Town (Miscellaneous Issues)
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Route 202 commuter lot
Town Board, 3/26/2012
Supervisor Grace advised the board that the Yorktown School District is requesting that it be granted either a lease or a license for the commuter lot in order to control how cars park there (the lot is not striped) and also to control student behavior. The district would monitor the lot and pay the Town a nominal fee.The plan would not interfere with residents also using the lot.
Town Attorney Koster said she would draft an IMA (Inter Municipal Agreement) for the board to review.
Town Board, 2/7/2012
Supervisor Grace gave a report on recent meetings, including
a. Emergency preparedness. A tape of the meeting is being aired on Channels 20 and 33. The town is working on new emergency protocols to avoid certain communities such as Beaver Ridge from “falling through the cracks.” If the communities themselves don’t make an emergency plan, the supervisor said that the town may pass legislation requiring them to do so. The town also plans to reactivate a Citizen’s Emergency Response Team program.
b. Community outreach. A meeting of civic and charitable organizations. As a result of the meeting, the supervisor said that the United Way had contacted him and will make a database of volunteers available to the town. The supervisor called the meeting “awe inspiring” and said that many good ideas came out of the meeting. Future meetings are anticipated.
Town Board, 1/10/2012
1. Girl Scout Project: Street banner
Supervisor Grace explained that there was a request from a girl scout to erect a street banner in the town’s right of way and that there was an insurance issue. Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo spoke up and said that there shouldn’t be an insurance problem as Relay for Life always has a banner.
After Councilman Bianco suggested that the supervisor get more information, the mother of the girl scout, who was in the audience, approached the board an explained the nature of the project: a 30’ x 240’ banner that would be erected for one month as part of her daughter’s Gold Award project.
Mr.DiBartolo told the board that the Highway Department would put up the banner on Commerce Street by the gazebo during February.
The board passed a resolution unanimously approving the request.
2. Eagle Scout Project: Smoke alarms at Senior Citizens
When the agenda item was brought up, Supervisor Grace had no information about the project and no one in the audience stood up to speak about it. Eventually, Mary Capoccia, the Supervisor’s assistant came forward and explained to the board that according to some paperwork that had been provided by Mary DeSilva, the scout wanted to install smoke detectors in the homes of senior citizens. The board unanimously passed a resolution approving the project.
Town Board, 1/17/2012
Referring to the weekend death of a young Yorktown resident, Catherine D’Amato said that the town had to do more community outreach to help the 15-23 year old segment of our community’s population. One idea she had was for a professional crisis intervention program. She also made reference to better street lighting and said she had spoken to Highway Superintendent DiBartolo. Supervisor Grace agreed that our young people had to be given a purpose and that there was a lot more than could be done. Mr.Di Bartolo suggested that one way to deal with traffic safety issues would be to revive the town’s Traffic Safety Committee, a group, he said that had been effective in the past in identifying solutions to traffic issues. Councilman Bianco said that while the Committee had, in recent years, become the Town Board, he thought reviving the committee, as long as it didn’t involve itself in professional issues like speed bumps, might to a good idea.
Town Board, 2/7/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, Gregory Krasov repeated comments made at earlier meetings about his plan to raise money for the museum and wanted to know when the board would act on his proposal. Supervisor Grace said that the topic would be put on a work session agenda, possibly at the end of February. Councilman Paganelli said that the board couldn’t just dismiss people who had been handling the museum for six years.
Town Board, 1/17/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, Gregory Krasov again asked the board to consider working with a Taxpayer Subsidy Committee to raise funds for the museum, something, he said that previous supervisors and boards dating back to Linda Cooper have not done. He stated that there was grant money available from the Westchester Council. of the Arts that could replace the $70,000 the town spends on the museum. He said the Committee could do what Town Clerk Alice Roker was incapable of doing Supervisor Grace said he would talk to Ms. Roker about the issue.
Town Board, 5-21-2013
Supervisor Grace said that the pads for both generators were being prepared and that there was only one location for the YCCC pads. Regarding the YCCC pad where digging has already begun, Councilman Patel asked what had happened to the planting that had been removed and which were done in conjunction with the nursery school that rents space in the building. The bid for the generators has not been advertised yet, although the technical details have been agreed to. Councilman Patel also raised the issue of the need for a new transfer switch at Town Hall which activates the generator.
Town Board, 3-12-2013
Saying that the issue had been discussed “ad nauseam,” Supervisor Grace said it was time the Town went out to bid for the two generators, plus a third one for the Water Department.He asked local engineer Dan Ciarcia to work with Mike Dubovsky, the town’s electrical vendor, to work up the specs which will then be compared to the state bid prices. Supervisor Grace said he believed the Town could get a better price by doing its own bid.
The Board agreed that it will let Con Ed know of its intention to switch to natural gas for heating town hall when the existing boilers need to be replaced.Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that all Con Ed needed before extending the gas line to town hall for free was a commitment for the future change. He added that only one of the building’s two boilers needed to be replaced now and the replacement could be a dual gas/oil burner.
Still to be decided was where the generator would be located at Town Hall.Supervisor Grace asked Mr.Ciarcia to work with Mr. Dubovsky on the possible location.One possible location suggested by Supervisor Grace was the extension of the rear parking lot, an idea he broached as part of the earlier discussion about potential uses for the Routee 202 fill. Mr. DiBartolo said that his department could do the required trenching and install the concrete for the pad.
Town Board, 10-23-2012
There was a brief discussion but it was not clear exactly what the Town would be doing and whether the discussion was limited to the generator for just the YCCC or also included one for Town Hall. Supervisor Grace said he didn’t want to spend money for a new Town Hall boiler.
At the end of the meeting, after the Board returned to open session from a second executive session, Supervisor Grace said that Con Ed wanted $5,900 to bring the gas line to Town Hall.
While no vote was taken, the Board appeared to have no problem with this expense.
Town Board, 10-9-2112
As part of the discussion of the YCCC bathroom renovation project, Supervisor Grace said he has learned that the generator for the YCCC would cost $80,000.
Town Board, 9-26-2012
While Supervisor Grace suggested that the generator projects be wrapped into the planned capital projects bond, Councilman Patel said that the Town should not wait any longer as the YCCC is advertised as a regional emergency shelter.It was noted while money was not set aside in a special line in the 2012 budget for the generators, the prior Town Board has agreed to fund the two generators from the fund balance.
After some back and forth discussion involving Mike Dubovsky of P&M Electric, the company that has the contract to do the Town’s electrical work, and former town engineer Dan Ciarcia who was acting in a volunteer capacity, it was decided that a 160KW generator was needed for the YCCC and a 100 KW generator for Town Hall. When Mr. Dubovsky explained that Con Ed would bring a gas line to Town Hall at no cost to the Town if the Town agreed to switch its heating system to gas. The Board agreed to do so but there was no discussion of what the cost of the change would be.
Pending the installation of the generator at Town Hall, Councilman Paganelli said he did not want to postpone the installation of a proper transfer switch at Town Hall in order to correct what he and Councilman Patel said was a potentially dangerous situation.The Board agreed to proceed with this work but when Councilman Paganelli asked for a timeline for the entire project, there was no response.
It was not clear who would proceed to put the specs together for the generators. Additional costs will involve plumbing, the installation of a slab on which the generators will rest (it was determined that the highway department could do this) and the installation of a super quiet enclosure for the generator.
As part of the discussion, Councilman Bianco advised the Board that Phoenix House has offered its facilities as an emergency shelter if and when needed.
