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.
Because we believe the signatures measure community support, we will continue gathering them as we continue discussing incorporation.
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 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.
Finally, the Village would have several viable options for pool access: (1) The County is set to open the newly renovated Sprain Brook pools (for which we are already paying) available to all County residents; (2) Edgemont could lease access to a nearby private facility; (3) Greenburgh could request NY State approval to amend the controlling Finneran law so Edgemont residents could retain access to Anthony F. Veteran pool (Greenburgh has sought such an amendment in the past in order to capture revenue opportunities); and (4) over time, Village trustees and residents may elect to build a Village pool.
All our financial and legal analysis is available on our website (www.edgemont2017.com). Please visit the site for up-to-date information about parking, water rates, pool options, and other issues relating to incorporation.
The website also lists over 300 people who have publicly identified themselves as supporters of becoming a village. Our supporters include a broad swath of the Edgemont community: empty nesters, parents of school-age children, pre-nesters, local clergy, business owners, coop and condo owners, single family homeowners, singles, and seniors.
I am proud to be associated with this team, as their commitment to the community is inspiring and their credentials impressive. Who are we? Jonathan Lewis, a twenty-year municipal finance professional; Aubrey Graf-Daniels, a Silver Box Award winner in 2016 for “outstanding service to the Edgemont community”; and Mark Rosenblatt, a 2008 Silver Box winner (with his wife, Sarah Stern) who led the Edgemont Village Exploratory Committee group in 2004/5 and co-founded the Edgemont School Foundation in 1993. Finally, my background is in general start-up management and operations. I’ve lived here with my family for eight years, and my oldest just entered kindergarten.
Are we in this for our own personal ego or gain? Absolutely not. None of us has any intention of running for any elected position in a Village of Edgemont. Like the other villages, a Village of Edgemont would have a professional managerial staff and a board of resident trustees aligned with and responsive to the concerns of Edgemont residents.
Like our many supporters, we believe the most compelling reason to incorporate is that Edgemont represents only 8% of the Town of Greenburgh’s voting population, providing no incentive for the Town to focus on the needs of our community. Edgemont’s spending priorities, planning philosophy, and land use needs fundamentally differ from the Town’s. And our small voting stake means the Town does not have to respond to us.
Fortunately, New York law provides us with a solution: Incorporate Edgemont into Greenburgh’s seventh village and control our own destiny.
We will continue to hold meetings, both large and small, as well as answer questions in person or on the phone. Please let us know if you have ideas or questions for the leadership team or would like to host a small group event.