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Board of Trustees Minutes 05-03-04
A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, May 3, 2004 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.

The following officials were present:

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

Trustee Grant called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m.  Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Trustee Schmidt made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee.  The motion was seconded by Trustee Wiegman; approved unanimously.

                General Fund                    $ 80,450.42
                Water Fund      15,443.04                                       
                Capital Accounts        57,297.67
        Trust & Agency          1,782.00        

Tony Conetta, Dvirka and Bartilucci, and Dan O’Connor, Village Engineer, did a presentation regarding the Village’s storm water management.  Mr. Conetta stated that Federal Law requires community storm water systems to be covered by permit.  As of March 2003, a storm system covered under that permit must conduct a 6 part program; every year the Village must submit to DEC an annual report of what it has conducted over the past year; a draft must be available to the public, tonight’s meeting fulfills that requirement; the state will receive a summary of this report.  Dan O’Connor related what the Village has done-such as public education (web site, bulletin board, newsletter information, posters, mailing list, a public meeting within 7 days for public comment, volunteer groups). He added that regarding illicit discharge & elimination, they will be looking at stricter enforcement; mapping work will be done as well as dye testing, a public hearing, articles and public notification. He added that regarding construction site runoff, management practices will be employed to reduce sediment and protect the waterways; site plan review by the Planning Board and the WCC; contractors will have to bring wastes to a licensed solid waste management facility.  Post construction management -deals with detention ponds, wet ponds, dry wells; filter strips have been installed in several areas; all post construction management practices will be mapped and inspected.  Pollution prevention and good housekeeping- deals with the DPW (oil recycling, more frequent catch basin cleaning, sediment cleaning, salt shed, litter picked up more frequently).  They are evaluating new management practices.  Ongoing projects: the Croton River watershed study along with the County and Kaplan’s pond is being looked at in terms of a new outlook structure and a potential retention pond on High Street.  Questions from the public:  

Bob Wintermeir, 43 Radnor, stated that he would love to see more law enforcement and asked how many citations were issued for litter and sewer problems. He added that more volunteer workers are needed and the decal program should be included. He is glad to hear that the Croton River crushing project is coming to an end and they will not be dumping there any longer; regarding communications –anything published should show up in the newsletter; also utilize the bulletin board at Croton Commons.  

Dave Tuttle 94 Grand Street, stated that over the years an increasing amount of runoff of salt and solvents used to melt ice are going into storm drains; are they considering other types of de-icing materials and their impact?  Dan O’Connor replied that most of it is the standard rock salt, not a lot of other compounds, they are not using grit or sand as they clog storm drains, salt goes to the Hudson over a period of time and is transitory in nature and has less effect on the ecosystem.  Trustee Grant added that she can smell detergent when walking in certain areas.  Dan O’Connor replied that this may be caused by overflowing septic system or having a washing machine tied into storm water system which is an illegal discharge and should be reported.  He added that sanitary lines are typically manholes in the middle of street and storm lines are catch basins on the sides of the street.  He stated that the catch basin marking project needs volunteers.  

Trustee Wiegman asked how a homeowner knows if a drain is illegally hooked into the storm water system.  Dan O’Connor replied that his office can help; the homeowner can contact a plumber for a dye or smoke test which should be done by an expert.  

Trustee Schmidt asked if there was any leaf pick-up information.  Mr. Conetta stated that many communities require bagging but this is a community decision, more & more municipalities are not raking leaves to the curb.  Trustee Schmidt added that gutters & leaders from houses should not be connected to storm water system either.

Trustee Grant opened the Public Hearing to consider Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2004, waiving the residency requirement of certain Village Officials.

Discussion:  Village Manager Herbek stated that some waivers have been issued already; the new court clerk has assumed this position and the Village needs to add this additional position.   Dave Tuttle, 94 Grand St., asked if once the resolution is made to waive the requirement, does it stay even after person has left the position.  Village Manager Herbek replied that it stays if the Board opts to do so.  Mr. Tuttle stated that when jobs are available again, the Village should go out to the community so residents have first opportunity to apply.  Trustee Schmidt replied that the Village does not have a large pool of workers to pull from like a large city.  Bob Wintermeir stated that preference should be given to Village residents if possible; a person from outside the Village is now performing in the position and will the law be retroactive. Trustee Wiegman replied that a month ago, the date was set for the Public Hearing to allow residents the opportunity to express their opinions.

Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2004, waiving the residency requirement of certain Village Officials; Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion; approved unanimously.

