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October 2009

Bramson Encourages Council Division and Antagonism

October 28, 2009 - 10:41
4 comments

Mayor Bramson and his fellow Democratic council members, deliberately and arrogantly excluded the Republican councilmen from an open discussion to appoint a new city clerk. The Democrats met privately, possibly in violation of the open meetings law, chose a candidate, and presented a take-it-or-leave-it candidate to the Republican council members. The fact that the Republicans were intentionally denied an opportunity to participate was in direct contradiction to Bramson’s inaugural pledge of bipartisanship and transparent government. Bramson deals from a position of power when in the majority, yet flounders when he is solely accountable. I refer to the pending city judge appointment. Anticipating Judge Sherr’s retirement, Bramson has assembled a committee with minimal opposition party representation to make a recommendation and to avoid criticism. He has neither the courage nor the political savoir-faire to make crucial decisions based on merit without a safeguard. This is very evident in his failure to conduct his bi-weekly radio show without a co-host. Isn’t it time for Bramson to see if he can cut it on his own.

New Rochelle School District Facing $2.9 MM Mid-Year Budget Cuts

October 28, 2009 - 02:38
4 comments

Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak read a proclamation issued by Governor Patterson honoring school board members and then handed out certificates to each board member (except for Jerome Smith who, as is so often the case, was not present). Organisciak then sat down and announced that Governor Patterson had announced mid-year budget cuts to education that will cost the New Rochelle school district $2.9mm in funding this year.

ADDITIONAL NEWS FROM BoE MEETING of 10-27-09

BoE meeting at Columbus School moved from 11/24 to 11/17.

Peg Pecunia Report

  • The District has 190 substitutes registered this year which is attributed to the tough economy.
  • The District has 700 retirees getting full medical benefits.
  • All district employees are now required to prove that dependents they are claiming on their medical insurance plan qualify, mostly by providing aIRS form 1040 to show all dependents; any non-dependents will be removed in January retroactive to February 2009.

John Quinn Report

    >Preliminary energy audit to be completed in 2 months.
  • The district has saved 1.5 kilowatts for a $250,000 savings.
  • The district is getting more aggressive in accounts receivable from other governments.
  • District is facing $2.9 mm in mid-year budget cuts.
  • Pool at NRHS is re-opened.

New Rochelle Tax Assessor Says Public Officials Should Report "Clerical Errors" on Tax Exemptions

October 26, 2009 - 22:14
9 comments

7 Pinebrook Property Card Detail-small.jpg

Without commenting specifically on the Domenic Procopio case, New Rochelle Tax Assessor Louis "Chip" Perone acknowledged today that he would expect public officials to notify his office if they were receiving property tax exemptions to which they were not entitled. Talk of the Sound has previously reported that Procopio, Chairman of the Municipal Civil Service Commission, received STAR and Combat Veteran exemptions to which he was not entitled for eight years on a property he owns at 7 Pinebrook Road. Talk of the Sound discussed the Procopio matter with Perone at his office at CIty Hall while obtaining a copy of the Property Card for 7 Pinebrook Road.

Trangucci: New Rochelle City Budget "in Dire Straits"

October 26, 2009 - 14:41
2 comments

Concerned about the proposal to put new bicycle path signs up, Councilman Lou Trangucci wanted the $3,300 appropriation removed from the budget.  He was pleased that the three Republican Council members were joined by Democrat Council member Marianne Sussman to remove the item from the City Council agenda.

Trangucci continued to address the members of the New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club on October 22 by saying the city budget is "in dire straits."  The City's Finance Commissioner, Howard Rattner, has, at his request, been giving quarterly reports to "enlighten the council."  Next year's budget  will inevitably have to use at least $2 million from the $6.7 million of the general fund.  This will leave less than 5%-10% of the $110 million that is generally recommended for cities to have as a fund balance.  As a result Trangucci has been critical of some recent City Council expenditures such as the half million dollars spent for cleaning monuments.

One of the largest capital expenditures was the $85,000 needed for maintenance of a ladder truck for the fire department.  The sales tax for this year, reported at $23.7 million, is two million dollars less than the amount projected in last year's budget.  He has insisted that next year's budget projection for sales tax be flat, or $23.7 million.

Longtime Civil Service Administrator Beverly Silverman Set to Retire in December

October 23, 2009 - 19:41
7 comments

As readers know, I have made repeated attempts to talk with Domenic Procopio, Chairman of New Rochelle's Civil Service Commission but have yet to receive a reply. I called again today and Civil Service Administrator Beverly Silverman confirmed that she had informed Procopio that I was interested to speak with him.

While I had her on the telephone I confirmed that after 30 years of loyal service, Beverly Silverman is set to retire this coming December.

The New York State Department of Civil Service gave the Municipal Civil Service Commission of New Rochelle its highest marks in a review conducted in 2007. With Mr. Procopio not returning messages and Ms. Silverman leaving in a few weeks we can only wonder how the Civil Service Commission will continue to function at such a high level.

More Hypocrisy from New Rochelle Board of Education on Child Health Issues

October 23, 2009 - 19:20
1 comments

noidling.jpg

The City Council of New Rochelle recently passed a law to prohibit idling of vehicles for more than 5 minutes anywhere in New Rochelle:

[Added 9-21-2004 by L.L. No. 8-2004]
No person shall allow, cause or permit the engine of any motor vehicle to idle for more than five consecutive minutes while parking, standing, or stopping on public or private property in the City of New Rochelle, subject to the exceptions for heavy-duty vehicles set forth in Section 217.3 of Title 6 of the State of New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations.

The motivation for anti-idling laws comes primarily from concerns about air pollution, carbon-emissions, greenhouse gases and fears that humans are causing global warming. Despite or because of this, the New Rochelle School District wasted no time in printing and displaying "no idling" signs in front of public schools in New Rochelle.

A few thoughts on this. First, if the District were really concerned about motor vehicles idling in front of schools they could have created their own policy about vehicles on district property.

Rangoli Indian Cuisine presents Diwali Cultural Experience on November 7th

October 23, 2009 - 13:04

November 7th, 2009, starting at 7:30.

Rangoli Presents: Happy Diwali Cultural Experience 615 Main St , New Rochelle , NY 

The Rangoli family would like to invite you to our Diwali Cultural Night at Rangoli Indian Cuisine! Diwali is a major Indian holiday, celebrating the festival of lights which represents the triumph of good over evil. We will be providing you with a night the city of New Rochelle has NEVER seen before including Belly Dancing, Henna Tattooing, an Indian clothing bazaar, and live classical Indian Music.

We will have the beautiful Bina performing her scintillating belly dance routine at 7:30, followed by Hardeep Chana and Jasmit Chana, performing on Sitar and Tabla, soothing your ears with the beautiful sounds of classical Indian music. We will be featuring the Indian art of Henna Tattooing, which is a completely safe, removable tattoo comprised of a dark colored paste. A professional artist will be on hand to speak and demonstrate for our guests. We will also have stalls featuring Indian Jewelry, and clothing such as shawls and full outfits.

Strome to Talk of the Sound: Drop Dead!

October 22, 2009 - 21:45
5 comments

As you can see from this exchange the City of New Rochelle continues to stonewall efforts to get to the bottom of the STAR and Combat Veterans Property Tax Exemptions Municipal Civil Service Commission Domenic Procopio pocketed for eight years, according to City officials, all supposedly due to an unidentified, unexplained "clerical error".

We will say it over and over again, set aside questions about the basis for these tax exemptions being granted and focus instead on why a public official would see them on his tax bill for eight years and say nothing about them. Read the whole thing until the end.

=================================================

From: Robert Cox Sent: Monday, October 19, 2009 11:57 AM
To: Strome, Chuck
Cc: Gilwit, Kathy
Subject: follow up meetings regarding Mr. Procopio

Mr. Strome,

I met today with Kathy Gilwit. While I certainly appreciate the opportunity to meet with her it has become clear that she is not in a position to directly answer any of the questions I have asked over the past 10 days regarding Mr. Procopio.

I would appreciate the opportunity to sit down with the appropriate person in the tax assessor's office to discuss the exemptions we all now seem to agree were being applied to Mr. Procopio's property at 7 Pinebrook Road.

Dangers of Misuse of Health Indices Very Real

October 22, 2009 - 02:35
1 comments

Some six months ago, at a school board meeting, I raised the issue of BMI (body mass index) data collection by the school system. Subsequently, I wrote about the possible consequences that could flow from such data collection; separate school lunch lines, denial of services and possible penalties for parents of children identified as too heavy or too thin. No doubt many thought my concerns were the fevered imaginings of a far right conspiracy theorist; a charter member of the vast right wing conspiracy. Would that it were so!

Now we learn that children are being denied health insurance on the basis of their BMI. Rocky Mountain Health Plans recently denied insurance to four month old Alex Lange because, according to his growth chart, he was too heavy. United Health Care, on the other hand, would not insure two year old Aislin Bates because, at twenty two pounds, she is regarded as too thin.

What will happen when the federal government is calling the health care tune. Will federal agents be removing children from their homes and placing them in “rehabilitation centers” to correct their unhealthy eating habits?

Example of a New Rochelle Property Tax Bill with Military Tax Exemption

October 21, 2009 - 18:32

Only a small percentage of Americans have served in the military and an even smaller percentage of them served in Combat. Relatively few Talk of the Sound readers would have reason to be familiar with the process of obtaining a property tax exemption related to military service and even less would know how such an exemption would appear on a tax invoice.

A reader who did serve in the military sent in a copy of their tax bill. Readers ought to take a good long look because you will see it would be absolutely impossible for a property owner receiving such a tax bill to not know that they were receiving a tax exemption for military service. This reader informs me that in order to receive the tax exemption it was necessary to file a copy of their discharge papers.

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