Richard Masur: When Ex-Trustees Attack

Dear Neighbors,Richard Masur Picture

 

I want to start by acknowledging that Mr. Joel Gingold did an admirable job in his letter published in the Gazette two weeks ago.  He made what I thought were thoughtful and reasonable suggestions to the Village Board about how to avoid potential problems with possible zoning plan changes being studied by the Village.  Even though I believe that most of the things Mr. Gingold suggested were already being done, his suggestions seemed to be constructive.

 

Last week Mr. Bob Anderson added his voice to the conversation by posing a list of “10 questions for the Croton Board of Trustees regarding rezoning”.  The questions in and of themselves were potentially productive. However, there are some things that suggest that may not be the case.

 

Mr. Anderson starts from the premise that a current draft proposal exists.  That is just not true. As Mr. Paul Doyle, the Chair of the working group conducting the current Zoning Study made clear in last week’s Gazette, the working group is still in the process of considering possible zoning changes in the Municipal Place Gateway and North Riverside areas.  Mr. Doyle further made clear that this process is far from complete. And he forthrightly stated that the decisions about what recommendations the working group will be making to the Board will take into account many factors, including the Comprehensive Plan.  

 

In fact, the Zoning Study grew directly out of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, which is a legal document adopted by the Village while Mr. Anderson was serving on the Board as Deputy Mayor.  What he voted to approve included the following: “Adapting housing, transit, recreation and buildings and public spaces 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 provide the services and quality of life that will attract and retain the new Village immigrants and younger workforce needed to replace a labor force that is shrinking as the population ages.”

 

According to NY State law, once a Comprehensive Plan is adopted, all land use regulations must be in accordance with it. In other words, the working group has no option but to take the Comprehensive Plan into account when developing their recommendations about zoning in the Village. 

 

This raises the question – What did Mr. Anderson and his colleagues on the Board think they were voting for when they approved the adoption of the Plan?  It also raises the question (given his intimate knowledge of the Comprehensive Plan) of why a former Deputy Mayor wouldn’t understand that each of the questions included on his list would already be part of the Zoning Study, and will certainly be taken into account in developing the work group’s recommendations and the Village Board’s eventual rezoning decisions.  

 

But before that happens, as we can assume Mr. Anderson must already know, the work group has more work to do.  And before the Board takes any action, it will certainly solicit much more public discussion and input.  

 

If Mr. Anderson’s questions were published in an effort to further that process, then I for one, think they are productive.  If, on the other hand, they are an effort to simply raise provocative issues which Mr. Anderson should know have no clear answers at this time, then I for one think they are decidedly unproductive.

 

Richard Masur

Chair, Croton Democratic Committee

 

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Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 454

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 454th 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 – June 17, 2019

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)

 

 

 

PRESENTATION/OTHER:

  1. Presentation by Mario Garcia, U.S. Census Partnership Specialist, on the 2020 Census.   The Village formed a Census Count committee about a year ago at the behest of the Census Bureau which requested all municipalities to do so.    Mr. Garcia will report on the activities that local groups will be undertaking to ensure a complete count in the 2020 Census.
  2. The Village Board will consider a motion to enter into an executive session to discuss a personnel matter related to a particular individual.  If the motion is passed an executive session will be held.

 

PUBLIC HEARING:

  1. Public Hearing to consider the expansion of the special permit for Happy Hearts Take Two, located at 365 South Riverside Avenue.    The Board will hear comments on the application for the special use permit expansion.  The proposed expansion is for ten additional classrooms at their existing location.  The automotive use will be eliminated.

 

CORRECSPONDENCE:

  1. Letter from Toni Senecal Shea, owner of the Croton Tapsmith, requesting use of one parking space in front of their establishment for a monthly pizza trailer event.  Based on their Summerfest experience, Tapsmith would like to have a pizza popup on the first Sunday of each month using a trailer in front of the store.  This requires approval of use of this parking space by the Board.
  2. Request from Daniel O’Connor, Village Engineer, for a building permit extension at 10 Newton Court.  The contractor has requested an extension for 6 months.  The Village Engineer approves it being granted.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute a contract for EMT services with the Mid-Hudson Ambulance District for a period of one year from June 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020.  The Village has been contracting with Mid-Hudson for supplemental EMT services since 2011.  The hourly rate is $23/hour.
  2. Consider scheduling a Public Hearing to amend Chapter 197 of the Village Code, Streets and Sidewalks, to prohibit signage in the Village’s right-of-way for Monday, July 1, 2019, at 8 PM in the Georgianna Grant Meeting Room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building.  The proposed amended law would clarify the Village’s signage prohibitions in public areas.  This resolution calls for a public hearing on it.
  3. Consider adoption of the Village’s Social Media and Email Blast Policy.  The Board has been considering aspects of such a policy over several work sessions. The intent is to  set parameters for the implementation and use of social media, such as Facebook, and public email blasts for the dissemination of official Village information and as a means of assisting not-for-profits and other organizations in the Village.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign Change Order A with Hendrickson Fire Rescue Equipment of Islandia, New York, for changes made to the design of the 2018 Triple Combination Pumper, for a credit amount of $5,391.00.  This is a reduction in the total cost anticipated for Engine 118.
  5. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign a five-year lease agreement with Fleetwood Finance Leasing, LLC, of Cranford, New Jersey, for the use of a voice recorder for the police telephone lines in the amount of $35,680.  Due to its aging recording equipment, the Police Dept. has requested replace equipment. Leasing appears to be the best financial option for replacing and updating the equipment which is necessary for recording incoming and placing out going conversations.
  6. Consider authorizing the inclusion of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson in the North Westchester WQIP Consortium and the grant application for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Mapping.  This resolution would allow the Village to join other Towns  and Villages in Northern Westchester in applying for a new DEC grant that would result in storm sewer mapping across the entire area.  The other participants in this application are the Towns of Bedford, Cortlandt, Lewisboro, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Somers, Yorktown and the Villages of Buchanan and Croton-on-Hudson.
  7. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute a stipulation of agreement with the Croton Police Association.  The Village Manager needs authorization to enter into an agreement with the Police Association.
  8. Consider approving the proposal from Ecogy Energy to install a solar array on the roof of the DPW Garage at 435 Yorktown Road for the purpose of community solar.  The proposal would provide about 250 kW of solar panels on the DPW roof which would first undergo a repair.  The result would be $754,899 in lease payments to the Village over 27 years with no out-of-pocket costs.  It would provide discounted power to Croton residents under community solar.  The Village’s Sustainability Committee, after evaluating some 20 companies sent RFP’s to 8 and ultimately received 2 proposals of which Ecogy Energy was selected.  This resolution directs the Village Manager to develop a lease agreement with Ecogy which will require subsequent approval by the Board.
  9. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to sign the proposal from RPL Architects of Toronto, Canada, in the amount of $6,000 for design and layout services during the schematic design of the renovations for the Police Department.  RPL would provide architectural design input for areas that are police specialty requirements.  They would be working with Peter Gisolfi Associates on the overall schematic design of a Police Dept. renovation.
  10. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to extend the tree trimming and removal services contract to Golden’s Tree Service of Montrose, New York, at the rate of $1,605.60 per day, for a total of $48,168.00, for the period beginning June 1, 2019, until May 31, 2020.  This is an extension of one year, at the existing rates, of Village’s contract with Golden’s Tree Service.
  11. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to extend the contract for welding services with Santella Welding at the rate of $94/hour for the welder and $89/hour for the welder’s helper, for a total of $25,620, for the period beginning December 5, 2018 until December 5, 2019.  This is an extension of the existing contract with Santella at existing rates.
  12. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to extend the lawn maintenance contract with Errico Landscaping Corp. of Hartsdale, New York, in the amount of $46,400, for the period beginning May 1, 2019 until April 30, 2020.  This is an extension of the existing contract with Errico for an additional  year at the same rates.

Richard Olver: Is that how we unite Croton?

