Under the “Finneran Law” (a 1982 New York law applicable only in Greenburgh), only the Town’s unincorporated areas are required to pay for Greenburgh’s two separate parks and recreation departments (each of which maintains its own set of commissioners, summer camps, programs and physical facilities) (“Parks & Rec”).
The Town’s incorporated villages that opt out of Greenburgh Parks & Rec are therefore exempt from paying property taxes to support those two departments; however, their residents retain access to all of Greenburgh’s parks and recreational facilities, with one exception: residents of villages that opt out of Greenburgh Parks & Rec may not access the pools and tennis courts at Anthony F. Veteran Park.
Within six months of Finneran’s enactment in 1982, all six existing incorporated villages in Greenburgh chose to opt out of Greenburgh Parks & Rec and thus were legally excused from having to pay taxes to support it. The residents of the six villages continue to have access to those parks, and our research shows that so too would the residents of Edgemont -- if the village chooses the same path.
Edgemont’s incorporation would put Edgemont on the same legal footing as all other incorporated villages in Greenburgh: Under the Finneran Law, the Village of Edgemont will have the right to decide whether to opt out of Greenburgh’s Parks & Rec. Opting out would save Edgemont approximately $2 million dollars in annual taxes, but our residents would lose access only to the pools and tennis courts at Anthony F. Veteran Park. Like the residents of all other villages in Greenburgh, even if we opt out, we would still enjoy access to all other Greenburgh park and recreational facilities. When it was adopted, the Finneran law gave each village the right to hold a public referendum on this issue. If Edgemont incorporates and exercises the same rights under Finneran that the other villages were given, Edgemont residents could decide for themselves, by a democratic vote, whether the $2 million in savings is worth the tradeoff of losing access to Anthony F. Veteran Park. To understand the economic impact of the pool, please review the Parks and Rec page.
Another possibility is that the Town might wish to capture the revenue it receives from Edgemont residents who use the pool. The Town could consider seeking an amendment to the Finneran Law to allow Edgemont residents to pay for access to Anthony F. Veteran Park.
Condition of Anthony F. Veteran Pool
The Town’s website displays a 2010 engineering report that concludes that the pools at Anthony F. Veteran Park have outlived their useful life and will require replacement at a cost of $11+ million in 2016. If Edgemont remains unincorporated, or incorporates and votes to continue paying for Greenburgh Parks & Rec, Edgemont taxpayers may be saddled with an additional $2.7 million of debt to pay for the replacement costs of the pools at Anthony F. Veteran Park.
Alternatives to Anthony F. Veteran Park
Anthony F. Veteran Park is not the only pool available to Edgemont residents. Sprain Ridge Park, a Westchester County park, is currently undergoing an $8.8 million renovation and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017. Sprain Ridge Park hosts several large pools and is located on Jackson Avenue, just 2.1 miles from the center of Edgemont (virtually equidistant to AFV’s 2.7 miles from that spot). We already support and enjoy access to this park through our Westchester County taxes.
Additionally, the Village of Edgemont government might consider whether to acquire a private swim club in the area; purchase or subsidize access to a private swim club for Edgemont residents; or purchase access to other nearby municipal pools.
The EIC’s preliminary research indicates that Maplewood Swim and Tennis Club (located the same approximate two miles from Edgemont as AFV and SR), may present viable summer swimming options for Village of Edgemont residents. Maplewood may be open to negotiating with the Village of Edgemont for discounted or bulk-rate memberships for Edgemont residents.
While nobody has a crystal ball, our elected Village of Edgemont officials will be charged with making decisions that are in the best interests of Edgemont residents. The most important part of this analysis is that we can expect to have choices. Our potential savings of over $2 million in tax payments for Greenburgh Parks & Rec will give the Village flexibility and options.