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Home Government Maintenance-Only Landscaping Allowed - Rye City Coronavirus Update

Maintenance-Only Landscaping Allowed – Rye City Coronavirus Update

Rye City issued another coronavirus update Tuesday afternoon. Highlights:

  • You can send any COVID-related complaints to COVID@ryeny.gov;
  • Landscaping for maintenance-only is allowed (and this includes leaf blower use);
  • Complete the census, Rye is slacking vs. others in Westchester.

The full update follows:

Coronavirus Update – April 14, 2020

Yesterday, Monday, was stormy, but Rye fared well. Few power outages, only scattered branches down and minor flooding. Mother Nature treated us relatively gently, weather-wise.  As for Coronavirus,  even there, we now find hopeful news bundled in with the growing statistics. The hope, of course, is of a flattened curve and of the return to normalcy. The timing of that return is becoming the subject of regular bickering in the news feed — a very good sign!

Our numbers for Monday: 19,786 have tested positive in Westchester, but the County would adjust that figure down to 10,460 current positives by subtracting those who would have returned to normal since they were tested.  We have 1,182 hospitalized in Westchester, but  the County inventory is of more than 3,000 beds, so we are not yet strained. We have lost 557 friends and relatives to COVID-19.  There is no way to adjust the sadness out of this figure.

Our official, still backlogged and qualified number of Rye positives for Monday is 93.  This is an aggregate number which, like the gross County number, is not adjusted for those who have done their COVID time and recovered.  I know they are back out, smiling and with a story to tell. It is great to see them.

We all now hear it regularly. Our regime of social distancing, hand washing and staying home as much as we can (stand it!), is working.  So, let’s do it more!  Let’s make sure our kids do it!  Let’s do it all so well and so much that we can stop doing it altogether at the safest soonest that the doctors prescribe.

Your City is now primed by State and County to be an enforcer of emergency executive orders relating to COVID-19.  Your City, and most particularly your Police Department, approaches cooperation with these orders as something that most of us want to do, though we may need a gentle reminder.  We would appreciate any enforcement interactions remaining on a cooperative basis. Please remember to send any COVID-related complaints to COVID@ryeny.gov.

The City Council will meet this week by video connection, viewable by the public.  We have tried to keep as lean an agenda as possible, so as not to strain the medium in which we will meet.  We are still receiving changing guidance on meeting methodology from Albany, particularly with respect to matters that require public hearings. To the extent possible, we will hold matters until a return to normalcy, so that we can again have the benefit of public input.

At this meeting, we will start to hear from the Interim City Manager as to potential changes in the City’s financial position as a result of the COVID-19 economy. This discussion, which will be ongoing, will necessarily be driven by a range of assumptions, particularly with respect to our customary revenue items.  We will be helped in developing a view as others start to release projections important to the City’s  condition, such as the County’s projections of sales tax revenue. Remember, please, that we start with a great advantage.  Over the past two years, at the suggestion of the Finance Committee, we created a capital reserve fund, saving several million dollars to prime the infrastructure program that we still need and hope we can undertake.  That capital reserve fund can, if necessary, provide liquidity for other purposes if the financial situation requires.

The State position on maintenance-only landscaping as essential seems resolved. As for leaf-blowing, I asked the County to pursue treating that activity as a non-essential aspect of landscaping. The County has not found New York State willing.  I have asked the local landscapers association to voluntarily lay down their leaf blowers during the health emergency and am waiting for their response.

Please remember that the Chamber of Commerce is working hard on the premier of the Rye’s Up! virtual showcase, scheduled for April 20.  Everyone is welcome on the red carpet!

On the census side, City of Rye is not yet a leader and we should be.  Other Westchester municipalities have reached a 60% participation rate in the early part of April.  We are not there. If we don’t count ourselves, no one will do it for us.  We will be under-funded, under-represented and under-respected in all sorts of population-based decision makings over the coming decade.  We are too smart to let that happen, aren’t we?

The paused life is deeply straining.  It places heavy demands of its own, while disabling us from dealing with many of the things of greatest concern to us.  With that in mind, I post again information for the mental health hotline (914) 995-1900 (8am – 8pm) or text (914) 461-7281 and, for instances of domestic abuse, My Sister’s Place, 1-800-298-7233 (24/7).

Each day gets  more spring-like and closer to a return to an open world.  You, the residents of Rye, are doing a great job of moving together (socially-distanced) to that goal. We now know the drill.  Let’s crush it!

Mayor Josh Cohn

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