A Significant Year of Change for the Village of Irvington

Change has been coming to Irvington in many forms. Financial pressures and future budget concerns are big issues as the calendar year winds down. The Village’s fiscal year ends May 31, 2009.

Revitalization of the Main Street business district also ranks high on its priority list. "The Village Board has been devoting a lot of energy towards business improvement and more specifically to creating an atmosphere for businesses to flourish," noted Village Administrator Larry Schopfer. As a result, a "Business Improvement Committee" was approved by the Board at its first December meeting, and appointees to the Committee are being considered. "The idea behind this is to study and make recommendations for ways to help the Village become more business friendly. It is an area that the Board has devoted a lot of time to recently," he said. The Committee will in all probability look at current Village zoning laws for the business district which have come under fire by a number of local merchants. as being too restrictive. It will also look into possible policy changes that won’t require modifying existing laws. Both Mayor Coddington and Trustee Montgomery have been active in supporting ideas and plans that will increase the viability of local businesses and help merchants attract more customers.

Moving down Main Street to the waterfront, there hasn’t been a lot of movement lately regarding rezoning but, according to Schopfer, there will be in the NewYear. Consultant Frank Fish, hired by Irvington, has studied the proposed rezoning report by Bridge Street Properties, but that report has not been finalized. Once it is there will be public meetings to discuss all aspects of the report. "I think we are looking at January or February for some public meetings," Schopfer said.

Another issue facing Irvington is the changeover on its Board and the reasons prompting resignations by Erin Malloy and Pat Ryan. This publication printed Erin Malloy’s resignation letter in the November issue centering around the extremely unfortunate circumstances she faces with her daughter’s accident and recovery. In Pat Ryan’s case, the "fire truck fiasco" prompted her resignation. At present, a new pumper truck has been ordered from Four Guys Fire Apparatus which is actually owned by four women. The cost of the truck is in the range of $535,000. The Village is still waiting to hear from both The Hartford and Traveler’s Insurance about what money, if any, can be recouped from the loss of $322,000 which was incurred with the bankruptcy of Elite Fire Apparatus.

"When you look at the makeup of the Board this year, there are two new members outside of the election process. It is a significant year of changes," the Village Administrator noted. Add to this a new Village Treasurer and Village Attorney and it could safely be said that change with a capital "C" has been a staple this past year.

With the March 2009 election, the Mayoral seat and three out of four Trustee seats will be up for re-election. Nikki Coddington will not be seeking the Mayoral spot, while Trustee Masterson, appointed this year by Erin Malloy, will be running for a one-year term. In addition, John Malone and Jonathan Siegel will be running for two-year Trustee terms. Siegel was appointed in early December to fill Nikki Coddington’s seat when she moved to the Mayoral spot.

While there are no quick fixes for the economy in general or, more specifically, for the residents of small villages seeking to keep their communities vibrant and manageable, Irvington still stands out. 2008 has presented the Village with many immediate tasks and challenges. It will need to be as tenacious and determined as its school mascot, the "bulldog," in making the necessary changes.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento