Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 503

Dear neighbor, Here is the 503rdinstallment 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 – August 17, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

5:00 pm

(Zoom )

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NOTE:  This meeting will start with an Executive Session at 5:00 pm.  The Call to Order for the Regular Meeting will begin, via Zoom, at 6:00 pm.

Executive Session:  Consider a motion to enter into an Executive Session to discuss matters of personnel.

PUBLIC HEARING:

a.    Continuation of Public Hearing on Local Law Introductory 6 of 2020 to amend Chapter 168 of the Village Code, Parks and Recreation Areas, to prohibit the use of remote-controlled aircraft in Village-owned parks. This law would prohibit drones, as well as other remote-controlled aircraft, being launched in Village parks, excepting Gouveia Park.

CORRESPONDENCE:

a.     Letter from Peter Lavery of Finney Farm Road regarding the proposed leaf blower    legislation.   Mr. Lavery objects to the recommendation of the Conservation Advisory Committee regarding banning of gas-powered leaf blowers. He believes there are factual errors in their report and the studies they cite may not be applicable to Croton.  He believes that Noise is the real problem and that noisy equipment should be regulated under the Noise ordinance.  He makes some recommendations for amendments to the Noise ordinance.

b.      Survey results from Black Rock Dog Park permit holders.  Dog Park permit holders were asked their preference for dog park hours at the Black Rock Dog Park as well as at Croton Landing.  Individual responses were received from 49 people. There are 57 individuals holding permits for 67 dogs.  The largest preference ( about 27%) was for hours of 8am to 11 am and 4 pm to 7 pm at Black Rock Park.  Only about 1% preferred 8 am to 8 pm at Croton Landing. 

c.     Report from the Village Manager concerning Con Edison’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias.

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider adoption of the LGS-1 Schedule establishing retention periods for various government records.  In NYS different levels of government have different requirements for the retention and management of documents.  This is a new schedule of retention developed by the State that would apply to all levels of the NYS governments.
  2. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2020-2021 General Fund Budget in the amount of $1,000 for monies received from the New York State Justice Court Assistance Program. The Village Justice Court has received this money to help deal with some Covid-19 expenses.
  3. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute the memorandum of understanding with Sustainable Westchester to renew the Community Choice Aggregation program for the period beginning January 1, 2021.   This would continue Croton’s Community Choice Aggregation arrangement with Sustainable Westchester and Constellation.  The current agreement ends in 2020.
  4. Consider the provisional appointment of Lt. John Nikitopoulos to the position of Chief of Police effective August 29, 2020, at an annual salary of $165,000.  Lt. Nikitopoulos has been with the Croton Police Department since 1986 and has served in many capacities including Sergeant, Detective and Lieutenant.   Currently there is no binding County Civil Service Promotional List for Police Chief in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.  Lt. Nikitopoulos will serve as Provisional Chief, according to the regulations of the County Department of Human Resources, until next Civil Service for Police Chief is offered and taken.
  5. Consider the reduction of Village fees for on-street vending and vending in the parks through October 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  To help business owners deal with the revenue effects of the Covid-19 virus, the Village would reduce it fees fo the above vending permits by 50%, ending on October 31, 2020.
  6. Consider authorizing the selling of alcoholic beverages in Senasqua Park during certain hours and days.  This would require a fee of $100 and be subject to times and days set by the Village Manager.

Remembering Congressman John Lewis – An American Icon

To the Editor:

There are many lessons from the life of the late Congressman John Lewis – from courage on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to 15 years of tenacity to create the National Museum of African American History Culture and Heritage. But for those of us interested in local government, there’s a great John Lewis story that teaches a lesson about commitment and principle.

Before he was Congressman Lewis, he was Atlanta Councilman Lewis from 1981-1986. When he ran in 1981, he opposed a four-lane super-highway in downtown Atlanta to connect with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Councilman Lewis believed it would increase traffic, cause middle-class and business exits, and hurt Black neighborhoods.

Jimmy Carter wanted the project badly. As President, he’d named Lewis Associate Director of the ACTION Agency, responsible for VISTA and other programs. The new Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young was also strongly for the project. He’d been John Lewis’ partner in the civil rights struggle for two decades.

President Carter and Mayor Young worked relentlessly but unsuccessfully to change Councilman Lewis’ position. The project passed but because of the opposition from Councilman Lewis and others, a compromise turned it into a two lane road.

Lewis’ stance on the highway hurt him politically. He never served on an important committee or chaired any committee on the Atlanta City Council in the next five years. But the feared devastation of the original project was avoided by the compromise version. He took a firm stand to protect the people he served and was unconcerned about what it meant to him personally. But that was no surprise – it is who John Lewis was as a civil rights leader, Councilman, Congressman and American icon.

The Carter Library and the road were built. That road, originally named Presidential Parkway, was renamed Freedom Parkway years later. But since August 2018, it has been the John Lewis Freedom Parkway.

Thanks, John Lewis, for your enduring lifetime of lessons, which should always guide us here at home.

Len Simon

Democratic Candidate for

Croton-on-Hudson Board of Trustees

Len Simon, Democratic Candidate for Croton-on-Hudson Board of Trustees

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 502

Deputy Mayor Ann Gallelli

Dear neighbor, Here is the 502ndinstallment 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 – August 3, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

5:30 pm

(Zoom )

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NOTE:  This meeting will start with an Executive Session at 5:30 pm.  The Call to Order for the Regular Meeting will begin, via Zoom, at 6:30 pm.

Executive Session:  Consider a request from the Village Manager to hold an Executive Session to discuss matters of personnel and matters regarding the lease of real property.

PUBLIC HEARING:

  1.  Public Hearing on Local Law Introductory 6 of 2020 to amend Chapter 168 of the Village Code, Parks and Recreation Areas, to prohibit the use of remote-controlled aircraft in Village-owned parks.   This law would prohibit drones, as well as other remote-controlled aircraft, being launched in Village parks, excepting Gouveia Park.

CORRESPONDENCE:

a. Email from John Munson, Fire Council Secretary, regarding fire department membership changes.  Secretary Munson notes the change in status of several members as well as the addition of several new members of the Fire Department.

  1. Letter from Jud Ramaker, Race Director for the Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger, regarding this year’s virtual event.   Mr. Ramaker notifies us that the 40th Annual Run Against Hunger will be virtual event this year.  During the period of October 10 – 18, participants will be able to take part in any of three events – the 1 mile Fun Run, 5K Run and Walk and the 10K Run – at any time in the period listed above and at any location of their choosing – track, trail, road or even a distant state.   The Village Police and the Village DPW will not be as involved as in past years.
  2. Report from the Municipal Place Advisory Task Force on the draft request for proposals (RFP) for the development of a Village-owned parcel (“The Katz Property”) at 41-51 Maple Street.  The Task Force  appointed by Mayor Pugh met twice and reviewed the draft RFP.  The Board of Trustees will discuss the RFP and Task Force comments at a work session later in August.
  3. Compilation of energy data from municipal buildings for 2019 in accordance with the Village’s Benchmarking Policy.  The report shows the monthly usage of natural gas and electricity for all Village-owned buildings.  

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1.   Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an inter-municipal agreement with Westchester County for use of the firing range at the county police academy for firearms training purposes at a cost of $630 per visit for the period ending July 31, 2025.  This IMA is a 5-year agreement, allowing Croton Police to utilize the County training facility.
  1. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $9,675 for costs related to equipment repairs at the Skyview Pump Station.  This repair was an emergency repair and not included in the annual budget.  The money will be transferred from the Contingency Account.
  1. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an easement agreement providing a right-of-way ingress and egress easement for the property located at 41 Harrison Street.   The Board reviewed this proposed easement at several work sessions.  This resolution finds the proposed easement to be in the best interests of the Village.  It will facilitate off-street parking in the area.
  1. Consider accepting the letter of resignation for retirement purposes from Chief of Police Russel H. Harper effective August 29, 2020. Chief Harper thanks the Village for the opportunity to serve as Chief of Police.  Chief Harper has served on the Croton Police force for 40 years.

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 501

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 501st 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 –   July 27, 2020

Work Session of the Village Board

6:00 p.m.

 

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  1. An Executive Session has been scheduled to discuss matters of public safety.   This will occur before the start of the public session, at 5:45 pm.
  2. Review of the proposal by the Conservation Advisory Council to limit the use of leaf blowers within the Village.  The CAC proposal calls for a ban of gasoline leaf blowers beginning January 1, 2021 with an exemption for Hudson National Golf Course.  The CAC would also encourage increased education by the Village on matters of air quality, the environment and noise.
  3. Discussion on moving the dog park currently located at Black Rock Park to another location in the Village.  As a result of several neighbor complaints about the existing dog park, the Village will consider the desirability of relocating it to an area of Croton Landing Park.
  4. Discussion on the reopening of Village playgrounds.  The discussion will focus on the  considerations and steps required to make and keep playgrounds safe during the current Covid pandemic and whether the Village can meet these requirements on an ongoing basis.
  5. Discussion on New York State Executive Order 203 regarding police reform.  Police Chief Harper will join the discussion regarding the requirements outlines in the Governor’s Executive Order.  The order requires that each municipality with a police department perform a comprehensive review of it s current policing operations and develop a plan to improve these strategies to address community needs.  The plan, which requires community input, must be submitted to NYS for review and approved by April 1, 2021.

Brian Pugh: Croton’s Community Census Campaign

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

I am writing to thank the volunteers that came out last Thursday and went door-to-door to help remind their neighbors to complete the US Census.  These volunteers, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer supplied by the Village, delivered door hangers to remind residents about the Census at a safe distance.

 

We’re already seeing the fruits of this contactless canvass.  Friday,  Croton-on-Hudson who was the only Westchester municipality with a .2% increase in Census completion. All of the other increases in today’s report are .1%.

 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Crotonites have shown great community spirit and civic patriotism.

 

Already, 77% of the residents of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, as of this writing, have completed the 2020 Census.  That’s an increase of 4.4 percentage points over 2010, making Croton-on-Hudson the most improved community in Westchester County for Census completion.

 

However, hundreds of households have yet to complete the Census.

 

The Census Bureau estimates that every person that is not counted equals a loss of approximately $2,500 per year to local municipalities in direct and indirect federal aid.

 

Did you know that you can respond to the Census over the phone? Operators are standing by from 7am to 2am every day. The toll free numbers are as follows: 844-330-2020 (English) & 844-468-2020 (Spanish)

 

Please do your part and make sure Croton counts and remind your friends and neighbors to do the same.

 

Sincerely,

 

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 500

ann2016Dear neighbor, Here is the 500th 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 – July 20, 2020

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

6:00 pm

(Zoom )

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CORRESPONDENCE:

  1. Letter from Vincent Sapienza, Commissioner of the New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection, regarding the water temperatures in the Croton River.  Commissioner Sapienza is responding to a letter from Mayor Pugh and Supervisor Puglisi regarding the cold temperatures of water in the Croton river.  The Commissioner  recounts the history of the NYC DEP’s mandate to release a certain amount of water into the Croton River and why it must come from the bottom of the dam (coldest water) rather than over the top of the dam.  He also relates the flow to the current NYSDEC Hydrilla treatments ongoing in the Croton River.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Consider affirmation of an executed agreement with Northwind Kennel of Bedford, New York, for the purposes of providing shelter for lost dogs at a cost of $1,500 for the period of July 2, 2020, through July 1, 2021.  The Village is required to have either an agreement with an animal shelter or maintain its own shelter for housing stray dogs.  This agreement is for one year.
  2. Consider scheduling a public hearing on Local Law Introductory 6 of 2020 to amend Chapter 168 of the Village Code, Parks and Recreation Areas, to prohibit the use of remote-controlled aircraft in Village-owned parks for August 3, 2020, at 6 PM via Zoom Videoconference.    The amendment would add a new section to the code that reads as follows: “No person shall launch or land any remote-controlled aircraft, including but not limited to model airplanes, model helicopters, drones, rockets, or gliders in any public recreational facilities, except for Gouveia Park.”
  3. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2019-20 General Fund Budget in the amount of $76,662.68 with respect to grant funding received to cover the costs of the Croton Coalition.  This reflects receipt of federal grant money received for reimbursement of Croton Coalition  expenses in the2019/2020 fiscal year.
  4. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to accept a proposal for safety and security improvements for the Municipal Building offices from Mancon, LLC, of Yorktown Heights, New York, in the amount of $8,500.  This proposal is for the labor costs associated with enhancing the security of offices in the Municipal Building where public access is required. The work will begin in the Recreation Department and will include the Engineering Office and the Main office.

Brian Pugh: Community Solar Array is the Latest Village Green Initiative

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

As reported in last week’s Gazette, sign-ups for the Community Solar array at the new DPW garage have opened.  The array, which is owned and operated by a private developer, will provide discounted electric power to those who wish to subscribe AND make lease payments to the Village of Croton totaling over $700,000. 

 

This is just one of the steps the Village government has taken in recent years to support renewable energy and environmental conservation–and we continue to work on more. 

 

Since taking office in December 2017, the Democratic majority on the Board of Trustees has:

 

  1. Enrolled the Village in 100% renewable power through Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program;
  2. Installed electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lots of the Croton-Harmon train station and Municipal Building; 
  3. Started to replace older vehicles in our fleet with electric ones through attrition;
  4. Enrolled in Sustainable Westchester’s Drive Electric program, giving the Village and residents access to discounts on electric vehicles;
  5. Launched a new Solarize campaign that has added dozens of new solar energy systems to our community;
  6. Developed a Living Lighting Laboratory in the Municipal Building to demonstrate energy efficient lighting;
  7. Organized seminars on home energy efficiency from the Cornell Cooperative Extension for the Seniors’ Club and other community groups;
  8. Relaunched a new and improved Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to create new financing options for commercial renewable energy projects;
  9. Adopted a local law to allow for carport solar & certain commercial systems and regulate the installation of solar energy arrays;
  10. Empowered the local police to ticket vehicles for excessive idling; and
  11. Secured grant funding for a pilot food waste recycling program;

 

In light of the great need to prepare for a fossil fuel free future, the Board of Trustees continues to explore new green initiatives.  The Board had a discussion of possible solar projects at the Croton-Harmon Train Station in June and, in May, discussed the possible installation of solar carports at other parking lots in the Village.

 

I look forward to continuing to work with the Democrati majority on the Village of Croton-on-Hudson’s Board of Trustees to build a more sustainable future for our community. And my Board of Trustees colleagues and I are grateful to hear regularly from Croton residents of all parties and independents that support renewable energy and environmental conservation,  all of which make for a better tomorrow for Croton .

Sincerely,

 

Brian Pugh, Mayor

John Habib: New Options for Outdoor Dining

The Village government has recently adopted several measures to assist Croton businesses struggling under Covid-related public health and safety regulations. One new licensing procedure allows for the sale of products from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. from booths and tables placed in parking spaces within designated areas in the Upper Village, Harmon and Section B of the train station’s parking lot. The license fee is $125 per issuance.

Acting at its June 22nd Work Session, the Board also showed support for a more festive commercial atmosphere in the Upper Village and Harmon areas during Graduation Week by allowing street vending to be conducted in licensed spots on Thursday, June 25th and Friday, June 26th.

Would you like more options for dining in Croton’s parks and sidewalks? Well, on June 22nd the Village Board adopted a fee of $100 per day for vendors to sell food in Village parks, subject to the approval of the Village Manager and receipt of proof of the necessary insurance/health permits. In addition, the Village Board revised an existing resolution from 1993 which permits retailers to place tables/displays on the sidewalk area directly fronting their storefronts. Provided that at least 4 feet of clearance is maintained for unobstructed pedestrian traffic, the outdoor dining/displays are permitted 7 days per week, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Finally, to broaden sidewalk dining square footage in the Upper Village, detours have been created that divert pedestrians into parking spaces, serving effectively as short bypass lanes. These measures together allow for a “Win-Win-Win” scenario; for customers seeking to dine outdoors, for retailers desiring expanded table space to boost revenue, and for pedestrians are not forced to dodge packed tables when passing by.

It is hoped that local business patrons enjoy these increased dining and shopping options as we pass through this pandemic era.

John Habib, Trustee

Brian Pugh: Croton Police Complete New Anti-Bias & De-Escalation Training

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

Members of the Croton Police Department have completed Anti-Bias and De-Escalation training.  This welcome news was reported to the Board of Trustees at Monday’s meeting by the Village Manager on behalf of the Chief of Police.

 

The Anti-Bias and De-Escalation training was provided by New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR). The NYMIR courses provide lessons on identifying biases, avoiding biased policing, maintaining an unbiased and respectful culture and strategies for resolving conflicts peacefully.

 

This training was just the latest of the progressive steps taken by Chief Russel Harper since he was appointed by the Board of Trustees and I in 2018.  In the last few years, the Village has also added our first two bilingual officers and the first woman in uniform in nearly a decade.

 

This is all only part of an ongoing process to make sure that the public gets the protection it deserves. Last month, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order requiring local police agencies–with input from stakeholders–to engage in a public and open process to develop a plan to promote policing that provides for equal treatment and the protection of civil rights.

 

The Village Board of Trustees and I will continue to work with our police to ensure that our Croton-on-Hudson progresses towards this goal.

 

Sincerely,

 

Brian Pugh, Mayor

Brian Pugh: Celebrating Independence Day!

Dear Neighbors:

pugh2016I am writing to wish all the residents of our Village a happy Independence Day.  This July 4th is unlike any that we’ve observed in living memory–nevertheless, we have much to be grateful for, much to celebrate and much to fight for.

 

We should draw inspiration from our country’s triumph over the British Empire led by the tyrannical King George III and the perseverance of the American experiment in self-government.

 

The preservation of democracy was the result of tremendous sacrifice.

 

As always, we should remember our veterans and those on the frontlines today.  Our freedoms depend on the men and women in uniform who look out for us every day.

 

We should also remember that we owe many of our freedoms to those that engaged in heroic unarmed struggle at home in the Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage and other freedom movements.  This includes historical figures with local connections such as Doris Stevens, who was jailed for her protests for womens’ suffrage.

 

That rich tradition of protest and debate is still alive and well in the United States and the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.

 

 As we celebrate a socially distanced Independence Day, let’s reflect on how we can fulfill and build on the bold claim of our Declaration of Independence:

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

Sincerely,

 

Brain Pugh, Mayor