A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on June 4, 2007 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Schmidt called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS: NONE
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
a) A letter from Gary Diggs, Chief, Croton Volunteer Fire Dept., regarding a motion made
and passed to change the Fire and EMS dispatching from the Croton Police Department to the Westchester County Dept of Emergency Services (EEC). John Barirde stated that he agreed that this should be looked at more, but some residents, Police Dept. and Fire Dept. are concerned; it is not entirely as it has been put to the Fire Dept.; there is a lot of work to do; he looks forward to working closely with the Mayor and Board. Sgt. Corvinus, a member of the Croton-on-Hudson Police Dept., stated that there was a meeting in April where several questions were supposed to be brought back for discussion; this letter doesn’t appear to be asking for approval; this is an issue of public safety for the Village and there are a lot a factors involved; the spectrum presented is from one side only. Mayor Schmidt asked Village Manager Herbek to schedule a meeting. Trustee Konig asked Mayor Schmidt to explain this issue further. Mayor Schmidt explained that there are two separate issues – one is the formation of the EMS which everyone seems to be in favor of and the other is 60 Control which is a dispatching facility that the County maintains; currently 911 calls go to the Croton Police Dept. and are dispatched; 60 Control routes those calls into Valhalla where they handle the processing of fire and ambulance calls; there are some questions about delays and how the Police will stay involved in these calls. Trustee Gallelli added that they went to a demonstration and it is an impressive service, but there are a lot of aspects from both the Police Dept. and Fire Dept. that need to be looked into before making a decision. Trustee Brennan stated that he wants to have direct talks with the Police and Fire Departments to hear what serves the public best. Mr. Berardi added that he has a lot of information which may explain what is being done and how everything works on both sides; a lot of questions will be answered when a meeting is held; he will provide documentation and information; a meeting should include the Water Dept. and DPW. Trustee Brennan asked that any information that can be provided prior to the meeting would be helpful. Trustee Gallelli stated that the 2nd to last sentence refers to the Fire Dept Council endorsing & approving the EMS proposal and asked what the next step should be? Village Manager Herbek replied that he will be putting together a letter of notification that will be sent to a number of agencies; he will have to discuss how this new department will be put together as far as personnel and physically separating this new department from the Fire Department; they may need to be located in the Harmon Fire Station for a while; some people have begun to speculate that down the road residents will have to pay for EMT and emergency responders; this will take some time to be put together; money has been budgeted; some stamps of approval may be needed by outside agencies.
b) A letter from Joseph Biber, Chair, Conservation Advisory Council, with recommendations to make the HMB riverfront path more accessible to residents. Mayor Schmidt stated that they will be meeting this Wednesday to discuss these items.
c) A letter from Joel Ettinger, Exec. Director, NY Metropolitan Transportation Council, announcing that Croton has been named an honorable mention of the 2007 Regional Commuter Choice Awards for taking steps to improve the employee commute, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Treasurer Zambrano and Janine King will be attending the award ceremony which will be held on Tuesday, June 12 at 10 am.
4. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION-Agenda Items
a) On motion of Trustee Gallelli, 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, all electrical inspectors must be approved by the Village Board of Trustees in accordance with Section 113-6 of the Village Code; and
WHEREAS, on July 24, 2006, the Village Board of Trustees approved Westchester Rockland Electrical Inspection Services Inc. to be one of the official electrical inspectors for the Village; and
WHEREAS, since then it has come to light in other municipalities that this company has issued approvals of work even though blatant violations of the National Electric Code existed; and
WHEREAS, although such violations have not occurred in the Village of Croton on Hudson, the Village Engineer has recommended that it would be in the Village’s best interests not to continue to use Westchester Rockland Electrical Inspection Services, Inc.,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby revokes the approval it made on July 24, 2006 to allow Westchester Rockland Electrical Inspection Services, Inc. to be an official electrical inspector for the Village.
Discussion: Trustee Gallelli stated that it is admirable that the County has taken the initiative to identify a company not doing the job as it should; she congratulated Dan O’Connor for providing an alternate solution in proposing to have countywide licensing of electrical inspection companies and hopes that the County approves his suggestion.
b) 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 December 4, 2006 the Village Board of Trustees approved the IMA with Westchester County which provided for Westchester County to reimburse the Village up to $1,750,000 for the completion of the Riverwalk Project; and
WHEREAS, $250,000 of the $1,750,000 is to be funded through a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and
WHEREAS, the Village also has a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation for $150,000 to help pay for the Croton Landing field and comfort station project; and
WHEREAS, the Village and the County jointly agreed that the Village would manage both projects and the projects would be bid together; and
WHEREAS, bids were opened on May 25, 2007 for the joint project; and
WHEREAS, six bids were received for the general contracting work and seven bids were received for the electrical work; and
WHEREAS, these bids were reviewed by the Village Engineer, Hahn Engineering, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; and
WHEREAS, the Village Engineer and George Pommer of Hahn Engineering have recommended that we award the bids to Bradhurst Site Construction Corporation in the amount of $2,445,885 for the General Contracting work and to West-Fair Electric Contractor’s Inc. in the amount of $179,000 for the electrical work; and
WHEREAS, The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has also approved the awarding of these bids; and
WHEREAS, no plumbing contractors bid on the plumbing work for this project and George Pommer of Hahn Engineering has estimated that the plumbing work will cost approximately $30,000; and
WHEREAS, the Croton Landing portion of the project is estimated to come to $1,180,977; and
WHEREAS, it will be necessary for the Village Board of Trustees to authorize an additional $200,000 to $250,000 in the 2008-09 fiscal year to fund the remainder of this project
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to award the bids to Bradhurst Site Construction in the amount of $2,445,885 and to West-Fair Electric Contractor’s Inc. in the amount of $179,000.
Discussion: The Board will have to come up with additional funds during the next budget process. Village Manager Herbek stated that there are several items that need to be worked out before they know when the project will begin. Trustee Gallelli added that there was about a $600,000 to $700,000 spread among the bids.
c) 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, Peggy Keesler will be retiring on July 27, 2007 after 32 years of service, and
WHEREAS, Peggy was most recently appointed to a two-year term, which would expire in April, 2009, and
WHEREAS, we conducted interviews with several applicants and concluded this process in April;
WHEREAS, we have selected an individual to be the most qualified who has experience in most of the functions of the office of Village Clerk;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that Pauline DiSanto, of Cortlandt Manor, NY, be and is hereby appointed to the position of Village Clerk, effective June 18, 2007 to complete the term of office through April, 2009.
Discussion: Trustee Brennan stated that the Board met with Ms. DiSanto and it seems to be a perfect fit. Village Manager Herbek added that Ms. DiSanto was the deputy clerk in Briarcliff Manor and Tuckahoe and he has met her at official functions over the years; she has experience in many duties of the position; there will be an overlap period from June 18th until June 30th.
6. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – NON-AGENDA ITEMS:
a) Kevin Davis, 17 Wolf Rd, stated that he attended Summerfest and was glad to see that a high school program has been organized by the Recreation Dept. for the summer; he has some ideas for the program and will be in touch with that committee. Mr. Davis, regarding Mayo’s Landing, stated that he missed the Board meeting where the resolution was passed, but he is concerned about the police boat which has been the most effective enforcement; he understands that $20,000 for the boat was cut and asked if it could be reinstated until the money is received from the Town of Cortlandt. Mayor Schmidt replied that it cannot be done this way; if the Town of Cortlandt gave them the money it would have to be added to Village funds; he wants to make sure to have other communities help out in enforcing rules and regulations and it needs the cooperation of all; the Village is taking over the lion’s share of enforcement and it shouldn’t fall only on the Village taxpayers. Trustee Brennan added that if the police boat is needed, it will be there and will be funded. Kevin Davis stated that the current approach looks like the Village is passing more laws, but there is a need to enforce them. Mayor Schmidt added that enforcement was pretty strong over the Memorial Day weekend and it was very successful; the Town has put “no parking” signs on the other side of the river; whatever else needs to be done, will be done. Kevin Davis asked other Board members to listen to Trustee Kane on this issue; he gives good arguments about a more restrictive carrying capacity system and he is most knowledgeable about the river. Mr. Davis added that it is not realistic to expect to solve all the problems quickly by passing legislation, however, they need to give the police the best tools possible and $20,000 is not too much to ask for.
b) John Harbeson, Valley Trail, speaking as a 22 year resident of the Village and a former Trustee, expressed admiration for the many years of service Peggy Keesler devoted to the Village. He added that it is important to recognize that the Village/Manager system makes it possible to retain someone like Peggy for such a long period of time.
c) Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Ave., stated that the Mayo’s Landing residents were the real heroes for calling for a meeting of Town and Village to discuss a remedy for the trespassers violating their property and the riverfront with acts of vandalism and noise. He added that Senator Leibel provided $10,000 and the Town provided $20,000 to pay for the police boat. He stated that there was good cooperation by all agencies until recently due to information provided in a letter and on the chat room. Mr. Wintermeier stated that he feels that it is the intent of the entire Board to provide a solution, if they could work together; he visited Mayo’s Landing recently for the first time and saw just one piece of property with a “no trespassing” sign; he would like to know the Village’s legal position for exposure? Village Attorney Staudt replied that he can look into that if the Board wants him to, but he does not know specifics right now and cannot give an opinion. Mayor Schmidt added that Village Attorney Staudt will agree that the Village is always legally exposed and that the resolution was reviewed by the Village Attorney before moving ahead. Trustee Brennan stated that in the Mayo’s Landing legislation that was passed, 95% included suggestions from the Croton Compact Committee to help alleviate the problem; no one can agree on everything and the Village cannot be legally covered for everything that comes up; this is a living document that can be changed.
7. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Brennan made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on May 21, 2007 as corrected. Trustee Kane seconded the motion. The Board voted approval with Trustee Gallelli abstaining.
Trustee Brennan made a motion to approve the Special Meeting held on May 31, 2007. Trustee Konig seconded the motion; unanimous approval.
Village Manager Herbek reported that as of June 11th , Westchester County will begin rehab on the Croton Gorge Bridge; this road will not be used for access to the park, instead, the gravel road on the other side will be available; work will continue until later this year and possibly into 2008. Village Manager Herbek reported also that another job beginning soon is the Wayne/ Clinton St. CDBG project; sidewalk and curb improvements will be done as well and will start in mid-June. He added that the very dead end of Benedict Blvd. will be used as a staging area for that project; neighbors have been notified.
Treasurer Zambrano reported that tax bills went out last Friday; some were duplicated, please disregard if you received a 2nd bill; mortgage companies have been notified. He added that water bills will be going out on June 15th and are due on July 16th; residents can call 271-4781 for questions on either. Treasurer Zambrano reported that the Parking Lot was closed today because of impending flooding; he informed people to go to the parking lot office if shuttle buses have stopped running
Trustee Konig reported that Summerfest was ideal and that the staff did a terrific job. Trustee Konig stated that over Memorial Day weekend she visited Mayo’s Landing each day and everything seemed under control; the police boat did pull up at one visit; she personally did not hear from residents of that area with complaints; the police did a great job; these first steps are working and it was a successful start to the season.
Trustee Kane thanked the Police and Recreation Departments for their great work during Summerfest; he saw some Recreation Dept. personnel giving auto rides later in the day to assist senior citizens. Trustee Kane added that this is boating season and mentioned several tips for safe boating; for more information, go to www.nysparks.com where there is a lot more about boating safety.
Trustee Gallelli agreed that Summerfest was a wonderful occasion and that the weather cooperated. Trustee Gallelli added that she was impressed today about how clean the Village was less than 24 hours after this event was over; there wasn’t a paper on the street today. Ms. Gallelli stated that a few meetings ago, a resolution was approved asking NYS to change the speed limit on Rt. 9A and North Riverside and the new signs are up; it is now 30 MPH up to the intersection of Old Post Rd North and Albany Post Road and 40 MPH north of that; she did see a police car observing speeds. Trustee Gallelli that there is an error in the June newsletter about water bills due date; they are due July 16th. Trustee Gallelli reported that the Croton-Harmon Schools are hosting 52 students from China in July; they will be here for two weeks and need homes for the 52 students to stay in; they will have daily activities, lunches provided and weekend activities; if able to provide a home for a two week period, please contact the school district offices. Ms. Gallelli reported that Saturday night the Croton-Harmon Educational Foundation held their annual Under the Stars event and it was attended by well over 300 people; it was a delightful evening of food, entertainment, auction and raffles; the money goes to grants for educational facilities & cultural enrichment of Croton Harmon Schools.
Trustee Brennan congratulated everyone who participated in Summerfest. He added that the DPW has cleared debris from the storm and kudos to everyone for that.
Mayor Schmidt thanked everyone for their participation in the 21st Summerfest; he thanked several people from the Chamber of Commerce who helped that day and included thanks to his secretary and his family. Mayor Schmidt added that the golf carts used that day were a donation from Hudson National Golf Course. Mayor Schmidt added that he received a copy of a DVD from the Historical Society titled “Speaking with Croton: and it is available in the Village Office for $20.00; it was prepared and edited by Ken Sergeant, a local resident.
Trustee Brennan made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Konig seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 P.M.
Phyllis A. Bradbury
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary