September 28, 2016 At the North Castle Town Board's work session on September 28, the only item on the 45-minute allotted agenda was Michael Fareri's multi-family housing project application at 470 Main Street. North Castle Town Supervisor Michael Schiliro referenced the North Castle Planning Board meeting of September 26. Schiliro said he was concerned about Michael Fareri's comment about sewers being proposed for Orchard Drive, where Schiliro lives, made at the planning board meeting during a discussion for Fareri's proposal of 48 AFFH units at the former lumberyard property. The sewer proposal on Orchard Drive is from a private developer who intends to pay for the installation.
Fareri questioned why Schiliro's street was getting sewers. "He [Fareri] knows the answer to that question and he shouldn't have made the comment," said Schiliro.
He continued, "Orchard Drive has always been in the sewer district to get sewers if the residents ever proposed to bring sewers up to Annadale, Orchard, Old Mount Kisco Road, Cox and a few other streets. So the allotment is there for those streets in reserve since the 1980s when the Board of Health recommended that those streets be included in the sewer district. So the comment should not have been made."
"But the more disturbing comment, and I have to address it,” added Schiliro, "and then Michael Fareri can begin. We have some very hard-working employees for this town from department heads right on down to the folks in line. And I can't think of anybody who is more conscientious and works with integrity and class than Sal Misiti."
Sal Misiti is the North Castle superintendent of sewer and highways.
Schiliro continued that Fareri "thought he was able to take the liberty to invite Sal to the meeting to have his presence there, which is done by the Town Board or the Planning Board. And then he made a statement about Sal hiding and not showing up to the meeting. It's a deplorable comment and has no place in this town. We will not allow it. Nobody is going to make comments about our employees, especially Sal Misiti, and his name is pronounced M-I-S-I-T-I, not M-I-S-T-Y, Michael, and you know that.
"You can't find a harder working employee than Sal. If you have a sewer main or a water burst at 2:00 a.m., when it is 10 degrees out, Sal is there. Nobody works harder for this town than Sal, and nobody will treat him with that disrespect. And I don't understand why you continue to conduct yourself in this fashion. I would be curious to know why you would make a comment like that for somebody who you know quite well and works as hard as he does. It's a question, Michael. Care to answer it?"
Fareri stood at the podium with his head bowed down with no response.
After a moment of silence, Schiliro continued, "I'll take that as a no. I'd like you to begin, but before you do that, you owe that gentleman an apology, and I'd like to hear it in this room, because he does not deserve that treatment."
After an uncomfortable silence of over three minutes, Schiliro repeated there is no public comment at a work session. It's a meeting of the Town Board. "We're ready to begin, if Michael Fareri would like to begin."
At that point Schiliro addressed Fareri directly. "But we're not beginning our meeting until you apologize to that man."
"Does that mean we are not having the meeting?" responded Fareri.
"It's a very simple task, Michael,” answered Schiliro.
"Okay, no problem. Thank you very much for your time. I'm sorry. I didn't come to this meeting to get reprimanded. Thank you very much, Mr. Supervisor."
"Your choice, Michael," said Schiliro. "You know you owe him an apology,” concluded Schiliro referring to Misiti.
At that point, Fareri gathered his presentation and walked out of the meeting.
Check back with All About Armonk for further coverage on this topic, including an interview with Allan Singer, Michael Fareri’s lawyer.
North Castle Town Board Approves Quality Assurance Plan for Sewer District No. 2 By Jackson Harrower
August 2, 2016 The North Castle Town Board has approved a proposal by GHD Consulting Services Inc. to assist the town in obtaining a nitrogen offset credit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for failing residential septic systems that have been brought into the North Castle sewer system and otherwise would have contributed to the nitrogen runoff flowing into the Long Island Sound. This project will cost the town $28,610 and is to be completed within 60 days of authorization. The goal is the removal as a credit of the overall daily nitrogen discharge limit of 13 lbs./day in favor of a larger allowance.
GHD consulting services will conduct a model study on Sewer District No. 2 of the nitrogen being removed at the plant in correlation with the properties that have been recently added to the sewer system so that data can be quantified into a potential reduction of the limit. Sewer District No. 2 is located in the downtown Armonk area, including IBM, Business Park and Route 128 extension. It includes five sewer pump stations along with collection lines and manholes. All flow ends up at the wastewater plant which has recently been upgraded to treat 500,000 gallons per day. Sal Misiti, Director of Water and Sewer operations, notes, “Our plant performance is at the limits of technology. We have excellent nitrogen removal efficiency. We average about eight pounds per day. We’re in really good shape and the plant is operating at peak performance.” Although the plant is well under the current nitrogen limit, raising the limit could allow for expanded flow into the treatment plant, which in turn could allow for more local development.
Schiliro Addressed Fareri’s Mention of Town Board’s Cover Up and Other Concerns
May 16, 2016 At the May 11 North Castle Town Board meeting, Supervisor Michael Schiliro referred to his father when he spoke about the email sent by Michael Fareri to community members on May 9. "Be decent and act with decency," said Schiliro.
He said when he read Fareri’s emails, with negative information, misinformation, and with the idea of his hiding behind his desire to make this town better, he scratched his head and thought, "What's the point here? I’ve said to him directly, ‘Stop living in the negative and try to be part of the positive.’”
Whle not detailing Fareri’s entire email, Schiliro made several points about statements Fareri made that the Town Board had tried to cover things up. In particular, Schiliro mentioned the following:
• Fareri talked about last year’s financial audit. He said that the town never mentioned the internal control report. Schiliro said that wasn’t true. In fact at the November 4, 2015 Town Board meeting, which was televised, the auditor presented every audit issue that needed improvement. Schiliro said that it was foolhardy that Fareri thinks that the Town Board is trying to cover something up.
• Schiliro said that Joan Goldberg, North Castle town administrator, is a capable, skilled and talented employee. In fact, “She is one of the most skilled people in Westchester County with respect to how she manages the tax cap.” He added that there are other town supervisors in the County who don’t have a town administrator, and who don’t know how to manage the tax cap. In her history (19 years as a town comptroller for Yorktown and town administrator for North Castle), Goldberg has never had a budget higher than a three percent increase. Since 2010, North Castle’s yearly tax increase has been 2.5 percent. This occurred while the fund balance has increased from $400,000 in 2009 to $8 Million currently. He added that some of that money has gone toward the infrastructure of the town for the last few years. Schiliro added, “It’s time you stopped treating her like a punching bag.”
• Now in his ninth year on the Town Board, Schiliro said that he finds Fareri’s letters frustrating because Fareri does this over and over again. While Fareri does some good things for this town, says Schiliro, the best thing he does is build. “He is a terrific builder and I wish he would focus on building.”
Fareri has shared emails from community members he has received that are in agreement with his message. One six-year resident said, “We love our home and our property, but the costs are out of control;” they recently sold their house after living in the town for only six years. Another email from a 45-year resident who had asked the town attorney to consider a request for an independent counsel to evaluate the allegations of alleged misconduct. Yet another resident thanked Fareri for the time “to write to the community with your thoughts.”
However, Fareri’s focus is unfortunate, said Schiliro. “He says he is trying to make the town better and he is doing the opposite.”
Schiliro concluded his remarks by citing his admiration for several town workers, volunteers, and citizens who are active members of the community, making a positive impact on the town. He called them his personal heroes and suggested Fareri spend some time with them.
He quoted one of President Teddy Roosevelt’s most inspirational speeches, "Man in the Arena:"
“It’s not the critic who counts; not the man or woman who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man or woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his or her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
North Castle Town Board to Revisit the Creation of Long Pond Park District
April 11, 2016 By forming a Long Pond Park District as a public park in Windmill Farm, North Castle is addressing the requirements to improve and set a long-term maintenance plan for Long Pond Dam.
Almost one year ago, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued North Castle a violation of Dam Safety Regulations. “The dam has been classified as a Class ‘B’ Intermediate Hazard structure which could cause damage to homes and roadway if the dam fails,” says the June 2015 maintenance report prepared by Kellard Sessions Engineering Consulting for Long Dam Pond. Representatives of the state’s dam safety program have determined that inspections and repairs are required to confirm the dam’s safety and to bring the structure in compliance with the safety regulations.
The Town Board requested permission of the State Comptroller to establish Long Pond Park District. On March 24, 2016, Thomas DiNapoli, State Comptroller, approved to permit the establishment of the Long Pond Park District, which is not to exceed the estimated improvement costs of $335,000. This includes any applicable New York State or federal aid.
The Town of North Castle is the majority owner of Long Pond. Approximately 28 million gallons of water are retained behind the 40-foot high and 25-foot wide embankment. The dam is located on two privately owned properties. The eighteen properties that surround Long Pond have been identified to have direct benefits of the pond. However, “it is not realistic to expect the two property owners to incur the full costs required to improve and maintain the dam,” says the Kellard Sessions report. Furthermore, the cost of the district’s formation has been proposed to fairly distribute the costs of Long Pond’s dam improvements and maintenance among the 18 private homeowners, most of who own a portion of the shoreline into the lake.
Roland Baroni, Town Attorney, said that although New York State does not allow the Town to participate within the proposed Long Pond Park District, the Town intends to pay a share of the annual costs for the proposed improvements to the dam, which was constructed in the 1930’s.
Therefore, “the Town will obligate itself to the park district through a contract with the responsibility of paying 47% of the annual costs of the bond debt, operation and maintenance,” says the Kellard report. The annual projected costs of bond debt, operation and maintenance of the park district is $28,860. The Town’s proposed yearly contractual obligation is no more than $13,564. The individual 18 property owners will share, according to their assessment, the responsibility of 53% or $15,296 of the annual costs. The annual cost to individual property owners will not exceed more than $1,229, said Baroni at the June 10, 2015 Town Board meeting.
North Castle’s Town Board received a petition for a Long Pond Maintenance District at the Town Board meeting on June 10, 2015. At that time, Tony Futia, lifelong Armonk resident and former North Castle Sewer and Water District Superintendent, said—in response to his correspondence to an attorney about the Long Pond Park District—”It’s illegal to make a gift of taxpayer’s dollars to the other owners of the parcel in the park district from the Town’s General Fund.”
“It’s not a gift of public funds,” said Supervisor Michael Schiliro at the June 10 meeting. He estimated the cost of the Town’s portion to be $.12 per household, per month.
A contract to distribute public funds would allow the district to function, added Roland Baroni at that same meeting. Since the Town is the major owner of Long Pond, he said it’s not improper for the Town to participate. He concluded that there is an obligation for the Town, as owner of the pond in which the dam holds back the water, to protect, not only the neighboring residents, but also the entire town.
Futia continued to say that if the Town were to subsidize the creation and maintenance of a private park, that proposed method of payment would be illegal.
But this is not true because the public will continue, as they always have had, to have access to the nine-acre Long Pond for recreational purposes, including licensed fishing.
On April 13, 2016, the Town Board will present the final order to establish Long Pond Park District. The Town Board will receive the “order from the State Comptroller approving the formation of the Long Pond Park District.” At that time they will also consider a resolution to establish the Long Pond Park District and to authorize an “agreement with GEA for additional engineering services.”
The GEA services will include additional topographical surveys, an updated inspection and maintenance plan, a study of “additional scenarios identified by NYSDEC for dam break and 100-year storms,” and an inspection of the pipeline. The Town Board will also consider soliciting bids for the modified tree removal plan, pipeline cleaning and TV inspection.
North Castle Police Lieutenant Harisch’s Case Dismissed
April 26, 2016 Last month, United States Federal Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York granted a dismissal to the defendants Joan Cavorti Goldberg, North Castle’s Town Administrator, the Town of North Castle and the North Castle Town Board in a lawsuit filed by the former North Castle Police Chief Geoffrey Harisch. Harisch claims he was subjected to retaliation in violation of the right to free speech.
