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Saturday, February 4, 2023
Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's City Council November Update

Speaking French: Mayor’s City Council November Update

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

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Rye City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French

Rye City Budget 2012: Now It's Time to Hear from You

Since 2009 residents have continued to call for property tax relief. The submission of the City Manager's Budget for 2012 this week will once again call on the City Council to make very tough decisions that balance the scope of the current government service footprint vs. the desires of the community for traditional programs and services. Public workshops are scheduled for 8 pm on November 14th, 16th, and 30th as well as a Public Hearing on the budget on December 7th. The Citizens Finance Committee will present their opinion at the regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council on November 16th. Final adoption will be voted on by the Council on December 21st. At this time, the proposed budget to be deliberated will most likely be over the New York State tax cap, as economic conditions continue to affect the City's options. Prior to the budget presentation, on the revenue side, revenue from interest income, sales tax, and mortgage tax is down $2M since 2007. The undesignated fund balance is at 10%, but only roughly $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. On the expense side, while overall costs have been held flat at 2009 levels in 2010 and 2011, the make-up of the costs continue to shift dramatically as pension and healthcare costs are again up by double-digits. Now it's your turn – it is time for your voice to be heard as the Council will be making financial and operational decisions as to what capital improvements can be funded, how to balance basic service levels, and where to identify new sources of funding.

Fire Department Organization

Many residents do not know how the Rye Fire Department is organized. The paid firefighters, 17 of them, report into the City Manager while the volunteer organization to include the Fire Chiefs and volunteer firefighters reports into a separate body, the Board of Fire Wardens. With the pending retirement of the Fire inspector, the City is taking the opportunity to review the organizational structure. Discussions have taken place with the paid personnel, Board of Wardens, Fire Chiefs, and volunteers and will continue through the budget process. If changes are made in the administrative structure, a change in the City Charter would be required. 

Highland Hall Lawsuit

The Council took action in defense of a claim filed by tenants of Highland Hall. The City as one of four defendants that included Westchester County and New York State were served this week from tenants of the Highland Hall apartments. They are seeking injunctive relief to mitigate the effects of an oil spill on site during tropical storm Irene. This would include an independent consultant to test the air quality to confirm that the units are safe, to continue to maintain relocation expenses, and to pay for legal fees. State and County Health officials have cleared the building for tenants to return.

Flood Mitigation Plan

As part of the City's flood plan, the Council adopted a measure this week putting the highest priority on flood prevention and stormwater impacts by urging all Boards, Commissions, Departments and residents to scrutinize the consequences of decisions and land-use applications that may exacerbate flooding in the City. As part of the resolution, the Council formulated a permanent Flood-action committee to advise the Council on flooding and flood-related activities in and around Rye. On the status of the Bowman Avenue Sluice Gate project that will help regulate water-flow down the Blind Brook, the Town/Village of Harrison has asked to comment on the application that is before the Village of Rye Brook. 

Winter Access to Oakland Beach 

The Council is working with the Rye Town Park Commission to allow for pedestrian access only (no dogs) to Oakland Beach during the off-season winter months. Beach access has been closed since 2008 with one exception; however, based on your feedback and the community need, the City is looking to take over responsibility to administer access during this time.

  1. “At this time, the proposed budget to be deliberated will most likely be OVER the New York State tax cap, as economic conditions continue to affect the City’s options.”

    That “over cap” is called managerial failure based on what this administration previously told us to expect. They were supposed to act in the taxpayers interests – returning Rye to affordability and tax sanity and not capitulate to status quo. Even Astorino’s county government crony crazy car is going to get to park again this year in its zero increase parking space.

    Rye City government pays fat salaries at the top – gets bad management for their money – and insultingly continues to spend the taxpayers own coin to cover up its paid staff’s own legal sins against these same taxpayers. Enough with this sham process. Fire yourselves. My Labrador retriever can be there take over on Monday morning.

  2. State and County Health officials have cleared the building for tenants to return.

    This statement, while accurate, is not the entire story. Had the City acted appropriately, I doubt we’d find ourselves a party to this action. The Mayor used Highland Hall as a photo op, then left when the cameras left. Suzanna Keith took pictures with her kids, smiling broadly in front of destroyed small businesses, and used them for her campaign web site. Neither French nor Keith followed up to show concern for 90 Rye families displaced by Tropical Storm Irene. They did find time to meet with residents of Indian Village, a meeting to which other elected officials were not invited apparently, but Highland Hall …nothing.
    Its reasonable to expect our Mayor to be on top of an oil spill affecting so many residents.

  3. Charmian,
    I would think it would be reasonable for any mayor of any town to address such a serious issue…..but in Rye we have come accustomed to expecting something completely different and expected to accept it!!!

    I am completely blown away by all the recent turn of events from our Mayor and our much acclaimed “TOP ENFORCER” (Mr. Scott Pickup)…….WHAT A JOKE!!!

    Now we witness our Mayor boasting all over our local papers how he cares about our children….he must be referring to selective sections of Rye if there is any truth to his statements at all!!

    We as Residents have to sit thru 2 hours of nonsense about plastic vs paper but god for bid you stand tall and talk about something real with them caught red handed his defense is….”we are moving on” as we are disrespectfully DISMISSED!!!

    Mayor French and his wife new how to find me and Maggie when he had to, now he is on the run instead of being a man and what he considers himself “A FRIEND”, he suddenly forgot he was a friend and where we live….how quaint!!!

  4. “the Council adopted a measure this week…urging all Boards, Commissions, Departments and residents to scrutinize the consequences of decisions and land-use applications that may exacerbate flooding in the City.”

    Too late Mr. Mayor. The land along our brook within the City limits is already developed, paved, and constructed. These measures should have been taken years ago prior to the construction of the RyeYMCA addition. The brook cleanup was certainly a step in the right direction (on a small scale, but every little bit helps). What the citizens of Rye are waiting for is a member of the council to step forward and take the lead in solving the grander problem that lies upstream. In the 1960’s an effort was made by the council to explore the construction of retention basins. In the 1970’s this idea was again revisited. If you and your ticket claim to be the problem solvers that you are, why do you shy away from exploring the more challenging aspect of flood mitigation? No one ever said it would be easy, but where is your initiative? If not for public pressure and resident outcry, would the brook have been cleaned? I suppose the residents tuning in on RCTV should not take at face value your eye rolling and frequent glances at the clock during Eric Moy’s presentation. I suppose your sarcastic comment in your October 18th Mayor’s Management Report – “No word on if the infamous 7-iron was found” is funny to the residents and business owners who lost everything this past summer.

  5. TEDC
    The latest screwup by City Hall is Bowman Ave dam. City Manager and Planner failed to check the Dam’s environmental impact statement paperwork to verify Harrison’s sign-off. Harrison’s Field of Dreams elected official is back and will stick it to Rye for the Beaver Brook EPA filings and litigation. Manager should have gotten Harrison sign off prior to Election Day.


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