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Sleepy Hollow Board Renews Senior Tax Break

Sleepy Hollow expects a delivery on new fire rig, lets a tree live, renews tax break for seniors.

After a discussion about the investigation underway into the emergency response to the weekend's 10K tragedy, the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees discussed the following matters at Tuesday's regular meeting:

Seniors’ tax break extended

The trustees renewed a program that defrays up to half the village tax bite for seniors living on a modest income.

Anyone 65 or older who meets income and other standards can share in part of an estimated $50,000 or so in property-tax savings. In practice, however, just a handful of residents—three dozen last year—are likely to qualify for the break, calculated on a sliding scale pegged to income.

One senior, with an annual income of $37,400, would see relief of 5 percent, for example, while another, earning $29,000 or less, would qualify for the 50 percent maximum break. All income, taxed or not, goes into the calculation, Assessor Fred Gross told the trustees.

“It’s such a low amount of income,” Gross said, “most seniors will not be eligible.” He offered to help anyone who wanted to apply for the break. “It’s not a complicated application."

Tree will continue to stand

Over its owner’s objections, an 80-foot pine soaring into the sky above New Broadway, will be allowed to remain standing, the village board ruled.

Lucia Pongibenne had sought permission to cut down the venerable arbor, which she finds “beautiful . . . but too close for comfort.”

Members of the Tree Commission, however, as well as Mayor Ken Wray, said the tree, for all its years, was in good health and did not deserve to die. Commission members Shelly Robinson and Richard Gross told the trustees they had examined the pine and found no evidence of imminent danger.

“I looked for a reason to take it down,” said Gross, “and couldn’t find any.”

Robinson, for her part, “visited the site twice” and judged the tree “a magnificent specimen.”

Gross, who is also general foreman of the village’s Department of Public Works, said, “I couldn’t find any reason at this time...why the tree would come down.”

The mayor, who lives in the neighborhood, agreed and warned Pongibenne, moments before the board voted to deny her petition, “I should let you know that we rely on the Tree Commission in matters like this.”

If the pine should topple, Wray joked, “It won’t quite make it to my house.” But he deemed that unlikely, assuring Pongibenne, “There’s nothing wrong with the tree right now.” Wray said she could “absolutely reapply” to have the tree removed if its condition deteriorates.

New fire truck on the way

More than a year in the planning and procuring, a shiny new six-figure pumper was scheduled to head east out of Appleton, Wisconsin, today, bound for Sleepy Hollow.

The board voted $618,172 to pay for the rig, set to arrive sometime before a 6 p.m. Friday welcoming ceremony. “I’m looking forward to seeing this thing,” Wray said.

Stay tuned for Patch photos of its arrival.

Before turning over payment, village and fire officials will have a couple of weeks to kick the tires and otherwise inspect their acquisition.

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Anne D'Alessandro October 25, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Being a previous owner of 60 New Broadway - I can completely understand the current owner's concern over the tree. It is definitely way too close to the back of the house and indeed it's massive roots severely impeded our efforts to expand the back patio some years ago. I would hope that the Tree Commission will revisit this issue regularly, and not wait for the tree to come down in a bad storm - which I believe it will eventually..
Jaques Strape October 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I hope that the home owner sues all involved for damages plus tons more if the tree falls onto their home. This business of tree commissions and board members dictating what a person can do to feel safe is a load of dung. Since when did Shelly Robinson, Gross and Wray become arborists. I hope the tree does make it to Wray's house if it falls. Would serve him right. Pompous horses rears..

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