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2017 Windstorm Brush Pickup Update
Due to the severity of a windstorm that came through our region on Wednesday, March 8, the Town of Penfield will provide residents with a town-wide, roadside pick-up for fallen limbs, branches, and brush. 
Visit our webpage for details: CLICK HERE
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March 23, 2017
Passport Night in Penfield April 6

Penfield residents in need of a new or updated passport are invited to attend “Passport Night in Penfield” on Thursday, April 6, 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Penfield Town Hall, 3100 Atlantic Avenue. This service comes to Penfield through the partnership of Monroe County and the Town of Penfield. Please call Town Clerk Amy Steklof at 340-8627 to sign up in advance, however registration is not required.

“I am again pleased to work with the Monroe County Clerk’s Office to help local residents conveniently apply for their passports right here in Penfield,” said Amy Steklof.  “We get a great turnout every time we host this service.”

Residents may also apply for a Passport Card, which is limited to land and sea crossing between the US and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. Some passport renewals may be eligible to renew by mail and save the $25 processing fee. County Clerk staff will review options with applicants on an individual basis.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Town of Penfield on providing this vital service to residents," said Monroe County Clerk Adam J. Bello.  "Passport Night allows residents to have helpful one-on-one interactions with Clerk staff to ensure all of their questions are answered and their passport needs are met."

Passport applicants must provide proof of U.S. citizenship in one of three forms: a certified copy of a birth certificate with a raised seal and their parents’ names; original naturalization papers, or an old U.S. passport issued in the person’s name. Children under 16 will still need to bring their raised seal birth certificate even if they have an old passport. Proof of identity is also required in the form of a valid NYS Driver License or non-Driver ID, a valid military ID, naturalization papers issued to the applicant as an adult, or an INS Alien Registration Card. People born in Monroe County may obtain a copy of their birth certificate by contacting the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Visit the department’s website at http://www.monroecounty.gov/clerk-records.php#band for details.

The fee for a new US Passport for an applicant 16 and older is $135 ($110 plus a $25 application fee). For an applicant under 16 the fee is $105 ($80 plus a $25 application fee). Renewals by mail are $110. Passport cards - which may be used only for travel by land or sea between the US, Canada, and Mexico - are $55 ($30 plus a $25 application fee) for age 16 and older and $40 ($15 plus a $25 application fee) for applicants under 16. Passport card renewals are $30.00.  Passport photos remain at $7.00 for a set of two.

For application requirements, residents can visit the County Clerk’s website at http://www.monroecounty.gov/clerk-passports.php . Residents may download a passport application to complete in advance.  Forms are available on the US Department of State’s Travel website at http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html .

Passport processing time typically takes 4-6 weeks. Please call the Monroe County Clerk’s Office at 585-753-1600 with specific questions regarding the passport application process.

Please Note: Applicants between the ages of 16 to 18 must appear with a parent or legal guardian. Children under 16 must appear with both parents or legal guardians or one parent or guardian may appear, if and only if, the parent or guardian that is not present completes and has notarized a DS-3053 Form, Statement of Consent: Issuance of a Passport to a Minor Under Age 16 along with a copy of their Driver License.


March 20, 2017
Guest Columnist Jim Costello, Dir. of Business Development, March 20

Guest columnist Jim Costello, Director of Business Development

As you have traveled around the town of Penfield in recent months you will have noticed a lot of construction activity throughout the community—that’s because Penfield is again a popular place to build a new business or residence. We have had a boom of medical-related construction and housing development serving apartment dwellers, seniors, and homeowners.

Empire Boulevard, in particular, is experiencing a renaissance. Many new projects are either under construction or in the process of being approved for new construction.

In the past year, BayTowne Plaza has seen the construction and opening of a new 186,000 square foot Super Walmart; a new 5,000 square foot brewery called WhichCraft Brews has been approved and is expected to be open this summer; Napa Wood Fired Pizza and Bistro opened; and the former Sal’s Birdland and Pizza Hut were recently demolished to make way for a new Chili’s restaurant. Pizza Hut has been relocated into the plaza and is open for business. The former Beale Street restaurant was also recently demolished to make way for a new restaurant as well. (That restaurant has not been determined as of this column.)

What will happen to the former Walmart building? It is currently being considered for reuse and the planning board is reviewing the renovation of that building to be subdivided into five new tenant spaces. To date, Burlington (formerly Burlington Coat Factory) and Shoe Dept. are two prospective tenants for the repurposed commercial space.

Qdoba Southwest Grill, at the intersection of Empire Boulevard and Bay Road, has replaced the former vacant Mobil on the Run Convenience Mart, which cleaned up a perennial eyesore in a highly visible location.

