Brian Pugh: Happy Oktoberfest!

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

Last Saturday’s Oktoberfest was an opportunity for neighbors to meet and welcome the arrival of autumn together.  It was also a chance to introduce visitors to our Village. Who knows which guests from the weekend will be inspired to purchase a property, raise a family or establish a business in our community.

I am writing to congratulate the Croton Police Department and the Village’s Dept. of Public Works on ensuring a safe and successful Oktoberfest on Saturday.  Protecting and preparing for hundreds of guests is no small feat and, as usual, our Village workforce did an excellent job.

We thank our sponsors for their generosity and support of this event!: CKO Kickboxing,  Croton Youth Lacrosse, Coldwell Banker. DGA Insurance, Geberth Electric, the Hilpert Law Firm and M&S Custom Builders.

Also noteworthy was the financial contribution and full-day presence of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored an informational booth highlighting its newly re-launched “Croton Business Council’, an innovative program that is rapidly evolving into Croton’s own village-focused, Chamber of Commerce.

Based on my discussions with participants Oktoberfest was profitable for many of our local businesses. Vendors included: 105-Twenty; ASAP Mortgage; Baked by Susan; BHHS Realty; Bias Cut LLC; Birdsall House; Black Rock Kitchen; Campbell Meats; Croton Tapsmith; Cub Scouts; Dam Good English Muffins; Deprez Wines; Donna Baker Photography; Fable Farms; Farmers Touch; Fino; Grandstand; Green Growler; La Bella Sophia; Redline Roadhouse; Second Mouse Cheese Shop; The Dessertist; Touchstone Crystal; Tree Juice Maple Syrup; Zwilling Cooking Studio.  Special thanks to Tracy Shea and Toni Senecal of the Tapsmith for suggesting to the Village Board that our planned for fall festival be located on Grand Street and take the form of Oktoberfest.

This year’s Oktoberfest was the first of its kind in our Village.  It’s strong attendance is a testament to the spirit of the community and the quality of our local businesses.  The successful management of Oktoberfest is a testament to the professionalism of our Village’s professional staff–who also recently assumed responsibility for organizing Summerfest.

Thank you again to all that participated and made this such a great event for our community.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Richard Masur: What’s going on with Piney Point Avenue?

Dear Neighbors:image.png

In the past few weeks, there have been many complaints lodged against Croton’s Village Board, the Mayor, the staff, the Planning Board (PB), as well as the owners of three properties on Piney Point Ave. The physical degradation of the properties in question is plain to see. And the clear-cutting of those fine old trees, in direct violation of the plans that were approved by the PB is most certainly a travesty. However, the explosion of finger pointing and vitriol that we have witnessed in these pages and on various websites does nothing to clarify where the responsibility for this situation lies, or what’s to be done about it.

Screaming at each other in print does not advance the steps necessary to ameliorate and repair the damage done. It seems obvious that it is past time for everyone to take a step back and get clear on what has actually transpired since to date.

A good place to start is with the informative front page story in last week’s Gazette. It clearly laid out what went wrong:

First, the contractor hired by the owners to clear the trees preparatory to other work beginning exceeded the limits that were laid out in the plan that had been submitted and approved by the PB after years of painstaking work. In addition, there was an amount of “steep-slope disturbance” that had not been authorized. The unstable conditions that these actions created on the lots precipitated decisive actions by Village Engineer and the PB.

As the Gazette article laid out, after learning of the unauthorized tree removal, the Village issued a stop work order while the lots were inspected and the damage assessed by the Village Engineer and an outside firm. The Village then issued an amended order so that the owners could temporarily stabilize the hillsides to protect the soil on the lots and the surrounding properties. That was put in motion and has largely been accomplished.

It was also demonstrated that the original approved plan had been ignored and that many trees that had been removed should not have been. Further recommendations and an amended stop work order was issued so that work on certain elements of the original plan could be done. This work will help to permanently stabilize the lots, as well as protecting the surrounding properties.

In addition, the planning Board ordered the owners to create a plan to mitigate the loss of the trees and caused them to pay the cost of a full-time inspector to oversee the work, and to place an additional $20,000 in escrow to ensure that the work will be done. Finally, court appearance tickets will be served on the people involved to appear before the Village court to answer for their violations of the terms of the initial plan and Village code.

As for the multiple claims that the Village Board or staff somehow “allowed” this to happen, that’s just inaccurate. Under long established practice, they are not the parties charged with oversight of construction in our Village. As with most municipalities, the process in the Village code is clear, the Village Engineer, the Planning and Zoning Boards, and other boards of responsibility have been delegated the authority to deal with these issues, not the Village Board or the Mayor. And they are doing so.

It is impossible to preempt all conceivable violations or monitor all activity in the Village at all times. Consequently, the ultimate responsibility here lies with the parties that violated the law. As the reporting in the Gazette has made clear, the Village has responded appropriately and will seek the sanctions allowed under the Village code.

