The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the Editor:
Apparently some people in the village are unhappy with the new DPW building which was purchased by the Village in 2017 while Croton United held the majority of the village board. (The Gazette, August 8-14, 2019) What I’ve not heard is a better alternative to that purchase.
Some facts to readers and new residents are appropriate. The old DPW building is in a flood plain. The concrete floor is sinking and the foundation is cracking. The in-ground fuel tanks are old and a potential environmental disaster. The roof is leaking and the repair estimates were very high. These issues and the urgency of finding a new location for the DPW led the board to vote unanimously to acquire the properties on Route 129. That board included current Mayor Pugh and Trustee Gallelli.
The board was advised at that time that the cost would be $2.7 M, plus another $500 K for repairs and the demolition of the old structure for a total of $3.2 M. New construction was not an option, nor were repairs to the old structure. The new location is not perfect, but the benefits of it, which are numerous, far outweigh the negatives.
What has happened since the current administration took office in December 2017 is owned by the current (single) party in power. I understand from knowledgeable sources that costs associated with this project have ballooned and are now approaching five million dollars. I don’t know if the water department has moved into the building, as was planned. I don’t believe there was an open house for the residents to view the building, as was planned. I don’t know if any other departments have moved or have at least moved some records for storage to create additional space in the municipal building. I have no idea how the decision was reached to locate the DPW fueling station in a village gateway rather than at the new building.
The board at that time discussed a gas card program in lieu of new fuel tanks and I thought that made sense and would be cost efficient. I’ve heard that we couldn’t do that because there could be a power outage and what would we do. If Linda Puglisi and the town with a land area of 50 square miles and a population of 42,500 can manage such a program why can’t the Village? Our village of ten square miles (5 underwater) and 8,000 residents, which is one of four areas of the county chosen as an emergency area due to storm hardening that has happened here makes the power issue a stretch. The point being, the additional cost of installing new tanks and the expense of environmental compliance add to already ballooning costs associated with the DPW project.
I’m a little tired of Croton United being blamed for everything associated with the project as it progresses, particularly as it has now been almost as long since Croton United left the board as it was that Croton United controlled the board. A unanimous bipartisan decision was reached with the best information we had at the time and it was a good one. There was no realistic alternative proposed at that time and criticism at this point is about two years too late.