Village Board of Trustees Meeting, December 20, 2012
Posted: December 26th, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on December 20, 2012 at 7pm. All members were present.
Mayor’s Updatae :
The hearts and prayers of everyone in the Village go out to the families of the victims in Newtown, CT. When something like this occurs it forces us to re-examine our own security methods and to this end, Mayor Wilson has reached out to Kathleen McNamara at TPS to discuss emergency management plans, which he discovered were already underway. Chief Sanford has also been talking to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and plans are underway for collective training with both the Ambulance Corps and the Fire Department. These entities will be working together to develop an emergency plan. The Mayor has asked Trustee Kilduff, himself a member of the Ambulance Corps, to work represent the Village in this effort. He is confident that there will be a plan in place within the next couple of months.
With regard to Hurricane Sandy clean-up efforts, Mayor Wilson read allowed the following notice, which can also be found on the Village website:
The Village Board of Trustees advises Village residents that danger still exists from trees and tree limbs affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is the property owner’s responsibility to remove trees & branches that were, or still remain, on their property; and that pose a danger to the public or Village roads. This is a significant safety concern, and we need each property owner to take the necessary steps to remove their trees that pose such a danger.
Fallen trees and debris are still an issue and the Village is hopeful that residents will take this notice seriously and clear away any potential safety issues on their own properties so that the Village will not have to intervene. There followed a brief discussion regarding specific areas of concern, namely a fallen a tree along Tuxedo Road the roots of which are overhanging the roadway and therefore creating a safety hazard.. Although the tree is on private property, it was agreed that the DPW would cut the roots away and move the tree back from the road. The property owner will be billed for this work. Finally, Mayor Wilson reported that there had been an emergency meeting of the Board on Saturday, December 15 with regard to a DPW personnel issue, discussion of which would be taking place later in the evening during executive session.
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of November:
Criminal Complaints – 3
Non-criminal Complaints – 55
Property Damage Complaints - 4
Traffic Tickets Issues – 10
Intrusion Alarms – 7 (all false)
Medical Calls – 3
Fire Calls – 9
Assists Given to Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Assists Received From Town of Tuxedo Police – 3
Additionally, 6, 441 un-tagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
DPW Superintedent Jeff Voss reported that the department has been busy with leaf, stick and tree removal around the Village. A propane tank has been installed at the South Gate and the generator at the DPW building should be operational within the next week.
A replacement for former employee Danny Jones has been chosen and the Superintendent presented the Board with an application and requested that they consider hiring Danny Squilini. There followed a brief discussion with regard to the applicants experience and history, after which the Board voted unanimously in favor of the hire conditional upon the necessary testing and background checks.
Storm debris has been piling up at the Wee Wah Beach Club and Superintendent Voss apresented the Board with a quote for removal. The cost savings outlined in quote were substantial and the Board agreed that removal efforts should begin within the next two weeks.
Building Department Update:
Click here to review a copy of the November Building Department Report.
There was a discussion regarding the possible installation of satellite communications between the Front and Back Gates as proposed at the Board’s November meeting.
Building Inspector Ledwith stated it proving difficult to find a system by which the South Gate could be opened and closed via satellite.
Mayor Wilson responded that maintaining video surveylance between the two gates was more important than having the ability to open and close the South Gate.
Trustee Neuhauser wondered if it might not be more prudent to have an officer stationed at the South Gate when power is lost, which would alleviate the security concerns. The Village could then decide on limited hours of operation and close the Gate down entirely at night.
Mayor Wilson replied that in his view, this would not be the best use of personnel in terms of time and money.
Trustee Neuhauser countered that currently the Village employs an officer to sit watch over the leaf and debris pile, which is surely less of a priority than guarding the gate would be.
Trustee Kilduff commented that he was aware of a few people who had been able to access their home security systems and garage door access via their IPADS and he wondered if this type of thing might be worth looking into for the Village. After some further discussion, it was agreed that Mr. Ledwith would contact a couple of specific residents in an effort to research this option.
Rob Zgonena commented that he would like to clarify something that had been brought before the Board a few months ago during Public Comment by Meg Vaught. Earlier in the summer he had a particular grade of stone delivered to his property for the purpose of performing maintenance and repair on the driveway. He had been in conversations with the Building Inspector for sometime about repairs to his driveway, however when heinspected the material he felt that it was in appropriate for the use that Mr. Zgonena had in mind and he requested that it be removed. This was done. Very shortly after this half of the driveway was repaved and the other half was replaced with a grade of stone known as QP, (Quarry Product) which is what Mr. Zgonena believes everyone in the Park uses on their crushed stone driveways. In his view, the project has come out quite nicely. What he would like to point out is that the grade of stone he used is in fact a normal product to use for the foundation of a driveway, it is being used currently in other people’s projects in the village (most recently Niblo, whose entire driveway is made of this product.) Mr. Zgonena encouraged the Board to have a look, commenting that from what he understood and had read, what he had brought in was the subject of a fairly lengthy discussion. If he had known that this sort of discussion was going to take place, he would have present. He could have brought samples and would have alerted the Board to the fact that the product was normal and frequently used in driveways.
** Editorial Note: An account of Mrs. Vaught’s original comments can be found on the TPFYI website within the August 28 BOT Report. The basis for her remarks had to do with the fact that Mr. Zgonena had not received a permit for the stone (therefore by Village Code the delivery was illegal) and that it came from the Perfect Cut facility, which has since been identified as a major source of pollution at the North end of town. The discussion that ensued had to do with consequences, or lack there of, for residents who moved forward with unpermitted work in the Village.
Mayor Wilson responded that he believed part of the problem had been that so many people were aware of the ongoing situation with the berm on Mr. Zgonena’s other property and that when they saw trucks illegally depositing large piles of stone on the Ridge Road site, they feared a similar situation might occur and thus, several calls of concern came into the Village Office. While this thinking may not be either rational or correct, the Mayor believes that it why people responded the way that they did.
Mr. Zgonena responded that he understood this and that he was not looking to open a lengthy discussion on the subject. Rather, he just wanted to inform the Board as to what he had done, what he was subsequently told do and then had done about it, He reiterated that the product he had used was a normal, standard product that other folks in the Park were currently using and he hoped that Mrs. Vaught would report the correction.
Resolution – Extend Sterling Carting Garbage Contract for One Year:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of extending the Sterling Carting garbage contract for a period of one year at the current rate of $2,093 per month.
Weston & Sampson Proposal – SSES Phase 2 (I & I Remediation):
Village Engineer rich Messer provided the Board with a brief over view of the SSES project. A letter to the DEC from the Village, requesting permission to defer work until the spring was presented along with a proposal for continuing phase 2 of the project in new areas to include Continental Road, Turtle Point Road and Brook Farm Road. There followed a detailed discussion regarding the project in general as well as the various methods of work, after which it was agreed that because of the high cost, the Board would like to take a month to more closely review the proposal before moving forward. Therefore, the vote was deferred to next month.
Zgonena Enforcement Action:
Village Attorney Rick Golden provided the Board with a brief overview of the most recent Board of Architectural Review Meeting at which Mr. Zgonena’s Tower Hill Road project was discussed in detail. The outcome of the meeting requires Mr. Zgonena to meet several conditions prior to the January 15 meeting of the BAR, which he must attend Mr. Golden stated that the reason he had requested that the enforcement action be added to the agenda was because his last directive had been to proceed with the Enforcement Action beginning in January of 2013, however he feels that it would now be prudent for them to request that they adjourn this action until February in order to give Mr. Zgonena an opportunity to comply.
Mayor Wilson responded that the Trustees had been hoping that the BAR would make some sort of final decision at their meeting and he expressed some concern that if a decision was not reached in January, the project could drag on. He does not want to see things continue to be pushed back.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that she had attended the BAR meeting and that she believed all parties were now motivated in the right direction.
Mayor Wilson stated that although he wanted to be fair, he did not want to see things strung along any longer. That being said, he saw no reason why they could not wait another month.
After some further discussion, it was agreed that Mr. Golden would return to the January meeting of the Trustees and give a progress report at which point the Board could decide how to proceed with the Enforcement Action and provide him with directive.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 20, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
9. Zgonena Enforcement Action
10. Resolution- Extend Sterling Carting Garbage Contact for One Year (12/112012-11130/2013)
11. Weston & Sampson Proposal- SSES Phase 2 (I&I Remediation)
12. Audit of Claims
14. Executive Session to Discuss a Specific Personnel Matter
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 27, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday November 27 2012 at 7pm. All members were present.
With regard to Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Wilson reported that the clean-up effort has been slow going. There is a substantial amount of work to be done and the DPW has not gotten to as much of it as they had hoped to because they have been focusing their efforts primarily on preparing for the winter months with leaf removal and drain clearing. It is important for residents to understand that it is the responsibility of the individual home owners to remove all fallen trees from their own properties.
In an effort to prepare for future storms of this magnitude the Village has installed a concrete pad at the DPW plant so that a generator can be installed there. Additionally, they are looking into the idea of a new generator for the South Gate as there seems to be a reoccurring issue there. There is also an issue with the video surveillance at the South Gate in that when the internet goes down it does not work. Mayor Wilson feels that moving forward the Village should look into the idea of a Satellite dish in order to maintain the connection there.
There was an article in the November 27 edition of the Times Herald Record concerning the Mulch Pile located at the Perfect Cut facility and specifically the report that the Town Board commissioned and recently received from Land Use EcologicalServices, which confirms that the pile is a source of contamination. The Mayor asked Trustees Neuhauser, Kilduff and Heywood for their views on the subject as they have been attending the Town meetings.
Trustee Neuhauser responded that the situation had become very confusing because Supervisor Dolan had been giving the public mixed signals with regard to the facility. She felt that the most recent meeting, at which the subject was discussed for 90 minutes, provided no conclusions whatsoever.
Trustee Kilduff explained that the Town had hired a water testing firm that conclusively reported that there has been contamination as a result of an overload of organic material, which has robbed both the Caretakers Pond and the 4 Corners Pond of the oxygen needed to support life there. This lack of oxygen was the cause of last March’s fish kill and in the report, LUES links the fish kill directly to the mulch pile. The Town has entered into a consent decree with the DEC and they claim that this is where their “game plan” will come from moving forward. He went on to say that speaking as a private citizen he believed that most people, including himself, would like to see a more aggressive shut down of the facility (if not a complete shut down) by the Town considering the damage that it has caused. It is clear to him that Supervisor Dolan is now taking a tact whereby he will now use the DEC Consent Decree to finesse a way to keep the operation alive. The DEC will allow a smaller operation to exist, but the Supervisor was unable to provide the public with a conceptual idea of what 10,000 cubic yards would look like in relation to what is currently there. One gets the sense that the Town will continue with the current operator and the smaller pile and that they will continue with the logging operation as well. Additionally, there is a large dirt pile also located at the facility the composition of which is suspect and the Town has not indicated that they have any plans to reduce or remove it. Mike Squilini, a town resident, has repeatedly brought this issue up with the Town Board, claiming that the dirt contains construction debris (he claims to have found spray foam insulation within it) but his concerns seem to be falling on deaf ears. The Town has 90 days to comply with the DEC regulations. Trustee Kilduff gets the sense that the Town Board will wait until the last possible minute to inform the public of their plans. There will also be a DEC monitor at the site, paid for by Perfect Cut, however the Board was unable to indicate who would be responsible for this cost should the Perfect Cut contract be terminated. Trustee Kilduff inquired as to any new contracts that might be established for the site moving forward and specifically what the BID process would be and was informed that any such contract would not be put out to BID as it would not fall with the purview of necessitating a BID. When Trustee Kilduff expressed confusion and shock over this, he was told by the Town Attorney that the reason had something to do with Real Estate and that it would not be the kind of contract one had to BID for. He feels that it is fairly clear that the Board is going to try and keep the operation going to the greatest extent possible.
Trustee Heywood stated that Supervisor Dolan has repeatedly stated that should it be discovered that the mulch pile was contaminating the surrounding waterways, it would be shut down. What concerns him is that the fish kill happened last March and now it is almost 9 months later and nothing has happened. All sorts of experts have confirmed that the site is polluted. He feels that the Town Board is “totally blinkered” and is not operating for the benefit for the community. In his view, they are in some sort of denial that it is their responsibility to do something about this mess; rather they have been procrastinating for months. Supervisor Dolan now claims that the facility will be confined to use by town residents only and that it will be confined to 10,000 cubic meters in size. Regardless of the pile’s size, Trustee Heywood believes that it will still be a source of pollution and he thinks that the Supervisor needs to face up to reality and shut the operation down.
Trustee Neuhauser interjected that Supervisor Dolan has repeatedly put the fiscal responsibility for the issue onto the taxpayers by stating that if the facility were to be shut down, taxes would go up like crazy.
Trustee Heywood commented that he has repeatedly attempted to pursue financials in an effort to determine exactly what the revenue to the town from the facility is, but has been unable to do so. The Supervisor has claimed that the operation has made the Town $1 Million, but Trustee Heywood believes this to be “pie in the sky” information.
Trustee Neuhauser agreed, stating the budget put forth by the town was not broken out and that the facility was “glopped” in with a bunch of other line items under the heading of Rental Properties. She believes that the public will never see the actual numbers.
Mayor Wilson commented that what he found interesting was that the Town commissioned report came back negative. He was expecting that the Town would have paid for a “friendly” report.
Trustee Heywood agreed, and further commented that he felt that Supervisor Dolan was probably expecting a “friendly” report as well. He went on to say that residents from both the Village and the Town must continue to attend the Town Board meetings and stay on top of the issue. He feels that they are completely oblivious.
Trustee Kilduff disagreed with this last statement, commenting that he felt that the Board was very calculating and that they knew exactly what they were doing. He believes they will exploit the DEC consent order to the maximum advantage in an effort to keep the facility going and shut the public down.
Mayor Wilson asked Village Attorney Rick Golden what if any action the Village could take in this situation.
Mr. Golden responded that the Villages’ options were very limited but that he would like to discuss them with the Board in an attorney/client session in order to fully explore both the upsides and downsides of those options.
There followed a lengthy discussion about fallen trees and specifically who’s responsibility it was to remove certain ones. There was a debate about whether or not a property owner would/should be required to remove a fallen tree that had fallen from their property across the road and onto a neighboring property or pieces of a fallen tree that had originated on one property but had been cut up and left on a neighboring property or on the side of the road.
Trustee Kilduff wondered why there hadn’t been an effort by the Village to “socialize” the loss across the entire Village by helping to clear away some of the trees rather than making it acute damage for one person who had an unfortunate wind event.
Mayor Wilson responded that the Village had not done as much cleanup as they should have, but they were understaffed given the amount of damage that existed and that their recent priorities have been slanted more towards preparing the Village for winter.
Deputy Mayor du Pont interjected that the cleanup would cost both time and money.
Trustee Kilduff replied that he understood this.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that the Village is no further behind with their cleanup than many other communities. A lot of municipalities have simply cleared the roads to allow for traffic and plowing and left the brush on the side of the road. She believes that residents are probably waiting to hear from the Board regarding responsibilities etc before they move forward with removal.
Speaking as the Budget Officer, Deputy Mayor du Pont cautioned that there were limits as to what the DPW would be able to do.
Trustee Kilduff reiterated that he felt the loss should be “socialized” across the Village prompting the Deputy Mayor to ask him where the money for this would come from.
Trustee Kilduff replied that it would not cost that much money and this statement was instantly rebuffed by the rest of the Board as well as the Village Clerk.
Mayor Wilson suggested that they should get more information in terms of a legal opinion before moving forward with any sort of decree.
Deputy Mayor du Pont agreed but cautioned that the roads needed to be cleared prior to any major snowfall so that the plows could get through. He feels this must now become a priority for the DPW. Mayor Wilson agreed.
Trustee Kilduff stated that he felt the Village should be aggressive in identifying any fallen tree that was on a Village Road as their responsibility and subsequently take care of it for the good of the community at large.
The Deputy Mayor and Trustee Heywood both disagreed.
There followed a short debate with regard to why the Village had not declared a “state of emergency” following the storm. It was determined that such a declaration allowed for the Mayor to exercise certain powers such as closing roadways and schools and enforcing curfews, none of which were necessary in this situation. The Village is small enough that they can take care of the things that need to be done without having to make a declaration.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that the current system of disposal costs the Village $700 per dumpster and that this cost is for the leaves and brush only. They have not yet begun to look at the logs. DPW Superintendent Voss has found a place that will do the job for ½ the price, but she feels things are going to start vamping up very quickly moneywise. To date, the Village has spent $12,000 on the storm and they have only touched the tip of the iceberg.
After some further debate, and with the assistance of Mr.Golden, it was determined that the following statement should be released to residents on behalf of the Village with regard to downed trees:
The Village Board of Trustees wants to advise the Village residents that a danger still exists from downed and compromised trees and tree limbs affected by Hurricane Sandy. Also, it must be emphasized that it is the property owner’s responsibility to remove those trees, branches etc. that either were or still remain on their property and that pose a menace to the public or to the Village streets. This is a significant safety concern, and we need each property owner to take the necessary steps to remove their trees that pose such a menace. Please contact the Village Office to coordinate your efforts with the Village.
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of October:
Criminal Complaints – 1 (closed by arrest)
Non-criminal Complaints – 41
Speeding Tickets – 17
Intrusion Alarms – 3 (all false)
Fire Calls – 5 (all false)
Assists given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 3
Additionally, 8,109 untagged vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.
As Superintendent Voss was not present, no report was given.
Click here to view a copy of the Building Report
Mayor Wilson introduced Officer Taback, who played a crucial role in last years’ deer culling efforts and asked him to explain a little bit about the process. Officer Taback explained that a series of distance surveys had been completed. These entail small samplings of the roadways in the Village and counting deer at night. 4 surveys, 2 on new moons and 2 on full moons, were completed. The maximum number of deer sited was 31. They then utilized a mathematical equation to try and figure out the full volume of the population in the Village and determined that there are roughly 86. They have spoken with the DEC about obtaining permits. Dates have yet to be determined. Feeding/baiting areas have been designated and all of these are in safe areas. Insurance and notification have also been investigated.
Mayor Wilson inquired about the type of rifle and bullets that they were planning to use as opposed to what was used last year.
Office Taback responded that last years’ equipment was a 223 old action rifle which needs to be cycled mechanically. This year, they are planning to use a semi-automatic gas driven weapon, which can fire more rapidly and carries more ammunition on board. It is also more accurate because it has a longer barrel. Animals can be dispatched much faster using this weapon.
The Mayor inquired about the possibility of ricochets and was informed that there would be no ricochets because when the bullet strikes the deer in its hide, it fragments into a hundred little pieces, which do not have enough mass to cause damage to anything. Fragmentation only extends about 10 inches around the point of impact.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to how many animals they were hoping to eliminate and Officer Taback replied that the DEC would issue them 20 tags at a time and they would fill as many as they could. If they cleared all 20, they would obtain 20 more. The permits are for 60 days.
Trustee Heywood then wanted to know about carcass evacuation.
Officer Taback explained that he would be speaking with the DEC about this. Because they are obtaining nuisance permits, the Village cannot keep the meat. They are planning to donate it. Last year, donations were made to a Soup Kitchen and the Culinary Institute. This year he is hoping to possibly donate to one of the local fire departments.
Mayor Wilson commented that he liked the idea of keeping the meat as local as possible.
Trustee Heywood then asked as to when Officer Taback expected to commence the operation and he was told that they were on track for dates after the month of December. (Sometime in January/February) They like to feed the deer for 6 weeks prior to culling.
The Trustees all agreed that last years operation had been a success and officer Taback concurred but cautioned that the effort needed to be maintained in order to prevent repopulating.
Trustee Neuhauser suggested that once the culling begins a notice be put out to the community keeping them informed about what would be happening. She further stated that she had recently been privy to an e-mail that contained false, and in her view unfortunate, information about the effort and that last year some residents had complained about “suspicious looking vehicles” and “men with guns.”
Officer Taback responded that all the vehicles that had been used as a part of last years effort had been clearly marked as police vehicles. He suggested that when informing the public, they resist the urge to provide exact dates and times so that animal activist groups such as SHARK and PETA would not organize and demonstrate.
Trustee Neuhauser agreed with this and commented that the notice should be general in nature.
Trustee Kilduff commented that there had been a great deal of support within the community for the previous contractor (White Buffalo) He asked Officer Taback to outline what the differences between what they did last year and how things were being planned this year might be.
Officer Taback responded that the main thing he did differently than White Buffalo was to kill more deer. While the people from White Buffalo were good at what they did, Officer Taback feels he has an entirely different skill set than they do as he was a SWAT operator and is much more familiar with modern fire arms than they were.
Trustee Kilduff wondered if Officer Taback had accompanied White Buffalo last year during the effort and he responded that he was the one who had shot all the deer. While White Buffalo shot roughly 8 deer from tree stands, he killed everything else from silent vehicles. He reiterated that they were “fantastic at what they do” and that they had provided adequate training, however he felt that they were gearing up to “milk” the Village over the next several years by suggesting that they needed to return. In his view their return is not at all necessary and he feels that residents will be very pleased with the effort.
There were no committee updates.
Steve Maurer asked the Board for an update regarding the berm situation abutting his property.
Mayor Wilson responded that the previous week the Building Department had served the homeowner with an appearance ticket to appear in Justice Court with respect to various code violations. This will be followed up by what is called an informal presentation of the same charges. Additionally a Supreme Court action will be filed shortly to ask for injunctive relief, which the Justice Court cannot give, to order that the pile be removed.
Mr. Maurer wanted to know if the appearance tickets that had been issued were equivalent to a misdemeanor charge.
He was informed that it was not; rather it was a criminal violation.
Mr. Maurer then asked for a brief explanation of the differences between the two actions.
Attorney Golden responded that one was criminal in nature and was confined to addressing issues that had taken place in the past in the form of a fine. The Supreme Court, however, has greater power and can issue an injunction to force the homeowner to remove the berm if a proper case is made and it believes it is the right thing to do.
Trustee Heywood noted that the Village seemed to be accruing a significant amount of legal expense on this issue and he wondered if any of those costs were recoverable.
He was informed that they were not.
The following resolutions were made and unanimously approved:
- Appoint part time Traffic Guard Matthew Kosits at a rate of $13.50 per hour retroactive to 10/30/12
- Exemption of County Tax for 2014 on Water System Parcel 13-3-12
- Appoint Edward Brennan as Fire Commissioner of Tuxedo Joint Fire District for a 5-year term beginning 1/1/13.
- Levy unpaid Village Tax bills to Orange County Department of Finance
- Authorize annual bird count by Fyke Nature Association on 12/15/12
- Approve Bid Opening Minutes and award bids for various surplus DWP equipment as well as #2 fuel oil
- Resolution to appoint David Hasin as Acting Village Justice:
There was a brief discussion about what kind of stipend Mr. Hasin would receive after which the Board voted 4-1 in favor of the appointment subject to the stipend not exceeding $100, with Trustee Kilduff voting against.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 27, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
a. Resolution to Appoint Part Time Traffic Guard - Matthew Kosits Retroactive to 10/30/12
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
9. Resolution to Appoint Edward Brennan as Fire Commissioner of Tuxedo Joint Fire Dist.
10. Resolution for Exemption of County Tax for 2014 on Water System Parcel13-3-12
11. Resolution to Levy Unpaid Village Tax Bills to Orange County Dept. of Finance
12. Resolution to Appoint David Hasin as Acting Village Justice
13. Resolution to Authorize Annual Bird Count by Fyke Nature Association on December 15th.
14. Resolution to Approve Bid Opening Minutes and Award Bids
15. Audit of Claims
16. Attorney-Client Session
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Special Board of Trustees Meeting November 2, 2012
The Board of Trustees met on Friday, November 2, 2012 at 6 pm. Trustee Neuhauser was absent.
Mayor Wilson opened by stating that the purpose of the meeting was to let residents know about some of the efforts being made behind the scenes to clean up following Hurricane Sandy and to give them a chance to express their views about the storms’ aftermath in the Village.. He then thanked DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss and Police Chief Ken Sanford for all the work they’ve done over the past week. Largely due to their efforts, the Village has managed to open 99% of their roads, something the Mayor didn’t think would be possible in such a short period of time He also thanked Ed Pfizenmaier and the Town Highway Department as well as Town Police Chief Pat Welsh and Bill Fairclough. who were also very helpful
The Mayor reiterated his most recent Code Red message, commenting that the latest estimate from Orange & Rockland stated that 90% of their customers would have power restored by November 11. As far as he could tell the process was being held up by Orange & Rockland’s first step, which is to get all the substations, transmission lines and circuits back online before starting with the local work. However, once Orange & Rockland heard from all the local elected officials throughout the county about how many road closures there were and how hard it was for any emergency services to get through to residents, they revised their plan. Due largely to the efforts of Chief Sanford, Orange County Emergency Services was made to understand that most of our residents were trapped and thus the message got through to Orange & Rockland. Mayor Wilson cautioned that the least strategic areas in Orange & Rockland’s customer base will get their power on last and, unfortunately, the Village of Tuxedo Park is not one of their most strategic areas.
Superintendent Voss stated that although there were still some places that the DPW hadn’t been able to clear due to live wires or downed transformers, he was very pleased that he could now get to everyone. Chief Sanford stressed the severity of the damage stating that there had been 109 incidences (an incident is where a line or a pole goes down) just within the Village. He went on to praise Mayor Wilson who, he said, had been with him and Jeff Voss every day working right along side them..
The floor was then opened for questions from the audience. Some of the comments/questions were:
We see no evidence of repair work being done. (This was not a criticism of the Village workers, but rather a disappointment with O&R)
Some residents have no internet access. Although they can get Code Red through phones or cellphones, it is not as easy to access the information.
The suggestion was made to print out the information and have it available via flyer at the Gate.
Several residents asked if specific wires near their homes were live and wanted to know if they could drive over them. Answer:if there is no insulation visible on the wire, one should bet very careful.
Whose responsibility are all the cables?
Answer: O&R, Verizon, Cablevision each need to repair their own equipment.
When will there be access to TPS?
Answer: The Village was asked for their 3 top priorities. Those were Tuxedo Road, the top of Tower Hill and Camp Comfort. The reasons were to have access to the water tower and water treatment plant and to be able to get to all the residents with emergency services. Now that those goals have been achieved, things like access to the school can be worked on.
Do you have any information about NJ Transit?
Where will you get rid of all the wood and debris? Hoping it won’t go to Perfect Cut!
A discussion on this subject ensued. The Village will provide dumpsters for leaves (free for residents, a fee for contractors) across from the DPW. They will set up a staging area for wood debris at the Wee Wah Beach Club. Resident Stewart Reitzfeld, who is in the paper business, said he would contact paper mills who he was sure would take all the wood.
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Board of Trustees Meeting October 23, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday October 23 at 7pm. Trustee Neuhauser was absent.
Presentation – Carol Lomascolo, Superintendent of Tuxedo Union Free School District:
On behalf of George F. Baker High School, Superintendent Carol Lomascolo and Board of Education President JoAnn Vernon presented the Board with an update regarding the districts’ ongoing negotiations with Greenwood Lake as well as a project they have initiated with educational consultants in order to determine what the future of the High School might be.
Commenting that the negotiations with Greenwood Lake had been “like a roller coaster ride,” the Supervisor reported that a 22 month contract with Greenwood Lake had been signed the previous week which officially includes George F. Baker High School within the choice model (along with Warwick and Chester) for Greenwood Lake students. What this means is that the incoming freshman class 0f 2013 will have a choice between the three schools. Once they have made their determination, those students will remain at their school of choice for 4 years. Historically, Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake have maintained a 5-year contract, however these contracts need to be put to a public vote before they can be signed and in this case, the GWL School Board wanted to make the decision independently of the voters, which requires them to have a contract of 2 years or less as per State Law. When the current contract expires in 2 years, Greenwood Lake will once again be faced with the decision as to which district they want to sign to a longer contract.
There is a very strong support group for Tuxedo within the Greenwood Lake community, and the Superintendent believes that not only will the majority of current Greenwood Lake students remain in Tuxedo but the majority of incoming 8th graders will choose Tuxedo as well.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to how the other two districts (Warwick and Chester) compared to Tuxedo in terms of State rankings.
Superintendent Lomascolo responded that all three schools had good rankings, however they believe that there is strong value in both Tuxedo’s small size and the strong, positive relationship they have maintained with Greenwood Lake over the years.
BOE President JoAnn Vernon pointed out that Warwick, which is a much larger district than Tuxedo, depends largely on state aid. Last year alone they had a 3.6 million dollar cut in state aid. Tuxedo on the other hand receives minimal aid from the State because they are considered a “wealthy community” (less than$100,000) and therefore, they do not rely on funding to run programs. In her view, this makes the Tuxedo District a more stable environment. Conversely Chester, which is a much smaller school, has a relatively new, state of the art facility but they do not offer the same types of programs that Tuxedo does in terms of AP courses. Mrs. Vernon believes that this kind of thing is what sets Tuxedo apart. Tuxedo may not have a football team, but they do have soccer, baseball, skiing, wrestling, volleyball and basketball. In some cases, students have been afforded the opportunity to play other sports at different schools. There are a lot of different options, but Tuxedo feels that they can provide some security in terms of cost because they do not receive nearly as much aid as the other districts.
Deputy Mayor commented that he was very impressed with the strong showing of support coming out of Greenwood Lake from the parents of High School aged children. He further commented that it was the parents who do not have students in the school that were analyzing the cost structure.
Mrs. Lomascolo pointed out that there were also parents in Greenwood Lake whose children have graduated from G.F.B. in the past and many of these are serving as the schools’ primary supporters now.
Mayor Wilson wondered how the School would be able to accurately estimate how many students would come from Greenwood Lake in the fall of 2013.
Mrs. Lomascolo responded that they had “a pretty good feel” as to the students currently attending the school, most of whom they believe will return. Additionally, their supporters in GWL conducted an informal pole of incoming 8th graders and they believe that most of them will choose Tuxedo. The incoming class is a small one (63 students) but they believe they will have at least 40-45 of those students.
Trustee Heywood wondered if they thought that number would diminish over time as a lot of the loyalty was probably historical.
Mrs. Lomascolo responded that their hope was that should students choose to go elsewhere, they will quickly realize what they have left behind and try to return.
Mayor Wilson wondered if the incoming Freshmen would be allowed to change their minds and switch schools once they had made a choice.
Mrs. Lomascolo replied that according to the Greenwood Lake Superintendent of schools, once a student makes a choice they will have to stick with it for 4 years unless there are extenuating circumstances. Students will be required to make their choice in the month December , so that by January, Tuxedo will know exactly how many students they can expect.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to whether or not the individual school districts were going to be allowed to communicate with the potential students prior to December in terms of what they had to offer.
Mrs. Lomascolo informed him that there has been a process put in place for this and Tuxedo will be giving a presentation to the 8th grade on November 8. Additionally, incoming 8th graders will be invited to GFB to tour the building and shadow current students. Finally, there will be an open house held during the evening for parents and students alike to come and look around.
Mrs. Vernon noted that from the beginning of the process, the BOE has been extremely proactive in their attempts to negotiate a contract with GWL. In a very short amount of time the Tuxedo District has experienced a change in Superintendent, which has brought new vision to the district, as well as a change in leadership at the Elementary school. She feels that these changes clearly demonstrate that from a proactive standpoint, the BOE has recognized some of the ongoing, long term issues that may not have been beneficial to the community and have made effort to address them. It is a changing time for the district and the BOE recognizes the importance of gathering input from the entire community before making the important decisions that are before them. This is why they have hired a public consulting firm to work with them in conducting forums and surveys, so that they can make informed decisions that reflect the desires of the community as a whole. She pointed out that although closing a high school might seem like a relatively easy thing to do once it’s gone the opportunity to ever get it back is mostly likely gone. If that happens then the community effectively loses their voice in terms of what it is that they want for their children and community.
Trustee Heywood wondered whether or not a “downside” financial impact study had been done, which might shed some light on what the impact to tax payers would be should the school close.
Mrs. Vernon replied that the Board was looking at potential impacts and that all the pertinent information would be provided to taxpayers.
Trustee Heywood asked Mrs. Vernon if her “gut feeling” told her that the impact would be adverse and she responded that she wanted to wait for the data before making any projections. That being said, she commented that her gut feeling was that sometimes the fiscal impact during the roughest part of the transition (now) might be the bump that tax payers have to bear in order to give them greater opportunity to look at alternatives. Those alternatives could mean closing the school and moving to another community. The BOE has looked at various schools in New York and have also been asked to look at some in New Jersey, which begs the issue of crossing the Border among other things. They are also considering potential ways of keeping the High School open by bringing in students via other programs.
Trustee Heywood made note of the somewhat wacky districting system that exists in Tuxedo and wondered roughly how many students from the north section of town attended Monroe Woodbury.
Mrs. Lomascolo responded they believe there are roughly 100 students in that area of town.
Trustee Kilduff asked for an explanation as to why tuition costs were so much higher in Tuxedo than the other two districts.
He was informed that the lack of state aid is what drives the cost.
There followed a very brief review of the varying amounts that each district receives in state aid per student.
Deputy Mayor du Pont pointed out that Tuxedo was among the lowest in Orange County terms of school taxes. He suggested that the School District should publish the rates in other districts in order to build up an appreciation for this within the community.
Mrs. Vernon agreed and stated that the School Board was concerned about this as the State of New York could very well dictate that Tuxedo send its students to Monroe, which wouldn’t mean that they would be tuitioning the students in, but rather that Tuxedo taxpayers would be forced to pay the high rates currently being paid by the those residents at the north end of town.
Mayor Wilson wondered if there was any chance that the students from the north end of Town might be able to return to the Tuxedo district and he was informed that there was not. The only way for this to occur would be if the Monroe Woodbury district volunteered to give the students up, which is something they are unwilling to even discuss.
The Mayor then wondered if there had been any discussion with the owners of the high school property with regard to what might happen to the building should the school close.
Mrs. Vernon responded that this dialogue had been initiated. Regardless of what happens, the building must remain an educational facility of some sort, although exactly what type of educational facility that would be is up in the air. She reiterated that the Board is being extremely careful with all their choices and that they would really like to hear from everyone in the community so that they could make the most informed decisions.
Trustee Heywood wondered how soon there would be financial forecast.
The answer was probably sometime in the month of March.
Superintendent Lomascolo talked briefly about the consulting firm that the district has hired. She reminded the Board that a community survey has been created and posted to the schools website and she encouraged everyone to take a few moments and fill it out. (click here to complete the survey) Once all of the focus groups have been conducted and the results of the survey are in, the consultants will put together a list of potential options for the district, based upon what the expressed desires of the community have been.
Mayor Wilson wondered whether or not the Board had factored the Tuxedo Reserve development into their discussions.
Mrs. Vernon responded that they were aware of it, however at this point, there was “nothing to go on” at this time.
The Deputy Mayor agreed, commenting that should Tuxedo Reserve come to fruition, a prospect that is currently uncertain, it would be too far in the future to have any impact on the current situation. Additionally, it is important to consider that the developer of this project, the Related Companies, has zero history of producing a final product. Rather, they have a history of selling their projects piecemeal or whole sale to other builders. This means that the outcome of the development and in particular the housing mix is ambiguous.
The Mayor then wondered what the minimum number of students needed to keep the high school’s doors open would be.
Mrs. Vernon replied that this would depend on the type of program they wanted to offer.
Mrs. Lomascolo then briefly outlined the timeline for the consulting process. The school is expecting feedback from the consultants in December based upon which a list of options will be generated. This list will then be presented to the community at large and based on their feedback, a determination will be made in January, which will give them time to incorporate whatever it may be into their budget.
From the audience, Steve Maurer commented that moving forward it would be really nice to see more children from Tuxedo Park attending the school.
Mrs. Vernon replied that they would like to see the same thing.
Mr. Maurer went on to say that he would love to send his kids to the school, but he had taken them out because the S.A.T. scores coming out of the high school were on average very low.
Mrs. Vernon stated that S.A.T. scores are not the only factor that universities look at.
Mr. Maurer agreed but reiterated that they were important.
Jim Hays wondered what percentage of George F. Baker was made up of Greenwood Lake students and should those students go to one of the other schools, what percentage of those districts they would be. He was informed that Greenwood Lake students make up 80% of the population at GFB. If those students were to go to Chester, they would represent 40-50% of the population and if they were to go to Warwick, they would be roughly 20%.
The big news in the Village this month is the successful installation of a natural gas main at St. Mary’s. A 4-inch pipe was utilized and this will allow the Village the option of possibly continuing the line up Fox Hill Road as well to the Water Plant at some point in the future. It is not a given that the Village will move forward with this plan, but the option is there. This is significant because if the Village can determine a cost effective way to bring two natural gas lines into the Park and some of the larger homes can get connections, it could reduce energy costs to those homes drastically. In addition to the installation of the gas main, conduit has been laid and some of the aerial lines running above the Gatehouse will be buried within the next week or so.
Police chief Ken Sanford reported the following for the month of September:
Non-criminal Complaints – 35
Accidents – 2
Traffic Summonses Issued – 27
Intrusion Alarms – 1 (false)
Medical Calls – 1
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Assists Received by the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Additionally, 9,782 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
Chief Sanford expressed his gratitude to John Ledwith for his hard work helping to facilitate the installation of the gas main, commenting that in his view John was the most overworked and underappreciated person he had ever met and that the project would not have been possible without his help. This was met by a round of applause.
Trustee Heywood inquired after the results to a survey that was sent out to a select group of residents earlier in the year with regard to the possibility of switching over to natural gas.
Mr. Ledwith replied that he did not have the results handy, however he believed that out of roughly 30 residents surveyed, he thought there had been around 12 who responded positively, 3 who were negative and several who did not respond at all.
Mayor Wilson stated that the next step in the process would be to find companies who could provide bids for bringing in the service at no cost to the Village, which he understands could be a possibility, however they will not know until the work has been done.
Finally, Chief Sanford reported that he and Officer Taeback would be meeting with Kevin Clark of the DEC during the week of November 12 to discuss preliminary plans for this years’ deer culling effort. A more detailed report on these efforts can be expected at next month’s meeting.
Deputy Mayor du Pont stated that he felt it was important for the public to know that following two separate surveys that had been conducted in five different geographical areas of the Park over a 60 day period, it is estimated that the current deer population is between 80-90. This is drastically reduced from what it was just two years ago.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department has been very busy trying to get all the necessary paving work done before the weather gets too cold.
There is a village owned waterline located on Route 17 that has sprung a leak. The line is located right in the middle of the southbound slow lane across from Take A Break. The Superintendent feels that the repair work is not something that his department can handle by themselves as there is a level of very thick concrete that they need to break through.
Therefore, he is recommending that the Village utilize an outside company for the job and he presented the Board with three bids, the cheapest being $8,800.
Deputy Mayor du Pont wondered whether or not there would be any additional red tape involved in terms of approvals considering the fact that Route 17 is a State Highway.
Superintendent Voss assured him that he had been through the process before and that this would not be a problem.
Mayor Wilson wanted to know how the department had been able to detect the leak and Mr. Voss explained that the issue had to do with a valve that was located in the area in question. The problem was detected because a puddle has been forming on and off in that area for some time.
The Mayor then wondered how long the repair process would take. He was informed it would take 1 day.
Following a brief review of the procurement policy with Board attorney Rick Golden, the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with the bid from Bebo Construction in the amount of $8,800.
Trustee Kilduff advised the Superintendent that the Town had recently utilized a new method of tar and chip road resurfacing on some of their roadways in that they have added a third “fog seal” layer to the process. He suggested that the DPW monitor this process in order to determine if it was something the Village should try.
The Superintendent responded that he was well aware of the new process, which has been done to South Gate Road. He plans to keep an eye on it.
Additionally, the town is considering the purchase of a crack sealer and it has been suggested that this might be something that should be purchased jointly with the Village.
Superintendent Voss acknowledged this and said he had been talking about this with the Town Highway department, however as time went on, it was looking as though the Town might opt for rental rather than purchase for a variety of reasons.
Building Department Update:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Department report for September.
A concrete pad will be poured at the DPW facility some time next week so that they may install a generator. This work has been coordinated with another project that is going on in the Village at the same time in an effort to minimize the concrete expense.
Village Improvement Advisory Committee – On behalf of the V.I.A.C., Trustee Heywood reported that Committee Chair Michelle Lindsay had met with Building Inspector Ledwith to discuss street lighting fixtures. Mr. Ledwith confirmed that he was in receipt of some basic information, however it is not very clear or concise in terms of models or pricing information. Nor does it provide an idea of what the fixtures will look like. He and Mrs. Lindsay will sort through what they have and then gather what they need so that they can make a recommendation to the Board in the near future.
Rob Silvay commented that he lived at 8 Lorilard Road and he was very happy that the Village had paved the street there however, in doing so they had created a large ditch between the end of the street and the paving and this is posing a fairly substantial drainage problem, not to mention a hazard to people on foot. He has reported the issue several times to no avail.
DPW Superintendent Voss responded that he was aware of the issue and that it would be fixed.
Mr. Silvay went on to say that the owner of the property adjacent to his, who happens to be The Tuxedo Club, had cleared out the property and what used to be a wooded area entangled with weeds was now relatively clear. There is a storm drain the empties out into the middle of the lot where there used to be weeds, but because the weeds were removed, the water now drains down and into the street causing erosion at the bottom of the road. He expressed concern that over time, this situation would only cause further erosion to the paving job that was just done. He commented that this was an ongoing problem with Lorilard Road, which he feels is always one of the first to erode after being paved. Whether the Village requires the Club to do the work or chooses to do the work themselves, something must be done as currently when it rains there is a river running off the property.
Mayor Wilson responded that he was familiar with the storm drain Mr. Silvay was referring to. The issue is that the pipe that feeds the drain is located on private property, so before they can fix the problem they need to determine whose responsibility it is to make the repairs. Similar conditions exist in other spots throughout the Village as well.
Village Attorney Rick Golden stated that determining responsibility would depend on the particular circumstances such as when the pipe in question was constructed, whether or not it has been maintained by the Village and if the Village has assumed ownership and control of it regardless of its location.
Superintendent Voss stated that the DPW would take care of the rot issue, however the drainage problems in the Village were immense.
Mr. Silvay expressed his gratitude, stating that the rot was the main reason for his complaint, however he cautioned that unless they could figure out a way to address the drainage problem, the Village would be faced with the same issues again and again.
Mayor Wilson wondered if they might not install a box to redirect the water, similar to what was done on Continental Road.
The Superintendent replied that the problem lay in where the water could be redirected since there didn’t seem to be any place where it wouldn’t be either crossing somebody’s property or out-letting onto somebody’s property. This problems exist all over the Village. There are drains that they have been unable to repair because they outlet onto somebody else’s property. The drains have to be replaced.
The Mayor acknowledged the situation and stated that it would cause big problems if the Village tried to tell residents they were going to be redirecting storm water onto their properties. He asked Attorney Rick Golden for his opinion.
Mr. Golden commented that as a general matter the Village was not allowed to redirect the design of the pipes. A lot depends on the particulars of each drainage issue and how they have been handled historically. There are certain general practices of law, but they need to be applied to the particular facts to see which ones take precedence. Each situation is unique.
Mayor Wilson assured Mr. Silvay that the issue he had brought forth was directly connected to another problem on Continental Road and this is something that the Village has been focused on, so he expects it will probably get resolved sooner than many of the other issues as it is something that is already being worked on.
Mr. Silvay then wanted to know, outside of coming to a meeting and speaking up during the Public Comment period, or lodging a complaint, what was the right forum for resolving the issue.
Mayor Wilson replied that in situations such as these, he always advised residents to utilize the GO REQUEST system, which allows them to take a picture with their cell phone and submit it directly to both the Village Office and the DPW, while creating a public record of the issue. It can then be tracked online.
Ed Stegman commented that he had been a Village resident for a little over 50 years residing at 232 Continental Road, which is right up the hill from the Tuxedo Club. He expressed concern about level of noise coming from the Club, which is a problem that he claims has been going on for years. Specifically, the previous Saturday evening there was an event there with a band playing very loudly and the noise went on until almost 2am. Mr. Stegman noted that his house had been rebuilt not that long ago and that the walls were firmly sealed with thick foam and double pained windows, so in his view, there is no way the issue could be blamed on thin walls.
The Mayor responded that this past weekend had been an unusual one because the Club was hosting a big event.
Mr. Stegman retorted that in his view, this shouldn’t make any difference. There is a regulation in the Village code (100-7) that specifically says that this type of thing is improper. At 1:15am, when the noise had not subsided, Mr. Stegman stated that he had called the police to complain and even then, the noise did not cease until 1:55. In his view, this is totally unacceptable and something has got to be done. The Club is not following the regulations. He feels that if he had been making noise that disturbed his neighbors at that hour of the night, there would have been “holy hell to pay.”
The Mayor commented that a similar problem occurs in the summer time when it is “wedding season” for the Club.
Deputy Mayor du Pont commented that it was his belief that the Village’s existing noise regulation had been deemed illegal because it does not talk about specific decibel measurements and the Village does not, at this point in time, have any way to measure decibel levels. He asked Attorney Rick Golden to confirm this.
Mr. Golden responded that the local justice had issued a decision declaring the regulation unconstitutional. He has issued an opinion which lists what he believes are the infirmities and while one might think that this could be corrected by getting a standard decibel reading which many municipalities have, but most municipalities have issues with enforcement. Noise ordinances in general are very problematic for the courts. His firm has been working on putting together a noise ordinance for the Village that might so away with some of these issues, but he still hasn’t come up with anything yet. It is a problem.
The Deputy Mayor assured Mr. Stegman that he was not the only one dealing with this issue and that moreover, everyone who lived on or near the water could hear the noise as well. He is surprised that more residents don’t ban together and complain directly to the Club, as many of them are members.
Rob Silvay commented that his is the closest house to the Club and that he has not heard noise once.
The Mayor responded that this was interesting.
Mr. Stegman stated that the Club is situated in a way that the noise travels up the hill in a way that is aimed right at his house. It is intolerable. If the regulations are invalid, he wanted to know why they were still listed in the Village Code.
Chief Sanford commented that this issue was an ongoing one and he suggested that they discuss it in a different forum.
Moving on, Jack Perry commented that he had submitted a final estimate for the tree removal project on his property.
The Mayor acknowledged receipt, however he stated that the low bid had come from Perfect Cut, which posed a problem for the Village.
When Mr. Perry inquired as to the extent of the problem, the Mayor informed him that the owner of Perfect Cut was a convicted felon for bribing municipal officials and that there was no way that the Village would ever do business with them. That being stated, he further stated that Mr. Perry was more than welcome to do business with them if he so desired, but the Village would not assist in the financing.
Mr. Perry responded that he had not been aware of this and that he would get another estimate.
The Mayor went on to inform the Perrys that they did not have to wait a month between meetings to move this project forward. Rather they could simply submit information to John Ledwith, who would then pass it along to the Board.
Mayor Wilson then asked Jim Hays, who was in the audience, if he could provide the Board with a brief recap of the report he had given to the Town Board the previous evening outlining the results of testing that has been done on the marshes surrounding the mulch pile on Long Meadow Road.
Mr. Hays explained that shortly after the fish kill, the DEC completed several studies on the streams that feed into and flow out of the Caretaker Marsh (adjacent to mulch pile). These studies found that both the oxygen and acidity levels in the various streams were normal, however, in the marsh itself, the oxygen level was very low and the acidity level was very high. Based on this information, Mr. Hays felt that it might be useful to do additional chemical analysis on the Caretaker marsh for two reasons. One reason was to see if he could discover the source of the pollution and the other was to see if the chemistry could provide a fingerprint that could then be followed away from the marsh and into other waters in Sterling Forest and possibly even on to Tuxedo Lake. Although there is clearly no surface connection between the waters in question and Tuxedo Lake, Mr. Hays suggested that there might be a subsurface connection via fracture zones which could bring that water into Tuxedo Lake (and thus have a direct effect on the drinking water). Sampling was done at 4 sites: the Caretaker marsh itself, Scott Mine, the well at the Caretaker marsh and then, a marsh located off of Ironwood Drive called Phragmytes Marsh, The latter is in no way connected to the Caretaker marsh and was sampled for use as a standard.. The results of the testing show that in the Caretaker marsh there are very large amounts or organic carbon and phosphorus… 20 - 35 times what is in Phragmytes marsh.. Also in Caretaker marsh, large amounts of iron and magnesium were detected. This condition also exists in Scott Mine although not in Phragmytes marsh. Mr Hays suggested that the metals in Caretaker Marsh could be coming from the water that is being poured onto the mulch pile to prevent its bursting into flame. This water is coming out of Scott Mine and also from Cook Mine (which is connected to the Caretaker Marsh underneath the DPW.) Mr. Hays believes that because the Caretaker marsh exists in a pristine forest, the only possible source for the organic carbon and the phosphorus is the mulch pile. Thus he has concluded that the Caretaker marsh is being contaminated by the mulch pile. While the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who currently occupy the old International Paper site, have installed aerators in their pond, which is certainly helping to restore 02 levels and reduce the amount of carbon, Mr. Hays still worries that there could still be a serious problem in terms of pollution down stream from the pile, in Warwick Brook and possibly in the Wee Wah lake as well.
Mayor Wilson commented that it was his understanding that the DEC had asked Perfect Cut to move a certain percentage of the operation back because of it’s intrusion into the wetlands.
Mr. Hays concurred and said he believed that there had also been some talk by the Town Board of reducing the pile’s size, but he is not aware that this has happened. There is a lot of material on the site and it is still coming into the facility day and night. There was no impervious surface put under the pile when it was built, so there is no reason why the contamination won’t leak through the ground and get out into the environment, which apparently it is doing.
The Mayor inquired after the Town Boards reaction and Mr. Hays informed him that there seemed to be a general stone walling coming from that Board and that they continued to say they needed more time to look at and evaluate the situation. In Mr. Hay’s opinion, the ongoing delay raises a lot of questions.
Village Engineer Rich Messer provided the Board with an update on on-going projects as follows:
Mountain Farm Pump Station Upgrades – Scheduling for this project is moving forward and it looks as though it will take place on Tuesday November 6 and Wednesday November 7. Specifically, a new pump and piping will be installed, with the new piping running from the main to the station. Installation of the piping will be a coordinated effort with the Village.
New Mountain Farm Water Storage Tank – A memo, outlining the feasibility of the project in terms of increasing volumes and pressures was provided to the Board. Included was a cost estimate of $560,000 - $620,000. This would include all engineering aspects and project components (such as a 150 gallon storage tank, connector mains and access roadways.)
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to whether or not this project was connected to the Overton subdivision and he was informed that there was an ongoing discussion with the applicant about water supply and increased pressures to the area around the school and the pump station.
The Deputy Mayor then wondered whether or not he was correct in thinking that there was potential for the Overton people to participate in the cost of the project.
Mayor Wilson responded that the Village would love it if the applicant helped to fund a new water tower, but as he understood it, they would prefer to go with a less expensive alternative that might not be sufficient for the present needs.
Attorney Rick Golden interjected that the Applicant had recently submitted a letter in which they express their desire to meet with the Board to discuss the water situation and specifically to negotiate their participation in the necessary improvements. He suggested that the Board designate two Trustees to meet with the applicant along with Mr. Messer and himself in order to initiate the negotiations. It was agreed that this would be done.
Sewer Evaluation Study – Phase three of this study is wrapping up. It is anticipated that costs for this phase of the project will be slightly under budget. There is a private part of the project that Mr. Messer advised should be considered at some point as a fair amount of leaks have been identified in the private section. The next step is to move on to other subareas in the public section, including among others Club House Road. As it is an ongoing effort with the DEC, this will necessitate a new proposal to move forward with the other subareas as well as the Village’s consideration of addresses the private areas at some point.
The Wee Wah Dam – A report including both the hydrolic and hydrologic evaluations, as well as budget options and potential methods of modifying the dam to handle 150% of a 100-year storm event was submitted. A number of options have been explored and presented. The next step is to evaluate the options that have been laid out based upon this extensive review and try to find the lowest cost option that will meet the requirements of the DEC Dam safety standards. A proposal outlining the next steps of designing as well as meeting with the DEC to evaluate the options and get their feedback was also presented. Some of the specifics were reviewed and discussed.
With regard to the proposal for the cost of engineering services, which totals $184, 700, Deputy Mayor du Pont expressed some confusion. He stated that there are three areas of the dam that potentially need work: the service spillway, the auxiliary spillway and the dam & road and repairs have been laid out in the form of three different options. In focusing on one of these options, he wondered if they chose to move forward with it, whether it would address the needs of the other two.
Mr. Messer responded that what Westin and Sampson is driving at in their proposal is to address the storm event that is required by DEC dam safety and keep the cost down as low as possible. Lowering the primary spillway is the primary portion and then there are some changes that need to be made to the dam itself to allow more water through.
Mayor Wilson expressed some concern with the fact that the Village’s total allowance for the project is $980,000 and the proposed $185,000 for engineering fees is roughly 20% of that.
Mr. Messer responded that the fee for the design portion of the project, roughly $76,000 was standard, where as the construction over-sight was less.
Deputy Mayor du Pont suggested that if they took the proposed cost for option 3, which is $950,000 and added it to the $185,000 for engineering fees, they could get an overall cost estimate for the project, which would be roughly 1.2 million.
This cost exceeds the amount of money the Village has borrowed to address the issue.
Mr. Messer commented that what had been presented was an estimate based on where the project stood currently and that once they were able to discuss the project with the DEC they would have a better idea of the actual cost.
Following further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Westin and Sampson proposal for final design specifications, construction costs, estimates and permitting for the DEC and the Wee Wah Dam in the amount of $76,000.
The East Village Water Main Replacement – Although the Board agreed on a pipe-bursting approach at their previous meeting, there remain a lot of floating questions relative to permitting issues. Preliminary discussions with the Thruway Authority, the State DOT and the Railroad have been initiated. Questions have been raised regarding pipe bursting with transient pipe and the presence of asbestos, however Mr. Messer believes this will be a safe, effective approach as it is all underground and there will not be any above ground disturbance.
Following a somewhat lengthy discussion of project details, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving $68,800 for final designs, specifications, construction cost estimates, permitting and bid documents and services.
Declare 2008 Police Charger as Surplus:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of declaring the Police department’s 2008 dodge Charger as surplus equipment and that the vehicle be sold for fair and adequate consideration.
Resolution – Authorize advertising for bids for #2 fuel oil & set bid opening for 11/19 @2pm:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Village Clerk to advertise for bids on #2 fuel oil for the 2012 /2013 season and that the bid opening date be set for Monday, November 19 at 2pm.
Trustee Kilduff suggested that historically, oil was at a high price point at this time of year and that moving forward, the Board should consider these types of decisions at a different time of year. It was agreed that they would do so.
The Board discussed whether or not the Village should continue the program initiated last year, which allows contractors to dump leaves across from the DPW for a set price (which includes costs such as police over-sight) and residents to dump their leaves there for free. Last year, the program cost the Village roughly $7,000. The thinking was that this would be cheaper for residents than having the higher cost of removal passed on to them by individual contractors.
When asked for her thoughts, Village clerk Debbie Matthews commented that when the program was run during the springtime, the Village Police sat at the location for days, but nobody utilized the program.
It was determined that the program was more effective in the fall than it was in the spring.
Following some further discussion it was agreed that the program would continue.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 23, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Presentation- Carol Lamascolo, Superintendent of Tuxedo Union Free School District
4. Mayor's Update
5. Police Update
a. Part Time Traffic Guard
6. DPW Update
7. Building Department Update
8. Committee Updates
9. Public Comments
10. Engineer's Update
11. Declare 2008 Police Dodge Charger as Surplus
13. Resolution- Authorize advertising for bids for #2 fuel oil & set bid opening for 11119 @2pm
14 Approve BOT Minutes
15. Audit of Claims
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 20, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Thursday September 20 at 7pm. All members were present.
Mayor Wilson reported having spoken with Susan Goodfellow, who has been on top of the Milfoil situation in the Village lakes as well as the reoccurring algae blooms. Unfortunately, Milfoil has been spotted again, however the “Milfoil Teams” have been out there working on it and are on top of the situation. The Mayor commented that he was glad that the Village had started the process when they did, which allowed them to get in front of the issue; however it is still something that they must remain vigilant about. Fortunately, things are going in the right direction.
There has been some positive movement with improvements at the Village Gatehouse thanks to Bill Fairclough and Trustee Neuhauser. Additionally, John Ledwith has been meeting with Orange and Rockland about bringing in a gas main in to St. Mary’s, which will be good for a number of reasons. It will be a conduit for the Police Department, which will be good for running the generator there, and also the electrical wires will be buried, which will be more aesthetically pleasing. The Mayor is hopeful that the gas pipe will be wide enough that it might be possible for the Village decide to bring in natural gas, should they decide to pursue this idea moving forward. He acknowledged that the idea of a natural gas line was still very much up in the air, however suggested that having the pipe there would be a major plus should the Village decide to move in that direction.
There has been a rumor circulating with regard to the level of Tuxedo Lake and specifically whether or not the Village is intending to lower it in the next couple of weeks. In response to this, Mayor Wilson stated that the Village has no plans to lower Tuxedo Lake, although the Tuxedo Club will be working on their boathouse and will be constructing a port-o-dam, which will allow them to complete the work. The Mayor cautioned that all boat owners, especially pontoon boat owners, should be aware that the Club will be closing down their boat ramp at the end of September and it will be difficult to remove a pontoon boat from the lake after that time. In an effort to find a solution to this potential issue, the Village is investigating the idea of utilizing the Village Boat Club’s ramp for removal. It is clear that single hulled boats will be able to come off the lake at this location; however, it is still uncertain as to whether or not pontoon boats can be removed there.
Finally, there has been some concern with regard to two large holes in the road on Ridge Road. DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss has been looking into the problem, which is compounded due to concerns about water main leaks. Although it has been slow going, they hope to be on top of the problem soon.
Chief Ken Sanford reported the following for the month of August:
Criminal Complaints: 2
Non-Criminal Complaints: 43
Property Damage Accidents: 4
Traffic Summonses Issued: 29
Fire Alarms: 2
Intrusion Alarms: 8 (all false)
Medical Calls: 2
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police: 3
Assists Given to the Fort Lee Police: 1
Additionally, 9, 293 untagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
The department completed a DOT check on Monday and 5 white tags were discovered and taken care of.
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department had gotten a lot of roadwork done, however there is still a little bit more to do before the cold weather arrives. They installed a large culvert on Mountain Farm Road. During this process, a wall was temporarily taken down and it was discovered that a footing would need to be installed underneath before it can be properly resurrected. This will be an additional charge of $1,800.
Trustee Heywood wondered what additional plans the department had for roadwork.
Superintendent Voss replied that they intend to do some additional work at the bottom of Pine Road as well as on Lookout Stable Road and Mountain Farm Road. In addition to this, there is still a lot of patching to be done in various locations throughout the Village.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to whether or not there would be any additional work done on Tuxedo Road and he was informed that it would be patched.
Building Department Update:
Click here to review a copy of the Building Department Report for the month of August.
There was a somewhat lengthy discussion regarding the installation of the Natural Gas Main, as mentioned earlier in the Mayor’s Update. The Main will come into the park on the outgoing side of the gatehouse. Orange and Rockland is proposing to do the work during the first two weeks of October and estimate it will take 2-3 days in the gatehouse area. The trench will be refilled on a daily basis and once the work is completed, the area will be repaved. There will be some additional work done on Park Avenue by Chase Bank, which is where the main will originate. It will run from there, around the bend and into the Park where it will end approximately 100 feet in from the first telephone pole on the right. From this point, there will be two branches; one running to the old police building and one to St. Mary’s.
Mayor Wilson inquired about the width of the piping to be used and Mr. Ledwith informed him that it would be at least 4 inches, which should provide the Village with adequate volume should they chose to extend it. If they do decide to extend the pipe, the 4 inch diameter will have to be maintained, but more importantly, the front end of the main would need to be extended from the back side of Chase Bank all the way down to the road that runs between the IGA and the Junction. With regard to the current project, Mr. Ledwith informed the Board that not only would there be no cost to the Village, but there would be a benefit as they would be able to install 3 or 4 conduit pipes between the existing police building and the old police building which will allow them to remove at least 3 overhead lines as well as the generator.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to whether or not the Tuxedo Fire Department had received the specifications that they requested for the hydrant that was put in at the south end of Tuxedo Lake.
Superintendent Voss wondered specifically what specifications they were looking for.
The Deputy Mayor replied that the department was wondering why the hydrant had been installed where it was as the area there is notorious for silting and so it is highly questionable as to whether it has any value at all for the fire district.
Mayor Wilson commented that the hydrant was good for the residents at the South end of the lake in terms of their insurance costs.
Deputy Mayor du Pont replied that it was only helpful in this regard if it worked, otherwise it was an insurance deceit.
The Mayor agreed with this.
Superintendent Voss suggested that the only way to determine whether the hydrant worked would be to hook something to it and the Deputy Mayor responded that the Fire Department had done this already and that it had created so much silt filtration into the pumper truck that it created major havoc. Regardless, he feels that somebody needs to respond to the Fire Departments request.
Mr. Ledwith replied that he and Jeff would compose a response.
Next, Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired after the status of the Beard residence, specifically with regard to the Beards’ recent installation of a lake front patio, which does not conform to the setback regulations, laid forth in the Village code.
Mr. Ledwith responded that he had spoken with Mr. Beard and informed him verbally that the work, which has been completed, requires a variance. He plans to follow up on this discussion by sending a letter.
Mayor Wilson commented that he had also spoken with Mr. Beard about t he situation.
Village Improvement Advisory Committee- On Behalf of the V.I.A.C., Michele Lindsay presented the Board with a report, detailing several items that they would like the Board to consider. To review a copy of this report, click here.
Each item was reviewed and discussed in some detail.
With regard to clustered mailboxes, Mayor Wilson suggested that the BAR review the designs as proposed. BAR Chair Paola Tocci was present and agreed that the BAR could review and evaluate the BID; however she commented that she felt residents should be given the opportunity to install their existing mail boxes on the new fittings as she does not believe the BAR should be regulating mailbox style. Trustee Neuhauser agreed and suggested that in her view, the Village could do far better cost wise than what was being proposed.
Mr. Ledwith commented that as with all services, at least 3 prices should be obtained before the Village moves forward.
There was a lengthy discussion about speeding, which has been a long-standing issue in the Village. The Mayor suggested that tickets seem to be the best deterrent and Chief Sanford replied that they were issuing them on a regular basis.
Referencing a suggestion made by Jake Matthews at a previous meeting, Trustee Neuhauser suggested that perhaps the Village should consider posting a sign near the entrance to the Park, reminding drivers to watch their speed and to keep an eye out for people on foot as well as children at play. She believes this might go a long way toward alleviating the issue.
Trustee Kilduff commented that although they were not popular, speed humps were an effective solution to speeding.
Mayor Wilson stated that he had received a few complaints about cars speeding in and out of the Wee Wag Beach Club and that perhaps in certain areas such as this, installing small, 4 foot gates that drivers need to “s curve” through could be a solution.
Paola Tocci suggested that a majority of the consistent offenders were workmen, specifically landscapers who tend to barrel down the center of the road with little regard for others. She wondered if these drivers were being stopped and ticketed.
The Mayor agreed that from what he has witnessed, the landscapers are the worst offenders.
Trustee Heywood commented that there was also a perception that TPS parents and Tuxedo Club members were also major offenders and he proposed the idea of writing a letter to institutions asking them to advise their patrons against speeding. It was generally agreed, however, that this seemingly age-old practice did not have a good long-term effect.
Trustee Neuhauser suggested obtaining a rubber speed bump and putting it down in random spots throughout the Village. She volunteered to investigate the costs.
Chief Sanford commented that these bumps would require signage, alerting drivers to their presence.
Paola Tocci reiterated her point about landscapers and wondered if the Village would consider reaching out to them with regard to this issue.
Trustee Neuhauser replied that they could write them a letter, which would then be distributed at the front gate.
Deputy Mayor du Pont reported that as the Village Trustee who attends Village Court on a regular basis, it seemed that landscapers were there all the time with various vehicular infractions, so clearly, the police were making an effort.
There was a discussion about the Culvert for Warwick Brook Road that is under consideration. The VIAC has agreed to help with landscaping suggestions once the culvert has been installed. DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss commented that this was a project that had been repeatedly put off and that it would need to be addressed. He recommends an aluminum box culvert.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to how big of a safety threat the problem posed and Village Engineer Rich Messer advised the Board that the hole was getting bigger and bigger over time.
It was agreed that Mr. Messer would put together a proposal for repair to be presented at the next Board meeting, with the hopes that DEC approval could be pursued during the winter months and work begun in the spring.
The issue of forest understory damage in the Village was then discussed. Arborist Jim Presutti has agreed to put together a report for the Village on how to promote understory growth, the deterioration of which can be tied to the excessive use of leaf blowers year-round in the Village.
Mayor Wilson commented that his understanding was that the deer-culling program would help immensely with this issue.
Trustee Neuhauser countered that while the culling program would certainly help, it would not address the issue of those residents who are blowing all the leaves out of wooded and otherwise “wild” areas. She reported that the Garden Club has long been discussing this issue and how to educate people about it and that perhaps a letter, educating home owners on the importance of allowing the understory to grow might be a good first step. She stated that she had spoken with landscapers directly about it, but had been “very quickly shot down” and told to mind her own business. She feels that they are unwilling to discuss it because clearly cleaning out these areas is a big money maker for them on certain properties.
Deputy Mayor du Pont stated that he would feel a lot more comfortable with education as opposed to legislation in this area and Trustee Neuhauser agreed.
Mr. Presutti’s services will cost the Village roughly $300 and after a short debate amongst the Trustees it was agreed that it while would be beneficial to have Mr. Presutti’s report, it probably did not need to be more than 1 page in length and that the VIAC would attempt to negotiate a lower price for this service.
Finally, Mrs. Lindsay requested that the Board consider adding a line item to next year’s budget for the VIAC. While the committee has not been afforded a budget every year, in the past they have been given $1000 for small projects. The Board agreed to consider this.
Jim Hays congratulated Susan Goodfellow on her work combating the Eurasian Water Milfoil in the lakes, commenting that she had found good people to survey and good people to pull, which had resulted in great progress over the summer months.
Secondly, he commented that he was concerned with the removal of vegetation as well as leaf blowing in big areas on steep slopes around Tuxedo Lake. Stating that he did not want to point fingers or pass judgment on anyone, he cautioned that this type of behavior was very dangerous to the Lake because in those places where this has been done, the bare earth has been exposed and the rainfall will cause this earth to wash into the lake. Some years ago the Board passed legislation banning the use phosphates on lawns in the Village and this seemed to prevent algae blooms on the lake for a couple of years Unfortunately however, the blooms have returned in a big way. Mr. Hays does not know whether or not the phosphate ban is being enforced, however certainly the washing of soils into the lake will add nutrients to it that could, in turn, potentially add to the blooms. While he knows that this is an issue that involves many different facets (leaf blowing, tree cutting, lawn maintenance) Mr. Hays feels that it is very important that the Village take a closer look at it in an effort to maintain the health of the Lake. Excessive tree cutting and leaf blowing can have serious detrimental effects. He wondered whether or not a great deal of the leaf blowing was the result of “tick hysteria” and stated that people must learn to be vigilant and live with the ticks instead of going to extraordinary measures to eradicate them, which will ultimately have severe environmental consequences. Similarly, people must be careful about removing trees, especially on steep slopes.
Mayor Wilson agreed but suggested that the irony was that whenever the Board had discussed this issue of passing tree legislation in the past, it had become counter productive as many residents rushed to remove trees and leaves before legislation could be enacted. This problem has only gotten worse over time. He feels that it all boils down to an issue of enforcement issue that there does not seem to be easy solution.
Mr. Hays suggested that the Board enforce the current legislation and reminded the Mayor that there is a tree cutting law on the books.
Mr. Ledwith commented that aside from denuding an entire area, if residents chose to remove vines or vegetation that are less than 4 inches in diameter, there is not much that the code allows him to do.
The Mayor suggested that the ultimate solution in situations such as these is to fine residents and then bring them into Village Court.
Mr. Hays agreed, commenting that enforcement was a key part of lawmaking.
Mayor Wilson stated that he was not aware of any egregious examples of tree cutting but that if Mr. Hays was aware of such examples he should report them to Mr. Ledwith.
Mr. Hays responded that he felt Mr. Ledwith was already aware but that he would discuss the issue further with him after the meeting.
Mayor Wilson suggested that the Village would also write a letter to the community addressing both the tree cutting and understory issues and that additionally, specific home owners that were in serious violation could be addressed and the situation reviewed.
Nancy Hays brought up the Beard’s lakeside patio again, commenting that when she sat on the ZBA they had turned down residents who had proposed lakeside projects that did not conform to the setback requirements.
Again, Mayor Wilson stated that the Beards had been informed that they would need to appear before the ZBA to obtain a variance.
Deputy Mayor du Pont added that in the absence of a variance, the patio would need to be removed.
BAR Chair Paola Tocci commented that the unpermitted deer fencing that has been “popping up” on properties around the lake is also very disturbing to the BAR and that they have been receiving complaints. She does not understand why these property owners are fencing the lakeside of their properties and further commented that the fencing they are using is hideous.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to how many examples of this existed and Trustee Kilduff suggested that there were at least 4.
Meg Vaught wondered why the Village seemed to have an aversion to taking these individual homeowners to court.
The Mayor responded that it was not an aversion, however the Village does not want to incur significant legal expenses, pointing out that over the last several years, the Village has racked up over $400,000 in legal expenses. Rather, what the Village would prefer to do is attempt to come to an understanding with the homeowner first in an effort to avoid legal action. Once the court process is initiated, the situation escalates and becomes more costly and confrontational for everyone.
Trustee Kilduff pointed out that being brought into court by the Village results in an actual criminal charge.
Mrs. Vaught stated that she understood this; however she felt that not taking any action set an unfortunate president. It seems as though the current understanding for many seems to be that they can do whatever they want without consequence and will be allowed to obtain variances after work has been completed if the work is discovered. If the Village attempts any action, the threat of litigation is introduced and then things are either quickly settled or blown out to serious proportions.
Mayor Wilson commented that the imposed fines can actually become quite excessive; up to $500 a day. He stated that the Village has already started down this road with a couple of people, but again pointed out that before moving down this path, he feels its best to do everything possible to reach an amicable solution.
Trustee Kilduff reminded Mrs. Vaught that the BOT was a governing body and not a Home Owners Association. He suggested that they might actually have more power if they were a Home Owners Association because if that were the case signed contracts would exist. However, as they are not, they need to work within the rubric of real government and real criminal court.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that within the Village there are a lot of people who spend an inordinate amount of time on most projects and most of them stick to the rules. She believes that it is unfair to those people who do stick with the rules that this kind of behavior is allowed to go on. She attends all BAR meetings and watches applicants “jump through hoops” to do the right thing and she thinks that it is a real shame that there are a couple of people who “throw it all out the window” in this way. She feels badly for those neighbors who are adversely affected. People are going to complain and rightly so. She feels that the Board needs to do there due diligence and come down on those people who are ignoring the laws or else it will go on and on and on.
This statement was met by a round of applause from the public.
The Mayor replied that with regard to the lake front patio, the applicant had been directed to the ZBA and based on that Boards’ decision; it will be up to the applicant to decide whether or not they will comply or take things to the next level.
Deputy Mayor du Pont stated that if the applicant were turned down by the ZBA, it would be the BOT’s job to make them tear down what they had constructed.
Trustee Kildiff stated that being faced with a misdemeanor charge would be a powerful counter attack.
Paola Tocci reminded the Board of the controversy that surrounded the Siegel property several years back and commented that at that time the ZBA operated under the belief that individual property rights reined supreme. She expressed concern that if this was still the prevailing wind, the BZA would surely approve the project and she wondered what the Board would do when and if that happened.
Jim Hays commented that if that happened, they might as well disregard the law entirely.
Mayor Wilson stated that he felt it was highly unlikely that the BZA would approve the application.
Mr. Hays commented that zoning is an abrogation of individual property rights and that it limits those rights.
Trustee Heywood stated that the Board had been advised by their attorney that if the ZBA were to oppose any facet of a project or development that a higher court would uphold that decision. Therefore, should the BZA deny the application the Beards would not be able to have this decision overturned.
Mayor Wilson stated that he had had numerous conversations with the Village Attorney with regard to this matter and he believed that the Village was on top of it.
Moving along, Steve Maurer stated that he was present to discuss the Zgonena Berm. He read into the record a letter he wrote and submitted to Building Inspector John Ledwith back on February 23, 2012. To review a copy of this letter, click here.
When he was finished, he thanked both the Building Inspector and the BAR for their work in attempting to mediate the situation but commented that it had gone nowhere. He then asked the Board for their opinions on the issue.
Mayor Wilson asked John Ledwith and Deputy Mayor du Pont for an update as to when the last time the Home Owner had been confronted about removal.
The Deputy Mayor responded that the individual homeowner is currently under a court order that forbids him from accessing the property where the berm exists. In addition, he has several other quite serious legal issues that he is dealing with. Never the less, this does not mean that he should be excused from doing what he said he would do. One potential path that has been laid out for Mr. Zgonena is to have his council approach the Village Judge and request a waiver so that he can supervise the removal of the berm while it is taking place. Another possibility might be for the Village to appoint somebody to supervise so that there would not be an issue of violation.
The Mayor stated that he did not believe that Mr. Zgonena needed to be on site for the work to take place and Deputy Mayor du Pont agreed. He believes the Village should move forward with enforcement.
Paola Tocci wondered if perhaps Mrs. Zgonena could supervise the necessary work.
The Deputy Mayor informed her that Mrs. Zgonena was not approachable at the present time.
Mayor Wilson suggested that the Village should reach out to Mr. Zgonena and inform him that if the berm were not removed within a specified amount of time, they would proceed to a higher court. Simultaneously, the Village Engineer will be asked to take a look at the berm and determine whether there are any structural issues that threaten the safety of the neighboring properties.
Neighbor Bob Klemecki pointed out that the latter had already been established and could be found in the minutes of several BAR meetings.
Mayor Wilson wondered whether or not there was an official Engineer’s report. He stated that what he was suggesting was to bring the situation to the next level and that in order to do this they would need an official report.
Nancy Hays informed the Mayor that BAR Engineer Carl Stone had written a report back in December of 2010, in which he identified the presence of asphalt in the fill among other things.
Engineer Rich Messer, an associate of Mr. Stone, concurred and further commented that it was his understanding that Mr. Zgonena had been asked to remove the berm and return the hillside to its natural grade.
Mr. Klemecki commented that this was not the case. Mr. Zgonena was not asked to remove the berm. Rather, in July of 2011 he had agreed to re-grade and landscape the hillside. However, nothing was ever done.
Trustee Kilduff interjected that, as he understood it; Mr. Zgonena had offered a “spirited defense” and pulled back from this agreement at a more recent BAR meeting.
Bar Chair Paola Tocci agreed with this, stating that at a more recent meeting, Mr. Zgonena had stated that he was ready to move ahead with the changes. However, given the past history of promises made and not kept, the neighbors had responded that they were not comfortable with this and had requested that an Engineers Report be made prior to any remediation. Mr. Zgonena agreed to this, but to date an Engineers Report has not been received.
Mayor Wilson stated that an updated report would be necessary.
Mr. Maurer stressed the importance of the engineers report, commenting that they still do not know whether the berm was compacted properly, how it was put together and what the consistency is. They need to ascertain what it is made out of and whether or not it is stable before determining that it is suitable to re-grade.
Mr. Klemeckii asserted that the berm is not stable.
Mr. Maurer agreed and expressed concern over the safety of his children, commenting that he was extremely worried that they might attempt to explore the berm and get seriously hurt. He begged the Board for their help in this regard.
The Mayor responded that should Mr. Zgonena refuse the complete the work there would be two avenues of recourse that the Village could pursue. The first would be to go into court along with an Engineers Report, the result of which might be a substantial fine. This, however, would not bring them any closer to the actual removal of the berm. The second recourse would be to prove that the berm poses a threat to public safety and this is why the Engineers Report is crucial.
Mr. Maurer countered that for the integrity of the Village, he believes there needs to be a precedent set. He agreed with Mrs. Vaught’s earlier assessment that the current belief seems to be “do whatever you want, just don’t let them see you.”
The Mayor agreed and commented that this was why the Village was running out of patience with this particular situation.
Mr. Klemeckii stated that something needed to be done to move this situation along immediately. He pointed out that not 15 minutes ago the Board had been discussing methods of admonishing home owners for cutting down trees on their own properties and he wondered what was to be done about Mr. Zgonena having cut down trees on HIS property.
Mayor Wilson sympathized with this and stated that the time had come for the Village to begin the process of getting the Village Attorneys involved.
Following further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of enlisting the services of Village Engineers Westin and Sampson to do a safety study of the berm as well as having the Village Attorney begin the process of an enforcement action at his digression.
Referencing the Boards’ earlier conversation with regard to speeding, Tom Salierno reported that the Woodlands had recently installed rubber speed bumps and he suggested that the Village take a look.
Trustee Neuhauser agreed to investigate this.
Jake Matthews commented that he was all in favor of slowing people down and he loved the idea of speed bumps, but he wondered if it would be contradictory to have a 30 mile per hour speed limit with the speed bumps, which could cause varying degrees of damage to both people and vehicles. He wondered whether or not the issue of simply lowering the speed limit was being avoided.
Mayor Wilson responded that there was a limit as to how low the speed limit could be.
Mr. Matthews pointed out that there are some residential streets in Sloatsburg where the limit is 25.
The idea of lowering the speed limit in specific sections of the Village was briefly discussed.
Superintendent Voss pointed out that there were probably some cars in the Village that would not be able to go over the bumps without causing damage.
The Deputy Mayor responded that speed bumps are set to various heights based on the speed limit. There are a limited number of vehicles in the Village that are so low to the ground that they would be adversely affected and the owners will need to adjust accordingly.
Declare Equipment as Surplus:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of declaring the following as surplus:
Motorless 1997 Chevy pickup
2010 Ford Explorer with 110,000 miles on it
1985 Shelby 6 ton 3 axel trailer
1942 Chrysler Water Pump
Trees- Perry Property:
The Village is in receipt of an estimate from Ira Wicks for $1,800 for removal of some trees on the Perry property, as discussed at numerous Board meetings over the last several months. The Village has agreed to contribute $1000 towards the final bill.
Mrs. Perry expressed some concern with the estimate and suggested that other estimates be obtained.
There followed a somewhat lengthy and tense debate over this as well as the issue of exactly what the Village’s responsibility to the Perry’s should be, following which it was agreed that the Perry’s would secure at least 2 more estimates for the work to be done.
Announce – Fall Bulk Pickup Day:
The Mayor announced that Fall Bulk Pickup Day would occur on Saturday, October 13. All items must be curbside by 7am.
South Gate Rental House:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of renting the house at the South Gate to Town Police Officer Gerard Shilo beginning on October 1, 2012 at a rate of $700 per month. It will be a standard residential lease for a term of 1 year.
Village Engineer Rich Messer updated the Board with regard to on-going projects.
Mountain Farm Pump Station- Materials are in and in about 3 weeks they will be coordinating with the DPW to do the work on the upgrade.
Mountain Farm Water Storage Tank – The cost of moving the tank to a higher elevation on the existing property for the purpose of providing additional pressures will cost roughly $500,000 to $650,000. The project requires roughly 1000 feet of piping and a larger storage tank.
East Village Water Main – The proposal for this work is being finalized. For clarification purposes, the specifics of what the Board previously approved were reviewed and briefly discussed.
Trustee Heywood wondered if there was a legal compulsion on the Village to incur the expense and improve the water supply for which he believes they get nothing back.
Mayor Wilson pointed out that alternatives would be to either cut off the water supply altogether or to let the system fail, both of which are problematic and potentially costly.
Trustee Heywood asserted that he had a real problem with spending $700,000 in Village funds for something that is outside of the Village and used for the benefit of non-Village residents.
Building Inspector Ledwith pointed out that funding for the project came from the water fund, which was paid into by customers from both the Town and the Village and was pretty equally divided.
Superintendent Voss stated that he believes that a six inch pipe that goes to Power House Lane needs to be included in the proposal as his department has fixed more leaks there in recent years than anywhere else.
It was agreed that this would be added.
Wee Wah Dam – Mr. Messer presented the Board with drawings depicting several possible options for cost effective dam remodeling. He suggested that one idea the Board might consider was permanently lowering the level of the Wee Wah Lake by a foot or more, which would have a direct effect on the direction they take with the dam for numerous reasons. This idea was briefly discussed.
The next step will be for the engineers to flesh out the alternatives as presented and put them into a report. Then a proposal will be created. Mr. Messer expects to have this done within the next week. Once the proposal has been put forward, the Board will review the options in detail and make a decision.
Mayor Wilson commented that he would need to see the numbers, however his initial inclination was to move forward with the idea of lowering the lake as it seemed to him as though this would make the over all cost of the project much cheaper.
As these things should be finalized and submitted within the next week, the Mayor suggested that the Board might consider holding a special meeting to review, discuss and vote on the proposal once received so that they could move forward with various engineering tasks as well as obtaining the necessary DEC permits as soon as possible.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 20, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor’s Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
9. Declare Equipment as Surplus
10. South Gate Rental House
11. Tuxedo Lake Dry Hydrant located at South End
12. Trees - Perry Property
13. Announce - Fall Bulk Pickup Day: Saturday, Oct. 13th. All items curbside by 7:00 a.m.
14. Approve BOT Minutes
15. Audit of Claims
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 28, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday August 28 at 7:30pm. All members were present.
The meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of Oliver Parker, long time Village resident and former Trustee who died recently.
On behalf of the Village, Mayor Wilson expressed condolences to Mr. Parker’s Family as well as gratitude for his many years of public service.
Over the past several weeks, the Board has spent a fair amount of time trying to resolve outstanding issues with the Village Boat Club, and the Mayor believes they have come close to reaching a solution.
The WeeWah Dam has also been a topic of concern and Mayor Wilson noted that later in the meeting they would be discussing this issue further and hopefully establishing some sort of road map for bringing it to resolution.
A good amount of progress has been made over the last week with the Village Roads. The Mayor commented that the condition of the roads seems to be the number one concern of most residents, so he feels it is good to see progress in this area.
While researching the Boat Club issue, Mayor Wilson and Trustee Neuhauser had a chance to visit the DPW and brainstorm some possible solutions for the salt shed as well as alternative ways to cover the machinery located there. Together they established a few conceptual ideas, which they were hoping to bounce off Village Engineer Rich Messer later in the meeting in hopes of determining a cost effective solution that can accomplished in a reasonable amount of time.
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of July:
Non-Criminal Complaints - 53
Property Damage Complaints – 2
Traffic Summonses Issued – 12
Intrusion Alarms – 5 (all false)
Medical Calls – 3 (all false)
The Village Police Department assisted the Town of Tuxedo Police 4 times and the Town of Tuxedo Police assisted the Village Police 1 time.
Additionally, 10, 398 untagged vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.
Overall, it was a very quiet month.
Building Department Update:
Click here to read a copy of the Building Department Report for the month of July.
Village Boat Club – Mayor Wilson asked Building Inspector John Ledwith to provide an update on the Village Boat Club, which he did as follows:
A stop work order was issued to the Village Boat Club for doing work that the Building Inspector believed warranted permission from the Board of Trustees as there were substantial improvements being made to Village owned property. A letter containing detailed plans along with an application was subsequently submitted to the Board. Additionally there have been some discussions related to fees and reimbursement to the Village for electrical expenses and such.
Following this update Mayor Wilson reported that he had spent a great deal of time at the Village Boat Club over the past couple of weeks and had met with each of the Trustees there individually in an effort to better understand what is going on in terms of what is being proposed and reach some sort of resolution for moving forward. Basically, what the Club is looking to do is to replace a concrete slab which is 13 feet long, with a 20-foot wooden dock and then reattach a 5 x 8 pre-existing dock to that, which would push the dock out roughly an additional 7 feet. The club is not looking to expand the number of boats kept on site. Upon further inspection of the Docks, the Mayor noticed that on the southern end there is a 5x10 dock that is slightly over the waterline for the west side of the Village and this concerns him, so he has asked them to relocate the dock to the north side in order to minimize any risks to the waterline. The Club has agreed to do this. The other issue at hand is that of electrical charges and the Village has tentatively agreed to the idea of having the VBC reimburse the Village annually at the beginning of each boating season $30 per month for 6 months in exchange for the ability to charge electric motors at the site. This works out to roughly $180 per year.
Mayor Wilson then opened the floor to the other Trustees for any discussion, questions or concerns they might have about the process or any of the potential agreements as laid out.
Trustee Neuhauser reported that she had been on the lake the previous Saturday after having visited the site with Mayor Wilson and from the water one cannot determine the difference between where the dock sits now and where it will sit 7 feet further out.
The Mayor pointed out that both the Water Plant and the house located on the same property had recently been painted so that these structures now blend into the landscape, which is helpful.
Trustee Neuhauser suggested that the Village might also be able to screen the area with plantings as well, which would help.
Trustee Heywood commented that he had a number of issues with the VBC to begin with, which predate the proposed project. Specifically, he has received a complaint from a resident whose property overlooks the VBC property who is concerned with both the level of noise and possible future expansion. His three concerns are as follows:
- There should not be any significant stretching of the dock structures further into the lake.
- The Village must be careful about creating any disturbance to the properties adjacent to the VBC.
- The Village must control the activities that take place at the VBC and make sure that there are not any unauthorized dockings or boats on the premises.
After having spent the last few weeks carefully reviewing the situation with the Mayor and his fellow Trustees, Trustee Heywood stated that he was reconciled to the fact that the proposed expansion of the docks into the lakes is relatively insignificant and he believes he can come to terms with the other issues.
Deputy Mayor du Pont commented that he had several issues with the project. Firstly, he is deeply disappointed with the officers of the VBC for making material changes to Village property without asking for permission. Secondly, he doesn’t understand why the docks need to be extended an additional 8 feet past the 20 feet that currently exist running East/West. As there doesn’t seem to be a legitimate reason, he is against this. Thirdly, he does not understand why the current 5x10 addition to the North/South walkway needs to be there. If he had his way, this would also be eliminated. He would also eliminate the proposed 5x8 reuse ramp. In his view, neither of these additions serves any purpose. He would like to make sure that any new agreement between the Village and the VBC clarifies boat storage during the winter months. His understanding is that the Tuxedo Club requires that boats be removed entirely during the winter and he feels that there should be some consistency between the two entities. He feels that the boats that are stored at the VBC during the winter months are an eye sore, although he agrees with Trustee Neuhauser in that if the Village could put in some form of screening this would go a long way towards helping resolve this issue. He would also like the new agreement to specifically determine the number of boats that are allowed to be kept in the water at one time in terms of docking as well as the number of boats that are allowed to be stored on the racks.
Trustee Kilduff stated that he felt the Deputy Mayor had raised a number of good points. He also feels that it is disconcerting that the VBC undertook the work without first checking with the Village. He commented that he had initially been concerned about the aesthetics, however he had checked it out and it does not appear that there will be an overall material change in the visual impact. He wonders if the Board shouldn’t make project approval contingent upon a renewed, more concrete agreement with the Club. He pointed out that one of the most historic properties in the Village abuts the VBC and this creates a more delicate balancing act. While he is inclined to go along with approving the project, he feels that the Club must be put on notice as to exactly what the Village expects.
Mayor Wilson agreed that clearly the Club had made many mistakes throughout the process, however he pointed out that the relationship that exists between the VBC and the Village is an example of a public/private partnership that is an overall success. The VBC has spent over $50,000 improving Village owned property and while the details certainly need to be ironed out he also doesn’t the Village should over penalize something whereby in the end, Village taxpayers are improving Village property. This needs to be kept in mind. To address Deputy Mayor du Pont’s concern, he does not know why the Club is proposing to extend the length of the dock. His guess is that they made a mistake and built it prior to getting approval. The question that remains now is whether or not the Village wants to require them to go through the expense of cutting it back, Having been on site, he believes the project is a substantial visual improvement over what was there previously and he is comfortable with working the situation as is. With regard to the existing dock, which will be on the North end, he has spoken with the neighboring property owner and they have no issues with it and as long as this is the case, he is ok with it. In the long run, docks add to safety.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that she tended to agree with Deputy Mayor du Pont in that she does not understand why the dock at the North end is even there to begin with. She doesn’t see that it really serves any purpose at either end, except to potentially add another boat or finger into the lake at one point down the line.
Trustee Heywood responded that he believed that the dock in question was essentially used for loading into rowboats and kayaks and the like. It is preexisting and is therefore grandfathered.
The Mayor agreed with this assessment.
Trustee Neuhauser reiterated that she had observed the VBC from the water and that there was no visible change and as long as the neighboring property owner was ok with it, she did not have an issue.
The Deputy Mayor respectfully pointed out that although they had all visited the site, none of them had yet observed the dock with the addition as proposed.
The Mayor countered that the additional dock was there, as it was pre-existing.
Deputy Mayor du Pont responded that he knew the dock was onsite, but it was currently off to the side and that he still did not understand the need for the additional 8 feet extension into the lake.
Mayor Wilson explained that the pre-existing dock would be installed to connect the existing 20 ft dock to the concrete pad, which doesn’t have a float on the section that connects. It is all about protection of the docks.
The Mayor inquired of the Village Attorney whether or not the Board would be able to go back at a later date and make changes to any agreement they might come to that evening with respect to dock configuration. (Widths, lengths or number of docks)
Mr. Golden responded that the Village Code requires the VBC to apply for a permit before making any changes and that the Board has the ability to place reasonable conditions on that permit. Should the Board believe that they needed a reasonable amount of time to assess the impact of the proposed project, they could place a time limit on the permit.
After some further discussion with regard to potential time limits, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the application for a period of 6 months to be reviewed and renewed in February of 2013.
On behalf of the Telecommunications Committee, the Mayor reported that he had spoken with Steve Mauer, committee founder, who is interested in helping improve telecommunications in the Village. He will be talking to some cell phone companies in the near future to investigate possibilities. The committee will also be looking into Super Wi-Fi, which is something that can provide data communication without having to worry about tree lines, using the white space from the old analog TV signal.
Meg Vaught commented that earlier that afternoon she had noticed two large trucks from Perfect Comfort depositing what appeared to be large piles of fill on the Zgonena property across the street from her home on Ridge Road. As the reporter for TPFYI, Mrs. Vaught attends most BAR meetings and as such, noted that as far as she knew Mr. Zgonena had not been issued a permit for the fill. She expressed concern with the situation in light of on-going fill-related issues on Mr. Zgonena’s Tower Hill property as well as the current situation with the Perfect Cut facility, specifically the idea that the fill could potentially be contaminated. Being that Mrs. Vaught lives down hill from Mr. Zgonena, she worries about the potential for contaminated run-off onto her property. She further inquired about the consequences for such unpermitted work in the Village, noting that there seems to be an on-going issue in the Village with residents who move forward with projects without acquiring permits for them and do not face any consequences for having done so.
The Mayor responded that earlier in the afternoon the Village had received another report with regard to the same situation and that Building Inspector John Ledwith had been sent to Mr. Zgonena’s home to investigate.
Mr. Ledwith stated that he had visited the property and observed 2 piles of fill, approximately 5 or 6 yards each; however Mr. Zgonena was not home at the time to discuss the situation.
Mayor Wilson wondered whether the size of the piles was considered acceptable by the Building Inspector.
Mr. Ledwith replied that the Village Code clearly states that any work that alters the appearance of the property requires a permit and that Mr. Zgonena should inform the Village as to what he is doing there, which he has not.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to whether or not the fill that was brought in had any paperwork associated with it and if not, why the front gate had allowed the trucks to enter the Village.
Mr. Ledwith responded that to the best of his knowledge there was no paperwork associated with the fill and he was not aware that it was going to be coming in. He further stated that what is there does appear to be soil but it does appear to be tailings (dirt containing small stones and sticks.) He did not observe any particular smell or odor coming from the dirt, but will need to inquire about it further.
Addressing Chief Sanford directly, Deputy Mayor du Pont again wondered why the trucks had been allowed access to the Village.
The Chief responded that all sorts of trucks enter the Village every day all day long and that the police do not have knowledge of what is inside every one of them.
The Mayor inquired as to the number of axles on the truck in question.
Trustee Kilduff responded that they had been “2 huge dump trucks.”
Mrs. Vaught interjected that she believes this situation and the way it is dealt with is setting a major precedent in the Village. Commenting that the “mess on Tower Hill Road” has been going on for 2 years and seems to be so far gone that currently there is no apparent way to fully resolve it; she expressed dismay that Mr. Zgonena had the ability to create a similar mess on another property without any apparent consequences. Further, she is worried about content of soil and the potential environmental impacts to her property and her family.
Mayor Wilson commented that he wanted to state for the record that he lived next door to the property in question and that Trustee Kilduff also had family who lived next door and that the issue was also of concern to both of them.
Trustee Heywood commented that 2 piles of soil 5 or 6 yards in size seemed a relatively modest amount.
Mrs. Vaught agreed, but again commented that the situation set a major precedent.
Again addressing Chief Sanford, Deputy Mayor du Pont pointed out that there is a big difference between a landscaping truck and a dump truck and he does not feel that dump trucks should be allowed access to the Village without proper paperwork. He feels that the gate guards should be able to decipher when a truck contains tar for the roadways vs. fill. Any truck entering the Village with fill must have paperwork to demonstrate that the fill is clean as well as where it is going to and that there is permission to take it there.
The Chief suggested that the Building Inspector should provide the gate with a list of who is having approved work done so that they are aware of what is happening.
The Deputy Mayor responded that if there is no paperwork on file, the Gate Guards should assume that the work is not allowed.
Mayor Wilson asked Village Attorney Rick Golden if he had any thoughts on the situation in terms of the Village Code.
He responded that if it appeared that there was a filling operation going on that was not consistent with one of the Boards that there needs to be a permit for that work. He feels that it would be very difficult for the Gate Guards to deny trucks entry unless there was a system in place in which all the approvals and time frames for projects going on at any one particular time were provided. These are not police enforcement issues; rather it is for the Building Inspector to determine whether or not there are adequate permits in place and whether or not the fill coming in is in conformance with the requirements of the Village Code. While a system like this could be put in place, it would surely be a complicated one in order for it to be as comprehensive as the Village would want in order for the Police to deny access.
The Deputy Mayor stated that his knowledge of the Village code was that trucks were required to provide paperwork demonstrating that any fill they were bringing in was clean. The Building Inspector confirmed this. Therefore, the Deputy Mayor deduced, at the very least they must have paperwork with them, in the truck indicating that it is clean fill and if they do not have that paperwork, the Gate is within its right to deny them access.
Mayor Wilson wondered how much dirt was necessary before it was considered fill.
Deputy Mayor du Pont pointed out that in this case it was roughly 8 to 10 cubic yards, which he considers to be a “heck of a lot.”
Trustee Heywood stated that while he believed the Deputy Mayor was right in what he was saying, the issue becomes one of where to draw the line. In early spring straight through mid-summer, truck loads of mulch and topsoil come into the Village from various places.
Deputy Mayor du Pont countered that these were not the type of trucks he was referring to and that the type of deliveries Trustee Heywood was talking about came through in pick-up trucks and other 2 axle vehicles.
The Mayor inquired as to how many axles were on the trucks that had delivered the soil to Mr. Zgonena.
Mr. Ledwith replied that the trucks were gone by the time he got there; however he suspected that they had had at least 2 rear axles plus a forward axle.
The Mayor then wondered if when looking at 2 axle vs. 3 axle trucks, the Village should consider their entry into the Park differently.
Mrs. Vaught reiterated her concern over the lack of consequences for non-permitted work in the Village and wondered if Mr. Zgonena would face any sort of fine or other such repercussions for his actions. She stressed that there should be some sort teeth in the code that strongly discourages residents from going forward with their projects without securing permits.
The Mayor pointed out that one important difference in this situation was that it had been detected on the same day that it occurred and this allowed them to stay on top of things, which was a plus.
Mrs. Vaught agreed, but pointed out that there have been several instances over the past decade where residents have undertaken fairly major projects without permission, be it clear cutting trees, dumping fill or installing fences or patios and as far as she could tell there have never been any real consequences for these indiscretions.
Mayor Wilson responded that this was one of the largest issues that the Board struggles with.
Trustee Heywood inquired of the Building Inspector as to what the next step in the process would be with the Zgonena situation on Ridge Road.
Mr. Ledwith replied that he would visit Mr. Zgonena’s home the following morning and attempt to approach him about it in an effort to find out where the fill came from and would then report back to the Board.
Trustee Heywood then wanted to know what would happen if the fill did not meet the proper standard.
Mr. Ledwith noted that he would issue a Stop Work Order and at that point the Board could decide what the consequences should be.
Deputy Mayor du Pont suggested that moving forward that gate find out where all trucks containing fill were going and that if they say they are going to any of the Zgonena properties, they should be denied access.
Trustee Neuhauser agreed as did the Mayor, however the Mayor asserted that he did not want the gate to being stopping all 2-axle trucks as this would create a bottleneck situation.
The Deputy Mayor agreed with this, but stated that in his view, 3 axle trucks should be stopped.
Chief Sanford indicated that this would not be a problem, however a system would need to be developed moving forward.
Mayor Wilson then inquired of Chief Sanford roughly how many 3 axle trucks he felt came into the Village on a regular basis.
The Chief replied that it depended on how much work was going on at any given time.
The Mayor requested that they try to develop a sense of how frequently these larger trucks were coming in and the Chief agreed to do this.
Village Attorney Rick Golden advised the Board that they had the ability under the code set up a process for trucks entering the Village and to designate an individual other than the Building Inspector to be charge of this. They could then create a policy setting forth a specific minimum limit of fill allowed before the Gate Guard would need to reference the permit.
Following some further discussion, it was agreed that the Building Inspector would provide the front gate with a list of Building Permits so that they can start cross-checking trucks as they come into the Village with an emphasis on 3 axle vehicles. The Mayor cautioned that in order to avoid traffic issues, trucks should not be stopped for a long period of time and if there appears to be an issue, they should be directed to the St. Mary’s parking lot.
Speaking to Mrs. Vaught’s earlier point, Trustee Kilduff inquired as to what the consequences are for violating these provisions.
The Mayor replied that the first step was a Stop Work Order and then possibly a fine and/or removal.
Rick Golden cautioned that the Village could not impose a fine and that the only method of enforcement was to go through the Village Court, which could be problematic, time, consuming and sometimes costly. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for deterring violators.
Uli Pendl commented that he would like to draw the Boards attention to two rather large holes on either side of Ridge Road, which have been coned off for roughly 7 weeks. He believes something needs to be done about them as not only do they look terrible but also they pose a hazard to the neighborhood.
With regard to Perfect Cut, Mr. Pendl commented that the Village would be naive to believe that this company would provide an honest account of what was in their trucks when entering the Village. He urged the Board members to attend Town Board meetings and educate themselves on this situation and he informed them that Perfect Cut’s lease agreement with the Town was available for review at the Town Hall. He cautioned that the mulch pile was not only an environmental problem, but an economic one as well.
