Brian Pugh: Moratorium a reminder of the need to conserve energy

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

As many readers may already know, Con Edison announced in January a moratorium on new natural gas customers for much of Westchester County to take effect in March, which was the subject of a public hearing in White Plains this week.  This moratorium does not cover the Village of Croton.

Although the Village of Croton is not affected by the current proposed moratorium, it is a stark reminder of the importance of conserving energy as the moratorium is driven by growing demand for natural gas in Westchester County.  Some simple energy saving tactics from Con Ed include:

1) Lower your thermostat-Each degree over 68°F can increase your energy usage by 3 percent.

2) Keep ducts and vents clean-Your heating system will run more efficiently, and it might last longer.

3) Swap out your shades seasonally-Light-colored window coverings reflect the sun’s energy, while darker ones absorb it and release heat.

4) Take showers instead of baths-Showers use half as much water as baths. Less hot water means less energy used.

In addition to these energy smart behaviors, I encourage property owners to consult with the nonprofit Energize Croton program.  The Energize Croton program is here to help you with everything from the initial application, picking a contractor and scheduling the home energy assessment to prioritizing energy upgrade measures and accessing financing options

Dozens of Croton residents have already made their homes more energy efficient with Energize.  A more energy efficient home can make your home more comfortable, make it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, save money on heating and cooling, increase the value of your home, and reduce your carbon footprint

For more information, please call (914) 302-7300, visit croton.energizeny.org or write to laurenb@energizeny.org

Brian Pugh, Mayor

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Ann Gallelli: Saving Taxpayer Dollars

ann2016To the Editor,
This week the Board of Trustees authorized our Village Treasurer to refinance two bonds issued in 2009 and 2011 respectively. The refinanced bond will provide a total net savings of over $300,000 over the life of the bond.
Thank you to our proactive Village Treasurer and Manager who brought this opportunity to our attention.
There are many demands on our Village dollars for infrastructure, services, maintenance and protection. We are always looking for opportunities, such as this, to improve and maximize our ability to meet these demands.

Ann Gallelli

Amy Attias: Thank you, Trustee Olver

To the editor:Sep. 14th LTEs -- AA

 

As many know, several weeks ago I had to make the tough decision to resign as Trustee in Croton. The decision was wrenching, but watching Rick Olver being sworn in Monday evening as the person taking the seat I vacated, made my heart and mind rest at ease.

 

Our community is so well served by Rick’s decision to answer the “call of duty” and to once again serve as Trustee. He has been in this position before, so there is no starting from square one. Rather, he is experienced, prepared, and ready to go.

 

And then for me, personally, knowing that Rick’s professional background both at the United Nations and as an immigration attorney, coincided with my own social and political values, took the sting out of disappointing people who may have voted for me. I believe that in many important regards, Rick and I would see eye to eye, and that he will be a valuable asset to the Village Board.

 

Croton is in such good hands. Thank you, Rick Olver, for saying yes to a request to serve us once again.

 

Amy Attias

Brian Pugh: Welcome Aboard, Trustee Olver

To The Editor:pugh2016
I appointed former Trustee Rick Olver to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Trustee Amy Attias. I believe that Trustee Olver, thanks to his previous service on the Board, is ready from day one to serve and well positioned to contribute to our community.
I feel it was particularly important to appoint someone that could hit the ground running as we begin work on the 2019-2020 Village budget. The Village’s budget process, which begins with the presentation of the Village Manager’s proposed budget in March and continues to the adoption of the budget in April, can be demanding with many twice weekly Board meetings to review the budget line-by-line with the heads of the Village’s Departments.
Trustee Olver previously served on the Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2011. Olver holds a J.D. from the Harvard School of Law and his law firm is located in the Village. I believe that Trustee Olver’s experience, expertise and deep local ties will make him an asset to the Board of Trustees and the Village. I hope that readers will join me in welcoming Rick Olver to the Board and thanking for him his willingness to serve.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh

Rick Olver: Answering a Call to Service

To The Editor:rick-olver-croton-on-hudson.jpg

I am proud to have been appointed to our Village Board to serve out the remainder of this year’s term. I agreed because I’ve learned to say ‘yes’ when I’m asked to help. Our village government has been led and managed in a thoughtful and prudent manner, but the challenges we face seem ever more difficult. People are being priced out. Young people, old people and families with good middle class jobs can’t afford it here any more. I’ve discussed with Mayor Pugh the need to continue to encourage the careful development of mixed business and middle class housing to expand the tax base, revitalize our down towns, and take the tax pressure off of homeowners, so we can keep Croton a unique place where people don’t have to be rich to live in what’s been called “the best town in New York”!

Rick Olver, Trustee

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 431

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 431st installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetings.  I continue to add recipients to this email update on agendas so you may be receiving it for the first time. I enjoy getting your feedback and hope to continue to hear from you.  If you do not wish to receive these periodic email updates from me, please reply to this email and your name will be removed from the email list.

Ann Gallelli

Decoding Village Agendas – January 22, 2019

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)

 

NOTE:  This meeting is on Tuesday due to Martin Luther King Day Holiday

 

 

PRESENTATION/OTHER:  Certificates of Recognition presented to Croton-Harmon teachers who received Gold Standard Certification.

 

PUBLIC HEARING:  Public Hearing to consider adoption of Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2019 to override the property tax cap.   This Tax Cap Override Law has been passed each year since the NYS Tax Cap was instituted in 2012.  It is recommended by the NY Conference of Mayors as a safety measure to prevent the Village being penalized in the event that they are unable to meet the Tax Cap.  Every year it must be repealed prior to the budget being approved.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

 

  • Letter from Peter Baynes, New York Conference of Mayors Executive Director, on AIM funding elimination.  NYCOM Director is alerting Villages to the loss of State aid in the Governor’s proposed budget.  For Croton, it would be approximate $45,000.
  • List of Legislative Priorities for 2019 from the New York Conference of Mayors.  NYCOM has provided the Villages and cities it represents a list of priority legislation that it would like to see passed on our behalf. They will be presenting the various initiatives with NYS Legislators in the coming weeks.

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

 

  • Consider adoption of a resolution in support of a new “No Stopping” area on the east side of Route 9A (North Riverside Avenue) south of Farrington Road.   In response to a dangerous situation brought to the attention of the NYS DOT, they have agreed to post a No Stopping sign in this location if the Village demonstrates support for it  by passing a resolution.

 

    1. Consider revision of the Master Fee Schedule in relation to the 2019 summer camp fees.  The proposed camp fees would increase slightly for the coming season.  The amount depends on the number of weeks  and whether registrants sign up before June 1 or after.

 

  • Consider appointment of Debra Rodriguez to the position of Police Officer in the Croton-on-Hudson Police Department at an annual salary of $63,048.28, pending approval of the Westchester County Dept. of Human Resources.  Ms. Rodriguez has been recommended by Chief Harper and would fill one of two open positions in the Department.
  • Consider scheduling a public hearing for Monday, February 4, at 8 PM in the Georgianna Grant Meeting Room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building for the purpose of revising Chapter 223 of the Village Code, Water, to reflect new bill delivery options.   The proposed law would enable sending water bills via email.
  • Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign the proposal from BFJ Planning of New York, New York, to create a Harbor Management Plan (HMP) for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) and the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the General Fund in the amount of $5,000 for the purposes of funding the HMP.  The Village completed an update of its 2003 LWRP and submitted to the NYS Dept. of State for final approval.  In the interim, the DOS instituted a new requirement for all LWRPs, requiring them to have a Harbor Management Program.  BFJ Planning will develop such a program to be added to our revised LWRP.

 

  1. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to award Bid No. 05-2018 for the Grand Street Drainage and Parking Lot Improvements to WD Excavation and Contracting, Inc. of Croton-on-Hudson, New York in the amount of $247,247.   This work is at the Grand Street Firehouse. Thirteen bids were received.  DPW Superintendent Balbi recommend WD Excavation, the second lowest bidder, due to the lowest bid not submitting adequate references.
  2. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to approve the change order from Con-Tech Construction of Brewster, New York, in the amount of $125,940 for additional retaining wall and sidewalk work along Elliott Way.   Additional work on the gabion wall along this walkway is needed.  Con-Tech would also construct the missing link between the new sidewalk at Senasqua Park and the new Elliott Way elevated walkway.
  3. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the General Fund in the amount of $25,000 to cover expenses related to Fire Department vehicle maintenance and repairs.   Several fire department vehicles are in need of repair due to wear and tear resulting from their usage.  There is not enough money currently in their budget.  This resolution would allow the Treasurer to transfer the needed amount from the Village’s Contingency account.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2018-19 General fund Budget in the amount of $46,209.35 for monies received from Historic Hudson Valley to cover police overtime work for the Blaze.   The Village has received reimbursement for police overtime expenses incurred during The Blaze event in Fall 2018.

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 430

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 430th installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetings. I continue to add recipients to this email update on agendas so you may be receiving it for the first time. I enjoy getting your feedback and hope to continue to hear from you. If you do not wish to receive these periodic email updates from me, please reply to this email and your name will be removed from the email list.

Ann Gallelli

Decoding Village Agendas – January 14, 2019

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

(Open to Public and Televised

Review of YTD financial statements for the current fiscal year. The Board will review the status of revenue and expenditures for the Village’s General, Water and Sewer Fund accounts at the mid-year point of Fiscal Year 2018/2019. This is in preparation for upcoming budget planning for the 2019/2020 budget and helps to ascertain whether assumptions made in prior budgets were accurate.

Further discussion on Police Department expansion and relocation of Recreation Department offices. This is a continuation of the discussion from the December work session on the expansion requirements for the Police Department in the Municipal Building and how that might coordinate with a possible move by the Recreation Department to the Gouveia Park building.

Discussion with members of the Croton Climate Initiative on sustainable policies. Members of CCI will be present to talk about initiatives on which the Village and CCI might work together.

Review of the Village’s capital planning process. The Board will look at the capital plans of the previous 5 fiscal years to see how and when various capital projects and proposed expenditures appear in the long range planning and how funding is anticipated. Capital planning for the General Fund covers Streets and sidewalks, Equipment, Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Municipal Garage and Parking Lot, Municipal Building renovations and equipment, Police Department, Recreation and Parks. There are also capital plans for the Water Fund and Sewer Fund.

Chair Richard Masur: Remembering Charles Stathacos (1952-2018)

Dear Editor,

The Village of Croton on Hudson lost a treasured friend just before the New Year. Charlie Stathacos. Charlie was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa in the seventies, which was only the beginning of a lifetime of service. In his career as an agricultural economist he worked in 27 countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East where he helped create food security for many of the world’s neediest economies.

When we were lucky enough to have him home in Croton, among his many other acts of service to this community, he volunteered as a Democratic District leader and stalwart supporter. He was the most gentle, caring and sweetest man who ever lived and he will be missed by all who knew him.

Richard Masur

Ann Gallelli: Renewing Your STAR Rebate

To the Editor,ann2016
In the past week, there have been articles in newspapers and on television reminding Seniors that they must renew their Enhanced STAR exemption to be eligible for it on the 2019 assessment roll.
Changes in NYS Law also require a new step in order to continue to receive that exemption this year and into the future. It is mandatory to submit a new form called the Enhanced STAR Income Verification Program (RP-425-IVP).
In the Town of Cortlandt, the Assessor’s Office administers this program. The deadline date is May 1, 2019 when the appropriate documents must be received by the Town Assessors office. If you are applying for Enhanced STAR for the first time, this date also applies.
All of this can be very confusing but doing it is very worthwhile. If you are eligible, the Enhanced STAR exemption can save you hundreds of dollars on your school taxes. Eligibility requires that your 2017 income must be $86,300 or less. Additionally, with the filing of the Income Verification Program application, you will not have to do this again in subsequent years.
To help answer questions and make it more convenient for Seniors to fill out the right documents and file them with the Town, the Village is taking the following steps:
We have requested that the Town Assessor make presentations and take questions at a Croton Seniors meeting and at a Croton Caring Committee occasion.
With the Town Assessor’s cooperation, a member of his staff will be available in the Croton Village Office on more than one occasion to accept the applications locally, thus saving a long trip up to the Town Offices.
Dates for the above occasions have not been finalized yet but they will be well-publicized once they are set.
We hope that providing this help will make the process of obtaining and/or renewing the Enhanced STAR exemption more understandable and less cumbersome. Look for more information on local dates and times in the near future. The phone number for the Town Assessor office is 734-1040.

Ann Gallelli

Brian Pugh: Croton is No. 1!

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped
USA Today ranked Croton-on-Hudson as the best place to live in New York State as part of its “best cities to live in every state across US” ranking last Friday. This is a real honor and a a tribute to each contributing member of our community.
The newspaper described Croton as: “a small village on the eastern bank of the Hudson River…The village’s proximity to New York City contributes to high property values as most homes in the community are worth over half a million dollars. Croton-on-Hudson is one of the safest communities in New York. There were just 48 violent crimes for every 100,000 village residents in 2017, about an eighth of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.”
I would like to thank everyone that contributes to the outstanding quality of life of our community in big ways and small.
Our Village benefits from a diligent and hardworking professional staff–particularly this time of year we appreciate the dedication of our Department of Public Works. We are blessed with some wonderful nonprofits and local voluntary organizations including the Croton-Cortlandt Food Pantry, the Croton Caring Committee, the Croton Arboretum and the Lions and Rotary clubs. Finally, we should appreciate our law enforcement officers and first responders–especially our Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service volunteers.
As Mayor, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Village Board of Trustees to keep Croton a great place to live.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh