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Mixed Reaction to Briarcliff/Ossining Annexation

There was a mixed reaction to Briarcliff Village Manager Philip Zegarelli's report yesterday on the possible annexation of two Ossining town election districts by Briarcliff.

Zegarelli's presentation showed that there would be a net benefit per year to Briarcliff of $362,309 or $695,000, depending on how many administrators and police officers are hired, if the Town of Ossining's election districts 17 and 20 are annexed.

For districts 17 and 20, an area that encompasses a commercial strip along North State Road, there would be a net savings of $331,000, or 14.4 percent in taxes, he reported.

Several District 17 and 20 residents were dubious about the savings, while others felt annexation would lower costs and improve services.

"Briarcliff is much more expensive than Ossining, so it doesn't make sense," said Donna Sharrett, who has lived in the Town of Ossining's district 20 for seven years. "And we'll be paying (taxes) for two libraries, Briarcliff and Ossining."

Sharrett added that she had made a decision to move to Ossining, not Briarcliff, so she didn't like the idea of living in Briarcliff.

"I spent hundreds of hours doing volunteer work for Ossining, not Briarcliff," Sharrett said, referring to her time spent revamping the Ossining Organic Community Garden so that it no longer flooded and could accommodate more garden plots.

Art Sullivan, a resident of Haymont Terrace which is in the possible annexation district, said he had spoken to many other District 17 and 20 residents who felt annexation would be a good idea.

"I believe that it would lower taxes and services would be better," he said. "A lot of people are talking about it."

According to Zegarelli, the annexation proposal originated from a group of about 12 residents in both affected districts, which has a population of about 1,500. In the long term, the village of Briarcliff is looking to become a town-village after annexation, the manager said.

Peter Tripodi, a councilman for the Town of Ossining, said people should look at the proposal with an open mind and respect.

"I've seen less than 12 people make more of a difference," he said. "If residents are petitioning the government to do something, whatever it is, it can't be treated like an insect to be swatted away."

There will be another annexation presentation by Zegarelli on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Anne M Dorner Middle School at 100 Van Cortlandt Ave. in Ossining.

Are you in favor of Briarcliff annexing part of the Town of Ossining? Leave your comment below or join TheDailyBriarcliff.com's conversation on Facebook .

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