Brian Pugh: CCA=People Power!

10-27-2016-bp-fb-lte-imageTo the Editor:

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) allows local governments to secure energy supply service for electric customers in the community. These customers can choose to opt out of the program. Regardless of the “supplier”, Con Edison remains responsible for maintaining transmission and distribution service.

In Westchester, CCA is run by a nonprofit consortium of local governments called Sustainable Westchester. The Sustainable Westchester CCA secured a fixed rate for electrical power below the 2015 Con Edison average price for communities that chose the “standard” CCA option or the 100% renewable option.

Anyone who is at all concerned about climate change should be in support of CCA. How often does one have a chance to receive renewable energy on such favorable terms?

Despite the compelling logic of leveraging a community’s market power to secure affordable, renewable electricity through competitive bidding, some, including my Croton United opponents, have been vocal in their opposition to CCA. Their chief objections, though, are unfounded.

In a recent letter to the Gazette, a Croton United Trustee candidate asserted that the savings under CCA were minimal. However, Con Edison reported to the Public Service Commission that CCA customers have saved an average of $10/month in the CCA program launched earlier this year by Sustainable Westchester.

For someone that lives in a $1M+ home, that may seem immaterial. But for others living in our community, those savings add up. And as Trustees, we must consider the interests of all residents.

Critics also claim that CCA denies customers choice. Again, the opposite is true. In participating communities, customers can get their electric supply from the CCA supplier or they can quit the CCA program and receive their power from the standard Con Edison arrangement. When communities don’t participate in CCA, their residents don’t have this option.

The claim that electric customers in non-CCA communities can always choose their own supplier is technically true, but misses the point. New York’s deregulated electric market is notorious for predatory behavior. Per one recent study by the AARP, on average, energy supply companies charged 14% more than utility companies in New York.

Without the market power of CCA on their side, consumers on their own cannot secure as good a deal. A customer today looking to get a 12-month fixed rate contract from Con Ed Solutions would have to pay 8.75 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). In contrast, CCA customers in the Con Ed service area pay7.38 cents per kWh for the “standard” CCA option and 7.68 cents per kWh for 100% renewable power.

Claims by Croton United that not enough outreach was done by the Village regarding CCA is just political posturing. Could more have been done to educate the public about CCA? Absolutely. But if that’s the case, why hasn’t Croton United done any since taking power in December 2015? Why did Mayor Dr. Schmidt reject an outreach plan that I shared with the Board, even though the other two Croton United trustees were supportive of it (but suddenly fell silent when the Mayor made his opposition clear)?

With the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicting higher electricity rates going in to 2017, the savings from Community Choice Aggregation will likely only increase over time. And as the evidence of climate change becomes ever clearer, the case for securing affordable renewable power from CCA also strengthens. As a Village Trustee, I will continue to advocate for our community’s participation in CCA.



Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Update on the fight to block the barges.

10-27-2016-ag-fb-image-lteTo the editor:
Last week I attended a meeting at Croton’s village hall on the proposed new anchorage sites in the Hudson River that have been requested by the maritime industry. The request is for the United States Coast Guard to designate 10 new anchorage sites for 43 barge berths in the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston. The intent of the meeting was to establish a record of comments for the USCG to consider as they decide whether or not to implement the proposal. Speakers representing municipalities along the river, environmental organizations, recreational boat associations and regional planning organizations all spoke against the proposal. A single spokesman from the maritime industry spoke in favor. One thing is clear from this meeting. Various affected constituencies must come together to make the case against the proposal. Those with an approved plan based on existing state and federal laws will have the most clout in the final Coast Guard determination. It is an example, once again, of the importance of establishing long-range plans such as Croton’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) and Comprehensive Plan. These plans, which are based on the federal and state Coastal Zone Management Act (our LWRP) and state Zoning Law (our Comprehensive Plan), will ultimately provide the legal foundation for opposition to the anchorage proposal. We saw that with our successful opposition to the Millennium Pipeline based on our LWRP. I was privileged to be part of the development of both the LWRP and the Comprehensive Plan. I look forward to the village joining with other opposition groups in fighting this proposal by utilizing the power of these plans.
Ann Gallelli, Trustee, Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Decoding Village Agendas No. 341

Dear neighbor, Here is the 341st 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 –   October 25,, 2016

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised)



NOTE:  This meeting is on a Tuesday.



