals the business data of inbound and outbound moves from 2018. In addition to this study, United Van Lines also conducts a survey to find out more about the reasons behind these moves. A leading motivation behind these migration patterns across all regions is a career change, as the survey showed approximately one out of every two people who moved in the past year moved for a new job or company transfer. Other reasons for the high percentage of moves to the Mountain West in 2018 include retirement (28.1 percent), proximity to family (20.8 percent) and lifestyle change (19.4 percent). Compared to all other states, Idaho saw the largest influx of new residents desiring a lifestyle change (25.95 percent), and more people flocked to New Mexico for retirement than any other state (42.74 percent).
“The data collected by United Van Lines aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates,” said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West. We’re also seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C. and Seattle.”
The top inbound states of 2018 were:
District of Columbia
New to the 2018 top inbound list are Arizona at No. 5 and District of Columbia at No. 10, with 60.2 percent and 56.7 percent inbound moves, respectively.
The top outbound states for 2018 were:
New Jersey (66.8 percent), which has ranked in the top 10 for the past 10 years, moved up one spot on the outbound list to No. 1. New additions to the 2018 top outbound list include Iowa (55.5 percent), Montana (55 percent) and Michigan (55 percent).
In several states, the number of residents moving inbound was approximately the same as the number moving outbound. Arkansas and Mississippi are among these “balanced states.”
Since 1977, United Van Lines has annually tracked migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2018 study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. and ranks states based off the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.
To view the entire 2018 study, an interactive map and archived press releases from United, visit the United Van Lines website.
NEW POSTS Highlights of the January 3, 2019 Town Board AgendaOrganizational Meeting As I mentioned last week, the Town Board at its first meeting in each year, holds an organizational meeting to make appointments; approve contracts and agreements with consultants, contractors, vendors and other third parties and adopt certain financial policies on recommendation of the Town Comptroller; and designate the official newspapers for the Town. Specifically, the Town Board took the following action:1. Designated the Town’s official newspapers: The Record Review andThe Journal News2. Appointment of Town Board as Audit Committee 3. Approval of Town Membership in the Association of Townsa. Approved payment of 2019 dues in the amount of $1,650b. Authorized Supervisor to vote on behalf of the Townc. Authorized Deputy Supervisor as alternate to vote on behalf ofthe Town. 4. Authorize Supervisor to approve attendance of Town officials atseminars and training in accordance with the 2019 Budget 5. Upon recommendation of the Comptroller adopted/approved thefollowing:a. Investment Policyb. Designation of Depositoriesc. Authorize Supervisor to transact business with designated depositoriesand sign necessary paperworkd. Transfer Policye. Payments prior to auditf. Mileage Reimbursement— (approved IRS rate of 54.5 cents per mile). g. Designation of Town Credit Cards 6. Established standard hours for positions within the Town of Bedford 7. Proposed rates/fee schedule for contractors, consultants and otherthird parties 8. Upon recommendation of the Supervisor, made the followingappointmentsa. John Stockbridge as Town Historian for a one-year termcommencing January 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2019.b. Hahn Engineering as Consulting Engineers for a one-year termcommencing January 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2019.c. James J. Hahn as Stormwater Management Officer for a one-year termcommencing January 1,2019 and ending December 31, 2019.d. Kevin Winn as Illegal Discharge Officer for a one-year term commencingJanuary 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2019. 9. Authorized the Supervisor to enter into agreements with contractors,consultants and other third parties in accordance with rate/fee schedule asfollows:a. Town Engineer Hahn Engineeringb. Carl R. Anderson Court Reporterc. Environmental Planning & Managementd. Evans Associates Environmental Consultinge. Horsley Wittenf. North East Westchester Special Recreation, Inc.g. Precise Translations (Court Interpreter).h. Spring Hill Kennelsi. Sullivan Data Management 10. Authorized Supervisor to sign the Tri Town Agreement to fund the DrugAbuse Prevention Council (Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge) andContractor Agreement ($22,000.) (Pending Town of Lewisboro and PoundRidge agreement) 11. Authorized Supervisor to sign 2019 funding agreements for Bedford,Bedford Hills and Katonah libraries.
Sewer Project The Town Board held a Work Session to review with the Town’s consulting engineers, Woodard & Curran, design engineers for the sewer project, a report on the next steps in providing sewers for Bedford Hills and Katonah. Yesterday, I received a memo from the Westchester County Planning Commissioner Norma Drummond inviting northern Westchester municipalities in the NYC watershed to submit by January 14 requests for East of Hudson funds (also known as Water Quality Improvement Program funds) for water quality projects noting that there are some $31 million in unencumbered funds remaining in the funds, which the County administers. The Town has accessed $10 million in such funds under two separate Inter-municipal Agreements with the County; one of which provides for $3.5 million in funds for the Town’s Septic System Repair and Replacement Program and up to $6.5 million toward the Town’s sewer project. The Board first reviewed with Woodard & Curran its Phase II report then, prompted by Commissioner Drummond’s invitation to request funds, discussed a much broader sewer project for a great portion of the more densely populated areas of Bedford Hills and Katonah. I spoke yesterday with Commissioner Drummond and explained that it would be a large request and she confirmed that the Town should proceed. As such, on recommendation of Woodard & Curran and staff, the Board at the regular meeting following the work session adopted a resolution to authorize me to submit a request for $52,350,000 for such a sewer project click to view mapsThe Board also authorized me to submit a request for $650,000 for engineer services, bond counsel, legal counsel and other soft costs associated with prepared a Map, Plan & Report for the project.
Implementation of Capital Plan Comptroller Abraham Zambrano will be presenting to the Town Board proposed bond resolutions to implement the 2019 portion of the Town’s ten year Capital Plan, which runs from 2018-2027. Please see Comptroller Abraham Zambrano’s memo to the Town Board for a discussion of the plan.
