Quarter Letters from Mayor Gina D. Picinich

July 2021

Dear Friends,

Well done Mount Kisco! Together we are successfully making our way out of a global pandemic.  Over the past few weeks we have consistently had a low number of active COVID cases in the Village.  More than 75% of those eligible in the 10549 zip code, have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine.  It is important to note that variants of the virus are spreading.  Those who are not vaccinated have the highest risk to contract the virus.  Current research indicates more than 99% of recent COVID fatalities are of those who were not vaccinated.  We encourage everyone to take advantage of the fact that vaccines are plentiful and available locally at Open Door Family Medical Center, CareMount Medical Group, and through Northern Westchester Hospital.

The State of New York rescinded most COVID safety precautions when the state-wide vaccination rate reached 70%.  Following the Center for Disease Control guidance, those who are vaccinated do not need to wear a mask.  Those who are not vaccinated should continue to wear a mask when indoors and unable to distance from others.  Face coverings are required in some specific environments such as medical settings, nursing homes, and correctional facilities.

In response to New York State’s Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the Village Board requested public comment from the community related to permitting cannabis sales in the Village.  Based on feedback from residents, and evaluating the pros and cons, the Board of Trustees opted out of permitting cannabis sales with the understanding that we can opt in at any time in the future.  The largest concern focused on the fact that the State agencies to regulate and manage licenses have not yet been established nor have all the regulations related to cannabis sales.  The Board of Trustees decided not to permit sales until we could review and understand all the relevant regulations.  The Board agreed to establish a community-based taskforce to monitor the evolving cannabis industry in New York to determine how and when Mount Kisco should consider opting into permitting sales in the Village.  Those interested in volunteering to be on the taskforce should send an email to villagemgr@mountkiscony.gov.

Though the Board of Trustees currently opted out of permitting cannabis sales, this decision is subject to a Permissive Referendum.  This process would require a community vote on the subject if twenty percent of registered Mount Kisco voters sign a petition, which must be submitted to the Village Clerk, Ed Brancati, by the end of business on August 11, 2021.  The Village would then hold a special election to vote on whether to permit cannabis sales.  For more details on this process go to Quick Links at mountkiscony.gov.

The Village Board of Trustees has continued the conversation regarding restricting the use of gas powered leaf blowers due to the negative health and environmental impacts resulting from their use. We have received mixed feedback from the public.  The greatest concern relates to the cost of transitioning from existing equipment to electric.  The Village Board is working to determine an appropriate amount of time to allow residents and business owners to make the transition.  The Public Hearing on this subject remains open.  Those who would like to share their views can participate in our Board meeting or send an email to villagemgr@mountkiscony.gov.

For the past six years, the Village has had an Inter-Municipal Agreement with Westchester County for the delivery of police services.  The Westchester County Police staff the Mount Kisco precinct and provide extensive resources including investigation, aviation, special operations, and K-9 units.  This model continues to be the most effective way for Mount Kisco to deliver the highest levels of public safety services at a lower cost than we could deliver with our own department.  Administratively, the Mount Kisco Police department still exists as an entity and needs to be dissolved.  We cannot continue to have the department exist without increasing staffing.  Increasing staffing would duplicate the services delivered by the WCPD and cost approximately $1 million annually, and result in a 7% tax increase.  In accordance with New York State law, the Board of Trustees passed a law to abolish the department.  Now we are required to put the question to the community for a vote.  This is essentially administrative housekeeping.  There will be a referendum on the ballot in November to dissolve the department.  A “yes” vote will keep all operations running in their current form.  A “no” vote will require us to increase the Village budget, and significantly increase taxes to support the additional duplicative staffing.

We are pleased to share that the construction at the Green Street fire station is complete.  We expect the Union Hook and Ladder and the Rescue Fire Police will be responding to calls from the station later this summer.  The completed upgrades created an improved level of firefighter safety and allows our volunteer firefighters to improve operational efficiency.  The redesigns for the Mutual and Independent fire stations are complete.  We expect to receive retuned bids by end of fall and construction is expected to begin in early spring.  The two engine companies will continue to be fully operational and will respond to calls from temporary locations.

Construction at the Green Street fire station necessitated the replacement of some sidewalks and curbs along Green Street.  We seized the opportunity to put in the new streetscape design which includes sidewalks, pavers, and granite curbs.  This enabled us to test the design components before we move into Phase I of the streetscape redesign project.  The Board of Trustees approved the lowest responsible bid of $2.28 million for Phase I.  This initial phase covers the area around the Village Hall fountain, behind the library, the whole Shopper’s Park lot, the Promenade toward South Moger Avenue, and the Blackeby lot.  In addition to replacing the sidewalks and curbs, the green space along the Branch Brook will be landscaped with low growing native plants to eliminate invasive species and beautify the area. Construction will begin in August and will be complete before Thanksgiving.

Our yearly road paving program will begin later in July.  Each year we invest more than $500,000 in repaving roads most in need of repair.  This year we will be repaving Thorn, East Hyatt, West Hyatt, Prospect, Hillside, Fairways, Meadowbrook, and Green, as well as parts of Orchard, Emery, and South Moger.  Specific dates will be posted on the Village website and Facebook page.

There has been a great spirit of hope and excitement as everyone begins to emerge from their homes and interact with others.  Many have been enjoying time downtown and we see an increase in pedestrian activity.  As a result, we are also seeing an increase in littering.  Our DPW team picks up roadside garbage daily.  Unfortunately, they cannot keep up with the amount of trash that is being discarded.  We need everyone to put forward an extra effort to ensure they are using the many trash receptacles located throughout the Village, particularly downtown.

It was a joy to see so many come out to celebrate our Firefighters at the parade earlier this month. There is much to do in the Village through the summer and fall.  The trail team has been cleaning and clearing the trail system so that all can enjoy the beauty and peace of the natural environment.  The Arts Council concerts continue on alternate Wednesday nights at 6:30 pm in front of Village Hall.  The Arts Council is curating three different exhibits at their pop-up art gallery at 141 Main Street through the end of September (Follow MtKiscoArtsCouncil on Facebook for details).  Many are enjoying Leonard Park including Camp Iroquois and swimming at the Memorial Pool.  The Recreation Department is hosting musical concerts at the park on July 22nd and August 5th.  Submissions are being accepted for the Fourth Annual Nature, Culture, and People of Mount Kisco Photography Exhibit facilitated by the Conservation Advisory Council, Historical Society, Arts Council and Tree Preservation Board.  Send your photos to KiscoPhoto@gmail.com by August 15th.  Downtown merchants and the Chamber of Commerce are hosting Third Thursdays featuring in-store specials until 9:00 pm.  We are excited for the return of Cops and Cones, sponsored by the Westchester County Police, and scheduled for Thursday, August 26th in the South Moger parking lot.  We will gather with our Firefighters on September 11th to commemorate the 20th anniversary of those we lost on 9/11/2001.  Mark your calendars to join the fun at the Chamber of Commerce’s Septemberfest the weekend of September 17th.  We look forward to welcoming runners to the Village on September 19th for the annual Kisco Run 5K.  The most up-to-date Village information can be found on the Village calendar and in News at www.mountkiscony.gov, or Facebook at VillageofMountKisco. 

Keep up the great work Mount Kisco.  When we are all responsible for our actions, we achieve great things.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


April 21, 2021

Dear Friends,

It is wonderful to see people beginning to emerge from the challenges created by the pandemic. As more individuals are vaccinated, the closer we get to fully opening activity in the Village. Until we reach a high level of immunity it is essential that everyone continue to follow health safety precautions and isolate and test if they believe they have been exposed to the virus.

