Brian Pugh: Gouveia Park is a gift to our community.

To the Editor:

 
Gouveia Park is now officially open, as my colleague Trustee Ann Gallelli wrote in last week’s Gazette. If you have not had the opportunity to visit–I strongly recommend that you take some time to do so.
 
The park is open daily from 8AM to 9PM.   
 
The Gouveia family, longtime Croton residents,  donated the 15+ acre property with green lawns and rolling hills that’s become the park. The late Laurel Gouveia also donated a $1 Million fund to help with the maintenance of the property.
 
After improvements to the park by the Village, such as picnic tables and a parking lot, the Gouveia Park is now open to the public.
 
Although the donation of the Gouveia property was the source of some controversy, it’s worth remembering that Croton Landing was also the target of criticism when its acquisition was first discussed.  Indeed, many of today’s Gouveia Park grousers were yesterday’s critics of Croton Landing.
 
I believe that a stroll through the new Gouveia Park should put such concerns about the property to rest and inspire appreciation for the generosity of the Gouveia family.
 
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh
Advertisements

Sherry Horowitz: All the way with CCA!

To the Editor:sherry2017

It was very gratifying to hear the representatives from Good Energy talk about all the positive aspects of the Community Choice Aggregation program (the CCA) at last Monday night’s Croton Village Board work session. They explained that the CCA is good for electricity customers (lower rates for consumers) and good for the environment (sustainable energy sources rather than fossil fuels).  There are those of us in Croton who have been saying these very same things, and lobbying for Croton’s inclusion in this program, for over a year and a half, ever since Sustainable Westchester aggregated 20 municipalities, which includes 110,000 County residents and small businesses, in early 2016.

Good Energy even referred to the rationale behind the “opt out” feature of the CCA program. First you aggregate an entire municipality and then, those who don’t want to take advantage of either lower electric rates or sustainable energy sources can opt out.  It’s simple, ingenious and easily understandable.  All that remains now is for the Village Board majority to share this understanding with residents so that the Village will be ready to join Sustainable Westchester’s successfully operating aggregate group in early 2018.  Time is of the essence; let’s not lose out again!

Sincerely, Sherry Horowitz

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 375

Decoding Village Agendas
1 message

 

Ann Gallelli <anngallelli@gmail.com> Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 10:23 AM
To: Ann Gallelli <anngallelli@gmail.com>

 

Dear neighbor, Here is the 375th 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 –  July 24, 2017

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

 (Open to Public  – Televised)

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

  • Thomas F. Wood, Town Attorney, Town of Cortlandt; re: The Town has determined that the property being proposed for the Village’s new DPW facility, located within the Town of Cortlandt (435 Yorktown Road), will be granted at 60% real estate tax exemption.  The Village had sought a 100% tax exemption on the property proposed to acquired for a new DPW garage on Yorktown Road (129) in the Town of Cortlandt.   The Town Attorney has replied to the request that the Town will offer a 60% exemption rather than 100%.  A 60% exemption would mean that the Village will pay in the range of $30,000 to $35,000/annually in taxes for the property.
  1. Maria Cudequest, Village Resident; re: Public parking at the Merwin Oak parking lot.

Ms. Cudequest indicates concern with the number of parking spots in this parking lot being restricted to special permit only.

  •  Dan Ahouse, Area Director of Government Affairs, Altice; re: Notification that as of July 14, 2017 NBC Universal will cease operations of the Universal HD network; as of July 15, 2017 Altice USA will launch the Olympic Channel HD; and effective July 18, 2017 i24 News will be re-tiered to be available to additional subscribers.  Mr. Ahouse advises on changes in the line-up for Optimum customers.
  • Dan Ahouse, Area Director of Government Affairs, Altice; re: Notification that as of August 15, 2017, the “sports surcharge”, currently $4.97/mo., will be $5.97 for all new residential and commercial customers.   Mr. Ahouse advises that the “sports surcharge” will increase for “new” customers.