Collaboration with the County on Upgrades toEmergency Service Communications;Collaboration with Cell Tower Developer I have been writing in this space on the need to upgrade the Town’s emergency communications capabilities. ESS which supplies radio communication equipment to the Police Department has recommended the need to improve its equipment and broadcast capabilities. Over the last several years, the County Department of Emergency Services and Department of Public Safety has launched an ambitious, long-term project for major upgrades in the County’s emergency facilities at various tower sites throughout the County including a tower off of Guard Hill road (few know the site exists as it is atop a high point and in the woods). The proposal for the Guard Hill tower would be for a 40’ extension on the County’s tower. The upgrades will provide significantly improved capabilities not only for the County’s own communications but also for those of all three fire departments and KBHVAC whose equipment also is on the County tower (the Town also has broadcasting equipment for the Highway and Recreation and Parks Department on the tower). On a parallel course Homeland Towers, a tower developer, with which the Town is having discussions regarding a possible tower at or near the Town’s office building at 425 Cherry Street (in lieu of a tower Homeland has proposed for the Petre Glass site down the street on Haines Road) has approached the Town for constructing a tower at the Guard Hill site for cell carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Spring. At a meeting I hosted in November with representatives of the County, the fire departments and our police department, Homeland Towers offered to construct at its expense a tower to replace the County’s tower which would accommodate the County, all of the public safety agencies described, the Town’s departments described as well as the cell carriers. The County has stated that it agrees in principal to the Homeland proposal provided the tower is constructed in accordance with County specifications. The Town Board adopted a resolution to authorize Homeland to inspect the Guard Hill site and conduct a balloon test for a proposed new tower.
Vacancies on Blue Mountain Housing Development Board The Board is accepting applications for two vacancies on the Blue Mountain Housing Development Board and Bedford Housing Agency. Background in residential real estate construction, planning and design, architecture or engineering is sought. We also are seeking an individual with an accounting or financial background who might serve as Treasurer of the corporation. To provide greater geographic diversity on the Board, we encourage residents of Bedford Hills and Bedford Village to consider applying. If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. You also may mail it to me at Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.
A New Year’s Resolution thatwe can carry with us all year:
PRIOR POSTS OF CONTINUED RELEVANCE On December 18, the Town Board held its last meeting of 2018at which we took the following action. New Wireless Telecommunications Law – Adopted Following a further public hearing, which was in addition to the public hearing we head on December 4, we replaced the Town’s existing 19 year old law. Read the Adopted Law and its provisions. The new law now will enable the Town better to respond to applications for new wireless facilities, both large (such as cell towers) and small (such as DAS and other relatively new technologies). The new law also provides additional tools to the Planning Board to help protect residential neighborhoods with a siting priority or ranking which requires applicants to consider municipal, industrial and other non-residential sites before residential properties. I wish to thank members of the Communications Committee, the Town’s counsel, as well as members of the public who provided valuable comments to the proposed law much of which we incorporated into the new law. The Town’s counsel prepared a memorandum dated December 14 which summarizes the law and changes since the version considered at the December 4 public hearing. Here’s the link for the memorandum.
Approval of Collective Bargaining Agreementwith the Bedford Police Benefit Association The existing contract with the PBA expires on December 31, 2018. Earlier this year, the Town Board appointed a negotiating team comprised of Town Labor Counsel, Stephanie Roebuck, Police Chief Melvin Padilla, Personnel Director Joan Gallagher and Comptroller Abraham Zambrano.The Board approved the recommendation of the negotiating team to adopt a Memorandum of Understanding for the new contract. Attorney Roebuck summarized the provisions of the agreement as follows:“I am pleased to report that the negotiation teams for the Town of Bedford and the Bedford PBA have come to an agreement regarding the successor agreement to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between the parties. The basic terms of the agreement are as follows: A three year contract duration Wage increases for each year: 2019 – 2.75%; 2020 – 2.5%; 2021 – 2.5% Health insurance contribution increases:-Unit members hired before July 1, 2015 shall contribute 2.5% of firstgrade patrolman’s salary for family coverage (up from 2%) and 1.5% offirst grade patrolman’s salary for individual coverage (up from 1%) -Unit members hired on or after July 1, 2015 shall contribute 15% ofthe applicable premium (up from 13%) A steady tour work schedule will be instituted in 2019, which shall be reviewed annually and, also, sunset at the end of the CBA term – The terms of the steady tour agreement states specifically, “Night Differential: Officers shall not receive any night differential compensation for working any tour pursuant to this Agreement.” The right for a required independent medical examination, at the discretion of the Chief, after reaching an absence threshold. This IME provision is tied to the steady tour provisions, so it will be eliminated if the steady tour provision is either eliminated or sunsets An agreement to provide a set time frame of 20 business days for the Chief to make any initial 207-c determinations An agreement to change the language in the maternity and paternity clauses to recognize births that happen outside of the institution of marriage and make the clauses gender neutral. An agreement to change the way a shift will be filled when the shortage occurs immediately prior to when the shift is to come on duty. An agreement to pro-rate paid holidays and the uniform and cleaning allowance for officers out on extended sick leave or 207-c An agreement for unit members to provide prior notice that they will be eligible for the educational allowance to allow for budgeting of these amounts-Comptroller Abraham Zambrano
Amendments to 2018 through 2027 Capital Plan Following a Work Session on December 4, amendments to the Capital Plan were further revised. The December 4 session followed a work session in November. The Board adopted on December 18 the amendments to the Capital Plan which resulted in a lesser increase than the version considered in November. The change responds to suggestions made by Deputy Supervisor Lee Roberts and Councilman Don Scott and does not affect the total amount. It is to combine the proposed capital expenditures for Zema at $100,000 and Indian Hill at $328,000 and apply the combined amount of $428,000 funds to be available for Indian Hills, Leatherman’s Ridge, Vernon Hills and Zema. Open Space reserves would provide $214,000 of the $428,000. The priorities would be addressing the pervasive invasive plants in Zema (and to some extent Vernon Hills); clean-up of rubbish and debris (all areas except Indian Hills, which presently is not easily accessible); and planning, engineering and, if possible, creation of an access drive off of Indian Hill Road. The Recreation and Parks Department would be responsible for the work and would engage neighbors, the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, Conservation Board, Wetlands Control Commission, neighbors and other stakeholders. In addition, Bill Heidepriem will consult with Kevin Winn and Jeff Osterman in planning and carrying out the work. The Board plans on taking action on Tuesday with the adoption of the amendments to the Capital Plan together with corresponding bond resolutions. The Board will not authorize the actual expenditure of funds until it has followed its required process of seeking quotes or bids, reviewing contracts and deciding whether or not then to proceed. Read the Adopted Amendments here.
