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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 17, 2024

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, April 17 at 7pm.  Trustee Josh Scherer joined the meeting via Zoom.

Mayors Comments:
Mayor Citrin reported that he and Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty had recently met with the Orange County Board of Elections and everything is on track for the Village’s June 18 election.  The election, which will fill two Trustee seats, will be run by the Board of Elections and all that remains for the Village to do is to decide what they would like the polling hours to be.
With regard to cell service, Verizon has reached out to the Village and are very interested in helping to improve cell service in the community.  To this end they will visit the Park on Friday, April 19 to conduct a number of surveys, some of which will include the use of drones, in order to determine the best options for proposal.  Whether it’s a tree tower or mini-cells or hot spots or a a combination of all the above, if the Village chooses to work with them, equipment and installation will be free of cost.  Following their visit, they will put together a formal proposal, which will be shared publicly.
The recent earthquake caused a small leak in the Pond #3 dam, which separates Pond #3 from Wee Wah Lake.  The Mayor has instructed John Ledwith to reach out to reach out to the insurance company with the intent of filing a claim as well as the Village Engineers for the purpose of evaluating its stability.
The Village had been working to move forward with the Community Choice Aggregation program, which will allow residents the ability to obtain their electricity through renewable energy.  Power will continue to come through Orange and Rockland, but residents who do not wish to go with renewable energy sources will have to “opt out” of the program.  The Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be meeting with the Orange County aggregator for the program at which time they hope to receive pricing from various suppliers.
The public hearing for the 2024/2025 budget will take place on Thursday April 18 at 6pm.  The Mayor thanked both Trustee Shaw and the Deputy Mayor for all of the hard work they have put in to pull the budget together.  A copy of the proposed budget can be found on the Village website.  No tax increase has been proposed.   
 
Opening Comments:
Trustee Comments – Trustee Scherer commented that he had been a Trustee through two different administrations and he has found both former Mayor McFadden and Mayor Citrin to be highly effective in their own ways.  One thing that he has noticed throughout both administrations is that the Mayor is continuously accused of / assumed to have committed nefarious acts such as backroom dealings and middle-of-the-night decisions, but none of these things have ever happened nor has he seen any evidence of this kind of behavior.  Regardless, he continues to see these types of accusations coming from some residents, as recently as that very day. “There is an underlying assumption that something bad is happening…that someone is acting illegally or just generally pursuing their own interests over their fiduciary duties.  I am very comfortable saying that I haven’t seen any evidence of that in either administration or with any of the Trustees.  Since becoming a Trustee, I have been impressed by the level of care and duty that each individual has had with respect to their fiduciary duties.  I would request that when you send in an email….your voice will be heard…it should be heard….it deserves to be heard….but please don’t assume that people are acting in bad faith or not acting in their fiduciary duties.  I’ve never seen any evidence of it and unless people are exceptionally good at hiding it…it’s just not happening.  We’ve had a very divided community over the last couple of years.  It’s very unfortunate.  I would ask that everyone tone it down a little bit and assume that people are acting in good faith.  We may have different objectives and we will disagree but don’t assume the worst in individuals.”
Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty agreed, commenting “Everybody works very hard.  They put so much into this job and to be criticized liberally is so unfair.”
Deputy Mayor Lindsay reported that the Climate Smart Task Force was planning a community campaign to promote community solar, electric vehicles and clean energy heating & cooling.  A webinar will take place on May 1 at 5:30, the details of which will be shared via the Village website, and then on May 11, Climate Smart Task Forces from the Village and the Town will come together to promote an in-person presentation of vendors at the Train Station from 9:30am-12pm.  There will be more information forthcoming.  With regard to Hamlet Revitalization, the Deputy Mayor reported that a contract has been awarded to the engineering firm of Creighton Manning from the planning of revitalization between East Village Road and Contractor’s Row.  They are currently busy at work on their first round of drawings.  It is expected that the first workshop seeking input from the public will take place in mid-May.  Once this has taken place, feedback will be used to develop a revised plan which will be used to apply for New York Forward grants, with the Town hoping to receive a 4.5 million dollar grant through that program in addition to other possible grants. 
Neither Trustees Shaw or Brooke had any comments.
Public Comments – Michael Sheridan, an attorney representing Village resident Sofia Delanner, stated that he was present to comment on the discussion of the possible readoption of Chapter 49 (fences) of the Village Code.  His client opposes the readoption of chapter 49 and any moratorium associated with the review of that adoption. “Ms. Delanner as well as any other citizen of the Village must be able to reasonably rely on what is written in the code when determining how and if to proceed with projects on their property.”  He went on to explain that Ms. Delanner had relied on what is written in the code when proceeding with  her project to put a fence on her property.  She relied on the fact that the Village code provides that Chapter 49 has sunset and is no longer applicable in connection with fences in the Village.  To the extent that the Board does consider review and adoption of Chapter 49, it is requested that any application made prior to such adoption (such as Ms. Delanner’s) be grandfathered in under the current building code and also that any application filed prior to this evening’s meeting should not be subjected to any moratorium.  Further he noted that it appeared that the Board’s review of Chapter 49 was the direct result of the efforts of one of Ms. Delnnaer’s neighbors…Claudio Guazzoni…and his attorney John Sarcone in an effort to prevent Ms. Delanner from installing her proposed fence.  In addition to opposing the installation of the proposed fence, Mr. Guazzoni is currently suing Ms. Delanner in an effort to take some of her property away…and that property was supposed to be blocked by the proposed fence.  Before ending his remarks, he reiterated this request that should the Board move forward with adopting Chapter 49, Ms. Delanner’s project be grandfathered in. 
Mayor Citrin responded that there would not be imposing a moratorium that evening as they had been advised by Village Counsel that there is a process of approval by the Orange County Planning Department and before they can proceed with voting on a moratorium, a resolution will need to be drafted and submitted to the County for review. 
Representing Blue Summit Holdings, Attorney John Sarcone noted that he had submitted a letter to the Board which identified several key points.  The first is the question of whether or not Chapter 49 has actually sunsetted.  He believes that it has not.  He further suggested that once the Village Counsel had completed the necessary research, they might well come back with the same conclusion and if they did, there would be no need to re-adopt anything.  “At this point,” he stated, “we’re not sure if anything can be Grandfathered because we’re not sure if the law is in existence or not.”  Secondly, he stated that it had been revealed to his client that Trustee Shaw had engaged in inappropriate communications with BAR Chair Ryan Lynch.  “Two nights ago, there was a meeting.  You suddenly appeared in the middle of the meeting and you had never appeared at a BAR meeting before.  Text messages, we believe, were going back and forth and then it was also revealed that you have a vacant piece of property that has a perimeter fence on it which was put there without proper approvals.” He concluded that Trustee Shaw should recuse herself from any deliberation on this topic as this would become an issue if she did not.  Lastly, he noted that they had also submitted historic deeds, dating back over 150 years which clearly show that the founders of the Village did not want perimeter fences. 
Trustee Shaw was given an opportunity to respond, but she indicated that she did not want to.
Chiu Yin Hempel announced that on Monday, April 22, from 1-2pm, the Village would be celebrating Arbor Day and Earth Day by planting four native trees between Route 17 and the entrance to the Village to replace to four dead trees that are currently there.  25 students and their teachers from George Grant Elementary will assist with the planting.  The Town DPW will assist with removing the dead trees.  All residents from both the Town and Village have been invited to attend the event, where refreshments will be provided courtesy of Peter and Barbara Regna.  Town Supervisor Dave McMillen, along with Deputy Supervisor Rick Marsh, and Councilpersons Chris Kasker and Deirdre Murphy will attend together with the Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent.  The Tuxedo Park Fire Department is sending a truck to assist with watering the new trees and the Ambulance Corps will also be on hand to enjoy the celebration and help out if needed.  This is the first time that the Village and the Town have come together to celebrate a worthy environmental cause.  Mayor Citrin and Deputy Mayor Lindsay will also be attending and it is hoped that the other three Village Trustees will be able to attend as well.  Additionally, Mrs. Hempel noted that the Village Tree Advisory Board was assisting the Town with their application to become a member of Tree City USA.
Ryan Lynch stated that with regard to the suggestion that he had been text messaging with Trustee Shaw during Monday evening’s BAR meeting, that he invited interested individuals to review the video of the meeting. “My phone didn’t leave my pocket,” he commented “and I’m happy to submit my phone records from that period if anyone is curious.”  Moving on, he read into the record a letter he submitted to the Trustees and also read aloud at the April 15 BAR meeting as follows:  “The Mayor has made a second attempt to remove me as BAR Chairman. He has falsified documents to show my 5 year term ending in 2026 (vs. 2028) and “instructed attorneys to do no further work on the issue of BAR terms.” This has been an ongoing issue, first raised at the reorganization meeting, then subsequent BOT meetings. It began with Molly Gonzalez and Stefanie Rinza’s appointments being switched. Now he is attempting to remove 2 years from my 5 year term by altering official documents a second time, unilaterally changing the BOT vote without their consent. BAR appointments have been added as an agenda item for this Wednesday’s BOT meeting. As Chairman, my correspondence to legal asking why their own documents have suddenly changed have gone unanswered because the Mayor is attempting to pull a fast one behind closed doors. Luckily, at the November 6th BAR meeting I requested a memo from legal clarifying appointments. Their cote,trrespondence correctly lists my 5 year term ending 2028. What has changed? 2023 plus 5 years equal 2028 not 2026. On February 8, 2024 Trustee Shaw indicated that the vote appointed Molly Gonzalez to the seat expiring 2027 and Stefanie Rinza 2024. The previous Mayor has also communicated this to Mayor Citrin via email. In the interest of actual transparency, I have provided TPFYI with all correspondence, including the attorneys November 17th email clarifying my term ending 2028 and that the Mayor has no authority to change the configuration of the BAR. Should any resident wish, please email me and I am happy to provide all documents for your review. In the interest of an open and transparent government, I request the BOT to post documents on the town website for public review I would like to take a moment to remind everyone, that these are volunteer positions that dedicated members of this community give countless hours of their time to solely for the betterment of Tuxedo Park. It is egregious that they continue to be harassed.  The Mayor’s continued inappropriate behavior is an unacceptable abuse of his public office. It is a clear retaliation against those unwilling to bend the rules for sycophants. Cards on the table Mr. Mayor, stop harassing volunteers behind closed doors and focus on leadership and our shared community. Let’s drop the drama and get on with leading.”
In response, Mayor Citrin stated “ You are essentially accusing me of committing a crime.  You are saying that I falsified and altered official documents and I would ask you Sir, could you please provide some evidence or some proof of the same at this time.”
“Certainly, it’s all posted to TPFYI,” replied Mr. Lynch. “You have it in front of you.”
“The Chief of Police is here and I am sure he would be very interested in hearing any evidence or proof that you may have that I as Mayor have committed a criminal act.  Feel free to tell us what it is that I did that you believe is a falsification or altering of official documents,” stated the Mayor.
“Yes…the number 26 is not the number 28,” responded Mr. Lynch.  “You sent over an email.  It is directly in front of you and available for people to review….highlighted.  Very simple.”
“I don’t understand a word that you just said,” retorted Mayor Citrin.  “What are you talking about?”
“Sir, I’m not going to argue with you,” responded Mr. Lynch.  “It’s in black and white.  It has been submitted to this Board and is publicly available for anyone’s review.” 
“You’re talking in circles,” suggested the Mayor.
“No Sir, I’m not but I’m not going to argue with you.”
“That’s fine…you hide behind that Zoom screen Sir, but at some point….”
“I’m sure you’ll say that to the next person on Zoom as well,” interrupted Mr. Lynch.  “Remain professional!  Have a good evening.”
“At some point Sir,” the Mayor continued, “You will have to justify your words.”
“I’m happy to,” stated Mr. Lynch.
Mayor Citrin noted that the attorney would be present shortly and once he had joined the call, BAR appointments would be discussed. 

Claudio Guazzoni read the following into the record with regard to the Village speed limit: “Reflecting on my tenure as Deputy Mayor nearly a decade ago, I recall the growing concern surrounding speeding in our community.  Despite my efforts to implement a local law to lower the speed limit from 30 to 25 across the Village.  I encountered challenges…mainly with the Mayor at the time, which pressed great reservations.  None the less, we reached a compromise by adding the phrase ‘strictly enforced’ to the incoming speed limit signs at our two gates.  I vividly remember that day that Jeff Voss and I affixed those words to the signs hopeful that they would serve as deterrent to potential speeders.  Our commitment to safety stems from a deep rooted appreciation for the essence of Tuxedo Park.  A place my family embraced in 1997 for its ethos of the slow life.  Slow food, dark sky, early nights and importantly slow driving.  Tuxedo Park has always been a haven where residents can enjoy the tranquility of nature, strolling around our picturesque lakes without fear of traffic.  The Covid 19 hit and hit us hard and 100 new families moved into the Park of 300 homes.  Mostly great families and wonderful additions to our community but for a few that brought with them the curious Long Island habits of late model, high powered German cars and a peculiar requirement to speed with them.  They quickly understood that 30mph really meant 35.  In addition to a fondness for speeding, there seems to be an aversion to doing one’s own landscaping. Landscapers and pickup trucks trolling ever large trailers zoom from jobsite to jobsite with complete disregard to the double yellow line let alone lake walkers.  At the end of a very long day, and I don’t blame them, very little will keep them rushing home in anticipation of a tall cold one.  In the near past I remember a dog getting killed by a landscapers’ pickup truck, swinging his trailer around a curve.  I still remember the feeling of sadness and thinking it could have been a child, maybe even one of my own children.  As a lake walker, I have been chased off the road multiple times by cars speeding on their way to Route 17.  Relax guys, what’s the rush?  It’s not that great out there.  I walk around the three lakes, my wife jogs and my two young sons run and bike.  Personally, I have experienced the dangers first hand, having been forced off the road by speeding vehicles.  It is disheartening to witness a heightened risk faced by joggers especially during week days.  I am especially concerned for the safety of my wife and young sons who regularly enjoy outdoor activities, biking and jogging around our lakes.  At the end of the day, whether it takes four minutes to get out of the main gate or five really makes little difference and it might save the life of a dog or that of a child.  In light of these pressing issues, I implore the Board of Trustees to consider enacting a local law amending the speed limit from 30 to 25 in Tuxedo Park.  Time is of the essence and I fear that without prompt action another tragedy may be inevitable.  I extend my sincere gratitude to the Board for carefully considering my prospective on this matter.  Your swift action could potentially save lives and preserve the essence of our cherished community.”
Sean Madden applauded Trustee Scherer’s comments, stating that he whole heartedly agreed with what had been said.  Pointing to the exchange that had just occurred between Mayor Citrin and BAR Chair Ryan Lynch he further commented “I believe transparency can go a long way to solving some of these issues.  It’s not just the right thing to do but, invariably when you have an information void speculation and conspiracy theories can fill it.”  He went on to say “On March 21 the Village attorney sent a summary email to the Village Board and to Mr. Lynch declaring that his term expired in 2026, which is contrary to everything that had been known previously.  That was a month ago and in the void of information there are some real questions, particularly given the history here in terms of what happened in October with the Mayor’s purported attempts to remove Mr. Lynch as Chair of the BAR without having the legal authority to do so.  At that October meeting, I exhorted this Board to discuss those matters in public session and not in executive session.  That never happened.  We never got a public accounting.  Instead, the Board convened into an executive session to discuss ‘the BAR and legal matters.’  That was a clear violation of the Open Meetings Law and it allowed the information void to persist.  I would urge you tomorrow morning to file the report that the Village attorney clearly provided to you, which backed up his conclusion regarding Mr. Lynch’s term not expiring in 2028 but now in 2026.  To inform him with no explanation is just not the right way to go about business….and of course he’s responded the way that he has given the history of what happened in October.  If you’re not going to make public the full report of the Village attorney that concluded how they found these new terms despite what is publicly known….then I think the Board owes the public an explanation as to why they are not going to publish that information.  I applaud the fact that it is on the agenda and that the attorney who did the work is going to discuss it, but I think the public has a right to look at all the facts in their entirety and in context under the circumstances and given the importance of the issues at stake.” Moving on to the issue of confidentiality as it pertains to executive session he stated “There has long been a myth perpetuated that Trustees have a duty of confidentiality regarding anything discussed in executive session.  That is patently false.  It is a matter I took up with the Committee on Open Government in 2017 and they’ve been very clear over the years that unless there’s a specific, statutory prohibition for a Trustee or a matter of any Public Board to discuss a matter, then they are free to discuss anything that is discussed in executive session…and I would urge individual Trustees…to the extent you think there are matters of public interest being discussed in executive session, that should be discussed in public…you should make those public.  After all, the vast majority of things that are discussed in executive session are permissive in nature… meaning that they can be (and in most cases should be) discussed publicly.”

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Old Business:
Resolution to Allow Non-Food Deliveries on Sunday – Following some discussion, the Board voted 3-2 in favor of allowing non-food deliveries on Sundays with Trustee Shaw and Deputy Mayor Lindsay voting against.
Update on Community Choice Aggregation – As this was referenced during the Mayor’s initial comments, it was not discussed at length again.
Renewal  of CDPHP (dental plan) MWG (Vision Plan) and MVP (health insurance) – There are not proposed changes to either the detail or Vision plans.  A small change to the health insurance which will allow dependents of insured Village employees to remain on their health insurance plan until the age of 30.  The cost of this will be $18,861.75 per month as opposed to $18,769.80.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the renewals as proposed.

New Business:
JoAnn Hansen Resignation from Planning Board – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the resignation of JoAnn Hansen from the Planning Board.  Ms. Hansen has been serving as that Board’s Chairwoman for several years and both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor thanked her for her all of her time and effort.
Jay Reichgott Appointment as Planning Board Chair – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Jay Reichgott to the position of Planning Board Chair. 
Capital Planning Committee (CPC); JoAnn Hansen Appointment as Chair with Deputy Mayor Michele Lindsay, Trustee Scherer, Tom Bermingham and Gardiner Hempel as members of the Committee – The Board voted unanimously in favor of establishing the Capital Planning Committee and appointing JoAnn Hansen as it’s Chair, along with fellow committee members Deputy Mayor Lindsay, Trustee Scherer, Tom Bermingham and Gardiner Hempel.  The deputy Mayor reported that the committee’s first meeting will take place on Sunday, May 5. 
2024 Arbor Day – Mayor Citrin read the following proclamation into the record: Whereas, In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for planting of trees, and Whereas, The holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed with the planning of more than a million trees in Nebraska, and Whereas, Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the entire world, and Whereas, Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, lower heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce oxygen and provide habitat for wildlife, and Whereas, Trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products, and Whereas, Trees in our Village increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify our community, and Whereas, Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal, I, Marc D. Citrin, Mayor of the Village of Tuxedo Park, do hereby proclaim Friday, April 26, 2024 to be Arbor Day The Village of Tuxedo Park, New York, and I urge all citizens to acknowledge Arbor Day at a Municipal Celebration and Tree Planting Ceremony on April 26th and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands, and Further, I urge all citizens to plant and care for trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations, dated this seventeenth day of April 2024. 
Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge – Mayors and other heads of local and tribal governments are taking action to help save the Monarch Butterfly.  An iconic species, who’s eastern populations have declined by 90% and western populations by 99% in recent years.  Through the National Wildlife Federation, Mayor’s Monarch Pledge in US cities, municipalities and other communities are committing to make habitat for the monarch butterfly and pollinators and to educate residents about how they can make a difference at home in their community.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mayor Citrin to sign the Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly pledge.  Deputy Mayor Lindsay added that May 4 is “Love My Park Day” and at the Tuxedo Pollinator Meadow, which is part of Sterling Forest, there will be a planting of native, pollinating plants in the meadow from 9:30am-12pm.  Everyone is encouraged to join in.
Update on Bald Eagles – Mayor Citrin noted that Bald Eagles are nesting once again on Eagle Mountain.  He reminded residents to respect all New York State recommendations as it pertains to them.
Discussion of re-adoption of Chapter 49 (fences) of the Village Code – Newly appointed Planning Board Chair Jay Reichgott provided the Board with a historical presentation in an effort to help them better understand Chapter 49.  Just before the presentation began, Mayor Citrin noted for the record that attorneys for the BOT and BZA had conducted research into whether or not Chapter 49 had sunset and they both came the conclusion separately that it had. 
Click here to view Mr. Reichgott’s presentation.
Following the presentation, the Mayor reiterated that the moratorium discussion was off the table for the time being.  He then opened the discussion for Trustee feedback.
Trustee Scherer commented that he was against perimeter fencing adding “I don’t think we want to become the Hamptons.”  He believes readoption is a good idea.
The Deputy Mayor agreed, further noting that they would need to work to determine the allowable height for the various types of fencing.  The idea of establishing standards based on height and setback was discussed as were permissible materials.  Trustee Brooke suggested that the Planning Board and the BAR should be given the ability to liberally grant variances.  Mayor Citrin added that he felt both Boards should be asked for their general feedback.  On the issue of grandfathering and what would and would be appropriate with respect to current applications, he stated that this would be left up to the attorneys.  Ultimately it was determined that the Board would consult with the Village attorney to create a draft reflective of their concerns with regard to perimeter fences and would reconvene after consulting with all interest parties.
Resolution on 90-Day Moratorium for Construction of Perimeter Fences – This was tabled.
Resolution to Provide Refunds to Town Sewer Customers – There are a handful of residents who live in the Village but get their water from the Town.  Recently it was discovered that these residents have been paying for Village water service, even though they do not receive it, and now the Village will be refunding them those expenses.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with the refunds.
Approval of Landscaper Licensing Application Form – The Board voted 4-1 in favor of approving the proposed landscaping licensing application form and authorizing the Mayor to distribute it to the Police gate, where it will be circulated to landscapers.  There will not be a fee associated with the application at this time and the licenses will be good through the end of the year.  Trustee Shaw noted that she was voting no because she was opposed to the landscaper licensing law and not because she opposed the form.  Click here to view a copy of the application.
Discussion of Fireworks Displays – Issues were raised following a fireworks presentation at the Tuxedo Club earlier this year about the effects of heavy metals and phosphorous from the exploding fireworks that fall into the lake and the overall environmental impact this might have.  The Lakes manager has advised that this something that is currently being studied.  The Mayor suggested that given the fact that the club now offers celebrants the option of fireworks displays in combination with the fact that they are also looking to have two displays each summer (one for July 4 and the other at Labor Day) in combination with the number of illegal displays that tend to occur that perhaps the Board should consider whether or not they want to allow fireworks over the lake outside of the 4th of July.
Trustee Scherer commented that he did feel there was likely some level of contamination and he does think it would be worth limiting the amount of fireworks being set off around the lake.
Ultimately It was agreed that the Board would further explore the reasoning for the Clubs proposed Labor Day display and continue the discussion next month.
Wee Wah Fishing Club Stocking Request – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Fishing Club’s request to stock Wee Wah lake. 
Shed Media Filming in Tuxedo Park – Shed Media is looking to film an episode of the show Housewives of New York at a home on Lookout Stable Road.  Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing it with the caveat that a fee would be charged for the Police escort that would be required during all filming activity. 
Discussion of May 11 Community Campaign – As referenced earlier in the meeting, this event will take place at the Train Station on May 11 and all residents are encouraged to attend. 
Election Polling Hours – Although the Board of Elections has requested the Village consider changing the polling hours from 8am-8pm, the Board voted unanimously in favor of retaining the hours of 7am-9pm.
Discussion of Board of Architectural Review Member Terms – Based on an inquiry that was made with regard to seats and terms on the BAR, Village attorneys did some significant research utilizing minutes dating back as far as 2003 in order to determine who is sitting in which seats.  With respect to Mr. Lynch’s seat, the following has been determined:  Mr. Lynch was appointed to the Bar on June 26, 2023.  The minutes from that meeting identify the position as an open seat TBD, which makes sense as the only position he could be appointed to would have been one that was open.  The Village’s official Year begins in July, so this appointment could not have been for the term that began following the first Monday in July (7/3/23) because the seat did not become available until then.  Had he been appointed to the seat that opened in July, his term would have run from 2023-2028, but instead he was appointed to the seat that was open in June…a term which technically ended in 2023 and he was not appointed again, which means that the term he is currently filling is a hold-over.  In trying to determine which open seat was in play in June of 2023 (the date Mr. Lynch was appointed) the research indicated that the current make-up of the BAR at that time, with terms, was as follows: Molly Gonzalez, who’s term is due to end in July of 2024 (she was appointed in January of 2023 to fill an open seat held previously by Josh Aaron), Christopher Gow serves for a term that ends in July of 2025 (He was appointed in September of 2020 for a full term), Sheila Tralins, who was then serving as a hold-over for a term that would have ended in July of 2026 (Sheila was appointed in October of 2016 to fill a term that ended in July of 2021.  After 2021 she served as a hold-over until such time as a replacement was appointed and this is noted in Reorg minutes from 2021 and 2022), Stephanie Rinza, who was appointed on January 18 2023 to fill a seat which had been vacated by Christopher Boshears and who’s term will end in July of 2027 and lastly Rob McQuilken, who is currently serving as a hold-over for a term that will end in July of 2028.  (He was appointed on December 18, 2019 to fill a seat previously occupied by Christian Brunner, which would have expired in July of 2023). Therefore, the only open seat that was available at the time that Mr. Lynch was appointed would have been the hold-over position that was held by Sheila Tralins at that time.  The other four seats were filled and the BOT would not have been able to appoint anybody to them for that reason.  Based on this, the conclusion is that Mr. Lynch’s term will expire in 2026 as the only open seat he could have possibly been appointed to at in June of 2023 expires at that time. 
Following some discussion, the Board considered whether or not they wanted to publicly release the report.  It was agreed that with some minor redactions the document could be released.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of releasing it.

Closing Comments:
Public Comments – With regard to protecting pollinators, Jay Reichgott cautioned that one very real way people could go about doing this would be to stop spraying their lawns for mosquitos and ticks.  “There’s no insecticide that can pick which bugs it kills…and even the organic ones are not good.  If you are worried about mosquitos, buy a bottle of deet and smear it on yourselves…stop spraying stuff all over!” 
Lili Neuhauser commented that if they were going to invest time on the fence issue, she was hopeful that they would also consider another deer culling program as the previous one had been successful and made a huge difference.  Secondly, she noted that there had been a rather large fireworks display at some point over the winter, which had gone on for almost 30 minutes in duration.  She asked that if there were going to be unexpected fireworks of this nature that the Village inform residents beforehand it would be very much appreciated.  “People have animals who are really frightened by this,” she added. 
The Mayor responded that he would have to take responsibility for this.  The event that Mrs. Neuhauser was referencing was a private display at the Club which was approved by the Board in February.  The event took place in early March and the Mayor was supposed to provide the community with notice 24 hours before it occurred, but he forgot to do it. 
John Sarcone implored the Board to pass a resolution that evening readopting the current fence law without the sunset clause, which would allow them plenty of time to figure out heights and setbacks etc.  He further stated that it had been noted earlier that attorneys for both the Planning Board and BZA had come back with analysis and opinion on the law and he believed these should be public.  “That is not private, privileged information.  That is information that is telling this Board that that sunset clause exists…and that the law doesn’t exist…and I think it’s wrong and it’s probably flawed.  I can tell this – if you believe that the sunset clause doesn’t exist, then the whole Chapter 49 doesn’t exist.  You can’t have one without the other because of the way it was worded.”  He then read aloud a portion of the law, challenging Village council to re-examine it.  
Trustee Comments – There were none.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss individual complaints regarding sewer charges.

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 17, 2024

Click to here view the agenda 

Join zoom meeting using computer or smartphone
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 20, 2024

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30pm.  All members were present with Trustee Scherer participating via Zoom.

Public Hearing on Introductory Local Law No. 1 of 2024 – Landscaper Licensing:
Mayor Citrin opened the hearing by reading the official notice of hearing into the record.  Physical copies  of the proposed law along with a draft of the proposed license application were available to those members of the public who attended the meeting in person as well as on the Village website.  The purpose of the proposed law is to ensure that landscapers are aware of the provisions within the Village code that effect their work in the Village.  There are roughly 6 provisions that prohibit or limit certain types of activity and all of these are contained in the proposed legislation.  The law has not been designed as a revenue enhancer for the Village, rather it was designed to put the landscapers on notice that should they violate any of the code provisions, their license would be subject to suspension or revocation after a hearing before the BOT.  The law was proposed because the current system, by which a flyer outlining the code provisions is distributed to landscapers annually each spring, has proven to be insufficient for the purpose of preserving the community and the environment as per many of the residents and the former Chief of Police. 
Jim Hays read into the record a letter in support for the proposed law, signed by roughly 2 dozen village residents as follows:  “We the undersigned support the proposed local law to license landscapers working in our Village.  Some of us spoke at the February Board of Trustees meeting to this effect, but we would like to reiterate here our reasons for supporting this important initiative.  1. Build trust and confidence in partnerships between residents and landscapers - Implementing a licensing system will create a framework of trust and confidence between landscapers, residents and Village Boards.  Licensed professionals will be demonstrably accountable, providing residents with piece of mind.  Similarly, our Village Boards will be equipped with a transparent and easily managed method for oversight, thus fostering a collaborative environment in which responsible landscaping practices are encouraged and supported.  2. Enforce the existing Village Code – Our existing code contains many provisions governing landscaping activities.  However, effective enforcement remains a challenge.  The licensing system would establish a clear pathway to accountability, ensuring that all landscapers operating within Tuxedo Park are familiar with and adhere to these regulations.  3. Protect our reservoirs and eco-system – Tuxedo lake provides our drinking water.  The ecosystem of lakes, feeder streams and surrounding hills is not only integral to our community’s character, but also vital for our wellbeing.  Activities such as blowing leaf debris into the water and unauthorized and excessive tree removal increase soil erosion and storm water runoff to the detriment of our water quality, riparian buffers, wildlife habitats and overall environmental health.  Ensuring that landscapers understand and observe existing regulations will help in advocating the long term health of our reservoir and its surrounding eco-systems, preserving its ecological value for generations to come.  4. Join peer communities in adopting a successful best practice – Communities, such as the Village of South Hampton, Village of East Hampton, Village of Irvington and Princeton to name a few, use licensing effectively to ensure the quality of the landscaper contract work, protect their homeowners and enforce their laws.  Tuxedo Park will be adopting their tried and tested method.  We hope the Trustees will vote tonight, or in the near future, to pass this much needed law.”  Names of the signatories were then read into record.  Click hereTo View the letter. Sally Sonne expressed her concern with the proposed legislation, suggesting that in her view, it was not the answer.  While many of the reasons cited in letter read by Mr. Hays are very noble, and she feels that everyone should do their best to love and preserve the Village, in her opinion the responsibility should lay with the homeowner and not the landscaper. “What we need is education,” she stated.  “The landowner hires the landscaper (or the tree person) and tells them what to do and pays them.  The landscaper is usually obliged to what he is told to do….which he’s being paid for.  The landowner must understand what the regulations are and then he passes these on to the landscaper.  I think that this law is not really thought out.  It won’t work.  It’s not practical.”  She went on to suggest that the bigger contractors would likely have no problem coming in on an annual basis to obtain the license and then passing the expense onto their customer base, but the contractors who are only working in the Village for a day or two might find the process burdensome and ultimately decide not to come.  Referencing the contractor who comes in one or two days a year to work on the Village trails as well as the tree- work she has done occasionally, she wondered whether these individuals would need to visit the Village Office and obtain a permit before they would be able to do any work, further suggesting that she feared this might be too much for the gentleman who works on the Village trails.  Next, she wondered who would be responsible for enforcement.  “I, frankly, would rather depend on the professionals I hire than amateurs from Tuxedo Park coming and telling me what to do…and I think maybe other people feel the same way,” she stated.  In general, she feels that what has been proposed is burdensome and creates more bureaucracy and red tape. “I just don’t see what good it will do.  I really don’t.”  She concluded by recommending more education for both the landowners and the landscapers, further noting that any handouts distributed to contractors at the front gate should be simple, clear and concise so that the restrictions can be easily understood by all. 
BAR Chair Ryan Lynch read the following into the record: “Dear Trustees, I am writing in against landscaper licensing in its current form.   The Board of Architectural Review has expressed agreement that landscapers should not be charged for the privilege of working in the Village, nor should they be expected to pay penalties.  The BAR advises amending existing Village code to have more enforcement mechanisms.  In its current form, none of those concerns have been addressed.  In my personal opinion, this proposal mirrors the existing Village code, while adding a tax to homeowners.  This does nothing to further the goals set forth of protecting our environment.  I echo the Garden Club’s sentiment shared last meeting and serve to protect out beautiful community.  As Chairman of the BAR, I know firsthand that leaving existing Village code with no enforcement mechanism leads to disastrous consequences. Well-meaning codes that have been written to protect our community’s historic architecture, yet with no real enforcement mechanism for homeowners unwilling to comply, those codes are only as effective as the homeowner is willing.  Most are good neighbors.  When they are not, we end up with a half dozen air-conditioning units desecrating a historic façade.  This has cost the taxpayers tens of thousands in legal fees while offering no protection.  Existing code should not allow this.  Our Village code explicitly forbids it.  Much like this current proposal, there is nothing stopping bad neighbors from disobeying the code.  The gate cannot prevent my guest from entering.  How might this be enforced?  This will only reduce the number of landscapers and pass the cost on to rule-abiding homeowners.  It will fail to protect our precious environment.  I hope that we can hold ourselves to a higher standard of implementing effective policy.  Thank you for your time and your consideration.”
Chair JoAnn Hanson commented that Mr. Hays had expressed her sentiments, noting that she had been one of the signatures on the letter.  She further pointed out that what was being proposed was in fact an enforcement mechanism that could be applied against the landscapers, who will have an incentive to comply.  “I’ve seen the draft.  It’s a one-pager…very straight forward and it makes quite clear to the landscapers that there are obligations….and I think this serves as an effective enforcement mechanism.”
John Ledwith noted that he was in receipt of two emails from Michael O’Neil and Susan Boyle, both of whom are opposed to the proposed legislation. 
As there were no further comments, the public hearing was then closed.

Mayor’s Comments: 
Mayor Citrin provided updates regarding three specific items.
With regard to the budget, he reported that Deputy Mayor Lindsay and Trustee Shaw had been hard at work and they expected to have a proposed budget to put forward to the community very soon.  Turning to the School District, the Mayor noted that he and Deputy Mayor Lindsay along with other leaders had been invited to a meeting with Superintendent of Schools Jeff White that coming Friday to discuss the future of the School District.  “I’m going to that meeting because I want to be able to keep you advised as members of the Village as to what types of programs and plans the school district has.  As you all know, the largest portion of our tax payments as individual homeowners go to the school district and I think it’s important that we remain involved and voice our opinions with respect to what actions they choose to take to either accommodate a larger student body or to build new buildings or to tear down old buildings that they believe are no longer useful,” he stated.  
Lastly, he noted that the RFP for management companies for the Wee Wah Beach went out several weeks ago.  They are hopeful that they will have multiple proposals to review and discuss at their April meeting.  Alternatively, if none of the proposals are successful, they are also exploring the idea of self-management.  In this regard, the Mayor has been working with the Town Recreation Director, Kathleen Metcalf, to look for  a Water Safety Instructor, who would be employed by both municipalities to operate the Beach, working for the summer camp in the morning and the Village in the afternoons.  All of this will be discussed further in public, hopefully at April meeting of the Board. 

Swearing in of Police Chief Allen Faust:
Recently appointed Village Police Chief Allen Faust was ceremoniously sworn in by Village Justice Roantree.

Opening Comments:
Public Comments – Justice Roantree commented that the beginning section of the Ringwood Avenue trail was quite muddy due to ATV activity.  Noting that it might be an issue for the Trails Committee, she wondered whether there was anything they could do to make that area of the trail more passable. 
Mayor Citrin responded that he would speak with Trails Committee Chair Sally Sonne about this, and suggested that mulch could be the answer.  He further commented that if any residents were utilizing the Village trails and came across unsafe conditions or had any specific concerns should report these to him directly so that he could make sure they were properly addressed.
Trustee Comments – Deputy Mayor Lindsay commented that she would be talking about Community Choice Aggregation later on in the meeting.  She and Village Climate Smart Task Force Chair Jim Hays will also be putting together a list of actionable items, which they intend to bring forward to the Board and the community in the near future. 
Trustees Brooke, Shaw and Scherer had no comments.

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report for the month of February
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Old Business:
Discussion of Unattended Dogs in Public Areas- After soliciting feedback from the community at the end of February, the Mayor received 31 emails from residents who do not want to allow unattended dogs to roam around the Village while 9 individuals suggested that unattended dogs should be allowed.  4 residents gave mixed responses ranging from “enforce existing laws” to “there are no bad dogs in Tuxedo Park.”  There is also the issue of conflating unleashed dogs with unattended dogs.  “Let me set the record straight on that,” commented Mayor Citrin.  “I walk my dog off leash.  I think it’s great.  I think that everyone who has a dog should be able to walk their dog off leash.  This is not about a leash law.  What this is about is allowing your dog to leave your property and wander freely through the Village without any supervision at all.  There is a distinct difference between walking your dog off leash and letting your dog wander free throughout the Village…and I want to make it clear that I am in no way proposing a leash law for this community.”  As most of the residents who wrote in do not want to allow unattended dogs to roam free, the Mayor indicated that he was planning to propose legislation at the next meeting to amend the law accordingly. 
Deputy Mayor Lindsay noted that she looked forward to the required public hearing that would accompany the proposed amendment as this would allow them to hear a variety of opinions from the residents.  Her personal view is that it is unsafe to allow the unattended dogs to roam free. 
Trustee Brooke suggested that there was no evidence that the current policy has endangered anyone.  He believes that the Village is a small community and if a dog is found to be running loose, one can always find the owner and explain things to that individual.  “There is no reason to create rules when there are no problems to be dealt with,” he stated.  “I believe the existing rules are adequate and we should just leave it.  I recommend we vote down any change with the leash law and move on with the meeting.”
Trustee Shaw agreed with Trustee Brooke that there was no need to amend the existing law.  Several of the emails received suggested that the solution was to have a personal discussion with the owner of the dog.  “I would like to know…..how many dogs are running around?  We’re not like a third-world country, where they’re all running around.”
“How do you have a personal discussion with the owner of an unattended dog if you don’t know who the owner is,” queried Mayor Citrin. 
“I think everybody knows who we’re talking about,” replied Trustee Shaw.    “How many complaints have there been?  How many different dogs?”
Trustee Scherer agreed with Trustee Lindsay that the public hearing would bring forth more input and he looked forward to that.  With that being said, his current perspective is that if it’s not broken, they should not try and fix it.  He feels that the current rules are sufficient.  With that being said, he feels he is open minded and is willing to be persuaded otherwise, so he looks forward to the conversation and debate. 
Discussion of Allowing Sunday Deliveries- With respect to the question of Sunday deliveries and whether they should be allowed moving forward, which was put forth to the community by the Mayor in his most recent letter, 26 residents have indicated that they should be permitted while 12 have indicated that they should not. 2 individuals suggested that generally speaking they should not be allowed but that exceptions should be permissible.  Mayor Citrin feels they should be allowed.  Deputy Mayor Lindsay wondered where the prohibition on Sunday deliveries was codified, further suggesting that she felt more investigation was required in order to determine how things got to be the way they currently are.
Trustee Brooke pointed out that some of the deliveries in question contained medicine and other items that were important to people.  The community has changed over time and more people are working now. If there are one or two individuals who are receiving too many Sunday deliveries, in a community of small size this can be rectified with a simple conversation.  He doesn’t feel Sunday deliveries are particularly disruptive and believes they should be allowed. 
The Deputy Mayor commented that she was in agreement with those respondents who had referenced the ability to take a nice, peaceful walk on a Sunday along roads without sidewalks and not have to worry about delivery trucks rushing around. 
Trustee Shaw agreed.  “If you open it up,” she cautioned, “then you are going to have Amazon deliveries on Sunday.”  In those instances where items can only be delivered on a Sunday, she suggested that those individuals should call ahead to the police and make the necessary arrangements.  She feels that food deliveries are ok, but amazon and other such services are not needed on that day. 
Trustee Scherer is in favor of Sunday deliveries.
The issue will be addressed by resolution next month.  In the meantime, if anyone has an opinion on the issue, they should email Mayor Citrin with their views.
Discussion of Traffic Safety Proposals- Several months back the Mayor indicated that he would be in favor of lowering the Village speed limit to 25 miles an hour, but only if this was something that a traffic study indicated would be appropriate to do.  In reaching out to engineering firms for a proposal, he felt it was also important that they attempt to address safety issues on certain roads within the Village.  These include Ontio, Laurel and West Lake (south of Turtle Mountain Road). Five firms were approached.  Three showed an interest and then one dropped out, leaving the Village with 2 proposals, both of which are posted on the Village website.  Unfortunately, the proposals are “apples & oranges” as only one of them included a safety evaluation of these roads at a cost of $17,500 while the other proposal did not include a safety study and came in even higher.  “We’re going to have to do an RFP,” he concluded. 
“You don’t want to create rules for the bulk of roads in a community based on a couple of small roads,” commented Trustee Brooke.  He believes that the bulk of the roads are fine with a 30mph limit and that there is no reason to create more enforcement problems for the police.  He is against spending money to study something that is not a significant problem and when and if this comes to a vote, he will vote against it. 
Martin Pomp, who lives on Ontio Road, commented that he had read the proposed study and that he agrees with Trustee Brooke.  He feels it’s crazy!  They know what the problem is and what the solution should be.  Some months back he had asked the Village to consider placing boulders along the side of the road as a barrier against  the steep drop-off.  Similarly, he had also wondered why they could not install uniform guard rails, like the one along Tuxedo Road, in certain spots where needed.
Trustee Shaw agreed with Trustee Brooke further commenting that she did not feel they needed to change the whole Village because of three roads.  She feels that either speed bumps or speed limit signs would be an effective method of slowing people down.  She will vote against spending money on traffic safety.
Trustee Scherer agreed with Trustee Shaw.  “We know what the issues are.  We know what the solutions are, which is butting in barriers of some kind.  It would be great to make them aesthetically pleasing but as permanent as possible.  I’m a big fan of do it once, do it right and have it be there 100 years from now.  That generally pays for itself in the long run.  So, I don’t know that spending $15-20,000 on a study when we could be diverting that money towards actually fixing the problems that we’re aware of makes a lot of sense.”  With respect to speed, he noted that he is in favor of lower speed limits.  He feels it’s just a matter of enforcement.
Mayor Citrin then asked the Village Attorney to opine, recollecting that it had originally been his recommendation that the Village do a traffic safety study.
The Attorney responded that these recommendations been part of an attorney/client discussion and he did not want to waive that  confidentiality.  He suggested that it be discussed in executive session and it was agreed that this would be done.
Creation of Capital Planning Committee- Following a recent blackout during which the generator at the Police Department failed leaving them completely in the dark and without internet access,  Mayor Citrin feels that  it is critical that the Village come up with a long term plan for tackling major capital expenses. It is the suggestion of both Deputy Mayor Lindsay and Trustee Scherer that the Village establish a Capital Planning Committee to discuss how the various departments intend to spend money in the future on the various projects that need to be done in order to keep the Village operating appropriately. The committee will consist of two Trustees (Deputy Mayor Lindsay & Trustee Scherer) along with three experienced members of the public.  The goal will be to put forward a five-year plan.  A comprehensive list of capital improvements was assembled and prioritized by former Trustee Maureen Coen and this will be used as baseline moving forward. Residents interested in joining the committee should reach out to Mayor Citrin.
Renewal of Dental Plan (CDPHP) and Medical Insurance Plan (MVP)- This was tabled. 
Amend Resolution #0626-11 From June 26, 2023 to Reference Village of Tuxedo- During the previous Village Administration, there was annexation of some parcels from the Town of Tuxedo into the Village of Tuxedo Park.  The documents were prepared for filing however they were rejected because within them the Town of Tuxedo was not referred to by its proper name, which, following the consolidation vote, is the Town/Village of Tuxedo.  The documents must therefore be amended and refiled.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of amending the resolution accordingly. 
Website accessibility Discussion (AudioEye) – A link to the AudioEye presentation was circulated to the Trustees via email.  The item was tabled until the April meeting in order to allow them all time to review the presentation.

New Business:
Resolution to Approve Introductory Local Law #1 of 2024 – Landscaper Licensing- Deputy Mayor Lindsay commented that what residents do as far as landscaping and excessive tree removal on their properties effects the watershed of the reservoir.  She feels that what Is being proposed makes landscaping business owners accountable for making their employees aware of the existing code, which is remaining in place.  She also agrees that a good education outreach for both landscapers and residents alike would be very helpful so the residents can fully understand the effort to protect the reservoir and there won’t be any contention between the landscapers and the residents.  “It’s a simple registration really, to get a license.  It’s not going to be a financial burden and I think it’s very important because of the reservoir.”
“There has never been any evidence that the reservoir is at risk,” stated Trustee Brooke.  “If you want to create a partnership….this is not a partnership….this is a set of laws that can be enforced.  I find it best to talk to people.  I don’t think there are any water quality issues.” He concluded that he is against a law that addresses a problem which doesn’t exist. 
Trustee Shaw agreed, commenting that in her view educating landowners and landscapers would be more effective than passing another law.  She fears that adding this additional hurdle might deter contractors from doing business in the Village.  “I’m definitely going to vote against this because I think it’s not worthwhile.”  She went on to address the Mayor directly commenting “Unfortunately, I don’t recall that there was an email sent to the whole Village asking for their comments on this law like you sent out for the dogs and the Sunday thing…and I don’t think that it’s fair.  I think if you are going to make a law like that, everybody should have a chance to do it.  To me, it seems a little underhanded.  I will vote against it, but I think that all of the residents should have an option to send their comments in.”
Trustee Scherer is in support on the licensing.  “I don’t think we’re creating new laws.  We’re not creating new bureaucracy.  I think this is simply making the landscape contractors responsible for their actions and people….when you sign on a piece of paper that you’re agreeing to abide by our laws that currently exist, you think long and hard before you go and violate those.  We’ve talked about enforcement.  Just the mere fact that you have a chance of being kicked out of the Park will make you think long and hard.  We talk about educating the landowners…that’s great….we should do it….but there’s no responsibility.  What happens if it’s violated?  We’re going to kick residents out of the Park?  Kick people off their properties?   We have no right to do that.  There are no real consequences!  This actually improves enforcement.  People have talked about tax burden.  There is no tax burden to residents.  What we’re talking about here is a de minimis fee.  It’s not a revenue enhancing strategy.  I don’t see the burden.  I think this is enforcement.  This will help us to protect and properly enforce the rules that we currently have in place.  I’m supportive.”
Trustee Brooke asserted that he felt the responsibility should lie with the property owner.  Trustee Scherer pointed out that the proposed law would protect from a situation whereby a property owner might be asking a landscaper to do something they should not be doing. “It gives the landscaper the opportunity to say ‘I’m not allowed to do that.  I’m putting my business at risk.”
“and then where do you stop?” asked Trustee Shaw.
“What does that mean?” replied Trustee Scherer.
“Are we going to have Amazon sign something that if their people are speeding, they need a permit to deliver in Tuxedo Park?”
“We’ll just give them a speeding ticket,” replied Trustee Scherer.  “We just enforce the laws.”
“What about electricians and plumbers?” inquired Trustee Shaw.  “Why are you picking on one group of people that come here?”
“This affects our watershed,” responded Trustee Scherer.  “It does.  Whatever we’re putting on our properties will wash into the lakes.  It just does.  An electrician has to be licensed.  They are already licensed separate and apart from anything we’re doing.  When you say ‘where does it stop’ what are the concrete of what I think you’re worried about, which is bureaucratic over-reach?  I don’t know where else we would go from here.  This is dealing with a very specific problem that we have, which is the quality of the water in the lake.”
“We have a difference of opinion,” stated Trustee Brooke.  “It’s not that we’re dealing with a problem.  We’re dealing with the threat of a problem, which doesn’t exist.”
“I disagree with that,” countered Trustee Scherer.  “We have algae blooms every year.” 
“This looks to be a 3-2 vote,” stated Trustee Brooke.  “I assume something will come up at the next meeting where we look at the actual wording of the rule.”
“Chapter 67 has been drafted.  It’s landscapers.  It’s been circulated.  It’s available online and we’re voting to either adopt Chapter 67 and all the terms within it or we are going to reject it.  We’re voting now,” stated Mayor Cintrin, calling for a vote.
“I don’t think you gave the public enough time to review this law,” commented Trustee Shaw.   “I think that the residents need to have enough time to review the law and comment…just like you said for the dogs and the Sunday deliveries.  You sent out a note for everybody to comment.  I think it needs to be done that way.  I think that’s the responsibility of the Board to represent the residents….and I don’t think they’ve been represented.  I don’t think that three people on this Board should decide without hearing on something that is much more important than a dog or a Sunday delivery.  I just think it’s wrong.”
“This was noticed to the public,” responded the Mayor.  “It was discussed at prior Board meetings.  The legislation was drafted by the Village Attorneys and we are in the process of voting on it.”
“I’m not finished,” interjected Trustee Shaw. “I know you like to cut me off, but this is important.  What is the urgency of voting on this tonight without sending out an email to all the residents…because there are a lot of people who are not aware of this…to just say please send your comments to the Board of Trustees.  What’s the big deal if you wait one more meeting?  I don’t think it’s a big deal.  I think you need to have the residents opine on this.  This is a law.”
Mayor Citrin replied that there had been plenty of local laws passed by previous Boards where surveys were never conducted, but discussions were had and public hearings held, which was the same process they were utilizing now.
Following some further discussion, the Board voted 3-2 in favor of adopting the resolution.
“I just have one more comment,” stated Trustee Shaw.  “We will discuss in executive session, but I want to find out if the Village has the Authority to issue restrictive licenses.”
“Ok,” Mayor Citrin replied.
Change of May Board of Trustees Meeting Date from May 15th to May 22nd- The Board voted unanimously in favor of postponing the May meeting of the Trustees one week from the 15 to the 22 in order to allow the Mayor and Deputy Mayor to attend the annual meeting of the New York Conference of Mayors.
Authorize the Mayor To Sign a Municipal Advisor Services Agreement With Munistat for FY 2025- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign a municipal advisor services agreement with Munistat for fiscal year 2025.
Discussion of Generator for Police Booth- The generator at the Police Station is old and in disrepair.  A new one is needed. A working generator for the police is a must-have for a multitude of reasons.  In the recent black-out the Booth lost all power and the gate was inoperable.  Officers had to direct traffic in and out through one side.  An RFP will need to be prepared.  
Retroactive Approval of Repair of DPW Truck- The Board voted unanimously in favor of retroactively approving the repair of a DPW truck at a cost of $18,588.39
Renewal of Wee Wah Fishing Club Lease – The Board voted unanimously in favor of renewing the Wee Wah Fishing Club Lease for a period of 1 year.  The fee was increased from $1,250 to $1,500.  There remains a $750 milfoil fee.  Membership is open to Village and Hamlet residents, with Hamlet membership capped at 65.  Village employees as well as members of the Ambulance Corps and Fire Department who have put in a certain number of service hours are also eligible to join.  Hamlet members will require a photo ID.
Update on Community Choice Aggregation (Renewable Energy Program)- The Community Choice Aggregation initiative, which essentially allows for the bulk purchasing of renewable energy, was originally approved by resolution a couple of years back however the program has not moved forward as prices in the marketplace have been unstable.  Joule, the appointed administrator for the project, has indicated that there is a good chance that the market is stabilizing and to this end there are two meetings coming , March 27 and April 11, at which indicative and final pricing will be provided and various terms outlined. The Deputy Mayor will report back the information as it becomes available.
Retroactive Approval for Associate Justice Roantree to Attend Required Class at a Cost of $475.98- The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving reimbursement in the amount of $475.98 to Justice Roantree for her recent attendance at a required class.
Allow for Approval of Monthly Report Detailing Expenses- The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing for a monthly report detailing expenses to be reviewed by the Trustees as opposed to the current practice of having to collect 3 signatures on each individual expense voucher.
Accept New England Aquatic Services Bid on Diver Harvesting Proposal – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the New England Aquatic Services bid on for diver harvesting, which has been posted to the Village website, conditional on the approval of Lakes Manager AJ Reyes.
Approval of On-Site Shredding on April 9 from 1:30-2:30pm-The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving an on-site shredding event to take place at the Village office on April 9 from 1:30-2:30pm.  Village residents are welcome to bring any material they would like to have shred to the office during this time.
Approval of Tuxedo Club Annual Fireworks Display – Following a brief discussion of fireworks and their potential impact on the Village lakes, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the request of the Tuxedo Club for their annual 4th of July fireworks display. WHAT DATE ARE THEY DISCUSSING?) Approval of an additional display to take place in September was tabled to allow time for the Board to discuss potential impacts with the Village Lakes Manager.
Approval for Clerk to Take On-Line Class for Notaries – Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty recently received her Notary Public license.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing her to take an on-line course for Notaries at a cost of $60.
Climate Smart Report – Climate Smart Committee Chair Jim Hays reported that following a comprehensive study of the Village’s greenhouse emissions, he and John Ledwith had put together a list of suggested cuts, which if adhered to could potentially reduce emissions by  as much as 48% by the end of the decade.  

Closing Comments:
Public Comments – There were none.
Trustee Comments – There were none.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss personnel matters and the appeal of a sewer charge as well as to engage in an attorney/client session. 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 20, 2024

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 12. 2024

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 21, 2024

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm.  Trustees Scherer and Shaw attended via Zoom.

Mayor’s Comments: Mayor Citrin began by announcing that the Village had completed their search for a new Police Chief.  He expressed his gratitude to the members of the search Committee including Committee Chair Michele Lindsay, Trustee Brooke, former Trustee Chris Kasker and Police Officer & PBA President Sutherland, noting that they had worked long and hard to find the best possible candidate.  They have selected the Deputy Chief from the Town of Goshen, Al Faust. 
Next, the Mayor expressed his gratitude to the DPW for their effective snow removal during the last two storms.  He also noted that they had recently removed a problematic, metal drop box from the inside of the Police Booth, replacing it with perfect wood paneling.
With regard to the Communications Committee, the Crown Castle Company, who completed a drive-around study in the Park last month, has agreed to work with the Village to contact the three major carriers (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobil) to request that they install minicells on utility poles throughout the community at their expense.  Although this may not be a short process, it is certainly a big step forward.
Lastly, with regard to the item on the agenda pertaining to fences and Chapter 49 of the Village Code, the Mayor explained that he had placed this item on the agenda as the result of some issues that arose following a recent BZA hearing.  There is some uncertainty as to whether Chapter 49, which prohibits the installation of perimeter fencing, is still in effect as it was scheduled to sunset in 2009.  There are varying legal opinions.  Just that day, the Village received two letters from two attorneys representing parties in the BZA hearing, both claiming that the law is still effective and was never properly sunsetted. However, they have received a contrasting, informal opinion from the BAR attorney and they are currently seeking a formal opinion from the Village attorney as to whether or not this is accurate.  They Board cannot officially discuss the matter until their attorney has opined and therefore, the agenda item will be tabled. 

Opening Comments:
Trustee Comments- Deputy Mayor Lindsay provided a brief update on the Climate Smart and clean energy programs that the Village has been pursuing.  They are incredibly close to earning their Climate Smart certification.  Once certified, they will be eligible for money from New York State to be applied to more clean energy projects.  Over the coming weeks they will likely be collecting proposals for the Community Choice Aggregation effort as well.  The group plans to provide a full presentation/update at the March meeting.  The Deputy Mayor is also serving on a Committee that was formed by Town Supervisor McMillen to oversee the Hamlet revitalization effort.  The group issued  RFPs to Engineering  and Planning firms and have received three proposals, which they are in the process of reviewing.  They plan to interview the firms next week with the goal of making a selection by the end of the month. 
Neither Trustee Brooke nor Trustee Scherer had any comments.
Trustee Shaw noted that she would like them to vote on and approve 10 hours of training from a company called Four Lane. The training will cost $2,500 and will assist them  in learning the basics for transitioning their online QuickBooks to the desktop version.  Mayor Citrin agreed to add the item to the New Business section of the agenda.
Public Comments –  On behalf of the Climate Smart Task Committee, Jim Hays noted that the Village has joined thousands of municipalities across the State in an effort/commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses.  The State’s goal is a 40% reduction by the end of the decade and 85% reduction by 2050.  These are bold goals, but many communities are involved in the effort.  As part of their effort, the committee has established an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for both the Village Government operations and the community at large.  This was submitted to the Board in June of 2022.  The inventory allows them to establish a baseline with which they can measure any reductions that have been made while also allowing them to detect the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.  In April of 2023 the BOT authorized the development of a Climate Action Plan for Village government operations.  The purpose of this strategy was to lay out a plan for a series of implementations that would reduce emissions.  Last Fall, Mr. Hays and John Ledwith submitted an annual report for the year 2022 in which they laid out possible actions for reducing emissions.  It is now Mr. Hays’ intent to create a summary report of those suggestions, which he would like to bring forward and discuss at the March meeting.  “It really needs to be a BOT plan and it is a plan that can extend from now until the end of the decade,” he stated, further noting that the proposed implementations did not have to take place all at once and that what they were proposing was essentially long-term planning. 
Board of Architectural Review Chairman Ryan Lynch commented that at their most recent meeting the BAR had the opportunity to discuss the proposed landscaper licensing legislation and had put together some collective feedback.  As things currently operate, each spring the Police department distributes a handout to landscapers which outlines the rules and regulations as well as the penalties for violation.  As Mr. Lynch understands it, what has been proposed recently is the institution of a modest licensing fee and if any landscapers were to violate the license agreement, this would lose their ability to work in the Village.  It is the BAR’s fear that this would not be effective in preventing people from cutting down trees. Mr. Lynch has done a bit of research into communities that have taken the preservation of trees quite seriously.  He suggested that the Village should institute a separate permitting process for tree removal, which would put the onus onto the homeowners rather than the landscapers, and then setting a substantial fee for violations.  Some municipalities have gone as high as $10,000 per tree!  While he believes this might be a “bit much” he further suggested that it would serve to be a better deterrent that a $150 fee.  “If we leave the onus on the landscapers, what that will only accomplish is reducing the already restricted number of people who work in the Park,” he concluded. 
Multiple residents then made comments of support and/or read letters of support into the record with regard to the proposed Landscaper Licensing legislation.  Residents who spoke included Chiu Yin Hempel, Pamela Breeman, Christopher Gow, JoAnn Hansen and Jim Hays.  Letters were read on behalf of Joseph McAnn, Elizabeth Coitnoir, and Jill Swirbul.  All of them support the proposed legislation and believe that among other things,  that the current system is not working and requiring the landscapers to sign a licensing agreement will help to regulate things and provide for the code enforcement necessary to preserve and protect the Village Landscape. 