 

APPROVED RESOLUTIONS:

  • Authorizing the Village Treasurer to close the enclosed Capital Project Accounts as of May 31, 2017 and return the associated amounts to their respective funding sources.  This budget housekeeping resolution was passed at the Village work session on July 17 by a 5-0 vote.

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2016-2017 General Fund Budget in the amount of in the amount of $123,566.45 for grant monies received for reimbursement related to expenditures by the Croton Coalition.  The Village is the administrating agency for the federal grant supporting the Coalition Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse.  This year’s funding is being allocated to the various applicable accounts by this resolution.
  2. The Village Board of Trustees authorizes the Bike-Pedestrian Committee to submit a grant application to the NYS Greenway Communities Grant Program.  At its July 17 work session the Board discussed with the Bike Ped Committee their desire to make this application on behalf of the Village.  The application is to fund a Bicycle-Pedestrian Wayfinding and Access Enhancement project from the Greenway Communities grant program.
  3. Authorizing the Village Manager to fund the position of part-time Assistant Building Inspector in the amount of $30,000, and authorizing the Village Treasurer to transfer that amount from Contingency to Engineering Personnel Services – Part-Time.   As stated, the Village is in need of some part-time help with its inspections.
  4. Authorizing Village Manager to extend the contract with Golden’s Tree Service for Tree Trimming and Removal Services for one additional year.  The existing contract allows for an one year extension at $1,796.40.  The DPW Superintendent recommends this extension.
  5. Authorizing the Village Manager to issue Change Order 1 in the amount of $70 to ADS Environmental Services.   The work involved in this contract exceeded its authorization by $70.
  6. Authorizing the Village Manager to negotiate a price and execute the necessary agreements in order transfer ownership of the Village’s abandoned 4-inch water main on Observatory Drive to Con Ed for use as a sleeve for a new 2-inch gas main in order to provide gas service to residents in the area.   Some residents on Observatory indicated a desire to have gas service installed in their area in a recent survey on the subject by the Village’s Sustainability Committee.  An existing, abandoned, Village-owned water main on the street could be used as a sleeve for a new gas line by Con Ed.  This resolution allows agreements to be reached for the Village to sell and transfer ownership of that abandoned water line to ConEd to be used for that purpose.

Sherry Horowitz: Leadership & Community

sherry2017Hi, I’m Sherry Horowitz. In my Letter of Introduction to you a few weeks ago, as a candidate for Croton Village Board Trustee in the November 2017 elections, I mentioned that I had been endorsed by several parties, reflecting my Democratic affiliation and my lifelong support for Working Families and Women’s Equality. I am delighted to share that since then, I have also been endorsed by the Putnam/Westchester Central Labor Body. This group’s endorsement speaks to my belief in the basic dignity of all work, in worker’s  rights to organize and negotiate for a living wage, for safe working conditions and for on the job protections.  I am thrilled with the endorsement!

In that same Letter of Introduction, I made a rather bold claim.  I said that I know how to build a strong and caring community.  Year after year at Childrenspace, preschool children come together for the first time, to leave a year, or two, or three years later as solid members of a loving school community. Certainly the Croton community is much larger, and more diverse than the Childrenspace community. But the same strong identification with a group, the same feeling of acceptance and belonging is what gives members a sense of connection and confidence. Whether we’ve lived in Croton our entire lives or are just newly arrived, whether we worship in a temple, a mosque, a synagogue or not at all, whether we are single, married, with or without kids, we all share the love of the community we call home.  We are all stakeholders in Croton’s present and future development, and have the possibility, and indeed the obligation to take part in local decisions that affect our daily living situations.

In any organization, including local government, strong, principled and compassionate leadership is key. Leaders have the responsibility to create an environment that encourages stakeholders to fully participate in local decision making. That kind of environment requires respect for all residents, tolerance of all views and the ability and desire to work together for the welfare of all. I’ve attended too many Village Board meetings where that respect and tolerance is woefully missing, where people’s views are dismissed out of hand, where opinions that differ from the prevailing majority are met with argument, condescension, or anger.  We need to bring back a basic attitude of civility, respect and good fellowship to our local government so that we are comfortable to express our cares and concerns.  Again, I would love to be a part of that process.