Mayor Wilson responded that he felt the primary concern was of an environmental nature, and more specifically whether there were any issues with the dirt.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that although it may be tricky, she felt the Village should be very careful with trucks from Perfect Cut. It has been proven that they are keeping Ash Trees at their facility (which is illegal) and ash trees are coming down throughout the Village.
Mayor Wilson inquired of Rick Golden whether there was anything the Village could do to single out Perfect Cut trucks because of known environmental violations such as these.
Mr. Golden responded that he did not believe that the Village could designate a specific company and deny them access for reasons such as these. If the Village knew for a fact that the trucks were bringing things in from a source that was toxic and contrary to any certification that might be on record, then they would be in their rights to stop them.
The Mayor responded that he felt this should be looked into because there are known DEC violations at the Perfect Cut facility and they don’t want to see Ash Trees being removed from the Village by this outfit.
Trustee Neuhauser interjected that the Ash trees were just an example, however she reported that she had recently been informed that there are huge amounts of tree material at the facility and that the piles were once again beginning to get out of control. She informed the Board that she was intending to visit the site the next day along with DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss to look at the storage facilities. She feels that this is something the Village needs to stay informed about and on top of.
The Mayor again wondered what if anything could be done to prevent the Perfect Cut trucks from entering the Village.
Rick Golden told him that all fill entering the Village needs to be certified, if proper paperwork is not presented, the Village is within their right to turn them away until they can provide it. Additionally, trucks carrying fill for a project that had not been approved can be denied.
Doug Stone presented the Board with some photos of his property, located at the corner of the Wee Wah Lake just below the Pond #3 dam. Using the photos as a reference, Mr. Stone commented that the water level in the Wee Wah Lake is down by roughly 6 and ½ feet and that this is seriously detracting from both the enjoyment and value of his home. As a result, he successfully appealed to both the Town and the School for tax abatement in May. He stated that he was aware that appeals of this nature were heard by the Village during the month of February but he wanted to bring it to the Board’s attention as the situation has been on-going for the last five years. He feels that of all the houses on the Wee Wah Lake, his is the most affected due to a slight incline at the top of the Wee Wah, which ensures the least amount of water in this area. He is paying premium waterfront taxes for what has been five years of weeds and rocks.
Mayor Wilson responded that he empathized with everything Mr. Stone was saying, but if the Board considered altering his tax assessment now, they would have to allow that for everyone in the Village, which they cannot do.
Mr. Stone replied that he understood this and that he would return in February. He further commented that he wanted to point out to the Board that in some areas his home has the highest assessment of any house on either lake and conversely, they have the least amount of water. When he purchased the home, he believed he would be living in a place where his children could swim fish and boat. He has considered selling or renting the home, but there is no bid for it. He feels he could not sell the house for 30% of what he paid for it. The situation has had a dramatic financial effect.
Mayor Wilson pointed out that a dam failure would have an even greater impact on the likelihood of selling the home.
Mr. Stone responded that he understood this and that if the situation had only been going on for a year or so he would be more forgiving. Unfortunately, it has been dragging on for five years during which time he has been repeatedly ensured that the dam was going to be repaired and the situation would be corrected, however this has not occurred. Then, to add insult to injury, the fish kill occurred. Now, he is concerned about budget as well as making sure that the problem is fixed properly.
Mayor Wilson assured Mr. Stone that he shared his concerns. He pointed out that in the lat year the Village had secured municipal financing for the purpose of building a new dam and a plan is underway. There is hope. It is not a stagnant situation.
Again, Mr. Stone stated that he understood the situation but wanted to point out that there was a corollary in that looking at the last five years he felt there had been a serious overpayment in taxes that needed to be addressed and he wanted to push for it in February.
Deputy Mayor du Pont commented that his guess was that Mr. Stone would receive a very sympathetic hearing in February.
Mr. Stone then pointed out that once water levels are restored, the Village would have to seriously consider how they were going to handle all of the growth that has occurred. There are small trees growing in areas where water used to be. It will not simply be an issue of turning on a faucet and refilling the lake.
The Mayor agreed and commented that the Village is very concerned about what is growing there, first and foremost the possibility of Eurasian Milfoil. He stated that he would speak with Environmental Committee Chair Susan Goodfellow about how to mitigate the situation, as she has been very involved with what is happening in the Wee Wah Lake.
Mr. Stone wondered why the dam has not been fixed to date, and suggested there was an issue with credibility as he has been assured multiple times by the Village that the necessary repairs were being made, but the problem has not been resolved.
Mayor Wilson responded that the repairs, although originally intended to be permanent, were temporary in nature and that the dramatic increase in 150 storm events had only served to seriously exacerbate the situation. The climate has changed dramatically over the last five years, which has had a definite impact.
The Deputy Mayor added that until recently, the Village did not have the financing in place to proceed with the project. Before moving forward it is important to make sure that they are making the most intelligent repair in a manor approved by the State of New York.
Finally, Mr. Stone asked the Board for a “worst case scenario” timeline for dam repairs.
He was told it would probably be a minimum of 2-3years and that it would be reasonable to expect that the current conditions would continue for that amount of time.
Jack Perry requested of the Board an update on the on-going tree removal project taking place on and near his property at the South Gate.
Mayor Wilson informed him that the Village had received a letter indicating that there were some property line issues with the project as two out of the three trees in question were located right on the line. The next step is to address how much back and forth the Village and the Perry’s want to undertake in terms of exactly where the line is and whose responsibility the removal of these trees should be. The Mayor suggested they should consider a compromise. Sharing the cost would, in his view, be the quickest way to a resolution.
There followed a somewhat lengthy and detailed discussion of the specifics surrounding this on-going situation, including an over view from arborist Jim Presutti of Hudson Valley Horticultural Inc., who recently visited the property to assess the situation. Ultimately, a solution whereby the Perry’s and the Village share the expense of cutting the fallen trees loose from their rootballs was proposed and it was agreed that the Perry’s would obtain some estimates to that they could move forward in this direction.
Joan Alleman congratulated the Board for securing the necessary funding to finally address the problems with the Wee Wah dam. She wondered whether or not a determination as to what is coming into the water and what the condition of the water is has been made by either the Village or the Town.
Mayor Wilson responded that the Village has authorized ongoing water studies of the Wee Wah and Tuxedo Lake. These studies began back in March and it is something that they have committed to funding over the next year and probably longer. The Village receives period reports on the water quality. Right now, they are confident that the water quality is acceptable. One of the reasons testing was immediately begun in March was for the purpose of establishing a baseline, which will allow them to more easily detect deviations over time and ultimately help prove their case with the DEC if necessary.
Mrs. Alleman inquired as to whether the presence of any new substance had been revealed in the water and the Mayor informed her that the Village had tested for over 120 known toxins and the water had tested fine.
Trustee Heywood asked Mrs. Alleman whether she was inquiring specifically about the Wee Wah or all three Village lakes.
She replied that she was concerned about all three lakes, but she had been referring specifically to the Wee Wah as it had the most direct effect on her.
The Mayor then stated that the Village had only run the test for 120 toxins on Tuxedo Lake and not the Wee Wah, but that the Orange County Board of Health had given the water a clean billing.
Mrs. Alleman cautioned that the Board had more faith in the Orange County Health Department than she did.
Mayor Wilson stated that the Village had not permitted swimming in the Wee Wah until it had been signed off on by the O.C. Board of Health and that because they had signed off on the water quality the Village was not really in a position to deny people the right to swim. That said, people were certainly cautioned to swim at their own risk.
Mrs. Alleman then inquired about the condition of Tuxedo Lake and was informed that the Village was actively fighting to make sure that the lake water remains clean not just of possible pollutants but also evasive weeds.
Trustee Heywood added that the water is also tested every two weeks via the ongoing CSLAPS program.
The Mayor commented that Susan Goodfellow has been doing a tremendous job of staying on top of the situation along with Jim Hays and that the Village would be in a worse place were it not for their help. He feels that the Village is moving in the right direction.
Trustee Kilduff inquired as to how expensive it would be to test the water in the Wee Wah for the 120 toxins. He expressed concern that the volume of water in the Tuxedo Lake could possibly diminish the toxins and make them near impossible to detect. He also suggested that the water in and around the tributaries, where orange foam was spotted earlier in the year, should be tested.
Following some further discussion, it was agreed that this subject would be further addressed at the next meeting, when Susan Goodfelllow could be present.
Family Health Fair – Tuxedo Park School, September 29:
The Tuxedo Park School is hoping to conduct a family health fair from 9am- 12pm along with Good Samaritan and St. Anthony Hospitals as well as the Tuxedo Volunteer Ambulance Corps, The Tuxedo Fire Department, The Tuxedo Park Police and the Tuxedo Park Library. The event will include numerous activities as well as workshops. The school would like the Village to allow access to the fair by persons who do not have a direct relationship to the school.
There followed a lengthy discussion as to how the fair would be advertised and whether or not the general public was to be informed and invited. A representative from TPS was contacted via telephone and it was determined that invitations would be extended by the School to the school community as well as residents of the Village and associated Doctors and their families. Public advertising will not take place.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the event.
Village Engineer Richard Messer provided the Board with a review of on-going projects.
Mountain Farm Pump Station – Repairs at the Mountain Farm Pump station have been put on hold as a result of the Overton Subdivision. The Mayor expressed concern with this considering the fact that funding for the repairs has been approved. Following some discussion, it was agreed that the Village should move forward with the repairs rather than putting them on hold for the Overton project.
Sewer/SSES Change Order – Mr. Messer presented the Board with a summary of work completed to date as well as detailed drawings. Two manholes have been replaced and 10 relined, but there is still some work to be done. There was a lengthy discussion regarding inflow and infiltration issues. It was suggested that if the Village was going to continue to move forward with the project, homeowners would need to be engaged as many of the issues exist on in lines that are located on private property and therefore should be funded by the homeowners. Unfortunately, the cost of these repairs can be quite substantial (potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars) however the Board agreed that it did not make sense to waste taxpayer money on the project if other taxpayers were not going to comply. It was agreed that Building Inspector John Ledwith would obtain a list of the properties in question along with cost estimates for the Board to review. Following this discussion, the Board unanimously approved the SSES Change Order as proposed at a cost of $59,025 subject to review and approval by DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss.
East Village Water Main – Various options for repairs to the East Village Water Main were presented and discussed. Mr. Messer informed the Board that there were several options in terms of the level of repair based on what the Villages budget and priorities might be.
Mayor Wilson expressed a desire to move forward with the project as funding for it has been secured. The recommended approach entails replacing a pipe that runs under both Route 17 and the railroad tracks and lets out by SOS. This would involve fusing together some plastic pipes in order to avoid the use of joints and also encasing the pipe in a protective sleeve. The cost of this would be roughly $165,000 to $191,000 however; this is only a portion of the work that needs to be done as the lines extend under the Ramapo River and the Thruway. The projected cost of the project including the extended line ranges from $323,000 to $373,000. Additional upgrades have also been proposed to include Powerhouse Lane and River Road. The cost of moving forward with all of the work (recommended approach plus additional upgrades) would be $735,000 to $849,000.
The Mayor wondered if all the work needed to be completed at one time, and was informed by Mr. Messer that it did not.
Trustee Heywood commented that his main concern was that the Village would be incurring substantial expense funded by taxpayer money for the benefit of people who do not pay Village taxes.
Both Mayor Wilson and Deputy Mayor du Pont acknowledged that this was true, however the residents of the East Village are customers of the Village Water Department.
Village Clerk Debbie Matthews pointed out the Village had already borrowed money for water supply and distribution and that this money will cover the cost of the recommended approach.
Following some further discussion the Board voted in favor of moving forward with the recommended approach. The next step will be for the Village Engineers draft plan specifications and bid documents.
Wee Wah Dam – Weston & Sampson has prepared and submitted a draft Design and Assessment Report for Wee Wah Dam. A copy of this report can be found here.
In an effort to summarize, Rich Messer explained that in its current condition, the dam is not capable of handling the storm vents that are required. There is a caveat in that Sterling Place, a 60-lot subdivision located just below the dam, has been progressing slowly. When and if this development is built, it will change the classification of the dam to “high hazard” which then requires a different storm vent that will need to pass inspection. The next step is for the engineers to get together and brainstorm approaches, keeping in mind that the dam is a historic structure located in a historic district.
The Mayor commented that the dam was not an architecturally significant dam. He believes that they can probably add some sloping front of the existing dam to strengthen it. Additionally, the historic stones can be removed and incorporated into a new design. He does not feel that the structure needs to be maintained the way it is now, although he noted that the BAR would definitely be involved in the process. Because it is a public safety issue, he feels it will be important to assume a lot of flexibility.
Rich Messer replied that brainstorming would focus more on possible ways to retrofit the dam so that the increased levels of flow can pass safely through. There are many potential options. Additionally the Village is considering the installation of a small hydroelectric generator to generate some power for the sewer plant, although Mr. Messer cautioned that he felt that complying with federal regulations for this could slow down the process and make it more cumbersome.
Mayor Wilson suggested that they think about the hydro electrics in terms of something that might be added on later, however it should be incorporated into the overall design.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to why the spillway was so long, commented that he didn’t understand its purpose.
Mr. Messer responded that he was unsure, although it might have something to do with easier access for maintenance purposes.
Once the brainstorming has been completed and the alternatives added to the report, the next step will be to work with the DEC in discussing these alternatives and going forward with an agreeable design and permitting through Dam Safety.
Deputy Mayor du Pont asked for a timeline for the remaining internal work.
Mr. Messer informed him that he believed the report could be finished within a month.
Trustee Kilduff inquired whether or not it would be to the Village’s advantage to finish the work before Sterling Place was completed.
Mr. Messer replied that regardless of when the work is completed, the construction of Sterling Place would change the dam’s classification. That being said the Village has an agreement with Sterling Place, which states that when the development is built, they will receive $300,000 to be put towards upgrades to the dam. Mayor Wilson pointed out that this agreement was contingent upon Sterling Place receiving a building permit, which they have not. It is an open-ended situation that could drag on indefinitely.
Trustee Heywood asked for a realistic timeline as to when construction might begin.
Mr. Messer suggested that if everything moved along at a decent clip, depending on what modifications the DEC may require, construction could possibly begin a year from now.
Appointment – DPW Summer Worker:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of retroactively appointing Daniel P. Jones as a summer worker with the DPW at a rate of $10 per hour.
Meeting Date Change- The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving their September meeting to Thursday September 20 at 7pm.
Salt Shed – There was a relatively brief discussion regarding possible options for a salt shed as well as potential methods of equipment storage.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 28, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
9. Family Health Fair- Tuxedo Park School, September 29th
10. Engineers Report
a. Resolution- SSES Change Order
11. Appointment- DPW Summer Worker
12. Approve BOT Minutes
13. Audit of Claims
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 24 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, July 24 at 7:30pm. All members were present.
Over the past month there has been more concern and over-sight with regard to all three Village lakes. Mayor Wilson expressed his gratitude to Susan Goodfellow, commenting that she has been relentless in her dedication to the cause. Progress has been made, but continued vigilance will be necessary. Thankfully, the Village was able to identify the Milfoil at an early stage and the harvesting was successful, which has allowed them to get in front of the problem. While it will be important to stay on top of maintenance, the Mayor feels optimistic about being able to mitigate the issue.
The Mayor then offered his gratitude and appreciation to Trustee Neuhauser for her good work with renovations at the South Gate House property as well as with the painting of both the DPW and Waste Treatment Plant buildings.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that there had been a water main break in the East Village the week prior. While the DPW was able to repair the problem, the Superintendent cautioned that the line was made of asbestos and therefore not able to handle a lot of pressure. In the very near future, SOS is planning to replace a bridge, which passes directly over the waterline on their property and the Superintendent suggested that it might be prudent to replace the line at the same time. The Village has already been discussing the idea of replacing a line that runs under Route 17 via a tunnel next to Chase Bank and the two lines are connected. The Superintendent feels that these projects should be initiated sooner rather than later.
Mayor Wilson inquired about the timeline for the SOS project and the Superintendent responded that he believed they wanted to begin construction as soon as possible.
Building Inspector John Ledwith agreed and commented that he was waiting for the updated plans from SOS.
Mayor Wilson stated that the Village has funding available for the project and based upon Superintendent Voss’s recommendation, would seriously consider bumping it up to the front burner.
Back in April 2012, the Board granted the DPW permission to purchase a new dump truck, however the type of truck they were planning to purchase is unfortunately no longer on State bid. This means that they will have to go out to bid for the purchase.
Mayor Wilson commented that they should be sure to take advantage of low interest rates and do their best to finance.
Deputy Mayor du Pont cautioned that they should check with the Bank and make sure that the specs were approved.
Superintendent Voss replied that the Bank had already approved the specs and that he did not anticipate any changes.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing advertising for BID on a 2013 International 7500 dump truck and set a bid opening date of August 7 at 2pm.
There is a lot of roadwork to be done in the Village and the DPW plans to get started on this within the next two weeks.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to specifically which roads would be repaved.
Superintendent Voss responded that work needed to be done pretty much everywhere.
There are a few stretches where the department is planning reclamation as well as repaving and these include the stretch between the bottom of Tower Hill Road and the top of East Lake Stable Road, Lorillard Road from its intersection with Tuxedo Road to the intersection with Wee Wah Road and from just outside the South Gate to the turnaround. Commenting that he wasn’t sure how open to the idea the Board would be, he suggested that moving forward they might consider moving back to oil & chip for some of the roads as opposed to repaving as this would allow them to get more done for less money.
Mayor Wilson responded that he would be open to this idea and suggested that it might be a good method to use on the secondary roads.
The Superintendent agreed and stated that East Lake, West Lake and Tuxedo Roads should remain paved.
The Mayor wondered what the downside to using oil and chip might be and Superintendent Voss said that the biggest complaint had always been that residents do not like the looseness of the stones at the beginning of the process. He further commented that this was not something the DPW would be able to move forward with this year, as the roads need to be prepared. The Town of Tuxedo will be redoing some of their roads with oil and chip and he suggested that the Board members observe these roads before making any decisions.
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of June:
Criminal Complaints – 3 (all closed by arrest)
Non-Criminal Complaints – 61
Traffic Summonses Issued – 15
Medical Calls – 1
Fire Alarms – 4 (all false) there was also 1 brush fire on the Guinchard property that was extinguished.
Intrusion Alarms – 1 (false)
The Department assisted the Town of Tuxedo Police 1 time and received 4 assists from the Town Police.
Finally, 10,064 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.
Building Department Update:
Click here to read a copy of the Building Department Report for the month of June
There was a brief discussion with regard to the removal of dead trees in and around the Village. Mayor Wilson cautioned that there was one month remaining until Hurricane Season arrived and that now was the time to get busy with this. Superintendent Voss reported that the tree trimming service would be beginning work in the Village shortly.
There was also a brief follow-up discussion about the possibility of moving forward with the installation of a natural gas line in the Village, as discussed at a previous meeting.
Mr. Ledwith reported that ultimately they were waiting to determine how interested the residents living in the proposed areas were in moving ahead.
Environmental Committee – On behalf of the Environmental Committee, Susan Goodfellow reported that it had been an “exciting couple of months” and she thanked the Board for funding the various Lake projects and studies that have been ongoing.
It appears as though the Algae bloom that occurred on Tuxedo Lake in the beginning of the summer may have pressed the Milfoil growth. During the early part of July, A.I.M. was able to clear all three Village lakes of Milfoil in a matter of days. Although the operation was a bit hampered by visibility issues due to the algae, A.I.M has reported that the Milfoil plants were young and overly established. While maintenance will need to be on going, the capital costs should not be as high as initially feared. The Environmental Committee is recommending that the Village invite Allied Biological to return next year in order to assess the issue, after which, the process of maintaining the problem should be much less onerous. In the meantime, Jim Hays and Mary Grimmig will be observing the lakes for possible Milfoil fragments.
Although the lakes have appeared clear for the past several weeks, this past weekend blue/green blobs that closely resemble Cyano Bacteria (blue/green algae) were discovered on Pond #3. Samples were taken and sent to a lab for testing, but in the meantime, that lake has been closed to both swimming and fishing.
The State Health Department has recently issued an advisory that suggests that fish taken from a body of water that has had Cyano Bacteria should not be consumed. Mrs. Goodfellow suggested that the Board should discuss the issue of fishing on the Village lakes sooner rather than later and that perhaps a “catch and release” policy should be considered. She cautioned that it would be difficult to stay on top of where the various algae blooms had occurred and what type of algae existed in each spot.
Mayor Wilson inquired as to how specific the advisory was.
Mrs. Goodfellow replied that the problem is that the standards governing the advisory are very broad and general. More specific standards are currently being established however and the Village is lucky to be included in that process through participation in National studies and programs like CSLAPS.
Finally, Mrs. Goodfellow reported that Kelly Nolan had completed follow-up stream testing the previous week and was expected to issue a study by the end of the week. This baseline “critter study” should be very helpful to the Village as they move forward.
Mayor Wilson wondered how things were progressing with the Wee Wah Beach Club.
Beach Club Board Member Mary Graetzer reported that membership was down to 99 from roughly 250 and that although children were swimming in the lake, adults appeared to be doing so with caution.
Jack Perry asked for update with regard to the stagnant water situation at the South Gate.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss responded that the Town had installed a pipe, which was collecting all of the water and directing it out to the other side of the turnaround.
Trustee Neuhauser wondered if the Perrys had noticed any difference since the pipe had been installed.
Mrs. Perry commented that the pipe was an improvement but at this point it was hard to tell to what extent. She expressed concern with regard several fallen trees, which are creating a blockage and causing the water to pool up on their property. The trees in question belong to the Village. The Perrys would like to know what, if anything, the Village is planning to do to remove them. Additionally, there are some large standing trees (80 ft) that are filled with water and the Perry’s are concerned that they will fall over and that the roots will destroy a portion of their property.
Superintendent Voss commented that the trees were very large and that their removal was beyond the DPW’s capability.
There was a brief discussion regarding who’s responsibility it was to remove the trees and it was determined that because the trees belonged to the Village and had fallen from Village property onto the Perry’s property, it would be appropriate for the Village to alleviate the situation and remove them. Board Attorney Rick Golden counseled the Board that they could utilize the arborist services that were available to the Planning Board in order to obtain a professional opinion.
Mayor Wilson asked the Perry’s if removing these trees would solve the problem in their eyes or if they planned to return once the trees had been removed with more issues.
The Perry’s responded that removing the trees should alleviate the problem and that they did not plan to return once the issue had been resolved.
It was then agreed that the Village would utilize the Planning Board’s arborist to obtain a professional opinion with the intent of moving forward.
Jake Matthews commented that he remembered the Village using oil and chip to resurface the roads when he was a child and that in his opinion, they had held up well. He feels this would be a great, cost effective solution.
With regard to the Building Report, Mr. Matthews inquired where or not the Village had any legal procedures in place for dealing with delinquent properties or if not, could something be legislated. He cautioned that derelict properties were bad for the Village for numerous reasons.
Mayor Wilson replied that there were things the Village could do in part, however the process was extremely long and onerous.
Steve Mauer thanked the Board and Mrs. Goodfellow for all their hard work in looking out for the Village lakes, commenting that setting baseline now, in the face of future development, was crucial.
Mr. Mauer also stated that he would be very interested in learning more about the possibility of a Natural Gas Line in the Village.
Finally, he expressed his concern with the lack of cell phone service in the Village, calling it “ridiculous” and noting that other premier communities in the area such as Ridgewood and Greenwich did not have these issues.
The Mayor responded that he was open to ideas on this matter and Mr. Mauer commented that he had a few. It was then agreed that Mr. Mauer and the Mayor would meet and discuss the issue further following the meeting.
Resolution to Approve Police Chief Employment Agreement:
The Board voted unanimously to approve the Police Chief Employment Agreement.
Deputy Mayor du Pont reported that the Board was in receipt of a letter from a resident who felt that in light of the fact that the water level in the Wee Wah was so low, they could not enjoy their lake front property and because the Village was responsible for lowering the level of the lake, they felt they were due a tax break/refund.
After some discussion, it was determined that July was not the time for filing a grievance and that the Village would send a return letter suggesting that this particular resident bring his grievance forward at the appropriate time next year.
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Village Reorganization Meeting July 24 2012
The Village Board of Trustees held their annual Reorganization Meeting on July 24, 2012 at 7pm. All members were present.
Click here for the list of appointments and procedures, which were unanimously approved by the Board.
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Agenda For Village Reorganization Meeting July 24 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Welcome New Trustees (previously sworn in)
4. Resolution - Appointments
5. Resolution- Employee Salaries
6. Resolution - Official Undertakings
7. Announce Board Meetings Days and Times per Open Meetings Law Requirement
8. Resolution - Schedule 20 13 Reorganization Meeting
9. Resolution- Procurement Procedure
10. Resolution- Advance Approval of Claims
11. Resolution - Mileage Allowance
12. Resolution - Attendance at Schools and Conferences
13. Resolution- Designation of Depositories
14. Resolution- Village E-Mail Policy
15. Resolution- Village Voting Hours
16. Resolution - Rules of Procedure
17. Resolution- Trustee Roles and Projects
18. Resolution- Advisory Committee Trustee Liaison Roles
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 24 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
a. Resolution to authorize advertising for bid on 2013 International 7500 Dump Truck
(purchase/financing approved by BOT 4111/12) and set bid opening date for August 7th at 2:00p.m.
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
9. Approve Minutes
10. Audit of Claims
11. Adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a specific Tax Certiorari matter
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Village Board of Trustees June 29 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm. Trustee Zgonena was absent.
The Mayor started the meeting with an update on the state of the lakes. He said that there had been a modest improvement in Tuxedo Lake and that the question still remains as to what to do about the WeeWah. He is in receipt of a report from the engineer which addresses the possibility of raising the level of the lake roughly 2 feet to allow for people to swim in it without causing any constructural concern about the dam. It is uncertain whether or not 2 feet will be enough for the WeeWah Beach Club. Additionally, the Board still has to determine if they feel the water is safe enough to swim in or whether they want to continue to do more studies.
The Mayor congratulated Trustee Lili Neuhauser and Trustee Elect John Kilduff on their recent election and also Mary Jo Guinchard who he feels ran a great campaign on short notice.
Mayor Wilson also commended Trustee Neuhauser on the painting of the DPW building and South Gatehouse.
Police Chief Ken Sanford reported the following for the month of May:
Fire Alarms-1 (false)
Assists given to Town Police-1
Assists received from Town Police-1
Additionally 11,080 untagged vehicles entered the Village at the Front Gate.
Since Superintendent Jeff Voss was not present, there was no DPW update.
BUILDING DEPARTMENT UPDATE:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Department Report.
Mayor Wilson mentioned that over the course of the next several months he would like to revisit and discuss the Ridgeline/PrecipiceLaw. He commented that he knew first hand that the law had prevented several very nice houses from being built in the Park and because of this he would like the Board to take a second look it. This discussion will commence once the new Board is in place in July.
Trustee Heywood commented that he felt the intent of the Board who passed the Ridgeline law had been right and proper, but that they might have gone a bit overboard on the details and in so doing, made the legislation too restrictive, cumbersome and unwieldy.
Trustee Neuhauser inquired as to how many properties were affected by the law, but no one knew the exact number.
Trustee du Pont commented that he was unaware that there had been any issues with the law and that he would like some time to do his homework prior to moving forward with the discussion.
Mayor Wilson then stated that another topic he would like to introduce is the idea of selling a piece of Village owned at the Southeast end of Tuxedo Lake. The parcel is roughly 2-3 acres. The Mayor would propose that it be sold at pubic auction which would be limited to Village residents only. Building on the property would be confined to a boathouse only.
Trustee Neuhauser said she believed there was something in the Village Code which stated that no further boathouses could be built in the Village and if that was the case a change would also have to be made to the Code to allow for what the Mayor was proposing.
Trustee du Pont said he was open to the idea of adding another boathouse in that location.
The Mayor added that although the Village is approximately $95,000 in the black with the budget at present, everyone knows there will be expenses moving forward such as possibly hiring White Buffalo again and possibly ordering additional testing of the lakes. He doesn’t see any reason for the Village to own a piece of property in that location and selling it could be lucrative for the Village. He feels this is an idea that the new Board should explore.
Trustee du Pont commented that in his view, the Board would need to be able to define people with serious interest and suggested that one way to do this would be to require a $100,000 bond in order to bid.
The Mayor agreed that a deposit would be necessary to weed out speculators.
Trustee Heywood said he felt the Board should be very careful if there has been an embargo on boathouse building historically. He wondered if they would be opening up a can or worms by selling this piece of land specifically for a boathouse when they know there are lakefront properties that don’t have boathouses.
The Mayor commented that these were all good issues to be discussed.
Susan Goodfellow reported that C Slap sampling had begun the weekend of June 22. There will be weekly samplings continuing through the end of September. This testing should provide good baseline data.
The Eurasian Milfoil removal is slated to being the week of July 9th. This will be coordinated with Allied Biological coming in to do the aquatic plants survey on WeeWah Lake and Pond # 3. Since Eurasian Milfoil was found in Pond # 3 last fall, given the ideal growing environment in that pond, the Village might talk about redeploying AIM in order to get on top of things there.
Allied Biological completed their Bathymetry study on June 29 and , no evidence of the Eurasian Milfoil was seen in WeeWah Lake.
Because there is some concerns about the bedrock fractures and how they are transporting surface and ground water into our lakes, Mrs. Goodfellow has had some conversations with Dr. Alex Gates, Chair of Environmental Science at Rutgers and also the Chair of the Hudson Highlands Environmental Research Institute (HEnRI). She and Jim Hays will be meeting with Dr. Gates in the next several weeks. Dr. Gates runs a science program for high school students in Newark and has decided to have these students do testing of the water in Warwick Brook.
Mrs. Goodfellow reported having had a call from John Graziano of the Orange County Health Department who is the person in charge of approving the WeeWah Beach for swimming. He came and did an inspection of the lake on June 27 and is in the process of evaluating the water quality. He also looked at the beach front area. The bathymetry study will be helpful to him as well in terms of reestablishing the beach front boundaries. His primary concern is with bacteria levels from ecoli (not an issue coming through Warwick Brook) cyano bacteria (or blue green algae), and any chemical pollutants. He has received a copy of the current primary pollutants report ,which was thankfully negative.
Mrs. Goodfellow stated that the Board has before it several proposals from stream biologist Kelly Nolan which are for follow up stream assessment studies. Mr. Nolan is also proposing that a baseline macrophyte study be done of the WeeWah Lake. The study of the “critters” and the condition that they’re in has been the single most important element in making sure that the DEC does its job. The follow up work he is proposing will bring the Village in line with all of the DEC protocols for stream sampling and will give an idea as to whether or not the water quality in the stream is improving. It will also provide a baseline in the event that the Village needs to prove the existence of problems down the line.
The Mayor remarked that he was having a hard time reconciling the fact that Kelly Nolan had reported that the damage to the macroinvertebrates in Warwick Brook was the second worst he’d ever seen however, the Board of Health is now suggesting that the water
may be safe for swimming.
Mrs. Goodfellow explained that the issues that impact swimming versus the issues that impact water quality in the streams are somewhat different. The Department of Health is concentrating on bacteria levels in the lake, as well as the possible presence of algae blooms while Mr. Nolan is studying the health of the macroinvertebrates.
The Mayor then called on Bonny Takeuchi, President of the WeeWah Beach Club, for her impressions of the water. She replied that the water in the immediate swimming area is experiencing a growth of plant life, elodea, which would need to be pulled before swimming could be allowed. She wondered if that could be accomplished by volunteers in boats with rakes.
Mayor Wilson asked Mrs. Takeuchi if raising the dam by 2 ft, as has been suggested, , would be enough for swimming. He called on Jake Matthews, brother of Kristian Matthews of Legacy Stoneworks, for his opinion as well. Mr. Matthews declined to comment on any engineering of the dam, stating that he didn’t have any expertise in that area. He did say however, that the large picture appears to be that the dam needs work and consequently, he feels the Village probably shouldn’t put the water up very high. They also need to be prepared in case of a major storm.
Mrs. Takeuchi responded that adding 2 feet of water to the lake would be a godsend for the Beach Club. She had spent time with Mr. Graziano on June 27 and went into marking off the swimming area in great detail.
The Mayor asked how much of the elodea would need to be removed.
Mrs. Goodfellow replied that one didn’t have to get any kind of a permit to remove elodea which unfortunately has been flourishing in the present environment in the lake.
Mrs. Takeuchi stated she felt she could find volunteers to remove the elodea.
Trustee Heywood wondered if, given the state of the dam, combined with the weed issues and questionable water quality, it wouldn’t just make sense to abandon the idea of swimming for this year.
Mrs. Goodfellow replied that the Orange County Board of Health is the entity that approves water quality for drinking as well as swimming and that ultimately this isn’t something that the Village has authority over. While the Village does have concerns about what seems to be going on in the Weewah, the tests show that whatever it is, it isn’t being caused by any dangerous chemicals but rather by an organic feed. Only time will tell what the impact of this will be. She recommended that if the Board has concerns about liability, they should discuss it with Village Attorney Rick Golden.
Mayor Wilson commented that the problem with the dam is not really with the spillway but rather with the raceway. He stated that he was open to exploring the idea of raising the water level by 2 feet, but said he would have to speak to the Village Attorney to make sure that the Village was covered liability wise, and also to the Village’s insurance company. Additionally, the engineer will have to go out and take another look at the dam to make sure that raising the water is safe. All of this will not happen quickly. He estimated that it would take 2 weeks.
