June 19, 2012
Last minute addition: Town Highway Garage
The CIY observer learned, quite by accident, late Wednesday afternoon, that the Town Board met in an open session at 5pm Tuesday, prior to going into closed session for interviews for the Comptroller position, to discuss authorizing Phase I and Phase II environmental studies for the Highway Garage. Several department heads were in attendance. The Board apparently voted to spend $2,100 for a Phase I study but not authorize the Phase II study. It then went into Executive session before reconvening in open session at 7:30pm.
a. Greenwood St. Supervisor Grace announced that due to the deteriorated condition of the culvert/bridge at Greenwood St. and Route 35, the NYSDOt has required Yorktown to close the road at Route 35 until the Highway Department completes temporary repairs. Later in the meeting, Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that the repairs should be completed by Wednesday and the road reopened. The road will remain in “yellow flag” status pending a permanent repair.
b. Holland Sporting Club: Supervisor Grace said he anticipated that the demolition would begin this week, although Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that the work might be postponed due to the emergency nature of the Greenwood Street bridge repair.
c. Granite Knolls Fields. Councilman Murphy thanked the Highway Department for doing an “awesome” job at the fields. Tree stumps have been removed and seeding and raking remain to be done.
d. Budget Committee. Supervisor Grace said he Board was still looking for volunteers for the advisory audit and Budget Committee. Resumes should be sent to the Supervisor’s office.
e. Dog Park. Councilman Paganelli reported that he met with Linda Cooper, former town supervisor and now in charge of the regional office of the NYS Parks and Historic Preservation Office. They rejected FDR park as a potential site; Councilman Paganelli cited the $8 parking fee. The Town is still working with the state on the Trump Park site. He was optimistic that something would be worked out.
f. Senior transportation: The town acquired a used paratransit van from the county for $1.
2. Volunteer Advisory Boards: Appointments and Openings
a. ABACA: Reappointed Mark Connelly, William Primavera and Heike Schneider, each for a three year term.
b. Ethics Board; Aviah Cohen-Pierson for a three year term.
c. Housing Board: Ken Belfer, chairman of the Housing Board, announced that there are two openings on the Board.
The Board appointed Robert Killeen, the town’s former assessor, as an assessment consultant for $85/hr, not to exceed 16 hours per week, until some time in September.
4. Ride Connect of Westchester presentation.
No one from the organization attended the meeting. Supervisor Grace explained that the program is designed to provide transportation to homebound elderly. The organization is also looking for volunteer drivers who must be age 55 and older.
5. Courtesy of the Floor
a. North County Trailway Parking: A resident called the Board’s attention to the fact that the parking lot for the trail, which is next to the highway garage and which is promoted on the trailway’s web site, is typically full, creating a problem for potential users. In response to his comments that employees from the Highway Department were probably using the lot, Supervisor Grace said that the employees park elsewhere. One suggestion was signage that would let people know that there is additional public parking in the commuter lot next to Town Hall.
b. Cats: Three residents from Cordial Rd. asked the Board to do something to correct a situation where eight cats belonging to their next door neighbor have been fouling their property and preventing them from enjoying their property. They said that they had approached the woman in a neighborly fashion but that the women told her that she was within her rights and there was nothing to Town could do to stop her. Police officers, the animal control officer and the code inspector have all visited the site but there is no local law limiting the number of cats a homeowner can have or requiring cats to be leashed. The homeowners asked the Board for something that could be done upon the filing of a complaint. When Councilman Paganelli and Town Attorney Koster suggested the possibility of regulating cats, Town Clerk Roker told them that only the state has authority to regulate cats. Supervisor Grace suggested to the homeowners that their recourse should be in civil court. He said he would get back to the residents if there was something the Town could do to assist them.
c. DPW: Renee Rogarty and Jane Daniels of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW reported that in response to the Board’s requests at the June 12 work session, they had provided the Board with the following documents: a cost savings analysis, a conceptual organization chart, and a response to legal issues raised by the town attorney. The documents are available on the group’s web site, yorktowdpw.org. They said the group was disappointed that the Board had not agreed to meet with them to discuss their information in a work session mdoe after the regular meeting.
In response, Supervisor Grace said that the Board had been meeting since 5pm and that it was a long day. Commenting on the group’s information, he said that there were flaws in the number. He said that department heads had discussed the DPW concept at a staff meeting and had highlighted problems with the savings numbers. He said it was the Board’s fiduciary responsibility not to put the DPW issue up for a referendum until it was satisfied that a DPW would save money. He said he was willing to meet with the group in late July.
A third member of the group, Linda Miller, reminded the Board the the citizen’s group wasn’t saying that anything was broken; just that with a DPW, services could be delivered more efficiently and effectively.
(Note; the CIY observer is a member of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW..)
d. Fleet Maintenance: David Goldberg asked again about the Town’s fleet maintenance program and whether the Town had GPS devices in its vehicles to track driver usage. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that 68% of his department’s vehicles had the equipment which was first installed in 2003. He said he gets printouts from the devices.
e. Backflow. David Goldberg and Joe Bonano again criticized the Town for the slowness in responding to their backflow issue which they said they raised five months ago. (See public hearing advertisements below.) Mr. Bonano said that plumbers were doing the inspection and that it was town that was not handling the paperwork properly which was why the county came down on the town in 2008. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo again defended the program , which he established in 2008 and which he said saved taxpayers money and which eliminated the need for the town to chase down residents and plumbers. Mr. Bonano also criticized Supervisor Grace for not returning his emails. When he asked again for the names and addresses of those places with backflow devices Town Clerk Roker said that the law does not permit the town to release that information.
f. Ed Ciffone commented on the following issues: He wants the Board to put term limit legislation on a work session agenda; he wants the Board to return to the 3-minute limit for Courtesy of the Floor and suggested the Supervisor Grace limit his responses to 3 minutes; and he was critical of the Police Department for not filing charges after an incident that happened at a Town Board meeting eight months ago. In response to the last item, Supervisor Grace said that he case was not in the Board’s jurisdiction.
6. Public Hearings
a. Wetlands permit for a single house on Hanover Street at California Rd. The half acre lot was approved as a buildable lot as part of an approved 1970 subdivision plan and it has a sewer permit. After representatives of the property owner described their plans for handling stormwater runoff from the site, mitigation measures and plans for a conservation easement on ther ear portion of the property, three area residents described flooding issues in the area. One resident said he had spoken to the builder who said that he couldn’t build on the site because of the water problems. (It was not clear who he was referring to as the “builder.”) The basic position of the applicant’s team was that building a 1,350 sq ft house on the property would not increase the volume of water or the speed that water flowing from the site and that there might actually be some improvment of both as a result of the mitigation measures.
Supervisor Grace advised the residents that if the town denied the wetlands permit, nothing would be done on the site; developing it might actually be an improvement. If the permit was denied, the property would likely end up in town ownership and become a concern for the town. Councilman Bianco expressed concern that if a house was built and subsequently flooded the homeowner would question why the town ever let the house be built. The board adjourned the hearing and in the interim, the applicant’s team said it would meet with the neighbors to see if they could share ideas on how the flooding situation could be improved. The Town Board may also visit the site.
b. Northern Westchester Restorative Care. The public hearing on a request for an amended permit was opened and closed without any comment. The Board approved the permit.
c. Amending Chapter 115 (Animals) relating to barking dogs. The hearing was opened and closed without any comment. The Board approved the law 4-1 with Supervisor Grace voting no. He did not explain his reasons.
7. Advertised Public hearings
For July 17:
Copies are available on the Town’s website, yorktownny.org, on the Government/pending legislation page
a. Designating fire lanes at the Police/Court complex:
b. Amend Landmark Preservation (Chapter 198)
c. Unsafe Structure at 1481 Maiden Lane (nature of public hearing not known)
d. Amend Chapgter 15 dealnig with bulding permit renewals
The Board also voted to refer amendments to the law regulating Temporary Buidling Permits
For August 7
a. Amend Chapter 280 dealing with backflow fees
b. Amend Chapter 275-4E OR Chapter 275-4A dealing with parking restrictions on Stony Manor Court
8. Bid Awards
a. For preventive maintenance of generators to Peak Power Systems, at a cost of $11,307.50. There were four bids.
b. For 2012 computer and copier upgrades, to Sullivan Data at a cost of $40,825. Only one bid received.
Saying that he had not had time to review the single bid, Supervisor Grace said he was not ready to vote to award the bid and the vote was postponed.
c. For 2 Stainless Steel Multi Task Body Package to Gabrielli Truck Sales, at a cost of $108,600 each. Only one bid received. Supervisor Grace asked that the bid award be postponed. In light of the unexpected expense to repair the Greenwood Street culvert/bridge, he said he wanted to take another look at finances.
9. Resolutions (Selected)
Resolutions typically authorize the Supervisor to sign the appropriate documents.
The first two resolutions were not on the agenda and written copies were not available so that the content could be explained better.
a. Open space parcels taken by the town in-rem and which shouldn’t have been on the assessment roll. It was not clear exactly what the resolution said or how many parcels were involved.
b. Road widening strips. The town is filing a grievance to have the assessments on 17 parcels either lowered or the parcelsmade tax exempt. Again, it wasn’t clear, but as soon as the resolution was approved, the Town Attorney took it over to the Assessor’s office to meet the grievance filing deadline.
c. Purchase of a fuel monitoring system, at a cost of %53,706, plus optional three one-year extended warranties at $4,327.50 per year.
b. Settlement of lawsuit by RBC Industries. The Town agreed to pay $35,000 in lawyer’s fees to the plaintiff. Without going into any detail, Supervisor Grace said this was a first amendment case and that the plaintiff had won. In response to Councilman Patel’s question about what could be done to avoid this happening again, town Attorney Koster said that the Town had amended its sign law in response to the lawsuit.
c. Contract with Empire Consulting for drug and alcohol testing of town employees.
d. Agreement with Westchester County of the Aging to offset some of the costs of providing transportation to the Senior Nutrition Program.
e. Authorize the installation of aerators in Shrub Oak Lake for the Shrub Oak Park special district.
f. Extend a photocopier maintenance agreement with Eagle Business Machines.
g. Apply for a $15,000 DEC Urban Forestry Grant for Turkey Mountain, with a 50% local match.
h. Amend an agreement with WSP Sells for work related to the “red flagged” bridge at Greenwood Street, at a cost of $3,500.
i. Apply for a grant renewal for bulletproof vests for the Police Department.
j. An agreement with the NYS Department of Criminal Justice enabling our Police Department to has access to the state’s criminal history database.