To the Editor,
The Village of Croton Board rejected the bids for the Croton Point Avenue project as only two contractors bid on the job and both bids were well above the independent engineer’s estimate. Now the project must once again be delayed, or possibly cancelled unless the grant funding for this project can be rolled over and the project rebid. It is vital that Croton residents understand that the previous Croton United majority campaigned against the project, they bear significant responsibility for the anticipated cost increases for CPA and its possible cancellation.
In the lead up to the 2015 Village election, I wrote a Letter to the Editor in which I said, “The Village has procured $1.7 million in federal and county funds that will cut the cost to the Village of the Croton Point Ave. project by nearly two-thirds.” I continued, “But we’ll only receive those funds if we actually make improvements. It would be foolish, indeed, to throw away that kind of money, especially for such a vitally necessary project. But that is precisely what our opponents in this election have said they will do.”
And that’s exactly what Croton United did. As soon as that election was over and they had gained a majority on the Village Board, they tried to stop the CPA.
Only after staff had repeatedly told them, did they finally grasp that stopping CPA would cost the Village almost two million dollars in lost grants. Only then did they start talking about “possibly” moving forward with “selective parts” of the CPA plan. And only after it had again been explained to them that doing so would still threaten the grant money did they reluctantly begin to slow-walk CPA forward.
The grant funding for the Croton Point Avenue improvements was secured during one of the lowest construction cost periods in recent memory, and those costs have been rising steadily ever since. The delays, dithering and ill-considered decisions by the former Village administration are the key factors that have resulted in these increased costs for the CPA project.
I hope that the Department of Transportation does rollover the grant for Village and we have the opportunity to proceed with the Croton Point Avenue project next year. But if they do not and we cannot go forward, residents of the Village of Croton should remember the role Croton United played in costing our community a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the commutes of thousands of residents.
Chair, Croton Democratic Committee