January 17, 2012
1. Report from the Supervisor
a. Snow removal. Mr. Grace announced that Monday night’s snow storm cost the town $23,500. The supervisor also thanked the Highway Department for making some emergency drainage repairs on Wood Street.
b. Teen Center. Mr. Grace praised the work of the Teen Center and announced that next week’s Open Mike session, to be held in the board meeting room while the nutrition center is being renovated, would be televised over Channel 20.
c. Mr. Grace acknowledged with sadness the death of a young Yorktown resident. (see Courtesy of the Floor comments.)
2. Report from Councilmen
a. Councilman Bianco announced that some changes were on their way at the JV Mall, including improvements for mall walkers.
b. Councilman Paganelli announced that he will represent the town at meetings of the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works in place of the supervisor.
c. Councilman Murphy announced that Senator Greg Ball has confirmed that the state money for the renovation of the Route 202 Fields and the inline skating rink has “come through.”
3. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Museum. Gregory Krasov again asked the board to consider working with a Taxpayer Subsidy Committee to raise funds for the museum, something, he said that previous supervisors and boards dating back to Linda Cooper have not done. He stated that there was grant money available from the Westchester Council. of the Arts that could replace the $70,000 the town spends on the museum. He said the Committee could do what Town Clerk Alice Roker was incapable of doing Supervisor Grace said he would talk to Ms. Roker about the issue.
b. Holland Sporting Club. Four Mohegan homeowners urged the board to move forward with the asbestos abatement and demolition of the Holland Sporting Club buildings and not delay the project while it considered whether to have the Highway Department do the demolition instead of hiring an outside contractor. Patrick Cumiskey noted that the low bids received for both jobs had come in $100,000 less than projected and he urged the board to hire a professional demolition firm. He said that if the town were to do the project, in addition to the cost of renting dumpsters, there would be added out-of-pocket costs for the rental of equipment, wear and tear on town equipment, disposal costs, which he estimated were about 50% of the total project cost, plus liability issues.
He said that using an outside contractors was the safest, least risk option for the town
Supervisor Grace said that the town would proceed as soon as practical with awarding the abatement bid and that the board had to discuss the demolition issue further. He said that the town had to equipment to do the job.
Councilman Bianco said he didn’t believe that the Highway Department should do the work and that the department should use its manpower for snow removal and drainage work. He added that it would be best not to put the spotlight on Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo who was likely to be criticized whether his staff did a good or bad job.
Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) reminded the board that the demolition bid, which was received on December 16th, was only good for 60 days so the board had to make a decision soon.
c. Landmarks Preservation Commission. Bill Primervera asked the board to reinstate the Commission which has been inactive since the previous members resigned over a landmark designation dispute with a former town board over the St. George’s Church. Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bianco agreed that the Commission should be revived.
d. American Legion. On behalf of the American Legion, George Hansen offered the services of the veterans to work with and assist other town departments with emergency preparedness and homeland security issues.
e. Outreach to youth. Referring to the weekend death of a young Yorktown resident, Catherine D’Amato said that the town had to do more community outreach to help the 15-23 year old segment of our community’s population. One idea she had was for a professional crisis intervention program. She also made reference to better street lighting and said she had spoken to Highway Superintendent DiBartolo. Supervisor Grace agreed that our young people had to be given a purpose and that there was a lot more than could be done. Mr.Di Bartolo suggested that one way to deal with traffic safety issues would be to revive the town’s Traffic Safety Committee, a group, he said that had been effective in the past in identifying solutions to traffic issues. Councilman Bianco said that while the Committee had, in recent years, become the Town Board, he thought reviving the committee, as long as it didn’t involve itself in professional issues like speed bumps, might to a good idea.
f. Winery. Susan Siegel, the person writing these notes, asked why the Winery needed a temporary certificate of occupancy as it has been open for business for the past two years. She also asked when the property, currently assessed as a single family residence, could be reassessed as a commercial property. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the temporary CO was needed and that it was the town that had taken five months to issue the property owner a building permit. Chris Sciarra, project manager for the Winery, said that granting the temporary CO would be a positive step in getting the job done and that the town was now moving in the right direction.
g. Conference attendance. Susan Siegel, the person writing these notes, commented on two resolutions to be voted on that evening dealing with the town paying for staff to attend conferences. (See Resolutions section.)
h. Senior transportation. Rhoda Sussman, president of Seniors Chapter 1 and vice president of Chapter 2 started to raise the issue of transportation to the seniors’ annual Christmas luncheon at the Cortlandt Colonial restaurant when Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bianco interrupted her to say that the problem had been solved. At issue was the availability of the town’s senior van to transport people to the restaurant without incurring overtime costs. The problem was solved during the board's pre-session discussion when it was deciced that the time for the luncheon could be adjusted and that flextime could be used to adjust the schedule for the drivers.
3. Advertise public hearing for February 7th for increasing speed limit on Underhill Ave. to 40 mph. After consulting again with the Police Department, it was decided to modify the plan to end the 40mph zone at the northbound exit/entrance to the Taconic Parkway instead of the previously discussed southbound entrance.
4. Bids: The board voted to rebid the printing bid for town publications and printing projects as there was no response to the first bid. Supervisor Grace said the town would look into the original bid to see if any changes were needed.
5. Voluntary Board Appointments
The board unanimously reappointed Patricia Caporale to the Recreation Commission.
The following resolutions were unanimously approved.
6. The resolutions from the board’s January 3rd meeting.
7. Senior Center Renovation change orders totaling $17,580.36 as discussed during last week’s work session.
8. Conference attendance: Permission for three employees of the Parks & Recreation Department to attend a Pool & Spa Conference scheduled for next week at Atlantic City at a cost to the town of $400. The funds will come from the Parks Department training budget line. While voting for the resolution, Councilman Bianco expressed some concern over the location of the conference.
9. Lease amendments at the YCCC for the Westchester Ballet Center and Yorktown Head Start program.
10. Garbage licenses for six commercial carters.
11. Conference attendance: At the request of Councilman Bianco, a resolution authorizing the Library Director to attend a conference at a cost of $1,000 to the town was tabled. Along with the conference attendance resolution for the Parks staff, the resolution was first brought to the board’s attention during its pre-session meeting. At that time, Mr. Bianco said he wanted to speak to the Library Director. He also expressed concern that the funds would come from the library’s fund balance which, he said, should be used for unanticipated expenses. During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing these notes, asked if it was the board’s intention to change the cost savings policy adopted by the previous board that permitted staff to attend professional conferences on town time but at their own expense. In response, Supervisor Grace said, “This is a new board.”