A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, March 7, 2005 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Schmidt and approved unanimously.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
a) A letter from Chris Kehoe, Farrington Road, requesting the Village to apply for a sidewalk reconstruction project grant for their neighborhood through the Community Development Block Grant Program.
b) A letter from Kenneth Verschoor, Cortlandt Deputy Planning Director, announcing a Public hearing March 1, 2005 on a proposed zoning amendment concerning hospitals and nursing homes.
c) A letter from Christopher Smith, Hudson National Golf Club, requesting approval of a fireworks display planned for June 25, 2005. Mayor Elliott suggested the Club advertise more fully to make this a community event and to also notify nearby residents. Trustee Grant suggested the Village supply Hudson National with a list of residences within 250 feet of the Club and they can inform them of the fireworks display. Village Manager Herbek suggested also using the Village website, cable TV and the newsletter to inform residents.
d) A letter from the Recreation Advisory Committee recommending that the skate park be eliminated as a Recreation and Parks Department facility and consider using this site for the development of a community center. Mayor Elliott stated that no decision will be made tonight and this will be put on the agenda of a work session.
e) A letter from L. Helle Maide, Director, NY Power Authority, with an update on Con Edison’s request for electric delivery rate increase.
f) A memo from Fran Allen for the Waterfront Advisory Committee regarding the opening of the southern access road and bicycle/walkway between Croton Point Park and Discovery Cove.
4. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – Agenda Items
Gary Cohen, 237 W. Mt. Airy, stated that the skateboard park became an issue several years ago and it was decided that the only viable location for the skate park was the current location; he suggested that closing the facility because of one bad year is shortsighted; it services the group that is underserved, the older children; the bulk of the expense was in renovation of the property.
Michael Goetz, 19 Irving Ave., stated that last summer was very rainy which took away some of the skate board time for the students; summer camps let out at 3 pm so why not coordinate the opening after the summer camp’s day ends. He suggested having the Recreation Dept. use the high school students as volunteer monitors to cut down expenses; have the Recreation sponsor events with a fee, competitions and prizes; the passes can be bought by anybody including those outside the Village; he would like to see the skate board park continue; it is a much safer area; please keep it going. Mr. Getz added that originally the concept was to allow bikes and scooters at allocated times; perhaps this is an added way to bring in revenue.
Joanne Minnett, Van Cortlandt Place, stated that she would like to see safe passage provided to the children going to the skateboard park and also a sidewalk on Municipal Place.
Ross Weale, 183 Hastings Ave., stated that they have been season pass holders; it is a tremendous facility; he read a letter from his 10 year old son asking that the skate park be kept open and be given another chance. Mr. Weale added that businesses around Municipal Place are happy to have the skate park open especially on a hot day and it brings in people from other communities; the park also provides an outdoor activity for kids. He suggested the Village coordinate with schools to provide some supervision perhaps as a club; can have exhibitions along with other towns.
Max Cohen, 237 W. Mt. Airy, stated that he has been skateboarding for 6 years; the skate park is where they go every day; they would have to skate on the street if it’s closed; it’s a place where kids can get together.
Randy Seawald, 2068 Quaker Ridge Road, stated that currently the school does not allow students to bring skateboards and asked if something could be worked out to allow skate boards to be brought to school or left at the skate park so they do not have to go home after school.
John Naitove, 2 North Ledge Trail, stated that he has been to a lot of skate parks in other states and few have full time attendants, perhaps the Village does not need full time help; he suggested also having vending machines because the kids would spend more time in the park if they didn’t have to leave so often.
Nancy Thomas and Quinn Thomas, Journey’s End Road, stated that they need a place to go and the skate park is a better place than the street.
