A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Village Manager Herbek Trustee McCarthy
Absent: Trustee Grant, Attorney Waldman, Treasurer Reardon
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:-05 pm. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
On a motion by Trustee Wiegman, seconded by Trustee Schmidt, the vouchers were approved unanimously as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee
General Fund $ 78,886.24
Water Fund 1,767.12
Capital Account 11,287.78
Trust & Agency 150.00
Total $ 92,091.14
a. Adam Wekstein, Shamberg Marwell Hocherman Davis & Hollis, P.C., re: Revised Protest Petition re: Gateway Overlay District. The amended petition changes the name of the petitioner from Irwin Katz to Striclin Realty, LLC of which Mr. Katz is a principal.
b. Michael Merriman, NYS Department of environmental Conservation, re: DEC Permit for Metro Enviro Transfer LLC. The NYS DEC is providing a copy of the permit it granted to Metro Enviro Transfer LLC for a Solid Waste Permit for a period of 5 years.
4. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION:
Prior to Citizen Participation, Mayor Elliott asked Manager Herbek to read a memo about the recent meeting on Bari Manor rent issues and stated that Manager Herbek will be the Village Board’s spokesperson for issues surrounding this negotiation. Mr. Herbek read a memo and asked that copies of it be distributed at Bari Manor by their representative. (Copy attached) The memo reviewed the results of the meeting of the previous Thursday and what steps will be taken in the near future. A survey will be prepared by the Croton Housing Network and implemented with the help of Tara Dolan.
Tara Dolan, Bari Manor - Ms. Dolan thanked Mr. Herbek for the update of the meeting. Ms. Dolan provided her own update of the results of the meeting and also summarized her conversations with Nance Shatzkin of the Croton Housing Network on the meeting results and the upcoming steps. She doesn’t know how familiar Home Properties (owner of Bari Manor) is with the current status of the physical complex; concerned they don’t really know the state of the physical environment there. The last rent agreement duration included 77% of the current residents at Bari Manor, those who have lived there more than 9 years. Turnover has not been that high and people generally like living there. Home Properties should keep the residents abreast of what they are doing at the site – not word of mouth
from one resident to another. Residents pay for the utilities which adds to the monthly cost and should be remembered in the rent negotiations. Timing is important too because people have to make plans for the future if it doesn’t work out. Has another meeting been planned with Home Properties? Mr. Herbek said that another meeting had not been scheduled but after the information has been collected it will be. Ms. Dolan asked if he can set a target date if she works with Nance Shatzkin to get the information together. Mr. Herbek said he thinks Ms. Shatzkin is looking a 10 day to 2 week timeframe for getting the information together so, if that happens, early March might be feasible. Ms. Dolan asked if a representative from Bari Manor be allowed at the next meeting; she feels it is important for a representative to be there. Mr. Herbek stated the Village has no problem with that; he would want to be sure it won’t somehow jeopardize the
discussion. Ms. Dolan said if she were at the meeting she would say her piece but not interfere. Trustee Wiegman asked for more detail about heat and hot water. Each apartment has its own heating and hot water unit? yes. Is it driven by a common energy source? Yes, natural gas. Do they pay water? Not individually; only pay separately for heat and electric; meters for each apartment. Do units have storm doors and windows? Trustee Wiegman said part of a solution might be improving these.
Laura Seitz – 2 Brook Trail. Ms. Seitz is renewing a request for the Board to pass a resolution to oppose unilateral preemptive action in Iraq. It came up 2 weeks ago and she is renewing the request. Ms. Seitz stated her arguments in favor of this including that other communities have done it and the unknown consequences of a war. She will be pleased to present petitions, currently being circulated, indicating the number of residents opposing a unilateral action in Iraq.
Tom Brennan, 121 N. Riverside. Mr. Brennan said that when considering this proposal, the Board should hold off until they see how many people sign such a petition; it is a matter for the Federal government. On Bari Manor, he thinks paying heat/water is an important thing to consider.
a. Declaring Arboretum Trails to be officially part of the Village’s Trails System.
