By Mayor Ron Belmont
I am happy to report that the Town Board recently adopted the 2019 budget. This budget maintains the excellent services that Harrison residents value and expect. Once again, this budget will keep the town under the state-mandated property tax cap that began in 2012. The adopted 2019 tax rate has an increase of 2.9%. Our NYS Retirement bill is fully funded, as it has been in previous years. Though it is permissible, we do not borrow to pay for pensions. Revenue has been conservatively budgeted as have expenditures. Though the results of our 2018 budget year will not be available for several months, I do anticipate increased reserves. This will allow us to maintain our commitment to the Harrison taxpayer by providing improvements that help make us a community of distinction.
This year’s holiday celebration kickoffs were a big success. From candy canes to carolers and visits with Santa, both West Harrison and Downtown Harrison reveled in merriment. The hot chocolate flowed in West Harrison as Frosty the Snowman visited with residents, young and old. Elementary school choral groups serenaded the crowds in Downtown Harrison, and the event concluded with the lighting of the Christmas tree and menorah. It was wonderful to see so many new visitors and familiar friends as these are the festivities that emphasize the true significance of the season. Both events did a great job reflecting the magic that the holidays should bring to us all.
Our Recreation Department is currently taking applications for winter programs. Back by popular demand, basketball, archery and Nerf soccer clinics will be offered in January. Please remember that parents must have current ID cards to register children for all programs. 2019 cards are now available for purchase. Proof of residency required. For more information, call Leo Mintzer Center at 949-5265 or Sollazzo Center at 670-3039.
Plenty of activities will be available during January at the Harrison Public Library. In honor of National Hot Tea Month, patrons can learn about the history of tea and the most popular tea leaves with Justin Fornal, an international explorer, author, extreme athlete, and cultural detective. Participants will be tasting samples of the teas discussed. You can watch Justin Fornal's TedX Jersey City talk on "Exploration" online - Exploration with Justin -https://tinyurl.com/yc3tonkz This program is being hosted by the Harrison Public Library at the Sauce Bar, 7 Purdy Street, Harrison, New York 10528. Registration is required on the library's website or by contacting the library at (914)-835-0324.
Did you get a new gadget for the holidays? Find out how to download free ebooks and audiobooks from the Library’s e-collection. Bring your new device, as well as your library card, and a Library staff member will walk you through the process. Registration is required. Register online, by phone at (914) 835-0324, or in person at the library.
Looking for a free, fun, educational outing for the family or an excursion for out-of-town guests? Reserve a museum pass on the library website! Tickets are free with your Harrison/Purchase library card.
Each year, the United Way of Westchester and Putman Counties reaches out to the greater Westchester community regarding the need for foster parents. United Way's 2-1-1 is partnering with Westchester and Putnam County Government to get the word out that additional homes are needed for children whose parents are unable to care for them. Financial support and training for foster parents will be provided. Currently, there are hundreds of children, in Westchester County, who need a temporary and loving home. To learn more about how you can help, please visit www.uwpp.org or call United Way at (914) 997-6700.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all residents the very best this holiday season. It’s an honor to serve as your Mayor. I’m proud of our community and the accomplishments we have had this year. On the New Year, I look forward to another year of progress. There is work to be done, but the Town Board and I are confident that we will meet the challenges head on! I would also like to thank our Town personnel for the commitment and dedication they put forth on a daily basis. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2019! May the holiday spirit be with you today and throughout the New Year.