OSSINING, NY — December 22, 2020 — Serving as your mayor has been the journey of a lifetime. Last week I chaired my final village board meeting. Thank you to Jaimie Hoffman for creating this video of heartwarming messages from so many people I love and admire. It was a touching way to open my final meeting.
The village will have a new official seal… eventually. Thank you to everyone who reached out by email, spoke about the resolution at our public meeting, and responded to the survey about the proposed double arch seal. Though three of the trustees voted to table any decision on a new seal until 2021, I am pleased that there is a commitment to engage the community in a process that will lead to a new official seal that better reflects the uniqueness of Ossining, and our values of honoring and respecting all people. I look forward to participating in whatever approach the new village board embarks on. Meanwhile, I encourage the village and its elected officials to make use of the beautiful commemorative double arch seal created by local artist Daniel Aviles.
After several weeks of public hearings about proposed local law 8 on special events, we voted to close the public hearing with the understanding that the protocols associated with the new events policy will be updated and available for review by the village board and community stakeholders prior to a vote on the new local law. Click here to view the full agenda.
Last week we held interviews with the five respondents to our request for proposals seeking a team to help us update NYS Routes 9 and 133. Attending the interviews were the village manager, assistant manager, police chief, engineer, planner, me, and Trustee Fritsche who was able to attend some of the interviews as well.
There are excellent candidates and the village board will consider a recommendation from the interview team. I anticipate that early in January the new village board will vote on a resolution directing the manager to sign a contract with one of the teams we interviewed. Key considerations in deciding which team to recommend were: how each respondent would approach public engagement on the project; and their ability to help us navigate Region 8 of the NYS DOT. They were all technically well qualified from an engineering perspective and experienced working in our area.
This is a project that requires strong village management to shepherd through. The NYS DOT is an illusive partner. Thank you to assistant village manager Maddi Zachacz for coordinating the process. We are also fortunate to have NYS legislators who are strong advocates. Assemblywoman Sandy Galef is a long time champion for this initiative, and I look forward to bringing newly elected NY Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick up to speed as well.
COVID Holiday Reminder & Data Sharing
For so many of us, Christmas means celebrating with family and friends. 2020 is different. This year gathering, even in small groups, is dangerous. Nearly three-quarters of the cases today are caused by small group gatherings of people from different households. For the sake of the lives and livelihoods of our community, please do not invite guests and do not attend small gatherings. Everyone is a potential victim or carrier of the virus. Please be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
If you’re someone who follows the active case numbers, you realize that it’s been over a week since the last time the County provided us with a map identifying confirmed active cases. Today County Executive Latimer’s office offered this update, “the County dashboard of COVID cases will be reintroduced within the next two weeks. The dashboard will be upgraded to rely on better dataset which is no longer impacted by the 4-day lag, and will offer a variety of maps and graphs for Westchester residents to review.”
During this holiday season, please find ways to connect with loved ones beyond your household virtually or outdoors with masks. Let’s spread CHEER not COVID.
Join me tomorrow at 10am for a Facebook Live. Please tune in and ask questions on any village topic.
To avoid in-person contact, I am no longer at Village Hall for Open Office Hours. COVID has turned our world upside down, and I’m disappointed to be missing out on so many Tuesdays with you in person. If you would like to speak with me by phone, call or text 914-640-0575, or email any time.
As has become our tradition, the village board does not meet on the fourth Wednesday of December.
Looking for an important way to contribute to the future of our community? Respond to the Ossining Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative Survey. Click here for the newly updated page on the village website with the survey and lots of resources related to this initiative.
Serving as your mayor has been a tremendous honor. Ossining is a remarkably engaged community. Thank you for sharing your ideas, frustrations, suggestions, complaints, dreams, and many many questions. I have learned so much from so many. Next week I will send my final Monday Mayor’s Message reflecting on my tenure.
Best wishes for a joyous holiday to all who celebrate Christmas.
/s/ Victoria Gearity
The whole community is invited to attend the inauguration ceremony at noon on New Year’s Day. The time and day is directed by our village charter. This year it’s easier than ever to attend.
It is my honor to have been asked by Mayor-Elect Rika Levin to be the mistress of ceremonies for this year’s ceremony. I hope to see you there! Click here for the zoom link. Info is also noted on the invitation.
By Mayor VICTORIA GEARITY