Reports:
Police Report: Chief Conklin reported the following for the month of January:
Calls for Service – 188
Property Damage Accidents – 3
Traffic Tickets Issued – 6
Traffic Warning Tickets – 17
Intrusion Alarms – 4
Medical Calls – 2
Assists from The Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Miles Patrolled – 2,654
Vehicles Through the Front Gate – 556 per day

Tributes and Thanks by Trustees, Members of the Board and Members of the Public – The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, each of the Trustees. Building Inspector John Ledwith and Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty all expressed their appreciation and gratitude to Chief Conklin for his service to the Village.

Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Report

Old Business:
Continue Discussion on Landscaper Licensing Law – Mayor Citrin asked Village Attorney Brian Stolar to guide the Board through the process of moving the proposed local law forward.  Mr. Stolar explained that assuming all of the Board members had a copy of the draft, the Board could move forward with setting a public hearing for the next meeting.  Mayor Citrin noted that he was hoping to make an addition by adding in proof of workman’s comp.  Mr. Stolar noted that he would review the draft to see if it would allow for the changes to be made that evening and follow up with the Board towards the end of their meeting.  The Mayor then asked each of the Trustees for their thoughts.  Trustee Shaw wondered whether the Village would be requiring all architects, any contractors and everybody else who works in the Village to sign licensing agreements as well.  “I just think it’s opening a whole can of worms.  I personally think it’s not right to expand the powers of the government.  If you’re going to do it for landscapers, everybody else should be under the same thing.  As it is, I think we are all well aware that there is a particular house where things have been done contrary to the Village law and nothing’s happened.  That’s my comment. I don’t agree with licensing.  I think it’s making things much more difficult to do business in the Village.”
Trustee Brooke commented that it had been a while since he had reviewed the document but that he felt the Village had adequate laws on the books.  “I’m not sure what the focus is here,” he stated.  “We did talk about size of enterprise…so if a local kid wants to cut lawns as a way of making some cash, does he have to get licensed?”  He would like some time to review the document.  He is generally in concurrence but doesn’t feel that they current system is particularly disruptive or bad as it exists.  “I think it works pretty well.  I personally don’t see the need for additional legislation and expenses which all get passed on to the residents.  My attitude is: let’s circulate it, look at it, schedule the public hearing and then we can make the final changes from there.”
Trustee Scherer commented that he agreed with most of the commentary that had been provided during the public comment period. “My view is that to the extent that we are not really changing the rules and regulations.  We may be touching them up.  This is really about enforcement and what’s being proposed is actually, in my mind, fairly straight forward and not disruptive.  You have the landscapers sign a piece of paper that says they will abide by the rules and regulations of Tuxedo Park.  That is going to give the owners of those companies pause before they allow their workers to come into the Park and use prohibitive chemicals, blow leaves into the lake or take other actions that could hurt our local environment.  We’ve all been working very hard to protect our lakes and it’s no easy task.  This is a step in the right direction and I think it’s a fairly straight forward and easy step.  It’s really not about raising money for the Park.  It would be a nominal licensing fee.  It’s really about having someone sign their signature to a piece of paper that says that they understand what the rules and regulations are.  If they choose to break them or if they inadvertently break them, then we can determine as a Board what the punishment is.  It may be that they lose their license and ability to work in the Park.  It may be that they get a slap on the wrist, but at least it gives people pause before they do anything that is inappropriate.  The parties that I am particularly worried about are not the small contractors.  It’s the big, national companies….we’re just not that important to them…they don’t want to bother to know what our rules and regulations are.  As soon as people sign a piece of paper, they focus….and that’s all this is about.  I really don’t think this should be a controversial issue.”
Deputy Mayor Lindsay also agreed with the comments and letters as expressed during the public comment period.  She supports Trustee Scherer’s reasoning.  “The fee will be nominal.  It won’t be something onerous on the residents.  That is not the intention.  It does put us in the right direction not only to be able to enforce our code but also to educate our residents who maybe are not aware of the codes that we do have.  Maybe we need to think a little bit more, separate from the licensing law, about educating our residents a little bit better.”
Trustee Scherer added that he had also spoken with his long-term landscaper, who has been working in the Village for more than 30 years and is well known throughout the community.  “For what it’s worth,” he stated, “this person is in favor of a licensing fee.” 
It was agreed that they would hold off on scheduling the hearing until later in the meeting in order to allow Mr. Stolar time to complete his review and report back on the possible addition of workman’s comp.
Approval of Appointment of Deputy Chief Al Faust of Town of Goshen Police Department as New Police Chief of Tuxedo Park –  Alan Faust has been a police officer in the Town of Goshen since 1994 and is currently their Deputy Chief.  He also attended the Police Academy with Chief Conklin who had nothing but positive feedback.  In his role as Deputy Chief in Goshen, Faust has served as the Grant Administrator, the Fleet Manager and the Training Coordinator.  He has supervised the evidence rooms and has also served as both the Media Relations Officer and Integrity Officer.  He has attended the FBI Academy in addition to completing multiple trainings under the Department of Homeland Security.  The Village looks forward to having him join the force and feels that because of his connection to Chief Conklin, the transition will be a smooth one.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving Al Faust as the new Police Chief of Tuxedo Park.  Mayor Citrin noted that a “Meet the Chief” event for residents would be scheduled in the near future.
Website Accessibility Discussion (AudioEye) – This was tabled until the March Meeting.
Authorize the Mayor to Sign a Municipal Advisor Services Agreement with Munistat –  Munistat was initially employed by the Village during bond-issuance for the Wee Wah Dam.  Since that time, they file paperwork for the Village on an annual basis.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign a municipal advisor services agreement with Munistat.

New Business:
Discussion of Unattended Dogs in Public Areas – Mayor Citrin began the discussion by reading aloud from the Village Code section 32-3 under the title Animals, which is captioned “Dogs at Large” and reads “Dogs are permitted to run free within the Village provided that: 1. No more than two dogs owned by or in the custody of one family shall be permitted loose off the property of their owners at any given time.  2. Each dog allowed to run free is known to be non-vicious and rabies free.  3. The owner resumes full responsibility for his dogs’ safety and actions on public and private property.  4. There is no outstanding prohibition from any Village Board or Official.”  The Mayor noted that he is constantly receiving complaints from residents who are confronted by unattended dogs when walking, jogging or riding their bicycles around the lakes or on the trails.  Commenting that when he referred to unattended dogs, he was not talking about off-leash dogs he further stated “We’re not here to talk about dogs who are walked by their owners off-leash.  We’re here to talk about unattended dogs because the code provides that you can let your dog out in the morning, wish him or her well, and hopefully they’ll come back at night.  What they do during the course of the day is unknown to you.  I myself have driven around the Village and seen these dogs and I have called the police and reported a lost dog that is running free. The response I get from the Police is appropriate to the Village Code and that is ‘I’m sorry Sir there is nothing we can do because the dogs are permitted to run free through the Village.’ “ Although the Village has a long history of allowing dogs to roam free, the question that the Mayor is now posing to both the Board and the Public is whether dogs should be allowed to run unattended through the Village as there is no accountability for their actions should they get into any sort of altercation and many people are in fact afraid of them.   “I personally believe that we should amend this law so that dogs can be walked unleashed, but dogs cannot wander free through Village at their leisure,” he stated.  “It seems rather unusual that we allow dogs to wander throughout an inhabited Village like this.”
Deputy Mayor Lindsay commented that she was always a bit apprehensive if she was walking alone and encountered a dog, especially down by the West Lake Causeway.  She looks forward to hearing from the public on the issue.
“I know of no cases where people have been bitten,” stated Trustee Brooke.  “People are scared for whatever reason but I think the existing law is adequate.  I’m just a great believer that if the laws are adequate….you don’t fix a problem if it’s not broken.  If a dog bites somebody, the dog has an owner, there’s a lawsuit and that person who owns the dog can be sued.”
“Of course, but what if you cannot identify the owner because the dog is wandering free,” queried the Mayor.
“The dog has a collar,” responded Trustee Brooke.  “My opinion is that the existing law is adequate.  You’re out here in the country.  Dogs should be able to run loose.  If somebody’s walking their dog and the dog chases something into the woods…suddenly it’s defined as a different situation.”
Trustee Scherer commented that he did not have strong feelings on the issue and that he would really like to hear from the public.  “Having said that, I think when you hear from the public, you are probably going to hear from the people who want to change the rules, so I’m not sure it’s going to be a balanced discussion.”  With that being said he added “It almost feels a little archaic that we have laws in place that allow dogs to roam freely.  I can’t imagine there are many communities where that is actually permitted.”
Chiu Yin Hempel suggested that they ask parents who walk around the community with young children to see what they think about it. 
Mayor Citrin concluded that when he sent out the next Mayor’s letter, he would put a question to the community about it and see what kind of feedback he received.
Discussion of Local Law on Fences, Chapter 49 – As per the Mayor’s comments earlier, this item was tabled to allow the Village attorney’s time to officially opine.
Renewal of (CDPHP) Dental Plan, Vision Plan (MWG) and Medical Insurance Plan (MVP); Including Discussion of Adult Children “Age to 30” Rider Rates – These plans only effect DPW and Village Hall employees.  The dental plan will not have any change in rates.  The MVP plan has an approximately 6.41% increase across the Board.  Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty also proposed that they consider an age to 30 rider rate for children, which would affect her (her daughter is a full time-college student who is about to turn 26) as well as at least one other Village employee that she is aware of.  The rider would provide coverage for children who are still dependent on/living with their parents.  Should the Village decide to go with the rider, the increase would be 6.48 %(as opposed to 6.41)  Trustee Brooke noted that historically many colleges and universities had policies that  provided insurance for students while they were in school however post the passage of Obama Care, a lot of them have ceased offering insurance.  He doesn’t feel he has enough information to make a decision.
Mayor Citrin inquired as to the timeline for moving forward with the renewal and Ms. Doherty responded that they would need to decide by June 1.  It was then determined that the issue would be tabled for at least another month while they gathered more information and further explored their options.
Accept Resignation of Part-Time Police Officer Emma Sullivan as of February 1, 2024 – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the resignation.
Add online Court Payments Through Municipay – Elizabeth Doherty explained that the Village has been using Muncipay to collect online payments and it has been working well, but it is not connected to the Court system.  Recently Muncipay was taken over by another company called Autoagent and they are now offering additional services including Court payments.  Ms. Doherty reached out to both the Court Clerk and the Judge for their feedback and learned that it might need to be cleared with the Office of Court Administration before it can be put into effect.  Mayor Citrin suggested that they wait to see what OCA had to say and then follow the recommendation of the judge and the court clerk who actually have to process the payments. 
Authorize Clerk to Publish RFP for Wee Wah Park Beach –  The Village would like to explore two options for beach management in 2024.  One is self-management and the other is hiring a management company as they have done in the past.  In order to explore the management company, they must put out an RFP.  Matt Tinari, Chair of the Wee Wah Park Committee, has a list of five or six companies that may be interested in the job. The Mayor will draft the RFP.   Following minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the clerk to publish an RFP.
Purchase Postage Meter for Village Hall – In order to simplify the process of mailings, the Village  would like to explore acquiring a postage meter.  Following a brief discussion, it was agreed that Ms. Doherty would speak to Town Clerk Marisa Dollbaum, who has recently been exploring this very thing for the Town, and the topic would be revisited at the next meeting.
Discussion of Sunday Deliveries for Village Residents – The Mayor has received at least a half dozen calls since December from residents who need to receive deliveries on Sunday for one reason or another.  One of these came from Father Rick at St. Mary’s.  This raises the question as to whether or not the Village should allow deliveries on Sundays.  The Mayor suggested that perhaps restricting the types of vehicles allowed (vans instead of trucks etc.) might allow for a compromise. 
Deputy Mayor Lindsay commented that in terms of quality of life, she leaned more towards not allowing Sunday deliveries.  However, as she understands it, Fresh Direct is permitted to deliver on those days and they drive trucks.  “I just think Sunday is kind of a day where people like to take walks around the lake and not have to think about trucks on the road,” she stated.  She would like to hear from the residents on this topic.  She further commented that although food trucks are already permitted, she would not like to see other types of trucks on the roads on that day. 
Trustee Brooke commented that people who work during the week might not be at home to receive deliveries during the week. “You’re talking about two or three trucks during the course of a day.  I’m in favor of having stuff delivered on the weekend.”
Trustee Scherer commented that he was also in favor of it as he did not candidly see that there was much difference between Saturday and Sunday.  He further stated that as somebody who likes to run on the Village roads, he believes that the delivery vans drive too fast and that the real issue is speed enforcement in his view.  “I’d be in favor of opening it up,” he concluded. “It seems like there is a real need that the residents have and as Trustee Brooke mentioned, many of us are only in Tuxedo Park on the weekends.”
It was concluded that this would be handled in the same manner as the dog issue in that the Mayor would put it out to residents and see what kind of feedback he receives. 
Discussion on Landscaper Licensing Law (Continued) – Mr. Stolar noted that he had added the workman’s comp provision and recirculated the draft legislation to the Board members.  Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of setting a public hearing for the March 20 at 6:30pm.
Four Lane Training – This pertains to QuickBooks training as referenced earlier by Trustee Shaw.  The Board members expressed concern over the proposed cost of $2,500 as well as the general lack of information before them.  Ultimately, they agreed to table the issue. 

Closing Comments:
Public Comments – On behalf of Elizabeth Coitoir, Chiu Yin Hemple read the following: “To The Board of Trustees, My second comment is in regard to the conversation in the last two Board of Trustees meetings about the use of divers to continue the mitigation of the Eurasian Milfoil.  Our Lakes Manager AJ’s recommendation from the start was to use the chemical approach to reduce the large number of plants in all three lakes and then to follow up each year with a program of diving to keep the growth down.  As a member of the Lakes Committee, I researched diving companies and spoke with numerous communities about their experiences.  Everyone I spoke with was pleased with the results of this two-step program that has managed to keep the new growth well under control.  Not one person I spoke with discouraged our community from using divers and all recommended the two companies that were presented to the former Board of Trustees.  The Village should continue to follow the protocol recommended by our Lakes Manager.”
Trustee Scherer responded that he hoped that everyone was aware that the Village was following AJ’s advice and that they had put out an RFP for divers.  They are still waiting for one company to submit a response but they will be bringing in divers on a limited basis during the spring in a very specific part of the lake over by the Village docks, where they had been unable to use chemicals.  He feels that the two-step approach has been successful and the Village is in regular contact with AJ and listen very closely to his advice.   
Trustee Comments – There were none

The Board then entered into an executive session for discussion regarding water bills as well as legal matters. 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 21, 2024

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 17, 2024

The Village Board of Trustees met at 7pm on Wednesday, January 17.  Trustee Scherer joined the meeting via Zoom.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor Citrin opened the meeting by acknowledging the presence of the former Mayor David McFadden, who was present at Village Hall, and thanking him for attending the meeting.  He went on to welcome newly appointed BOT member and Deputy Mayor Michele Lindsay, who will fill the seat recently vacated by Chris Kasker.  Michele has been an active and involved resident of the Village for 30 years, having just retired from the Town Board at the end of December after serving for 8 years.  She also recently served as the Chair of the Police Chief Search Committee.  “I view her as a consensus builder,” stated the Mayor.  “The reactions I’ve gotten from members of the community have been glowing and positive.  I wish her much success as a member of this Board.”
Next the Mayor expressed his gratitude to the DPW for their outstanding work in keeping the roads clear during the recent storms.  He also expressed his gratitude to Michael Haberkorn of East Lake Road. who recently gave the Village permission to install a mirror on his property which abuts a very windy portion of the roadway.  This mirror will help to make travel safer for pedestrians and motorists a like when rounding the “S” curves there.  The Mayor also thanked Tate Sink, who was the one to originally propose the idea of the mirror at a meeting of the BOT this past fall.
On Friday, January 12 the Cell Committee, chaired by Jedediah Turner, brought in a company to conduct radio frequency testing throughout the Village.  The testing was free of cost and lasted roughly two hours.  The purpose was to help the Village determine locations where they might install mini-cells in an effort to improve service.   A report is forthcoming and will be shared with the community once it is available. 
The Wee Wah Beach committee, under the leadership of Matthew Tinari,  is getting ready for Summer 2024.  They have been actively receiving applications from local youth who are interested in working at the Beach either as lifeguards or as checkers.  The Village has yet to determine whether they will “self-manage” the beach this year or return to the third party management company utilized in 2022 and 2023 under the direction of former Mayor McFadden.  More information about this as well as other beach-related news will be presented and discussed in the coming months.
During one of the recent storms a tree fell on Village Hall, landing on top of the garage spaces and causing some significant damage there.  The insurance company has visited the scene and the Village is working to make the necessary repairs as soon as possible.
On Monday, January 15 there was a roll-over car accident on Tuxedo Road, just north of The Causeway.  Mayor Citrin thanked all of the first responders including the Ambulance Corps, Fire Department and both Police Departments for their timely response and assistance with the accident.  Although there was quite a bit of damage to the Vehicle involved, the sole occupant was not seriously injured.

Opening Comments:
Public Comments – Former Mayor David McFadden congratulated Deputy Mayor Lindsay on her appointment.  Next, he expressed his gratitude to Police Chief David Conklin, who has resigned and will be leaving the position on February 24.  “On behalf of the entire Village of Tuxedo Park, thank you for your outstanding service and leadership during your tenure as Chief of Police (which included the Covid-19 pandemic) Leading communities Nation-wide in safety and security (which we are) is why we have enjoyed high real-estate values and attracted many new families to Tuxedo Park over the last several years.  Chief, working with you has been an honor and one of the highlights of my time as Mayor.  Please accept our best wishes and gratitude for your positive impact on the Village of Tuxedo Park.”
Moving on, Mr. McFadden inquired as to how much money the Village had earned for the taxpayers  to-date from their investment with NY Class.
Finally, with regard to the Wee Wag Beach, he recommended that the Village bring management of the facility in-house.  Commenting that he had ended up presenting the management company with all of the lifeguards (which they then hired and paid) and all of the checkers (paid by the Village) he noted that he felt they could save money managing it themselves. “As long as we have people lined up, I think it’s a great idea…especially if we are giving the sons and daughters of residents of the Park an opportunity to do so.”
In response to the question about NY Class, Mayor Citrin noted that he did not have an answer.  John Ledwith interjected that to-date the investment had earned $135,000. 
The Mayor thanked Mr. McFadden for his endorsement of in-house management for the Wee Wah, further commenting that he was in agreement. 
Jim Hays provided a brief update on behalf of the Climate Smart Task Committee.  The State of New York has committed to reducing greenhouse gases state-wide by 40% by the end of the decade.  The Village, by action of the BOT,  has joined 400 communities across the State in their attempt to achieve this goal.  The Task Force conducted a greenhouse gas inventory for the year 2018 and one of the results of this showed that more than 90% of the emissions came from the use of electricity, exhaust from vehicles and fuel burned to heat homes.  In order to make substantial reductions, these three categories must be addressed.  In April of 2023, the BOT adopted a resolution authorizing the Village to undertake a Government Operations Climate Action Plan.  In accordance with that resolution, the Task Force has prepared a second inventory of Government Operation Emissions for the year 2022 and have also been looking at how these emissions have changed since 2018 in order to determine what the year-to-year variability might be and whether any progress has been made.  As part of this report, the Task Force is making recommendations as to how emissions from the Government operations can be reduced by 40% by the end of the decade.  The report will be fully distributed to the BOT within the next week.  The recommendations are numerous.  Some progress has been made but there is more to be done.  Some of the recommendations include installation of solar panels, exploration of hydro-electric power at the Wee Wah Dam and replacing oil and propane burning furnaces with heat pumps in a number of buildings.  The Task Force is further recommending that the Village investigate the idea of working with the New York Power Authority, who will do audits, manage any changes the Village decides to make and even over-see operations.  The audits are free, but management and project oversight come at a cost.  Dr. Hays further noted that at subsequent meetings in the coming months he would bring forward the ways that the State and Federal Government could help pay for the various changes.
Mayor Citrin responded that he had asked the Deputy Mayor and Trustee Scherer to work with Dr. Hays on these issues. 
Ryan Lynch commented that on December 19 he had received a letter from the BOT regarding the Ethics Code and requesting that he sign.   Noting that he had begun serving (as BAR Chair) in June of 2023 but had only just received the letter, he stated that he had a few clarifying questions regarding section 15-3.  “Hypothetically, let’s say after being appointed that somebody who has business before the Town threw a dinner party on my behalf…or we could take it a step further and say that they had open litigation with the Town….would I be in violation of the standards of conduct if I accepted their hospitality exceeding $25?”
Mayor Citrin asked Jared Kasschau, attorney for the Board, to respond.
Mr. Kasschau asked Mr. Lynch to please put his question into an email and send it his way. He added that he would like to have the question in writing so as to ensure that he answered it  accurately and specifically and assured Mr. Lynch that he would be able to do this quickly. 
“If I was in violation of the ethics,” responded Mr. Lynch, “what would the recourse for that be…for violation section 15-3 of our Code of Ethics in Chapter 15 of the Town Code?”
In response, Mr. Kasschau read from the Town Code the penalties for offenses as listed.  These included a fine or possible suspension or removal from office/employment in the manor provided by law.
Trustee Shaw stated that she did not remember being asked to sign the letter Mr. Lynch was referencing.  She  wondered whether all members of all Village Boards had received a similar letter.
Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty noted that she had sent the letter in accordance with her annual process.  This year the letters were sent in December to new Board members.
Trustee Shaw noted that the letter Mr. Lynch had received appeared to come from the Trustees and that her name was on it, but she had not been made aware that the letter was going out.  She reiterated her question, wondering whether all individuals serving on Village Boards had received the letter.
There followed a discussion concerning the possibility of establishing a Board of Ethics for the Village.  Mr. Kasschau explained that many Villages do this, also adopting a model Code of Ethics.  The State promulgates a  form model code, which he would be glad to share with the Board, along with a proposed law describing the composition of typical Boards of Ethics and what their duties and responsibilities may be.  In this case, if there were a Board of Ethics in the Village, Mr. Lynch would write to that Board anonymously, expressing his concerns.  “It ensures a level of objectivity, consistency and privacy.  Board of Ethics opinions are published, albeit in reacted form, so that residents of the Village can look at prior decisions and use that information to help guide them in making decisions,” he explained.
Mayor Citrin commented that he felt this is something that should be further explored and that it would be added to the February agenda.
Trustee Brooke commented that the decision about creating a Board of Ethics was one thing, and the wording of the actual guidelines was another.  “I’m sort of against Government for Government’s sake.” he stated.  “I am all in favor of an ethics process, but I want to see what it is.  I also think that any time a notice is sent out by the Trustees, the Trustees should be aware of that notice.  This is the first I have heard that this notice was sent out.”
David McFadden noted that Orange County has a Board of Ethics and that the Village is allowed to bring matters to them.  He feels that this Board would constitute a “terrific” impartial Board for the Village to bring any serious issues to.  He then announced that the last law suit that had been filed against the prior Board (including himself) by Claudio Guazzoni for ethics and sunshine violations had recently been rejected by the Courts.  “There are no longer any pending lawsuits against myself from Claudio.  I’m very excited about that.  I’m very excited that it was shot down.  Unfortunately, in addition to the 300 (thousand dollars)  we’re seeking, there’s probably going to be additional fees because I believe that our Village attorney is handling that case and the Mayor may not have put in all those fees.  I also understand that we lost our attempt to recoup fees, so the Taxpayer is looking at over $300,000 based on these frivolous lawsuits, which is a shame.  I also noticed that on the agenda, Trustee Scherer is not listed as where he is and therefore, he is not allowed to vote.  This is exactly what Claudio sued us for so that is why I bring it up… just to caution everyone…that it is not on the agenda…and there was no agenda posted at either the Front or South Gate today unfortunately.   This is what we were sued for by Claudio.  One of the motions was that in fact that Josh voted illegally because it wasn’t announced.  So, let’s be careful that we don’t do that again tonight.  Thank you.”
Police Officer Jim Ascione expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the privilege of serving under Chief Conklin. “ Dave, it’s been an honor to serve as part of your team an I want to convey my appreciation for your commitment to upholding the values of integrity, professionalism and community service within out department.  Working alongside you  has truly been a pleasure.  Thank you for your exceptional service and the positive influence you’ve had on our organization.  I wish you nothing but the best in your retirement.  Enjoy!”
Trustee Comments - Deputy Mayor Lindsey thanked Mayor Citrin for appointing her to fill Chris Kasker’s term.  She also thanked the Trustees and everyone in the Village Office for all their help in making the transition a smooth one.  She looks forward to serving the Village with the current team.  She appreciates all the kind messages she has received from residents as well.  “When I ran for the Town Board 8 years ago, there were three issues that were of upmost importance to me: The Tuxedo Reserve Special Permit, revitalization of the Hamlet and building better relations between the Town Residents and the Village residents.  During my years on the Town Board, I became involved with New York State’s Climate Smart and Clean Energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve the State’s goals and I’ve worked closely with Jim Hays, who is the Village Committee’s Chair.  I will continue to serve as the Town’s Chair for Climate Smart and together we will get a lot of things done for both the Town and the Village.  I will also continue to work on the Hamlet revitalization with the Town Board and Councilmember Deirdre Murphy.  Together through all of these actions I hope we can continue to build connections between the Town and the Village.”
Trustee Brooke had nothing to report.
Trustee Shaw thanked Chief Conklin for all of his hard work over the years, wishing him the best of luck in his retirement. 
Trustee Scherer thanked Mayor Citrin for appointing Michele Lindsay.  “I can’t think of a better replacement for Chris.  Chris will be missed but Michele with her experience in the Town, the focus on improving relationships between the Town and the Village is critical and I think she’s perfect for that.  All of the experience she has on the Climate Smart Task Force and working with Jim Hays….the Community Choice Aggregation work….I just think it was a fantastic choice.  I’m really excited Michele that you’re joining us and that we can work together with Jim to hopefully implement a lot of the projects that will benefit this community.”  He further commended Jim Hays, noting that he worked incredibly hard on critical work behind the scenes.  Lastly, he thanked Chief Conklin for his service and wished him the best of luck in his retirement.

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

*Prior to moving forward with the agenda, Mayor Citrin inquired of Board attorney Jared Kasschau whether or not there was truth to David McFadden’s suggestion that Trustee Scherer could not legally vote due to the fact that his location had not been disclosed on the agenda.  Mr. Kasschau responded that this was not true.  There is no statutory requirement that the location of a Board member participating remotely be identified in a meeting notice or agenda.

 
Old Business:
Update on Proposal to Reduce Village Speed Limit to 25mph and Traffic Safety -
Police Chief Search Committee Update – The Village is still seeking proposals from traffic engineers.  Currently they have one and are hopeful to have two more in the near future.  Once received, the Board can discuss and determine whether or not they want to move forward.
Trustee Brooke commented that it was his general belief that if things were functioning efficiently, they did not need to be fixed and he does not see any huge problems with the current speed limit.  Secondly ,he suggested that it was critical that there be a bid associated with each submission.  With regard to the one they already have he noted “I heard that the price through that study was going to be in zip code of $40,000, which is a huge number.  I look forward to discussing it later but I think should be part of the record that $40,000 to explore that might be….”
“I agree,” responded Mayor Citrin.  He added that the scope of work had not been properly defined and that the $40,000 quote that Trustee Brooke was referencing included a study of all the Village roads, which would not be necessary.   “I don’t believe that we need to have an engineer look at all the Village roads.  I think there are maybe a handful or less of Village roads that might require a review…and that would substantially reduce the cost.”
Trustee Brooke further noted that the recent roll-over accident did not appear to be the result of a speeding issue. 
Trustee Shaw agreed with Trustee Brooke that the current limit is working and, in her view,  does not need to be altered.  She suggested that they could install electronic speed limit trackers in places that were either precarious or otherwise problematic for a fraction of the cost. 
Mayor Citrin noted that Chief Conklin had supported the reduction and he agreed but at this point, he felt it was premature to be discussing it.  He suggested they wait for the remaining proposals to come in before having a constructive discussion about it. 
Police Chief Search Committee Update – Deputy Mayor Lindsay reported that the committee had completed five interviews and were currently waiting for Civil Service to come back with next steps regarding making an offer. 
Website Accessibility Discussion (Audio Eye) – An attempt was made at this presentation in December but due to technical difficulties it was tabled.  Unfortunately, technical issues persisted…this time with the audio… and following a couple of failed attempts to get things up and running, the Board  tabled the presentation until February. 
Modify Resolution 1220-12 Authorizing Tuxedo Joint Fire District Reappointments- An error was made when this resolution was initially passed in December and the wrong names were accidentally inserted.  The  Board voted unanimously in favor Board of modifying the resolution and authorizing the appointment of Commissioners Peter Dedel and Jason Poggioli to five-year terms.
Discussion on BOE Request to Move Village Elections from June to November – The Trustees recently voted in favor of transferring control of Village elections over to the County Board of Elections.  After filing the necessary paperwork, the Village received communication from Board of Elections respectfully requesting that the Village move their annual elections from June to November.  Mayor Citrin is against the change.  He suggested that one of the reasons the Village holds their elections in the month of June is because the majority of residents can be present at that time.  He also feels that were the election to be moved to November, the Village election lines would get lost on the ballot. The November ballot will also include the Town as well as state-wide and/or national elections.  “Our lines for Mayor or Trustee will be at the very bottom of the ballot.  Our campaigns will be lost in the Federal elections or the State elections,” he noted.  Most importantly, he feels it is important that the elections be conducted at a time of year when everyone is available, listening and has a chance to participate. 
The Board was in unanimous agreement with this.  The Mayor asked Mr. Kasschau to draft an appropriate response to the Board of Elections letting them know that the Village would like to retain their June elections.
WIAA Grant Applications Response Received (Board Approved Application at July 26 Meeting) – Although the Village’s grant application was approved, there are no remaining funds for the grant.  Applicable letters have been posted to the website. 
RFP Milfoil Divers – Trustee Scherer explained that a couple of years back the Village had treated what was at that time deemed a “severe milfoil problem” in all three lakes with a chemical agent.  Based on a survey recently completed by Village consultants, it appears as though the milfoil has been almost entirely eliminated however, it looks as though there may be some remaining near the Village owned boat docks.  There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that the Village was unable to apply the chemical agent in this particular area. The divers are needed in order to confirm the presence of milfoil and, if needed, to remove it by hand.  He reminded the Board that the battle against the milfoil would be an on-going one and that when they had applied the chemicals a few years back there had been an understanding that treatment would be on-going.  The use of divers was cost prohibitive for the Village when the scope of work included eradication in all three lakes, however Trustee Scherer feels that everyone’s preference would be to use divers to the extent that it is affordable rather than to put chemical agents into the water supply (even though evidence suggests it is safe and use thereof is approved by all of the appropriate Government agencies.). The RFP was originally supposed to go out in November as the work will need to be done in late April/early May and the diving teams can be incredibly hard to schedule.  Trustee Scherer feels it may already be too late, but all the same he recommended that the Village approve the RFP and get it out as soon as possible so that they can move forward.  
Noting that she had had a lot of experience with RFPs while on the Town Board, Mayor Citrin asked Deputy Mayor Lindsay to briefly outline the process, which she did.
Trustee Brooke commented that when they had explored the idea of using divers two years prior, the judgment had been that they were expensive and quite ineffective.
“No….Paul, with all due respect, that is not factual,” interjected Trustee Scherer.  “Yes, they are expensive.  It’s not that they are not effective.  They couldn’t have been effective with the extent of the milfoil that we had at the time.  That would have been prohibitively expensive…but they are very effective when you have a limited amount of milfoil in place.”
Trustee Brooke responded that although Trustee Scherer knew more than he did, he felt that the people who provided the chemical treatment should be asked for their input as they had delivered an initial presentation which indicated that pulling had not been particularly effective in other communities.  He also questioned what the optimal time for pulling would be.
Trustee Scherer recommended that they ask Lakes Manager AJ Reyes to attend the next meeting at which time he could address Trustee Brooke’s concerns and provide them with facts, which will allow them to have an informed discussion and arm them with the information they need to make a strong decision once they have the proposals. 
Deputy Mayor Lindsay pointed out that according to Trustee Scherer, the use of chemicals had not been permissible in the small area in question. 
Trustee Scherer confirmed this adding that he believed the reason was that the water in-take for the filtration system was located in that area.  He reiterated that having AJ come and address them on this topic would ensure that they had factual information with which to make the best decision.
Trustee Brooke asked for clarification that the water intake was by the Village Boat Club and not the Tuxedo Club.  This was confirmed.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of issuing the RFP, a copy of which can be found on the Village website. 

New Business:
Authorize the Mayor to Sign a Municipal Advisor Services with Munistat – Mayor Citrin asked Deputy Mayor Lindsay for her thoughts and recommendations as to how they should proceed.  The Deputy Mayor suggested that there were two other firms who work in the Hudson Valley who do this type of work and that perhaps they should table this while they investigate these additional providers.  As there is no urgency associated with signing the agreement, It was agreed that this was how they would proceed.

Accept Resignation of Police Chief Whose Last Day Will Be February 24 – Chief Conklin noted that he had written a letter announcing his resignation which was published on TPFYI.COM.  He invited anyone who might be interested to read it there.  “I just want to thank the Board and all of the residents who have shown unwavering support.  It’s been a pleasure working here and I wish everyone the best of luck.”  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of accepting the Chief’s resignation.
Approve NYSFOLA Membership for $960 – NYSFOLA is the program by which resident volunteers collect water samples from the Village lakes and send them out for testing.  Subsequently an annual report is provided with detailed information pertaining to the water quality.  The program is headed up by Christine Peverly and the Mayor has asked the Lake Wardens to make themselves available to assist her with sample collecting as needed.  Following some minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the membership at a cost of $950.
Discussion of Draft Local Law #1 of 2024: Landscaping License and Schedule Public Hearing – The Board is in receipt of a draft local law pertaining to the licensing of landscapers.  Mayor Citrin provided a bit of background, essentially noting that in years past landscapers had pretty much been doing whatever they wanted despite the rules and regulations the Village in place.  Unfortunately, there is no current enforcement mechanism other than the Building Inspector patrolling for violations.  As a result, there have been issues with landscapers and tree trimmers engaging in various prohibited actions such as cutting down more than 4 trees per year on some properties, using certain types of prohibited fertilizers and blowing leaves into the lake.  The Mayor suggested that if there were a licensing system permitting these contractors to work in the Village, that one of the consequences of violating the regulations could be suspension or revocation of their license.  Secondly, contractors contribute significantly to wear and tear on the Village roadways with their trucks.  The Village could charge a modest fee for the license…say $50-100 per truck…and in turn use those monies towards maintaining and repairing the roads as needed.  “Most of the damage to the roads from my prospective, and I’m not an engineer or an expert, comes from the heavy vehicles that travel across our roads…not the passenger vehicles that most of the residents have.” 
The Mayor then asked the Trustees for their views on landscaper licensing, generally speaking. 
Deputy Mayor Lindsay inquired of Building Inspector John Ledwith as to how violations were currently managed.
“Because of the quantity of activity that occurs and just truck traffic in general, we really do not have good accountability as to what materials are coming in.  We don’t,” he responded.  “There is no practical way to keep track of every truck. On a day-to-day basis we really don’t have immediate control over what comes into the Village.”
Next the Deputy Mayor wanted to know what the current consequence was if the Village were to discover a violation.
Mr. Ledwith responded that they would have to bring the offender to court.  “It’s very hard sometimes to figure out who has cut the trees after-the-fact,” he added.  “We do have some provision not only to cut down live trees but if there are hazardous trees we have allowed them to be cut down, but unless we see it in the act, it is very hard to enforce.”
Trustee Brooke suggested that the core issue at hand was that this is an incremental cost that gets passed onto the residents of the community.  “I’ve had people come to me and say ‘this is an additional cost,’ and some people have said ‘what happens if I hire somebody to do my garden?’  It’s just a person coming in two or three times.  We have the letter from someone who said that the existing laws are already stricter than the proposed law.  So, we have a lot of discussion.  My belief is that the rules are pretty clear about fertilizer and stuff.  Neighbors are very aware and, from my perspective, if you’re going to do it…..if an organization has less than five or ten employees…they should be free to do it.  Hire somebody to do your garden or whatever it is….that doesn’t need licensing.  I don’t think we need licenses in general because I don’t think we’ve got a big problem.”  He continued to state that the issue of trees was discussed under the prior administration and he had suggested at that time that any regulation pertaining to trees should be relative to the size of the property.  He believes that any issues can be dealt with in the existing structure and on principal he does not feel that the Village needs another set of laws and licensing.  He further suggested that enforcement costs would be prohibitive given the amount of activity that occurs with people taking care of their lawns.
Trustee Shaw agreed. “I think we are good with what we have,” she stated.  “I don’t think we need to make it more difficult to do business in this Town.”
The Deputy Mayor suggested that perhaps they could put together an agreement for the landscapers indicating that they understand the rules and regulations and charging a modest fee. 
Trustee Brooke agreed that having the landscapers sign off on the rules would be a good idea.
Trustee Scherer also agreed that this was a good idea but further suggested that they should ask the landscapers for their thoughts and feedback.  “I understand that we would be talking to someone who would be impacted potentially by what we decided to do, but I think it’s important to get that prospective.” 
Trustee Brooke suggested a tiered fine schedule. 
Mayor Citrin suggested that a  fine without a licensing system was meaningless.  The contractors know that the odds of getting caught are minimal because the Village does not have the manpower to effectively enforce the rules.  But if they know that if they are caught doing something significant that they could lose the ability to business in Tuxedo Park, this would pose a substantial risk for them and thus they would be more likely to comply with the rules and regulations. 
Following some further discussion, it was determined that they would table the issue for a month while they continued to contemplate the issue.
Appoint Deputy Mayor Lindsay as Budget Director – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Deputy Mayor Lindsay as Budget Director.
Accept Bid for Police Vehicle on Auctions International – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting a bid for an old police vehicle in the amount of $8,500. 

Closing Comments:
Public Comments – There were none.
Trustee Comments -  Trustee Shaw read the following letter into the record, written by retired Police Chief Bill Bortnowsky as follows:
Open Letter to the Community of Tuxedo Park - A Heartfelt Tribute to Chief David Conklin's Remarkable Legacy
Dear Chief David Conklin,
As you embark on a well-deserved retirement, I am compelled to express my deepest gratitude for your unwavering commitment and exceptional leadership during your tenure as Chief of Police for the Village of Tuxedo Park.
Throughout the past four years, under your guidance and with the steadfast support of the former Mayor and Trustees, you have not only steered the police department through a transformative journey but also elevated it to new heights of professionalism and efficiency. Your dedication to modernizing every aspect of the department has left an indelible mark, creating a cohesive and high-functioning unit with morale and efficiency at its core.
Your vision and strategic initiatives have established a 24-hour police department staffed by a team of New York State-certified and highly trained Police Officers. This accomplishment ensures that the residents of Tuxedo Park can rest assured that they are protected by the best-in-class professionals dedicated to safeguarding life and property.
Your outstanding service has not only benefited the department but has also had a profound impact on the community. The legacy you leave behind is one of excellence, integrity, and a commitment to the well-being of the residents you've served.
As you enter this new chapter of your life, I extend my heartfelt thanks and best wishes to you and your family. May your retirement be filled with the joy, fulfillment, and success you brought to the Village of Tuxedo Park.
With deepest respect,
William L Bortnowsky
Retired Chief of Police, Tuxedo Park, NY
[1976 to 2002]

There were no further comments and the Board adjourned into an executive session to discuss personnel matters.

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 17, 2024

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TUXEDO PARK HAS A NEW TRUSTEE ! (Posted 1/5/24)

Dear Neighbors,
As you may be aware, Village Trustee and Deputy Mayor Chris Kasker was elected to the Tuxedo Town Board in November 2023. On January 3, 2024, he took the Oath of Office as a Town Council Member.  Pursuant to NYS Law, upon taking the Oath, his offices as Village Trustee and Deputy Mayor became vacant. I thank Chris for his years of service to the Village and look forward to working with him on issues of importance to the Village and the Town.
Now, I am pleased to report to you that I have appointed Michele Lindsay of 2 Eagle Mountain Road to fill both the Trustee and Deputy Mayor vacancies. Michele has just completed two 4-year terms as a Tuxedo Council Member where she served as Deputy Supervisor and concentrated her efforts on such issues as Climate Smart projects, Grant writing, Bond issuance and refinancing, and Revitalization of the Hamlet.
Michele also has substantial experience in Municipal Bond Trading, Sales and working with Public Finance.  She previously served the Village as a member of the Improvement Committee and is currently the Chair of the Police Chief search committee.  Michele and her spouse, Jake Lindsay, who is chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals and a former Trustee, have been residents in Tuxedo Park for nearly three decades. Their daughters Hillary and Claire attended Tuxedo Park School.
I look forward to working with Michele as she applies her years of government experience to making Tuxedo Park Even Better.

Marc

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 20, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, December 20 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer was absent.

Mayor’s Comments:
This past weekend brought substantial rainfall with roughly 4 inches of rain falling in a very short period of time.  As a result, there were substantial flooding issues in the Village.  Unfortunately, a large water main break between the old Chase Bank building and the SOS Fuel Depot also occurred during the storm, cutting off service to a number of Town residents, primarily in the East Village and along Route 17.  Addressing the break was the first priority of the DPW and as of 6:30pm Wednesday evening, it has been successfully repaired fully and completely with service restored.  Now that the break has been successfully addressed, the DPW can turn their attention to clearing storm drains and repairing some of the undermined roadways.  The Mayor expressed his gratitude to the DPW for all of their hard work.
The Communications Committee has been quite active.  The group has met with multiple cell service carriers with a variety of proposals ranging from putting cell service around the water tanks on Ridge Road to installing mini-cells on utility poles around the lake, as well as mono-poles (cell towers) at various highpoints around the Village.  The group has at least one more meeting with an additional provider after which they will prepare a report and make recommendations to the BOT to consider options for improving cell service in the Village. 
With regard to landscaper licensing, there was a meeting of interested parties at which there occurred a long discussion about the type of licensing system the Village should enact.  The Village Code already has a licensing system for carting companies and it has been considered that they will mirror this system while following the code in terms of certain prohibitions  and restrictions that might apply to landscapers and tree cutters.  Ultimately the committee will put forward a proposal drafted by the Village attorney for public consideration. 
The Mayor and Trustees met with a representative from the New York State Comptroller’s office as which they learned about various aspects of financial auditing that are available upon request of the Village.  These issues will be addressed in January in terms of making a decision as to whether they want to pursue a fiscal audit in the Village. 
As the year is coming to a close, the Mayor commented that he would like to acknowledge and thank certain individuals for the work they have done.  First, he thanked the Garden Club for their efforts in hanging wreaths and holiday decorations throughout the Village.  Next, he thanked resident Jeff Metzler who, together with his wife, corralled, retrieved and secured an escaped dock on Tuxedo Lake over Thanksgiving weekend.  Lastly, the Mayor noted that Tuxedo Road had recently been repaved and for this the Village is grateful to former Mayor David McFadden as the paving and striping was scheduled during his administration.  With respect to the short white stripe on the road just past the Main Gate, Mayor Citrin noted that this was a contractor’s error that occurred when one of the valves on their paint truck misfired and it will be removed.
Finally, the Mayor noted that this would be the last meeting for Deputy Mayor Chris Kasker, who will be taking his seat on the Town Board commencing January 1.  In honor of his service, the Mayor presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation, wishing him all the best in his future political and personal endeavours.  In response, the Deputy Mayor commented that it had been a pleasure serving with his fellow Trustees as well as all the staff and Village residents who had contributed to his time as a Village Trustee.  “I hope through your council and my own experiences I have made some wise decisions to help this Village move forward.  I look forward to taking all I have learned, the good and the bad, with me in the next level of politics and of course I won’t be a stranger.”

Opening Comments:
Public Comments - There were none.
Trustee Comments – Trustee Shaw noted that she had two comments.  First, she has received a couple of complaints from residents who have been having issues hearing from the microphone during meetings, but John Ledwith is looking into this to see if they can come up with a new system.  Secondly, she noted that at the previous meeting Paula Giblin had asked the Mayor if he had any plans for the Police Department and he denied having any.  In an effort to try and get to the bottom of what Ms. Giblin had been concerned about, Trustee Shaw sent an email to the Mayor with a cc to Chief Conklin.  Commenting that she “had not really received a response from the Mayor,” Trustee Shaw proceeded to read into the record a response email that she had received from Chief Conklin in which he stated that one of the full time officers had reached out to him with concerns that they were going to be laid off and further wondered whether he could assist them in finding a new job in another department.  The Chief assured the officer that he had no idea what he was talking about and inquired as to where he had heard such a thing.  The response was that officer Dan Sutherland had returned from a meeting with the Mayor and told him.  The Chief went on to say that he had subsequently fielded calls from several part-time officers, who allegedly also heard from Officer Sutherland that their future employment could be in question.  Chief Conklin then called officer Sutherland who “reluctantly” told him that during a recent meeting with the Mayor he had suggested that he was looking into the possibility of laying off a full-time officer as well as replacing some of the part-time officers with Constables, which would be cheaper for the Village.  Officer Sutherland further told the Chief that Mayor Citrin had indicated that he could help to avoid this by finding other ways to reduce costs in the department.   The Chief went on to say that he wanted to go on record by stating that he did not believe Officer Sutherland had any ill intentions in speaking to officers about his conversation with the Mayor.  As the PBA President it is his responsibility to protect the members of that organization and the Chief does not want to see any backlash as a result.  He believes he has “put out the fire” with the officers by advising them that there have been no official conversations between himself and the Mayor or the Trustees concerning these rumors.
When she had finished reading the email, Trustee Shaw asked the Mayor for his comments.
Mayor Citrin indicated that shortly after becoming Mayor he had met with various Village Employees and department heads, including the president of the PBA.  To this end, he met with Officer Sutherland at a café in Monroe and the two had a conversation, which he characterized as a “brainstorming session.”  He asked the PBA president feedback regarding his perception as to how the department was being run and whether any changes should be made or considered.  “I am not going to deny the fact that I looked at the definition of Village Constable, which is a law enforcing peace officer, as a possible replacement for the part-time officers as they left the department.  It was not something that would require any officers to be terminated but these part-time officers come and go over the course of time and a Village Constable carries a gun and a badge and a lot of communities in upstate New York and on Long Island have Village Constables instead of police officers.”  With regard to full-time officers,  he indicated that State law mandates that the Village maintain 4 full-time officers including  the Chief and no full-time officers could be fired unless that law were changed.  “Without that change in State law, which I would not support and which has not been proposed, there would be no change with respect to full-time officers,” he stated.  Lastly, he stated that anything that the Chief may have heard or believed he had heard with respect to eliminating the midnight shift was not only false but preposterous.  “I want you to know ladies and gentlemen and residents that you should watch what I do…not what I said one-week into my term in what I thought was a private session.  The one change we are making is to replace the Police Chief, who lives somewhere in the Carolinas, with a Police Chief that will be here every day patrolling and supervising his officers.  We need a Police Chief who is here in the Village….not a Police Chief who directs the department via Zoom at his convenience.  For that reason, I can’t wait until the committee selects a person who will perform the job fully and completely as required by New York State law.  That is my statement on this point. As I said to Ms. Giblin, I plan no changes.  What I discussed with Dan Sutherland was a preliminary discussion.  I have plenty of ideas how to improve this Village and with respect to the ideas I had with the Police Department, they were simply that.  They were ideas.  They are not going to be enacted.  There will be no changes, only improvements to the Police Department.”
Chief Conklin responded that in his email he had reported only what had been said to him by Officer Sutherland. 
The Mayor responded that this was ok and that the Village appreciated the Chief’s service, which would be coming to an end shortly. 
“I want to say that this whole issue is one of the worst examples of leadership that I have seen in this Village my entire time,” stated the Deputy Mayor.  “The Mayor has every right to have conversations and ideas.  Every member of this Board and former members of this Board knows very well that whatever plans he has, he can’t enact unless it gets passed by the Board.  I feel that I let this Village down by letting this churn up to the level that it did because I got a call from two residents, one who was a pot-stirrer and one who was concerned.  I called the Mayor and told him about it.  From my military background, this was major moral issue in the Police Department and I wasn’t very specific in what I said to the Mayor, but I would have expected him to call the Chief or Dan and figure this out.  What I am most disappointed in is the Chief of Police who in that letter didn’t once say I called the Mayor to find out what was going on.  He was more inclined to help somebody find a job than to find out if his job was actually at risk…which I can’t imagine helped with moral.  This whole thing, me included, I think was a huge let-down to the Village and it should have been dropped after the conversation with Dan.  The fact that it even got that far shows a huge lack of maturity and leadership from some of the people in this Village.”

Reports Oral & Written:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report.
The Court, Water Department and Treasurers’ reports can all be found on the Village website. 
 

Old Business:
Discussion of Reduction of Village Speed Limit to 25 mph and Traffic Safety-Mayor Citrin and John Ledwith have met with three separate traffic engineers to ask them to make proposals with respect to both reducing the Village speed limit as well as road safety for some of the steep and narrow roads where guardrails might be required in lieu of boulders.  They are in receipt of one proposal and are expecting another.  The third company has withdrawn themselves from consideration.  Once they have collected the remaining proposal, they will attempt to get a third before bringing all the information before the Board to consider. 
Revised Resolution Regarding Police Vehicle Purchase and Resolution to Allow Police- Department to Sell Surplus Vehicle-  The Village attorney explained that the original resolution needed to be tweeked to demonstrate the competitive bidding process in the analysis that the Village undertook in order to determine that the purchase agreement was more beneficial to the Village’s interest and lower than the cost of the borrowing or bonding for the purchase of the vehicle.  The resolution was approved unanimously by the Board.  In coordination with receiving the new vehicle, there is now a surplus police Vehicle.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of selling it at auction. 
Police Chief Search Committee Update- Michele Lindsay reported that the committee had received a list from Orange County Civil Service with five interested candidates and will be conducting interviews.  The first interview took place earlier that day and the additional interviews will take place on Wednesday January 3.  Their plan is to make a recommendation to the Board by January 6 so that final interviews can be held by the full Board the week of January 8.

New Business:
Website Accessibility Discussion (AudioEye)- The Village Clerk has been in contact with a firm that would provide services to help visual and hearing impaired individuals to access the website.  She had a presentation from the vendor that she was prepared to deliver however, due to technical difficulties it would not play so the item was tabled until the next meeting.
Discussion of Tuxedo Lake Water Main Replacement Review Set- There is a large water main that runs across Tuxedo Lake that services residents on the west side.  It sits at a depth of roughly 65 feet.  The condition of the main is unknown.  The Village hired Westin and Sampson to put together a report and make some recommendations for replacing the main.  Mayor Citrin indicated that he had some questions about the report and whether or not the main actually requires replacement, which he wanted to discuss with the Trustees.  The Village is uncertain as to the age of the main.  They do know that the Village has conducted at least two sonar studies to try and determine whether there was any leakage under water and they both came back negative. The engineering report indicates that the cost of the replacement will be over 1 million dollars.  After reading the report, the Mayor is wondering whether the recommendation to replace is based on the actual condition of the pipe or speculation and conjecture.  He read into the record a small portion of the report pertaining to possible construction of the original pipe and indicating that at 87 years old it is suspected to be a potential source of water loss within the system.  The Mayor is concerned about committing to the project at the proposed cost without knowing the condition of the pipe beforehand.  To this end, he would like to put out an RFP to see if they can get divers or a submersible to investigate before they commit to the project.
Trustee Brooke commented that there were two different reports indicating that there were no leaks and until there was evidence of an issue, he did not feel they needed to consider replacing it.  He is not opposed to the idea of collecting bids for having somebody inspect it, however he would like to know what the cost of these services would be because while it might be a prudent thing to do, it is also arguably unnecessary.
Deputy Mayor Kasker indicated that if the pipe were to break, there would be no way to repair it.  The Mayor agreed with this assessment adding that should that occur, 25% of the community would lose water service.  The Deputy Mayor further indicated that despite consistent testing over the years, the Village is still losing roughly 50% of its treated water and they have been unable to determine the source of the leaks. He suggested that if they were going to pursue an RFP that they should also have an engineer advise them as to exactly what they expect to learn from the investigation.  He does not object to further analysis but feels there needs to be a subject matter expert advising them as to what they expect to find.
Trustee Brooke wondered whether there was an alternative should a break occur.
Mr. Ledwith indicated that some water could travel from approximately where The Club is located down West Lake Road, but because of the diameter of the pipes in that vicinity they did not feel that it would carry enough volume and pressure to pressurize the west side of the lake. 
Trustee Brooke responded that it might be worth investigating with an engineer as it could be materially cheaper to expand those pipes than to replace the underwater ones.
Mr. Lediwth indicated that the issue had initially arisen because the Village thought it would be better to have a plan in place before the main broke.  Westin and Sampson will need to obtain Health Department approval in order to move forward with what they are suggesting and there is a permitting fee attached.  “All that we know now, “he added “is that acoustically no one has been able to tell us that it is leaking,” he noted adding that perhaps they should reach out to another firm in an attempt to more clearly decipher what it was they were looking for.   Following some further discussion, it was agreed that they would table the discussion until they could have a meeting with the Engineers to discuss the whole thing in greater detail. 
Create New Positions for Recreation Attendants, Three in Total, for Wee Wah Park Summer Checkers- Orange County Civil Service has informed the Village that the position of “Checker” is not an approved position by their standards.  If the Village were to instead call these seasonal employees Recreation Attendants they would be in compliance. Nothing about the nature of the job would be any different.  It is strictly an administrative change.  Trustee Brooke indicated that he was hesitant to see the Village add additional civil service positions  as they carried with them administrative weight and process for what is ultimately a short-term position.  He wondered if the hiring could be outsourced.  When asked for his view, the Board attorney suggested that the issue should be discussed further in Executive Session as generally speaking appointments would need to be made pursuant to the Civil Service law.  Based on this suggestion, the Board agreed to continue the discussion in Executive Session.
Approve Renewal of PERMA Third Party Administration Services- The renewal of PERMA third party administrative services was approved unanimously by the Board.
Authorize Desiree Hickey to Work for a Maximum of 20 Hours at $20 per hour to Update Professional Fees- The Village is over a year in arears with collecting professional fees from applicants who have appeared before the Planning Board and the Board of Architectural Review.  The idea is to have Mrs. Hickey assess the records in order to determine what is owed from each applicant so that the Village can in turn bill them and recoup the fees.  The resolution was approved unanimously.   
Approve Tree Advisory Board Terms- Father Rick Robyn will be resigning from the Tree Advisory Board as his term is set to expire.  Pamela Breeman has agreed to replace him.  Additionally, TAB member Jill Swirbul has indicated that she would like to serve another two-year term.  These appointments were unanimously approved.
Disposal of Obsolete Equipment: 2001 IBM Thinkpad, Three Routers and a Hard Drive-
While cleaning in the Village office, Clerk Elizabeth Doherty came across a box containing some outdated equipment that was in disrepair.  Following minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing its disposal. 
Historical Society Request for Residential Water Rate-  The Tuxedo Historical Society has asked to be charged a residential water rate rather than a commercial one for their new space in the former Chase Bank building. This would result in a savings to them of roughly $100 per quarter.  They already pay a residential rate at their original location.  The Mayor suggested that so long as their rate remained below minimal usage, this should be allowed but if they were to exceed that level of usage, they would revert to the commercial rates.  He further suggested that moving forward, in an effort to be both fair and equitable,  the Village should consider including the three churches in this offer.  Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the request.
Authorization to Advertise Invitation to Bid for Diver Harvesting Services – There was some concern on behalf of the Board members about the efficacy of divers and hand-harvesting of Milfoil.  Clerk Elizabeth Doherty confessed that the reason this item was on the agenda was that she had already put out the invitation to Bid after the recommendation was made in a report from the Lakes Manager.  She did not understand at the time that Board approval was needed.  Ultimately the Board Attorney advised that the best course of action would be to cancel the invitation before any prospective bidders invested any time and/or money into the process.  It was agreed that this would be done. 
Approve Generator for DPW not to Exceed $1,299- It was recently brought to the Mayor’s attention that the DPW does not have a generator and that one of the department employees has been providing his personal generator for their use.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the purchase of DPW generator at a cost not to exceed $1,299. 
Authorize the Tuxedo Joint Fire District to Reappoint Commissioner Edward “Benji” Brennan to a Five-Year Term Beginning January 1, 2023- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Tuxedo Joint Fire District to reappoint Commissioner Edward “Benji” Brennan to a five-year term beginning January 1, 2024.

Public Comments:
Claudio Guazzoni thanked the Board for their diligence in not automatically approving the proposed 1 million dollar water main project in Tuxedo Lake.  He outlined some of the work he had done when he was Deputy Mayor to investigate water loss.  He cautioned that there are actually two pipes that run under the lake, each serving one side of the Village.  He suggested that utilizing chlorine sniffers might help them to better determine where the treated water was leaking.  He further suggested that installing meters on the mains might also help in this regard.  He feels they should do a cost analysis to determine what they are spending to treat the water and then lose it (including wear and tear on the pumps and the chemicals needed to treat the water supply) as these costs could be much less than chasing the leaks.

Before adjourning into an executive session, the Mayor wished everyone in the Village Happy Holidays and Marry Christmas, further noting that the Board looked forward to seeing everyone again on January 17, 2024. 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 20, 2023

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Board of Trustees Meeting with The New York State Comptroller December 11, 2023

 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 15, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, November 15 at 7pm.  All members were present, with Trustee Scherer participating via zoom.

Mayors Comments:
Mayor Citrin opened the meeting by congratulating Deputy Mayor Kasker on his recent election the Town Board, further noting that he would be sorely missed on the Board of Trustees. “He has provided insight and intelligence and a moderating influence for the rest of us and we thank you for your service,” he stated.   The Deputy Mayor will assume his new position in January of 2024. 
Next the Mayor announced an agenda change.  The last item on the published agenda is the discussion of the creation of a “Pocket Park” scenic overlook off East Lake Road.  Since the item was placed on the agenda, one of the abutting land owners, Sean Madden, submitted a memo of law with respect to his objections to the creation of a park.  This letter has been forwarded to  the Village attorney and upon his request, the item will be tabled in order to allow him adequate time to review the letter and look into the citations and points made so that he can in turn respond accordingly.  The discussion will be picked up at some time in the future.
Town Council member and Village resident Michele Lindsay has been appointed as Chair of the Police Chief Search Committee. An organizational meeting of the committee, which includes Trustees Brooke and Kasker and PBA President Officer Sutherland, officially began discussions.  Additionally, Mayor Citrin and Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty met with the Civil Service Department of Orange County in Goshen, where they received a tutorial with regard to how such a search should be conducted.
The Village Communications Committee, chaired by Jedediah Turner, recently met with a representative of the cable company and together they drove through the Village in an attempt to assess possible locations for a cell tower.  Ultimately, the representative has recommended that the Village consider the installation of mini-cells attached to various utility poles as opposed to a large Tower.   This would require a radio frequency survey.  The committee will be meeting with a second cell tower company in the near future and will be asking their opinion as well.
With respect to finances, the Mayor recently met with Village accountants, Cooper Arias, to discuss the annual financial report, which should be completed by the end of the year or early on in 2024.  Once completed, a representative from Cooper Arias will make a presentation to the Trustees.
With respect to infrastructure, the Village has installed a convex mirror at a blind curb on Crow’s Nest Road in response to a request from a resident.  They have also ordered and will install a second convex mirror on a blind curve along East Lake Road where it descends down towards the South Gate on the recommendation of Tate Sink.  
Since taking office, Mayor Citrin has had the opportunity to meet with the Chairman and Manager of the Tuxedo Club, Headmaster Johnson at TPS and Superintendent White of the Tuxedo Union Free School District to discuss mutual concerns.  He will be in touch with them again in the near future.
Lastly, with respect to the proposed landscaper and tree-cutter licensing agreement, there will be a meeting of stakeholders (including both Tree advisory Board and Lakes Committee members) on Sunday, November 19.  The plan is for these learned individuals to suggest any prohibitions and regulations to be included in the agreement.  These suggestions will then be brought before the Trustees and subsequently incorporated into the agreement with Board approval.

Opening Comments:
Public Comments - Paula Giblin read into the record a letter written by Chris Bruner with regard to the proposed Pocket Park on East Lake Road.  The Bruners are opposed to the Park, which would share their driveway access.  They believe that the decision to use the small, steep, non-conforming lot as a public park goes against community welfare, is impractical  and potentially motivated  by “matters unrelated to the best interest of our Village.”  They feel that if this use is truly going to be considered,  the increase in foot traffic should be formally studied so they can fully understand its impact on the neighboring properties and their privacy as well as resident safety. Mr. Bruner urged the Village to reconsider their decision and further asked to be copied on any emails relevant to the proposed project as it will have a direct impact on his family.  “Questioning my character and motivations publicly without ccing me seems particularly nasty and unnecessary,” he concluded.  Lastly, Mr. Bruner suggested that he would be willing to collaborate on finding more suitable opportunities for the property that would benefit the community as a whole and provided some examples. 
Mayor Citrin noted for the record that he had responded to a letter very similar to the one Ms. Giblin had just read that had been received the week prior and while he did not intend to go into the details of that response, he had provided Mr. Bruner with his phone number and also agreed to meet at the property to discuss.
“On a personal note,” stated Ms. Giblin “I would just like to add the Chris and Aileen Bruner have been longstanding members of the Tuxedo park Community and any public accusations of elitism on their part in terms of why they would be opposed to the park is really uncalled for and inappropriate….for public emails to be sent out making those accusations.”
“I certainly did not make that accusation,” replied the Mayor.
Michele Lindsay reported that the Town Board had completed the 2nd in a series of workshops focused on revitalization in the Hamlet district of Town along Route 17.  The Town is putting together an RFP for firms to help develop a master plan for the Business District from East Village Road to School House Road.  Once the plan has been finalized, they will be able to submit a grant proposal for New York Forward, which is a program funded by New York State which gives out monies for downtown revitalization projects.  To date they have awarded nearly a billion dollars to various communities.  
Trustee Brooke commented that he had received an email from the Public Advocate inviting people to visit the Pocket Park.  He pointed out that nobody had the right to invite people  onto Village property prior to the Trustees approving it as public space.  He further expressed concern that because of the community wide letter, people might now go onto the property, where they could injure themselves and the Village would liable.  He suggested that because of this and until they were able to get everything worked out, it would be appropriate to post No Trespassing/Private Property signs there. 
Claudio Guazzoni commented that he had recently been told by a member of the Greenwood Lake Police Department that roughly 2-years ago a car had been stopped for a traffic violation late at night in Greenwood Lake and the driver of that Vehicle claimed to be the Police Commissioner of Tuxedo Park, producing a badge and ID card that identified them as such.  The driver then suggested that these things should entitle him to be let go without infraction.  The police officer confiscated the ID and badge and turned them over to the Tuxedo Park police department.  Upon further inquiry, the officer learned that all Tuxedo Park Trustees save one had been issued similar badges and ID cards, identifying them as Police Commissioner.  The remaining Trustee insisted that he be identified as a Trustee.  “Such was life under former Mayor McFadden,” noted Mr. Guazzoni.  “My question is not about what was a Tuxedo Park Trustee doing in Greenwood Lake late at night.  My question is more to the issue of why would the ex-Mayor give out Police Commissioner badges and ID cards to all of the Trustees when Tuxedo Park does not officially have a Police Commissioner?  I would like to see the same Trustees and ex-Mayor McFadden turn in their Police Commissioner badges and ID cards so that they can all be reissued ID cards that merely state Village Trustee.  I would also like to give the opportunity to any Trustee who didn’t take part in getting a Police Commissioner badge or ID card to publicly state so for the record.”
Sean Madden commended the Village for taking the time to deliberate about the park proposal.  “I look forward to engaging with the Village attorney about our very serious concerns about the legality of putting a park on this site.  There has been a lot of disinformation and outright lies spread about this parcel of land over the years.  Village residents are smart.  I invite you to compare the detailed comment letter I submitted to the Board regarding this proposal and which is available publicly on TPFYI….and decide for yourself who has more credibility speaking about this particular piece of land and the law surrounding it. (Click here to view Mr. Madden's letter)  I’m not going to touch on the legal part, but my letter had demonstrable facts not opinions, including the slope of this parcel which is 26 and ½ degrees.  That’s an engineering fact.  It is not subject to interpretation.  Spot slopes on this parcel exceed 30 degrees.  As Trustee Brooke just pointed out, why would the Village invite residents into a demonstrably dangerous place while also exposing taxpayers to potential liability?  I’ll also point out that New York has a model law regarding steep slopes and it applies to slopes over 25 degrees and it recommends that those slopes not be disturbed at all…not at all….because of the risk of erosion on those kinds of slopes.  If you look at the slope, you will that it is lose, rocky soil.  It has already suffered from bad erosion and that risk of erosion is just heightened….the bottom of that slope is our drinking water.  So, I invite residents who want to learn more about this proposed park to go to TPFYI and read my letter.  Then last thing I will point out is that my letter also includes an offer to purchase this parcel for $25,000.  Last time the deal was scuttled…we had an agreement at that price….because of Mr. Guazzoni’s baseless threat of litigation.  I’ve taken that issue off the table by agreeing to indemnify the Village.  Let me put $25,000 into context.  It is $16.67 per square foot.  On a per acre basis, that is $726,000.  That is more than we paid for our two-acre lot, which allows us to build a house.  This parcel doesn’t increase the buildable size of our lot 1 inch because of the slope it’s on.  It’s a very generous offer.  The Village has the option of keeping this parcel the way it is and benefitting no one in the Village or selling it to us for $25,000 because we can absorb it into a code-compliant lot.  Take that $25,000 and invest it in a new park, whether it’s at the south end of the lake or another site or to build a playground at the Wee Wah Park, which would benefit the entire community.  I urge everyone to read my letter, consider those options…and I urge the Trustees to vote tonight to sell that parcel to us.”
Martin Pomp commented that he wanted to follow up on a letter he had sent to John Ledwith and the Trustees two weeks prior, to which he has not received an answer.  He is concerned about the safety of Ontio Road, where there are seven major gaps where there used to be boulders/road barriers that are no longer there.  “As we approach winter and icy conditions, I’m really scared  to drive on that road and I think that my neighbors have expressed that as well.”  He further wondered who would be liable should there be an accident there.  Would it be the Village or the owner of the land on which the boulders rest (less than 1-foot off the roadway)? “I would just like to get some clarity as to what’s going on, both with respect to my letter and the situation governing road safety and who’s responsibility it is.”
Mayor Citrin indicated that the Village was in receipt of Mr. Pomp’s letter and that the issue of the boulders on Ontio road had been discussed prior to having received it.  There were concerns raised by the homeowners below the road, who felt that the boulders posed a hazard should they be dislodged, roll down the slope and strike some of their property.  An initial investigation was conducted in order to determine whether the boulders are located on the Village right-of-way or if they are on private property and they believe that at this point in time the boulders are located on private property. “We will continue to work on this,” noted the Mayor, “because I understand your concerns about Ontio road and the steepness of the drop-off…and the fact that there are other roads as well in the Village that require replacement boulders.  We’ve had conversations with residents on West Lake Road towards the south end and concerns about people inadvertently driving into the lake and we will continue our discussions.  However, it appears at this point that those boulders are the responsibility of the landowner.”
Mr. Pomp responded that logically the risk of somebody going off the cliff seemed a more pressing issue than the boulder potentially damaging property.  He reiterated his concern for the safety of people traveling that road, especially in the winter and further commented that it seemed crazy not to deal with it by placing some boulders.
The Mayor responded that more than boulders, he felt they might consider installing a guardrail there.  He suggested that Mr. Pomp take a look at the guardrail at the end of Lookout Road and let him know what his thoughts were indicating that they could continue conversation moving forward.
Mr. Pomp thanked the mayor but reiterated that he was hoping for some finality moving into winter.
Ettore B commented that he was the property owner below the boulders.  He indicated that in addition to concern over the boulders possibly damaging property, there were also people in the home and walking along the street just below them every day.  “I think the risk to human life and human limb is as serious as was previously reported by the other gentleman.”  He further indicated that he had had some discussions with the owner, but that he did not feel he had made any significant progress through these in terms of him taking any responsibility for moving the boulders.  “I do think it is a Village Broad issue.  I understand the Village has all kinds of legal liability it does not want to undertake and I fully respect that.”  He went on to suggest that perhaps they could meet in “a smaller session” and brainstorm in an effort to come to a common conclusion.  Mayor Citrin responded that he would follow up in this regard.
Trustee Comments – Deputy Mayor Kasker thanked all of the Village voters who had supported him “overwhelmingly” in the recent election.  “It’s humbling,” he noted.  He looks forward in starting in January to look after the best interests of the Town and the Village. 
Trustee Brooke had no comments.
Trustee Shaw read into the record the following statement:
“Mayor, Trustees and residents,  I would like to set the record straight about the false and inflammatory statement resident Claudio Guazzoni made about me in the BOT meeting on October 18,2023. I was not a trustee in 2017 or 2018, and did not grieve my taxes those years. 
 However, Claudio Guazzoni was a trustee in 2016 when I did grieve my taxes. 
 In fact, here is what happened with the Board of Assessors in 2016, when Claudio was a Trustee: February -  Shaw grievance - denied. 
Claudio Guazzoni’s parcel 104-1-13, known as First Island Nominees – approved. Taxes were reduced by $3,290.86 
 June – Tax Certiorari settlement for First Island Nominees parcel 104-1-13 leading to a further reduction of $2,077.28 .  In total, Claudio Guazzoni’s taxes were reduced by $5,368.14…a reduction of 22.7%.  Mine was zero.  Thank You.”
Trustee Scherer congratulated Deputy Mayor Kasker, further commenting that while he was happy that Kasker had won by a landslide, he had mixed emotions as he would truly be missed on the Board of Trustees. “You’re going to be very hard to replace.  Thanks for everything you’ve done on this board.

Reports Oral and Written:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Mayor Citrin inquired as to what had happened with the milling work on Tuxedo Road that had been scheduled for earlier that week but had not taken place.  DPW Superintendent Voss responded that the contractor had one of their machines break down.  The milling will take place Monday and Tuesday of next week with the paving to take place the Monday after that. 
Click here to view the Building Department Report. 

Approval of Meeting Minutes:
There was some disagreement among the Trustees over a particular section in minutes from their October 18 meeting. Trustee Shaw expressed concern with the fact that only one of the resolutions, pertaining to the Sterling Carting contract, had editorialized comments included with it, while the others did not.  She agreed that she would like to make a motion to amend the minutes and eliminate the section in question and further suggested that moving forward she felt that the minutes should reflect “strictly what the resolution is instead of writing some commentary on each.”  This was discussed at some length.  Deputy Mayor Kasker indicated that he had no objection to what was in the minutes, further stating that what had been included was the historic background of dates and times as well as information explaining why the resolution had been signed late.  “I have no problem with it,” he concluded.  Mayor Citrin agreed, further commenting that he didn’t think they could completely “whitewash” the history and he felt that the preamble was appropriate in this particular instance.  Trustee Shaw pointed out that the reason she was objecting to it was because there had been a reason for not extending the contract and it was not because the prior administration forgot about it.  The reason was not included in the minutes. 
“Well,” the Mayor, “Please feel free to state the reason why the contract expired in November of 2022, which had provisions for three yearly extensions but was not extended…and what action was taken by the previous administration to ensure that garbage collection would continue on something other than a fingers-crossed, month to month basis.  The floor is yours.”
Trustee Shaw explained that there had been an agreement between the Mayor and Sterling Carting but the company was on probation because of some things that they had not been doing, so it progressed to month-to-month.
Mayor Citrin replied that at any time during the month-to-month coverage, when there was no contract, Sterling Carting could have decided to stop providing services and then where would the Village have been?  “So, I believe the preamble is appropriate.  Whatever reason you had as the Deputy Mayor for not renewing it is your reason…which you just explained.”
Trustee Brooke commented that he didn’t feel this was a big issue.  He suggested that they add in a phrase explaining that there had been a month-to-month agreement with Sterling Carting as a result of something they had done.  This way the preamble would reference the reasoning and they could move on.   
Trustee Scherer agreed with Trustee Brooke that this should not be a big deal.  “I’m not sure why we are making a big deal out of it.  I don’t feel this is a good use of time.  I feel like we can approve the minutes at the next meeting,” he stated.
“We either agree to change the minutes or not,” stated Deputy Mayor Kasker.
Trustee Scherer then wondered whether it was an issue of setting new precedent, allowing preamble in meeting minutes, and if they did not normally do it, the question was why now?
This was considered and discussed for several more minutes after which the Board voted 4-1 in favor of approving the minutes as they were and not eliminating the preamble, with Trustee Shaw voting no.

Old Business:
Village Elections – Resolution to allow Orange County Board of Elections to run future Village elections – Mayor Citrin noted that he had been very impressed with the way the County Board of Elections had run the Town election the week prior, further noting that results had been available 90 minutes after the closing of the polls and that voters had been able to follow the tallying of votes as they came in from each of the 4 districts online in real time.  He asked Town Councilperson Lindsay for her thoughts and she responded that things always ran smoothly with the County and that their involvement also allowed for early voting with those tallied and included in the count on Election Day.  The Mayor added that he had recently read that commencing January 1, the State of New York will permit mail-in voting as part of the process and that this would make things more complicated for the Village Clerk, who has already publicly indicated that she would prefer a transfer of this authority to the County.  He further stated that the events of last June with the absentee ballots would not have taken place had the County Board of Elections been running things as people would have had the opportunity to cure their ballots.
The Deputy Mayor commented that he had been present during the tallying of votes in the Town the week prior and it had been a smooth and easy process.  He supports the change.
Trustee Brooke commented that when they had discussed the issue a month earlier, he asked the attorney to put together a list of pros and cons, which he had not yet seen.  That being said, given the litigiousness of what occurred in the Village this past June, he wants to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again and therefore, so long as the attorney verified that they could take control back should any issues arise, he favors making the change.
The Village attorney then verbally verified that they could take control of their elections back by resolution  at any time if they wanted to.
Trustee Shaw commented that the Town was lucky that a TRO had not been filed on the day of the election., further suggesting that if this had happened, things probably would not have been so quick and easy.
Trustee Scherer indicated that he was supportive of making the change.
The time line for making the decision was discussed and it was determined that they would need to give the County 6 months of notice before having them take over.  Trustee Brooke then wondered if they would have to provide 6 months of notice in order to take control back.  The Village attorney explained that the process for making this change involved allowing time for the public to request a referendum vote if they wanted to in addition to allowing the Board of Elections time to prepare….thus the 6 months.  He did not know how long the process of rescinding the decision would take, but indicated that he felt it was a shorter process. 
Following some further discussion, the Board voted 4-1 in favor of making the switch, with Trustee Shaw voting against. 
Resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign collective bargaining agreement with IBEW – This is the contract for the DPW workers.  In June, Mayor McFadden signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the IBEW.  The union is now looking to establish an effective collective bargaining agreement, to be executed by the Mayor, incorporating the Memorandum of Agreement and its terms.  Currently, the Village attorneys are working on this and are awaiting some information from the Union attorneys.  Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign the agreement subject to the approval of the Village Attorney.
Exemption from County Taxation – Modify resolution 1018-05 from October 18, 2023 minutes to include section, block and lot of property located in the Town of Tuxedo for use of Village of Tuxedo Park water system –  This resolution was passed unanimously. 
Authorization to hire Part-Time Police Officer Stefan Christan at an hourly rate of pay of $27.30 per hour Monday to Friday and $32.96 on weekends – This resolution was passed unanimously. 

New Business:
Discussion of Pond 3 Bridge structural improvements- A survey of the Pond 3 Bridge was conducted back in 2020 as part of the process of building the Wee Wah dam and unfortunately, it showed that the bridge is deficient.  More recently, the Village asked their current engineer, Westin & Sampson, what it would take to evaluate the bridge.  They would like $3,500 to do another evaluation so they can reach their own conclusions about what needs to be done.  The question as to whether the Village needs another, more current evaluation or whether they can ask Westin & Sampson to make the repairs based on the old evaluation was raised and discussed.  Mayor Citrin believes there might be some cost savings if they are able to use the older evaluation. Building Inspector John Ledwith explained that in recent years the Village has “lost a little confidence” in the old engineer due to some deficiencies they have found in the dam and this is why they sought a second estimate from the current engineer.  He further noted that Westin & Sampson (current engineer) had helped the Village to make repairs to the Warwick Brook Road bridge several years back and had assisted them in designing a project that allowed the Village DPW to do the majority of the physical work themselves.  Deputy Mayor Kasker commented that he didn’t feel the Village needed to pay another engineer to tell them what they already knew, which was that the bridge needs repair.  Rather, they should be looking for a proposal for making the repairs.  Mr. Ledwith responded that Westin & Sampson had not seen the survey from the other engineering firm, so logically they felt the need to view and assess the bridge for themselves. The Deputy Mayor suggested that they should re-approach Westin & Sampson, tell them that they already knew the bridge was broken and ask them to make a proposal for the repairs.  The idea of asking a third engineer for an independent evaluation was raised, briefly discussed and dismissed. The issue is that Westin & Sampson doesn’t know that the Village already knows that the bridge needs repairs.  Ultimately, it was agreed that this would be tabled and move forward with cost saving in order to get the kind of proposals they need in order to do the work that needs to be done.
Discussion of reduction of Village speed limit to 25 mph- In August of 2022 Governor Hochul signed a law that allows municipalities to reduce the maximum speed limit to 25mph.  Mayor Citrin feels that this is something that might be worth considering in light of the nature of the Village roads with the lack of shoulders and the precipices and the close proximity of roads to the lakes.  “A reduction in the speed limit for safety of pedestrians and cyclists and motorists alike, is something we should seriously consider,” he stated, further suggesting that ultimately this was something they might put to referendum as it would impact everyone in the Village.  He then asked Police Chief David Conklin for his thoughts.  Chief Conklin responded that he had been a strong advocate for reducing the speed limit to 25mph for quite some time.  The Village has narrow, windy roads with no shoulders.  To his knowledge, there have been at least two vehicles that have driven into the lake in recent years.  He feels that 30 mph is too fast for many of the roadways and supports a reduction.  Mayor Citrin asked the Chief if in his experience, most speeders tended to exceed the limit by 5-7 mph and whether he thought that if they reduced the limit to 25, people might actually go 30 instead of 35 or 40.  Chief Conklin answered yes to both questions.  Trustee Shaw suggested that they had already begun the process of lowering the limit in certain areas.  The Chief concurred that signs had been placed in certain high-traffic areas but these were only suggested limits and were neither regulatory nor enforceable.  Trustee Shaw wondered whether they could simply make the limit enforceable in those areas.  The Chief replied that it would be much easier if they made one universal speed limit with signs at each entrance, further suggesting that if they were to create different speed zones in different areas around the Village that there would be signs everywhere and that could easily become an aesthetic issue.  Mayor Citrin added that according to DPW Superintendent Voss it cost $105 per sign to replace.  The Village attorney recommended that the Village employ a traffic engineer to undertake a formal study and as a part of that, based on comments made earlier that evening, that they investigate a railing along Ontio Road.  It was agreed that John Ledwith would look into this.  Trustee Scherer suggested that they expand the study to include other areas of the Park where there are dangers on the road and what could be done to make things safer.
Levy unpaid Village taxes onto the Town/County tax bill- The resolution was approved unanimously.
Authorize the Fyke Nature Association Annual Bird Count- This was approved by unanimous vote.
Accept quote from Greene County Commercial Bank for Police vehicle financing – Following some discussion about the possibility of obtaining a lower quote, the Trustees voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to accept the best quote possible for the police vehicle financing. 
Authorize Denise Spalthoff to sign off on regularly occurring vouchers- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Deputy Clerk Denise Spalthoff to sign off on regularly occurring vouchers within the Police Department. 

Closing Comments:
Public Comments –  Paula Giblin noted that at the previous meeting there had been some misinformation circulated regarding future plans for the police force and the Mayor’s response had been that his plan would be forthcoming.  She wondered whether such a plan had been publicized anywhere and whether the Mayor would like to address what his future plans for the department were. 
“I have no plans to change the Police force in any shape or form other than to get a new Police Chief,” responded the Mayor. 
Claudio Guazzoni stated that he wanted to draw everyone’s attention to the Heron Cove parcel owned by the Village.  “It’s a very pretty parcel, especially at sunset,” he said.   “The Village should not sell it.  However, if the Village does sell it, it should sell it through public auction.  I myself have a standing bid for this parcel at $150,000.  I don’t think that’s a lot because I think this parcel is very precious and I think it’s worth $250,000 or $300,000.”
Sean Madden suggested that Mr. Guazzoni had obviously never read the Village zoning code.  “We have a 4-acre residential zoning code in the Village of Tuxedo Park.  The Village is not authorized to (nor would any resident support) create a stand-alone lot on a 15 by 100 foot plot of land that’s 1,500 square feet.  It’s 3.4% of an acre.  It’s a joke.  This has previously been discredited.  I have previously submitted a lengthy legal analysis, that the previous Village attorney agreed with, that there’s simply no basis to sell this parcel on a stand-alone basis.  If it’s going to be sold, it can only be sold to a neighboring property that can absorb it into a code-compliant lot.  New York law is very clear on that.  Mr. Guazzoni can continue to gaslight our community with lies, but the facts and the law are clear and I would invite the new Village Attorney to opine on that issue when he is ready to….because the law is very clear on this.” 
Mr. Guazzoni tried to refute this however, the Mayor would not allow it, and as there were no further comments from the public, the comment period was closed.. 
Trustee Comments – There were none.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss both a personnel matter and a matter related to water rates. 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 15, 2023

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 18, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, October 18 at 7pm.  Board member Josh Scherer joined the meeting via Zoom. 

Mayor Citrin opened the meeting with a moment of silence to respect and honor and never to forget the slaughter of innocents, particularly in the State of Israel, and also for everyone to give a silent prayer for the safe return of the 200 or so hostages that are being held in Gaza.

Mayor’s Comments:
“I don’t know how many of you received the missive from the former Mayor with respect to issues involving the Police Department,” began Mayor. Citrin  “In that missive he made certain claims that I had plans to do certain things with respect to the Police Department and he claimed that he received his information from Police Officer Dan Sutherland, who is the president of the PBA.  Dan read the missive and has agreed that I should read the following statement into the record: Hi Marc, David McFadden put out an email with my name on it with inaccurate information. I am not behind that in any way and do not agree with it. You did not propose anything to me, just asked me how I felt about a few things. And you specifically told me you were not looking to get rid of midnights, so I don’t know where that’s coming from. I asked him to refrain from including me in this type of email in the future.”  The Mayor continued “So, there you have the response from the source that former Mayor McFadden quoted.  With respect to this particular incident, I have no further comment, I only want to say that that I understand that the former Mayor likes to stir the pot, but from my prospective the only goose that’s gonna get cooked in the pot is his.”  Moving on, Mayor Citrin noted that there was quite an extensive agenda for the evening, which was indicative of the initiatives he is proposing in the Village.  He views these initiatives as proposals that should be discussed in great detail over a period of time in order to allow for reflection by the residents, and open discussion. Only after full and complete discussion has taken place will resolutions be presented to the Board.  He has asked the attorney to speak with regard to his proposal to have the Board of Elections take over Village elections and he has also asked him to address the issue of public referendum as he firmly believes that the public should have a voice in determining major decisions regarding the governing of the Village.  He is in favor of putting questions to the public with respect to those issues that he feels the public should speak on. “Whether or not the Board of Trustees votes in favor of or against a particular initiative that I am making, I will ultimately request that it be place on a referendum so that you as the voters will have the final say as to whether it becomes law.”

Opening Comments:
Public Comments – Jay Reichgott noted that there were some issues under the New Business section of the agenda pertaining to engineering issues, specifically I&I, which are sewer issues.  Mr. Reichgott is a Town Councilman, and  the Town is dealing with I&I issues of a similar magnitude to the Village.  They are about to complete an RFP for a sewer repair contract and they have made sure to put in language that will allow other municipalities to “piggy back” onto their contract.  Secondly, he stated that he would like to speak to Item M on the agenda, the retention of a certain person as Village Special Council.  “I’m not qualified to speak as to whether or not the legal action makes any sense and I don’t know the attorney, so I assume that this person is qualified.  This person is a close, personal friend of one of the Board members.”
“Who is a close personal friend?” inquired Trustee Shaw.
“Is Ms. Gilbert not a friend of one of the Board members?” responded Mr. Reichgott.
“My life partner….yes,” stated Trustee Brooke.
“Without suggesting anybody is doing anything illegal or unmoral against the constitution, generally it seems unseemly that somebody with that close a relationship would be in the employ of the Village,” stated Mr. Reichgott.
Sean Madden commented that he had not originally intended to speak on this  issue but changed his mind.  He himself is a lawyer and he knows Elisa Gilbert and feels that she is a terrific lawyer  “She’s taken this case on, as I understand it, on a fully contingent basis that will cost the tax payers nothing and could potentially get a very substantial recovery on behalf of the taxpayer.  I believe the Board has a fiduciary obligation to pursue that, so I respectfully disagree.”  He went on to say that he had been pleased to hear the Mayor speak about advise and consent and open discussion.  “It seems like a delicious irony since just weeks ago this Board unanimously approved the composition and leadership of our important boards in the Village, including the BAR.  Yet just recently you unilaterally, and without advice and consent…as far as I can tell without any discussion, purported to remove Mr. Lynch as Chairman of the BAR for reasons that are unknown.  But this didn’t happen in a vacuum.  Mr. Lynch, who is here tonight, probably accused you of engaging in inappropriate conduct on behalf of a personal friend of yours, who has been before the BAR and who I might also add has been engaged in litigation with the Village and, the best I can tell, has repeatedly flouted our Code.  Mr. Lynch further alleged that the Mayor tried to bully him into resigning and when he refused to do so, that you committed to removing him from his position, which you claimed to have done.  I expect the Mayor to address these troubling allegations.  But my question is for each of the Board members and it’s about process, not the substance of these allegations, which I have no first-hand knowledge about.  But before I get to that I do want to say I took hours today to watch the recent BAR meetings and especially the ones involving this troublesome applicant….and I must commend Mr. Lynch for his professionalism and patience in the face of what can only be described in some cases as abject rudeness and inappropriate behavior.  With that said, I submit that the public interest demands that any discussion of demoting or removing a member of the BAR should be held in public session.  You have the right to go into executive session but, as council will confirm, it’s discretionary….and as the Committee on Open Government has opined the ability to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter is primarily for the privacy interest of the person being discussed.  Mr. Lynch doesn’t want to get railroaded in private.  He prefers a public discussion.  And so, there is no reason to take that discussion to executive session.  Our Sunshine Laws, the Open Meeting Laws, take their name from Justice Brandies’ very famous quote that sunshine is the best disinfectant.  My question to each of you Trustees is: do you agree that the demotion or removal of any sitting member of the BAR should be subject to public discussion and not be done in executive session? If you disagree, please explain why.  Thank you.” 
Peter VanZandt addressed the Board with regard to the health of Tuxedo Lake.  He has requested a stocking of the lake in November of this year as a culmination of 10 years of stocking.  Within the lake there exists two creatures called phytoplankton and zooplankton.  Zooplankton eats phytoplankton, which is plant based.  In the 1960s, herring were introduced into the lake and over time they began to eat the zooplankton and as a result, there was nothing to left to eat the algae.  Without trout, to eat the herring, this allowed phytoplankton to explode in the lake.  Mr. VanZandt watched the quality of the lake deteriorate over the course of several decades and finally in 2011/12 he decided he needed to take action.  With the help of others, he was able to raise over $12,000, which he used to stock the lake with 16-inch trout.  The results were both quick and dramatic.   Instead of the lake remaining a brown or green color all summer long with high PH levels, it cleared up and turned blue.  The Trout began eating some of the herring, who had been in turn consuming the zooplankton, who were supposed to be eating the phytoplankton and keeping the algae under control.  He has been working to stock the lake annually ever since and it has remained relatively clear with normal PH levels.  They have succeeded in putting a 50% dent in the herring population.  He believes that with one more stocking, the balance will be capped and there will not be a need to re-stock for at least 4 years.  He believes that the stocking is to the benefit of everyone.  Among other things, it will help to prevent the formation of blue/green algae. 
Ryan Lynch stated that as he understood it the Mayor wished to discuss removing him as Chair of the BAR in a closed door session.  He expressed his wish to have the issue discussed in a public forum.  “The line was taken from me but…. sunshine is by far the best disinfectant,” he stated.  “Questions I have: What is your cause?  Second, why would I still remain on the BAR as a member, not Chairman, if there was just cause to remove me? Third, it is entirely inappropriate for you to put pressure on this BAR and show favoritism.  The same rules apply to everyone equally. Thank You.”
“The only comment I have,” responded Mayor Citrin, “is that I never requested your resignation.” 
“That is a bold faced lie,” replied Mr. Lynch.  “You didn’t request it.  You demanded it.”
The Mayor commented that the issue would be addressed at a later date reiterated his stance that he had not asked Mr. Lynch to resign. 
Trustee Brooke asked for clarification as to whether the Mayor was talking about Chair resignation or Board resignation and Mr. Lynch responded that the Mayor had asked him to resign as Chairman while remaining on the BAR. 
“I refute that,” stated the Mayor.  “But we will discuss this further.” 
Wilkie Paes read the following statement into the record: “Dear members of the Board, My name is Wilkie Paes and this evening I would like to speak about our experiences with the building process in Tuxedo Park.  We purchased out lot roughly in 2018 and construction did not begin until 2022.  Our approval process took approximately 3 and ½ years.  It was a confusing, inconsistent process.  We were volleyed between boards and were not given clear answers until the end.  We had to make numerous, numerous enumerations to satisfy both the boards and our neighbors.  In comparison to our past experience, we have had a pleasant transition with the current BAR.  Answers and suggestions are given directly with reason, while still following written guidelines.  During our process we were also given strict guidelines and recommendations for outdoor materials.  We were asked to incorporate materials to make the home look like it’s always been there.  For example, we have incorporated the finest materials such as slate roof, wooden windows, Tuxedo stone, limestone and bluestone.  While expensive, we did not question it because, like other Tuxedo residents, we feel a responsibility to preserve the quality of homes and in turn uphold the character and charm of Tuxedo Park.  We can all agree that Tuxedo Park is a beautiful and unique community with picturesque estates and homes.  What sets it apart from other towns are the guidelines by which we hold our community members responsible.  The current BAR team is doing a phenomenal job in maintaining the standards of the Park, while also ensuring a smooth and seamless process for its’ homeowners.  Thank you for your time.” 
John Carcone, an attorney representing Claudio Guazzoni commented that they had recently been engaged in some protracted litigations whereby they had offered to allow those Trustees who were unopposed to be released from the lawsuit, but the lawyer had insisted that they remain involved, resulting in what he believes to be unnecessary legal fees.  “I understand that there is a desire for revenge and retribution and I would caution you Mayor specifically from advocating what I firmly believe is your fiduciary duty and legal obligation to appoint or terminate anybody who is in the employ of the Village by appointment and not subject to collective bargaining.”  He noted that he had written and sent a letter to the Mayor with CC to the Trustees and Elizabeth Doherty.  “I would encourage you to take this seriously because my client certainly does not wish to continue to have to litigate to get the Village to comply with law and regulations that are out there.”
Claudio Guazzoni read into the record a letter he wrote and submitted to the BOT as follows:
“This letter serves as an official complaint by the Public Advocate and FOIL demand regarding the legal hiring of an attorney, Ms. Gilbert, to represent the Village of Tuxedo Park in connection with a recent filing with the NYS Supreme Court in a case that was disposed of a month ago.  This letter is from my attorney.  Dear Mayor Citrin, This firm represents Claudio Guazzoni individually and as a resident and taxpayer in his capacity as Public Advocate for Tuxedo Park.  The Public Advocate for Tuxedo Park is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization and acts as a community watchdog, which also publishes a periodic public affairs blog that is available to the entire community.  I write to you concerning a serious matter that is of great concern to the Public Advocate that may also be of concern to the taxpaying citizens of Tuxedo Park regarding the conduct of an attorney, Ms. Gilbert, who has improperly and without legal authority filed papers in State Supreme Court stating under oath that she represents the Village of Tuxedo Park, when she didn’t.  Please be advised that pursuant to NY Village law only you as Mayor have the legal right to hire and fire not only the Village attorney but anyone who is hired to represent the interests of the Village of Tuxedo Park.  You should be aware that the highest court in the State of New York has opined on this matter and it is clear law.  Additionally, a consent to change attorney does not carry over from one Mayor to another.  If we should proceed with allowing what amounts to be a hijacking of your legal and fiduciary responsibilities by allowing anyone other than you to appoint an attorney to represent the interests of the Village, you can be held not only liable personally, but also accountable for any actions taken on behalf of the government and for any expenditures made to anyone in furtherance to the illegal representation.  I am hereby putting you on notice, as well as Trustees and treasurer to the Village, that you must direct this individual, Ms. Gilbert, to cease and desist from further perpetrating that she acts for the Village as an attorney in the above subject matter or in any other capacity unless or until you as Mayor appoint her and a majority of the Board agrees.  In the event that you decide to follow the law as I have outlined above, which you should, be wise to hire a competent council to do so, you leave me no choice but to commence….”
The Mayor interrupted Mr. Guazzoni noting that he was going to address the issue now, as he could tell it was going to come up in the future.  He further commented that he was going to have to recuse himself on the issue.  “The Village has hired an attorney to sue me and Mr. Guazzoni for legal fees.  The amount is probably several hundred thousand dollars and I can’t talk about that.  I am recused on that and I am going to leave the room when the resolution comes up with respect to hiring this attorney, Ms. Gilbert.  However, I received this letter from John Carcone this evening that addresses me as mayor and is asking me to take certain actions as Mayor…not as the candidate who is being sued by the Village but as Mayor and under those circumstances there is an inherent conflict in me vs. the Board of Trustees…and all I have to say on it is that there’s a case, I’m handing it to the Trustees now, Matter of the Village of Pomona  against Banks, decided by the second department earlier which provides that in cases such as this where there is an inherent conflict between the Mayor and the Board of Trustees (and in this case it’s the Board of Trustees suing the Mayor) the Mayor is entitled to what’s called Conflict or Independent council.  I need to get legal advice from someone other than the Village attorney and someone other than Elisa Gilbert.  So, I am going to request authorization, unfortunately, for conflict council because the appellate division says that it is the responsibility of the Village and the Village taxpayers to cover the cost of this Conflict Council.  At this point, I am in conflict with the Trustees and I have to have independent council as Mayor, not as Marc Citrin the candidate, because I am being asked to do and take certain actions with respect to the hiring of Elisa Gilbert.”
Matthew Tenari inquired as to whether or not it would make a difference if Deputy Mayor Kasker were to make the determination with respect to hiring Elisa Gilbert.
“A lot just happened within the two hours before this meeting,” stated Deputy Mayor Kasker.  He further indicated that when it was appropriate, the Trustees would enter into an executive session to have this discussion with their council. 
Chiu Yin Hempel stated that she would like to speak in reference to the opening statement made by Chair Ryan Lynch at the October 16 BAR meeting.  “I served on the BAR as member and also as Chair from 2003-2009, so I have some knowledge of how this Board works.  The design guidelines, referenced by Mr. Lynch as the review Gold Standard, were put in place by a past BAR Chair, Paola Tocci.  A lot of good was created in Tuxedo Park’s yesteryear BAR, which Mr. Lynch doesn’t seem to think very much about.  Every person who serves on the BAR should act with fairness, collegiality, decorum, humility and respect for each other and for the applicants, their professional advisors and neighbors.  We do our best as volunteers and make our best decisions by striking a fine balance between preserving architectural standards, adhering to common sense and promoting good will among neighbors.  It’s a very difficult task and one that is not amenable to taking absolute positions.  Not everybody comes away happy and often compromises are made but they are not collusions.  I’m very saddened to see the divisiveness that has plagued our Village this year is now gripping the BAR, when Chair Ryan Lynch openly accuses two BAR members of some undeserving motive for not being present at the BAR meeting this past Monday.  To straighten the record, Christopher Gow was absent not because of some plot.  He left for the UK on October 8 to celebrate his mother’s birthday with her and he won’t be returning until later this month.  I hear that Stephanie Rinza is traveling on business.  As an observer, I think at the very least Chair Lynch may wish to owe an apology to his colleagues and to all past members and Chairs of the BAR and I hope that he will consider my observation that BAR review is not about taking absolute positions, but involves using judgement and common sense to reach optimal decisions that sometimes may involve compromises.”
Speaking on behalf of Ryan Lynch, Jonathan Pomeranz stated that he had been present when the Mayor had a phone call with Ryan and asked him to resign from his Chair seat.  He has also seen correspondence stating the same. 
Trustee Comments – Deputy Mayor Kasker did not have any comments.  With respect to the litigation,Trustee Brooke commented that he felt it was clear that the period covering litigation ends prior to the election in Tuxedo.  “So the Mayor is not part of that litigation in his capacity as Mayor.  He’s part of that litigation as a person who supported Claudio Guazzoni’s attempt to stop the election.  Just so you know, the legal issue is pretty clear, but it doesn’t cover anything related to his having become Mayor and it ends well before that.  It ends when we were allowed to count the votes.  I’m happy to hear more information but you should be aware that is the core issue.”
The Mayor countered that the letter from Mr. Carcone asked him to take certain action as Mayor at the present time.  “Obviously the election is over.  That is why I am in conflict with the Board with respect to their litigation and the hiring of Ms. Gilbert.  We can discuss this further in executive session.”
Trustee Shaw did not have any comments.
With regard to the Village lakes, Trustee Scherer reported that a recent survey of all three lakes showed that there was no Eurasion Water Milfoil in either Pond Number 3 or the Wee Wah and that there was only a limited amount detected in Tuxedo lake, located near the Village boat dock.  This is likely the result of the fact that treatment can’t be used within a quarter mile of the water intake as well as some dilution from Acoma Stream.  Divers will be used to pull the remaining milfoil in the spring, with quotes for that service to follow.  Another survey of the lakes will be completed  in June of 2024.  With the absence of the milfoil, the native eel grass has started taking over.  This non-invasive species provides good cover for fish.  Further commenting that Peter VanZandt was a great resource for the entire community, Trustee Scherer noted that trout do eat herring and therefore they are an important part of balancing the ecosystem and protecting the clarity of the lakes.  He feels this is something they need to look at.  He will be collecting quotes and coming to the Board with a proposal for a deep water survey of the fish stock so that they can gain a true understanding of the fish ecosystem and what needs to be done to protect them.  He continues to explore several potential projects including the oxygenating the lakes and landscaping to include the use of riparian barriers in certain parts public land  to slow storm runoff. 
The Mayor asked Trustee Scherer if he had a recommendation with regard to fish stocking and Trustee Scherer responded that he felt they should move forward with it but he did not feel it should be controversial.  “There is no downside, but there is  lots of upside.”

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Road paving will begin at the end of October.  Roads to be paved include Tuxedo Road, West Lake Road and portions of Serpentine Road.
Click here to view the Building Department/Capital Improvement Report
Wee Wah Park – Representing the Wee Wah Park, Matthew Tinari provided the Board and public with an update.  The Park has generated money over the past two years, making more in 2023 than they did in 2022.  The things they focus on to measure success are: Memberships (which drive revenue), Profitability (after expenses), the ability to fundraise and attract donations and general membership feedback.  Memberships in 2023 increased to 167 from 129 in 2022.  Revenue, including donations, increased to $69,000 up from $49,000.  This was largely driven by a one-time donation of $25,000 from the Madden family.  The Park generated $30,000 in revenue after operating expenses ($5,000 excluding the Madden donation) which is up by $2,000 from last year.  They have $53,000 in capital to make improvements to the property. This figure includes the budget provided by the Village in both 2022 and 2023.  Although they recognize that it is too early to determine, they are wondering whether there will be consideration of a budget for next year as this will drive their thinking around how much money they will need to raise for a new playground, which is the predominant capital improvement they are looking to make in the coming year.  Their biggest expense has been lifeguards, of which they employed two this past season.  They are always looking for more guards so they can improve this service and will continue to do so, but have been hampered by the  State-wide shortage.   Checkers were added to the payroll this past season.  On the donation front, in addition to the Madden donation they received several other meaningful donations and these  allowed them to make $23,000 of capital improvement in 2022 and close to $16,000 of improvements in 2023.   In the coming months they are hoping to gain momentum behind the new playground.  They initially explored the idea a year or so ago but discovered that it was cost-prohibitive at that time.  They have begun canvassing families in the Village with young kids in an effort to collect feedback as to what the critical components of the playground might be.  There are many aspects that need to be considered and they believe they will need the help of a design professional to put something together that they can in turn present to the public for feedback.  Given how expensive playgrounds can be, they believe they will likely need to employ a fairly extensive private fundraising effort in the next year. 
Trustee Brooke suggested that one of the ideas that had been discussed by the Board in the past was for the Village to increase their contribution to the Wee Wah, which is a Village resource, and in exchange all Village residents would be granted free membership. “If we utilize Village funds to help improve the playground, the thought was  that everyone who is a Village taxpayer by virtue of that would become a member of the Wee Wah.” 
Mr. Tinari responded that they did not yet know what the costs for a playground would be.  He is aware that there are some Village residents who feel they should be granted membership without paying because they pay taxes.  The Village does contribute significantly to the capital surplus that they have available to make improvements.  “We always think about what is the impact to the full member base and the membership revenue because if we get a one-time budget increase from the Village, for operating profit we need to figure out a balance to make sure that the operation is still profitable and doesn’t suffer from the Village budget on a go-forward basis.  It depends on sizing.”
“The Beach Club is a community resource,” responded Trustee Brooke, “that is designed for people who have worked in the Park and people who are residents of the Park and I would love to see you think through and present to us a proposal where the Village would commit to a fee to help support the improvement and modernization of the Wee Wah and in exchange for that fee, all the taxpayers in the Village would automatically become members of the Wee Wah.  That would be an interesting way of accelerating the improvement”
Mr. Tinari responded that they could definitely evaluate what the current Village resident memberships, guest fees and donations contribute.
“ If it’s a Village resource and the Village has greater responsibility with it, there’s got to be a number that makes it work.”
Mr. Tinari noted that for the coming season they would be presenting two different membership structures, one being the current status and the other being Village residents are free, but that would come with a request for the Village to contribute some capital on an annual basis to cover expenses. 
Deputy Mayor Kasker suggested a third option: a hybrid plan by which Village residents could use the Park whenever they wanted but they could only swim there if they paid. “Since lifeguards are the biggest expense, then people who don’t want to swim in the lake should be able to use the Park as taxpayers.”
Mr. Tinari further suggested that there might also be some cost savings with checkers if they were to use license plates.
The Mayor stated that he had some feedback from Board members indicating that a lot of improvements had been made without coming before the Trustees and he would like the committee to feel free to come to them with plans detailing what they would like to do and what the associated costs would be.  His understanding is that the playground is something that everyone wants and that it will ultimately be built using a combination of Village funds and private donations.  “I know a lot of the young families are very eager to get a playground where their kids can play and where they can socialize.  From my prospective, that is a priority.”
Mr. Tinari noted that anything they did with the playground would have to go before the required Boards and therefore there would be plenty of opportunity for public feedback throughout the process in addition to whatever they ended up presenting to the Trustees . 
Sean Madden commented that it’s staggering how many different ways kids can find to hurt themselves and there is actually a lot of industrial design that goes into building a playground.  He feels that the investment up front into a firm that knows how to do this sort of thing in addition to possibly an independent safety expert will pay a dividend in terms of insurance costs and liability management.
There was a question from the audience with regard to the reinstallation of the diving board.
The Mayor responded that he felt the water simply was not deep enough to safely employ a diving board.
Leslie Devore suggested that the increase in insurance costs with a new playground must be explored. 
Mr. Tinari agreed, commenting that this would be a primary focus.
Next Ms. Devore wondered with 30 families interested in the playground as a percentage of all residents of the Village whether it would be presented to the entire Village as a referendum.
Mr. Tinari ressponed that the 30 people he had canvassed were individuals he personally knew and he had canvassed them in an effort to get the ball rolling.  
Potential design of the playground was briefly discussed before the Mayor noted that in the interest of time, they were going to move on but that there would be meetings focused on this issue in the future.
Nick Shoemaker noted that his family were big supporters and contributors  to the Wee Wah.  He expressed his gratitude to Denise Tavani, who he was recently informed is no longer the chair of the committee.  She was instrumental in getting his family involved and he feels it’s a shame she is no longer there.
Lake Warden Presentation – Todd Yannuzzi provided the Board and the Public with a presentation outlining the job of a lake warden, specifically what these individuals do and what their various responsibilities are.  The Village currently has a warden for each lake.  Greg Libby is the long-time warden of Tuxedo Lake.  Jedediah Turner is the warden for Pond # 3 and Elizabeth Cotnoir is the newly appointed warden for the Wee Wah.  Mayor Citrin announced that he would be nominating Mr. Yannuzzi for the position of Supervising Lake Warden following an interview in executive session later that evening. 

Powerpoint Presentation of Village Engineering Issues by Carl Stone of Weston & Sampson:
Carl Stone of Weston and Sampson provided the Board with a presentation outlining some of the ongoing engineering related infrastructure projects in the Village.  These included the sewer system evaluation study, the water distribution system, Tuxedo Lake water main replacement, Mountain Road main replacement, structural repairs and clearwell upgrades at the water treatment plant, the Summit Road retaining wall, stormwater system asset mapping, annual dam inspections, the Wee Wah Dam low level control valve, the Tuxedo water meter DWSRF grant application, the East Village water main DWSRF grant application, DPW building Structural Inspection and Pond 3 Dam bridge evaluation. 

Old Business:
Village Elections: Continue Discussion to allow Orange County Board of Elections to Run Future Village Elections – The Village has the option to turn over the running of their elections to the Orange County Board of Elections.  This is a service that is available to every Village in the County.  There are two Villages in Orange County that currently utilize the services: Chester and Woodbury.  The cost to the Village would be nothing.  Once a Village assigns its elections to the Board of Elections, they take over the entire process and there are certain changes that take place, which specifically impact what happened in the last election.  The Village of Tuxedo Park is a community that votes largely by machine ballot but there are also a large number of absentee ballots that are typically cast.  In the last Mayoral election, there were roughly 250 votes by machine and 180 absentee ballots.  When the absentee ballots were finally tabulated at the conclusion of litigation, 35 of them were disqualified for various reasons.  Because it was a Village run election, those “defective” ballots could not be cured by the voter.  If the Village opts for a County run election, the law provides that the County and the Board of Elections are able to notify the voter on receipt of what appears to be a defective ballot and offer them an opportunity to cure so that that vote can be tabulated.  This could not be done in the last election because it is not allowed for Village run elections.  “Now everybody knows that that’s the biggest dispute that we had that carried us through and ultimately led to my election by 6 votes,” stated the Mayor.  “And for those of you who are not particularly happy with me sitting in this chair, I can tell you that if those 35 ballots had been cured, there is a very good possibility that my opponent would be sitting in this chair. It’s something that everyone should think about.”  The Board of elections would provide all of the machines and ballots.  They would also provide inspectors at no cost, which would result in an additional savings of approximately $2-3,000 per year that the Village spends annually to run their own elections.  Mayor Citrin reported having had a conversation with the Mayor of Woodbury the day prior who noted that their community is pleased with the Board of Elections running things.  They have had no problems, concerns or complaints and are perfectly satisfied with the process.  The Mayor supports making the change.  He asked Clerk Elizabeth Doherty whether she had a personal preference and she responded without hesitation that she would prefer for the Board of Elections to take over. 
Deputy Mayor Kasker noted that he had spoken to both Commissioners of the Board of Elections earlier that day and that one big change of note that would occur if the Village were to make this switch is that moving forward the Village elections would take place in November together with the Town, with all candidates for various offices  in both municipalities on one big ballot. 
The Mayor countered that he had been told that the Village would be able to maintain the current June to June election cycle. 
It was agreed that this would need to be clarified.
Sean Madden suggested that the discussion be tabled until the Board had legitimate facts to present. 
“Whether it is November or June, there are still things to discuss,” replied Deputy Mayor Kasker.
He went on to note that the Village Clerk would no longer have to handle absentee ballots, petitions or certification of the election. 
Trustee Brooke suggested that they should ask their council to provide a pros vs cons document to help them better evaluate the decision. 
The Mayor noted that there was a document that had been made available to the public along with the agenda, which clearly describes what the process would be and also details how the Village would always have the ability to “take back” the election if they were not satisfied with the new process. 
Trustee Brooke stated that he believed it was up to the Board to take leadership on these issues and that everyone should read the referenced document and come back to the next meeting prepared to vote. ”We don’t have to discuss it a lot more.  The community is well aware that we’ve just been through a terribly divisive, ugly period which cost us a lot of money and this may be a way to bypass that in future elections.”
Trustee Shaw noted that in the 25 years she had been residing in the Village there had only been two contested elections.  She wondered how the process of requesting and submitting absentee ballots would be handled.  She fears that the new process could be much more complicated for residents, especially those who spend more time in the city and would ultimately add hurdles.  “We don’t want to make it more difficult than it already is,” she cautioned. “We want to make it as easy as possible to get everyone’s vote.”
Trustee Scherer commented that on balance he felt he would be in favor of the change.  He believes it is important for voters to have the ability to cure.  “I think that anything that can avoid the divisive election that we just went through would be important,” he stated.  He further commented that it would be important to nail down the question of June vs, Novemebr and that additionally, Trustee Shaw has raised some important questions that should be explored.  “We don’t want to make it more difficult for people to vote.  We want to make it easier.” 
Nick Shoemaker commented that he agreed with Trustee Shaw entirely.  “It is about ease of vote if it’s done appropriately and Mayor, thank you for acknowledging that there is a good chance that you could have lost had those votes been counted.”
Fish Stocking -  Following a brief discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of stocking the lake at a maximum cost of $18,300 to be split evenly between the Village and the Tuxedo Club, conditional upon agreement from the Tuxedo Club. 

New Business:
Discussion of Village Tax Assessment Procedures Led by Jared Kasschau, Esq., Village Attorney- Historically, the Board of Trustees has doubled as the Board of Assessors in the Village.  According to Mayor Citrin, Senator James Skoufis will be introducing a bill  legislation to change the law that will prohibit the Board of Assessors to be the Board of Trustees in any Village in the State.  The question thus becomes should the Village wait for the State to act or should they begin the discussion now with regard to how they want to change the system. 
Trustee Shaw commented that at the previous meeting the Mayor had implied that the Board of Assessors was political in nature and she took offense to this.  “I take my job as a fiduciary very seriously.  I know that Chris does.  I know that Paul does…and Josh Scherer does also.  Implying that we were not doing our job I think is awful and that is why you are starting this conversation I believe.  I just want to put it there for the record that I was highly offended that you even said that and implied that we are basically dishonest people.”
“You’re not getting an apology from me Trustee Shaw,” replied Mayor Citrin.  “You have said your piece and it’s on the record and that’s it.”  He then called upon the Village attorney to begin his presentation geared toward outlining what the options would be moving forward.  Brian Stolar, Village attorney, explained that there were two primary options for the Village.  Either they could be an assessing unit Village or they could cease to be an assessing unit Village.  Currently the Village is an assessing unit Village and the Board of Trustees has the obligation to assess all properties.  This is quite a difficult task to figure out in terms of understanding the technological aspects of assessing.  The attorneys have spoken to the Village regarding the possibility of having an evaluation services company provide them with information and guidance so that they can consider an audit of their assessments in order to determine whether they are accurate and help them to adopt an assessment roll that is appropriate based on their knowledge of assessments.  The second option is to simply apply the County or the Town roll.  This can be done by resolution.
Mayor Citrin interjected that the issue with adopting the Town’s numbers was that should a resident wishes to challenge the numbers, they go to a Board of Assessment Review that is essentially controlled by the Town elected officials, who make the appointments. 
Mr. Stolar confirmed that this was correct. 
The Mayor further suggested that were the Village to adopt the Town numbers they would subsequently lose control over the first level of appeal and he personally does not believe that they should be giving up control of the appellate process.  “Unless somebody feels very strongly about giving up control over the first level of review to Townsfolk, “ he continued, “I think we should focus in on our options in which we maintain control over the assessments of our own property.  What are the options for that?”
Mr. Stolar responded that the Village could continue with what they were doing now, but as part of that it was their recommendation that they obtain the assistance of an evaluation services company to assist them in establishing a baseline for the assessments to determine if current roll is proper or whether individual lots…or all the lots…will need to be modified.  This will provide a good guide for moving forward. 
The Mayor wanted to know what would happen if the Skoufis legislation went through and the Trustees were no longer permitted by law to act as the assessors.
Mr. Stolar advised that if this were to happen, the State would have to provide an alternative.  He assumes that any such law would also include viable next steps. 
The Mayor wondered whether they would be able to hire a private assessor. 
Mr. Stolar advised that they already had that option under the current law.  He does not know what will happen after a new law is adopted. 
“I think the last thing we want to do is give up power over assessing our own property,” stated Trustee Brooke.  He went on to suggest that the only reason to change the current process would be if the law dictated a change.  Otherwise, if something is working, there is no reason to change it. 
“I think we have to think prospectively and get an idea of what the alternatives might be,” stated Mayor Citrin.  As he understands it, the alternatives could be an individual assessor or a firm that gets involved.  “But,” he cautioned,  “if and when the Board loses the assessment authority, we have to be prepared for a replacement.”  He further noted that were the proposed legislation to pass in the 2024 session, it would not become effective until January of 2025.  “So we certainly have time.” he added.
Trustee Shaw wondered what the cost of the referenced evaluation services might be.
Mr. Stolar advised that the way to determine that would be for the Village to receive proposals.   
Chris Hansen inquired as to what percent of a Village Taxpayer’s taxes go to the Town & County vs the Village Vs the School District.  The Mayor responded that he did know offhand and did not feel comfortable providing percentages but would be happy to look into it and provide them at the next meeting. 
Mr. Hansen replied that he believed roughly ¼ of a property owner’s taxes go to the Village, ¼ go to the Town and ½ goes to the school, meaning that ultimately  ¾ of Village property taxes are determined by the Town Assessor.  He then wondered whether the Mayor knew what the variance was between the Town Assessor’s view on the value of Village properties and the Village Assessor’s view of Village properties.  He suggested this should be explored in order to determine whether there was a meaningful difference between the two.  He further suggested that they needed to take a look at the accuracy of the Town assessment vs. the actual sales.  The mechanism for objecting to one’s taxes is to grieve.  Although only ¼ can be grieved in the Village, as Mayor Citrin has pointed out, the process can become political in nature.  “One thought here as you go through this whole process is to consider just adopting the Town because I believe that the Town and the Village assessment has been very close over the years.”  Lastly, he stated “ Our Village taxes are determined by the five of you sitting right there.  That’s what determines our Village Taxes.  The Town or the assessor dies not determine what we pay to the Village for taxes.  The only issue is that once you adopt the budget, how much you pay vs. how much I pay depends on our relative assessments.”
Claudio Guazzoni commented that he was coming to Trustee Shaw’s defense as she seemed very upset that she might lose control over tax assessment.  “I was in the room in either 2017 or 2018 when Trustee Shaw asked McFadden and the other Trustees to lower her taxes by a lot…and she did….she had the other Trustees lower her taxes.  She recused herself really, but her taxes were lowered because the Board was political in nature.  Anna Tinka Shaw….shame on you!  Shame on you!  Shame on you!”  
“This discussion is at a level that I don’t think is appropriate,” stated the Mayor further informing Mr. Guazzoni that his comments had reached a level where he was going to be cut off. 
Matthew Tinari commented that  the idea of third party/independent evaluation for the entire Village had been raised as  part of the presentation. and given the drama that was currently unfolding, he feels that any individual assessment would be a horrible idea.”
Discuss Licensing of Commercial Landscaping Companies- The Mayor stated that he believes that the purpose of such licensing is not only to collect a small fee from landscapers and tree-trimmers, but more importantly to set forth a series of rules with regard to tree cutting, leaf blowing, use of fertilizers and other restrictions that exist in the Village that can be imposed as a condition of licensing.  If they then violate any of these conditions, they would be subject to a hearing before the Board of Trustees and possible revocation of their license if it is discovered that they are not following the rules.  “He believes this is important in terms of environmental protection and conservation.  With regard to the specific rules, it is his intent to have the lakes committee and the Tree Advisory Board and any other individuals who are interested in contributing provide input. 
Discuss Search Committee for The New Police Chief – As Chief Conklin has relocated to North Carolina, a committee has been put together for the purpose of gathering applicants for the position of Chief.  The  president of the PBA and Trustee Brooke will both serve on the committee.  The initiative will be revisited and further discussed at next month’s meeting. 
Extension of Sterling Carting Contract – The previous administration did not renew this contract when it expired in November of 2022.  Following a meeting with the Mayor, Sterling Carting has agreed to honor what would have been the first extension from November 2022-November 2023 as well as signing a new extension which will run through November 2024.   The Board voted unanimously favor in of authorizing the Mayor to sign off on these extensions. 
Resolution to move camera from South Gate to Main Gate at a cost of $1,250 – Trustee Shaw commented that she feels that rather than to move the camera, they should simply buy a new one.  The cost is relatively low (roughly $12 per household) and she does not believe they should skimp on security.  Trustee Brooke agreed.  Deputy Mayor Kasker noted that one of the Chief’s concerns had been that a new camera was not budgeted for and that the Village keeps having to spend money on unbudgeted maintenance.  He suggested that they should plan on budgeting an additional $1,000 per year so that every three years or so they would be able to replace the cameras as needed.  “Unfortunately, this was a pretty significant investment that the Village made when they built these cameras.  I asked the Chief for some statistics and they only ever arrested one person using it, who had a warrant on him and he was a Hell’s Angel. So if that’s worth it for one person who didn’t do anything…maybe…but all of the other times, it’s basically giving people a hard time for expired registrations, which I would hope the Police would let them go and give them the opportunity to fix it.”
Trustee Scherer suggested that it was relatively inexpensive and his inclination was just to replace the camera. 
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Chief to purchase a new surveillance camera for the main gate at a cost not to exceed $4,000. 
Formal Observance of Halloween on Saturday, October 28 at 5pm including Clubhouse Road – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing two police officers to be onsite for a formal observance of Halloween on Saturday, October 28 at 5pm.
Request Permission from the County of Orange for the Exemption From County Taxation in the Year 2025 on Certain Real Property Located in the Town of Tuxedo for use of Village of Tuxedo Park Water System – The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with this initiative. 
Authorization to Hire Part-Time Police Officer Stephan Christian – This was tabled to allow the Mayor time to meet with Officer Christian.
Accept the Resignation of Bronwyn Roantree from the Planning Board – As Mr. Roantree was appointed active Village Justice he has resigned from the Planning Board.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the resignation. 
Appointment of New Planning Board Member Tom Bermingham – The Board has interviewed various candidates for the opening on the Planning Board and Mayor Citrin has recommended Tom Bermingham for the appointment.  Trustee Shaw suggested that she felt that because he was retired and had more time to dedicate to the Village, Mr. Bermingham would make a much better candidate for the BAR than the Planning Board.  As the other three candidates work full-time, she believes they would make better candidates for the Planning Board.  The Mayor pointed out that they did not currently have any vacancies on the BAR and were not anticipating any in the near future.  He further commented that he felt Mr. Bermingham made a great candidate for the Planning Board as he shows a lot of enthusiasm and has expertise in commercial real estate.   Following some further discussion, the Board voted 4-1 in favor of the appointment with Trustee Shaw voting against the motion.

