State of the City on March 20th — Please Join Us

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Please join me for the annual State of the City Address on Wednesday, March 20th at City Hall.  The evening begins with a networking reception at 6:00pm, followed by the speech at 7:30pm.  The event is free and open to the public. There’s more in this flyer.  Hope to see you there!

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Neighborhood Conversation Recap

Neighborhood Conversation at New Rochelle High School

Back in October, I hosted four “Neighborhood Conversations” around New Rochelle.  If you weren’t able to attend, here’s a link to my presentation.  (This footage is from the final meeting at New Rochelle High School.)

At each of these conversations, I used an interactive application called “slido” to survey the audience and invite questions.  Some big takeaways:

•  Infrastructure emerged as the public’s top priority, way ahead of everything else.  The good news is that the City’s 10-Year Capital Budget invests heavily in roads and other long-term assets, but it was evident that many residents want to do even more.

•  Economic development was the chief focus of many questions, with specific inquiries related to fiscal impacts, student generation, construction jobs, and traffic.  Given the pace and scale of change in our downtown area, this subject demands ongoing dialogue.

•  By about a 2-1 margin, residents believe that New Rochelle is moving in the right direction.  For a public official, that’s a very encouraging sign, but I am mindful that this also leaves a sizable minority with serious concerns, and I feel a responsibility to address and engage these critical perspectives, too.

Were these opinions reflective of our community as a whole?  That’s hard to say.  The folks who choose to attend meetings like this may not be a statistically representative sample of New Rochelle.  But, regardless, I was very grateful for the constructive feedback and input.

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Energize Your Home

With winter setting in, this is a good time to remind everyone about New Rochelle’s Energize program, which provides a pathway for homeowners to reduce energy bills and make homes more comfortable.  If you haven’t taken advantage of this program to weatherize your home, you are really leaving money on the table.  Please visit the Energize website for more information or see this handy flyer.

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Get Insured – Open Enrollment Begins November 1

With the open enrollment period for health insurance set to begin on November 1st, Westchester County is stepping up to help everyone get insured.  Here’s more information from the County:

Free assistance is available to help individuals and small businesses enroll or renew their health coverage with NY State of Health, the official health plan Marketplace. The Westchester County Department of Health Navigator Program offers in-person assistance in multiple languages at no charge.

The 2019 Open Enrollment period for the Marketplace will begin Thursday, November 1 and will run through January 31 for all new applicants. For health coverage to begin on January 1, residents must enroll in a plan by December 15.

For anyone currently enrolled in the Marketplace, the Open Enrollment period will begin on November 16. Renewal information for 2019 will be sent directly to enrollees from the NY State of Health.

Anyone who wants to can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) during the Open Enrollment period. Enrollment in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, the Essential Plan and the Small Business Marketplace is available all year round.

Navigators are available at 24 sites including Health Department offices, libraries,community based organizations and government agencies. Weekday, evening and weekend hours are available. For more information on navigator services, locations or to schedule an appointment, call (914) 995-6350 or email hnav@westchestergov.com.

To learn more about health coverage, go to www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call 1-855-355-5777.The NY

State of Health customer service hours are Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, and Saturday, 9am-1pm.For more health information, go to www.westchestergov.com/health.

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Another Informative (and Interactive) Conversation

Thank you to everyone who turned out for our second “Neighborhood Conversation” last night at the JCC of Mid-Westchester.  It was another engaging and lively discussion, with excellent comments.

In addition to offering a traditional presentation on City issues, I’ve been experimenting at these meetings with an online interactive program called Slido that allows the audience to provide real-time feedback on priorities, likes, concerns, etc.  It’s a really interesting way to gather and display opinions from the whole group.

This same program also helps to democratize the Q & A process.  Using Slido, any member of the audience can submit a question(s), and then everyone is subsequently invited to “vote” on the questions that match their interests.  Slido sorts the questions by number of votes, and then we cover as many topics as time permits, in order of audience preference.  The standard method of selecting questions tends to reward whoever is most aggressive about grabbing the microphone; if you’re quiet, or shy, or just don’t know the rules of the game, then you’re out of luck.  By contrast, this alternate method is fair and inclusive; everybody participates and everybody’s opinion counts equally.  As the moderator of the meeting, I have no role in screening, filtering, or selecting the questions. In fact, I don’t even know what questions are submitted until the top-ranked topics pop up on the presentation screen for me to field.  No method is perfect, but my impression is that the great majority of people who participated found this interactive process to be constructive, transparent, and fun.

Next up: Columbus School on October 23rd and New Rochelle High School on October 24th.  Join us!

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