C.U.P.O.N. of Chestnut Ridge is an inclusive group of concerned residents allied in our shared commitment to keep our community safe and preserve the character of our neighborhood by stopping overdevelopment and illegal building activity in the Village of Chestnut Ridge.
1) Hold Chestnut Ridge elected officials and Village Administrators accountable for the consistent enforcement of all building codes, zoning laws and permit approval processes
2) Inform and educate Village Residents about issues that affect our neighborhood.
3) Keep Residents engaged and mobilized for positive change and action when decisions are made
4) Ensure all Residents have a seat at the table and that our voices are heard before the Village.
At a time when gas is pushing $5 per gallon and the cost of even the most basic necessities continue to increase seemingly overnight, the mayor and board of trustees has once again decided to raise our taxes to line their own pockets. For the fiscal year-ending 5/31/22, the mayor raised our taxes while giving himself a raise from $27,000 to $45,000 and each of the trustees a raise from $6,500 to $15,000. As if that wasn’t enough, for the fiscal year-ending 5/31/23, the mayor has now budgeted to raise our village taxes by 9% while giving himself a raise to $75,000 and each trustee a raise to $25,000. Over the course of two years, in the middle of a pandemic, the mayor has almost tripled his own salary and almost quadrupled the trustee salaries at the expense of taxpayers!
No new services are being provided by the village to its residents. There aren’t any additional monthly meetings where the mayor or board might have to do more work than they’ve done in the past. And, on top of it all, the mayor is hiring a “confidential assistant to the mayor” at a price tag of $40,000 to taxpayers In other words, he has tripled his salary and is doing less work! When he was questioned last year on the merit of the raises, he simply stated that he felt he and the trustees deserved it. We imagine his response at the upcoming board meeting on Thursday will be much of the same.
For comparative purposes, we researched the budgets and mayor/trustee salaries for all of the other villages in Rockland that were readily available (14 in total) and found:
• As a percentage of the total budget, our board is paid twice as much as any other local village at 3.9% of our budget. West Haverstraw is a distant second at 2% of their budget and all other local villages are below 2%.
• As a percentage of the total budget, our mayor makes 50% more than any other local village at 1.7% of our budget. New Hempstead and Wesley Hills are the only other villages in Rockland where the mayor salary accounts for even 1% of the total budget
• As a percentage of the total budget, our trustees make 100% more than any other local village.
• The only other village that has a higher mayor salary is Spring Valley, which has a population 3 times that of Chestnut Ridge and a budget almost 8 times that of Chestnut Ridge.
• Outside of Spring Valley, the Village of Haverstraw (same $75,000 mayor salary) and the Village of West Haverstraw ($65,000 mayor salary) are the only two other villages with a comparable salary from a dollar perspective. However, their village budgets are 2 to 3 times the budget of Chestnut Ridge due to the additional services they provide to their residents.
• Every other village in Rockland county has a mayor salary of less than half what our mayor will be paid
• Every other village in Rockland county has a trustee salary of one-third of what our trustees will be paid
So what is it that we are paying our board for? The largest line items on our budget are:
• street maintenance: handled by Ramapo with zero responsibility to the village
• garbage: outsourced to sanitation company with zero responsibility to the village other than a phone call here or there if a street is missed
• CHIPS expenses for road improvements: fully funded by the state with zero responsibility to village
• building and code enforcement: outsourced to third-party because our village couldn’t effectively hire and maintain adequate staff
The next largest line item is for the village attorney and litigation expense, necessary due to irresponsible decisions made by our highly compensated mayor and board that have to be defended in court.
In addition to the above, the village is once again drawing down from our reserve fund to the tune of $460,000 to fund the current year budget. What exactly does this mean? It means that, despite the 9% property tax raise, our annual village expenses exceed our annual village revenues by $460,000 and we need to dip into our cash reserves to fund the shortfall. Perfect time to give out substantial raises to themselves, no? At this rate, our cash reserves will be depleted in 3 years unless property taxes are raised substantially. Of course, if the mayor continues to give himself and his board lucrative annual raises, even substantial tax increases won’t be enough to keep us from insolvency.
