At the July 8th board of trustees meeting, several residents were in attendance to ask questions about the Gouveia property; this was an agenda item. Mayor Leo Wiegman was absent; the village engineer Dan O'Connor was also absent, as was the village manager Zambrano; there was also no secretary to take minutes. Trustee Gallelli in her capacity as Deputy Mayor, informed the public that the board would not be answering any questions about the Gouveia property and that Gouveia's attorney, and the village attorney, were "talking". Gouveia is allegedly offering the village "one million" for maintenance. It is interesting to note that during the report section, Trustee Murtaugh DID talk about Gouveia anyway. However, questions cannot be asked during "reports" either.
The following are highlights only from THE GAZETTE article on this meeting; it is in the edition for 7/11-7/17/13; it is a lengthy article and you are encouraged to read it in its ENTIRETY. The Gazette is on sale just about everywhere. Please also read the letters to the editor from Virginia Calcutti and the Chesnards who attended this meeting. We hope to have them online soon.
UPDATED: READ VIRGINIA CALCUTTI'S LETTER HERE http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2013/07/gouveia-property-july-2013-calcutti.html
and THE CHESNARD LETTER HERE http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2013/07/dan-chesnard-gouveia-gazette-leter-july.html
GAZETTE ARTICLE FOLLOWS - GOUVEIA OFFERS CROTON $1M TO TAKE HER PROPERTY (editor's note: we do not know what "form" the alleged "$1M" will take because the board would not answer questions posed by the public).
--Early in 2011 Laurel Goveia renewed previous offers to donate her 14 plus acre property to the village in return for being able to live there and without having to pay property taxes. Now she says she will also "gift" the village one million "to help maintain the property".
--The latest proposal was disclosed under "correspondence" (on the agenda). She is seeking a response no later than early December.
--Opponents attended meeting. They appeared none too satisfied when Deputy Mayor Ann Gallelli, chairing the meeting in the absence of Mayor Leo Wiegman, said that on advice of counsel board members would not respond to any audience questions. That is because counsel for Mrs. Gouveia, 71, and the village are "in discussions" regarding the matter, according to Mayor Gallelli.
--It was suggested by speakers in opposition that acceptance of Mrs. Gouveia's offer might set a "precedent" in other property owners seeking to donate their homes on the promise of continuing to live on their premises tax-free. Trustee Murtaugh responded by calling that idea "preposterous".
--Former Trustee Don Daubney reminded the board that a plan was developed to enchance Croton's Back Rock Park--but nothing ever happened. He also said that accepting the Gouveia property with no specific use planned could result in it becoming Croton's white elephant. (SEE 1982 article scans at the end)
--The democratic majority on the board of trustees favorably eyed the offer when the sole Republican-backed Dr. Schmidt was a trustee; he was opposed. "We have trouble maintaining the properties we have now" he said. (Editor's note; although Trustee Galleli claimed that a land trust and the town of Cortlandt wanted the property, she was forced to publicly retract those statements. The Examiner News article link is provided further down.)
--The board is currently all Democrat.
--The property reportedly generates $40K in annual property taxes; $14,000 to the village. Opponents to proposal reiterated Monday that the loss of future tax revenues to Croton, the Town of Cortlant, Croton schools and the county needs to be considered.
--Two years before his death John Gouveia (ed. note: died in 2007) donated the former Bank for Savings building in Ossining to the village of Ossining (2005); citing more than 2 million in estimated renovations, the building remains empty.
Again, please read the article in its entirety; the Gazette is on sale just about everywhere. PLEASE ALSO READ the letters on this issue from the Chesnards and Virginia Calcutti, also in the paper.
Additional background info:
--2012 Letter from citizen Kevin Davis opposing Gouveia acquisition http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2012/07/now-online-kevin-davis-letter-opposing.html
--2011, Examiner News:--TRUSTEE GALLELLI RETRACTS STATEMENTS THAT THE TOWN OF CORTLANDT AND THE OPEN SPACE INSTITUTE WANTED THE GOUVEIA PROPERTY:EXAMINER NEWS 5/24/11 "During the May 16 meeting Trustee Ann Gallelli retracted comments she had made previously that led the public to believe that the Town of Cortlandt and the Open Space Institute wanted the Gouveia property... She publicly admitted that neither party has an interest in the property." http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2011/05/update-on-gouveia-property-trustee.html
--GOUVEIA FILES TAX GRIEVANCE; GETS TAXES REDUCED http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2011/07/july-11th-board-meeting-agenda-gouveia.html
--OCT. 28, 2011: GALLELLI ADMITS FRIENDSHIP WITH GOUVEIA; WILL NOT RECUSE; LETTER FROM VIRGINIA CALCUTTI "Trustee Gallelli stated that she and Ms. Gouveia are friends and they have discussed this proposed gift. At this time, I would ask that Trustee Gallelli, based on her admitted friendship with Mr. Gouveia, remove herself from any further discussions regarding the property at 1300 Albany Post Road. It is definitely a conflict of interest."
--Also see below, an article from 1982 on unkept promises regarding Black Rock Park. Click on the scans: