Leo Wiegman, Sally Odland, Ann Gallelli, and John Hall discuss the “7 Goals for 2007” agenda for Croton. Photo: Rick Sammon © 2007.
With Congressman John Hall and her running mates by her side, Trustee Ann Gallelli, Democratic candidate for Mayor in Croton’s upcoming village election on March 20, 2007, announced a platform of “Seven Goals for 2007” on Friday, March 2nd at the Black Cow Coffee Shop. During the meeting, Ms. Gallelli said, “We want to take back the agenda from the one-track Schmidt-Brennan mindset. The waste transfer issue is serious, but it is a serious mistake to let it divert our attention from a myriad of other issues, just as critical to keeping Croton the vibrant community that it is. That is why we are putting forth these 7 goals we want to make big progress on in 2007.”
“With rising energy prices on the horizon and the specter of climate change, municipalities need to get serious about conservation and becoming sustainable for the long run with significantly less fossil fuel use,” commented Sally Odland, Former Croton Water Control Commission Chair. Ms. Odland continued by saying, “My vision for the future Croton is a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly village with mass transit, ‘energy defensive’ buildings and a strong local economy. This sort of development can been encouraged through long-range planning, intelligent zoning, prudent purchases of strategically located properties, tax incentives, creative financing, and seeking State and Federal grants.”
Four-term Trustee Leo Wiegman added, “We were ‘the-little-Village-that-could,’ but for the past 2 years we have stalled out. I am fired up to for us to elect Sally to the board. Sally’s background in science, energy and project management—and her level-headedness—is going to be huge asset for the Village.” Further, Wiegman said, “We need a Mayor like Ann—who always does her homework—in order to tackle the intricate financial issues that will dominate our future as a Village.”
Ann Gallelli, Sally Odland, & Leo Wiegman’s “7 Goals for 2007”:
Establish a Finance and Economic Development Advisory Committee
All up and down the state, the smallest units of government, e.g. villages, are being caught in a heavy squeeze to provide escalating services with what is in many cases a ‘fixed’ or very limited revenue basis. The new Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDAC) will be composed of 5 or 6 village residents with expertise in financial and economic development matters. FEDAC would advise the village board and treasurer on matters concerning both the cost and revenue side of operating the village and advise on how the village might seek the best development opportunities in harmony with the overall goals and budgets.
Resolve 1A Croton Point Avenue litigation
In the event that numerous litigations over this land use issue take a negative turn for the village, we need an alternate method of resolving this dispute to protect the health, safety and welfare of the village residents. Just last week, a federal judge in the Bergen (NJ) case ruled that regulation of a railroad’s waste transfer facilities were preempted by federal law and that New Jersey had no authority to regulate the facilities or to fine the railroad. In the face of such a negative litigation environment, it is critical to have a fall back plan for the village to retain as much local control over the transfer station site as possible without relying solely on the unpredictable outcome of a court ruling.
Embrace Cool Communities “Living Economies” Initiatives
The Cool Communities/Living Economies Initiative at Sustainable Hudson Valley is an excellent effort to help local communities move toward more sustainable economies. Croton has long been in the forefront on green practices. The Village already has taken numerous steps for its own buildings to reduce future energy use. We will establish a “Cool Communities Advisory Group” of 10-12 area residents to flesh out recommendations for the Village to consider. These ideas could and should be quite wide ranging, from pushing for smart power meters to more home energy surveys, from switching consumers to compact fluorescent bulb and green maps, which leads to our next idea.
Green Map of Croton Area to highlight local attractions
The Village is frequently visited by folks new to the area or who come for a local event, such as the Clearwater Festival, who may want to know what the local attractions might be. A simple step toward highlighting local attractions would be a “green map” of the Village and surrounding area. The map would show points of interest that include historically significant sites, recreation sites, water access points, parks, areas of commercial establishments, parking lots, public transportation routes, and more. The resulting Green Map would posted on the Village website and be available in printed form at public places or events.
Hold first annual “State of the Village Summit”
The Village has many excellent and essential volunteer boards and committees. The range of topics the Village tackles can often be masked by the topic du jour. Hence, in order to give all our residents and volunteers a big picture and to allow the individual volunteers to see what other committees are up to, we will hold a State of the Village Summit, most likely in June at the start of each fiscal year. This summit would be open to all. The Village’s respective boards and committees would each present a very brief summary of their accomplishments and future priorities. At present, this summit would include the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Water Control Commission, Visual Environment Board, Comprehensive Plan Committee, Recreation Advisory Committee, Waterfront Advisory Committee. It would also include the Fire Council and short updates from each of the Village’s Department heads (Engineer, Treasurer, Public Works, Recreation, Police).
Start Commuter/Parking Hub Study Group
We have 3 major projects at the Croton Harmon Train Station Commuter Lot: (1) the 2004 Transit Oriented District Study of our 2,500 automobile parking lot at the Croton Harmon train station that should be reopened; (2) the ongoing engineering study from Dvirka & Bartilucci on mitigating the occasional flooding at the train station commuter lot needs citizen input; (3) the completed plans from Cherbuliez & Munz on improving the traffic flow, enhancing pedestrian and bicycle safety and relocating the bus and taxi stands at the train station need to be reopened. Given the importance of mass transit in the region and the key role the Croton-Harmon Station plays for Metro North, County Bee-Line buses, Amtrak, and local commuters, we must develop a long term plan for the whole transit area at Croton Point Ave.
Implement Croton River Watershed Compact
With the County’s imminent release of the Indian Brook-Croton Gorge Watershed Conservation Action Plan, we have a crucial role to play in helping all the 5 communities who share this watershed to begin implementing the local recommendations in this study. The next 6 months will be critical in setting in motion actual revised policies and in spreading the word. We are fortunate that Croton has many knowledgeable volunteers and officials who can lead this intermuncipal effort. Charlie Kane is the de-facto liaison to the County on this matter. The goal is a unified, coordinated set of protections for this source of drinking water and site water based recreation.
For additional information, visit www.crotondems.org.