Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

■ In a report to the Cold Spring Village Board at its Tuesday (Aug. 25) meeting, Roberto Muller, who is Philipstown’s climate-smart coordinator, noted that the hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) used in most refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners trap more heat in the atmosphere that contributes to global warming than carbon dioxide. The Recycling Center on Lane Gate Road near Route 9, which is open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., accepts large appliances, he noted, and a private contractor removes the HFC. Transport of appliances to the center also can be arranged. See Muller also reported that Cold Spring has raised $2,400 and Philipstown $7,550 for refrigerant management through Hudson Valley Community Power, which pays municipalities $50 for each household that opts into the solar-energy program. 

■ A resident asked the board to consider re-opening Tots Park, which has been closed since March because of COVID-19 restrictions, but Mayor Dave Merandy said he would not be comfortable with the idea unless there is a plan for the continual disinfecting of equipment. Trustee Lynn Miller suggested removing the plastic toys. When Deputy Mayor Marie Early asked why the park shouldn’t open if parents are willing to let their children play there, Merandy responded: “Because we’re the government and [should] protect our citizens. We’re still in a pandemic.” 

■ The public restrooms near the pedestrian tunnel will be open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of an agreement between the village and Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce approved on Tuesday. Volunteers from the Chamber information booth will disinfect the restrooms during their open hours and crews from the Highway Department will clean the facilities every Saturday and Sunday. 

■ The board voted unanimously to cancel the Halloween parade sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Early and Miller also reported that a number of homeowners on Parrott and Parsonage streets had told them they did not plan to decorate for the holiday this year. The neighborhood typically attracts hundreds of children. Early suggested that police officers still be assigned to patrol there that evening. 

■ Merandy said he and Larry Burke, the officer-in-charge at the Cold Spring Police Department, have begun reviewing a document that could serve as the basis for a review of village police operations, which is part of a statewide reform plan ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Merandy said the village does not have its own policing policies but operates under state guidelines. The mayor previously stated that public input will be sought once a draft policy is produced. 

■ Elected officials from Cold Spring, Philipstown and Nelsonville met with state Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and state park officials last week to discuss parking, safety and crowding at Breakneck Ridge and Indian Brook Falls. Local officials have expressed concern about the number of Breakneck hikers who have needed rescue by firefighters, and Merandy described the parking near Indian Brook Falls as “a zoo.” The 250 officers of the state park police, which could be utilized for patrols, are in the process of being absorbed this year into the state police.

7 thoughts on “Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

  1. I’m not sure I understand why the Tots Park can’t be reopened. Parents can be with the children and wearing masks. If it gets too crowded, you leave. [via Facebook]

  2. So, we flattened the curve a while ago. That’s why we had a shutdown. Are we waiting for the numbers to hit zero: no deaths, no hospitalizations, no infections? At what point do our government leaders determine that it’s OK for everything to open again? What are the new criteria? It certainly isn’t to flatten the curve. I’m wondering if it ever was. [via Facebook]

    • Once the rest of the country gets on board — gradually open using facts and numbers, tighten things up when illnesses start to rise and loosen restrictions when they are good — we could return to normal. Since that isn’t the case and there isn’t a moat around New York state, there is a threat of another spike. Give the scientists time to work on a vaccine. [via Facebook]

  3. The problem with opening Tot’s Park is there is no way for the village to constantly clean and disinfect all the hard surfaces on the playground equipment and all the toys that are scattered there. The virus can live on these surfaces and be transferred from child to child and from children to adults. Cold Spring does not have the resources to address the sanitation needs necessary to keep children and their families safe from infection when using the park.

    Ideally, this could be managed if a group of parent volunteers joined together to manage the safety, cleanliness and sanitation at the park so it could be reopened. I’m confident that if a group of interested parents organized and then proposed a workable plan for the park’s maintenance, the Village Board be agreeable to its reopening. However, at this point, the man hours needed to avoid possible COVID-19 transmission at Tot’s Park is more than the staff we have available, especially considering the reduction in revenue streams to the village due to the pandemic.

    The mayor and trustees have worked out a plan with the Chamber of Commerce to reopen and manage the public restrooms on Main Street during peak demand times. It would be great if a similar plan be devised for this park as well.

  4. General comment here. The village of Cold Spring, like all other smaller municipalities hamstrung by limitations in the charters issued by higher authorities, is effectively an economic colony of the county, the state, the federal government, the banks, absentee landlords, and others. Unending demands for services and for special rights and considerations of all kinds come in from all directions to the village and its governing body. Tax revenues on sales and incomes, interests on debts, profits, rents, fees and the like stream out of the village never to be seen from again. Generally speaking. Elections hardly matter. Local elections to some extent allow some discussion (like this one), debate and say, effectively, on the methods and timings of the re-arrangements of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    It is an unending job just to explain these facts about the world in which we live. (Note the tone of near exasperation – completely understandable, as they, on the firing line by now well know the score – in the comments of the Mayor Merandy, Trustee Miller, and others.) Public-private partnerships are fraught with the hazard of incessant failure due to the free rider problem (see Mancur Olson, 1965), as we have already seen for years now over the issue of the public restrooms.

    Welcome to the new economic serfdom. Mostly the same as the earlier ones. Anyone thinking we live or lived in some kind of a “democracy” is gravely mistaken. A legalistic, terroristic, myth-ridden plutocracy would probably be closer to the mark.

    • I’m not sure how/why Mr. Haggerty characterizes my response as “exasperation.” Some people asked the question, I offered a reasonable explanation as to why Tot’s Park remains closed and a suggestion of how local parents and those who frequent the park might work together to find a solution. It’s not exasperation. Just the facts of the situation.