Statement from the Croton Village Board

At last night’s Village Board meeting, Mayor Schmidt read a statement from the village reaffirming the community's commitment to protecting and upholding the rights of all people, and pledging that the village will remain the same welcoming, diverse and tolerant community that it it has always been.

“In recognition of the increased challenges faced by ethnic and religious minorities in our nation we condemn acts of violence against these people and affirm that we, as a Village Board, condemn any acts of unlawful discrimination, violence and intimidation that target differences in national origin, race, gender, sex, religion, disability, or political viewpoint across our nation. Such acts run counter to the rights and freedoms upon which our country was founded and to the core values of the Village of Croton. Croton is committed to fostering welcoming communities and an equitable, diverse, and inclusive society.”

How to Vote for Croton United

Croton United’s candidates are listed on Line I (the final line of the ballot—see image below) in columns 10 and 11 (the last columns of the ballot). To cast your vote for our slate, please be sure to mark both candidates’ names—Mark Aarons and Dan McNatty.

Also, if you or a someone you know need a ride to the polls on Election Day please contact us at info@crotonunited.org and we will make the necessary arrangements.

FUN FACT! You may wonder why our candidates are listed on the Libertarian Party line. Since Croton United is not a political party the Westchester County Board of Elections is not required to give us our own line. When the ballot is crowded, as it is this year due to the presidential race, the BOE has to find an empty space to list our slate. Mark Aarons and Dan McNatty may be at the bottom of the ballot, but they are far, far above the competition when it comes to experience, competence, and integrity.

Help Make Croton United: Vote for Aarons & McNatty

As the chair of Croton United, I ask all village residents to vote for Mark Aarons and Dan McNatty for Village Trustee in the November 8 election. Adding Mark and Dan to the board will further our ongoing efforts to return honest, responsive, inclusive, and financially sustainable government to Croton.

After six years of single party rule under the Wiegman/Gallelli/Pugh administration, the borrow and spend culture of the village was badly in need of a change. Over that period the Dems nearly doubled our debt load and made us one of New York State’s most indebted small villages. In fact, the village's independent auditor recently told the village board that our debt load is now double that of other comparable communities.

But change began last year with Croton United’s dramatic upset of the Croton Dems, in only the second election contested by Croton United candidates. And we heard you loud and clear!

You can help us continue this vital work by electing Mark and Dan, who will partner with Greg Schmidt, Bob Anderson, and Ken Walsh to keep Croton on the right path, and avoid returning to the days of profligate borrowing, focusing on pet projects, and ignoring you and your concerns.

Our goal is to put the priorities of residents first, providing and maintaining the highest quality village services, improving our infrastructure and safety, while keeping an eye on the bottom line—your taxes.

Vote for Mark and Dan on Row I—bottom-line candidates on the bottom row of the ballot.

Roseann Schuyler
Chair, Croton United

Who Do You Want Watching Over Your Hard Earned Tax Dollars?

The shock of the incredible cost overruns on Gouveia Park continues to resonate through the village. How could the Croton Dems possibly have estimated costs so far below actual values and revenues so far above them? Was it just gross incompetence or were the numbers intentionally fabricated to mislead the public and forestall opposition to acceptance of the property? We’re still waiting for the Dems’ promised explanation.

GOUVEIA PARK TABLES_mc.jpg

But it should not have come as a great surprise to anyone familiar with the financial imprudence of the Wiegman/Gallelli/Pugh administration. Fortunately for all Croton residents, the Croton United board has reversed these careless practices. For example:

Comparison of Financial Actions Taken

Croton United Wiegman/Gallelli/Pugh Administration
Village budget under tax cap (2016) Village budget over tax cap (2014) in the first year it was applicable
Annual borrowing reduced from $11M (2015) to $1.5 M (2016) Made Croton second highest indebted village in Westchester/Putnam/Rockland counties and put Croton into top 10% most indebted villages in all of New York State
Established the new Financial Sustainability Committee to provide professional advice and guidance to the board at no cost Promised Gouveia Park would yield net-tax free operation but cost just to open Gouveia to public will exceed $250,000. Total lost tax revenue (village/town/school) = more than $40,000 per year.
More than doubled the interest rate received on most village bank deposits Promised 3.00% return for Gouveia Endowment, but left money in checking account earning 0.2% interest
Revised Fire Dept. Rescue vehicle’s specs, saving village over $100,000 Borrowed money for operating expenses
Improved village newsletter at no additional cost to taxpayers “Volunteer” village trustee’s stipend padded by $4,400/yr. for more than a decade to write newsletter

And the list goes on and on.  

