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Trump selling Bedford estate Seven Springs| Bedford NY Real Estate

President Trump's Seven Springs Estate
Trump (Johnny Milano for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Trump Organization is considering selling its sprawling Westchester, N.Y., estate, according to people familiar with the matter, after years of unsuccessful development attempts that ended with an agreement to preserve part of the property.

The New York attorney general’s office has said it is examining whether any benefits Mr. Trump received from that agreement were improper as part of a broader investigation of alleged fraud by the president and his businesses.

Trump representatives have had conversations with local brokers about the possibility of a sale, the people said. The 213-acre property, known as Seven Springs, isn’t currently listed publicly. While President Trump has previously valued the property at more than $200 million, local agents estimated the property would trade for around $50 million or less. They said much of the previously perceived value was likely tied up in prior failed development plans, including a proposed residential subdivision.

A Trump Organization spokeswoman called Seven Springs “one of the largest, most valuable and most iconic properties in Bedford.” She added, “If the right opportunity presents itself, the Trump family would certainly entertain it.”

The Trump Organization has owned Seven Springs since 1995, when it purchased the property for $7.5 million. At the time, local agents said it was a bargain. Although it had been on the market for a year and was viewed as something of a white elephant, other major properties in Westchester County had sold for multiples of that amount.

Mr. Trump first attempted to build a golf course on the property but encountered fierce local opposition. The Trump Organization then pursued building a residential subdivision of luxury homes.

A 2011 Trump financial document values the property at $261 million, based on what it said was an assessment by Mr. Trump, his associates and outside professionals. It said the figure comes from the funds he would receive as homes were constructed and sold, plus the value of the existing mansion and other buildings.

Those homes were never built. Local real-estate agents said Mr. Trump had a particularly difficult time getting his plans approved because the property straddles several municipalities—Bedford, New Castle and North Castle.

In late 2015, Mr. Trump entered into an agreement with the nonprofit North American Land Trust not to develop 158 acres of the property. That area included 95 acres of mature forest and 52 acres of herbaceous meadows, according to the agreement. Under such agreements, known as conservation easements, a property owner can deduct the land’s value in exchange for not developing it.

If the property were sold, the new owner would be bound by the terms of the easement, according to the agreement.

As part of its fraud investigation into the president and his company, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James has said it is examining whether the value of the easement was improperly inflated to get a larger tax dedication.

The Trump Organization has said the investigation by Ms. James, a Democrat, is all about politics. Eric Trump said on Twitter that Ms. James’s “sole focus is an anti-Trump fishing expedition that she promised during her campaign.”

A 2016 appraisal, prepared by real-estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield for tax purposes at the request of Eric Trump, valued the property at $56.5 million and the easement at $21.1 million, according to court papers.

The estate dates to around 1919, when it was built for Eugene Meyer, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, first president of the World Bank and onetime publisher of the Washington Post. The main house, designed by architect Charles A. Platt, is constructed from sandstone quarried on the property. Artisans from Italy were tapped to ensure that the home’s 60 rooms, including 15 bedrooms and two service wings, were opulently designed, according to the Trump Organization website.

The Trump Organization estimates that the mansion spans about 50,000 square feet, making it one of the largest homes in the area. It has three pools, including an indoor pool cased in white marble, as well as a large wine cellar, an antique bowling alley and carriage houses. A second home on the property, built in Tudor style in 1919, was constructed by H.J. Heinz of the Heinz Ketchup empire, who was a friend of Mr. Meyer’s.

Mr. Trump famously allowed representatives of the late Moammar Gadhafi, the then-Libyan leader who was in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, to pitch a Bedouin-style tent on the property in 2009. After local opposition, the leader didn’t stay there.

The Trump Organization website says Seven Springs is now used as a family retreat.

A nearby property owned by horse-racing enthusiasts Barry K. Schwartz, the co-founder of Calvin Klein Inc., and his wife, Sheryl Schwartz, spans about 740 acres, nearly three times the size of the Trump property, and is on the market for $100 million. A mansion less than 20 miles away in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., that was owned by the estate of David Rockefeller, the venerable chief executive of Chase Manhattan Bank, sold for $33 million in 2018. It sits on roughly 75 acres.

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https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/trump-organization-considers-sale-of-its-seven-springs-property/

New home sales surge 22% in Northeast | Bedford Real Estate

New single-family home sales surged in July, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.

Census and HUD estimated new home sales in July at a 901,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace, an approximate 14% gain over June and the strongest seasonally adjusted annual rate since the end of 2006. The April data (570,000 annualized pace) marks the low point of sales for the current recession. The April rate was 26% lower than the prior peak, pre-recession rate set in January.

The gains for new home sales are consistent with the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI, which equaled a data series high in August, demonstrating that housing is the leading sector for the economy. Consider that despite double-digit unemployment, new home sales are estimated to be 8% higher for the first seven months of 2020 compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Sales-adjusted inventory levels declined again, falling to a just a 4 months’ supply in July, the lowest since 2013. This factor points to additional construction gains ahead. The count of completed, ready-to-occupy new homes is just 61,000 homes nationwide. Total inventory declined almost 9% year-over-year, with inventory down to 299,000.

Moreover, sales are increasingly coming from homes that have not started construction, with that count up 34% year-over-year. In contrast, sales of completed, ready-to-occupy homes are down almost 24%. These measures point to continued gains for single-family construction ahead.

Thus far in 2020, new home sales are higher in all regions. Sales on a year-to-date basis are 5% higher in the South, 9% in the West, 20% in the Midwest, and 22% higher in the Northeast.

