ICYMI in Lohud: EIC letter on benefits of incorporation
The following letter from the Edgemont Incorporation Committee appeared in Lohud:
As you may have read, a citizens group — the Edgemont Incorporation Committee — is leading an effort to incorporate Edgemont into Greenburgh’s seventh village. Since its formation two years ago, the EIC has sought to inform residents on key issues surrounding incorporation, and take all necessary steps to hold a vote. The EIC believes Edgemont would enjoy a representative and accountable government that shares equally in the benefits and burdens of self-governance.
An Edgemont Village would have the same status as the existing six villages in the Town of Greenburgh, namely Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington, and Tarrytown. Those villages collectively account for more than half of the town’s voting population, but pay less than 10 percent of the town's property taxes and are unaffected by Greenburgh’s zoning laws and land use decisions. That’s because the villages have their own governing bodies, taxing authority and legal powers.
To illustrate unincorporated Edgemont’s current predicament, imagine Scarsdale as an unincorporated community of Westchester County with no local government of its own. In that scenario, the County Executive and Board of Legislators would, for Scarsdale, determine service levels; set tax rates and establish budgets; enact local laws; and make zoning decisions. Sure, Scarsdale residents could vote for county officials, but so too could a much larger population throughout Westchester.
Now imagine there are no term limits and the County Executive has been in office for over 25 years.
Obviously, in this hypothetical, Scarsdale residents would have a limited ability to shape the future of their community. Would it make sense for the county legislator from District 1, on the border with Putnam County, to have a vote on whether Scarsdale should bond for pool improvements? Would that legislator pay an electoral price for a zoning decision that hurts Scarsdale? Do voters in Jefferson Valley have any idea, or reason to care, about civic affairs in Scarsdale?
Today, Edgemont residents can vote in school board and fire district elections and on critical Edgemont school district matters like budgets and bonds. If Edgemont incorporates, essential decisions regarding governance, taxes, land use, and service levels in our village will, similarly, rest solely with Edgemont residents. Like our school board representatives, our village trustees live in our community and would be voted in exclusively by, and be fully accountable to, Edgemont residents. They fully own the decisions they make on behalf of the community.
A Village of Edgemont could deliver excellent services; offer new, local amenities; and control its taxes. And, importantly, our village can even lighten residents’ school district tax burden by 1) offering senior-friendly services that retain empty nesters, thereby slowing enrollment-driven school budget growth; and 2) promoting a more vital commercial tax base.
Edgemont has proven it has the people and passion to run excellent school and fire districts. Our Town Board, by contrast, raises our taxes every year; is subject to endless litigation, usually around land use; and has failed to modernize its governing practices or service delivery. Edgemont can do better for itself.
For more information on Edgemont's incorporation effort, please visit: http://edgemont2018.org