December 3, 2012
1. Garbage contract
The Board discussed new information indicating there will be management changes at Competition Carting, the company that was awarded the bid to collect garbage beginning January 1, 2013. According to a letter that Brian Amico, the owner of Competition Carting sent to the Westc hester Solid Waste Commission, the new chairman of the company will be Joseph Spiezio III who is licensed to collect garbage as R& S Waste Services and there will be a stock transfer. Councilman Paganelli said it was not known what ownership interest Mr. Spiezio will have in Competition Carting. At the request of Councilman Bianco, Supervisor Grace will ask Mr. Spiezio to attend the December 11 work session.
During Courtesy of the Floor, a property owner from Jefferson Village said that he was upset that the Town had awardede the garbage bid to a company without any experience, without trucks and with no bond. Supervisor Grace defended the decision and the changes in the bid specs that he said opened up the bidding competition that resulted in a lower bid and a savings to the taxpayers. He commended the Board for taking a “bold risky move” and he was hopeful that the new company would be satisfactory.
2. Department head benefits and salary increases
Planning Director Tegeder, representing other department heads, continued an earlier discussion (that had been in closed session) regarding vacation benefits for department heads. (The purpose of the discussion was to update the 1993 resolution regarding benefits that came to light when the former comptroller Joan Goldberg resigned.) Referring to a revised document, it appeared that the new resolution would cap the number of vacation carryover days at 35 and that the carryover would have to be approved by the Town Board. There was also a discussion on the number of vacation days that department heads would be entitled to based on their years of service and the apparent need to adjust the number of days for three existing department heads to bring them into compliance with the new schedule. After some discussion of whether the number of vacation days in a given year could or should be pro-rated if the person left at the beginning of the year, it appeared to be decided that this was not workable. The Board will vote to adopt the resolution at a subsequent Board meeting. The resolution will govern vacation benefits going forward.
Mr. Tegeder also brought up the issue of raises for department heads. The preliminary budget includes 3% raises for most department heads, plus a larger amount for some, and is based on the 3% increase in the CSEA contract for 2009-2011. Supervisor Grace said that it would not be appropriate to discuss 2012 raises until after negotiations were settled with the CSEA for 2012, adding that department head raises should be on a case by case basis. Mr. Tegeder pointed out that in 2013, police officers would be earning more, without overtime, than some department heads. “That’s the nature of the beast,” Supervisor Grace said, referring to collective bargaining.
3. School district issues
(For background on this issue, see Board budget meeting notes fromNovember 8, 2012.)
Councilman Bianco reported that when he and Councilman Patel met with officials at Lakeland School District, the officials indicated that they had no intention of charging the Town any fees for the use of school facilities and they suggested that the Town talk to Yorktown School District officials about their plan to possibly charge the Town fees. In response, Supervisor Grace said that he had met with Yorktown officials and they indicated that they will cooperate with the Town and not charge fees, thereby ending any talk of the Town charging the district a tax collection fee. The Supervisor added that he would be meeting with the athletic clubs and school officials to further discuss the fee issue.
4. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Downed Trees
In response to a homeowner’s concern about downed trees on his property, Supervisor Grace repeated the Town’s policy that it will pick up only bundled branches and logs less than 5” in diameter. He expressed sympathy for homeowners with downed trees on their property but said that the Town cannot go onto private property . He said that all the downed trees in the right of way have been marked with a large X and will be removed by a logging company that will be hired by the Town. If a homeowner has a question as to whether a tree is on his property of the right of way, he should contact the Town.
Councilman Bianco said that he may try to work with his fellow councilmen to remove logs on private property for some homeowners who cannot do the work themselves.
b. Abandoned building at Shrub Oak A&P Shopping Center
A Shrub Oak resident complained about the condition of the abandoned building in the shopping center that once housed a tire company and that he said was a stain on the neighborhood. In addition to graffiti and boarded up windows, there’s also garbage around the building. Supervisor Grace said he had visited the site with the building inspector but that there was little the Town could do to correct the situation as long as it was safe and secure. The Town has ordinances dealing with unsafe structures and also a Property Maintenance law. The supervisor said that the best option for cleaning up the site was to re-incentivise the property owner to redevelop the property. He likened the problem to the vacant Food Emporium building in Yorktown Green and the buildings along Route 202.
5. Wetlands public hearing, 1536 Wenonah Trail
The Board opened and closed a public hearing on a wetlands permit. There were no public comments and the Board unanimously approved the permit. The owner plans to add a second floor to an existing house. And although there won’t be any change to the existing wetland or wetland buffer, because he is doing an “addition,” the wetlands law requires he obtain a permit.
6. Advertise public hearing
A December 18 hearing will be held on proposed amendments to chapter 300-75 of the Zoning Ordinance relating to warehouses or storage in shopping centers. (The amendment would affect the Staples shopping center.)
The Board referred out a request for a wetlands permit for Teatown Lake Reservation to make structural repairs to the existing Vernay Dam, and also for Creative Living, the operator of Navajo Fields, for amendments to its current wetlands and excavation permits. In response to Councilman Bianco’s comment that the Board had already approved modifications in Creative Living’s permits, Supervisor Grace responded that “things evolve.”
The Board approved a six month temporary certificate of occupancy for the Winery. Supervisor Grace said that the TCO could be extended if the work isn’t finished in 6 months.
9. Selected resolutions unanimously approved
a. Vacation day carryover: The Board approved carryovers for 15 employees
b. Budget transfers for the Highway Department. One transfer of $50,000 was to cover the costs associated with Hurricane Sandy and will be taken from the county paving line. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo advised the Board that the money will be returned to that line as soon as the county reimburses the Town for the paving that was done earlier this year. (Note: the county paving line is pursuant to an agreement with the county that dates back to the Legacy ballfields agreement.)