  1. Discussion of creating a Village Towing and Booting Law that would enable the Village to tow or boot vehicles which are found to have three or more outstanding parking violations.    The Village  currently has about $19,510 in outstanding fines from about 30 vehicles.  Persistent violators seem to be able to avoid payment  through transfers of registration and ownership, out of state registration, and other means.  This law would allow such vehicles to be booted or towed to a Village parking lot at the discretion of the Police Chief,  In addition to the fines, there would be an additional $100 administrative fee imposed.
  2. Discussion of amendments to the zoning code regarding walls, retaining walls, fences and accessory uses.     The Zoning Board has requested that the code regarding fences and walls be clarified to help them with decisions regarding variances for such.  This is been an ongoing discussion for several years with  input from the ZBA, the Visual environment Board and the Board of Trustees.   The Village Attorney has produced a draft of a proposed amendment based on these discussions.  Regarding walls and fences, the issues include how height is measured and where they can be located on a property.

Brian Pugh: Giving Our First Responders The Tools They Need


To the Editor:

The Village Board of Croton-on-Hudson voted 5-0 on Monday night to award the bid to replace the Volunteer Fire Department’s Rescue 18, a 1993 International/ Cayel Craft heavy rescue fire apparatus.

The winning bidder is Hendrickson Fire Rescue Equipment, who will be providing the as built heavy rescue, but with some modifications to better fit the needs of the Croton VFD. This new fire apparatus will carry even more firefighting tools, accident extrication tools, water rescue, ice rescue, and rope rescue equipment.

Rescue 18 is now well outside of the 20-year service life recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, which creates creates and maintains standards and codes for usage and adoption by local governments. The replacement of Rescue 18 was also recommended by the Volunteer Fire Department, Village Mechanic, and East West Fire Apparatus Consultants due to its age and condition.

Thanks to Chief Matt Mansfield, the Croton VFD rig committee and the rest of the department for all their tireless, volunteer work, including months of discussions with the Village administration, on behalf of our community.


Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Working Together To Keep Croton Beautiful


To the editor,

Many of you may have noticed that the grass at the playing field in Dobbs Park has suddenly become all green again.  Due to an irrigation snafu, the field was brown with dead grass and has not been playable all summer.

The good news is that Hudson National Golf Club stepped in and provided the man power and the sod to refurbish the playing field.  When Ryan Oliver, Golf Course Superintendent, heard about the problem he offered to bring in the club’s turf people to lay sod which was also donated. The work was done last week.

This is a wonderful example of how cooperation between the Village and its residents, in this case the Hudson National Golf Club, can result in wonderful outcomes.  When we work together to make the Village more livable, everyone  in the Village benefits.

Thank you to Hudson National Golf Club for being partners in enhancing Village life.


Ann Gallelli

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 340

Dear neighbor, Here is the 340th 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 – October 17,  2016

Regular Meetings of the Village Board


 (Open to Public  – Televised)



  1. Priscilla Read, Secretary, Westchester Coalition against Islamophobia (WCAI); re: The Westchester Coalition against Islamophobia urges the Village Board of Trustees of Croton-on-Hudson to issue a resolution against Islamophobia to affirm its commitment to protecting Muslims’ civil rights and security as it defends the Constitutional rights of all Croton residents. According to the background information provided, the WCAI is a grassroots association of  individuals, non-Muslim and Muslim, committed to opposing bigotry against Islam and Muslim and to defending the civil rights of all.
  2. Scott P. Horecky, Croton Resident; re: Letter of appreciation regarding the Croton Police Department’s handling of a situation at the Croton Landing Riverwalk on October 11, 2016.  The incident was regarding a sturgeon which was caught by a fisherman.  It is an endangered species and is supposed to be returned in to the river.
  3. John Ghegan, Chairman, American Legion Fox Eklof Post 505 Ceremonies Committee; re: Invitation to the Board of Trustees to the 2016 Veterans Day ceremony on November 11, 2016 at the Croton Veterans’ Monument at Veterans’ Corner at 11:00 amThis is an annual ceremony to which all residents are invited.



  1. Authorizing the Village Manager to execute the agreement with Student Assistance Services Corporation for an amount not to exceed $8,918.00.  The Student Assistance Services Corporation provides support for the Croton Coalition Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse, including technical assistance support for the implementation of the project and evaluation support for the administration and programmatic reporting requirements of the grant.  This is the beginning of the 8 year of Croton’s participation in the Coalition against Alcohol and Drug Abuse.   Student Assistance Services provides assistance to the local director and members in carrying out the terms of the federal grant which subsidizes the program.
  2. The Village Board has received a special permit modification request from Skyview Rehabilitation and Healthcare to allow for an administrative office building renovation project on their property located at 1280 Albany Post road. This request is a Type II action and requires no further review un SEQRA.  The Village Board of Trustees hereby refers the special permit modification request to the Planning Board as required by law for comment back to the Village Board of Trustees.  This proposal would make use of the building near the entrance  that looks like a residence as an office for non-healthcare staff at the facility.
  3. Authorizing the Village Manager to award the contract to Hendrickson Fire Rescue Equipment of Islandia, New York, in the amount of $506,269 for an as built fire rescue apparatus.  The apparatus will replace Rescue 18, a 1993 International/Cayel Craft Heavy Rescue, which was recommended to be replaced by the Volunteer Fire Department, Village Mechanic and East west Fire Apparatus Consultants due toits age and condition.   Bids were solicited based on the set of specifications developed.  One bid was received.  In addition to the vehicle, additional work will be needed to equip the truck which is not to exceed $160,000.  The Board previously approved a bond in the amount of $750,000 to cover the cost of this piece of equipment.
  4. Authorizing the Village Manager to award the contract to Woodland Manor LLC of Patterson, New York in the amount of $218,600 for the improvements to Gouveia Park.  Improvements to the Gouveia property are needed in order to open it for public use, which includes enhancements to the entrance, widening the driveway and the creation of a parking area.     Eight bids were received based on the specifications that were drawn up.
  5. Authorizing the Village Treasurer to transfer $36,667 from the General Fund Department of Public works (DPW) Personnel Services Accounts A5110.1000 and A5010.1000 to the Water Fund Distribution Personnel Services Account F8340.1200 to cover the personnel expenses of DPW employees who worked in the Water Department during 2015-2016 budget year.   At the beginning of a budget year, all DPW personnel costs are allocated to that account.  As the DPW personnel perform work in and for the Water Dept. during the year, that cost is transferred to the water Fund for accounting purposes.
  6. Authorizing the Village Treasurer to transfer $10,068 to the water Fund Supply Personnel Account F8320.1200 from the Water Admin. Personnel Account F8310.1200 to cover the Department overtime expense amount.    As above, this is a budgetary housekeeping matter.

Brian Pugh: CCA is People Power

To the Editor:

October marks the 5th month of the Westchester Power Program, a form of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) established by Westchester communities through the nonprofit consortium, Sustainable Westchester. But even as communities across New York State look to join the 1300+ municipalities participating in a CCA program, including our neighbors in Bedford and Hastings, the Village of Croton is left behind.

That’s because the Croton United majority on the Village Board voted against CCA.

The mayor and his allies on the Board rejected CCA even though their own party’s treasurer, Joel Gingold, told the Board, “I believe the more likely outcome is that the program will offer modest, but real, savings to those who agree to participate. Perhaps more importantly, it will offer customers who so choose, the option to obtain all of their electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro, etc.).”

Indeed, time has vindicated Mr. Gingold and supporters of CCA. Communities participating in Westchester Power, such as Ossining and Hastings, have been able to receive power from 100% renewable sources and paid less than what they would have under the standard Con Edison plan.

Over time, savings for communities participating in Westchester Power are likely to grow with time. Westchester Power locked in a fixed rate for electric power at the start of this year lower than the 2015 Con Edison average. The US Energy Information Agency expects electricity prices to rise going into 2017. Communities did not participate, like Croton, will be left exposed.

As your Village Trustee, I will continue to work diligently for an environmental and economic sustainability. If the Croton United party administration chooses to join this coalition for conservation, I will be the first to thank them.


Brian Pugh

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