Monday, July 13, 2015

Bazzomanifesto Update 07/13/15: 4 Topics In Today's blog


1) News from Senator Murphy: July 10, 2015

2) Setting the Record Straight

3) Statement on Pearson Firing

4) Town of Ossining: Supervisor’s Update- July 10th, 2015

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No. 29
CDC: HEROIN DEATHS HAVE QUADRUPLED In the wake of a study released earlier this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows a dramatic rise in heroin use and overdose deaths, I am calling on the Assembly to join the Senate in passing a package of legislation that would help eradicate the heroin epidemic.

From 2002-04, 379,000 Americans reported using heroin within a 12 month period. According to the study made public this week, that number has increased to 663,000 Americans, with overdose deaths nearly doubling.

For many people, the results from the CDC study on heroin use in the United States was staggering, but the unfortunate reality is that it only echoed what we have heard at our task force hearings. The CDC identified the impact individual states can have on heroin use, abuse, dependence and overdose. This past legislative session my colleagues in the Senate passed comprehensive and necessary measures which would have addressed crucial aspects of recovery as well as potential laws which would help get drug dealers off of our streets. The Assembly failed to consider the legislation. READ MORE

Hudson Valley wins big in State microgrid competition
Six local municipalities from tour district have been awarded approximately $100,000 each to support innovative microgrid projects. The Village of Sleepy Hollow, Town of Mt. Kisco, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, Town of Cortlandt, the Town of Somers and the Westchester County Valhalla Campus are Stage 1 Winners.

The Hudson Valley continues to prove itself as an incubator for new technologies. It is no secret that our state continues to face an energy crisis and I applaud these communities for taking a proactive step toward energy independence. As a town councilman I supported similar projects in Yorktown and will continue to advocate for the use of clean green energy that will reduce our carbon footprint and ease the pressure on our aging energy infrastructure.

The awarded communities will study the feasibility of installing a community microgrid which is a standalone energy system that can operate independently of the main grid in the event of a power outage. Such systems would integrate renewable power with other advanced energy technologies to create a cleaner, more affordable and more resilient localized energy grid for a limited number of users. READ MORE
Enjoying Summer
The Murphy family wishes you fun in the sun for Summer 2015!
3030 Chen Ct, Yorktown Hts, NY 10598

Not produced or paid for at taxpayer expense.

On Friday, July 10, 2015 2:46 PM, Kieran Lalor wrote:

Trouble viewing this email? Read it online
Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor
Dear Friends,
Thank you for the donations in response to yesterday's email. It was a strong showing of support and we need to keep it up through Saturday's filing deadline. If you haven't donated already, can you make a donation today?
We are making strides against Governor Cuomo and the Albany establishment. Even some in the media are coming around. With anguish evident in every word, the Times Herald-Record Editorial Page begrudging admits that we have been right all along on Start Up NY. It just took them 25 months to realize what we knew in June 2013 when I voted against it and held a press conference with local small businesses rallying against Start Up NY as unfair and doomed to fail:
"The deluge of advertising started during an election year and that had some people suspicious, none more so than Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, R-Fishkill. 'Start-Up NY was never about lifting New York's economy,' he said. 'It was all gimmicky self-promotion for Cuomo ... The ads are a cynical attempt to persuade New Yorkers that the state's business climate isn't among the worst in the nation.'”
"You could brush that off as partisan politics, coming from a man who has never found much to like about the way Andrew Cuomo runs the state. But what you can’t brush off is the evidence starting to mount from broader looks at the struggles New York has in luring new businesses and holding onto those who are already operating in the state, whether that effort comes in the Start-Up NY program or so many others."
Your contribution of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1000, the max of $4100 or any other amount will help us to keep changing minds. Your online contribution or check mailed to Lalor for Assembly PO Box 334 Hopewell Junction NY 12533 will make a real difference.
The next filing deadline is Saturday so please make the contribution today.
Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


On Friday, July 10, 2015 3:40 PM, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino wrote:

CONTACT: Jessica Proud (914) 438-5325

Statement from County Executive Astorino on Pearson Firing
July 10, 2015

"Switching companies to administer Common Core testing is tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Our children are still being faced with an untested experiment whose standards, some renowned education experts say, are of "poor quality." But it also begs the question: why did Governor Cuomo have so much faith in Pearson three years ago? If Pearson is bad enough to fire, why were they good enough to hand to our kids in the first place? The Governor very clearly demonstrated his support for Pearson, including when he appointed David Wakelyn Deputy Secretary for Education, a former policy maker for a leading Pearson sub-division. When will the Governor admit what thousands of parents and teachers already know: Common Core has been a disastrous failure and needs to be replaced with better standards, developed by New York educators with input from local teachers and parents."




On Friday, July 10, 2015 8:04 PM, Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly wrote:


    The Volunteer-Spirited Town

Supervisor's Update - July 10th, 2015

Town Hall Meeting
July 21st, 2015
7:30 PM
Ossining Public Library
As we move into the last six months of this administration, it is our goal to keep you informed with factual information about what is going on in the Town of Ossining. We are proud of our transparency and how we can be a small part of the education each of you look for about the inner workings of local government. It is this administration’s belief that it essential that local, state and federal governments share information with our stakeholders (the taxpayers). We can only control that of the Town of Ossining. You will always have a small minority who skew the information for their own benefit or personal agenda, but the majority of the constituents feel comfortable with their leadership because we keep them informed. That small minority spend a great deal of time finding fault when they should be listening to and participating in the discussion, giving their ideas and working to find the best solutions for the taxpayers and employees of this great community. From the vast majority, we do receive many positive ideas and opportunities, as well as many complements on the information we provide through these Supervisor’s Updates, through our meetings (especially our Town Hall Meetings every six weeks), and the Town of Ossining web page
As each of you are aware, we treat this as a business. We may agree to disagree on any issue, but our “open door policy” welcomes anyone to come and discuss any decisions, programs, or opportunities with us at any time. Please feel free to call 914-762-6001 or email to make sure we are available and not in meetings or “managing by wandering around” visiting the different departments, checking up on the progress of our many projects, or at outside meetings finding new ways to promote Ossining and finance programs through grants and state and federal programs.
We take our responsibility very seriously and while every move we make may not be 100% perfect, our goal is simple: to have the best services, programs, and community with an eye on the tax dollar at ALL times.
Our cemeteries (Dale and Sparta) take up a portion of our time and we are as we try to finalize a structure for management moving forward. Below, please find a factual summary of goals, information from committees, expenses and revenue, along with actions we have taken and our current set-up and responsibilities. All documentation referenced here is available on the Town webpage.

Dale Cemetery:
New York State Law requires a Town to take possession of any privately owned cemetery that goes into default, which is what happened to Dale Cemetery in 2004. The Town’s only requirement at that point is to mow the lawn several times per year and, in the case of Dale Cemetery and other open cemeteries, bury the loved ones of those families to whom the cemetery has already committed space.
  • Keep this historical Cemetery open for the residents of the Town of Ossining and those who wish to have a final resting place in a beautiful memorial park
  • Without overburdening the taxpayers of Ossining, maintain the park while respecting the families who have loved ones there
Three prior Supervisors have had to make difficult decisions concerning whether or not to keep the cemetery open. A ten year agreement was made to start a not for profit company with the sole purpose being management of the cemetery and its staffing. During the span of the agreement, taxes paid by all Town of Ossining residents were used to supplement any revenues brought in through burials, plot sales and any donations to the Cemetery.
During 2009, former Supervisor Catherine Borgia set up a Citizen Finance Committee to assist her through some very difficult financial times in the Town. We are grateful for the very difficult decisions she and her administration made concerning the financing of operations throughout the Town of Ossining; it is because of those early initiatives that the current administration could continue re-stabilizing Town finances.

Citizen Finance Advisory Committee Meeting members in 2010:
Ingrid M. Richards: Chair
Asher Banks: Member
Carlos Desmaras: Member
Jean Michael Diaz: Member
William Jaenike: Member

Recommendations made by the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee were that, in order to control the expenses of the cemetery, a model be enacted under which the cemetery would have two (2) employees, resulting in a total annual expenditures of approximately $120,000, which would see revenues of $100,000 and would cost the taxpayers $20,000. It was also suggested that the Town put $30,000 into a fund for emergencies.
The second recommendation was to close the cemetery for future purchases and have one employee assigned to Dale, with interments being performed by either Town employees or an outside burial care company.
 pdf See a complete copy of the report from October 2010 (992 KB).
Instead of following these recommendations, the Town engaged in a bulk plot sale with a group from Chinatown, who purchased 1250 cemetery plots because of the area, fit their requirements. While some work needed to be done to prepare the property, the overall sale price was $1,827,000. Payments were made over the next several years and Dale Cemetery sustained itself for three years, beginning in 2012.
A financial spreadsheet of the revenues and expenses can be found pdf here (101 KB).
In an attempt to recoup some of the taxpayer dollars spent on the cemetery in past years, $152,752 was transferred back to the General Fund in 2011 (or, 8% of the purchase price). Instead of following any of the recommendations to decrease the expenses at Dale, the expenses instead increased.
A summary of the information is:
Quote from the Dale Report – Recommendations from Citizens Advisory Committee (CFAC) written in October 2010 :
“At the time of acquisition, the Town obtained the Cemetery’s Permanent Fund of $343,298 and State aid of $202,699. The State Aid was used to purchase an excavator, erect a fence and develop a cemetery survey. Of the Permanent Fund there is $31,950 left in four CDs to be used as a Perpetual Care Fund on four plots within the cemetery. The remaining amounts from the Permanent Fund and State Aid were used by the Town to support the operating deficit at Dale for the 2004-2006 fiscal years.”
NOTE: the $31,950 CDs are still in effect as of July 9, 2015.
“Also in that time (2005-2009) had an annual operating deficit that totals $1,051,381.”
In the years 2010 and 2011, the “bulk sales” began, but there was still need for transfers from the General Fund of $76,933.71 and $57,248.00, respectively. During the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 Dale Cemetery was self sufficient. However, multiple meetings were held between the Town Administration, Finance staff and the Cemetery Manager expressing concerns about the continued increase of expenses.
Expenses by Year
2010       $375,809.93
2011       $567,256.88
2012       $451,102.37
2013       $552,884.00
2014       $441,486.50
Revenue by year
Revenue w/out bulk sales    Bulk sales Revenue     Total Rev/ Budget
2010  $169,633.33             $201,000.00                        $370,633.33
2011  $144,629.07             $411,000.00                        $555,629.07
2012  $144,799.86             $510,000.00                        $654,799.86
2013  $102,135.97             $406,500.00                        $508,635.97
2014  $156,072.91             $298,500.00                        $454,572.91

At the end of 2014, we had $190,390.00 in the Dale Cemetery Fund Balance, from which we appropriated $76,502.36 for the 2015 budget year.

Projected budget for 2015
Revenue w/out bulk sales: $109,830.00                
Fund Balance: $76,502.00 
Transfer from General Fund: $100,000.00          
Total Revenue/Budget: $286,322.36

Because of our efforts to reorganize the management structure at the Cemetery, we project that we will actually use only $62,869.75 of the of the $190,390.00, leaving $127,520.00 in the fund balance. For 2016, we plan to use only half of the available fund balance, as we do not wish to use more than $100,000 from the General Fund.

Actions Taken in 2014 -2015
We laid off the Director and Office Manager in September of 2014.
We brought in new a new Director.
We laid off the Foreman in June of 2015.
While these layoffs were due to the necessary financial restructuring, we also had concerns about the expenditures and conditions at Dale Cemetery.
Dale Cemetery could still be self sustaining and/or have a healthy fund balance left over from the bulk sales if (just a few examples). Perhaps:
  • If we knew the whereabouts of a $3,200 truck engine which continues to be missing (we discovered this omission in the desk audit we commissioned in 2014, available pdf here (124 KB)). Please also find the "Agreed Upon Procedures" audit, done in 2014, pdf here (87 KB).
  • If the trucks there had been even minimally maintained
  • If there had not been a garage space resembling a used car lot, complete with an abandoned vehicle scrap yard, in direct proximity to grave sites
  • If the excavator purchased in 2004/2005 had not been “rolled down a hill”, stripped of parts (which are missing) and we had been able to avoid purchasing a new one in 2013
  • If we did not average $640.00 worth of gas per MONTH down to $410.00 per month (with management change) and now at $114.00 for June (with Foreman change)
  • If the average bill from auto parts stores had not been $627.00 per month with a total of around $6,900.00 for the year 2013; for the first 9 months of 2014, it was an average of $445.00 per month with few if any authorized vehicles to work on
NOTE: After Management change in September of 2014 NO auto parts have been purchased at all.
  • If we had not spent over $6,800 at local hardware stores with very little to show for it except for rundown buildings and complaints on the appearance of the facilities and site
NOTE: After Management change, funds were allocated to make the long needed repairs
  • If we were not 30 foundations (where the stone is put on the plot), and 4 veteran plaques behind when we put new management in place. All foundation work and veteran plaques work was completed in a 3-4 week period.
  • If bookkeeping and filing had been up to date, not months in arrears when new management took over in September 2014, resulting in putting resources to ensure all deeds and bills were up to date
  • If Dale Cemetery did not look neglected and unkempt 12 months per year
Currently we have in place:
  • Hands-on management who, in the manner of a few months, completely transformed the cemetery back to being the beautiful memorial park it was many years ago, much to the acclaim of residents and visitors.
  • Two full time employees who, along with a part timer, keep the cemetery is great shape. There is still work to be done, but every month it gets better and better!
  • Deed work/accounts payable & receivable is being done as a function of the Supervisor’s Office. After we checked with many Towns, many have paperwork done in the Supervisor’s Office as part of the job function of one the assistants.
  • For 2015, a savings of over $160,000 from previous years budget with all the work completed and a beautiful cemetery (see the Powerpoint presentation made earlier this year for photos of the work being done pdf here (14.73 MB)).
  • A charge of $50 per deed change for all. Many changes come in from the Asian bulk purchase.
What we are currently responsible for:
  • 1250 (about 50 burials) Asian plots, with all the money that came from those sales gone
  • Pre-sold plots from local families and others
  • Ground maintenance
  • Sale of new plots for local families
  • Interaction with funeral directors including burials

Sparta Cemetery:
We recently took over Sparta Cemetery, which is a closed cemetery. After reviewing all the options available to us, it became apparent that hiring a landscape company to mow and “weed wack” the property, as well as prepare it for winter months and do a yearly spring cleaning, was the most cost effective route. We are very pleased with the cemetery now and encourage you to visit it, as it is truly a part of the historical past of the Town/Village of Ossining and Village of Briarcliff Manor.
While we work out the future of managerial functions in the cemeteries, it is essential that each taxpayer in the Town of Ossining knows that every move we make is meant to preserve this fabulous asset and keep it open while causing little hardship to our taxpayers. We remain committed to the most cost-effective solution for our taxpayers, and after lots of planning and hard evidence, you can plainly see we’ve found it.

Great things are happening here in Ossining!
Friday evenings in the summer come on down to the Waterfront for a great concert series:


(Saturday, July 11th from 10AM to 3PM)
and the weather looks great!

Come one, come all to help rid the beach of invasive weeds,
(or any weeds at  all!), rake the sand, pile the driftwood, stash the trash...
Girl Scout Troops
Boy Scout Troops
Service Groups/Organizations
Groups of friends
Bring your own gloves and rakes
Lunch will be served...for those who come to work
Water will be provided for all workers
Great community activity …hope you can join us!

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to any of your family, friends, acquaintances, or business associates who may have an interest in these, as well as other Town subjects.
As always, please feel very free to contact me with any questions.
Susanne Donnelly, Town Supervisor
16 Croton Ave, Ossining NY 10562

Bazzo 07/13/15

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