From the Office of the Mayor

By Mayor Mary Marvin

September 12, 2023

Contrary to the January 1st date, I always feel that the first day the Bronxville School constitutes the start of a New Year.

I happened to be walking down Pondfield Road at the exact time everyone was dropping off their youngsters at the Bronxville School and the nostalgia for me was palpable. It truly is a new beginning.

I take August off from writing my column, but I have to say the people in Village Hall work double time during that same period. 

I thought I would share with you some of the activities that have happened, perhaps while you were away, as there seems no longer to be a quiet cycle in Village operations.

Per the Trustee commitment, we had a very aggressive road milling, paving and curbing program to ensure we keep up with our infrastructure needs.

This year we spent $350,000 and reached every corner of the Village with an emphasis on our most traveled roads. 

We also re-striped every crosswalk and intersection to increase visibility as a corollary to promoting our walkable initiative.

Finally conquering the supply chain delays, the intersections at both Pondfield Road and Gramatan Avenue and Pondfield Road and Midland Avenue were upgraded and synchronized. We have already received positive feedback, most importantly from the youngsters who walk that route to get to the Bronxville School.

Recognizing that we have precious little public open space in our one square mile, the Trustees focused on parks, especially cognizant of the wonderful influx of young families in the Village. Using capital funds, we added two new pieces of equipment in the heavily use Sagamore Play Park and also did a much-needed landscaping upgrade. I send thanks to all the neighbors and friends of Sagamore Park who really helped us focus our needs and spending. 

Thanks to an enormous initiative sparked by resident, Ashley Sharpe, we now have a new play park and passive walking and resting area at the underutilized Maltby Field. We welcome all to come over to a joyous ribbon cutting on September 23rd from 3pm to 5pm. 

With some seed money from the Village, Ashley galvanized residents in an unprecedented civic donation endeavor allowing us to build an exquisite park for residents and friends of all ages. This effort exemplified Bronxville at its best and continues an incredible history of generosity and civic pride in our Village. 

Staying on the theme of new initiatives, thanks to the incredible collaboration at the Library among Library staff, the Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Bronxville Library, the team has developed a plan to create a beautiful outdoor “Reading Garden” at the Library Lane entrance to provide outdoor reading areas and passive enjoyment for all who come to visit. I encourage you to see the forward thinking plans which are available in the Library on display in the circulation area. Again, this is all orchestrated by a dedicated staff and a team of incredibly committed volunteers who deserve our enduring thanks as they often work quite silently at the Library to keep one of the most beautiful institutions in Westchester in mint condition. 

Staying on the theme of new construction, the long awaited bridge that was washed out by one of our most recent deluges is going to see completion by month’s end. As someone who used it daily, along with the so many other residents of Bronxville, Yonkers and Tuckahoe, it cannot come soon enough. I owe great thanks to our County Legislator, James Nolan, who I called on persistently on a biweekly basis to keep this front and center on the county government’s list of priorities as the property is in a county park.

Not all was positive news from the State level as we were alerted to look “forward” perhaps not the proper terminology?, to increase our budget to absorb tax obligations. 

For the State fiscal year 2024-2025, (bills payable on February 2025) local employers’ average contribution rates for the retirement system will increase from 13.1% of payroll for the current fiscal year to 15.2% of payroll and from 27.8% to 31.2% of payroll for the police retirement system. This will add a $350 million additional burden to local governments to be divided, accordingly. The increase was expected as the rate of return for the retirement system’s investment portfolio for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, (which is the valuation date for FY 2024–25 contribution rates), was -4.4%. 

In additional news, Governor Hochul just last week announced the launch of the “Pro Housing Community Program”, a state wide initiative to give priority consideration for up to $650 million in state discretionary funds to localities committed to housing growth and the program invites municipalities to apply going forward. This is a stark change of approach from stick to carrot and welcomed by all.

The above interaction is just a partial recap of summer activities which will “be continued” in subsequent columns. 

I end by wishing many of you a joyous welcome.