When the current group of three Democrats leaves their positions on the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees at the end of this term, meetings may become a lot less contentious as new members get acclimated to their posts.
At last night’s meeting, the usual verbal jousting between Mayor Norman Rosenblum and Trustee John Hofstetter punctuated the comments of several items of business. At one point, during the Village Clerk-Treasurer’s Report, the two talked over each other non-stop for around 10 seconds, sounding like two radios tuned to different stations.
But if a presentation from Democratic candidate for the board Andres Bermudez Hallstrom is any indication, he could very well inherit Hofstetter’s iconoclastic mantle, were he to win a seat.
The issue being discussed involved the demolition and possible replacement of a circa 1930’s brick storage shed in . Used to store parks department equipment, the structure is too dangerous to occupy and repairs are too expensive to shoulder. The board instructed Rich Slingerland, village manager, to find another place to store the equipment and to look into the potential cost of replacing the structure with a prefabricated building.
Hallstrom expressed concern about the condition of all village-owned structures and questioned if building a prefabricated structure to replace the old garage represented a wise use of taxpayer dollars. He also took issue with the village’s “short-sighted” budgets, which may not address current or future maintenance needs. The park’s recreation building near the beach has a leaky roof that requires repair, but there is no provision for the work.
“Why aren’t we repairing it?” he asked.
Then Hofstetter jumped in, contending that there are too many structures in the park. Slingerland asked where the vehicles and equipment now stored in the condemned shed would go. The Mayor interjected, saying that the situation represented an “immediate liability” that had to be acted upon. Hofstetter replied that, with park vehicles on the premises, the board should take a “holistic approach” to liability issues.
The board voted 3 to 1 to demolish the structure (Trustee Sid Albert did not attend the meeting).
Water remains a difficult issue. The Board is considering passing a detailed water regulation law and anticipates increased costs associated with the new filtration plant being built near the county jail and a tunnel to deliver water to New York City.
Responding to questions about high water bills, the Mayor said that investigations found that irrigation systems remained the main culprit and that high bills could signal a leak in the system. The board may seek to license irrigation contractors. Currently, anyone can install an irrigation system and poorly constructed sprinklers and drainage can result in water loss, and, even dangerous conditions if backflow valves are neglected or don’t work properly.
Hofstetter and the Mayor sparred over legal issues surrounding Pine Street (which has cost the village $20,000 so far to defend itself from motions filed by residents.)
They also battled over the village’s intention to buy a Goose Poop Vacuum and the acceptance of a gift of 11 trees valued at $1,180 from Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Company. Hofstetter claimed a conflict of interest, since the company was expected to bid on village contracts in the future, saying, “it doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Trustee Louis Santoro said the arrangement was nothing new, to which Hofstetter replied that “doesn’t mean it’s right.”
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that the board voted, 3 to 1, to replace the structure; the board actually voted to demolish the structure. Additional information has also been added regarding the board's decision to obtain price quotes for prefabricated buildings to store equipment.