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.
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).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
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 takerin 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.
It’s Leaf Blowing Season –Change Over in Rules Affecting Hamlet Zones
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
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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
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
Become of member of your Bedford Playhouse. Discounted membership for ages 62+ Sign up here
Leaf Discount ProgramExtended untilJanuary 2, 2020READ MORE
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.
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 master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” penned poet and activist Audre Lorde. Pulled from a 1984 essay, the quote summarizes her larger argument that mainstream academic frameworks are incapable of permitting the disruption of their own status quo. “They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change,” wrote Lorde.
Over the last few months, several Democratic presidential hopefuls—namely Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg—have released housing proposals that utilize a curious vector to implement their respective remedies for historical discrimination: redlining maps.
Redlining was the practice of outlining areas with sizable Black populations in red ink on maps as a warning to mortgage lenders, effectively isolating Black people in areas that would suffer lower levels of investment than their white counterparts. The Democratic candidates hope that the contours of these old maps—once used by the government-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) from 1933 to 1977—offer the blueprint for closing the racial homeownership gap and increasing prosperity among largely Black and Brown Americans who were robbed of wealth for generations under redlining’s legal discriminatory policy.
Redlining was the practice of outlining areas with sizable Black populations in red ink on maps as a warning to mortgage lenders, effectively isolating Black people in areas that would suffer lower levels of investment than their white counterparts.
In each plan, redlining maps are used to determine eligibility for beneficiaries, to differing degrees:
Harris’s plan would invest $100 billion in assistance for down payments and closing costs, to be made available to those who have lived in government or rental housing for 10 or more preceding years in a formerly redlined area that is low-to-moderate income today. Grantees must also earn less than a maximum annual family income.
Warren’s plan would offer down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers in formerly redlined areas or low-income areas that experienced other forms of legal segregation, qualifying them for a grant applicable to a home anywhere in the country. The proposal is billed as a “first step towards closing the racial wealth gap,” and would be paid for by an estate tax.
Mayor Buttigieg’s plan proposes the Community Homestead Act, which would purchase abandoned properties in select cities and allow residents to acquire them. Eligible grantees include residents who earned less than the area median income over the last five years and either have resided in the area for at least three years, or have resided in any historically redlined or racially segregated area for at least three years.
However, based on our analysis of who lives in these formerly redlined districts today, Lorde’s quote should be considered when it comes to these proposed remedies.
The University of Richmond’s Mapping Inequality project has digitized scans of the HOLC redlining maps held in the National Archives. Examination of the maps, numbering over 200, reveals that approximately 11 million Americans (10,852,727) live in once-redlined areas, according to the latest population data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2017). This population is majority-minority but not majority-Black, and, contrary to conventional perceptions, Black residents also do not form a plurality in these areas overall. The Black population share is approximately 28%, ranking third among the racial groups who live in formerly redlined areas, behind white and Latino or Hispanic residents.
While still a tremendously large population, the approximately 3 million Black residents in redlined areas account for just 8% of all non-Latino or Hispanic Black Americans. Given the demographic shifts that have occurred since the federal government started using color-coded maps to assess mortgage risk, and the relatively small share of the Black population currently living in these areas, proposals that center on these past tools to redress discrimination probably won’t “dismantle the master’s house.”
THE PAST STILL HAUNTS US
Together with racially restrictive housing covenants that prohibited Black Americans from buying certain properties, redlining prevented generations of families from gaining equity in homeownership or making improvements to homes already owned. These unjust practices form part of a long history of discrimination, which has contributed to the disparities in homeownership and wealth still observed between the Black and white populations of the country today.
Redlined neighborhoods are generally located near the center of urban areas, where Black people were concentrated when the government generated the maps used today for the Harris, Warren, and Buttigieg proposals. But since then, transformational demographic shifts have spread different populations throughout metropolitan areas and increased the size of those areas overall. To assess the relative residual social patterns across redlined communities today, we compare the aggregate of the census block groups that fall within the redlined areas of each city to the remaining non-redlined areas in the same cities, and measure ways the two areas differ.
These localized comparisons show that in cities with a history of redlining, the redlined areas today generally remain more segregated and more economically disadvantaged, with higher Black and minority shares of population than the remainder of the city. Additionally, they have lower median household income, lower home values, older housing stock, and rents which are lower in absolute terms (but often higher as a percentage of income). Similar studies have confirmed these trends for other social characteristics, as well as a clear correlation showing more positive current-day outcomes for areas that were “greenlined.”
The selected characteristics in the group of the ten most populous redlined areas diverge less sharply than in the remaining smaller areas, suggesting that for smaller areas, the residual effects of redlining are perhaps felt more clearly.
This top-heavy slant of the population distribution poses an issue for policymakers who wish to use HOLC maps to address the legacy of past discrimination, as it is not the case that half of the homeownership and wealth gaps can be attributed to disparities among Black and white residents of those ten cities alone. Furthermore, Black-majority suburbs are on the rise, which are heavily underrepresented in HOLC maps due to their focus on urban centers.
WHO NOW LIVES IN ONCE-REDLINED AREAS?
In some places, redlined areas track with conventional perceptions. For example, in Birmingham, Ala., the redlined portion has a much higher concentration of Black residents than the rest of the city, as well as lower incomes and property values. Formerly redlined Birmingham is majority-Black, and a large share of the Black citizens of Birmingham reside in formerly redlined areas.
The racial history of Birmingham is one of sustained aggression against the Black population. The persistence of demographic patterns in formerly redlined Birmingham is a testament to informal and formal enforcement of spatial placement by local, state and private forces. In cities throughout the South with a similar demographic makeup and history of racial violence, policies of targeted assistance in redlined areas could prove useful in closing the local racial homeownership and wealth disparities. However, at the regional and city level across the country, we find wide variations in the demographic makeup of who lives in formerly redlined areas (both in absolute numbers and relative to the cities in which they are found).
Some redlined areas have a lower Black share of population than the rest of the city
Theoretically, if the effects of redlining had faded completely over time, demographics and socio-economic outcomes between redlined areas and the surrounding city would be indistinguishable. Of course, this is not the case, but the degree to which the Black versus non-Black population of a given redlined area matches the area around it varies greatly across cities. Of the 174 principal cities in the comparison, 114 showed a statistically significantly higher concentration of Black population in the redlined areas than the rest of the city. In 26 more, the concentration was higher but not statistically significant.
Six of the 34 cities which inverted this trend (a redlined area with a lower Black share of the population than the rest of the city) are among those 10 large cities which are home to half the redlined population: Detroit, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Boston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Each of the six have sizeable Black populations, and Black people form the largest racial group in Detroit, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. And despite a demographic shift, the redlined portions of these cities still exhibit negative economic outcomes.
Clearly, these areas have suffered from a legacy of divestment, and deserve attention from policymakers. But a strategy to close the racial wealth gap that focuses mainly on these now-diversified locations risks overlooking Black neighborhoods elsewhere.
Some redlined areas, especially in the West, have a small Black population relative to white or Latino or Hispanic residents
Los Angeles is home to the third-most populous formerly redlined area, encircling over 620,000 people. Today, 70% of this group is Latino or Hispanic, 12% is white, and 6% is Black.
In 1930, nine years before the HOLC map was produced, census data showed that the whole city’s population was 88% white, 8% Mexican (the closest proxy to the Latino or Hispanic population from the time), and 2% Black. Even so, language from the original HOLC map makes explicit reference to Black neighborhoods. An excerpt from a map encompassing today’s central Los Angeles neighborhood of Jefferson Park derisively writes:
This is the “melting pot” area of Los Angeles, and has long been thoroughly blighted. The Negro concentration is largely in the eastern two thirds of the area. Original construction was evidently of fair quality but lack of proper maintenance is notable. Population is uniformly of poor quality and many improvements are in a state of dilapidation. This area is a fit location for a slum clearance project. The area is accorded a “low red” grade.
While redlined areas in Los Angeles largely did and still do encompass far more Latino or Hispanic residents than Black residents, property appraisals and neighborhood assessments were constantly undertaken from a distinctly anti-Black point of view. However, the demographic reality of redlined Los Angeles today means that policies implemented here to close the Black homeownership gap would miss the target population. Of course, the country experiences a Latino or Hispanic homeownership gap as well, which merits intentional consideration from policymakers. But Latino or Hispanic Americans should not be merely an incidental benefactor of policy directed at addressing historic discrimination against Black people.
Some redlined areas are too small to be a useful target for policy
Dallas is a city with a long history of intense discrimination. Today, Dallas remains segregated along lines of race and income, but the HOLC map is surprisingly small. In the 80 years since the map was drawn, the city has grown five-fold. Today, the city of Dallas hosts over 1.3 million residents (including roughly 300,000 Black residents) but has a redlined population of just over 28,000. Policies to address redlining specifically would have little effect on racial homeownership and wealth disparities in Dallas.
