MM Notes: Village Board
September 13, 2011
Present: Laura Hurley, Mayor
Stan Morse, Deputy Mayor
Joe Spagnola, Trustee
Edward Cox, Trustee
Linda Wiltse, Village Clerk
Rebecca Valk, Attorney
The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m.
Shared Services Grant: Mr. Lynch was not available to lead the discussion, so this agenda item was tabled.
Fire and Rescue: Laura Hurley indicated that the fire and rescue volunteers were extremely busy helping residents with flooding problems stemming from Hurricane Irene and subsequent large storms. The extreme weather prompted a meeting between Laura Hurley and the fire department officials to discuss emergency coordination. It was discovered that the fire department’s generator is not sufficient to run all areas of the firehouse which would be needed if there were an emergency that lasted several days. A generator that would fulfill this need would cost approximately $100,000, said Hurley. Mr. Mahoney, a member of the joint emergency committee, suggested that the village approach the Department of Defense who may have surplus generators that they are required to donate to municipalities.
Building and Zoning Report: Laura Hurley presented the report in the absence of Mr. McLaughlin. She reported that J. J. Brownell has re-energized the fire inspection program and he is conducting inspections throughout the village. A while ago, complaints were received regarding zoning decisions. The Mayor met with Rebecca Valk on who should handle appeals and it was decided that they should be heard by the ZBA rather than the village board. This will allow the village board to remain neutral, said Hurley.
Water and Sewer: Scott Osborne stated that the village received 13.2” of rain in August, causing considerable problems. The overflow retention tank needs a gasket repair and a blockage needs to be cleared. There was significant flooding of the stream and the large amount of debris drifting in the rushing water got caught up in the fence, pushing the fence back and causing water to back up. Mr. Osbourne suggested installing flood gates to prevent debris from catching on the fence. Mayor Hurley said that in the past there has been flooding problems in that area so there is a need to address this problem. She said this flooding issue ties in with the study that is being conducted now to see how the village may be under the influence of ground water. Scott said the DOH wants to run a microscopic particulate analysis. Mayor Hurley noted that the new capital plan for 2013/2014 includes this work and an emergency bypass system is being explored as well.
Scott Osbourne indicated that as a result of Hurricane Irene, the Bennett pump station shut down and had to be emptied four times. Mayor Hurley said she will seek reimbursement from FEMA.
Highway Department Report: The majority of costs involved in the hurricane clean-up involved personal service costs, said Hurley, and the village will apply for reimbursement through FEMA. At the Mayor’s request, Mr. Collocola will attend an applicant briefing at the Farm and Home Center on September 23 regarding disaster relief. Mayor Hurley noted that individuals can also apply for assistance through FEMA by going to “disasterassistance.gov.”
Mr. Collocola said that the blacktop work on Front Street and Fountain Place has been completed and he has received many compliments from residents in the area. Blacktop work was also performed on Linden Lane and Booth Court. Seven trees were removed, some due to storm damage. A 200-year old Hickory tree in front of the Thorne Building was severely damaged and must be taken down. An oil tank that is no longer needed will be sold. Approximately 130 feet of sidewalk in the Church Street and by the Thorne Building areas will be replaced this month alleviating most of the trip hazards. Terri Gibson, a Rhinebeck official, told Mr. Collocola that Rhinebeck considers Millbrook a model for their own sidewalk replacement program. Flooding at the Stanford dam has again become a problem and the village will consider dredging Mill Pond.
Bids on a new Kubota to be used primarily to clear snow from sidewalks were received. The lowest bidder, Reardon Briggs, was also the only bidder who would take the village’s old machine as a trade. The final cost will be $18,268 after the trade-in is factored. Mr. Collocola said the machine should last at least ten years. The board approved the purchase. Mr. Collocola said Kubota may be offering free financing and he will look into it further.
Mr. Collocola asked permission to attend the Public Works Snow School scheduled for October 24-26. The board unanimously approved the request.
Police Department Report: Officer Scribner reported that the police force worked 302 hours and responded to 86 incidents during the past month. Officers are now working five-hour shifts and work continues on fine-tuning the patrol times, said Hurley. Mr. Scribner said Community Day went well with no problems to report.
Officer Scribner presented details of an elaborate proposal involving a plan that would involve a joint venture between the town and village. The plan includes employing an EMT, requiring police officers to attend EMT training and increasing police coverage. These steps would eliminate the need to contract with TransCare. He said this would result in improved response time and save both the village and town tens of thousands of dollars each year while providing volunteer ambulance workers a chance to earn some extra money. The Villages of Tivoli, Red Hook, Greenberg have merged their police force with their town. Part of the formula that Mr. Scribner used to show the economic advantage to the town and village was the inclusion of the money received from fines generated from tickets issued. Ed Cox vehemently objected to using fines received from tickets issued to be part of the calculation; however, Laura Hurley noted that the plan could potentially still save money even if fines were not considered. Rebecca Valk did not share Ed Cox’s concerns. When asked if such a plan is legal, Rebecca admitted she was not well versed in the subject and promised to look into it. Mayor Hurley stated that the board must conduct their own research. She concluded by thanking Officer Scribner for thinking out of the box in order to provide improved health and safety for village and town residents.
County Update: Mike Kelsey, County Legislator, was present to provide an update on legislative activity. He loaned the board an antique book on the history of Dutchess County covering the years 1683 and 1882.
Mr. Kelsey stated that the legislators passed a resolution to extend the discussion of the conservation easement for Boss Haven Farm whose borders include both the Town of Washington and the Town of Unionvale. He said he was not sure if funding would be available. Laura Hurley mentioned that she has heard from the owner, Tim Marshall, that only the piece that falls within the Town of Unionvale borders is being considered for a conservation easement.
Mr. Kelsey spoke of two reports that have resulted in two separate studies. One report, issued by SUNY New Paltz, provides an analysis on the county’s jail overpopulation problem and offers possible solutions. Another report was received from the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) whose focus is job creation and ways to help businesses. They report that they have been active with Mechatronics, a software firm moving from Westchester County to Beacon, NY, the new Adams Fairacre Farm store in Wappingers Falls and an addition on to the Astor Services for Children building in Rhinebeck. These business ventures will be creating jobs.
Village Clerk Report: Linda Wiltse reported that $805,000 out of a total of $850,000 has been collected in property taxes. She will send out one more reminder before sending a list of delinquencies to the county. The board approved the purchase of a new 20” computer monitor. $7,500 was collected as a result of a film crew who used the village to shoot some scenes, well worth the six days of inconveniences, said Wiltse. She said that the Village of Tivoli has a minimum charge for water usage and thought perhaps the board may wish to do the same. An audit report has been completed and will soon be posted on the town’s website.
Laura Hurley noted that the village is $960,000 in debt and will need to take out yet another bond to finish paying for the damages caused by the oil spill. She expressed concern over how this debt will affect the board’s ability to comply with the two percent property tax cap mandate.
Court Consolidation Meeting: The Mayor said that she attended a very informative meeting with town officials, town/village attorney, judges, court clerks, and others in regard to the transfer of court cases to the town. Mayor Hurley said a lot was accomplished and she is now working on how village court furniture, supplies, equipment, etc. will be dispersed.
Village Hall closed: The village hall will be closed September 19-22 because the mayor and office staff will be attending a conference.
Local Law - Increase Planning Board Size and Set Terms The Board introduced this local law which will increase the planning board membership from five to seven and shorten the term of office to three years. One concern expressed was the ability of the town board to find volunteers to serve. A public hearing is scheduled for October 11. Stan Morse suggested that terms of office be posted on the website.
Resolution of Introduction for Local Law Amendment Regarding Sewer Rent Language: This law will update the code so that it is in compliance with the general municipal law, stated the Mayor, including details on how the charge will be calculated. A public hearing is scheduled for October 11. The sewer rental charge shall be on an ad valorem basis (based upon assessed value) and will include properties owned by not-for-profits.
Resolution LOSAP Contribution Increase: A resolution was introduced that would increase the retirement contributions for certain firefighters from $360/year to $500/year. (The minimum allowed contribution is $360 and the maximum is $700). This increase will cost the village an additional $2,500 per year for a total of $18,000 annually. This issue will be put before a public vote on Election Day.
Bennett College Safety Issues: Joe Spagnola said construction of a safety fence will begin in a few days and should be completed next week. State Police and the village will post no trespassing signs. Rebecca said shenwould write up some language for the village signs.
Rebecca Valk has filed a submission notifying the developer and the owner that the village is no longer going to wait for them to take action and the village will take necessary measures.
Ed Cox asked how the fines would be implemented. Rebecca Valk said she would discuss the matter with Building Inspector Ken McLaughlin and have him issue tickets. Ms. Valk said fines can be made retroactive to the date of the court decision, which was over a year ago.
Bennett Development Project: In November, 2008, the Village Planning Board issued a negative declaration pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act, granted a conservation density development special use permit, a preliminary site plan approval, and sketch-plan subdivision plat approval to Blumenthal-Brickman for a subdivision which includes 91 residential lots on the former Bennett College property. This action was followed by several court petitions filed by Oakleigh Thorne. The latest decision issued by Judge Wood criticized the Village Planning Board for their actions, stating they acted in an “arbitrary and capricious manner and abused their discretion.” This was based primarily on the planning board’s failure to hold a public hearing prior to plat approval, the fact that DEC was not consulted prior to the issuance of a negative declaration, and failure to rescind the negative declaration at the request of the DEC. Judge Wood upheld Mr. Thorne's Article 78 Petition on all counts, including "rescinding of the negative determination issued by the Planning Board."
Howard Schuman said he interpreted the decision to read that some fatal flaws have been made in regard to the negative declaration. Rebecca Valk responded that in her opinion the planning board must be able to convince the DEC that the SPEDES permit should be issued, ,and “that is a hurdle they will have to try to figure out how to get around. There are other options, such as building their own treatment plant and other things, but I don’t want to say necessarily that it’s a fatal flaw. But it could be a big bump in the road; let’s put it that way.”
Howard asked if public hearings have to be reopened. Ms. Valk responded, “From what I see, a public hearing was not held on the preliminary plat in 2010. There had been changes since the earlier hearings; therefore, there has to be a hearing for the public to comment on the changed plat.”
Howard said the decision declares the negative declaration invalid because of the points mentioned. He asked about the other objections - will they be heard as well? Is it no longer valid? When they open the public hearing, will the other objections be heard or only the points that were addressed in this decision? Rebecca stated she would not comment because that is something that should be decided by the Planning Board after a discussion with their attorney. Another issue that will likely be reviewed with the planning board’s attorney is the economic impact of the development on the village.
Thorne Building: Laura Hurley said the village is going to prepare the Thorne Building for winterization. The property will be surveyed for a cost of approximately $2,200.
Public Use of Municipal Buildings: Rebecca Valk discovered that in order to comply with state law, the village must charge a fee to individuals and organizations who wish to use the building for other than official village business. A policy will be established which will include charging a very nominal fee to cover expenses.
September 17 - Orvis Event
September 22-24 - Crisp Home Show Band Shell
September 27, 2011 - Regular board meeting
The meeting concluded with the auditing of the bills and an executive session to discuss oil spill negotiations.