A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, September 27, 2004 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Schmidt
Trustee Wiegman Trustee Kane
Manager Herbek Trustee Grant
Attorney Waldman Treasurer Zambrano
Also attending: Michael Gerrard, Special Counsel on Metro Enviro
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:06 pm. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Elliot announced that there is a sign up sheet for those people wishing to speak at tonight’s public hearing.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
On a motion by Trustee Schmidt, seconded by Trustee Wiegman, the vouchers were approved unanimously as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee.
General Fund $ 117,775.22
Water Fund 1,619.00
Capital Fund 0.00
Trust & Agency 2,421.06
Total $ 121,815.28
3. PUBLIC HEARING:
To consider the Metro Enviro proposed settlement agreement and renewal of the special permit.
Mayor Elliott opened the public hearing and asked speakers to try to limit their remarks to no more than 5 minutes in respect to the large number who wished to speak. Trustee Schmidt asked Mayor Elliott in what capacity he went to the Journal News. Mayor Elliott said he was there representing himself. Trustee Schmidt stated that the Mayor took the Village Manager with him. Trustee Schmidt stated that the Mayor was representing his party, the Democrats and asked if Mr. Herbek would be showing up with the Mayor to endorse Democratic candidates in the next election. Trustee Schmidt asked if any other Trustees knew in advance of the meeting with the Journal News; all said they did not. Trustee Schmidt asked if the Mayor did not represent Croton. Mayor Elliott stated that by his statements Trustee Schmidt was
showing that he feels this issue is a partisan matter. Trustee Schmidt suggested that everyone cancel their Journal News subscription and tell them why. Mayor Elliott explained why he met with the Journal News editorial board and that he took the same material that was sent to citizens of the community. The Mayor then called the first person on the sign-up sheet.
1. Richard Ceccotti, 1 Arrowcrest Dr. – He has been a resident for 14 years; has known Bob Elliott for a long time; doesn’t understand why a public official would take it upon himself to do this and bring along an employee of the Village; asked the Mayor to explain. Mayor Elliott stated that elected officials often go to editorial boards to present material; he brought along Manager Herbek because he is a knowledgeable person on this issue. Trustee Schmidt stated that the Mayor had called the Journal News, not the other way around. Mr. Sikotti was bothered by the information he received outlining the issues of tonight; sounded to him as though the decisions were already made. He found out tonight that there is $13 million village debt; it would be nice to recover some money but there are
other ways to do it than keeping this facility there. He saw it everyday when he lived in Half Moon Bay; everybody who drives over the bridge will see it. The Village received a wonderful award from the Greenway for its waterfront and right next to it will be Metro Enviro. This is the wrong vision for our community. He is not sure how trustworthy they are; this is the wrong direction for this village. He stated Mayor Elliott did a great job with your vision of the Greenway but to have the transfer station next to it is wrong. He thinks Mayor Elliott and Manager Herbek have already made their decision.
2, Elke Shatzkin, Old Post Rd. North - She came with some questions. She is not a lawyer but thought the statement in the permit that says “a good faith attempt to mitigate” fumes from idling equipment should be replaced by a specific rule about turning engines off. She asked what exempt materials are; Mr. Gerrard provided an answer. Regarding Page 6, are there records of the oral assurances referred? Attorney Waldman said they are part of all the minutes of previous meetings at which this matter was discussed; she thinks they should be gathered together somewhere in one place. On Page 11, the words “as expeditiously as possible”, she considers this too vague; it needs some guidelines and rules. A really tight agreement in the past might have saved on litigation. She
has been a resident for over 50 years; when Metro Enviro first came up, she went to see it and doesn’t find it such an ugly site. We won’t be able to find anyone to buy the land and turn it into an environmentally friendly site. It makes sense to have something there that can be properly run and controlled.
3. Richard Pellicci, 65 Radnor Ave. – He has always been a Democrat but plans on becoming an independent. He went to the “Democratic love fest” at Metro Enviro this past Friday. He sees it as a dust ridden, dank, and environmentally bad place but the Board sees it as a well run, ‘pristine’ cash cow. This has been the most mind-boggling experience of his life. He wants to focus on the cast of characters – Manager Herbek - a key decision maker, not a Croton resident, and a member of the County Solid Waste Advisory Commission ; Mayor Elliot - also does not reside in Croton. Mr. Pellicci stated his business background was working with Forbes.; he doesn’t know what the Mayor is thinking; there have been schizophrenic statements by some Board members over the
Metro Enviro facility and financial situation. He read the mandate of the Board of Trustees to protect the safety, health and well-being of persons with property. No deals, not now not ever.
4. Pat Barua, Morningside Dr. - Before the deal was announced she didn’t have a position on this, she needed answers to some questions which she still does not have. Regardless, the village should not make this deal. Each violation should have specific fines attached to it if this is going through; every condition in the permit is material; there should be a cap on fines, and they should pay the full cost of a real full-time monitor; should not take money for a slush fund and we should pay full value for anything we lease. She does not think the proposed settlement and permit will hold up in court. The difference between what Mr. Gerrard presented, sales pitch, and the actual settlement and permit papers is what she called the “real deal”. There
are no real significant changes from the old permit and in the new one, the Village is not required to monitor the air. She wants to see anything related to Metro Enviro in a legally-binding document before she will believe it. The Village won’t be eager to find violations because of the possible loss of space and fees. There is a potential conflict – the needs of the village apparatus versus the health needs of the residents. The Village Manager would have an interest in not finding violations. Ms. Barua outlined her legal position on why this agreement would not hold up in court - the imposition of fees that go towards something completely different than the operation itself. Such as pension expenses. This is tainting process; the Village is weighing possible risks against cash; there should be referendum because this deal curtails the power of future trustees and this is a situation that allows for a referendum, which should be held. Now we have to prove
violations are ‘substantial’, rather than just any violation as in the old arrangement. She believes this agreement requires a local law, under General Municipal Home Rule Law, that curtails future boards; it mandates the referendum. She is not sure the County Notice and EAF are done correctly and without mistakes. The Board has framed this process as a Public Hearing on a permit, but in reality, the recent conduct of Village officials in the last two weeks calls into question the whole process and their objectivity. MS. Barua went over a legal scenario that might potentially occur, each with additional legal fees; this agreement might prejudice our position in the Pipeline proceedings; she identified many potential law suits; we will be looking at legal fees ad infinitum which will reduce all the money received from this agreement. She is a lawyer and she will seek these answers in court. The Village will be forced to give her answers and, if past is
prologue, the answers won’t come cheap. She feels all will vote in accordance in their beliefs.
5. Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand St. - The board will adopt this because you have the three votes necessary; she is making a last stand against this proposed agreement. Ms. Cudequest recounted the granting of the permit in 1998 and the reasons stated at the time; same thing is being said now; farce then and farce now. This has not been pleasant process over the year. There has always been something wrong with this picture. Taxes will not go down. The Village is said to be a Village in the Park. The Mayor’s commitment to this concept is nowhere to be found when it comes to this facility. Ms. Cudequest raised the traffic impact; 132,000 tons of waste – 1/3 from Connecticut; there is nothing green or park-like in these facts; the bottom line is that Metro Enviro is a bad business. Ms.
Cudequest recounted the results of reports and investigations over the last few years; this has failed to get the Trustees’ attention; she has given up trying to understand the relationship between the Trustees and them. It doesn’t look right and she doesn’t understand it now. She referred to packets of information she distributed to the audience; only Trustee Schmidt refused to take part in this fraud. Allied’s offer to Croton will save homeowners about 61 cents a day or $200 – $300 per year, but she would be here (to protest) even if the money were more. She reviewed other actions that Allied has been under the gun for in other areas, but Mayor Elliott says Croton can control it. Discussing the licensing and permit requirements for Metro Enviro, she stated that if all agencies with responsibility for Metro Enviro are not fully committed to enforce their own permits, there are going to be problems; the need to be watched all the time and
that just isn’t going to happen; read Metro Enviro employee depositions as an example of the type of people who work at Metro Enviro; only a federal monitor has any real power over a place like Metro Enviro; it was Walter Mack (former federal monitor) who found all the problems that enabled our legal case. An environmental monitor will not make a bad company change bad habits; the village itself called Metro Enviro ‘serial offenders’. MS. Cudequest spoke of ‘cocktailing’ – mixing bad waste with regular waste; we know that Metro Enviro did this at all three of their Westchester County sites and shipped it to Ohio. Residents cannot trust the Village Board when it comes to Metro Enviro. Ms. Cudequest stated that there was an agreement that Metro Enviro would close if the Village won the case. The federal monitor has been gone for the past 15 months; the Village has seldom issued violations even when given evidence by Citizen monitors;
the DEC also missed the violations, but residents are asked to trust that they will do better; also can’t rust the County either. Ms. Cudequest recapped her arguments and points; garbage needs to go somewhere but has been coming here since 1928; Croton will always be thought of as a dump unless it is actively fought; some officials have shown an unhealthy and unnatural attraction to this operation; it looks bad.
6. Marie Yurchuk, Young Ave. – She has been a resident for 51 years; she is appalled at what is happening with this dump; has been fighting it for 6 years; are right back where we started from after winning in court. Ms. Yurchuk suggested the Village could condemn the road and Metro Enviro couldn’t bring their trash in. The Board doesn’t hear us; you don’t care what we say. Ms. Yurchuk made an analogy with the phrase ‘see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil’. The residents are the clients and should know who authorized Attorney Gerrard to talk to Metro Enviro. This is not a political matter; concerns us as a community and we must fight it; we are going to fight back. Ms. Yurchuk said the residents should get together committees tonight and get pledges to pay for
it; she pledged $200 to start it; she asked for village people to help.
7. Tom Brennan, 121 N. Riverside - He has questions for the Board. He just saw the Journal News editorial tonight; it is unbelievable you would take it on your own to go to the Journal News and take Manager Herbek with you to give a one-sided story; editorial board members don’t live in Croton and don’t have to live with the consequences. Those Trustees who support Metro Enviro defy logic. Mr. Brennan stated that the Board agreed to deny the permit just two months before the last village election; played politics with this issue. He asked Attorney Gerrard when he started having discussions with Metro Enviro and who authorized it; Mr. Gerrard said he would not address this. Mr. Brennan said it was hypocrisy to hire Mr. Gerrard to defend Croton, win, and then enter into discussions; have
traded money for health and safety issues. If you enter into this agreement, the Village will be a de facto partner with them; what assurance do we have that you won’t take money for the pipeline in order to agree to a route that is acceptable. Manager Herbek shouldn’t make decisions, you should be making the decisions. We hired Mr. Gerrard to shut Metro Enviro down and he did, but at some point the Trustees gave him permission to enter discussions. Mr. Brennan referred to the recent purchase of the Croton River land. Beware when the Millennium pipeline comes.
8. Regina Carroll, 5 Young Ave. - No amount of money would make Metro Enviro acceptable in her backyard; huge trucks speeding through the streets must be eliminated. The proposal is an insult to ones intelligence; if impact fees are truly at the high end of the fee spectrum, then Croton is really being bought. Cutting costs is not on the agenda of this administration. We don’t want this dump.
