As your elected officials, members of the Croton-on-Hudson Republican Committee and as fellow citizens, friends and neighbors we stand for representative government that listens to its residents, maintains fiscal responsibility and is always seeking to improve the services available to all of Croton’s residents. In order to continue the success of the last year under the leadership of Mayor Greg Schmidt and Trustees Tom Brennan and Jim Steinberg, the Croton Republican Committee is proud to support the candidacies of Jim Steinberg and Joe Gonzalez for Village Trustees.
When we think of the Croton Community we think of children and grandchildren playing on the swings at Dobbs Park and of our senior citizens enjoying a day of recreation and fresh air at Senasqua Park. Of a parent coaching their child’s little league, flag football or soccer game. A young family enjoying ice cream in the upper village on a warm summer night, or sledding down the hill over at the Croton Dam on a cool winter afternoon. These thoughts and memories know us well because they are what make us all Crotonites and make us proud to call this community home.
In searching for what it is that makes Croton so great we have concluded that it is the people who live here and make this village a community. Because the people of this village are so great, to give them a government anything less than that would be amiss.
Our work has focused on listening to the concerns of residents and then governing in a fashion that will represent their wants and needs. In the months since April 2005, when we gained a majority on the board, that has been our clarion call. This year’s election offers us a chance to continue moving Croton forward, supporting the efforts of Mayor Schmidt on such important matters as: maintaining control over the fiscal concerns facing us all; continuing the legal battles against unwanted entities such as the Millennium Pipeline and a waste transfer station at the former Metro Enviro site; continuing the opening of dialogue with those organizations that are integral to our village and its residents; and finally, maintaining a majority on the village board which has reminded us that local government’s first goal is to listen to the needs of its residents and to act upon those needs prudently and promptly.
If elected, the candidates we support, Jim Steinberg and Joe Gonzalez, make a solemn vow to continue our hard work for each and every resident of Croton. Additionally, they will support a revised agenda for this village, which reinforces the hard work and achievements already reached during the past year. In this platform you will find an outline of that agenda to help you understand why we believe that only with the proper plan can we ensure a bright future for this community.
I. Understanding that Good Government is Open Government
Croton residents deserve to have full access to their elected representatives. Residents deserve to be heard, and to have their opinions taken into account before decisions are made. Open government is good government and we understand this. Since taking office in April 2005, Mayor Greg Schmidt along with Trustees Tom Brennan and Jim Steinberg have always tried to work with the Board’s other members in a bipartisan fashion to ensure residents are kept informed on the important issues facing the village and the decisions made by its elected officials which affect them all.
For years communication between residents and elected officials was deficient. Agendas for public board meetings were released at the last minute and were often formatted and meetings conducted in such a way as to silence the voice of concern. With government-citizen relations at an all time low, the GOP team ran in 2005 with a platform of opening up Croton’s government. Since being elected in March and installed in April, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg have worked towards restoring the public’s trust in their elected officials by opening government and welcoming not only the voice of concern but the voice of dissent into the public dialogue.
Additionally, measures to inform residents have been taken, such as the posting of important information on the village web site and the distribution of a comprehensive newsletter to all residents.
Mayor Schmidt, Trustee Brennan and Trustee Steinberg really care about this community and the people who make it so great. They seek to govern in a fashion representative of you, and if they are failing they want to be told so. That is why Trustee Jim Steinberg proposes “office hours” for the Mayor and Board Members. Office Hours would include the availability of at least one elected official on a quarterly basis at a local establishment of the or trustee’s choosing so that local residents can have another avenue to contact their elected officials and conduct a constructive dialogue that leads to the further opening of government.
II. Bringing Common Sense Management to Village Affairs
Common sense management is the key to solving many of the critical issues this village faces. Many issues facing us today are of a practical concern and therefore warrant practical solutions. By taking a common sense approach to village affairs we believe that we can better manage this village. For instance, during the last budget cycle, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg sought a budget that would place the lowest possible tax burden upon the residents of Croton. This fiscal prudency resulted in a budget with a tax increase of less than 10% (when the original projections ranged between approximately 15%-17%). We pledge to continue this goal of strict fiscal prudency in the future by keeping Jim Steinberg on the board and with the election of candidate Joe Gonzalez.
Inclusiveness in village affairs has also become of paramount concern with the current administration. Members of local boards and committees are not selected based on partisanship or political patronage. Mayor Schmidt has appointed or reappointed individuals who have important and applicable skills that will make them assets to the committees on which they serve. In the interest of having a truly representative government, Mayor Schmidt has appointed residents of opposing Party registration to numerous boards and committees, including the chairpersonship of the zoning board of appeals. Ultimately our agenda is to provide residents with the most representative form of government possible.
III. Continuing Croton’s Fight Against Unwanted and Unregulated Entities
Since their installation into office this past April, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg have continued to support the village’s efforts to fight the Millennium Pipeline’s plan to go through Croton. This effort includes re-establishing a formal dialogue with the Town of Cortlandt to coordinate efforts where possible to defeat this entity’s attempt to encroach upon our community.
In addition, their efforts include the ongoing battle regarding the former Metro Enviro site. As promised, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg have stood steadfast in their refusal to negotiate with any entity which supports this facility. Last year, the efforts of the new majority included numerous telephone calls with elected officials on the federal, state and county levels which resulted in not only formal written positions statements from Senators Schumer and Clinton, Congresswoman Kelly, Assemblywoman Galef, State Senator Liebell and County Executive Spano opposing the licensing of NIR as a railroad entity by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, but also a face-to-face meeting between Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Steinberg with County Legislators Abinanti and Oros which resulted in a formal proclamation from the Solid Waste & Recyclables Committee rejecting NIR’s attempt to use the STB to gain operating status over the former Metro Enviro site.
There is no doubt in the minds of the candidates we support, that the path taken regarding both of these entities is appropriate and must be unwavering to protect our village and its residents.
IV. Expanding Recreational Facilities and Opportunities
Since their election, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg have lived up to their promise of moving forward towards a community center. Once again, Mayor Schmidt established a bipartisan committee with Trustee Brennan as its liaison which is meeting to discuss and evaluate the needs of Croton’s residents, its families, children, teenagers and senior citizens.
In addition, Trustee Steinberg spearheaded the effort to obtain the input of important organizations such as Croton AYSO and Little League regarding their program needs and how the initial proposal for a “great lawn” or “multipurpose field” at Croton Landing could be improved upon to provide additional fields for the use of these programs. Similarly, the input from these organizations was obtained, as the Board determines how it will continue to manage the fields available at Croton Point Park.
Candidates Jim Steinberg and Joe Gonzalez support these efforts and believe that only through such constructive dialogue can the village board make good decisions.
V. Strengthening Our Community
Last year, as candidates, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg pledged that they were committed to improving the village shopping experience. During last year’s budget process, funds were earmarked towards obtaining the initial consulting services necessary to evaluate the needs of village residents. With the New Year, we expect the efforts to obtain these services to be moved upon.
As always, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Steinberg are committed to working with entities, such as the School District, the Town of Cortlandt and those other organizations that provide important services to the wonderful residents of our community.
In conclusion, the Croton Republican Committee, along with the elected officials it has supported in the past, as well as candidates Jim Steinberg and Joe Gonzalez genuinely care about the well-being of the residents in this village, and we pledge to work every day to be the best neighbors that we can and we know that Croton is at its best when strong, competent and caring people are at the helm of its government.
This platform has outlined our beliefs, goals and agenda. We believe in it and know that this is what is best for the community.
Above all else, we believe in Croton.
This press release is available as a PDF download on the Croton Republican’s website, www.crotongop.com.