Column: Times are changing, the village is moving forward

Village Hall has begun a new year with a flurry of initiatives in various stages of evolution.Mayor-Marvin

The project closest to completion is an entire revamp of our village website. Bottom line, the goal is to have everything a resident might need in a very user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing format. The site will have every village form online by department with the goal of completing a transaction without having to come to Village Hall. Also, frequently asked questions by department will be answered and all emergency announcements featured as the site will be updated on a daily basis.

In addition, there will be street maps, parking lot locations and availability, census information, educational links to learn further about topics such as property assessment as well as a link to the library’s new website.

As an added feature, there will be a community link page connecting the user to information about the school, hospital, Chamber of Commerce, businesses and the post office. The link to our cable channel will also allow video streaming of the various Village Board meetings.

In another technological update initiative, our Building Department is transitioning to the “Municity” program with an end goal of making village property records more accessible. Due to be completely rolled out in the next 18 months to two years, residents will be able to access a property’s entire history from home. Meeting minutes will be easily called up as well as the ability to track the processing of building permits and printing necessary forms from home. The new program will increase accessibility, transparency and improve the level and quality of service.

In the parking realm, all of our parking enforcement officers will be carrying handheld computer parking ticketing machines by this March. The elimination of paper tickets will allow more efficient record keeping and issuance errors will decrease. The computer handheld is also the first step in increasing our parking options, be it a phone app feature or multi-space kiosk function and, if a valid ticket is issued, the ability to pay online or by phone. Our ultimate goal would allow residents the ability to park a car and, having no change or in a hurry to catch a train, pay for their parking while sitting on Metro-North.

The mission of all of these changes is to increase our level of service and efficiency to our merchants, visitors and village taxpayers and be in step with other forward-thinking municipalities. We are completely aware that villagers no longer have a life schedule that requires transactions in person from only 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

On other fronts, a committee of school board and village board members will be meeting in the coming weeks to collaborate on the roll-out of the $6.8 million FEMA flood mitigation grant. Long in the bureaucratic pipeline, it is becoming a reality.

Also on the front burner is our review of village-wide lighting. By late February, the consultants will have finished their field work as well as verification and comparison of our current utility costs.

We also continue to negotiate very collegially with all the representative parties concerning repair responsibilities of the Parkway Road Bridge and I am confident we will reach an equitable resolution.

The gentlemen holding two of the most important jobs in Village Hall, Village Administrator Harold Porr and Village Treasurer Robert Fels, will be leaving us at the end of March and April respectively, so we are in the process of seeking replacements who will have all the skills necessary for future demands and services.

Given that we are in the midst of great change to Village Hall staffing, the trustees and I are taking the opportunity to also step back and analyze whether we have the proper staffing and are using the skills of our employees, both full-time and part-time, in the most efficient and productive manner.

New senior staff may also have ideas that further link to the above initiatives. Though a time of great change, we are using the opportunity to make the village as productive and forward thinking as possible.