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 Board of Directors of the Croton Arboretum & Sanctuary has requested that the hiking trails in the Arboretum be made formally part of the Croton Trails System; and
WHEREAS, the Croton Trails Committee agrees with this request; and
WHEREAS, the Village Manager’s office has checked with NYMIR, the Village’s insurance carrier, and confirms that the Arboretum trails are insured under the Village’s regular insurance coverage,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village of Croton on Hudson Board of Trustees hereby recognize the Jane E. Lytle Memorial Arboretum trails to be officially part of the Village’s Trails System.
b. Authorizing the Village Manager to enter into an agreement with a financial accounting firm to audit the financial statements of the Village and the Justice Court.
On motion of TRUSTEE Schmidt, seconded by TRUSTEE Wiegman, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
Whereas, it is necessary to enter into an agreement with a financial accounting firm to audit the financial statements of the Village and also the financial statements of the Justice Court on the basis as prescribed by the New York State Comptroller’s Office for future years, and
Whereas, in accordance with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement Number 34 the Village is required to modify its financial reporting to include capital assets, including infrastructure assets effective June 30, 2004, and
Whereas, the Village has obtained a proposal from the firm of Bennett, Kielson, Storch, DeSantis & Company, Certified Public Accountants, for the years 2004 through 2008 to cover three components: the basic audit, the additional auditing requirements imposed by GASB No. 34, and the implementation fee, and
Whereas, the Village has an on-going relationship with the Bennett, Kielson, Storch, DeSantis & Company firm and they have provided the Village with excellent financial auditing services over the years,
Now Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the retainer agreement dated February 5, 2003 with the firm of Bennett, Kielson, Storch, DeSantis & Company, Certified Public Accountants, for the years 2004 through 2008, to cover three components: the basic audit, the additional auditing requirements imposed by GASB No. 34, and the implementation fee for the fees as provided for on page 6 of the agreement.
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On a motion By Trustee McCarthy, seconded by Trustee Wiegman, the minutes of the Meeting of February 3, 2003 were unanimously approved as amended.
Manager Herbek: He commended the Public Works employees on a superlative job of clearing the streets in this past storm. He knows for a fact what a great job they did in clearing the streets.
Village web site, there were over 1000 unique accesses (hits) to the web site last month, not including the subscribers. Anyone with an online computer can subscribe to our public notices, minutes and agendas. To subscribe go to the site and then subscribe to each topic separately. For example, today they sent out the notice that garbage collection would be postponed a day due to the storm. This is a good example of Village communications being enhanced through electronic media. Currently there are 61 Agenda subscribers and 94 Public Notices subscribers; only 5 to Trustee minutes.
Work session on 2/20 will have the following topics: Discovery Cove housing/tax situation, service award program for the volunteer Fire Dept., and some recreation issues: use of Senasqua pavilion, possible joint project on tennis courts, etc.
Trustee Wiegman: The Village’s recent Energy agreement was well publicized through various media and many inquiries were received by the Village Comments have been submitted on the Witt report with much of the information being gleaned from our Pipeline research.
Trustee McCarthy: The CAC review of 2002 accomplishments has come out. Earth Day annual event, Arbor Day event at corner of Benedict Blvd., Daffodil planting , Duck Pond dredging project, recommendations on the Comprehensive Plan. Next year they are hoping to work on energy conservation policy, street trees, a tree walking guide and Earth and Arbor days again. They also want to designate the canoe launch as Ecco park.
Regarding the Home Properties meeting, she has concerns; suspicious of all of this and who is going to be the arbiter of who is making too much money, etc. Where is this going, it may not come out where we want it to be. Why not go to them and ask for a 6 month renewal or very small increase; then we see how it works out in the end. She wants the Board to be in position to vote on ETPA (Emergency Tenants Protection Act) in 30 days. Nance Shatzkin responded that we have opened a negotiation and had a very good meeting; we don’t want to cloth them in a bad light. The idea of 6 month period – maybe - but she thinks that they have been very responsive; what we care about is the outcome and not how long it takes. Deciding in 30 days requires
much surveying of other possible units in the Village. The Board also needs to know what ETPA actually costs the Village; possible tax implications. This can’t be done in 30 days if we want to do it right. We need to move expeditiously, have strategy sessions, and give and take with representatives; it can’t be a committee of 50. There are many guidelines to use as tools in discussions to accomplish the best deal we can get. The larger issue is that Bari Manor is very important as a source of lower market rentals in this Village. We should not set up a straw horse of 30 days or bust. Trustee McCarthy said 30 days have already gone by and there is not definitive information available to Trustees yet. Ms. Shatzkin said she resents the implication that progress is not being made; don’t rush into the ETPA without collecting appropriate information. Every one has received information provided by Manager Herbek and further understanding was achieved at Thursday’s
meeting from Tom Burniston who knows a lot about it; can’t just invoke it without further understanding. Ms. Shatzkin is not personally convinced that ETPA is the way to go. Everyone involved is following up to pursue the needed information; she thinks CHN and the Village can help so they are willing to do the surveys; they have a good record of keeping information confidential. They need to know some of this information to make an informed decision. This is a realistic and also committed approach but they need a realistic timeframe.
Trustee McCarthy said she is concerned they will end up several months down the road with no rent agreement and more lease increases but Ms. Shatzkin said not months – they will move expeditiously. She is willing to share with Trustee McCarthy some information about time frames for leases expiring. Ms. McCarthy doesn’t want to reach an impasse with Home Properties and then they sent lease renewal notices to these people; people need some fixed period of time to know when their leases will be extended and for how long. Ms. Shatzkin said there were certain things that were needed to be known; real evidence of how many people at Bari Manor have Croton connections. Tom Burniston was just wonderful and passionate in the first meeting; he lived at Bari Manor for 20 years; we don’t want to go on without him. Trustee McCarthy’s other concern is about increases that are appropriate when an apartment turns over. Ms. Shatzkin said she is also concerned about the trauma in the rent
increase potential for individual’s; need to keep the Bari Manor community informed and move ahead as expeditiously as possible; need to maintain affordable units in the future. This is the role this complex has played for a long time – a community issue that goes beyond the particular residents. Other people in CHN can also work on it when she (Ms. Shatzkin) is unable to attend. She will share the information provided from Home Properties with Tara Dolan on a private basis. Our negotiating position improves with more information; strategy can be developed around this information. There will need to be strategy meeting on possible inclusion of other complexes – such as Van Wyck apartments. Ms. Dolan should be a point person – hopes she will do it. We must be focused. It will be a give and take. They have a right to make some money. We can’t get stuck on how they behaved so far; move ahead from here. Trustee Schmidt said we are
approaching this on a multi front approach and going down many avenues – he is cautiously optimistic. Ms. Shatzkin agrees and said a lot rests on us. A critical step is to have a meeting among ourselves, stated Trustee Schmidt.
Trustee Wiegman asked what response rate from residents is the target? It is good that data collection is to be done by a reputable and experienced organization such as CHN. Regarding ETPA, nothing we are doing now precludes us from doing that and may be helpful if that occurs. Trustee McCarthy wants Tom Burniston to be at whatever strategy session occurs and she wants to proceed with steps towards ETPA. Ms. Shatzkin stated that Trustee McCarthy is asking a question that Ms. Shatzkin doesn’t want to answer in this forum.
Trustee Schmidt: On Bari Manor, he is cautiously optimistic; will be looking at all the options we have. On snow, reminds everyone to help your neighbors and seniors and homebound, and clean out around hydrants.
Mayor Elliot: We have the best website in any community due to the efforts of Manager Herbek.
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Trustee McCarthy, and by unanimous vote, the meeting was adjourned at 9:20 pm.
Ann H. Gallelli, Secretary