The following is a Rye City Council update from Mayor Doug French
From the desk of Mayor Douglas French
CITY COUNCIL UPDATES
April 26, 2011
Joint Resolution on NYS Tax Cap and Unfunded Mandate Relief Reform
The Rye City School District and the City of Rye have entered into a joint resolution strongly urging the New York State Assembly to reject the property tax cap approved by the New York State Senate and that the establishment of any tax cap follow the reformation of current unfunded mandates, the restructuring of public pension benefits and the collective bargaining process in order to ensure that our school district and municipality do not suffer the undue and unwanted cuts in services, programs and staffing. The resolution demonstrated solidarity between both bodies in a non-partisan statement.
Bringing Friends Back to the Meeting House
There is a renewed community spirit taking place at the end of Milton Road with the Friends Meeting House where a public-private partnership between the City and the Committee to Save the Bird Homestead (CSBH) have come together to rehabilitate the facility after nearly 10 years of being dormant. The Council got an update last week on plans to preserve a piece of Rye's history paid for by a grant and a matching private donation totaling $100,000. Neighbors and community groups in coordination with CSBH are working together to make the facility operational by the fall. The plans have the support of the Landmarks Committee and the Historical Society.
Orange Barrels a Little Longer on Purchase Street
The ugly orange safety barrels downtown that coincide with the temporary stop signs are starting to draw the ire of many – but it will be a little bit longer until the project is completed. At the most recent council meeting, the City Planner reviewed the project scope. The stop signs have proven to be an effective pedestrian safety, traffic flow and cost-effective measure, but construction to make them permanent will start in late July in order to keep disruption in downtown to a minimum. In addition, parking spots will be marked to identify parking stalls and improve traffic flow. Other elements of the project include curb extensions and additional sidewalk space, landscaping and lighting. The estimated cost is $100,000 and less than the budgeted amount.
Freedom of Information Law
As part of the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), the City is reviewing how to make FOIL requests easier for the public to request information and also easier for staff to transact. The City gets about 100 requests per year — the majority of which are labor intensive. The City is incorporating electronic technology and reviewing procedures to make the process more efficient.
2010 Census Results for Rye
The City grew for the first time in 40 years. Until the 2010 report when the City grew 5% to 15,720 residents, the last time Rye showed growth was in the 1970 census when it grew at 11% and peaked at 15,869 residents. Since then, the population has declined or remained flat at around 15,000. However, the makeup of the 5% growth is consistent with what we have seen in our schools with increased youth (residents in the 18 years and older category had only a slight increase), and growth in the Hispanic population that has increased across Westchester.
Water Rate Increases for WJWW
While most Rye residents get their water from United Water, about 400 homes on the Mamaroneck border get water from Westchester Joint Water Works – a consortium owned and operated by three municipalities: Harrison, the Village of Mamaroneck, and the Town of Mamaroneck. All three municipalities share in the cost of the daily operations and of capital projects to include upgrades of the machinery that treats the water or changes to the booster pump stations that are required to keep the water flowing at the right pressure. WJWW buys its water from NYC and is expecting there will be another substantial increase this spring. For customers outside NYC, it might be 13% or higher. As part of the WJWW notification process, we have asked that it include a public session for Rye residents.