October 25, 2016
To discuss personnel and contracts
1. Police Department purchases
(Note: This discussion begin in a closed executive session. When the meeting was opened to the public, references were made to what had been discussed in the closed session, e.g., the purchase of tablets for car and possibly other items, but it was not always clear what the board was discussing. The public’s understanding of the discussion was further hampered by the fact that the participants in the discussion spoke in soft guarded tones and there was background noise from people in the audience talking. That said, this is what the CIY observer is able to report.)
The department wants to purchase new equipment, including radios, tablets, possibly new software, and a license plate reader in order to modernize 20 year old equipment. According to Chief Noble, the new equipment would save money through greater efficiencies. No cost figures were given. Supervisor Grace suggested to the chief that he make a presentation to the public on his plans to upgrade the department’s technology, possibly at the November 15th board meeting, adding that it was “the right thing to do for the public.” The chief is looking for a decision by the end of the year as the department’s contract with a technology provider expires at the end of January.
The department also wants to purchase an additional car, explaining that there was money in the 2016 budget for half a car but that the other half of the expense could come from unspent money in other line items. Comptroller Caporale stated that possibly money could be transferred from savings in the medical benefits line.
It was not clear from the discussion whether the town would also voted to advertise the purchase of any of the equipment discussed above prior to the presentation.
2. Landmarks Preservation Commission
Commission members Lynn Briggs and Christine Sisler asked the board to amend the current Landmarks Preservation Law so that the town would qualify for historic preservation grant money from the state. To qualify for the money, the town has to be a “Certified Local Government,” but to become a “Certified Local Government” the town’s Landmark Preservation Law has to include a provision that allows the town to initiate landmarking a structure even if the property owner opposes the landmarking. That provision was once part of the town’s law, but under Supervisor Grace’s leadership, the town eliminated the provision in 2012 as a gesture towards “property rights’ adherents.
While Ms. Briggs said that that the current law had sufficient protections in the event a property owner did not want their property landmarked, Supervisor Grace said that he understood why the state would be reluctant to give the town money if the town wasn’t prepared to landmark a property against the owner’s wishes. He said he would not support a modification to the current law that would infringe on property rights. The town attorney said he would look into the matter and see if any alternate language was possible that met the dual, and sometimes competing, objectives of preserving the town’s history while respecting property rights.
Both organizations provid recreational services to physically and developmentally disabled children and adults. Supervisor Grace asked representatives of both organizations to the meeting to explain to him and other board members exactly what services they were providing in exchange for the town’s financial support, adding that he had a fiduciary responsibility to the town’s taxpayers.
Chris Morabito of Norwest explained that his organization, formed in 1973, provides services to residents of Yorktown (44), Peekskill (63), Cortlandt (50) and Ossining (17.) Yorktown’s support for Norwest is an annual expense in the budget and has been set at $25,000 for the past several years. Because of the way the organization was created, Yorktown’s annual payment is a check that is made out to Cortlandt, a procedure Supervisor Grace said he had a problem with, even though Mr. Morabito assured him that Cortlandt passed the money onto Norwest and did not “pocket” the money in its General Fund. The group gets some funding from the state through Medicaid and because of that it cannot charge a fee for people who register for its programs.
Rose Rothe of SPARC explained that the only Yorktown contribution her group receives is waiving the rental fee for use of YCCC facilities; she has requested funding in the past but was always turned down. The group also provides recreational services to the people living in group homes in Yorktown.
Supervisor Grace thanked the two representatives for explaining their programs. No future actions were planned.
4. Water Department
Water Superintendent Rundle explained why the department was asking the town to transfer $365,000 from the cement lining project budget line to the water purchase line to cover the deficit in the latter budget line. Supervisor Grace said that eventually, the recently enacted increase in the water rates would generate sufficient funds to cover the increased cost of water purchased from the Joint Water Works. Adding that he had been informed by the Joint Water Works that the cost of water for 2017 will be increasing, he asked the town attorney to check into the recently enacted law raising the water rates to see if the town could automatically raise its rates when the Joint Water Works raised its rates. He said the district’s current fund balance was about to $1.3 million but he expected it would be replenished once the new water rates generated additional revenue.
Mr. Rundle advised the board that of the $1.3 million originally budgeted for the cement lining project, all but $350,000 has been transferred to other budget lines. He urged the board to proceed with the project, explaining that it had benefits for better water quality and also fire protection.
At the end of the meeting, the board approved the budget transfer resolution.
