Town Board

December 20, 2016


1. Appointments

Police officers: Daniel Curtis, John Battista, James Hannigan


2. Water Department

Water Superintendent Rundle gave a report on the results of the in house leak detection program using newly purchased equipment and department staff working 10 nights. He reported that the project cost $7,500 (he didn’t specify what this cost covered), comparted to $20,850 the town paid each year for an outside company to do the work.  A total of 14 leaks were found; the 12 on town property have been repaired.


On the postponed cement lining project, Mr. Rundle said the plan is now awaiting Department of Health approval and Councilman Bernard said that proceeding with the project would be discussed at “an appropriate time.”  Supervisor Grace said the board was committed to the project, offered reasons why the project has been delayed, and added that explaining the reasons for the delay was like “inside baseball” that no one would understand.  


3. Agreements

Superior Officers (Police) Association: The board authorized the supervisor to sign a collective bargaining agreement for January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2017 with the SOA that represents police sergeants and lieutenants. The details of the agreement were not discussed.


Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. for a variety of insurance policies for 2017. In response to a question from Councilman Patel, the town comptroller said that the 2017 policies represented an 8% increase over last year but that a 10% increase had been factored into the budget which was prepared before the police renewals had been finalized.


D&B Engineers & Architects: for stormwater management services, at an amount not to exceed $15,000. There were three responses to the town’s Request for Proposals.


4. 2017 Budget

(See Town Board, 12-13-2016) In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Patel voting no, the board approved the 2017 budget.  While the total amount of the budget and the tax levy remained unchanged, as adopted, the budget “zeros out” the $30 open space flat tax and adjusts the revenue to be raised by the General Fund Tax by adding approximately $400,000. The supervisor did not announce what the new tax rate per thousand dollars of assessed value would be. 


Councilman Patel explained that he was voting against the budget because he objected to the discontinuance of the $30 open space tax.  When he also expressed concern about the increasing expenses in the budget, focusing on the 10 additional staff positions in the budget over the past five years despite the supervisor’s repeated statement that staff was doing more with less,  Supervisor Grace challenged him to say which positions he would eliminate. When the councilman did not respond, Councilman Lachterman said that the town has a responsibility to get the job done.


The changes to the open space fund were brought up later in the meeting during Courtesy of the Floor. Paul Moskowitz questioned the legality of the plan and also took, exception to the fact that the public had no opportunity to comment on the plan at the public hearing because Supervisor Grace explained the plan after the hearing had been closed.  In response, Supervisor Grace said that there was nothing nefarious about the plan and that a government was dynamic. Councilman Bernard said the open space tax could always be added back to the budget and Councilman Lachterman cited other projects that had to be done.


5. Mohegan Auto & Tire  (Hilltop Service Station), East Main Street, Shrub Oak, Public Hearing

Most of the discussion between the applicant and the board was the location of the proposed “Welcome to Shrub Oak” sign that will include gas prices above the lettering; Planning Director Tegeder suggested that the sign be moved closer to the station on East Main Street.


After giving the applicant some time to review this suggestion, the applicant agreed to the change and will adjust his landscaping plan to accommodate the new location; he will now use some of the existing arbor vitae shrubs along East Main Street for the screening in between the fencing along Route 6. Councilman Bernard said he wanted to see a “density of plantings” along Route 6.


James Heller said it was disingenuous to talk about the site being beautified when the illegal sale of used cars continued; a 3.5’ fence was going to replace an 8’ fen;  and that the proposed landscaping would replace the lush vegetation that had been removed. The applicant insisted that he had only removed invasive vegetation.


Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, pointed out that the rezoning application was only for the gas station parcel, and not the rear parcel whose existing transitional zoning prohibited the sale of used cars.  After initially stating that the rezoning was for both parcels, Supervisor Grace acknowledged that it was only for the gas station parcel, but added that transactions to sell cars could be conducted on the gas station parcel even if the actual cars to be sold were parked on the rear parcel. (The zoning for the rear parcel allows for the “storage” of cars associated with the operation of the gas station.)


Ms. Siegel also gave board members a copy of the requirements for a transitional zone, pointing out that the gas station parcel did not meet the criteria for the rezoning. Supervisor Grace said he had no problem with the rezoning.


The hearing was closed. The board will prepare an approving resolution that will include a schedule of permitted uses for the gas station parcel.


6. Getty Station, 3700 Barger Street: Public Hearing on special use permit

Most of the discussion focused on relocating the “Welcome to Yorktown” sign, that, like the proposed sign at the Mohegan Auto & Tire station at the other end of East Main Street, will include gas prices on top of the “Welcome” message.  The board also asked the applicant to show more landscaping, and install a green vinyl fence instead of a chain link fence to delineate the separation from the adjoining parcel. 


If these details, plus some stormwater issues of concern to the town engineer can be worked out in time, the board anticipates voting vote on an approving resolution at its January 3rd meeting.    The hearing was adjourned.


7. Courtesy of the Floor

Hallocks Mll Sewer District pump stations:  Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked about the status of the bids to replace two pump stations.  In response, Supervisor Grace said that the board was taking a “global approach” to sewer district issues that included both the pump station replacement project and sewer extensions to currently unsewered neighborhoods. He did not explain further.


St. Georges Winery/Parkland alienation.   Ms. Siegel asked about the status of the alienation request that was part of the Winery’s site plan and wetlands permit in 2015. In response Supervisor Grace said that the town had missed the deadline for requesting the needed state legislation during the 2016 legislative session.