Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Town Board

April 8, 2014



To discuss litigation (unspecified)




1. Insurance update

Bob Spadaccia, the town’s insurance agent, explained that when he received quotes for the 2014 insurance in August, 2013, CNA was $60,000 less than Travelers, the town’s 2013 insurer, but that CNA would not insure the water slide at the Shrub Oak pool facility or the dam at Sparkle Lake that Travelers had been covering.  However, after further negotiations that were not finalized until late December, CNA agreed to cover both items with no change in premium, which led the town, on December 31,  to vote to go with CNA.


Overall, he said that the cost of the total premium package had gone down but that the dollar value of what was covered increased.  Also, the deductible for the public officials liability policy went down from $50,000 to $25,000.


Councilman Patel, who at an earlier meeting had requested the update from Mr. Spadaccia, said that he had wanted more information about the policies and the coverage back in November prior to having to vote on them. Councilman Murphy appeared annoyed with his colleague’s questions, stating “you’re the only one who is asking questions.”  Councilman Bianco noted that in previous years, Mr. Spadaccia had come before the board on a yearly basis but hadn’t last year.


Mr. Spadaccia explained that on a year to year basis, the dollar amount of what the insurance policies cover, such as property, the number of vehicles, and equipment changes; the value of insured property is now about $72 million, up from $69.7 million in 2013.


2. Garden Club/Commerce Street beautification

(See March 18, 2014). Five members of the Garden Club asked the board for $2,250 to make up the deficit in the club’s 2014  4-season planting budget.  The town has already committed $2,000 to the project.  The board agreed to provide additional funds, but it wasn’t clear if it would be $2,000 or the full $2,500.  A vote on the funding is anticipated next week.


3. Stormwater/East of Hudson Legal Fees

After environmental consultant Bruce Barber gave an update on the work of the East of Hudson Watershed Coalition, the board agreed to pay Yorktown’s $3,415 share of the group’s anticipated 2014 legal bills.  During 2014, the Coalition’s lawyer will begin negotiating a new agreement with the DEP for funding to pay for continued stormwater retrofit measures.


4. Mohegan Manor

(See January 28, 2014) Representatives of Mohegan Manor advised the board that based on video monitoring and flow monitoring tests, the existing sewer line in Yorktown’s  Clover Road sewer district has more than ample capacity to accept the additional sewage flow from the adult facility.  While the hook up would be considered “temporary” until Cortlandt finalized its own sewer expansion plans,  it was acknowledged  that Cortlandt has been talking about the sewer project for at least 12 years and that the project, if it moved forward, would take about 8-10 years to complete.


When Town Engineer Sharon Robinson began discussing what formulas Yorktown could use to establish a cost for Mohegan Manor, Supervisor Grace said that it wasn’t appropriate to negotiate a cost in open session.  Councilman Bianco said the town wasn’t going to give the facility “a bargain” but that it should charge “ what’s right.” The town also will have to work out a payment mechanism with Cortlandt as it does not have the authority to bill a non-Yorktown property owner.


The representatives of the home asked for a speedy resolution of the issue, calling their septic  situation “desperate.”


Once a a cost is agreed to, both Cortlandt and Yorktown will have to pass resolutions supporting the hook up and the Westchester County Board of Legislators will have to approve adding the parcel to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District.


As an aside, Supervisor Grace noted that this action might qualify as a “shared service” between the two towns for tax cap purposes.


5. Sunoco Station/Lee Blvd.

As part of a corporate-wide program designed to upgrade the aesthetics of its stations, the applicant plans to make cosmetic changes, primarily to the existing building; he was advised by the building department that this would require the Town Board to amend the existing special permit for the gas station.


Although the applicant had no plans for any major signage changes, Supervisor Grace, citing the station’s closeness to the JV Mall, asked him to consider changing to a monument style sign similar to what is being proposed for Underhill Plaza.  The applicant said he would take the request back to corporate headquarters, although he noted that the space for such a sign might be limited.  Supervisor Grace made it clear that the board could not make the new sign a condition of approval, but was simply a request. The plan was referred out for review.


6.R&S proposal to operate organic recycling facility

Supervisor Grace explained that R&S, the company that currently has the garbage contract, has submitted a proposal to take over the town’s Greenwood Street recycling  program for brush and logs.   According to  Highway Superintendent Paganelli, there is now an overwhelming 13 month backlog of material on the site, some of which dates back to Hurricane Sandy, that hasn’t been processed – with more material coming in every day – and the town has stopped having commercial companies dispose of their debris at the site (see January 28, 2014). The problem was exacerbated with the November breakdown of the machine that grinds the logs and brush. Mr. Paganelli estimated that it would cost the town $80,000 to remove what’s already on the site.  The disposition of the damaged equipment was not clear but Mr. Paganelli said it was covered by insurance.


The proposal calls for R&S, or one of its affiliated companies, to bring its equipment to the hill and process new material it would bring to the site in addition to the town’s material. The company would also process the backlog.  The company would then sell the chips to its existing customers.  The town would give the company a license to do the processing. (Note: There was no discussion of bidding out the work.)


R&S chairman Joseph Spiezio estimated that his proposal would save the town about $300,000 a year, but Mr. Paganelli offered a more conservative savings of about $250,000, mostly due to the elimination of two full time workers plus seasonal workers, plus savings on fuel and equipment costs.  However, when Councilman Bianco asked if that meant that the highway department would lay off two workers, Mr. Paganelli said no, he would reassign the workers, which prompted Councilman Bianco to add: “so there won’t be a savings.” 


Recycling Coordinator Kim Anglis-Gage whose department is responsible for the town’s brush and Christmas tree pick-up program, added that it would still be necessary to have an attendant on the site to make sure that people didn’t bring inappropriate items, like construction debris, to the site.  Noting that she had not been informed earlier about this proposal, she also asked about how much space the R&S proposal would use and how this would work for the proposed relocation of the highway and parks department garages. In response, Supervisor Grace said that there was ample space on the site for both uses, especially after the backlogged material was disposed of.  Councilman Bianco also expressed concern about the possibility of other inappropriate items being brought to the site.


When  Councilman Bianco asked Mr. Spiezio about the existence of a violation for the Front Street location where his garbage trucks are parked, he said there was no violation, only a “notice to remedy.” He also said he had no plans to park the garbage trucks on the hill.


When Councilman Patel suggested that the town do a study of how other towns handle their brush, Mr. Paganelli said that other towns use different companies to handle their brush.    


Councilman Murphy said he saw no problem giving the company a one year license to “clean up the disaster. “Why are we even discussing this?” he asked.  Supervisor Grace also supported the idea  that he said would benefit the town by freeing up space on the hill, but he did add that there could be some issues with a DEC permit.


While he supported the idea in theory, Mr. Paganelli said the devil was in the details, including what type of material the company would process, as well as the traffic to and from the site. He noted that the R&S proposal calls for less traffic but larger trucks.  


The discussion ended with no further action taken.


6. Stoney Street water main issue

Water Superintendent Rambo advised the board that a leak has been detected in an 80 feet section of pipe on Stoney Street under Bear Mountain Parkway. While responsibility for repairing the leak is definitely the town’s, it was discovered  by ECCO, the company doing the Route 202 project.  Because the exact location of the leak cannot be determined, either by sending a video camera through the line, or by opening up a 7-foot trench, the town cannot determine if the leak was caused by any work ECCO was doing. If the town is able to determine if ECCO was responsible for the leak, it could file a notice of claim.  


Dealing with the leak in a timely manner is critical because there’s a 90-day window to file a notice of claim and, according to Supervisor Grace, the notice has to be somewhat specific as to what the claim is.


Mr. Rambo explained that given the nature of the situation, his department does not have the equipment to do the repair and Highway Superintendent Paganelli said neither did his department. After reviewing the options, the town will try to get the state DOT to do a change order with ECCO so that ECCO can do the repair, estimated to cost $165,000, as part of its state contract, but the town would pay the bill. Ms. Koster will contact the DOT to see if this approach is doable. At the same time, Mr. Rambo will explore whether the existing pipe can be relined.


The board will discuss the issue further at the next work session.


7. Tax Installment legislation

Town Attorney Koster gave the board a draft of a proposed local law that would, for a two year period ending in December, 2015, permit the town to offer 36 month installment agreements instead of the usual 24 month period.  The change would be consistent with a recent change in the state Real Property Law.


The legislation also includes a provision that Ms. Koster  is suggesting and which was not previously discussed with the board. The provision would allow taxpayers eligible for enhanced STAR to enter into installment agreements with only 10% down where 25% is currently required.


The board anticipates advertising the local law for a public hearing at its next meeting.


Supervisor Grace also asked Ms. Koster to look into whether anything can be done to change the 12% interest the town charges for late tax payments.  The 12% rate is set by state law.


8. YCCC Generator Installation Design

Supervisor Grace advised the board that he has received a $9,500 proposal from Lynstaar Engineering, the company owned by Town Engineer Sharon Robinson, to develop specs for the installation of the generator, specially, the relocation of the building’s gas line from the front of the building to the rear where the “pad” for the generator has already been installed.  He said that he did not want to have the generator placed in the front of the building. He added that the building inspector as well as town attorney were “gun shy” about doing the relocation without proper specs.


In response to Councilman Patel’s question about the town having received only one price quote, Supervisor Grace said he had asked another engineer who has done work for the town but the person declined saying that he did not need any new aggravation, which lead Supervisor Grace to say the town was “losing good people.” (Note;  the reference was to a local engineers whose name was mentioned in local  papers in connection with an ethics issue.) Councilman Bianco noted, however, that there was more of a conflict with the Lynstaar proposal.


Supervisor Grace said he would speak with Ms. Robinson about reducing the cost of the proposal as most of the work included in the scope of services had already been done.


9. Town Board Vacancy

Supervisor Grace proposed appointing Rich Campanaro, and speaking directly to Councilman Patel, said that the latter should have no problem with that appointment because Mr. Campanaro received only a couple of hundred vogtes less than he did and ran on the same Democratic ticket.  In response, Councilman Patel said that one vote made a difference. The Supervisor then made a motion to appoint Mr. Campanaro that was seconded by Councilman Murphy. The ensuing vote was two for Mr. Campanaro and two abstentions. Councilman Bianco said it made no difference whether he voted no or abstained and repeated his earlier position that he would not discuss the appointment issue in open session.


10. Selected resolutions

Equal pay for woman.  On an item not on the agenda and on a motion by Councilman Murphy, the board voted for a resolution in support of senate bill S5872 calling for equal pay for women.


NWEAC invoice.  The board agreed to pay a $1,000 membership invoice to the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium although the board had no idea what the group did or how Yorktown benefited from its membership other than Supervisor Grace saying that he attended the group’s meetings and the town should continue to be a member.