Respectfully, Sherry Horowitz

Ann Gallelli: Welcome to Gouveia Park!

To the Editor,ann2016

There is good news this week for residents with the opening of Gouveia Park on Albany Post road.  The 15+ acre property, bequeathed to the Village by Laurel Gouveia, is a place for enjoying the beauty and serenity of nature.  Right now, it is lush and green but each season will bring new joys and experiences there.  Beautiful autumn colors, followed by snowscapes and then Spring renewal.

This park is perfect for those seeking a quiet space for relaxation and renewal.  Bring a picnic, a book, a folding chair or a blanket and immerse yourself in nature’s sounds and sights; the park is already getting rave reviews.

While regularly criticized by the Mayor and his administration since its acquisition and before, the potential for this park is only at its beginning.  It’s naturally sloping lawn holds great potential for small performances or art or craft shows.  Its extensive wooded spaces will become additional trails for our Trail system.  In time, its building will provide potential for meetings, exhibits, and, perhaps, even revenue-producing occasions.

Thank you, Laurel Gouveia, for enabling the Village to preserve this special place and for providing a $1 million endowment to help defray costs and develop its future potential.  

Ann Gallelli

 

Brian Pugh: Ventilating The Smoke Shop Issue

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

At last week’s Public Hearing to consider the special use permit request to operate a smoke shop at 50 Maple Street, the Village Board heard from many critics of the planned smoke shop. But on the advice of the Village Attorney and on the basis of a favorable report from the Planning Board, the Board approved a special permit for the smoke shop.

“This is a tough situation for this Board to be in…any community that is faced with this, if we had the opportunity to say no to this, we would say no,” said Mayor Greg Schmidt at last Monday’s meeting.

However, there is no reason we should be caught flat-footed going forward. As a Village, we should consider prophylactic legislation to address the concerns of residents by limiting where tobacco sales may take place.

The emission from an e-cigarette can contain heavy metals and other harmful chemicals, according to the NYS Deptartment of Health. Studies also show that youth who vape are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those who don’t vape.

The City of New Rochelle is currently considering the adoption of a local law stipulating that stores and shops primarily selling tobacco, vape and similar nicotine products shall not be located within 500 feet of the perimeter of any child daycare center, children’s institution, playground, school premises or youth center.

 

I provided a copy of this legislation to the Village Manager and the Board on July 7th. Trustee Ann Gallelli also brought it up at the July 10th Village Board meeting. I hope that we can fully discuss the question further at a Village Board work session in the near future.

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 374

Dear neighbor, Here is the 374th 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 –   July 17, 2017

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised)

 

 

 

  • Discussion with local businesses regarding the use of plastic bags.  No backup documents are available for this agenda item but representatives  from local businesses have been invited to the discussion.
  • Discussion with Edward Carey and Javier Barrios from Good Energy LLP about the Community Choice Aggregation Program.   Good Energy LLP provides community outreach services for the Community Choice Aggregation program.
  • Discussion with the Bike Pedestrian Committee regarding a grant that could potentially fund signage for bike paths and bikes-on-roads.  The BP Committee would like the Village to pursue a grant available to Greenway Compact Communities, of which Croton is one.  Members will explain and discuss the proposed application.
  • Authorizing the Village Treasurer to close the enclosed Capital Projects accounts as of May 31, 2017 and return the associated amounts to their respective funding sources.   As part of end of year budget housekeeping, twenty capital accounts are being closed.
  • Discussion about the proposed acquisition of two properties on Route 129 for the relocation of the new DPW facility.  The Village has applied to the Town of Cortlandt Planning Board for site pan approval.  The board will discuss the application and the proposed site plan.
  • Request by the Village Manager to enter into Executive Session to discuss a real property matter.  If the request is granted, an Executive Session will be held.
  • Request by the Village Manager to enter into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters regarding two specific individuals.  If the request is granted, an Executive Session will be held.

 

 

Ann Gallelli: A Victory on the Hudson

To the Editor,ann2016
Residents of the Hudson River Valley got some very good news last week. Namely that the US Coast Guard decided to suspend its consideration of the Maritime Industry’s proposal to add 10 anchorage sites for 43 barges to the lower Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston. No doubt, receiving over 10,000 comments, which reportedly were most negative, helped them reach this decision. A letter from the Village of Croton-on-Hudson objecting to the anchorage proposal was among those, along with many from local residents.
More good news on the same issue was the subject of a Gazette letter I submitted last week. It spoke of the passage in the NYS Legislature of bills in the Senate and the Assembly of a bill to allow the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to establish “tanker avoidance zones” in the Hudson River.
However, while both are good news, the fight to save the Hudson River from additional barges is not over. In the case of the Coast Guard’s suspension of the proposal, they will now undertake a study of the Hudson River. A spokesperson was quoted as saying “…we found there is a lot we didn’t know about the Hudson.” In the case of the overwhelmingly successful passage of the “tanker avoidance law” by the NYS Legislature, it still has not been signed by Governor Cuomo.
While vigilance and speaking out got us this far, we cannot declare victory yet.

Ann Gallelli

Brian Pugh: Action Needed Now on Engine 118 Replacement

To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

In 2016, the Board unanimously approved the replacement of Engine 118 in the 2016-17 capital budget. But late this year, the current administration told the Volunteer Fire Department that it would have to wait for the purchase of a replacement.

Ostensibly, this delay was for financial reasons–the administration claimed it was necessary to use funds scheduled for Engine 118 to purchase the new Department of Public Works (DPW) facility. However, the 2016-17 capital budget anticipated funding for both Engine 118 AND the new DPW facility. Furthermore, the Village Manager confirmed at a televised work session that the Village could purchase Engine 118 even while reducing its overall debt level.

Even more troubling is when the Mayor suggested that mutual aid assistance from other fire departments would provide adequate coverage if the aging engine were to become inoperable. This was not well received by members of other departments.

“No department should be begging to have a 20 year old rig replaced…mutual aid is not always reliable, it can often take minutes to assemble a crew from a different department,” wrote one volunteer from another Northern Westchester community.

In June, the Village approved a capital plan that included the replacement of Fire Engine 118 in the next fiscal year. However, in order for that replacement to happen on time, the procurement process must begin in 2017.

I hope that our Board will do the right thing, avoid another round of “bait-and-switch” and move to replace Engine 118 with all deliberate speed.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh
Village Trustee, Croton on Hudson

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 373

Dear neighbor, Here is the 373rd 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 –  July 19, 2017 0

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

 (Open to Public  – Televised)

 

PRESENTATION/OTHER: Assemblymember Galef  and Mayor Schmidt to present proclamations to Rhoda Stephens and Janet Mainiero in recognition of their service to the Village of Croton. In addition, the Assemblymember will present a proclamation to the Village Fire Department in honor of their 125th anniversary.  Rhoda Stephens recently retired from Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  She served on the ZBA since 1980 and was appointed Chair in 2015.  She served through 6 different administrations. Janet Mainiero was the guiding force behind the creation of the BCC 9/11 Memorial at Croton Landing.  She also served on the Planning Board for the past three years.

The Croton Fire Department recently observed its 125th anniversary.

 

PUBLIC HEARING: Public Hearing to consider the special use permit request to operate a smoke shop at 50 Maple Street.  The proposed smoke shop is in a C-2 zoning district which requires a special use permit for retail businesses.  The Planning Board recommendation to the Village Board found that the proposal was consistent with the requirements of the zoning district.  The proposed smoke shop would be located in the plaza where CVS and the Post Office are located.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

 

  • Jo-Ann Dyckman, Town Clerk, Town of Cortlandt; re: A Public Hearing is scheduled for 7:00PM on July 18, 2017 at the Cortlandt Town Hall, 1 Heady Street, Cortlandt Manor, NY to consider a proposed local law granting the Town Planning Board approval authority in matters relating to zoning approvals and telecommunication towers.  The Town Board feels that the granting of permits and approvals  for telecommunications towers and also the granting of those permits that are currently issued by the Zoning Board would be better  placed in the oversight of the Planning Board as they are most experienced and familiar with site plan and SEQRA review requirements.
  • Dan Ahouse, Area Director of Government Affairs, Altice; re: Notification that as of July 17, 2017 there will be changes to pricing for new residential and commercial Basic Tier customers. All video service pricing for current Optimum customers is unaffected. 
  • Barbara Barclay, Safety Department, MD Drilling & Blasting, Inc.; re: MD Drilling & Blasting has applied for an extension of the blasting permit through the Town of Cortlandt for up to 15 days of additional blasting at Hudson National Gold Club starting July 10, 2017.  The company performing the blasting for the new golf practice facility at Hudson National Golf Club has applied to the Town of Cortlandt for an extension of time to complete its work. The property is in the Town adjacent to the Village Golf Club.  Property owners are being notified.

 

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

 

  • Authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2017-2018 General Fund Budget in the amount of $ 4,375 for monies received from Bond Anticipation Notes, Series 2016B.   The Village received a premium associated with its Bond Anticipation Notes.  Receipt of money requires a budget amendment.
  • The Village Board of Trustees ratifies the stipulation of agreement and release dated July 7, 2017 between the Village Manager and Douglas Oles.  Police sergeant Oles and the Village have agreed on terms for his resigning his position due to disability issues.  He will be eligible for benefits and payments under the existing Police contract.
  • Authorizing the Village Treasurer to make budget transfers to amend the 2016-2017 year end budget.  This is a budget housekeeping  action for the prior year’s budget.
  • Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the proposal from CHA Consulting Inc. for services related to the acquisition of a parcel of property at 1-3 Croton Point Avenue in the amount of $6,985. The acquisition of this property is required in order for the Village to move forward with the Croton Point Avenue Improvement Project. This small parcel of land  is necessary in order to complete the proposed improvements to Croton Point Avenue as designed and approved by the NYSDOT.  The Village is hiring CHA to perform the necessary due diligence to acquire this parcel.
  • Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the agreements for towing and storage services in connection with illegally parked vehicles with Luposellos, Nappys, Rescue Towing, and Hudson View Automotive.   The Village recently passed a Towing and Booting law allowing illegally parked cars that meet certain criteria to be towed.  Agreements have been reached with each of the four automotive establishments for such towing and storage when needed.
  • Authorizing the Village Manager to issue a check to Metro North in the amount of $117,000 for a Force Account related to the Elliott Way Improvement Project. Metro North had estimated a Force Account of $38,000, but has since amended the required amount to $117,000.  These costs are what Metro North requires for labor and supervision of work along its track in the area of the improvement project including flagmen and inspectors. As noted, it is now higher than was originally projected by them.
  • The Village Board considers the formal adoption of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, which identifies goals, objectives, and direction for the immediate and long terms protection, enhancement, growth and development of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson. It provides guidance to Village leaders and helps to ensure the needs of the community will be met.   This is the final step in adoption of a new Comprehensive Plan to replace the 2003 existing plan.  It has been subject to several years of review by the committee, the public and the Board of Trustees.  It has also been subjected to a full SEQRA review.  The Committee has been chaired by Ted Brumleve with residents Laura Fallon, Bettie Jackson, Ray Clifford, Joe Lippolis, and Paul Doyle as members.

 

  1. The Village Board of Trustees ratifies the stipulation of agreement and release dated July 7, 2017 between the Village Manager and Douglas Oles.  This is the same item as in “b” above.