March 10, 2020
Absent: Councilmen Roker and Diana
Personnel: Water Department
Volunteer board interviews
1. IBM/solar carport
Representatives of IBM explained a proposed project to erect 1,300 solar panels over the parking lot at the company’s Kitchawan building. The project would be the largest carport project in New York State. Given the parking lot’s location, no adverse visual impacts to the surrounding area are anticipated. The design of the project will incorporate the collection of stormwater which will be channeled into the site’s existing stormwater system which will also be upgraded as part of the project.
The board was supportive of the idea which Planning Director Tegeder called a “benign project.” The town is still working on a revised Solar Law that would regulate such facilities.
2. Water Department/Sensus meters
(See background on the meter replacement issue.) Water Superintendent Ken Rundle and Sensus representatives explained the multiple benefits to both the town and residents of continuing the installation of the digital meter monitoring system that the town started in 2011 but which has stalled. Only about half of the water district’s 9,755 residential customers and one quarter of the larger commercial customers are connected to the system. Mr. Rundle advised the board that in 2019 the town lost about $627,000 in revenue from water usage that was not metered, e.g., water used for fire fighting or water main breaks, or not accurately metered because of the age of the meters. A good part of that lost revenue could be captured, he said, with the installation of the new smart meters. He estimated that replacing all the existing old meters would cost about $2.5 M and that the town was exploring the possibility of applying for a grant to cover the cost.
No decisions were made.
3. Water Department/Commercial meter testing
(See Town Board 2-11-2020.) The town attorney had prepared language amending the Water Code to include a fine for non compliance but as the board had not seen the proposed changes, the decision to schedule a public hearing on the proposed amendment was put off until next week when the board would have a chance to review the proposed amendment.
Mr. Rundle explained that since parts were no longer available for commercial meters installed prior to the year 2000, commercial customers would be better off replacing their meter, at a cost of about $1,300, rather than having their existing meter tested.
4. VFW car show
The board has no problem granting the VFW permission to hold its car show in the town hall commuter lot. A resolution is expected to be voted on at next week’s meeting.
5. Parks and Recreation/status repot
Park & Rec Superintendent Jim Martorano, Jr. gave the board an update on completed repairs and upgrades to existing park and recreation facilities as well as work that is planned for the second quarter. He advised the board that a safety assessment of the facilities, which should be done very two years, has not been done for a few years and that he would likely request funds for such as assessment in his 2021 budget. Thinking long term, he would also like to budget funds to have an existing department employee receive safety assessment training so that the person could be certified and do future assessments in house.
6. Par 3 Golf course
Mr. Martorano gave the board an update on dealing with the DEC, regarding both the progress on the wetlands permit and also the agency’s stormwater division. A second DEC violation notice has been addressed. Gonig forward, at issue is a disagreement over the extent to which a stormwater plan has to be prepared – an issue that is based on differing interpretations of how much land is being disturbed. Supervisor Slater said he has been in touch with the DEC in an effort to a resolve the issue.
7. Reducing carbon footprint
Recycling coordinator Kim Angliss Gage presented the board with several options, including:
1. using paper instead of plastic cups at the town’s 15 water coolers. The board agreed and the paper cups will be ordered.
2. ordering recycle bags with a town logo . The board agreed to an order of 5,000 bags at a cost of $3,800. The bags will be given out free as part of the April 7 Earth Day celebration and after that might be sold.
3. Recycling signs on trash receptacles. Initiating a contest to have students design a sign that could be reproduced as a sticker and placed on existing trash receptacles in town parks to encourage recycling.
8. Stormwater maintenance agreement/PCSB bank
Mr. Quinn explained that as part of the bank’s relocation to Commerce Street, the site’s stormwater facilities, that are connected to the town’s stormwater system, were upgraded and that as part of the upgrade the bank will be responsible or the maintenance and ongoing inspection of the facilities. The board will vote to approve the agreement at next week’s meeting.
9. Buckhorn Street
The board voted to refer out the application for stormwater, wetland and tree permits to various advisory boards in advance of an April 21 public hearing. The board advised the applicant to work with staff in advance of the hearing to work out several issues, including the amount of the site that will be disturbed and also why the applicant was planning to use wood chips.
10. Chamber of Commerce/various issues.
Chamber president Serge Esposito addressed 3 issues.
Springfest, April 25. The Chamber needs a board resolution for the street closing and also a resolution giving its approval for the Chamber’s application for a liquor license for the day.
TV show. (See Town Board 1-28-2020.) For legal reasons, the project can’t be a joint town/Chamber project and it would have to be funded entirely by the town at a cost of $850/month. Supervisor Stater said he would have to confer with the town comptroller about the availability of funds but Councilman Lachterman suggested that the money the town has budged for a “branding” project could possibly be used. Supervisor Slater advised the board that more research needed to be done about a state law that appears to prohibit elected officials from participating in the proposed programs. No decisions were made pending more information on the availability of funds and also input from Councilwoman Roker.
Arts Committee (See Town Board 1-28-2020.) Based on Chamber meetings, Mr. Esposito and Chamber member Bruce Apar suggested the formation of a new advisory committee. After some discussion, it was agreed that the new committee would consist of 7 members: two co-chairs, one each appointed by the town and the other recommended by the Chamber, 2 members recommended by the Chamber and 3 members by the town. The committee would be called: Arts, Cultural and Entertainment Committee.
The board is expected to vote on the formation of the committee at next week’s meeting.
11. Recreation Commission/Televising meetings
Councilman Lachterman would like to see the monthly meetings televised so that residents who are affected by what the Commission but cannot attend the meetings and know what is happening. Commission member Patrick Cumisky opposed televising the meetings on the grounds that it would politicize the Commission’s work. Two other commission members, Joe Falone and Matt Talbert had no issue with televising meetings, although Mr. Talbert acknowledged that televising the meetings would likely politicize items but he felt that the Commission could handle that possibility. Televising the once monthly meeting would cost $175 per meeting. Mr. Martorano said there was no money in his current budget to cover that cost. In response to the question of which body, the Town Board or the Rec Commission, had the power to make the televising decision, the town attorney said the decision was up to the Town Board.
No decision was made.
12. Code updates
Smoking: (See Town Board 2-11-2020.) The town attorney has prepared amendments to the existing very outdated Smoking Code that would prohibit smoking, e-cigarettes and vaping in town facilities. A public hearing will be hold April 21.
Lighting: (See Town Board 2-11-2020.) The town attorney has proposed an amendment that would delete 3 words from the existing code requiring that lights be fully shielded. Planning Director Tegeder, noting that spill from the lights was a neighborhood quality of life issue, suggested that the wording might be modified to provide more flexibility regardnig the shielding issue. Commission members noted that as Granite Knolls is located at one of the highest points in Yorktown, depending on where residents live, they will see the lights and that the issue wasn’t whether the lights needed to be shielded to eliminate spill.
Mr. Tegeder will meet with Mr. Talbert to review the proposed language that will be reviewed by the board next week
13. Selected resolutions
Grant application. The board approved a grant application submitted by the town clerk for a records management grant related to scanning documents for storage as laser fiche.
ACCCC steps. (See Town Board 7-16-2019.) The board accepted the Certificate of Acceptance from the Landmarks Preservation Commission that included five conditions regarding the work on the steps at one entrance to the building. The work can now continue. In response to a question about the status of the second set of steps, no information was available.
Used Police Department vehicles. The board voted to scrap three Ford Crown Victoria vehicles with mileage ranging from 121,000 to 184,000 miles as having passed their usefulness and which can no longer pass NYS emission inspections.