Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 380

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 380th 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 –   September 25, 2017

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised)

 

 

 

  • Discussion about Metro North’s proposal to install 3 elevated equipment platforms adjacent to the track between the trestle bridge over the Croton River and Crawbuckie Point.   Metro North is constructing this as part of their post-Sandy efforts.  It raises key equipment above the high water mark.  The Village’s Waterfront Advisory Committee reviewed the proposal for consistency with our Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) and found it to be consistent.  The Board will make its own determination.

 

 

 

  • Presentation by the Financial Sustainability Committee.   The FSC is making three recommendations for future budgeting – 1) bring in a third party to develop an expenditure optimization plan, 2) implement a 5-year long term forecast in annual budgets, and 3) use a third party arbitrator to negotiate future labor contracts.

 

 

 

  • Discussion about allowing dogs on leashes at Black Rock Park in the area that currently prohibits dogs.   An ongoing discussion about allowing leashed dogs in the part of Black Rock Park that is currently not enclosed for dogs was reviewed by the Recreation Advisory Committee.  The RAC recommends longer hours at the fenced in Dog Park, adding a sticker to Village id’s showing that a resident’s dog has been licensed, and continuing the policy of not allowing dogs in the non-Dog Park area of the park.

 

 

 

  • Discussion about potentially leasing the property at the bottom of Brook Street for additional parking.  The privately-owned lot is at the intersection of Brook Street and North Riverside Ave.  It adjoins a Village-owned parcel currently being used for parking. 

 

 

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Brian Pugh: Save the SALT

To the Editors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

President Donald Trump’s plan to overhaul the federal tax code would scrap the popular federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes—and taxpayers in high-tax states, particularly states like New York, New Jersey and California, are likely the biggest losers.

Trump’s proposal to remove the state and local tax (SALT) deduction is unfair for a few reasons:

  1. New Yorkers already pay more than their fair share in federal taxes–New Yorkers already pay $19B more annually in taxes than NYS receives back in federal spending.

  2. Eliminating federal deductibility for state and local taxes would amount to double taxation, as these taxes are mandatory payments for all taxpayers.

  3. Millions of American taxpayers and policymakers have acted in reliance on the state and local tax deduction, which has been part of the tax code since the income tax was established in 1913. Eliminating the SALT deduction pulls the rug out from under them.

  4. Taxpayers should not be punished for funding state and local governments that go above and beyond what an increasingly stalemated federal government is doing.  NY’s state and local taxes fund public schools, tuition free state colleges and innovative environmental and energy conservation programs that fill the gaps in federal policy.

Rather than targeting a tax deduction for the middle class (87% of those claiming the SALT deduction earned less than $200K annually), real tax reform would focus on the 27 companies in the S&P 500 that reported paying no income tax despite reporting pre-tax profits, according to a 2016 USA TODAY analysis.

That’s why I am proud that Croton’s Board of Trustees voted on a unanimous and bipartisan basis for a resolution in support of preserving the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes at the request and suggestion of the NY Conference of Mayors.  By passing this resolution, we join a nationwide grassroots movements of local governments big and small fighting for fair tax policy.

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Explore Gouveia Park

To the Editorann2016,

Over the past few weeks, I have made  a point of stopping at Gouveia Park as I usually pass it several times a day.  Very frequently there have been residents there exploring it or, sometimes, just eating lunch and reading, a respite of sorts.

This past Sunday, my fellow Trustee, Brian Pugh, and I made it known that we would be there to engage in discussion on matters of resident interests. Some talked to us and many just explored.   It seems that several already had gone there with their children for picnics and down time.  

As is well known, I supported the acceptance of this gift of 15+ beautiful acres (woods, lawn and house) with its $1 Million endowment. I am happy that people are taking it upon themselves to explore it and enjoy it.  

Like all such endeavors, it takes time for such a place to grow into its potential but the interest and genuine enjoyment I heard last Sunday, reinforce my belief that Gouveia Park is a valuable asset to our Village and will become even more so as time goes on.  

Thank you to everyone who took the time to talk with us and express your thoughts.

If you have not had a chance to visit the park, there will be a great reason to visit it this Friday – 9/22.  Our Village Parks Department is showing a movie, The Monster” (PG) at Gouveia Park. Bring a picnic and stay for the movie, which will begin at dusk.  The natural grass amphitheater best lends itself to viewing from blankets on the hillside or low beach chairs.

Ann Gallelli

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 379

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 379th 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 –  September 18, 2017

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

 (Open to Public  – Televised)

 

PRESENTATIONS/OTHER:

 

 

  • Ron Schulhof & Michelle Sterling of the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Committee to present about the Scarsdale Food Scrap Recycling Program.  Scarsdale has instituted a food scrap recycling program which involves residents putting aside food remains in special village-provided containers and disposing of them at their DPW location.
  • The Village Board to review Part 2 of the Environmental Assessment Form in order to determine the environmental significance of the special use permit request at 425 South Riverside Avenue. The applicant is proposing to construct a new 2nd and 3rd story on an existing commercial building in a C-2 mixed occupancy zone. This proposal would include 6 dwelling units with lofts on the 2nd and part of the 3rd floors and 4 dwelling units behind the existing commercial use at street level.  The Village Board will be Lead Agency on this proposal.  It is the current location of ET Equipment and Straddles.  Reviewing Part 2 of the EAF is an early step in the SEQRA process for the application.

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

 

  • Dan O’Connor, Village Engineer; re: Request for a building permit extension for the homeowner of 17 North Highland Place.  Due to extenuating circumstances, the property owner has been unable to complete the work under this building permit and it is recommended to extend the permit until November 30, 2017.  The work is for a bathroom and bedroom addition in the attic.  Some aspects of the renovation are on special order and not yet available.
  • Amy & Ned Luke, Village of Croton on Hudson residents; re: Request to remove Village owned maple trees in front of their home on Emerson Avenue.   The Luke’s feel the Village trees present a pedestrian danger and have an undesirable effect on their property.
  • Deb Milone, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director; re: Scarecrow contest in the Village to correspond with The Blaze event at Van Cortlandt Manor.  Ms. Malone announces that the HV C of C, in conjunction with the Croton Business Council will have a scarecrow contest.  Entrants can be individuals, families, organizations.  They must receive an entry permit and will affixed to lamp posts.  The winner will be announced on October 28 at the Goblin Parade.

 

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

 

  • Authorizing the Village Board of Trustees to serve as lead agency for SEQRA purposes in connection with the proposed action; a special use permit request at 425 South Riverside Avenue.  The Board has received consensus from the Planning Board and Zoning Board to serve as Lead Agency on this application.  (See Presentations/Other above for details.)
  • The Village of Croton on Hudson formally expresses its strong opposition to any tax reform proposal that would eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction and urges the Village’s federal representatives to join us in publicly opposing any such proposal.  Congress is giving serious consideration to eliminating the federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes.  These deductions have existed for more than 100 years.
  • Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the 2017-2018 Municipal Snow and Ice Agreement Extension with the New York State Department of Transportation. This is funding provided to the Village in the amount of $19,202.08 for snow and ice control on Route 129 and Route 9A.     The Village plows 11.24 miles of State road.  This contract is an agreement on the reimbursement to the Village for prospective plowing in 2017-2018 season.
  • Authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2017-2018 General fund Budget in the amount of $2,300 for monies received through insurance recoveries for damage to Engine 119.  This is budget housekeeping regarding the allocation of insurance money.

 

 

Ann Gallelli: Thank you to our Firefighters!

To the Editor,ann2016

My complements to our Volunteer Fire Department.  This past Sunday, when their annual inspection of equipment was held at Croton Point Park, they were called out twice to respond to calls in the Village.  This annual event is a special occasion for the Fire Department as it is a time when Chiefs and members from other area departments come and evaluate and rate our department’s equipment.  Trustees on the Village Board and the Manager are also invited guests.  It is usually followed by a picnic for the volunteers and families.

They had a challenge this year.  Just before the scheduled inspection, they received a call to which the equipment responded.  By the time they returned, the ceremony was already much delayed.  Nevertheless, with some quick work, the equipment was returned to inspection- worthy status.  Following the inspection, everyone started enjoying the picnic and then another call came in.  The volunteers quickly changed from their uniforms to their firefighter gear and left the picnic to take the call.    

It reminded me that they have our backs every day.

Ann Gallelli

Sherry Horowitz: A Kind & Welcoming Village

Dear Neighbors:sherry2017

Although my children preferred watching Sesame Street and the Electric Company on TV when they were little, I was a big fan of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood; I loved his low-key warmth and wisdom. And now, many years later, I see a distinct similarity between Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and the Childrenspace community.  Both are places that are safe, both physically and emotionally, so that folks feel comfortable and welcome there.

Recently, Mr. Rogers’ name popped up on the internet, and I was drawn to read the article. Apparently, a “lost” Mr. Rogers episode mysteriously resurfaced, which might be a message to our President. In it Mr. Rogers says, “Rules are very, very important.  Not just for games but for all things.  Even big things like countries. Countries have to have rules to protect people, too.  And someday you’ll be helping to make the rules for your country.  I trust that you’ll make the best kind you know how.”

I am running for Croton Village Board Trustee because I would like to help make the rules for my Village, the best kind of rules I know how. I am committed to helping make rules that improve people’s lives; rules that help all people feel safe, rules that encourage mutual respect, that teach the importance of sharing, working together and above all, being kind to each other.  In short, rules that build a strong community where everyone is valued, and all viewpoints are heard and considered.  If that’s the kind of community you would like to live in, you can help me make those rules with your vote on November 7th! And I invite you to share your own vision for Croton with me; I’ll be hanging out at the Black Cow this  Saturday, September 16th, between 12:30 and 2:30.  I hope to see you there!

Respectfully, Sherry Horowitz, Democratic Candidate for Croton Village Board Trustee

Amy Attias: Standing Up For A Civil Discourse

Sep. 14th LTEs -- AA.pngTo the Editor:

 

In the fifteen years I have lived in Croton, I have assiduously avoided local political involvement. Now I am running for office here in the Village, and I am full into the local political “scene.” I did not fully know what I was walking into, and this letter may be the most important one I write.

 

Words have power, and to me, those involved in politics are supposed to be “leaders.” We must model ways to express ourselves, both verbally and in writing. We must show people how to respectfully disagree. 

 

In the last few years there has been public expression, in the name of politics, that has caused hurt and distrust between people in this village. Because I am a first-time candidate, I know the history, but I did not personally live through it and was not personally affected by it. Therefore, it’s easier for me to say: Our opponents are not our enemies, but our neighbors. Whatever we have to say, the most important thing is the way in which we express it.

 

I have been a criminal defense attorney for 35 years. If I can find respectful ways to defend murder cases and speak to juries and judges, then I figure we can find ways to discuss taking care of this village.

 

Nonetheless, we also have a duty to tell the truth to the voters. We can disagree without being disagreeable, but we must be able to clearly articulate and discuss our differences on the issues. And truth must be spoken. I ask for more thought, more waiting before responding, less reacting and more leading. This is the only way our Village can have the level of discourse that it deserves. 

 

Sincerely,

Amy Attias

Brian Pugh: Why Village is moving the DPW

brian-pugh-group-croppedDear Neighbors:
In a unanimous and bipartisan vote, the Croton Village Board of Trustees  approved the acquisition of two properties on Route 129 to serve as the future combined home of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Water Department.
The new facility will provide our DPW with the space needed to store vehicles indoors, and to perform maintenance and repairs more efficiently and quickly. Critically, it will allow the Village to remove the Water Department (currently on Pumphouse Road) and the DPW (currently located at the train station) out of known flood plains.
No other site we reviewed could have done all of the above. Successive administrations and boards have researched how to best house the DPW. The new site represents the best of a limited range of options for a community like our, with constrained boundaries and limited developable space.
The Village is acquiring the Route 129 property at below the appraised value. In addition, moving the DPW to the new site will free up over 100 parking spaces at the train station parking lot. With a waitlist of some 300 names needing parking, there is little doubt that these spaces will be snatched up and produce new revenue for the Village. Furthermore, with the expiration of some older bonds, the Village will be able to finance the new DPW site without increasing the overall Village debt.
Every decision has its pros and cons–and this one is no exception. The Route 129 property is located a little over a mile from the Village border–subjecting it to property taxes to the Town of Cortlandt and the Croton-Harmon School District, increasing travel time, and raising questions of emergency response.
Thankfully, the Village staff has succeeded in anticipating and mitigating many of these issues. The Village has successfully negotiated for an 80% reduction in the tax assessment for the property. And the Superintendent of Public Works will direct equipment to be prepositioned within the Village in advance of a storm or other forecasted natural disaster.
There have been some high-profile criticism of the new DPW site.  But as officials elected to make decisions on behalf of all of us, we cannot shy away from controversial choices. We must think of the long-term interests of the community, make the decision we think is best and be held accountable.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points…where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds.”
Brian Pugh

Pugh, Attias & Horowitz Named Top Local Progressive Champions

top150Dear Neighbors:

Some very exciting news!  Not only has the Working Families Party endorsed the Democratic Team of Pugh – Attias – Horowitz, it has also nominated and selected the three of us as members of a group of 150 Local Progressive Champions of 2017!  Needless to say, we are thrilled and honored with the designation!  We are also eager to bring our strong commitment to progressive values to the Croton community.  With your enthusiastic support in November, we can make that a reality!

Sincerely, Sherry Horowitz

Brian Pugh: We Are > Fossil Fuels

To the Editorbrian-pugh-group-cropped

Did you know that scientists at ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and gas company,  have been aware of the threat of climate change since 1979?

ExxonMobil acknowledged in research and internal communications that climate change is real and caused by human activity. In contrast to what Exxon knew to be true, two Harvard researchers found that roughly 80 percent of Exxon’s ads expressed doubt about climate change.

Many may not be aware that as taxpayers in New York State we are simultaneously supporting and being victimized by Exxon’s actions.

The Village of Croton, along with its workforce, makes contributions to the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYS CRF). These funds are then invested and the proceeds of these investments are used to pay for the retirement of current and future government workers.

According to its most recent asset listing, the NYS Common Retirement Fund has over $1 billion invested in ExxonMobil stock and bonds.

Earlier this year, New York’s Attorney General accused ExxonMobil of misleading investors on the impact and risks of climate change. NYS has also joined several other states in setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Why do we continue to invest in firms that are harming the public interest? Investments where our public policy works at cross-purposes?

Indeed, increasingly, investing in fossil fuels doesn’t even make short-term economic sense. In the last fiscal year, the NYS CRF reported 11% returns–meanwhile, ExxonMobil’s stock price actually fell during the same period.

It’s time that we put our money where our mouth is on climate change and demand that the Common Retirement Fund divest from ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel firms. That’s why I support the Village Board taking up the Croton Climate Initiative’s request, submitted in October of 2016, to adopt a resolution calling for the divestment of our pension funds from the fossil fuel sector.

Brian Pugh