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Croton's Village Board Can't Have Their Cake and Eat it Too

January 31, 2006

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
This morning (1/31/06) the flood prone areas of the village commuter lot were closed by the village to prevent a repeat of the events of January 18th. Lest the Republican controlled village board believe that this “solves” the issue, it should be noted that ALL legal parking spaces in the commuter lot was taken as of approximately 8 AM (including the forty or so spaces behind the salt shed). Hundreds of commuters will need to be turned away — including a good number of commuters who prepaid for monthly spots.

There are several facts about the commuter lot that are indisputable: (i) a good portion of the lot is subject to flooding, (ii) nothing substantive has been done by the current republican controlled village board to improve the situation and (iii) without the flood prone spaces, there are not enough parking spaces for everyone who has pre-paid either $45 or $75 per month to park there.

These facts make the current situation at the commuter lot untenable. Because the Republican controlled board decided against reinvesting in the commuter lot in last year’s capital budget, they now have no choice but to forgo some of their precious parking revenue. To be perfectly blunt, you can not sell parking to 1,000 commuters if you only have 700 or so available spaces. Doing so is not only unethical, but it also exposes the village to liability from commuters, consumer protection groups and possibly the state attorney general.

While the village board took the step of commissioning yet another study in its last work session held on January 23rd, 2006, immediate action must be taken. Steps that need to be taken now include: (i) reducing the number of spaces reserved for daily parkers, and (ii) placing a moratorium on the sale of any new non-resident parking permits (I believe that residents are guaranteed permits, so nothing can be done in that regard). Its time for Republican controlled village board to face the facts and realize that the money train that was the commuter parking lot has stopped and it is now time to pay the fare.

— David Becker

On February 1, 2006 10:21 AM, Mrs. Smith said:

Oh, thanks for pointing it out - Mr DiFrancesco was so twisted that the Dems did not release their slate immediately, that I assumed that the release was from them to show how it should be done. My apologies - I guess I should have said that their quoted comments were smug!!!

On February 1, 2006 10:14 AM, TeaDrinker said:

Mrs. Smith: For the record, the “smug press release” you mention in your comment is not that all.

Steve Smith and I were among the 15 people in attendance at last night’s Croton Republican Committee caucus and filed our own report called “Croton Republicans Decide on Candidates at Caucus” after the event.

No part of our story was derived from any GOP press release.

On February 1, 2006 7:44 AM, Mrs. Smith said:

Having just read the very smug press release of the local GOP, I see that they are long on self praise and short on new ideas and vision.

A quote from originally failed trustee Steinberg: “very proud he helped to pass budget with less than a 10 percent tax increase by passing the 2005 budget by 3-2 vote.” and that is in large part the reason that the ongoing improvements on the station parking lot stalled and why cars will continue to be flooded, or the parking lot will not have enough space to house all those wishing to park.

Mr. Steinberg was the trustee who, with two or less weeks on the job, suggested cutting funding already earmarked for parking lot improvements, so that the majority could make good on a campaign promise - no more no less.

On January 31, 2006 10:37 PM, Just The Facts said:

Hate to be negative here, but the cost of running a shuttle would make building a multi-story parking garage look cheap. Think unions, think equipment, think insurance. A minivan is feasible, but this board will not authorize spending the money on that.

A DPW garage is a legitimate public use and would justify a “public taking”. The US supreme court recently ruled on a case that made it quite clear that municipalities view of “public good” can be very broad (including taking private property solely for the purpose of turning it over to private developers).

Speaking of which, one solution would be to sell a portion of the lot to a private developer and use a portion of the proceeds to build a multi-story parking lot = PROBLEM SOLVED for FREE. Of course, development at the site requires very careful consideration (don’t want to overburden schools, etc.) Ideally say a bunch of one bedroom apartments, thus not many school age kids.

On January 31, 2006 9:46 PM, Pat Barua said:

I like Gut-C’s idea — although I’m a little skeptical that a train shuttle from the spur would work.

Could use of the Metro Enviro property as a parking lot for commuters be a more compelling and legally sustainable “public use” than relocating the DPW facilities there? If the Village offered a reduced rate for those spots, given the distance from the train station, would commuters be interested in them? Rather than a train shuttle, could the village license or subsidize some enterprising minibus service if it looked like demand warranted one? I don’t have answers, but it certainly seems worth exploring.

In the meantime, I think it’s only fair to limit the daily parking spots to monthly permit holders when the monthly spots are closed off due to flood threats.

On January 31, 2006 12:53 PM, Gut-C said:

Someone in an earlier post said that even stupid ideas should be voiced, so here goes…

maybe we can park in Metro Enviro’s lot and Metro North can run a 2 or 3 car shuttle train from the spur track in Metro Enviro to the platforms at Croton Harmon station… The Village can pay any fee that Metro North would charge for the shuttle to make up for all the incovenience they’re causing us because of the flooding…

On January 31, 2006 12:42 PM, SSmith said:

mr. becker is absolutely right. please see my comment under his link above, in reference to the January 18, 2006 post about the flooding.

invariably, when a governing body “takes from peter to pay paul” there is always a day of reckoning that is not pretty. it is coming for this board in response to this situation. the smoke and mirrors or shell game they have played with last fiscal year’s budget has been exposed.

AGAIN I SAY, “VOTE WISELY IN MARCH FOLKS, THE CURRENT MAJORITY IS DIGGING OUR HOLE DEEPER AND DEEPER BY THE INCIDENT”.

hey someone throw me a life raft………



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