A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, March 2, 1998 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Daubney
Village Manager Herbek Trustee Grant
Village Attorney Waldman Trustee Rickles
Village Treasurer Campbell Trustee Watkins
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Grant asked that approval of the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of February 17, 1998 be deferred to the next meeting. All agreed.
3. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Rickles made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Daubney and approved unanimously.
General Fund $ 27,555.91
Water Fund 15,544.30
Capital Accounts 6,653.50
Trust & Agency 27,966.94
Mayor Elliott reopened the Public Hearing on the Special Permit application for Metro Enviro LLC for the operation of a recyclables handling-recovery facility.
Annette Galizia stated that she would like to retire and stay in Croton; however, Rt. 9 already shows signs of graffiti and garbage and the town looks horrible from Rt. 9; she feels a recycling plant would bring more garbage and filth into the town; she stated that the residents should have had the opportunity to vote on the permit request in 1985.
David Steinmetz stated that he wrote a letter to the Board clearing up the question of the Hickey, Greentree and Apollonio relationship. He distributed copies of his letter to the Board. He added that the operator of this facility is Metro Enviro; the regulation of this operation has nothing to do with the ownership of the property. He added that he and Mr. Gunshor went back and reviewed the NYS DEC regulations to confirm that the DEC is regulating solely the operator of the facility.
Trustee Rickles asked for a copy of the lease agreement between Greentree and Metro Enviro. Mr. Steinmetz asked what the relevance of this is to the permit determination. Trustee Grant added that when Mr. Hickey’s name surfaced some months ago, Mr. Gunshor was asked if Mr. Hickey had anything to do with the application and Mr. Gunshor inferred that he did not know Mr. Hickey. Trustee Grant added that if Mr. Hickey’s connection to this property had been acknowledged at that time, possibly it would have not been of the same import to the Board members; omission of choosing not to mention Mr. Hickey’s name raises questions. Mr. Steinmetz replied that there was no easy reply to this comment and it is unfortunate that this impression was created, but the fact is clear, Mr. Hickey has involvement solely with regards to the ownership of the property. Trustee Grant added that it would seem that Mr. Gunshor was trying to hide something from the Board; if he had come out and stated that Mr. Hickey owns the property, it may have put the Board’s minds to rest or perhaps made them more uneasy. Mr. Steinmetz replied that the tenor the meeting when Mr. Hickey’s name was mentioned, was the operation of the facility.
Village Attorney Waldman referred to the previous question asking if Mr. Hickey is a silent partner in Metro-Enviro. Mr. Waldman stated that it is not uncommon for landlords and tenants to agree that the landlord could receive, in addition to a fixed sum, an additional rent of a portion of the profits of the operator; whether or not this is the case could be determined by producing the lease agreement to the Board. Trustee Rickles added that he feels the document should be produced and he is also looking for information about the rental language of the lease. Mr. Steinmetz asked Mr. Waldman to explain how, under the law, the lease or any financial agreement between Metro Enviro and Mr. Hickey is relevant to the application before the Board. Village Attorney Waldman replied that he is pointing out that Mr. Steinmetz’ question to Mr. Rickles was playing games because not matter how it was answered, he would contend that it is irrelevant; however, Mr. Waldman added that he is not prepared to accuse Mr. Steinmetz of this. Mr. Steinmetz replied that the involvement of Mr. Hickey and Metro Enviro is irrelevant. Trustee Rickles stated that the alleged involvement of Mr. James Hickey and organized crime coming into Croton is very relevant.
Mr. Steinmetz stated that there was a site inspection on the property last week with members of the citizens’ committee and the matter of ownership of the property was addressed at that time. He added that he was glad to see that Mr. Herbek was able to have 2 representatives of the DEC at this inspection; he invited any Village Board members who have not seen or had a tour of this facility as the citizens’ committee has, to do so. Trustee Rickles stated that he tried to visit Mr. Apollonio’s operation in Ossining, but was not allowed to enter and would like to arrange a visit of this operation. Mr. Steinmetz replied that if he had been contacted prior to going there, they may have been able to arrange a visit; he will now take this request to his client and try to make the arrangements.
