Town Board Meeting
March 20, 2012
1. Presentation to Yorktown Leos
Steve Pagoda and Bob Gordineer of the Lake Mohegan Fire Company presented an award to five representatives of the Yorktown Leos thanking them for having raised money for the 9-11 Memorial at the fire house on Lee Boulevard.
2. Supervisor’s Report
Supervisor Grace reminded the public about the upcoming March 22nd Community Affairs meeting to be held at Copper Beech Middle School.
3. Councilman’s Report (Roads)
After Councilman Bianco raised the issue of the need to do something to pave the town’s roads, a discussion followed on how to finance additional paving. Councilman Bianco said that there was a possibility that a likely 2011 surplus could be used for paving to supplement the state CHIPS money. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that the town has applied to the state for $750,000 to help offset the likely wear and tear on the town’s local roads that will result from the Taconic bridge closure. He said he was encouraged that the town’s grant application had made it through the first round.
Mr. DiBartolo said that this year his department plans to continue using an outside contractor to do the paving as it was less expensive than having the town’s staff do the job. Roads scheduled to be done include some in the Fox Meadow area, Hunterbrook Road, Hanover Street, Moseman, and East Main Street from the shopping center to Route 6N. The East Main Street work will be financed with the remaining funds the town received from the county when the town took over the road as part of the Legacy Fields project. Other roads, like Hunterbrook, will only be paved in “swaths” in order to make the available funds go further.
Whereas the town used to pave roads every 10-13 years, the cycle was now every 19 years because of the increased cost of blacktop and diminishing town funds allocated for paving. It was noted that the town had not appropriated any paving money in excess of what it received from the state in the past three budgets. If the town has $1.5 million for paving this year, he said, the town might be able to get to a 16 year cycle.
Supervisor Grace acknowledged that the town could not pave all the roads that needed to be paved and that as money became available the board would have to meet with the highway superintendent to set priorities on how the money was used.
4. Taconic bridge closure
Police Chief McMahon discussed preparations the town has made in conjunction with the state DOT and local and neighboring fire and ambulance corps to deal with both anticipated and unanticipated problems. Of special concern is the area south of the reservoir during the morning rush hour when the parkway typically experiences 7,500 cars per hour. Cameras on the parkway will be used to adjust the five temporary traffic lights on local roads, police cars and tow trucks will be strategically located, and sections of the jersey barriers on the temporary bypass will be movable to allow traffic to be diverted if it becomes necessary.
5.Presentation on energy saving rebates
Paul Moskowitz, chairman of the Yorktown Energy Committee, reported that rebates for the purchase of qualifying energy efficient refrigerators and washing machines were available from NYSERDA, in addition to free home energy audits. More information about both programs is available on the town website, www.yorktownny.org, or from www.nysappliance.com.
6. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Flooding issue. A resident of Highbrook Street repeated a request for something to be done along the brook on Highbrook Street that floods due to the accumulation of silt. In response, Supervisor Grace said that he was planning to take a “road trip” with the highway superintendent to check out problem areas, including her street. In response to her request for an update on an insurance claim filed about two years ago related to a sewer backup, the supervisor advised her to check with the town attorney.
b. Backflow services. Mr. Bonanno of J&J backflow said that after viewing the archived tape of the last board meeting he wanted to make sure that his point was clear: he was not concerned about the amount of the fee that the town charged for the backflow inspection but rather he wanted his company’s name included in the letter the Water Department sent advising users of the need for the inspection. In response, Supervisor Grace said, “We hear you,” and we’re looking into it but that things go slowly. He added that he felt the town was undercharging for the work it did and that he didn’t mind if Mr. Bonanno kept reminding him.
c. Holland Sporting Club. In response to Mohegan resident Alan Most’s request for an update on the asbestos abatement contract, Supervisor Grace said that the town was still reviewing its options which included renegotiating the contract or rebidding the contract, plus doing a separate bid for the air monitoring. He said that he had hoped that the scope of work for the monitoring contract would have been ready by this evening’s meeting but it wasn’t. He could not give Mr. Most a time frame when the contract issue would be resolved.
d. Granite Knolls field and barn
Stating that the town had earlier set aside $25,000 for the Granite Knolls field, Ed Ciffone asked how much money to town had spent to make the field usable and what would be done with any money that was saved. Supervisor Grace explained that the town had “anticipated” spending up to $25,000 for the field but that no money had actually been set aside for the project. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo explained that his department has actually spent only about $500 on the project for diesel fuel and chain saws.
In response to Mr. Ciffone’s questions about the Granite Knolls barn, Supervisor Grace said that there was no asbestos in the barn.
e. CSEA contract. In response to a comment from Susan Siegel (the person writing these notes) requesting that the board provide some information about the CSEA contract prior to voting on the contract, Councilman Bianco said that the 3-year contract that covered 2009-2011 called for a zero increase in 2009, a 1.5% lump sum payment on the base salary for 2010, and a 1.5% salary increase for 2011. He said that the money for the increase was in the 2012 budget. There was no response to Ms. Siegel’s question as to whether the contract included any savings for the town.
Supervisor Grace said that he had “inherited” the contract at the 11th hour and Councilman Murphy said he was pleased that the contract did not include any layoffs, a point repeated by Councilman Bianco who said that one reason the CSEA accepted the contract was because it did not include any layoffs. He also said that the person whose job was saved last year was working out well.
The contract was approved 5-0, and Supervisor Grace said that negotiations for the 2012 contract had already begun. In response to a question from Councilman Patel, Supervisor Grace said that negotiations are continuing with the PBA.
7. Resolutions (all approved 5-0, except as noted)
a. Advertise bids for lab services for the sewer plant and for summer camp t-shirts
b. Extend bid for one year for body work on town trucks and cars. Supervisor Grace said that in response to questions raised by Fred Gulitz at an earlier meeting, he had looked into whether this should be rebid but that the consensus was the town had a “good deal” with the current vendor, Tompkins Garage, which charged either $27/hour or $30/hour (there was some confusion over the exact price). The town has a $5,000 deductible.
c. Creative Living (Navajo Fields)
The board approved an amendment to the previously approved wetlands permit for Creative Living that permits the construction of a climbing wall, volleyball and basketball court.
Supervisor Grace advised the owner, C.J. Diven, that because staff has expressed concern about the ever changing plan for which there is no required site plan review, going forward he should do two things: 1) have the map that incorporates the new changes signed by him so that there is an official record of what has been approved to date, and 2) be mindful that any future changes need to be reviewed by the town. He noted that staff was particularly concerned about parking at the fields, something that Mr. Diven said was being taken care of.
Supervisor Grace explained that because the town’s current ordinances do not cover “private recreational uses,” there has not been any thorough review of the plan and that the town may have to look into adding something to the code to deal with this unregulated “animal.”
Concern was also expressed that that the NYS DEC has not yet given its okay to the plan changes needed to accommodate the dugout change.
d. Legal services. In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Patel voting no, the board approved the selection of attorney Brian Sokoloff of the firm Sokoloff Stern to represent Highway Superintendent DiBartolo in the lawsuit against him filed by resident William LaPierre. The town will pay Mr. Sokoloff $200/hour, plus reasonable and customary disbursements.
7. Personnel(items not listed on the published agenda)
a. Appointments: The board unanimously appointed Jason Zeif as code inspector to replace Joe Hughes who resigned in February. Mr. Zeif will be paid $41,857 and will be full time. (Mr. Hughes worked 4 days a week.) In addition to having experience as a code inspector, Building Inspector John Winter said that Mr. Zeif should be able to assist the department in other building code issues.
The board approved the appointment of two new police officers, Daniel J Kaen and Matthew D Racioppo, to replace two who have retired. The officers will attend the Orange County training academy beginning next week and will be officially swon in at a later date.
b. Salary stipends
The board announced that it was approving a stipend of $275/week for Kim Angliss Gage (the equivalent of $14,300 for the year), retroactive to January 1st for serving as acting head of the Environmental Conservation Department and Central Garage after the retirement of Pat Lofaro. In response to Councilman Patel’s question about what title Ms. Gage would have, Supervisor Grace explained that the town was still working this out with the county’s HR department.
The board also approved a stipend for Deputy Assessor Kim Penner who has been serving as Acting Assessor since the resignation of former assessor Harold Girdlestone. The amount of her stipend was not announced and the board said there were also HR issues related to the appointment.