Post March Storm Actions Regarding Utilities On September 4, the Town Board adopted a resolution asking the Public Service Commission for an independent assessment of NYSEG’s performance NYSEG’s record of poor service, inadequate storm preparedness, and inadequate storm response prompted the Town Board in September to call upon the Public Service Commission (PSC) to open an investigation on NYSEG’s service quality and other issues which the Town Board raised in its resolution. I received a letter from the PSC on October 30 notifying me that the PSC agreed to open a proceeding (Case 18-E-0650) to investigate these matters. Though I can’t say for certain, it does appear that our action has gotten NYSEG’s attention. Two weeks ago Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and I met with a senior official at NYSEG who acknowledged the need to “harden” its infrastructure in Bedford including three circuits whose performance has been poor. In addition, NYSEG is weighing our request (as supported by other Town supervisors) to accelerate NYSEG’s tree trimming cycle from five years to three years (tree trimming is one of the most effective measures to reduce storm-related outages). I should note that Con Edison has a three year tree trimming cycle and at the property owner’s request, will remove the wood. NYSEG’s representative identified other actions regarding its Bedford infrastructure that will be addressed. He also acknowledged that NYSEG’s communication with the community during the March power outage left much to be desired and pledged to significantly improve communication.Be assured that we will continue to press NYSEG on these points. We have been having parallel conversations with Con Edison
Update on Property Tax Cap Freeze Rebatesand Other Credits Some residents have asked me the status of rebates and credits. Tax Assessor Harold Girdlestone explains as follows: The property tax Freeze check for municipalities (and special districts) started in 2015 and ended in 2016 and used 2014 tax year as baseline. The municipality must be in compliance with the tax cap (which we were in both years) and property owners must meet the following criteria to receive a freeze check: – Received and Meet STAR exemption requirements- On their primary residence only- Income under $500,000 (fyi – schools also had a freeze check in 2014 and ended in 2015 using tax year baseline of 2013/2014) The property tax freeze credit check fully reimbursed eligible homeowners for increases to their taxes imposed by all taxing jurisdictions that comply with the eligibility requirements and tax cap compliance. The freeze credit check amount was the greater of: the actual increase in the homeowner’s tax bill as compared to the baseline year, or the previous year’s tax bill multiplied by an inflation factor (the lesser of 2% or inflation) Homeowners whose tax bills go down, stay the same, or increase less than the inflation factor will receive a credit equal to the previous year’s tax bill multiplied by the inflation factor. (See attachment Property tax freeze) There is also a Property Tax Relief Credit Check that was implemented in 2016 and continues thru 2019. In summary, in 2016 all eligible owners receiving a Star exemption (BASIC OR ENHANCED) received a flat check amount of $185 dollars. In 2017, all eligible BASIC STAR recipients received a percentage our their STAR savings based on their income. In each subsequent year thru 2019, the percentage used to calculate the Tax relief Check is incrementally increased. For Enhanced STAR recipients (65 and older), an incremental percentage of their Enhanced Star saving is used to calculate their property relief check. If you have questions please contact Harry Girdlestone at hgirdlestone@ bedfordny.gov or at 914-864-3831
Update on Town’s Work withBedford Loves Horses I wish to thank Bedford Loves Horses for their advocacy for property owners with horses or those property owners who wish to bring horses to their property. The Town recognizes that horse ownership, trails and properties are a key component of the history and character of our community and we support the horse community and promote the work of the community. Working with Bedford Loves Horses, this past Spring the Town Board revised the Zoning Code based on the group’s recommendations. We now are working with Bedford Loves Horses to address other concerns including safety of riders crossing roads – this is a matter of enforcement, engineering and education, including signage, enforcement of traffic laws and educating the public on the need to share the road with riders. I will be providing updates in this space from time to time in the coming weeks on our partnership with Bedford Loves Horses.
