Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 508

Deputy Mayor Ann Gallelli

Dear neighbor, Here is the 508thinstallment 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 21, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

5:30 pm

(Zoom )

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EXECUTIVE SESSION: (5:30)  Consider a request from the Mayor to enter into Executive Session for discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation.

PRESENTATION: (6:00)  Presentation from Laurie Dean, Chair of the Croton Community Coalition, on the organization’s accomplishments.

CORRESPONDENCE:

  1. Draft of Complete Streets Policy as recommended by the Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee.   The Committee has developed a proposed policy that would apply to Village streets  with regard to requiring certain steps be taken when street work is done to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
  2. Press release from Moody’s Investors Service affirming the Village’s Aa2 credit rating.   The Aa2 credit rating for the Village has remained the same.  Aa2 equates to “high quality with very little credit risk” under Moody’s ratings definitions.
  3. Letter from Patricia Buchanan of Croton100 requesting use of two Village parking areas for EV car shows during National Drive Electric Week.    Several EV’s and their owners will be parked at Vassallo Park on Saturday, September 24 from 4-6 and Sunday, from 11 – 1 at Senasqua.  People are encouraged to view them and ask questions.

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2020-2021 General Fund Budget in    the amount of $329,298.75 to account for reduced revenues and expenditures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Revenue projections for daily parking at the station, recreation fees, beach and pool charges and fines and forfeited bail have been reduced by $329,298.75.  To offset this 1st quarter decline in revenue, 27 expense accounts would be reduced by the same amount.  These include part-time and over-time expenses in many departments such as administration, court, police, and recreation.
  1. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with La Teja Contractors & Landscaping Inc. to provide snow removal services for the 2020-2021 winter season.  This contract is for snow removal when homeowners fail to clear their sidewalks within the prescribed 18 hours after the storm ends.  The rates remain the same as last year.
  1. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2020-2021 General Fund Budget in the amount of $1,708.95 for expenses related to the replacement of a street light.  The Village received reimbursement and this reflects the accounting.
  1. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an extension agreement with FM Generator of Canton, Massachusetts, in the amount of $6,550 for generator maintenance services.  The Village has generators at multiple locations including the Municipal Building, DPW, fire houses, and wells.

Brian Pugh: Charting A Path Forward on Police Reform

Dear Neighbors:

In June, our governor issued Executive Order 203, requiring local police agencies to develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs based on community input. Each police agency’s reform plan must address policies, procedures, practices and deployment, including, but not limited to use of force. Such a reform plan must be approved by the Board of Trustees by April 1, 2021.

Our new police chief, John Nikitopoulos, laid out his vision of the path forward for the Village at Monday’s Board of Trustees work session. Through the remainder of 2020, the chief will meet with community groups and conduct a survey of Village residents.  This will help the chief to identify issues and assess needs in the community.

In early 2021, the chief will present a draft plan informed by the earlier community outreach discussed above.  The draft plan will be subject to public comment.  I plan to appoint a task force, composed of citizens and officials, that will assist in reviewing these comments and make recommendations about revisions to the draft plan.  

After the draft plan is thoroughly ventilated, the Board of Trustees will review the plan, the public’s comments and the task force’s recommendations. Ultimately, the Board will be responsible for approving a final plan and ensuring its full implementation.

Our Croton Police Department has much to be proud of, including a long record of successfully de-escalating potentially violent situations. As reported by the chief in his memo to the Board, in the past 34 years, no Croton police officer has discharged their firearm in the course of duty, even when dealing with armed individuals.  

Even prior to Executive Order 203, Chief Nikitopoulos’s predecessor, Russel Harper, took the lead on modernizing our force. In just two years, the Police Department added its first bilingual officers and park rangers and the first woman police officer in nearly a decade and implemented additional anti-bias training.

I believe that Executive Order 203 is an invitation to make our community’s police better than ever. I look forward to working with the Board, the Police Department and residents to help make our community as safe as possible for everyone.

Brian Pugh

Len Simon: Diversity & Inclusion

Len Simon, Democratic Candidate for Village Trustee

Dear Neighbors:

A characteristic I admire very much among my Croton friends and neighbors is their willingness to take up significant challenges and work collaboratively towards meaningful solutions.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, headed by Andy Finkelstein,  is a good example of that process at work.

The  Committee itself is best qualified to discuss with Croton its goals and objectives and plans for achieving them. But I’d like to say just a few words of thanks to the Committee

for hosting a discussion group earlier this week where participants had the opportunity to engage in conversation on issues which are important to address not only here in Croton, but in every community across the country. I was very grateful to be invited to be part of that discussion.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we know we can do more and better here at home. But from observing similar efforts undertaken in communities I’ve worked with professionally across the country, it seems to me that Croton is not only headed in the right direction, but is also off to a very good start.  And while these issues may have the potential to divide people in some places, I predict that here in Croton, by addressing them
and seeking common ground and understanding, we can actually be brought closer together.

As just one voice among many,  I look forward to these efforts continuing and welcome the good ideas and results which will make us a stronger and better Croton.

Len Simon

Democratic Candidate

Croton Board of Trustees

Andy Simmons: Driving Into Electric Vehicle Week

Trustee Andy Simmons

Dear Neighbors,

September 26-October 4th is National Drive Electric Week. For those Crotonites considering buying an Electric Vehicle, now’s the time. Nissan of New Rochelle, along with Sustainable Westchester, is offering $5500 cash back on a 2019 Nissan Leaf. Combined with the $2,000 New York State Drive Clean Rebate, and other discounts, there is the potential for up to $12,000 total savings off MSRP. The savings, of course, don’t stop there. There’s no need for an oil change with an EV car because there’s no oil. EVs have lower maintenance costs—a gas engine has around 2,000 moving parts, an EV’s engine around 20! And, of course, no need for the weekly pitstop at the gas pump. Since most road trips are less than 30 miles, the Nissan Leaf’s 150 to 226 miles per charge should be plenty of charge time for the average journey.  

Croton is in the vanguard of clean transportation, with charging stations at the municipal building and train station, not to mention our new electric and hybrid police cars replacing older gas-sucking cruisers. If you want to keep Croton green, consider this deal brought to you by Sustainable Westchester and Nissan of New Rochelle.  

Andy Simmons, Trustee

John Habib: What you should know about rezoning

To The Editor:

I am writing again about the proposed construction of a 3-story apartment building on the old Croton Hardware store site and adjacent parcels. I will not address the application’s pros and cons. Instead, this is a reminder of how a project proposal like this one came to be received, and how a rigorous examination process will move forward while taking into account key data points. Of course, this application never would have been submitted absent the recent approval of zoning law amendments applicable to North Riverside Avenue & Municipal Place. These amendments were derived from clear recommendations in the 2017 Comprehensive Plan. That Plan – approved on a bipartisan basis by unanimous vote of the Village Board – states: “Adapting housing [stock]…will help a vibrant and engaged senior population to securely age in place and contribute to a vibrant community. At the same time, the Village must…attract and retain the new Village immigrants and younger workforce needed to replace a labor force that is shrinking as the population ages.” This new construction application reflects the past cross-party vote of Croton’s local government to attract new housing options to the Village.

Let’s also remember the core aspects of the rather conservative changes made to the zoning code: 1) substantially reducing the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the land upon which it is built (the “FAR”) – which now matches the FAR of the Harmon overlay district, where a new mixed-use project has emerged at 375 S. Riverside Avenue housing Baked By Susan, M Salon and several apartments; 2) permitting multi-unit, all-residential construction because the previous zoning required residential uses to be paired with commercial space, effectively forcing much higher traffic-generating projects into the areas; and 3) approving 3-story buildings instead of only 2.5 stories, while maintaining the exact same 35 foot height restriction.

When the new zoning was adopted, the Mayor, Trustees and Village administration members emphasized that new building applications undergo many months of vigorous scrutiny focused on numerous topics, including quality-of-life issues such as traffic and school capacity. It is important to point out that a low-rise residential structure of 10,000 sq. ft. generates approximately less than ⅓ of the amount of traffic created by a similarly sized shopping center. As for student enrollment, our school district’s population peaked in 2009 (1,760), and declined substantially by 2018 (1,608). Westchester County birth rates have been dropping since 2000, which has reduced enrollment for many districts. These statistics, while not dispositive, are directly relevant to expert evaluations of whether any new project could somehow overwhelm our district.

