Trump’s infrastructure plan | South Salem Real Estate

One of President Trump’s common refrains on the campaign trail was that he would help rebuild the country’s crumbling infrastructure, leaning on his extensive experience in real estate and development to shepherd forth a plan to cut red tape, move projects forward, and put this country to work.

More than 100 days into his administration, his grand design has yet to take shape, though it’s been a constant source of conversation in D.C. There has been movement over the last few days, with reports saying that the Trump team has solicited bids for potential infrastructure investments from across the country and looks toward releasing a plan in the fall that would steer $200 billion of public money to infrastructure investment.

Curbed spoke to infrastructure experts to get their take on Trump’s nascent plans: what should be included, what to watch for as plans come together, and its chances to clear both houses of Congress and help America get to work.

Watch the numbers

Henry Petroski, a Duke professor and infrastructure expert, says that spending on roads and construction is “like apple pie and motherhood—everybody’s for it.” There’s a lot of talk about some kind of plan, a proposal both candidates supported last year, and representatives and senators will have a tough time voting against it, Petroski says. It’s still taking shape, but based on previous reports and statements from Trump administration officials, it would include a combination of government investment, new funding mechanisms to encourage private investment, and regulatory reform to help accelerate approvals and construction timelines.

That makes it all the more important to watch how funding is allocated. The trillion-dollar proposal the Trump administration is developing sounds like a lot, and it is: The federal government’s annual budget is about $3.8 trillion, including entitlements such as Social Security and Medicaid. Petroski believes the spending will most likely be spread out over 10 years, which means a 100 billion dollars annually, roughly double the amount currently being spent on roads and bridges. Doubling funding is a big deal, but it’s important to put things in perspective.

“We can’t just look at the headlines that say $1 trillion; we need the details,” he says. “This isn’t just an issue with this administration, however. This happens with every administration.”

 Caiaimage/Getty Images

Will states take the lead?

While the Trump administration has promised to have a plan together by this fall, some analysts, such as Petroski, are skeptical. He feels that health care and other priorities may derail infrastructure this year, at least on the federal level.

Federal delays in approving new spending, however, have spurred many cities and states to take action. Federal infrastructure is tagged to the gasoline tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993 (Trump has flirtedwith the idea of raising it to fund infrastructure spending). But many states have raised their own rates or passed spending measure to fund infrastructure (federal dollars are, on average, only responsible for 25 percent of infrastructure spending, according to Petroski).

“Close to half the states have raised the state gasoline taxes in the last couple of years, and the others are considering it,” he says. “They simply can’t wait for the federal government to do something.”

Will we build green infrastructure?

In addition to how much we’re going to spend on infrastructure, another big question is what we’re going to spend money on. Armando Carbonell, a senior fellow and urban policy expert at the Lincoln Institute, says one of the biggest problems with any Trump infrastructure plan is the administration’s stance on climate change. It’s not just that any potential new construction may ignore public transit and sustainable options that reduce carbon emissions, it’s that not acknowledging a changing climate means money will be misspent.

“We need infrastructure to protect communities from the effects of climate change that can’t be avoided,” he says. “Sea-level rise, flooding, the effects of wildfires; in many cases, there are infrastructure needs that should be a priority, such as protecting coastal cities. If we don’t take climate change into account, we may well build infrastructure that is vulnerable. There are simple things we can do, such as building on higher elevations, that take account of a rising sea level. If we don’t do that, any investment might be a bad one.”

 RF/Adam Pass Photography

How will regulations be changed?

One of Trump’s promises has been that by creating a new regulatory system, reforming current processes, and encouraging public-private investments (or P3s) he can cut red tape and move long-stalled projects forward. Like other aspects of an infrastructure overhaul taking shape, the devil is in the details.

Carbonell says proper oversight and regulatory update could give the sector a massive upgrade, saving time and money. There are “great benefits” to looking at what and how we do things, especially the procurement and finance processes.

“I don’t have a black or white view of P3s, other than to say people need to be careful and look out for the public interest,” says Carbonell. “With proper regulations and design, P3s may be part of the solution. But we can’t get something for nothing. If we want a trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure, we need to spend a trillion dollars.”

Others have a more pessimistic view of pushing for more private investment in infrastructure. According to urbanist and journalist Yonah Freemark, the push for privatization in infrastructure investment is consistent with Trump’s rhetoric—Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has been open to finding new private funding sources for infrastructure, and the proposed Trump budget does make massive cuts in public transportation spending—but will also significantly shape the way any new infrastructure policy works.

“One thing we know is that there’s no way private-sector entities would be involved with an infrastructure project unless it involves user fees or ways to make revenue,” he says. “That makes sense; why would you invest in a project that couldn’t make money? But that changes the decision-making process. It’s the perspective of a profit-making private company, not the public sector.”

That translates into support for moneymaking projects, such as pipelines, toll bridges, and toll roads, not, say, water pipes, or roadways in less dense rural areas, according to Freemark.

 Shutterstock

What kind of jobs will it provide?

Trump has also promoted infrastructure as a jobs program to help with unemployment. According to Scott Myers-Lipton, a professor of sociology at San Jose State University and author of Rebuild America: Solving the Economic Crisis through Civic Works and Social Solutions to Poverty, it’s tough to “square the circle” when it comes to providing high-wage jobs while cutting regulations (and potentially, labor protections) and encouraging private investment.

He sees New Deal-era social works programs, which provided direct employment through the government, as a much more effective means of creating a large-scale jobs program and truly putting America back to work.

“How is it going to help people earn stable incomes?” he says. ”So far, he has not yet put forward a plan that, in that Rooseveltian sense, meets the goal of getting living wage jobs to as many people as possible. This was one of his big promises, spend big on infrastructure and drive unemployment down.”

 

read more…

 

https://www.curbed.com/2017/5/12/15632352/donald-trump-construction-roads-infrastructure?

Expats living in Cotacachi Ecuador | Waccabuc Real Estate

Cotacachi, in the Imbabura province, is getting the lion’s share of expat attention these days. Many, especially those of retirement age, are finding their way here to enjoy the perfect weather, beautiful scenery, low cost of living, and especially the tranquil, slow-paced small-town lifestyle.

Like Otavalo and many other villages in this part of Ecuador, Cotacachi (population: about 8,000) is an artisan town. Just 20 minutes northwest of Otavalo, Cotacachi is Ecuador’s famous “leather” town. Artisan shops line the main street and you can buy any type of leather item, from shoes, boots and jackets to coin purses, bags, and suitcases…even upholstered furniture. Prices for all these items are 50% to 75% less than you would pay in the U.S.

Cotacachi has always enjoyed a reputation as a clean, peaceful village, and its plazas are kept neat and tidy. At night the artisan shops close up and only a few restaurants and small mom-and-pop shops are open. On the corners, you may find families congregating around a hot grill, where ears of corn are roasting along with pork and chicken kabobs. The cool, crisp air smells faintly of wood smoke, roasting corn, and eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees grow abundantly wild, as do palm trees.

Cotacachi has become one of Ecuador’s most active expat communities in recent years, as many foreigners have chosen to locate here—and they enjoy a great lifestyle in Cotacachi. It’s a small, mostly indigenous town with a strong sense of community.

Largely dependent on agriculture, it is the sort of town many of us remember from our childhoods. Fresh raw milk can be bought from local farms, along with eggs laid by free-range chickens. Children still help with the family businesses after school and are well-mannered.

In the quaint downtown, you’ll find a couple of barbers, a small health clinic, and a pavilion for the town band. Ethnic restaurants and cozy cafés make welcoming spots to catch up with friends or just sit and watch life unfold in the Ecuadorian highlands.

Though Cotacachi has a slow and relaxed pace there are constant events and activities to take part in. Every month at least one parade or festival takes place. There are live music events, dances, and even horse processions to be watched and photographed. Seed exchanges, food fairs, and leather expos are all annual events too.

Of course it’s always nice to explore other areas too and there are plenty of great day-trips to choose from. Within two hours you could be at Chachimbiro Hot Springs relaxing in the thermal springs, or enjoying a mud bath at the spa. Lake Cuicocha is just a 15-minute taxi ride from town where you can marvel at the deep blue volcanic crater lake. If you’re up for some physical activity you can take a four-hour hike around the rim, or if you prefer to relax, take the boat tour around the islands in the center of the lake.

The famed market town of Otavalo is nearby, where you can explore the streets filled with craft items, food, and even animals for sale. Ibarra is a larger city just 45 minutes away with shopping malls, dining options, and large parks and plazas to enjoy.

When the sun sets in Cotacachi, the artisan shops close up and only a few restaurants and small mom-and-pop shops are open. That’s all you need, really. After a day of sunshine in the 8,000-foot-elevation, mountain climate, night-time is for sleeping.

Retire in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Retire in CotacachiCotacachi is becoming something of an expat magnet. Estimates are that about 100 expats live full-time in Cotacachi now. It’s a diverse group—not all American. There are Israelis, Cubans, Brits, and more among them, who get together regularly to discuss topics of interest or just to celebrate life. This makes retirement in Cotacachi enjoyable. The expats here are outgoing and relaxed, since there’s not much to worry about. No traffic, no temperature swings, no pesky insects, and certainly no money problems.

The town is also scenic. Two of the most majestic cordilleras of the Andes flank either side of the small village of Cotacachi. And several of Ecuador’s most famous volcanoes can be seen from just about anywhere in town, including Volcan Cotacachi to the west and Imbabura to the east. On a clear day, you can see Volcan Pichincha to the south.

If you want to enjoy good weather, clean air, great scenery, and a rich indigenous culture, but still be within two hours of the international airport in Quito, then retirement in Cotacachi could fit the bill.

Lifestyle in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Lifestyle In CotacachiCotacachi is a fabulous place to improve your health. The moderate climate with little variation throughout the year means that nearly every fruit and vegetable can be grown within a hundred miles. Not only is healthy produce readily available, but it’s also very affordable. With avocados priced at 3 for a dollar, organic leaf lettuce at 25 cents, and 6 plump carrots for 50 cents there is no monetary reason not to eat right.

In addition, the small size of the town makes it perfect for walking. Instead of jumping in your car to run to the grocery store, pay bills, or meet a friend for lunch you can easily accomplish it all with your own two feet. Many folks find that they lose weight without even trying after being in Cotacachi for only a few months. The healthy food choices and extra walking each day help shed excess pounds.

For a small town there are few things lacking. Residents can take advantage of spas, fitness centers, and basic medical needs all within a few blocks of each other. They can also participate in art classes, hiking groups, dance lessons, live musical events, yoga, foreign films, and science courses.

If you’re a social person, Cotacachi is the place for you. There are plenty of other expats to get to know, but the locals are friendly and welcoming too. It’s tough to spend much time in this town without quickly and easily making friends.

Real Estate in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Real Estate in CotacachiThis influx of foreigners has caused something of a building boom in Cotacachi in recent years, and if you come to look for real estate, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Older homes and apartments in need of renovation can be had for the price of a good used car.

Recognizing the trend of foreign baby boomers looking for an unspoiled and inexpensive retirement destination, local builders offer appealing homes and condos with features like large modern kitchens, elegant bathrooms, fireplaces, and more.

Rentals go for as little as $150 a month for a modern, three-bedroom apartment while furnished units with all utilities included go for $600.

Cost of Living in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Cost of Living in CotacachiThe cost of living is low in Ecuador, but especially so in smaller towns like Cotacachi. If you’re living on a budget or just looking to save money, this is a great place to do so.

Sunday is market day, when the villagers bring their wares to sell. Everything from fruits and vegetables to ground spices, woven baskets, and rope made of woven plastic shopping bags—recycling at its best. And then there are the roses…you pay $2 for one dozen, long-stemmed roses that are so fresh they last nearly three weeks.

On Saturdays head to Otavalo—to the largest open-air indigenous market in South America. If you’re a good negotiator, you can buy scarves, woolen socks, and hats for $2 each, or pretty wool and alpaca sweaters for $8 ($4 for kids’ sizes). The 30-minute bus ride from Cotacachi to Otavalo costs 35 cents; a taxi costs $5.

You can hire a maid to clean your condo for $10, and gardeners or landscapers charge around $4 per hour. Furnishing that same condo can be fun and inexpensive as well. There are master carpenters right in town that will build furniture to your specs for 50% to 75% of U.S. costs. Artistic paintings, colorful weavings, and wooden carvings are all easily found in the area and are priced at or below half of what you would pay back home.

Unless you must have imported food items or expensive cuts of meat you’ll save on your grocery bill here. Five dollars at the farmers’ market will get you an extra-large grocery bag filled to the brim with good healthy produce. Bananas, pineapples, mangos, avocados, tomatoes, leafy greens, and dozens of varieties of potatoes are just a few things you’ll find for sale. Whole chickens range from $5 to $8 depending on the size while fresh free-range eggs cost around $1.30 per dozen.

Many restaurants in town serve a menu del dia that consists of a beverage, soup, salad, main course, and dessert. How much? $2.50 each. It’s almost cheaper to eat out than to cook at home.

There are several good doctors in Cotacachi who typically charge $10 for an office visit. An eye exam costs $5 while a dental cleaning and exam will run around $20.

With the lack of severe temperature fluxes you’ll find that heating and air conditioning aren’t necessary, saving you plenty of money. Average electric costs for a household run between $15 and $20 per month. Monthly bills for water and propane gas usually come in at around $5 each. A package of cable TV, internet, and landline phone service can be had for around $100 per month.

