A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Tuesday, April 8, 2003 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Grant
Trustee Wiegman Trustee McCarthy
Trustee Schmidt Village Attorney Waldman
Village Manager Herbek Village Treasurer Reardon
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:26 pm. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
On a motion by Trustee Grant, seconded by Trustee Schmidt, the vouchers were approved unanimously as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee:
General Fund $ 76,303.67
Water Fund 2,619.92
Capital Account 36,329.37
Trust & Agency 16,847.56
a. James Dugan, Terrapin Presents, re: request for the use of Croton Harmon Train Station Parking Lot for a musical festival weekend (5/31 and 6/1) in conjunction with the Westchester County Dept. of Parks. The Village has not charged them in thee past according to Manager Herbek. On some occasions, however, the Village has set a fee. At other times we have collected fees at the time of the event. A fee of around $2,000 for the event makes it easier for the Village. Daily parkers continue to use the lot so there is sometimes confusion. A variety of approaches have been used. Terrapin representative, Jim Dugan, Operations
Director, stated that Terrapin controls the operation of the festival but share some things such as refuse collection with the County. Terrapin pays a fee and keeps the admission fees. Mayor Elliott suggested that Mr. Dugan sit down with Mr. Herbek and work out an agreement to arrange this use. Trustee Schmidt pointed out that this is the same weekend as Summerfest and hoped it would not be a conflict.
b. Steven Levy, Jeannie Palazola, Deputy Commissioners, Board of Elections, re: Results of the re-canvass of votes of the March 18, 2003 Village election. Robert Elliott: 1,069 Greg Schmidt: 1,013 Georgiana Grant: 1.067 Leo Wiegman: 1,135 Don Daubney: 1,018 Tom Brennan: 910
c. Ann Gallelli, Planning Board Chairman, re: Croton-on-Hudson Realty, LLC (Finkelstein Warehouse) Application – Declaration of Lead Agency by the Planning Board. The Planning Board’s Public Hearing on this application is scheduled for April 22, 2003.
d. Ann Gallelli, Planning Board Chairman, re: Sign Ordinance Revision and Pre-Approved Sign Guide. The Planning Board is recommending that the VEB be authorized to undertake these two efforts.
Discussion: Trustee Schmidt suggested that the Chamber of Commerce be involved in this process. Trustee Wiegman said that he thought the VEB would be happy to do this but might need some assistance in this effort.
e. Ann Gallelli, Planning Board Chairman, re: Proposed Concession Stand/Bathroom at Dobbs Park, (VEB minutes on same topic attached)
Discussion: The Board passed this on to the Recreation Dept.
f. Jon Goplerud, Chair, Conservation Advisory Council, re: Earth Day Clean Up.
Discussion: The date is Sat 4/26 (rain date 5/3). Staging for the various efforts will be at Senasqua Park. The CAC and the Recreation. Dept are organizing the event; the corporate sponsor is JPMorgan Chase; other sponsors are River Lovers and Scenic Hudson. They are focusing this year on beautifying village properties and parks in addition to clean up projects. The Canoe launch will have a clean up and planting, Benedict Blvd. will have plantings contributed by Bruce Laemmel, Croton Bay and our Trails will have clean up and maintenance, and Silver Lake will have planting. Mrs. Kaplan’s 3rd grade class is this year’s Earth Day host. Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve this event, seconded by Trustee Grant. It was unanimously
g. Rosalind Morrissey, re: Community Blood Program.
Discussion: This year the need is great due to many weather related postponements. It is May 18, Sun., 9-3 at CHHS. Appointments need to be made by calling 271-5529-Joanne Fannon, or 271-8449 – Rosalind Morrissey
h. Christopher Copeland, New York Power Authority, re: 2003 Tree Power Program for governmental customers. Buy one get one free. They are 1 ? inch caliper trees at $102/tree. Trustee Schmidt suggested passing this information on to the CAC.
i. Sandra Miller, Con Edison, re: new automated meter reading system.
Over next few months meters will be upgraded to implement this program at no cost to consumers. The letter is to let residents know that this is happening. Manager Herbek will try to find out when they are starting this in Croton.
j. Alan Hevesi, NYS Comptroller, re: NYS Common Retirement Fund.
Describes a reform for the funding of the NYS Retirement Fund that he has currently before the NYS legislature. Mr. Hevesi says NYS payments would have been $1.6 billion, but under the reform would be about $650 million. It would lower the amount required for the Village to pay into the pension system this year, but would not affect next year’s payment. Manager Herbek said the Trustees need to discuss the impact of this over two years; he and Mr. Reardon want to even this out over the two year period.
k. Joseph DiMura, P.E., NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, re: Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System.
Mr. Herbek stated that the Village is on target and Croton has submitted our NOI as required under the law. We will need to involve the WCC and other Boards as well. We are where we should be at this stage in the process. Our complete Stormwater plan has to be fully implemented by 12/08 and the first compliance certificate is due by June 2004. There is a lot of work to do.
l. Bruce Berger, Westchester Count Solid Waste Division, re: Westchester County Solid Waste and Recyclables Collection Licensing Law.
This law was enacted in August, 1999 by the Bd. of Legislators. It permits municipalities to enforce the required display of the licenses on trucks. A municipality that does this is entitled to receive all the resulting penalty money. He is inviting Croton to undertake enforcement of this provision. Mr. Berger has met with our Police Dept on this licensing requirement.
m. Emilie Spaulding, Cablevision, re: the launch of the YES Network and changes in service.
4. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION:
Carol Gorman, 65 Bari Manor. Ms. Gorman presented a petition and a packet of information from Bari Manor residents urging adoption of ETPA. She related their understanding of the current state of rent increase discussions with Home Properties and said the residents found this unacceptable. Mayor Elliott stated that the Board had met in Executive session on this topic tonight. Trustee Grant asked if Ms. Gorman has provided the information she has tonight to the Croton Housing Network? Ms. Gorman said ‘no’.
Dave Goldman – 76 Young Avenue. Commented about Mayor Elliott’s campaign letter that was the subject of a Gannett article on Sunday, April 6, 2003. He feels the amount spent on the Metro Enviro lawsuit could have been less if the Village had fined Metro Enviro more than $50k. The hiring of an outside counsel was not done purely at the insistence of the Republican minority members. He stated that Trustee Grant had stated that Metro Enviro had violated the trust given to them. The Village has the right to pursue this violation of trust.
Mary Fagan, Old Post Rd. North. Ms. Fagan stated that the first two warm weekends Spring caused the odor to return. Fran Allen has been working with her to help her. Why is the Village issuing more building permits? She doesn’t intend to spend another summer suffering through this odor problem. Mayor Elliott asked Mr. Herbek to address this issue. Mr. Herbek stated that Village Engineer Dan O’Connor and DPW Superintendent Ken Kraft have reviewed the steps that the consultant engineer (Stearns and Wheeler) recommended – increasing pumping capacity at Sky View was done but didn’t work; pigging of the line to remove sediment that has developed in the line is next. Ms. Fagan asked why 5 months have passed since this was recommended.
Mr. Herbek said the Village has been working with Stearns and Wheeler to develop specifications; now ready to go out to bid. This should happen fairly quickly now that specs have been completed. Mr. Herbek said the Village has made this apriority item. Ms. Fagan asked how much had been spent so far. Mr. Herbek did not know the answer tonight. Ms.Fagan asked if the Village had any guarantees from the Bioxin company or the original company recommending this solution? Sky View did have a private system that failed and didn’t meet the requirements of state agencies; it could not be replaced to meet these requirements. Sky View applied for and connected to the Village’s sanitary sewer system, it was engineered, approved by the Village Board and the then Village Engineer Tully. It met requirements at that point in time. Ms. Fagan said more houses have been built since then – why did the Village let more houses be built on Arrowcrest?
Trustee Wiegman stated that Stearns and Wheeler has made recommendations regarding timing of cycles of the pumps that handle both Arrowcrest and Sky View and said this issue is on the front burner.
Fran Allen, Finney Farm Road. Ms. Allen stated that this problem is going into the 3rd or 4th summer; we have to keep our windows closed. Residents cannot plan outdoor events. The explanations of what we are going to do are not satisfactory. Ms. Fagan has taken the lead and she (Ms. Allen) will be actively involved. She wants to hear more; really have to solve this problem – it is affecting our lives.
Joanne Minett, 5 Van Cortlandt Place. Ms. Minett wants to see some changes in the administration. Since it was a close vote, she hopes new trustees will see that changes be made. Ms. Minett read her wish list of projects – sidewalks, bus shelters are among them. She and Mr. Herbek are going to walk around the Village on 4/16 at 9 am, please join them. Republicans are only ones who have actively fought for a Community Center. She wants to see the Village get more involved with School issues. Regarding signs: she hasn’t heard from Ken Kraft about the status of the signs. Signs were added on her street but put in the wrong place. Also school issues – busing zones are changing – children should not be walking on some of the streets and the Village should insist
that buses take them to school. Why does Metro Enviro only pay a mere $20k in taxes. The Village should redirect our attention away from the Pipeline and Indian Point; should encourage an tax producing business into town. On Mayor Elliott’s letter, she quoted a sentence from it about who Trustee Schmidt might appoint if he were elected. The letter was misleading since Ms. Cudequest made it clear she would not be a Trustee candidate. Trustee Schmidt said he had not decided who he would appoint; she thinks it was a scare tactic. We are lucky to have such concerned citizens as Mr. Schmidt, Ms. Cudequest and Ms. McCarthy. The Democrats claimed successes that were not theirs alone. Civility is an issue. Thanks to Mayor Elliott, Trustee Grant and former Trustee Watkins for the increase in hauling trucks driving on route 129.
Robert Wintermeier, Radnor Ave. Republicans could have talked about what could have happened if Trustee Grant wasn’t well enough to continue after her operation – but Republicans didn’t do that. He claimed he received a scanned letter that was unsigned. He knows Trustee Schmidt would have gotten a qualified person to replace himself. On taxes: Good that budget is posted on the internet at village website. He has talked to Treasurer Reardon at length. He doesn’t understand the new pension plan requirements- the rise from 53k to 500k. Mayor Elliott responded that the pension plan is administered by the state. Its value fell during the market turndown; it is required by law to fully fund the pension plan; this affects every municipality across the state; the Controller determines
what the funding value is and every municipality must pay. Mr. Herbek stated this is not a new pension system, the same as has existed over many years. During the good years, the amount of contribution was negligible. In the 70’s the amount was much higher. Controller is trying to level it out over several years. Mr. Wintermeier said he didn’t understand how this is done or arrived at. He stated that $72k is a 1% tax rate, so most of the increase in the Village taxes at 6.7% is related to this pension fund amount. Mr. Herbek stated that the Village’s proposed tax rate is the lowest in the county as far as he knows. Trustee McCarthy wants to know how many of those municipalities used their fund balance this year. Mayor Elliott said Mssrs. Herbek and Reardon would look into that. Mr. Wintermeier said using the fund balance is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Health insurance – not much we can do. Debt service has 8.15% increase. Not much we can do about this. Legal expenses – no
complaint, investing in protecting our water supply and for Metro Enviro expenses. Over last 4 years, there has been an increase in Village Justice office; can we adjust fines to offset this increase? The Recreation Dept. should consider raising these fees. Everybody is getting hit by this. Mr. Herbek stated that most communities are between 10 and 20% in proposed tax increases. Trustee McCarthy said our increase might even be higher as some things are being added into the budget;without using the fund balance it would be over 10%; more decisions still need to be made about inclusions. Mr. Wintermeier asked why recycling has had a decline in expenses; Mr. Reardon said more experienced personnel are involved. Trustee McCarthy stated that the Public Hearing on the budget is April 14th. Mr. Wintermeier said the $100k to library should be looked at; also the number of vehicles the Village has – particularly Police cars; 11 or 12 cars
– only 20 officers.
Tom Brennan, 121 N. Riverside Ave. Congratulations to new Board members. On the sewer odor, he questioned the engineer’s determination of adequacy 8 years ago. Mr. Herbek said it was approved by the engineer at that time; he would make a copy of the reports for him; size is not the issue. On Mayor Elliott’s letter, Mr. Brennan wanted to run just on issues; enlighten people; taken aback by the McCarthy/Cudequest/Schmidt grouping – where is Don Daubney and Tom Brennan; letter didn’t mention the actual candidates; a scare tactic. He does not try to undermine the government; he is a free individual and will continue to come to meetings, the Republicans candidates are good people too.
Julie Asaro, Bari Manor. Owners are trying hard to please tenants but nobody is on the premises. She wrote to Trustee McCarthy that she loves Bari Manor because it is safe, but she doesn’t think it is safe any more. She called police once but it is private property. It needs speed signs; high school students park there as well. She still feels it is safe; can walk to church and stores and feel safe even at night.
