Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, March 5, 2007 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
The following officials were present:
The following officials were absent: Trustee Wiegman
1. CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Schmidt called the meeting to order at 8:01 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Schmidt congratulated Fran Allen on winning the Turing Award (considered the Nobel Prize in Computing). Mayor Schmidt said that Ms. Allen worked for IBM for 45 years, retiring in 2002; she was the first woman to receive an IBM Fellow, and the first woman to receive the Turing Award. Mayor Schmidt said that Ms. Allen has served on Croton's Planning Board, Waterfront Advisory Board, the Croton Trails Committee, the Croton Greenway Committee and we are lucky to have her in our community.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Kane made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows; the motion was seconded by Trustee Brennan and approved unanimously.
a. Letter from Jan Wines, Chair, Croton Trails Committee dated February 28, 2007 advising that they are proposing new signage for the purpose of marking street trail locations. Mayor Schmidt asked that this be put on an upcoming Work Session Agenda.
5. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION - AGENDA ITEMS - NONE
a. 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 Village has been video streaming Board of Trustees Meetings since June 2006, and
WHEREAS, this service has provided a useful tool for residents and staff,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Village Board of Trustees hereby authorizes the Village Manager to sign the agreement with Mike Pollock International, Inc. for video streaming services at the rate of $175.00 per meeting.
b. 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, at the time the 2006-2007 Budget was approved, a bond to finance the Harmon Water Project and capital projects for fiscal year 2005-2006 had not been issued, and
WHEREAS, as the result of the delay in issuing the bond, the first interest payment of the bond issued in July 2006 due on January 2, 2007 was not included in either the General or Water Funds' appropriations in fiscal year 2006-2007
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Village Manager hereby authorizes the Village Treasurer to transfer $25,539.61 from the General Fund's Fund Balance Account and $28,720.39 from the Water Fund's Fund Balance Account and to affect the necessary accounts detailed in the attached schedule.
7. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION -NON AGENDA ITEMS
Susan Konig, 37 Elmore Avenue, Croton, referred to an article in the Journal News published on March 1, 2007 entitled "Two More Plead Guilty in Reputed Mob Trans-Hauling Scheme". Ms. Konig said that it seems that the waste industry cannot control itself and doesn't know how anyone else can.
Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Avenue, Croton, said that there is misinformation being sent out that the Federal Third Circuit Court Decision favors negotiations between Croton and Regus Waste Management. Mr. Wintermeier said that he has reviewed the decision and they describe another similar court case (High Tech Transportation, LLC vs. New Jersey) that provides strong support for Croton's case against Regus. Mr. Wintermeier said that he is also very much against bringing in an outside mediator because we should not leave the fate of Croton to an outside person.
Dr. Antoinette Cosentino, 4 Van Cortland Place, Croton, said that as a mom and a Pediatrician in the community she finds it very difficult to believe that there would not be a single shred of evidence about the health risks associated with having diesel trucks coming through Croton and having a C&D facility here. Dr. Cosentino said that there are many studies that link air pollution with increased asthma rates and while air pollution does not cause all asthma it can exacerbate it. Dr. Cosentino said that recent findings from a South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study in collaboration with NYU School of Medicine, documented that there was an increased asthma rate when there was above average diesel traffic and diesel soot. Dr. Cosentino said that we should not be negotiating a deal in lieu of losing our court case and feels that it is not something to fall back on.
Joanne Minett, 5 Van Cortland Place, Croton, asked Village Attorney Feldman if Attorney Marianne Stecich won a victory with respect to the non-conforming use of 1A Croton Point and was Judge Nicolai's ruling overturned.
Mayor Schmidt said that this is a submission of an Appeal to counter Judge Nicolai's decision and we do not know when this will be processed.
Trustee Gallelli stated that the opposition has until March 20, 2007 to file their response and then the Village has ten days after that date to file a reply and at that point they will schedule oral arguments.
Trustee Brennan said that Attorney Marianne Stecich had done a fantastic and marvelous performance in representing Croton.
Joanne Minett asked how much money has been spent thus far for executive sessions and negotiations with respect to this issue.
Mayor Schmidt said that the Village cannot extrapolate that kind of detail because we cover multiple issues in our executive sessions.
Trustee Brennan said that we have spent well over $700,000 for the entire Metro/Regus issue.
John Shanahan, 312 Half Moon Bay, Croton, stated that he spent 35 years with the Port Authority as a construction inspector and when he retired he worked for 3 more years with a construction management firm testing fuel tanks and oil systems all over New York City. Mr. Shanahan said that he is very disgusted with the money that the Village has spent because residents think they are in danger from a few trucks driving down by the railroad tracks hauling construction debris. Mr. Shanahan said that the 20 or 30 trucks coming in every day will not create the same kind of exhaust that is created by trucks going in out of the New York City that are subject to sitting in traffic for hours at a time.
John Harbeson, 5 Valley Trail, Croton, said that he is concerned and confused that these negotiations may be about money; it was his understanding that the negotiations were only if we win the lawsuit and regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, we will still have something down there and ultimately the goal is to have environmental control.
Mayor Schmidt said that he didn't think that the negotiations were a part of getting control of this facility, but we are not here this evening to debate the issue. Mayor Schmidt said each one of us have a different opinion on this issue.
Brigid Faranda, 66 Elmore Avenue, Croton, said that it would be foolish to think that we are not in a serious situation. Ms. Faranda said that when visiting Croton Point Park she noticed that many oak trees were dead. Ms. Faranda said that she was told that many years ago there was a dump there and all these years later the poisons are actually suffocating the trees. Ms. Faranda said that she is concerned and doesn't want this to happen again.
Michael Goetz, 19 Irving Avenue, Croton, praised the Board for continuing the video-streaming of Board Meetings. Mr. Goetz asked if the recent settlement of the Katz property would allow anything else to be built other than an auto dealership if the current auto dealership burnt down.
Mayor Schmidt said that there were two separate agreements; one to settle the argument regarding a small piece of property that the Village purchased and the other part of the agreement was to insure that the dealership currently there, which is a non-conforming use, would be able to be rebuilt as a dealership if they had a burn down. Mayor Schmidt said that if the owner of the property opts not to rebuild it as a dealership, then the owner would have to fit within the current zoning of the "Gateway Overlay District" that governs that area.
Mr. Goetz said that even in the worse case scenario and we lose the lawsuit against Regus it will never be what it was when we had the Croton Dump.
Discussion continued back and forth with respect to the Katz property and the subsequent rezoning of that piece of land.
Mayor Schmidt closed Citizen Participation.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Kane made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 as amended. Trustee Brennan seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes.
Village Manager, Richard Herbek, advised that Congressman John Hall wrote to him asking that we inform him of Village projects that would benefit from Federal Funding as part of the Congressional budget. Mr. Herbek said that he submitted two projects; the train station parking lot improvements that include mitigation of coastal flooding in sections G & H and phase 3 parking lot improvements to improve pedestrian and traffic flow and the Elliott Way project that would finish this critical link between Senasqua Park and the Croton Yacht Club.
Mr. Herbek advised that Administrative Aide, Emily Fannon, attended the Technical Briefing and Round Table on Indian Point Leaks on Friday, March 2, 2007 at Pace University. Mr. Herbek said that several experts spoke about the potential impact of tainted ground water at the Indian Point site on the Hudson River and the surrounding communities. Mr. Herbek said that Congressman John Hall was present and spoke about the need for an objective study and that any recommendations made from an independent study need to be considered and implemented before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission re-licenses the power plant. Mr. Herbek advised that a representative from the DEC spoke about the state's involvement in site inspections and about the wildlife testing that will be performed in the spring.
Mr. Herbek said that the Village closed parts of the Croton Harmon Parking Lot this past Friday due to weather reports indicating heavy rain. Mr. Herbek said that we used the Croton Point picnic area parking lot and implemented shuttle buses to transport commuters to the train.
Mr. Herbek announced that the Hydrant Flushing Program will begin on April 10, 2007 for a period of three weeks.
Mr. Herbek updated the Board on upcoming NYCOM conferences and a recent conference he attended.
Village Treasurer, Abe Zambrano, reminded everyone that March 15, 2007 is the last date that water bills can be received before the late payment charge goes into effect. No changes in legal expenses from the last reporting on February 20, 2007.
Trustee Kane congratulated the staff on executing the closing of sections G & H at the Croton Harmon Parking Lot; it was a good call on the part of the staff. Trustee Kane asked if a decision has been made with respect to a voucher system that would reimburse commuters between the hours of 10:00am and 5:00pm who need to get to their vehicles when the shuttle buses are not running.
Mr. Zambrano and Mr. Herbek said that they are working on the logistics but that commuters will be reimbursed when buses aren't shuttling to the offsite parking area and they must take a taxi back to their vehicle.
Trustee Gallelli also congratulated the staff on how well the parking situation was handled and even though it did not flood, it provided a good dry-run for staff. Trustee Gallelli said that she and Trustee Wiegman also attended the Technical Briefing at Pace University; it was an eye opening experience on how leaks can move through the ground and the affects on plant and fish life. Trustee Gallelli said that last Thursday the Bicycle Pedestrian Committee held their outreach meeting, it was an excellent discussion, and the Committee will now turn their findings into a Master Plan Report. Trustee Gallelli reminded everyone that this Sunday will be daylight saving time. Trustee Gallelli advised that Justice Kay, Chief Judge for the New York State Courts, has in the last six months put out a report requiring changes that will affect Village, Town and City Courts throughout New York Sate.
Trustee Brennan also congratulated the staff for the smooth closing and transporting of commuters this past Friday. Trustee Brennan thanked all the high school athletes; they do a great job and deserve a lot of our support.
Mayor Schmidt thanked everyone for attending the Technical Briefing at Pace University. Mayor Schmidt advised that Croton also passed a resolution calling for an independent assessment of the Indian Point Facility and that Croton has long been behind the grass roots effort of controlling Indian Point and seeing how we can eventually close that facility down. Mayor Schmidt also thanked the staff for being proactive in shutting down the parking lot.
There being no further comments to come before the Board, a motion to close the meeting at 9:30pm was made by Trustee Brennan and seconded by Trustee Wiegman. Motion was unanimously approved.
Peggy Keesler, Village Clerk