Andy Simmons: When Silence Is Golden

Dear Neighbors:simmons2018.PNG

I generally do not read Paul Steinberg’s letters. In the past, when I’ve tried to get through his rambling, fact-twisting, bile-fueled letters, I could sense my brain cells on a lemming-like march to leap out of my skull and drown themselves in the Hudson. I only read his latest letter to the editor because a fellow gossip said Mr. Steinberg had called me “taciturn,” as if it were an insult. If only other members of our community were as closed-mouth as me life in Croton would be far more pleasant.

In the past, Mr. Steinberg has had to be corrected about the plastic bag initiative, Gouveia Park, a thousand apartments coming to Croton any day, and now, with no proof whatsoever, Mr. Steinberg insists that the village board holds non-public executive sessions to plot how we’re going to divvy up the Katz property and the rest of Croton. After all, he says, why would we hold such meetings. This is a cheap attack because, as he well knows, I am not at liberty to explain what is discussed behind those closed doors. But I can say that they have had absolutely nothing to do with anything covered in the Gateway Zoning workshop. As far as I can recall, we’ve had four such meetings since I’ve been on the board. Two covered issues concerning a particular single-family home, one discussed a useless village-owned plot of land (not Katz!), and one meeting had nothing to do at all with property.

Mr. Steinberg also chastised me for offering to meet a constituent at the Black Cow regarding concerns she had about zoning. I see nothing wrong with one-on-one chats to answer any lingering questions—about zoning or otherwise, and that offer stands to everyone in Croton. If you prefer, email me at asimmons@crotononhudson-ny.gov.

I may or may not have answers, but I promise I’ll listen. As we know, I don’t talk much.

Andy Simmons, Trustee

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Rick Olver: Preserving Community Character

Dear Neighbors:Image result for "richard olver" croton
We all want to preserve Croton’s character, but what are we talking about?  Some feel we should keep our “built environment” the same.  But that will not preserve what we most value: our wonderful mix of young and old, and moderate and upper-middle income families.
Our current land-use policies don’t produce the kind of new housing we need to preserve our community.  We are exporting our younger adults: those between ages 25 and 44 fell as a share of population between the 2000 and 2010 census. And everyone knows an older person who “downsized” and left Croton.
The middle class is being displaced: households earning between $50K and $100k fell from 31.5% of Village population in the 2000 census to 21.8% in the latest census estimate. Middle class people are being replaced by more affluent households: those with family incomes over $200K more than doubled from 12.8% in 2000 to 26.9% in the latest census estimate.  Keeping our current, restrictive zoning will artificially limit housing supply, further increase prices and worsen these changes to our community.
Inaction remains an option. In my personal view we do need to act to fight the ongoing changes to the character of our community that none of us want. Whether and how we choose to act is up to you.  Give us your input so we on your Board can choose plans Croton people truly want. Your next opportunity is a session of small group discussions at the Zoning Study Public Workshop, on Tuesday June 18, at 7:30pm at the Harmon Firehouse.  I hope to see you there.
Rick Olver, Trustee

Sherry Horowitz: Electrifying Croton

Dear Crotonites, sherry2017

Good news for those of you with electric vehicles, and for those of you who are considering purchasing one!

The Village has installed two electric vehicle charging stations at the Municipal Building, and they are up and running!  Each charging station is able to charge two cars at once. One charging station is reserved for the use of municipal vehicles, and is designated as such. The other is a public charging station, and is available to all other owners of electric vehicles.

Any resident interested in using the charging station should first download the ChargePoint mobile app, which is used to pay for the charge. If you do decide to charge your vehicle at the Municipal Building, you should park in one of the two public spaces and follow the instructions on the charging station screen. The price is 22 cents perKWh, with a 4 hour time limit.

The Department of Public Works is working on the installation of an additional charging station located at Lot F in the Croton-Harmon train station parking lot. This charging station will also be capable of charging two vehicles at once, and will be available for commuter use.  We will keep you posted on the exact location for this charging station when it is completely functional!

The Mayor and the Village Board are delighted to bring this service to Croton residents. Many people worked on this initiative, including Lindsay Audin, Chair of the Village Sustainability Committee, who applied for the New York State Department of Conservation grant which paid for 2/3 of the purchase and installation of the chargers. This is just one of many environmental initiatives the Village is pursuing to protect and preserve our community and our planet!

Respectfully, Sherry Horowitz, Trustee, Croton Village Board

Brian Pugh: A Memorial Day Message

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

Memorial day is when we remember those who entered our country’s service, but never left it. Since 1776, millions have answered our country’s call and almost 1 ½ million never returned.
Over the years, our Village has sought to honor those from our community who served. Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, the Village has hung banners listing the names of those who have died in the line of duty.
Our latest initiative comes from a partnership between our Department of Public Works and the Croton Veterans Council. It’s inspired by the Hometown Heroes banner project who can be found in a number of Hudson Valley communities.
Later this year, we will plan on hanging banners honoring our living veterans for their service in addition to the memorial banners that have already gone up. In addition, we will offer friends and families the opportunity to sponsor banners of individuals from the Croton community who have or are currently serving in the armed forces.
It’s important that veterans from all branches of service who served during the wars and military actions throughout our history be appreciated. As we work toward a peaceful future, in which war is a memory and our families and our communities no longer know the sorrow of losing sons and daughters, we must continue to remember and honor those who served and sacrificed.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh, Mayor

Croton Democrats Endorsed by Westchester-Putnam Counties AFL-CIO Central Labor Body

To The Editor:

I am writing to share with your readers the endorsement of Mayor Brian Pugh and Trustee Sherry Horowitz by the Westchester-Putnam Counties AFL-CIO Central Labor Body as they seek re-election to the Board of Trustees for the Village of Croton.

The Westchester-Putnam Counties AFL-CIO is comprised of a diverse array of local labor unions representing workers in the private and public sector. The mission of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council is to organize in the community to promote social justice for all working people.

The Central Labor Councils, chartered directly by the national AFL-CIO, determine policy on local issues, as well as working closely with the State and National AFL-CIO to carry out Federation priorities. As the voice of working people in the local community, the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council is the heart of the labor movement. By uniting the local community, the Councils play a critical role on local, state and national issues. In political and community action, the Central Labor Councils are “where the action is.”

In order to have obtained the WPCLB AFL-CIO Endorsement, Brian Pugh and Sherry Horowitz needed a 2/3 majority vote at last Wednesday’s delegate meeting.

We look forward to continue to work with Mayor Brian Pugh and Trustee Sherry Horowitz to improve the lives of working people in the Village of Croton and across Westchester and Putnam Counties. I hope that readers will take our endorsement into consideration on election day and cast their ballots for our endorsed candidates Tuesday, November 5.

 

Tom Carey, Westchester-Putnam Counties AFL-CIO, President

Brian Pugh: Croton Point Avenue Improvement Project Back On Track!

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees for the Village of Croton rejected two bids for the Croton Point Avenue Improvement Project which came in over budget. Thankfully, last week the DoT informed the Village that they will extend state funding for the project – allowing us to re-bid the project.

The funds remain available during the 2020 construction season and NYSDOT would like the Village government to continue to advance the project.

The plans of the Croton Point Avenue Improvement Project include:

1. widening the US Route 9 southbound off-ramp to provide a right turn lane;
2. traffic signal installations at Veterans Plaza and the US Route 9 on and off ramps;
3. widening of Veterans Plaza to accommodate four-lane traffic flow at the station lot entrance;
4. bike lanes between the travel lane and the sidewalk; and
5. sidewalks on both sides of Croton Point Avenue.

This design would better regulate and rationalize one of our busiest roadways, and has been approved by the NYS Department of Transportation.

I am in favor of this improvement that will benefit all users of this busy roadway: motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. I am grateful for the public’s patience as we work to implement this long-anticipated project and look forward to when we can all share the benefits.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Ann Gallelli: Intermunicipal Cooperation Makes It Happen!

Dear Neighbors,ann2016
This week the Village entered into two InterMunicipal Agreements (IMAs). An IMA is an agreement between municipal entities to do something together. Usually it involves sharing either services or responsibilities for the purpose of achieving a common end while saving money and other resources.
One of the IMAs was a renewal of the Village’s ability to use the Northern Tier Transfer Station on Roa Hook Road for another five years – to 2023. This allows us to take our recyclables to a nearby facility rather than haul them much further away. The transfer station facility benefits a group of municipalities known as the North Tier Communities including the Towns of Cortlandt, Yorktown and Ossining, and the Villages of Croton, Buchanan, Ossining, and the City of Peekskill.
The second IMA approved this week is between the Village and the Towns of Cortlandt and Ossining. It facilitates coordination of police patrols in the Croton Gorge Park Unique Area, an undeveloped area designated by NYS DEC. Over recent years, many safety concerns have been raised by users of this area on the Croton River as well as by adjoining property owners. The IMA provides that the three municipal entities will cooperate to keep the area safe and that they will meet regularly with each other to coordinate and evaluate such activities going forward.
These are just two of many IMAs that our Village regularly enters into for the benefit of our residents by providing a service that might otherwise not be obtainable or affordable by the Village alone.

Ann Gallelli

Sherry Horowitz: Community Safety

Dear Neighbors:sherry2017

A few Saturdays ago, the Croton Police Department celebrated its 2nd “Coffee with a Cop” Day at the Dessertist in the Village’s Van Wyck Shopping Center.
The Coffee with a Cop events provide opportunities for local residents to meet, interact with, and enjoy friendly, respectful and meaningful conversations with members of the Croton Police Force. The May 11th event, which lasted 2 hours on a sunny, Spring morning, was attended by many police officers who donated their time to share a cup of coffee and chat with the approximately 60-70 Village residents who showed up. Information on some of the Police Department’s community programs like DARE, Youth Cadet Programs, Bicycle Patrols, Child Seat Installation Safety Checks, etc was also readily available.
Police Chief Russel Harper, the Croton Police Force, Mayor Brian Pugh and the Croton Village Board are all in favor of adding such community policing strategies in order to proactively partner with local citizens to identify and solve problems. We believe that in our small, welcoming and well-connected Village, such a community policing philosophy is not only possible but entirely appropriate. It is yet another way to reduce crime and raise the sense of security, trust and caring in our community.
Thanks to all of you who participated in this event. If you missed it, there will be another one planned for the Fall!

Sincerely, Sherry Horowitz, Village of Croton-on-Hudson Trustee

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 451

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 451st 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 – May 20, 2019

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)

 

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING:

  1. Public Hearing on the adoption of Local Law Introductory No. 5 of 2019 to amend Section 230-17 of the Zoning Chapter of the Village Code to permit day-care uses by special permit in the C-2 Zoning District.   This amendment has been reviewed and favorably recommended by the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Waterfront Advisory Committee.  It would allow day care centers in the C-2 zones by Special Permit of the Village Board.
  2. Public Hearing on the adoption of Local Law Introductory No. 6 of 2019 to amend Section 230-61 of the Zoning Chapter of the Village Code to revise the deadline for mailing of public notices.   This would change the mailing deadline for public notices from 15 days to 10 days.  As a practical matter this would expedite the application process as called for by the Comprehensive Plan.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:  

  1. Letter from John Ghegan, Commander of Fox-Eklof American Legion Post 505, announcing the 2019 Memorial Day Ceremony to be held on Monday, May 27.  Mr. Ghegan invites the Board and all the Village to attend the Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 27 at11 am at Veterans’ Corners.  In the event of rain, it will be held at the Holy Name of Mary gym.
  2. Letter from Seaver Wang, Rotary Club President, requesting use of the Croton-Harmon Train Station parking lot on Sunday, September 22, for the annual car show.   Mr. Wang requests permission for the Rotary Club to use Section “F” of the train parking lot for its annual car show.  The Rotary Club has held this fundraising event for many years at this location.  The proceeds from this show help fund many local nonprofits.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $8,275 to encumber funds for the purchase of a snow plowing and salting snowrator in the 2019-2020 budget year.  This piece of equipment was recommended by the DPW Superintendent as it would reduce the manpower needed during snow removal operations as well as speed removal and combine salting and removal into one operation. 
  2. Consider establishment of an Arts & Humanities Advisory Council for the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.  The resolution would create an advisory council to the Village Board focused on the Arts and Humanities.  As discussed at an earlier work session the purpose would be to stimulate interest in the arts and humanities in the Village.  The council would advise the Village on such matters and provide an annual report to the Board.  It would consist of not more than 7 members with 2-year terms appointed by the Mayor with Board consent.
  3. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute a contract extension with NSI Worldwide of Middletown, New York, for the period of June 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020, at a cost of $3,276.00 per month.    This contract is for cleaning services provided for Village buildings.  It was bid in 2018 and this price remains the same for a second year of the contract.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign an Inter-Municipal Agreement with the Towns of Cortlandt and Ossining to facilitate police patrols of the Unique Area in Croton Gorge Park.    In response to safety concerns about activities in the Unique area, located on the Croton River and in the Town of Cortlandt, and owned by the NYSDEC, the three municipalities adjoining it on the Croton River have agreed to increase and coordinate  their presence on the river and at the location during the summer months. 
  5. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to postpone the issuance of the 2019-2020 invoice for Croton Point Realty, lessee of 1 Croton Point Avenue.   The Village and lessee are in negotiations.  This would postpone the invoice until September 30, 2019 pending resolution of the negotiations.
  6. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $3,905.92 to purchase new filing cabinets for the Village Clerk’s office.  The existing cabinets in use are over 35 years old and in deteriorating condition.  They are used to store important public documents and are in daily use.  The money was not allocated in the budget and will be taken from the 2018/2019 Contingency Account.
  7. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign the Inter-Municipal Agreement with the Town of Cortlandt for the use of the Northern Tier Transfer Station on Roa Hook Road for the period of April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2023. The Westchester County owned transfer station is located in the Town of Cortlandt at Roa Hook.  The Town has long encouraged municipalities in the Northern Tier of the County to use this location for their recyclables.  This IMA would extend that agreement for Croton until March 2023.  The monthly cost is $718.50 through March 2020 and thereafter will rise according to the allowable growth factor under the Tax Levy Cap. 
  8. Consider scheduling a public hearing for Monday, June 17, 2019, at 8 PM in the Georgianna Grant Meeting Room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building to  issue an expansion of the special permit for Happy Hearts Take Two, located at 365 South Riverside Avenue.  The Special pPermit being requested requires a Public Hearing be held.  This resolution calls for the hearing.

Rick Olver: The role of government is to encourage opportunity

To The Editor:Image result for "rick olver" croton

Croton United is asking me to tell them how many new private apartments in Harmon will be affordable, and what the rents will be. But our Harmon zoning changes encourage private construction of smaller buildings with market rentals.  We don’t set these rents.

In our American system, the role of government is to encourage opportunity.  This is precisely what your Village Board did: we got professional help to identify needs and define the market for the what we want: small service businesses and apartments for empty nesters, young couples and moderate-income people.  We then obtained the democratic assent of the Village to the zoning changes that would encourage such private investments – three elections were fought and won by the Democrats over these changes.

No bureaucracy is involved: just zoning.  We are now seeing the very first, attractive fruits of this rezoning at the corner of Benedict and S. Riverside.  I neither know nor care what the landlord wants to charge.  What I want is for others to decide that they should invest in similar projects.  You see, the law of supply and demand will determine the outcome.  The more moderate-sized units built within the rezoned area along S. Riverside, the more reasonable the rents will become for businesses, offices and apartments.

Richard Olver

Croton Village Trustee