The "Costs" and "Fees" of Greenburgh Services

The "Costs" and "Fees" of Greenburgh Services

The Town formed a Citizens' Contingency Committee to determine the costs and fees for continued current Greenburgh services to a Village of Edgemont.

We've put together some questions and ideas to help understand how Edgemont can continue with services from Greenburgh.

The EIC has examined the total cost of services for the entire unincorporated area, normalized per capita, per household, or per road mile as appropriate because we assume every resident, every household, and every road mile in unincorporated Greenburgh are all treated equally. We then looked at the differences between average costs and what Edgemont collectively pays today to determine if the difference or "fees" are already reasonable. The results are interesting. 

In an effort to work with the Town for everyone's benefit, we've asked questions to help understand actual costs of providing those services:

  • What drives public works, sanitation, parks and rec service consumption by neighborhood in unincorporated Greenburgh?
  • What is the frequency and severity of emergency calls by neighborhood, and is the mutual aid provided to villages reciprocated equally? 

Click here for the open letter the EIC has sent to the Citizens' Contingency Committee. 

Next step on Incorporation: Hearing on the Petition, April 5th.

Next step on Incorporation: Hearing on the Petition, April 5th.

The petition hearing will be on April 5th at 7:30. Mark your calendars.

Many people have asked what comes next in the incorporation process. According to NY law, the next step is for the supervisor to schedule a hearing on the legal sufficiency of the petition and notice the public of the hearing.

Town Supervisor Paul Feiner has scheduled the hearing at a location he acknowledges may not be suitable if there is a large crowd. This choice ignores the statutory requirement to use an Edgemont school under these circumstances. Click here to read the ongoing discussion between the EIC and Mr. Feiner about the date and location.

The Supervisor is required to post notice of the meeting today, so we hope to have a firm answer soon. We'll keep you posted.

-The EIC.

The Town is now campaigning. We fact-checked their statements.

The Town is now campaigning. We fact-checked their statements.

The EIC understands that Greenburgh elected officials and department heads, along with Edgemont residents who are anti-incorporation, are now leading community meetings in an effort to defeat incorporation.  We believe that’s inappropriate and those Town employees—elected by and otherwise accountable to us—should focus solely on fact-seeking and unbiased analysis so Edgemont residents are as informed as possible when the referendum takes place.

Nonetheless, since the filing of the petition last week, we’ve heard the familiar “hit parade” of scary (but patently false) statements from the usual sources—and even some new ones.  We can’t stop individuals from spreading misinformation, but we can remind the community that it’s important to read critically and check for actual research behind any authoritative statements made by anyone in connection with incorporation. 

(That goes for any statements made by the EIC, as well.)

So, what myths are floating around out there around incorporation?

MYTH: We would lose priority access to parking.

EIC Research:
We would not lose priority access to parking at the Hartsdale train station.  In fact, the Village has the legal right to acquire about 40% of the commuter spots at the Hartsdale station that lie within the Village. Those spaces would be more than sufficient to meet Edgemont’s parking demand.

A Village of Edgemont would be legally required to pay its share of the parking district debt service upon assuming control of the parking spaces within its borders (an expense that would be more than covered by permit fees and cell tower lease revenue). If the Village and Parking District cannot agree on the appropriate share of district debt service within six months, then a NY state court would decide the right proportion.

Residents should ask their elected officials: 
Town Law 190 and Village Law 2-258 specifically address this situation, and several published legal opinions are on point.  Have any attorneys researched the matter on your behalf and determined that these laws are not applicable? On what basis do you disagree with the EIC's research?

You may have heard Paul Feiner citing a 2005 parking district memo at a local meeting with Edgemont residents who live in the Parking District.  A memo written in 2005 by a former Edgemont resident states that a Village of Edgemont would be entitled to divide the number of parking spaces between the village and the district. Do you disagree with the conclusion in that memo?  

What issues do you think would the district need to litigate and why?

MYTH: We will lose Emergency Medical Services (EMS) (or have to build it ourselves from scratch).

EIC Research: 
We will not lose EMS, nor will Edgemont have to re-create it. We already pay for EMS in three different ways:

1) All Greenburgh residents, including those who live in the villages, pay taxes for Greenburgh Police Department (GPD) advanced life support (ALS) services (along with SWAT, animal control, etc.). As a village, Edgemont would continue to pay town-wide taxes and therefore be entitled to the same level of ALS support that Greenburgh already provides to the existing villages and to the unincorporated areas.  

2) Edgemont residents pay a separate tax to the Greenville Fire District (GFD) for basic life support (BLS), including 35 trained EMTs--that doesn't change upon incorporation. If Edgemont incorporates, it may choose to purchase its own ambulance for the Greenville Fire District (which would become part of the Village) to provide transport service. The associated ambulance costs are addressed in the feasibility study.

3) Finally, the GPD also has a BLS mutual aid program with the existing incorporated villages into which we would also enter.  According to GPD statistics, the Town provided about 9 mutual aid responses to the villages for every 1 reciprocal response from the villages during the same period. The Town does not charge village residents (only unincorporated residents) for ambulance trips. Any change to that service for Edgemont would affect all villages.  

Residents should ask their elected officials:
Why would Town-wide emergency services to Edgemont change if the cost of paramedics and equipment, including ambulances, is part of the Town-wide expenses and charged and provided to all of the villages today?

How could only a Village of Edgemont, and not the other villages, lose a service that they all continue to fund?

Why would Edgemont not enjoy the same BLS services that the existing villages currently enjoy if we also provided the same mutual aid to GPD with our own EMTs and ambulance? 

MYTH: Taxes will increase; the feasibility study is flawed.

EIC Research:
The EIC, working with outside expert consultants over some six months, commissioned an industry-standard, in-depth study using conservative assumptions showing that Edgemont would not experience a decline in services at the current tax rate and could even generate a surplus to be reinvested in the community. A comparison of current and outlined services is available here.

Residents should ask their elected officials:
Is there a consultant's financial report or analysis from the Town or anti-incorporation residents showing that staying in unincorporated is a better deal financially?

Will Greenburgh spending decline and taxes go down?

For context, the Town’s spending has doubled over the past 15 years.  Why is Town spending up 5.3% in 2017 compared to 2016?

In what specific ways is the EIC's study flawed?

MYTH: Water rates would increase.

EIC Research:
All Edgemont residents live within and are served by the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District No. 1, a special district and separate legal entity from the Town of Greenburgh.

Because Edgemont residents live within the district, incorporation will not change our water district status. Whether or not we incorporate, we live within the water district that serves us. NY State Village law stipulates that special districts must continue to serve villages post-incorporation when those villages consent to have the district continue such service.

Residents should ask their elected officials:
Why would water rates increase?

The fact that the existing villages (e.g., Ardsley, Hastings, Tarrytown, etc.) are out of the district and pay more is irrelevant because those villages aren’t geographically within the district.

Edgemont IS geographically in the water district; that’s why we pay “in-district” rates. Incorporation won’t change the geographical boundaries of the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District or our status as “in-district” residents. So, under what authority could the water district categorize Edgemont residents as “out of district” customers given that we live within the water district? Please provide specifics.

Please stay tuned for more fact-checking; also, please let us know what you are hearing out there.  The EIC remains committed to ensuring that our community receives good information backed up quality research.  We hope that Town officials and anti-incorporation residents hold themselves to the same standard when communicating with the public. 

All of our information and more may be found on our website:


The EIC. 

Edgemont Incorporation Committee 2016 Year-End Status Report

Edgemont Incorporation Committee 2016 Year-End Status Report

In the last six months, we have collected signatures on a petition seeking a referendum on Edgemont’s incorporation.  We now have 35% more than the amount required by New York law to file, and signatures continue to roll in.

And last month, that discussion featured the report of Zions Bank/Novak Consulting, which demonstrated conclusively that an Edgemont Village is financially viable.  A Village of Edgemont will provide the same or better services as we receive And today, while building financial reserves with a budget surplus of well over $2 million dollars per year.  And, we can achieve these service levels and surplus with a projected tax rate rise of only one percent per year, less than half the tax rate rise in Greenburgh over the past 5 years.

This promising financial report joins other encouraging findings on issues of great interest to Edgemont residents.

After incorporation, Village of Edgemont residents would retain access to parking at the Hartsdale train station.  Under New York law, Edgemont Village is entitled to an apportionment of the parking district property that lies within its borders. That parking district property will service Edgemont’s needs.

New York law is also clear that incorporation will not affect the rights of Edgemont residents to continue to receive their water, at in-district rates, from the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District #1.  Incorporation would not affect our water service, costs, or governance.  

Read on for more of an update. 

Novak Group and Zions Public Finance provide presentation on Edgemont's Finance

Novak Group and Zions Public Finance provide presentation on Edgemont's Finance

The presentation materials, including the budget and service comparables, are now available publicly for the community. In addition, the videos of the presentation have been made available, complete with questions and answers from the community.

Among them, Zions Public Finance states the remarkable opportunity Edgemont has with its outsized budget surplus:

"[Edgemont] has a fair amount of [operating] margin. In all of the [incorporation studies] I have done, this is the highest ratio I have seen." - Susan Becker, Zions Public Finance. 

5.6% Spending Increase in Greenburgh 2017 Budget

5.6% Spending Increase in Greenburgh 2017 Budget

This week, Paul Feiner released his 2017 tentative budget for Greenburgh. In it, he mentions his compliance with the NYS property tax cap six times, and his perfect record for staying just inside the cap. The unincorporated area, which includes Edgemont, will face a 2.52% increase in the town “B” budget tax rate.

He is recommending appropriating $3.9MM from the Town’s fund balance, the rainy day “till” we’ve all paid into. If he didn’t draw on those reserves, the effective tax rate increase would be closer to 10%. In effect, he’s draining down savings in order to increase departmental expenses.

That’s not the entire story, either. In order to balance the budget, Mr. Feiner adds in prosp ective building fee revenue from projects like Shelbourne and Regeneron. In the past, he’s added hundreds of thousands of dollars into the budget prior to the granting of variances or having certainty of revenue timing, an aggressive approach.

Independent consultant provides preliminary view on Village of Edgemont tax bill impact

Independent consultant provides preliminary view on Village of Edgemont tax bill impact

September 28th, 2016: The Edgemont Community Forum held an event on Wednesday where they brought in a former non-profit, independent governmental consultant, CGR, previously hired by Greenburgh. CGR provided a preliminary view based on the data available on the potential property tax bill impact to the residents of Edgemont.

EIC Campaign Hires Arent Fox and Zions Public Finance

We have retained Arent Fox, LLP,  a well-respected New York City law firm with a specialized practice in municipal finance and real estate law, to counsel our community on legal matters related to incorporation. 

We also have engaged the Municipal Consulting Group of Zions Public Finance to create a study on the feasibility of Edgemont’s becoming a village. Zions has specialized expertise in potential municipal incorporations, as well as broad expertise in all areas of municipal finance and development. 

We will continue researching key financial and legal issues with our experts, and we will post all findings on our website.