At our first meeting of 2016 I reflected on what has been accomplished in the past year, and our goals for the coming year.
This Board of Trustees is united in our big picture goals:
- Communication & Customer Service
- Building Dept & Code Enforcement
- Efficiency & Sustainability
Efforts toward efficiency & sustainability are happening on a number of fronts. The Solarize Ossining-Briarcliff and Community Energy Choice Aggregation (CCA) initiatives provide opportunities for financial savings directly to residents & small businesses.
Village infrastructure has been made more efficient with the LED streetlight conversion that is already well underway. This year we are looking to expand savings in our facilities with energy efficiency upgrades that will quickly pay for themselves with cost savings.
Later this year with the opening of the Sing Sing Kill Greenway, the public will be invited to experience Ossining’s iconic Double Arches in a way that few people have ever before. What began as a required sanitation sewer line project will become a local treasure.
The $100,000 NYPrize grant that the village got this year to explore the potential for a microgrid, is a smart move to help us make our community safer and more resilient during major power disruptions.
Ossining local business is growing and village government is supporting that success. This year we welcomed several new restaurants including Cravin’, El Manabita, Chow’s Caribbean, Casa de Campo and most recently DD’s Diner. To encourage shoppers to keep their dollars local, we had a holiday from feeding the meters for the month of December.
To foster new artisanal craft businesses to open in the village, we are voting later this month to amend a zoning regulation. This action is an example of the village’s responsiveness to local property owners who work with us to explore how we can expand opportunities for entrepreneurs to choose Ossining for their business.
Thousands have already viewed the Historic Downtown Ossining video created by Village Historian Dana White. You can still check it out at the Village’s YouTube channel. Understanding and celebrating our history is an important step in the decision making process for major plans including Market Square development and the Sing Sing Project.
The Downtown Development Fund Council will be making recommendations to the Board later this year for how to invest in the revitalization of downtown. There are two openings on that council. Residents interested in applying for those appointments are encouraged to send resumes and letters of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our commitment to improving communication and openness began at the first meeting I presided over as mayor when we kept the cameras rolling throughout the Public Comments portion of legislative sessions. Weekly Open Office Hours that I have established every Tuesday at Village Hall from 10am-12noon have been a wonderful opportunity to connect with residents.
We have established a Village Facebook page as an additional avenue for getting information out to the public, and we have formed a Social Media Communications team to make effective use of talent across departments. A key goal on the communication front for 2106 is to create a new website that is more accessible and interactive.
In 2015 we said goodbye and good luck to several colleagues in Village government, including most recently Chief Joseph Burton. We have welcomed new exciting leadership in Village Management, Recreation & Parks, and the Ossining Police Department.
Fiscal responsibility is at the core of every decision this Board makes. We are very pleased to have passed a budget for 2016 that is $315,000 below the tax cap. We are dedicated to finding greater efficiencies and spending taxpayer dollars wisely to provide excellent service to residents.
2016 looks to be an exciting year for the Village of Ossining.