In a letter to the editor last week [“Retired NYC police captain opposes incorporation plan,” June 7], retired NYPD police captain Thomas Cunningham suggested that if Edgemont were to become a village, it would need to hire and outfit its own SWAT team and build a police station. With all due respect to Mr. Cunningham’s NYPD experience, he seems to lack basic information on the provision of police services in Greenburgh.

Greenburgh has two budgets, one for the “Town Entire” (which includes the villages) and another for the Town Outside Villages (TOV, or unincorporated area).

The Town Entire budget includes the provision of a variety of services by the town of Greenburgh throughout both the villages and the unincorporated area, including SWAT. Don’t take my word for it, go to the town’s website, greenburghny.com, and read pages VIII-IX of the 2019 town budget.

With respect to the claim that Edgemont can’t afford to build its own police station, it seems like a strange argument to make when Edgemont’s current taxes to Greenburgh of $15.5 million (money that would be at the disposal of the village after incorporation) exceed the tax revenue of the village of Hastings-on-Hudson by more than $4 million.

The Edgemont Incorporation Committee has put together a website at Edgemont2019.org with meticulous research indicating that Edgemont’s tax base would be the largest of the seven villages in Greenburgh by a country mile.

If Mr. Cunningham’s point is that villages generally shouldn’t build police forces altogether, I think that’s a reasonable argument. While the EIC feasibility study provisioned for such a build-out, it was only to demonstrate that if need be, Edgemont couldgo it alone in the absence of shared services, even though that was never their first choice. Edgemont, which has never had its own police station, would have the ability to leverage existing infrastructure from other departments such as Greenburgh, the Westchester County Police, or a neighboring municipality through an Intermunicipal Agreement for police services, which are very common, well established and facilitated by state law. Furthermore, there is a consensus around support for such agreements, including Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, County Executive George Latimer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Finally, Mr. Cunningham’s speculation regarding the motivations of the Edgemont Incorporation Committee is baseless, as the EIC leaders have publicly declared they will not run for office. Their goal is to have an election on the matter of incorporation, a right that I am pleased to see Mr. Cunningham supports.

LAWRENCE CINAMON

Mount Joy Avenue

(1) comment

halmarc

How clever to respond to a letter specific to one department/service and thus infer that Edgemont's tax contribution now paid to Greenburgh could easily cover the cost of creating a Police component, even from the ground up. Yes these dollars probably could. And if that was not convincing enough, cite that existing villages pay even less for their Police units. Yes they do. But none of this is comparable to the costs of creating a Police Department where one does not exist. Not only are hiring and payroll involved but paying for computers, pencils, staples, uniforms, phones, bullets. badges...and, of course, vehicles and that kinda pricey item called a Police Station if there was a place it could be built and land was part of a 'buy one get one free sale' in case anyone forgot that a Village Hall should also appear on the Edgemont Village shopping list. Items that maybe could be managed with current tax collections if there were no other costs in operating a village. Minor expenses such as road repair, garbage pick-up, utilities, issuing building permits, collecting taxes...you know those little details that fail to be mentioned when focusing only on the big ticket items. Minor details like leaving a tip for the waitperson bringing coffee to the table located in the diner where the Village Board of Trustees will be conducting Village business when "Bob: or "Carol" or "Ted" or "Alice's" spare room is unavailable. So maybe Edgemont's deep pocketed residents will be happy to pony up a few extra bucks for the privilege of becoming independent so they can practice self-determination in land use: protecting themselves against any untoward assaults against a naked ATM, Central Park Avenue. By the way, does anyone know what are the EIC's intentions regarding this mainstay of tax collection? I ask only because I've heard it mentioned that not everyone in Edgemont is immune to the SALT impact while School Taxes remain on "pause" because infrastructure repair is on "hold" and the Fire District is getting tired of hearing "Tomorrow is only a day away". So yes, if Edgemont the Village only had to contend with replacing Police services, they might easily manage to do so. However readers need to keep in mind that in building a Village there are many other expenses that need to be addressed and those line items also cost money. Now let's see, how can Edgemont get more revenue without raising taxes on homeowners? Hey, the remaining areas of unincorporated seem to be doing well by attracting assisted living's stately pleasure domes, why can't Edgemont lure some of those developers to Edgemont? Anyone know of a location that might be of interest? Yes it takes a Village to raise a Village but maybe new residents have moved to Edgemont with their main interest and wallets dedicated to raising their children.

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