Judge Susan Cacace’s ruling on Edgemont’s second petition to incorporate came out May 22. She overturned [Town Supervisor Paul] Feiner’s ruling invalidating the petition and required a vote be scheduled within 40 days (by the end of June). Her previous decision on the first petition was overturned unanimously by the 2nd Department reinstating Mr. Feiner’s decision and even awarding costs. The Town [of Greenburgh] announced that it would appeal her latest decision concerning the second petition on Friday, May 29.
Whether Judge Cacace’s decision will be upheld this time around is difficult to predict. But the town’s decision to appeal her ruling, which includes an automatic stay of her order to schedule a vote, is doing everyone a favor — pro-incorporation or not.
The Edgemont Incorporation Committee has not updated its financial analysis in quite some time. Especially, given the current state of things, the previous analysis is entirely worthless. The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted all of our lives and it is almost impossible to conduct a well thought out financial analysis with all the uncertainty that has been created.
The Edgemont school budget comes up for a vote on June 9. Unfortunately, through no fault of the school board, it does not reflect a cut in state aid. (This is likely unless Washington has a change of heart.) It does not reflect a significantly higher reserve for certiorari. (This is likely given the state of businesses within the school district.) There will have to be cuts or a supplemental budget passed to maintain our school district, which is critical to the future of our children and Edgemont itself.
In addition to the above, we do not yet know what the price tag will be for new school infrastructure that the school board is considering. This infrastructure is much needed for sure.
No one can predict when or how businesses will return. How much will the vacancy rate on Central Avenue increase? Have we undergone a permanent correction as a result of COVID-19? What will the impact be not only on property taxes but sales tax as well?
So, given all the uncertainty and the need to continue to support our school district, pursuing incorporation at this time would be a huge mistake even if you believe that some day — when the “new normal” is firmly established — you believe incorporation is a good idea.
Right now, it should be all hands on deck to ensure our school district is adequately funded and to find ways of helping our drowning business owners survive this crisis and build a sustainable business going forward. These two objectives are intertwined since a healthy business community is critical to the financial welfare of our school district. Beyond doing what we can to be safe and stay safe, these should be the community’s only priorities for the foreseeable future. Creating a village at this time would detract from valuable resources both human and financial.
Let’s get our priorities straight. We have a tough road ahead.