September 5, 2017
1. Tax Collection
Supervisor Grace announced that beginning sometime in September, property owners will be able to pay their taxes by credit card. There will be a 3% fee. Taxes can also be paid online by direct bank transfers without a fee.
2. Changes in parking requirements for JV Mall/public hearing
Supervisor Grace explained that the proposed change to reduce the parking requirement from 4.25 spaces per gross leased area to 4.0 spaces was similar to the parking requirement change done in 2012 for all other commercial zones. Both a representative of the mall’s owner, Washington Prime, and its local attorney, Al Capellini, defended the change on the grounds that the retail environment has changed substantially since the 1980s when the mall was first built with a 5.0 parking requirement. They stated that the new requirement meets the needs of the mall’s tenants – the businesses that should be the most concerned about parking.
Local businessman Bill Beck from Club Fit opposed the change saying that more parking will be needed once the mall is fully leased.
After closing the hearing, the board approved the parking change in a 5-0 vote.
3. Granville Court/stormwater/wetlands permit/public hearing
The permits are needed in order to build a pool in an easement. Because there were some unresolved questions about the easement as well as other issues, the hearing was adjourned to September 19th in order to give the applicant more time to meet with the town engineer.
Police: Samantha Gilbert was appointed police officer.
Library: Kathleen Law-Imperato was reappointed to the John C. Hart Library Board
Highway: Angela Cavallo was appointed stock clerk.
5. Town roads
The board postponed a vote to accept 17 private roads that had not previously been formerly accepted as town roads. Roads have to be town roads in order for them to be counted towards the town’s total miles of road for state CHIPS money. Councilman Bernard said that before voting to accept the roads, he had some questions about some of the roads and wanted to speak with Highway Superintendent Paganelli who had prepared the list.
In a separate discussion, not on the agenda, Councilman Patel made a motion to spend $2 million on road paving; $1 million this year and a second million next year. In response, Supervisor Grace said the board had already agreed to spend $1.6 million this year and that budget time (November) was the appropriate time to discuss 2018 expenditures. Councilman Bernard called the motion a political stunt, adding that the board had already stated that it would spend more money for paving in 2018. There was no second to the motion.
Councilman Bernard reported that the Traffic Committee is looking at issues involving a series of roads, as well as how to spend the $30,000 from the developers of the International School at the former Phoenix House for a study of Stoney Street and East Main Street.
6. Granite Knolls Sports Complex
Maintenance: In response to previous questions regarding ongoing maintenance costs for the complex, Supervisor Grace said that the complex would be revenue generating and will either be budget neural or will generate a profit. One source of revenue he mentioned, but without any details, was advertising revenue. He said that the lack of adequate facilities had been limiting the town’s revenue.
Artificial turf: In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Patel voting no, the board voted to advertise a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the artificial turf for the fields. In response to Mr. Patel’s comments that the board should be advertising for bids, not an RFP, Supervisor Grace said that there were many variables to consider regarding the type of turf and that there was strong interest from vendors in submitting proposals. He said that one vendor had suggested that the corners of the three planned fields could be made into additional small ballfields.
When Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) commented during Courtesy of the Floor that given the amount of time the board had already spent planning the project, she thought it would already know exactly what type of turf it wanted, the supervisor said that going out or an RFP to get ideas did not preclude eventually going out for a competitive bid after the RFP process. Ms. Siegel noted that unlike bids that are public and where the board must take the lowest responsible bid, RPFs are reviewed in closed session and the board doesn’t have to accept the lowest price
7. Highway garage/Depot Square
In a 4-1 vote that followed a heated exchange between Councilman Patel and other board members, the board voted to authorize two contracts for $18,000 and $18,450 for outside engineering services for additional planning for both projects. Councilman Patel said he opposed both projects. Supervisor Grace defended the need for both projects and Councilman Bernard said he took exception to what he called Councilman Patel’s innuendo that the town was giving away town land to a friend. Supervisor Grace said that when the time comes to sell the land, there will be an RFP process.
Supervisor Grace said that the town had $1.4 million of outside funding committed for the project.
During Courtesy of the Floor, Ed Ciffone, a frequent critic of the plan, said that the United Taxpayers of Yorktown would rather see town money spend on a new highway garage than on the Granite Knolls Sports Complex.
8. Immigrant Protection Act
In an item not on the agenda, Councilman Diana made a motion to adopt a resolution that commended County Executive Astorino for vetoing the Immigrant Protection Act bill recently passed by the county Board of Legislators. The resolution said that Yorktown should not become a sanctuary municipality and that it should cooperate with federal officials. The resolution was adopted in a 4-1 vote with Councilman Patel voting no.
9. Other resolutions
YCCC Bathrooms: The board increased the project cost by $4,650 for a total construction cost of $74,150.
Insurance: (See Town Board 6/13/2017 and 8/8/2017.) In an item not on the agenda, the board approved a contract with FOA & Son Insurance Agency to prepare an RFP for the town’s annual insurance policies. The company will only get paid if the new contracts come in at a lower price; if they do, they savings will be split. The amount of the split was not disclosed.
10. Courtesy of the Floor
Highbrook Street. A resident said that despite repeated requests, nothing has been done to dredge the brook behind her house that overflows. She said that silt has backed up the pipes. In response, Supervisor Grace reported that at a recent meeting of countywide town officials about shared services, there was a discussion of the need for funding for dredging and maintaining stream corridors that cross municipal boundaries. He advised the resident that he’ll see if any emergency work could be done to help her situation.
Hamlet Revitalization: Dan Strauss disagreed with comments made at previous meetings by Supervisor Grace that Yorktown needs to become a destination town. He said that was not realistic for the town, but that the town could become an event town. Supervisor Grace disagreed and restated his goal to make Yorktown a destination town.