The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the Editor,
Why am I not surprised?
The Croton Village Board has totally bollixed up the ill-advised Croton Point Avenue (CPA) project. Now comes Democratic Chair Richard Masur desperately pointing fingers at others for the mess they have created. It could not possibly be the ineptitude of the Dem board that got us here. No! No! They are infallible! It’s got to be someone else!
Now Mr. Masur is an intelligent guy, but his feeble attempt at shifting blame is totally transparent. What he and his fellow Dems are doing is setting us up for the inevitable eventuality that the CPA project will either be cancelled, forcing us to effectively throw away the $600K already spent, or to proceed with the project at a cost far above what the board promised us it would be. And that the Dems, who have controlled the board for more than a decade, with the exception of two short years, are totally blameless. It’s all due to the other guys. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.
And Mr. Masur can’t even get his facts straight. He notes the “$1.7M in federal and county funds” for the project. True, there is a federal grant of $1.2M. But the $500K from the county was not designated for this project. It was awarded to the village when Croton took responsibility for CPA maintenance, to cover such maintenance in perpetuity. Realizing that the costs for CPA had been underestimated, a previous Dem board decided to use the entire amount for the current CPA debacle, a choice that, last time I checked, may not even be allowable under the terms set by the county for spending these funds.
CPA currently consists of a concrete roadway, requiring relatively little maintenance. But if the board opts to ram this project through, regardless of its cost, CPA will be paved with asphalt. As has been made very clear this past winter, asphalt roads are highly susceptible to potholes and CPA will require far more maintenance in the future. But the county funds, if the Dems have their way, will have been completely dissipated, and all maintenance costs will come right out of the pockets of Croton taxpayers.
Lest anyone claim that this is just another partisan attack, I would point out that I have been a registered Democrat since Mr. Masur was in middle school and continue to support Democrats at almost every level. I played a role in Pete Harckham’s successful campaign for the NY Senate last year and, back in the mists of time, ran as a Democratic candidate for the Croton Village Board. I also supported Croton Dems until, several years ago, I came to believe that the then-Dem board in Croton was corrupt, disingenuous, arrogant, and incompetent, and I concluded I could no longer back them. Their subsequent actions have yet to win back my support.
So, c’mon, Mr. Masur. Take responsibility for what your folks have done. Don’t try to pass the buck. You’re not convincing anyone. After all, having moved the village elections to November, and basking in the blue waves generated by Donald Trump, there is little chance that the Dems, however inept, won’t continue to rule the board, squander our hard earned tax money, and otherwise do whatever they choose without fear of electoral retribution.
Perhaps you can now spend your time trying to figure out how to shift blame for the pending fiscal fiasco at Gouveia Park to someone else. That, too, can’t conceivably be the responsibility of several Dem village boards. They are simply too all-seeing and all–knowing to do anything that departs from perfection.
Joel E. Gingold