Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 19, 2008

The Village Board of Trustees met on March 19, 2008 at 7:30pm.
Trustees Hansen and Shaw were absent.

In his Mayoral report, Mayor Stebbins reported that he has been hard at work with Sgt. Sanford and Acting DPW Superintendent Voss on the budget.
There will be a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:30pm. The primary focus of this meeting will be Chief Budget Officer Darby’s presentation of the Preliminary Budget for 2009.
The Police Contract is in the final stages of negotiation and the search for new, full-time officers has begun.
With regard to litigation, the Mayor reported that there has been good news on two fronts. No appeal was filed in the Isles lawsuit, bringing it to a close. Concerning the enforcement action taken by the DEC against the Village with regard to the Tuxedo Lake Dam, nothing has been resolved to date, however, the Board met with Ed Tomlinson of Applied Weather Associates during executive session and were hopeful that he might be able to assist the Village with regard to this issue.
Finally, the Mayor reported that 2 of the 3 License Agreements within in the Village have been renewed. Termination of these agreements has been staggered so that moving forward they will not all expire in the same year.

Trustee Darby’s Budget Report
Chief Budget Officer Darby reported that all departments are currently operating well within budget. Litigation has been the largest expense for the Village.
The tentative budget for 2009 will be filed with the Village Office on March 20, 2008. In a brief summary, C.B.O. Darby reported an expected increase of 5.9% in the General Fund as well as an increase of 13.8% in the Water Fund. In addition, he will be presenting a new 4-year Capital Budget plan for 2009-2012. The primary focus for these monies will be dam and waterline repairs. The funds will be attained through borrowing in the Capital Markets.

Police and DPW Reports
In lieu of the usual Police and DPW department reports, Mayor Stebbins addressed both Acting Police Chief Sanford and Acting DPW Superintendent Voss with regard to their preliminary budgets, particularly the areas in which they have requested increases. The DPW has requested funds for the purchase of both a gently used roller as the one the Village currently owns and uses is 27 years old and on its last leg. The cost of the new one will be roughly $33,000. In addition, the rising costs of asphalt require a $20,000 increase in funds. Asphalt prices have tripled over the last 5-7 years. Mayor Stebbins inquired about the costs of grinding and resurfacing one mile of road and was informed that this task costs roughly $100,000. Finally, the DPW has requested a new 3/4 -ton pick-up truck with a plow as their old, 1994 Jeep is falling apart.
With regard to increases in the Police budget, Sgt. Sanford reported that the largest increase willbe in personnel, with the hiring of two new full-time officers expected in the near future. In addition, the department is asking for a new vehicle. Both Mayor Stebbins and Deputy Mayor Darby commended Sgt, Sanford on his budget work as the Police Dept. has come in under budget for the past two years.

Sgt. Sanford reported the following for the month of February:

Criminal Complaints - 0
Non-Criminal Complaints - 39
Property Damage Complaints – 4
Traffic Tickets – 1
Fire Alarms – 1 (false)
Burglar Alarms – 7 (faulty)
Medical Calls – 2
Assists provided to the town – 2
Assists received from the town – 1

9,421 non -resident vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.

Advisory Committee Report
On behalf of the Village Improvement Advisory Committee, Michele Lindsay reported that the committee has been working with the WeeWah Beach Club with regard to improvements. $2,500 of the $5,000 fee the Club must now pay the Village as per the newly negotiated License Agreement will be used to upgrade the baby pool.

