Here's a look at what happened at Wednesday's Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees work session of September 8, 2010:
Honoring Anthony Ruggiero and John Kelly
Trustees started off the meeting with a moment of silence in acknowledgement of the deaths of Anthony Ruggiero and John Kelly, who died on Monday after an accident at a manhole in Tarrytown.
"We need to acknowledge a terrible tragedy that occurred in our sister village of Tarrytown," Mayor Ken Wray said. "Two local residents, including a Sleepy Hollow resident, lost their lives in the line of duty. It was a horrible accident and our thoughts are with their families."
John Kelly was a life-long Sleepy Hollow resident who had lived in the Webber Park area of town. Both men were well known in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Flags are flying at half mast in both villages.
"This is a really horrible tragedy and out thoughts are with their families," Wray said.
Wray Touches on Possible Police Merger
Two weeks ago, Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray met with county Police Commissioner George Longworth about the possibility of a merger of the Sleepy Hollow Police Department with the county police.
Wray addressed the issue on Tuesday, saying that the inquiries were very preliminary.
"It's something I would characterize as an extremely preliminary discussion," he said. "Beyond that I really couldn't say anything because it's too early."
Wray said looking into the possibility of a merger was a continuation of other searches for shared services. He cited an ongoing study looking into consolidating the recreation departments of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. He cited Ossining's interest in a possible merger with the county as the starting point for talks with the county.
"We've been working for quite some time looking at shared service," he said. "Anything that can save this village money is something we need to look into."
Trustees Get Answers on Haunted HHV Event
Sleepy Hollow trustees had expressed both a concern and a little excitement about the prospect of a more thrilling Halloween event at Philipsburg Manor this year. (Full story on Horseman's Hollow here)
Horseman's Hollow, as the event is being called, has caused some concern to be expressed by adjacent residents in Philipse Manor who are worried about parking, traffic, noise, temporary structures, and the prospect of attracting a bad crowd to the area. One resident, Ken Torosian, had brought his concerns to the board twice and trustees said they would follow up on the matter.
Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio noted that, from a village standpoint, the event does conform to village code.
"It does it comply with village code," he said. "Some of our concerns were parking and safety. We went down today, for the time being (Village Architect) Sean McCarthy has no major concerns about the safety aspect."
Waddell Stillman, president of Historic Hudson Valley, was at Tuesday's meeting to allay concerns and answer trustees' questions about the new Horseman's Hollow and how it would affect other aspects of village life.
Trustee David Schroedel opened up the Q and A by asking about the proximity of temporary structures to residential areas and if noise would be a factor.
"Why have it right next to residential area when there are alternatives on the property," Schroedel said. "Is it impossible to move it?"
Stillman said that, while there are structures near homes, they weren't any closer than previous Halloween events at Philipsburg Manor, and said that the majority of the event will be father in among the historic structures.
"The event is taking place among the historic buildings along the same turf as the old event, the new event differs because it has a more prescribed route," he said. "There are a couple structures, I don't think they are closer or further from the neighbors as the older event was. We actually expect to have fewer visitors per night, partly to manage crowds."
He said the old event would have up to 600 people in the restoration per night. The new event is limited to 460. He noted that over 1,000 tickets have already been sold and said there will be additional staff on hand, and valet parking, to deal with crowds, traffic and parking concerns.
Addressing noise specifically, he said he didn't "really know what the impact of the noise" would be, but said that there would be no amplified noise as previous events have had. There would be an airgun included in the haunted attraction that can be "dialed down".
Stillman said that the latest the event would go is 10:30 p.m. and that Horseman's Hollow primarily runs on weekends.
Trustee Tom Caposella said that the Haunted Hayride attraction would often go much later through the Webber Park neighborhood.
Stillman also took time to address the seemingly adult nature of the attraction. The event's website says it is not for people under the age of 14, or for people with medical conditions.
"It's a little tongue and cheek," he said. "We're not going to discriminate and card everyone. What we're trying to do is signal to the audience who generally frequents our events that this one is a little edgier."
Speeding on New Broadway Not a Big Problem
The Sleepy Hollow Police Department has been monitoring speeds in the village with new innocuous radar speed and traffic counting equipment that was purchased through a $11,000 state grant.
At the request of residents and the Sleepy Hollow Police Advisory Committee, the new equipment was set up on New Braodway between Pine and Maple Streets. However, the data that came back didn't show the street to be that wild in terms of speeds.
Police look at the 85th percentile to see if there is a speeding problem in the area, Police Chief John Kapica told trustees, and if 85 percent of cars are going at or under the speed limit, it is not considered to be a problem.
On New Broadway the 85th percentile was clocked in at 28 mph, meaning that 85% of drivers were at or below that speed.
Police Lt. Gregory Camp noted that "although that is three miles per hour faster than the speed limit," it was still below the enforceable speed limit because of variation in speed-reading technology.
Half of the cars travelling on the road were clocked at 22mph or less. The 95th percentile was at 30mph.
"You're never going to be able to stop all speeding on a street," Police Chief John Kapica told trustees.
Results indicated that speeds were much greater heading south on New Broadway, most likely as a result of drivers trying to catch the light at the Route 9 intersection.
Police also noted that the narrow streets on New Broadway could make it seem as though a car was travelling much faster than it actually was.
After the meeting Kapica said that data collected from the meter will shape when officers check for speeding in the area of New Broadway. The traffic counter will be moved to a different area of the village.
Good News for Route 9 Sidewalks
The Route 9 culvert repair project, north of Beekman Avenue on the west side of the road, is moving along rapidly and below cost.
"We estimated it to cost $200,000," Giaccio said.
However, work is currently at $147,000, with an additional $20,000 or so in extras added on due to an unforeseen fuel tank that was encountered by work crews. The tank had to be removed carefully and soils also had to be tested for contamination. But the removal went well and no contamination was found which still leaves the entire culvert repair project well over $30,000 in the black.
The welcome news brings a new question for trustees to consider: whether or not to continue sidewalk repairs up to Beekman Avenue.
"We're under budget and a lot of people are saying why not just extend to Beekman Avenue, and I tend to agree with them," Giaccio said.
The additional cost to refurbish the sidewalk down to Beekman Avenue will be about $23,000.
Trustees seemed to welcome he idea, noting that it would fit in well with a planned state refurbishment of Route 9 from Beekman Avenue south into Tarrytown near the Warner Library.
"We're going to have to do it now or later, and I think we should do it now," Trustee Barbara Carr said.
Tax Exemption for Seniors
Each year the village passes a tax exemption for local seniors. Trustees agreed to set the matter down for a public hearing. The hearing will be scheduled next week to commence at the following board meeting.
Trustees noted that the budget for the fiscal year was planned based on the tax exemption being approved.