Town Board

May 22, 2018


1. Presentations

Police officer awards


2. Courtesy of the Floor

Hearing assistance devices: In response to a question from Maura Gregory on the status of installing a “loop system” in the board meeting room, it was announced that the system may be up and running by the time of the next board meeting.


Kear Street sewer extension: Explaining that the board will have to hold a public hearing on the proposed sewer district extension in order to accommodate the developer’s sewer plan, project engineer Dan Ciarcia asked that the board authorize the supervisor to sign the developer’s application to the Department of Health tonight and in advance of the hearing so that the developer would not have to lose a month’s time.  Later in the evening, the board passed the required resolution and also set the date for a June 19 hearing.


Parkland Alienation:  (See Town Board 4/3/2018.) Referring to the home rule resolution on the agenda for the Illington Road cemetery land, Paul Moskowitz, speaking on behalf of the ACOS, the Advisory Committee on Open Space, advised the board that the state’s alienation process required that the parkland being alienated had to be appraised and that any money the town received in exchange for the alienation had to be used to acquire new open space. In response, it was noted that the town is still negotiating a price for the land. There was no response to the valuation issue.


Unpaid taxes: Jay Kopstein, Ed Ciffone and Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, said that the town had to do something to collect unpaid taxes. Tony Grasso also addressed the issue. Supervisor Gilbert said that the board will be examining all its available tools to collect these taxes and Councilwoman Roker said that the issue had been discussed in closed session.


Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG):  In advance of the board’s discussion of this issue (see below), Maura Gregory asked the board to support the resolution. After the resolution was approved and at the second Courtesy of the Floor Jay Kopstein spoke against it on the grounds that because affordable units are assessed at a lower value, the town will lose tax dollars.


Courtesy of the Floor: After Tony Grasso said that this portion of the agenda was only to speak about items NOT on the agenda, Ken Belfer and Susan Siegel both disagreed, saying  that this has not been the practice in Yorktown.


3. School resource officers

In an item not on the agenda, the board approved a resolution supporting a bill proposed by Senator Murphy that would, among other things, designate school shootings as an act of terrorism. The resolution included support for related bills involving school resource officers.


In the second Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel asked the board if it had discussed, in a closed session, any request from the Lakeland School District to pay a portion of cost, included in the just approved budget, for three additional resource officers, a financial issue, she said, that should be discussed in open session.


4.  Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)

Mr. Tegeder explained that the proposed resolution was for the town to join the Westchester County Urban Consortium so that Yorktown would be eligible for some of the CDBG funds that the county receives as part of the federal program. (The program was halted five years ago as part of a lawsuit involving the county, although the town was eligible to apply, but didn’t, for CDBG money through the state’s allocation.) He estimated that since Yorktown’s participation in the program beginning sometime in the 1970s, Yorktown has received over $2 million from the program for a variety of infrastructure projects.  Funds are typically available on an 80/20 match but in the past the town has paid 30% to 50% of projects which has made Yorktown’s projects more competitive.


To be eligible for CDBG funds, the county will want the town to adopt an affordable housing law without any residency requirements and also to give the county the first right of refusal on any in rem properties; Mr. Tegeder wasn’t aware of any instance where the county had acted on the first refusal issue.  (Note: Yorktown’s affordable housing law, passed in 2010, was repealed in 2016.)


Mr. Tegeder explained that CDBG funds could only be used in census tracts where the income was 80% of the county’s medium income; as income figures are reviewed on an ongoing basis, the town’s eligible census tracts can, and has, varied from year to year. At present, only one census tract qualifies. He added, however, that the town can do its own income survey that could establish eligibility; this was done several years ago in Jefferson Valley and led to CDBG funding for the sidewalks on East Main Street.


Supervisor Gilbert explained that joining the Urban Consortium didn’t commit the town to anything; only if and when it applies for funds from the program, would the requirements come into play. Mr. Tegeder explained that as part of the Consortium, the town would be competing for funds with 20-25 other municipalities, while if it applied under the state’s CDBG program, it would be competing with a much larger number of municipalities from all over the state.