COVID vaccine appointments are available through New York State by using the Am-I-Eligible app at ny.gov or by calling

1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). Appointments are also available through the Westchester County Department of Health at health.westchestergov.com. Locally, Northern Westchester Hospital, Open Door Family Medical Center and CareMount Medical Group often have appointments available and can be made by calling them directly. We encourage everyone eighteen years and older to make a vaccine appointment as soon as possible.

The Village fiscal year ends on May 31. Though we faced many unknowns and additional costs due to the pandemic over the past year, we are pleased to report that the Village continues to be in a strong financial positon. We accurately anticipated revenue reductions and ensured spending was aligned accordingly. This is largely due to the diligent work of our Village Manager, Treasurer, Assistant Manager, and all department leaders. Heading into Fiscal Year 2021/2022 New York State set our tax cap, including an allowable growth rate, at 1.78%.  The Board of Trustees approved the new budget with a modest .95% increase, far below the allowable limit. We continue to focus on providing the highest levels of service at a fair cost to taxpayers.

Our Water Fund continues to maintain a healthy balance. This allows us to invest in replacing antiquated water mains and other related equipment. For the sixth year, water rates remain unchanged. Approximately $9 million of investment is needed to upgrade our sewer pump station and to replace a 100 year old wooden sewer main. To ensure we have the funding needed, sewer rates are increasing by $2.00 per 1000 cubic feet. It is important to note that even with this increase, sewer rates in Mount Kisco continue to be the lowest in the county.

We have a responsible Capital Plan that allows the Village to make essential investments in infrastructure. We anticipate installation of the elevator at Village Hall will be complete by July. The Green Street fire station will be complete by the end of June.  Construction estimates were returned on budget for the Mutual and Independent fire stations. Provided bids are within budget, we will be able to move these construction projects forward.

Due to the pandemic, we delayed the start of the streetscape redesign. If bids return within budget, we expect to start the first phase before summer. This includes new sidewalks, curbs and stone work in the interior areas around Village Hall, through the Shopper’s Park municipal lot and up the promenade area heading toward South Moger Avenue. This also includes replanting the areas around the Branch Brook, which will enhance our downtown greenspace. The second phase of the project, along Main Street in the downtown area, will be scheduled in 2022. Since Main Street is a New York State road, we must work with the Department of Transportation which requires extensive lead time and coordination.

The American Rescue Plan Act, the most recent federal pandemic relief legislation, will provide $1.1 million to Mount Kisco. This funding, provided over two years, is intended to off-set pandemic related expenses. We await the first installment of this funding and instructions on specific ways in which the money can be allocated.

By a 3-2 vote, the Village Board of Trustees voted against moving forward with the Kirby Commons downtown development project. The proposal was to add residents to our downtown resulting in millions of dollars in spending being added to our local economy. I’m sure we all look forward to hearing alternative plans to stimulate our economy from Deputy Mayor Markus and Trustees Schleimer and Squirrell.

The Village Board has begun a conversation to regulate the use of gas powered leaf blowers and other landscaping equipment. Due to the negative health and environmental impacts of gas powered leaf blowers, municipalities across Westchester have restricted their use.  As with all legislation, the Board of Trustees reviews and discusses drafts at public work sessions. When there is agreement on general principles, the legislation is presented at a Board of Trustees meeting and a Public Hearing is scheduled to get feedback from the community. Community ideas are incorporated as appropriate, and then the legislation is brought to a vote.

New York State passed legislation to legalize the sale of cannabis. Local municipalities can opt out of allowing dispensaries and on-site usage though a local law. The public can override that decision through a public referendum which requires gathering signatures to put the question on the ballot for voters.  If a municipality does not opt out by the end of 2021, sales will be permitted. A sales tax will levied on cannabis sales and 3% will be returned to the local municipality in which the revenue was generated. Through the next few months the Board of Trustees will seek input from the community so that we can make decisions incorporating public opinion.

Following a presentation by Laurie Kimsal, Chair Person of the Mount Kisco Landmark and Preservation Committee, the Village Board of Trustees authorized the restoration of the D.F. Gorham Memorial Fountain. The base and statue, referred to by many as Chief Kisco, has been standing in the Village since 1907. The base was created by local monument artisan employed by David Fletcher Gorham Marble and Granite Works. The statue, created by J L Mott Iron Works, is representative of mass produced art from the industrial age. At the time the statue was created, there was a boom in creating public art works to demonstrate a town was important. The statue will be restore to one of the original finish options – a solid bronze color. The restoration will remove the erroneous personification and recast components that have broken including fingers, feathers on the headdress, the bow, and a lion head on the fountain spout. The statue will be removed from the base, restored, and returned in the fall. It is important to note the statue is not representative of the Native Americans who originally lived in our community. An informational sign about Native Americans indigenous to the area, as well as an historic marker about the fountain will be placed at the site. Those interested in supporting this effort can make donations online at xxxx or by sending a check to Village of Mount Kisco at Village Hall 104 Main Street Mount Kisco, NY 10549

Early bird Camp Iroquois registration closes on May 1st. After this date, the fee will increase and available spaces will be limited. Information about camp, pool passes and other recreation programs is available at mountkiscony.gov. From the main menu select Departments and then Recreation.

Though COVID safety guidelines are still in place, slowly restrictions are being amended to allow for more public activity. We are looking forward to getting back to having fun. The Mount Kisco Arts Council has begun to schedule their summer concert series which will take place in Fountain Park (in front of Village Hall) on alternate Wednesdays at 6 pm beginning on June 2nd and continuing through September 1st.

The Chamber of Commerce has scheduled the first Mount Kisco Mutt Mile on May 22nd. This is a stroll around downtown for Mount Kisco dog owners to showcase their canines, celebrate 2021 and the playful nature of dogs. Registration is required. More details are available at mtkiscochamber.com under events.

The public health situation and New York State guidance will determine if we can proceed with other traditional Mount Kisco events. If safety guidance permits we will look forward to the Firefigher’s Parade which is always the second Friday in July. We are also hoping the Chamber of Commerce can host Septemberfest the weekend of September 17 which culminates with the annual Kisco Run 5k on September 19.

This letter highlights activities and events in an attempt keep the community informed.  To receive the most up-to-date information go to News at www.mountkiscony.gov, or Facebook at VillageofMountKisco.  To register to receive weekly phone message with COVID-19 updates and other reminders please send your name, address, and phone number to kfamulare@mountkiscony.gov.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


January 22, 2021

Dear Friends,

The challenges of 2020 were foist upon us and they continue, but so do we. The struggle is real for many who are suffering through illness and financial adversity. The creativity, fortitude and compassion of the people in our beautiful Village who have sought ways to help, has been impressive. So many have stepped up and stepped forward to assist at food distributions, make donations, visit a lonely neighbor, participate in a fund raiser, support local businesses, learn new skills, find happiness in simple things and create new ways to celebrate. At times of adversity, we must continue to build strength and kindness in our community, as this will be the legacy that carries us forward through the current and future challenges.

It has been a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States and we have had to adapt to a different way of living our lives. Sadly, the coronavirus is still, very present and active throughout the world. We cannot yet ease our vigilance in following safety precautions that slow the spread of the virus. Limiting social interactions, maintaining safe distance from others, wearing face coverings and maintaining fastidious hand hygiene will continue to be needed until at least 70% of the population is immunized.

