March 1, 2016
Contract negotiations with town’s outside labor counsel
1. Atlantic Bridge Pipeline presentation
Representatives of the Algonquin Pipeline Company gave an update on the status of the project. Atlantic Bridge is the second phase of the project that will replace the existing 26’ pipeline with a new 42’ pipeline. The project will cross Yorktown from Stoney Street to the Somers border.
The company anticipates that it will receive FERC approval in the third quarter of 2016 and begin tree cutting and limited construction during the fourth quarter of 2016. Most of the construction will be done in the spring and summer of 2017, with the new line going into service by November, 2017.
The pipeline replacement will be done underground from the Taconic Parkway to the east side of Route 132 and above ground across the rest of the town. The slurry (mud) that will result from the underground drilling process will be tested prior to being disposed of. One resident asked if it would be tested before the drilling was done; there was no response to that question.
A staging area will be used at Strong Blvd and Route 132. At the request of town, the work space in the vicinity of Willow Park off Curry Street has been modified so as not to impact the pond.
While the pigging station to be installed at Stoney Street as part of the AIM project will eventually be relocated to Somers, the representatives explained that the facility will be used at least once before it is relocated, although the residue removed from the pipeline as part of the process will be removed in Southeast.
In response to questions from Councilman Patel and Paul Moskowitz, the representatives assured residents of the pipeline’s safety in terms of any possible leaks or any radioactive emissions.
Residents whose property will be impacted by the project can call the project hotline, 866-873-2579, if they have any questions.
To Conservation Board: Re-appointed J. Patrick Francois to a full term and Robert Waterhouse, to fill unexpired term of Bob Carroll
3. New hires
Building Maintenance Department: Paul Colarusso, maintenance mechanic repair and Vincent Calicchia, laborer
Nutrition: Terri Campanaro, intermediate clerk
Assessor: Paula Alicea, assessment assistant
4. Northern Westchester Restorative Care/Re convened public hearing
(See Town Board, 8-4-2015 and Planning Board, 8-10-2015.) The Board opened and closed the hearing. The applicant advised the Board that he had redesigned the enclosure for the trash receptacle, added some landscaping and will prepare a stormwater plan. There were no comments from the public. The Board approved the amended special permit subject to the Planning Board approving an amended site plan.
5. Increase in water charges/public hearing
Supervisor Grace opened the hearing on the proposed increase in water usage charges by explaining that the rates hadn’t been increased since 2006, despite the fact that the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works has increased the cost of the water it sells Yorktown. He noted that our rates were one of the lowest in Westchester, with other rates ranging from $8-$12/1,000 gallons.
Steve Meltz said he had no problem paying the higher rate but asked that as a measure of fairness, the water meter replacement project be completed so that all residents, and not just the 2,500 who have the new meters, pay for the water they use. When Supervisor Grace explained the plan to gradually phase in the new meters by requiring that the new meters be installed when houses are sold, Mr. Meltz noted that this could take a long time.
The water meter project was also brought up by Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, who noted that the project would generate approximately $500,000 in new revenue and reduce expenses by about $150.000.
Supervisor Grace repeated his belief that the $2.25 million cost to complete the project would not result in sufficient additional revenue, or reduce the district’s water loss, and did not justify the expense.
Councilman Patel supported the project, noting that it was approved unanimously by a previous board.
Ms. Siegel said she supported the increase but was concerned about what she called the mismanagement of the district’s finances over the past four years. Using a series of charts, she called attention to the district’s operating deficits and the need to use $2.2 million of fund balance to balance the district’s books for 2012-2014, with more fund balance likely needed to balance the 2015 books.
Supervisor Grace defended cut in the district’s tax rate (a point brought up by Ms. Siegel) and “giving back” the fund balance to taxpayers, saying that it was the taxpayers’ money and the town shouldn’t hold on to it; if we kept the money, he said, we’d spend it on things we don’t need. He added that now that the fund balance was in equilibrium, the district could take care of the capital projects on its agenda.
William LaSacla, owner of the shopping center in Jefferson Valley, asked if the rate increase could be phased in for some of his tenants who have large water bills. In response Ms. Siegel asked the Board to enforce the provision in the town code that requirescommercial meters to be tested for accuracy every three years, something that hasn’t been done for many years, she said.
The hearing was closed and the Board approved the amendments to the local law that increased the user charge to $6.25/1,000 and automatically increases the rate to reflect the increased cost of the water purchased from the Joint Water Works.
5. Shallow Creek Building Permit fee
In an item not on the agenda, the board voted unanimously to waive the building fee for the renovation of the building at Shallow Creek on the basis of the building was town owned. The amount of the fee was not identified.
6. Advertised public hearing and bids
Tow bid: For a towing services license.
Creation of an Industrial and Commercial Incentive Board. An April 5th public hearing was set to create this new board.
8. Budget transfers
Approved a lengthy list of budget transfers for both 2015 and 2016.
For 2015, the major transfers were $140,686 for police overtime, $131,918 for capital projects (not specified, and $128,471 for worker’s compensation.
For 2016. Most of the transfers were to allocate a total of $581,464 to the worker’s compensation line in different funds. (Note: See Town Board 11-12-2015 for a discussion of whether worker’s comp costs should have been included in the 2016 budget.)
9. Miscellaneous resolutions
Mohegan Lake: Authorized the use of copper sulfate for the 2016 summer season
Yorktown Trail Town Committee: Authorized the Committee to erect two permanent sighns along the North County Trailway.
10. Courtesy of the Floor
Dan Strauss asked the Board to deny the application of Marathon Development to build a mixed use building on Kear Street that includes 12 affordable rental units. Citing 270 existing affordable units in the Heights area, and more being planned, but no affordable units in Chappaqua, he asked why Yorktown should foot the bill and why Yorktown is being targeted.
In response, Supervisor Grace explained that the Kear Street project is before the Planning Board and that the Town Board has no say in the matter. He did add, however, that residents should “stay tuned” as the Town Board is considering repealing the existing Affordable Housing Law. We’ve done our fair share, he said.
Negotiations with police chief and personnel