Federal Disaster Relief Following President Trump’s March 20 Disaster Declaration that a major disaster exists in New York and opening up federal assistance through FEMA, we have requested further detail from our federal representative on federal funding available for crisis counseling as well as to local governments and “certain private nonprofit organizations” for emergency protective measures.
From the State:
Governor Emergency Order – No Non-Essential Gatherings
The Governor just issued earlier this evening an Executive Order: “Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g., parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time.”
Unemployment Applications Availability of online application for benefits either has been restored or is about to be restored, per Governor’s Office.
Resumption of I-684 Paving Project (Katonah) I have confirmed with the Governor’s Office that, as planned following last Fall’s suspension of the project due to cold temperatures, the project will resume once asphalt plants have re-opened. The NYS Department of Transportation Engineer in Charge of the project advised us today, “So far, remobilizing middle of April.”
No Extension of Deadline for Payment of Real Property Taxes There has been no extension. This is both a New York State and also Westchester County law matter. The Town of Bedford does not have the authority to extend the deadline. There is confusion stemming from the Governor’s Emergency Order which allows for waiver of penalty and interest for quarterly and annual filers of sales tax payments and returns unable to file or pay on time due to COVID-19. It does not apply to real property taxes.
From the County:
Current Westchester Data
14,684 (+4,037) Tests done
2,894 (+1,021) Cases of COVID-19
2,635/20,875 hospitalized (13%)
621 ICU hospitalization (24%)
42 Westchester Hospitalizations
18 Westchester ICU
Outside of New York City, Westchester County has had the most testing in NYS.
Number of Bedford Residents Tested Positive – No Change Today Today’s report from Westchester County Department of Health continues to show six individuals who were tested positive. Reader of yesterday’s update asked: “Being a Bedford resident can I get some additional data?? Of the 6 people who tested positive…how many are in the hospital, how many died and what are the ages? I don’t need names obviously” My reply: Thanks for your e-mail. I understand that the information you requested is of interest and relevance, however, we are not provided any of that data. Even if we were, the stringent non-disclosure agreement prohibits our disclosing it.
Rear-Door Boarding Bee-Line Buses Recognizing the vital service the Bee-Line bus system provides to Westchester County, and the imperative need to protect the drivers of these buses, County Executive George Latimer is directing that starting today, all passengers must now enter and exit buses from the rear-door. Additionally, the first three rows of seats on all fixed route transit buses will be roped off in an effort to further distance the passengers from drivers. Special accommodations will be made for handicapped passengers. The move was made to ensure social distancing from drivers, while still keeping customers a priority. Bee Line buses will operate without charge for the time being.
Department of Social Services Offices Remain open for in-person business and although reduced in terms of staffing, offer digital and phone-based support to needy populations.
County Parks Open – County parks are open and nature parks are open. Children’s playgrounds are closed. Please note, however, the County is closing children’s playgrounds as they cannot be reliably and regularly sanitized in a fashion which accounts for their heavy usage. Other county parks will remain open in order to provide a venue for open air, spatially separated recreation. County staff is monitoring to ensure that people are social distancing. The County is assessing whether to open Playland, as well as its pools and beaches, later in the summer. The County is leaving Golf courses open, as there is an inherent degree of social distancing associated with the sport; operational changes designed to keep players socially distanced will accompany this decision. It is my expectation that the Governor’s Order today may affect these decisions.
Childcare for Essential Employees As a directive from the Governor’s office and NYS Education Department every school district is required to provide a plan to the County for childcare services for essential employees (police, fire, EMS, Corrections, grocery stores, construction workers and manufacturers of equipment among others), and food distribution. County is the collector of the plans. This is a work in progress.
