January 2019

From the Mayor’s Office

By Mayor Mary Marvin

 

December 31, 2018

 

As the New Year arrives so does our newly constituted New York State Legislature.

January 1, 2019 featured a fully Democrat controlled Legislature for the first time in decades including the entirety of Governor Cuomo’s tenure.

 

As a direct consequence, the Governor broke with tradition and laid out his legislature agenda in a wide ranging speech before the New York City Bar Association in late December instead of waiting until the January State of the State address.  The motivation was to enable the Legislature to commence action on his top priorities immediately upon convening with the goal of passing much of his agenda in the first hundred days.

 

The following are the legislative goals you can expect to be discussed in the coming weeks and months:

 

Healthcare

Take action to codify the health insurance marketplace that the State created under the Affordable Care Act and maintain the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should they be overturned on the federal or judicial level.  He also reiterated his desire for the Legislature to pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act within the first 30 days of the session.

 

Taxes

Maintain the millionaire’s tax (though not increase it) and make permanent the 2% property tax cap on local municipalities and continue to advocate for the repeal of the SALT tax with our neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut.

 

Gender Rights

Pass the Equal Rights Amendment to add sex as a protected class. (Nearly a century after it was proposed, New York State never passed the amendment to add it to our State constitution.)  In addition, the Governor would approve the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act which provides protections for those who are transgender and add gender identity to the State’s hate crime and human rights laws. He also vowed to put a legal end to conversion therapy in New York.

 

Gun Control

The Governor’s goals are directed at three specific measures: ban bump stocks, expand the wait period from three days to ten days for gun seekers who have been flagged by the national background check database and institute a Red Flag Bill allowing family members or school officials to petition a judge to block ownership if the person is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

 

Dream Act

Governor Cuomo advocates a state level DREAM Act which would allow those in the country without documentation to qualify for New York State college tuition assistance.

 

Legalization of Marijuana

For much of his first two terms the Governor was opposed to allowing marijuana for recreational use calling it a gateway drug as recently as last year. In a major policy change, he is now calling for legalization emulating our neighbors in Massachusetts, Vermont and Canada.

 

Environment

The Governor set a new goal for the electric sector to reach 100% renewable by 2040.  He also advocated for bills to better regulate contaminants in drinking and groundwater.

 

Education

The Governor is calling for a funding model for the state’s schools using different formulas than the State Education Department and major education stakeholders have done in the past, with the goal of poorer schools receiving a larger distribution on the local level.

 

Congestion Pricing in NYC

Vehicle traffic that enters Manhattan at certain times and in certain zones would receive an additional toll, with much of the revenue directed toward improving the NYC subway system.

 

Child Victims Act

For years, victims have pushed a measure that would extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes and open up a one-year window to revive previously timed-out claims.

 

This year, Cuomo expressed optimism and support that the Child Victims Act would become law.

 

Ending Cash Bail

The Governor’s position is that by requiring defendants to put up money or bond to get out of jail while awaiting trial discriminates against lower income defendants.  To remedy this, he would give judge’s more authority to make their determinations based on the risk to society of release, rather than a monetary calculation.

 

Voting Changes

The Governor is in favor of automatic voter registration, early and mail in voting and aligning the state and federal primaries which are currently held on different days.

In a major departure, he even floated the idea of making Election Day a state holiday.  He also went further than in his past campaign finance proposals and called for a blanket ban on campaign contributions from corporations.

 

With few exceptions, this wish list has been reiterated prior, but given the change of power in the State Senate, the initiatives have become much more feasible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 18, 2018

 

I have done some research over the months, especially since the new tax law took effect, about the County’s demographics as well as our own in the Village.  I found much surprising and all interesting and thought so worth a share with our constituents.

 

Population

• With nearly one million residents, Westchester is the third most populous county in the state.  Excluding New York City, only Nassau and Suffolk Counties have larger populations.

• Yonkers is the largest city by far with a population of almost 200,000 followed by the Town of Greenburgh with 92,000 residents, New Rochelle at 77,000 and neighboring Mount Vernon with 68,000 citizens.

• Eastchester has been one of the fastest growing communities with a 5% increase since 2000 bringing resident total to 32,363.

• The median age of a County resident living in the 430 square miles is 40.5.

25.7% of the current population is under 25 while 23.7% are age 25-39; 35% are in the 40-64 bandwidth with 15.6% of residents senior citizens.

• Italian ancestry is followed by Irish and German combining for over one third of the ethnic character of the County.

• The community with the oldest median age at 49.4 years is Briarcliff Manor while Harrison and Portchester are the two youngest at 35.

• Though we think of Bronxville as very small at one square mile and 6500 residents, we don’t even rank in the smallest top five, those being Buchanan, Ardsley, Elmsford, North Salem and Pound Ridge with populations ranging from 2246 to 5214.

• Since 2000, Bronxville Village has actually had a population decrease of 148 residents equating to a 2.3% overall decline.

 

Transportation/Economy

Every day 165,000 residents leave the County for work while 147,000 job holders commute to Westchester for work.  Our reputation as a bedroom community for New Yok City employment is decreasing at a rapid pace.

• 32% of Westchesterites live within a 15 minute walk to a Metro North Station. Metro North has an average weekly ridership of 85,000+ with Bronxville’s Harlem Line carrying 41,173 of those passengers. Bronxville actually has the highest daily Metro North usage with 47.7% of our job holders traveling by train.

• Conversely, car ownership in the County is on the decline with 14.5% of residents owning no vehicles.

 

Income/Education

• There are 45 school districts with a total public school enrollment of 148,927 students.

• Of this population, 8% are English language learners, 15% have special needs and 38% are economically disadvantaged.

• The County has 96 private schools with 41 classified as secular and 37 Catholic.

• More than half of all adults over 25 have some sort of post high school degree

- Associate degree 6%

- Bachelor’s degree 24%

- Graduate or Professional degree 23% - 80% of Bronxville residents have a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree.

• Westchester is home to more than 20 colleges serving 39,200 undergraduates and 8,600 graduate students with the largest institutions being Westchester Community College and Purchase College.

• 10% of County residents work in the financial sector while a full 27% work in some form of educational services, health care or social assistance.

 

Housing

• There are 365,818 total housing units divided between 210,004 owner occupied homes and 131,758 rental units. Surprisingly, 24,056 housing units are vacant/unoccupied.

• The median home value is $507,300 with 13% of the housing stock worth more than $1,000,000.  Of the housing structures, almost one-third were built earlier than 1939.  Bronxville has the highest percentage (77.9%) of homes built before 1950.

• Only Scarsdale charges more for monthly rental properties than Bronxville, followed closely by Larchmont.

 

Health

• Westchester has 11 hospitals with a total of 3,108 beds. As a County we are extremely healthy relative to the rest of the State.

• We rank 2nd in the lowest percentage of residents who describe themselves as inactive (21%)

• Second lowest percentage of obese residents at 21%

• First at 11% of the fewest residents in a County who smoke cigarettes.

 

Amenities

• The County has three state parks and 52 county parks equating to over 33,000 acres of parks and open spaces.  This does not include the 47 public and private golf courses.

• The airport is now the home to five airlines with direct flights to 12 destinations.

• There are 14 movie theaters, 15 live theaters and 19 National Historic Landmarks/Districts.

 

 

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