Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Schmidt Trustee Wiegman
Village Manager Herbek Trustee Kane
Village Attorney Stecich Trustee Brennan
Treasurer Zambrano Trustee Steinberg
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Schmidt called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Schmidt gave a brief update of MetroEnviro: on Sept 1st the Village issued a stop work order to cease operations at the close of business hours on 9/1/05; they are now proceeding with their 90 day close down procedure; trucks may still be coming and going but will be carrying out empty containers plus some trucks will be removing incidental material from the area; the Village is continuing all efforts to keep MetroEnviro closed. Mayor Schmidt thanked everyone who has supported them and continues to support this effort; after tonight’s meeting the board will be meeting with counsel to outline further steps to continue to shut down the process; they do their best to get information on the web site as soon as possible.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Steinberg made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Kane and approved unanimously.
General Fund $ 60,143.07
Water Fund 2,480.50
Capital Accounts 141,314.55
3. NYCOM RECOGNITION OF EMPLOYEES WITH 25 YEARS OF SERVICE:
Village Manager Herbek and Mayor Schmidt, on behalf of NYS Conference of Mayors, recognized three Village employees with 25 years of service: Vito Calcutti, Jr., Public Works Dept.; Mark Pennington, skilled laborer and Russel H. Harper, Croton Police Dept.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
a letter from William Rooney, 84 Grand St., thanking everyone for continued efforts to rid the Village of MetroEnviro.
A letter from Michael J. Sakala, Westchester County Dept. of Health acknowledging receipt of the Village’s “Well-field: Evaluation of Grand Water Under the Direct Influence Criteria” and the Supplemental GWUDI Study for Village Well Fields; incuding the determination that all existing well sources have been determined to be NOT GWUDI. Trustee Kane congratulated Tom Brann, Dan O’Connor and the Water Dept. employees for the work they did to get this study completed. Village Manager Herbek added that this favorable report will save the taxpayers a considerable amount of money.
A letter from Congressperson Sue Kelly regarding the Transportation Equity Act that was signed on August 10, 2005. Village Manager Herbek reported that this means that the grant application by Van Cortlandt Manor for the reconstruction for the old Rt. 9 entrance will be funded; the Village will have to coordinate with Historic Hudson Valley and the NYS DOT to get this 2 million dollar project under way.
A letter from Emilie Spaulding, Cablevision, regarding a potential second cable franchise agreement and advising of cable regulations; NYS Dept. of Public Service provides free consulting services to municipalities to assist in dealings with cable television service providers.
A letter from Stephanie Ippoliti, Village Clerk, Briarcliff Manor, NY advising that their Board of Trustees passed a resolution on July 6, 2005 in opposition to the re-licensing of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Village Manager Herbek added that Croton-on-Hudson approved a similar resolution on March 15, 2004 and also on November 19, 2001 with the Board calling for the immediate shut-down of Indian Point.
A letter from Andrew Dickey, BestWeb Corp., regarding a franchise agreement between the Village and BestWeb. Mr. Dickey was present and explained further their proposal of a fiber connection between CET and the High School; it is a lengthy process and the requested franchise agreement is necessary before proceeding with ConEd; it is an industry-standard agreement with a section added to protect the Village and can be cancelled within 90 days if the agreement is not acceptable; this is a general agreement to meet the needs of any business customer in the village. Trustee Brennan asked who else would be your customers? Mr. Dickey doesn’t know of any other business that would need this type of connection; but if this is approved, they would not have to come back to the Village for further approval if the service is requested; this service would not go into residences. Trustee Wiegman asked if this would be a model that might unfold with other school districts. Mr. Dickey replied that this is their first trial and they are in negotiations with other school districts. Village Attorney Stecich stated that they want permission to run cables along the right of way and do they not really want an easement agreement? Mr. Dickey replied that they want a franchise agreement similar to what the Village has with Cablevision and would be getting with Verizon. Village Attorney Stecich added it might be helpful for her to speak with representatives of ConEd; she believes they need to know that BestWeb has permission to use the right of way and an easement agreement might make more sense. Mr. Dickey replied that ConEd has asked specifically for a franchise agreement. Trustee Steinberg asked that this be referred to counsel for further review. Mayor Schmidt suggested approving the agreement providing it meets the Village Attorney’s conditions and the Village Manager can sign it. The final decision of the Board was that the Village Attorney will review the request and come back to the next board meeting Trustee Wiegman added that it is not inconceivable that other businesses in the Village that may come to the point where this may be a service they would use.
A letter from Kenneth Verschoor, Cortlandt Dept. of Technical Services regarding a Public hearing that will be held on 9/7/05 at 8:00 in Cortlandt Town Hall for a special permit for a professional office in a transitional location at 20 Baltic Place.
A letter from Maria Cudequest regarding assertions in a local internet chat room that the Village is secretly attempting to get rid of the sailing school. Mayor Schmidt replied that there is no truth to the matter, the Village is negotiating a new contract with the Croton Sailing School and further discussions will resume in the fall.
Village Manager Herbek read an update from the Village Engineer on the Harmon Water Project; he encouraged people to call the Engineering Dept. for help in determining if there is a need to replace water lines; personnel are available to help with this assessment. Trustee Wiegman added that the Department was very speedy in coming to his house and informing him that he has galvanized lines that need to be replaced; they also have a list of plumbing contractors that are certified and capable.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION-Agenda Items
Lynn Roessler, 85 Grand St., referred to resolution D on the agenda where there is a spelling error; this is the 2nd time this has happened and asked to please have a proof-reader for the agenda. At the request of Mayor Schmidt, Ms. Roessler announced that on October 1st at 10 am on Croton Point there will be a celebration of the 225th anniversary of the capture of Major Andre and his hanging; they will shoot at the HMS Vulture, played by the Clearwater, as a reenactment of the event which will last until 10:45 am.
a) On motion of TRUSTEE Brennan, 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, Westchester County has received Legacy Funds of approximately $1,600,000 to extend the handicapped-accessible trail that has been constructed on the southern portion of Croton Landing through the Beaverkill (North Cove) section of Croton Landing as part of its Riverwalk Project; and
WHEREAS, this project will include an entire clean-up of the site, new plantings, and a separation of the site from the Metro-North railroad tracks; and
WHEREAS, the County has hired Cherbuliez Munz to complete the design plans for this project and the Village has now received preliminary plans from Hahn Engineering, a subcontractor; and
WHEREAS, on July 25, 2005 the Village Board authorized the circulation of the Full Environmental Assessment Form and the Coastal Assessment Form to the Westchester County Board of Legislators, the Waterfront Advisory Committee, the NYS DEC, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Open Space Institute, and the Recreation Advisory Committee; and
WHEREAS, on July 25, 2005 the Village Board declared its intent to become lead agency for this matter; and
WHEREAS, the Village Board has received comments back from the Waterfront Advisory Committee and the Open Space Institute; and
WHEREAS, no other involved agency has indicated an intent to become lead agency; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Law, the Village Board must now make a determination as to the environmental impact of this project,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby declares itself Lead Agency with respect to this matter,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees does hereby adopt the Negative Declaration with respect to this matter.
Discussion: Trustee Wiegman questioned page 12 of 21, what qualifies for significantly more traffic in SEQRA terms; this can be looked at later. Trustee Kane asked if plans have been made for commercial and recreational fisherman who will be losing their launching spot. Mayor Schmidt replied they are looking at using Senasqua or just north of the Croton Yacht Club. Village Manager Herbek suggested trying Senasqua launch first, keeping the gate closed but not locked; the other possibility is the area north of the yacht club which would not be too expensive to utilize for when Senasqua ramp is not available. Trustee Kane suggested a more feasible idea is to use the cove north of the yacht club which could be used as is without improvements. Mayor Schmidt replied that he feels strongly about this and that he is not committed to making changes to a boat launch when there is already one in existence; can take this back to a work session with advice from several groups. He added that he would like to see a reference in the statutes that the Village provides for commercial fisherman. Trustee Wiegman added that there is also an issue with parking of a vehicle with a trailer.
b) On motion of TRUSTEE Steinberg, 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 contract with Acocella Contracting for sidewalk replacement expires on September 22, 2005; and
WHEREAS, the Village would like to extend this contract with the same conditions, scope of work, and unit prices until December 31, 2005,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the agreement with Acocella Contracting for a contract extension until December 31, 2005.
Discussion: Trustee Brennan asked if Acocella will work to the end of the year. Trustee Steinberg asked what happens then. Village Manager Herbek replied that this will be rebid. Trustee Brennan questioned what advantage the Village has when a contractor goes to another job. Village Manager Herbek replied that for the last several years, the Village has had the bulk of Acocella’s work force, but we are not the only municipality that uses them; however, this will carry through to the end of the year.
c) On motion of TRUSTEE Steinberg, seconded by TRUSTEE Brennan, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, on October 7, 2003, the Village Board of Trustees adopted a master fee schedule and most recently updated it on April 25, 2005; and
WHEREAS, this fee schedule does not include the new fees to be charged for the use of the fields at Croton Point Park; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby amends the Master Fee Schedule to add fees for the use of Croton Point Park fields as follows:
Village Resident Groups*: $75.00 for the first 2 hours (or any part thereof) of a given date plus $30 for each additional hour (or any part thereof on the same date.
Non Resident Groups: $150.00 for the first 2 hours (or any part thereof) of a given date plus $60 for each additional hour (or any part thereof on the same date.
*Village resident groups are those groups that can verify that at least 75% of their members are residents of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson
Discussion: Trustee Steinberg asked how fees were determined. Village Manager Herbek replied that they did a survey of about 8 or 9 municipalities and did an analysis. Trustee Steinberg stated for a long term agreement they should have someone from the Village reach out to groups to see what the potential use will be for the fall season. Village Manager Herbek replied that he is interested in that information also and they know of some groups that will be using it. Trustee Wiegman added that local users would have paid more than these fees to the County and would expect to get applications when more information is available. Trustee Wiegman expressed his concern about demographics in the future and the percentage of 75% member residents necessary for a resident group.
d) 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 Sidewalk Replacement Program was adopted on February 15, 2000; and
WHEREAS, this law called for 50% of the actual contract cost of the replacement of damaged sidewalk to be paid for by the Village and 50% to be paid for by the homeowner until May 31, 2005 and 25% of the actual contract cost to be paid for by the Village and 75% to be paid for by the homeowner from June 1, 2005 until May 31, 2007; and
WHEREAS, the Village Board would like to amend this law to provide that the homeowner pays 60% of the sidewalk replacement cost from June 1, 2005 until May 31, 2007; and
WHEREAS, Local Law Introductory No. 2 of 2005 has been drafted amending the sidewalk replacement law,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby calls for a Public Hearing on October 4, 2005 at 8pm in the meeting room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building to consider Local Law Introductory No. 2 of 2005.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – NON-AGENDA ITEMS:
Bob Wintermeir, 43 Radnor Ave., thanked the mayor & the board for the work done to get rid of MetroEnviro. Mr. Wintermeir stated that he has been concerned about emergency planning and has found that New Orleans had an emergency planning document with the responsibility fell on the local government, then state, then federal. He stated that Camp Smith is a national guard facility; the responsibility for emergency planning falls first on individuals and local government; locally is where the accountability lies; he has a web site and has put some of this information up, has started his own emergency plan and is not aware that the Village has an emergency plan; things such as evacuation, senior civil defense program and a communication backup need to be addressed and he would like to see the Village’s emergency plan. Village Manager Herbek replied that the Village has a disaster mitigation plan that is posted on the web site and has been submitted to the State Emergency Management Office and are well ahead of most municipalities; he is giving a false impression that the Village is not prepared; the active staff group has been working on emergency preparedness for over a year. Bob Wintermeir replied that he has not seen it and did not search for it; this plan should be discussed and people should be made aware of it. Mr. Wintermeir added that at the last meeting, the debate could have been avoided if the board changed the five minute speaking limit and extend it to 8 or 10 minutes. Mr. Herbek added that agrees that preparedness is necessary; September is National Preparedness Month; Homeland Security and the American Red Cross will be working with 190 national organizations to highlight the importance of public preparedness; every homeowner should have an emergency kit to provide for 3 day emergency event; everyone needs to make a plan what will do in case of emergency, be informed, be aware of threats, get involved and get first aid training, Jeff Tkacs is the Town’s Homeland Security Officer; the Town of Cortlandt is having a security & safety summit on 9/29/05 at town hall. Mayor Schmidt added that Hurricane Katrina should have taught a lesson that even with the best planning, Mother Nature can trump you hand; the Village has done a good job working toward emergency planning; such as each one adopting a senior citizen in Village and keeping an eye on him/her, including whether they can afford the heating costs this winter.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Steinberg made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on August 15, 2005 as corrected. Trustee Kane seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
Village Manager Herbek reported that he received notification that the Public Service Commission will be holding seven hearings of its telecommunications policies, practices and rules including the immergence of internet and cable based telephone services; the closest hearing location is at the NY Public Library on Oct. 20th.
Village Treasurer Zambrano reported that MUNIS is going very well, they have completed the water modules; have gone live with payroll checks; the year to date figures are to be completed; he will invite the board members to attend a demo to see how system works
Trustee Wiegman congratulated Tom Brann regarding the favorable water report. He added that he noticed the Croton Landing dredge pond is now de-watered and looking quite well as predicted by the Engineering Dept. Trustee Wiegman added that the NY Times has recently reported a number of stories featuring the Crotonblog.com and a local Exxon station, a reporter asked him about leads for solar energy and an article was published including photographs of local businesses.
Trustee Kane reported that this is back to school week, remember the children walking and crossing streets. He reported that he will be forming a committee to study restoration of oyster beds in the Hudson; pollution had killed off most of the oysters, now that the river is healthy again, he would like to form this committee to study ways of restoration of the beds off Croton Point and Croton Landing and is looking for volunteers.
Trustee Steinberg announced that he has volunteered his services to collect monetary contributions for the victims of Hurricane Katrina; residents can send checks made payable to the American Red Cross to his attention at the Municipal Building and he will forward them at end of the month. Trustee Steinberg mentioned he heard very good news about the Harmon water project; a resident was impressed with Bilotta’s use of yard space at Hastings; they have been very conscious that there are small children in the area and he extended his appreciation to Dan O’Connor, the Village Staff and Manager. Trustee Steinberg also reminded everyone that school is in session; the middle school, high school students are walking, the younger students are taking busses; please take care.
Trustee Brennan echoed the report about school openings – drive carefully. He added that the people affected by Hurricane Katrina need cash – please open your wallets.
Mayor Schmidt reported that the Croton Historical Society, in conjunction with the Village Historian, are putting on an exhibition at the Library of various local artists celebrating the 100th birthday of the Croton Dam. Mayor Schmidt reiterated that students are back to school and they have asked police to step up enforcement of Village speed laws – please slow down.
Trustee Brennan made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Kane seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.
Phyllis A. Bradbury
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary