2013-14 Priorities

The Board of Trustees hereby establishes five major priorities for the upcoming fiscal year (June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014).  It is our primary focus to preserve and improve the quality of life in the Village, provide affordable housing options to our residents and the region, improve the economic vitality of our downtown area, deliver services to our residents efficiently while maintaining a solid financial footing for the Village, and become more sustainable as a community.

Quality of Life
The new O’Hara Nature Center on Mountain Road opened in September 2012.  We will continue to expand the use of the Nature Center in order to provide our residents and visitors with a unique opportunity for enjoyment of a vast outdoor resource, as well as environmental education for adults and students. It will provide exposure to the natural resources available in our extensive trails network. 

We will continue to vigorously pursue solutions to the flooding problem in various areas of our Village, including along the Hudson River.  Using appropriated local funding, we will complete important flood control projects while seeking outside sources of funding to augment the local budget impact.

We will also work to implement changes to the existing Industrial zoning and continue to involve residents in dialogue about our waterfront’s future.  We will continue to support the implement the newly restructured Tree Preservation Code to better protect and preserve the natural resources that make our Village a special place to live.  

We will strive to make our community more livable by implementing “Smart Growth” techniques and by making our community more walkable.  We will also begin the planning necessary to review and update the 2003 Comprehensive Plan to help guide our future growth by ensuring that it is still relevant nearly a decade later.

Our quality of life is greatly impacted by the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.  We will review all aspects of traffic and pedestrian safety and implement changes necessary to improve it.

Our village life is also enhanced and the Village government functions best, when most citizens are fully informed about village issues and many become involved in rewarding opportunities on Village committees. Citizens who serve can take on important leadership roles. We will ensure that all of our volunteers have an opportunity to serve in an environment of inclusiveness and acceptance.  We will redouble our efforts to reach out, inform and encourage new engagement in village life and support those who wish to be leaders in our Village through increased volunteerism.

Affordable Housing
Making housing available to seniors and moderate income individuals and families is crucial to making Irvington a diverse and vibrant community.  The lack of available and affordable housing is a systemic problem in this County and throughout our region.  We will continue to support the efforts of the newly-formed Housing Committee to build support for affordable housing from within our community and we will support these grassroots efforts by implementing robust legislation to promote meaningful development of affordable housing in the Village.

Downtown Economy
The Main Street area is the historic and economic heart of our Village.  We will focus concerted effort to enhance and preserve Main Street’s historic character while expanding its economic vitality.  Last year, we formed a committee of very capable local residents to finish the process of procuring historic district status from the State of New York   We will continue supporting the activities of the Committee and, at the appropriate time, we will carefully consider any recommendations made by the Committee.

While preserving the unique historic character of Irvington, we also wish to expand the economic vitality of the Main Street area. These two efforts are mutually supportive.  We will more widely publicize a user-friendly guide and web site for prospective new business owners who wish to call Irvington’s Main Street a new home for their business.  We will build upon our newly-revised sign regulations and continue to work to improve municipal signage.  To further preserve the charm of Main Street, we will develop a unified “Streetscape” to establish a consistent design for such elements as sidewalks, signs, curbing, trees, flowers, tree wells, trash and recycling receptacles, benches, lighting and other features.  Finally, we will continue the study of the exterior conditions of the signature Main Street building, the Irvington Town Hall and expand the use of the newly-renovated Tiffany Reading Room Restoration, which continues to be a unique attraction that adds to the quality of life in the Village. 

We will continue to work closely with the Rivertowns Tourism Board, Historic Hudson River Towns and our neighboring villages to develop focused, cost-effective efforts to bring more visitors to Historic Irvington.

Efficiency of Services and Financial Strength
The recent recession and ongoing global economic factors have stretched our residents’ budgets along with the Village’s resources.  These economic pressures make it more important than ever to devote a significant proportion of our time to planning the course for the Village’s financial future.

While our residents’ budgets are stretched thin, the need for Village services remains high.  One significant way to continue to deliver a high level of service to our residents while keeping taxes within the newly-implemented State property tax levy cap is to become more efficient at delivering those needed services.  Simply put, our productivity must continue to increase.  We will improve productivity by streamlining the building/renovation approval process, fostering an environment of cooperation between various Village Boards and Committees, and developing an automated building application process.  Beyond improvements in the building/renovation process, we will undertake a Village-wide review of all processes to determine whether further efficiencies can be realized, especially through the investment in improved technology. Efficiencies will continue to be found in smart partnering with our neighboring villages. 

We believe that for Irvington to remain financially strong and environmentally responsible, we must become more sustainable in our operations and in our residents’ daily lives.  

In recent years, there have been several worthy initiatives to address the issue of sustainability.  Among those are the 2008 Irvington Climate Protection Task Force Report, the activities of the Green Policy Task Force, most notably the “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” program, the Climate Smart Pledge and the related Climate Smart Action Plan from 2012/13.  Together, these and other initiatives produced dozens of recommendations to make Irvington more sustainable.  The Board is committed to unifying its approach to sustainability and climate change by creating a “Comprehensive Environmental Policy”.

By creating a unified approach, we will be more focused in our efforts to encourage our residents to become more energy efficient by supporting the use of green technologies such as solar energy, electric vehicles and green building techniques.  We will continue to support intermunicipal and regional efforts, especially those that improve public outreach and education on topics of sustainability.