One final point: the mayor has budgeted for large increases to revenue from fines ($55,000 in 2021/22 increased to $125,000 in 2022/23) and revenue from planning board fees ($35,000 in 2021/22 increased to $145,000 in 2022/23). If actual revenues end up within the range of projections, it will be a welcome improvement to see developers taking on more of the burden of the village planning costs on their projects. It would also be a welcome improvement to see the village actually collecting on fines for those who have seemingly no concerns about adhering to our laws.
Update May 12, 2022
Notice of Acceptance of Final GEIS and Public Hearing Rockland County -
The Village of Chestnut Ridge Board of Trustees, as lead agency, has accepted a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Comprehensive Plan and Implementing Local Law A v6. of 2022. A public hearing on the
Final GEIS will be held on May 19, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. at the Village of Chestnut Ridge Village Hall, 277 Old Nyack Turnpike, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977. Written comments on the Final GEIS will be accepted until May 29, 2022. The Final GEIS is available from the Village of Chestnut Ridge Village Hall and on line at: www.chestnutridgevillage.org.
The action involves the adoption of the first Comprehensive Plan for the Village of Chestnut Ridge. Long standing zoning problems are analyzed and adjustments to the current zoning map are proposed to eliminate nonconforming uses. Changes are recommended to promote the development of employment opportunities and additional housing types other than single-family homes. The Plan focuses development density on areas in the Red Schoolhouse Road corridor near the Garden State Parkway interchange, with transportation improvements funded by new development. The project is located throughout the Village of Chestnut Ridge, New York.
Updated April 10 ,2022
Plaintiffs respectfully submit that it is critical that the case proceed one way or the other. The New Zoning Law, which Plaintiffs have alleged violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, remains in effect, and the Village has allowed this unconstitutional scheme to continue in place, notwithstanding the pending case. To this end, if there any issues on which the Court would like further briefing, or if the Court would like to schedule oral argument, Plaintiffs stand ready to comply. For the complete document click here
Updated February 1, 2022
Dresdner Robin (planners retained by CUPON) submitted comments on the revised Comp Plan at the January Board meeting. Those comments can be found here:
Updated November 22, 2021
At the last Board meeting, Dresdner Robins made a presentation to the Board on the shortcomings of the Village Comprehensive Plan. The public hearing was supposed to close that night, but because of the Dresdner comments and other comments from the public, Trustee Rose made a motion to keep the public hearing open until the December 8th meeting.
With respect to the Equestrian Estates project (large development planned for Schoolhouse Road), the following comments were submitted by land use consulting firm Dresdner Robin on behalf of CUPON at last weeks Village Board meeting. These documents are related the Village’s intention to adopt a zone text and map amendment to create a Floating Zone for a Planned Unit Development (“PUD” zoning ordinance) and the proposed Equestrian Estates Overall Site Layout Plan (“Equestrian Estates development”).
These are our donations to CUPON being put to work and this would not be possible without them.
Hello CUPONers of Chestnut Ridge.
I am writing to update you on some developments that occurred since the Village Board meeting on 5/17/22. On 5/17/22 the Village Board was set to vote on accepting the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which, when accepted, will become an integral part of the Comprehensive Plan which is being developed by the Village as you all may recall.
As a result of both our attorney, Steven Mogel's, presentation and his submitted letter (click here) and the very compelling memo submitted by our planner, Carolyn Worstell of Dresdner Robin and her comprehensive review of the DGEIS it appears as though the Village Board has extended the public review and comment time regarding the DGEIS.
Additionally, it has directed the Planners who developed the DGEIS to respond to the comments that are made. It is imperative that you all review the DGEIS and our Planner's memo and make comments about this proposed DGEIS which will ultimately, when finalized, become the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement, part of the Comprehensive Plan.
We want to remind the Village Government that CUPON is still here and that we are carefully reviewing the work that is done to ensure that all the rules, requirements and mandates are followed as stipulated by New York State Rules.
Please do your reviews and submit your comments as stipulated in the memo posted by the Village and available on our website.
Also, please note that the work of our attorney is important and is paid for by members of CUPON. Please consider donating whatever you can.
You can donate right here on our web site using PAYPAL, Credit Card, or you can send your checks made out to CUPON of Chestnut Ridge to PO Box 394, Nanuet, NY 10954. Thanks so much and Be Well.
Hilda A Kogut/ CUPON of CR Chair
Message May 18, 2022
Hello, All CUPON of Chestnut Ridge members:
I want to bring a very important Village Board Meeting to your attention. Tomorrow, May 19th the Village Board will vote to accept the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) in spite of many issues that have been identified by our planning group- Dresdner and Robin(see memo submitted) and our attorney, Steve Mogel.
Steve Mogel WILL be in attendance at the meeting and will speak to these issues to put our concerns on record with the Village. The memo posted on the website will be or may already have been submitted on behalf of CUPON of Chestnut Ridge!!! Please attend the meeting- pack it as in the good old days! You may allow Mr Mogel to be our voice but a show of support is essential.
Our interest in the this mater should be noted and the Village Board should be advised that CUPON of Chestnut Ridge continues to be a viable and productive group!
Thanks and Stay Healthy. Hilda
Message May 12 ,2022
I know it has been a long while since my last post and, for sure, things are moving quickly, more quickly than any of us would like, here in Chestnut Ridge. While time has passed, we have continued to keep an eye on issues that seem less than appropriate or done within legal parameters.
I have some information for you all to review which, hopefully, will be an incentive for you to step up to the "mike' or put pen to paper to voice your concerns!!
Our first concern is WHEN will either of our lawsuits/ the Article 78 regarding the HOW law passed almost 4 years ago be heard. That issue has some movement as you can see from an email from Steve Mogel, our attorney. Hopefully this will be placed on the calendar before the Appellate Division in Brooklyn soon!!
The Federal action based on other criteria has no date set for a hearing although our attorneys did send a letter to the Court a short while back!!
Now to our Building Permit/inspection Department and Code Enforcement Unit- it is hard to believe we have any such unit in our employ since nothing seems to be done in the way of enforcement without our Fire Inspector's work!! But we do. A contract with a company called FUSCO!! I have posted this contract for your information and review. It really does not matter how much we pay people for their work if they don't do it or CANNOT do it!!
I have posted material relating to the Comprehensive plan that the Village has been working on-. PLEASE REVIEW and make comments on the record. This Village Government and the Mayor who seems to have lost sight of the fact that we are a Village and NOT HIS KINGDOM that deserves to have all voices heard!!
And, lastly, the East Ramapo School Board Election is set for 5/17/22!!! This is a critical election for those who have not followed issues of late- the Budget's approval hangs in the Balance. The ERSD received a huge amount of money from the Federal Government. A portion of the funding is dedicated to repairing and updating the public schools in the district which are in HORRIBLE condition!!
The issue at hand is that members of the School Board and members of the Community of Private Schools are against this because their children who usually attend day camps held in the public schools each summer will be displaced!! The quote we have seen in print is If They Do Not Care About our Children, we do Not care about those in the Public Schools!!!
EVERYONE!!! Please get out and Vote- Again we are at a crossroads, and WE DO HAVE THE ABILITY TO IMPACT THE OUCOME!!! VOTE!!!!! Thanks, and Good Health to Everyone!!
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We urgently ask for your monetary contribution to continue our mission. Due to rising expenses together with several legal challenges your generous donation is needed.
You can now use our PayPal account or mail your contribution check to P.O.Box 394 Nanuet NY 10954 attention CUPON Chestnut Ridge.
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Email or Write us to the address below about Chestnut Ridge
P.O. Box 394 Nanuet, New York, 10954
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