Brian Pugh on Croton Point Avenue

cpa2014

To the Editor:

The proposed improvements for Croton Point Avenue have been long debated. Now it is time for decision and action. The NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the Village’s plans in November 2015 after extensive review. Earlier this month, the DOT offered to chip in $250,000 in addition to $1.2M in previously awarded grants–provided that the Village commits to constructing the project between 2017 and 2018.

I am in favor of this important improvement that benefits all users of this busy roadway. It is a positive investment in an area of the Village that will accommodate the growth of our Village’s local economy and population and improve access to mass transit.

Some of my Croton United Party colleagues on the Village Board seem fascinated by the idea of breaking the project up into pieces to be completed over time. This does not make sense to me, as segmenting the project would mean inflicting additional construction on commuters, delaying and likely inflating the total project price due to rising construction costs.

Therefore, I favor accepting the DOT’s grant for Croton Point Avenue and pursuing its prompt and actual completion. I hope that the rest of the Board will join me in supporting a comprehensive and complete approach to this project.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

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Trustee Ann Gallelli’s Update on NYCOM

To the editor,

On May 1 to 3, I attended the annual NYCOM conference along with Trustee Anderson and members of the Village staff.

NYCOM is the NY Conference of Mayors. It provides information and counsel to Villages and cities around the state. It also lobbies on our behalves, advocating for us with the State Legislature and the Governor’s Office. Its annual meeting is a very useful and helpful occasion when Trustees and Mayors can share information on common issues and potential solutions.

One thing everyone recognizes on these occasions is the commonalities among all villages across the State – common issues and problems as well as successful solutions that work for many. It is a place to learn from others experiences so as not to reinvent the wheel. This year there were sessions on energy programs, financing, infrastructure improvements, governing, social media, ethics and more.

These are all topics we are dealing with in Croton. Our Board and Village residents can benefit from others’ experiences with these issues and maximize our implementation of solutions in all of these areas. We are not an island; we are a vibrant village that can get even better by pursuing programs in these areas that have been successful for others.

Ann Gallelli, Trustee

May 2016: Village Issues Forum

Thank you to everyone that came to Saturday’s forum, which featured presentations from Dr. Courtney M. Williams on Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), Trustee Ann Gallelli on the planning and Trustee Brian Pugh on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and other energy issues. The Croton Democrats look forward to having future opportunities for Croton residents to engage with local issues.

 

Andy Levitt on CCA

To the Editor:

In light of some misconceptions that are apparently still circulating about the Community Choice Aggregation electricity program – a program blessed by the New York Public Service Commission and now in place in twenty Westchester County municipalities – I feel compelled to point out that the benefits of CCA are not hypothetical.

We know the deal the municipalities participating in CCA are getting, and it’s a good one. Residents in those communities will pay less than the average ConEd electricity supply rates for 2015, even in the fourteen municipalities that have chosen the 100% renewable energy supply option. And if ConEd’s supply rates somehow fall below the 2015 price level, CCA participants will be no worse off, because they can opt out of the program and go back to ConEd at any time.

CCA is a forward-thinking, money-saving, choice-maximizing, environmentally friendly solution that the Public Service Commission has now approved for use statewide, but that Croton, unfortunately, has been left out of. I hope that Croton will have the opportunity, and that our Village government will have the will, to rectify this serious mistake.

Andy Levitt
Croton-on-Hudson

Brian Pugh on the Clean Energy Standard

To The Editor:

Governor Cuomo announced the goal of generating 50% of NYS’ electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In order to achieve that goal the Public Service Commission (PSC), the chief regulator of utilities in NY, has announced the development of a “Clean Energy Standard” (PSC Case Number: 15-E-0302) that will put meat on the bones of the state’s goal.

The Clean Energy Standard will have economic and environmental consequences for all New Yorkers. This is particularly true in Croton, which as a waterfront community is particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change, and is located a few miles from Indian Point (and a pipeline expansion project). In addition, Croton residents, as ConEd customers, pay some of the highest electric rates in the country.

According to the a preliminary analysis by the PSC, under the draft proposal, the state would invest over $3B to support renewable energy generation. Eligible power sources would include hydro, nuclear, solar and wind.

Regardless of what you may think of the Clean Energy Standard—and there is a lot to digest—the PSC should make a reasonable effort to inform the public and solicit public comment.

That’s why I was disappointed to learn that the PSC will be conducting a campaign of public hearings and information sessions, but that they have no stops scheduled in Westchester County. Indeed, the closest information sessions will be in Kingston, NY and New York City.

Given the complexity of the Clean Energy Standard and its importance for our community, I think that our region deserves to have a hearing and information session of its own. That’s why I have contacted the Public Service Commission to share my concerns about this and encouraged the Village administration to suggest to the PSC that they hold at least one additional hearing and information session to include Westchester County.

For those who would like to learn more about the Clean Energy Standard on their own, a PSC presentation recorded on May 4 is available (www.dps.ny.gov/Webcasts.html). You can also comment on the proceeding via telephone using the PSC’s Opinion Line:1-800-335-2120

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Brian Pugh on Community Choice Aggregation

To the Editor:

As we reflect on our annual local Earth Day celebration in Croton-on-Hudson, it seems like a good opportunity to reflect on the environmental and economic opportunity of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA).

The local nonprofit Sustainable Westchester developed a CCA program, approved by the NYS Public Service Commission, called “Westchester Power”. Westchester Power sought to combine the market power of communities across Westchester to lower the price of electricity for residents and increase green energy options for residents—essentially applying the principle of buying in bulk to electric power.

Since then, more than 10 communities in Westchester have chosen 100% renewable through Westchester Power. If Croton received 100% green power, the reduction in greenhouse gas would have been comparable to taking over 200 cars off the road, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. All for less than the average Con Edison price!

Last week, based on the progress of Westchester Power, the NYS Public Service Commission approved CCA for the rest of the state. Yet, because of the posture of the Croton United Party members on the Village Board, our community has been left behind.

I encourage my colleagues on the Board, particularly the Croton United Party majority that voted against CCA in January, to re-evaluate participation in Westchester Power, so that we can join our neighbors in communities from Ossining to Hastings in saving money and promoting renewable energy.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Trustee