MM Notes: Village Board
February 13, 2012
Present: Laura Hurley, Mayor
Joseph Spagnola, Deputy Mayor
Thomas Whalen, Trustee
Edward Cox, Trustee
Mike Herzog, Trustee
Linda Wiltse, Village Clerk
The meeting began at 7:00 a.m.
Highway Department Report: Mr. Collocola reported that the village received only 8 inches of snow during the winter months this year compared with 67 inches of snow received last year. He reported that his crew was busy with the usual maintenance type activities such as changing light bulbs in street lights, clearing catch basins, assisting VRI with replacing a sewer line, etc. The new brush and leaf policy was reviewed. Mayor Hurley stated that she made a change to the section pertaining to storm clean up giving the village more flexibility to determine how long pick up would continue after a storm so that residents will have sufficient time to comply. The board revised the village code to include this new brush and leaf pick up policy as amended. The policy will be sent out with the water bills.
Mayor Hurley said the board received a letter asking the highway department to resurface Valley Farm Road. Mayor Hurley reported that the town resurfaced their section of the road two years ago. The village intended to resurface the village section of the road at the same time, but couldn’t because there were too many drainage problems. Mr. Collocola said this project is on his priority list and he plans to resurface the road in the spring. He explained that there are nine manholes that need to be inspected and some repairs will be needed on some of them before the road can be resurfaced.
Mr. Collocola said he has submitted a list of road and sidewalk projects that his department would like to accomplish during the upcoming year. Linda Wiltse said she attended a Community Block Grant seminar where she discovered that other municipalities such as the Villages of Red Hook and Millerton do not prioritize the needs of their sewer and water systems, sidewalks or roads. She said Bob and the village board should be recognized for having a plan to address infrastructure maintenance.
Fire and Rescue Report: Ted Bonds said he is gathering information and documents in preparation for budget discussions. He said there are no unusual expenses anticipated. He said that a building committee meeting is scheduled for February 14 and village officials were invited to attend. Laura Hurley stated that there are rumors going around stating that the committee is developing a plan for a “grandiose spa” type of building. Ted responded, “Nothing could be further from the truth.” He said the committee is looking to enlarge the existing building so that it can accommodate equipment that is needed. The Mayor said she would like the police department, and perhaps the village offices, relocated into the second floor area of the firehouse if the plans can accommodate it. She explained that the taxpayers need not be concerned about increased taxes resulting from the project since the law prevents the village from contributing more than $60,000 to such a project.
Mr. Bownas stated that there was an active brush fire today affecting about one acre of land. He warned that the brush is very dry and subject to fires this time of year.
Police Report: Officer Scribner indicated that the 2005 police car needs a new or rebuilt transmission. He said a new transmission costs $3,300 and the car is worth $4,300 if it were in good working condition. Joe Spagnola said that when he looked up the value of the car he found that it is worth $9,000. Officer Scribner said a fully equipped new vehicle will cost between $25,000 - $28,000. He said he has money left in his budget to contribute if the village were to purchase a new vehicle. Laura Hurley said the board will need to be convinced that a new car is necessary. She asked Officer Scribner to provide the board with hard evidence and then they will consider the matter during the upcoming budget discussions.
Officer Scribner said that some of the police officers are no longer active due to the revised schedule. Mayor Hurley said the new schedule, which focuses around the needs of the village rather than the availability of officers, is working out well.
Water and Sewer: Scott Osborne was unable to attend the meeting tonight; however, Laura Hurley read a brief report. Major activities included the installation of the new furnace and the installation of a new sewer line in front of the village hall which remedied the problem with the bathroom plumbing.
Village Clerk Report: Ms. Wiltse said that three of the four planning board members took their oath of office. The chairwoman of the committee has been on vacation for an extended period of time and has not been available to take the oath of office. Ms. Wiltse said that the village board will have to re-appoint her when she returns and schedule an oath of office after her reappointment.
Ms. Wiltse would like the board to consider adding a link on the village website which will direct individuals to the tax assessment roll. This would cost $400 to set up and an additional $200 for every extra year that is posted. She recommended purchasing only one additional year for a total of $600. Mayor Hurley said it is very likely that this will be a requirement down the road and she recommended the purchase. The purchase was approved by all board members.
Ms. Wiltse said the lease on the office’s all-in-one printer/copier/scanner expires in April. The village is currently paying $193/month. The company has a special, limited-time lease offer of $179/month for color and $174/month for black and white only. Each color copy costs an additional $.09. There was some discussion as to whether the office needs color copies and Linda responded that on rare occasions color is needed to copy maps and charts that are difficult to decipher in black and white. She said there is a passcode on the machine that controls who can make color copies. A five-year lease is less expensive but history has shown that during that last year it is quite common for these machines to break down frequently causing a severe disruption of services. The board approved moving forward with a four-year lease on a color all-in-one machine with the understanding that color copies will be limited to situations of the utmost necessity.
Linda Wiltse said she attended a planning and development conference sponsored by the county. The purpose of this meeting was for the county to collect information on community needs so they can forward this information to the state to assist them in the development of criteria for community development block grants. She said they queried municipal representatives in regard to human resources, transportation, affordable housing, senior housing, infrastructure, handicap accessibility, transportation, etc.
Ms. Wiltse reported that New York State awarded the village highway department $33,096 in CHIPS funding. When added to the money remaining from last year’s allotment, the village has a total of $6,310. The village received their allotment of the fourth quarter sales tax revenue exceeding expected revenue.