Local Law Filing                                                                     41 STATE STREET, ALBANY, NY 12231

        Village of Croton-on-Hudson

        Local Law No. 5   of the year 2004

A local law amending Chapter 50-1 of the Village Code, waiving the residency requirement of certain Village officials.

Be it enacted by the Board of Trustees of the

Village of Croton-on-Hudson as follows:

Section 1.      Section 50-1 is hereby amended as follows:

                Adding paragraph G.  Court Clerk

Section 2.      This local law shall be effective upon filing with the Secretary of State.

Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
a)      A letter from Robert J. O’Neill, Exec. Director of ICMA (International City/County Management Assoc) informing that Village Manager Herbek has been elected as a Regional Vice President of ICMA; he will be inducted into office at their annual conference held on October 17-20 and will serve on the board for three years.
b)      A letter from Laszlo R. Straka, 80 Radnor Ave., urging the Board to not move the permissible school starting time for construction work from 8 am to 7 am.
c)      A notice from Thomas Mensah, National Council of Ghanaian Associations, requesting the use of the parking lot at MetroNorth on Saturday August 7, 2004 for a picnic and cultural show they will be holding at the Croton Point Park.  The Trustees unanimously granted permission with the usual caveats.
d)      A letter from Andrew Spano, Westchester County Executive, enclosing a draft copy of A Greenprint for a Sustainable Future, the Westchester Way and announcing hearings on this document to be held on Tues., April 27 at 7:30 pm and Tues. May 4th at 9:00 am at 420 Michaelian Office Building, 148 Martin Ave., White Plains.
e)      A letter from Kathleen Ryan, Asst. Superintendent for Finance & Administration, Croton-Harmon School District, declaring their intent to be Lead Agency under SEQRA for the proposed CET tennis courts.
f)      A letter from Kenneth Verschoor, Deputy Planning Director, Town of Cortlandt, Dept. of Technical Services, enclosing a Public Hearing Notice for a proposed Town zoning amendment.
g)      A memo from Jon Goplerud, Chair, Conservation Advisory Council, reporting on Earth Day cleanup activities and results.
h)      A letter from Jo-Ann Dyckman, Cortlandt Town Clerk, enclosing a copy of a resolution adopted by the town board and enclosing a copy of the notice of Public Hearing to be held on May 11th at 7:30 pm.
i)      A letter from Rosemarie Noonan, Housing Action Council regarding the Home Improvement Program and how to apply for home improvement grants.
j)      A letter from Don Daubney, regarding the changes in the board meeting procedures and making suggestions for future meetings.

Maria Cudequest 84 Grand St., offered suggestions to correct the record regarding time allowed and individual expression; citizens should be brief when possible but this can’t always happen when offering well researched, accurate information disputing the Board’s decisions.  She added that many residents offered compromises and reasonable suggestions; it is often difficult for residents to attend meetings, especially if they are made to wait until the end of the meeting; it is not grandstanding to consistently partake in public meetings.

Don Daubney, Bungalow Rd., spoke regarding the school’s request to change construction start time an hour early; he suggested having their work force go out an hour later.  He added that it disturbs him that it was said that people have talked for 45 mins, but no one has; he would like a clarification of the 5 minute rule and does it include discussion with Board members?  He added that 5 minutes is too short a time and this was proposed before but rejected; the Board should not be afraid of being criticized-residents are looking for answers; the Board should re-evaluate their decision.

Bob Wintermeir stated that he feels any meeting restrictions are un-American; he is concerned about limitations on the right to talk to the Board.  He stated that the Gazette has had an exchange between Dr Fiedenbaum & himself; Dr. Fiedenbaum is the chairman of the local Croton Working Families political party, one member is a renowned Marxist who has written several articles for The People’s Weekly, a Communist publication; there is a danger in association that those beliefs can carry over to the public through the elected officials; he is not on a witch-hunt, many of the members are well-meaning, but it speaks badly of the patriotism needed in this country; he would like to make sure that there is no undue influence by those members on elected officials of this Board.

Susan Koenig, 37 Elmore, stated that time limits are a big waste of time; she protests it and the rules should be consistent for everyone.  She added that Earth Day seemed to be successful as was the Arboretum cleanup; the amount of trash picked up was a lot, but Croton is still a dumping ground; stay on top of this all the time.  

Ann DiCioccio, 12 Irving Avenue, registered her complaint about the 5 minute time limit; it is a bit harsh and should be 8 to 10 mins. Ms. DiCioccio asked if a decision has been made on the time for beginning the work on the school.  She is opposed to the change of time to 7 am. She asked why and who will be the lead agency for construction of the new tennis courts and why would someone want to be lead agency over another.

Dave Tuttle, asked abut the resolution on the agenda tonight regarding authorizing the concrete crushing and he is concerned about how it’s going to be monitored; there will be a considerable amount of dust; he is concerned about water, the river, and the fish; dust could end up as sediment or water-borne in the river; should make sure this doesn’t happen.

Response from board members:  Trustee Kane replied, regarding the lead agency for tennis courts, that the Trustees for the Board of Education have taken the lead agency role; it has undertaken a SEQRA and will be sent to DEC for review.  Trustee Schmidt added that the school operates as its own agency and is run by the state education department; this Board has no basis for decisions; it is being constructed on the school property.  Trustee Wiegman stated that the school district is not subject to Village specific laws; regarding the start time for construction, everyone is concerned that it should not start at 7 am; this Board will have discussions with the School Board in the next couple of weeks.  Trustee Grant added that there is no advantage to be lead agency.  Village Manager Herbek added that the School Board will be lead agency for construction being done on their own property; it would not be appropriate for the Village to be lead agency or to challenge this, but could be done; he is sure the commissioner of the DEC would rule in favor of the School District to be Lead Agency; they have the right to send comments and will be involved in further discussions of building the tennis courts because the Village has been asked to participate in the building of two additional tennis courts.  Trustee Grant stated that Citizen’s Participation is not a debate, but it is an opportunity to come before the Board, give concerns, questions and thoughts, the Board can take them under advisement and get back to the resident.  Trustee Schmidt stated that this has been a big struggle for the Board, he is not in favor of some of the decisions that have been made and it is an important part of being a Trustees, having the back and forth dialogue; they are five individuals who are trying to make decisions that impact residents, there are times in a government that residents should have the ability to speak directly to an elected official, citizens participation is part of that two way street; the Trustees need the information and residents need that information back.  Trustee Grant added that the change was done with the consensus of the Board; she does not believe Citizen Participation is an ongoing debate, it gets in way of getting important Village business done; there is not limited time to talk to Trustees, anyone can pick up a phone and talk to any Board member at any time or send email, this is a small town; Trustee’s numbers are in the phone book, email addresses are known to everyone or residents can stop them on the street and can talk at any time.  In response to no vote taken regarding the change to time limits, there are no requirements that a Village needs to conduct Citizen’s Participation; it is the Board’s decision to allow this and it does not require a vote.  Trustee Schmidt stated that not al the changes were discussed and so were not part of the consensus.

a)      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 is in the process of scheduling with Acocella Contracting, Inc., the crushing of concrete from the Village’s sidewalk program, which has been temporarily stored at the Village’s Route 129 property and

WHEREAS, older concrete slabs have been also stored at this site over the years resulting from water projects and the Village is desirous of cleaning up the site and the staff recommends that it would be opportune to crush these older materials at the same time, and

WHEREAS, the Village prepared a request for proposals and sent these out to three contractors in accordance with the Village’s bidding procedures and

WHEREAS, the lowest of two bids is that of Acocella Contracting for their cost of services of $18,750; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to approve the proposal of Acocella Contracting for their proposal of $18,750 for concrete slabs crushing, site grading and seeding of the Route 129 site and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the funding for this project be charged to account 003-8340-200-9900-00047.
b)      On motion of TRUSTEE SCHMIDT, seconded by TRUSTEE KANE, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees and the Village Manager wish to reorganize the office of Village Manager/Clerk; and

WHEREAS, Peggy Keesler is a member of the Westchester County Clerks and Fiscal Officers Association and the NYS Association of Village and City Clerks; 

WHEREAS, Peggy has completed the high educational, experience and participatory standards established for certification as a Registered Municipal Clerk and was awarded this certification in September, 2003; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees and the Village Manager wish to recognize the long and faithful service of Peggy Keesler, Deputy Village Clerk, who has served in this capacity for 30 years, and

WHEREAS, the Village Board now wishes to appoint Ms. Keesler the Village Clerk; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Mayor appoints Margaret Keesler to the Office of Village Clerk.
Citizen Participation 2:

Susan Koenig, 37 Elmore, stated that the crushing resolution needs clarification of recommendations made about a sediment barrier, etc.  Trustee Wiegman replied that the sidewalk program generated pieces of concrete that needed to be stored, in addition, there is a second pile that has been there for a very long time; the DEC inspectors that came followed the lead of the Village and the timing of removal of concrete was set by the Village; the old material will be removed and the total sum needed for the sidewalk program is less than the sum that arrived last summer plus the old material and there is more than needed.  Trustee Schmidt added that all the concrete will be crushed together;  Acocella also uses this material in other sites also.  Ms. Koenig added that she believed that there was an end of May deadline.  Village Manager Herbek replied that the end of May deadline is incorrect and misinformation has been sent out on the CC1 line; the May deadline was for the crushing & didn’t have anything to do with the removal of the concrete; the deadline was Dan O’Connor’s suggestion.  Village Manager Herbek added that the concrete will be crushed by end of May and they would like to get it out as quickly as possible, however, transporting to another site will cost the Village money; it is preferable to take material as needed; he thinks this might be by the end of the year.

Dave Tuttle stated that regarding the concrete crushing, he feels that a committee would be more appropriate to monitor this situation and asked if a study has been done on how much it would cost to take the material away as a whole and dispose of it properly; silt barriers are good, but there still may be some run off in this sensitive part of the river; there has to be a time limit of how long it will sit there.

Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand St., stated that she has received documents from the DEC about why this or any host community should not rely on the DEC to monitor waste facilities.  She added that in late 1995 a letter was sent to the governor regarding the Harmon Industrial Recycling which is now MetroEnviro, asking him to have the site cleaned up and shut down; he sent it to the DEC and she has a draft of the draft letter from the DEC.  Ms. Cudequest read a paragraph that was crossed out by what appears to have been a DEC attorney.  Ms. Cudequest stated that this indicates a transfer station can violate the law and promise to do better as long as it changes its name and shuffles its deck; the County Waste Commission reduced Allied Waste fines; this month is the 6th anniversary of Croton’s issuing of a permit to MetroEnviro; the evidence is clear that one can’t rely on anyone else to do monitoring.  She added that a hauler from out of state was found in violation and fined.

Bob Wintermeir commended what the Board did with Peggy Keesler’s new position tonight.  He thanked the Board for their efforts to reduce the property tax, they could have gone lower, but is glad with what has been done.   Mr. Wintermeir commented on the 7 am school construction start-up; he saw a large trailer truck this morning with a cab attached that backed down Thompson Ave. and would not like to see this at 7 am.   He stated that one of best parts of the meeting was the part that involved Susan and the Board; there was dialogue and some questions were answered.  He suggested that limiting speakers to 5 minutes may not be too bad, but there may be a need for a dialogue beyond that, perhaps 8 minutes and most can try to keep it to 5 minutes; people are not necessarily there to get on camera, some discussions are ways of informing the public of what is taking place; a restriction is a violation of Freedom of Speech.

Don Daubney stated that he hopes the Village gets the best value for dollar and asked if Acocella was the contractor for Harrison St. sidewalk project.  Village Manager Herbek replied that he didn’t think so.  Mr. Daubney stated that he noticed that the curbs are dissolving on that street; the salt can be blamed, but that isn’t so; they weren’t done properly; if work is done by a company that is not good, the Village should remember that company’s name; other concrete curbs have been in place many more years and are still good; work that is done for the Village should not be shoddy and should last; it should be good value for the dollar. He added that the Village should know who that contract was awarded to and that company should ensure the work will be good work.

Ann DiCioccio, 12 Irving Ave., stated that she is concerned because she received email that there will not be only one-bedroom apartments at Mt. Airy.  Village Manager Herbek replied that he believes they are one-bedroom.  Trustee Wiegman added that he believes there will be some studio apartments. Trustee Grant stated that there will be 3 separate buildings.  Ms. DiCioccio stated that Nancy Shatzkin had offered to contact the Senior Citizen Club’s Affordable Housing committee if anything new goes on with affordable housing but she has not done so; the committee chair was not aware of this project.  Ms. DiCioccio asked if there will be reports on when building starts and its progress.  Village Manager Herbek replied that they still need to go thru site approval process with the Planning Board; they are going through an RFQ process to select a developer, but they may have other builders submitting proposals and the Board needs to make the decision on who the ultimate developer will be; there will be more discussions with the Planning and Village Boards, but are shooting to get most things accomplished by end of calendar year, they may not make that, but it has been discussed.  Ms. DiCioccio asked if an increase in tax rate will affect these units.  Trustee Grant replied that there have been increases over the years; the assessment stays the same, but tax increases are levied.

Eleanor Sunderland, 57 Highland St., stated that she heard on the radio that NY City-Jones Beach area-will be putting up wind towers for energy which will supply about 30,000 residents in the Queens area; Croton was among the first to purchase wind energy; she commended the powers to be for their foresight in that area.
Trustee Schmidt replied that the Village has not done a study on how much it would cost to remove the concrete vs. crushing.  Village Manager Herbek added that the only real way to get an answer is to put out another RFP and he suspects it would cost a lot.  Trustee Wiegman stated that they also would have to renegotiate the contract with Acocella and would have to be rebid the whole thing.  Village Manager Herbek added that he does know the average cost is about $1,500 to the resident and $1,500 to the Village for the sidewalk program; if they did not have a recycling program, it would probably cost $2000 to each.  Village Manager Herbek added that the Village Engineer and staff do not believe there will be an environmental issue; they will attempt to get the material removed as quickly as possible.  Dan O’Connor added that there would be a trucking cost and a tipping fee and they would have to pay to buy material back; cost would be a lot more.  Trustee Kane asked how many participants are in sidewalk program.  Dan O’Connor replied that there are 150 plus and more signing up.

Trustee Grant stated that it is the intent of the Board to never hide anything from anyone; they depend upon public to give input but the Board probably has more professional advice than most lay people; they take all this into consideration; she herself hopes everyone will start with a clean slate, interact and cooperate with each other in a civil manner; the public should know that this board’s intention is to do what is right for the Village of Croton; no one gets any special favors; they get their satisfaction from serving the public.  Trustee Grant reiterated her plea for working together, cooperation and interaction.

Trustee Schmidt made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on April 19, 2004 as corrected.  Trustee Kane seconded the motion; unanimous approval.  Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on April 26, 2004.  Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion, approved unanimously.

Village Manager Herbek reported that Westchester County is asking for cooperation & assistance in promoting the spring-sting cleanup which is a cooperative endeavor of the campaign for environment; May 7th & 8th – June 11 & 12th are designated clean-up days and are asking residents to get rid of standing water to prevent west-Nile virus; the Village will put up posters and ask for everyone’s cooperation.
Trustee Wiegman stated that Mr. DeFrancesco came to the last meeting and addressed the Bill of Rights and the Freedom of Speech; a clause in the Constitution also addresses the Freedom of Assembly; he read a quote that started with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four freedom speech. “Freedom of speech and expression has been rooted in our Constitution for a long period of time.  This is a great wealth.  However, it is no excuse to hurt or to shamelessly express opinions about other people.  Each freedom possesses a counterpart of responsibility which should be taken seriously.  This requires honoring the truth and respecting other people.  Only this will allow the spoken and written word to be a weapon against corruption and abuse of power and a shield for democracy.” He added that this quote was in a speech given by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands a few months ago.  He gave kudos to the Gazette on their article about how Washington has short-changed NY-the politics of Homeland Security by Bob Scott which was quite informative.  He stated that on the Working Families Party comment made tonight, membership to this party is open to people of any political stripe anyone who wants to work for basic principles such as equality for children, access to healthcare, a fair wage for a fair days work, if one is a Marxist because one read Marx and perhaps visited countries behind the Iron Curtain that were once under Communist rule, then he would qualify as a Marxist.

Trustee Kane reported that he participated in Earth Day events last Saturday; he had a grand time helping the Scouts and others; they removed tons of debris; Brook St. looks much better; most volunteers were children which says a lot for the school children of the Village.  He announced that their will be a Community Blood Drive on June 16th; call 271-7645 or 271-5529 or 271-8449 to get an appointment.

Trustee Schmidt gave kudos to the group that did the Earth Day cleanup; a lot of garbage was collected and the Arboretum was done the following day.  He reminded everyone about the Blood Drive and added that Westchester County is holding household chemical cleanup days this weekend for residential materials at FDR Park in Yorktown; there is no fee, but pre-registration is required for anything 80 lbs. or more; no paint will be accepted; the days are Friday 1 –3 and Saturday 9 –3 pm; if you have a mercury thermometer, bring it there & you will be given a mercury-free thermometer, but just one per person.

Trustee Grant reported that she stopped in Zeytinia’s today and it is opening on Thursday; it looks fantastic inside; they will open Thursday at 6:30 am.  Trustee Grant added that she received a report that trees in Upper Village that have cases around them are damaging the trunks of the trees.  She was told also that two limbs on wires outside the beauty parlor need to be looked at and Trish’s kitchen area, they cut the trees, but left logs in wires and it should be taken care of.  Trustee Grant added that the AYSO registration coming up; students will be getting flyers to bring home

Trustee Schmidt made a motion to adjourn.  Trustee Kane seconded the motion; approved unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary

Village Clerk