December 2011

New York Ranks 43rd in Economic Development in the United States

December 15, 2011 - 00:10

December 14, 2011--States are spending billions of dollars per year on corporate tax credits, cash grants and other economic development subsidies that often require little if any job creation and lack wage and benefit standards covering workers at subsidized companies. These are the key findings of Money for Something: Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs, a 51-state “report card” study published today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC. It is available at

“With unemployment still so high, taxpayers have a right to expect that economic development investments create significant numbers of quality jobs,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy. “The days of ‘no strings attached’ are largely gone, but the fine print in many states is still full of gaps and loopholes.”

Nevada, North Carolina and Vermont were found to do the best job in applying job standards to their major subsidy programs. The District of Columbia, Alaska and Wyoming rated worst.

Astorino Announces ‘Targeted’ Vetoes Of 2012 County Budget

December 15, 2011 - 00:03

While continuing to express overall satisfaction with the 2012 budget negotiated with the Board of Legislators, County Executive Robert P. Astorino today issued a targeted series of vetoes that express his concern over items in the budget that he considers wasteful, harmful to the funding and operation of county government, or not in the best interest of taxpayers.

Astorino sent down 27 vetoes totaling $5.4 million of the $1.689 billion budget. The number is about 10 percent of the 247 vetoes he issued last year.

“That the number of vetoes is much smaller than last year is indicative of the fact that the 2012 budget was forged with bi-partisan support,” Astorino said. “Republicans and Democrats delivered a budget within the broad goals I set – do not raise the tax levy, preserve essential services and protect the county’s triple A credit ratings. But the public also needs to know that there are areas where I think stronger or different actions were needed to address, rather than merely postpone, some of the county’s fundamental financial problems.”

New Rochelle City Council Passes 2012 Budget

December 14, 2011 - 01:45

The New Rochelle City Council has passed the 2012 City Budget on a 5-2 vote with Republicans Lou Trangucci and Richard St. Paul voting against the budget. The budget contains an operating budget of $108 million with a tax increase of 3.68%, the maximum allowable under the tax cap. The City is also raising the residential refuse fee from $66 per residential unit per year to $223 per unit per year (qualifying senior citizens will continue to pay $30 per unit per year).

In voting against the budget, Trangucci said he could not support what amounts to an effective tax increase of 15.06%

Mayor Noam Bramson became emotional in his remarks before voting, characterizing Trangucci's vote as dishonorable and a retreat from his responsibilities.

Marianne Sussman, at her last meeting as a Council Member after 12 years, called her vote for the budget a sad note on which to leave Council.

In the budget document, City Manager Chuck Strome explained the budget in the context of the tax cap and a dramatic decline in the assessed value of property in New Rochelle.

New Rochelle Board of Education Residency Audit Suggests Large Number of Wrongly Enrolled Students

December 13, 2011 - 22:40

Two months ago, in October of this year, Dr. Rhonda Jones, Director of Pupil Services for the New Rochelle Board of Education, addressed the board on the topic of residency verification. Her work and that of her team amounts to the sort of residency audit that Talk of the Sound has been calling for since 2009.

Dr. Jones appears to have conducted a thoughtful, well-thought out pilot program and presented a great deal of useful data. Missing from her report was any sort of analysis of the data which this article seeks to amend. There were still a few unexplained details in the report.

New Rochelle BID Announces $500,000 Grant for Facade Improvement Program

December 13, 2011 - 19:17

BID 500K

New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin joined local officials from the City of New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District to announce receipt of a $500,000 New York State Main Street grant for the BID’s Downtown Façade Improvement Program.

Pictured above from left to right are New Rochelle Development Commissioner Michael Freimuth, New Rochelle City Manager Charles B. Strome, Amy Paulin, Monroe College Vice President and BID Board President Marc Jerome, New Rochelle City Council member and BID Board member Albert Tarantino, and several other unidentified BID Board members. Not visible in the photo is BID Executive Director Ralph DiBart. Also on hand was New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Council Member-Elect Ivar Hyden among others.

Talk of the Sound reported on the grant and the program behind it last week: New Rochelle BID Awarded $500,000 Grant for Facade Improvement Program

Building Fire At 54 Dewitt Place New Rochelle Early Tuesday Morning

December 13, 2011 - 07:58

Fire at 54 Dewitt Place 011

A Fire was reported and confirmed early Tuesday morning in a two story building located at 54 Dewitt Place. New Rochelle Police got all the residents out safely. The call came into the New Rochelle Fire Department at 2:39am at 2:57am a second alarm was called to the scene. Heavy fire coming from the 2nd floor.

UPDATE 3:03 AM: All of on duty New Rochelle Fire department called to the scene 2301 the fire chief on the scene at 3:04am. Con Edison called to the scene to shut off power and gas.

UPDATE 3:08 AM: Mutual Aid called into the city Fire departments from Hartsdale, Greenville, Pelham and Mount Vernon called in to cover New Rochelle Fire Department houses.

UPDATE 3:10 AM: Off duty New Rochelle Firemen called in to cover Fire houses Update 3:13 am -- Red Cross called to the scene setting up shelter services at New Rochelle Police headquarters.

UPDATE 3:16 AM: 2302 reporting all visible fire knocked down on 1st floor and the roof was opened up.

Governor Cuomo Signs Law to to Reduce MTA Payroll Tax

December 12, 2011 - 17:01

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today traveled to West Hempstead, Nassau County, to sign a new law that will reduce the MTA payroll tax, providing relief for more than 290,000 small businesses and more than 410,000 self-employed New Yorkers. The tax reduction is part of the Governor's comprehensive plan, passed by the legislature last week, to create jobs and cut taxes for middle class New Yorkers, and revitalize the state's economy.

"Small businesses are New York's growth engine and this tax reduction will help create jobs and get our state's economy back on track without jeopardizing funding for the MTA," Governor Cuomo said. "I thank the leadership as well as the members of the legislature for their dedication in seeing the MTA tax reduced and working to get our economy moving again."