Mr. Steinmetz added that representatives of the DEC explained during the site visit that they had relied upon the Environmental Review conducted by the Village and made an independent determination that the Village had done an excellent job in reviewing the environmental aspects for the modified site plan in 1995 and once again in 1997; they also explained that at the DEC’s recommendation, the measurement was changed from cubic yards to tons; Mr. Fuchs explained that the figures were an appropriate comparison. Mr. Steinmetz stated that the DEC representative also stated that there has not been an dramatic change in the operation from that which was proposed in the 1995 permit, the 1997 permit , or the present permit application. Discussion continued on the comparison of cubic yards, tons and the number of trucks that will be going to the facility. Mr. Steinmetz added that in 1995 the issue of traffic was studied by the Village’s consultant and the Village understood that there would be different sizes of trucks coming at different times of the day carrying different types of materials. He added that the Village concluded that there would not be an adverse environmental impact based upon the amount of trucks required for an approximate 1450 cubic yard operation, which is scientifically comparative to 1000 tons. Trustee Watkins stated that this was not scientific evidence, that what the consultant gave was a professional opinion. Mr. Steinmetz replied that Mr. Millspaugh, at the last meeting, had presented a benchmark comparison for cubic yardage to tons. Trustee Daubney stated that tests on vibrations and noise were conducted last fall and apparently, the facility passed; he asked for a study of a sample of trucks that might come to the facility in less than an hour and see how effectively Metro Enviro could clear out the materials. Mr. Steinmetz replied that the Board, after issuing a permit, could issue a condition that would require a dry run for a feasibility study; the operation would have to be in operation to conduct such a test. Trustee Daubney replied that last fall, a large container was brought in, they made noise, spread materials around to test the noise and vibration. Mr. Steinmetz replied that he will bring this suggestion back to his client.
Trustee Rickles stated that one of the issues that the Board has asked of the applicant is the number of trucks a day that is proposed to run through the Village and he would like the answer to this question. Mr. Steinmetz replied that his client does not have the ability today to say what size trucks he is going to take in and therefore, how many will be coming in. He referred to the number of 40 trucks that Mr. Millspaugh mentioned last time as an approximate figure and he stated again that there has been no material change in the operation of the facility. Trustee Rickles replied that he feels he is not getting direct answers to what he believes is rather straightforward, simple questions. He added that the questions are of Mr. Hickey’s involvement in Metro Enviro and what his involvement is with Mr. Apollonio, the weight issue also has remained unanswered; the potential is there of two to ten times more material than what the previous owner was allowed to bring in and what does that translate to in number of trucks that will come through the Village; also what does it relate to in additional leachate, additional dust, and additional pollution in the Village. Mr. Steinmetz stated that there is no basis of fact that there is a manifestation of change in the operation.
Trustee Watkins stated that he has asked in the past for copies of the contractual arrangement Mr. Apollonio has with Mr. Liguori and he wants to know that the arrangement will not allow Mr. Liguori to abuse the Village regulations again. Mr. Steinmetz replied that he will take this under consideration; if the Board determines it has a basis to say the Liguori’s should not be on the property, it can impose that as a condition of the permit. Trustee Watkins stated that he would like the Village counsel to make a determination if the application could be denied on this basis. Village Attorney Waldman replied that based on the dialogue, there are two major variables, the tonnage and the nature of the material; the former measurement of cubic yards reduced the one variable about the size of the trucks as it is a volume-related matter and the composition of the material is irrelevant; now you have increased the uncertainty of the number of trucks because you have changed the variable to tons. Mr. Steinmetz said if this permit is hung up because the DEC wants the measure to be in tons rather than in cubic yards, he would alter the application; his client could live with either measure. Trustee Rickles stated that when he visited the Ossining facility, the supervisor said the size of the trucks does not vary; that Mr. Steinmetz is well aware of the number of trucks that will be coming into the Village. Trustee Rickles added that the applicant is proposing operating 6 days a week which is a 20% increase of time and also adding one ton per day at 6 days is a 20% increase in material. Mr. Steinmetz replied that he believes there is a maximum limit per week set by the DEC and this hasn’t changed. Trustee Rickles replied that this permit application does not ask for a limit per week, but does set a limit per day.
Trustee Grant stated that a very thoughtful memo was received from a resident, Mr. Giglio, commenting that it would be virtually impossible to unload trucks in the 15 minute time frame. Trustee Grant asked Mr. Millspaugh to reply to this; stating that she envisions trucks lining up at the concrete pad; the truckers may be unwilling to stand there and wait and may unload elsewhere than the concrete pad. Mr. Steinmetz asked that Mr. Fuchs be asked to address whether a truck could unload in the 15 minute time frame as it is his area of expertise. Trustee Grant added that the Committee has gotten copies of Mr. Giglio’s letter and will address this with the consultant; she would like Mr. Millspaugh to get a copy also and respond.
Mr. Steinmetz added that the Village has declared itself Lead Agency and asked that the committee conduct a completed environmental review and make a final determination by the earliest possible date; he asked that the Public Hearing be closed. Village Attorney Waldman stated that he did not agree that the Public Hearing should be closed before the report from the committee and consultant is received.
Mr. Steinmetz stated that it is the applicant’s position that there are two involved agencies, the DEC and the Village Board of Trustees and they are unaware of any other involved agencies and there may be listed interested agencies that are not involved agencies. Village Manager Herbek replied that in other projects the Village has sent the intent resolution out to the involved and interested agencies; it is his understanding that an involved agency is one that could take some action; he listed the Village Board, the DEC and the Village Planning Board. Mayor Elliott replied that this is consistent with past practice. Village Manager Herbek added that they must wait the full 30 days for a coordinated review. Mr. Steinmetz replied that a coordinated review is only called for when there is more than one involved agency; it is his opinion that the Board does not have to wait 30 days because there is no other involved agency and the Board is in a position to declare itself. Village Manager Herbek replied that the procedure that they have followed is to wait the full 30 days.
Mayor Elliott put on the record two pieces of correspondence, Mr. Steinmetz’ letter of February 5, 1998 and Mr. Giglio’s letter, dated February 23rd.
Mayor Elliott adjourned the Public hearing at 9:10 p.m.
Mayor Elliott reported that this is Village Treasurer Campbell’s last meeting. Village Manager Herbek stated that this is approximately Mr. Campbell’s 900th meeting. He read a memo stating Mr. Campbell’s background up to and including his becoming Village Treasurer in 1973. Mr. Campbell has been the Village’s Treasurer, Office Manager and acting Village Manager in Mr. Herbek’s absence; his accomplishments include computerization of all Village’s records and accounts; he attended many professional and educational seminars, the NYCOM Training School for Fiscal Officers and Clerks and he was named a Professional Public Buyer from the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. Mayor Elliott added that Richard Campbell’s heart is in the Village and he has worked hard as a citizen to make the Village look good. Village Treasurer Campbell replied that it has been a wonderful experience and he will miss everyone.
4. Presentation by Director of Public Works:
Ken Kraft, Dir. Of Public Works, announced that his department has changed the sanitation routes, with approval, to make the collection more efficient. He stated that he has notified residents of these changes and today went well. Mr. Kraft reported that there will now be four routes instead of five.
Village Manager Herbek complimented Ken Kraft, stating that he did a detailed review of the routes and came to the conclusion that efficiencies and economies could be made in the operation and this new routine will achieve having three additional employees available on Tuesdays who are needed in other areas other than sanitation.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
A letter from Kathleen M. Ghegan, Croton Fire Patrol, requesting the use of the front parting lots at the Metro North Station for a flea market to be held on Saturday, September 26, 1998. Trustee Daubney made a motion to allow this use and authorize the Village Manager to work out the details. Trustee Watkins seconded the motion; approved unanimously.
A Certificate of Final Special Franchise Assessments from the State of NY Board of Real Property Services. Village Manager Herbek added that this is the same as the tentative assessment.
The recommendation from the Recreation Commission for procedures for residents to access Hudson National Golf Course. Village Manager Herbek stated that the issue is still open of whether it should be available to Village residents only or should it be opened to School District residents as well; the Recreation Commission’s recommendation for 1998 is to allow Village residents only. Trustee Daubney stated that this rule could change if all residents who want to play are accommodated. Mayor Elliott added that the Board could approve this document with the understanding that the resident issue can be revised. Discussion followed on establishing a handicap; this is used only to reserve the right to not allow privileges to those that do not play golf or do not know the rules; there is no set limit on the handicap.
