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Town Board Approves 2003 Budget
Taxes to Rise by 5.6%

by Harriet Kline

(December 6, 2002 ) At its regular meeting, on December 4, the Mamaroneck Town Board focused on the budget, the "floor-area-ratio" legislation, and traffic safety.

The Budget

The Board unanimously approved a 2003 budget, which will raise taxes by 5.6%.

Town Administrator Stephen Altieri presented the budget highlights citing increased expenses in contract-mandated salaries, fringe benefits and municipal liability insurance. The fringe benefits category includes health care insurance increases of 14% from the year 2002 and state mandated pension contributions. Municipal liability insurance has been increased to $597,400. Other expenses, such as capital projects and equipment purchases, have either been scaled back or deferred.

No one in the audience asked any questions or made any comments about the proposed budget. Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe and Councilwomen Seligson and Myers thanked Mr.Altieri and Treasurer Carmine deLuca for their work on the budget.

Proposed FAR Legislation

Citing a two-year development process, Town Counsel Maker presented proposed legislation aimed at setting forth floor area ratio (FAR) guidelines for existing and new private homes. This legislation would augment other guidelines regarding lot size, setback requirements and height rules already in place. All in all, the Board aimed at maintaining a balance between homeowner's rights and the need of the Town to maintain the "character of the existing neighborhoods."

No one in the audience spoke in favor of the proposed legislation, but a number of Town residents engaged the Board in lengthy discussions regarding how the new legislation would impact the renovation of existing homes, especially smaller, older homes. The main concern revolved around whether or not uninhabitable attic space should be included in "footprint" calculations that are part of the proposed legislation.

The complexity of potential FAR guidelines became apparent as some residents saw the proposed legislation as being "too restrictive," others as "too liberal," and others advised the Board to "slow down."

The Board also agreed that even the most objectionable home renovations in the past couple of years could not have been prevented with the proposed legislation. Mr. Maker agreed to redraft the legislation and the Board adjourned the public meeting to December 17th. Only Councilwoman Wittner objected to the adjournment.

Traffic Safety

Other business at the Town Board meeting included the continuation of a public discussion of traffic safety issues in and around Rockland Avenue. A number of residents of the area supported comments made at the November 20 meeting. Supervisor O'Keeffe again asserted that the issue (and resident petition) had been presented to the Town Traffic Committee, which serves the Board in an advisory capacity. The Committee is meeting later in December to discuss the issue. In the meantime, Town police officers have been monitoring Rockland Avenue and issuing summonses to speeders.

One resident raised additional safety issues regarding the intersection of Edgemont and Murray Avenue. He objected to the building of a sidewalk on Edgemont (budgeted for 2003). The Board felt that there was no connection between the two issues and agreed to have the Town Traffic Committee look into the Murray/Edgemont intersection as well.

The next Town Board meeting will be held on December 17th.


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