A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, January 16, 2007 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
The following officials were present:
1. CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Schmidt called the meeting to order at 8:04 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Brennan made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows; the motion was seconded by Trustee Kane and approved unanimously.
A presentation was made by Susan Darling, Environmental Planner and Tracey Corbitt, AICP and Principal Planner of the Westchester County Department of Planning regarding the Indian Brook-Croton Gorge Watershed Conservation Action Plan
Ms. Darling explained that the Indian Brook-Croton Gorge Watershed Conservation Action Plan started a few years ago with a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to protect water quality in the Croton Bay Watershed. Ms. Darling said that the funding from the State comes through the Hudson River Estuary Program. Ms. Darling advised that a Steering Committee was developed with representatives from various municipalities of this area to work on a Regional Plan. Ms. Darling gave an overview of what has been done over the last year to develop this Plan to include a State of the Watershed Report. Ms. Darling said that within the next few months they will be working on finalizing and Implementation of the Plan. Ms. Darling advised that the Croton Bay Watershed includes
· parts of the Town of Cortlandt, Town of New Castle, Town of Ossining, Village of Ossining and the Village of Croton on Hudson
· two sub-watersheds; the Croton Gorge and the Indian Brook
· important natural features; the Croton River, the Croton Bay and the Indian Brook Reservoir
· steep slopes
· and the identification of various soil types
Ms. Darling said that the goals are:
· to protect and restore natural resources throughout the watershed
· develop and implement storm water management practices
· promote sustainable development throughout the watershed
· preserve and protect wildlife and wildlife habitats
· and educate the public about these issues
Ms. Darling advised that from these goals, they developed recommendations
· to show different ways how we can all work together based on the different sub-watershed areas
· that will allow a variety of agencies and organizations to work together both private and public
· to prevent illegal activities that degrade water quality of the Croton River
· to develop and implement storm water management practices by pre-treating storm water outfalls that are discharging into the Croton River
· to develop overlay zones to protect water quality and drinking water resources in different areas of the watershed
· to investigate fluctuations and flow of the Croton River that affect the habitat and biodiversity of the region
· to require Board Members to have storm water training and to develop educational and training programs for highway personnel about storm water issues
· to promote volunteerism in the County's natural resource Education Program
Ms. Darling advised that the plan does not mandate compliance but the recommendations may be required by other programs. Ms. Darling said that the plan does not need to be adopted but the recommendations serve as good strategies. Ms. Darling said that the Draft Plan was sent out for review in December of 2006 and they are receiving comments back from the State, municipalities and the steering committee and hope to develop the final plan this spring. Ms. Darling said that they have received support early on from the five municipalities and have applied for a grant through the State to support an inter-municipal agreement to allow implementation of some of the recommendations that are in the plan. Ms. Darling said that they will be working with the Steering Committee to see which recommendations will be implemented within the next year.
Tracey Corbitt stated that this plan is a regional plan and that the Inter-Municipal Agreement will allow each municipality to pick recommendations from the plan that they can implement with other municipalities in areas that overlay such as protecting reservoirs and coordinating storm water management.
Trustee Gallelli stated that the Village of Croton on Hudson has a very large representation, of the fourteen (14) members of the Steering Committee, five (5) are from Croton and thanked the members; Charlie Kane, Fran Allen, Dan O'Connor, Ken Kraft, and Chris Kehoe.
Mayor Schmidt and the Board thanked Ms. Darling and Tracey Corbitt for their hard work on this project and for putting together a great presentation. Mayor Schmidt said that this plan is a global plan and that each individual municipality can develop other rules and regulations governing their own usage of their waterfront that will be appropriate for each municipality.
a. Letter from Kevin Burns, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation dated December 29, 2006 advising that Croton has not been selected for their grant request for the Kaplan's Pond Trail Rehabilitation and Extension project.
Village Manager, Richard Herbek stated that he feels very strongly about this application and project and, in addition to discussing this project during the budget process, he will also reapply during next year's grant application process.
b. Letter from L. Helle Maide, Director of Government Accounts dated December 21, 2006 advising that the New York Power Authority's electrical rates will increase by approximately 17.1% in 2007.
c. Memo from Jan Wines, Chairman of the Croton Trails Committee highlighting the activities of the committee during 2006 and the committee's priorities in 2007.
5. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION - AGENDA ITEMS
Don Daubney, 45 Bungalow Road, Croton asked if the removal of the railroad ties are going to cost the Village any money?
Village Manager, Richard Herbek, said that very little has been spent on this, the Village did pay for the initial disposing of the railroad ties during the testing part of the program. Mr. Herbek said that going forward the bulk of the work will be done by an Amy Reserve Unit, National Guard Unit or a Marine Unit that has specialties in this area.
Mayor Schmidt said that these units will be doing the physical work of removing the railroad ties and Metro North has committed a certain amount of money to the ultimate disposal of the railroad ties.
On motion of TRUSTEE BRENNAN seconded by TRUSTEE GALLELLI, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, on April 17, 2006 the Village Board of Trustees approved the contract with DeCarvalho Landscaping for the amount of $202,225 for the sidewalk improvement program; and
WHEREAS, one of the provisions of the contract allows a one-year extension of the contract by mutual agreement between the parties at the original unit prices; and
WHEREAS, DeCarvalho Landscaping is interested in renewing the contract and the Village Engineer also recommends renewing the contract,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the agreement extending the contract with DeCarvalho Landscaping at the same unit prices as in the original contract,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the costs of the 2007 sidewalk program will be charged to capital account #H-5110-200-0405-118.
On motion of TRUSTEE KANE, 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, the Village Police Department would like to participate in Westchester County’s STOP DWI Program; and
WHEREAS, this program is an overtime, added, patrol effort to enforce the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws against intoxicated and impaired driving (DWI/DWAI) in Westchester County; and
WHEREAS, the maximum amount for Patrol Project Activity is $6,000.00 for the year with availability of $2,400 of additional added overtime upon written approval; and
WHEREAS, on June 5, 2006, the Village approved the contract with the County for the 2006 calendar year; and
WHEREAS, the County has sent an amendment to that contract which will extend the contract through December 31, 2010 with a total amount not to exceed $42,000 for the period from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2010,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is authorized to sign the 2006 Stop-DWI Patrol Project Reimbursement contract amendment with Westchester County.
On motion of TRUSTEE GALLELLI, seconded by TRUSTEE KANE, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
RESOLVED, that the annual Village Election of the Village of Croton on Hudson, New York shall be held Tuesday, March 20, 2007, at the following polling place:
Community Room, Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building in the Village of Croton on Hudson, at which election the polls will be open from 6am to 9pm
On motion of TRUSTEE BRENNAN, 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, there are approximately 2,000 railroad ties scattered in mud flats in the Croton Bay; and
WHEREAS, these ties are considered to be a navigational hazard for watercraft operators and a visual blight; and
WHEREAS, in 2000, through a water quality improvement project funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Village paid for a multi-year study by Hudsonia which looked at the environmental considerations of removing the railroad ties; and
WHEREAS, in 2003 Hudsonia produced a report which concluded that there would be no adverse environmental impacts from removing the ties; and
WHEREAS, in 2005, the United States Military Academy Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering completed a feasibility study on the removal of the ties from the Croton Bay; and
WHEREAS, this study concluded that an optimum method of removing the ties would consist of the utilization of small, shallow draft, flat-bottomed boats used to transport removal crews where the ties could be lifted out of the mud flats and transported to the shore; and
WHEREAS, although this method is a relatively low-cost option in terms of material, it would require a large amount of man-power; and
WHEREAS, the Village has applied to the Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training Program to have this department undertake to remove the ties; and
WHEREAS, the objective of this program would be to remove approximately 1,000 ties from the bay; and
WHEREAS, the Village has been informed by Vinnie Tamagna, the Hudson River Navigator, that the Village has been placed on the list of approved projects by the Department of Defense; and
WHEREAS, Metro North has committed to pay for the disposal of approximately 1,000 ties at an estimated cost of $18,000; and
WHEREAS, although the Village will not be responsible for any expenses associated with the project it is responsible for going through the SEQRA process and applying for all necessary permits; and
WHEREAS, a Coastal Assessment Form and Short Environmental Assessment Form have been prepared,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees declares its intent to become Lead Agency for the environmental review of this project,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Board authorizes the distribution of the Coastal Assessment Form and Environmental Assessment form to all involved and interested agencies including the New York State DEC, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Waterfront Advisory Council, Historic Hudson Valley, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, and the Village and Town of Ossining.
Trustee Kane explained that the study to remove the railroad ties was made by the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at West Point. Trustee Kane explained that the removal of the railroad ties will consist of the utilization of small shallow draft flat bottom boats that will transport removal crews so that the railroad ties and railroad tie fragments can be lifted out of the mud flats and transported to shore. Trustee Kane said that the boats will be tethered so that they can be pulled into the Bay by a shore crew, railroad ties that are too large to be removed will be cut into pieces during low tide and removed piece by piece when the tide rises enough to support the boats. Trustee Kane said that plywood and wood planks will be used to construct a temporary work platform where the crew will load the railroad ties. Trustee Kane said that the railroad ties will be brought to a boat launch area as a temporary storage and from there they will be loaded into containers by Metro North and transported offsite for disposal.
On motion of TRUSTEE GALLELLI, 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 retainer agreement with Bond, Schoeneck & King for labor relations and employment law matters is due to expire on January 17, 2007, and
WHEREAS, the Village has received a new retainer agreement covering the period from January 18, 2007 through January 17, 2009; and
WHEREAS, the base rate for the retainer has been raised from $5,000 to $5,500 per year,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the retainer agreement with Bond, Schoeneck & King for the period from January 18, 2007 through January 17, 2009.
7. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Avenue, Croton, said that there is concern about the vandalism along the Croton River and while there was a meeting about this issue with various officials who are very receptive to solving the problem, they are restricted in some instances by what they can financially do to help. Mr. Wintermeier said that the Town Supervisor of Cortlandt suggested using Town finances, approximately $20,000, to pay for a boat to be used to patrol the river to minimize the vandalism. Mr. Wintermeier thanked all those officials for helping to resolve this issue.
Mr. Wintermeier also asked that clarification be made of whether or not election signs can be legally posted on municipal property and telephone polls.
Fran Allen, 7 Finney Farm Road, Croton, asked that there be more time to review the new Environmental Laws, they are very complex laws and felt that she did not have enough time to speak with the consultants to really understand what they are looking at. Ms. Allen also asked that the Tree Laws be looked at again. Ms. Allen said that there are other municipalities that have much stronger and more valuable and useful tree laws than Croton.
Phyllis Morrow, Nordica Drive, Croton, asked when Benedict Blvd will be repaved.
Mayor Schmidt said that the Village will be rehabilitating that street, along with repairing the islands and curbing sometime this spring. Mayor Schmidt said that the Board is discussing the best way and most cost effective way to do this project that will make it look the best.
Ms. Morrow, Nordica Drive, said that her street has tremendous corrosive water pipe problems and was wondering if there were any plans to come to her street.
Mayor Schmidt said that there are a few streets in the Village with this problem and they are looking at a couple of options; replacing pipes and/or treating the water with a special treatment that would help stop the rust so that it doesn't leach out into the water.
Ms. Morrow, Nordica Drive, asked how one gets a tree land-marked.
Village Manager, Richard Herbek said that the Board of Trustees has the power to declare land-marked trees.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Kane made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 as amended. Trustee Brennan seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes.
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Executive Session held on Tuesday, January 2, 2007. Trustee Kane seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Executive Session held on Monday, January 8, 2007. Trustee Kane seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes
Village Manager, Richard Herbek, advised that Christmas Trees are currently being picked up and chipped and urged everyone to please put their trees out for pick-up. Mr. Herbek said that even though we are having good weather and people are working in their yards, to please not put any yard waste out for collection because that has been discontinued until the spring. Mr. Herbek announced that Ed Walsh, Assistant General Foreman, has advised that he will be retiring at the end of the month and a retirement party will be held on January 26th for him.
Mayor Schmidt and the Board thanked Mr. Walsh for his 33 years of service to the Village.
Village Treasurer, Abe Zambrano advised of the legal expenses paid since the last Board Meeting of January 2, 2007, $977.00, of which $226.00 for the case with the New York State of Appeals and $751.00 for the Millennium Pipeline case, for a total since we have been reporting three months ago of $24,468.00 and for the year to date in the individual cases since the Village has been reporting three months ago for the STB is $10,391.00, New York State Court of Appeals $8,749.00, Millennium Pipeline case $2,340.00 and for general counsel $2,988.00.
Trustee Kane asked if we had a total of legal expenses for this budget cycle.
Mr. Zambrano said that the Village is over-budget by approximately $50,000.
Mr. Zambrano gave the Board an update on the water billing and meter reading procedures to include how many homes have been equipped with radio read transmitters.
Trustee Gallelli advised that the Croton Seniors have reached a new high of 160 fully paid members; they have a terrific senior coordinator and continue to plan great activities. Trustee Gallelli announced that the Village Board and the School Board will be holding their annual joint meeting on January 22, 2007 at the Croton Harmon High School. Trustee Gallelli stated that the legal battle that the Village is waging is something that the Board must continue to maintain, it is a critical issue that cannot be dropped. Trustee Gallelli advised that legal expenses for the 2006/07 Fiscal Year beginning June 1st through the end of November for 1A Croton Point Avenue amounted to $306,200.54 which is over budget by $54,000.
Trustee Brennan announced that on January 30th the Community Center Committee will be meeting at 7:30pm to review the results of the recent survey. Trustee Brennan congratulated Nick DiMaggio, a local resident attending Union College, for being named the Liberty League Men's Basketball Rooky of the Week. Trustee Brennan agreed that we should continue the fight with 1A Croton Point Avenue and not make a deal with them.
Mayor Schmidt said that the 1A Croton Point Avenue case is an important fight for this Village to continue, it is one of the most important issues the Village has faced besides the Millennium Pipeline because it is a threat to our health and safety as a community. Mayor Schmidt said that every dollar spent on this effort to make sure that this entity does not open up shop here again is well worth every dime. Mayor Schmidt highlighted an article entitled the "Collision Course-Rail Transportation and The Regulation of Solid Waste". Mayor Schmidt said that this article was written by two attorneys; Mr. Richmond and Mr. Goldstein who represent the Waste Industry in this battle. Mayor Schmidt said that the Waste Industry is fighting to make sure that the STB does not have regulations over the Waste Industry because many of them are trying to work very hard within appropriate jurisdictions to follow their rules and regulations. Mayor Schmidt said that if the STB steps in and says that a railroad can operate as a construction and demolition transfer station without any oversight, it creates an unfair playing advantage for that particular entity. Mayor Schmidt said that the Waste Industry has tried very hard to improve their image in this country and is working very hard to fight this also. Mayor Schmidt asked that this article be put on the Village' website. Mayor Schmidt also advised that the Village received a Notice of Decision from the Service Transportation Board regarding another recycling center and it was interesting in their decision because they ruled that they have no jurisdiction over private railroad tracks. Mayor Schmidt said that this has a parallel implication in our situation in Croton and is encouraged by their recent decision and hopefully is an indication on the STB's part that they are moving in the right direction.
On motion of TRUSTEE WIEGMAN, seconded by TRUSTEE GALLELLI, a following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York to enter into an Executive Session to discuss 1A Croton Point Avenue and litigation regarding Striclin Realty.
Trustee Brennan stated that he opposes going into Executive Session to discuss 1A Croton Point Avenue and is in favor of going into an Executive Session to discuss litigation regarding Striclin Realty.
There being no further comments to come before the Board, a motion to close the meeting at 10:00pm was made by Trustee Brennan and seconded by Trustee Kane. Motion was unanimously approved.
Peggy Keesler, Village Clerk