Croton needs real-world legal and financial experience on the village board to ensure that we are examining all major village projects so that you get full value for your tax dollars. Mark Aarons and Dan McNatty have this experience.

VOTE FOR AARONS AND McNATTY!
MAKE CROTON UNITED!

Dan McNatty: “Financial Leadership and Vision”

I endorse Croton United’s Dan McNatty for Village Trustee. Not only does Dan have a long history of community service, including being a member of the newly formed Financial Sustainability Committee, but he also has twenty years’ experience as a professional accountant. He presently works for a large financial institution and helps manage a multi-billion dollar portfolio. He and his wife Hayley have been raising their two sons in Croton for ten years. He has previously volunteered for CHEF and AYSO and now wants to give even more to the village by being its Trustee.  Croton needs the sound financial leadership and vision that Dan can bring to the Village Board.

His opponent Ann Gallelli’s record of fiscal leadership has been horrible. Here are the facts. She and the former board under Mayor Wiegman helped to nearly double the village debt, and in the process spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on wasteful litigation that could have been avoided. Her so-called “planning expertise” has led to the village paying out over $1M in litigation settlements and legal fees related to the Exxon and Katz properties. She advocated for a change in the zoning law that put Croton on the map as one of seven municipalities in Westchester that are currently under the threat of even more litigation by the federal government for having restrictive zoning practices. Weeks before the prior election she voted for a long-term contract that made our village manager one of the highest paid public employees in Westchester County. 

Do we want this to continue? Dan McNatty has the professional experience to make prudent fiscal decisions that will allow our village to grow and thrive while keeping it affordable for us all, that’s why he has my vote on November 8.

Peter Schuyler

Dan McNatty on Financial Sustainability

With interest rates low is it a good time to for the Village to borrow? Not necessarily. There are many factors that need to be considered when a Village is deciding to fund expenditure with long-term debt. In addition to the rate, you need to consider what the money is being spent on. If it’s an asset then how long will the asset last for? We don’t want to be paying for items long after their use has ended. It is also important to consider the overall debt levels of the Village and the impact the incremental debt will have on principal and interest costs. According to the audited financial statements of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, there was $20m of debt outstanding in 2011 and $38m in 2016. This is an increase of 90% and does not include the $1.5m of debt issued in respect of the 2016-2017 budget. According to 2014 data from the New York Office of State Comptroller, Croton was ranked 7th (of 81) villages in the region for Debt per Capita with over three times the average level. This is not a ranking we should be proud of. I think it’s time to slow down the levels of debt increases and to acknowledge that we can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything at once. We need to get on a path to financial sustainability and I believe I can help get us there.

Dan McNatty
Candidate for Croton-on-Hudson Village Trustee

Mark Aarons: Let’s Promote Tourism

As a Croton resident I’ve heard for years that our village needs to stimulate greater economic activity. One of the initiatives that I will pursue if elected is to promote our village as an attractive, accessible tourist destination. We have the advantage of being located on the Hudson River, and being the first express stop on many trains coming from New York City.

During the Halloween season Blaze brings an estimated 130,000 people to Croton. We should seek to capitalize on that great event—and Lightscapes in the spring—by promoting our local restaurants; developing related activities for visitors; and providing some incentives for the opening of bed and breakfasts in our village.

In addition, we could seek to enhance the kayak rental area by offering rowboats and/or canoes; offering guided tours of Croton Point and the New Croton Dam; and promoting the rich history of Croton and the Native Americans that lived here. We could also work with the county and other organizations to enhance regional tourism with the creation of a multi-location tour pass (think Kykuit; Van Cortlandt Manor; Peekskill Lincoln Museum; Lyndhurst Castle; John Jay home, etc.).

 Photo by Acroterion/Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Acroterion/Wikimedia Commons

The views from many vantage points in our village are breathtaking, and our village could be promoted as an accessible choice for city dwellers looking to get away to a charming, historic and scenic nearby weekend destination.  If I’m fortunate enough to be elected on November 8, you can count on me to promote these activities.