Mayor Elliott stated that the Board will take this up very thoughtfully; comments are welcome at public meetings or to any member of the Board. Trustee Wiegman stated that he heard some very good suggestions and asked that they be sent in writing. Trustee Grant stated that this does have to be given a lot of consideration; she had trepidations about opening the skate park and will give preference to get all ideas and see if it couldn’t be given another year; she would like to research the comment about other communities not having full time attendants; she will also look at the accident reports. Trustee Schmidt added that he believes that the Village’s insurance carrier has stated that there must be a full time attendant to ensure everyone has their equipment on. Trustee Kane stated that he would like more information also.
a) On motion of TRUSTEE Kane, seconded by TRUSTEE Schmidt, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE VILLAGE MANAGER TO FILE AND/OR JOIN IN A PETITION TO THE STATE OF NEW YORK PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION REQUESTING THAT THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION DIRECT VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND/OR ITS AFFILIATES TO OBTAIN A CABLE TELEVISION FRANCHISE FROM THE VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON PRIOR TO CONSTRUCTING AND INSTALLING A FIBER-TO-THE-PREMISES NETWORK DESIGNED TO PROVIDE CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE IN THE VILLAGE
WHEREAS, Verizon Communications, Inc. and/or it affiliates (“Verizon”) have commenced construction of a Fiber-to-the-Premises (“FTTP”) network in the rights-of-way of numerous municipalities throughout the State which FTTP network is designed to provide cable television service; and
WHEREAS, the New York Public Service Law requires that providers of cable television service obtain a municipal franchise from each municipality in which they propose to provide cable television service, prior to commencing operations or expanding the area to which such service shall be provided; and
WHEREAS, Verizon has not applied to the Village of Croton on Hudson for a cable television franchise, although the Village is advised that Verizon intends to construct a FTTP network in the Village similar to the network on which it has recently commenced construction in several other Westchester municipalities; and
WHEREAS, this Board of Trustees believes that the New York Public Service Commission (“PSC”) should direct Verizon to obtain a cable television franchise from the Village of Croton on Hudson prior to commencing construction and installation of a FTTP network in the Village,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to file and/or join in a petition to the State of New York Public Service Commission requesting that the Public Service Commission direct Verizon to obtain a cable television franchise prior to constructing and installing a Fiber-to-the-Premises network designed to provide cable television service in the Village of Croton on Hudson.
b) On motion of TRUSTEE Kane, 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 of Croton on Hudson has benefited from several inter-municipal agreements with the Town of Cortlandt over the years with respect to bidding by the Town Purchasing Director, shared use of equipment and the removal of Freon from appliances; and
WHEREAS, the Village is desirous of continuing these inter-municipal agreements for another year;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the three Intermunicipal agreements for the year 2005 which deal with bidding by the Town Purchasing Director, shared used of equipment and removal of Freon from appliances.
c) On motion of TRUSTEE Kane, seconded by TRUSTEE Schmidt, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
Supporting the Community Development Program
and Urging Congress to Restore its Funding
WHEREAS, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program was enacted, and signed into law by President Gerald Ford, as the centerpiece of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974; and
WHEREAS, the CDBG program has as its primary objective “… the development of viable urban communities, by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income;” and
WHEREAS, the CDBG program has considerable flexibility to allow communities to carry out activities that are tailored to their unique affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization needs; and
WHEREAS, throughout its 30-year history, the CDBG program has been a partnership among the federal, state and local governments, business, and the nonprofit sector which carry out activities that improve the lives and neighborhoods of low and moderate income families; and
WHEREAS, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in FY 2004 CDBG provided funds for thousands of activities, assisting over 23 million persons and households through such activities as expanding homeownership activities, eliminating slums and blighting influences, improving infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, libraries, community centers, adult day care and after school care for children, homeless housing facilities, employment training, transportation services, crime awareness, and business and job creation; and
WHEREAS, the Village of Croton on Hudson has received over $2.5-million in CDBG funding and has used these funds to help offset the cost of various projects such as infrastructure improvements, sidewalk improvements, new playgrounds, rehabilitation of riverfront property, etc; and
WHEREAS, without this assistance these projects could not have been completed; and
WHEREAS, numerous low and moderate income residents have been the beneficiary of CDBG funds that were used to rehabilitate and preserve their housing; and
WHEREAS, the President’s FY 2006 budget proposes to completely eliminate the CDBG program; and
WHEREAS, should such a proposal be enacted, it would have a devastating effect on the Village of Croton-on-Hudson,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Village of Croton on Hudson hereby calls on the Congress to preserve the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development and provide a FY 2006 funding of at least $4.7 billion overall, with no less than $4.35 billion in formula funding.
d) On motion of TRUSTEE Schmidt, seconded by TRUSTEE Grant, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, The Village Engineer has completed a Quality Communities Grant Application to the New York State Department of State; and
WHEREAS, this application is for the updating of the Village’s environmental laws; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That Daniel O’Connor, Village Engineer of the Village of Croton on Hudson, is hereby authorized and directed to file an application for funds from the New York State Department of State Quality Communities Program and upon approval of said request to enter into and execute a project agreement with the State for such financial assistance to this municipality for the updating of the Village’s environmental laws.
6. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – NON-AGENDA ITEMS:
Bob Wintermeir, 43 Radnor Ave., stated that he is concerned about the new Village logo; he sent a copy of the logo to several Indian nations; the logo does not represent a Mohican type of hair dress; he read a section of the Mohawk’s response that the Mohicans wear their hair pulled back; he received a picture of what the Mohicans looked like in the 17th century. Mr. Wintermeir suggested getting the correct silhouette for that particular tribe. Mr. Wintermeir, regarding the budget, indicated that the Village newsletter stated that the projected tax increase could be in the range of 15%; that number should be looked at and reduced. Mr. Wintermeir added that Moody’s Village credit ratings are high because villages do not default; a credit rating is just a credit rating until you default.
Michael Goetz, 19 Irving Ave., stated that the newsletter said that the increase could be, not that it will be 15%. Mr. Getz added that he understands pensions and health insurance go up; a lot of people moved to Croton because they like the greenery and do not want industry. Mr. Goetz stated that acquiring the Seprieo property and the train parking lot were a great foresight; in about 5 years it will not make sense to borrow, but the interest rates are low right now and that now is the time to borrow.
Joanne Minnett, 5 Van Cortlandt Place, stated that she does not object to a new logo but the timing is awful even though it will be phased in slowly; there are so many priorities to be taken care of now that it is shameful to spend $20,000 for a logo; why not have a silhouette of a sailboat on the water as we have now. She added that she hopes the Village Board would wait at least one board meeting to hear what people have to say before voting on these issues.
7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Kane made a motion to approve the minutes of the Board Meeting held on February 15, 2005 as corrected seconded by Trustee Wiegman; approved unanimously.
Village Manager Herbek reported that the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, Dept. of Geography and Environmental Engineering is trying to determine how to get the railroad ties out of Croton Bay; cadets are doing projects related to this issue and they will be doing aerial photography using a Blackhawk helicopter this week; they will not land in Croton, but will be flying fairly low.
Trustee Wiegman stated that the NY Power Authority will be in on March 14th at 10 am. He reported that the VEB is preparing a description of the new Village icon with an explanation for the public on the process that was used. He added that the Lenape Indians were the tribe that was here, not the Mohawks.
Trustee Kane reported that he gave a tour of the lower estuary and mudflats to a West Point Cadet who took quite a few photographs of the railroad ties; they had a good discussion about the area; the cadets will be mapping each railroad tie that will be removed.
Trustee Schmidt stated that, regarding the skate park, they will explore all options. He added that village elections will be held next week and urged all to come out and vote.
Trustee Grant reported that the high school boys’ basketball did very well, having gone to the final round. Mayor Elliott added that they lost in the final round to an upstate school; there are only 3 teams who have ever done that and are to be congratulated. Trustee Grant added that they all do a great job. Trustee Grant reported also that www.Crotonblog has the League of Women’s Voters recent debate if anyone missed it.
Trustee Kane made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Wiegman seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 9 pm.
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary