Decoding Village Agendas No. 355

Dear neighbor, Here is the 355th 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 –   February 27, 2017

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised)

 

   
  1. Request by the Village Manager to enter into an Executive Session to discuss a real property matter.  If the request is granted, an executive session will be held.   

 

  1. Discussion of the proposed Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2017/2018.  The Manager has proposed a reallocation of the Unassigned Fund Balance as discussed at a prior work session. Since the Village’s unassigned Fund Balance is currently $5,832,266.00, representing 31% of the 2016/2017 total appropriations, the Board has agreed that some of it should be assigned to reserve funds for future capital projects.  The proposed allocation is to put $500,000 in two new Reserves for Land acquisition and building renovations and Future equipment.  The Manager is also proposing to use an additional $730,000 for FY 2017/2018 expenditures such as a pickup ($40,000), Dump truck spreader ($235,000), replacement vehicles for the Engineer and DPW Superintendent ($32,000 each) roof replacements for Washington Engine Fire house and the DPW garage ($285,000) and other lesser items and amounts.    This would result in the current Fund Balance being reduced to $4,102,266.00 or 21.8% of total appropriations.

 

This allocation of Fund Balance money is separate and in addition to the long running past practice of utilizing upto $500,000 of the General Fund Fund Balance to reduce each Fiscal Year’s Property Tax Levy.

 

  1. Authorizing the Village Manager to approve the proposal from John Mayer Consulting for engineering services in connection with work to the sidewalks, curb and road at Farrington Rd. and Hunter Place in an amount not to exceed $50,000.   These streets have been undergoing work for a long time which included sanitary sewer and water line replacement.  John Mayer Consulting designed and supervised that work. In order to finish this long-running project by adding new road, curbs and sidewalk by the end of this summer, DPW Superintendent Balbi has recommended that John Meyer Consulting be hired to do the design work for completion.
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Brian Pugh: Community Choice Aggregation represents a rare win-win for all of Croton’s residents

brian-pugh-group-croppedTo the Editor:

With the appointment of an EPA administrator committed to canceling the Clean Power Plan, climate action in the US is the responsibility of local communities and states. Locally, one of the easiest and most economical means of combatting climate change is to participate in the Community Choice Aggregation program administered by Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit consortium of local governments.

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a policy that enables local governments to aggregate electricity demand within their jurisdictions in order to procure renewable energy supplies while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services. There are many reasons that a community may choose to develop a CCA program, including the option to purchase more green power, reduce electricity cost, and secure power from more local sources.

The CCA run by Sustainable Westchester supplies 100% renewable energy for local customers below the 2015 Con Edison average price. Since the launch of the program in 2016, from Ossining to Hastings, participating communities have been saving money and supporting renewable power. For these efforts, the Sustainable Westchester CCA has won awards from the EPA.

Our Village declined to participate in CCA at the start of 2016, in a party line vote. However, recent communication between the Village of Croton and Sustainable Westchester suggest that it’s still possible for Croton to join the program.

Community Choice Aggregation represents a rare win-win for all of Croton’s residents: it will help protect our environment, expand choice, and save money—all at a low fixed price. Therefore, I hope that our Village will pursue this opportunity with all deliberate speed.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 354

Dear neighbor, Here is the 354th 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 – February 21, 2017

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

 (Open to Public  – Televised)

 

NOTE:  This meeting is on Tuesday due to Presidents’ Day

 

 

 

PRESENTATION/OTHER:

1.      New York State Senator Terrence Murphy to honor Croton resident and veteran Thomas Burniston, and will provide a legislative update.

2.      New York State Assemblymember Sandy Galef to provide a legislative update.   

3.      Village Board to review Consideration of Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies in determining consistency with regard to the adoption of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.  The Comprehensive Plan is a written document that contains goals, objectives, and strategies for the future development and conservation of the community.  Before adopting an updated plan, the Village Board must complete its review under our LWRP as well as under SEQRA.    The Board met last week with the Comp Plan Committee in work session to review comments and revisions to the draft document.

4.      Village Board to review Consideration of Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies in determining consistency with regard to the application for an amended special use permit from Hudson National Golf Club to construct a 12-room cottage building for overnight guests and a caddy storage building on their property located at 40 Arrowcrest Drive.   The application process for the amended special use permit requires it be consistent with the Village’s LWRP.  The Waterfront Advisory Committee has mad such a recommendation and the Village Board must do its own review and make its own findings as well.

5.      Village Board to review Consideration of Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies in determining consistency with regard to the adoption of Local Law Introductory No. 7 of 2016, amending the Village’s zoning code regarding walls, retaining walls, fences and accessory uses.  The purpose of this amendment is to more clearly define certain terms such as walls, height, and accessory structures.  The law also limits the height of fences in front yards to 4 feet.  As indicated above, the Village Board must make its own finding of consistency with the LWRP before acting to approve this zoning amendment.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

  1. Glenn E. Simpson, President, Croton Little League; re: requesting assistance from the Village for the Croton Little League Opening Day Parade and Ceremonies on Saturday, April 8, 2017.  As in past years, the Croton Little League will assemble at the high school and parade through the Upper Village to Dobbs Field for opening ceremonies.  They are asking for Village help in preparation for the parade and field .
  2. Sharon McCarthy, Executive Director for National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Westchester; re: Ribbon Campaign for the NAMI of Westchester, Inc. honoring Mental Health Awareness Month in May.  The organization would like the Village to show support by allowing for ribbons to be tied around trees or utility poles in various locations as well as outside of the Municipal Building.  This was approved last year.
  3. Dorothy Pezanowski, Village Historian; re: 2016 Report of the Croton Historical Society.  The position of Village Historian is mandated by NYS municipal law.  The Historian is required to file an annual report  each year on the prior year’s activities.  The report indicates that the Historical Society has become more computerized and efficient.  They are looking for new members.  They have also changed Visitors Day to Tuesdays.  They are located on the first floor of the Municipal Building.

 

 PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the 2017 Inter-Municipal Agreement for fire protection services with the Town of Cortlandt which provides that the Town shall pay the Village the sum of $359,104.48, with  $71,821 paid directly to the Fire Council of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the balance of $287,284 paid to the Village, for providing fire protection services within the Mount Airy/Quaker Bridge Fire District during the period from January 1,2017 to December 31, 2017This annual agreement between the Town and Village provides for fire protection in an area that the Town is not able to easily serve and which is more easily accessible by the Croton Fire Dept.
  2. Age Manager to sig Cortlandt for Emergency Medical Services which states that the Town shall pay the Village the sum of $66,043 to provide Emergency Medical services within the Mount Airy/Quaker Bridge Fire District during the period from January 1 to December 31, 2017As above, this is an annual agreement between the Town and Village to provide services in an area of the Town that is more accessible by Croton emergency services.
  3. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the proposal from Chazen Company, the Village’s design engineer for the corrosion control system project, in the amount of $41,924 for assistance during the shop drawing review process, construction administration review process, construction administration and inspection assistance, preparation of as-built plans and some work previously performed to address comments and design changes requested by the Westchester County Department of Health.  Now that the contract for the actual construction has been awarded. The steps identified above need to be performed and carried out as part of the implementation of the corrosion control system.  Work is expected to begin later this Spring and conclude in the autumn.
  4. Authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the General Fund 2016-2017 budget in the amount of $3,000 for funding received through New York State’s Justice Court Assistance Grant program.  This funding will be used to improve the operations of the Village Court.   Each year the Village applies for this funding and has been successful in receiving it.
  5. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the agreement with Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps (OVAC) in the amount of $127,500 per fiscal year through May 31, 2020 for advanced life support ambulance services.  The Village of Croton-on-Hudson’s EMS provides Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance service, but does not offer Advanced Life Support Service.  OVAC has been providing Advanced Life Support ambulance service to the Village of Croton-on-Hudson since 1996.  This agreement is a tri-community effort with the Village of Briarcliff Manor and OVAC participating.  Phelps Memorial Hospital provides over sight and medical direction.  OVAC operates the Fly Car.

Brian Pugh: Resiliency, Sustainability & Economy for Our Community

brian-pugh-group-croppedTo the Editor:

As last week’s blizzard once again showed: extreme weather can come from anywhere. Therefore, our Village must stay prepared. A microgrid is a small localized electrical grid that can connect and disconnect from the larger power grid in order to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island mode, and it can help mitigate weather emergencies and their underlying causes.

Climate change will only worsen the chance of extreme weather events. As reported by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, rising sea levels and strong storms will cause localized floods which will threaten shoreline infrastructure and development. Rising summer air temperatures will also lead to an increase in pollution-related asthma and heat exhaustion, especially in urban areas.

Both of these should be major concerns for the Village, which is seated at the intersection of two rivers and is located in Westchester County—which already receives an F rating for air pollution from the American Lung Association.

As explained by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), local energy microgrids provide power to multiple customers, commercial customers and crucial public services such as, first responders, and water treatment facilities. Microgrids also allow for the use of clean and efficient energy sources such as storage, wind and solar, improving the environmental and economic health of the community.

It’s been almost a year since the Village received the results of NYSERDA funded Microgrid feasibility study conducted by Hitachi (available on nyserda.ny.gov) that found “the Croton Community Microgrid is both technically and economically viable…the microgrid will provide direct benefit to the entire population within Croton by protecting critical services in an area that is particularly vulnerable to storm damage. The microgrid will result in lower energy costs and lower carbon footprint for the microgrid customers.”

“It is no secret that our state continues to face an energy crisis and I applaud these communities for taking a proactive step toward energy independence…and will continue to advocate for the use of clean green energy that will reduce our carbon footprint and ease the pressure on our aging energy infrastructure,” said our State Senator, Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) in a 2015 statement when the feasibility study grant was awarded.

The Village missed an October 2016 deadline for a follow-up grant, worth up to $1M, to fund the cost of designing a microgrid. Nonetheless, on the basis of the findings of the feasibility study, I hope that our Village pursues this worthwhile project with all deliberate speed and have it ready for the next Irene or Sandy.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Agendas No. 353

Dear neighbor, Here is the 353rd 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 – February 16, 2017
Work Session of the Village Board
7: 30 p.m.
(Open to Public and Televised)

NOTE: This work session is on a Thursday.

Discussion of the Village’s proposed Comprehensive Plan and review of submitted comments. The Board will be meeting with the Comprehensive Plan Committee on the proposed draft plan which would update the existing 2003 Plan.

The draft plan can be linked to from the Village website Home Page.

Brian Pugh: Village repeats Trump’s mistakes on “Obamacare”

To the Editor:

As some readers may know, last Wednesday, January 31st, was the end of the open enrollment period for the NY State of Health insurance exchange. I hope all those that were looking for coverage were able to find it.brian-pugh-group-cropped

Yet the Village provided no notice during the entire Affordable Care Act enrollment period–from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31.

The Croton United administration cannot plead ignorance on this issue. I mentioned the health insurance exchange deadline at two Board meetings, and in two e-mails and two memos to the Board over the course of the open enrollment period.

The refusal to provide any information to Village residents regarding the NY healthcare exchange draws unsettling parallels with the Trump administration’s cancellation of enrollment outreach for the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The Croton United administration also ignored suggestions that we provide a reminder regarding the Medicare open enrollment period, which ended in December. In contrast, the Town of Cortlandt organized an information session on Medicare last year. But our Village administration is apparently incapable of even sending an e-mail (or including an item in our monthly newsletter–since the Mayor cancelled the monthly newsletter all together last spring).

This is particularly shocking given that our current Mayor is a healthcare provider.

The Village government’s inaction is all the more unfortunate in the context of the Village’s uninsured rate. According to the latest census data, more than 1 in 10 residents lack health insurance–above the state and national averages.

We have to do better and we can do better.

Ann Gallelli: More Deliberation Needed on Proposed Sign Law

ann2016To the Editor,
At the Board meeting of Monday, February 6, proposed changes in the Village Code regarding temporary signs and signs in the Village’s Right-of-Way (ROW) were abandoned due to a 2-2 split among Board members present. Due to input I received both in conversations and at the public hearing, I suggested the topic be returned for another discussion at a work session but was turned down. Trustee Pugh joined me. I am not supportive of unregulated signs throughout the Village but am willing to discuss the importance of signs as an effective means of outreach by local groups.
Placing signs of any sort in the Village’s (ROW) is already illegal under 197-8 of our code. Political or Election signs, as we know from the recent election, are the biggest users of the municipal ROW but are unable to be excluded for First Amendment reasons.
So as a practical matter, the remaining signs in our ROW areas tend to be for advertising of events by local religious or other non-profits. Garage/Tag sale signs also appear as do some business signs. Additionally, the Village, itself, uses signs to promote its own events such as Earth Day and Daffodil planting and Slow Down Croton. Although it’s prohibited, these frequently are placed in the ROW.
Sign proliferation can be a serious problem especially when signs appear and are never removed or require Village staff to spend time on removal. But signs promoting local events can also be a useful form of building community identity and communication as has been related to us by some of our local organizations.
As a result of the input received from residents and organizations who advertise their events this way, and others who find the signs add to a small-village community character, my suggestion was for the Board to re-visit this issue to try to find an accommodation as has occurred in other municipalities. This might well result in no change but I think it deserves a second look.
Ann Gallelli

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 352

Dear neighbor, Here is the 352nd 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 – February 6, 2017
Regular Meeting of the Village Board
7:30
(Open to Public – Televised)

NOTE: This meeting will begin at 7:30 pm.

