The EIC was faced with an almost insurmountable problem. It appeared to anyone who seriously and rationally looked at the issue of the incorporation of Edgemont into a new, independent village which would be devoid of all support from the Town of Greenburgh and without the Town’s refined and tested infrastructure, would have to reinvent, recreate and pay for virtually everything that allows a modern community to function. We all recognized this problem instinctively and, perhaps, so did the purveyors of this concept.
Having failed to gain traction by salesmanship, the EIC was forced to resort to “an appeal to authority” rationale. But where does one find an expert to submit a feasibility study that would actually support their improbable position? Answer: They buy one!
Thus, the Feasibility Study.
In fact, the feasibility study was flawed from its inception. The EIC “rolled out” the report with its usual hyperbole, stating that incorporation “worked” based on this report, and a new Government, as outlined in the study, could in fact provide all of Edgemont’s required government, structures and services at an “equal or lower” cost, while offering “equal or better” levels of service. That same evening the EIC held a public meeting, attended by staff from the consulting firms hired by the EIC, affording Edgemont residents little opportunity to even review the report and prepare questions prior to the meeting.
This “Feasibility Study,” was not really a “study,” but instead a slick marketing piece designed to “sell” incorporation to the Edgemont community. Let the buyer beware!
Please consider the following:
1. The report was written by the actual members of the EIC!!!
2. The report preparers were all like-minded individuals with a singular goal, to “sell” incorporation to the Edgemont community. An unbiased study would at least have considered and attempted to answer inconvenient facts and present some opposing views!
3. The preparers compared their projected service and staffing levels to those of other small villages, not to the superior, existing services we currently enjoy from Greenburgh. The study does not address the diminution of the vast service structure we already have.
4. The EIC did not interview any current Greenburgh Department head, or utilize current Edgemont work load statistics, to determine the real requirements needed to bring a new village up to the levels that exist today in our community. Why not? Because such inquiry would have made it abundantly clear that much greater staffing and a far larger budget would be required, thereby rendering their plan far too expensive!
5. THE EIC “FEASIBILITY STUDY” DID NOT FIND EVEN ONE IMPEDIMENT TO INCORPORATION IN THEIR REPORT!! NOT ONE SERVICE REDUCTION, NOT ONE CENT IN ADDITIONAL SPENDING AND PROJECTS NO ADDITIONAL RISK. REALLY??? THIS LACK OF EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF FAIRNESS ALONE WOULD DISQUALIFY THIS REPORT.
6. Truth and real time fact have indeed caught up with the EIC. As the EIC Feasibility study came under scrutiny for the first time, the EIC felt compelled to admit certain obvious failures of the very plan they had paid the consultants to tout. For example, the EIC has now jettisoned its plan, as outlined in the feasibility study, for the creation of “ground up” Police and Public Works Departments. Instead they have scrambled to present the concept of Inter-Municipal Agreements (IMAs), which would have a new Edgemont Village government (and its taxpayers) purchasing almost all of its services from Greenburgh (!!!) or from some other municipality. Naturally, neither the new enhanced cost nor potential diminished level of services of these IMAs were analyzed, projected or even mentioned in the EIC Feasibility Study. In fact, IMAs cannot even be negotiated until after a successful vote and the election of a new Edgemont Government. (I hope they like surprises!!!) As the majority of the EIC‘s projected Edgemont Village budget falls into these Police and Public Works functions, this new direction alone renders the EIC Feasibility Study utterly moot.
7. Furthermore, the eleventh hour resort to the IMA concept of buying major services from Greenburgh – – even if assumed to be more fiscally and logistically plausible than their original scheme – – serves only to undermine and demolish the whole starting point basic concept of the EIC: the newly substituted plan to negotiate with Greenburgh for essential services negates their pipedream of complete “local control” to be achieved by the new Village, nor does it enhance their concept of an independent “identity” for Edgemont. All it really does is add another layer of government and its attendant additional cost, which will ultimately and permanently be borne by our community.
8. The EIC report is replete with disclaimers, which everyone should read. It shows the document to be the conjectured pipedream that it really is. The “Limitations and Disclaimers” page is duplicated below.
FROM THE EIC FEASIBILITY STUDY, PAGE 67
Appendix B: Limitations and Disclaimers
- This report is not a blueprint for how to run the Village of Edgemont and does not bind a future Village Mayor or Board of Trustees to the assumptions included herein. This study only addresses issues relating to demographics, financial feasibility, and service levels and concludes that the Village could receive enough revenue at current taxation levels to meet core expenditures (including debt service if debt is issued). If Edgemont voters choose to incorporate, they will elect a Village Mayor and Board of Trustees that will ultimately negotiate contracts and set policies and priorities regarding Village service levels, which in turn will influence the actual budget and tax rates.
- The projections set forth herein are estimates for a village that does not yet exist; therefore, readers should not attach undue significance to individual numbers. Any particular number in the analysis will almost certainly differ from the actual number in that year should incorporation occur. However, while specific estimates are unlikely to be exact, the overall findings of the report reflect the contributors’ best knowledge and reflect a realistic assessment of the financial feasibility for the proposed Village of Edgemont.
- The report is intended to inform the community about the financial feasibility of the potential Village of Edgemont based upon certain assumptions rather than constitute an exhaustive study of all issues relating to incorporation. For example, it does not address the process for incorporating, legal matters, the location of facilities, or the transition of governance. These and other criteria (political, social) are beyond the scope of the report yet are important for residents to consider in connection with the decision to incorporate.
- The report includes data available as of the date of the report. The contributors assume no duty to update or supplement the report to reflect any new information that may come to the contributors’ attention thereafter.
- The report does not constitute a position either for or against incorporation of the Village of Edgemont by Zion Public Finance, Inc., The Novak Consulting Group, or any institution or entity with which members or the EIC are affiliated. None of ZPFI, Novak, the EIC or institutions or entities with which EIC members are affiliated is: a) acting in the capacity of an advisor or fiduciary to any entity or any person; or b) providing any legal or other advice with respect to the matters contained or expressed herein. The information contained in this report, including references to New York statutes, is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other advice and should not be relied on in that respect. All information included herein has been obtained from sources that the contributors believe to be accurate and reliable; however, the contributors are not responsible for errors and omissions. The contributors are not responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential or any damages arising out of or in connection with the use of this report.