Village Board of Trustees Meeting, September 19, 2007

The Village Board of Trustees met on September 19, 2007 at 7:30pm.

Trustee Hansen was not present.

Mayor Stebbins opened the meeting with his own Mayoral report, during which he stated that his main goal as Mayor is working to improve the quality of life in Tuxedo Park. To that end, he laid out four main objectives:

  • Resolving Litigation
  • Improving Village Infrastructure
  • Resolving Labor and Service contracts with the Village Police, DPW and Garbage Contractors
  • Focusing on the Environment with specific emphasis on our lakes

Of the three lawsuits facing the Village when Mayor Stebbins took office, one is in the process of being mitigated, one has been dismissed and one is ongoing. Mayor Stebbins reported that O’Brien and Gere have been hired as Village Engineers to assess repairs needed on the Tuxedo Lake Dam. He went on to report that the Isles lawsuit was dismissed in its entirety (see editorial Geoffrey Isles Lawsuit Dismissed) While the Village is still awaiting the results of an appeal with regards to the Sterling Place litigation, they are actively pursuing possible alternatives.

On the subject of Infrastructure, the Mayor announced the formation of a new committee, the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, which will analyze the myriad of issues posed by our aging infrastructure will propose possible solutions.

The Mayor then went on to address the issue of labor and service contracts, and announced that the garbage bids would be officially opened on September 20. Contract negotiations for both Village Police and DPW will begin on Friday, September 21.

Finally, the mayor stressed the importance of the environment and specifically the preservation of our lakes.

Ken Sanford, acting Police Chief, reported the need for more officers during daytime shifts Monday through Friday. In addition, he reported that the Police Dept is in desperate need of a new vehicle.

Richie Morrow, Supervisor of the DPW, reported that there will be several road closings in the coming weeks as they repair leaky pipes around the village. Mayor Stebbins inquired if the multiple leaks are common at this time of year and Richie responded that yes, they are.

Advisory Committees reports were given. The Village Improvement Advisory Committee, reported having done a walk through of the south end of Tuxedo Lake with Greg Libby, Lake Warden, to discuss several fallen trees, some of which are in the water. VIAC received am estimate of $6000 for the removal of 11 trees in the lake and 15 trees on the Village’s waterfront property. The Board suggested that VIAC mark the trees that are to be removed and that the Village DPW remove as many of them as possible. The Wildlife Advisory Committee reported that there have been some mountain lion sightings in our vicinity, although not in the Village. They also announced that there will be a Hunters Safety Class given at the Sons of Italy in town on October 5 and 6.

Dennis Miller announced that the deadline for the village to register for participation in the National Incident Management System (N.I.M.S.) is September 30, 2007. N.I.M.S. trains members of the community to deal with a range of disasters and emergency situations. A resolution was then made by the Board for the Village to participate in this program.

During the public comment period Lucy Edwards spoke about issues with the current garbage company and recycling. She expressed dismay at having witnessed her garbage man combining the blue recyclables bag with the rest of the trash. According to the garbage collector, not enough village residents participate in the recycling program, all the trash is combined during the collection process and then sorted out by hand back at the plant.

The Board responded that they were aware of this issue and that intent to recycle and confirmation that recycling is taking place are major points in the bid for a new garbage contract. Lucy hopes the Village will do their part to encourage recycling.

JoAnn Hanson spoke on behalf of the Village Planning Board and explained once again their reasons for unanimously recommending the reappointment of Sam Bornstein and his appointment as Deputy Chair. There are applications for four major subdivisions before them and Planning Board feels it is their duty to select the candidate with the most experience and necessary knowledge. The Board wants to make sure the public knows that Mayor Stebbins did not influence their choice.

David McFadden inquired as to the timeline for implementation of the Design Guidelines and was told that the guidelines are currently before the BAR for review. He also inquired about the status of the Uniform Building Code and was informed that the matter was currently under study by the Boards and Village Attorneys.

Chu Yin Hemple, BAR chair, announced the creation of a new packet of information titled IMPORTANT BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION AND CONSTRUCTION INFORMATION. This packet will be available to all BAR applicants at the Village Office and its main purpose is to provide applicants with all the necessary paperwork while clearly defining the process as it pertains to our Village Code. This packet will be added to on an ongoing basis in an effort to help make the process more efficient and transparent (for more info see Board of Architectural Review September 18, 2007) JoAnn Hanson, Planning Board Chair, announced that the Planning Board is working on a similar packet.

Jock McKinnon, Chair of the Lake Law Revision Panel requested an extension to gather necessary information before making their final report to the board. This extension was granted on the basis that the panel would make recommendations on docks in the lake and lake laws no later than the January BOT meeting.

Following the public comment period, Mayor Stebbins addressed the issue of the previously classified Police Report with regard to the investigation of former Police Chief Culhaine. A summary of this report is now available in the Village Office.

Mayor Stebbins announced that the firm of Westin and Sampson has been hired to complete the first phase of digitizing our village maps.

In response to growing concern about the increasing amount of algae in the Wee Wah Lake, Mayor Stebbins announced that Chris Yeager, Village environmental consultant, had sent several samples to the Orange County Board of Health for testing. While the testing is not entirely complete, Mr. Yeager was able to report that there is no chloroform or ecoli bacteria present in the samples, which means that the water is entirely safe for swimming and recreation. He went on to explain that the primary cause for the increase in algae is a combination of the low lake level and resulting increased water temperature. The pungent odor comes from the algae as it dies off. Moving forward, treating the water with copper sulfate is a possible solution. When asked about the increase of weed growth, Mr. Yeager postulated that this might also be due to the low water level and thus increased light penetration. Mayor Stebbins announced that the Village has asked O’Brien and Gere to assess the Wee Wah Dam, but does not expect extensive work to take place until fall of 2008. In the meantime, there will be minor repairs to the dam before swimming season next year. Trustee Shaw announced that the Village will be joining the Federation of Lakes Association and expects that this group will be a great resource for the Village.

The Board announced that they have asked both the Planning Board and Board of Architectural Review for their thoughts and recommendations on amending the Village Fence Law. Input from residents is also being solicited.

With respect to the annual Deer Drive, the Board stated that while the Village is not officially involved they will post a notice in an effort to ensure public safety.

Finally, Trustee Worthy reported that VIAC together with the Utility Advisory Committee and the Planning Board have put together a model street lamp and are ready to begin discussions with Orange and Rockland.

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