From the Mayor’s Office
By Mayor Mary Marvin
APRIL 1, 2020
I started writing this column Sunday night, (after cleaning out a cupboard and disposing of a bottle of peanut oil that had expired in January 2016!) and I was going to speak solely on the issues of the upcoming national census and our Village budget for 2020 -2021 that is due on May 1. These items, so front burner just four weeks ago, seem to pale and justifiably so in the wake of COVID-19.
April 1 is actually National Census Day and I do ask you during our en forced stay at home time to take a moment and fill out the form online which takes approximately two minutes.. It affects national and state financial disbursements and congressional representation and will have major fiscal ramifications until 2030. Currently, approximately 1/4 of Village residence have filled out the form. This is average but not terribly good. For everyone not counted in the Village, it is estimated we could lose $1200 in annual aid from an aggregate of programs, many directed at seniors and health services. Village Hall staff is here to assist, even remotely, in completing the form.
Our next budget year’s documents are due to the state by May 1 and as yet, we have received no extension or grace period. Thanks to an incredibly fiscally conservative board trustees that currently governs the Village, together with our Village Administrator and Village Treasurer who are vigilant overseers of any spending, we have an extremely healthy reserve fund that will get us through this financial downturn and help to balance out shortfalls.
Clearly, of most importance, is how the Village as a whole survives the current world changing health crisis. Knowing that we are in a truly seminal time in life’s history, I went back to read about the Village’s response to other major events, most specifically World War II. Villagers sold more war bonds per capita than any other community in the nation, harvested record amounts of vegetables from all of the Victory Gardens seemingly in everyone’s backyard and again collected a record amount of needed metals, in some cases by literally ripping copper gutters off their homes for donation.
Now may be our chance again to be the community that follows Winston Churchill‘s guidance, “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.” Our vegetable gardens and war bonds of 2020 are donations to charities in need who all had to cancel their benefits , or to our merchants who need us to buy gift cards to survive , our restaurants who count us to keep ordering and of course our first responders who need our support now more than ever.
It is not at all surprising, but truly gratifying, to know that examples of generosity truly are contagious in our Village. Just a smattering of examples include Park Place Bagels sending breakfast to hospital staff; Sarah Lawrence College housing hospital staff in their dorm rooms; the Junior League continuing to feed first responders and the various email chains throughout the village most notably that thread created by Irena Choi Stern, who are taking on the task of aiding our merchants and our hospital.
The Village’s owned police officers who are working tirelessly for us 24/7 are buying lunch for the EVAC staff and Lawrence Hospital emergency room staff this week. “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” -Albert Camus
The Village Board of Trustees in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and our Police Department has just created a program to give back to both our local businesses and our first responders. If you buy a gift card from a Village merchant and direct it to go to one of our four first responder groups: Lawrence Hospital staff, EVAC, the Bronxville Police Department and the Eastchester Fire Department, in order to observe the social distancing rules as much as possible, our police officers have volunteered to periodically pick up the cards from our businesses and deliver them to the appropriate person at each headquarters. We are all in this together! The hope is that generosity can be contagious.