I have spent just about my entire life tightly connected to this Village. My family arrived here in 1967, when I was 4 years old. I am a 1981 CHHS graduate, and the Village was my home base throughout college and law school days. My career caused me to relocate around the US and overseas. But Croton has always been my “True North”, particularly because many of my immediate family members never left here. As a Board member now, I can assure all residents that the Mayor and my fellow Trustees will only support new development projects they honestly believe are in the best long-term interests of our Paradise-on-Hudson. 

John Habib, Trustee

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 507

Deputy Mayor Ann Gallelli

Dear neighbor, Here is the 507th 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 15, 2020

Work Session of the Village Board

5:00 p.m.

Note:  This meeting is on Tuesday and will begin at 5pm with an Executive Session.  The public portion of the meeting will begin at 5:30 pm

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1.  Consider a request from the Village Manager to enter into an Executive Session regarding matters of public safety.

2. Discussion on New York State Executive Order 203 regarding police reform.  The Village will review the steps involved in developing a report and plan for local police reform.  The Police Chief has provided his suggestions with steps beginning in the Fall, followed by the appointment of a Task Force, and the Village Board submitting the required report to the State by April 1, 2021.

3. Review of FY 2020-2021 1st Quarter  Expenditures.   The Board will review the revenues and expenditures at the end of the first quarter of this Fiscal Year to ascertain impacts of the Covid pandemic on the approved budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2020. The Treasurer has also submitted proposed amendments to the budget to decrease both revenue and expenditure accounts.

4.. Review of revised RFP from Kevin Dwarka regarding the development of a Village-owned parcel (“The Katz Property”) at 41-51 Maple Street.  Dr. Dwarka has revised his original RFP based on the report of the Municipal Place Task Force.  The Board will review it.  The return date for RFPs for this property would be set for November 4, 2020.


5. Review request from Cynthia Lippolis and the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce to host the annual scarecrow contest.
  
The contest would occur during the month of October and be open to individuals, families and groups.

Featured

VOTING OPTIONS: Vote Early, on Election Day or by Mail

This is the most critical elections of our lifetime, and every vote counts. 

THIS YEAR, WE HAVE THREE OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM TO VOTE:
1) Vote on Election Day, Tuesday November 3rd, anytime from 6AM to 9PM. You must vote at your assigned polling site. Click here to find your polling place as it may have changed from previous years.

2) Vote by Mail through an Absentee Ballot. You can request your Absentee Ballot ONLINE through a webform through Tuesday, October 27th. Click here to request your Absentee Ballot.

  • You can request one in person through Monday, November 2nd at the Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601. Completed Absentee Ballots must be postmarked or handed in no later than Tuesday, November 3.
  • Absentee Ballots may be returned by mail, dropped off at any open Early Voting or Election Day polling location, or delivered in person to the Westchester County Board of Elections in White Plains.

3) Vote Early at an Early Voting polling site from Saturday, October 24th through Sunday, November 1st. Any registered voter can go vote early at any one of the 17 Early Voting polling sites, and the process for early voting is exactly the same as voting on Election Day. Polling sites also tend to be much less crowded.

Early Voting Times:

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 29, 2020 – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday, October 30, 2020 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 31, 2020 – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ***except Mt. Kisco Memorial Complex – Special Hours due to Halloween event: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 1, 2020 – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Early Voting Locations:
Voters can go to *any* Early Voting polling site to vote early! 

  • Peekskill Nutrition Center, Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Avenue, Peekskill, NY 10566
  • Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, 95 Broadway, Ossining, NY 10562
  • Yorktown Cultural Center, 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
  • Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601
  • Dobbs Ferry Village Hall, 112 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
  • Eastchester Public Library, 11 Oakridge Place, Eastchester, NY 10709
  • Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, White Plains, NY 10607
  • Veterans Memorial Building, 210 Halstead Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528
  • Pound Ridge Town House, 179 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
  • Mamaroneck Town Center, 740 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY 10543
  • Mt. Kisco Memorial Complex at Leonard Park, 1 Wallace Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
  • Mt. Pleasant Community Center, 125 Lozza Drive, Valhalla, NY 10595
  • Mt. Vernon City Hall, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550
  • New Rochelle City Hall Annex, 90 Beaufort Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801
  • Somers Town House, 335 Route 202, Somers, NY 10589
  • Grinton I. Will Library, 1500 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710
  • Riverfront Library, One Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY 10701

Onward,
The Croton Democrats

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 506

Dear neighbor, Here is the 506thinstallment 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 8, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

6:00 pm

(Zoom )

NOTE:  This meeting is on a Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday.

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CORRESPONDENCE:

  1. Memo from Daniel O’Connor, Village Engineer, requesting an extension of three building permits for 120 Scenic Drive West and 10 Newton Court.  Engineer O’Connor has recommended extensions  for these permits which include a house, pool and pool spa structure.
  2. Letters from Michelle Phillips, Secretary to the Public Service Commission, regarding the DPS Investigation into the Utilities’ Preparation and Response to August 2020 Tropical Storm Isaias and Resulting Electric Power Outages.  Ms. Phillips is responding to letters of complaint about both Con Ed preparedness and responsiveness and Altice during the Isaias storm.  Mayor Pugh and Supervisor Puglisi sent a letter to the DPS regarding Con ed and Supervisor Lukas of Lewisboro sent a letter regarding Altice which was signed by several Mayors and Supervisors including Mayor Pugh.
  3. Acknowledge receipt of a special permit application from Hudson National Golf Club to amend their existing special permit to allow for the installation of solar panels on club property.  Hudson National Golf Club has submitted an application to install solar arrays on their property.  Since HNGC already has a Special Permit from the Village, this application would involve an amendment to that permit as well as a subdivision of approximately 15 acres of property for the installation. As proposed, HNGC would use about 40% of the power generated leaving about 60% for community usage.   The Village staff is currently ensuring that the application is complete before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Letter from Waddell Stillman, President of Historic Hudson Valley, regarding the operation of this year’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.  Mr. Stillman outlines the steps taken by HHV to enable the Blaze including reducing ticket sales by 2/3 for each time slot, no tour buses, no food or beverage sales, all tickets are advanced sale, and continuous one-way path through the site among others.

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $1,800 for the purchase of redundant internet service for the Municipal Building and DPW Garage.  The need for this was made clear as a result of the recent Isaias storm which disrupted communications at the Municipal Building and the DPW.  The cost is $200/month.
  2. Consider amending the Master Fee Schedule in regards to Train Station parking.  Permit increases previously set to occur for non-residents on September 1, 2020 and for residents on December 1, 2020, are rescinded.  A fee for cancellation of a permit has been added.
  3. Consider amending the Master Fee Schedule in regards to the new online accident report system.  This would allow residents and insurance companies to request an accident report online after paying the appropriate fee.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2020-21 Water Fund Budget in the amount of $275,000 to reflect the proper chart of account coding.    This is a budget housekeeping matter for the Water Fund.
  5. Acknowledge receipt of a special permit application from Ralph Rossi and Philip Spagnoli for the construction of a multi-residential building at 25 S. Riverside Avenue and consider determining that the Proposed Action is an Unlisted Action under SEQRA, declaring the Village Board’s intent to be Lead Agency under SEQRA, and referring the necessary documents to the Village Planning Board and Village Zoning Board of Appeals as required by law, as well as the New York State Department of Transportation and Westchester County Planning Board.  An application for a Special Permit for a multi-family apartment building has been received by the Village.  This resolution initiates the require processes for any approval including the Board declaring itself Lead Agency for SEQRA and referring it for review to various boards and agencies.  The proposed plan, located at the location of the former Croton Hardware building and an undeveloped lot to its north, calls for 44 units with parking below.
  6. Consider authorizing the selling of alcoholic beverages in Senasqua Park during certain hours and days.   The Village Board would review each such application individually and authorizes such sales on Fridays from 2pm to 8 pm through the end of October. The fees for such a permit would be $130 plus an additional $261 to cover Village overtime costs for gate attendants and a park ranger.