A letter on Rent Stablization from Trustee Pugh

oldrentcontrol

To the Editor,

Earlier this week, the Village Board discussed Westchester County’s affordable housing model ordinance provisions for local governments. While the Village looks to support new housing opportunities, it is also important that we preserve existing affordable housing.

In 2003, the Village declared a housing emergency and adopted the Emergency Tenant Protection Act. Since then, the challenges for tenants have only grown, with market rents growing much faster than the rate of inflation.

The Emergency Tenants Protection Act provides for rent stabilization, limiting increases in rent for building built before 1974 to what is approved by the County Rent Guidelines Board. Income-eligible seniors and residents with disabilities may be totally exempted from rent increases.

ETPA communities set a minimum number of units in a building to require ETPA coverage. Currently, our Village law applies rent stabilization only to buildings with 50 or more units. Most other ETPA communities apply rent stabilization to buildings with 6 or more units—the minimum allowed by the state.

At the 11/23/15 Work Session, the Board discussed expanding the law adopted by the Village in 2003 to cover more housing units. I hope that the Board can revisit the Emergency Tenant Protection Act before the end of the year.

New York’s property tax cap, which limits the growth of property taxes, was established with the objective of keeping people in their homes. Rent stabilization, by controlling the growth of rents, will do the same for our Village tenants.

Brian Pugh

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Ann Gallelli on the Clean Energy Standard

To The Editor,

After the New York State Public Service Commission agreed to a request by the Village Board of Trustees  to hold a public hearing in Westchester on the proposed NYS Clean Energy Standard,  I attended the hearing on June 16 along with Trustee Brian Pugh and submitted the following statement for their consideration. Given the air quality alerts that we in Westchester are getting this summer, I believe it is very timely.

 

Dear Secretary Burgess,

 

I am one of the Trustees from the Village of Croton on Hudson who wrote to the PSC asking for the additional hearing on the Clean Energy Standard to be held in Westchester.  I appreciate the opportunity that you have provided our residents to learn about the CES and provide feedback to the Commission.

 

I am in total agreement with New York’s effort to reach a goal of 30% renewable energy by 2050. 

 

I am certainly not an expert on the ways in which this can be achieved.  However I understand that some areas of the state are, no doubt, in a better position to move in this direction due to energy prices and the availability of land or water resources to support renewable power projects.

 

Westchester is one of these areas which, has many waterways, some developable land and many rooftops, which could host renewable power systems.

 

Westchester County, which pays electric rates well above the state average and a growing population, has a serious need for new, clean affordable energy sources.

 

Most importantly, Westchester has serious environmental issues.  The American Lung Association has consistently given our region an F-grade in air quality.  The Department of Environmental Conservation has also made similar findings.

 

Therefore, I ask you to consider using the Clean Energy Standard in such a way as to prioritize projects, in environmentally burdened areas such as Westchester, which NYS deems would be helpful in achieving the state’s air quality improvement goals.

 

Sincerely,

Ann Gallelli

 

A letter on the Clean Energy Standard from Trustee Brian Pugh

CES2016

To The Editor:

Thank you to the League of Women Voters for your informative “hot topic” breakfast on the Clean Energy Standard, the proposal to generate 50% of NY’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and to our hosts, the Croton Deli.

Thank you also to the Croton residents, including Trustee Ann Gallelli, who attended the Public Service Commission’s hearing at the Town of Cortlandt’s Morabito Center to learn about the Clean Energy Standard and share your views. The PSC held this additional hearing, the only one in Westchester, following a letter from the Village of Croton requesting that a hearing be held in our county.

Finally, I hope that property owners interested in protecting the environment and saving on their energy bills attend the Energy Coach Talk at the Croton Free Library on Thursday, June 23rd at 7:00 pm. This presentation organized by Energize Croton will feature certified energy expert Norm Jen, who will help homeowners to understand how their homes leak energy, how they can fix them—and how to take advantage of state incentives to pay for these improvements.

While our state works to green its energy supply, let’s work together to reduce what we use.

Sincerely,

Trustee Brian Pugh

A letter from Trustee Brian Pugh

cd2016

Dear Neighbors:

I am honored to have received the endorsement of the Croton Democratic Committee. I am excited to share that endorsement with Trustee Ann Gallelli.

Since Ann and I began serving together on the Village Board in 2014, we have worked to:

  • Establish Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption to keep our community affordable for seniors and the disabled;
  • Reform the accessory apartment law to empower families to create multi-generational housing;
  • Oversee the first mixed-use developments under the Village’s new Harmon zoning law;
  • And enact two tax-freeze compliant budgets.

Although we come from different generations and different parts of the Village, Ann and I share a common sense agenda for our community:

  • 100% renewable energy from the Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation program;
  • The timely completion of the Croton Point Avenue improvement project.
    Control property taxes by developing non-property tax sources of revenue and prudently sharing services;
  • And increase transparency by making more public documents readily available;

I am proud to be part of a balanced ticket with Ann and, and I ask your support for both of us in November. We look forward to building on the progress that we have achieved.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli on Upgrading Sunset Playground

To the Editor,

At the Village Board meeting of May 23, I abstained from voting on a proposal for a replacement for Sunset Park playground equipment, for which I am receiving some grief on social media sites.  I believe that insufficient information was available for the Board to make an informed decision.

The replacement for this playground’s equipment was also on a Board agenda in October 2015 for $138,000.  At that time, several residents opined that the proposed replacement equipment was not what they wanted. The vote was postponed at their request. A Sunset Park neighborhood committee was subsequently formed to learn about what they wanted for this playground area.

After several committee meetings and four months, the resident group met with the Village Board at a February work session. At that meeting the Board reached consensus on putting out a new Request For Proposal (RFP) which addressed the committee’s goals – primarily wood structures. The Board agreed at that meeting only to issue an RFP, not on a particular proposal.

Last Monday’s meeting was the Board’s first chance to see the lowest bid (of two) at $172,000 on the newest RFP.  Since no Board members, nor the public, received the new proposed plans as part of the back up materials for the meeting, I raised several questions:

  • What are taxpayers receiving for the additional $34,000? While the answer remains unclear, it appears that the new proposal includes wood support beams on the playground equipment as well as two additional swings.  Two existing benches would be correspondingly removed.
  • What are the real costs of a 15-year life expectancy for the proposed equipment versus the longer 20 -25 year expected life for the first proposal and how do maintenance costs compare?
  • What is the opinion of the Recreation Advisory Board, which endorsed the first proposal, but was not asked to review this second proposal?
  • As all taxpayers will pay for the a Sunset Park improvement, as they do for all park improvements, should more expensive wooden equipment be standard for all playground improvements in Village parks?

These questions are not the totality of questions about the proposal, but do identify why, in my opinion, it was wise for me and my fellow Trustee and colleague, Brian Pugh, to delay approval of the project until the above information is available.  The Board will have an opportunity to revisit this project at its next meeting on Monday, June 6.

Two Board members were willing to vote without answers to these questions. I was not.  

 

Ann Gallelli, Trustee

 

Brian Pugh on New DOT Funding for CPA

To The Editor:
I am very encouraged by the Board’s vote to accept the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) grant for Croton Point Avenue’s long overdue renovation and committing to its construction in the 2017-2018 federal fiscal year.
The Croton Point Avenue project aims to improve traffic flow by upgrading key intersections and providing appropriate traffic signals and markings that will facilitate bicycle and pedestrian crossings.
I understand that some would like to see changes in this project.  As Village Manager King noted on Monday night, we have reached the point where we move forward with the current design, begun in 2009, or start from scratch.
On balance, this project will benefit our community by modernizing one of our most heavily used roadway, so I am glad that the Board voted to move forward in a 4-1 vote.
Acting now also makes economic sense.  Most of this project will be funded through state and federal grants, including the new DOT funds.  In addition, interest rates remain relatively low, minimizing the cost of financing the project.
Finally, I once again must caution against the idea of “phasing” the project, as my Croton United Party colleagues on the Village Board seem inclined to do.  Phasing would mean not only inflating the total project price due to rising construction costs, but also unduly delaying the completion of the project–leaving it half-done for an indefinite period.
As the project moves forward, I do hope the entire Board of Trustees will see the benefits of completing the entire project in a timely fashion.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh

Trustee Gallelli on the Comp Plan

To the Editor,

An important opportunity is coming up for residents to voice their thoughts on a new draft Comprehensive Plan.  The first public hearing, conducted by the Comprehensive Plan Committee/Economic Development Committee, will be on Wed., June 1 at 7:30 at the Municipal Building.  

The Committee, chaired by Ted Brumleve, with members Ray Clifford, Bettie Jackson, Laura Fallon, Joe Lippolis and Paul Doyle, has been working for over a year to update the Village’s existing 2003 Comprehensive Plan.  In NYS, municipalities are supposed to have such plans in place to guide their zoning and future planning and also to update their adopted plans on a timely basis.  The Committee is  updating the 2003 plan with updated goals and achievable objectives.  

The guiding principles of the 2003 plan were to Preserve traditional values, Strengthen Village assets, and Protect our resources.  Believing these will remain the guiding principles of the plan, the Committee will outline new goals and objectives they believe are in keeping with these values.

A presentation by planning consultants, Buckhurst, fish & Jacquemart will be part of the evening followed by questions and input from residents. As I know there are many residents who share my interest in Croton’s future, I hope I will see many of you there.  

 

Ann  Gallelli

Trustee