PRESENTATION/OTHER:
Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, to discuss the Freedom of Information Law. Mr. Freeman will present the FOIL law and answer questions.
The Village Board to review criteria of significance, environmental Assessment Form (EAF) Part II, related to the Village’s proposed amendments to the Village’s zoning code regarding walls, retaining walls, fences and accessory uses. The purpose of this amendment is to more clearly define certain terms such as walls, height, and accessory structures. The law also limits the height of fences in front yards to 4 feet. The Zoning Board has requested for some time a better definition of some terms in the law to help with their processing of variances. Currently fences up to 6 feet in height can be installed anywhere on the lot and fences less than 25% solid (chain link, etc.) have no height restrictions other than the maximum height of an accessory building which is 15 feet. The proposed amendment would limit the height of fences and walls in the front yard to 4 feet and limit the height of fences that are less than 25% solid to a maximum of 8 feet. It is also proposed that the finished side of the fence face the street or the abutting lot which is currently not covered in the code.
The Village Board to review criteria of significance, environmental Assessment Form (EAF) Part II, related to the adoption of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is a written document that contains goals, objectives, and strategies for the future development and conservation of the community. The Village Board must make its own findings on the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. The proposed Comprehensive Plan is an update to the 2003 plan providing updated achievable goals for the future. It does not replace the recommendations and background documentation of the 2003 plan but adds to them.
PUBLIC HEARING:
Public Hearing to consider the application for an amended special use permit from Hudson National Golf Club to construct a 12-room cottage building for overnight guests and a caddy storage building on their property located at 40 Arrowcrest Drive. The Board has completed its SEQRA review and received positive recommendations from the Planning Board and Waterfront Advisory Committee on the proposed amendment to the HNGC special permit.
Public Hearing to consider amending the Local Law regarding signage in Village Right-of-Way. The amendments would limit the type of signage that can be located in the Village’s right of way. The proposed law would amend Chapter 197, Section 8 regarding posting signs in the Village’s Right of Way (ROW). It would prohibit any signs from being put in the ROW. It also amends Chapter 230, Section 44 (K)(1) regarding the definition of temporary signs. This does not apply to political signs.
CORRESPONDENCE:
Dan Ahouse, Director of Government Affairs; re: Three letters notifying the Village of the following: Effective February 1, 2017, NBC Universal will cease operations of Cloo TV; effective March 4, 2017 WNET will cease operations of V-ME; and effective February 20, 2017 Esquire Network will no longer be carried on Optimum’s channel lineup. Changes to services are required to be noticed to the Village. Customers also receive notification in their billing statements.
Catherine A. McGlynn, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation; re: Request by DEC to waive the Village’s wetlands activity permit fee for the Croton River Hydrilla Control Project. When one agency processes a permit for another, the permit fees are frequently waived.
Mary Cronin, Village Resident; re: Letter to the Village Board of Trustees in support of the proposed New York State “Raise the Age” Legislation. In NYS, youth are prosecuted as adults as of age 16. The proposed legislation at the State level would raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. It would set up and fund juvenile support programs. The letter says that the Governor and the NYS Assembly are in agreement with the proposed change by the NYS Senate is not. Ms. Cronin requests the Board to pass a resolution in support of this change.
PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:
Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the proposal from Integrated Technical Systems of Wallingford, CT for the acquisition of two new pay machines to be used at the train station in the total amount of $22,559.28. The proposal includes the trade-in of the three older pay machines, the purchase of two new pay machines, removal, installation, training and a 2-year warranty. The Village was noticifed the the three older pay machines were no longer going to be supported bythe manufacturer starting in early 2018, which means they would not have a service agreement to repair and maintain the machines. With the implementation of alternative payment methods, replacing two of the machines would be sufficient. There are currently 6 payment machines at the train station parking lot of two types. Since they were installed, the Village has provided alternative ways for payment including by phone as well as a paying on a smart phone. This has reduced congestion at the machines themselves. As a result, the Village is recommending reducing the number by one.
Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the proposal from Capital Markets Advisors, LLC of Hopewell Junction, New York for financial advisory services in connection to the issuance of bonds and/or notes for the Village. Capital Markets has been acting in this capacity for the Village for some time. It provides services in connection with new issue bonds, bond anticipation notes, tax anticipation notes, deficit notes and budget notes undertaken by the Village.
Authorizing the Village Manager to award the contract to Pierotti Corp. of Stamford, CT, in the amount of $388,500 for the construction of a corrosion control system for the water supply. This project will serve to reduce copper action levels in the Village’s water supply, which was mandated by the Westchester Department of Health. Two bids were received for this project. Due to the copper action level being exceeded in Village tap water, a corrosion control system was mandated by the County Dept. of Health. The corrosion control will work by coating the interior surface of pipes to sequester iron that maybe in the water from corroded cast iron pipes with no cement lining. The system will inject a blended ortho/poly-phosphate into the water.
Authorizing the Board of Trustees to sign the 2016 Sponsor Approval Form for the Volunteer Fire Department Service Award Program. Article 11-A of the New York State General Municipal Law requires that the list of members of the Fire Department indicating those who earned a year of service credit during the calendar year, those that did not earn a year of credit, and those who waived participation must be certified under oath by the Fire Department. The Service Award program was approved in the Village in 2003 by a public referendum. Since then, each year, the Board has been required certify the list of Fire Department members and their service credits for that year.
Authorizing the Village Manager to approve Task 4 of the D& B Engineers contract for construction administration services for the Pump House Road Bridge and Culvert Replacement project in the amount fo $49,350. This includes rview and approval of construction shop drawings, the approval of all manufacturers and suppliers, review of all contractor payment requisitions, as well as construction site visits and inspections. The Village has been working on the design and implementation for this project since 2015 and has completed the tasks up to the point of awarding the contract for the work to WD Excavation and Contracting in January of this year. The above contract with D & B provides essential for complete oversight and supervision of the =work once it begins.