The apartment complex at Southpoint Cove on lower Empire Boulevard, now known as Waters Edge Apartments, started construction in 2013 is nearing completion. Five of the nine apartment buildings have been completed and have been leased. The remaining four buildings are all under various stages of construction, and all are expected to be finished later this summer.

In the Panorama Valley area, the Hampton Inn Hotel on Panorama Trail South, with 79 guest rooms, is nearing completion and is expected to be fully operational by summer. 

I am often asked when the site of the former Carriage Town Cleaners at 1600 Penfield Road will be cleaned up and redeveloped. I am happy to share that the owners have met with the planning board to discuss the development of an office building for the site. In addition, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has approved the applicants’ site remediation plan to mitigate contamination at that location. Site remediation is planned for this summer and construction of the office building could begin once the site receives a clean bill of health from The NYSDEC.

To the east, the U of R Urgent Care building at 2128 Penfield Road has recently been completed and is open to the public. Nearby, the Eyesite building at 2142 Penfield Road is near completion and should open soon. 

Across from Target, a new building was recently completed at 2150 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road. It houses Moe’s Southwestern Grill and an AT&T sales and service center. They are open for business with access through the traffic light/turning lane near Jeremiah’s. A third tenant is being sought for the remaining tenant space and it should be filled soon.

Several residential projects are also underway. Most notably, the Ellison Heights apartment project, approved in 2012 and located on Penfield Road across from the Allens Creek Townhomes, has recently started construction. This project consists of 180 units in five, four-story buildings along with a 3,000 square foot clubhouse and swimming pool.

For our elder residents, Heathwood Assisted Living at Penfield is in the process of adding a 30,000 +/-square foot addition to better serve Penfield’s senior population.

Elsewhere in Penfield, an 86 single family residential subdivision known as Windsor Ridge is currently under construction at the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Five Mile Line Road. The model home has been constructed and several lots have been reserved. The developer recently submitted the final site plans for the remaining lots in the subdivision as interest from prospective home buyers continues to grow.

Phase one of a 24-unit townhouse project known as Barclay Park, located at 1213 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road (immediately north of the Abbington Place subdivision) is also under construction and units are being reserved. Section 2B of the Crowne Pointe subdivision on the south side of Plank Road, east of State Road, is under construction for 18 new homes.

I regularly take calls regarding the status of perennial eyesores in town. Many residents will be happy to know that two visible and often complained about sites have recently been demolished to make way for redevelopment.

First is the former Camp Haccamo site, which had become the victim of vandalism and a safety concern to both town and area residents. Demolition of the site began in late 2016 and ended in January 2017. Plans are being prepared to redevelop the site.

The second site was home to a long-abandoned auto service station on the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, just east of the Penfield Town Hall. That site, which was also the subject of contamination remediation, has been cleaned up and the building demolished. There is no specific plan for the redevelopment of the site at this time.

I hope this information has answered some of your questions about current development activity taking place within the town. If you have any questions regarding any of the sites discussed in this column or other sites of interest to you, please call the Penfield Planning Department at 340-8640 or email planning@penfield.org. We will be pleased to provide you with any available information. You can also stay informed of all town projects by following town news at our website, www.penfield.org. Along with general town news you will find meeting agendas, live and archived meeting video, and online documents. 


March 17, 2017
Winter Fire Safety: Hydrants and Doors

The threat of winter fires is real -- 905 people die in winter home fires each year. Wintry weather conditions can cause many safety hazards during a period when many people just want to spend time indoors. It is important to pay attention to outside items that have become blocked by snow, such as fire hydrants and exterior doorways. Keeping critical areas clear of snow will help protect your family, neighbors, and businesses. 

Snow can cause area fire hydrants to become blocked and difficult to locate and access for first responders. 
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Keeping hydrants clear can mean quicker access to water and more time in fighting the fire.  

When clearing your hydrants remember to:

  • Remove all snow and ice from the hydrant, ensuring it is clearly visible and completely accessible
  • Clear at least 3-feet of snow all the way around the hydrant, giving firefighters full access to all parts of the hydrant
  • Clear a path from the hydrant to the street, allowing firefighters to get in and out easily and quickly


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Clearing all exits of snow is important so occupants can escape if a fire or other emergency should occur.
Keep in mind that windows should be cleared to allow a secondary means of escape in a fire. 

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Keeping exits clear also allows emergency workers to gain access to your home or building.

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You can help prevent winter weather-related home fires in your community with these safety tips. Be well and be safe!



March 14, 2017
Winter Storm Rules and Safety Tips

A winter storm warning is in effect for Monroe County until Wednesday, March 15 at 8 PM. This warning means that life-threating, severe winter conditions have begun and citizens should take precautions immediately. Please avoid unnecessary travel and remember winter parking rules are in effect in the Town of Penfield. This means no parking is allowed on all roads and highways, between 2 AM and 7 AM, to allow DPW crews to safely and effectively clear and maintain the roads.

If travel is necessary, please allow for extra drive time, clear all snow from your vehicle, including headlights, and tail lights, and give plow operators plenty of room to do their job. Do not try to race a plow or make quick moves to "get away." Cars are not always visible and big trucks cannot always stop quickly to respond to sudden moves by vehicles.

RG&E urges customers to avoid downed power lines. Customers should call 1.800.743.1701 to report downed power lines, power outages or other hazardous situations. Residents who utilize a generator should place their units at least 5-feet from the house.

Here are some other ways to remain safe during a winter storm:

-Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information

-Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather.

-Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.

-All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.

-Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

-Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

-Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.

-Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.

-Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

- If you have an elderly person in your family or neighborhood please continue to keep an eye on them to ensure they have heat, food, and water. 

Everyone please be careful when clearing snow or last week’s wind debris. Be Well and be safe! 


March 13, 2017
Supervisor’s column March 13, 2017

Most of this week’s column is dedicated to the major wind storm that ripped through the area Wednesday, March 8 resulting in power loss for more than 120,000 RG&E customers in Monroe County during a time of extreme cold. Penfield had 9,017 residential and commercial properties without power during the highest outage period.

RG&E’s goal was to have 90+% of its customer base back in service by Sunday midnight. However, there are isolated areas with significant damage to poles in backyards which will require more hand-work to repair or replace poles, lines, and transformers. 

Our Department of Public Works (DPW) crews were intensely busy the first 36 hours focused on clearing roadways and rights-of-way to ensure emergency vehicles had access to every property and that utility crews had access to service broken poles, downed wires, and damaged transformers. The last count I heard from daily conference calls with RG&E was that there were 400+ broken poles across the county. More than half of them are in backyards which makes it even more difficult to repair and replace, as I noted above.  

Due to the severity of the windstorm on Wednesday, the Town of Penfield will provide residents with a town-wide, roadside pick-up for fallen limbs, branches, and brush. Once we confirm that power has been restored to all residents, and our DPW can verify that all roads are safe, rights-of-way are cleared of hazards, and creeks are free of debris, DPW crews will begin a town-wide pick-up starting the week of March 20.

We expect the pick-up process to take two to three weeks, with town crews making one pass per neighborhood. DPW will post anticipated dates and instructions for specific streets and areas of town on www.penfield.org prior to pick-up to alert residents. PLEASE NOTE: With winter snow-plowing season still in full effect, any posted schedule may be interrupted to prioritize snow removal on town roads or for any other emergency requiring the immediate attention of town crews. We ask for your patience as our DPW works diligently to maintain safety for all residents.

Additionally, the town board has extended the hours of brush drop-off at the DPW facility (1607 Jackson Road) from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM for all seven days of the week to assist residents and their contractors with cleanup of their properties. We will return to normal drop-off hours starting Monday, March 27.

I always like to remind our residents to be wary of “scams” during emergencies like this storm. Many contractors go door-to-door to offer their services for tree removal or for repairs to roofs and siding. Some of these individuals may not have your best interest in mind, rather their financial gain! If you do have damage to your home, please work with your insurance company or a known contractor you have a relationship with or have used in the past. If you need tree service consider receiving three or more quotes from reputable tree services or get recommendations from your insurance company or a trusted relative or friend who has had experience with the company. I do not want to see residents who have been impacted by the storm be taken advantage of by less-than-reputable contractors.

Beginning Monday evening, March 13, our area is under a winter storm watch. Public safety remains our priority as we clean up from the wind event and prepare for the winter storm. It is our understanding that we will be receiving plowable amounts of snow this week. Please make sure that any brush piles brought to the front of your property for pick-up are far enough away from the road to provide safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles, and to give plows necessary room to clear snow. Do not block fire hydrants.

When preparing brush piles for DPW pick-up, please cut brush and limbs to six-foot lengths and stack parallel to the road. Consider consolidating small piles with neighbors for efficiency. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

If you have an elderly person in your family or neighborhood please continue to keep an eye on them to ensure they have heat, food, and water. Our seniors are a hearty group and have survived much worse during their lives; however, it is always good for neighbors to support neighbors…thank you in advance for assisting your neighbors!

Until next week, please be careful while cleaning up, especially if you are using power equipment like saws and wood splitters. Be sensitive to those around you and be careful of limbs and trees snapping back as you are cutting. I do not want to see any of our residents injured…be well and be safe!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org    

 


March 6, 2017
Supervisor’s column March 6, 2017

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo recently announced that Monroe County and RochesterWorks are partnering to offer a localized job fair dedicated to connecting local businesses with great talent. The program is known as “Recruiting ‘Round Rochester on the Road.” This job fair will be coming to the Penfield Public Library on Wednesday, March 8 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The partnership connects employers in the community with job seekers. The event is free and open to the public and no pre-registration is required. Many businesses will be in attendance, including Paychex and Monroe #1 BOCES. Job seekers are asked to come prepared for an interview, bring extra copies of their resumes, and dress for success. The event will be held in the Ruth Braman Room at the Penfield Library, 1985 Baird Road.

For the sixteenth consecutive year, the Penfield Public Library is collaborating with Writers & Books to bring to Penfield the author of the book chosen for “Rochester Reads,” its annual community-wide reading event. This year’s book, The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, explores an unexpected enchanted world, a death row in an ancient stone prison. The author is a death penalty investigator who works with men and women facing execution. The Penfield Library will be hosting Ms. Denfeld for a talk about her book, with a reception immediately following, to give readers an opportunity to meet the author and purchase her book. This event takes place on Wednesday, March 29, at 7:00 PM and is sponsored by the Friends of Penfield Public Library and the Board of Trustees of Penfield Public Library. Registration is required and can be accomplished in person at the library, by visiting the website at www.penfieldlibrary.org, or by calling the library at (585) 340-8720.

Mark your calendar for the next opportunity to attend a passport night at the town hall which will be held on April 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This program is sponsored by the Monroe County Clerk’s office in conjunction with the Town of Penfield. For additional dates, locations, and information please visit the Monroe County Clerk office web page at www2.monroecounty.gov - County Clerk.

For those who may not be aware, the Penfield Town Board held a public hearing on March 1 on a resolution proposing an extension to the moratorium on the prohibition of public golf course redevelopment (Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake). The board will be voting on this matter at the March 15 meeting. A moratorium extension will give the town and property owners more time to further discuss the options of sale of the property.

Last week, the Monroe County Supervisors’ Association held a press conference to challenge the governor’s proposal to hold back state aid if local governments did not develop and improve on shared services agreements and to have financial oversight rolled up to the county. Government closest to the people knows best how to manage local costs, in contrast to unfunded state mandates and state-level policies that force up the cost of local government across this state.

In Monroe County and surrounding counties we have been sharing services for decades—town-to-town, town-to-county, town-to-state, and county-to-county. The only person who thinks they have a new idea is the governor and he does not have a clue! I recently found some old documents dating back to the mid-1970s showing that towns had shared services agreements in place. I see this current effort as a way to force a county-wide plan on each town, subject to a county-wide vote for providing town services, thereby depriving residents of each town the right to decide these matters for themselves.

Let’s not forget that this governor would like to see one big government and reduce or eliminate towns and villages. The governor would be better served by fixing state government and the waste that exists in Albany. On behalf of the Supervisors Association, we urge residents to contact their state senators and assembly members to urge them to oppose the governor’s local government proposal and to deal with the real causes of high property taxes in New York.

Until next week be well and be safe!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org

 

 


March 3, 2017
Penfield Recreation Introduces Rainbow Ribbons
Penfield Recreation is pleased to introduce a new program for youth - Rainbow Ribbons Aesthetic Group Gymnastics for boys and girls ages 4 – 10. Rainbow Ribbons will be held on Saturdays from April 29 through June 3 at Penfield Community Center. A session for ages 4-6 will be held from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. A session for ages 7-10 will be held from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. Registration is available to Penfield residents and non-residents on our website.
The Rainbow Ribbons program is non-competitive, allowing children to explore the combined graceful art of music, dance, and gymnastics in a supervised, fun setting. The children will learn how to work and trust each other as a team in a pleasant, upbeat setting while they learn artistic routines. Equipment includes scarves, ball, hoops, and ropes.
Children will learn the basics of core strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and rhythm. They will also learn body waves, swings, ballet, gymnastic jumps and leaps, and dance steps and leaps.
Aesthetic Group Gymnastics is relatively new to the United States and is brought to Penfield by Western New York Aesthetic Group Gymnastics (WNYAGG). The sport is known for its big and continuous body movement. It requires flexibility, balance, speed, strength, coordination, and a sense of rhythm.
Originally from Bulgaria, WNYAGG owner and Rhythmic Gymnast Miroslava Dimitrova has competed all over the world.
For more information, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8651.

March 3, 2017
Free Guided Hike March 11
The Penfield Trails Committee will sponsor a free guided hike at Monroe County’s Webster Park on Saturday, March 11, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.
Join us as we partner with Friends of Webster Trails to explore the wooded trails on the west side of Webster Park. This is a great place for birding and beautiful woodlands with trees as tall as 75 feet. Terrain is varied, please wear appropriate footwear.
Participants should meet at the campground entrance road on the south side of Lake Road. Look for the “Hike” signs.
While the hike is free, participants are asked to pre-register by calling Penfield Recreation at 340-8655, option 0.
Penfield Trails Committee is always seeking volunteers to serve on its planning committee, as well as to do manual labor for trails maintenance. For more information, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655.

February 27, 2017
Supervisor’s column February 27, 2017

The agenda for this Wednesday’s town board meeting (March 1) includes a public hearing on a resolution to extend the Moratorium on the Prohibition of Public Golf Course Redevelopment within the town for an additional one year period, through March 31, 2018. The existing moratorium, which passed unanimously in 2016, ends on March 31, 2017. New York State law requires a hearing to formalize the process of extending a moratorium. The board plans to vote on the resolution on March 15.

The town attorney and I have continued discussions with the Dolomite Corporation regarding the committee’s primary recommendation that the Town of Penfield purchase the Shadow Pines property. This is a deliberate and seemingly slow process as a government entity and a multinational corporation address the many complexities of a real estate transaction. The Town of Penfield must adhere to the laws of New York State and consult with its town attorneys and government financial consultants. The Dolomite Corporation has its own layers of decision-makers and advisors here in Penfield, at US offices in Atlanta, and at the parent company, Oldcastle, in Ireland. That’s a lot of moving parts all working toward a beneficial outcome.

The town board is committed to taking the necessary time and steps to complete our due diligence. Ultimately, at the end of this process, the town’s actions will be determined by the will of Penfield residents through public referendum. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting in person or you can view it on government access channel 12 or digital 5.12, or log on to www.penfield.org and watch the live stream.

The Penfield Trails Committee’s next free guided hike is at Monroe County’s Webster Park on Saturday, March 11, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Please join hikers as they partner with Friends of Webster Trails to explore the wooded trails on the west side of Webster Park. This is a great place for birding and beautiful woodlands with trees as tall as 75 feet. The terrain is varied so please wear the appropriate footwear. Interested participants should meet at the campground entrance road on the south side of Lake Road, and look for the “Hike” signs. While the hike is free, participants are asked to pre-register by calling Penfield Recreation at 340-8655, option 0. Also, please note that the Penfield Trails Committee is always seeking volunteers to serve on its planning committee, as well as to do manual labor for trails maintenance. For more information, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655.

As all the snow has melted away we have received calls, emails, and even a video from a creative resident (self-named “El Gougeo”) regarding sod damage left by the road and sidewalk plows. As I have mentioned previously, any and all lawn and sod damage will be repaired by our DPW crews starting the later part of March and continuing into early April. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Here are a few important reminders I would like to share:

The Penfield Library is a “Safe Place” community partner. Young people seeking assistance with housing, safety, or other crisis situations will be connected with outreach workers from the Center of Youth, who will assess the needs of the young person in question and access necessary services.

Do you know what to do if you smell natural gas in your home? RG&E reminds us all to get up, get out and call them immediately! RG&E customers can call 1-800-743-1702 or call 911. Also, call 811 before beginning any excavation work on your property and have all underground utilities marked. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s the law!

Until next week, enjoy the continued stretch of mild weather. I look forward to seeing you out in the community!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org   

 


February 21, 2017
Supervisor’s column February 21, 2017

In a recent Democrat & Chronicle article on local government transparency the Town of Penfield was recognized for doing a very good job of providing government information on its website (www.penfield.org) for residents and others interested in all aspects of our local town government.

The quote reads:

"The Town of Penfield does a fairly exemplary job of putting up information for residents so they don’t need to file FOIL as frequently. There’s a side rail with links to video of town board meetings, a calendar that clearly lays out which boards are meeting when, and a link to “Online documents” that includes bid documents, draft ordinances and plans, meeting minutes and agendas – for all town boards, not just the big ones. Penfield’s website has a wealth of information available, budgets, annual financial reports, Moody’s bond rating info…Way to go, Penfield!”

This article shared information on a USA Today Network project for Sunshine Week 2017 and invited citizens to take an online survey to assess the current health of e-democracy by measuring local town or municipal websites against a checklist of features that characterizes best practice. If you would like to participate, here is a link to the survey.

I am delighted with the efforts of all our department heads and their respective teams for continually looking for ways to update and add information to make Penfield government as accessible to our residents as possible. Additionally, our website team, lead by David Renner, is responsible for keeping the site running behind the scenes to ensure content is in keeping with our high standards and that all related links are functioning properly.

Our commitment to you is to continuously look for ways to enhance your online experience at www.penfield.org. If you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding content or improvements for the website, please send an email with your ideas to prteam@penfield.org  

For more than a dozen years I have been honored to sit on the board of directors of Crime Stoppers. I joined this wonderful organization when I was at Kodak as the Fire/Security Director and continued on after I retired. This group is made up of past and current members of law enforcement, attorneys, bankers, and business people from many local companies.

Our chairman of the board, Paul Hawkins, shared 2016 data with the board at our last meeting. Crime Stoppers received a total of 886 tips (615 tips by phone and 271 online soft tips) resulting in rewards for the following outcomes/arrests:

  • 42 felony arrests
  • 6 murders and 2 pending
  • 16 violation parole/probation
  • 8 felony assault
  • 5 bank robber with 5 pending
  • 6 burglary
  • 1 handgun arrest
  • 2 arsons

Additionally, in 2016, the “fugitive flyer” that appears in the Democrat & Chronicle showcased 89 fugitives in six flyers—68 of those individuals were arrested.

For more information on Crime Stoppers please go to www.roccrimestoppers.com. To report information on a crime, please contact the confidential hotline at (585) 423-9300. The information you provide could make a difference in solving a crime. Thank you in advance of your support to Crime Stoppers.

Upcoming topics for my weekly column include an update on the start of our next Comprehensive Plan (this plan is updated approximately every ten years, it is a 12–18 month process); an overview of businesses in Penfield and our low vacancy rate; an overview and update of recreational and open space across the town; highlights from our solar PV project that will finally begin after delays from local utility companies; the new “Zombie Property Law” passed by the NYS Legislature; an update from our annual meeting with the NYS Department of Transportation; and much more.

If you have any items of interest that you would like me to comment on in this column please drop me an email at supervisor@penfield.org and I will follow up in future columns. Thank you in advance for your interest in your local government.

Until next week, enjoy the warm break in the weather and take an opportunity to visit one of our many parks and trails in Penfield. While spring is still a good month or more away, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the days are brighter each day!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org     

 


February 14, 2017
Supervisor’s column February 14, 2017

At this time of the year when many residents come to the town hall to pay their town/county taxes in person, I get a number of questions about taxes in general, the budget process, the importance of a good credit rating, the New York State Comptroller’s report on stressed towns, and much more! Because many Penfield residents pay taxes through an escrow account as part of their mortgage, many may not be fully aware of the budget and tax process. With that in mind, I am dedicating this week’s column to the topic of fiscal responsibility the town board and I undertake on behalf of Penfield residents as we prepare and manage the town’s budget.

The annual budget process begins in early June when I call for all our department heads to prepare their draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year, January 1 to December 31. From June to September I meet with the town comptroller and every department head to review all aspects of their draft budget submissions including general operations, headcount, capital, and anticipated revenues.

Following many rounds of department head meetings, the comptroller and I prepare and present the “tentative budget” to the town board and residents. Upon presentation, the tentative budget becomes known as the “preliminary budget” and it is open for public review and comments. (In 2010, we began publishing all budget documents on our website so that residents can review the proposed budget from the comfort of their homes instead of coming to the town hall or library to review printed documents.) In early October, the town board holds a public hearing to formally receive public comments.

On the third Wednesday of October, after reviewing public comments and making any adjustments, the town board adopts the town’s “final budget” and files it with Monroe County and New York State prior to the general election. Penfield has been following this process for more than 35 years.

The town’s 2017 town tax rate is $2.69 per $1,000 of assessed property value, the same as it was in 2016. As an example, a home property in Penfield with a valuation of $180,000 will pay $ 484.20 for general governmental services (180 X 2.69 = 484.20). This same home will pay $1,510.58 for Monroe County taxes. Those in the Penfield School District pay $4,586.55 in school taxes, Webster School District taxes are $3,855.32 in this scenario. With this year’s budget, as in the past, Penfield has stayed below the state required tax cap.

Penfield’s property tax remains one of the lowest of the 19 towns in Monroe County. I have provided the 2017 tax rates of all towns for your review and information. You will see the only towns with lower tax rates than Penfield have landfills or significant commercial development.

View town tax rates as a PDF here

How is our credit rating? In April of 2016, Moody’s Investors Services upgraded Penfield’s credit rating to an Aa1, one of the highest in the county and state. This rating allows Penfield to secure low-interest financing for capital projects (sewers, roadways, bridges) and assists with general cash flow throughout the year. The Moody’s rating also reflects Penfield’s history of stable financial operations and strong management practices. Moody’s had recently reaffirmed the Aa1 credit rating in December of 2016 as part of the Parkview-White Village sanitary sewer project.

 

A further measure of fiscal health is a Fiscal Stress Monitoring System implemented in 2013 by the Office of the New York State Comptroller to identify local governments experiencing fiscal stress. This system provides an objective picture of the fiscal challenges facing local governments. Essentially, it is an assessment of a government entity’s ability to meet expenditures with revenues. Nine financial indicators are measured within five categories: Year-End Fund Balance, Operating Deficits, Cash Position, Use of Short Term Debt and Fixed Costs. The categories are given different weights to reflect the relative importance in measuring financial stress.

In the latest fiscal stress review of the Town of Penfield we received a score of 14.2%. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this low number is a positive “no designation” rating as shown in this table:

Percentage of Total Points          Classification of Fiscal Stress

0–44.9%                                            no designation

45–54.9%                                          susceptible to fiscal stress

55–64.9%                                          moderate fiscal stress

65–100%                                           significant fiscal stress

I am proud to say that since this system began, the Town of Penfield has consistently received the highest possible rating from the Office of the New York State Comptroller.

I apologize in advance for the longer than normal weekly column; however, I thought it important to help residents appreciate some of the unique hurdles we face in developing our annual budget based on the many mandated requirements placed on us by our wonderful state government! Please continue to use our website at www.penfield.org to review all details of the budget and many other aspects of your local government.

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org

 


February 10, 2017
Memorial Day Essay Contest Open for Entries!
The Town of Penfield will sponsor the annual Memorial Day Essay Contest, sponsored by a generous donation from VFW Post 820, and supported by American Legion Braman Post 1229 and Penfield Rotary. The contest is open to all students in grades 6-8 who attend a Penfield school, or are Penfield residents. New prize amounts this year include: $175 for 1st place, $125 for 2nd place, and $100 for 3rd place. Complete information and entry form is available here.

February 6, 2017
Supervisor’s column February 6, 2017

One last reminder for a new series of programs presented in a partnership of Penfield Recreation's DEAR program, the Penfield Public Library, and the Local History Room. Together, they are planning events throughout 2017 to recognize and celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in New York. Programs begin with a series entitled SuffraTeas. The first tea will be held on Wednesday, February 15 (Susan B. Anthony's birthday) at 2:00 PM in the Senior Lounge at Penfield Community Center. Pam Mount and Kathy Kanauer will discuss women getting the vote and the importance of this right. Registration is not required. More information on future events will be available when the schedule is firmed up. Please watch this column for more details or log on to www.penfieldrec.org.

The next Penfield Symphony Orchestra concert “Operatic Gems” is scheduled for Monday, February 13 at 7:30 PM in the Penfield High School auditorium. Free rides to the concert are available from Lifespan by calling 872-0774. For more information about this concert or the PSO, please go to www.penfieldsymphony.org.

February is national heart month. Last Friday our Employee Wellness Team helped kick off this year’s program. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, with one in four deaths caused by heart disease every year. Heart disease can often be prevented when we all make healthy choices and manage our health conditions. We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention. Encourage your family to make small changes, like using spices to season food instead of salt. Make physical activity a part of your everyday routine. Watch your weight, quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke, control your cholesterol and blood pressure, and if you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage others to live heart healthy lives.

This Friday, February 10, is the last day to pay your Town/County taxes in full without interest. The tax receiver’s office will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM to accept payments. If those hours are not convenient you can use a payment drop box located on the east side of the town hall. The drop box is checked several times a day. The tax office will mail a receipt once your payment is processed. If you have any questions about your bill please call the tax receiver’s office at 340-8625.

Winter break week, February 20–24, is fast approaching. Penfield Recreation has put together programs including family open swim, springboard diving, a lifeguarding course with a waterfront module, gymnastics camp, and much more. Additionally, the Penfield Library is offering several programs including outrageous origami, a stuffed animal pet show, family game day, drumming with Topher Holt, and Lego lab. For more information on these programs and many more, please log on to www.penfieldrec.org and www.penfieldlibrary.org.

As the days get longer and signs of spring are in the air, many area farms start to gather sap for making syrup. This reminds me of PenRec’s “lunch plus” at the Maple Tree Inn. Come enjoy the wonders of spring and maple syrup as our vans travel to Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn on Wednesday, March 8. The good folks at the Maple Tree Inn will be serving up their buckwheat pancakes topped with fresh, pure maple syrup—and then there are those famous maple sundaes! The van departs the Penfield Community Center at 9:30 AM and returns at approximately 2:30 PM. The fee is $25.00 and includes the pancakes.

The Penfield Players’ 2017 spring melodrama, Red Velvet Cake War, will open on Friday, April 28. A family reunion in Sweetgum, Texas goes horribly awry and hilarity ensues! Things spin hilariously out of control when a neighbor’s pet devours everything edible, a one-eyed suitor shows up to declare his love, and a jaw-dropping high-stakes wager is made on who bakes the best red velvet cake. As this fast-paced romp barrels toward its uproarious climax you’ll wish your own family reunions were this much fun! Look for more information at www.penfieldplayers.org.

Until next week, enjoy the “above normal temperatures” part of this week. I hope to see you out in the community!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org

 


January 30, 2017
Supervisor’s column January 30, 2017

The next hike sponsored by the Penfield Trails Committee is the ever-popular February “Indoor Hike” on Saturday, February 11 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the Penfield Town Hall Auditorium. This year’s featured speaker is Chris Costello, a professional land surveyor who will share information and photos in his presentation, Letchworth’s Portage Viaduct – New and Old. Lace up your boots and join our trails committee to learn the history and the future of Letchworth rails and trails, a topic that will draw both railroad and hiking enthusiasts! This is a FREE event and open to everyone, refreshments will be served. For more information on this hike and all others planned during 2017, please go to www.penfieldrec.org. I hope to see you at the Indoor Hike!

Is the up and down of the weather driving you crazy? Are you not a winter sports enthusiast? If so, consider joining Penfield Recreation most every Friday night through March at the Penfield High School pool! Come play, swim, and exercise while enjoying this spacious pool. The shallow end features a 4x4 tot dock for the little ones and the deep end is set up for water walking and lap swimming. Also, swimmers who pass the deep end test can also enjoy the one-meter boards in the diving well. The fee is $2.00 at the door. Go to www.penfieldrec.org for more information about this aquatic wellness program and other wellness activities.

Winter break is scheduled for the week of February 20–24. Penfield Recreation and the Penfield Library are hosting a number of activities and programs to occupy our younger residents. Please check out all of the offerings at www.penfieldrec.org and www.penfieldlibrary.org.

Fortunately, we rarely have to cancel programs due to weather. However, there are times when Mother Nature makes it necessary to do so. When that happens we post cancellation notices online at www.penfieldrec.org and on our program information phone line at 340-8655, option 2.

Please note: Penfield-Webster and Monroe County normally host a hazardous waste collection in late April to give residents an opportunity to dispose of old paints, cleaning supplies, fertilizers and more. Monroe County has notified us that this year’s collection is scheduled in the fall on Saturday, September 16 in Webster. The county would like to remind everyone that the ecopark facility, located at 10 Avion Drive near the airport, is available year-round during the week and most Saturdays for household hazardous waste appointments and recycling. Go to www.monroecounty.gov/ecopark to learn more. As we get closer to the September 16 collection I will make sure to cover it in this column. We will also post details on the town website including the number to call for appointments.

It is not too late to sign up as a driver for the volunteer senior transportation program to be known as Bri-Pen rides. Drivers, dispatchers, and transportation coordinators are needed for our pilot program. Drivers will be thoroughly trained through Lifespan’s “Give a Lift” program and will receive supplemental insurance. For more information about volunteering, please call Pam at 340-8664.

Temperatures are dropping and the snow is still blowing but don’t give up hope, spring is just around the corner. To help you take your mind off the winter weather, consider renting a garden plot to join a vibrant community of organic gardeners at the Penfield Community Victory Garden. Now is a good time to start planning for the upcoming growing season. If you would like more information about the garden, who is involved, and all the great things the group has done to date, please go to www.penfieldvictorygarden.org or call Penfield Recreation at 340-8651.

Until next week, be well and be safe!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org    

  

 


January 24, 2017
Penfield's Annual 'Indoor Hike' Scheduled for February 11
The Penfield Trails Committee will host its annual ‘Indoor Hike’ on Saturday, February 11, 10:00 am at Penfield Town Hall Auditorium, 3100 Atlantic Avenue. There will be a presentation entitled “Letchworth’s Portage Viaduct – New and Old”, information on trails groups from around the Rochester area, and light refreshments will be served. This event is free.
Chris Costello, professional land surveyor, will speak about the 1875 Portage high bridge / railroad viaduct high above the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park. Costello will give an inside look at the construction of the new bridge in progress. Learn the history and the future of Letchworth rails and trails. Hikers, history buffs, and rail fans – lace up your boots and join us!
“This year’s speaker will give participants a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the much anticipated construction of the new railroad bridge,” says Nels Carman, Penfield Trails Committee chair. “This iconic structure has an interesting past and a promising future.”
While the “hike” is free, participants are asked to pre-register by calling Penfield Recreation at 340-8655, option 0.
Penfield Trails Committee is always seeking volunteers to serve on its planning committee, as well as to do manual labor for trails maintenance. For more information, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655.



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