September 4, 2012
1. Grange Fair tractor parade
Police Chief Dan McMahon explained to the Board that if the tractor parade started at the YCCC as planned, it would require paying overtime for three police officers at a cost of $1,200. (Although the parade would last about 10 minutes, the officers would be entitled to a 4-hour overtime call out.) However, if the parade started at the fire house, no overtime would be needed and on duty officers could handle the traffic. Nicole Fervan, president of the Grange, explained that starting the parade at the YCCC was important because that’s where people congregated. She said that the Grange could not afford to pay the $1200 and added that some officers have volunteered to handle the traffic situation.
In response to Chief Mcahon’s comments about the overtime implications of multiple parade requests, Supervisor Grace said that the Board needed to adopt a policy on the issue. He supported the parades as important community events. Council man Bianco suggested that each parade request be reviewed on a case by case basis.
While Supervisor Grace said he would speak to the PBA to see if he could get more officers to volunteer, the Board voted 4-0 (Councilman Patel was not present for the vote)to authorize the overtime expense for up to three officers if the need arose.
2. Rental fees for service groups at the YCCC
In a brief discussion, Town Clerk Alice Roker raised the issue of whether the Taconic Postcard Club should be required to pay a fee when it rents a room at the YCCC for meetings. The issue, she suggested, should be broadened out to include all service clubs such as the Lions. No decision was made on the issue.
The Board accepted the resignation of Eric Miller, a machine equipment operator (MEO) in the highway department.
Litigation and personnel
1. State Grants
State Senator Greg Ball presented the Board with a mock check for $150,000 for ball fields and the in-line skating rink at the Shrub Oak Park and added that the Town had aleady received an initial $100,000 for renovations to the YCCC and expected another $100,000 for bathroom renovations. (Editor’s note: it was not clear whether these were “new” grants or the same grants that had been announced in 2011 but which haven’t been received yet by the town.) The senator said he was also trying to get money for the Pines Bridge monument .
Economic Development Council Grants
Supervisor Grace said he was “hoping to get” a state grant to pay for the Phase II environmental study of the highway garage site that would be used as seed money for the future construction of a new “green” highway garage. He said that the town’s request for grant funds for his Route 202 plan had been “enthusiastically received” by state officials.
3. Primary Voting
Town Clerk Alice Roker announced that several locations for voting in the September 13th primary had been changed and that people should check with her office if they have any questions. 962-5722, ext. 210. The primary is only for the Republican, Conservative and Green parties.
4. School taxes
Councilman Bianco reminded residents that they will be receiving the first part of their school tax bill and that residents who pay their taxes through their bank can, and should, get a free copy of their bill by visiting the tax receiver’s office. Showing a comparative chart of tax rates for the six towns in the Lakeland School District, he said that Yorktown had the lowest rate because it has bought open space within the school district’s boundaries and that unlike the Yorktown School District that was almost totally within the town of Yorktown, adding tax rateables in the Lakeland School District actually hurt Yorktown taxpayers, a point that Supervisor Grace implied he disagreed with at a later point in the meeting.
5. New businesses
Councilman Paganelli recited a list of new businesses that had recently opened in Yorktown.
6. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Speed bumps on Quinlan Street. Speaking on behalf of several residents of Quinlan Street, a three year resident asked the Board to revisit the issue of appropriately placed and sized speed “humps,” as opposed to speed “bumps,” on the street in order to slow the traffic. He asked the Board to meet with the residents and get their input on the issue. Supervisor Grace said the Board takes the issue very seriously but said that the town’s options for dealing with the situation were limited. Councilman Bianco, the only Board member who was on the Board in 2009 when the previously installed speed bumps were removed, said that while something had to be down to slow traffic on the street, he didn’t think bumps or humps were the answer. The Board referred the issue to the Traffic Safety Committee
b. Water bills. Gil Kauffmann asked the Board for an explanation of why his most recent water bill had doubled and why he couldn’t read the new meter that had been installed on the outside of his house. In response, Supervisor Grace explained that the town was aware of the issue and that Mr. Kaufmann wasn’t the only resident receiving larger than usual bills (see August 14 meeting notes) and that the town was trying to work out a resolution. Some of the issues the town was looking at, he said, were the fact that the rates may have changed over the years that the outside meters weren’t operating properly or that the house may have been owned by someone else during the time the outside meter wasn’t working properly. Councilman Bianco noted that all those who are paying water bills end up paying for those whose meters may not have been operating properly.
Public Hearing to permit recycling operations in industrial zones
The Board opened and closed the public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would permit recycling operations (collection and processing) in light industrial zones.
Speaking in support of the amendment, attorney Al Capellini, who represents a client who wants to establish such a use in the Oseola Industrial Park on Route 6, said that the facility would be a benefit to the community. He noted that the zoning change applied to only two areas in Yorktown: the Oseola Park and Front Street. He added that at a future date the Board should address what he called an existing anomaly in the zoning code dealing with setback regulations from residentially zoned properties. (The nearby Creative Living sports facility is residentially zoned.)
Howard Frank noted that the Westchester County Board of Health had closed down a similar facility in Peekskill and said that allowing a similar use in Yorktown could “open a can of worms.” In response, Mr. Capellini said that many of Mr. Frank’s concerns would be addressed at the time of site plan approval and that the public hearing was only about adding text to the zoning code.
Supervisor Grace noted that recycling facilities were becoming more common and that current standards safeguarded against environmental problems. Councilman Bianco noted that while he initially did not favor the application, he now sees the use as the “wave of the future.” He also noted that recycling was a heavily regulated industry.
The Board voted 5-0 to adopt the new text.
a. Public hearings. The Board voted to advertise five new public hearings for Sept 18 and to reconvene a sixth. (See list on Town Board page.)
b. Bids. The Board voted to seek bids for water meters to complete Phase I of the water meter replacement program, for chemicals for the Sewage Treatment Plant and for the demolition of the Granite Knolls Barn, (see below).
9. Bid awards
Awarded bid to Smithco for $14,119 for a hydraulic drive baseball field conditioner.
10. Granite Knolls Barn & Dog Park
Supervisor Grace announced that Geo Environmental, the firm hired to check for asbestos at the barn, had found some and that the company has recommended an abatement vendor who would charge $1400 to remove the asbestos. Supervisor Grace said he didn’t want to get three quotes for the abatement job as he was satisfied with the recommendation from Geo Environmental. The Board voted to authorize the expense of up to $2,000; the funds will come from the $25,000 that was set aside in 2010 for improvements to the Granite Knolls property.
The Board also approved advertising for bids for the rental of roll off waste containers to be used during the in-house demolition of the barn. When Councilman Patel asked if the demolition work would be done according to OSHA standards, Supervisor Grace assured him that they would.
Once the barn is demolished, plans call for the site to become a multi-purpose site, to be used for parking for people accessing the trails as well as a relocated dog park. “Everyone will benefit,” said Councilman Paganelli.
Board members, joined by members of the Recreation Commission, the Parks Department and representatives of the NY/NJ Trail Conference, recently participated in a clean-up at the site that included removing discarded Jesuit artifacts from the barn and clearing brush.
11. Selected Resolutions
a. Tax Certiorari. The Board approved a settlement with Shrub Oak Partners, owners of 1335 East Main Street, for the years 2004-2011 that resulted in a $26,900 reduced in taxes for 2006 only. In response to a question from Howard Frank, the Board was unable to identify the business name of the parcel.
b. Reuse of former Refuse District packer truck. Praising the creativity and ingenuity of town staff, especially Highway Superintendent DiBartolo, Supervisor Grace explained that instead of selling an old packer truck with a blown out engine that belonged to the Refuse District at auction for $6,201, the highway department will “purchase” the truck for $6,200, scrap the rusted body, replace the blown engine with a new “used” engine that Mr. DiBarolo was able to locate for $2200, and retro fit the truck as a roll-off vehicle. It was noted that a new truck would have cost the town about $180,000. During Courtesy of the Floor, Steve Gardner praised the move as one of the smartest things the town has down. Supervisor Grace said that people should be more careful about “throwing bricks.”
c. Adjustments to Town Attorney’s 2012 budget. The Board approved a series of eight adjustments in the 2012 budget, shifting $121,000 from one line item to another. The only major shift was moving $100,000 from “litigation fee for outside counsel” to “legal settlements” for a total of $107,000 in the settlements line. No details were given., In a last minute change, the approved budget transfers differed slightly from the amounts included in the published meeting agenda.
d. New senior paratransit vehicle. The town will purchasea used 2006 paratransit vehicle from the county for $1.00.
e. Water leak detection. The Board renewed for another year the contract for New York Leak Detection to provide leak detection services for the town’s 174 miles of water mains.
12. Revised meeting schedule
The September 11 work session has been canceled due to the 9/11 ceremony and the September 25 work session has been rescheduled to Wednesday September 26 because of the Jewish holiday.
The Board accepted the resignation of Stuart South, a maintenance mechanic/repair, most recently assigned to the library.