With government budgets tight and revenues shrinking, consolidation of services has assumed a position of great urgency among elected officials in the area. The Larchmont Village Board took up the topic at their Monday, July 7 meeting with announcements about a new local committee and discussion of a newly released study on merging ten fire departments in Southern Westchester. Board members also urged cooperation with police and considered matters of money and proper pesticide use.
Studying Consolidation: Locally and Near By
Larchmont’s newest trustee, Josh Mandell, announced that the Town of Mamaroneck and the villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck had formed a Tri-municipal Shared Services/Consolidation Study Group to identify efficiencies and cost savings. They will explore ways in which sharing services or consolidation of some functions can achieve these objectives. (See also: New Tri-Muni Group To Study Possible Consolidation.)
William Dentzer, former chair of the Larchmont Library Board will head the group. Each municipality will provide two members, one an elected official from its board and one from the community. Representing Larchmont Village will be Mr. Mandell and Chris Verni, a former trustee. Councilman David Fishman and Maureen Le Blanc will represent Town of Mamaroneck; and Trustee Nick Allison and Dr. Aran Ron will represent Village of Mamaroneck.
“With only six members, this should be an efficient and effective committee,” commented Mayor Liz Feld. She is expecting the group to issue a report with recommendations by the end of the year. “We can expect transparency and candor from the committee when the results come out, but we will urge the committee not to make any public statements while their work is underway,” she said.
Adjoining communities are also looking for ways to increase efficiency and lighten the load on taxpayers. Joe Carvin, supervisor of the Town of Rye, is interested in sharing services among the Town of Rye and the villages of Port Chester, Rye Brook and Mamaroneck.
Mr. Mandell also pointed to the Pace University’s study on the consolidation of fire services, which he said raises more questions than it provides answers. The study looked at how a higher level of service could be delivered more efficiently by merging departments and districts across ten Southern Westchester communities, including Larchmont Village. The report did show how consolidation can achieve better service, said Mr. Mandell, but the costs are not yet clear. A second phase of the study, expected within 9 months, will provide further financial analysis.
Editors Note: Gazette readers are engaging in an online debate with one of the study’s authors. See: Better Fire Protection at What Cost: Study Suggests 10 Muni District
Parents Urged to Cooperate With Police
Mayor Feld cited the diligence of Larchmont’s police as they continue investigating the May 8 vandalism in Manor Park. “The police are doing their job,” she said, but their work is being hampered by what she described as “the lack of cooperation of parents in the community. Kids have information,” she continued, “but parents won’t let them contribute. It’s very obstructive.”
Large groups of high school students were in and near Manor Park at around 10 pm on May 8. Three teens were arrested and charged with assaulting another teen outside the park, but no one has been charged with the destruction to benches and fences that was discovered the next morning. (See: Three Teens Face Felony Charges for Manor Park Assault.)
Trustee Richard Ward said the lack of cooperation with police amounts to a “tyranny of acceptance which creates a very troubling environment for our community.” He added, “Someone needs to take the leadership, step forward with information, and risk having some people not like them for doing so.”
Bonds, equipment and beautification were on the list of items announced by Larchmont Treasurer Denis Brucciani.
- The Village of Larchmont will be refinancing $3,021,000 in short term debt in August. The funding is for capital projects such as the Flint Park expansion, Larchmont Library Children’s Room renovation, water pipe relining and the purchase of an electric vehicle.
- Larchmont will purchase a new generator for Village Hall for $100,000
- Mr. Brucciani requested authorization to purchase a new sanitation truck for $171,000. Trustee Anne McAndrews asked about costs for a truck powered by natural gas, rather than diesel fuel. The treasurer later determined a natural gas truck would cost between $200,000 and $250,000.
- The Larchmont Fire Department will purchase a new hydraulic tool for cutting people out of burning cars and other rescue needs.
The board also authorized the purchase of other items to equip its current fire vehicles. Funding will come from an equipment budget of $83,000 that was previously approved as part of the $555,000 appropriation for a new pumper truck. It’s unclear when, if ever, Larchmont will receive the new truck from the American LaFrance company, which filed for bankruptcy last year.
For the eighth year, Larchmont residents Diane and Ralph Engel have brought in a grant from the Morris and Florence Bender Foundation for the beautification of Village property. This year’s $5000 grant will first be used for plantings in the traffic island at Stuyvesant Avenue and Pine Brook Drive.
Community Bulletin Board:
Constructive use for plastic bags. Wondering what to do with those plastic bags from the supermarket or shops? The Food Pantry needs them to pack groceries for their client families. Drop off your extra plastic bags at 15 Kilmer Road, home of the pantry’s new chairman, Melinda Lehman.
Mind Your Manners at Dog Beach: Board members acknowledged that the beautification of the small waterside park at the end of Beach Avenue has attracted more usage than ever before. It is becoming increasingly busy, and there have been complaints about noise. Residents using Dog Beach are reminded to clean up after their dogs so that the waste does not pollute Long Island Sound. All dogs must be kept on a leash. Also, swimming, windsurfing and picnicking are not allowed there.
“Bring a book, read, relax, but be mindful that it is a public park and nearby neighbors can be disturbed by loud talking and noise there,” said Mayor Feld. She added they were considering a sign advising “Mind Your Manners” because so much of what is being requested is just common sense. Instead, a new sign will just list the rules.