New Rochelle Mayor Bramson's State of the City Address Imbalanced Albeit Eloquent

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WestchesterGuardian.com, March 14, 2013

With so many promises and possibilities about so many initiatives it was hard to decipher the true state of New Rochelle. Mayor Noam Bramson on February 28, 2013 at the Davenport Club rightfully praised the many accomplishments of New Rochelle residents, particularly the youth. 95% of the high school graduates went onto "post secondary" education and the schools sent "more grads to the Ivy League than any other district in Westchester." Ray Rice, a graduate, went to Super bowl fame. The High School football team this year won the state championship, and the cheerleading squad won the national championship. Yes, there is a lot to be proud of in New Rochelle and Mayor Bramson outlined his course of action for the future while the New Rochelle Police Department officers who have not had a contract for four years demonstrated outside this Chamber of Commerce dinner. The first priority was the need to improve the financial condition of the City. Blaming the recession and state mandated costs, he stated the City administrators and Council made efforts to cut "expenditures and improve efficiency." Referring to reducing energy costs and and refinancing debt, he claimed the City has saved "millions." This allowed New Rochelle to have "the lowest tax rate in the region." Further, his plans include collaboration with municipalities "to reduce unit costs."
While Bramson praised the Governor's leadership on controlling costs, he suggested the state "distribute" costs "more fairly" to give relief to taxpayers. His optimistic future plans stressed the development of Echo Bay which he stated will provide "housing and shops... consistent with the character and scale of their surroundings."
Referring to the Sun Belt as the "population engine of our country," he predicted the northeast is now built for growth "because we have water, mass transit and human and cultural energy." A few months ago Forbes said New York was the number one state to lose population. Curiously, Bramson said he was taking the lead on "land use, development preservation and climate adjustment." This was amplified with comments about the Comprehensive Plan which will be aided by the same people who worked on the Davids Island plan. It should be noted here that federal funds were used to clean up Davids Island, and when Bramson was a member of the Council they voted (with no public input) to allow the government to demolish every building on the Island.
The housing option Bramson is promoting include "accelerating efforts to encourage growth in our transit district." This is also contrary to reports of new census estimates released March 5 showing people are working closer to their homes. Commuting from Westchester to Manhattan or the Bronx increased a small amount since 2000. But commuters from Dutchess to Manhattan increased as did reverse commuting from the Bronx and Queens.
Bramson did not mention the lawsuit filed by Steve Mayo against the garbage fee. A judge the day before this address had refused to dismiss the lawsuit and asked the City to justify this refuse fee which brings in more money than is needed to collect the garbage.
Similarly the Echo Bay development proposal will enact a heavy toll on the City's finances, first because $25 million must be borrowed to move the City Yard, and second, because Forest City Residential's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) currently under review lists significant tax breaks for the developer. The Democratic Council members, including Bramson, several months ago had given Good Profit the designation to develop the Armory, but the company after many months did not produce the needed $50,000 deposit.
Downtown high rise buildings which Bramson voted for have not resulted in increased sales tax revenue for the City. Rather these buildings have created the need for additional city services in downtown. The Police Department now has many fewer officers. Bramson delivered his State of the City address with eloquence and pride, but residents would appreciate a more balanced picture of their City.

Peggy Godfrey is a free lance writer and former educator

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

South End Resid... on Mon, 03/18/2013 - 16:11

The reason our school system is doing so well is because Mayor Bramson had nothing to do with it. The Mayor's job is a ceremonial one, a ribbon cutter, and a member of council. He has nothing to do with the Board of Education's accomplishments. The city manager is the person who runs our city. The only thing the mayor has accomplished is to get the developers to contribute to his campaign funds and to get his bobble heads to give the developers tax deferred deals. Our city is almost bankrupt and he doesn't even have time to attend a neighborhood meeting because he is too busy campaigning for another job outside of the city.

NewRochelleUSED... on Mon, 03/18/2013 - 21:47

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sound of crickets

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OldTimerNR on Mon, 03/18/2013 - 19:47

Everyone hopes this turkey beats Astorino, even though it would be terrible for Westchester County. The thinking amongst New Rochelle's people is they don't have to deal with Noam anymore. He's very difficult to work with, when he works with you. Hopefully he's out of here. The city is in financial ruins because of him. Noam Bramson is about as crooked as they come, for his sake, I hope he doesn't get caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It's looking more and more like Noam Bramson is the type of politician who would take a payoff or some kind of back room deal where future deals are made. I don't put anything past him anymore, especially the friends he's made in office who are as crooked and philandering as he is. The fact that Noam gave tax abatements to Capelli and is now offering one to forest city rattner for echo bay should raise some red flags. He's given a for profit junior college, monroe institute tax abatements. Everyone knows this place is not really a school of learning as its the joke of the town. New Rochelle needs to get back to brick and mortar businesses. One's that aren't going to be smoke and mirrors. Thanks for leaving us bankrupt and having our town be a town which is laughed at. You failed us Noam and you've gone against everything you stood for. I believe bramson's pay should be reduced and the pensions of the city council members should be revoked. Why do they get pensions anyway. They shouldn't even get paid, for what? They all have jobs, what should they get paid for? WHY DO THEY HAVE PENSIONS? They don't do anything to warrant a pension. The amount of money which would be saved on bramson's salary and the pensions and salaries of the city council members is very significant. Two of these council members don't know how to speak and when they do, it's childish nonsense. Those two council members are dead weight on the council, hopefully two challengers will take their seats in the next election. I don't need to name them, it's pretty obvious who they are.

NewRochelleUSED... on Mon, 03/18/2013 - 21:50

the good citizens of New Rochelle WILL have to deal with Bramson's clone, Idoni III, hand picked by him and forced down the throats of the good citizens of New Rochelle.

Said it before, and I will say it again, until it happens, and then I will say: "I told you so".

Prove me wrong, good citizens of New Rochelle. Go ahead, I dare you.

Oh, and the word around town is that he will destroy the Armory before he leaves, right?

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