Update from the Traffic Safety Working Group The Traffic Safety Working Group (TSWG) held its last meeting of 2018 on Wednesday, December 12. As some residents have requested, I prepared with the help of staff a summary of actions the Town has taken on traffic, passenger and pedestrian safety in 2018:Police Department Enforcement Actions – The Police Department has issued 3371 summonses for moving violations (including 511 commercial vehicle, 739 speeding, 467 Seatbelt, 152 Cell Phone/texting, 56 Stop sign violations, and 12 DWI arrests. January –November 2018).Child Safety Seats– 81 Seats were installed and/or inspected I-684 The Town Board has been working with our elected officials and with the Regional Office of the New York State Department of Transportation to secure the repaving of the concrete portion of I-684 running through Bedford. Planned Reconfiguration of Intersection of Harris and Babbitt Roads the Town has applied to Westchester County for a Community Development Block Grant which would fund in part improvements to this intersection, which would be designed to improve safety exiting Babbitt Road onto Harris Road. Variable Message Boards Upon recommendation of Police Chief Melvin Padilla the Town Board authorized the purchase of two additional variable message speed boards. With the purchase, the Town now owns and deploys 10 variable message boards to announce events affecting traffic flows and to calm traffic. Sidewalks To improve pedestrian safety, the Town installed new sidewalks along Valley Road between Cottage Place and New Street, and along Church Street near Babbitt Road. We also modified the sidewalk near the Katonah Elementary School in order to install a new crosswalk. Emergency Backup Power for Traffic Lights The Town Board has authorized in its Capital Plan the purchase of emergency backup power systems to automatically start in the event of a power outage which cuts the power for the traffic lights at the intersection of Route 35 and Route 22 and at Route 35 and I-684 overpass. Pedestrian Activated Lights – Route 117 and Haines On petition from the Town, the NYS Department of Transportation has agreed to install pedestrian activated signaling for the cross walk near Haines Road over Route 117 in Bedford Hills. This portion of the road is four lanes in width and poses pedestrian hazards. Raised Cross Walk and Speed Humps – Cherry Street The Town replaced the crosswalk in front of 425 Cherry Street with a raised crosswalk and installed a speed table at Kelly Circle near the stop line and a speed table near Quicks Lane. LED Light Conversion The Town is proceeding with the conversion of 571 street lights in NYSEG service area to LED lamps. LED saves energy and reduces electricity costs. It also provides more uniform lighting for greater safety for pedestrians and motorists, and has much less frequent equipment failures than the lighting which is being replaced.
Increase in Shredder Events in 2019 One of the services which we hear the community uses a good deal is the shredder events at the Recycling Center and in May at the Crusher Road Highway Facility during Clean Up weekend. The Town Board included additional funding in the 2019 Town budget to enable the Public Works Department to increase shredder events from quarterly to monthly. The following is the schedule: Saturdays1/5, 2/2, 4/6, 6/1, 7/6, 8/3, 10/5, 11/2, 12/7 Town Recycling Center343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills 1050711:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Tuesday3/5Town Recycling Center343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills 1050711:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Thursday9/5Town Recycling Center343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills 1050711:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Saturday5/4Crusher Road Highway Yard1 Crusher Road Bedford Village 105069:00 to 12:00.
Further Update on Route 117 As I mentioned last week, Con Edison’s resurfacing of the Route 117 south of Green Lane and on Green Lane will not occur before winter, but rather in the Spring of 2019. The reason is that the precipitous drop in temperature and sustained low temperatures over the past few weeks has not made the work feasible. Very low road surface temperatures imperil the durability of the resurfacing. On a positive note, as we’ve requested, DOT is requiring Con Edison to perform a curb to curb resurfacing as early as practicable in the Spring of 2019 and also to repair unsafe surfaces. The Town is requiring the same with respect to Green Lane between Route 117 and the tracks.
2019 Town Budget Adopted The Board held a public hearing on the 2019 Town budget following which we adopted the budget. The budget is within the New York State Property Tax Cap with approximately a 2.8% tax increase and continues to provide for a high level of services. Comptroller Abraham Zambrano forecasts an increase in fund balances (reserves) for 2018 which will add to already strong balances. Read the budget here, including the Comptroller’s budget message andmy budget message (portions of which are excerpted below). The following are key features of the budget: The final budget is the same as the Preliminary Budget which the Town Board adopted last month and provides as follows: The appropriations for all funds is $39,076,643 and the projected non-tax revenues total $13,825,511, leaving an amount of $25,251,132 to be levied as taxes; this amount is $12,308 below the calculated allowable tax cap of $25,263,440. The total General Fund’s Preliminary budget is $22,530,845 which requires $13,012,139 to be raised by taxes at a tax rate of $22.0477 per $1000 of assessed valuation. The proposed rate is $0.60 higher than the rate for 2018, which represents a 2.81% tax rate increase. The General Fund Appropriations will increase $1,143,030 or 5.34% higher than for 2018. The budget includes the following increases: Personnel expense: $119,444 Health insurance and dental: $726,753; note that we do not have the final percentage increase for our health insurance plan. There is some possibility that the increase may be lower than we used for purposes of adopting the budget. To the extent it is lower, any decrease in funds required will be added to contingency.Contingency of approximately $458,000 – as noted above, this amount may increase.NYS retirement system in the amount of $132,494The restoration of a maintenance position in the Building Department at an estimated annual cost including benefits of $90,000Recreation & Parks Programs of $81,450Paving budget: $75,000 to $1.3 million.Hiring of a part time Parking Enforcement Officer: $22,000.Open Space Fund in the amount of $59,454 (the first year of the one-quarter percent increase authorized by voter referendum and capped at a total of 2.0% in 2022)Recycling center: $32,000Libraries in the amount of $33,000 ($11,000 per library)Senior Advocate Program: $16,000 for full fundingI wish to thank Comptroller Abraham Zambrano and our department heads for their diligence and prudent fiscal management.
Reusable Bags The Reusable Bag law provisions become effective on April 1 when for large retailers (Shop Rite, DeCiccos, Key Foods, Kohls and CVS) will be required to charge 10c for paper or plastic check out bags where the customer does not his/her own bag. Ellen Calves of the Reusable Bag Task Force presented an update on the work of the Reusable Bag Task Force. She reported that the Task Force has completed its surveys to establish baselines of present reusable bag use. The Task Force also is working with smaller retailers regarding their use of reusable bags with the goal for greater use among all merchants.
