Town Board Work Session
July 12, 2016
Closed Session (approximately 1¾ hours)
Personnel and interviews
Puppy Mill legislation
Town Attorney McDermott presented a revised law that would ban the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores. The sticking point, however, was the definition of a commercial breeder and how that term could be distinguished from a person who breeds dogs at home. As explained by the two women lobbying for the law, a person who breeds no more than 25 dogs a year at home is considered a home breeder and is regulated by New York State. But Supervisor Grace explained that the term “commercial” could also be applied to home breeders because they are selling. And Councilman Diana brought up a third category of puppies: when an owner’s dog has puppies and no one to give them to. In this instance, the advice was to give them to a shelter, and the shelter, in turn, can sell them to pet stores as “rescue dogs.”
Enforcement of the legislation would be up to the Police Department that would be empowered to check the “origin” paperwork on dogs being offered for sale. Councilman Bernard said he was “not trilled” with the police being given this additional task.
While Mr. McDermott said he would fine tune the definition of the word “commercial,” the board agreed to set a public hearing on the proposed law for August 2nd. (Note: For a copy of the law prior to the hearing, check with the “pending legislation” link on the town’s web site, http://www.yorktownny.org/townboard/pending-legislation.)
2. Local Law amending parking site plan approval (Code 300-180)
An August 2 public hearing was set to add a sentence to the existing law that would give the building inspector the authority to issue a violation notice in the event that the conditions of an approved site plan were not being complied with. The amendment is being made at the request of the building inspector.
3. Tree law
Although listed on the first agenda that was emailed to subscribers, the item was removed from a second email. At the meeting, Supervisor Grace said that the item was pulled from the agenda when the Planning Board’s memo came in at 4:30pm, too late for board members to review it. (Note: For a summary of the Planning Board’s discussion, see Planning Board, 7-11-2016.)
4. Property damage claims
In an item not on the agenda, Mr. McDermott advised the board that as a result of his efforts, the town has recovered $30,000 in insurance damages from claims involving damaged street lights, guardrails, fire hydrants, etc. Included in that amount is $12,800 for the damage to the Croton Heights Road bridge. Still undecided is whether the town will outsource the repair (Mr. Paganelli said he has received a quote of $12,800 to do the job) or whether the highway department will do the repair; Mr. Paganelli said that while his staff has the skills to the job, time spent on the bridge, would mean other projects would not get done or be delayed.
5. Feral cats
Pending a meeting with Melinda O’Brien, the volunteer who administers the program, the board postponed voting to approve an additional $500 for the feral cat program that Ms. O’Brien requested. As expressed by Councilman Lachterman , the board wanted to know why, if town funds were financing the program, the program only picked up feral cats in certain parts of town. (A town employee told the board that when she called about a feral cat issue, she was told that her neighborhood was not part of the program.) In 2016 budget shows $500 for the program.
6. Unleashed animals at Turkey Mountain
Supervisor Grace advised the board that the police and the animal control officer have been searching for two unleashed animals (he wasn’t sure if they were dogs or coyotes) at Turkey Mountain.
7. Sewer pump stations
The board passed a resolution to pay GHD Consulting Services up to $14,000, based on an hourly rate, to do a survey and a feasibility study of rerouting the homes in the Jefferson Park area from the Hallocks Mill Sewer district to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District. The move was in response to the objection two area homeowners had to the town’s earlier plan to construct a new Jefferson Park pump station. Town Engineer Quinn estimated that the cost of rerouting the existing Hallocks Mill pump station to the Peekskill pump station at Route 6 and Curry St. would cost an estimated $200,000. Supervisor Grace explained that after the Hallocks Mill District paid the estimated $55,000-$60,000 “buy in” the county charges for properties coming into the Peekskill district (when Councilman Bernard asked if the Hallocks Mill district could pay the buy in, the supervisor said it could) and after different operation and maintenance costs for the two districts were figured in, the Hallocks Mill district would save about $500,000 because it wouldn’t have to rebuild the existing Jefferson Park pump station. The supervisor added that eliminating the Jefferson Park homes would free up capacity in the sewage treatment plant.
8. Other resolutions
Street lights: The board approved transferring $16,940 from the contingency budget line to pay for the new street lights at Railroad Park.
Highway Department truck repair: The board approved the transfer of $25,000 from existing highway department budget lines to cover the additional and unexpected repair costs for a front end loader. According to Highway Superintendent Paganelli, part of the problem stemmed from salt damage. In response to questions from Supervisor Grace, Mr. Paganelli said that 17 trucks were mothballed from March to November and stored outside, leading the supervisor to say that $2.6 million of investment was being “left outside to rot.”