February 11, 2020
Personnel: Highway and Parks and Rec.
1. Landmarks Preservation Commission
Lynn Briggs advised the board that her group is seeking separate resolutions from the Town Board that would change the group’s name from “Landmarks Preservation” to “Heritage Preservation.” The change would enable the group to expand its activities to all aspects of the town’s heritage, not just buildings, and how the history can promote tourism. The group also wants to set up a committee to work with other county groups to begin planning for the county’s 250th anniversary in 2026.
Mr. Tegeder advised the board that one of his department’s goals was to create a “historic trail” in Yorktown.
The board was supportive of the group’s plans and formal resolutions are likely to follow.
2. Yorktown Stage
Barry Liebman, the operator of the Stage, requested the town’s permission to apply for a liquor license so that the theater could sell wine and beer at appropriate performances. As the building’s landlord, the town has to authorize his application to the state liquor authority. The board supported his request, noting that other theaters in the area also serve wine and beer and that its availability was “expected.”
Councilwoman Roker raised the issue of whether the theater could show black and white movies. It was noted that previous town budgets included a line item to purchase a projector but nothing ever came of the plan. It was suggested that instead of moving ahead to purchase a projector, which could cost more than $20,000, that the town rent a projector to test out the interest in showing movies.
3. Building Department fees
(See Town Board, 6-6-2017.) Building Inspector Landi asked the board for the green light to begin a review of building department fees, including building permit fees. He said that the current practice of having the fee based on square footage instead of construction costs resulted in his department having to overcharge applicants. He said it didn’t make sense to charge the same square footage fee for a Lowe’s and a small retail store. He also questioned the fairness of a minimum $300 fee and whethr there should be a separate fee schedule fo residential and commercial permits.
Supervisor Slater asked him to gather up information on how other town assess their fees and work with the town attorney on potential changes to the fee structure.
4. Solar Law
Mr. Tegeder said he was ready to draft possible changes to the law that reflected earlier comments for the board’s review and to be referred out. In response to Councilwoman Roker’s comments, he said he would arrange for a tour of existing solar facilities in Orange County and also Manhattanville College that has solar panels over a parking lot.
5. Water Department, Commercial water meters
Water Superintendent Rundle advised the board that the town has not enforced the provision in the Water Code that requires commercial customers (anyone with a water line larger than 1.5”) to test their meters for accuracy every three years and that as meters age, they slow down, resulting in a loss of revenue. Before his department sends out letters advising the 350-400 commercial customers to test their meters, he explained that the Code had to be amended to include a penalty for non compliance. The board agreed and asked Mr. Rundle to work with the town attorney to draft the necessary amendment, similar t what other towns inclue in their water code.
Mr. Rundle explained that the test could cost $12,000-$15,000, and that given the age of some of the meters, and the likelihood that replacement parts were no longer available for meters that date back to the 1980s, it might be less expensive for some customers to replace their meters rather than have them tested.
Councilman Diana suggested that the town consider amending the time period for testing to something less than every three years.
6. Parks Department – online registration
The board heard a presentation from Capture Point LLC about its Community Pass software program that would enable town residents to register for Parks Department programs online. The vendor explained that the company has 400 clients (municipalities and school districts) in 36 states, including many in Westchester, Rockland and the Town of Carmel in Putnam County. Once a family account is set up, he said registering for program could take 2.5 minutes.
The board was very supportive of the program, agreeing that online registration would make registration much easier and more convenient for residents and that it would also reduce staff costs. The town attorney is reviewing the contract with the vendor. (Note: the cost of the program was not discussed.)
Supervisor Slater said that the program would be phased in: Initially it would be used to sign up for recreation programs, to be followed for camp registration and ultimately for pool passes. It was explained that the system is secure and that private data is not sold to third parties.
7. Legacy Fields/Enbridge agreement
Parks Superintendent Martorano and Rec Commission member Matt Talbert explained that a pole mounted security camera at Legacy Field is located on Enbridge property, creating the need for an agreement with Enbridge. The town will have full control of the camera, and although the town, not Enbridge, will be responsible for any damage to the camera, Mr. Talbert explained that this should not be an issue as the camera only cost $285. The board approved a resolution authorizing the supervisor to sign the agreement, subject any amendments the town attorney added.
8. Parks Lien Release Agreement
Mr. Martorano and the town attorney explained that it was standard practice in the construction industry to have lien release agreements that allowed the town to release payment based on completed work. The town currently does not have such an agreement in place; the issue surfaced with a Granite Knolls contractor. The town attorney will prepare a boiler plate agreement that will be modified, as needed, for specific jobs.
9. Parks related updates to Town Codes
Mr. Martorano advised the board that from the perspective of the Parks Department, several town codes needed updating.
Lighting. The code, written many years ago, requires outdoor lights to be shielded to prevent light spillover. Mr. Martorano explained that the code does not reflect the newer technology that makes shields unnecessary. He explained that there was no spill over from the lights at Granite Knolls although the fact that there are lit fields cannot be avoided. He said that while most of the lights did not require shields, some did, and he suggested that the code be amended to reflect the need for flexibility.
Advertising on town fields. The town will massage a home rule message used by New Castle that gave the town permission to install paid advertising at its fields. As proposed, the Yorktown legislation would apply only to Granite Knolls and Legacy and the town would have to develop standards for the signs. Supervisor Slater suggested that as the home rule message works its way through the state legislature, the town should start work on the standards, e.g., color, type and size. It was agreed that the revenue from the advertisements be placed in a “turf replacement” fund.
Mr. Talbert explained that turf had to be replaced between 12-15 years at a cost of $500,000-$600,000 and that the existing fund did not have sufficient funds to cover the cost for replacing the 9 year old Legacy turf. While the Legacy field has not been used during the pipeline construction, Mr. Talbert explained that not using the field actually hurts the field.
Smoking/vaping. The town’s smoking code is outdated and does not conform to the Clean Air Act. Mr. Martorano said the issue was mostly for events when there are groups of people.
10. Parks Department vehicle
M. Martorano advised the board that a 2019 purchase order for a utility truck was never used because by the time the order was placed, the requested vehicle was no longer available. He asked, and the board approved, to purchase the truck with 2020 funds at a cost of $45,135, compared to the planned 2019 expense of $46,329,
11. Par 3 golf course
Mr. Martorano gave the board an update, explaining that the leasee had been given a laundry list of documents needed by the Planning Board and that the lease was working with the town engineer to get the necessary documents to the DEC within the 10 day time frame required in the non financial notice of violation.. He advised the board that the leasee couldn’t do anything at the site until the DEC issued a permit.
In an item not on the agenda, the board voted to hire a laborer for the Highway Department.