Town Board Work Session
June 12, 2012
Interviews for Ethics Board and ABACA
1. Tondorf Hot Dog Wagon
No discussion. The party may not have come to the meeting.
2. Fuel Master
The board discussed the pros and cons of two models of a system that can record and monitor fuel usage for town vehicles. The new system will replace an existing system installed in 1997 and which is too old to repair. Last year, the Town spent approximately $500,000 for fuel.
The less expensive system requires driver input and just records fuel consumption; the more expensive model which costs $13,000-$18,000 more doesn’t require driver action and operates automatically as soon as the fuel pump is connected to the car. The second system also reads/records all car systems from the car’s computer which can then be used to schedule preventative maintenance check ups . The board decided to go with the more expensive system,but try it out initially on 36 Police Department vehicles. In addition to the basic software, each car connected to the system needs a special $270 reader. The cost of the system will be approximately $54,000, although it was not clear from the discussion whether that was a total cost that included the readers. Additional costs associated with the installation and the need for a new computer were not immediately available.
The board did not decide how it was going to pay for the system. One option would be from the General Fund while a second option would be to charge separate funds based on their usage. For example, while the General Fund accounts for 74% of the total fuel usage, the water, sewer and refuse special districts make up the remaining 36%. While the Town Board made reference to using funds from a prior energy grant to pay for the system, the staff member in charge of the grant explained that the grant money had been fully used up.
As part of the discussion, Supervisor Grace said the Town needed to get a better handle on the number of town vehicles. While Kim Gage, the interim department head for the Central Garage, said that she had 209 “cards” for the existing monitoring system, Supervisor Grace noted that the town insurance inventory listed 243 vehicles. Comptroller Joan Goldberg explained that some of the items listed on the inventory, such as trailers, were “equipment” and not vehicles and were covered under different insurance policies.
3. Emergency Generators
Using the Town’s past billing history, including demand charges, Yorktown resident Dan Ciarcia and Mike Dubovsky of P&M Electric, the Town’s outside electrical contractor, agreed that the Town needed a 100KW generator for Town Hall and as 200KW generator for the YCCC.
Mr. Dubovsky reported that in conversations he had with Con Edison, the utility was prepared to cover the $16,000 cost of extending the gas line to Town Hall IF the Town agreed to convert its two existing oil boilers to natural gas. (The YCCC already has gas service.) However, Supervisor Grace said that Highway Superintendent DiBartolo had told him that Con Ed was prepared to extend the line at no cost to the Town and without any requirement about changing service. Joining the discussion, Comptroller Joan Goldberg advised the board that the Town Hall boilers were beyond their useful life and she estimated that the Town would be able to recoup the conversion costs in a few years. (It was not clear if she meant the entire cost of the conversion or just the gas line costs.)
Adding another wrinkle to the discussion, Mr. Dubovsky advised the board that in order to minimize installation costs, the YCCC generator would have to be compatible with the existing transfer switch in the building and that the compatibility issue might determine exactly make generator what was bid and whether the Town purchased off the state contract or did its own bid. No decision was reached.
Mr. Ciarca estimated the cost of the two generators at about $60,000and Ms. Goldberg said that the previous board had earmarked $100,000 for both generators. The board will also have to decide whether the generators should be bonded or paid for out of fund balance.
5. Trail system Connection at Route 202 and Stony Street
In response to Supervisor Grace’s comment that as part of the Route 202/Pine Grove/Stony St improvement project, the DOT has requested that the Town maintain a 900 foot long extension of the hiking trail that will be constructed as part of the road improvement project, Jane Daniels of the NY/NJ Trail Conference explained to the board that this link will enable hikers to reach the proposed stop light at the intersection of Bear Mountain Parkway and Stony Street and then safely cross the Parkway to the light at BJs. She suggested that the supervisor talk to the DOT about making a “deal” in which we agreed to maintain the 900 feet in exchange for the DOT giving the Town permission to build trails on its land north of Granite Knolls and Woodlands parks.
6. NYS DEC & Hudson River Esturary Grants
Ann Kutter and Assistant Planner Lorraine DeSisto asked the board to pass resolutions next Tuesday authorizing them to submit applications for the following two grants:
1) A DEC forest management grant that would enable the Town to update its GIS maps of town owned lands and provide training in invasive species removal. The improved maps would help the volunteer groups who are making improvements to the trails and also removing invasive species. The $15,000 grant would provide for 30-40 hours worth of GIS technician services.
2) The Hudson River Estuary Grant would construct a non paved trail linking the existing right-of-way along Downing Drive, across Baldwin Rd and to FDR park. From FDR park, hikers would go up Strang Blvd and from there access the existing trail network. That grant would be for approximately $20,000.
Both grants require a 50/50 match, although a part of the Town’s match can be in volunteer services. Ms. DeSisto said that the Town’s willingness to make 20%-25% cash available as part of its match would help the Town’s chances of being awarded the grant.
Without committing to making any funds available, the board gave Ms. Kutter and Ms. DeSisto the okay to submit both applications. Councilman Bianco said that the Town gets the grant, it can always decide at that time if it is willing to spend the cash for the required match.
7. Landmarks Preservation Law
As the board was ready to advertise proposed amendments to the Landmarks Preservation Law, Town Attorney Koster presented the board with a revised draft that members had not seen, explaining that she was recommending the additional changes in order to simplify the landmarking process.
The two major proposed amendments are:
1) owner consent will now be required before the board considers landmarking a property
2) the requirement that the Commission have an architect as a member will be dropped
It was not immediately clear what other changes in the law in the attorney’s revised version would be included in the final version advertised for a public hearing.
Supervisor Grace said that there were many tasks that could be undertaken by the Commission that did not involve landmarking such as restoring some of the Town’s old cemeteries. The board did not announce the public hearing date for the amendments.
8. Fire lanes at Police/Court complex
Fire Inspector Ed Koliscz reported to the board that because of a shortage of parking spaces at the complex, people were parking in front of the buildings, blocking what needed to be designated as fire lanes. The exact language of any proposed amendments was not discussed.
Ed Ciffone, who works part time at the court, said that more parking was needed and suggested that the existing parking area be extended. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said an open area behind the Conservation Department building could be converted into additional parking. Councilman Bianco noted that some of the potential parking spots became off limits when the Police Department installed the security gate.
9. Department of Public Works
(note the author of this summary is a member of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW)
Jane Daniels, the spokesperson for Yorktown Citizens for a DPW, asked the board to schedule a public hearing for July 17 on the proposed law that would start the referendum process and to hold an informational meeting for the public the week before. She said the purpose of the group’s presentation was to go over the process leading up the referendum and was not to debate the pros and cons of a DPW.
In response, members of the board, with the exception of Councilman Patel, said at different times that they were not prepared to hold a public hearing until more information about the potential DPW cost savings was available. Supervisor Grace said creating a DPW was a major structural change for the town and that he was not going to rush into changing 200 years of tradition. He said that before he was ready to schedule a public hearing he needed to know if a DPW would result in greater efficiency of service and lower the cost of service, a sentiment shared by Councilman Murphy, Bianco and Paganelli. Councilman Paganelli said that if the Town Board was doing its job, the board functioned as a DPW and Councilman Bianco wanted to know whether other towns with DPWs also had special districts.
In response to Supervisor Grace’s question about what departments the committee envisioned being included in a DPW, Ms. Daniels said that there were many possible options and that the committee had not planned to make a recommendation that evening but would at a future date. Going through a list of existing departments, the supervisor said he didn’t see how a DPW could provide the services currently being provided by existing departments and department heads without eliminating some upper management positions which he said he wasn’t prepared to do. In terms of the labor force, he said that there was no problem with the departments helping each other out. Councilman Paganelli added that the Town had a dedicated staff and that he wasn’t prepared to do away with any jobs.
Supervisor Grace, who along with Councilman Paganelli, did most of the talking, also said that having an elected highway superintendent provided the voters with a circuit breaker; appointed department heads, such as the comptroller can be institutionalized and fall victim to inertia.
Highway Superintendent DiBartolo questioned the savings that he said were being publicized by the committee, adding that it would take 7-9 years to save about $100,000. He said that the discussion should have taken place six months ago before two new department heads were appointed.
Ms. Daniels said the committee would get back to the board with the requested cost saving information and organizational chart and that she hoped the board would still schedule the public hearing in time to make the September 1st deadline to get the referendum question on the ballot.
10. Town Board Meeting Change
The board voted to cancel its July 3rd meeting.
11. Financial items, miscellaneous
a. Water main issue. Comptroller Goldberg reported that the NW Joint Water Works has tentatively agreed that it will assume responsibility for a 24” water main runninng from the Amawalk treatment plan to Catherine St when the state has to cross the line to do work on Route 202. When there was a major water main break in the line a few years ago, it was unclear whether Yorktown or the NYJWW was responsible for the line.
b. Water pass thru charges. Beginning in July, customers of the Yorktown Consolidated Water District will see a NYC pass thru charge on their water bills. The charge IS NOT an increase in Yorktown water rates, but reflects NYC cost increases that, according to Yorktown Town Code, should have been passed on to customers years ago. The initial charge will represent the cumulative pass thru that was inadvertently left off earlier bills.
c. Water meter project. Ms. Goldberg reported that the Water Department will need an additional $75,000 to buy additional meters for the meter replacement project.
d. KVS work flow software. Ms. Goldberg informed the board that the total bill for the new software exceeded the initial $40,000 resolution authorizing the purchase because the original purchase and licensing amount did not include the $10,000 annual maintenance cost.
e. Phone service for department heads. Ms. Goldberg informed the board that five department heads had requested access to emails from telephones. She estimates that the cost for making the data service available will cost $35-$37/per month, compared to the $25/month current charge.
In the meeting’s closing minutes, it was unclear if the board passed any of the resolutions listed on the agenda or deferred action until the July 19th meeting.
Discussion of workers’ compensation third party administrator (TPA) with the Town’s insurance broker.