By: Keith S. Shikowitz

The Village of Haverstraw July 2019 meeting opened the first of two public participation sessions. Writer Joan Chevalier of Clove Avenue in the village was first up, speaking for her neighbors in their building, presenting a problem with noise from the school bus lot adjacent to the building. “We have people who live there who work different hours. We have a police officer, a teacher in the building. The building provides what this neighborhood needs which is middle class housing. It’s mixed race, mixed age, mixed income. It’s a beautiful property.”

She added that the value of the property, the entire property is being threatened because the tenants have been threatening to leave due to this noise and the eyesore that the school bus lot has become. “They deserve praise. They deserve to be supported. It shouldn’t take me, a writer five months to get some action on this.”

Village of Haverstraw Mayor Michael Kohut agreed to set up a meeting with Chevalier and her group about this problem at a date and time she suggests that will work for them.

Chevalier concluded by telling Kohut and the board, “We need this to end and we need a clarification as to how this happened to begin with.”

No other public participation was offered at this time.

The next order of business was to open a public hearing on 153 Samsondale avenue, vehicle repair facility. Mr. Joyce.

Dwight Joyce representing the petitioner approached the board. “Yes Sir. When I spoke to the board previously, we were looking to use the property for vehicle repair. All contained within the existing footprint of the fenced in property. I went to the planning board and I believe they provided you with some comments on it.”
Kohut read the planning board report into the record and asked for public comments, none were offered. The board agreed to allow the usage of the building with two stipulations, first there would only be inside fence use only. No street parking. No vehicles related to repair facility on street even during the day and that some landscaping be done outside the fence. Planting flowers.

The board then opened a second public hearing to change the title of the of Superintendent of Public Works, which is a civil service title to the position of Commissioner of Public Works for the Village of Haverstraw. Kohut went on to read the proposed law. He then explained it to the people in attendance. “

“What this does in layman’s terms, Kohut began, is, presently the title of superintendent of public works is a civil service title. Which means in order to be in the position or to hire going forward for the position you have to go off of a list. Lists are fine if it’s a non – supervisory job where person A, B and C are all equally qualified and anyone of them would be sufficient for the job.”

He added that in a supervisory position you’re dealing with men, you’re dealing with money, and when you’re dealing with the public you need to be able to have someone who has that skill set and who may or not be on a list or may not have scored well on a test or whatever the case may be. So, the Village Board is under the belief that this new title would give us better control over the hiring what is in effect the superintendent of public works but would be titled commissioner of public works.

According to Kohut, the office of Commissioner shall be an appointed office, by the mayor and subject to the approval of the Village Board of Trustees for a one – year term subject to renewal at the annual reorganizational meeting and salary fixed by the board. The commissioner shall act under the direction and supervision of the mayor and the village board of trustees.

The position is subject to the appropriations made for the DPW by the Village Board and to all other applicable provisions of law. The Commissioner of Public Works shall have the sole power to appoint and remove all employees in the department. This law shall take effect the filing with the New York Secretary of State. The board then approved the appointment of Robert Drexler to new position upon approval of the change of the title by the state.

The Treasurer’s report wrapped up the last fiscal year. In March, April and May the Village had total disbursements of $2,807,000 and revenues of $881,000. In the month of June $6,956,000 was paid in taxes.

Kohut added, “Thank you all for paying your taxes.” He then gave the Mayor’s report in which requests for use of the Village public areas and streets ranged from the United Latin Festival Committee requesting to hold their parade and festival as per usual. Assembling on main street, going down main street to Broadway to partition to the school field. That will be on August 4, to a request from Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine Michael Orbin to allow Putnam Animal wellness and their new veterinary medicine spay/neuter truck to park on village property on a regular basis such as bi – weekly to host low cost clinics in the community.

In between these two requests, there was a request from the Haverstraw Neighborhood Committee for backpack and Thanksgiving events to use Emeline park for the annual backpack and school supply distribution on august 25 asking for use of park from 2:30 to 7:30 which includes set up, event and cleanup. “They’re working on having music, food, soft drinks, bouncing house for the children and healthcare vendors to make sure children have insurance for back to school. They are also asking for barricades for crowd control and as many chairs as they can get out of the community center.”

The Village Board agreed to purchase from a company named Elon City, portable radar speed signs which people may have seen in other communities. “They have a 2fer package for signs that give the speed and say slow down. Two for the price of $5,499 which can then be, and they are solar or battery powered and they can be moved around throughout the village where speed problems arise.” Kohut said that they are not like camera lights that can give tickets for running red lights. “We’re not allowed to do that.”

The final request was from Bricktown gospel fellowship for August 8 for their outside Sunday services utilizing the park on corner of main street and Rocco.

Kohut Misters Post and Levine, residents of the Harbors for their input on the next topic. “It has been brought to my attention that there have been people in the promenade in the overnight hours, hanging out. Not people walking dogs or strolling. A lady who lives in a rental building closest to the promenade. She’s up till all hours of the night and she sees people hanging out there. I just figured I’d ask your thoughts quickly if you have any. I don’t know if you guys have seen it yourselves or not.”

Post replied, “I personally have not seen anybody hanging out in that particular area short of a few fishermen every once in a while. He added about the hour of the complaint, “I sleep, thank goodness.”

“The board is inclined to do something to address that by posting promenade open dawn to dusk signs to solve that problem, which is what all of our parks say so if the police come upon somebody and the signs are posted, they can remove those persons for not properly being there.

Kohut said about distinguishing between residents and non – residents, “It’s hard to distinguish, but common sense would prevail I would hope. If a Police Officer comes across someone walking their dog or just walking along the area, they might ask them what they’re doing there. If they are non – residents, they have less reason to be there. If they are residents, they could just say I’m out for a walk in my neighborhood.” The Board approved authorization for signs.

The Board then approved declaring the Village Board as lead agency for SEQRA process for the approval of the new Admiral’s Cove site plan. The request was made to amend original site plan passed in 2003 for what was then known as site B of the Haverstraw redevelopment plan. Now known as Admiral’s Cove. Ginsberg Development Corporation asked for a road to be temporarily re – routed between two surcharging piles of dirt to access the ferry parking lot. These are piles of dirt that compact down the clay base to make a stronger base to build structures upon. The Board approved the request as long as provisions set by the planning board were met.

With all other business concluded, departmental reports read. And the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is August 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm in Village Hall.

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