Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 486

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 486th 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 –   March 30, 2020

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 

NOTE:  Please note that the meeting will not be conducted at the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom (see information below) and will also be available on the Village Facebook page.

Join Zoom Meeting via Computer or Tablet

https://zoom.us/j/7045884035

 

Join Zoom Meeting by Phone:

        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Meeting ID: 704 588 4035

 

  1. Consider adoption of a resolution to exempt emergency responders from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.    This would ensure that our first responders remain available during the current crisis.

 

  1. Review of Proposed Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Link to Proposed Budget for FY 2020-21

The Village Manager has REVISED THE Manager’s Budget message.  When it was written, the Covid-19 situation had not yet developed.  It’s impacts on the proposed budget are reflected in Manager King’s revised budget statement which now calls for an increase of $39,165.33 over the allowable Tax Levy limit.  The resulting tax rate increase would be 3.62% as opposed to the earlier projection of 0.27%

 

  1. Review of Proposed Fee Schedule for Fiscal Year 2020-21.  All of the Village Department fees are encompassed in a single Master Schedule.  The proposed budget includes small increases to fees for Silver Lake,, commercial sanitation collection, Planning Board application fees, monthly parking permit and a new Street Closing fee.

Link to Proposed Budget for FY 2020-21 

 

ReplyReply allForward

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 485

Dear neighbor, Here is the 485th 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 –   March 25, 2020

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 

NOTE:  Please note that the meeting will not be conducted at the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom (see information below) and will also be available on the Village Facebook page.

Join Zoom Meeting via Computer or Tablet

https://zoom.us/j/7045884035

 

Join Zoom Meeting by Phone:

        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Meeting ID: 704 588 4035

 

  1. Review of Proposed Fire Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Link to Proposed Budget

Fire Department includes the following expense accounts: A3410

 

  1. Review of Proposed EMS Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Link to Proposed Budget

EMS Department includes the following expense account: A4540

  1. Review of Proposed Police Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Link to Proposed Budget

Police Department includes the following expense accounts: A3120, A3150, A3189

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 484

Dear neighbor, Here is the 484th 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 –   March 23, 2020

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 

NOTE:  Please note that the meeting will not be conducted at the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom (see information below) and will also be available on the Village Facebook page.

Join Zoom Meeting via Computer or Tablet

https://zoom.us/j/7045884035

 

Join Zoom Meeting by Phone:

        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Meeting ID: 704 588 4035

 

  1. Update from Westchester County George Latimer on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  2. Overview of the Tentative 2020-2021 Village Budget by Village Manager Janine King.
  3. Review of Proposed Recreation Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Recreation Department includes the following expense accounts: A7020, A7140, A7180, A7310, A7610

  1. Review of Proposed Department of Public Works and Water Department Budgets for Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Department of Public Works includes the following expense accounts: A1620, A1640, A3310, A3510, A5010, A5110, A5140, A5142, A5182, A7110, A7550, A8090, A8140, A8160, A8170, A8510, A8560

Water Fund includes the following expense accounts: F1320, F1650, F8310, F8320, F8340

Sewer Fund includes the following expense accounts: G1320, G1650, G8120

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 483

Dear neighbor, Here is the 483rd 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 – March 16, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Televised)

 

 

NOTE:  Pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order #202-1 dated March 12, 2020 no members of the public will be allowed to attend Village Board of Trustee Meetings until further notice.  The Public can view the meetings live and on demand on the Village website and Channel 78.  If you wish to submit a public comment for the meeting, please go to the Village website homepage and click on send-us-comments  under Webforms.

 

 

PRESENTATIONS/OTHER: 

Presentation by Norma Drummond, Westchester County Planning Commissioner, on the Westchester County Housing Needs Assessment Study.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

  1. Email from Quinn Simmons, senior at Croton-Harmon High School, regarding the Take Back the Night march and rally scheduled for April 24th. 
  2. Letter from Daniel Boglioli, Treasurer of the Croton Caring Committee, acknowledging the Village’s contribution to the committee, and the February 2020 Croton Caring Committee Newsletter.  The Caring Committee thanks the Village and looks forward to continuing its relationship in the future.
  3. Letter from Dan Lambe, President of Tree City USA, acknowledging Croton’s status as a 2019 Tree City USA.   The letter is not included in the backup materials.
  4. Letter from Kelly Turturro, Regional Director of the NYS DEC, regarding the stewardship program at the Croton River Gorge Unique Area.   Ms. Turturro states that its is the intent of the NYSDEC to work with the NY-NJ Trail conference to provide a Steward program for the Croton Unique Area in 2020.  They will provide 50% or up to $18,000 for the program.

 

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of application from Victor Conte, owner of 34 Brook Street, requesting a change of use from office to residential and refer such application to the Planning Board for review.  Mr. Conte is proposing to go from an existing non-conforming use to another non-conforming use.  This requires a special permit from the Village Board.   It is being referred for comments to the Planning Board.
  2. Consider scheduling a Public Hearing on the adoption of the 2020-2021 Tentative Village Budget for Monday, April 6, at 8 PM in the Georgianna Grant Meeting Room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building.   The Village Board is required to hold a Public Hearing on the proposed Tentative Budget for fiscal year 2020-2021.  The Tentative Budget will be released on Friday, March 20.
  3. Consider scheduling a Public Hearing on April 6, 2020 to consider Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2020, repealing the prior tax cap override in Local Law 2 of 2020, at 8 PM in the Georgianna Grant Meeting Room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building.   The Board previously adopted a Property Tax Override resolution to avoid penalties in the event the proposed property tax would exceed the NYS Tax Levy Cap.  This is not anticipated so the override resolution must be rescinded before the 2020-2021 budget can be adopted.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign a revised project agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation to providing matching funds for the Croton Point Avenue Traffic, Pedestrian, and Bicycle Improvement Project in the amount of $1,000,000.  The Board would resolve to move ahead with the project, accept the NYSDOT amount of $1 million for the project, and authorize the Village Manager to complete all necessary agreements.
  5. Consider adoption of a resolution affirming various practices and policies of the Village in relation to its Climate Smart Communities (CSC) submission.  In seeking to be certified as a NYS Climate Smart Community, the Board must reaffirm certain documents and studies previously performed  such as 2009 and 2018 Greenhouse Gas Emission  Municipal Inventory, 2012 and 2019  government operations Climate Action Plan, and authorize a 20-day comment period on these plans.  The Village also resolves to reduce its Greenhouse Gas Municipal emissions 20% between 2010 and end of 2025 and reduce community Greenhouse Gas emissions by 10% between 2010 and 2030.
  6. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to accept the proposal from Provident Design Engineering of Hawthorne, New York, for intersection traffic control design at Grand Street and Old Post Road South in the amount of $14,250.  Following a work session discussion on possible improvements to this intersection, the resolution endorses the recommendation of the Bicycle Pedestrian Committee’s recommendation for a design that implements an all-way stop and awards Provident the contract for its implementation.
  7. Consider awarding Bid #1-2020 for water infrastructure improvements to Michels Pipe Services in the amount of $1,224,666.  As part of its ongoing efforts to improve and update the Village’s aging water infrastructure, bids were requested for improvements along Cleveland drive and Old Post Road.  Two bids were received and the Village Engineer has recommended that the project be awarded to the low bidder, Michels Pipe.  They are the new owners of the former Heitkamp company that previously successfully performed all the water main relining in the village.

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agenda No. 482

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 482nd 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 – March 9, 2020

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 000 p.m.

(Open to Public and Televised

NOTE: The meeting will start at 7:00 pm with an Executive Session. Regular business will begin at 7:30pm.

a. The Board will enter into executive session to discuss the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation, as well as the proposed sale of the Village-owned Hollis Lane property.

b. Further review of the traffic study conducted around the intersection of Grand Street and Old Post Road South. The Board will review the recommendations from the traffic control study performed for the Grand Street, Old Post Road South intersection. At a prior work session discussion, board members indicated they would like more time to review the options.

c. Discussion on utilizing banners and signage to help screen the Municipal Place DPW site. The Board will look at, and discuss, some possible banners or billboards that might be located at the corner of Municipal Place and South Riverside Ave. They would be Croton-oriented and depending on design, could provide information on the Village and events.

d. Discussion with members of the Advisory Board for the Visual Environment on their role and responsibilities. Members of the VEB will present their ideas on this matter and how best they can accomplish it.

e. Further discussion on the recreational kayak program at Echo Canoe Launch. The owner of the kayak rental concession at Echo Canoe Launch, John Clark, is asking for reconsideration by the Board of a one-year contract for his rental program. He has devised a way of identifying his equipment and customers as a means of better monitoring where possible problems may be coming from. As well, Mr. Clark believes that his employees’ presence at the site provides a form of stewardship and oversight.

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 481

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 481st 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 – March 2, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)

 

PRESENTATIONS/OTHER: 

 

  1. Presentation by Anthony Scarpino, Westchester County District Attorney, on recent initiatives, including hate crimes and school safety.

  1. Presentation by Village Attorney Linda Whitehead on current zoning regulations in the C-1 and C-2 zoning districts and the new proposed zoning regulations in the North Riverside Avenue Neighborhood and Municipal Place Gateway.

 

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

 

  1. Consider adoption of a Negative Declaration for SEQRA purposes in regards to Local Law Introductory No. 9 of 2019 and Local Law Introductory No. 10 of 2019 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, with regards to the Municipal Place Gateway and North Riverside Avenue neighborhood.  At its previous meeting on February 18, 2020, the Board of Trustees reviewed the State’s Environmental Review documents for the proposed Local Laws 9 and 10 regarding zoning amendments in the Municipal Place Gateway and the North Riverside Ave. As required, it evaluated changes from existing zoning in the proposed regulations.  There are no physical projects or changes proposed. This resolution reflects the decisions made by the Board during that review.
  2. Consider adoption of a finding of consistency with the Village’s LWRP in regards to Local Law Introductory No. 9 of 2019 and Local Law Introductory No. 10 of 2019 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, with regards to the Municipal Place Gateway and North Riverside Avenue neighborhood.  At its February 18, 2020 meeting the Board did its required review of the consistency of proposed zoning amendments with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).  This resolution reflects the discussion and decisions made at that review.
  3. Consider adoption of Local Law Introductory No. 9 of 2019 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, with regards to the Municipal Place Gateway.  The zoning amendment affecting the Municipal Place Gateway Overlay zone was begun in Fall 2018 and has been the subject of several public input sessions/workshops and Public Hearings.  It permits 3-story buildings at the same height restriction as currently exists, sets a Floor Area Ratio of .5 for the “Village-owned “Katz” property, would allow all residential as well as  mixed use, requires setbacks and protections for neighboring properties in that location as well as public park space.
  4. Consider adoption of Local Law Introductory No. 10 of 2019 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, with regards to the North Riverside Avenue neighborhood.  The proposed zoning amendment was an outcome of the Zoning Study begun in late 2018.  This amendment to the code reinforces the existing neighborhood character by introducing two new zoning districts – core commercial and transitional areas.  Existing residential buildings in commercially zoned areas would be rezoned to RB.  Additionally, the Floor Area Ratio in the area is reduced from 2.0 to .8
  5. Consider adoption of the Municipal Place and North Riverside Neighborhood Zoning Study as an amendment to the Village’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan.    The Zoning Study that began in 2018 was to examine how the areas in the study could be   brought into compliance with the goals of the adopted Comprehensive Plan.  The study identified specifics for implementing these goals within the framework of the Plan.  If adopted, the  zoning study will become an addendum to the adopted Comprehensive Plan.
  6. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2019-2020 General Fund Budget in the amount of $4,200 for monies received for insurance recovery.  The insurance recovery is related to a damaged sign along Route 129.
  7. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2019-2020 General Fund Budget in the amount of $5,000 for monies received for public access television.  As part of the Village’s agreement with Cablevision, the Village is to receive $50000 for public access television.
  8. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $1,370 to purchase speed limit signs for Oneida Avenue and Benedict Boulevard. The Board of Trustees recently agreed to reduce the speed limit  on these streets to 25 mph.  New speed signs are needed which were not included in this year’s budget.  The funds will be moved from the Contingency Fund.
  9. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $18,000 for costs related to the purchase of two new electric hybrid police vehicles.  These hybrid police vehicles were authorized in the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 budgets.  The additional costs for light bars, car cage, lap tops and printers in each will be transferred from the Contingency account.
  10. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend purchase order 2000262 payable to Con-Tech Construction Technology Inc. of Carmel, New York, in the amount of $47,000.   This reduction is due to the Village doing less curb work this year.
  11. Consider amending Resolution 140-2019 in regards to the funding allocation for the Village’s 2019 resurfacing program.  This resolution revises the sources of funding for the resurfacing program due to an increase in funding from the CHIPS program.
  12. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign Change Order 2 with Hendrickson Fire Rescue Equipment of Islandia, New York, for changes made to the design of the 2018 Triple Combination Pumper, in the amount of $1,326.17.  The original bid was awarded in 12/2018 for $829,885.  Since then change orders have resulted in credits totaling $6,483.83.
  13. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign an Inter-Municipal Agreement with the City of Peekskill, Towns of Cortlandt and Philipstown and the Village of Buchanan providing for the sharing of equipment and vehicles for the period of January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.  The existing agreement would be extended for a year.  It allows the sharing municipalities to save money by not having to purchase pieces of equipment that are not utilized full time by any of them.
  14. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign an Inter-Municipal Agreement with the Town of Cortlandt providing for the advertisement of bids by the Town’s Purchasing Director for the period of January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.  This would extend the existing agreement for another year.  It allows the Village to use the Towns purchasing agreements for the purchase of various supplies.
  15. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to publish the list of unpaid taxes for the fiscal year 2019-20.  The list is published annually and totals $84,257.58 including penalty fees.  The amounts will be added as  liens on the individual property taxes.

