Maisano, Trangucci, and Cox Address the South End Civic League (Westchester Herald)
County Legislator Jim Maisano brought "bad news" about the federal mandates to remove the nitrogen from two sewage plants in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck. He characterized the upgrading necessary as the "largest capital project" in Westchester's history and felt the costs were unfair to the taxpayers on the Sound Shore. There is no funding coming from New York State to reduce the taxpayers' costs. Federal funding is being sought. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, he felt, needs to look at these necessary changes which must be paid for by the four Long Island Sound Sewer districts. In answer to questions from members of the South End Civic League meeting on January12, Maisano said that technology for nitrogen removal was changing and in the near future we "may get better technology." He felt "forced" to vote for the 30 year bonds to finance this project which could translate to an increase of more than $250 per year for homeowners' taxes.
According to New Rochelle City Councilman Lou Trangucci the City Council should not have raised taxes 5.6%. 2009's budget will be even more difficult. He was critical of the granting of the downtown density bonus because it will likely increase the number of children in the schools. IDA (Industrial Development Agency) tax benefits had been granted without direction from council. One problem he cited was the fire department which currently has 27 men on duty at any one time because a consultant has stated that because of the size of our buildings, two sets of 36 firefighters are needed for protection. He asked, "Who is going to pay for more fire fighters?" Expressing great concern for the safety of the men in the Department of Public Works he did not feel the City Yard should be moved to Beechwood Avenue because the streets are too narrow to allow safe passage of trucks and the street can't be widened. The issue of overtime for police officers working for private establishments and the contribution to their pensions from the overtime was discussed.
The new blog, New Rochelle Talk of the Sound, was introduced to the members by Robert Cox, the founder. "Anyone can contribute articles to this site." The categories within the site included titles such as School District, Ward Acres and Purchase/Snow Plow. Anyone who wants a voice can contribute an article and there is no charge. A while back he had a discussion with former Council member Chris Selin about the need for this site. "No one should have to rely on cable" for information. He suggested information about a recent inspection at New Rochelle High School was being clarified especially since the building has had two major fires in the last few years. He feels "public pressure works" and that his web site can force the schools to change their views. He is a conservative writer whose main concern is transparency in government. Elaine Waltz, President of the South End Civic League stated this web site will be "an eye opener". She mentioned Senator Klein (whose representative Yasmin attended the meeting) will be introducing a bill that will force the school district to abide by local city rules, especially on construction times of operation.