Closing Comments:
Public Comments – Ryan Lynch commented that he had been misquoted earlier in the evening and encouraged everyone to watch the BAR videos, which he feels speaks for themselves.  “My reference to the Tuxedo of yesteryear was in reference to back room deals.  I stood before this Board last meeting and spoke the praises of Christopher and Stephanie and their dedication to their work and I asked you to extend their appointments.  I hope they continue to uphold the design guidelines.  You stated this evening that you did not ask me to resign…correct?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” responded the Mayor.
“Your phone number ends on 0632, correct?” inquired Mr. Lynch.
“Yes, that is correct,” affirmed the Mayor.
“What was discussed for 14 minutes when you called me on October 10 at 12:06pm?” Mr. Lynch asked.
“I will not answer that question in this forum,” Mayor Citrin replied.  “I didn’t ask you to resign.  I told you that you were being relieved.  There’s a difference.”
“Oh, so we did discuss my appointment on that phone call?”
“Yes sir, we did discuss your appointment.”
“Did you not start this meeting by saying we did not?”
“No sir, I did not,” responded the Mayor.  “I said I did not ask you to resign.  There’s a difference….”
“Can you please verify what you asked me to do?” countered Mr. Lynch.
“I didn’t ask you to do anything,” the Mayor stated.  “I called you to say that I was relieving you of the Chairmanship and more than that, I am not going to discuss in this forum.  I would be happy to discuss it in a public hearing regarding your Chairmanship, but this is not the appropriate forum because we have to notice that hearing and everybody has to have a chance to appear, including yourself.  That is all I have to say.  My only correction is that I never asked you for a resignation.”
“Can a Trustee please comment,” implored Mr. Lynch. “Has replacing me as a Chair been discussed via email?”
“The Board does not need to answer questions from the Public,” interjected the Village Attorney. 
There continued some back and forth between Mr. Lynch and the Mayor which ended with Mr. Lynch commenting that he would be submitting his phone records along with a FOIL request for the email in which he alleged the Mayor had discussed his removal as Chair. 
Sean Madden noted that Mayor Citrin had talked a lot during his campaign about transparency but he had in turn unilaterally terminated the chair of a Board that had been approved two weeks prior without any public discussion.  “You said this isn’t the right forum.  Well find the right forum!  I think you owe us an explanation.  I think all of you owe us an explanation as to why a Board Chair, who was appointed two weeks before unanimously, was unceremoniously disposed without any public notice, without any discussion…did any of the other trustees get consulted?  You talk about advise and consent…is that a transparent process?   I think you owe it to the residents, when you’re making changes to major boards that are public facing to explain your rationale.”
The Mayor responded that he would make his public comments on this issue at the appropriate place and time, neither of which were now.
Commenting that Tuxedo Park was an old community whose roads had been designed for horse and buggy, Tate Sink expressed his concern regarding a dangerous turn in East Lake Road near Crow’s nest Road.  Having experienced a number of close calls there himself, Mr. Sink proposed the installation of a three-way traffic mirror. 
The Mayor thanked Mr. Sink for his comments, further noting that he took this turn himself frequently and felt it was a very good suggestion. 
Claudio Guazzoni stated that he wanted to speak to the appointment of Trustee Brooke’s girlfriend.  “The Trustees wish to hire her as special counsel to harass me and my family.  This is against New York State law.  The Trustees under New York State law cannot appoint or hire any Village Counsel or any other person to work for the Village.  The appointment is reserved only for the Mayor.  The Trustees can either approve or disapprove the appointment.  Therefore, if the Trustees insist on hiring special counsel to harass me and my family further, I would like the Trustees to know that any legal fees that we incur…we’re going to come after the trustees personally.  Last time that we won, we did not collect legal fees from the Village because we were being nice.  This time we’re not.  We’re coming after the Trustees personally…if they illegally have Elisa Gilbert come after me and my family.  For starters, Trustee Brooke is highly conflicted as he lives with Elisa Gilbert.  Secondly, Mr. Scherer is also conflicted as Ms. Gilbert similarly represented him and we do not know who has paid for Mr. Scherer’s legal expenses.  His vote would also be a quid pro quo especially if his legal bill was not paid for and she waived her fees for him when she represented Mr. Scherer’s campaign.  Given these un-waivable  conflicts of interest and in the event that the Trustees insist on hiring her…it leaves less a majority of the Board.  There’s simply no way Ms. Gilbert can represent the Village of Tuxedo Park in the current litigation.  She has already started one lawsuit against me and my family, claiming she represented the Village.  She perjured herself, swearing she represented the Village when she did not.  She was thrown out of the Orange County Supreme Court.  This happens again…I’m coming after the Trustees.”
Rich Witte thanked the Board for all of their hard work, further commenting that seeing all of the conflict and competition breaks his heart.

The Board then moved into executive session for the purpose of discussing the BAR, 2022 charges for Town summer camp use of the Wee Wah Park, Settlement of certain water bills, appointments of lake wardens and legal matters.

Following the Executive Session the Board voted on the following resolutions:

  • A resolution ratifying the retention of Elisa T. Gilbert as Special Village Attorney in Guazzoni v. Doherty, et al Litigation.  This resolution was passed 3-0.  The Mayor did not vote and Trustee Brooke abstained.
  • A resolution granting the Mayor access to Conflict Council, based upon the recent letter received from Attorney John Carcone, at a reasonable hourly rate to be paid by the Village.  This resolution was approved 4-0.
  • A resolution creating the position of Supervising Lake Warden and subsequently appointing Todd Yannuzzi to that position as well as appointing Elizabeth Cotnoir as Warden Wee Wah Lake.  This resolution was approved unanimsouly.
  • A resolution allowing $800 of the fees paid to the Village by the Town Summer Camp in 2022 to be applied to the dues owed for 2023.  This resolution was approved unanimously.

 

 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 18, 2023

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Village Board of Trustees Reorganization Meeting October 2, 2023 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Reorganization Meeting October 2, 2023 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 20, 2023 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, September 20 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor Citrin welcomed everyone to his first meeting as Village Mayor, further commenting that he was honored to assume the position.  He thanked all of those who had supported him and for those who did not, he stated that he hoped that over the course of the next 18 months he would be able to gain their support or if not, at least their grudging acceptance.  He went on to say that he felt the Village owed a debt of gratitude to Mayor McFadden for his long service o the Village, both as Mayor and Trustee.  McFadden accomplished a great deal during the course of his various tenures.  Sometime in the near future there will be an appropriate ceremony honoring his service to which all residents will be invited.  “Thank You Mayor McFadden.  On behalf of the Village of Tuxedo Park we thank you for all you’ve done and wish you all the best in the future,” he concluded.
Next, the Mayor announced that he had asked Trustee Kasker to take over the position of Deputy Mayor and the offer had been graciously accepted. 

Swearing in of Re-Elected Trustees and Deputy Mayor Kasker:
Trustees Scherer and Brooke were sworn in.
Mayor Citrin then read a proclamation as required by the State revoking Trustee Shaw’s appointment as Deputy Mayor and appointing Trustee Kasker in her place. 
Trustee Kasker was then sworn in. 

Reports: Oral and Written:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Mayor Citrin noted that he had received an email of concern from a resident referencing several dead trees along Wee Wah Road which she believes are in danger of falling.  He inquired as to what the process for examining these trees might be. 
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss responded that there are a lot of dead trees along a lot of roads that need to be taken care of.  The DPW removes the ones they are comfortable with , but the bigger ones are more than they can handle.  He is currently working to get a price for the removal of one particularly large dead tree along Tuxedo Road across from the Valley Road barrier.  There are also three or four at the end of the East Lake Road triangle that need to dealt with.  This work will need to be done by an outside contractor.  Once the trees have been taken down, the DPW can handle clean-up and removal. 
The Mayor suggested that this was a topic he hoped to discuss at future BOT meetings, further noting that they needed to make sure that nobody was subject to injury should a tree fall, whether it be in a storm or spontaneously.
The Superintendent responded that one thing that might be helpful would be if the Village would send a letter to residents reminding them to trim back/clear trees and brush on their property along the roadways.  There are a lot of places where this kind of work needs to be done and until it is, the overgrowth creates a problem for trucks and plows alike. 
 
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Update from Trustee Scherer – With regard to the CCA initiative, Trustee Scherer reported that they were still awaiting further information from the project administrator.  At a meeting last week, they learned that the reason the Village and Town have not yet received proposals is because under New York State law they cannot propose a plan if the current rates are higher than they were on a look-back period for 12-months with a caveat if it has renewable.  Typically, renewables are more expensive on the margin than fossil fuels and the administrator believes (and rightly so) that the Tuxedo community is looking for the best possible energy price.  In response to this, it was suggested that the administrators instead take a look at future energy curves and ultimately it was agreed that they would put together proposals for 50% renewable & 50% fossil fuels as well as 100% renewable.  This will allow them to get around the “look-back” rule.  There will be some sort of general education for the community moving forward.  This is an opt-out program, so those residents who are not interested do not have to participate. 

Wee Wah Park - Both Mr. Tinari and Mrs. Tavani were unable to make the meeting, so this report was tabled.

Comments:
Public Comments - Mayor Citrin opened the public comment period by announcing that he would be trying something new with the public comment period.  Historically, commenters were restricted to agenda items only, but moving forward this would no longer be the case.  Each speaker would be given three minutes to speak about any subject that they believe relevant to the Village.  Comments must remain civil and personal attacks on individuals would not be tolerated.  Additionally,  following the public comment period, there would  be a Trustee comment period during which the Trustees would have an unlimited amount of time to speak on any issue they believe is appropriate to be addressed by the Village Government.  He cautioned that all comments must remain civil and that personal attacks would not be tolerated.
Neal Wittels congratulated the Mayor on his election, quipping that his only request was that he only send one email per month to the residents.  His purpose for speaking was to inquire about some approvals that had been made by the previous Board.  He began by suggesting that the previous Mayor had “governed with intimidation and threats,” but Mayor Citrin quickly interrupted,  reiterating that personal attacks would not be entertained.  Mr. Wittels began again.  “The words transparency and recusal are commonly referred to from this Board and I have heard it many times from the previous Mayor,” he stated.  “However, voting in the dark of night during an executive session….I wouldn’t call that to be transparent.  Although I understand the need for this Board to make decisions, I do appreciate that full disclosure to the Village residents is of upmost importance.  With a small Village as ours, no decision should be made on this Board without complete vetting of all the residents.  So, I would like to inquire about some board decisions that were made on behalf of the residents that I don’t think were vetted properly by the Board.  Number one: 47 Clubhouse Road seems to be a problem to me.  I know Mr. Brooke or Ms. Gilbert….whoever it was I don’t know….but they had bought this property from the previous owners, who I understand were very good residents and did a lot to the property to improve it.  They ended up in litigation with the Village trying to get full-term occupancy of their property, but were unable to.  They finally put it up for sale for $325,000 and Brooke & Gilbert seem to have bought it for $200,000.  Many people didn’t even know it was for sale.  It’s not the way it was bought.  It’s how It was bought.  The sale was closed after the Board approved the full occupancy.  I understand it was in an executive session.  What I don’t understand is why was it approved in an executive session?  There is no reason why it should have been!  The Board spent thousands of dollars defending a lawsuit fighting the full occupancy and, in the end when there was a new owner, it was approved expeditiously.  I would like to have some clarity on that issue…why the residents weren’t vetted and why it was approved in executive session.”  Next, Mr. Wittel expressed concern about the Circuit to Clubhouse Road stepping stones/pathway, which also has a sewage line running through it.  “Frankly, this is a Village property that has been violated by the neighboring properties,”  He Stated. “ It doesn’t even appear to be open to the public anymore.   There is a gate involved. “  He further noted that the Clubhouse property to the north of the pathway had poured some concrete steps in violation of it.  “All the stepping stones are in place, but it’s the run-off that has eroded the gravel stone from between them,”
Mr. Wittels allotted time for speaking had expired and Mayor Citrin interrupted, thanking him for his comments and informing him there would be a second public comment period at the end of the meeting if he wished to say more. 
Commenting that he wanted to both appreciate the service of Mayor McFadden and welcome Mayor Citrin, Stuart McGreggor stated that he also wanted to speak on the same issue as Mr. Wittels, that being 47 Clubhouse Road.  He noted that at the previous meeting he had asked a number of questions for which he had not been given straight answers.  At that time, Mr. McGreggor had brought with him the pleadings from all the litigation that had taken place with regard to the property and Mayor McFadden had indicated that while it was not the appropriate time to bring  them forward, he would be happy to have the Village attorneys look into the details.  “I just want to make it clear that I don’t want to see the Village attorneys spending any money looking into this issue at this particular point in time,” stated Mr. McGreggor.  “We’ve spent enough money on attorneys’ fees.”
Trustee Comments- Deputy Mayor Kaskar thanked the Mayor for appointing him as his Deputy, further commenting that he appreciated his trust and confidence.  He also thanked former Deputy Mayor Shaw for her leadership over the previous couple of years as well as former Mayor McFadden.  “I learned a lot,” he added.  Speaking to DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss’s earlier comments about the need for residents to maintain growth and overhang along the Village Roadways,  The Deputy Mayor indicated that a couple of weeks prior, he had encountered a situation where he had to take some out while responding to a Village fire in the fire truck.  “I want to make a public service announcement,” he stated.  “If you are parking on the street, please be considerate of your neighbors and whether an emergency vehicle can get by you.  The reason I took out that overhand was because a car was parked facing the wrong way, giving themselves plenty of room to get out and I couldn’t get the fire truck through without taking out bushes on the side.  If that’s your neighbors’ house or your neighbor needs an ambulance, that’s actually a pretty big deal….not something that volunteer drivers should have to worry about.  I would just ask that you be considerate and think about that when you guys are parking on the street.” 
Trustee Scherer indicated that he did not have any comments.
Trustee Shaw asked Mayor Citrin whether he had had a chance to take a look at the candidates for the Planning Board and the BAR.
The Mayor responded that he had spoken with the Village attorney with respect to the purported removal by Mayor McFadden of JoAnn Hansen and Richard Witte and whether that removal was appropriate under State Law.  “I’ve received an opinion from the Village attorney that at this point Chair Hansen and member Witte remain on the Planning Board.  So, at this point in time there are no vacancies on the Planning Board.”  He further indicated that there would be a vacancy following the  Reorganization meeting and that it was his intention to meet with the candidates and then the BOT could discuss who the most appropriate appointment would be.
Trustee Brooke commented that there had been a lot of issues which arose during the election with inuendo and one-sided comment.  In an effort to set the record straight, he indicated that he would like to ask the new Mayor to clarify some observations and, in an executive session to follow the meeting, to further explain some of the things they were going to be looking at. 
“Mr. Mayor,” he began. “You represented to the Village that you were not connected with Claudio’s efforts in the early stages of the campaign.  Was that true, and if so, why was your name initially the petitioner on the first request for judicial intervention?”
“I do not see this as the appropriate forum for that question,” responded Mayor Citrin. “But, in respect to your position, I will give you an answer and the answer is this: As I said at the time, on Election Day, when a petition was filed, I did not know the attorney.  I had never spoken to that attorney.  I had never seen any petition to review and I was just as surprised as everyone else was when the attorney showed up and served that filed petition, including the TRO and The Order to Show Cause, upon the Village and Me and Mayor McFadden.  I had no idea that that was coming and I cannot explain to you how a lawyer I have never met and never spoken to would insert my name as the Petitioner on a piece of litigation.  To me that is almost unethical.  I had no knowledge of what was taking place or about to take place.  I have no other explanation for it.”
“I am very relieved to hear that,” replied Trustee Brooke, “because it talks to the fact that you are an independent character and Claudio is a very different person and what he has done in some cases is very challenging to the Village.  The TRO has cost us significant money…order of magnitude by my estimate…probably $1000 per house in the Village.  Unfortunately, on Monday of this week we had a judge issue a report..”
“The decision,” interjected Mayor Citrin.
“and the decision uncovered no illicit conduct by any Village official and in fact it only served to delay the seamless and peaceful transition to power.  Do you have any realistic belief that the Village was guilty of fraud or illegality?”
“I don’t think that that is an appropriate question to put to me,” responded Mayor Citrin.  “I think it’s somewhat rhetorical.  Everybody knows at this point in time that I filed cross claims. With respect to certain issues that I believed were relevant to my candidacy…in order to protect my candidacy.  Those issues were strictly related to the question of legality and validity of certain absentee ballots.  My cross claim was very specific and for the purpose of answering your question, I am going to read into the record the four categories of absentee ballots that I believe invalid or at least seeking a judicial ruling on whether they were invalid.  I challenged and filed a cross claim on the following absentee ballots and only on these particular ballots: absentee ballots that were submitted by persons who reside and are registered outside the boundaries of the Village of Tuxedo Park, absentee ballots that were submitted by persons who were not registered voters in the Village of Tuxedo Park by the statutory deadline of June 9, 2023, absentee ballots that were submitted by persons who voted in person on June 20, 2023 and absentee ballots that were submitted by persons who were not registered to vote at the time they requested the absentee ballot.  Think about that.  The request for absentee ballot requires a certification under oath that you are registered and if you are not registered you are violating that certification.  The question becomes, and it has not been answered during the course of this litigation, can you cure that violation of law by registering properly before the election?  I wanted a judicial ruling on that and I didn’t get it from the lower court and I didn’t get it from the appellate division.  That’s what I wanted because that would have made a difference in determining which ballots could be counted and which ballots could not be counted.  I didn’t know I wasn’t going to get a ruling.  I requested the ruling and the court chose not to give me one, but I needed to put in those objections in order to protect my candidacy.  That was my only involvement in the Guazzoni litigation.  It was on those points alone.  With respect to any allegations that Guazzoni made about the former Mayor or any ballot collection process, I rejected those.  With respect to any claims about the former Mayor’s activities, I put in papers where I opposed an application to include those in the lawsuit.  I didn’t want the court to hear that.  I only wanted the court to hear my four objections to the absentee ballots. I hope that answers the public’s question on this and I hope the public now understands that my role was very limited.  The last thing I was to say is that there is a HUGE legal bill from the attorney’s representing the Village…a firm by the name of Berger and Santiago.  That bill is almost $165,000.  How did a bill of $!65,000 develop over three months?   What type of litigation was taking place?  What kind of aggressive lawyering was being done by the firm of Berger and Santiago?  I looked at the filings in both the lower court and the Appellate Division.  Mr. Berger filed 26 substantial documents and attachments on behalf of the Village on separate occasions.  Ms. Gilbert, representing Trustee Scherer and Trustee Brooke, filed 14 substantial documents, motions, briefs, etc.  I filed 8.  My involvement was the most limited because what I wanted from the judge was the most limited, which was a ruling on the absentee ballots that I never got, but when the ballots were counted, I had a 6 vote lead and now I am sitting here as your Mayor.  That is my version of what took place.  You can accept it or you can reject it, but that’s the record ladies and gentlemen.”
“There is litigation outstanding still relating to the open meeting law violations relating to the Villages retention of Berger and Burns,” stated Trustee Brooke.  “Are you involved in that litigation with Claudio?  What is the motive for commencing that litigation?   What is your intention and what is your fiduciary obligation with respect to terminating that litigation?”
“I categorically say that I have no involvement in that litigation,” replied the Mayor.  “I have never discussed that litigation with anybody.  I appeared in court with my wife only to see how the judge, who is also presiding over the Guazzoni litigation, would react to this open meetings law issue.  As the Mayor of the Village of Tuxedo Park, I intend to vigorously defend the claims that Guazzoni has made against the Village with respect to that litigation.  I was not involved in commencing the suit.  I had no involvement in the proceedings and now I assume the responsibility as Mayor to defend against Guazzoni’s claims to the best of my ability through the attorneys Harris Beach, who were retained to defend the Village in that particular matter.  There is no question about my loyalty on that particular case and there shouldn’t be.”
“I am delighted to hear it,” stated Trustee Brooke.  He went on to state that during the executive session that followed the meeting, the Trustees would be looking at the issue of retention of counsel for fee application related to the election TRO defense for litigation.  “The TRO was filed.  We were not allowed to talk until it was lifted.  It was an enormous amount of noise but we were a legal obligation to say nothing.  The Appellate Division stayed the TRO that paralyzed the Village.  The Supreme Court dismissed the petition to cross petition and ruled that the application to further amend the petition to allege fraud against the Village for the former Mayor lacked basic factual components to afford claim.  Under this counsel fee application, whatever the costs were of the Village, may be retaining counsel to be reimbursed by the counterparties because there is no basis for this suit.  There is no Public Advocate in Tuxedo Park.  It’s a very clear case and that issue of whether we litigate for reimbursement for all of our fees will be addressed in executive session.  We will not talk about that other than to acknowledge that that is what we are doing.”
The Mayor replied that he had never sought a TRO and his motion to add cross claims was a contested motion where all parties had the chance to be heard and the judge ruled in his favor, allowing him to add limited cross claims relating to the absentee ballots.  His understanding of the law is that the purpose of reimbursing attorney’s fees to the victims of the vacated TRO are done because the TRO is sought ex parte.  “In other words, only one side goes to the court and asks the judge for relief.  The other side doesn’t have a chance to speak because they are not even there. The Judge, based on representations from one side (in this case Claudio Guazzoni and his attorney) issued that TRO.  I had no involvement in that.  I was named as a respondent.  I received service as a respondent and it was only once the litigation began that I made a contested motion, where everybody had a chance to oppose, which the judge granted.  That is separate and apart from the right to collect attorney’s fees for a one-sided application to get a TRO, to which I had no involvement.”

Consent Agenda:
The consent agenda was unanimously approved by the Board.

Old Business:
There was none.

New Business:
Resolution to strike the Mayor’s salary line – Mayor Citrin explained that he had been advised by the Village attorney that State law will not allow for the extinguishment of a single salary without a public referendum.  Therefore, he plans to waive it and although it will remain in the budget as a budget line the monies will not be paid to him and essentially those funds will remain in the general fund from this point until the end of the fiscal year. 
Village Elections: Discussion to allow Orange County Board of Elections to run future Village elections – “We’ve been through a miserable process,” began the Mayor.  “It was brutal.  It was brutal for Elizabeth as the Village Clerk.  It was brutal for the candidates who were involved.  It was brutal for the community.  I don’t ever want to see us go through this type of crisis again.”  His went on to suggest that a clear solution would be to turn future Village Elections over to the Orange County Board of Elections, although the rules would be slightly different.  “In light of what took place this year, I think we should begin the discussion about transferring the Village elections to the County Board from the beginning to the end and everything in the middle,”  he said further acknowledging that they would need to explore the cost as well as what the transitional process would be.  He then asked the Trustees for their thoughts.
Trustee Scherer responded that as a Board they had been horrified by what transpired and to that end, this option had already been loosely discussed.  We wondered what would really change.  “At the end of the day, what created this mess?” he queried.  “It was Claudio’s lawsuit, which was unnecessary and simply delayed where we ended up…and cost us a ton of money…and divided the community.  Why would we give up control over our election to a higher authority?  I don’t know that it really changes anything, but I am willing to be educated on it.”
Mayor Citrin responded that in the recent election there had been a number of absentee ballots that were thrown out because signatures didn’t match up.  If the Board of Elections had been running things, those voters would have been notified by way of letter early on and given an opportunity to cure the ballots.  This provision is one difference.  “A County run election will not disenfranchise the same number of people,” he added.  “I see that as a major difference and a benefit to voters generally.” 
“That is valid and I think an important distinction,” responded Trustee Scherer.  “Are we able to rectify those deficiencies at the local level so that we are not giving the County control of our election?”
The Mayor responded that as he understood it, in a Village run election there was no provision that allowed voters to correct absentee ballots and there is nothing the Village can do to get around that.  He went on to indicate that he realized they were only in the discussion phase at this time but he felt that before the next election they should consider it as an option to avoid what took place this year.
“I think it would be important to know what duties would be taken off Elizabeth’s plate,” commented Deputy Mayor Kasker, “as well as what the cost is.”  He indicated that he was sure there would be pros and cons and agreed that they should take a look at all of it. 
Trustee Brooke added that he would like to see a collection of relevant articles that outlined both the pros and cons that the Board could consider as part of future discussions on the topic.

Closing Comments:
Public Comments – Lili Neuhauser offered up two suggestions.  With regard to roadside bushes, trees and brush as discussed earlier, she suggested that a letter could be sent to residents reminding them about this key property maintenance issue.  With regard to voting, she suggested that perhaps a link could be added to the Village website, which clearly outlined who was qualified to vote in the Village.   Deputy Mayor Kasker pointed out that there was also a link on the Orange County Board of Elections website where voters could verify their registration status and suggested that this be added as well. 
Stuart McGreggor raised the issues of walls in the Village.  Noting that walls typically don’t become a problem until something happens to one of them, at which point the issue of ownership always comes up because nobody wants to assume full fiscal responsibility for the repairs.  He suggested that, in line with Lili’s idea of sending out a letter, residents should also be reminded to look at and maintain their walls in an effort to prevent problems.
Jean Donnelly commented that she wanted to make sure that the issue of 47 Clubhouse Road and the public easement remained in the public eye with respect to who is responsible for any improvements there. 
The Mayor responded that the project had been referred to the BAR and that they would need to wait for that feedback before any further discussions or determinations were made.
John Moon stated that the Village needed to stop spending money on lawyers.  “The idea that you are going to pay more lawyers to get prior fees….in the United States where each side pays its own fees absent extenuating circumstances….it’s just not a good idea.”  Secondly he noted that he lived across the triangle from 47 Clubhouse Road.   “Whenever any of my neighbors get a driveway repaved or a soaking pool, I get a letter from the Village notifying me about zoning changes or changes in the property.  We got no such letter for 47 Clubhouse.”  Suggesting that space for emergency vehicles and snowplows in that area could be a problem he further stated “47 Clubhouse has no parking place in violation of the Village Code, so its cars park either in the road or on a public triangle owned by the Village.  This presents a severe safety hazard and I would have made that presentation had I been given notice.  It appears as though there may have been some sort of back-room deal…I don’t know..I don’t want to be negative.  This Ms. Gilbert, whoever she is, is billing the Village for legal fees, she got a property and she got a very beneficial zoning adjustment.  I just don’t know what Ms. Gilbert’s connection is to the Village, but I wish I had it.”
Claudio Guazzoni noted that he wanted to thank Trustee Scherer for making him out to be the bad guy.  “I’m sure he has 195 people who agree with him and maybe 205 who had the opposite opinion.”  He went on to say “My question is for Trustee Brooke.  It looks like he’s a great real estate speculator.  The property he just bought at 47 Clubhouse Road seems to have gained in value over night.  I am going to ask nicely of Mr. Brooke, would you consider reverting the C-of-O from the one that you recently got (which is a full-time C-of-O) to one that has been in place for the last 15 years, which is a seasonal C-of-O, and avoid litigation?
The Mayor cautioned that Trustee Brooke was under no obligation to respond to this line of questioning. 
Mr. Guazzoni then noted that more than 4 weeks prior he had requested via FOIL all information on Trustee Brooke, Ms, Gilbert and 47 Clubhouse Road and specifically how Trustee Brooke may or may not have used his public office to self-enrich.  They have not received anything.  “I really do not want to start another litigation to get FOIL done,” he cautioned, further requesting that the Mayor direct the appropriate party to respond to his requests.
Mayor Citrin indicated that he would follow up on this.
Lastly, he stated “I would like to remind Trustee Brooke that we are in America.  Each party pays their own way…and if you start litigation against me, I’ll be very happy to answer the same suit.”
Changing topic, Elizabeth Coitnoir noted that areas around the Wee Wah had recently been weed-whacked and specifically the slopes that lead down to the water, which had been covered with native plants, were cut down to an inch or so and is currently dying because it was cut so short.  Acknowledging that this was likely done inadvertently, she requested that the DPW be more cognizant of where and why they were cutting as it was one thing to cut things back along the edge of the road, down along the lake was something else.  “I would just ask them to be more thoughtful,” she added.     
Trustee Comments- Mayor Citrin noted that the Trustees were in receipt of a letter from the Tuxedo Club, which questioned the efficacy of stocking fish in Tuxedo Lake.  Ironically, on their events calendar they have an on-going, unlimited fishing derby which has been taking place since September 5 and will end on September 24.  He finds it odd that the Club is on one hand hesitant to restock the lake while on the other, they are pulling an unlimited number of fish out.  Commenting that he was unsure as to how to reconcile these two events, he asked Jim Hays for his thoughts as to why it was important, ecologically speaking, for the health of the lake to restock it, so that he could in turn respond to the Club.  
Mr. Hays responded that the stocking was done with trout and that trout do not breed in Tuxedo Lake.  “I’m not going to take a strong stance,” he stated, adding “I don’t really think there is a need for it.  There are plenty of bass in the lake for people to catch, but I am not a fisherman.  If people really want to catch trout than there probably needs to be some stocking.  How much stocking, I don’t know.”
Jay Reichgott pointed out that the Tuxedo Club did not have sole fishing rights on Tuxedo Lake. 
The Mayor agreed, further noting that the Club had inquired as to whether there would be any contribution from the Village Boat Club. 
Trustee Shaw wondered if there was an optimal time of year to restock the lake, but nobody knew.
Deputy Mayor Kasker wondered whether they had received any complaints about there not being enough trout in the lake.
Trustee Shaw indicated that she believed the fishermen felt this way and that the dockmaster at the Tuxedo Club did as well. 
The Deputy Mayor suggested that they should procure an opinion from the Village Lakes manager as to whether there were any benefits to the stocking and Trustee Scherer agreed to do this.  It was further requested that he inquire about whether or not they could create pools in the streams that feed the lake, which might be attractive to the trout, creating almost a hatchery type of situation.
Elizabeth Doherty added that Dr. Peter VanZandt had written a letter to the Board some time back, which she had recently redistributed at his request.  In that letter he outlined in detail what it is that the trout do that help the lake ecologically balanced.   She suggested this be considered. 

The Board then adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of discussing pending litigation as well as attorney/client consultation. 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 20, 2023 

Click here to view the agenda 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 30, 2023

The Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, August 30 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer was absent.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden welcomed new Village Attorneys, Harris Beach.

Reports:
Click here to view the Police report
Click here to view the DPW report
Click here to view the Building report
Multiple reports from the Water Department can be found by clicking here.
NYS Invasive Species Grant Program – The Trustees recently requested that John Ledwith research the NYS Invasive Species Grant Program and report back on any possible opportunities for the Village.  Mr. Ledwith in turn consulted with certified  Lakes Manager AJ Reyes ,who feels that any grant application from the village would most likely be scored lower in terms of relevance on the state scale. The lakes are not a part of a large public access area and don't have a unique invasive species that the state would be interested in controlling. These grants are often scored on the merits of how much public good this project will produce, and all private lakes are always going to be behind the 8 ball on this. If this grant came out last year, we could have done something relating to the treatments.

Public Comments:
Jay Reichgott inquired about the agenda item “conditional approval of boat.”  Noting that he had looked at the referenced boat and felt it was a really cool electric boat, he further cautioned “everybody knows, especially people who have them, a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into.  You start by throwing money into the hole to make it…and then you keep throwing money into the hole.  It’s docking, it’s power, it’s maintenance, it’s storage.”
“Are you under the impression that the boat is for the Village?” inquired the Mayor.
“It says it’s for use by the Village residents who have property on the lake,” responded Mr. Reichgott.  Mayor McFadden clarified that the request was related to the possible sale of a home, located as the north end of the Wee Wah directly adjacent to the dam.  A potential buyer has inquired about their ability to keep this particular boat at the property for use on Wee Wah lake, further indicating that their ability to do so might impact their decision to buy.  “As a favor,” he continued, “John (Ledwith) and I looked up the boat, compared it to the Village Code and will tell the Gentlemen after tonight whether it would be acceptable.  This person has not purchased the house yet.  So, this will be floating out there if this person ever decides to buy the house…he’ll have the knowledge of a pre-approval.  We are helping to try and close a sale and the boat does fit within their criteria.”
Secondly, Mr. Reichgott pointed to an action item on the agenda referring to possible replacement of members of the Planning Board.  Noting that he himself was a member of that Board and that his term would not expire until 2024, Mr. Reichgott stated that it appeared to him that there still might be some ambiguity about some of the issues surrounding the process. “This is probably the reason you are having an executive session about it,” he added.  He went on to say that he felt that due to their mandate (which is primarily new builds, subdivisions and driveways) the Planning Board is, in his opinion, one of the most underutilized Boards in the Village.  Suggesting that it was likely that they would not meet before the next Board of Trustees Meeting….and further that they might not even meet before the Mayor’s race had been resolved, he urged the Trustees to deliberate slowly and carefully, again cautioning that there was ambiguity and contention surrounding the issue and that it did not present sufficient urgency which dictated that it needed to be decided that evening. 
Mayor McFadden responded that he appreciated Mr. Reichgott’s view, adding that he was sure JoAnn Hanson (current Planning Board Chair) would also appreciate the support.  “Just on a personal note,” he added, “ I am not planning for a retirement…I’m planning for a new Term.  To me this is part of the process and I am looking forward to it and to discussing it with the Board.”
Lili Neuhauser inquired about the agenda item BAR review for property improvements at 47 Club House Road, wondering if this was the property that was “landlocked” and whether the proposed stairs would go to that property. 
Mayor McFadden explained that currently what exists there is Village owned property known as the “100 stairs.” The owner of 47 Clubhouse  is proposing to upgrade and maintain  a new, more appealing and safer stairway.  In order to facilitate that, they must first go to the BAR for their viewpoint/advice after which, because it is Village owned land,  they will come back before the Trustees for approval or denial or something in between.  Mrs. Neuhauser inquired as to whether or not 47 Clubhouse was still a seasonal property, further noting that there was some concern and confusion about this amongst the residents who lived in that neighborhood.
The Mayor informed her that it was not and that, as per the courts, a year-round Certificate of Occupancy had been granted  a couple of years prior.  He further suggested that the BAR meeting would be noticed and that if Mrs. Neuhauser and/or any of the other neighbors wanted to make comments, that meeting would be a good time to do it.  They would then have another opportunity to comment when the application came back before the Trustees.
“The main concern for me is that it is literally right next to the house,” she stated.  “I don’t know if this would open it up to more traffic going along there.”   She further indicated that she had used the existing stairs and that they were in bad shape.
Trustee Brooke added that road and the 100 steps were Village property.  The owner of 47 Clubhouse has proposed putting in properly done stone steps.  They were informed that they would need to go before the BAR and this was done in a way that annoyed the person, so they retorted by suggesting that not only would they not put in the steps but further that it was the Village’s responsibility to provide a safe walkway there.  “The question is that the steps involve nothing to do with the house and therefore there is no reason to go before the BAR.  It is a Village issue.  I don’t know what is going to happen.  The person volunteered to do it, was given some hurdles and I don’t know what they are going to do.” 
Stuart McGreggor commented that his property was contiguous to the 100 steps.  He asked for some clarification about the process that had occurred, further suggesting that he had not seen anything in any of the meeting minutes indicating that the proposed improvement to the easement had ever been discussed at a Board meeting.
The Mayor responded that this was correct as it had happened between Board meetings.  “Whoever the property owner is is going to pay for whatever improvements are made to that easement?” inquired Mr. McGreggor.
“That will be up the BAR and the Trustees,” replied Mayor McFadden. 
“I wanted to make that clear,” continued Mr. McGreggor, “because I believe that 47 Clubhouse Road … the new property owner lives with a Trustee.”
“Correct,” replied the Mayor.  “I won’t ask Trustee Brooke to recuse himself when the vote does come up,” he continued, “but if he would like to recuse himself and others feel he should, I will certainly accept that.” 
“It’s not going to go any further than the house?” inquired Mr. McGreggor.
The Mayor indicated that he had not seen the plans but he reiterated that the BAR meeting would be the appropriate place for neighbors to voice their concerns.  “I’m sure there is a lot to say,” he added.  “This has been some project for some time.”
Jean Connelly wondered whether there were any plans for a parking space to be added as part of the proposed improvements to 47 Clubhouse. 
“Again,” stated Mayor McFadden, “I haven’t seen the plans.  What the Village is doing today is just authorizing and recommending that the BAR has to be included in the process.  Again, I think that is the appropriate venue for people with concerns like yourself, and it’s certainly a legitimate concern, to make your voices heard…at that meeting.”
Mr. McGreggor inquired as to when the Certificate of Occupancy for year-round use had been put in place.
The Mayor responded the Village had been ordered by the courts to do it.  They appealed and lost.  This was roughly two years ago.
“The order actually was an order denying the petitioners an opportunity to have it resolved at that point,” stated Mr. McGreggor.  “It said there is no reason it shouldn’t be a year-round…”
“I can’t speak to the nuance of what you’re saying,” interrupted Mayor McFadden.  “I know there’s an answer in there somewhere that I’d love to provide, but I would be happy to ask the new Village Attorney to sink into that for you…because it is an issue.  I will bring them up to speed on this matter.  Let’s try to get all these questions out on the table via transparency.”
At the mention of parking spaces, Jay Reichgott suggested that parking spaces were like driveways and that this could be Planning Board territory. 
The Mayor agreed, further indicating that he was certain that Mr. Ledwith would direct everything in the appropriate direction. 
Chui Yin Hempel commented that she was sorry to see the Mayor resigning as the webmaster as he had done an excellent job, in her view, with the Village site.  Hiring a new webmaster will constitute an unbudgeted expense.  She further noted that it was unclear from the discussion as to whether or not the proposed work on the 100 steps would also constitute an unbudgeted expense for the Village or if the homeowner would be taking on the project.  “I think the biggest and unspoken and unbudgeted expense that the Village is facing is the rising legal costs associated with the election dispute.  I want to make clear…I don’t want to talk about the election.  I do want to ask how the Board proposes to pay for these unbudgeted expenses.  Your last memo to us Mayor, as a candidate, mentioned that the Village has already spent something like $200,000.  I assume the costs will continue to go up.  So, will taxpayers see our taxes go up next year…or will you actually dip into the Village’s reserves…or will you delay or even cancel some critical infrastructure projects?  The Board of Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility for the entire community, so maybe you would like to consider adding a New Business item in your next meeting agenda to consider how to pay for the budget deficit without putting an unfair burden on us taxpayers.”
“I can only answer in general terms,” responded Mayor McFadden.  “I know your husband,  representing a group of non-partisan folks…about 10 people….has sent us very similar questions.  Maybe you had a little hand in writing it..and that’s fine.  The attorneys have instructed us to treat it as a FOIL request.  I have been in touch with Gardiner and we are going to be preparing responses to your questions to the ability that we can discuss it because they are on-going legal cases.  We would be directed by the attorney on that.  There is a variety of cases so comments can be made on some and not others.  As a fiduciary, now speaking as the Mayor, I am thinking very seriously about how this will be paid for and I know the rest of the Board members are as well.  It would be difficult to see where it all plays out by the end of the fiscal year.  So, in other words, right now we have to see if there is going to be savings in other places, how much it will affect the 200 and where that’s going to come from.  So, it’s going to be an on-going process during the budget year I think that we’ll be able to focus on that.  I would love to be able to come up with a solution now, but until the budget proceeds and expenses proceed, we really can’t give you a firm answer on that. But you can rest assured we are very concerned about it and we’ll try to answer in a more detailed manor after we are advised by attorneys in response to the FOIL that your husband presented with us.”
Mrs. Hempel responded that for the past few years Mayor McFadden had been keeping taxes down and she felt people were very appreciative of that but that in all likelihood 99% of the people would not like to see a significant increase and that the current trajectory of the expenses is not very good.  “Like any household budget we can save on some items and scrimp on others,” she suggested “but as we have discussed in prior meetings, the Village does have many infrastructure challenges and It would be a shame if these unbudgeted expenses were to cause any of those projects to be delayed or even cancelled…or for that matter for the money to be taken out of the reserve, which really is for a rainy day and not circumstances like this.  So, we look to the Trustees for a solution and, speaking as a taxpayer, I am concerned.”
“I understand completely,” stated the Mayor.  “I can say that we don’t have any plans at this point in time to cancel any infrastructure related projects but we’ll have to take a very careful look at this and come up with a plan.  I am confident that I can do it and I’m confident that I can bring us back to a situation where we may even be able to come in under budget.  It is something that I focus on all the time.  I have been successful at doing it for the last three years in a row.  I certainly understand your concerns.  Remember I too am a taxpayer.  Every Board member is a taxpayer.  We are all on the same course to do whatever we can to keep the expenses down despite the fact that we have had this unplanned expense.”
Returning to the issue of 47 Clubhouse Road, Marc D. Citrin commented that after viewing the meeting agenda, he had taken a look at Orange County Property records online and that these still note that the property is a seasonal residence and the assessment continues to be based on part-time residency.  “I don’t know if the Village has ever informed the County of this change that took place two years ago based upon a court order, but I think it’s important that that be done.”  He further noted that the owner of the property had not been publicly named and he wondered whether or not it would be appropriate to do so as per the County records.  “The owner of that property according to the County records is Elisa Gilbert.  I mention that because Ms. Gilbert is acting at the present time as the attorney for Trustee Brooke both in the Guazzoni action as well as in the McFadden action.”
“What do you mean the McFadden action?” inquired the Mayor.
“You have an action against the Board of Elections…”
“She is not representing me.  I have a different council”
“I didn’t say she represented you, she represents Trustee Brooke.  In addition, she lists her voting address as Trustee Brooke’s address.  I would say under those circumstances with respect to the Boards consideration of this particular issue, that it is imperative for Trustee Brooke, based upon his relationship with Ms. Gilbert, to recuse himself on this particular vote and this particular discussion.  Finally, based upon the answers I heard from you, Mr. Mayor, and Trustee Brooke….It is unclear to me whether at the end of this process it is going to be Ms. Gilbert or the Village or a combination of the two that will be paying the costs of this improvement of the property, assuming that the BAR and the Trustees agree.  At this point in time are you able to tell us who will make the improvements, who will pay for the improvements…and the improvements obviously will enhance the value of Ms. Gilbert’s property.”
“As I stated,” responded Mayor McFadden, “I haven’t seen the plans.  We haven’t been approached to spend any Village tax dollars on that and I think that if you want to make your voice heard, and apparently you have a very strong opinion on this, I would recommend that you make yourself heard at the BAR.  Make it very clear that that is something you would be against and allow the BAR to take that under consideration for their recommendation to the Board of Trustees.  The you will have another opportunity to make that very clear at another Trustees meeting.”
“Mayor, I am not necessarily against the improvements,” stated Mr. Citrin.  “I don’t want you to state a position that I don’t hold.  My primary concern is…is there any indication as to who will be paying for those improvements?”
“No,” responded the Mayor.  “We have not gotten to that point yet, but certainly it will be an issue and it should be resolved at the appropriate time.  Now you mentioned Claudio Guazzoni.  Claudio, as represented by his attorney, has submitted a FOIL request to the Village on this property.  That is an on-going situation that also limits what I can discuss until the FOIL information is released and under the advice of the attorney.  But, I hear what you are saying and I appreciate it.”
“I would like to make one comment,” stated Trustee Brooke. “When that property first came up before the Board, given my relationship with Elisa, I recused myself from any decisions.  So, I’m not involved in anything.  So that’s in the minutes…and it’s done.  When you talk about legal expenses, we are trying to answer that question, but there was a temporary restraining order placed on the vote by Claudio.  You joined that suit.  So, our legal expenses have been in defending that stay and that is continuing to go forward…so the Village has had to defend itself.  With respect to 47 Clubhouse Road, I recused myself from past and all future discussions.”
Elizabeth Cotnoir expressed concerns over the proposed boat on Wee Wah lake.  She feels it appears to be quite large and while she now understands that it will not be the property of the Village or used by members of Wee Wah Beach, she worries about the impact it might have on the on-going Milfoil situation in that lake.  Although the Village chose to use ProcellaCOR at the recommendation of their lakes manager, it was also their recommendation that the following year the Village continue their program of pulling.  She does not believe this has happened and is not sure why, but she has seen some milfoil and is concerned about the impacts of adding boating activity to that small lake.  She wondered if the Board had anything to offer with regard to lake manager’s initial recommendations/ plan and why the pulling had not been implemented.  
Mayor McFadden responded that the Lake Manager had completed an inspection of all three Village lakes after which he reported that the Milfoil was 100% gone.  This delayed the second year application of ProcellaCOR as originally planned and divers were not scheduled.  Because the Milfoil is gone, some of the indigenous weeds have been able to “gather steam” and so what people seeing are different varieties of aquatic plants that are springing up and these are being confused with Milfoil.  There has also been some algae growth and the Village had been preparing to deal with this  but following the recent rains the lakes appear to have corrected themselves and the algae disappeared. 
Jim Hays commented that as he understood it  the ProcellaCOR had been applied last year and the treatment had been highly effective.  “In general,” he added, “these chemical treatments do not totally eliminate the evasive.  That’s not what they do.  Maybe ProcellaCOR is going to be different, but it’s doubtful.  It was my understanding that if the Milfoil came back that there would be pulling.  So, does AJ (Lakes Manager) say that the Milfoil has returned.”
“No, he has not,” replied Mayor McFadden.
“Has he inspected?” asked Mr. Hays.
Although uncertain of the exact date, the Mayor indicated that he believed the most recent inspection had been a month or so ago.
“That’s too early,” suggested Mr. Hays.
“I am wondering if anyone has seen Milfoil,” queried Mayor McFadden.
“I have a boathouse on Wee Wah.” Replied Ms. Cotnoir “and I have seen strands wash up there…and I know what Milfoil looks like…that’s why I asked the question.”
The Mayor wondered whether she might have a photo that he could pass along to the Lakes Manager.  Following some further discussion, the Mayor agreed to contact AJ and have him come inspect. 

Consent Agenda:
Patrick Burke gave a brief presentation outlining the proposed Tunnel to Towers event and the associated insurance was briefly discussed. 
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda, which included the following items: archiving of written reports, two part-time police officer resignations, a new police officer authorization, approval of the Tunnel to Towers event, Ameritas dental and eye care plan renewal, election inspectors’ payment approval and permission for the Village Clerk to attend an all-day class hosted by New York State Retirement on September 7.

Old Business:
Report on Interest Payments – Mayor McFadden asked Deputy Mayor Shaw to provide an update on the interest the Village has earned from the funds that are invested in NYCLASS.  Deputy Mayor Shaw reported that last year at this time YTD the Village had earned $5,000 in interest while this year, through NYCLASS, they have earned $25,000.  The Village commenced with the program on July 19.  Referencing the questions and concerns regarding unbudgeted expenses that had been expressed earlier by Chiu Yin Hempel, Mayor McFadden noted that the Village would be receiving unexpected revenue via this program, likely to the tune of $10-$15k per month.  The Deputy Mayor corrected him, indicating that the number would likely decrease a bit as time went on.   The Mayor then thanked Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty, John Ledwith and Deputy Mayor Tinka Shaw for spearheading the NYCLASS initiative, further noting that they had done a terrific job and that the Village was very excited about sharing this news with residents.
Jay Reichgott inquired as to whether the Board could reveal what the rate of return was as opposed to the amount.  
“Currently, the average yield is 5.13,” responded Deputy Mayor Shaw. 
Stocking Tuxedo Lake with Fish – The cost of stocking the lake with brown and rainbow trout will be $18,300.  The Mayor asked the Board to consider a hardship supporting the exemption of the three vendor bid requirements as per the procurement policy as they have been unable to locate any other credible organizations that stock the fish. The attorney advised that such an exemption was likely not necessary.  There was some discussion about the verbiage of the proposed resolution followed by some slight tweaking after which the Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the resolution.
Jim Hays wondered whether or not there had been a demand from fishermen for trout, further noting that trout does breed in the lake, which is why the Village keeps adding them.  “If there isn’t a big demand, I wonder whether doing this every year is worth the expense,” he added.
Mayor McFadden clarified that it was done every year.  Further he indicated that it played a broader role then just for fishing/sport in that it helped the ecosystem of the lake. 

New Business:
Resolve for Harris Beach to Review and Advise on Key Policies and Compliance- A resolution authorizing new Village attorneys Harris Beach to conduct a comprehensive review of essential policies, including those related to sexual harassment, procurement, investment and ethics was introduced.  Additionally, the attorneys will examine potential conflicts of interest that may arise as will also assess the status of required State training and compliance, promptly informing the Board and appointed Boards of any identified gaps or lapses.  This proactive measure will ensure that the community’s operations align with legal mandates and ethical standards.  The goal is to strengthen the Village commitment to transparency, accountability and adherence to State-mandated regulations across the various facets of government.  The cost of this project falls outside of the fixed annual compensation agreement.  Therefore, an estimate is requested for final authorization by the Mayor.  The attorney advised that he did believe that this would fall within the scope of work outlined in the annual agreement but that they could put together an estimate as to how long it would take to complete the audit. 
Trustee Kasker wondered what if any restrictions might exist as a result of the Village being on the National Registry of Historic Places.  He suggested that they should gain some clarity on this and what it means for them in terms of what can and cannot be restricted as a result. 
The Board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.
Webmaster Vendor Replacement Authorization – This is regarding searching for a outside vendor to take over the management of the Village website.  The Mayor has resigned as the Webmaster.  While he, Elizabeth, and John are able to keep up with small tasks such as posting agendas etc., the Mayor  estimates that they will need to invest 20-30K to put somebody in the position.  He further recommended that they start by reaching out to the Windsor IT group, who have done a terrific job setting up the YouTube channel and he felt it worthwhile investigating whether or not they would be willing to take on more tasks.
Trustee Kasker suggested that some clarity was needed as to what the specific tasks of a Webmaster would be.  He added that personally speaking, he would rather see $20-30K spent on hiring a Deputy Clerk, who could in turn manage the website.  That being said, he did not have any objections to exploring the idea.
The Mayor agreed that help is needed in the Village Office and added that he had asked Elizabeth to put together a list of tasks so that they could in turn hire somebody and that perhaps the role of webmaster could fall within that. A resolution authorizing a formal search and bid process and further directing the Village Treasurer to recommend a solution for the unauthorized expense was then voted on and unanimously approved.
Conditional Approval of Boat- Noting that this had been briefly discussed earlier in the meeting, the Mayor suggested that the boat as proposed by the potential buyer is in compliance with Village code.  He suggested that in his view, the Board should maintain the right to regulate the speed at which the boat can operate.   Concerned about the safety of swimmers in that lake,  Lili Neuhauser inquired as to whether or not the Beach Club had a parameter within which they were permitted to swim.  The Mayor agreed that this was an important issue and that to date the Village has been fortunate in that there have not been any accidents.  He added that there was currently no law on the books that prevented anyone from having a boat.  “Certainly, safety has to be taken under consideration by the owner of the boat and that would be expected of any boat owner on any lake,” he added.
Following a brief discussion, it was determined that because the proposed boat was compliant with the code, a Trustee vote was unnecessary.
Abandoned Property Return – The Village is in receipt of a letter informing them that they are the owners of unclaimed property from HSBC in the amount of 1,452.70.  Following a brief clarifying discussion and in consultation with their attorney, the Trustees voted unanimously in favor of the return. 
BAR Review for Property Improvements- A resolution instructing the proprietor of 47 Clubhouse Road to participate in an informal review before the BAR pertaining exclusively to the Village-owned property commonly referred to as the “100 Steps,” was presented and discussed.  The BAR’s assessment will encompass an evaluation of the selection of materials and the proposed arrangement and design layout of the intended alterations and enhancements.  Upon receipt of the BAR’s recommendations, the proprietor shall present them to the Trustees for final approval.  Trustee Kasker suggested that it was still unclear as to whether the Village would be undertaking the project after the plan had been presented or the property owner.  He wondered if it would be better for them to authorize the informal review rather than to instruct it. 
“I don’t even know why this issue even came up,” commented the Mayor “because no one has ever mentioned who is paying for it.  We’ve never discussed that.  I don’t think there is any request for the Village to pay for it that exists.”
Trustee Kasker responded that he did not feel they could instruct somebody to go and do something like this when they did not even know whether or not that person wanted to pursue it.
“The homeowner offered to contribute stone and workmanship to build the path at no cost to the Village,” stated Trustee Brooke.  “The Village responded that they would have to appear before the BAR and the BAR is responsible for any changes to a dwelling.  So, it doesn’t have anything to do with a dwelling, so the person said ‘I’m not gonna do it.’  If they don’t do it, it becomes the responsibility of the Village to provide a safe 100 steps.  The heavy rains have damaged the 100 steps pretty dramatically.  We can say this but it’s the call of the owner of the property on whether they want to go through the process, but if they don’t go through the process there is still an obligation of the Village to handle it.”
“I’ve spoken today with the owner,” commented the Mayor, “who agrees with my recommendation and is willing to do that.  At this point in time there is no discussion of the Village spending anything.  Hopefully this will be a very smooth process.  Simple.  It has to go through the BAR because it is Village owned property and they have to assess the colors and the materials.  There is also the issue of a Village sewer line going through that area, which is going to be of interest.  So, there are going to be barriers and potential obstacles but it needs to be treated like any other application in my view.  If these issues come up, the public and the Trustees will have every opportunity to express themselves.  My goal is to get this process moving and hopefully it will be on the next scheduled BAR meeting.  Again, I recommend that everyone attend that meeting that feels that they’ll be affected by whatever the solution is…and we’ll treat it like any other approval.  The only distinction is that it is Village owned and therefore while we are required to appear before any particular associated Board, the Village may or may not take the recommendations and then that I suppose would raise the issue of who is paying for what.  Let’s stay in the lanes now and see what happens.”  He went on to make an analogy between this project and the Booth reconstruction project.
Trustee Kasker reiterated that he preferred the word authorized be used in the resolution as opposed to instructed.  Following minimal discussion, the resolution was re-worded to reflect this and the Trustees voted in favor of approval with Trustee Brooke abstaining.
Stuart McGreggor wondered whether the contiguous property owners would be notified of the meeting and the answer was yes.
Village Adoption of NYS Unified Solar Permit Guidelines-  Jim Hays, Chairman of the Climate Smart Committee, has recommended adopting the NYS Unified Solar Permit guidelines for solar panels (posted online) in both Village-owned and private properties within the Park.  The Mayor has heard that there are some residents who are in favor and others who are not and he feels it is something that the BAR should be involved with and weigh-in on.  He has recommended to Jim and members of the BAR the following: Before proceeding with a vote on the adoption of the permit, he suggests providing the BAR the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the implications, advantages and potential challenges related to the integration of solar panels within the Villages historical context.  Also, before voting on the current proposal, the Mayor recommends allowing the BAR adequate time to thoroughly examine the implications, benefits and drawbacks of incorporating solar panels within the framework of the Village’s landmark designation.  With this in mind, he further suggests that the BAR provide a comprehensive recommendation to the Trustees, outlining the potential integration of solar panels into the Village’s architectural landscape.  This recommendation should include a dedicated chapter within the design guidelines, explicitly addressing the utilization of solar panels.  The recommendation from the BAR should also encompass specific technical specifications and details related to solar panel installations within this chapter.  This could contain guidelines on permissible specifications, such as size, appearance and positioning and a list of approved manufacturers whose products align with the Village’s aesthetics and preservation goals.  The Mayor believes that the Village must strike a balance between sustainability and preserving the character of the community.  This matter has arisen previously, but he feels that it warrants a deeper exploration and analysis.  By engaging in a comprehensive study, the Village will be better equipped to determine the most suitable and harmonious approach to integrating solar panels, which aligns with their commitment to both environmental responsibility and honoring their architectural heritage.   
Jay Reichgott commented that he did a lot of work with solar panels and that the technology changes at an alarming rate.  He strongly suggested that any recommendations made by the BAR or any other Board come in the form of performance standards. 
“We have to incorporate it,” stated Mayor McFadden.  “ It’s all about sustainability.  We have a responsibility as a Village I think. The committee has made recommendations.  The State has made recommendations.   Rather than to hastily incorporate a yes or a no, I would prefer to have the BAR examine it and end up in a new chapter for the design guidelines.”
Jim Hays commented that the purpose of this was to streamline the installation of the panels, which makes it easier and cheaper for contractors because they know what the standards are.  “This does not in any way eliminate what the BAR might say about what kind of panels or where a particular panel should be or that sort of thing.  That is certainly with the purview of the BAR, but this Unified Solar Permit is really technical installation and how they panels are to be installed.”
This was discussed.  Ultimately, Mayor McFadden stated that he would speak to the BAR and facilitate their review.

Following the audit of claims the Board adjourned into an executive session to discuss legal matters and the candidates for the open Planning Board seats.  When they returned to the open session, Trustee Brooke made the following statement:
“We have been continuing to interview candidates for the Planning Board.  We have not completed that process, but we hope within the next week or two to complete that process using Zoom.  Following that process we will make a conclusion as to how we are going forward.”

 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 30, 2023

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**THIS MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED**

Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 16, 2023

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 26, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, July 26 at 7pm.  All members were present.  Trustee Scherer attended remotely via Zoom from China.

Mayor’s Comments: 
Because there has not been a winner identified in the election, the Village has been presented by their counsel with three options for the annual reorganization meeting as follows:

  1. Technically appointments can still be made by the Mayor and the Board for 23-24 even though the Mayor and Trustees Brooke and Scherer are in holdover status since Village business cannot properly come to a halt due to election issues.
  2. However, the Village and the Board may also choose not to make appointments to terms of office with the Mayor position currently in flux, and the Village can publicly acknowledge that all persons holding terms of office are to continue as holdovers until a determination is made as to who is elected to the position of Mayor.
  3. Alternatively, the Village Board can also take no action on appointments at all, in which case existing occupants of the offices will remain as holdovers as a matter of law under the Public Officers Law.

The Village will be doing a combination of these things with the intent to hold a traditional Reorg once the winner has been identified.
At the suggestion of Mayor McFadden, Trustee Kasker then read the following with the intent of clarifying some information that has been circulating outside of the Village:
“On June 28, 2023 our long-time Village counsel Brian Nugent of Feerick, Nugent, McCartney, PLLC tendered notice to the Tuxedo Park Board of Trustees announcing his intention to conclude his services. We gratefully acknowledge Attorney Nugent’s invaluable counsel over the last 8 years and extend our best wishes for his future pursuits.  We are pleased that two Attorneys from that firm, Steve Honan and Christopher Pavlacka will remain to advise the Board of Architectural Review and to also to support matters respectively.  Tonight, we are considering a resolution to appoint counsel to the Village Board for this coming official year from Harris Beach.  They have big shoes to fill but we know they have a solid track record and are
 Competent.   We are confident in their ability to provide candid and legally sound advice.”
 
Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Public Comments:
Before opening the public comment session, Mayor McFadden reminded the audience that out of an abundance of caution, he had recused himself from any matters related to the defense of the Village and Elizabeth Doherty.  He requested that any questions concerning the election NOT be addressed towards him or he would have to leave the room as part of his recusal so that the questions could be addressed by the Board.   
Jay Reichgott noted that one of the items on the agenda was spraying for ticks at the Wee Wah.  Acknowledging that the Village had likely done their due diligence in collecting 3 quotes for this service, he urged them to accept none of them.  “Even if they told you that it was an organic product and that it would only kill the ticks and it wouldn’t hurt any good bugs,….you kill the bugs, you kill all the bugs.  You kill the ticks…you kill the mosquitos, you kill the dragonflies, you kill the fireflies, you kill the butterflies, you kill the bees…and you don’t really kill the ticks.  It’s not very effective.”  He went on to recommend a product called Tick Tubes, which are small tubes filled with cotton wool that has been treated with insecticide.  When placed around the area in question, the field mice (which are the major vector for the ticks in the spring and the fall) are attracted to the cotton wool and this in turns kills the ticks without harming any of the other insects.  “Ticks are a thing,” he stated, “but spraying for ticks or any insect willy-nilly is remarkably bad for the environment, for all of us….and it’s not very effective.” 
The Mayor thanked Mr. Reichgott and called on anyone in the audience who might have any experience with tick treatments and tick sprays to join the conversation.
Lili Neuhauser noted that T.P.S. did some sort of treatment and suggested that the Village consider contacting them to learn more about it.     Gavin Maxwell commented that he felt tick tubes were an excellent suggestion and a highly effective option.
Mayor McFadden inquired as to whether anyone knew where the tick tubes could be obtained and he was told that they were available on Amazon for a relatively modest price.
The Mayor commented that he felt they should consider it.  Trustee Kasker agreed, further noting he thought that T.P.S. had been faced with some D.E.C. restrictions as to what they were able to use on their playing fields and that the Village might want to check with that Organization before moving forward.  Mayor McFadden subsequently tabled the discussion on ticks under the New Business section of the agenda, in favor of further exploring the tick tube option.
Claudio Guazzoni stated that he would be addressing his comments to Trustee Kasker because the Village Attorneys dealing with the election report to him.  Trustee Kasker interjected, informing Mr. Guazzoni that this was not the case and that as per a resolution made at a special meeting the month prior, he was the key point of contact for the Open Meetings Law violation and not the Election Law accusation.
Mr. Guazzoni asked who the key point of contact for the election case was and he was told that it was Clerk Elizabeth Doherty.  Mr. Guazzoni therefore stated that he would direct his comments to her. 
“Hold-over Mayor McFadden has told us that he has hired no attorneys….that he represents himself.  Ms. Doherty, I am putting the Village on notice that….”
At this time Mayor McFadden interrupted Mr. Guazzoni, commenting that he felt he needed to recuse himself.  He then left the room.  Mr. Guazzoni continued:
“I would like to put the Village on notice that the Village Attorneys, hired by the Village, and their actions seem to be representing too much of McFadden and not enough of the Village.  The Village and the Village attorneys should be neutral.  They should not care who the ultimate winner in this Mayoral election is.  However, although their words speak neutrality, their actions are quite loud as they aggressively support the candidacy of David McFadden.  This is a very expensive law firm that the Village has hired, paid for by Village monies, who David McFadden has seemingly highjacked as his own campaign attorneys.  We have made a proposal to the Village attorneys, which is in the best interest of the Village and the proposal has been oddly rebuffed.  Ms. Doherty, you might not be aware of this, but a number of people around here identify David McFadden as their boss.  People around here work for “Boss Mac” and they don’t work for the Village.  Under such overbearing pressure from “Boss Mac,” how can we expect that a Village election could have been fairly run by the Village Clerk, when “Boss Mac” put her in a pressure cooker day-in and day-out.  In fact, the pressure is so bad that before handing out absentee ballots, the Village Clerk did not even check to see whether that person was registered!”
Trustee Kasker interjected to let Mr. Guazzoni know that his time would soon be up and that when it was finished, he would be cut off.
“A friend of McFadden’s who lives in the Woodlands was even give a ballot and allowed to vote,” continued Mr. Guazzoni.  “This never happened before.  We made a proposal…please…let’s come to an agreement.”
At point Mr. Guazzoni’s time was up, and he was cut-off.  Trustee Kasker inquired as to whether or not anybody else from the public had any comments about the election case, further noting it would make sense to bring these forward now, before Mayor McFadden returned.  There were none, and so the Mayor was called back into the room. 
There were no further public comments.

Consent Agenda:
The consent agenda, which included adding written reports to the record and adding minutes from the two previous meetings to the record was unanimously approved.

Old Business:
Update from John Ledwith on WIFI at Wee Wah Park & Beach Club, Paid by Donations and the Status of YouTube Vs Vimeo Channels, Paid from Windsor IT Budget-  WiFi at the Wee Wah has been updated so that there is now a dedicated WiFi signal coming from a utility pole there.  Installation was completed earlier that day, but the IT people still have to set up the final connection to WiFi devices.  This work should be completed by Monday, July 31.  The cost of this service will be just under $200 a month.  In consultation with IT support, the Village has decided to move from Vimeo to YouTube.  A YouTube channel has been created and videos of past meetings have already been uploaded there.  The URL is: https://www.youtube.com/@VillageofTuxedoPark

New Business:
Resolve to Authorize the Mayor to Sign a Letter of Agreement with the Law Firm of Harris Beach to Serve at the Pleasure of the Board, as Legal Counsel to The Village Board, Effective August 1, 2023-  As part of this resolution, The Mayor requested that the Board authorize him to also negotiate the fee structure.  Because they did not have a copy of the agreement in front of them, the Board decided to temporarily table the vote until they could obtain one.
Resolve to Add John Ledwith as the Second Signature to NYCLASS Transfers and on Chase Bank Accounts- This was unanimously approved.
Resolve to Approve W & S To Engineer a Solution for Repairing the Ceiling in the Water Plant to be Implemented by The DPW –   The current quote for the engineering of this project is $15,900, down from an initial $19,500.  Additionally, it will be designed so that the DPW should be able to complete most of the work themselves. Also, part of the engineering is the addition of a larger, 2nd floor door, which will allow for easier access to the chemical rooms.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the work.  
Resolve to Authorize Weston & Sampson to File Grant Applications at a Cost of Approximately $2,500.  Deadline August 10, 2023- Building Inspector John Ledwith provided a brief description for each of the following projects, for which Weston and Sampson will assist the Village in applying for grant monies:  Town of Tuxedo water meter relocation, East Village water main replacement, Mountain Road water main replacement, Tuxedo Lake water main replacement and water treatment plant clear well upgrades.  In total, these projects will cost the Village in excess of 1 million dollars.  If secured, the grant monies could cover 25-30% of the cost.  The Board voted unanimously in favor with moving forward.
Resolve to Approve Company to Spray for Ticks at Wee Wah Park Paid By Donations – This was Tabled so that the Village might further investigate the option of Tick Tubes as discussed earlier in the meeting.
Resolve to Approve Company to Install Ground Water Irrigation System Paid by Donations – The Village has obtained 3 quotes for two different variations of this project, which would entail irrigating to the newly installed grass at the Wee Wah where the parking lot used to be.  They are all in excess of $13,000 with most of them being over $20,000.  Mayor McFadden suggested that when they had begun investigating the system things were very dry but since then there has been a lot of rain and as a result, he was not sure they needed to move forward with making the investment at this time.  Everything ay the Wee Wah is currently “nice and green.” He recommended that they table the project for the time being.  The Board was in agreement and so it was tabled.
Resolve to Appoint Ryan Lynch as the BAR Chair – Trustee inquired as to how long the appointment would be good for.  Mayor McFadden responded that the attorneys had advised him that they could assess this at the next re-org meeting.  The appointment was then unanimously approved.
Resolve to Approve Company to Stock Tuxedo Lake with Trout During the Month of _____ with the Blessing of AJ, Lakes Manager, and to Discuss the same with The Tuxedo Club and Village Boat Club – As only one bid has been received to date, this was tabled to allow the Village time to collect two more bids. 

The Board then entered into an executive session to discuss water department matters with Jeff Voss (DPW Supervisor) Discuss Legal Matters, Certain Village Employees and water Utility Maters.

Following the executive session, the following two resolutions were made and adopted unanimously:

  1. A resolution requiring that all non-functioning water meters be reported to Jeff Voss on the day that the meter is reported as non-functioning.  A list of non-functioning meters will be included in the monthly DPW report.  Meters will be repaired within 30 days of being identified.  Any meters not repaired within 30 days will be reported to the Board of Trustees and the report must contain a reason why the meter repair could not be completed within the allotted time period.
  2. A resolution authorizing the Mayor to negotiate the fee structure and once satisfied Sign a Letter of Agreement with the Law Firm of Harris Beach to Serve at the Pleasure of the Board, as Legal Counsel to The Village Board, Effective August 1, 2023.   Attorneys from Feerick, Nugent, McCartney, PLLC will remain on Board to work with the BAR.   

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 26, 2023

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 6, 2023 

Part 1

Part 2

 

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Agenda For Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 6, 2023 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 26, 2023 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Monday, June 26 at 7pm.  All Trustees were present.  Trustee Scherer joined the meeting via Zoom from New York City.

The meeting began with a 1 hour 45-minute executive session to discuss legal matters. 
When they returned to the public session, they voted on three resolutions.
The first formally discharged acting counsel Brain Nugent from representing both the Village and Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty in the matter of Guazzoni vs. The Village of Tuxedo Park.
Trustee Kasker commented that he did not feel he had enough information having only just been informed of it during the executive session.  “I do not feel I have had enough time to make a decision,” he noted.  Trustee Shaw added that it was new to her as well but she did see the long-term benefit of hiring a specialist for the Village.
The Board then voted in favor of passing the resolution, with Trustee Kasker abstaining. 
The second motion was an approval of a $25,000 budget for the retention of independent counsel pending the election litigation. 
Trustee Kasker commented that he did not know either of the attorneys who were being put forward.  Trustee Shaw wondered about the amount…whether it was just a down payment or if it was expected to cover everything.  She was told that they simply do not know at this point but that requiring a retention fee up front was common practice for many attorneys.
The Board then voted in favor of passing the resolution, with Trustee Kasker abstaining.
The third resolution designated Mayor McFadden as the primary contact for the new attorney for all matters associated with strategic decisions on behalf of the Village and Elizabeth Doherty in the matter of Guazzoni vs. The Village of Tuxedo Park. “It is agreed that the office of the Mayor may, at its discretion,  call upon the Board of Trustees to assist in evaluating strategic options proposed by independent counsel.”
Trustee Kasker requested that they add a line indicating that the Mayor would communicate all phone conversations and communications to the entire Board.
“There may be a situation where I don’t want to do that,” responded Mayor McFadden.  “I want to reserve my privilege not to do that….but I think this is pretty clear that when it’s necessary I’ll come to the Trustees.”
“There may be issues,” added Trustee Brooke, “with respect to prospective actions which we may not want broadcast going forward.”
“To a Trustee?” inquired Trustee Kasker.
“Correct,” responded the Mayor. 
“Are you proposing to pay for this lawyer?” demanded Trustee Kasker.
“There are issues where the strategy may require confidence unless we can be assured there will be no dissemination of the information,” stated Trustee Brooke, “and we may have counsel address us as a Board.”
“And there is information that I would like to maintain attorney/client privilege on and not subject to FOIL,” added the Mayor.
“This is for decisions on behalf of the Village of Tuxedo Park and Elizabeth Doherty.  How would you have attorney/client privilege over the rest of the Board?” inquired Trustee Kasker.
“Because that is the strategy we are working.  That has happened.  I’ve already had it happen,” responded Mayor McFadden.
“I’ve made my point,” noted Trustee Kasker.
The Mayor then stated that he would take Trustee Kasker’s concerns back to the new attorney.
“Yeah, I’m a little uncomfortable on this,” stated Trustee Shaw. 
“Ok, so would we agree that what I will do is to go to the new attorneys and ask them to take a look at what we have passed and if they feel it should be changed, we’ll all talk to them?”
“I would like to have them briefing The Board,” added Trustee Brooke. 
“They should be briefing the Board.  We are not experts on election law and procedure.  This is why we went with these people,” stated the Mayor. 
The Board then voted in favor of passing the resolution, with Trustees Kasker and Shaw abstaining.
Trustee Kasker then made a motion that the Board schedule a Special Meeting for the purpose of receiving a briefing from the new legal counsel sometime within the next 10 days.  “That way they can tell us if there ever will be an occasion for attorney client privilege with the Mayor only.” The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this motion.

Click here to view a copy of the first resolution
Click here to view a copy of the second resolution
Click here to view a copy of the third resolution

Resolve to Open the Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 1 – Boat and Dock Length (Not Permanent Docks) / Public Comments and Discussion:
The Board voted in favor of opening the hearing.  Mayor McFadden opened the discussion by informing the public that the Trustees were not planning to vote on the draft that evening.  “The Trustees and the Board have not agreed on a local draft law yet that we feel comfortable presenting to the public.  When we do, we want to bring this back onto the table.  I think it’s worth having this discussion.  There are many sides to it and as you have heard over the past 6-8 weeks, there is an interest in the Trustees discussing this matter.”  The floor was then opened to comments.  Claudio Guazzoni cautioned the Board that they should think twice before changing anything with the lake.  “We have problems with the lake…quality of water and milfoil.  Increasing boat and dock size is really for the benefit of a few to the detriment of the many.”  He went on to say that the Mayor had promised residents that he would issue a survey but to date, a survey had not been issued.  “Another promise broken,” he concluded.
“As I mentioned,” responded Mayor McFadden, “this is on indefinite hold.  We’ll keep our commitments, but thank you.”
Jim Hays stated that he felt the survey would be very important. “I think the discussion by the Board will be greatly informed after the survey has been transmitted and reviewed by the Board,” he added.  He further suggested that since this subject had come up, there had also been a lot of discussion in the community about the power and speed of boats on the lake.  Because of new technologies, there are now electric boats that can go a lot faster than they could when the law was originally put into effect.  He implored the Board to consider this when developing the new law and suggested that there should be a question on the survey pertaining to whether or not residents would like to see some limitation on the horsepower or speed of boats on the lake.
Mayor McFadden agreed, adding that the Tuxedo Club actually had several engines which they have had to governor down to slow them down because of wake and noise.  He noted that when the law did come back to the table, this would be considered and added that he felt it would be a good question for the survey as suggested as well. 
Chui Yin Hempel provided an observation on behalf of her brother-in-law, who could not be present.  He and his wife are clean kayakers and they have noticed that within the last week or so there has been quite a bit of white slime floating on the water and that their paddles are bringing up what they referred to as seaweed, but what she fears might be milfoil. She suggested that the Village should look into this as soon as possible.  “The science of the lake is not perfect,” she continued.  “We really don’t understand and we have to make our water safe and healthy…and so my point is that maybe she should get a firm handle on the milfoil and the algae and other lake related problems before we introduce a new factor, which could exacerbate the lake problems and cost the Village a lot of money to try to remediate.  The Lake is a common resource,” she continued, “ and a very critical one.  It’s not just a pleasure pond for the boat owners or for that matter the property owners around the lake.”
The Mayor responded that the Village’s lakes manager had changed firms and that the Village was moving forward with re-hiring him through his new outfit.  Commenting that the Board shared Mrs. Hempel’s concerns, he added that the Lakes Manger would be coming to the Village soon and that they were reserving all rights to do algae treatments.  In fact, they are currently awaiting the permits. 
Trustee Scherer agreed, adding that the most recent survey conducted by the Lakes Manager back in November had suggested that all the milfoil had been eradicated, although there was an understanding that it could come back.  So long as the new firm received approval that evening, the lakes manager would be in the Park on Thursday and Friday to assess the issue. 
Jim Hays suggested that when and if the milfoil was eradicated, there would be excess phosphate in the lakes for other plants to absorb and that it was possible that these plants,  which were perhaps natives, would become much more plentiful than they had been before.  Algae blooms might also be more so.  “The phosphate will be used by something,”  he stated.  “and if the milfoil is not there, something else is going to use it.”
Mayor McFadden added that people have been observing an increase in aquatic plant growth in Pond #3 and that he himself had observed an increase in growth in front of the Regna and Mengel properties on Tuxedo Lake.  “But it’s not actually milfoil,” he said.  “It’s a weed that is now able to grow because the milfoil is no longer there.”
Alan Barnett commented that he agreed with those who had spoken before him and further inquired as to whether the Lakes Committee would be directly involved with the Lakes Management firm.  “I really think this is very important,” he added.  “This is an issue that if done wrong has the potential for creating damage to our environment, damage to our aesthetics, damage to the value of the Park, so I really think that the Lake Committee ought to be involved.”
The Mayor thanked Mr. Barnett for this suggestion adding that they were all looking forward to a constructive debate on the matter.
The public hearing was then closed.

Reports:
Mayor McFadden asked John Ledwith to briefly touch on a recent tree incident that occurred on West Lake Stable Road on June 24.  Mr. Ledwith responded that a fairly large tree had fallen onto the Turner property.  The (?? WHO??)   was subsequently in touch with a tree removal company who came out and flagged several trees for removal.   They will be following up with that company to discuss other trees that they might remove.   Mr. Ledwith has also been in touch with Orange & Rockland and they are going to come and assess that entire stretch of roadway as there are a number of tall trees that are hanging out over the water there.
Mayor McFadden expressed some further concern over the steep slope that exists on one side of the road there, commenting that in storms such as the ones that have recently occurred, often times perfectly healthy trees fall over.  He suggested that he would be reaching out to stakeholders to see if they might develop some sort of plan for remediating these potentially dangerous situations.

Click here to view the Construction Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Police Report

Public Comments:
Claudio Guazzoni reminded Mayor McFadden that his current term would expire on June 30 and that after that time, he might not be able to communicate with the Trustees as he wishes. He added that the newly hired counsel would be representing the Village and not the Mayor as a candidate.  “If the Mayor wishes to have a counsel representing him as a candidate then David McFadden has to hire counsel with his own funds and not with Village funds to represent him…and yes, it’s about $25,000.”
“I am perfectly aware of that,” responded Mayor McFadden.  “Thank you for pointing it out.”
Next, Mr. Guazzoni commented that there was a very important meeting taking place in the Town of Tuxedo that evening and he had been a little upset when he learned that the Village had rescheduled their meeting for the same time as that meeting.  He asked the Mayor if he could update the community as to what was taking place in Town that evening and further if he could provide some insight into why he had chosen to schedule the Village meeting at the same time. 
The Mayor responded that the June 21 meeting had been cancelled due to exhaustion on the part of various Board members and staff following the election the day before.  In rescheduling the meeting, they reached out to all the involvzed parties and based on their collective schedules, a new date was chosen.  Subsequently, Town Board members (and Village residents) Jay Reichgott and Michele Lindsay reached to the Mayor and requested that the Village try to move their meeting, if at all possible, which they tried to do but ultimately it was not possible.  He pointed out that it was very likely a one-time occurrence and that thanks to Zoom technology, people would still be able to view both meetings, although he acknowledged that this was not as good as being there in person.  He added that he regretted the conflict and was saddened that it had happened.
Mr. Guazzoni pointed out that by holding their meeting at the same time, the village had precluded themselves from being able to represent their residents and comment on proposed modifications to the Tuxedo Farms Special Permit.

Consent Agenda:
Trustee Kasker asked that they remove item D ‘Approve the Hiring of MEO Ryan Burns Effective June 27, 2023’ for discussion.  It was agreed that this item would be moved to an executive session.
Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously to approve the following items from the consent agenda:

  • Add all written reports to the permanent record
  • Approve hiring of P/T Officer Scott Vecchio Effective June 22, 2023
  • Approve to Pay Fourlane $4,085 for training and support

New Business:
Discussion Regarding Annexation of Bruno Property from Town to Village -  There was no discussion, rather the Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting a local law (#2 of 2023) which allows for the annexation of two pieces of property from the Town to the Village.
Resolution Approving Road Paving Costs and Road Maintenance Costs of Village Roads – The Village is set to go above the allocated amount of $200,000 for road resurfacing.  To date, costs total $230,000 and this does not take into account the $20,000 that they usually keep aside for pothole repair.  They are looking at an increase of $50,000.  This includes work done to Tuxedo Road, Serpentine Road and West Lake Road (part 2).  They are hopeful that once this work has been completed, they will have enough left over to repair Lorillard Road where it meets Continental Road.  Trustee Kasker expressed some concern as to where in the budget they might be able to find the $50,000.  Mr. Ledwith responded that the work was not scheduled to take place until the end of the summer and therefore they had the benefit of some time to work through that, although he recommended that they do it within the next 30 days.  Trustee Kasker suggested they wait until they knew where the money was coming from before the approved the expenditure.  Mayor McFadden recommended that they approve it, further noting that they were on a timeline with the Orange County contract.  He added that Mr. Ledwith did not seem concerned that they wouldn’t be able to find the money and they would have 30 days to look into it further. Following some further discussion, the Board agreed to approve the expenditure pending the allocation of expenses and voted unanimously in favor of doing so.
Resolution to Approve Funding for Wee Wah Park Parking Area using Funds Allocated for such a Purpose in the Current 2023-2024 Budget- The Village has allocated $20,000 in this year’s budget for repair and maintenance at the Wee Wah Park.  They have received an estimate of $18,000 to resurface/pave the parking lot and newly constructed road that runs around the bathroom.  Mayor McFadden proposed that they take $18,000 of the $20,000 budgeted to fund the project.
Trustees Kasker and Shaw inquired as to what was there now.  The answer was compacted gravel.  Trustee Shaw wondered how much had been spent to date on the recent improvements.  Mayor McFadden informed her that all recent improvements had been funded via a very generous donation from the Madden family.  Trustee Kasker stated that he didn’t understand the wisdom in paving it.  He wondered why they would want to add impervious surfaces to a beautiful, natural setting.  The Mayor responded that before they could move forward with the project, they would have to appear before the Planning Board and they could take it up with them at that time.  He suggested that the Trustees approve the allocation of funds so that they could move forward and get themselves onto the Planning Board agenda and get their input. 
“I’d rather go the other way,” stated Trustee Kasker.
“I’m sure you would,” the Mayor responded.
Trustee Brooke interjected that these were not roads that would be utilized during the winter and as such, plowing would not be an issue in terms of wear and tear.  Therefore, he suggested, it might not be critical that we spend $18,000.”
“That’s fine,” replied the Mayor.  “Let’s go to the Planning Board and see what they think.”
There followed a short discussion as to whether it would be more appropriate to bring the project before the Planning Board or the Board of Architectural Review, with Mr. Ledwith suggesting that the BAR was the appropriate Board to handle aesthetic issues and the Mayor asserting that it was the Planning Board who needed to look at it first in terms of drainage and runoff.  The Mayor then conceded that there were no storm drainage systems in that area and that as there would be run-off, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea.  He asked for alternative suggestions.  The item was then tabled. 
Resolution to Allow Certain Private Clubs to Use the Wee Wah Park & Beach Facility with Board Approval (For example the Tuxedo park Jeep Club and the Open Water Swim Club) –Mayor McFadden explained that there are several private clubs that would like apply to the Village for temporary use of certain sections of Wee Wah Park. Trustee Shaw asked for clarification as to whether this would apply to Village Clubs only.  Mayor McFadden explained that they were private clubs that existed within the Village but were not officially sanctioned by the Village.  Trustee Kasker wondered whether these clubs would need to sign lease agreements.  Village attorney Brian Nugent responded that typically in situations like these, some sort of agreement was signed. Trustee Scherer wondered what it was they would be approving, suggesting that these Clubs could at any time come before the BOT and request their permission.  Mayor McFadden responded that he felt it would be a good thing if they formalized this Following some further discussion, it was determined that these things could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. “Tabled,” stated the Mayor.
Appointment of Ryan Lunch to the BAR to fill the open seat of (TBD) – The Board voted unanimously in favor of the appointment.
Discuss a Process to Fill Seats on the Appointed Boards of the BAR, PB and BZA- Trustee Kasker suggested that moving forward, when the Mayor had a candidate to present for Board approval that they should have a formal meeting.   “I think there are a lot of benefits to this,” he explained,  “We would get to hear each other’s questions, think about things that we wouldn’t have thought of before, get to ask the candidate for clarification, get commitments from the candidate for things that we think are important to the Boards, and then vote.  That way the candidate senses the seriousness of the five-year term as well.”
This idea was discussed for a few minutes and all of the Board members were in agreement that it was a good idea.  It was agreed that they would work through it and work it into the Reorganization agenda. 
Resolution to Hire GEI as Lakes Manager – Trustee Kasker inquired as to whether or not they a draft agreement to review.  Trustee Scherer responded that it was a negotiated agreement totaling roughly $41,000 and proceeded provide a brief summary of the scope of work.   Mayor McFadden added that at this point time, based on the most recent survey of the Lakes, the Village did not foresee the need for milfoil treatment this year.  The resolution was approved unanimously.  Jim Hays wondered whether or not there would be money available to mitigate any milfoil that might turn up as a result of one of the two planned aquatic surveys.  The Mayor responded that should that occur, they could discuss it and likely take the money from the water fund.
Resolution Approving Wee Wah Park Dumpster – The dumpster in question has been rented and will be in place at the Wee Wah Park throughout the summer season.  It is not bear-proof.  Trustee Kasker suggested that moving forward, they take measurements and attempt some sort of screening in the area where the dumpster will annually be installed.  The Board agreed that this was a good idea.  The resolution was passed unanimously.
Resolve to Approve Intermunicipal Agreement with Town for use of Wee Wah Park by the Town of Tuxedo Summer Camp-  This agreement has already been signed and is similar to the one that was in place last year.  The resolution was unanimously approved.
Resolution Awarding Stone Wall Repair Bidder- This BID was awarded to HC Landscaping. The amount was not disclosed.
Resolution Authorizing Payment to Arnold Construction Company- The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this resolution.
CDBG Resolution – the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the signing of a CDBG resolution.
Resolution to Approve the Continuation of the Village Insurance Policy with Travelers- The Board voted unanimously in favor of rolling over the Village’s insurance policy with Travelers.
Resolve to Pay Vendor for Work Done on Behalf of the Trails Committee – The Line Item for Funds Shall be from Private Donations Made to the Trail Committee- The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the expenditure as presented.  The money will come from private donations that have been made to the Trail Committee.

Old Business:
Resolution to Invest Village Funds with NYCLASS for a Higher Interest Rate Than They Receive Currently- The Board had a somewhat lengthy discussing with regard to how much money they should invest with NYCLASS as opposed to how much money they should leave in the Chase accounts.  Ultimately, they decided to create a committee consisting of Trustees Shaw and Scherer along with John Ledwith and Elizabeth Doherty to make recommendations to the Board as to what they should invest in NYCLASS and also have the authority to move forward with the investments so that the Village can take advantage of the higher interest rate.    A resolution reflecting this was brought forward and unanimously adopted.  
Municipal Cooperation Resolution for NYCLASS – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution. 

Following the audit of claims, the Board adjourned into an executive session to discuss legal matters, certain Village employees, hiring of a new DPW employee, negotiation of DPW contract and a water utility collection matter. 

2 of 2: BOT June 26, 2023, Regular Meeting: Public Session, Post Executive Session One from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 26, 2023 

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**** THIS MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED  ****

Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 21, 2023 

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**** THIS MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED  ****

Notice of Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 9 2023

(*Taken From the Village Website 6/7/23)

We want to inform you that a Special Board of Trustees meeting has been scheduled for this Friday.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the total investment of village funds with NYCLASS, along with other important matters that may arise for consideration by the board.

We understand the significance of transparent and inclusive governance and invite you to stay informed and engaged. The official agenda for the meeting and detailed instructions on how to join the meeting via Zoom will be made available to the public tomorrow.

Suppose you have any questions or concerns regarding the purpose of this meeting or any specific topics you would like to see addressed. In that case, we encourage you to contact the village treasurer, Elizabeth Doherty, at edoherty@tuxedopark-ny.gov. She will ensure your inquiries are brought to the board's attention for appropriate consideration.

Your participation and involvement are vital to the decision-making process. We value your input and believe we can make informed decisions that positively impact our community.

We appreciate your attention to this notice and look forward to your presence at Friday's Special Board of Trustees meeting.

Mayor Mac

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 24, 2023 (*Taken From the Village Website 5/24/23)

We reached a reasonable compromise on investing in NYCLASS (a Municipal Investment Fund). Essentially, we agreed to increase our interest by investing in NYCLASS after the Federal Government resolves the debt ceiling matter and with the clearance of all legal hurdles, if any. Further, we agreed to compare comparable investment opportunities in the private sector and welcome recommendations from the public and other professionals moving forward.

This meeting has four sections.

Section One - Start of meeting

Section Two - After a three-minute recess

Section Three - After Executive Session - Part One

Section Four - After Executive Session - Part Two

The next Regular Meeting is Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Click here to view the Village Attorney letter regarding Investment of Village Funds as posted to the Village website

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Agenda For Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 24, 2023

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 17, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, May 17 at 7pm.  Board member Chris Kasker was absent.

Zoom Presentation From NY CLASS Local Investment Pool:
The Board received a presentation from Chris Starr of NY CLASS, a local government investment pool that allows municipalities and districts to pool funds there and collectively earn interest on investments.  A basic overview of the features and benefits they offer can be viewed here.
The Mayor and Trustees responded favorably to the presentation.  Village Attorney Brian Nugent informed the Board that the Town of Monroe had been in the program for three years and were very pleased with it.  Monroe supervisor Anthony Cardone has offered to speak with the Village about the program and it was agreed that they would reach out to him.  Town Councilwoman Michele Lindsay noted that the Town of Tuxedo had also met with NY CLASS back in February and spoken with Supervisor Cardone and were planning to pursue the program.  While everyone agreed that it sounded like a viable opportunity and solid source of revenue, It was agreed that Trustees Brooke and Scherer would spend some time over the course of the next month looking  further into it and report back at the next Trustees meeting.

Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 1 – Boar and Dock Length (not Permanent Docks:
The public hearing was opened.  Mayor McFadden noted that the Board was in receipt of a letter in support of the law from Sean Madden.  Commenting that he would not be reading the letter aloud, he noted that it would be added to the permanent record and made available in the Village Office for anyone who wanted to view it.  Trustee Brooke then briefly summarized the letter, in which Mr. Madden indicates that he has a 10-foot dock and a 20-foot boat and would like the ability to increase his dock size to 20-feet for safety reasons and to better accommodate his boat.
Jim Hays commented that at the previous meeting the Mayor and Trustees had agreed to create and circulate a survey amongst the residents soliciting thoughts and opinions on the proposed legislation.  He wondered why this had not happened.
Mayor McFadden responded that they had not had the time to do this yet, but assured Mr. Hays that they would not be voting on it that evening. 
As there were no further comments from the public, the hearing was continued until June 21 at 7pm.

Reports:
Click here to view the DPW Report
With regard to the work completed at the Wee Wah Park, Mayor McFadden added that 10 new flowering trees had been planted on the property and that by seeding the old gravel parking lot, they had created at least 20k more square feet of green space.  Additionally, they are planning to install a new, pre-fab structure near the entry way, primarily for use by Beach Club Management and checkers.  The plans for this were recently approved by the Village BAR.  The annual celebration party scheduled for Saturday May 20, might have to be reschedule for the following day due to the possibility of rain.  Mayor McFadden will keep everyone informed.

Click here to view the Police Report
Mayor McFadden added that he and the Chief had recently pulled together all of the updated materials/information pertaining to laws, creeds, restrictions and regulations and would be distributing these to landscapers at both the Front and Back gates in the coming weeks.
Click here to view the Building Department report.

Public Comments:
Michele Lindsay announced that on the following evening there would be a public presentation at Town Hall focused on plans for improvements to the Downtown/Hamlet area.  The presentation will begin at 7pm and the public can either attend in person or via zoom.

Consent Agenda:
Consent Agenda items were approved unanimously.

Old Business:
Resolve to approve the T.A.B. Construction Plan for the Race Track Nature Preserve -
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the plans, which include the installation of a custom, concrete cover over a large elephant drain on the property, a new, cedar wood handrail at the stone steps near the northern entrance and rustic style cedar gates to replace the rusty metal pole at the Tuxedo Road entrance.  Details, including full descriptions and pictures can be viewed here.  These plans were before the BAR on May 15, where they were warmly received and endorsed. 

New Business:
Levy Unpaid Water and Sewer charges – The Board voted unanimously in favor of levying all unpaid water and sewer charges onto the upcoming tax bills. 

Following the audit of claims, the Board adjourned to an executive session to discuss certain Village employees and legal matters.

BOT May 17, 2023, Regular Meeting from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 17, 2023

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 28, 2023

BOT April 28, 2023, Special Meeting on the Final Budget from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Notice of Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 28, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Friday, April 28 at 11am to discuss the adopted budget and consider suggestions and comments from the public.

The 2023-2024 Budget is can be viewed here

Please send all comments and suggestions on the Budget to Elizabeth Doherty at edoherty@tuxedopark-ny.gov for distribution to the Board. 

 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 19, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, April 19 at 7pm.  Trustees Shaw and Scherer joined the meeting remotely via Zoom.

Mayor’s Comments:
The Village election is coming up in June and Mayor McFadden announced that he, along with Trustees Brooke and Scherer would be re-running.  Commenting that it had been a pleasure serving the community for the past two years, he indicated that they were looking forward to serving for another two and that they hoped they had the support of the community. 
From the audience Jim Hays inquired as to whether or not there was any opposition.
The Mayor responded that he was not aware of any, but would not be surprised by it. 
Trustee Brooke commented that any opposition would need to file their petitions by May 9.  He further indicated that the petitions for himself, Trustee Scherer and Mayor McFadden were in the back of the room and invited anyone who felt so inclined to sign them on their way out of the meeting. 

Public Hearing on the Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year June 1, 2023 – May 31, 2024:
The Public hearing was opened by unanimous resolution.  The Mayor then asked the Board members if they had any comments or questions. 
Trustee Kasker inquired about engineering, wondering whether $270,000 worth of required engineering projects that had been detailed to them in an email from the Engineer the week prior had been included in the budget.
The answer was not yet and this spawned some discussion.  Trustee Shaw indicated that some of the projects listed in the email had been recommended as priority while others had not.  “The big one is going to be the wall up on Summit Road,” she noted further suggesting that she believed the engineering fees alone would be upwards of $50,000.  Further discussion revealed that the BOT anticipates that this project could cost “hundreds of thousands” and that they will need to work with their bond council, accountant and general attorneys to determine the best way of funding the project. 
Reiterating his earlier question, Trustee Kasker noted that the letter they had received indicated that there were $270,000 worth of projects that were required by regulatory agencies on the list and that he wanted to make sure that these were in the budget so that they would not have to go back and make amendments at a later time.
Trustee Shaw responded that she would make sure they were added in.
Generally speaking, Trustee Brooke commented that it looked to him as if the Village had run things extremely well with revenues coming in a little above forecast and expenditures  a little below. 
“Yes, I am very excited about another opportunity to keep taxes low,” responded the Mayor.
Audrey Perry inquired about the sewer charges.  Mayor McFadden explained that by establishing a separate Sewer Department a couple of years back, the Village had been able to ensure fair and equitable cost.  Before that time, sewer charges were spread evenly across the tax base, regardless of whether or not a property actually utilized the system.  Now however, those properties who do not use the sewers are not charged for them.  Mrs. Perry has the benefit of living on one of these properties. 
Jim Hays inquired about the Lake Management and Watershed Studies, noting that the 21/22 budget had allowed for $80,000 and only $30,000 had been spent.  The following year, $90,000 was budgeted, but it appears as though all of this money has been spent.  He asked for clarification.  Mayor McFadden then asked Trustee Shaw whether the Lakes Management budget had been exhausted and Trustee Shaw indicated that it had.  The Mayor then stated that they would be putting in additional funds for Lakes Management but were waiting to hear from the new firm before doing so.  Mr. Hays then inquired about the new firm.   The Mayor explained that current Lake managers  N.E.A.R. had notified the Village that they would no longer be servicing the account due to staffing issues.  They subsequently referred the Village to a new firm where the previous Lakes Manager is now working, and the Village has engaged them.  They are awaiting the contract.  Mayor McFadden noted that as part of the initial negotiation, he had been able to arrange for annual payments as opposed to one larger, lump sum up front as originally requested.  Once engaged, they will be working together with Solitude to determine where milfoil treatment/remediation might be needed. 
Mr. Hays inquired as to whether the money that had been set aside in the previous budget for the storm drain project would be rolled over into the new budget. 
The answer was yes.
The Mayor then recommended that the Board approve the budget with the understanding that there was an outstanding item.
Village Attorney Robert Zitt advised the Board that if this was their intention, they should make a resolution authorizing whatever  change would be necessary  and close the public hearing.  They could then approve the tentative budget.  Any other desired changes can be made after the hearing is closed, but this would require an additional meeting.  The Board has tentatively scheduled a meeting for April 28 and so long as everything is in order with all changes made beforehand, they will be able to adopt the budget at that time. 
The conversation continued.  Board Clerk Elizabeth Doherty had some questions about the contingency line, noting that it was showing as a negative number.  She indicated that this had been done in order to bring the appropriations in line with the revenues.  “The revenues are either too low or the appropriations are too high,” she commented, further suggesting that if they were to remove a Capital Fund contribution, things would level out.  She wondered if this could be done.
The attorney advised that these were things that could be worked out with the Village’s financial professionals after the Public Hearing had been closed.  He reiterated that for procedural purposes, his recommendation was that they close the hearing.  Then, they could take some time to work out the details and schedule another meeting for the end of April at which they could officially adopt the budget.
“We’re not going to be meeting again because we are going to approve the budget tonight,” responded the Mayor.  “I want to make a contingency by resolution now so that we can then approve the budget.”
Trustee Shaw commented that she “could not really wrap her head around” the Appropriated Surplus line and wanted to speak to the accountant about it.
The mayor asked her if she felt it could change significantly and she responded that she did. 
The Attorney reiterated that they could approve the tentative budget that evening and still make changes prior to the May 1 adoption deadline.  The Board was agreeable to this. 
From the audience, Marc Cintron commented that as the budget had only been publicly released late that afternoon, he was requesting that the Village keep the public hearing open so that residents would have sufficient time to review the proposed budget before it is finalized.  “Putting it on the website at 3 or 4 in the afternoon for a 7pm meeting simply does not provide sufficient time for members of the public to review the proposed budget and to ensure that their voices will be heard should they have any questions for you….and I would respectfully request that you keep the public hearing until at least April 28, which is what you indicated you would do in the missive that was sent to the community.”
“Right,” responded the Mayor.  “We have a little bit of a dilemma in that the actual public hearing is required to be closed tonight by calendar.”
The attorney confirmed this.
“So, we are going to close it,” he continued, further indicating that they would take any public comments at any time before the 28 as well as at the meeting itself. 
The hearing was closed.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the tentative budget.
A meeting was then scheduled for Friday, April 28 at 10am. 

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law No. 1, Revising the Lake Laws Related to Dock Size:
Click here to view a copy of the draft law.
Jim Hays asked for an overview of the proposed legislation.
Trustee Brooke explained that Village had been informed by their council that there were 21 local laws that are not reflected in the general code, meaning the laws at written do not match up with the Village Code.  The current law as written does not allow for docks that are longer than 10-feet.  The Board is attempting to codify this by adjusting the allowable length to be the length of owner’s boat plus 6 inches on either end.  Additionally, they would like to adjust the allowable length of boats, raising it from 20 to 25 feet.  Lastly, although it is not in the current draft, they would also like to allow for permanent docks as opposed to requiring removable ones.
“I don’t understand this at all,” stated Mr. Hays.  “I don’t understand why the dock has to be the length of the boat.  Why can’t the boat stick out beyond the end of the dock?”
“Because then you miss your doors on occasion,” Mayor McFadden responded. 
“It’s the judgement of people who have worked on this,” added Trustee Brooke “that a 10-foot dock length is inappropriate for a 20 or a 25-foot boat.  Given that inappropriate contrast, we are allowing dock length to be expanded to the length of the boat plus 6 inches on each end.”
“Why are you increasing the length of the boats?” Mr. Hays asked.
“Because the law is fairly old and doesn’t take into account all the new innovations with electric boats.  Look at what’s out there now!  There are tremendous opportunities for electric boats that are over 20-feet…but some of them are 30-feet, so we thought we should at least cap it.”
“The size of the lake has not changed,” asserted Mr. Hays.  “So, why is it appropriate now to have bigger boats?  It’s a small lake.”
“Well,” retorted the Mayor, “why was it appropriate to limit them to 20-feet?”
“The residents have said that they would like to have larger boats,” added Trustee Brooke. 
“Of course,” responded Mr. Hays, “but that is no reason to do it.  I am concerned that we have a really very small lake and it’s seemingly very beautiful whether you happen to have a pontoon boat or not.  To put larger and larger boats on a very small lake I think is a bad idea.  People have gotten along very well with reasonably small boats.  I see no reason to increase the size of the boats.  The lake would become clogged…and pontoon boats are ugly.  They really are.  I mean, for anybody else who is looking at them. Yes, some of the electric boats that are on the lake are beautiful, but the big, long boats are ugly.  That’s my view.”
“I’m hoping that some of these new alternatives will be taken advantage of.  They are not pontoons.  I would discourage pontoon boats if I had a choice.”
“There are pontoon boats out there that are longer than 20-feet that are grandfathered,” added Trustee Brooke, “because those boats were on the lake before these laws got passed.  There is a curious history.  The lake was not part of the Village when the Village was incorporated.  The lake came in much later.”
Mr. Hays inquired about the construction of the permanent docks, wondering whether they would be stone or cement.
“If you look at almost all the docks on the lake,” responded Trustee Brooke, “they are wood.”
“And they are all subject to the B.A.R.,” added the Mayor.
Mr. Hays replied that the wooden docks were removed seasonally because the ice would take them out if they didn’t. 
“Not if they have certain types of foundation,” suggested Mayor McFadden. 
“The only really removable docks are The Clubs’ docks,” stated Trustee Brooke, “and that was put in by a law that permitted many boats to be put in together.”
“and the Village Boat Club,” interjected the Mayor.
Mr. Hays wondered whether the Club would now be allowed to have permanent docks. 
The answer was yes.
“You are making a big modification to the shoreline,” cautioned Mr. Hays, “if you install concrete piers into the lake….and this is what you are proposing to do.”
The Mayor responded that this was something that would be discussed at a later date and that the construction of permanent docks was not included in this particular local law. 
Concluding that Mr. Hays did not want to increase the size of permissible docks or boats on Tuxedo Lake, Trustee Brooke attempted to move the conversation along.
Mr. Hays reiterated his concern over what he considered to be a major modification to the shoreline of the lake.
“It is not a major modification because many of the docks out there now are stone and cement and rock,” asserted Trustee Brooke.
“That’s true, but they are grandfathered,” responded Mr. Hays.  “You are talking about new ones.” 
“We’re talking about the fact that permanent docks may have to have a more stable foundation,” replied Trustee Brooke.  “You have made your concerns known.”
“I am against permanent docks,” commented Jill Swirbul.  “I think it will make too much of a change to the shoreline.”
“I also agree with Jim Hays,” stated Audrey Perry.  “I also think that a permanent dock that is going to be as large as you are talking about really would be an eyesore to the lake.  It’s not that big of a lake.”
Jay Reichgott pointed out that the proposed dock sizes for the Tuxedo Club and Tuxedo Boat Club marinas are limited to their current size. “If the people who are using those docks also want to have larger boats, then it would only seem fair that a similar increase in the size of those docks be permitted.”
The Mayor explained that in 2005 when the Club installed docks without Village approval, there was an issue and ultimately they came to a settlement, which included a provision that they could not expand. 
“Everything has to go to the BAR,” interjected Trustee Brooke.  “If the Club wants more boat spaces, they would have to go through the BAR.”
The Mayor suggested that they should ask both the Village Boat Club and the Tuxedo Club for their thoughts and that further the public hearing should be extended. 
“I think we should hear from all interested stake holders,” stated Trustee Kasker.
“Trustee Brooke keeps talking about projects going before the BAR,” noted Mr. Hays, “but this is a serious matter and the Trustees should set very strict rules about it.  This is not something that should be left up to the BAR.”
“The Trustees approve all docks,” affirmed Mayor McFadden, but he further noted that it was the BAR’s responsibility to approve materials and they had rules in place to regulate that.
Mr. Hays expressed his concern that the BAR did not in fact have rules in place.
In an attempt to summarize and move things forward Trustee Brooke suggested he did not see any controversy over increasing the size of the docks to accommodate boat length.  Rather, the controversy appeared to be over increasing the permissible boat size.
Mr. Hays contested this, noting that he was raising controversy over both.  “You are doing a lot things at this point which will make very major changes in how this lake looks…and there are people that live In the Park that don’t live on the lake.  We care about the lakes as well as those who happen to want bigger docks and bigger boats and all the rest of it…and there are a lot of us…and we all vote.”
Claudio Guazzoni commented that he felt the Board needed to be paying attention to the what Mr. Hays was saying.  He suggested that Trustee Brooke was getting pretty aggressive.  “Trustee Brooke has a property on the lake and obviously he wants a bigger dock and a bigger boat.  Some of us do not have properties on the lake.  We don’t have boathouses….but we do appreciate living in a more rustic environment.  We do not want Tuxedo Lake to become Greenwood Lake.  I take great exception to all the Rodney Dangerfields that I see on the Lake right now.  It’s not what I bought into when I moved here 1997.  Jim Hays should be taken very seriously.”
Marc Citrin agreed with Mr. Hays. He further suggested that the Village consider surveying the residents, similar to the way they did when the Traffic Booth at the Front Gate was reconstructed. “It’s my personal opinion that all the residents of this community, who love this community, should have the chance to weigh in by way of referendum or survey.”  
 The Mayor responded that they would take this into consideration.
Chiu Yin Hempel commented that she agreed with Mr. Hays and all the speakers who had come before her.  “This whole issue about the docks is a very important matter because we are talking about permanent construction at our reservoir.  To the point about the BAR being the approving the authority before the BOT issues a final approval….as far as I know the BAR has no standards at the moment about dock construction on our reservoir.”
Mayor McFadden asked Building Inspector John Ledwith to clarify whether or not the BAR had material requirements for docks.
Mr. Ledwith responded that the BAR had established a list of preferred materials.  These are not published.  Cedar and Mahogany are currently the materials of choice.
Mrs. Hempel noted that it was not only the choice of wood but the chemicals with which the wood was treated and how the concrete platforms were being manufactured and whether they were completely on shore or partially in the lake.  All of these are important factors and she does not feel it is appropriate to designate that the BAR is in control of safety and all these other issues.  The Village needs to ensure that the BAR guidelines address these things.   Boating and construction around the lake is an important issue.  She supports the idea of a community-wide survey. 
There were no further comments from the public.
Trustee Kasker inquired of the attorney whether they might be able to research any current DEC or Army Core of Engineer rules pertaining to the construction of docks on a reservoir.
The attorney responded that as far as he knew there were no state regulations pertaining to docks but they would be happy to look at other municipalities to see what they might be doing. 
“I support continuing the hearing based on the comments we have heard tonight,” stated Mayor McFadden.  “I am not interested in passing something in the dead of night.  I want public input from everybody on all sides.” 
“We definitely need more input,” stated Trustee Scherer, championing the idea of survey.
Following some further discussion, it was agreed that the hearing would be continued until 7pm on May 17.  Mayor McFadden volunteered to draft a survey which he said he would circulate to the Board for their thoughts.

Reports:
Click here to view the DPW Report
Mayor McFadden asked DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss to comment on the recent landscaping work the department had done at the Wee Wah Beach Club property.  Superintendent Voss noted that they had removed several dead trees, and also created a path with woodchips behind the playground area and down by the water.  This path extends towards the DPW facility to a set of newly constructed stone steps, which lead back up to the horseshoe area. 
“For anyone who is concerned about the tree removal,” commented the Mayor, “we did contact Christopher Gow from the tree committee in advance and got approval for all the trees that were taken down…the fact that they were dead.”  He went on to note that the tree committee was also proposing to plant a number of flowering trees at the Wee Wah and they were currently working to coordinate locations.  Once decided, the DPW will retrieve the trees from the nursery and dig the appropriate holes and children from TPS will join the Village in planting them on April 28, which is Arbor Day. 
Click here to view the Police Report
Mayor McFadden noted that this is time of year when people from TPS and The Club are renewing  their gate access registration.  He reminded everyone that if they had been working with a contractor or a domestic who had previously been granted access but was no longer working here, this would be the time to remove them from the access list.  To do this, residents should call Denise in the Village Office.

Click here to view the Construction Report.
Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty announced that on Friday, April 28 the Village would be hosting a paper shredding event at Village Hall.  The event will take place from 12:30 to 1:30pm ( , but residents are welcome to bring their materials to the Village office any time before that and she will see that they are shredded.  Additionally, bulk pick-up in the Village will take place on Saturday, May 13.
Mayor McFadden also noted that people had been asking about renewing their Beach Club memberships.  “We have not formally opened that process up yet,” he stated, but it will be opened up shortly and announcements will be made.

Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board Presentation:
On behalf of the T.A.B., Jill Swirbul requested asked the Board for approval regarding three safety issues they would like to address at the Race Track.  These include:

  • Remediation of an open elephant drain near the Tuxedo Road entrance
  • Installation of a cedar wood handrail at the steps near the East Lake Stable Rd entrance
  • Installation of new, rustic style cedar wood gates at the Tuxedo Road entrance

The full proposal can be viewed here
Mayor McFadden asked whether or not the group had ever considered relocating the main entrance over to the Fox Hill side of the property, which would allow them to both create more parking and close the Tuxedo Road entrance. “We’ve had a couple of accidents there,” he noted further suggesting that having cars parked there was not most aesthetic option.  Mrs. Swirbul responded that she would bring this back to the group for their consideration.  The Mayor then inquired as to whether or not the TAB had been before the B.A.R. with their proposal.  Mrs. Swirbul replied that they had not as of yet and that they were waiting for B.O.T. approval before taking that step.  Mayor McFadden suggested that this was backwards and that they needed to receive B.A.R. approval first.  He further suggested that the B.O.T. would welcome the B.A.R.s input in making these decisions.  Trustee Brooke commented that in his view all of the requests were reasonable and he feels that the Village should move forward with them. 

Climate Smart Task Force Report:
On behalf of the Climate Smart Task Force, Jim Hays reported that the group was working towards developing a climate action plan for Village government.  They have completed an inventory of greenhouse gasses admitted by the Village Government in 2018 and they are currently working on one for the year 2022 so that they can compare.  The State has set ambitious goals for reductions over the next several years and they are attempting to discover whether they are possible to obtain and at what cost.  One of the things they are looking into is the Inflation Reduction Act, which has a lot of money for this kind of thing.  There is a new member on their committee, Jack Perna, who is familiar with this type of grant writing and he has agreed to look further into it.  Mr. Hays will be putting together an annual report on the work of the Task Force, which he will be submitting shortly. 
Public Comments:
Claudio Guazzoni expressed concern about the level of the water in Tuxedo Lake, suggesting that it was 8 to 10 inches low.  He wondered whether they should consider putting a stop log in place to ensure that more water is not lost.  Mayor McFadden responded that he would discuss this with DPW Superintendent Voss the following day and follow up.

Consent Agenda:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda.

Old Business:
Resolve to Annex Parcels from Town of Tuxedo into Village of Tuxedo Park – The resolution was read into the record after which the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving it. 
Resolve to Approve the Establishment of a second “Minimum Sewer Charge” for Residents with Water Wells that will not allow the Village to Install a Water Meter – Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this resolution. 

New Business:
Retain Cooper Arias for Auditing Services for Fiscal Year Ending May 31, 2023 for a fee not to exceed $24,000 – The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with this.
Resolve to Approve Annual Rates for Village Insurance – These have increased slightly and this was briefly discussed.  The proposal was approved unanimously.
Resolve to Approve Climate Action Plan – Audrey Perry had some questions and asked for clarification pertaining to a discussion on renewable energy that took place at a previous meeting.  Following a brief discussion, the plan was unanimously approved. 
Authorize Purchase of Vehicle for Police Department – This was unanimously approved.
Authorize General Code to Proceed with Supplementation and Code Reprint for a fee of $7,960- General Code is the company that maintains the Village Code online.  Since last updated, the Village has past 21 local laws and they now need to be incorporated in.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of proceeding. 
Resolve to Sign NYCOM Letter in Support of a Dedicated Funding Stream for Water and Sewer Systems (SWAP) – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign this letter.
Authorize Westin & Sampson SSES Phase 2 Investigations Proposal- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Phase 2 of the SSES Investigation. 
Discuss State Grants for Critical Water Infrastructure Projects – Governor Hochul has announced 425 million dollars in grants for critical water infrastructure projects state-wide.  The Village voted in favor of authorizing Westin & Sampson to apply for the grants.
Resolve to Re-Proclaim April 28, 2023 as Village of Tuxedo Park Arbor Day- In an attempt to be proficient, the Trustees initially made this proclamation back in October of 2022 , but have since learned that in order to be effective, it must be made within the same calendar year as the event, which is next week.  They voted unanimously in favor.

Following the audit of claims, the Board adjourned into an executive session to discuss certain Village employees, legal matters and utility matters. 

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 19, 2023

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 15, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 15 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer participated remotely via Zoom.

Swearing in of Police Officer Jacob Goldstein:
The meeting began with the swearing in of newly hired Village Police Officer Jacob Goldstein.

Mayor’s Comments: Mayor McFadden expressed his gratitude to the DPW, the Building Department and the Police Department for “an exceptional month” of hard work. 

Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 1, Revising the Lake Laws Related to Dock Size:
The public hearing was opened.  Mayor McFadden listed several items that the Board would like to see incorporated into the draft of the local law they had received from their attorney.  These included: boats can be up to 25 feet, docks can be built one foot longer than the size of the boat, there will be no changes to either the BAR or BZA process for docks or changes to permitted materials. 
Noting that he had something that he wanted to “piggy-back” onto the discussion, the Mayor turned to the topic of swimming in the Wee Wag Lake.  He asked the Board to consider allowing the Long Distance Swim Club run by Sally Sonne to launch their activities at their own risk via the Wee Wah Park.  He added that they expected to have information from both the Village Attorney and Insurance Broker as to whether or not this would be possible at some point in the next month. 
Turning back to the docks, Trustee Brooke commented that he felt they should specify that all docks must be permanent docks, as the craftmanship on these was superior to temporary docks.  He further noted that The Tuxedo Club was the only entity with temporary  docks allowed on Tuxedo Lake and this was solely because they had so many slips.
The public hearing was continued until April 19.

Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 2, A Law Granting Property Tax Exemptions for Firefighters and Ambulance Volunteers:
The public hearing was opened.  There were no comments from the public and so it was promptly closed.  As he is a firefighter who will benefit from the law, Trustee Kasker noted that he would abstain.  The Mayor and remaining trustees then voted in favor of passing the law.

Reports:
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Public Comments:
There were none.

Consent Agenda:
Items in the consent agenda were approved unanimously.
Among these was the annual Fireworks display at the Tuxedo Club, approved for Sunday, July 2 with a rain date of September 2.

Old Business:
There was none.