9. Alan Milton, Lexington Dr. - Mr. Milton has been around for 15 years; his background is in the environmental industry over 20 years. Mr. Milton explained his environmental experience including fighting Love Canal and environmental cleanups elsewhere; certainly don’t want these things in our community; he is also concerned about toxic materials coming in and has asked questions over the last few days. He was part of the Citizens Committee in 1998; everybody on the committee wanted to let Metro Enviro have some rope to hang themselves. People have worse things under their sinks than what is there. Mr. Milton asked what violations have occurred – tonnage exceedences? relatively benign materials that you would normally get in conjunction with construction and demolition? In his business
he often negotiates from a position of strength which is the right way to enter a negotiation. He would like to know specific materials that have caused violations. $25k is not enough for a good monitor; he would like state-of-the-art air monitoring equipment. Trustee Schmidt stated that the Village didn’t know what was in the industrial waste because it went to Ohio; our monitoring is non-existent. Mr. Milton made a suggestion as to how to monitor. Trustee Schmidt said no testing was done in last 15 months. Mr. Milton said he can’t understand why cellophane /industrial waste has caused so much concern.
10. Richard Lee, Grand Street – He read part of Attorney Gerrard’s presentation; he is not a gambling man but is willing to gamble on winning with the Court of Appeals; it is time to take a stand and say no. They violated their permit; enough is enough; stop selling out the people of Croton.
11. Joe Bencivenga, Benedict Blvd. - Achieving control over the facility is a bogus argument because after the deal is sealed the Village will be receiving money from it. It is unlikely that the Village will cut off its revenue flow for any reason; whoever controls the money controls the game; the village will not be in control. He is amazed that the Journal News did not analyze this any deeper. It is not only the cost of the litigation but this issue has diverted the Village from other things it should be doing. All of a sudden, we have many options; Trustee Wiegman had to prepare an explanatory chart to explain them all; for 21 months we were not talking about control of this facility; no flowcharts with options were shown 21 months ago. It’s not a complex issue. Counsel says
there is no evidence of danger to health and safety of Croton as a result of the materials at Metro Enviro. Would anyone say that this facility say this is good for us? He was amused by the editorial; it did a serious disservice to Croton. Do we want to become dependent on them for income for this community; Allied is a C-grade company and may not be around in the future. Mr. Bencivenga addressed remarks to Trustees Grant, Kane and Wiegman individually. He asked the crowd whether they want Metro Enviro; no. There is nothing to gain by voting against the people.
12. Don Daubney, Bungalow Rd. – Mr. Daubney spoke of his father-in-law dying from cancer; sometimes we don’t know what is going on but things subsequently are found to hurt us. We don’t know exactly what is in the debris at Metro Enviro. What did the Board have in mind when it denied the permit in 2003? Mr. Daubney stated that Mayor Elliott met with the persons seeking the permit at a previous time. More people came to that hearing than are here tonight and Mayor Elliott never stated that he was against this facility; safe to assume that he wants it here. It is up to the Trustees to do what is right and to close it; it’s now or never. When he was on the Board, he was concerned about the lawsuit scare but decided to do what is right.
13. Antoinette Cosentino, 4 Van Cortlandt Place – She thought it was great when we won; the Board took them to court to gain leverage. This is not a lot of money; there is so much waste like $25 for a logo – should have made it a contest; people should be fixing their own sidewalks – the Village shouldn’t be paying for this. She is a pediatrician; lead paint is in old paint which might be in construction debris; listed lead problems associated with health; we don’t know if it is there. Also mercury in old thermostats and old furnaces is a problem; pollution from trucks causes a rise in asthma. The Board is hear to do what we want, you are elected officials; without us you are nothing. If you vote for Metro Enviro, hopefully, you will be voted out. If you believe most citizens want
this, call a referendum; you don’t have to vote tonight. Ms. Cosentino suggested that the Board call a specialist she knows of in environmental hazards. This is not about politics; she is a registered Democrat but is embarrassed by it these days.
14. Michael Schwenk, 4 Van Cortlandt Place – He is an attorney and husband of Ms. Cosentino. It is clear that Metro Enviro is not wanted by the citizens of Croton. The Court of Appeals will not want to hear this case as no legal issues are at stake, only questions of fact. We are at the end, so we should close the book, terminate their permit; they will leave and you need to do the hard work of finding a replacement tenant that will add value to the community. Draw your own conclusions about the likely political consequences.
15. Anne DiCioccio, Irving Ave. – It’s been over 6 years since she first announced her opposition to Metro Enviro; listed reasons why she opposes it. Allowing Metro Enviro to be in Croton makes a mockery of all the ‘green’ projects that have occurred in this Village. Six years later you are saying the same thing – if we lose in court we will lose our leverage but even you admit the chances of losing to Metro Enviro are slim. The lawyer we thought was fighting to keep Metro Enviro out of Croton is suddenly now working to find ways to keep Metro Enviro in Croton. Most want it closed except for the Mayor and Trustee Schmidt and this time Trustee Wiegman as well. We will never know the true reason why this is so – why they should be here in the first place and
why they should remain. Do what you should do, what the court gave you the right to do and what most people want you to do. Close it down.
16. Joanne Minett, 5 Van Cortlandt Place – This is not a lot of money; it is likely to be squandered and will not solve our financial woes. Ms. Minett read an email from a Mt. Kisco resident recommending denial. There is a $13 million dollar deficit brought on by the Elliott administration. Until tonight there was not one resident that came to podium to speak in favor. All the things it could pay for are the result of problems swept under the rug by this administration. Hundreds of trucks rumble through our streets; debris is flying out of trucks on highways, there are many negative impacts if we keep them. If the Village is in such good financial shape why do we need a buy out; use the land for parking; acquire it and turn it into parking – not enough parking now and we’re flooding out cars. Build a DPW site to store all the materials and machinery and compost the leaves. We don’t want Metro Enviro’s money; could buy the property and make something good of it.
17. Bob DiFrancesco, Georgia Lane – He feels people should be respectful to each other. He is a 17 year old who has grown up listening to these arguments. Living here keeps getting more expensive, and nothing seems to get better. Metro Enviro was only willing to make a deal after they lost. You don’t make a deal with someone who has burned you in the past.
18. Susan Konig, 37 Elmore – She can’t believe anyone in this community would even consider letting Metro Enviro stay here. It is highly inappropriate for a news editor to stack the deck and take sides; was inappropriate for Mayor Elliott to meet with Journal News editorial staff.
19. Lillian Brijesky, Truesdale Dr. – You should vote with your heart and not with your wallets and do what is right for this village. She moved here from Queens to get away from pollution.
20. Deborah McCarthy, Bradley Blvd, Scarsdale - Ms. McCarthy asked if the Village had an idea of the costs of monitoring if the permit is granted; Attorney Gerrard said it depends on what is wanted. Have you gotten proposals on air monitoring? She said the financial numbers you presented are not real. Mayor Elliott asked her to tell what she thinks if she believes that the numbers wrong. Regarding the Journal News editorial, she left a message with them to cancel her subscription because of dissatisfaction with this editorial. She urged people to call Ron Patafio first to tell him why. He did not return her calls. The Mayor should have brought her with them if they wanted to bring someone with knowledge. She read from the editorial. She doesn’t understand this both from her
time on the Board and her experience as a litigator. There is no permit now; Judge Nicolai’s decision is not operative now in the way suggested; solid waste transfer stations are prohibited in every district in this village; how do you have the authority to give a permit when it is a prohibited use. It also violates the Comprehensive Plan which can give rise to a lawsuit as well. If you grant it now, you have irreparably harmed your position going forward. In the permit, paragraph 42, she thinks this is Attorney Steinmetz’s wish list. The Village is in high 20% or low 30% of allowable debt limit; have added about a million a year since Mr. Elliott became Mayor; fiscal problems reflect lack of leadership, vision and guidance; the way out is not to do a deal with Metro Enviro; think about consolidation of services and economies of scale. She has moved to Scarsdale and she pays less in taxes than she did here. What does it really cost to do
leaf composting – you don’t know because of unknown people costs. Paint has substances that shouldn’t be breathed in, it is not just lead that is a problem. If Mr. Steinmetz gets up and talks tonight, the audience should have another chance to speak to rebut him.. She believes the die is cast; she hopes she is wrong about it but she has comments on the permit and agreement if she is correct.
P.1 – put in date of O and M manual.
P.2 – change permit language of ‘hereby renewed’, this is legally not correct.
Para. 21 of permit – ‘permittee’ refers to Metro Enviro LLC, but should also include Allied and Mr. Steinmetz.
Para. 23 – containers - should restrict the number of containers.
Para. 24 - allows ‘ the village, contractors, subcontractors and its agents’ in Item c – opening yourself up to a dispute with them later; there is a lot of weasel room in this. Attorney Gerrard has added 50 more ambiguities into this permit; it certain to embroil the Village in future litigation over this language. Regarding seeking amendments to the site plan, what do you think needs to be done here – be more specific.
Para 26, on filing with the Village Board and Planning Board – need to specify the number of days after they make the application or the document in which they must file.
Para 28 – on providing copies of violations, it should be any person authorized not just of agencies.
Para 29 - replace ‘should with ‘shall’
Para 33 - hours of operation. What does this mean; are trucks turned away if queued up at 5 pm.; still ambiguous. Define ‘receive waste’ What are waiting trucks expected to do? She encourages the Board not to give any increase in tonnage without an application on their part; what kind of analysis are you going to do when the time comes in two years? We will end up in court.
Para 35. Every report should be certified.
Para 36 – 7th line ‘relevant information’ should include but not be limited to information requested by the Village in its sole and absolute discretion.
Para 37 – on the misting system. What about in the winter? What are you doing about it? Make them heat the pad.
Para 38 - take out ‘reasonably’
Para 39 – ‘acceptable landscaping industry standards’ – is that a term of art; what does it mean?
Para 40 – It is astonishing that previously required landscaping wasn’t done; take out ‘approximately equivalent’ costs.
Para 41 – last line, don’t use ‘professionals’; put ‘agents or representatives or village employees, working for on behalf of the Village’.
Para 42 - She handed out a revision to this paragraph that she wrote; would strike the entire paragraph. She drafted it with fear that the Board would not get rid of these provisions. Ms. McCarthy read the paragraph in the permit as it is now; this has undercut what Mr. Brownell said and the appellate decision. ‘Isolated accidental occurrences’ - what is an occurrence? Is this to a violation? ‘Ordinary negligence’ does not belong here; they say they have new great procedures so they shouldn’t have an out with negligence. ‘Isolated’ – what does it mean; define it and put a number. Each occurrence of the same type should be counted individually - this should be added. Delete ‘grossly’ and ‘repeated,
persistent or uncured’ violations; define ‘repeated’ and have it within a 12 month period. Add a provision that says that more than 4 of any type shall constitute and be deemed to be verifiable harm to the health and safety of the community; that dovetails with Mr. Brownell in his affidavit; add that acceptance of any of the following kinds of waste shall be deemed to be verifiable harm to the health, etc. (she provided a list that is a subset of the unacceptable materials listed in the permit); add that failure may result in a stop work order like old permit.
P 10 – on stop work orders, acceptance of non-acceptable waste should be a non-curable violation; it can’t be cured.
Para 45 - Doesn’t provide a mechanism for review; they should come back when they need a new permit. Strike out “material”; should put in that you may want to test. What about trucks queuing up outside? Add that all conditions of this permit are deemed ‘material’. Subpoena power should be in as well.
Settlement agreement – the bottom WHEREAS clause ‘will not include provision for further renewal’; this is new.
Para 1 on page 3 – what else are they going to be required to show? Put in something about asbestos testing. Under f) she doesn’t understand why the reference to the Supreme Court is there- what is it all about? Item g) add “Allied ‘ as well. Item h), add ‘any Allied subsidiary’. Putting a widened road for Village use allows them to bypass the scale – nothing should bypass the scales.
Village construction of a concrete pad is very suspicious, it enables them expand their operation when you are done; the Village doesn’t need it; get rid of it. Payments should be guaranteed by Allied Waste. She was astonished that the Village might actually build a building on this property.
This is a result of failure of leadership starting with Mayor Elliott but it is not limited to him; a lack of protecting this Village. She would be ashamed as a lawyer if she drafted paragraph 42; sold all the residents down the river. Maybe in the next elections they’ll get it.
At 11:05pm a five minute break was called.
At 11:15 , the Public Hearing resumed.
21. Joel Klein, Old Post Road North and business offices at 1 Croton Point Ave. His business is closer than any other business or residence to Metro Enviro. There is enough wrong with how Metro Enviro has operated without exaggerating these things. There has never been complaints to the Village on odors. He is concerned because he doesn’t feel Metro Enviro can be trusted. The biggest issue is what are the consequences to that site; will another operator come in? What about eminent domain? Reality is that the Village will never acquire it because there is an 800 pound gorilla, Metro North, who can also do it and they are likely to do it, a serious consequences if so. The site would be used to expand their facilities; they have a bad environmental record; created a superfund site in the
Village; there would be no control of any of their operations. The Village is between a rock and hard place; please take into account the flip side of denying the permit. There will always be the potential for problems; it will never be completely safe but at least the Village can exercise some control. This will not happen if Metro North acquires it. Mr. Klein came tonight with the expectation that all Trustees would listen to the public comments but one Trustee has already announced that he has made up his mind. Trustee Schmidt said he absolutely had made up his mind, and the Mayor also, as reported in the Journal News. Mr. Klein said the Board is here to hear our opinions. The situation is a lot more complicated than it has been presented here tonight.
22. Joe Biber, 204 Cleveland Dr. – Mr. Biber is concerned about the health and environmental effects of Metro Enviro; feels these are legitimate concerns. He is an Urban Planner in Affordable Housing in NYC and knows first hand what goes into demolition debris - asbestos and lead, etc.. Trucks with untied tarps pass on the road and you can see these substances getting into the air. Empty trucks leaving Metro Enviro don’t have tarps on them, so some amount of dust becomes airborne. We know this must be true. There has been no testing so it is easy to claim there are no health risks. He sees it as an incompatible use in a residential suburban community; it belongs in industrial zones not close to residences. Eminent domain should have been considered – the ultimate
control. There may be some problems down the road but, at this point, it should be considered. It is a cost that he thinks the community might be willing to bear; consider putting it to referendum. There are ways to offset some of these costs. The Village could decide who could become a tenant there and what uses might be ok. He applauds the Village for the recent award for the Village of Croton, for assembling land on the Hudson River. If you lose in court, still have right of eminent domain.
23. David Goldman, 76 Young Ave. - Many citizens are wondering how the Board got themselves in this position. He is a Democrat but this issue transcends political allegiances. There have been two critical audits of the Village and then you claim that Croton is in great financial shape and then you want to become a partner with Metro Enviro. Has the Board considered that the DPW on Metro Enviro’s property may create a host of legal problems? Do Croton residents want their compost to come from Metro Enviro? Why would Metro North condemn the property now when they haven’t in the past? The same is true for Westchester County. At the Sept. 7th meeting, Attorney Gerrard retreated from his wonderful brief that won us the case. There has been no monitoring since the
federal monitor left 15 months ago. The permit is worded so badly he is shocked. Over time certain things become known but takes time and we don’t know the true impacts. He read from Mr. Brownell’s deposition about the industrial waste that was accepted. Making a deal with Metro Enviro is a large long-term risk. Croton was lucky up to now that nothing serious happened at Metro Enviro; don’t try it again. Croton is surrounded by other environmental problems – Croton Point dump, Indian Point, Route 9, Charles Point - adding Metro Enviro to this just adds to the overall problem. We’ll get a promise of future violations with no hope of curing them. The money is small enough not be of urgent need to us and large enough to compromise Village officials. Stay the course and deny the permit. Vote no to Metro Enviro.
24. James Steinberg, 83 Morningside Drive – So many people have so many issues with this facility. The short term issue is whether this facility should be open; the majority don’t want it here. No one complained when you denied it. Nobody will trust you any more. There are good people on this Board and you must take in the fact that people don’t want this.
25. Mark Aarons, 18 Georgia Lane – He found it baffling that the language was as loose as it was. He thought the premise was that this wouldn’t happen again. It will lead to more lawsuits. W are told we in desperate need of money while being told a few months that we are in great shape. When the referendum (on the Firemen’s Service Award) was held, you didn’t tell people that it was going to cause problems. Home prices have increased more in other communities than in Croton; did you have an expert evaluate the impact on housing values? Eminent domain was not mentioned at the last meeting on this matter. There is a pent up demand for parking spaces – Metro Enviro might be a good solution – was a study done? How could you not have done this homework? What do
we weigh the potential benefits against? We don’t know the costs of acquiring it. Mr. Aarons stated that the Mayor worked to deny the Jewish community them their Temple because of seeming problems with wetlands. Maybe the permit is so loosely worded because you really don’t want anything to be possible in the way of shutting them down or enforcing violations. Why do you still steadfastly support this facility? Why don’t we put this to a vote – a permissive referendum? Metro Enviro would probably outspend us in promoting this but they can’t outspend common sense; the public would say ‘no’ overwhelmingly. The money would be from an entity with a weak credit rating; what kind of security do you have? He doesn’t get this love of Metro Enviro; what is behind the scenes? He stated that Mayor Elliott wasn’t interested in this hearing. Mr. Aarons said he looks to other Trustees to stand up
to it, because he doesn’t believe he will ever get Mayor Elliott to change his mind on this.
26. Laura Seitz, Brook Trail - She listened tonight to a lot of talk; some very good questions and thoughts. She feels if the Board makes a decision too quickly, it will add to the poison this is causing in the community. A referendum might help all people to express themselves because the people who appear here tonight claim to represent different sides of view, but no one really knows. Would it be possible to have a committee or two to try to layout the most contentious issues and both/all sides of each of these questions? How do points made tonight about the document get incorporated?
27. Pamela Stark, Irving Ave. Ms. Stark urges the Board not to enter into this agreement; she is concerned about environmental hazards.
28. Greg Maher, 44 Grand Street – He is a minority in this room; he came to listen and to learn tonight; has followed the issue from a distance and, in that way, is more typical of the average citizen. He thanked Ms. Cudequest, Ms. Barua and Ms. McCarthy for their information. He is less concerned about some of the toxic or hazardous substances like lead and asbestos but is more concerned about things we don’t know. He is concerned with the proposed settlement; urges the Board not to move forward with this settlement. He appeals mainly to Trustees Grant, Kane and Wiegman – no one will hold this against you if you vote it down. ‘Flip flopping’ is referred to derisively these days but in reality it is good government.
Mayor Elliott closed the Public Hearing at 12:07pm and asked for Board comments.
Trustee Wiegman stated that we shouldn’t forget the legal battles we have won up to this point have given us the way to terminate any special permit in the future; the role of the Board is gathering as much information as possible. In the process, we have gathered a lot more information by allowing our attorney to speak with Allied’s attorney. We now know the economic value Allied puts on being able to continue. A benefit that will help other communities in the future. There was a lot of discussion of eminent domain tonight; contrary to public perception, this has been discussed in the past; State law requires it to be done only for a significant public benefit; this may not be an immediate option. This particular site is one that the Village has sought to control. The word ‘dump’ has been used quite loosely. He also spoke to civil engineers who monitor transfer stations all over the country and a rail spur is a benefit. The site is located between a large rail facility and a
large major highway. What would happen to this site if it were not an Allied facility – a question that can’t be answered. Under our code, compatible uses might have more hazardous/toxic materials than the Metro Enviro facility. We must be careful that potential uses might not put us in a worse position. We kind of want it both ways. If we pursue this legal process and the resulting expense, we can’t then criticize the issues on the budget. He has questions he will put in writing. It is easier to have made up your mind a long time ago and be unwavering in your examination of issues. He can envision a transformation of the entire area but that is years away and we are not ready to do that yet; the area has a lot of potential but we are not ready to jump in to that at this time.
Trustee Kane stated that Ms. McCarthy brought up some good points that he would like to further examine, also those of Alan Milton.
Trustee Schmidt said that is a normal Public Hearing, the way we base our decision is who comes to speak; tonight there were 3 for and 22 against and some others he was not sure about. It was an easy decision for him to make because Metro Enviro violated the permit. We don’t need a referendum, people have spoken to the Board repeatedly at meetings. He read a letter sent from the Mayor in 2003 to citizens and stated that in 2003, the Mayor already made his decision to negotiate. He stated that he stands with the opponents. Trustee Schmidt stated that he can’t believe that we spent all this money and have a document that has so many holes in it. If we are really committed to getting rid of this facility, come up with an amortization method to rid of them over a specific period. It’s the wrong thing to do; we started out to shut it down and now you’ve changed. It changed because of Mayor Elliott. Only one question needed to be asked – do you want this facility in the town?
Trustee Grant said thanks for the very thoughtful comments and courteous comments of many. We do listen to that. She has reached out to members of the community who she knows are opposed to it. It angers her to hear people say that they know how she is going to vote when she doesn’t know. Trustee Grant stated that Ms. Yurchuk was here as long as she was when there were diesel fumes over the Village, piles of debris, the site wasn’t regulated, roads were dirty and dusty and it also had a rock crushing machine pounding away all day long. We know more than we did then. Trustee Grant stated that the reason she doesn’t know how she will vote is because she feels so responsible; hopes and prays she will make the right decision. It has been said that if we vote to enter into
this agreement, we won’t be elected again; so be it; she has never made a decision that she didn’t feel in her heart was the right one. She doesn’t owe Metro Enviro anything and they don’t owe her anything. It makes no difference to her whether or not they are here. She doesn’t know if 99% of people in the Village want it closed. If she were one of the supporters she would be reluctant to come in front of this Board with all the hooting and howling that occurred tonight. She would ask the Board not to vote tonight.
Mayor Elliott stated that it was not about getting elected; the Board is doing the duties we have been elected to do; getting the best advice and weighing it.
a) Maria Modica-Snow, re: Section 230-40G of the Village’s Zoning Law. Ms. Modica-Snow, representing Ms. Jackson on the sale of her lot on Morningside Dr., suggests a revision to the above-named section of the zoning law.
Discussion: Referred to the planning Board
b) Mark Mannix, Metro North Railroad, re: 2004 Croton-Harmon Open House to be held on Saturday, October 16th. Mr. Mannix asks the Village to relax parking enforcement at the rail road station.
Discussion: On a motion by Trustee Wiegman, seconded by Trustee Kane, the Board agreed unanimously to the request.
c) Bridget Kennedy, NYS Dept. of State, re: Application from Westchester County Parks and Recreation for Bulkhead reconstruction and shoreline stabilization at Croton Point Park.
Discussion: Referred to the Waterfront Advisory Committee.
d) Jon Goplerud, Conservation Advisory Council, re: Daffodil Planting on October 16, 2004.
5. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – AGENDA ITEMS
No one rose to speak.
a. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign Intermunicipal Agreement with the Town of Ossining for maintenance of the Crossining.
On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman, 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 Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the Town of Ossining would like to enter into an agreement to provide ongoing maintenance to the bikeway/walkway located along the Croton River Bridge; and
WHEREAS, an agreement has been drafted whereby the Village and Town agree that each municipality shall be responsible for repairs and maintenance within their respective boundaries; and
WHEREAS, the Village shall be responsible for walkway light repair and snow removal of the entire walkway for which it will be reimbursed a certain amount each year,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the intermunicipal agreement with the Town of Ossining.
b. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the Declaration of Easement and Agreement with Metro North for the construction of the secondary access road and public bicycle/pedestrian trail between Croton Point Avenue and Discovery Cove.
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, Metro North, Spectrum Skanska, and Westchester County have been working together to construct a secondary access road for the Discovery Cove and Half Moon Bay condominium developments and a public bicycle and pedestrian trail that would run from Croton Point Avenue to Discovery Cove; and
WHEREAS, a portion of this road and pathway requires the use of Metro North property; and
WHEREAS, Metro North has supplied the Village with the necessary easements to utilize its property,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the Declaration of Easement and Agreement with Metro North.
c. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the contract with MUNIS system for a new finance software system.
On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman, 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 existing accounting and tax administration software system, KVS, has become inadequate for the Village’s needs; and
WHEREAS, the Village Treasurer reviewed other software companies which were under state contract; and
WHEREAS, the MUNIS system has given a proposal to the Village which has been reviewed and approved by the Village Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer, and Village Engineer; and
WHEREAS, this new system will meet the needs of the Finance, Engineering, Assessor, and Personnel departments,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the contract with MUNIS, Inc.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the following accounts will be amended as follows:
Decrease 001-0001-5990 Appropriated Fund Balance $250,000
Increase 001-0001-9600 Appropriations $250,000
Increase 001-9953-900 Transfers to Capital $250,000
Increase 003-1680-200-0405-0126 MUNIS conversion $250,000
Discussion: Trustee Wiegman asked when it would be implemented. Treasurer Zambrano said he would like to have it in place in time for next year’s budget to be done on it. Manager Herbek stated that both the Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer have experience with this system. The accounting system will meet Village needs for next decade or so; it also has a personnel and engineering component to it. Trustee Grant asked if there is there training required; it will be done by in-house staff.
d. Bond resolution for the acquisition of land for water improvements in and for the Village.
Trustee Wiegman moved the adoption of the following bond resolution. The motion was seconded by Trustee Kane. The Board of Trustees of the Village was polled. The motion was adopted by a vote of 5 affirmative votes (being at least two_thirds of the voting strength of the Board of Trustees of the Village) and 0 negative votes and 0 absent votes.
BOND RESOLUTION, DATED SEPTEMBER 27, 2004, AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF UP TO $855,000 AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT SERIAL BONDS OF THE VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK, PURSUANT TO THE LOCAL FINANCE LAW, TO FINANCE THE COSTS OF THE acquisition of land for water improvements IN AND FOR THE VILLAGE.
WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson (the “Village”), located in Westchester County, in the State of New York (the “State”), hereby determines that it is in the public interest of the Village to authorize the financing of the costs of the acquisition of land for water improvements in and for the Village, including other preliminary and incidental costs, at a total cost not to exceed $855,000, in accordance with the Local Finance Law;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, as follows:
Section 1. There is hereby authorized to be issued serial bonds of the Village in the aggregate principal amount of up to $855,000, pursuant to the Local Finance Law, in order to finance costs of the specific object or purpose, or class of object or purpose, hereinafter described.
Section 2. The specific object or purpose to be financed by the issuance of such serial bonds is the acquisition of land for water improvements in and for the Village (the “Project”).
Section 3. The Board of Trustees of the Village has ascertained and hereby states that (a) the estimated maximum cost of the Project is $950,000; (b) no money has heretofore been authorized to be applied to the payment of the costs of the Project, except $95,000 in monies from the Village’s Fund Balance Account; (c) the Board of Trustees of the Village plans to finance the costs of the Project from (i) the proceeds of the serial bonds or bond anticipation notes authorized herein and (ii) $95,000 in monies from the Village’s Fund Balance Account; (d) the maturity of the obligations authorized herein will be in excess of five (5) years; and (e) on or before the expenditure of moneys to pay for any
item within the class of object or purpose set forth herein for which proceeds of obligations are to be applied to reimburse the Village, the Board of Trustees of the Village took “official action” for federal income tax purposes to authorize capital financing of such item.
Section 4. It is hereby determined that the Project is a specific object or purpose, or of a class of object or purpose, described in subdivision 1 of paragraph a of Section 11.00 of the Local Finance Law and that the period of probable usefulness of the Project is forty (40) years. The serial bonds authorized herein shall have a maximum maturity of forty (40) years computed from the earlier of (a) the date of the first issue of such serial bonds, or (b) the date of the first bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of the issuance of such serial bonds
Section 5. Subject to the terms and conditions of this bond resolution and the Local Finance Law, including the provisions of Sections 21.00, 30.00, 50.00 and 56.00 to 60.00, inclusive, the power to authorize bond anticipation notes in anticipation of the issuance of such serial bonds authorized by this bond resolution and the renewal of such bond anticipation notes and the power to prescribe the terms, form and contents of such serial bonds and such bond anticipation notes authorized by this bond resolution, and the power to issue, sell and deliver such serial bonds and any bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of such serial bonds, including the renewal of such bond anticipation notes, are hereby
delegated to the Village Treasurer, as the chief fiscal officer of the Village. The Village Treasurer is hereby authorized to execute on behalf of the Village all serial bonds issued pursuant to this bond resolution and all bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of the issuance of such serial bonds, and the Village Clerk is hereby authorized to affix the seal of the Village (or to have imprinted a facsimile thereof) to all such serial bonds and all such bond anticipation notes and to attest such seal. Each interest coupon, if any, representing interest payable on such serial bonds shall be authenticated by the manual or facsimile signature of the Village Treasurer.
Section 6. The faith and credit of the Village is hereby and shall be irrevocably pledged for the punctual payment of the principal of and interest on all obligations authorized and issued pursuant to this bond resolution as the same shall become due.
Section 7. When this bond resolution takes effect, the Village Clerk shall cause the same, or a summary thereof, to be published together with a notice in substantially the form prescribed by Section 81.00 of the Local Finance Law in The Journal News, a newspaper having a general circulation in the Village. The validity of the serial bonds authorized by this bond resolution and of bond anticipation notes issued in anticipation of the issuance of such serial bonds may be contested only if such obligations are authorized for an object or purpose, or class of object or purpose, for which the Village is not authorized to expend money, or the provisions of law which should have been complied with as
of the date of the publication of this bond resolution, or a summary thereof, are not substantially complied with, and an action, suit or proceeding contesting such validity is commenced within twenty (20) days after the date of such publication, or if such obligations are authorized in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of the State of New York.
Section 8. Prior to the issuance of obligations authorized to be issued by this bond resolution, the Board of Trustees of the Village shall comply with all applicable provisions prescribed in Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law, all regulations promulgated thereunder by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and all applicable Federal laws and regulations in connection with environmental quality review relating to the Project (collectively, the “environmental compliance proceedings”). In the event that any of the environmental compliance proceedings are not completed, or require amendment or modification subsequent to the date of adoption of this bond
resolution, the Board of Trustees of the Village will re-adopt, amend or modify this bond resolution prior to the issuance of obligations authorized to be issued herein upon the advice of bond counsel. It is hereby determined by the Board of Trustees of the Village that the Project will not have a significant effect on the environment.
Section 9. The Village hereby declares its intention to issue the obligations authorized herein to finance the costs of the Project. The Village covenants for the benefit of the holders of the obligations authorized herein that it will not make any use of the proceeds of such obligations, any funds reasonably expected to be used to pay the principal of or interest on such obligations or any other funds of the Village, and will not make any use of the object or purpose financed with the proceeds of such obligations which would cause the interest on such obligations to become subject to Federal income taxation under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) (except for the
alternative minimum tax imposed on corporations by section 55 of the Code), or subject the Village to any penalties under section 148 of the Code, and that it will not take any action or omit to take any action with respect to such obligations, the proceeds thereof or the object or purpose financed thereby if such action or omission would cause the interest on such obligations to become subject to Federal income taxation under the Code (except for the alternative minimum tax imposed on corporations by section 55 of the Code), or subject the Village to any penalties under section 148 of the Code. The foregoing covenants shall remain in full force and effect notwithstanding the defeasance of the serial bonds or any other provisions hereof until the date which is sixty (60) days after the final maturity date or earlier prior redemption date thereof. The proceeds of any obligations authorized herein may be applied to reimburse expenditures or commitments of the Village made
for such object or purpose on or after a date which is not more than sixty (60) days prior to the date of adoption of this bond resolution by the Village.
Section 10. For the benefit of the holders and beneficial owners from time to time of the bonds and bond anticipation notes authorized pursuant to this bond resolution (the “obligations”), the Village agrees, in accordance with and as an obligated person with respect to the obligations under, Rule 15c2-12 promulgated by the Securities Exchange Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Rule”), to provide or cause to be provided such financial information and operating data, financial statements and notices, in such manner, as may be required for purposes of the Rule. In order to describe and specify certain terms of the Village’s continuing disclosure
agreement for that purpose, and thereby to implement that agreement, including provisions for enforcement, amendment and termination, the Village Treasurer is authorized and directed to sign and deliver, in the name and on behalf of the Village, the commitment authorized by subsection 6(c) of the Rule (the “Commitment”) to be placed on file with the Village Clerk, which shall constitute the continuing disclosure agreement made by the Village for the benefit of holders and beneficial owners of the obligations in accordance with the Rule, with any changes or amendments that are not inconsistent with this bond resolution and not substantially adverse to the Village and that are approved by the Village Treasurer on behalf of the Village, all of which shall be conclusively evidenced by the signing of the Commitment or amendments thereto. The agreement formed collectively by this paragraph and the Commitment, shall be the Village’s continuing disclosure agreement
for purposes of the Rule, and its performance shall be subject to the availability of funds and their annual appropriation to meet costs the Village would be required to incur to perform thereunder. The Village Treasurer is further authorized and directed to establish procedures in order to ensure compliance by the Village with its continuing disclosure agreement, including the timely provision of information and notices. Prior to making any filing in accordance with the agreement or providing notice of the occurrence of any material event, the Village Treasurer shall consult with, as appropriate, the Village Attorney and bond counsel or other qualified independent special counsel to the Village. The Village Treasurer acting in the name and on behalf of the Village, shall be entitled to rely upon any legal advice provided by the Village Attorney or such bond counsel or other qualified independent special counsel in determining whether a filing should be
Section 11. This bond resolution is subject to a permissive referendum and will take effect upon its adoption by the Board of Trustees of the Village and the expiration of the period prescribed in the Village Law during which petitions for a permissive referendum may be submitted and filed with the Village Clerk.
Discussion: Manager Herbek stated that $95k will be used from the Water Fund and the remaining amount is covered by this 15-year bond. It will be paid from the Water fund, not the General Fund.
7. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – NON-AGENDA ITEMS
No one rose to speak.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On a motion by Trustee Schmidt, seconded by Trustee Grant, the minutes of the Meeting of September 13, 2004 were approved as amended by a unanimous vote.
Manager Herbek: He suggested that reports be skipped due to the lateness of the hour. All agreed.
On a motion by Trustee Schmidt, seconded by Trustee Grant, the meeting was adjourned at 12:37 am on Tuesday, September 28th by unanimous vote.
Ann H. Gallelli, Secretary