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Another Empty Campaign Promise by Mayor Schmidt Bites the Dust

December 21, 2007

It started innocently enough at the December 17th village board meeting when Kevin Davis asked Trustee Tom Brennan for an update on his dormant initiative for a new community center. Mr Davis asked, “For my Christmas present for the village board, I am reviving the community center issue. Three months ago, I came to the village board and brought up the community center issue about the survey. The survey results just came out and all that has happened since then to my knowledge is a work session. Trustee Brennan, has anything else happened regarding the community center since three months ago?”

What he got in response was a big mouthful of lip service from Trustee Brennan. Left flat-footed by his own inaction over the past two years, Mr. Brennan awkwardly tried to dance around the issue by assuring Mr. Davis (and onlooking residents) that much was going on “behind the scenes.” To quote his exact Brennanisms, he said, “Well the only thing that’s really happening is that we’re trying to meet with other, other agencies I would say in the village—not agencies but other groups to see if we can formulate other uses that are out there, other buildings, structures. We’re working behind the scenes with different people in the village to see if there is anything else out there besides building a stand-alone building. And that’s really all that’s happening right now Kevin. We’re trying to get some information behind the scenes.”

But Mr. Davis would not let up. He went on to remind the Republican board majority that actions do speak louder than words. Sensing that Mr. Brennan had goofed badly, Mayor Schmidt jumped in to lend Mr. Brennan a helping hand, an action he soon may regret.

Mayor Schmidt claimed to be talking to the fire department about giving up existing space in Croton’s firehouses for public use—presumably to be managed by Croton’s Department of Recreation.

Crotonblog has heard these kinds of calming assurances from Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Brennan before. Dazzled by the prospect of the village finally recognizing that Croton’s huge infrastructure problems made it financially impossible to consider the proposed community center, and puzzled by the idea of substituting Croton’s three firehouses as stand-ins for a community center, Crotonblog did a little sleuthing.

It turns out that Mayor Schmidt and the head of the recreation department had a meeting with the fire chief about Croton Seniors using the Harmon firehouse. This is especially curious since the seniors group already has a room for its use in the Municipal Building. That’s the whole of the progress toward a community center.

If any readers are gullible enough to regard Mayor Schmidt’s statement as indicating any kind of forward action leading to a community center and bearing any resemblance to the truth, Crotonblog has a bridge it would like to sell them. To add a little whiff of ceremony to this whole affair, Crotonblog hereby confers on Mayor Schmidt the Baron Munchausen Award for Flagrant Prevarication with Oak Leaf Cluster. By earning it with this latest whopper, he has really outdone himself.

Video clip (link):

Video transcript:

Kevin W. Davis: “Kevin Davis of 17 Wolfe Road. For my Christmas present for the village board, I am reviving the community center issue. Three months ago, I came to the village board and brought up the community center issue about the survey. The survey results just came out and all that has happened since then to my knowledge is a work session. Trustee Brennan, has anything else happened regarding the community center since three months ago?”

Trustee Thomas P. Brennan: “Well, the only thing that’s really happening is that we’re trying to meet with other, other agencies I would say in the village—not agencies but other groups to see if we can formulate other uses that are out there, other buildings, structures. We’re working behind the scenes with different people in the village to see if there is anything else out there besides building a stand-alone building. And that’s really all that’s happening right now Kevin. We’re trying to get some information behind the scenes.”

Kevin W. Davis: “You just, you know, you’ve been trying to organize the meetings but there hasn’t been any meeting?”

Trustee Thomas P. Brennan: “No, no, no. I haven’t tried to organize any meetings. If I was gonna organize it, it would have been done. But we’ve been talking to different entities about what’s possible. What could possibly be done.”

Kevin W. Davis: “Well, it has been three years since the community center committee has been started and talked about and all we have, you know in return is an insufficient survey which didn’t even measure the costs which is the most important aspect of people want all this stuff in the community center but how do you know if you don’t know if they are willing to pay for it. And we have the meetings that are, that you are working on with the other agencies to maybe not build a stand-alone building and save money by using some services that we already have. But, I know government is supposed to slow but, I don’t think it’s supposed to be this slow. And ultimately, people want a community center if the costs are considered. But, if you have a stand-alone community center, it would have to go to a bond and there is a high likelihood that that bond would go down which means you spent a lot of time working on this only to get it defeated. So, you’re better off working on what you are working on now, getting low cost options, like working with the school district or other agencies for shared services because one of the popular items we saw was weightlifting and I’m sure the school gym isn’t used in the summer and they have weights, that could be an example. But, and also we have at the gym and a couple other private entities to provide some of these services. Although people think a community center will be free to go in there—there’s no such thing as a free lunch and they’ll still be paying for it. So, i just think this issue should stay on the table and shouldn’t just be ignored, you know, every year we say we need a community center because actions speak louder than words. That’s all I wanted to say.”

Mayor Gregory Schmidt: “Thank you.”

Trustee Thomas P. Brennan: “Thank you Kevin.”

Mayor Gregory Schmidt: “And again. Just with that, you know, um, all the decisions we make are based on priorities and ah, looking at the community center ah, and questioning the community on that was an important question ah, because anytime we have an opportunity to share services with anybody else that’s exactly what we are looking at. We are working with the fire department to see if we can use some of the firehouses as possible ah, means of addressing some of these needs and in terms of cost we have to look at all of the things we have to do and right now we are looking at creating a separate ambulance corps that may require a separate building and so that is a cost we have to look at. So with all of these things it’s a matter of evaluating you know, where we are and what we can do but I think the survey was an important part of ah, looking at this community what the community wants as a community, we’re going to use that information as we move forward. Next.”



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