Village also hires new accountant
By Michael Turton
In the wake of criticism by Mayor Dave Merandy, the Cold Spring Police Department’s report at the May 10 meeting of village board had a distinctly different look.
In the past, CSPD Officer-in-Charge George Kane had provided only a brief one- or two-paragraph summary of the tickets and calls for assistance made by the department during the previous calendar month. But his April report filled three pages and included a detailed spreadsheet.
In addition to statistics — the department issued 38 parking and 42 traffic tickets and answered 61 calls — the report described the CSPD’s participation in a full-scale lock-down drill at Haldane School and a meeting with school officials regarding complaints over parking and safety issues in the area near the school.
The report also noted three arrests, one for an outstanding warrant and others for criminal contempt and disorderly conduct. While the report included considerably more information, the mayor noted it did not break down police activity by shift. At least one officer is on duty in the village at all times.
In other business, the board approved the hiring of Michelle Ascolillo as the new village accountant. A resident of Hopewell Junction, she currently works for the city of Yonkers. Ascolillo replaces Ellen Mageean, who resigned earlier this month. She will work 21 hours per week at $45 per hour beginning June 1. Because Ascolillo is expecting a baby at the end of June and will take a two-month maternity leave, the board also authorized hiring a temporary accountant to begin as soon as possible and to fill in during Ascolillo’s absence.
In addition, the board authorized village clerk Mary Saari to close her office for half a day on Mondays until an accountant is in place. Saari is handling the bookkeeping in the meantime and the temporary closure will allow her to focus on time-sensitive duties such as payroll.
In other business …
- The parking committee is considering adopting a standard time limit for parking on village streets; permissible times now vary by location from two to five hours. The committee is also looking for a new member as the result of Gretchen Dykstra’s recent resignation.
- Trustees approved the contract with Wappingers Falls-based Legion Fireworks to provide pyrotechnics at Independence Day celebrations on Sunday, July 3. In the event of bad weather, the fireworks will be postponed until September.
- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation granted permission to members of the Cold Spring Boat Club to install seasonal docks on the weekends of May 14 and 21. The club was required to vacate the site last fall during remediation of toxic coal tar which is expected to be substantially complete by July 1.
- Jennifer Zwarich, chair of the Tree Advisory Board, reported that a number of trees have been damaged as a result of Main Street Project construction activity. She cautioned that the damage could potentially lead to the loss of trees after the project is complete. The contractor is liable for damage to trees and Gordon Robertson, a TAB member also present at the meeting, recommended that the company be advised that the cost of replacing larger trees along Main Street can be in the thousands of dollars.
- Deputy Mayor Marie Early reported that sidewalks being installed as part of the Main Street Project could potentially be complete as far north as Furnace Street by week’s end. Once construction is complete along the south side of the street, work will begin on the north side, with improvements to Furnace taking place later.
- Trustee Lynn Miller is researching ways to make Cold Spring more desirable as a location for movie and television productions. She recommended a streamlined and consistent application process for producers with forms made available on the village website. Miller said the improvements could increase revenue from video productions and also reduce the workload for village administration. A workshop will be held to explore the issue in more detail.
- Superintendent of Water and Sewer Greg Phillips reported that beginning Monday, May 16, the Butterfield project contractor will flush its new lines, resulting in discoloration of drinking water in the area below the project site.