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Home Government Death and _____, Abandoned Boats and More—Items on the Agenda for City...

Death and _____, Abandoned Boats and More—Items on the Agenda for City Council Wednesday – December 17, 2008

The city council's agenda is out for tonight, Wednesday, December 17, 2008. See you at 8pm in the Council Room at Rye City Hall or on Cablevision Channel 75 and Verizon Channel 39.

Note there will be an executive session immediately preceding the council meeting at 7pm to discuss "attorney/client matters". Let's check the batting order and highlights from the 21 agenda items.

  • Open Mic. Residents may be heard who have matters to discuss that do not appear on the agenda.
  • Death and _____. Resolution to adopt the 2009 Budget and establish the 2009 tax levy and 2009 tax rate.
  • Donation. Resolution to accept donation of undeveloped land on Brevoort Lane.
  • Books. Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute an agreement with the Rye Free Reading Room to furnish library services for 2009.
  • Flood Money (not flood of money, sorry). Acceptance of $400,000 in Federal Grant funds for the Flood Mitigation.
  • Other Flood Stuff including submission of a joint application with the Village of Rye Brook for Westchester County Flood Action Program funding; granting authority to bond for the Rye/Rye Brook Flood Mitigation project and accepting the $62,500 local share of the FEMA Pre-Disaster Grant (PDM).
  • Abandoned Boats. Authorization for Corporation Counsel to commence proceedings to dispose of abandoned boats at the Boat Basin/Marina.

The next regular meeting of the city Council will be held on Wednesday, January 7, 2008.


  1. Before Mayor Flotis commands the abandon boats at the marina to death he should have the sunken boat located in Milton Harbor just off Hen Island removed. The on board fuel tanks have been slowly leaking into our waters and the fish. Similarly to the sewage. The earth does not belong to Hen Island or you Mayor Flotis. “The earth belongs to the earth”. A quote from the movie, The Day The Earth Stood Still.

  2. Another Rye City Council meeting, another long Executive Session. Why does Mayor Flotis and the Rye City Council conduct so much of the City of Rye’s business behind closed doors while hiding behind the cloak of the Attorney/Client B.S.? It amazes me that Mayor Flotis emerges from these Executive Session and conducts the Council meeting like everything and every vote isn’t already prearranged when it appears to me that it is.

    Has Mayor Flotis and the City Council decided how much of a raise to give Shew for 2009 or are they going to wait to have another “secret” meeting like last year?

  3. Rye and NY state are all on the same path to financial hell . We taxpayers should BEG and CHEER for bankruptcy to arrive sooner , not later so that some federal hatchetman can show up and do what are corrupt politicians refuse to do ….MASSIVELY REDUCE HEADCOUNT OF MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES AND SLASH THE ABSURDLY GENEROUS PENSION SYSTEM! . Look at lunatic Paterson today ( http://www.nypost.com/seven/12172008/news/regionalnews/govs_tax__spend_shocker_144629.htm ) He’s just helping create a massive new industry for NY State where every unemployed guy in state will drive vans to NJ and CT to load up on lesser taxed food , clothing , gasoline , etc,etc,etc .

    Will the last taxpayer who leaves NY please turn out the lights ?

  4. Rye taxpayers should be concerned by the costs incurred to defend the multitude of frivolous lawsuits filed by the floating turd, Mr. Floatie. It is not a joke. These are our tax dollars that are being wasted because of someone’s private agenda.

  5. Dear Concerned Citizen,

    Your tax dollars are not being wasted on frivolous lawsuits! They are being wasted on city employees and re-elected officials who fail to protect the public and the environment that they once appeared to have great concern for. I believe this was done in an effort to be re-elected. It seems as though they have become too comfortable in
    their positions and they choose to negate their responsibilities. I feel this is a false sense of security that many politicians fall into. If they were genuinely concerned about the environment, and not their personal gains there would be no lawsuits.
    The concerns you speak of should be directed to Mayor Otis and his efforts to cover-up some very serious environmental, health and building code enforcement issues on Hen Island and in Milton Harbor. Once again,I will be happy to give you or anyone interested a personal tour of the island and all the violations present. I can be contacted at ray@HEALtheHARBOR.com. Should it be too cold out for the trip in the boat, you may view the aforementioned above on the internet at http://www.HEALtheHARBOR.com.

    As for the private agenda you speak of, I have just made it public once again for your benefit.
    Happy Holidays!
    Ray Tartaglione

  6. Before Mayor Flotis commands the abandon boats at the marina to death he should have the sunken boat located in Milton Harbor just off Hen Island removed. The on board fuel tanks have been slowly leaking into our waters and the fish. Similarly to the sewage. The earth does not belong to Hen Island or you Mayor Flotis. “The earth belongs to the earth”. A quote from the movie, The Day The Earth Stood Still.

  7. Mr. Tartaglione, you have conveniently ignored my last questions to you in this forum.

    You ignore the serious problem created by inadequate sewage treatment plants dumping MILLIONS of gallons of raw sewage into the Sound. Instead you concentrate all of your money and efforts into harassing your neighbors on Hen Island clearly to promote your own agenda.

    A small seasonal community like Hen Island is incapable of producing a significant amount of waste regardless of the quality of the disposal system. The inadequate sewage treatment plants emit MILLIONS of gallons of untreated waste in a single storm surge.

    Again, I will ask you the same two questions.

    1. Why do you choose to ignore the exponentially greater environmental problem in favor of the non-existent (or at best insignificant) problem on Hen Island. Perhaps, you have your own agenda for developing Hen Island for your own personal gain.

    2. You seem to have great concerns for protecting our environment. Do you use a composting or non-polluting toilet system in your house on Hen Island? Isn’t that the best feasible solution if a problem truly exists?

  8. Do you really expect an answer to your question(s)? These are grown men calling people names and dressing up as Mr. Floatie. You are not dealing with rational adults. If they can’t call people names, they won’t post a comment.

  9. Hey Kris Kringle?

    We ARE rational adult Rye taxpayers dealing with issues that our broken political gang can’t. This isn’t about the money (for once) – its about THE LAW.

  10. I agree with Ted C. We are the rational ones. Unfortunately, Otis and the Rye City Council have done nothing to correct the blatant and unjustified violations of laws by their administrators. This is neither rational nor in the best interest of the Rye taxpayers who they are supposed to represent. They appear to only care about their own political survival.

    Our Rye government has become dysfunctional beyond repair and needs to be replaced.

    Shew, Otis, Connors and Plunkett all need to go.

  11. Dear Concerned Citizen,
    I have answered your concerns and will be happy to address them again. First I don’t think you are a concerned citizen. I say that because the only objections to our mission that I have heard so far were from other Hen Island cottage owners. I think you are more like a fearful Hen Island cottage owner, fearful that you may be forced to comply with the applicable health, building and safety codes that have been avoided for years on the Island. Remember the secret Hen Island code echoed frequently by the Board of Directors to “Fly under the radar and keep a low profile” I can show it to you in the written rules and regulations of the corporation if you have forgotten them.
    I compare many in this community of Hen Island to the Branch Diviven’s of Waco Texas not wanting any outside influences to infiltrate their community. Yes and it is happening right here in Rye N.Y. under the watchful eye of Mayor Otis.
    I do not use a composting or non-polluting system in my home on the island. However I do know that most of the homes and mine may be one of them do operate with illegal sewage disposal systems. Illegal because they were installed improperly and without approval after the code was written. Some of those systems are within ten feet of the shoreline. Mine is not one of them, if it were I would not use my home. I cannot remove my sewage pit as the corporation that owns the Island owns the sewage pit, I only own the cottage. It is illegal to remove or install any sewage system anywhere in Westchester County without approval. This is what started the problem from the beginning. I as well as the Long Island Soundkeeper have requested that all the sewage disposal systems on Hen Island be flow and dye tested. (That includes mine) Any of the failing systems should be repaired or replaced and then approved as necessary. If compliance cannot be met then the home should be condemned according to law. Again that includes my home.
    In the 1960’s it was thought that “the solution to pollution was dilution” that is the thinking that has brought our waters to the condition they are in today. It does not matter how much pollution enters the waterway any sewage is too much. Your statement is reminiscent of the comparison between a bank robber and the recent Ponzi scheme conducted by Mr. Madoff. Bottom line is they are both horrific. The amount of money stolen is not the issue, just as the amount of sewage is not the issue. The laws specifically state any discharge is unlawful. Look around “Mr. concerned citizen” What are you really concerned about??? Your “small seasonal community like Hen Island” has thirty four homes dumping sewage. Many of those homes are used presently by at least two and maybe three generations sharing a cottage today. That sounds like a few hundred people dumping raw sewage into the sound where I used to like to swim. Many of my immediate neighbors are in agreement with me. It is the ones that are fearful of compliance and in violation with no remedy that oppose our efforts. The Rye fisherman recently had a very appropriate quote on this site from the recent movie The Day The Earth Stood Still, “The earth belongs to the earth” It does not belong to us we are only allowed to use it, and if we want to continue to use it we should leave it the way we found it. Unfortunately you along with many others of our race have not learned that lesson yet. I for one am afraid if we don’t take care of the earth and quick, it may be too late for our future generations to enjoy.
    I assure you and your other fearful cottage owners when my group and I have rectified the Hen Island cover-up, we will turn our attention to the outfall pollution problem in Westchester. Which I do agree is a big problem that in no way diminishes your pollution issues. One more note: We have only discussed the pollution issues in this forum. There are many other very dangerous issues that have also been negated on Hen Island. You speak of lawsuits. You tell me how much liability exposure will the city have and how money will they spend with Mr. Plunkett defending a law suit should someone get hurt on Hen Island or Milton Harbor as a result of building and safety codes that were not enforced. There is a similar case in front of the courts today involving the Deutsche Bank Building where New York City negated inspections. The only difference is the City of Rye in this case has already been put on notice many times. I wonder who put out the first order not to find any problems on Hen Island.
    Cottage owners on Hen Island store over 10,000 Lbs. of propane in 100 Lbs. tanks (sometimes tied to trees if we are lucky). What happens when some of the tanks float into Milton Harbor during a storm and sink, as they did in the no-name storm of 1992?
    I assure you that I have no intentions of developing Hen Island as you would like the Public to believe. I am willing to sign on the dotted line today that no expansion of any home on Hen Island be permitted.
    Speaking of signing hopefully next time you will sign your real name as I have done, so we may actually see who you are and where you live as that is an important piece of your response. In closing the only names I have called anyone is polluters and irresponsible.

    Wishing you much change with the New Year.
    Ray Tartaglione

  12. Mr. Tartaglione, I’m not sure the suggested answer to the problems on Hen Island are viable solutions.
    Are you proposing the construction and installation of a sewer line from Hen Island to the mainland? Who would pay for such an expensive project? Because of the multi-million dollar expense, it would require, at a minimum, a thorough environmental review and a bond referendum would need to be voted on by the public. I can assure you the public in Rye would say no to spending millions to benefit a handful of families.
    Another alternative would be the creation of a special taxing district, where the beneficiaries share the costs of paying off the bond. The cost would most likely be close to or more than $1 million per homeowner- another non-starter.
    Even the idea of the city requiring existing homes to build sewage-holding tanks might run afoul, so to speak, of new laws that many times grant exclusionary status to existing homesites. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t claim to know if Hen Island homes are protected this way – but if that is the case, the other homeowners are not legally required to comply.
    The last alternative, which would truly solve the problem of human-sourced pollution from Hen Island permanently, would be to ban habitation on the island and convert it to a wildlife sanctuary. Again, this is not a real solution, because the state may only seize private lands to benefit the public. Eminent Domain was usually reserved for building railroads and highways. I haven’t heard of seizing private property to be used for wildlife, but with recent developments, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  13. Matt,
    I would like to share a story with you from a few years ago about the events that took place when I first found out about the sewage problems on Hen Island. After my initial investigation with the health, building, and engineering departments, I finished my questioning in the tax records office. During one of my first meetings, I was told by a city employee that the city had been well aware of the sewage emissions from Hen Island for years. They said, “We have known for years they have been polluting the Sound. No one has ever complained, so we never needed to take any action.” I was also told that at the same time the city was in the process of conducting a sewer installation project on North Island Drive.
    The cost on the North Island Drive project was about $1.5 million dollars and included roughly thirty homes. The scenario was that the city did all the specifications and bidding on the project and then floated a bond to which a sewer assessment was split between the thirty homeowners over thirty years. I was lead to believe it was a fairly common project and all was going well. In regards to Hen Island, I was informed that there is a county trunk line along the shores of Greenhaven to which Hen Island currently holds a utility easement. This trunk line is less than 500 feet from the island. I was told that a project similar to the one on North Island Drive would be embraced by the city if under-taken on Hen Island. This would finally make this dirty little secret go away once and for all. The permitting agencies would all come aboard in order to stop the effluent discharge. Same scenario the city would arrange the financing and the island would have the choice of using the cities financing or getting their own, a win, win situation for the city. Additionally, it would cost a little more because a conduit would have to be placed in the water.
    In any event, the cost divided by thirty- four cottage owners and financed over thirty or forty years would translate to less than fifteen- hundred dollars per cottage, per year.No cost to the City. This would be the expensive way to fix the problem. There are many other ways to handle the sewage issues on Hen Island at a much less costly basis as described in an email from Deputy Health Commissioner Meyerson to Health Commissioner Lipsman on July 19, 2007.You may view this email at http://healtheharbor.com/documents/MeyersonLipsmanEmail.pdf. FYI: Three weeks after this email was sent, the city of Rye along with the Health Department, issued a statement that there were no sewage, health, safety or building code violations present on Hen Island. What could have happened??? Although this problem is in Rye, I am not looking to the city to pay for this problem. Hen Island should divide this expense in addition to, any other expenses to bring this community up to code between its stockholders. What is paramount here Matt is that this is a very dangerous community and it should be brought into compliance with all applicable codes to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents ,as well as, the waters of the Long Island Sound. I do have my views of why this is being covered up by the city, and I have made them public on many occasions. Hopefully you will take a long, hard look at this and realize the potential risks involved in leaving Hen Island neglected the way it has been for so many years.
    If you think I enjoy chasing Mr. Floatie, I can assure you that I certainly have better things to do in my spare time. Hen Island, as well as the waters of the Long Island Sound is a very important part of my life and I plan to continually bring attention to this issue until we all find a resolution. Thanks Matt, I encourage you to contact me personally for a visit to Hen Island or to discuss these issues in more detail.

  14. Mr. Tartaglione, your assumptions notwithstanding, I am not a Hen Island resident, I am a long time Rye resident that has been fortunate enough to visit Hen Island several times. When I visited Hen Island, I saw a community of simple, middle class individuals sharing their little piece of paradise. I did not see the wanton polluters that you depict. And, I am quite concerned that my tax dollars are being used to defend your frivolous lawsuits.

    Your admission that you do not use a non-polluting sewage system is quite telling. You profess that your own system may be inadequate, yet you continue to use it and have done nothing to correct it. You could have installed a non-polluting toilet WITHOUT removing your existing disposal system long ago. The mere fact that you have not done that proves your hypocrisy and that your agenda is NOT environmental.

    Your cries that the systems on Hen Island “should be tested” are meaningless. If these systems were required to be tested, ALL systems in Westchester County would be required to be tested as well. Environmentally, this may be a good idea. However, it would be wrong to subjectively target a certain community for testing solely at the whim of a malcontent, such as yourself.

    Furthermore, your analogy of a bank robber and the Ponzi scheme is laughable. There is no proof that that sewage is being emitted into the Sound by Hen Island. In fact, more than one government agency and the Westchester County Supreme Court disagree with your allegations. Yet the sewage treatment plants readily admit that MILLIONS of gallons of raw sewage are dumped into the Sound during every major rainfall. Your excuse that your organization will “turn your attention” to that larger problem rings hollow. If your agenda were truly to solve the smaller problems first, you would have installed a non-polluting toilet in your residence long ago.

    It appears that you are unhappy with the middle class nature of Hen Island and that it bothers you that “two or three generations share a cottage”. You may or may not have any intentions of developing Hen Island, but your harassment through litigation and public protest certainly seem to be designed to put an unfair burden on the middle class residents of the island to suit your own agenda. If Hen Island is not “upscale” enough for, you, I would suggest that you sell your residence and find one more to your liking.

    I will decline to leave my real name, just as you have declined to admit your alias postings (such as RyeFisherman). With your past record of frivolous lawsuits, leaving my real name may be an invitation for you to concoct another.

  15. Ray and Concerned Cit, Two well-thought out responses (see how easy things are when adults don’t stoop to name-calling???).

    Ray, is your house contributing to the sewage issue?

  16. Ray:
    I’m somewhat confused……What group comprises the “Branch Davinians”..? I’d say it’s unusual for there to be TWO groups with such similar names…..I HAVE heard of the Branch Davidians of Waco…..This other group is unknown to me..It’s not another figment of someone’s over-active imagination, is it?…..Michael Johnson

  17. Mr. Tartaglione, who is this mysterious “city employee” that you had this conversation with “a few years ago”?

    Have you presented a detailed proposal to the island residents outlining your $1,500.00 per year piping plan?

    Have you performed an environmental feasibility study to determine if such a pipeline would be approved?

    Have you considered the impact of such a pipeline to both Greenhaven and the Marshlands Conservancy? I am fairly sure that both the Greenhaven Association and the Conservancy would oppose such a project.

    Have you considered the environmental impact to the Sound caused by this pipeline installation?

    It seems to me that you have concentrated your money and efforts on lawsuits and public grandstanding rather that trying to enact a positive and workable solution to a problem that may or may not exist at all.

    It appears to me that this pipeline plan could only service the island land mass closest to Greenhaven. Running piping to the far end of the island does not appear to be either economically nor environmentally feasible. And, installation of such a pipeline through fragile saltwater marshlands would have an enormous negative impact on the environment. Do you want to protect the environment, or destroy it?

    A friend of mine uses a composting toilet at his hunting cabin upstate. His wife uses the compost created by the toilet in her flower garden at the cabin. That is a “green” solution. Installing sewer piping through protected marshlands is environmental destruction.

    Perhaps you should install a composting toilet at your house and encourage your neighbors to do the same instead of attacking your neighbors and the City of Rye with lawsuits.

    Please spare us your usual diatribe about the other issues other than sewage and your misapplied analogies and simply respond to the points made herein.

    It is obvious that your agenda is self serving and not altruistic.


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