What is the process for incorporation?
New York State law clearly spells out the process for incorporation in NYS Village Law Article 2:
- File petition with signatures of 20% of inhabitants in proposed village
- Town certifies petition valid; or, validity is litigated
- Vote held within 60 days of certification and requires simple majority to pass
- Upon incorporation, election for mayor and trustees must be held within 60 days
- Village board can hire manager, pass laws, form committees, and negotiate for village services
3. SERVICE ENGAGEMENT
- All town services continue uninterrupted until June 1 the year after incorporation
- Village becomes responsible for all municipal services
- Town transfers 7/12 of town taxes collected from village to finance services
How are villages governed?
A mayor and board of trustees, consisting of Edgemont residents serving on a volunteer basis, will be elected within 60 days of incorporation. A nonpartisan nominating committee can endorse a slate. The governing bodies of most villages in Westchester are elected at-large for two-year or three-year terms.
The mayor and trustees will serve as the legislative body of the Village and establish all priorities and policies (click here for an example from the Village of Irvington). They will enact, by resolution, all Village laws and approve annual Village operating and capital budgets and the issuance of indebtedness. The board of trustees will work with both the Village’s professional staff and its appointed volunteer boards and commissions (e.g. zoning board).
As villagers, Edgemont residents would remain Greenburgh residents and retain the ability to vote for Town Board, including the Town Supervisor.
Who will run the day-to-day operations of the Village; where will they be housed; and how much does that function cost?
Most Westchester villages and towns are administered by a professional village manager, appointed by the governing body, to oversee all village services, contracts, and employees. The Town of Greenburgh is currently managed by an elected politician, making it one of the few municipalities in Westchester that does not utilize professional management.
The administrative function of villages also includes a treasurer and clerk; in some cases, those roles overlap and may be performed by the same individual(s). Villages of Edgemont's size frequently retain specialty law firms for legal services on an as-needed basis.
Newly incorporated U.S. municipalities generally rent administrative space until the community has developed a long-term capital plan.
The total estimated cost of administration for peer villages--including management and building department employees, legal and other professional fees, office space, equipment, and insurance-- is approximately $2 million. Click here for Edgemont's projected administration budget, which was modeled based on the staffing levels and costs of area villages.
What authority will Edgemont have over land use?
As an incorporated village, Edgemont’s governing body would be required to establish a zoning board and may also appoint a planning board; both would be populated by Edgemont residents. The Village (rather than the Town) would assume full authority over land-use matters, subject to all relevant state and federal laws, and develop an Edgemont-focused comprehensive plan (click here for Rye Brook example), for which the EIC included $300,000 in the financial feasibility study.
The Village would likely establish its own building department managed by a building inspector who would serve as the code enforcement official for the Village. The individual would have administrative authority over the land-use process, and maintain New York State certification for the administration and enforcement of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Codes.
A typical building department for a village of Edgemont's size includes a building inspector, assistant building inspector, and office assistant with a total budget in the range of $300,000 - $400,000 (click here for Rye Brook example), the costs of which are included in the $2 million administration cost estimate referenced above. The Village would charge permit fees to offset department expenditures; villages of Edgemont's size and demographics generally realize approximately $500,000 of associated revenues annually.
The Village would have the option, but not the obligation, to establish a justice court. The financial feasibility study assumes that the Village will not, initially, establish its own judicial function but rather will continue to utilize the Greenburgh Town Court, the expenses of which are funded via the Town-wide “A” budget. (Note: Rye Brook, Pelham, Pelham Manor, and Ossining are among the Westchester villages that use town courts.)
If Edgemont incorporates in 2018, the Town is obligated to provide, without discrimination, all of the services that Edgemont currently receives today from the date of incorporation to June 1, 2019. Town police protection services are required indefinitely under law, unless and until Edgemont establishes a village police force or otherwise secures police services via contract.
The incorporation feasibility study includes nearly $1.7 million for transition costs, which may be financed using tax anticipation notes (TANs) and paid back over a 5-year period under NY Local Finance Law. The EIC expects that the governing body of a newly incorporated Edgemont will retain professionals with deep local government experience to guide the Village through the transition process.
Click here for New York laws relating to transition.
For a more detailed overview of the incorporation process, click below: