Bipartisanship was in high supply at Monday’s Village of Mamaroneck board meeting, where the village’s mayor and trustees unanimously passed every resolution on the evening’s agenda.
The Board voted to expand the prohibition of bicycles and other wheeled devices from sidewalks in the village’s downtown business district, which previously included the area on Mamaroneck Avenue from the Boston Post Road to Halstead Avenue, and now extends northwest beyond the Mamaroneck train station to Grand Street. The new portion of the restricted area encompasses such local businesses as Formula One Driving School, and the restaurants Il Teatro and Bilotta Home Center.
The proposed local law N-2012 can be viewed on the village's website.
Prior to the Board meeting, Assistant Village Manager Daniel Sarnoff said that he did not expect the restriction’s extension to generate much debate. “It’s important to understand that the sidewalks are typically meant for pedestrians, and we don’t have the widest of sidewalks in the area, so to accommodate pedestrians is a desired outcome,” said Sarnoff.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum noted that since the initial restriction took effect in September 2010, he has received fewer complaints regarding incidents related to wheeled devices. “It appears that those on the other end of Mamaroneck Avenue also want [the restriction] to be available to them,” said the mayor, who added that the extension is “a matter of safety.”
The Board also agreed to grant a two percent salary increase to the village’s non-union employees, who had not received a raise in nearly two years. Sarnoff said that the increase is consistent with the raise that members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), a labor union that represents New York State’s civil service workers, received this year. The raise, Sarnoff said, directly offsets the tax hike triggered by the expiration of the federal payroll tax holiday, which ended at the beginning of this year and affects the salary of every taxpayer. During the meeting, Trustee Ilissa Miller said that she thought the pay increase was “very fair.”
In other fiscal matters, the Board decided to discuss the option to raise the village’s property tax by more than two percent in fiscal year 2013. That meeting will take place on Jan. 28. New York State’s current property tax levy cap law restricts to two percent the annual margin by which a municipality can raise its property taxes. One exception to the tax levy cap, however, requires local legislatures to call an election to approve additional tax increases if a school system needs to spend more than the two percent revenue increase provided by a tax hike.
In effect, the village must hold a district-wide election to approve a property tax increase exceeding two percent if Mamaroneck Schools need to find additional money to fund their operations. For the tax hike to pass, a supermajority of 60 percent of the community must then vote in favor of the proposal.
Rosenblum said that he does not want, nor does he intend, for the schools to exceed the two percent limit, but felt that the option to consider additional taxes should be available to the community. Last year’s Board approved the same provisions and did not need to seek additional tax increases.