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Smooth Sailing

September 8, 2005

At the Board of Trustees Meeting held on Tuesday, September 6, 2005, Maria Cudequest of Grand Street, wrote a letter to request that the board publicly discuss its intention for the Croton Sailing School.

(Download Quicktime video)

Mayor Schmidt answered by saying, “There have been vicious rumours out there that we are trying to get rid of the sailing school and that is, couldn’t be further from the truth. We are just working with the sailing school. They are working with us also on revising their contract. They are a vital asset to this community and we will do everything we can to keep them there. They are a very happy customer and we are happy to have them there… I think so far, the conversations have been very, very good.”

Further, responding to Trustee Steinberg’s question, “So, there is no, no, ah, no truth that you are seeking to sink the sailing school?”, Mayor Schmidt said “…I don’t think so… they have done a great job down there. A lot of kids use that park, that facility, and they have a great time down there.”

The Croton Sailing School was founded by Steve and Katherine Jennings in 1986. The couple initially operated the business out of a tractor shed with a phone line. Steve served as the only instructor. Nearly twenty years later, Steve maintains that, “The sailing school was founded on the philosophy of teaching with “patience, not pressure,” and emphasizing hands-on instruction in every level of sailing”.

Crotonblog spoke with Steve on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 in regards to the ongoing contract renegotiation of the space he leases at the Senasqua Park boat basin.

Steve appeared at Village Board Work Session meeting on May 6, 2005, as he was approached by the Village to renegotiate his current 10-year contract agreement.

According to Steve, “both the Village and the Croton Sailing School need to determine what is a fair value for rent that serves both entities best interest”. He added that he is “confident that they will come to an agreement”.

Further, he reflects, “Over the past 20 years, it has been nice to have been part of the resurgence of the river” and that he “thinks that the arangement has been good for both the Village and the sailing school”.

As Mayor Schmidt indicated at the September 6, Village Board meeting, that the board has “put off any fine tuning of the discussions until after the sailing season”. Adding, “So he is coming back in the fall…”

On October 12, 2005 12:39 PM, bojangles said:

I’m a first time user of crotonblog but a long-time supporter of the Croton Sailing School. The very thought of Steve Jennings not being there is frightening. Steve has rendered so much service to the village for so many years he can never be repaid. I’ve personally seen him break up fights between unruly kids (not associated with the sailing school!). He is forever picking up litter and directing his students to take pride in the park and the river. He’s given Croton a reputation as a great little community. I’m now a proud home owner in this little paradise and loving every minute of it. Steve and his wonderful little sailing school brought me here and I’m forever grateful to him.

On October 11, 2005 11:48 PM, notorc said:

From the last paragraph above:

As Mayor Schmidt indicated at the September 6, Village Board meeting, that the board has “put off any fine tuning of the discussions until after the sailing season”. Adding, “So he is coming back in the fall…”

On October 11, 2005 7:24 PM, weewill said:

Since we’ve had no further mention of any negotiations for a new contract with the Sailing School, can we assume the current one excerpted above will remain in effect for the duration of it’s term, that is to 2008. We’d be unhappy hearing that changes were made anywhere but at a regularly scheduled meeting. As a matter of fact, we’d have no way of knowing it unless the Mayor and Trustees chose to share it with residents. These are just the kinds of things that get “slipped through” at administrative work sessions. No actual votes are taken but “consensus or majority” decisions are often decided.

On September 30, 2005 3:02 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Follow up: As per my request from the Village Manager’s office, I have obtained a copy of the current contract agreement made between the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the Croton Sailing School for open review.

Select items from the agreement follow with regards only to the contract dates and finacial terms currently in place.

2. (of 29) The term of the agreement shall be ten years, commencing as of May 1, 1998 and ending on April 30, 2008, subject to the right of cancellation, for any reason, by either party on one year’s written notice to the other.

3. (of 29) The Croton Sailing School, Inc. shall pay the Village 2% of its gross receipts from any and all of its activities. The Croton Sailing School, Inc. shall make its books and records available for the Village’s inspection on reasonable notice and, by June 1st of each year, shall provide the Village with a copy of its Federal and State tax returns showing its gross income.

The Croton Sailing School, Inc. shall provide Croton-on-Hudson residents with discounts on all sailing activities. The 1998 rates are set forth in Rider A to this agreement: any revision of those rates by the Croton Sailing School, Inc. shall maintain at least substantially equivilant percentage discounts to Croton residents.

Youth lessons will provide no less than 15 hours of instruction. The specific fee structure for the public at large and for Croton residents will be subject to approval by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson on a yearly basis.

On September 10, 2005 4:56 PM, Don Diego said:

Mayor Cudequest! Seems to me that kimosabe has hit the nail on the head. I don’t know who that masked man is, but he sure fired a silver bullet right into the heart of things. Not much more to say about the sorry bunch of losers running our Village.

I remain…..

Don Diego.

On September 9, 2005 11:10 PM, kimosabe said:

Lets look at the facts. Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg were having some kind of secret discussions with the Sailing School. I hear they wanted them out so a restaurant could be put there. Maybe that’s true, maybe it is not. But without question, no attempt to get the public’s input on this issue was ever made by our new open government. Nothing was told to us, the voters. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Sure Schmidt or Brennan or Steinberg may have mentioned the topic at a work session, which no one attends and which is not televised, but no effort was made by our open government to let us in on what was going on.

Then, Don Diego, mentioned it in passing in a couple of his posts and voila!! Lo and behold, the local puppeteer savant Maria Cudequest writes in out of the blue to ask Schmidt to make a statement on the subject. What an obvious set up!!

I didn’t get home in time to see this little charade this week but I can just picture Schmidt Brennan and Steinberg looking at each other in wonder and amazement that the issue was raised or that anyone could doubt their motives. I can equally picture them giving the kind of double talk, non response response they are becoming so well known for.

Give me a break. Do Mayor Cudequest, Dr. Schmidt, Mr. Brennan and Mr. Steinberg think we are all idiots? And to think folks thought we only had men running our Village. What a farce!

On September 9, 2005 7:33 PM, waffels said:

I was uncomfortable for Greg watching him squirm through his unbelievably obvious staged answering of MC’s unbelievably staged question. And isn’t Steinberg one of the “you” he referred to when asking “where do you guys stand on that”?.. where is he in all of this?.. and for him to finish with “so it’s not true you’re trying to sink the sailing school”?……. Staged ridiculousness….. they need acting lessons to at least make it look good. The whole show was pathetically hysterical…….

On September 8, 2005 5:01 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

Whilst I am delighted that the Croton sailing school appears to be remaining in Croton and that Steve Jennings will continue to do his excellent job as unpaid harbor master, it is so transparent that Maria Cudaquest is running the agenda for our new mayor. Coincedental that she is the one who requested an update, no doubt after reading the blog. Seems to be a nice partnership there, Schmidt and Cudaquest. Sort of like when Deb McCarthy used to set her up to ask questions, so that Deb could get her point across without looking like she was trying to cause dissension.

On September 8, 2005 12:58 PM, weewill said:

Excellent! It’s great to know that the Croton Sailing School will continue it’s presence at our Senasqua Park. Steve Jennings has been a key contributor to Croton recreation and sailing as well as a valued “employee” of Croton.

He’s served as harbor master for years and monitors for safety and security of both village holdings and his own. He protects and serves the village in a capacity that would be imposssible to duplicate for a paid employee who didn’t love the river and Croton as much as Steve Jennings does.

Thanks to him for his years of service!



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