rick-olver-croton-on-hudson.jpgCroton United just makes stuff up. Last week Roseann Schuyler wrote in the Gazette that the Village is run by people who “make public policy in secret while sitting in their mansions behind stone walls” in the part of town where they will never face the results of their zoning decisions.
Well, the Village Board makes those decisions.  We have no secrets, and here is where we Board members actually live:  a small ranch on Whelan in Harmon, above a business on Maple Street, a raised ranch on Briggs near Albany Post Road, another raised ranch at Old Post Road North and Stevenson and a walkup apartment on Benedict Blvd.
We on the Board are a cross section of our community. And we are doing what we honestly believe is needed for the Village to thrive in future.
We have no precooked plan but are gathering citizen inputs before debating and deciding whether and what to do.   The point of the Zoning Study for the North Riverside and Municipal Place area is to make sure that whether we decide on any rezoning or make no changes, our decision will be consistent with market conditions and responsive to residents.
Me, I believe it’s important to encourage new investment in our community to broaden the tax base so that we can control property taxes, and increase our moderate-priced housing stock.  The Village applied this concept in Harmon through rezoning several years ago, over the objections of the same people attacking the Board now. Contrary to those critics, we are now seeing positive results in Harmon with new business and market rate housing opportunities for our community.
If Croton United has ideas, we want to listen, and will listen.  If they want to propose and attempt to implement a program of their own, they can run candidates for the Board.  But they don’t.  So far, all I hear from them is negative nonsense – an unfortunate amalgam of conspiracy theories, personal attacks and inflammatory and misleading statements.  Is this how we unite Croton?
Rick Olver, Trustee

Brian Pugh: Save our sidewalks!

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

The Village of Croton’s new sidewalk replacement program began last week. Under the sidewalk improvement program, the Village will contribute 40% of the cost of the replacement of a property owner’s sidewalk.
Cost-sharing programs for sidewalks have been offered by the Village from time to time. This latest version was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees on March 4th and funded in the capital budget adopted in April.
The Board believes that the latest program can be done more efficiently thanks to the increasing capacity of our Department of Public Works. The DPW will now do the sidewalk work in-house without having to hire an outside contractor.
The program is open to owners with existing sidewalks. Residents who no longer have a sidewalk that can document that a sidewalk existed on their property may also participate.

Residents interested in the sidewalk replacement program should contact the Village Engineer’s Office at 914-271-478.

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 453

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 453rd 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 –   June 10, 2019

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised

 

a.      Update from Carrie Sena, Executive Director, on the activities of the Croton Caring Committee.  The activities of the Caring Committee over the past year will be reviewed as well as their direction going forward.  This is the anniversary of Ms. Sena’s first year as Executive Director.

b.      Review revised draft of the Village’s Social Media and Email Blast Policy.  This policy has been developed and reviewed over several years and administrations.  The updates currently being discussed regard public comments on Village posts to not permit advocacy of unlawful activities, discrimination, profanity and political advocacy.  The Village’s proposed social media policy applies to the Village’s use of social media and email blasts.

c.       Further discussion of the enforcement of Section 197-8 of the Village Code-Posting notices, distributing handbills.  The Board will consider the following language regarding posting notices and handbills in the Village:

No person shall post, affix or otherwise put up any written, printed or painted sign, notice (except legal notice), advertisement or showbill of any concert, entertainment or other performance on any of the trees, poles, walls, fences or buildings on or along any of the streets or public places in said Village or distribute, scatter or throw any handbills, dodgers or notices or cause the same to be scattered or thrown along any of the public streets, avenues or alleys in said Village.

d.  Review of proposed stickers and magnets from Diversity Committee.   

The diversity Committee is proposing two designs for use on stickers and magnets at events sponsored by the committee. The images are available on the Village website, click on Minutes and Agendas.

Ann Gallelli: Village of Croton Honored with Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) Award

Dear Neighborsann2016,

Last week, the Village of Croton was honored to receive a Planning Achievement Award from the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF).  The Elliott Way Elevated Walkway Project was the specific achievement being honored.

After the opening of Croton Landing Park in 2009, its popularity made access to it increasingly precarious.  Limited by a stretch of road only 15’ wide and bordered on each side by railroad tracks and the Hudson River, respectively, the road was filled with two-way traffic of vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Work on possible designs for an improved access began as early as 2015 and occurred over several administrations.  An elevated walkway design provided a unique solution. Work on the new walkway required permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the NYSDEC as well agreements with the MTA.  

The elevated walkway opened in 2018. It eliminated the prior unsafe conditions by using helical piles to cantilever a new roadway and a separate pedestrian walkway out over the Hudson River, thereby effectively widening the road and the usable space.

Separately, but also part of the work effort, was the installation of a new drainage culvert from the Brook Street drainage area which will help alleviate future flooding conditions.

Croton’s Hudson River waterfront is a notable asset of our Village.  This project’s award by WMPF is recognition of the success of Croton’s many waterfront improvements which provide unprecedented access to the Hudson River waterfront.

 

Ann Gallelli, Trustee

Andy Simmons: Resources for Clean Energy Projects–Save Money for your Home

simmons2018Dear Neighbors:

Over the years, the Village of Croton has sought to empower residents to make their homes more energy efficient. That’s why I’m excited that the Care for Creation Ministry is presenting “Resources for Clean Energy Projects: Save Money for your Home,” this Sunday, June 9, at 3 PM at Holy Name of Mary. The conversation will be led by Collin Adkins, a Community Energy Advisor with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Dutchess County.

Mr. Adkins, at the Mayor’s invitation, has already held a seminar on energy savings with the Croton seniors. In this latest visit, he will introduce more residents, small-businesses, and non-profits to programs, tools, and incentives that can help save money and reduce pollution by shrinking energy consumption. Kudos to the Care for Creation Ministry for having the foresight to organize this important event.

For more information on how you can make your home more efficient contact Collin Adkins directly at cda37@cornell.edu or attend the talk Sunday.

Andy Simmons

Croton Village Trustee

Olver: Conspiracy Theories Discourage Substantive Discussion

Dear Neighbors:Image result for rick olver croton

Croton United, there is no secret Village Board plan for Croton redevelopment. There is no interested developer, and there has been no secret Board discussion about any deal. There is no precooked agenda. As anyone who watches Village Board meetings can see, we Democrats often disagree among ourselves.

Now Roseann Schuyler has written a letter insinuating some kind of malfeasance by the Village Clerk in response to her rush FOIL request. The Village follows the law on FOIL. The staff are busy and can’t guarantee responses early. As an attorney, Roseanne should know to time her FOIL requests accordingly.

We hear endless, baseless conspiracy theory rhetoric from Croton United around the North Riverside Avenue/Municipal Place zoning study. By constantly claiming there must be a secret plan, you’re only discouraging residents from making substantive inputs to the public discussion.

Richard “Rick” Olver, Trustee

Brian Pugh: Croton Water Quality Report

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped
The Village of Croton is responsible for providing residents with many essential services–including drinking water. Thanks to the sound stewardship of successive Boards of Trustees and our Village’s professional staff, we’ve made important improvements in this area as documented by our annual Water Quality Report released on May 28.
Significantly, the latest Water Quality Report found no violations.
As recently as five years ago, testing found five violations for inadequate chlorine contact time and excessive lead. Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. Water with too much copper can cause gastrointestinal distress and, over many years, liver or kidney damage.
These improvements in water quality did not come by accident. Nor are they without cost. Approximately $11 million of our Village’s outstanding bonds are for our water system.
Keeping our water pure requires vigilance and funding. In this year’s budget, the Board approved $500,000 for relining water mains along Cleveland Drive and Albany Post Road.
As Mayor, I will continue to make the provision of vital municipal services a priority and look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and our Village staff to keep our community safe and healthy.

Brian Pugh, Mayor of Croton

Richard Masur: Where are the challengers?

Dear Neighbors:Richard Masur

The Croton Democrats were very surprised to discover last week that our candidates for the Village elections this fall will be running unopposed once again. Mayor Brian Pugh and Trustee Sherry Horowitz will be joined by Mr. John Habib on the ballot. We believe that John will be a great addition to the Board and will help to continue moving our Village forward. We are especially grateful to Trustee Richard Olver for jumping in and doing a great job for the past several months.

I said that we were surprised by the lack of challengers because our fellow residents who comprise and/or support the “Croton United” faction in our Village have been publishing in these pages a constant barrage of critical accusations and complaints about the current Democratic administration. Naturally, this led us all to expect an organized electoral challenge. But there is none.

Why rail against the actions of the Village Mayor and Trustees, a group of people who have been doing their best to deal with the needs of the community, now and in the future, unless you have a different plan of your own and a way to enact it? In other words: Why constantly attack the current administration when you have no intention of doing anything to follow through on your criticisms and complaints at the ballot box.

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.

Why not try to help your local government to function better, rather than just sniping at it from the sidelines? Why not calmly and thoughtfully point out your differences with the policies of the Village Board and suggest what you consider to be a better way to proceed? Wouldn’t that be a positive change going forward?

Richard Masur
Chair, Croton Democratic Committee