By Keith S. Shikowitz
They say that the wheels of government grind slowly. Not so in the Village of West Haverstraw. The recent public village council meeting took all of less than 30 minutes to complete. But in that time, they covered a lot of important issues facing the village.
Two of these issues were the adaptation of Local Law #1 for 2019. This law is the adaptation of policy for procurement and purchasing policy. Simply put, “It discusses the limitations of special needs, written estimates and sealed documents,” explained West Haverstraw Mayor Robert D’Amelio along with his assistant Katie Welsh.
The law additionally explains what a department head can approve without having to inform the village council. bureaucracies and businesses keep track of spending through purchase orders. “This law defines how much we can spend at one vendor one time before a new purchase order must be issued.” D’Amelio stated.
Everyone is conscious of the impact everything has on the environment today. “SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) is required for any local government agency to determine the environmental impact of a project,” Katie Welsh said.
According to D’Amelio, “It is a study that you do for building applications and local laws in determining your impact environmentally on everything from environmental impact to noise.” This covers all different types of adverse conditions that can occur during the development of a property or the development of any kind of land.
Many times there are questions about who’s the lead agency on a particular development project, this law answers that question, “Typically it’s the municipality who is the lead agency.” Said D’Amelio. “It allows you to declare yourself the leading entity and if there is any impact within the environment.”
One piece of business that’s carrying over from 2018 is the issue of the problems in the neighborhood near North Wayne Avenue with Johns To Go. “The company has been issued violations by the Village of West Haverstraw and will be in court on January 16 to answer those violations,” D’Amelio stated. Johns To Go owner Abe Brewer commented on the pending court case, “We have a lawyer taking care of this. It has to do with outside storage and noise.”
Brewer further stated, “Outside storage has nothing to do with us. We didn’t create the fact that we can out units here, there and everywhere. This has to do with a lease with the landlord.
“They’re trying to go peacefully with no penalty before eviction,” D’Amelio explained. As with any legal conflict, the process has to take place before any punishment or consequence can be meted out. “The landlord Mr. Bowman is assuring us that one way or another, Johns To Go will be out of there soon,” D’Amelio added. According to Brewer, no eviction has never been given to us. “I can assure you that is absolutely false.”
One major problem in the parts of the country where snow is an annual problem, is the deterioration of our streets and sidewalks from the salt, plowing and shoveling that we have to deal with. Every spring and even during the winter, drivers have to deal with potholes created by this. West Haverstraw Village is implementing Phase IV Safer Streets to combat this problem. “We have authorized an engineer to draw up specifications to spend out community development block grant,” D’Amelio explained.
There is $260,000 readily available for the village to spend on their target zone for what they call CDBG. This includes the streets of Cosgrove, Demarest and Blauvelt Avenues. This money will be going for curb and sidewalk repair. This seems like a lot of money for curb and sidewalk repair, but according to D’Amelio, “This is not nearly enough. Not even close.”
The bidding process for the job goes out by linear foot, equivalent to any one-foot length of a long object. (The term is used to avoid confusion with square foot and cubic foot measurements). The target zone will bring the project very close to West Haverstraw Elementary School but not completely up to it. The goal is to improve the streets on Demarest and Blauvelt leading up to West Haverstraw Elementary School.
Whenever a neighborhood improvement project begins, everyone asks, “How long is this going to take to complete?” Generally, this is because inevitably (and unavoidably) people are inconvenienced by the work. D’Amelio’s timeline from bid being awarded to the completion of the project is 6-8 weeks, weather permitting. “We hope to go out sometime in March and have the project completed sometime by the end of May to the beginning of June.”