TOM To Assess Flood Response & Install Notification System

by Harriet Kline

(May 17, 2007) At their May 16 public meeting, the Mamaroneck Town Board agenda was weighted with items relating to last month's nor'easter. The board authorized the hiring of an outside firm to assess its response to the April 15 flooding and voted to purchase a telephone notification system for future emergencies.

Flood Response Review

The Town Board authorized the hiring of Incident Management Solutions to assess the execution of its emergency response plan and systems during the April 15 flood. Prior to April 15, the Town had been working on a plan with IMS to conduct a “drill” of its emergency response system. No need for a drill now!

According to Town Administrator Steve Altieri, “The after action review would provide a thorough analysis and critique of the Town’s response during and after the storm.” Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe strongly supported the need for such a third-party review. She also indicated that municipal officials plan to meet with Con Edison to plan for a more consistent response to future emergencies.

While agreeing to the review, the board stipulated that the fee should not exceed $8,500. IMS’s initial proposal put the cost at $9,475.

Notification System

In a continued focus on future emergencies, the board authorized a contract between Mamaroneck Town and Connect CTY to provide an emergency notification system. The system would allow the Town to reach thousands of residents with one phone call. CTY is already operating in New Rochelle, and during the April 15 storm, the city used it on four occasions to notify residents of emergency conditions. A similar Connect EDU system has just been initiated in the Mamaroneck School District.

Supervisor O’Keeffe said that a mailing next month will alert all Town residents about this new notification system and will canvas the community for residents' telephone and/or cell phone numbers. Residents were advised again to keep at least one land line telephone in their homes.

The cost of the Connect CTY system is $18,000 per year.

Arbor Day Celebrated A Bit Late

It stormed on Arbor Day, so on Monday, May 14, Town officials and members of the League of Women Voters gathered at the Hommocks Conservation Area to dedicate a serviceberry tree donated by the LWV. (L-R): Supervisor O'Keeffe, Councilman Ernie Odierna, Councilwoman Nancy Seligson, Rosita Fichtel (LWV), Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner, and Beth Radow (LWV).

Residential Parking District for Washington Square

The Board has been working with the Washington Square Traffic Committee for some time on a proposal to create a special parking district for the area, where most residents live in apartment buildings. With a few exceptions, most of the spots would be for residents of the new district, who will be issued permits allowing them to park near their apartments. However, the proposal must be approved by both houses of the New York State legislature.

On Wednesday, Supervisor O’Keeffe and Councilman Paul Winick read the “home rule request” required to bring the bill before the NY Legislature. The proposed parking district will include the following areas: Washington Square, North Chatsworth Avenue between Myrtle Boulevard and Edgewood Avenue, New Jefferson Street, Old Jefferson Street, Murray Avenue between Myrtle Boulevard and Leafy Lane and Lester Place.

Assemblyman George Latimer, who along with State Senator Susie Oppenheimer had been steering the proposal in Albany, appeared briefly at the Town Board meeting to elaborate a bit on the coming process. The proposed legislation needs to be presented to two committees in both the State Assembly and the Senate. It can then be presented to the full Legislature and, should everything go according to plan, be approved before the Legislature adjourns in June.

State Monies for Flood Remediation?

Assemblyman Latimer also took a moment to let the TOM board know that he is requesting $10 million dollars for flood remediation in the area. He stated that he would like local officials to come up with some specific capital improvement projects for the Mamaroneck River, the Sheldrake River, Blind Brook, Beaver Swamp Brook and Pine Brook.

Assemblyman Latimer emphasized that this is just the first step in a long process to get federal, state and local officials involved in long range flood remediation efforts.

Senior Center to Move

Two renovation projects in the Larchmont Library are forcing the temporary move of the Larchmont Senior Center to the VFW Post building at 1288 Boston Post Road. The reconstruction of the Children’s Room and the replacement of the Library’s heating and cooling system necessitate a move to a safer location. The seniors had been relocated to this same VFW building in the 1990s when the Larchmont Library addition was under construction.

The Town Board authorized a 2-year (with an option for an additional 2 years should it be necessary) lease agreement with the commander of the VFW Post #1156 to rent a room solely for senior use. Kitchen and bathroom facilities will also be available. The VFW will also provide storage facilities and make some improvements to the facility, such as painting and installation of phones lines for use by the Senior Center director.

The Town will pay the VFW $1,000 rent per month. The total cost of the lease will be $7,200 to the Town and $4,800 to the Village of Larchmont. This represents the current 60% to 40% split of current operational costs in the Larchmont Library.

Hommocks Concession Agreement

The Board authorized a one-year extension of its license agreement with the Slap Shot Café to operate the concession at the Hommocks ice rink and the Hommocks pool. The vendor has agreed to a rental increase from the current $11,500 to $16,000 and to make improvements in the concession area. The Town has also requested additional food items such as a full 8-slice pizza, fresh fruit, frozen yogurt and garden salads.

According to Mr. Altieri, the Slap Shot Café has been the Hommocks concessionaire for 14 years and “has generally provided good service and a good food product.”

Honor for the Supervisor

Supervisor O’Keeffe has been elected president of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association. The WMOA serves its 45 member municipalities and works with other government organizations at other levels. In a release announcing her election, Supervisor O’Keeffe said she would be looking to develop formalized communication with Westchester County and hopes “to work with the county, state and federal governments to develop a real work plan to deal with flooding issues.” Another focus will be sewage disposal. “The present system of sewage disposal and the way residents pay for it is out of date,” she commented.

Public Hearing June 6

The June 6th meeting of the Board will include a public hearing to receive comments on the Town’s draft Phase II Storm Water Annual Report.