Vote at firehouse Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
When elected to office I look to work with the Mayor and my fellow Trustees to fully implement the Open Government principles that I have been pushing for, going on three years in the Village. This includes bringing our Village government up to 100 percent compliance with the Open Meetings Law by assuring proper noticing of meetings, providing full agendas and all action items to the public and most importantly stopping the misuse of Executive Sessions. I believe the Village can do better, and I will make myself available at all times to assist our hard working clerk to get it done.
I also look forward to working with my fellow Trustees to move the Butterfield process along after so many years. Hopefully our seniors will finally see the broken promises of the past, finally come to fruition. The past two years have been ones of stalling and second-guessing, until finally the Planning Board has begun to clear the logjam of Butterfield. I hope it’s not too late for a deal on the Post Office in that location, so that we can finally see the compromise put forth by the developer take shape as a true municipal center, adjacent to mixed use development, in line with our Comprehensive plan.
There are many important projects and issues that have taken a back seat as Butterfield has been stalled; including working with our waterfront residents to explore options to improve future response to flooding and disaster mitigation, further securing and improving our water supply and dams, negotiating what a future boat club will look like and also beginning to take a serious look at the needs of our Volunteer firefighters, whose building continues to deteriorate around them.
All of these are major expenditures, and will need the full cooperation of all the Village Board members to properly plan, and secure capital funding in hard financial times. I look forward to putting my experience as President of the Fire Company, drafting budgets, fundraising and pre-planning for major truck expenditures, to good use assisting our Board. The same fiscal responsibility I exercised there will be a hallmark of my time as Trustee.
Last but not least I look to use my time on the Village Board to attempt to heal the division that continues to plague our community. Having had the pleasure of growing up in this Village, attending Haldane, being raised by parents that were both small business owners on Main Street, and I remember a place where civil discourse was the norm. There were softball leagues at Mayors Park, block parties at the dock, yearly fairs on the hospital lawn – that everyone attended and nobody cared what your politics were.
We have allowed our small one square mile community to become a microcosm of the national political debate, and to me it’s utterly ridiculous. And I frankly think people are sick and tired of it. So, improving communication with everyone is a top priority. A transparent Village Board is a board that everyone can trust.
I am committed to working hard to accomplish what it will take to move our Village forward. As a successful business leader and community volunteer I believe I’ve demonstrated the skills necessary to get things done. The Village’s ‘to-do’ list is growing with more items added than completed, issues go unresolved, and projects are stalled by endless discussions, rewrites, lack of leadership, and ultimately a failure to take action.
The Butterfield Redevelopment and the post office are examples of this, and it’s been the same with parking, the Marathon and Dockside properties and now the Boat Club, unless we are committed to addressing these issues and taking action nothing will change! Many agenda items drop out of sight only to be resurrected several months later. I would urge my fellow Trustees to stay on track with items and issues, continuously on the Agenda until they are resolved.
Pressing infrastructure needs must be addressed and appropriate funding secured. We can find and use all possible revenue sources, so that the taxpayers are not left bearing the costs of repairing our dams and sewer treatment plant alone. Those sources include actively researching grants, Muni-Meters with a parking app for smart phones, docking fees, examining the fee structures for the use of various Village properties and licensing, tax revenues from Butterfield, the proposed Water District and consolidation of services, where appropriate.
Our Main Street sidewalks and curbs, along with street lighting are a major concern. Central Hudson notified us that our existing holiday lights would have to go five years ago. Myself and fellow Chamber members have funded some lights, to prevent otherwise dark streets this past holiday season. The Village Board needs to partner more closely with the Chamber, our Main Street Merchants and other community organizations, to leverage all of our resources.
The connection between village officials and our community organizations needs to be expanded and strengthened; too often a lack of communication and cooperation has resulted in confusion and lost opportunities in the past. Given my experience, that’s a task as a village trustee I’m serious about and look forward to pursuing.
The neighborliness referred to in our Comprehensive Plan has eroded; we no longer agree to disagree. People with differing views rarely talk to one another. I have heard over and over how disconnected and divisive our community has become. We cannot ignore this issue or pretend it does not exist. Good relationships require good communication. I will listen to and work with anyone who wants to have a conversation about how we can work together to embrace all points of view.
Along with my fellow Trustees and the Village Clerk I will work to fully comply with Open Meeting Law, making agendas and minutes available to the widest audience in a timely manner, while conducting our Village’s business. I hope that my commitment to transparency and communication will restore faith in Village government for all of us. It’s important to remember that only by working together, can each of us achieve our common goal of our village remaining the place that we all cherish.
The major issues facing our village:
Property Taxes: Individuals and business are struggling to make ends meet with the property tax burden. We must continue to identify and develop alternate revenue streams.
The Village Board must promote/ensure:
1) Tax positive development at Butterfield and the Marathon Battery plant. Complete our due diligence on Butterfield and get it built to realize additional tax revenues.
2) Increased use of our dock to commercial traffic, properly valuing/charging for that service. Research and talks with SeaStreak are underway.
3) If the mutual opportunity presents itself, a restructuring of our relationship with Boat Club to increase river access and generate revenue. The Mayor and I have begun talks with the Boat Club leadership to facilitate this.
4) Main Street parking meters. Because of mixed response the Village Board must provide leadership, finding the right balance to make this work. The bottom line demands it. The Village Board established the 2014 Parking Committee.
Capital Campaign: Establish a Capital Campaign Committee for an exhaustive review of needed capital improvements across Village property and major equipment with a 10 year forward focus including financing requirements. Major projects currently identified:
1) Waste water treatment plant electric service and aeration. Engineering is complete and ready for review.
2) Sidewalk Main Street project. The engineering is complete and we are waiting for the State to sign off and release funding.
3) Dam repairs
4) Firehouse repair or rebuild
5) Disabled access Police Department facilities
Update our Zoning Code and Complete/Adopt the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan: We need to update our Zoning Code to bring it in line with our Comprehensive Plan. This update will reflect our Victorian Village, not the 1960 suburban neighborhood it currently reflects. This will greatly reduce the need for residents to apply for variances.
1) Identify funding sources for this significant work. The Village has won a NYSERDA grant of $75,000 for this work. The Village Board is working now to ensure the terms of the grant are acceptable to the Village. The Historic Board is seeking additional funds through Certified Local Government.
2) Once the zoning is updated the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan can be completed, approved and adopted. The Comprehensive Plan has already proven its value in helping to win the NYSERDA grant. A LWRP will further put the Village in a more favorable position to obtain grant monies vital to improving infrastructure.
I have 20+ years of professional experience in financial management, real estate transactions, contract negotiation/administration, vendor management, capital build project management and insurance and risk mitigation. In the current administration the Village Board has a nice mix of new comers and lifetimers that provides a critical balance that has proved very effective.
Having worked on the Village Board for 2 years now, I understand how things actually get done in local government. I can provide the skills and continuity to ensure a strong foundation for the future of Cold Spring. I do this work solely to give back to the place we call home.
Donald Mac Donald
I believe the people of this Village want to see in their Trustees individuals who will quietly and respectfully work with all residents, groups and causes within the community. I think I have demonstrated that I can do that in my 12 years as a member and then Chair of the Village Zoning Board of Appeals.
My ZBA experience qualifies me to take a lead role in the updating of the Village zoning code. For over a decade I have listened to and worked with Villager’s at a time when the code most directly affects their lives. I know first hand the code’s strengths and its weaknesses. The Village should have a knowledgeable, elected individual directly involved on the rethinking of the code, so the words better reflect the reality and needs of the actual Village we all live in.
I believe the Butterfield redevelopment will prove to be a positive opportunity for the Village’s growth. I am very much in favor of it’s mix of uses — senior citizen housing, office, retail and single-family residential. Mixed use is part of the essence of this working Village. I would urge the County to fund and support a Senior Citizen Center at Butterfield. If the Town and Village felt it was in their best interests to consolidate their courts at Butterfield I would support that. If the Post Office choose to move there I would support it as well.
I do share the Planning Board’s concern with the size, massing and exact siting of the senior housing units. Going forward, village residents, the Planning, Historic Review and Village boards will, each in their own way, have input on this issue and I trust they will all work together cooperatively with Mr. Guillaro to resolve it in the best manner possible. Mr. Guillaro has stated the mixed uses of the Butterfield project (housing, office and retail) give it the tax positive aspect we all desire and thus, the reason the Village should change the zoning to allow them.
Since this is such an underlying basis for the project’s approval, as a Trustee I would look for independent confirmation of the project’s tax revenue projections. I do not believe this is an “obstructionist” position, I believe for a Village Trustee it is a responsible one that can be quickly and efficiently achieved.
Speaking of tax revenue I would look to raise more to help pay for a new fire house, dam repairs, and wastewater treatment plant upgrades. New revenue sources could be the centralized parking meters on Main street, increased cruise boat docking fees and what contribution the Boat Club could make that would be within it’s limited means – to that end I would certainly welcome the opportunity be a charter member of it’s new “paddle/small boat” membership, and work side by side with fellow members.
In everyone of my 23 years living in this Village I have tried my very best, on a daily basis, to maintain what is beautiful, good and enriching here, and to better it’s well being and ask you to allow me to continue this service now as your Village Trustee.
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