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Nyack Sketch Log: Village Hall

by Bill Batson

Nyack inaugurated its 37th mayor on Saturday, December 31 at 12n. The smooth transition of government, from  Nyack’s current mayor, Richard Kavesh, to new mayor Jen Laird White, is the hallmark of American democracy.  The public event took place at Village Hall.

There is no single recipe to good government. The demographics, public assets, structures, meetings, employees and budgets are some of the raw ingredients. The success or failure of the municipal meal depends to a great extent on whom is doing the cooking.

Making good government is a little like making stew. Like a slow simmering gumbo, policy outcomes are enhanced by including as wide a variety of points of views, or spices, as possible.

NSL_Village Hall_Mayor WhiteThe community plays a central role in creating good government. You can’t just vote and go home. In the epic celebration of direct democracy Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau wrote that ending your civic participation at the ballot box is “only expressing to men feebly your desire that (the right) should prevail.”

We should think of ourselves not as restaurant critics who either polish off or push away our plate of public services when we are through, but as cooks engaged in making the goulash of government.

In that spirit, I offer this menu for your civic edification on the occasion of the inauguration of a new mayor for our village. Bon appetit.

Appetizers

The Hudson House was once Nyack’s Village Hall. Their wine cellar was once the jail.

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The current village hall was once the office of Rockland Power and Light (which subsequently became Orange and Rockland).

When Kathy Boudin, the convicted killer of Nyack police officers and a security guard in the Brinks Robbery, was detained in Village Hall on October 20, 1981, snipers lined the rooftops of buildings on Broadway and Main in anticipation of a jailbreak.

Abraham Lincoln lost Rockland County in the election of 1860 by an almost two to one margin.

Main Course

Nyack was incorporated on February 27, 1883

Population / Demographics:

  • Population: 6,765
  • 24% of Nyack residents told the 2010 Census they were African American.
  • 13% said they were of Hispanic origin. Nyack’s Hispanic population increased 63 percent between 2000 and 2010.

Area: The village takes up approximately 1.6 square miles but half of that is in the Hudson. The 6700+ residents are packed into 8/10 of one square mile, making one of the most densely populated areas in Rockland County.

Government Structure: Mayor / Council / Manager

Jen White (JenWhite@nyack-ny.gov)

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Village Board

Trustee meetings: The 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 7:30p at Nyack Village Hall

Nyack’s Village Adminstrator is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the village. When Jim Politi was appointed village administrator in May 2010, he became Nyack and Rockland County’s first village administrator.

The annual budget for the Village of Nyack is $5.2 million ($5,163,517)

Parking

  • There are 45 Munimeters and 125 Individual Meters in the Village of Nyack.
  • The 2011-2012 projected revenue from all parking sources is almost $1.4 million (26% of total village revenue).  This total includes meter fees & fines, parking permits fees, marina slip and meter fees and taxi licenses.

Artist Bill Batson, an activist and former NYC resident, draws sketches and writes essays curbside in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: Village Hall” Copyright 2011, Bill Batson.

The Nyack Sketch Log is sponsored by The Corner Frame Shop at 40 South Franklin Street in Nyack, NY.

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