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Thursday, October 6, 2022
Home Government Speaking French: Rye Mayor's City Council October Update

Speaking French: Rye Mayor’s City Council October Update

Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's October Update.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Central Avenue Bridge
The City is continuing to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals in order to bid out and construct the Central Avenue Bridge – albeit very slowly as the regulatory process is extremely slow when funding comes from elsewhere. Central Avenue is a key connecting road through Rye and the need to re-establish access to that area for traffic and emergency vehicles is imperative. City staff and the respective boards will review the potential pedestrian, traffic and parking impacts of the bridge. The bridge design has been incorporated and reviewed to address the impacts of flooding.

Clearing of the Brook
The City has had crews clearing the Blind Brook of debris from the Nature Center up through downtown. In the words of one resident — "Thank you for the amazing clean-up of the brook! It looks totally transformed." No word on if the infamous 7-iron was found.

Former Black Bass Property
The City has been pursuing the property owner over the last year and ½ in the courts in order for the property to be properly maintained and address building violations. Back taxes have been paid and the City is working with the owner to obtain the necessary permit and approvals for demolition. Separate to the demolition, the owner has filed an application with the Planning Commission to review plans for a new structure. Parking, traffic, and flooding impacts will all be part of the review process.

Local Floodplain Law
The Council amended the local floodplain law to comply with the original intent of the 2007 FEMA model ordinance so that residents can continue to be covered as part of the National Flood Insurance program. The standards for all structures in the floodplain were amended. Depending on the work needed, residents should contact the City building department with specific questions.

Dredging Lawsuit w/ RB Conway
The City has filed a stipulation of discontinuance of the lawsuit with prejudice, and the settlement of the suit is being held in escrow pending certain conditions being met. This was a contractual dispute that the parties agreed to settle based on the scope of work, the extra equipment needed and a shortened work schedule.

Midland Avenue Stop Sign
The Council reviewed the post-analysis of traffic improvements made at and around Midland School as part of a series of Federal pedestrian safety stimulus projects. While speeds have been reduced and overall safer conditions have been established, the Council felt that for greater pedestrian safety, stopping traffic at that location in order for pedestrians to be able to cross the street was needed. City staff is reviewing piloting a temporary stop sign at the corner of Palisade Road for implementation that would work within the scope of the federal dollars granted.

Flood Mitigation Plan
Bowman Avenue Dam Sluice Gate — This project will help regulate water flow downstream. The site plan is under review for approval by the Rye Brook Planning Commission on November 8th. After that, the City will go out to bid for the mechanical part and related construction with the project. Total cost is about $2M.

Bowman Ave Dam Upper Pond Expansion — The City is looking to accelerate a feasibility study to determine the cost/benefit of expanding the upper pond. The City's initial estimate is about $7M to $10M and would expand capacity of the pond by roughly 30%.

Budget Season
As the City heads into budget season, economic conditions continue to affect the City's options. There is no money. The un-designated fund balance is at 10%, but only $1.5M above its chartered minimum. The direct bonding authority of the Council is at its maximum which is being used to pay for bonded projects approved years earlier. Tax assessments are down slightly. Pension and healthcare costs are up by double digits. Additional cuts to staff and levels of service are at their minimum levels. Taxing residents more, cap or no cap, is not an option. It should be a very difficult budget season.

  1. ” Pension and healthcare costs are up by double digits ” ……

    Why haven’t French and the GOP team taken action to reduce headcount of city employees and start hiring local business to take care of much city provided work where city has no pension or retirement obligations ? There is ALOT of fat in city head count where people can be replaced by private sector . How about town engineer simply be an outside consultant on retainer ?

    I believe last figure i saw was Rye has an unfunded pension and benefits liability of over $50 million already . Looking at the number of taxpayers in Rye , there is no prayer this will ever get paid . There isn’t enough money in Rye to cover this insanity and the longer Rye politicians ignore it , the worse it will get .

    Current and retired Rye employees ? You better get involved if you are counting on a Rye check for your retirement . Just ask the folks in the post office about their rock solid pension and healthcare benefits now going up in smoke . Same will happen to you in a few years the longer Rye pols ignores the time bomb ticking much louder .

  2. On July 1st, 2011 the Rye City Building department issued violation number V0000758 to the owners of 13 Richard Place, Rye New York. The violation lists “building without a permit” as its reason. According to 2011 City of Rye Assessment Rolls, 13 Richard Place is designated as a two family home – with an unfinished attic – and no record of improvements of any kind since 1949.

    Yet in a recent public sale listing 13 Richard Place is described as a one family residence featuring new skylights, a new eat in kitchen, a new “electric box upgrade” installed in 2008 and with heating system and roof replacements dating from the mid 1990’s. No mention is made anywhere of the status of the home’s previous 2nd kitchen, 2nd entrance or other typical 2 family home elements.

    Rye City records indicate the owners of the home are Douglas H. and Carrie French, who purchased it in November of 1992. An examination of mortgage records from their 1992 purchase indicate the couple apparently never disclosed to lenders that it was in fact a two family dwelling – instead attesting the property was “improved by a one family residence only.” Copies of the relevant above referenced official documents are attached hereto.

    Since 1992 when the French’s acquired the home, the City of Rye has written hundreds of violations for illegal construction activity within its city limits. Thousands of dollars of penalties and permit fees have been collected and the Rye City Tax Assessor has subsequently raised property valuations and thus tax collections for these improved structures. Many Rye homeowners now complain that even a doorknob cannot be changed without a city construction permit and that their property taxes have skyrocketed to unsustainable levels. In this instance, under Mayor French’s direction, a home zoned for 2 families secretly becomes a 1 family home while the scope of the undisclosed illegal construction improvements is undeniably substantial.

  3. ray,

    give me a call. i wouldn’t mind trying to develop hen island with you as i think it will be a fantastic investment opportunity. let’s get the dumb dumbs in rye to pay for the sewer line first and then we will be on our way.

    let me know what you think

  4. PP,
    More smoke and mirrors. Everyone knows that the people on Hen Island will have to pay for sewers just like the residents on North Island Drive are paying for their new sewers. FYI, if sewers were to be installed on Hen Island, the homeowners would have a choice, to finance it themselves or the city floats a bond and Hen Island residents pay back the bond. Roughly two million dollars, over a thirty year period, divided by thirty four homeowners, works out to be less than two hundred a month, per Hen Island resident. NO COST TO RYE RESIDENTS. Contrary to the BS you are trying to scare people with. Remember these are summer homes for everyone out there. I think this is a small price for 34 selfish Hen Island residents to pay to ensure the health and safety of 15000 residents in Rye.

    On your other note, maybe you can tell me how you develop anything without first getting approvals from planning, zoning, architectural review, wetlands and watercourses, army Core of Engineers, the DEC, Westchester Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and maybe three or four other agencies? Just more of your scare tactics, that the mayor is trying to spread. Sounds very similar to the mayor’s update that is coming out this week. Might you be Dougie boy himself? Or maybe one of his neighbors on Meadow Place (who’s mother and uncle are on the Board of Directors of Hen Island) that is filling his head with BS?


  5. “if you have further questions you can speak directly with the building department.”

    Rye recently lost one of its most valued employees because of a heart attack as he was on the job inspecting flood conditions at Highland Hall in Rye.
    Vinnie Tamburro was one of the most honest, hard working and highly skilled public employees Rye has ever had. In all my years of dealing with Building Departments, it amazed me how Vinnie maintained a personality that screamed “I want to help you get this done but it has to be done in the right way.”
    The community embraced him for that.

    After an inspection in 2007 of Hen Island, Vinnie was in the process of issuing violations until he was stopped in his tracks by the Rye City administration and elected officials. Vinnie’s choice was to do either A) as his bosses dictated and keep his job in good standing or B) issue the violations and risk losing his job and not be able to support his family.
    Vinnie did what he had to do but I know he didn’t like it, he told me so, on several occasions. And I know the pressure of this weighed on him tremendously.

    Now yet again Mayor French is going to ask city employees to lie in an effort to protect someone or some group. But in this case, that someone is himself. This is politics at its lowest level.

  6. PP,
    Your lame attempt at sarcasm is pathetic at best! Give it up – You are not educated on the facts to have an honest opinion nor do you pocess the intelligence to have an opinion!

    Try climbing back under the rock from which you came!!!

  7. ray,

    struck a nerve have i, don’t be so sensitive. the development idea is a gem. besides it will be like clubbing baby seals as we chase those other hen islanders off as they are forced – along with the rye tax payers – to pay for the sewer and related infrastructure. i for one can hardly wait

  8. A Heal The Harbor.com Response to Mayor French’s “Moving On.”
    Mayor French States –

    “Once again the Council heard complaints by a Purchase resident about conditions on Hen Island which is off the coast of Greenhaven. The Westchester County Health Department regularly tests the Long Island Sound in and around Hen Island and those tests continue to show that water quality meets the County’s health standards and there are no violations of any regulations.”


    “The County and the Courts have ruled that no action is required with respect to mosquito control. And
    finally, the seasonal cottages on Hen Island are not considered permanent dwellings under the New York State Building Code, and are therefore compliant with potable water requirements.”


    “However, the Purchase resident continues his assault on the Rye community in hopes of developing the island. He has tried to embarrass some members of the City Council to include Richard, Peter, Suzanna, Paula, Catherine and me – by publishing and displaying rude, mocked-up photos. While that is
    his right, Rye’s children find it most troubling as they try to reconcile such behavior. He has tried to intimidate my family and neighbors by towing and leaving his distastefully decorated van in front
    of my home at all hours of the day and night. He has shown great disrespect to our community, businesses and institutions as his van and crude costumed character parade in our downtown, in front of our historical society and at City Hall. And as he has in the past, he continues to try to make his case personal against Rye’s Mayor whoever is serving – this time broadly distributing communication defaming my wife and me with false claims in order to advance his own personal case. This Council is about representing Rye and will continue to do its work to address the issues that are important to you, the residents of Rye.”
    Heal The Harbor.com replies:

    Mayor French refuses to place a name in this update because he has been advised by council that he would be sued for libel because he cannot back up his above statements with facts. We on the other hand have no problem using HIS name in our reports – because we based our investigation here on PUBLIC RECORDS.
    Mayor French also strangely represents himself as a ‘voice of the people of Rye,’ when in fact we have received many many calls from Rye City residents urging us to continue publicizing the Mayor’s personal illegal actions. In actuality it is Mayor French himself that makes this issue personal. Our efforts have only been to expose Rye City council persons and a Mayor that have failed to protect the health and safety of Rye residents by consciously not enforcing Rye’s laws and codes. We have done this thru the use of satire, satire that does in fact point out elected officials’ shortcomings.
    Mayor French is using his position as Mayor, with its natural access to the media, to incite residents to act out against our clean-up efforts. Additionally, we believe that he has directed the Rye City police not to arrest people that were caught red handed vandalizing our protest vehicle because this particular vandal just happened to be one of the Mayor’s neighbors on Meadow place (should anyone be interested we would be happy to supply the photographs and the related official police report).

    Our recent investigation and press release has pointed out the Mayor’s shortcomings as an honest, law abiding citizen of the City of Rye. Its findings are based on PUBLIC RECORDS and they clearly indicate that Mayor French has cheated the Rye City treasury out of thousands of dollars in required permitting fees and building fees – as well as the additional “improved property” related property taxes he would have had to pay the City of Rye over the last TWO DECADES. That’s quite simply, disgusting.

  9. This was on News 12 this morning. Seems like Mayor French is not the only one with his hands in the taxpayers’ pockets.

    A knock outside Judy Kennedy’s door the morning after she wins Newburgh’s mayoral race. The person wasn’t there to congratulate Kennedy. He was there to investigate her. Our Elaina Athans tells us why and has Kennedy’s response.


    NEWBURGH, N.Y. – “We need to pay our taxes and our mortgages and that’s all this is about,” said Newburgh Mayor-elect Judy Kennedy.
    Kennedy’s housing arrangements are under scrutiny by the city she was just picked to represent. Wednesday morning, hours after her win, a code compliance inspector showed up at Kennedy’s Grand Street home to investigate if she’s housing too many people inside.
    Kennedy said, “I’m just sharing my house with some housemates and I believe there’s a lot of people in this city that have been forced to do that given both the economic downturn and the taxes that have happened in this city.”
    The review was launched by a familiar face to Kennedy, her mayoral opponent and current councilmember Christine Bello.
    “According to the white pages, that third floor apartment is rented,” said Bello.
    Bello says she filed in complaint in August.
    “The housemates that pay rent are called tenants and that is not in line with our codes,” said Bello. “When you get up and you want to complain about taxes being too high and you’re not paying your fair share and you’re cheating the very taxpayers you wish to represent.”

  10. Mayor French’s Letter to the editor, published in this week’s Rye Record.

    Don’t forget to read his update from May of this year, linked at the bottom of the post below. He is correct about one thing, ” the standards of public discourse in Rye have changed.” We now have a Mayor lying to the public in print!

    Who is really sending the wrong message?



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