Brian Pugh: Mayor & His Majority Must Come Clean on the Budget

brian-pugh-group-croppedTo the Editor:

At the Monday’s Village Board work session, the ViIllage’s independent auditor once again gave the Village a clean audit–this time for the 2015-16 fiscal year. This should put to bed the disingenuous claims by Croton United maligning the fiscal management of the Croton Democrats.

Most recently, Croton United has attempted to weaponize the Fiscal Sustainability Committee’s report and portray it as an indictment of the former Democratic majority. Yet the FSC clearly stated in its December presentation: “This is not an assessment of the merits of issuing past debt or of the projects that were funded.”

One of my fellow Trustees claimed credit on behalf of Croton United in these pages for the “tax freeze” property rebate checks that were sent out to homeowners by New York State. He was half right at best.

Communities that stay below the tax cap are eligible for these “tax freeze” checks. However, our Village was only able to remain under the cap last year thanks to $19,000 “carryover factor” that the Village earned from the 2015 budget, passed by the former Democratic Majority Board. Simply put, the 2016 tax freeze checks were only possible thanks to the fiscal responsibility of the Democrats.

Back in October, one of Croton United’s candidates claimed that the CU majority had massively reduced Village borrowing. These claims were found to false by the independent, bipartisan Fair Campaign Practices Committee.

All of this spin is because Croton United has painted itself in the corner. They campaigned aggressively against “debt”. But once they gained power, they quickly approved some $8 million in new borrowing.

Since 2015, I have repeatedly challenged Croton United to drop the overheated campaign rhetoric and speak specifically to which projects will be cancelled and what trade-offs they plan to make to achieve their stated goals. So far, substance has been lacking. At some point, I hope they will take a break from politicking and get down to governance.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: The Buck Stops Where?

ann2016To the editor,
Although many residents differ on the issue of the dummy light, I think most would agree that the decision-making process behind the switch to a “blinking” stop light and back to a regular Green-Yellow-Red traffic signal left much to be desired.
Common sense would suggest that any decisions regarding the popular icon and traffic signal at one of the busiest intersections in the Village should have been discussed by the Board prior to its implementation and been subject to public input as well. But the fact is that the Mayor took over 6 months until finally realizing the corner he had put the Village in and then suddenly announced that he wanted to return the light to its prior green/yellow/red status. Again, there was no prior board discussion or public input prior to his announcement.
It was also very dismaying to observe the Mayor and his team attempt to blame the whole dummy light situation on the Village Manager. For more than a week, Croton United has made this claim on social media on behalf of the Mayor and CU majority attempting to absolve them of responsibility. These misleading claims by CU remain even after the problems with them were brought to the majority’s attention.
Throughout the dummy light debacle, there was no accountability. But for a Mayor, the “Buck Stops Here”.

Ann Gallelli

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