Many folks live without a vehicle which eliminates fuel, maintenance, and insurance expenses. Bus fare usually averages around $1 per hour of travel time, and taxis are cheap too, charging $5 to nearby Otavalo (20 minute drive) and $12 to Ibarra (40 minute drive).

Depending upon the lifestyle you want a couple can easily live on $1,200 to $1,800 per month here. Of course frequent dining at high-end restaurants and traveling will require more income, but can still be done for far less than what it would cost in many other parts of the world. Don’t forget to factor in extra funds for trips back home, initial moving and visa costs, and for routine medical care.

 

read more…

 

https://internationalliving.com/countries/ecuador/cotacachi-ecuador/

 

Katonah village survey | Katonah Real Estate

KVIS Town Forum Survey 2017

1. How strong is the sense of community in Katonah?

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2. What new businesses or stores would you like to see in town?

3. To limit noise pollution, Maplewood, New Jersey recently passed an ordinance limiting the use of gas powered leaf blowers. Would you support a similiar ordinance?

4. What new events would you like to see in town?

5. How easy is it to find parking when you shop/dine in Katonah?

6. Speeding on area roads is frequently raised as a safety concern. Would you support the use of “speed cameras” as a method of enforcing speed limits?

7. How many years have you lived in Katonah?

8. How well are the streets and roads in Katonah maintained?

9. A group of residents has proposed the building of a bicycle pump track in Katonah Memorial Park which is currently being reviewed by the Parks Advisory Committee. Do you support this proposal?

10. Would you favor a ban of single-use, carryout plastic bags by retailers in the Katonah and at special events in town?

Builder Confidence Continues on Upward Trend | Katonah Real Estate

In a further sign that the housing market continues to strengthen, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points in May to a level of 70 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the second highest HMI reading since the downturn.

The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market. Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward.  Builders, however, continue to deal with shortages of lots and labor and increasing building material costs.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Two of the three HMI components registered gains in May. The index charting sales expectations in the next six months jumped four points to 79 while the index gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 76. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic edged one point down to 51.

The three-month moving averages for HMI scores posted gains in three out of the four regions. The Northeast and South each registered three-point gains to 49 and 71, respectively, while the West rose one point to 78. The Midwest was unchanged at 68.

 

read more…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/builder-confidence-continues-on-upward-trend/

Bedford Town Hall news | Bedford Hills Real Estate

FOR THE MAY 16 TOWN BOARD AGENDA
 
CALENDARS 
For the Community Events Calendar click here
For the Town Calendar click here
FLAGS AT HALF STAFF
On May 15,  Peace Officer Memorial Day, flags will be flown at half staff.
 
CONTINUING POSTS
 
POTHOLE REPAIRS SEASON HAS OPENED
As to potholes you find in our Town roads, please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
For potholes on state roads in our Town, such as Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172 we would suggest that you call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE.  
MARK YOUR CALENDARS ~ MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS IN THE TOWN OF BEDFORD
click here for the flyer
ACQUISITION OF WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT FOR $1 MOVES FORWARD
As has been recently reported, the property owners in the Bedford Hills-Katonah Business Sewer District on March 30 approved a referendum for the creation of the district and a $1.1 million bond issue.   The sewer system will utilize the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) for the Bedford Hills correctional facilities.  The agreement between the Town of Bedford and DOCCS provides for conveying to the Town title to the WWTP, which has excess capacity and can accommodate the other properties in the district.   The procedure for conveying title is the enactment of a Home Rule Law by the NYS Legislature and signed by the Governor, which would authorize the conveyance.   This is the regular procedure which DOCCS has followed in other instances in which a municipality received land from DOCCS; for example, DOCCS conveyed land to Greene County to construct a County jail; and to Beacon for athletic fields.   Special thanks to Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn, Planning Director Jeff Osterman, DOCCS and especially State Senator George Latimer and State Assemblyman David Buchwald and their respective staffs for turning around very quickly the proposed law.  I also wish to thank Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli who is familiar with the process and has been handling the documentation.   Accordingly, the Town Board approved at the May 2 meeting the Home Rule Request for the enactment of S5786 & A7559 to vest authority to the commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services subject to the consent of the commissioner of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Services to convey title to the Town of Bedford to approximately 9 acres of unappropriated state lands in Bedford Hills on which is located the wastewater treatment plant presently operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. 
2016 AUDIT REPORT
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 here for 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.
 
PROCUREMENT POLICY & BEST VALUE PROCUREMENT
The Town Board discussed a new proposed procurement policy which would be adopted at the same time as a local law allowing “Best Value Procurement”.  The proposed procurement policy would clarify sections of the current policy that may be unclear or outdated.  As written, the proposed procurement policy would also streamline the internal process for purchasing in preparation for the implementation of the Town’s new financial software.  The proposed procurement policy includes a new section for “Best Value Procurement”.  New York General Municipal Law allows Towns to authorize, by local law, the award of certain purchase contracts, including contracts for services, subject to competitive bidding on the basis of “best value” as defined in New York Finance Law.   The proposed “Best Value Procurement” local law will provide flexibility in obtaining good and services at favorable prices and will reduce the time to procure such goods and services.   The Town Board set a public hearing on the proposed law for May 16 at 8:10 PM.
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO LOCAL LAW AMENDING CHAPTER 76 OF THE TOWN CODE – THE LANDLORD REGISTRY LAW (“LLRL”)
The LLRL requires owners of two-family and multi-family residential rental buildings to register with the Town Building Department, pay a fee for each unit that is covered by the LLRL and requires the units to be inspected by the Building Department.  The primary changes to the LLRL we are proposing are as follows:
  • The definition of a “Residential Rental Property” in Section 76-2 is being revised to clarify that the LLRL applies to all units located in two-family or multi-family buildings, including mixed use commercial buildings. It also clarifies that unoccupied rental units are subject to registration, fees and inspection requirements.
  • Section 76-3 of the current LLRL requires every owner of a two-family or multi-family building to register with the Building Department upon taking ownership of a qualifying property and to file a recertification every two (2) years. The revised Section 76-3(B) requires recertification to be filed every three (3) years.
  • Section 76-3(C) of the revised LLRL only requires payment of the registry fee at the time of the initial registration and every three (3) years thereafter. In the current law, the registration / recertification fee must be paid every two (2) years.
  • Section 76-3(C) of the revised LLRL does not require a registration fees to be paid for units that are owner occupied or that are occupied by an owner’s immediate family (parents or children).
  • Section 76-4 (C) of the revised LLRL provides for a recertification form to confirm that all previously submitted information is still accurate.
  • Section 76-3(D) allows the Building Department to stagger the scheduled recertification filings and inspections during the first two years the revised law is in effect. This will allow the inspections to be spread out over a three year period, rather than having to conduct all inspections in the same year.
  • Section 76-5 of the current LLRL requires the owner of qualified rental units to schedule an inspection with the Building Department within 60 days of either the initial registration or any recertification filing which previously occurred every two (2) years.  Under the revised Section 76-5(A), inspections are now only required every three (3) years.
  • Under the revised version of Section 76-5(A), if an owner does not contact the Building Department within the appropriate time, then they could be subject to penalties under the revised LLRL. Previously, it was unclear whether the Owner or the Building Department had the burden of scheduling inspections. The Building Department will continue to check to make sure that inspections are scheduled and conducted as required. The revised Local Law clarifies that the burden of scheduling inspections is on the Owners, rather than the Building Department.
The Town Board set a public hearing on the proposed amendments for May 16 at 8:00 PM.
 
ALLIED COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES (ACE)
 a local affordable housing organization, has received funding for a Septic Repair/Replacement Program.  ACE is led by Joan Arnold and has as its board members Katonah residents Don Scott and Betsy Weir.  This Grant is administered by ACE and funded by New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) to provide eligible homeowners with funding for septic repair/replacement. Grants are for systems that are in failure or failing, not for expansion.
Click here for Supervisor Chris Burdick’s letter explaining the program
Click here  for the link to the repair/replacement program

EMS AND FIRE DEPARTMENT LIFE MEMBERS VOLUNTEERS
I am pleased to report that the Town Board at its May 2 meeting adopted a policy to extend “free” pool membership to “life” members of each fire department and to the Katonah-bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
 
BEDFORD PLAYHOUSE UPDATE
Click here for the press release and photos

SUPERVISOR’S NEWS & NOTES
For the most recent video (click here) on the Historic Preservation Law, 2016 Audit, and the Restoration of the Bedford Hills Train Station.


FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S MONTHLY REPORT (APRIL) click here
UPDATE ON PROPOSAL FOR BIKE PARK AT KATONAH MEMORIAL PARK
 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
MISSION 16, Saturday, May 20, 2017 – HONOR FLIGHT FOR WWII VETERANS
Come cheer on veterans from the greatest generation as they depart on Hudson Valley Honor Flight’s Mission 16 to Washington D.C. on May 20, 2017. All are welcome to honor our heroes and give them the sendoff and welcome home that many of them never received but they so rightfully deserve. Click here for the flyer.
NOTES FROM THE APRIL 18 TOWN BOARD
  1. Overhaul of Historic Building Preservation Law   The Town Board, following a well- attended public hearing with many presenting their views, adopted amendments to the Historic Building Preservation Law.  Each property owner subject to the law was mailed notice of the public hearing (and had previously been notified of public information sessions held last year and one held this year).  The amendments include adoption of a list of historic properties; reduction in the number of historic properties subject to regulation; reduction in the authority of the Historic Building Preservation Commission (the HBPC review authority is limited to the 258 properties in “Tier 1”), clear establishment of “as of right” activities (no historic approval required); a new administrative permit to cut time and expense; and plain English rewrites of several provisions of the law.   The Town Board also adopted a resolution for a partial rebate in building permit fees for historic work.   The following summarizes the changes adopted in the HBPL:
SCOPE & PROCEDURES PRIOR TO AMENDMENTS
NEW SCOPE & PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS
Properties subject to HBPC review:      807
Subject to administrative permit only:     0
HBPC applications/year (average):        12
Properties subject to HBPC review:           258
Subject to administrative permit only:        349
HBPC applications/year (estimated):          5
Total number Historic Buildings:          807*
The law requires that all permit applications affecting any of these Historic Buildings be referred to the HBPC
Tier I:                                                        258 properties
  • As-of-right projects are defined and will require no application or review
  • Substantial alteration or demolition will be subject to HBPC review
Tier II –                                                   349 properties
  • Only demolition will require approval; approval will be by administrative permit (no HBPC review)
2.    Support for Installation of Replacement Fire Tower at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation   The Board adopted a resolution urging Westchester County to proceed with the largely community-funded effort to install a replacement fire tower a short distance for Pell Hill in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  The tower would provide a magnificent view of the tristate area, draw visitors and be a boon financially for the park and local businesses.  Click here for the resolution.
3.    Proposed amendments to Landlord Registry Law   The Board discussed further changes being recommended by Town Counsel and the Building Inspector providing the following: changing inspection period from every two years to every three years; adding mixed used commercial/residential properties (about 15 to 20); exempting owner-occupied units from the inspection fee (but they would be subject to inspection; and clarifying certain language.

APRIL 20 UPDATE FROM THE TRAFFIC SAFETY WORKING GROUP COMMITTEE
1.  Update from DPW:
a.  Bedford Village Traffic Calming Measures Along Village Green – Kevin Winn gave an update. The design for the traffic calming measures has been approved. The existing crosswalk will be changed to a raised concrete block crosswalk that looks like brick. A speed hump is also set to be added near the church on the Route 172 side. Hahn Engineering drafted the design and presented it to the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission. After some minor modifications, the plan was presented again to the commission and was approved. These measures are set to be implemented in summer 2017 and coincide with the paving in the Village Green area.
b. Haines Road/Bedford Road Crosswalk – Kevin Winn gave an update. NYS DOT has given its permission to place a rapid-flash beacon at the crosswalk. The beacon goes below the sign indicating the crosswalk. They are currently trying to secure funding.
c. Parkway/Katonah Avenue – Kevin Winn gave an update. The island on the east side of Parkway is slated to be extended out to create a “refuge island” in summer 2017. The northeast corner of the intersection has been changed to a parking spot. The parking spot idea has seemed to work better than the previous idea of placing flower baskets in the area. Don Scott reports that the spot is used frequently during the late morning and afternoon hours.
2.  Update from Police Department:
a.  Vehicle Weight Scales – Mel Padilla gave an update. A second set of scales has been acquired. There was a delay in the state certifying the scales; however, both sets are now ready to be deployed. One commercial vehicle detail has been scheduled each month between May and September. The officers will be checking for gross vehicle weight, in addition to other items such as uncovered loads and missing placards. The goal of these inspections is to reduce truck traffic in the hamlets and throughout the town. Don Scott brought up the local delivery only signs which are placed in certain locations in the town. Chief Padilla stated that the law, as written, is too ambiguous to enforce properly. Chris Burdick and Jeff Osterman will look at the previous research done on the signs and law and see if there are any improvements that can be made.
b. Speed Limit Enforcement on Route 172 – Mel Padilla gave an update. The last speed study was done in October 2016. This study found that the 85% of drivers were doing an average speed of 47 MPH on this stretch of road. Chief Padilla brought up that officers have mentioned that one side of the roadway is 35 MPH and the other side is 30 MPH. The same situation exists on Route 35. Kevin Winn said he would look into the signage and bring any inconsistencies to the attention of NYS DOT. A traffic study is currently being conducted now to see if there has been any abatement in speed in this area. Once the study is completed next week, the speed board will be deployed to this area as a short-term fix. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the feasibility of installing speed camera signs or actual speed cameras to deter speeding in the area. There were questions regarding the legality of doing so and Chris Burdick stated he would be able to gather more information on the topic. Don Scott mentioned that other municipalities such as Yonkers and New York City have successfully implemented cameras. He also mentioned that he would be including a question on the speed cameras on a survey he is planning to send to Katonah residents and would share the results.
VACANCIES ~ BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
The Town of Bedford is looking to fill a vacancy (open only to a resident of the Katonah park district) on the Recreation and Parks Advisory (RPAC) Committee – for more information on the Committee click here.  The Town is also looking to fill a vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board (TAB) with preferably a certified arborist. for more information on the Board click here.  If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
You also may mail it to me at Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.   We also have two vacancies on the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee, click here for more information on the committee or email the committee at veterans@bedfordny.gov  .
GREAT NEWS – ALL OF I-684 RUNNING THROUGH BEDFORD TO BE PAVED 
I am delighted to share with you some great news.  In a follow up call with NYS Department of Transportation Regional Director Todd Westhuis, he reported that DOT in 2018 will proceed with the paving of I-684 from Harris Road to the Exit 5/6 interchange (at Route 35).   This is in addition to the funding which Assemblyman Buchwald helped secure for the portion from the Route 172 interchange to Harris Road which will be carried out in 2017.
     My thanks goes to the community for making your voices heard.  The petition drive, the letter writing, the phone calls, the lobbying, the work of our elected representatives collectively paid off.

Click here for the press release

BEDFORD HILLS TRAIN STATION GRAND RE-OPENING RECEPTION
On Thursday evening, April 6, 2017, we celebrated the grand re-opening of the Bedford Hills train station following its restoration to its former glory from the early 20th century. The event, which the Bedford Hills Neighborhood Association co-sponsored with and the Town, was well attended.  Folks who had seen the before station marveled at the restoration of the high ceilings, ceiling lighting, ceiling fans, wall sconces and wainscoting. The event was hosted by Chris Burdick Town Supervisor; Lee V.A. Roberts Deputy Supervisor; Maryann Carr Councilwoman; and Don Scott Councilman. Our Superintendent of Recreation and Parks did his usual fabulous job as MC and arranging the reception. Many who contributed so heavily to this project were thanked and acknowledged.  We also thank the Bedford Hills merchants who supported this event.  Pizza, deserts, wine, sparkling water, flowers were all in abundance.
We are delighted that the newly renovated station now is available for Town activities, community events and use by community organizations and even for private parties (imagine a birthday party in the beautiful venue).  Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Bill Heidepriem has posted to the Town’s website a facility use forms and fee schedule should you be interested, click here.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF MARCH 30 SEWER VOTE – IT PASSES OVERWHELMINGLY
Property owners in the central business districts of Bedford Hills and Katonah voted yesterday on whether to create a sewer district and approve the issuance of $1.2 million in bonds toward the estimated $20.5 million to build the sewer system.
I am pleased to report that the referendum was approved by 94% of the vote with 97 voting yes and 6 voting no. Most gratifying is that 86% of the eligible votes were cast.
I wish to thank those who have made this possible, especially the strong support of my colleagues on the Town Board.  I also wish to thank our tireless staff with Planning Director Jeff Osterman and Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn doing a superb job in developing an affordable and intelligent plan, with the able assistance of our consulting engineers, Arcadis.  Thanks, too, to Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli and Deputy Town Clerk Nina Kellogg and the Election Inspectors who did an excellent job running the election and handling all the procedures, mailings, ballots and election rules.  Our counsel, Joel Sachs, and bond counsel, Doug Goodfriend, ably navigated us through the intricacies of New York State sewer law, election law and SEQRA.  Most of all, thanks to the voters who approved our moving ahead with this plan so crucial to protecting water quality and ensuring the vitality of our business districts.   Please see my March 31, 2017 Supervisor’s Report on next steps.
TOWN BOARD ACTIONS ON PARKING AT COMMUTER LOTS
The Town Board met on March 27 with Comptroller Abe Zambrano, who heads the Town’s Parking Bureau, to consider recommendations for the Town’s commuter lots, including strategies for reducing waiting lists at certain lots, a modest rate increase (there has been no increase since 2011) and a modest increase in the parking spaces.   There is a more detailed discussion in my March 31, 2017 report.
NEW FAIR & AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN WESTCHESTER
            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 www.westchestergov.com/homeseeker, 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.org or go to http://homes.westchestergov.com/homeownership/homeseeker-opportunities.
FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S LATEST VIDEO WITH COMPTROLLER ABRAHAM ZAMBRANO click here
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS – REAFFIRMS BEDFORD’S AAA BOND RATING
I’m pleased to inform you that S&P Global Ratings has assigned a AAA Bond Rating to the Town. Fewer than 3% of municipalities are awarded this coveted rating which has a direct impact on taxpayers by providing a lower rate of interest than those municipalities whose ratings are not as high.  We are delighted that we received on our $10 million bond issue to finance 2016 and 2017 Capital Projects a 3.078% interest rate, well below the 3.5% which Comptroller Abe Zambrano used for budgeting purposes.
TOWN BOARD ADOPTS RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING MORAL STANCE
The resolution referred to below has now also been posted in Spanish, for both the English and Spanish Versions – The Town Board adopted the resolution which I proposed setting forth the Town’s Moral Stance on Recent Events and Related Town Policies.  I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board for their unanimous support and for the community for their involvement in the discussion which led to the development of the resolution and its adoption.  I do wish to emphasize the need for understanding, tolerance and civility for all members of the community regardless of their background and viewpoints, as the resolution recognizes.  While the great majority of those in attendance at the Town Board meeting on March 4 at which the resolution was adopted, there were some opposed.  To paraphrase Voltaire, I may disagree with your viewpoint, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
VACANCY ON BLUE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT BOARD AND BEDFORD HOUSING AGENCY
This Board and the Agency was created by the Bedford Town Board over thirty years ago to promote the creation of affordable housing stock.  The Board has worked tirelessly with not for profits (such as A Home, Habitat for Humanity and ACE), religious institutions (such as Antioch Baptist Church), New York State and Westchester County.  Most recently Blue Mountain has been partnering with Antioch Baptist Church for the creation of 12 affordable housing units at the Church’s property on Railroad Avenue which the Church will be conveying to a separate not-for-profit corporation.   It has been a long standing practice for the Town Board to consult with its boards and commissions when vacancies arise, particularly for suggestions as to skill sets and experience desired.   In the case of Blue Mountain, the individual leaving the Board is an attorney, and it would be helpful to replace him as well with an attorney.  For those interested in the vacancy, kindly e-mail your resume and cover letter (or e-mail) to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
 
LOOKING FOR AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS AND CARING LANDLORDS
“A safe and peaceful home is the dream of every domestic violence victim.
Hope’s Door has a wonderful opportunity to make their dream come true.
We received a 3-year grant award to provide rental subsidies for victims fleeing abuse.
During their subsidy period, we will work with victims to become economically self-sufficient. We have all the victims we need and all the funding we need. What we do need are reasonably-priced apartments with landlords who want to make a difference in the lives of victims and their children. Please help us. If you know any landlords that would be interested in partnering with us, please have them contact: Debbie Lauro Conn
Director of Community Services DLauroConn@HopesDoorNY.org
(914) 747-0828 x 1017.”
ALLIED COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES’ (ACE) SEPTIC REPAIR/REPLACEMENT PROGRAM   We are delighted to be partnering with ACE on its exciting new Septic Repair /Replacement Program.  Under this program, homeowners who are income qualified in Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge are eligible to have their septic systems repaired or replaced under a program funded by New York State’s Affordable Housing Corporation.  Homeowners under the enhanced star program and other homeowners who may be lower income may be eligible.  Click here for the steps.  Click here for the application. More information can be found by going to the ACE website.
2017 MOBILE SHREDDER EVENTS – MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The Town of Bedford is pleased to announce that in response to requests from members of the community, the Town is providing four mobile paper shredder events in 2017:
  • March 18, September 16, and November 18 at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • May 6 at our Crusher Road highway yard off Crusher Road in Bedford Village from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, as part of spring cleanup days.
At the event, a Mobile Shredding Trucks 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.
 
SAVE THE DATES FOR ANNUAL CLEAN UP WEEKEND – MAY 6 AND 7
The Town will be alive with activity in this time honored tradition as we work to clean out our attics and garages, buy treasures at rummage sales and tag sales (for next year’s Clean Up weekend), buy and plant flowers and generally beautify our wonderful Town.  We applaud Chowder & Marching Club, Katonah Village Improvement Society, the Katonah Presbyterian Church, to name only a few who make it such a great event.  The Town’s highway facility off of Crusher Road in Bedford Village will be open.   Click here for more information
CANTITOE 282 CIRCUIT ROADS TO BE TRIMMED TOWN OF BEDFORD
New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) will be trimming the vegetation around our facilities on the Cantitoe 282 circuit during March 2017 to May 2017.  The contractor that has been awarded the contract is Nelson Tree Service.  Attached is the list of roads that we will be working on in your town.   NYSEG does this routine maintenance to insure the safe and reliable distribution of power.  If you have any questions about the schedule work or vegetation related concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
1.   Bayberry Ln;
2.    Baylis Ln;
3.    Bedford Center Rd;
4.    Brett Ln;
5.    Brundage Ridge Rd;
6.    Cantitoe St;
7.    Captain Theale Rd;
8.    Crusher Rd;
9.    David Lapsley Rd;
10.  East Way;
11.  Ferris Ln;
12.  Gordon Ave;
13.  Greenwich Rd;
14.  Grove Rd;
15.  Guard Hill Rd;
16.  Hollyhock Ln; Homestead Ln;
17.  Jefferson Ln;
18.  Lake Ave;
19.  Lincoln Ave;
20.  Locust Dr;
21.  Marys Ln;
22.  Millbrook Pl;
23.  Millbrook Rd;
24.  Old Post Rd;
25.  Oliver Rd;
26.  Pleasant St
27.  Pound Ridge Rd;
28.  Route 172;
29.  Route 22;
30.  S Bedford Rd;
31.  S Brook Rd;
32.  Spruce Pond Ln;
33.  Stone Paddock Pl;
34.  Tarleton Rd;
35.  The Farms Rd;
36.  Train Band Rd;
37.  Turtlepond Ln;
38.  Village Grn;
39.  Vinton Ave;
40.  Virginia Ave;
41.  W Circle Rd;
42.  Washington Ave;
43.  West Cir
FIVE YEAR UNAUDITED FINANCIAL PROJECTION 2017-2021
Click here for our projections prepared by our Town Comptroller Abe Zambrano.
2016 ANNUAL REPORT NOW POSTED TO WEBSITE!
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 .
FAIR & AFFORDABLE HOME OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN THE TOWN
                 In a market where the median sale price of homes in Westchester County are at $600,000 – and even higher in Bedford — there are affordable homeownership opportunities in Bedford.  The Housing Action Council, a nonprofit organization, is accepting applications for single family properties and condos throughout Westchester including six  in Bedford.    These include one bedroom condos at Bedford Terrace, a one and two bedroom condo at Bedford Mews, a two bedroom single family property on Ridge St. and a 3 bedroom single family home on Church St.
             The affordable sale prices were made possible with financial help from Westchester County.  Maximum household incomes, minimum occupancy, primary residency and resale requirements apply.  For more information, applications and requirements, go to www.housingactioncouncil.org  or email hac@affordablehomes.org or call (914) 332-4144.
                   Three of the Bedford properties have an application deadline of
April 24;  others are on a first come first serve basis.
CON EDISON PRUNING
Con Ed is pruning branches around power lines on the Mt. Kisco electrical loop, this week and next weather permitting.  Con Ed has notified the abutting residents. At present they are only pruning branches and there are no actual tree removals to be done. They have a wood chipper crew with them and they are removing debris as they go. However, Con Ed will be assessing the health of the trees as they proceed and there could be a request for actual tree take-downs.   The roads are: Bedford Rd; Valeria Ct; S. Beechwood Rd, Green La, Edna St,  Center St,  Norm Ave,  Mclain St, Springhurst Rd,  W. Patent Rd, Broad Brook Rd, Guard Hill Rd,  Darlington Rd Christopher Rd, Rock Gate Farm Rd, Letitia  La, Charles Rd,
S. Bedford Rd,  Old Wagon Rd,  Chestnut Ridge Rd, Linden La, Sarles St, Deer Knoll Rd
MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MAP)
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 Gmaintenance 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 vraphael@wroinc.org.
LIMITED PARKING AT TOWN OFFICES DURING POLICE STATION CONSTRUCTION
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.
THREE MAJOR INTERSECTIONS IN KATONAH: ROUTES 35 AND 22, ROUTE 35 AND THE I-684 OVERPASS AND ROUTE 25 AND WOODBRIDGE ROAD
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.
POLICE STATION RENOVATIONS  
            This is the second installment of the explanation of the project to renovate the station building to which there hasn’t been any significant work in over 30 years.  The $7 million project is comprised of the renovation of the lower level of the Town Offices at 321 Bedford Road to house the police department while the one-year renovation project is being carried out; the gut renovation of the station building; the removal of a portion of the adjacent building (known as the “Milk Building”) to allow room for an addition to the station building; and a second addition to the station building.   The following describes the improvements/renovations to the interior of the station building and the facilities to be housed in it with the additions:
  • Increased security measures will include electronic access control to secure areas and increased video surveillance of sensitive areas.
  • Locate Interview room in lobby to limit entry to the inner secure area of building.
  • Dedicated office space for sergeants to conduct their secondary duties and counsel officers under their command
  • Larger lockers for officers to accommodate all equipment and uniforms (current lockers are insufficient in size).
  • Location of lieutenant offices, detective division and records office to be consolidated into one area to facilitate efficiency of operations.
  • Conference area to be added for executive-level meetings as well as in-house emergency operations management center capabilities.
  • Classroom to be expanded and updated with modern A/V equipment.  This will give the ability to host regional training and reduce training costs for Bedford Officers.
  • Access to classroom from lobby to be added to limit unnecessary entry to the inner secure area of building.
  • Training area for defensive tactics and dynamic tactical training t. Having this capability will reduce scheduling and training overtime costs by conducting smaller trainings with on-duty officers.
  • Health and wellness area included for officers to stay in good physical condition; area will also include provisions for officers held overnight during inclement weather/emergency situations.
  • Larger evidence room to allow for appropriate secure storage in accordance with state accreditation requirements.
  • Secure prisoner intake to maintain the safety and security of the arresting officers and the defendant.
  • Centralized server room for all departmental IT and telecommunications equipment.
  • Secure enclosed space for weapons maintenance and storage
  • Garage for storage of specialty vehicles and equipment (UTV, Motorcycle, Message Boards, etc..)
  • Report writing, muster, and break areas combined and located near dispatch to facilitate communication between the oncoming and outgoing tour.
             Also the Better Business Bureau offers other Scam Alerts at https://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/lists/bbb-scam-alerts/
NYSEG ~ EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS UPDATE
To report an outage or an electrical emergency, please call us at 1.800.572.1131 or go to our Emergency Preparedness web page, “Outage Central,” at
You can sign up for Outage Alerts to receive notifications regarding power outages and the estimated restoration time at  http://www.nyseg.com/YourAccount/AboutAlerts.html
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.
DAILY PARKING RATE CHANGE 
Effective 1/2/17 the daily parking rate is $8 per calendar day
For more information on Parking Permits click here
.
TEXT MESSAGES FROM NYSEG AND CON EDISON -outages and emergencies
You can sign up for text alerts from NYSEG by going to http://www.nyseg.com/youraccount/aboutalerts.html  and from Con Edison by going to
http://www.coned.com/mobileapp/. 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 www.conEd.com, 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. http://www.coned.com/customercentral/specialservices.asp
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. http://www.coned.com/customercentral/specialservices.asp
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
 I would like to take this opportunity to urge residents to check their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
            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 flow at half-mast).
CON EDISON 
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, http://www.coned.com/customercentral/managemybill.asp, offers a variety of approved and convenient options for bill payment.
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT   
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.
TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here
POW-MIA FLAG NOW BEING FLOWN ON ALL TOWN OF BEDFORD FLAGPOLES
In 1990 a federal law was enacted which recognized the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag which identified it “as a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.”   The flag has become a symbol for prisoners of war and those missing in action from all American wars.  Joining the Westchester County and other Westchester municipalities, I have directed that the POW/MIA flag be flown on all Town of Bedford flagpoles.   This began on Monday, December 5.

March Sales: New Listings Were Off to the Races | Bedford Real Estate

March buyers blew the roof off housing markets as they heeded warnings about the limited supplies of home for sale and found houses in record time.  National monthly market reports on March transactions chronicled surge of sales as the spring season kicked off and tens of thousands of new listings turned over in a matter of days.

“We expected a seasonal uptick in sales this time of year and March certainly met and somewhat exceeded that expectation,” said RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger as the months supply in RE/MAX’s latest National Housing Report fell below 3 months in March for the first time in history.

“Calendars might say spring is only a week old but we’re already in the thick of the most frenzied home buyer season on record,” concurred realtor.com’s Javier Vivas. Redfin reported its fastest March on record for home sales since it began tracking this data in 2010.

Every report told the same story.  The plunge in days on market was breathtaking as buyers gobbled up new listings as fast as they hit MLSs. In NAR’s existing home sales report, days on market fell from 45 days in February to 34 days in March, on realtor.com from 90 to 68,, on RE/MAX from 71 to 64, on Redfin from 60 top 49.

Prices Outpace Incomes’

The three year inventory drought coupled with the spring surge in demand pushed prices even ither than

109.1 million full-time wage and salary workers were $830 in

the first quarter of 2016 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

This was 2.7 percent higher than a year earlier

 

 

March Market Reports at a Glance

Source

Monthly Sales Trend

Annual Sales Trend

Monthly Price Trend

Annual Price Trend

Median Sale Price

Median Days on Market

Comments

NAR

  4.4%

5.9%

-2.18%

6.8%

$236,400

34

There was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.
Realtor.com

NA

NA

4%

8%

$260,000

68

The typical spring upswing in sales has come about a month earlier than usual.
Redfin

 

42.7%

 

8.9%

 

4.6%

 

7.5%

 

$273,000

 

49

Spring 2017 shapes up to be the fastest and most competitive housing market in recent years,
RE/MAX

-0.2%

6.6%

7.1%

11%

$225,000

64

Prices hit a new high due steady demand and record low inventory.
Zillow

N/A

N/A

0.4%*

6.8%*

$196,500*

N/A

Five percent fewer homes on the market now than a year ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*These data are not sales but valuations for all homes based on Zillow’s AVM.

 

read more…

 

http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2017/05/march-sales-new-listings-were-off-to-the-races/

Housing affordability rises | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Rising wages and moderating home prices offset a rise in mortgage interest rates to give housing affordability a slight boost in the first quarter of 2017, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In all, 60.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $68,000. This is up from the 59.9 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

The national median home price fell to $245,000 in the first quarter from $250,000 in the final quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates rose nearly half a point from 3.84 percent in the fourth quarter to 4.33 percent in the first quarter.

For the second straight quarter, Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market. There, 92.7 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $54,600. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 96.3 percent of homes sold in the first quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $62,500.

For the 18th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 11.8 percent of homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $108,400.

All five least affordable small housing markets were also in California. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Salinas, where 13.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $63,100.

 

read more…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/housing-affordability-registers-slight-uptick-in-first-quarter/

Mortgage rates average 4.05% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year mortgage rate hovering around 4 percent for the fourth consecutive week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.05 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending May 11, 2017, up from last week when it averaged 4.02 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.57 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.29 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.27 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.81 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.14 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.13 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.78 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.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield jumped 8 basis points this week while the 30-year mortgage rate rose 3 basis points to 4.05 percent. Mixed economic reports over the last few weeks have anchored the 30-year mortgage rate around the 4 percent mark.”

Top empty nester cities | Chappaqua Real Estate

Zillow, an online marketplace, conducted a study to show the top 10 housing markets for empty nesters in the U.S.

As it turns out, the pricey markets and places with weak labor markets have the highest concentrations of empty nests, the report, which is based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data from 2015, shows.

And the lowest densities of empty nesters are found in booming cities with strong job markets, retirement communities and new family-oriented areas.

In other words, this study by Ellie Mae which shows where Millennials flock will be the last places you might find empty nesters. And you can count metros in Florida and California off the list as well.

Empty nests are homes where the heads of the household are 55 years or older, own the home and have lived in it 10 or more years; there are no children of any age living in the home. These homes are gaining ground as the Baby Boomers age, rising to 15.5% of all households in 2015.

Here are the top 10 metros with the highest percentage of empty nesters:

10. Baltimore, Maryland – 17%

Baltimore city

9. Louisville, Kentucky – 17.2%

8. Virginia Beach, Virginia – 17.4%

7. Detroit, Michigan – 17.9%

skyline

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 18.2%

5. Birmingham, Alabama – 18.3%

Alabama

4. Richmond, Virginia – 18.6%

3. Cleveland, Ohio – 19.4%

Ohio

2. Buffalo, New York – 20.1%

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 20.2%

skyline

read more…

 

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/40071-here-are-the-top-10-metros-for-empty-nesters?eid=311691494&bid=1748890

U.S. Housing: Going From Good To Great | Armonk Real Estate

Activity levels and selling prices for the domestic real estate market last peaked in 2005, two years after the prior peak of the economic cycle (i.e., GDP) in 2003 (at 4.4%). Thus, by preceding the 2008-09 recession, this most recent national housing bust set a precedent as the first in recorded history in which housing helped lead the economy down.

And when economic activity bottomed in early-’09 (March GDP fell 4.9%), domestic housing remained at stubbornly low levels for a few more years.

Sources: US Dept. of Labor (BLS), National Association of Realtors (NAR), US Bureau of Census.

Note: sales of existing homes account for >90% of all homes sold in the US, up from ~85% pre-crisis.

Even today, more than a decade after the start of housing’s precipitous decline, total US sales volumes (including new homes) remain nearly 30% below peak levels, and over 15% below the 2000-’05 average.

It is a different world post-crisis / housing bust, and residential real estate’s demographic hurdles remain high. For example, baby boomers, many of whom live on fixed income payments, are only beginning to downsize or move into managed care facilities.

The more pervasive demographic challenge to home-ownership rates – now below 64%, vs. more than 69% in 2004 – is posed by ‘echo boomers’, in their 20’s and 30’s. Born in the 80’s and 90’s these younger demo’s that nevertheless still account for the bulk of entry-level home purchases, more often favor renting over buying, a contrast to their parents and grandparents.

Thus, Entry-level home-buying now represents only about one-third of housing activity, down solidly from pre-crisis historical levels averaging 40%. First-time buying has, however, slowly improved from cycle lows in the high 20%’s, and in my opinion has plenty of runway ahead.

Sources: US Dept. of Labor (BLS),

A couple quick observations. The tight relationship between labor force participation and home-ownership, both of which appear to be bottoming or at least steadying. And, more importantly, the nearly six percentage point drop in home-ownership since 2004, and the comparable decline in entry level home purchases from most past averages.

This paucity of first-time purchases, of relatively inexpensive homes, in fact overstates housing’s recent strength and helps underscore the housing industry’s lack of breadth. Case-Shiller, a commonly used barometer of domestic house prices (only), echoes later price charts, and indicates average selling prices (ASP’s) are still below levels more than 10 years ago.

Source: S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller.

It’s About Jobs (Mainly)

The most important driver for housing demand is job growth. Moreover, it’s the absolute number of jobs created, rather than the unemployment rate, that housing most depends.

The 2017 YTD figure is annualized, and based on latest figures: April’s jobs and March’s home sales.

Sources: US Dept. of Labor (BLS), NAR.

Indeed, existing home sales have tracked changes in jobs, but in direction – rather than in magnitude. Since housing peaked in late-2005, the US economy has added roughly 11 million new jobs, yet housing activity remains solidly below past levels, as we’ll talk more about. At some point new jobs will more accurately translate into similar increases in home sales.

Confidence Is Key

Consumer confidence is the next most important driver of home sales, after employment. Multiple cycles of empirical data bear this out.

Consumer sentiment based on annual averages of month-end figures

Sources: University of Michigan, US Dept. of Labor (BLS), NAR

Despite steady improvements in consumer confidence since its 2008 trough, the figure, though still steadily upward trending, remains below it base level (100) just as home sales volumes track below their ‘normalized’ levels.

To paraphrase Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, the country’s #2 mortgage originator (after Wells Fargo), consumer confidence is the ‘secret sauce’, to housing.

Interest Rates Matter, Though Less Than Is Assumed

Of course rates matter for housing: a single percentage point decline in mortgage rates buys a 15% more house (over 30 years, ceteris paribus). But, contrary to conventional beliefs, empirical evidence suggests interest rates rank behind consumer confidence in terms of importance for the industry.

Although it’s the third leg of the proverbial stool supporting home sales, (mortgage) rates are the factor that most directly benefit from a Federal Reserve Board that has been decidedly ‘dovish’, pursuing relatively easy monetary policy these past 35 years or so.

Source: NAR

Yet as investors (and borrowers) handicap a potential increase in short-term rates by the central bank in its next (NYSEARCA:JUNE) meeting, we tend to overstate the impact of mortgage rates on housing.

Favorable borrowing rates had a mitigating effect on the housing ‘bust’. The Fed’s move to zero short-term rates, which lasted a full seven-years (Dec. ’08 – Dec. ’15) has thus far had a similarly benign impact on the subsequent recovery.

Their impact (low rates) has been partly muted by a number of factors, mainly mortgage originators’ basic business decisions (i.e., risk / reward), stricter home-lending regulations, the disappearance of independent mortgage brokers (e.g., Washington Mutual, Countrywide, etc.) and the reduced activity among government sponsored mortgage securitizers (e.g, Fannie Mae).

Yet were it not for mortgage rates following 10-year Treasurys to just over 2% with the launch of quantitative easing (late-2008), financial history might have been much different: One can only speculate on the further damage to home prices, mortgages (especially adjustable), securitizations, etc. that would have occurred had the Federal Reserve not stepped in with zero rates and levered its balance sheet by $4 trillion.

read more…

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4070667-u-s-housing-going-good-great