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Trustee Pugh On The Capital Budget

August 27, 2016

To the Editor:

Important capital investments in our community were approved this week by the Croton Village Board.  This included upgrades to sidewalks, improvements to stormwater drainage, improvements and repairs to Village buildings, the installation of energy-saving LED streetlights and the replacement of the Volunteer Fire Department’s Rescue 18 truck (now over 20 years old).

This is a refreshing return to reason by the new majority on the Village Board.

During last year’s campaign, the mayor and the Croton United Party Trustees treated “bond” like a 4-letter word.  In their early days in office, the new Croton United Party majority blocked the timely replacement of Rescue 18 (which had previously been approved by the former Democratic majority).

One Croton United Party Trustee even repeatedly suggested buying the Volunteer FD a “tonka truck” as a substitute.  Another Croton United Party Trustee claimed that the VFD, which is led by a Croton resident who is an FDNY firefighter, had sought an “overbuilt” replacement rescue truck.  The Mayor suggested that the VFD make a standard practice of keeping equipment in service beyond what is in the National Fire Protection Association’s guidelines.

All of these statements were made at public, televised and recorded meetings of the Village Board.

With the adoption of the Bond Resolutions for the funding of Village Capital Projects, the new majority has acknowledged the utility and necessity of using low-interest, tax-free municipal bonds to pay for important improvements for our community.  Just as private sector companies use bonds to purchase new equipment or families use mortgages to purchase homes, the Village (like many other governments, including the Croton-Harmon Schools and the Town of Cortlandt), uses bonds to pay for needed capital improvements.

One doesn’t need an MBA to see that financing and making these improvements at a time of historically low-interest rates is financially responsible.

As reported by the  Wall Street Journal, a recent McKinsey study found that government should boost infrastructure spending to meet the public’s needs.  An S&P analyst warned, in that same article, that  forgoing timely improvements could drive up costs in the long run.

I am glad that the Croton United Party majority on the Village Board may finally be acknowledging these realities.  I hope that such a realistic understanding will serve as the basis for a mature and rational discussion about our Village and its budgetary priorities going forward.


Brian Pugh

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