Sincerely

Richard Masur, Chairman

Brian Pugh: Thank you to Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni

TYTIM

Dear Neighbors:

I am writing to thank Westchester County Clerk, Tim Idoni, for dispatching the Mobile Passport Unit to the Village of Croton on September 20th.
At the County Clerk’s Mobile Office, Tim Idoni’s staff assisted residents apply for a United States Passport, including having a photo taken. Over 1,000 applications were processed by the Westchester County Clerk’s mobile office.
More than 30 residents from the Village of Croton took advantage of the opportunity to apply for or renew a US passport during the mobile’s office visit.
If you weren’t able to make it down to the Mobile Passport Unit during its visit to Croton, you can still obtain one from the office of Tim Idoni, Westchester County Clerk. County Passport office hours are Monday – Friday 8am – 4:30pm. If you have any questions call us at (914)995-3086 or email CC-Passports@westchestergov.com.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh
P.S.: I would like to thank the Croton Climate Initiative for helping to organize the 9/10 Climate Plan presentation at the Croton Free Library. I apologize for forgetting to mention the contributions of this dedicated grassroots group in my 9/19/19 letter in these pages.

Brian Pugh: Turn the key, be idle free!

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

 

As we end climate week, I write to remind readers that the Village of Croton’s anti-idling fee will be going into effect on September 29, 2019. Excessive vehicle idling wastes gas, contributes to climate change and contributes to local air pollution

 

Westchester County has an F in air quality from the American Lung Association due to the amount of ozone pollution in the County. Tailpipe emissions are a major contributor to ozone pollution. Everyone can be affected by poor air quality. However, children and those with chronic respiratory problems are the most sensitive to ozone pollution in the air.

Over the past two summers, the Village has sought to encourage compliance with Westchester County’s 2009 anti-idling law by educating the public through e-mail blasts, notices in the Village newsletter and by directing police to issue warnings to drivers caught idling.

At the televised August 12th regular meeting of the Village Board of Trustees, the Board adopted a $35 fine for anyone found to be idling a vehicle in excess of three minutes whenever the air temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Emergency vehicles are exempt from the provisions of the idling law. The full text of the relevant section of the Village Code, § 215-20.1 “Restrictions on idling of motor vehicles”, can be found on the Village’s website.

By adding a fine to our fee schedule, we empower our local police to collect a fine (equivalent to a parking ticket) for violating the County anti-idling law to further protect public health and our environment.

Hopefully, we will all remember to limit our idling and few residents, if any will need to pay the $35. With some consideration, we will all breathe easier.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 463

Decoding Village Agendas –   September 23, 2019ann2016

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised

 

 

 

a.      Update on the residential construction project along Piney Point Avenue.  The Manager will provide an update on the many steps and actions that have been taken since the September 16 Board meeting regarding the construction on two lots on Piney Point Avenue and a lot on Nordica Drive.   Stop Work orders, description of the violations, and plans for addressing the situation are included in the backup documents at :

https://crotononhudson.novusagenda.com/boardweb/Main.aspx

 

b.      Discussion on the recreational kayak program located at the Echo Canoe Launch.  John Clark, owner of the Hudson River Recreation program that operates the kayak rentals at Echo Canoe Launch site on the Croton River, will discuss with the Board his request to renew his contract with the Village which expires in the coming months.

 

c.       Presentation from Provident Design Engineering on the results of the traffic study conducted around the intersection of Grand Street and Old Post Road South. The Village engaged Provident in the Spring to conduct a traffic study of the Upper Village area around the “Dummy Light”. The Study focused on the operation of the intersection for both vehicles and pedestrians, including the potential impacts of different types of intersection traffic control.  This Traffic Impact Study uses standard Traffic Engineering methodology and has been prepared to document the findings and conclusions of the analysis that was undertaken to measure the traffic impacts associated with the existing and future conditions on the roadways.  The report provides 5 concept plans for the intersection which will be discussed by the Board.

d.      Discussion on the various traffic calming measures that have been implemented in the Village and future measures that can be undertaken.   The Board will review the  Bike Pedestrian Committee’s 5-year plan as well  a variety of possible traffic calming devices that might be considered.

Brian Pugh: Community Action Against Climate Change

Dear Neighbors:pugh2016

Last Tuesday, leaders of Bedford 2020, a grassroots community organization dedicated to reducing their town’s greenhouse emissions 20% by 2020, shared their experience with Village of Croton residents at a Green Living event organized by our Village’s Conservation Advisory Council, chaired by Janet Monahan.

I had the honor of discussing the progress Croton-on-Hudson has made promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. In just the last two years, the Village has:

  1. Secured electricity from 100% renewable for residents through Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation program.

  2. Stimulated the installation of dozens of new residential solar power arrays by Village homeowners through another round of the Solarize program.

  3. Added the first electric vehicle to the Village fleet, soon to be joined by a hybrid police car to be paid for by a State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM) grant  secured by Senator Harkham.

  4. Installed EV charging stations, open to the public, at the Municipal Building and at the parking lot for the Croton-Harmon Train Station.

These achievements and many more have been spearheaded by our Village’s Sustainability Committee, chaired by Lindsay Audin.

I appreciated the opportunity offered by the Conservation Advisory Council and Bedford 2020 to join with residents in thinking about what other successful initiatives we can import from other communities. Working collaboratively with residents, the Conservation Advisory Council, the Sustainability Committee and neighboring communities we can continue to build on these foundations to improve our community.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Brian Pugh: Remembering our first-responders on 9/11

Dear Neighbors:

This week we remember the 18th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history. We should never forget the individuals who did not make it home that day and the thousands more who have perished due to 9/11 related illnesses in recent years.

The heroic actions of first-responders that day and every day are truly inspiring.  Few of the firefighters, police or ambulance crews could have imagined the full extent of the disaster that they would be responding to that day. They heard the call and they answered it.

Our local law enforcement and first-responders, whether volunteer or professional, are the same.  They too stand at the ready to answer the call, no matter how grave.

As Mayor, I firmly believe we need to give our first-responders the tools and training they need to face contemporary threats to public safety.  The Board of Trustees, the Village administration and I will work continuously to give those protecting our community the support they deserve.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Brian Pugh: Look for the Union Label!

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

This week we celebrated the Labor Day holiday, a day where families can enjoy the summer and reflect on the benefits secured by organized workers for all Americans. At the bargaining table and the ballot box, the labor movement helped secure rights many now take for granted.
That’s why I’m proud to have earned the support of the labor movement as I campaign for a second term as mayor of our Village.
This year, I’ve been endorsed by the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body, AFL-CIO, which is comprised of affiliates from the American Federation of Musicians to Utility Workers Union of America, and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester-Putnam, which represents more than two dozen construction unions. The Working Families Party, a party founded by a grassroots coalition of community organizations and union activists, has also placed my name on their ballot line for the November election.
I am humbled and honored to receive these affirmations from these representatives of workers in our community. I appreciate this recognition of my commitment to ensuring that working families have ample opportunities in the Village of Croton for good jobs, affordable homes and a healthy environment.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh, Mayor

Rick Olver: There they go again!

Image result for "rick olver" crotonSigh, Croton United is at it again – no candidates, no proposals, just accusations based on…..made-up stuff.  Last week a letter in the Gazette claimed that on climate change the “only near-term actions being taken in Croton” by the Board “are ones which will make matters worse”.  The basis for this wild claim?  The writer says our Board has proposed “rezoning to increase apartment density in the very area which is going to be most impacted by the rising waters.”   The facts?  There is no Board proposal.
What the Board is actually doing on climate change covers many initiatives, including a growing array of measures to promote energy savings and efficiency, and to increase the use of renewables.  And we are constantly examining more steps we can and should take.
Rick Olver, Village Trustee

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 460

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 460th 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 3, 2019

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)

 

 

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

 

 

CORRECSPONDENCE:

  1. Email from Toni Senecal Shea, owner of the Croton Tapsmith, requesting use of one parking space on September 8th and every Sunday thereafter to park a pizza oven truck.  Ms. Senecal would like to make this a weekly event which she feels would bring more visibility to the Upper Village area.
  2. Letter from John Petronella, Acting Regional Director of the NYS DEC, regarding state efforts at the Croton River Gorge Unique Area. Mr.Petronella responds to a letter from Manager Janine King regarding steps the Croton River Task Force would like the DEC to take regarding the Unique Area on the Croton River.  He outlines steps the DEC is taking and acknowledges that further steps are likely needed in the future.  He states that the DEC defers to the County Dept. of Health in the matter of water testing.   Results of the testing done by the Village are included in the backup.  The most recent test on August 26  returned results that fall in the normal range.
  3. Email from John Munson, Fire Council Secretary, regarding membership changes in the Croton Fire Department.  Mr. Munson informs the Board of the addition of two Active members and a change of one active member to social membership.

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider awarding Bid #4-2019 for concrete curbing at various locations to Con-Tech Construction Technology Inc. of Carmel, New York, in the amount of $297,500.  Curb replacements are needed at various locations prior to schedule re-surfacing of the roads.  New curbs will also be needed as part of the redevelopment of the station parking lot where the former garage was located.  Three bids were received.
  2. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign a contract addendum with Onsolve, LLC (dba Code Red) to add foreign language translation to existing services at a cost of $150 per year.  Onsolve LLC provides the Village with its emergency notification services. This is a new feature offered by Onsolve that was not included in the 2019/2020 Budget.
  3. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2019-20 General Fund Budget in the amount of $39,351 for monies received from Con Edison to resurface roadways.  Con Ed recently did work in the area of Nordica and Truesdale which required restoration of the pavement.  In lieu of Con Ed performing the work, the Village is accepting payment from Con Ed for the restoration work.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $74,000 to account for the premium received from the 2018 series bond.  The premium is being allocated to various Capital accounts.

 

OTHER: Consider a request from the Village Manager to hold an executive session to discuss matters of real property.