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Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's Update - Re-Fi, Dredge, Playland & More

Speaking French: Mayor’s Update – Re-Fi, Dredge, Playland & More

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

The City’s 4-year Financial Plan

A few years ago we moved to revitalize and expand the City’s Citizens Finance Committee to assist the City in working through the difficult recessionary times and to advise on budget and operational recommendations.  Through the work of the staff, Council and the Committee, the City is poised to rebound exceptionally well as the economy recovers.  Taxes and spending have been held in tact the last few years, and the City’s fund balance is being restored to a healthy level.  We have also re-invested in our infrastructure so as to not defer higher long-term costs.  Going forward, we have sought to formalize this work with the creation of a multi-year financial plan to project cost and revenue trends that will aid in decision-making and educating the public.  The Committee will present their report at the next Council meeting on May 8th.

Joint Meeting of the City and Schools

Last week the two governing bodies met to discuss a number of issues of mutual interest between the City and School District.  The collaboration and communication has been effective the last few years as the challenges have increased.  The matters discussed included a “State of the schools” by Dr. Alvarez, joint communications for emergencies, the School District building project and schedule coming up this year, increased police presence and crossing guards, the many Safe Routes to Schools projects in and around the schools, coordination of much needed field space, tax certiorari matters, the Rye Youth Council civility initiative, and an agreement to re-state our joint call for mandate relief from New York State.  A follow-up meeting will take place at the beginning of the school year.

Refinancing of Bonds

Two years ago the City refinanced much of its debt, and this past week the City approved to refinance the additional following bonds:  Bonds issued in 1998 for $1,743,000 for improvements to the Rye Golf Club with a current outstanding balance of $785,000, and bonds issued in 2005 for $6,428,000 for public improvements with a current outstanding balance of $4,755,000.  The total outstanding balance of these bonds is $5,540,000 and these can be refunded to generate a savings dependent upon market rates on the date of closing of roughly $325,000.

Milton Harbor Dredging Project

The City approved a much-needed dredging project based on FEMA funding as a result of damage from storms Irene and Sandy. FEMA will provide 75% of the funding for the project which has a total cost of $417,000. The Boat Basin will be responsible for the remaining cost; however, City Staff has been working with New York State representatives for possible coverage of an additional 12.5% of project costs.

Deer Population

The increasing deer population across our region remains a growing problem.  The City continues to review the situation and explore potential options for a deer management pilot program.  The proposed bow-hunting program being used and advocated by the Westchester Audubon Society for culling deer herds will not be brought forward for Council action as a joint pilot program with the Jay Heritage Center and the Westchester County Marshlands.  Much more information, education and discussion is required before any decisions are made.

A New Direction for Playland Takes Another Step

The Sustainable Playland (SPI) project took another positive step as a 10-year agreement was reached and approved by the County contracts review board.  The SPI proposal has great promise for Westchester residents.  Based on the work of the City’s own strategic committee established two years ago, my work on the County Citizens Committee, and resolutions passed by the Council in support of Sustainable Playland and the Westchester Children’s Museum, we encourage this project to move ahead as soon as possible.

Old Milton Road Drain Project

The long-awaited drainage project had its construction bid approved by Council and will be completed this summer.  The project includes replacement of an existing drain line to address stormwater runoff and flooding at the Harbor House.  Bonds have already been issued for this project at a project cost: $200,000.

Stewards of the Public Interest

At the next Council meeting on May 8th, the City will celebrate its history as a volunteer government and our commitment to public service with the annual meeting hosted by the Rye Historical society at the Square House last week.  Former Mayors, Council, and Judges as well as members of our boards and commissions are encouraged to attend in honor of our City Management and volunteer form of government.  It’s also a time to acknowledge the Department heads and show appreciation for their hard work.  Despite many challenges the City has faced in its history, the volunteer government has and continues to serve the City very well.

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  1. “and the City’s fund balance is being restored to a healthy level.”

    Really? At the last council meeting the corporation counsel dropped quite a bomb on everyone. The sale of The Otis Building (aka 1037 Boston Post Road) is in question. Appraised at the time of purchase for $4.5 million, Mr. Otis succeeded in somehow paying $6.2 million in taxpayer funds for it. Then last year Messer’s French and Jovanovich were shoving a closed door one-off sale to Lesters of the place for $3.6 million. And they had the votes to force it (because “they were putting the city’s interests first” obviously) until, well, someone challenged them publicly and repeatedly about their duties and strategies and finally a broker was hired to ascertain actual market conditions. And then Poof! – multiple competing qualified bids arrived in the $5 million plus range. The council then chose the oil company bid over Lesters somewhat higher net offer because of the greater certainty of closing and Voila! – fund balance (working capital) restoration was finally almost in hand.

    And now for the latest. See if you can discover what insult, what broken promise, what act of bad faith triggered Lester’s ownership to feel they had to “correct” the estoppel certificate the city sent them thus putting in jeopardy the building sale and recovery of the $5M+ of city working capital diverted into the 1037 Boston Post Road balloon payoff without ANY public vote or written (French led) council authorization.
    Heck of a job.

    Just a heck of a job.


  2. Speaking English:
    Where is the “mutual interest”, you have to do more than just talk about this, you have to ACTUALLY ACT ON IT!!!

  3. There’s some background to the bond re-financing which Doug conveniently left out- but I’m going to let him take credit for it anyway because I feel bad for the guy. I can’t wait for his “Look at everything I accomplished” article coming out this December.


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