Public Comments
During the public comment period, David McFadden inquired about the decision to hire 2 new full time police officers as neither the census nor the crime rate has risen in recent years. Both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor responded that because there have been a number of complaints regarding the quality and timeliness of service in addition to several technical reasons, that they believe it is in the best interest of the Village to hire the officers. The addition of the officers will greatly improve the quality of our force as well as the ability to manage it. Once the full time officers have been hired, the number of part time officers will be decreased.
Tony Mason inquired about the poor service that the Village has been receiving from Orange and Rockland particularly with regard to downed trees and the lengthy power outage in the most recent storm. He went on to inquire about the number of burned-out street lamps. Mayor Stebbins responded that he had telephoned Orange and Rockland to express his dismay with their poor response time during the power outage and was told that they give priority service to larger communities with a greater number of outages. The Mayor explained to O & R that both our water and sewer systems need electricity in order to operate and suggested to them that their priorities should be recalibrated. Regarding the burned-out street lamps, the Mayor explained that O & R will no longer service the light fixtures that the Village currently uses and as a result a committee has been formed to research new, cost effective fixtures. Mr. Mason suggested that a committee be formed to identify potential problem areas in the Village where trees are located in close proximity to power lines so that they can be removed. A short debate ensued over whether it was the responsibility of the individual property owners or O&R to remove such trees. It was concluded that it is O & R’s job to remove these trees, however they are not terribly timely in providing this service.
Sgt. Sanford made a plea to residents not to repeatedly call the gate during power outages as they have no control over O & R and once they have reported the outage, must wait along with the residents for both information and service.
Trustee Worthy suggested that moving forward the Village should consider burying utility lines.
Alan Heywood commented that he has seen an increase in the amount of litter around the Village and inquired as to whether or not the DPW is required to clean up such trash. He was informed that they are. Mayor Stebbins mentioned the possibility of a Village Earth Day Walk, on which residents would be encourage to help clean up the community. Mr. Heywood went on to inquire whether or not the Village will be able to recover costs from the Isles litigation and was informed that they would not.
David McFadden inquired about the Viewshed legislation and wanted to know if feedback provided to the Board from either the Planning Board or the Board of Architectural Review was available to the public. In addition, he commented that it was his understanding that the legislation is in the process of being redrafted and he inquired as to the reasons for this. Mayor Stebbins responded that neither the Planning Board nor the Board of Architectural Review had provided the Board of Trustees with any official feedback, but that he felt that better legislation can be written with then input from the public and the Boards. The Viewshed Committee is redrafting the legislation based on concerns and comments from the public.
Mr. McFadden then inquired about the Sterling Place litigation and requested a brief summary of arguments presented by the Village in their most recent court appearance. Trustee Darby responded that all briefs have been filed and are available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. Finally, Mr. McFadden inquired as to whether or not written reports are being kept (as required by the State) on reports made by residents regarding real or perceived violations of the Village Code and if the reporting procedure has changed. He cited legislation, which was passed in 2006, under which residents were given the privilege of reporting such violations. John Ledwith, Chief Code Enforcement Officer, informed him that the records are being kept as required and that the procedure for making these reports remains the same.
Michele Lindsay inquired about the new Capital Budget, specifically whether or not monies for VIAC projects would come from this fund. Trustee Darby responded that VIAC projects will be funded from the Operational Budget.
Peter Regna inquired about a resolution passed by the Board in fall of 2007, in which the Village agreed to hire a consultant to look into the algae plumes in the Weewah. He commented that it was his understanding that keeping an adequate amount of water in the lake could potentially solve the problem and as there has been a great deal of rain recently, he wonders if the problem may abate its self. Should this occur, Mr. Regna inquired as to whether or not the Village might be able to eliminate the expenditure involved with hiring a consultant. Mayor Stebbins responded that the problems with plumes in the Weewah occur during the summer months rather than winter and spring and that the Environmental Advisory Committee has engaged several different firms in an RFP in an effort to hire a Lake Manager, who will evaluate all three Village lakes and help to create a Lakes Management Plan. This position has not yet been contracted.

Following the Public Comment Period, Trustee Worthy read an interim report on behalf of the Lake Law Revision Panel. The report focused mainly on the issue of new docks on Tuxedo Lake. In the report, the Panel suggests that the Village continue to restrict new permanent structures on the lake. Lakefront property owners wishing to rebuild structures that once existed on the Lake but are no longer standing must report such structures to the Building Inspector by a date to be specified (suggested date of June 30, 2009) and then prove that these structures were standing prior to February 20, 1987. Should the property owner fail to report the structure prior to the determined cut-off date or prove that the structure was standing prior to February 20, 1987, the structure cannot be rebuilt.
The Panel recommends that the Board take action to establish the size and number of docks and moorings that will be allowed on Tuxedo Lake through revision of the Village Code, section 65E. Once this has been established, the Panel recommends that it not be changed without official revision to said section of the Village Code. With this in mind, the Panel supports The Village Boat Club’s request for an “E” dock, which will allow them to keep 4 to 6 boats in the water during boating season. In addition the Panel supports allowing the Boat Club three moorings. It is the recommendation of the Panel that the Board of Trustees approve these requests. With regard to the Tuxedo Club, the Panel suggests the 4 docks at the North end of the Boat House do not need to be removed and that the Club should be allowed to construct a new dock adjacent to the Tennis House, however, the Panel strongly recommends that the Club voluntarily reduce the number of new docks they are requesting. Furthermore, it is the recommendation of the Panel that the Board restrict future increases in the number of boats allowed on Tuxedo Lake (with the exception of a few sailboats) and that boats in the water which are not regularly used should be removed. In addition, both the Tuxedo Club and the Village Boat Club should consider investing in boats that can be used by all their members.
Mayor Stebbins thanked the Panel for their hard work on this preliminary report and requested that a full report be given at the April Board of Trustees meeting.

Next, the Mayor explained in the greater detail the reason for Ed Tomlinson of Applied Weather Assoc.’s presentation to the Board during their executive session. Mr. Tomlinson is a Climatological consultant. The DEC has established guidelines for new dams based on probable maximum floods. These amounts are based on probable maximum precipitation amounts, which in turn are based on countrywide statistics. Do these statistics apply to the Village? The Village hopes to use the fact that the Tuxedo Lake Dam has never been overtopped to their advantage in discussions with the DEC and is hopeful that Mr. Tomlinson can be helpful in this regard.

The Board unanimously appointed Jeff Voss as Village Safety Officer as required by the new Workman’s Comp insurance carrier, PERMA.

Trustee Darby has requested that the Board be supplied with copies of Village Court filings on a regular basis. The reason for this is so that the Board can monitor expenses and also administrative filings.

Finally, Mayor Stebbins announced that Village Elections will be held on June 17, 2008 from 12pm-9pm at the Village office. There are two Trustee seats up for election, those of Trustee Darby and Trusty Worthy.

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