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Pelham Board Discusses Tax Cap Override, Robberies

PELHAM, N.Y. – The Pelham Board of Trustees held a public hearing Tuesday night to draft a resolution to override the property tax cap levy, though no members of the public were in attendance.  The board also warned Pelham residents of recent robberies in the area, voted to renew the village’s refuse contract and talked about the possibility of receiving FEMA aid to cover damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

No residents were present during the public hearing for the proposed local law to override the property tax cap, but Mayor Ed Hotchkiss and Trustee Geoff Lewis said  if approved, the law would not necessarily mean the board would surpass tax levy increases of 2 percent.

“The intention of this law, if adopted, is that it gives the flexibility to go past that cap,” Hotchkiss said. “It doesn’t mean that we have to use it, but it just means the flexibility.”

Lewis said it is important that the board discuss this matter now and not later.

“In the event that we have to exceed the cap, you have to have this resolution in place ahead of time, which is the only reason why we’re doing this now,” Lewis said.

Early in the meeting, Hotchkiss spoke of armed robberies that occurred in January and February near the Pelham Metro North train station. He urged residents of Pelham to be alert of their surroundings.

“The police are still collaborating with other police departments and trying to find the person who did this,” Hotchkiss said. “There’s nothing yet that has been found, but we still just want to remind people that we are in Pelham, it is a suburban community and you need to always be aware.”

The board also renewed the sanitation contract between the Village of Pelham and AAA Carting for one year. The unanimous approval of the $572,140.59 contract, which will run from March 1, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2013, brings about some changes to the normal organic pickup. Instead of the Monday and Tuesday pickup in different parts of the village, organic pickup will take place village-wide on Wednesday.

Notably, Village Administrator Rober Yamuder said FEMA aid to help with costs of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene could be on the way.

“We put in for about $45,000 worth of reimbursements,” he said of the village’s FEMA application. “Right now, as far as the application process goes, we’re one of 21 still eligible to get this money in the county. So, again the rest is just paperwork from here on out.”

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