I am excited to announce that Scarsdale Voters Choice Party Trustee Candidates Robert J. Berg, Sean J. Cohen, and Robert D. Selvaggio collected the requisite number of signatures to appear on the ballot for the March 18, 2020 Village of Scarsdale Trustee election.Thank you so much to all of you who signed their petitions and also to those who have been promising to vote for them.
Candidates Berg, Cohen, and Selvaggio are running for election for the three open Village Trustee positions. Voting will take place at the Scarsdale Congregational Church at 1 Heathcote Road. The candidates respectfully ask for your vote.
The VCP candidates, who are professionally impressive and dedicated to living in and improving Scarsdale for all of us, look forward to listening to your questions and comments at:
the League of Women Voters' sponsored debate on Thursday, March 5th at Village Hall, 7:00pm, and at
the VCPFreightway and Scarsdale SustainabilityTown Hall, Thursday, March 12th at Village Hall, 7:30pm,
February 9, the Voters Choice Party Executive submitted the 'Halt Freightway Redevelopment Petition' to Scarsdale Citizens Nonpartisan Party Village Officials. The petition had over 850 signatories. Thank you for supporting this important civic effort to ask for transparency and accountability from Village officials!
Happy Valentine's Day,
Voters Choice Party
Note: Words throughout this newsletter that are highlighted and underlined have links with relevant information.
Voters' Choice Party Candidates Are Pleased To Present Their Platform
You Came To Scarsdale For The Schools;
We Want You To Stay!
The Scarsdale Voters’ Choice Party (VCP) Trustee Candidates are from a broad range of professional and thought perspectives. We love living in Scarsdale and have a strong, unwavering commitment to our schools. We want to establish an inclusive decision-making process at Village Hall with all residents which is quality of life, data- and fact-driven. Scarsdale is a wonderful Village in the Park; we should all be its stewards for current and future generations.
We believe in:
ensuring that the Village does not commit to Freightway Redevelopment or other municipal projects without undertaking thorough due diligence to achieve positive long-term fiscal implications for our tax base and our schools,
having a political process that is transparent, responsive to residents’ needs, accountable to taxpayers, and is a far more congenial and open process where residents feel comfortable and welcomed,
maintaining a prudent eye on Scarsdale’s fiscal sustainability and having tax levels no higher than they are today in order to enhance property values and to enable young and empty-nester residents to stay in Scarsdale,
preserving Scarsdale’s current level of single- and multiple-family dwellings so that our schools, roads, and commuter trains do not get more crowded,
establishing a more vibrant downtown that serves residents’ and merchants’ needs,
utilizing Scarsdale residents’ vast pool of talents in an inclusive manner at Village Hall decision making processes to solve municipal issues,
maintaining a high standard of Village services and supporting our Village personnel, and
continuing to be in the vanguard of environmental and sustainability projects.
Save the Date: VCP Freightway and Scarsdale Sustainability Town Hall, March 12, 7:30 PM, Village Hall
You are cordially invited to attend the VCP Freightway and Scarsdale Sustainability Town Hall on March 12th at Village Hall, 7:30pm. We believe that all Scarsdale residents should have their voice and opinions heard. The Board of Trustees meeting have a 5 minute restriction to speak, which often does not enable residents enough time to pose all the questions that they need.
We will release more details about this event shortly, but we want to hear from you. We want to know what YOU want in Freightway Redevelopment and what other needs you have in our municipality. Feel free to write us and let us know if you already have questions that you want answered.
VCP Campaign Fund Raising
We welcome your financial support in order to update our website and for other necessary campaign initiatives. Kindly contribute by sending a check addressed to Voters Choice Party c/o Ms. Jill Krutick, VCP Treasurer 32 Tisdale Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583. You are supporting democracy to flourish in our Village in the Park. Thank you!
Halt Freightway Redevelopment Petition With Over 850 Signatures Submitted To Village Hall This Week
Together with a group of concerned Scarsdale residents and merchants, the VCP launched a petition to halt the Freightway Redevelopment process until the Scarsdale Mayor and Board of Trustees study and answer residents' qualitative and quantitative questions about the project's impact on:
all of Scarsdale schools' teacher-student ratio,
health and financial stability of residents, Cornerstone Children's Center, and merchants in the surrounding area of Freightway during project construction,
crowded commuter trains,
Village traffic congestion,
parking availability during the years of feasibility studies and construction, and
Scarsdale residents' property values and taxes.
The petition called for a public referendum on this important project. We submitted the petition with over 850 signatures to the Mayor and Trustees on February 9.
Please join the Freightway Facebook page to be part of our discussions; merchants and residents have been exchanging articles, comments and questions on that site.
Voters Choice Party Commends The Scarsdale Forum
The Voters Choice Party and trustee candidates thank the Scarsdale Forum for its Freightway Redevelopment report, which is entirely consistent with the VCP platform and what we have been fighting for the last two years. We agree with all the conclusions therein and will work to ensure that they form an integral part of any Village deliberations. For the record, VCP Trustee Candidate Robert Berg is a former president of the Scarsdale Forum, and in the last few months, he actively participated in developing the content in this report.
While we commend the Forum, we note that the Village Board of Trustees has been deliberating Freighway and other projects for the past 7 years. Now, hopefully Village officials will start to take these recommendations on board in any future deliberations. That they have not done so until now, and to ensure that they do, is exactly why VCP voices need representation on the Village board.
Since last year, members of the Voters Choice Party Executive have been sending questions and recommendations to the current Village Board about Freightway Redevelopment. We included those questions and suggestions multiple times in the VCP Newsletter. Unfortunately, the Scarsdale Citizens Nonpartisan Party Village officials ignored our pleas to be transparent and accountable in the Freightway process. Even after we sent them the Freightway petition signed by over 850 Scarsdale residents and merchants, the Administration is still talking about redeveloping Freightway at some point. Yet, they have not answered our economic and financial forecast due diligence questions. The Voters Choice Party again recommends that the Village more actively engage residents by holding a community wide event to solicit our input on what we want for Freightway.
Recommendations on meeting Scarsdale's collective priorities and objectives, and avoiding unnecessary risks and burdens
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION AND FISCAL AFFAIRS SCARSDALE COMMITTEES WEIGH IN ON FREIGHTWAY DEVELOPMENT
SCARSDALE, NY (2/13/20) -- As part of the recently concluded public comment period, the Scarsdale Forum Fiscal Affairs Scarsdale and Downtown Revitalization Committees have issued a joint report on the Freightway site redevelopment proposals. The committees recommend that any project meet the Scarsdale community's collective priorities and objectives, while avoiding unnecessary risks and burdens to the school district and existing residential property owners.
Noting that the village government recently halted the redevelopment process, and that the Freightway garage currently meets commuter parking needs while generating income exceeding operating expenses/projected renovation costs, the committees recommend that the village repair and maintain the existing structure.
If the board of trustees provides an additional redevelopment proposal(s) to the community, the committees request that it share the net fiscal benefit it expects from entering into private-public partnership with a developer. Specifically, the public should receive answers to the following:
Is there a target amount of tax relief associated with a Freightway redevelopment project?
How does it compare with tax relief provided by the existing garage?
Will property taxes by reduced? If so, when and by how much?
What are the risks associated with transit-oriented development fiscal benefits?
What new revenues are projected?
What would the assessed value of the apartment buildings be?
Which partner would receive parking revenues and what are the projected amounts?
Anne Hintermeister, chair of the Fiscal Affairs Scarsdale Committee, said, "Any new development will be expected to endure for many decades, into the next century. Once Scarsdale is committed to a particular outcome, the opportunity to modify it without significant future costs will be limited. The village board should share critical data necessary for an informed decision that will prioritize feasible and realistic outcomes for Freightway."
According to Susan Douglass, chair of the Downtown Revitalization Committee, "We recommend focusing on how to best achieve the community's objectives for the village center as a whole. The future of Freightway must be considered in conjunction with other developments and efforts to revitalize the area. It would be a mistake for the board of trustees to address development proposals in a piecemeal fashion -- a comprehensive approach could lead to even greater benefits and meet the goal of creating greater vibrancy."
Although the report has been approved for release to the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees and to the public, it is also scheduled to be reviewed and approved by the membership of the Scarsdale Forum at tonight's General Membership meeting, taking place at 8:00 pm at the Scarsdale Woman's Club (37 Drake Rd).
The Scarsdale Forum is a 501(c)(3) civic organization dedicated to discussion and analysis of all issues relevant to Scarsdale residents. Since 1904, it has contributed meaningfully to Scarsdale Village affairs through its written reports, public speaker events, and committee discussions. Membership is available to all Scarsdale and Mamaroneck Strip residents regardless of citizenship status.
VCP Trustee Candidates Have Decades Of Impressive Professional Expertise and Dedicated Volunteerism
Robert Berg and his wife Jill Krutick have lived in Scarsdale for sixteen years. Their two college aged offspring were students in Scarsdale schools. Jill is an artist who exhibits in New York and Miami; previously she was senior vice president in investor relations at Warner Music Group and a managing director in equity research in Citi
Bob has served as a Director and Vice President, of his neighborhood association, Berkley-in-Scarsdale (“Crane Berkley”), and is currently its President. He has served as a Director, Secretary, Vice President, President, and Executive Committee member of the Scarsdale Forum, and he is presently a Director and Chair of its Assessment Revaluation Committee. He is a member of SNAP (“Scarsdale Neighborhood Associations Presidents). He has served as the Vice Chair and the Chair of the Citizens Nominating Committee. He is a member of the Scarsdale Town Board of Assessment Review, which decides property tax grievances filed by Village property owners.
Bob has been practicing law as a litigator for the past 34 years. He started his career at Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York as a member of its Antitrust and Litigation departments. In 1985, he moved to LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & McRae, another international law firm in New York, where he was a litigator and antitrust counselor. In 1990, he became a plaintiffs’ class action litigator, representing investors in shareholder actions and consumers in consumer fraud, false advertising, and unfair trade practices litigation. He is presently a partner at Denlea & Carton LLP, a boutique law firm in White Plains. He has been a key attorney on many landmark consumer fraud and securities fraud class action cases throughout the nation and has achieved class action settlements, which have recovered over one billion dollars for defrauded consumers and shareholders.
His BA is in Economics and Psychology from Amherst College. He holds a MBA and a JD are from the University of Chicago. As a teenager and in college, he traveled the world playing string and electric bass. He is an avid fisherman and has been known to distribute freshly caught fish to lucky Scarsdalians.
Sean Cohen moved to the USA in 1977 and graduated Scarsdale High School in 1982. He has lived with his wife Shelley and their two children in Scarsdale since 2000.
Sean launched Rand Defined Value Diamonds Inc. to offer high quality investment-grade diamonds to consumers at the same price retailers pay for the same diamonds, the Polished Trade Price (PTP). From his extensive experience combating conflict diamonds in 2001, Sean devoted his company Rand Diamond to document a traceable history from polished diamond back to its rough state. Rand Diamond is a primary supplier to high end retailers of ethical diamonds cut to exacting specifications at competitive market prices.
Sean has served in numerous pro bono and volunteer activities in the U.S. and internationally, including:
Being Chairman of the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training school, a not-for-profit that teaches South African youth diamond polishing skills.
Conceiving and being a founding member of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and The Kimberly Process, a government, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and industry partnership to solve the conflict diamond problem.
Serving as President of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), committed to promoting the highest ideals of honesty and best practice throughout the diamond industry and compliance with all national and international laws. As President, Sean met with Nonprofit Organizations to spearhead industry efforts to combat conflict diamonds.
Sean has a BA in History and Political Science from Tulane University. He holds a JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.
Robert Selvaggio and his wife, Lisa Sammaritano, and three children moved to Scarsdale 25 years ago. Lisa is a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery and Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College
Robert is on the board of the Pelham Community Rowing Association where he has been teaching Tae Kwon Do to teenagers and adults in Westchester for over 15 years. He has been a volunteer basketball and little league coach in Scarsdale. He was a board member of the Scarsdale Teen center for two years. In Manhattan, he was head of the Finance Committee of St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, where he was a key player in successful sale of Rectory and former School property to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center providing the Church a perpetuity that ensures its ongoing viability.
Robert is Co-Owner and Head of Analytics at Rutter Associates. Rutter Associates provides advisory services in the areas of market risk management, credit risk and credit portfolio management, economic capital and risk adjusted performance measurement, valuation and model review of exotic derivatives and hard-to-value assets and liabilities, and litigation support. He has long worked in financial economics and public and housing finance.
Robert has a BA in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a PhD in Economics from Brown University.
Scarsdale Village Taxes Are Projected to Rise
Departmental and non-departmental expenses are expected to increase 2.32%. Presently, there is a budget deficit of $855,548, which means that taxes will go up by $135 for a home assessed at $1.5 million. The largest increase in expenses is coming from the Human Resources department with a rise of 21%.
The Village of Scarsdale Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet in one more work session with the Budget Officer and staff for budget discussions on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 – 6:30 P.M. Trustees Room
Briefing sessions on the preliminary operating and capital budgets will be held in the Third Floor Meeting Room and have been scheduled for:
Thursday, February 27, 2020 – 7:00 P.M. – Operating Budget
Wednesday, March 4, 2020– 7:00 P.M. – Capital Budget
Proposed changes in recreation fees are here. The Village budget is NOT put to a public vote, so this is your chance to give feedback. Write the Mayor and Board of Trusteeswith your comments and questions and please request a response.
Overruns in Scarsdale Library Reconstruction Are Significant
The Scarsdale Library reconstructions and renovation will now cost over 17% more than had been initially forecast by Scarsdale library staff and board. The June 2018 approved project funding was $18.55 million. Unexpectedly, on page 66 of the Village Board Agenda for June 28th appeared the new projected cost of $21.74 million.
A few weeks ago, the Scarsdale school district announced that the proposed 2020-21 school budget would increase 3.86 percent over this year’s, which would result in a 3.6% percent increase to the tax levy. Since then, the administration made changes to health insurance cost projections, decreasing the budget slightly. The revised plan still is a significant 3.77 percent over the current year budget; this means a 3.51 percent tax levy increase.
The Scarsdale Schools Administration and School Board are asking for your involvement and feedback during budget season. Here is the remaining date that you can turn up to comment on the budget. Budget documents may be found here.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020:
Listening Session on Community Engagement, 7:30 p.m., Room 170-172, High School
Do you have anything that you want to say to the Scarsdale Mayor and Trustees? Please send us your letter, and we will publish it in our newsletter insuring that it gets to Village Hall and our thousands of newsletter readers.
Scarsdaleresidents are entitled to borrow passes from the Scarsdale Public Library to visit an incredible select list of museums in New York City and Westchester County . Please visit the library site to see the list and to learn about the library's rules for borrowing passes.
Scarsdale has numerous classical musical concerts throughout the year including Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth, and Verdi's Requiem. Here are the 2018-2019 calendars for:
The Voters Choice Party was created in 2017 to increase transparency and accountability at Scarsdale Village Hall, to discuss issues relevant to residents, to give voters a choice of different candidates, and to increase voter turnout.
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