Need Information from County on COVID-19 Might be fastest to send an e-mail to email@example.com, though also can call 211 or the County hotline of 866-588-0195 (8 AM to 8 PM) for general questions and 888-364-3065 if you have symptoms and believe you may need to be tested. There also is reliable and accurate information from the WCDOH at https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus
- If you have symptoms of Covid-19
- Resources for Bedford Seniors
- Special Grocery Store Hours for Seniors
- Grocery Delivery/Pick up
- Restaurant Delivery/Pick up
- Local Eateries that Deliver
- Prescription Delivery
- Mental Health Resources
- Food Assistance
- Other Services
- Links for Small Businesses
- Donate Blood
My Town Board colleagues and I are entrusted not only to do everything possible to protect the health of our community but also the future of Bedford. I can let you know the steps I have taken with respect to the Town’s businesses, budget and taxpayers. I have instructed my department heads to review their budgets line by line to identify revenue streams that will be affected (such as mortgage recording taxes, sales taxes, fines and penalties, parking) all of which comprise a significant percentage of overall revenues and to identify expenses not critical to essential Town operations.
In reviewing our budget, it does not necessarily mean that we will slash every non-essential expense, but rather that, in making financial decisions, we have as good an understanding as reasonably possible.
We are proceeding cautiously. We do not wish to make irrevocable decisions. We are taking one step at a time but attempting to know what the next step might be.
Keeping the Bedford Economy Running to the Extent We Can
All of this is guesstimating at this juncture since we don’t know the duration of the crisis, when “normal” will return, what “normal” will be and the extent of the permanent damage rendered to the national and our local economy. How many businesses small and large will be bankrupted? To what extent will the enormous federal stimulus program rescue businesses? To what extent will commerce be fundamentally altered?
What we can do is keep our Building Department issuing building permits and to resume the work of our permitting boards and commissions to enable the issuance of approvals and permits key to construction and other work going forward.
Here, too, I have asked our Town counsel, boards, commissions and staff to gear this up.
Clean Up Weekend Originally scheduled for the first weekend in May, we are postponing it. No decision has been made for a re-scheduled date or for the program itself. We recognize that this is an important service to the community particularly since private carters do not provide bulk pickup as part of their regular charge.
Recreation & Parks Program Registration Postponed
As has been anticipated, program registration will not begin tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, on-line or otherwise. We will keep you updated as further decisions are made to postpone or cancel scheduled programming. For further information, visit our Recreation & Parks on our website.
Coming up: Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19
I will hold a virtual Town Hall (via Zoom) on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 PM, the format for which will be an update which I will provide, followed by State Senator Shelley Mayer, Assembly member David Buchwald and County Legislator Kitley Covill.
PLEASE NOTE: This meeting will also be livestreamed on our website: bedfordny.gov
Click “Town Meetings and Agendas”
then “Town Board Meetings”
look for the livestream button
Next Week – Virtual Town Hall
I also will update the community periodically myself early the week of March 30 by means of Zoom. Please check back.
REMINDER: Please protect our police, firefighters, EMS and other emergency responders.
There is a lag time between positive test and when it is disclosed to police and emergency responders. There is a dire shortage of personal protective equipment such as masks and full protective gear. That means they could make a call – possibly to you – not knowing that you tested positive. If you tested positive, please call your fire department/VAC to advise them.
COVID-19 “Caution” Signs for the Bedford Community
From the BFD for the Bedford Community: “We at BFD have created and posted a series of 5 Caution Signs that people can print at home to warn first responders about levels of symptoms and exposure to COVID-19.” This link contains the link to the pdfs to print. Place one on your door to help inform our local emergency workers before entering your home.
PARENTS: We have observed ourselves and have reports throughout town of high school and young adults, skateboarding together, playing basketball and just “hanging out” in very close quarters. Please try to keep your children from gathering in groups. They are endangering themselves and endangering others when they do so.
The Governor urges all to stay home if they are able to and if you do go out, to observe social distancing.
As I mentioned yesterday, I wish to clarify that what is intended is not to be going out mingling with people, however, walking and going outside to get exercise is encouraged. Apologies for creating any confusion.