Ann Gallelli: Winter Storm Reilly Response

ann2016To the Editor,

Now that the storms are over, I would like to offer my perspective from the point of view of a Board member who was also present during the emergency response for the Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy storms.

First, however, I would like to offer kudos to our DPW workers, Police, Fire and EMS personnel who were always on top of the situations as they developed and smoothed the way for the utility repair and restoration crews. Equally worthy of praise is the administrative staff who answered calls and directed information to the right people. Our communications with the residents was hugely improved over that of prior storms. Regular progress reports, including honesty about our expectations, were refreshing and reassuring, if not exactly what we wanted to hear at the time. Our use of social media to reach out and respond was timely and responsive.

Then there was the ConEd response, leaving much to be desired. As a person who also sat in on the daily ConEd calls in the prior mentioned storms, I was more than disappointed in the information being provided to municipalities. Much of it was vague, unresponsive, contradictory and, seemingly meant to keep people happy rather than telling the real story.

After all that was supposedly “learned” from the prior storms, nothing really changed; maybe got worse. ConEd reps on the calls often seemed in disarray. One very big exception to this was the ConEd liaison who was assigned to the Village, Noelle Umbro. She was a constant presence in the office throughout, regularly communicating with the ConEd crews, directing them to our critical areas, following up on completion, and requesting resources for specific trouble areas. Despite her efforts, she was similarly stymied by the confusion and lack of communication within the ConEd organization.

It is hard to understand how, after considerable experience in dealing with storms like this one, ConEd seemingly hasn’t figured out a responsible response plan. They were unprepared.

Ann Gallelli


Brian Pugh: An Affordable Future

​To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

The Village Board of Trustees work session discussed a proposed affordable housing law modeled on the County’s model housing ordinance. The proposal we discussed was an outgrowth of a similar work session conducted in 2016 with the previous board majority.

Under the proposed local law, all residential developments of ten or more units created by subdivision or site plan approval at least 10% of the total number of units would have to be affordable units.

The proposed law would consider a rental unit to be affordable if the annual housing cost of the unit does not exceed 30% of the income of a household earning 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). A for-purchase housing unit would be affordable if the annual housing cost does not exceed 33% of the income of a household earning 80% AMI.

Area Median Income (AMI) for Westchester is defined annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is adjusted by family size. Under the 2017 HUD Income Guidelines for Westchester County, 60% of Area Median Income for a one-person household would be $46,800 (with a maximum monthly housing cost of $1,170) and $60,180 for a three-person household (with a maximum rent of $1,504).

Municipalities around the county have adopted affordable housing laws based on the model ordinance. This includes the following Villages, all of whom have had such a law since at least 2013: Ardsley, Hastings, Irvington, Pleasantville, Rye Brook and Scarsdale.

The proposed legislation is not final and there are many steps to go to its adoption (including the scheduling of a public hearing, the holding of a public hearing, etc.). The model ordinance, which would only cover new construction and only projects involving subdivision or site plan approval, may have only a modest impact on our largely mature housing market.

But if we fail to act we will have foreclosed on an affordable future for many Croton families.

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 349

Decoding Village Agendas –   February 26, 2018

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised)


  • Financial Sustainability Committee – Update to the Board.   Members of the Financial Sustainability Committee will update the Board on what they are working on.  No advance documents have been provided.




  • Discussion about proposed local law regulating solar canopies within the Village.  This proposed law would provide language for amending the Village’s Zoning code to permit and regulate both ground-mounted solar installations and large scale solar installations.
  • Discussion of proposed local law regarding potential regulation of vape shops.


This proposed language would add the definition of a Vape Shop to the Zoning code and provide that no vape shop be located within 500 feet of any park, school or playground.


  • Review of proposed local law on affordable housing.  This proposed law would add a new section to the Village’s Zoning Law for supplementary standards for the provision of affordable housing. It would provide that for proposed housing developments of ten units or greater, 10% of the units be for affordable housing.  This means housing for households whose income does not exceed 80% of the area median income for Westchester.  This would require that for 10 to 14 units of proposed new housing units, one (1) be an affordable unit; for proposals of 15- 24, two (2) such units be provided.  The proposed law generally follows the County’s proposed Model Ordinance.  Similar laws existing in North Salem, Hastings, Irvington, Pound Ridge, New Castle and Rye Brook are included in the back up materials for reference.
  • Discussion on proposed renovations to Gouveia House and short-term rental possibilities.  While the Village looks at planning for future uses of the house on the Gouveia property, it is considering a short-term rental option that would provide income during the interim.  For that purpose, and general upkeep, some maintenance work on the house needs to be done.  This includes railing on the outside decks and interior stairwell as well as some gating and fencing.  The estimated cost of these repairs is $44,000.
  • Village Board discussion on priorities for 2018.  The Board members will have a general discussion of their priorities and goals for the future.



Brian Pugh: Moving Forward With Croton Point Avenue

To the Editor: brian-pugh-group-cropped
Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees for the Village of Croton took another step forward in the Croton Point Avenue improvement project.  The Village   approved a proposal for engineering design services for the next phase of the Croton Point Avenue Improvement project including permitting, right-of- way acquisition, detailed engineering plans and specifications, and bidding assistance.
This brings our Village closer to  completing the Croton Point Avenue Improvement project, which originated in 2008 and received a $1.2 million federal grant..  The planned improvements of the CPA project include:
  • 5 ft. wide designated bike lanes between the travel lane and the sidewalk. 
  • 4 ft. and 5 ft. wide concrete sidewalks on both sides of Croton Point Avenue.
  • realigning of the US Route 9 northbound on-ramp to eliminate the eastbound channelized free-flow right turn movement from Croton Point Avenue, 
  • widening the US Route 9 southbound off-ramp to provide an exclusive right turn lane,
  • traffic signal installations at Veterans Plaza, the US Route 9 southbound on/off ramps and the US Route 9 northbound on/off ramps, 
  • widening of approximately 100 ft. of Veterans Plaza to accommodate four-lanes for reversible traffic flow operations, pavement and drainage improvements. 
  • roadway resurfacing is proposed on Croton Point Avenue and S. Riverside Avenue within the project limits. 
The design described above, which would better regulate and rationalize one of our busiest roadways, has been approved by the NYS Department of Transportation and would be a vast improvement over the chaotic status quo. There have been various suggestions for and objections to this proposed design.  
However, many options were reviewed as part of the additional design process. Changes at this stage would be counterproductive. As, the NYS Department of Transportation warned the Village: “The administering agency [Croton] should endeavor to avoid changing the project after design approval is granted…Changes to the project after design approval will require recycling the project through the preliminary design phase …Changes that occur after design approval has been granted can cause significant delays in project development.”
I am grateful for the public’s patience as we work to implement this long-anticipated project.  I look forward to when we can all share the benefits of the hard work of successive Village administrations and boards, our Village’s professional staff and our citizen Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee.
Brian Pugh

Brian Pugh: Empowering Our Community With Community Choice Aggregation

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

The Croton Library hosted two information sessions over the past month on Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, featuring presentations from Dan Welsh of Sustainable Westchester and Lindsay Audin, Chair of the Village’s Sustainability Committee. The two sessions were filled to capacity, but for those still wishing to learn more, they can watch the presentations in full and review additional backup material by clicking the “Community Choice Aggregation” link on our Village homepage:

The Village of Croton on Hudson Board of Trustees is considering Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) for our Village. The Westchester Power CCA is a program initiated and implemented by Sustainable Westchester Inc., a nonprofit, on behalf of member municipalities in Westchester County with the approval and oversight of the NYS Public Service Commission, the state’s utility regulator. CCA would enable us to buy electricity in bulk and choose renewable sources to reduce our community’s carbon footprint. 20 Westchester County municipalities are currently participating in CCA, which has saved residents and small businesses money on their electric bills while cutting power plant emissions that contribute to climate change.

Participation in CCA empowers consumers by leveraging the power of bulk purchasing, the competitive bidding process and a level of expertise not available to the typical consumer (the energy service agreement is vetted by attorney and experienced energy brokers). Residents participating in CCA or an ESCo (energy service company) also avoid NY’s 3% sales tax on Con Ed’s delivery bill. The Westchester Power CCA program has secured a low fixed rate for electricity lower that the 2015 Con Edison average price. To date, Westchester Power CCA has saved the average consumer in CCA communities, depending on their electricity usage, $50-$100 per year.

CCA customers also have the right to “opt-out” of the program at any time without penalty and those wishing to preemptively excluded themselves from the program can contact Con Edison at 1-800-752-6633 and request that their account be “blocked” (residents that are currently customers of an ESCo will remain with their current ESCo). CCA only determines the source of the “supply” of our energy. Distribution, including maintenance and management of the electric grid and emergency response, would still remain in the hands of Con Edison.

In addition to protecting consumers CCA protects our environment. As explained by the NYS League of Conservation Voters: “By bringing environmental groups, homeowners, and municipal officials together to make bulk purchases of renewable energy resources, the CCA keeps New York on track to becoming a more environmentally friendly state. The program helps to switch New York State’s energy system from one of burning fossil fuels to one of utilizing cleaner, more renewable, energy.” Similarly, the Sierra Club counseled: “There are also several towns that have not partnered with Sustainable Westchester to permit bulk sale purchases. If you’re in one of these Westchester County communities, you may wish to contact your local legislators about signing onto Community Choice Aggregation and having your communities purchase 100% of your power from renewables.”

Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power CCA, through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, supports energy from renewable sources (wind, solar, etc.). Each REC ensures that 1 megawatt hour (MWhr) of green power displaces 1 nonrenewable MWhr on the grid. For its work on the Westchester Power CCA, Sustainable Westchester was honored as a New York Environmental Champion by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2016.

Under CCA, Croton could choose 100% renewable power. If all 2,000 eligible Croton customers were enrolled in the green option, that would avoid 5,000 tons of greenhouse gas each year.

All this information and more (such as a factsheet from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)) is available at Specific questions may also be sent to

Decoding Village Agendas No. 391

1_22_2018 Decoding the Village Agenda(1)Dear neighbor,

Here is the 391st installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetingsI 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 –   January 22, 2018

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised) 

  • Review of Part 2 of the Long Form Environmental Assessment Form as part of the Village Board’s environmental review of the special permit request to construct a new building at 25 South Riverside Avenue including 3 stories with parking on the first story and 26 apartment units.  This continues the environmental assessment that the Board is required to do when considering a special permit.  This application is for a new building, as described, at the location of the former Croton Hardware store. It was scheduled to be done at  the Board meeting of January 16 but  members had received the wrong EAF form.  It was postponed to this work session.
  • Staff update on capital and other projects  The DPW Superintendent Frank Balbi and Village Engineer Dan O’Connor will review current and anticipated capital projects.  The Board will also consider planning and administrative goals, recreation plans, and possible grant opportunities.
  • Proposal from CHA for engineering design services in the amount of $260,000 for the next phase of the Croton Point Avenue improvement project including permitting, right of way acquisition, detailed engineering plans and specifications, and bidding assistance.  This enables CHA to bring the design documents to their final stage and proceed with permitting requirements in anticipation of the project being undertaken during the 2019 building season.
  • Request by the Village Manager to enter into an executive session to discuss an item regarding potential litigation.  If the request is granted an executive session will be held

Decoding Village Agendas No. 390

Dear neighbor, Here is the 390th 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 –  January 16, 2018

Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees


8:00 pm

(Open to Public  – Televised)






  • Proclamation presentation to John Giglio to honor his years of dedication and service to the Village of Croton.   John Giglio is being recognized for his over 25 years of service to the Village as a member and  20 year Chairman of the Recreation Advisory Committee.  January 16, 2018 is declared  “John Giglio Day”
  • The Village Board of Trustees to appoint and swear-in a Chief of Police.   The Village Board will appoint Lt. Russell Harper as  Croton’s 10th Police Chief.  The Board released the following statement in regard to Lt. Harper’s selection:


“Through a process involving multiple interviews and written statements, the Village Board has evaluated the 3 eligible candidates for Police Chief. Eligibility was based both on rank and on passing the mandatory civil service examination. The candidates under consideration were Lt. Russell Harper, Sgt. Aaron Bernhardt, and Sgt. Daniel Turner. The Board examined their professional qualifications, their life and leadership experience, and their goals for the Police Department going forward.

This is the first time Croton’s Village Board has ever had such a process, whereby there were multiple eligible candidates for Chief. We are aware of the importance of this decision, and have taken our responsibility very, very seriously.

The Board has concluded that Lieutenant Russell Harper would best lead the Police Department for the coming years. Based on a review of his past experience and performance, community interactions, proven leadership skills, and knowledge of the Village, the Board is pleased to announce its selection of Lt. Harper as Croton’s 10th Chief of Police.

We look forward to working with Chief Harper as he steps into his new role, particularly in areas of diversifying personnel, updating procedures and policies, increasing efficiency, and developing a more community-based policing policy. This has been a huge learning experience, and we thank all 3 candidates for their professionalism, their contributions, and their continued service.

Mayor Brian Pugh, Trustees Amy Attias, Ann Gallelli, Ian Murtaugh, Sherry Horowitz “



  • Presentation by Dan Welsh, Program Director at Westchester Power, regarding the Community Choice Aggregation Program.  This presentation is part of a series of presentations and mailings on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to inform  residents about the program over the coming weeks.  A mailing was also sent to all residents this week with details and FAQs from NYSERDA.
  • The Village Board to review Environment Assessment Form Part II and the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies to determine consistency related to the  proposed donation by Steel Style Development Corp. to the Village of a parcel of underwater land  located between Half Moon Bay and Senasqua Park.   The Village Board is Lead Agency under SEQRA on the donation of 39+ acres of underwater land to the Village by Steel Style Development,  owners of the HMB Marina.  As such, the Board must review its potential environmental impacts and consistency with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).


  1. The Village Board to review Environment Assessment Form Part II and the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program policies to determine consistency related to a special permit application for a mixed use occupancy building at 25 South Riverside Avenue. The applicant proposes to construct a 2nd and 3rd story with a total of 26 units over a new open parking structure.  As Lead Agency on this special permit application, the Board must review its potential environmental impact and its consistency with the Village’s LWRP.



  • Public Hearing to consider Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2018 to amend Chapter 168 Parks and Recreation Areas to change the approval process for sales in parks from Village Board resolution to authorization of the Village Manager.  This amendment to Local Law would allow sales of food, drink and other merchandise in Village Parks at the discretion of the Village Manager.  Currently, these sales are allowed only resolution of the Village Board.  This occurs mainly during the summer at movie and entertainment events sponsored by the Village and currently requires an applicant to wait up to two weeks for a meeting of the Village Board.






  •  Thomas A. Kaplan, Fire Council Secretary, Croton Fire Department; re: Membership update.  As required, the addition of two new members of the Fire Dept. is noticed to the Village.  Sawyer Aviram and Henry Leech have both become active Fire Dept. members.
  • Fabiola Tambini-Mallette, Outreach Coordinator for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Westchester; re: Ribbon Campaign for the NAMI of Westchester, Inc. Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month in May.   The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, is requesting permission to place “ribbons” at selected locations in the Village  as part of their campaign to raise awareness. The Village Board has supported this campaign in past years. As in past years, they propose to put ribbons up on May 1 and remove by May 31.





  • Authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2017-2018 General Fund Budget in the amount of $ 119.83 for monies received from the Village of Buchanan for their share of the 9-11 Memorial Ceremony.  The Town and Villages of Buchanan and Croton share the annual 9/11 day ceremonies.  This is Buchanan’s reimbursement for the 2017 event.
  • The Village Board considers authorizing the Village Manager to sign the Intermunicipal Agreement with the Village of Buchanan to allow their use of 3 Municipal Place for organic yard waste disposal. The agreement stipulates that the Village will be billed by Westchester County, as per current protocol, a certain organic yard waste amount and will then allocate said billing to the Village of Buchanan based on the tonnage amount of organic yard waste materials delivered, plus fifteen percent.  Buchanan had been taking their organic waste to the Town’s facility which recently closed.  The Town is building a new facility in Verplanck.  Until then Buchanan would be able to bring their organic waste to the Village’s site at Municipal Place. The Village’s organic waste is picked up by Westchester County and charged a fee.  Buchanan will be charged commensurate with their quantities of waste play a 15% addition   The Village recently signed a similar agreement with the Town for their organic waste until the new Town facility is ready..
  • The Village Board of Trustees considers the adoption of Rules of Procedure for meetings.   The Board is considering formal adoption of rules and procedures covering its public meetings.    Although past Boards have followed rules and standards for conducting meetings and public participation, they have never been formally adopted.


  1. Authorizing the Village Manager to approve a change order and payment of the voucher in the amount of $1,606.23 for the Corrosion Control Improvement project. This is related to the integration of the Corrosion Control equipment into the Water Department’s SCADA system.  This is resulting from an overage in the cost of the work from what was projected and contracted for.  The overall project was for $121,700.

Ian Murtaugh: The Future of Croton Point Avenue

cpa2014To the Editor,

With the welcome progress of new mixed use projects in the the Harmon/South Riverside corridor, our thoughts ought to turn towards the long stalled Croton Point Avenue infrastructure improvements. Smart development brings to our village tax benefits, a new vitality, and naturally more residents.  To accommodate this resurgence we need to be realistic.  Croton Point Avenue was concieved nearly 60 years ago as an access point to the “new road,” once called the Croton Expressway, more commonly referred to as Route 9.

Times have changed since then and our village has become an extremely important cog in the greater New York City mass transit system.  There are only a handful of other Metro-North stations busier than Croton-Harmon.  In addition to commuters, hundreds upon hundreds of MNR employees use CPA as well.  It is not an understatement to say that CPA is vital to the village;  it is the direct conduit to the revenue the parking lot throws off.  The largest non-tax contributor to our village budget is the parking field, therefore, whatever we can do within reason to make it convenient, safe and simple to use, we should do.

Sometimes progress is confusing and painful, but embracing this project is a smart play for the Village of Croton.  We are getting major funding from the federal government which we should not walk away from.  Yes, we need to kick in money too, but if the federal share of funding goes away, the traffic issues we face will not. So do we take the government’s dollars (administered through New York State) and move forward, or put our head in the sand and pretend that it will get better without our progressive actions?

If all goes according to plan, we should be able to have permitting, planning and design in place in twelve months time, and be shovel ready when the ground gets soft at the start of the 2019 construction season.  2019 is the year that the Village rectifies a 60 year old problem! The building of the new road took much away from our community, now we have the state giving back to help square the equation.

Additionally, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mayor Schmidt and the members of the former board for acquiring an additional $250,000 from the state to see this significant project to its fruition.

Will this cost us?  Yes, it will.  But when was the last time you rejected a necessary purchase at 50% off?

Instead of believing the rumors you may hear about the Croton Point Avenue plan, I encourage Croton residents to embrace this progressive project because we will all benefit from its successful completion.

Respectfully submitted,

Ian Murtaugh

Trustee, Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Decoding Village Agendas No. 389

Dear neighbor, Here is the 389th installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetingsI 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 –   January 8, 2018

Work Session of the Village Board

7: 30 p.m.

 (Open to Public and Televised)



  • Discussion of adoption of meeting procedures for Village Board of Trustees Regular meetings and Work Sessions.   While the Board of Trustees generally follows the same pattern in running its meetings as it has for many years, the Village does not have an established policy on the rules of procedure.  The NY Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), a group which acts on behalf of, and provides suggestions to Village governments, has provided a generic Rules of Procedure for Villages which outlines such things as the timing of meetings, procedures  for public participation, voting, attendance, quorums, etc.  Several Westchester Villages have adopted their own versions of such Meeting Procedures including Hastings and Mamaroneck.  The NYCOM suggestions as well as the adopted procedures of the latter two Villages are included in the backup for the discussion and are available online as part of this meetings backup documentation.
  • Discussion of proposed local law regarding potential regulation of vape shops.    The Board has previously asked our attorneys to examine how other communities have addressed the existence of vape shops.  The proposed amendment to Croton’s local Zoning code would provide the no such shops be located within 500 feet of parks, playgrounds or schools.
  • Discussion about proposed local law regulating solar canopies within the Village.   Currently, solar canopies are treated as accessory structures in the Village but are not specifically called out as such in the Zoning code.  The Board will discuss definitions for both roof-mounted and ground-mounted  solar canopies and the specific requirements for each to be installed.  They also will consider whether they should require a special permit if they reach a certain threshold.    New York State has provided a Model Energy Law that outlines such requirements.  The Board will consider whether to formalize these and adapt them for Croton’s Code.
  • Request to enter into an executive session to discuss a personnel matter regarding a specific individual.  If the request is granted, an executive session will be held.



Jennifer Pauly: March with us on Jan. 20!


To the Editor:

It’s hard to believe that almost a full year has gone by since Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States. (In fact, the latter part of that sentence is still hard to believe.) Like many of you, I spent the day after the inauguration in DC at the Women’s March, protesting Trump and everything he represents. That march ushered in, for many of us, a new era of activism and community engagement that has changed us forever.

Well, it’s a new year, requiring a new commitment to resistance, so take out your marching shoes. On Saturday, January 20, the second Women’s March will take place in New York City beginning at 11:00 am at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Please make every effort to go — and please know that you’re invited to travel and march with the Croton Democrats!

We will meet at 8:15 am on January 20 at the Croton-Harmon train station and catch the 8:45 train to Grand Central. From there, we’ll head to the march (either by foot or subway, depending on the weather).

The week before the march, on Saturday, January 13, join us at THE STUDIO, 160 Cleveland Drive, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, for a sign-making session! Bring your markers, your poster board and your ideas. (Irreverent witticisms are especially welcome.) Together, we’ll channel our outrage into strong visuals and get ready to take to the streets the following week.

Our country is certainly different under Trump — angry, divided, and fearful. But those of us who oppose him are different too — stronger, more aware, and more determined than ever. Together, we’ll be something else in 2018: Successful in stopping Trump’s agenda.

See you on the 20th!

Thank you,

Jennifer Pauly