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Croton Board of Trustees Debate Commuter Lot Flooding

February 12, 2006

In what seemed to be an attempt to provide the Village Board with cover from the political storm—ensued by two separate incidents of major flooding in January 2006 at the Croton-Harmon train station commuter parking lot—Croton Republican Committee affiliate Robert Wintermeier appeared at the podium during the regularly scheduled Village Board meeting on February 6, 2006 to express his “confusion about some of the positions he has heard regarding flooding down at the parking lot”.

However, his question was met with fourteen seconds of silence from the Board, of which Mr. Wintermeier described as “deafening”.

Breaking the awkward pause in the meeting—was Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt—who responded after a chuckle by saying, “I stand at where, what I said before…” but was interrupted by Mr. Wintermeier—who assured himself that the Mayor will speak at greater length in an upcoming work session. From there, Trustee Leo Wiegman offered his opinion—reflective of a recent post on Crotonblog (see: “Flooding Solution for Croton Harmon Train Station Parking Lot Mothballed by Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg”)—and soon found himself in an emotionally charged dispute with Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt, Trustees Thomas Brennan and Jim Steinberg over the impact of flooding remediation and a sum of $850,000 that was cut from the 2005 budget—which was earmarked for the first of a three-step parking lot improvement plan.

Option: Download and watch this video clip of “Croton Board of Trustees Debate Commuter Lot Flooding” in Quicktime format (11:17 mins. | 16.3 mb).


Video transcript start:

Robert Wintermeier; “I’m here because its election time and I’m a little confused by some of the positions I’ve heard regarding flooding down at the parking lot.” …”So, What I’d like for you guys to do tonight is tell me what’s the answer? Did we have money allocated, number one? And, is it the way I describe it, for the main road and over to the railroad station or was it just for aesthetic purposes? I don’t know the answer. I’m looking for you guys to help me out?”

Robert Wintermeier; “The silence is deafening.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “To put it plainly there was an amount in the budget for improvements to the parking lot—for this year which would have been built by now—that would have created a less of a traffic snarl in front of the station and would have improved the traffic access and traffic flow as step one. Step two is the page 14 or early page of this station report you refer to where the parking flooding problem was a particular item that the transit oriented district study you refer to would look at. The reason it was looked at up front is because we knew it was a problem and therefore any further work beyond unsnarling the traffic at the station would have looked at raising the grade there or the solution is to move the cars off of that two acres that is only, less than three feet above high tide.”

Robert Wintermeier; “But the point is, you know that’s a four million dollar project. That’s what we paid for the original, in fact that’s for 200 spaces, $20,000 per space”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “I’m sorry, you know what? We’re not going to get into an argument here. The Transit Oriented Study was just that, a study to look at what the possibilities were down there looking at it as it’s a piece of property. What else could you do down there? The study came back with three different options, none of which the Board at that time were willing to go down because financially they just did not meet any needs of the Village at this time in terms of the cost.

Trustee Jim Steinberg; ”They’re all significant capital outlays also.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “Right”

Robert Wintermeier; “I don’t want to minimize that but what I wanted to do is get this particular point clear. That would not have fixed the flood problem for the cars that we’re complaining about. In fact, I watched the USS DPW go down through that road the other day and that was unbelievable to see the water going aside. There was a DPW truck coming out that was also swamped. You know, its not a good place. And that would have been beneficial but it was not going to affect those people with parking permits. That’s what I’m after.

Trustee Jim Steinberg; ”Bob, if I could add too. The most recent work session was the first time that the Board sought to address the flooding issue this year. It wasn’t done earlier.

Robert Wintermeier; “That’s what I concluded and I’m sorry go ahead.”

Trustee Jim Steinberg, ”That’s okay. And that, what we did at that meeting, at that work session was to request from our consultants, engineers, what can we do—as the Mayor has stated before—in the short, medium and long term to remediate that particular problem. The $850,000 figure was as it was identified in the capital improvement plan when we go through the budget process early on was Item H. and it was the design plans including lighting, walkways, improvement of traffic flow, Fencing and landscaping. And that proposal at the time was scheduled to be completed this summer, the summer of 2006. Alternately, we asked the consultant engineer to come back with a second, with a reduction of that $850,000/$900,000 project to a lower figure project and before that final project could be dependent, ah, voted on if you will, or considered part of the capital project it was actually withdrawn as a proposal based on everything else going on. But I, I’m not going to hide behind the fact that, what was on the table at the first budget session I looked at, I sat in on was not going to address the flooding as it has occurred this past Winter. And we’re doing something about it now.

Robert Wintermeier; “I didn’t think that anybody expected that Jim and I’ll tell you this is the first time that I, my concern also is that I don’t mind spending money but it should really be on the infrastructure and my concern here was that this is the first time that I’ve seen a real engineering study and the guy who was there was very impressive. I’m sure nobody had any complaints. He was talking about dykes, but the water backs up instead of having the tide come in, the dike holds the water that runs down the hill and you got the same problem. Then he talked about tanks underneath, you know, catch basins. He had a lot of good ideas. I have never seen that discussed before. I really look forward to hearing what he’s got to say when he comes back and I think this is long overdue. And I commend you for doing that what you’re there. I just want to get behind the spin as far as I’m concerned.”

Trustee Tom Brennan; “Bob, can I say one thing on this there? I just to say that there’s been some misinformation about there that the money that was taken out of the budget for the upgrades at the train station this year, okay, would’ve had nothing to do with anything with the flooding problem that comes from the tidal surges. Nothing. It wasn’t included. It was esthetics, like you said, West of the problem. So the misinformation going on about us cutting any money out of the budget, the Board, hurting the upgrades at the train station is totally false and not true. So, it’s in the paperwork.”

Robert Wintermeier; “I’ll talk some more about this particular plan next, at the next meeting. I have some other concerns about that but I thank you for your comments.”

Trustee Tom Brennan; “Thank you Mr. Wintermeier”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “With all due respect, the money for the parking lot was cut out of the budget at the 11th hour for politically expedient purposes. That sent a message to our commuters…”

Trustee Tom Brennan; “Leo, that’s your opinion…”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “Excuse me, that sent a message to our commuters that we’re going to, we’re not going to raise your rates 5%, we’re going to raise them 12.5%. And we’re not going to fix the parking lot. So, I have to say that when commuters knew the flooding was going on and was going to be a problem, had experienced it this past month, it was worse that usual. I can understand their being upset. The reason, perhaps, that Mr. Wintermeier didn’t know about these potential solutions is that he may have missed all of the sessions that we’ve had with our storm water consultants and that we’ve had also with Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart Inc. over that went into making the Transit Oriented Study where we told Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart our main concern is that if we don’t fix the flooding, nothing else is worth doing. To fix the flooding, you build a garage. To build a garage, you have to untangle the parking first. So, Step 1. was doing the Cherbuliez Munz, untangling the parking, creating lanes so you disentangle where buses come, commuters come, pedestrians. Then, the second piece of that is what the Buckhurst Fish team had sketched out. That’s a one, two, three, four incremental step and all of that was basically put on ice, put on the shelf, mothballed and not even actually read in any detail by any of you.”

Trustee Jim Steinberg; ”Oh, oh, I object to that! Not read in any detail? We take our jobs very seriously here. Do not question our integrity about how we look into things. This is the first time there has been any conversation to what you guys believed the importance of what that Transit Oriented study was. We never got into the depths of that conversation at any of the work sessions with regard to that report. And in fact, the entire Board didn’t want to move forward with any of those proposals because of their capital outlay costs. We concurred as a group that they were too expensive at that time. And that’s revisionist history to say otherwise with regard to that.”

Trustee Tom Brennan; “Not only that, what happened with the Riverwalk as it ended up with what was gonna happen with the County was being put on a shelf anyway. So it worked in the long run that we didn’t have the money in the budget to spend. We took it out. We saved the taxpayers money. We still have the $500,000 in the bank when a plan comes up that we can move forward with and that’s the bottom line. The moneys still there and when we can move forward with it, I think we will.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “I’m sorry that you’re upset Jim, but…”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “It came up at a work session.”

Trustee Jim Steinberg; ”I’m not upset, I just don’t like someone not accurately reflecting the facts of what’s transpired. That’s my issue.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “We discussed this study about the Transit Oriented District which was going to address flooding among other issues…”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “Trustee, Trustee, Trustee Wiegman, Trustee Wiegman! That was not the basis of the Transit Oriented study. Please stop referring to it as that. It was a possibility study. It was a study to look at what else could be done down there as a big picture. Could you put housing down there? Please! You stated it specifically that you would love to see housing down there so people could literally live there and commute from there. And that was what the study was all about. To look at possibilities down there and that’s what the study was about. It had nothing really to do with addressing the flooding down there and may I remind you how long have you sat on this Board and how long have you and your cohort been in charge of this Village and how long has the flooding been going on that you and the previous Mayor did not address, did not step out to do and that’s where we’ll leave it right now.”

Trustee Charlie Kane; “I take exception to that.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “You Charlie were not a part of that. We are as a Board are committed to moving forward to fixing the problems down there and fixing the problems short term. Long term and whatever it takes to do it and that’s what we are committing to right now. And that’s where the conversation is staying. You’re either on-board or you’re off-board with fixing the problems down there! If you’re off-board, that’s fine. It’s your decision. But right now, I know that there are people who are committed to fixing the problems down there. Can we move on to?”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “And I commend you on your new found awareness of this issue, but the techno, geo-technical study that was done by Buckhurst Fish was cited in that report. The report that the Transit Oriented District study knew it had to tackle the height of the water for any use at that site. That was why it was part of the report.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “For any use at that site.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “Pardon me?”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “For any use at that site.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “For any use at that site, we had to solve the tidal issue and there are a number of ways to do that.

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “And were you comfortable with spending any an mount of money to fix the problem down there? To fix the problem to create something else down there? Were you in favor? No. No. You made your comments at. You, you.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman; “You allowed the Chair of that committee to present for 15 minutes at a work session in the dead of summer and then mothballed it.

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “Because, it was not financially viable on any level and that was the conclusion of everybody at that meeting. With that, we move on. Thank you Mr. Wintermeier. Anyone else?

Robert Wintermeier; “I wanted to get some answers on that”.

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt; “I hope you did”.

Video transcript end:


On March 14, 2006 12:40 PM, Jeff T. said:

The following is a statement by Jim Steinberg:

JAMES M. STEINBERG 83 Morningside Drive Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520

March 13, 2006

Here on the eve of the Croton village election, I expected to express my sincerest appreciation for the support of so many village residents and ask for your vote on March 21st. Instead, I find myself having to use this time to respond to a defamatory and libelous entry which appeared on the Croton Blog, a website which purports to be a news source.

On Sunday, March 12th, an individual posting under the name “onewhoknows” wrote: “Mr. Steinberg was caught by the corridor surveillance camera in the Municipal Building purloining cans of Dr. Pepper without paying for them by using a master key to open the vending machine”.

The mere fact that I must respond to such a statement sickens me. Nonetheless, I am here to let you know that I DO NOT have a master key for a vending machine at the municipal building and I have not stolen soda. Furthermore, the village manager confirmed to me earlier today that there are no surveillance cameras in the municipal building (including the first floor where the soda machine is). Instead, there is a camera at the outside entrance to the police station.

This is not the first time that a highly inflammatory and possibly illegal entry has appeared on the Croton Blog. It deeply disturbs me that individuals such as “onewhoknows” live in our community, teach and coach our children, worship with us on weekends, and are our neighbors. We as a community are better than this.

At this time, while I am exploring my legal remedies, I call upon “onewhoknows” to identify him or herself so that I may speak with this person face-to-face. In addition, I call upon those that own and operate the Croton Blog: Ross Weale, Jeff Thornton, and Steve Smith to reconsider the purpose of their site and the manner in which postings are reviewed and evaluated for legitimacy and truth.

Very truly yours,

James M. Steinberg

To the readers of Crotonblog:

Since it is impossible for the Crotonblog to check the accuracy of comments or letters by individuals, we respectfully ask that all comments and letters be civilized and non-accusatory. Please refer to our Terms of Use for more information.

Note: By mutual agreement, Karen Thornton’s name was removed from James Steinberg’s original statement because she has not been involved with Crotonblog since last year.

On March 13, 2006 2:15 PM, TeaDrinker said:

In response to Mr. James Steinberg’s statement, we immediately removed the offending comment that appeared here on Sunday, March 12, 2006.

The blog does not censor any comments except for obscenity or vulgarity. Nor do we have any way of determining the truth or falsity of any comment. Any citizen is free to post any statement without identifying himself or herself. This is the fundamental nature of every blog.

On February 14, 2006 2:04 AM, Just The Facts said:

SilverOne, I have to disagree with you regarding my motivation being purely out of partianship. The one thing that I really detest about Croton is that the government is partisan based. I used to live in Scarsdale and the town government was non-partisan. I would much prefer that.

I also have to completely disagree with you on the substantive points. Trustee Weigman and Kane did in fact clearly articulate their views on this subject, in fact, they did it right on Crotonblog on January 21st. Perhaps you should read it: “Flooding Solution for Croton Harmon Train Station Parking Lot Mothballed by Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg”. Trustee Kane actually went further a few days letter by writing an exceptionally informative article on why the lot floods (see: “Predicting High Tides in Croton-on-Hudson”).

Furthermore, when I wrote an email to each of the board members on January 12th (6 days before the major flood), only Trustee Wiegman emailed me back. I still await any word from the others.

If Schmidt, Brennan & Steinberg’s main mission is open government then they massively FAILED on this one. If they truly believe in open government, how about a proposal now made in public during a televised meeting. Or at least a presentation? The only thing I can assume is that Schmidt, Brennan & Steinberg are trying to lay low on this issue until AFTER the election.

Trust me, if the democrats control the board come March and they sit and do nothing like Schmidt, Brennan & Steinberg have done, you can bet your last dollar that I will be on their cases just as hard.

Finally, I believe that you actually are mischaracterizing what Wiegman and Kane stated in regard to the 850k. If you listen (or read the Minority Report article I reference above), the point being made is that the 850K represented the next stage on a multi stage plan (as detailed in the engineering report). This stage, which you diminish by calling “beautification” was necessary so that we could get to the next stage of remediation. Instead, we have done nothing for over a year.

Finally, I greatly object to the fact that the CURRENT board raised parking rates and have put next to nothing into the lot by way of improvements. It is not just about the flooding, it is about the bottleneck traffic, gigantic potholes, dangerous pedestrian crossings, the list goes on… You just can’t keep using the parking lot to subsidize our property tax and hope to get away with it forever.

On February 13, 2006 5:15 PM, SilverOne1997 said:

thank you georgianna for your quick response and honesty.

to dave, you ask us to forget the past, why? do you want to blame evrything on the 5 current board members and forget about everything that has taken place that got us to this point?

you’re upset that your car was lost, that’s understanable. this happened to one of our cars some time ago before we began leaving at an earlier hour for the station. i know the frustration associated with this first hand so i understand why you are so bitter towards the mayor, etc.

what i don’t understand is why your bitterness has become so political. instead of fairly placing the blame as i and georgianna did, on all board members since 94, who neglected this issue, you have instead decided to do exactly what you preach against in other comments on crotonblog: politicizing this issue. i don’t get it. you’re only holding schmidt, steinberg and brennan accountable for your flooding vehicle.

if it’s because of the money that was cut out of the budget you have to understand, as x-trustee grant pointed out, that the money was for beutification. this money should never have been allocated for beutification before the flooding was taken care of first, but it was. when budget time rolled around, as pointed out (probably accidently)by trustee steinberg in the video, there was no discussion about the flooding. wiegman and kane did not object to this assertion so i assume it must be true. this means, again, like board members have since 94, the current board neglected the issue: all 5 of them.

if that’s the case then your comment about trustee kane and trustee wiegman voting against the budget because of the flooding (not sure who told you this), is a complete fabrication.

heed your own advice and stop being so partisan… no elected official is going to take you seriously when you attack them with shoddy information.

you attacked the republicans for not including the flooding in their platform. honestly, i thought there was a-lot missing in that platform and it was mostly long on rhetoric and short on good concrete ideas, but you know what? at least they have a platform, and for that i give them credit…

besides ann gallelli writing a few letters to the blog asking for or offersing suggestions and informing residents on information easily accessed on the village website, there really has been no communication from trustee kane or gallelli as to where they stand on the issues facing this village.

go back to your friends and encourage them to write a platform to challenge to one from the republicans. that’s what the debate should be about. the issues.

stop with the blind partisanship, it’s not good for anyone…

On February 13, 2006 2:15 PM, Just The Facts said:

Look, let’s stop going back into history. Everyone agrees that the flooding has existed for a long time, and many boards have ignored this issue for over a decade.

