June 10, 2014
Absent; Councilman Bianco. (Councilman Patel attended only a portion of the meeting.)
Shown on agenda as “personnel and advice of counsel” but session was not held as only two board members were present.
1. Insurance coverage
(Note: This discussion was not on the agenda and was already in progress with only Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy and Bob Spadaccia, the town’s insurance broker. The discussion was in progress before the announced 7:30pm start of the open session.)
Mr. Spadaccia said it was time to “start the process” and make a selection, although it was not clear what he was referring to. There was mention of a sample RFP (Request for Proposals)( from Montgomery County that Supervisor Grace said was “no good.” He said he would make an appointment with Mr. Spadaccia to begin the process.
2. Tax Installment Agreement and related issues
(Note: The CIY observer was not able to hear a considerable part of this discussion.)
Tax amnesty. Tax Received Barbara Korsak discussed a possible tax amnesty program modeled after one used a year ago in the Town of Greenburgh. Under the plan, which is permitted under state law, the town would require all back taxes to be paid at one time, would waive interest and penalties, and would proceed to foreclosure if the taxes were not paid by the end of the amnesty period. She showed the board what the financial implications of the plan would be based on the current list of unpaid taxes but the amount was not made public.
Supervisor Grace said he had no problem with such a plan but wanted more information about the Greenburgh experience and whether it had an impact on future tax collections. He was also concerned about fairness and the fact that some people have already had to pay interest and penalties. He said some taxpayers, such as the Sultana Ridge pool association and the Jefferson Village pond, would benefit from an amnesty, although he acknowledged that the pool association may not even be able to pay the back taxes amount. Councilman Murphy told Ms. Korsak to get more information and let’s “run it up the pole.”
Equipment/security: Ms Korsak talked about some equipment that would cost between $2,600-$3,200, but it was not clear exactly what the equipment was for and how it related to other comments about the need for greater security for the office that handled cash.
Tax installment legislation: The postponed public hearing on the law that would lower the initial down payment for delinquent taxpayers entering into a 24 month installment plan will be held in August. Supervisor Grace said he had taxpayers waiting to sign such an agreement.
Saying that there was renewed interest in installing speed humps (aka speed bumps), Officer Larry Edelman said that based on a class he had attended, plus 25 years experience with the humps, the humps can be effective in reducing speed if they are installed properly and meet criteria that the town establishes. He said that in the past, the speed humps had not been installed properly and that there were too many of them on some streets.
He suggested the following objective criteria, but that each street be looked at on a case by case basis and approved by the Town Board:
1. they needed community buy in
2. proper placement and correct number
3. proper engineering
4. on a town road, but not a county bus route
5. traffic of under 3,000 trips per day, and with a documented history of speeding in excess of 35 mph.
6. that the installation not create a detour onto other streets
Initially, Supervisor Grace appeared not to support the idea, noting that in his experience as a lawyer, the bumps could create more hazards. Ultimately, however, he agreed that it would make sense for the town to have a policy on speed humps and he asked Officer Eidelman to develop such a policy. Councilman Murphy was also supportive of the idea and said he and Officer Eidelman already had several streets in mind. Highway Superintendent Paganelli reminded the board that there’s an expense to installing them, and possibly later removing them. And Town Clerk Roker, remembering a discussion years back on the same subject, said that the town’s traffic consultant was not in favor of them.
4. Mohegan Manor
(See Town Board 2/4/2014 and do keyword search for other mentions)In a discussion that was only partially audible to the CIY observer, it appeared that there was general agreement on the financial terms of permitting the Cortlandt facility to tie into the Yorktown Clover Ridge sewer district. There would be a buy in cost, the amount of which was not audible, and a charge based on the facility’s water consumption which, according to town policy, would be double the rate that Yorktown taxpayers pay. David Steinmetz, the facility’s attorney, appeared to have no problem with the terms that had been worked out by the supervisor and the town engineer. Because only two board members were present, no vote on the agreement could be taken.
5. Deed transfer/ 3230 Lakeshore Drive
The town will accept a deed in lieu of (in lieu of what was not identified) for the lakefront parcel on Lake Mohegan. A resolution accepting the deed will be prepared.
6. Cording Road: easement on town property
(See Town Board, June 3, 2014). The abutting property owners agreed to the terms of an agreement that will allow Ms. Forbes to improve the driveway to her house, which is on a town-owned parcel, with compacted gravel and the highway department will install an asphalt apron to the driveway.
7. Textile Recycling
Refuse and Recycling Coordinator Kim Angliss-Gage presented a two pronged approach to resolving the issue. The first part will be to amend the zoning ordinance to allow commercial property owners to apply for a special permit to have the bins on their property. The town attorney will draw up the legislation for a special permit provision which the board hopes will be ready for a public hearing on August 5.
The second part provides for the town to set up collection boxes at various locations and issue an RFP (request for proposal) for vendors who would pick up from the town’s collection points and give the town a share of the profits from the sale of the recycled items. It was not clear if there would textile pickups at individual homes. Ms. Angliss-Gage has prepared a draft RFP which will be advertised at a future meeting.
8. Police mobile data terminals and video cameras
The issue was not whether to purchase the equipment ($8,000 for the equipment was in the department’s budget) but a technical procurement issue involving state contracts, and price thresholds for different component parts of the system. The issue was resolved and the police will order the equipment.
9. Yorktown Small Business Association/Parking issues in Heights hamlet
Robert Giordano of the Small Business Association brought to the board’s attention parking issues in several areas of the Heights hamlet, including Front Street in front of the old Pennysaver building, the 6 space lot next to Yorktown Glass and the lot abutting the highway garage. All agreed that for some businesses there was a lack of parking, that there were unused spaces in the commuter lot next to town hall and that part of the problem was that people did not want to walk. Mr. Giordando suggested that one solution, especially for the lot adjoining the highway garage, would be to post 2-hour parking signs, but Supervisor Grace dismissed that idea saying that it would discourage people from coming into Yorktown. He objected to marking the tires with chalk which he said would require hiring a meter maid. The supervisor said that while there was no short term solution to the parking problem, the long term solution would be the relocation of the highway garage and the creation of more parking. He also said that many years ago the state DOT had given the town property at the rear of the Meadows farm stand but that since this would involve eliminating the site’s wood pile, there was opposition to the plan. As an interim measure, Highway Superintendent Paganelli said his department would strip some of the parking areas, especially along Front Street, and fix and/or install some parking restriction signs.
10. Highway department budget transfers
In an item not on the agenda, the board approved a series of budget transfers for the department. One involved overtime for snow removal (the amount was not identified) and $126,328 for salt. The money will come from the highway fund balance, leaving between $20,000-$30,000 in the fund balance. Mr. Paganelli said he had enough salt on hand to get through December and that he was exploring a new more environmentally sound product to control icing instead of using brine.
1l.Greenwood Street recycling facility
In an item not on the agenda, Highway Superintendent Paganelli gave the board an update on the status of the hill clean-up. It was not clear how much of the brush/log backlog had been removed, but he did say that the operator had been experiencing equipment breakdowns. If the backlog is not taken care of in time, he said the town could use its fallback position which he did not identify. He said the Parks Department had been able to take a sizable amount of mulch for its use and that as part of a general clean-up of the site, staff from his department had uncovered buried light poles. Before auctioning off the poles with some trucks, Mr. Paganelli will consult with the Planning Department about possible uses for the light poles.
Although listed on the agenda, there was no discussion about the RFP for a permanent solution for the operation of the facility. (When Mr. Paganelli informally asked the town attorney whether the issue would be discussed, she simply shook her head no.)
12. Highway Department trucks and capital projects
What started out as a discussion on purchasing four new trucks for the Highway Department (see Town Board, May 13, 2014 ), morphed into a broader discussion on bonding for a series of capital projects.
Highway Superintendent Paganelli said that he needed a commitment to purchase the trucks now if they were to be delivered by December. While he wanted four trucks at a total cost of $706,000, he said he could make do with three. If he got the four trucks, it would give him a total of 19 trucks that could be used for salting. Because vehicles from other departments also plow, there are 63 vehicles available for plowing. (There was a mumbled private conversation between Mr. Paganelli and Supervisor Grace over how the trucks should be purchased, i.e, price quotes or bids.)
Whereas Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy had no problem with bonding the purchase which they felt was the fair way to go, Councilman Patel had some reservations and wanted more information in writing. Ultimately, Town Clerk Roker advised the board that it could not give Mr. Paganelli the okay to place the order that evening as the board first had to determine how it was going to pay for them – and that information was not yet available. See below.
As part of the discussion, Supervisor Grace said the town needed a vehicle replacement policy.
The discussion then turned to other equipment the town planned to purchase as well as other capital projects that, together with the truck purchase, could be lumped into a single BAN (bond anticipation note), that currently was carrying a 1% interest rate. Although it was not clear exactly what the total bond amount she was referring to, Comptroller Caporale said that in 2015, the interest on a BAN would be $30,000 and that the full payment in 2016 would be $335,000. (the existing bond for the Shrub Oak pool will be paid off in 2015.)
Items the board would include in the BAN are; a small chipper and bucket truck for the Parks Department, repairing the portion of the town hall roof over the board room (including the installation of solar tubes), some windows in town hall, the digitzing project, Lexington Avenue culvert and the Sparkle Lake Dam. (Note: this may not be a complete list as it was difficult for the observer to follow the discussion.) As a first step toward the bonding, the board gave Ms. Caporale permission to “talk to” the town’s bonding counsel so that more precise information would be available.
13. Parkland alienation/Granite Knolls
Because the home rule resolution for the senate version of the alienation bill was actually passed before the bill was introduced, it was on the agenda to be voted on again. However, Councilman Patel indicated that he had changed his mind and because of concern over the possibility of radon in the “pigs’ equipment and clean-out process, he would not vote for the new home rule message. He objected to the process being done in a hurry and without sufficient information. Because there were only three board members present, that meant that the resolution could not be passed. This led to an angry confrontation between Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy on one side who wanted to proceed with the alienation request because it meant more ball fields and Councilman Patel who was concerned about the potential environmental impact of the project. The supervisor tried to convince Councilman Patel that the home rule message would only give the town permission to alienate the parcel at a future date and that he could vote against the alienation at a future date, but Councilman Patel remained firm in his position. A representative from Spectra said the company had sampled the radon levels and that she would make the information available to Councilman Patel. Given the anticipated end of the state legislative session next week, Town Attorney Koster called the need for a vote a “drop dead issue.” As the discussion became more intense, Councilman Patel left the room.
With the board at a stalemate, the Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy discussed the possibility of holding a special meeting next week when Councilman Bianco would be available. Because only two board members remained, there could not be a vote to call a special meeting. Instead, the town clerk advised the supervisor that he could call a special meeting by sending each board member a letter with a 72 hour notice. After some back and forth about when Councilman Biano would be available, it appeared that the meeting might be held sometime on Wednesday, June 17. (Supervisor Grace chastised elected board members who he said weren’t doing their job when they weren’t attending meetings.)
Supervisor Grace said that not proceeding with the alienation for the staging area would result in “$2 million worth of public improvements going down the toilet’ and he wanted it known that this was being done by the Democratic Party that he said didn’t have the interests of the town at heart. Councilman Murphy said that not voting for the home rule message was a vote against the kids of Yorktown.
14. Shallow Creek
Recreation Commission Chairperson Diana Quast updated the board on the status of the Commission’s discussions with Rocco Cambareri who is proposing to reestablish the par 3 golf course, with an emphasis on making it adaptable for veterans and disabled people, plus a restaurant and a portable 60 x 120 foot ice rink. The Commission has been negotiating two separate agreements (one for the golf course and one for the restaurant) with Mr. Cambareri but needs to discuss terms of a license or franchise with the Town Board in closed session. Supervisor Grace said that he had not been involved with any prior discussions about the plan.
Mr. Cambarieri, who own the renovated driving range on Route 6, said that the plan has garnered lots of support and that there is a possibility that the project could receive a $250,000 grant from the Wadsworth Foundation. Representatives of the Foundation will be visiting the site on July 2. He said the project is “racing the clock” and he’d like to get started on improvements this year so that the facility could open next year by Memorial Day of the July 4th weekend. Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy said they were both on board with the plan and the supervisor said that the financial arrangements could be discussed at next week’s special meeting that will be scheduled to discuss the Granite Knolls alienation issue.
Because there were only two board members present after the parkland alienation discussion, there was no discussion on the Special Election Law that was also on the agenda, and no action was taken on the resolutions that were listed in the agenda.