Town Board Work Session
July 14, 2015
Closed session (at beginning and end of open session)
Personnel (police appointments), Workers Compensation, appointments to volunteer advisory boards
1. Hazard Mitigation Plan
Bruce Barber, John Tegeder and Margaret Gspurning explained that the Hazard Mitigation Plan was a FEMA requirement (one has to be done every five years) and that based on new regulations, this year’s plan was prepared by the county with input from town staff. (The Yorktown section is 9.21.2 of the county plan). The 65 page Yorktown section details potential hazards, such as flooding, assigns risk levels to each potential hazard and identifies how the town is, has, or has not responded to and planned for each potential hazard.
In commenting on the plan (a copy of which should be available at the Town Clerk’s office), I noted that it was a valuable document that acted as a comprehensive blueprint for the many infrastructure issues that needed to be prioritized and incorporated into a capital plan. (In a separate discussion later in the evening about the highway relocation plan, I suggested that $4 million would be better spent addressing some of these problems than replacing a garage that was still adequate.) I also questioned whether the town’s reliance on the Police Department’s voluntary email alert list was an adequate emergency notification system. No numbers were available on how many people subscribe to the list. Supervisor Grace discounted the value of having an emergency notification system that in part used land lines and said he works with the school districts which have emergency contact information for all enrolled students.
No board action was required on the plan.
2. 2425 Sherry Drive wetlands permit
The application is to build a single family house on a 9.2 acre lot. Approximately 200 feet of the proposed driveway is in the wetland buffer. Given the minimal disturbance, the board voted 4-0 with Supervisor Grace recusing himself (he said he knew the applicant) to have the permit handled on the administrative level. The application had already been reviewed by the E-Panel and the town’s environmental consultant.
3. Grant applications
John Tegeder presented preliminary information about the following four grant proposals. He anticipates asking the board to approve resolutions authorizing him to submit the grants by the end of month as part of the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process.
Trailway Connection to FDR Park: Two separate grant applications to the NYS Parks Department for $200,000 each and a $40,000 town match. The grant would construct a paved path linking the North County Trailway, across Route 118 at Downing Drive and along the abandoned railroad right of way to Baldwin Road. Envisioned as the first leg of a multi phased project, the trail would eventually meet up with a trail being worked on by the Friends of FDR Park.
Railroad Park Restoration: This $73,940 application would represent half of the town’s required match for a $295,762 grant the town received from the NYS DOT in 2008 for the restoration of the station. In order to reduce the size of the grant request and town match, the public restrooms and bike storage units that were part of the original plan have been eliminated.
In commenting on the two trail related grants, I advised the board that the Yorktown Trail Town Committee (of which I’m a member) had met with Mr. Tegeder to discuss the grants and would be submitting comments about the proposals. I also advised the board that the Committee had suggested to Mr. Tegeder that the town apply for a more modest $10,000 grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway in the event the town didn’t get the larger grant. (The difference between the proposals is that the state grant is for a paved trail while the Greenway grant would be for a dirt trail; The FDR trail is dirt.) Mr. Tegeder said he would work with the Committee on the Greenway grant.
Digitizing Town Records. A $200,000 request for a $500,000 project with a $10,000 town match to purchase document management software and digitize existing records. The project would only be for three or four town departments. (Note: the bonding plan approved in December, 2014 included $350,000 towards this project.)
Yorktown Heights Downtown Revitalization (Highway garage/Depot Square): According to the proposed budget, the total project cost of $8.6 million ($4.1 million for garage and $4.5 million for new commercial building) would be offset by $4.5 million in private investment to construct the new commercial building, plus $1.5 million from the sale of the property. Two grant applications would be for the total of $2.6 million. (One has up to a 50%, with a 10% local match and the other apparently has no grant limitations.) Mr. Tegeder indicated that there might be other grant opportunities for the project in the event the first two applications were awarded only partial grants.
In commenting on the Heights Revitalization Project, I asked questions about how the applications would meet grant guidelines regarding phasing, budgets, matches as well as address the focus of both grant programs on job creation, regional needs and addressing the needs of targeted “depressed” communities.
4. Lighting Ordinance
On a recommendation from John Tegeder, the town attorney will draft an amendment to the town’s Lighting Code that currently limits outdoor lighting poles to 16 feet. (See Costco discussion and why this issue is being raised.) Because the code had no provision for modifying the requirement, the amendment will give the approval authority (Town Board or Planning Board) the ability to incorporate taller poles into the lighting plan if deemed appropriate as part of site plan review.
5. Advanced Life Support District
John T. Dillion, a member of the Advanced Life Support Committee recommended that the board award a new two year contract for paramedic services to Empress EMS, the town’s current and long-time provider for 2016 and 2017. While the contract is $56,529 more than the current contract, it was still considerably lower than the only other bid that was received. The bid specs were sent to nine possible vendors.
6. Baptist Church Road culvert project
In an item not on the agenda, the board discussed the current status of both the legal and engineering issues that are holding up repairing the road. On the legal front, the town is preparing responses to the legal challenge by the two affected homeowners. At the same time, the town is considering a possible settlement with the neighbors in order to expedite the repair and avoid what could be a protracted lawsuit that would hold up the project. (See the history of the project and the delays caused by earlier lawsuits.)
As the findings of two pending engineering studies will determine the parameters of any possible settlement, the board directed the town attorney to ask for a short court postponement pending the receipt of the findings. One of the studies will determine whether the collapsed culvert can be still be relined, and if so, how far into one property it might extend.
The board approved a resolution to transfer $350,000 from the General Fund fund balance to the Highway Department to cover 2015 Worker’s Compensation costs related to “scheduled loss of use” claims.