BRONXVILLE, NY — September 15, 2020 — Welcome back to all the families who might have been away both for the summer and the Covid months. September feels like the start of the new year for Village government so I wanted to give you an update as to where we are as to Village initiatives and how we have weathered these uncertain times in the past six months.
All Village staff have been back in the office since August though they had been working daily remotely since Day 1 of Covid. We made some additional improvements in Village Hall to meet Covid standards including a new glass window across the main office counter. We have also added a computer at the front counter so that title searchers and real estate brokers can look up properties much easier. We are still limiting the amount of foot traffic to the upstairs offices as the space is quite small.
The good news is that building department activity has been very strong and permit revenues are already at 38% of budget for the first three months of this fiscal year. However, our on street parking revenues for the same period are only at 68% compared to last year’s numbers. The trend is upward as August revenues came in at 75% of budget. In a sign of progress, our Village court had the first in person session last Wednesday. A plea by mail system for vehicle and traffic tickets has been instituted and is running smoothly.
On the parking front, the reserved 24 hour parking permit fee totals are under budget. Merchant permit renewals were mailed out in late August following a three month extension of all existing permits. Commuter permits are normally mailed out mid-September for the permit year commencing October 1. However, given the current uncertainty due to COVID-19, we are providing a three month extension on the commuter permits which will make the existing permits valid through the end of the calendar year
Close Out of our 2019-2020 Budget
Our total fund balance as of May 31, 2020 stands at $9,207,000 representing 47% of the current 2020-2021 budget. This is due in large part to expenses coming in well below budget. Also, at fiscal year end, the strong sales and mortgage tax revenue numbers offset the losses in parking and fine revenues. As comparison, we need a fund balance of 15 to 20% of budget to retain our Village’s highest possible bond rating so we stand in excellent financial shape.
New Improvements and Upgrades
Building department fees can now be paid online and new building department software will soon enable building applications to be submitted online as well. We are also entering a new phase of scanning records for the building department which will allow more permits and building certificates to be stored and searched via laser fiche.
- The refurbishment of our Department of Public Works building continues on budget and on schedule.
- Tennis Courts – the replacements of courts four and five are now complete.
- Stone wall repair on Pondfield Road near Locust Lane is completed.
- Metro North Underpass -The median curb has been constructed, steel work is ongoing and sidewalk and railing repair underway.
- Paving-currently scheduled for the week of September 14 on streets throughout the village; Pondfield Road from White Plains Road to Crampton Road, Dusenberry Road to White Plains Road, SunnybraePlace from Sturgis Road to Pine Terrace. Additional paving scheduled for Hemlock Road, Park Ave and Tanglewylde Ave the following week.
- Speed displays – another digital speed indicator was installed on Avon Road at the intersection of Plateau Circle East heading westbound.
- Masterton Road at Midland Avenue intersection- improvements should be completed this fall. A new Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon was already installed on the Bronxville School side of the new crosswalk.
- Striping -Per the recommendation in the Village’s recent Comprehensive Plan, the parking spaces in front of the Post Office on Pondfield Road between Tanglewylde and Meadow Avenues will become angle parking in the next few weeks. The result will almost double the number of spaces on the northerly side within this area.
- Charging stations – electric vehicle charging stations funded by a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant have been mounted in the Kensington Road garage and are available for use.
- Tropical storm -we incurred $20,000 in expenses associated with the August 4th storm and an additional $5000 in tree expenses is anticipated. Expenses have been submitted on the outside chance that we may be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA.
State Budget Update
We have been informed by the State Department of Environmental Facilities that our previously awarded state grants totaling over $700,000 for sanitary sewer repairs have now been placed on hold due to the state budget deficit.
The NYS and Local Retirement System also recently announced that employer contribution rates for the State’s next fiscal year will increase by double digits. This translates to $170,000 in additional budget expenses for the Village in 2021-22 (the equivalent of a 2% tax increase).