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Board of Trustees Minutes 03 03 03
A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, March 3, 2003 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.

The following officials were present:

        Mayor Elliott                   Village Attorney Waldman
        Trustee McCarthy                Trustee Wiegman
        Trustee Schmidt
          
        Absent: Trustee Grant, Manager Herbek, Treasurer Reardon

1. CALL TO ORDER:

Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:12 pm.  Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mayor Elliott announced that Trustee Grant is recuperating marvelously and will be back with us shortly.  He explained that Manager Herbek was absent due to a death in the family and Treasurer Reardon was ill.


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            $39,695.78
        Water Fund                  2,533.30
        Capital Account              5,815.92
        Trust & Agency    28,913.31
        Total                            $76,958.31

3. CORRESPONDENCE:
a. Peter Cannito, Metro-North Railroad, re: Metro-North Noise.  Mr. Cannito writes to tell the Board of long and short-term efforts by Metro North to mitigate noise levels and respond to community concerns.  Mayor Elliott read the letter. Mr. Cannito urges residents to use the hotline number at 914-271-1908.

b. Judge Nicolai, Supreme Court of the State of New York re: Court’s Decision and Order re: Metro Enviro.  Judge Nicolai overturned the Village’s denial of a renewal of the Metro Enviro Special Permit.  Mayor Elliott stated that the Board had met earlier in the evening with counsel in executive session and agreed to pursue an appeal.

c. Carmella Mantello, Hudson River Valley Greenway, re: designation of Croton Landing as a Hudson River Greenway Water Trail site.  Ms. Mantello advises of the availability of a grants program to improve the site as well an opportunity to place a Greenway Water Trail Kiosk and/or flag at the site.
 
d. Janet Langsam, Executive Director, Westchester Arts Council, re: Municipal Challenge Grants.  Ms. Langsam provides an application form for municipalities to receive funding up to $5,000 through partnerships with cultural organizations to present local arts programs.

e. Kenneth Verschoor, Deputy Planning Director, Department of Technical Services, Town of Cortlandt, re: Public Hearings to amend certain chapters in the Town’s Zoning Code.

4. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION:

Tara Dolan, Bari Manor;  Ms. Dolan has some concerns.  A strategy meeting on Bari Manor was held last Friday in the Manager’s office and she was not advised of the time until about 15 minutes before.  Nance Shatzkin had called her.  Mr. Herbek didn’t call back to tell what happened at the meeting, but Ms. Shatzkin did call back.  Also Tom Burniston was not there.  She is the representative of Bari Manor of residents and wants to be involved as much as she can but she can only be as involved as the Village Board lets her be involved.  She has declined to be involved in the CHN survey process as far as being an interviewer – doesn’t feel she should be asking those types of questions of fellow residents. She feels the focus of the strategy sessions should be on the whole Bari Manor community not just the needy, seniors, etc.  She has done what the Board has asked her to do, it’s six weeks later, her rent is going up $200 on 4/30 and she feels uneasy about her circumstances.  She is afraid that Home Properties will do something for the needy but everyone else will have to bear the raise.  She liked Trustee McCarthy’s idea about a 6 month lease period.  What’s going on with the ETPA?  Mayor Elliott said she would be involved in any future strategy meeting, but everyone at the meeting agreed that a survey must be done and would be best done by the Croton Housing Network (CHN) who are experienced in this.  Mayor Elliott said  he feels they  can come up with solutions that will be agreed to by all.   There is nothing about retroactive rents that has been discussed.  Trustee McCarthy wants it in writing from Home Properties or else issue leases now for 6 months with very small increases.  Everyone has more breathing room in that case.  Within next 10 days, she wants something that says exactly what Home Properties are going to do.  Trustee McCarthy stated that Bari Manor has residents across the income spectrum and she feels people at a certain level will be told they will have $200 increase; she feels the Board has the power to do something about this.  Mayor Elliott stated that Bari Manor’s character is of utmost importance to the Board.  At present Home Properties is willing to work with the residents and the Board. At present there is not a definite meeting date with Home Properties but Ms. Dolan will be first to know when one is scheduled.  Trustee McCarthy stated she will not agree to let the CHN act as the Village spokesmen on this matter, Mayor Elliott stated that the Board had designated CHN as spokesperson on this matter.  Trustee Schmidt confirmed that all had agreed to let CHN handle the survey and act as representative in this process and also stated that the Board was not looking to hurt the upper income Bari Manor residents.
Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand Street; Home Properties took over Patrice apartments in Peekskill and that her CCC1 group is attempting to hook up Bari Manor residents with them.  In their case, rents were applied retroactively.  She found a binder of archival files on Bari Manor from 1980 in the Village index. She is happy to hear that the Board is moving ahead with the appeal of the Metro Enviro decision. She wants to correct the information provided by Sam Watkins, former Trustee, in a recent letter to the Gazette. She quoted him writing “make peace with Metro Enviro and move on”.  She reminded all that Mr. Watkins voted in 1998 to approve the special permit. He said it was not possible to win on appeal, and that Croton is doomed by the DEC issuance of a renewal permit. Ms. Cudequest said it is not possible to ‘make peace’ with an organization such as Metro Enviro that has such a long record of disregard of its permit: Mt. Kisco ‘made peace’ and are now considering further action.  Can’t make peace with an organization long associated with organized crime.   She pointed out that this Judge’s decision was overturned in the Town of Cortlandt appeal of his Emery mine decision.  Don’t forget that Mr. Watkins also complained about 15 months ago about the money spent on the Millennium pipeline proposal.  She recalled a work session held in the past where she, Trustee McCarthy and Ms. Cellarier asked for random sampling of incoming loads.  The majority of the Board agreed with the Village consultant that it would be difficult and of little use, but it is done in other places in the country.  We are not bound by the NYSDEC renewal; remember it is the DEC’s job to find locations for businesses such as Metro Enviro; they were not likely to not renew.  She asked if $50k of the $150k spent on this issue came from the fine?  Trustees didn’t know.   Can we levy fines for violations that we have not issued fines for.  Mayor Elliott said that was a question for special counsel to address.

Marie Jabet-Dutzek,182 Cleveland Dr.;  She is representing residents between Veterans Corner and CET on Cleveland.  Years ago, when the sidewalk opposite the library was put in, an agreement was reached as a result of strong lobbying by George Jacob who has since moved away. The location of the sidewalk was against the advise of the police at the time; they thought the sidewalk should be on the east side. The agreement was that the Village would be responsible for its maintenance and shoveling.  Mr. Herbek sent a letter that said the Village no longer has the time or manpower to shovel.  She stated that if it is truly an issue of money then the Village should put this ahead of beautification projects.  Snow has caused an island which reduces the street to 1 ? lanes causing a safety problem.  Questions the Board’s decision to spend money on beautification at the island at Benedict Blvd, money on the Skatepark, and another garden island which no resident has agreed to maintain, if they can’t maintain this sidewalk. Why have the residents who live in the section received enforcement letters – have other non-shoveled residents received the same?  The promise in 1993 was to shovel the sidewalk across from the library. She is concerned about liability.  Mayor Elliott said he would ask Manager Herbek to take it up right away when he returns.  She provided the letter to the Mayor and also the names and addresses of the impacted residents.  Mayor Elliott thanked her for coming to the meeting.

Susan Konig, 37 Elmore;   Ms. Konig recounted three instances of a sewer backup into her house beginning in January 2001. The DPW responded and cleaned the blockage; said it was a village problem, a fluke that would never happen again.  It happened again in December 2002 and again in Feb. 2003; the DPW responded again and cleared the blockage.  The Konigs cleaned up the mess themselves and also hired professional cleaners, had to get new carpeting twice, spent many hours trying to get reimbursement from the Village but she is tired of fighting the Village   She went to Manager Herbek to seek reimbursement but he said his hands were tied and had no power to reimburse – up to the Village insurance company. She stated they were “not fight the Village people”. After the last occurrence the DPW said there was a problem and there had been a problem for years; they used a camera to look in the pipes and discovered a tree root problem which will be addressed.  Manager Herbek then notified here that a check would be forthcoming for an amount less than her submitted bills.  To date, the Village has provided no assurance that she will have reimbursement.  She is here to state her complaints and feels she is being poorly treated.  Her Realtor said in the current circumstances, her house is worth nothing.  Trustee McCarthy stated she doesn’t feel Mr. Herbek has the discretion to do what he did and this should be discussed by the Board.

Carole Berman, Bari Manor; Ms. Berman asked if the Bari Manor meeting will be before the election or after.  Mayor Elliott said he doesn’t know; all the Village Board is in agreement that it shouldn’t be tied up with the election; the survey must be done first to move ahead so the time frame is not known right now.  Trustee Schmidt asked how far along the survey is?  Several residents said they have called for appointments but have not been called back yet.  Mayor Elliott said he has heard that CHN has had 20-30 responses.  Trustee Wiegman stated that CHN making this a very high priority.

Yura Mohen, 63 Van Wyck St; she is representing a group that would like the Village Board to join the Cities for Peace movement. She reviewed some of the cities that have passed this resolution. She addressed her views of why this is an issue for local government.  As a government teacher, she feels it is very appropriate.  We are all facing many problems with the economy – not just a national matters, but many that are affecting communities and the war has not even begun.  She hopes the Village Board will consider that this is an appropriate forum for a debate on this issue.

Stan Wiengast, 32 Olcott Ave. He wants to add his voice opposing the war in Iraq; we should look at it from the point of view of its impact on local budgets; same in all communities; unlimited spending is going on to promote this war; urges the Village to address this issue.

Tom Brennan, 121 N. Riverside;  In his view, it is up to the Federal Government to make war decisions; local government has enough to do without worrying about this resolution.

Joanne Minett, Van Cortlandt Place;  Ms. Minett wants the Board to speak to Mr. Herbek about how he speaks to residents.  Not just her, but other residents who have problems.  He is the problem and he needs to have more respect.  Trustee McCarthy said she knows of Ms. Minett’s snow removal problem; she thought there was an understanding with the Police about the snow removal and the noise ordinance.  She will introduce legislation to amend noise ordinance to cover snow removal hours. They were using construction equipment to remove the snow. Ms. Minett said she got no satisfaction from the enforcement officer; she left message for Manager Herbek to call her and he hasn’t .

Don Daubney, Bungalow Rd.;  Mr. Daubney asked about the Keep Out signs at Croton Landing.  They are on phone polls to the left of the road going to the cove at the north; he believes that CSX wants to keep people from going to north end.  What do we expect from our citizens as far as going to the north end?  Mayor Elliott said, ultimately, the Village will have a waterside trail to the north end.  He has managed to get $500k for continuing the trail even further north.  Mr. Daubney asked about the resolution on tonight’s agenda.  Mayor Elliott said the Beaverkill Conservancy is giving us the land with a conservation easement.  Trustee McCarthy said the easement makes you wonder why we are doing this at all; it is subject to getting approval for certain things and she doesn’t understand some of the language; should have been subject to a work session before coming in their packet; she has a problem with this, not consistent with open government.  Mayor Elliott stated that this deed is the culmination of what was known to be the end result at the time the land was purchased.  The conservation easement protects the property, as the community wants it to be protected.  Trustee McCarthy said there are legal implications of the agreement; what are we gaining over what we already have?  Mr. Daubney said many ideas are being floated for how to use this land; would this conservation easement prevent the Village from encroaching a few feet into this part of the property?  Mayor Elliott said no, Trustee McCarthy said yes. She said that the Village must get OSI (Open Space Institute) consent for any improvements – same as under current management agreement.  If we want to encroach a few feet on this property for a ball field, Trustee McCarthy is not sure we can do so under this agreement.  Mayor Elliott cautioned to not confuse what part of the Croton Landing property is being discussed.  This easement is clearly what the expectations were for this section.  Trustee Wiegman stated that the Village was being asked for reasonable things on the skinny northern half of the property; he explained the intentions of the easement – no mining, clearcutting and similar type things.  Attorney Waldman said it was discussed in a work session and recalled the discussion, including Trustee Schmidt indicating a particular use – kayaking – he wanted included.  Trustee McCarthy noted that the draft agreement was not shown to the Board in a work session or before getting it in the board packet.

Maria Cudequest,  84 Grand Street;  She looked at the agenda on Friday on the website at 6pm and she did not see this resolution. She suggested that the Village place it on the website and wait a week or two.  We are not in any hurry.  Significant questions have been raised.  On the war in Iraq, she feels discussion should take place on this but a Board meeting is not the appropriate forum rather should be something like a moderated discussion.



5. RESOLUTIONS:

        a. Calling for Public Hearing on the tentative Budget for Monday, April 14, 2003.
On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman, seconded by TRUSTEE Schmidt, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:

WHEREAS, Sections 5-504, 5-506, and 5-508 of New York State Village Law set forth certain procedures and dates for the adoption of the annual Village budget; and

WHEREAS, Section 5-508.3 provides that a public hearing shall be held upon the tentative budget, as changed, altered or revised, on or before the fifteenth day of April;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that a Public Hearing shall be held on the 2003-04 Tentative Budget for Monday, April 14, 2003, at 8:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room of the Municipal Building.


        b. Authorizing Village Manager to sign the Prisoner Transportation Agreement with Westchester County.

On motion of  TRUSTEE Schmidt,  seconded by  TRUSTEE McCarthy,  the  
following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:

BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the Prisoner Transportation Agreement with the County of Westchester, for the period January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2003.

        c. Acquisition of Beaverkill piece of Croton Landing by the Village.

On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman,  seconded by  TRUSTEE Schmidt,  the  
following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:  

WHEREAS, The Village, together with the Beaverkill Conservancy; purchased the Seprieo Property (now called Croton Landing) in 1996 for $2.4-million; and

WHEREAS, Mayor Elliott has been working on a plan with the Open Space Institute to have the Beaverkill piece deeded to the Village; and

WHEREAS, the Open Space Institute is willing to deed this property to the Village together with a conservation easement for the property; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton on Hudson hereby accepts this conveyance together with the Conservation Agreement, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the Conservation Easement and any other Documents related to this conveyance.


        Discussion:  Trustee McCarthy asked the meaning of easement stewardship and endowment payment.  Mayor Elliott stated that OSI will inspect their easements regularly forever, so we would contribute $5k to their fund to enable them to do that; the additional $1k is for a baseline study to use against future inspections. Trustee McCarthy said they should already have the baseline. Trustee McCarthy pointed out that the $1,000 cap was not set forth in the agreement.  Trustee Schmidt asked if Attorney Waldman had reviewed the document.  Mr. Waldman said yes and only made a few edit changes.  Trustee McCarthy asked about a change in time frames in 4.10 for receipt or rejection of notices. She asked when did the first draft appear; Mr. Waldman replied about the end of 2002 or early 2003. She asked if he believes this property could be used for an active use. Mr. Waldman said it depends on the definition of active.  Trustee McCarthy said there is no provision to protect us if we want to ask for an active use. Mr. Waldman agreed that the Village would have to ask if it is clearly not one of the passive uses outlined in the easement.  If the Village changes its mind about the current passive understanding, then OSI wants to have a role in the making of the decision.  The language is as he thinks a group such as OSI would want it to be.  Mayor Elliott stated this is exactly what the people here want.  Trustee Wiegman said he reads the paragraphs in question as giving us the flexibility that Trustee McCarthy says she wants.  There isn’t a single definition of passive, and the physical dimensional aspects of the land prevent it from being used in any significant way requiring structures, restaurants, etc. Attorney Waldman stated he would advise against trying to get an absolutely precise wording.

        d. Urging the NYS Legislature to enact an updated and expanded bottle bill.
On motion of  TRUSTEE Wiegman,  seconded by  TRUSTEE Schmidt,  the  
following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:  

RESOLUTION URGING THE NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE
TO ENACT AN UPDATED AND EXPANDED BOTTLE BILL

WHEREAS, July 2003 marks the 20th anniversary of New York State's Returnable Container Act (hereinafter referred to as the "Bottle Bill"); and,

WHEREAS, This law requires a minimum 5-cent refundable deposit on carbonated soft drinks, beer, malt beverages, sparkling water, and wine coolers, thereby creating an economic incentive for the collection and return of these beverage containers; and,

WHEREAS, This law has resulted in an average return rate of 75% over the past twenty years, totaling over 75 billion bottles and cans, virtually all of which have been recycled; and,

WHEREAS, This law has diverted more than 5.2 billion tons from the waste stream, saving municipalities money in solid waste collection and disposal costs; and,

WHEREAS, This law has reduced litter by 30%, which has resulted in safer and more attractive streets, parks, playgrounds, beaches, and roadsides and has prevented injuries and property damage from broken glass; and,

WHEREAS, Since the law was enacted, non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, tea, juice and sports drinks have become more popular, and now make up more than 20% of the beverage market in New York; and,

WHEREAS, Separate litter surveys conducted by the American Littoral Society and Scenic Hudson in 2002 show that non-carbonated beverages make up nearly two thirds of the beverage container litter in New York; and,

WHEREAS, Expanding the Bottle Bill to include these containers would divert an additional 2.5 billion bottles and cans each year from the waste stream, reducing litter and easing the burden on municipal solid waste programs; and,

WHEREAS, The current law does not provide for the disposition of any unclaimed deposits, and the beverage industry has retained over $1.2 billion in unclaimed deposits since 1983; and,

WHEREAS, Senate bill S.1696 and Assembly bill A.3922 would expand the Bottle Bill to include bottled water, tea, juice and sports drinks, and would require that unredeemed deposits be submitted to the State Environmental Protection Fund to support municipal recycling and waste prevention programs and other critical environmental needs; and,

WHEREAS, The Container Recycling Institute estimates that this legislation could generate more than $172 million a year in new revenue; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Village of Croton-on-Hudson does hereby urge state lawmakers to enact S.1696/A.3922, which would expand and update the Bottle Bill to increase recycling, curb litter, reduce costs for municipalities, and provide a steady stream of funding for recycling, waste prevention, and other environmental programs; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson is hereby directed to forward copies of this resolution to Governor George E. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Assemblywoman Galef and Senator Liebel, and the New York Public Interest Research Group.


        Discussion:  Mayor Elliott stated that this bill would expand the definition of returnable bottles and would have unclaimed deposits be submitted to the State Environmental Protection Fund to support municipal recycling and waste prevention programs.
        
                
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

On a motion By Trustee Schmidt, seconded by Trustee Wiegman, the minutes of the Meeting of February 18, 2003 were unanimously approved as amended.


7. REPORTS:

Trustee Wiegman:  The VEB discussed writing an RFP for the development of a village logo.  Croton CIP is having a meeting tomorrow night in the Community room at 7pm.  The Croton Sustainable Energy Coop has scheduled a workshop on March 29 in the Community room on how to do a home energy audit and bill reading.

Trustee McCarthy:  She will present an amended noise law resolution.

Trustee Schmidt:  Croton Caring Committee is holding a series of seminars on living with cancer over several dates in the Community room. He noted that on the brick work in the Upper Village, some of the tops are coming off, may be freezing problems. He asked if we can we revisit fishing in Croton River at the water works. This was restricted after 9/11 but the fisherman keep an eye on things.

Mayor Elliot:  Manager Herbek and Police Chief Coxen have the unenviable tasks of telling people sometimes what they don’t want to hear. He praised the way they do their jobs.  He said he was also pleased to announce that there will be a new grocer signing a contract for the space near the CVS.  

Trustee Wiegman made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Trustee Schmidt, and by unanimous vote, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 pm.

Respectfully submitted
Ann H. Gallelli, Secretary


__________________________
Village Clerk