The important question is; what has the current board done about this issue? The answer: NOTHING. One work session and one set up softball question by Mr. W.? PLEASE. It should be noted that this issue wasn’t even listed on the GOP’s platform that was published in early January.

Removing 850K from parking lot improvements certainly did not help the situation. And lets stop calling it “beautification”. We all know that the RR station is currently one of the ugliest parts of an otherwise beautiful place. The funds would have been used in part for improving traffic paterns. THINK about that next time you sit waiting to get out of the lot for over 10 minutes in gridlock (10 minutes a day adds up to a day in a half over a year). Plus as been said before, the funds could have been redirected if they had gotten allocated.

So lets review:

Schmidt, Steinberg & Brennan:

  • Failed to include the lot in their platform.

  • Voted against spending money on the lot in 2005.

  • Raised the quarterly parking fee without allocating ANY money to the lot.

  • ignored emails sent to them on this issue PRIOR to the big flood of 1/18/06.

  • Discussed this issue once at an untelevised board work session.

Wiegman & Kane (Gallelli on point 2)

  • Voted against budget, in part because of removal of money for lot.

  • Communicated to Crotonites on multiple occassions (scroll down croton blog to see).

On February 13, 2006 1:41 PM, weewill said:

I sincerely and honesty appreciate your comments. You are absolutely right …. I and the previous board did not adequately address the flooding at the parking lot. We did BEGIN the process with phase 1 and 2 of the planned 4 improvements. And the present board is correct in saying phase 3 and the $350,000 plus the $500,000 was indeed allocated for beautification. But as I said, the money could be moved and tweaked to be used to aid in flood remediation. I wish we had directed that when I was still on the board and I know hindsight is always better than foresight but the fact remains, it COULD been reallocated at budget time and SHOULD been, in my opinion.

I don’t believe anyone is “blaming” any board or individual for the flooding. That’s determined by a power much higher than a Mayor or Village Trustee. I think what all the narrative and verbiage is about is to urge the board as the authorities in office NOW to address it and to address it quickly before we have another disaster at the lot. It will take money and lots of it. That’s why our board elected to remediate in phases.

The time has obviously come now! We all know the crazy weather we’ve had and can surely expect it to continue because of global warming!

Having said the above, I again thank you for your comments and want to publicly say that even though I’m no longer on the board, that I was not re-elected for whatever reasons, I respect the voters and will continue to give my opinions, right or wrong, on important issues facing this village that I love so much!

On February 13, 2006 1:11 PM, SilverOne1997 said:

reading x-trustee georgianna grant’s comments in regard to the flooding problem i’m write surprised that she is attacking the current board members for the problem. reading her post one would assume that the flooding is the sole responsibility of dr. schmidt. come on!

georgianna, you served on the board from 1993-2005, nearly 12 years! i voted for you a few times over that span because many times you were the best person for the job. you made me quesion my votes recently based on many of your decisions and your changed demeanor in 2004 and early 2005 which ultimatley forced me (and many neighbors) to vote you out of office.

i watched the video of herbek explaining the history of the lot to residents. you were on the board when the lot was purchased from gus almaker in 1994 and you know that it has flooded many times and cars have been lost since that time and prior to the most recent flooding in january—while you were a sitting trutsee!

so i ask you, what did you do in your tenure as a trustee to fix the flooding problem?

i’m not blaming you or bob elliot or deb mccarthy or sam watkins or ann gallelli or jim harking or don daubney, etc. for cars being flooded. it happens, and yes it should have been taken care of a long time ago but it wasn’t, so be it…

i just don’t like when people run away from their own record. take responsibility for once and admit that you, just like schmidt and every other mayor and board member since 1994, failed to adequatley address the flooding issue at the lot.

i like you a lot and enjoy coffee at your son’s place (black cow) and have, again, voted for you on multiple occassions. i don’t look to attack you and hope that you and other supporters of yours on here will not respond with attacks as they have in the past when someone tries to debate the issues.

please, i’m just taking advantage of my rights as a taxpayer to questioning an elected official, past, present and future…

thank you.

On February 12, 2006 9:19 PM, SSmith said:

i don’t know why anyone is surprised that the republicans on our board skirt issues while attacking their fellow board members. that is what republicans do; that has been their mantra for years now both here and in D.C.

i think Dave is right on the money in saying that the majority on the board wants to say nothing and do nothing on any issue that may potentially damage steinberg’s chances of finally getting elected. they have put him out their as if he is bigger than the issues just for that purpose. it is sad and hopefully enough people in town will see through this and right the ship before it’s too late come the March elections.

the republicans’ strategy is painfully obvious and their entire act now very tired indeed. let’s think about their experience level… the mayor has been in local politics for only a short time, brennan and steinberg are rookies with only one of them getting narrowly elected last time and they have an 18 year old boy running their party who’s comments here have been nothing short of obnoxious attacks on anything they don’t agree with. it’s like a bad movie that keeps getting worse.

i for one find it absolutley appalling that everytime leo weigman opens his mouth to be straight up with the people of this village, as politicians are supposed to do, he gets attacked in a vicious manner and completely cut off in his comments by the mayor and “his two cohorts”. it is a disgrace.

i think that mayor does himself and this village a great injustice in the way he speaks to leo. it is obvious he does not like the guy… perhaps because he knows leo is right more often than he and can expose the republican led administration for what it really is… THE DO-NOTHING TEAM.

i also find it more than curious that mr. steinberg got so openly defensive, and even resorted to rampant finger pointing, when leo suggested that perhaps the engineering report was not read in enough detail by some in the majority who voted to shelve the train lot improvement projects. I WONDER WHY THAT WAS??? i was waiting for the froth to spew from mr. steinberg’s mouth… perhaps he should switch to a decaffeinated sugar free soda at the board meetings. dr. pepper may be too much for him.

mr. steinberg’s actions speak loudly of a man who is not worthy of our votes or trust to lead this village. he seems like a guy who is all talk and that’s about it. but then again that is why he LOST THE ELECTION LAST TIME.

On February 12, 2006 6:55 PM, Just The Facts said:

The fact of the matter is that Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg view the parking lot as nothing more than a money maker for the village. As such, their goal is to get the most revenue possible from the lot (raising permit fees) and putting absolutely NO money into the lot. Think about it, how much did Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg allocate to the lot over the past year? The answer? Maybe a couple of thousand dollars filling in a few potholes.

Since the problem got to a breaking point last month, what has Schmidt done on the board? One untelevised work session and one “set up” shill question from Mr. Wintermeier.

Clearly, Schmidt is hiding from the issue and doesn’t want to actually admit that major money needs to be spent here until after the election.

It is clear that just about everything relating to the parking lot needs improvement. The traffic is often complete gridlock. Often it takes over 10 minutes to get out of that lot because the traffic flow is terrible. This is NOT beautification—it is essential and it adds up to precious time that everyone who commutes has to give up spending with their families.

Wintermeier knows and is scared beyond belief that the Republican majority (Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg) got caught with their pants down and they WILL face a backlash in the election.

I truly wish that Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg would stop deflecting the issue and actually do something.

On February 12, 2006 2:10 PM, weewill said:

You bet your life Bob Wintermeier was there “because it’s election time”.

The theatrical exchange between Schmidt, Brennan and Wintermeier was a clear and transparent set up, choreographed ahead of the meeting because they needed to find a way to defend their indefensible removal of $350,000 from the capital budget thus rendering $500,000 already allocated by federal grants as unavailable. In addition, Trustee Brennan is just plain wrong when he claims the money is sitting in the bank waiting to be used. When I was still on the board, we were advised that we had to “use it or lose it.” We could not continue to hold it in an interest bearing account.

No amount of lame excuses will negate the fact that the newly elected three, Mayor Schmidt, and Trustees Steinberg and Brennan voted to remove $350,000, thus negating an additional $500,000 from a federal grant, for improvements to the commuter parking lot. They know perfectly well budgets and funds can be transferred from within any given allocation, from “beautification” to “flood control” by the stroke of a pen. Who of us hasn’t done this very thing with our own budgets at home? Work order changes and tweaking of proposals take place all the time. They chose not to do so. It’s wise to remember “you can fool some of the people some of the time…”

Their excuses are a poor defense for their actions. Their playing with semantics is very clear. It’s time to stop talking and take action. I do believe I heard the Mayor say during the exchange “whatever it takes to do it, that’s what we are committing to right now.”


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