Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Much Does Cornell Cooperative Extension Cost You?

I thought that it would be interesting to look at the effective cost per household of some of the county budget items in question this year. I went to the county budget posted online and extracted relevant numbers for yearly operating costs (2010 actual vs. 2011 projected) for Cornell Cooperative Extension and for the 6 county nature centers scheduled to be closed.

If you look at actual property tax revenues in the proposed $1.6B budget (county tax revenue = $548 million), then CCE's desired budget of $990k = .18% of property taxes. If an typical  household pays $4000 in county taxes (assuming an average local tax bill is $20k of which, according to the county budget report, 15-20% is county taxes), then the effective cost is $7.20 per household for support of CCE programs. If local tax averages are DOUBLE ($40k), the effective cost per household is still under $15 for CCE.

A similar calculation for operating costs (including personnel) for the 6 nature centers to be closed results in a net cost savings of 64 cents for an average household. (Effective cost per household = $2.16 for 2011 vs. $2.80 for 2010.) This is based upon total operating costs of $384,900 for 2010 and $297,400 for 2011.

These sample calculations do not include all of the proposed Parks & Rec cuts - specifically the Deer Management research program. At around $60k annual (field biologist's salary and misc expenses), this program works out to be 40 cents per household.

A similar cost analysis could be done to reveal the $/household impacts of other items in the budget. Roughly, every $30k in budget costs results in about 20 cents per household.

These are rough calcs, but with numbers such as these per household, the value equation of such environmental and educational services becomes obvious. The cuts are penny-wise and pound foolish.


Please contact the County Executive and the Board of Legislators about the importance of these services and your willingness as a county tax payer to support continuation of such services (all total - at a cost of under $20 per household).

Schedule of Public Meetings on the Budget: 

Wednesday November 30 at 7pm
Somers High School
120 Primrose Street, Lincolndale

Tuesday December 6 at 7pm
Westchester County Center
198 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606.

Come early and register to speak up!

Call or write to County Executive Astorino at
and let him know that the Nature Centers, Parks, and wildlife habitat are important to you.

Call or write to your County Legislator - here is a page which lists all of them and links to contact info (email, phone) for each of the legislators.

Spread the word by sharing this email! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Tips on Coping with Deer
with Ruth Rogers Clausen
author of 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants

A book-signing will follow the presentation
Tuesday November 29, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon
at Lasdon Park and Arboretum, Route 35, Katonah, NY 10536

Have you been frustrated by previous attempts at trying to grow an ornamental garden here in the heart of suburban deer country? Are you tired of having your hard work gobbled up by herds of hungry deer? Have you given up on trying to create an aesthetically pleasing garden with interesting plant combinations because you think it’s no longer possible? Invigorate your gardening enthusiasm with tips from well known garden writer, author and botanist Ruth Rogers Clausen through her years of experience with growing and knowing the “ins and outs” of perennial gardening right here in Westchester deer country!

Registration and light refreshments 10:00 AM to10:30 AM. Lecture begins promptly at 10:30 AM!

Sponsored by
Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation The Friends of Lasdon Park and Arboretum

Program fee is $15.00 per personPre-registration is required and must be accompanied by a check payable to: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County and must be received by Tuesday, 11/22/11. MAIL FORM BELOW AND PAYMENT TO: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County, 26 Legion Drive, Valhalla, NY 10595Sorry! No refunds! For further information call 914-285- 4640 or send email to: . Space is limited, so don’t delay!

Riverkeeper Update on Hydro-Fracking - Take Action!

Riverkeeper’s attorneys are preparing detailed responses to regulators’ flawed draft environmental review and rules on fracking, and the public has only until Dec. 12 to join us by submitting their own comments on the state's fracking proposal.  Not only does the proposal fail to protect water, but the state fails to seriously consider any socio-economic risks of fracking, from the costs of increased road construction to potential impacts on tourism and farming.
  • Join Us! Attend our presentation, “Understanding the Facts on Fracking,” Nov. 16 at the Town of Esopus Library.
  • Make a Difference! Attend New York State Department of Environmental Conservation public hearings on its draft environmental review and regulations; and/or the Delaware River Basin Commission’s public hearing on its draft regulations throughout November.
  • Do Your Part! Comment on the DEC’s draft environmental review and regulations. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Neighborhood Training Events

Updated - Rescheduled Events Due to Last Weekend's Snow Storm

The Irvington Green Policy Task Force would like to invite you to attend one of our upcoming neighborhood training sessions for Irvington's "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" leaf mulching-in-place initiative.  We held our first training last Saturday (Oct 22) in the Jaffray Park neighborhood. The Rivertowns Enterprise attended and there was a nice write-up and editorial about the training in Friday's edition (Oct 28th) of the Enterprise.

Nov 5, 10-11am Spiro Park -  12 Woodbine Rd. (off Station Road)
Nov 5, 11am-noon 65 W.Clinton Ave. (will include landscaper demo of commercial mower)
Nov 5, 2-3pm Main Street at the Rip Van Winkle Statue Park (between Village Hall and Main Street school)

Nov 6, 3-4pm 10 North Eckar St. (off Main Street)

Please feel free to contact us at for more information. Background information on the LELE initiative can be found on the village website at


Mark Gilliland
Irvington Green Policy Task Force