Councilwoman Roker said she objected when the previous board repealed the town’s affordable housing law. She was concerned, however about the first right of refusal.   


The board approved the resolution with Councilmen Diana and Lachterman voting no because of what they considered the potential “strings,” i.e.,  the future requirement about an affordable housing law. 


Mr. Tegeder said he while he was pro affordable housing, he believed that some of affordable housing programs were not effective and that this needed to be looked at further. He didn’t elaborate on his comments. In response to the board’s request, he will provide board members with copies of the county’s model affordable housing ordinance, which can be tweaked, as well as copies of other municipal affordable housing ordinances.


5. Hallocks Mill pump station bid award

The board voted to award the bid to replace two pump stations but held back taking any action for the Jefferson Park pump station pending more discussions. The board wants to look at the numbers again relating to the Jefferson Park pump station, holding out the possibility that the town could save money if the facility was diverted and if the cost was paid for by the Hallocks Mill district. Asked during a second Courtesy to explain how the Hallocks Mill district could pay for the diversion, Supervisor Gilbert said the answer was too complicated to explain in two minutes. Councilwoman Roker said she still was confused about the numbers but that she was open to considering an idea proposed by Councilman Lachterman  (that neither explained) and that a public meeting on sewers should be scheduled.


6. Selected Miscellaneous Resolutions

Conference/training attendance. In separate resolutions, authorized the Town Clerk, Assessor and the Highway Superintendent to attend conferences.


Mohansic Trailway: Authorized the supervisor to sign an encroachment agreement relating to the AT&T fiber optic cable that is buried under the town right-of-way where the trailway will be constructed.


Trail signs: Authorized the Highway Department to erect directional signs to the town’s parks and trails.


Public hearings: Wetland permit hearings scheduled for June 5 for Mohegan lake Improvement District and Con Ed work on Gomer Street.


Parkland alienation for Illington Road


Police vehicle: Purchase of a Ford sedan police interceptor.



Work Session

After a short break, the board went into work session mode and continued to televise the meeting.


7. Engineering Office budget issue

Mr. Quinn requested a $27,000 transfer from the General Fund to the Engineering Department to pay for work contracted for in 2017 but not paid for in 2017. He explained that although the expense had been approved, and the work done, because the bills were not paid in 2017, the unspent funds reverted to the General Fund at the end of the yea4r, leaving the department with no funds to pay the bills in 2018. After some discussion, the board approved a resolution for the budget transfer.


8. JVMall/ Seritage (Sears) parcel

The architect outlined minor changes in the approved site plan involving the Sear’s use only of the second floor. The changes include the façade treatment around the new Sears entrance and some adjustments to parking.  The board had no issues with the changes and a resolution will be prepared for a vote at a future meeting.  According to the architect, no tenants have  been identified for the planned new retail space.


9. Tree Ordinance

(Note: Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary is a member of Advocates for a Better Yorktown, the group that has submitted a draft new Tree Law.)


Although Supervisor Gilbert said that he was under the impression that the board had decided to refer out the ABY draft without any changes, Councilman Lachterman said he had an issue with sending out the ABY draft without the board having had an opportunity to make any changes as this could lead to multiple drafts which in turn could lead to confusion.


Mr. Tegeder explained that the board had two options for proceeding: Refer out the ABY draft and then make changes based on comments from staff and advisory boards, or get input from town staff first, make changes, and then refer out a revised draft to advisory broads.     


Susan Siegel, speaking for ABY, reminded the board that at the April 10 meeting, ABY said its preference was for the board to decide several key policy issues before referring out a draft law but that it was clear at the meeting that the board chose to refer out the ABY draft unchanged. She added that the board’s April 24 agenda reflected the board’s plan to vote for a referral resolution at the May 1 meeting but that the group only recently learned that the resolution had been omitted from the May 1 agenda.


Councilwoman Roker and Supervisor Gilbert apologized for any confusion. The board voted to refer the ABY draft only to department heads before taking up the issue.  Ms. Siegel asked that the board include a discussion of the Tree Law at its June 12 work session so that the process can move forward