June 18, 2013
1. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Water problem/Birch St. A husband and wife asked the Board to do something to correct water problem on their property that resulted from work the Highway Department did to correct a water pooling problem on Birch St. According to the couple, a highway department employee who visited their property acknowledged that the “correction” resulted in water pooling on the homeowner’s property. Supervisor Grace said he would look into the issue.
b. Senior issue. Gil Kaufmann, chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee, asked for an update on whether the town had identified any alternatives to the discontinued Are You Okay program that made phone calls to homebound seniors. When he repeated the question during the second courtesy session, Supervisor Grace said he thought that the county call program used during Hurriance Sandy had been adequate but that he would look into the issue.
Chris Sciaria again called on the three board members who voted on May 7 not to advertise a public hearing for a wetlands permit on town land to explain the reason for their votes. He said he was concerned about pushing things along to facilitate businesses. During the second Courtesy session, he repeated his question and also noted that the town owned wetland was in need of being cleaned up and that a private party was willing to do it.
In response, Councilman Bianco said that his vote, which he said he had stated before, was based on reports from the Conservation Board and the Advisory Committee on Open Space which saw no need for an additional educational program in the town owned wetland. Also, even if the town had neglected to clean up the wetland, he said there was no guarantee that someone else would do it. Councilman Murphy, who supported advertising the public hearing, disagreed with Mr. Bianco and said that the Conservation Board memo only said that it disagreed with the educational aspect, not the easement itself. He also said that the site plan that included that included a portion of the town owned land improved the safety of the site when cars had to egress onto Route 6. Supervisor Grace pointed out that the approved site plan also called for stormwater improvements along Route 6 where none currently existed. All of Route 6 is in the buffer area, he noted, although Councilman Bianco said that only a portion of the road was in a buffer. The public should have been given an opportunity to be heard on the issue, he said.
d. Ethics. Jay Miller said that some of the criticisms of the financial disclosure law made at the previous Board meeting were inaccurate and misrepresented the issue. He said that the disclosure form did not require a filer to give up his livelihood, that government had a right to set ethical standards, and that the people have a right to know about the business of their town officials.
Supervisor Grace stated that the four people who had not previously submitted the forms had submitted them.
e. Perry Street. Greg Bernard asked for an update on the Perry St. traffic issue. In response, Councilman Murphy said he had visited the site and said it appeared that the town had an easement at the corner of East Main and Perry Streets and that if some of the brush was weed wacked and possibly some small trees taken down, the sight distance could be improved.
f. Group homes & affordable housing: Citing 24 existing and 1 pending group home on a vacant parcel on East Main Street in Yorktown, Ed Ciffone asked why Yorktown was being "dumped" on. He also expressed concern over a county requirement that Yoirktown provide 358 units of affordable housing.
Richard C. Weber was appointed laborer in the Refuse & Recycling Department at a salary of $38,866. The appointment was a replacement.
3. Budget transfers
a. CSEA/2012. On the recommendation of the town’s outside auditor, the Board okayed a list of 2012 budget transfers for the general, highway, library, water, sewer and refuse funds to cover possible increases in 2012 salary costs in the event the town reaches a settlement with the CSEA this year that requires a retroactive payment for 2012. According to the auditor, the potential liability should be funded in the year that it was incurred. The general fund transfer totaled $100,183.
b. Insurance. The Board amended the resolution approved on June 11 to transfer the same $53,960 from the legal settlement budget line instead of the contingency line. Supervisor Grace explained that the premium information was not available when the Board approved the 2013 budget but that the total amount budgeted for insurance did not change.
In an item not on the agenda, the Board wiped out the liens on 23 properties on the 2008 foreclosure list that it has taken in foreclosure. The total amount of the liens was not disclosed. (Note: Based on previous research, the CIY observer estimates that as of January, 2013, the liens totaled approximately $750,000. Five of the properties are houses.)
In response to a question during the second Courtesy of the Floor session about what the town would be doing with the parcels, Supervisor Grace said the town would be looking into the issue and might sell some of the parcels.
In a separate resolution to Board approved a $17,000 budget transfer from “litigation outside counsel fees” to cover costs and filing fees associated with processing the final foreclosure papers.
5. Selected resolutions passed unanimously
a. Cell tower lease. In an item not on the agenda, the Board voted to renew the lease for a cell tower at the Mohegan Water Tank for 20 years (10 years, plus two five year renewals). The lease is subject to a permissive referendum.
b. Cell phone service. Approved a contract with Verizon Wireless for cell phone service that Supervisor Grace said would reduce costs by $800 per month.
c. Notice of Claims. Designated the Town Clerk as the person authorized to receive notices of claim.