New Business:
Resolve to Require Residents with Wells to Install a Water Meter for the Purposes of Determining Accurate Utility Rents at Village Expense Under Reasonable Circumstances – There are a group of customers in the Village that use the sewer system, but also have wells.  The Village needs to gauge how much water is being used internally in the houses in order to build a sewer rate properly.  Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of establishing the requirement.
BAR Meeting Schedule Change – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting a BAR meeting schedule change.  Moving forward, the BAR will meet on the first the third Monday of each month at 5:30pm, as needed.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss legal matters, contract and employee matters.

Following the executive session, the Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting a settlement pertaining to a Tax Certiorari litigation. Next they voted unanimously in favor of approving proposed budget transfers conditional upon the final approval by Deputy Mayor  Shaw

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 15, 2023

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 15, 2023

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, February 15 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer was absent.

The meeting began with a report from Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty, who proudly announced that Village resident Sue Heywood had recently been recognized by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus as Orange County’s Citizen of the month.  Mrs. Heywood has made and continues to make countless contributions to the Tuxedo Community through her outreach work at St. Mary’s and the Sloatsburg Food Pantry as well as her work with the Village lakes and  CSLAP program among many other things.  Moving on, Ms. Doherty acknowledged the Tuxedo Bag Project, which is a project that was launched roughly 16 months ago by two young Village residents who attend TPS.  The original goal of the project was to collect 1000 reusable shopping bags to be donated to the Sloatsburg Food Pantry.  Since launching they have collected more than 3000 bags and the program is still going strong.  Collection boxes can be found in the Village Office as well as at St. Mary’s and other various locations around town.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden noted that this is a very busy time for the Board as they are occupied with both Tax Assessments and budgeting.  He recognized the hard work of Denise Spalthoff who has been doing a lot of hard work with the Water Department as well as Elizabeth Doherty who has been extremely helpful recently, especially with the Village Website.

Jeff Domanski Presentation for Residents on the CCA Program:
Jeff Domanski, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Environmental Partnerships and the chosen, local non-profit partner for Joule Community Power (which is the state-approved community choice aggregation program administrator with which the Village and the Town are engaged) provided the Board and the Public with a brief presentation detailing the Community Choice Aggregation program.  This is a program that was enabled in NYS in 2016 that allows communities to join together to form “a buying club” of sorts for the purpose of pursuing new electricity supply choices.  Ultimately, this allows participants to pay competitive, if not better rates for 100% renewable electricity than they would otherwise pay from non-renewable production sources.  Under the program, Orange and Rockland will remain the primary delivery company, meaning that they will continue to handle billing, storm damage repair and customer service related to the delivery of electricity.  The CCA program provides an alternative choice in terms of production supply.  The program  is 100% transparent, locked into for a fixed period of time and participants can opt-out any time they want to.  Joule will put together an RFP seeking rates on 100% renewable electricity and if an acceptable proposal is received, they will proceed, by circulating letters to all eligible customers within the opt-out area over the summer with hopes of launching the live program by late summer/early fall.  An informational session was held at the Tuxedo Park Library on February 9 and it was well attended.  A second session, sponsored by the Community Smart Task Force, will be conducted via Zoom on February 16 followed by another session at the Library on March 4. 
The presentation was followed by a brief Q & A session.  Residents are encouraged to educate themselves on the program by attending a future information session. 

Resolve to Open Continued Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 7, Revising the Lake Laws Related to Dock Size:
The continued public hearing on Draft Local Law No. 7, revising the lake laws related to dock size was opened and immediately continued to March 15, 2023 at 7pm by a unanimous vote of the Board. 

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Chief Conklin reminded residents about the opt-out list for solicitation, encouraging them to sign-up if they wanted to avoid knocks on their door from Jehovah’s Witnesses or anybody else.
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Report
Mayor McFadden noted that Cablevision has been in the Park installing 5G.  He wondered whether there had been any issues.  Audrey Perry commented that representatives had visited their home, essentially parking in their driveway to access the telephone pole.  The proceeded to walk all over their property with wiring, which they left behind.  There was no name or telephone number on their work truck.  When approached by Mr. Perry, the workmen informed him that they did not speak any English.  Out of concern, the Perrys called the Police, who had no idea who the workman were or how they had gotten in the Park.  They also called Mr. Ledwith, who did not have any information.  They are wondering who these workmen were and how they were able to access the Village.
Chief Conklin indicated that Cablevision frequently subcontracted work of this nature out and that he did not believe there had been any risk to security from the workmen.  He further explained that in order to gain entry, they workmen had told the officers on the Gate that they worked with Cablevision and that most of officers spoke enough Spanish to understand what they were saying and where they were from.  He further confirmed that the responding officer had collected Identification from the men. 
The Mayor concluded that the Perrys had a legitimate complaint and that they should take it off-line and speak directly with the Chief.  “We’ll make sure we figure this out,” he stated further requesting that Mr. Ledwith contact Cablevison in order to determine what was going on and how long the work was going to last.

Public Comments:
Audrey Perry commented that she was interested to understand why Trustee Shaw had voted against the 3-year contract for renewable energy at the previous meeting.  Mayor McFadden responded that they had some information to share on this topic.  “It turned out that some of calculations that we were originally working with were not correct,” he stated, “and the savings would not be born out.  We are not pursuing it.  There’s not the savings that we thought there was.”  Mr. Ledwith added that it appears that the rates the Village is currently paying are competitive. 
Claudio Guazzoni noted that he had received a number of emails and that rumors were flying around with regard to item #12 on the agenda concerning granting preliminary approval to connect to Village Sewer.  According to Mr. Guazzoni there are a number of residents who believe that this is a request from Mayor McFadden in an attempt to connect his boathouse to the Village Sewer system. He asked the Mayor if he could refute this rumor.
Mayor McFadden responded that it was not true and that the item did not pertain to him and would be addressed later in the meeting as planned.
On behalf of the Tree Advisory Board, Christopher Gow reported that they had met with Denise Tavani at the Wee Wah Park to determine which trees need to be taken down by the DPW as a result of destruction by Emerald Ash Borers.  Further they discussed the idea of hosting a tree-planting event on Arbor Day (April 28) together with children from TPS to replace the trees and help restore natural shade to the area.  On March 19 they will be co-hosting an event with the Tuxedo Library via the Authors Circle where author Tony Hiss, who will talk about protecting the planet.  Lastly, he inquired as to whether the DPW might be able conduct the annual mowing of the Race Track Nature Preserve while the ground was still frozen, which would make the work much easier to do.  The Mayor responded that he would leave this to John Ledwith and Jeff Voss to work out.
Audrey Perry then inquired about Hickory Hollow and their request to connect to the Village Sewer system.  Mayor McFadden noted that this pertained to the same item that Mr. Guazzoni had referenced earlier.  As discussed during the January meeting, the Village was approached by the owner of that property, who is considering developing the land based on recent rezoning in the Town that allows for commercial use there.  If that happens, the closest sewer would be available from the Village and if agreed upon, those property owners would then become customers of the Village Sewer system.  Mrs. Perry wondered what they were doing there now and the answer was likely a septic system. “Let’s say they were going to put in a strip mall,” explained the Mayor, “ they would have to have a lot more sewer capacity and that would bring new income to the Village.”  “What if it’s not something like that,” inquired Mrs. Perry.  “What if it’s just a religious organization, which we seem to have so much of already and they don’t pay taxes.”  The Mayor responded that this would not be up to the Village but rather the Town to approve.  “They still pay a sewer bill,” indicated Trustee Kasker.  Mrs. Perry expressed concern with the idea of giving approval for the connection before the property has been sold.  Mayor McFadden asserted that they were not granting approval but rather letting him know that he would be welcome to apply and that the application would be granted provided it meets certain conditions.  Trustee Brooke added that the letter indicates that the existing owner would be allowed to connect in but did not grant these permissions to a third party and that were they to transfer the property that transfer would have come before them for approval of the connection.  “We maintain the right to make that tie-in.  This is a preliminary approval to an existing person and it’s a Town property, so they pay nothing to us now,” he added. 

Consent Agenda:
The consent agenda was approved unanimously.

Old Business:
Resolve to Approve a Letter Granting Preliminary Approval to Connect to Village Sewer – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this resolution.  A copy of the letter will be posted to the Village Website.
New Business:
Resolve to Approve Arch Amenities Group/ NYS Pool, Wee Wah Park & Beach Club Lifeguard Management Contract for the 2023 Season – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign this agreement subject to vetting of the agreement by the Village Attorney.
Resolve to Accept Body Worn Camera Grant – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting a $6,000 grant that will allow for the purchase of three body cameras to be worn by the Village’s full-time police officers. 
Resolve to Acknowledge or Approve: Weston & Sampson SSES Change Order No. 5; and Weston & Sampson Summit Road Retaining Wall Reconstruction; Sampson SSES – Proposal for On-Call Consulting Engineering Services – This resolution was unanimously adopted.
Resolve to Award a Contractor for a “Shredding Day 2023 Event” on April 21 – Following a review of three estimates/offers and some subsequent discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with On-Site Confidential at a rate of $600 per 50 boxes of shredded material.
Discuss or Resolve to Pass a Local Law Regarding the Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers Property Tax Exemptions: Trustee Kasker explained that in December of 2022 Governor Hochul passed an opt-in law that allows municipalities to pass their own locals laws to exempt volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers 10% off their property tax assessment.  Following a brief discussion during which some of specifics were further detailed, the Board voted unanimously in favor of both authorizing Board Attorney Brian Nugent to draft a local law and scheduling a public hearing for March 15 at 7pm.
Resolve to Approve Orange County Intermunicipal Agreement: This pertains to land-use applications and the required  County GML review.  This agreement reduces the number of things that will need to be submitted to the County for approval moving forward, listing a number things that will henceforth be considered Local Concern.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the agreement. 

Following approval of the audit of claims and budget transfers, the Board adjourned into an executive session to discuss and employee and legal matter as well as water accounts. 

 

 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 18, 2023

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

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden opened the meeting by wishing everyone a happy New year.

Reports:
A joint public hearing with the Village and the Town of Tuxedo focused on the annexation of two parcels of land into the Village as part of the Special Permit process for Tuxedo Farms has been scheduled.  Village Attorney Brian Nugent explained that the parcels were purchased by Rattle Snake Preserve, owned by Michael Bruno, and that this organization then assumed the responsibility of moving forward with the Annexation.  The hearing will take place on January 23.  The Village and the Town will work together to make a determination as to whether it is in the best interest to annex the parcels.  There will be a 60-day window following the hearing within which time an Order for Annexation will be issued.  Within the original documentation, the Town has indicated that they will support the annexation so there should not be any controversy.  One of the parcels is set to be preserved while there is the potential for residential development on the other, although there is currently no plan for development.  Mayor McFadden inquired as to whether there was a way that the Village and the Town would split the property taxes for the upcoming year.  The answer was yes, there is a process for allotment of any expenses, fees or taxes that will be worked out as part of the order once it moves forward. 
On behalf of the Climate Smart Committee, Jim Hays reported on a program that is being offered by the New York Power Authority to municipalities for electricity.  The committee is in receipt of three estimates from NovaBus outlining three contractual options for energy over varying lengths of time.  Within each option, the Village can choose between fossil fuel supplied energy, 50% renewable energy or 100% renewable energy.  The rates offered range from 41-46%  less than what the Village currently pays.  The program essentially runs in parallel with the Community Choice Aggregation program, which is for residential properties.  If the Village decides to move forward with it, they  earn points which will count towards their certification level as a Climate Smart Community.  This will in turn allow them the opportunity to apply for grants that would not otherwise be open to them.  The committee recommends going with 100% renewable energy for a 3-year term.  Trustee Scherer agreed with this recommendation. 
Click here to view the DPW report
Click here to view the Police Report
Mayor McFadden asked Chief Conklin to report on a recent incident involving ATVs in the Village. He explained that there had been a complaint in December pertaining two noisy ATVs driving past a residence on a Saturday night two times within a two-week period.  The resident identified tire tracks coming from the Fox Hill trail onto Club House Road and reported this to the police.  The Police then followed the tracks, which lead to a house on Stevens Lane in the Town of Tuxedo.  They knocked on the door and the owner indicated that one of the primary reasons he had bought the home there was so he could ride his ATV in the surrounding area.  He had been riding down Fox Hill trail, across Club House and up Pine Hill, where he got on the trails that lead to Sloatsburg.  The police informed him that he was trespassing and that if it happened again, he would be arrested and the ATV impounded.  Subsequently, the Chief has suggested that the Village install boulders on the trail at the Village property line.  There have not been any complains since.  
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Public Comments:
There were none. 

Consent Agenda:
Mayor McFadden announced that the Village was in receipt of emails and/or letters from residents Chiu Yin Hempel, JoAnn Hanson, Jim Hays, Sally Sonne and Elizabeth Cotnoir pertaining to proposed amendments to the current Tree Law as discussed amongst the Boards and at the December Trustees meeting.  Those letters were added to the permanent record by resolution but they were not read aloud.  TPFYI obtained the letters and they can be viewed here:
Sally Sonne 12/23/22 letter to the BOT
Jim Hays 1/5/23 letter to the BOT
Elizabeth Cotnoir 1/5/23 letter to the BOT
Chiu Yin Hempel 1/17/23 letter to the BOT
JoAnn Hanson  1/18/23 letter to the BOT
Tax Grievance Day was scheduled for Tuesday,  February 21 from 5-9pm.
The Board of Assessors meeting was scheduled for Thursday, January 26 at 6pm.
The consent agenda was unanimously approved by the Board.

Old Business:
BAR Openings – Paola Tocci (Chair) replacing the Term of Sheila Tralins; Molly Gonzales to complete term of Josh Aaron; and Stefanie Rinza replacing the term of Christopher Boshears –
The Board voted unanimously in favor of these appointments.  It was agreed that the BAR meeting scheduled for the following evening would either be postponed or cancelled in order to allow the new members time to review the open projects and bring themselves up to speed.
Planning Board Opening – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Matthew Tinari to replace the term of Portia Hinshaw.
Discuss Several Requests by Jeff Domanski Regarding Use of Village Hall and Village Website- Town Board Liaison Michele Lindsay explained that these requests were in conjunction with the community Choice Aggregation initiative, which is now in its’ 90-day community education phase.  Informational sessions for the community have been scheduled in the Town…two  at the Library and another on Zoom.  Because the Village is its own municipality, a similar information meeting must be scheduled within the gates and the pertinent information posted to the Village website.  It was agreed that Trustee Scherer would work with Jim Hays to come up with some possible meeting dates and then follow up with the Board.
Discuss Resolution Encouraging Appointed Boards to Post Minutes and Zoom Recordings to Village Website- Mayor McFadden suggested that he would like to potentially pass a resolution the following month encouraging the appointed boards (Planning Board, BAR, BZA) to take the responsibility of posting all of their minutes online as well as the recorded zoom meetings, all of which must be posted as required by law.  The Mayor further noted that he would be happy to show them how to do it and would work with the Boards on this.

New Business:
Resolve to Approve QuickBooks Consulting Agreement with Fourlane- Following some discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mayor McFadden to sign the contract with Fourlane with the understanding that he would work with them before signing in order to ensure that the village would only be receiving and paying for the services they need and nothing in excess there-of. 
Resolve to approve Savings in Electricity Costs – This Board discussed the NovaBus information as presented earlier in the meeting by Jim Hays.  Mr. Hays and Trustee Scherer recommended moving forward with a 3-year contract for 100% renewable energy.   Trustee Shaw expressed some concern wondering who would negotiate the spread.  She does not understand why the Village would vote for the most expensive option, knowing that they would not actually be receiving 100% renewable energy.  She argued that although the Village might be increasing their chances for receiving grants, there was no guarantee.  “For me, it seems like a subsidy for a lovely idea.  I don’t understand why we would pay more knowing it is not going to be 100% renewable.”  Trustee Scherer pointed out that although there was no guarantee, in his view, going this route would significantly increase the probability of the Village receiving  grant monies that could be used for other projects that they would not otherwise be able to afford.  Jim Hays offered that the difference between going with fossil fuels and 100% renewable energy over the course of 1-year was only $128 on what is annually a $55,000 bill.  “People are not going to notice this,” he said.  “The Village did sign a Climate Smart Pledge in which they said that they were going to reduce their fossil fuel emissions.  Here is an opportunity to do it.  It’s an opportunity to do it that saves money and it seems to me that that’s really the way the Village should go.”  Ultimately, the Board voted in favor of moving forward with the three-year contract as recommended.  Trustee Shaw abstained. 

Other Business:
The South Gate & The Tuxedo Club – The Tuxedo Club recently passed through the South Gate with a trailer and the gate came down on the trailer and broke.  As is the normal practice when the gate is damaged, the Village sent the bill to the Club, but they are refusing to pay it.  The Club asserts that the Village should be responsible for the repair because they are the ones who set the gate to open and close automatically.  Mayor McFadden noted that on numerous occasions the manager of the Club had called the chief directly regarding trailer access via the South Gate and each time the Chief had advised him that the gate closed automatically.  There were a number of entries with no issue however, this time, there was damage.   Ultimately it was agreed that the matter would be discussed further in executive session. 
Resolve to Approve a Letter Granting Preliminary Approval to Hickory Hollow- The owner of Hickory Hallow is looking for a letter from the Board granting permission to connect to the Village Sewer.  The Mayor reported that the Town of Tuxedo has recently re-zoned things where this property is located so that he is now considering “selling the nursery and putting up something…whatever that might be.” He would like to know whether or not he would be able to attach to the Village sewer.  “I’d like to craft a letter which has all the cautions in it…it would have to meet all the permits and final approval by the Board and the attorneys and the engineer etc.” he stated.
Trustee Kasker wondered whether the Town had any requirements for potential development of some sort and how that might affect the sewer. 
“He might sell the land to the Town,” responded the Mayor.  “I don’t know. And with that would go this letter saying that they can attach to our sewer.”
After some further discussion it was agreed that Board Attorney Brian Nugent would take a look at it.
Request Drafting a Local Law That Would Require Contractors to Report to the Village – Mayor McFadden stated that he would like to have the attorney draft a law requiring contractors who work in the Village to be sure that the projects they are working on have the proper permits. 
Trustee Kasker wondered whether this practice was exercised in other municipalities.
Mr. Nugent responded that he was not aware of one.  He suggested that they could put forth requirements that contractors could not work on properties where there is not a valid building permit or there is a Stop Work Order in place. Such a building permit or SWO would have to be posted on site.  Trustee Kasker wondered how such a regulation would be enforced.  This was briefly discussed. It was agreed that imposing a fine on contractors who did not comply would likely deter them from taking on unpermitted work. 

The Board then adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of discussing an employee matter, water charges and legal matters.

BOT January 18, 2023, Regular Meeting from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 21, 2022 

The Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, December 21 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer was late.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden thanked both the DPW and Jay Wicks for installing the Holiday lights.  He has received a lot of positive feedback.  He further wished a Happy Holidays to all Village employees and contractors. On behalf of the entire Board, he expressed best wishes for Happy Holidays to all Village residents.  He then thanked the Trustees for their service, noting that it had been a meaningful and rewarding year.

Resolve to Open the Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 7 of 2022 – Revising the Lake Laws Related to Dock Size:
As the Board does not yet have a written draft of the proposed law, the hearing was continued until February 15 at 7pm.

Board Discussion on the Status of Pending Local Laws:

    • Draft Local Law – Revising the lake laws and zoning code related to dock size
    • Draft Local Law – Filming within Village limits
    • Draft Local Law – Revising the Tree Code for Annual Removal
    • Draft Local Law – Revising the Type of Construction and dollar amount of a project that  can be approved by the Building Inspector without BAR approval

Mayor McFadden stated that he still needed to collect information and feedback from the Trustees on the majority of these and that he would also like to put together something in writing for each that they could put into the public domain before scheduling public hearings.
He recommended that they put off further discussion until early spring.
Speaking to Draft Local Law that pertains to filming the Village, Trustee Brooke commented that he felt it would take a bit longer before they were ready to move forward.  Having done some work on this himself, he laid out a number of potential issues that the Board will have to consider when drafting the law.

Reports:
Click here to view a copy of the Building Report
Click here to view a copy of the Police Report
Click here to view a copy of the DPW Report

Public Comments:
Prior to opening the floor for comment, the Mayor stated that he was aware that an email had been circulated prior to the meeting encouraging residents to attend and state their position concerning the proposed tree and dock size laws as well as the ability for the Building Inspector to make decisions on projects below a certain dollar as opposed to sending all applicants to the BAR.  “Just to save everybody some energy.  There is really no point in taking any comments now.  We don’t have anything in terms of a deliverable or other format to share at this point.  The only thing we have done is send the BAR an outline of the Tree Law as well as the laws related to John Ledwith approving projects under a certain financial amount rather than sending them to the BAR…and we got a reply back from the BAR, which we are happy to publish if anyone wants, but otherwise I don’t really want to spend too much time on something that we don’t even have a draft of.”
BAR Chair Sheila Tralins stated that her comments pertained to “process going forward” and therefore she felt they were still relevant.  Speaking on behalf of the BAR, she requested that that their response to Trustee Brooke’s proposed Tree Law and 100K threshold for BAR approval be posted on the website promptly along with any other related comments received both pro and con.  “Just today I learned that Trustee Brooke sent a lengthy rebuttal to the BAR’s position statement to the Board of Trustees over a month ago, without sending it to the Boards for their response.  Please also post the language of the proposed law well in advance of any public hearing.  Finally, speaking personally, permit me to add that I am philosophically opposed to the changes proposed  and question the basis for them.  While after this meeting I will no longer be the BAR Chair (I will be the former Chair) I encourage all residents, especially the large number of new residents representing the bright future of Tuxedo Park, to get involved and discuss, debate and carefully consider the implications of these new draft laws for the Village.”  She then wished everyone Happy Holidays.
Mayor McFadden responded that there were no draft laws yet and that when there were, they would of course be posted to the website and there would be public hearings.  “I don’t know if I want to post your comments on the website,” he continued.  “Having a debate and arguments on the website might be a turn-off to some potential buyers.  Why don’t I leave your Memo from the BAR here on the counter at the Village Office and also in a PDF format so that anyone who would like one can request it like we do with everything else.”
Ms. Tralins suggested that it would get better distribution and also provide a stronger background for people when the law comes out if it were to be posted on the website. “But, of course, that is at your discretion.  The BAR would recommend that it be posted.” 
Trustee Brooke added that he had provided a draft response to the BAR’s memo to the Trustees 6 or 7 weeks ago.  “As an act of courtesy, I sent her a copy and said ‘feel free to look at it and we’ll deal with it when we look at the proposed regulations in the next month or two.’”
Ms. Tralins commented that she appreciated this courtesy but had received it only late that afternoon in response to her query as to whether or not there had been any response from the Board. 
Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hanson read into the record a letter that had been approved by her entire Board noting that the reason she was doing so was so that the BOT could think about it and reference it if need be when they were drafting the proposed law.  She further noted that in her opinion, neither the BAR nor the Planning Board are today what they were many years ago.  “I think that all the work that Mayor McFadden and the Trustees have done over the years have made all of these Boards substantially more responsive for residents. That said, the Planning Board opposes the recommendation to increase the  amount of money that would send applicants to the Building Inspector rather than the Boards.”  The letter read as follows:

The BAR has prepared and submitted a thoughtful response opposing these suggested changes.   The Planning Board supports the recent BAR comments opposing setting a dollar threshold for applicants that go before the BAR.  Applicants before both Boards are often educated and guided to best practices, which are ultimately beneficial to the applicants.  In addition, the process allows neighbors to be aware of and comment on proposed changes.  As the Village is currently experiencing, it is difficult and expensive to enforce code requirements when residents proceed with renovations without submitting proper plans and conforming to building codes.  From a Planning Board prospective, the presence and maintenance of trees on properties is a key component in maintaining proper drainage of the property itself and the neighboring properties.  Trees also provide privacy and screening between neighbors.  As the Trustees are very much aware, the Lake is the Villages’ drinking water source and minimizing runoff into the Lake is an important environmental consideration.  Both Boards are sensitive to making the process work smoothly for the applicants as the Boards are volunteer, knowledgeable neighbors, working with and on behalf of neighbors. 

Ms. Hanson added that the Planning Board focused on the property rights of applicants but also the legitimate concerns of neighbors, whose property rights are also often impacted.  “I can certainly give you recent instances where if those processes are not worked through in advance, in public, the potential for litigation exists.  I would be happy to address this with you all in an executive session.”
Mayor McFadden suggested that there seemed to be some sort of misunderstanding, which is one of the problems that arises when information is shared before a draft exists.  Trustee Brooke’s suggestions were meant to be internal.  For example, the current tree code allows property owners to cut down 4 trees per year.  One of the suggestions made was that perhaps property owners with larger amounts of land should be allowed to cut more than 4.  “It’s just an idea.  We haven’t confirmed it.  We haven’t put it into law.  It was just an idea thrown out there.  It certainly meets the common sense standard.  We haven’t addressed in any shape or form trees on the lake or lake front properties.  What we proposed was very preliminary and I just want to make sure that everyone understands that.  In terms of John approving things that are under a certain monetary value, that is still be debated too.  We don’t know whether it is going to be monetary value or project type or none of the above. In no way shape or form would we ever give up notifying neighbors.  That’s never been discussed here.” 
“What we are trying to do is user friendly and it will be a Trustee Decision once we formalize the proposed law,” added Trustee Brooke. 
“There’s quite a lot of change that can occur to a property for $100,000,” stated Ms. Hanson.  “I never said that the Village would not notify the neighbors, but what is the process for the neighbors expressing their often very legitimate concerns?  The BAR and the Planning Board work together to come up with appropriate resolutions and I think, as I pointed out, there are some examples whereby if that process did not happen people could end up in litigation.”
Chiu Yin Hempel  stated that she understood that. The Mayor was still collecting information to be discussed with the Trustees and with that in mind she wanted to provide the Board with some background information, which she believes to be highly relevant for their consideration.
“Historical architecture situated in a heavily wooded landscape is what distinguishes Tuxedo Park.  These qualities earn our Villages’ listing on the National Register of Historic Places and they also underpaint our real estate value.  We elect our Trustees to be stewards of these important assets, namely architecture and landscape for now and for future generations.  I have served on the BAR, including as Chair, in the 90s for 6 years.  I’ve learned from my experience that what seems to be the smallest and the cheapest modifications, like changing the color of a historic house or the color of the pebbles on the driveway, to other than the historically appropriate colors can significantly damage the overall aesthetic besides causing big irritation to neighbors.  So, I hope you will consider this point when you think about changes to the BAR jurisdiction among many other cons and maybe some pros.  As for the proposal to sanction more tree removal than what is already taking place legally as well as illegally, please bear in mind that the early residents of Tuxedo Park actually spent hundreds of thousands of dollars between 1886 and the early 1930s to plant trees and shrubs on their properties….and their landscape plan can be found in places like The New York Historical Society.  The rustic aesthetics that we enjoy today were actually created at vast expense.  Why? Because the land that Lorillard inherited had actually been commercially logged.  That’s why some people say ‘oh, we didn’t use to have too many trees.’   No, we didn’t.  The place was logged, and the original residents rebuilt the tree canopy.  So why are we considering laws that would destroy this place that we inherited.  Even if we were to forget for just a minute the damage that excessive tree cutting would do to the environment and to our reservoir, my personal belief…and I hope you will consider this point….is that maintaining what is beautiful, important and perilous is never easy or simple, nor should  it ever be about making the maintenance laws and procedures easy or simple or user friendly at the expense of integrity.”
Mayor McFadden responded by apologizing for whatever rumors might be circulating, adding that nobody on the Board had any intention of deforesting the Park.  “It’s very simple.  We have a Trustee who brought forward to the Board the idea of giving people with larger acreage the ability to cut more than 4 trees a year.  It’s under discussion.  It’s a courtesy to the Trustees who bring up ideas to share them.”
Mrs. Hempel responded by suggesting that while we may not intend to have deforestation, it was happening in some places naturally thanks to emerald ash borers among other things.  However,  human beings are also doing their fair share of the work.
“I can tell you that whenever I have been Mayor,  no one was clear cutting.  I can think of three or four examples where acres were cut.  I wasn’t the Mayor and it will never happen under my watch,” stated Mayor McFadden. 
Jim Hays commented that Mrs. Hempel was correct and that many trees are being cut.  “Regardless of what you say, they are.  I think it is important that if you are going to have any change in the law, to think about how you are going to enforce the law….because enforcing the law is not easy.  Residents can pay a fine if the fine is small.  That doesn’t work.  What will work, and I have suggested this before, is to make it the responsibility  of the tree cutters.  If they cut down more than 4 trees on one property in the Park, they can’t work here.”
The Mayor responded that he felt it was a great idea and he had inquired with the attorney as to whether or not contractors could be held accountable for working on un-permitted projects.
Board Attorney Brian Nugent suggested that there were ways this could be done but that it would only be enforceable with contractors who were actually working at the site. 
This was briefly discussed.
Trustee Kasker asserted that he believed that anybody who is removing trees should be required to have a permit.  “I can’t think of another more disruptive maintenance issue that happens in the Village than three or four trucks coming with woodchippers and cutting down a tree.  I have been blocked in my house a few times from neighbors doing this, which effects two things: me and the ability to leave my house and attend a fire call and if one of those workers gets injured, an ambulance being able to get to them.  I think having a formal process in place where the Building Inspector can evaluate the individual sites and how they will be accessed is an appropriate oversight mechanism.”  He added that he felt this would help enforce the code because there would be general oversight with the possibility of inspection. 

Consent Agenda:
Following some minimal discussion, the Board approved the consent agenda unanimously. 

Old Business:
Resolve to confirm Joint Special Meeting with the Town and Village Boards to Hear the Public Comment on the Annexation of Certain Property into the Village on January 23, 2023 at 7pm- The Village will be holding a joint special meeting with the Town to discuss the Annexation of certain properties into the Village. A tentative date of January 23 has been set.  The meeting will  take place at the Town Hall.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution. 

New Business:
BAR Openings – Mayor McFadden stated that it had been his intention to name some new BAR candidates however prior to the meeting one of the Trustees had requested more time as they had not had the opportunity to speak with any of the candidates.  Therefore, this was tabled until the January meeting. 

The Board then entered into executive session to discuss Water Account, Legal Matters and Employee Matters. 

Post Executive Session:
Following the executive session, Mayor McFadden announced that the Board would be voting on a resolution regarding a settlement between The Maddens and the Village of a lawsuit.  
He further explained that the Agreement includes both a Form of Donation Acknowledgement and a Form of Censure  

“As many of you know, we lost this case and are responsible to pay attorney’s fees.  So, that is what we are going to do.  The Attorney’s fees are $105,000 and the Madden’s have agreed to donate something back to the Village.”  

He then read the Form of Donation Acknowledgement into the record as follows:

“On behalf of the Village of Tuxedo Park, Thank you for your donation of $35,000 to the Village $25,000 of which shall be used for improvements and investments in Wee Wah Park, with the balance to be utilized for other, un-budgeted beautification projects that the Village Board of Trustees at it’s discretion may adopt, which might also include additional amounts for the Wee Wah Park.  No goods or services have been provided to the Village as a consideration of making this gift.  Please note that the Village of Tuxedo Park makes no representations concerning the tax benefits or consequences of such a donation.  Any determinations relating to tax benefits or other consequences must be bade by you or your financial professionals.”

And then the Form of Censure:

The Village of Tuxedo Park hereby formally censures the conduct of former Trustee Claudio Guazzoni as an elected Village Trustee in 2017 that lead the to Village’s violations of the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) as recently determined by a State Court.  In addition, former Trustee Guazzoni in such capacity failed to turn over all Village records in his possession related to his duties as a Village Trustee.  By not providing the level of cooperation and candor as required by him as a Village official under New York Law, former Trustee Guazzoni caused the Village to be unable to comply with FOIL requirements, which resulted in an adverse court decision against the Village.  Consequently, Village Taxpayers incurred significant costs in this matter.  The Board of Trustee hereby calls on former Trustee Guazzoni to recognize the impact of his actions and request that he make a significant donation to the Village for the purposes of beautification efforts undertaken by the Board of Trustees.   

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of accepting the Settlement Agreement and approving the Form of Censure.  

To view the signed agreement click here and here 

 

BOT December 21, 2022, Regular Meeting.mp4 from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 21, 2022 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 16, 2022 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, November 16 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer attended the meeting via Zoom.

Mayor’s Comments: 
After welcoming everyone, Mayor McFadden read into the record a report recently submitted by the Lake Management firm NEAR, which he said he found to be significant.  In addition to some straight forward analytics the report indicated that recent aquatic plant surveys of all three Village lakes found that there is currently no Eurasian Water Milfoil growing in any of these water bodies.  Read a copy of the report here.

Guest Presenter from Community Choice Aggregation:
Representing Joule, a Community Choice Aggregation firm recently contracted by the Town of Tuxedo, Glenn Weinberg presented the Board with a brief overview of the Community Choice Aggregation Initiative.  The program, which stems from a State enabled policy that allows cities and towns to take control of decision making by choosing alternative energy providers, is designed to stabilize energy costs by providing opportunities for the collective purchasing of renewable energy that would  not otherwise be available to individual customers through their normal utility supply.   Joule works as an administrator, representing more than 50 municipalities in New York State, to secure clean, renewable energy contracts at a fixed cost while providing the communities with various protections both contractual as well as through State oversight and expert consulting.   The program is “opt-out” meaning that once adopted it does become the default program for all eligible residential and small business customers, but should they choose not to participate they can freely opt out at any time with no penalty or fee.  There is no cost or obligation to the Village.  Joule does all the work, which includes extensive public outreach and education/communication throughout the Village prior to any decision being made.  They only get paid if there is a contract in place with a supplier at the end of the process and if there is a contract awarded, they are paid by the supplier and not the Village.  Should the Village choose to move forward and work in conjunction with the Town (as well as any other municipality in Orange & Rockland  that is on the same timetable and therefore in the same BID), they will be eligible for an additional volume discount.  Any meter in the Village is eligible to participate.  Those meters that the Village controls that are small and considered “non-demand”, such as the Village Office, would be automatically included while larger meters like the DPW garage would have to opt-in. 
Following the presentation, Mayor McFadden indicated that the Board would be voting on the proposed agreement when they reached the New Business section of the agenda. 

Reports:
Click here to read the Police Report
Click here to read the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building &Construction, Communications and Climate Smart Committee Reports.

Public Comments:
Jim Hays commented that because of the recent energy inventory that was completed, if the Village decided to go with Community Choice Aggregation, they would see an immediate savings of 16% of greenhouse gas emissions.  While 16% might not seem like a lot, when considering all of things that need to be done, he feels that would be a big step forward.
Michele Lindsay added that the Town had begun the outreach process on November 1 and that there had been a public presentation the previous Monday evening at their regular bi-monthly meeting. 

Consent Agenda:
Following minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda.

Old Business:
Discuss Expiring Sterling Garbage Contract – The Village is currently on a month-to-month plan with Sterling Carting.  Mayor McFadden believes that it would be beneficial for the Village to put the contract out to bid to see if they can procure a better rate.  It was unanimously agreed that this would be done.

New Business:
Discuss Village Code Ch 51 Films and Movie Making – The Board has been looking at an analysis of the code as it pertains to filming in the Village.  The Mayor has found an existing law in California that he likes and has circulated it to the Trustees for their review.  Board Attorney Brian Nugent noted that while the framework was good,  the law as circulated pertained to a much larger community where filming was more of a normal practice and that it would need to be tweaked and tailored to the Village.  Following a brief discussion, it was agreed that Mr. Nugent would draft something for the Board to consider.
Sonne Offer Regarding Stonewall Repair on Turtle Point Road – There is a Village owned stonewall located on Turtle Point Road that is in need of repointing and repair.  Sally Sonne has offered to make the repairs and have the Village reimburse her for the expense.  The Mayor feels that this is not necessary and that the project can be kept “in house,” even if this means temporarily bringing on a stone mason in the spring to complete the work.  It is not an emergency situation and at this point the work would improve the aesthetics while preventing future damage.  Ultimately, it was agreed that this decision would be tabled, possibly until the spring, to allow the Trustees and the Building Inspector a change to examine and consider the situation. 
Re-Levy Unpaid Village Taxes – After minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of re-levying unpaid Village taxes. 
Community Choice Aggregation – The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with the contract as presented by Joule, subject to review by the Village Attorney. 
 

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss legal matters.

BOT November 16, 2022, Regular Meeting from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 16, 2022 

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 4, 2022 

Of note, the board voted to continue litigation with Genesis (116 Tower Hill Road), continue settlement talks on the Madden Litigation, and settled the Tuxedo Club tax certiorari case.

 

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Agenda For Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 4, 2022 

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Please be advised that there will be a Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park at the Village Hall to enter into an Executive Session to discuss legal matters.

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 19, 2022 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Comments:
There were none.

Resolve to Postpone the Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 7 – Revising the Lake Laws Related to Dock Size to December 21, 2022 at 7pm:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of postponing the public hearing on Draft Local Law #7, revisiting the lake laws related to dock size, to December 21, 2022.

Resolve to Continue the Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 6 of 2022 – Streets and Sidewalks (Utility Poles):
The Board voted unanimously in favor of continuing the hearing.  There were no comments from either Public or the Board so the hearing was closed. 

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report for the month of September.
At Mayor McFadden’s request, Trustee Scherer reported that the previous weekend he had arranged to bring in some electric vehicles called Arcimotos for the Club, the Police Department, the Mayor and various other residents to test drive.  In the interest of full disclosure, Trustee Scherer noted that he sat on the Arcimoto Board and was also an investor in the company.  He feels that one particular vehicle known as the “Rapid responder” could fit with the Village’s community policing policies and might also be an “interesting, little three-wheeled car for Tuxedo Residents.”
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Trustee Kasker reported that the Board had been asked  by Michele Lindsay, Village Resident and Deputy Supervisor of the Town, to inform residents that the Town Board would be conducting two meetings on Thursday, October 20.  The first will take place at 5pm and will consist of a client/attorney meeting in executive session.  The second will be a public meeting at 7pm at which the School Board, the Town Board and representatives of the Related Companies will discuss the issues recently raised by the School District.  Public comments will not be allowed and the Board will not be voting on anything.
Mayor McFadden commented that he felt that what was currently being proposed raised legitimate concerns in terms of tax implications.  He has been in touch with both Supervisor Ken English and Deputy Mayor Michele Lindsay as well as the Superintendent of Schools, Jeff White.  He is looking forward to learning what resolutions the Town is coming to and will report back as soon as he has more information.

Mayor McFadden then drew attention to one report and one announcement, both of which were recently posted the Village website.  The first of these was a report from the Race Track Committee focused primarily on the increase of bluebirds at the track thanks to the donation and installation of Bluebird Boxes by Resident Jake Matthews.  The report can be read here.
The second was the request for/announcement of a volunteer garbage pick-up.  The Mayor noted that he would be making an announcement about this in the near future but in the meantime, information can be found here.

Public Comments:
Audrey Perry noted that she had benefited from a great conversation with Trustee Scherer regarding the Villages’ energy conservation plans and efforts following the last Board meeting.
On behalf of the Tree advisory Board, Christopher Gow thanked the Mayor for his recent e-mail, outlining various ways to mitigate the costs of removing trees which have been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer.  He noted that unfortunately there are no current DEC programs to financially assist landowners, but there may be some coming up in 2023.  Generally, these programs focus on the replacement and planting of trees.  Luckily, the TAB is in receipt of a $1000 grant from Tree City USA to help with the planting effort.  “This will set us in good stead if we are eligible for a grant to help us with the tree removal.” One suggestion that the committee is offering for helping to reduce expenses is for the Village to consider an in-house arborist.  Mr. Gow suggested that if the Village were looking to hire at the DPW, perhaps they should consider looking for a certified arborist.  He added that if this person were to also have experience with parks and recreation, they might be very helpful with the Wee Wah Beach Club property and the removal of invasives. 
Mayor McFadden asked Mr. Gow whether he had any idea, generally speaking, how many ash trees there were Village-wide and of these, how many were a part of private residences.
Mr. Gow responded that they had not done an inventory but it was likely somewhere between 8-10% of all trees.  That being said, not all of these need to be removed.  “The only ones that need to be taken down are those that pose a danger to people and property.  If you have a forest  and there are dead ash trees in there….a dead tree is almost as good as a live tree!  It’s called a stag and it provides food and habitat for the wildlife.”

Consent Agenda:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda as presented. 

Old Business:
Resolve to Approve Draft Local Law #6 – Streets and Sidewalks (Utility Poles) – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving Draft Local Law #6.
Resolve to Approve Post-Issuance Compliance Policies (Modification of Resolution Passed on September 21, 2022) – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving post-issuance compliance policies as presented.  This is related to bonding and is  a modification to a resolution they passed at the September Board meeting. 

New Business:
Discuss Waste Removal Contract – Mayor McFadden noted that the Board was in receipt of an email from Sally Sonne containing questions and suggestions related to the current contract.  He recommended that they table the discussion until all Board members had had a chance to review this email and consider the suggestions therein.  The Board was in agreement and the discussion was tabled until the November meeting.

The Board then entered into an executive session to discuss a proposed legal settlement with the Tuxedo Club over a property tax lawsuit against the Village.

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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 19, 2022 

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Notice of Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 19, 2022 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 21, 2022 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, September 21 at 7pm.  Deputy Mayor Shaw was absent and Trustee Scherer attended via zoom.

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law #6 of 2022 – Streets and Sidewalks (utility poles):
Mayor McFadden opened the public hearing and called for questions from the Board.  There were none.  There were no comments from the public either.   Trustee Kasker suggested that there needed to be a procedure that would grant  emergency vehicles access through road closures.  The Board was in agreement.  After a brief discussion and some minor proposed tweaking, the Board voted unanimously in favor of continuing the public hearing to October 17.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden asked Board Attorney Brian Nugent to provide a brief overview of  a recent update from the State Governor regarding meeting regulations.  Mr. Nugent subsequently explained that as of September 13, the executive order that had allowed for remote meetings during Covid had been discontinued and that the new open meeting law (enacted back in May or June) had gone into effect.  There are a number of marked differences between the new open meetings law and the old one, primarily pertaining to remote participation of the Board members, but before the Village can move forward with it,  they will have to pass a local law.  The new law dictates that at least three Board members (a quorum) must attend meetings from a location accessible to the Public.  Remote attendance will be permitted for emergency reasons only.  The Board will have the ability to determine what these reasons are when passing the new local law (business trips will count) however, while Board members attending remotely will have the ability to actively participate in meeting discussions, they will not be permitted to vote.  Once in place, the law will apply to all of the Village Boards.   Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of setting a public hearing for Local Law #7, a local law authorizing meetings via video conference, for October 17.
Changing the subject to Wee Wah Park, Mayor McFadden stated that they believed it had been a successful season for the Beach and they looked forward to doing it again next year.
Lastly, the Mayor thanked Chief of Police Dave Conklin and DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss as well as John Ledwith in the Village Office for “holding down the fort” and helping to manage things recently while both he and Deputy Mayor Shaw were out of Town. 

Reports:
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report

Additionally, John Ledwith reported having met with O & R with regarding to updating the Village street lights.  He learned that the Village is eligible to apply to have the lights updated free of charge.  If approved, O & R would then pay for the fixtures and installation as well as associated maintenance costs.  It was agreed that the Village would apply but if they could not find a light color which they deemed to be acceptable, they would “pull the plug.”

Christopher Gow reported on behalf of the Tree Advisory Board.  That report can be viewed here.
There was some debate over the Committee’s request to utilize the DPW for some annual maintenance as well as the installation of stone benches.  Mayor McFadden asserted that the DPW was funded by the taxpayers and that they were currently shorthanded  he had some questions with regard to whether or not they should be doing work for a 501-3c.  Mr. Gow responded that the TAB was not a 501-3c.  He further pointed out that the Race Track Nature Preserve was Village owned property, frequented by all residents, and that utilizing the DPW resource here would be the same as utilizing it at the Wee Wah Park.  The Mayor acknowledged this and stated that they would continue to discuss it.

Public Comments:
With regard to Local Law #5 of 2022, which pertains to the Community Choice Aggregation Program, Audrey Perry inquired about the associated costs.  She wondered whether the Board favored the United States becoming an energy dependent Nation.  Mayor McFadden responded that the Board had appointed a committee, which is working in conjunction with the Town on Community Choice Aggregation.  He suggested that Mrs. Perry bring her questions to them.  Trustee Scherer added that he and Jim Hays had done quite a bit of work on this and although he did not feel the information was quite ready to be brought forward in the public domain, he would be happy to have a. Side-bar discussion with Mrs. Perry.  Mrs. Perry responded by reiterating her question with regard to the USA becoming and energy dependent nation, wanting to know whether the Mayor supported purchasing energy from foreign countries.  Trustee Scherer interjected that he did not feel it was clear that the energy being used in the Village actually came from foreign countries. ”Most of our power generation in New York State actually comes from renewables in the form of hydro-electric (a small percentage) or natural gas….and last time I checked, we are not importing natural gas into this country,” he noted.  Following some further discussion, it was agreed that Trustee Scherer and Mrs. Perry would schedule a time to talk off line.
Chui Yin Hempel commented that the Race Track Nature Preserve was a community facility built on Village land and not a private club. 
“I understand all of that and will discuss it with the Board,” interrupted the Mayor.  “I know you agree with Chris.  I am sure you are going to make great points about how it’s a community space.  We are shorthanded.  That’s the reason.  We have three workers instead of five.  My hope was, in this case, if you guys wanted to chip in, it would be beneficial.  One hand washed the other.  We’ve been doing this for you for five or six years.  If you did it once, would it kill you?  I don’t know, but I get it.  We’ll discuss it and we’ll get back to you.  Fair enough.”
Chui Yin responded by stating that she just wanted to make it clear that all donations received for the Race Track were made to the Village of Tuxedo Park and not to any 501-3c.
“Correct, but they are only to be spent on that project,” replied the Mayor.  “It’s a closed fund.”  Mrs. Hempel agreed with this noting that the funds were to spent on building and maintaining the meadow, which requires specialist knowledge and expertise.  “We had always thought that for the more mundane, day-to-day work that the DPW could help out.  We are not asking them to do very much.  We understand that the DPW is short staffed.  We are not asking for the work to be done now.  We are asking to be fitted into their schedule when possible.  That’s all we are asking,” she stated before adding that she felt that they would be able to work out the manpower situation in a way that would benefit the entire community. “I am the Trustee Liaison for this committee,” stated Mayor McFadden. “However, I will defer to Jeff and John on this topic because I don’t feel like locking heads over something like this.  I will defer to them to set the schedule and if they feel they can do it, they will schedule it for you.”
Noting that he was a fan of dark skies and star gazing with his children, Claudio Guazzoni wondered whether the Village had ever explored the idea of eliminating the street lights at night.  “I mean, are they really useful?” he pondered.
Mayor McFadden inquired of Mr. Guazzoni whether this idea had been explored while he was working on the Dark Sky Initiative for the Village several years prior.  “Yeah, we looked at it but unfortunately the former Mayor was a big fan of Upper Saddle River.  More light was better than less light,” he replied.  Mayor McFadden responded that in all probability there were some residents who favored streetlights while others might not.  He suggested that perhaps they could do a survey to explore the idea further.  Trustee Kasker commented that he felt it should be looked at strictly from a safety perspective.  “In the summertime when it is light until 8:30 or 9 at night, probably not as important. At 5pm, when kids and people are still out walking, I think street lights are a must.  That is my off-the-cuff response.”   Mr. Guazzoni suggested that the lights could be put on a timer.  Trustee Kasker inquired of the Chief and DPW Superintendent as to whether they had received any complaints from residents concerning the brightness of the streetlights.  The Chief responded that in the past, they had. 
Mayor McFadden noted that these were all strong points and that the solution lay with some sort of compromise.  He further suggested that John Ledwith and Jim Hays would work through it with O & R and that Mr. Guazzoni was welcome to contact them to follow up on the progress. 
Trustee Brooke suggested that moving forward if there were residents that had proposals such as this that they should draft them up and submit for BOT review as opposed to bringing them forward during a comment period such as this.  He added that when there were decisions to be made it was much easier to look at documents than it was to consider hypotheticals. Mayor McFadden agreed.
In response to Mrs. Perry’s comments, Jim Hays noted that they would be assembling a committee to work on a 10-year Climate Action Plan.  They have completed an inventory of emissions and are hopeful that this will be used to explore various areas where emissions can be reduced moving forward.
Michele Shenker inquired as to whether the Village was still planning to do a goose round-up. 
Mayor McFadden responded that this item was not on the current agenda. 

Consent Agenda:
Following some brief discussion, the items on the consent agenda were approved unanimously.

Old Business:
Resolution for New Signage on Club House Road – Based on resident request, the Chief has presented the Board with a request for additional signage on Club House Road.  The request was unanimously approved. 
Resolution Authorizing Mapping of the Village’s Storm Water Piping System- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the mapping.
New Business:
1.Discuss Candidates for Planning Board of Architectural Review Board and 2. Resolution to make an Appointment to the Planning Board with Conditions (Must set Term) – The Village is in receipt of interest from 5 applicants for open seats on the Planning Board and BAR.  Of those 5, only one has been reviewed to date and has been recommended for appointment to the Planning Board by that Boards’ Chair, JoAnn Hanson.  Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Bronwyn Roantree to the Planning Board, with the term limit to be determined.
Resolve Approving Delanner Application for New Driveway with Conditions (BZA, PB or BAR Approval) – The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing for the roadcut as proposed.  The Applicant must now appear before the Boards for project approval.
Sung/Schmitberger Dock Application – The Board is in receipt of a revised application, which meets the Village Code.  They voted unanimously in favor of approving it.  Trustee Brooke raised the issue of dock sizes, alleging that as previously discussed, the Village should allow the dock sizes to align with the sizes of the boats that are permitted on the lake.  This will require a legal change.  He asked that this be added to the next meeting agenda and that further the applicant be informed that it will be discussed and that there is a possibility that they will be permitted to build a larger dock. Everyone was in agreement and the Board voted unanimously in favor of scheduling a public hearing for the new draft local law on October 17.
Halloween – The Mayor noted that he has had a number of requests asking that trick-or-treating be held on a Saturday instead of Halloween night, which is a Monday this year.  Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of formally moving Halloween Celebrations (i.e. trick or treating) to Saturday, October 29 beginning at 5pm.
Resolve to Award Bids for New Cedar Roof for the Lodge and Air Conditioning for the Lodge – The Village has collected four bids for the work on the roof.  At the recommendation of John Ledwith the Board voted unanimously in favor of going with Gonzales Home Professionals for the roof and Northern Plumbing and Heating for the AC. 
Resolve to Approve Option 2 of village Water Pipe Replacement in Tuxedo on Mountain Road –  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving option 2 for Village water pipe replacement on Mountain Road.
Resolve Approving Certain  Post-Issuance Compliance Policies – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving certain post-issuance compliance policies. As per the Mayor, the details are posted online. 
Resolve Approving Adding One Additional Garage Unit to the Village Rental Inventory with Conditions (Rate) –  The Board voted unanimously in favor of adding one additional garage unit, as is, to the Village rental inventory with conditions (rate).
Resolve Authorizing Artist to Paint Inside the Park for a Special Event with Conditions (Locations and Homeowner Approval) – The Plein Air Art festival  has requested permission to choose sites for painters within the Village.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing this with conditions, including site approval by John Ledwith. 
Resolve to Approve New Windsor IT Rate and Terms with Conditions (Legal Review) – This item was tabled until the attorneys have had more time to review it.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss legal matters and a particular Village employee.

BOT September 21, 2022 Regular Meeting.mp4 from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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 Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 21, 2022 

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 Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 17, 2022 

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 Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 20, 2022 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 7pm.  Board member Josh Scherer was absent.

Public Hearing:
The meeting began with a Public hearing on Draft Local Law No. 5 of 2022: Creating a Community Choice Aggregation Program. 
Audrey Perry inquired as to the type of energy that was being addressed by the program.  Noting that the plan referenced solar power, she wondered where this power would come from.
Mayor McFadden explained that responded that approving the Local Law was only the first step in a process and that the Village would not be not committing to moving forward with the initiative by passing the law.  Once passed, they will consider whether or not they wish to move forward and if they do, at that time they will work with a consultant to connect with vendors.  The Town of Tuxedo recently passed a similar law.
Mrs. Perry recollected that at a meeting in January the Mayor had talked about the possibility of  solar fields in the Village.  Mayor McFadden responded that that conversation had been  separate and unrelated to the community choice aggregation effort. 
Michele Lindsay reported  that the Town had  put out an RFP for a Community Choice Aggregation Administrator, which is the next step in the process.  She believes that the Village might be able to “piggyback” onto this effort and avoid the RFP process.  The Town has passed the resolution, just as the Village did, in support of 100% renewable energy sources.  This will earn the municipality points towards their certification effort to become a Climate Smart Community.
There were no further comments from the public.
Trustee Kasker commented that he was happy to move forward with the law as it would provide the Village with the opportunity to explore options for possibly providing better services for its’ residents.  He reiterated that it would not restrict the Village in any way,  meaning they did not have to choose renewable energy if they didn’t want to.  The Village is not committing to anything.
There were no additional comments from the Trustees.
The hearing was then closed.

The hearing was followed by a ceremonial swearing in for Trustees Shaw and Kasker who were both re-elected to their seats for a second term during the recent Village election.

Annual Reorganization Meeting:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving/adopting the annual reorganization agenda, which can be viewed here.

Regular Meeting

Mayor’s Comments:
There were none

Reports and Minutes:
Orange and Rockland – Scott Olszewski of Orange and Rockland provided the Board with a brief presentation outlining Phase 3 of their ongoing project in the Park, which seeks to upgrade the mainline overhead distribution system and increase reliability.  The project consists of five phases in total.  The goal of phase 3 is to convert Tower Hill Road to 13.2kV.   The work will take place between late August and the end of the year and will ultimately impact East Lake, Tower Hill, Tower Hill Loop, Clubhouse, Circuit and Continental Roads.  A copy of the presentation can be viewed here.
Building Department – Click here to view the Building Department Report.
DPW – Click here to view the DPW Report.
Police – Click here to view the Police Report.
Cell Communications – Mayor McFadden noted that there would be a committee meeting via zoom on Friday, July 22.  Trustee Shaw has taken over the role of Board Liaison for this committee.
Wee Wah Park & Beach Club – Mayor McFadden reported that they had received a record number of memberships and donations however they are subject to the same lifeguard shortages as the rest of the company and this has impacted the beach.  As a result of the shortage, the Governor has lowered the required age for lifeguards to 15 and the Club has presented several candidates for training to management company.
Water – Click here to view the water report
Green House Gas Emissions Report – Click here to view this report, prepared by Jim Hays and Charles Neuhauser.

Public Comments on Agenda Items:
In light of the Community Choice Aggregation initiative, Audrey Perry inquired as to whether or not the Village was still considering the idea of solar farms and/or scouting possible locations for these.   The Mayor responded that this task had been taken on by the Climate Smart Task Force/Energy Committee under the Direction of Jim Hays, with Trustee Scherer as the Board Liaison.  He believes they are looking at it but they have not yet reported as to whether the idea is a practical one for the Village and if so where an ideal location might be. 
Christopher Gow read into the record two letters, written by Village residents Jim Hays and Chiu Yin Hempel, which expressed concern over the alleged, clear cutting /removal of more trees than had been approved by the BAR and BZA along Tuxedo Lake at 194 East Lake Road, otherwise known as Sunnymeade.   Both letters recognized the extensive review that the application underwent before the two Boards and identified the excessive tree cutting as a blatant violation of not only what had been agreed to by the applicant but also the Village code.  In their view, this sets a highly regrettable precedent.  Both letters urged the Trustees not to retrospectively approve the tree cutting but rather to take some sort of action to send a message to the both the applicant and community that such violations of the code were not permitted and would come with consequences. 
Lili Neuhauser inquired about the specifics of the proposed culling of Canadian Geese.  Mayor McFadden stated that the DEC permit, along with a safety & implementation  plan prepared by the Chief of Police and a letter of support from the Wee Wah Park and Beach Club could all be found on the Village website.  He further noted that the Board had also received a letter of support from the Lakes Management firm and that this would be posted to website as well.  He invited Mrs. Neuhauser to ask any additional questions that she might have later in the meeting when the Trustees would be considering  a resolution  to authorizie the culling.
Identifying himself as the Chair of the Tree Advisory Board, Christopher Gow expressed his concern with the removal of 12 trees on the Sunnymeade property when only 4 had been approved by the BAR and BZA for removal.  He further noted that cutting down too many trees on the boarder of the lake would increase the nutrient load, which would lead to an increase of blue green algae and this is a big problem.  “If we keep on allowing an excessive number of trees to be cut down around the lake,” he cautioned, “we might as well have a motion to vote to change the name of our reservoir to Tox-edo Lake.”
“You’re saying ‘we,’” noted Trustee Brooke.  “Who are you speaking for, yourself or a group?”
Mr. Gow responded that he was speaking in general terms.
“but there is no ‘we,’” replied Trustee Brooke.  “You are using ‘we’ collectively and you are speaking as an individual.”
“I am speaking as the Chair of the Tree Advisory Board,” responded Mr. Gow, “and the situation with this Sunnymeade proposal…with the BAR and the BZA…we all agreed on 4 trees instead of 12 Oak trees to be removed.  The property has been clear cut!  That is the issue and it’s a problem that will only increase the nutrient load in the lake….and that’s alarming.  You as a Board of Trustees need to recognize that something needs to be done when something is agreed on and then it’s violated.  So, I will change that from ‘we’ to ‘yourselves’ respectfully.”
“We rely on Stop Work Orders and the Justice Court,” replied Mayor McFadden. 
Jake Lindsay, Chair of the BZA,  also expressed his concern with the tree removal at Sunnymeade.  “It is a little frustrating to go through the entire process and then have it be disregarded,” he stated.  He suggested that in reviewing the pictures submitted by Mrs. Hempel, which depict the property both before and after the trees were cut, it was clear that there had been clear cutting along the bottom of the slope near the edge of the lake.  “Why should we even bother to bring somebody before the BZA if it is totally going to be ignored,” he wondered.  It’s very frustrating.”
“I think they came to you for zoning issues, right?” replied Mayor McFadden.
Mr. Lindsay concurred but added that part of the zoning issues pertained to the construction of a patio within 100 feet of the lake and that tree preservation and landscaping as a part of that overall project had been discussed at some length. “After we approved it, the application went back to the BAR and everything was resolved,” he added,  “but obviously everything was totally ignored.”
“I don’t see how the Board carrying out its’ responsibility to approve tree removal, which is in the code, is discounting your Board or any Board,” commented the Mayor.
“The project approval was based on how many trees were to remain,” stated Mr. Lindsay.
“My understanding,” stated Mayor McFadden,  “is that the original application had 14 trees removed and the current one has 4…and they are also planting more than 4 trees…is that correct?”
Mr. Lindsay responded that he was not sure what the final approval from the BAR had dictated.
Mayor McFadden then asked the same question of Christopher Gow, who serves as a member of the BAR and he confirmed that it had been agreed that only 4 trees would be removed while several new trees would be planted and a riparian buffer installed along the lakes’ edge. 
“Is that something you would normally request of an applicant removing trees?” asked the Mayor.
The answer was yes. 
 “So, there’s nothing abnormal here?” the Mayor querried.
“It’s very abnormal,” began Mr. Gow.
“No, I understand that you are claiming that they cut down more trees than they were allowed,” interrupted Mayor McFadden.   “I understand that.  But in terms of our reviewing that tonight, how does that undermine your Board?  This is what we are required to do by law.  We respect your decision.   It’s kicked up to us.  I think it has been clearly stated.  We are doing our duty.  We are going to discuss this application and give our approval or not to them moving forward and that is our responsibility.  I don’t understand why you and Jake think that is undermining your Board and your decision.”
Mr. Lindsay responded that they just wanted to ensure that the decisions rendered by both the BAR and BZA were taken into account when the Trustees were
considering their approval or denial.
The Mayor assured him that they would.
Trustee Brooke inquired as to how many of the trees had been greater than 8 inches in diameter. 
Mr. Gow responded that some of them had been quite significant…perhaps 17 inches in diameter.
“That’s not my question,” replied Trustee Brooke. 
Mr. Gow replied that he did not have the specific number at hand. 
Mr. Lindsay noted that if one were to take the time to take a look at the project drawings, the size and caliber of all the trees was clearly noted. 
Changing topics, Marc Citrin stated that he wanted to comment on the “proposed slaughter” of the Canadian Geese.  “I find it ironic that a Village that so values historic preservation and environmental conservation, whether it’s the lakes or the trees, would so cavalierly move forward with a proposed slaughter of who knows how many geese (it’s not indicated in any of the notes that I have seen how many would be killed) without considering what alternatives might be available.  It really distresses me in light of the history of the culling of the deer.  I was not here at the time.  Perhaps that was done because they were eating vegetation and people were upset about that… but murdering wildlife because they poop on people’s property or in other areas seems to me to be extreme without considering other possibilities to remediate the situation.”  He went on to lay out some questions he had pertaining to the proposed safety and implementation plan.  Specifically, he asked for confirmation that there would be no lead shot used, as the lead could then end up in the lake and contaminate the waters. 
Mayor McFadden confirmed that lead shot would not be used.
Next Mr. Citrin wanted to know how many geese would be slaughtered and how this number would be determined. 
Mayor McFadden replied that he would be happy to address these questions when the Board was discussing the resolution later in the meeting and that Mr. Citrin would also be invited to bring forward any additional questions he might have at that time. 
Sue Heywood expressed concern with both the tree removal at Sunnymeade and the proposed culling of the geese.  Turning to the trees first, she noted that she had looked back at both BAR meetings and it had been clearly agreed by the landscaper that the 12 trees would not be cut down and that they would only be removing 4.  She further suggested that the pictures clearly showed where each tree was located and what type of tree it was.  “You can look at it now and judge exactly how many trees were removed,” she stated.   “And they were removed illegally after an agreement.”  Moving onto the issue of the geese, she stated that she was in agreement with Marc Citrin.  “I’m very very concerned,” she said.  “The idea of people having guns on the edge of the lake on private properties and shooting whatever they fancy shooting is appalling.”
Mayor McFadden asked Mrs. Heywood whether she had read the safety and implementation plan and she responded that she had.
“It’s just not correct to state that there will be people shooting on the edge of their property,” he said.  Mrs. Heywood asserted that the plan suggested that these residents would be able to apply for permits. 
“That’s only one option that’s listed” responded the Mayor. 
“I still think it’s immensely cruel,” stated Mrs. Heywood. “Put up big riparian buffers and stop them from landing on these properties.  We don’t have that many. We really don’t!  The worst place is the Tuxedo Club because it’s clear.  They took away the hedging that used to be there.  Now the geese can fly in and land there and they do.”
The Mayor informed Mrs. Heywood that these things would be addressed later in the meeting when the resolution was being discussed and that she would be welcome to make additional comments at that time.
Elizabeth Cotnoir stated that she also had comments to make about both issues as well, but that she would be happy to withhold them until after the Board had formally discussed the resolution so long as she would be provided with an opportunity to speak at that time.

Consent Agenda:
Mayor McFadden added the resignation of a part-time Police Officer Gonzales to the consent agenda as letter I.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda. 

Old Business:
Resolution approving up to 10 additional hours for Desiree Hickey to invoice applicants before the BAR, PB, and BZA for architectural or engineering consulting services – The Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution.

New Business:
Resolution to approve Draft Local Law No. 5 – Creating a Community Choice Aggregation Program – This resolution was unanimously approved.
Resolution authorizing the implementation of the NYDEC Nuisance Canada Geese Culling Permit – Mayor McFadden opened the discussion by indicating that the driving force behind the culling initiative was the DEC and their concern for health hazards created by the geese.  Over the year as the climate becomes warmer, the geese don’t migrate as much and become more sedentary. 
“Because of the health hazards,” he stated “the DEC has recognized that geese should be culled.  It’s very similar to what happened with the deer,” he added.  “The DEC managed that.”  He went on to outline the problems associated with the “nuisance Canada Geese” as put forth by the DEC including: overgrazed lawns, accumulations of droppings and feathers on play areas and walkways, nutrient loading to ponds and public health concerns at beaches and on public water supplies.  Based on these concerns, according to the Mayor, the DEC is trying to reduce the number of geese.  “We have a beach and every morning it is covered with goose poop, which moves into the sand.  It’s where E coli forms and kids play on it all the time and that is specifically cited by the DEC as a health concern.”  The Mayor is also in receipt of a recommendation for goose management from the Village’s Lakes Manager, North East Aquatic Management, a portion of which he read into the record.  He went on to note that there were alternatives to culling such as treating the eggs, dogs and noise among others.  He has considered these.  He has also considered the idea of a riparian boarder as well as fencing around the lake. These are longer term solutions which he believes would require the Trustees to mandate by a local law that lake front property owners to install either a fence or a riparian boarder.  “I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he commented.  “I certainly wouldn’t bring that motion to the table.” He further noted that there were property owners on the lake who had taken these steps successfully rerouting the geese to other properties.  “The Club was mentioned….that’s an extreme problem,” he stated.  “The long-term solution as far as I am concerned,” he continued, “is nudging and suggesting that people put in a riparian boarder and  a fence potentially and culling.  We have an immediate need for culling based on what’s happening at the Wee Wah and what’s happening to our drinking water with all the awful stuff that is being put into the lakes.  I understand how some of the people who typically more environmentally conservative would feel but it must put you in a bit of a hard place because of what the damage is to the water and the potential health hazards for the children who are playing on the beach.  We also have a letter of support from the Wee Wah Beach Committee,” he continued.  Lakes Committee Chair Jim Hays has recommended hiring a biologist in addition to encouraging riparian buffers and fences.  The Mayor told him that he would consider that as part of an “all of the above solution.”  In terms of the culling permit, he noted that the Village currently has somewhere between 100 and 200 geese and that while there is no plan to “take out all of them” the DEC measures success as complete removal.  The way the permit works is that those properties where geese appear were labeled on a tax map and then given permission to cull them on their own if they chose to do so.  As it stands right now, none of these residents have indicated that they plan to cull geese.  At the Mayors’ request, the Chief has put together a safety & implementation plan which requires hunting licenses among other requirements as part of the process.  “As it stands now, the culling will take place between sunrise and 10pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only and whoever is doing it must inform the Village that they intend to cull during that time.  Recreation and boating on the lakes will then be closed on the lakes during that time.  The DEC permit requires cullers to not only account for but also deliver the dead goose carcass.  We are currently looking at a participating food pantry.”
“No one is going to eat a Canada Goose, trust me,” interjected Lili Neuhauser.
“We’re trying,” responded the Mayor.  “I know the Sloatsburg food pantry won’t take them.  Have you checked with others?”
“Have you ever eaten a Canada Goose,” inquired Mrs. Neuhauser. 
“I’ve read that they are tasty, yes,” he responded.  “I have not.”
Mrs. Neugauser suggested that it would depend on the geese were eating but further suggested that they would likely not be tasty.
The Mayor reiterated that they were looking for a food pantry, further indicating that while it may not be on Mrs. Neuhausers’ palate there may be people who would enjoy it.  “It depends on how it is prepared,” he added.  He further indicated that as part of the safety and implementation plan, they had indicated the type of shot that would be permissible, and that the culling could be done by the police, individual property owners or a professional culling company.  They have been exploring the idea of professional culling company.
He then opened the floor for questions.
Mrs. Neuhauser expressed concern with the proposed timeline, suggesting that anyone who was going to participate in the culling would need to be properly trained before doing so, especially considering the close proximity of people to the lake.  She is also concerned about the noise.  “We all know how noise travels on the lake,” she stated.  “We can hear Thunder Mountain at our house and that’s over 2 miles away.  A shot gun is about 155 decibels.  It’s considerable.  I am worried about people who are just not conversive with fire arms hearing this.  No matter what our police do, this is scary stuff.”  She reiterated Mr. Citrins’ point that lead shot should not be used anywhere near the lake and further expressed concern for the neighboring properties wondering whether everyone would be properly informed when it was taking place. 
Mayor McFadden responded that the Village Code requires a 500 foot clearance so that the only way individual property owners would be able to do it was with their neighbors’ permission.  With regard to the noise, he suggested that the shotgun sound would scatter the geese and that if they were afraid of it after 5 rounds had been set off, they might not need to continue.  In addition to shooting, the permit allows the Village to track and destroy the geese.  There are several companies out there who do this by herding geese into a net.
Marc Citrin reiterated his belief that culling was an inhumane way to address the issue.  “It seems to me that even though you have indicated that you personally have researched this matter,” he commented, “that a Village that can spend years trying to figure out whether they want a cell tower placed somewhere within its bounds can essentially decide over night that they want to destroy wildlife.  There is a conflict there that I am not happy with.”
“This has been something that I have been focused on for over 10 years,” retorted Mayor McFadden.  “I don’t know why you would say that it’s over night.”
“I would say that because this is the first time it has been placed on a public agenda,” replied Mr. Citrin.
“I posted the permit two weeks ago on the internet,” countered the Mayor “and I sent out a notice.”
“I think it’s much too fast,” Mr. Citrin replied.  He further indicated that he felt the public should have more time to weigh in and express their views in terms of the alternatives to a slaughter. 
“That’s why we are here tonight…to hear public views,” responded the Mayor.
“Without an expert making a presentation,” asserted Mr. Citrin.

“The expert is the DEC,” stated Mayor McFadden.  “They approved the permit.  They wouldn’t willy nilly give us a permit if they didn’t think it was appropriate.  And, by the way, they know our lakes.  They know that we have a beach and they are very concerned about that.  They

 

recognize that we have drinking reservoirs here and our own lakes manager is supportive.  These things can draw out for years.  The permit only lasts through September 31.”
“There is no September 31,” noted Mr. Citrin.  “I believe it’s August 31.”
“No, it’s September 31,” insisted Mayor McFadden. 
“There is no September 31,” Mr. Citrin repeated. 
“Are you looking at the permit?” demanded the Mayor.  “If it’s August than it is even more critical that we make a decision tonight!”
“That’s right,” countered Mr. Citrin.  “You are rushing this proposal through because there is a deadline.  ‘Time is of the essence’ is not necessarily the appropriate way to handle this type of issue.”
“I am relying on the DEC,” insisted the Mayor.  “They gave me the permit.  We are hearing public opinion today.  There’s a group of people in the Park, respectfully, that of course will be against it and there are others that support it fully.  What we will weigh is how many people are against it and how many people support it in our decision...and that does not require the hiring of an expert of a biologist.  This is a small community.  This is not a big bureaucracy here.  That is one of the things I enjoy about what I’m doing.  The fact is we are not rushing anything.  This would be one part of a solution which could include many other avenues.  Why don’t you judge what we do and not what we say?”
Mr. Citrin noted that he appreciated that point but that the other alternatives had not been fully explored before the public.  “It’s simply you reciting that you have done research and with an issue as significant as this, just as you present experts on other issues to explain what the options are, I believe that the public should have the opportunity to listen to an expert….not a written document from the DEC, and debate the point.  Then, after hearing full discussion, the Board can make a decision on whether this is an appropriate action to take to solve a problem.”
Trustee Brooke noted that historically the Village had culled deer and that as part of that process they had authorized the police to shoot them.  At the time there was significant community disagreement about it and it was quite controversial…so the fact that this is also controversial does not represent a problem to him.  What he finds concerning is the clear health risk that the geese pose.  “I’ve seen a lot of goose shit,” he stated.  “I’ve walked in it.  It’s on my property.  I had a dog and it was not a problem. I no longer have a dog and it is a problem.  From my prospective it is a health problem.  The geese are not an endangered species, especially Canadian Geese.”  He further noted that he had talked to many people about it and was convinced that it was a legitimate problem and something needs to be done.  The authorization of how they do it might require a little more input, but in his view, it is a timeframe that is workable.  “If people want to suggest to us anything about how it should be done in a more humane way if that is the issue, we could look at it and authorize it effective two weeks from today and go from there.  We choose how we implement it.  Is it gonna be nets?  Is it gonna  be guns?  Is it gonna be massive dissemination of birth control pills for geese so that they cannot reproduce?  If people want additional comment I think we should welcome it and we should respect it, but our responsibility as Trustees is to protect the health of the Village and the geese appear to be a public health problem.   Therefore, I am supportive of accepting this permit.”
Citing the analogy Trustee Brooke had made between the deer and geese problems, Christopher Gow suggested that the Village was lucky because there were more options to be entertained with the geese.   
“I don’t think that’s true,” responded Trustee Brooke.  “You were not here for the deer problem.  We arranged for a system where we shooed the deer out of Tuxedo Park.”
“I’m talking about the geese and the options that exist there,” replied Mr. Gow.
Trustee Brooke continued talking about the deer, commenting that the DEC would not allow residents to drive them out of the Park without a hunting permit.”
Again Mr. Gow attempted to point out that he was not talking about the deer.
“Excuse me,” quipped Trustee Brooke, “there were options at that point and those options were considered and we ended up with the clean option.”
“I’m talking about the options for the geese,” reiterated Mr. Gow.
“What are the options,” inquired Mayor McFadden.
“Riparian buffer,” stated Mr. Gow.
“Oh no no,” interjected Trustee Brooke.  “Do you know anything about geese?  I have property…geese fly!  They come down and plop where ever they want.”
“Do you have a riparian buffer,” Mr. Gow inquired.
“No,” he responded. “They climb and I am not going to put in a riparian buffer, so I appreciate your thought.  If you would like to do it in a form, we will consider it…but when I hear your point, my judgement is let’s move forward with the approval of the culling.”
Sue Heywood commented that she didn’t think the problem was as large as the Mayor was making it out to be.  “I mean, I’ve been on the lake so many times this year and we have looked around and we have enjoyed the geese landing.  They’re not that many!  There are other solutions than this cruel, cruel method of getting rid of these geese.  And they will come back!   Others will come back.  It won’t be the end of the geese if you shoot them all.”
Mayor McFadden inquired as to the other methods.
Mrs. Heywood suggested that they could stop them from landing in spots where they did not want them to land by installing riparian buffers.
“How are you going to do that?” inquired Trustee Brooke.
Mrs. Heywood responded that they would need to put something along the edge of the property so that the geese could not land there.
“So you are going to put an electric fence on your lawn so that the geese don’t land on it,” retorted Trustee Brooke. “We have a limited time for a meeting and we have other things to do,” he added.  “I would say that if you want to propose a solution to us, write it in the next week and we will consider it in how we execute the culling issue.”
“It may be too late,” cautioned Mrs. Heywood.
“You’ve got a week to put it together.  We will consider it the following week and if we pass this it will be effective in two weeks.”
Noting that Trustee Brooke lived on the lake, Mrs. Heywood asked him whether he had a problem with the geese.  “I don’t think you do because of all the vegetation on the edge of the lake,” she added.
“Yes, I do,” he stated.
“and how does it affect your life,” she inquired.
“If you walk down there is goose shit that you step on.  You go on the steps, there’s goose shit.  I have kids coming over and they are stepping in it.  Thank you….no!  But that’s irrelevant here.  The issue is that in my capacity as Trustee we are looking at it and we are happy to entertain the question of is it a problem and is there a humane way of dealing with it.  Are you agreeing that there is a problem?  No! Do you believe that there is a more humane way?  Yes! We think there is a problem.  If you would like to suggest a more humane way, provide something for us to consider.”
“I don’t think it is necessary to do at all.  I think they will come back,” she stated.
Elizabeth Cotnoir acknowledged the population issue, noting that the overabundance of geese was a symptom of the environment as a whole being out of balance. That being said, she feels that what is being suggested is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.  She feels that the reasons that have been cited for the culling are the same reasons for either asking for or mandating riparian buffers.  “There’s a lot of objections to that.  People like that clean lawn shot at the lake,” she stated.  “Any land owner who has property…and I have 2 properties on the big lake and 1 property on Wee Wah…it’s your responsibility to do what you need to do to maintain the quality of the water.  It’s not ‘I want this’ or ‘I don’t want that’ or ‘I don’t want to look between the trees, I just want a clear view!’  You need to consider more than your own desires!  I understand the health issues.  They are real.  However, I have a beach on the Wee Wah that was inundated with geese and I put some logs there, some plants, some rocks…and they don’t bother me anymore.  They probably jumped down to the Beach Club because they have a clear shot at the lawns there.  They need 50 feet of landing strip,” she added further listing several options that could be utilized to limit the space.  With regard to the sound, she suggested that people valued the peaceful, quiet atmosphere and that firing guns at 6am was too much to ask.
Meg Vaught observed that the goose poop at the Beach Club had been an issue for as long as she could remember however, historically there had been full-time employees there who cleaned it up on a regular basis as part of their duties and it was never a health hazard.  In fact, the Board of Health used to visit the Beach on a somewhat regular basis and had never made note of the issue that she was aware of.  “I don’t think that the new management at the Wee Wah has hired any full-time employees who would do something like that.  I’m sure we are not asking our DPW to do it.  So, to me it just seems a little unfair to say that we are going to kill these animals because we are no longer willing or able to clear their poop out of the municipal swimming area.”
“The current lifeguards clean the poop every morning,” responded Mayor McFadden, “but the fact of the matter is that it still contaminates the soil from the moisture.  It contains E Coli.”
Mrs. Vaught responded that she believed that this was so, adding that her daughters had worked at the beach for several years in a row and she could report based on their experience that sometimes it needed to be done more than once a day.  She then wanted to know if there was any hard evidence other than the referenced letter from the DEC of the negative impacts that the geese have had on the community. “Has anyone ever gotten E coli from playing on the sand at the beach?  Do we have any samples of water that indicate that goose poop is a source of contamination?  This is something that has been discussed for a long time.  I have sat through meeting after meeting for years and years where the Village has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on water samples just so they could pull weeds!  Now in the span of one day, with the pertinent documents posted to the Village website just this morning, you guys are ready to vote on it and while I understand some of the frustrations people who live on the water face, the main reason that was cited by Trustee Brooke was that people are stepping in shit and this is not a good reason to kill geese.”
“That is not the main reason,” Mayor McFadden stated.  “I have made all of my references to the DEC.  They are experts.  They employ biologists.  They are in charge of this culling program.  They wouldn’t have given us a permit if they didn’t think it was necessary.  They are very familiar with our lakes.  They specifically referenced the beach.  This is about the health of the Village and I understand that some people may be against it but we are responsible for that and I take my cues from the DEC.”  With that the Mayor stated that he would be ending the public discussion.
Trustee Kasker commented that he felt that this manner of culling would be a horrible decision for the reputation of the Village as well as the safety of its’ residents.  He finds it hard to believe that all of a sudden there is a goose problem.  “Ironically the letter today from the Lakes Management Company shows up saying that it’s a problem despite multiple years of reports from that never mentions a goose problem in connection with the health of the lakes.  I have heard multiple people suggest that we have to do this because of our drinking water,” he continued “and yet riparian barriers is something that has been cited by the Lakes Committee and the Tree Advisory Boards for years to help prevent excess nutrients from going into the lake yet we have stern objections to putting them on our lawns.  So now we want to clean up the goose shit but not put in riparian barriers because of the health of the lake, even though riparian barriers will improve the health of the lake.”  He then pointed out that condition number 3 on the permit says that the authorization may not be used to remove geese in areas where they are merely a nuisance.  “Merely a nuisance is poop.  Health of the water is not, which is where I think you are getting permit from.”  He then asked John Ledwith whether or not the drinking water was tested regularly.  The answer was yes.  Next he wanted to know whether there had ever been any type of alert related to goose poop suggesting that there was an issue with the water.  “Not to the best of my knowledge,” Mr. Ledwith replied.
“The Department of Health probably would have come down on us if there were people getting sick from our beach,” stated Trustee Kasker, “and we have no reports of that.  The DEC approved the permit,” he continued, “ but on their website it also says that it recommends taking multiple steps to alleviating problems and that there is no one single solution.  We need a comprehensive plan, not one that involves discharging fire arms in a residential area on a lake.  There are professionals that will do this.  We should hire a professional.  I suggested today that we give a biologist $500 to give us an assessment of the problem and I was told ‘no, we’re not doing that.’  Jim Hays seconded that we should do this.  I think that we should listen to the Chair of the Lakes Committee when he makes a recommendation like that.
“I did listen to it,” interjected Mayor McFadden.
“and then you said ‘no, I’m not doing it,’” noted Trustee Kasker.
“You had already said ‘I’m not voting for this,” recollected the Mayor.
“I didn’t say that,” Trustee Kasker asserted.  “I said I objected without clarity.  We didn’t have a single complaint in writing, we didn’t have a single record of any issue with geese and we were about to vote on something only because at that point the Mayor said it was a problem.”  He further indicated that earlier that day he had spoken to a Village resident at the Beach Club and he had inquired as to whether they had had any problems with the goose poop.  The response was no, and that individual had been frequenting the beach all summer.
“That’s because we have been cleaning it every morning,” stated Mayor McFadden.
“Right,” replied Trustee Kasker “but I was there at 7:30am the morning before and I didn’t see any poop.  I’m not saying that it’s not there.  I’m saying that I haven’t seen it and I think that everyone on the Board, when we make a decision like this, should see the background…the proof…and understand if this is a real problem, especially because it is controversial and people are going to question why we made this decision.”  He went on to express concern about the discharge of firearms.  Questing the validity of the Mayor’s count of the goose population,  he suggested that if 100 geese were to be shot, there could potentially be 100 discharges of firearms on properties around the lakes. Village law clearly states that only birdshot can be used and that it could be difficult to kill the birds this way.  “It can be done,” he cautioned, “but you are going to maim a lot of geese.  We are going to have bigger problems here.  I would like the Board to not rush through this…to discuss other options like the DEC recommends and have a comprehensive plan.”  He further reiterated that this seemed to be a brand new problem which had not been brought up to the current board or anyone for that matter.  There were no formal complaints about geese on file.  He does not feel like they have enough background to make a decision and he believes they should hire a professional to make a recommendation and then consider a solution.
In response, Mayor McFadden stated that there were quite a few people who had formally claimed that the geese were a problem on their property.
Trustee Kasker stated that he had asked for the names of these folks so that he could ask them for details and have a conversation for clarity but he had not been provided with any information.
“I told you,” stated the Mayor, “people don’t want to be associated with it because of blowback from the community of PETA.  And, I told you that you were welcome to contact people yourself although you might run into that same problem.   However, as long as I am Mayor, I am not going to dox people.”
“I am not going to dox people either,” responded Trustee Kasker.
Following some further back and forth, Trustee Brooke suggested that consider tabling the issue until the next meeting.  Over the course of the next month, they will gather the information that they need in order to make a more informed decision and execute a plan if they decide they need one at that meeting. 
“I would just like to comment though,” stated Mayor McFadden. “This push for riparian barriers and fences is not something as Mayor that I would ever put into local law.  I think it is frankly inappropriate to tell a property owner on the lake that is already being taxed that they are required to put in a riparian barrier or a fence.  I’m not going to put a fence in front of my boathouse.  For people who don’t live on the lake to suggest that shows a certain disconnect with the reality of who is going to cut that $20,000 check.”
“I don’t support fences,” responded Trustee Kasker.  “That doesn’t support the health of the lake.  Vegetative barriers effect the health of the lake.”
“So, would you mandate that for somebody to put in,” inquired the Mayor. “What if it’s $20,000?”
“Yes, I would,” replied Trustee Kasker. “If somebody had a landscaping plan in front of the BAR.  I would never say that starting tomorrow people have to put in riparian buffers.” 
“You’re talking about two or three years out,” suggested the Mayor.
“That’s fine,” stated Trustee Kasker.
“No it’s not,” argued Mayor McFadden.  “We have a health problem.”
“No we don’t!  We don’t have any evidence of a health problem,” Trustee Kasker stated.
“The last time you asked me to show you evidence was over the Wee Wah Beach Club and you discounted all of those letters. You said ‘Oh those are people who voted for you and you blew them off!”
Trustee Kasker denied this, further pointing out that they were not currently discussing the Wee Wah Beach Club, rather they were discussing discharging weapons in a residential area to kill geese.  He pushed the Trustees to agree to hire a professional for $500 to give them an assessment.
“What are they going to tell us that the DEC is not telling us,” demanded the Mayor.
“The DEC is not telling us anything!” alleged Trustee Kasker.  “The DEC gave you a permit because you said we have geese on a beach and a lake and they said yes, good go kill them!”
“That’s not how it works,” replied Mayor McFadden.
“It is how it works,” retorted Trustee Kasker.  “I was on the phone with them today.”
Ultimately, the Board agreed to authorize $500 for Trustee Kasker to obtain a professional report.  The issue was then tabled until the next meeting.
Resolution approving the Sunnymeade Landscape a.k.a. McLennan Application to proceed – with tree and DEC Wildlife approval – Noting that the Trustees were not interested in overturning recommendations by any appointed Board, Mayor McFadden stated that they would only be actively looking at the tree issue and the DEC wildlife approval.  His understanding is that there were 14 trees proposed to be removed on the original application, but the final approved application only allowed for 4.  The applicant will be planting other trees in addition to adding a riparian buffer.  “Apparently there are some photographs of additional trees that have been taken down,” he noted, further referencing  communication that had come from Wicks Tree Service suggesting that the trees in question were either dying or dead.”  Commenting that while there were some people who might feel this was just an excuse to allow for the cutting, he knew Wicks to be both responsible and reliable and that he would take their word for it.  Additionally, there has been some concern relating to the disturbance of endangered species, specifically long-eared bats and timber rattlesnakes.  DEC wildlife has granted the applicant permission to move forward.  The Mayor then recommended that the Trustees vote to grant the applicant permission to move forward with their project, after which he suggested that Building Inspector John Ledwith should visit the property to assess the tree situation and if there is a problem, it should be sent to Justice Court.
This was discussed at some length.  Trustee Brooke suggested that the process for this applicant had been, in his view, “remarkably resident unfriendly” and that perhaps the Villages’ 4-tree rule should be revisited and adjusted for acreage.  Ultimately it was determined that the Board did not need to vote.  Mr. Ledwith will review the tree situation and respond accordingly.  If the applicant has exceeded the allotted amount of trees, they will need to return to the BAR or face a violation. 
Resolution to schedule a Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 6 or 2022 – Penalties for utility companies lack response to remove unused telephone poles – The Board voted unanimously in favor of scheduling this hearing for August 17 at 7pm.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss legal matters, the police contract, Justice Court procedural matters, 3 tax billing and penalty matters and collection of delinquent water billing.

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 20, 2022 

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7:00 pm - Public Hearing on Draft Local Law No. 5 of 2022 – Creating a Community Choice Aggregation Program

7:10 pm - July Annual Reorganization Meeting

7:30 pm - July Regular Meeting

 

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Village Election Results (Posted June 27, 2022)


The Village Election took place on Tuesday, June 21.  Trustees Tinka Shaw and Chris Kasker ran unopposed for re-election.
Here are the official results:

Christopher Kasker - 48
Anna "Tinka" Shaw - 33
Claudio Guazzoni de Zanett - 2
Sara Barnes Sonne - 1

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 15, 2022 

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, June 15 at 6pm.  Trustee Brooke was absent.

Invited Guest Presentation – Ed Marcus from Amawalk Consulting Group LLC to Present Sewer & Water Rates Followed by a Q &A:
The meeting began with a presentation on sewer and water rates from Ed Marcus of Amawalk Consulting Group.  That presentation can be viewed here.
Following the presentation there was a question and answer session.  With regard to the water rates, Trustee Kasker asked Mr. Marcus if he could “dive a bit deeper” by providing an example of  the burden the Village has by owning the water system and why it might make more sense for a premium to be paid by Town users.  Mr. Marcus explained that as the owners of the system, the Village had to bear certain associated responsibilities and risks and that the industry associations endorse the idea that they should get some form of premium in exchange for that.  “There have been a lot of experiences of things happening in terms of unexpected water quality, contamination and other unexpected, unforeseen expenses that occur.  You kind of assume on a contractual basis that your outside customers would just pay up their share if you increase the rates to cover that and so forth. But, the issue of whether someone can conduct and argue that the Village should have done something differently…or the Village should have done this or done that,” he stated, further suggesting that combination of responsibility and risk justified the premium.   
Trustee Kasker then asked how the Village’s current water rate of $13.70 per $1,000 compared to other municipalities in New York.
Mr. Marcus could not answer this question.
Mayor McFadden stated that the Village had 2017 summary from Nycom listing every municipality in the State along with all the sewer and water rates.  He suggested that he could send Trustee Kasker a copy of this and that he could also post it to the website for the public to look at.
The Mayor then inquired as to whether people who have septic tanks would be treated differently than people who were using the Village sewer system.
“That would be a policy decision for the Village,” Mr. Marcus responded, further indicating that they assumed it would be the case, particularly in terms of operations, as these folks would not be providing waste water into the sewers and as a result impacting the cost of treatment at the plant.
“I think that John and Tinka and I wanted to make it clear that we didn’t think that it was appropriate that those people were paying into the sewer like everyone else…in the sense that one of my main goals is to make this fair and equitable across the board,” stated the Mayor.  “For example, when you’re putting it into property tax you might have someone with one bathroom and a kitchen, who is a Weekender, essentially paying the same thing as the School or the Club.  Putting it into property tax is not an efficient way.  There are only a handful of municipalities in the State that do that.”
The conversation then turned to equity.  Mr. Marcus explained that features of the proposed structure were based upon consumption and a fixed charge as well as a minimum charge.  “Everyone should really contribute fairly to the fact that you have to have that system there, ready to go and ready to serve when someone comes in and starts using water.”
“I would also like to point out for the Public,” added Mayor McFadden, “that taxes are going to be lower this year and there are two reasons: one is because of our efficiency in managing the budget and the other is because we have taken the expenses to run the sewer department out of the general budget and put them into a sewer budget.  When you take those dollars out of the general budget, it’s no longer taxable.  What is going to result is that people who don’t use the system (septic) are going to be very happy because they will only be paying the minimal amount and people who are the big users might pay quite a bit compared to what someone else pays.  So whether or not the lowering of the taxes means that every user is going to pay less or some may pay more…I think it’s clear that the situation will result in some people paying more and some people paying less.”
Mr. Marcus agreed, further noting that he felt this was an equitable approach as the value of a property really has nothing to do with the burden that it places on the waste water system.   
It was then clarified that those people who were either on septic systems or did not have any connection to the sewer system would not be charged sewer fees.  There are some conditions that relate to houses that rely on wells for their water but connect to the sewer system.  For these homes a water meter will need to be installed so that the Village can calculate the amount they are contributing to the sewer.  These folks will receive a sewage bill only. 
Trustee Kasker inquired about the difference in sewer rates for commercial vs. residential properties, noting that the presentation had touched on the water rates differential only. 
Mr. Marcus responded that typically across the country most municipalities maintained a uniform rate for water consumption related to sewer use.  
The Village will begin using the new system in fiscal 2022/23, which means that the first bill that will include sewer will be sent out on October 1.  
 “I’m really looking forward to getting this going,” stated Mayor McFadden.  “I’m very pleased that we have accomplished this and I want to thank my entire Board for their cooperation.”
As there were no more questions or comments, the discussion was then concluded. 

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law No. 5 of 2022 – Use of Videoconferencing for Municipal Meetings: This is a law that follows New York State legislation that made changes to the Open Meetings Law as far as video conferencing.  Prior to this State law being adopted, the rule was that a Board member could video-conference in so long as they posted the address where they were located in case somebody else wanted to attend the meeting.  The State legislation changes that law so that in order to even consider participating by video-conference, the Village must first enact the proposed legislation before them.  Passing the law does not require the Board to video-conference, but will give them the authority to do so.  The law is also a lot more restrictive, requiring that at least three Board members attend meetings from a location that is publicly accessible  (this could be together or in three separate locations) with the addressed posted beforehand.  Typically, Board members will not be allowed to participate from home or other such inaccessible locations unless there are extenuating circumstances such as illness or travel.  Any Board member can participate in a meeting by video conference but unless this law is enacted, they will not be counted as a part of the quorum nor will they be permitted to vote. 
There were no questions or comments from the public.
Trustee Scherer wondered how this law  related to the Executive Order recently passed by the Governor. 
Board Attorney Brian Nugent explained that the Executive Order is part of the Covid emergency and it allows municipalities to conduct meetings by video-conferencing as well as telephone conferencing without noticing the locations.  This remains in effect through July 14.  This new law will ultimately replace the executive order when it expires. 
The Public Hearing was then adjourned.

Swearing in of Part-Time Police Officer Jaymie Ruiz:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of hiring  part-time Village Police Officer Jaymie Ruiz effective immediately.  Officer Ruiz was then officially sworn in.

Mayor’s Comments:
The Mayor reminded everyone that the Village election was coming up on Tuesday, June 21.  Trustees Kasker and Shaw will be running unopposed for re-election.  “It has been a pleasure working with both of them for the last two years,” stated the Mayor, further noting that Kasker and Shaw had played a critical role  in all that had been accomplished and that he looked forward to working with them for at least another year and hopefully longer.  He encouraged residents to either pick up absentee ballots or visit the Village Office on the 21st between 7am-9pm to cast their votes. 

Reports and Minutes:
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Police Report

Click here to view the Building Department Report
The Village is in receipt of a request from Jack Perna on Lookout Stable Road for a road-cut.  Mr. Perna purchased a vacant lot at the end of the road which does not have any official driveway or road-cut.  In accordance with the Village Code the BOT must approve any road-cut.  Additionally, Mr. Perna has provided evidence regarding a hardship that connecting to the Village Sewer system would be cost prohibitive. He is requesting permission not to connect to the Village sewer system but rather to construct a septic field on site.  This will need to be approved by both the Orange County Health Department and the Village Engineer.  Mr. Ledwith recommended that the BOT approve both items.
The Village is also in receipt of an e-mail from the manager at the Tuxedo Club indicating that they have decided to forgo the majority of the changes that they had proposed before the BAR last year.  They will only be proceeding with the work directly in front of the main entrance to The Club and with this they will be modifying the entryway in include a second road-cut.  This will need BOT approval, which Mr. Ledwith recommends.  The approval will come with the condition that the plan being presented matches the plan that was presented to the BAR approximately one year ago.

Volunteers Needed at the Racetrack – Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty commented that earlier in the week she had had the pleasure of visiting the Race Track Nature preserve.  She encouraged residents to visit, further noting that it truly is a beautiful place to visit.  She went on to say that they were always looking for people to help out with the physical work like weeding and planting.  Although these tasks might seem like a chore, in such a beautiful setting they are really quite pleasant.  Anyone who is interested in helping should send an email to TPTREEBOARD@GMAIL.COM.

Public Comments:
There were none.

Consent Agenda:
The Consent agenda was unanimously approved.

Old Business:
Schedule Public Hearing for July 20, 2022 for Draft Local Law No. 5 – A Local Law Creating a Community Choice Aggregation Program- Draft Local Law No. 5 is essentially a low that will allow the Village to purchase power, with a focus on renewable energy, on an opt-out basis.  The Village will be able to aggregate their community purchasing power.  It will not obligate them to do anything, but rather gives them the option to go down this path if they so choose.  There have previously  been two presentations before the Board on this and the Town has just adopted similar legislation.  Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of scheduling a public hearing on July 20, 2022 at 7pm. 
Resolution to Approve Local Law No. 5 – Use of Videoconferencing for Municipal Meetings- The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving Local Law No. 5.
Resolution to Adopt the Rules and Procedures for Videoconferencing as Presented to the Village Board to be Effective on the Same Date as Local Law No. 5 Becomes Effective -  The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution. 
Resolution to Approve Insurance with Traveler’s Insurance – Several months back the Board discussed that the Village would be pursuing a quote against current insurance company Marshall & Sterling.  They did this because they felt it was their fiscal responsibility as fiduciaries to explore whether or not there might be a difference in coverage and/or cost.  Over the past several months, the Village has been carefully assessing the information and Traveler’s Insurance has come in about $30,000 less.  The Mayor is strongly recommending that they switch carriers.  Following some discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with Traveler’s.

 

New Business:
Resolution to Approve Sewer Rates Recommended by Amawalk Consulting Group, LLC – The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with the rates as presented by Amawalk as Option 3a.
Resolution to Engage Cooper Arias for 2022 Audit at a Cost of $19,000- This represents a $1,000 increase over last year.  Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution.
Installation of 25mph Sign on West Lake Road near Summit Road – The Board voted unanimously in favor of installing the sign at the recommendation of Chief Conklin. 
Resolution to Approve Renewal of the Village Subscription to ICLEI- The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the renewal provided the cost is under $1,000.  ICLEI provides access to software that is being utilized to both calculate past Greenhouse gas emissions for the Village and also develop a Climate Action Plan for the Village.
Jack Perna Request for Road-Cut and Sewer Hardship – Following some discussion, the Board voted in favor of approving both of Jack Perna’s requests conditional upon the approvals determined necessary by the Building Inspector (Health Dept., Village Engineer and Planning Board)
Tuxedo Club Request for Road-Cut- The Tuxedo Club has advised the Village that they will only be paving the existing delivery access point.  They will not be modifying either the access point or the employee parking lot.  They will proceed with the approved plan for the main entrance with one major difference in that they will be adding an additional entry/exit adjacent to the existing roadcut. The Board voted unanimously in favor of granting the request. 

The Board then entered into an executive session to discuss litigation, a new employee hire and the PBS Contract Negotiations. 

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 15, 2022 

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 26, 2022 

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 26, 2022 

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Click here to view the Draft Local Law 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 18, 2022

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, May 18 2022 at 6:30pm. Trustee Brooke was absent.

Invited Guest Presentation:
The meeting began with a presentation from Jeff Domanski of Hudson Valley Energy, Org focused on Community Choice Aggregation.  In brief, CCA is a policy mechanism supported by NYS that enables electricity supply choice by allowing communities to band together to determine default energy offerings on behalf of residents, small businesses and organizations. There are a number of potential advantages to getting involved in this free program and these were briefly outlined in the presentation as were the steps involved with moving the initiative forward.  There are roughly 150 communities currently enrolled.  If the Village wants to proceed with it, they must first pass a local law.
As they were running a bit behind schedule it was agreed that the Board would assemble a list of questions for Mr. Domanski which they would send to him via email.  The questions, along with their answers once received, will be posted to the Village website.

Public Hearing – Local Law No. 3 of 2022 – A Local Law to Allow Boats and Other Devices on the Wee Wah Lake in the Village of Tuxedo Park:
The Mayor opened the hearing by announcing that the final draft of the proposed law had not been made available until late that afternoon and therefore it was his intention to leave the hearing open in order to allow residents time to digest the draft and formulate questions. 
Jay Reichgott commented that he was generally in favor of the legislation but had a couple of technical points/questions.  He noted that a section of the law pertaining to the re-construction of existing docks or the installation of new temporary docks on Wee Wah lake had been removed from the current draft.  He wondered whether this had been done on purpose.  The answer was yes.  Mr. Reichgott then asked why residents who own property on Wee Wah Lake do not have the same rights to docks and floating docks as the residents who live on the other Village lakes.  The Mayor responded that their ultimate goal was to be able to construct another dock from which to launch boats.  He further suggested that they would look at language in order to ensure that the intent was clear.   Next, in a section that pertains to all Village lakes, Mr. Reichgott noted that the allowable boat size had been increased from 21 feet to 25 feet.  He wondered why.  Mayor McFadden responded that the language in the original law was outdated by roughly 15 years.  “There are so many new manufacturers out,” he stated.  “You might find a terrific new electric boat that’s not a pontoon or a single hull that might be 22 feet.  That is the rationale behind it.”  Mr. Reichgott then pointed to a section of the law that forbids pontoon boats on Wee Wah Lake and Pond #3, noting that language had been added making an exception for those boats that might be owned/used by and/or rented out by the Village.  He wondered if this meant that the Village intended to get into the business of party boat rental on Pond #3 and the Wee Wah.  “That depends on how you define party Jay,” responded the Mayor.  “There are degrees of partying and the plan is to someday have (if we can afford it) a pontoon boat on Wee Wah Lake for the members of the Beach Club to be able to go out and enjoy themselves on the lake.”
Claudio Guazzoni commented that he wanted to make the Board aware of a legal term called contra proferentem, which is a doctrine where a court will rule against the drafter of a law or contract if the wording is vague or difficult to interpret.  With that being said, he drew attention to a sentence in the law that reads “Non-waterfront residents or non-residential party owners with a property or long-term rental that does not abut the Wee Wah Lake shall only be  permitted to swim in the Wee Wah Lake if they are members of the Wee Wah Park and Beach Club during its’ official hours of operation.”  His concern pertains to the verbiage “during its official hours of operation,’ which he feels is vague and open to interpretation and ultimately, a court might rule against the Village.  He suggested that this verbiage be moved to the beginning of the sentence in order to make things clear.  The mayor responded that they would look at this and consider the change.  Next Mr. Guazzoni pointed to a section that reads “The Village further hereby reserves to itself the right and authority to license the operation of the Wee Wah, the immediate and surrounding property and next thereto.”  He wondered if this referred to public property  only or if the Village was annexing people’s land.  Mayor McFadden replied that it referred only to the Wee Wah itself.  Mr. Guazzoni suggested that they specify this within the confines of the law.  The Mayor suggested that they would ask their attorney to insert parcel numbers.

The hearing was continued to Thursday, May 26 at 11am.

REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING

Following the Pledge, there was a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine. 

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden reported that the kick-off event held at the Wee Wah Park on May 15 was a success.  More events are planned in the future.  Additionally, he noted that both Trustees Shaw and Kasker would be re-running for their seats in the June election.  They are unopposed.

Reports and Minutes:
Click here to view the Police Report
With regard to speeding, Chief Conklin noted that the department had been issuing more warnings than actual tickets but he felt that moving forward they needed to institute a no-tolerance policy.  The Mayor agreed with this suggestion further noting that it was particularly important to do so during the summer months. 
Beginning July 1, non-resident vehicle tags will no longer be honored at the Front Gate.  Those wishing to enter the Village who have not been enrolled in the automatic gate opening system will be stopped and fully vetted.
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department/Code Enforcement and Capital Projects Report
Click here to view the Treasurer Report
Click here to view the Court Report
Liaison – Sewer Rates: A Power Point presentation focused on the work of the recently contracted consultant has been posted to the Village website.  Board members were encouraged to view it and formulate questions.
 Milfoil Updates: The Mayor reported that all the approvals are in and the permits have been set.  As previously noted, the Village has arranged for a payment plan as opposed to a lump sum payment as was originally set forth in the contract.  The Mayor has asked for a timeline for  the maintenance /abatement but has not yet received it. 

Public Comments:
With regard to the May 17 Board of Education Elections, Claudio Guazzoni congratulated Village residents Kimberly Breiland and Heather Kidde, who have likely been elected (results have not yet been finalized). He praised those Village residents who came out to vote, commenting that a robust Village turnout was very important in these elections and that he was hopeful they might be able to get a third Village resident on the Board next year.
On behalf of Christopher Gow, Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty announced that the Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board and Garden Club would be hosting a steeplechase ceremony and peony garden party on Saturday June 4.  All Village residents are invited to attend. 
For the record, Mayor McFadden noted that moving forward the Village would not read such comments into the record and that residents wishing to make announcements of any kind should attend the meeting and make them in person.  If they cannot be there, the Village will gladly post a  written announcement to the  website along with the meeting documentation. 

Consent Agenda:
Following some minimal discussion, the consent agenda was unanimously approved.

Old Business:
Discussion Regarding the Hiring of VRI Environmental Services, Inc. by Resolution After Last Months April Regular Meeting’s Executive Session-  Following an executive session last month, the Board voted in favor of hiring VRI Environmental Services to run both the water plant and sewer plant.  They will be responsible for all liaison duties (DEC, Health Dept. etc.) as well as the day-to-day running of the plants.  This is a cost effective change and nobody in the DPW will lose their job as a result. 
Election Day resolutions to correct date – Board voted unanimously in favor of amending two Election Day resolutions to reflect the correct date of Tuesday, June 21, 2022 from 7am-9pm.

New Business:
Schedule Public Hearing for Local Law No. 4 – A Local Law Authorizing the Use of Videoconferencing for Municipal Meetings on June 15, 2022 at 6:50pm – This is a local law that will allow the Village to continue to use video-conferencing for their Trustee meetings as needed.  There are some caveats in that all Board members cannot be remote at the same time.  At least 3 members must be present in a public place where the public can attend.   If not passed, the Village will not be able to use video-conferencing at all, except in the case of emergency.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of setting the hearing. 
Resolution Approving W & S for Engineering Services for Tuxedo Lake Water Main Replacement Design and Permitting Services – The Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution.
Resolution Approving W & S for Engineering Services for Dam Safety Inspections- The Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution.
W & S SEQR Resolution – This resolution pertains to a sewer line repair.  Westin and Sampson requires a SEQR resolution from the Village classifying the repair as a Type 2 Action.   Following a brief discussion with their attorney, the Board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution. 
Resolution Authorization to Levy Unpaid Water Bills Onto Property FY23 Tax Bills – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution.

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 18, 2022

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 20, 2022

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, April 20 at 7pm.  Trustee Scherer attended virtually.
The meeting began with a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine.

Mayors Comments:
Mayor McFadden began by wishing everyone a happy Passover and Easter.  The Village has just finished with their budgeting process ahead of schedule.  He recognized Deputy Mayor and Budget Director Tinka Shaw as well as John Ledwith and Elizabeth Doherty for all of their hard work.

Reports & Minutes:
Click here to view the Police Report
Mayor McFadden asked Chief Conklin for an update on the automatic gate opener.  The Chief reported that things were running well.  There was a recent incident whereby a vehicle backed into the device, damaging the camera and as a result, the system was inoperable for a short period of time until the vendor could repair it.  Because most (if not all) residents still have their vehicle tags, the situation was entirely manageable and traffic was not held up as a result.  It has been agreed that the vehicle tags will not be collected and that residents may keep them for times such as these, otherwise every car would need to be stopped on entry.
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building, Construction & Special Projects Report
Click here to view the Justice Court Report
Click here to view the Water Report
Click here to view the Treasury Report
Click here to view the Board of Assessors March Minutes
Click here to view the CSLAP Membership list and here to view the current Wee Wah Park/Beach Membership List.

Public Comments:
Jay Reichgott noted that under the OLD BUSINESS heading on the agenda there was an item pertaining to scheduling a public hearing on the use of boats on Wee Wah Lake.  He wondered whether or not the Board intended to introduce the subsequent law.
The Mayor responded that it would be introduced although not that evening. He added that it would be published as per the law with plenty of time before the hearing.  He further explained that if the law passes, it will allow the Village to launch canoes and kayaks from the Wee Wah Park as a service to the members.  “Right now the law reads that only people who own property are allowed to launch boats,” he added.  Mr. Reichgott suggested that there was a clause within the existing law that allowed the Board of Trustees to designate other locations.  “That would be great,” responded Mayor McFadden.  “We’ll see whether we do a formal re-write or a resolution, but I thank you very much for that.”
Mary Roth, a Trustee for two trusts that own property in the Town of Tuxedo (MSP Realty Trust & Library Realty Trust) said that they have submitted notifications to the Village of Tuxedo Park Water Department requesting that water bills continue to be sent to the tenants in those properties.  “I know the Water Department Changed the policy recently and as property owners, based on the Village Code 97-8E, we would like enact and request that those bills be sent to the tenants.  We would then also be liable for any unpaid amounts….should they not pay we would have no problem doing that, but we would like it to go back to the way it used to be.  This is the first quarter that we received the bills.”
Trustee Kasker noted that this item was on the agenda for discussion later in the meeting.  The Village is in receipt of the notifications referenced in addition to a letter from another property owner addressing the same issue.  “Everybody has agreed that if their tenants do not pay by the due date, then the owners would be liable to pay those bills.  It’s in our code and so we will pass a resolution that will allow the tenants to be billed and then the property owners if the tenants don’t pay.”
Ms. Roth thanked the Board for this information noting that she hoped the new practice could start in Quarter 2 as they had already billed their tenants for Quarter 1.

Consent Agenda:
The consent agenda as follows was approved unanimously.
1.Add all written reports to the Permanent Record
2.Approve March Minutes for both meetings
3.Approve Earth Day Community Shredding Event – Friday, April 22
4.Approve usage of the Wee Wah Park for the 2022 Fifth Grade Picnic for the students of
    George Grant Mason Elementary School
5.Approve Resignation & Payment Plan of Part-Time Police Officer Tyler Stark
6.Authorizing the Mayor to sign the State Pollutant Elimination System (SPDES) permit for the
     Sewage Treatment Plant
7.Authorizing the transfer of $50,000 from the Water Fund account to the Capital    
    Improvement Savings account
8.Authorize the Mayor to Renew the CDPHP dental plan; rates are the same as the previous
    year

Old Business:
Resolution to authorize the Mayor to sign the IMA with the Town for the Summer Camp to use the Wee Wah Park – Board attorney Brian Nugent explained that since the Village would be leasing the space to the Town, a licensing agreement would not be necessary and that an Intermunicipal Agreement would be an easier way to accomplish things.  The agreement has not yet been presented to the Town but once approved by the Board, he will share it with Town Attorney, Howard Protter, who can bring it to that Board for approval/agreement.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution.  
Resolution to schedule a Public Hearing on the use of boats on the Wee Wah Lake for 6:50pm, May 18, 2022 at the Village Hall – Mayor McFadden noted that he would like to bring up a public hearing on a new local law regarding the launching of boats on Wee Wah Lake from Wee Wah Park.  “If it’s necessary, if it can be done by resolution, we’ll do that, but let’s go ahead and schedule a public hearing,” he stated further commenting that a copy of the proposed law would be available well in advance of the meeting.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the resolution.   
Resolution to authorize the Mayor to sigh the Solitude Lakes Management Agreement with updated payment plan for Milfoil Eradication – In their most recent contract, Solitude combined pre-payments for all three treatments on the lakes for milfoil eradication, which came as a surprise to the Mayor and had not been factored into the 2022/23 budget.  The Mayor went back to Solitude and negotiated.  “They were able to talk to the manufacturer of ProcellaCOR and give us better payment terms,” he noted.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mayor McFadden to sign the agreement. 

New Business:
Resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign the agreement with Munistat, a firm specializing in municipal finance and municipal government-related matters – John Ledwith explained that the Village has used Munistat in the past to consult with regarding potential bond issuance for large capital improvements.  Recently they met in order to review/analyze some of the bonds that the Village currently has and it was brought to their attention that there were some potential cost savings of roughly $5,000 per year on bonds that expire in 10 years ($50,000 in total). Additionally, they have offered their continued services moving forward. 
“I’m not sure if everyone is aware,” stated the Mayor, “but the grants we applied to…We did not receive awards on any of them.  They were just issued.  So, bond issuing, short-term loans and long-term loans are going to be an issue and we would like to have proper advice.”
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign the agreement. 
Resolution to accept private donations to the Friends of Wee Wah Park (Improvement Fund) – The Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing the Village to accept private donations to the Friends of Wee Wah Park for an improvement fund.
Resolution Regarding the Wee Wah Fishing Club Employee Eligibility Request – The Club has requested permission to exceed their membership cap eligibility in order to allow part-time Village Police officers to seek membership.  Following minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution.
Resolution approving Wee Wah Park Summer Fundraiser on Sunday, May 15 at 2pm – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the event. 
Resolution to approve request from three property owners to bill tenants, in lieu of property owners, for water consumption – Trustee Kasker noted that through their diligent efforts to collect past due water bills, they had discovered  that the Village Code as written requires that property owners, not tenants, be billed for water services.  The Village had been billing the tenants and therefore a change was made in order to bring the process into compliance and the property owners were billed instead.  When property owners would prefer that their tenants be billed, the Code requires that they submit a letter explaining the specifics as to how payment would be recouped should the tenant default on the bill.  The Village is in receipt of 3 such letters.  Following minimal discussion, they Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing the water department to bill the tenants at 7 Library Road, 2 School House Lane and 21 Augusta Place.  The property owners will be responsible for the charges should these tenants fail to pay their bills.
Resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign updated Code Red agreement to inform water customers of boil water notices and other Water Department Alerts – There are some residents in the Town who do not have email or internet and therefore, they do not receive all the alerts when there is a water main break or a boil water notice.  One way to alleviate this issue is to incorporate those individuals into the Village’s Code Red Alert system.  The system can be segmented by population.  This would require the Mayor to sign an updated agreement, at no cost, authorizing the addition of these individuals to the Code Red database.  Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution. 
Resolution to approve the following personnel for the Village Board of Trustees Election on June 14, 2022 – Machine Operators: Kurt Haug and James Pearson, Wendy Dulin (Alternate), and Table Inspectors: Jean Haugh, Desiree Hickey, Lori Giggino, Jennifer Weiss (Alternate) at the rate of $250 for the day per person – This resolution was unanimously approved.

Following the audit of claims, the Board entered into an executive session to discuss Village employees, legal matters and PBA negotiations. 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 20, 2022

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Village Board of Trustees 2022/23 Tentative Budget Public Hearing April 18, 2022

900 - BOT April 18, 2022, Public Hearing on the Tentative 2022-2023 Budget from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

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Notice of Village Board of Trustees 2022/23 Tentative Budget Public Hearing April 18, 2022

he Board of Trustees will host a Public Hearing on the 2022-2023 Tentative Budget at Village Hall - Noon, Monday, April 18, 2022.

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Board of Trustees Budget Workshop April 8, 2022

 

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Notice of Board of Trustees Budget Workshop April 8, 2022

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park shall hold a public budget workshop on Friday, April 8, 2022, at 12:00 Noon in the Village Hall. The public may attend in person or by Zoom but may not comment. A Public Hearing, date TBD, will follow the budget workshop.

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Notice of Special  Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 5, 2022

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 16, 2022

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 16 at 6:50pm. 

Trustee Scherer was absent.

Public Hearing:
The meeting began with a public hearing for Draft Local Law No. 2 of 2022, a local law to amend Village law related to sewer rents.  There were no comments from the public.  There was some confusion as to whether or not the hearing had been closed and the proposed local law voted on the previous month.  The Mayor asserted that the trustees had voted to set the public hearing, but Trustee Kasker pointed out that the meeting minutes reflected that the hearing had been both opened and closed and this was how he remembered it. (TPFYI reporting also reflects the hearing having been both opened and closed). Mayor McFadden countered that this is not what happened and that the minutes could be changed to reflect that later in the meeting.  The public hearing was then adjourned (for a second time)
Click hereto view a copy of Draft Local Law No. 2 of 2022

DPW Retirement:
The Board honored recently retired DPW employee John Heccheim for his 20 years of service.

There was a five minute pause before the regular meeting commenced.  Following the Pledge, the Mayor called for a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine. 

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden thanked and congratulated John Ledwith for his efforts in identifying surplus DPW items and organizing their auction, which has raised roughly $8,000 for the Village. 
As a result of the recent redistricting in New York State, Senator Skoufis and his Chiefs of Staff paid a visit to the Village last week in an effort to introduce themselves as State representatives.  Most of the discussion focused on grant applications, and how their team might be able to help the Village.  The Village has several pending grant applications which the Senator might be able to assist with.  Additionally, moving forward he will be in a position to alert the Village to grants while his team can assist with any political maneuvering that might be needed.  Also discussed was the idea of eliminating Day Light Saving Time, an effort which gained momentum just this past week when the Senate unanimously passed a bill in favor of elimination. 

Reports:
Click here to view the Construction Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Police Report

Mayor McFadden briefly reported on the collection of Escrow fees, with which the Village is in arears.  Click here to view the report with names redacted. 