Town Board, 9/18/2012
In response to a question from Councilman Patel on the status of the generators for the YCCC and Town Hall, Supervisor Grace said that he was holding off on proceeding with the project until budget time. Councilman Bianco reminded him, however, that the Board had already decided to expend the money for the generators and Councilman Patel called attention to the unsafe transfer switch situation at Town Hall.
Town Board, 6/12/2012
Using the Town’s past billing history, including demand charges, Yorktown resident Dan Ciarcia and Mike Dubovsky of P&M Electric, the Town’s outside electrical contractor, agreed that the Town needed a 100KW generator for Town Hall and as 200KW generator for the YCCC.
Mr. Dubovsky reported that in conversations he had with Con Edison, the utility was prepared to cover the $16,000 cost of extending the gas line to Town Hall IF the Town agreed to convert its two existing oil boilers to natural gas. (The YCCC already has gas service.)However, Supervisor Grace said that Highway Superintendent DiBartolo had told him that Con Ed was prepared to extend the line at no cost to the Town and without any requirement about changing service.Joining the discussion, Comptroller Joan Goldberg advised the board that the Town Hall boilers were beyond their useful life and she estimated that the Town would be able to recoup the conversion costs in a few years. (It was not clear if she meant the entire cost of the conversion or just the gas line costs.)
Adding another wrinkle to the discussion, Mr. Dubovsky advised the board that in order to minimize installation costs, the YCCC generator would have to be compatible with the existing transfer switch in the building and that the compatibility issue might determine exactly make generator what was bid and whether the Town purchased off the state contract or did its own bid.No decision was reached.
Mr. Ciarca estimated the cost of the two generators at about $60,000and Ms. Goldberg said that the previous board had earmarked $100,000 for both generators.The board will also have to decide whether the generators should be bonded or paid for out of fund balance.
Town Board, 5/29/2012
Although not on the agenda, Councilman Patel brought up the status of the purchase of the emergency generators at the YCCC and Town Hall.Supervisor Grace said he would put the topic on a future agenda. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo told the board that Con Ed has advised him that the utility company was willing to extend its gas line that currently ends at the highway garage to town hall at no cost. This would change the type of generator that would be needed for town hall.
Town Board, 3/26/2012
Although the impetus for the discussion was the immediate need to replace a transfer switch in Town Hall used when a generator is needed, the discussion expanded into a broader exploration of what size generators were needed for both buildings, plus generators for the sewer pump stations, who would spec them,and whether it made sense to replace the Town Hall transfer switch before the generator was selected.The agenda included a separate but related item for preparing an RFP for professional engineering services to the design the specs for the generators for the YCCC and Town Hall.
Supervisor Grace considered the YCCC to be the top priority as it is used as an emergency shelter and Town Hall is only used for “soft stuff.”
Mike Dubovsky of P&M Electric, the contractor who has the town contract for electrical work, explained that he has told successive supervisors about the broken transfer switch and that he would no longer have his men put in a dangerous position of having to make the connection manually.He also explained that the switch has to be compatible with the generator so that the two pieces have to be considered together.He reviewed with the board some specs for generators he had given to former Supervisor Siegel last November that were based on actual electric usage for each building. He is recommending a 70 KW generator for Town Hall and a 356 KW for the YCCC. Although the YCCC is a larger building, as it does not have air conditioning, its actual electric usage is considerably less than Town Hall’s.
Also at issue was whether Town Hall had access to a natural gas supply which would determine what type of generator was spec’d for that building; some thought gas was available while others said it wasn’t. The alternative to gas would be the installation of a propane tank.
Although it initially appeared that the board might proceed with ordering the new transfer switch and that Mr. Dubovsky would provide a cost estimate for both the switch and the labor to install it, by the time the discussion ended it appeared that Supervisor Grace would work with Dan Ciarcia (see below) to see what needed to be done and that the board would have to revisit the issue at a future meeting. He suggested that it would be better to wait a little longer and do it right.
Town Board, 2/14/2012
Dan Ciarcia, a local engineer, went over a plan he had drawn for the location of a generator at the YCCC. His suggested location was at the rear of the building near the garage entrance.He said the front of the building would not be a good location because of the noise from the generator.There was some discussion, but no definitive decision, about what size generator was needed.Councilman Patel raised several technical issues about the generator and said he was planning on having a meeting tomorrow regarding the generator although he did not indicate with who he would be meeting. There was also a discussion of whether the purchase would include the labor involved to install it, as well as the labor involved in bringing the gas and electrical lines to the generator location and which option would avoid the need to pay prevailing wage.
Supervisor Grace asked Mr. Ciarcia to prepare a proposal for his services for moving the project forward.
There was a brief discussion about also purchasing a generator for Town Hall but Supervisor Grace stated that the YCCC which acts as an emergency shelter should be given priority.
Emergency Managment Issues
Town Board, 5/`15/2012
Police Officer Larry Eidelman, the Town’s public safety officer, made a presentation about the new Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) program explaining that although he was trained to coordinate the program in 2005, the program has struggled to get implemented. (See May 5, 2012 CIY notes for an explanation of the program.)Describing the program as “people of Yorktown helping the people of Yorktown,” he stressed that CERT volunteers would supplement, not replace, the Town’s existing first responders who are members of the fire departments and volunteer ambulance corps and that it was likely that they would be seldom utilized.Residents interested in learning more about the program and/or registering for training can contact Officer Eidelman at 962-4141, ext 163, or via email at email@example.com.He is hoping to have a kick off meeting in late May or June.
Town Board, 5/8/2012
CERT Program (Citizens Emergency Response Team)
Public Safety Officer Eidelman presented a plan to get community volunteers involved in helping to relieve the stress on the Town’s emergency responders during emergency situations. The two areas of assistance he cited were helping to operate the emergency shelter, e.g., distributing meals, and checking with residents who may need special assistance.While his initial plan was for volunteers age 18 and over, he said he had had some interest from younger people.Supervisor Grace said that he was concerned about providing assistance to people with chronic needs who weren’t necessarily on the Town’s radar.“Let’s crawl before we walk,” Officer Eidelman said.The volunteers will be covered by the Town’s workers’ compensation program, something that Town Attorney Koster said was done with all Town volunteers.The Board gave Officer Eidelman its blessing to go public with the program which may be at the next Board meeting or possibly the May 9th Community Outreach meeting.
Emergency Notification System
Town Board, 4-9-2013
The Board discussed the use of three possible systems: Code Red, Deltalert, the system used in 2011, and Nixtel, a free service that allows people to sign up for notifications that is operated by the Police Department. During Hurricane Sandy, the Town used the school system’s notification system (it was not clear if the Town used both Yorktown and Lakeland systems, or only one), but Councilman Paganelli noted that only households with children in the schools would be on the districts’ lists.
One option was whether the notification system should be based solely on people signing up for the service or whether the town should purchase the Verizon 911 emergency list and let people opt out of the system if they did not want to receive calls. There was confusion about the costs involved and no decisions were made.
(Note: During the discussion, former Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, clarified some information about the cost of the Deltalert system and provided information about the Verizon list. The day after the meeting, she emailed Board members a correction on the cost of purchasing the Verizon 911 list.)
Town Board, 2-19-2013
Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) asked questions about the status of the Town’s emergency notification system that was used earlier in the month. The Supervisor did not respond to her questions.
Town Board, 9-18-2012
Susan Siegel(the person writing this summary) asked for an update on whether the Town was renewing the contract with Deltalert for the emergency notification system. Supervisor Grace said he knew that that contract was up for renewal but that before any decision was made he was waiting for the Emergency Management Committee to complete its review of the system’s value, adding that he expected a report from the Committee in about two weeks.
Town Board, 2/21/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, gave the town an analysis of how the Emergency Notication System had been used during lastyear’s October Halloween storm. In response, Supervisor Grace said that after discussing the issue with Police Officer Eidelman, the town had other uses for the balance of the Entergy grant funds. Ms.Siegel responded that the grant was given for one purpose and should not be used for another.
Town Board, 2/7/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) asked the board a series of questions dealing with a pending contract to purchase the Verizon 911 phone list for the town’s Emergency Notification Program.The board did not respond to her questions but when Ms. Siegel asked about the 911 contract again in the second courtesy of the floor, Councilman Paganelli said that there were other ways to get information to the public during emergencies and that the board was considering other uses for the grant money that the town had received to set up the Emergency Notification System. Supervisor Grace said that there would be further discussions on the issue.
Chamber of Commerce Street Festival
Town Board, 7-24-2012
The Board approved the Chamber posting temporary banners to promote the festival on Route 6& the Taconic Parkway and in front of the Chase Bank at the intersection of Commerce Street and Route 118. The banners will be up from August 15 to October 15. Mr. Visconti explained that last year, P&M Electric made its bucket truck available to Parks personal to put up the banner; he wanted to know who would put it up this year as the Town no longer has a small bucket truck.
Town Board, 2-28-2012
The board agreed to the same terms as last year for the Chamber of Commerce October festival. The exact terms were not discussed, although Chamber president Joe Visconti said that if the town wanted additional money, that would mean the Chamber would have less money to donate to local charities.
He asked the board for permission to extend the fair along Veterans Road to Turcos. The Chamber will also do something different with the banners this year to avoid problems that have surfaced in previous years.
Pinesbridge Monument fundraiser
Town Board, 2/28/2012
Chamber of Commerce president Joe Visconti asked for the board’s support for a new car show to be held in Downing Park on a June Saturday with what he said would be a “substantial” amount of the proceeds being donated to the Pinesbridge Monument fundraising efforts ( the monument will be erected in Downing Park). Mr. Visconti said that there are 20 new car dealers in the Chamber and that each one will be permitted to display four cars. The event will take place between the bocce court and Route 202.
The board supported the plan and the Chamber will proceed to obtain the necessary permits.
Town Board, 3-12-2013
Supervisor Grace reported that a single resident who lives in the area has strong objections to the commercial sign in the residential neighborhood.
As there was general agreement to allow the sign, although it had to be relocated out of the right-of-way, the only issue was who in town government had the authority to approve the sign: the Planning Board or the building inspector. After considerable back and forth, it was decided that the building inspector has the authority to approve the sign. (It was not clear if or when the sign would need to be reviewed by ABACA.)
Planning Board, 2-25-2013
On a referral from the Town Board, the Planning Board discussed a proposed sign announcing the rehabilitation of the house. While Board members had no issue with the sign, per se, and thanked Mr. Franzoso for taking on the project to save the house, they did express concern that the proposed location, in the right of way along Route 132, was not safe. Mr. Franzoso said he had no problem relocating the sign closer to the house.The sign has also been redesigned to make it less commercial looking and more community oriented. It will list the vendors who will be involved in the rehabilitation efforts. The Planning Board will convey its comments to the Town Board.
Town Board, 2-12-2013
In response to some complaints about the content of the sign that has been placed on the Town’s right-of-way listing some of the companies who are providing materials for the rehabilitation of the house, the Board voted to refer the sign to ABACA, the building and planning departments and the Planning Board.Adjoining neighbors will also be notified. The Board will revisit the issue at the February 26 meeting and invite public comments on the sign at its March meeting.
Town Board, 8-7-2012
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.
Town Board, 7-24-2012
The Board went into closed session to discuss the property. Participating in the discussion was realtor Bill Primavera and two members of the Town’s Community Housing Board. Town Attorney Koster explained that real estate negotiations were a permitted closed session discussion
Town Board, 7-17-2012
(See 7/17/2012 discussion at Landmarks Preservation Commission)
Town Board, 7/10/2012
An item not on the agenda.Bill Primavera, the realtor selected to market the property, reported that he had received two offers and that one of them, from Franzoso Contracting, was a plan that was in accord with his long held wish that the property be restored. (The details of the second offer were never discussed.)
The details of the Franzoso proposal were contained in documents that were not discussed, but as summarized by Mr. Primavera, they included:
·A cash payment to the town of $150,000
·The restoration of the barn and building using “green” materials
·The restored barn, with seating capacity, will be made available to small theater groups, school, senior and other non profit groups.
·The property would be subdivided to allow the contractor to build a second market rate house on the site
Town Attorney Koster explained that a proposed conservation easement had been mapped out for the site as part of the prior sale that fell through but that the actual legal paperwork had never been filed when the sale fell through. Supervisor Grace suggested that before a contract was drawn up, the contractor check out the property to see if the proposed easement would impact his plans for the subdivision. He also suggested that the town might want to wave the recreation fee for the subdivision.
Although initially concerned that he hadn’t seen the details of the proposal, when given a second document, Councilman Bianco said he had no problem with the proposal.
The town attorney was directed to draft a contract.The sale will be subject to a permissive referendum.
Town Board, 6/5/2012
Authorized the supervisor to a contract with William Primavera to market the property. It was noted that the sale will be subject to a roughly five acre conservation easement that will be placed on the parcel.
Town Board, 5/29/2012
Although not on the agenda, the board briefly discussed the standard broker contract that Supervisor Grace had signed with realtor Bill Primavera for marketing the parcel. Town Attorney Koster said that she had not had an opportunity to review the agreement prior to the Supervisor signing it and expressed concern that the standard document did not include what Mr. Primavera said he would do in the RFP that the board relied on when it selected Mr. Primavera.The agreement sets the listing price at $215,000. Although the overall site is 7+ acres, 5 acres have a conservation easement and the parcel can be subdivided into two lots.The board will vote on the contract at the June 5th meeting.
Town Board, 5/22/2012
Supervisor Grace reported that the town received only one response, from Bill Primavera, to its RFP for brokers interested in marketing the property.
Mr. Primavera said that his commission would be 5.5% if another broker was involved, 4.5% if he was the only broker, and 3% if a buyer approached the town on his or her own initiative. He suggested that the exclusive agreement run for nine months.He also wants to town to do some clean up of the property.
While Mr. Primavera said he thinks he has a buyer who’s interested in restoring the house, his contract would also include a sale that could subdivide the property.
The Supervisor and Mr. Primavera will work out the details of a final agreement to be voted on at the June 5th meeting.
Town Board, 4/17/2012
The board voted to advertise an RFP to market the property. Proposals are due May 14, 2012.
Town Board, 3/13/2012
The board voted to advertise an RFP soliciting proposals to market the property. Acting on the suggestion of local realtor Bill Primavera, the board will select a broker rather than do an open listing.
When Deputy Town Clerk Quast said that she could not advertise the RFP until she had something in writing, Supervisor Grace said there was basically nothing to write; that it was just two sentences. Town Attorney Koster said she needed at least a week to draft the RFP but hoped she could do it faster.
Town Board, 3/6/2011
Ed Ciffoneraised the issue of a realtor having been engaged to sell the Bernstein House. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the issue had been reported incorrectly and that there had been no board resolution to engage Mr. Primavera. “We were careful what we did. It was reported incorrectly.” During the second Courtesy of the Floor, Mr. Ciffone reminded the board that the proceeds from last year’s auction of the Bernstein House (when the high bidder reneged on his bid, he lost his deposit) were supposed to go to the museum and not into the general fund. Both Supervisor Grace and Town Attorney Koster disagreed with his legal interpretation of the deed that gave the property to the town.
Town Board, 2/28/2012
Local realtor Bill Primavera updated the board on plans he had had, dating back to 2003, to renovate the propertyp, but wich had fallen through for reasonos he did not detail. he said he was returhing to the board now in a last ditch effort to sell the property.
Councilman Bianco said that he had heard from someone who was interested in leasing the property, renovating it, and then advertising the house as a showcase for his company’s services. Supervisor Grace said, however, that there were issues involved in leasing the property to an individual and Mr. Primavera said that the person who had initially expressed interest in renovating the building hadn’t seen it and that when he did, decided that the building was too far gone to renovate.
The discussion then moved to selling the property which led to Councilman Paganelli to ask why, after all the efforts to save the houses at the High School and the Crompond Crossing site, was the town so anxious to “trash” the Bernstein house. In response, Mr. Primavera called the Bernstein house a “black pit.”
Supervisor Grace said the property should be marketed and not sold at auction and Mr. Primavera said he would take an exclusive to sell the property with a 6% broker’s fee. Councilman Bianco asked if the town should get bids from other brokers and Town Attorney Koster said that while this would be a professional service and the town could solicit proposals using the RFP (Request for Proposals) procedure, she said it wasn’t necessary. Mr. Primavera then said that he would prepare a contract for the Supervisor to sign. He estimated that the property could sell for over $200,000.
2/29/ Correction from Bill Primavera: "Susan, I didn't say the Bernstein House was beyond saving...not at all. I said that it was in deplorable shape but that I was hopeful that a buyer could be found who would tackle the job of renovating it, not restoring it (which indeed would be prohibitively expensive)."
Rental and Usage Issues
Town Board, 6-11-2013
Waived a one-time fee of $337.44 for the Yorktown Historial Society for room rental at the YCCC, but declined to issue a continuing waiver for future use, preferring instead to approve waivers on a case-by-case basis. It was noted that a policy was needed regarding rental fees.
Town Board, 1-29-2013
An item not on the agenda. At the request of Town Clerk Roker, who explained that the Taconic Post Card Club was an important component of the Museum and should be considered a non-profit group, the Town Board voted unanimously to rescind its previous resolution and instead not to charge the group rent for use of a meeting room at the CCC.
Town Board, 1-15-2013
a. Bright Beginnings. (See November 27, 2012 meeting.) With no discussion, the Board voted unanimously not to increase pre-school center’s 2013 rent by 3%, the increase that is being paid by other tenants.
b. Head Start refund. A provision in the group’s 2012 lease said that it was entitled to a refund whenever the YCCC was used as an emergency shelter. After acknowledging that the lease provision was confusing and needed to be clarified, it was agreed that any refund would be calculated based on the yearly rent divided by 365 days. It was noted, however, that if a state of emergency existed and people were not supposed to be on the road, the facility should be closed and therefore not entitled to a refund.
c. Taconic Postcard Club. The issue was whether this group, an offshoot of the museum, should be charged $843 for the year to hold 12 meetings in the nutrition center.Councilman Bianco said that all non-profit (and not-for profit, as there was confusion as to whether there was a difference between the two terms) should be treated the same and that the Town should have a policy. It was decided that the group should pay.
d. Teen Center. At the request of the Teen Center, the group will be allowed to use Room 104 (at no charge) on Friday evenings during the school year subject to the Park & Recreation Department not needing the room for any of its programs.
e. AARP Tax Preparation Program. The issue was whether this volunteer group, which was used a room in the past, should be exempt from paying rent.Initially, it was thought that the group’s services were provided free, but based on last minute information, it appeared that it did charge a fee – which, in the minds of the Board, changed its eligibility for the rent exemption.Patty DeMarsh, the YCCC building manager, will check out the fee issue and report back to the Board.
f. BOCES evacuation plan. Ms. DeMarsh advised that Board that she had recently learned that the BOCES evacuation plan calls for sending its students to the YCCC. She said no one in Town had ever known about this.Supervisor Grace indicated that he would look into the issue.
Town Board, 3/26/2012
The Teen Center has requested additional time to use the gym during summer hours. Town Attorney Koster said that this shouldn’t be a problem if Patty DeMarsh, the building’s manager was okay with the request. Mary Capoccia, Supervisor Grace’s assistant, said she had received an email from Ms. DeMarsh indicating that she had no problem with the request and Ms. Koster said she would prepare the resolution for the board’s approval at the next meeting.
Room Rental Rates
Town Board, 10-23-2012
Mara Zeidens, one of the co-owners of Bright Beginnings, a child care business that rents space in the YCCC objected to the planned 3% rent increase for 2013.
The company currently paysabout $5,700 a month for classrooms, or $22.19/sq ft, plus the use of the gym and two outdoor spaces.Ms. Zeidins objected to the fact that Headstart, a competing child care program, pays a lower rent ($10,000 a year less) because of its non-profit status; she felt that all tenants should be treated equally. She said that a new child care program at French Hill School will be paying $10/sq ft., a difference that Councilman Paganelli said was an “unfair advantage.”
Supervisor Grace said that the rent for every tenant should be based on its own merits and invited Ms. Zeidens to make a proposal to the Board.He said that the current $22.19/sq ft was under market and the rent structure was not one of equity.He also defended the lower $2.64/sq ft rental charge for Yorktown Stage saying that it was a “different animal.” If we don’t make the right deal with the theater, he said, we could lose it.
Town Board, 9-26-2012
Mary Capoccia, Executive Assistant to the Supervisor, presented the Board with a recommendation from Patty DeMarsh, the manager of the YCCC, that the town continue past practice of raising rental rates each year by 3%.Supervisor Grace initially thought the rates might be too high and lead to an exodus of tenants. He noted that he was charging less for space now in his office building than what he did 10 years ago. Councilman Paganelli asked what rates the school district was charging for French Hill School but no one offered any information.The Board voted unanimously to approve the 3% increase.
As part of the discussion, some comments were made about the Town’s recreation fees and Supervisor Grace noted that revenue might have been dropping off for the pools because of the increase in the pool permit fee.Councilman Paganelli said that if the fees were to be reduced, the loss of revenue would have to be made up somewhere else and both he and Councilman Bianco said they had no problem with allowing residents from neighboring communities to purchase permits for the pools.
See also the Finance page for a September 4, 2012 discussion about rental rates for a specific group
Town Board, 2/28/2012
Patricia DeMarsh, manager of the YCCC reviewed the rent rates for non-profit groups at the YCCC.
Hourly rental rates at the building vary by room. The senior club room opposite the gym rents for $27.30/hour for non-profits and $49/for profit making groups. The smaller Community Room 1 at the other end of the building rents for $15.80/hr or $27.30 for profit making groups.
Since 2010, all new non-profit groups renting space have paid the same rent. However, Ms. DeMarsh said, some groups that have used space prior to 2010 and were not charged are still not being charged, or are being different rates.
The board was in general agreement that all groups, no matter how “worthy” should be charged the same rate and that the town could always lower the non-profit rate if it wanted to and that the umbrella group that Supervisor Grace is talking about setting up should not be used to have other groups avoid paying whatever the going rate is for non-profit groups.Supervisor Grace said that some groups, such as Relay for Life which rents a room six times a year for meetings, have asked not to be charged. The board agreed that some non-profit groups should be treated differently. For example, Ms. DeMarsh pointed out that if the regular non-profit rate for use of the gym was applied to the Teen Center, the cost to the Center would be $12,000.