The minutes from four prior meetings were approved.
Dial-A-Ride: Laura Hurley said that Northeast Transit is now operating a Dial-A-Ride bus service to serve the residents of Amenia, Dover, Northeast, Pine Plains, Stanford and Washington. The bus will provide door-to-door service with 24-hour notice. One-way fares are $3.50 while seniors and veterans are eligible for a reduced rate of $1.00. The service will be available for the next three years and then it will then be decided if there is enough demand and enough funding to continue.
Tax Refund for Franklin Avenue Real Estate. Franklin Avenue Real Estate filed an Article 78 proceeding with the court seeking tax relief through a lower assessment. Mayor Hurley said the buildings in question are the old department store and the old Danielle’s Restaurant building. Ms. Hurley explained that tax assessments are the function of the town assessor, Mr. Jim Tyger. Mr. Tyger and Franklin Avenue Real Estate have agreed on a settlement avoiding the necessity to move forward with a court hearing. Franklin Avenue Real Estate will receive a reduction in their 2009 and 2010 taxes. For one building, they were awarded an assessment reduction of $86,000 for 2009 and $162,000 for 2010. They were awarded $190,500 and $304,000 assessment reductions on the second building.
Mary Keelan spoke in regard to what she learned at a recent town board meeting in regards to what effect the conversion of apartments and townhouses to condominiums has on village taxpayers. She said she learned that the state acts on these requests without any input from the local municipality. Once approved, the condos must be assessed for 40% lower than they were when they were apartments or townhouses. This has occurred a few times in the village and there are some other areas within the village that are at risk. Since the tax base remains the same, other property owners must take on the burden of paying more to make up for the lower assessment of the condos. John Gifford, attorney for both the town and the village, explained at the town board meeting that there is not much the town or village can do to prevent these conversions. He said he will come to the next village board meeting prepared to discuss the questions raised at the town meeting.
Village Historian: David Greenwood was officially appointed as the Village Historian. He will be scheduled to take an oath of office as soon as practical.
DEC Millbrook Dam Requirements: Laura Hurley stated that she has received a letter from the DEC outlining the requirements that the village must meet each year. The dam is classified as a Hazard Class B, an intermediate hazard. Ms. Hurley said she will invite Eric Holt, an engineer who worked on previous village projects, to the next meeting to go over these requirements with the board.
Introduce Local Law Flood Plain Hazards: Mayor Hurley explained that the village must enact a local law regarding flood plain hazards or residents will not be able to purchase flood insurance. Village attorneys have already submitted a draft to the DEC. The law must be passed by May 2.
Request for Children’s Media Project: A request has been made to use the village hall from April 2 to April 6 for this activity. According to state law, municipalities must charge rent to offset their costs. Mayor Hurley said she will contact the organizer and negotiate a price.
Request from Capital Telecom for a Cell Tower: Capital Telecom sent an email to the village asking if the village is interested in renting a 60’ X 60’ space within the village for a new cell tower. They offered to pay $1,000 per month for fifteen years. It was noted that the previous administration had passed a resolution several years ago stating that there will be no more cell towers constructed in the village. Laura Hurley said she will contact Telecom about the limited options for a cell tower within the village. The board will meet with Telecom if they are still interested. Andy Ciferri and Joe Spagnola said that if the village were to consider this agreement, a much higher rent should be negotiated.
Contract with the County: The attorney for the county provided Mayor Hurley with the new contract between the village and the county in regard to water and sewer services provided at the Infirmary. Mayor Hurley said she will sign it and forward it on.
Water Committee: Mike Herzog said the next meeting is scheduled for February 27 at 5:00 p.m. He said he was very pleased to learn that all the committee members he was able to speak with agreed to remain on the committee.
Mike said he attended his first meeting with the CAC. The CAC informed Mr. Herzog that they are interested in working with the water committee in regard to pursuing their recommendations. Laura Hurley added that she attended a Comprehensive Plan meeting and was assured that they will recommend that the town’s comprehensive plan include language that will protect the village water supply. In turn, Ms. Hurley stated, the committee has asked the village to act as the housing center for the town.
Boy Scouts Display: Mike Herzog asked the board to consider allowing the Boy Scouts to display their awards in the village hall. The awards are currently on display at the Thorne Building. The board approved.
Building Inspector Report: Mayor Hurley reported on behalf of Mr. McLaughlin. Earlier in the year, the board received a petition from twenty property owners in the Nine Partners Road area complaining about a $36,000 fence that was constructed that did not meet code due to its excessive height. The building inspector issued some recommendations to the property owner to resolve the issue. Mayor Hurley reported this evening that the property owner is choosing to resolve the issue by reducing the height of the fence.
Mr. McLaughlin is working on some other open violations, said Hurley.
Bennett: Mayor Hurley said the Bennett meeting that was scheduled to take place was cancelled and the village is in a position where they must wait for before any further action can take place.
Planning Board Vacancy: Mayor Hurley reported that she received two letters of interest in response to the vacancy created by the resignation of Dr. Murray. The board will call a special meeting and executive session to conduct interviews.
Upcoming Meeting Dates:
February 27 2012 - Water Committee
February 28, 2012 - Village Board Meeting
March 13, 2012 - Village Board Meeting
Executive Session: The board convened an executive session to discuss a legal matter concerning the police department and to discuss a personnel matter within the fire department.