Resident Stuart McGregor wondered if the Board could separate the issues of the water quality and the dam. He said that swimming had been going on in the Weewah since 1936 and he could recall several years when the water had been lowered and it hadn’t impacted the ability to swim.
The Mayor replied that he felt that the issues could not be separated because they are clearly interrelated. He doesn’t want to rule anything out and said that the Village would look into it and if there was a way the water could be opened they would do so.
Mrs. Takeuchi commented that if swimming was approved, the Beach Club could readjust the lines of the swimming area numerous times during the season.
The discussion then turned to the Watershed Assessment Associates proposal which is for $15,000.
Trustee du Pont asked what WAA would be providing that the Village doesn’t already have.
Mayor Wilson explained that this work would continue the study which has already been done. The initial study established baseline data and in his view there really is no point having done that studyif they weren’t going to continue and do a series of studies. Additionally, the results should help the DEC to do it’s job.
Mrs. Goodfellow reported that Mr. Nolan had expressed surprise that the DEC hadn’t jumped in and taken over the macroinvertebrate study and suggested that perhaps the Mayor should suggest this in his ongoing discussions with DEC Commissioner Janeway. It’s very important for the Village to have this data in order to protect the lakes.
The Mayor asked Mrs. Goodfellow whether the Village would continue to test for the 120 pollutants on an on-going basis moving forward.
Mrs. Goodfellow responded that Mr. Nolan had observed that the damage was most likely caused by a huge organic load and not chemicals so probably more of tests of this nature would not be necessary.
Mayor Wilson then wanted to know if the Village should be testing Patterson Brook as well as the Potting Shed Brook.
Mrs. Goodfellow replied that since there is a great deal of concern about the fractures (which are an even more direct route to Tuxedo Lake than the WeeWah) testing those streams would certainly provide the Village with some very important information even though it might not be considered critical. The timing for such testing would be early July and mid-late September which would bring it into line with the DEC protocols.
The second proposal is for a Biological Lake Assessment ($9,150) and the Mayor asked what additional information this would provide. Mrs. Goodfellow replied the assessment would tell the Village what the actual condition of the lake is. While the stream studies inform what the condition of the streams is the Lake Assessment would relate what the impact has been on the water quality in the Weewah. It is a baseline study that could be very useful down the road.
The Mayor stated that he felt that view there would be no point in doing this study now if the Board wasn’t committed to doing it again next year.
Mrs Goodfellow replied that she feels that the results of the assessment will dictate that the next steps should be and how aggressive or non aggressive the Village will have to be with maintenance. .
Trustee Heywood wondered whether all of these studies would be eternally on-going or if there whether there would ever be an end in site and Mrs. Goodfellow responded that the testing would end when the Village was able to determine whether lakes are safe or not.
Mayor Wilson stated that in his view there is no greater resource in the Village of Tuxedo Park than the lakes and he believes that the Village should continue with the testing.
The Board approved the two proposals unanimously.
Jack Perry, thanked Trustees Neuhauser and du Pont for their help in getting a pipe opened and maintained on a daily basis by the Town Highway Dept, which has greatly eased the stagnant water situation at the South Gate,. He wondered if any progress had been made with the bigger problem on the 5 acres of Village owned property in that area.
The Mayor responded that he and Trustee du Pont had met with Town Highway Chief Ed Pfizenmaier, who said that he was willing to help solve the problem.
Mr. Perry commented that he had also met with Mr. Pfizenmaier as well as Supervisor Dolan about the problem. The Supervisor had agreed to install an 18” pipe down the turn around and said that the Town will need the Village to open up an existing swale between that pipe and the pipe that crosses the road near the Gate.
The Board agreed this could be done.
Finally Mr. Perry commented that there are a number of trees that have fallen down as a result of this situation and he wondered about having the Village clean those up.
Trustee du Pont responded that the difficulty is access to the trees. The Perrys replied that access was easy through their property. The Mayor thanked them for their patience and stated he thought progress was being made.
Jake Matthews wondered about maintenance in the Ridge Road triangle. He would like to see leaves removed annually as well as unsightly dead branches. He emphasized he was not proposing a manicured triangle but is hoping that it could be cleaned out.
The Mayor responded that the Garden Club usually helped with things of this nature and Mrs. Perry and Mrs. Neuhauser agreed that historically they had.
Trustee Heywood said that to his knowledge, the President of the Garden Club (his wife) was aware of the situation and was working on it.
Next Mr. Matthews inquired about the guard rails along Tuxedo Road and the subsequent loss of pedestrian space. He wondered if there were any plans to re-grade that space.
Mayor Wilson stated that there was no easy solution to this problem and he was open to any suggestions.
Trustee Neuhauser suggested a sign advising motorists to be cautious about pedestrians on foot.
Finally, Mr. Matthews commented that the vines on the Main Gatehouse are “out of control.”
Trustee Neuhauser responded that it was her next big project after painting had been completed and that the building needs repointing.
Audrey Perry inquired about the poison ivy vines on the trees along the Tuxedo Road..
Trustee Neuhauser agreed to have the DPW look at the problem and take care of it.
With regard to the Weewah and potential swimming therein, Mr. Matthews urged anyone involved in this decision to take another look at Four Corners Pond which, he remarked, still looks awful, and leads directly into the Weewah.
The Mayor replied he was very aware of that and that it was one of the reasons that he was being so cautious about opening up the Weewah.
RESOLUTION SCHEDULING 2012N REORGANIZATION MEETING.
This will be held on July 24th at 7 pm and will be directly followed by the regular monthly meeting.
The Mayor thanked Rob Zgonena for his service on the Board for the past two years. Commenting that he knew first hand that public service is not part time, the Mayor remarked that Mr. Zgonena had put a lot of time and effort into the job.
The meeting was then adjourned into an Executive Session to discuss the Police Chief Contract.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustee Meeting June 29, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor’s Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
a. Environmental Committee: Two (2) Watershed Assessment Associates Proposals
8. Public Comment
9. Resolution – Schedule 2012 Reorganization Meeting (previously scheduled for 7/18/12 at 7 pm)
10. Audit of Claims
11. Adjourn to Executive Session to discuss Police Chief Contract
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Village Board of Trustee Meeting May 21 2012
Click here to view the report
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustee Meeting May 21 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Presentation by:
a. Doc Bayne
b. Allied Biological
c. Watershed Assessment Associates
4. Resolution – Approve Allied Biological Consulting Services Agreement
5. Discuss allocating money for Allied Biological Phytoplankton Surveys
6. Resolution – Approve Balance Due on White Buffalo Invoice of $6,486.20
7. Resolution – Levy Unpaid Village Water Accounts for Inclusion on 2012 Village Tax Bill
8. Resolution – Declare List of Police Department Firearms as Surplus
9. Resolution – Appoint Deputy Clerk to the Village Justice
10. Resolution – Tuxedo Club Request to Hold Fireworks Display in July
11. Discuss Manano Water Account Repayment Plan Update
12. Resolution – Budget Transfers
13. Audit of Claims
14. Adjourn to Executive Session to discuss litigation (Adam vs. Town of Tuxedo)
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Doc Bayne To Repeat Fish Kill Presentation at Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 21, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 7pm in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. At this time, Doc Bayne will repeat his presentation of THE MYSTERY OF THE FOUR CORNERS FISH KILL. Residents are encouraged to attend.
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 24 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on April 24, 2012 at 7pm. Trustee Heywood was absent.
The month of April has been a busy one for the Village. There was a public hearing on the proposed 2012/2013 Budget on April 11. Water testing has been ongoing since the issue with the Mulch Pile and 4 Corners Pond became evident last month. In particular, the Village was concerned about whether there had been any ground contamination from one of the wetlands adjacent to the Mulch Pile into other wetlands, which may then feed into the Village Lakes. Watershed Assessment Associates completed a study on Warwick Brook, the results of which are in. Testing in Tuxedo Lake is ongoing. The Village is in receipt of a letter from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which included a letter to the Town stating a notice of noncompliance, a notice of violations and a notice of damages to the natural resources of the State of New York. Specifically, the Town is in violation of the Environmental Conservation Law and is violating the Clean Water Act. They have also caused damages to the natural resources of New York. The DEC’s test results clearly document poor water quality conditions and there are numerous violations. The Mayor has spoken with Village Attorney Rick Golden with regard to what, if any, action the Village should take and has determined that they will continue to test the water on an ongoing basis in order to establish baseline studies that can be measured against. In situations such as these, when the Clean Water Act (or any other Federal Statutes) has been violated the Commissioner of the DEC acts as the Trustee for the natural resources of the State and they take the lead. Village Attorney Rick Golden concurred and commented that as long as the DEC was following up and enforcing its own rules and orders, including the prior Consent Order, then that is where the law requires the enforcement to be. It is only if the DEC falls down in that capacity that the Clean Water Act authorizes citizen suits or suits by municipalities against somebody as a was to enforce it, basically as a private Attorney General. Mayor Wilson then announced that Watershed Assessment Associates had been unable to attend the meeting, however Environmental Committee Chair Susan Goodfellow was present and would answer questions to the best of her ability later in the meeting. That being said, if the public still felt that it was necessary to meet with Watershed Assessment Associates, the Board would be willing to contact them and attempt to arrange a meeting.
Police Chief Ken Sanford reported the following for the month of March:
Criminal Complaints - 3
Non-Criminal Complaints – 43
Property Damage Accidents - 3
Medical Calls – 1
Intrusion Alarms – 7 (all false)
Fire Alarms – 3 (all false)
Speeding Summonses – 23
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2
There were some issues with fishermen fishing in the wrong areas and tickets for Village Ordinance violations were written.
Additionally, 9,179 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
The Department is looking to purchase new shotguns. They are planning to trade in old weapons for new ones. They have a Ruger mini 14, which was purchased by ex-Police Bob Culhane and is not needed. Chief Sanford asked the Board if they would declare this weapon as surplus so that the department could sell it and put the funds towards the new shotguns.
Trustee du Pont, who serves as the Board’s liaison to the Police Department, commented that he had looked into this with Chief Sanford and that the guns in had reached their age limit and were of no use to the Department. Shotguns, however, were not in the budget, nor were the sale of existing guns, and so selling the weapons would generate enough revenue to buy 1 shotgun at $900. The Village will probably eventually need 2 more, but in his view this is not something that needs to be rushed into.
Mayor Wilson inquired as to whether or not the shotguns to be purchased included the specialized weapon used by White Buffalo as part of the deer culling initiative. The answer was no.
BUILDING DEPARTMENT UPDATE:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Department Report.
Due to a water main break on Circuit Road, DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss was not present and therefore, no report was given.
Board of Architectural Review – On behalf of the BAR, Chair Paola Tocci and Deputy Chair Robert Simon presented the Board with a final draft of the Design Guidelines. Chair Tocci stressed that she felt the document elucidated in a very cohesive and coherent manner the standards of Tuxedo Park as far as new construction, restoration and renovation. She underscored that it was a fluid document, open to changes as new materials come up on the market and construction methods utilized.
Mayor Wilson inquired as to whether or not there was a PDF version of the document available for posting on the Village website and was informed that there was.
Trustee Neuhauser commented that the BAR had worked very hard on the Guidelines and she felt they looked great. The addition of photographs and samples makes it much easier for applicants to understand what the BAR is striving for with many of the Guidelines. She thanked them for their hard work.
Deputy Mayor du Pont agreed and stated that when he had first read the document he had been blown away. In his view it was very thoughtfully organized and well done and it is clear that a tremendous amount of time and effort went into the project. For a governmental body that is totally voluntary, he feels the members of the BAR are aces! He echoed Trustee Neuhauser’s grateful sentiments.
Chair Tocci thanked the Board and acknowledged Architect Stephen Tilly, who drafted the document, and consulting architect Barry Rice for their hard work as well.
Deputy Chair Simon commented that he felt the guidelines were both gentle and instructive and he felt they would be successful in guiding applicants without being entirely forceful.
Chair Tocci agreed and further commented that she believed the guidelines would help to simplify the process for all the Boards moving forward. As a living document, they will allow the Village to embrace innovation and new ways of doing things, which is extremely important.
Village Attorney Rock Golden commented that in order for the guidelines to become effective under the Village Code they would have to be approved by a resolution of the Board. Additionally, although the guidelines were considered to be a “living document,” any changes or amendments to the approved draft would also need to be approved by the BOT.
Jack Perry asked the Board to provide a report with regard to the South Gate water problem he had brought forward at the March meeting. Trustee Neuhauser, who has since visited the site, commented that she felt it was becoming clear what the issue might well be, which was a giant turn-around built by the Town that appears to be stopping the water. Commenting that the situation was a total mess and was a “swamp that was creeping closer and closer to the Perry’s house” she stated that although it is Town property she feels the Village needs to determine a course of action with the Town and move forward with remediation.
Mayor Wilson wondered if anyone had spoke to the Town.
Mr. Perry responded that Highway Superintendent Ed Pfizenmaier had been to his home, looked at the issue and advised Mr. Perry that if the problem was not fixed all the trees would eventually fall. He advised Mr. Perry that he would discuss the situation with DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss and determine a course of action, but to the best of Mr. Perry’s knowledge this discussion never occurred. On February 16, he wrote and sent a letter to the Village detailing the situation and to date, not much has been done. The Perry’s also contacted the DEC, who informed them that they could come and look at it, however, once they got involved “things go crazy.” Mr. Perry feels that it is the Town’s responsibility to take care of it. They built something that was not properly engineered.
The Mayor wondered if the Perrys had been to any public meetings in the Town. The answer was no.
Trustee Neuhauser suggested they have the DPW Superintendent contact the Town Highway Superintendent in order to determine a course of action and following some further discussion, it was determined that Mayor Wilson would talk to Jeff Voss directly and this would be done.
Paola Tocci commented that there were a couple of things she wanted to bring up for consideration. She stated that she had been asked a while ago as to how to make Tuxedo Park a more attractive community for people to live in. A couple of things have come up before the BAR that, in her view, could go a long way in achieving that goal. One is the current height restriction on gates. Many residents have fairly recently installed gates that are not in compliance and the Board is working on these, but there is a real delay because the current height restrictions require applicants to go before the BZA and obtain a variance. The BAR then needs to wait for the written BZA decision, at which point the applicant must come back before the BAR for approval. This can realistically add a minimum of 2 months onto the process. She wondered if there was any vehicle that could be adopted that would raise the height restrictions from 4 to 8 feet, which would stop the “log jam” and make the process less onerous for everyone involved.
Mayor Wilson asked Village Attorney Rick Golden if there would be any issues with moving forward with something like this.
Mr. Golden replied that BZA Attorney Mike Donnelly had put together draft legislation for this very thing. Similar to any local law, the Board would need to publicly review the draft and then put it to a public hearing before moving forward.
Mayor Wilson suggested the Board add this to the agenda for their May meeting.
Next, Ms. Tocci commented she felt that another issue that would make the Village more competitive with communities such as The Hamptons and Greenwich, CT, would be to allow the construction of Guesthouses on properties and also allow current structures that used to be guesthouses to be inhabited as such. She feels that not only would this put us on a more competitive level with other communities, but that it would add to the Village coffers as they would be able to tax them as residences. She thinks it is a shame that there are a lot of properties in the Village with empty guesthouses and she thinks this knocks the Park off the block in terms of competing with similar communities.
Rick Golden stated that making a change such as this would impact several provisions that exist within the Village Code. If the Board were to consider something like this, they would first need to make some decisions in terms of more specific criteria and then direct him to draft a local law reflecting these ideas.
Trustee Neuhauser inquired as to why the Village did not allow for guesthouses to be inhabited.
Deputy Mayor du Pont suggested that it might have been plumbing.
Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hanson stated that she believed the thinking behind the restriction was that the Village did not want residents to maintain apartment rentals on their properties.
Trustee Neuhauser responded that there were some existing apartment rentals in the Village and she did not understand why some were allowed while others were not.
Susan Goodfellow stated that she was unclear as to what was being discussed. She pointed out that there was a clear difference between a guesthouse and establishing a second residence on a property. She further commented that there were some residents who had existing apartments as part of their properties before the zoning regulations were enforced.
Ms. Tocci stated that she didn’t understand why people weren’t allowed to utilize their properties as they saw fit. She reiterated that allowing the houses to be inhabited would put the Village on par with similar communities.
Mayor Wilson stated that the issue at hand was zoning laws and that he felt it would be worth pursuing a discussion.
Trustee Zgonena asked Rick Golden and John Ledwith whether either of them was aware of a foliage setback rule within the Village Code. Spring bloom is here and once again the Village is experiencing an explosion of foliage into the roads. This creates a dangerous condition on the already narrow roadways.
The Mayor asked Trustee Zgonena if he had specific roadways in mind and Trustee Zgonena replied that he did, although he didn’t want to “call people out” on them.
Mr. Ledwith stated that he didn’t require the property owner’s names, however if Trustee
Zgonena could give him Road names he could attempt to address the issue.
Trustee Zgonena replied that one of the roads in question was East Lake. Stressing that he did not want to take away “the natural look of the place” he stated that in his view it would be nice, in terms of making the Park look more like a park, if there were to be more of a manicured environment.
Mayor Wilson responded that there was “an app for that” (Go Request) on the Village website, whereby residents could take pictures of problem areas and submit them. Barring that, Trustee Zgonena could call Jeff Voss.
Rick Golden informed Trustee Zgonena that while there was no State setback requirement, there was a section in the Village code that dealt with this issue. There is a process outlined, albeit a bit cumbersome, that allows the Village to remove the foliage in certain circumstances (when it is either a menace to the public or in the streets) and charge the cost of the work back to the resident.
Trustee Zgonena thanked Mr. Golden and commented that his main concern was absentee owners or derelict properties that did not have responsible parties.
Larry Darby commented that he wanted follow up on the earlier discussion about the Mulch pile, about which he is extremely concerned.
He read allowed a letter, which he had sent to both Mayor Wilson and Deputy Mayor du Pont a month earlier, in which he expressed his concern about possible pollution to the Village lakes stemming from the situation with the Mulch pile. In the letter, he urged the Mayor to have DEC officials address the situation with the Village Board at an open meeting, which members of the public could attend and be given the opportunity to ask questions. He feels that people want to know what testing has been done to determine whether there is contamination by or on behalf of the Town, the DEC and/or the Mulch pile operator and what the results have been and if so what is going to be done. People also want to know what the results of the Village tests were, but they don’t want to wait for results of testing that could take weeks to carry out. People want to know everything that is known now and what government officials are doing. The letter went on to suggest that meetings of the kind he was suggesting were an important step in keeping the public informed, which was an equally important responsibility of the Board. He reminded the Board of the situation that occurred 20 years ago with the dump in Town, commenting that at that time it had been discovered that DEC Inspectors were accepting “improper payments” as was the Town Attorney. While there is no reason to believe that anything like this is currently happening, Mr. Darby cautioned in his letter that residents needed to remain vigilant in order to protect the community. Finally, he urged the Board engage a qualified environmental lawyer to assist them in these matters.
Mr. Darby the reported that after receiving the letter, Mayor Wilson and Susan Goodfellow had advised him that they were going to wait for the test results from Watershed Assessment Assoc. before moving forward. Since that time, roughly one-month prior, the DEC has issued the Town with the notice of non-compliance. Having read the notice, Mr. Darby noted that it said that test results adjacent to and downstream of the Perfect Cut facility showed numerous violations of environmental conservation laws, specifically part 703 of the New York Code of Regulations. In reviewing those standards, Mr. Darby pointed out that they were water quality standards for taste, color, odor producing, toxic and other deleterious substances. He also reviewed the Watershed Assessment Associates report, but it seemed to him that what it really addressed was biodiversity rather than any of the water quality standards as laid out in section 703. He then asked the Board specifically what the Village was doing to know that Patterson Brook, Warwick Brook, Tuxedo Lake and the Wee Wah are not polluted or contaminated. He feels that relying on the DEC for answers is not acceptable. He feels the Village needs to at the very least obtain the DEC's results and determine exactly what they have tested for. Additionally, considering that it is known that there is leachate coming from the facility (and that this has been going on for a number of years) and that the Town is not in compliance with the DEC, Mr. Darby wanted to know what the Village knew about the possibility that deleterious substances may eventually reach the Village water, even if it hasn’t yet.
Mayor Wilson responded that he had been informed that the wetlands located next to the mulch pile was NOT connected to a wetlands due east which is directly between the contaminated wetlands and Tuxedo Lake. This is good news.
Mr. Darby wanted to know if the Village had tested for contaminates.
Susan Goodfellow replied that this was the next set of recommendations that was coming forward. Mayor Wilson has been talking with the DEC and she is hopeful that they will share the results of their testing with him, but they may not.
Mr. Darby wondered whether the Village might write them a letter and formally request the information.
Mayor Wilson commented that the Village was always happy to have volunteers assist them with this sort of thing and Mr. Darby replied that he appreciated that and that he was willing to help.
Mrs. Goodfellow stated that while it would be wonderful to have answers to a multitude of questions, some of these things were really going to take some time to ascertain, for example this issue of how the ponds communicate. Jim Hays, along with many other volunteers, has been out in the woods attempting to determine whether or not there are above ground connections. Additionally maps need to be verified. The hydrology of the region is being closely looked at. There are questions about fractures and where they lead. Additionally, the mines are being examined. The Environmental Committee may very well end up advising the Village to undertake a study so they can obtain documentation of how the hydrology in the area works. There are no instant answers. Jim Hays has been consulting with his peers at Columbia who are hydro geologists for their recommendations for testing parameters and the committee has been reaching out to others as well. The latest plan is to move forward with a general screening for a variety of toxins including insecticides and pesticides and so on. At this point, according to the testing that Mayor Wilson had Jeff Voss draw and send to the lab, Tuxedo Lake looks good. What needs to happen, however, is an on-going program of evaluation. Hopefully, the DEC will share their information with the Village. In terms of cooperation with the Town, she commented that Peter Dolan is on record as having said that the DEC is wrong and that the Town is planning to fight the allegations so there is no cooperative work currently in the works with the Town. It would be great to have instant answers, but it is not going to happen. It is not possible to determine right now what kind of an ongoing problem the Village is facing. They will need to keep an eye on the DEC to make sure that they are enforcing their restrictions on the Town and they will need to continue to monitor the lake to make sure that it is safe. Unfortunately, the Board decided not to fund the portion of the lake study that would have allowed for conducting baseline studies of all the streams coming into the Village, so now they were forced to work in somewhat of a backwards manner, but these are the things that remain to be worked out.
Mr. Darby responded that he would like to make three recommendations. The notice from the DEC says that the waters downstream of the Perfect Cut facility do not meet water quality standards. He believes that the board should take action to have a formal report from qualified water quality engineers or testers to determine whether or not that includes Village waters or waters that feed Village waters. Secondly, he feels there should be a formal memorandum from Village attorney Rick Golden taking into account that the Town is in violation of DEC orders and that they have not been enforcing the Perfect Cut lease agreement in ways which are threatening our environment and what specifically the Village can do to ensure such compliance. Thirdly, he feels that the DEC and the Town and the other associated parities should conduct a public meeting whereby residents can ask the pertinent questions. These are public officials and residents have the right to hear from them. Mr. Darby does not want to wait 3 months or 6 months or a year to know whether or not the water is contaminated and if it is or if it is threatened, exactly what the Village is doing about it.
Mayor Wilson reminded Mr. Darby that all Village residents are also residents of the Town and that they could and should attend the Town meetings and make these very same suggestions there.
Trustee Neuhauser agreed, commenting that the next meeting would be taking place on Monday, April 30 at 7:30 and she urged him to attend.
Mr. Darby replied by commenting that the Lakes are the Villages most precious resource and in his view they could not do enough to protect them.
Mayor Wilson responded that he could not agree more.
Trustee Neuhauser informed the Board that she and Susan Goodfellow would be attending the Ramapo Watershed Conference on Friday April 27 and that the first item on the agenda was the mulch pile.
With respect to the DEC’s test results, Attorney Golden commented that he would be surprised if they would not release them to the Village, especially with respect to the 703 issues. The information would be obtainable under a simple FOIL request, but he doesn’t believe that this will be necessary. He believes the Village should simply ask them for the test results that deal with the 703 issues.
The Mayor commented that they would move forward with that request in the coming week.
Mr. Darby commented that the Town in not in compliance and has clearly not been enforcing the Perfect Cut lease. Now it appears they are going to resist the DEC efforts. He feels that the Village should be prepared to take such action as they can to monitor this situation and he inquired of Mr. Golden as to what he would recommend.
Mr. Golden responded that as a Village, he believed the first thing they needed to do was to obtain the information on the toxicity and based on that information chart a coarse of action. He also recommended that the Village determine whether or not there was a connection between those rivers and something that would impact the Villages Lakes.
Ken Stewart wondered what that status of the Wee Wah Beach Club would be while the testing was going on.
Mayor Wilson responded that unfortunately, they did not have an answer to that question yet.
Mr. Stewart then wanted to know whether it was still Village policy to notify neighbors when a resident is requesting either a building or a zoning permit.
Attorney Golden responded that notification of neighbors was not a requirement with respect to building permits. If an application comes before the BAR, there is a notice requirement on the initial application. The Planning Board does not have this requirement but has on occasion requested that notices be sent.
Steve Maurer reiterated the concerns expressed by Mr. Darby, commenting that the reason he had come to the meeting was to inquire as to whether or not the water testing reflected synthetics or toxicity.
Mr. Darby commented that section 703 covered contaminates and toxicity and he believed this included organic compounds and synthetics, although he is not a scientist.
Mt. Maurer wanted to know if further testing would be soon.
Mayor Wilson replied that testing was ongoing and that if, after having reviewed the DEC test results, the Village feels there are things they should have tested for but did not, the Village would test for them.
Mr. Darby stated that he felt it would be great to get representatives from both Watershed Associates and the DEC to help guide the Village and the Mayor agreed, commenting that he felt it would also be important to have volunteers, like Mr. Darby, who processed some expertise in these areas to assist.
Going back to Trustee Zgonena’s comments about overgrowth in the roadways, Mr. Perry stated that he felt the Village should take responsibility for their own property before moving on to others.
Mayor Wilson asked Mr. Perry if he was referring to the same issue they had already discussed.
Mr. Perry replied that he was referring to the same property but a different issue entirely, that of fallen trees.
MOTION TO APPROVE DESIGN GUIDELINES:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the Design Guidelines.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of declaring the Police Departments Ruger mini 14 as surplus material.
RESOLUTION – ADOPT 2012-2013 BUDGET:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the modified tentative budget for the Village’s General Fund for fiscal year 2012-2013 with total appropriations of $3,825,833.00 and a tax rate per thousand of 49.995514.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the tentative budget for the Village’s Water fund for fiscal year 2012-2013 with total appropriations of $676,504.00
The Board then hey adjourned into an Executive Session to discuss tax certiorari issues with respect Collins and the Tuxedo Club.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 24 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor’s Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
9. Discussion – Design Guidelines
10. Discussion – Tuxedo Recycling Facility
11. Resolution – Adopt 2012-2013 Budget
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Public Hearing on Tentative 2013 Village Budget April 11, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, April 11 2012 at 7:00pm for the purpose of conducting a public hearing on the tentative budget for fiscal year 2013.
All members were present.
A copy of the tentative budget can be viewed by clicking here.
The Mayor opened the meeting by commenting that the Board had received a number of e-mails that day from residents requesting a line item for tick born illnesses. He explained that $11,000 had been allocated for this under SAFTEY FROM ANIMALS The thinking behind this number was based on the idea that the Village spent $25,000 with White Buffalo in 2012 and that moving forward, deer management will be handled by the Village itself, and should not involve any police over time.
Deputy Mayor du Pont stated that the Village is hoping to hire one individual, on a 1099 basis, who is an experience professional with deer culling. The person they have in mind also happens to be a Village Police Officer. That being said, there is no reason why hiring has to be done under the auspices of the Police Department, nor is there any reason why any other individuals who may be brought in to help have to be Police Officers.
Mayor Wilson agreed, and pointed out that was important was that this individual had the right equipment and that there was a specialized rifle that needs to be used, the cost of which is roughly $4,000.
The Deputy Mayor commented that there had been some confusion here as Chief Sanford had originally told him that he would be able to acquire the rifle from White Buffalo for $850, but earlier that day there had been an e-mail in which the cost was listed as $3,000. The Village will need to get to the bottom of what the actual cost is. Regardless of what the costs turns out to be however, the process will require this piece of specialized equipment and the Village will probably need to purchase it, however leasing is also a conceivable option.
Moving on, Mayor Wilson expressed concern that the Board had not allocated enough funds for lake management studies.
The Deputy Mayor stated that this could be, and further commented that he had been under the misguided impression that future studies could be paid for using the long-term debt, recently issued by the Village. As this is not the case, he agrees that more funding should be allocated and suggested that money be moved from the contingency budget to accommodate for that, however he was unsure as to the amount.
Mayor Wilson suggested between $10-20,000 at the most.
Deputy Mayor du Pont agreed and further suggested moving $12,000 from contingency.
The Board was in general agreement.
Trustee Zgonena inquired as to whether there had been a general topology study completed indicating where all the streams that feed into Tuxedo Lake originate.
Mayor Wilson responded that he believed this would be part of the forthcoming studies.
He then called on Susan Goodfellow, Chair of the Environmental Committee, to elaborate. Mrs. Goodfellow commented that there were certainly lots of questions about this issue. One of the huge concern s that has arisen is not only that of fractures and communication between a known polluted pond and the source of the water for an unnamed stream that feeds the Lake, but more specifically, fracture mass. In taking a closer look at what’s going on underground it is beginning to look as though there are some direct communications to Tuxedo Lake from the polluted area. There has also been a fracture identified which runs under Tuxedo Lake to the Wee Wah Lake and it is not known what direction the water is flowing (from which lake to which). It may be that at some point in the future a hydrogeologist will have to enter the discussions. Right now there are many different people at varying levels of expertise attempting to figure out what is happening and what the Village is going to need to do is still up in the air. Mrs. Goodfellow cautioned, however, that she felt they should be prepared, in the event that those agencies who are supposed to be responsible and responsive don’t get the information needed to protect the drinking water supply by making sure that there is enough money to cover the costs of whatever may be necessary.
Mayor Wilson reported that he, Mrs. Goodfellow and Jim Hays had met with both the orange County Health Department and the New York State Health Department and had provided them with a tour. The biggest issue these agencies face is budgetary. The Mayor inquired as to whether or not Village financed studies would be acceptable to them and he was informed that as long as t reputable firms possessing the correct criteria were used that they would.
Mrs. Goodfellow commented that all the different agencies (NYS Health Department, OC Health Department, DEC) had their own set of responsibilities and that they were unfortunately not all necessarily communicating with one another. This is why communication is critical. It will take a lot of work to stay on top of the issue.
Mayor Wilson agreed and commented that he had spoken at length with Willie Janeway, head of DEC Region 3, and that a report was expected within the next few days. He expects that the Village will be having a public hearing on this topic within the next week.
Bringing the subject back to Trustee Zgonena’s original question about the origins of streams that feed the Lake, Deputy Mayor du Pont stated that several years back studies had been done about the number of water sources in the area near to the Mulch Pile as at that time, there was an applicant who hoped to construct a golf course there. He believes the number was 7. Regardless, the studies have been done and he recommended that the Village attempt to “dig them up” as it could save the Village money and time in terms of duplication.
Trustee Heywood commented that there had been an expert from HEnRI present at the April 9 Town Board meeting, who seemed to have a lot of information about the fissures and cracks and that sort of thing and that he had stated quite emphatically that there was a long list of pollution.
Mrs. Goodfellow replied that the mans name was Matt Shook and that he was working as part of a cooperative effort with PIPCI and Rutgers over in Sterling Forest.
Trustee Heywood said the primary concern right now should be what is happening at the mulch pile and Mrs. Goodfellow agreed, commenting that she had calls into several people and that her work was ongoing.
The Mayor reiterated the point that what was important was that was that there was enough funding allocated and everyone agreed.
The Board then reopened the discussion on tick born illnesses and deer culling with Committee Chair Cami Fischer, who had not been present earlier. She expressed concern with $11.000 that had been allocated, commenting that the committee was recommending using a wild life biologist from white Buffalo for three days of shooting, which would cost $10,000. This would not include the fee of the individual employed by the Village or room and board for the specialist. The weapon is $3000. She does not believe that $11,000 will realistically cover the cost.
Mayor Wilson wondered if $20,000 would be a more realistic amount and Mrs. Fischer replied that she thought it might.
Deputy Mayor du Pont wondered whether the Village really needed to bring in the biologist for three days at a cost of $10.000.
Trustee Neuhauser concurred, commenting that there would be fewer deer this time around.
Mrs. Fischer stated that it was a very intensive operation that required at least two men.
Deputy Mayor du Pont agreed, but stated that he saw no reason why the Village could not obtain other individuals to help out on their own.
Mrs. Fishcer commented that this would be great, however those individuals would need to have experience and specific qualifications. She also stressed that if the village used White Buffalo for one more year, not only would the Village Officer receive another year of valuable training, but the Village would then be covered under White Buffalo’s blanket insurance.
Mayor Wilson stated he felt they could find the necessary $9,000 and suggested that an increase in their property rentals, specifically the South Gate House, would cover most of this expense.
Deputy Mayor du Pont countered that finding the money was not the issue, but rather how the operation was organized in the long term, and he would prefer not to organize it utilizing White Buffalo until the Village has a better handle on what the Village Officer can do and who might be able to potentially assist him.
Mrs. Fischer commented that nobody would be able to assist him and that the officer himself was assisting White Buffalo.
The Deputy Mayor stated that it seemed to him that $3,300 per day was a lot to pay.
Mrs. Fisher replied that it wouldn’t be that much. The $10,000 figure is an estimane including all expenses. The biologist is $90 per hour. She wondered how much the Officer’s hourly rate was.
Deputy Mayor du Pont replied that the two had nothing to do with one another as the Village would establish a contract with the officer that would motivate him to use all of the tags he had been allocated to bring the initiative in on time and on budget.
Mrs. Fischer wondered how Deputy Mayor du Pont knew that the officer was capable of carrying out the operation.
Deputy Mayor du Pont replied that the officer had indicated that he was capable. He then requested that they not discuss the issue any further, commenting that the focus of the discussion was supposed to be the budget and that while he respected Mrs.’s Fischer’s points, he felt it was difficult to continue the discussion without the officer being present.
The Mayor assured Mrs. Fischer that a solution would be found.
There followed a brief discussion about the contingency and surplus funds and whether or not the money might be moved from one of them to cover the additional expense.
Deputy Mayor du Pont stressed that the issue was not whether the money existed but rather that the Village needs more time to understand the best way to tackle the problem.
The Mayor commented that he would like to see the number increased to $20,000.
Mrs. Fischer stressed the importance of the issue and commented that people were selling their houses because they didn’t want to live in the Village because people were getting sick.
The Deputy Mayor wondered where these people were going that deer ticks didn’t exist.
Mrs. Fischer referenced a resident who had recently listed their property and chosen to return to NYC.
Mrs. Goodfellow commented that in her view this should be a discussion as to budget tactics.
The Mayor suggested pulling $5,000 from snow removal and the Deputy Mayor countered that they could not responsibly do this as they would probably need that money there. If the $9,00 is going to be added, he suggested it come from the appropriated surplus.
The Mayor agreed and it was decided that this would be done.
In other budget related news, the Mayor reported that legal expenses had gone way down. The Village went from an adopted budget in 2010 $407,000 to an actual expense of $283,000 and an adopted budget this year of $201,000 with year to date expenditures totaling $103,000.
John Kilduff asked for clarification as to the final amount budgeted for Lake Management studies and was told $13,500. He wondered what specifically this amount covered and was informed that this estimate was based on anticipated expenses stemming from conversations with various experts over the past couple of weeks.
Susan Goodfellow wondered about the Eurasian Water Milfoil studies and was informed that funding for that was in the current budget.
She commented that she was aware of that, but as maintenance was an ongoing thing, there must be finds allocated for next year as well. She feels there has not been enough allocated.
There was a brief discussion about Health Insurance costs (the implication being that perhaps these could be cut to allow for more Lake funding( but Deputy Mayor du Pont stated that these costs were mandated and could not be altered. Mayor Wilson commented that while he disagreed with Town Supervisor Peter Dolan on a number of issues, one area where he felt the Supervisor had done a good job was in lowering Health Insurance costs to the town. The Mayor has some ideas in this regard and suggested that he would contact a few specific individuals for their thoughts as well.
The Board then wondered if the money should be taken from contingency funds
Trustee Zgonena stated that he was unclear as to what specifically Mrs. Goodfellow was hoping for. He wondered if she had a specific amount that she would like to see allocated and she responded that she was not sure at that time. “Neither are we” replied Trustee Zgonena.
This was followed by a brief breakdown of the studies that the Board has already approved with Mrs. Goodfellow pointing out that the costs of maintaining the evasives in the lake would depend on the results of those studies, although moving forward, maintaining these types of weeds would be an annual expense.
John Kilduff stressed the importance of having lake management properly financed, commenting that nobody wanted to see the testing suffer as a result of having to deal with the water flaw and visa versa as the lake is the crown jewel of the community. If it was budgeted for and put out the public, clearly it is a priority to the Board.
Susan Goodfellow commented that she hoped that in the coming year the Board would seriously consider developing an appropriate administrative position that would provide them with the type of resource they need to do the background work on the stuff that a lot of volunteers are currently picking up on. The Village may be small, but when compared to larger municipalities, it has all the sophisticated problems and issues that a much larger community has. She feels the Village is approaching the day where residents will not be able to spend 40 or more hours a week on volunteerism.
The Mayor agreed.
The Deputy Mayor suggested that there would be tremendous pushback when suggesting creating a full time, salaried position with benefits.
Mrs. Goodfellow replied that she was aware of this, however she believed that the Village had probably lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money that has long since dried up. The Village could have had all the telephone and electrical lines in the Village buried and paid for by the Utility companies had they had somebody in place who was able to have the time and whose job it was to pay attention to what was out there and pursue it. This is just one example.
Trustee Heywood pointed out that over the last couple of years issues in the Village had quadrupled and that this had compounded the situation.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing full time Officer Daniel Sutherland, who is transferring to the Village from the Town of Tuxedo Police Department effective April 12, 2012 at a starting salary of $53,079 per year as per the 4/9/12 agreement.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a 2013 Police Interceptor all-wheel drive sedan at the NYS bid price of $30,878 with $20.878 of the cost to be financed through Bank of America at a rate of 2.58% for four years.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a 2013 International 75.00 dump truck with plough at the NYS bid price $139,666.49 with the purchase to be financed through Bank of America at a rate of 2.49% for five years.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of holding the Village election on Tuesday June 19 from 7am-9pm at the Village Hall. There will be two open Trustee Seats each two terms in duration.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of having Voter Registration on Saturday, June 9 from 12-5pm.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Theodore Darling and Nils Gerling as Election Inspectors for the 6/19 election at $12.50 and $14.50 per hour respectively.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing the Tuxedo Park School to stock approximately 150-200 15 inch trout in Tuxedo Lake on April 20 as part of the schools Earth Day celebration.
Mayor Wilson announced that the Spring Bulk Pick-up day would be Saturday, May 19 and that all items should be curbside by 7am.
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Public Hearing on Tentative 2013 Village Budget To Be Held April 11 at 7PM
VILLAGE OF TUXEDO PARK NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Tentative Budget for the Village of Tuxedo Park for the
fiscal year commencing June 1, 2012 and ending May 31, 2013 has been filed in the office of the Village Clerk and that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a public hearing to consider such budget on Wednesday, April11, 2012 at 7:00p.m., in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY, and to consider any other matters that may come before the Board on said date. No salary is paid to the Mayor or Trustees.
All persons interested shall be given the opportunity to be heard.
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 21, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 21 at 7pm. Trustee du Pont was absent.
Mayor Wilson started the meeting off with a discussion on the issue of the situation at 4 Corners Pond. The Village is in receipt of numerous e-mails and photographs, which have come in over the last week from concerned residents, specifically Mary Yrizarry (Head of the Orange County Land Trust), Kelly Nolan of Watershed Assessment Associates and Carol Ash (former Head of New York State Parks). Additionally, the New York Office of Fish and Wildlife as well as various officials from the DEC have been contacted. DEC officials have been onsite at the Town mulch facility. The issue at hand is the alarming number of dead fish in Four Corners Pond, which feeds directly into Warwick Brook, which in turns runs into the Wee Wah lake. At the bottom of the brook, where it joins with the Wee Wah, an orange foam has been discovered and the concern is that the foam is somehow directly linked to the situation at 4 Corners Pond and that whatever contaminant may have killed the fish there, may end up in the Wee Wah. At the Mayor’s request, DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss has been monitoring the situation by boat for the last several days, looking for noticeable signs of concern. Thankfully, he has not found any to date. The recommendation from Watershed Assessment Associates is that the Village test the water in 2 to 4 stations: 1 at the mouth of Warwick Brook where it joins the Wee Wah, 1 at Indian Kill (just north of Warwick Brook), 1 midway along Warwick Brook and 1 above 4 Corners Pond. Each test costs roughly $1,500. Mayor Wilson called upon Jim Hays, who has been closely monitoring the situation, to share his observations with the Board.
Mr. Hays explained that at the far end of Warwick Brick Road there exists a stream that flows along Long Meadow Road and crosses under Warwick Brook Road and into a Pond in front of the old International Paper building, which is in a foul condition. There is a strong, acrid smell and an abundance of Foam. If one follows the stream up, it goes past 4 Corners Pond and eventually ends up at a large marsh, which straddles Long Meadow Road. On the east side of the road is the mulch pile. Just before the mulch pile, on the left hand side, there is a turn-off, which leads to an old house that abuts the marsh. The smell at that location is almost unbearably foul and the marsh is full of scum. Mr. Hays stated that there is no question in his mind that the marsh is overloaded with organic material from the mulch pile. Until recently, the marsh was able to process this material, however now it has become overloaded and so the material is flowing down and will, in his opinion, continue to do so as long as the mulch pile remains there.
Mayor Wilson expressed concern at the fact that the DEC had been at the mulch facility the week before with Town Supervisor Peter Dolan and did not find any issue with the pile. He wondered whether they had failed to investigate the adjoining property and why they would announce that there was no trouble if in fact what Mr. Hays was saying is true.
Mr. Hays commented that if the argument is made that the mulch pile is not the source of the contamination, then another source must be identified and he didn’t know that any such source had been identified and he cannot imagine what another source might be. He finds it hard to believe that the pile is not the source. It is the simplest explanation and in his view, any other seems contrived and would be difficult to argue and he doesn’t understand why the argument is being made.
Mayor Wilson agreed.
Mr. Hays further reported that Town Councilman Kristian Matthews had informed him that there have been frequent fires on the pile and that they had been pumping water out of the mines to extinguish them. He suggested that the combination of that water with the mulch could possibly have had an effect on the situation, however he stressed that he did not know for sure one way or the other.
From the Audience, David McFadden asked Mr. Hays if he had gotten his information from the DEC.
Mayor Wilson respectfully informed Mr. McFadden that the Board was not conducting a public question and answer session and requested that he reserve his comments for the Public Comment Period.
Mr. McFadden demanded to know the reason for this request.
The Mayor informed him that this was the way in which the Board wished to run their meeting.
Mr. McFadden retorted that it was not the way they had been running the last several meetings he had attended.
The Mayor apologized, but reiterated that this was how the meeting would be run.
“So you’ve changed?” stated Mr. McFadden.
The Mayor did not reply. Rather he asked Trustee Zgonena if he had any theories as to the source of the problem.
Trustee Zgonena reported that he had spoken with Supervisor Dolan, who informed him that there is a beaver problem in the bogs in that area off of Long Meadow Road, which had necessitated the repeated removal of dams. The dam that was removed most recently was extremely large and when they destroyed it, it drained a tremendous volume of water from the bog very quickly. This water was oxygen deficient and drained into the pond. The fish were not able to quickly adapt to the new oxygen deprived environment and subsequently died. This hypothesis came directly from the DEC. Trustee Zgonena commented that the reason he had called the Supervisor directly was that he had received a number of phone calls from concerned citizens and he was aware that the mulch pile had been “a continuous source of consideration” by many people. He then inquired of Trustee Heywood whether or not he had anything to offer in his capacity as Town Liaison to the Board.
Mayor Wilson suggested that they move forward with the meeting, but commented that the Village would continue discussions with the DEC and do their best to keep people informed as they learn more.
Police Chief Ken Sanford reported the following for the month of February:
Criminal Complaints - 0
Non-Criminal Complaints - 32
Accidents - 0
Speeding Summonses - 13
Fire Alarms – 2 (false)
Intrusion Alarms – 2 (false)
Medical Calls 3
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police: 2
Assists received from the Town of Tuxedo Police: 1
Additionally, 8,077 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village through the Main Gate.
Otherwise, it was a quiet month.
BUILDING DEPARTMENT UPDATE:
Building Inspector John Ledwith reported that no building permits had been issued in the past month. There are a few active applications before both the Planning Board and The Board of Architectural Review and the Board of Zoning Appeals has scheduled a meeting for the month of April to address some of the gate and fence issues.
Public Health Committee – Mayor Wilson reported that Committee Chair Cami Fischer had planned to update the Board on a tick survey that she would like to implement. Although Mrs. Fischer was hoping to include the survey in the water bill mailing, the Mayor stated that he didn’t think that this was something that the Village was going to consider this year.
Environmental Committee – Committee Chair Susan Goodfellow was not present, but the Mayor reported that she had been working with Carol Ash and Mary Yrizzary on the Warwick Brook Issue.
Jim Hays commented that his wife Nancy had gathered some information with regard to tick spraying and various pesticides, which he has looked over and also reviewed with an expert. After giving the matter a great deal of thought he has come to the conclusion that while there are many different kinds of pesticides that people can use, the Village should keep the protection of the lakes uppermost in their minds and the best way to protect the lakes is to ban the use of pesticides on surfaces that could wash directly into the lakes. The argument can be made that there are “good pesticides” and “bad pesticides” however making this distinction puts the Village in the position of picking and choosing, which he believes would be difficult to do. He cautioned that what might be labeled, as a “good pesticide” today could become a “bad pesticide” tomorrow, as the side effects may not be known until they have been used for a while. The Board passed a resolution a few years back banning the use of phosphates on lawns, which he believes has been a good thing. The DPW did not have to treat Tuxedo Lake with copper sulfate in 2011. He suggested that since this resolution is already in place, perhaps the Board, with the help of attorney Rick Golden, could add some language to it and include the ban of pesticides on surfaces where they might wash into the lakes. He reiterated that he had no comment on the various kinds of pesticides, as he did not know enough about them to comment.
David McFadden asked Mr. Hays to clarify whether he was suggesting a new resolution for pesticides.
Mr. Hays responded that he was not necessarily suggesting a new resolution, rather that perhaps pesticides could be “tacked on” to the existing phosphates resolution. That being said, he suggested that Village Attorney Rick Golden would have some good ideas.
Mayor Wilson agreed and commented that he felt it was something that the Board should definitely talk about.
Mr. McFadden then asked whether the Board would hold a public hearing on this issue if they moved ahead with it.
The Mayor responded that if it were appropriate, they would do so.
Mr. McFadden then commented that at February Board of Trustees meeting, the Deputy Mayor had suggested he attend a Town Board meeting to inquire about the tax situation stemming from the Tuxedo Land Trust lawsuit. He did this and he was given further clarification on the A and B funds. According to Mr. McFadden, he was told that expenses derived from the lawsuit could potentially affect taxes. He presented the Board with a copy of the minutes from the meeting to be put into the record. He reported that for approximately every $70,000 spent there could be a 1% increase in the taxes that could affect all town taxpayers. A total of $100,000 has been spent fighting the lawsuit to date and should the TLT decide to appeal (which they have reported on their website that they intend to do) the Town Attorney estimates that will cost another $30,000 or more. Having recently read that the case had been dismissed, Mr. McFadden stated that he would say it was an embarrassment the way TLT had been “slammed down” and that it was an embarrassment to the Village and that in his view, appealing would be a waste of time. The judge shut down every argument one after another. Commenting that he had no idea how Mayor Wilson had convinced people to join him in the suit to begin with as it seemed like a huge waste of time and money, he stated that now Village residents would be affected by it. In Mr. McFadden’s view, the suit seemed like a “pet project” of the Mayor’s and now all Village residents could potentially suffer for it in the form of a tax increase. He does not understand the goal.
Peter Regna interjected that there were a lot of people who cared about the Town of Tuxedo.
Mr. McFadden retorted that he cared about the Village as well but that the Judge had “slammed” the case. He referenced a claim made within the suit itself, that the development might have adverse effects on the quality of boating on Tuxedo Lake, and commented that in his view this was an embarrassment. Again, he stated that he didn’t understand the goal of the suit and asked the Mayor if the entire thing was a political move on his part.
Mayor Wilson did not respond to this question, but rather asked Mr. McFadden to continue with his comments.
“So you are not going to respond?” Mr. McFadden inquired.
The Mayor stated that he would not.
“That’s interesting,” replied Mr. McFadden. “I thought you were all about transparency and information.”
Again, Mayor Wilson encouraged Mr. McFadden to continue and informed him that he would listen to his public comments.
Next, Mr. McFadden asked the Mayor if he was familiar with FOIL (the Freedom of Information Act”
The Mayor said that he was.
Mr. McFadden then reported that he had filed a FOIL request following the February BOT meeting for the video of the meeting, but he had never received a response and that this was a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. He commented that he was surprised that the Mayor would allow this to happen.
Mayor Wilson responded that he was quite certain that the video was available to Mr. McFadden.
Mr. McFadden wondered if this was so, why he hadn’t received a response to his FOIL request.
Village Clerk Debbie Matthews stated that she had sent Mr. McFadden a formal response informing him that they were working on it and that the videos were now available.
Mr. McFadden suggested that Clerk Matthews check the Village Attorney as there was supposed to have been a formal response made within 7 days and this didn’t happen.
Clerk Matthews replied that she had given Mr. McFadden a formal response within 5 days in which she informed him that they were working on the request.
Mr. McFadden stated that the e-mail he had received said that the video was not available because the videotape had run out before the meeting was finished.
Mayor Wilson interjected that everything that was available on the tape had been given to Mr. McFadden.
Mr. McFadden reiterated that he had not yet received the tape.
Clerk Matthews informed him that it was available and that she could give it to him that evening.
Mr. McFadden inquired if she had been planning to send it to him.
She answered that the video was on a flash drive.
Mr. McFadden stated that the procedures had not been followed formally and that he intended to “put that information in” for the next meeting.
Next Mr. McFadden stated that he had heard that the Mayor had given a report earlier in the day to News Channel 12.
The Mayor stated that he had been interviewed by News Channel 12.
Mr. McFadden wanted to know if the Mayor had discussed the issue with the mulch pile in the interview.
Mayor Wilson responded that he had and inquired of Mr. McFadden whether there was a comment he wanted to make about this.
“I am making my comment,” replied Mr. McFadden.
Mayor Wilson informed Mr. McFadden that more than five minutes of the public comment period had now been spent on his individual comments and that there were others in the room that also wanted to speak. Out of courtesy to everyone, he asked Mr. McFadden to please attempt to keep his comments succinct.
“But you are not answering my questions” replied Mr. McFadden.
The Mayor then informed Mr. McFadden that this was a public comment period and NOT a question and answer period.
Mr. McFadden then stated that his last question would be directed at Trustee Heywood. He then wanted to know how many times Trustee Heywood had met with town Supervisor Peter Dolan in his capacity as Town Liaison.
Trustee Heywood responded that meetings with Peter Dolan were not a part of the job description.
Mr. McFadden then demanded to know whether Trustee Heywood had given any reports about the town.
Once again, Mayor Wilson pointed out that this was not a question and answer period and inquired of Mr. McFadden whether or not he had a specific comment to make.
Mr. McFadden responded that he was done.
Jim Hays commented that he felt that the type of discussion that had just taken place with Mr. McFadden was inappropriate. In his view, if there are comments to made to the entire Board that would be ok, but to personally attack individual members of the Board was entirely inappropriate and he didn’t feel it should be allowed.
This was met by a round of applause and some cheering from the rest of the audience.
Jack Perry commented that he had sent a letter to the Board on February 16 in reference to a stagnant water condition on Village owned property near the south gate, where water is not flowing into the lake. The condition is visible when driving in or out of the South gate and the amount of water is increasing so that now, 4 to 5 acres of land is stagnant. Mr. Perry stated that he had received an initial response to his letter from the Village informing him that they would “take a look” but he wanted to know what the status was. He expressed concern that it would affect his property as well as the others that bordered it.
John Ledwith confirmed that the DPW had removed some metal containers and some tires and that he had taken some photographs of the area. As to the extent of the problem and what specifically caused it, he could not say. He does not believe any change was made to the Village property.
Mr. Perry pointed out that something had changed to cause the situation.
Mr. Ledwith agreed but stated that the Village was not responsible for whatever that change may have been.
Mr. Perry replied that he understood this, but at this point he just wanted to know what the status was.
Trustee Zgonena wondered if it might have something to do with the Beaver situation and pointed out that they would have not even known about the Beaver situation if he had not called Supervisor Dolan. He commented that in the year that he was DPW liason, this would have the type of situation whereby he would have gone out to Mr. Perry’s property to look at with him and he was sorry that nobody from the Village had followed up with him.
Mr. Perry stated that he had gone to the Town first, thinking it might be a town problem and that Highway Superintendent Ed. Psizenmeir had come to his home, assessed the situation and suggested that it might be the beaver issue. Nobody seems to know what the source of the problem is, but he would just like somebody to look at it.
The Mayor agreed that this would be done.
Audrey Perry stated that the water flows under the road and that it used to go in two directions along the road, but that it no longer does that. Now, it is stagnant on Village property and everything there is dying. Three homes border this property, which is turning into a swamp. It has become a dangerous situation.
Trustee Heywood commented that in the last 12-18 months the Town had done quite a bit of drainage work in the area around the South Gate and beyond. He wondered if this might either be the source of the problem or had an impact on it.
Mayor Wilson reiterated that the Village would continue to investigate the situation and that they would follow up with the Perrys.
Peter Regna inquired about the plumes that were recently discovered in the big lake and wondered whether they may have been precipitated by the flow of streams into the lakes. In particular, he commented that he and Walter Dean had noticed that Patterson Brook, which runs between their houses, has been bringing down an awful lot of water during rainstorms and this is resulting in a foam at the mouth of the brook where it meets the lake. An actual delta has formed where a lot of sediment seems to be coming down out of the mountains and depositing itself. He wondered if this might be a source of either pollutants or organic matter that could be contaminating the drinking water.
Mayor Wilson responded that he wanted to do a study of Village streams that flow into the lakes for quite some time now and that recent events have made the need that much more important. What Mr. Regna described with Patterson Brook, in his view, further necessitates the need for such studies and he fully supports them.
Trustee Zgonena commented that at the February meeting he had asked experts from Allied Biological where they felt the problem had come from and that they had informed him that there really was no way to know.
Mayor Wilson pointed out that what Trustee Zgonena was referring to was the origin of the Milfoil problem, but that what Peter was referring to sounded like a different issue, which was potential contaminants flowing into the lake and not an invasive weed.
Sue Heywood commented that she had recently visited the Warwick Brook where it meets the Wee Wah and that she had noticed a distinct smell and discoloration to the water there. While she is glad to know that the DPW is checking the Wee Wah, she feels that there are definitely some contaminants flowing in there.
Mayor Wilson responded that the DPW had also traveled some ways up Warwick Brook and photographed the orange foam.
Mrs. Heywood responded that as a member of the Environmental Committee she was under the impression that somebody would be coming in to test the water.
Jim Hays replied that they would be coming to test the biological diversity of the streams. If streams are polluted, the diversity is reduced. Thy will test a natural stream that supposedly is not polluted and then they will test the Wee Wah to see what the difference is. He feels that it is certainly polluted, the question is how damaging it is.
Trustee Zgonena commented that the Home Depot tested water for free on Saturday mornings.
Mrs. Heywood wondered how useful they would be in a situation like this.
Trustee Zgonena replied that they advertised giving a chemical analysis of what’s in the water and he recommends starting there.
An audience member wondered if these tests were intended for tap water and Trustee Zgonena admitted that he didn’t know but that surely they could do a test for less than $1500.
SET DATE FOR PUBLIC HEARING ON BUDGET:
After a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of setting a public hearing date for the budget on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 7pm.
DISCUSSION RE WHITE BUFFALO EXTRA-EXPENSES:
The deer culling performed by White Buffalo exceeded the budgeted amount by roughly $5-6,000 and the Board briefly discussed this issue. Trustee Zgonena wondered how the costs could have escalated since a contract had been signed. Mayor Wilson replied that the Village was not required to fund the excess costs but that they needed to discuss whether or not they wanted to help pay them or if they should direct Mrs. Fischer to try and raise them privately. Trustee Zgonena inquired as to what precipitated the costs and Mayor Wilson suggested that the Board wait until both Mrs. Fischer and Attorney Rick Golden could be present before discussing the matter any further. It was then tabled.
DISCUSSION re TOWN OF TUXEDO REQUEST TO USE WEE-WAH B.C. FOR SUMMER RECREATION PROGRAM:
The Town of Tuxedo has once again requested permission to use the Wee Wah Beach Club for a period of 6 weeks (7/2-8/10) for its summer recreation program. After minimal discussion, the Board unanimously approved this request.
DISCUSSION re WATERSHED ASSESSMENT ASSOCIATION, WARWICK BROOK & WEE WAH STUDIES:
Environmental Committee Chair Susan Goodfellow has submitted an estimate to the Board for 4 studies to be completed along Warwick Brook at a cost of $1,500 per study. Mayor Wilson believes that at minimum, the Village should pursue two of these and that given the current situation, moving forward with all 4 studies would probably be the best idea. He stressed the importance of having certainty that clean water is flowing into the Village lakes. He then asked the Board for their feedback.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to whether the studies would be concentrated only on Warwick Brook.
The Mayor explained that testing would take place at three stations along Warwick Brook (top, middle and bottom) and then one above 4 Corners Pond.
Trustee Heywood inquired about the main lake.
Mayor Wilson suggested that another study could be added at Patterson Brook, bringing the total number of proposed studies to 5. He cautioned that in his view, it was better to be safe than sorry.
Trustee Zgonena commented that he felt he must say (for the third time) that the accumulation of these expenses would be huge and that while everyone wants to have clean water, he felt that they should bring a concrete study or proposal before voting. Referring to the February meeting he commented “At least last meeting we had two experts from two companies come in and give us a presentation. Now we don’t even have a proposal. I cannot vote on another….we have nothing. We are not ready to vote.”
Mayor Wilson responded by asking Trustee Zgonena if he had seen either the dead fish at 4 Corners Pond or the orange foam along Warwick Brook.
Trustee Zgonena replied that he had given an explanation for this earlier in the meeting. He wondered why $1500 was the right price for the tests. He believes it costs $100 or $50 to do a water sample.
The Mayor stated that since he had become Mayor he had been stressing the need for a study of Village streams that flow into the lakes. In his opinion, the problem that exists at 4 Corners Pond clearly demonstrates why one of these studies should have been done 7 or 8 months ago – so that there would be a baseline to measure against. Now there is no baseline.
Trustee Zgonena countered that Mayor Wilson had not presented the Board with a proposal 8 months ago. Had he done so, the Board could have voted and moved forward.
Mayor Wilson then asked Trustees Heywood and Neuhauser if they wanted to wait, and have a special meeting or move forward with voting right away.
Trustee Heywood responded that he would like to hear the opinion of Jim Hays, as he knows about “this sort of stuff.”
Mr. Hays suggested that doing this type of study would be a useful thing. It is a study that will measure the biodiversity of the stream and one of the stations that has been proposed is on a stream that supposedly does not have any contamination. This would provide an indication of what the natural diversity is in the area and then they could compare that to the diversity found in Warwick Brook. He cautioned that the tests would not necessarily determine whether swimming should be permissible during the summer or not.
Trustee Zgonena commented that in his view, $1500 seemed like a lot of money for a water test. He wondered if the testing would be a time series or a one shot deal.
He was informed that it would be a one shot deal.
He wondered if a spectroanalysis would be performed.
He was told that the sample would be viewed under a microscope and the Village would be informed of what was found there.
Trustee Zgonena then expressed concern over not having more specific details as to the service that the Village would be receiving for the $1500.
Mary Bullard commented that the Sterling Forest State Park had completed some water testing on the bodies of water that flow into Warwick Brook and that perhaps a combination of testing in the Village and the results of the SFSP studies might be useful.
Mayor Wilson then asked Trustee Zgonena if he would be going out of town any time soon and commented that he would like to hold a special meeting on this issue as soon as possible.
Trustee Zgonena replied that he planned to be local and that he was in favor of a special meeting. He would like to see a paper or an executive summary detailing what was going to be done before voting. He suggested that the Mayor could have done some of the required legwork prior to the meeting and e-mailed the information to the rest of the Board so that they might have been more prepared.
Mayor Wilson replied that he had only received the information late that afternoon and that a special meeting would be organized as soon as possible.
DISCUSSION re ORGANGE & ROCKLAND PROPOSAL FOR RESIDENTIAL NAURAL GAS LINE INTO VILAGE:
The idea of a natural gas line in the Village is one that was originally brought forward by residents who were concerned about the high cost of heating oil and how it potentially effected the value of some of the larger homes in the Park because of the increased cost of heating. It turns out that there is a natural gas line right near the entrance to the Park. John Ledwith has been investigating potential costs and routes for the line with Orange and Rockland to determine whether or not the idea is even a realistic possibility for the Village. The Board is in receipt of some e-mails along with a map detailing proposed routes that would include going up Fox Hill Road to Tuxedo Road and then up Pepperidge and down Ridge to East Lake Rd all the way to the Water Plant. The cost to the Village would be roughly $200,000 and $7,500 per hook-up.
John Ledwith explained that the estimated $199,000 cost provided by O & R is a discounted price provided the Village can get 39 people to connect. The proposed route was selected because it seemed to be the best way to get the most people in the shortest amount of space. The Village does use a great deal of heating oil at the water plant, although Mr. Ledwith did not know off hand what the savings would be.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to whether each individual household would need to change their heating system after paying the $7,500 to hook up to the line.
Mr. Ledwith concurred commenting that they would either need to change the heating system or convert over to it if their boiler was not that old. He cautioned that the cost structure was somewhat complicated at this point and would surely change as he pursued it further.
David McFadden commented that he lived on Pepperidge Road, which was identified as being along the proposed route. He questioned whether one of the main ratioanals for the project was so that “the people with large mansions could save money on oil and then you want us people, without large mansions, to subsidize it?”
Mayor Wilson stated that this was not so, commenting that the Board was not even close to that kind of a discussion yet.
Mr. McFadden pointed out that the Mayor had mentioned the high cost of heating large homes earlier and Mayor Wilson agreed, but again clarified that this is only where the idea had originated.
“So the Village might spend money to serve those people?” stated Mr. McFadden.
Once again Mayor Wilson stated that they were not even close to having that type of discussion at that time and that they were simply fact gathering.
“I am just responding to what you said was the driving force” Mr. McFadden retorted.
Trustee Zgonena suggested that it would be “pretty terrific” if they could install power conduits at the same time and Mayor Wilson agreed.
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Village Board of Trustees Votes 3-1 in favor of Water Testing
The Village Board of Trustees met on Friday, March 23, 2012 for the purpose of discussing water testing along Warwick Brook. Trustee du Pont was absent.
The result of the meeting was that the Board voted 3 - 1 in favor of moving forward with the testing in three places along Warwick Brook and Indian Kill as well as in Patterson Brook with Trustee Zgonena voting against.
Testing may begin as early as Sunday March 25 and will occur only on Village owned property. The Village will write letters to Tuxedo Park Associates, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Sterling Forest State Park, urging them to do the same on their properties.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustee Meeting March 21 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
a. Public Health Committee - Cami Fischer
b. Environmental Committee- Susan Goodfellow
8. Public Comment
9. Set date for Public Hearing on Budget
10. Discussion re White Buffalo extra expenses
11. Discussion re Town of Tuxedo request to use Wee-Wah B.C. for summer recreation program
12. Discussion re Watershed Assessment Association, Warwick Brook, & Wee Wah Studies
13. Discussion re Orange & Rockland Proposal for residential natural gas line into Village
14. Audit of Claims
15. Motion to Adjourn
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 28, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on February 28, 2012. All members were present.
The Month of February was a busy one for the Village. Under the direction of White Buffalo, deer culling efforts began on February 1. By February 10, 98 permits had been used and over 100 deer successfully eliminated. It is believed that the population has been reduced to roughly 25 deer per square mile. The culling yielded 3,000lbs of venison, which was donated to food pantries (mostly in Duchess County) and translated into roughly 9,000 meals. While the effort was an overall success, the Mayor noted that there were some things that the Village could have done better, specifically in terms of making residents aware of when the culling would be taking place. Moving forward in addition to posting the information on the Village website, signs will be posted at both gates.
Speaking of the Village website, Mayor Wilson announced that the new and improved site has been averaging 100 hits per day. On Monday February 27, the site received 583 hits, which the Mayor believes was the result of a CBS news story about the history of the tuxedo that ran on the 26th, in which the 125th anniversary party at the Tuxedo Club was prominently featured. He expressed pleasure at this, commenting that positive press was always a good thing for the Village.
At the January meeting of the Board, David McFadden inquired of Mayor Wilson whether he would be willing to release the names of those residents who had donated to the Tuxedo Land Trust in the period since he has become Mayor. While he originally agreed to divulge this information, the Mayor announced that he had discovered there are donor privacy issues involved with doing so and he cannot arbitrarily make the names public unless permission has been granted. That being said, in reviewing the list of 2011 donors he realized that there were a total of only 3 from the Village, himself being one and Mary Graetzer another. He has not been in contact with the third donor, and therefore could not make the name public.
Presentations from Aquatic Invasive Management (AIM) and Allied Biological:
On behalf of the Environmental Advisory committee, Chair Susan Goodfellow gave a brief recap of the Eurasian Water Milfoil situation the Village is currently facing in all three of its lakes. Back in October, the Board agreed to finance a study of aquatic plant life in Tuxedo Lake, which resulted in the clear identification of Eurasian Water Milfoil, an aggressive evasive weed, which if left unchecked, spreads rapidly and can literally consume entire lakes with its density. Subsequently, the weed was discovered in Pond #3. Chris Doyle, Senior Aquatic Biologist for Allied Biological (the firm who conducted the study,) met with members of the Environmental committee during the month of February to further discuss the results and help them to determine an action plan for mitigating the problem. At the same time, he was asked to review the Lakes Management Plan prepared for the Village by Princeton Hydro back in 2009 for relevant recommendations. Following this meeting, at the request of the Environmental committee, Allied put together several proposals detailing various lakes management services, which were submitted, to the Board. Mr. Doyle was in attendance to further outline these proposals and answer any questions the Board might have. Also in attendance was Andrew Lewis of Aquatic Invasive Management, a company from the Adirondacks with extensive experience in removing Eurasian Water Milfoil. Mr. Lewis was the first to present. He began by giving a brief history of AIM, a hand-harvesting firm out of Lake Placid that got its start in Adirondack Park with the first ever lake-wide Eurasian Water Milfoil hand harvesting management effort. AIM prefers hand harvesting because it allows them to selectively remove of the invasive plant while leaving native growth in tact to compete with re-emergent Milfoil and provide fish habitat and structure. This helps to prevent major shock to a lake system. With time and experience they have been able to refine their equipment, eliminating complexity and as a result their harvesting efficiency has improved as has speed and capability. AIM is generally able to bring a body of water into its maintenance phase in just 1 or 2 years. The small size of Tuxedo Lake combined with the low level of plant life that exists there should make it easier to manage. If approached now with the right level of effort and resources, Mr. Lewis believed costs would decrease with time. AIM has presented the Board with a detailed proposal for Tuxedo Lake which consists of having a two-diver crew spend a total of two non-consecutive weeks hand-harvesting, with the initial harvest taking place sometime in the month of July, and a secondary harvest in either August or September. If agreed to, this should enable them to get ahead of the problem and therefore reduce the costs of management moving forward. The cost for this service would be $14, 818.
The Aim proposal can be viewed here.
Mr. Lewis then opened the floor to questions.
Edgar Stegmann inquired as to the method of harvesting, specifically whether only the tops of the plants would be removed or if they would be dug up “roots and all”.
Mr. Lewis explained that the plants would be removed “roots and all” and that anything short of this would leave fragments behind that would continue to produce more Milfoil. Mr. Stegmann wondered how the weed had come to be in Tuxedo Lake to begin with.
Mr. Lewis could not offer a concrete answer to this question, rather there were numerous possibilities ranging from migratory birds to wind to fishing lures. It is impossible to determine the exact cause.
Trustee Zgonena asked what it was about the climate in Tuxedo Lake that allowed the weed to grow in such an abundant manor.
Mr. Lewis explained that the climate was not the trouble, rather because the Milfoil is an alien plant (not native to this area) it doesn’t have any natural competitors to limit it and therefore it out-competes all the native plants and because nothing eats it or otherwise controls it effectively, it wins the contest among plants for sunlight. It then creates an almost cornfield-like effect under the water, growing in dense form, creating algae and causing all sorts of problems for the lake.
Mary Graetzer asked about the other two lakes and Mr. Lewis replied that they were definitely at risk and that it was important for the Village to survey them, determine where the Milfoil was located and come up with a plan of attack as soon as possible. Compared to Tuxedo Lake, the Wee Wah and Pond #3 are more fertile and therefore more accommodating to plant growth, which will support an aggressive Milfoil problem more easily.
David McFadden inquired as to whether AIM was a union outfit, which it is not. He then asked for the man-hour cost for the project and was informed that it would break down to $61 per man per hour. The complete crew consists of two divers and a surface tender, who all receive the same rate of pay. Mr. Lewis explained that a lot of the cost comes from OSHA requirements combined with insurance and cost of equipment. Mr. McFadden then asked about the divers certifications and was informed that they all had medical 02-certification as well as standard open water diver certification. Next, Mr. McFadden wanted to know if management of aquatic invasives was a competitive field when he was informed that it was, he asked Mayor Wilson if the Village had received more than one bid. Mayor Wilson in turn asked Mrs. Goodfellow how many other firms she had spoken with and she responded that the committee had reached out to a number of firms but had not sent out an RFP. Mr. McFadden wanted to know if there were any plans to send one or if the Board intended to go with one bid. He was informed that this topic would be broached later in the discussion and that the current focus was project education.
Trustee Zgonena wanted to know if there was any reliable or consistent form of State and/or Federal funding available for a project of this nature.
He was informed that although it would bear some looking into, there wass limited funding available and it was doubtful that the Village would qualify.
Trustee Neuhauser asked about the depth-zone for the Milfoil and Mr. Lewis informed her that it grows at about 15 feet. Because the Tuxedo Lake drops off and becomes deep quite quickly, this should make the problem easier to manage there, however he predicted that it would pose more of a problem in the Wee Wah Lake and Pond #3 because they are shallower bodies of water. Typically once fragments get into lakes of smaller size they spread rapidly and Mr. Lewis cautioned that the longer the Village waited to take action the more expensive it would be come to deal with.
Trustee Zgonena asked Mr. Lewis to outline how the Milfoil spreads.
Mr. Lewis explained that Milfoils’ favorite method of spreading is fragmentation, or simply breaking apart. When this occurs, small pieces of the plant touch town and produce roots, which create a new plant. Milfoil can also shoot out both underground and surface roots to create new plants in vine-like fashion.
Trustee Heywood asked whether the Village should consider the presence of Milfoil to be a “forever problem.”
Mr. Lewis responded that sadly, once Milfoil is in a lake, it’s there for a very long time and the goal becomes making the cost of managing it as low as possible.
Trustee Heywood then inquired as to how the AIM equipment would be powered, considering the restrictions on gas-powered motors that exist on Tuxedo Lake.
Mr. Lewis assured the Board that AIM would be able to work within these constraints.
Mayor Wilson asked what further costs the Village could expect to incur down the road from this type of management program and what other actions they could take (in addition to working with AIM) to help mitigate the problem.
Mr. Lewis reiterated that his costs would go down over time. He recommended that the Village cultivate a volunteer base to help with surface spotting and possibly diving as well.
The Mayor then inquired about the frequency of management and whether Mr. Lewis felt that the Village would require 2 weeks of service every year for the next several years. Mr. Lewis responded that while two weeks would definitely be required this year in order to get ahead of the problem, by next year the probability was high that only one week would be necessary. He anticipates a relatively easy time in managing Tuxedo Lake but again expressed his concern about the other two lakes because of their depth and high level of fertility. Again, he advised that the faster the Village could get ahead on those two lakes with a survey from Allied and subsequent removal and management plans, the less it would cost the Village in the long term.
Mayor Wilson asked for an estimate of survey costs.
Mrs. Goodfellow commented that surveying was more Mr. Doyle’s territory and turned things over to him to address the proposed surveys and the rational for the way they would be conducted.
After officially introducing himself and thanking the Board for their time, Mr. Doyle provided a brief history for Allied Biological, which is located in Hackettstown NJ. Allied first became aware of the Village’s Milfoil problem this past October when they completed a vegetation survey along the perimeter of Tuxedo Lake and confirmed the weeds presence in two distinct locations. Since the completion of this survey, Mr. Doyle has had several conversations with Mrs. Goodfellow, who has indicated that she feels it is important that the Village establish a relationship with a professional lake management firm. Mr. Doyle has also conferred with Mr. Lewis regarding the current state of the infestation and has provided him with mapping information, which Mr. Lewis used in putting together the AIM proposal. Mrs. Goodfellow requested that Allied also put together a number of proposals detailing a host of lake management services they could provide that the Village might find useful, not only in combating the Eurasian Water Milfoil infestation, but also some more general management services that they feel are important. Most of these stem from the watershed study completed back in 2009.
The Allied proposals can be viewed below.
2012 AQUATIC VEGETATION MAPPING SURVEY WEE-WAH and LITTLE WEE-WAH LAKES
2012 AQUATIC VEGETATION MAPPING SURVEY TUXEDO LAKE
PROFESSIONAL CONSULTING SERVICES LAKE MANAGEMENT STUDIES
PHYTOPLANKTON AND ZOOPLANKTON SURVEYS
LAKE MAPPING SERVICE TUXEDO LAKE, LITTLE WEE-WAH LAKE, WEE-WAH LAKE
Mayor Wilson expressed concern over the health of Village streams and specifically what they might be discharging into the lakes. He asked Mr. Doyle for his suggestions regarding stream studies.
Mr. Doyle replied that Allied Biological does not do a lot of stream work as streams and lakes are “two different beasts.” While Allied could certainly perform some of these types of studies, he recommended that the Village might be better off choosing a firm that specializes in stream work.
The Mayor then asked for a brief outline of the proposed studies, which Mr. Doyle provided.
Allied has recommended vegetation surveys for all three lakes in order to fully assess the Milfoil situation. While the smaller lakes are certainly a concern, it would be important to address Tuxedo Lake first because it is the reservoir and it feeds the other two lakes. The previous survey was completed in October, which Mr. Doyle advised was not the optimal time to conduct a plant survey because many of the plants were already dying back. Surveys of this nature are normally completed in July or August. Ideally the survey would provide an update on the status of invasive species’ status as well as information about the native plants that exist in the Lake. This second part is extremely important because they don’t want to remove native species. .
The cost of a Survey for Tuxedo Lake would be roughly $3,000 and the two smaller lakes would be just under that amount. All surveys would be GPS logged for tracking purposes.
Mayor Wilson inquired as to whether the cost of the follow-up surveys would be similar in amount.
Mr. Doyle informed him that surveying costs would remain about the same although they might go down a bit as much of the data would already exist in GPS. In general, costs are based on the number of plants that exist in the lake. The more plants there are, the longer it takes to collect the data, the higher the cost of the survey.
Aside from tracking the Milfoil, Mayor Wilson wondered what other benefits would come from conducting the surveys.
Mr. Doyle explained that the surveys would provide the Village with a full knowledge of what is growing in the lake and identify any additional invasives that might be exist. More importantly, they would also identify the “good guys” or the native species that are growing in the lake in addition to any endangered plants that might be there. Before the system can be effectively managed, it must be fully identified. This would be the ultimate goal of the proposed surveys.
Trustee Heywood inquired about the overall length of commitment involved.
He was informed that Eurasian Water Milfoil removal involves a commitment of numerous years. As for the other surveys, it would depend on what the long-term goals of the Village are David McFadden asked Mr. Doyle whether, in his capacity as a Lake Manager, he could make a strong argument against simply using a chemical to eradicate the Milfoil in the two spots where it has been confirmed in Tuxedo Lake. He wondered if this might not be a cheaper option considering that the weed does not exist in huge volumes.
Mr. Doyle explained that while a chemical could be used there would be a pretty extensive permitting process involved. In his view, the situation in Tuxedo Lake is “hand-pull-able” and he strongly recommended that the Village go that route. One of the infested areas is right along the dam shore and if the Village decided to use an herbicide in that area, they would need to first stop the flow of water there, which would be extremely difficult. In the long run, while chemicals might be a slightly cheaper option, Mr. Doyle does not believe the difference in cost would be that great.
The Mayor commented that the Village already received a great deal of “push back” from residents with regard to the use of non-toxic lawn sprays and that he could not imagine what the push back might be if they decided to move forward with adding a “safe herbicide” to the drinking water.
Trustee Heywood asked Mr. Doyle what the implications would be if the Village decided to put treatment off for a year.
Mr. Doyle indicated that the cost of removal and management could very quickly escalate from $14,000 to $50,000. He further commented that he believed that the infestation was relatively new and that it would only spread and get worse over time if not properly managed. Like Mr. Lewis, he championed the idea of building a dedicated volunteer base to help with long-term management.
Finally, Mr. Doyle touched on the proposed Phytoplankton sampling. In recent years, the Village has experienced Phytoplankton blooms (otherwise known as Cyano Bacteria) in the Wee Wah during the summer months. Last year, the water was closed to swimming for several weeks as a result of a particularly aggressive bloom. Phytoplankton sampling would help the Village to stay ahead of the blooms by identifying when they might occur, which would in turn give them an idea as to when the water should be treated. The cost of the proposed baseline study, which would include sampling in multiple locations on 5 different dates, would be just under $4,000. Another option would be to have the Village draw its own samples and submit them to Allied for testing (via a specific protocol) at a cost of $125 per sample.
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss reported that the department is in receipt of a 100kw generator, which was kindly donated by a Village resident. The generator is in need of some repair, but they have been able to disassemble the motor and should only need to invest a few hundred dollars for parts. While the Village will have to bear the expense of installation and propane, the overall cost will be far less than purchasing a generator would be.
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of January:
Non-criminal Complaints: 44
Property Damage Complaints: 1
Traffic Summonses: 20
Intrusion Alarms: 12 (all false)
Fire Alarms: 1 (false)
Medical Calls: 2
Assists Given to The Town of Tuxedo Police: 3
Assists Received from The Town of Tuxedo Police: 1
Additionally, 9,486 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village through the Front Gate.
January was a relatively quiet month. The department continues to work with John Ledwith on getting a new generator hooked up and have several BIDs out to this regard. Clear-out efforts have been completed in the old Police Station building. Bill Fairclough has begun work on replacing one of the kitchen floors in the current station. The work is expected to last a couple of days and will necessitate parking for officers in the front lot. Finally, the department has purchased two 2 bear-proof garbage cans to combat what was becoming a daily run-in with a local bear.
Resolution To Appoint Police Department Personnel - Deputy Mayor du Pont reported having met with Michael Coleman, a current candidate for a P/T officer position in the Village. The meeting went well and Trustee du Pont commented that he was extremely impressed with Mr. Coleman, who had clearly done his homework on the Village and has a clear understanding of the position at hand. He also possesses a solid set of communication skills and is, in the Deputy Mayor’s opinion, a solid, mature, well spoken individual. Approval is recommended.
Trustee Heywood inquired as to whether this was an additional hire for the department or if Mr. Coleman would be replacing another officer.
Chief Sanford explained that Mr. Coleman would be replacing David Yates, who was recently hired as a part-time officer, but discovered after accepting the job that, despite having attended the Police Academy, he did not have the necessary college credits to become an officer. Therefore, the Department is looking to re-hire Mr. Yates as a Traffic Guard and bring in Mr. Coleman as a replacement officer.
Deputy Mayor du Pont interjected that in fairness to Mr. Yates he wanted to make sure the Board understood that he had not purposely misrepresented himself, rather Mr. Yates believed he was going to receive credit for the time he spent working as a Gate Guard, but unfortunately, he did not.
Additionally, the department is looking to re-hire P/T Officer Stephen Colantonio. Mr. Colantonio has been, for a number of years, a Senior Investigator for the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and was recently offered a job from the CEO of Este Lauder. As a result, he has officially resigned his post with both Rockland County and the Village of Tuxedo Park. However, he is still willing to work in the Village and if re-hired the Village will no longer have to contribute to his retirement fund. Following minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with all three hires.
Click here to review a copy of the Building Department report for the month of January.
Village Improvement Advisory Committee – On behalf of the V.I.A.C. Trustee Heywood reported that following a meeting in the month of January, the committee had come up with several project ideas, which he proceeded to outline as follows:
1. Mailboxes – The committee recommends the Village look into possibly replacing mailbox platforms in areas where several mailboxes are linked together with some type of synchronized design (such as a pole) to create a neater, more uniform appearance.
2. DPW and Water Treatment Plant – Both buildings are in serious need of repainting and the committee would like to move forward by researching the costs. They would also like to explore the idea of planting an extension to the berm along the road in front of the DPW building..
3. Street Lights – The Mayor has asked V.I.A.C. to investigate the replacement of fixtures along Tuxedo Road in a style similar to those located in the parking lot of the Tuxedo Club.
4. Road Repairs and Storm Water Management – The committee met with DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss to consider a long range plan for road repairs. Additionally the Mayor has asked the committee to work with the Village Engineer to discuss various ideas for storm water management, including but not limited to the addition of swales and rain gardens in various spots throughout the Village.
5. Forest Understory – The Committee is concerned with the excessive use of leaf blowers to clear understory on various properties, which may prevent growth from establishing itself. While culling the deer was one approach to helping the forest understory, the V.I.A.C. is requesting expert advice on this issue. They would like BOT permission to meet with an arborist to discuss.
6. Budget – The committee is requesting a budget of up to $1000 for the 2012/2013 year to be used for small BOT approved projects.
7. Racetrack Pathways – the V.I.A.C. is requesting BOT approval for the DPW to clear the pathways circumnavigating the Racetrack. Trustee Heywood followed this request by expressing his personal concern about ticks in that area and he cautioned that those who venture down there should be sure to cover up and take necessary precautions.
The Board then briefly discussed the each of the ideas as presented.
Regarding the mailbox idea, Mayor Wilson reported that Building Inspector JohnLedwith had provided some photographs of posts that have a similar look to that of the recently installed Tuxedo Road Guide Rails. He commented that there would be two potential methods of moving forward with this project: either residents finance it entirely or the Village could pay for the posts while the residents pay for the mailboxes. He noted that there are only 4 or 5 locations throughout the Village where this would be necessary. David McFadden scoffed at this and wondered who would be paying for the project. He further commented that he felt it was ironic that during his time as Mayor his idea of Design Guidelines had been ridiculed and considered by some to be too onerous, however now the Board was discussing the idea of a “Government-in-his-face” tactic of regulating mailbox design. Mayor Wilson replied that as a resident who owns a mailbox located in one of these banks, he does not consider the idea to be “Government-in-his-face” but rather “Government-helping.” He reiterated the two possible methods of project financing. Mr. McFadden commented that his question had been rhetorical and emphasized the point that the project would be an expense regardless of who paid for it.
The idea of repainting the DWP and Water Treatment Plant was then discussed. Trustee Neuhauser reported that several residents had approached her with regard to the Water Treatment plant and volunteered to pay for the paint. She would recommend a similar color scheme to that of the building located on the Wee Wah Beach Club property, which is dark green with brown trim. Of course, the project would need BAR approval before it could go forward. The Trustees were in agreement that the Village should move forward with the Water Treatment plant and it was agreed that the process should be initiated in hopes of having the job completed by Memorial Day. As for extension of the berm in front of the DPW, the Mayor wondered if this could be done using the woodchips currently located in the lot across the street from that facility. DPW Superintendent Voss responded that it might be possible, but he recommended an earthen berm perhaps lined with evergreens instead.
Expanding on the streetlight replacement idea, Mayor Wilson explained that this was the result of a discussion he had had with Trustee Zgonena and the hope was that used lights might be recovered and installed. Trustee Zgonena commented that in the course of various architecture restoration projects he had come across piles of discarded antique street poles from New York City and that often times when making a find of this nature, the poles were being sold from scrap. That being said, he stated that one never knows when they will stumble across something like this and while he had seen some a few years ago, he had not run across anything lately. The Mayor added that in his view, should the Village get lucky enough to run across something like this again, he felt they should jump on it because it would complete the look of Tuxedo Road and help create an excellent first impression when entering the Village.
With regard to Tuxedo Road, Trustee Zgonena wondered if there was any way that the Village could tidy up stumps and left over fallen trees, now that the initial clean-up from the fall storms had been completed.
The Mayor agreed that this work needed to be done and suggested that Ornamental Tree should be brought back in.
Touching on storm water management, Mayor Wilson explained that the idea behind the proposed rain gardens was that they might be able to help in this regard. The Village is currently working with a storm water engineer, who is helping to establish a plan for Continental Road. Once this is in place they hope to try and integrate the plan in other parts of the Village where there are similar issues. If the addition of rain gardens could help to mitigate some of the problems, Mayor Wilson is all for the idea.
Susan Goodfellow inquired as to whether the V.I.A.C. would be looking at the DWP site as well as a potential spot for a rain garden. She noted that as part of the lakes management study, issues with how the DPW parking area is sloped were brought to light and that a rain garden might help with this problem. The Mayor agreed that it would be a good idea to look into this and in fact suggested that it should become a top priority.
Public Health Committee – On behalf of the Public Health Committee, Chair Cami Fischer expressed gratitude to DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss, Police Chief Ken Sanford, Officers Tiebeck and Eirend, John Ledwith and Coco Labar, for their help with the recent deer culling effort. The work of these 6 men was instrumental in making the effort such a success. The Village should see a decrease of 238 deer next year and Mrs. Fischer expects that the lime disease rates will also drop considerably. There are still roughly 52 deer in the Village. There should be 10-20 in order to achieve true forest regeneration and Mrs. Fischer cautioned that the effort would need to be maintained.
The Mayor inquired about the final cost of the initiative and was informed that Mrs. Fischer had donated roughly $8,000 to cover the expense of meals, rooms and venison processing. White Buffalos final invoice is just over $31,000, which is roughly $6,000 more than what was approved. Mrs. Fischer pointed out that $7,000 was spent on police training and without this expense, the project would have come in under budget.
Mr. McFadden inquired as to whether or not the culling had been put out to bid and Mrs. Fischer responded that it had not as there was only one company in the business that does this type of work.
Environmental Committee – On Behalf of the Environmental Committee, Susan Goodfellow stated that the Board had been presented with many proposals earlier in the evening and she hoped that it was clear that certain issues were immediate priorities while others should be seriously considered. She suggested that the bathymetry studies were something that would be great to have because they would provide good background information and could be very useful to the Village moving forward. The zooplankton studies, in her view, might be a little strange and she was not sure the Village needed to pursue them as long as the lake levels were being impacted by work on the dam. She is planning to attend a NIFOLA conference in the month of May, where state experts (including those who conducted the cyano bacteria studies) will be present. She commented that she felt strongly that the Village must develop a better plan for looking at the lakes and determining what was happening with algae as it happened before a bloom occurs. She recognized that because of state cut backs samples of this nature might not be considered emergency samples and that the Village might need to take advantage of what Mr. Doyle had proposed, whereby the they would draw the samples themselves and submit them via a particular protocol for testing.
The proposals that are of the greatest immediate importance are the aquatic plant surveys, which she highly recommended. She reiterated the importance of determining the scope of the problem and dealing with it as soon as possible and commented that the AIM outfit came very highly recommended by people who have had direct experience with this type of problem. She remarked that she felt comfortable recommending them. Allied Biological is also a highly regarded outfit and she recommended moving forward with them as well. In her view, the Village needs to have a consultant available on an as-needed basis. Professional guidance is key to ensuring that the Village is working to combat this problem in an appropriate and effective way. She recommended that the Board vote on the surveys and abatement program as well as the consultant contract right away.
David McFadden commented that he wanted to go on record as recommending that the Village put the brakes on this project. He commented that while he understood everything that Mrs. Goodfellow had said and he appreciated the amount of work that had gone into the project thus far, he felt that the bid process should not be ignored. He pointed out that the process of bidding was meant to take emotions out of a situation and represent the interest of the taxpayer as opposed to one individual or committee. In order to represent the taxpayer properly, he feels it’s extremely important for the Village to procure multiple bids, which would be the only fair way to remove the emotion from the issue and assure the taxpayers that there is more than one option available to them. He suggested that a public hearing might even be appropriate considering the high cost of this particular project. Money in the Village is extremely tight and he does not understand what the rush to move forward is.
Mayor Wilson requested that Mr. McFadden reserve his remarks for the Public Comment period.
Mrs. Goodfellow continued and commented that the Mayor had also requested that the committee look into the bio-assessment of Village streams, particularly that of Warwick Brook. This is an important issue because development has been proposed along many of the streams that flow into our lake. In order for the Village to have the strongest position in dealing with these projects and demanding accountability, she believes there is a need for an assessment program that demonstrates the quality of the water coming into the streams. She cautioned that once there had been an impact and a stream had been polluted, it would be too late. She pointed out that therein lies the value of having on-going testing programs for the Village lakes as they provide standards that allow the Village to assess any impact that might occur as a result of development issues.
Mrs. Goodfellow provided the Board with some information from Kelly Nolan a Senior Taxonomist with Watershed Assessment Associates and asked for some direction as to how she should move forward.
Mayor Wilson responded that his interest in stream bio-monitoring stemmed from the large woodchip pile located at the Town recycling center and he expressed concern that should that material leach into the surrounding wetlands, it would be important to know whether or not those wetlands were discharging into the streams that feed the Village lakes. He asked Mrs. Goodfellow what she felt the priorities were in this area.
She replied that in her view the most important streams to look at were those streams that were affected either by situations that currently exist or by potential development. As more development has been proposed along Warwick Brook, this particular stream is of critical interest.
There followed a discussion of proposed development at the International Paper site by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have purchased the property and plan to use it as a staging site while they construct their international center in the Town of Wariwck. As part of the application, they are looking to construct several dormitories, which would house up to 500 people. Historically, the Town of Tuxedo has not allowed construction of dormitories, however the Witnesses have applied for religious exemption, which could have an effect on the application process. Storm water run-off from construction of this nature could potentially have serious impacts on Warwick Brook.
David McFadden appealed to each Board member regarding the proposed lake management project, commenting that in his view there is no rush, although he does agree that it needs to be done. He suggested that the Board should acquire at least 2 competing bids and also hold a public hearing or two before.
He then thanked the Board in advance for following through on the design guidelines, commenting that the idea, which was his, had been passed unanimously in 2005 as a local law. He further commended the Board for their use of Consulting Architect Stephen Tilly and stated that it was he who had recommended Mr. Tilly for the job back in 2005.
Moving on to Mayor Wilson’s disclosure of Tuxedo Land Trust donors, Mr. McFadden reminded the Mayor that at Januarys’ BOT meeting, in response to Mr. McFaddens’ concern over a potential conflict of interest regarding building permit requirements, he had promised to release a list of names but had broken this promise. As a result, Mr. McFadden stated that he felt there was a strong possibility such a conflict of interest existed when it came to requiring, or not requiring, building permits for the donors to Tuxedo Land Trust. He went on to say that he felt this was particularly ironic considering the fact that the Mayor had recently openly criticized the Town of Tuxedo’s lack of transparency in the Times Herald Record and accused Supervisor Dolan of keeping secrets.
Mayor Wilson reminded Mr. McFadden of the privacy issues that kept him form releasing the entire list of names
Mr. McFadden countered that the Mayor had only referenced 2011 donors and did not disclose any information about those who may have donated in 2010.
Mayor Wilson replied that he had not been Mayor in 2010.
Mr. McFadden stated that tin his view his did not matter.
Next, Mr. McFadden brought up the Village website, commenting that the old website had many features that the new one does not have and had been very popular with 25,880 hits in its first year. He asked the Mayor if he could explain why he had spent time and money on a new website which has less functionality than the old one.
Mayor Wilson replied that he had spent his personal time and money on the site.
Mr. McFadden inquired as to whether the Village had purchased a new domain name.
Mr. Wilson countered that he had purchased the domain name with his own money.
Mr. McFadden then asked why the Mayor had taken time away from important meetings to construct the site and the Mayor replied that time was what volunteerism wss all about.
Pushing the issue, Mr. McFadden once again inquired as to why the website had been changed. Mayor replied that the old site “sucked”
According to Mr. McFadden, however, a lot of people liked it and he wondered whether a survey had been conducted prior to the change.
Following some further bickering about the number of hits the old site received vs. the number the new site is receiving. Mr. McFadden suggested that the new site is operating in violation of the Village website policy, which the Board passed unanimously under his direction in November of 2005. He wondered whether this would continue or if the Board planned to pass an amendment to the policy.
When asked for specifics as to how the current site is in violation of Village policy, Mr. McFadden accused the Mayor of electioneering by way of linking his congressional campaign site to the Village site. Mayor Wilson denied this, commenting that the two sites are not linked.
Mr. McFadden then inquired of the Village Attorney whether he had reviewed the web policy with the Board to determine whether or not any resolutions were necessary.
Mr. Golden replied that he had not been the Village attorney in 2005, and that he had not been instructed to review the policy.
Mayor Wilson then commented that he felt it was ironic that Mr. McFadden was bringing up electioneering because he recalled a similar accusation had been brought against Mr. McFaddem when he had run for congress and in fact, the website policy was originally established because Mr. McFadden had linked his campaign site to the Villages site.
Mr. McFadden confirmed this and commented that this was his reasoning for bringing the issue to light now. He suggested that the Board carefully review the policy to determine whether or not amendments were necessary.
Last but not least, Mr. McFadden brought up Tuxedo Land Trust’s lawsuit against the Town of Tuxedo and inquired as to how much money, if any, the Town has spent to date fighting the suit. He stated that he had heard estimates in the $100,000 range. Mayor Wilson replied that this was probably a fair estimate.
Mr. McFadden then wanted to know if the Mayor had considered how many Town programs would be cut or how much taxes were going to increase as a result of the suit.
Mayor Wilson countered that, if built, Tuxedo Reserve would likely be tax negative to the tune of $1,000,000 a year.
Mr. McFadden wanted to know how much he, as an individual taxpayer, would have to “kick up” to defend the lawsuit.
The Mayor reasoned $1,000,000 per year tax negative housing development would surely be a much greater cost not to mention a more serious issue than a $100,000 lawsuit.
Mr. McFadden accused the Mayor of making assumptions about the developments outcome. Again he wanted to know if the Town would have to cut any services or programs as a result of the suit OR whether residents could expect their taxes to increase.
Attorney Rick Golden interjected that when the town is defending a lawsuit that challenges their planning and zoning, legally, the expenses can only be taken from a particular town fund (fund B) that taxes residents outside the Village. The suit would not be taxed to the residents inside the Village unless they were doing something improper.
Based on this information, Mr. McFadden wondered whether it would be fair to say that the residents living in the Town might experience a tax increase.
Mr. Golden responded that it would be fair to say that there would be more expense to the Town, but he could not say whether that would end up in the form of a tax increase.
Mr. McFadden then asked if it would be fair to say that there would be less money available for programs.
Mr. Golden responded that he could not answer that question because he did not know how the town would chose to offset the expense.
Mayor Wilson then pointed out that Mr. McFadden had recently made a post to the Tuxedo Farmer’s Market website advocating the construction of a $100,000,000 county building, where as there have been estimates to rehab the same building for $60,000,000. He asked Mr. McFadden why he thought that county taxpayers should pay $80,000,000 more for a new County building (other than the fact that the County exec is a Republican and Mr. McFadden is a Republican supporter)
Mr. McFadden asked Mayor Wilson whether or not his house was for sale.
The Mayor replied that it was not.
Mr. McFadden then wanted to know why he was being asked questions that had nothing to do with Village Business.
There followed a fairly short, but terse argument between the two men, following which Mr. McFadden announced that he would address his concerns regarding these expenses to the Town government.
Cami Fischer spoke out in support of Susan Goodfellows efforts and said that she knew of two residents who were certified divers who would probably be willing to help out.
Deputy Mayor du Pont commented that he was also certified and would be happy to help.
Jim Hays echoed the sentiments of support and stated that in response to Mr. McFaddens comments he felt Mrs. Goodfellow had made it very clear that the Villages’ two top priorities should be hand-pulling of the Milfoil and the lake surveys. Living and working in the Adirondacks, Mr. Hays has spent time working on these types of projects and he verified that the AIM outfit is good at what they do and has a fantastic reputation. He believes it would be very hard to find a better group. He cautioned that while the Village certainly could go out to bid if they wanted to, there was a time factor involved with the Milfoil and it was crucial, especially in the first year, that they get in there and get a handle on the situation. He believes that the Board needs to commit to this process and commit to it soon.
Deputy Mayor du Pont agreed and commented that as a result of the presentations, he now understood the importance of surveying the Wee Wah and Pond #3 as well. Without assessing the initial health of the lakes, it would be impossible to know what kind of action to take. He did not realize there was a problem in both of the smaller lakes.
Trustee Zgonena wondered if it might be desirable and/or possible and/or legal to organize something akin to a work session before making a decision so that the Board could closely review and digest the proposals with an actual plan rather than acting on the discussions that had just taken place.
Mayor Wilson responded that this was an issue that had been before the Board since October.
Trustee Zgonena agreed and said that it was probably time for the Board to digest the information and come up with an action plan.
Mr. Hays commented than an action plan had been proposed.
Mr. McFadden stated that when spending this kind of money, the information should be presented at a public hearing for the taxpayers.
Trustee Zgonena made another plea for a work session.
The Mayor commented that in his view, having spent the past two hours discussing this issue qualified as a work session, especially considering that this was not the first time it had been discussed. He wondered what more there was to work out? For him, it has come down to an issue of timing in terms of whether or not the Board should approve selected proposals that evening or wait until March. It was clear to him that initial diving should take place in July, which meant a survey must be done in May or June at the latest.
Mrs. Goodfellow reminded that Board that Allied has recommended that the little lakes be surveyed during July, at the same time that AIM is in the Village hand-pulling so that the two outfits can communicate and appropriate, timely action can be taken.
Trustee Heywood commented that he felt the Board should move ahead and approve both the hand-pulling and the surveys.