Currently, demand for COVID-19 vaccines far exceeds the supply. More than 7 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive a vaccine yet only 250,000 doses are available to NY weekly. As more pharmaceutical companies apply for emergency authorization for their vaccines and production expands, we anticipate supply will increase and more local sites will have appointments available to accelerate distribution. We know it is challenging to continue to exercise patience, particularly after this very difficult year. Ultimately everyone who opts to receive a vaccine will have access. When appointments are available, they can be scheduled at am-i-eligible.covid19.vaccine.health.ny.gov or by calling 1-833-NYSS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829)

After a decade of service as a Village Trustee and Deputy Mayor, Jean Farber has retired from public office. We extend tremendous appreciation to Jean who has been an active liaison to many groups across the Village. Though we will miss her at the board table, we look forward to her continued work with the Mount Kisco Arts Council. After a brief absence, we are fortunate to welcome Deputy Mayor Anthony Markus back to the Board of Trustees. Tony’s practical and well-reasoned voice will add value to our decision making.

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the deadline for Village tax payments for those who certify financial hardship due to the pandemic. Forms, are available at mountkiscony.gov. Questions can be answered by our Receiver of Taxes, Joanne Cerrentani at taxreceiver@mountkiscony.gov or call (914) 864-0034.

Additionally, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution to suspend requirement to renew senior tax exemptions for the 2020/2021 assessment roll. This means that property tax exemptions for seniors from 2019/2020 will automatically be applied to the assessment roll in the new tax year. Carrying over senior exemptions is authorized only for the 2020/2021 tax year. Seniors who did not have a previous exemption and believe they are eligible will have to file paperwork. Questions can be answered by Assessment Clerk, Lynn Princisvale at (914) 864-0017.

The Board of Trustees is nearing completion of contract negotiations for Kirby Commons, the mixed use development downtown.  We expect this will be on our agenda at our February meetings. Documents, images, and other project information is available at mountkiscony.gov under Quick Links. Updated information will be added as available and shared in the Board of Trustees packets which are available the Friday before meetings. Also important to note that the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals have had full agendas. All meetings are broadcast on Facebook Live and on our television channels Altice 20 and FIOS 40. Schedules and agendas are available at mountkiscony.gov.

We continue our investment in essential infrastructure. Village Hall is undergoing renovations needed to install an elevator. We anticipate this work will continue through spring. Some staff are working in temporary space during the construction, while others have moved to permanent new locations. Our Tax Assessor is sharing space with Recreation on the first floor and some Recreation staff have moved to Leonard Park. This change puts all high traffic customer facing services on the main floor of the building allowing for easier access.

The SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system used to monitor and maintain our water and sewer infrastructure has been upgraded. This $500,000 investment provided improved …Ed can you fill in new features or improvements.

The Green Street fire station renovation is on schedule. The external structure for the additional vehicle bay has been erected. Plumbing and waste water piping have been installed. We expect this project will be complete before summer. Extensive work continues on redesigns for the Independent and Mutual fire stations. The key focus is to ensure essential operational and safety needs are incorporated within budget. Our goal is to bid the projects before the end of winter.

A new radio communication system which will be used by our Fire Department, Ambulance Corp and Village staff will be deployed in the next few weeks. This new system will allow for much needed, coordinated in-building communication. This $750,000 investment was made at no expense to tax payers. Funding resulted from a Village agreement with the MTA in exchange for permitting them to use space on a cell tower on Village property. The much needed improvement in communications will positively impact safety and efficiency during fire, medical calls and other emergencies.

After a ten month break, beginning January 4, paid parking is being enforced throughout the Village. A new parking application, Passport Parking, can now be used at all parking lot pay stations and on street meters. The user friendly app requires your license plate and a numbered zone which can be found on signs and stickers in the lots and on the meters. A reminder that parking is free in all lots on weekends and on street on Sundays.

In a continuing effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are encouraging all Mount Kisco residents and businesses to purchase green energy and subscribe to a Community Solar project. All power customers in Mount Kisco are automatically registered to purchase standard energy from Westchester Power via Sustainable Westchester. Power customers have many options including selecting the green energy option, participating in a community solar project or selecting a different energy supplier. Though green energy costs a bit more, community solar programs offer a 10% reduction on the cost of power. The slight increase in cost can be off-set and this change can have a very real and positive impact on the environment. The Mount Kisco Community Solar project went online the first week in January. Those that subscribed to participate, should begin to see 10% reduction in the next billing cycle. More information is available at sustainablewestchester.org under the Programs menu or by calling (914) 242-4725.

This quarterly letter summarizes activities and projects that occurred during the past quarter. More frequent communication is available in News at mountkiscony.gov, on Facebook at VillageofMountKisco. To register to receive weekly phone message with COVID-19 updates and other reminders send your name, address, and phone number to kfamulare@mountkiscony.gov.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


October 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

It seems inconceivable that nine months after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in New York, we continue to battle the challenges this disease presents, and yet here we are. Each day we continue to put one foot in front of the other and find a way to successfully move forward in this very difficult environment. Our children have returned to a modified version of school. Some of us have returned to work in our offices, while others continue to work at home.  Those in retail and service businesses have focused on creating a safe environment to shop, dine, and exercise. Even with increased commerce and activity, our community has consistently maintained a low infection rate.

Though Village Hall is open to the public, we continue to seek ways to deliver services while limiting in person contact. Program registration, paying bills, applying for parking permits and many other services are available online at mountkiscony.gov.

During these uncertain times, the Village continues to closely monitor and manage finances. We are pleased to share that Moody's Investors Services upgraded the Village to AA1 credit rating. In their report, Moody's noted that the Village's fiscal management is strong. Your government leadership focuses on striking the right balance between saving and spending. We will continue to invest in our infrastructure, remain below the tax cap, and continue to efficiently and effectively provide high level services at a fair cost to tax payers.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation formally acknowledged Mount Kisco's substantial efforts to address the challenges posed by climate change, certifying the Village as a Bronze level Climate Smart Community. The Village achieved this recognition in part due to our conversion of all street lights to LED, the adoption

of our award winning comprehensive plan with sustainability elements, the purchase and use of electric vehicles as well as the installation of charging stations, our participation in Sustainable Westchester's Community Choice Aggregation program, the adoption of the Unified Solar Permit, Property Assessed Clean Energy legislation, our Natural Resources Inventory, and our Tree Inventory and Management  Plan, just to name a few.  Mount Kisco is one of just 55 municipalities in New York State to receive this designation. While we are extremely proud to receive this recognition there is still much to be done and the Village is committed to taking the steps necessary to further improve the quality of life of our residents and for future generations.

The solar project on the capped landfill at our DPW facility is nearing completion. Those  who  have  registered  for  this community solar project will receive a 10% reduction on  energy  bills  .  Mount  Kisco  energy  customers  are  automatically signed up to  purchase  standard  power  through  Sustainable  Westchester  ' s  Westchester  Power  program.  All  energy customers can positively impact the environment by switching from the standard option to the green energy option at sustainablewestchester.org.

The Board of Trustees continues to take steps to move forward the Kirby Commons mixed use development downtown. Putting residents in the same location as businesses is vital to ensuring a strong and vibrant downtown economy that is not dependent on shoppers driving from other communities. Documents , images , and other project information is available at mountkiscony.gov under Quick Links.

Construction began on the Green Street Fire Station. Work will continue through the spring. During the construction period, the full force of our Fire Department continues to respond to all calls and ensure the safety of those across the entire fire district.

The renovated tennis courts at Leonard Park are open for use and are being enjoyed by many community members . Basketball and volleyball courts remain closed, as NYS considers those sports high risk for spreading the coronavirus. The phosphorus reduction project in Leonard Park is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Sand filters are being constructed to absorb phosphorous and reduce the amount of phosphorus that makes its way into the Kisco River and the Croton watershed.

The roadway bridge on Lieto Drive has been repaired and  paved.  We continue to seek a financial  commitment  from  the MTA for the needed repair work for the Preston Way bridge. We expect the $4.2 million project will  be funded through  a NYS grant and funding from the MT A and the Village.

Voters in New York have multiple options for casting ballots this  year.  Some  have chosen  to vote via  mail  using an absentee ballot, others have opted to vote early from October  24th  to November  1st  at the Memorial  Pool  complex  in Leonard Park. It is important to note that those who plan to vote on Election Day, November 3rd, the Board of Electio ns changed two Mount Kisco polling locations. Those in Election District 2 who  previously  voted  at Village Hall, and  those who reside in the Mount Kisco Chase community, are assigned to a new polling location at the Memorial Pool complex in Leonard Park. All other voters in Election District 5, who previously voted at the Ambulance Corps, will  be voting at Neighbors Link on Columbus Avenue. There are no changes to other  polling  locations  in the Village, and  you  can verify your polling location at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/.

Bulk trash pick-up has ended as the DPW team transitions to leaf collection. Bulk pick-up will resume in April. Please do not include large items with your weekly household garbage. Leaves should be kept at the edge of residential  property, not on the road. Bagged leaves are preferred, as they can be more easily collected. Piled leaves will also be picked up , though less frequently.

Those in residential areas continue to have concerns about drivers using excessive  speed,  passing  stop signs, and  loud vehicles that have been modified to amplify  the noise emitted  by the motor or exhaust  system.  The speed  limit throughout the Village is 30 miles per ho ur, except for Valley View Terrace,  Knowlton  Avenue,  and  Grove  Street where the  speed limit is 25 miles per hour. All should  be aware that  we  have a renewed  focus on  enforcement  of traffic  regulations  to ensure the safety of all in our community.

The Village is prolific in providing up to date communications via Facebook, as it is a fast easy way to share information. Understanding that not everyone uses Facebook, we have embedded a feed  on  the  front  page of the Village  website.  All posts are shared in both English and Spanish. For those who are less comfortable online, the Village  has  been  sending a weekly phone message to provide a local COVID-19 update and general Village info rmat io n. If you would like to rec e ive phone messages please email your name, address, and phone number to kfamulare@mountkiscony.gov.

Village Board of Trustees, Planning Board meetings are broadcast on FIOS channel 20 and Altice channel 40. Additionally, we are streaming these meetings and Zoning Board of Appeals on Facebook Live. Public comment is welcome by phone, online in comments or by writing to villagemgr@mountkiscony.gov

As we move toward colder weather and spend more time indoors, it is essential that we all redouble our efforts to follow safety precautions. A key concept to remember is that individuals who are not exposed to the virus will not contract the disease. Safety precautions, including limiting social i nte raction, mask wearing, physical distancing, and maintaining clean hands are essential for avoiding exposure. I trust that the wonderful and compassionate people of this community will continue to do all we can to keep ourselves, our families, and our neighbors safe.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


July 21, 2020

Dear Friends,

It is good to see life returning to the Village as we unPAUSE from New York State stay-at-home safety restrictions. As we move cautiously forward, it is important for all of us to remember that our actions directly impact the spread of the Coronavirus. Village residents have done extraordinary work to keep the number of local positive cases low. It is imperative that we all continue to implement safety precautions including limiting social interactions, extensive handwashing, and wearing face coverings when unable to physically distance from others. Those who are feeling ill, should isolate until they have been tested by a healthcare provider. We are hopeful that research will soon result in a vaccine that will provide a long-term solution to this health crisis. Until then, we are all dependent on each other to be accountable for our actions to keep us all safe.

Our Village is not immune from the national conversations and challenges regarding race and equity. Every individual is the sum total of their experiences. The joy, the sorrow, the fear, and celebrations all contribute to the collective that makes each individual who they are. The depth of our passion or care will not enable us to see the world the same way as another. There is splendor in this, in that every person forms their own opinion and presents a view that is unique. But there is also challenge in this as we can never truly understand the path that someone else has walked. Times such as these present an opportunity. As always, we have choices. We can remain steadfast in our own position or we can engage to share and learn from each other. The true heart of our Village is filled with compassion. Please take the time to listen to others. Though we may not all agree on specific ideas or concepts, please know that we can embrace different views and still be good and kind to others.

After being inside our homes for months, it is wonderful to see the Memorial Pool complex filled with activity. Village staff have been working diligently to create a safe and fun environment for residents to enjoy. Newly implemented safety procedures and systems are working effectively. Pool passes can be purchased online at mountkiscony.gov or at the pool. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available. Many families and individuals have found the pool to be a wonderful refuge and a place to safely enjoy the summer sunshine.

Tennis, baseball, and soccer have all returned to Leonard Park. Basketball and volleyball courts remain closed, as those are considered high risk sports. Though small group clinics are permitted for high risk sports, full games with teams are not.

Fishing licenses and boating permits are available for Byram Lake. Online purchases can be made at mountkiscony.gov on the Receiver of Taxes page. Though swimming and picnicking are strictly prohibited, the area around the lake is a beautiful location for walking. Byram Lake is our primary water supply. We ask that everyone please be mindful of water conservation, as this is a limited resource. You can check for leaks by looking at your water meter. If there is no water running, and the number is moving it is likely you have a leak or running toilet. Working with a plumber to make corrections will save water and save you money.

Annually, the Village invests in repaving roads that are most in need of repair. We completed paving on Grandview, Lafayette, Drake, Beverly, Willets, East Hyatt, Ward, High, Pine, Lawrence, Spencer, St. Marks, Boltis, and High Street Extension. We are planning work to begin shortly to fix the bridge roadway on Lieto Drive. We are also in discussions with the MTA to make a financial commitment for the needed repair work for the Preston Way Bridge. The $4.2 million project will be funded through a grant for $1.9 million from the State through the Bridge NY program, funding from the MTA, and the Village.

The Village continues to invest in replacing antiquated water systems. The water, and storm water replacement on Woodland Street is almost complete. We appreciate everyone’s patience through the inconvenience resulting from this construction. This work is essential to ensure the safe delivery of potable water for years to come.

It is anticipated that the solar field on the capped landfill at our DPW facility will be completed and operational by the end of October. This community solar project is fully subscribed. Those interested in signing up for other green energy and solar options can do so at sustainablewestchester.org. The Planning Board is reviewing an application for another solar project on a 25-acre property on Sarles Street.  Those interested in learning more and participating in this conversation can review the application and associated materials posted at mountkiscony.gov on the Planning Board page under Agendas and Minutes.

The Board of Trustees has accepted a bid for construction on the Green Street Fire Station that is consistent with the revised budget. Though it has been a very long and challenging process to get to this point, we are expecting construction will begin in the fall. Bids for the Independent and Mutual Fire Stations will be opened in the fourth quarter of this year. Other capital projects including installation of an elevator at Village Hall and resurfacing the tennis courts at Leonard Park are moving forward. We have put the streetscape redesign project on hold until the economy has stabilized and we have a clearer understanding of the financial outlook.

The Board of Trustees continues to work with Gotham and Charter to reach a mutually acceptable agreement and lease for the Kirby Commons multi-use downtown development. This project is not financially feasible without some level of tax abatement. The Village/Town of Mount Kisco does not have the authority to grant such abatement. As such the development team has applied and been granted approval by the Westchester County IDA. Step-by-step, with great consideration and thought, this process continues to move forward.