LED Project Moving Ahead We are delighted that the Town’s LED project is underway with the conversion of some 571 street lamps in NYSEG service area to energy efficient (and cost efficient) LED. $250,000 of the project cost is funded through a grant from NYSERDA. The following is further information from Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn regarding the project: BEDFORD STREET LIGHT UPGRADE PROJECTPUBLIC INFORMATION NOVEMBER 2018 The Town of Bedford has purchased from New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and intends to convert all of the existing 571 utility pole mounted streetlights to light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures. The purpose of the project is to improve the quality of street lighting in our lighting districts while utilizing less energy, reducing the Town’s carbon footprint, and reducing the Town’s annual electricity cost. LED fixtures provide a better quality of light, enhancing safety and visibility at night. The existing street lighting infrastructure, consisting of high pressure sodium and mercury vapor lights, is inefficient in terms of power usage per lumen, poorly focuses the light, and has much shorter bulb life, leading to more frequent light outrages. Installation of efficient streetlights is also a demonstration of the Town’s commitment to resource conservation that can be seen and emulated by Town residents and business owners. The proposed streetlights will be a warm white color, on the yellow side rather than blue side of the color spectrum, in order to avoid the glaring aspect that can be associated with some LED lights. Light output levels are being selected to provide uniform, appropriate levels of light in both residential and commercial areas in the lighting districts. The new fixtures are designed to focus light on roads and sidewalks, and will result in much less stray light than the current fixtures. The Town intends to complete the majority of this project between December 2018 and April 2019. The project is funded through a $250,000 grant from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and through the cost savings that will occur from reduced energy use. There will be no cost increase to properties within the lighting districts. Please contact Kevin Winn at Bedford Department of Public Works at 914-666-7669 or email@example.com with any questions or comments on this project.
Possible Cell Tower at Town Propertyat 425 Cherry Street Homeland Towers, a company which builds towers for wireless providers, including Verizon, has submitted to the Planning Board an application to erect a cell tower on property on Haines Road (past Dunkin Donuts) owned by Petre Glass & Mirror. Homeland has stated that the tower is required to provide needed capacity for the provision of personal cellular service. The Town has also had discussions with Homeland for an alternative site, which would be to construct a cell tower at the Town’s property at 425 Cherry Street. As such, only one of these locations will be necessary to address the providers’ concerns. Each application provides for collocating up to four carriers, obviating need for another tower in the area. The Planning Board will be responsible for reviewing the application for the Petre Glass site and the Town Board will review the alternate site at 425 Cherry Street. We will ask Homeland to provide balloon tests for both sites and will notify the community when these tests are going to be performed. In the event the Tower is located at 425 Cherry Street it would allow the Town to significantly improve police and other first responder communications and equipment. The next steps are the Town coordinating the review process between the Town Board and the Planning Board to allow sufficient due diligence while also avoiding duplication of effort.
Update on Westchester Power Program Jenna Amundsen of Sustainable Westchester provided an update on the Westchester Power Program Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). The Town of Bedford is a member of the not-for-profit Sustainable Westchester and has participated with other Westchester County municipalities in the CCA bulk purchasing program. As you may have read in this space, Bedford was the first municipality to renew its participation in CCA for the Con Edison service area in town. We did so based on the new fixed rates for a second contract term beginning January 2019 and ending December 31, 2020. The new rates, effective January 1, are 7.96 cents/kwh for 100% renewable energy, with standard supply a fraction of a penny less at 7.71 cents/kwh.To learn more read here. Ms. Amundsen reported that the results for NYSEG service area customers have been favorable with both cost savings over the NYSEG rates since the inception of the program while promoting renewable energy. Early next year Westchester Power will be seeking bids for the renewal of the CCA program in the NYSEG service area. The same requirements will hold: Bids must be lower than the NYSEG benchmarkBids must include separate rate quote for renewable energy produced in New York State. No “teaser rates”, but rather a fixed rate for the entire periodCustomers may opt out at any time without penalty or premium. Please click here for Ms. Amundsen’s presentation.
Pickup Trucks for Police Department A resident recently asked me why the Town Board authorized the purchase of pickup trucks for the Police Department, understandably concerned that the vehicles might be unnecessary and an extravagance. I thought I might share with you the following e-mail which Police Chief Melvin Padilla provided to the resident: Hello [name deleted] Supervisor Burdick brought to my attention that you expressed some concerns about current vehicles in the Police Department fleet. Specifically pickup trucks and the cost associated. You may be surprised to learn that the State Contract (pre-negotiated pricing for municipal purchases) cost for a 4×4 Crew Cab (4 door) pickup from Ford, Dodge, or Chevy averages approximately Five thousand dollars less than a comparably equipped 4×4 Chevy Tahoe. The Department has always maintained at least three 4×4 Chevy Tahoes for their towing, cargo, and severe inclement weather capabilities (prior to 2002 the department purchased the larger Suburban). The Department owns two large enclosed trailers and also borrows a large open platform trailer from Parks and Recreation Department to tow our Police Motorcycle and/or Utility Terrain Vehicle(UTV). Our current Tahoes are 8 years old and have approximately 150,000 miles on them. With repair and maintenance costs rising, fleet wide, using those older, high mileage vehicles for towing or 24 hour use is not the best idea. All three major manufacturers of police vehicles have released Police versions of their pickups (Ford, Dodge, and Chevy). As a cost saving measure to maintain the capabilities and durability of the Tahoe at a price within budget, I decided to give the pickup trucks a try as a replacement for the Tahoes. The Ford Explorer which is the predominate vehicle in our fleet is NOT rated to tow the types of trailers we own or use and does not perform very well on many of the unpaved, rough terrain back roads (nor does the explorer have the same cargo capacity, versatility, true 4×4, or durability as the pickups, or Tahoes for that matter). At this point I am happy with the choice as it has proven to be a far more versatile vehicle than the Tahoe (for cheaper price and within budget) and has been useful for our needs as a department countless times already in the short time we’ve had them. My goal is to have the mix of vehicles in our police fleet to be as diverse as the calls for service that we respond to. Thanks for your inquiry, and please feel free to contact me directly if you have any further questions. Melvin Padilla Chief of PoliceBedford Police Department307 Bedford RdBedford Hills, NY 10507(914)241-3111
Cherry Street Speed Tables The Town Board took action regarding the temporary speed tables which had been installed over the summer. The Board took action because the temporary speed tables cannot remain over the winter as the plows will damage them, they may damage the plows and the damaged speed tables could pose a danger to cars. As such, they must be removed before winter. The November 8 meeting was the last meeting at which the Board could take action such that any permanent tables may be installed prior to winter. By way of background concerns about the rate of speed of traffic on Cherry Street have been raised for several years. In 2014 the Town received a report from traffic consultant VHB which included speed tables among options for consideration. Earlier this year, following staff review and recommendation and Town Board meetings reviewing the options, the Board directed installation of three removable speed tables on a trial basis: one a bit south of the intersection with the northern leg of Reyburn Drive (just north of the driveway to 46 Cherry Street), the second just south of the intersection with Kelly Circle; and the third south of the intersection with Quicks Lane (just north of the driveway to 147 Cherry Street).In addition the Board decided upon the installation of a raised crosswalk to replace the existing crosswalk in front of the Town Offices at 425 Cherry Street. The Town Board has asked staff to review the efficacy of the speed tables. We also wanted to hear from the public. We sent out letters to residents of Cherry Street and side streets, numerous e-mail updates and postings to the website so there has been ample attention and notification to the community. As mentioned, the Town Board has received and reviewed the comments both from the 359 surveys received as well as e-mails, telephone calls and hearing from you as we see you in town. Police Chief Melvin Padilla, Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and Planning Director Jeff Osterman have reviewed the speed study data, other information received and the tabulated questionnaire results and are recommending the following: 1. Do not replace the temporary speed table just south of Reyburn.2. Replace the speed hump at Kelly Circle with a permanent speed table located closer to the stop sign.3. Replace the speed table near Quicks Lane with a permanent speed table. Click here for the memorandum to the Town Board setting out the recommendations and the rationale for them. Although the Town Board’s consideration of the matter was not a public hearing, we nearly treated it as such and about 13 residents expressed their views. Following the public comments, the Board approved the recommendations of the staff and also affirmed that the raised crosswalk on Cherry Street in front of the Town Offices at 425 Cherry Street will remain in place.
DRIVERS: A SAFETY REMINDER Pull over for emergency vehicles
This reminder came from our Bedford Fire Chief, Shawn Carmody, who has noticed that the disregard for the rules of the road regarding emergency vehicles has gotten worse since school has started. Please be mindful: “We have seen many drivers lately not pull over for emergency vehicles. We’re not sure of the reason, whether they are distracted, don’t hear or see the emergency vehicle or just feel they can stay ahead of the emergency vehicle at their current speed. State laws — and common sense — dictate that vehicles yield to emergency vehicles that are operating their emergency lights and siren. Emergency vehicle drivers are taught to pass on the left whenever possible and safe to do so when responding in an emergency mode. When it’s safe, drivers should slow down, pull over to the right and come to a complete stop, no coast or ride the shoulder. However, there are circumstances where that may not be possible: If your car is already stopped, and you don’t have anywhere to pull over, simply stay put until the emergency vehicle goes around you If you are blocking the route of the emergency vehicle, and you are able to pull ahead and over into a clear area, use your turn signal to indicate your intentions and proceed at a safe speed If you are on the crest of a hill or a bend of a curve, proceed through until oncoming traffic is visible for the emergency vehicle behind you
Other considerations: Never slam on the brakes and stop in the middle of the road when you see apparatus approaching Make no sudden moves If an emergency vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction, you should pull over and come to a full stop You have no idea if the emergency vehicle is proceeding down the road or are planning on turning into a driveway or intersection right in front of you Do not tailgate, “draft,” or follow a responding apparatus closely, not only is this illegal, you run the risk of a collision as vehicles pull back out into traffic after the emergency vehicle goes by You are not required to slow down or pull over for emergency vehicles that are responding in the opposite direction on a divided highway or interstate When a driver pulls over and then drives on the shoulder at a slower speed, they lengthen the distance in which the emergency vehicle must navigate before fully passing the vehicle. A vehicle travelling at 20mph on the shoulder is covering 29.3 feet every second and that adds to the passing corridor. This also provides less room for the emergency vehicle to pass and navigate oncoming traffic if they haven’t fully pulled over. When you see a personal vehicle operating a flashing blue or green light, those are volunteers responding to a call, they do not have the right of way like emergency vehicles do. These flashing lights are known as courtesy lights and we ask that people pull over if safe to do so, but you are not obligated to do so. These volunteers must stop for all traffic control devices and obey all traffic laws when responding. Please consider this the next time you encounter an emergency vehicle on the road. Help us get to our destination safely and efficiently. You never know, we may be heading to help someone you know.”
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. Westchester Power ProgramSecures Rate Cuts & More Green Power for Customers Sustainable Westchester (SW) today announced its Westchester Power Program Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) has negotiated new fixed rates for a second contract term beginning January 2019 and ending December 31, 2020. The new rates, effective January 1, are 7.96 cents/kwh for 100% renewable energy, with standard supply a fraction of a penny less at 7.71 cents/kwh.To learn more read here.
Rules of the Road for Cyclists;Safety Tips for Walkers;Tips for Crossing the Street First, thanks for the comments on Facebook regarding last week’s post regarding road etiquette. Let’s all be safe and be mindful and considerate of others sharing the road – whether we’re motorists, cyclists, walkers or joggers. Motorists: please be patient – with Fall offering wonderful riding opportunities for cyclists, we’ll see cyclists enjoying our beautiful roads and lanes. Yes, many of the roads are narrow. And yes, some cyclists are riding three abreast, but most understand and observe the rules of the road. That said, some motorists are not considerate (or worse). (My guess is it’s not you who are reading this). Cyclists – please observe the rules of the road. While you are permitted to ride two abreast, oftentimes, it’s not safe and results in stacking of traffic behind you and, as may apply, your riding group. (My guess is it’s not you who are reading this). The information below re-publishes and re-orders prior posts which certainly continue to be relevant. Thanks to all for helping us all be safe and sound.
Motorists – Sharing the Road Sharing the road with bicyclists. When parked on the street, check for bicyclists approaching from behind you before opening your car door. Always exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person walking or bicycling. Always be vigilant when pedestrians are present, especially those with visual or physical impairments. Bicyclists are fully entitled to use the road and have the right to “take the lane” by positioning themselves at or near the center of the lane when needed to avoid hazards or if the lane is too narrow to safely travel side by side with motorists. Pass bicycles only when necessary and safe: pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear. When in doubt, wait until you can pass at a safe speed. Before making a right turn, let bicyclists clear the intersection. When turning left or entering a roadway, yield to oncoming bicyclists as you would to any vehicle. Some of you may have heard of the tragic death earlier this year of a cyclist in Stony Point. We also are concerned about the safety of walkers and pedestrians. While we implore drivers to observe speed limits and other rules of the road, we also wish to share with you rules and tips for cyclists and pedestrians some of which a Bedford resident compiled and sent to me.
Cyclists – Sharing the RoadNew York State law mandates the following related to cyclists: Travel WITH traffic (i.e. on the same side of the road) and obey all vehicle laws (stop at stop lights, etc.) Are not allowed on sidewalks Helmets (protective head gear) are required No headphones, ear buds, or other noise cancelling devices are allowed in more than 1 ear Horn/bell audible for 100 feet Lighting required a half hour before dusk until a half hour after dawn Cyclists are required to use appropriate hand signals.
Safety Tips for Walkers Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk always walk facing traffic.Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime. At night, wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars coming towards you.
Tips for Crossing the Street Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks. Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road. Stop and look left, then right, then left again, before you step into the street. If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until no cars are coming. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember, walk, don’t run. If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driver in the car. Then go to the edge of the car and look left-right- left again until no cars are coming.
Stop the Bleed Paramedics are trained and prepared to operate with law enforcement in active shooter situations. This additional stop the bleed program is intended to provide a level of basic quick action from the public before help arrives.We have certified trainers in this program and want to start offering it up to various public institutions such as schools. Click here for the booklet.
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.
Single Stream Recycling Bedford 2020 has been enormously successful in promoting Single Stream recycling having advocated its establishment and helped the community embrace it. As noted below under “Further News on Recycling”, Westchester County awarded Bedford its “Eco Award” for Bedford’s having the highest recycling rate in the County. We strive to further increase recycling rates. To that end representatives of Bedford 2020 and I met earlier this week with representatives of the carters serving Bedford. We are pleased to enjoy a strong partnership with the carters, without whom Single Stream would not be successful. We discussed various strategies for making further progress. I also explained that some residents had contacted me about disturbance from very early morning collections in residential neighborhoods. The carters are amenable to a simple change to the Town’s law providing that there be no pick-ups on Sundays and federal holidays and that pick up in residential neighbors be limited to Monday through Saturday between the hour of 7 AM and 7 PM. I will propose this change to the Town Board. Town Facilities for recycling, yard waste and E-wasteMost of the following services are free to Town residents: The Railroad Avenue Recycling Center is located at343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills, NY 10507.Hours are 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Carters are obligated to collect single stream recyclablesat your property along with trash for all customers. For those who wish to drop off recyclable materials,the Railroad Avenue Recycling Center accepts single stream recyclables(metal, plastic, glass, cardboard and paper).
Ewaste, Metals, Textiles; Trash Drop Off for Seniors Residents may bring electronic waste to the Recycling Center, but please note that for CRTs (TVs and old monitors), residents first must obtain from the coupon from the Town Clerk after paying a modest fee (to cover the costs to the Town). In addition, the Railroad Avenue Recycling Center accepts e-waste of all kinds (see below for details), bulk metals of all kinds, textiles, and trash for seniors (60+) who purchase Senior Refuse Coupons (book of 5 for $25) at the Town Clerk’s office. Each coupon can be used for up to a 33-gallon trash bag of household refuse (do not include recyclables in the refuse bag). Town Clerk Hours8:30 AM to 4:30 PMMonday – Friday321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills
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.
Looking for an emergency volunteer opportunity butFire Fighting or Medical Tech not your thing? Emergency communications might be for you.Click here for the flyer
Katonah Fire Department under-18 Recruitment Program Are you interested in a terrific community service opportunity? Would you like to receive state-of-the art lifesaving and firefighting training?Katonah Fire Department eagerly welcomes applications from 16-year-olds for its Under 18 Program. Interested candidates can fulfill their John Jay High School Community Service obligation, as well as service hours required for other organizations, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Membership in the department as a firefighter is a great way to have your college application stand out as well! Any person who is between the ages of 16 and 18, who is physically fit, morally and mentally sound, and who, having met with the membership committee and satisfactorily passed the committee’s investigation (as established in the Katonah Fire Department, Inc. Constitution and By-Laws), may be selected for membership status. The goal of this program is to carefully instill, enforce, and monitor the practices that lead to well trained, respectful, hardworking members once they reach their 18th birthdays and/or the conclusion of their first year of membership. In addition, it creates a culture in which these members both realize their age- and experience-related limitations, but also feel as though they are learning and being prepared for taking on the duties of full-fledged, non-probationary members of the Katonah Fire Department. An oversight committee and a training coordinator act as a resource to these members – in all aspects of KFD membership: firefighting, training, rules and regulations, etc. – and set example for the types of behaviors expected from our entire membership. Applicants who join receive all training and equipment at no expense to them. They also become eligible for various scholarship opportunities. If you’re interested in finding out more, please sent an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Town’s Website is now available in Spanish We have added a plug-in allowing for the website’s automatic translation to Spanish. Please note that this does not apply to linked PDF documents. http://www.bedfordny.gov/
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.
Several benchmark mortgage rates decreased today. The average rates on 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages both fell. The average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, meanwhile, also declined.
30-year fixed mortgages
The average rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.51 percent, a decrease of 7 basis points over the last week. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was higher, at 4.68 percent.
At the current average rate, you’ll pay a combined $507.28 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s down $4.17 from what it would have been last week.
You can use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to get a handle on what your monthly payments would be and see the effect of adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
15-year fixed mortgages
The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 3.76 percent, down 4 basis points over the last seven days.
Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $728 per $100,000 borrowed. Yes, that payment is much bigger than it would be on a 30-year mortgage, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more rapidly.
The average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 3.94 percent, down 6 basis points since the same time last week.
These types of loans are best for those who expect to sell or refinance before the first or second adjustment. Rates could be substantially higher when the loan first adjusts, and thereafter.
Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 3.94 percent would cost about $474 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could increase by hundreds of dollars afterward, depending on the loan’s terms.
Where rates are headed
To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our Rate Trend Index.
Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.
Dottie Herman and Howard Lorber (Credit: Douglas Elliman)
UPDATED: Dec. 31, 5:40 p.m.: Douglas Elliman CEO Dottie Herman — who partnered with Howard Lorber 15 years ago to buy New York City’s largest residential brokerage — is selling her stake in the firm for $40 million.
Herman will retain her spot on the management team, according to Elliman’s parent company, Vector Group, which is purchasing her 29.41 percent interest, it said Monday afternoon. Vector, which is controlled by Lorber, already owned 70.59 percent of Douglas Elliman.
In a regulatory filing, Vector said it already paid Herman $10 million and will pay the remaining $30 million in 12 equal installments between Jan. 1, 2020 and Oct. 1, 2022. She will also receive interest on the outstanding balance.
In a statement, Lorber said Herman’s “vision for and dedication to Douglas Elliman” helped turn the brokerage into a national brand with 7,000 agents — including 2,600 in New York City.
The pair acquired the brokerage in 2003 for just under $72 million, and its overall success led to Forbes in 2016 naming Herman as the richest self-made woman in real estate, with an estimated net worth of around $260 million.
But lately, the firm has been battered by the national housing slowdown and sluggish new development sales. Elliman reported net income of $7.8 million for the first nine months of 2018— down 62.5 percent from $20.8 million in 2017.
On Monday, shares of Vector closed at $9.73 — down around 54 percent from $20.70 per share in January 2018 — giving the company a market cap of $1.3 billion.
‘End of an era’
In recent years, Herman has retreated from the firm’s day-to-day operations, fueling rumors that she was on her way out.
On Monday, Herman disputed the idea that she has — or will — take a backseat at Elliman, despite selling her stake. “When a company gets to be a size like ours, any CEO should take the time to be strategic,” she said. “I still take every call from agents. Look, I helped four people get listings in the last two weeks.”
Although she will remain as CEO, sources told The Real Deal that Herman forgoing ownership represents the end of an era at Elliman.
While Herman held a significant stake in the company and had a legion of loyal followers, Elliman agents and managers said the balance of power has always favored Lorber. He’s the dealmaker who brings gobs of new development business through his investment vehicle New Valley, which bought into such projects as 111 Murray, 125 Greenwich, 76 11th Avenue and 160 Leroy. Through that connection, Elliman was tapped to market billions in condo product.
“The main impetus behind the company has been Howard for years,” said Andy Gerringer, who ran Elliman’s new development marketing group until he left in 2010. “Dottie was corralling managers and running meetings but when the big decisions had to be made it was Howard anyway.”
The veneer of diplomacy between the owners started to wear thin in recent years, as Herman stayed out of the spotlight (whether by choice or direction). Then in December 2017, Lorber promoted COO Scott Durkin to president — a role previously held by Herman. At the time, Herman and Lorber emphatically denied she was going anywhere. “She’ll have to be carried out,” Lorber said last year. “I’ll be the same way.”
But sources said although Herman resisted the change at first, she acquiesced over time. “In the beginning, she didn’t want to give up the day-to-day operations of the company,” the source said. “At the same time, she’d had enough.”
During a brief phone interview on Monday, Herman, 65, said selling the stock was the “hardest decision” she’s made in her life, and added that she wavered for two years before deciding to cash out. Twenty years ago, she would have kept going, she said.
Japan has an increasing number of vacant homes — a problem that’s set to persist because of an aging and shrinking population that has left many towns and villages empty.
“Japan faces significant economic and social impact effects from demographic (aging) over the next three decades,” Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, wrote in an October note.
Abandoned properties in the world’s third-largest economy are among the least-discussed side effects of the country’s demographic changes. But it’s getting more attention given the increasing number of affordable — and sometimes free — houses put up for sale online on websites called “akiya banks.”
Akiya is the Japanese term for vacant homes. Many of such sites are set up by local governments and communities to better manage the supply and demand for the growing stock of empty houses in their respective towns.
Properties listed on Tochigi’s “akiya bank”
On one website, several homes are free, with the buyer having to pay only taxes and fees such as agent commissions.
“This is usually because the owners cannot take care of the property anymore or do not want to pay the property tax that applies in Japan for a home that they do not use,” said real estate site REthink Tokyo in an October report.
The free homes also usually require major refurbishment because they are old and run down. But some local governments — such as the Tochigi and Nagano prefectures — offer subsidies for renovation work on vacant houses.
For vacant homes that are not free, prices can range from 500,000 Japanese yen ($4,428.50) to close to 20 million yen ($177,140) depending on location, age and condition of the house, according to the listings seen by CNBC.
The 2013 figures were higher than 2008′s 7.568 million empty houses, which accounted for about 13.14 percent of Japan’s total homes that year, according to the data. By 2033, the proportion of vacant homes in Japan is expected to grow to surpass 20 percent, according to Fujitsu Research Institute.
In Tokyo, the proportion of vacant homes stood at 11.1 percent in 2013 — among the lowest in the country, according to official statistics. But that number is expected to grow above 20 percent by 2033, said Fujitsu Research Institute.