Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French
Rye’s Financial Future
The City continues its work as it has the last few years to stay under the tax cap, restore its balance sheet, re-organize City departments, hold the line on costs, and implement capital priorities; the next step is to look toward Rye’s future. The economy continues to be a drag on Rye residents and businesses, but Rye’s obligations, as with all municipalities, are still rising at an accelerated rate. I have asked our Finance Committee to assist the City in building out a 4-year plan to project out revenue and costs based on trend lines and conservative assumptions. The purpose of the plan will be to help educate the public on the leading cost and revenue drivers and to use it to begin a frank discussion on decisions that will impact Rye’s future.
Central Avenue Bridge Reconstruction to Begin
The City was pleased to award the bid to begin reconstruction of the Central Avenue Bridge. Depending on the winter weather, the project could take up 9 to 12 months to complete. I have asked City staff to make sure the neighbors are fully informed of the schedule and the impacts to the neighborhood. Despite years of regulatory and compliance delays with the New York State Department of Transportation who is funding the bulk of the project, the City is pleased to finally have approval to move this project forward — thanks to the perseverance of City staff and many dedicated officials.
A New Respect Manual for the Rye Community
In a cross-community endeavor by several parents, merchants, police officers and teens, an updated version of the Respect Manual for Rye was recently issued focusing on Understanding the Rights and Responsibilities of Our Youth. Last published in 2005, the guide seeks to strengthen our shared values and increase understanding within our community. Thank you to all of those that participated in such an important initiative.
1037 Boston Post Road – Broker Authorized
The Council has authorized the City Manager to hire a commercial real estate broker to market and represent the City for the sale or a long-term lease of the property. In the meantime, the City will look to extend a short-term lease with the current tenant. The site was appraised at $4.5M prior to the City's purchase in 2006. The City purchased the building for the public purpose of building a Police Station/Courthouse but that option has been ruled out.
November 2012 Infrastructure Bond Referendum
The Council voted to bring a number of key City infrastructure needs forward to the public for a bond referendum on Election Day of this year. The total for the bond is $1.856M to include repairs to Smith Street and the Smith/Elm/Purchase Street intersections, repairs to a section of the wall on Boston Post Road, a sewer pump by Locust Avenue, sidewalk repairs consistent with safe routes to schools initiatives, and fire sprinklers and flood doors for the Library. It was decided not to include upgrades to the police station courthouse at this time due to the pending status of the 1037 BPR property.
Forest Avenue Sharrows
On a grant from the national YMCA, pedestrian and bike sharrows were painted as part of a pilot program along Forest Avenue. In a 2007 safe routes committee report, Forest Avenue was cited as a high-traffic corridor that connected many recreational venues and schools. The cost to build sidewalks or widen the road is prohibitive, but the purpose of the painted sharrows is to define shy-space areas along the road and remind drivers and pedestrians and bikers of the shared roadway. While the NYS Department of Transportation regulations dictate the number and spacing of the sharrows that for some may be too frequent, the overall feedback has been very positive and in particular from the youth. In addition, the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Commission has incorporated visual improvements at the intersection of Forest and Manursing Way.
Fire Lieutenant Position Created
The City continues to work closely with the Board of Fire Wardens on the future organization of the Rye Fire Department — first by aligning the volunteer and paid personnel in conjunction with the office of the City Manager, and now with the creation of a combination fire inspector/lieutenant position. The Rye City Code was amended last week to reflect the administration of this new position whose supervisory duties, among other things, shall include the responsibility for fire inspections within the City.