5. Featherbed Properties (Colangelo) , Jacob Road
The applicant explained why he was seeking Town Board authorization to use flexibility, repeating many of the points he had made at the Planning Board meeting (see below). Attorney Al Capellini showed the board a photo of the property, circa 1926 when it was used for farming and there were no trees on the site, adding that all the existing trees were second growth.
The applicant advised the board of his long range plans to farm the undeveloped 47 acres that will be part of one lot but said he had no immediate farming plans. He added, however, that he would prepare a narrative describing the proposed future use and that he would seek of the guidance of the County Agricultural District staff and the Watershed Council in developing the plan. He said he also had prepared a Forest Management Plan.
Supervisor Grace expressed no interest in the proposed dog park, and it was noted that the applicant would need a special permit from the Zoning Board for the proposed farm stand. Mr. Tegeder added that the barn, shown on the concept plan, would not be part of the subdivision plan.
The board had no issues with the proposed use of flexibility and voted to advertise a public hearing for November 15th.
6. Wetlands permit/Brookdale Avenue
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants presented a plan to build a single family house on a lot located near Halyan Road, just less than one acre, that will be in the wetlands and wetlands buffer. The town engineer has been working with Mr. Riina on the site’s drainage issues; based on those discussions, some changes will be made to the plan, although the location of the house on the site will remain unchanged. After being assured that the wetlands on the site were a “functioning” wetlands and not simply a “puddle”, Supervisor Grace said that as long as there was an appropriate mitigation plan he had no problem with the disturbance to the wetland and wetland buffer. Although the town engineer preferred to see a revised plan before the public hearing date was set, and Mr. Riina assured the board that he could have the plan changes made within a few days, the board voted to refer out the application and set a public hearing date for November 15th.
7. Croton Overlook, off Route 100
This town rezoned this 62 acre site in 2011 for a proposed age oriented 70 unit town house development. The resolution included a provision that the rezoning would become null and void if there was no approved site plan within five years. No site plan application has been submitted. Supervisor Grace advised the board that he had received a letter from the proposed development’s investor indicating his plans to foreclose on the property if the town did not extend the five year period. After a very brief discussion, the board decided not to extend the time period; the supervisor will notify the investor. It was noted that a logging operation has been taking place on the property.
8. Spectra pipeline/Atlantic Bridge
In an item not on the agenda, the board approved a letter to the DEC regarding the company’s wetlands permit application. The letter was prepared by the town engineer. There was no discussion of its contents.
8. Emergency generators
On the recommendation of the town engineer, the recently received bids for generators for the sewer pumping stations were rejected. Mr. Quinn explained that it appeared that vendors were confused about some of the bid specs and that he wanted to reformat the specs and rebid the project. The board agreed to re-advertise the reformatted specs.
9. Stormwater project at the railroad station park
The town wants to install fencing around the perimeter of the drainage facility that was constructed by the East of Hudson Corporation. Contrary to town code requirements, fencing was not included the original plan for the project. The EOH Corporation was agreed to reimburse the town for the project that will cost $20,000, but before the work is contracted out based on the three bids the town received, the town needs to check with the Corporation to see if there is any problem with its procurement procedures.
10. Croton Heights Bridge repair
When the bridge was replaced last year on a no bid emergency basis, there was a $300,000 contract with the contractor that was based on time and materials. While the work was done satisfactorily, the contractor has now informed the town that actual costs were $103,000 more because more work and materials were required than original estimates; roughly a 25% increase in the total cost of the project. The additional work included more guardrail and about 1,000 feet more of the stone wall that had to be rebuilt. The town engineer subsequently revised the contractor’s overage to about $90,000.
A discussion followed as to whether the contractor should have to live by the $300,000 contract he signed, whether W.S. Sells, the outside consulting firm that supervised the job, should be responsible for at least part of the overage, or whether the town should pay some or all of the overage. Once it was determined that the issue might involve litigation, the board went into closed session. When it returned to open session, there was no further discussion of how the town planned to proceed.
11. Renovation of town engineer’s office
Town Engineer Quinn requested $14,000 to cover the cost of renovating the department’s office, including repairing water damage, carpeting, painting and constructing a customer counter. He said that the work could be done in house. Town Comptroller Caporale suggested that Mr. Quinn look in his budget to see if he could find some unused funds. Alternately, she said that, if at the end of the year, other departments have unused funds, possibly they could be transferred to pay for this project.
12. Grant money
(See Town Board, 8/9/2016 and 10/18/2016.) In an item not on the agenda, an without any discussion, the board voted to request the $175,000 money available from the East of Hudson funds for a Vac-All for the highway department.
To discuss personnel.