August 7, 2012
Interviews for Comptroller
1. Holland Sporting Club
Asking whether the demolition job had been properly finished, Councilman Patel emptied a plastic garbage bag containing debris from the site onto the lawn. He said that the debris, 6” below grade, had to be cleaned up and the site left in a state where it did not hurt anyone. In response to his question whether the building inspector had certified that the project had been completed, Supervisor Grace said that the building inspector had signed off on the job. The supervisor also stated that the site was in “great shape,” that town employees had done a good job and that based on his visits both during the demolition and earlier in the day, all the debris had been removed, citing 48 containers of debris that had been removed from the site. Also in response to Councilman Patel’s assertion that there were buried oil tanks on the site, the supervisor said that if there were any, their removal was not part of the original bid specs.
Councilman Murphy stated that the Town had done the job properly, that it was an “extreme improvement” over what had been there before but acknowledged that some additional clean up was needed. He asked Councilman Patel to show him where the tanks were. In response, Councilman Patel said that he had been told three years ago by an employee of the Parks Department that there were oil tanks on the site.
Councilman Bianco applauded Mr. Patel for his vigor and stated that he had seen debris buried under the wood chips. Adding that the job was “not a Cadillac job, but a Toyota job,” he said that the final arbiter would be the building inspector who had told him that the job was a “bit sloppy.” He said someone had to check whether there were problems with any of the remaining debris.
Supervisor Grace rejected the notion that fill should have been brought in to fill in the foundations, stating that it didn’t make sense to bring fill in now if it would have to be removed later once the Town decided what to do with the site. He added that the decomposing wood chips would make good top soil. He acknowledged that more work had to be done clearing brush on the site.
During Courtesy of the Floor, Linda Miller, raised questions about the potential environmental hazards from the debris left on the site and asked if the Conservation Board had been consulted prior to the demolition. In response, Supervisor Grace said that he had inherited the project and that that would have been something done by the prior Board. He added that given the distance of the demolition work to the lake, he didn’t think the demolition created any environmental problems.
Public access to the lake: Ms. Miller, a Yorktown Heights resident, also raised the issue of access to Mohegan Lake by non-Mohegan residents. She specifically mentioned the ability to use the lake for canoes, kayaks or fishing boats. In response Supervisor Grace stated that the lake is for the enjoyment of the entire town and Ken Belfer, chairman of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District noted that non-Mohegan residents could use two of the beaches maintained by homeowner associations as long as they paid the same membership fee. He added that the Town owns lake front property along Mohegan Avenue, just south of Route 6 and Councilman Bianco added that the Town also owned some dock lots abutting the lake but that no one was sure exactly where they were.
Councilman Bianco read a short statement rejecting the call for a referendum on the DPW issue, citing the failure of the citizens group to “make their case” for either saving money or improving efficiency during the July 25 meeting. He repeated his concern about not wanting to jeopardize the Town’s snow removal services.
Councilman Paganelli repeated his opposition to the DPW referendum, stating that the Town Board acts as a DPW and can resolve interdepartmental squabbles and sharing issues. He said he was also concerned that a DPW could lead to diminished town services and that this would have a negative impact on property values and that he believed in keeping the elected status of the highway superintendent.
Councilman Patel said he supported the right of the public to vote on the issue.
During Courtesy of the Floor, Fred Gulitz said the real issue was the elected vs appointed status of the highway superintendent and that there should be a referendum on that issue. As a compromise, he suggested a referendum to return the term of office of the elected highway superintendent to two years. He also offered a series of potential money saving belt tightening initiatives, including eliminating take home vehicles for town employees, reducing overtime and having part time building inspectors do weekend inspections. He also gave the Board copies of a manual dealing with the latest techniques for asphalt paving and asked whether the highway superintendent was familiar with the publication.
3. Courtesy of the Floor
Supervisor Grace said that as part of his “learning curve” the Board would be returning to the 3-minute rule for Courtesy of the Floor comments but that he would try not to cut people off if they exceeded their 3 minutes.
4. Water Bills
Councilman Paganelli explained that the recent 10% increase in water bills is a one time “catch up” of the Town’s requirement that when New York City increases water rates for the Joint Water Works, the Town was supposed to pass that increase on to customers. The pass through hadn’t been included in bills in recent years.
5. Public hearing on amending fees for backflow inspections
The Board opened and closed a public hearing that increased the fees the Town charges for the water department to do the annual backflow inspections required by the county Department of Health (DOH).
Water Distribution Superintendent David Rambo explained that the DOH permits towns to do the inspections as long as the tester is certified; DOH doesn’t care who does the testing, only that it is done. He explained that if during the test it is determined that the device needs to be repaired, the property owner has to call in his own plumber to fix the device and that the town will have to return for a retest.
Joe Bonano of J&J Backflow, the person who raised the issue several months ago and the only other person who spoke at the hearing , acknowledged that the Town was within its right to do the testing but again objected to the letter that the Town sends out advising property owners that they needed to have the inspection done. The letter, Mr. Bonanco said, advises property owners to call the water department to schedule the test and does not include a list of other contractors able to do the inspection. He gave Supervisor Grace a copy of the letter that a southern Westchester private water company sends to its clients that included such a list. He also said that he had no problem with the proposed new rates which he said were higher than his.
The Board unanimously approved the amendments to the Water Code.
6. Public hearing on proposed no parking signs on Stony Manor Court
The two hearings, with alternate no parking restrictions, were adjourned as no residents from the street were in attendance. As the parking problem in the cul d’sac is due to Lakeland High School students, one of the two options would include a time restriction on the no parking signs.
In an item not on the agenda, appointed John W. Winter as an auto mechanic in the central garage, at a salary of about $53,000, to fill a vacancy created by a retirement.
8. Advisory Boards
Reappointed David Tetro to ABACA.
Appointed Peter Alduino to the Conservation Board
9. Bernstein House
In an item not on the agenda, Supervisor Grace announced that Franzoso Contracting had increased its offer to $170,000 in order to match another offer. The Town accepted the offer and will proceed to finalize the transaction. The sale will be subject to a permissive referendum.
10. Board meeting cancelations
The Board canceled the August 28th work session to give the members a two week summer break and the September 11th work session due to the a 9/11 evening celebration. A November meeting will also be canceled or changed, but that date was not announced.
11. Garbage contract
Supervisor Grace said that he anticipated that the Board will be advertising specs for a new garbage contract at an upcoming meeting.
10. Selected Resolutions
a. Advertised a public hearing to be held on September 4, 2012 to amend the zoning ordinance to permit recycling facilities in the Light Industrial Zone.
b. Authorized the supervisor to sign an IMA with the Town of Greenburgh for the Board of Assessment Review in each town handle grievance applications for the other town when there is a possible conflict of interest.
c. Referred a request from Drew Bostinto to convey property to the Town to appropriate town agencies. The location of the property was not identified.
d. Extended a pavement marking contract for one year, the second extension of a contract with three one year renewals.
e. Authorized the supervisor to sign two agreements relating to the Nutrition Center
f. Agreed to standardize the purchase of machines for conditioning the ball fields in order to purchase only Smithco equipment.
g. Approved a change in the vendor that handles the Town’s workers comp claims, from USA/TPA to Pomco under the same terms as the USA.TPA contract.
Interviews for Comptroller