The Village’s 2019-2020 fiscal year ended on May 31st. Though we have not yet closed the books, our initial review indicates that we ended the year with a positive variance to budget. Despite the revenue shortfalls caused by the healthcare crisis, the prudent fiscal management by our Village staff has enabled us to add money to reserves which will be used for capital projects. The 2020-2021 fiscal year began on June 1st. Our Board of Trustees authorized a budget that maintained all existing services while accounting for a reduction in expected revenues.

If you have not done so already, please make it a priority to complete Census 2020. Those that have not completed the survey by August 1st can expect to have a Census Enumerator knock on their door to gather the needed information. One person in each household should complete the survey by going to my2020census.gov or by phone at (844) 330-2020 (English) or (844) 468-2020 (Spanish).

Village Board of Trustees and Planning Board meetings are broadcast on FIOS channel 20 and Altice channel 40. Additionally, we are streaming these meetings and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings on Facebook Live. Public comment is welcome by phone, online, or by writing to villagemgr@mountkiscony.gov

As we have all been required to stay close to home, so many folks have been appreciating all that Mount Kisco has to offer including walks through Leonard Park, downtown, or on local trails. There is plenty of opportunity to enjoy time in the Village by supporting our local stores. Business owners continue to invest in our community and have worked to create a safe environment for customers. Retail shops are open and many gyms are conducting small group outdoor exercise classes. We encourage folks to dine al fresco at our local restaurants or pick-up takeout and enjoy a picnic in Leonard Park or along the Branch Brook. We appreciate everyone’s participation as we all continue to work together to support and strengthen our community.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor



January 10, 2020

Friends:

The dawn of this new decade brings with it great excitement about the opportunities ahead for our beautiful Village. With energy and enthusiasm we proceed into the future, focused on implementing the strategies outlined in our award-winning Comprehensive Plan. This important work includes: smart development to build a long-term, sustainable economy; advancing environmental initiatives to protect the natural environment; generating clean renewable energy and reducing our carbon impact; and addressing quality of life issues such as excess speed, littering, and traffic.

At our organizational meeting in December, we welcomed David Squirrel as a new Trustee to our Village Board. Thank you to Trustee Isi Albanese for his exemplary service to our community during the past two years. His focus on beautification and economic development will have long lasting positive outcomes for our Village.

Building a long-term viable downtown economy is centered on the concept that we must put people in the same place as businesses. To this end, the Village Board of Trustees signed a Letter of Intent to partner with Gotham Development and Charter Realty to develop residential, retail, and parking structures in our downtown. Throughout 2019, the Village Board has discussed, evaluated and ultimately decided that Gotham and Charter best understood the vision to provide a quality project that will enhance our downtown, as outlined in our Comprehensive Plan. Their proposal, named Kirby Commons, includes 217 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and 900 parking spaces. The architectural design is reflective of materials and shapes consistent with surrounding existing structures and conforms to our new form-based code requirements. The next step in the development process is for Gotham and Charter to perform a full site evaluation to ensure they have a full scope and understanding of the property before proceeding to a formal contract and agreement. The developer and the Village have much due diligence to perform as we move forward methodically and cautiously, while ensuring that all impacts are carefully considered and concerns are addressed.

Continuing to deliver a high level of service at a fair cost to taxpayers is at the center of all that we do. Strengthening and leveraging partnerships with the County, neighboring municipalities, the school district, and local non-profits provides an opportunity to identify shared services that can reduce costs. In cooperation with Westchester County, the Village renewed our five year contract for Public Safety services. The new contract reflects an annual cost savings of approximately $400,000. We value our partnership with the Westchester County Police and County government, which enables us to identify the savings and continue to deliver a high level of day-to-day policing and services to ensure public safety.

Our Food Scrap Recycling program, which launched in November, is off to a strong start. The staff of our dietary program at our Fox Senior Center and more than 60 households are participating. We estimate that more than 16 tons of scraps are being composted each month. The greenhouse gas avoidance is equivalent to taking approximately 20 cars off the road.

Voters approved an additional $4 million to renovate our fire houses. This brings the total renovation budget to $14.25 million. As discussed in a previous letter, adding this debt to our capital plan will result in an estimated Village tax increase of 3.53% for the 2020/21 fiscal year. As we move through our budget planning process, we will work to keep the operating budget as lean as is reasonably possible without compromising services, with the intention of trying to reduce the estimated tax increase.

Our Capital plans focus on renovating and fortifying infrastructure to ensure delivery of essential services for today and future generations. In an effort to reduce the financial burden for taxpayers, we continue to seek grant funding. I am pleased to share that the Village has been awarded $5.375 million from NYS for water and sewer infrastructure projects. These grants will contribute to funding replacement of a 100 year old water main on Byram Lake Road, upgrading systems at the water treatment facility, upgrades to our sewer pump station, and replacement of a 100 year old sewer main that runs along the Branch Brook through a Department of Environmental Conservation regulated wetland. Engineering work has already begun on some of these projects. We are expecting to be able to publish bids for some of this work in the spring.

A most important effort through the first half of this year will be ensuring a full count of all Village residents in the 2020 Census. Every ten years, the United States Government conducts a count of the population. The results of this decennial census is used to determine the people’s representation in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the State Legislature and County Board of Legislators, Westchester County’s sales tax apportionment to local municipalities, and eligibility for local municipal grant funding from all levels of government. Future funding and governmental participation is dependent upon all residents participating. In March, every household will receive a postcard providing information on how to complete the survey. Choices include online, by phone, or to request a paper copy. The survey simply asks the number of people in your household, their names, ages, gender, race, and cultural origin. We ask your assistance in encouraging your friends and neighbors to participate. 

Our DPW team will continue to pick up bagged leaves (not piles), brush, and Christmas trees. Items left at curb side are identified and picked up regularly. Please contact DPW (914) 666-8193 if items have not been collected after 3 days.

Our Board of Trustees meetings are broadcast live on channel 20 (Altice) and 40 (FIOS). Public comment is always scheduled at the end of every meeting. For those who would like to comment live, you can phone in at (914) 420-0383 when Public Comment is announced during a meeting. Meeting schedule and agendas are posted at http://www.mountkiscony.gov/.  Select “Government” from the main menu. Select “Board of Trustees” from the dropdown list.

Summer Camp registration is expected to begin in February. Watch Facebook or sign up with the Recreation Department for information. Winterfest (formerly Fire and Ice), facilitated by the Chamber of Commerce has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 25th. Fun and festivities include ice carving, music, marshmallow roasting, hot cocoa, and fire dancers.

On a personal note, I want to extend my gratitude to the kind and gracious people of this community for your continued support. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve as your Mayor.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich


July 15, 2019

Friends:

We are so fortunate to live in this extraordinary Village. We all appreciate the beauty, convenience, access to services, shopping, restaurants, and natural environment, but it is the people that make our community so special. We have varying perspectives and views, yet we manage to transcend our differences to focus on what is best for our Village. It is the kindness, generosity, and spirit of volunteerism that is the engine that makes our community work. A fire or health emergency in the middle of the night are answered by volunteers. Music, a trail walk, a carnival or parade downtown are facilitated by volunteers. Decisions regarding planning, zoning, or architecture are made by those who graciously donate their time. If you can lend your talent to participate as an alternate on our Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals or Architectural Review Board please contact our Village Manager, Ed Brancati at ebrancati@mountkiscony.gov.

In April, the Board of Trustees passed the zoning changes recommended as part of the Comprehensive Plan. Changes include: permitting residential in the downtown area; adding uses in the Radio Circle area to maximize underutilized property; and adding a new housing option, townhouses, as a permitted use in some areas on Lexington Avenue. Passing the zoning was an essential step forward to allow us to begin negotiations with reference to potential development on the North and South Moger parking lots. We have narrowed our options to two developers who are seeking to invest more than $120 million in our Village. The proposals are mixed use, including residential and some retail space. They both maintain existing parking for commuters and shoppers and add spaces for residents. We will share more information as we move forward with this process.

The Planning Board completed their due diligence with reference to the application to elevate the cellular communications tower on Mountain Avenue. They worked closely with Crown Castle and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to reduce visual impacts and issued a negative declaration with reference to environmental impacts. The Village Board of Trustees approved the lease of property and installation of the new tower. The additional height will accommodate emergency needs of the MTA, as well as co-location for commercial carriers, which will improve service in many areas in the Village. As part of our partnership with the MTA, they ceased to pursue a tower on Kisco Avenue and are providing Village first responders and staff much needed access to radio communication systems.

The NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) continues their work at the intersection of Rt. 117 and Rt. 172. The timeline indicates that the project will be complete by mid-September. Our Beautification Committee and the Adopt-an-Area team are working with DOT to create a landscape plan. Some plantings will be done in the fall and others in the spring. DOT also informed the Village that they will be replacing the sidewalk along Rt. 117 from New Castle Drive to the Fountain of Life Church driveway. They indicated this work will be done this summer.

We have a rotating schedule for paving Village roads. This year, we will be investing to pave Spring Street, Lieto Drive, and Kisco Avenue. This work will be done through August. Con Edison will be working on projects on East Way and West Way. Their work will conclude with restoration of those streets. Scheduling has yet to be determined.

As noted above, the Adopt-an-Area team has been hard at work. The program, in its second year, provides an opportunity for businesses, non-profits, and individuals to participate in beautifying our community. Organizations contribute money and time to plant and maintain the areas. In addition to having the satisfaction of making a contribution, names are listed on signage in the adopted areas. Our DPW team waters the areas, which they had previously mowed and maintained. This program is a great example of how public/private partnerships can generate positive results.

Many are aware that our most substantial financial challenge relates to funding firehouse renovations. The full scope of the project, which has not changed, is estimated at $18 million (the original estimate of $10.25 million was erroneous).  The renovations include: updating the buildings to comply with the American with Disabilities Act; renovating bathrooms and kitchens; expanding truck bays and equipment storage; and creating additional office and meeting space. Our fire companies have asked the Board of Trustees to include a referendum on the ballot in November asking if voters will authorize an additional $8 million to fully fund the renovations. To cover the additional debt, the Village would have some years of tax increases that exceed the tax cap. There is agreement that our firehouses need renovation. The question for the voters to answer is how much can they afford. More detailed information will be shared through the fall.

We have begun planning for the 2020 Census and are forming a committee to help ensure that all residents in our community are counted. Federal, State, and County funding is often tied to population. Something as basic and essential as the sales tax returned to the Village from Westchester County is based on our population, so it is essential we have an accurate count. Using tools and resources from the County and Federal governments, the committee will create strategies to ensure every person who resides in our Village is counted. Please contact our Assistant Village Manager, Ken Famulare (kfamulare@mountkiscony.gov) if you can participate on our 2020 Census committee.

We expect the solar field on the capped landfill by our DPW facility will be operational before the end of the year. We have leased this property to BQ energy. They will install and manage the solar equipment that will generate clean, renewable energy. The energy will be fed into the ConEdison grid and delivered to users. Mount Kisco energy users can benefit by reducing their power bills by 10%. To register to participate in the program, go to solarizewestchester.com, select ConEd Customers, and select Mount Kisco Community Solar.

In our continuing efforts to reduce the Village carbon footprint, we are evaluating implementing a food scrap recycling program. Residents who would like to participate would collect food scraps in a counter-top pail available for sale at Village Hall. Contents would be transferred to a larger bin that residents would bring to our DPW facility. We are currently working to determine if we have the space needed to compost locally or if the materials would be hauled to a larger facility. More research and planning is needed before we can implement the program. We will share more information as we continue with our research.

Please refer to the insert to clarify any further questions about recycling. You can also go online to mountkiscony.gov  select Departments, select Public Works, select General Recycling information to view short videos of what to recycle and how.

We hear many concerns from residents with reference to cars speeding, particularly in residential areas. This is a tremendous concern that is incumbent upon all of us to fix. The posted speed limit in the Village ranges from 25 to 30 mph. We all have to be conscious to drive safely in accordance with the speed limit. Driving at 25 mph decreases stopping distance, gives drivers and pedestrians more time to see each other, and improves a driver’s ability to avoid crashes. Vehicle stopping distance improves by 45 feet (23%) when driving 25 versus 30 mph. This small 5 mph decrease in speed means many crashes can be avoided. If crashes do occur, the severity of injuries is reduces at lower speeds. Please be aware of the risk you create when driving more than 30 mph anywhere in the Village.

Thursday July 25 is Mount Kisco day at Playland. With proof of ID, residents will receive discount coupons. Take the opportunity to enjoy this fun family amusement park so close to home. Also be sure to check out the Mount Kisco Arts Council Pop-Up Gallery in their space on the promenade off of South Moger Avenue. Details about the many events in the Village this summer including, music and trail walks are available at mountkiscony.gov and on Facebook @VillageofMountKisco and Twitter @VillageMtKisco. Sign up for our enewsletter at mountkiscony.gov under Quick Links.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


January 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

As we move into 2019, I hope you will allow me the opportunity to thank all who have done so much to positively impact our community in the past year.  The Beautification Committee and DPW have worked with sponsor businesses to beautify areas throughout the Village.  The Arts Council and Recreation Department have brought music and family events to our Village.  Our Historical Society, Conservation Advisory Council, and Tree Preservation Board have provided opportunities for us to appreciate the environmental beauty in our Village through exhibits, events, and walking trails.  The Economic Development Council facilitated a new business open house to promote Mount Kisco as a great place to invest.  We welcomed many new businesses to the community thanks to our Building Department, Planning Board, Architectural Review Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals who have all moved applicants efficiently through the process.  Our Marketing Committee helped to share all that has been happening in the community, garnering positive press about The Big Little Village.  We have improved communications by launching a Facebook page, distributing an e-newsletter, and sending a quarterly letter with water bills. 

Financially, we are fortunate to have a leadership team that has crafted a lean budget that keeps taxes below the State mandated tax cap.  The Village was pleased to again receive a Moody’s Aa2 rating (the highest we can obtain).  We were identified as having “strong budget management, ample reserves, and liquidity.”  Our Finance Committee is keeping a close eye on projected capital expenditures.  We plan to invest in infrastructure while balancing our reserves and limiting debt to ensure we do not over commit our future.  The Finance Committee also recommended we invest in NYClass which optimized yields while maintaining maximum safety and liquidity.  This investment and rising interest rates have generated increased returns from our reserves.

The Board of Trustees authorized renovations and improvements for the Henry V. Kensing Memorial Library building and the Police building in the Richard A. Flynn Justice Complex.  The library requires upgrades to the electrical system and ceiling structure.  During renovations, sections of the library will be closed to guests.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as we make these improvements.  The police building will receive upgrades to the electrical system and interior layout as we consolidate space used by the Westchester County Police, Parking Enforcement, and Animal Control, to improve efficiencies and create rentable space to increase revenue for the Village.

