This week’s column is season specific as the school year comes to a close and many begin to prepare for summer vacations.
With many residents traveling for extended periods of time, it is important that one’s home looks occupied. Even when mail is stopped, Pennysavers and phone books left in the driveway are a telltale sign of an empty house. Tell a neighbor of your schedule, ask them to pick up items left at your home and urge them to occasionally park in your driveway. In addition, alert our police desk of your travels and they will add your home to the “dark house” list and have an officer go by on a daily basis. You may also want to leave a key at the police department to be used if an emergency should arise.
Bike thefts also increase in the summer months so be sure to lock them as well as the garage doors and not leave on the lawn.
In any effort to provide more reliable communications with residents in the village, we have implemented a new emergency notification system called Swift 911. The system has the ability to make phone calls to the entire village, specific neighborhoods or even specific residents depending on the particular situation. All calls will have a Caller ID of the Village of Bronxville or the village police department. One can register online at the Village of Bronxville website, villageofbronxville.com and supply as many contact numbers as necessary. It is an especially important notification system if you are traveling.
Summer is unfortunately also synonymous with tax season here in Bronxville. Every resident should have received a bill. No penalties accrue if taxes are paid in person or postmarked no later than June 30. In an effort to save time, money and paper, the second half payment stub was included in the same envelope. Please save for December payment. Our Swift 911 alert system will send out reminders prior to the June 30deadline. Our police department will accept payments at their desk up until midnight on that last day to accommodate residents who cannot make the Village Hall 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. business hours.
Per state statute, a 5 percent late fee is added if the bill is still unpaid in July. Thereafter, an additional 1 percent late fee is added monthly on the base bill, interest not compounded. We have no local discretion as to this schedule.
As a reminder, the village ban on the use of gas powered leaf blowers took effect on June 1 and continues until Sept. 30. Kindly call the police desk to report any violators. The goal of the legislation is to have a quiet, dust free summer.
Summer also coincides with a rise in the use of electrical energy and water. Air conditioners use more energy than any other appliance and are often the cause for the periodic outages we experience. Just several days in a row of high demand can tax the Con Edison system. We already had an outage last week when a transformer ignited near Tanglewylde and Park avenues.
Every household needs to report problems directly to Con Edison either by phone 1-800-75CONED or via the internet at coned.com. Their system does not have the capability of making assumptions that if one house has lost power, the neighboring houses have as well. Each home must be reported to maintain a tracking record. The village also calls in outages if whole neighborhoods are affected or if villagewide and alerts Con Edison to citizens with particular health needs that require priority service.
There are many things we can do on an individual basis to reduce our aggregate energy use and decrease our chances for overload and outages.
Larger-scale energy-saving projects include:
Repairing drafts and leaks with caulking or weather stripping and upgrading insulation in attics and crawl spaces.
Installing reflective film on windows. It saves about 75 percent of the sun’s rays from penetrating, easing the load of air conditioners.
Buying new air conditioners or refrigerators with the Energy Star label to ensure the product is energy efficient.
Inexpensive energy saving tips include:
Cleaning the air conditioner filters at least once a month and setting timers on units to turn off when the house
Maintaining a temperature no cooler than 78 degrees. A setting of 75 degrees costs 18 percent more and a setting of 72 degrees increases your bill by 39 percent.
Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, which produce the same amount of light for about a quarter of the cost.
As for water conservation, environmental experts recommend watering lawns once a day in the early morning when evaporation is at its lowest, thus maximizing the effectiveness of the water cycle. Sprinkler systems should also be calibrated to avoid watering driveways, sidewalks and any hardscape. Conservation of electrical and water resources are proving critical to our long-term sustainability so please try to help conserve.Column: