Column: Just the FAQs

Mayor-MarvinThis week’s column will serve as a compilation of some of the most frequently asked questions to Village Hall staffers as well as reminders and clarification of certain time sensitive village procedures.

Coming on the heels of two snowstorms, it is the opportune time to remind residents and merchants of the rules for safe passage in the village. If you are an owner of property in the business district, whether vacant or not, one must clear snow and ice from the sidewalk by 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day, whether or not snow is still falling. All paved sidewalks in the rest of the village must be cleared of ice and snow within 12 hours of the cessation of falling snow.

Also apropos of this time of year, several shoppers questioned why our parking meters were enforced on Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday. This has been a point of confusion in the past as people link the meter usage to holidays versus the actual purpose of the meters, which is to stimulate the movement of cars to increase customer parking for our businesses. The meters are enforced only on holidays on which most businesses are closed and these are enumerated on a sticker on every meter. On a day such as Martin Luther King Day, when all the stores are open, free meters could very well cause Pondfield Road to be populated by commuter cars from dawn to dusk, thereby taking away all the potential parking for store customers. Hence, the need for enforcement even on a national holiday.

At the most recent trustees’ meeting, we discussed adding the option for paying for our metered parking via a phone app. The app would strictly be an add-on and by no means replace the use of coins in the same meter. We are also currently interviewing companies who provide meter-free parking payment services via coins, bills and credit cards. One can only imagine the beauty of this village without 1,100 parking stanchions.

Residents and merchants who purchase yearly parking passes must display them clearly to avoid a violation. At present, our parking enforcement officers do not have the capability to access the entire database, so the visual inspection is required.

Unfortunately, this time of year is also property tax season. Any resident who believes their home value is inaccurate after reviewing the new tentative tax roll, available in Village Hall or online Feb. 1, may grieve the value on Feb. 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Applications will be available online and at Village Hall. Residents are required to make duplicates of the application and any supporting data.

If you missed the tax payment deadline of Dec. 31, 2013, the resulting penalty is not a local decision, rather New York State imposed. The same is true for the lien sale for unpaid taxes that takes place before March 20. The village, by choice, does not print the names of the delinquent taxpayers but, per statute, must identify the parcels by section, block and lot number in the newspaper of record.

The $50 fee for village alarm permits was also due on Jan. 1, 2014, with a grace period extending until Feb. 1. If the police must respond to an alarm with an expired or non-renewed permit, the owner will receive an appearance ticket requiring attendance at our local court. Each calendar year, residents are permitted two false alarm responses without charge, then a third response costs $25, and a fourth costs $50. These accumulated charges are billed yearly.

Continuing on the police front, in light of the recent plight of the autistic young man in Long Island City, Chief Satriale asked me to reiterate that our police department asks that you let them know if you have anyone in your home requiring special needs or a different approach to assistance, be it a wheelchair-bound parent or a child on the autism spectrum. Knowing your specific needs makes for better policing.

The first of the year also signals a flip-flop in garbage schedule pick-up to fairly even out all the Monday holidays across the village. A paper schedule was mailed to all residents and the same is now online as well.

On this subject, I want to thank our stellar Department of Public Works employees for the top notch job they did during all of the recent storms with special kudos for even picking up recycling immediately post-blizzard. We have a great team here at Village Hall.