I commend the Inquirer for the incisive editorial of May 31 opposing a state Senate proposal to infringe Edgemont’s right to self-determination.
The editorial hit all the critical points as to why the Senate should not even consider allowing all residents of the town of Greenburgh to vote on Edgemont’s petition to become a seventh village within the town. It is absolutely none of the other six villages’ business.
Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Irvington, Hastings-on-Hudson and Tarrytown already wield lopsided power in town government. Each of these villages has its own town board, police, library, court, public works and sanitation departments, and village residents pay taxes to their respective local governments to fund these services. The amount they pay to Greenburgh for the very minimal services the town provides them is a tiny percentage of their municipal tax bills.
Yet in the election for the Greenburgh Town Council and supervisor, the votes of village residents count as much as the votes of residents of Unincorporated Greenburgh, including Edgemont and Hartsdale, who receive all of their municipal services from the town and thus pay magnitudes more in taxes to it.
This fiscal imbalance is exacerbated by a gross political imbalance. None of the town council members (who by the way, are paid, unlike Scarsdale village trustees) live in Edgemont. While there is a primary election this month due to the death of Kevin Morgan, most of the town council members hold their positions in perpetuity — the longest serving member, Diana Juettner of Ardsley, has been in office 27 years. This may explain why attempts to challenge the Supervisor Paul Feiner (28 years) always fail. Village residents have no reason to want to change a town board skewed in their favor. To the extent that they care who runs the town, they like Feiner’s responsiveness to the complaints of his most valued voters. Development issues on Central Avenue, of paramount importance to Edgemont, do not concern the villages.
It’s understandable why Feiner wants to keep Edgemont, Greenburgh’s crown jewel, under his control and its tax money in his coffers. But if Edgemont wants to enjoy the same status as the six villages and provide or contract out most of its municipal services, it should be free to do so. The incorporated villages, supervisor, town council and state Senate should butt out.
Former Editor of The Scarsdale Inquirer