Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Note: This summary covers two meetings: February 16 and February 17.


Town Board

February 16, 2016


1. Appointments

Cable TV Committee: Reappointed Geoff Wheeler, Ray Arnold and Francis McVetty

Conservation Board: Appointed Kevin Byrnes

Board of Assessment Review: Douglas McGowan (this was not on the published agenda)


2. Increase in water rates

(See Town Board, 1-26-2016.) The board voted to advertise a public hearing for March 1 to amend the local law that sets the water rates. (The amendment would increase the rate to $6.25/1,000 gallons from the current rate  of $5.00/1,000 gallons.)


3. Zoning amendment for C-4 zone/public hearing

(See Town Board 1-12-2016.)  The board opened and closed the hearing. There were no comments.

The amendment was passed unanimously.


4. No parking/No standing on Rochambeau Drive/public hearing

(See Town Board 11-17-2015.) The board opened and closed the hearing and approved the amendment to the code. The only comment was from Dan Strauss who wanted assurances that the appropriate signs would be installed and that once installed, the law would be enforced.


5. T-Shirt Bid

(See Town Board 2-2-2016.) Without any discussion, the board awarded the bid to the Texas company, the lowest bidder.


6. Miscellaneous resolutions (passed with no discussion)

Summer day camps; Approved  a lease agreement with Yorktown Grange for the full day camp program at cost of $5,500.


Senior Bus; Authorized expense of $10,200 for the local share for purchase of a new bus.


Tax Certiorari; Approved a settlement for 2986 Navajo Street, reducing assessed value for 2010 thru 2015. (Amount of refund was not noted in the resolution.)


Water Department purchases: Authorized purchase of three new trucks for the department, and going to bid for leak detection equipment that will cost approximately $25,000.


7. Courtesy of the Floor

Water storage tank replacement. (See Town Board 2-11-2016.) Jay Kopstein wanted to know why Yorktown was responsible for 49% of the cost of the new tank for the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works. Supervisor Grace explained that the apportionment of costs between the member towns was based on the number of water customers in each town.  The NWJWW tank stores water from the Catskill system which in turn supplies the storage tanks owned and maintained by each town.


Supervisor Grace added that the cost of the new pre-fabricated glass lined tank, manufactured in California, was less expensive than a steel tank that could have been welded together on site by local labor because, by state law, local labor had to be paid a prevailing wage rate that would have significantly increased the cost of the project.


Litter: Dan Strauss again raised the issue of littering and praised the Highway Department for erecting signs along Strang Blvd warning of a $500 fine for littering. He also advised the board that on his own, he has been picking up litter along Wood Street. His comments prompted a brief discussion about dumpsters and the need to regulate both their location and condition.  Supervisor Grace said staff would look into the existing Property Maintenance code.   He said that people were less prone to dump and litter in a location if the location was litter free to begin with.



Town Board Work Session

February 17, 2016


Closed session

Contract negotiations involving the Police Department (about 2 hours)


Open Session

Supervisor Grace explained that the purpose of this meeting, as with the ones that preceded it, was for the new members of the board to acquaint themselves with the working of town departments.


Part 1

The board met for about 10 minutes with Tax Receiver Barbara Korsak and Assessor Kim Penner. Ms. Korsak advised the board that she is looking into accepting credit card payments but that the taxpayer would have to pay a service charge to the credit card company which she said would likely be about 3%. The department has started accepting online payment via bank transfers.


The board then went into closed executive session that last about 40 minutes to discuss personnel issues.


Part 2

The board met with Building Inspector John Winter.  Most of the discussion focused on sections of the Zoning Code that Mr. Winter said needed to be updated and/or clarified, including:

·         Dwelling units that had two kitchens but weren’t accessory apartments

·         Side yard requirements for mechanical equipment such as air conditioning units and generators

·         Parking requirements in commercial zones

·         Special permit issues

·         Fence requirements

·         Plumbing and electrical codes

·         Enforcing changes in site plans

·         Bulk requirement charts


Supervisor  Grace said Mr. Winter should work with the town attorney on the needed substantive amendments and that Ray Arnold could be hired to do some work on code sections that needed cleaning up.


There was also a discussion about the need for a new sign code. Supervisor Grace said that the code  should have certain standards but also be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of individual businesses.   He was supportive of freestanding sandwich style signs as long as they met certain aesthetic and location requirements; he suggested that they might be allowed by special permit and that the town might experiment with them on a trial basis.  Mr. Winter suggested that the town look into the Town of Mamaroneck code and Supervisor Grace asked Mr. Winter to work with the town attorney on this issue.


Supervisor Grace also said the town board would be looking into revising the Master Fee Schedule that allows the board to change fees by resolution. He said that by law, if a fee was set by a local law, it could only be changed by a local law. 


Mr.Winter said he was satisfied that the current alarm fee, that generated $68,000 in 2015, was adequate to cover the cost of the department employee who spent about 50% of her time on this issue.


The board went into closed executive session to discuss personnel issues.


SPECIAL NOTE: The CIY observer learned, by accident, that the board voted on February 3 to hold two more of these special meetings with department heads on February 24 and March 3.  The vote was taken when the board went back into open session from the lengthy closed executive session and when no member of the public was present.