Category Archives: blog

HVAC Issues | South Salem Real Estate

An efficient HVAC system can you save you loads of money in the long run and keep your home nice and comfortable throughout the year. Problems in the ductwork, however, can quickly consume your energy budget and make it hard to heat and cool certain areas of the home. If you suspect your HVAC system is not working properly, follow this short guide to help identify and fix common ductwork problems.

Abnormal Energy Bills

A collection of gas bills with a calculator and pen on a desk.

A sudden spike in your energy bill is a good sign that your home’s HVAC system is compromised. Leaky connectors and poor designs lead to air flow loss, which makes the system work harder to heat and cool the home. This in turn expends more energy and runs up the electricity bill.

Noisy Ductwork

Another good indication of a bad HVAC system is noisy ductwork. In rectangular ducting, these noises are usually the result of the metal expanding and contracting. It should be noted that noises are typical when the system first turns on or off. You should be concerned, however, if the noises continue while the system is running. If you hear a whistling sound, for example, you are likely dealing with vent covers that are too small for the system.

Uneven Temperatures

A lady wearing a furry coat holding a blanket.

If you have areas of the home that are hard to heat and cool or get overly stuffy, your HVAC system probably has a leak or two. Uneven temperatures are caused by poor air flow because the system is simply losing too much air to properly do its job. In extreme cases, you will not be able to heat or cool certain areas of the home even if the thermostat is turned to its highest setting.

Finding Problem Areas

Detecting problems in the ducting is a straightforward process. The biggest issues typically include bad seals around joints, improperly seated vents, and poorly supported ducts. You might also examine the overall design of the ductwork as the installer may have made mistakes in the original installation. Look for areas that feature sharp turns in the ducting as this can significantly reduce air flow.


Feeling airflow from a vent.

You can also feel for air loss with your hands. Start by feeling the air pressure coming out of vents in multiple rooms. If you detect a difference between vents, then you know you have a leak somewhere in line with that vent. You can narrow down the location of the leak by using some incense, toilet paper, or wet fingertips. The incense and toilet paper will move or your fingers will get cold when coming in contact with the leak.

Visual Examination

Examine the ducting for any obvious signs of gaps, holes, and cracks. The most likely problem areas include connections and seams, and places where the ducting links up with the ceiling, floor, registers, and vents. For flexible ducting, ensure the pieces are not crimped or tangled.

Fixing Ductwork Leaks

Once you locate the problem area, it’s time for a little repair. All you need to repair leaky ductwork is some HVAC-grade aluminum foil, a putty knife, gloves, and a few cloths. Begin by cleaning the area with a damp cloth and keep a lookout for any sharp edges. It’s recommended to use mastic for loose fittings, though foil tape can also prevent air loss. Just make sure the connection is tightened up and the screws are back in place before you apply tape. If you detect any major cracks in the ducting, you may need to replace the section with a new piece of sheet metal.

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Home buyers love porches | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Of the roughly 780,000 single-family homes started in 2016, 65.1 percent included porches, according to NAHB tabulation of data from the Survey of Construction (SOC).  The SOC is conducted on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Census Bureau with partial funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Among other things, the SOC shows that, over the period when single-family starts were declining (from 1.7 million in 2005 to 430,000 in 2011), the share of new homes built with porches was increasing (from 54.1 percent in 2005 to 65.7 percent in 2011).

Since the trough of 2011, single-family starts have increased every year, but still remain well below historical averages.  During most of that span, the share of new homes with porches remained relatively stable, hovering in a narrow band between 63 and 64 percent.  In 2016, the single-family porch share moved back above 65 percent for only the second time.

SOC data can also be tabulated separately for each of the nine Census divisions.  In 2016, the share of new homes with porches ranged from a low of 52 percent in the Mid-Atlantic Division to a high of over 85 percent in the four states that make up the East South Central.

While the SOC shows how many new homes come with porches, it doesn’t provide much information about the nature of the porches.  For that, we can turn to the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.  The latest BPS shows that front porches on new homes are far more common than side porches, and that most new home porches are open rather than screened in.


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Why do people buy homes debate | South Salem Real Estate

Gary Cohn: 'People don't buy homes because of the mortgage deduction'-or do they?

Gary Cohn: ‘People don’t buy homes because of the mortgage deduction’-or do they?  

In the midst of the mad selling and explaining and quantifying and qualifying of potentially the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in decades, President Donald Trump‘s chief economic advisor stood at a White House podium and made a bold declaration: “People don’t buy homes because of the mortgage deduction.”

He said that, even though members of the Trump administration have repeatedly said they will “protect” the popular tax break.

There are a lot of reasons people buy homes — financial, practical and emotional. For the vast majority of those who make that choice, it is by far their single largest investment. Until the financial crisis, the common belief was the home prices always rise, and a home was therefore a proven way to build wealth, but that was proven wrong.

More than 6.5 million homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure in the past 10 years, according to Attom Data Solutions, and 2.8 million current homeowners still owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth. This after home prices plummeted nationally for the first time since the Great Depression.

Most consumers, at least according to several recent surveys, still believe that a home is a good investment. The majority of renters still aspire to homeownership, despite the fact that millennials have been deemed the “renter generation.” That designation is likely more due to high student loan debt and lower initial employment for this generation than anything else. Millennials have also been slower to marry and have children, which are the primary drivers of homeownership.

“I think people buy homes because it represents security and a way to build wealth and a sense of stability,” said Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “I don’t think the mortgage interest deduction plays a large role in that decision.”

For a great many homeowners, the deduction isn’t even a financial factor. A taxpayer can only take the deduction if he or she itemizes, and just one-third of taxpayers itemize, but about 64 percent of Americans own a home (and just over one-third of homeowners have no mortgage). Three-quarters of those who do itemize take the deduction, but if the standard deduction were raised, fewer taxpayers would itemize, and therefore the mortgage deduction would be used even less.

“Gary Cohn is probably right about that,” said Richard Green, director and chair of University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate. “It does absolutely encourage people to buy bigger houses than they would, but does it flip the switch between buying and renting? — maybe half a percent in homeownership, very little.”

Green notes that the deduction is most important to those living in states like California, which has both high tax rates and high home prices. Home prices there, he said, could drop without the deduction. As for overall homeownership, he points to other nations like Canada and Australia, which have no mortgage deduction but have very high homeownership rates.

The National Association of Realtors, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington, vehemently opposes any change to the deduction. Even though there has been no change so far, they came out against the current plan, claiming that because it would result in fewer taxpayers itemizing, it would weaken the power of the deduction.

“This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions,” wrote NAR President William Brown in a release. “When combined with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, these efforts represent a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners.”

In response to Cohn’s statement, Brown said, “There’s a reason our nation has incentivized homeownership in the tax code for over a century. It works, and helps make homeownership more affordable for middle-class families who might not otherwise be able to close the deal, while setting them on track for a strong financial future.”

Tax breaks do work. Witness the first-time homebuyer tax credit, designed to spur homebuying during the housing crash. It did cause a temporary but sizeable jump in home sales. The mortgage interest deduction, however, gives bigger benefits to those in higher tax brackets with larger loans. In other words, it benefits more wealthy owners, and is therefore less likely to the driving factor for homeownership.

Still, Brown contends that the lost incentive for even some to buy a home, “could cause home values to fall.”

Could home values really fall under the new tax plan? That depends less on taxes and more on the fundamental reason why home prices are currently overheating, which is a historically low supply of homes for sale. It is unlikely that the very strong supply and demand imbalance right now would be hit hard by any changes to the mortgage deduction, especially given that the largest generation is entering its homebuying years.

“We’ve got big supply issues right now. The reason housing purchases are down is because supply is down,” said Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Gilbert was more concerned with interest rates than the deduction and the net amount consumers will pay in taxes in the end.

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert: As long as rates are reasonable, mortgage deduction going away doesn't matter

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert: As long as rates are reasonable, mortgage deduction going away doesn’t matter  

The fact is, today’s housing market needs more houses far more than it needs lower taxes. In that respect, the mortgage interest deduction is far less important than tax savings for small-business owners, like homebuilders, who could increase production if costs were lower. The vast majority of homebuilders are small-business owners.

“I think the lower the cost of doing business, the more you can create a situation that leads to affordable housing,” said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, in an interview on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “The women and men that make up the homebuilding sector are businesspeople as well, and we have to look at the holistic treatment of business taxes and housing taxes.”

NAHB CEO: We have to look at tax reform plan holistically

NAHB CEO: We have to look at tax reform plan holistically  

While the realtors claim that without the savings from the mortgage deduction, some buyers couldn’t afford a home, others claim home prices are higher because the savings from the deduction gives consumers more buying power.

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Tax reform ideas | Chappaqua Real Estate

Details leaking out about the Republican tax reform plan hint that while two popular deductions would remain intact, they’d become useless to the majority of taxpayers who now take advantage of them.

GOP lawmakers have signaled they’ll retain the tax breaks for mortgage interest and charitable contributions even as they pursue eliminating others.

Yet given that President Donald Trump today said the plan is to nearly double the standard deduction, “many current itemizers would choose that instead, so a lot less people would use those deductions,” said Joseph Rosenberg, a senior research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Currently, taxpayers choose between the standard deduction or itemized deductions and use whichever amount is greater to reduce their tax bill. For 2017, the standard deduction is $6,350 for individual taxpayers, $9,350 for heads of households and $12,700 for joint filers.

Construction on a new home.

Peter Cade | Getty Images
Construction on a new home.

In other words, if those amounts nearly double as discussed by both Trump and congressional Republicans, a married couple would need deductions to exceed $24,000 to make itemizing worthwhile.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that of the 45 million tax filers who itemize, 38 million, or 84 percent, would opt for the $24,000 standard deduction because it would exceed the combined value of other deductions available to them.

Trump is expected to deliver a speech Wednesday in Indianapolis that will offer more specifics about what plan will emerge in Congress, although it’s unclear how detailed the reveal will be.

Who uses the mortgage interest deduction, by income

Income range*
# of filings
Total amount
0 to $50,000 2.32 million $1.11 billion
$50,000 to $100,000 9.77 million $9.19 billion
$100,000 to $200,000 14.6 million $24.85 billion
$200,000 & up 7.18 million $29.78 billion
Totals: 33.87 million $64.93 billion
Source: 2016 data from Joint Committee on Taxation report. *Income ranges include AGI plus variety of untaxed items (i.e., employer contributions to health care plan, nontaxable social security benefits, etc.)

The deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions have been a political third rail in the past, due largely to the idea that they spur home ownership and charitable giving. Yet of all taxpayers, only about 20 percent take advantage of each deduction for mortgage interest and charitable contributions, according to the tax policy center.

Of the roughly one-third of taxpayers who do itemize, roughly three-quarters use each of the deductions. The biggest benefits tend to go to higher-income taxpayers.

For instance, the 7.18 million filers with incomes of $200,000 or more will reduce their taxable income by $29.78 billion this year from using the mortgage interest deduction, according to tax expenditure estimates from the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Charitable giving deduction use by income

Income range
# of filings
Total amount
0 to $50,000 2.38 million $526 million
$50,000 to $100,000 10 million $4.37 billion
$100,000 to $200,000 15.2 million $11.93 billion
$200,000 $ up 8.2 million $40.73 billion
Totals: 35.8 million $57.55 billion
Source: 2016 data from Joint Committee on Taxation report. *Income ranges include AGI plus variety of untaxed items (i.e., employer contributions to health care plan, nontaxable social security benefits, etc.)

In comparison, the 14.6 million filers with incomes of $100,000 to $200,000 will save less: $24.85 billion. Filers with incomes below that have even smaller tax savings.

Likewise, the 8.2 million filers with incomes above $200,000 will save a collective $40.7 billion this year by using the charitable deduction. The 15.2 million filers with incomes of $100,000 to $200,000 will reduce their tax bill by $11.9 billion.

Nonprofit groups and the home building industry are concerned about what reduced utilization of those deductions would mean for home ownership and charitable giving.

“It marginalizes the mortgage interest deduction,” said J.P. Delmore, assistant vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Home Builders. “We’d see the effect where a small number of homeowners would benefit, and that’s not the direction anyone is looking to go with tax reform.”

Cost of select tax deductions

Cost 2016-2020
Mortgage interest $357 billion
State and local taxes $368.8 billion
Charitable contributions* $230.5 billion
Property taxes $180 billion
Medical & long-term care expenses $56.6 billion
Student loan interest $11.9 billion
Teacher classroom expenses $1.2 billion
Source: Joint Committee on Taxation Jan, 30, 2017 report *Excludes education- and health-related donations

The National Association of Realtors also has expressed concern that home prices would suffer if the mortgage interest deduction were to become useless to most homeowners.

The group released a study in May showing that if elements similar to GOP’s 2016 plan went into effect, home values would fall by more than 10.2 percent on average in the near term.

The study also found that homeowners with income of $50,000 to $200,000 would face an average tax increase of $815 while non-homeowners in that range would get an average tax cut of $516.

“This is an emerging issue [lawmakers] don’t intend to create,” Delmore said. “But we hope there’s an opportunity to find a solution so that homeowners have a meaningful tax incentive that doesn’t involve being marginalized and benefiting only the wealthy.”

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Mortgage rates average 3.85% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate ticking up to its highest mark in six weeks.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.85 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending October 5, 2017, up from last week when it averaged 3.83 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.42 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.15 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.72 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.18 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.20 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.80 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“After holding steady last week, rates ticked up this week. The 10-year Treasury yield rose 8 basis points, while the 30-year mortgage rate increased 2 basis points to 3.85 percent.”

Home prices rise 5.9% | Armonk Real Estate

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index rose 5.9 percent in July from a year earlier, slightly faster than June’s 5.8 percent annual pace.

Sales of both new and existing homes slipped over the summer, which typically might slow price gains.

But demand remains strong and has created bidding wars among potential buyers, pushing up prices at a much faster pace than incomes. The number of existing homes for sale fell 6.5 percent in the past year.

Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Las Vegas saw the largest increases, with prices in Seattle soaring 13.5 percent in July from a year earlier.

Other cities are also seeing strong gains. Home prices rose 7.3 percent in Dallas and Detroit, and 7.2 percent in Denver. The slowest increases were in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, which both reported 3.3 percent gains.

With unemployment low and paychecks rising modestly, more people are in the market for a home. But construction of new single-family homes has been held back by a limited supply of land in hot markets and difficulty in finding construction workers.

That has intensified the competition in the housing market. Homes sold after an average of just 30 days on the market in August, according to the National Association of Realtors, down from 36 days a year ago.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma began to pinch sales in August and should drag on the sales in the months ahead.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The July figures are the latest available.


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Freddie Mac real estate forecast | Cross River Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released its monthly Outlook for September, which analyzes the trends that will drive the mortgage market in 2018. These trends include an increase in purchase mortgage volume, a cooling of refinance activity and continued strong house price growth.

Outlook Highlights

  • With 1.33 million housing starts expected in 2018 (up from 1.22 in 2017), new home sales should be the primary driver of sales in 2018. We expect total home sales (new and existing) to increase about two percent from 2017 to 2018.
  • The gradual increase in housing starts and moderate increases in mortgage rates will help to reduce house price growth next year. We forecast U.S. house price growth of 4.9 percent in 2018, compared to a 6.3 percent growth in 2017 through August.
  • With mortgage rates up from last summer’s near-record lows, the potential for rate refinances has diminished. This will cause the refinance share of mortgage activity to decline to 25 percent in 2018, down 23 percent since 2016, and the lowest annual refinance share since 1990.
  • In July 2016, the 30-year fixed-rate conventional conforming rate refinance potential was about $800 billion. In July 2017, it was down to around $300 billion. However, refinance originations have not fallen as much as our estimate. We estimate that total refinance originations for the first half of 2017 are down only about 48 percent from the first half of 2016.
  • Rising home prices have helped existing homeowners increase their home equity. In the second quarter of 2017, the dollar volume of equity cashed out was $15 billion, up $1.2 billion from the first quarter, but down from $19.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. As home prices keep rising, cash out activity is likely to also rise.

Quote: Attributed to Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.

“The economic environment remains favorable for housing and mortgage markets. For several years, we have had moderate economic growth of about two percent a year, solid job gains and low mortgage interest rates. We forecast those conditions to persist into next year.

Vermont farmhouse style | South Salem Real Estate

Steven Favreau is the type to go big – and go home.

When he set out to put down roots near his hometown of Boston, Favreau fell in love with an old country estate in quaint Chelsea, VT. It was the perfect place for this interior designer to escape from the hubbub of big city life after working with celebrity clients and more.

“It was a quintessential Vermont house in a quintessential Vermont town,” said Favreau, about spotting the house in 2012. “I hopped on a plane and bought it the next week.”

Built in 1832, the house was once owned by a man named Aaron Davis, whose family lived in it for at least 100 years. Davis’ granddaughter eventually sold the 23-acre property in the 1980s, and the new owner converted it into a bed and breakfast. (There’s still a portrait of Davis above one of the home’s five fireplaces.)

After Favreau purchased the 5-bed, 5-bath home, he sought to restore it to its original grandeur – at a frenetic pace. A contractor brought in a crew to rework everything from the wiring (it was a fire waiting to happen) to the wallpaper (there were 8 layers throughout the house). The workers even put in a massive new beam to support the house and keep it from sinking.

“The house sprung back to life and all the old Lally columns fell to the ground,” Favreau remembered. “They heard, ‘Bam-bam! Clank-clank!’ as they jacked it back to life.”

Up next on the designer’s list: keeping the look, feel and integrity of the antique touches, while updating the space to accommodate today’s trends. He tore out a downstairs wall to expand the kitchen to 700 square feet; the master suite got a modern bath with a soaking tub.

Favreau painted walls in his signature bright colors and added bold wallpaper. In a tip-of-the-hat to the history of the Green Mountain State, he lined the master bathroom with tree-print wallpaper. The dining room got a splash of flamingo pink with a print of Victorian-looking cake plates – a nod to the era in which the house was built.

“What I wanted to use for inspiration was the house and the period of the house, so nodding to the period and updating it with a contemporary aesthetic,” Favreau said. “It says today, but it also says yesterday.”

Some things are distinctly New England. A wooden footbridge connects the main property to 22 secluded acres on the other side of the White River. On warm summer nights, Favreau’s family will pull a dining room table out onto the bridge and dine al fresco.

In the winter, the adjacent land allows for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

There’s also an old wood barn, which Favreau envisions becoming an event space for weddings or storage. The possibilities for the next owner are limitless, he said.

“It’s a big glorious house, and my family is a big glorious family. We’ve enjoyed it,” he added. “I feel like I’ve loved my time being there and up in Vermont, but it’s time to find the next one. Maybe an oceanside property.”

The home is on the market for $695,000. Zoe Hathorn Washburn of Snyder Donegan carries the listing.


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zillow blog

Town of Bedford Report | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston and its surrounding communities last week, leaving thousands of people stranded and devastated. I have been asked how we might help.  And, now, Irma a hurricane that is devastating many areas on its path.  We’ve heard from news reports that money has been pouring into the large, well-known national relief organizations, such as the Red Cross and United Way.   We’ve researched to identify reputable, local organizations which provide the most direct relief to the victims.   Please understand that this is by no means exclusive and can’t possibly be complete, nor intended to dissuade you from donating to other organizations involved in the relief efforts.   There are literally hundreds of ways to assist the victims, and, of course, you’ll want to direct any assistance you can offer to the organization of your choice.  The article, Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams), lists several links you may find useful.    Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey and those who have been hit and may be hit by Hurricane Irma.
Speak with Sean events are an opportunity for constituents to share any questions, comments and concerns one-on-one with Rep. Maloney. In addition, Rep. Maloney and his staff are available to assist with any problems folks from the Hudson Valley may be having with a federal government agency, such as the Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or the Veterans Administration.
  1. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS   The Town Board is very grateful for the service of so many civic-minded residents to help our community.  We thank those whom the Town Board appointed and re-appointed at our meeting: John Sullivan was appointed to the Historic Building Preservation Commission; Amy Lowenthal and Erin Scheu were appointed to the Blue Mountain Housing Development Corporation, Inc.; Andrew Cunningham and John Lange were re-appointed to the Board of Assessment Review.
  2. “TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT” EVENT – COURTESY OF BEDFORD 2020   The Board approved a Take It or Leave it event in Parking Lot 8 in Bedford Hills from 9 AM to 12 PM every other Saturday between the months of May and October each year, starting as early as this October. The event is modeled after similar programs in other communities, and allows residents to drop off unwanted household items that are still in good/working condition, or pick up and repurpose some. B2020 is providing a 12′ x 16′ shed in the corner of Lot 8 for this purpose. The location will not eliminate any parking spots.  Volunteers organized and managed by B2020 will run the program. The event is an excellent way to recycle and reuse items, and reduce consumption and waste. This program will preserve natural resources, reduce waste, and save residents money.  This is another example of a well thought out program by B2020.  Our thanks to Bedford 2020’s Peter Kuniholm who worked with Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn to make this a reality.    
  3.  2018 TOWN BUDGET WORK SESSION – POLICE DEPARTMENT The Town Board met with Police Chief Melvin Padilla and Comptroller Abraham Zambrano to review the proposed 2018 for the Police Department – the largest of our departments.  As I had requested, Chief Padilla held the proposed budget flat except for contractual obligations.   The Board continues to work to bring in a 2018 budget which is within the NYS Property Tax Cap. 
UPDATE ON POLICE STATION RENOVATION PROJECT   We are continuing to make excellent progress on the police station project – the gut renovation of the existing police station building with two additions.   The timetable for completion is mid-2018.  We are pleased with the work of our contractors and construction manager.  Click here for the August report of our construction manager.
And about the Sewer Project, what’s with the soil testing in Katonah?  The Town’s engineering firm, Woodard & Curran, is working on the design of the sewer system which will be serving the neighborhood business districts (not 117 corridor) of Bedford Hills and Katonah, as well as Katonah Elementary School, property of St. Mary’s, Bedford Park Apartments in Bedford Hills and the correctional facilities in Bedford Hills. As part of the design, soil borings and surveying is being conducted.
Monday, September 11th, 2017 marks the 16 year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in suburban Pennsylvania. Patriot Day serves as a remembrance of the lives lost on that September morning.   The President directs that United States flags be flown at half-staff at individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments, home and abroad from sunrise until sunset on September 11 of each year. The President also asks Americans to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 AM Eastern time, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center that morning.
We’re pleased that the paving of a portion of I-684 running through Bedford (from 172 to Harris Road) is proceeding on schedule and is going well.   As you may know, we are pressing for funding to put in place for paving the remaining Bedford portion in 2018.   Here’s the schedule for this year’s paving project over the next two weeks:
9/10-9/14: Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards will continue The hours are 9:00 pm to 6:00 AM. Work will continue in the right and left shoulders northbound and southbound.
I684 NB:  milling and paving is complete  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue.
I684 SB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue.
9/17-9/21: Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards will continue The hours are 9:00 pm to 6:00 AM. Work will continue in the right and left shoulders northbound and southbound.
I684 NB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
I684 SB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
SUSTAINABLE WESTCHESTER’S CLEAN TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM would like to alert you to another opportunity to go electric. There are a limited number of vehicles left at this huge bulk discount (total of $19,200 off including $10,000 Sustainable Westchester discount plus State/Federal tax credits), so don’t miss this opportunity!  Sustainable Westchester’s Clean Transportation Project designs programs to accelerate transportation electrification, reduce greenhouse gases and costs for the residents, businesses, and non-profit institutions in our communities. Contact program director Ron Kamen at, or the Sustainable Westchester office for more information.  Come down to Nissan of New Rochelle (2533 Palmer Ave, New Rochelle) this Saturday for another fun “Kick Gas” test drive event.! From noon to 5PM there they will be serving up Smokin’ Yankee Barbeque, and our friends from Greenburgh Nature Center will be there with special guests, including: An Eastern Screech Owl, An African Sulcata Tortoise, A Bearded Dragon, A Bunny named F. Scott (the bunny is black), A Chinchilla, And Maybe a Leopard Gecko (depending on the weather).
click here
(please note that the calendar is posted on the Town’s website home page usually before the distribution of the e-news and also posted on the Supervisor’s Facebook page, click here) 

click here
The Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Bedford Amy M. Pectol  gives notice that she has received the warrant for the Collection Of School Taxes For The 2017-2018 School Year
The Tax Receiver’s Office will be open 8:30 to 4:30 each day, Monday thru Friday At the Town Hall 321 Bedford Rd.-Bedford Hills-New York.  If you do not receive your bill by 9/5/2017 please contact this office at 914-666-4475. Click here for the notice
A number of residents have reported bear sightings.  “Wow, a bear!” may be our first reaction, but here are some safety tips, click here.  And click here to see a picture of a bear that was taken and shared with us by a resident.
I wish to augment the below information (e-news 8/25) with the following request for motorists:
Sharing the road d 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 month of a cyclist in Stony Point.  Another was killed yesterday.  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. 
New York State law mandates the following related to cyclists:
  1. Travel WITH traffic (i.e. on the same side of the road) and obey all vehicle laws (stop at stop lights, etc.)
  2. Are not allowed on sidewalks
  3. Helmets (protective head gear) are required
  4. No headphones, ear buds, or other noise cancelling devices are allowed in more than 1 ear.
  5.  Horn/bell audible for 100 feet
  6. Lighting required a half hour before dusk until a half hour after dawn.
  7. Cyclists are required to use appropriate hand signals.


  1. Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk always walk facing traffic.
  2. 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.


  1.  Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
  2. top at the curb, or the edge of the road.
  3. Stop and look left, then right, then left again, before you step into the street.
  4. If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until no cars are coming.
  5. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember, Walk. Don’t run.
  6.  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 until no cars are coming.
Septic pump out – if you haven’t done it within the last five years, the law requires you do so. And, if you have a problem with your system, please check out the Town’s Septic System Repair and Replacement program to deal with failing septic systems. The program allows Bedford property owners in the Croton Watershed (about 85% of the Town’s land area) for a 50% reimbursement of repair/replacement costs. If you have a failing septic system, contact the Planning Department at 666-4434 for further information or visit our website.

Click here and enter location you would like information about.

Hurricanes and Tropical storms can wreak havoc in many ways, with lashing winds, torrential rains, and inundating storm surges.
Prepare for a hurricane by stocking up on food, water, protective clothing, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents, road maps, and a full tank of gasoline.
As a storm unfolds listen to local authorities on radio or television (battery operated in the event of an outage). Evacuation routes often close as a storm develops. Dedicated professionals and improved technology have made hurricane forecasting more accurate than ever before-but it’s far from precise.
If forced to weather a storm, get inside the most secure building possible and stay away from windows.
Avoid downed wires – they can be live.  Report downed wires to your local utilities.  In the case of an emergency call 911. Click here for more information regarding hurricane and tropical storm preparedness.
We are delighted at the public/private partnership between the Town’s Conservation Board and Nestlé Waters North America.  Nestlé is committed to stewarding resources for future generations. In this spirit, local employees are gathering with community members to clean-up the Lake. As part of this restoration effort volunteers will have the opportunity to clear litter and debris. Protective gloves, garbage bags and bottled water will be provided.
Click here for more information

Vacancies on Boards and Committees (updated 9/6/17)
There is one vacancy on the Recreation and Parks Advisory (RPAC) Committee; must be a Bedford Hills resident.  For more information on the Committee, please click here.
There is one vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board (TAB). The ideal candidate would be a certified arborist. For more information on the Board, please click here.
There are two vacancies on Committee on Seniors. For more information on the committee, please click here.
There is one vacancy on the Open Space Acquisition Committee. For more information on the committee, please click here.
If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to
2018 BUDGET WORK SESSIONS BEGIN (See schedule below)
Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provided highlights of the 2018 budget at this early point, emphasizing that the budget will continue to be very tight due to several factors including:
  • NYS Property Tax Cap of 2.68% which we are committed to stay within
  • Contractual obligations
  • Health insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Increase in debt service (principally the Police Station renovation project).
  • Lower than anticipated building permits
On the positive side, Mr. Zambrano reported that 2017 year to date overall results of operations have been positive and some of the contributions to the positive position will recur in 2018.
He also explained that the Board will need to get started with the 2018 Capital Plan.
Mr. John Payne, Physician Practice Manager at NWH, and Mr. Cliff Bernelli, a Veteran who works in recovery at NWH spoke about an upcoming business workshop on October 23, from 2:00 to 4:30 PM at the hospital. The workshop also teaches skills such as interviewing, dressing for an interview/job, etc. The hospital hopes to hire 1000 veterans this year.
The committee is working on programs designed to help veterans in and around Mount Kisco. The Committee is comprised of both vets and non-vets, the goal is to benefit both and allow for communication between both parties.
Committee works with P.F.C. Dwyer foundation to assist veterans in finding jobs and aid post-service. A fundraiser is being planned with a bicycle ride from West Point to the WTC.
We will post relevant information on the website and also include events in the weekly e-news.
The Town will be updating their Electric Vehicle charging stations as they are outdated and will install an additional charging station in Bedford Village Memorial Park. They will also be entering into an agreement with ChargePoint.  The Town appreciates members of the community and Bedford 2020 for supporting the Town’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  The Town is grateful for all the work done by Town resident Andrew Kohler toward this effort for the last six months.  The Town also thanks Ellen Calves of Bedford 2020 for the organizations efforts towards reducing carbon emissions and supporting the use of electric vehicles. The charging stations will be serviced by ChargePoint, a global organization dedicated to servicing the chargers.   Comptroller Abraham Zambrano gave the locations of the stations and also gave two price quotes, one for the replacement of the existing five charging stations, and one for the installment of the new one. The total project is budgeted at $100,140. The Town will use $30,000 of an existing 2016 fund earmarked for the repair of the stations and $70,140 out of the general fund for the remainder of the funding. The details of how the Town will charge for the use of the electricity and as well as timed use of the stations are still being worked out as well as parking costs. A profit and loss (PNL) report will be provided by the end of September.
The sidewalk on Court Road will be replaced.  The sidewalk is 30 years old and has deteriorated over time.  The new sidewalk will also be wider. The sidewalk will run from Route 22 to the elementary school. The sidewalk will be replaced with the same brick and concrete pattern that currently exists. The low bidder, Lascon Inc., is familiar with the scope and has provided good references for similar projects. The contract value will be the base bid of $55,150 plus a not to exceed value of $12,750, for a total not to exceed value of $67,900.
The Town will be purchasing 30 cluster replacement recycling and waste receptacles from Kettle Creek Corporation, 18 stainless steel tops for existing Victor Stanley Receptacles and labels for stainless tops.  The existing receptacles are 20 years old and have been durable and have stood the test of time. The total projected expenditure is $52,128.80. Funds are proposed to be drawn the Capital budget ($40,000) line and from the General Fund balance ($12,128.80).
A resident has requested that a stop sign be installed on Woodfield Road at the intersection of Oak Road. Commissioner Kevin Winn concurred with the request due to limited sight distance.
A public hearing was set for September 5 at 8 PM.
Northern Westchester Office for Victims of Domestic Abuse:  Pound Ridge Supervisor Dick Lyman will present to the Town Board a proposal for an inter-municipal agreement among Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, Bedford, North Salem and Somers for office space for Office for Women, Hope’s Door, The Pace Women’s Law Center and the Family Justice Center to serve our residents who are victims of domestic abuse.
Gateway signs – the signs and poles have been received and the sign company is making up an adapter for the post hole size issue that occurred during fabrication. It is anticipated that the signs will be installed in September.
Traffic Calming
  • The raised crosswalk is planned for September. Acocella contracting will be performing the work. DPW will communicate with store owners, the Chamber, and BVHDRC before the work occurs.
  • Paving of the Village Green and installation of the speed hump will occur in October or November.
Street Lights – 11 have been ordered and are expected to be delivered by the end of September. DPW plans to replace all of the ones in the brick sidewalk between Court Road and 172, and then several on the Village Green this year. Another 11 +/- have been included in the capital plan for next year, and can be scheduled once the plan is approved
Court Road Sidewalk – Replacement is planned to start by the end of August. DPW will communicate with store owners, the Chamber, and BVHDRC before the work occurs.
Route 22 Sidewalk north of Court Road – likely to be budgeted for and replaced in 2018.
August 15 (7:15 PM)
Overview & Discussion of Comptroller’s suggestions on possible expense reductions and non-tax revenue sources
September 5 (7:15 PM)
Town Board review of proposed 2018 budget for Police
September 19 (7:15 PM)
Town Board review of proposed 2018 budget for Lighting and Water Districts, Public Works and Building Departments and Libraries
October 3 (7:15 PM)
Town Board review of proposed 2018 budget for Recreation & Parks Departments and all other Departments; discussion of tentative 2018 budget.
October 17 (7:15 PM)
Town Board further review of tentative 2018 budget; note that Budget Officer is to finalize tentative budget and file tentative budget in office of the Town Clerk prior to October 30. The Town Clerk is to formally present tentative budget to the Town Board prior to November 10. The Town Board may call upon any Department Head to discuss the tentative budget and any estimates submitted.
November 9 (7:15 PM)
Town Board consideration of any revisions in tentative 2018 budget – holding of a public hearing is optional before adoption of preliminary 2018 budget.
November 21
Adoption of preliminary 2018 budget based on any revisions in the tentative 2018 budget. The preliminary budget shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk and reproduced for public distribution as directed by the Town Board.
December 5
Town Board to hold public hearing, make revisions to the preliminary budget and adopt the final 2018 budget. The Town must comply with all notice requirements in Town Law §108. The hearing may be adjourned if necessary, but may not go beyond December 15. The final budget must be adopted prior to December 20.
We are pleased that the Police Station project is proceeding well.  As you may know, the project consists of the “gut renovation” of the existing police station building, the construction of a 4300 sq. ft. addition (increasing total square footages to approximately 11,000 sq. ft., updated learning/training facilities, and an updated infrastructure designed to keep the department operating to its fullest potential for years to come The last of the footings were poured on Tuesday, and we expect to be done with the foundation next week.
Please click here to find important New York State voter registration deadlines, including August deadlines which pertain to September’s state and local primaries and an Oct 2017 deadline for voting in the September 2018 (!) midterm primary season.
Most–in not all–of us are already registered…but perhaps you know someone who isn’t. Or someone who has moved and needs to update their address. We encourage you to forward this email along.
The Town has been working assiduously to develop new parking in the hamlet.   At the Town’s expense we commissioned in 2015 a concept parking plan which offered ways to significantly increase parking at the Bedford Playhouse building (at relatively minor cost), increase parking on Court Road (this was implemented with an increase of 11 spaces with no time limit) and maps out a municipal parking lot on vacant property which the Presbyterian Church owns off of Court Road.   Click here for the concept plan.   The Town is awaiting the results of a Phase I Environmental Assessment of the Church’s property.  The Town Board made provision in its 2016 Capital Plan for the acquisition and development of the property.
Due to bridge construction work, traffic on the southbound Sprain Brook Parkway will be shifted to the northbound roadway, reducing the Parkway from three to two lanes in each direction. This shift is expected to begin on August 21, 2017 and last until November 20, 2017. The shift will occur south of Route 100C, continue for one-half of a mile, then shift back north of Interstate 287. This traffic shift and lane reduction is necessary to perform the bridge replacement.
For more information you may contact the NYSDOT Construction Field Office at: 914-345-6180.  For trip planning and current roadway conditions, call 511 or visit
Significant traffic delays are anticipated
Given that it does not appear that the County enforces the County’s Anti-Idling Law (click here for the text of the law) (at least in Bedford), a number of Bedford residents have asked the Town to step in.   Working with Police Chief Padilla and Town’s counsel, we have determined that parking enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the law.   The Chief is developing a plan for such enforcement without diverting significantly from parking enforcement duties.
I thought that you might enjoy seeing the first Calendar of Local Equine Events from Bedford Loves Horses. If you know of area equine events that you’d like added to our calendar during the year, just let them know via ‘Contact Us’ on their website by clicking here.
Con Edison is replacing the gas main on 117 between Norm Avenue and Woodland Road in Bedford Hills. NYSDOT required night work to minimize traffic disruption.
If you have any questions, please contact Westchester Public Affairs at 1-914-925-6361 or   Click here for the notice

The Town Board is very grateful for the service of so many civic-minded residents to help our community.  We thank those whom the Town Board appointed and re-appointed at our meeting:
John Stockbridge was re-appointed to the Historic Building Preservation Commission; Fred Silverman was re-appointed to the Filming Committee; Lauren Smith was re-appointed  and Lynn Bayuk was appointed to the Drug Abuse Prevention Council (DAPC)
The Town of Bedford earlier this week was served with a Summons in a Civil Action in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York brought by Fair Housing Justice Center, Inc. and Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. alleging that the Town and Blue Mountain Housing Development Corp. are administering the Town’s “middle-income” housing units in a manner which “subjects African American applicants to longer waiting periods for such housing.” Click here for a copy of the Summons. The Town of Bedford is committed to providing and assisting in the provision of affordable and accessible housing for all persons. Similarly the mission of the Blue Mountain Housing Development Corporation is to promote the social welfare, common good and general welfare by enabling and facilitating the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town of Bedford. The Town of Bedford recently adopted the Affordable Housing model code provisions. The Town has also actively participated in the provision of affordable and accessible housing within the Town of Bedford by participating in and donating Town property, with respect to the development of the Antioch Church property which will provide 12 affordable affirmatively furthering fair housing units. The Town disputes the claim in the lawsuit that it has violated any provisions of the Fair Housing Act, or that it acts in a discriminatory manner with respect to housing or any other policies. As a result, the Town intends to vigorously defend its rights with respect to this action.
The Board adopted a resolution in support of the plans of Bedford Union Cemetery, a not-for-profit cemetery on Clinton Road in Bedford Hills (near the Rippowam Cisqua campus), to expand.   The Cemetery is running out of space for burial plots and wishes to acquire property adjacent to it in a phased expansion of the existing cemetery. Click here for a copy of the resolution.
To improve safety at the Lawrence Circle in Katonah, the Traffic Safety Committee requested shrub removals at 2 intersections by Lawrence Circle to improve drivers’ line of sight.  Three shrubs were removed and transplanted elsewhere and two shrubs were removed and disposed of.
Additionally, it was requested that minor tree branch trimming be performed as well as pruning back a large shrub for greater sight lines.
I contacted NYPIRG to discuss our displeasure with their canvassing methods. I spoke to Brenden Colling, Statewide Outreach Director. He apologized for any aggressive canvassing methods which residents have encountered, is speaking to their canvassers to let them know that such methods are unacceptable and has provided his direct contact information and invites anyone with an issue or problem to feel free to contact him: (212) 349-6460 x 1180;
As I mentioned previously, the Town Board has asked the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC) to thoroughly review the proposal (below is from my June 2 explaining the process).  I take responsibility for this taking longer than anticipated, because I have asked that all reports and studies be in writing, as all concerned are entitled to the documents themselves rather than a recap, summary or synthesis of them.   I anticipate that the RPAC will be submitting a memorandum to the Town Board regarding the proposal within the next couple of weeks.  [The Family Bike Area Community Proposal can be found by visiting].
Given that it will be delivered to the Town Board while many are on vacation and out of town, I do not consider it appropriate for the Town Board to take action on the recommendations until after Labor Day.   We will post the recommendations and the back-up documents to the Town’s website and give ample advance notice to the community of the date when the matter will be scheduled for Town Board consideration.
I thank all, whatever your views, for continued patience and understanding.
 Several Katonah residents, both those favoring the proposal and those opposing it, have asked about the status and the process.   Ultimately, the Town Board will make the decision.  We follow a process and rely heavily on our staff and the Recreation Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC).   We have asked staff and RPAC to review the proposal together with comments and concerns raised.   Below are questions and concerns which have been raised and need to be addressed.  This will require time.  While staff and RPAC will proceed diligently, I would not consider it reasonable for us to expect due diligence to be completed and a report with recommendations for either the May 2 or the May 16 Town Board meeting.  I am hopeful that the Town Board can consider the matter at either the June 7 or June 21 meeting.  All interested parties will have an opportunity to address the Board at such time. 
 In answer to questions raised by those opposed to the proposal, I wish to assure you that we have received many valid and legitimate comments and concerns, and as detailed below from Recreation and Parks Superintendent Bill Heidepriem, they all will be considered and addressed.   In answer to questions raised by those supporting the proposal, even if the Board were to approve the proposal, the actual creation of the park would need to await the fall after the conclusion of the summer park season.

Among points/questions to be considered: 

  • The appropriateness of this new park amenity in a hamlet park
  • Family Bike area size of 1 acre – it doesn’t seem big enough for the three areas and the potential number of users
  • “Good neighbor” impact
  • Traffic impact on Wildwood Road & neighbor concerns
  • Parking impact – new parking area and by the shelter
  • Insurance questions – rate increase, liability issues, additional requirements from our carrier
  • Storm water discharge from the shelter access road to the wooded area proposed for the family bike area
  • Trail walker vs bike ride – potential conflicts
  • Bikers going “off course” into undesignated areas of the woods as well as onto the trails
  • Supervision, monitoring concerns – who, how etc.
  • Impact to the environment – wooded area – trees – soils – habitat
  • Erosion concerns – down the hill 
Bike Area Trails:
  • Construction – who reviews and approves the design drawings?
  • Pump & Strider track material – Clay proposed – maintenance requirements, run off, etc.
  • What amount of money needs to be budgeted for yearly maintenance/repairs improvements etc?
  • Maintenance – need to better understand the maintenance requirements associated with the trails as well as perimeter area
  • Are there maintenance standards that exist?
  • What are the maintenance requirements?
  • Yearly
  • Seasonal
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Weather impacts:
  • Freeze/thaw
  • Heavy rains
  • Bike Area season – what is the season?
  • Teamster vs volunteer work
  • Staff impact 
Other Options:
  • Within Katonah Memorial Park
  • Other Town Parks
  • Other Areas 
We are accepting applications from qualified candidates for a part-time Office Administrator to maintain records, run reports, support events, and assist with communications. Compensation will be commensurate with skill set.  Applicants encouraged to submit resumé and cover letter by August 18.  Bedford 2020 Office: 68 Bedford Road (lower level), Katonah, NY. (914) 620-2411 or email us
Town of Bedford Police Department has received information that residents are being targeted by phone scammers. The caller ID on the calls received by residents show a caller ID identifying the Town of Bedford as the caller. Residents are reminded to not provide any personal information over the phone and to not call numbers provided by the caller. If you receive a call from one of these scammers please hang up. Additional information on phone scams, and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim, can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website If you believe you have been targeted, please call the police desk to report it: 914-241-3111.
You may not be aware that some town officials and departments are on social media. These pages provide valuable information to town residents such as road closures, upcoming special events, board meeting schedules, etc.

Please give our pages a “like” by clicking on the links below:
Bedford Police Department, New York:
It certainly does seem that nearly every time the lights flicker, the traffic light goes out. For those who did not see my reply to some of the replies. I have contacted NYSEG and the Regional Director of NYS Department of Transportation several times to ask them to address what is a recurring problem. I, too, had thought that deploying police officers to set cones and direct traffic would be a relatively easy solution. However, doing so puts the officers at risk of getting hit by drivers who cannot see them at this very busy intersection. Rather, the Town acts as promptly as possible to provide emergency power to the lights. The Town uses its own generator and deploys it with Department of Public Works employees to power the traffic lights until NYSEG restores power. I should mention that we have our own 24/7 police force so calling police dispatch gets prompt attention. For a longer term solution, I am arranging a meeting with the Regional Director of NYS DOT with this problem high on our list.

It was pointed out that cars coming out of DeCicco parking lot on the Arroway side frequently make a left turn, violating the “No Left Turn” sign. There also is concern that tree/vegetation may be blocking the line of sight. We are doing/have done the following:
1. Our Police Department will be ramping up enforcement.
2. We checked and did not find that the tree/vegetation is blocking the line of sign.
3. Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn is having two new signs installed (7/21) to provide enhanced reliability.

I was asked about addressing the difficulty of crossing over from Cottage to Valley (the crosswalk at New Street not being easily accessible due to the guardrail). We will stripe a 4′ shoulder using a white fog line on Valley between Cottage Place and New St. This would guide cars toward the middle of the road and allow pedestrians and cyclists to carefully use the south side of the road to walk to New Street and cross to the sidewalk.

For information on parking at the Town of Bedford Offices During Police Department Construction click here 

C&M Movie Night – “The Secret Life of Pets” has been re-scheduled for Saturday, September 9.  Click here for the flyer.
Please click here for the discussion of the Town’s paving policy and the list of roads to be paved in 2017.
Customers can report power interruptions or service problems, view service restoration information and our outage map on line at as well as on their mobile device or by calling   1-800-75-coned.

Starting this week, Town of Bedford residents can choose to dispose of their solid organic waste at the Town Recycling Center via Community Compost, a new program brought to you by Bedford 2020 and the Town of Bedford. Community Compost can accept a wide range of materials including meat, dairy, paper towels, teabags, fruits, vegetables and more. Residents can sign up for this program by paying a one-time fee of $25. They will receive training and a compost kit with a small bucket (1.6 gal), perfect for easy kitchen access, and a large bucket (7 gal), with a sealable lid for storage outside the home and transport. Participants will drop-off their organic waste to the Town Recycling Center, located on Railroad Avenue, on Saturdays between 8am and 3:00pm. To learn more about Community Compost or to sign up for the program visit or contact Bedford 2020 at (914) 620-2411. 2017
Phase I Environmental Studies to Be Performed Bedford Village Parking
The Town Board authorized a Phase I environmental review of property off of Court Road owned by The Presbyterian Church which the Town is interested in acquiring for municipal parking.
Open Space
The Town Board will consider a request to authorize a Phase I environmental review of property bounded by Route 172/Route 22, Crush Road and Country Kids Lane for possible acquisition for open space, as recommended by the Open Space Committee.
Working with real estate brokers and some members of the horse community, we have developed FAQs for owners or prospective purchasers which we hope you’ll find helpful. We’re also looking at possible revisions in the Town Code related to horses to make it easier for owners of horse properties. Please click here for the “Horse Friendly Message,” the FAQ’s link is included in the message.
Several residents have expressed concern about the noise, dust and other impacts created by leaf blowers. You may have seen letters to the editor of the Record Review advocating regulation of blowers. .A number of communities in Westchester County and in New York State have adopted local laws regulating blowers and other power equipment. I would like to approach the matter in a deliberative manner in which all views are considered. We need to listen and weigh all concerns; ranging from those who would ban the use of gas powered leaf blowers to those who want no hand of government in the matter. Bedford 2020 has concerns about the significant emissions from gas powered leaf blowers and the topsoil which it carries away. Residents complain about the noise. On the other hand some homeowners object to the enactment of any local law which deprives them of choice in tending to their landscaping. Many landscapers are opposed to any regulation which adversely affects their livelihood or imposes significant capital outlays for new equipment. Over the next few weeks we’ll be considering the means for a thoughtful and calm discussion with the community, landscapers and other interested parties regarding the matter. I’ll keep you posted.
We’re working with Bedford 2020 at ways to reduce the noise and pollution emanating from leaf blowers, especially gasoline powered blowers. This may begin with recommended “Best Practices” for homeowners explaining how leaf blowers might be avoided altogether – better for your lawn and landscaping, better for the environment and easier on your and your neighbors’ ears.
Please consider your neighbor when you go to work with your lawn mower or weed whacker (or your lawn service uses them). We realize that your busy schedule makes it difficult to find time to get work done on your property. We all try to squeeze in time to do it. But please not too early and not too late. Our Town Code does not permit high noise activities, such as these, before 8 AM or after sunset.
The Town’s financial operations for the year ended December 31, 2016.Click here for the audited financial statements that have been prepared by PKF O’Connor Davies LLC. In addition to the Town’s audited financials, click herefor the results of the review of the Town’s Justice Court. Among the highlights are that the Town spent less than the adopted 2016 budget and revenues in most areas were higher than budgeted, resulting in a substantial increase in General Fund balances (over $1.1 million) and in Highway Fund balances (over $400,000). The Town Board adopted a policy last year which states in part “The Town of Bedford finances will be managed so as to maintain balances of the various funds at levels sufficient to mitigate current and future risks, such as revenue shortfalls, unanticipated expenditures, stabilization of tax rates and user fees, protection of the Town’s creditworthiness, and to provide for adequate cash flow needs.” The General Fund balance now is at approximately 35% of 2017 budgeted expenditures and the Highway Fund balance at approximately 20% of 2017 budgeted expenditures. The Town Board believes that such levels are responsible, prudent and not excessive.

Applications are now being accepted for more than 30 new, fair and affordable homes in Westchester. These homes are single-family properties and condominiums, ranging in size, from one to five bedrooms. All of the homes are in good condition and located in the following communities: Bedford, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Pelham Manor, Peekskill, Pound Ridge, Somers, and Yorktown. “The county is pleased to offer these homes at discounted prices to families that want to live in Westchester County, but may not have been able to afford it in the past,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “I urge anyone who is interested to apply to purchase these homes.” Westchester County purchased these homes at market value and is selling them at affordable prices to qualified individuals and families. The price for fair and affordable homes range $125,000 to $300,000. Qualifications for buyers to purchase an affordable home include:
  • A household income at or less than 80% of the Area Median Income for Westchester County: $60,400 for a one-person household; $69,000 for a two-person household; $77,650 for a three-person household; $86,250 for a four-person household ; $93,150 for a five-person household.
  • Households must also have savings for a down payment and closing costs, satisfactory credit, and incomes sufficient to carry the monthly mortgage payments.
These 30-plus homes are among the 790 units that the county is developing in accordance with the 2009 housing settlement. The settlement permitted the county to satisfy up to 25% of the required 750 units with existing housing. The properties will remain affordable for 50 years. Information on each unit is available on the county’s Homeseeker website at click here,where interested families can view the information, download the application and sign up to receive information on additional properties and open houses. The county’s housing marketing consultant, the Housing Action Council (HAC), is handling the marketing of each unit. Rose Noonan, executive director of the HAC, said the available homes have a number of options for potential buyers, such as proximity to public transportation, amount of yard space, and communities with a pool or near a lake. “There are also the condominiums with amenities and common areas cared for by management companies,” said Noonan. “Each home has its own style ranging from townhomes and flats to raised ranches to Cape Cod style and colonials.” The HAC is a not-for-profit organization that helps the county identify and qualify prospective purchasers. As a member of the New York Mortgage Coalition, the HAC also provides homeownership counseling and assists buyers through the mortgage approval process. The buyers will be selected through a lottery process. Applications will be accepted through April 24, after which public lotteries will be held for each property. Buyers can expect to be in their homes by the end of the year. For additional information about the homes and their communities, contact the HAC at (914) 332-4144 or hac@affordablehomes.orgor go to click here.
The Town of Bedford is pleased to announce that in response to requests from members of the community, the Town is providing mobile paper shredder events in 2017:
  • September 16, and November 18 at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
At the event, a Mobile Shredding Truck will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc…).There will be no charge to residents for the service.
Click here for our projections prepared by our Town Comptroller Abe Zambrano.
Please take a few minutes to review our 2016 Annual Report, which summarizes what your Town government did to serve the community in 2016. You’ll find a department by department summary of continuing to provide a high level of service and highlights of improvements made. Click here.
A new program offered by the NY AG’s Office. The program will provide up to $40k to homeowners facing foreclosure due to delinquent mortgage payments, property taxes or maintenance fees. If they qualify, they do not need to pay it back monthly. It is paid back if the homeowner refinances or sells the house over the life of the loan. Westchester Residential Opportunities Inc. (WRO) is designated to process the application from their office. Homeowners can call Veronica Raphael, Director of Foreclosure Prevention to see if they qualify for this program. 914-428-4507 x334 or
Please be advised that during the renovation work at the Police Station, parking at both 425 Cherry Street and 321 Bedford Road will be limited. Please note that starting on Monday, February 6, there will be “Resident Parking Only” for certain spaces in the parking lots. We would also strongly recommend that if you need to visit the Town Offices, you consider doing so on a day other than when the Justice Court is in session. For the Justice Court schedule and other information regarding parking, please click here .
I have been working with Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and Police Chief Mel Padilla to address the danger posed with power outages knocking out the traffic lights at the three major intersections in Katonah: Routes 35 and 22, Route 35 and the I-684 overpass and Route 25 and Woodbridge Road. As was recognized in the discussion of the outage, posting officers either to direct traffic or place flares in a multi lane highway with additional turning lanes in dark rainy/icing conditions is extremely dangerous (especially with some careless, heedless drivers disregarding the intersections and basic traffic law). We are exploring other means of addressing the problem. Because there have been previous incidences of power outages at these locations, I have contacted NYSEG to ask what measures NYSEG is taking to “harden” the circuit which power the traffic lights. I have also asked whether there might be a “dual feed” whereby if one circuit goes down, another circuit might pick up the load. It’s not a likelihood, but I still felt I should ask. I also placed a call to the regional office of the NYS Department of Transportation to discuss our concerns, given that the traffic lights are owned by and the responsibility of DOT. Most important is getting the traffic lights back into operation as quickly as possible. Given that FEMA did not grant our post-Sandy request for funding generators, we purchased them ourselves. The generators are portable and may be used in emergency situations throughout town. As such, the generators are not fixed in a given location but are transported from safe storage to where most needed. Commissioner Winn and Chief Padilla are instituting new procedures for mobilizing the generators more quickly. They are confident that doing so should significantly reduce the time that the traffic lights are out.
To report an outage or an electrical emergency, please call us at1.800.572.1131 or go to our Emergency Preparedness web page, “Outage Central,” at click here
You can sign up for Outage Alerts to receive notifications regarding power outages and the estimated restoration time here NYSEG urges customers to stay away from downed power lines – even lines that appear dead can be deadly. NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous conditions.
Effective 1/2/17 the daily parking rate is $8 per calendar day. For more information on Parking Permits click here

outages and emergencies You can sign up for text alerts from NYSEG by going to click here and from Con Edison by going to click here. In addition, here is some useful information if you need to contact either NYSEG or Con Edison. Both NYSEG and Con Edison encourage customers with special needs to enroll in special services for them. “NYSEG is committed to providing their customers with safe, reliable energy delivery. They also offer many services for special need customers, including: Special Identification for households where everyone is elderly, blind or disabled. Large print, sight-saver Bills for visually-impaired customers. Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants NYSEG’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) Project SHARE emergency energy assistance program. If you or someone in your household relies on life-sustaining equipment, you should contact NYSEG immediately! How to call NYSEG: Electricity interruptions or emergencies: 1.800.572.1131 (24 hours a day, every day) Customer relations center: 1.800.572.1111 Payment arrangements: 1.888.315.1755 Hearing and speech-impaired: Dial 711 (New York Relay Service)” Message from Con Edison: Customer Central Special Services Safety for Special Customers: It is important that we have a record of everyone who uses electrically operated life-support equipment or has medical hardships so we can contact them in an emergency. To learn more and complete the survey, please visit the link below. You can also let us know by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). Con Edison customers can enroll for this service by visiting, clicking on Customer Central, and then the “special services” link. You will need your account number. To keep our records current, each year we send a letter asking you to recertify. click here Customers with Special Needs: We recognize that senior citizens and people with disabilities need special attention. That’s why we offer a variety of services and billing and payment options that make life a little bit easier for the elderly, visually or hearing-impaired, or customers with permanent disabilities. Please visit the link below to view the Customers With Special Needs brochure. click here
I would like to take this opportunity to urge residents to check their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Warns Customers Not To Fall for Scam Callers Refer Suspicious Calls to Police or 1-800-75CONED NEW YORK- Con Edison is warning customers not to fall for scams in which a caller threatens a service turnoff unless the customer purchases a pre-paid card or arranges for a transfer via MoneyGram to pay a bill. These callers are not from Con Edison and Con Edison does not accept payments of electric or gas bills by pre-paid debit cards, or by MoneyGram or similar transfers. The company has recently seen a spike in reports from customers who were contacted by the scammers. Con Edison believes the scammers are calling customers randomly, not targeting just those who owe back payments. The company has received complaints from residential and business customers. The scammers sometimes even tell the customer about a store near the customer’s home that sells pre-paid cards. The scammer instructs the customer to pay cash to put money on the card and to then provide the number on the card to the person who called. Once the customer provides the scammer with the card number, the scammer steals the money on the card. There have even been reports of these scammers making a Con Edison phone number show up on the customer’s caller ID. With MoneyGram, scammers may ask a customer to provide money from a bank account, credit card or debit card by going online or to a specified location. The money goes into someone else’s bank account or is available for the receiver to pick up in cash. Be alert if anyone asks you by telephone to arrange for pre-paid debit cards or a MoneyGram transfer as payment for your bill, or to send money to an out-of-state address. Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, over the telephone, unless you are certain you are speaking to a Con Edison representative. Anyone who feels they may have been a target of an impostor or a payment scam should call their local police department. They may also call Con Edison at 1-800-75CONED. Con Edison’s website, click here, offers a variety of approved and convenient options for bill payment.
Over the last couple of years, I have brought together about quarterly the chiefs of our fire departments and the president of the Katonah Bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps to discuss matters of mutual concern. Results of some of the last couple of meetings was the Town agreeing to assume the expense of a larger monitor and certain other improvements to the OEM center housed on the second floor of the Bedford Hills Fire House. In addition, we have discussed ways to reduce false alarms which result in unnecessary deployment of emergency forces and unnecessary charges to property owners.
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.

Pricing your home correctly | Bedford Real Estate

Pricing your own home is hard, what with all the history and hopes this magic number entails. Of course, you want to make a profit. Of course, all that money you spent installing a swimming pool or a half-bath will be recouped, because you’re leaving your digs in better shape than when you bought it, right? Right?

Well, not necessarily. Too many home sellers fall prey to myths about home pricing that seem to make sense at first, but don’t jibe with the reality of real estate markets today. To make sure you haven’t bought into any of this malarkey—since the buyers you’re trying to woo sure haven’t—here are some common pricing myths you’ll want to rinse from your brain so you kick off your home-selling venture with realistic expectations. It’s time to get real, folks!

1. You always make money when you sell a home

Sure, real estate tends to appreciate over time: The National Association of Realtors® estimates that home prices will jump 5% by the end of 2017 and continue rising 3.5% in 2018. But selling your home for more than you paid is by no means a given, and your return on investment can vary greatly based on where you live.

The NAR also found, for instance, that the cost of single-family homes increased in about 87% of the metros it studied, but prices actually dropped in 23 markets. So don’t assume you’ll walk away with a profit until you’ve examined what’s up in your area first.

2. Price your house high to make big bucks

We know what you’re thinking: “Hey, it’s worth a shot!” But if you start with some sky-high asking price, you’ll soon come back to Earth when you realize that an overpriced home just won’t sell.

“While the payday might sound appealing, you’re actually sacrificing your best marketing time in exchange for the remote possibility that someone will overpay for your home,” says Kathleen Marks, a Realtor® with United Real Estate in Asheville, NC.

While certain buyers might be suckered in, this becomes far less likely if they’re working with a buyer’s agent who will know all too well when a home is overpriced, and advise their client to steer clear. And this can lead to problems down the road (as our next myth indicates).

3. If your home’s overpriced, it’s no big deal to lower it later

Sorry, but overpricing your home isn’t easily fixed just by lowering it later on. The reason: Homes that have lingered on the market for months—or that have undergone one or more price reductions—make buyers presume that something must be wrong with it. As such, they might still steer clear, or offer even less than the price you’re now asking.

Bottom line: “Price your home appropriately from the beginning for your best shot at having a quick and easy sale,” Marks recommends.

4. Pricing your home low means you won’t make as much money

Similarly, sellers are often leery of pricing their home on the low end. But as counterintuitive as this seems, this strategy can often pay off big-time. Here’s why: Low-priced homes drum up tons of interest, which could result in a bidding war that could drive your home’s price past your wildest dreams.

5. You can add the cost of any renovations you’ve made

Let’s say you overhauled your kitchen or added a deck. It stands to reason that whatever money you paid for these improvements will be recouped in full once you sell—after all, your home’s new owners are inheriting all your hard work.

The reality: While your renovations might see some return on investment, you’ll rarely recoup the whole amount. On average, you can expect to get back 64% of every dollar you spend on home improvements. Plus that profit can vary greatly based on which renovation you do.

Check out this list of common renovations and their return on investmentto know what you can actually expect.

6. A past appraisal will help you pinpoint the right price

If you have an appraisal in hand, from when you bought or refinanced your house, you might think that’s a logical place to start to price your home. It’s not!

An appraisal assigns your home a value based on market conditions at a specific date, so it becomes old news very quickly. In fact, lenders typically won’t accept appraisals that are more than 60 days old.

“Since lenders know markets can change in six months’ time, it’s important for sellers to understand that a previous appraisal is never a reliable source for the current value of a home,” Marks says.

7. Your agent might overprice the house to make a bigger commission

Don’t even go there, says Realtor Raena Janes of RJHomes in Tucson, AZ.

“While it’s true that an agent’s commission is based on the selling price of a house, the disparity will end up being negligible,” she says. For example, the difference in commission between a $300,000 house and one that’s $310,000 is about $150.

“No real estate agent is going to lose a sale for the sake of a couple hundred dollars,” she explains.


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