At its St. Patrick’s Day meeting on March 15, the Mamaroneck Town Board heard from State Assemblyman George Latimer on possible impacts of Albany’s budget and took further steps on traffic (for Harmon Drive and Laurel Avenue). They also considered alternatives for an expensive water project at Gardens Lake. (Check back for coverage of another expensive project for the Westchester Joint Water Works.)
Latimer Spells Out Potential Budget Impacts
The deadline for passage of the 2010-2011 New York State budget is supposed to be April 1. However, as of this week, Governor David Paterson has indicated the state is unlikely to meet that deadline. There remains an $8.7 billion gap between forecast income and expenditures.
Mamaroneck Town already is expecting a 5% reduction in direct state aid. The governor has recommended various other cuts that could impact the community, including those in the areas of education, health care and housing.
Assemblyman Latimer briefed the board on the status of current budget discussions. He noted the Legislature is considering the imposition of various taxes recommended by the governor. Among revenue sources that could bring in as much as $465 million are: a tax on soda drinks made with sugar syrup; a proposal to eliminate the STAR exemption for homes assessed at $1.5 million and up (expected to provide $30 million for the state); a bill to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores; and a proposal to lower the MTA tier tax in the suburbs.
Mr. Latimer noted there is no love for Westchester County in the rest of the state. The perception of other legislators is that this is a “rich county.”
Local Law Passed to Eliminate Large Truck Traffic on Harmon Avenue
After a public hearing (at which no member of the public spoke) the board unanimously approved a local law prohibiting trucks over five tons from using Harmon Drive from its beginning at Weaver Street to the boundary with the Village of Mamaroneck. Trucks may still use the road if they are making pick-ups or deliveries to addresses on Harmon Drive.
The new law has a dual purpose: to improve the quality of life for the street’s residents and to address safety issues created when a large truck with a wide turning radius crosses into oncoming traffic when it attempts to enter the narrow drive.
Public Hearing Scheduled on Overnight Parking Exemption for Laurel Avenue
By another unanimous vote, the board agreed to hold a public hearing on April 7 to consider a public law eliminating the overnight parking exemption on Laurel Avenue.
The street is one of approximately 14 exempt from the Town’s 3am-6am parking ban. A resident’s concern about cars parked in front of his home all night prompted the Traffic Commission to recommend the elimination of the exemption for this street. The recommendation is to have Laurel Avenue’s regulations be consistent with those for other residential streets in the Town.
Another Delay for Gardens Lake, AKA The Duck Pond
The Gardens Lake restoration project has been in the planning and talking stage for years. With promised funding from New York State and Westchester County, the project seemed finally to be on the way to fruition. Silt will be dredged from the lake, and a flood control valve will held handle flows during heavy rain.
However, bids have been coming in much higher than anticipated.
The project is estimated to cost $1.6 million. It is to be financed by a $400,000 grant from New York State, a $600,000 grant from Westchester and $600,000 in Town funds.
Bidding was opened on the dredging project, but the lowest bid was $600,000 most than estimated costs. At the recommendation of Mamaroneck Town Administrator Steve Altieri, the board rejected the current bids.
Town representatives met recently with County representative and design engineers to discuss the next steps. The original bidding contract called for the use of Geotube technology, a method of handling dredged materials that is more efficient and cleaner, but is also more expensive.
The engineers will be submitting an alternative design for the project in the next few weeks. After review and discussion of this design with the Town board, Mr. Altieri expects the bidding process will be reopened.