We continue to work on the Comprehensive Plan.  The Board of Trustees incorporated feedback from the Public Hearings and a new draft is available for public review on the Village website. When complete, the plan will identify the steps the Village will take going forward. Chapter 11 is the implementation plan that includes initiatives focused on environmental sustainability, traffic calming, improved pedestrian and bicycle access, and engaging and activating downtown.

The Village is discussing the possibility of adding a cell tower to improve our communication infrastructure.  Siting a tower on Village property would enable us to have control over the location and generate additional revenue.  However, we recognize that for many this has been a difficult conversation.  Siting a tower is never an easy choice.  We take seriously the concerns that have been raised by residents and seek to find a balance that will address the needs of the whole community.  We expect Homeland Towers to present data and visual renderings for two possible locations at our January 28th Board of Trustees meeting. As always, we welcome feedback.

When will North Bedford Road be paved?  ConEdison committed to the NYS Department of Transportation to resurface the road.  As we shared in the past, we accelerated our water infrastructure work and met our deadline.  We are being told that ConEdison will pave in the spring.  The Village also plans on replacing the sidewalk, curbs, and paving Mountain Avenue when warmer temperatures return.

The Board of Trustees passed a Solar Energy Law.  The legislation identifies specific criteria for roof top solar and adds an option for large ground mounted installations and open air carports in specific non-residential zones.  There is currently a proposal before the Planning Board for a ground mounted solar system on an unused portion of property at Oakwood Cemetery.

The Village Board has worked closely with our Building Department and Counsel to create a Building, Fire, and Zoning Code Enforcement Policy.  This policy is intended to reinforce existing NYS Building and Fire code as well as Village code for all properties, including commercial and residential.  We want to clearly state that the Village will not compromise on building and life safety issues.  In addition, it is important that we enforce our local Zoning Code which a number of properties have violated through the years.  These situations must be corrected and our Building Department will work with property owners to ensure they understand their path forward.  In most instances full remediation, including restoration to legal zoning, will be required.  These issues have been discussed for many years and it is time they are addressed in a way that is fair, practical, and in the best interest of the whole community.

You will notice when driving on Main Street that we have installed a new community sign at the entrance to Shoppers Park.  Community and school organizations can reserve a space to advertise their events (reservation form and details are available on our website). This sign will provide a central location for advertising events and eliminate the visual sign pollution in other areas of the Village.

Though it has been a relatively mild winter to date, we expect more snow.  We remind everyone to watch for snow emergency alerts.  When alerts are issued, no on-street parking is permitted throughout the Village during specific hours so that roads can be cleared.  Alerts are sent via e-notify email system, posted on mountkiscony.gov and Facebook, and are available via phone at 914 241-SNOW (7669).

Please know that you can also pay water bills, parking tickets, and register and pay for Recreation Department programs online.  Go to Online Services under Quick Links at www.mountkiscony.gov.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians will host their annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 9th.  The parade kicks-off at 2 pm and will proceed down Main Street with a reviewing stand on S. Moger Avenue.  Hoping to see many along the parade route, enjoying this festive family event.

To receive current information on Village activities sign up for e-notify at www.mountkiscony.gov, follow us on Facebook @VillageofMountKisco, and on Twitter @VillageMtKisco.

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


October 20, 2018

Dear Friends,

We welcomed autumn in Mount Kisco as the Chamber of Commerce launched Septemberfest and Kisco Run hosted the 5th Annual 5K.  Thank you to all who provided the opportunity for our community to gather for family fun, music, great food, fitness, and sidewalk sales.  We look forward to continuing to build public/private partnerships that provide opportunities for more events that strengthen our community.

In August, we released a draft of our Comprehensive Plan.  The draft was compiled by BFJ Planning, consultants with more than 35 years of successful planning experience in Westchester County and worldwide.  Their participatory process included feedback from five community workshops, a public survey, and the guidance of a volunteer Steering Committee comprised of community members.  The plan contains eleven chapters and reviews all aspects of our Village including: Land Use and Zoning; Population and Housing; Downtown; Economy; Environmental Resources and Parks; Community Facilities, Historic, and Cultural Resources; Transportation; Infrastructure. We encourage everyone to review the draft at www.envisionmk.org (hardcopies are available in the library and at the Fox Center).  In November, we are holding Public Hearings during our regularly scheduled board meetings.

We have begun to see some new businesses opening in different locations across the Village. As we streamline processes and share success stories, many are realizing what we all know; Mount Kisco is a premier destination in Northern Westchester to invest.  Though we have had some success, we have a lot more work to do.  Attracting new business is just the first step.  Those businesses will not thrive and grow unless we create an active downtown environment.  We continue to focus on strategies to build a strong local economy for the long-term.  A chapter in the Comprehensive Plan focuses on activating our downtown.  One of the recommendations is to change the zoning code to permit residences in our central business district (residences were permitted until the late 1980’s).  In doing this, we would put people in the same place as the businesses, resulting in a larger presence and increasing foot traffic.

The Village has renewed our contract with Sustainable Westchester.  All power customers in Mount Kisco are automatically registered to purchase power through Sustainable Westchester (power is delivered by Con Edison).  We all receive the benefit of a low price point realized by purchasing through a consortium.  The new three year contract maintains the current rate for residential and large commercial customers.  Small business customers will realize a savings, as they have been provided the residential rate.  Sustainable Westchester will be sending a communication to customers providing more details.

Mount Kisco residents are automatically registered to receive “Basic Energy.”  We strongly encourage customers to switch to the “Renewable (Green) Energy” option.  For approximately one third of one cent per kilowatt hour, you can positively impact climate change.  The “Renewable Energy” supply is backed by 100% clean energy sources including solar, wind, and hydropower.  To switch call (914) 242-4725 or go to www.westchesterpower.org (select Energy Choices and then select Switch to Renewable).

The Board of Trustees is discussing legislation to allow for solar installations in various locations in the Village.  The legislation identifies specific criteria for roof top solar and adds an option for large ground mounted installations in specific zones.  The large installations would be permitted in identified non-residential zones on private property.  You can review the draft legislation at www.mountkiscony.gov.  Go to Government, Mayor & Board of Trustees, Solar Energy Law Draft.

The Parking Task Force, which focused on improving the user experience, presented recommendations to the Board of Trustees.  Their ideas included free weekend parking in all lots, improved signage, increased visibility of the mobile parking app, and improved lighting at pay station kiosks.  We are working on implementation plans for many of the recommendations.  You will hear more in the new year.

We continue with our infrastructure projects.  The water main replacement on North Bedford Road has begun.  We expect to have the work under North Bedford Road completed in time for Con Edison to pave in November.  Construction will continue on the sidewalk through the first quarter of 2019.  On Mountain Avenue, we are working on water and storm water systems.  It is our hope to be completed by the end of the year.  The dive pool at the Memorial Pool complex is being resurfaced so that we are ready for swim season next year.  

The Department of Transportation has begun some work at the intersection of Routes 117 and 172. Through the middle of December they will be moving the utilities and working on sidewalks.  In the spring, evening work will begin on the roadway.  As further information is available, we will provide updates through eNotify, Facebook, and Nixle.

Our DPW team will continue to collect leaves.  Please bag your leaves and keep them curbside on your property.  Leaf bags can be purchased in the Tax Office; $2 for a bundle of 5.  Brush should be tied in manageable lengths.  Collection is done throughout the week during gaps in the garbage collection and maintenance schedule.

You will notice an insert with this mailer includes instructions on how to pay your water bill online. We continue to identify ways to make your experiences with local government easier.  We are hoping this additional method of payment makes the process more convenient for many.

Veterans Day is November 11th.  The Moses Taylor Jr. American Legion Post 136 will stand guard at our Veterans’ Monument and preside over a ceremony at 11:00 a.m.  Everyone in the community is invited to participate and honor all of those who have given so much to protect our freedom.

To receive up-to-date information on Village activities sign up for eNotify at www.mountkiscony.gov, follow us on Facebook @VillageofMountKisco, and on Twitter @VillageMtKisco

With Gratitude,

Gina D. Picinich
Mayor


 

July 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

Our beautiful village is alive with activity this summer. The Memorial Pool Complex is open seven days a week and is a welcoming family destination. Campers have been running, swimming and visiting fun locations with Camp Iroquois and Teen Travel. Many residents have been enjoying the Mount Kisco Arts Council downtown concert series. Others have been dancing and singing along with the Recreation Department’s band concerts in Leonard Park. The Historical Society has provided access to the beauty of our natural environment with the opening of the Peninsula and Wetlands walking trail. The streets of downtown were filled with smiling faces as the bands and trucks passed in the Annual Firefighter’s Parade.  

While many are enjoying summer vacations, we have been busy working on our Comprehensive Development Plan. Through this year’s long process, we are reviewing all aspects of the village including infrastructure, natural environment, transportation and traffic, land use, zoning, and housing. We identified a need for additional mid-market studios, one and two bedroom rentals. The North and South Moger parking lots, which are owned by the village, are very desirable locations for transit oriented housing. We will be sending out a Request for Proposals to identify a development partner. We encourage everyone to review details about the Comprehensive Plan at envisionmk.org.

Building a robust local economy and increasing the overall assessed value of our village are essential for keeping tax increases to a minimum. To this end, our Economic Development Council welcomed a crowd of commercial real estate brokers and potential business owners at a New Business Open House. We had the opportunity to educate all on the process of working with our Building Department and to share the benefits of opening a business in Mount Kisco. Our message was clear; Mount Kisco is open for business. With many understanding that now is  the time to invest in our community, we have seen a substantial increase in interest in filling empty spaces and some new leases have been signed.

A resident team of volunteer marketing professionals has introduced a branding concept for Mount Kisco. The Big Little Village (insert graphic) speaks to the tremendous activity and vitality that are packed into our 3 square mile hometown.  You will see and be hearing more about the ways we use this concept to position our village as a premier destination to live, work, play and invest.

The Board of Trustees has selected BQ Energy as our partner to install and maintain the solar project on our capped landfill. The implementation will take approximately two years. We anticipate the project will generate approximately .75 megawatts of clean energy which will be available for residents to purchase. We also expect more than $2.5 million dollars in revenue over the 25 year lease.

We passed legislation to modify the Light Manufacturing District (333 North Bedford Road) to permit Full Service Grocery. We have also added Family Recreation as a permitted use in this zone and in the Research and Development zone (Radio Circle.) These changes allow ShopRite to begin the planning process to move to Mount Kisco. We have also opened the possibility for additional Family Recreation facilities to fill empty spaces in these zoning districts.

Paving has been completed on a number of streets throughout the village and a safe and the sidewalk was fully restored on Main Street by Lexington Avenue. We know Con Edison needs to repave the southbound lane on North Bedford Road. We have asked them to delay that process to enable us to complete work on a water infrastructure project which will again cut up pieces of that roadway. By waiting, the village saves approximately $2.5 million dollars on paving costs. We expect to have the work under the road complete by October so that Con Edison can complete the project before winter.

Many are aware that New York State passed legislation in response to the $10,000 cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions adopted by the federal government. This would allow New Yorkers to make charitable donations to certain state and local municipally established funds in exchange for a tax credit. Essentially this would be a charitable donation write-off which would reduce taxable income. It is unclear whether these charitable contributions will be recognized at the federal level. The village is waiting on creating a charitable fund and implementing the process until we receive guidance from the IRS. We encourage all residents to work with a tax professional regarding the benefits and risks of municipal fund charitable donations related to their personal taxes.

There are so many ways to get involved in the community. The Beautification Committee, Arts Council, Historical Society, Conservation Advisory Council and many more groups would benefit from greater participation. Find your passion and share your ideas and enthusiasm with our community. To learn more about village committees go to mountkiscony.gov  To receive up to date information on village activities including summer concerts, parades, historical trail walks, art exhibits, and more, sign up for enotify at mountkiscony.gov. Follow us on Facebook @VillageofMountKisco and on Twitter @VillageMtKisco

With Gratitude,

Gina


Dear Friends,

It appears that Spring is finally arriving in Mount Kisco. Thanks to the hard work of our village staff and community partners who helped us emerge from the long winter. It is a time for renewal and reawakening. Get outside. Walk downtown. Dine alfresco. Shop local. This is a time for us all to appreciate our beautiful village. 

Our community has launched a Comprehensive Plan process. This is a vital step forward, as this Plan will be the blueprint to our future. We encourage everyone to get engaged and share your opinions and ideas at the second Downtown Design Workshop on Saturday, May 12 or the third Public Workshop on Wednesday, June 13. This is an opportunity for your voice to be heard and to contribute to our strategic plan. Full details about our Comprehensive Plan process are available at envisionmk.org.

Plans are moving forward for renovations to our fire houses. Architects have been working closely with the fire companies to finalize construction and designs documents. We expect construction to begin at the Green Street fire house in the fall. Work at our two engine company buildings on Lexington Avenue and Main Street will follow. 

Our Board of Trustees is evaluating proposals for a solar energy installation on the capped landfill off Columbus Avenue. This project will produce clean renewable energy which residents will have the option to purchase. Leasing the otherwise unusable space to the solar developer will generate additional revenue for the village. 

The Board of Trustees is evaluating zoning changes for the property at 333 North Bedford Road. These changes would permit Full Service Grocery and expansion of existing and potentially new Family Recreation Facilities on the site. A zoning change requires careful thought and consideration. The Public Hearing regarding these changes remains open. We encourage everyone to share their perspective. You can access the proposed text changes on the Board of Trustees page on the village website at mountkiscony.gov.

You can expect to see continued construction on the roads and sidewalks through out the village. We have widened and repaired the sidewalks on North Moger Avenue and Carpenter Avenue that improves pedestrian accessibility to Downtown. Con Edison is completing work on North Moger Avenue, continuing their work on Lexington Avenue, and will be continuing their work on North Bedford Road. We are evaluating a major water main replacement which will impact North Bedford Road. Our improvements to the Department of Public Works Garage continue to move forward with the additions nearing completion and work transitioning to renovations of the existing building throughout the remainder of the year.  We know these projects are inconvenient for all, but it is essential that we maintain and upgrade our aging infrastructure and facilities to ensure the highest level of service for all residents.

Our Recreation Department is working with the Department of Public Works to get our Memorial Pool ready for opening day on Saturday, May 28. Residents can purchase pool passes and register for Camp Iroquois and Teen Travel at the Recreation Office in Village Hall. 

In addition to their annual Clean Up Days and their Garden Contest, our Beautification Committee has launched an Adopt-an-Area Program. The committee has selected specific high visibility areas which businesses or residents can adopt to plant and maintain. Adopters will be recognized on social media and through signage on the site. More information is available on the Beautification Committee page on the village website at mountkiscony.gov.

Many wonderful programs and events are happening in Mount Kisco largely due to the tremendous efforts of our village staff and volunteers. To receive up to date information on village activities including summer concerts, parades, historical trail walks, art exhibits, and more, sign up for enotify at mountkiscony.gov. Follow us on Facebook @VillageofMountKisco on Twitter @VillageMtKisco and on Cablevision Channel 20 and Verizon Channel 40. 

With Gratitude,

Gina