Mark Aarons, 18 Georgia Lane. His impression of the letter as Chair of the Republican Committee, is that it insinuated that by embracing Maria Cudequest, one is embracing something bad. She is a private citizen. He would give some case law to Seymour Waldman on this matter. Ms. Cudequest was just exercising her constitutional rights. He worked hard at running a fair campaign.
Don Daubney, Bungalow Road. He wants to weigh in on this letter as well as others; he is dismayed. He felt a positive campaign had been run. His group did, in his opinion. He thought Democrats had as well until letter was sent out. He doesn’t know if it influenced results or not; bordered on unethical in his mind. What does this forbode for future campaigns?
Jack ?, Bari Manor. What discussions have occurred with Bari Manor; can you tell us what has been discussed? Mayor Elliott said the Bari Manor representatives should check with Croton Housing Network and Nance Shatzkin; your group will be included in any future discussions with Home Properties.
a. Calling for Public Hearing to consider Puff/DiVito Steep Slopes Hardship Exemption and Permit for May 5, 2003.
On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, 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, on June 24, 2002, Michael DiVitto and Tim Puff applied for a steep slopes hardship permit; and
WHEREAS, this matter was referred to the Planning Board; and
WHEREAS, the Planning Board has now issued its recommendations regarding this matter; and
WHEREAS, prior to makings its decision the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson hereby calls for a Public Hearing on the Puff/DiVitto Steep Slopes Hardship Permit application for May 5, 2003
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On a motion by Trustee Schmidt, seconded by Trustee Wiegman, the minutesof the Meeting of March 17, 2003 were approved as amended by an unanimous vote.
On a motion By Trustee Wiegman, seconded by Trustee Grant, the minutes of the Meeting of March 18, 2003 were approved as amended by a vote of 4-0-1 with Trustee McCarthy abstaining.
On a motion by Trustee Grant, seconded by Trustee Wiegman, the minutes of the Meeting of March 25, 2003 were approved unanimously without amendment.
Manager Herbek: On Albany Post Rd. the house numbers will be changed from Croton to Buchanan. This is resulting from a fatal fire in Buchanan earlier this year. Renumbering is being done so no duplication will cause confusion. Croton will add a ‘1’ to existing address, Montrose ‘ 2’ etc. 38 properties are affected in the Village. It is a joint effort with other municipalities and the Post Office.
On the Millennium Pipeline, Dani Glazer, coordinator for United Communities of Westchester has reported that Millennium has submitted a brief to the Army Corps of Engineers. She has reviewed and highlighted certain issues that she feels we should continue to emphasize with appropriate agencies. Manager Herbek still has no idea of when we will hear from the Dept. of Commerce. A meeting with Briarcliff is hopefully set for May 12 in Briarcliff.
Trustee Wiegman: A good workshop was held by the Croton Sustainable Energy Coop. They will also co-host a May 3rd conference for energy independence in White Plains. Various seminars will be available at this conference; will be a registration fee. Can find out more information at the website of the Federated Conservations of Westchester County. The website address for this group is www.fcwc.org.
He is in touch with Legislator Kaplowitz on the plans for diversion of sewerage from Yorktown to Peekskill.
He, Manager Herbek and Planning Chair Gallelli met with the potential grocer for the former Grand Union site at the existing store in NYC. It is an outstanding store.
Trustee McCarthy: Cablevision internet access is becoming available in parts of village.
Trustee Schmidt: Energy forum was very interesting He noted they did not propose going out and spending a lot of money – minimal steps can make a difference. The CE Tompkins groundbreaking was today, a fun event with kindergartners in their hardhats. Croton Hardware has reopened and Wondrous Things has expanded; the Grand St. deli is also reopened.
Trustee Grant: She also offered congratulations to Wondrous Things. The CET groundbreaking ceremony was delightful and a lot of work has gone into it. The community is moving forward together. Another ground breaking is scheduled at 2 pm at PVCortlandt Middle School.
Mayor Elliot: Residents have a dilemma this Friday night – choosing between Croton Corrale at Holy Name of Mary or Hudson Stage at the Library.
Trustee Grant made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Trustee Schmidt, and by unanimous vote, the meeting was adjourned at 10:16 pm.
Ann H. Gallelli, Secretary