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October 25, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of October 25

Wow...the Heritage Festival was a tremendous success! After many months of planning, scheduling and coordinating, the Farm Families of Penfield hit a home run in the eyes of more than 2,000 residents and their families who joined the fun at Rothfuss Park. I had the wonderful opportunity to be there for the entire day and I only heard great things about all the activities ─ and yes, the weather cooperated! It was fun and educational for all ages. Congratulations to everyone involved for making this festival a premier event for the community of Penfield during our year-long bicentennial celebration.

Recently a class from RIT joined members of our Trails Committee at Motts Lane to help build a new trail loop to overlook point off of the existing Honey Creek Trail. They also assisted in some trail maintenance and bridge repairs that were very much needed. Nels Carmen provided a lunch talk covering the geology of Irondequoit Creek. I would like to thank Professor Rob Alexander and all of his students for helping to make our trails system a bit better for our residents to enjoy. Also, I want to thank Jim Britt and Nels Carmen of our trails committee for coordinating this wonderful workday event.

At the October 20, 2010 Town Board meeting, the board adopted the 2011 operating budget. This budget continues the board's commitment to hold the line on spending and to keep the tax rate at $2.64, same as last year. Our goal was simple, cut costs where possible and assist our residents who are struggling during these very difficult financial times, while maintaining services. I wish to once again thank all of our department heads for their hard work in the budget preparation, our Comptroller, and a very creative and supportive Town Board.

The Penfield Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting last week which featured the Chief Blogger and Social Media Manager from the Eastman Kodak Company to share with the group how blogs, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, and more are useful marketing tools that can help businesses grow and expand. I continue to be impressed with the information that can be shared that helps support all of our local businesses. As you have heard me say many times...healthy business makes for a healthy community. Please remember to support Penfield businesses.

Speaking of social media, do you know the Town has a Facebook page? Are you aware you can "tweet" with our Communications Team? Log on to www.penfield.org and on the left-hand column click on ‘communications.' It will bring you to the social media portion of our web site so you can join our many followers to keep track of the good things happening in your community.

The Penfield Players have been a very active theater group for more than 40 years, entertaining audiences within our community. Tickets are now on sale for the performance of "The Sunshine Boys." Here's a teaser...Al and Willie as "Lewis and Clark" were top-billed vaudevillians, and now they are not even speaking. CBS requests them for a "History of Comedy" retrospective; a grudging reunion brings the two back together, along with a flood of memories, miseries, and laughs. Please join in on one of the performances that will be held November 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20 at 8 PM at the Community Center. For more details on this wonderful group, please log on to www.penfieldplayers.org  and enjoy the show!

If you have not visited www.renewpenfeld.org  in a while, please log on to receive the most current information on what's new, available rebates and helpful tips to save energy. The heating season is upon us and we are all looking for ways to reduce heating costs.

Thank you for your many comments and interest in this column, my goal is to make it informative, educational, and just plain fun. There are plenty of good things going on in our community and I will continue my best to keep you updated and informed.

Tony
www.lafountain@penfield.org
340-8630 

 


October 21, 2010
Town Adopts 2011 Budget

Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain and the Penfield Town Board adopted the Town's 2011 budget at the October 20 legislative meeting. The adopted $15.2 million budget keeps the Town tax rate flat at the 2010 budget level of $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The Adopted 2011 Budget is about .60% above the 2010 Budget. Salaries and benefits continue to make up more than 68% of the total budget. This is due to a 33% increase in retirement benefits, which resulted in an increase of $280,000 in retirement cost for 2011 and an estimated increase of 13% in medical cost for 2011.

Penfield's property tax rate remains among the lowest in Monroe County and is one of only seven towns in the County with a tax rate below $3.00 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The Town of Penfield receives roughly eight cents ($0.08) of each tax dollar. Monroe County and the school districts share the balance.

Revenue projections for 2011 reflect a lower revenue balance for the fiscal year. There is a decrease of $100,000 from mortgage tax and a decrease of $30,000 in income from local revenues.

"Government has become too large at all levels," said Supervisor Tony LaFountain. "This Town Board was committed to cutting costs, reducing the size of Penfield government, and looking for ways to do more with less. The size of government today did not get to where it got overnight, nor will we get it to where it needs to be overnight; however, Penfield has been, and will continue to be, a leader in less government. We will challenge government at every level to reduce and eliminate unfunded mandates to Penfield residents."

Supervisor LaFountain achieved the flat tax rate with a range of actions including not replacing retiring employees, following through on NYSERDA audit recommendations to reduce energy consumption and costs, reducing use of contractors and doing more projects in-house, and adjusting Recreation programs to better cover costs. A trial four-day/ten-hour workweek with public works employees yielded better efficiency (for example, four set-up/take downs a week for projects instead of five) and reduced energy consumption. Also, elected officials, appointed officials, and department heads will receive no pay increase in 2011; making this the second year with no increase for officials and the first year for staff. A grant for facility improvements at the Penfield Community center will also help to offset costs to the Town.

The Penfield Town Board reviews a multi-year budget, with projections and expected changes for the next three years. The Board bases its outlook on conservative estimates for revenues and a review of the Town's long-term plans and projects. This multi-year outlook is unique among municipalities in Monroe County.

The Adopted 2011 Budget is available online at www.penfield.org  and at the Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Road.

 


October 18, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of Oct 18

Last week I attended the 2010 Business of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Penfield Business Association (PBA), featuring Kitty Van Bortel as the keynote speaker. Kitty turned a $500 investment into Van Bortel Subaru, Ford, and Used Car Center, one of the most successful and respected enterprises in the area. She is an inspiration to every business owner in our community and this region. The award ceremony included the "Daniel Penfield Award" with finalists Wally Ashnault, Jack Best, Sarah Jane Clifford, Dr. Tahmtan Hormozdyaran, and Mary Anne Shew; the "Penfield Business of the Year Award" with the finalists Baker Commodities, Fairport Savings Bank, Family First Federal Credit Union, Mud About You, and the Penfield Fitness & Racquet Club. The "Daniel Penfield Award" went to Jack Best, of Best Times Financial Planning and the "Penfield Business of the Year Award" went to Family First Federal Credit Union. Congratulations to the award winners and all the finalists...healthy business makes for a healthy community!

Legacy at Willow Pond recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a wonderful program that included an opening address and flag lowering, a "walk down memory lane," and a proclamation I had the honor and pleasure of presenting on behalf of the Town Board and the entire Penfield Community. Legacy provides a caring environment, personalized care and services to ensure dignity and quality of life for its residents. Congratulations to the staff and all the residents on their tenth anniversary and for being part of this great community.

Each year the Recreation Department hosts an intern to work with the Town of Penfield as part of their college course requirements. The intern is responsible for putting together a "town-wide event" that includes everything from coming up with an idea, developing the program, and coordinating the event for the community. This year, Josh Dillon from SUNY Brockport joined us for his fall semester. His program will be "Backyard 101," a family educational event on Saturday, November 6 from 11:00AM - 1:00PM at the Community Center. "Backyard 101" is a free and informative program designed to help families discover everything they want to know about the animals that call our backyards "home." Kids can enjoy a nature craft, coloring contest, and animal face painting. For more information or to pre-register call 340-8655. To print the coloring contest image, log on to www.penfield.org . This event is sponsored by Wild Wings, Country Way Garden Center, The Bird House, and Seneca Park Zoo. Josh has a wonderful future in the Recreation field; please join us for this informative and fun event.

Fall and the month of October are synonymous with Fire Prevention and Fire Prevention Week. Please remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, discuss fire prevention with all your family members, and practice EDITH (Emergency Drills in the Home). Nearly 3,000 people die in home fires in the United States each year. Cooking is the number one cause of home fires ─ we do not want anyone in Penfield to have to deal with a fire emergency or lose a friend or relative to a fire.

Last Week I had an opportunity to read a proof of the new "Memories of Penfield" book before it was sent to the printer, and it is terrific! This will make a wonderful gift for a birthday, holiday, Christmas, or special event. Live the history of Penfield through this fascinating collection of personal anecdotes, told by our wonderful residents past and present, and both young and old. "Memories of Penfield" is an oral history of the first 200 years. A special thank you and congratulations to John Taddeo for chairing this effort and to the entire Bicentennial Committee for this successful project.

Here's one more reminder ─ change those batteries in all your smoke alarms and remember: "smoke alarms, a sound you can live with"!

I hope to see you in the community and please let me know what is working well and what we might be able to improve on to better serve you and your family.

Tony
340-8631
supervisor@penfield.org

 

 

 


October 12, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of Oct 11

The Town Hall was full of energy and excitement this past week when more than 100 students and teachers from Harris Hill's fifth grade class came in to listen and learn how Penfield Government operates. I had the pleasure of co-hosting this event with Councilwoman Paula Metzler and members of our staff from Public Works, Planning, Building, Sewer, and the Town Clerk. This program has been going on for more than 10 years and is a wonderful opportunity for our future leaders to learn about the community in which they live and attend school.

We are fortunate to have the relationship with both the Penfield and Webster School Districts to conduct and support these types of programs for the students. Not only is it a learning experience for students, it is a great opportunity for staff to hear what they think about their town and to share ideas on how to improve it for the future generations.

As you read this week's column, we are in the middle of Fall Drop-Off which runs from Thursday, October 14 to Saturday, October 16 at the Highway Garage on Jackson Road. I am pleased to announce that the Volunteers of America (VOA) will join the Drop-off on the 15th and 16th from 8:30AM - 4:00PM so our residents have a one-stop opportunity to donate and dispose of household goods. This is a great opportunity to clear out your homes of those items you no longer have a need for so they may be used by someone less fortunate. For details on items the VOA is interested in receiving, please log on to www.voawny.org . Additionally, for a list of items that are permitted or not permitted at Drop-off, please log on to www.penfield.org .

I spent my lunch break at Legacy at Willow Pond the other day to view all of the wonderful art on display for the sixth annual Penfield Art Association Show and Sale. More than 150 pieces are on display throughout the facility. The show runs through Friday, October 22, ending with the "Meet and Greet Artists Reception" and award ceremony the evening of the 22nd from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Ribbons and monetary awards are contributed by the Legacy and the Penfield Art Association. This is a delightful setting and the residents and staff have been a great host for this show.

The Town Board held a public hearing on the Preliminary Budget last week with several members of the community present to listen to the presentation and offer up their thoughts and comments. The Board has been, and continues to be, committed to reducing costs and cutting spending. This budget holds the tax rate at $2.64 per thousand of assessed valuation, while absorbing increased costs in retirement and health care and reduced revenue in mortgage tax and other local income. The Town Board plans to adopt the Final Budget on October 20.

Some good news on the health care front: I mentioned in my column several months ago that Penfield was one of thirteen Towns/Villages to form a Health Care Consortium to help control and reduce costs. This effort has paid off with the recent quotes we received for the 2011-2013 premiums. We are working on final details and I will share that information and detail over the next few weeks. This effort will help to keep increases below the double-digit jumps we have seen over the last several budget cycles.

Last week the Penfield Central School District held a Grand Opening Celebration to mark the official opening of school facilities after two years of construction and renovation. The event was tied in with the annual Homecoming Festivities. Tours of the High School and Bay Trail Middle School were conducted; there was a dedication of the Chiefs Sign; a community picnic sponsored by the Penfield Boosters Club; a ribbon- cutting ceremony for the stadium field; recognition of Senior Athletes; and a homecoming game. I would like to congratulate Superintendent of Schools John Carlevatti and the Penfield Central School District on their celebration of the completed work.

Until next week, be well and be safe!

Tony
supervisor@penfield.org
340-8630


October 4, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of Oct 4
Update...Making Sense of Leaf Management"! As the current Town Board has reviewed past leaf collection studies, there are three components of the cost structure to pick up leaves. First is the start up costs, second are labor costs, and third is disposal. Past studies have identified these costs to be $300K-$1M depending on the alternative selected, not including the ongoing yearly costs of maintenance and labor. Here are some numbers of interest: Every nickel of tax rate increase would result in a $125,000.00 addition to the town budget, or $7.50 additional town taxes per average house assessed at $150,000. A one million dollar investment would result in that same value home paying an additional $60.00 of town taxes. As I have reported before, informal surveys show our community with a 50/50 split on Town leaf collection service and willingness to pay the additional taxes to support the service.

Alternatively, there are local landscapers willing to pick up leaves curbside for a cost of about $40. What the Town board learned last year is the private sector is able to react more quickly for a lower cost than government could deliver in this area. While this may seem a small item in the grand scheme of the overall budget, it is one more opportunity to involve small business in supporting our community versus growing government and government spending! Please visit www.renewpenfield.org  to learn more about leaf management, landscapers, and other tips on mulching and composting.

I would like to recognize Zaretsky and Associates Landscapers of Penfield for receiving a state ethics award. Bruce Zaretsky, his wife and partner Sharon Coates, and their staff are able to add the Upstate New York Better Business Bureau's 2010 Torch Award to their many accolades they have received over the years. Bruce started his landscaping company 20 years ago by trading work to get his first business vehicle, a used pick-up. Their business philosophy is about doing the right thing, providing quality work at a fair price, and by not taking advantage of customers. The company employs ten staff members. On behalf of the entire community, congratulations Zaretsky and Associates for the award and for being part of this great community.

Last week I had the pleasure of personally congratulating Louis Pereira, owner of Gentlemen's Choice barber shop in the Browncroft Corners plaza, as he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his business with family and friends. What an accomplishment! YNN was there to capture Louie's story and share it with the greater Rochester community. Louie, thank you for choosing to do business in Penfield, you've kept so many in our town looking great all these years!

The roadway that runs parallel with Atlantic Ave. on the east side of the Town Hall will play host to a Rochester Soap Box Derby Association event on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10 from 9AM-4PM. Racers from NY, OH, PA, and MA will be on hand to show off their cars, driving skills and abilities. If you are looking for something different to do this weekend, please consider stopping in and watching a few races, it should be fun for all ages.

The Recreation Department hosted the 8th annual Penfield Challenge 5K race last week; I had the pleasure of starting more than 180 participants and supporting our staff with the awards ceremony. This has come to be a wonderful event in Penfield with the proceeds this year being donated to the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong. The overall male winner was Dan Moore (16:43) and the overall woman's winner was Christina Finke (20:30). Congratulations to Dan and Christina. The overall race results can be found on the PCR Timing web site www.PCRTiming.com .

The Town Board held a public hearing on the 2011 Preliminary Budget. The budget for 2011 holds the tax rate at $2.64 per thousand of assessed valuation. This was not an easy budget to prepare; however, the board was very sensitive to the comments received from many of our residents about the need to cut costs, reduce spending, and not increase taxes. The Town Board will take all the comments received to date and any others up until October 15. We will then look to adopt the Final Budget on Wednesday, October 20.

Some key dates to circle on the calendar: Saturday, October 9 is the Historic Ghost Walk at 7PM starting at the Community Center; Fall Drop-Off is October 14-16 at the Penfield Highway Garage, hours are Thursday and Friday 8AM-6PM and Saturday 8AM-4PM; Family Halloween Fun Friday is October, 15 6-8PM at Rothfuss Park; and Penfield's Bicentennial Heritage Festival is Saturday, October 16 11AM-3PM. To learn more about all of these and many more wonderful programs going on in Penfield, please log on to www.penfield.org  and click on Parks and Recreation.

I can hardly wait until next week to tell more good things going on in Penfield!

Tony
340-8631

 




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