Washington, D.C. is noticeably absent from discussions of redlining. The reason is simple, and reveals one of the most intractable problems with using these maps to guide policy implementation: We simply do not have any record of a redlining map drawn for 1930s Washington. While it is difficult to imagine the District—long known as “Chocolate City”—being spared from a nationwide effort targeting Black residents, it is not hard to find examples of place-based discrimination that happened in the nation’s capital in the 20th century and continue today. Discriminatory lending at the local level does not require a federally commissioned map, but it helps.
If the 2020 presidential candidates and other federal policymakers wish to close the homeownership and wealth gaps, efforts cannot be considered complete without including the city of Washington. Without a map to guide them, a new system must be devised for implementing policy there. And if that can be accomplished for Washington, then it can be accomplished nationwide.
Other places which display this pattern: all but some 200 cities nationwide, including nearly every suburb and rural area.
ONCE-REDLINED AREAS ARE NO LONGER A PROXY FOR BLACK AMERICA
Redlining was a federally created—but locally implemented—form of discrimination. As such, redlined areas, and the cities in which they are located, vary widely in size, demographics, and location. Moreover, the racial makeup of the population in redlined areas has grown and evolved dramatically over the last eight decades, and the effects of the practice have spread beyond the confines of the original maps.
The practice of redlining was explicit in its targeting of Black Americans. While Latino or Hispanic residents, low-income white residents, noncitizens, communists, and other populations the federal government deemed “risky” were often included in redlining, they were not targeted in the same manner as Black residents. Today, neighborhoods that fall within once-redlined areas are more likely to have a higher concentration of Black residents, as well as lower incomes, lower home values, and other negative economic characteristics relative to the rest of their cities.
However, proposals that base their remedies primarily on formerly redlined areas paradoxically do not redress the main racial group that was explicitly targeted, exclude important Black neighborhoods and communities, and would skew impact toward a handful of large cities. Place-based discrimination—the practice of divesting in neighborhoods wholesale on the basis of race—has had adverse effects on both people and place. Policymakers should be intentional in ensuring that their proposed solutions can address both.
Consequently, redlining—the master’s tool—will prove to be insufficient in dismantling the legacy of racial inequities in homeownership and wealth in the United States.
We define formerly redlined areas as those geographies marked “Hazardous” or “Fourth Grade” and thus outlined in red via the University of Richmond’s Mapping Inequality project. We define cities as census “Places” and choose principal cities as our unit of comparison, rather than metropolitan areas, to better account for the general centrality of redlined areas around urban cores. Principal cities are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Population totals and characteristics are tabulated by aggregating all census block groups whose population-weighted centroids fall within any redlined area (including those areas outside of contemporary principal city limits), estimating aggregated medians and margins of error by linear interpolation. Block groups are the smallest geography for which the American Community Survey provides estimates for the latest dissemination period (2017). However, not all socio-economic characteristics which are available in the ACS at the census tract level are available for block groups. Block groups offer a finer approximation of the irregular geographies of redlined areas, at the expense of accessing fewer ACS estimates. As this analysis is based largely on demographic totals, which are available at the block group level, we choose to make the best possible geographic approximation instead of a broader socio-economic snapshot. Because we examine whether the complicated boundaries of these geographies should be followed closely today, we therefore deem it necessary to estimate the most accurate interpretation of those boundaries possible. At time of writing, 2010 population totals for census blocks are available (and would provide a finer resolution of irregular redlining geographies than block groups), but these figures are nine years old and do not include any socio-economic characteristics. After the 2020 census, block level population data will allow for finer demographic analysis of redlined areas using up-to-date figures. All margins of error and significance tests are calculated at a 90% confidence interval.
17VIEW GALLERYLocation: Irvington, N.Y.Price: $4.5 millionSize: 11,653 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 10 full and 2 half bathrooms
Though it barely qualifies as what most financial mortals might consider downsizing, Hollywood veterans Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have slightly reduced their considerable residential footprint in New York State’s fancy-pants Bedford. Selling a more than 15,000 sq. ft. Bedford Corners mansion for almost $20.5 million and concurrently snapping up a not quite 12,000 sq. ft. Gatsby-esque manor house about 20 miles away, in Irvington, for exactly $4.5 million.
Douglas and Zeta-Jones bought the more than 13-acre Bedford Corners spread about five years ago for $11.25 million. They sold it in what appears to have been a clandestine, off-market deal to a mysterious corporate entity. It links back to the impossibly posh Sherry Netherland building on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Situated in the coveted Guard Hill area, the palatial estate is anchored by a stately 26-room residence that dates to the late 1800s. At the time of their purchase, it offered eight bedrooms and 18 bathrooms plus an extensive spa facility with not just one but two indoor swimming pools. The property additionally included a two-unit cottage for guests or staff, a car collector’s garage and a full array of equestrian facilities.
The lavish living couple’s only somewhat smaller but far less expensive new digs, dubbed Long Meadow, meanders over 12 bucolic and largely wooded acres that roll down to the Hudson River. Just 25 miles outside Manhattan and built in the early 1930s, the 22-room stone-accented red brick Georgian mansion sits at the head of a long, gated driveway with eight bedrooms and 10 full and two half bathrooms. Listing details disclose the baronial three-story behemoth also has a total of seven fireplaces, an 11-zone heating and cooling system, a four-car garage and annual taxes that top $150,000.
An elegant columned portico leads to gracefully proportioned and intricately detailed living spaces that include a formal and living and dining rooms, both with an antique limestone fireplace and the latter sporting candy apple red lacquered walls that reflect light tossed off from a delicate crystal chandelier. There’s also double-height wood-paneled library flooded with natural light through massive arched windows, a casual lounge with wet bar and a fully updated center island kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and marble countertops. A stone-floored loggia opens to a massive stone-paved terrace that is partly shaded by a black and white striped awning and offers a stunning tree-framed view across the Hudson River, while the mansion’s eight bedrooms include a two-bedroom guest suite and a spacious owners suite that comprises a large bedroom and separate sitting room, a dressing room and a glitzy bathroom with a jetted tub next to a white marble fireplace.
The mansion’s lowest level opens the estate’s rolling grounds and contains an indoor swimming pool, fitness room, recreation/games lounge and, outside, a summer kitchen. Marketing materials indicate the estate offers “enormous untapped potential” to add an outdoor swimming pool and cabana, tennis court and guest cottage. As noted by The Hudson Independent, Houlihan Lawrence Realtors had both sides of the deal.
The Douglas-Zeta-Joneses have long and famously presided over an international portfolio of luxury homes that have made them regular fodder for property gossip columns around the globe. In addition to a sprawling co-operative apartment in a prestigious apartment house overlooking Central Park on New York City’s Central Park West and a large house in Zeta-Jones’ hometown of Swansea, Wales, the couple have long owned a walled compound in Bermuda that came up for sale earlier this year at $19 million but is no longer listed on the open market, although it’s unclear if it’s been sold. The couple’s 10-bedroom compound on the Spanish island of Majorca, which is co-owned by Douglas’s ex-wife Diandra Douglas, was also set out for sale earlier this year and is still available at a whopping $32.5 million.
Demand for apartments hit a high not seen in five years as a shortage of affordable homes has locked an increasing number of Americans out of the market.
According to recent data from RealPage, the national occupancy rate rose to 95.8% from 95.4% last year.
The increase in demand has sent rental prices upward, causing them to rise 3% from the same time last year.
Rental price increases varied across cities, with Las Vegas and Phoenix posting the greatest gains at 8.8% and 8.1%, respectively.
Of the cities that saw the most leasing activity, the Dallas-Fort Worth area takes the cake, with renters moving into 10,443 units in the second quarter of 2019, RealPage revealed.
“Apartment leasing activity accelerates during the warmer weather months, and demand is proving especially strong in this year’s primary leasing season,” according to RealPage chief economist Greg Willett.
“Solid economic growth is encouraging new household formation, and rentals are capturing a sizable share of the resulting housing demand,” Wlillet continued. “At the same time, loss of existing renters to home purchase remains limited relative to historical levels.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average monthly residential electricity bill in the U.S. stood at $111.67 in 2017. Electricity is one of the biggest household expenses, as it accounted for 55 percent of total utility costs and 9 percent of total housing costs in 2017, according to the American Housing Survey (AHS).
The average monthly residential electricity bill varies widely across states (Figure 1). Hawaii had the highest average monthly electricity bill at $149, while New Mexico had the lowest ($79). Behind Hawaii, states in the Southeast region generally had higher electricity bills, including Alabama ($143) and South Carolina ($141). States contiguous to New Mexico — Colorado and Utah — also had low electricity bills (both at $82).
Electricity bills are a function of price and consumption. The average monthly retail price of electricity was $12.89 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2017. At $29.50 cents/kWh, Hawaii had the highest retail price. Other states with high electricity prices include Alaska, states in New England, and California. Washington State had the lowest electricity price among the states, followed by Louisiana, and Idaho (Figure 2).
High residential electricity bills in Hawaii are driven almost entirely by price as its residents, on average, consume the least amount of electricity among the states. The island lacks natural resources and relies on costly imports of petroleum to meets its needs, thus driving up its retail price. New England also lacks natural resources: unlike most parts of the country, it does not have natural gas reserves, nor does it have a solid network of gas pipelines. New England residents pay 50 percent more ($19.41 c/kWh) than the typical US resident ($12.89 c/kWh). It is important to note that in many states, regulatory environments, aging and inefficient infrastructure, and policies discouraging carbon-emitting fuels in favor of renewable energy also impact electricity supply and price.
Figure 2: Top Ten States with Highest (Lowest) Average Monthly Electricity Price (cents/kWh)
States with Highest Electricity Retail Price
States with Lowest Electricity Retail Price
Hawaii (29.50 ¢/kWh)
Washington (9.66 ¢/kWh)
Alaska (21.27 ¢/kWh)
Louisiana (9.74 ¢/kWh)
Connecticut (20.29 ¢/kWh)
Idaho (10.04 ¢/kWh)
Massachusetts (20.06 ¢/kWh)
Arkansas (10.28 ¢/kWh)
New Hampshire (19.21 ¢/kWh)
North Dakota (10.29 ¢/kWh)
Rhode Island (18.32 ¢/kWh)
Oklahoma (10.61 ¢/kWh)
California (18.31 ¢/kWh)
Oregon (10.66 ¢/kWh)
New York (18.03 ¢/kWh)
Tennessee (10.72 ¢/kWh)
Vermont (17.68 ¢/kWh)
Kentucky (10.85 ¢/kWh)
Maine (15.97 ¢/kWh)
North Carolina (10.94 ¢/kWh)
Nationwide, average monthly consumption of electricity stood at 867 kWh in 2017. States in the Southeast region of the country had the highest average monthly residential consumption rates. Louisiana had the highest rate at 1,187 kWh, followed by Tennessee (1,150 kWh), and Alabama (1,136 kWh). States with the lowest consumption rates include Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, California, and New York (Figure 3).
Residential electricity consumption is generally higher in the Southeast region because of high demand for air-conditioning to combat hot and humid summer weather. Although the Southeast has moderate winters, it still consumes a measurable amount of electricity during this season because of the widespread use of heat pumps to generate heat. Colder regions of the country, like the Northeast and Midwest, typically use oil- or gas-burning furnaces to heat homes. States with lower rates of electricity consumption are in regions with mild summers, such as New England. It is also important to point out that some states, such as California for example, have robust energy efficiency programs that help to reduce electricity consumption.
Figure 3: Top Ten States with Highest (Lowest) Average Monthly Electricity Consumption (kWh)
States with Highest Electricity Consumption
States with Lowest Electricity Consumption
Louisiana (1186.81 kWh)
Hawaii (506.15 kWh)
Tennessee (1149.83 kWh)
Vermont (537.57 kWh)
Alabama (1136.20 kWh)
Maine (546.13 kWh)
Mississippi (1131.63 kWh)
California (554.33 kWh)
Texas (1112.00 kWh)
New York (572.48 kWh)
Florida (1089.35 kWh)
Rhode Island (577.31 kWh)
South Carolina (1081.66 kWh)
Massachusetts (582.57 kWh)
Virginia (1078.47 kWh)
New Hampshire (598.56 kWh)
North Dakota (1062.94 kWh)
Alaska (600.97 kWh)
Georgia (1062.21 kWh)
New Mexico (614.66 kWh)
Just as geography is an important factor impacting electricity costs, so is the age of the housing stock. NAHB analysis shows that newer homes are more energy efficient on a square foot basis than existing homes. For example, single-family detached homes built prior to 1950 consume 135.4 BTUs/square foot, compared to 100.1 BTUs/square foot among single-family detached homes built between 2000 and 2009. Builders are continually incorporating new technologies into the homes they build, such as better insulation and energy efficient appliances, that help to reduce energy costs for households.
The societal ramifications of state-legalized marijuana — a $10.4-billion industry — are being hashed out, study by study. And home values are one of the effects under scrutiny.
The link between real estate prices and weed might not be readily apparent, until one considers the en vogue vibe of licensed retail pot shops. Some are so slickly upscale-minimalist they sell branded yoga mats and Obama Kush, a Cannabis indica strain that “channels the president’s famous message of ‘change’ as it invigorates and inspires.”
Your favored budtender can set you up, and she might even offer hope: Lucrative legal weed does indeed seem to bake premium bucks into the worth of your home.
The most thorough study found that legalizing retail marijuana in Colorado increased housing values by about 6%, or $15,600 a property. Among all the factors contributing to home price increases, that accounted for about 27% of overall appreciation in municipalities that adopted legal cannabis from 2010 to 2015, according to the University of Mississippi study, published last year in Economic Inquiry.
“Our result is quite robust,” the study’s coauthor, Cheng Cheng, said in a written response to questions. “This result remains robust when we account for the impact of other common housing value determinants (e.g., housing characteristics and demographics) and of the regulation of medical marijuana.”
And the effect was still evident when they compared different municipalities within metropolitan areas, said Cheng, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Mississippi. He used a variety of data sources — including tax assessors, county records, the U.S. Census Bureau and the MLS — to arrive at his conclusions.
Colorado approved marijuana for recreational use in 2012. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis, and voters approved recreational use in 2016. Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, classified as a Schedule 1 drug, along with others considered ripe for abuse, such as heroin and LSD.
Cheng posits that property values get a contact high from retail marijuana because home buyers, entrepreneurs and job seekers who flood a newly legal marketplace create “unprecedented business and employment opportunities.” They’re also sparking demand within a fixed housing inventory. And he added that an injection of new tax revenue means neighborhood amenities can be upgraded, likely enticing homeowners to stay put while driving prices upward.
Other sleuths have sliced and diced Zillow’s vast real estate data to arrive at similar findings — a process that’s now relatively easy given advances in text-mining software.
Home values immediately increased once voters approved legal cannabis, long before retail shops opened, according to a Zillow analysis run by St. Louis-based Clever Real Estate, an agent referral network. The firm examined data from 2017 to 2019 in all U.S. cities.
Those that legalized recreational marijuana saw home values increase $6,337 more than in cities where pot is illegal, the study found, after controlling for population, initial home values, GDP and other variables.
“There’s an immediate bump right after legalization because investors see opportunities to go into those markets; they bring more job seekers,” said Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Clever’s head of research. A 2018 Cato Institute study observed findings similar to those unearthed by Cheng and Clever.
Cities that approved marijuana only for medical use did not experience the same value jolt as those where recreational weed is available. Instead, home prices increased at rates comparable to those in cities where all marijuana is illegal.
So it appears the commercial sale of cannabis is what stimulates home values. Washington, D.C., legalized cannabis for recreational and medical use in 2014 but barred commercial sales. Lack of a regulated citywide pot market “resulted in slower growth for the D.C. area compared to the national average,” author Luke Babich wrote in the Clever study.
Without that cash flow (sales of buds, edibles, extracts, tinctures, vape pens, branded yoga mats…), “money won’t flow back into the market and housing prices won’t respond over the long term,” Babich wrote.
Following California’s voter approval of cannabis in November 2016, “San Jose saw its sharpest historical two-year increase in home values” in two decades, a $303,200 hike, Babich noted. Of course, that entire $300K can’t be attributed to legal weed, said O’Shaughnessy, especially given Silicon Valley’s blistering housing market.
Still, (borrowing from that “Obama Kush sales copy) such increases no doubt induce a “euphoric rush” as well as some “cerebral stimulation” — at least for homeowners. For home buyers, news of pot-induced price hikes are probably a serious buzzkill.
Approximately 55,000 children could be evicted from public housing if the Department of Housing and Urban Development goes through with a proposed plan to end public housing aid for undocumented immigrants, HUD revealed in a report on the rule change’s potential impact.
Last month, HUD proposed a rule that would make undocumented immigrants ineligible for public housing aid and force them to relocate within 18 months.
The rule proposes the use of the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, or SAVE program, to verify the citizenship of all members living in a household that receives assistance.
Under HUD’s current rules, families are allowed to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible as long the ineligible person declares themselves as as such. The housing subsidy is then prorated to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance.
But HUD’s new rules closes that “loophole.”
HUD officially proposed changed those rules Friday, publishing the text of the rule in the Federal Register.
As part of the rulemaking process, HUD also issued a report on the potential impact of the rule change.
According to the report , the Trump administration plan to pull public housing aid could lead the removal of 55,000 children from public housing, putting them at risk of homelessness.
Overall, as many as 25,000 households would be affected by the rule change. According to HUD’s report, the vast majority of the potentially affected households (72%) come from three states – California (37%), Texas (23%), and New York (12%).
Beyond the direct impact on those households, who would be forced to find another place to live within 18 months, the rule change could also have the opposite effect of what the Trump administration claimed when initially floating the proposal.
“Thanks to @realDonaldTrump’s leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first. Our nation faces affordable housing challenges and hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for many years on waitlists to get housing assistance,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson tweeted when the public housing rule change was initially reported.
The idea, according to Carson, is to make more housing available to American citizens.
“We have a long list of people we can only serve right now one in four of the people who are looking for assistance from the government,” Carson told Fox Business on Thursday. “So obviously we want to get those people taken care of. And we also want to abide by the laws.”
But according to HUD’s own analysis of the proposed rule changes, the move could actually lead to less public housing aid being available because the “American” households replacing the “mixed” households make less money than the families they’d be replacing and would, therefore, require more housing assistance.
From the HUD report:
“An additional transfer of the rule results from the replacement households requiring a higher subsidy than the mixed households. This would occur because the households that replace mixed families, on average, have less income and would receive higher per household subsidies.”
The impact of that would lead to an increase of HUD’s budget of between $193 million and $227 million, meaning it would cost taxpayers as much as $227 million more to give public housing aid to the replacement households.
Another “likelier” scenario would be HUD choosing to serve those replacement households without additional resources or pulling money from other HUD programs.
But according to the HUD report, “perhaps the likeliest scenario” would be HUD reducing the quantity and quality of subsidized housing because of the higher costs, meaning there would less subsidized housing available in the first place and the ones that remained would be lower quality than before.
“With part of the budget being redirected to cover the increase in subsidy, there could be fewer households served under the housing choice vouchers program; while for public housing, this would have an impact on the quality of service, e.g., maintenance of the units and possibly deterioration of the units that could lead to vacancy,” HUD said in the report.
So instead of making more public housing available to those on the waiting list, the proposal could lead to the exact opposite happening.
From HUD’s report:
However, it is unlikely that this transfer would occur in the form of increased subsidies from taxpayers to the replacement households. Housing assistance is not an entitlement and the federal budget for housing is not expected to increase because of this rule. Instead, it is likely that the higher per household subsidies would be paid for by reducing average spending on housing assistance for all households. or reducing the number of households served. The number and quality of public housing units likely could decline as could any additional resident services provided by housing authorities.
Beyond all of that, Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition suggests that the “true motivation” of HUD’s rule changes is to instill fear into undocumented immigrants.
“HUD expects the fear of being separated would lead to a prompt evacuation by most mixed-status families, whether or not that fear is justified,” HUD states in a section on the report on the expected responses from the impacted households.
“The cruelty of Secretary Carson’s proposal is breathtaking, and the harm it would inflict on children, families and communities is severe,” Yentel said Friday in a statement. “Tens of thousands of deeply poor kids, mostly U.S. citizens, could be evicted and made homeless by this proposal, and – by HUD’s own admission – there would be zero benefit to families on waiting lists. This proposal is another in a long line of attempts by the administration to instill fear in immigrants throughout the country. We will not stand for it.”
Yentel was joined by more than two dozen housing, faith, civil rights, social justice, and immigration groups in denouncing the proposed rule changes.
HUD itself notes that there are less costly alternatives to the proposed rule change.
From the report:
The first alternative regulatory action would be to grandfather all of the existing mixed- families and apply the provisions of this proposed rule to new admissions only. The alternative would better target housing assistance. Gradually mixed-households would be replaced. For example, with a turnover rate of 10 percent, the number of mixed households would be halved within seven years. Such an option would fulfill the objectives of the rule but would limit the transition costs. A second would be to limit the denial of housing assistance to households for which the leaseholder is ineligible. There are approximately 17,000 households with ineligible noncitizen household heads who will be affected by this proposed rule and would no longer be the leaseholders. This would reduce the number of households affected from 25,000 to 17,000. Such an alternative would likely limit the adverse impact of the transition on eligible children.
According to HUD, the current average wait time for public housing assistance is more than two years.
To read the full HUD report on the impact of the rule change, click here.
Coming Up at the April 23 Town Board MeetingSunrise Katonah Proposed Resolution –Climate Change Action The Town Board will be hearing a presentation from Sunrise Katonah which has requested that the Town Board adopt a Climate Action resolution urging federal action to further goals to expand renewable power sources and reach a target of net-zero carbon emissions. The proposed resolution reflects the spirit of the Green Agenda, but without all of the specific items, a number of which are national in scope. The Board will be discussing the proposed resolution for the first time on April 23, and may find it preferable not to take immediate action on the proposed resolution. The Town of Bedford long has been a leader in environmental initiatives and in the coming months will be working with Bedford 2020 and the community in moving ahead on new goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Report from Bedford2020 ZERO WASTE CHALLENGE SHOWS POTENTIALFOR 70% RESIDENTIAL RECYCLINGOver the past year Bedford 2020 has developed and conducted a series of Zero Waste Challenge (ZWC) events with more than 80 interested families, 14 of whom participated in a six week waste and recyclables weighing program in October 2018. This Zero Waste Challenge was based on similar programs conducted in many other cities and towns, with the objective of quantifying in real terms what a group of typical residential families could recycle. The resulting ZWC Report with Summary Data from each participating family of 2,3, 4 and 5 person households found that a total of 65% waste reduction on average, with 39% Single Stream Recycling and 26% Compostables removed from total household material, leaving only 35% waste. After considering the wide variation in family data and the ease with which some families were able to exceed 70% total recycling/reduction, we believe that a 70% reduction goal is practical and achievable over time with your support and some more effort. The largest single additional waste reduction beyond present efforts would come as a result of removing compostable food waste.The ZWC also indicated a significant overall household material reduction, with participating ZWC families taking less material into their house, when compared with overall Town wide and State data for materials collected, suggesting that more awareness and attention to what we use and buy can significantly reduce our waste. The ZWC generated a lot of enthusiasm not only from participants but many others who attended the preliminary Trash Bash, and Bedford 2020 may consider another event in future. The program confirmed the viability and reasonableness of our recycling goals with real time data in Bedford and gives a positive direction for future efforts at waste reduction.The Zero Waste Challenge started with a Trash Bash demonstration event on October 13, 2018, where about 80 people came to understand what could be recycled or composted and how to reduce the materials that their family buys and uses. Fourteen families agreed to participate in the ZWC 6-week sort and weigh program. Participating families saw weighing and sorting demonstrations at the Trash Bash and took home a digital scale and bags for weekly weighing of materials. They received a plan for logging the numbers and useful tips on how to reduce waste and efficiently recycle and compost on a regular basis. The ZWC helped participants pay closer attention to waste and better understand how to reduce household materials (if not to zero, then as low as possible). Participants learned how to examine more carefully all of our daily habits that create waste.Bedford 2020 believes that removing food waste from homes and businesses, which if implemented town-wide would result in the largest single waste reduction (25%) and the ability to substantially achieve Town and State long term goals for waste reduction. I also note that in spite of the current difficulty being experienced nation-wide with recycling materials marketing, we have received assurance that our Single Stream recycling program is working well and all Bedford materials are effectively being marketed through the City Carting state-of-the-art MRF in Stamford. Waste reduction is the future. With your help we can provide education, inspire awareness and show how it can be done in every neighborhood, business and school in Bedford. We are approaching a tipping point where everyone is becoming aware that waste reduction is a personal daily responsibility, like brushing your teeth. For more information about the recycling or composting program visit http://bedford2020.org/waste-and-recycling-task-force/. Thank you for participating. -Peter Kuniholm
MEASLES INFORMATION We received this information from the Westchester County Department ofPublic Heath following reports of some cases of Measles in Northern Westchester:
Update on Parking The Town Board has been working steadily to improve parking availability and management: parking for residents in the commuter lots and parking for our businesses and their customers and patrons, primarily in the hamlet business districts. At the Town Board’s April 2 meeting, Town Comptroller and Director of the Town’s Parking Bureau, Abraham Zambrano provided the following update on the new since last year online system for resident parking permits in the commuter lots:The Town of Bedford manages and operates eight (8) commuter parking lots with a total of 1,149 parking spaces out of which 170 are metered and 979 are for permit holders. It’s been the Town’s policy to provide parking permits exclusively to town residents and businesses in the Hamlets of Bedford Hills and Katonah. Non-residents are only allowed to obtain permits for lot 3 on Woods Bridge Road. The management and the issuance of parking permit has been challenging over the years as the demand for commuter parking has increased. With the support of the Town Board, the implementation of a paperless permit system using Parkmobile’s and PCS’s License Plate Reading technology was possible in the spring of 2018; the new software requires that parking customers create an account and submit copies of vehicle registrations before the permit is issued. The new system went into effect on July 1, 2018, the beginning of the parking year. Keeping in mind that residents have always been able to buy permits for Lot 3 on Woods Bridge Road in Katonah, it is imperative to mention that as the result of the implementation of the new system, we have been able to reduce the number of residents on the wait list as well as the time they wait for a permit for the main lots in both Bedford Hills and Katonah by years. In June of 2016, for all lots, there were four hundred ninety six (496) residents on the wait list and the first person in line to get a permit for Lot 4, dated back to December 2011 and for Lot 1 that date was April 2012. As we continue to gather permit usage data, over the past 12 months, we have been able to reduce the number of residents on the list and the wait time. The current wait list numbers and times have been reduced to 248 and the dates are July 2016 and July 2017 respectively. In May, we will begin the implementation of the Pay-by-Phone system to accommodate daily parking needs and upgrades and signage work are being planned for Lot 7 & Lot RR on Railroad Avenue. The Town also is working with the Katonah Chamber of Commerce regarding parking enforcement as well as to review the Chamber’s recommendations and requests to ease the crunch of parking availability in the Katonah neighborhood business district. We similarly are working with the parking committee of the Bedford Village Business Association. We also remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement to acquire from the Bedford Presbyterian Church property off of Court Road for the development of a free municipal parking lot which would run behind the buildings fronting the Village Green.
Update on Bedford’s Single Stream Recycling Program About five years ago Bedford became the town in Northern Westchester to convert to single stream residential recycling both through our licensed carters as well as at the Town’s recycling center on Railroad Avenue in Bedford Hills. Single stream together with the effective community outreach of Bedford 2020 has resulted in significant increases in the Town’s residential recycling rates. Evidencing the success of these efforts, Westchester County presented Bedford an award last year for attaining the highest recycling rate in the County. The materials which are collected for recycling are sorted and processed at a state of the art single stream facility which City Carting operated in Stamford, Connecticut. City Carting, in response to the disruptions in recycling markets resulting from China’s no longer accepting many materials, has added capability and more sorters over the last year. While City is not enjoying the high sales prices for materials as it had two years ago, City Carting through an array of brokers working in world market continues sell such materials to be recycled or in a few cases pays for the disposal of materials. The Town of Bedford has modified its recycling flyer and no longer accepts film plastics or bags and a few other small items at City request, but we have found during our recent Zero Waste Challenge (ZWC) that we continue to collect and recycle over 95% of our prior list by weight. Bedford initiated a hauler quarterly reporting system five years ago which furnishes good data particularly for recycling in the residential sector. Town residents also are paying their carters a small recycling surcharge to enable the carters to continue the single stream program. While we are not certain about the future, City Carting has assured us that its sorting facility in Stamford is working well. City Carting plans to continue its participation in single stream and in fact expects the markets to improve as more countries and the US make plans to accept more efficiently materials which China previously accepted. City Carting indicates that with new equipment and more sorters it is able to maintain a low contamination rate and product marketability. We are encouraged by the continuing success of our Single Stream program, its convenience for residents and the assurance we offer that our efforts result in significant reductions in greenhouse gasses, conservation of material resources and continuing cost savings for reused materials. Please visit the Bedford 2020 web site athttp://bedford2020.org/waste-and-recycling-task-force/ for more information. Thank you for participating.
Update on Bond Sale and Savings Resulting fromHighest Credit RatingTown Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provides the following explanation of the bond sale concluded this week: On Monday April 1, 2019 S&P Global Ratings assigned its “AAA” rating to the Town of Bedford’s public improvement serial bond series 2019A and affirmed its “AAA” long-term rating on the Town’ general obligations outstanding debt. The assigned rating reflects the Town’s “strong management, with good financial policies and practices under” S&P’s Financial Management Assessment (FMA) methodology, strong budgetary performance and flexibility that has enabled the accumulation of surplus and strong reserves. According to S&P Global Ratings, the Town is considered to have “very strong liquidity” and has access to additional external resources. Upon receiving the 2019 bond rating, on Wednesday April 3, 2019 the Town sold $8,321,325 in bonds to finance the Town Board approved capital expenditures for 2018 and 2019. Based on the AAA rating assigned to the 2019 Bonds and the re-affirmation of the Town’s overall AAA rating, six investment firms submitted bids with TIC (True Interest Cost) rates that ranged from 2.578% to 2.395%; most lower bond rated municipalities typically only have two to three investing firms bidding on their bonds. Capital Markets Associates, the Town’s financial advisors provided the following after the sale. “The award of the bonds was made to the lowest bidder based on a calculation of the True Interest Cost (or the “TIC”). The TIC is essentially an average of the interest rates (or coupons) but also takes into account various other factors such as premium and the time value of money. For the Town recent Bond sale, FTN Financial Capital Markets was the lowest bidder at a TIC of 2.395%. The bid provided by FTN included coupons of 3.00% in each year the bonds will be outstanding. In addition, the bid included premium in the amount of $370,775.90. The premium represents additional money above the par amount of the bonds that will be provided at closing and then utilized by the Town to offset the cost of future year’s interest payments. Essentially at closing the Town will received the $8,321,325 it had request (the par amount of the bonds) + an additional $370,775.90 (the premium) to offset the cost of interest. Investors often bid premium in an effort to hedge their position on the bonds. The gross payment on the bonds is 3.00% which provides the investor(s) some flexibility in their ability to trade the bonds even if the markets move. For the Town, the premium payment creates a net cost of interest to ensure that they receive market rates as of the date the bonds priced.” Due to the Town’s AAA, the 2.395% (TIC) rate at which the 2019 bonds were issued, represent a substantial savings in comparison to municipalities that have lower ranges. Based on information provided by our financial advisors, recent bond issues by other municipalities in the area, with lower bond ratings, have issued bonds at rates between one half percent (0.50%) to three quarters of one percent (0.75%) higher than the rate that the Town sold its bonds; those higher interest rates represent between $350,000 to $525,000 a year in addition interest that the Town would not have to pay.
Additional hours for Beaver Dam Compost Facility As you may know, starting in January 2018, the Town Board increased the hours for resident access to the Beaver Dam Compost Facility, which processes the Town’s wood waste and leaves, and offers the opportunity for residents to drop off wood waste and leaves and pick up compost. There is no cost for residents’ use of these service.Extended hours areApril 13, 20, and 27 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PMMay 4 from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PMJune 1 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM 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.
Update on Route 117 and Green Lane The Village of Mount Kisco, in conjunction with Con Ed, paved Green Lane on Wednesday 4/10. We thank them for completing this. Line striping will follow shortly. Work is moving forward to prepare for the paving of Route 117 south of Green Lane into Mount Kisco. Curb repair and replacement is scheduled to be completed by mid-May, with paving to occur once this is completed.
New Metro North SchedulesThe following message was sent to us fromMae Patel, Manager of Administration at Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Our new timetables effective April 14 on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines are designed to reflect more accurately how the railroad’s progressive infrastructure improvement plan affects train running times, resulting in more reliable, dependable and safe service for our customers. Most of our trains will have an adjusted schedule, anywhere from one minute, to in some cases such as the Connecticut branch lines, sixteen minutes. In designing this schedule, we took into account a busy infrastructure improvement schedule that includes upgrades to our infrastructure, continued Positive Train Control installation along our tracks and on our fleet, and the actual running times of trains. To learn how your train service is affected, you can also simply checkthe interactive scheduleon our schedules page or on ourTrainTime ® App to access the information directly on your phone. Click below for the updates to the schedules
KATONAH ART STROLLSaturday Evening April 274 to 8 pm Katonah is the place to be for inspiration! Immensely successful since its inception last April, the monthly Katonah Art Stroll returns to uplift and inspire. Live music, art demonstrations and refreshments throughout this idyllic Westchester town. Click here for more information.
Celebrate Earth DaySunday, April 2812 to 4pm
National Police Memorial Week Cub Pack 170 and the Bedford Boy Scoutsto honor Bedford Police Sgt. Thomas Wade April 27, 20193:00pm Bedford Police Station321 Bedford Rd. Bedford Hills
On Saturday April 27, 2019 at 3 p.m. Cub Scout Pack 170 , and Bedford Boy Scouts will recognize National Police Memorial week by honoring the memory of Bedford P.D. Sgt. Thomas Wade who made the ultimate sacrifice on May 9, 1925. The ceremony will feature the presentation of colors, lowering of US flag in Sgt. Wade’s memory, presentation of thank you cards to Police Officers by Scouts, police equipment , police antique cars ,and Police K-9 demonstration. Please join us
Highlights of the the April 2 Town Board Meeting Town of Bedford to Be Recognized for Fulfilling Gold Pledge – Zero Emission Vehicles
The New York League of Conservation Voters and Sustainable Westchester presented the Town with a Certificate of Recognition for achieving the Zero Emissions Vehicle Gold Pledge to purchase ZEVs for 10% of new light-duty fleet purchases by the end of 2020. NYLCV President Julie Tighe and Sustainable Westchester Executive Director Bob Elliot presented the Certificate and Ms. Tighe noted that Bedford was the first municipality in Westchester County to fulfill the pledge and did so a year and a half sooner than the challenge deadline. As I noted last week, the Town’s recent purchase of two 2019 Nissan Leafs enabled the Town to complete the Gold Pledge challenge following our purchase last year of an all-electric Chevy Bolt piggybacking a NYC contract.
April 1 Successful Launch of Plastic and Paper Bag Fee Following hard work on the part of the Reusable Bag Task Force in partnership with the grocery stores, Shoprite, DeCicco’s and Key Food, we find broad embrace of the program for a 10c fee on single use plastic or paper bags, with only a very small number of customers bristling at the new charges. We are still sorting out the new law to ban plastic bags adopted as part of the New York State budget which was adopted last week. Please note the following: It does not go into effect until March 2020 and until such time the Town’s law is in full force and effect.There is a provision to allow Counties and large cities to adopt a 5 cent fee on single use paper bags. We very much support such an action. It is unclear what the effect of such action would be for Bedford’s 10c fee and whether it would be pre-empted. You put the bags in your car, but did you bring them into the store?Grab your bags: Please be sure to put reusable bags into your car the next time you go shopping. Avoid the 10c fee for single use plastic or paper bags that goes into effect on April 1. We don’t want you to pay a dime!
New habits take time!Print out our itty bitty reminder tagand tape it to your cell phone, purse or in your car.
Board Tables Proposed Permit Requirementsfor Live Music & DJs Carrying over from the March 19 Town Board meeting, the Board held a public hearing on the proposal. The Board had received a petition requesting that the Board adopt the proposal. There were no members of the public who spoke at the hearing. The Board concluded that with the just adopted revisions to and clarification of the noise law (see below), the proposed permitting is not needed, because enforcement is far simpler and would be more effective. As such, the Board tabled the proposal, reserving the possibility of reviewing it further in work session at a later time.
Board Authorizes Issuance of Request for Proposal for Consultancy Services for Wireless Facilities The Board approved the recommendations of the Wireless Facilities Working Group for the issuance of an RFP for consultancy services, as presented by the advisory committee’s chairman, Joe Lombardo. The consultancy services will be to evaluate wireless communications needs of the Town, wireless facilities to meet such needs and where such facilities might be installed with the least impact on our residential neighborhoods. As mentioned, the Town needs expert advice from the Town’s own disinterested, objective and accurate consultant. The consultant also would serve the Planning Board in its review of the proposed cell tower on Hickory Lane and the proposed cell tower either at Petre Glass at 29 Haines Road or by the Town’s offices at 425 Cherry Street.
Board Appointments to Boards – Congratulations I am pleased to congratulate Michelle Petschak for their appointment to the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee and Andrea Mishel Alarcon to the Leaf Blowers Task Force, respectively. We wish to thank them for their willingness to lend their time and talent in serving the community.
Update on Status of Town’s Septic System Repair and Replacement Program I reported last week in my monthly report that the Septic System Repair and Replacement Program is temporarily suspended pending clarification and discussions with Westchester County, which controls the funding for the program. I am working assiduously with the County to secure the next installment of funding under the program and obtain the clarifications needed to enable us to reinstate the program. For those with concerns and questions, our County Legislator Kitley Covill has been working with me on a solution and has graciously offered to discuss the matter should you have a specific project underway and are affected. Kindly contact her at 995-2810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vacancy on Tree Advisory Board The Town Board is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board. The Tree Advisory Board was established for the purpose of advising the Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, Planning Board, Wetlands Control Commission, Town Board, Highway Department, Recreation Department and other agencies and offices of the Town on matters relating to the preservation, planting and removal of trees. The Board advises the Town on the health of trees, helps develop tree planting plans and plans and participates in Arbor Day activities. It is a 9-member board, with each member appointed to a 5-year term. The Board usually meets the 4th Thursday of the month at 425 Cherry Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, in Bedford Hills. For the entire text of the Tree Preservation Ordinance, please go to General Code, Chapter 112. If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to email@example.com. You also may mail it to me at Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.
Bedford Fire District – Proposed Fire HouseVote on Referendum Set As I mentioned previously, a number of Bedford Village residents have contacted me regarding the proposal of the Bedford Fire District to construct a new fire house off of South Brook Road and Old Post Road (a/k/a Route 22) in Bedford Village. At the outset I should explain that the Town’s attorneys have determined that the Town has no approval authority over the proposed firehouse project because the Bedford Fire District is a local government entity under New Y ork law. The Bedford Fire District has posted a substantial amount of information regarding the proposed fire house which can be accessed at www.bedfordfire.com. The New Fire House Committee invites the public to send questions regarding the project to NFC@bedfordfire.comor call (91 4) 205- 6341 which are both dedicated to the project. The Bond ReferendumTuesday April 306:00am-9:00pmBV Fire House34 Village Green Bedford Village
Amendments to Noise Law Adopted The Town Board held public hearings on proposed amendments to the Town Code which were developed with our Police Department, Code Enforcement personnel, Town Clerk and Town attorneys, Keane & Beane, to eliminate inconsistencies in sections of the Town Code relating to noise disturbance. There were actually three hearings, two of which deleted provisions in the Town Code and the third which adopted the new provisions. In addition to intending to eliminate the inconsistencies, we also want the noise law to be fair and equitable. Based on decisions of the Town Justice Court, we need to clarify provisions pertaining to dog barking. The revisions in the included limitations on exemptions to the noise law. The following are key provisions of the amendments: To address the inconsistencies, the proposed amendments eliminate the provisions which are difficult to enforce regarding unreasonable or excessive barking and what constitutes a noise violation, and has replaced them with revised provisions to define “Noise Disturbance” and identify specific activities that are prohibited and specific activities that are exempt from the noise regulations. For enforcement purposes, it requires either sworn affidavits from two separate persons in two separate residences, direct observation by the enforcement officer or official, or that the noise level exceeds certain decibel levels as measured with a sound metering device. The revisions continue to permit the use of a sound metering dev ice as an alternative method of enforcement and sets specific decibel levels that cannot be exceeded in residential and nonresidential zones during day time and nighttime hours. The provisions were simplified. The law identifies a number of noise making activities that are generally exempt from the noise regulations. However, there are limitations with respect to many of these exemptions. In addition, a general provision has been included that the exempt activities cannot exceed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended exposure levels for occupational noise exposure.
Update on Repaving Route 117 Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and I met on Friday, March 22 with representatives of the New York State Department of Transportation, Consolidated Edison and the Village of Mount Kisco. By way of background, Consolidated Edison replaced a gas line along the length of Route 117 from the start of the business district in Bedford Hills south into Mount Kisco. The replacement required digging up Route 117. The work was not completed in time for repaving last Fall leaving the road surface in poor condition. The Village of Mount Kisco also had to replace water mains under Route 117. As Route 117 is a New York State road, NYSDOT regulates the work on the road and specifies necessary restoration. NY SDOT has previously mandated, and Con Ed agreed to comply with, curb to curb restoration of the portion of 117 disturbed by Con Ed as part of two NY SDOT highway work permits. I called the meeting to confirm the project scope and ensure that the project is undertaken as promptly as possible this Spring. The outcome of the meeting: Con Edison confirmed that the restoration would be curb to curb (rather than only the southbound lane) running from Green Lane south to a bit short of Barker Street in Mt. Kisco To minimize disruption to the businesses and those traveling Route 117 during the day, work would be carried out from 8 PM to 6 AM The target dates are as follows, all dependent upon weather conditions and sufficiently high temperature to ensure proper curing: -Curb replacement and restoration to commence by April 15-Completion of curb replacement by April 30-Repaving to commence first week of May-Repaving completion by mid-May. With the objective of keeping on target, I have scheduled another meeting for late April with the representatives of Con Edison, NYSDOT and the Village of Mt. Kisco and their engineers. I will continue to keep the community apprised.
Post Script on the Hack Into Town’s Website The good news: no one’s personal information was at risk and no damage was done to the Town’s website. As I mentioned last week, all financial transactions with the Town are handled by third party pay ment processors to which any one wishing to do business with the Town is digitally referred. No confidential data is stored on the digital files operating our website nor on the Town’s servers. While our website security previously was quite good, we are making it more robust (at very modest additional expense).
DON’T BE A CRIME VICTIMLock Your Car In the past week The Town of Bedford Police Department has seen a dramatic rise in complaints from residents of Katonah regarding larcenies from unlocked motor vehicles in their driveways during the overnight hours. We remind you to secure your vehicles and do not leave valuables in your car. Remember: “If you see something, say something.” The Bedford Police Department operates 24/7/365. Please call 914-241-3111 immediately when you observe suspicious activity.
Vacancy on Traffic Safety Working GroupThe Town Board is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Traffic Safety Working Group. In 2014 the Town Board established the Traffic Safety Working Group to advise the Town Board for the following purposes: Promote and encourage street and highway traffic safety Formulate street and highway safety programs and coordinate efforts of interested parties and agencies engaged in traffic safety education Study traffic conditions on streets and highways, study and analyze reports of accidents and causes thereof, and recommend to the appropriate legislative bodies, departments or commissions such changes as deemed advisable in rules, orders, regulations and physical changes to the roadway, signage and other components of the roadway system Conduct meetings on a regular basis and invite to such meetings parties and agencies, public and private, interested in traffic regulation, control and safety Promote safety education for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians Obtain and assemble motor vehicle accident data, and analyze, study and consolidate such data to evaluate potential changes to the roadway system and for educational and informational purposes Coordinate and direct local activities related to the implementation of the state highway safety program, as approved by the governor or his designee Make reports/recommendations to the Town Board as necessary Provide a sustained and systematic mechanism and clearing house for considering concerns about traffic safety
REMINDER FROM THE TAX ASSESSORS OFFICE:2019 Exemption Filing DeadlinesFor the 2019 Tentative Assessment Roll, the exemption filing deadline for all new or renewal exemption applications is May 1st 2019.Important Notice for Property Owners Age 65 and Over New STAR requirements for 2019 To receive the Enhanced STAR exemption, you must enroll in the Income Verification Program (IVP). If you’re already enrolled in IVP, no action is needed If you qualify for the Low Income Senior Citizens exemption, you will no longer automatically receive the Enhanced STAR exemption. You must apply for Enhanced STAR separately For general information or questions on your existing exemptions, please contact the Town of Bedford Assessor’s office at (914)-666-5149 or emailAssessor@bedfordny.govAdditional information can be obtained at the New York State Department of Tax & Finance website at www.tax.ny.gov
Dirt Roads From time to time especially during spring thaw, some residents ask me why we don’t pave our dirt roads. There also is the mistaken assumption that dirt roads are more expensive than paved roads. I’d like to share with you some considerations. The Town owns and maintains 33 miles of dirt roads, which are part of the Town’s charm and rustic character. However, by their nature dirt roads provide a lesser level of service than a paved road The annual cost of regular maintenance of dirt roads is higher than that for paved roads, however, this comparison does not consider the cost of paving. We now spend $1.3 million each year on paving approximately eight miles of the Town’s 97 miles of paved roads. When factoring in paving costs, the cost of our dirt roads and paved roads is about equal The Town has a long standing policy to preserve and protect dirt roads as integral to the semirural character of Bedford. This policy is carried in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. “Strategy 8: Dirt Roads: It is the policy of the Town to avoid paving the existing dirt roads.”… “These roads sustain Bedford’s rural character and serve as an effective traffic calming technique.” It also is stated that the Town should “maintain dirt roads rather than pave them.” Many of the Town’s large estates which maintain horses front dirt roads. Dirt roads are gentler on horses’ feet than paved roads. Many horses do not have strong enough feet to withstand the pounding on hard roads. Paved roads can also aggravate hoof problems. Converting dirt roads to paved roads might lead to the disappearance of the horse farms and subdivision of the properties Even should the Town determine to change its policy, the cost of converting dirt roads to paved roads considerably exceeds the cost of our regular resurfacing of existing paved roads. Converting a road from dirt to asphalt would require drainage improvements and four to six inches of asphalt. In addition, regulations of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection would require that the Town secure a stormwater permit for paving more than one acre of dirt roads. Meeting the stormwater permit requirements may entail installing catch basins, filtering mechanism and other drainage systems to attenuate the velocity and run-off from paved surfaces. For these reasons, over the years the Town Board has not considered it appropriate to pave our dirt roads. As noted in last week’s newsletter, we recognize that winter wreaks the greatest havoc on our roads. This is most evident with the spring thaw and with it mud season, which is most damaging to our dirt roads. It’s typically one of the most challenging seasons for our crews in maintaining the dirt roads. The Town frequently maintains and inspects all our roads and the most in late winter and throughout the spring. We will be working as promptly as we can to restore our roads to good condition – though of course, if we are hit with a late season snow storm, snow removal operations will take precedence to provide safe travel. While we ask that you be patient with us given the difficulty of the maintenance, we do encourage you to please bring to our attention potholes or other issues which you feel need attention. Please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@ bedfordny.gov. For potholes on the NYS roads traversing the Town (Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172) please call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE. We appreciate your understanding and patience.
Proposed Cell Tower at Petre Glass or 425 Cherry StreetProcess Following the Balloon Tests As those following this newsletter are aware, Homeland Towers has proposed a cell tower at 21 Haines Road (Petre Glass) or in the alternative 425 Cherry Street. One of the first steps in the process are balloon tests at the sites to assess visual impact of the tower. The balloon tests were performed last Saturday, March 9: two at the potential locations at 425 Cherry Street – one right by the town building at the north end and the second at the south end of the property at the end of the parking lot and the third was at 21 Haines Road. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday morning driving around to assess view impacts which are different for all three potential sites. I’d like to mention a few points for the understandably anxious and highly concerned residents who may be affected. Federal law – the Federal Communication Act and orders of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) leave very little authority to municipalities in their review of applications for wireless facilities. If the applicant proves that there is a deficiency in cell service and that the site which is proposed is the least obtrusive, then the municipality is hard pressed not to approve the application. The extent of the authority then is limited to “site plan review” such as the design, screening, tweaking location and similar matters Planning Board members provided instructions to Homeland Towers on the balloon tests, location of photographs to attempt to capture the visual impact Homeland Towers had engaged a professional photographer with experience and training in taking the photographs The next steps (and the FCC has recently expanded what constitutes a need) There also are trade-off If on town property, we have more control of the tower site and the tower operation than if on a private site. Although the Town would receive rental income from town property, the Town Board is far more interested in minimizing impact than in getting revenue. With a tower on Town property we’d get a berth for police department and other emergency communications equipment at the top of the tower. Then again, there are folks who will see a tower at 425 but won’t see it at Petre. Folks who live on Haines (especially the condos at 51 Haines) will see Petre very nearby, but not the tower sites at 425. The Town Board needs to balance the visual impacts, long term advantages to emergency services and impact on property owners. No decisions will be made any time soon. It will be months, not weeks. Based on prior balloon tests, we had anticipated that it would take three months for Homeland Towers to submit its visual impact analysis to the Town. Homeland Towers president mentioned to me in a call earlier this week, however, that they may submit the visual analysis report to the Planning Board within three weeks. The Town will engage an independent, dispassionate consultant to review all of Homeland’s submissions. Under federal law the Planning Board will need to act upon Homeland’s application within 120 twenty days (this period is referred to as the “shotclock”). The shotclock does not begin to run until the application is complete. Without the visual impact analysis the application is incomplete. There will be ample opportunity for public input, including public hearings. I would like to thank Sarah Sheeleigh Jeffers for initiating an excellent community conversation on the Katonah Parents Facebook Group regarding the balloon tests and Homeland Tower’s proposal. I also thank those who are posing their questions and concerns. Be assured that the Town Board and Planning Board is listening intently.
REMINDER: Leaf Blower Use Limitations OFF SEASON LIMITATIONS FOR USE OF LEAF BLOWERSGO INTO EFFECT MAY 15, 2019. In accordance with the local law adopted by the Town Board on June 19, 2018 the use of gas-powered leaf blowers is prohibited on certain designated streets (link to hamlet zone list) in the Town’s hamlets. In addition, town-wide hours of permitted use are set. These limitations are part of a wider initiative to promote cleaner, quieter methods of landscaping and property maintenance, while still enabling property owners to maintain their lawns and grounds well. The Town is also launching an education campaign for residents and landscapers about healthy yard practices, and collaborating with landscapers regarding electric equipment options.
This law is very much in keeping with emerging trends across Westchester and the country at large in response to the health and environmental benefits of reducing the pollution and noise caused by gas-powered blowers and leaf blowers in general.
Pictured above are members of the HeatSmart Team, representing Bedford 2020, Lewisboro Sustainability Committee, Pound Ridge Energy Action Committee with Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick, Lewiboro Town Supervisor Peter Parsons, Pound Ridge Town Supervisor Kevin Hansan.
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Work Session – Sewer Project The Town Board met with Ken Kohlbrenner with Woodard & Curran, the engineering consultants for the Town on the sewer project, Director of Planning Jeff Osterman and Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn to discuss the sewer project. First, I provided an update on the status of the ex isting project, which we’re referring to as Phase I. As you know, the launch of the project hinges on the registration of the Intergov ernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Town and New Y ork City . The IGA is the source of $1 3.3 million in funding for the project, so it’s essential that it be in place. The registration process began in June of last y ear. It’s a long process. At one point we thought it might be completed in January , but it has taken longer and likely will not be completed until late Spring/early Summer this y ear. Following registration of the IGA, we would go out to bid, however the Summer is the high season for bidding projects and so doesn’t place us in an ideal competitiv e env ironment. We also do not want to disrupt the business districts with construction in November or December. As such, the anticipated project schedule now is as follows: • Complete design, regulatory approval, and IGA – August 201 9• Receive bids for Construction Work – November 201 9• Start Construction – Spring 2020• Complete Construction – Fall 2021
As we’ve discussed, given the lengthy process for implementation of the sewer project, last Fall we decided we should explore the next phase (Phase II) andbeyond for sewers for Bedford Hills and Katonah. That led to a PreliminaryEngineering Report which Woodard & Curran prepared. Phase IIcenters on Bedford Lake Apartments/Lakeside at Bedford off of Haines Road, because it is the last of the DEP upgrade sites. Our recent meeting with DEP was encouraging that DEP is quite interested in hav ing the Town proceed with an “alternative upgrade” connecting those apartments to the sewer system and providing the Town the funds it otherwise would have spent on a new wastewater treatment plant for the apartments and discounted to presentvalue cost of operation and maintenance of the plant. The Woodard & Curran report made it clear that connecting to the County sewer district through Mt. Kisco was not only logistically difficult with multiple entities’ approval required, but also much more expensive than a modest expansion of the capacity of the capacity of the wastewater treatment plantthat the Departments of Corrections and Community Superv ision will convey to the Town. We discussed options that the Town might consider for sewers, recognizing that there needs to be property owner support which ev entually would take the form of a v ote on a referendum based on costs to the owners (both the cost of connecting as well the annual sewer rent). The Board asked staff to prepare a survey to property owners on certain residential streets with known septic issues or which may hav e septic issues arise. Phase II District Summary Phase II Draft Survey Questions
Update on I-684 Earlier today I testified at a special State Senate hearing in White Plains on public transportation. On February 8 I had also testified to present the resolutions of the Bedford Town Board urging the New York State legislature to provide funding for the repaving of the 1.5 mile portion of I-684 which runs through Katonah. As so many are acutely aware, the Town of Bedford for over 20 years has beseeched the State to pave this short portion of roadway, the original concrete roadbed and the only portion of all of I-684 which has not been paved in fifty years when it first was constructed. [Link to testimony]. I urge you to keep up the calls, e-mails and letters to our representatives urging them to pave this dangerously deteriorated portion of the highway. See below under “Special November 8 Town Board Work Session on I-684” for contact information and thank you for pressing to get this done.
February 26 Planning Board MeetingBalloon Tests for Proposed Cell Tower As I’ve mentioned previously, Homeland Towers, a cell tower developer whose customers include Verizon and AT&T, has proposed a cell tower at the Petre Glass property at 29 Haines Road or in the alternative at the Town’s nearby property at 425 Cherry Street. A tower at the Town’s property would eliminate the need for the one proposed at 29 Haines Road and the Police Department would be provided the highest on the tower for upgraded emergency wireless communications equipment for which it is in need. The Planning Board will review the application for the Petre Glass site, because it is on private property, and the Town Board will review the application for the 425 Cherry Street site. As those following cell tower proposals are aware, the Town has very limited authority regarding the siting of cell towers due to federal law pre-emptions (see discussion below). The first step in a municipality’s consideration of the siting of a cell tower is to set balloon tests, a standard test which the Planning Board requires to help assess the suitability of particular sites. A balloon test is conducted by floating orange or red balloons that are at the height needed for the proposed cell tower. The test will give the community a perspective of the visual impact of the proposed tower. On February 5, the Town Board, with the concurrence of the Planning Board, set the balloon tests for all three locations (one on the Petre site and two at 425 Cherry), for Saturday, March 2, 2019 with a rain/snow date of Sunday, March 3, 2019. The Planning Board will set the standards for the balloon tests at its February 26 meeting. The meeting will be held at 8:00pmThe Conference Room-2nd Floor425 Cherry Street Bedford Hills, NY 10507 You are encouraged to attend and voice your comments regarding the balloon tests. Please note that balloon tests regardingGuard Hill have been canceled.
Federal Law Overrides Town Law The Town of Bedford is governed by federal law. Federal Law overrides local law. In December 2018, the Town Board amended its local law on applications for large wireless facilities and small wireless facilities in order to take into account the Federal Communication Act and new rules and regulations of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The FCC has ruled that it is a federal matter and not a local matter whether a particular cell tower is safe; that it does not emit radiation or that it does not pose a safety hazard. This is because the Federal Communications Act has determined that is a federal responsibility. Municipalities are preempted from denying a cell tower application due to health, safety and radiation reasons. In other words, if a municipality wishes to deny an application for a cell tower, it may only due so on narrow land use concerns. If the applicant establishes certain facts, including deficient service with no viable, less intrusive, alternative location, then the municipality has little choice in the matter. The new Town law also provides new tools to the Town to help protect residential areas of Town.
A Community Solar Opportunity forBedford’s NYSEG Customers I received an email recently regarding an invitationto qualified Bedford residents:
Dear Chris: Bedford 2020 has been given the opportunity to identify a small group of households to participate in a community solar project. This opportunity is only for residents who do not already have rooftop solar and who live in NYSEG territory. If you are a NYSEG customer, you may qualify.Community Solar brings the benefits of solar power to your home without your having to install solar panels on your roof or property. The panels are sited at another location in the community. In this case, the array is located on a local horse farm in North Salem and is big enough to provide power for about 15 households.
Bedford 2020 has been given the opportunity to identify a small group of households to participate in a community solar project. This opportunity is only for residents who do not already have rooftop solar and who live in NYSEG territory. If you are a NYSEG customer, you may qualify.Community Solar brings the benefits of solar power to your home without your having to install solar panels on your roof or property. The panels are sited at another location in the community. In this case, the array is located on a local horse farm in North Salem and is big enough to provide power for about 15 households. By participating, you will be supporting local, clean energy and seeing guaranteed savings on your electricity bill (of up to 5%) each and every month. You will also have the ability to cancel at any time with no penalty and no upfront costs. Signing up is as easy as uploading a utility bill and signing a short agreement. Click here to sign up, or call Nick directly at PowerMarket: 203.247.809, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to offer Bedford 2020 supporters a chance to participate in this exciting renewable energy project. If you think you may qualify, please take action ASAP to find out more about this opportunity. Spots are limited! -Bedford 2020
After Hours Rules for Commuter Lots Town of Bedford Residents that do not have a commuter parking permit are allowed to park for free in the commuter lots Monday to through Thursday from 6:00 pm to 5:00 provided that they have a resident parking decal. Parking is free on weekends to everyone starting on Fridays at 6:00 pm and on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
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.
A regular reader of this weekly newsletter asked why I repeat certain posts from week to week. I do so because not everyone reads my newsletter on a weekly basis, much information provided remains relevant and I wish to continue to alert the community about it. In response to the comment, however, you will see that I’ve divided the newsletter into two sections “New Posts” and “Continuing Posts”. Both sections are relevant and, I believe, worthy of review. I wish to thank readers for making suggestions and comments; over the years, I’ve not only changed format but added content based on them(for example, why the flags are flown at half-staff.
Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “Mortgage rates declined decisively this week amid various market reports, a strong bond auction and further uncertainty around the Brexit deal, which all contributed to driving bond yields lower. At 4.31 percent, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is at its lowest since February of last year. While these low rates will certainly get the attention of prospective homebuyers, the supply of homes for sale remains stubbornly low.”
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.31 percent with an average 0.4 point for the week ending March 14, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.41 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.44 percent.
15-year FRM this week averaged 3.76 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.83 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM 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.