Brian Pugh: Reviewing Residency Rules for Village Parks

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

Under the current Village Code only residents may visit Village of Croton parks (with the exception of Croton Landing Park, Manes Field, and Fireman’s Field).
At the televised July 8th Work Session, the Board of Trustees began discussing adding to the list of parks where the residency requirement does not apply. HOWEVER, the Board is committed to keeping Silver Lake for residents only. Due to Silver Lake’s small size and popularity, the Board and I are in agreement that access to Silver Lake must be limited.
The Board does not make amendments to the Village Code lightly (some local laws have spent years being discussed and revised before adoption). We will engage in a deliberative process before making any changes to the residency rules for village parks.
Before we make any changes regarding the residency requirement, we will first seek the opinion of the Recreation Advisory Committee and relevant Village Departments. Any vote by the Board will only come after a public hearing, which will be duly noticed in these pages.
Brian Pugh, Mayor

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Rick Olver: Community Solar Array Coming to Croton

Dear Neighbors:File:Solar energy icon.png

On Monday the Board of Trustees approved an agreement with solar power developer Ecogy Energy to install a 250 kilowatt solar power system on the roof of the Department of Public Works building on Route 129. Ecogy will lease the space on the DPW roof and will be responsible for the installation and operation of the system.
We will benefit from: roof repairs to the DPW building; discounted power to Croton residents; and cash payments to the Village of more than $700,000 over the Lease Term of 25 years. And all at no cost to the Village!
This spring the Sustainability Committee, led by Lindsay Audin, worked with Village staff to issue a Request for Proposals and reviewed the responses.  Ecogy’s proposal was recommended to the Board as providing the greatest value to the Village.

The Sustainability Committee has developed several wonderful projects in the last year – just a few months ago, the Village installed an electric vehicle charging station at the municipal building, thanks to the Committee.  We should all be proud of the work of this volunteer committee in helping us make tangible environmental progress in our community. I look forward to seeing what they will do next!

Rick Olver
Croton Village Trustee

Andy Simmons: Nissan Leaf Discount Program Extended until 9/30/2019!

Dear Neighbors,simmons2018

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the combustion engine. Too dirty, too loud, too many breakable parts, too much gas money handed over to oil companies. That’s why I’m thrilled that Sustainable Westchester and Nissan of New Rochelle have extended the discount program for the 2019 all-electric Nissan Leaf until September 30, 2019. The standard 2019 Leaf costs $32,865. But … with the $5,000 Sustainable Westchester discount, New York State rebate, and federal tax incentives, the total reduction off MSRP can be up to $14,500 making the cost of the car $18,365. That doesn’t include savings over gas guzzlers on oil changes (no need for oil in an EV), lower maintenance costs (a gas car has around 2,000 moving parts, an EV has 20!) and, of course, no need for the weekly pitstop at the gas pump. Plus, Con Ed will pay you—yes, pay you—to charge your car at night. Since most road trips are less than 30 miles, the Nissan Leaf’s 150 miles per charge should be plenty of charge time for the average journey. Croton-on-Hudson is a proud member of Sustainable Westchester, the nonprofit that negotiated the discount. The village has added recharging stations for electric vehicles and is in the midst of adding more. We’ve also begun the task of swapping out old gas guzzlers from our fleet for EV cars. If you’re interested in making Mother Earth greener, go to sustainablewestchester.org for more information.

Andy Simmons

The writer is a Croton-on-Hudson Village Trustee

Brian Pugh: Recognizing volunteer board service

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

 

After four years of volunteer service on the Village on the Bicycle Pedestrian Committee, Eliza McCarthy has stepped down as chair.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank her for her dedication to the Village of Croton.

 

As one of the Board’s liaisons to the BPC, I have had a front row seat to Eliza’s leadership.  She is a diplomatic builder of consensus and I think the BPC has benefited from her approach, especially as it has grown in recent years.

 

Under Eliza’s leadership, the BPC has (among other things):

 

  1. promoted cycling and walking at Earth Day, Summerfest tables and annual bike-education events at PVC;

  2. co-hosted and participated in Complete Streets training, learned about methods for experimenting with road enhancements, how to do walk/bike audits;

  3. supported the Village in reducing the speed limit in key areas to improve safety; and

  4. welcomed and supported many new committee members

 

The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the governance of the Village.  However, we rely on the guidance and support of advisory committees like the Bicycle Pedestrian Committee.

 

Committees like the BPC are comprised of residents donating their time to the community.  In addition to advising the Board, they perform other important functions, such as orchestrating grassroots education campaigns.

 

Service on these committees is not usually glamorous and it is always unpaid.  But these consultative groups play an important role in keeping the Board appraised of the feelings of the community and helping to formulate public policy.

 

The BPC is an essential component of democracy in our Village.  Thank you again to Eliza for your work on behalf of the community.

 

Sincerely,

 

Brian Pugh

Rick Olver: A Mystery on Hollis Lane…or Another Croton United Conspiracy Theory?

Richard OlverAh, another Croton United conspiracy theory: “The mystery of Hollis Lane”. Paul Steinberg finds it fishy Croton should sell an excess piece of property through BidNet.  Just because you are unfamiliar with something doesn’t make it a conspiracy.
After the Board decided to sell a property in Cortlandt, staff sent out requests for proposals to five local developers, but received no replies. The Village has now sought bids through BidNet – we do our competitive bid requests through BidNet, a bid site for government.  And this way we could avoid paying a realtor – saving taxpayer dollars.  We don’t have to accept bids that are not adequate.  If this doesn’t work, we would then go to a realtor. And any transaction will have to be approved by the Board in a public meeting.
Paul does have one very good point: we should announce a sale like this publicly before we seek bids.  I’ve asked that we do so in future.
Rick Olver, Trustee

Richard Masur: What’s become of the “Loyal Opposition”?

Dear Neighbors: Richard Masur Picture

Last week Mr. Paul Steinberg wrote yet another letter.  Once again, rather than approaching the Village directly for information, and/or posing his questions in this forum simply and straightforwardly, he seems to be using this forum to take another opportunity to attack, insinuate and provoke.  Why?  One can only speculate, since he never made it clear.

Mr. Steinberg’s letter involved a property on Hollis Ave. that has belonged to the Village for 24 years, and had recently been offered for sale.  When one scrubs his lengthy letter of sarcasm, mockery, innuendo and personal slurs, his questions boil down to the following: 1) Why has the Village offered this property for sale, after all these years?  2) Why have they done so by placing it on a website called BidNet that is generally used for solicitation of bids and procurement of goods and services.?  3) Why was there a specific time limit set on this process? And finally, 4) Why was the decisions to sell the property made in executive session and not made public after the decision was made?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with raising these questions. Of course, had there been a sincere effort to get the information, the obvious method to do so would be to ask the questions directly of the Village by simply sending an email which would then have been included in the Board’s agenda.  As I am sure that someone as well informed as Mr. Steinberg knows, there is a standing item on the agenda – “Responses To Questions Submitted By E-Mail”.  His four questions I’ve listed above could have been answered that way. I suspect that someone from the Village Board will soon address them directly.

For myself, I think the most productive question raised dealt with notice to the public.  That is a very important issue and one that should be explored directly and dispassionately.  If the perception of the public is that our government could be more “open” in its communications with them, then it certainly should be.

Unfortunately, it does not seem to have been Mr. Steinberg’s goal to get an answer to that or any other question.  It seems that he was more interested in agitating and fomenting concern among his fellow residents by raising these question and insinuating something nefarious had gone on then he was in getting answers.  To what end?  What is his motive in doing so? He does not say. And I do not claim to know.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter asking folks to try to be more productive and less confrontational in lodging their complaints/concerns about the governance of the Village of Croton on Hudson.  I think it bears repeating:

“We are all entitled to our own opinions. I would not criticize anyone for that. However, if your goal is truly to be of service to your fellow Village residents by pointing out what you perceive of as misguided policies, why is it necessary to manufacture “facts”, impute malign motives to, and engage in ad hominem attacks on the sitting Trustees? One thing we all should have learned from the 2018 elections is that most people in this country are sick and tired of this kind of behavior and want those who claim to be acting in the public interest to do so in a truthful and civil manner.”

Richard Masur – Chair, Croton Democratic Committee

Brian Pugh: What makes Croton water great?

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

I am writing to remind readers that payment for Village of Croton utilities is due by Monday, July 15th.  If you have questions about your bill, you can call 914-862-1419. These bills can be paid online by going to the village website, www.crotononhudson-ny.gov, and selecting “Online Payments” under the Citizen Action Center.

These utility payments support our vital water and sewer infrastructure.

Our Village has made important improvements in this area.  As recently as 5 years ago, testing found 5 violations for inadequate chlorine contact time and excessive copper. In their last tests, the County Healthy Department found no violations.

These improvements did not come by accident.  Keeping our water pure requires vigilance and funding.

Approximately 1/3 of our Village’s outstanding bonds are for our water system. In this year’s budget, the Board approved $500,000 for relining water mains along Cleveland Drive and Albany Post Road.  Property taxes pay for none of this.  The entire system is funded by resident’s utility payments.

As Mayor, I will continue to make the provision of vital municipal services a priority. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and our Village staff to keep our community safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 456

Dear neighbor, Here is the 456th 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 8, 2019

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised

 

a.      Discussion on the future of the Croton Coalition with Laurie Dean, Chair and Coordinator.   The Croton Coalition Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse  has completed its 10th and last year with federal funding with the Village as its sponsor.  The Board will discuss its role for the future. 

b.      Discussion on the creation of a youth advisory committee.  The Board will discuss the possible role of such a committee.

c.       Discussion on proposed Oktoberfest event with Toni Senecal, owner of the Croton Tapsmith.  Ms. Senecal will present her ideas for an Oktoberfest event, possible location and dates for Fall 2019. 

d.      Recap of snow removal from sidewalks by the Village’s contractor during the 2018-19 winter.    The Board will review some facts and figures from last winter’s snow removal on the Village streets and train station parking lot.

e.       Review of residency requirements for certain Village parks.  The Board will review the current status of Village parks.  Currently parks and fields in the Village are restricted to residents with the exception of Croton Landing Park, Manes Field and Fireman’s Field.

Rick Olver: What does a modern police department look like?

Mayor Brian Pugh, the Croton Village Board and Police Chief Russel Harper share a rick-olver-croton-on-hudson.jpgvision of a modern police force that proactively partners with local citizens to identify and solve problems. We believe that in our small, welcoming village such a community policing strategy will build security, trust and caring.

When a police department is trusted by its community, the job works like it should. But trust can be a very hard thing for police to earn—especially since officers tend to appear in a citizen’s life when something has gone wrong. Police agencies that are diverse are simply more likely to build trust because they reflect the community and include officers of many backgrounds and experiences – and officers learn different perspectives from each other.

This week Croton took a couple of important new steps.  Congratulations to new Officer Debra Rodriguez, who graduated from training at the Rockland County Police Academy – she will be on patrol soon.  And congratulations to Nicholas Ditomasso, who we hired to fill the position of Police Officer (Spanish Speaking). We designated an existing, open position to require proficiency in Spanish and English. Mr. Ditomasso will be the first to fill that position.

Richard Olver

Trustee, Village of Croton on Hudson

Brian Pugh: What can we do to protect our air quality?

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

 

Last Friday (6/28) was the first “Air Quality Action Day” of the summer due to excessive Ozone.  Ground-level ozone is a respiratory irritant that can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. Children, people with pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions, people doing strenuous outdoor work or exercise and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effects of ozone.

 

Sunshine can cause some pollutants to undergo chemical reactions, creating smog.  Higher air temperatures can also speed up chemical reactions in the air. Therefore, as the summer progresses, we can expect additional air quality action days.

 

Here are several simple steps to take to prevent air pollution:

  • Combine errands into a single trip and postpone unnecessary trips.

  • When possible, use mass transit

  • Avoid letting your vehicle idle

  • Postpone operating gas-powered equipment such as lawn mowers and wait for when air quality is better.

Finally, motorists should remember that  Westchester County has enacted an Anti-Idling Law to prohibit the idling of vehicles for more than three consecutive minutes. Every minute of idling wastes fuel and affects the air quality of our area.  Local police are empowered to enforce this law.

 

I encourage residents to remain informed about local air quality by subscribing to alerts from www.dec.ny.gov, protecting themselves by taking appropriate precautions (e.g. limiting outdoor work on air quality action days) and taking steps to reduce air pollution.

 

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh