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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 29, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday December 29 2015 at 7pm.
Trustee McHugh was absent.

Mayor Guinchard began the meeting by announcing that both the Transportation Authority and the DEC have been named as Lead Agency for the SEQRA process with the Pilgrim Pipeline project.

Public Hearing – Water Rates:
Prior to opening the Public hearing the Board voted unanimously in favor of labeling the proposed increase in water rates as a Type 2 Action under SEQRA.

The Mayor then called upon Trustees Gluck and Guazzoni to provide the public with a brief overview of the situation.  Trustee Gluck began, explaining that the water collections were currently running roughly $70,000 behind on budgeted amount for the current fiscal year.  In order to balance the books for this year, this gap must be closed.  There are a variety of ways of bridging the gap and these have all been discussed at some length.  It was determine that they could probably close about $20-30,000 of the gap with programs that were already in place and some increased programming, increased collection efforts, etc.  There are maybe $15-$20,000 worth of items in the water budget that can be deferred to next year, but this still would leave a gap of $30,000 that needs to be filled in some way, shape or form.  This translates out to, for this year, a 25% increase in the water budget.  This is a large number and nobody likes it, but to put it in some prospective, Trustee Gluck explained that if the increase had been made at the beginning of the budget cycle rather than during the last collection period, it would have only been roughly a 5% increase.  However, since they need to spread $25,000 over the last collection period, the percentage needs to be high in order to close the gap.

Trustee Kilduff wondered whether this would amount to a large surplus in next year’s budget.
Trustee Gluck explained that it would not.  Historically, over the last two years, the Village has used surplus funds to bridge the gap and balance out the budget, (60k this year and $140k last year) but they aim to balance the budget next year, without using any additional surplus.  The excess will alleviate the need to borrow.

Trustee Kilduff then wondered what the average increase per household would be.

John Ledwith responded that he did not know as he saw such a wide variety of people ranging from those with $60 bills to those with $800 bills.  Those residents who have the minimum bill, which is $60 per quarter, will see a $12 increase.  This boils down to $4 a month. 

Trustee Guazzoni then provided some general background on the Water Company, explaining that it was really an independent small business owned and operated by the Village.  It has a total 660 customers; 320 in the Town, and 340 in the Village (both commercial and residential.)  As a small business, it cannot be ignored.  It has to be managed properly, and down the road Trustee Guazzoni suggested that it would be prudent to hire a proper manager for it.  It has been ignored for the last 10 years. 

The Company provides to its customers, what Trustee Guazzoni called “the optionality of water on command.”  If a particular resident shows up one time every third year, turns on their water, drinks a glass and then disappears for another three years, their water bill will be very small.  The cost of providing that resident with the option to have that water on demand, however, is huge for the Village.  They have to keep the tubes clean and the pressure up.  They need to maintain a storage tank.  All of these things cost a lot money and those costs are spread over only 660 customers.

This is a small business, which does not cover its costs and has not been for many years.
Trustee Kilduff objected to this point, commenting that the company has not always run on a deficit. 

John Ledwith concurred, commenting that accrued debt service was an added expense that was not going away, but that they have not had to borrow money to keep it afloat every year.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that while there might be a small surplus on one side, there was debt on the other, which cancelled it out.

Trustee Kilduff pointed out that the debt service was there to be paid by future generations as well seeing as the infrastructure it provided for would be servicing them down the line.

Trustee Guazzoni responded that regardless, the Water Company was a small business, with huge fixed costs that it could not cover because it was underpricing its’ product. 

Trustee Kilduff agreed with this, as did the Mayor, who further commented that repairs to the system and an increase in labor and insurance costs have also added to the problem.
The discussion was then opened to the Public.

Jim Hays wondered whether the use had changed over the last five years, in other words, is the Village selling less water or are there more people who pay the minimum?

John Ledwith replied that based on what he had seen over the last 3-4 years the use was seasonal, but when dealing with millions of gallons of water, if they were plus or minus 100,000 it didn’t make much difference.

Mr. Hays suggested that if there were a lot of customers who were paying the minimum amount, then the cost of the water becomes very high.  Perhaps the minimum should be increased and rather than to charge the year-round residents more, charge the weekenders and summer people as well.  If the cost of the water has gone up due to low usage, then maybe the minimum needs to go up to account for this.

The Trustees agreed with this suggestion.  Mayor Guinchard stated that this was something they intended to discuss further and possibly implement during the budget process.

Richard Witte wondered whether there could be a better, more efficient system of oversight for not only the Water Company but also the DPW and the Police Department.

Trustee Guazzoni responded, “I think you know the answer to that.  Whatever your answer is, multiply it by 3.”

Mayor Guinchard commented that they were “looking at everything.”

There were no further comments from the public.

The Mayor then asked Mr. Ledwith to provide them with any updates or additional information they might need to aware of.  With regard to collection efforts in the Town, Mr., Ledwith reported that they had begun on November 24 with 67 accounts owing almost $70,000 in the town and since that time they had collected almost $20,000.  They are still owed $49,000.    Additionally, the Board has been presented with a proposal from the gentleman who does leak detection, which requires some clarification as to which ways he can serve the Village in terms of analyzing the entire system. 

There followed a discussion regarding leak detection and the costs thereof. 

Mayor Guichard pointed out that the Village was losing $28, 000 per year in electricity costs to run the equipment on a constant basis.  The loss due to assumed leaks is roughly 60%.
Given the $28,000 figure, Trustee Kilduff wondered, depending on the cost of digging up the pipes and repairing them, whether it might be more cost effective to let them leak.
Mr. Ledwith responded that it probably would not pay to do the last 15%.  Even a good system will probably have 15-20% loss.  When they start approaching 50% or more however, it should be addressed. 

The Mayor agreed stating that constant wear and tear on the operating equipment was also a concern.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that there were a number of levers before them: commercial vs. residential, minimum usage and capital costs.  All in all there are 51 commercial accounts and of these, 21 are at the minimum…this equates to 41% of the commercial accounts.

Additionally, there are 620 residential meters, 155 of these (25%) are also at minimum usage.   The hope is that in January and February, the entire situation can be studied further with the hopes of correctly allocating optionality of having an increased minimum at the April budget meeting. 

Jim Hays commented that while there was “certain corporate memory” in John and Debbie and Jeff that the make-up of the Board was overturning with some frequency. He pointed out that all of these issues had been considered, often times at some length, by past Boards and he wondered if there might be any merit to putting together a committee of former Mayors and/or Trustees who could then share their knowledge and ideas to the benefit of the entire community.

The Mayor agreed that this was a good idea, commenting that she had already been in contact with past Mayors with regard to some other issues and they had been very helpful to her.

The Public Hearing was then closed.

Following some minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of the 25% rate increase, which will take effect at the beginning of the next billing cycle.

Amend Police Car Financing Resolution:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of amending their recent police car financing resolution to reflect an increase from 2.836 to 2.9% based on the new vehicle cost of $38,626.40 that was approved a few weeks back.

Discussion – Local Law Introductory #4 of 2015 (Dark Sky):
Mayor Guinchard recused herself and turned the discussion over to Trustee Gluck.
Trustee Gluck provided a brief background on the proposed legislation, which is basically an amalgamation of the Bedford NY dark sky ordinance and some provisions taken from Trustee Guazzoni’s Dark Sky proposal.  The Draft was distributed to the Board prior to their last meeting with the idea that they would all make develop comments to be discussed.
Trustee Guazzoni concurred with this, pointing out that the communities of Ridgewood, NJ and South Hampton, NY had also been included in the amalgamation that was the draft before them.  He went on to state that he felt that light was a pollutant that destroys not only people’s happiness at night but also the surrounding nature.  He believes that the Board needs to come to an understanding as to what they want the Village to look like.  From his property, he has the advantage of looking down at the entire Village and he has noted that at nighttime, 80% of the homes are dark while 20% are lit.  The proposed law will affect the 15-20% of the residents who have spotlights that are pointed at the roads and at their neighbors.  He believes that it will go hand-in-hand with the noise ordinance.  He inquired of the Trustees whether they wanted to drive around the Village and have spotlights pointed at their cars or if they would rather the houses have more of a “glowing” feel to them, like the Tuxedo Club Boat House.

Trustee Gluck responded that he did not feel there should be spotlights pointed at cars and that they could have an ordinance, which stated as much.  He also believes that there should not be light emanating from one property onto the next in an annoying fashion, but there needs to be a balance between this and people’s existing lighting.  There is a huge difference between regulating dark sky with new construction via various requirements and standards and requiring people to retrofit their current lighting to meet these newly proposed standards.  In looking around the Village at night, he sees a lot of nice lighting that would not be considered dark sky compliant on a newly constructed home.  In his view, it would be unduly burdensome to enforce this as proposed on existing fixtures and configurations.  He suggested that it might be more prudent to begin with the most obtrusive examples of houses that were brightly lit, reiterating the importance of balance and suggesting that as proposed he believed the legislation went too far in the particular area of causing people to have to retrofit their properties, which will certainly be problematic on a number of levels.

Trustee Guazzoni responded by commenting that he felt that light trespass was a major issue.  He noted that in Bedford, light trespass was defined as any light that leaked over the property line.  He feels that it is most important to address those lights that are pointed away from the homes and at the street.  He suggested that perhaps requiring residents to use dimmer bulbs might help.  He further stated that one resident had told him that they purposely installed 5 spotlights and pointed them directly at the Causeway so that people would be able to find their home.

From the audience, Valerie Lettan commented that there was one particular home in her neighborhood where driveway had been lined with tall lampposts, which are lit with bright lights all night long.  The light from these posts shines into her bedroom at night and disturbs her. 

Trustee Guazzoni pointed out the The Club pool was also lit brightly at night as was the Tennis House parking lot.

Richard Witte stated that his neighbor had installed a basketball hoop in their driveway and subsequently brought home two police caliber spotlights, which they turned on at night so the kids could play after dark.  While this light does not shine directly into his home, it does shine brightly in his face while he is walking his dog.

Trustee Guazzoni commiserated, pointing out that this could well be an example of light trespass.

Trustee Gluck suggested that intrusive light might be handled through a different ordinance altogether.

Jim Hays further suggested that there could well be a lack of perception on the part of the people who were using the lights and that it did not necessarily make sense, in his view, to legislate something that might be worked out between individuals with a simple conversation.  Dark Sky refers to one’s ability to see the stars at night, but as far as he could tell, what was being discussed here was the issue of light trespass.  He feels that it is crucial that the Board study the laws of other communities who have dealt with the same issues as this law will surely be controversial in the Village and the ability to point at other, successful examples might be very important.

Trustee Kilduff responded that the current draft did just that, combining aspects from the Bedford, Ridgewood and South Hampton light ordinances.

There followed a lengthy, detailed, section-by-section review of the draft, led by Trustee Guazzoni with comments from the Board, primarily Trustee Gluck, who reiterated his concerns with requiring residents to retrofit their existing fixtures.  There was also a great deal of time spent discussing temporary lighting (parties etc.) and suggested guidelines for various situations requiring such lighting.

Ultimately, Board Attorney Brian Nugent advised the Board that their discussion was becoming too specific and that they should take a more general, categorical approach, allowing his office to do more of the legwork involved with putting forth a revised draft.  It was agreed that such a draft would be put together with some blanks, to be filled in based on public feedback and additional comments from the Board.  A public hearing was set for January 26 at 7pm.  A draft will be available to the Public no later than January 19.

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Notice of Public Hearing for Village Water Rate Increase

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Hearing will be held by the Village Board of the Village of Tuxedo Park, Orange County, New York, at a special meeting on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York 10987.

The Village Board of the Village of Tuxedo Park is considering an increase in water rates, currently proposed to be a 25% increase in such rates pursuant to Chapter 97 of the Village Code.

The proposed amendments to the water rates and any related documents are available at the Village Clerk’s Office, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987, Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm.

Deborah A. Matthews
Village Clerk-Treasurer

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 17, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Thursday, December 17 at 7pm
All members were present.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor Guinchard began by reminding everyone that Orange and Rockland would be conducting a planned outage the following morning around 9:30am.  More specific information was posted to the Village website.  Additionally, robo calls went out from the utility company itself and the Mayor recommended that those who had not signed up to receive such calls, might consider doing so moving forward.
Tuxedo Lake will receive a copper sulfate treatment on December 18.  The Village has been communicating with both the DEC and Allied Biological and they have been hoping for colder weather and more rain, but at this point they cannot wait any longer and the water must be treated. 

Report of Police:
Representing Chief Sanford, Officer Sutherland reported the following for the month of November:
Uniform Traffic Tickets Issued – 3
Fire Calls – 4
Intrusion Alarms – 13
Medical Calls – 1
Assists given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2
Assists given to Harriman State Park Police – 1
Assists received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Additionally, 11, 249 vehicles (both tagged and non-tagged) entered the Village via the Front Gate

Report of the DPW:
Superintendent Voss reported that the department had been busy with leaf removal as well as finishing up with patching and paving the roadways.  They have hauled in sand for the winter and mixed it with salt.  All of the trucks are ready to go, with plows mounted. 

Police Car:
Instructing the Trustees to look in their packets, Mayor Guinchard announced that the Village was in receipt of a revised quote for the purchase of a new police vehicle as discussed at a previous meeting.  White doors have also been added.  She then made a motion, amending the previous motion, that the Trustees approve the purchase of a 2015/2016 Ford Utility Vehicle at a cost of $36,220 with an additional $1,806.40 for the door panel and bars and $600 for the white doors for a total cost of $38, 626.40.  The vehicle will be financed for a 5-year period through Bank of America.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Report of the Building Department:
Click here to view a copy of the November Building Department Report.

With regard to water department collections,  John Ledwith reported that the Village had sent out 60-65 certified letters roughly 6weeks prior to customers who were in arrears.  The customers in question are Town of Tuxedo residents who get their water from the Village.  Approximately $10-12,000 was collected over the course of one month.  There remain several accounts that are excessive however, where people have not responded to the notices at all nor have they submitted payment.

Trustee Guazzoni noted that there were roughly 60 delinquent accounts and that the $10,000 received thus far accounted for about 1/6 of what is owed.  He feels this is a good start.

Mr. Ledwith agreed, commenting that he felt they would be receiving some more and that he also had a few post-dated checks to be deposited the next day which, while not much, would certainly help to move them towards where they want to be.

On another note, Trustee McHugh inquired as to how many non-conforming oil tanks there were outstanding that still need to be addressed.

Mr. Ledwith responded that he believed there were 2, although he admitted that he was not necessarily aware of all of them.

Next, Trustee McHugh noted that the month prior Mr. Ledwith had informed them that there was 1 expired building permit and he wondered whether anything had been done to remedy this.

Mr. Ledwith replied that things were stil the same.

Public Comments:
Trustee Kilduff announced that the first Public Comment period would be 20 minutes in duration, with speakers being allotted 2 minutes each. 

Sally Sonne commented that many residents had submitted letters to the Board thinking that they might not have a chance to comment on the vote and discussion regarding Brook Road.  She asked the Board if they could share with her what the general tenor of the letters and e-mails received has been. 

Board Attorney Brian Nugent responded that he did not know as he had “not necessarily seen all of them”

Trustee Guazonni stated that each Trustee had received different communications and that just because he might have received a particular e-mail this did not mean that the other Trustees had received the same one.

Trustee McHugh inquired of Village Clerk Debbie Matthews approximately how many letters she had received.

The answer was 50 e-mails, all of which were forwarded to the Trustees.

Trustee McHugh then wanted to know of these how many were in favor of the sale vs. against.

Mrs. Matthews said that after reading roughly 30 e-mails against the sale, she had stopped counting.  She believes there were only 4 in favor.

Michael Bruno stated that if they were going to use letters as a form of counting people’s opinions, they would “have to count a little harder” as he personally had seen quite a few more letters in favor of the sale than just 4.  He suggested that perhaps the count should have continued.  He does not believe that this is an effective or fair way to make a consideration.  He has trouble understanding why anybody would be against the sale, especially considering the fact that some people “want to push this down the road, saying we don’t need to decide now…let’s keep our options open on what we are going to do.  We can use it now and then one day, if we need to do something, we will do something then.”  Unfortunately, for people who feel this way, Mr. Bruno believes that that day is today because after many years of not having to deal with the annexed piece of property from Related Companies coming into the Park, now it needs to be dealt with.  Now there are 4 building parcels located on that road which could immediately wipe out the preserved use of that road.  It is a decision for today.  Is the Village going to preserve the road and keep it as a special place or are they going to build houses on it because, quite frankly, if he does not own the road but he owns the lots, he is not going to preserve them because it doesn’t make sense to him.  Why would he want to preserve lots along what could potentially be a busy road with busses and cars? 

He can see no reason do to so.  It does not make sense to him when people say they want the road for their kids, for them to hike on or use recreationally and then one day, they can consider this matter.  That day is now!  Is the road going to be preserved or not?  It is that simple.  He has not met anyone who has not said that they want to see the road preserved, including Sally Sonne and Chris Hansen who have both said they want it preserved and that they want to continue using it.  They are assuming that it will never be paved and that isn’t the case.

Commenting on the tenor of the letters that had been submitted, Mr. Bruno’s attorney suggested that the credibility of the letters could certainly be considered suspect and he feels they could be questioned, not in terms of the writers intent but more whether they should be used by the Board.  The Board has been very transparent with respect to the public commenting on this issue and Mr. Bruno has actually instructed him not to object as he wanted people to speak.  Those people had the right to come to the meeting and hear both sides of the argument.  The letters however, are more than likely the result of a conversation with just one person who may be against it or one person who may be for it.  He feels the Board should be considering those individuals who came forward to speak at the hearing and not just a one sided letter.

Neil Garofano wondered who would be responsible for the infrastructure under the road should it be sold to a private person. 

Trustee Guazzoni responded that according to the agreement, it would be the individual who purchased the road.

Mr. Garofano then wanted to know should the infrastructure deteriorate and cause flooding, whether the Village would have any authority to request repair of that infrastructure.

Board attorney Brian Nugent responded that the Village Code contains provisions that allow the Village to require property owners to make repairs to something.  They can have a hearing and go through the process.

Mr. Garofano responded that this process had not been working on Ivy Road where he lives.  Ivy Road is privately owned and the infrastructure has been deteriorating for 20 years and causing flooding on Mountain Farm Road with significant damage.  Having lived through something like this, Mr. Garofano cautioned the Board that they should consider these types of concerns.  He does not like the idea of selling the road anyway.  He does not favor selling off private property.  He feels it is a slippery slope and he does not understand why the Village has to do it.  If it is a monetary issue, he feels there must be better ways to earn money than selling off property.

Committee Updates:
Water Rates – Trustee Gluck reported that following conversations with Mr. Ledwith among others, over the last few days it was clear that the Village was running substantially short of their budget on metered water collections, to the tune of $70,000.  This sum does not include an already built in shortfall of about $60,000 of surplus.  In order to balance the water budget they have to somehow generate $70,000.  They project that even with enhanced collection efforts, they will still fall short of what they need by roughly $25,000, which will need to be made up via some sort of rate increase if they plan on balancing the books.

Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether this would balance the books for the year prior or the coming year.

Trustee Gluck responded that it would be for the current year.

Trustee McHugh suggested that in conjunction with the rate increase they needed to investigate in order to determine where the losses were so they could start working on it as soon as possible.

Trustee Guazzoni suggested that in order to determine where the leaks were and install proper monitoring, he believed they would need about $100,000.  The Village really has no idea where a lot of the water is going.  The water rate increases that are being contemplated are quite strong in nature.  There are 300 customers in the Village and another 300 in the Town and they cannot cover the cost of the operation.

Trustee Kilduff wondered if the part of the shortfall was due to the non-payments or the volume of loan. 

The answer was mainly from the volume of loan.  In the past when collection efforts have occurred, the number has gone down, but it has never really gone down below $40,000 in outstanding bills. 

Mr. Ledwith commented that the Village had added debt service over recent years because of monies borrowed for anticipated repairs, like the East Village Water Main.  This, along with the general cost of running the plant and their failure to raise rates with any consistency has caused them to fall behind. 

Mayor Guinchard stated that if they were discussing raising the water rates, a public hearing should be set. 

Trustee Gluck responded that he felt they first needed to agree on a proposed rate.  They might discuss different rates for different classes of customers.  In mid-cycle, it might just be the best to bump everything up 25%.  Then the allocations would stay where they are among different groups.

Trustee Guazzoni suggested that the Village has “miles and miles and miles” of water pipers serving too few customers.  The capital fees do not cover the replacement costs or all of the work the DPW does to repair the constant leaks.

The Mayor stated that they were going to need large meters on a couple of the larger water tanks and that these were costly.  The Village needs to start monitoring where they are losing water and also perform analysis on the leaks, which is critical.  They are wasting roughly $24,000 for water leaks.  The money that they will invest in the meters and the analysis will be recovered at the end of the day, but this is something that needs to be addressed now.
Trustee Guazzoni commented that the Village produces 2,000,000 gallons of water a month but only bills for $1,000,000.  12-13,000,000 gallons of water a year are lost.  They need to find out where it is going as it is wear and tear on the tubes and is costing the Village a pretty penny in the form of electricity.  Affording this effort will cost the 25% hike in residential rates as proposed by Trustee Gluck and possibly a higher increase in commercial rates as well.
Mayor Guinchard pointed out that this was not something that had just occurred, but rather an issue that had existed for decades.  Past administrations had attempted to analyze it, however she feels it is time to move ahead and do something about it.  They need to stop putting Band-Aids on the problem and figure out what is really going on.
Dates for a public hearing were then discussed.

Mr. Nugent advised the Board that a week prior to the hearing, the proposed increased rates would need to be available to the public.

Ultimately, a hearing was set for December 29 at 7pm
Emergency Services Committee – Trustee Kilduff stated that ambulance services are currently being dispatched by Orange County 911 because of communication issues the corps have been having with the Town Police.  While the Town Police can still relay through 911, if residents have a medical emergency, they should call 911 and NOT the Village or Town police. 

Village Lakes Committee – Trustee McHugh reported that the Wee Wah was slowly being drawn down in an effort to kill off the Milfoil when and if the cold weather sets in.  There have been some discussions about possibly doing the same in Tuxedo Lake, drawing it down 6-8 feet, but given the associated costs of doing so, it was agreed that the Wee Wah would be used as a template for success.  Based on how things work there this year, they will re-evaluate the decision to move ahead with drawing down Tuxedo Lake next year.
Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to whether any efforts were being made in Pond #3. 
Trustee McHugh responded that Pond #3 was good because Susan Goodfellow had it cleaned up a couple of years ago and there was a very low amount of milfoil there.  Bass weed appears to be overtaking it, but this is a native plant and the DEC likes it.

The Mayor asked Superintendent Voss how the DPW was progressing with the screen on the Tuxedo Lake Dam.

Superintendent Voss responded that he was hopeful it would be installed within the next few weeks.

The Mayor wondered whether they might be able to relieve some of the water in Tuxedo Lake next year when they were drawing down the Wee Wah for dam repairs, which would alleviate their need to pump should they decide to lower the level to fight the milfoil.
The answer was no.  There is only one stop log in Tuxedo Lake and no way to draw it down further.

Transportation Committee - With regard to the issue of speeding in the Village, Trustee Guazzoni commented that he would like to hear from residents as to their thoughts on speeding during the winter months as compared to the summertime. 

The Keep/Booth – Mayor Guinchard reported that both the bulletproof glass and door had been installed.  Officers have expressed their appreciation and have been commenting that they feel very safe.  The roof work and pointing are both done.  The air quality is good.  HVAC has been installed.  All of the issues have been mitigated to date. 

The Village is awaiting drawings from the architects for the design of the booth and they expect to have these by the end of the month.  They are looking to present them during the month of January.

Trustee McHugh reminded everyone that it would not only be the two options for a new booth that would be considered but also the idea of repurposing the Keep.  The architects have been instructed to consider this as well when preparing drawings.

Mr. Ledwith stated that he had met with the two architects and provided them with broad overview of comments from both the public and the Board regarding all the options.  They have also been provided access to the buildings both inside and out and thus have been able to take measurements and examine everything.  Additionally, utilities were discussed along with the idea of possibly hiding some of these.

Trustee Guazzoni then gave a rough overview of monies that have been spent on the repairs to the Keep thus far.  To date, roughly $305,000 has been spent.   Village insurance has covered $130,000 of this.  The driver who hit the booth has a maximum coverage amount that cannot be disclosed by law.  The Village insurance company will now “go after” her for that amount.  Currently they are investigating whether her parents, who are the holders of the insurance on the vehicle, have any other insurance policies. 

Trustee Guazzoni then continued.  He estimates it will cost roughly $50,000 to rebuild the booth as it was.  They feel they can get $20,000 from insurance which leaves the Village investment somewhere around $30,000.  At the end of the day, the total investment will be $335,000, with $135,000 coming back from various insurance companies.  This means the Village will be out $180,000.  This sum divided by 430, which is the number of tax parcels, comes out to roughly $420 per parcel.

The Mayor added that the Village has a blanket insurance policy.  The booth was only insured for $29,000.  If the new building ends up costing more for various reasons, there is a portion of the policy that will kick in to help cover these costs, but only as they pertain to the structure itself and not the electronics.  (There are roughly $10,000 worth of electronics that were in the booth.)

Trustee Gluck pointed out that the $305,000 figure encompasses money that has been spent to date and does not include money that will be spent moving forward. 

Trustee Guazzoni agreed commenting that he had added about $55,000 in his projections for the reconstruction of the booth.

The scaffolding will be down by Christmas.  The windows should be in by New Years and these can be installed from the inside.

Continuation of Discussion/Vote on Possible Sale of Certain Roads in the Village:
Trustee McHugh began the discussion by stating that he felt he had previously articulated his position clearly.  Philosophically, he is opposed to it.  He thanked Mr. Bruno for taking the time to bring him onto the property and more clearly explain his vision.  He accepts the argument that letters can be persuasive and do not necessarily reflect what the masses are saying.  He feels it is important to bring into the public domain the fact that the Hennesssys have offered to contribute $400,000 towards the repairs of the Keep, predicated on the sale NOT going through.  This offer came through via e-mail at 10am that morning.  Commenting that he felt Trustee Guazzoni had been spot-on regarding the Keep, he stated that he thought there had been a lot of misinformation going around about the number of past land sales in the Village.  The two data points that John gave the appraisers were two parcels; one in August of 1995, which was .2 acres, and another in February of 1999, which was .24 of an acre.  With regard to all the rebel-rousing regarding the intentions of Mr. Bruno vs. those of Related and which is better, he feels that the individuals who were nominated and placed on the Planning Board and the BAR deserve the support of Trustees.  These individuals were put in place because the Trustees had faith in them and many of them worked hard on crafting the 2005 agreement.   In Trustee McHugh’s view the current Board should not be implying that they know better about how they should be negotiating and frankly, he finds it “a little distasteful” that they are now being criticized.  Predicated on how the vote goes, he still has an issue with the annexation agreement and he really does not understand why Related cannot annex the property into the Village prior to the sale to Mr. Bruno.  He does not feel this has been addressed in the document.

Mr. Nugent responded that the annex process itself took some time to accomplish.  The obligation to the annexation is not until after the closing on the three parcels in the transaction with Related, the Town and the Village.  This will not be until January or February.  Once that occurs, there are still steps to the process that must be followed.  Mr. Nugent projects that it will not be until the middle of next year at the earliest that the annexation might be able to take place.

Trustee Gluck asked Mr. Nugent to provide his understanding as to where the annexation parcels currently stood.  There have been indications that the land was being sold to Mr. Bruno, or organizations under his control, and it was Trustee Gluck’s understanding that this was not permitted under the 2005 agreement. 

Mr. Nugent responded that at this point he did not have any information that indicated that there had been a transaction or transfer only that one had been proposed or discussed.  The Village has brought their position to Related stating that under the 2005 agreement they would expect to be consulted with regard to any potential sale, but they have not heard back.  The question of whether or not the constraints of the agreement can be transferred to Mr. Bruno should he purchase the parcels, remains to be answered.  Regardless, the Annexation process will be the same.

Speaking theoretically, Trustee McHugh stated that given the fact that the Town would need to sign off on the sale, if Related had to annex it into the Village and the Town vetoed it, it would not come into the Village.  Alternatively, if the Village gives Related permission to sell the land to Mr. Bruno and he tried to annex it into the Village and can’t, then it becomes town property with Village roadways accessing it.

Mr. Nugent responded that the only problem with this theory was that for the Town to say that it would be against the public interest to do the annexation when it has been a part of the Special Permit process and the agreements with Related, would be a burden for them and ultimately, there are avenues that will allow the applicant to proceed.  They could do this theoretically.  He stated that he would have to review the agreements to see what the requirements for the Town were with regard to supporting the annexation.  

In an effort to summarize, Trustee Gluck stated that the Village has an agreement with Related currently, which states that Related cannot sell, develop or alter the property in any way until it has been annexed into the Village, nor can they transfer it to anyone else. 
Mr. Nugent concurred that this was correct.

Trustee Gluck then wondered should the property be transferred to another party, if there was anything in the 2005 agreement that imposes those requirements on the transferee.
Mr. Nugent responded that currently, the agreement states that a transfer cannot occur without the Village’s consent.

Certain specifics of the annexation and the 2005 agreement were then discussed at some length along with the number of lots to be subdivided.

Following this, Trustee Gluck wanted to know why, given the announcement made earlier with regard to the generous benefactor who was willing to fund the Keep repairs without any land sales…

Mr. Nugent interrupted Trustee Gluck stating that if they wanted to discuss this he would advise that they first have an attorney/client privileged session as there were many concerns with that proposal. 

Trustee Guazzoni stated that it was not a bribe.

Again, Mr. Nugent advised the closed session but stated that the way he interpreted it the way it was presented, it was a proposal for the Village to not do something they were otherwise empowered to do in exchange for funds.  Personally, he would advise the Board not to consider this offer at all. 

Neil Garofano attempted to comment but was told he could not.  He demanded to know why the attorney, who was ultimately supposed to represent the Village and its residents, was allowed to speak while he, an actual resident, was not.  He also wanted to know why Mr. Bruno’s attorney was allowed to speak.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that the public comment period had been closed. 

Mayor Guinchard concurred.

Mr. Garofano wanted to know if he would be allowed to speak if had an attorney present.

Again, the Mayor stated the Public Comment period had been closed.

Mr. Garofano pointed out that the Public Comment period had been conducted before the information about the $400,000 had been presented.  He wanted a chance to comment on that.

Mayor Guinchard responded that the attorney had just commented on it.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that there would be Public Comment later in the meeting. 

Mr. Garofano pointed out that this would be after the vote and would serve no purpose.
Trustee Gluck stated that at this point, knowing what he did about the offer that had come in and having been told be counsel that the Board should be advised by counsel, he felt that they should be advised.

Mr. Nugent stated that he would be telling them the same thing he had said a moment ago, which was that they should not consider the offer at all.

Trustee McHugh commented that this offer had come through to all of the Trustees at 10am that morning and that if this was Mr. Nugent’s opinion, he felt it would have been a service to all the Trustees to inform them of that and then, if the potential donor had wanted to modify the language to something more acceptable rather than seemly, as was being insinuated, they would have had such an opportunity.

Mr. Nugent replied that nobody had ever suggested that the offer would be considered.  In his view it was an e-mail just like all the others.  Therefore there was no reason for him to offer his opinion.

Following this exchange, the Board entered into an attorney/client privileged session for the purpose of receiving legal counsel on this particular offer.

Trustee Guazzoni stated he did not feel it was right to throw everybody out of the meeting for the session.

The Board then voted 4-1 in favor of entering into the session, with Claudio voting against.

When they returned the room, the conversation refocused on the draft agreement and 2005 agreement vs the annexation agreements, with Trustee Gluck commenting that understanding all of these and making sure that they work together is a somewhat difficult task and a cloudy area.  He felt before they moved forward it was important that they understood everything thoroughly.  He further comment that after listening to all the comments, he could not find himself in favor of selling Brook Road.  He feels that fundamentally it is a historic road and a public recreation space.  While they could easily quibble over whether everyone who claims to have walked on it over the course of the last week has actually walked on it historically, he feels there is a substantial use within the Village.  He believes it was given to the Village to hold in perpetuity for the future of the community.  While he understands and appreciates the offer to provide a foot easement, this is just not quite the same.  The reasons for sale boil down to money and he believes there are other resources that could be used with a little creativity and ingenuity, such as financing, and he does not feel that these have been adequately been explored in order to find an alternative to disposing of what he thinks is a significant asset. 

Trustee Kilduff commented that he felt more comfortable taking his chances with Mr. Bruno and his commitment to live up to the agreement by miles over Related.  He feels that it is treacherous to deal with them at every turn.  They seem to do everything imaginable to benefit only them and not the Village.  Mr. Bruno has stepped up and is paying fair market value for the strips of road.  This deal will keep the road a public space.  There will be an easement filed with the county that will keep it that way.  Many of the neighbors who are directly impacted have submitted letters of support.  Should Related create a motor vehicle bearing road there, the Village would be responsible for the infrastructure costs, which would be a huge financial burden.  The road was deemed abandoned back in the 1953.  It was a throw-away road, and not an important artery, although admittedly it is a very nice trail. He does not understand how making this sale is impacting the property values or property rights of others in association with this.  Certainly it will impact Mr. Bruno, but otherwise he cannot see anything.  He feels it is a win/win for the Village.

Mr. Bruno is a resident who is pouring a ton of money into the Town and into his property in an effort to restore it to its historic glory.  Trustee Kilduff supports the sale. 

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he wanted to commend the Mayor for breaking tradition with the past with this transaction.  He has discovered 6 paper roads, which were historically sold by the Village out of the public domain for reduced values.  Also, he is appreciative of the addition of a public comment period to the agenda at the request of several of the Trustees.  He then proceeded to circulate copies of maps to everyone present.  Commenting that he felt it was important to look at the big picture, he began with “the first map.”  The 2005 agreement calls for a substantial amount of land swap over the next several months.  People are asking why now?  The reason is that the 2005 agreement is being executed now! Related is giving the Fox Hill tract to the Village along with southern and northern buffers.  The Town will receive the northern tract. Referencing the handouts, Trustee Guazozni outlined the various areas that were subject to agreements with Related.  Once the parcels are annexed into the Village, the owner must go before the Village Planning Board for subdivision approval.  Who does he want to be on the other side of the Planning Board’s table?  Is it Related and their lawyers or is it Mr. Bruno, a Village resident, who has vowed to be a steward of the land?  Related is a very profit oriented company and he feels that they will do whatever they can to get everything they can out of the Village.  If these lots are built out to capacity, there will be infrastructure responsibilities that will quickly add up for the Village.  He feels Mr. Bruno will be a better steward of the land.  Change is upon the Village.  The land is going to be subdivided.  It is important to him that the trail remains the way that it is.  He has heard from a lot of people.  He also went out and solicited opinions of residents who are not often vocal.  There are 430 tax parcels in the Village with 640 registered voters.  He heard from roughly 110 people who were evenly split.  530 registered voters have said nothing.  In his mind there are roughly 55 vocal residents who are against the sale and this is less than 9% of the voters.  He knows it seems like a lot of people have come out against it, but this is not the case.  He interprets silence as concurrence or acquiescence. 

Mayor Guinchard stated that she did not have much to add.  She requested that everyone attempt to remain a “respectful community” regardless of the outcome of the vote.  The Village is a great place and its residents have all chosen to live here for various reaons.  Everyone on the Board has done their homework and listened to people.  She truly trusts the Board. 

Changes to the agreement were then discussed, specifically language within the easement and existing options on some of the parcels. 

The Board then voted 3-2 in favor of authorizing the Mayor to execute the agreement with Mr. Bruno with Trustees McHugh and Gluck voting against.

Appoint Two Fire Commissioners:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing both Paul Eikengreen and Jeff Dowding as Commissioners in the Tuxedo Joint District for a 5-year term.

Resolution To Apply To Civil Service to Create Additional Part Time Positions for Traffic Guards and Police Officers (3 each) in The Village of Tuxedo Park Police Department:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to apply to Civil service to create additional part time positions for traffic guards and police officers (3 each) in the Village of Tuxedo Park Police Department.

Local Law Introductory No 4 of 2015 – Dark Sky Initiative:
Trustee Gluck stated that the genesis of the draft they were looking at was created by Mr. Nugent to model something on the Bedford, NY sky ordinance. 

Mr. Nugent concurred commenting that he had incorporated aspects from the Bedford Ordinance as well as several of Trustee Guazzoni’s comments to create the draft.
Trustee Guazzoni stated that he felt they had not done much work on it in the last couple of weeks and therefore, he suggested tabling it until the next meeting.

Following some discussion, it was agreed that they would circulate the current draft amongst themselves, make comments on it via e-mail over the course of the next week and then discuss it at their meeting on December 29.

Public Comments:
Mayor Guinchard asked Michele Lindsay to update them on what was happening in the Town.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that she had been hearing some confusion about the Town budget.  She feels it was great that the explanation of how the Town got into its current fiscal situation was circulated, but she also thinks it caused some confusion. Some people now believe that Village residents are taxed at a higher rate than those living in the Town, which is not true.  She wondered if it might be worthwhile to try and explain how the Village tax payments go to the Town in terms of the A and B funds.

Mayor Guinchard responded that this would be great and suggested that the January meeting would be a good time.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that the tax portion that Village residents pay to the total bill, this tiny little portion, is going up 28% in the Village where as outside it is only going up 9.9%.  This is where the confusion lies because Village residents only pay into the A fund while Town residents pay into the B funds as well, which is going down.

Trustee McHugh wondered why the B fund was decreasing.

The answer was because of the cuts to the Police and Highway Departments.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that it was his understanding that the Town had taken a large chunk of money from the A fund and shifted it to the B fund.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that this was correct and that it had been done of the course of many years.  This is quite complicated and it has a great deal to do with how the Town ended up where they currently are.  In an effort to keep things simple though and help people understand how they are being taxed, and that they are not being taxed at a higher rate, she advised against staying away from this.  To put it simply, the A fund is going up while the B fund is going down. 

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he understood that, but people were still understandably questioning why their taxes were going up 23% while Town residents were only looking at a 9% increase.  This is a huge question.  What caused that to happen?  What will happen next year?  Will there be another, similar huge increase?

Mrs. Lindsay responded that she hoped it would not be as large but she also did not believe they would be able to keep it under the tax cap.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that people could no longer afford to live in Tuxedo.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that there were two things to consider.  First was explaining the A fund vs the B fund so people understand what they are being taxed for.  Also, in 2015, there was a tax decrease in the A fund, so Village taxes to the Town went down.  This complicates things further.  One of the main reasons the A fund is going up so dramatically is because it went down last year.

The check that Village residents send to the Town includes County taxes, which actually comprise 54% of the bill.  The Town itself is only 28%, fire is 12% and the Library is just under 7%.  It is only the 28% of the bill that is increasing. 

Trustee Guazzoni asked for further information regarding the County taxes and where the money was actually going. 

Ultimately, it was agreed that Mrs. Lindsay would put something together and run it by the Board at their first budget workshop in January before bringing it before the public.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered when the next election in Town would be.

The answer was 2017.

Trustee Guazzoni believes that we need to start grooming people from the Village to occupy those seats as well as the seats on the school Board.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that Meg Vaught currently sat on the School Board.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 17, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Comments
4. Report of Police
a. Police Car
5. Report of DPW
6. Report of Building Department
7. Public Comments
8. Committee Updates
a. Water Rates
9. Continuation of Discussion/Vote on Possible Sale of Certain Roads in the Village
10. Appoint Two Fire Commissioners
11. Resolution-to apply to Civil Service to Create Additional Part Time Positions for Traffic Guards and Police Officers (3 each) in the Village of Tuxedo Park Police Department
12. Local Law Introductory No. 4 of 2015-Dark Sky Initiative
13. Public Comments
14. Audit of Claims
15. Adjournment

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting Saturday December 12, 3pm

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Saturday, December 12 at 3pm. All members were present.

In response to a letter received from the Office of the Mayor of the City of Albany, Mayor Guinchard began the meeting by making a motion that the Board authorize the Mayor, with advice from council, to recommend that the DEC be the Lead Agency for the Pilgrim Pipeline project. The Board voted unanimously in favor of this motion.

Continuation of Discussion on the Discontinuance of Certain Roads in the Village:

Moving on, the discussion regarding the discontinuation of certain roads within the Village was reopened.

Board Attorney Brian Nugent advised the Board that at their previous meeting the Public Hearing was closed and a motion to abandon the roads in question was made, but then withdrawn. Trustee Guazzoni requested some time for additional information, which was granted. In order for the Board to discuss the issue again, a second motion must be made and seconded. As the hearing has been closed, Public comment should not be accepted and Mr. Nugent suggested that should Board accept such comments anyway, it could leave them open to a legal challenge as technically, it would become an un-noticed hearing.

Mayor Guinchard than made a motion that the Board vote on the discontinuance of the Roadway and it was seconded.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that over the past 10 days he had received more than 55 e-mails and 27 phone calls regarding the issue of the sale of these parcels of road. All of the e-mails and calls have been very ambivalent in nature. One particular resident suggested that no public lands should ever be for sale as they belong to all the residents of Tuxedo Park. He further expressed desire that the past transactions which allowed for the sale of 6 public roads over the past 20 years be reversed with ownership returned back to the Village as he believes they occurred illegally in “back room deals” and were not conducted by a full disclosed public process. Another resident suggested that the annual cost of the maintenance of all the public roads in the Village is fast approaching $400,000. In order to rid the taxpayers of this huge and increasing liability, all of the public roads in the Village should be sold, while keeping an iron-clad easement for all Village residents and their guests so that no actual access would change…just the liabilities would be shed. To Trustee Guazzoni, these represent the two opposing resident views in their extremities. To him, somewhere between these two extremities lies the voice of reason. Personally, he stated that he would like to commend the Mayor for breaking with past tradition and insisting that the discussion occur in a public forum with complete transparency. In contrast the 6 parcels of land that were sold in the past, in his view, occurred in back room deals for reduced values. A parcel of roadway was sold for a mere $5,000. He then laid forth the underpinnings of his thought process. Again personally speaking, he stated that he was innately and instinctively against any sale of public assets as usually these transactions cause a transfer of wealth away from the Public towards a small group of well-connected individuals or insiders. He likened this, in its extreme form, to the privatizations that occurred in Russia. These sort of transactions occur all the time all over the US, just on a smaller scale. To him, in every transaction there is a transfer of wealth. Therefore, in considering the transaction with Mr. Bruno, he asked himself “which way is wealth being transferred? Is the Village transferring wealth to Mr. Bruno, or is Mr. Bruno transferring wealth to the Village?” By wealth, he has considered not only present wealth, but also future wealth discounted appropriately for future risk and opportunity. He truly believes this decision is one based on the degree of housing development that the Village wishes to see; less housing development vs. more housing development on Village lands. Parcel 8-1-25 is a parcel of land currently located in the Town of Tuxedo and not the Village. Until the day prior, this parcel was owned by Related Companies, developer of the Tuxedo Farms project in Town. As a developer, Trustee Guazzoni believes that Related is interested, and rightly so, in the development of raw land to the maximization of their own profit…and in his opinion with little regard to the environmental burdens or aesthetic concerns of the local residents impacted. Parcel 8-1-25 is 28 acres and it is located on the South and West side of Brook Road. According to the 2005 agreement the Village, the Town and Related, Related retained the ability to annex the parcel into the Village at their leisure. The result of this would be that Related would increase the value of the parcel as acres in the Village are worth more than those in the Town. There is actually a second, similar parcel of land near Circuit Road. According to the agreement, both parcels are supposed to be subdivided into 3 or 4 lots each prior to annexation. The Village has agreed to allow Related to build a home on each lot. In closely studying the agreement, Trustee Guazzoni has found that there is a way for the developer to “hoodwink” the Village and turn 6-8 houses into 13 houses very quickly. This is housing that could be built in a manor that might or might not be considered good, quality housing. It is housing that might or might not enhance the community and increase the tax base. Turning back to parcel 8-1-25, Trustee Guazzoni reiterated that this parcel is slated to be subdivided into three building lots prior to its annexation and as a result there is a widespread belief in the Village that 3 houses is the maximum number of houses that could be built there. He believes however, that a profit oriented owner with little regard for the aesthetic wishes of the local community could turn these 3 houses into 7 very quickly. If Related choses to subdivide into 3 lots, 2 of them 4 acres and 1 of them 20, they could then petition the Village Planning Board to turn the 20-acre lot into 5 homes.

Related has the money, lawyers and drive to do something like this. Along with these new 7 houses (of questionable quality) the Village will then be stuck with the associated infrastructure costs. Trustee Guazzoni feels that these two parcels (the one currently in question and the one near Circuit Road) are “a very important piece of the puzzle” as there are various important shocks to the Village depending on how they are developed. However, everything changed yesterday when the news came through that Mr. Bruno has purchased both lots from Related, wishing to build one large, high-quality house on a 6-8 acre plot and give the rest to preservation to be maintained by the Orange County Land Trust, to be kept forever green. He believes that Mr. Bruno has the intention of doing as much as he can to preserve and restore Tuxedo Park to its historic splendor. The actions taken by him since he moved into the Village do not, as yet, disprove this belief. If this transaction were to occur, The Village will be $400,000 richer while Mr. Bruno is $400,000 poorer. In the past two weeks he has not been personally approached by anyone stating that they are willing to offer $405,000 to take the other end of this transaction from the Village. Steel clad, rock solid permanent easements are going to be permanently bound to the deeds controlling these parcels of road. Nothing would change for Village residents accept the unfunded liabilities associated with infrastructure costs for the future development of the 8-1-25 parcel. This unfunded liability would be taken off of the Villages tax rolls and assumed by Mr. Bruno personally. Currently the need to have a second road access to Mountain Farm Road and Tuxedo Park School is not really a big issue. However, in the future this might change should Overton be developed with 7-10 new houses and/or if the Peter Regna properties get developed into 5-7 new houses. If these things were to occur, perhaps the need for additional means of egress and ingress might be necessary. He does not envision this happening over the course of the next 15 years however. Should the need arise for the Village to pave and use Brook Road as a second access to Mountain Farm, the Village is not giving up its right to Eminent Domain. Speaking to the balance of equities, Trustee Guazzoni stated that should they move forward with the transaction along Brook Road, the Village would be gaining protection from Related, while losing the liability of infrastructure costs and gaining $400,000. All the while they would be maintaining all of its rights for its residents to access and enjoy Brook Road. Based on all of this, Trustee Guazzoni has decided to support the transaction.

Mayor Guinchard then made a motion to adopt parts 2 and 3 of the EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) and to adopt a negative declaration under SEQRA. This was unanimously approved.

Trustee Kildiff commented that he did not have much to add to his remarks from the previous meeting. He considers it a win/win and feels that Trustee Guazzoni has outlined the reason why.

Trustee McHugh stated that he was a little bit confused. It was his understanding that they were to be discussing whether the road should be discontinued giving its relative merit and not the merits of the sale. He feels that Trustee Guazzoni encapsulated very well the pros and cons of the sale but that he misclassified things with regard to the Related Agreement. This is not really germane to the discussion however. Whether or not the roads should be discontinued is the issue at hand. On Tuesday evening Trustee Guazzoni had stated that roads 2 and 3 served no public value as they were landlocked. It was l and 4, which had a perceived public value and as far as Trustee McHugh can see, Trustee Guazzoni did not address this issue in his monologue.

Trustee Guazzoni responded that his interest was in less development and the maintenance of Brook Road as a public trail for residents. He would like to preserve this use.

With regard to Trustee Guazzoni’s comments about Related, Trustee Gluck stated that these were new, previously un-discussed theories and that he would reserve opinion on how that actually operates and what the potential impacts are. He thanked the Public for all of their comments, which he said had been very helpful to him and also Mr. Bruno for his generosity, stating that he could not think of a better Public Steward, if there was to be one, for this land. Returning to the matter at hand, whether or not the road should be discontinued, he commented that as he understood it, the standard for discontinuance was that the road no longer served any public purpose. It is not a question of whether or not the road could be put to a better use or lesser use. It is not a question of whether or not the roads proceeds can be used to provide a better benefit for the Village or a lesser benefit. It’s a question of whether or not the road, as it now stands, serves any public purpose. He does not think there is any question that it does. It serves a public service by providing a recreation resource to the large number of residents who enjoy it. The fact that they are striving towards an agreement that will allow those people to continue to enjoy the resource, in his view, is highly beneficial, but it is not quite the same thing. He believes that the restrictions and requirements are put there sometimes to “save us from ourselves.” The money is incredibly seductive. He understands that he will be sitting in the same seat later next week attempting to figure out how to make a budget work for next year, but he does not think he could get over the hump of the road being required to no longer serve a public purpose.

Trustee Kilduff also thanked everyone for their public comments further commenting that there was a lot of passion around this and we wished he could bottle it up. He advised the public that if they were passionate about this and discontinuance and sale of these roads, they should pay close attention as to what was going at the Town Planning Board. Between Related and Kingdom Hall there are a lot potential plans on the table, including parking lots, hotels and motels etc.

Both Trustee Guazzoni and the Mayor then thanked the public for their comments as well.

Vote on the Discontinuance of Certain Roads in the Village:

The Mayor then re-stated the Motion, to discontinue to the two roads.

The Board then voted 3-2 in favor with Trustees McHugh and Gluck voting against.

Discussion of Possible Sale of Certain Roads in the Village:

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he would like to have the agreement negotiated by all 5 Trustees and not just 1 or 2 individuals. He feels that it is very important that all of them have input.

Trustee Kilduff stated that he felt that was a good idea and that also, they should work with counsel to make sure that the access to the public was iron clad and forever in place.

Trustee McHugh echoed Trustee Kilduff’s comments with regard to the easement on the deed being iron clad forever. He then asked Mr. Nugent if he could speak Trustee Guazzoni’s comments with regard to the agreement with Related, what his understanding is and how it is currently written as well as with regard to the annexation into the Village per the 2005 agreement when the transfer would go through.

Mr. Nugent stated the agreement of 2005 requires the annexation of the parcels into the Village. The subdivision of the fox hill tract into three single-family home parcels is an application that will be made to the Village after the annexation and not before as stated by Trustee Guazzoni. In terms of when this might occur, Mr. Nugent stated that February would be the earliest that the process might commence.

Trustee McHugh then wanted to know whether Related could sell the land to a third party prior to annexation.

Mr. Nugent responded that he believed they could agree to sell the parcels but based on the 2005 agreement, he did not think they could actually sell it.

For clarification purposes Trustee McHugh wanted to know if would be at all possible for Related to decide to sell the property to a third party and that party then decide not to annex the land into the Village.

The answer was no, according to the 2005 agreement. The might be able to transfer the obligation as part of a sale, but not without Village involvement.

With respect to the agreement, Trustee Gluck stated that he was not sure whether they were contemplating negotiating everything now, given Mr. Bruno’s time constraints, or whether they should schedule another meeting to discuss. He was not sure how things could move forward if they chose the later.

Mr. Nugent responded that everyone had seen the draft agreement so the first step was for them was to address any particular issues they saw right now with the agreement or any additional items they wanted to see included.

Trustee Gluck suggested that they seek to draft the easement language over the next several days.

It was agreed that Mr. Bruno’s attorney would do this and that the drafts would be considered at next week’s regularly scheduled meeting.

There followed some discussion with regard to the specific language in various sections of the agreement.

Vote on Possible Sale of Certain Roads in the Village:

It was agreed that the Trustees would like more time to review the agreement prior to voting and therefore the vote will take place at their regularly scheduled meeting next week. In the meantime, if any of the Trustees have further comments or suggestions, these would be submitted to Mr. Nugent by the following day at noon.

Trustee Guazzoni wanted to know when the document would be circulated to the public.

The answer was that once the language had been finalized, the agreement would be released. It is anticipated that this will happen on Thursday prior to the meeting.

Trustee Guazzoni expressed his concern that the public would be given such a short time to review the agreement prior to the Board’s vote.

Mr. Nugent responded that there was no requirement on agreements such as these and they did not have to have any sort of hearing in this regard. It was up the Board as to how they wanted to proceed.

Trustee Guazzoni wondered if it could be made ready in the Village Office the day prior to the vote so that people could look at it.

Mr. Nugent advised the Board that if they were creating a procedure that allowed for public input on Village agreements, they needed to consider where they were going to draw the line.

The Mayor responded that she believed that this is why the Trustees are elected, to make decisions such as these. She believes having it available the day of, once it has been completed, is the correct way to proceed.

Trustee McHugh stated that he tended to agree with Trustee Guazzoni on this but he would be willing to concede so long as the Trustees themselves received the agreement by Tuesday at 5pm, which would give them time to properly digest it.

The timeline for making the document available to the public was then discussed.
Mr. Bruno’s attorney suggested that any resident in the Village could well have their valid opinion on any nuance within the contract and that this could in turn have an overall effect on the terms, which could lengthen the process considerably. He suggested they minimalize public input once the draft was completed and the Mayor agreed.

Public Comment:

Mayor Guinchard announced that she was planning to purchase a podium for future public comment periods. She feels that it is important for individuals to believe they have the floor when addressing the Board. For the time being she asked he speaker to stand and state their name and address before speaking.

Barry Hawk commented that he was both a part of the public an attorney and that his strong suggestion was that it would be Imprudent for the future and completely unnecessary the Board to circulate draft agreements to the public. Board members are voted in on principal. He feels it would not be good precedent to start circulating such agreements to the public.

Suzanne Wiliams asked for clarification that indeed the agreement would state in every way all ramifications of the easement. If 50 years from now the easement is somehow lost, will the agreement state in every way that the Village wants to retain the public use of the road.

Mr. Nugent responded that the easement itself would be the public document that was filed and thus, it would never be lost.

Sally Sonne commented that she had previously spoken at length about the issues and therefore would say nothing more about them. She inquired of the attorney what the requirements of residency were for a publically elected official in a Village.

Mr. Nugent responded that typically (barring certain exceptions) for an elected official residency required residency within the jurisdiction where the office is held.

Mrs. Sonne then wanted to know if somebody was holding an office and then moved away during the term but commuted back for meetings, whether that person were still a legitimate member of the Board with voting capabilities of if that person should resign his or her position.

Mr. Nugent responded that without a more factual question, he could not provide an answer. If somebody is not a resident under the law, then technically they would vacate their office in ceasing to be so. Normally, this is determined through a court action, if there is a factual dispute.

Mrs. Sonne suggested that if somebody knew that he or she was not a resident of a community that person should probably resign from the Board.

Mae Shore wondered whether it had ever been decided by the Board what the determining factor for the abandonment by the Village of the Road had been.

Mr. Nugent responded that the Board had discussed their individual views.

Ms. Shore wondered more about the specific criteria.

Mr. Nugent responded there was no specific criteria or standard under the law.

Sara Cassis suggested that language could change for these types of things depending on who the Mayor and Trustees happened to be.

Mr. Nugent responded that the real issue was that the Board had the discretion to review the facts and make a decision based on that. The standard for challenging this in court would be whether or not the Board had acted arbitrarily and capriciously when making that determination.

Mrs. Cassis stated that in looking at how this had been structured in that the value of the land and donation amount seemed to be intertwined, whether there was any merit in having the language reflect this so that down the road they cannot be tied back together in terms of value.

Mr. Nugent responded that any time there was an official appraisal of land, as there was in this case, that is the appraisal for that time only. If the land were to change hands again (Eminent Domain) there would be another appraisal. The donation would not come into that determination.

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 12, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Continuation of Discussion on the Discontinuance of Certain Roads in the Village
4. Vote on the Discontinuance of Certain Roads in the Village
5. Discussion on the Possible Sale of Certain Roads in the Village
6. Vote on the Possible Sale of Certain Roads in the Village
7. Any other matter that may come before the Board.
8. Adjournment

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting Saturday December 12, 3pm

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a special meeting on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 3:00p.m. at the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987, for the purpose of continuing the discussion on the discontinuance of certain Village roads, the vote on the discontinuance of certain Village Roads, a discussion on the possible sale of certain Village roads, the vote on the possible sale of certain Village roads, and any other matter that may come before the Board. Check the Village website for an up-to-date agenda (

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 8, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on December 8, 2013.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Update:
Mayor Guinchard began the meeting for asking for a moment of silence in recognition of the tragedy that occurred in California last week.

She then explained to the Trustees that with regard to the Tuxedo Farms Easement, things had started to become overly time consuming and expensive in terms of negotiations and attorney fees, so she had negotiated a $10,000 maximum with Related to pick up some of the Villages legal expenses so that it will not infringe on the budget. 

The Village does not normally allow trucks to enter the community via the South Gate, however the Mayor stated that “given what was going on in our country right now” they would no longer be making any exceptions to the this rule.  All truck traffic must come through the Front Gate for the foreseeable future, or at least until the Village feels more comfortable.  The Mayor wants everyone to know that the Village is on top of security and making sure that they are aware of everything that is going on.  

Next, the Mayor stated that there is a “rule” which states that the Village must maintain four full-time police officers however, they have discovered that there are some communities within Orange County who are exceptions to this and have been “carved out” of the rule.  With this in mind, Mayor Guinchard has met with the State Assemblyman, who has agreed to have a bill drawn up, to be presented in Albany, in an attempt to get the Village “carved out” of the rule as well so that they can reduce the number of full-time officers to two.  She noted that some of these other exception communities had populations of 12 or 13,000 people, but they only needed two full-time officers in addition to part time.  She believes that reducing the number of police could be a big savings budget wise for the Village.  The bill may or may not work, but the Mayor feels it is worth a shot.  The Board must first pass a resolution to give permission to the Assemblyman to draw up the bill. 

The resolution was subsequently put forth and passed unanimously.

Acknowledging the current situation with the Town and their Police Department, the Mayor then stated that the Village wanted to be sure not to run short on part-timers.  Commenting that she did not know what was going to happen, she further stated that she felt the Village could not be held short and resident safety should not be in any way compromised.   With this in mind she has asked the Village Clerk to draw up all necessary paperwork to extend the allotted number of part time gate guards and officers by 3 each.  Currently, the Village has all time slots filled however, if they should be called upon to assist the Town in absence of their officers, currently they do not have that service to offer.  The Mayor has also interviewed a local candidate for two empty traffic guard slots and was very impressed. 

Chief Sanford agreed with this assessment further stating that the applicant was a Tuxedo resident who lived right by the Station in Augusta Place and that having her so close and accessible would be an asset to the department.  

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of hiring the new part-time gate guard.

The Village is also looking to hire a second guard and the Chief has interviewed a strong candidate, but she has not yet had a chance to meet with him.  She suggested that they pass a resolution to hire him, pending her interview.  This was done by unanimous vote.  Next, the Mayor reported that both she and the Chief had interviewed a new part-time officer with whom they were both very impressed. The applicant is a trained sniper with Military background and a 20-year veteran of the Montgomery Police Department.  A motion to hire this part-time officer was then made and unanimously adopted.

Request – The Fyke Nature Association – Annual Bird Count:
The Village has received a request from Fyke Nature Association for the annual bird count.  A motion granting permission for the count on Saturday, December 19 was made and passed unanimously. 

Public Hearing – Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2015 – Tree Advisory Board:
Village Grant Writer Fred Rella gave a brief re-cap of Tree City USA, which is a program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, which would ultimately give them some extra weight with some grant opportunities put forth by Urban Forestry, the DEC and/or the Arbor Day Foundation themselves.  In order to become a Tree City USA, the Village must do three things:

  1. The Village must form a Tree Committee, made up of 5 members, one of which must be the head of the DPW.  Mr. Rella recommends that he also sit on the committee, which leaves 3 open spots to be filled.
  2. The Village must celebrate Arbor Day, to include the planting of a tree, and there must be a Village proclamation stating that Arber Day is being celebrated.
  3. The Village must have within their budget at least $2 per resident (roughly $1,400 in the Village) for tree services and plantings alike.

Mayor Guinchard suggested residents GOOGLE Tree City USA, commenting that they maintained a great education website tool as well.   She is hopeful that the grants that the Village will be eligible for as a Tree City will help out with expenses in terms of managing invasive species, etc. 

There were no public comments.

Trustee Guazzoni apologized to Chui Yin Hempel, stating that he was the one who had suggested that she lead the committee.  He thanked her for accepting the position.  He then stated that he was not overly happy with the verbiage in the proposed legislation.  He feels that as it is currently written, the Village would be stripping property owners of their rights.  According to the law, the committee is meant to create a tree standard manual through development of landscaping and tree ordinances throughout the Village.  He foresees this becoming “the BAR of trees and landscaping” and he feels the language needs to be changed.  Technically, ordinances are no longer allowed; local laws are, but even with that said, he does not feel that the committee needs to or should develop a tree-standard manual by which they will further develop laws.  He believes this to be over reaching. 

Trustee Kilduff stated that felt the committee would just be an Advisory Board and he supported it.

Trustee Gluck agreed with this, commenting that the committee would not authority or ability to institute policy.

Trustee McHugh also expressed his approval.

A motion to approve Local Law Introductory #3 was then made and passed with Trustee Guazzoni abstaining from the vote.

Next, a motion was made to sign the Village Proclamation regarding the Arbor Day Celebration and approved with Trustee Guazzoni once again abstaining.
A motion was then made for the Mayor to sign the Tree City Application.  Again, Trustee Guazzoni abstained.

Tree City USA:
The Arbor Day ceremony then commenced with the Mayor explaining that normally this celebration took place during the month of April however, the DEC had made an exception and allowed the Village to do it on December 8 in order that they might qualify for the year 2015.  The tree to be planted was selected by the Mayor and donated by Humberto.  It is a dwarf Alberta spruce.  Committee head Chiu Yin Hemple came forward to accept the chairmanship of the Tree Committee along with the Tree, which will be planted at the entranceway of the Village.  A silver shovel was also presented.  The Mayor further explained that the Village would have a bronze plaque to commemorate any tree planted as part of the Tree City USA project.

Mrs. Hempel graciously accepted both items, along with a ton of praise from the Mayor, commenting that she felt the tree really stood as a marker for the Village.  For the first time the community is recognizing the importance of trees, not only to the beauty and ecological health of the community but also to the real estate values within. 
A group photo for Tree City USA was then taken.

Public Hearing – Discontinuance of Certain Roads in the Village:
The Mayor announced that Michael Bruno would be the first speaker so that he could clarify what was happening as the agreements are currently in the process of being finalized.
Mr. Bruno began by stating that he could not imagine a better day to be having this conversation than Arbor Day.  He continued on to say that the interesting thing was that there had been a number of letters written by very passionate people within the community, some for and some against the sale, but almost all of these letters say the same thing, which is that people would like to see Brook Road remain accessible.  He further stated that in his view one of the most exciting things that had happened in the last year was the gift given by the Sonne family to the Village for the purpose of maintaining bridal paths and trails such as these.  He supports this initiative and would like to do whatever he can do to help, as he believes they add a lot to real estate value and to be able to have these wonderful trails within the park is “really special.”  He thinks that Sally Sonne has made a real difference in “what the outcome of this was starting to be” which was that initially there would be an easement that would end at the spot where there is a broken bridge (about half way between the entrance to the trail by the Laukitus home and Camp Comfort Road) Noting that many people had never been back there and that it really was quite beautiful, Mr. Bruno stated that from the bridge up to Camp Comfort was a known rattle snake area and he has personally seen a number of large snakes there.  Additionally, the bridge currently in place is a hazard.  His original intent was to maintain access to the trails from one side with an easement, but close off the other side because of these hazards.  That being said, he is open to the idea of allowing access to the trail from both ends, with an easement going the entire way, if the transaction is approved and allowed to progress.  This is basically where things stand now.  There are some other details being discussed with regard to preservation of the road.  Mr. Bruno commented that he is also a supporter of architectural preservation and would be thrilled, if possible, to be able to make a nice donation to the Village to be used for the restoration of the Gate and the Keep.  Stating that he hoped this helped to clarify things, he opened himself up to any questions that the public might have for him.
Cindy Booth wondered if there were any provisions within the contract that would allow the easement to go with the deed, in other words was it deep restricted so that residents of the Village can access it in perpetuity.

Mr. Bruno responded that the Village would be the ones to draw the easement.

He has lived a lot of places and has been told a lot of things about what might or might not happen to him around his home, and some of these things did not turn out the way he thought they would.  Therefore he does not want to risk the chance of the road ever becoming paved.  He supposed some people might consider it a “great escape to the school,” but he has been in real estate too long not to know things happen, He has used this area a lot and he loves it and he would like to share it with everyone in the community.  The document calls for Village Resident access.   Another thing that was pointed out by Bob Dow that he thought was quite interesting was that he had purchased the very end of a road, where it leaves the village, so that he could post it as Private Property and people could not choose to hike over that line and enter the Village.  One of the trails in question has very east access to Long Meadow Road.  If somebody is granted the right to post Private Property signs there, they would have the right potentially keep hikers from coming in off of Long Meadow.  If it is a public road/trail, he is not sure what the outcome of that would be.
Chui Yin Hemple wondered if access to the road by emergency vehicles would be permitted.

The answer was yes.  Mr. Bruno feels this goes without saying.

The Mayor interjected that this would depend on whether or not they were able to get through as there are some areas of the road that were wider than others and a bridge that could pose some problems. 

Mr. Bruno also noted that on the Camp Comfort side somebody, as some point, had put a very large berm there, probably to prevent access because of the bridge.  The other side has a metal gate.  He stated that there would not be a rock wall installed with any sort of entrance to the trail.  There are potentially still some building sites back in there that nobody knows the outcome of yet. 

Village Attorney Brian Nugent confirmed that within the document there would be provisions made for both public access and emergency vehicles.  In terms of fire though, an easement is not required.  If there should be an incident, the fire department can legally cross private property if necessary to deal with that.  He went on to clarify that the purpose of the current public hearing was to discuss the discontinuance of these particular parcels of land as roadways that were dedicated to the Village as abandoned roadways.  Although there is an agreement intertwined and the land may be transferred, the hearing was focused on the discontinuance of the roads.  There was no public hearing requirement for the Village to transfer land that they own to somebody else.

Sally Sonne inquired as to what the standards for abandonment were.

Mr. Nugent responded that he would advise the Board of that once all the public input had been received but generally speaking, it’s whether or not there is a current public use and if the trails are useful to the Village as roadways.  He further pointed out that when these roads were received by the Village back in 1952, they were all marked as abandoned, although they were still dedicated.  Because of this, his advice to the Board had been to hold the hearing and go through the process of discontinuing the parcels as roadways because they were officially dedicated, although they have not been used as roadways since that time.
Sally Sonne commented that she did not feel that the three parcels should be lumped together as they are really very different.  She wanted to discuss Brook Road.  She noted that parcel #4, the lower part of Brook Road, was not being abandoned because to do so would violate a previous agreement with the Related Companies.  She believes the entirely of Brook Road must be examined as a hole when considering abandonment.  The Village attorney has said that in order to abandon a public road the Village must first determine that the road no longer serves a public purpose.  The road in question is not paved and never was, although cars probably did drive on it in the early days.  It was dedicated to the Village in 1952 in virtually the same condition that it is in now and was used at that time for recreation, just as it is now.  Mrs. Sonne, her friends and family all use Brook Road.  She loves it.  It is beautiful to walk, to cross-country ski, snowshoe or ride mountain bikes on.  Occasionally her children were even able to walk to school on the road when they had missed the bus.  Brook Road also leads to a network of trails in the Northern Tract, most of which is dedicated to permanent open space by the Related Companies.  She is not the only one who wishes Brook Road to remain a public road.  She presented the Board with a list of 36 names, residents who could not be present but were opposed to the abandonment and subsequent sale of Brook Road.  Brook Road does serve the public.  She believes that the Board is to consider the abandonment of the road based on its merits and on whether or not it truly satisfies the conditions necessary for abandonment.  Everybody knows that the next step is to sell the road.  Should the sale come into the Boards deliberations on the abandonment?  She does not believe it should.  Looking ahead, if the sale moves forward as planned, the Village will be selling Brook Road for less than $40,000.  She wondered whether the Board would really be going through “all of this” with the controversy and protests and obvious problems for $40,000.  She believes the answer is no.  There is the “enticing lure” of a donation of $350,000, specifically earmarked for the renovation of the Keep, Police Station and Police Booth which will not affect the regular working Village Budget into which residents pay their taxes.  She wondered whether the Board members could separate their thoughts of the sale and donation from their thinking about abandonment.  This may not easy to do, but she believes that this is what the Board has been charged with.  The agenda for the Public Hearing was, in her view, a little puzzling as the hearing itself was to focus on the abandonment of roads however, next on the agenda was a discussion of the agreement for sale of this property.  What is interesting to her is that the planned discussion should/would only be occurring if the outcome of the hearing goes a certain way and the Village determines that it can abandon the property.  It looks to her as though the outcome of the hearing was decided before the hearing even took place.  If this is the case, what is the purpose of the hearing?  It doesn’t smell right to her.  She has read the proposed agreement of sale with Mr. Bruno, which he has already signed.  There is one item she finds particularly puzzling.  Historically the Village made a deal with the Related Companies to annex 30-acres of land and allow it to be subdivided into three building lots along the lower part of Brook Road (this parcel #4, not currently being considered for abandonment) but in the sale agreement, this parcel is being put under option, giving Mr. Bruno the option to purchase a property that the Village has no right to sell.  Mrs. Sonne assumes that at some point in the future there will be another hearing to discuss abandonment of this parcel as well.  If all goes according to the Board’s plan and the road is abandoned and they move forward to discuss the sale of the property, she would like the opportunity to express her view on the wisdom of this sale.  Mr. Bruno has said that he wants to preserve this beautiful trail and so does she.  It is both beautiful and preserved in its current state.  Mr. Bruno would not be saving the trail from anyone or anything. The trail does need some clearing as there are a few spots where large trees have fallen across it, but the Village has been provided with a fund with which to do this and they do not need Mr. Bruno to do it for them.  Mr. Bruno has also stated that he wants to save the land from development.  He told her that once he obtains the lower portion and buys the related land he will put the bulk of the 30-acres into the conservation easement and build one house about halfway down that portion of the road.  The home would have one long driveway running in from Brook Road.  Mrs. Sonne assumes this driveway would be paved, which means that a portion of Brook Road will be paved, albeit slightly less than if all three Related lots were to be developed.  Mr. Bruno has stated that he will be saving the road from the possibility of becoming a “through road.”  This is not really true because he does admit that the Village could claim the road by eminent domain if the time comes that the development on Mountain Farm road comes to fruition and traffic down the one windy access road is deemed to be dangerous or too much.  In this case the taxpayers would most likely have to spend a lot of money to buy back Brook Road.  Mrs. Sonne is recommending that the Village protect itself by insisting that if it needs to repossess Brook Road by eminent domain, the cost be the same as the current sale price plus a reasonable adjustment for inflation.  Mr. Bruno has said that he will grant easements for residents to walk on the road and even though this is not in the signed agreement, she assumes that it will happen. The proposed easement on the lower portion bothers her though as when he puts in the long driveway, the pedestrian easement would run right down the middle and she anticipates that the owner of that home might have some objections to the arrangement.  She recommends that should the Village get that parcel that there should be a deed restriction attaching a permanent easement to the land that will remain on the deed should the land be sold to another party.  Brook Road is not a little finger of a road that goes nowhere, like some of the roads that have been sold in the past.  It goes from one place to another and cannot be declared a useless road.  Mrs. Sonne feels that to sell this road would set a dangerous precedent, as there are other similar carriage roads throughout the Park.  Are they all now up for grabs?  If this road sets the standard, they are pretty darn cheap!  In selling the carriage roads, the Village would lose something that has been integral to their past and can provide some special enjoyment in the future.  Brook Road as well as the other carriage roads are in her view, the Village’s heritage; it’s past and it’s future.  They are the park land of Tuxedo Park.  Returning to the original purpose of the public hearing, Mrs. Sonne stated that just the fact that there had been some input from the public indicates that the road serves the public.  Mr. Bruno is now saying that he will give an easement so that the public can use the road, implying that without a doubt, there is a public purpose.  She does not understand how this could possibly be denied and she sincerely hopes that the Board’s determination on whether or not to abandon Brook Road will reflect this indisputable fact.

Mr. Bruno commented that only three of the individuals who had received Mrs. Sonne’s widespread communication and expressed their support for it had actually contacted him directly to discuss the situation.  The other thirty-three did not.  After receiving some clarification from Mr. Bruno these individuals changed their position, admitting that they had not previously understood the facts.  For the sake of the record, Mr. Bruno stated that he was not sure if some of the 36 individuals who were on Mrs. Sonne’s list did or did not fully understand the situation.  He pointed out that Mrs. Sonne had not sent out a second, follow-up communication after she had met with him and he had agreed to the idea of opening the road all the way. 

Mrs. Sonne responded that her communication referred to the agreement that has been signed by Mr. Bruno and it was accurate in terms of that agreement. 

Mayor Guinchard pointed out that the document Mr. Bruno had signed was a draft.    She further stated that the Village Attorney and some of the Trustees had not originally been in favor of releasing the document in draft form but “this Board is so transparent, we put everything out” for the purpose of having the public see the progression of the process.  Although Mr. Bruno has signed off on the document, it has not been executed as the Board has not agreed to it yet.

Mr. Nugent reiterated this stating that until the Board authorized the Mayor to sign the agreement, there was no agreement.

Chris Hansen stated that he had a couple of questions for the Board.  First, he wanted to know why they wanted to abandon the road.

Mayor Guinchard responded “it’s already abandoned.”

Mr. Hansen pointed out that they were currently going through a process to declare it as such.

Mr. Nugent interjected that this was a public hearing and not an opportunity for the Board to be questioned.  He went on to reiterate that the road had been dedicated as abandoned and that the Board is looking to discontinue its use.

Mr. Hansen then wanted to know why they wanted to discontinue the use.

Mr. Nugent responded that the question was now on the record and that if the Board wanted to respond they could, but the purpose of the hearing was for the public to be heard and not for them to question the Board.

Mr. Hansen responded that he understood this, noting that he had also sat on the Board, and further commented that the issue was how transparent the Board wished to be.  He would like to understand why they wanted to discontinue the use.  Mr. Nugent replied that there was no legal requirement that the Board state why they were doing what they were doing.

The obvious is that they are discontinuing it because they feel that the road is no longer of use to the Village.  That is the why.  He went on to say that the reason he was cautioning the Board with regard to the questioning was because he was an attorney and he understood how quickly a line of questioning could become a cross-examination.  While he did not necessasrily believe this to be Mr. Hansen’s intent, he felt it prudent to advise the Board to take the comments but not to answer any questions.

Mr. Hansen replied that since he could not ask for clarification, which would be nice for a transparent Board, he would state that he believed that they wanted to do it so that they could sell the land.  This in turn begs the question, why do they want to sell it?  

When he was on the Board there were a number of instances where people wanted to buy properties or they wanted to put easements and restrictions on properties and his question to them was always why they wanted to do this and what the risks were.  Tuxedo Park is a very unique place.  One of the things that makes it unique is that at one time, one person owned all the land…and then he subdivided much of it and sold it off.  The remaining, unsold land was held by all of the residents in an association, essentially making it community property.  This lasted until 1953 when the successor to that public land became the Village.  So, for the past 100 years or so the Village has enjoyed a unique situation where the residents of the Park have had has access to land that most other communities do not have.  The trails have been used for years for hunting and riding horses and now they are used for hiking and biking and this is one of the things that makes Tuxedo Park unique in that all the land is not owned by individuals.  Mr. Hansen then recalled a situation where Gary Glynn had wanted to purchase a Village owned waterfall near his property.  Yes, this would have meant some income for the Village, but ultimately the question was, why should the Village give it up?  It wasn’t as though it was going to solve any problems and in the end the Village didn’t have it and there was no benefit, so the sale was not made.  Another example, admittedly not a sale, was the Racetrack.  There were some individuals who wanted to put permanent restrictions on what could be done with that property.   At the time, Mr. Hansen had asked the Board to consider why they would want to do this and what the risks, if any, for the racetrack were.  As he saw it, maintaining it as it had always been did not pose any sort of risk to the Village.  The property has been through numerous transformations over the years and is currently a very open and beautiful place.  He has no idea what will be the best for the Village 30, 50, 100 or 200 years from now and therefore, to restrict the use of the Racetrack, to which there was no risk, and which is more beautiful now than it has been in 50 years, would have been pointless.  Similarly, if the Board decides to discontinue the road, they could well be limiting the Villages potential options going forward.  Again, he wanted to know whether the Board felt there was a risk, and why they felt the need to make the sale right now.  Is the discontinuance of the road tied to something else?  Will the Village now start selling these roads to everybody...if the Village really wants to make some money?  He does not see what risk the road poses. It has been preserved for a long time.   People can use it.  That being said, if the Village does decide to sell it, why not open up the sale, list it, and ultimately maxamise the revenues for the Village?  Why not start selling the rest of the carriage trails?  If it is a monetary issue, why not sell Village owned lake front property and allow somebody to build a boathouse there?  This would generate a ton of revenue for the Village.  Again, he implored the Board to assess the risk factor.  Do they really want to change the fabric of what is Tuxedo Park?

Susan Boyle stated that she was of the understanding that that the sale of this property was directly tied to financing certain infrastructure repairs within the Village.  Fundamentally speaking, she believes it is important to look at the whole rather than several small parts.

Looking at the whole thing, how is the Village going to generate additional revenue?  If in fact the solution is selling of components of the Park, and that is the right solution, then they need to look at the whole picture.   She believes this to be a different and important prospective and it is a prospective that, as an architect, she holds pretty dear.  She then inquired as to whether or not non-residents who attend TPS pay a fee to the Village in exchange for access.

The answer was no.  They are required to purchase a vehicle tag.

Ms. Boyle  responded that she felt the Village should examine other opportunities for generating revenue.  She pointed out that there were many non-residents, at The Club for example, who were making frequent use of Village roads.

Trustee Guazzoni pointed out that the Village could not charge for use of public roads.  The Village roads are public, although they have restricted use.  They charge certain eligible non-residents for their tags.

Mayor Guinchard explained that the non-residents eligible for tags were those attending TPS, members of The Club and students at St. Mary’s.

Trustee Kilduff pointed out that they were at the upper limit in terms of cost for the tags.
Ms. Boyle replied that she thought there might be other revenue options the Village should explore.

She further commented that she lived on Camp Comfort and that at certain times the school traffic made it very difficult to enter or exit her driveway.  The school traffic is a serious concern of hers.  The road in question could eventually provide another way out for school traffic.  Are there restrictions on the number of students that can enroll in TPS?  She implored the Board to look at the whole picture instead of isolating one piece of it.  Years ago, she believes the road in question was part of the Master Plan, with hopes of making it financially viable for the Village!  

Cindy Booth wanted to know how the value had been established for Brook Road.  Was there an appraisal done?  

Mayor Guinchard responded that there had been a formal appraisal.  She further noted that the Finance Committee had been working on a full property inventory for the Village, as one had never been done before, so they would know exactly what they have.  The Village has sold roads in the past, without public hearings or involvement, for a “chunk amount” of money using a formula designed by Building Inspector Ledwith to determine the fee.  Michael Bruno did not want to use this formula however because he did not want to jip the Village out of any money, so a formal appraisal was done and surveys completed.  

Trustee Guazzoni reiterated the point that roads had been quietly sold in the past for prices as low as $5,000.  Mr. Bruno did not want to do something like this as he did not wish to lowball the Village.  Trustee Guazzoni believes that the public process here is very important.  He went on to state that there were 4 parcels in question.  He wondered if anybody had any issues with roads 2 and 3, which are completely surrounded by Mr. Bruno’s property.

Ms. Boyle responded that it was not an issue of having a problem with specific parcels, but more one of the history of the Park and taking a look a the big picture.  It may be the right thing to do.  Perhaps the Board has done their due diligence.

The Mayor responded that she felt it would be irresponsible of the Board to have an inventory of anything and not know what they had.  They are appraising things and getting insurance on different buildings that they have and they don’t know if they are paying too much.  The finance Committee has been really on top of these things and making sure that the Village has real answers.  So in summation, the answer to Ms. Booth’s question is yes, the land was formally appraised. 

Ms. Booth then stated that she had received calls from a number of concerned people who had paper roads, which either bordered their property or bordered two or three properties.  The question of concern is whether or not this sale is setting precedent with regard to sale of the other roads.

Mr. Bruno stated that it was his understanding that a road could not be sold unless the buyer owned both sides of it.

It was pointed out the summit road was bought by people who owned just one side of it.
Trustee Guazzonni stated that there were several reasons that paper roads were sold by the Village.  One is that the roads are completely surrounded by a residents’ property, which is the case here with roads 2 and 3.  Another reason is to plug up the end of the road so that it could be called Private Property.  This is what happened on Potucket Road.  Where road 1 and road 4 come together, there is a trailhead that is used frequently by hunters.  He hikes Brook Farm Road a lot and he sees a lot of hunters and people riding ATVs coming in via that trail.  If Mr. Bruno were to buy that portion of the trail, he could post it as private property and keep those people out.

Chris Hansen stated that the Village had the power to keep people out any way.  Those people did not have legal access.  In his view the argument makes no sense.

Trustee Guazzoni stated to say that in the past the Village had sold roads for this purpose but Mr. Hansen cut him off stating “Forget the past!”  He suggested that they had been wrong in the past.  The Village has a police force and those roads are Village roads. 

Mr. Hansen then stated that he believed that located on these parcels there were properties, roughly 30 acres, which could ultimately be 3 houses. 

Trustee Guazzoni stated that it was actually 28 acres and there could ultimately be more than 3 houses there.

Mrs. Sonne stated that Andrew Dance of Related had sent her an e-mail earlier that day and confirmed that there would only be 3 lots.

Mr. Hansen stated that it was his understanding that there possibly other properties that were on the other side of this that could become part of the Village and therefore access Village Roads.  Mr. Bruno has said he would only build one house there.  Mr. Hansen wanted to know whether all of these properties would be annexed into the Village.
The answer was yes.

Mr. Hansen went on to say that since the Village has 4-acre zoning they should consider, should the lots be annexed in, what their potential value to the Village might be.  Long term, is the potential value of that worth more than the $40,000 Mr. Bruno is offering?  Once the Village discontinues the road,  realizing that value might not ever be a possibility.

Mrs. Sonne expressed some confusion at the idea that the Brook Road had been dedicated to the Village as an abandoned road.  It was always a dirt road, used by people for recreation.  The road was not dedicated as abandoned.  She feels this is an inaccurate way to describe it.

Mr. Nugent responded that he had referred the road that way because on the dedication map, roads were identified by certain colors once of which stood for abandoned.  This was their terminology.

Mrs. Sonne responded that this does not mean that the road had been abandoned….it was never paved and has always been used.

Looking at the map, Trustee Gluck explained that portions of the dirt road were indeed labeled as abandoned, but that the public use had not changed.

There were no further comments from the public.

Trustee Gluck stated that there had been a plethora of letters received from the public, many of which came with requests to be read into the record.  He wondered what the process would be for handling these. 

Mr. Nugent stated that there was no requirement that they be read, however if they have requested to have them be made a part of the record, they should be filed with the record of the hearing.

Mayor Guinchard then moved on to Trustee comments.

Trustee McHugh stated that he was “coming out” more or less aligned with Mrs. Sonne and Mr. Hansen.  He agrees with Trustee Guazzoni that there are no issues with roads 2 and 3 as they are landlocked by Mr. Bruno’s property and he sees no public value in that.  He has enormous problems with selling 1 and 4  for a couple of different reasons.  First and foremost in looking at the development up by the school, there is Overton, Regna and lower down Related, which is potentially doubling the housing stock in that section of the Park and there is only one access point.  Whether or not the Overton project comes to fruition or Mr. Regna choses to develop his land….who knows…but he feels it would be short sighted to give something away for a nominal sum.  He can related to Ms. Boyle’s comments as he used to live on Mountain Farm road himself and can attest that the traffic is horrendous during school session both going up and down.  It is a windy, narrow road.  Brook Farm road is not a narrow windy road.  It is spectacularly beautiful.  It will remain forever green thanks to Mr. Bruno purchasing one parcel from the Sugdens and conservation easement they will be getting with Orange County Land Trust.  He sees a certain irony with this in that the original document which was drafted the previous Wednesday and which Mrs. Sonne referred to as labeling the road as having no public value, but the public does use it.  The Board has received a multitude of letters stating just that.  These people do generate value from it.  There are no parks in this community…the parks are the trails.  Trustee McHugh does not want to give that up.

Mr. Bruno accused Trustee McHugh of being contradictory in that he first suggested that the road should be paved and then he said it should be saved.  Mr. Bruno believes it should be saved and kept green but Trustee McHugh is suggesting it should be saved to be paved.
Trustee McHugh denied this, stating that what he wanted was for the Village to retain the optionality moving forward.

Mr. Bruno interrupted Trustee McHugh, commenting that he wanted to see the road preserved not paved and that he believed that Trustee McHugh was speaking to the letters that the Board had received and according to Mr. Bruno, every one of those letters also wants to see the road preserved and not paved.

Trustee McHugh stated that he would be on the Board for another year and a half.  He did not feel it was in the purview of this current, temporary Board to give up this natural resource.  He sees this land as a natural resource to the Village and given the potential of the future development at a later date, he does not feel they should be selling it.  This is his personal opinion and Mr. Bruno might well think that he is “full of shit and totally wrong” and that is fine…he is entitled to his opinion.

Trustee Gluck suggested that the Board could discuss at a later date whether or not it was wise to sell Brook Road top or bottom, but he believes that Mrs. Sonne is quite correct when she suggests that the true meaning of the hearing is to determine whether or not there is current public use of Brook Road and it is clear that there is.  The road is used by many more people than he had ever thought.  It is a fantastic trail.  He appreciates the fact that as configured there would still be a right to use it, but he does not think this gets the Village by the requirement that they can’t dispose of a dedicated public pathway that is still being used in a public way.  It maintains its recreational use.  The record shows that people are still using it.  For that reason, if no other, he does not feel that they can vote in favor of abandoning the road. 

Trustee Guazzoni asked Trustee Gluck what he thoughts of trails 2 and 3 and he agreed that these were landlocked and held no public value.  Provided there is an easement that allows the Village access to the portion they need to access the trail, he has no problem with it. 
Trustee Kilduff stated that he had a different take on the situation in that he believed what was being proposed here ensured the public use of the road, as it is currently being used, moving forward.  Had Mr. Bruno not agreed to provide an easement that was satisfactory to the Village, he would have had reservations.  All the e-mail complaints he received stated that residents wanted to be able to use the road as a hiking trail and for recreation.  What is being proposed does that.  For him, it is also a blocking mechanism against Tuxedo Farms.  He feels Mr. Bruno’s efforts can assist the Village with that.  Mr. Bruno has been very generous within the community and he has invested a lot of his personal fortune in properties here.  With this easement, which guarantees continued recreational use by all Village residents, he does not understand why this isn’t being considered a win/win.  In terms of the nominal value, he referred to the agreement, section 8, which states that within 10 days of agreement Mr. Bruno and his partner will submit a check totaling $400,000.  That’s $24,768 for the transfer parcels and an additional $360, 904 constituting a donation to the Village.  The Village is not getting a nominal amount, they are getting a substantial fee, most of which will be applied to the renovations at the Front Gate.  The renovation of the Keep has been a dream of the Village for sometime.  Trustee Kildiuff the extended his gratitude to Mr. Bruno for his generosity, not only fiscally but also ensuring that Village residents can in fact enjoy the beauty of his property forever and also for helping them to block whatever McMansion plans that the Related Companies might have had to encroach on the Village.  In his view, if there was ever a public/private relationship that is of the goldest standards,  this is it and he believes it is a win/win for everyone.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he had very mixed feelings about all of this.  Trails 2 and 3 were landlocked by Mr. Bruno’s property and he has no issue with those.  Personally speaking, he enjoys hiking on Brook Farm Road, so he has asked himself what would change about if the land were to be sold to Mr. Bruno.  The Upkeep would be in private hands, so this is an expense the Village would no longer have.  Mr. Bruno can guarantee that residents can continue to hike there and should they need an access to the Mountain Farm Road in the future, the road could be condemned and taken by eminent domain.  His real issue is with the tract that runs along parcel number 4 on the map.  To the right of 4 is 28 acres that Related is forcing the Village to accept and annex in exchange for the northern and southern buffers.  Related has changed the items on the table multiple times.  He trusts them as far as he can throw them.  At this point there is no finalized agreement in place because the developer keeps changing the term.  His fear is that the 28 acres which are not yet part of the Village and are currently in the Town, will be developed with high density housing and then the Village will be forced to accept them.  He views the potential transaction with Mr. Bruno as a way to block related from having access to that area and make it more difficult for them to build high density housing there.  Mr. Hansen addressed the issue well.  How many houses does the Village ultimately wish to see there?  What is the future tax roll of those houses?  Do they want 28 houses on 28 acres?  That is going to bring a lot of money.  Is it 6 houses or 3 or 1 very large house as suggested by Mr. Bruno.

Mr. Nugent stated that the 2005 agreement stated that Related would have to apply for annexation and then they will apply to the Village for subdivision of that parcel into three single-family dwelling lots.

Mayor Guinchard stated that they have been having a lot of “interesting” negotiations with Related recently and honestly, they had no idea what to expect from day to day.  The public is not privy to everything.  The Village is actively fighting to keep the 2005 agreement in tact, while the developer is attempting to rip it out.  There is a definitely tug of war happening.

Mr. Nugent added that the Village has also been lobbying to make some changes on things that might not have been so important in 2005 but were relevant now.  This being said, the draft agreements that are currently being finalized do not change the annexation or the subdivision of the parcel into three single-family lots.  There has been no attempt to change this.

In the interest of setting the record straight, Trustee McHugh commented that it was his understanding that Kent Kroeber and JoAnn Hanson had fought for the right to annex the land into the Village in order to provide a greater tax base but Trustee Guazzoni was inferring that the Village was being forced to accept the land.  The people who negotiated the 2005 agreement did it because they wanted to bring property into the Park in order to develop tax revenue.

The Mayor then asked Trustee Guazzoni if he had any further thoughts and he responded that he did not.  He was truly ambivalent and could see benefits to both sides.
The Mayor stated that she could see all sides.  She had heard from many concerned residents.  She had to agree with Mr. Bruno in that individuals who contacted her based on what they had heard and then took the time to come in and educate themselves further about the situation, seemed to get a different opinion of what they were hearing.  She does appreciate everything that Mr. Bruno and everyone else had done for the community.  There are plusses and minuses to every situation and she wishes she had a Magic 8 ball to see what was going to happen in 50 or 100 years but she does not.  The Village needs to deal with what is happening now, today, and what the current risks are.  Things are different now.  Security is different, sizes of roads, building costs, infrastructure, the Villages financial position, the amount of buildable land remaining in the Village….things are complicated.  Preservation is important to everyone.  It is a give and take and compromises will be necessary.  The Mayor really loves her Board.  They may not always agree, but she feels they have great, healthy debates and discussions and that everyone always does their homework and is properly informed.  They do not have back-room meetings.  She has never dealt with any finer gentleman, aside from her husband.  The Village is truly lucky to have the Board they do.

The Public Hearing was then closed.

A motion was then made to discontinue the three parcels as identified.

Prior to the vote, Trustee Gluck inquired of counsel as to what the standard for discontinuance was.

Mr. Nugent explained that Village law did not give a particular standard, however the standard that is generally used is a determination as to whether or not the road could be considered useless.  Although public access certainly does apply, most of the cases he has seen involve a specific access/egress in a congested area.  He has not seen any case where the recreational use determined that that would mandate continuance of the parcel as a public roadway.  The proposed easement will still allow for the recreational use.  He reminded the Board that both the Police and DPW have said on record that they do not use the roadway save a small portion that needs to be used to access some infrastructure and there will be an easement for these purposes.

Trustee Guazzoni wondered if the parcels could be divided into two different motions.

The Mayor said no, but Mr. Nugent said it would be up to the Board.

Trustee McHugh expressed support for this idea.

The Board then began voting with Trustees McHugh and Gluck voting against and Trustee Kilduff voting in favor.  Trustee Guazozni stated that he was ambivalent on parcel one but would like to request more time to study the situation before casting his vote.  He suggested that they should be given 62 days to reach a decision.

Mr. Bruno stated that he had a year-end deadline for this transaction. 

Trustee Guazzoni asserted that he needed more information, and again requested that they postpone the vote for a few days. 

Mayor Guinchard stated that she was not in agreement with postponing the vote.  She feels there is enough information.

Trustee McHugh commented that he respected Trustee Guazzoni’s position and that if he felt he needed more information he should be entitled to that.  He is just concerned about how they can obtain the information.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he would like to review all the Related agreements and consider them more carefully before voting.  He assured the Board he could make the year-end deadline.

Mr. Nugent advised the Board that if they were to proceed with the vote and end up with a 2-2 and an abstention, then the issue would be dead as the motion would fail and could then not be reconsidered.  He suggested that they could withdraw the motion and suspend the vote. 

The motion was then withdrawn.

The scheduling of a special meeting was then discussed. 

Several people voiced their opinion about the sale of the road. 

Ms. Booth suggested that most people were under the impression that the hearing was about the Village abandoning the Road and not necessarily about the subsequent sale of it to a private individual.

The Mayor commented that nobody wanted the situation that occurred at the gate to happen but it did and “just so you know” taxes will go up a considerable amount to cover the repairs to the Keep without this donation.  The repairs were not a choice.  Insurance covered some of the costs but definitely not all.  The incident occurred on Labor Day weekend and the associated labor was incredibly expensive.  The Village needs to secure the Park.  They still have to build the booth, if that is what people want.  They cannot just put up a simple wood frame with officers and unarmed guards inside.  She respects Trustee Guazzoni’s need for more time, but time is of the essence and they needed to make a decision.  These are the facts.

The scheduling of the special meeting was then discussed further.

Ultimately, it was determined that they would meet on Saturday, December 12 at 3pm.

Discussion of Agreement to Sell Village Real Property:
Sally Sonne stated that she wanted to reiterate a point she had made earlier.  Should the Village at some time in the distant future see that it is necessary to repossess Brook Road, it could take it by eminent domain.  But, if the road has been sold, the Village would have to pay a lot of money to get it back.  Mrs. Sonne suggested that as a method of protection the Village write into the agreement that should they need to repossess the road in the future that they have the option to buy it back at the current selling price.

Trustee Kilduff wondered whether Mrs. Sonne was arguing that the road should not be developed and remain a hiking trail, or if it should be preserved so they could maintain the ability in the future.

Mrs. Sonne responded that she would not object to having the road paved in the future, if it needed to be done out of necessity in order to provide a safer traffic situation.  She would still be able to walk it as it would be a public road and the trails into the Northern Tract would be accessible.

M. Kilduff surmised that this meant she wanted to see the road preserved for paving and development down the line. 

Mrs. Sonne disagreed with that assessment.   She reiterated that she would like to see the road maintained for public recreational use but if down the line the Village saw the need to use the roadway for cars or emergency vehicles, then they should have the option to do so.
Trustee Kilduff commented that what he was fighting for was the preservation of the trail as a hiking trail and that he was falling short on the idea of leaving the option open to create a new thoroughfare for traffic.

The Mayor stated that 90% of the letters she had received stated that no paving should occur there.  In this regard, she is in disagreement with Mrs. Sonne.

Potential options to build and various scenarios including both building by Related and Mr. Bruno and the associated costs of each were discussed. 

The Mayor attempted to bring the issue of a vote back to the table but the Board asserted that they wanted to maintain the Saturday vote.

Trustee Kilduff inquired of Trustee Gluck as to what his intentions for Saturday were specifically with regard to public input as the hearing had been closed.

Trustee Gluck responded that he felt that this issue was important and that if there were members of the public who wanted to speak, they should be allowed to do so.

Trustee Gluck asked Trustee Kilduff what his intentions for Saturday were and Trustee Kilduff replied that he clearly he would need to make childcare arrangements and bring more coffee.
An audience member identified only as Elizabeth stated that she was hearing two things.

First that the roads were being sold in theory, with various amounts for various things attached to that and also that the decision had to be made by 12/31, which meant that it would be rushed, in her view.  She does not understand why the donation amount was being tied to the purchase amount.  A donation is a donation.  Was the purchase amount $40,000 or $400,000?

Mr. Bruno responded that the way things had been described earlier (donation vs sale price) was the way the deal was and it would not change.  It was either going to happen by the first of the year or not at all.

Elizabeth asserted that she was only making an observation and Mr. Bruno responded that she could not speak to his money and this is what she had been doing.
She countered that she was speaking to the information that had been presented.

Mr. Kilduff stated that the appraised value of the land was at $24,716.  According to the agreement, an additional $360,904 would constitute a donation to the Village.  It was the combined total of $400,00 that was helping to drive the decision.  
Mr. Hansen wondered whether the donation would be withdrawn if the Board decided not to abandon and sell the road.

The answer was yes.

He inquired whether the Village had made the decision to renovate the Keep to the extent they had based on the assumption that they would sell the road and accept the donation.
The Mayor responded that would have had to repair the building regardless, but without the donation the money would need to come from the budget.

Speaking to Mrs. Sonne’s earlier recommendation that the Village protect themselves in case they needed to purchase the road back down the line, Ms. Booth wondered whether, if this should ever happen, the price would indeed be $40,000.

The answer was that should that occur, an appraisal would have to take place in order to determine the sale amount. 

Keep Update:
Alan Yassky reported that things had slowed down a bit as they were waiting for custom-made stuff to come in.  The heating, insulation and masonry have all been completed.  The window frames are expected later in the week.  The scaffolding should be down by Christmas with the project completed by the first of the year.

The Mayor thanked both Alan and Tom Salierno for all their hard work.

Dark Sky Initiative:

The draft legislation was discussed.

Chui Yin Hempel commented that dark sky initiative had been a very important part of the discussing when formulating the Ridgeline and precipice legislation.  Commenting that the initiative was in her view very important, she stated that studies had been done and could easily be reviewed.  She looks forward to seeing what the Board comes up with.

A motion was then made formally introducing Introductory Local Law #4 of 2015 pertaining to amendments to the Village Code with regard to lighting.  This was unanimously approved.

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Agenda for Special Board of Trustees Meeting December 8, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Public Hearing - Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2015-Tree Advisory Board
5. Tree City USA
6. Public Hearing - Discontinuance of Certain Roads in the Village
7. Discussion of Agreement to Sell Village Real Property
8. Discussion of Agreement Relating to Related Gift Parcels & Easements
9. Adjournment

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Public Hearing for Road Discontinuance December 8 2015

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Hearing will be held by the Village Board of the Village of Tuxedo Park, Orange County, New York, on December 8, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York 10987.

The Village Board of the Village of Tuxedo Park is considering discontinuing certain roads that were dedicated to the Village in 1953 as parkways by the Tuxedo Park Association and identified at the time as dirt and/or abandoned roadways as follows:

1. Brook Farm Road parcel (approximately 1.1 acres) running between tax parcels Section 8, Block 1, Lot 24 and Section 101, Block 1, Lot 11.2 from Camp Comfort Road to a point approximately ten (10) feet northerly of the intersection with the first intersection with the lot line of tax parcel Section 8, Block 1, Lot 25.

2. A portion of a parcel (approximately .19 acres) identified in the County of Orange records on subdivision map 2461 (Sonne & Amory) running northwest / southeast between tax parcel Section 103, Block 1, Lot 15.1 and Section 103, Block 1, Lot 29 for a distance of approximately 410.8 feet from the western lot line of Section 103, Block 1, Lot 15.1 along the northern border of Section 103, Block 1, Lot 15.1 and ending at the intersection of the lot line between Section 103, Block 1, Lot 15.1 and Section 103, Block 1, Lot 15.22.

3. A portion of a parcel (approximately .22 acres) identified in the County of Orange land records running along the west side of Section 103, Block 1, Lot 29 in a southerly direction for approximately 488.1 feet from the lot line between Section 103, Block 1, Lot 30.3 and Section 103, Block 1, Lot 29 and ending approximately at the southwest corner of Section 103, Block 1, Lot 29.

The proposed amendments and related documents are available at the Village Clerk’s Office, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987, Monday–Friday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm.

Deborah A. Matthews
Village Clerk-Treasurer

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Notice of Public Hearing for Tree Advisory Board December 8, 2015


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Hearing will be held by the Village Board of the Village of Tuxedo Park, Orange County, New York, on December 8, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York 10987.

The Village Board of the Village of Tuxedo Park, pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law Section 10 et. seq., is considering Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2015 which will add a new Chapter 90 - entitled "Tree Advisory Board" to the Village Code.

The full text of the proposed Law is on file in the Village Clerk's Office, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York and may be obtained by any interested parties from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Deborah A. Matthews
Village Clerk-Treasurer

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 18, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, November 18 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Mayor Introduces Community Spotlight: Historical Society –
Mayor Guinchard introduced Bill Sweet, who made the following remarks regarding the Tuxedo Historical Society:

“Hello - I am Bill Sweet, a CFP and Investment Advisor, and I own a small business here in town with Greg Stevens called Stevens & Sweet. I have served as a Trustee of the Tuxedo Historical Society since 2013, in addition to being the Treasurer of the Tuxedo Park Library since 2012, and President of our Chamber of Commerce since 2010. 

I am here tonight with Stephen Brodheim who joined our board in March of this year. Stephen has brought a lot of gusto and energy to our group and in the past six months has literally doubled the organization's membership. 

Stephen is one of five new board members as the Historical Society is undergoing a transition in 2015, bringing new energy and new passion to the organization's mission of preserving the history of this special place. We are building on the incredible legacy of Chris Sonne, Ed & Pam Cromey, and many others. Our focus this year has simply been a wholesale reorganization - to pause, take stock of our collection, and to plan, develop, and execute 1-2 stellar events and exhibits over the next 12 months. 

The Tuxedo Historical Society was founded in 1982 with a focus on collecting, preserving, and educating the public on the history of Tuxedo. The way that I perceive our place in our community is to serve as a clearinghouse for artifacts and knowledge concerning our town, connecting the public today with the people and events that shaped Tuxedo going back to the Lenni-Lenape, the workers and owners of Sterling Iron Mines and the Augusta Forge, and of course Pierre Lorilard and architect Bruce Price, to recent events such as the formation of the Sterling Forest Partnership and renaissance of the Autumn Ball in 2011 and 2014. 

We have two events coming up in the next six months: first, a storytelling and holiday gathering event on Sunday, December 13th, featuring local history and holiday cheer. In May of 2016, we are launching an exhibit featuring photographs depicting the entire history of the Tuxedo community. We are seeking contributions to this exhibit that can be either donated or copied / scanned into the archive, as well as donations to fund the enlargements, and courageous volunteers interested in helping set up the display. 

This is to be a standing exhibit as our goal in 2016 is to have the Historical Society building open to the public on a regular basis. We are also working with Tuxedo Park School on a new website as well as volunteers to assist digitize some of our collection to make it more available to the public. 

We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so please do keep us in mind for a year-end tax donation this year, and please also consider joining the Historical Society as a membership. We are 100% membership and donor supported and every gift - however large or small - helps us to sustain our operation for the future of Tuxedo. 

I've also brought a few artifacts from our collection for display - two items related to Tuxedo Police, in honor of the restoration of the keep and park gates, an item remembering Veteran's Day, and two others. 

Thank you for your tremendous support.”

He then presented the following historic items:

- A vintage police hat worn by Tuxedo Park Police officers with Shield #2, donated by Richard Stevens (1903-1969). 
- A plaque with Shield #1 of the Town of Tuxedo Police Department last worn in 1996, donated by Salvadore Dalesandro 
- The original "Drug Store" sign that hung over Tuxedo Park Pharmacy Inc., donated by the Dart family 
- The Silver Star, our nation's second-highest military award for action in combat, awarded posthumously to Private Edward Lehman of Southfields on March 24th, 1945
- The Tuxedo 1976 Calendar, published by the Tuxedo Bicentennial Calendar in celebration of our nation's 200th birthday
- The original "Drug Store" sign that hung over Tuxedo Park Pharmacy Inc., donated by the Dart family 
- The Silver Star, our nation's second-highest military award for action in combat, awarded posthumously to Private Edward Lehman of Southfields on March 24th, 1945
- The Tuxedo 1976 Calendar, published by the Tuxedo Bicentennial Calendar in celebration of our nation's 200th birthday

Mayor’s Comments:
The Mayor began by reminding the Trustees to sign their Conflict of Interest Statements with Village Clerk Debbie Matthews.   She further commented that if the Trustees would prefer to go paperless for meetings in the future, they should let Debbie know and she would e-mail them their packets moving forward.

Next she read aloud a Thank-You letter from Reverend Betty written on behalf of Sue Heywood for the donation the Village made in memory of her late husband and former Trustee Alan Heywood. 

The Village also received a “beautiful Thanksgiving Card” from their insurance company, PERMA, which the Mayor circulated amongst the Trustees. 

The Mayor then reminded everyone that the next meeting would take place on December 17, which is a Thursday. 

O.C. Tax Exemption-Water Facility Located in Town – This is something that the Village does as a part of their agreement with Orange County to lower the taxes for their water system.  As there were no questions from the Trustees, a motion was quickly made and unanimously adopted.

Discuss dates for 2016-2017 budget workshops – commenting that before they knew it, the budget workshops would be upon them, the Mayor started that she thought it would be prudent if they got an early start on the process.  To this end she recommended they hold one workshop in the month of December and then possibly schedule 2 a month beginning in January.  The budget must be adopted by May 1. 

Trustee McHugh suggested that it might make more sense for them to wait until they had the half-year numbers and he inquired of Debbie as to when this might be.
Debbie responded that these numbers would be available in time for the December meeting.  It was then agreed that the Board would hold their first workshop meeting on Wednesday, December 16 at 7pm.  After a brief discussion, it was agreed that a second workshop would be held on Wednesday January 27.  They will determine the schedule for the remaining workshops in January.

Public Comments:
Peter Van Zandt reported that for the first time in 8 years the Tuxedo Lake had a water quality that was unprecedented for the majority of the season with only one copper sulfate treatment at the beginning of the season.  This has been very rewarding for him considering that he started the bio-manipulation of the Lake with trout stocking in 2013 and 2014.  This year the trout are doing their job but also there were cormorants…probably about 300 of them….which also helped with eating the heron so that the zooplankton and phytoplankton populations are finally balanced.  He inquired of the Board as to whether or not the Village had done anything with the proposed deep-water fish study, commenting that everything he had been doing was visual, so he did not know what the population of the other carnivorous fish, who relied on the heron for food was.

The answer was no.

He then wondered if there was anything in the works in terms of moving forward with this, commenting that it was a very important study because the problem in the lake for the last 11 years has been a fish issue and without the study they had no way of knowing how many big fish vs. trout, pickerel, small/large mouth bass and perch there were.

Trustee McHugh responded that they had looked at the proposed studies, which were estimated to cost $20,000, and decided to push them back to the spring.
Mayor Guinchard wondered if the study completed by the Tuxedo Club could be used.

Mr. Van Zandt responded that the Club had done an incredibly thorough and complete study in 1997, which he considers to be the best study ever done on Tuxedo Lake.

Referencing part 2 of the “Van Zandt letter of 2013” which discusses the three major issues existing in Tuxedo Lake and how to handle them, Mr. Van Zandt suggested that something now needed to be done about the Blue Gill fish in regard to the Carp population.  Acknowledging that some money had been budgeted for this issue, he confirmed that the funds would be available until the spring as the ideal time to put the Blue Gills in would be April.

Trustee Guazzoni inquired about the condition of the milfoil at the south end of the Lake. 

Mr. Van Zandt responded that the Village had been pulling milfoil in the Lake for 4 years now the result of which had been a doubling of the population in most places but at the south end, it has tripled.  While the south end is not used for boating because of the shallow water and the rocks, it is important not to let the milfoil get too thick as it will be next to impossible to get rid of it.   It might not be bothering anybody currently, but it will need to be addressed. 

Trustee McHugh noted that in looking at all three lakes, Pond #3 had the least amount of milfoil while the Wee Wah had a lot, but most of it was growing in water with depths up to 8 feet. Where the water becomes deeper, the milfoil drops off.  The clarity of the water is also a factor.  The clarity in the Wee Wah is not so good, but it is much clearer in Tuxedo Lake, which allows the weed to survive at deeper depths. 

Mr. Van Zandt pointed out that the clearer water had been great for the growth of other aquatic plants in Tuxedo Lake and he was very pleased to see this.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered roughly how many milfoil plants there were in the south end of the Lake.

The answer was 50-60.

This is an undeniable issue.

Dena Steele commented that there also exists a fairly severe phragmites problem in the Village lakes and throughout the Village in general.

On another note, she inquired about the Villages intentions of acquiring a bear-proof dumpster for the Village Office.   Recently there was a bear on Club House Road that did a lot of damage before ending up at the Village Office where it was able to feast on garbage.  The first rule of good bear management is not to have garbage available to them and Ms. Steele feels that the Village really needs to have a bear-proof dumpster at the Village Office.
John Ledwith responded that they had spoke to Sterling Carting about it however, they apparently do not have anything better than what they have already provided the Village with.  Part of the issue is that even though the lids of the dumpster do not go up, the bears often sit on them and push them down. 

Ms. Steele pointed out that this is the same issue they had experienced at the Wee Wah Beach Club.  She wondered how much garbage the Village actually received on a weekly basis and whether they might be able to use individual cans with lids that were screwed on.

Mr. Ledwith replied that the dumpster was filled to capacity at least once a week.

Ms. Steele responded that while she thought the dumpster was helpful to many and had been very effective, having it so close to Club House road without being bear-proof was, in her view, just asking for trouble.  She wondered if more frequent pick-ups could be scheduled. 

Mr. Ledwith responded that Sterling was already unhappy with the once-a-week pick-up.

Ms. Steele commented that the Village really needed to invest in a proper bear proof dumpster.

DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss suggested that part of the issue was that residents were not securing the latch after dumping their garbage.

Mayor Guinchard commented that she would put something in her newsletter reminding residents to make sure they correctly latched the dumpster after disposing of their trash.

Mr. Van Zandt commented that he had forgotten one very important thing.  He noted that they had discussed previously the idea of having the Village send out a notice to all residents reminding them that the use of phosphate and fertilizer is absolutely prohibited.  Mr. Van Zandt believes there should be a stiff fine in place for those who are discovered to be using either as these pollute the Lake horribly.  He further suggested that as the Police Department is already checking boats for Zebra Mussels and various other potential contaminants on boats, they might also be able to screen landscapers for phosphate.

Chief Sanford responded that provided somebody could teach the guards what to look for, this could be done.

John Ledwith noted that he had questioned a few landscapers already and they claimed they were not using these chemicals.  He further noted that he had caught one truck drawing water out of Pond # 3 for irrigation and had asked them to stop this right away.  He does include a reminder/notice on most of the water bills for those residents who live around the lakes. 

Trustee Gluck pointed out that phragmites were an issue because for the most part, they were located on private property and he was not quite sure how the Village might be able to mandate their removal. 

Trustee McHugh responded that he and Mr. Ledwith had discussed this.  They have identified two properties on Tuxedo Lake that are problematic.  On the Wee Wah, given that the water level is lower, the invasive is easier to access.  The idea moving forward will be to contact the individual property owners and if they are unwilling to take on the removal, perhaps they will grant the Village permission to come on the property and attempt to maintain it.

Whitney DeBordenave noted that on Monday, November 16 she had formally e-mailed Mayor Guinchard in her capacity as the highest elected Village official e and notified her of the Village’s legal responsibility to ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed in the Village Office and available to the public.  The Mayor responded that she would look into the matter however it has been over 48 hours and still the documents she is looking for are not available despite subsequent emails.  As this is a time sensitive matter, Ms. deBordenave inquired as to the status of the meeting minutes for the BZA meeting of October 22, 2015.

Mr. Ledwith responded that Debbie Matthews, clerk to the BZA, had not yet completed the minutes.  The official Draft decision, completed by the attorney who was in attendance at the meeting, has not been filed.  The attorney was away for quite some time however he responded to Mr. Ledwith earlier in the week and let him know that he would “get to them as soon as he could.”  The Village has sent an email to Engineers Lank & Tully requesting a signed and sealed copy of the survey.  (They have copies already, but they are not signed and sealed.)  Mr. Ledwith is also in receipt of a letter from Mr. El Reyes stating that the field survey that was noted on the plan was really just the engineer visiting site and taking notes and pictures to use in their survey.  It was not in actuality a report.  Mr. Ledwith understands that the way things read on the survey it sounds as though a report was prepared, but Mr. El Reyes has indicated that there was no report prepared.

Ms. deBordenave responded that this was a separate matter.  She was merely inquiring as to the status of the meeting meetings.  As a follow-up, she inquired as to the status of the BZA decision for the meeting on October 22.  She noted as a reminder that as per NYS law, this decision should have been filed no later than October 29.

Mayor Guinchard responded that the attorney had been out of town.

Ms. deBordenave replied that this was not a valid legal excuse.  By law, it was to have been filed within 5 days.  She questioned whether the Mayor was alleging on the record that the reason the report was not filed, and the law was breached, was that the attorney was out of town.

The Mayor responded that she had informed Ms. deBordenave that she would look into the matter, which she had done.  The Attorney had responded to them as noted above.  She recommended that Ms. deBordenave send a letter to the Attorney directly, commenting that the Village was in the same predicament as she was.

Ms. deBordenave wanted to know what actions the Village was taking to follow up.
The Mayor responded reiterated that they had contacted him and he had stated that he would get them the decision as soon as possible. 

Ms. deBordenave wanted a clearer idea of what “as soon as possible” meant as the document should have been filed weeks ago.

Mr. Ledwith stated that the attorney had not provided a firm date but that he would email him the following day requesting one.  He further noted that he expected to have the signed and sealed surveys from Lank & Tully the following day.

Ms. deBordenave responded that it did not matter if they produced the documents now as they were supposed to be on file prior to the hearing, which was a whole other matter.  She went on to state that she had emailed the Mayor and all of the Trustees earlier that day outlining some deeper issues that stemmed from this problem, which she commented they would discuss at a later date.  With this, she thanked them for their time and wished them all a very happy Thanksgiving.

Report of Police:
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of October
Criminal Complaints – 2
Non-Criminal Complaints – 61
Property Damage Accidents – 3
Medical Calls – 3
Fire Alarms – 7
Intrusion Alarms – 7
Traffic Summonses – 27
Assists Give to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 3
Assists Received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 4

Additionally 14,093 untagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.

Mayor Guinchard expressed her appreciation to all of the Gate Guards and the police for their on-going patience with the restoration construction.  She then asked Chief Sanford if he would go over the tag-impact and specifically how the new tags have made a positive impact on entrance to the Village through both the front and back gates.

Chief Sanford stated that the new tags had made a tremendous difference and that things were much smoother now.

The Mayor noted that Denise had reported to her that there were fewer motorists speeding through the Village because of this situation.

Next, the Mayor stated that there had been an increase in cost of gate arms and as a result, she is recommending that the fine amount for individuals who hit the gate arm when entering the Village be increased to $400 per incident.  She noted that this seldom occurs during normal business hours and therefore, the Village needs to pay overtime to the individuals who complete the repairs.  This combined with shipping and handling on the arms themselves brings the cost of each event to roughly $400. 

Trustee McHugh inquired as to how much the fine had been historically.

The answer was $250.

He stated that as long as the new figure was justifiable, he did not have an issue with it.
The Mayor stated that labor for each repair was roughly $210 and that this cost was not previously being billed back to the offender.  Additionally, the new fee includes shipping and handling costs for the arm itself.

Trustee Guazzoni noted that there was an average of 12-15,000 unregistered vehicles entering the Village each month and that this broke down to about 400 a day.  Noting that constituted “a hell of a lot” of license plate numbers for the gate guard to keep track of manually, he wondered if it might make sense for the Village to look into the purchase of automatic license plate readers.  Not only will these machines keep track of the numbers, but the software can compare them with those of potential perpetrators etc.

Chief Sanford responded that he had already discussed this with the Village Grant Writer and they were hoping to acquire a grant for two of these machines.

Trustee Guazzoni noted that the machines cost about $15,000 each and that he was aware of three potential grants, the information on which he had sent directly to the grant writer.  He further suggested that while it would be great if the Village could get grant money towards the purchase of the machines, even if they could not he felt they needed to purchase at least 1 for the Front Gate.

Vehicle Purchase & Financing – Trustee McHugh reported that the decision at hand was whether or not to finance the vehicle for 4 or 5 years.  He recommends 5 in an effort to keep the payments lower.  Now they just need to determine whether they want to purchase a “ghost car” or a more traditional black and white one. 

Chief Sanford stated that it did not really matter to him one way or the other and would depend on what the people wanted.  They all look good to him.  He is just happy to have a new vehicle.

Trustee Guazzoni wondered which would be “scarier to the outside world.”

Chief Sanford responded that he felt the black ghost car would be more intimidating.
Trustee Gluck commented that if one looks at the photos that were circulated, the ghost car did appear to be terribly visible in the daytime.  He noted that the Village did not tend to do a lot traffic details where they were pulling people over in unmarked cars and suggested that the purpose of the car was in fact to be seen.  Often times these cars are parked in order to alert residents of a downed tree or if the gate is not working and therefore, it was important that they be visible in most situations.

Chief Sanford agreed and said he would be happy to go either way.

Following some further discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a 2015 Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicle at a total cost of $36,220 to be financed through Bank of America with an annual interest rate of 2.836%, which will bring the annual payments to roughly $7,600.

Report of DPW:
Mayor Guinchard expressed her gratitude to Superintendent Voss who has been incredibly busy with various projects.

The department is in the process of wrapping up the blacktopping throughout the Village.  There was a water main break in Town the previous Friday, which they repaired.  They are almost done fabricating screens for the Tuxedo Lake dam and have begun picking up leaves although they are admittedly behind in this area due to the asphalt work.  Additionally they did some crack sealing on various roads a few weeks back.  This is a process whereby they rent a machine and attempt to seal the roadways that are in decent condition in order to help prevent them from deterioration. 

He then inquired as to whether or not the Village was planning to do anything with the DPW dump truck.

Before answering, Mayor Guinchard read aloud a letter written by Jane and Neil Garofano who live on Mountain Farm Road in which they commended the department for their reparations to and paving of that road, stating that it was the best job they had seen in 20 years. 

With regard to the afore mentioned dump truck, Mayor Guinchard reported that she had asked Superintendent Voss to provide the Board with a quick update of the vehicles that they have in their inventory.  Noting that the small dump truck has a cracked frame, she wondered if it might be more prudent to repair it using the money from the insurance company.  She further commented that the Village was in possession of an old sewer jet, currently stored on drums, which had historically been used by the former Superintendent to flush out holes in the base of the Wee Wah Dam once a year.  She suggested that they consider purchasing a trailer to store the jet on, or if there is another, older truck in the inventory that needs to be replaced that consider going in that direction instead of replacing a dump truck that could be fixed.

Trustee Kilduff wondered whether or not the Superintendent had any intention of using the sewer jet for the purpose of flushing out the holes in the dam.

Superintendent Voss responded that this was the first he had ever heard of such a practice.

Trustee McHugh pointed out that they were talking about re-doing the Wee Wah Dam beginning fall 2016.  He wondered if it would even be worth bothering with this considering how low the lake has been drawn.

Trustee Guinchard argued that it would still be needed for maintenance moving forward.

Trustee McHugh challenged this commenting that it was his understanding that the dam would be redesigned to eliminate the plates with the holes.

Superintendent Voss added that they had a newer sewer jet that was quite capable of reaching the holes from the top as the hole was 3 or 400 feet long, but he had been working with the DPW for 25 years and had never done any sewer jetting on the dam.

The Mayor countered that Ritchie Morrow had told her that he used to do it every year.

Trustee Kilduff wondered how long it had been since Ritchie Morrow had worked in the Village.

Superintendent Voss responded that Ritchie had retired in 2007.  He further commented that he would speak with him about the sewer jet, but he had no recollection of ever using it for that purpose.  He added that the machine the Village shares with the Town could easily handle the job if they determined it was actually necessary.  The hose was long enough that they would not need the smaller, old machine in order to get down in there.

Mayor Guinchard then wondered whether there was another vehicle on the inventory that was older or in worse shape than the dump truck that they might consider replacing.  Again, she suggested it would make more sense to repair the cracked frame using the insurance money than to replace the truck in its entirety for $47,000.

Superintendent Voss stated that it was his opinion that they should replace the dump truck and this is why he had brought it forward in the first place.  

Trustee Kilduff wondered if a cracked frame could truly be repaired, commenting he believed they could be unbent, but should not be re-welded.

Mr. Ledwith agreed however he further stated that the insurance company was offering $5,000, which they feel will cover the purchase of a new frame and the swapping out.

Superintendent Voss responded that they had done something like this once before in 2008 and that it had cost the Village almost $13,000.

Mayor Guinchard inquired as to when the claim had been paid.  She then suggested that they have the truck towed to the dealer where they would explain the situation in terms of what they had been paid for the work.  If it turns out to be more, then she feels the insurance company will simply have to pay more.  She will call them herself and follow up.

Trustee Kilduff pointed out that the vehicle was a 2005 and wondered how much more life the Mayor expected to get out of it.

The Mayor responded that it was more an issue of the miles as there were only 50,000 on the vehicle.

Superintendent Voss stated that one could not go by the mileage alone and that the truck was due to be replaced regardless of the cracked frame.

Mr. Ledwith wondered what they would do with the truck if it were not repaired

The Superintendent replied that he did not know

Trustee Kilduff suggested they could sell it for scrap.

The Mayor questioned whether or not it was on the insurance, suggesting that if it were not being used they should remove it from the policy and save the money.  She further inquired if there were other vehicles on the list that could be removed from the insurance.

Superintendent Voss indicated that there were a couple more but that ultimately this would depend on what they decided to do with the dump truck.

Trustee Guazonni recommended that they have the dump truck towed to the dealer in an effort to determine whether or not the repair work could be done.

Trustee Kilduff stated that it had come to his attention via his work at the Ambulance Corps that for every vehicle they had there was a workman’s comp charge associated with the insurance fees.  He recommended that they check on that and make sure that any unused vehicles came off the policy.

Report of the Building Department:
To review a copy of the most recent Building Department report click here.

Trustee McHugh inquired about the Village’s revenue numbers on building permits, pointing out that they seemed to be “massively different” from what they had estimated.

Mr. Ledwith concurred.  In checking back over the last several months, he noted that there had not been any substantial building permit applications over the last several months.

There are no large projects currently scheduled to come before the Board in the near future.

He further explained that what had happened last year was that there had been a few large projects that had been in the pipeline for some time and they all happened to pay in June, which created a large increase in revenue.

Likewise, without these, there will likely be a large decrease this year.

Trustee McHugh inquired as to how many building permits were currently outstanding.

The answer was approximately 3.

Trustee McHugh wanted to know if they were all in compliance.

One of them is not.

Changing the subject, Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to the reaction of the tenant in the South Gate House to his rent increase.

Mr. Ledwith reported that he did not seem surprised at all.  The increase takes effect on January 1.

The Mayor then asked Mr. Ledwith to briefly discuss the water bill collections.


Mr. Ledwith reported that the Village is owed roughly $75,000 from Town residents for water.  A large percentage of this debt is at least 3 years old.  He will be sending out a letter next week advising these customers that as of January 1 they would be fully enforcing the Code and customers should expect to be pay their bills on a timely basis.  A reminder notice will go out mid-December.  Come January, if the bills remain unpaid, certified letters will go out.

Trustee McHugh inquired about unpaid Village bills and Mr. Ledwith responded that these were not as problematic as the Village had the ability to levy these unpaid bills onto the tax roll and therefore come June, the balance was basically zero.

Next Trustee McHugh wanted to know about a motion made at the previous Trustee meeting to attempt to levy unpaid bills in the town to the tax roll there.  He noted that there had been a response from the Town that appeared to be negative.

Mayor Guinchard stated that they had received a response from the Town indicating that in order to levy the unpaid bills they would need to create a different district, which could be a time consuming process and would result in further debt for the Village. The option remains open, but in the meantime they plan to proceed with collection attempts. 

Resolution-next phase of SSES – The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with task 2 phase 3 of the SSES work.  This involves putting part of the BID document together.  The Village will have the opportunity to review the documents mid December.  The approximate time schedule is to complete task 2 by December 15 in order to allow time for review before going out to BID in January with an estimated starting date in the spring, sometime around April 1.

Grant Writer Report:
At the previous meeting Mr. Rella mentioned how he had been working with State Senator Bonacic on a specific grant program called the State Municipal Facilities Apple Grant, which was an opportunity for the Village to potentially receive up to $100,000 per for specific projects.  They successfully submitted applications for two projects; the Wee Wah Dam and restoration of the The Keep and Front Gate and expect to hear back sometime after December 1.  Mr. Rella is also working with Congressman Maloney and putting in for 5 opportunities through his office; again the Wee Wah Dam, The Keep and Gate, a new dump truck for the DPW, a new wood-chipper and also a pair of license plate readers.  There is a program that is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, which is called Tree City USA.  There are a couple of thousand communities in the country that are members of this foundation and Mr. Rella would like to put in a designation for Tuxedo Park to become a Tree City USA.  What this means is that the Village would become an advocate for good growth of trees throughout the community but it also gives them a chance to be given some extra weight on some grant opportunities which are put out by Urban Forestry, the DEC or the Arbor Day Foundation.  These include everything from invasive species control to actually purchasing trees to trimming work or even doing inventory.  There are 4 core points that must be accomplished in order to set this up:

  1. The Village must form a Tree Committee, made up of 5 members, one of which must be the head of the DPW.  Mr. Rella recommends that he also sit on the committee, which leaves 3 open spots to be filled.
  2. The Village must have a Tree Ordinance or a law, which establishes the above referenced committee and defines their role.  It also states that the Village will celebrate Arbor Day.
  3. There must be an Arbor Day celebration, to include the planting of a tree.
  4. There must be a Village proclamation stating that Arber Day is being celebrated.

The application for this designation must be filed by December 3, 2015.  Tuxedo Park has the ability to take care of 3 out of the 4 points before this date, but there was no an Arbor Day celebration.  Mr. Rella was able to negotiate with the DEC that if the Village could find somebody within the community who was a strong advocate for trees and had done a fair amount of maintenance and planting etc, and have a small ceremony honoring this person during the month of December, this could be utilized as the ceremony, which would make the application complete. 

Mayor Guinchard commented that she had circulated the proposed resolution to the Trustees via email 2 days prior.

Trustee McHugh acknowledged that he had received and briefly reviewed it but stated that he would like a little more time before voting.

The Mayor responded that unfortunately, there was not much time for review.  She feels it is important to move forward with this particularly in light of the potential money for invasive species control, which is an issue in the Village. 

The draft legislation was briefly reviewed and discussed.

Again Trustee McHugh expressed some frustration with the lack of time for thorough review, commenting that he had only just received the draft via email on Monday.

The Mayor responded that she had left Trustee McHugh several messages by phone in an attempt to discuss.

Trustee McHugh replied that this was not the point and that he felt that if the Mayor wanted to introduce legislation it would be more beneficial to allow them all a fair amount of time to review it.

Attorney Brian Nugent commented that there would need to be a public hearing prior to approval and before that could be held, the Trustees would have had to have the law in their hands for a full 7 days.  Therefore, if there any changes or amendments that Trustee McHugh wanted to make, there was still the benefit of some time before the hearing.

Again, the Mayor stated that she had left Trustee McHugh several messages but he had neglected to respond. 

The process and timeline for moving the legislation forward was then reviewed.
Michele Lindsay suggested that in terms of somebody who had been influential in planting trees within the community, the Garden Club might be considered for their work planting trees in 2014 and they could also fairly easily track their maintenance on the trees just outside the gate.

Trustee Guazzoni commented that within the law there were a lot of references to public property and providing advice as to how the public trees should be treated, but there was also a lot of references to private property.  He does not feel that the Village should be telling private property owners how to trim or keep their trees.  He wondered how much of the private property overreach could be eliminated. 

Mr. Nugent responded that ultimately the Board of Trustees was not being granted the power to do anything with this law.  Clearly the BOT and the Land use Board do already regulate trees on private property in many cases, so this part would not be new.  No action would come out of this particular legislation however.

Trustee Guazzoni wondered if the grant would be affected if they were to remove all the references to private property.   

Trustee Kilduff commented that it was more an educational piece. 

Mr. Nugent suggested that they might change it to talk about “trees in the village” and eliminate the idea of property ownership altogether. 

Trustee Guazzoni stated that his concern was not the current Board and what they might do, but rather Boards in the future. 

The Mayor reiterated that what the law was doing was promoting proper maintenance and educating residents.  It was not mandating anything.

Trustee Guazzoni responded that the word “educating” bothered him as well.

Mayor Guinchard argued that education was the entire point behind this organization.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he would rather see the word “advising” rather than “educating.”

Trustee Kilduff again stated that the law was promoting good practice only.

Trustee Guazzoni argued that it was controlling how trees were cropped on private property. 

This was refuted by Trustee Kilduff, who commented that he did not feel they should spend another minute debating it.  In his view, this would be “like arguing over fresh air.”
Mayor Guinchard stated that she was perfectly comfortable with the language.

Mr. Nugent assured the Board that there was no legal problem with the language in the law as far as the reference to private property because there was no action being taken. 

Again, Trustee Guazzoni objected to the use of the words private property to which Trustee Kilduff stated that there was absolutely no infringement of property rights being proposed what so ever.

“But it says Private Property” argued Trustee Guazzoni.

“If you read it in plain English and are able to understand the word promote,” responded Trustee Kilduff, you will understand.

Trustee Guazzoni continued to assert that he felt it was overreaching.

Tree City USA Resolution – A resolution introducing the proclamation as Local Law Introductory #3 of 2015 was made with the Mayor and Trustees Kilduff and Gluck voting in favor.  Trustee McHugh and Guazzoni abstained. 
A public hearing was set for December 8 at 7pm.

Village Paper Road Discussion:
The Board reviewed and discussed a draft resolution regarding the potential purchase of certain paper roads from the Village by Michael Bruno.  Included with the draft was a map and survey and these were also reviewed at length.  The boundaries between the property in question and the “Northern Tract” were identified and the possibility of various options for land purchase and subsequent easements were identified discussed.

Mr. Nugent explained that the Village was still waiting for meets and bounds, without which they could not move forward.  The agreement is, for the most part, in finalized form but until they receive the necessary documents from Mr. Bruno’s attorney, there is not much they can do.

In summary, Trustee Gluck stated that there was before them a proposal to buy 4 parcels of land, 3 of which were basically “stub pieces” of old roads that are basically abandoned while the 4th is a dirt road that runs from the top of Camp Comfort Road by Tuxedo Park School down to around the area below the brook, around the area where the trail exits to go into the Northern Tract.  There also exists an option to purchase the portion of Brook Road below the property line that is adjacent to the property that will be annexed into the Village as part of its agreement with Related Companies, together with an easement to provide access to Village residents if he should purchase the lower portion.  

Mr. Nugent confirmed that this was correct.
The Mayor proposed setting the public hearing so that they would be ready to move forward once they received the necessary paperwork.

Mr. Nugent affirmed that they could do so with the knowledge that they would need to have the paperwork before the hearing could actually take place.

Trustee Gluck wondered what exactly they were setting a public hearing on.

Mr. Nugent explained that the Village would need to confirm that the roads were a part of the road dedication in 1953, acknowledge that they were not actively used as roadways and effectively abandon them before they could be transferred.

Trustee McHugh wondered whether there were set criteria for confirming this.

The answer was no, there is not any mandatory, listed statutory criteria.  However, if the road was not being maintained it could be abandoned via resolution.  Even though the TPA may have indicated that some of the roads were abandoned when they deeded them over, the official legal language does not label them as such and as they are on the map, this step is necessary.

Sally Sonne wondered whether the proposed resolution would declare that all paper roads were serving no public use and that the Village was attending to abandon them.  She further commented that she had a fairly extensive knowledge of the paper roads in the Village and that while some of them were not serving public use, others certainly were.  They are very different.  They may not be paved roads for vehicles, but they do serve a public use.

These are all the old bridal trails in Tuxedo Park!  People walk on them, cross-country ski and mountain bike.  There is definitely a public use and in her view, some of them could be important down the line and actually have the potential to become paved, public roads with legitimate properties and possibly homes built along them, which would serve as solid tax-base for the Village.  She cannot understand how the Village can have a public hearing and state that all of these roads serve no public use and then in good conscious abandon them.  She does not even see the point in conducting such a hearing.

The Mayor responded that they were not talking about all the paper roads.  Mr. Nugent concurred, pointing out that it was only a handful of specific parcels that they were discussing.  He further commented that things Mrs. Sonne had mentioned constituted factual information, which should be brought up at the public hearing. 

This is one reason why the public hearing would be held.

Mrs. Sonne further wondered if it would be possible for the public to have access to the draft agreement prior to the hearing so that residents could get a clear idea of what the Village was doing in terms of what it was they were intending to do, what they would be getting and exactly what they would be giving away.
Mr. Nugent responded that the agreement would be available, as would the map.

Mrs. Sonne wondered when it would be available and Mr. Nugent responded that at the latest it would be there 5 days before the public hearing.

Following some further discussion, the hearing was set for December 8 at 7pm.

Main Entrance Update with Public Participation:
Mayor Guinchard began by expressing her gratitude to Tommy Salierno, who she commented she had unintentionally forgotten to mention on several occasions.  She further commented that Tom had been working countless hours with Alan Yassky moving things along beautifully with the project. 

She went on to announce that some architects have come forward and offered their services for redesigning the booth.  Ultimately, she would like to accept these offers and then combine them with other suggestions that have been made and ultimately present the public with several choices on which they can vote in a referendum.

Obviously, the Board of Trustees will have the final say, but she believes this will be a good way for them to hear from the public, as the issue of the gate is such an important one being that it the entry way and directly effects the safety and security of everyone who lives here.  To this end, she and John Ledwith put together a packet of information, containing various photographs to help guide the architects in their designs.  The drawings will be presented to the Board, who will in turn vote on their design of choice.

Mr. Ledwith explained that he had put together some general guidelines for the architects including the general interior and exterior components including things like: for the exterior reinforced concrete walls most likely faced with stone, roof -likely cedar shake, glass - bullet proof and possibly tinted, special attention to lighting, basic utilities etc., and for the interior, possibility of making the booth a bit wider so that the desk might accommodate 2 people, intercom system, interior lighting, pick-up box for paperwork, panic button and possibly a key lock box.  Also included in the packet were approximately 8 or 9 pictures of the entranceway, some old some new, just to make sure the architects were moving in the right directions.

Two architects, John Kinnear and Jeff Degraw then introduced themselves to the Board and spoke briefly about their qualifications and experience.  Mr. Kinnear has many years of experience working in the Park and actually designed the Mayors home among others while Mr. Degraw has had less experience inside the gates, but is currently working for Michael Bruno on several projects in the community.

Trustee McHugh commented that one of the ideas that has come forward is the conceptual idea of repurposing the Keep in order to make it a functional Guard House by changing the traffic flow to go through the wall on the other side of the building, considering all the money the Village has just invested in building repairs.  He feels that the architects should also be considering this possibility and was under the impression that this had been agreed to at the previous Trustees meeting. 
The Mayor responded that direction they had given the architects pertained more to the actual building itself but that they could include the idea Trustee McHugh had mentioned as well if that was what everybody wanted to do.

Trustee McHugh responded that he felt it was important to keep the idea of repurposing the keep and giving more functionality in the back of their minds.
Several general options for the entrance way were then laid out by the Mayor as follows:

  1. Redesign the Booth
  2. Do nothing and leave the area as is
  3. Push the booth back with the intention of picking up a lane for resident only traffic A measure of safety for individuals crossing the street between buildings must also be considered.

Trustee Guazzoni then mentioned the 4th possibility, previously mentioned by Trustee McHugh and conceptualized by Alan Yassky.

  1. Repurposing the keep and redirecting some traffic around the west side of the Building, which will entail cutting through the St. Mary’s wall. The Mayor noted that this last option would involve altering a historic wall and as such was a bit more controversial within the community however, Trustee McHugh felt it was important to have all the options on the table so that they could all receive ample review.

Ellen Gluck inquired as to whether or not the Board intended to consult with BAR at all throughout the process.

The Mayor responded that felt that the Trustees would choose the architect first before involving any of the other Village Boards.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he felt that including the BAR would be the right thing to do.

Mayor Guinchard then pointed out that their involvement would really be nil, and more like a blessing only, because ultimately they wanted whatever was built there to be architecturally in keeping with the existing buildings.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that of course the Trustees wanted imput from the BAR, but it was important to note that they also wanted feedback from everybody within the community. 

Mrs. Gluck responded that she understood but she felt that since this was the type of thing that the BAR did for the Park, it only made sense to her that they be involved.

Stephen Brodheim wondered whether there had been any discussions with regard to exiting the Village.  Currently there is not a bar there that goes up and down so theoretically somebody could sneak around and come in that way.  While they probably would not get very far, it made sense to him that since they were discussing the issue of security, this might be considered.

The Mayor agreed commenting that they would like to put something there if only to slow people down as the exited.  

The Village would like to be breaking ground on the project by April or May and to this end, Mayor Guinchard wondered if the architects might be able to submit their drawings for consideration within 5 weeks.  It was agreed that the drawings would be submitted in that time period and then put on display for resident review before being formally presented at the January meeting.

Dark Sky Initiative –
Trustee Guazzoni gave a brief over view of the most recent draft of his proposed lighting legislation, explaining that it encompassed aspects of pre-existing laws from three different communities; Southampton, NY, Bedford, NY and Ridgewood, NJ.

The draft includes a section entitled Findings and Purposes as well as one where nocturnal residential lighting is controlled. 

Currently, nocturnal lighting in the Village is regulated only on new construction as far as the BAR goes.  Once the BAR process is complete, Trustee Guazzoni alleged that people put up spot lighting and “all sorts of things that blind their neighbors.”  His real concern is light trespass, which he defined as “light projected into a property from a light fixture not located on that property.”  The object of the proposed law is to regulate and eliminate light trespass in areas of Tuxedo Park.  There are ways for residents to light up their homes (lights should be pointing at the house or it should have a very nice glow like the Boathouse does at night) but there should be no lights emanating from the house directed at any neighbor or at the road, which could potentially blind drivers.

Mayor Guinchard stated that she was going to recuse herself because she and her husband had been in discussion with the BAR and another resident over some lights.  Even though she feels should could participate in a fair conversation, she also believes it is a little close to that situation and therefore, she announced that she would allow Deputy Mayor Gluck to take a lead role in the conversation.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he did not feel the proposed legislation was aimed at anybody in particular and the Mayor agreed with this assessment.  He further stated that every year there seems to be more and more lighting in the Village.  He believes most people in the Village would like to have a dark sky with no light trespass onto their property.  He grew up in a very mountainous area where he was able to see the Milky Way at night.  In his view, this type of clarity is no longer happening in the Village.

Trustee Kilduff wondered whether Mr. Nugent had taken a look at the draft yet.
Mr. Nugent responded that he had not and that there may be some changes that he would recommend.

Trustee Kilduff wondered if they wanted to not only do the things Trustee Guazzoni was proposing but also regulate the permitted times that different types of lights could be on.  He believes that they might want to get a bit more granular in terms of what they want to regulate but he is in favor of getting the ball rolling.

Mr. Nugent suggested that the Board could set a public hearing (he suggested December 18) and there would still be time to make changes and create a new draft prior, although said draft would have to be available to the public five days before the meeting.

Trustee McHugh commented that he did not have a problem with it in principal however, he felt it need to be “whittled down “ with some of the language tightened up and a full vetting by the Village Attorney. He is not sure how the Village really compares to Ridgewood, NJ.  Southampton and Bedford seem like more realistic comparisons rather than a far more suburban setting.

Trustee Guazzoni argued that Ridgewood had some tight regulations.

Trustee Gluck commented that he was a proponent of Dark Sky, however he felt that the approach this law was taking unfortunately, as he reads it, would require an awful lot of retro-fitting of lights.  The type of restrictions being proposed such as no lighting pointing away from the home, no visible light source or zero light emanating onto a neighboring property are the types of things that can be built into a building code for new construction but he feels that approach in terms of people’s existing lighting is a lot to ask.  Referencing the code for Bedford, he pointed out that their regulations seemed to apply to new lighting and not existing lighting, which again, he feels is a different story.  Commenting that he had provided Trustee Guazzoni with some comments, he stated that he would like to try and work through those and perhaps send something to Mr. Nugent that was in better format and which he would feel more comfortable putting out for public review. 

Trustee Guazzoni responded that he felt there were a lot of residents who built their homes and complied with the lighting regulations initially but after 2 or 3 months, they chose to change or add to their lights and this is how the Village ended up with so much non-compliant lighting.  He believes it is “a lot less people” than Trustee Gluck expressed concern over.  These individuals will have to go back to what the BAR is saying.  He further suggested that if they were going to require new construction projects not to point spot lights away from their home then he felt they must also ask other residents to comply with the same restrictions.    Light trespass is light trespass.  

Trustee Gluck replied that he had walked around his black and that every house he looked at would have to incur some substantial effort in terms of retro-fititng in order to meet the standards that were being proposed.  He has a hard time starting from that point.

Trustee Guazzoni argued that it might be as simple as lowering lumens for those residents or simply using different light bulbs.

Trustee Gluck pointed out that some of these light bulbs are not easily changed.

They can also be expensive.

Trustee Guazzoni asserted that if they wanted a dark sky they would have to go after the 20 or so people who were non-compliant.

Trustee Gluck stated that if the draft before them was being used as a framework he believed that it was far more than that and that virtually every lit house would have to do something.

Trustee Guazozni suggested that they might loosen the standard so that it would not have a direct effect on every lit house, commenting that there were a lot of dark houses out there.  He also drove around and identified roughly 20 problematic houses. 

Trustee Kilduff wondered whether or not they were going to move forward with setting a hearing for the 18th.

Trustee Gluck stated that he did not really feel that he wanted to support this as a municipal local law. 

Mayor Guinchard reiterated that they could set the public hearing for the 18 and there would still be plenty of time for them to work on it and modify the draft before that time. 

Mr. Nugent asserted that even after that, there would still be an opportunity to make change.  After all the public might make some suggestions that they want to incorporate into the legislation.

Trustee Gluck stated that in his mind the draft before them was not a starting point.

Trustee Guazzoni counted that Trustee Gluck should write a starting point in that case and Trustee Gluck responded that he had provided 9 specific points in response to the draft.  He suggest starting with what Bedford had done, as he feels they have a decent ordinance, and then build on that.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he had looked at Bedford, South Hampton and Ridgewood.
Trustee Gluck stated he felt that these communities were very different to which Trustee Guazzoni retorted “I didn’t invent this.”  He then pointed out that the Bedford ordinance did not include the lighting of towers or flags and that these are pieces that would have to be addressed.

Trustee Kilduff suggested that whatever changes they wanted to make could be made, but perhaps they should get the ball rolling in terms of the calendar. 

The general process and a proposed timeline was then discussed.  It was agreed that the Trustees would submit comments to Mr. Nugent for the purpose of re-working the draft and that they would then revisit a revised version at there Special Meeting on December 8.  At that time, if they are in agreement they can move forward with setting a public hearing.

Stephen Brodheim wondered, practically speaking, how something like this would be enforced.  Specifically, how would the Village require residents to abide by the law and what would happen if they did not?

Trustee Guazzoni responded that enforcement was spelled out within the law, with penalties etc.

Trustee Gluck stated that they would need to purchase a photoelectric meter and authorize the police to take readings at night.

Trustee Kilduff responded that enforcement was a process but that ultimately the Village could end up in State Supreme Court.

The Mayor stated that it was her understanding that what was being addressed here were not the standard 40 or 50 watt light bulbs but rather light that was altogether more obtrusive. 

Trustee Guazzoni agreed commenting that there were some mercury lights pointing at the road as well as some spot-lights.

Mr. Brodheim wondered if it was realistic to think that the Village would be able to enforce this.

Trustee Kilduff responded that tickets could be issued and if this did not work, it could be escalated.

Trustee Guazonni stated that Ridgewood, NJ enforces a similar ordinance. 

Tuxedo Farms Parcels/Easements:
Mr. Nugent reported that there had been a meeting with the Village, the Town, Related Companies and Orange County Land Trust.  Talks are focused on the Northern Tract conservation buffer.  One of the issues that had arisen was that the 2005 agreements contained a provision for a buffer fence but the Land Trust does not allow for the fencing without permission.  This does not ensure that the Village will be able to install their fence.  While installing the fence would certainly be a great expense for the Village, OCTL agreed to go back and see what provisions they might be able to make in order to allow for it.  They have also asked the Village to review whether or not they felt they really needed to fence the entire boundary in question.  The Land Trust’s main concern with the fence is the migration of animals.  Mr. Nugent believes that they might be okay with the fence provided it was one that would allow wildlife to get under or over it.

Also discussed was the issue of the easement and what would be permissible vs. prohibited.  Mr. Nugent does not feel that discussing what will be permissible is as important as establishing what will be prohibited before finalizing the easement as the Village will ultimately own the property anyhow.    He suggested that he could merge what was prohibited in the 2005 agreement into the paperwork for the Board’s review at their December 8 meeting. 

The Pilgrim Pipeline is also an issue but at last discussion, it does not appear to be going through the Village conservation easement.  He will confirm this, although he believed that the Village has squashed this idea.

Trustee Gluck asked for a brief overview in terms of timing and where things stood with the Town and Related and how quickly they were looking to get things done.

Mr. Nugent responded that Related would like to get things done “tomorrow.”  The substantive construction cannot begin until these things have been taken care of.  There are still some issues between the Town and the Land Trust and Related as well, so things are not entirely hung up on the Village.  As previously mentioned, they will need to determine those things that the Village wants to prohibit on the easement and other than that there is some language tweeking that needs to be done.  He further suggested that it might make more sense for a lot of this language to be a part of the easement rather than the agreement and that it was his intent to push it in this direction moving forward.

Trustee Gluck then inquired about the conservation easement in the Southern Tract.
Mr. Nugent pointed out that this easement was to be held by the Town and not the Village and therefore, it was up to them to get that approved.

Trustee Gluck wondered whether both easements needed to be signed off on before construction could begin and Mr. Nugent responded that he would have to double check the language, but he believed so.  At this point he thinks that the Land Trust is the bigger obstacle.

Mrs. Sonne inquired as to whether the Fox Hill Tract was a gifted easement and/or a part of the land that would be deeded to the Village and if the OCLT would be involved in this.

Mr. Nugent responded that the language suggested that this easement could be held by either the Town or the Land Trust, but he was not sure which way it would go.
Mrs. Sonne stated that she was under the impression the land would be deeded to the Village.

Mr. Nugent asserted that it would be, but that there was supposed to be a conservation easement put upon it.

Trustee Gluck suggested that they would need to determine how important they felt the fence would be, noting that he had not been present in 2005 and did not know why they had felt it was important then or if they still did.

This and as well as the language for the easements and the agreement were then discussed at some length.

Committee Updates:
Emergency Services – Surplus Equipment on behalf of Tuxedo Vol. Ambulance Corps – The Tuxedo Volunteer Ambulance Corps has a surplus ambulance that they are looking to get rid of.  Given the success that the Village has had with selling their surplus vehicles, Trustee Kilduff has inquired as to whether or not they might assist the Corps by allowing them to take advantage of their surplus liquidation processes.  Mr. Nugent has already informed him that this is legally permissible.    The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with this.

Technology Committee – Trustee Guazonni stated that the Village needed to get a new and improved modem for the police station, which would cost roughly $150.  The current modem does not have a static IP address which is problematic in terms of communications between the Front and Back gates.  The Board was unanimously in favor of moving ahead with this. 

Department of Transportation – Trustee Guazzoni and Superintendent Voss went around the Village looking at Road Signs.  They discovered a great many signs that were nonconforming, in particular the old “Hidden Driveway” signs, which are in very bad shape and are, in Trustee Guazzoni’s opinion, an eye sore.    They mark certain hidden driveways or some driveways that he feels might be hidden, while other driveways that are hidden are not marked.  His suggestion is that less signage is better than more signage and that this helps to return the Village of Tuxedo Park to its historic splendor.  It is important to remove the “suburbia creep” which seems to be increasing with each passing year.  He finds these particular signs to be needless and if it is determined that they are in fact needed he feels they should be updated with complaint, more reflective ones.  There are 5 such signs that he has taken note of and he proceeded to circulate pictures to the Board.  The Mayor stated that she would prefer not to identify which properties they pertained to verbally for the public.

Trustee Guazzoni pointed out that the signs were not on the properties but rather the roads.

Trustee McHugh inquired as to who had installed the signs.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that they had been installed 20 years ago by the DPW.

Rather than to have Jeff go ahead and remove them without any discussion, he felt it was important to bring it before the Board beforehand.  He has spoke with Mr. Nugent and confirmed that warning signs (the ones that are yellow) can be removed by Village resolution. 

Trustee McHugh wondered about the signs that read “Slowly and Quietly” and if these could be removed as well.

Trustee Guazzoni responded that these were not on his list for review currently.

Trustee McHugh stated that he was inquiring because that particular signage appeared to him to be unnecessary and personally, he found it more offensive than the Hidden Driveway signs.

Trustee Guazzoni replied that they could review it.

The Mayor stated that the police and DPW have asked that the Board review the possible need for a sign at the front entrance clearly marking the entrance vs the exit as there has been an increase in incidents where motorists enter via the exit in order to avoid having to wait in line.  Needless to say, this increases the risk of a head-on collision.  She has instructed the Chief to work with the Town in order to determine the best way to move forward quickly.

With regard to the Hidden Driveway signs, Trustee McHugh wondered whether or not the affected homeowners had been informed of the impending removal.

Trustee Guazzoni responded that they had not and that in some cases, the signs were not even relevant to the homes they were near.

Following further discussion it was unanimously agreed that the DPW would remove the 5 signs in question however, should the residents complain, the signs will be immediately replaced with new, compliant signage.

Public Comments:
Referring to the Board’s earlier discussion of paper roads, Aubrey deBordenave noted that it had been determined that all documents must be in hand and made available to the public at the latest 5 days prior to a public hearing.  She inquired as to what would happen if said documents were not available and specifically whether a hearing would still be held.
Mr. Nugent responded that the hearing could be held with respect to whatever interest might be however, if there was still additional information that had not come in, it was likely that the hearing would need to be continued until the information had been received.

The Mayor wondered if this pertained to all Boards or just the Trustees, noting that
Ms. deBordenave’s question was only relevant to the Board of Trustees.

Mr. Nugent responded that the question had been focused on the Trustees and therefore his answer was relevant in that regard.

Changing direction entirely, Mayor Guinchard congratulated Town Councilwoman Elect Michele Lindsay, who was in the audience.

Mrs. Lindsay thanked the Mayor. 

n another note, Mrs. Lindsay noted that she had had some issues with hunters coming onto her property through the woods in her back yard.  These hunters are parking in the area just outside the South Gate and hopping on those trails, which all eventually lead into the Eagle Mountain area.  The Eagle Mountain trail unfortunately leads them to her back yard.  Just south of the Lindsay’s property is a 2-acre property, owned by the Village, and she is requesting that the Village consider posting no trespassing signs here.  It was agreed that Mrs. Lindsay would put together the specifics of what she would like to do in writing and submit it to Mr. Nugent for his review with the intention being to get signs posted there if possible.

Next Mrs. Lindsay informed that Board that the Pilgrim Pipeline had officially submitted their application.  She noted that they had submitted a DEIS but wondered if there did not need to be a scoping session prior to that.

Mr. Nugent responded that this was not required.  Scoping is usually at the discretion of the applicant.  Many of them do it in an effort to narrow down what will be included in the Environmental Impact Statement, but it is not a requirement. 

Mrs. Lindsay then noted that she had been at the Town Court earlier that evening where they had an eviction process underway with Perfect Cut (the Mulch Pile) Ultimately, they are trying to figure out who will pay the DEC fines. 

Trustee Kilduff noted that it was in the contract the Perfect Cut was responsible for these fines. 

At issue is $161,000, which includes DEC fines, engineering fees for the retention pond and also some of the costs directly related to the retention pond.

The defense Lawyer has outlined many things that Perfect Cut claims to have done “pro bono” for the town and is using these as a defense against not having to pay the fines.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether Pilgim had posted a map indicating where the proposed line would go.

The answer was yes and the details of this were then briefly discussed.

Audit of Claims:
Trustee Guazzoni complained that he had only just received the paperwork that morning at 9am.  The Mayor responded that she was aware of this and that this was not the normal practice however it had been done this way because the meeting itself had been moved up this month.  She cautioned Trustee Guazzoni that the same thing would likely happen in December.

Approve 10/27/15 BOT Minutes:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the minutes if October 27

The Board then adjourned into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing employment, police matters and impending litigation.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 18, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor Introduces Community Spotlight: Historical Society
4. Mayor's Comments
a. O.C. Tax Exemption-Water Facility Located in the Town
b. Discuss dates for 2016-2017 budget workshops
5. Public Comments
6. Report of Police
a. Vehicle Purchase & Financing
7. Report of DPW
8. Report of Building Department
a. Resolution-next phase of SSES
9. Grant Writer Report
a. Tree City USA Resolution
10. Village Paper Road Discussion
11. Main Entrance Update with Public Participation
12. Dark Sky Initiative
13. Tuxedo Farms Parcels/Easements
14. Committee Updates
a. Emergency Services-Surplus Equipment on behalf of Tuxedo Vol. Ambulance Corp
15. Public Comments
16. Audit of Claims
17. Adjournment

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 27, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday October 27 at 7pm.  All members were present.

The meeting began with a moment of silence for both former Trustee Alan Heywood and long-time Tuxedo resident Mary Bullard, both of whom passed away recently.

Trustee Kilduff followed this up by stating that he had served on the Board with Trustee Heywood and felt he had been a terrific Trustee and that he always maintained an even keel and was a pleasure to work with.  His passing signifies a sad loss for the Village.

Mayor Guinchard agreed, commenting that the Village had sent their official condolences to the Family and had also made a donation to Carryou on behalf of the entire community.

Community Spotlight: Sons of Italy:
Representing the Sons of Italy, Jerry and Dale Matolla presented the public with a brief history of the Tuxedo chapter of this organization, which will be celebrating it’s 90th year in December.  Italian Americans have a long, rich history in the Town of Tuxedo, having been here almost as long as the Village itself.  The group currently consists of roughly 60-65 members and they host various events throughout the year while promoting certain Italian American initiatives, such as the inclusion of Italian as a foreign language within schools.  To commemorate their 90th anniversary, they will be hosting a party on December 6 at the Falkirk Estate and Country Club in Central Valley.  Information about the event as well as how you can support it can be found here and here.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor Guinchard expressed her gratitude to Superintendent Voss and the entire DPW for their hard, diligent work in paving various roadways over the last several weeks.
On a different note, she reminded everyone of next weeks’ Town Election, which will take place on Tuesday, November 3 from 6am-9pm.  Village resident Michele Lindsay is running for a spot on the Town Council.  Absentee Ballots are still available if needed.  It is important that everybody vote.

The Mayor is in receipt of some complaints alleging improper use of the CodeRED alert system.  Commenting that the system had not been used very much in the past, she further stated that she believes it is important to utilize it and she will continue to do so moving forward.  To this end, the system will now be used for important reminders in addition to emergencies, although she will be sure to begin the reminder calls by clearly stating “THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY” before continuing on with the body of the message.

Finally, the Mayor applauded the Board of Trustees for all of their hard work over the last few months., acknowledging that she has “pushed the envelope” quite a bit with everything that has been going on.

CHA – Update on Wee Wah Dam:
On behalf of newly hired Village Engineers CHA, Mike Quinn gave a detailed presentation with regard to the Wee Wah Dam.  Outlined within was a rough history of the 125-year-old structure and how it was engineered, along with an assessment of what has been done to it over the last few decades, how it is operated today, what the current issues are and what needs to be done moving forward.  Because of the downstream proximity of both Route 17 and the Railroad, the Dam is classified as a Class C Hazard dam, which is the highest possible classification.   The stop-log system currently in place is rather antiquated as the DPW needs to physically re-move and replace each log by hand. The Auxiliary Spillway is in desperate need of stabilization and rehabilitation.

During his investigations, Mr. Quinn discovered that 21 relief wells, located within-in 3 concrete pads in the base of this spillway, are irreparably clogged.   Additionally, there is seepage underneath the structure, predominantly located beneath the preliminary spillway, which compromises its overall stability and functionality.  Critical Dam Safety Criteria was reviewed and discussed.  CHA is recommending the following:
            -     Flatten downside slope, construct toe drain, clear brush and large trees

  • Add sluice gate to service spillway, monitor/repair bulging stone work,

abandoned former intake pipes

  • Repair/Improve stability of Auxilliary Spillway, address seepage discharge

above pressure relief structure

  • Lower Spillway Weird to 491.5 (Mr. Quinn is not sure this is necessary)
  • Construct Parapet wall along crest of dam

Various potential engineering was outlined and discussed, specifically methods of controlling the seepage that is currently occurring beneath the structure.  Mr. Quinn believes that one way of addressing this might be to draw down the lake and install steel sheeting around the arc. 
The following timeline was laid out:

  1. Engineers will complete an official Classified Hazzard Assessment Report and submit to the Village for approval by years end.
  2. Once approved by the Village, the report will be submitted to the DEC, for their review and comments. (this submission will bring the Village into compliance)
  3. Next, CHA will create an Engineering Design Report, (EDR) which will contain Permit Drawings, and submit this to the State for their approval.  Projected submission date for this document is late spring of 2016 with an anticipated approval late summer/early fall of that year.
  4. Once approved by the State, the Village is free to begin the construction process.  Ideally, this will begin one year from now in the fall of 2016.
  5. Once underway, the project is expected to last roughly 9 months, with the hope of completion during the summer of 2017.

Trustee Kilduff inquired of Mr. Quinn as to whether or not he had taken the opportunity to review any of the reports compiled by previous engineers and more specifically, how the CHA plan differed from had been previous proposed.

Mr. Quinn responded that he had reviewed the previous plans and found the information contained within to be very helpful, particularly the soil boring information.  CHA is in the preliminary stages of formulating a plan, so he was able to identify specific differences although he did note that Westin and Sampson had suggested the addition of another spillway, which CHA believes is not necessary.  In their view, not only would this be more costly for the Village but, it would require another penetration of the embankment which they do not recommend.  They feel that the least amount of disturbance to the structure would be best.

Trustee Guazzonni inquired about peak flow times and the possibility of considering the installation of turbines to help power the sewer and water plants.  This idea was briefly discussed.

Trustee McHugh inquired about the cost, pointing out that the Village had set asideß roughly $1.5 to1.6 million for the project, and wondered whether CHA and Westin and Sampson were in the same ballpark. 

Mr. Quinn responded that at this point it was hard to say with any certainty how much the project would ultimately cost however in his experience projects of this nature usually ran anywhere from $1.5-3 million. 

Report of Police:
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of September:
Criminal Complaints – 1
Non-Criminal Complaints – 49
Property Damage Complaints – 6
Traffic Summonses – 13
Arrests – 1 (this was the DWI arrest made when the booth was hit)
Medical Calls – 1
Fire Calls – 1
Intrusion Alarms – 1
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2
Assists Received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2

Additionally, 12, 494 untagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.

As a follow up item, Mayor Guinchard reported that letters had been sent to those residents who were storing house keys at the front Gate requesting that these be retrieved as soon as possible as the police do not have capacity to keep them safely under their current circumstances.  If there are residents who would like the police to continue to hold the keys in case of dire emergencies, this can be arranged, but the keys will be locked away in a secure location and not easily accessible to the residents.  Once the situation with the booth has been remediated and things are back to normal,  a new system for key storage will be developed but until then, the Mayor is asking for patience on the part of the residents.

There have some complaints with regard to the red/orange/marigold color of the new non-resident tags.  Some people feel that they are too bright and that this makes them stand out in an unfortunate way.   Mayor Guinchard explained that the color for the tags was selected based on their ease of visibility from the Keep.  Guards were having difficulty seeing the black tags from their new location.  She presented a color chart, which clearly depicted those colors that have been deemed reflective and explained that the non-resident tags will rotate in color, changing on an annual basis utilizing the five colors on the chart.  Resident tags will remain green with yellow lettering but their design will be altered slightly with each change.

Trustee McHugh initiated a discussion with regard to the possible purchase and financing of a new police vehicle.  Although this was not budgeted for, the current fleet is not in top shape and the Village has already spent $18,000 of the $25,000 budgeted for repairs and maintenance.  Trustee McHugh believes it makes more financial sense to begin replacing the vehicles on a cyclical basis than it does to repair the old ones in order to ensure a strong fleet moving forward.  2 bids have already been received.  Following a brief discussion it was determined that the Board was in agreement on this issue and that they would look to move forward with approving the purchase/financing (anticipated to be roughly $41,000) at their next meeting.

Report of DPW:
The DPW has been keeping very busy paving roadways and preparing for leaf season.  The issue of where to store leaves was discussed.  The Village will have to find a new locale for dumping leaves this year as it was discovered that the property they were formerly using is in fact owned by Related Companies and they do not want leaves dumped there. 

Trustee McHugh wondered if they might be able to utilize the Wee Wah Beach Club property.

Superintendent Voss responded that this was a possibility however, it tended to be a messy process as ultimately 15-20 40 yard dumpsters would be filled. 

There was a brief discussion regarding possible other locales and Building Inspector John Ledwith agreed that he would consider some alternate possibilities and report back to the Board as soon as possible. 

The department has already received some salt in preparation for the winter months.  The Superintendent cautioned the Board that the price of salt has gone up by $3 a ton. 

The idea of removing a stop log from the Wee Wah Dam and lowering the lake level in preparation for the winter was then discussed.  It was agreed that this would be done as ultimately, it would be beneficial for a number of reasons, including helping to freeze out the Milfoil.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the purchase and financing of a 2016 dump truck.  This purchase has already been budgeted for.

The Village is in receipt of a winning bid for the wood chipper however, after having viewed the other bids, the winner is looking to lower his offer.  This is not legally permissible.  The Board agreed to award the bid to the winner at the price offered and if he declines, the chipper will go to the next bidder in line.

Grant Writer Report:
Grant writer Fred Rella reported having taken a listing tour of the Village the month prior during which he had the opportunity to visit and examine all the major infrastructure areas/systems in need of work and assist in compiling a prioritized wish list. The Wee Wah Dam seems to be one of the Village’s major priorities at the moment, and Mr. Rella was pleased to present the Village with an opportunity right away.  The State of New York has set aside a pool of money, specifically from the State Municipal Facilities Program, which they are willing to award to various municipalities on a project-by-project basis, up to two projects per municipality.  The amount being offered is $100,000 per project, which may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps.  The renovation of The Keep/Gate House is a second project that might be eligible for this grant.  The paperwork for the grant is due by the end of the week and must be accompanied by a letter from the Mayor indicating the majority support of the Board. 

Following some discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the Board would authorize the Mayor to write such a letter, conditional upon a review/vetting of the associated paperwork by the Village Attorney.

Other items on the prioritized wish list include a license plate reader for the Front Gate, a large dump truck for the DPW and a new wood chipper.  Mr. Rella will continue to research opportunities and report back to the Board.
Report of Building Department:
A copy of the Building Department report can be viewed here.

The South Gatehouse lease renewal was discussed.  The property costs the Village $5,400 in taxes annually and they net roughly $9,000 income from it, which results in a $3,500 positive cash flow.  The property is in good condition, having been renovated five years ago, although Mr. Ledwith cautioned that the roof may be in need of repair before too long and that the heating system is old and should be looked at within the next two years.  The property is currently leased to officer Shiloh of the Town Police Department and he has been an excellent tenant.  Following minimal discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the lease should be renewed for 1-year in January of 2016 with a 3% increase in rent, bringing the monthly amount due up from $750 to $775.  Another 3% increase will be implemented next year. 

Water Levy Resolution – Town Accounts:
Town Supervisor Mike Rost has agreed to allow the Village to levy unpaid water accounts to the associated tax bills.  As the Water Department is roughly $65,000 in arrears from the Town accounts (roughly 1/4 of total Town billing) this will be huge help.  A letter has already been drafted and the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Village to supply the Town with a list of accounts to be levied.  The hope is that these monies can be collected as part of the 2016 tax cycle.

Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to the mechanics of the process and specifically how the Village would receive the money.

It was explained that the Town would collect the money and in turn pay the Village what they are owed.

Committee Updates:

Police Booth Discussion with Public Input -

Mayor Guinchard thanked Alan Yassky and the entire team of hardworking professionals for their strong efforts and perseverance in keeping things moving forward with the renovations of the Keep.

Mr. Yassky subsequently reported that main roof has been completed, the chimney has been stabilized and blocked off and much of masonry is complete.  The heat was turned on earlier in the day and the gate guard area should be heated in full by Friday at the latest.  The bullet proof glass is en route and the entire structure has been mitigated for both mold and asbestos.  If all goes according to schedule, the scaffolding will come down shortly and the Village can expect to see the project completed within the next 35-40 days.  Ultimately, it will be up to the Village to decide what they want to do with the interior, but the structure itself is sound and should stand in good condition for the next 100 years.  Mr. Yassky expressed his gratitude to everyone who had worked with him on the project from the masons to the DPW and John and Debbie in the Village office, commenting that they had all been “marvelous” to work with.

Mayor Guinchard further reported that the Village was on top of the insurance claim and bills and that money would be put aside for the booth as it became available.

On the subject of the booth itself, the Mayor stated that several architects have come forward offering their design services.  What she would like to do is to hold a contest of sorts.  The proposals/designs will be collected and put together in the form of a packet, which will be available to all residents for review.  After a specified amount of time she proposes that the Village hold a referendum vote whereby the residents will decide which plan they would like to see executed.  The voting process would take place over a span of several days in order to allow both fulltime and weekend residents an opportunity to vote.  There are currently several options being considered: replacing the booth as it was, moving the booth backwards for the purpose of adding a second traffic lane for residents only or not replacing the booth at all.

Acknowledging that there could well be some great ideas that they had not though of, Mayor Guinchard reiterated her view that resident/taxpayer input and participation in this process was crucial as the decision at hand is critical to the Village.

She then asked the Trustees for their feedback on this idea.

Trustee McHugh commented that he felt that the option of cutting through the St. Mary’s wall and creating a new lane for traffic running in that direction should be kept open.  While he understands that this might not be the most popular of the proposals he feels that having invested a large sum into the preservation of the Keep, it might make sense to give that building more functionality.

Trustee Gluck commented that although he felt that community involvement was good and important he was not sure that a numerical vote was the right method for determining how to move forward.  He suggested that a better system might be developed.

Trustee Kilduff reiterated the need for community input commenting “I need some help with this one.”  He believes everyone should have their say and the more input the better.

Trustee Guazzoni also favors input from the community and believes that there should be plenty of public discussion and many options on the table.  In his view, a decision as important as this one should not be made by a group of five people alone.  Alternate options should be solicited.  This is a decision that will have an impact on the Village for the next 50-100 years.

There followed a brief discussion with regard to Orange and Rockland and the possible burying of utility lines.  Mayor Guinchard has learned that this will not be possible.  The Village must either burry all of their lines or none at all.  Since burying all of the lines is not an option currently for a myriad of reasons, an alternate route for the lines going in and out of the Police Gate has been explored.  The possibility of running the lines down Park Avenue, to the station located across the street from Chase Bank and then up the hill, through a portion of the Nursery and into the back side of the station might exist.  The Board is open to considering this as they favor the idea of clearing the lines away from the entrance to the Village.

The Mayor is hopeful that they might be able to put together a packet of potential booth designs by the November meeting at which point they can discuss further how they want to move forward.  In the meantime, she assured the public that associated meetings would be made assessable to the public and would be conducted in the evening. 

Conflict of Interest –
The Board reviewed the updated conflict of interest policy reflecting the changes as discussed at their September meeting.  It was agreed that employees would be asked to sign the agreement in the presence of the Village Clerk and would only have to do so one time.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the policy.

Department of Transportation Committee –
Trustee Guazzoni reported that the committee is continuing to look at road signs within the Village and are formulating clear ideas about what is necessary vs. what may not be necessary.  He believes that the village has become more and more “suburbanized” with the addition of various unnecessary signs and that this needs to be examined.  There are those signs which are code dictated and then there are others, such as yellow hidden driveway signs, which he feels are inconsistent and unnecessary.

Code Writing Committee –

Trustee Guazzoni reported that the committee would like to draft a local law with regard to a dark sky initiative.  To this end they have been taking a look at similar initiatives in communities such as South Hampton, Bridgeport and Ridgewood and specifically the language used within those initiatives.  A very rough draft was presented to the Board and briefly discussed with each Trustee providing their input.  Ultimately it was determined that Trustee Guazzoni should work with the Village Attorney in order to get the draft into a more workable, less verbose framework, after which he can officially present it to the Board and subsequently the public.

Trail Committee –
Trustee Gluck reported having met with Sally Sonne in his capacity as Trustee Liaison to this committee and together they walked many of the village trails.  It has been a delight for him to work with this committee.

Environmental Committee-
Trustee McHugh reported that a recent count of the deer is showing the population to be very low and at this point it does not appear as though culling will be necessary this year.
With regard to the lakes, the somewhat aggressive milfoil pull in Tuxedo Lake has been completed and the committee awaits a report from AIM complete with suggestions for the year ahead, which they believe will focus on the milfoil issues at the south end of the lake.

Finance Committee-
Following a 2 hour meeting in which various aspects of Village finances were reviewed and discussed in detail, the committee is working on putting together their recommendations in the form of a report.  Once the report is ready, the Mayor plans to call a Special Meeting at which the information will be presented.

Public Comments:
Michele Lindsay thanked the Mayor for informing residents about next week’s Town election in which she is a candidate.  Mrs. Lindsay is running for the position of councilmen against the two incumbents.  She encouraged people to visit her website
( and also to review her campaign literature and flyers.  The 27 was the deadline for absentee ballots via mail however ballots can still be delivered to Goshen by hand and this effort is being coordinated so interested residents should contact her.  Mrs. Lindsay has been going all over town, introducing herself to people and talking about the issues.  She feels she has been given a positive reception.  It is critical to get the vote out on November 3 and she encouraged everyone to not only vote, but to spread the word and remind others to do so as well, especially in the Village.  There are many issues currently facing the Town.  The budget is in a state of crisis and she feels that this is the result of years of mismanagement leading up to the last three years, during which the town has carried a 1 million dollar deficit. Now, Village taxpayers are looking at a projected 20% increase in town taxes!  Mrs. Lindasy has experience working in municipal finance and feels she will make a valuable addition to the Board in this capacity.  Additionally, she is concerned about the Tuxedo Farms project and the oversight there-of.  As per the agreement, conservation easements were supposed to be finalized and in place prior to construction however, construction has already begun and the Easements have not been finalized.  The developer claims they have not begun construction and that the work they are doing is only related to the approved blasting yet a large area of trees has been clear cut and it appears to Mrs. Lindsay that preliminary construction may in fact be taking place.  She then presented the Board with an aerial photograph of the site. Mrs. Lindsay also has some concern over the large shopping center which the developer is now proposing to build in the Town of Sloatsburg.  This was brought to the attention of the Town Board at their meeting the previous night and it was the first time many people had heard of the plan.  Originally, the developer was planning to construct a large retail space within the Commons area of the development, which is located in the Town of Tuxedo.  Now they are proposing to move this business out of Town and into another county.  Mrs. Lindsay has been following the project in all of it’s various stages for years and is well versed in the various agreements and permits that have been granted.  She feels that this also makes her a good candidate for the position as oversight will be key.

Trustee Kilduff wondered if there was any legal allowance for the Village to halt the construction given that the conservation easements were not in place.  He also inquired as to whether the Town Board had any additional knowledge about the proposed Sloatsburg shopping center.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that they had claimed not to have any knowledge of the project at all.  She called Sloatsburg the following day and confirmed that it is in front of their Panning Board.

Public Hearing  - Continuation and SEQRA Review – LL Intro No. 2 of 2015 – Pipelines:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of negative declaration under SEQRA.  As they are still awaiting a response from the County, the Public Hearing was continued to the November 18 meeting.

To review a copy of this draft legislation click here.

Tuxedo Farms – Modify Resolution from PIPC to Orange County Land Trust:
The Board discussed the idea of modifying their resolution with regard to conservation easements to be placed on the buffer properties around the Village to include Orange County Land Trust as a holder. The 700-acre parcel of land known as The Northern Tract was also discussed.  It appears as though the Town is looking to take ownership of this land and as such, take it off the tax rolls, which is a big concern for many.  These concerned residents feel that if PIPC were tot take control of the land instead of the Town, it would continue to generate a fairly substantial tax income, (both property and school) which would be beneficial to the Town, especially given the financial crisis. 

Trustee Kilduff commented that he was under the impression that PIPC was not interested in the land.  He feels that their intent needs to be officially clarified.

Trustee Gluck replied that he believed that former Mayor Neuhauser had received a letter from PIPC stating that they were not interested in the  buffer zone properties surrounding the park for various reasons, but to the best of his knowledge, there had been no mention of the Northern Tract.

Michelle Lindsay commented that Executive Director at PIPC, Jim Hall had told her that the Town had not offered the land to them and that if they were to do so, he would certainly bring it back to his Board for consideration.  Mrs. Lindsay does not understand why the Town would choose to take the property off the tax-roll when they could be making a substantial amount of money off it while also preserving the land.  This was discussed at some length.  Ultimately it was agreed that the Board would hold off on altering their resolution until they had more information with regard to the intent of both PIPC and Orange County Land Trust.

Mayor Guinchard mentioned that she had received an e-mail from somebody claiming to be from Orange County Land Trust requesting permission to come into the Village in order to access the buffer zones and examine the property.  Because the e-mail came from a G-mail account and there was no letter head on it, the Mayor was somewhat suspect of its origin and felt the need to verify where it had come from before she responded.  The land can be accessed from outside of the Village as well.

Sally Sonne agreed with this last point, commenting that the parcels could be accessed via trails off of Long Meadow Road aS well as in Maple Brook and she would be curios to know why this individual felt the need to come into the Village in order to explore them.

Trustee Kilduff agreed, commenting that the entire request seemed a little sketchy to him as well.

Additional Lake Warden Appointment:
Todd Yanuzzi has recently come forward and expressed a desire to work together with current Lake Warden Greg Libby in setting up a Youth Program on the lakes.  The specifics have not been outlined but Mayor Guinchard believes the program will focus on safety and various certifications.  Current Lake Warden Greg Libby is both aware and supportive of the request.

Trustee Gluck wanted to know more specifically what this would entail in terms of Village involvement and potential liabilities to etc. Would people be in the water?  Would insurance coverage be necessary?

The Mayor could not provide this information.

Trustee Guazzoni commented that he felt it was important that there only be one senior warden and that if the Board favored theidea,, Mr. Yanuzzi should be named Deputy Warden and report directly to Mr. Libby.  He believes it is important to have one person to look to should something go wrong.

Trustee Gluck wondered what could possibly go wrong given that nothing specific had been proposed.
Trustee Kilduff stated that Mr. Yannuzi was an active volunteer within the community and that if wanted to get involved in this way, the Board should reward that and approve the request.

The Mayor seconded this stating that if Mr. Yanuzzi wanted to the volunteer his time and had a passion for what he was suggesting, she supported that.

Trustee Gluck commented that he supported the idea too, although he still could not see what it had to do with the Village or specifically the role of Lake Warden.

Trustee McHugh stated that he would be favor of moving forward with the idea provided Mr. Yanuzzi would refrain from paddle boarding on Tuxedo Lake. 

Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Mr. Yanuzzi as Deputy Lake Warden.

Meeting Dates Resolution Discussion:
The Board reviewed and discussed a list of potential Holidays, both religious and other wise, with the idea of passing a resolution that would ensure that no municipal meetings be scheduled on those days. 

When asked for their individual opinions everyone was in support of the idea save Trustee McHugh, who commented that he felt they ought to stick with the list of New York State Federal Holidays and should not get into the business of legislating certain religious Holidays.

Trustee Kilduff disagreed with this, commenting that they would not be closing the government on the days in question, rather they would only be agreeing not to schedule meetings on those days.  He commented that this practice is observed in many other communities.

A list of potentials Holidays was then presented by the Mayor and after several suggestions and additions the following list was agreed to:
Independence Day
Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan)
Labor Day
Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
Eid Al-Adha
Columbus Day
Veteran’s Day
Christmas Day
New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Day
President’s Day
Good Friday
Memorial Day

Village Boards to include the Board of Trustees, Board of Architectural Review, Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals, will refrain from scheduling any meetings on these days.

The Board voted 4-1 in favor of this, with Trustee McHugh voting against.

Authorize Bidding for Propane & Set Bid Opening Date:
After briefly discussing the frequency of propane use within the Village, the Board agreed that they would obtain an accurate assessment of use and move forward accordingly.  If it turns out that expenditures are greater than $20,000 they will move forward with the Bid process as per the Village’s procurement policy however, should the amount be less than they will solicit quotes prior to selecting a vendor and entering into contract.

Brook Farm Trail Discussion:
The Board discussed the possible sale of a portion of the trail known as Brook Farm Trail to Michael Bruno as originally proposed at their September meeting. 

Trustee Kilduff wondered what the mechanics of folding the lot into Mr. Brunos property might be.

Village Attorney Brian Nugent responded that off the top of his head he felt a lot line change would be necessary in order to merge the road with the parcel.  This would of course be subject to the normal, Planning Board process for such mergers.

Sally Sonne expressed her opposition to the sale of the road.  Commenting that Brook Farm Road runs straight through the woods from West Lake Road to Camp Comfort, she cautioned that currently there is only one, windy, narrow road that goes up that way and that she feels the Village should retain the property because, among other reasons, they may want or need to open that road to traffic one day.  Currently that area contains the school and a few homes, but it is slated to grow, with 6 potential lots currently before the Planning Board as part of the Overton Subdivision.  She further cautioned that should the Village sell the Road it would be a permanent decision that would have a long-term impact on the future of the Village.

There followed a discussion with regard to whether or not Mr. Bruno intended to place an easement on the property, which he apparently does not.

This information upset Mrs. Sonne, who commented that while she understood that the need for money was a driving factor, she did not believe that the Village should sell this property to a private individual especially without an easement.  Brook Farm Trail has always been a Village Trail.  People walk it with frequency.  Her children took it to and from TPS when they were younger.  In her view it would a terrible shame if it ceased to be a Village trail.  She further stated that she felt it was extremely unfortunate that the public had not been made aware of this situation and that she feared the sale would go through without anyone knowing what was going on.  She stated that she had come to this evening’s meeting for purpose of taking place in this discussion however, she had been forced to wait 4 hours, until the very end of the meeting, in order to discuss it.  She feels that the Village should be providing the residents with more information on this matter.

Mayor Guinchard responded that the sale of land did connotate permanent change and that just as the sale of the Northern Tract would affect change in the Town of Tuxedo, this sale would effect the Village.

Mrs. Sonne retorted that the two were not comparable as the Northern Tract was not located within the Village.  Again, she suggested that there might come a time when the Village might want or need to open the trail up to traffic and she reiterated her stance that people needed to be more informed about what was happening.

The Mayor responded that there had been roughly 70 residents present at the previous meeting where the sale was initially proposed and discussed.

Trustee Gluck interjected that he felt the issue at hand was an important one.  Farm Brook Trail is a heritage road in the Village and part of the original landscape.

Trustee Kilduff wondered why Mrs. Sonne felt the Village might want or need to open the trail to traffic one day.

Mrs. Sonne replied that it might serve as an emergency access to the mountain farm area or a fire road.

Trustee Kilduff disagreed with this, commenting he did not feel the trail should be considered a potentially crucial point of access.

Trustee McHugh suggested that the next time this matter was discussed they should put it further up on the agenda and discussed earlier in the meeting.  He empathized with Mrs. Sonne having had to wait 4 hours to voice her opinion.

The Mayor responded that she had allotted for two public comment periods and that Mrs. Sonne could have spoken her mind during either one of those.

Trustee McHugh stated that he understood this but that clearly she had wanted to participate in their discussion and have her voice heard at that time, which in his view made sense.

Overton Project Discussion:
The Board briefly discussed the Overton Project and what if any steps they needed to take following their meeting with the applicant a couple of weeks prior.  Although there is some engineering data that needs to be collected and amassed by the Vilalge, it was ultimately determined that they would wait for the applicant to officially submit their proposal before they took any further action. 

The Board then entered into executive session.

Funding Increase For the Keep:
When the Board returned from executive session Session at 12:42 a.m, they voted unanimously to increase the allocation by $25K for 'The Keep' emergency remediation bringing the total to $245K.

Other Business:
The Board discussed a document they had received that afternoon at 5:30 p.m. from Tuxedo Farms regarding the easements ,which also included additional language about Pilgrim Pipeline that the Board needs to review.  The Board asked the Village Attorney to contact Tuxedo Farms to obtain more information and clarification.  The matter is tabled until the next BOT meeting.

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Working Agenda For Village Board Of Trustees Meeting October 27, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor Introduces Community Spotlight: Sons of Italy
4. Mayor's Comments
5. CHA- Update on Wee Wah Dam
6. Report of Police
7. Report ofDPW
a. Authorize Purchase and Financing of 2016 Dump Truck
b. Bid Award- Wood Chipper
8. Report of Building Department
9. Committee Updates
a. Police Booth Discussion
10. Public Comments
11. Public Hearing- Continuation and SEQRA Review- LL Intro No.2 of2015- Pipelines
12. Tuxedo Farms
a. Easement Discussion
b. Modify Resolution from PIPC to Orange County Land Trust
13. Additional Lake Warden Appointment
14. Meeting Dates
15. Authorize Bidding for Propane & Set Bid Opening Date
16. South Gate House Lease Renewal
17. Public Comments
18. Audit of Claims
19. Adjournment

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Mayor's News Letter

Click here to read.

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 28, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Monday, September 28, 2015.  All members were present.

Community Spotlight: The Tuxedo Park Library:

On behalf of the Tuxedo Park Library, Director Diane Loomis presented the Board and the public with a fairly thorough over-view of the Library including a brief history, overview of basic offerings, programming information, recent renovations, budgetary information, and plans for the future.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor Guinchard began by thanking former Mayor Houstin Stebins and his wife Dena Steele for their on-going efforts in mowing and maintaining the pathway around the Racetrack.  Commenting that she had always been under the impression that this work was being done by the Village DPW, she stated that she was surprised to learn that it had been Houston and Dena all along and she thanked them for providing the community with such a beautiful walking path.  This was met by a round of applause from the audience.

Next, Mayor Guinchard stated that she was very appreciative of everything that TPFYI does in keeping the community informed and up to date.  However, she cautioned residents to keep in mind that this was not the official Village website and that many of the articles posted there reflected TPFYI’s opinion on the issues.  Although she knows that TPFYI makes every effort to make their reporting as non-biased and straight forward as possible, the information that is found on the Village Website and the Town of Tuxedo Website is official information and residents should visit this site if they are looking for exact information.  The Village is in the process of updating the website in an effort to make it more user friendly so if anyone should encounter any issues, they should report them to either the Mayor herself or the Village Clerk.

Finally, the Mayor announced that Bulk Pick-up Day will be on Saturday October 17.  All items must be curbside by 7am.

Report of Police:
 On behalf of the Police Department, Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of August:
Non-Criminal Complaints – 54
Property Damage Accidents – 1
Traffic Tickets – 44
Fire Calls – 4
Medical Calls – 3
Intrusion Alarms – 4
Assists given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 4
Assists received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 3

Additionally, 12,158 untagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.

On the subject of Vehicle tags, the Chief read aloud some information regarding new policies and the expiration/renewal of tags.  All black and yellow non-resident tags will expire on October 22.  Only residents and orange tag-holders will be permitted access from the South Gate entrance after this date.  All other non-resident vehicles must use the Main Gate.  Non-resident tags are available for purchase for members of the Tuxedo Club or the Tuxedo Park School community.  For those requesting tags on or before October 22, the cost will be $60 per tag.  Thereafter, the cost will be $75 per tag.  Metal plates (for tag mounting) are $15 each.  All vehicle tags (resident and non-resident tags alike) will expire on July 31, 2016.
Mayor Guinchard added that resident tags would begin rolling over on a three-year cycle.    The tags are free to residents.  Colors will rotate with the background color remaining green and the lettering and/or boarder changing with each new cycle.  This year, the non-resident tags will be pro-rated to $60 if purchased by October 22 however, moving forward the will be $75 on an annual basis. 

Moving on Chief Sanford stated that traditionally in the past some residents have kept keys at the Front Gate and contractors, house keepers, caretakers etc have been able to sign them out.  Effective immediately, for the time being, the Police Department will be suspending this practice.  Unfortunately, it has become too much for the gate guards to manage in additional to all of their other responsibilities.  The guards are not concierges.  They are hopeful that a better, more efficient and effective method can be identified and established in the future. 

Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to roughly how many keys the Gate was currently holding.
Chief Sanford informed him that they were in possession of 128 sets of keys.

Mayor Guinchard interjected that keeping the keys at the Police Department was a dangerous liability for the Department on many levels.  She believes that the only reason that the Police Gate should be holding resident keys is for police reasons. (i.e. emergencies) Especially given the current situation at the Gate, with the Guard in the Keep, it simply does not make sense to do it any longer.

Commenting that this was 150-year-old tradition, Kathy Norris wondered how soon the suspension would take effect.

Chief Sanford again stated that it was effective immediately and further informed her that he would be sending letters to those residents involved within the week detailing when and how residents could retrieve their keys.

Report of DPW:
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss reported that the department has been very busy paving the roads.  They have more to do and this should keep them bust for the next few weeks.  Additionally he noted that Milfoil pulling had begun in Tuxedo Lake earlier that day and he has spoken with Trustee McHugh about installing some sort of screening by the Tuxedo Dam in order to prevent the weed -fragments from easily traveling into the other two lakes.  Although there is nothing in place currently, Superintendent Voss assured the Board that they would begin working on it immediately in order to have something in place before the rain arrived.

Mayor Guinchard then expressed her gratitude to the entire department for their assistance in cleaning out the Keep in an extremely quick and diligent manor.  Because of their efforts, things were in much shape when the Labor Board arrived for their surprise visit.

Report of the Building Department:
Click here to read a copy of the Building Department Report.

Mayor Guinchard asked Building Inspector John Ledwith to provide a brief over-view of the Wee Wah Dam update.

Mr. Ledwith responded that after a few meetings which included resident Alan Yassky, the Village has ultimately decided to switch engineering firms as it relates to getting repairs made to the Wee Wah Dam.  CHA Associates have been hired to continue pursuing the necessary approvals to rebuild the dam and also keep in compliance with regulations.  Westin and Sampson will continue to work on the Village’s Storm Water Management plan but will not have anything to do with the dam moving forward. 

Trustee McHugh inquired as to the overall timeline for the dam repairs.

Mr. Yassky replied that the hope is that by May, June or July of 2016 the Village should have the necessary permits to move forward along with a full understanding of what the dam will look like.  The project should be out to bid sometime in September or October.

Hopefully, the project would begin over the winter with a projected completion date sometime in the spring or very early summer of 2017.

Mr. Ledwith added that one of the reasons that the Village had chosen this particular firm is that they have a very positive rapport with the DEC, which should help to move things along.

Mayor Guinchard stated that she was sure there were some residents who might be wondering whether or not the Village would be losing money as a result of the switch and the answer to this was that very little money would be lost.  Regardless, the Village will come out ahead of the game having saved quite a bit of time in eliminating a lot of back and forth with the DEC.   CHA works only with dams and has experience with a number of large dams in the Northeast and more specifically in New York State.   She further noted that Westin and Sampson had conveyed that the Dam had been classified as a Class C however CHA believes that they can fight to maintain the current Class B status. Regardless, the Mayor believes that they will work hard to make sure that everything is done in the Village’s best interest.  

Next the Mayor asked Mr. Ledwith the bring the Board up to speed on Westin and Sampson’s work with the storm water management  and sewer plans.

Mr. Ledwith explained that this work was ongoing.  There is a fair amount of storm water entering the Village’s sewer system.  About a year and a half ago W&S analyzed several areas where this is occurring, mostly in the Club House Road region.  There are also a number of storm drains and old pipes that are in need of repair.  The engineers are continuing to work on these things and they have begun some remediation to the sewer line, which will hopefully reduce the amount of I &I the system is experiencing.

The W&S contract for pipelining and sub-basin construction was then reviewed in some detail. The Village is under a somewhat tight timeline in terms of putting the project out to bid.  Ultimately the Board approved task one of the contract (design and construction of sub-basins) at a cost of $19,900.

Following this discussion, Mayor Guinchard commented that she is hopeful that the Village will be able to set up open houses at both the Sewer and Water plants next spring whereby residents can attend and educate themselves as to what goes on in both locations and what some of the issues are.

The Village is in receipt of a letter from the engineer working on the Overton subdivision with regard to their proposed pressurized pumping system.  There remain some issues and the Village Engineers are not fully satisfied with what has been submitted, so they have requested further information, which has not yet been received.  Regardless, the Overton Engineers have requested permission to address the Board of Trustees regarding these issues.

Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether or not an Environmental Review had been completed for the project and he was informed that it had not.  

Trustee Guazzoni then suggested that in his view, without an environmental review the Board should not receive the applicant.

Mr. Ledwith then commented that Mr. Overton himself had not appeared before the Planning Board to date and that it might be prudent to request his presence if they intended to receive the applicant.  He suggested that some of the proposed values for the homes were in his view suspect and perhaps Mr. Overton would be willing to discuss the overall feasibility of the project as proposed. 

Village Paper Road Discussion:
The Village has had a couple of residents approach them with regard to existing paper roads, currently owned by the Village and bordering their properties, and the possibility of purchasing the land.  One such resident is Michael Bruno and the Mayor called upon him to publicly outline his request.

Mr. Bruno commented that durring the year prior he had purchased a 55-acre tract of land, protected by Orange County Land Trust, from Diane Sugden, and adjoining that property is a closed/paper road called Brook Road.  On one side of this road is a portion of what is known as the Northern Tract (a tract of land currently owned by the developers of Tuxedo Farms) and on the other side is Mr. Brunos’ property. 

Mr. Bruno would like to acquire the land, but he also feels a strong desire to help the community in some way and has identified the Front Gate as an area where assistance is needed.  The Gate is something, which he feels is definitely worth restoring and restoring properly. Mr. Bruno has offered to invest $400,000 in the community in the form of purchasing the road for the assessed value of the property, with the balance to be used as a donation towards the restoration of The Keep and the Gatehouse. 
This was met with a round of applause from the Audience. 

Mayor Guinchard commented that the Trustees and the Building Inspector had all walked the road in question and that it was to be appraised along with other Village owned properties in the near future.  Once this has been done, a fair price will be agreed upon with Mr. Bruno.
Trustee Gluck pointed out that the road in question borders property that is currently held by the Related Companies and is to be developed and he wondered how this would work?
Mr. Bruno responded that he had been in the process of negotiating with Related and they were hopeful to strike some sort of deal by the end of the year.  Provided they are unable to make such a deal, Mr. Bruno would take ownership of the land up to the border only. 
Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to whether there would be one fiscal transaction in the form of a $400,00 transfer to the Village.

Mr. Bruno responded that if this was how the Village wanted to receive the money, he could arrange it that way and then they could appropriate the funds accordingly.

Village Attorney Brian Nugent advised that there would more than likely be one agreement with two separate fiscal transactions. 

Mr. Bruno then stated that all of this was contingent on the speed with which it can be accomplished as he needs to make the transaction prior to the end of this year for tax purposes. 

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mr. Nugent to move ahead with negotiations for the sale of the parcels as well as the donation to the Village by putting together a proposed agreement contingent upon the appraised amount the property in question.  Mr. Nugent also suggested that Mr. Bruno put his offer into the form of a letter and submit this to the Board and Mr. Bruno agreed to do so.

The Mayor then thanked Mr. Bruno once again and presented him with some holy water which had been blessed by The Pope.

Next, Tamir El Rayes came forward and stated that he would also like to help with The Keep and to that end he had offered to buy a parcel of land below his property bordering the lake, which is currently owned by the Village.  He understands that this is not a build-able lot, but sees the purchase as a way to protect his property while offering some financial support to the Village.  He would admittedly like to put a boat dock there, but commented that even if this were not possible, he would still be willing to purchase the land.  There are two additional lots in the same area that border other property lines and if those residents who own the adjacent properties are not interested in buying them, Mr. El Reyes will purchase those as well. 

Main Entrance Update with Public Participation:
Mayor Guinchard reported that Architects Degraw and Associates have come forward and offered to design a new booth for the Village free of charge should they decide to rebuild! 
Mr. Bruno interjected that he had recently utilized this firm for some work on his home and had found them to be very meticulous providing him with excellent work.  He suggested the Village should accept the offer and review their design.

The Mayor went on to say that the Board would try to set up a Special Meeting for the sole purpose of discussing the Gate with residents. In the meantime, while there has certainly been a lot going on, no concrete decisions have been made to date.  Efforts have been concentrated on remediation of the air quality within the Keep in order to provide a safe, temporary space for people to work while they determine what the next step will be.  To this end, the Keep has been gutted.  Thankfully there was no asbestos or lead paint found however there was a fair amount of mold that needed to removed.  The Labor Board has been involved and to that end the Village has been diligent about moving forward in a timely fashion.  Again, the building has been gutted, sanitized, stripped sprayed and sealed.  All of this work was paid for by the insurance company and was completed as of end of business that day. (9/28) 

The Board then made a review of expenses to date including those that have been paid and those that are outstanding. The Village is not in the red.  The driver’s insurance company has been very responsive with funds as needed and the Village is expecting an additional $20,000 to arrive within the next 24 hours.  The Village is covered by the driver’s insurance however the exact amount of coverage cannot be divulged for privacy reasons.  The Village has additional coverage of $100,000, which will cover things like the mold remediation, any pop-up expenses associated with the project, and labor.  Electronics (TV systems, cameras, computers etc) are also covered  up to $10,000 under the Village’s policy.  The building itself was insured for roughly $29,000.  There is another category within the Village policy valued at 9.5 million dollars, which Mayor Guinchard called a “catch basket.”  She went on to explain that when there is catastrophic event whereby a building is destroyed and ultimately it will cost a great deal more than the insured value to rebuild due to code upgrades etc,  this money can be accessed.  If the Village were to decide to put the booth back and the cost was more than the insured value, funding could come from this area of the policy.  These funds can only be used towards reconstruction of the booth, as the booth is the building that was destroyed (in other words, they cannot be used for Keep repairs)
The drivers insurance has claimed liability for the accident.  The insurance company has opened an investigation in order to determine whether or not there is any additional coverage.  Once this has been determined, the insurance company will sue the driver (the umbrella policy actually belongs to the driver’s parents) for the additional expense, if there is in fact anything to go after.  Ultimately there will be a pot of money that the driver’s insurance has and a pot of money held by the Village’s insurance and the Board, together with their lawyer, will discuss with the insurance company whether or not the Village utilizes the driver’s insurance money only or funding from both insurance policies (which would drive Village insurance costs up) Right now, nothing is certain, however with Mr. Bruno’s generous gift, it is possible that the Village will not need to tap into the money in their policy. 

To date the Village has spent $22,552.96, which includes labor, demolition of the booth, emergency repairs to the Keep, installation of electric and phones as well as a few other things.  The Village has received a total of $15,000 from the insurance company in the form of an advance with an addition $20,000 expected within 24 hours as previously reported.

This will leave a remaining balance of $12,447.04.

There are also outstanding bills for the asbestos testing and mold remediation as well as the issuance of an “all clear” certificate on the building and these total roughly $39,340.  The Village has to pay prevailing wage, which is what has driven this figure up so high. 

Commenting that what has happened in unfortunate, the Mayor further suggested that “it is what it is” and assured the public that the Board was doing everything they could to deal with the situation.  Where the employees are now is a sealed zone.  The air quality has been tested and the area will also be scrubbed fully.  Further remediation to the Keep is necessary.  The building is leaking horribly and HVAC must be installed among other issues.  Thanks to the generous donation from Mr. Bruno, these things will now be affordable for the Village.

Trustee McHugh asked the Mayor to provide the public with the different options that are before them.

Mayor Guinchard then laid out the following three options:

  1. Rebuild the Booth
  2. Rebuild the Booth for Daytime Use but retain use of the Keep for Night time.
  3. Keep the Guards in the Keep with no Booth reconstruction

The Mayor believes the community truly is divided 50/50 as to whether or not the Booth should be rebuilt.  It is her feeling that “there is a presence that is needed” there.  There is a lot going on at the entrance to the Village all day long with trucks and busses coming in and out.  A plethora of paperwork changes hands.  Safety wise, having a guard go in and out of the Keep every time they need to exchange paperwork is somewhat of a logistical nightmare.  The feeling of security that comes along with the booth is also crucial for many residents.  The Mayor believes that through the design process a new, better looking, more secure booth, which is more in keeping with the Keep, can be created.   

Trustee Gluck inquired as to whether or not there was a general sense as to how much money the Village would need to spend over the course of the next several weeks.
Alan Yassky responded that the Keep has been in serious disrepair for many years and that without serious remediation, collapse was imminent.  The building needs a new roof, the concrete must be replaced and the entire thing needs to be sealed.  Additionally there are leaks that must be repaired and HVAC installed, with all of this work to be completed before the snow flies.  Mr. Yassky provided a general estimate of $2-250,000.

Kathy Norris wondered who the contractor would be.

Mr. Yassky responded that they had not selected one yet, but the bids were out.
A rough timeline was then discussed, the bottom line being that time is of the essence, with most of this work needing to be done before it gets cold.

Trustee Kilduff thanked the Mayor for the incredible amount time she has put in since this accident occurred. He called for a round of applause and the audience dutifully obliged.
Next, Trustee Kilduff stated that the issue of the Gate was one that seemed to divide people in the community and that he believed that public input would be a key component to the process.  He further commented that one a recent visit to Town Supervisor Rost’s office, he had viewed a historic photo of the gate and appreciated that there was no booth in it!  He assured people that regardless of the outcome, they would work something out in the best interest of the Village.

Mayor Guinchard concurred.  She went on to say that she had snatched a piece of Mr. Yassky’s hair and brought with her when visiting the Pope for blessing.  She then presented Mr. Yassky with his blessed hair.

Claude Guinchard commented that he felt that the Front Gate was the most important landmark in the Village and therefore, it was extremely important that they restore the Keep.
Kathy Norris stated that she did not see why they felt the need to rebuild the booth.  After all “there was no booth for 150 years.”  In her view, reconstruction of the booth will ruin the historic aspect of the Gate.  She requested that if the Board decided that they had to rebuild it that they consider building it out of stone so that it will match the surrounding buildings.
Mayor Guinchard thanked Kathy for her input.  She went on to say that the Board was asking residents to be patient.  If they are going to rebuild the booth, they want to do it right and in order to do that, they will need to wait until the spring.  With winter right around the corner, their main focus needs to be the Keep. 

Trustee Guazzoni echoed the need for public meetings, suggesting that they set up more than one in an effort to accommodate as many residents as possible.  He stressed that the Board was open to hearing all opinions, thoughts and ideas. 

Mayor Guinchard agreed and stated that they would hold as many meetings as needed.
Moving on, the Board reviewed a bill in the amount of $5,175 for some demolition that was necessary as part of the mold remediation in the keep.  She called for a motion authorizing the Village Clerk to pay this bill.

Trustee McHugh pointed out that the Mayor was asking for approval to spend money that had already been spent.  He further stated that at the previous meeting the Board had approved an additional $5-7,000 in funding for asbestos removal, but this was not that. 
Mr. Yassky commented that often times it was not possible for him to predict what was going to happen and that when certain things were uncovered during demolition they needed to be able to address them immediately and could not wait for the Board to get together  and vote.

Trustee McHugh responded that he understood the situation but objected to the principal of asking permission to spend money that had already been spent.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the funds.

Public Hearing – Local Law Introductory #2 of 2015 – Pipelines:
A representative from the Pilgrim Pipeline was supposed to attend the meeting however at the last minute they called and cancelled.  Mayor Guinchard reported that a week prior a gentleman who turned out to be a lobbyist for the pipeline had managed to get into the Village by telling the Gate Guard that he had a scheduled meeting with her, which was not the case.  He then had the opportunity to give himself an unauthorized tour of the Village on his way to the Village Office, where he was neither expected nor well received.  In response, this gentleman apologized and informed that Mayor that he would like the opportunity to come to a meeting and address the community.  This was subsequently scheduled.
Speaking on behalf of the Pipeline Committee, Gary Pompan stated that he had seen the lobbyists presentation and that ultimately it represented “the other side of the argument” in that it presented the pipeline in a favorable way, suggesting that it was a better choice for the environment and that the material would not be overly volatile.

This being said, the committee tends to see things the other way, believing that in general the pipeline would be a detriment to the environment and the community in general.  The preliminary map shows the line coming down route 17 and cutting into the Park through Fox Hill, running in front of St. Mary’s and the Gate and then exiting back into the Town via Tuxedo Farms property.  The committee has many questions unanswered questions.  For example, they are wondering why the line, which travels parallel to the Thruway  north of Tuxedo, deviates from its path in order to run through both the center of Town and the Village.  They recognize that there must be a reason for this, but at this point they do not understand what it is.  Further, they would like more specific information as to exactly where the line will come into the Village and where it will go out.  They want to know how big the trench will be as there have been varying reports ranging from 50 to 100 feet wide.  The State has afforded the pipeline Eminent Domain, which is troubling on a number of levels.  Further, to date there have been no environmental studies done. 

Trustee Kilduff suggested that the reason the line has been diverted the way it has is because of the bridge in the East Village and the fact that the line remains elevated everywhere else but cannot slope down to accommodate the bridge.

After clarifying the general area where the proposed pipeline will run, Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to whether or not the Village had been in touch with Related Companies with regard to this.  He suggested that the developer might have more “muscle” with which to appropriately combat what has been proposed. 

Mr. Pompan responded that they had been in discussions with Related as the developer shares many of the same concerns and that indeed they did have more muscle in the form of money to invest in fighting this particular battle.

Megan Guy from the Related Companies was present and concurred that the developer does share the Village’s concern.  Ultimately they will have 1,200 homes to sell and they do not want to see the pipeline running right through the center of their development.  To this end, their lawyers have been attempting to negotiate a deal with the pipeline, which consists of an alternate route.  Although admittedly not ideal, the proposed alternate route would run across the old golf course property, just south of the old gate house, through the northern tract, behind the hills and across the negotiated buffer zone between the Village and development.  This is not ideal, however  it would limit the number of people and homes effected by avoiding not only their development but the school property, Route 17 and the Front Gate as well.

Joan Alleman stated that it was her understanding that the Village’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places would trump any Eminent Domain rights afforded to the pipeline by the State.  She also commented that she had been in touch with the Federal Bureau of Energy, who are also fighting the proposed route.

Michele Lindsay wondered how the alternate route as proposed would effect any conservation easements that might be placed upon the Northern Tract.

Mr. Pompan replied that ultimately this was not the Village’s concern as the negotiations surrounding the Northern Tract were between the Town and the Developer.

The representative from Related suggested that it was her understanding that Eminent Domain would trump any type of conservation easement.

Trustee Kilduff inquired of the Ms. Guy as to how long the developer had been in negotiations with the pipeline people.  He wondered if there was any money involved.
Ms. Guy responded that she was not at liberty to disclose that information.

Trustee Kilduff then wondered if it were not the ultimate goal of the developer to reach some sort of agreement with the pipeline prior to signing off on the previously negotiated buffer zone around the Village, which is a deal that has long been on the table.  He cautioned the Mayor to proceed with caution as he was not so sure the developers interests were aligned with those of the Village.  He then wanted to know how many meetings Related had had with the pipeline.

The answer was fewer than 5.

Trustee Kilduff wondered why the Village would be in favor of having the developer make a deal with the pipeline that would directly impact their previous agreement to maintain a buffer zone around the Village.  Why should the Village be left “coming late to the table” in these negotiations? 

This question was not answered and ultimately, the Mayor suggested that the Attorney should guide them as to how to move forward with the proposed legislation.  At his suggestion, the Board designated the law a type one action under SEQRA.  The necessary paperwork will now be prepared and the public hearing was continued until October 27.

A copy of Local Law Introductory #2 of 2015 can be viewed here.

BID Awards:

  1. Surplus Equipment – Following some discussion, it was agreed that all of the bids that had been received would be rejected because they were all above the minimum price, which suggests that the estimates were too low.   The equipment will be put back out to bid with a minimum of $3,000.
  2. #2 Fuel Oil – Trustee Kilduff suggested that because of the low price of crude oil and heating oil right now, the Village investigated various deals to include fixed prices for 1 and 2 year periods.  Ultimately he recommended that they go with Mirabito Energy Products, out of Binghamton, NY for two years at a fixed price of $2.15/$2.07 based on the futures.  Following some discussion with regard to the total amount of fuel used per year (12,500 gallons) and the number of delivery trips needed, the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with the fixed rate contract.

Public Comments:
Bob Klimecki commented that he was there to talk about the Board of Architectural Review and specifically ways that it might be improved in terms of both administration and function.  He has recently been part and parcel of its use and he has some important comments to make as a result.  He then read aloud a letter/statement, which can be read in its entirety here.

There followed a lengthy conversation about the design guidelines and the alleged arbitrary actions of the BAR. Mr. Klimecki does not feel that the BAR should have the right to dictate changes based on their opinions at his expense.  Further, he pointed out that many of the homes in the Park are contemporary, modern or even traditional in their design and that forcing these to conform to a more historic ideal is like putting a square peg in a round hole.  He noted he was somewhat shocked to discover that the guidelines do not mention modern structures but rather seem to be secularly focused on historic homes.   He feels that his credentials are just as good and in some cases even better than those of the BAR members and he does not believe that they have any right to dictate taste to any homeowner in the Village.  He suggested that the current practices of the BAR actually deter people from wanting to buy and build here.  He wondered if the Board would consider setting up a public forum to discuss this issue and perhaps receive suggestions from the community as to how the process might be improved and/or changed.

Trustee Guazzoni asked Mr. Klimecki if he could elaborate on the alleged malfeasance and conflict of interest he referenced in his statement.

Mr. Klimecki responded that he felt he had been rather clear.  He does not believe that anybody who sits on the BAR should also work within the Village as it applies to their profession and their position on that Board.  He believes this type of thing might be very influential in terms of the BAR making favorable decisions with regard to those applications where some of them might have invested interests.  He believes this is nothing new and that it has happened before.

Trustee Guazzoni acknowledged that this idea was not far-fetched and wondered if Mr. Klimecki believed that this type of thing was happening now.

Mr. Klimecki responded that he could say with certainty but he believed it had happened in the past.

Trustee Guazzoni then asked Trustee McHugh whether he was aware of anything like this in his capacity as BAR liaison to the Board. 

The answer was no.

Mr. Klimecki further commented that he believed that the stringent practices of the BAR, and particularly the guidelines, were also discouraging to many fine architects who could and should be working in the Village.  This is having a direct effect on home values, which have plummeted in recent years.  Further more, the process is an expensive one.  As noted in his letter, Mr. Klimecki was told by the Deputy Chair of the BAR in a meeting that the potential cost of his project was of no concern to them.  This was in his view flat out wrong.  He then stressed that despite his views and at great expense, he had complied with all of the BAR requests prior to making this complaint.  He did not want to be viewed as a “whiny kid,” however he feels strongly that something needs to change.

Richard Witte  expressed similar concerns with the process, however his issues seemed to lie more with the Planning Board.  He recalled that with the assistance of an attorney it took him five years to construct his home as laid out and approved on the plans.  He was forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in soft costs and at one point was even forced to resubmit drawings that had been created using the wrong type of pencil.  He complained that the Planning Board had required him to do certain things and when they did not work out, had attempted to deny his plan as a result.  He agreed that the situation was extremely problematic and suggested that moving forward people would not come to this community as a result.

Claude Guinchard stated that he also had an issue with the BAR, his stemming from an approval that his neighbor received to install large lights around their newly constructed tennis court.  The approved plan for the project allows for 8 tall poles containing 315 watt bulbs which omit 33,000 lumens when illuminated.  The new, revised plan calls for 8 poles with bulbs that omit 43,000 lumens when illuminated, which is akin to if not brighter than a street light.  Mr. Guinchard continued on to say that in the community of Ridgewood, where no artificial lights are permitted on residential tennis courts, there are restrictions which specify that no more than 1 lumen/footlight of light can extend past individual property lines.  He is aghast that the same Board who authored the Design Guidelines could allow/approve these gigantic, bright lights on his neighbors’ property.  Mr. Guinchard then proceeded to read aloud several sections from the Guidelines, after which he commented that what had been approved here stood in complete opposition to what had been written.  The lights, as approved, will not only shine brightly onto his property as well as the roadway, but also onto and across the entire south end of Tuxedo Lake.  His neighbor has even stated his intent to flood the court in the wintertime for the purpose of creating a nighttime skating rink with lighting for his children.  If these lights are allowed to go in, Mr. Guinchard will certainly grieve his taxes as a result and he feels that many, if not all, of the other neighbors will do the same.  He is baffled by the fact that the BAR has repeatedly complained about the use of reflective strips along East Lake Road for nighttime lighting and has also suggested that the tester LED bulb currently installed in the street lamp in front of St. Mary’s should be removed and yet they are permitting these lights.  Speaking to the approvals, he noted that the same three BAR members had approved the plans on two occasions.  He then read aloud a section from the Village Code, which clearly stated that the Board of Trustees could, if they saw fit, revoke the decision of the BAR and prevent the lights from being installed.  Under the circumstances, this is what Mr. Guinchard is advising.  Currently there is only one other home in the Village with tennis court lights and this belongs to Mr. Bruno, who never turns them on.  Mr. Guinchard visited Mr. Bruno, who agreed to turn on the lights on so that Mr. Guinchard could take a picture, which clearly demonstrates how much light is omitted from the lamps.  This photo was circulated.  Mr. Bruno has agreed to remove his lights altogether so that the Board might consider passing legislation that prevents such lighting within the Village.  Mr. Guinchard then read aloud several more sections of the code after which he stated that in his view it is up the Building Inspector to “own the Code” and properly enforce the regulations laid out within.  He does not understand why this is not happening.

There followed a somewhat lengthy discussion regarding the responsibilities of the Building Inspector and the possibility of malfeasance on his part, with Mr. Guinchard suggesting that the BAR appears to be setting the rules for the Building Inspector to follow when ultimately it should be the other way around with the Building Inspector providing the checks and balances to ensure that code is properly enforced.  He further stated that he had approached the Building Inspector directly and inquired as to why this type of things was allowed to occur and Mr. Ledwith allegedly told him that since the BAR had approved the plan, he was okay with it. 

Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether Mr. Guinchard was suggesting sloppiness on the part of the Building Inspector.

Trustee Kilduff interjected, stating that as the nature of the conversation was beginning to make him uncomfortable seeing as the Building Inspector was present but had not been asked to defend himself.  He wondered whether this might not be considered a personnel issue and suggested that if so, they really should discuss it in an Executive Session rather than to address it in this way.

Trustee Gluck responded that the conversation had been initiated in response to Mr. Klimecki’s letter and that in his view it was fine for them to be openly discussing it.
Village Attorney Brian Nugent inquired as to whether or not the plans for the lighting had been officially approved by the BAR.  If in fact they have been, he suggested that the proper method for challenging them would be to file an appeal with the BZA.

Trustee Kilduff wondered whether or not the Board would be within their rights to institute a moratorium on lighting such as this while they further investigated the situation.

Mr. Nugent informed him that they could enact a moratorium however, it would likely have no bearing on the application at hand.

Mr. Guinchard noted that the most recent plan he had seen (the one calling for 43,000 lumens) had clearly said right on it “Subject To Bar Review.”  He reiterated his stance that it would not be in the best interest of the Village to allow this plan to proceed.

This application aside, Trustee Gluck wondered if the Village could and should consider regulating lighting plans.

Mr,. Nugent replied that they certainly could do this but again pointed out that any such new regulations would not effect this application.  He further cautioned the Board that they could not use legislation as a method of prevention.

Trustee Kilduff then called upon the Building Inspector to address the lighting plan as approved by the Bar.

Mr. Ledwith explained that there was an approved plan specifying light fixtures, bulbs and pole height.  An amended application has been submitted and is currently before the BAR.
Mr. Nugent observed that should the amended plan not meet the approval of the BAR, the applicant will have to fall back on their previously approved plan.  As the original plan has already been approved, there is not much that can be done to change it.

Trustee Kilduff then inquired about the Board’s ability to reverse the BAR’s approval and Mr. Nugent advised him that this was a conversation that the Board should conduct within the confines of an executive session. 

Mr. Ledwith was then asked to confirm whether or not the lights had already been approved and he responded that they had been submitted as a part of the landscaping plan, which was subsequently reviewed and approved.  Recordings of these meetings are on file at the Village Office.  There is currently nothing in the Village Code that prohibits the lights as proposed.

A member of the audience then suggested that at one time the Tuxedo Club had applied for tennis court lighting and been denied.

Mr. Ledwith responded that this was not true.  An application had been brought before the BAR but had “died on the vine” and had never been officially rejected.  He further commented that he understood that it appeared to many as though he was overly sympathetic to the BAR however,  he felt that some of the comments that had been made were “over reaching.”

It was then suggested that if this application were allowed to proceed there would be nothing stopping The Club from seeking similar lighting, which would ultimately be a detriment to the north end the Lake in the eyes of many.

The Mayor then clearly stated that she would not be making any comments as she lived directly next door to the applicant in question and therefore felt her involvement in this discussion would demonstrate a clear conflict of interest.

Trustee Guazzoni brought up a section of the Village Code that deals with light in terms of its’ “offensive use.”  He noted that this had been used in the past to shut down a somewhat dim light that his neighbors installed on the pillar at the end of their driveway.  He wondered why this section of the code was not being referred to in terms of the application at hand.

Mr. Nugent stated that the “offensive use” argument could not be used to counter an application, which had already been approved.

Mr. Guinchard reiterated his position stating once again that he had come before the Board to see if there was anything the could possibly do reverse the decision of the BAR and prevent these lights from being installed.

Again, Mr. Nugent advised the Board that this would be a conversation better suited for Executive Session, after which the conversation was brought to an abrupt close.

Michelle Lindsay reported that earlier that evening at the Town Board meeting, the Town Board tabled a resolution that had been planning to adopt that would override the tax cap levy, which has been set at .73% this year.  A public hearing was held and the Board plans to vote at their next regularly scheduled meeting.  Mrs. Lindsay feels that the Board’s plan is very open-ended.  While they have stated that they would like the option of overriding so that they can balance the budget, they do not have any alternative suggested cap built into the law.  She suggested during the hearing that they consider either a 2 or 2.5% cap rather than to say that they were going to move forward with whatever  amount they might need to balance the budget.

Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to what amount Mrs. Lindsay thought they needed in order to balance their budget. 

Mrs. Lindsay responded that the preliminary budget information would be available on Wednesday at which point they would know more.

Next, Mrs. Lindsay stated that she had been taken aback by the discussion regarding the Pilgrim Pipeline.  She noted that the committee was in a difficult position as they did not want to see the line run through the Village.  She expressed her concern with the fact that the conservation easements have not been negotiated by Related as required by the Special Permit of 2004. Related was given approval for their housing plan in the Southern Tract with the agreement that the Northern Tract would be conserved as open space. If they don't follow through as originally approved, would there be legal consequences?

The Special Permit also requires that a buffer zone around Tuxedo Park would be conserved but Related's representative said that the pipeline would run through the buffer.

The Orange County Land Trust has been approved by the Tuxedo Town Board as a potential manager of the conservation agreement but Related is delaying negotiations and now  it has come to light that they have been meeting with the Pipeline people. Is that because Related wants to make a deal with Pilgrim first? The Town could also satisfy the conservation agreement by transferring the Northern Tract to Palisades Interstate Park Commission - the largest taxpayer in Tuxedo - but PIPC has not been approached.  It seems to her that Related may be attempting to renegotiate something that has already been negotiated, which is troublesome in her view.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that as he saw it, the end game was to decide whether they would rather see the pipeline run through Fox Hill or the Northern Tract.  He pointed out that if they invoke eminent domain, it would not matter what they decided anyway.

Committee Updates:
Mayor Guinchard briefly reported that the Grant Writer was “charging ahead” but offered no further details.

On behalf of the Lakes Committee, Trustee McHugh reported that Milfoil pulling had begun on the main lake the day.  While they began in the area of the Village Boat Club they would be moving to the area in front of the Tuxedo Club the following day.  A big meeting has been scheduled for later in the week to discuss their findings as well as suggestions as to how the Village should proceed.

Trustee Gluck reported that he had received some questions about the version of the Village Code that is online and it’s accuracy.  He pointed out that there were two sections for the Code online; the ECODE and NEW LAWS, the latter containing additions made since 2011.  Village Clerk Debbie Matthews explained that the reason things were grouped this way was because it was extremely costly (thousands of dollars) to update the code to incorporate new laws on a regular basis.  Therefore, it makes more sense for the Village to amass a large group of additions over a drawn out period of time before making updates.
Trustee Kilduff reported that he had attended the closing meeting of the Wee Wah Beach Club.  Despite a somewhat rocky start to their season, he was pleased to announce that the Club appears to have worked through many of their issues and membership is up with a number of generous donations having been received.  Water in the lake is still low, which is unfortunate, but people seemed to be making the best of it and enjoying the Club to the best of their ability.  There has been an exciting proposal from Stuart McGreggor and once more of the details have been worked out, they will be bring the idea forward to the community.  In the meantime, some maintenance work has been completed in the form of hydro-seeding and concrete beautification.

Trustee Guazzoni has been working on road signs within the Village.  Commenting that things are becoming more and more suburban in nature with every passing year, he suggested that there were altogether too many signs including those that are simply unnecessary, those that might be downgraded and those that are illegal, having been installed by residents themselves.  When pressed for more detail about this last group, Trustee Guazzoni made general reference to unauthorized NO PARKING signs as well as SLOW DOWN and CHILDREN AT PLAY.  In his view, some of these signs can be considered pollution.

Trustee Guazzoni has also begun looking at light pollution.  He is all for property rights, but these rights end at the property line. He favors a dark sky initiative and commented that the ability to see the stars clearly at night is one of the many things that drew him to the Village originally.  He acknowledged that there does not seem to be anything written in the Code about light pollution and commented that moving forward he would be working to address this.


  1. Meeting Dates – Mayor Guinchard noted that currently there was no policy for meeting dates.  Specifically, she is concerned that there is nothing preventing meetings from being scheduled on high religious holidays and this could be considered offensive to some.  After listing several major holidays it was agreed that the Trustees would review the issue and revisit it at the next meeting.
  2. Procurement Policy – Revisions to the Village’s Procurement Policy, which were outlined in a previous meeting, were presented and briefly discussed.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of adopting the revised policy.
  3. Orientation Meeting Date Change to October 5 – The Orientation meeting for all Village Boards has been rescheduled for October 5, which is the most conducive date for everyone involved.  There was a brief discussion regarding the agenda for this meeting.  Mayor Guinchard explained that it will be educational in nature.  Rules and regulations will be reviewed and Sun Shine Laws discussed.  This meeting will not be open to the Public.
  4. Conflict of Interest: Board Attorney Brian Nugent explained that there were two different issues to consider when talking about Conflict of Interest.  The first, which is already written into the Village Code, talks about Board Members not engaging in contracts, not showing an interest in a contract etc, which are general prohibitions in the municipal law.  The second section concerns financial disclosures.  The Village is not required to complete this lengthy document in its entirety.  This does not mean that they cannot adopt a financial disclosure process if they so choose.  Currently, the Village does not have an annual statement of compliance as it pertains to the first section where Board members acknowledge review of the policy.  According to the Code this is supposed to be distributed to every officer and employee of the Village annually, but there is not provision requiring a signed confirmation of receipt.  This was discussed at some length and the idea of having officers/employees recite an oath upon induction was considered.  Validation of office as it relates to taking this oath was discussed with Trustee Guazzoni wondering whether the decisions of the BAR, as discussed earlier in the evening, were in fact valid had they not taken said oath.  Mr. Nugent stated that regardless of the oath, an approved decision could not be invalidated.  Ultimately it was agreed that employees and officers should be required to sign documentation affirming that they had received and reviewed  a copy of the Village Code and the conflict of interest policy therein.  Land-use Board officials (PB, BAR, BZA) will have to do this on an annual basis while Village Employees will be required to it one time.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this policy.   The Village will reach out to all current officers and employees and inform them that things need to be brought up to date in this regard.

Emergency Repair of The Keep and Associated Expenses:
 Apologizing for having moved on prematurely, the Board then revisited the issue of the Keep and specifically what needs to be done in order to move the project forward.  Alan Yassky outlined for the Board those things that absolutely need to be done and those that probably should be done along with those things that would have been done anyway regardless of the current situation.  Ultimately, pointing and roofing both need to be done.  Scaffolding will be needed for both projects.  The roof should be cedar.  Heat and gas need to be run to the building and plumbing must be re-established.  A full desk should be built up front and storm windows need to be installed, along with bullet-proof glass (as per the request of the department) in the porch area.  A better, more secure doorway is also needed and some insulation will need to be installed.  The generous gift from Mr. Bruno along with the money saved in contracting fees thanks to Mr. Yassky will be a huge help in offsetting costs for the Village.  Ultimately, Mr. Yassky feels all of this will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $300,000, but he is still waiting for a few bids to come in.  He further acknowledged that there could well be additional costs associated with issues that may or may not come to light during the construction process. 

This was followed by a discussion with regard to the need for change in procedure at the Gate.  Mr. Yassky stated that in his view, the current procedures are archaic, with the guard having to write down individual plate numbers for every non-resident who enters while also logging in their various destinations by hand.  He feels there must be a better way to keep track of traffic on a daily basis. 

Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of giving Mr. Yassky the authority to proceed with emergency repairs at the Keep, with contracts to be provided as the various projects progress. 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 28 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor Introduces Community Spotlight: Tuxedo Park Library
4. Mayor's Comments
5. Report of Police
6. Report of DPW
7. Report of Building Department
8. Main Entrance Update with Public Participation
9. Bid Awards
a. Surplus Equipment
b. #2 Fuel Oil
10. Village Paper Road Discussion
11. Committee Updates
12. Public Comments
13. Policy
a. Meeting Dates
b. Procurement Policy
c. Orientation Meeting Date Change to October 5th
d. Conflict of Interest
14. Addendum to July 21, 2015 Reorg Minutes
15. Public Hearing - Local Law Introductory #2 of 2015 - Pipelines
16. Public Comments
17. Approve Minutes (?)
18. Audit of Claims
19. Adjournment

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Special Board of Trustees Meeting Friday September 18

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, September 18, 2015 at 11:00 am.  All trustees were present with Trustee Guazzoni participating via Skype from London.

Mayor Guinchard began by saying she wanted to put a rumor to rest:  the Keep will not be changed and the Village is not breaking through a wall.  They have been speaking with their insurance company about what’s best to do for the liability of the Village and that is what they were planning to discuss at the meeting.   The Mayor then provided a time line of events starting from when she first received the  call from the gate alerting her of the accident.  Because the incident is still under investigation, the Mayor stated that she could only say certain things about it, but was able to provide the following information: 

The woman who caused the accident was arrested, she had “substance” in her body; she plowed right into the booth going the wrong direction; she was not in Tuxedo Park and was NOT coming from a party inside the Village;  the case will be not be heard in Village court because the damage was to Village property so it is best that it be heard in Village court (date unknown).   The Village is working through their insurance company who will go after the driver’s insurance company, which will make it easier for them to expedite remediation.  The Village is having daily meetings with the insurance company.  Since this is the second time the booth has been hit (the first time, years ago, it was hit by a snow plow) they are looking into whether or not this location is the best one for the guards.  The guards have been moved, at least temporarily, into the Keep for safety’s sake.  The Mayor feels that the guards should remain in the Keep for their safety.   This building can be made secure what with “the situation that’s going on in the world today where police officers are a target.”  Mayor Guinchard feels the officers  can be secured better with a stone wall on the bottom and bullet proof glass on the top.  The Village also had a surprise visit from the NYS Labor Board who said they’d had a complaint from one of the employees working in the booth that it was an unsafe condition.  An environmental company has been called in to test the Keep to make sure it is safe for people to work in.  The Labor Board has been very helpful with this.  The results of the testing were due later on Friday and the insurance company told the Mayor to go ahead and take the necessary steps to ensure that perfect air quality was in the building. 

The Mayor then asked each Trustee if they had any comments.

Trustee McHugh asked that the Mayor address the issue of whether or not the booth would be rebuilt or if the guards would remain in the Keep. 

The Mayor responded that the thought process has been that since the booth has now been hit twice that if the Village were to rebuild it in the same location, they would have a bigger liability to the Gate guards.  If it was going to cost “a good amount of money” to put the booth back, then the Village could restore the historical building instead and put the entrance back where it originally was, which might keep the guards safer.  She said they’d had a lot of feedback by email and phone calls from residents who said they hoped the Board would NOT put the booth back but rather would move the guards into the Keep.  Temporarily, they had no choice but to move there.  Nothing has been set in stone.  The Trustees will decide how to move forward with input from the public, but they want to make sure that they aren’t “exposed for liability.”

Anne Gwathmey said that it was her understanding that the booth was on Town property and not Village property, and as it had only been hit twice in the last 30 or 40 years, she was a bit confused by the Mayor’s stand on liability.  She also wondered if it might not be more cost effective to rebuild the booth than it would to do all of the renovations which are needed in the Keep. 

The Mayor responded that it would not cost the taxpayer anything for the renovations. 

Mrs. Gwathmey replied that she wasn’t speaking about the cost but on a relative basis, dollar for dollar, which would be the cheapest solution.  She also wondered how they were building a Village structure on Town property. 

The Mayor asked Alan Yassky to address this issue.  Mr. Yassky stated that according to Village maps, both the Keep and the Booth are within the Village. 

Mrs. Gwathmey responded that this is not what the Town Assessor has said. 

Mr. Yassky replied that he did not care about what the Town Assessor may have said, but that the Village is having the property resurveyed just to make sure.   He further stated that Village maps show that the Town/Village line is right in the middle of where the “garden” was in front of the Booth.  He added that the Keep is in dire need of renovation in order to prevent it from crumbling and falling down.  He feels that regardless of what is decided about the guard booth, the Village has to do something about the Keep.  His guestimate for replacing the booth “securely,” would be approximately $80,000. 

Trustee McHugh stated that the Board had gotten 3 different quotes for surveyors to come in and determine whether the booth and Keep were on Town or Village property.  He feels this has to be done before they can decide anything else. 

Mr. Yassky pointed out that both the Keep and the Booth are owned by the Village regardless of whether or not they are situated on Town property, which he believes they are not. 

The Mayor then stated that the driver who caused the accident did have insurance and was driving a leased vehicle so she was covered.  Should the driver’s insurance company refuse to pay the estimated $75,000 to $80,000 to replace the booth, the Village insurance company will go after the driver’s insurance company for the money.  The Mayor has decided to go through the Village’s insurance company after speaking with the adjustor because that way, our insurance company could start cutting checks for the Village immediately.  It is anticipated that labor costs will be high due to the fact that the accident occurred on Labor Day weekend, which means that everyone who was working was getting time and a half. 

Trustee Gluck stated that at this point, no decision has been made as to whether to rebuild the booth or not.  The Mayor agreed that this was so. 

Trustee McHugh asked what needed to be done to the Keep immediately, forgetting the mold and the asbestos, to make it safe, habitable and warm for the guards.

The Mayor replied that HVAC would need some immediate work.  Although there is no mold or asbestos in the area where the guards are sitting at the moment, the Village will still make sure that the area was completely cleaned and sealed.   The bathroom will also need work to get up and running.  The water line has already been restored to the building.  All of the sheetrock in the building will be taken down and then spraying, cleaning and sealing will be done in the entire building.  The Mayor further said that the top two floors of the building can never be used for anything but storage.  They will put in a fire door to enter those floors and the space will be used for the police to store their files and anything else that needs to be kept behind locked doors. 

Adrienne Lucas asked if there would be a public hearing on whether or not to rebuild the booth. 

She was told that while it would be discussed in public meetings by the Trustees, public hearings were reserved for local laws.    Mayor Guinchard added that there were always public comment periods at all Board meetings.  Trustee McHugh further stated that once the survey of the property had been done, the Board would probably lay out 3 options and the costs associated with them and then give the public a chance to express their opinions before the Board made their decision. 

Former Village Police Chief Bill Bortnowsky stated that his recollection of the placement of the Town line is that it cut through the “garden area” in front of the booth and then angled up to the stone wall adjacent to the Police Station. 

He also recounted that during his administration, repairs had been done to the Keep, which they were using as a Police Station at the time.  The building was gutted, everything was resealed, a new furnace was installed, the floors were redone and insulation was put in but nothing worked.  It still leaked.  The furnace kept breaking down, the pipes were constantly freezing, electric fuses kept blowing and the building was a total disaster.  He implored the Board to take a really good look at it because if the necessary repairs are not done right, he feels the same issues will surface.  He added that other issues were safety for the employees going up and down the steps with worker’s comp and liability.  While he felt the Keep may have been adequate years ago when the Village was dealing with horse and buggies coming through, it is now 2015 and the Keep won’t meet current state and federal guidelines and standards. 

Trustee Kilduff said he felt everyone needed to wait until the new survey had been done before any decisions were made.  He inquired if the building had passed the State Labor inspection.  The Mayor responded that yes, it did pass the inspection.  There were some deficiencies but these have been corrected.  Trustee Kilduff also voiced his opinion that the taxpayers shouldn’t have to be “out a dime” for whatever they decided to do to rebuild.  He wondered if that would be the case here.  Mayor Guinchard said she certainly hoped so.  If the insurance won’t pay the full amount, they will go after the driver for the shortfall.   

Trustee Guazzoni said that he knew there had been a lot of complaints about the South Gate being closed, but in view of security breaches which had occurred there 3 or 4 weeks prior to the incident, they felt it was necessary for the security of all residents and the best course of action at night was to have cement blocks blocking access.    Furthermore, the North Gate at the sewage plant was always available for any emergency vehicles to use so there was no time when emergency access wasn’t available. 

Anne Gwathmey disagreed saying that if any response was needed from the Eagle Valley Fire Department, they would have needed at least 10 additional minutes to get through either the Main or the North Gates.  She maintained that if any emergency had happened during the time the cement blocks were in place, there would have been a huge lawsuit against the Village for blocking the entrance.  She hopes the cement blocks will never again be used.  

Chief Bortnowsky said during his administration, the Eagle Valley Fire Department was told that if they ever needed to get in the South Gate and it was closed with no one around, they had permission to just drive right through the gate as it was fairly easily replaced. 

Since this cannot be done with cement blocks, it caused a problem. 

Trustee Kilduff stated that if there is a rebuild of the booth, it will need to be fortified this time.  There will need to be stanchions of some sort, which might not be considered “pretty.” 

Anne Gwathmey responded that any or all could be covered by rock to make it look better. 

Mayor Guinchard then called for any other public comments. 

Mary Graetzer said she was lodging a formal protest against Village meetings being held at 11 am on a weekday.  In her view, that time period automatically cut out any residents who work.  She said that TPfyi had received countless inquiries from people wanting to know what was being done and if there would be a meeting for the public to discuss plans.  To finally hold such a meeting at an hour when a large amount of constituents, residents and taxpayers were unable to attend is, in her opinion, unacceptable.  Additionally, Mrs. Graetzer stated that she has had some work done recently and the contractor told her that coming into the Park mid morning on Thursday easily took twice as long because of the intercom system being used.  He couldn’t hear or understand Denise and she couldn’t hear or understand him,  which slowed everything way down.  Thinking about what normally happens at 8:30 when all the contractors routinely come in, she foresees a nightmare with traffic backed up to Route 17 and beyond on a daily basis. 

Mayor Guinchard responded that they were aware of the problem.  As far as the 11 am meeting times, she said they were just trying to find a time when everyone could be there so they could get as much information as possible out and not have to wait until the next Trustee meeting.  Mrs. Graetzer responded that this was, to her knowledge, the third meeting this Board had held at 11 am and while these meetings might be convenient for the Board, they did not work for a large percentage of the taxpaying residents.

Bill Bortnowsky said he felt that the guard booth gave an important perception of security to people looking into the Park. Additionally, he suggested the one-on-one personal interaction and eye contact between the guard in the booth and people coming in is important.  Speaking as someone who has worked in the booth, he said that when the guard can see people close up, they develop an intuition about them which allows them to better do their job.  This doesn’t happen with electronics i.e. a tv screen or a monitor.   He also mentioned that the intercom system they in place while he was working for the Department never worked well.  Engine noise from trucks could completely override the audio.  The dispatcher had to walk out to talk to people anyway. 

Chris Hansen suggested that once the Board had whittled the decision down to approximately 3 options, they should hold a meeting (the same one) at different times….i.e. one in the morning, one at night and one on a Saturday in order to accommodate everyone.

Mayor Guinchard assured everyone that she and the Board were taking the situation very seriously and would continue to do so moving forward.  As much as they possibly can, they will be discussing the alternatives in public and giving residents a chance to weigh in. 

Trustee Guazzoni said the Board was currently looking into live streaming of all Village meetings and if that were to happen, it wouldn’t matter what time the meetings were held, everyone would always be able to participate. He also said they were in touch with top notch surveillance companies to come up with the best possible solution for small village surveillance.

Grace Hennessy stated that she and her family were all very grateful for the Police force and the way in which they have handled everything.  She was happy to see ex Chief Bortnowsky present as she felt he had a lot to add to the conversation.  She wondered about the practice of trustees participating in meetings via Skype. She was assured that this was now legal. She replied that while the idea of streaming the meetings was attractive to her, she felt nothing could replace seeing people and the boards “face to face.” Mrs. Hennessy felt that the commitment of a Trustee should include attending meetings in person and said she personally would like to see them all there in person and “not through a flat screen.” 

Adrienne Lucas    said there was a rumor going around that the Board  was going to sell the property that the Village Office sits on.  Mayor Guinchard responded that they might do that and if so, they move the Village Office into the Keep/Police buildings so that everyone would be together.  Mrs. Lucas asked what would happen to the parking and the Judge and the court?  The Mayor replied the Board was discussing all of these things.  She feels the train station could be used for meetings as well as Town Hall.  The Mayor also stated that she had heard there was  a rumor that they were going to get rid of the Police Department and said she wanted to dispel that one right away.  Having an independent police department was one reason why the Village had been able to get the situation in hand within minutes.  Mrs. Lucas wondered if the property would be zoned commercial or residential.  She was told it would be residential.  Additionally, the Mayor said if they did decide to sell the property, it would be done through sealed bids.   People would be given the appraisal of the property and then bids would be solicited which would be opened in an open meeting. Someone from the audience wondered what had initiated this conversation?  Mayor Guinchard said it was something that had been discussed by many past mayors and administrations. 

Trustee McHugh added that the simple answer was that the Village used to have a surplus of $1.2 million and now they have $150,000.  If they are unable to get the insurance coverage paying for the booth, they’ll have a hole they need to fill.  He reiterated that nothing has been set in stone as yet.  The only thing that has been definitely decided is that there will be a fee associated with tags for non-residents, which will create a revenue stream.   He added that all of these things were only talking points at the moment as the Board is looking at every possible solution for the Village.  Personally, he feels it is probably not the best time to sell Village property as there is such an “overhang” of properties already on the market and the last thing they want to do is depress our real estate that much more. 

Rich Witte said he wanted to thank the Board who, he feels, is doing an excellent job.  He is grateful for all the time and effort they are putting into their jobs.  Additionally, he said he had heard they were looking into installing a lane for residents only to enter the Park and he wondered if that were true. 

Mayor Guinchard replied they were looking at an “express lane” for residents but there is a limited amount of space available and they’re not sure how they could fit something like that in.  Trustee Guazzoni added that ideally, they would like to have an “ez pass” lane for residents; a manned lane for non-residents and a truck entrance maybe elsewhere so that the big trucks wouldn’t all have to use Tuxedo Road.  Susanne Williams commented that whoever lived near a proposed truck entrance would probably not be too happy!

Phil Mengel echoed the thanks given to the Mayor and Board for their quick and good response to the accident.  In his view, moving forward, decisions must be made based on the best long term solution.  He feels it is totally proper to consider how The Village can improve on what was there before.  He feels they should be consulting with insurance experts to find out exactly what they can expect to recover from the driver.  He further said if the Village is going to look at relative costs of replacing the booth versus using the Keep, they will need to keep in mind the full refurbishment cost for the Keep.  It seems as though it might be much more expensive to renovate that building.  He added that, in his opinion, the guard booth being located in the center of the road was an important sense of security for residents.  He feels that constructing it so that it would have maximum safety for the guards is a “fixable issue” that could definitely be addressed.  This should be looked at as a long-term decision rather than simply putting the guards into the Keep because that would seem to be the quicker, easier thing to do.  He feels that replacing the booth is a far more desirable alternative. 

Mayor Guinchard responded that there some problematic issues with the booth, such as the window being difficult for employees to open and close and the necessity of having to cross the road and go up and down steps in order to visit a bathroom, and that these would have to be addressed if it were to be rebuilt.  She feels they need to find a balance when making their decision. 

Alan Yassky pointed out that there is a time problem as it is now the end of September and there are only about 60 days before it will be cold and snow  could be falling.  By the time November arrives, there needs to be someplace warm and a place for the guards to use the bathroom.  The Keep is an historic building and it is in bad shape.  He reiterated that regardless of what the decision may be,  some remedial work will need to be done if the Village doesn’t want to see the building fall down. 

Adrienne Lucas said she had been a resident for 40 years and with the booth in place, she felt very secure.  When it went down, she lost a percentage of that feeling.  She feels that the Booth gives clout to the Police Department and sends out an important message that our community is concerned about safety and privacy. The one-on-one interaction allows the guards to monitor non-residents and thus thwart off crimes of burglary, home invasion, kidnapping or worse.  In her opinion, the booth separates Tuxedo Park from “just another pop up gated community with a mechanical arm.”  If the Village should install a pneumatic tube, which has been rumored, that, together with the mechanical arm will give the appearance of an industrial park. 

Mayor Guinchard thanked everyone for their comments.  She stated that this would not be the last time the public would be able to express their thoughts and desires on this subject.  Trustee McHugh added that after they had resolved the property lines, and once they had a few different clear plans, they would try to put those plans up on the website so that people would have a chance to review them before the public meeting at which they would be discussed and a decision made.  Trustee Guazzoni further stated that the Board is open to all suggestions and he urged residents to come forward with their ideas. 

Procurement Policy:
The Mayor and Village Attorney have discovered that there is a discrepancy in the procurement policy passed during the Reorganization Meeting.  There is a difference between what is said on Page 1 and what appears on Page 2. 
Trustees McHugh and Gluck both wanted more time to study the policy before they voted on it so the matter was tabled until the next scheduled BOT meeting. (September 28) 

Orientation Meeting for the Boards has been changed to October 5 at 7 pm as more people are available to attend on that date.

Car Tags are in and will be available shortly.  These are the new tags for non-residents, which will expire annually.  Resident tags will be good for 3 years.  Details will be on the website. 

Deer culling
Trustee McHugh reported that the surveys will be done within the next month.  The data will be submitted to the DEC and tags will be issued on the basis of the data. 

This is the company brought in to do air testing on the Keep.  The testing was done the night before the meeting.  The estimate for the work was $1815 and the Mayor wanted the bill preapproved.  Trustee McHugh countered that the work had already been done so there was no point in approving it.  After a discussion with the Village Attorney (attending via phone) the vote was 4-1 to approve the payment with Trustee McHugh voting no.

Public Comment:
John King  of Clubhouse Road,  whose access to his house is via a path owned by the Village, complained that the condition of the path was very dangerous with an exposed sewage pipe and eroding stairs.  He would like to have the Village repair the path.  He spoke with Mr. Ledwith and suggested that the Village could regrade the path with gravel, which would redirect the drainage that is causing the erosion.  Mr. Ledwith told him that the gravel would be too heavy.  Mr. King disagrees and finds it is an unsafe condition on a public path.   

He was told that the Board would discuss the problem.

The meeting was then adjourned into an Executive Session to discuss employment matters, contracts and a lawsuit.

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Agenda for Special Board of Trustees Meeting Friday September 18 11am

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Update on Village Main Entrance
4. Adjournment

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 8, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Discussion-Employment of Traffic Guard
4. Adjournment

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 25, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, August 25 2015 at 7pm.  Trustee Guazzoni participated via videoconference.  Trustee Kilduff was absent.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor Guinchard began by expressing her gratitude to Jean Marie Hitchen and the Spot Light Committee for all of their efforts in making the July meeting so nice (refreshments etc) and for putting together the Community Spotlight, with this month’s host The Tuxedo Farmer’s Market.

She also thanked the DPW for their assistance in cleaning out the garages located at the Village Hall, which was a long overdue undertaking. 

Finally, she thanked both the Tuxedo Park Garden Club and Humberto for their work in sprucing up the property around the Village Office with various plantings and mulch. 

The Board Orientation Meeting has been scheduled for October 1.  Should this date not work for the majority of the group, the Village Clerk will circulate alternate dates until they are able to find one that is agreeable for everyone.

Community Spotlight: The Tuxedo Farmer’s Market:
The Community Spotlight is a new feature of Village Board Meetings that will take place at the beginning of each regular monthly meeting.  The purpose is to give different local organizations, associations and community groups the opportunity to provide some general awareness about their group as well as to update the community regarding what’s new and what’s coming up and also where they might be in need of some assistance.  They will also be providing light refreshments in an effort to create some general social hospitality. With the summer harvest well underway, the Tuxedo Farmer’s Market is the perfect organization to kick off the program. Jean Marie Hitchen introduced Christina Tremblay, founder of the Market, who provided a brief history of the 11-year-old market and highlighted some of it’s many assets.  Currently in full swing, the Tuxedo Farmer’s Market boasts many fine vendors and patrons can purchase produce of all kinds, meat, chicken home made cheese, fresh flowers and fine baked goods among many other things.  Mrs. Tremblay thanked the community at large for supporting market over the years, pointing out that residents from all areas of Tuxedo shop there and as such, it has served as a wonderful way of bringing the community together over the years.  Without the support of the community, the market would not have been able to grow and expand as it has.  The Tuxedo Farmer’s Market is a non-profit organization and is run on a shoestring budget.  All of the monies generated go right back out in order to fund advertising efforts and to cover insurance costs as well as to pay the market’s one employee (Market Manager Jerry) They are always open to suggestions and ideas, and Mrs. Tremblay encouraged people to submit these via email at .  They would love to put together some sort of fundraiser, but as Mrs. Tremblay no longer lives in Tuxedo and many of the vendors are also from other communities, volunteer help would be necessary in order to get something like this going.

It was suggested that during the Holidays the Market might consider putting together a Christmas themed Market in the Train Station where children might be able to visit with Santa while various vendors sold baked goods and possibly holiday themed gifts.

Mrs. Tremblay thought this was a great idea, however she pointed out that produce was not available during the winter and as a result, the winter market had been very slow this past year.  That being said, she promised to look into the idea and also reminded people that the Market would run through November, ending the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Mayor Guinchard wondered if the Market had ever considered doing an evening fundraiser at the Train Station with music and dancing…and samples of all the delicious food!

Mrs. Tremblay responded that when the Market began they had actually done something like this at The Junction and it had been very successful, grossing roughly $5,000.  A similar fundraiser in the renovated train station could be a great idea!

Resolution – Reaffirm Attorney Contract:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of reaffirming their appointment and authorizing Mayor Guinchard to sign the subsequent contract with attorneys Feerick Lynch MacCartney PLLC, as initially decided upon by a 4-1 vote in their Special Meeting on August 10.

Budget Amendment and Transfer/Resolution – Grant Writer Contract:
Mayor Guinchard made a motion to amend the 2015/2016 General Fund Budget, adding a line entitled Grant Writer for $20,000.  The funds are to be transferred from the line entitled Engineering Projects to the new line item.

After the motion had been seconded, Trustee McHugh suggested that the Mayor educate the public as to what this was about, which she did.

There are several infrastructure related projects that need to be done throughout the Village that are quite expensive (such as milfoil mitigation and lakes management items as well as other Environmental related projects and maintenance to some historical buildings) and in reviewing these it has come to light that there are grant monies available, the acceptance of which appear not to jeopardize the Village gates.  (Anything having to do with the roadways compromises the validity of the Gates) To this end, the Board has asked the Village Attorney to review the various grants to confirm the safety of the gates and they have also undertaken the process of interviewing grant writers to assist the Village in these aspirations.  After interviewing 4 individuals, they have decided upon a gentleman named Fred Rella of F.J. Rella and Company LLC from Suffern.  Mr. Rella has had a great deal of successful experience writing grants for the Village of Suffern among other municipalities.  He is very well educated in the process and has a particular passion for this area.  This past year Mr. Rella was able to secure $4,000,000 in grant monies for Suffern, which is outstanding!  This was admittedly an exceptional year however and Mr. Rella reports his yearly average for Suffern to be closer to the $1,000,000 mark, which is still impressive.  The Village is faced with some unique challenges because of the Gates, however any monies that they are able to secure will be a benefit to the taxpayers. 

Trustee McHugh then called upon Mr. Rella himself to talk a little bit more about what he had done for Suffern in terms of order of magnitude grants and in general some of the things he had been able to accomplish there. 

Mr. Rella explained that the Village of Suffern, where he has been writing grants for roughly a dozen years, is quite similar to Tuxedo Park in that it is basically a self contained unit with its own Police Department, Water and Sewer Departments and other various entities all of which require funding and on-going maintenance.  The tax burden of maintaining the aging infrastructure can be tremendous but many of these expenses can be offset with grant monies.  There are also other projects, which might not be as pressing, such as the acquisition of a new police vehicle if needed or bulletproof vests, with which Mr. Rella can be helpful in securing funds for.   In one municipality he was able to the secure the funding for the construction of a Community Center. He believes he has secured “from A-Z” in the various grant monies and that he could serve the Village well.  That being said he cautioned the Board that there is a bit of a start-up period and that if they chose to hire him that evening, grant monies would not begin rolling in tomorrow.  He has, however, already met with many of the various departments within the Village and also the Tuxedo Club in order to better assess the needs of the community, with discussion spanning everything from the Wee Wah Dam to The Keep and other high priority infrastructure projects. 

Mayor Guinchard further commented that the Village was doing their best to be creative in an effort to help the taxpayer, without creating risk to the Village gates, in funding some of these really critical “big-ticket” infrastructure items.  The Board believes that Mr. Rella’s fee is extremely reasonable in comparison with many of the other writers they interviewed especially considering that he will be doing all of the administrative work involved.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of amending the 2015/2016 as previously proposed by the Mayor and also of appointing Fred Rella of F.J. Rella and Company LLC as Village Grant Writer for the remainder of the 2015/2016 fiscal year at a contract amount of $20,000.  The contract was approved on the condition that language be added indicating that both the Village Attorney and the Board of Trustees would have the ability to vet all grant applications before they are submitted.

Mayor Guinchard then took a moment to introduce the Board’s new council.  Thanking former attorney Rick Golden for his many years of service to the Village, she explained that after a lengthy interviewing process the Board had decided to move forward with engaging the firm of Feerick Lynch MacCartney PLLC as follows:
Attorney to the Board of Trustees - Brian Nugent
Attorney to the Planning Board - David MacCartney
Attorney to the Board of Architectural Review - Steve Honan

Mr. Nugent then thanked the Board for choosing his firm, commenting that he had been involved with the Village for many years, gaining valuable experience, and that he looked forward to working with the residents.  He believes that there are positive things to come for the Village.

Mayor Guinchard added that the Village would be using other attorneys as specialists for various things on an as-needed basis moving forward. 
Report of Police/Resolution – Appoint Part Time Traffic Guard:
On behalf of the Police Department, officer Jim Ascione reported the following for the month of July:
Non-Criminal Complaints - 67
Criminal Complaints – 3 (1 closed by arrest and 2 by Village Ordinances)
Traffic Tickets – 23
Property Damage Complaints – 2
Medical Calls – 2
Fire Calls – 6
Intrusion Alarms – 3
Assists given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2
Vehicle Tags Issued – 28
Vehicle Tags Surrendered - 6
Additionally, 12,845 non-tagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.

Following this report, Officer Ascione recommended that the Board move forward with the appointment of part-time Traffic Guard Gerard Bufalini, contingent on passing a background check, drug test and successful interview with the Mayor and/or the Village Board if deemed necessary.

In an effort to clarify, Mayor Guinchard commented that one of the Village Traffic Guards had left for school while a couple of others had gone off the job for educational purposed.  Therefore, the Village is not hiring additional employees, rather they are replacing employees who have moved on.    The budget will not increase.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of the appointment. 

Report of DPW/Declare Surplus Equipment, Authorize Bidding & Set Bid Opening Date:
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss reported that the department had been busy patching the roadways, repairing catch basins and manholes and removing hazardous dead trees on Laurel Road.

The Department is in possession of some equipment that they would like to declare as surplus and to this end the Superintendent has gathered some prices using Kelly Blue Book, which were presented to the Board in their meeting packets. 

Mayor Guinchard further explained that when cleaning out some of the garage space at the Village Office they had come across several items, including 2 cars, a large water pump and a wood-chipper, which they would like to sell.

Possible bid prices for each item were then discussed at some length and set with a bid opening date of September 15.

Report of the Building Department:
To review a copy of this month’s Building Department Report, click here.

The State of New York, through the various counties, is offering a program where if the municipalities within those counties pre-identify various areas where they could use money for storm mitigation or preventative measures via a brief process, there is then a process in place whereby somewhere on the other side of the State, say Buffalo for example, a large storm occurs necessitating State funds, funding will also be released for certain areas of the various counties.   Depending on how funding is released for Orange County, the Village could receive money for assistance in those areas that have been pre-identified.  The Village is moving forward with the pre-identification process with focus on a few specific areas such as generators etc.  As awkward and far-fetched as this may seem, it is legitimate and serves only to help the Village.  If the municipalities do not pre-identify the areas of assistance, no funding will be issued. 

In an effort to further clarify, Mr. Nugent stated that he believed the philosophy behind the initiative was to help prepare various areas of the State in hopes of preventing certain hazards that may have occurred in one location from happening in others.

Public Comments:
On behalf of Village resident Ulrich Pendl, Village Clerk Debbie Matthews read a letter into the record regarding the Village’s decision to appoint Feerick Lynch MacCartney PLLC as their new attorneys.  A copy of this letter can be read here

Michelle Lindsay commented that she was part of a local organization called A Better Tuxedo, which is comprised of members of the community along with members of the Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce.  The goal of the group is to promote Tuxedo economically as a gateway to the State Parks and Hudson Valley Tourism Industry.  To this end, on Saturday September 19, the group will be hosting a community forum and everyone in the Town of Tuxedo is encouraged to attend.  They will have a meeting facilitator present, who will help with brainstorming and collecting ideas.  They will then break into groups with the intent of forming various committees and hopefully garnering commitments of involvement from residents.  Mrs. Lindsay will send along a flyer for posting to the Village website.  The information will also be posted to TPFYI.

On the same date (September 19) the Suffern Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a large fundraising event for their Farmer’s Market at which they will be promoting their Village as a Gateway to Bear Mountain.  The Town of Tuxedo was approached for involvement but because the Better Tuxedo forum had already been scheduled, they had to decline.  The lines of communication between the two municipalities will remain open however as Tuxedo would like to assist them, together with the Village of Sloatsburg, in their goal of creating a “Trail Corridor”

Charlan Cathcart suggested that the Village put together an online referral system whereby residents could go and get contact information for various local services (chimney sweeps, exterminators, house painters, etc) that had been used and recommended by other residents.

Meg Vaught commented that TPFYI already had a page like this, located in the Community section of their site and called LOCAL CONTRACTORS.

Mayor Guinchard responded that for legal reasons the Village could not provide recommendations or endorsements for individual businesses.  She suggested that Mrs. Cathcart look to either TPFYI or the Chamber of Commerce, where pages similar to what was being suggested already exist.

Turning to Local Law Introductory No 1 of 2015 – Noise, Mrs. Cathcart suggested that she did not feel it was fair to restrict property owners from working on their properties on the weekends.  She pointed out that many working residents could not afford to hire landscapers to maintain their properties during the week and often times the weekend was the only time that these people could work on their properties themselves. 

Commenting that she was not aware of how much the previous attorney had cost the Village, Mary Diem wondered whether the new attorneys had put any sort of cap on their fees.  Litigation can be lengthy and costly and in her view, this needs to be considered.
Mr. Nugent responded that his firm had agreed to a $62,000 maximum retainer for the year.
Mrs. Diem inquired as to whether or not this included any potential litigation and she was informed that it did not, however Mr. Nugent assured Mrs. Diem that it was their belief that litigation should be avoided and that the he Village should only litigate if there is no other option for resolution available to them.  He further informed her that litigation and contract arbitration were two areas not included in the $62,000 retainer fee.

Michele Lindsay inquired whether the Board could provide them with comparable fee from Rick Golden’s firm, without litigation costs, for the purpose of comparison.

Both Mayor Guinchard and Trustee Guazzoni suggested that while they could not provide an exact figure this fee was somewhere in the ballpark of $96,000.

Trustee Gluck interjected that this figure was an average based on the past three fiscal years and that Mr. Golden’s annual fee, baring litigation was roughly $55,000.

Mrs. Lindsay noted that this figure was less than the $62,000 amount provided by Mr. Nugent.

Trustee Guazzoni pointed out that the Village was not required to utilize Mr. Nugents firm for everything and that if they wanted to, they could hire a different attorney to handle litigation. 
Mayor Guinchard then suggested that Mr. Goldens’ fees YTD had already reached $20,000.  In direct response to accusations made in Mr. Pendl’s letter, she then assured the audience that all of the meetings during which the interviewing and subsequent hiring of attorneys had taken place had been noticed and that nothing had taken place behind closed doors as Mr. Pendl had alleged.

Representing the Wee Wah Beach Club, Tom Salierno commented that Trustee Kilduff had requested that the Club provide the Board with estimates for hydro-seeding on the Beach Club property.  The estimates he collected were as follows - $1,700 for top soil and $5-600 for the hydro-seeding itself.  The Club would like to proceed with the project in early September, prior to the closing of the Beach.

BOT Meeting Dates Conflicts:
As she was going through the Calendar, Mayor Guinchard realized that many of the previously scheduled BOT meetings for the fall fell on or right around major holidays.  Therefore, she suggested that the meeting dates for the months of September, November and December be changed in order to accommodate for this.  Following some discussion the meeting dates were changed and set as follows:
September – moved from 9/22 to Monday 9/28 at 7pm
November – moved from 11/24 to Wednesday 11/18 at 7pm
December – moved from 12/22 to Thursday 12/17 at 7pm

The Following Resolutions were passed unanimously –

  • A resolution identifying the Tuxedo Volunteer Ambulance Corps as the emergency services provider for basic life support and Rockland Paramedic Service (contracted by the Town of Tuxedo) for advanced life support.
  • A resolution Authorizing Fuel Oil Bidding with a Bid opening date of September 25
  • A resolution releasing performance bond funds to one Mr. Fontana, who’s project on Lookout Stable Roadchanged ownership while in progress but has finally been completed.
  • A resolution approving the License Agreement with the Village Boat Club.

Committee Reports:
With regard to the finance committee, Trustee McHugh reported that the Village was on budget.  2 recent bond payments have skewed the balance slightly, but on an annualized basis, things are spot on. 

Beginning next month, new Village tags will be issued and this should bring in some revenue.  Notification to the residents in this regard should be going out within the next week or so and the hope is to have a new policy in place during the month of September.  Village residents will required to change their tags again, moving back to Green and Gold colors, while non-resident tags will be yellow and black.  Residents will not be required to pay for their tags.  Non-residents, however, will be charged a fee, the schedule for which will be announced shortly.  Cash will not be accepted and payment must be made by check.  The purpose of the initiative is to tighten up security at both Village gates.

With regard to the Village Lakes, Trustee McHugh reported that the Milfoil in the Tuxedo Lake near the Club and also at the South End is looking “pretty darn awful.”    The Village is pushing to try and find other firms to do pulls, but they all seem to be busy.  They are attempting to get A.I.M. back for an additional pull sometime during the month of September.  They are also looking to have the DPW install screens at the Dams, which will hopefully help to prevent the spread of floating Milfoil from lake to lake.

Reporting for the Trail Committee, Trustee Gluck stated that thanks to the generous gift given by the Mulford Foundation, the Village was in receipt of a substantial amount of money to be used for cleaning up old bridal trails in and around the Village.  They are working to put together a committee of individuals to work on this.  Interested parties should contact either Debbie in the Village Office or Trustee Gluck via his Village e-mail.

On behalf of the Infrastructure Committee, Trustee Guazzoni reported that the number of DOT road signs within the Village seemed to be increasing and to this end the committee was undertaking a review to determine whether or not some of them are unnecessary.  If anybody knows of any unnecessary signs, they should contact either DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss or Trustee Guazzoni directly.

They also looking to form a committee, comprised of Village residents, to assist with long-term infrastructure planning with the goal of producing both 5 and 10 years plans for the Village.  Interested parties should either contact the Village Office or Trustee Guazzoni himself via his Village e-mail.

With regard to the Pilgrim Pipeline Committee, Mayor Guinchard reported that the group was hard at work and that Gary Pompan was expected to have a more informative update at the next Board meeting. 

The Mayor also reported that the Village Welcome Packets are being updated to reflect the new Trustees and will be available on the website as well as in the Village Office very soon.

Discussion – Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2015 – Noise:
Trustee Gluck provided a brief overview of the proposed law, which has been on the table for several months now and which amends the Village code with regard to noise restrictions.  Changes to the law include provisions for party noise and dogs who bark incessantly for longer than 15 minutes at a spell. 

There was some discussion with regard to noise on the weekends and whether or not Sunday should be identified as a “quiet day” when noisy property maintenance would not be allowed. Ultimately it was determined that residents would be allowed to work on their properties on both days, with more restrictive hours on Sunday to provide for a compromise.  As such, work will be allowed on Saturdays between the hours of 9 and 4:30 and on Sundays between 10-2.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of adopting the law conditional upon the addition of the restricted Sunday hours.  

To view a copy of Local Law No. 1 click Here

Discussion – Local Law Introductory No. 2 of 2015 – Pipeline:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with a Local Law amending the Village Code to prohibit petroleum transition pipelines within the Village.  A Public Hearing was set for September 28.

To view a copy of Local Law Introductory No. 2 click Here

Public Comments:
There were no more public comments.

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 25, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Comments
4. Community Spotlight: Tuxedo Farmers' Market
5. Resolution-Reaffirm Attorney Contract
6. Resolution-Grant Writer Contract
7. Report of Police
a. Resolution-Appoint Part Time Traffic Guard
8. Report of DPW
9. Report of Building Department
10. Public Comments
11. BOT Meeting Dates Conflicts
12. Resolutions
a. Orange County Emergency Management
b. Authorize Fuel Oil Bidding & Set Bid Opening Date
c. Fontana-Performance Bond Release
d. Declare Surplus Equipment, Authorize Bidding & Set Bid Opening Date
e. Village Boat Club Agreement
13. Committee Reports
14. Discussion-Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2015-Noise
15. Public Comments
16. Approve Minutes
17. Audit of Claims
18. Adjournment

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Mayor Guinchard's Monthly Newsletter - August

Dear Residents and Neighbors:

This is the second Mayor's newsletter to the Village since I took office on July 6, 2015.

Previous versions of these newsletters can be found on the Village website at under the heading "Mayor's Newsletter".

Click Here to Read.

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Village Reorganization Meeting/Regular Monthly Board of Trustees Meeting July 28, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday July 28 2015 at 7pm for their annual Reorganization Meeting, followed directly by the regular monthly meeting.  All members were present.

Reorganization Meeting

Prior to beginning the Reorg, Ceremonial Oaths of Office were performed for the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Trustees.  This was followed by a brief presentation of gifts, during which former Mayor Neuhauser, former Trustee Goodfellow and resident Alan Yasky were all recognized for their hard work and dedication to the Village.

The Board then discussed and voted on the following reorganizational items.  A detailed list policies and appointments can be viewed here.

Appointments – The Board voted 4-1 in favor of approving the various appointments as proposed with the exception of the Building Inspector/Tax Assessor, the approval of which they agreed to suspend for 30-60 days pending some additional research, with Trustee Kilduff voting against the suspension.

Trustee Guazzoni indicated that he believed these two positions should not be held by the same individual as this presented a conflict of interest.  He further stated that he had done some preliminary investigating and had spoken with several people in Goshen, who informed him that the Village is the only municipality that works this way and that all the other surrounding municipalities employ two individuals for these positions.  He suggested that the Board of Trustees could legally take on the roll of tax assessor. He requested 30-60 days to look into the matter further before moving forward with the appointment.

Trustee McHugh agreed that there was a potential conflict of interest however stated that he did not consider it to be a huge issue.  He reminded the Board that former Trustee Chris Hansen had taken a look at this very issue several years ago and found that there was not an enormous discrepancy between the Village and the Town tax rolls.  He acknowledged that this could probably be re-examined for any glaring deficiencies, but outside of this, he did not have any issues.

Trustee Kilduff stated that he understood the complexities involved with the situation however he did not see any clear discrepancies and he did not feel the Village was in a fiscal position to hire another employee. 

Deputy Mayor Gluck stated that he did not feel that the Board of Trustees should take on the roll of Tax Assessor as this would, in his view, create a lack of professionalism.  He further commented that although he has not seen any negative impacts to date, he had no issues with holding off on the appointment if Trustee Guazzoni wanted to research the matter further.
Mayor Guinchard stated that she could see both sides of the issue.

Employee Salaries – The Board voted 4-1 in favor of approving the employee salaries with Trustee Guazzoni voting against.  Stating that he was opposed to the 2% salary increases for Village Office employees, Trustee Guazzoni again requested 30-60 days to further investigate the pay increases in other communities and compare them to the Village.
Village Clerk Debbie Matthews pointed out that the raises had been approved by the previous Board and had gone into effect as of June 1, 2015.

Trustee McHugh commented that this issue had been brought up during a special meeting and that to his knowledge the Village Attorney had not yet gotten back to them.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that the attorney had, in fact, responded to him.

Trustee Kilduff stated that the raises were either contractual or they had been properly budgeted for and to alter this in any way at this point would be, in his view, unfair business practice. He stood imminently opposed to Trustee Guazzoni’s request.

Deputy Mayor Gluck agreed with Trustee Kilduff, stating that what Trustee Guazzoni was suggesting was inappropriate and that he would be surprised if it were even permissible under the law.

Trustee Guazzoni replied that he had been advised that it was indeed permissible.

Mayor Guinchard stated that in her view the previous Board had discussed the raises and agreed on the budget and that if Trustee Guazzoni wanted to discuss these issues as they moved forward into a new fiscal year, that would be okay, but she felt it would not be appropriate to revisit it at this time.

Open Meetings Law Requirements – unanimously approved
Schedule 2016 Reorganization Meeting – set for July 26, 2016 and unanimously approved
Procurement Policy – Unanimously approved
Advance Approval of Claims – Unanimously approved
Mileage Allowance – The Board voted 4-1 in favor of approving the millage allowance with Trustee Guazzoni abstaining as he did not feel comfortable with the language.
Attendance at Schools and Conferences – Unanimously approved
Designation of Depositories – Unanimously approved
Village E-mail Policy – Unanimously approved
Village Election Voting Hours – Unanimously approved
Rules of Procedure- Unanimously approved
Trustee Roles and Projects – Unanimously approved
Advisory Committee Trustee Liaison Roles – Unanimously approved.

Regular Monthly Meeting

Mayor’s Update: Mayor Guinchard thanked everyone for attending and directed their attention to a table of refreshments in the back of the room.  She then briefly outlined some changes to the meeting format, specifically the addition of a second Public Comment period.  Moving forward, there will be a comment period towards the beginning of each meeting for those individuals who might not wish to sit through the meeting in order to make their remarks and then a second comment period later on for those who wish to comment more in depth on agenda items.  Speakers are encouraged to sign in, but are not required to do so.

A group of professionals comprised of Village residents and led by Gary Pompan has been put together for the purpose of researching the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline.  None of the details for this project have been finalized as of yet, but the group will remain vigilantly on top of things and will keep the community informed via the Mayor’s Newsletter and the Village Website.

The Village Welcome Packet will be updated as soon as possible in order to reflect recent changes in the Village Government.

Finally, The Mayor thanked all of the Trustees for the amount of work they have already had to put into their new roles, acknowledging that things had picked up right away following the election.

Gift by Donation:
On behalf of the Vincent Mulford Foundation, Chris and Sally Sonne presented the Village with a check for $200,000 for the purpose of establishing a Trail Maintenance Fund to be used for the preservation and maintenance of old bridle paths owned by the Village and also for the purchase and installation of picnic areas in designated areas.  Click here to read Mr. Sonne’s remarks.

Mayor Guinchard thanked the Sonne’s for their generous donation and presented them with an engraved gift on behalf of the Village as a token of their appreciation.

Police Report:
On behalf of Chief Sanford, Officer Jim Ascione reported the following for the month of June:
Criminal Complaints – 0
Non-Criminal Complaints – 63
Property Damage Complaints – 4
Traffic Tickets – 24
Fire Calls – 4
Medical Calls – 1
Intrusion Alarms – 7
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo – 2
Assists Received from the Town of Tuxedo – 0
Vehicle Tags Issued – 31
Vehicle Tags surrendered – 3
Additionally, 14,825 un-tagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.

DPW Report:
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department has been spending most of their time patching and paving the roads.  There is more of this work to be completed in the coming weeks.

Mayor Guinchard stated that the Village was hoping to post a paving schedule on their website in the near future so that residents would be more informed about which roads were being worked on when.

Building Department Report:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Department Report.

Public Comment Period #1:
Peter Regna inquired as to whether or not the Village was working to develop a policy regarding retaining walls in an effort to prevent further problems down the line.

Mayor Guinchard responded that the Board would look into this and hopefully be able to provide some more information next month.

Sally Sonne wondered whether or not the list of appointments as approved during the Reorganization Meeting would be made available to the public via the Village Website.

She was informed that it would.

Chauncie Rodzienko inquired about the proposed Local Law Introductory #1 of 2015 regarding noise and specifically section regarding dogs who habitually bark at cars.

Commenting that many dogs bark at cars as they pass by, she wondered why the ordinance had been rewritten to include this restriction. 

Deputy Mayor Gluck responded that the Code had been written to restrict certain types of conduct and to create an objective standard, which in this case is defined by the opinion of what a “reasonable person” determines to be either annoying or excessive. 

This was met by some laughter from the audience followed by the inevitable inquiry as to who determines what connotes a “reasonable person.”

Noting that the code restricts the number of dogs to 3 or 4 per property, Anne Gwathmey wondered how this number of dogs could possibly be prevented from barking at specific times.  How can the police be expected to enforce a regulation that prevents dogs from either habitually barking or chasing after vehicles, both behaviors which are inherent to their species.

Paola Tocci agreed with this assessment, commenting that she lived on a cul de sac and her dog frequently barked whenever a car came down the street.  What would happen if a new neighbor moved in and found this normal k-9 behavior annoying?  She suggested that the Board should strike this restriction from the proposed amendment.

Committee Updates:
Finance – Trustee Mchugh reported that the Finance Committee had had their first meeting the previous Friday.  Chair woman to the committee is Maureen Coen and members include Tamir El Reyes, Claude Guinchard, Mayor Guinchard along with Trustee Mchugh.  The committee is looking at dividing everything up in an effort to more closely examine the Village’s bond issues and discover whether or not they are properly funded and if the Village can get the interest rates down while also looking at capital projects and the stream of capital advancements before them and how the Village needs to fund itself.  Additionally they are examining the revenue generation side, specifically where they can create revenue without “going after” the taxpayers.  They are also taking a closer look at expenses.  The committee is in it’s early stages and just developing its’ work process while doing a “deep dive” of the numbers.  They are hopeful to be reporting back on a monthly basis with regard to each area separately and how they plan to move forward.

Lakes – On behalf of the Lakes Committee, Trustee Mchugh reported that a copper sulfate treatment had been done on Tuxedo Lake in early July.  There have also been two Eurasian Water Milfoil pulls.  Of great concern to residents is Pond #3, 1/3 of which has become overgrown with Milfoil.  The committee is determining exactly how to tackle this issue and in so-doing have been reaching out to individuals who have history of involvement in an attempt to get a better handle on the situation.  Chemical treatment is not an option this year from a permitting prospective so remediation will have to consist of either a pull or some other method.  The next Milfoil pull is scheduled for the end of September.

Mayor Guinchard added that the Village was in frequent contact with both AIM and Allied Biological, who are looking to explore a multitude of methods for attaching the invasive.  
Peter Van Zandt added that he had been researching what is called a Water Weevil.  These insects eat nothing but milfoil while leaving the rest of the aquatic plants alone.  First introduced in 1997, the University of Vermont has conducted a multitude of promising studies regarding the Weevil and its’ relationship to Milfoil.  Mr. Van Zandtbelieves this could well be the answer to the Village’s milfoil problem. There are three ways to eradicate milfoil.  Weevils is one.  Spraying, as previously mentioned, is out. The third, pulling, is not readily recommended because as it is pulled, the weed splinters and creates more plants.  While pulling has to occur on a regular basis all summer long, weevils would only need to be stocked occasionally.  Again, Mr. Van Zandt suggested these bugs could well solve the problem.

Mayor Guinchard commented that she had also been in touch with the DEC who had provided some helpful information and ideas for mitigating the issue.  The Village has been cautioned that frequently after a pull, the problem appears to get worse before it gets better, which is what appears to be happening now.  She cautioned all residents who have boats on the lake to be very careful with their propellers.  The Village is also considering buoying some specific areas that should be avoided and they have also discussed possible methods of protecting the spillways from the invasive weed.

Kevin Niblo commented that he and his wife owned a lake house just north of Middletown, and the community there had experienced a substantial issue with an overabundance of lillypads in the shallower areas of the lake.  In order to rectify the problem, they slowly lowered the water level during the fall and subsequently froze over the shallow areas, killing the plants in the early part of winter.  He suggested that something like this might work for the Village as well.

Mayor Guinchard responded that the Village might be able to do something like this in the two smaller lakes, but lowering the water level is not an option the reservoir.

Tuxedo/Suffern Municipal Mixer: Mayor Guinchard reported that she and the Mayor of Suffern had decided to jointly host a “municipal mixer.”  The event will be held on the afternoon of September 29 and the purpose is to bring together governing bodies, boards and various departments from the surrounding municipalities so that everyone can get to know one another and possibly share ideas and resources moving forward.  

Village Boat Club License Agreement: Mayor Guinchard met with Village Boat Club President Greg Libby in an effort to finalize the Lisence Agreement for the Club, which has been basically complete for years but never officially signed off on.  The agreement is basic in nature, outlining the membership criteria (Village residency) the “dos and don’ts” for the club and the number of slips they are allowed to maintain.  Commenting that the Club has been a “great neighbor” to the Village, the Mayor recommended that the Board move forward with approving the agreement.

Trustee McHugh commented that he had never seen the rules and regulations for the Club, which are said to be contained within the agreement, and would like the opportunity to review them prior to voting.   Commenting that he had not seen rules or regulations for either the Beach Club or the Fishing Club either, he further wondered why the Village maintained different fees for each of these clubs instead of taking a more consistent line in this area.
Disclosing that he is a member of the Village Boat Club, Deputy Mayor Gluck noted that as written in the agreement the license is perpetual, which may not have been intentional.  Additionally he commented that usually agreements such as these contain some sort of superseding language with regard to the property owner’s right to act in the best interest of public safety if necessary.  He suggested that language such as this should be added.
Trustee Guazzoni noted that the Village Boat Club paid $10 per year for their license, while the Fishing Club paid $400 and the Beach Club $1.  He suggested a universal fee for all three.

On behalf of the Boat Club, Mike Santoianni pointed out that one major difference between Boar Club and the other two clubs was that the membership is comprised solely of Village residents.  Additionally, the Boat Club is entirely self sustaining.  Commenting that all the pertinent documentation had been submitted previously, he offered to provide trustee McHugh with an additional copy of the rules and regulations if he would like to see them.

Following some further discussion it was agreed that the license fee should be reduced to $1 to be consistent with that of the Beach Club.  Additionally, the agreement should be tweeked to reflect the Deputy Mayor’s suggestions.  The agreement will be revisited at next month’s meeting.

Request by Tuxedo Fire Department to Use Wee Wah Beach:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing the Tuxedo Fire Department to use the Wee Wah Beach exclusively for their annual picnic on Saturday August 29 from 12-7pm.

Tuxedo Farms Land Grant Update:
The Village is still in the midst of sorting out issues with council. 

Dena Steele inquired as to whether or not the Village was looking at a draft conservation easement as part of that process.

Deputy Mayor Gluck responded that he believed draft conservation agreements were attached to the previous approval.

Ms. Steele wondered if the Village could disclose who would hold the agreements. 
The answer was Orange County Land Trust, although this has not yet been finalized.

Public Comment Period #2:
Dena Steele commented that she understood that Pond #3 might be a priority when it comes to Milfoil, however Tuxedo Lake is the reservoir and she feels that the biggest concentrated effort should remain with that body of water.  With regard to licensing fees for the various Village Clubs, she suggested that these fees should cover any security/non-resident issues/expenses that might arise.

Uli Pendl inquired as to whether or not the Village was planning to change attorneys.  Commenting that Rick Golden was a “good guy” who had done well by the Village for years, he suggested that making a change would be costly for the Village and further inquired as to whether there would be a public hearing on this issue.

The Mayor responded that the Board had been looking at all different sorts of things in an effort to obtain the best council possible for “their buck.”

Trustee Guazzoni interjected, stating that the Board was interviewing a number of different attorneys in looking to find “the best possible attorneys to protect us in a hostile world.”  Noting that there is a lot going on in and around the Town of Tuxedo in addition to what is happening up in Monroe, Trustee Guazzoni stated that he feels it is imperative that the Village hire the smartest guys on the block to represent the Tuxedo Park. 

Mr. Pendl wondered if Mr. Golden did not fit this bill.

Trustee Guazzoni responded that Mr. Golden was being interviewed.

Both Mayor Guinchard and Trustee Guazzoni stated that if anybody had suggestions with regard to attorneys that they should be looking at, they should submit them to the Board for consideration.

Public Hearing – Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2015 – Noise:
To view a copy of LL Introductory No. 1, click here     

Speaking to the issue of barking dogs, Joanne Hanson noted that she did not feel that dogs that barked at passing cars were the issue as much as dogs who barked constantly over long periods of time.  She stated that there were some cases where dogs, left unattended by their owners, bark for hours and hours on end which is both disruptive and annoying to the neighbors.

Sheila Pompan agreed, commenting that there have been similar instances in her neighborhood.

Trustee McHugh wondered whether the Board had explored what the Police Department was doing to combat this issue, expressing some concern over the “reasonable person” standard that was mentioned earlier.  He further noted that the Tuxedo Club uses lawn mowers to blow off their tennis courts daily at 6:30 am which is noncompliant and wondered whether or not the Village was going to enforce the regulations upon the Club.

Deputy Mayor Gluck pointed out that the revised law did not alter the current regulations in terms of the allotted time for loud noise and that the Club’s use of mowers at 6:30am would remain equally unlawful after the legislation was adopted.

Trustee McHugh then wondered if the Village was planning to strictly enforce the regulations set forth in the law.

The Deputy Mayor responded that currently, the Club’s neighbors did not seem to find their actions objectionable but if somebody were to report them to the police, the law would be enforced.

Gary Pompan stated that although it might seem objectionable to some, the standard of “reasonable person” was utilized frequently under the law.  He further commented that many communities added specific decibel restrictions to their noise ordinances and then provided their police with instruments to measure the decibels.

Deputy Mayor Gluck replied that they had looked into this however since the Village Code prevents noise altogether at certain times, there is no need to measure said non-compliant noise.

Trustee Guazzoni stated that he was happy with the language revision that would allow renters to lawfully mow their lawns on the weekends.  (The Code as currently written restricts this activity to the home-owner)

Trustee Kilduff agreed with Mr. Pompan’s comment regarding the “reasonable person” standard. The regulations are not being put in place to restrict the average dog that barks at a passing car, but rather will effectively help to control dogs who bark for hours on end.  He noted that the Village Police Department has discretion and he feels that they will do a good job of enforcement. He thanked Mayor Guinchard, Deputy Mayor Gluck and Rick Golden for all the time and effort they had put into developing the revised law, noting that it is often difficult to strike the necessary constitutional balances that are necessary. 

An audience member suggested that perhaps the Village should consider promoting a “good neighbor campaign” by which residents would be encouraged to work potential noise issues out reasonably amongst themselves prior to making a formal complaint with the police.

Sheila Pompan wondered whether letters would be sent out to renters informing them of the changes.

Mayor Guinchard informed her that the letters would be sent to the homeowners who would, in turn, be responsible for keeping their renters informed.  Information will also be on the Village website and residents are encouraged to sign-up for e-mail communications as

The public hearing was then closed.

There followed a Board discussion with regard to whether or not they should move ahead and vote on the draft as proposed.  The Deputy Mayor suggested that delaying a vote for another month might prevent the law from going into effect prior to this year’s leaf blowing season.

Although the hearing had been closed, Michael Bruno inquired as to whether or not the Village would consider including a clause that prevented property maintenance related noise altogether on Sundays. 

Meg Vaught suggested that there might be some residents who work 6 days a week and therefore have no other time aside from Sundays to complete this kind of work.

Mr. Bruno retorted that he did not believe this was a real issue.  He cautioned the Board to think carefully about the decisions they were making, further suggesting that they should consider the “brand” of Tuxedo Park and ultimately the success of the community in terms of attracting new residents, when adopting regulations like this.

Following some further discussion it was agreed that the Board would delay their vote until the next meeting.

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Agenda for Village Reorganization Meeting July 28, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Ceremonial Oaths of Office
4. Presentations
5. Gift by Donation
6. Resolution - Appointments
7. Resolution – Employee Salaries
8. Resolution - Official Undertakings
9. Resolution - Open Meetings Law Requirements (Village Boards Meetings Days and Times)
10. Resolution - Schedule 2016 Reorganization Meeting
11. Resolution - Procurement Procedure
12. Resolution - Advance Approval of Claims
13. Resolution - Mileage Allowance
14. Resolution - Attendance at Schools and Conferences
15. Resolution - Designation of Depositories
16. Resolution - Village Email Policy
17. Resolution - Village Election Voting Hours
18. Resolution - Rules of Procedure
19. Resolution - Trustee Roles and Projects
20. Resolution - Advisory Committee Trustee Liaison Roles
21. Adjournment

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 28, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Report of Police & DPW
5. Report of Building Department
6. Public Comments
7. Committee Updates
a. Finance
b. Lakes
8. Schedule Orientation Meeting
9. Village Boat Club License Agreement
10. Request by Tuxedo Fire Department to Use Wee Wah Beach
11. Tuxedo Farms Land Grant Update
12. Public Comments
13. Public Hearing-Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2015 - Noise
14. Approve Minutes - 6/23/15 & 7/6/15
15. Audit of Claims
16. Adjournment

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Village to Hold Public Hearing on Local Law Introductory #1


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on Tuesday, the 28th day of July 2015, at 7:15p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter can be heard, a Public Hearing will be held before the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park, New York, at Village Hall, located at 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, to consider Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2015. The purpose of this local law is to amend Chapter 70 ("Peace and Good Order") and Chapter 32 ("Animals") of the Code of the Village of Tuxedo Park as the Board of Trustees has determined that it is necessary and desirable to modify several provisions of the Village Code that regulate noise in the Village in order to prevent noises that are detrimental to the life, health, welfare and good order of the citizens of the Village, and to do so in a manner that comports with Constitutional requirements.

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Special Board of Trustees Meeting July 28 1-5pm

A special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park will be held on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY, for the purposes of adjourning to Executive Session for the purpose of interviewing attorneys for the possible employment of particular persons or corporations as legal counsel to the Village.

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 6, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Monday July 6 for the purpose of amending the June 23, 2015 BOT resolution regarding the Wee Wah Beach Club.  Trustee Goodfellow was absent.

Mayor Neuhauser began the meeting by stating that she felt that the Board had acted hastily in passing the resolution and had not thought things through.

This was followed by a somewhat lengthy discussion involving several members of the public, after which the Board voted unanimously in favor of rescinding their decision to allow residents from all sections of Town to join the club.”

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Village Board of Trustees Special Meeting July 6 10am

Please be advised that a special meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on Monday,
July 6, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY, for
the purpose of amending the June 23, 2015 BOT resolution regarding the Wee Wah
Beach Club.

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 23 2014

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday June 23 at 7pm.  Trustee Kilduff was absent.

Mayor’s Update:
Mayor Neuhauser began by offering her congratulations to Mayor Elect Guinchard and Trustees Elect Guazzoni and McHugh.  She expressed her gratitude to the entire community for their support and efforts during her term as Mayor and wished everyone the best of luck moving forward.  She will work together with Trustee Guinchard in the coming weeks in order to ensure a smooth transition.

On another note, she announced that new flood lights had been installed in the parking lot of the Village office which should make things safer for residents leaving the office after dark, particularly in the winter time.

She then called on Trustee Goodfellow for her remarks.

Commenting that it had been an interesting two years, Trustee Goodfellow acknowledged how great it was to see progress taking place in the Village.  The re-activation of a number of committees has resulted in some significant work in terms of community involvement and advancement.  The Village appears to finally be moving away from the “Ready Fire Aim” approach, which is a good thing.  In particular, the Lakes Management program has grown and the level of community support that now exists is exciting for the community.  There remain a great number threats to the Village lakes.  The invasive species are here.  Before too long, the Village will need to consider a new water filtration plant.  The criteria and regulations for filtering water have changed.  In order to properly plan for this the Village must have a good understanding of the water quality and to this end, on-going studying and monitoring of the lakes is key.   

In closing, Trustee Goodfellow expressed her gratitude to her fellow Board members as well as the community at large for all the vigorous debates and discussions they had ignited over the last two years.  She found it a great pleasure to work with all of the Village Staff, particularly John and Debbie in the Village Office and Superintendent Voss at the DPW.  There has been a lot of change with many different Mayors and Boards over the last decade and without these individuals, the Village could not run.

Mayor Neuhauser seconded this last remark and also expressed her gratitude to Trustees Kilduff and Gluck, whom she said she admired greatly for all their efforts.

Police Update:
Chief Sanford was not present so no report was given. 

DPW Update:
Superintendent Voss was not present so no report was given.

Building Department Update:
To view a copy of this month's Building Department Report please click here.

Committee Updates:
There were no real committee updates given.  With regard to infrastructure, Mayor Neuhauser reported that work is slowily progressing on both the Wee Wah Dam ad East Village Water Main projects.

Public Comments:
Rich Donnelly commented that he had been swimming in the Wee Wah earlier that evening when he encountered a couple of female joggers who inquired of him whether it was legal for them to swim there as well.  Following some further small talk, Mr. Donnelly determined that the women were Jehovah’s Witnesses who lived in the Northern section of Town.  As they were chatting, a police officer drove by and so the women approached him and asked if it was legal for them to be in the Village and whether it would be permissible for them to swim in the lake.  The officer responded that he did not know, but would contact another officer and find out.  Mr. Donnelly left the scene and headed home at that point but it disturbed him that the officer had not been able to provide the women with a concrete answer and so he called the Gate and made a report. It then occurred to him that the Village meeting was underway, so he proceeded to come down for the purpose of informing the Board of the incident. 
 Mayor Neuhauser expressed her concern with Mr. Donnellys report on many levels.  Since he had been swimming, she asked Mr. Donnelly whether the incident had occurred on the Wee Wah Beach Club property and Mr. Donnelly responded that it had not.  He further stated that he swam the entire length of the Wee Wah lake on an almost daily basis and that he entered the water from a point at the far end of the lake near the dam.  The Mayor indicated that this was an issue.  Clearly there is also an issue presented by these women and the Village Police Department seeming not being aware of who is and isn’t allowed to be in the Park and how they got inside to begin with. 

Mr. Donnelly noted that many people seemed to enter from the Barone home, which is located on Warwick Brook Road but abuts the Village.  Additionally a fair number of non-residents seem to enter through both the South Gate and the path connecting the Nursery to the Village (across from St. Mary’s) on a regular base for the purpose of exercise. 

The Mayor agreed that this was an issue.  She further wondered how many residents were aware of non-residents who have entered on foot but have not reported these cases to the police.

She then asked Mr. Donnelly what had happened to the women after they finished chatting with the officer and he informed her that they had left on foot, heading towards the Barone property, where he assumed they had entered the Village.

Mayor Neuhauser thanked Mr. Donnelly for bringing the incident to their attention.

Michele Lindsay thanked both Mayor Neuhauser and Trustee Goodfellow for their years of service to the Village and this was met by a round of applause from the audience.  She then inquired about an agenda item entitled AIR B&B, wondering specifically if the Board intended to make a resolution on this issue. 

The Mayor responded that the intent was for the Board to discuss it, noting that there is a fine line between various types of rental properties.

Mrs. Lindsay agreed, commenting that she also felt there was a security issue to contend with.

She then wanted to know if there was anything the Village could do with regard to the proposed Kiryas Joel Annexation.

The Mayor responded that the Village has declared themselves as an interested party under SEQRA, which makes them privy to all official submissions.  She then asked the Village Attorney, Rick Golden, to explain a little more specifically what was going on.

Mr. Golden reported that the project is still undergoing environmental review.  There appears to be a lot wrong with their initial report and the county has made some comments, which are available to public via a website. The problem is that the Village of Kiryas Joel Board of Trustees has been awarded Lead Agency status under SEQRA so if they determine that something is not important and that they are going to move forward, the only way they can be stopped is with a law suit.

The next step in the Environmental Review process is for KJ to file a Findings Statement.  Once that has been done and approved by the Board, which it undoubtably will be, the two municipalities (Village of KJ & Town of Monroe) must vote on whether or not to accept it.  If they both agree, the annexation will happen.  If neither agree (won’t happen) the annexation does not move forward.  If one party agrees and the other does not then the petitioners and landholders can bring a lawsuit.

Mayor Neuhauser inquired as to whether or not the various surrounding municipalities and/or action groups such as United Monroe were in a position to file such lawsuits.  Mr. Golden explained that people could challenge the determinations however they had to have legal standing in order to do so.  This means that those individuals would need to have some sort of particularized injury that is not the same as everyone else. Usually this is only applicable to people who live within a mile of the proposed project.

JoAnn Hanson stated that she had a couple of comments to make about the Conservation Easements for the Tuxedo Farms project.  3 parcels of land are being transferred to the Village and there are conservation easements that will be placed on them.  There is a Southern Tact Buffer zone (which is basically a 100 ft strip of land between the developer’s property and the Village at the South end of the Park) a Northern Tract Buffer Zone (same thing, North end of the Park) and the Fox Hill Tract.  The easements go onto the land before it is transferred to the Village.  Currently, the language in the agreement concerning the Northern Tract Buffer specifically prohibits the development or construction of roadways and footpaths other than what currently exists, but particularly it prohibits the use of motorized vehicles (cars, bikes, dirt bikes, go-carts, ATVs etc)  The Easement for the other two parcels however does not contain the same language with regard to vehicles.  Mrs. Hanson is not sure if this was a drafting oversight or not, but she felt it important to bring it to the Board’s attention in case they thought it might be prudent to have the language added to the agreement before things were finalized or least discuss it with the Town. 

There followed a somewhat lengthy discussion about whether or not this should be done and what restricting motorized vehicles might ultimately mean in terms of any possible necessary debris removal or emergency access.  Mr. Golden confirmed that after the land has been gifted to the Village, they will have the right to place further restrictions on it.  So, while the Village certainly has the right to ask the Town to add this language to the other easements prior to the agreement, if they should refuse for one reason or another, the Village retains the right to add them at a later date.

Mayor Neuhauser suggested that in the interest of time and not holding the project up, it might be better for them to wait and add the restrictions if they wanted to at a later date, however ultimately it was determined that Mr. Golden would attempt to add the language and the understanding that there would be an exception made for specific motorized vehicles as allowed by the Board of Trustees, limited to the maintenance of the easement and consistent with its purposes.  If this language cannot be added via negotiations, the Village will pursue it after the transfer has taken place.

On another note Mayor Neuhauser reported that the Village has asked PIPC to manage the easements.  They were the logical choice as they already own roughty 75% of the undeveloped land in town.  They have not yet heard back.

Mr. Golden suggested that the Board pass a resolution agreeing to accept the three parcels of land that are being deeded to them along with the conservation easements attached as well as a separate buffer fence easement that is involved in addition to another easement which provides access to the water tower.  All of these things were set forth in the prior 2005 agreement.  Nothing is being added or subtracted but rather the Village is formally authorizing those conveyances to be had and for the Mayor to sign the documents when they are ready.  With respect to PIPC, although the Village should be designating a grantee for the three conservation easements discussed earlier, they are not yet sure who it will be.  Mr. Golden suggested they put in PIPC, as they don’t have any other prospects and feel strongly that PIPC is the proper entity, and if they find out between now and the closing that PIPC has rejected the offer, they can designate somebody else.

As per Mr. Golden’s suggestion, a motion was then made by the Mayor and the resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board.

Mr Golden noted that as per the 2005 agreement, the easements would require Title Insurance.  This was discussed briefly in terms of the potential costs to the Village with John Ledwith having done some preliminary investigating but nothing too extensive.   Ultimately it was agreed that it would need to be further investigated.

Several residents have apparently listed their properties with Air B&B (4 that the Mayor is aware of) and this has apparently been going on for a while as many of the listings have multiple reviews.  This situation begs the question of what is the difference between short and long term rentals with short term being defined by 1 –3 nights/1 week and long-term being a month or more, typically a summer rental. 

Mr. Golden commented that clearly individuals had a legal right to rent their properties.  This being said, the Village Code prohibits multi-family dwellings.  If a home is being rented for 1-5 nights only and the owner still claims that property as their primary residence but leaves during the rental period, the property can be considered a multi-family dwelling and this is not permissible.  Many municipalities have specific restrictions against AIR B&B (and similar outfits) as they have regulations for Hotels, Motels and Bed & Breakfast establishment.  This however, does not apply to the Village.

Mayor Neuhauser pointed out that there were associated issues of safety and security and she wondered to what extent the police were made aware that this was going on.  Should there be an emergency, would the renters know who to call?   Surely there were insurance issues.  What if there were a fire? 

Trustee Guinchard wondered at what point continuing rental services at a particular residence constituted a business, which would also be illegal under Village Code.
Mr. Golden reiterated that if the owner claims the residence as their primary residence, the code would not allow for short-term rentals as this would violate the restrictions regarding multifamily dwellings.

Trustee Gluck wondered what the difference would be between renting one’s home out for a month vs a couple of nights, noting that many people rented their primary residences out during the summer time in this fashion.

Mr. Golden responded that this was indeed a grey area that Air B& B offenders might point to, but that pointing out another person’s potential violation would not absolve them of their own violations.  The bottom line is that these multi-family arrangements are illegal under the Village Code.

Trustee Guinchard wondered if the Board should tighten up the language in the code in order to make it more specific.

Mr. Golden responded that ultimately they probably should but they did not need to do so in order to enforce the restrictions that are currently in place.

South Gate Tag Issues:
There has been some recent confusion with Denise at the Front Gate and the automobile tags for accessing the South Gate.  Specifically, these seem to relate to TPS and there was a brief discussion about possibly issuing each TPS family 2 tags instead of 1.  It was agreed that this would be discussed and the regulations reviewed with Denise in order to clear up the confusion. 

Wee Wah Beach Club:
On behalf of the Wee Wah Beach Club, Board president Bonny Takeuchi reported that the membership at the Club has declined somewhat rapidly over the past several years due to a number of factors. Some these include economic downturn, more people installing air conditioning, the rising cost of day camps and last but not least the low water level in the lake and subsequent loss of the diving board.  In an effort to keep the club open, they are requesting permission to increase their membership by opening it up to all Tuxedo Residents (currently only Village Residents and Town Residents who reside in the Hamlet are eligible to join.)  They are requesting a 2-year trial period as the current season is already underway.  While Village membership will never capped, Town membership will be limited to 130 families. 

Noting that the current contract will need to be modified to reflect the change, Trustee Gluck suggested that they allow the increase and revisit it when they renegotiate their contract with the Club in 2016.

Following some minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing the Club to expand their membership.

Next, Mary Graetzer reported that there has unfortunately been some ongoing issues with sand bees at the Beach and the club would like permission to schedule two extermination treatments at a cost of $250 a piece.  Permission was granted.

Local Law No. 1 of 2015 – Noise – Reschedule Public Hearing:
The public hearing was originally scheduled for June 23 because it was not properly noticed in the paper, it must be rescheduled.  After minimal discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the hearing would take place at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting, which is July 28.

Budget Transfers/2014-2015:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the budget transfers as proposed.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 23 2014

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Update
5. DPWUpdate
6. Building Department Update
7. Committee Updates
8. Public Comments
a. Speakers must sign in and are limited to 5 minutes per topic.
b. Written comments must be submitted by 4pm on the day prior to the meeting.
9. AirB&B
10. South Gate Tag Issues
11. Conservation Easements
12. Local Law No. 1 of2015- Noise- Reschedule Public Hearing
13. Budget Transfers/20 14-2015
14. Approve BOT Minutes
15. Audit of Claims
16. Adjournment

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Village Election Results

Village Election Results:

Mary Jo Giinchard - 219
Lili Neuhauser - 134

Alan McHugh - 277
Claudio Guazzoni - 184
Phil Tavani - 180

Congratulations to the winners!

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Meet The Candidates For Village Office

This year’s Village election will take place on Tuesday June 16.

In an effort to help residents get a better idea of who the candidates for Mayor and Trustee are, why they have chosen to run and what their priorities will be if elected, TPFYI asked each candidate to submit a Statement of Intent. 

Here are their unedited statements in the order they were received:


Mary Jo Ann Guinchard – Apple Party:

Click Here to Read Statement

Liane Neuhaser – New Leaf Party:

Click Here to Read Statement


Claudio Guazzoni – Evergreen Party:

Click Here to Read Statement

Alan McHugh – Labrador Party:

 Click Here to Read Statement

Philip P. Tavani – Eagle Party:

Click Here to Read Statement

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 26, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, May 26 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Update:
Mayor Neuhauser began the meeting by congratulating the Tuxedo Park Garden Club on their superb efforts, commenting that the plantings in both the Town and Village look fabulous and that everyone is very grateful for their efforts.

The Mayor has been receiving an abundance of calls at her home as of late with reports of various issues throughout the Village.  While she is certainly always happy to speak to residents, she encouraged those residents who have issues related to seeing something or someone who is suspicious, fishing, boating, etc, to please call the Police Department ASAP as they are the ones who can and will investigate these types of issues.

The Mayor recently attended an infrastructure conference with a lot of Mayors and Supervisors from the Congressional District.  Sean Patrick Maloney was there.   Sadly, the country is in trouble with its infrastructure on just about every level and it was quite apparent that most of the local communities are in similar situations of distress as the Village.

Presentation – Kiryas Joel Annexation:
Former Town Deputy Supervisor and County Legislator Dan Castricone addressed the Board and the public with regard to the proposed annexation of 507 acres from the Town of Monroe into the Village of Kiryas Joel.  He began by explaining that the Village of Kiryas Joel has created a non-functioning government in both the Town of Monroe and at the County Level due to their “block-voting” tactics.  The block vote from that community (roughly 7,000 votes) alone has the power to effect primaries and elections alike and therefore, they are ultimately the ones who determine the outcome of every major election.
Kiryas Joel is looking to construct a pipeline that will allow them to hook into the New York City water supply.  To this end, they have borrowed 40 million dollars from the New York State Facilities Corporation.  As a down payment, the Village provided documentation that indicated their intent to build 8,500 new housing units within their community on the 507 acres of annexed land and then collect $25,000 for each water hook-up.  The average number per household in Kiryas Joel is roughly 6.3.  If 8,500 units are added there, there will be an influx of more than 50,000 people, bringing the total Village population up to almost 75,000.  The block vote coming out of this community will decide not only the winners of every election, but also the candidates from Congress right on down.  93% of the residents in KJ are currently receiving social services.  While Orange County tax dollars do not go directly to pay for that 93%, a portion of them do and certainly tax dollars will be needed to fund the infrastructure that will be necessary to support the community.  The way that the roads are laid outnow, it would be next to impossible to get 100,000 people in and out of Monroe.  New roads will need to be built.  Additionally, the Ramapo River cannot handle the additional effluent. “No one in their right mind thinks that Monroe is the right place for a city to erupt, which is what will happen,” cautioned Mr. Castricone. “There are people from all over the world who are ready to take part in this community and it will happen just like that.  The reality is that somebody buys a piece of property that is zoned for a 2-family house on an acre of land and it’s worth $100,000-150,000.  After the annexation that same property will be re-zoned so that one can build two 19-appartment buildings on it.  Now that piece of property is worth millions of dollars!  The people that own the land stand to make millions.  The people who develop the land stand to make billions.  It is nothing but a land speculation and a money grab at the end of the day!”

One of the fundamentals of annexation law is that one is not allowed to annex land for the purpose of changing the zoning.  KJ is not openly disclosing their intent to rezone and develop the property in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  They do not acknowledge the paperwork they have submitted to the State.  Rather, they argue that it is a simple border change and that there will be little to no environmental impacts as a result.  The County has put together an additional committee of people to perform additional environmental review however the make-up of this committee includes representatives from KJ and Mr. Castricone does not feel it is a solid group.  What he would like to see is somebody intervene with a lawsuit.  He feels that an injunction that clearly points out the fact that the draft documentation does not acknowledge the paperwork that has been filed with the State that indicates the intent to rezone and develop would go a long way toward impacting the situation and possibly stopping the annexation in its tracks.  There is a group called Preserve Hudson Valley, comprised of mostly people from Monroe, who are looking to raise money in order to bring these lawsuits.   

Also important to keep in mind is that the 507 acres in question are within the Monroe Woodbury School District.  Mr. Castricone fears that it will not take long for that district to suffer the same fate that has befallen East Ramapo.

Joan Alleman stated that she was under the impression that it was going to be more than 8,500 units.  She wondered if it were possible for the Town of Monroe just to deny the application. 

Mr. Castricone responded that this would be possible had the Town Board of Monroe not been essentially handpicked and seated by the Village of KJ.  A non-corrupted Board might be able to stop the project, but unfortunately, that is not what they have got.

Mrs. Alleman asked Mr. Castricone what he suggested as a solution.

Mr. Castricone responded that perhaps it was time for the community to stop growing in this area and look to find some place else where they can expand.  To continue to expand in an area where it is failing makes no sense to him.

Mike Santoiani wondered whether or not the documentation outlining KJ’s intent to develop the annexed land and charge for water hook-ups as a method of repaying their loan had been brought forward as part of the SEQRA process.  This needs to be done.

Mr. Castricone agreed, but pointed out that KJ had been named as the Lead Agency in the environmental process, which gave them the ultimate approval power and this makes forming a case against them even more difficult. 

Trustee Goodfellow commented that Mr. Castricone had suggested that one way residents of the Village might help was to support Preserve Hudson Valley in their efforts, but she wondered if there was anything specific that the Village Board could do.

Mr. Castricone responded that he felt it would be a good thing for the Villages and Towns that surround KJ (Tuxedo, Tuxedo Park, Harriman, Woodbury, Blooming Grove) to come together and file a lawsuit in Federal Court. 

Claudio Guazzoni wondered if another group were to take control in Goshen whether they would be able to institute additional taxes on everyone else.  He went on to state that one could not fault the people of KJ for voting as it was their constitutional right and that perhaps all the people who neglected to vote at all were really the problem.

Trustee Guinchard inquired as to whether or not there was anything that could be done to chase these non-voters.  She also asked how the Village specifically could involve themselves in the process.  Would it be helpful for them to write letters to the County Legislators?

The answer was that the Village could request to be named an “Interested Party” with regard to the SEQRA process for the project.  As an Interested Party copies of all the pertinent documentation will be sent to them and therefore, they can stay abreast of what is happening. 

Mayor Neuhauser stated that she felt this was a good idea and that she believed the process was already underway.

Police Update:
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of April:
Criminal Complaints – 2
Non-Criminal Complaints – 60
Traffic Summonses – 12
Property Damage Complaints – 2
Fire Alarms – 7
Medical Calls – 1
Intrusion Alarms – 4
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 3
Additionally, 13,199 untagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
Aside from this, things have been quiet.

DPW Update:
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss reported that things have been “business as usual.”  The department has been very busy patching potholes and raising some manholes.  They also removed dangerous, dead trees from the south end of the lake.
Resolution – Summer Help appointments – The Board voted unanimously in favor of hiring two summer employees for the DPW at a rate of $10 per hour.  Both gentlemen have worked in the Village for the past couple of summers and therefore have experience.

Building Department Update:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Department Report.

Committee Updates:
The Village Welcome Packets for new residents is finally complete and available to everyone via the Village website.  In addition, a copy will be provided to each of our local realtors and there will be 5 copies available at the Front Gate and 5 available at the Village Office.

A draft copy was circulated amongst the audience for review.

Environmental Committee – On behalf of the Environmental Committee, Trustee Goodfellow reported that the annual monitoring program for the lakes, CSLAPS, will begin very shortly.  Most of the equipment has arrived and testing will occur on 8 occasions on all three lakes sometime between now and September. She was able to attend a 3-day NYS FOLA (New York State Federation of Lakes Assoc) conference at the beginning of May where there were all sorts of presentations as well as an update on the CSLAPS testing procedures to be followed.  She had an opportunity to hear a world recognized scientist speak about his study of Cyano Bacteria in fresh water (Cyano Bacteria has been found in the Village Lakes) and also to meet with other people from different communities to see how they were dealing with similar threats as the Village.  On a slightly different note, last week was the first week that the divers from AIM (Aquatic Invasive Management) were in the Village, focusing mainly on Tuxedo Lake where they removed 119 bags of Eurasian Water Milfoil.  More needs to be done and the Trustee Goodfellow is hopeful that they will return soon to complete the work on Tuxedo Lake and begin working on the other two.  Once the full report has been rendered, they will be meeting with Chris Doyle of Allied Biological to take a look at where the Village is headed.  Given the preliminary results and the growth rate of the EWM, Trustee Goodfellow feels that Mr. Doyle will want to move ahead with the Aquatic Plant Survey sooner rather than later. 

Trustee Kilduff noted that there has also been a big issue with EWM in Lake George and he wondered whether any important lessons had been learned from that situation that the Village might make use of.

Trustee Goodfellow replied that the work there was still in progress.  Lake George is a part of the FOLA group and have been able to share some information with them regarding the years of ongoing work there.  The Village contracted AIM at their recommendation.

Noting that clearly attending the FOLA conference had been a very valuable activity for the Village, Suzanne Williams wondered, given the tight budget, what portion of the budget the trip had come out of.

Trustee Goodfellow responded that she had paid for the trip herself.

This was met by cries of “thank you” and some scattered applause.

Trustee Gluck wondered if the Milfoil was contained to the same general areas as it had been last year or if it was spreading.

Trustee Goodfellow responded that it appeared as though the weed had expanded into a new area in Tuxedo Lake.  Within Tuxedo Lake, there are in total approximately 12 acres that could be taken over by EWM.  The weed can grow in up to 25 feet of water and is a “very energetic pant,” possessing the ability to grow under ice and live for a long time desiccated on boats.  When the Village initially began the process of removing the EWM several years ago they had been hoping to eradicate it altogether but it has become fairly clear that this is not going to happen and what lies ahead is to figure out method of management so that it does not mess things up too much ecologically and also from an aesthetic point of view.

Emergency Services Committee- Trustee Kilduff thanked the Police Department for their excellent work on Memorial Day.  He reported having represented the Mayor with Chief Christian for the audit and tour/display of apparatus within the fire department.  Everything is in tip-top shape with all three companies.  Finally he noted that Trustee Guinchard had done a wonderful job singing God Bless America.

Finally, Trustee Guinchard noted that she and Mr. Yassky were still working/battling the cell-tower issue.  They have been seeing all sorts of new towers go up with new designs and she believes there is a new era coming. 

Public Comments:
BAR Chair Paola Tocci stated that she was excited to announce that she had found a new, qualified individual to fill the vacant seat on the BAR.  Chris Bruner is fairly new to the community having bought the old Mittleman house just last year, where he lives with his wife and son Jake.  She read aloud a short paragraph from Mr. Bruner outlining his educational history, long list of qualifications and general reasons for wanting to serve on the BAR.  Citing both his incredible education and quantitative skills, Chair Tocci stated that she believed Mr. Bruner would be an invaluable asset to the BAR and she urged the Board to appoint him.  Additionally, current BAR member Patrick Donoughy is up for re-appointment and as he has indicated his desire to remain on the BAR, Chair Tocci urged the Board to re-appoint him as well.

Audrey Perry state that she would like to report (and have put into the minutes) that in her view the parking lot at the Village Office is unsafe at night as there is insufficient lighting there once it gets dark.  Often times there is no lighting at all and when there is, it is not enough to make it to ones’ car.  The situation is worse in the winter time when there is ice and sludge.  She believes that as long as she has made the report and it is added into the minutes, there will be more of a risk to the Village if they do not alleviate the issue.

Village Clerk Debbie Matthews confirmed that there were 3 motion censor lights trained on the parking lot; one at the door and two on each corner of the building.

Mrs. Perry retorted that one needed to be directly underneath the lights before they turned on and even so, sometimes they did not go on at all, which is in her view very dangerous.  She has had problems in the past locating her car and making it down the walkways.  She reiterated that as long as she had made the report on the record, it would become a risk to the Village if they did not fix the problem.

The Mayor responded that this would be taken under serious consideration.

Sally Sonne commented that at the April meeting of the Board it had been stated “unequivocally” that the roads in Tuxedo Park were Private Roads and she was very surprised that this had not been corrected by anyone.  Prior to 1953 the roadways in the Village were privately owned by the TPA and residents paid fees to maintain them.  When the Village became incorporated, the roadways were officially dedicated to them and from that point forward, Village taxes have paid for their maintenance.  It has always been a worry that the Village’s ability to restrict access to their public roads would be challenged however, they have been very lucky to date and this has not really happened.  If the Village roadways were in fact private, residents would pay a fee to an organization to maintain them and federal tax money would not be used.  Additionally, if the roads were private, Jehovah’s Witnesses would not be allowed access.  Access can be restricted, however challenging groups like the Jehovah’s  can leave the Village open to litigation.  The Village roads are NOT private roads but rather restricted, public roads as they have been since 1953.

Joan Alleman wanted to know whether the Village received any money from the State of New York, the County of Orange or Town of Tuxedo for the maintenance of the Roads.
Village Attorney Rick Golden responded that as far as he knew that Village had never accepted any Federal, State, County, Town or any other outside Government money with respect to the repair, maintenance or building of any of the roads within the Village of Tuxedo Park.

Trustee Kildiff stated that he believed the initial misunderstanding had been his fault.  The question had come up in the context of the Vehicle tags and whether or not the Village had the ability to charge various fees to different groups of tag-holders. 

Mr Golden responded that it was correct that the Village Roads were not purely private roads, but they were also not purely public roads either.  Historically, public roads are open to the entire public at large by law.  This is not the case in the Village where the roadways are restricted to people who live in the Village, people who have business with Village residents or those people who are invited in.  They are restricted, public roads.  The trouble with using the word public is that people tend to believe that this means the restriction is minor and that roadways are generally open to the public, which they are not. 

Trustee Guinchard then wondered if the Village could charge a free on the tags of non-residents who access the Village on a daily basis.

Mr. Golden replied that the Village was in fairly unchartered territory.  As a governmental agency, the Village must act in a way that does not be indirect means tax anybody.  This could ultimately be argued and lead to litigation.  He cautioned that an additional fee on these tags could lead to such a situation.  He therefore recommended that the Village charge a modest amount that would not trigger such a situation. 

Joan Alleman commented that when the roads had originally been dedicated to the Village they were referred to as Parkways and therefore, this is what they are.  She suggested that nobody should be charged to enter the Village.

Paula Tocci wondered why the Residents should have to shoulder the burden of the road maintenance all by themselves and Mrs. Alleman responded “because they are our roads.”

Meg Vaught inquired as to whether there was a legal way for the Village to require daily non-resident users, such as people who frequent both TPS and The Club, to contribute towards road maintenance. 

Mr. Golden responded that typically residents of a particular municipality pay for the maintenance of their own roads and other people are not taxed when traveling on them.
The issue of large trucks and licensing fees was then briefly discussed.  Trustee Guinchard wondered if there was anything that the Village could legally do that would help alleviate the maintenance issues these large vehicles create.

Mr. Golden responded that there was nothing that could be done that would keep the Village in a “safe harbor” as any attempts to garner additional revenue would be tempting a challenge that could challenge the restricted status of the roads.

Mrs. Vaught then wondered if the Village could charge the Club and/or the School additional fees for road maintenance and then those institutions could in-turn choose to raise their own fees to make-up the cost.

The answer was no.

Trustee Goodfellow pointed out that the roads in the Park were built as carriage roads and were not built to sustain the kind of weight that certain trucks carry.  She wondered whether there was a way to determine what type of weight was deleterious to the roads and then when there are large building projects, extra fees could be applied where necessary.

Mr. Golden responded that the Village certainly had the right to restrict the size of vehicles coming in but they should realize that the consequence of this was it would greatly increase the cost to residents for having materials brought in.

Pilgrim Pipeline Update:
Mayor Neuhauser reported that at a recent Town Board meeting there had been a presentation made by a lobbyist from Kotch Industries regarding the Pilgrim Pipeline. 
Although there are legitimate concerns with transporting fuel via train and barge, the recent spill in Santa Barbara, CA exemplified how dangerous the pipelines can also be.
There is no formal submission as of yet for this pipeline but a map showing the proposed route has been disclosed.  As proposed, the line would run right through a portion of the Village and into Tuxedo Farms and would essentially be right on our doorstep.  The Village will be keeping their eye on the project very carefully, but the Mayor cautioned that everyone should be aware that it is being pursued.

Trustee Goodfellow suggested that it would be very helpful to have somebody come and do a presentation about the project.  The material traveling through the lines will be extremely volatile and very dangerous.  It is important for the Village to become familiar with what the possibilities and potential impacts are.  She fears this stuff could potentially take out the entire downtown, police force, train tracks, Ramapo etc.  She believes it is crucial that the Village educate themselves so that they can be prepared when the pipeline people begin the regulatory process.

Mr. Golden commented that one element that would be very important in terms of how much power this group would have to ultimately do whatever they want to do is whether or not the State of New York grants them eminent domain powers.  He recommended that the Village contact both State Representatives and Senators in an effort to prevent this from happening as if they receive these powers, they will be able to come in and do what they want without anyone’s permission. 

Trustee Guinchard suggested that as there were some “serious oil guys” within the community that they put a group together to help educate them or at least be present should a presentation be made so that they can ask the pertinent questions.
Mayor Neuhauser agreed that this would be a good idea.

Town of Tuxedo Recreation Kayak Reuqest Update:

The Board reviewed the information submitted by Town Recreation DirectorShari Brooks with regard to the proposed program.

Trustee Goodfellow expressed some concern, noting that she had some questions about the specific procedures that would be undertaken, specifically how they were intending to keep the boats safe, how they would look after the kids, what their relationship with the Beach Club is, etc.

Trustee Kilduff responded that the program would be a part of the camp and would be monitored by their staff.

Trustee Goodfellow responded “but we’re talking kids, water, boats….”
“and a camp” responded Turstee Kilduff  “with trained councilors”

Trustee Gluck suggested they start by looking at the insurance. 

The Camp appears to have their insurance in order.  Certification thereof has been submitted to the Village.  There is also a disclaimer that parents will need to sign.

Trustee Guinchard suggested that they forward this information to the Village Insurance agent and have him look it over and give the “green light.”

Mayor Neuhauser wondered if they could then approve the request contingent on the approval of their insurance agent.

Trustee Goodfellow stated that she wanted to know specifically what their program was going to be.  She wanted to know where on the lake they would be and what the supervision would be like.  Who will be doing the instructing and was that person properly certified?

Trustee Kilduff responded that they would be located on the Wee Wah somewhere between the dam and the Waterfall.  He further commented that the lake is not that big and he feels they should allow the kids to canoe there. 

There followed a fairly lengthy discussion with regard to the Village’s responsibility vs. that of the Wee Wah Beach Club and the specifics as outlined in the licensing agreement.  While the agreement does state that there is to be no other activity aside from swimming off the Beach Club property, there exists a provision within that allows the Board to override that and grant permission for other activities.  There was a fairly energetic debate between Trustees Goodfellow and Kilduff over the specifics of the program and safety risks involved after which the Board ultimately voted 4-1 in favor of allowing the program subject to the approval of their insurance agent.  Trustee Goodfellow voted against the motion.

Resolution – 2015 Loader Purchase and Financing:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the DPW to purchase a 2015 950k loader of the New York State bidders list with a price of $154,000.  They will trade in the existing DPW 2002 loader for $50,000, which leaves a remaining balance of 104,000 to be financed for five years.

Resolution - Levy Unpaid Village Resident Water Bills:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of levying unpaid resident water bills onto the 2015 Village tax bills for those residents.

Resolution – BAR Member Appointments:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Christian Bruner as a member of the BAR filling the unexpired term of Anne Gwathmey, which expires in June 2016.
They also voted unanimously in favor of reappointing Patrick Donoughy to the BAR for a five year term which commenced July 2014 and expires in June of 2019.

Resolution – Lakes Management Proposals:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with the following monitoring programs, which were including in the 2016 budget:
Watershed Assessment Assoc. Stream Screening for $4,875
Consultation Services with Allied Biological – not to exceed $2,000
2 copper sulfate treatments – not to exceed $7,358
Phyto-Plankton Sampling on all three lakes - $8,560
Aquatic Vegetation Mapping Survey in the Wee Wah and Pond #3 - $3,675
Aquatic Vegetation Mapping in Tuxedo Lake - $4,095

Resolution – Amendment to Schedule of Subdivision and Zoning Fees:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the amendment to the schedule of subdivision and zoning fees.

Resolution – Tuxedo Club Fireworks Request:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Tuxedo Club’s fireworks request for the evening of July 3 with a rain date of July 5.

Resolution – St. Mary’s Church Bike Ride Fundraiser Request:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving St. Mary’s request to host their annual Bike Ride Fundraiser event on June 13.  The group will be using the same routes as last year and the Village has requested that St. Mary’s use chalk rather than spray paint to mark the routes.  A group of walkers will also participate with a short trek around the Wee Wah.  Trustee Guinchard suggested that signage be posted at both gates during the event informing drivers that there are more bikers on the road than usual and that they should proceed with caution.

Resolution – Weston & Sampson Amendment #1 Request for Wee Wah Dam Project:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Weston & Sampson Amendment #1 for the Dam project, which will extend the design phase and total $21,900.  This is necessary because the DEC has decided to reclassify the dam.  Trustee Guinchard wondered if it would be a good idea to have somebody like Patrick Donoughy, who is an engineer, look at the project and offer advice.  The Mayor agreed that this might be a good idea and also noted that after all of his effort on the Causeway Wall project, Alan Yassky has agreed to become a member of the Infrastructure Committee and will also be in a position to take a closer look at this.  Trustee Guinchard also inquired whether it might be possible for a resident to donate money and then name the Dam.  She was informed that this was indeed possible.

Resolution – Become an Interested Party in the SEQRA process for the KJ Annexation project:

The Board voted unanymously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to write a letter requesting Interested Party Status in the SEQRA process for the KJ Annexation project.

Discussion – Local Law Introductory #1 of 2015 – Noise:
Trustee Gluck lead the Board through a brief review of Local Law Introductory #1 of 2015 regarding noise.  Essentially what they have done is to take the existing ordinance (section 70-6 of the Village Code) and make a few updates.  There are no major changes,
However they felt that there was some ambiguity in the existing law with respect to what property owners can do and when they can do it and what qualifies as “normal property maintenance.”  The new law expands the definition of property owner to include renters and defines normal property maintenance on weekends as lawn mowing and leaf blowing, which it allows from to 9am-4:30pm on those days.  Additionally, there was some modification to the section pertaining to barking dogs, which basically instruct residents to report these issues to the Police Department for them to handle at their discretion. 

To view a draft copy of Local Law Introductory # 1, click here.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 26, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Presentation - Kiryas Joel Annexation
5. Police Update
6. DPW Update
a. Resolution - Summer Help Appointments (2)
7. Building Department Update
8. Committee Updates
9. Public Comments
a. Speakers must sign in and are limited to 5 minutes per topic.
b. Written comments must be submitted by 4pm on the day prior to the meeting.
10. Pilgrim Pipeline Update
11. Town of Tuxedo Recreation Kayak Request Update
12. Resolution - 2015 Loader Purchase and Financing
13. Resolution - Levy Unpaid Village Resident Water Bills
14. Resolution - BAR Member Appointment
15. Resolution - Lakes Management Proposals
16. Resolution - Amendment to Schedule of Subdivision and Zoning Fees
17. Discussion - Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2015 - Noise
18. Resolution - Approve BOT Minutes of 4/28/2015
19. Audit of Claims
20. Adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a Certiorari Litigation
21. Adjournment

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Village Election To Take Place June 16

The Village Election will take place on Tuesday June 16 from 7am-9pm at the Village Hall. 

Two candidates have submitted nominating positions for the position of Mayor.

Liane Neuhaser – New Leaf Party

Mary Jo Ann Guinchard – Apple Party

Additionally, the following residents have submitted nominating petitions for the position of Trustee:

Alan McHugh – Labrador Party

Philip P. Tavani – Eagle Party

Claudio Guazzoni – Evergreen Party

The election will fill two Trustee seats, currently held by Susan Goodfellow and Mary Jo Guinchard.

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 28, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, April 28 2015 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Update:
Mayor Neuhauser began by reporting that she, along with many of the surrounding municipalities had recently met with the Department of Transportation regarding the poor condition of Route 17.  Despite bemoaning the fact that they had no available funds to complete repairs, the Mayor noted that within 48 hours several areas had been patched and conditions improved considerably.  There will be another, larger meeting with surrounding municipalities on May 19 at which time infrastructure will be discussed.  Like the Village, many of Towns in this area are unable to afford necessary infrastructure repairs as a result of state mandated costs and the need to remain under the tax cap.  Not being able to raise taxes has left many of these communities in dire-straights. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss this further and attempt to figure out how they can tackle the issue and pay for the necessary infrastructure related repairs. 

Next, the Mayor cautioned those residents who have underground oil tanks to check them regularly (especially those in close proximity to the reservoir) and to pull them out  if they are at all worried about potential leakage.  There have unfortunately been 2 leaks in the Village over the course of the past couple of weeks and Mayor Neuhauser cautioned that it was important for those residents with underground tanks to monitor them closely and on a regular basis. 

There were two recent power outages in the Village that were the result of limbs falling onto power lines.  The Mayor requested that all residents maintain their properties by trimming back necessary limbs.  Orange and Rockland will be bringing in a crew to complete some of this work as well.

Police Report:
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of March:
Non-Criminal Complaints – 36
Traffic Summonses – 10
Fire Alarms – 4
Intrusion Alarms – 3
Medical Calls – 3
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Assists Given to the New York State Police – 1
Assists Given to the New York State Sherriff Dept – 1
Assists Received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Additionally, 9,778 untagged vehicles entered the Village the Front Gate.
Aside from these things, it has been quiet month for the Village Police.

DPW Report:
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss reported that the department has been very busy over the course of the last month with road sweeping as well as making necessary repairs to several drainage basins that were not in good condition following the rough winter.  Additionally, they repaired several water main breaks and have begun patching the roads.  Water main flushing is almost complete.

Mayor Neuhauser stated that during the recent fire in Town, which resulted in the loss of two homes, one of the transit pipes had “burped” resulting in a water shortage to the area (the fire was ultimately extinguished using water from the Ramapo River) She cautioned that despite the associated costs, this was something that would need to be addressed moving forward.  She reminded everyone that the Village Reservoir supplies water to the entire hamlet, commenting that she was coming to realize that not everybody was aware of this fact.

Trustee Kilduff asked Supervisor Voss about energy efficiency at the Village sewage plant.    The supervisor responded that the monthly energy bills were typically somewhere between $750-1000.  Trustee Kilduff then passed along a pamphlet he had received from Con Ed detailing an energy efficiency program they offer to municipalities.  The Supervisor took the pamphlet and agreed that he would review the material within.

Building Department Report:
The Building Department issued three permits during the past month to Skutnik,, Romero and Dow.

There was a fairly lengthy discussion/review of the approval of Mr. Dow’s Solar Array.  Mayor Neuhauser along with Trustees Kilduff and Goodfellow expressed some concern with the approval, commenting that they were under the impression that a moratorium was still being considered and that further discussion was going to take place prior to the issuance of an approval by the BAR.  Commenting that if anybody could and would do a project of this nature the right way he was confident that it was Mr. Dow, Trustee Kilduff reiterated his concerns about precedent .  He stated that while Mr. Dow had been very agreeable and easy for the Village to work with, he feared there might be other residents who would not be so cooperative moving forward and he found it disconcerning that the application had been approved without further BOT discussion. 

BAR Chair Paola Tocci responded that with all due respect, the application had been before her Board for 6 months and they felt they needed to move forward with it.  Anticipating the very issues to which Trustee Kildiff referred, she had brought the application to the attention of the BOT last month, suggesting a moratorium however, the BOT neglected to put one in place at that time and it was neither prudent nor appropriate for the BAR to keep Mr. Dow waiting for an extended period of time while the BOT debated the pros and cons of this suggestion.  She further commented that Mr. Dow’s situation is somewhat unique in that he has over 100 acres of property and the array will be well out of site.  Mr. Dow has been extremely agreeable and has, at the suggestion of the BAR, made every effort to make his home more energy efficient, including replacement of all the windows.  He anticipates that this in combination with his geothermal efforts and the array will reduce his overall energy costs by 30%.

Speaking from the audience, Bob Dow stated that his ultimate goal was to have a zero-energy footprint and that the main motivation for this was not the cost savings but rather that he felt it was the right thing to do environmentally.

Trustee Kilduff responded that he understood this and reiterated that he felt Mr. Dow would do a good job with the project but he still had some concerns with regard to how future applications might be handled and felt it should have been discussed further prior to the approval.

Chair Tocci stated that moving forward all applications would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Trustee Guinchard pointed out that she had never been in favor of the moratorium as she felt it inappropriate for them to put it in place right on the heels of Mr. Dow’s approval.

Trustee Gluck stated that there was nothing stopping the Board from putting a moratorium in place now so that they might further discuss and possibly regulate these types of applications moving forward.

To this end, Trustee Goodfellow asked Village Attorney Rick Golden how such a moratorium should be fashioned moving forward.

Trustee Guinchard wondered how they could/should move forward with a moratorium when there were already structures in the Village that had solar panels on them, namely TPS and one other private residence.

Mr. Golden explained that if put in place, a moratorium would simply stop further approvals from going forward while allowing the Board time to regulate this type of thing.  Regardless of what they may or may not decide, any pre-existing panels would not need to be torn out provided they were installed legally (with all the proper approvals in place)  If these types of panels were to become non-regulation moving forward, those that were already existing would simply be identified as pre-existing non-conforming uses.

Trustee Kilduff then inquired of Mr. Dow as to whether or not Mr. Dow would be creating more energy than needed with the array and if so, if he intended to be a net seller of energy back into the grid at years’ end.

The answer was no.  Mr. Down confirmed that he would still, in fact, be receiving an electric bill.

Trustee Guinchard then wanted to know why the Board would/should consider a moratorium now when they had allowed panels to be installed previously.  She wondered what the motivating factor to do it now would be, when they had not even considered doing it prior to the Dow application.

BAR Chair Paola Tocci explained that there was a big difference between a limited number of solar panels being installed on a roof and the installation of an entire solar farm and that, in her view, it might be prudent for the Village to consider regulating large projects of this nature.

Committee Reports:
Infrastructure Committee –The East Village water main project is moving ahead and it is anticipated that work will begin during the month of May.  

The Village is still awaiting word from the DEC with regard to their possible reclassification of the Wee Wah Dam before they can move ahead with the project. 

Meg Vaught inquired as to whether reclassification would necessitate an extended engineering process, noting that this particular project had been ongoing for at least 7 years and had been re-engineered several times.  The Board has turned over 3 times since work on the project began.

Mayor Neuhauser responded that reclassification would require some tweeking to the current proposed design, however the engineers had anticipated the possible need for changes and had left themselves some “wiggle room.”  The entire thing will not need to be re-engineered should the classification change.

Public Comments:
Dena Steele expressed some concern over statements that were made at a previous Board meeting whereby it was declared that Village roadways were public roadways.  This is not true.  Referring to a recent court case in which the legality of the Village Gates was challenged, Ms. Steele pointed out that as per a Federal Judge, Village roadways were in fact non-public, restricted use parkways and that unfettered public access was not permitted. 
Trustee Kilduff quickly identified himself as the one who had misspoken and further commented that the discussion at hand had been whether or not it would be legal for the Village to charge non-resident tag holders an increased rate for their vehicle tags.  He then deferred to Mr. Golden, stating that it had been his understanding that  the reason they could not charge increased rates had to do with the public nature of the roads.

Mr. Golden responded that the Village could not legally charge “willy nilly” for entry.  He concurred with Ms. Steele’s comments about the roadways and further commented that the Village is unique in that its’ roads are public for the residents who live there, but are not open to the general public.

This segued into a conversation about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have recently been visiting Village residents despite those residents having indicated they do not want to receive such visits by putting their name on a list at the Front Gate. Trustee Goodfellow asked Mr. Golden about the legalities involved with the groups’ access to the restricted roads within the Village.

Mr. Golden responded that religious activity is favored in the eyes of the law and to that end the group is permitted access to Village roadways.  Residents who do not wish to have them visit can put their name on record with the Front Gate who can then, in turn, give this list to the JWs upon entry.

Mayor Neuhauser expressed her concern with the fact that the JWs had the ability to reject the list  and then go anywhere they pleased.

Mr. Golden responded that this was unfortunately the case…they do not have to take the list and that eventually he believed the issue would have to be litigated.

Trustee Guinchard wondered if JWs who rejected the list at the Gate and then visited properties that were listed could in turn be hit with trespassing charges.

Mr. Golden informed her that unless No Trespassing signs were clearly posted on the properties in question, there would unfortunately always be room for litigation.

Trustee Guinchard then wondered whether it might be prudent to have some sort of sit down meeting with their leaders for the purpose of providing them directly with list and clearly communicating the general sentiment.

Mr. Golden responded that this was certainly an option, however if denied access outright, the JWs would most certainly sue the Village for their 1st Amendment rights.  

It was agreed that the idea of a sit down would be further explored.

Michele Lindsay reported that on the evening prior the Town Board had approved the amendments to the Special Permit for the Tuxedo Farms development.  One of the amendments that is of specific concern to her has to do with the “Northern Tract” which is a 700-acre piece of property that runs along the Northern Boarder of the Village from Warwick Brook Road up to Mountain Farm and the general TPS area.  In the original agreement with the developer, this land was slated to be given either to a conservation group with a conservation easement placed upon it so that its only use moving forward would be “passive recreation” (which is defined as hiking trails and things of that nature) or to PIPC, who is currently in control of 80% of the land in Tuxedo and serves as Tuxedo’s largest taxpayer.  
As part of the recently approved amendment however, the Town of Tuxedo has been listed as a possible recipient of this land. Although the original amendment did not contain it, at the urging of the public language has now been added indicating that if the Town does receive the land, a conservation easement must be placed upon it.  Mrs. Lindsay cannot understand why the Town would want this land.  She is concerned about it’s management and worried that future Boards might have the ability to loosen the restrictions on the land and change its’ use.  She feels it would be more prudent and safer for them to give the land to  PIPC, as PIPC will not only maintain it, but they will also pay taxes on it (if the Town takes it, it obviously comes off the tax rolls)

Trustee Guinchard wondered whether or not the Town would be able to “give the land back” if they took it and then no longer wanted to maintain it.

Mr. Golden explained that if the Town were to take ownership and then decide down the line that they wanted to deed the land to somebody else, they would have the right to do so.  That being said, once the conservation easement is placed upon the property, it runs with the land regardless of ownership.  There exists a slight possibility that a judge could reverse the easement, but Mr. Golden believes it to be highly unlikely that this would occur.  
Village Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hanson pointed out that as per the agreement all developmental rights on the property had been transferred to the Southern Tract and that the purpose of this was to ensure that the Northern Tract would remain undeveloped.  

It was suggested that Mayor Neuhauser sit down with Supervisor Rost in an attempt to ultimately determine why the Town is interested in acquiring the land.

Trustee Gluck pointed out that taking ownership of the Northern Tract would provide more options as to what the Town might be able to do with the adjacent Quarry Field property.
Trustee Guinchard wondered whether the taxes would be reduced significantly from what the developer currently pays should PIPC take control of the land.

The answer was yes, although exact figures have not been provided.  The Town initially suggested that taxes from PIPC would only amount to $1,500, but the Supervisor admitted that these initial figures were incorrect and the new, accurate figures have yet to be provided by the Town.  If the Town takes ownership or if the land is given to a conservation group, it will come off the tax rolls altogether, which is why it makes the most sense to Mrs. Lindsay that the land go to PIPC where it will be preserved and will also generate some tax income for the Town.

Mrs. Lindsay further reiterated that PIPC is currently the largest tax payer in the Town of Tuxedo having just paid $966,000 to the Town of Tuxedo in property taxes this past January.

Trustee Goodfellow commented that there seemed to be two main concerns at hand; the loss of tax generated revenue for the Town and the manner in which the Town will handle the easement concern.  She inquired of Mrs. Lindsay what reason, if any, the Town had given for not wanting PIPC to take control of the land.

Mrs. Lindsay responded that Supervisor Rost has said that the Town would like to “keep their options open.”

Trustee Kilduff suggested that perhaps the Town was uncomfortable with the idea of one entity (PIPC) owning 80% of the land in Town.  He also pointed out that relations between the Town and PIPC have not been the best recently as a result of the casino.

Mrs. Hanson stated that the original intent of the agreement was for the Northern Tract to remain undeveloped and she felt they needed to hold the Town to that.

Trustee Kilduff reminded her that this would happen regardless of ownership since there will be a required easement on the land.

Mrs. Hanson acknowledged that language requiring such an easement had been added to the agreement, however an actual easement has yet to be produced.
Trustee Kilduff responded that Related still owns the land and that when the property changes hands, the easement will be drafted.

Mr. Golden interjected that several easements pertaining to the Village had only just been drafted.

Trustee Guinchard wondered if the easement would need to be drafted prior to the projects’ approval.

Mr. Golden responded that he was more versed in the Village agreements with the developer than he was the Towns’.

There followed a discussion with regard to whether or not work had actually begun on the project site and whether or not such work was permitted on property owned by the Village of Sloatsburg.  This was followed by another, lengthy conversation with regard to the Northern Tract, the amount of tax revenue it would generate if controlled by PIPC and easement language.

Ultimately it was determined that Mayor Neuhauser would contact Supervisor Rost in an effort to determine how open the Town was to receiving input from the Village regarding the Northern Tract.  She thanked Mrs. Lindsay for her diligence noting that the Village might have missed this issue entirely had she not brought it to their attention.

Next Mrs. Lindsay reported having been at the Ramapo Watershed Conference where concern over the Pilgrim Pipeline was discussed.  26 of 27 associated municipalities have passed resolutions denying them access.

Mayor Neuhauser responded that potential plans for the pipeline have been moved away from the Village to the other side of the Thruway and therefore, the project is no longer within their jurisdiction.

Sally Sonne expressed her concern over what she believes to be a lack of communication, transparency and open government in the Village.  Specifically, she wondered why the recent Causeway Wall Settlement had not been posted to the Village website.  When she called the Village office, Mrs. Sonne was able to obtain a copy, but she feels this important document should be available to everyone online.

The Mayor responded that uploading documents to the website was often time consuming and that it was sometimes difficult for them to get every document posted.

Mrs. Sonne retorted that this particular document was different from all the other Village documents and she believed it should have been posted.  She further complained that she believed notice of that evenings meeting had not been posted at the gate until just that morning and that she had been unable to get an agenda until noon that day..  She wondered whether or not the Board was required to post their meeting agendas the Friday prior to the meeting.

Village Clerk Debbie Matthews corrected Mrs. Sonne with regard to the meeting notice, stating that a sign had been posted reminding residents of the regular monthly meeting the day prior.

Mayor Neuhauser commented that agendas were frequently not available until the day of the meeting and the reason for this was that they are often changing right up until the last minute!
Mr. Golden checked the Village Code and reported that as per Village regulations the agendas are to be posted by noon on the day of the meeting.

Next Mrs. Sonne noted that despite having tabled their discussions on local law introductory #4 with regard to raising taxes when they brought the budget under cap the proposed legislation was back on the agenda that evening.  She complained that this was confusing and reiterated her concern that she felt it was quite difficult for residents to find out what was happening around the Village.

Tentative Budget, Tax Cap & Water Rates:
Turning to water rates, Mayor Neuhauser stated that although it was admittedly not the best practice, rates had not been raised since 2006 and would need to go up.

Building Inspector John Ledwith concurred, reporting that there were currently 14 customers in the Town who were in arrears and while collection efforts are underway, something needs to be done to bridge the gap.  The department does not experience similar issues with customers who are residents of the Village because they are able to levy the unpaid bills onto their property taxes at year-end.  There was a somewhat lengthy debate over whether to raise the rates by 7 or 9%  with various numbers being calculated, at the end of which it was agreed that the initial increase would be 7% and if this was not enough, another increase would be implemented.  A resolution to this end was made and the Board voted unanimously in favor of it.

Turning to the Tax Cap issue, Mayor Neuhauser commented that since having brought the proposed budget under the tax cap back on April 9, some concerns have been brought to the table which she feels must be considered.  Essentially she sees two possible scenarios for moving forward.  The first is to stick with the budget as currently proposed and bring the levy down to cap.  This scenario will require the Village to deplete their appropriated surplus to a level that she believes is not prudent. She cautioned that should there be a catastrophic event, the Village would be in serious trouble without enough funding to help themselves.   To this end, Trustee Kilduff has spent some time talking with both bond council and the Village accountant and has determined that because the Village has such a good rating, they can borrow some money which will help offset infrastructure expenses.  However she further pointed out that, moving forward, taxes would need to be increased in order for the Village to maintain their operating budget.

Trustee Kilduff explained that because of the Village’s AA+ credit rating they had both the legal capacity and the financial capacity to take on a significant amount of debt if they chose to do so.  Borrowing funds would allow them to pull through the year in better shape by paying for things like the Wall Settlement, the Dam and the roads around the dam, which were currently budgeted for in more of a real time way, over time.  

Trustee Goodfellow pointed out that funding for the WW Dam was not coming from the operating budget and that monies for this project had already been borrowed.  She further stated that it had recently been determined that monies they had borrowed were not going to be enough to cover the work that needs to be done.

Trustee Kilduff countered that the interest for the loans on the dam was a part of the operating budget and Trustee Goodfellow questioned the logic behind borrowing money to pay the interest on  existing loans. 

Trustee Kilduff replied that he had never said that and that and the borrowed monies would be used to pay for “generational items” that were currently being paid for out of the operating budget.

Trustee Goodfellow wanted to know what specifically he was referring to that could be pulled from the budget and paid for by bonding.

Trustee Kilduff clarified that the monies would be used to pay for unexpected, capital-type infrastructure type expenses that might occur, therefore offsetting the concern about our depleted surplus in the event of an emergency. He further suggested that all engineering expenses for the dam should come out of bonded funding.

He was informed that it already did.

Trustee Gluck expressed some confusion and then some concern over what was being proposed. He wondered how this type of financing would help to fill the $240,000 hole that was currently being plugged by surplus in the coming year and specifically what types of things existed within the current proposed budget that would be afforded by the financing.  Wouldn’t the financing then need to be included in the budget?

Trustee Kilduff replied that he was most concerned with funding the Wall Settlement and the looming expenses associated with the dam than going through the current budget with a fine toothcomb.  If the Village goes into the new year and finds themselves having a $20,000 expense that was budgeted for, but then realize that whatever that item might be could be instead paid for by bonding, there will be $20,000 left over at the end of the year that can go back into the surplus fund.

Again Trustee Goodfellow wanted to know specifically which items Trustee Kilduff thought could be funded this way.

Trustee Kildfuff replied that currently a budget existed and that the money would be used for unforeseen expenses (police, guardrails extra salt etc) that might arise as well as those expenses in the budget such as the DPW truck which the Board thought could be successfully financed.  The money budgeted for the latter could then drop back into the surplus at the end of the year. 

Mayor Neuhauser commented that Trustee Gluck had crunched numbers with the idea of possibly raising taxes and returning the surplus to a more comfortable level.  She stressed that in her view at some point moving forward taxes would need to go up.  

Trustee Goodfellow commented that it was very clear to her that using a quarter of a million dollars in unallocated surplus funds over the course of the past several years was akin to using savings account rather than revenue based funds to pay the bills.  Now, the Village has reached a point where the surplus was no longer at a prudent level.  It is irresponsible to keep using these funds.  She feels that contemplating borrowing money to cover operating costs does not make a lot of sense. She favors Trustee Glucks suggestion of beginning the process of ending this practice and returning the Village to comfortable financial status.  The Village has not been funded properly.  Pay some now, pay some next year or get with it all at once….any way they want to deal with it, but if it is not addressed by next year things will be in even worse shape with less money to fall back on.  The arbitrary 2% cap that was put in place has been terrific in terms of being an intellectual exercise for looking at how monies are spent but beyond that it has lead the Village down a path of making some decisions that are not good for the community in the long run.  She believes the Village needs to take a long hard look at where they are going and how they are going to maintain their infrastructure.  The can has been kicked down he road for many many years…..and keeping the budget at the cap has only accelerated the process as far as she can see.  She believes that there is a fantasy that there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of waste in budget that she feels are not there.  Yes, there have been some institutional inefficiencies and there are other issues that can be looked at (as they are) via contract renewals etc.  She feels there has been an illusion created over the past few years that money is out there that they just don’t have.
Mayor Neuhauser agreed commenting that the Village was not alone in this sentiment and that the budget cap had caused problems for Municipalities state-wide.

Trustee Kilduff pointed out that the surplus was at its lowest point ever and Trustee Goodfellow agreed pointing out that there were also no plans for replenishment.

Trustee Gluck stated that one thing that the budget process had done, aside from the wall settlement, was to help them to reduce spending dramatically.  There is, in his view, plenty of room for improvement.  That being said, he does not think there is $250,000 worth of improvement to be made, which is what they will need to fill the gap in the operating budget and stop the reduction in surplus. 

To this end, Trustee Gluck is proposing a different plan. 

In looking at what the surplus would be at the end of the next fiscal year if they were to budget fully for the Wall litigation settlement, he determined that it would be roughly $36,000, which is extremely low.  He then looked at what that number might be if the settlement were financed over 4 years or so and that number came to be roughly $100,000. How much should the surplus be?  The comptroller suggests 10% and the accountant suggests 5% ($200,000-$400,000)  In order to bring the Village surplus into that range they would need to reduce the application of surplus to about $50,000, the net result of which would be (assuming nothing else changes within the budget) a tax increase of roughly 6%.
Trustee Goodfellow commented that she felt what had made things so confusing was that the surplus had been applied in the way that it was without any public discussion of input so people were caught of guard.  She feels that what was done is a practice that is not going to work here and that it was a problem that would only create another problem as time went on. 

Following some further discussion a motion was made pass Local Law Introductory #4, which would allow the Village to increase the levy above the mandated cap.

The motion was voted down 3-2 with Trustees Goodfellow and Gluck voting in favor while The Mayor and Trustees Kilduff and Guinchard voted against.

The conversation then turned to the tentative budget.

Trustee Gluck wondered where the Wall Litigation and Settlement were reflected.

Trustee Kilduff explained that as these things had occurred this year and were funded out of the fiscal year 2014 budget, even if they were to be paid next year.

Next a motion was made to approve the tentative budget as presented.  This motion was also denied with Mayor Neuhauser and Trustee Kilduff voting in favor and Trustees Guinchard, Goodfellow and Gluck voting against.

When questioned, Trustee Guinchard stated that she had voted against the budget because she felt they could have done a better job of cutting expenses.  She cited deer culling, salary freezes for Village employees and Insurance as examples.  Additionally she stated that she felt the lake studies were being done backwards and that it was her understanding that the fish count was to come first.

Trustee Goodfellow pointed out that money for the fish study was in fact in the budget.
Speaking to her concerns about salary freezes for Village employees and insurance, Mayor Neuhauser stated that they could not move ahead with salary freezes because the Village is bound by contractual agreements and insurance rates cannot be renegotiated until 5/31/16, when the contracts are up.

There followed some discussion with regard to what the next steps should be.  Trustee Goodfellow stated that it was her understanding that if the Village did not present an approved budget by May 31, that the tentative budget would become the acting budget. 

Mr. Golden stated that in his 35 years of experience with municipal law, he had never worked with a municipality who had failed to adopt a budget!  He agreed to investigate what the next steps should be while the meeting moved forward.

Local Law #1 (amends the Village Code relating to the Issuance and Duration of Building Permits and also separate Revised Fee Schedule)/O.C. Form GML 239-m:

The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting Introductory Local Law #1 of 2014.

Click here to view a copy of Local Law #1 

Local Law #3 (South Gate Access):
Trustee Guinchard provided a brief overview of the proposed legislation which restricts entry to the Village via the back gate to tagged vehicles only.  Following a suggestion made by Michele Lindsay during the public hearing, residents who live in that area Village and are using rental cars will be able to call ahead to the Police Gate and gain access.  A provision has also been added for temporary tags should they be needed.

Excluded from the restrictions are emergency vehicles, UPS/FED EX and Fuel trucks.
Michelle Lindsay wondered if there had been any discussion about restricting access to non-residents on bikes.

Mayor Neuhauser explained that this would be fairly difficult to enforce and as most of the cyclists and runners who are coming in that way are known Town residents, she feared it would create bad relations to deny them access.

Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving Local Law #3.

Click here to view a copy of Local Law #3

Discussion  - Proposed Local Law on Noise:
A motion was made introducing Local Law Introductory of 2015 – a local law amending the Village code concerning the regulation of noise within the Village. 

This was unanimously approved. 

Mr. Golden advised the Board that a public hearing would be necessary and that SEQRA would apply.

Discussion was tabled until the next meeting.

Click here to view a copy of the proposed local law.

Resolution – Appoint Election Inspector for Village Election:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Nils Gerling as election inspector and chair person and election inspector at a rate of $15 per hour and Christine Mcneerny as election inspector with Dorothy Schmitt as her alternate, both at a rate of $13.50 per hour.  The Village elections will take place on Tuesday June 16 from 7am-9pm at the Village Hall.

Town of Tuxedo Recreation Department Request:
The Board is in receipt of a request from Shari Brooks, head of the Town Recreation Department, for the use of Kayaks in the Wee Wah lake as part of the summer camp program.  The Kayaks will be for use by campers in grades 6-8.  Camp insurance will cover their use.  If approved, the department would purchase 3 kayaks the first year and 3 more the second.  They would of course comply with all associated village regulations.  The boats would be stored at the Wee Wah Beach Club.

Trustee Goodfellow expressed a desire for further information, commenting that she supported the idea but wanted more specifics with regard to how the program would be conducted, who would be in charge and what safety measures would be taken.
Trustee Gluck commented that the boats would need to be steam cleaned and stickered as per Village regulations.

The Mayor agreed with this but stated that she would suggest waiving the $60 sticker fee.
Ultimately it was determined that more information regarding program specifics was required before the request could be approved and Mayor Neuhauser will reach back out to Shari Brooks in order to obtain this information.

Tuxedo Club – Fireworks Request:
Citing environmental concerns, the Board voted 4-1 against allowing a private fireworks display at an upcoming wedding at the Tuxedo Club.  Trustee Kilduff was in support of the request.

Resolution – Approve Lakes Management Proposals:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving AIM proposal for Eurasion Water Milfoil removal in the lakes at a cost of $23,340.  This will allow them to move forward with scheduling the work. 

SEQRA – Wee Wah Dam Repair:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of classifying the Wee Wah Dam repairs as a Type 2 action under SEQRA.

Resolution – Planning Board and BZA Appointments:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Peter Regna to the Planning Board for a 5-year term running July 2014 through June of 2019 (retroactive).  Additionally they voted unanimously in favor of appointing Jake Lindsay to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a similar retroactive 5-year term.

Announce Bulk Pickup Day – Saturday May 16.:
Mayor Neuhauser announced that Bulk Pickup Day in the Village would be Saturday, May 16.  All items must be curbside by 7am.

Tentative Budget:
The discussion then returned to the tentative budget and the procedure for moving forward since the Board had failed to adopt it.  Mr. Golden explained that in the event that the Board of Trustees fails to adopt a budget on or before the first day of May, the tentative budget with such changes, alterations and revisions that shall have been made by resolution of the Board of Trustees shall constitute the budget for the ensuing fiscal year.  What this means is that if the budget is not passed, the Board must make majority-based changes by resolution and these will be incorporated into the tentative budget, which then becomes the acting budget. 

Following minimal discussion, the Board took a revote on the tentative budget and this time it was passed 3-2 with Mayor Neuhauser and Trustees Kilduff and Guinchard voting in favor while Trustees Goodfellow and Gluck voted against.

Click here to view a copy of the budget that was adopted.

Adjournment to Executive Session to Discuss a Certiorari Litigation:
The Board then adjourned to an executive session, which lasted roughly 10 minutes.  When they came out, the voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mr. Golden to proceed with a settlement of $2,863 in the case of Dangor vs. The Village of Tuxedo Park..

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 28, 2015

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
a. Speakers must sign in and are limited to 5 minutes per topic.
b. Written comments must be submitted by 4pm on the day prior to the meeting.
9. Tentative Budget, Tax Cap, & Water Rates
10. Local Law #1 (amends the Village Code relating to the Issuance and Duration of Building Permits and also separate Revised Fee Schedule) / O.C. Form GML 239-m
11. Local Law #3 (South Gate Access)
12. Discussion - Proposed Local Law on Noise
13. Resolution - Appoint Election Inspectors for Village Election
14. Town of Tuxedo Recreation Department Request
15. Tuxedo Club Fireworks Request (continued from last month)
16. Resolution - Approve Lakes Management Proposals
17. Oil Tanks
18. SEQRA - Wee Wah Dam Repair
19. Resolution - Planning Board and BZA Appointments
21. Announce Bulk Pickup Day - Saturday, May 16th
22. Approve Minutes - 2/24/15 & 3/24/15
23. Audit of Claims
24. Adjournment to Executive Session to discuss a Certiorari Litigation

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Mayor's Statement Regarding the Causeway Wall Settlement and Reconstruction

I am pleased to report that the Village Board of Trustees and Ms. Booth have concluded a settlement agreement regarding the repair and reconstruction of a portion of the Causeway Wall.

To recap, briefly, the on-going litigation was brought by Ms. Booth against the Village, alleging that the Village acted arbitrarily and capriciously in determining that a portion of the wall had failed structurally.

Even though the court ruled that the Village had acted properly in all respects, the court sought to go one step further to determine ownership of the wall, despite the fact that neither side had sought such a ruling. Ms.Booth, however, did succeed in preventing the Village from performing any dismantling or repair work, while the matter was being litigated.

At the most recent court hearing, the judge in the case expressed displeasure that the matter had not been resolved by the parties. It became apparent to the Village that long delays would continue to be a hallmark of this matter, when Judge Onofry stated that he was going to make an “expedited” decision, as to measures that would be required of each side prior to a full hearing on the question of ownership, and a month proceeded to go by with no such decision.

We faced many potential legal challenges and days of hearings going forward. Several issues could have easily been appealed, further prolonging this case for many more months still, or longer.

Given the legal landscape, it was clear that the time had come to do what was necessary to end the litigation and get the causeway road re-opened, primarily for the safety of ours residents.

A settlement was hammered out by Trustees Giunchard and Kilduff, along with Village resident Alan Yassky. The work will be overseen by Mr. Yassky, Patrick Donaghy and Tom Salierno, while being monitored by the Village. An approximate 100 foot section of the wall will be dismantled to a height of 3 feet and built back up, using the same stones, soil will be permanently removed from the property and a swale of 250 feet will be created to relieve pressure from behind the wall and enhance drainage. An easement of 20 feet will run along the length of the wall, will enable proper monitoring and maintenance going forward.

It was time to get the road open, to let residents have ease of travel, safety and the beautiful view of Tuxedo Lake returned. And it was time to end the litigation, which increasingly held a great deal of legal uncertainty for both sides of the dispute, given the unrequested insertion of the court into some much broader questions.

Preliminary work has already begun, and we expect the construction work to begin in earnest May 1st. Please be advised that the road will need to be closed, in its entirety, for certain periods of time, but we will try to retain the one-way aspect through most of the construction period. If the weather cooperates, we could see completion by the end of May, just in time for a wonderful summer season!

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 9, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Thursday, April 9, 2015.  All members were present.

Public Hearing – 2015-2016 Tentative Budget:
Sally Sonne inquired as to whether or not the Board would be voting on the budget directly following the public hearing.

The answer was no.

Mrs. Sonne then congratulated the Board on not moving forward with Local Law Introductory #4, which would have allowed the Village to increase taxes above the mandated 2% cap, commenting that she felt this was a very good thing. However, she noted that in previous meetings, several suggestions had been made by residents regarding possible cuts and she did not see that any of these had made it into the preliminary budget.  Rather, it appeared that in order to bring the budget under the cap, the Board had depleted the surplus fund and while she understands that some of these funds are needed, Mrs. Sonne would rather see less borrowing and more actual cuts. With regard to increasing revenues, she questioned the reduction to The Tuxedo Park School from $4,500 to $3,500 ( a fee they pay in lieu of taxes) noting that 75% of their student body came from outside the Village but they still take advantage of Village resources in the form of roads and police.  She suggested that this might be renegotiated.  She wondered if the Board had considered this or discussed it?

Mayor Neuhauser responded that Trustee Guinchard had spoken with Chris Hansen about this and that he had indicated that the school has a “tight monetary situation” themselves. 

Mrs. Sonne replied that she felt that $3,500 in lieu of taxes was “quite absurd” considering the amount of traffic and that in her view the fee should be significantly more and probably should have been so all along.   

For the purpose of clarification, Building Inspector John Ledwith then explained that the $3,500 in lieu of taxes had nothing to do with the number of students attending the school but rather was an amount determined by a formula that was based upon water usage(both school water usage and total water usage in the system.)

Mrs. Sonne responded that she understood the formula and that the school was only paying for sewer and water.  She believes that other factors, such as traffic and police, should be considered and assessed as well and then negotiated.

Moving away from the school, Mrs. Sonne then stated that while she did not wish to insult anybody present, she felt that Village employees were paid considerably more than other individuals performing comparable jobs in other municipalities.  Noting that there had been increases in this area, she suggested that conversely, perhaps salary freezes should be considered.

Next, Mrs. Sonne addressed the $8,500 set aside for deer culling, commenting that she had not seen a doe in weeks.  She went on to say that she had heard from some of the people who live in town that most of the deer are being drawn to the Village baiting sites and killed and they are not happy about this.  Mrs. Sonne is a firm believer in culling deer and feels that the Village has done a good job but, she suggested that moving forward it might only need to be done every 3 years.

Mayor Neuhauser responded that this would drive the population right back to where it had been before the culling began.

Mrs. Sonne disagreed, commenting that while there would be an increase the entire previous population would not return in one year’s time.  Rather, if they took a year off, there might actually be some deer to cull, while currently there are none.  At this point, deer culling is a “nice bonus for the police” in Mrs. Sonne’s view.

The Mayor objected to this suggestion, stating that the officers were compensated for the time they spent working to bait and cull the deer.

Again, Mrs. Sonne stated that there were hardly any deer left to cull and that taking one year off would not result in a problematic population increase.  She believes that it is a waste of everyone’s money and that it should come off the budget for next year.

In closing, Mrs. Sonne stated that she did not have a lot of faith that any of her suggestions would come to fruition as they were all things she had brought up before, but seeing as this was the public hearing, she had felt inclined to make them.

Vehicle tags were then briefly discussed. 

Cindy Booth wondered whether or not the Tuxedo Club paid any sort of “usage fee” for non-resident members who accessed the Village via vehicle tags. 

The answer was no, but the Mayor noted that the idea had been discussed and was under consideration as these non-residents made frequent use of the Village roads.  That being said, she pointed out that changes such as these take time.  She assured the public that the Board is working hard to make positive fiscal changes moving forward.

Ms. Booth noted that the traffic to the Tuxedo Club was not only Club Members but also a result of the many private functions they host.  When non-resident members host weddings there for example, anywhere from 150-300 people make use of the Village roads at a time!  Ms. Booth feels there should be a somewhat substantial fee for those tags.  The Village is in a financial crunch and the burden repairing the roads should not fall solely on the people who live here.

The Mayor agreed with this suggestion, commenting that there could be a healthy fee charged per function based on the number of people in attending (say more than 75).  She further noted that the Club had been asked to stop shuttling people from the Church in large busses.  

Trustee Kilduff interjected that such an event fee would definitely be the way to go as there were legal issues associated with charging more money for the individual tags since the Village Roads are public roadways.

Trustee Guinchard suggested that there should be another public hearing on this issue in the future so that the Board would take even input from residents and implement it as the idea evolves. 

Ms. Booth pointed out that it is possible for Club members to sponsor non-members for large events (weddings, golf outings, tennis outings etc) and that all of the people attending these were non-residents. 

Trustee Kilduff concurred, further stating that these vehicles were all untagged as well.
Next Ms. Booth expressed some concern with the “North Gate” by the Wee Wah/sewage treatment plant, noting that there seemed to be a decent amount of traffic entering the Village at this unmonitored spot, which, in her view, poses a threat to security. 

The Mayor agreed commenting that this issue has already been under consideration and that there were a couple of different ideas being tossed around.

Ms. Booth then wondered about usage of the Wee Wah Beach Club by non-residents and whether or not there was any fee that these individuals paid to enter the Village. 

Mayor Neuhauser responded that Village residents made up 1/2 of the Beach Club membership and even if it were not, all members pay a membership fee and that money goes towards not only running the Club, but maintaining that Village owned property during the summer and fall months. 

As there were no more public comments, the hearing was then closed.

Tuxedo Club Fireworks Request for a Wedding on June 6, 2015:
The Board has granted similar requests in the past and Mayor Neuhauser noted that the same company that shoots off the fireworks every July would be utilized. 

Trustee Gluck wondered how long it had been since the last time the Club had requested fireworks at a private event other than the 4th of July, noting that in his view, this was an entirely “different kettle of fish.”

Audrey Perry wondered whether or not something like this might violate the noise ordinance, commenting that “a night of fireworks” might be disturbing to some of the residents who live nearby.

The Mayor responded that it was not an entire night of fireworks, but rather only a few minutes and she did not see why they could not embrace something fun like this.

Mrs. Perry replied that with all the new members at the Club, she was concerned about precedent.  What would stop them from wanting to do weddings with fireworks every weekend?

Trustee Kilduff pointed out that fireworks were rather expensive, which would probably deter such a thing from happening.

The Mayor agreed, commenting that in 16 years she had never seen or heard of even one wedding with fireworks at the Club.

Trustee Goodfellow pointed out that not all requests for fireworks were approved.  She referenced one request that had been refused 8 years prior because of noise concerns.

Trustee Gluck echoed the concern about precedent, noting that once they allowed the Club to have fireworks at a private party, how could they deny other commercial establishments, the Villas for example, the right to do the same?

This was discussed for a bit after which it was determined that a decision would be made at the April 28 meeting of the Board.

Resolution – Authorize Refinancing of 2007D NYSEFC Loan (Sewer Plant/I&I, etc):
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this resolution.

At this time Board adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of considering impending litigation.

Causeway Wall Settlement:
Upon returning from Executive Session, the Mayor announced that a settlement had been reached with regard to the Causeway wall.

Trustee Kilduff then explained the details as follows:

The settlement does not resolve the issue of ownership.

There will be a change to Ms. Booth’s property whereby several feet of earth will be dug out to relieve pressure on the wall going forward. This work will be undertaken by 2 Village residents and one Town resident, namely Alan Yassky, Patrick Donaghy and Tom Salierno.  Approximately 100 feet of the wall will be taken down and rebuilt and a swale will be created. Planning work for the project is already underway and Mr. Yassky has indicated that he expects the project will be completed within 30 days of the hard start, which is May 1, so it could well be completed in time for Memorial Day Weekend.
The Village will also be making a settlement payment to Ms. Booth in the amount of $135,000.  Ms. Booth will then undertake the cost of repairing the wall.

Each party will bear their own attorney fees.

Mayor Neuhauser then made a motion to appropriate $135,000 from the General Fund through utilization of funding by a bond anticipation note.

Trustee Gluck asked for the General Fund balance, commenting he felt it was important that they be sure they had enough funding available.

It is $356,800. 

Following some minimal discussion, the motion was then unanimously approved.

Next, the Mayor made a motion authorizing herself to have the Village enter into and execute the settlement.

This too was unanimously approved.

There followed a discussion with regard to ownership and what might happen if something like this were to occur again.  Ultimately, such situations will have to be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

Following some further analysis of the entire situation and why things had played out the way they did by everyone involved, the meeting was adjourned.

A copy of the settlement is available upon request at the Village office.

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Public Hearing on Tentative Final Village Budget April 9, 2015

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Tentative Budget for the Village of Tuxedo Park for the fiscal year commencing June 1, 2015 and ending May 31, 2016 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 Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 7:00 p.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.

Deborah A. Matthews
Village Clerk-Treasurer

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Tentative Final Village Budget 2015/2016

Click here to view .pdf

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Village Budget In Line with 2% Tax Cap

Happy Spring!

The 2015-2016 budget, as it stands now, is the result of many countless hours, during the course of the last few weeks. The efforts of Debbie Matthews, John Ledwith, the department heads, Jeff Voss (DPW) and Ken Sanford (PD) and the Village Board, Susan Goodfellow, Mary Jo Guinchard, Paul Gluck and John Kilduff, along with the Village Accountant should be praised. This was not an easy process and we had some serious issues to rectify from last year, but in the interest of being fully transparent, it was important to get the budget back on track, as difficult as it has been. The third year of the 2% Tax Cap, which in reality was 1.48% last year and 1.68% this year, is not for the faint of heart. It is to our great relief that we have gotten our budget in line with the 2% Tax Cap.

It was apparent to us all that we will need to make deeper cuts in certain areas of the budget going forward, to rein in expenditures. We have received some very solid suggestions from residents with a working knowledge of how things run, many of whom have been in our trustee seats. We are grateful for those suggestions, and we will give careful consideration to each of them.

Although better, if we do not get some relief by way of new legislation that our Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, 98th District and Senator John Bonacic are drafting in Albany, it will mean even harder decisions in the future. This legislation, if adopted, will create exemptions to the Tax Cap Law and would include:

-Infrastructure improvements
-Road maintenance, repair and snow removal
-Capitol projects
-Expenses derided from consent orders and smart growth initiatives
-Extraordinary expenses required to respond to public health emergencies and pandemics

Most municipalities are struggling with these same issues, the services we have come to rely on may change in the future, in terms of the level of services provided. We will have to make hard choices, but, to be clear, the safety of the residents and our employees is still our first concern and always will be.

The BOT will be closely tracking finances regularly going forward. Close monitoring means a healthier budget in the future that keeps taxes in check. However, I caution, that contingencies are smaller, and our aim will be to get them back to a more comfortable level to insure our taxes stay at a reasonable rate and our credit rating remains high.

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 24, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 PM. Mayor Neuhauser, Trustees Gluck and Guinchard were present. Trustee Goodfellow was listening by phone; Trustee Kilduff’s father had passed away and he was with his family.

The Police Chief reported that it was a quiet month.  A part-time employee will be hired pending approval by the BOT to take the place of an employee who has left. The Mayor proposed a resolution to hire the employee and it was approved, pending background checks. The DPW report was submitted by Jeff Voss earlier. Hydrant flushing will take place in the Village on April 20 and on April 27 in the Town. Committee reports: Trustees Guinchard and Gluck continue to work on the welcome package.

Public Comments: Michele Lindsay asked about the status of the Conservation Agreements with Tuxedo Farms for the Buffer and the Fox Hill Tract. At Monday’s Town Board meeting she asked if the Special Permit would retain the requirement that all conservation agreements and gifts of land would be finalized before any disturbance can begin on the project. The Town’s attorney said the requirement will remain in place. Village Board attorney Rick Golden explained that Palisades Interstate Park Commission may hold the Conservation Easement on the Fox Hill and Buffer but they would not hold the land. The land would not be PIPC parkland.

Agenda: A Special Meeting/Budget Workshop was scheduled for Monday, March 30 at 4:00 PM. The Public Hearing on the Tentative Budget was scheduled for Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 PM. The Village election was announced for June 15 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Local Law #1 changes the procedure for building permits to be approved by the BAR and the Building Inspector. The Board of Trustees will no longer be involved. This change is currently in the process of being approved by Orange County.

Mayor Neuhauser opened the discussion of the tentative budget by pointing to the documented history of Village taxes and increases 1990 – 2015 that was compiled by Debbie Matthews.  The Mayor and Trustee Kilduff wrote a piece on the Village website about the tax realities facing the Village.

Sally Sonne said that the BOT should keep the budget within the state-mandated cap. If the BOT does not stay within the cap, then it will be worse next year. The Budget is up 80% since 2000 but inflation is up 37%. She suggested that the BOT freeze salaries. She said the BOT needs to cut $70,000. Health insurance costs are high. Overtime at DPW should be monitored.  She questioned police overtime. Deer culling should be done every three years.

Sam Sugden suggested raising revenues through the sale of excess Village property, increasing tag fees and questioning the encouragement by the Tuxedo Club of large private parties with non-residents. A discussion ensued over the impact on our roads and the demand for services by Tuxedo Park School which is primarily non-resident. The school is budgeted to pay $3500 for sewer in lieu of taxes and there was discussion that perhaps this should be raised. Michele Lindsay asked whether the garbage contract will be examined for cost savings. Jim Hays suggested that garbage and recycling each be picked up once a week.

Claudio Zanetti read a statement which he said was compiled by himself and six residents after discussions with 80 residents. The writers are embarrassed that the Village is even considering Local Law #4. Why has the Village been so mismanaged? The budget must meet expenses, not the other way around. The Village is getting a bad price for rock salt. Is anyone on the BOT keeping an eye on the till? Through laziness or sloth the Village is paying high prices and not running the Village well.  The Village allows us to be taken advantage of. The focus is on three members of the BOT whom he urged to do what their mothers would do and vote against Local Law #4. Two members of the BOT are “ virtuous, moral and ethical”.  But three members are not and they are “in cahoots”.  The writers warn that on Election Day they would “throw the bums out”. Their full statement can be listened to here. Claudio clarified that they were not criticizing Trustee Guinchard who said she agreed with most of the statement.

Michele Lindsay questioned whether the writers of this disrespectful statement understand the budgets of municipal government and the realities of state-mandated costs. The 80% budget increase figure cited by Sally Sonne included state-mandated expenses when Enron stock collapsed which was a large investment in the state pension fund. A large tax increase was required to compensate the fund for that loss. The BOT members have worked hard to keep a lid on expenses. We are a unique Village with our own police, DPW, water and sewer systems and maintaining these facilities is expensive. She thought it ironic that the group who supports Cindy Booth in her lawsuit against the Village is complaining about the budget for legal fees. When the Village attempted to repair the wall, Cindy’s supporters were waiting with a stop work order. If these people had been reasonable then the wall issue would be long forgotten by now. Mrs. Lindsay concluded by thanking the BOT members who do not want to set a precedent for repairing walls, because that huge liability, she believes, will hurt property values.

After these heated discussions, the BOT closed the Public Hearing on Local Law #4. The BOT will vote on the law on April 9.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 24, 2015

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
a. Speakers must sign in and are limited to 5 minutes per topic.
b. Written comments must be submitted by 4pm on the day prior to the meeting.
9. Tentative Budget Discussion
10. Public Hearing - Local Law Introductory #4 - Tax Cap Levy
11. Audit of Claims
12. Adjournment

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 16, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on March 16, 2015.  Trustees Goodfellow and Kilduff were absent.

Tuxedo Farms-Tracts and Buffers:
Mayor Neuhauser began by stating that she had spoken with Town Supervisor Rost regarding Tuxedo Farms and specifically the Fox Hill and Northern tracts of the development.  Attorneys for the Developer, the Town and the Village are still working on the specific language for the Special Permit regarding these parcels and as a result, they are not quite sure where things will land at this time. The Town Board will not be voting on it at their March 23 meeting.  The Mayor has also been in talks with both Orange County Land Trust and PIPC.  It is the united hope of both the Supervisor and the Mayor that provided it does not cost the Village any money the conservation easement can be put into PIPC.

Trustee Gluck inquired about the land that was to be put into a conservation easement that is located along the Northern Tract and whether or not this was contiguous to a portion of the Village.

Village Attorney Rick Golden explained that there existed both a Northern Tract and a Northern Tract Buffer.  The Northern Tract is a large piece of land, which will either be transferred to the Town and/or a conservation group as it stands currently, however this decision has not yet been finalized. 

Trustee Gluck then wanted to know who would enforce the conservation easement should the land be transferred to the Town.

Mr. Golden replied that he did not believe this had been decided as of yet but that it would likely be set forth within the Special Permit.  There are several options as to how the Town chooses to deal the land.  They could take it themselves and choose not to have a conservation easement, they could have a conservation easement in which they are the grantee or they could have a conservation easement where a conservation entity becomes the grantee.

Finally, Trustee Gluck inquired about the process of moving forward in terms of finalizing the Village’s agreements with the Town and the Developer and specifically the timeline for that as it relates to breaking ground on the project.

Mr. Golden stated that he had been in contact with the Related Company’s new lawyer and that he was in the process of drafting some of the agreements where the necessary surveys had been completed on various portions where the descriptions have been missing in the past.  The Board will decide whether or not they want somebody from to Village to check them or if they will simply accept the “PE stamp” that they are accurate. The language for the Conservation Easements must also be finalized.  There is no specific timeline, but Mr. Golden believes that they are working “feverishly” to amend the language and get the documents to him so that things can move forward. 

From the audience, David McFadden inquired about the “build-able lots” that were supposed to annexed to the Village and whether or not the Board was contemplating making them conservation parcels.

Mr. Golden responded that as per the agreement, the parcels in question have been set aside for development and cannot be placed into conservation.  One has been designated for a maximum of 4 units and the other a maximum 3 units, however all of this is subject to the normal Village Planning Board Process.  This means that if during that process it is determined that 3 or 4 units will not work on the parcels due to the terrain or any other possible issues that typically effect applications before that Board, then they may well end up with less units. 

Mr. McFadden wondered if these lots would need to comply with the 4-acre zoning restrictions and Mr. Golden informed him that they would.  They are subject to the Village Code.

While on the subject, Mr. Golden asked the Board to consider once annexed, whether or not they wished to keep the conservation pieces in the Town or whether they would be brought into the Village and made Village property.

Solar Panel Moratorium:
Mayor Neuhauser acknowledged that resident Bob Dow has submitted an application to the BAR for the installation of a solar farm on his property and asked BAR Chair Paula Tocci to provide a little history with regard to the application.

Chair Tocci responded that whether it was Bob Dow or anybody else, this matter was bound to come before the Village sooner or later in the form of big solar farms, wind turbines, geothermal etc.  She believes that the Village should go through some sort of process where they decide whether or not these things will be allowed and if so, on which types of properties can they be installed and what characteristics must those properties have in order to support these types of structures.  Would this alter the way of life significantly in the Village or affect the listing on the National Registry of Historic Places?  These are things that Chair Tocci believes need to be determined regardless of whether or not there is a current application before her Board.

Referring to the Dow application specifically, Building Inspector Ledwith reported that in an overall prospective the applicant had sited the large cost of utilities needed to run the household as his reasoning.  He made two applications to the BAR; one for geothermal wells and one for large solar array.  The application for the wells was approved, as there was no visual impact.  This project is currently on-going.  The application still before the BAR is for the solar array.  The original application sited a portion of the array within the ridgeline/precipice overlay district, however it has since been relocated and the new plans have the entire array located outside of the district.  The applicant has made every effort to economize the project to make sure they are not over-sizing the array, however at 1.9 acres it is still quite large.  The applicant has proposed plantings to screen the array.

Neither the Building Inspector nor the Village engineer have any issues with the project and it complies with the current zoning laws.  It is the largest array that has been proposed to date within the Village. 

Trustee Guinchard wondered how tall the proposed plantings around the array would be. In response, Mr. Ledwith referred her to the site plans, where it was shown that the solar panels would be 9 feet tall and that mature white pines would be planted around them in multiple, staggered rows. 

Mayor Neuhauser expressed her concern with the size and scope of the project, noting that both Chair Tocci and Building Inspector Ledwith shared her reservations.

Additionally, she fears that the Village runs the danger of having panels installed on houses all over the place and in light of some of the newest studies coming out, this is not necessarily the most sensible way to go in the Northeast for various reasons.

She suggested that the Village put together a committee to research all of this immediately. 

Chair Tocci commented that the BAR is in an uncomfortable position with an application such as this one because even though the panels qualify as a structure, they are not an occupied structure, so they feel it is more of a land use issue and the community should address it as such, especially given their listing on the National Register.  She further pointed out that whether it was solar array farms or wind turbines or whatever, energy conservation and sustainability is here to stay.  Bringing the right type of system in place is important.  She likened the situation to cigarette smoking suggesting that everyone had thought cigarettes were the greatest thing ever when they were first introduced but as time went on it became clear that they were not good for people.  She fears it could be the same thing with solar energy.  There is a lot of information coming to light these days that suggest that solar power may not be the most effective system.  She firmly believes that having a committee, populated with experts in the field, would really serve the community well so that they can make informed decisions.

Trustee Guinchard inquired as to where on the Dow properties the proposed array was located, specifically if it was on it’s own acreage or if it encompassed two lot lines.  She was informed that it was located on the same parcel as his house.

Based on this information, Trustee Guinchard correctly surmised that the application would not therefore be put before the Planning Board.  She then stated that she had an issue with having the Board move forward with the moratorium as proposed because the agenda had not been posted with enough time for residents to know that this issue was going to be discussed.

Village Clerk Debbie Matthews responded that the agenda had been posted the previous Friday to which Trustee Guinchard retorted that she had not received one by e-mail.  She further commented that she felt it would be inappropriate to move forward with it the day before Mr. Dow appeared before the BAR and noted that he was on that Board’s agenda for the following evening.

Chair Tocci replied that Bob Dow and his architect had been wonderful to work with thus far and that they were both well aware that this was a complex application and that the BAR would be taking their time to address the issues item by item.  Mr. Dow has expressed an understanding for this and a respect for the process.  Additionally, the BAR feels that there is an issue of precedent that must be considered as there is a lot of open space within the Village that could be developed in this way.  She believes it would be irresponsible for the Village to move forward without thoroughly investigating it.

Trustee Guinchard responded that she understood all of this, however Mr. Dow had been before the BAR since late fall and she felt it would have been better for the Board to have this discussion at the beginning of the application process rather than 3 months into it on the night before the applicant was scheduled to appear.

Chair Tocci replied that the meeting originally scheduled for the following evening had been cancelled, but she had spoken directly to Mr. Dow and that she had informed him of the BOT meeting and explained that they would be discussing his application and would taking responsible steps to make sure that he has the right energy saving system in place that also benefits the Village.  Ironically, he told her that he had already been informed of the moratorium meeting. 

David McFadden commented that as he understood it Mr. Down believed that there was going to be some sort of approval pending.

Chair Tocci responded that this was incorrect.

Given that he had been aware of the moratorium meeting, Mr. McFadden then wanted to know whether or not Mr. Dow was aware that his application could be affected by it.

Chair Tocci replied that Mr. Dow had been both very understanding and appreciative that a thoughtful decision process might be under taken but she had not told him that there was definitely going to be a moratorium.  She went on to say “whoever told him that (and I think we both know who that is) said that it would affect his application.  I did not say that because we were not ready for a vote.”

In response Mr. McFadden stated that if Chair Tocci was referring to him, his e-mail had indicated that the moratorium may or may not affect his application.

Chair Tocci commented that she was not an expert on whether it would affect his application or not, but her point was that Mr. Dow had been very appreciative of the fact that she had called him to inform of the meeting and discuss the reasoning behind it.

There remain a lot of unanswered questions with regard to his application and he is aware of this.
Mr. McFadden stated that he would hate to see something like this invite a lawsuit against the Village and Chair Tocci responded that she did not believe this was at all threat and that on the contrary Mr. Dow seemed very appreciative that somebody had called him in a professional capacity to keep him informed. 

Mr. McFadden responded that he understood this, but “these things can happen” and he wanted to caution the Village to be wary of that fact.

Chair Tocci then wondered if it had been Mr. McFadden who sent Mr. Dow an e-mail about the possible affects of the moratorium on his application, what had been his motivation for doing so.

Mr. McFadden responded that he believed strongly in sunshine laws and transparency and his understanding had been that Mr. Dow had been unaware of the potential moratorium vote, which might or might not effect his application and so in this spirit he had informed him…in case he wanted to reach out to the Board before the meeting.  He sees nothing wrong with having done this.

Chair Tocci  responded that there was a process in place and she felt that the process should be respected and she did not feel that the Village should rush into anything that could hurt them or an applicant.  The worst thing could be that they rush an approval on the project and then solar arrays turn out the same way cigarette smoking did.

Mr. McFadden retorted that as it was Mr. Dow’s money to invest, it would be his loss.
Chair Tocci pointed out that it also affected the community at large.

Mr. McFadden stated that the Village has a history of acting in a manor that generates litigation.  For example….the way in which the situation with Causeway Wall was managed.  He believes it could have been handled differently and the entire situation avoided.

Regardless of whether the panels are approved or not approved, while he does not disagree with the idea of reviewing it, he feels that at the last minute it is a risk.

Chair Tocci disagreed and assured Mr, McFadden that there was no risk of a law
suit based on her conversation with Mr. Dow.

Mr. McFadden insisted that it could turn into a lawsuit and Chair Tocci responded “Anything can turn into a lawsuit, but it won’t.”

Trustee Guinchard wondered whether Mr. Dow would be included or excluded from the moratorium commenting that she didn’t feel it really mattered and that tin her view there was still a risk.

Mr. Golden pointed out that there was a risk with every action that the Board takes….every law that it makes and every resolution that it passes. There has never been a successful case where a moratorium has been put in place in order to assess an issue that is pending or even has approval but is invested with rights that it has been upheld.  So while there is always the risk of a lawsuit, there is no chance that any such lawsuit would be successful as this is a process that the state law puts out that allows municipalities to place a hold on such applications until they determine how they want to deal with something like this and then enact regulations to which the application becomes subject. 

Mr. McFadden pointed out that regardless, it would have to be defended and Mr. Golden concurred.

Chair Tocci pointed out the Mr. Dow and the BAR had been working together in a very cooperative way and that if a moratorium were to go into place it would not necessarily affect his application as he had not been in place for imminent approval. A 6-month moratorium would last until October, which was still well within the building system.  Mr. Dow would still need to order the panels and get the work force in place. It is not as though he was ready to commence the project tomorrow.

Mr. McFadden stated that there was always the possibility that the moratorium could be extended or that the Village could determine that they didn’t want solar panels. 

Chair Tocci pointed out that what was being proposed was a solar array…or farm, which is very different than a solar panel as it involves clear cutting, drainage and run-off issues.

Mr. McFadden responded that if all of these things were factors, the application should be before the Planning Board.

Mr. Golden interjected that this was not the case and that as per the Village Code an application where an occupied structure of 5 years or more existed on the property was required to go before the BAR.

Mr. McFadden responded that he was not aware that there was a structure there.

He was informed that Mr. Dow’s house was located on the same parcel.

Mr. McFadden then admitted that he had thought it was located on a different parcel and he had not seen the actual plans.

Sally Sonne stated that she believed that Mr. Dow, or anyone else who was seeking alternative energy, would consult with experts who were not the Planning Board or the BAR or the BOT, who are not energy experts.

Chair Tocci interjected that this is exactly why they were proposing putting together a committee that would be comprised of such energy experts to better review the situation. 

Mrs. Sonne wanted to know who these experts would be and whether they would come from this community?

The response was that the experts would not necessarily come from the community, but they had not yet gotten that far.

Mrs. Sonne stated that in most cases, the experts tended to come from the Village and that Village residents were not energy experts and she would be quite offended if she felt that the “mere mortals” on the Boards were going to be telling her what she could or could not do with a proposed energy conservation project.  She would want to go to somebody who knows more than the individuals on these Boards.

Chair Tocci commented that she agreed with this, pointing out that every member of the BAR was licensed and registered in some aspect of design and she would hope that the committee would be comprised of experts.

Mrs. Sonne pointed out that this was a rather specific field to which Chair Tocci suggested that there could well be members of the community that were educated in this area.

Mrs. Sonne countered that Mr. Dow was already paying experts and Chair Tocci corrected her and stated that Mr. Dow had retained an architect.

Mrs. Sonne responded that she was sure that he had contacted people who were considered to be experts in energy conservation and that she would be doing so if she were him.  She finds the whole idea of the moratorium offensive and believes it to be intrusive of property rights if people want to have alternative energy.  What will the moratorium be all about….a study of experts?  Will the Village then hire the experts?  At what cost?

Chair Tocci responded that she felt they should start by looking to the community to see if anyone either had this expertise or could refer them to somebody who did.

Mr. McFadden wanted to know specifically who Chair Tocci had in mind.

Chair Tocci said her natural instinct would be to go to people in the energy field and inquire.  She further commented that there had been a great article in the Wall Street Journal recently detailing why solar energy was not the greatest and wondered if Mr. McFadden had read it.

Mr. McFadden responded by asking Chair Tocci if she believed the moratorium was heading towards the prevention of solar energy.

Chair Tocci responded that she did not.  As per the design guidelines, the BAR is open to any material that benefits the homeowner.  They just want to make sure that they have the right thing.

“And the homeowner doesn’t have the right to determine that for himself?  It is you that will be telling him what is right,” retorted Mrs. Sonne.

Chair Tocci responded that this was not the case and the homeowner did have the right to determine what those materials would be so long as they complied with the Village Code.
As per the code, what Mr. Dow is proposing (a significant change to his property) requires BAR approval, which is why all of this is happening!

Trustee Guinchard wondered if Chair Tocci had it in writing from Mr. Dow that he would not sue the Village if there was a moratorium as she had previously stated.

Chair Tocci countered that she had never guaranteed that Mr. Dow would not sue and reiterated what she had actually said, which was that Mr. Dow had been appreciative of her phone call informing him of the possible moratorium.  She further stated that she believed that Mr. Dow had probably expected something like this as he knows that he has submitted a unique application.

Trustee Guinchard commented that she believed that as there were no current regulations with regard to solar energy that the appearance of implementing a moratorium on the eve of the BAR meeting put them at risk.  She pointed out that the community at large was becoming a very environmentally concerned community particularly with regard to the protection of the lakes and that solar panels were about as protective to the lakes as one could get as they have no fuel and therefore there will not be the potential for a spill.  There is a visual impact but no threat of a natural disaster.

Chair Tocci suggested there would also be a maintenance issue and Trustee Guimchard responded that this would be Mr. Dow’s problem.

Chair Tocci disagreed, stating that she felt it would be the community’s problem if proper maintenance was not done.

Trustee Guinchard commented that in her view it was not the Board’s position to police homeowners.  This type of behavior was not appropriate.

Chair Tocci pointed out that what was being considered was a solar farm, which is a great deal more substantial than just a few panels.  The BAR has been very upfront with Mr. Dow throughout the entire process.  Mr. Dow owns 106 acres of land in the Village and if there is any home where something like this can be successfully installed, they feel that it is likely his as nobody would be able to see it and any engineering issues can no doubt be mitigated.  That being said there remains a lot of open space within the Village and if Mr. Dow moves ahead, another property owner, with a smaller and less secluded piece of property could come forward and attempt to do the same thing.  The issue of precedent needs to be respected.  The BAR wants everybody to have what they want but they feel that they need to be responsible about it.  Chair Tocci believes that not being responsible about it could be result in a lawsuit.

Mr. McFadden inquired as to why the array had been moved form it’s original proposed location and Chair Tocci explained that it had originally been sited in an area that fell within the ridgeline/precipice zone and that Mr. Dow did not want the project to be susceptible to those regulations, therefore he relocated it.

Mr. McFadden wondered why it had not been relocated to a spot where there were no existing buildings.

Mr. Ledwith commented that Mr. Dow had chosen to move the array further from the house and into an area that whereby it was believed it could not be seen by anyone else.

The people in the Town have also been notified.

Mr. McFadden asked Chair Tocci if she was a climate change denier.

She responded that she was not.

Trustee Guinchard wondered if there were not already a procedure in place to deal with the potential issues that might arise from the project.  She pointed out that Mr. Dow was an extremely responsible person who would no doubt hire only the best of the best and would surely comply with all regulations and procedures currently in place. She does not feel that the project warrants a moratorium at the BOT level.  Rather she suggested that the BOT amend their guidelines as to solar panels.

Again, Chair Tocci pointed out that what was being proposed was not basic solar panels but rather a very large solar array.  She commented that there seemed to be a very basic misunderstanding with regard to the scope of what was being proposed. 

Regardless, Trustee Guinchard stated that she felt it should be regulated via the design guidelines and not at the BOT level.

Chair Tocci responded that the BAR felt that even though the array was considered a structure, this was more of a land use issue.  One cannot live inside of a solar panel.  She believes that the BAR is doing the responsible thing in bringing the issue to the BOT as it is not a normal application and they are unsure as to how they should review it much less proceed.  Furthermore, what they decide will set precedent and this effects the entire community.

Trustee Guinchard retorted “That is why we have the BAR”  to which Chair Tocci stated “that is why I thought we had a BOT too.”

Trustee Gluck wondered whether the moratorium would have been proposed if the application consisted of only a few panels to be installed on Mr. Dows roof.  Would this have triggered the extensive review that is being proposed or would it be viewed as a design issue?

Chair Tocci responded that the BAR had reviewed and approved applications for roof panels in the past for both TPS and residents.  What Mr. Dow is proposing is a Solar Farm, which will involve clear cutting two acres of property.

Trustee Guinchard reiterated that she didn’t understand why these measures were being called for at this point in the application process.  If the BAR had requested a review right after the received the application that would be different in her view and she would be as hesitant, but the appearance of the BOT initiating the moratorium at this point in the process, when the geothermal is already going in, is not good.  Mr. Dow has the land necessary for the project and he has been cooperative.  The BAR already has a process in place.  She does not feel that a moratorium is the right move.

Chair Tocci responded that the BAR had not suggested the moratorium.

Trustee Guinchard countered that what was before them on the agenda was a moratorium.

Mayor Neuhauser pointed out that nothing had been decided.

Mr. Golden asserted that there were currently no guidelines for solar panels and that the BAR could not adopt any such guidelines.  Only the BOT can do this.

Chair Tocci agreed, commenting that she had been talking with various people about this application for quite some time.  Mr. Dow is very aware of the BAR’s concern.  In fact, the application has already been seriously amended to eliminate giant, 19-foot poles with rotating panels on them.  The new plan is 40% less efficient than what had been proposed prior.  Additionally, they need to consider the energy efficiency of the house itself and the building envelope there.  The Building Inspector and Village Engineer visited the house in an effort to ascertain whether or not there was any additional energy conservation that could be done there.  Mr. Dow has single pained windows, which are not the most efficient.  There are 7 functioning refrigerators, two pools and a koi pond!  Recommendations have been made to Mr. Dow and he has agreed to some of them. 

The Building Inspector concurred and pointed out that Mr. Dow had made an application tot he BAR to replace the windows with insulated glass. 

Chair Tocci reiterated that she did not believe the ultimate decision fell within the purview of the BAR.

Again, Trustee Guinchard challenged this notion and inquired of Mr. Golden if the application were already within the process of the BAR but required more study in terms of drainage and general engineering, why this would trigger BOT review.

Mr. Golden responded that there were architectural guidelines and precedents currently in place with respect to homes and what they should like, but there is nothing in place for solar applications.  He further stated that he was not there to encourage them to move ahead with a moratorium however, what has been proposed is very different than anything that has been put forth in the Village since he has been there and the question at hand is whether they should “call a time out” and study the issue (especially the visual impacts) and then put some regulations in place, or not depending on what they discover.

They could put a moratorium in place that stops all construction or they could put one in place that exempts this application since it is already underway.  The BOT has been through these kinds of issues before with moratoriums and exceptions can be made.  It is up tot he Board as to whether or not they want to regulate solar panels, which are beginning to proliferate around New York State and specifically in Orange County.

Many municipalities are beginning to put such regulations into place.  Most of those are less concerned with visual impacts, but they do regulate things like whether or not panels can be installed on poles, whether or not there should be required setback, how many can be installed on a home, what kinds of inspections are necessary.

Chair Tocci commented that it might be good for them to see some of these. 

Trustee Guinchard wondered whether the Vilage could work on these types of code revisions without having a moratorium as she did not believe there was a flood of current applications.  She cannot envision anybody else in the Village proposing such a thing.

Chair Paola countered that this was not true and that she had already had several people approach her to ask about similar projects including the possible installation of wind turbines. 

Trustee Guinchard stated that knowing most residents today, as they all did, she did not think that anybody would seriously propose a wind turbine because of its size.

Chair Tocci stated that two residents had already approached her about it…one of them suggesting that such an installation could provide energy for the entire Village.

Trustee Guinchard could only stutter an incomplete response.

Mr. McFadden wondered whether the BAR could work with the applicant and simultaneously put their committee together without instituting a moratorium.

He suggested that Mr. Dows’ application itself could provide a valuable learning experience that might be able assist the committee but without a moratorium. Then, if there were an impass of some kind, a moratorium could be put in place.

Chair Tocci argued that what Mr. McFadden was proposing would be worse in terms of potential litigation and would not be taken lightly.  She reiterated that the process with Mr. Dow to date has been a positive one and the BAR does not feel comfortable approving the application without bringing it to the Village’s attention because they really do feel that it is a land use issue.  If other communities are adopting guidelines, they feel the Village should look into it as well.  This is not about accepting or rejecting this application, it is about a land use application and what it portends for the Village moving forward.  There are a lot of developments on the horizon (Overton, Alexander Gardens etc) as well as people who have extensive property and could install this type of thing.  Maybe the Village does want to allow it, but they need to go about considering it in a responsible way.

Again Trustee Gluck wondered whether the current BAR framework would allow them to review an application for the installation of just a few solar panels on a roof or whether they were looking for information from this sort of process to refine that.

Chair Tocci replied that it would be great to have more information, particularly in light of what was coming out now about the efficacy and the energy saving benefits of solar and these other sources.  She does not feel that they would feel as comfortable going forward approving these types of applications with everything they have been reading about solar.

Trustee Guinchard suggested that Chair Tocci was getting her information from one periodical and that there were arguments on both sides of the fence.

Chair Tocci responded that this was in no way true and that her information came from many sources.

Trustee Guinchard stated that she did not believe this provided them with the necessary teeth to bite into the issue.

Chair Tocci countered that these articles were not the teeth and that she had been talking about this issue for a while.  If the BOT chooses not to deal with it, then fine, but they should not blame the BAR when problems arise down the line.

Trustee Guinchard replied that nobody was blaming the BAR for anything.  She further reiterated that she did not believe it was necessary to put a moratorium in place because she felt the BAR already had the process in place to handle this sort of application.

Again, Chair Tocci pointed out that there was no approved process in place for solar panels. 

Mr. Golden stated that what was has been proposed is just a structure.  It is not otherwise regulated.  There are some basic regulations with regard to visual impact, but they do not take into account these large, black structures that could be populating an area.  If the BOT is okay with the idea that these structures could start popping up all over the place on roofs and poles and in the form of farms, then there is no need to regulate them.  They arenot, however, regulated currently and neither are wind turbines. 

Trustee Guinchard responded that she did not believe under the current guidelines that anybody would be able to put in a wind turbine.  She believes it needs to be addressed but she also believes that initiating a moratorium would be opening a can of worms and allowing for a possible lawsuit.  Although Chair Tocci does not believe Mr. Dow will sue the Village, she does not have this in writing.

Chair Tocci replied that Trustee Guinchard did not have anything in writing that implied that Mr. Dow would sue the Village.

Trustee Guinchard stated she did not believe this mattered.

Chair Tocci stated that the moratorium was simply a responsible period of study.   The Board could reduce the length of time if they wanted to.  Mr. Dow would not be able to construct anything within the next 6 months anyhow. 

Mayor Neuhauser stated that she felt they were reaching a point where it was clear to her that the issue should be tabled for a couple of weeks.  Things are becoming heated and she feels they should take a step back and possibly do some preliminary legwork to better determine who they could find to take a look a look at it and advise them because it is such a new issue.

Again, Chair Tocci reiterated that what was being proposed was a giant solar farm and not simply a few panels.  The possibility for wind turbines exists.  It is a land use issue.
Trustee Guinchard then suggested that if panels were installed on the roof at TPS and this was a concern, the Board should have been addressing the issue then.

Chair Tocci responded, once again, that panels were not the concern.

Trustee Guinchard stated that there could have been a risk that a farm might have come up.

Chair Tocci disagreed, commenting that the issues were entirely different.  A solar panel and a solar farm are not even remotely the same thing. Panels installed on a roof do not require the clear cutting of acreage etc.

Again, Mayor Neuhauser suggested that they take a step back and review the situation, revisiting it down the line once they had gathered more information.

She suggested that the BAR send Mr. Dow a letter, letting him know they were putting things on hold while they collected more information.  She suggested a 6-week time frame for that.

Mr. Golden suggested that Mr. Dow might be looking for his approval prior to that and Chair Tocci agreed suggesting that there was no further information required from the applicant. 

There followed some discussion with regard to other communities that might be considered similar to the Village and how they were regulating the issue.
Trustee Gluck commented that he felt it was difficult not to confuse the issue of solar panels vs that of solar array.

Mrs. Sonne pointed out that the agenda said “Solar Panel moratorium.”

Chair Tocci stated that the BAR works vry hard and they want to be sure that they are not the only Board that is weighing in on this very important issue that affects the community at large. 

Mr. Golden suggested that it would be wise for them to send a letter to the County Planning Department seeking their input.  If they do move ahead with a moratorium and subsequent code changes, it will have to go to the County Planning Dept and will require SEQRA.  Also, Mr. Dow’s property is within 500 feet of the boundary line dividing the Village from the Town and as such a special notice will have to be sent to the Town.
Chair Tocci stated that it was the BARs prerogative to make sure that everyone was happy with whatever the end result was…and this applies to both the homeowner and the communinty.

Again, Mayor Neuhauser recommended that they take a step back and research the issue further before they proceed.  Additionally, she pointed out that two of the BOT members were not present and she believes their input will be valuable. 

Following some further discussion it was determined that they would collectively use the time between now and the next BAR meeting on April 7 to gather more information and determine how they should proceed.

A budget workshop then ensued. 

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Notice of Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 16, 2015

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo
Park will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 3:30p.m. in the Village
Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987, for the purpose of holding a Budget
Workshop and to address any other matters that may come before the Board.

Deborah A. Matthews
Village Clerk-Treasurer

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 16, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Village Boat Club
4. Solar Panel Moratorium
5. Tuxedo Farms-Tracts and Buffers
6. Budget Workshop
7. Adjournment

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 10, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Tuesday, March 10 2015.  All members were present.

Public Hearing - Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2014 - Issuance and Duration of Building Permits:
Prior to the opening of the hearing, Trustee Gluck provided a brief over view of the proposed law, the principal purpose of which is removing the process of formal approval of building permits from the Board of Trustees and leaving it with the Board of Architectural Review or the Planning Board.  Under the current law, after the BAR and/or Planning Board have approved an application, it sits until the next Trustees meeting for final approval, which delays the process.  Additionally, the proposed law will “clean up” the approval process by making it very clear that there is a 30-month time limit on the application process, with two renewal periods built in. Also included is a provision stating that there must be some progress made on the building project within 12-months of the initial approval.  SEQRA is not required. 

Mayor Neuhuaser further noted that when the Board had asked their attorney about the process during prior discussions they had learned that it was highly unusual for a Board in their position to sign off on building permits the way they had been doing.  Virtually no other municipality works it this way.

Trustee Gluck added that at the end of the allotted 30-month period, if a project has not been completed (after receiving two extensions) the project sponsor must reapply and begin the process again as if it were a new project.

Trustee Guinchard pointed out that in addition to the proposed a law, a new fee schedule had been developed to help mitigate violations stemming from un-permitted work.  Residents who undertake un-permitted projects will have their permit fee doubled.

Michelle Lindsay inquired as to whether or not the proposed law would also apply to major subdivisions like Overton.

The Building Inspector responded that although a subdivision does require approval from the Planning Board, it really does not fall as a building permit.  Sometimes it is just lot line changes and he does not believe it would fall under the same requirements.

Trustee Guinchard further pointed out that this law would come into play after approvals from the Planning Board and BAR had already been granted and the applicant was ready to commence the actual construction. 

As there were no further comments from the public, the hearing was closed.

Public Hearing - Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2014 - Restrict Access Through the South Gate:
Once again, Trustee Gluck provided a brief overview of the proposed legislation.  In the context of reviewing how the entrance and egress from the Village actually operated and who could go in through which gate, it was discovered that although there seemed to be a general understanding that the South Gate was for residents only the Code did not so provide.  Furthermore there seemed to be a number of different understandings of which sorts of vehicles could access the Village through the South Gate (residents only, anybody, tagged vehicles only, some non-tagged vehicles etc.)  What the proposed law does is to restrict entrance to the Village via the South Gate to tagged vehicles only.  The current regulations for vehicle tagging will be repealed and new regulations put in place, which tighten up the restrictions for temporary tags slightly. 

Mayor Neuhauser stated that the Police Department had some issues with the proposed locations for the affixation of tags, specifically the suggestion that tags could/should be affixed to vehicle bumpers, and therefore that language would need to be tweeked.

Trustee Guinchard commented that she had compiled a lengthy list of all the current tags that had been issued.  A process must be put in place for dealing with the old ones that are still out there.  She wondered if the Mayor could speak to the chief as to how they could enforce this and also inform everyone that only current, approved tags will be allowed Village access via the South Gate.  In other words, residents with expired tags will be sent around to the Front Gate. 

Mayor Neuhauser read aloud some questions she had received as follows: 

Would a Contractor/Guest be allowed to access the Village front the South Gate following an authorization from the Home Owner/Resident?

Would UPS, Fuel Companies and Landscapers be allowed access?

Would Club members and Club employees (both year-round and seasonal) operating a rental vehicle, as a passenger in a guest-vehicle or escorting a guest be allowed access if they are going to the Main Club?

The Mayor pointed out that Club members are issued tags, so this should not be a problem. 

Trustee Guinchard stated that all contractors would have to come through the Front Gate.  Only tagged residents and renters will be allowed through the South Gate.  If there is a specific reason that a contractor needs to access the South Gate (one time or for a period of time), it will be possible to get an exception with the permission of the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police.  These vehicles will then be issued a temporary tag to put on their windshield with an expiration date, to be determined by the Chief of Police. 
UPS, FED EX, Fuel, Utility and Emergency vehicles etc will automatically be given access to both gates.  Part-time and seasonal employees at the Club are not issued vehicle tags.  Members who have multiple cars should present their registrations and they will be issued a tag for each vehicle.  At TPS, one tag per family is issued.  Faculty members are all issued tags.

Rental cars will have to come in through the Front Gate.

Trustee Guinchard reiterated that the purpose of all of this was to ensure the safety and security of Village residents as the cameras at the South Gate are not good enough to truly see who is operating each vehicle.  With regard to contractors/landscapers, there has been a great deal of concern with regard to soil entering the Village and forcing these vehicles to enter via the Front Gate will allow them to keep better track of that.

Audrey Perry wondered whether or not contractors or landscapers who attempted to enter through the Back Gate would be told to turn around.

The answer was yes. 

Additionally, a monthly report will be provided by the Police Department detailing which new tags have been issued and which individuals have been warned and asked to surrender their old tags.

The police have asked whether or not tags will be issued to caretakers and/or babysitters.

The answer is no.

The Police have also expressed some concern over the placement of temporary tags as they are unable to clearly see through the windshield via their camera.  This was discussed and Mayor Neuhauser suggested that they issue a different colored tag, which can be affixed to the license plate with a braket.

Relocation and/or enhancement of the camera was also discussed briefly.

Trustee Gluck suggested they review exactly who it was they were concerned about entering through the South Gate with the temporary tag.

Trustee Guinchard suggested that they create a master list of temporary tags and that these tag holders could then identify themselves verbally when coming through the South Gate.

Michelle Lindsay commented that in the past she has been able to gain access via the South Gate when driving a rental car because Denise at the Front Gate recognizes her voice and lets her in.  She wondered if this would still be allowed or if she would be able to call ahead and make arrangements.  Similarly, she commented that often times when she was expecting guests coming from the Golf House, she was able to call the Front Gate and provide a description of the vehicle and license plate number and then they were given access.

Trustee Guinchard explained that this law would put a stop to that.  It was just to hard to control.

Obviously if there is some sort of medical emergency or some such basis, these things will be decided on a case-by-case basis.  Rental cars however, will be redirected. 

Mayor Neuhauser then stated that she did not feel they should close the hearing as there were clearly questions remaining and she would like to have the direct input of Chief Sanford and Trustee Guinchard agreed with this assessment. 

A motion was then made to continue the Public Hearing until March 24 and it was unanimously adopted.

Resolution to NYS - Request for Reform of NYS Tax Cap Law:
The Mayor read aloud a resolution to New York State requesting reform of the NYS Tax Cap Law.  In brief, the request represents many municipalities and asks the State to reconsider the cap because mandated expenses (namely pensions and healthcare) end up consuming most of the allowable cap and therefore prevents the municipalities from effectively providing for infrastructure improvements and repairs, road maintenance utility repairs and maintenance, transportation and communication, etc.
The motion was unanimously adopted.

Resolution-Approve Neami 3rd Party Administrator Agreement for PERMA (Workers' Comp):
Village Clerk Debbie Matthews explained that there were two individuals who had been injured a few years back (one traffic guard and one DPW employee) who were still receiving workman’s comp paid for by the Village.  The 3rd party agreement must be approved in order to authorize Neami (administrator for PERMA who is the insurance carrier for Workman’s comp) to administer the claims. 
A resolution to approve the agreement was then made and unanimously approved.

Budget Workshop:
There followed a budget workshop

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Agenda For Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 10, 2015

1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Public Hearing:
a. Local Law Introductory No. 1 of 2014 - Issuance and Duration of Building Permits
b. Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2014 - Restrict Access Through the South Gate
4. Resolution to NYS - Request for Reform of NYS Tax Cap Law
5. Resolution-Approve Neami 3rd Party Administrator Agreement for PERMA (Workers' Comp)
6. Budget Workshop
7. Adjournment

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Village of Tuxedo Park - Our Tax Reality

As we are still in the throes of this bleak and frigid winter, I would like to address some of the issues regarding the Village budget.

If any resident has questions, please come to us in the Village Office for answers. It is difficult for those, even well intentioned, to have all the information and the working knowledge of the various departments and their resources.

We will be having our Budget Workshop on March lOth following the public hearings on Local Law Introductory No. and No.3. The hearings begin at 7 p.m.

Firstly, let me explain why we are after relief from the 2 percent tax cap: If the VTP does not do this, we are bound by the cap, and last year we barely managed to stay within the 2%.

I have said before and will say again now, we will make every effort to stay within the 2% cap. Last year, and over the years, budgeted amounts, that were unspent and carried over to subsequent budget years, were used to manage the impact of increased expenditures. These amounts are referred to as "unappropriated funds," and the availability of these funds, enabled us to stay within last year's cap amount. Some administrations, in the past, have chosen not to use these funds, but, instead chose to raise taxes significantly.

These funds are primarily meant to act as a reserve fund to cover unexpected expenditures that invariably arise every year. The amount of our fiscal reserve is currently low, and it will be very difficult going forward to rely on this budgeting methodology to cover our costs.

All of our costs keep rising and the funds in the "safety net" are meant for use in the event of an immediate emergency, not for routine operating expenses.

I would like to review some of the many issues facing the Village, such as our aging infrastructure and other costs that are simply beyond our control.

Many of you who are new to the Park may not be aware, but we have fewer than 800 residents, whose taxes need to cover costs for our aging infrastructure.

The DPW oversees a sewer plant, water treatment plant, 26 miles of roads, several Village properties, some historic, along with the TP Police Department headquarters, 3 dams, 6 bridges and 3 lakes, one being our reservoir. It is a vast amount of items to keep running and maintain. It is a monumental task, one that we all take very seriously.

The Village Infrastructure Committee has been brought back to help charter these difficult waters. We meet with our Village attorney, the engineers, John Ledwith, Jeff Voss, DPW head and Trustee Goodfellow to insure that we are doing all that we can to keep projects moving forward and in a fiscally responsible manner. This is far from easy.

For example, the Wee Wah dam has been in need of replacement for years, after having many "BandAid" repairs. We are now pushing this major project along for the reconstruction.

The East Village Water line replacement project should be ready to go out to bid this spring. This line provides the water to the 1,100 residents in the town that we are responsible for.

The cost for asphalt climbs yearly, and the price of road salt has spiked higher this year, and will likely surge higher still next year, due to the recent spate of increasingly harsh winter seasons. It is a continuous, labor intensive struggle to keep our roadways safe all year long.

Employee benefits comprise almost a quarter of our total budget, and this, too, increases at an alarming rate each year. From 2000 to 2012 healthcare premiums have gone up 200%. We have no control over these escalating costs.

Legal fees are a component of the budget, as well. However, these costs are being driven by the result of legal actions being brought against the Village and not our initiating them-- let's be very clear on this point.

Tuxedo Lake is another vitally important resource that needs study, yearly testing and maintenance against threats including Eurasian milfoil, which needs to be hand pulled from the lakes, algaes and outside, upstream threats require our annual investment. It is not trite to say that the lakes are our most important resource, we team up with resident volunteers, biologists and Aquatic Invasive Management to help insure our drinking water is safe and the lakes are healthy.

The costs of all of the above continue to climb and we are often faced with the difficult choice of putting off needed work that we simply cannot afford to take on.

As time goes forward and various employment contracts expire, we will have the ability to take a hard look at them and see where we might be able to achieve savings through various restructurings and staffing levels.

But there is a question to ask: Do residents want to have some of their services scaled back? We will put these questions to the community as they come up.

To sum up, this is a very difficult process, one that requires a working knowledge of Village operations to review and balance department expenditures with the fiscal reality of a heavily taxed population. We are very cognizant of our responsibility to ensure the adequate and safe operation of the Village's many resources, while holding down taxes as much as possible.

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 24, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, February 24, 2015.  All members were present. 

Mayor’s Update:
There are currently open spots on both the Board of Architectural Review and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The Mayor asked everyone present to try and think of individuals who might make good candidates for these positions.  Interested parties can contact either the Board Chairs (Paula Tocci for the BAR and Gary Glynn for the BZA) or John and Debbie in the Village Officer for more information.

Mayor Neuhauser had the great pleasure of meeting with Joe Coleman, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, who is the new Assemblyman for the 98th District.  The Assemblyman is very interested in the helping Village with all manner of things.  The first two things that the Mayor has suggested  that he might be able to provide some assistance with are improving the condition of Route 17 (both the general condition of the road itself as well as the possible re-routing of trucks back to the Thruway where they belong) and some DEC issues that the Village is currently facing pertaining to the Wee Wah Dam.  To this end, both Mr. Coleman and Assemblyman Brabenec will be coming to the Village in early April to assess the dam first hand.  The Mayor is hopeful they will be able to help.  They will then be meeting with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and all of the Supervisors in the 98th district to take a closer look at issues with the roadways, with primary focus on Route 17.  The Mayor feels that improving the condition of the road and diverting the truck traffic back onto the Thruway will increase the likelihood of pedestrian traffic in the Town, which would in turn help all of the local businesses.

Police Update:
Chief Sanford reported the following for the month of January:
Non-Criminal Complaints: 29
Property Damage Complaints: 2
Traffic Summonses: 14
Medical Calls: 3
Fire Calls: 4
Intrusion Alarms: 1 (false)
Assists Given to the Town Police: 3
Assists Received from the Town Police: 0
Additionally, 8.951 untagged vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.

Trustee Goodfellow inquired as to whether or not there had been any reports of people going the wrong way on the Causeway and the Chief responded that there had been only one. 

Mayor Newhauser wondered if the Department had caught people attempting to go the wrong way and the Chief confirmed that indeed they had over the course of the past couple of months.

Trustee Kilduff wondered what type of summonses were generally written for this offense and Chief Sanford replied that there is a summonse for going the wrong way on a one way street. 

Trustee Kilduff then inquired as to whether or not they could issue anything more serious such as reckless endangerment or trespassing.

The answer was no.

Trustee Kilduff then wondered if there might be some kind of law the Village could pass to upgrade the offense, his concern being that a simple ticket and slap on the wrist might be considered a throw-away and would not alleviate the problem.

Chief Sanford assured him that the current summonse was not a throw-away.  T

DPW Update:
Much of the DPW’s time over the last month has been occupied with salting, sanding and plowing the roads.  Additionally, they have had their hands full with frozen and cracked pipes everywhere.  Supervisor Voss fears a warm-up as that is when pipes are more likely to break, 

The salt situation is quickly becoming critical.  The Village is expecting one more 100-ton shipment, after which they will be cut off from OTS.

The Mayor inquired as to how much salt has been purchased to date this winter.

The answer was just shy of 900 tons, with less than 100-tons left in storage currently. 

Mayor Neuhauser wondered how long that would last and the Supervisor responded that this depended on the situation.  An ice storm could require the use of all of it while the same amount could last through 2 or 3 snow-storms or freezing rain events. 

Trustee Goodfellow wondered what being cut off from OTS would mean for the Village.  If they needed more salt after the last 100-ton shipment, would they have to procure it on the open market?

Supervisor Voss responded that he would have to search for somebody that might have some and that the Village would have to pay a premium for it.  Purchasing the salt on State bid guarantees a good price, but once they reach 120% of the amount they put in for, the price goes up 10%.  The Village is already at this point and the next shipment will be actually be up 15% from the original price.  The Village does not receive the salt prices until late fall, however they are required to put in their quantity requests in April, making it very difficult to determine what will be needed and how to budget for it.  This past year, prices jumped $16 a ton!  Based on the rough winter we have been experiencing, the Supervisor expects the same type of increase next year. 
The Mayor pointed out that unfortunately, there does not seem to be any sort of alternative to salt that can used in the Village. 

The Supervisor concurred, commenting that they had tried calcium chloride and it had not worked. 

Trustee Kilduff pointed out that additionally, whatever amount the Village puts in for, they have to take.

Again, the Supervisor agreed.  If the Village were to put in for 1000 tons next winter and then experience a mild winter, they would be required to take 70% of that amount and storage would become an issue.

Trustee Gluck wondered if the salt could be preserved and used from year to year.
The answer was yes, provided it could be kept dry.

Trustee Guinchard wondered how this year compared to last in terms of salt use.
Supervisor Voss responded that it was about the same as he had used 1000 tons last year.  Typically he puts in for 700 tons annually, but he is hoping to put in for a little more next time around.  He did not expect the $16 per ton price increase.  The Village budgeted $46,000 for salt, but they have spent $65,000 to date.

Building Deparment:
Click here to review a copy of the Building Department report for the month of February. 
The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Building Inspector to issue a building permit to CC Road Tuxedo Park LLC for the construction of a new house with attached 3-car garage on Camp Comfort Road (property between Cassis and Sugden) subject to the bonding requirements in both the Village and New York State Building Codes. 

Mayor Neuhauser inquired as to the progress of the Tyler Project at the South end of the Lake.

Building Inspector Ledwith responded that last he had heard they were waiting on their windows, which had been ordered late fall and that he intended to follow up during the month of March.

The Mayor responded that perhaps moving forward the Village could institute some sort of guidelines with regard to the use of tarps, specifically requiring the use of brown ones as the bright blue ones currently in place are, in her view, unfortunate looking.

Committee Updates:
Trustee Guinchard reported that the Village Welcome Packets are almost finished.
On another note, there has been a generally positive response to the reflectors installed along East Lake Road and they appear to be quite effective.  Trustee Guinchard has asked the DPW to consider other areas where they might be useful.

Finally, she and Alan Yassky continue to struggle with the issue of cell towers.  Most companies seem uninterested in the prospect of putting a tower in the Village due to the small population size. Trustee Guinchard commented that she has seen several, new, enormous towers going up along Route 17 and she feels that these are probably a priority for the phone companies right now, which makes their ongoing efforts increasingly difficult.

Village Attorney Rick Golden pointed out that some of the surrounding municipalities had been approached by phone companies to install booster type devices that link into the larger towers and he wondered whether Trustee Guinchard had explored this idea.

Trustee Guinchard responded that the idea of boosters had been investigated however, it was her understanding that the Village would need to purchase the necessary equipment themselves.

Mr. Golden replied that this was not necessarily the case and that some of the other municipalities he has worked with have approved boosters, which are funded by the phone companies.

Trustee Guinchard commented that she would investigate this further and that if Mr. Golden had any additional information that he could pass along, she would greatly appreciate it.

Mr. Golden stated that he was unsure whether or not the technology in question would work in the Village but he thought he might have some info and that he would follow up with Trustee Guinchard as soon as possible. 

Environmental Committee – Tis the season for pulling together proposals for the protection of the lakes and watershed.  The committee took a look at PRISM funding and believe that the Village’s best opportunity there is to set the stage for making an application for a grant for next year.  The window for getting everything submitted is very narrow but now that the program is in it’s second year, the Village will be more prepared to hit the ground running with the time allotted for amassing the necessary materials.  Trustee Goodfellow has discovered that SUNY Oneonta offers a masters program in Lakes Management, which produces certified Lakes Managers.  This program in turn offers an internship to students to work on particular projects on various lakes and Trustee Goodfellow feels that something like this might be a good fit for the Village.

There were a number of recommendations that were made several years back with regard to studies that were never implemented and this might be something a student could handle at a reduced cost.  To that end, conversations with Oneonta have been initiated, but nothing will be known until next fall.  CSLAPS training will be held the first weekend in May.  Anyone 18 or older who would like to join the group and learn the protocols for lake sampling is welcome.  Notices have been posted to the Village website with more details.

Emergency Services Committee- The Ambulance Corps held their annual dinner at which Trustee Kilduff passed along the Village’s support for the Corps.  The event was a success.  Additionally, Trustee Kilduff reported that about a year ago he had approached two Village residents for assistance in funding the purchase of a device that does automatic chest compressions.  It is a machine that performs CPR and Tuxedo was the first Ambulance Corps in Orange County to have one thanks to the generosity of these two residents.  This past week, the Corps had their first save with the machine, when the device brought a patient back from heart failure.   Said patient is now in good condition and will be released from the hospital this week.

On another note, Trustee Guinchard asked that in an effort to avoid putting first responders at risk that the Village post notices forbidding both ice-skating and cross country skiing on Tuxedo Lake.  Following some discussion with regard to importance of reporting these types of illegal activities to the Police when spotted and during which it was determined that the ice was currently thick enough on Pond Number Three to safely support skating, it was agreed that a notice would be put on the Village website. 

Infrastructure Committee – While not yet official, there is the potential the Wee Wah Dam is once again being re-classified by the DEC, which would impact both the design and permitting process for the repairs and which would end up cost the Village more money.  The Mayor is, needless to say, very frustrated with this turn of events and is hopeful that Assemblyman Brabenec will be able to offer some assistance.  The sewer system evaluation survey is moving ahead and it appears that Club House Road may in fact be a large source of issues, as suspected.  Both of these projects will unfortunately be quite costly for the Village.  They will be tackled in more detail moving forward.

Public Comments:
Michele Lindsay commented that she had been reviewing the Special Permit for Tuxedo Farms that was adopted back in 2004.  She noted that although there has been a lot of blame placed on Environmentalists for the fact that the development has not yet been built, since 2004 it has been the Developer who has chosen to seek waiver after waiver and make multiple changes which is what in fact has held the project up.  With regard to the conservation agreements there are three basic categories.  There is a 2-acre parcel to be gifted to the Tuxedo Club, the conservation buffer zone (which goes around the Village) and then the Fox Hill and Northern Tracts, which are to be put into some sort of conservation easement.  According to the agreement all of this is to be done prior to the issuance of the first building permit and prior to any disturbance on the project site.  Mrs. Lindsay noted that there has been some disturbance on the project site, but the agreements were not anywhere close to being finalized.  She was at the Town Board meeting the night before and inquired about this there and was told that the attorneys had written up some language for the Town Board to consider for how to decide who the Third Party Conservation Organization would be to make this all happen, however they have not even started to look at it and construction has begun to move forward.

The Mayor asked Village Attorney Rick Golden for some feedback and he explained that the three parcels that are to be deeded over to the Village in fee and will have conservation easements that will be placed upon them.  Currently the contract that provides for all of this has two of the conservation easements in the name of The Village but the third in the name of a Land Trust.  Mr. Golden has been working with Related to put that third easement in the name of the Village in order to avoid the costs the Village would incur by having it maintained by a Land Trust.  They are currently waiting for the Related Companies to come back with revised agreements.  They have tentatively agreed to pass ownership to the Village by way of a typical bargain and sale deed but the contract poses some potential problems for the Village in terms of insurance.  Related has therefore tentatively agreed to go ahead and give the Village more than what is required in the agreement, but the Village is still waiting for the information to come.  Mr. Golden does not know anything about the northern tract other than that he had heard that the Town was considering trying to get that conservation easement put in their name or somebody of their choice.

Mrs. Lindsay commented that both the Fox Hill and the Northern Tract had a combined 7 building lots that would be annexed into the Village.  She expressed some concern over this.

Mr. Golden responded that there were two areas of land that the Village had agreed to have annexed in and once this has been done they have a limit of subdivided lots on them that can be developed.  There is no guarantee that the land will be developed though and once it has been annexed in it will be subject to the standard Village review process. (Planning Board, BAR etc)

Mrs. Lindsay commented that she had some specific concerns with regard to the northern tract and the Town’s idea of taking control of the property rather than having it given to a Land Trust.  The idea is supposedly to create recreation trails, which she feels is great but wonders who will pay for the development of this.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to give it to a conservation group and have an outfit like New York New Jersey Trail Conference come in and build the trails?  There already exists a parcel just outside of the Village, which the Town paid $2,000,000 that needs to be improved.  Who is going to pay for that?  The Taxpayers?  It makes more sense to her that a conversation group oversee the development of the land in question and it worries her that this might not happen.
Jim Hays suggested that PIPC would pay for the land and he commented that he did not understand why they would give the land to anyone else.

There followed some discussion about this after which Mrs. Lindsay cautioned that the Village should keep an eye on what was happening with that tract of land. 

Trustee Kilduff pointed out the site disturbance that has occurred to date has actually taken place on a section of the property that is in Sloatsburg and this provides somewhat of a loophole for Related as Tuxedo does not have jurisdiction over that part of the property per say. 

Mrs. Lindsay then followed up on a request she had made at a previous meeting several months back with regard to the possibility of the Village recouping fees that were taken in error by the Town in the form of court revenues.

Attorney Golden responded that he had prepared a memo on this subject but he did not have it readily available. He commented that he would revisit the subject and update the Board accordingly moving forward. 

Next Mrs. Lindsay wondered whether or not the Board intended to issue any sort of formal response to the article that appeared on the front page of the Times Herald Record depicting Tuxedo as a financially bereft community.  Again, she noted having been at the Town Board meeting the night before and commented that several residents seemed upset that the Town had no intention of issuing a formal response as they believe it will have a clear effect on property values, To portray Tuxedo as a million dollars in deficit, which it is not, and to state that no development has occurred in town since the 1960s when in fact The Woodlands, Hamilton Estates, Sterling Mine Estates and Table Rock have all been developed in that time, is not right as those are blatantly false statements. 

There followed a somewhat lengthy discussion with regard to whether it would be better to let the article die and have the news cycle roll over it or publicly debate the inaccuracies when there was no guarantee that the Record would correct the original story. 

Mayor Neuhauser suggested that instead of constantly falling back on the negatives, particularly after “the casino episode,” the Town should strive to move forward and look for more productive ways of doing things. She believes that working to improve the Route 17 corridor s a big piece of that. Additionally, she feels there are certain things that some business owners could do to help improve their situations, such as taking more pride in ownership by fixing up their storefronts and signage.

Trustee Kilduff commented that he felt one of the biggest problems the Town faces is it’s geographic location.  The Route 17 corridor serves as a pathway to shuttle people to and from the City from up north.  Getting people to stop is the big challenge.  That being said, he commented that he was surprised that Supervisor Rost did not want to refute some of the bigger inaccuracies in the article such as the $1,000,000 deficit, which is something he worked hard to repair.

The Mayor commented that she felt it was definitely more of a Town-wide issue than a Village specific one.  She feels it is important to continue to work hard to bring the Village and the Town together so that they can in turn support the local businesses, the schools, the churches etc, as these are the solid foundations of a strong community.

Jim Hays commented that there were a few negatives in the article that he felt probably should be answered.  One was the inaccuracies which, whether they like it or not, the THR has some responsibility as a paper to publish something that is true as opposed to something that is false.  Then there’s fanning of the Town/Village rivalry, which is no doubt fun for them but does nothing but divide the community.  Finally, the blaming of people for things is, in his view, absolutely non-productive.  For a business to say “I am not doing well because of them” effectively alleviates them of the responsibility to do anything to make their business better.  There are plenty of businesses in the Town that are doing very well and they are doing well because they are managed well.  The Gulf Station and the Liquor Store are such two examples.  Similarly, there is a little market in the Town of Bellvale, which is in “noweheresville” between Greenwood Lake and Warwick, and exists in a tiny space with a cramped parking lot, a much worse location than the Home Town Market, but they are doing a good business because of proper management.  The Home Town Market on the other hand is located right on Route 17 and has a huge lot, but has done nothing to get its’ act together and therefore, business is not good. 

Trustee Goodfellow suggested that what needs to happen is a professional analysis of what kind of businesses are appropriate for this area and can be supported by a community of 3,000 while maintaining the expectation of growth.  This very thing was done in a community of the same size up in Vermont, where she and her husband maintain another residence, and was very successful there.

The Mayor reiterated her hope that improving Route 17 would in turn improve conditions throughout downtown.  She also agreed that it might be a good idea for them to speak with Supervisor Rost about all of these things.

Local Law Introductory #1, #3 & #4 – Reschedule Public Hearings to March 10 at 7pm:
Mayor Neuhauser commented that she had received everal e-mails, letters and phone calls from various residents with regard to Local Law Introductory #4, which would allow the Board to raise taxes above the 2% cap.  She has tried to make it clear that the legislation is being put in place in case the 2% cap needs to be exceeded but just because it exists does not mean that the Board has already decided to exceed the cap.  In fact, the are only just beginning to get the tentative numbers together and are in the beginning stages of hammering out the budget.  She has a lot of ideas for savings moving forward, some of which include “rejiggering” contracts that are currently in the process of negotiation (specifically garbage and police)  Unfortunately, employee benefits are a major burden on the budget.  Healthcare inflation between the years 2000 and 2014 was 200%. 

Trustee Kildiff read aloud some of these figures ,which have increased dramatically over the past couple of years.

Mayor Neuhauser pointed out that this is a community of less than 800 people that maintains it’s own water and sewer treatment plants.  This goes well above and beyond what other municipalities of the same size are dealing with.  There is no room to “skimp” on water or sewer. 

The Mayor assured everyone that they keep the budget as tight as possible and addressing Sally Sonne in particular she further commented that although there are other expenses that residents would rather not see, she could assure her that they were not the only administration with legal issues.  There are plenty of other things that come into play as well.

When Mrs. Sonne laughed in response, the Mayor continued on to say that she was aware of the recent e-mail communication that had been sent out and given the nature of the information therein she felt it would have been courteous of Mrs. Sonne to share it with the Board.

Mrs. Sonne responded that she had sent the e-mail to certain residents in an effort to provide them with some information so that they could, in turn, express their views directly to the Board.  Changing the subject slightly, she inquired of Trustee Goodfellow about the number of police that existed in the Vermont town she referenced earlier. 

Trustee Goodfellow responded that she could not say off hand however, one thing that she could tell Mrs. Sonne was that there was no Route 17 running through the town in Vermont and there was not nearly the same amount of traffic there.  She further commented that one of the things that had been very surprising for to learn several years back was that Route 17 really is a drug trafficer’s corridor and that many residents have no idea what goes on during many of the routine traffic stops in Tuxedo.  She promised to find out how many officers there were up in the Vermont but reiterated that that town did not face nearly the same number of challenges as the Town of Tuxedo does. 

Mrs. Sonne pointed out that several years back the Village had opted not to have nighttime police coverage and instead used the Town department.  She does not recall any major problems with the arrangement.

Trustee Goodfellow retorted that in fact, there were HUGE problems with it.  The Town was very unhappy as tax dollars were being used to fund the service and the Town Department did not want to do the extra work for free. 

Mrs. Sonne commented that the Town officers probably were not needed very often.
Trustee Kilduff interjected that he certainly hoped they had felt compelled to patrol and not only come on demand.

Jim Hays stated that it was his understanding that if the Village went below 4 full time officers that the Town had the right to enforce an additional tax upon them.  He asked Mr. Golden to confirm this information.

Mr. Golden concurred, stating that that should the Village employ fewer than 4 full time officers the Town would have the legal responsibility of patrolling the Village and taxes would go up all around as a result.

Mrs. Sonne pointed out that it seemed to her that the Village Police assisted the Town Police on a more regular basis than they received assists.

Mr. Hays responded that this did not matter and that if Mrs. Sonne was concerned about taxes all she needed to know was that if they fell below 4 officers, taxes would go up.
In an effort to put things in prospective, Trustee Kilduff stated that the Village maintains a budget of roughly $4,000,000. 2% of this is $80,000.  $50,000 of that is used to pay employee benefits.  If one factors in things like the increase in rock salt needed to keep the roadways safe during the winter months, as previously discussed, the money is already spent!  He assured the public that the Board would go over the budget line by line in public and that all expenses would be openly scrutinized.

Mayor Neuhauser commented that residents needed to start thinking about where they might be willing to cut back as well.  Would they be willing to cut back on garbage pick-up?  Having only one garbage day a week would certainly reduce expenses.  Were the residents who were willing to forgo having their streets paved?  Road resurfacing is a huge expense!

Trustee Guinchard commented that she felt that they could not keep taxing and taxing and taxing and that it was crucial that they triage the most important things and make priorities.  In her view, the Wee Wah Dam is a greater priority than repairs to the Keep.

Trustee Goodfellow disagreed, pointing out that The Keep had been on the back burner for more than a decade.  She wondered when the appropriate time to make repairs to the building would be?  After the rood collapses?  She pointed out that the Wee Wah Dam had been on the table for almost 25 years and that rather than to do the expensive repairs from the get-go, the Village had opted to throw patches on it again and again, which ultimately had not gotten them anywhere.

Jim Hays stated that he did not understand why there was so much anxiety about taxes.  The inability to pay taxes is certainly an understandable cause of anxiety in his view, but barring that people need to realize that it costs money to live in a beautiful place such as Tuxedo Park.  Historically, wealthy people living in this community who could afford to help with various things would step-up and do so!  He feels that there are people who live here now that can afford to help out and he suggested that the Village make a list and reach out to these individuals.  He is tired of all the moaning and groaning.  The Village is a unique and beautiful community and it costs money to live here. 

Following some further discussion of this nature the Board agreed reschedule the public hearings for Local Law Introductory #1 and #3 for March 10 at 7pm  at which time they will also conduct a budgeting workshop.  The public hearing for Local Law Introductory #4 will take place at the regularly scheduled meeting on March 24.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 24, 2015

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
a. Speakers must sign in and are limited to 5 minutes per topic.
b. Written comments must be submitted by 4pm on the day prior to the meeting.
9 Local Law Introductory #1, #3, & #4 - Reschedule Public Hearings to March 10th at 7:00 p.m.
10. Approve BOT Minutes - 1/29/2015
11. Audit of Claims
12. Adjournment

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 30, 2015

The Village Board of Trustees met on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Update:
Mayor Neuhauser began with a brief overview of the recent snow storm, highlighting the process by which she collected information and dispersed it to the community.  In brief, following participation in two conference calls (one with O&R and one with the County) it was determined that although predictions were certainly varied,  Code Red would probably not be necessary and therefore, storm related information was posted to the Village website only.   In the event of a more serious event, the Code Red system would be activated to keep residents abreast of the situation. 

Next, the Mayor acknowledged having received a phone call from the Cromeys, who expressed their appreciation of both John Bello and former DPW Superintendent Richie Morrow for their assistance with a water related issue at their home a couple of nights prior. Mayor Neuhauser expressed her gratitude for both gentlemen, particularly Mr. Morrow, who was incredibly kind to offer his time to assist the Cromeys. 

The Mayor then called upon Village Attorney Rick Golden to provide an update on the Causeway Wall. 

Mr. Golden in turn reported that there had been a court appearance the day before scheduled by the court in order to determine the amount of the Preliminary Injunction Bond that Ms. Booth would need to file in order to continue the preliminary injunction preventing any alteration in the wall and Ms. Booth’s property.  There was some discussion in open court and further discussions in Chambers, but there was no decision made by the court on the amount of the bond.  A conference before the Judge to continue the discussion was scheduled for February 11 at 9:15am. 

Police Update:
Chief Sanford was not present and therefore no update was given

DPW Update:
Superintendent Voss was not present and therefore no update was given

Building Department Update:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Department report for the month of January.

Committee Updates
Environmental Committee Trustee Goodfellow introduced Village resident and West Point Forester Brett Walker, who came before the Board at her request to talk about the forest and its impact on the watershed.  As many people know, the Environmental Committee has recently begun to take a broader look at lakes, watershed and storm-water management issues and a very important component of this has to do with trees and how the forest is managed.  Historically both the Board and the community have looked at trees from more of an aesthetic point of view in terms of how they impact the viewshed as opposed to the role they play in preserving the lakes and the water quality.  It is important that the Village begin to orient itself toward the role of the forests in lakes management as well, and this is what Mr. Walker came to discuss.  Additionally, Trustee Goodfellow pointed out that it would be beneficial for the Village to begin to think of the individual properties within as being a communal part of the forest and the watershed at large rather than islands within it.  Residents need to understand that the way they choose to manage their properties impacts the entire system in a much broader way. 

 Mr. Walker began by stating that in looking at the larger picture, the forests in this area are very healthy.  They are both old and mature which is good for water quality and soil stabilization.  A more mature forest absorbs water and prevents it from running down into the lakes and creating erosion.  In looking more at the developed area around people’s homes however, the landscapes are being changed and this is having a direct affect on the quality of the water system and specifically the lakes.  Individual property owners have the right to manage their properties as they see fit, and many prefer to have a clean landscape that is entirely devoid of leaves and brush.  Mr. Walker advised that this was not good practice for maintaining the quality of the water as it allows for runoff and pollutants that would otherwise be soaked into the ground, to flow directly into the Lake.  If possible, residents should allow their properties to remain more rustic, or wild, which will allow the natural processes to take place.  This would also help to alleviate some of the pressure on the current storm water management system and provide the Village with more time to effectively update it.
Mr. Walker concluded by stating that if there was ever a need or desire to professionally manage the forest within the Village that he would be happy to oversee anybody that they chose to bring in with whatever spare time he might have.  The issue of the forest is an important one and he would like to help if needed.

Mayor Neuhauser wondered if Mr. Walker might be willing to help put together a community wide mailing with specific bullet points outlining suggested practices to perhaps be circulated with the water bills.

Mr. Walker responded that he would be happy to help.

Trustee Goodfellow wondered if Mr. Walker had any thoughts on the subject of invasive species.

Mr. Walker replied that Tuxedo was full of invasives but that there are ways to mitigate this.  He pointed out that most of the plants in question contain berries and grow along the roadways where they are able to thrive.   They are not nearly as abundant in the deeper forest.   He suggested that one method of mitigation might be for the Village to prohibit the planting of certain species for ornamental purposes. Barberry in particular was mentioned.  Mr. Walker stated that Barberry was also one of the main reasons for the abundant tick population as it serves as refuge for the white-footed door mouse.

Trustee Goodfellow suggested that it might be a good idea to identify a group of volunteers who would be willing to section off specific areas in order to document what is growing there so that a sensible management plan for the Village can be developed.  She acknowledged that this type of management would be extremely challenging. 

Mr. Walker concurred but stated that it could be done and had been done at West Point. 

Trustee Goodfellow further commented that the head of the Lower Hudson Prism group would also be willing to come to the Village and give a tour for those who have an interest in taking a look at the invasives here.  She pointed out that many residents have things growing on their properties that they do not really understand.  The resources are there.

Moving on to Lakes Management, Trustee Goodfellow stated that the committee had been getting together the proposals for 2015/2016.  As previously discussed, they were hoping to have an overall assessment of the Eurasion Water Milfoil management program by the end of the year however, given what they had seen at the end of last summer it was likely that they would be putting forth another kind of proposal.  When the program was initiated back in 2012 (when EWM was first identified in Tuxedo Lake) their hope had been that the plant was sparse in both the Wee Wah and Pond Number 3, however these two lakes have served as a breeding ground for the plant, which thrives in the mucky bottom and shallower water.  Recent storm activity and algae blooms have only aided in the vigorous growth.  While the original hope had been to manage and hopefully eradicate the plant entirely from these lakes (something they still believe to be possible in Tuxedo Lake) it is looking more and more like there may need to be more involved action in the future.  All of these recommendations will be coming forward shortly. 

Infrastructure Committee – Speaking on behalf of the infrastructure committee, Mayor Neuhauser reported that the East Village Water Main project was finally progressing and that the hope is to put the project out to bid this coming spring.  The Guide Rail on Crows Nest Road above the Gruterich property is failing.  While the DPW has been able to repair the roadway in order to alleviate drainage issues, the situation is somewhat dire and has become an issue of safety.  While ideally the Village would like to install something that matches the rest of the Guide Rails throughout the community, this would be quite expensive and so they have asked Building Inspector John Ledwith to explore various options.  

Village Welcome packets are almost complete!  Trustee Guinchard is just waiting on a few remaining contributions.  The Mayor urged those who have yet to submit their information to do so in order that the packets could be complete.

Test reflector strips have been installed on telephone polls running along East Lake Road between Ridge and Acoma Roads.  Trustee Guinchard encouraged residents to drive by and take a look and feel free to submit any feedback to the Board.

Public Comments:
Sally Sonne inquired about the Public Hearing for Local Law Introductory #4, which had originally been scheduled for the previous Tuesday but was postponed until February 27 once the Board Meeting had been cancelled.  Specifically, she expressed concern with what she believed to be a lack of communication from the Village with regard to the Law’s existence, commenting that although it was posted to the Village Website, it was extremely difficult to locate as it was not on the homepage.

Both Mayor Neuhauser and Village Clerk Debbie Matthews responded that it had been on the home page for a couple of weeks until just recently when it was bumped to the BOT page only so that storm related information could be displayed prominently on the main page.

Additionally, it had been available for review in the Village Office for almost a month.

Mrs. Sonne then wanted to know about the Village Attorney’s promise to cap fees on the Wall Litigation and whether or not this cap was still in place.

Mr. Golden responded that commencing in January all court costs as they related to the litigation itself were pro bono.  This does not however include out of pocket expenses such as filing fees or the retention of experts and it also does include any additional outside advice the Board might seek from him.

Trustee Guinchard stated that she had not been aware that the cap did not include Mr. Golden’s advice and further wondered if he could provide a rough estimate as to how much everything would cost when all was said and done.

Mr. Golden replied that he could not do this as there was really no way to tell what filing fees might be incurred or whether there would be appeals etc.  He reiterated however that all court costs would be pro-bono moving forward. 

Jumping back to Local Law Introductory #4, which will allow the Village to increase taxes above the 2% cap if necessary, Mrs. Sonne pointed out that over the last 14 years that had been a 55.5% increase in Village taxes, which was 18% more than the rate of inflation over the same time period.  She urged the Board not to get carried away with the budget at this point.

Trustee Goodfellow responded that the law in question was only a tool, which would enable the Board to raise taxes above the cap if it became necessary and that this was, in her view, an extremely important tool to have. She pointed out that the Board had collected three pages worth of community concerns that needed to be addressed and that coupled with long neglected infrastructure problems that exist, she found it hard to see a decrease in taxes coming anytime soon.  There are tough decisions that need to be made for the good of the community.

Trustee Kilduff reminded Mrs. Sonne that the Village also has many State mandated costs which are entirely out of their control.  He referred to these as “killers” as they are basically unfunded mandates that the Village is required to cover.
Mayor Neuhauser assured Mrs. Sonne that the Board would do everything they could to keep taxes as low as possible.

Trustee Guinchard asked Building Inspector Ledwith to provide an update on the Village Boat Club’s dock application.

Mr. Ledwith responded that the application had come before the BAR,  but that a determination had not been made.  The BAR will need to conduct a site visit and they also had some further questions they would like to investigate. There was also some talk of waiting until the spring when the boats were in the water so that they might make a second, arguably more effective site visit.

Fire District Commissioner Term Limit:
Mayor Neuhauser reported that she had received a multitude of phone calls from various people with regard to the Board’s December vote in favor of appointing Charlie Jones as Fire District Commissioner.  Apparently, the process by which the appointment takes place is somewhat flawed and there is some concern with regard to the lack of term limits and Mr. Jones’ on going service in this position for over 30 years.  There has been some speculation as to whether or not Mr. Jones was put forward to the municipality by an individual rather than the Fire Departments as a whole.  It has been suggested that the Village should write some sort of letter renouncing their vote.

Trustee Kilduff interjected that what seemed to be going on was a bevy of Fire Department Politics.  Although it is ultimately the Commissioners in charge who appoint the Local Commissioner, Mr. Jones is highly regarded within the community.  The letter received by the Village came on official letterhead from Company #1 and the Village’s response and subsequent vote was right in line with what they have always done historically.  Clearly the process is somewhat flawed in that there now seems to be speculation and unrest but Trustee Kilduff believes that this is something to be worked out by the Fire Department themselves and that the Village should have nothing to do with it.  The Town has received a similar request and has not taken action. 

Trustee Gunchard agreed with this commenting that in her view the Village should not need to get involved with how the Fire Department initiates their own process.

Following some further discussion, it was agreed that the Village would not involve itself with the issue.

Tuxedo Road Wall Direction:
It has been suggested to the Village that they consider reversing the direction of traffic along the Causeway to allow those cars traveling North (towards the Club and TPS) access while those going south (towards The Front Gate and Town) would utilize the detour over Tower Hill.  Mayor Neuhauser stated that the initial decision regarding the direction and flow of traffic was made jointly with the Village Police, Fire Department, Ambulance Corps and DPW and that it was the view of these departments that the way it is currently set up is the safest possible route for everyone under the circumstances.  

Trustee Kilduff commented that the current detour allows them to maintain the flow of traffic in way that is as close to the original flow as possible.  He further pointed out that possibly the most dangerous section of the detour as a whole is the left hand turn one can make where Tower Hill meets Fox Hill (leading down towards The Race Track and St. Mary’s) and that if traffic were to be reversed, surely a great number of motorists would making this turn in order to save time and reach Town quicker.  This would create a substantial increase in the threat of accidents. 

Sally Sonne suggested that if the direction were to be reversed, there would be fewer people speeding up Tower Hill Road so, in her view, there would not necessarily be a heightened risk. 

Trustee Goodfellow suggested that another issue with reversal would be the large hedgerow that exists where Circuit Road and Tower Hill meet as it is very difficult to see cars who are merging out from Circuit over the hedges.  Additionally she believes motorists coming up Club House from the bottom would face a greater threat along the large curve at the bottom of the hill (below Continental Road near the Gwathmey home) as there are a set of mailboxes on the right hand side of the road that could very easily be swiped.

There followed a brief discussion with regard to speeding along the detour in general following which the Mayor agreed to ask Chief Sanford to increase the Police presence along the route. 

Mrs. Sonne wondered whether or not the dangerous spots along the detour were more or less dangerous than the threat posed by the Causeway Wall.

Trustee Guinchard suggested that the Village’s Insurance Company was rapidly becoming “alarmed” and seemed to feel that the threat of a serious accident along the detour was imminent.

Meg Vaught stated that in her view, the biggest potential for disaster came from those motorists who chose to ignore the detour entirely and drive northbound on the Causeway despite the signage, often times late at night when the believe they will not face a police presence or any on-coming traffic.

It was agreed that this could not be tolerated and there was some talk of installing cameras at some point along the route so that anybody who might do such a thing could be caught and properly reprimanded.

Discussion – Local Law Introductory No 1,2,3 and 4 of 2014:
Beginning with Local Law #4, Rick Golden provided the Board with a brief overview of the legislative process moving forward.  He advised the Board that in order for the law to have an impact on this year’s budgeting process, it must be adopted prior to May 1 when the Budget is adopted.  If the law is adopted the law will only be good for 1 year.  Therefore, if they wish to do it again next year, a new law must be adopted.  If they do in fact override the tax cap this year, the base budget for tax cap purposes next year will be whatever budget they pass and not the budget with only a 2% cap. 

Sally Sonne expressed some concern wondering whether there would be any cap at all should the Village override the current 2% cap.

The answer was no, however Mayor Neuhauser assured Mrs. Sonne that allowing for the increase did not necessarily mean that it would take place and furthermore, even if it did take place, it was not a “carte blanche” for the Village to go “bezerk” raising everyone’s taxes.

Trustee Kilduff reminded Mrs. Sonne that the budget process was an entirely transparent one in which residents were welcome to first observe and then voice their opinions.  Again, he stressed the fact that the Village is getting “squeezed” with mandates from the State, over which they have no control.  The budget process will remain the same as it has always been.  Local Law #4 is entirely precautionary but will be there in case they need it.

Mrs. Sonne countered that in her view, the Board was talking as though a tax increase was a“fait accompli.”   She feels that the Village has been operating under a flawed process of “whatever we want, we tax you” for far too long and enough is enough.
This was met by a chorus of objections from the Board, with Mayor Neuhauser stressing that they had repeatedly made it very clear that the law was precautionary and did not necessarily mean that they intended to raise taxes.
Mrs. Sonne retorted that if the Village chose not to give themselves the right to raise taxes, then they would be able to and that they would simply have to tighten their belts a little bit more to make things work.

Again, the Mayor reiterated her point that the Law was precautionary commenting that she did not want residents to assume that the Board was planning to “go crazy” with a tax increase.

The discussion then turned to Local Law Introductory #1 regarding building permits.  To review a draft copy of this law, click here. 

Trustee Goodfellow wondered what the process would be should the Building Inspector make a questionable decision.

Mr. Golden responded that once the BI had issued a permit, there was not much that the BOT could do, aside from an official appeal to the ZBA.

Trustee Gluck pointed out that the law would not be eliminating the BI’s need to make a monthly report before the BOT and that they would be able to discuss any issues they might have at that time.

Trustee Goodfellow agreed that this was a good thing, and she emphasized the need for a sustainable, institutionalized over-sight methodology.

The discussion then turned to Local Law Introductory #2 regarding the regulation of the use of unmanned aircraft systems (aka drones) and allowing limited ground-based photography and other imagery related to he sale of real property.

Trustee Guinchard explained that what had really prompted them to propose these changes was that in “today’s world” the use of drones really allows the realtors to advertise their properties and remain competitive within the market.  Board of Architectural Review Chair Paola Tocci has requested that the Board review and address how drones should be used from a commercial standpoint on properties in the Village, in terms of surveying and roofing etc.  Drones are being used more in that industry in order to alleviate risks such as climbing roofs and chimneys for assessments.

Mayor Neuhauser commented that there were aspects of the FAA’s regulations for Drones that seemed to be changing on a daily basis.  Personal use of drones could well become outlawed….she wondered if this should not be a temporary measure.

Mr. Golden pointed out that personal use of drones currently IS outlawed.  While it is not illegal to purchase a drone, it is illegal to fly it.

Trustee Gluck wondered if it were illegal for hobbiests to fly drones beneath the airspace line and Mr. Golden informed him that the FAA did not consider drones to be hobby aircraft.

Rather, hobby aircraft are clearly defined by the FAA, and they have said that those rules do not apply to drones.  

Trustee Guinchard then provided the Board with some “quick drone facts” that she gathered from somebody she knows who has a drone business. 

  • An FAA waiver is required in order to legally fly a drone for commercial purposes.
  • The drone must weigh less then 55lbs
  • Private property owners must grant permission for a drone to be flown over
  • The drone must operate within s 400ft ceiling
  • Drones may not be flown over crowded areas.

Trustee Gluck commented that he thought they had written the law in such a way that they would not be granting people permission to do anything that is otherwise prohibited under the law, whatever that might be.  If the FAA says people cannot fly the drones, the law will not give them permission to do so.  So why do it at all?  Because there have apparently been instances where drones have appeared on people’s properties uninvited with cameras and there have also apparently been instances of drones flying over Tuxedo Lake. 

Trustee Goodfellow responded that in that case, since such activity is not permissible under the current law, then it should be reported  to the proper authorities by the Village Mayor rather than to add another layer of law, which may well end up to be a tangled mess once the FAA tightens their regulations. She is just not so sure this is a necessary process.

Trustee Guichard wondered if they were going to table it altogether or perhaps alter it to include a provision for realtors for filming.

Trustee Goodfellow responded that realtors would not be able to film.

Trustee Gluck commented that this was a bit of a different issue as there already exists a provision within the Village Code that prohibits the use of commercial photography.

Trustee Goodfellow replied that she was fine with allowing realtors to take pictures. 

Trustee Guinchard wondered if they should not then insert some sort of wording within the law pertaining to drones that simply said that all drones must comply with FAA regulations or whether drones should be removed from the law altogether.

Mr. Golden explained that the proposed law would not be allowing something that is otherwise illegal to use but to the extent that something may be legal to use either now or in the future, they were regulating its use with respect to certain specific functions.  One of the concerns that has been raised is the idea of using drones to invade the privacy of another person through the use of cameras affixed to them.  There was an issue that was brought up with respect to the utility of it being used to market one’s one property and there is a provision that allows for the use of drones to the extent that they could otherwise use it under federal or sate regulations.  Again, the Village is not authorizing this use, what they are saying is that if it is already permissible, the drones can be used by residents on their own properties but they cannot stray off their properties in doing so. 

Hobby aircrafts have also been folded in order to avoid having people affixing cameras to hobby aircraft in order to get around the law. 

Trustee Guinchard stated she did not think it could be denied that drones are the future so she feels it is important that it be addressed within the law now in order to keep things tight.
Trustee Gluck commented for him it was driven more by the imagery and the photography and the potential invasion of privacy, which he sees as more of a photography thing than a drone thing.  What does one do if a drone comes onto their property uninvited?  Can we expect this to be FAA regulated?

Trustee Goodfellow wondered whether one’s course of action, should such a thing occur, be to call the FAA to report it.

Mr. Golden responded that under current regulations, yes, this would be the correct thing to do.

Trustee Goodfellow then wondered whether the Village Police would have any jurisdiction over something like this and the answer was not currently, however if the legislation goes through, then it would be a violation of the code and enforcement action would be possible under the right circumstances.

Trustee Gluck commented that this was unlikely to have any relevance until the spring and suggested that they had some time to think on it.  In his view, question that needs to be answered is to what extent will drones being used for commercial purposes be allowed to fly over privately owned and Village property.

The Mayor commented that the Lake was “a big no-no” and Trustee Gluck pointed out that if this were the case then the drones could not be used for topographical studies or sight surveys. 

Trustee Goodfellow suggested that it would be useful to ascertain exactly what the FAA regulations were and what they were going to be, but she felt that clearly the applications of drone use for the community could be very useful once they know what is permissible and how this can be implemented.

From the audience Mrs. Sonne read aloud a sentence from the proposed law which basically stated that individuals were not permitted to partake in photography, movie making, computer or digital imaging, transmission, broadcasting, taping, video production, audio and/or visual recording or any similar such undertakings and wondered why such things were not permitted on private property.  “Is this the USA?” she wondered commenting that she felt it was extremely intrusive on individual rights.  She cautioned the Board to think about this when redrafting the law. 

Trustee Gluck pointed out that the following paragraph stated that excluded from this was normal film taking, recording and photography activity occasionally undertaken by a single-family unit in their own premises and for no commercial purposes.

Mrs. Sonne suggested that to date this had not been enforced and she felt that this was because it could not be effectively enforced.

Trustee Goodfellow responded that it definitely had been enforced in terms of commercial filming within the Village.
Mrs. Sonne suggested that the enforcement had “uneven” at best.

It was agreed that all of this would be evaluated moving forward.

Next the Board discussed Local Law Introductory No. 3, amending the Village Code to restrict access through thr South Gate to Owners, residents and tagged vehicles.  To review a copy of this law, click here.

Mr. Golden explained that because there were no other enforcements in place, the South Gate was currently enforced the same as the Main Gate in that anyone who has proper right to come into the Village can come in through all gates.  As a practical matter, when some trucks pull up to the gate, it is not possible to monitor their purpose because sometimes the audio is not very apparent or the license plates are not visible. As a result, some vehicles are asked to come around to the Main Gate.  Legally, if these vehicles can prove that they are allowed Village access, they can come in through the South Gate.  The proposed law changes that dynamic and restricts who can enter the Village via the South Gate.  The concern was that there may be trucks bringing in fill, that the Village has had concerns about with respect to its’ providence.  Therefore, they felt it might be a good idea to require all those trucks and others to access the Village via the Main Gate.  Vehicles that are already in the Village legally will still be allowed to exit via the South Gate.  
Residents and other tagged vehicles will be allowed to enter in both places. 

Trustee Guinchard brought up the issue of landscapers commenting that currently there are landscapers with tags who do come in that way. 

Trustee Goodfellow commented that there are great challenges with many of the landscapers and some of them have been known to come in with unknown material.  That being said, from time to time and with certain building projects it definitely made sense to have some of the trucks accessing the Village via the South Gate.  She feels there should be a way to arrange access if needed via a Police escort.  As a general proposition however, she is not terribly sympathetic to the idea of having landscapers and contractors have open access to the South Gate. 

Trustee Guinchard commented that personally, she would prefer to see anything commercial come through the Front Gate.   Any exceptions can be individually arranged.

The idea of issuing temporary tags/windshield notices with clear expiration dates and to allow for these types exceptions and how this might be documented was discussed.

Dental Coverage – Domestic Partner:
The Board discussed and ultimately voted in favor of amending the Village dental and vision policies to include domestic partners who meet certain criteria as dictated by the insurance company.

This will not the cost the Village anything.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 29, 2015

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. Infrastructure - Grueterich Guide Rail
8. Public Comments
a. Speakers must sign in and are limited to 5 minutes per topic.
b. Written comments must be submitted by 4pm on the day prior to the meeting.
9. Fire District Commissioner Term Limit
10. Tuxedo Road Wall Direction
11. Discussion - Local Law Introductory No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 of 2014
12. Dental Coverage - Domestic Partner
13. Approve BOT Minutes - 12/23/2014
14. Audit of Claims
15. Adjournment

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A Note on The Impending Blizzard from Mayor Neuhauser - 1/26/15

I will be having a conference call with O and R in the morning, then will discuss with the head of the DPW, Jeff Voss and the Chief of Police, Ken Sanford, next steps and safety tips. I will likely send out a CODE RED by late Monday morning. The National Weather Service is billing this storm as “HISTORIC”. Our goal is to keep all residents safe and if possible the power on. Orange County has been placed on a Blizzard Warning from tomorrow at 1 p.m. until midnight on Tuesday. It is always, if at all possible, best to stay safely at home when the conditions are extreme, as will be the case during this storm. Let’s keep the roads for Emergencies and our DPW.

Please go to the O and R website for tips on reporting outages and write them down. Remember each household needs to report their outage. The Village will be keeping you posted on all developments.
Thanks and keep safe.

Lili Neuhauser, Mayor

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Village To Hold Public Hearing on Local Law Introductory #4 January 27


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on Tuesday, the 2th day of January 2015, at 7:00p.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter can be heard, a Public Hearing will be held before the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park, New York, at Village Hall, located at 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, New York, to consider Local Law Introductory No. 4 of 2014. The purpose of this local law is to allow the Village of Tuxedo Park to adopt a budget for the fiscal year commencing June 1, 2015 that requires a real property tax levy in excess of the "tax levy limit" as defined by General Municipal law §3-c.

Dated:January 12, 2015

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