For more than a decade, Harrison has faced a growing crisis—a debt crisis.
By the end of 2012, the town owed nearly $80 million. For a community of roughly 25,000, the Town/Village of Harrison’s debt level, which rivals some cities, has become a polarizing issue.
Whether you find yourself exploring the hillside streets of West Harrison, or shopping in the central business district downtown, you’re sure to spot something, somewhere that was a contributing factor to the town’s financial plight.
First seen in the July 19, 2013 edition of the Harrison Report
Harrison Town Supervisor Ron Belmont and former Town Supervisor Joan Walsh Set to Face-Off
After a special caucus held on June 10, the Harrison Democratic Committee has named its slate for the 2013 election. It is the first all-female Democratic slate in Harrison history.
At the top of the ballot, Joan Walsh, the former two-term mayor of Harrison, leads the all-female ticket with the intent of reclaiming leadership from first-term incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican.
“I felt a sense of responsibility to the town,” said Walsh, 78, regarding her candidacy, “which I’ve worked so hard for, for so long.”
This story first appeared in the June 21, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report
It has been nearly two years since Ron Belmont won in a landslide victory for Harrison mayor—securing 63 percent of the vote—over then-Mayor Joan Walsh.
Now in her late seventies, Walsh, a Democrat, has returned from a two-year hiatus from the political arena with plans to reclaim the mayoral seat.
“Many people are dissatisfied with the current town board,” Walsh said. “When I was mayor, we really watched every dollar…now, [the council is] spending money and they’re borrowing money.”
Story first appeared in June 14, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report
While seeking the Democratic nod for Westchester County Executive last October, County Legislator William Ryan announced he will not seek re-election for a ninth consecutive term on the board.
“Although my service with the county board will conclude Dec. 31,  it is not my plan to retire and I am currently considering several public sector offers for 2014,” Ryan said.
Although the April 24 Democratic Convention did not provide Ryan the support for which he’d hoped, as he placed third out of three candidates vying to challenge Republican Rob Astorino for county executive, Ryan reaffirmed his stance not to seek another two-year term on the Board of Legislators.
This story first appeared in the Harrison Report on May 31, 2013.
Sources indicate the Town of Harrison has plans in motion to strike a development deal with the AvalonBay Communities concerning the long-awaited Transit Oriented Development project with the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
It has been more than two years since Harrison received bids for construction of the project, but town officials have been mum ever since. Any motion will be the first in just over a year since residents expressed skepticism that the proposed Town Center would ever see the light of day.
However, recently sources with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations between the town, MTA and Avalon, have informed The Harrison Report that AvalonBay Communities will in fact be the developer of the long-awaited project once discussions are finalized.
This story originally appeared in the May 24, 2013 edition of the Harrison Review
Voters in the Harrison Central School District passed its $108 million budget with 71 percent of all votes cast on May 21. As a result, tax bills will increase by 3.7 percent next year.
The 2013-2014 budget comes with no reduction to class size and no program cuts, but necessitates minimal layoffs to come in under the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap. According to unofficial tallies, 1,385 residents voted “yes” and 553 voted against the budget.
“We have consistently tried to meet our dual commitment of providing a comprehensive education while being responsible to our taxpayers,” Schools Superintendent Louis Wool said on Wednesday regarding the results. “The Board of Education would like to thank our residents, and express our profound appreciation for the support of our students that came from every corner and neighborhood of the community.”
The spending plan marks the second time in history that the budget passed in the polls of each of the four voting districts in Harrison.
After a series of reductions totaling more than $2.25 million, the district approved a $3.79 million increase in spending from last year for a budget-to-budget increase of 3.6 percent. Reductions included decreases in certiorari and capital budget lines, decreases in social security, unemployment, contractual services, the cost of fuel and several other cuts for smaller budget line items.
By eliminating vacant positions through attrition and through the implementation of a teacher retirement incentive, the district was able to minimize the need for layoffs in the budget, with plans to cut only one to two positions.
First appeared in the May 24, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report.
Photo Courtesy of Harrison PD
County officials have closed the case surrounding a Harrison police lieutenant who accidentally discharged a .223 caliber assault rifle amid a high-profile sting operation last October, finding no basis for criminal prosecution.
During the arrest of three suspects who were wanted in connection with an interstate burglary ring, Harrison Police Lt. Vito Castellano‑a 15-year police veteran and county firearms instructor‑accidentally fired two shots from his department-issued LMT Guardian 2000 assault rifle, striking a suspect and a fellow officer in the fracas.
“The evidence indicates that Lt. Castellano fired his weapon accidentally and not intentionally,” said Westchester Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth.
This story first appeared in the May 10, 2013 edition of the Harrison Report