Column: Numbers are wrong, but these girls sing just right

BelmontColumnWith a mixture of confusion and dismay, I recently read a July article from a, weekly paper. The article focused on Harrison properties and seems to have created numbers, which are hard to verify and certainly did not come from our offices.

Moreover, the article quotes realtors in Larchmont, when several Harrison/Rye realtors would have been glad to give a more insightful picture of Harrison’s real estate market.

While it is true that Harrison has lost monies due to certioraris and Small Claims Assessment Reviews, so has every town in Westchester County and, in fact, based on county apportionments, Harrison has fared better than most towns. Our caseloads have been steadily declining since 2009, while our sales volume has been gradually increasing, both good trends for our town.

As of July 27, Harrison has had more than 100 sales of real estate properties, which indicates an improvement from the prior year at the same period. Positive images, such as a well-received supermarket and six new store ribbon cuttings in recent months, suggest upward trending as well. I am optimistic that this direction will continue and look forward to seeing new residents and businesses settle in our community.

On a related note, as we continue to bring our offices in to the 21st century, the assessment office will be closed on Wednesday, Aug. 7, through Wednesday, Aug. 14 for office upgrades. The assessment office will be completing a scanning project of all property record cards with an eye to an on-line access portal in 2014. We are sorry for the interruption of services, but we think you will like the results when fully-implemented. Thanks for your patience.

In conjunction with the planning phase of Harrison Public Library’s downtown branch, library director Galina Chernykh recently attended the Planning and Design of Public Libraries summer program at Harvard University. The program provided a multitude of learning opportunities. Space planning and program functionality are key elements in providing efficient delivery of essential library services. Emerging trends and cutting edge systems were the focus as Ms. Chernykh networked with industry experts.

As plans for upgrading the physical plant of the facility continue, I look forward to seeing the library add to the array of educational, cultural and recreational opportunities. These new programs will be available to thousands of patrons and I believe that, by building on the exceptional programs currently offered through the library, literacy will be promoted and important educational objectives will be advanced. In addition, this project has the potential to revitalize our town and add to Harrison’s appeal.

On a related note, I am happy to see that our corporate neighbors are supporting the library renovation. The Jarden Corporation pledged $100,000 as part of a corporate matching campaign. For every $2 contributed by other corporate entities, Jarden will match $1 dollar up to $100,000. In appreciation of this generous gesture, the Jarden Corporation will be given the opportunity of renaming the library’s new teen center the Marmot Teen Center.

In closing, I would like to bring your attention to a local talent show currently featuring two Harrison residents. Alyson Isbrandtsen and Brooke Chaco are still in the running at Westchester Burger’s “Westchester Idol.” Every Monday, in July and August, Westchester Burger Company in Rye Brook hosts contestants and their fans as the singers compete for a grand prize of $2,500. I had the pleasure of attending this week’s sing-off and was quite impressed with the talent. As Harrison contestants are still in the competition, I urge you to come out and support their efforts.

The next “Lunch with the Mayor” is on Friday, Aug. 2, and I will be at Vasi Delicatessen located at 181 Underhill Ave. in West Harrison. On Friday, Aug. 9, I will be at N.Y. Pizza Station located at 370 Halstead Ave. in downtown Harrison. I will be at these locations from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and look forward to meeting with residents and talking about issues facing our community.