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From the desk of Mayor Dr. Greg Schmidt: The buck doesn't stop here

June 14, 2006

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Now that Federal Court Judge Colleen McMahon has sided with Buffalo Southern Railroad by ruling that the village is legally restrained from pursuing eminent domain for the property at 1A Croton Point Avenue, what is to become of Croton’s aging Department of Public Works facility?

It was only in February 2006, when top village officials took to the podium during a public hearing (see: “Not So Imminent Eminent Domain in Croton”) to deliver a dire state of the DPW facility address. In short, according to DPW Supervisor Ken Kraft, the existing site (photo gallery) located in the middle of the Croton Harmon train station parking lot was no longer suitable for current and future operations.

Never mind that the 10-acre property at 1A Croton Point Avenue (satellite map) was more than the village had said was needed for a new facility.

Forget about the 4-acre parcel on Route 129 neighboring the Croton Harmon bus garage that is for sale, priced at $650,000 (see: “Alternate Site for New Croton DPW Facility Comes to Market”).

Most importantly, pretend that former Mayor Robert Elliott who served the village for 14 years and during his tenure also recognized the need for a new DPW facility, never considered proposing to landowner Greentree Realty, LLC a subdivision of the property, thus providing room for a new DPW site while former tenant Metro Enviro, LLC continued to operate at the site.

So after more than 7 years of struggle and more than $750,000 in legal fees, Croton has neither control over the future operations of any tenant at the site nor does the Village have a new DPW facility.

And on the heels of another 9.5 percent tax increase, its also best to make believe that the Republican board majority—while under the influence of the intoxicating Maria Cudequest (search)—didn’t decline to negotiate a tonnage fee structure with Metro Enviro, then Northeast Interchange Railway and now Buffalo Southern Railroad that would have added nearly one million in revenue annually to the village coffers.

Therefore, once again, since the “We don’t negotiate” Schmidt team are responsible for this loss of much-needed revenue, Crotonblog is compelled to ask the mayor, “What’s up, Doc?”

On June 15, 2006 1:23 PM, Binford said:

I second your comments, Mrs. Smith. I seem to recall that as part of the MetroEnviro settlement offer, they offered to make part of the site available to Village for use for a new public works facility. That part of the offer was specifically attacked by former Trustee McCarthy.

Bojangles: I may be misreading your comment. It wasn’t the courts that ruled garbage couldn’t be brought in. That was a condition of the original special permit issued by the Village. No garbage (municipal solid waste)was EVER brought to the MetroEnvito site (although Ms. Cudaquest and her supporters constantly implied that it was.

The recent court ruling prohibiting solid waste from being brought in is only temporary, and a continuation of that prohibition is dependent upon what the NTSB and the courts decide.

For a long time I’ve been uncertain about whether the Village should have accepted the original MetroEnviro offer. I’m not uncertain anymore. It was a good deal, and in retrospect looks even better—but of course almost anything would be better then the mess we are in now.

On June 15, 2006 10:41 AM, Mrs. Smith said:

Bojangles, In the last negotiations, Metro Enviro agreed to pay for a full time monitor along with all the other concessions, but the pressure exerted and misinformation touted by Cudaquest and her crew effectively put that agreement to rest. She has a lot to answer for.

On June 15, 2006 10:26 AM, bojangles said:

Maybe Metro Environ wasn’t so bad after all. We only heard a little about what the settlement talks with the former owners agreed to but almost anything is better than this.

Can they be used as a starting point for talks with the new owners. It makes sense to bargain for a piece of the property and then let the same kind of transfer station work. Especially when the courts ruled that no garbage could be brought in. This would save the taxpayers money. This time we could bargain for a full time professional monitor to watch the comings and going.

Anything to stop the back breaking law suits.

On June 14, 2006 4:16 PM, weewill said:

A very quick comment in response to Robert Marchant’s Journal News article today where he quotes Mayor Schmidt’s response to the federal court judge’s ruling that “prohibited any waste material from being loaded and unloaded there.

Mayor Schmidt is quoted as saying “They can’t handle solid waste — that’s big for us.” I know the Mayor understands the following and am sure he was misquoted.

Let there be no misunderstanding about the previous operation at 1A Croton Point Avenue — solid waste was never permitted nor was it received or processed there. It was one of the 42 very straight forward, explicit conditions and restrictions of the original MetroEnviro permit.

Of course “that’s big for us.” It always has been and continues to be. The judge’s decision hasn’t improved the village’s position at all. It should not be viewed as a win for the village.

Our board still has lots of work to do and they need to explore every possibility for a fair and equitable end to these litigations.

Georgianna Grant



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