The board also discussed the use of a second floor room, between 600-700 sq. ft., that became vacant last year after the Westchester County Office of the Aging closed its office. (They shared space with the Beaver Conference Farm. Neither tenant paid any rent.)One possibility, Ms. DeMarsh said, was to set the room up as a conference room; she does get requests from small businesses using the room to hold meetings.Councilman Bianco asked if the room could be used for the merger of the Planning, Engineering and Building departments that had been discussed in previous years, but Ms. DeMarsh said she believed that that idea had been dropped because the building didn’t have adequate parking for the merged department.
Town Comptroller Joan Goldberg told the board that the building “loses” about a quarter million dollars a year. She said she will work with Ms. DeMarsh to allocate the costs of operating the building between town uses and space that is rented.
Town Board, 2/28/2012
Supervisor Grace said he wanted to see Community Day strengthened, but it was unclear what plans he had in mind. He mentioned something about the Alliance for Safe Kids (ASK) and also that the subject might be discussed at a March 22nd meeting community affairs meeting.
Town Board, 3/6/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, representatives of Meadows Farm, Wilkens Farm and Stuart’s Farm expressed their concern about news reports that there would be a Farmers’ Market coming to Yorktown. They all said that no one had contacted them about the planned market. All stated that the market would hurt their local businesses. Randy Pratt of Wilkens farm said that his farm realized 85% of its yearly revenue in 18 days and that a Farmers’ Market that ran for 28 days would negatively impact on the farm’s revenue. Bob Stuart told the board that the vendors at these markets were truckers, not farmers , and that there was no way to enforce a rule that the vendors had to be farmers.
In response, Supervisor Grace explained that the idea for a Farmers’ Market came out of the first community affairs outreach meeting as a way to help local non-profit groups and charities and help recreate a sense of community and promote local businesses. The town, he said, is not involved in the implementation of the idea.Both he and Councilman Murphy said that the intent of the market was not to hurt local businesses.The farmers were urged to come to the next community affairs meeting on March 22nd.
Department of Public Works (DPW)
Town Board, 8-7-2012
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 Gulitzsaid 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.
Town Board, 7-25-2012
The Town Board held a special work session meeting to allow comments by Town staff members and the public on the proposal by Yorktown Citizens for a DPW to create a Department of Public Works (DPW).
Because the Citizens for an Informed Yorktown observer is a member of the Committee, it would not be appropriate for her to report on the meeting. Therefore, we are directing interested residents to view a video of the meeting on TV on the government channel, Channel 20 (Cablevision) or Channnel 33 (FIOS).
For a schedule of when the program is aired, visit the Town's web site, www.yorktownny.org, scroll down to the bottom of the page and under the Quick Links column, click "YGTV Program Guide."
The meetng can also be viewed online by clicking the "Meeting Videos" link under the Quick Links column
Town Board, 7-17-2012
Duiring Coutesy of the Floor, more than a half dozen people spoke urging the Board to set a public hearing for the DPW referendum for August 7.In response, Supervisor Grace said he was flattered that so many people had come out to speak on the issue. He said the Board had an open mind about the issue and that he did not like the shrill rhetoric that the DPW committee had been using. He said that the Board was not blocking democracy.He said he saw the issue as the abolishment of the highway superintendent position and that the town could generate savings without a DPW.
Councilman Bianco said he hadn’t yet seen the savings that a DPW could generate and that he was waiting until after the June 25 DPW informational meeting scheduled for 6:30pm at town hall. Councilman Patel said that no one on the Board had a P.E. (professional engineer) license and that this type of expertise was needed for many projects. He also said that the people had a right to vote on the issue. Councilman Murphy said the he was open minded and wanted to listen.
Town Board, 7-10-2012
An informational meeting on the DPW will be held on Thursday, July 25 at 6:30pm in town hall.
Town Board, 6/19/2012
Renee Rogarty and Jane Daniels of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW reported that in response to the Board’s requests at the June 12 work session, they had provided the Board with the following documents: a cost savings analysis, a conceptual organization chart, and a response to legal issues raised by the town attorney. The documents are available on the group’s web site, yorktowdpw.org. They said the group was disappointed that the Board had not agreed to meet with them to discuss their information in a work session mdoe after the regular meeting.
In response, Supervisor Grace said that the Board had been meeting since 5pm and that it was a long day. Commenting on the group’s information, he said that there were flaws in the number. He said that department heads had discussed the DPW concept at a staff meeting and had highlighted problems with the savings numbers. He said it was the Board’s fiduciary responsibility not to put the DPW issue up for a referendum until it was satisfied that a DPW would save money. He said he was willing to meet with the group in late July.
A third member of the group, Linda Miller, reminded the Board the the citizen’s group wasn’t saying that anything was broken; just that with a DPW, services could be delivered more efficiently and effectively.
(Note; the CIY observer is a member of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW..)
Town Board, 6/12/2012
(note the author of this summary is a member of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW)
Jane Daniels, the spokesperson for Yorktown Citizens for a DPW, asked the board to schedule a public hearing for July 17 on the proposed law that would start the referendum process and to hold an informational meeting for the public the week before.She said the purpose of the group’s presentation was to go over the process leading up the referendum and was not to debate the pros and cons of a DPW.
In response, members of the board, with the exception of Councilman Patel, said at different times that they were not prepared to hold a public hearing until more information about the potential DPW cost savings was available. Supervisor Grace said creating a DPW was a major structural change for the town and that he was not going to rush into changing 200 years of tradition. He said that before he was ready to schedule a public hearing he needed to know if a DPW would result in greater efficiency of service and lower the cost of service, a sentiment shared by Councilman Murphy, Bianco and Paganelli. Councilman Paganelli said that if the Town Board was doing its job, the board functioned as a DPW and Councilman Bianco wanted to know whether other towns with DPWs also had special districts.
In response to Supervisor Grace’s question about what departments the committee envisioned being included in a DPW, Ms. Daniels said that there were many possible options and that the committee had not planned to make a recommendation that evening but would at a future date. Going through a list of existing departments, the supervisor said he didn’t see how a DPW could provide the services currently being provided by existing departments and department heads without eliminating some upper management positions which he said he wasn’t prepared to do. In terms of the labor force, he said that there was no problem with the departments helping each other out. Councilman Paganelli added that the Town had a dedicated staff and that he wasn’t prepared to do away with any jobs.
Supervisor Grace, who along with Councilman Paganelli, did most of the talking, also said that having an elected highway superintendent provided the voters with a circuit breaker; appointed department heads, such as the comptroller can be institutionalized and fall victim to inertia.
Highway Superintendent DiBartolo questioned the savings that he said were being publicized by the committee, adding that it would take 7-9 years to save about $100,000. He said that the discussion should have taken place six months ago before two new department heads were appointed.
Ms. Daniels said the committee would get back to the board with the requested cost saving information and organizational chart and that she hoped the board would still schedule the public hearing in time to make the September 1st deadline to get the referendum question on the ballot.
Town Board, 6/5/2012
Aaron Bock, speaking on behalf of Yorktown Citizens for a DPW repeated his group’s request to meet with the Town Board to discuss the steps leading up to a November referendum that would give residents the opportunity to vote on whether they wanted to establish a DPW. He gave the Board copies of a petition signed by over 160 people who supported holding the referendum. In response, Supervisor Grace said “we’ll look at it.” During the second Courtesy of the Floor, when Jane Daniels, another member of the Committee, asked the Board to place the item on the June 12th work session agenda, both Supervisor Grace and Councilman Paganelli said that an afternoon informational meeting to which all the players could be invited, and similar to the Route 202 corridor meeting that had been held in January, would be more appropriate. Supervisor Grace said that Yorktown was different from other towns because it has sewer and water districts and that there were also issues as to whether the engineering department should be part of a DPW, adding that he had an “open mind” on the issue.William LaScala spoke against a DPW, saying that he never heard of a scheme that saved money. He said the people proposing the DPW had a personal agenda and were citing junk science.
Town Board, 5/15/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, Renee Fogarty, speaking on behalf of a new group, Yorktown Citizen’s for a DPW, asked the board to put a referendum on the November ballot that would eliminate the position of highway superintendent and transfer the highway function to a newly created DPW which, she said, would save taxpayers’ money. The current method of delivering services, she noted, is” inefficient, duplicative, costly and outmoded.” She asked the board put the issue on a work session agenda. In response, Supervisor Grace said that, “I’d love to take a look” at the issue, adding that it was “not so simple. Steve Gardner said he supported keeping an elected highway superintendent because an elected official was more accountable, a point that was repeated during the second courtesy of the floor segment by Serafina Mastro. In response, Supervisor Grace and Councilman Paganelli said that the board was acting like a DPW and coordinating the work of different departments. Highway superintendent DiBartolo said, “When you work together, it works.” He thanked the board for its cooperation. (Note: The author of these CIY notes is a member of Yorktown Citizen’s for a DPW.)
Town Board, 12-11-2012
AT&T cell tower
(This was discussed in closed session at the beginning of the meeting.)
Without any discussion or explanation of what was in the resolution, the Board passed a resolution dealing with the cell tower. The only comment from Supervisor Grace was that in future leases, there should be a bond dealing with the demolition of towers.
Town Board, 5/29/2012
Metro/PCS cell tower at Mohegan storage tank site
In a brief discussion, Town Attorney Koster advised the board that at a meeting she attended with the supervisor and representatives of the cell tower company, “everything had been taken care of” and that it was decided that existing equipment at the location did not have to be relocated and that the water department could find other ways to access the tanks. Also, the existing lease will be modified to allow the companies to raise the tower by 4-5 feet.
Town Board, 5/22/2012
30 Metro/PSC Cell Tower at Mohegan Storage Tank Site
The discussion with two representatives of cell tower companies focused on the relocation of an existing cell tower pad in order to provide the water department with needed access to the site’s storage tanks. When the lease was granted in 2009 to Crown Castle, there was only a three foot space between the tanks and the tower’s pad; the water department needs 10 feet. (During the somewhat confusing discussion, it appeared that although the lease was signed in 2009, it was only recently that the company wanted to do some work at the site.)
The cell tower company has no problem relocating the pad, but the discussion focused on who would pay for relocating the existing equipment and whether the cell tower company was entitled to a rebate to offset the relocation cost.Water Distribution Superintendent David Rambo said that the town could do some of the relocation work, but if that required the services of an electrician, that would be an outside expense.The cell tower company was asking for a rebate of $15,000 to cover four months rent. Mr. Rambo added that the relocation would be done much faster if the company did the work.
Supervisor Grace advised the company that its use of the site was subordinate to the town’s public use and that basically the original lease would be illegal.He said he would meet with the cell tower representatives before next Tuesday’s work session to see what could be worked out. “We don’t want to delay you,” he said, confident that the issue could be resolved.
Town Board, 6-4-2013
After a closed session discussion with members of the Ethics Board prior to the regular meeting, the Board voted, 4-0, for a resolution that gives the four town officials who have not submitted their 2012 Financial Disclosure forms 21 days to submit the forms or else be automatically suspended from their positions. The supervisor did not identify the four individuals or their positions.
The vote generated additional comments from the public and the Board during the second Courtesy of the Floor. Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) thanked the Board for its action and for enforcing the provisions of the law, but Tony Grasso, who said he served on a prior Ethics Board, said he thought the requirement was intrusive and violated the rights of the individuals.
Supervisor Grace said he thought the current form was intrusive, adding that if a person chose not to submit the form, his reputation would be besmirched. Calling the law counterproductive, he added that the filing requirement could lead to people not wanting to work in Yorktown or volunteer to serve on boards. Also, that the law could lead to “snarky allegations.” When Councilman Patel said that the county’s disclosure form was more stringent than the town’s, Supervisor Grace disagreed.
Supervisor Grace said the existing law needed to be tweaked and that he had asked the newest member of the Ethics Board, an attorney, to look into possible revisions. Councilman Bianco, who was on the Board when the Disclosure Form was adopted, said that there had been considerable debate prior to its adoption, adding that although the form was not onerous but that it might need some tweaking. But right now, he said, it’s the law and it should be followed.
Town Board, 5-7-2013
Councilman Bianco disclosed that three people have failed to submit their 2012 annual financial disclosure forms that were due May 15, 2012. (The 2013 forms are due next week and the Town Clerk’s office has sent reminder letters to all those who haven’t submitted their forms yet.) He said that there was no enforcement mechanism in the Ethics Law and that it was up to the volunteer Ethics Board to make a recommendation to the Town Board as to what to do next. (See December 11, 2012 meeting notes.)
Supervisor Grace called the disclosure forms “onerous” and “intrusive” and of no value.
Town Board, 12/11/2012
Financial Disclosure Statements
(Initially listed on the agenda for a closed session, the discussion took place in an open session.)
Ethics Board members Richard Rubenstein and Laurie Noonan advised the Town Board that 16 people who were supposed to complete Financial Disclosure forms pursuant to the 2010 Town Ethics Law have not done so, despite reminders from the Town Clerk’s office. Twelve of the 16 are members of volunteer boards; the remaining four are employees. (Note: the law identifiesthe positions that are required to submit the form.)
The issue before the Town Board was whether it wanted to enforce the requirement, and if so, how. Mr. Rubenstein said that disclosure form was designed to identify potential conflicts and that if the Town doesn’t intend or want to enforce the requirement, then it should repeal it. He added that there was no purpose for having an Ethics Board if the Town was not going to enforce the requirement. Both he and Ms. Noonan said that the disclosure form was based on models used elsewhere and that it had been scaled back and was much less intrusive than forms used elsewhere.
Calling the requirement intrusive, Supervisor Grace said the law was the “cause de jure” and said it prevented nothing.He said that the Town shouldn’t have a kangaroo court and that like the current talk about the garbage contract, the disclosure form is subject to innuendo, adding that it a person didn’t want to complete the form, it would appear that he or she was unethical and “set the plate for criticism.” Councilman Paganelli said he took issue with only the two questions on the form that dealt with money owed or money owed to the person completing the form.
Supervisor Grace also said that he took exception to the “revolving door” provision in the Ethics Law that placed restrictions on former employees representing clients before town bodies. The problem isn’t the ex-employee, he said, but the board member who can’t muster the courage to do the right thing. The law puts the punishment in the wrong place, he said.
On the suggestion of Councilman Murphy, the Town Board will send a letter to the 16 people reminding them of the law’s requirement and giving them until January 15 to submit the disclosure forms.If they fail to submit the form, the recommendation of the Ethics Board to theTown Board would be to suspend anyone who is a town employee and remove any of the volunteers from their boards. (After reviewing the names of the people who hadn’t submitted the form, Supervisor Grace noted that all the members of one board were on the list, adding that he’d have no problem disbanding the entire board.)
The Town Board also gave its approval to a set of procedures the Ethics Board has developed and which will be posted online, and it asked the Ethics Board to proceed with its plans to bring in an outside person to conduct an ethics training session.Minutes of past Ethics Board meeting are also available online and more recent ones are slated to be uploaded.
Mr. Rubenstein also advised the Ethics Board that there is one vacancy on the Board. And, the Town Board said it wanted to reappoint Mr., Rubenstein whose term was expiring.
Town Board, 6/5/2012
Adopted the procedures developed by the Ethics Board for dealing with ethics complaints.
Town Board, 5/29/2012
Three members of the Ethics Board met with the board requesting its approval on a set of procedures that will govern the operation of the Ethics Board and explain to residents how they can file complaintsthat the group. As there were no comments on the procedures, the board agreed that it would adopt the documentby resolution at the June 5th meeting.
In a related issue, when the group asked the Town Board to fill a vacancy on the Ethics Board and Supervisor Grace said that the daughter of a former town justice had expressed interest in joining the group and that an interview with her should be set up, Richard Rubenstein, the group’s chairman said that one person shouldn’t be picked “out of the hat” for the opening but that resumes from other interested people should be reviewed. It was not clear whether other resumes had been submitted.
The Town Board briefly went into closed session to review the Ethic Board’s findings on a particular complaint. Returning to open session, and without any discussion, the Town Board voted to accept the Ethic Board’s recommendation.Joan Landzberg, a member of the Ethics Board, told the board that some issues that have come before the board didn’t actually fall within the board’s purview.
Jefferson Valley Issues
Town Board, 10-9-2012
Although a representative of Jefferson Valley homeowners did not appear at the meeting, Councilman Bianco advised the Board that the homeowners had issues regarding trees along Wood Street and parking along Wood St. and East Main Street, and that they had been told by the police department that, in the absence of any No Parking signs, the department could do nothing about the parking problem.
Councilman Paganelli said that he looked into the residents’ concerns and was told that the highway department had cut trees in the area 14 times since January. However, he added, some of the trees that residents are concerned about may not be on Town property.Regarding the parking issue, the Board referred the matter to the Public Safety Committee to consider whether No Parking signs were needed.
Town Board, 6/19/2012
Three residents from Cordial Rd. asked the Board to do something to correct a situation where eight cats belonging to their next door neighbor have been fouling their property and preventing them from enjoying their property. They said that they had approached the woman in a neighborly fashion but that the women told her that she was within her rights and there was nothing to Town could do to stop her. Police officers, the animal control officer and the code inspector have all visited the site but there is no local law limiting the number of cats a homeowner can have or requiring cats to be leashed.The homeowners asked the Board for something that could be done upon the filing of a complaint. When Councilman Paganelli and Town Attorney Koster suggested the possibility of regulating cats, Town Clerk Roker told them that only the state has authority to regulate cats. Supervisor Grace suggested to the homeowners that their recourse should be in civil court. He said he would get back to the residents if there was something the Town could do to assist them.
1481 Maiden Lane
Town Board, 5-21-2013
Francesa Samel, whose property abuts the house that burned down 18 months ago, pleaded with the Board to take some action to demolish building’s remains which she said presents a fire and safety hazard as well as causing her a financial hardship as she can’t sell her house was long as the remnants of the old structure remain. She said she understands the problems associated with the task but she was still asking that something be done.
In response Supervisor Grace said efforts to put pressure on the owner to remove the building have, to date, not been successful but that “we’ll be vigilant about it.” It was unclear from the discussion whether an outside contractor had already been selected to demolish the structure or town staff would be used in the event the decision to proceed with the demolition was made. Supervisor Grace expressed concern that if the town demolished the building, it may not be able to recover its costs, adding that there was an asbestos issue which would affect the cost.
Town Board, 11-27-2012
The issue remains whether the Town should spend the money to take down the structure and then put a lien on the property to recoup its costs. Supervisor Grace appeared concerned that the Town might not be able to get repaid from the bank or could force the bank to take down the structure. (There appears to be a reverse mortgage on the property.) Town Clerk Roker raised the issue of whether, given the site’s proximity to the reservoir, a new house could be built on the property once the remains were removed. Town Attorney Koster said that all appropriate people/agencies had been notified about the Town’s intent to remove the structure.At the Supervisor’s request, she retrieved the file from her office, and after reviewing the papers, the Supervisor said he would visit the site with the building inspector. No decision on how to proceed was made.
Town Board, 9-14-2012
The discussion focused on where the money was to come from to demolish the structure.
Building Inspector John Winter advised the Board that a neighbor has been complaining about the site and that he continues to get no response from the property owner or her son who lives in the area. Town Attorney Koster said that the Town had been very careful to follow all the requirements leading up to the Town taking down the building but Supervisor Grace said the owner could still challenge the Town’s action and its lack of authority to demolish the structure.Ms. Koster noted that the taxes are still being paid on the property and her opinion was that if the Town took the building down and the cost was placed as a lien on the property, the mortgage company was likely to pay off the lien.
No decision was made.
Town Board, 7-17-2012
The Board opened and closed the hearing and voted to proceed to have the Town demolish the unsafe half burned-out structure and put a lien on the property to recover costs.The property was damaged in October, 2011 and the owner has disregarded numerous notices to take down the structure.
Town Board, 4-10-2012
On the recommendation of Building Inspector John Winter, the board authorized the Building Department to send a notice to a property owner informing him that he had to demolish his building immediately because it was unsafe and beyond repair. Under the existing Unsafe Structurelaw, if the property owner does not comply with the notice, after holding a public hearing, the Town can demolish the building and recoup the cost of the work by placing a lien on the property. The location of the building was not disclosed during the discussion.
Town Board, 5-21-2013
Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) asked for an update on the status of the new fluoridation installation, specifically whether a contract for the design of the new facility had been signed. In response, Councilman Paganelli said that because he had concerns that that engineering firm that submitted a proposal to design the new facility had overlooked a ventilation system 10 years ago when the initial fluoride system was put in, he tried to get other engineers to quote on the job but that didn’t work out because they were not OSHA certified. He said that the Joint Water Works attorney was drafting an IMA (Intermunicipal agreement) that would state that Yorktown would cover the cost of the design engineering work which would be $51,000. He anticipated that once the town reviewed and approved the IMA, it would take 3-6 months to complete the design work. And, until he saw the IMA, he did not know whether the town or the Joint Water Works would actually advertise the bid for the work.
Town Board, 2-19-2013
Councilman Paganelli reported that he will be meeting with the consulting engineering firm to review options for the new fluoride system at the Catskill treatment plant.He said his goal was to install a new system that would last more than 10 years. He also expressed some concern that the new system would cost more money than originally thought, but he did not specify any numbers.Whether the new equipment will be housed in a separate building will be determined by the engineers.
Town Board, 1-29-2013
Mr. Rambo advised the Board that he would be meeting with the Joint Water Works to proceed with plans for the installation of the new equipment at the Catskill plant which he estimated would cost between $73,000-$93,000. According to the JWW, the work should be completed in about six months. He also said that the modifications at the Amawalk plant would be deferred until 2014.
Councilman Paganelli told the Board that because Cortlandt and Montrose do not fluoridate their water, in the future, when the Catskill plant goes off line for maintenance and the two districts draw their water from Amawalk (the primary source for Yorktown’s water), the fluoridation equipment would be shut off. He estimated that the Catskill closure would typically be for no more than a week at a time.
Town Board, 1-22-2013
Supervisor Grace opened the hearing by explaining that prior to expending capital funds to upgrade the fluoride injection equipment at both the Catkskill and Amawalk water treatment plants, Councilman Paganelli, who is the Town’s representative to the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works (NWJWW) felt that, in the spirit of open government, the Board should hear what the public had to say on the issue.
Under a Town law passed in 1965, the Town is obligated to add fluoride to its water supply.
Westchester County Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler, several area dentists and residents spoke in support of the Town continuing to fluoridate its water. Only one person, a resident of Croton-on-Hudson, spoke against fluoridation. Several members of the Board and Town Clerk Roker also read or summarized correspondence, pro and con, that had been sent to the Board.
Matthew Geho, the operations director of the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works explained that based on estimates received from the district’s engineering consultant, the cost of upgrading the fluoride injection system at the Amawalk plant will be about $93,000.The cost for the equipment at the Catskill plant is still be determined, as additional work will be needed to deal with the building’s ventilation system.Councilman Paganelli estimated that the cost for both facilities could run between $150,000 - $250,000.
The annual cost of the fluoride chemical is about $23,000/year.
The Board closed the hearing and voted 3-1, with Councilman Paganelli voting no and Councilman Bianco not present, to continue to add fluoride to the Town’s water supply.
Town Board, 1-18-2013
The Board voted to advertise a public information meeting for January 22, 2013 to get public input on whether the Town should continue adding fluoride to its water supply.During the second Courtesy of the Floor, a dentist spoke in favor of fluoride and the need for the Town to be guided by scientific information. Councilman Paganelli suggested that the public could get information from Google.
Town Board, 10-2-2012
Councilman Paganelli gave a “heads up” that the system that injects fluoride into the Town’s water supply needs to be upgraded and that in 2002 the cost was estimated at between $75,000 - $150,000 which he assumed could mean a $250,000 cost in today’s dollars.He said that there were pros and cons about whether fluoride should be added to the water supply (Yorktown is the only member of the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works that adds fluoride) and that the Town needed to review legal issues and have public input before proceeding with any equipment upgrade.Councilman Patel said that in his judgment, he didn’t think fluoride was necessary.
Town Board, 2-26-2013
Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks & Recreation, would like to erect two additional events-type signs some place in town where his department’s programs can be promoted.The underlying issue is that between spring and fall, there is a strong demand for the existing signs by community groups, crowding out the Town’s ability to use the signs to promote its own programs.Although the Board had a document with some suggested locations, it was difficult for the audience to hear what they were; it sounded like somewhere around BJs and also at Route 202 and Granite Springs Road. A third location was not clear. The sign would be about the same size as the existing “double” events sign on Route 6 at the Taconic.
Councilman Bianco said that Town events should take precedence for placement on the existing signs, but it was pointed out that this create problems for community groups. He also objected to a sign at Granite Springs Road and Route 202, noting that the location was the gateway to a residential community. He said he considered the sign at Route 6 and the Taconic “offensive.”
Councilman Murphy suggested that those who use the existing signs to promote their events should be asked to pay some of the expense for maintaining the sign.And Supervisor Grace , citing the visual clutter of the existing signs, suggested that someone design a new, more aesthetic sign.
Town Attorney Koster said she had some legal advice to give the Board in closed session, but instead the Board asked her to put her thoughts in writing.
No decisions were reached and Mr. Gray will revisit the idea and return to the Board.
Town Board, 2-26-2013
The Richmond Agency has informally let the Town know of its plans to construct a building for a new group home for six residentswith physical disabilities on a 1.15 acre vacant lot on East Main Street in Shrub Oak, near the Contractor’s Register/Lois Chiropractic office site. The parcel is sewered. The agency currently operates a group home on Lexington Avenue and was the original owner of the group home on Brookside Avenue.
Dan Luckett, chairman of the Town’s Group Home Committee explained that once the Town receives a formal notice from the agency it has 40 days to agree to the plan, suggest an alternate site, or object to the plan and begin a legal process of review.
Both Councilman Bianco and Supervisor Grace said they had no reservations about the location or the plan. A representative of the agency explained that given the physical needs of its clients, it was more cost effective to build a house from scratch than buy one and renovate it to meet its needs. The state will give the agency $145,000 for each of the six residents.
Mr. Luckett explained that the next step in the process, which is optional, would be for the Group Home Committee to arrange for a meeting with area residents so that they could learn more about the proposed project.It was pointed out that there are very few “neighbors” in the area; basically two homes and some commercial sites.Supervisor Grace said that the meeting was not necessarily limited to only immediate residents of the neighborhood. The Town will assist Mr. Luckett in identifying the neighborhood people who should receive notification of the meeting.Once the meeting has been scheduled, the agency will send out the formal notification which will start the 40 day clock.
Recalling with he described as the “disgusting” display that took place at the library when an earlier group home was proposed, Supervisor Grace noted that the Town has very little to say when a group home wants to come into Yorktown. He was concerned that people who attend a meeting about the plan not get the impression that the Town can do anything about it. Councilman Bianco said the community meetings were a good idea that gave people the opportunity to vent. “That’s democracy,” he said.
Town Board, 6-11-2013
Concerned about the “garbage” of seeing left over, out dated temporary lawn signs, resident Al Morales proposed that the town adopt a law requiring people wishing to put up signs to register with the town, pay a fee (possibly not charged to non profit groups) and be given an expiration date for when the signs had to be removed. If the signs weren’t removed by the expiration date, the person would be fined. In response, Supervisor Grace said the town was looking into the issue and was trying to find a compromise on the sign issue. One possible approach, he said, was designing a uniform sign
During Courtesy of the Floor, Denise D’Amico expressed concern about the proliferation of signs throughout town, noting that the problem was getting worse. Why is it happening? she asked. She was particularly concerned about the small signs on metal posts stuck inro the ground. In response, Councilman Bianco said he had spoken to the code enforcement officer about the signs and Supervisor Grace said the town would keep an eye on the problem.
Town Board, 6-4-2013
Town Board, 4-23-2013
a. Tea Temptations
The Board granted the business permission for a 90 day temporary sign so that passing motorists along Route 6 would become aware of the existence of the business. Supervisor Grace advised the owner to “do whatever you have to do” and “we’ll keep the sign police off your back.”
b. Underhill Plaza
The Board reviewed plans for a 12’ high by 8’ wide directory sign that would list the Plaza’s 18 tenants. The sign would be located on town owned land near the intersection of Commerce Street and Downing Drive. As presently designed, the sign does not meet Code requirements.
While Board members agreed that the existing recessed signs on the building were difficult for passing motorists to see, Supervisor Grace suggested as an alternative a lower, wider sign on a stone base, similar to the Mobil sign. Representatives of the sign company will consider a new design and return to the Board.
At the beginning of the discussion, Councilman Murphy stated that he owns one of the businesses in the Plaza.
c. Amendments to sign law
As part of both discussions, Supervisor Grace talked about the need to for a committee to review the Town’s current sign law. It was not clear whether members of the committee have been or will be appointed.
Digitizing of Town Records
(See also, Electronic Submission of Applications)
Town Board, 6-4-2013
Supervisor Grace announced that the Board has requested Sullivan Data, the town’s IT consultant, to prepare an RFP for the purchase of the software needed to digitize the town’s existing paper records. While he didn’t specify a cost figure, he said that the expense was “not insignificant” but that it would save money in the long run on personnel costs, increase interdepartmental efficiency and enable the town to free up space currently devoted to the storage of paper records. Eventually, he said, it would pay for itself.’’