A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, February 3, 2003 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Grant
Village Manager Herbek Trustee McCarthy
Treasurer Reardon Trustee Wiegman
Village Attorney Waldman Trustee Schmidt
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:05 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Schmidt and approved unanimously.
General Fund $ 21,213.27
Water Fund 1,197.48
Capital Accounts 29,123.15
Trust & Agency 2,620.00
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
a) A letter from Bari Manor residents regarding the $200 increase in monthly rents proposed by the owners. Village Manager Herbek stated that the Village Board has scheduled a meeting on February 13th with the key individuals who are part of Home Properties organization; a number of residents have asked that the Village adopt the Emergency Tenant Protection Act which is a rent stabilization law. Trustee McCarthy asked if there is a further update on the Emergency Tenant Protection Act and what the Board would have to do. Village Manager Herbek replied that he has several updates and will make copies for board members; he is trying to obtain copies of some resolutions other municipalities have approved. Trustee McCarthy asked if it would apply Village-wide to everything under
its umbrella. Village Attorney Waldman replied that he thinks it would apply to everything that falls under the definition; it is his recollection that it would cover only Van Wyck Apartments and Bari Manor. Trustee McCarthy added that she would like to move on this as soon as possible after the February 13th meeting. Trustee Grant added that Tom Burniston is going to join in the meeting of the 13th ; he is very knowledgeable about this and has the background of the Bari Manor agreement.
a) Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand Street, stated that she may have a link to information relative to this issue and Home Properties and offered to share this with the Board. Ms. Cudequest thanked the Board for placing Mr. Gerrard’s latest findings on the web site; however, she is disturbed about another fire at that site on January 13th; on Feb. 2 an article appeared in the Journal News regarding the affect of closing MetroEnviro on haulers and what MetroEnviro charges per ton for debris brought to their site. She added that several carters & contractors spoke in defense of MetroEnviro and why they should remain open; two incidents at two hearings made residents very uncomfortable that they have sought assistance from Croton Police;
these were documented on video tape; copies of the video have been requested from the Village. Ms. Cudequest asked that for the upcoming election, residents should focus on candidates who are actually running; these candidates from both sides have been chosen by their respective parties.
Tara Dolan, Bari Manor, gave the Board a sample of the survey handed out to residents, the demographics and rental with associated costs to residents of Bari Manor; she thanked the Village Board for their support. Ms. Dolan stated that the rent increase is not consistent with the apartment type and these rents are exclusive from utility costs
Sharon Traditi, Bari Manor, stated that she moved there in June because she thought it was affordable; she has been told by workers of Home Properties that there will be a $300 raise next year; there are senior citizens, volunteer firefighters & auxiliary police living in this complex as well as children who will have to be uprooted because people will not be able to afford these rents. Ms. Traditi questioned if the Village was to institute rent control, how long would it take to implement and is it possible for the Board to hear stories of what has been going on with this property since new owners have taken over. Mayor Elliott replied that they would be happy to take further comments either in writing or at another meeting. Village Attorney Waldman suggested that
residents don’t send in the lease agreement; hold rental agreements until a resolution is established. Trustee Schmidt stated that he has looked at the Home Properties website and it seems their goal is to improve the bottom line for investors. Ms. Traditi asked if anything further can be done if Home Properties doesn’t cooperate. Village Manager Herbek stated that there is a history of why they did not adopt rent control but they have used ETPA as the instrument to get fair rent agreements. Village Attorney Waldman requested that the Bari Manor residents get together and list non-rental incidents of services, deterioration, etc. which would be helpful in negotiations. Trustee Wiegman suggested Bari Manor residents could perhaps find out if any residents of any other Home Property buildings have had similar increases and if so, find out what those tenants did and the reaction they got when they protested.
Cornelia Cotton, 209 Hessian Hills Rd, stated that some Croton citizens have been holding a peace vigil on Thursday mornings between 7 and 8 in opposition to a war with Iraq. Ms. Cotton stated that some cities have passed resolutions expressing their opposition to such a war and asked the Croton Village Board to consider passing such a resolution. She spoke in defense of what she believes is Iraq’s inability to wage war; Iraq is considered the cradle of civilization; she gave a recount of the ancient history of Iraq; adding that America is a great country and it should show generosity, promote peace, heal, help feed & build; not be arrogant and greedy and not try to secure the resources of the world for its own benefits; lead by example not by might.
Ann Harbeson, 5 Valley Trail, urged the Board to consider & pass a resolution in opposition of a unilateral preemptive attack by the nation of the United States on the nation of Iraq; she read a statement. Ms. Harbeson stated that the Croton Peace Vigil has prepared a draft resolution which she read. She added that 58 other U.S. communities have passed similar resolutions. Ms. Harbeson asked that the resolution be sent to the President and the US Congress.
Carl Grimm, 5 Cook Lane, stated that he approved of what Ann Harbeson and Cornelia Cotton just said; no one really wins a war.
Fran Allen, 7 Finney Farm Rd., stated that everyone has a lot to worry about, Indian Point, the Millennium Pipeline, paying rent and taxes and they also worry a lot about this war; she asked the Board to get behind this resolution in one form or another.
Pete Drexler, Half Moon Bay, stated that the noise from the rail yard has not gotten better since the last meeting with representatives from Metro North; he has researched EPA regulations on locomotive noise; the issue is when engines are at idle for an extended period; new engines may not be in compliance with EPA regulations; they also exceed Croton noise regulations. He has spoken to Ken Feith of EPA who said the Village could take Metro North to court for violating local community ordinances; the ordinance should have a clause regarding property lines for the whole community. Mr. Drexler requested the Board to pass something to authorize police to entertain phone calls when noise level exceeds 70 decibels. Trustee McCarthy stated that she spoke with Neil Levy of
Kirkland & Ellis. They have been involved in cases dealing with train noise and she would like to retain them to assist and advise the Village on this issue. Mayor Elliott suggested the Board should first take a good look at what Mr. Drexler has brought to their attention to see if it can be taken care of without hiring outside counsel. Trustee Wiegman stated that he has high regard for Kirkland & Ellis, but would like to study what Mr. Drexler has brought before jumping to hire outside counsel. Trustee Schmidt asked what has happened with the noise since the meeting with Metro North. Mr. Drexel read from a letter from the President of Metro North, suggesting there will be extreme changes by May, but there hasn’t been any improvement since the meeting. He read notes from other residents of the area. He feels there may be a class action suit in this because of the negative effect on the quality of life in Croton. Trustee
Schmidt commented that Metro North has acknowledged that the engines are a problem and that there will always be an engine running at some point. Trustee McCarthy asked for a timetable when this would be put on an agenda. Mayor Elliott replied that it will be put on the agenda of the next work session. Trustee Grant stated that she has had conversations with George Walker, who agreed that at the meeting he did not present himself in a very helpful manner; he said that that they are putting some things in place in the next couple of days. Trustee Grant asked Village Attorney Waldman to research this; she is not prepared to commit money to this now. Trustee McCarthy stated that she feels there is no reason not to appropriate between $20,000 to $30,000 to look into this; until Metro North regards the Village as being willing to take an action, they will not go anywhere with it.
Bob Wintermeir, Radner Ave., regarding the request to send a statement to United States Administration, stated that he wanted to take the opposite side. He recounted his Vietnam service; he is deeply concerned how these people are proceeding; he prefers leaving the decision in the hands of the US Administration; his family has a history of military service. He added that he is against war, but this type of action helps to detract from the efforts of those who are guarding our safety every day; if the US has to go to war after diplomacy has failed, then he hopes it will be short and very few people will be hurt by that activity; Americans are not trying to run the world and he will no longer be silent. He added that the Village should think carefully about passing a
resolution as suggested.
Roger Solymosy, Old Post Rd. N, stated that he would also oppose any resolution from this Board without at least a more robust debate on this issue. Mr. Solymosy stated that they should not spend another $20-30,000 on another lawyer for Metro North; Attorney Waldman’s office should be able to find the statute referred to; he suggested, though it may be entirely appropriate that this noise issue be addressed, it is way to premature now to hire outside counsel. Trustee McCarthy replied that Kirkland & Ellis’ fees have been extremely reasonable and this issue has been going on for years.
Tom Brennan, 121 N. Riverside Ave., agrees it is appropriate to hold off on any action for no support of the war. He added that he has heard Half Moon people complaining of this noise issue for some time and has seen nothing getting done. He added that haulers have to know it is MetroEnviro who broke the rules, not the residents of Croton.
Michael Goetz, 19 Irving Ave., stated that the right move was made regarding handling of the sewage treatment plant. He stated also that he was an original monitor of MetroEnviro when information was being gathered; he did this for about a year and assumed others would continue; the number of citizens available to do the monitoring was limited; not too many were able to go there during the week; evidence was gathered, enough to make a rational decision and if goes to court, the Village should be able to win because of the evidence gathered. He cited the suit against Exxon that the Village lost from which they learned to gather evidence before going ahead to fight a large corporation; this was the prudent thing to do. He added that he was one of the original people who
wanted the skateboard park put behind Elliott’s; they decided to put it by the sewage treatment plant and he made a plea to not put it there but they made a great skateboard park; now people from Mt. Kisco & New Jersey come to Croton to use the skateboard park; he suggested charging a higher fee to people outside of Croton, perhaps $30.00 per day. Mr. Goetz stated that regarding the sidewalk improvements, he and Justin Casson did the original proposal for new sidewalks and the way to do it; the Village would do the repairs and put a tax lien on the property which would have to be paid off. Mr. Goetz referred to the property next to Kasson –if the Village does acquire this property for a community center, please consider putting in tennis courts; this could be done easily and at very little cost. Mr. Goetz stated that the people who complain about noise, odors or other substances they don’t want nearby, when they buy a home, they should look
at what is located in the vicinity before buying and then should not complain to the Board; the Board can help just to a point. Trustee McCarthy asked about how many times he went down to MetroEnviro when he was a monitor. Mr. Goetz replied that he went there about 10 times; adding that the people working there did not wear masks, hard hats or goggles; the equipment was there, but workers chose to not wear them. Trustee McCarthy cited legal facts that supported her position when she cast her vote regarding MetroEnviro; all violations, but one, had been found by the DEC or the Federal Monitor, not the Village; adding that she and Trustee Harkins had proposed a resolution to hire a professional monitor which was defeated by the Board. Trustee McCarthy commented that she sat down with Mr. Goetz and Justin regarding the sidewalk improvement project; she and Trustee Daubney campaigned on that issue and modeled a resolution based on the one from Ossining.
Trustee McCarthy commented that the skateboard park representatives from the citizen’s committee recommended the sewage treatment plant location and no investigation was done to see if the top of the digester could be resealed.
Otto Isler, 85 Morningside Drive, asked that the Village continue the white lines into the intersection of Croton Point Avenue and South Riverside to help people make a turn onto Benedict Blvd; and asked why hasn’t S. Riverside been paved? Mayor Elliott replied that is a county road but the Village has been working on taking it over. Mr. Isler stated that 1/3 of Sunset Park is still barren. Trustee McCarthy replied that it is intended to stay that way. Mr. Isler asked about the diner drainage problem and has there been any progress; there is still a flooding problem; he also stated that he would like to see the junk truck removed from behind Metro Enviro’s building.
Tom Brennan stated that he believes that the request for a canopy at the Exxon station was from a private citizen. Village Attorney Waldman replied that the law suit was from Exxon.
19. Carl Grimm, 5 Cook Lane, stated that before hiring another law firm, there are architectural answers that can be done to address the noise problem from Metro North.
a. On motion of TRUSTEE SCHMIDT, seconded by TRUSTEE WIEGMAN, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
RESOLVED: that pursuant to Article 15, Section 116 of the Election Law,
the following persons are hereby appointed inspectors of
election to preside at the Village Election of March 18, 2003:
DEMOCRATIC: Carol Seaver
REPUBLICAN: Audrey Gabrielsen
and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the compensation for each inspector of election shall be fixed at $175.00 per day, and $200.00 for each chairperson; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: that voting machines be used for recording the vote for the election of Village officers, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Clerk is hereby directed to hire R. Michael Mitchell and Bobby Hill as Technicians of voting machines at a compensation of
$55. per machine to prepare voting machines.
b) The resolution regarding the Gateway Overlay District was held over to next meeting.
c) On motion of TRUSTEE SCHMIDT, seconded by TRUSTEE WIEGMAN, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the Village has been working toward the construction of sidewalks along Route 129, (Maple Street) in the vicinity of Olcott Avenue and
WHEREAS, NYSDOT is requiring the extension of the storm drain system to handle the drainage from behind the retaining wall along the new sidewalk and the replacement of old, inoperative, existing infrastructure that needs to be replaced and extended, and
WHEREAS, this new work must be bid as the project will exceed $20,000, and
WHEREAS, the Village has obtained a proposal from Cronin Engineering in the amount of $2,500 for the preparation of bid documents for this project; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the retainer agreement with Cronin Engineering in the amount of $2,500 for the preparation of specifications for the NYS Route 129 & Olcott Avenue Drainage Project, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that this be charged to account 3 5110 200 0102 66.
d) On motion of TRUSTEE SCHMIDT, seconded by TRUSTEE GRANT, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, Michael Gerrard of the firm of Arnold and Porter requested that the Village retain an environmental engineering firm to assist the Village with the review of the Metro Enviro Transfer LLC application for a renewal of their Special Use Permit, and
WHEREAS, Mr. Gerrard obtained a proposal dated January 22, 2003 from the environmental engineering firm of Malcolm Pirnie to prepare an affidavit that summarizes their opinion on the violations identified in the draft statement of findings and Metro Enviro Transfer’s response for a lump sum cost of $4,400.00, and
WHEREAS, this agreement was approved and signed by the Village Manager on January 22, 2003,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager’s approval of the retainer agreement with the environmental engineering firm of Malcolm Pirnie to prepare an affidavit that summarizes their opinion on the violations identified in the draft statement of findings and Metro Enviro Transfer’s response for a lump sum cost of $4,400.00 is hereby ratified and approved.
e) On motion of TRUSTEE WIEGMAN, seconded by TRUSTEE McCARTHY, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the Village Board approved a resolution on March 18, 2002 which established a goal of demonstrating energy conservation at the local level and beginning the use of alternative sources of energy which are critical to regional, state and national energy policy, and
WHEREAS, the Village Board is desirous of beginning a program involving alternative sources of energy in line with this resolution, and
WHEREAS, the Village has been provided an agreement wherein the Village can purchase wind energy at a premium of 2 cents per kWh through Community Energy, Inc., and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the agreement with Community Energy, Inc., to obtain wind energy at the premium rate of 2 cents per kWh and with an initial yearly amount of up to 25% of the Village’s total usage.
f) On motion of TRUSTEE WIEGMAN, seconded by TRUSTEE GRANT the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
Resolution in support of an Energy $mart Community
WHEREAS, America has a finite amount of natural resources from which to create energy; and
WHEREAS, America's growing dependence on foreign energy sources weakens its position in the international economy; and
WHEREAS, the cost of energy continues to escalate each year; and
WHEREAS, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (hereinafter referred to as NYSERDA) provides significant technical and financial assistance for energy efficient improvements in commercial, residential and institutional buildings; and
WHEREAS, the Village Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson recognizes the value to its community in promoting energy efficiency; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, meeting in regular session on the third day of February 2003, does hereby designate itself as an Energy $mart Community; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson seeks to partner with NYSERDA and its agent in New York’s Hudson Valley region (the Environmental Business Association of New York, hereinafter referred to as EBANY) to promote energy efficiency throughout the Village of Croton-on-Hudson; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson encourages all owners and users of commercial, residential and institutional buildings in the Village to cooperate with the Village, NYSERDA and EBANY to find and utilize more efficient energy sources and systems.
g) On motion of TRUSTEE SCHMIDT, seconded by TRUSTEE GRANT, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY FIRE MUTUAL AID PLAN
BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton on Hudson approves participation by the Village of Croton on Hudson Volunteer Fire Department in the Westchester County Fire Mutual Aid Plan as now in effect and as amended from time to time and certifies to Westchester County, through its Commissioner of Emergency Services, that no restriction exists against “outside services” by such fire company fire department within the meaning of Section 209 of the General Municipal Law which would affect the power of such fire company/fire department to participate in such plan.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that a copy of this resolution be filed with the Westchester County Commissioner of Emergency Services.
h) On motion of TRUSTEE WIEGMAN, seconded by TRUSTEE GRANT, the following Village equipment was declared surplus property. The motion was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
1. 1993 Ford E-350 Recreation Dept (Bus) VIN #FDKE30M9NHB6545 – condition: Poor
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
a) Trustee McCarthy made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on January 6, 2003 as corrected. Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion. The Board voted as follows: Trustees McCarthy, Schmidt, Grant and Mayor Elliott “aye; Trustee Wiegman “abstain”.
b) Trustee Wiegman a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on January 15, 2003 as corrected. Trustee McCarthy seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
c) Trustee Schmidt made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on January 20, 2003. Trustee Wiegman seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval
d) Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on January 21, 2003 as corrected. Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval
e) Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on January 21, 2003. Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval
f) Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on January 27, 2003 as corrected. Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval
g) Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting (Executive Session) held on January 27, 2003. Trustee McCarthy seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval
Trustee Wiegman reported that there is a deadline of February 7th on whether the Village wants to make any comments to the Witt report; he feels there is a way to make a comment within the guidelines described by Kirkland & Ellis and he offered to draw up a draft comment. Trustee McCarthy replied that she has concerns about the Board making a statement based on their (Kirkland & Ellis) memorandum and suggested a call be made. Trustee Wiegman added that he would rather have a call with Kirkland & Ellis after they have seen a revision of the Board’s comments; the Village needs to take the report seriously. Trustee Wiegman added that he will do a draft statement that keeps both arguments intact. Mayor Elliott stated that this can be done and the Board will
take a look at it. Trustee McCarthy added that it should be sent to Kirkland & Ellis.
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 pm.
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary