One Year Later — Irvington’s Top Priorities

During a recent interview with Irvington Village Administrator Larry Schopfer we revisited the priorities of the Irvington Board. The summer 2009 issue of this publication presented the areas of interest for the Village, and this article will recap the progress that has been made.

The Village budgetary process continues to be at the top of the list for monitoring on a year-round basis. In late September the auditing firm of Korn Rosenbaum will present a report on the fiscal year of 2009-10. “We will also give them a wrap-up of where we are for the first quarter of this new fiscal year,” Schopfer said. The Village will then kick off the budget process as they did in 2009 by looking at the current situation and looking forward as well.

Negotiations with the CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) were completed in December of 2009 with Village employees receiving a 2% increase retroactive to June 2009 and another 2% increase effective June 1, 2010. The contract is for two years. Any new CSEA employees will pay 15% of the premium for their health insurance for the first twenty years. After twenty years of employment they will pay 12.5% into their healthcare premiums. All current CSEA employees are “grandfathered-in” and will not be asked to contribute to their healthcare premiums.

As for the Police Department, negotiations are still underway with the PBA. Their contract expired on May 31, 2009.

On the waterfront rezoning issue, the Board has drafted a set of goals over the period of a few months and those were posted at www.irvingtonny.gov/waterfront. A couple of public meetings were held where residents had the opportunity to comment on those goals. As a result the Village has retained the planning consultancy firm of AKRF, Inc. for rezoning considerations. “We meet again on August 11 and once we decide on an approach for our waterfront rezoning the consultant will sit down with our Village attorney and draft the zoning text,” Schopfer said. After that the Board will be able to discuss the issue publicly. Currently zoned “I” for industrial use, the Board appears headed in the direction a mixed usage zoning to include business and residential, but nothing has been set to the pen or voted on by the Mayor or Trustees.

With regards to the firehouse on Main Street the Village has developed an RFP (request for proposal) to engage a consultant and study the issues of repair and renovation. “We have the RFP ninety-five percent drafted but have not released it yet,” Schopfer said. $90,000 has been approved by the Board for the consultant who will recommend design alternatives for the renovation of the firehouse.

As for the storm-water flood control project the Village has selected a contractor and work has begun on a draft report. The cost of that service will be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. The contractor will identify the areas within Irvington where flooding occurs, the causal factors of the flooding and what remedial factors will need to instituted through design to fix the flooding problems. “The fixes could range from very simple ones to very expensive ones,” Schopfer added.

The Irvington Business Improvement Committee (IBIC) has been working “diligently” on what has been called the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force. The entire focus has been to learn about current laws and how they are applied to businesses. The outcome is hoped to be a streamlining of these laws and their application in an effort to allow businesses both new and old to thrive in a supportive Village environment. Ken Bernstein the former chairman of the IBIC has been asked to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees and Nikki Coddington has become the new IBIC chairperson.

A monetary settlement has occurred between the Town of Greenburgh and the Village concerning East Irvington and fire department services. The Village has settled approximately four years of contracts, with Greenburgh paying Irvington for those four years. It ranges from about $86,000 to $94,000 a year. The Village will continue to render fire department services to East Irvington and be compensated by Greenburgh through 2010.

The Irvington Dam was classified as a “Class C” hazard by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Village hired a consultant for $19,000 to study the dam. The preliminary findings of the consultant reflect that the dam does not need modifications in order for it to be certified. Those findings are now before the DEC for consideration.

The Town Hall theatre received all new rigging last September and had been a priority for the Board.
Another important project is the Nature Center. “We are getting very close to demolition of the old structure at 170 Mountain Road and the construction of the new Center,” Schopfer said. The plans are largely complete and after that phase the work will be bid out and a large number of volunteers will also join in the construction process. The Village has a $239,000 grant from the federal government and a generous $60,000 grant from the O’Hara Foundation which is a very active community group in Irvington. “This Nature Center is really a community effort and we have called it an old fashioned barn raising,” Schopfer said with pride. The Center will be named after the O’Haras although the final title has yet to be decided on.

In Irvington, as the work goes on, it appears that elected officials are consistently following up on the priorities they set in 2009.

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