Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Town Board Work Session

May 8, 2012


Absent: Councilman Paganelli


Closed session

A discussion of workers’ compensation.


Open Session

1. Kitchawan Fire and Rescue Station

(Note:  The following summary was provided to CIY by Supervisor Grace at the end of the meeting.)

The Yorktown Heights Fire District requested that both the performance bond and building permit fees associated with its plans to construct the new firehouse on Route 134 be waived. The Board agreed to waive the performance bond as the Town is confident of the district’s “full faith and credit” and will look into the calculation of the building permit fee.


2. Computer Upgrades for 2012

Using recycled printer cartridges

The first part of the discussion focused on the advisability of using recycled cartridges for printers. (The toner for copiers is included in the maintenance contract price.)  Glenn Sullivan of Sullivan Data, the Town’s IT consultant explained that one of the provisions of his current contract states that as long as the Town uses “new” toner cartridges, in the event a cartridge leaks and does damage to the printer, his firm will absorb the cost of the repairs  and a printer replacement if needed. If the Town used “recycled” cartridges, any repair or replacement costs would have to be borne by the Town.  Comptroller Goldberg said that there was less than a 10% differential between the price of new and recycled cartridges. The board decided to go out to bid for both new and recycled cartridges, but agreed to Ms. Goldberg’s suggestion that the bid specs state that the vendor would be responsible for the cost of repairs and/or replacement in the event the cartridge leaked.


Computer hardware

In response to questions from Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy, Ms. Goldberg and Mr. Sullivan explained that it has been the Town’s practice over many years to budget a fixed amount each year for computer upgrades and to rotate “older” machines to less critical departments and users.  The Town typically uses equipment for  5-8 years.  Mr. Sullivan advised against upgrading old equipment in lieu of replacing it with newer models because of software compatibility problems and also because upgraded machines operated more slowly. He prepared a spreadsheet listing the proposed new purchases for 2012 there was based on meetings with department heads.  


Supervisor Grace questioned why the Town doesn’t buy used computers or outsource the email server. (One of the proposed new items was a new email server.) In response, Ms. Goldberg said that the cost of outsourcing the email for the 150 employees (out of a staff of 250 people) would be more expensive than purchasing the additional server,


The Supervisor will review the spreadsheet prior to the Board advertising for bids for the new equipment.  Although Mr. Sullivan estimated the package at $60,000, he said that the bids typically come in lower. The 2012 budget includes $50,000 for the new equipment.


3. Wood Street

Planning Director John Tegeder and Police Officer Larry Eidelman, the Town’s public safety officer, presented two possible changes to the Wood St/East Main Street intersection that would address some of the complaints they have received since the intersection was redesigned. They said, and Councilman Bianco agreed, that the complaints were coming from Putnam County people.   Everyone agreed that the new intersection was properly designed and had reduced the number of traffic incidents. The problem, they said, was that some drivers didn’t have the skills to access the intersection properly.  After discussing the pros and cons of two possible changes, Supervisor Grace asked Highway Superintendent DiBartolo to come up with a budget for one of the possible changes.


In response to Councilman Bianco’s request for an update on efforts to reduce the speed limit on Wood St and also ban trucks, Officer Eidelman said that the efforts had stalled in Putnam County where the towns of Putnam Valley and Carmel, as well as the County, have to pass the necessary legislation. Supervisor Grace said he would follow up with the county executive.


4. Perry Street

Although not on the agenda, the Board discussed how to resolve a safety issue for a house at the corner of Perry St and East Main Street that has been the scene of nine accidents in six years, including three times when the house was hit. The problem, it was explained, was people coming too fast around the curve in the road, even though several traffic calming devices have been installed along the road.

Highway Superintendent DiBartolo explained the pros and cons of installing a guardrail which he said would cost $10,000-$12,000. No decision was reached and Supervisor Grace said he would take a look at the situation.


5. Stony Manor

The problem is that Lakeland High School students park on the cul d’sac that serves the five houses.  While Public Safety Officer Eidelman recommended that No Parking signs be posted 100 feet into the road on both sides, Super visor Grace suggested that the residents be given a second option: No parking  Monday-Friday between 7-2 pm, and let them decide which option they prefered. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that on other streets that had had similar parking situations, the limited parking signs were typically ripped out.


6. CERT Program (Citizens Emergency Response Team)

Public Safety Officer Eidelman presented a plan to get community volunteers involved in helping to relieve the stress on the Town’s emergency responders during emergency situations. The two areas of assistance he cited were helping to operate the emergency shelter, e.g., distributing meals, and checking with residents who may need special assistance.  While his initial plan was for volunteers age 18 and over, he said he had had some interest from younger people.  Supervisor Grace said that he was concerned about providing assistance to people with chronic needs who weren’t necessarily on the Town’s radar.  “Let’s crawl before we walk,” Officer Eidelman said.   The volunteers will be covered by the Town’s workers’ compensation program, something that Town Attorney Koster said was done with all Town volunteers.  The Board gave Officer Eidelman its blessing to go public with the program which may be at the next Board meeting or possibly the May 9th Community Outreach meeting.


7. Road Paving

Highway Superintendent DiBartolo presented the Board with a list of 15 roads he said were in the worst shape and needed to be paved. If all the streets were done, the total cost would be $834,803. The Town will be getting $296,000 from NYS under the CHIPS program.  For the balance, Mr. DiBartolo asked the Board for $300,000 from fund balance and the remaining money from an anticipated FEMA payment associated with Hurricane Irene. Supervisor Grace said he did not know exactly how much the Town would be receiving from FEMA and that the money would be a reimbursement for costs incurred by several departments.  Mr. DiBartolo didn’t want the reimbursement to go into the General Fund.


When Councilman Bianco said that the fund balance was estimated at $3.6 million, Supervisor Grace noted that there were other expenses that would have to come from the fund balance, such as labor contract commitments and that he didn’t want to mislead people. He said that he hoped to have additional information on the amount of the FEMA reimbursements by next Tuesday.


8. Bid for new Highway Truck

Without any discussion, the Board voted to advertise for a new truck for the Highway Department. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said the Town had to act quickly in order to get this year’s model.  It was not clear exactly what was being bid or what the anticipated price would be.


9. Lifeguards at Sparkle Lake

Supervisor Grace advised the Board that the Recreation Commission has recommended against restoring lifeguards to the lake. The rationale appeared to be that the lake was used after hours when there was no lifeguard. The Parks & Recreation Department supplied usage figures for when the lifeguards were on duty. Out of courtesy to Councilman Paganelli who was not at the meeting and who is the Board’s liaison to the Commission, the Board postponed taking any action.


10. Legacy Ballfields

Supervisor Grace advised the Board that the Town would lose $11,000 in revenue when the Yorktown School District uses the multi-purpose field. He said that he would speak to the district to make sure they understand the financial impact of the arrangement the Town agreed to last week, but it did not appear that the Town would be asking the school district to reimburse the Town for the lost revenue.


11. Building Permit Renewal Fees

Building Inspector John Winter discussed revised language and a revised fee schedule for building permit renewals that reflected the Board’s previous discussions.  The new text says that work must be commenced within 12 months of the issuance of the permit and that the permit expires after 12 months but can be extended. At the suggestion of Supervisor Grace, the initial application fee will be increased for residential additions, alterations or accessory building valued in excess of $1,000 to $150 from $50, and for new single family homes or multi family units to $300 from $100. The cost for nonresidential applications remained unchanged: $150 for additions or alterations and $300 for a new structure.  The application fee, which covers the cost of reviewing the plans, is subtracted from the cost of the final permit.  It is nonrefundable is the applicant never proceeds to get a building permit.


The renewal fee for the first 12 month extension will be $200, or 50% of the original fee, whichever is less, and $250,or 50%, whichever is less, for all other  12 month extensions.


Councilman Bianco said he had no problem with the lower renewal fees but didn’t agree that permits would never expire.  With no expiration provision, there’s no incentive to complete the work, he said. Supervisor Grace said that no other municipality had a permit expiration provision and Mr. Winter said that about 50% of municipalities did have one.  Mr. Winter also corrected what he called a misconception that properties were only reassessed after a CO was issued. He said that his office works closely with the assessor’s office to monitor the progress of any new construction.


The town attorney will work with Mr. Winter to make some text changes and present a revised draft to the Board for its review before advertising the law for a public hearing.


12. Award Bid for Water Department Truck

It was not clear if the Board  awarded the bid, or agreed to award it at the next meeting.


13. Local law to add recycling as a main use in an I-1 (light industrial) district.

Town Attorney Koster presented a draft local law to add recycling as a main use in an I-1 (light industrial) district. She said the draft was written by the attorney Al Capellini whose client wants to open such a facility at the Oseola Industrial Park.  Ms. Koster pointed out that the I-1 section of the zoning code was in dire need of revision and was concerned that some sections dealing with the minimum size of the lots appeared to be contradictory. Planning Director Tegeder explained that while there was a 10 acre minimum for a development plan, once the plan was approved and the site subdivided into individual lots, the lots could be smaller.


Both Ms. Koster and Mr. Tegeder  noted that there might be issues having a recycling facility at the site that also housed a day care facility and  the new Navajo athletic fields.  Mr. Tegeder suggested that there needs to be a look at the other operations in the industrial park and what traffic is generated by them. 


Acknowledging that changes in the I-1 section of the zoning code might be needed, Supervisor Grace said, “let’s get this moving” and the board voted to refer out the draft text as is for review and comment  and let people have their say.


14. Zoning Code revisions

As an outgrowth of a discussion about the need to revise the I-1 (light industrial) district language in the zoning code, Super visor Grace noted the work that former Planning Director Ray Arnold had done to highlight sections of the code that needed to be revised. He said that former Building Inspector Bill Gregory might be a good person to work on such a review.   


15. Forest Management Plan

Members of the Tree Advisory Commission met with the Board to discuss applying to the DEP’s Watershed Agricultural Council to do a forest management study for town-owned lands at Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls as well as the privately owned State Land property abutting Sylvan Glen. Bill Kellner explained that the study area can include properties under different ownership as long as the owner gives consent to the project.  Charles Monoco, owner of the State Land property, said he has no problem having his property included in such a plan.


A strong supporter of the forest management plan concept, Supervisor Grace said that the plan should also include a regional drainage plan and suggested that bMS4 (stormwater) money might be available for such a study. These comments led to a lengthy discussion over the redevelopment of the Route 202 corridor and what Supervisor Grace said was the need for a public private partnership to address the area’s infrastructure needs.  He said that the town had to strike the right balance between development and open space and that the Route 202 corridor was the “last frontier” for commercial development.  Town owned open space needs to be managed so that it does not become a liability for the future, he said. Councilman Bianco said he had no problem with the forest management plan but noted that parts of Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls flowed to the Peekskill watershed.  He also disagreed with the supervisor over whether the Town gets any benefits from developers when it gives something.


Joe Riina, engineer for the State Land project, said that based on his preliminary analysis, runoff from the site could be reduced by 30% if certain measures were taken on the State Land and Sylvan Glen parcels.  


Bruce Barber, the Town’s environmental consultant told the group that lots of studies had already been done for the area and that we should not reinvent the wheel but work together. He suggested that a member of the Tree Commission join an already established team that included the town engineer and planning director.


Referring to the pending State Land rezoning application, Councilman Murphy cautioned “not to put the cart before the horse” and reminded the group that the Town needs to follow through on the rezoning in order to get the open space that is proposed as part of the rezoning request. Mr. Monoco and his attorney, Al Capellini, both pushed for faster action on the rezoning application. Mr. Monoco said he had someone interested in the parcel but that the potential tenant won’t commit until the rezoning is in place.  Supervisor Grace assured them that the rezoning process hasn’t been stalled and that the forest management plan could go forward in the background while the rezoning worked its way through the planning process.  He offered to talk to the potential client if Mr. Monoco thought that that would help.


The discussion ended with Supervisor Grace reaffirming the “team” concept.


16.  Advisory Boards

ABACA appointments

The Board decided that it would like to meet the current ABACA members whose terms are expiring before automatically renewing their appointments. Supervisor Grace assured Bill Primavera, the sole ABACA member at the meeting, that they can continue to serve after their terms have expired and until they are either reappointed or someone else is appointed.  He asked Mr. Primavera to assure the group’s members that they were appreciated. The board intends to present a proclamation in June to outgoing chairman Anthony Romano who has been on ABACA for 15 years.

Citizens Board for Budget Oversight/Capital Projects & General Ledger

Explaining that an existing town law provides for the creation of a citizen’s budget/capital projects committee, and that the Town’s outside auditor had recommended that one be established, Supervisor Grace indicated his intention to create  a  Citizens Board for Budget Oversight/Capital Projects & General Ledger. Because there were only three board members present, he postponed any discussion until a future meeting. He said the auditor had agreed to be present at a work session to discuss the concept.


17. Para transit vehicle

The Town will enter a lottery for a used para transit vehicle being made available by the county for $1.


18. Fleet issues

Fuel master purchase: Supervisor Grace said the town is still looking into whether the new fuel master system can be purchased with energy grant funds.


Fleet management software: Supervisor Grace briefly mentioned that the Town was looking into getting fleet management software but there was no discussion about what possible grant would fund it or how much it would cost.


19. FEMA (Hurricane Irene)

Supervisor Grace advised the board that the Town did not get FEMA money for a project involving the Macie residence and would have to try something else to resolve the problem. He did not elaborate.


20. Emergency lights

Supervisor Grace advised the board that an application has been submitted to Entergy for emergency lights. He said the prospects for receiving the grant looked good.


21. Proposed local law for procuring goods and services

Without any discussion, the board agreed to advertise a proposed local law that would change how and when the board purchased  goods and services.


22. IBM Helistop

Town Attorney Koster explained that she had made revisions to the text to add helistops as a permitted special permit use in OB districts and that she had separated out the helistop text from the changes in approval authority for the OB district.  The new version reduces the distance the helistop can be from a residence to 250 feet from 500 feet. She said that IBM wanted the ability to use the helistop at night and some language may have to be added. In Armonk, one night flight per month is allowed and no later than 9pm. The Somers facility does not allow night flights.  Supervisor Grace said the use was benign and not an issue. Because the text of the local law has changed, it will be renoticed for a new public hearing.


23. Approval authority in OB zones

This revision to the zoning code has been separated out of the helistop special permit. Commenting on last week’s public hearing, Supervisor Grace said the issue was “too nuanced for anyone to understand.”  What got lost at the hearing, he said, was that the proposed change would return to the Town Board what it used to do and that giving the Town Board approval authority would not dilute the planning process. He said he personally didn’t want long meetings to discuss technical issues such as a turning radius. He said that Town Board approval was needed for bigger parcels that would have an impact on public infrastructure.


As a compromise, he said he would suggest that the board adopt a resolution that would require the Planning Board to refer certain applications to the Town Board. This could be accomplished, he said, as part of a coordinated SEQRA review with the Town Board being an interested party. The Town Board should be up to speed on these projects and this could have been better addressed if the speakers at last week’s hearing had supported what he called the “flip flop.”  Planning Director Tegeder said he didn’t think such a resolution would have to be tied to SEQRA.


24. Hallocks Mill Sewers

As part of a his comments on changes in the approval authority for the OB zone, Supervisor Grace mentioned the possibility that the existing Mohansic Pump Station which is part of the Hallocks Mill Sewer District be rerouted to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer system and that this could possibly enable areas like Sunrise Street to be connected to the Yorktown plant.


25. Indoor Recreation law

Without any discussion, the board agreed to advertise a proposed local law permitting indoor recreation by special permit in a I-1 (light industrial zone) . The change would permit a dome to be constructed on the site of the batting cage facility on Lexington Ave and Route 202.


26. Other actions

Without any discussion, the board agreed that at next week’s meeting it would advertise for bids for preventative maintenance of generators and on the performance bond for the Hudson Valley Islamic Center.