The following is a Rye City Council update from Mayor Doug French
From the desk of Mayor Douglas French
Infrastructure Planning and Projects
At the August 10th meeting, the City Council reviewed the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the period of 2012 – 2016. The Capital Improvement Plan is a near-to-mid term planning horizon document that sits with our City Planner to fully analyze infrastructure risks and opportunities absent any financial or political factors. Through the list of identified projects, the Council will begin work with City staff to prioritize and schedule needed projects. Improvements to streets, sidewalks and curbs has been an immediate area of focus as well as continued improvements to downtown. The Council will hold a workshop on Streets, Sidewalks and Parking with our Shared Roadways Committee prior to the September 14th Council meeting. Also in the CIP plan are projects to maintain and improve sewers, drainage and buildings as well as the potential expansion of the Upper Pond at Bowman Dam and recreational needs. Traditionally these projects have been funded through general fund surplus, debt and grants, all of which have dried up in the midst of the recession. With limited funding and the new property tax cap law, it will be difficult to fund any significant projects in 2012. As a result, the City is working on a Capital program as how best to fund essential improvements both in the short and long-term.
September 11th Ceremony Planned
The City will hold a ceremony on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. The ceremony will begin at 3:00 on that Sunday at the Locust Avenue Firehouse and then proceed to the September 11th Memorial Gazebo. The focus of the event will be to remember Rye citizens lost, pay tribute to our first responders, and call on residents to volunteer with community organizations ongoing as part of a National Day of Service. Volunteering is one of the things that brings communities together and is a way to remember and establish a legacy.
Distracted Driving Pledge
Distracted driving continues to be a rising epidemic nationwide with a recent survey citing 71 percent of 18 to 49 year olds admitting to talking or texting while driving. However, communities that bring attention to the issue and focus on compliance have shown a dramatic change in behavior. There have been many initiatives from the Safe-Routes-to-School, the YMCA, the City and the Schools as well as Federal attention by Secretary LaHood and the recent passage of the NYS law that all take the position that distracted driving is no longer accepted and is illegal. As a symbolic gesture to continue to raise awareness, the Council will be implementing a no distracted driving pledge for traffic and pedestrian safety to be adopted and distributed within the city.
Former City Manager Lawsuit Dismissed
The lawsuit by former Rye City Manager Paul Shew that was filed against the City of Rye was dismissed last week by the Honorable Gerald Loehr. The complaint centered on his departure from the position in 2009. Paul served the City well during his 6 years as Rye's City Manager and he accomplished a great deal. The City thanks him for his service and wishes him the best in his future endeavors.
Friends Meeting House Update
Rehabilitation work has begun at the Friends Meeting House at the end of Milton Road. With support of the Rye Historical Society and our Landmarks Committee, the City entered into a public-private partnership to restore the Friends Meeting House with the Committee to Save the Bird Homestead. A grant as part of Save America's Treasures along with a substantial contribution from a private donor has made this project possible.
Sustainability Plan for Rye
At our meeting on September 14th, the Council will get an update on the progress of the City's environmental sustainability plan. Last year the Council established a sustainability committee to help inform and educate the public on sustainability practices, and to assist in developing a sustainability plan similar to what other communities have begun such as Larchmont, Bedford and New Rochelle. The Committee has worked with City officials and staff, the schools and community to gather feedback and make recommendations. The goal is for Rye to specify and define our community's environmental objectives and provide a venue to incorporate existing and future environmental initiatives.