Mark Aarons

Ken Walsh: Why I Support Dan McNatty & Mark Aarons for Village Trustee

I support Croton United’s slate of Dan McNatty and Mark Aarons for Village Trustee. Here’s why:

 Ken Walsh (left) and Dan McNatty (right)

Ken Walsh (left) and Dan McNatty (right)

Dan McNatty has worked in the financial industry for more than twenty years.  Most recently, Dan helps manage the Balance Sheet and Leverage Ratios for a large multi-national bank.  His knowledge and expertise will be a great asset to the board as we work to keep taxes low and levels of service high.  Dan has also given back to our village by volunteering his time with the Croton Harmon Education Foundation (CHEF), as an AYSO soccer coach and as a member of the Financial Sustainability Committee. Dan will offer sensible solutions to keep our debt levels and long-term financial commitments in check.

 Ken Walsh (left) and Mark Aarons (right)

Ken Walsh (left) and Mark Aarons (right)

Mark Aarons is a VP-Deputy General Counsel for a regional retail chain.  Mark is instrumental making the retail stores be environmentally friendly and sustainable by putting solar panels on the roof and switching to energy efficient lighting.  Mark's legal and regulatory experience will help Croton encourage smart business development and keep our legal bills low.  In college, Mark was involved in the creation of NYPIRG, the nationally renowned environmental and social justice advocacy group.  Mark, a twenty-year resident of Croton, has also given a lot back to our village.   Mark was a member of the Croton Planning Board for five years.  Mark has also been a Cub Scout den leader, baseball and football coach, and a member of the Croton-Harmon school district transportation committee.

Both Dan and Mark are committed to Croton United’s nonpartisan approach to village government and share our commitment to do what’s best for all village residents.

For all of these reasons I hope that you vote for Dan and Mark on November 8th.  They are on the bottom row of the ballot—however they’re the top choice to represent us as Village Trustee.

Ken Walsh

Mark Aarons: “Vision, Knowledge, and Experience”

I support long time village resident Mark Aarons for village trustee over incumbent Brian Pugh. Mark, who is a respected attorney, has served this village for twenty years as a volunteer for the Croton Planning Board, the School District, the Cub Scouts and youth baseball and football. He has been a practicing attorney for 36 years, with specialized knowledge in contracting and regulatory issues, precisely the type of experience this village needs in a trustee. As a young man he was involved in the creation of NYPIRG, the nationally renowned environmental and social justice advocacy group. In contrast Mr. Pugh’s CV is bereft of real accomplishment. According to former town and village Democratic chair John McBride, Esq., Brian Pugh lacks “moral authority” and “creativity” and rather than being motivated by a desire to serve the public, his “only interest is winning elections.” I believe the village should be guided by trustees who have the vision, knowledge, and experience to do the best job our residents and who do so out of a genuine sense of service to the public. This is why Mark Aarons has my vote.

Peter Schuyler

The “grossly erroneous” Gouveia Park costs

All Croton residents should watch Joel Gingold expose the “grossly erroneous” cost estimates used to justify what he calls the “albatross” known as Gouveia Park—pushed by Croton Dems Trustee Ann Gallelli and fully supported by Trustee Brian Pugh (who said in January 2015 that the cost/benefit analysis was “appropriately conservative”). How “grossly erroneous” were the estimates? Here’s an excerpt from a letter from Joel that we will publish soon:

“They estimated the cost of the driveway and parking area as $12,000. But last night, the board voted to spend over $218,000 for this same work. A cost overrun of 1,800%, that will chew up over 20% of the endowment and we haven’t even looked at the costs of bringing the house up to code.”

See the short video of Joel here: http://ec4.cc/jfd3d69ca

Don’t Change the Subject!

Brian Pugh and the Croton Dems can’t dispute our principled, fact-based concerns about the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Program so they’re changing the subject. What does the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency gave Westchester Power an award have to do with any of the issues we’ve raised?

The answer is NOTHING.

If Pugh and the Croton Dems want to respond to the issues Dan McNatty and Joel Gingold discussed in their letters to the Gazette (see below) let them have at it—but please don’t insult the intelligence of the community by changing the subject.