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eyeonhousing.org

New Home sales jump 14% | Bedford Real Estate

New single-family home sales jumped in June, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.

Census and HUD estimated new home sales in June at a 776,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace, a 14% gain over May and the strongest seasonally adjusted annual rate since the Great Recession. The April data (571,000 annualized pace) marks the low point of sales for the current recession. The April rate was 26% lower than the prior peak, pre-recession rate set in January.

The gains for new home sales are consistent with the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI,  which returned to pre-recession highs and demonstrates that housing will be a leading sector in an emerging economic recovery. Consider that despite double-digit unemployment, new home sales are estimated to be 3.2% higher through for the first half of 2020, compared to the first half of 2019.

Moreover, pricing firmed in June, with median new home price expanding to $329,200. However, headwinds remain, including elevated unemployment and surging lumber prices, which exceeded their 2018 peak this week.

Sales-adjusted inventory levels declined again, falling to a 4.7 months’ supply in June, the lowest since 2016. This factor points to additional construction gains ahead. The count of completed, ready-to-occupy new homes is just 69,000 homes nationwide. Inventory (including homes available for sale that have not started construction or are under construction) is 7% lower than a year ago.

Thus far in 2020, new home sales are higher in all regions. Sales on a year-to-date basis are 0.2% higher in the South, 3.1% in the West, 12.6% in the Midwest, and 22% higher in the Northeast.

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eyeonhousing.org/2020/07/

Corona virus depression will hurt real estate | Bedford NY Real Estate

We’ve been there before.
We’ve been there before. Photographer: Dorothea Lange/Hulton Archive

As the economic carnage from the coronavirus pandemic continues, a long-forbidden word is starting to creep onto people’s lips: “depression.” 

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was no commonly accepted word for a slowdown in the economy. “Panic” was the term typically used for financial crises, while long slumps were commonly called depressions. Presidents such as James Monroe and Calvin Coolidge used the d-word to describe downturns during their administrations. There was even a slump in the 1870s that many referred to as the Great Depression at the time.

But then 1929 came, and there was no longer any doubt as to which depression deserved the modifier “great.” The crash hit the entire world, reducing economic output 15%. And it ground on mercilessly for years — by 1933, unemployment in the U.S. was at 25%. The Great Depression was so severe that governments permanently expanded their role in the economy.

Since the 1930s, economists and commentators have used the word “recession” to describe economic slumps, and none of them have been nearly as severe as the Great Depression. The only time this convention was really challenged was after the financial crisis of 2008. The global nature of the downturn, sparked by troubles in the financial industry, led many to draw parallels with the Great Depression. In the end, the term “Great Recession” stuck.

The economic damage from coronavirus, however, threatens to dwarf the 2008 downturn. More than 22 million people, or about 13% of the U.S. labor force, have already filed for unemployment:

Current forecasts are for the unemployment rate to reach 20% this month. Some predict it could go as high as 30% this year. That would eclipse even the Great Depression in severity.

So if severity alone is the criteria for a depression, this one will certainly deserve the moniker. President Ronald Reagan once quipped that “recession is when your neighbor loses his job; depression is when you lose yours.” There will be few people whose economic livelihoods are not hurt by the coronavirus.

But there are other possible criteria for deciding what gets labeled a depression. Besides severity, there’s duration; both the 1870s and the 1930s saw a decade of economic pain. Many hope that the economy will bounce back from the coronavirus in a so-called V-shaped recovery. It stands to reason that if the economy crashed because it was intentionally turned off by mandatory shutdowns, then letting people out of their houses will turn it back on.

Many of the economic relief measures now being implemented, such as the Paycheck Protection Program — which extends loans to small and medium-sized businesses that are forgiven if they retain their workers — have this sort of quick restart in mind. But while that’s a good idea, there are reasons to believe this downturn will not be over quickly.

First, there’s evidence that the main reason people are staying at home is not lockdowns but the threat of the virus itself. Data from online restaurant-reservation websites shows that in major cities, most of the decline in restaurant attendance happened before stay-at-home orders were issued. And polls indicate that most Americans are very wary of returning to their normal activities. This means that unless virus suppression regimes give people confidence that coronavirus isn’t a threat to their personal safety, they’re unlikely to come out and shop even if the government says there’s no need to worry. Because effective treatments probably won’t be available at least until the fall or later, that means many more months of business devastation except in the few competent and lucky places that get test-and-trace systems in place.

Next, there’s the global nature of the downturn. Gross domestic product is set to decline in almost every country. Some forecasters expect all economies to bounce back simultaneously, but a more likely scenario is that many countries will struggle to recover. That will hurt both U.S. export markets and international investors for years to come.

Finally, there’s the possibility of long-term financial market turmoil. In addition to severity and duration, a third common criterion for distinguishing depressions from recessions is that the former involves years of financial industry dysfunction and declines in lending.

The Federal Reserve is struggling mightily to preserve the solvency of U.S. banks and prop up asset markets, and so far it has succeeded. Interest rates are low, bank failures have not been widespread and stock markets have partly recovered:

But keeping banks on a government lifeline during years of business weakness, although better than the alternative of letting the financial system collapse, might still not equip the financial industry to do its traditional job of lending to productive enterprises. The threat of repeated coronavirus outbreaks, along with continued business failures, may make banks just as afraid to lend as they were after 2008.

Although the U.S. government can and should do its utmost to ensure that the coronavirus recession doesn’t check all the boxes for a depression, its powers to stop both the virus and the international slowdown are limited. Let’s hope this depression won’t last a decade, but an unprecedented slump followed by years of pain seems inevitable.

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www.bloomberg.com/opinion

Fed eases credit for JP Morgan Chase, JP Morgan Chase tightens credit for consumers | Bedford Real Estate

Megabank raises lending standards amid economic struggles to protect themselves

As the country struggles through the economic impact of the coronavirus, numerous mortgage companies have raised their lending standards to protect both borrowers and themselves. Now, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country is joining that list.

JPMorgan Chase this week is increasing its minimum lending standards to require nearly all borrowers to have at least 20% down in order to buy a home. Beyond that, Chase is also raising its minimum FICO credit score to 700 on purchase mortgages.

Put simply, if a borrower doesn’t have a 20% down payment and a FICO score of 700 or above, they will likely not be able get a loan from Chase to buy a home. According to Chase, those lending standards also apply to refinances on non-Chase mortgages.

The bank will still move forward with refis under its previous lending standards if the loan is either serviced by Chase or in Chase’s portfolio, but for all other refis, it’s 700 FICO or look somewhere else.

It should be noted that the changes do not apply to Chase’s DreaMaker mortgage program, which makes loans available for low-to-moderate income borrowers with as little as 3% down and reduced mortgage insurance requirements.

According to Chase, the changes will allow the bank to spend more time on the loans it is working on and do the appropriate verifications to ensure the loan is the right move for all involved.

“Due to the economic uncertainty, we are making temporary changes that will allow us to more closely focus on serving our existing customers,” Chase Home Lending Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bonitatibus said in a statement.

With the changes, Chase becomes the latest lender to tighten its lending standards. Certain segments of the business, including governmentnon-QM, and jumbo loans, have dried up substantially as lenders pull back from loans that are seen as riskier than conventional loans. But as the crisis continues, lenders are beginning to change their conventional lending standards as well.

United Wholesale Mortgage, the second-biggest mortgage lender in the country, recently announced that it will require reverification of a borrower’s employment on the day their loan is scheduled to close. The purpose of that move is to ensure that borrowers are actually still employed when their mortgage closes.

“If people don’t have a job, I’m not going to put them in a bad position,” UWM CEO Mat Ishbia told his employees last week. “By doing this, we’re protecting borrowers, the company, and the country.”

But UWM wasn’t the only one making employment verification changes as COVID-19 pushes layoffs to record levels in the U.S. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently announced that they changed the age of document requirements for most income and asset documentation from four months to two months. What that means is all income and asset documentation must be dated no more than 60 days from the date of the mortgage note.

The bottom line of all these changes is lenders are attempting to protect themselves and borrowers from getting into a mortgage that is not in the borrower’s or lender’s best interest.

And despite Chase being the biggest name to make changes like these so far, it likely won’t be the last lender to do so.

The changes to Chase’s lending policies were first reported by Reuters.

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housingwire.com/articles/chase

Italy cancelling mortgage bills | Bedford Real Estate

Homeowners in Italy are seeing many of their bills suspended – including mortgages – as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic, and now other European nations are considering similar moves.

Is a “mortgage holiday” coming to America?

The short answer is: probably not. Most American mortgages are packaged into bonds with legal terms that dictate what the servicers who handle the billing can and can’t do. There are ways servicers can offer forbearance – an agreement to let borrowers either pay at a lower interest rate or suspend payments temporarily because of a hardship. But it’s on a case-by-case basis.

“Somebody owns those bonds,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. “Who is going to make those interest payments?”

Any missed or reduced payments typically have to be repaid, with interest. Sometimes, that means the loan will be re-amortized, so whatever you don’t pay now, you’ll be paying off over the remaining years of your loan, with interest.

America’s mortgage market is much bigger than Italy’s $423 billion of outstanding home-loan debt. The U.S. has about $11 trillion of mortgages on one- to four-family homes, according to Federal Reserve data. More than half of that is contained in bonds compiled and backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees those government-controlled mortgage securitizers, issued a directive last week urging servicers to offer help to people who fall behind on mortgage payments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“To meet the needs of borrowers who may be impacted by the coronavirus, last week Fannie Mae and FreddieMac reminded mortgage servicers that hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “For borrowers that may be experiencing a hardship, I encourage you to reach out to your servicer.”

In addition, regulators such as the Federal Reserve on Tuesday urged U.S. banks such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase to work “constructively” with borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, promising they won’t get dinged by examiners as long as the measures show good judgment.

Italy has been the nation with the biggest outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, outside of China. Italy has more than 15,000 cases, and more than 1,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

While Italy is the only government to introduce a plan to suspend mortgage payments for people affected by the lockdown – and so far it’s only for the worst-hit areas of the nation – other European countries may follow suit, according to an S&P report.

“New monetary and fiscal stimulus measures are currently being launched daily and the Italian government is contemplating broadening the mortgage payment suspension scheme nationwide,” S&P said.

“Some banks and governments in other countries, including France, Spain, and the U.K., have mooted similar measures, although the potential scale of eligibility and level of uptake among borrowers could vary widely and are not yet known,” the report said.

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Minority homeownership rate increases | Bedford Real Estate

The minority homeownership rate increased to 48.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 0.8 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a new data release from the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancies and Homeownership survey (CPS/HVS) (Figure 1). This is the highest it has been since the third quarter of 2011 (48.9 percent). This year-over-year gain is higher than the gain in the overall U.S. homeownership rate, which rose 0.3 percentage points to 65.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 (a six-year high). A separate Eyeonhousing.org post covers the U.S. homeownership rate in more detail.

Breaking down the minority homeownership rate shows that the Hispanic homeownership rate gained the most in the fourth quarter, with a 1.2 percentage point increase to 48.1 percent (from 46.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018).

The black homeownership rate posted the second largest gain of 1.0 percentage points to reach 44.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 (from 43.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018). This is the largest quarter gain in the black homeownership rate since the first quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, Other households (Asian, Pacific-Islander, Native American, and other race households) experienced a decline in their homeownership rate, dropping 1.0 percentage points to 57.1 percent (from 58.1 percent in the third quarter of 2019). The Other homeownership rate has now declined for four consecutive quarters (year-over-year declines), which is in contrast to strong gains seen for this group between the second quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of 2018.

The white homeownership grew by only 0.1 percentage points to 73.7 percent in the fourth quarter (from 73.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018). The white homeownership rate has not declined year-over-year since the first quarter of 2017 (Figure 2).

Mortgage rates are still relatively low, and a healthy job market has helped to make homeownership more affordable. In fact, housing affordability was at a three-year high in the third quarter of 2019, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). These factors are most likely contributing to the recent upticks in the overall and minority homeownership rates.

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Mortgage rates average 3.60% | Bedford Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.60 percent.

“Rates fell to the lowest level in three months and are about a quarter point above all-time lows,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The very low rate environment has clearly had an impact on the housing market as both new construction and home sales have surged in response to the decline in rates, the rebound in the economy and improving financial market sentiment.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.60 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending January 23, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 3.65 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.45 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.04 percent with an average 0.8 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.09 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.88 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.28 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.39 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.90 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.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers.

Median rents rise 4.1% last year | Bedford Real Estate

As 2019 saw historically low vacancy rates among multifamily housing, it also led to a rising cost of rent, too.

According to realtor.com, a report from Abodo said rental prices went up in 38 states, including Washington, D.C., in 2019. In the other 12 states, the cost of rent actually fell, but only slightly.

Nationally, median rents for one-bedroom units went up 4.1%, making monthly rent $1,078 at the end of 2019.

Prices for two-bedroom units went up 5.5%, making monthly rent $1,343.

In 2019, multifamily occupancy rates reached as high as 96.3%. The demand of multifamily housing keeps rising, as home prices are also continuing to climb.

According to realtor.com, rental prices surged the most in Utah. There, rent went up 3.78% in 2019, reaching $965 for a one-bedroom unit.

“In states like Utah, people are relocating for jobs,” Abodo said in its report. “Many folks are coming from California and other high-priced hubs. People need to find places where they can live and afford to live a lifestyle that they want.”

Renting cost the most in Massachusetts, where the average one-bedroom unit cost $2,218 a month.

Renting surged the most in Detroit, where cost of renting a one-bedroom went up 7.48%, making rent $886 a month.

“They’re seeing a housing boom,” Abodo continued. “There are more people moving there, which increases the demand for housing as the city begins to come back. New construction has actually started there, which is obviously going to cost more.”

The highest rents in the nation were, at no surprise, San Francisco and New York City. On average, renting a one-bedroom unit was $3,877 and $3,082 a month, respectively.

Renters in Montana saw the biggest price cuts in 2019. Rents fell 1.6%, to an average $745 a month for a one-bedroom unit.

Average prices fell the most in Dayton, Ohio, in 2019, falling 4.11%. This made renting a one-bedroom unit $758 a month. Toldeo, Ohio also had the best deal, where rents were just $517 a month for a one-bedroom unit.

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Bedford Town news update | Bedford Real Estate

October 19, 2019Contact Us
The Town Board on October 15 held its first work session on the the Town’s 10 year Capital Plan which runs from 2020 through 2029; we also met with Planning Board Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson to discuss the size, composition and number of subcommittees to develop a new Town Comprehensive Plan; 321 Bedford Road and 74 Main Street (Bedford Hills Community House); making headway in discussions with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection for Phase II for sewers; making headway for the possible acquisition of 56 acres which includes the Buxton Gorge for passive recreational use (trails).   
NEW POSTS
Highlights of the October 15Town Board Meeting
Work Session on 2020 Capital Plan
At this first work session on the Capital Plan, Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provided a high level view of any proposed changes in the existing Capital Plan (including any project expansion), any new projects and any projects which may be deferred.  We anticipate increasing the scope of renovations to the Bedford Hills Community House and carry out the work in 2020 rather than spreading it out over several years (neither a “gut” renovation nor additions are being considered).  
The architectural firm selected (see below) will incorporate recommendations and plans which are provided through the energy audit now under way, including the feasibility and cost effectiveness of geothermal/heat pumps. Approval of Geothermal Feasibility Study
Other project changes include carrying out in 2020 and 2021 HVAC system replacements reaching the end of their useful lives (here, too, geothermal/heat pumps are under consideration); commuter lot improvements such (lighting, landscaping, etc.); roof and gas boiler replacement for the Recreation & Parks Department maintenance building; security systems for the Town House and 425 Cherry Street; IT upgrade/replacements; improvements to the commuter lots (lighting/landscaping); rooftop solar installations; hamlet center improvements (Bedford Hills and Katonah in 2020 following the completion of the sewer system); Todd’s Pond engineering study; further funding for tree maintenance and plantings; and an increase in funding for the work of the Cemetery Advisory Committee with work on our historic Town cemeteries . Some changes would be deferral until 2022 of a municipal parking lot in Bedford Village (Bedford Presbyterian Church, owner of the land which the Town would purchase for the vacant lot is not inclined to proceed at the time with sale of the property).  We also are deferring improvements to the Crusher Road highway facility. 
The Board scheduled another work session on November 7 at which we’ll hone in further on the schedule, debt service which would result from the bond issuance. 
In this connection later in the meeting, the Board appointed Douglas Goodfriend of Orrick, as bond counsel, who would prepare bond resolutions first quarter of 2020 to implement the first two years of the Capital Plan.  Please see Comptroller Abraham Zambrano’s Summary Memo
Honoring Assistant Chief James Fayette Lawrenceof the Katonah Fire Department
Deputy Chief Dean W. Pappas was on hand to participate in paying tribute to Katonah Fire Department Assistant Chief James Fayette Lawrence. Sixty years ago, on October 6, 1959, he gave his life in the performance of his firematic duties: and today, remains the only Katonah Firefighter to have died in the line of duty.           Chief Lawrence was responding to a bush fire at the Ramsey Hunt Estate on Mount Holly Road and, while fighting the fire with other Katonah Volunteer Firefighters, became entangled in a fallen 4,600 volt high tension line. His fellow firefighters pulled him off the line with pike poles and attempted to revive him.Despite over 45 minutes of heroic effort, Chief Lawrence died at the age ofthirty nine. Chief Lawrence’s sacrifice was yet another indication of his community commitment and dedication as a lifelong resident of the Hamlet of Katonah. The Town Board presented to Deputy Chief Pappas a proclamation honoring the memory of Chief Lawrence, a man who was driven purely by his love and devotion to everyone around him and whose kindness and bravery in the face of danger always made an impact on this community and will continue to inspire others.
Work Session on Preparing a New TownComprehensive Plan The Town Board’s meeting with Planning Board Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson started with a work session to discuss the role of each subcommittee and skill sets and experience sought for individuals to be appointed.   
We moved to an Executive Session to discuss those interested in being appointed.  I anticipate we’ll make appointments at the November 7 Town Board meeting.  
For further information on the subcommittees please see my previous discussion.
Update and Report of Cemetery Advisory Committee
Cemetery Committee chair Jenny Weisburger presented a report to the Town Board on the work of the Committee and Friends of the Bedford Burying Grounds.
Over several years the Committee and the Friends of the Burying Grounds have made significant strides in repairing gravestones and reconstructing walls. She explained another one of the Cemetery Committee project that is to explore the potential to provide new interment plots that are associated with the increasing trend of cremation.
The Cemetery Committee discussed with consultants that the focus of expansion be on cremation burials as opposed to full, traditional burials. The proposed expansion of the cemetery would be low impact on Bedford’s historic cemeteries while benefiting Bedford residents who intend that their ashes be buried here.
Congratulations on Appointments to theComplete Count Committee
The 2020 United States Census is of critical importance to the Town of Bedford; its data affects funds available for our schools, housing, seniors, low and moderate income populations, sales tax revenue, grant awards; business decisions; redistricting; emergency planning; fire departments; hospitals and much more.
 The Town Board of the Town of Bedford recognizes the critical importance of ensuring that the 2020 United States Census counts every single individual in the Town of Bedford.
We congratulate the following appointees to the Census Committee: Jodi Kimmel (Chair)(Fox Lane Middle School)Joe Ruppenstein (Veterans Committee)Joanne Marcus (Senior Committee)Noya Guerrero (Community Center of Northern Westchester)Rev. Merle McJunkin (Antioch Baptist Church; Non-Resident associate member).
Proposal of FBS for Parking ViolationsManagement Services.
The Town Board approved FBS Justice Solutions proposal to the Town Board for parking violations management services. FBS will provide the necessary handheld equipment and related software that will integrate parking enforcement and the Court’s need to manage such enforcement.
Based on the Town’s current needs, it was recommended that the Town Board approved engaging FBS to provide services that will facilitate the management of the parking enforcement. The Board authorized proceeding with FBS’ option plan under which the Town purchases equipment. 
Proposal 2
Town Board Decision Not to Proceed with proposal of Homeland Towers for a cell tower at the Town property at 425 Cherry Street.  
At its meeting on October 7, after careful consideration of a number of issues, the Planning Board determined that it must recommend against the use of the Town property at 425 Cherry Street as the location to the Town Board a proposed Homeland Towers cell tower.
In particular, the Planning Board found that, based on the visual analysis provided by the applicant, a 150’ tower at either of the two proposed locations at 425 Cherry, would have an unacceptable visual impact on the heart of the hamlet of Bedford Hills.
The Board approved the Planning Board’s recommendation not to proceed with the Homeland Tower’s proposal.
Proposed Architect for Facility Assessment ofBedford Hills Community Center
Deputy Supervisor Lee Roberts, Councilwoman MaryAnn Carr and I have been working with Recreation and Parks Superintendent Chris Soi, BuildingInspector Al Ciraco and Director of Energy and Sustainability Mark Thielking regarding improvements to the Bedford Hills Community House.
Chris Soi requested the Town Board select an architectural firm to perform an assessment and study to establish a scope of work and project budget for the proposed capital improvements to the Bedford Hills Community House. Based on the pricing provided in the proposal of architects KG&D, the Board approved $14,500.00 to perform the study which would be funded from the existing Bedford Hills Community House Capital Project account. There will be a “gut” renovation, however, the scope of work will include among other components: interior development, renovations to multiple facilities and exterior restoration.
The Board approved the implementation and completion of the study, and not at this time additional architectural services.
This study is a critical step as the Town Board is considering Bedford Hills Community House capital improvements in formulating the 2020-2029 Capital Plan. The study will be completed in early/mid November. Letter of Intent
KGD Proposal
EARLY VOTING STARTS OCTOBER 26
For the first time in history, New Yorkers have a choice:
Vote Early October 26 through November 3at Mount Kisco Town HallORVote on Election Day, November 5at your regular polling place.It’s simple:Town of Bedford voters may vote earlyOctober 26 through November 3 atMount Kisco Town Hall, 104 Main Street

Bedford Public Works Dept.
PAVING NOTICE UPDATE
Public Notice to all residents regarding Road Paving in Bedford NY for October 2019.
The Town of Bedford plans on several days of road paving. Work will begin Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 and last through Friday, Oct. 18 (inclusive.) 
We will NOT be paving Saturday, Oct. 12, Sunday, Oct. 13, or Monday, Oct. 14 (Columbus Day). 
Roads to be paved at this time include:CHURCH STREETSUNSET DRIVE (Bedford Hills off of Main St.)SEMINARY ROADDAVID’S WAYDAVIDS HILL ROAD (The paved hill)                                    Commuters could experience temporary disruptions to traffic and access as paving operations commence. Residents are asked to refrain from parking on these streets as paving proceeds. The precise scheduling of work depends upon weather conditions and the proper operation of paving equipment. Therefore your patience and understanding are appreciated.
Keep in mind that it is possible that rain events or paving equipment issues may push back the paving schedule a day or two.
Paving will be preceded.by road milling on Cherry Street and Sunset Drive as well as the milling of some key cuts to the intersections and to some driveways where key cuts are considered beneficial.
If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Bedford Public Works Department at 914-666-7669.
2019 Fall Leaf Pick-Up ScheduleBegins Week of 11.4
(click for schedule)

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR WEEK OF 10.18-10.26Click here  
OTHER NEW POSTS

HELP WANTED – Part-time Interns!
The Supervisor’s office is seeking a few high school studentsto intern a few hours a week through the fall.
Community service hours will be honored while learning about local government. Take photos, get web skills, learn about your town!
This is a fun position that will give you a broad range of experiences.Please send an email to pcohen@bedfordny.gov
Attention Residents ofBedford Central School District
I first wish to thank members of the community for contacting me and meeting with me to discuss their concerns about possible school closures.  We are extremely concerned about the impacts, and will be actively engaged in the discussions. 
Part of what I intend to do is to help get the word out of forums and meetings which BCSD is holding regarding its facilities plan.  
Please try to attend and participate.  It is critical to the education of our children and our community generally.
From the BCSD flyer on community forums for long-range facilities plan:
“Bedford Central School District invites all members of the community to attend one of our open community forums about the district’s developing Long-Range Facilities Plan.”
These forums encourage Bedford citizens to share their thoughts, hopes, and ideas for the future.”

From the BCSD flyer on Budget Advisory Workshop Meetings:
“BUDGET ADVISORY WORKSHOP MEETINGSFOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY”
“The Board of Education invites members of the community to participate in Budget Advisory Workshop Meetings.
Each meeting will focus on a specific topic, indicated below, with relevant information shared and an opportunity for attendees to engage.”For dates/times/location, click here
HOURSSat/Sun:              12 PM through 5 PMMon/Wed/Fri:      8 AM through 4 PMTue/Thu:              12 PM through 8 PM
 You also may call Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli at 914-864-3868 or e-mail her at lfumagalli@bedfordny.gov 
The 2020 Census – JOBS!
DID YOU KNOW?  There are jobs available right now for the 2020 Census.  2020 census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020   
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country – especially field jobs ascertaining addresses and census takers. 
Hours are flexible and the pay rate is quite competitive at $21.00 per hour for a census taker in Westchester County
And as a resident getting paid for your work, if you are assigned to Bedford, you will be helping your town get a complete count.
REMINDER
It’s Leaf Blowing Season –Change Over in Rules Affecting Hamlet Zones
Hamlet Zones
PRIOR POSTS OFCONTINUED RELEVANCE
Cyber Security – Don’t fall victim
Update on Phase II Sewer Project
Guard Hill Radio Tower Upgrade
Subcommittee to develop New Comprehensive Plan
Final Budget Work Session
Approval of Geothermal Feasibility Study
An introduction to the – iNaturalist app
Buxton Gorge
LED Street Light Project Completed
Update on i684 Paving Project Project
Reminder! The Complete Count Committee needs you.
Tree Maintenance and Planting Program
i684/84 Corridor Study and next steps
THIS WEEK:
Saturday October 19The Annual 5th GradePancake Breakfast
7:30am-11:30am

Bedford HillsElementary School123 Babbitt Road Bedford Hills
All are welcome. Proceeds to fund the5th Grade Class Trip.
ART STROLL – OCTOBER 19 FROM 5PM -8 PM

OCTOBER 20
FREE RABIES VACCINES FOR WESTCHESTER PETS
Westchester County residents can bring their dogs, cats and ferrets in for free rabies vaccinations on Sunday, October 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Humane Society of Westchester, 70 Portman Road in New Rochelle. Walk-ins are welcome; no appointments are needed. Call 914-632-2925 for more information.
Cats and ferrets must be in carriers and dogs must be on a leash. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. No examinations will be given and all pets must be supervised by an adult.
“Vaccinating your pet against rabies will protect your pet and your family in case your pet has contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal,” said Westchester County Health Commissioner, Sherlita Amler, MD. 
Under New York State law, dogs and cats must receive their first rabies vaccine no later than four months after birth. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine, with additional booster shots given every one or three years after that, depending on the vaccine used. Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep the vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000.
Rabies is a fatal disease that spreads through the bite or saliva of infected animals. Those animals most commonly infected are raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. However, domestic animals such as cats and dogs are also at risk because they can easily contract rabies from wild or stray animals.
BOOSTER INFO: A pet that is up-to-date with its rabies vaccinations would only need a booster dose of vaccine within five days of the pet’s exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal. Animals not up-to-date with rabies vaccinations would be quarantined or euthanized following contact with a rabid or suspect-rabid animal. SIGNS OF RABIES: A change in an animal’s behavior is often the first sign of rabies. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become docile, or become excited and irritable. Infected animals sometimes stagger, spit and froth at the mouth. Adults should encourage children to avoid touching unfamiliar animals, and to immediately tell an adult if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal.
All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000. After hours, callers should follow instructions in the recorded message for reporting public health emergencies 24 hours a day. 
To learn more about rabies and its prevention, visit the Health Department’s website at www.westchestergov.com/health, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/wchealthdept or follow us on Twitter @wchealthdept.
SAVE THE DATES!
The Bedford Hills Neighborhood Associationinvites you to The 1st Annual
OCTOBER 26*4-8pmClick for more information”
Bedford Hills Train Station @ Depot Plaza
*Raindate 10.27

COMMUNITY NEWS
Bedford Village: Update on Proposal for a New Firehouse/ Emergency Services Department 
Bedford Village Fire Commissioner Heather Feldman has provided me the following update…
As was shared last week, we will use this space to address FAQs as they arise. Please email any questions to: NFC@bedfordfire.com and note we may edit the question for space and clarity.
Q.      Some communities (Katonah, Pound Ridge, Bedford Hills) split their emergency services into two departments – Fire and Emergency Medical. Why do we not have the same two-pronged structure in Bedford?A.       Since our founding in 1923, the Bedford Fire Department has provided both fire and emergency medical response from a single site, and a dedicated ambulance to cover medical calls since the 1950’s.
We have always believed that the community is best served from a single location so to fully leverage financial and operational efficiencies. If we were to split out our EMS agency, the Bedford Village community would then have to manage and maintain two separate properties and two buildings, engage two separate corps, identify two separate administrative bodies, and fund two separate department budgets.
Moreover, having both fire and EMS volunteers integrated into a single department allows for greater professional familiarity among the corps, resulting in a more coordinated crisis response. Simply put, the BVFD model minimizes costs and maximizes service.
Q.      I’ve heard that an exercise room for the first responders is being considered for the new building. Can you explain the rationale behind that decision? It seems very indulgent!A.       New York State requires Fire Districts to provide their first responders access to physical fitness facilities. These guidelines allow our volunteer firefighters and EMTs to attain the strength, agility, and stamina needed to handle the myriad crises that they confront each day.
The vast majority of modern firehouses have in-house fitness equipment. Having this resource on site helps keep our volunteers at the firehouse, reducing emergency response times.
Additionally, there is an economic advantage to providing this important professional development resource — currently, the BVFD spends approximately $15,000 of taxpayer funds per year to cover the costs of gym memberships of our volunteer corps. Putting an exercise room in a 75-year facility will save money over the long term.

*Each week, we will look forward to addressing a question about the revised project that has emerged.Please email your questions to: NFC@bedfordfire.com and please note we may edit the question for space and clarity.

Recreation & ParksFALL BROCHUREClick here
Recreation and Parks has aFacebook Page


Sharing the Road for Motorist & Cyclists
There is nothing better than getting out to enjoy a ride on a clear, crisp autumn morning. But there needs to be a partnership of shared responsibility of both the cyclist and motorist to keep everyone safe. 
Responsibility of the cyclist:
Wear a helmet. Be visible. Reflectors, lights, and reflective clothing help motorists see you. Follow traffic laws. Cyclists must follow the same traffic laws as motorists. Be predictable. Give motorists a sense of your direction and provide signals to show motorists your intentions to turn. Share the road. Try to stay as far to the right side of the roadway as safety allows. Do not impede traffic. Cyclists may ride a maximum of two abreast as long as normal traffic flow is not impeded.Be alert and try to anticipate potential conflicts before they occur.
Responsibility of the motorist:
Be Patient. Only pass a cyclist when there is adequate site distance to do so without impacting oncoming traffic.Share the road. When passing a cyclist, be sure to provide a minimum of three feet of buffer between you and the rider.Right hand turn awareness. Avoid cutting off a cyclist by making a right hand turn in front of them.Lookout for cyclists. When entering a roadway, don’t just check for cars, keep an eye out for cyclists too.
Working together will keep everyone safe and we can all enjoy the beautiful roads of Bedford.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR VETERANS CLICK HERE
Autism Registry formsAn Autism registry has been implemented on the Bedford Police Department website. The Bedford Central School District has been given access to the forms to distribute to students and parents. You can also download the forms here.
UPDATE for AT&T Cell Service CustomersOther Internet Service Issues?My thanks for the post on the Katonah Parents Facebook group alerting me to the AT&T cell service outage (the mention of my name on KPFG triggered an e-mail notification to me – it worked!).  And thanks as well to those who e-mailed us with the specifics.   
We were in touch with AT&T Wireless on Wednesday and Thursday who contacted their field team.  Yesterday, I was put in contact with an AT&T representative higher up in the food chain. I don’t know whether she was responsible for the service restoration or whether it was in the works anyway.
In any case I now have a person I can go to other than those lower down who we went to earlier this week when you folks alerted us to the problems. So please do let us know if you have any continuing or future service problems and we’ll do our best to get it taken care of. Thanks for your patience.      And going forward, for anyone having service issues, here are some numbers: Customer Service for Verizon /Fios: 1 800 922 0204
Customer Service for Optimum/ Altice: 718 860 3513
Customer Service for AT&T (cell phone service): 800 288 2020
We’ll try to help after you’ve exhausted your options with customer service support. Please feel free to contact Phyllis Cohen at pcohen@bedfordny.gov or me and provide the following: NameAddressAccount numberPhone number(s)E-mail addressDescription of the issue (dates of intermittent or lack of service, etc.)
PRIOR POSTS OFCONTINUED RELEVANCE (cont).
The I-684$13 Million Paving Project
Front row (l to r:) Lee Roberts, Kate Galligan, Kitley Covill, Chris Burdick, Shelley Mayer, Andrea Stewart Cousins, Marie Therese Dominquez, Peter Harkham, MaryAnn Carr. Back row: Don Scott, David Buchwald, Lance MacMillan.\

On Thursday, September 12, I joined State Senator Shelley Mayer, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Peter Harckham and Assemblyman David Buchwald in a press conference celebrating the I-684 paving project at long last coming to fruition. We were honored to be joined by New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.  READ MORE
Agreement with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for $1 Million Grant for Sewer ProjectREAD MORE
Adoption of New Local LawRegulating Sale of Vape Products
The Town Board held a public hearing to implement a settlement of litigation against the Town which resulted in an injunction against the Town barring enforcement of our existing vape law. READ MORE
Reminder – No Knock Registry Law
We are receiving reports of unscrupulous, deceptive and fraudulent tactics of door to door salesman.  Please be reminded that the Town Board amended its solicitation law to provide a No Knock Registry. It prohibits such solicitation to the homes of residents who complete a request to be listed on a “no knock registry”. The law does not infringe upon political, educational or religious activities.  READ MORE
Town of Bedford AchievesClimate Smart Community CertificationI am pleased to report that on Thursday, September 26, Governor Cuomo announced that the Town of Bedford together with 15 other local governments were awarded certification as a Climate Smart CommunityREAD MORE
New Collective Bargaining Agreementwith our Office Workers
The negotiating teams of the Town of Bedford and the Teamsters 456 – White Collar Unit, which represents the Town’s office workers, met several times starting on January 25, 2019 to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the period January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2022.  READ MORE
SENIOR NEWS
Become of member of your Bedford Playhouse.
Discounted membership for ages 62+
Sign up here
Living Green
Leaf Discount ProgramExtended untilJanuary 2, 2020READ MORE
ClearGov – Transparency in GovernmentClick headline to read presentationFor more information go to ClearGovBedford
LEARN MORE HEREIncentives for Electric Vehicle Purchases

PollinatorPathways
You may have heard talk of“pollinator pathways”.So what are they andwhy are they beneficial?
READ MORE


PilotFood WastePick-UpProgram
Heat Smart Offers Attractive Opportunities
Thanks to a grant from New York State Energy Research & Development, homeowners in the towns of Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge now have a unique opportunity to determine whether heat pumps might provide a more comfortable home while saving on energy bills.  Heat pumps draw from either the ambient air (air source pumps) or the earth (geothermal pumps). Geothermal provides a constant temperature of about 54 degrees allowing for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.  The program is spearheaded by Energize NY, in partnership with Sustainable Westchester, Abundant Efficiency and NYSERDA, provides homeowners in the three towns the opportunity to learn whether these new renewable energy choices are right for you.  Energize has launched an ambitious community outreach program to introduce homeowners both to the technology and reputable, certified heating and cooling and energy efficiency experts who offer the latest clean energy technologies including air source and geothermal heat pumps and energy efficiency improvements. The contractors are Bruni & Campisi (914-269-6760), Healthy Home Energy & Consulting, Inc. (9144-242-9733) and Dandelion Energy (833-436-4255) On Thursday, June 26, the Heat Smart team was on hand for the community to explain the program (together with service Tacos). Like to know more?  Please click on this link https://www.heatsmartny.com/westchester or call 914-302-7300 x1   There is no cost or obligation to learn whether Heat Smart is right for you. Our thanks to Lauren Brois, Bedford 2020, the contractors and the Heat Smart campaign team for an excellent presentation.
Recycling News
Bedford 2020:Waste and Recycling Current Projects
Beaver Dam Yard Waste and Compost Facility
The Town of Bedford Beaver Dam Compost Facility processes recyclable wood waste and leaves from the Town and provides beneficial reuse of the waste as compost and mulch. The facility provides an extremely cost effective method for this recycling as well as an environmental benefit of local recycling with minimal transportation requirements. It is open for residents to dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6” diameter, brush, and leaves), as well as pick up wood mulch and leaf compost. This service is free to Town of Bedford residents between 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM Monday to Friday, excluding Town holidays.
With Spring clean-up and planting season here, you may find these services helpful. I encourage you to review the updated information by clicking on Beaver Dam Compost Facility on the Town’s website.
THE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT click here

FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR click here

TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here