Mayor: Riverfront ‘takes a beating storm after storm’
“The past few days have been really hard on everyone,” especially highway and facilities workers, Mayor Kathleen Foley said at the Wednesday (Jan. 10) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board. “We barely recovered from the last rainstorm then got pelted with snow and more rain.”
Foley said a crew of two was able to handle the weekend snow, working through the night on Jan. 6. The flooding later in the week caused more trouble, although “the village fared better than expected,” Foley said, with damage limited to the lower village and Cedar Street at the east end.
Cold Spring, she said, has learned from recent storms, including torrential rains in July, and was better prepared. “The preventive measures we took, [such as] catch basin clearing, extensive sandbagging and proactive pumping,” helped minimize damage on Cedar Street, she said. “It was amazing; a wall of water came down through the Nelsonville Woods.”
The riverfront experienced extensive flooding once again. “Fighting flooding at the waterfront is super difficult because we’re working with river rise and the tides,” Foley said, adding that the riverfront “takes a beating storm after storm.”
Multiple basements flooded and a large amount of debris washed in from the river, keeping crews busy through Tuesday night and into Wednesday afternoon. With workers needing rest, the village closed streets west of Lunn Terrace. Cleanup resumed Thursday morning and the lower village was expected to reopen to traffic by the evening.
“We are actively living with climate collapse,” Foley said. “We have to talk about it openly, particularly as New York State is considering connecting our fragile waterfront to the Fjord Trail.”
She called for “honest and serious conversations about our infrastructure needs at the waterfront and whether trail development makes sense in that part of the village.”
Foley said the village board needs to discuss capital project planning and prioritizing while “figuring out how we’re going to find ways to pay for these very big projects.”
In other business …
■ The Jan. 24 board workshop will be a public information session on the residential parking permit program, which is about to be implemented. Trustee Eliza Starbuck described it as “a slow roll-out” that will give residents time to apply for and receive permits. She said application forms are available at coldspringny.gov and will be mailed to residents who qualify next week. Parking restrictions will apply Friday through Sunday and on holidays. Enforcement won’t begin until March.
■ Village Accountant Michelle Ascolillo Micelle reported that, seven months into the fiscal year, expenses in the general fund are projected to exceed revenues by about $12,000. She noted that, in the last quarterly report, the gap was $43,000. Ascolillo said the shortfall would ease when the hotel occupancy tax, metered parking and short-term rental fees were implemented. Expenditures over budget to date include increased highway department costs because of flooding; engineering services; and general attorney’s fees, expenses she said can be offset by using the fund balance.
■ Jennifer Zwarich, chair of the Tree Advisory Board, announced that the village won a $40,000 grant from the Anahata Foundation that will pay for 24 new trees, the pruning of the youngest and oldest trees on village properties and a demonstration project for root-friendly sidewalk redesign and street tree planting. The advisory board is also overseeing removal, pruning and maintenance of trees on a village-owned lot at B Street and Mountain Avenue.
■ Cold Spring Police Department Officer-in-Charge Larry Burke warned residents to be wary of tax-season phone scams from people who claim to represent the IRS or a bank and ask for personal and financial information. Burke said he was notified in December by M&T Bank of an unusually large cash withdrawal. It turned out to be a scam in which a resident received a call alleging that a family member needed $15,000 to be released from court. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department was notified and, using undercover officers, the courier who arrived to claim the cash was arrested.
■ The Police Department answered 64 calls for service in December. Officers issued four traffic and 112 parking tickets. There were no arrests. During 2023, officers answered 679 calls and issued 976 tickets for traffic and parking violations.
■ The Cold Spring Fire Co. answered 14 calls in December, including eight for mutual aid to other area fire companies and two flood assessments. The department responded to 247 calls in 2023.
■ Philipstown has received approval from the Putnam County Health Department to connect a new well to the town’s treatment plant to supply water to Garrison’s Landing. The Cold Spring water department has been doing quality testing at the plant on an interim basis as part of an intermunicipal agreement. The town is in the process of hiring a firm to operate the water system.
■ Village reservoirs were at 99.46 percent capacity at the end of 2023, compared to 63.37 percent at the same time in 2022.
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