Signs at 9D intersection raise concern
By Michael Turton
For mere mortals, a clean bill of health is sure to produce a sigh of relief after the annual trip to the doctor. For municipalities, auditors play the role of doctor – at least when it comes to finances. The Village of Cold Spring received a clean bill of health from the Poughkeepsie-based firm of Sedore & Company in its most recent audit of the village books.
The good news came at the Tuesday (Dec. 10) meeting of the Village Board. The “clean opinion” was announced to the board by James Letterio CPA, a partner in the firm. “We have no issue with the numbers in the audit,” Letterio said. “We didn’t come across anything we felt we’d have to report to you in the management letter,” a two-page summary of the audit’s findings. “You guys are a breath of fresh air,” said William Cochrane, a CPA with the firm who was also in attendance.
Later in the meeting, Village Accountant Ellen Mageean delivered more good news in her financial summary, reporting that six months into the current fiscal year, the village is running at about $15,000 under budget. The 2013-14 budget totals $2,665,224. Mageean did strike one cautionary note. “There are some unquantifiables … such as how much snow we’ll get,” she said. Those variables can have an impact on the budget – you just don’t know. “The village has budgeted $15,000 for snow removal. A mild winter could produce a budget surplus – but a severe winter could result in just the opposite.
Intersection signs rankle some
Village Trustee Charles Hustis reported that he has fielded complaints from a number of merchants and residents who are concerned over a growing collection of signs displayed at the corner of Chestnut and Main. “It looks horrible there,” Hustis said. The signs are on village property and are permitted under the village code – provided that individual signs don’t exceed 9 square feet in area and are not in place for more than 60 calendar days.
Hustis said merchants were especially upset about “Shop Beacon” signs that have appeared. Village resident Kathleen Foley said that Building Inspector Bill Bujarski had removed the non-local signs and had indicated that the others are not a violation because they are temporary. Another resident, Mike Bowman, also questioned the legality of “1-800-JUNK” signs that have been attached to utility poles in the village. Trustee Matt Francisco suggested that the board confer with both Bujarski and Village Attorney Michael Liguori to clarify legal issues involved.
Basic repairs will soon be made to The Grove, permitting tours of the historic building which has sat empty for years. The structure has fallen into disrepair and the village has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the sale and development of the building and property. Kathleen Foley, speaking in her capacity as a member of the Historic District Review Board, told trustees that repairs to the porch and floor are needed and that work on some of the windows is needed to provide better light during the tours. Village Clerk Mary Saari said she has received one tour request to date. Tour participants will be required to sign a waiver.
Barney Molloy, chairman of the Cold Spring Planning Board, suggested at the meeting that volunteers who work on the repairs also be required to sign the waiver. Foley said that it is important that repairs be made as soon as possible, before snow causes any further damage. The deadline for responses to the RFP is Feb. 18, 2014. The Grove sits atop the embankment behind The Nest daycare. Built in the 1850s and designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was acquired by the village in 2003.
Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell reported that he recently attended a meeting along with representatives from other area municipalities at which Putnam County officials explained their policy of not sharing local sales tax revenues. Campbell said that the primary rationale given is that the county prefers to give funds back in the form of services. He said that Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Meghan Taylor president of the Putnam County Economic Development Corp., are both willing to come to a Village Board meeting to explain the policy in detail. Putnam is one of a handful of counties in New York state that does not share sales tax revenues.
Photos by M. Turton