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 480

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 480th 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 – February 18, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)

 

NOTE:  This meeting is on Tuesday due to Presidents’ Day

PRESENTATIONS/OTHER: 

Review of the Environment Assessment Form Part II and the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies by the Village Board to determine consistency related to Local Law Introductory No. 9 of 2019 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, with regards to the Municipal Place Gateway area. 

 

Review of the Environment Assessment Form Part II and the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies by the Village Board to determine consistency related to  Local Law Introductory No. 10 of 2019 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, with regards to the North Riverside Avenue neighborhood.

As part of the State Environmental Review (SEQRA) process, the Village Board must complete Part 2 of the Environmental Assessment Form EAF).  Likewise, as the Village has a Waterfront Revitalization Plan under the NYS and federal Coastal Zone Management Act, the Board must also fill out a coastal assessment form to attest to consistency of these zoning actions with our local and state plan.  Each form has multiple questions to be filled in or answered.  The Board members will go over all these questions at the meeting.  The resulting document would be voted on at a subsequent meeting.

 

CORRESPONENCE:

  1. Letter from the Village of Haverstraw Board of Trustees, pursuant to SEQRA, regarding the proposed Admirals Cove Waterfront Development at 2 Doctor Girling Drive in Haverstraw.   A proposed waterfront development in Haverstraw of 251 housing units in 4, four and 5 story buildings, is undergoing SEQRA review.  The Village of Croton has been identified as an “interested party” under SEQRA because of our location opposite on the Hudson River. As a result we have received notice of the availability of the SEQRA impact statement for the project.   As an “interested party” we can request current and future documentation of the project.
  2. Croton Yacht Club Annual Calendar of Events and Fee Schedule  As part of their lease agreement with the Village, the Croton Yacht Club supplies this information to the Village annually.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider amending the Master Fee Schedule in regards to day camp fees for the 2020 season.   The Recreation Department is proposing an increase in day camp fees for the summer of 2020.  A small discount is available for signups before 6/1/2020.  The sessions are two week sessions.  Second and third children in a family also have discounted rates.
  2. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps. to provide advanced life support service to the Village for the period beginning June 1, 2020, until May 31, 2023.  The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps (OVAC) has provided this advanced support service to Croton since 1996.  The Croton EMS provides Basic, but not Advanced, life support.  The three-year agreement starts at $132,600 in the first year and is $143,420 in the third and final year.
  3. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement for EMT services with the Mid-Hudson Ambulance District for the period beginning June 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021.  Croton’s EMS has need for supplemental services of a trained EMT – emergency medical technician.  The Village has contracted for this service since 2011.  The proposed renewal contract calls for a rate of $24/hour in the first year.  The contract is renewable on an annual basis for three years.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2019-2020 General Fund Budget in the amount of $66,631.92 for monies received from Historic Hudson Valley, Clearwater Festival and Temple Israel of Northern Westchester to cover police overtime work.  These three organizations have utilized Croton Police services for safety and traffic reasons at their various events.  These costs are paid for by these organizations.  This reflects the disposition of the proceeds in the General Fund budget.
  5. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2019-2020 General Fund Budget in the amount of $1,708.95 for monies received for insurance recovery.  This is money received as a result of a damaged street light.
  6. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with Lynstaar Engineering of White Plains, New York, for pre-bid design development and construction document work in regards to security design consultation services for the police department renovation project in the amount of $18,080.   This contract is part of a previously authorized bond.
  7. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute a no-cost time extension agreement with the New York State Dept. of Transportation for the Croton Point Avenue Traffic, Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project.  Croton’s agreement with the NYSDOT to complete the Croton Point Avenue Improvement project was initiated in 2010.  The time extension was agreed to in 2015 and expires in March 2020.  The NYSDOT has agreed to a further time extension to December 2022.
  8. Consider awarding Bid #6-2019 for the Croton Point Avenue Traffic, Pedestrian & Bicycle Improvement Project to Paladino Concrete Creations Corp. of Mount Vernon, New York, in the amount of $3,800,074.50.  This project was bid in November 2019.  Three bids were received.  Frank Balbi, DPW Superintendent, has reviewed the bids and recommends that Paladino be awarded the project.
  9. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an Inter-Municipal Agreement with the Town of Cortlandt to provide Emergency Medical Services within the Mount Airy/Quaker Bridge Fire District during the period of January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 for the amount of $66,043.   Due to its location, this area of the Town is best served by the Village of Croton’s EMS services.  This is an annual agreement between the Town and Village.

John Habib: Keeping Croton Beautiful

JLH-photo-2Dear Neighbors:

Question: “Why did the Village Board recently amend local law §197-8, issued decades ago to restrict signs placed in public rights-of-way areas?” Answer: The Board was responding to residents’ complaints about the increase in commercial signs scattered across Village-maintained areas, and amended the law because legal counsel opined that the existing law was unenforceable due to its ambiguous, outdated language. The revisions to the law were necessary for Village residents to have the benefit of a clear, constitutionally compliant law to govern any future signage enforcement actions.

To Be Clear: Posting signs on PRIVATE property is governed by broad First Amendment free speech protections. The Village government supports that private right, provided the speech is within guidelines set forth by court cases interpreting the right (e.g., prohibitions against defamatory speech, calls for violent conduct, etc.). Any law restricting signage in public right-of-way areas must be content neutral or it would be unconstitutional. Consequently, the new Village law applies to all signs in public right-of-way areas, including election-related signs.

Allowing taxpayer-maintained right-of-way areas to promote a private business or a political candidate’s career is unwise. Such signs are not just eye-sores, but they can dangerously distract drivers. And in the Green Era we now live in, such signs are too often single use plastic junk items, inevitably headed to our overflowing landfills. Bans of such signs are being enforced now more than ever, not just by small towns and villages but even by states as well. (e.g.: https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Vermont-to-crack-down-on-illegal-sign-placement-508961681.html

This amendment has nothing to do with suppressing political signage on private property. As a person who has run for elected office, I have read many experts’ conclusions that political signs planted anywhere are embarrassingly ineffective tools for garnering votes (e.g.: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/29/sorry-campaign-managers-lawn-signs-are-only-98-3-percent-useless/). Candidates must devise modern, impactful, environmentally sensitive campaigns filled with door-knocking, attending public hearings, volunteering for key village government committees, phone-banking, e-mail/text messaging and standing outside of railroad stations with leaflets (later collected to recycle and avoid littering). I engaged in all of these activities in the 2019 election. I shall never plant another sign (political or commercial) on public property in my life.

We must be sensitive to some local non-profit groups’ concerns that events cannot be well-promoted in light of the new restriction. But charitable organizations can and should be high profile role models for eliminating wasteful, antiquated advertising on public property. Embracing face-to-face event communication strategies (such as those mentioned above) would be a great start. And given our digital era, free/low cost communication options abound, such as the savvy use of texting and e-mail campaign software applications. In addition, organizations are invited to contact the Village for potentially posting their events on the Village calendar: (https://www.crotononhudson-ny.gov/calendar/month/2020-02).

Maximizing communication to residents must be a top goal of all governments, and so this amendment will not be enforced over-night. Prior to issuing any citations, Village officials will do their best to raise awareness that the law now is in effect.

Let’s move together as a tightly connected community embracing new standards for communication – and let’s dump public right-of-way signage onto the trash heap of history.

John Habib, Trustee

Rick Olver: We all want to keep Croton a place where middle income people can afford to live

olver2We all want to keep Croton a place where middle income people can afford to live and small businesses thrive. So why do we need to change the zoning of North Riverside and Municipal Place? To make it easier to create buildings with a mix of moderate priced housing and small business. A mix of the two can make economic sense these days. One or the other alone, not so much.

Richard Olver, Former Trustee

Brian Pugh: Eaglefest Shows What We Can Accomplish When We Work Together

Dear Neighbors:pugh2016

Last Saturday’s Eaglefest impressively produced annually by Teatown Lake Reservation is a celebration of what we can accomplish together when we preserve our common home. Teatown, Westchester County Parks and all the events sponsors deserve our thanks for showcasing the triumphant return of the Bald Eagle to the Hudson River Valley and the other creatures great & small that support our local ecosystem.

A generation ago, the bald eagle was on the verge of extinction and this great river was awash with pollution. But thanks to the concerted efforts of conservationists and concerned citizens, the eagle has coming soaring back.

Today, we are faced with many environmental challenges from the climate crisis to plastic pollution. We should all take inspiration from Teatown’s example of how we can make a difference by working together.

Despite the federal administration’s rollback of automobile efficiency standards, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and opening of national forests and national monuments to mining, logging and drilling, progress is being made on the state and local level.

On March 1, the plastic bag ban adopted by New York State will take effect. NY Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address, proposed the “Restore Mother Nature Bond Act”, a $3 Billion . Bond issue subject to the approval of NYS voters, for habitat restoration.

Earlier this month, Westchester County Executive George Latimer introduced legislation to the Board of Legislators that would require electric charging stations at parking garages and open parking lots owned by the County and announced that the County was awarded $3 million from New York State toward the procurement of clean fuel hybrid-electric buses.

In the last two years, the Board of Trustees for the Village of Croton, with the support of our professional staff and the volunteers of the Sustainability Committee, have:

  1. Added the first Electric Vehicles (EV) to the Village’s fleet with more EV and hybrid vehicles included in our capital plan.
  2. Applied for and been awarded a NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation grant for a food waste recycling pilot program.
  3. Approved the first community solar array in the Village of Croton, to be installed at the new DPW building.
  4. Installed public EV charging stations at the train station and at the Municipal Building.
  5. Obtained electricity from 100% renewable energy sources for all Croton households through Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Program.
  6. Relaunched the Solarize program, securing discounted solar energy systems for dozens of residents.

Many of these initiatives would not have been possible without financial and regulatory support from New York State. Similarly, many of the state’s environmental programs couldn’t succeed without local implementation and coordination. I appreciate what my colleagues in government at all levels are doing to make for a more sustainable future and look forward to continuing this progress regardless of which way the political winds from Washington blow.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor