New agreement reached with Cold Spring Police
By Michael Turton
The Cold Spring Village Board’s annual reorganization meeting held on Tuesday (April 8) also marked the inaugural session for newly elected Trustees Michael Bowman and Cathryn Fadde. Both were sworn into office the night before at a brief ceremony held at Village Hall.
The two new trustees were given their share of responsibilities as part of a long list of appointments and reappointments. Bowman will serve on the Insurance and Risk Management Committee and as ADA Compliance Officer as well as an alternate to the Audit Committee. He will also serve as liaison to the Historic District Review Board, fire department and boat club. Fadde will serve on the Independence Day, Parking and Economic Development committees while serving as liaison to the Chamber of Commerce, Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and LWRP, senior citizens and Putnam County.
Early confirmed as ZBA chair
Residents’ appointments to a number of village boards and committees were also confirmed. Marie Early was appointed as the new chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals after having served as a member of that body. Among the reappointments were Jeff Phillips as chair of the Recreation Committee; Barney Molloy as chair of the Planning Board and Al Zgolinski as chair of the Historic District Review Board. No action was taken regarding membership on the Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and LWRP.
During the public comment section of the agenda, Kathleen Foley, a member of the Historic District Review Board, urged trustees to appoint Peter Downey and Dana Bol to that board. Foley said that the HDRB’s ranks are currently thin and that the new appointments are needed to ensure a quorum at its meetings. No action was taken. Mayor Ralph Falloon said that moving forward, his policy would be to conduct interviews for all prospective members of village boards prior to appointments being made. Falloon told The Paper that had there been more than seven applicants, the number required to fill the committee, interviews would have been conducted.
New parking and lighting committees
Several residents who had expressed interest in serving on a new Parking Committee were all approved as its initial membership. Appointed were former mayor Anthony Phillips, Chris Daly, Robert Ferris, Donna Steltz, Gretchen Dykstra, Frank Haggerty and Elliott Hammond. Trustees saved the fledgling group at least one decision.
The idea of designating a section of Main Street for diagonal parking, requiring vehicles to be backed into the spaces, was abandoned via a motion of the Village Board. The mayor had put the idea out for discussion several weeks ago but the suggested design raised safety concerns. The fact that the design would result in the loss of a dozen trees and a narrowing of sidewalks also drew considerable opposition.
The role of the new Lighting Committee was expanded — even before it has been formed. It was initially thought that the new group would deal only with holiday lighting, in the wake of difficulties experienced last year. After Central Hudson disallowed Cold Spring’s traditional Christmas lights to be strung across and above Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce and the village had to scramble to put makeshift lighting in place in time for the holidays.
Trustees supported Falloon’s idea of having the new committee deal with Main Street lighting as a year-round issue, taking into account factors such as the planned improvements to the street and sidewalks. The Chamber of Commerce will be consulted regarding the expanded committee role. Only one resident, Vivi Hagen, has expressed interest in serving on the committee thus far.
New agreement with PBA
Trustees also approved a new memorandum of understanding between the village and the Cold Spring Police Benevolent Association (PBA). Falloon said that he and Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell had negotiated with the PBA over the course of the last year. The new agreement runs retroactively from June 1, 2013, through May 31, 2017, with all wage increases held to 2 percent or less.
The mayor said he was especially pleased that the contract is for four years, referring to it as “the best agreement we’ve had.” All positions on the CSPD are part-time. The total cost of police services in the proposed 2014-15 budget, including the PBA retirement plan, is $422,670. A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held as part of a workshop on Tuesday, April 15, 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.
Soil testing at boat club
Deputy Mayor Campbell reported that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will do soil testing at the Cold Spring Boat Club beginning April 14 as part of the cleanup of coal tar scheduled for the fall. Campbell said that DEC officials indicated that borings would be done in the area between the club building and the river and will take two or three days. He also said that the officials indicated an overall schedule for the project will be available in June and that the cleanup will begin in October.
Mayor Falloon had recently emailed DEC to express concern over the agency asking the boat club to vacate their building by August 29 rather than by Sept. 30 as originally agreed. “That is unfair,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting, pointing out that boating season is still in full swing through August. Based on his discussions with DEC he said it seemed unlikely that the club will have to vacate in August. Falloon said that having boat club representatives and village officials both contacting DEC on a regular basis “creates chaos” at times. Officials at DEC however, told him that “all interested parties” are entitled to contact the agency for information on the project.
Park dropped as fire hall location
The Cold Spring Fire Company informed the Village Board that it won’t pursue McConville Park as a location for a new fire hall and asked the board for its views on locating a new facility. In correspondence read by Falloon, CSFC acknowledged concerns raised last October over the McConville Park concept, a recognition he described as “commendable.” The letter indicated that the fire company likes the current Main Street location, which it described as “not ideal but functional.” Trustee Bowman pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan emphasizes that the fire hall is a Main Street anchor that contributes to the small village character the plan seeks to preserve.
During the public comment period, resident Kathleen Foley questioned the wisdom of the possible dissolution of the position of Village Building Inspector in a merger of services with the Town of Philipstown and urged the board to use “real data” in making any final decision. Falloon said the matter would be discussed further in a second workshop attended by both municipal councils.
Attendance deemed optional
The meeting featured at least one light moment. When Bowman highlighted an upcoming talk by Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government on May 12 at Haldane, he suggested that the mayor consider making attendance mandatory for members of village boards and asked if Falloon might contact the boards to ensure maximum participation. The mayor chuckled and said, “I don’t work for you!” to which Bowman responded, “Or I could do it.” The exchange garnered a laugh from the audience. Falloon said he supported attendance at Freeman’s talk but stopped short of making it compulsory.