October 1, 2013
Michael Grasso was appointed a Heavy Machine Equipment Operator in the Highway Department. (He is currently employed in the department, but his previous position was not identified.)
2. Emergency Generators
In response to a question from Councilman Patel on the status of the emergency generators for the YCCC and town hall, Supervisor Grace said that he plans to include the generator purchases in his proposed capital projects borrowing plan; he said that the cost should be paid out over the equipment’s useful life. (See below.) The pads on which the generators are to be placed have already been constructed. The Supervisor also said that the town engineer had resolved issues with Con Edison over the extension of the gas line to town hall.
3. Lake Mohegan
Ken Belfer, head of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District, thanked the Board for the work that had been done to correct the problem that had been causing the level of the lake to raise, creating flooding problems on Mohegan Avenue and Route 6. After the town took away a tree and root ball that was blocking the flow in the vicinity of Erika’s salon on Route 6, the DOT cleaned out the Route 6 culvert and the water began to flow. However, a continuing beaver problem remains that will require continued maintenance.
Councilman Paganelli advised the Board that he is working with the Joint Water Works to find an alternate site to install the fluoridation equipment at the Catkskill plant. Also, because Cortlandt and Montrose are now getting their water from the Amawalk plant while the Catskill system is shut down for repairs, and because both systems do not fluoridate their water, the Amawalk fluoridation system has been shut down.
5. Capital projects (budget/taxes) discussion
In response to a comment from Ed Ciffone during Courtesy of the Floor regarding what constituted an appropriate size fund balance, Supervisor Grace discussed his philosophy regarding fund balance and elaborated on how fund balance issues would impact on his 2014 budget.
In general, he agreed with Mr. Ciffone that the fund balance should be between 15% to 17% of the fund’s budget and that anything above that amount constituted the town improperly using taxpayer money to fund a savings account. Councilman Bianco pointed out that when the town does its budget in the fall, it can only estimate certain revenues, such as sales tax; the town doesn’t learn what it’s fourth quarter sales tax revenue will be until the following March. He also said it was important to keep sufficient fund balances for emergencies, especially in the special districts where sewer or water breaks could be very costly to repair and that the town should not be criticized for saving money.
Supervisor Grace said he anticipated using excess fund balances in the water and Yorktown Sewer (Hallocks Mill sewer district), an amount he called “almost criminal,” this year to reduce taxes. He has whittled down an initial list of $6 million worth of possible capital projects proposed by town staff to about $2 million and that he proposes to bond these projects. In general, he felt that capital projects should be paid for by bonding so that the people who would be benefiting from the projects in the future were the ones who paid off the debt service. He noted that with the pool bonds being paid off in 2015, if the town borrowed money in 2014 for capital projects, there would be about a $500,000 overlap in payments for a single year.