Thursday, October 10, 2013


Welcome to EverythingCroton, a collection of all things Croton--our history, our homes, our issues, our businesses, our schools--in short, EVERYTHING CROTON.

THE GAZETTE 10/10-10/16/13 EDITION features a story on the Gouveia property and some of the events which transpired at the 10/7/13 meeting of the board of trustees. Highlights only from that article will follow. (For those who have asked, it is a copyright violation to print entire articles/letters/postings from other sources without permission.)

As always, you are encouraged to read the 10/10/13 article in its entirety. The Gazette is on sale just about everywhere. 

The title of the article is: RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION SAID TO BE 2ND IN LINE FOR GOUVEIA PROPERTY. (Residents may want to keep in mind that we were also told by Trustee Gallelli that  the Open Space Institute and the Town of Cortlandt wanted the property in 2011; Trustee Gallelli retracted her statements. Residents may also remember that in October 2011, Trustee Murtaugh stated that an organization such as the Westchester Land Trust was interested; former trustee Schmidt contacted that organization. They denied any interest citing "too high maintenance" according to the October 2011 Gazette article.)

Here are the highlights from 10/10/13 The Gazette article:
--If Croton doesn't take this "gift", a religious organization "likely will".
--"Trustee Ann Gallelli said that Laurel Gouveia 'has made an offer to a religious institution' should the village decline her long-time proposal to give the property to the village in return for living on the property tax-free"
--Gallelli said she does not know the identity of the organization. The mayor says it is coming off the tax rolls.
--The biggest financial loser in terms of taxes: "the Croton-Harmon School District which gets the largest chunk of the property's current $40,000 annual property tax bill".
--"When it comes to the likelihood of the 71 year old Mrs. Gouveia property going tax-exempt, village attorney James Stoudt essentially contradicted the mayor when it comes to future ownership by the village or a not for profit entity like a religious organization...Indeed Mr. Stoudt said the granting of tax-exempt status is "fact-specific", dependent on the actual use."
--Roseann Schuyler, local attorney and former ZBA member said: "...she believes it could be unconstitutional for the village to allow Mrs. Gouveia to reside at the property sans (without) paying future property taxes."
--The village board declared themselves "lead agency" in the upcoming SEQRA review. Trustee Davis voted no. You can read his statement here: 

There's much more covered in the article. Again please read it in its entirety. EverythingCroton will provide highlights from the 10/7 meeting audiotape not covered in the Gazette article soon, including Mr. Murtaugh's berating of a resident during citizen participation. You are encouraged to watch that meeting for that and much more.

Mr. Chesnard has a letter in the paper this week. Please make the time to read it: 

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  1. Highlights? More like lowlights!

  2. It's evident that Ms. Gouveia is only interested living in Croton tax free else she would have given her property to this "religious" group long ago if there was a real interest from them. Let's not forget that there is considerable rework to be done on the property regardless of who owns it (i.e. road repair, inspections, maintenance & upkeep, signage, correcting existing violations, etc.) A list of problems and potential problems is listed in a $10,000 study paid for by our Village and available on its web site.

    It is interesting to note that our Village officials have not conferred with Town or County officials or they would know that there is no interest from these parties to grant a tax exemption to Ms. Gouveia. It is also unclear if Croton's School Board will grant an exemption.

    Bottom line...let her give it to the religious group and let them pay for the litigation for tax exempt status. If she remains on the property, there is also the possibility that she will be held responsible for taxes anyway since the gift does not pass to the recipient until she dies or moves away.

    Show up at the next Board meeting to voice your opposition. It's election time so your voice is sure to be heard.