Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.
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City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French
2012-13 Adopted New York State Budget
The State Legislature passed the 2012-13 NY State budget that preserves municipal aid at current year levels as well as keeps transportation aid flat. This is good news as reductions in funding levels during this economy were possible.
Rye Recreation Update
The Recreation Department and Commission had a successful year in meeting its mission to provide quality leisure services to all residents of Rye despite challenging times in 2011 – and achieved over a 40% return on revenue for programs. Goals for 2012 include: Complete the field study and provide a recommendation for greater use; maintain fiscal vigilance; create a foundation to raise private money to support recreation activities; and to increase summer programs for the seniors.
Rye Town Park
As Rye Town Park gets ready for the new season, improvements continue to be made. As many of you know, the beach was re-opened this past off-season for residents, and the Rye Town Park Commission has just voted to do away with the $2 beach entrance fee on Fireworks nights. In addition, financial measures are close to being finalized for Commission consideration to include the installation of a car counter, the adoption of the Port Chester parking model of displaying parking receipts in patron car windows; to accept credit cards, and the submission of a breakeven budget. The Park Commission has also established a Capital and Planning Committee to review the long-term capital needs of the park. Rye representatives on the committee are Kristina Bicher (Chair), Rye Planning Board member Peter Larr, and Zoning Board of Appeals member Serge Nivelle.
Upcoming Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
As part of the celebration of Earth Day, the City of Rye is joining with the Village of Larchmont, Town of Mamaroneck, and the Village of Mamaroneck to declare Monday, April 23, 2012 a day of awareness about the harmful effects of engine idling and to encourage our community to take action to reduce unnecessary idling. Further, the City's plastic bag ban goes into effect on May 7th. The Jay Heritage Center has underwritten the cost of posters, cards and information packets for merchants and have been distributed by the Sustainability Committee and Chamber of Commerce to inform and create awareness.
Settlement of the Shew Matter
The Council approved on April 4th a stipulation of discontinuance on the litigation with respect to former City Manager, Paul Shew. Paul served the City well in his 6 years as Rye's City Manager with improvements made in flood mitigation, pedestrian and traffic safety, and recreation to name a few. The City is pleased that both parties can move forward amicably in the best interests of all. This matter has been settled in principle with no exchange of money, but with the withdraw of an appeal to the Appellate Division, Second Department, on condition that a letter of recommendation is signed by me in my working relationship with Paul when I was Chairman of the Recreation Commission.
Social Media and Rye PD
The City is looking at rules and regulations of the Police Department regarding "Social Media" based on a model policy published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. About 48% of Police Departments have adopted such policies and social media is being used extensively in law enforcement and also provides multiple communication vehicles for notification and communication to the public.
The City Engineer Position
With the retirement of the City Engineer last year and the temporary hiring freeze, the City evaluated the utilization of a consultant engineer over the last 6 months. Given the workload and infrastructure needs of the City based on general maintenance, flood maintenance, flood recovery, flood mitigation and current and future capital projects, the Council has authorized the City Manager to hire for the position — that also serves to supervise the Department of Public Works.
You may have noticed two different recycling trucks for cans and newspapers. The current recycling trucks are not adequate and need to be replaced, and the City is looking at different ways of collecting recycling for data purposes.
Appointment Process for City Council Vacancy
Contact me or one of the Council members if you are interested in being considered for the vacancy on the Rye City Council. Based on our charter, the Council will fill the vacancy for the balance of the year with a separate election to be held in November of 2012 to complete the term which expires December of 2013. The Council will make the appointment at our June 13th meeting, and I will ask those that are interested to address the Council and public at our second meeting in May.