Trustee Zgonena wanted to know how long the Board had been in possession of the proposals, commenting that that evening was the first time he had seen them. He stated that with all due respect, he was not comfortable committing the proposed amount of money right then. He would be more than happy to come back in a week or perhaps even sooner, but there was a great deal of money on the table and he would like time to read through the proposals. He went on to say that when the culling was being discussed, Mrs. Fischer had come before the Board with at least two proposals and that while ultimately they had gone with White Buffalo, they had been given a choice.
Mrs. Fischer interjected that this was not entirely accurate because White Buffalo is the only company that does what they do.
Mrs. Goodfellow stated that while there certainly were other management groups out there, none of them had been recommended.
Trustee Zgonena then requested a recess to read the information.
Trustee Neuhauser pointed out that the Board had been in receipt of the information for several days and Trustee du Pont concurred.
The Mayor suggested they might hold off on voting on the diving but move forward with the surveys.
Mrs. Goodfellow interjected that scheduling the diving might be an issue and that the Board should consider this when timing their vote. She also offered to provide the Board a list of the other “non-recommended” outfits.
Trustee du Pont commented that he was prepared to vote on both diving and surveying.
Trustees Heywood and Neuhauser concurred.
Mayor Wilson recommended that Trustee Zgonena take a few minutes to review the proposals.
While he was doing so, Jake Matthews commented that the lack of lighting in the Village Office parking lot posed a dangerous situation and while he recognized that the Village probably did not favor the installation of giant lights, perhaps one smaller light could be installed.
The Mayor agreed and replied that there was a motion sensor there but it was not reliable.
Having read the documents, Trustee Zgonena commented he did not disagree with what was being proposed in any way, but he objected to the speed with which it was being done. He stated that he didn’t feel that the Board had proper preparation and they did not have multiple bids the way they have had in other cases. However, he acknowledged that the specialty of these things was quite specific and he wondered how likely it was that the Village would find another outfit with the same list of qualifications. He agreed to move forward, but reiterated that he was uncomfortable with it.
Mrs. Goodfellow responded that she appreciated Trustee Zgonenas’ point of view and felt that it was correct however as a volunteer she did not have the time to go out and seek multiple bids particularly considering that they have been advised by experts that the other companies are not ones that the Village should hire AND they are more expensive. Therefore, if the Village would like to move forward in this regard, they would require administrative help with collecting the bids.
Mayor Wilson pointed out that because the total cost was less than $35,000, the Village was not required to put the project out for bid.
Attorney Golden concurred that biding was not required. In fact, he informed them that these types of services were exempt from public bidding, even if their cost was greater than $35,000. The Board has the option of getting written quotes, but as per the local Procurement Code would not be required to go with the lowest one.
Again, Mr. McFadden appealed to the Board and suggested they take more time to appropriately inform the public and gather at least 2 other written quotes for the project. Although law does not require this, “when the storm comes from concerned taxpayers” there will at least be two other quotes that they can refer to.
Trustee Zgonena commented that the difference in this particular case, similar White Buffalo, was that the Village was not purchasing a one-time piece of depreciable equipment, but essentially committing themselves to an annuity in the form of an active maintenance program. While the sub $30,000 number appeared to be within the guidelines for not needing multiple bids, the lifetime sum would be much greater than that and this was something they should consider.
Mayor Wilson replied that in his view the Village Lakes were priceless entities and that he did not feel that spending $35,000 to ensure their health should be such a difficult decision for the Board to make. Without the integrity of the lakes, the whole value of the Village and all the individual properties within were at risk.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with the Aquatic Mapping Survey for Tuxedo Lake ($3,395), The Aquatic Mapping Surveys for the Wee Wah and Pond #3 ($3,055), The Eurasian Milfoil Removal ($14,818), and the Bathymetric Map Study of Wee Wah lake ($3,995) and the Sedimentation Map Study of Wee Wah Lake ($5,190). As these last two have direct impact on the work to the Wee Wah dam, they will be financed using the Capital Budget.
RESOLUTION TO ADOPT OFFICIAL UNDERTAKINGS:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting Offical Undertakings, which is basically insurance the protects the Village in the event that elected officials take money from the Village..
DISCUSSION re FENCE LAW:
Trustee Neuhauser reported that the BAR had made their final tweeks to the Design Guidelines the previous Thursday and expected to submit them to the BOT for approval in March. Once they are in place, the Board can officially begin to hash out the Fence Law. She had some suggestions, but commented that the “upshot of it all” was that she believes ALL fences should come before the BAR for approval.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to whether the new legislation would cover existing fences that did not receive BAR approval.
Trustee Neuhaser replied that the Village has begun sending letters to those residents who have installed fencing without permits letting them know that they are potentially in violation and that there may be consequences.
Mayor Wilson wondered how long offenders would be given to come into compliance and suggested that at a prior meeting the Board had discussed the idea of allowing them 1 year.
Deputy Mayor du Pont commented that this seemed like a long time.
Attorney Golden commented that these details and others needed to be hashed out so that the Board could provide him with some direction for drafting the legislation.
The Board then briefly reviewed the section of the Design Guidelines that pertained to fences and had a short conversation about deer fencing.
David McFadden interjected, stating that he believed the Board would have to conduct a Public Hearing before they could approve the guidelines.
Deputy Mayor du Pont concurred.
Trustee Zgonena inquired as to whether or not there was a way for the Village to ask those residents who have put up fencing to landscape the fences. He further commented that in the past, residents who have not complied with the code have been dragged in front of the BAR immediately and forced to come into compliance. He does not understand why these offenders are not being held to the same standard..
Mr. McFadden agreed, stating that he felt that everyone should be treated fairly and equally.
Trustee Zgonena expressed concern over the fact that historically certain residents have been dragged before the BAR for painting their homes without a permit, however others have been allowed to install permanent electro-mechanical fencing with no consequence. Calling this both a blemish and a black mark on the community, he stated that he could not even drive down East Lake Road anymore because he could not stand to look at the fencing.
David McFadden took this opportunity to once again raise the question as to whether or not the residents in question were receiving special treatment because they had donated to the Tuxedo Land Trust. Again, he accused Mayor Wilson of breaking his promise to release a complete list of donors to the Public. Again Mayor Wilson explained that he could not release the names without permission. Following some further bickering, the Board moved on to audit claims before entering Executive Session.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 28, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
a. VIAC - Michelle Lindsay/Alan Heywood
b. Public Health Committee - Cami Fischer
c. Environmental Committee - Susan Goodfellow
8. Public Comment
9. Resolution to appoint Police Department personnel
10. Resolution to adopt Official Undertakings
11. Resolution to approve meeting minutes from 1/24/12
12. Discussion re Fence Law
13. Audit of Claims
14. Motion to Adjourn
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Board of Trustees Meeting January 24, 2012
The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday January 24, 2012 at 7pm. Trustee Zgonena was absent.
Mayor Wilson began his update with a brief outline of the evenings’ agenda. He then commented that as President Obama would giving the State of The Union address later that evening, he felt it was appropriate to deliver a State of The Village update as well. He began by reporting that Village finances are running at about the same level as they were at this time last year. The expectation is that the Village will come in at or under budget for this fiscal year and everything seems to be moving ahead well in this regard. There were some unexpected issues that occurred this past year, starting with the water main break, followed by the earthquake and Hurricane Irene as well as fall-out from the October snowstorm. The Village also endured two 6-day power outages. It is clear that the CodeRED emergency system was a big help throughout all of this in making sure that residents were kept informed throughout these emergencies. Other highlights of the year include the financing of a municipal bond for 20 years at 3 ½%, the installation of new guide rails on Tuxedo Road (for which the Mayor gave credit to former Mayor Houston Stebbins and the V.I.A.C) and the installation of a generator at the Village office. Additionally, the generator at the Village Police Station is undergoing repairs and thanks to the kind donation of a Village resident, the DPW will soon have a working, refurbished generator as well. Deputy Mayor du Pont has done a great job in helping to negotiate the new police contract, and the Village has a new website. The latter is good for a number of reasons, particularly as beginning in the month of February an amendment to the New York State Sunshine law will require the Village to begin posting certain information prior to all public meetings and the new site will make that process a great deal easier internally. Looking ahead, within the next month the Village hopes to move forward with its deer culling program as well as implementation of a new storm water management program which, over the course of the next 3-5 years, should help the Village to more easily identify and mitigate storm water issues. Wee Wah dam repairs are on going with work expected to continue in the spring and repairs to the Mountain Farm pump station will soon be underway. The Village is exploring the idea of a tree culling program in order to rid the Village of trees that are seemingly in good shape but have begun rotting in the middle (these are the types of trees that topple over easily in storms, contributing greatly to power outage issues) Finally, the Board expects to receive BAR design guidelines within the next 30 to 60 days and will then begin to move forward with drafting and implementing a new fence law.
On behalf of the Village Police Department, Officer Ryan Eirand reported the following for the month of December:
Non-criminal Complaints – 35
Criminal Complaints – 4 (all closed by arrest)
Traffic Summonses Issued – 37
Fire Alarms – 3 (all false)
Intrusion Alarms – 7 (all false)
Assists given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 10
Assists received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2
Additionally, 9,044 un-tagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
3 Officers have also begun background training with White Buffalo. Whereas last year’s training consisted primarily of classroom instruction, this year the officers have been spending their time in the field, familiarizing themselves with the baiting sites as well as the sharp shooting. This type of “hands on” training has provided the officers with a better understanding of how White Buffalo operates and has better prepared them to take over the initiative moving forward.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss was not present, however Mayor Wilson reported that in addition to on-going road work, the department has been working with Cami Fischer and White Buffalo, aiding them in establishing the baiting sites.
Click here to read a copy of the Building Departments’ monthly report.
David McFadden directed his comments solely at Mayor Wilson directly, commenting that although he had made a campaign promise to cut Village expenses by 3 to 5% in his first year, siting the Police and DPW as targets, he had just signed contracts to increase these expenses. He asked the Mayor if he believed that he was breaking his campaign promise.
Mayor Wilson responded that he did not believe he was breaking his campaign promise. He pointed out that earlier in the evening, before Mr. McFadden had arrived, he had given a brief update on the fiscal budget and he then repeated the information for Mr. McFadden. He continued on to say that while there had been some unexpected expenses mainly due to storm damage, the Village’s legal expenses had been substantially lower this year, with $150,000 having been budgeted and only $50,000 having been spent. As it is not anticipated that these expenses will run much higher, the Village could be looking at a savings of roughly $75,000 in this area.
Mr. McFadden replied that these sounded like reductions in expenses rather than cuts and he reiterated his question, wanting to know exactly where Mayor Wilson was cutting 3 to 5% out of the budget in his first year, which is what he had promised during his campaign.
Mayor Wilson stated that he had just answered this question, and again referenced the reduction in legal expenses.
Mr. McFadden replied that he was not talking about that; rather he was talking about cutting expenses. He stated that Mayor Wilson had made a direct reference to the Police and DPW during his campaign, however he had just raised those contracts by roughly 3%. He repeated his question a third time, once again wanting to know where the Mayor was cutting the 3 to 5% as promised.
Regarding the DPW, Mayor Wilson commented that the Board had allocated $30,000 towards the purchase of a water truck, however rather than paying cash for the truck, they were planning to sign a 4 to 5-year lease.
Mr. McFadden commented that this sounded like an increase to him.
The Mayor disagreed, stating that the $30,000 had been allocated, but given the low rates that currently exist in the Market, it seemed a prudent, fiscal thing to move do.
In response, Mr. McFadden somewhat rudely stated his question for a fourth time, and again wanted to know if the Mayor felt he was breaking his campaign promise.
Mayor Wilson once again states that he did not believe he was breaking any promises and that he would be happy to sit down with Mr. McFadden and go through the budget with him.
Commenting “ That’s up to you. I didn’t make the promise. I didn’t run. You’re the one who ran and promised you’d do it” Mr. McFadden suggested that he was only trying to hold the Mayor accountable with his persistent line of questioning.
Deputy Mayor du Pont interjected that once the fiscal year had ended, they would be able to do a better assessment of where things stood and that currently only the Police contract had been renegotiated.
Mr. McFadden inquired as to whether they were planning to renegotiate the DPW contract as well.
Trustee du Pont replied that he did not know where the cuts would be made. He continued on to say that the issue they had to deal with was the mandated cost structures coming out of Albany, specifically as they relate to pensions and medical insurance, and that it was extremely difficult for the Village to control these costs. He then pointed out that Mr. McFadden should have an understanding of these issues considering he had served two terms as Mayor.
Mr. McFadden stated that he did appreciate this, however he was directing his questions specifically at Mayor Wilson because he was the one who had run and made the promise to begin with.
Mr. McFadden then commented that the Mayor had an ongoing history of accusing elected officials of corruption, favoritism and lack of transparency (for example Democrat and Town Supervisor Peter Dolan) and with this in mind, he inquired as to whether the Mayor was showing favoritism over the Village building permit process.
Mayor Wilson responded that he did not believe he had shown anyone favoritism and he asked Mr. Mcfadden what had prompted this question.
“Things that I have read on TPFYI about construction being done without permits by certain residents.” was Mr. McFadden’s response.
Once again, the Mayor informed Mr. McFadden that he did not believe the Board had shown any favoritism with building permits.
In response, Mr. McFadden then inquired as to whether “those residents” (he did not indicate which residents he was referring to) had required permits for the construction they had completed.
Mayor Wilson replied that he had no idea what Mr. McFadden was talking about and asked if he could be more specific.
Mr. McFadden did not answer this question, stating simply that he believed “that was enough.”
He then asked the Mayor to confirm his leadership role in the Tuxedo Land Trust, which he did. Mr. McFadden then suggested that as Mayor, Mayor Wilson he was in the position to make a lot of decisions that would have a direct effect on people, specifically which residents do or do not receive building permits. He asked the Mayor whether or not he would be willing to disclose the list of Village residents who had donated to the TLT.
The Mayor responded that he would be happy to provide this information, however he did not currently have it in front of him.
Mr. McFadden wondered when he could expect to receive the information and Mayor Wilson told him he would have it within a week.
Jake Matthews inquired as to when the last time the speed limit had been reviewed as a matter of course in the Village. He expressed concern over the 30mph speed limit and suggested that driving at this speed on many of the Village roads was in his view extremely risky for a number of reasons.
Mayor Wilson replied that a study had been completed 7 years ago, although ultimately nothing was done. He further commented that the Board had discussed the idea of lowering the speed limit for trucks to 25mph this past July but had discovered that there were legal issues involved.
Village Attorney Rock Golden stated that while the Village does have the right to reduce the speed limit, they cannot reduce it any lower than 30mph on a Village-wide basis without obtaining special legislation, from the State of New York and it is unlikely that the State would authorize this. That being said, the Village can reduce the limit to 25mph is selected sections provided there is proper signage. Limits can also be reduced to 15mph within a school zone
Trustee Heywood commented that the current Board had addressed the issue of speeding on at least two occasions and that the previous administration had also discussed it. He noted that Village Police have become much more diligent with enforcement. He also stated that there had been a perception that many of the culprits were not Village residents but that they did operate vehicles with tags on them and therefore, it had been suggested that the Village write to both the Tuxedo Park School and the Tuxedo Club and ask them to gently remind their members of the limit.
Mr. Matthews thanked the Board and commented that he had not raised the subject as an issue of enforcement as he believed the police did a fine job in that area. Having recently moved back to the Village he had noticed a sharp increase in the amount of traffic and the subsequent practice of speeding, and just wanted to know what the Boards thinking was on this issue. However it seems to him as though there would be a fair amount of State and legal hurdles involved with speed reduction.
The Mayor agreed, but commented that it was an important issue nonetheless and that the Board would be open to discussing it further moving forward.
INTERVIEW: NAN STOLZENBURG, CANDIDATE FOR VILLAGE PLANNING BOARD CONSULTANT:
The Village Planning Board has narrowed their search for a consultant down to two finalists. The first finalist, Nan Stolzenburg, presented the Board with a brief slide show outlining her qualifications before answering their questions in a brief interview.
Emphasizing her background in environmental studies, Ms. Stolzenburg talked about her depth of experience with other municipal Planning Boards, SEQRA, drafting and land use regulations and comprehensive strategic planning. Identifying herself as an advocate for the community, she told the Board that she believes the small size of her firm (2 people) allows for more collaborative and personal relationships with the communities in which she works and that helping municipalities to achieve their goals and visions while maintaining community character an important aspect of the job.
Mayor Wilson began the interview by referencing a 10-unit development project that is currently before the Village. He asked Ms. Stolzenburg if she felt comfortable working on the Environmental Assessment for a project of this size.
She responded that she did, and pointed to other, larger developments that she has worked on.
Deputy Mayor du Pont noted that Ms, Stolzenburg is based out of Albany and wondered how the Village would be billed for her travel time if she were to be hired.
Ms. Stolzenburg replied that if hired, she would bill the Village for mileage. Her hourly rate is $125.
Commenting that he was sure she had done her research, Trustee Heywood inquired as to what, if anything, Ms. Stolzenburg felt the community could or should be doing better.
She replied that while everything looks great on paper, she felt she needed to get to know the community better and become more familiar with it before she could answer a question of this nature.
Next, Mayor Wilson asked Ms. Stolzenburg about her experience in dealing with municipal reservoirs as well as the health of the streams that feed into them. Stressing the importance of this issue within the Village, he referenced among other things the recently discovered milfoil weed and commented that he was hopeful that Ms. Stoltenberg’s environmental background would be helpful in this area.
Ms. Stolzenburg replied that she believed it could and explained that although she did not complete testing or field work herself, as 1 of 33 certified environmental planners in the United States she did have experience in this area.
Finally, Trustee Heywood asked Ms. Stolzenburg is she felt the Village’s Historic status was a benefit or an impediment in terms of what she would be trying to accomplish as a planning consultant if hired. She responded by reiterating her stance as a community advocate and suggested that the answer to this question depended on the desires of the community.
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE WHITE BUFFALO CONTRACT:
An updated version of the contract with White Buffalo was reviewed. Addressing prior concerns about travel, lodging and fuel expenses, Mayor Wilson informed the Board that these expenses were to be included within the allotted $25,000. He then briefly outlined for the Board how these expenses would be billed and itemized as per the contract. Liability coverage was discussed. White Buffalo has coverage with a company called Scottsdale Insurance. While they provide $2,000,000 worth of coverage there has been a suggestion that the Village may want $5,000,000 worth of coverage in the form of an umbrella policy. The cost for this is $1000 per each additional million dollars of coverage and therefore, if the Village wants to secure the additional coverage costs will go up by $3000.
Trustee du Pont commented that once obtained the coverage would last for a full year, however White Buffalo would only be working in the Village for two months. He suggested that the Village should pay a pro-rata rate and that this cost should not be anywhere near $3000.
Mayor Wilson agreed that this was a good point.
It is anticipated that the White Buffalo will be working in the Village for roughly 4 days beginning early next month. The issue of whether or not they would be able to eliminate a meaningful number of deer within that time frame was raised. Mayor Wilson indicated that baiting had begun roughly 10 days ago and he asked Cami Fischer, who has been working with White Buffalo, to provide the Board with a brief update.
Mrs. Fischer reported that the baiting had begun on January 7. There are a total of 16 bait sites and the culling permit runs for 90 days. Last year there were only 9 sites with a 30 day permit, but the program was stopped short due to encrusted ice and flooding as well as an over abundance of acorns, which resulted in deer not taking the bait. This year, there is a shortage of acorns, which will hopefully ensure a better outcome. Chief Sanford has formed an excellent relationship with the DEC and they have granted the Village special permission to shoot until 3am. The decision to use local law enforcement as sharp shooters moving forward will be an advantage to the program since they are exempt from many of the legal restrictions that other shooters would face. Two officers will work closely with White Buffalo during the week they are here, training and shadowing them closely so that they will be able to continue the culling on year-round, basis moving forward. Low caliber, non-ricocheting ammunition will be used. The Village is working with Venison Donation, who will process all of the venison before it is sent to the food bank. This service is free of cost.
Trustee Neuhauser asked Mrs. Fischer whether she had any feeling as to the amount of deer they could expect to cull relative to the number eliminated in the recent deer drives.
Mrs. Fischer replied that the deer drives were an entirely different endeavor, during which residents chased deer on foot, pushing them out of the Village and onto a reserve where they were shot. She pointed out that this practice was not DEC approved, insurance was not obtained for it and that she had no idea what type of ammunition was used. Having said that, she admitted that they do not know what the deer population in the Village is and that although they had planned to do a count by helicopter, to date, weather conditions had not allowed for this. Plans for a count are still in the works, but Mrs. Fischer believes that in order to achieve healthy Lyme disease rates within the community and restore the damaged ecological system, the culling must move forward now. She pointed out that research suggests that in order to maintain a healthy ecological system, the Village deer population should be somewhere between 10 and 20 and current totals certainly exceed that.
Trustee Neuhauser inquired as to how many deer they anticipated culling at each of the 16 baiting stations.
Mrs. Fischer replied that many of the stations were already active and that while there is a formula that can be used to determine the number of deer feeding at each site, she did not have this information on hand. That being said, because they do not know what the total deer population is, it is hard to determine exact numbers.
Trustee Neuhauser expressed concern that the Village cannot know what to expect relative to amount of money they are spending.
Mrs. Fischer replied that they are hoping to bring the population down to 10 with significant results by March 31.
Trustee Neuhauser asked whether or not they had reviewed White Buffalo’s success rates in communities similar to Tuxedo Park.
Mrs. Fischer replied that white Buffalo had shot 10,000 deer in the last 10 years. Reading from their resume she outlined several examples of work they had completed in other communities and commented that she would leave this document with the Board for their review.
Trustee Heywood inquired about the location of the baiting sites, and specifically how close they were to residential areas.
Mrs. Fischer replied that there were many different types of sites located in all 4 quadrants of the Park.
Mayor Wilson interjected that he understood that shooters had been trained to fire only in areas where there were clear backdrops, such as ground or hillside, and that stray bullets should not be an issue. One of the benefits to having our police officers involved is that the law permits them to be within a certain distance of a residence with a firearm, where as civilian hunters cannot do this.
Mrs. Fisher added that the ultimate decision was in the hands of the landowner and that in this case, 16 landowners had agreed to allow shooting on their properties.
Officer Eirand commented that safety was certainly the number one priority for everyone involved.
From the audience, Jack Perry inquired of the Board as to how much money they were willing to spend per deer. He suggested that perhaps they should not move forward until they knew what the deer population was.
The Mayor stressed the importance of viewing the program not as a 1-year cycle but as a10 to 20-year cycle. In this light, whatever costs are incurred in the first year can be viewed as an initial investment, with the assurance that costs will be substantially lower in the coming years because the job will be taken over by local law enforcement.
Amortized over a period of twenty years, the cost is actually fairly low.
Mr. Perry responded that while he understood the Mayor’s point, he still believed a count would be prudent in determining the true necessity of the program.
Mayor Wilson replied that he believed that there were enough confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the Park to determine the necessity of the program.
Mr. Perry inquired as to the number of confirmed cases and was informed by Mrs. Fischer that 1 in 4 residents had been afflicted. Mr. Perry was noticeably shocked by this information, commenting that these rates are staggering, and suggested that the Village might want to contact the Health Department. Mrs. Fischer replied that the Health Department is unable to get an accurate count, because many of those afflicted have their primary residence in New York City. In fact, when she contacted them, they were under the impression that there had only been 2 confirmed cases in the Village.
The issue of insurance liability was once again briefly discussed and it was agreed that they would forgo the additional $3000 cost and move forward with the existing $2,000,000 policy as outlined in the contract.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the White Buffalo contract, subject to the understanding that total costs would not exceed $25,000 and the approval of the Village Attorney.
INTERVIEW: CHUCK VOSS, CANDIDATE FOR VILLAGE PLANNING BOARD CONSULTANT:
The second finalist for Planning Board consultant, Chuck Voss of Barton & Loguidice, gave a brief oral presentation outlining his qualifications for the job. Barton & Loguidice is a multi-disciplined, 200 person firm based in Albany. Mr. Voss, however, spends two days a week working out of an office located in Newburgh. As a Senior Planner, Mr. Voss handles most of the planning functions for the firm, which currently represents roughly 40 communities. One of the major benefits to working with a firm of this size is that they maintain a deep bench of technical expertise on staff, to help support them in their reviews. Despite their large size, Mr. Voss assured the Board that he personally would attend all Planning Board meetings and complete project reviews. As the Chairman of his own local Planning Board for the past 5 years, Mr. Voss assured the Board that he could understand the pressures and the difficulties that go along with various types of reviews.
Mayor Wilson commented that the large size of Barton & Loguidice would be a benefit to the Village as it would be able to provide a multitude of services/
Mr. Voss agreed commenting that they could provide pretty much everything except for survey services.
On the flip side, the Mayor worried if the size might not be a detriment as well in that the Village might end up working with an array of different folks, including Jr. Planners, rather than one person on a regular basis.
Mr. Voss assured him that this would not happen and that there would be one main point of contact at every meeting and that it would be himself.
The Mayor then inquired of Village Planning Board Chairwoman Hansen as to whether or not the rates for both candidates were the same. She replied that they were not.
Mr. Voss’s hourly rate is $118 per hour.
Trustee Heywood asked Mr. Voss where the Village would stand in the “pecking order” of communities he worked with should he be hired. The answer was “right at the top.”
Mr. Voss represents communities of all sizes, the largest of which is a community of 88,000 just outside of Albany. If hired, The Village of Tuxedo Park would be the smallest community Mr. Voss represents.
Deputy Mayor du Pont inquired as to where Mr. Voss lived and was informed that he lived outside of Albany. This would not pose a problem however as he works out of Newburgh two days a week. He does not bill for mileage if hired, as Tuxedo Park is considered “local” to Newburgh.
VILLAGE ENGINEER UPDATE:
Village Engineer Rich Messer provided the Board with an update on various on-going engineering projects in the Village.
Mountain Farm Road Pump Station – Photos depicting current conditions were circulated. The station is currently operating on one rusty pump and is in need of repair. Westin and Sampson is proposing that the Village repair the main components of the station as follows:
1. Purchase and installation of a new pump
2. Refurbishment and installation of a second pump, already in DPW
possession, to be used as a back up,
3. Upgrades to the on/off mechanism, currently operated by hand, so that it can
be automatically activated based on pressure.
The estimated cost is $16,500.
Sewer System Evaluation Survey –The Village has just received DEC approval for additional repairs, which will allow Westin and Sampson to move forward with the previously discussed/approved implementation schedule. Phases two and three of the project will include investigation and remediation and will cost $49,700. This price includes 3 weeks of construction over site, but does not include actual construction expenses.
Wee Wah Dam Repairs – Repairs to the secondary spillway are ongoing. Over the course of the last 10 years, the dam has undergone various repairs and Mr. Messer believes it is in decent shape (does not need to be replaced) Westin and Sampson is proposing that the Village do a feasibility study to determine that the condition of the dam is decent enough for repairs before moving forward. The possibility of going hydroelectric might also be considered. The potential development of the Sterling Place project and its effect on the dam’s classification with the DEC must also be taken into account. Based on the results of the study, the Village can determine what the next step should be and how much repairs will ultimately cost. The cost of the study will be $44,900.
East Village Water Main – The study for this project is in draft form and will be presented to the Village in the near future. Westin and Sampson have examined a variety of cost effective solutions and will present these along with and outlined approach for repairs as part of their proposal. Provided the Village has the proposal within the next month, repairs could commence as early as this coming summer.
Clubhouse Road Water Line – Work on this project has finally been completed and Westin and Sampson are awaiting the final invoice from the contractor. Trustee Neuhauser commented that residents of Clubhouse seem to be very happy with the condition of the road and that conditions have definitely been improved as a result of the project.
Following Mr. Messer’s update, the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with the Mountain Farm Road Pump Station as well as phases two and three of the Sewer System Evaluation Survey and the Wee Wah Dam Engineering study.
Mayor Wilson then read two letters into the record. The first was written by ex-Deputy Mayor Gary Pompan and it addressed his concerns with regard to the budget, specifically as it pertains to property assessments and tax grievances. Mr. Pompan wonders how the 2% tax cap will effect the budget, how it will work with property assessments and whether or not the Board thinks he should file a protective grievance as a mechanism to ensure fairness in taxation.
Mayor Wilson commented that these were all good questions and that the Board would work towards answering them within the next month prior to the beginning of the 2012 grievance process. Due to both Hurricane Irene and the freak October Blizzard, Goshen is way behind in terms of processing grievances and as a result, 97% of last years’ grievance issues are still there.
Board of Zoning Appeals attorney Mike Donnelly wrote the second letter, which addressed the upcoming amendment to the Open Meetings Law. Specifically, Mr. Donnelly wonders how the Village is planning to implement the law, which requires that they make all documentation that is to be discussed in the context of a public meeting (this includes site plans for the Planning Board, BAR and BZA as well as memos, reports, contracts, BIDs, draft legislation etc) available to the public via the Village website prior to that meeting. A copy of this letter can be viewed by clicking here.
The Board then discussed the amendment at length. Attorney Rick Golden advised that they might want to consider adopting a policy, outlining implementation, which would ensure conformity for all boards. The issue of privacy was addressed. Mayor Wilson wondered if there was any level of privacy that Board could allow and asked Mr. Golden if they might require visitors to the website to log in before they could view the documents. Mr. Golden replied that they could do this, however, the documents were public and therefore anybody who entered an e-mail address would have to be granted access.
Deputy du Pont wondered if non-residents and/or individuals residing outside of the US would be able to access the documents and he was informed that they would.
Planning Board Chair Joanne Hansen inquired as to how long the documents would need to remain online and was informed that they could come down immediately following each meeting.
Logistics of implementation were then discussed, specifically who would be posting the documents to the site (presumably various Board members) and the levels of website access that these people would be granted. Once again, Mr. Golden recommended that Board consider adopting a policy to regulate implementation. The amendment takes effect on February 2, 2012.
DISCUSSION re FENCE LAW:
Mayor Wilson opened the discussion by commenting that the Board would be unable to reach any conclusions regarding a fence law that evening as they were still awaiting a copy of the Design Guidelines from the BAR and he did not believe that they could have a meaningful discussion until they had been received. The Village is currently in a somewhat difficult position because several residents have installed fencing that doesn’t work in “the spirit of the Village Code,” however there are no design guidelines in place so there is not much they can do. Village Attorney Rick Golden reminded the Board that the lack of guidelines did not mean that the Village was like “the wild west” and that most fences are currently prohibited under other sections of the Code. Therefore, those residents who have installed fences cannot claim that they are legal or that they deserve to be grandfathered once a policy is in place.
Mayor Wilson asked Mr. Golden what he felt the Village should do in these circumstances.
Mr. Golden outlined two possible courses of action.
1. The Village could send out a letter to residents, letting them know that any fencing they may have installed is not in compliance with the code and that they are at risk of being asked to remove said fencing once the guidelines are in place.
2. The Village could wait until the guidelines were in place and then notify those residents who are not in compliance that they would need to remove their fencing.
Trustee Heywood commented that he favored the first option. He feels it is crucial that the Village take action as soon as possible to let residents know that noncompliant fences will need to be removed in order to prevent the problem from spreading.
Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mr. Golden and Building Inspector John Ledwith to draft said letter.
RESOLUTION TO APROVE WATER TRUCK FINANCING:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of financing the purchase of water truck (total cost $30,757.76) through Bank of America over 4 years at a rate of 2.67%.
RESOLUTION REGARDING PART TIME POLICE OFFICERS:
Deputy Mayor du Pont outlined the following resolution with regard to part time police officers:
First, that the current hourly Labor Rate of $20.80, which was last increased to this level in June of 2008, be increased to $22.50 effective Monday, February 6th.
Second, that a clothing replacement allowance of $250 annually be provided to any part time officer who works more than 250 hours in any one fiscal year, or who attains three consecutive years of service to the Village, whichever comes first.
Third, that this fiscal year, $1,000 be allocated out of the current Police Department budget, to pay for part time officer proficiency training, excluding the annual firearms qualification training, to insure our part time officers are current in such areas as responder first aid, current radar gun certification and other certificate training deemed appropriate by the Chief of Police. Officers attending such training will be paid at the rate of $20 per hour for said training.
Fourth and finally, that $2,100 be added to the current Police Budget to fund the purchase of three armored vests. The Police Chief will determine which three current part time officers have the greatest need.
With regard to the armored vests Mayor Wilson commented that in his view, the Village should be willing to pay any price to protect those individuals who have sword to protect the residents of the Village of Tuxedo Park. The Board agreed.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution.
RESOLUTION TO HIRE VILLAGE PLANNING BOARD CONSULTANT:
Following a brief executive session, the Board voted unanimously in favor of hiring the firm of Barton & Loguidice, represented by Chuck Voss, as Village Planning Consultants.
RESOLTUION TO NAME TRUSTEE NEWHAUSER AS LIASON TO THE DPW:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of naming Trustee Newhauser as Board liaison to the DPW.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 24, 2012
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPW Update
6. Building Department Update
7. Village Engineer Update
8. Committee Updates
9. Public Comment
10. Interview: Nan Stolzenburg, candidate for Village Planning Board Consultant
11. Resolution to approve White Buffalo Contract
12. Resolution to approve Water Truck financing
13. Resolution to approve meeting minutes from 12/15/11
14. Discussion re Fence Law
15. Audit of Claims
16. Motion to Adjourn
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