New voice, same propaganda on the incorporation of Edgemont | Letters to the Editor

A new pro-incorporation voice surfaced in last week’s Inquirer [“Resident challenges official’s stance on Edgemont incorporation,” Jan. 14] accusing Assemblyman Tom Abinanti of making misleading statements about Edgemont’s incorporation. Unfortunately, Mr. Breitbart’s allegations were just a rehash of propaganda promulgated by the Edgemont Incorporation Committee (EIC).

Let’s take Mr. Breitbart’s statements one by one.

Mr Breitbart says a new law should lead to more openness. I completely agree, and that is exactly what Mr. Abinanti’s bill does. This ensures that the analysis considers the impact on all those affected by the incorporation, not just the area that wishes to incorporate. This allows all those affected to have a say, not just a small minority of those affected. In fact, it makes it easier to put the referendum on the ballot by removing the requirement that all regular residents must be listed.

Mr. Breitbart says Edgemont residents are being discriminated against since they do not have the same voting rights for incorporation that Greenburgh residents have had for the past hundred years. By the time all of the Greenburgh villages incorporated, only landowners could sign the petition and no women were allowed to vote. Is that what Mr. Breitbart is suggesting? The laws change over the years. Mr. Abinanti’s proposal does not take the vote away from Edgemont, but extends it to all concerned. Blocking everyone involved is removing voters, not the other way around.

Mr Breitbart alleges that the claim that Greenburgh will lose 25% of its tax revenue is misleading. This loss is an absolute fact. It is true that Greenburgh could recoup some of these taxes by selling services to Edgemont. But, the price at which the EIC has offered to buy them will leave the city with a shortfall of millions of dollars. The rest of unincorporated Greenburgh (which under current law cannot vote on incorporating Edgemont) is expected to make up the shortfall through municipal service cuts or tax increases. For example, the IEC budget offered no support for parks and recreation or the Theodore Young Community Center. That alone would create a shortfall of $2 million. Similarly, the EIC police proposal creates an additional shortfall of $1-2 million.

The town refused to negotiate with the EIC because the EIC has no authority to negotiate an agreement on behalf of the Village of Edgemont. Only the trustees of the village would have this right.

Finally, the myth that Edgemont pays more than its fair share of taxes must end. Edgemont’s share is based on the relative land value of the entire city. That’s how the system works. Edgemont residents on average probably pay more income taxes than the rest of Greenburgh, the rest of New York State, or the rest of the United States. Edgemont should perhaps become its own country.

Please stop the propaganda. If you want to try to make things better, volunteer for a board or committee instead of wasting time creating another level of government.

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