Cost of Policing Motorcycle Event Questioned

Four vie for two HDRB spots

By Michael Turton

Well into the agenda at the Tuesday (April 22) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, a brief memo from Village Accountant Ellen Mageean regarding the cost of extra policing at a Redrum Motorcycle Club event planned for Mayor’s Park this summer gave rise to a lengthy discussion.

Officers from four police departments patrolled Cold Spring during Redrum's fundraiser.

Officers from four police departments patrolled Cold Spring during Redrum’s fundraiser in 2013 (file photo).

In her memo Mageean estimated that the cost of having 10 officers on duty for the event, as requested by CSPD Officer-in-Charge George Kane, would cost approximately $2,000. Each officer would work an eight-hour shift. Trustees agreed that was a high price to pay, but were initially reluctant to require the motorcycle club to foot the bill since the event benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The board’s understanding tone lessened somewhat when Trustee Stephanie Hawkins pointed out that last year’s event raised only between $2,500 to $3,000 and questioned whether village taxpayers should have to subsidize the event. Trustee Cathryn Fadde also questioned the cost given the relatively small amount of money raised.

Mayor Ralph Falloon said that because there were no problems when about 150 motorcyclists attended last year’s event, New York State Police, Putnam County sheriff and Metro Transit Authority police would be less likely to provide the same degree of support this year. In March last year, a violent incident involving the Old Bones Motorcycle Club on Route 9 near Route 301 prompted concern among law enforcement agencies that the Mayor’s Park event could be a problem.

Falloon said that as a result, last year there was a great deal of police activity behind the scenes and that the Putnam County district attorney was involved. Hawkins asked why the Village Board was not made aware of that at the time; however the mayor did not elaborate. Falloon said he will speak with Kane about his request for 10 officers and will also contact other police forces regarding possible assistance. He said Kane could possibly pay for additional policing out of the CSPD budget but acknowledged that could impact police coverage at other special events later in the year.

Four want to serve on HDRB

Trustees interviewed a pair of candidates — Peter Downey and Dana Bol — for two vacancies on the Historic District Review Board (HDRB). Residents Michael Junjulas and Pamela Colangelo also expressed interest in serving on that board but were unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting and will be interviewed at a later date. Junjulas is a past president of the Haldane School Board and Colangelo has served on the HDRB. Prior to the start of the interviews Falloon said that he preferred they be held in executive session; however no one seconded Fadde’s motion to do so.

Dana Bol

Dana Bol

Downey previously served on the HDRB for eight years. “The public knows that I’m trustworthy and honest and have the best interests of the village in mind,” he said. Bol, who studied at the Parsons School of Design, said she is interested in preservation and wants to help people through the HDRB process. She stressed that her skill set suits her to working on the HDRB and that her expertise in design and the use of related software would provide assets to the board.

Peter Downey

Peter Downey

It was unclear when the other two candidates will be interviewed though Falloon said it was unlikely to be next week. The April 29 Village Board meeting will be devoted to the public hearing on revised zoning for the Butterfield project. Also undecided was whether the Village Board’s deliberations in selecting the new members would be held in public or closed session. HDRB member Kathleen Foley asked that the selection take place as soon as possible since the five-member board is short two members and Chairman Al Zgolinski has had to miss meetings recently due to work commitments.

Budget adopted

The Village of Cold Spring budget for 2014-15 was approved, confirming the spending plan as outlined at a public hearing a week earlier. The General Fund, which includes most village services, will total $1,543,011, an increase of 2.89 percent over last year, which keeps spending within the state-mandated tax cap. The Sewer Fund was set at $1,615,000 and includes a flat rate increase in user fees of $9 per unit per quarter to help fund sewage treatment plant upgrades. The water budget will total $676,700. The new fiscal year begins on June 1.

The garbage problem

Cold Spring’s popularity as a weekend tourist destination has at least one drawback — overflowing garbage cans on Main Street and near the riverfront. Falloon described the situation as frustrating and said a new policy is needed. Additional weekend garbage pickup by highway department staff was identified as an option, but one that the mayor pointed out would be an additional expense to the village. Doubling the number of garbage receptacles was also suggested, especially in problem areas, which Trustee Fadde observed tend to be near take-out food establishments.

The discussion mentioned a variety of groups that might be of assistance including community volunteers, the Leo Club, the Chamber of Commerce, shopkeepers and even inmates from the Putnam County jail.

One suggestion from a resident in the audience resonated with the mayor — the idea of installing a dumpster near the riverfront pumping station where weekend garbage could be centrally deposited. “That’s a great idea,” Falloon said, adding that it would save the village money because a small pickup truck could be used to transport the trash to the dumpster rather than the large garbage truck which requires more staff and interferes with Main Street traffic. It was also suggested that Putnam County should be asked to increase its annual $7,500 contribution to village waste disposal.

The Grove, audio visuals and street vendors

The Grove remained a topic of discussion, in particular when and at what cost an old fuel oil tank on site will be removed. Steve Marino, the lone respondent to a Request for Proposals to restore the historic building, had said that he would not go forward if saddled with the cost of disposing of the tank, as well as possible remediation costs, should soil sampling indicate that a cleanup is required. Falloon has said that the cost should be born by the village and that the tank ought to have been removed years ago. Additional quotes will be sought for costs associated with removing the tank.

Additional quotes will be sought for audio visual equipment which will enable recording of village meetings held in council chambers as well as for security cameras and monitors.

The need to establish clear guidelines for street vendors requesting set-ups on Main Street was also discussed, as were possible infractions by businesses that put goods on sidewalks in front of their stores beyond the three-foot limit permitted in the Village Code.

Photos by M. Turton

4 thoughts on “Cost of Policing Motorcycle Event Questioned

  1. For further information, a video of this meeting is available here. It begins with the two HDRB candidate interviews referred to in the article (two remaining interviews to be scheduled). The discussion of the cost of policing the motorcycle gathering occurs at approximately 55 minutes.

  2. Putnam County gives the village $7,500 for waste removal, not $750. Also Village Code Chapter 108 section 24 subsection B states that merchandise can be no more than three feet from the front of the building not two feet.

  3. As a Main Street business owner, I keep an eye on the trash container in front of my shop and empty it on the weekends when it becomes full. I often notice that there is still lots of room in the trash can even though it appears to be full at the opening and small items are tumbling out onto the sidewalk. This is due to the large number of half-folded, small cardboard pizza boxes that fill up most of the receptacle.

    One way to eliminate some of this overflow is for food service operators to creatively “green” their methods of packaging their foods for take-out. There are alternatives to 10″ x 10″ x2″ corrugated boxes for packaging one or two slices of pizza. These would take up less room in the trash cans and our landfills and cost less to the operators as well. I hope our purveyors of pizza-like foods will think creatively about their packaging and make some changes soon.

    It would also help our village if we could purchase a few “Big Belly” trash cans to place at the gazebo area and near food service establishments. “Big Bellys” have a solar powered compacting device that works really well and reduces the need for frequent emptying on busy weekends. I believe the initial upfront costs would quickly be covered by man hours saved by our highway department.