Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Edition

As we enter our first full-week of shuttered non-essential businesses and distance learning, it is remarkable how quickly many of us have adapted to social distancing and working from home. The “new normal” is not without its challenges, but this community is strong, generous, and flexible. When we come together in times of crisis, we demonstrate the true meaning of community. As members of your Town Board, we are truly grateful to serve this community, and we thank you for your patience, kindness, and perseverance.  

 

New York State on PAUSE

Over the weekend, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, which directed all non-essential businesses statewide to close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22. ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES are not subject to the in-person restriction. Today, the Governor's Office provided the following guidance on what qualified as essential services under the executive order as well as how to request designation as an essential business. Learn more:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/…/governor-cuomo-issues-guidanc…

 

Statistics, and The Problem with Statistics…

The statistics that the Governor shares at his daily press conferences include confirmed cases reported directly to the State by the testing entities. As a result, there is a large lag time between when the State reports the numbers when the information flows to the Westchester County Emergency Operations Center. Understanding that in addition to the lag time there is also a gap between the number of potential cases and the number of patients tested, the following are the current statistics:

  • There are 20,875 total confirmed in State of New York. The first case was reported in Manhattan on 3/1/2020.
  • There are 2,894 total cases in Westchester County, as announced by the Governor today. This compares to 1,873 on Sunday. 1,021 new cases were identified overnight.
  • Westchester has second largest number of cases, but keep in mind that this is due to the higher number of people tested. 
  • Top 10 numbers in the County: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/coronavirus/2020/03/23/coronavirus-numbers-westchester-county/2900198001/?csp=chromepush
  • The Town of New Castle has a total of 8 confirmed cases, as reported to us by the Westchester County EOC.

 

Budget Impact - Property Tax Collection, Sales Tax Projections, and the Town Budget

Residents have asked whether the changes to the IRS filing and income tax payment deadlines will have an impact on the Town’s collection of County and local property taxes. Our answer is: there are no changes (yet).  The County is looking into this issue and considering what options may be available, such as delaying the tax collection date or reducing the fees and penalties associated with late payments for hardship cases. There are no decisions yet, and the Town is awaiting the County’s guidance on this matter. Please understand that our ability to provide essential services depends on tax collection. In addition, the Town is awaiting updated estimates from the County for first quarter sales tax revenues.  

For an in depth look at the Town’s budget and how revenues and expenditures may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, please join the Town Board for an update from Town Comptroller Rob Deary at our virtual Town Board meeting tomorrow night. You can watch the live meeting at https://www.youtube.com/c/nccmc starting at 7:25PM tonight.

 

Social Services – How to Apply for Help

The Westchester County Department of Social Services remains open but is strongly encouraging online applications and phone-based assistance. You can apply online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov.  You can also call 211 for social services assistance or email COVID19faq@westchestergov.com.  Locally, residents can contact Town of New Castle Senior Social Worker Bess Steiger at 238-2093, to access Town programs and services, and for assistance navigating the County and State services as well.

 

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Please maintain 6’ social distancing & talk to children about it. NCPD will address. (Message from New Castle Police Chief Jim Carroll)

We are receiving reports regarding non-compliance of social distancing rules. Many of these reports are about our younger residents. They need to be reminded they aren't invincible: In fact, 54% of New York State Coronavirus cases are ages 18-49. Nobody should be endangering their own health, and they certainly have no right to endanger someone else's.

We are actively looking for social distancing violations and addressing them.  Please don’t hesitate to call the Police Department at (914) 238-4422 if you observe a violation you feel needs to be addressed.

 

How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors…Safely!

Westchester County has closed its playgrounds, but the County parks remain open for passive recreation. The County anticipates making a decision within 3-4 weeks regarding the opening date for beaches, Playland, and public pools. According to the County, Golf is a sport that can be played with social distancing, and therefore County golf courses will remain open. 

Similarly, in New Castle local parks are open for passive recreation, while playgrounds, ball fields, and basketball courts are closed. This is a great time to explore our expansive park trail system! Over the weekend, I visited Burden Preserve and Warburg Park – both parking lots were empty and the trails were fantastic!

 

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED (Message from Governor's Office)

New York State is doing all it can to keep New Yorkers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. But we’re stronger if we all work together. Governor Cuomo is calling on health care professionals, schools of public health or medicine and PPE products providers and manufacturers to come forward to support the state’s response. It's going to be hard, it's going to be disruptive, but we will get through this together.

Learn more about how to help: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-…

 

Donate N95 Masks for local healthcare workers

We have all seen the news and heard first-hand reports from health care workers who lack the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) that is necessary to perform their jobs and keep themselves and their families safe from the spread of COVID-19. Two local moms -- both of whom are brilliant doctors working in the field in these difficult conditions -- reached out to me yesterday about the shortage of N95 respirator masks in local medical centers and hospitals and the prevalence of these same lifesaving devices being worn by residents at our local grocery stores and other places.

Residents we need your help!! If you have any N95 masks, and do not work in a front-line capacity, please DONATE your masks. There is a donation bin located inside the New Castle Police Department at Town Hall, and I want to say a special thanks to Chief Jim Carroll and the NCPD for their willingness to collect these masks.

Another collection option is to contact the Westchester County Emergency Operations Center to arrange a pick up: wceoc@westchestergov.com.

I urge you to do this TODAY. The shortage is real, and your friends and neighbors are asking you to help. Please do your part – we are all in this together!!

 

Introducing New Castle Volunteer Match

We are fortunate to live in a generous and big-hearted community, with many talented and capable residents who are ready and willing to lend a hand to neighbors in need.  Currently, the Town of New Castle has sufficient resources and volunteers to meet the needs of our existing programs.  However, during this time of crisis, we recognize that there are needs that exist beyond the scope of the programs and services offered by the Town.

This Facebook group “New Castle Volunteer Match” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/235308037530428/) was created to facilitate matches between people with special skills, time, resources, etc., and community members that are looking for help.  For example, a local small business may need help setting up an e-commerce site, and a local resident may be an expert in that field. A local senior may need a gallon of milk from the grocery store, and a local family could pick that up during their supermarket run.  The possibilities are endless.

We suggest starting your post with “I NEED…” or “I CAN PROVIDE…”

Please note, that this page is provided as a public service. The Town cannot guarantee that the needs identified here will be met, nor can we guarantee the quality of the services provided. Please remember to maintain social distancing when interacting in person, e.g., delivering groceries.  To sign up for Town-provided social services, such as Meals on Wheels, please contact Senior Social Worker Bess Steiger at 238-2093. If you require immediate assistance please call the New Castle Police Department at 238-4422; or in case of an emergency dial 911.

 

Support for our Local Businesses

Both Westchester County and the Town of New Castle are working on creating guidance for local business on available assistance programs and how to apply. As this information is finalized, we will share it with our Chamber of Commerce, the local business community, and residents.

The Town of New Castle is collaborating with the Chappaqua Millwood Chamber of Commerce to hold virtual forums later this week for our local merchants and small business owners to discuss opportunities for assistance and how the Town can help.  Reach out to Councilwoman Lauren Levin llevin@mynewcastle.org for more information. 

 

Update on Spring 2020 New Castle Recreation Programs

The Town of New Castle Recreation & Parks Department is currently postponing the scheduled start date of all Spring Programming until further notice. In doing so we will also close registration at this time until we have determined a new start date for Spring programs. If you have already registered, we will keep your registration active unless you instruct us otherwise. This will keep your “spot” in the program for which you have registered. Once the Department has chosen a new start date, fees will be prorated to be in line with the new session length and those who have already registered will be given a credit.

The Recreation Department will continue to accept Summer Camp registration online only.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call us at 914-238-3909. Thank you.

 

Thank You!

Thank you all for the support and kindness you have shown us and each other. We appreciate your taking the time to read these regular updates, and we welcome your feedback and questions at townboard@mynewcastle.org. Stay safe! 

  • Ivy, Jeremy, Lisa, Lauren, and Jason

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