Trustee Daubney made a motion to approve the regulations as recommended by the Recreation Department. The motion was seconded by Trustee Rickles. Discussion: Trustee Watkins stated that he believes access should not be restricted to Village residents, but should include school district residents also.
Vote was taken, with Trustee Daubney, Rickles and Grant voting “aye” and Trustee Watkins voting “nay”. Motion was passed.
A letter from Jon Goplerud, Conservation Advisory Council, asking for Board approval to stage a Hudson River clean-up day on Saturday, April 18, 1998 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 noon (with a rain date of April 25, 1998). Trustee Daubney asked if the clean up included the former Seprieo property. Village Manager Herbek replied that this CBDG is going before Westchester County for approval next week. Trustee Daubney reminded everyone that the Library is also sponsoring a clean-up day.
Trustee Rickles made a motion to approve this request. Trustee Watkins seconded the motion, approved by all.
A memo from James J. Hogan, Westchester County Dept. of Environmental Facilities, with the results of the 1997 Municipal Recycling summary for pounds per person delivered to the County Material Recovery Facility and a copy of the press release that was sent to all local media. Mr. Herbek noted that Croton-on-Hudson was one of five communities with the highest pounds per person recycling rate.
A letter from John & Gia Boulos, 28 Piney Pt. Avenue regarding the issue of existing barricades on North Highland. Trustee Grant made a suggestion to send a letter to local real estate firms informing them that the decision has been made regarding this issue so the Village does not get a letter each time someone intends to move into a home there. The Board agreed on this. Trustee Rickles asked when the gate would be going up. Village Manager Herbek replied that it would be completed in 60 to 90 days.
John Sarcone stated that as a representative of the Metro-Enviro committee, he recommended that the notice of continuance of the Public Hearing be announced on cable TV and also publish the Board’s agenda on cable TV. Mr. Sarcone mentioned the letter from John Giglio and stated that he feels it is an important and powerful letter. Mr. Sarcone suggested a poll of the Board of Trustees to see who supported Laura Seitz’ proposal to raise taxes. Trustee Watkins stated that this was not an appropriate time to do a political polling nor have a political debate. Mr. Sarcone asked Trustee Rickles if he was on the Planning Board at the time the amended site plan for Metro Enviro was approved and asked if Trustee Rickles would recuse himself from voting on the Metro-Enviro application. Mayor Elliott replied that Mr. Sarcone is welcome to come back and discuss this matter at the next Public Hearing. Trustee Rickles stated that he would vote on this issue. Mr. Sarcone asked if a handbook for new homeowners would include the fact that they will be living near a potentially hazardous environment. Mayor Elliott replied that he has offered to sit with new homeowners and discuss Village issues; he added that he would take the suggestion regarding cable TV notices under advisement.
This first resolution was held off pending further information.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the following resolution. The motion was seconded by Trustee Daubney.
RESOLVED: that the proposal submitted by Ward Associates, P.C. of Bohemia, New York to develop plans and specifications and project inspection services for the existing softball field lighting improvements off Alexander Lane in the amount of $5,000.00 is approved and the Village Manager is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement with Ward Associates, P.C. to provide these services to the Village.
Discussion: This money has already been appropriated. Trustee Watkins stated that the proposal for design of the lighting of the softball field is to replace some and add new.
Vote was taken with all voting “aye”. Motion was approved.
c1.Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the following budget modification. The motion was seconded by Trustee Daubney, approved by all.
TRANSFER FROM TRANSFER TO
001-5182-0416 Street Lighting Reimbursement 001-5182-0200 Street light equip. $914.42
c2. Trustee Watkins made a motion to approve the attached budget modifications. The motion was seconded by Trustee Rickles.
Discussion: Village Treasurer Campbell stated that the funds are available in capital accounts; projects are completed and the Village has excess funds; he would like to gather the money together and move it into other accounts to start projects that will be approved by the Board for next year; this is usual accounting procedures recommended by the State Comptroller and the Village’s audit firm; they are all water related projects.
Vote was taken with Trustees Watkins, Rickles and Daubney voting “aye” and Trustee Grant abstaining.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the following resolution. The motion was seconded by Trustee Rickles, approved unanimously.
RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign extension of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Project Agreement #C005716, with the New York State Department of State, to fund the project known as, “Former Seprieo Property Site Development Plan and Redevelopment Feasibility Study”, in the amount of $65,000, through March 31, 1999.
Trustee Daubney made a motion to approve the attached resolution calling for the NY State Legislature to enact the proposed amendments to the General Obligations Law. The motion was seconded by Trustee Rickles; approved unanimously.
Trustee Watkins stated that it was a privilege to work with Village Treasurer Campbell for the past five years; he is honest, dedicated, fiscally prudent and has worked tirelessly for the beautification of the Village.
Trustee Watkins reported on the signage for the entrance to the Village; he spoke to the maker of the signs for Katonah, Signature Signs of North Salem; they have made a mock-up showing materials that could be used; a 4X4 sign will run about $1500, larger, about $3,000; he also showed photographs of the sign in Katonah. Trustee Watkins asked at how many locations the Trustees think signs should be put up, adding that Katonah has two. Trustee Watkins said that the small signs below the main sign are optional and would be paid for by the organizations themselves. Mayor Elliott stated that the suggestions should be referred to the Gateway Committee, the VEB and the Planning Board.
Trustee Rickles stated that he echoed what Trustee Watkins said about Village Treasurer Campbell; that in his own experience, Mr. Campbell gave direct answers to his questions and was very helpful.
Trustee Rickles reported that he has heard from a number of residents who would like more information about what is coming up on Village Board agendas. Trustee Rickles stated that, as an enhancement of communications, he proposed a prepublication of the Village Board agenda, with the understanding that it is subject to change and the agenda be put into the Gazette on Tuesday. Mayor Elliott responded that he did want to make it clear that agendas do change right up to the time a meeting begins and doesn’t want anyone to be mislead. Trustee Rickles also suggested having a column in the Gazette written by Board members about what issues may be coming before the Board; he suggested a monthly column and asked if the Gazette would charge for the space. Trustee Rickles stated the possibility of suggestion boxes in the Library and Municipal Building and discussion should be started about access to e-mail.
Trustee Daubney asked if there was any report back regarding the school traffic matter. Village Manager Herbek replied that there was not. Trustee Daubney reported that Media One offered to speak before the Senior Citizens Council; they will make a decision about this. Trustee Daubney also reported he has obtained a number to call to halt the “green” advertising that is thrown in driveways on weekends; residents can call 1 800 942-1010 and request that they not distribute to their residence. Trustee Daubney reported that the Village clean up has started early this year because of the mild weather.
Trustee Grant stated that working with Village Treasurer Campbell has been a tremendous experience, both his patience and impatience has been valuable and she appreciates his help over the years.
Trustee Grant reported that the Village Beautification Project must continue and asked Mr. Campbell to think ahead of what can be accomplished. Mr. Campbell replied that Mary Zimmerman is prepared for the upcoming season and she and Artie Neff will continue the work. Trustee Grant suggested the Chamber of Commerce get involved. Mayor Elliott added that he has brought this suggestion back to them and there is interest. Mr. Campbell added that the Chamber of Commerce is interested in getting involved this year and the merchants will pay for plantings.
Trustee Grant reported also that A Touch of Class (formerly LBT Deli) has closed and asked that Joe Sperber check for removal of the trash that is building up; also there is trash building up inside the fence by the drugstore; adding that this does not look good for the center of town.
Trustee Grant reported also that Gail Sasso is doing an extraordinary job with the Village Teen Council; on March 14th there will be a concert, there are open gym days and parents have formed a support group. She added that the Arts Council is discussing the possibility of a public art project for the kids. She added that they are very active community committees and they need volunteers.
Attorney Waldman wished Mr. Campbell well, stating that he has been an effective, knowledgeable Treasurer.
Mayor Elliott asked for Board approval to appoint Ted Brumleve, an architect, to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board. All members gave approval.
Mayor Elliott stated that Richard Campbell is respected by his peers throughout the State and is looked up to for his leadership; he thanked Mr. Campbell for all that he has done for the Village through the years.
Mayor Elliott reported also that the Girls Basketball Team will be playing a championship game at the Westchester County Center. It was noted that this is the first Croton girls’ team to play at the County Center.
Trustee Watkins made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Trustee Rickles, approved by all. The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary
Village Clerk/Acting Clerk