For the past four plus years, I have been blessed to be a member of the New Rochelle City Council. During this time, I am grateful to have made many new friends as I have worked tirelessly on behalf of my district and my city. Although much has been accomplished thus far, there is still much to get done. Accordingly, it is with tremendous joy that I announce my intention of seeking another term as the New Rochelle City Council representative of District 3. (more…)
I am proud to announce that the City of New Rochelle and the City School District of New Rochelle have entered into a historic partnership designed to eliminate opportunity gaps, barriers, and challenges facing youth in our community, namely boys and young men of color. At the March 17th, 2015 council legislative meeting, an ordinance was unanimously passed to retain the services of a consultant to assist New Rochelle in creating an action plan for the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge”. The costs of the consulting services are not expected to exceed $20,000.00, of which the City School District will fund half. (more…)
I am happy to announce that at last night’s council meeting, there was unanimous support for an idea that I proposed for a committee on community policing. This 15 person committee, which will be selected by the City Manager and Police Commissioner, will be co-chaired by Cathryn Lavery, PhD., Chair & Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Criminal Justice from Iona College, and Michele Rodney, Esq., Dean of Criminal Justice from Monroe College. New Rochelle is fortunate to have the support of our institutions of higher learning and I expect greatness to result from this process. Please see my below memorandum which outlines what the Committee on Community Policing is all about. (more…)
Please read my article on page 23 of Glorify, the Bethesda Church in New Rochelle’s newsletter.
I am proud to have been able to work on numerous projects that have contributed to the well being of our community. The following newsletter highlights some of this work. Stay tuned for more updates as I seek to keep our district and city informed about issues that affect us all.
The NY Youth Works program (an initiative led by Governor Cuomo) seeks to create opportunities for targeted groups in our society that face chronic unemployment. A result of this project is a collaboration between the City of New Rochelle, and the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority (NRMHA). This joint effort, along with the monies secured from Youth Works has located over a quarter of a million dollars in job training and job placement money.
In addition, through the efforts of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board, two separate grants totaling $138,000.00 each were awarded to the City of New Rochelle and to NRMHA individually. The grants are designed to serve similar populations but with different purposes.
The first part of this two grant process initiated by the NRHMA has not only begun, but it has started off with a bang with last week’s graduation ceremony for 14 young people that completed an arduous eight week construction training course. With an economy on a rebound, and investment dollars being injected into our community, NRMHA took a lead role to provide opportunities for careers in the construction trade. The NRMHA designated the National Builders Association to provide construction training to those participating in the project. Fourteen young people, aged 18-24, were provided with pre-apprenticeship construction training skills designed to get their careers kickstarted. Out of those 14, four were already placed in the Heritage Homes redevelopment project while more hires are expected to be made shortly both in that project, as well as other projects that exist in New Rochelle. A second construction training course is slated to begin in early 2013.
The New Rochelle Youth Bureau through the City of New Rochelle expects their grant to come online in early 2013 as well. This will ultimately complete the two pronged process of utilizing these NY Youth Work funds to bring economic development to New Rochelle. I suspect that their program will be equally creative and effective in creating a pipeline from training to actual jobs. Until then, we as a community must continue to work to create positive opportunities for all of our residents both one day, and one person at a time.
As another year comes to an end, another difficult budget was passed by my colleagues and me on the New Rochelle City Council. When considering the New York State unfunded mandates, recession induced declining revenues, and a diminishing property tax base largely created by individual property reassessments, it becomes that much harder to provide the core services that allow New Rochelle to function properly.
However, in this budget, we were able to avoid layoffs, keep minimum manning levels in the Fire Department steady at 27 per shift, and maintain leaf pickup services that do not require residents to bag their own leaves. Additionally, key investments were made with an eye on the future, including studies to find greater efficiencies in the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department. Moreover, monies were set aside for additional capital improvement projects, and greater marketing tools for our Department of Development to attract new businesses. All of this was done with a tax increase of 6.99% which amounts to a 1% increase on the total tax bill for the average New Rochelle homeowner.
It is always tough to ask taxpayers – including myself – to pay an increased rate on their property tax bill, especially in these tough economic times. As we deal with the aftermath of the “Great Recession” and become adjusted to our realities of this “new normal it is imperative that we grow our way out of this situation as opposed to the mentality of “cut, cut, cut” until there is nothing left. This is especially true with a workforce that is already at dangerously low levels.
With a rebounding economy ripe for investment dollars, New Rochelle has an opportunity to take advantage of our tremendous natural assets. Much work has already been done, especially in our downtown; it is time for us to reach our potential as the “Queen City of the Sound”.
Despite the challenges associated with running a local city government such as New Rochelle, results can be achieved if the right teamwork is present. With so many issues to deal with at any given moment, it is often best to combine them into one workable solution. With that being said, I am happy to announce that New Rochelle will partake in Governor Cuomo’s “NY Youth Works Program”.
This program was signed into law on December 9, 2011, and was designed to encourage businesses to hire unemployed and disadvantaged youth by providing businesses with tax incentives. Under this plan, many objectives can be reached simultaneously, including economic development, job creation, and overall concerns surrounding the plight of our under performing youth.
At a seminar recently held to provide prospective employers, community organizations, government officials and others with more information about the NY Youth Works Program, there was a high level of energy as many stakeholders from the New Rochelle community expressed interest in becoming a participant. In order to be eligible, both businesses and employees must undergo a minimal certification process. With the already high level of interest that has been expressed, I believe that we are off to a great start.
However, in order to make this program a complete success and achieve its maximum potential, there must be a collaborative effort. This program is capable of either being very successful or very unsuccessful; my intentions are for the former.
For more information, please log onto https://labor.ny.gov/careerservices/youth-tax-credit.shtm.
I am truly humbled by the overwhelming amount of support I received in this most recent election. Preliminary results show that 87% of New Rochelle District Three residents chose to vote for me which is a testament to the hard work I have poured into this job for the past ten months. But this victory is not about me, it is about us and the work that we will do together for the next four years.
To all of the volunteers, campaign contributors, supporters, and well-wishers, WE DID IT! This election symbolized more than winning and losing. It represented progress versus stagnation, it represented unity as opposed to divisiveness, and most importantly it represented a community that cares about its future.
In the next few weeks, I will lay out a plan with some goals which I hope the Third District and City of New Rochelle can achieve during my next four year term. In the meantime, I’m going to be working hard as we will deal with one of the most difficult budgets that the city has ever experienced.
Once again, thank you all and let’s go!
As my first year representing District 3 draws to a close, I want
to highlight for you some of the many topics I have been ad-
dressing on City Council.
The spring’s biggest political challenge was to develop a fair and representative new map of city council districts. The issue elicited passionate and diverse opinions, since the final map would help shape policy in New Rochelle for the next three local elections. That’s why I worked so hard to consult with members of our community to develop a plan that respected neighborhoods and enhanced the opportunity for minority representation on Council.