Over a period of several years, Harisch spoke of the many clashes between himself, Goldberg, and the Town Board. Forrest said none of the confrontations rose to the level of a constitutional violation. “The First Amendment does not commit the Court to “Judicial oversight of communications between and among government employees and their superiors in the course of official business,” she said in her March 25 opinion and order.
In a three-hour secret meeting on December 20, 2012, Harisch went to Goldberg with alleged details of police corruption of North Castle’s police overtime hours reported by Lieutenant William Fisher. Fisher was appointed as the provisional police chief after Police Chief Robert D’Angelo unexpectedly retired in January 2013 after 41 years on the force.
Forrest said, Harisch was speaking as a public employee in his official duties, and not a private citizen, at the meeting with Goldberg in 2012 about the discovery of irregularities of the scheduled of officers’ overtime. Therefore, Harisch can not maintain a First Amendment retaliation claim at the December 2012 meeting.
In January 2014, Harisch meet with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office to discuss these corruption allegations. The DA’s Office declined to prosecute and referred the matter back to the Town for administrative review and investigation.
Forrest’s opinion was that Harisch’s professional responsibility as police chief was to spearhead the review and to investigate the police department’s corruption and therefore as a public employee, the First Amendment retaliation claim was dismissed.
In August 2013, after Harisch was the only North Castle lieutenant of the three sitting lieutenants to pass the required chief’s examination, he became North Castle’s Chief of Police. Goldberg then attempted to retain Fisher, who was the former provisional chief who preceded Harisch, in a position of power as a police commissioner despite her knowledge of the alleged corruption. In April 2014, Fisher resigned in connection with the allegations.
Harisch’s complaint alleges that his compensation rate as chief was a “retaliatory measure because he had brought to light rampant and long-standing corruption in the police department.”
In February 2014, Harisch wrote an email to the Town Board comparing his compensation with other chiefs of police and officers in the North Castle Police Department. Specifically, he said his package was $45,000 less than the package of the prior North Castle Police Chief in 2010.
In May 2014, Harisch resigned as probationary police chief before his one-year probation period expired in order to remain under the protection of the union. Harisch has been a North Castle police officer for 29 years and remains on the force as a lieutenant.
In the January 2014 Harich filed a Notice of Claim, which is a necessary precursor to filing a lawsuit against governments and government employees under New York law. Harisch’s complaint asserted causes of action for “negligent hiring, reputational injury, common law retaliation through both diminished salary and withholding of pay, constructive discharge theories, and statutory retaliation violation of NY labor Law.” In the claim, he alleged that Goldberg attempted to dissuade him from becoming Police Chief with an insufficient compensation package, denied him access to take home a police department car, and was denied certain other entitlements of reimbursement. He also said she destroyed his business reputation with the intention to cause him reputational and economic damage.
Forrest opined that Goldberg’s actions toward Harisch as the Town Administrator were reasonably expected by the Town Board.
In January 2015, Harisch filed an amended complaint with causes in federal court after his first claim was filed in November 2014. He sought relief for compensatory and punitive damages.
Forrest opined that a lawsuit, which seeks personal relief for grievances, and is set against the administration of a town government or the conditions of a police department does not suffice to make it a First Amendment retaliation claim.
In April 2015, Goldberg, the Town of North Castle, and the Town Board moved to dismiss the claims they faced. In the opinion, Forrest said the court accepted Harisch’s allegations as true, but did not credit “mere conclusory statements”. And if the court can infer no more than the mere possibility of misconduct, a dismissal is appropriate.
Much Cleaner, Much Greener New Park
April 3, 2016 Taking a stroll around the gazebo and through Wampus Brook Park has expanded with approved plans to turn the empty lot between Bedford Road and Route 22 into a new park. At the North Castle’s Planning Board meeting on March 21, the Board unanimously adopted a resolution for a site plan, wetland permit, and tree removal permit to establish a new park at 2 Business Park Drive, at the southwest corner of Bedford Road and Maple Avenue in Armonk.
Two days later, North Castle’s Town Board permitted the job to go to bid to develop the 2.73 acres. “We are hoping to break ground sometime in the early summer,” said Joan Goldberg, Town Administrator, at the March 23 Town Board meeting.
The location of the Wampus Brook Park South is described as the gateway to the hamlet of Armonk. The park is a welcome addition to replace the empty lot.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy snapped many of the tall white pine trees in the area which caused the property to be dangerous. The Town considered turning the space into a dog park, but this concept was fiercely opposed by many residents. The lot was closed until 2013 when it was cleared. The cost to clear out the remaining trees was covered predominantly by the Federal Emergency Management Aid (FEMA) which financially assisted municipalities for the damage caused by the storm.
North Castle’s Subdivision Recreation Fund was established to create recreation amenities in town. The fund’s current balance is $396,500 which is an accumulation of funds collected from residential property owners who pay a fee when they subdivide their property and do not intend to provide a recreation area for that subdivision. Since the Wampus Brook Park South is a new park, these funds will go toward the costs to execute the design of the park. Until the bids come in, the total cost to build the park is unknown, said Goldberg. The maintenance costs for the park is included in the Parks Department’s budget.
While the area of the park is 2.7 acres, North Castle owns roughly two-thirds, or 1.6 acre, of this land. The remaining property is owned by New York State Department of Transportation which provides a permit that allows the Town to use it. Joe Cermelli, Town Engineer, says the Town hopes to get an additional title for a portion of the NYS DOT parcel on the eastern bank of the stream.
Wampus River runs north to south through the western portion of both parks. Half of the Wampus Brook Park South property is in a regulated floodway, and therefore the area nearest to the brook may not be disturbed by any structures.
The park is designed as a place to relax. An extensive landscaping design is in place for the park. Additional white spruces and other evergreen trees will be planted to provide greater screening along Route 22 where some trees, vines, and invasive growth will be removed, said Cermele. Along the eastern side of the park, near Elide Plaza, the overgrown pine trees will be removed and replaced with a mix of green giant arborvitaes and pear trees. There will also be some selective removal of dead and dying trees and invasive vines in the area along Maple Avenue. The stream bank will be replanted with a wild flower mix. Between the lawn areas and the stream will be a mix of some shade trees, ornamental dogwoods, and pine oaks. Perennial flowers and ornamental landscaping will be scattered throughout the park in various flower beds. A figure-eight five foot asphalt walkway of about 1/10 of a mile is in the center of the park, with a lawn in the middle of the two circular paths.
The park’s hardscape design will include LED lighting which will match the style of lights on Main Street and in the other park. Teak park benches will be situated along the stream’s bank, near the walkway, while additional locations for benches will be considered throughout the paved area.
An irrigation system is proposed for the lawn areas. This will not be connected to downtown Armonk’s water supply, but rather the water will be drafted from the stream by a pump and a wet well system. A stormwater detention infrastructure will be in place for the additional impervious surfaces of the parking lot and walkway.
The crosswalk from Wampus Brook Park North to Wampus Brook Park South is on Bedford Road, several yards east from the intersection of Bedford Road and Maple Avenue. The walking paths begin a short distance from the traffic light at Maple Avenue and Bedford Road. This placement avoids crossing at the busy intersection. The Town’s traffic engineer determined that the mid-block location is the best place to cross between the two parks, keeping pedestrians safe from the busy traffic at the corner.
Since the completion of Armonk Square, Maple Avenue -- after the right and left turns from Route 22 -- has become two lanes. Of possible concern is pedestrian safety at the crosswalk between the two parks on Bedford Road. When the traffic becomes heavier with the proposed 30-unit apartment building at the end of Bedford Road, the Board may want to consider a change to prohibit a right turn on red from Maple Avenue to Bedford Road. Although this might back up traffic on Route 22, pedestrian safety should be considered if the crosswalk between the two parks is well used.
The off-street paved parking lot from Bedford Road will include 20 parking spaces which is a welcome addition for parking in downtown Armonk. The town’s sanitary pump station will remain at the southwest corner of the park. Its access driveway will be relocated from the parking lot to the pumping station, while the driveway entry will remain on Bedford Road. The drafting area from the stream that permits landscaping contractors will remain in northwest corner of the park, just off Bedford Road.
There will be a much cleaner, greener view throughout the park than what you see there now, said Cermele.
Town Board Passes North Castle Budget of $31.6 Million with Zero Tax Increase
November 19, 2015 At the North Castle Town Board’s November 18 meeting, Denise Oakley, Town Comptroller, proposed a budget of $31,609,835 which she said is roughly a 3.05% increase over last year’s actual budget.
With the increases of revenue last year and an increase in the Town’s assessed property values, the increase in expenses has been offset. This allows for a zero tax increase for the 2016 Town budget which also falls under the allowable tax cap.
The Town of North Castle’s operating budget is made up of the General Fund, the Highway Fund, the Library Fund and the Police Fund. These budgets determine the Town’s real estate taxes to be paid by the taxpayers.
Oakley presented an overview of the 2016 preliminary budget. She said, “The focus this coming year is to operate efficiently with full transparency and to provide the highest quality of services at the lowest cost to our residents with a tax rate increase as low as possible.”
The majority of the Town’s revenue is property taxes that are projected to be $11,593,324. Other projected revenues are higher than in prior years. Next year’s sales taxes are budgeted at $1,650,000; payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) are budgeted at $989,045; non-property tax items such as tax penalties are budgeted at $550,000; cable franchises are budgeted at $280,000; mortgage taxes are budgeted at $700,000; and various other sources of departmental income equal a General Fund revenue total of $18,391,677.
North Castle’s 2016 preliminary proposed budget for the Town’s libraries is $1,668,648. The Highway fund budget is proposed at $6,175,264. The Police Department Fund is budgeted at $8,204,845.
A majority of the budget expenses are salaries and benefits for Town employees. There is a slight increase of $683,000 in salary expenses which covers six years worth of salary settlements in public safety, as well as other union settlements.
The Town of North Castle’s 2015 total count of full-time and part-time employees is 135; this excludes the four Town Board members. The 2016 tentative budget proposes to hire five more full-time employees and to have one less part-time employee. This is one less hired employee than was budgeted for in 2015.
The 2016 tentative budget includes the adoption of five additional full-time employees that are allocated as follows: • One additional employee for the Town Administrator’s Department • One more employee in the Tax Assessor’s office • An opening for an officer who will be promoted to Lieutenant in the Police Department which has 32 police officers (down from its peak in 2009 of 38 to 40 officers) • Two more employees in the sewer and water department.
In addition, the tentative budget calls for: • One less part-time worker in the Town Administrator’s Department • One less part-timer in the Town Comptroller Department • One less part-timer in the Tax Assessor Department • One more part-timer in the Library.
Larry Ruisi, a member of the Town’s volunteer Budget and Finance Committee, presented his analysis of the 2016 budget. Last year’s expenses were $25,431,000 with revenues of $6,512,000. This year’s expenses are proposed to be $26,236,000 which is an increase of $805,000 or 3.17%. This increase was driven by salary increases.
Ruisi said year-to-year, the revenue budgets were increased to $682,000 or 10.5%. Therefore, the actual increase in real property taxes is $123,000 or 6.5%. But this budget increase is offset by a net increase of $754,000 over last year’s assessed evaluation for a total of 4,798 parcels that share the tax burden. This is the first increase in assessed evaluations since 2009. This year’s total assessed evaluation for the municipality’s properties is $117,394,686.
Based upon North Castle's median home market value of $848,889, the proposed general taxes for 2015 and 2016 are equal to $3,098, which presents a zero increase in this year’s general taxes. (Note that this excludes school taxes, Westchester County taxes and special district taxes.)
There is a decrease in the New York State retirement system budget, says Ruisi. Albany dictates how much each municipality must contribute to pension benefits for the retirement system for union workers. This led to a year-to-year reduction in expenses of $110,000.
The Town Board will have a final review of the budget at its next meeting on December 9. They will continue to develop a strategy to improve the Town’s roads which included paving 10 miles this year. They may still allocate more money toward the roads this year as the Budget and Finance Committee plans to present a strategy that will further require significant expenses funded by either the General Fund Balance or debt.
However, the Town Board has projected not to use any funds from the unrestricted General Fund Balance (which is about $8,000,000) to reduce taxes in 2015-16.
Last year, the Town Board decided to operate the Anita Louis Ehrman Pool for one year. The budgeted amount for operating the pool in 2016 is currently at $330,000 with a revenue of about $200,000. These numbers may have to be fine-tuned, said Ruisi. But the operating figures are preliminary and require a further review that will be done by the Town Board in the next couple of weeks.
Supervisor Mike Schiliro said with the New York State tax cap, multi-year budget planning is needed. He sees that there is a real science to manage within the tax cap. The Town’s cap increase this year is .73 of one percent.
Schiliro concluded that North Castle is fortunate to be at zero tax increase, and just under the cap with the net increase in accessable properties and significant reserves.
Town Comprehensive Plan Update 1996
Town Comprehensive Plan Is Under Review, Once Again
November 19, 2015 A town master plan was first adopted in 1957, updated 1967, 1974 and 1996.
The Town is preparing to update the 1996 Comprehensive Plan. A Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee has been formed to study a variety of issues including land use, population, transporation, natural resources, recreation, open space, public facilities, infrastructure, commerical development and residential development.
The Town is reaching out to the public for input. North Castle Forward is an interactive website intended to address community challenges online. Particpation is encouraged to help problem solve a variety of issues.
Town’s Laundry List of Capital Budget Projects
November 19, 2015 Joan Goldberg, North Castle’s Town Administrator, outlined this year’s special projects and future work that is not funded by the Town’s operating budget. Rather, these expenditures are funded by the capital budget which is supported by the General Fund balance, debt service or other sources of funding.
They include, but are not limited to: • The demolition of the Community Park’s Field House (completed) • Windmill Farm water system (completed) • Sidewalk work in Armonk (completed) • Highway equipment -- purchased
• Discussion of expanding the Town Hall’s Court House • Discussion of a recreation facility for the preschool camp • Discussion of whether or not the Town acquires the pool • Kent Place parking -- discussion • Acquisition of new water source for downtown Armonk -- in discussion
• Accelerated townwide road paving program -- in progress • Records management -- in progress • Generators -- North White Plains Community Center -- in the spec phase • School Street bridge design -- in planning • Old Route 22 streetscape and parking -- in planning phase, funded by $250,000 from Westchester County • Parking at Hergenhan Recreation Center -- funded by a $250,000 grant • Highway building to house $7 million of equipment -- investigative phase • Raise the highway garage’s roof for work indoors on the vehicles -- planning phase
Goldberg says these items require Town Board approval. There also needs to be a determination of how they are funded. The operating budget is what it takes to run the Town to provide services for the residents. Much of these expenses are mainly salaries, she says, because “We are in the service business. That’s what we do.”
North Castle’s 2016 Inaugurations
January 5, 2016 Town Justice Doug Martino welcomed family, friends and guests as he swore in the elected officials of the North Castle community on January 4. Some had tougher times than others, said Martino, but they all attained office because of their qualifications and background and how they have served the community.
Martino swore in the both the new and re-elected town board members, the town justice and town clerk. Michael Schiliro was sworn in because he was re-elected to a two-year term as Supervisor. Stephen D’Angelo was sworn in since he was re-elected to serve four-years as Town Councilman. José Berra was sworn in as he was newly elected to a four-year term as Town Councilman. Elyse Lazansky was sworn in since she was re-elected to serve four more years as Town Justice and Alison Simon was newly elected to the office of Town Clerk for a four year term.
They all raised their right hand and placed their left hand on the Bible, as they solemnly swore that they will faithfully uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State of New York and discharge the duties of their elected office in the Town of North Castle, according to the best of their abilities.
Michael Schiliro thanked Mindy Berard, his secretary, and his family. He said any success he achieves is due to the sacrifices of his family.
Justice Elyse Lazansky said she is humbled, honored and touched to be re-elected to her fourth term in 12 years, even though she ran unopposed this election. She thanked her court clerks and said, “They are the bosses, I’m the judge and without them I could not do my job well.” She said she loves sitting on the bench and serving the town, from St. Mary’s Church in Bedford to North White Plains Train Station. She thanked everyone for recognizing how hard she works. “It’s wonderful to be recognized by all the different people and their political affiliations. This shows that I’ve worked hard to be fair and balanced across the political spectrums while not aligning with any particular party.”
Town Board member Barry Reiter is half way through his four-year term. He serves as liaison to the North Castle Police Department, Highway Department and the Armonk Fire Department. With Mike Schiliro as a good leader who runs a tight ship, Reiter says, we have a comprehensive board with qualified people who are dedicated to serve the community and work hard.
Reiter has been an active volunteer in town as has served on several community organizations, including the North Castle Citizen Corps Council (NC4), the Byram Hills Education Foundation, and the Boy Scouts. Reiter and the other town board members set the bar high as they seek volunteers for several of the town’s advisory boards - the Planning Board, the Landmarks Preservation Committee, the Conservation Board, and the NC4.
“You are the stewards on behalf of the people of North Castle,” said State Assemblyman David Buchwald. “Your task is to serve the local government and lead the people of this great town.” He added, “Embark on your terms of office to try to make this town a better place to live, raise a family, and start a business, now and in the years to come.”
“It’s an honor to be part of the ceremony as a spectator,” said State Senator George Latimer. “We’re getting a tutorial on how government can be run properly by people with different points of view, meeting and working through their difficulties to come to some common agreement. It stands as a sharp comparison to the Albany that we will return to in the next couple of days where there’s an example of shameful behavior, an embarrassing institution.”
Alison Simon said she is thankful to have the opportunity to work with the Town of North Castle as Town Clerk with a great group of people who volunteer and work to make it the great place it is. “I especially want to thank Anne Curran for being a mentor and guiding me along the way to get to this position.”
Curran gave Simon a list of the North Castle’s town clerks since 1736 when the town was incorporated. Simon said those who proceeded her made her realize that she is not alone in this journey. “I’ll do my absolute best to serve the community.”
Anne Curran, who served 12 years in the town clerk’s office, eight years as Town Clerk, participated in the preparations for the swearing-in. “She brought the town clerk’s office to a higher level,” said Martino.
Curran said she appreciated having the opportunity to serve and enjoy all the different experiences as Town Clerk, with its wide range of administration and opportunities to improve communications. “Alison has all the qualifications of being approachable, available to the people, and being a problem solver. She is someone who wants to work hard to make the residents and the whole town feel that they have a way to get information about the town, and that is the purpose of the office.”
Evelyn Bauer, along with her husband Dave, were in attendance to support the town. “We’re active in our community,” said Bauer. “We make sure we volunteer, setting an example for our family. We make sure we buy local to maintain the integrity of our shops and businesses in town. And we like the way our government is being run with integrity, sophistication and compromise.”
“It’s a matter of pride that you should walk out of this room tonight, and that voters should walk out of here, feeling that you have mature, decent people with different backgrounds who work together,” concluded Senator Latimer.
In the North Castle’s 2016 salary schedule, the recently elected titles are budgeted as follows: the Town Supervisor’s salary is $50,000; the Council Person’s base salary is $18,136; the Town Justice’s salary is $30,640; and the Town Clerk’s salary is $81,500.