Click here and here to view the treasury reports
Click here to view the water report

Committees and Liaisons:
On behalf of the Lakes Committee, Jim Hays commented that a year prior he had submitted a Draft Watershed Management Plan for the Village.  Pointing to a specific page of that report (which can be viewed here) Mr. Hays noted that Tuxedo lake continues to experience anoxia on an annual basis (depletion of Oxygen in the water) and that the solution to this multiple source  problem is to prevent phosphorus from entering the lake.  To do this effectively, the land around the lakes must be vegetated and the storm water drainage system must be evaluated to determine where the pipes are and more specifically, which pipes are connected to which basins.  If the Village has this information, and is able to effectively test the water in the various basins, they will be able to more acutely put their finger on the source of the phosphorus. “This is a long-term project,” he stated.  “It took a long time for the lake to get this way .  It will take a long time to make it a lot better.  It has to be attacked from a lot of points of view.”  He went on to say that last year, at the Mayor’s Request, engineers Westin and Sampson had submitted a proposal for the mapping that came in at roughly $28,000.  The proposal was received in late April, which was too late for the budgeting process.  Mr. Hays is hopeful that this will be included in the 2022/23 budget.
Mayor McFadden responded that he and the Trustees would be working on the budget over the next several weeks prior to presenting to the public on April 20.   Although he indicated that he had a strong feeling that the mapping would be included, he recommended that Mr. Hays come to the meeting prepared to make his case.  Mr. Hays indicated that he would do this and further suggested that in the meantime the Village might want to collect additional estimates. 
Members of the Communication Committee spent some time over the past month taking readings throughout the Village from three different phones representing the carriers T-Mobil, Verizon and AT & T. The results can be viewed hereAdditionally, a report from the consultant Walter Cooper can be viewed hereOn behalf of the committee, John Ledwith reported that while there are a few dead zones (Mountain Farm Rd., Portions of West Lake Rd.) they had been able to make outgoing phone calls from a majority of the locations.  Roughly 22% of the locations were low signal/low productivity.  While driving around, they noted that the signals varied tremendously.  Mayor McFadden added that the purpose of compiling the information was so that they could in turn provide to Walter Cooper who will then be able to recommend what type of equipment the Village should invest in to help mitigate the issue.
Turning to the Tuxedo Park Fire Department,  Trustee Kasker began by thanking Mayor McFadden for the moment in silence for those who are dying in Ukraine.  He further noted that as the come up Route 17, people will notice red, white and blue and well as yellow and blue lights in the sockets in front of the Fire Department building.  This is the Departments’ testament to their solidarity with the Ukrainians. “If you watch the news, the bombs fall and then the fire department is out there putting out the fires. I think speaks a lot of the bravery of the people out there,” he stated.  “A couple of days ago there was a story on the news about a military base that was bombed and a couple of years ago I was on that base watching American and Ukrainian soldiers train together because they knew this day was going to come.  It’s a shame what is happening out there, but I am glad that the Fire Department was able to do something simple to show a symbol of the community’s appreciation.”
Town Liaison Michele Lindsay reported that there had been a workshop meeting with Tuxedo Farms the previous Monday during which models of buildings for the commercial district were presented.  On Thursday March 24 there will be another meeting from 5-8pm during which they will be discussing the tech memos, concept plan and some of the design guidelines for the project.   On another note, on Monday, March 21 there will be a public presentation on the Community Choice Aggregation law that the Town has introduced ahead of the public hearing, which will take place at their regular bimonthly meeting on March 28. 
The Mayor added that there would be a similar presentation in the Village during the month of April.  Lastly, Mrs. Lindsay noted that on March 18 the Town would be putting out for bid a 2.2 million dollar refunding bond.  This will fund the 2003 and 2014 bonds that were used to purchase the Police Department land and building, the Highway Department and Quarry Field. 
Wee Wah Park Committee – The Mayor provided the Board with a summary of everyone who has purchased a membership to the facility.  This can be viewed here. To date they have raised $15,560 in memberships.  Mayor McFadden thanked all of those who had signed up to date, noting that the process was quite easy and could be done online.  With regard to the insurance, he assured everyone that despite the rumors that had been flying around he had spoken extensively with the Village Insurance Company and had it in writing that no additional insurance coverage would be required, including if somebody were to pass away while swimming.  “It’s time for that rumor to die down,” he stated  There are some circumstances under which they may be required to obtain additional insurance and they will certainly comply with whatever is required.  At the moment the Village is in the process of interviewing insurance carriers. 
Annual Budget Process – Deputy Mayor Shaw reported that they had been making progress and were hopeful to have a draft ready to present by Friday.  Mayor McFadden thanked both the Chief and DPW Superintendent for submitting their budgets in a timely manner.  

Public Comments:
Chiu Yin Hempel commented that she had first heard of the concerns regarding the health of Village lakes and the quality of the drinking water back in 2009 when the Board of Trustees had commissioned Princeton Hydro for a study of the emerging problem.  13 years and five administrations have passed.  She understands that the Village is working to tackle the Milfoil issue, but doing so alone is really just dealing with the symptoms and not the cause of the problems.  Mr. Hays had mentioned earlier that both Milfoil and Blue/Green algae grow in the water because of excessive p phosphorus flowing into the lakes from the hills surrounding the lakes and from the properties abutting the lakes.  The nutrients come from the storm water drains and as surface storm water runoff because so many properties around the lake have cut their trees and put in lawns.  In a presentation she made to the Board last year, Mrs. Hempel noted that lawns, with their shallow roots, are really no better than slides facilitating surface storm water runoff. 
Mayor McFadden responded that one of the problems was the fertilizers used by landscapers.  The Village passed a local law years ago forbidding use of these products.  When these products are used anywhere in the Village that water goes into the system and drains down, he commented, further noting that it was not just lake front people who were to blame but everyone in the Village who uses these types of fertilizers.  “I can talk to the chief and ask him if we want to do something a little more stern this year,” he added.  He explained that every year for the last five years the Police Department had distributed a pamphlet to the landscapers letting them know that certain fertilizers were forbidden.  “We will continue to do that, but maybe it’s time to start writing court appearance tickets if these landscapers are bringing in that product.  I hate to do that, but it doesn’t seem to be working otherwise.”
Jake Matthews wondered whether  the Village would be willing to support a neighborhood cleanup initiative on Earth Day (April 22) whereby residents would volunteer their time to pick up litter in their various neighborhoods.  Perhaps the Village could supply garbage bags and pickup tools.  Noting that the Village does not have a serious litter problem, Mr. Matthews stated that before the snowfall he had collected roughly 20 gallons of trash while walking up and down his road one afternoon.  “It’s not to propose to go on people’s private property, but maybe just to walk the roads and collect things that have fallen off of various trucks over the year…off the garbage trucks or out the back of pick-up trucks or…unfortunately from time-to-time people feel it’s a good idea to throw things out their windows.”  He added that he would be happy to help coordinate the event, suggesting that they could pick up supplies at the Village Office beforehand, divide volunteers into various groups and distribute whatever is needed accordingly. 
The Mayor responded that he would be happy to post something on the website in order to help advertise and encourage volunteers. 
Speaking of Earth Day, Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty wondered whether the Village would be interested in repeating the shredding event they conducted in 2021.  Most of the Board was supportive of the idea, although it was agreed they would make a decision at their next meeting.

Resolve that the Mayor may negotiate with Town Recreation Coordinator Claire Dougher regarding a lease agreement for the summer camp use of Wee Wah Park:
Mayor McFadden introduced Town Recreation Coordinator Claire Dougher, who has requested use of the Wee Wah Park for the Town Summer Camp program this season.  Ms. Dougher gave a brief presentation outlining the history of the relationship between the camp and the Wee Wah Beach Club as well as some general information about the camp program.  The last time the camp utilized the property was in 2016, when they paid the Beach Club approximately $5,000 for 20 days of both morning and afternoon usage.  The summer 2021 packet, detailing the program and including the camp’s indemnification clause, was circulated to the Board members.    She is proposing that the camp make use of the beach in the afternoons Monday through Thursday between the hours of 1-3:15pm for about 5 weeks during the months of July and August.  The camp will come with their own life guard. They are also hoping to be able to offer some sort of swim instruction, but these details have not yet been finalized.  Campers range in age from 4 to 13.  Following some discussion, the Board voted in favor of authorizing the  Mayor McFadden to negotiate with Ms. Dougher.  As advertising for camp will begin prior to the next meeting, the negotiated agreement will be shared with the Board members via email and, barring any major objections, be signed by the Mayor within the next few weeks. 

Consent Agenda:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda.

Old Business:
Resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign the Westin & Sampson proposal for SSES, Phase 3, Sub-Basins 2 &10, Year 2 Construction Amendment No. 1 – Pond 3 Sewer Rehabilitation  - This is a plan to repair and replace sections of sewer line where the Village feels that there is possibly water getting into the line and sewage leaking out of the line. It will be funded by money left over from another project and does not constitute new spending.  The Board voted unanimously in favor.
Resolve to authorize the Mayor to Renew the Vision and Dental Plan – The rates are the same as last year.  The Board voted unanimously in favor. 

New Business:
Resolution authorizing the Village to participate in the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LHWAP) helps low-income households pay the cost of water and sewer services and for the Mayor to sign vendor agreement – This program can assist households that meet certain criteria and who have past due bills for water and or sewer services.  The Board voted unanimously in favor.

There was no executive session. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:02pm

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 16, 2022

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 16, 2022

The Village Board of Trustees mt on Wednesday, February 16 at 6:50pm.  Trustees Brooke and Scherer were absent. 

Public Hearing – Local Law #2 of 2022, a local law to further define Village of Tuxedo Park NY Code – Chapter 78: Sewers and Sewage Disposal and 78-24: Sewer Rents or Charges:
The hearing was opened.  There were no comments.  Mayor McFadden noted that he had received written comment from Jay Reichgott which was supportive. 
Trustee Kasker noted that for those residents who are hooked into the sewer system but not the water, the proposed legislation was not clear as to how they would be charged.
The Mayor agreed and noted that this was something that would need to be discussed and approved by the Board moving forward, along with all the other methods of how they would be charging.
As there were no further comments, the Public Hearing was closed.

Mayor’s Comments:
Noting that most residents had likely received the emergency alert sent via email earlier that day, Mayor McFadden stated that the Main Gate is functioning identically to the South Gate, meaning that it closes in between each vehicle.  He cautioned that residents should drive accordingly.  Those who attempt to scoot through after the car in front of them will find that the gate arm will likely come down on the hood of their vehicle.  He added that they would be installing signage to ensure that people were aware that the gate would be closing after each vehicle.   The South Gate is already operating on the new license plate reader, opening automatically for those vehicles that have been registered with the Village.  The system is expected to be fully up and running at the Front Gate within the next day or two. 

Reports and Minutes:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Mayor McFadden commented that given that the Village now has a very active climate committee, he would like to look into alternatives to salt…or alternatives to supplement salt for the roadways for next season in an attempt to mitigate the impacts on the environment and the lakes.  He suggested that the Climate Committee would likely be willing to investigate this.
Click here to view the Building, Construction & Special Projects Report
Click here to view the Court Report
Click here to view the Treasury Report

Public Comments:
An unidentified resident complimented DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss and his crew, commenting that it had been “a hell of a winter” and they have been doing a great job.

Consent Agenda:
There was a brief discussion regarding monies saved by the Police Department from purchasing hybrid vehicles.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda.

Old Business:
Approve Local Law No. 2 of 2022 a local law to further define Village of Tuxedo Park NY Code – Chapter 78: Sewers and Sewage Disposal and 78-24: Sewer Rents or Charges- Trustee Kasker commented that there were not a lot of specifics in the draft law and that It was his understanding that there was still a lot of work for the Board to do in terms of determining the rates and how much profit they expected to make.  Board Attorney Brian Nugent agreed with this, further noting that the current rates would remain unchanged until the Board got around to adjusting them. Approving the law as written will allow them to continue with this work.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the law.
Discuss Offer to Town to Relocate Village DPW on their Property:
Although it is in the preliminary stages of discussion, the Village has proposed a relocation site for both the DPW and the Village Headquarters.  The property in question is owned by the Town and is located adjacent to the Village Sewer Plant. 
Trustee Kasker wondered whether it might make sense to develop a sketch/concept drawing so that people might be able to get a better idea of what was being proposed and comment on it.
The Mayor responded that he thought this was a good idea, further commenting “I would like to see a North Gate, but as we have mentioned this is in the very early stages and we have not sought buy-in from the community.”  He further noted that there had been a study to determine whether there would be enough room there, but this does not mean that they need to move forward with it.  He is also investigating other potential locations for the Village Office.  “But you can take them separately, and I think we should.  We should develop a plan to present detailing the pros and cons of a North Gate and how it would function…because I think the date for this would be at least a year or two away, which gives us time.  We should certainly prepare some sort of documentation on it and maybe do a traffic study,” he suggested.
Trustee Kasker agreed, commenting that people would likely want to be able to get a better understanding of what was being proposed, particularly those folks who live on the Wee Wah Lake.  The Mayor agreed adding “There is also the issue of convenience for others…particularly those who are traveling north.”  He suggested that different people from different neighborhoods should discuss it and he was certain there would be both pros and cons that emerged from those conversations.  Trustee Kasker added that the Town’s perspective also needed to be considered and added that there was a development of seven houses currently being built on Warwick Brook Road that might be also be Impacted. 
Following some further discussion with their attorney regarding the possible acquisition and subsequent annexationof the property and the associated process, the conversation was tabled.

New Business:
Discuss Renewal of MWG VSP Vision Plan (rates are the same as last year) - The Village is looking into two other entities so they can obtain some “apples to apples” quotes for this coverage. 
Discuss Town Climate Committee Request – The Village has received a request from the Town Climate Committee to install blue recycling bins at the Wee Wah and in Village Government buildings.  The Mayor commented that from looking at the request on paper, it seemed as though the answer should be “an obvious yes.”  However, he recalled that in the past when the Village had installed recycling receptacles in similar locations that they had not been utilized properly and there had been issues with weekend residents dumping their trash in those spots.  Noting that he was all for it, the Mayor suggested that he would like to have some further discussion with the committee with regard to the details (would the containers be bear proof? locked?). It was agreed that they would seek further information and also get a recommendation from the Village Climate Committee before proceeding. 
Discuss Signs at The South Gate – Commenting that he promised to address it with the full Board at the next Trustees meeting, Mayor McFadden noted that resident Barry Hawke was against the Private Area/No Trespassing signage at the South Gate and that further he found it offensive.  “As Mayor, I don’t have a problem with them,” he stated.  “There have been similar signs throughout the last 50-70 years…always at that location.”  He went on to explain that in recent years there had been a notable increase in trespassing via the South Gate and that although he had no hard evidence, he believed the signs had been helpful in deterring this. 
Chief Conklin commented that he felt the signs should absolutely remain.  He feels it is important that there be signage letting people know that non-residents are not wanted. “We had a big problem with non-residents coming in that way to walk and ride their bikes,” he added “and we get phone calls like crazy and we go out there and issue appearance tickets. They have to be told that they are not welcome here before they come in and the way to do that is through signs.”
The issue of liability was briefly addressed and Board Attorney Brian Nugent suggested that the conversation should be continued in an attorney/client session. 
Trustee Kasker commented that he understood where Mr. Hawke was coming from, further stating that the signage reminded him of approaching a Military Base and that he would prefer to see something that did not remind him of his army days.  He agreed that the wording needed to be appropriate and noted that he had some questions about that, which he would reserve for the session with their attorney.  
Mayor McFadden agreed, stating that he was not opposed to changing the wording on the signage.
Audrey Perry, who lives near the South Gate, commented that before the signage they had noticed that a ton of people came through walking and on bikes…and that when the Garden Club was in the area there would be cars parked everywhere.  Additionally, non-residents arrive at the South Gate, push the button for entry and then question why they are not permitted through the gate.  She feels the Private Property signs have made a big difference and that they are safer as a result.
Trustee Kasker noted that the Police had been giving consistent warnings to trespassers over the past two years and that this had likely had an impact on the decrease as well. 

Following the audit of claims, Village Clerk Elizabeth Doherty announced  that the Tuxedo Bag Project, created by two 6th Graders who live in the Village and attend TPS had been successful in their goal to collect 1000 reusable grocery bags for the Sloatsburg Food Pantry.  The largest donor was the Village of Tuxedo Park.  The Village is proud of these students and in an effort to keep the initiative going will maintain a donation box at the Village all where residents can bring any re-usable grocery bags moving forward.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss Collective Bargaining Agreement, a water bill of a particular resident, and a particular Village Employee.

999 - BOT February 16, 2022, Regular Meeting from Village of Tuxedo Park, NY on Vimeo.

 

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 16, 2022

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 26, 2022

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, January 26 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law No. 1 of 2022 – A Local Law to Amend Village Law Related to Site plan Approval:
Mayor McFadden began by stating that the proposed law had been vetted by the Village Attorney as well as members of BAR, BZA and Planning Board.
There were no public comments, so the hearing was closed.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of adopting the law.

There was a 5-minute pause between the conclusion of the Public Hearing and the beginning of the regular, monthly meeting.

Approve the Hiring of Part-Time Officer Emma Sullivan: The Board unanimously approved the hiring of part-time Police Officer Emma Sullivan, after which she was ceremoniously sworn in.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden reported that the Village was in receipt of two shipments from the county containing Covid rapid test kits and N95 masks.  The first shipment allowed the Village to distribute one test kit and 2 masks per Village household and this was announced via an email announcement as well as on the Village website over the past weekend.  The second shipment will allow them to distribute a second test kit as well as an additional 2 masks to each household.  These supplies are for Village residents only and can be picked up at the Front Gate.  There are also some available at the Village Office.

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
To date only 50% of residents have registered their vehicles for the automatic gate opening system.  The Chief urged people to register, noting that the vehicle tags will be phased out soon and all those cars who have not registered will be stopped at the gate.
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building, Construction and Special Projects Report
Click here to view the Legal Report
Engineering Sewer Trunk Investigation Report – This report was put together by Engineers Westin & Sampson.  Some leakage issues in the pipe system were discovered and these will be addressed.   Click here to view the Report
Board of Trustees Budget Scheduling Dates – Click here to view
Board of Trustees 2022-2023 Tentative Assessment Roll Notice – Click here to view the notice.  The Board of Trustees also serves as the Board of Assessors.  The tentative assessment roll must be published by Tuesday, February 1. The Board voted unanimously in favor of scheduling a Board of Assessors meeting for Monday, January 31 at 10am for the purpose of reviewing and approving the tentative roll and also of setting the grievance hearing for Tuesday, February 15 from 4-8pm. 
Police Reform Committee – In an effort to continually improve the Police Department, Mayor McFadden presented a 2007 Police Dep. BTS Forensic Report to the Chief as well as the reform committee, pointing out certain pages where action items were suggested.  The Chief subsequently responded with written recommendations.  Click here to view the 2007 Police Dep. BTS Forensic Report and here to view the Chief Conklin’s response and recommendations.
The Police Reform Committee will be meeting to review and discuss.
Click here to view the Tuxedo Park Police Department Annual Report
Projects – AutoGate Report – Click here to view
Projects – Relocation of DPW and Village Office – Mayor McFadden reached out to Town Supervisor Ken English with regard to the proposed relocation.  Supervisor English responded via email that had received the information and would discuss it with the Town Board.  The Supervisor’s email to the Mayor can be found posted on the Village website.
Additional reports posted to the Village website this month include: Court reports, Water Synopsis report, DEC Inspection reports and Treasury reports.  Click here to visit the Village website and view. 
Representing the Climate Smart Task Force Hays stated that the month prior he had painted a somewhat dark picture when presenting to the Board about Climate Change, however there are some silver linings.  The committee is actively exploring the idea of harnessing solar power, which will save the Village money and make things more efficient within the community.  The committee is working on putting together an inventory of the community.  They have collected information from the Village office, the Police Department and the Tuxedo Club and earlier that morning they met with representatives from TPS and discovered that the school is also eager to work with them.   They also have yet to collect some pertinent data from SOS.   Once they have amassed all of the necessary data, the committee can begin to work with the Board as well as the various other entities to put together a community action plan.  There is funding from the State available for some of these actions depending on which direction they choose to take. 

Public Comments:
Audrey Perry commented that several years ago the Orange County Planning Board had done quite a bit of investigative work pertaining to solar energy and solar farms.  She wondered whether or not anyone from the Task Force had consulted with them.
Mr. Hays responded that although they were in touch with individuals from the County, they had not spoken to anyone from the County Planning Board.  He thanked Mrs. Perry for the recommendation.  “I think that as a Village, if we are going to be looking at building solar farms, we should really know everything about what a solar farm would entail,” she stated.   Mr. Hays agreed, furthering commenting that he and Trustee Scherer had met with a representative of Hudson Valley Energy, an organization that helped communities with this kind of work.  “We are really at the beginning phase of this,” he stated. Trustee Scherer agreed commenting “We need to take a very methodical and holistic approach to this.  There are clear benefits but there are always costs associated with these projects.  We plan to have a holistic look at the entire Village to figure out whether solar makes sense.  We have two dams by the way.  Can we use them to generate energy?  There are a lot of things we can look at.  This is going to be a very thoughtful and methodical review of the best alternatives, taking into account competing interests including costs and environment.”  The Mayor pointed out that they were also working with the Town Task Force on some of these initiatives.
Changing topics, Mrs. Perry wanted to know whether anyone from the Board had been appointed to attend the Towns’ Tuxedo Farms workshops and report back.  She has concerns with the proposed ‘affordable housing’ and the impact these apartments might have on the building of stand-alone homes in the development.
The Mayor responded that at the last meeting, the developer had publicly introduced the builder they have chosen for the project.  He has also been in touch with Supervisor English.  Town Councilman Jay Reichgott was in the audience and the Mayor asked him whether he would like to comment.
Mr. Reichgott responded that the next presentation from the developer and their builder was scheduled for the following night and would be accessible to the public via WebEx.  They are hoping to get a look at what the most recent plans are for the mix of units at this meeting.  He further noted that the best way for people to keep tabs on the project was to visit the Town website, where there is a dedicated tab for the project and all of the meetings are posted there. 
Mrs. Perry reiterated that her question pertained to whether or not the BOT had assigned a representative to attend the meetings and report back.
“Well, I am relying on their minutes,” responded the Mayor further indicating that he had posted several updates to the Village Website pertaining to the project and would be happy to send Mrs. Perry links to those posts. 
JoAnn Hanson commented that she felt there would be virtue in having a member of the Village BOT assigned to follow and track what is going on with the Related development.  “That’s obviously key to the future of the whole Village and Town,” she added. 
Mayor McFadden responded that Trustee Brooke was the BOT Liaison assigned to Tuxedo Farms. 
Trustee Brooke reported that he had attended the online sessions and that there was nothing actionable happening at this point in time.  He has had several communications with Related and finds them to be quite incommunicative about some of the associated project details.  It appears as though they are trying to increase the density while creating adequate open space, but he has not seen plans.  He has been speaking to them on average every 2-3 weeks.  The critical issue from his perspective is understanding what Related needs from the Village, what the Village needs from Related and clearly defining what issues need to be addressed from a Village perspective. 
JoAnn Hanson added that Lennar is the largest homebuilder in the country and they are very well respected having done master plan communities of this type and scope and she feels bringing them on board was a positive step forward for the both the Village and the Town.
Trustee Scherer agreed.

Consent Agenda:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the consent agenda.

Old Business:
Discuss Establishing a Sewer Fund to Begin on June 1, 2002 – In order to proceed with this idea, the BOT will need to amend the Village Code.  It was agreed that a local law should be drafted and presented for Public Hearing and further discussion by the Board at their February meeting. 

New Business:
Discuss Light Path Proposal and Crown Castle Proposals for Certain Village Buildings – These relate to internet and cell service.  At the previous meeting of the Board, the Trustees authorized the Mayor to sign an agreement with a consultant based on certain conditions, which were met.  They have had one meeting since that time and these are the two companies they believe to be best thus far.  It appears as though it will cost several thousand dollars a month to bring internet to the South Gate and the Police building.  The Village will continue to work with the consultant and hopefully have some better news to report in the future.
Discuss Award of Landscape Architect for WWP Design Phase – The Wee Wah Park Committee is in receipt of two proposals from Landscape Architects and believe that the one they have from Tree Stone is the best.  Therefore, they are recommending that the Board authorize the Mayor to negotiate a fee arrangement acceptable to the Board to produce design renderings suitable for fundraising.  There were no objections to this plan and the Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with it as described.  This will be discussed further at February meeting.
Discuss Workflow and procedures for BAR, PB & BZA Minutes and Professional Consultants Services on Applications and Escrow – This pertains to recent discussions concerning the use of hiring consultants to review applicants work for the various Boards.  There is currently a moratorium on the use of professional consultants.  In gathering information, they discovered that the Village has been paying invoices to the professional consultants for work rendered on applicant’ projects without billing or collecting from the applicants.  This needs to be offset with escrow monies and it puts the Village into a bit of a sticky situation.
Moving forward, the Village will need to provide some sort of formal guidance to the Boards as to the use of professional consultants.
Timely posting of meeting minutes was also discussed.  Legally, meeting minutes must be made available to the Public via the Village Website within two weeks of a meeting.  Minutes cannot be withheld based on the fact that they have not yet been approved.  Board attorney Brian Nugent advised that if a Board has not reconvened within two weeks, draft minutes can be posted. “I want to put it on record,” stated Mayor McFadden, “that it is in the Boards’ interest to improve the approval process for residents and make it welcoming and easy, while staying within the strict guidelines that we have…because we are a historic district.”
Resolve to Allow Conditional Ice Skating on the Wee Wah Lake – The idea of allowing all Village Taxpayers to access the Wee Wah lake via the Wee Wah Park property for ice skating was discussed.  Skating would need to be authorized by both the DPW Superintendent and the Chief of Police (for safety reasons). Discussion centered around safety and the proximity of skating to ice fishing, which is also permitted on Wee Wah Lake.  The idea of allowing skating on Tuxedo Lake, to launch from the Tuxedo Club Boathouse, was also briefly discussed, but DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss advised that it would take a long time for the ice to become thick enough there to safely support skating.  Ultimately it was agreed that skating on the Wee Wah would be allowed and that a safety pole equipped with a throw-rope and ladder would be kept close by in case of emergency. 
The Board then adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of discussing Village employees, a Collective Bargaining Agreement, a legal matter and Contractor Agreements. 

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 15, 2021

Trustees met on December 15, 2021 at 6:30pm.

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law #3 of 2021 – A Local Law to Amend Village Law Related to Site Plan Approval: 
Because the draft law has changed within the last seven days, it must be re-noticed before the hearing can take place.  Therefore, Mayor McFadden suggested they continue the hearing until the January 19 Board of Trustees meeting and the Board voted unanimously in favor of doing so.

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law #4 of 2021 – A Local Law to Amend Local Law to Revise Dock and Boat Sizes on All Village Lakes:
This law has yet to be drafted.  Mayor McFadden suggested that they close the public hearing and cancel any further hearings until the law existed in draft form.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of doing so.

Public Hearing – Draft Local Law #5 of 2021 – A Local Law to Amend Village Law Related to Accessing to The Village:
There were no comments from the public and Mayor McFadden stated that it was going to be his recommendation that the Board vote on the law during their regular meeting.  With that in mind, the Board voted unanimously in favor of closing the public hearing.

The regular meeting was called to order at 7pm.

Mayors Comments:
Mayor McFadden began by wishing everyone happy holidays.  He expressed his gratitude to Justin DeCristofaro of Haugland Energy for his assistance with the installation of holidays lights as well as both John Ledwith and Jeff Voss/the DPW team for time and effort pulling it all together. 

Reports:
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report
Click here to view the Police Report


Click here and here to view reports detailing the proposed new traffic pattern for the intersection of Route 17 and East Village Road.  This will involve the removal of the blinking red light on Rt.17 near the entrance of the Village and the installation of a new traffic light just to the north which will align with East Village Road.  Reconfiguration and re- alignment of the entrance to Tuxedo Road may be required and having traffic flow in a one-way pattern has been proposed.  As Route 17 is a State owned road, the Village and the Town have little to do with the changes that may occur there however, they can object to them if they see fit.  Chief Conklin advised the Board that he believed the proposed pattern would be safer for motorists.  Trustee Brooke commented that he did not see the point in fixing things that were not broken and that he personally did not see the purpose in another stoplight along Route 17. 
Trustee Shaw suggested that the additional light would create traffic issues, noting that there were a lot of cars that traveled through there and it would have to be timed appropriately with the light by the Post Office.
Trustee Sherer commented that he did not believe he had enough information to voice an opinion.  Based on the Chiefs comments the proposed new pattern could improve safety however he felt that Trustee Shaw made a strong point about traffic. 
Trustee Kasker suggested that they ask the State DOT for further detail regarding the rationale behind their proposal. 
On another note, the Chief noted that the Department had been experiencing internet connectivity issues between the front and back Gates.  Although the connection in the Main Gate remains viable, they have been losing connectivity with the South Gate on a regular basis and whenever this happens, they have to station and officer there to oversee the traffic.  He suggested that Village should explore a secondary, back-up system.  The Mayor suggested that while Optimum is the only internet option in Town and the Village has had issues with getting them to come and examine the aging infrastructure, the communications committee has done a good job in identifying  a possible new vendor. He further noted that later in the evening an independent consultant would be providing them with a brief presentation that would likely be relevant to this situation. 
Click here to view the Engineering Project Report
Click here to view Engineer Westin and Sampsons’ conceptual plan for the relocation of the DPW, Village Office, Court and Village Hall. 
Click here to view the litigation report
Liaison Reports – Trustee Kasker reported that he had attended a Fire Commissioners’ meeting the week prior where they had spoken about fire hydrants.   Using a list of flow measurements (detailing both pressure and gallons per minute) for 2019 as compared to 2014 he and his daughter will be entering those  hydrants that flow over 500 gallons per minute into an App that is utilized by the department to help determine which hydrants they should use.  

Committee Reports – On Behalf of the Climate Smart Committee Jim Hays provided the Board with some general information about global warming and climate change, suggesting that there are many unknowns when it comes to the future but that the direction in which things are heading suggests that there will  be great hardships to people living on this planet if greenhouse gas emissions cannot be drastically lowered by mid-century.  In order for this to happen, everyone will have to get involved in the effort.  “It’s not anymore as it used to be, just buying a car that gets better milage or insulating your house.  It has to be a more transformative change.  We have to replace fossil fuels with electricity which is generated by solar energy either through solar panels, windmills or hydroelectric facilities,” he stated.  “The Mayor has recommended that maybe we should build a solar farm of panels somewhere in the Park and use that to electricity the Village.  That’s a possibility.  He’s asked Trustee Scherer to chair a committee to investigate this and he is working with the Climate Smart Committee on that.”  He further indicated that there were other potential ways to electrify the Village with solar energy aside from building a solar farm and that they would investigate these and follow up by providing the Board with recommendations.  The Committee, which is relatively small, has been working on a greenhouse gas inventory for the year 2018.  With the help of John Ledwith, Jeff Voss and Chief Conklin they have been able to collect enough data to measure and estimate the Greenhouse gas emissions by Government operations and now they will move on to the residences, the school and the Club. Hopefully the inventory will be completed in the early part of 2022 and the committee will be able to come back to the Board with a report detailing where the greenhouse gasses in the Village are coming from, what can be done about it and how they can be reduced.  “We do need more people,” he noted “so I hope anybody who is listening and wants to get involved will get in touch with me.”  There is a Facebook page and information has also been posted to the Village website and through these two things they are hopeful that more people will join the cause.  
Reporting on behalf of the Communications Committee , Maureen Coen indicated that the committee was recommending that the Village hire an independent expert to advise them as to the most effective and efficient way to improve communication networks, principally cellphone service and internet connectivity.  They believe this area requires particular expertise and knowledge and the Village cannot simply rely on vendors to make proposals.  They are recommending Walter Cooper, who has been involved in the business for over 35 years and has quite an impressive resume. (Walters’ resume can be found on the Village website for anyone who is interested.). His fee is $130 per hour plus expenses and based on similar situations he estimates the fees will total between $8,000 and 12,000 in total.  Mr. Cooper was present on Zoom and proceeded to provide the Board with a brief overview of the services he could provide if hired, including full investigation of a number of possible solutions and opportunities and how to effectively balance these for the best possible results.
The Mayor wondered if it might be a good idea to send Mr. Cooper a scope of work prior to hiring him.  He further suggested that acceptance of this scope should be a condition to the Boards’ approval of the hire.
Mr. Cooper agreed that this would be a good idea.
Trustee Brooke suggested that in addition to a scope of work, the Village needed to determine the definition of the problem they were trying to solve.  There are potential security and hardwiring issues as outlined by the Chief earlier as well as quality of communication problems.  Having a comprehensive framework will allow them to better evaluate the suggestions that are brought forth either from Mr. Cooper or any of the potential vendors. 
Trustee Scherer agreed reiterating that it was important to clearly identify the issues, whether they be public safety,  quality of cell service or whatever.  Following some further discussion with regard to fiber optics, the Board thanked Mr. Cooper for his time and he dropped off the call.  The Mayor  then indicated that the Board would entertain a resolution to hire him further on in the agenda.
On behalf of the Welcome Committee Bryna Pomp reported that she and committee co-chair Pam Breeman had composed a letter that would be going to the first resident to whom they had been introduced through a broker along with a beautiful plant arrangement.  They will continue to welcome everyone they are introduced to in this maner and are asking that brokers and/or the Village Office to please keep them in the loop when somebody closes on a house so that they can formally welcome them in this way. 
Click here to view the full Welcome Committee Report.

Public Comments:
Jay Reichgott commented that he had reviewed the preliminary plans for the relocation of the DPW/Village office and had a couple of thoughts to offer.  First, document discusses possibly having to move further north in order to get enough land for the proposed relocation, but  most of the land to the north of the current boundary is 100-year flood plain, so there are some complications there.  Secondly, this area is a well-known and well used public park.  “We all know that there is some perhaps friction between the Town and the Village that we will have to work through.  Let me say that I will be happy to help liaison that but also when we are looking at landscaping and all of that…it’s the back side of the DPW, but it’s the front side of the park.”
Mayor McFadden responded that it was his understanding that the current configuration did not infringe on the parking lot or the baseball field, but he had been unaware of the flood plain and he would bring this to the attention of the engineers.  He further stated that he would love to work with Mr. Reichgott on this as a liaison to the Town.  “It’s a very exciting opportunity,” he stated.  “Just to give everyone an idea of the timeframe…this would be a 2023/24 kind of thing I would think.  We would first have to declare that the DPW and Village Office land could be sold or modified.  Then it would be the costing of the building and whether it is even possible to do, we don’t know.  I am very excited about it, but it’s a long way away.”
Mr. Reichgott noted that one thing that was missing from the park was functioning restrooms and that perhaps there would be a way to work those into the plan.

Consent Agenda:
Trustee Kasker asked that the following items be removed from the consent agenda:

  • Approve the Contractor Vehicle Registration at $29.95 for multiple vehicles with commercial plates.  Contractor vehicles without commercial plates are $29.95 each additional vehicle
  • Approve the 2021 WWBC membership and guest pass fees for 2022 season and approve accepting donations for the park renovation. 

 

They were removed and added to the regular agenda under the heading old business.
The other items on the consent agenda were then unanimously approved.

New Business:
Approve two months of services from QuickBooks to a. transfer voucher system from Excel to QuickBooks, b. transfer village budget from Excel to QuickBooks, and c., Organize Chart of Accounts – Following some discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the service.
Discuss hiring communication consultant Walter Cooper- The Board voted unanimously in favor of hiring Walter Cooper to work directly with the Communications Committee pending the review of his references, approval of the Village scope of work and other items based on the strategy that the Village has in mind for their communications system at an amount not to exceed $12,000.   Additionally, Trustee Kasker was replaced by Trustee Shaw as liaison. 
Resolution imposing a proof of vaccination requirement in municipal facilities – Followingsome discussion, the Board voted in favor of adopting this resolution which follows the Governors’ recent Executive Order. In lieu of requiring proof of vaccination, they have chosen to require that all individuals over the age of two wear face masks when in municipal buildings.  Trustee Shaw abstained. 
Resolution approving the purchase of pressure relief valve – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the DPW purchase of a pressure relief valve at a cost of $3,498.00.

Old Business:
Approve the Contractor Vehicle Registration at $29.95 for multiple vehicles with commercial plates.  Contractor vehicles without commercial plates are $29.95 each additional vehicle -
Chris Kasker asked for clarification as to the definition of a contractor vehicle.
Mayor McFadden explained that these were vehicles belonging to landscapers and independent contractors hired by residents.  Vendors such as Amazon, UPS, SOS, School Busses etc. will not be charged.  Trustee Kasker stated that he understood that it was a nominal fee but the Village has never charged for entry before and he was not in favor of it.  The Board then voted 3-1 in favor of approving the fees.  Trustee Brooke suggested they re-evaluate the fees in a few months and revise things if necessary.  It was agreed that they would do this. 
Approve the 2021 WWBC membership and guest pass fees for 2022 season and approve accepting donations for the park renovation – Trustee Brooke noted that he had on several occasions requested a budget for the Beach Club but had not received one to date.  “It seems to me that having a sense of a budget would be important to look at fees, because we are also going to be making a significant contribution to improve the facility at some point…and I just don’t have a sense of the numbers.”
The Mayor responded that the WWB Committee had not presented a budget as part of the resolution that was accepted by majority vote at the November meeting. 
“We accepted a resolution to hire NY Pools,” interjected Trustee Kasker.  “We didn’t accept their memo.”
The Mayor agreed that it could be interpreted this way.  He went on to say that memberships in the year prior had brought in $30,000.  The Village knows that they need to match this number in order to cover the cost of the new pool manager.  The committee debated whether or not they should increase the rates at a cost of inflation.  These rates were proposed in the Committee memo. During the November meeting, the concern that members would be paying more money for fewer services was repeatedly raised and as a result the Mayor went back to the committee and proposed that they revert to the same fees that were charged in the summer of 2021.  They were trying to “diffuse the shock of the change” while maintaining the membership and level of service. “I don’t particularly feel the need for a budget but I certainly feel that we need to be addressing this along the way over the next couple of months because if we don’t receive membership fees or if the Hamlet people don’t want to come in, there could be an issue there.  It’s pretty straight forward,”  stated the Mayor. 
Trustee Brooke indicated that not having seen the WWBC budget, he did not know how much they had spent on lifeguards but he intuitively assumed that adding a new service would increase costs and that these will be existing costs.  “I also believe in principal that the Village has a resource here that they should make a contribution to that is significant to fix up the Wee Wah.  Given the fact that you are making a larger contribution and it’s from tax revenues, my belief is that the size of the Beach Club should be increased to potentially include every member of the Village.  We improve it.  We use it more.  It will be a more robust community resource.  I can accept that 2022 is a transition year.  The question is going to come up as to what kind of a contribution we as a Village want to make to the Wee Wah Club and I have no way of trying to dimensionalize that number.”
The Mayor responded that he agreed that in the upcoming budget year they should consider making a contribution of taxpayer money that would allow all Village residents to go for free. In terms of renovations, the committee has received proposals from several landscapers to do a low impact redesign of the park and that is a separate issue that will require donations and fundraising.  None of this in the budget for this first year and therefore, they must charge the people the membership fee.
Trustee Brooke indicated that he understood this and that this next year would be a transition.  “I think that in principal because it is a community resource and the community includes Village residents and Town residents who have been around that, it is of value of us to improve that facility. If the interim solution is to keep the dues the same and move forward, I am fine with it.  I am merely saying that I want to address what the issue is in the spring for the summer of 2023.”
The Mayor agreed.
Jay Reichgott commented that he felt it was important to keep in mind that there are two entities here that were getting conflated a lot.  There is the Village of Tuxedo Park Facility, which is open to all Village residents to use with certain restrictions and then there is the swim club, which is the organization that possesses the license to run a swimming beach during swimming seasons.  Those are separate things.  Improving the Park is a Village responsibility, just like improving the Racetrack or any other Village facility.  That needs to be separated from swim operations.”
“Right, and it is,” replied the Mayor.  “Because you have your membership fees for running the swim club and then we are also accepting donations for the improvement of the park.  That could be anywhere from a new bathroom to a community center or a community gathering spot. The third is the Village Board during the budgeting process allocating resources to the park for other smaller issues.  They are separate and they are organic.  We might calculate that we need to put in $15,000 in order for Village residents to go free and that is going to be separate from raising money to award to a landscape designer if we decide to do that.”
Mr. Reichgott countered that the Village could decide that they were going to invest Village funds into the beautification of the property. 
“Let’s say we raised $500,000 and the price that we agreed on for the renovations was $750,000,” suggested the Mayor.  “We could do a bond or a low interest loan for that, yes.”
Moving on, Trustee Kasker asked for clarification as to what services people would receive with their membership.  “Is it just swimming?” he asked “I can go use the park whenever I want if I am not a member…I just can’t go swimming?”
“All of that is posted,” replied Mayor McFadden “I would be happy to go over it with you”
“Did the Board approve that?” he asked.  “Maybe just some housekeeping…”
Trustee Brooke suggested that enforcement at the facility would be done by the Wee Wah Beach Club people who manage the it during Beach Club hours.
It was pointed out to him by Trustee Kasker and Mr. Reichgott that this type of enforcement was gone now.
“It is not gone,” retorted the Mayor.    
“As I understand the current arrangement, the Wee Wah Beach Club…that entity….they are not part of the management program for this year.”
“Correct,” affirmed Mayor McFadden.
“The Board of Trustees has not approved eligibility to be a member and has not discussed the services provided at the beach and that is all I am saying,” stated Trustee Kasker.
“Here is how it is currently broken down and being sold,” stated the Mayor.  “The types of memberships that were offered last year and the guest passes are the same.  The hours are the same.  Only between those hours, which is called the swimming membership, are there lifeguards and only then can members swim.  We made an arrangement with the DPW to do all of the maintenance…cleaning of the equipment, cleaning and restocking the bathroom, emptying garbage and things that were a concern to the Wee Wah Beach Club Executive Committee.  We are working with the NY Pool management company as to how to check people in.  That was a position that was available under the WWBC.  There was a checker.  We have been looking at a variety of things including but not limited to photo IDS that are checked by lifeguards or a card reading machine.  But we are basically dealing with the honor system.  Also the fact that you have people having to register their vehicles to come into the Village at $10 per car…we are not concerned about people getting in who are not registered.  That’s another layer of protection.  I guess you are talking about people sneaking in….”
“I don’t think we are worried about people from outside of the Park who are not members sneaking into the Park to go swimming,” replied Mr. Reichgott.  “I think, and this is only my personal concern, people who are Park residents who feel that they don’t need to be a member to go and swim.”
“Well, shame on us,” replied the Mayor.  “Right now there has been a change that we should discuss so that it is on the record.  For as long as I can remember here after the WWBC season closed, the gate was locked, the bathrooms were closed and the electricity was turned off.  For the first time since we removed the WWBC references from the Village Code, which we had to do, I decided to make an announcement that it is now open from sunrise to sunset.  The response has been fantastic.  People are there all of the time…loving it.  It’s been great!  Am I concerned that there will be some people who don’t care to swim and just want to go in the mornings between sunrise and 1pm and have a picnic?  Hey…good for them! Anyone can go free right now!  But if you want to swim, you have to pay up.  That is the current strategy and we are not having any difficulty raising memberships.  I have yet to have been able to contact the Hamlet people.  I asked Bonny and others for their email addresses so that I can invite them but she they claim they have a legal opinion and can’t share the emails.  I would love to send them an email tomorrow and say sign up!”
“There’s a whole lot of ideas and thoughts,” stated Trustee Kasker, “and I think it’s our responsibility as a Board to codify them in policy and a resolution at some point such as membership eligibility and what it entails.”
“Let’s do it tonight,” replied the Mayor.
“Ok, Wee Wah Park and Bathing Beach is the name being used and that was never approved by the Board so let’s discuss that,” stated Trustee Kasker.   
“Chris, it’s a lot of micro-management, but let’s do it anyway,” replied Mayor McFadden.
“I think it’s oversight,” Trustee Kasker responded.
The name of the entity was then briefly debated and discussed.  Trustees Kasker and Brooke were not in favor of using the word “bathing” in the name, however Mayor McFadden argued that it was critical to somehow distinguish the beach and swimming area  from the rest of the Park.  He called for a vote.  Trustees Shaw and Scherer were in favor of the name as proposed. 
Trustee Brooke abstained commenting he did not want to use the word bathing.
“Why can’t we just call it Wee Wah Beach?” inquired Trustee Kasker.
“The vote has been taken,” snapped Mayor McFadden. 
Moving on to membership eligibility, the Board voted unanimously in favor of keeping things the same as they had been the year before, restricting the Hamlet membership to those who had joined in the summer of 2019 and after.  There will be new membership eligibility for anyone living in the Hamlet who can establish that the TPA employed their direct ancestors.
Trustee Kasker asked for clarification as to whether first responders were still eligible for membership as they had been in the summer of 2021.  The answer was yes.
Mayor McFadden called for a vote.  Trustees Shaw and Scherer voted yes.  Trustees Kasker and Brooke did not vote.  Mayor McFadden moved on. 

Retro-actively authorize the Mayor to apply for a building permit to build a median in front of the Booth – Although construction appears to be complete, the Board did not authorize it to take place on Village property.  Trustee Kasker has requested that they do so retroactively. 
“It’s not on Village property.  It’s in the Town.” stated Mayor McFadden.
“It is Village owned property in the Town,” corrected Trustee Kasker.
“It is outside of the Village borders but it is owned by the Village of Tuxedo Park” concurred Mr. Reichgott.
“Which is why you got a Town of Tuxedo of Tuxedo Building permit…because you own it,” Trustee Kasker added.
“It’s why you didn’t need a memorandum of understanding or an easement from the Town to use a Town road,” explained Mr. Reichgott.
“Thank You Gentlemen,” stated Mayor McFadden.
“I’m just trying to keep us legal,” Trustee Kasker stated.
Following some rather contentious bickering between the Mayor and Trustee Kasker regarding the ownership of the property and the correct permitting process for the work that had been done there, the Board voted in favor of authorizing the Mayor to construct three garden medians in the areas surrounding the booth.

Audit of Claims :
Elizabeth Doherty read aloud the audit of claims.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving them.  “I am going to take this opportunity to make a comment on Chriss’ statement into the record at the last meeting where he claimed that we were $400,000 over budget and not even 6 months into it and gave us a list of 11 line items.  It was a false statement.  We have been working with the accountants and Elizabeth and my budget director and with John.  It is not true statement.  We are not overbudget by $400,000 and I want to make that clear for the record.”
“I never said we were $400,000 over budget,” Trustee Kasker responded.  “ I said there were 11 line items on the budget where the expenses exceeded the budget.  I stand by that statement.  I have had discussions with Elizabeth.  I have had discussions with attorneys at NICOM and I understand that some of those lines were not appropriated lines and others were.  So there are still line items that this Board approved appropriations for that have exceeded budget items.  My only point in bringing that up was because the Mayor kept saying we had to pay for the license plate reader because it was not budgeted for and there are plenty of things not budgeted for that we are spending money on and I asked what made those line items different.  Further, the fact that nobody on the Board even questioned it when I said it and we still had a continuation of a discussion on money just goes to show that we are not where we should be as far as awareness of the budget.”
“Actually,” responded the Mayor, “I was so shocked  by the fact that you would say that in a public meeting rather than contact us privately beforehand.  You made a big statement like that and you put it on record that we are incompetent.  The reason I didn’t say anything was that I was in shock.  You claim to be a team player.  You made that overtly at a meeting intentionally to embarrass me and others and you were doing it because you were mad about the WWBC vote.  If you are a team player you bring those items to our attention before a meeting, let us look at them and give us a chance to do what we did over the last few weeks so we wouldn’t have this kind of back and forth.”
“I will continue to participate the way I feel like I need to participate based on the environment that I find myself in,” Trustee Kasker stated.  “I stand by my statement then.  I stand by my statement now.  You can insinuate how I was feeling and why I said whatever I said but I am the only one who knows.”
“But Chris,” interjected Trustee Scherer, “we need to have public discussion for sure, but we are allowed to converse, keeping in mind the sunshine laws, beforehand…and it would make potentially these meetings more constructive and I think that would be helpful to progressing the Village’s business.  For example, we wasted a bunch of time tonight candidly talking about stuff that is not that important or could have been easily resolved before the meeting.  That’s the point.”
“I agree,” replied Trustee Kasker. “I sent everyone my thoughts this morning and I said if anyone wants to discuss, give me a call.  Nobody replied.”
“Chris, with all due respect,” countered Trustee Scherer, “at the last meeting you did not do that.  At this meeting you did it 6, maybe 8 hours in advance of the meeting?  I have a full time job as do many other people on this call.”
“Josh, I do things in priority too, just like you do,” responded Trustee Kasker.  “This has been a sprint all week long and I did it as early as I could.”
“I have sent you more than 15 emails since the last meeting asking for your thoughts on important information including rates for the WWBC,” stated Mayor McFadden.  “You didn’t respond to a single one.  And that’s what you do.  You don’t talk to me during the month.  You prefer to do it here in the meeting.  You don’t want to be a team player.  Just like Josh said, we have wasted hours.”
“We are wasting hours right now,” suggested Trustee Kasker.
“One last statement,” said Mayor McFadden. “You stand by your statement…I stand by the Village recording of last months’ meeting and what was written in TPFYI and I quoted you and that is what you said.”
“I never said we were over budget by $400,000.  I said there were 11 line items where expenses exceeded budget.  11 line items is not over budget,” Trustee Kasker responded.

Budget Transfers:
Elizabeth Doherty read aloud the budget transfers. They were unanimously approved.  Mayor McFadden announced that the changes were the result of their meeting with the Village accountant, the Budget Director and others to clarify and take a deeper dive into the comment that was made at the last meeting by Trustee Kasker. He then read aloud from the TPFYI coverage of that meeting, quoting Trustee Kasker, who in turn argued that what he actually said did not mean what the Mayor was suggesting it did. 
Rather than to respond, the Mayor closed the meeting and the Board entered into an executive session to discuss employment matters of two specific persons, the PBS collective bargaining agreement, a legal matter and a safety matter. 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting December 15, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 17, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, November 17 at 6:30pm.  Trustee Brooke was absent.

Public Hearing – Local Law No. 3 of 2021 – A Local Law to review site plans in the Village of Tuxedo Park: Mayor McFadden met with the Planning Board on November 10 to discuss the Draft law.  As a result of that meeting, Planning Board attorney Rick Golden drafted the Planning Board comments and also provided the BOT with a new Daft version of the law.  The changes are substantive and the Board cannot continue the discussion until the new draft has been posted for the public to review.  Therefore, the public hearing was continued to December 15 at 6:30pm.

Public Hearing – Local Law No. 4 of 2021 – A Local Law to revise dock and boat sizes on Wee Wah Lake in the Village of Tuxedo Park:  Chris Hansen, who has been drafting the law BOT review, has not completed it to the point where it can be shared.  Therefore, the public hearing was continued to December 15 at 6:40pm.

Mayor’s Comments: 
Mayor McFadden began by thanking residents Jim, Chris, Rachel, Odetta and George (last names were omitted) for volunteering for the CSLAP program.  This is a very important program and with the help of these five volunteers, the Village will be able to keep it going.  He also thanked the DPW for special projects they have recently completed including: a mailbox stand, a variety of construction and final touches to the booth and refurbishing of the West Lake Rd/Turtle Brook Rd triangle.  He further expressed gratitude to the Police Department for all of their input regarding the new automatic gate opening system, Denise Spalthoff for her work brining the pay on-line system live and Elizabeth Doherty for the work she did with getting EPA penalties waived.

Reports & Minutes:
Click here to view the DPW report
Click here to view the Construction report
Click here to view the Cellular Communications & WiFi report
Click here to view the Court report
Click here to view the Water report
Click here to view the Police report
Click here to view the Legal report

Public Comments on Agenda Items:
Bonnie Takeuchi expressed concern with the recent proposal from an aquatic management company to run the Wee Wah Beach Club, which was widely circulated by the Village at the beginning of the week.  Specifically, she focused on the services that are being offered and their costs noting that in 2020, for a season that began on July 5, the Club had employed 3 full-time workers for every hour they were open (a lifeguard, a membership checker and a Covid monitor) and their total payroll was $20,591. In 2021 they were able to open Memorial Day weekend and maintained 2 full-time employees for every hour they were open with the Covid monitor present most, but not all, of the time.  Payroll totaled $24,947.  She suggested that these numbers might help the Board during their discussion about the proposal later in the evening.  “Members of my Board and I will be here throughout the meeting,” she stated, “and when you get to the part at which the WWBC is up for discussion, if you have any questions, we would certainly like to be called on and if we have the information with us we can give it to you and if we don’t, we can certainly get it to you.”
Village resident and WWBC Vice President Jennifer Darling commented that she wanted to briefly run through the position statement that had been sent to the Board  by the WWBC the night before.  She further indicated that the WWBC was not going to take a position on the hiring of an aquatic management company, which she noted  was “probably not a bad idea for many reasons.” After careful review, they do however have significant issues with the proposal that has been brought forward.  The first issue is that it appears that Club will be receiving significantly fewer services for a lot more money.  She noted that Bonnie Takeuchi had just provided some of the payroll numbers, which  helped to illustrate this point.  Secondly, they believe that maintaining a limited staff of only one lifeguard with no support staff would be a safety issue. Historically the club has employed 2 or 3 fulltime people during operating hours.  The proposal, which the WWBC Board acquired via a FOIL, outlined a plan under which the one lifeguard on duty would be expected to do everything else in addition to watching the water including but not limited to, cleaning tables, enforcing property-wide rules, managing garbage, checking in members, managing guests and guest passes, weeding and raking and cleaning the bathrooms.  Because a lifeguard should not take their eyes off the water if there anyone in or near the swimming area, this means that the other work can only be done when and if there nobody utilizing the beach.  For this reason alone,  they have an issue with the amount of money the company is looking to charge for the service .  “Less services…more money…that is really hard for us to get past,” she commented.   They also had some issues with the proposed membership fees.  “We worked really hard to keep the base family membership fee below $300 to make it affordable.  It’s not a fancy club where there are lots of perks.  It’s really just servicing the beach.  We (WWBC) also have guest passes that are much more affordable than what has been proposed thus far.  $25 per person for guest passes is a sweet idea, but we feel that it will hinder a lot of people from coming.” 
In response to Mrs. Darling’s indication that the WWBC had FOILED the proposal, Mayor McFadden stated that he had sent it to them directly of his own accord,  further suggesting that he had not even know until afterwards that it had been FOILed.  “You can continue to say that it was because it was FOILed…but that’s just not the case,” he commented, reiterating that their FOIL request had nothing to do with his having provided them with the document. 
Mrs. Darling went on to point out that the insurance provision in the proposal had full liability on the Village.  “For me as a lawyer this is untenable because the way it is currently set up, we (WWBC) have our 3 million dollars and you  (The Village) have your policy and you have a full indemnification from the beach.  There was no indemnification from them.  There was a full indemnification from the Village to the pool company and there was no obligation for them to carry any insurance what-so-ever.  If there is an issue, that is not a situation that the Village would want to be in,”  she stated.  Finally, she mentioned that within the proposal there was no proposed cost for setting up either raft or the ropes and these things in conjunction with a few others could equate to hidden expenses that would drive the overall cost up.  “I don’t think it’s necessarily $31,000 to run the beach for the summer.  I think it’s incrementally more and to do it safely, even more than that.”
Ava Rattazzi commented that she had been the lifeguard at the WWBC this past summer.  “Not only as a lifeguard, but also as a Beach Club employee, I know how much responsibility is needed from each staff member,” she stated.  “All of the responsibility that you are planning to put on just the lifeguard is unrealistic.  The other lifeguard or lifeguards that will be hired will also be around my age and having just one person in charge of completing all the tasks by themselves, some of which require more than 1 person to complete is unheard of and unsafe.  A lifeguards’ priority is to stay on the waterfront and make sure that there are no problems.” She further suggested that if there were to be only one lifeguard on week days and two on weekends, as per the proposal, the insurance company may not wish to insure the property because one worker can be a liability issue.  “Since a lifeguard cannot take their eyes off the water, they will not know what is going on up in the beach and picnic areas,” she cautioned.  “If somebody were drowning, the lifeguard would need at least one other person to help them with a backboard and they would also need somebody to call 911…so there are some safety issues with that too.”
Mayor McFadden asked Ms. Rattazzi whether she would be interested in working at the Beach Club again in 2022.
She responded that she would.
The Mayor then stated that he felt they would be able to submit her name to the company for consideration.  “I’m sure they would be happy to have somebody with your experience,” he added. 
Marc Citrin stated that the one of the things about Tuxedo Park that makes it unique is the importance it places on its’ history.  “So I stand before you and I ask you why is it that this proposal is looking to extinguish The WWBC, a beloved organization that has existed since 1934 serving both the community of the Park and the Town?  Certainly, from my perspective, it isn’t because the WWBC hasn’t lived up to its’ obligations.  When the Village asked the Beach Club to provide a police officer at the North Gate in 2020, we were more than willing to do it.  When the Village asked the Beach Club to ensure that all Covid protocols were followed in 2020 and 2021, we certainly did.  In terms of the financials, you heard from Jennifer and Bonnie that this proposal from NYS Pools simply doesn’t add up.  You’re getting less and paying more.  So why is it that we are looking to extinguish the WWBC by this proposal?   Well, with 87 years of institutional history comes 87 years of memory and I point out to the Board that in 2007 Mayor McFadden made a proposal to the Board of Trustees to extinguish the Beach Club in favor of a Department of Parks and Recreation.  I have a copy of that proposal in front of me, submitted by you Mayor, and dated 12/12/07.  Obviously, in looking back, that proposal was not adopted.  In 2009 another set of proposals were made to extinguish the WWBC and the interesting thing about those proposals is that the bidders, for the sum of $36,000, not only offered a guard for the beach, but a gate guard, a beach manager and an assistant manager…all full time for $6,000 more than NYS Pools is offering 1 guard during the week and 2 guards on the weekends…and that was 12 years ago.  Prices have only gone up!  $6,000 more than what is being offered today.  So I submit to you that the Beach Club has provided service for 87 years…faithful service, good service, dependable service…and as I said to you on August 18 and October 25, we are more than willing to continue to provide that service with good faith negotiations for the summer of 2022…and we stand ready to do the same today.”
Aoife Geoghegan commented that she was surprised at the Boards’ decision in selecting an outside party to run the Beach Club when the current Wee Wah Board has done so successfully and there has been a relationship there for 87 years.  To the best of her knowledge, there have been no issues or anything that would warrant the break of this long-standing relationship and something like this could cause bad relations between the Hamlet and the Village.   Many of the Village residents are not happy with what has been proposed but rather are quite happy with the Beach Club as it stands.  She does not believe that the decision is representative of the majority. She is also surprised that the information was released on such short notice and further noted that the WWBC Board members had not been given adequate time to prepare for this meeting.  She is also surprised by the massive increase that has been proposed for guest passes and the limits that have been put upon them when it is well known that people go there to have a good time and socialize and have family get-togethers in groups larger than 10.  “I’m just surprised by the whole thing and very very disheartened that this is the way that it is going.  It almost seems like it’s a personal thing at this stage.  It’s very sad after 87 years of tradition with nothing that has warranted this.”
On a different note, Jake Matthews inquired as to whether or not he could comment or ask a question about Local Law No. 4 of 2021, which pertains to dock and boat sizes on Wee Wah Lake.  He wondered where he could get more information regarding what was being proposed, further noting that he was unclear as to whether what was being proposed would apply only to Wee Wah Lake, or if it would also apply to Pond #3 and Tuxedo Lake.
Mayor McFadden responded that the hearing had been tabled until December 15 at 6:30 as the law had not yet been drafted.  “It’s still under consideration by Chris Hansen.  It’s going to be a comprehensive law for all the bodies of water , but right now there is nothing to look at.” 
Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hanson commented that her Board had been working with the Mayor and Trustees to further revise the suggested distribution of the responsibilities of the Planning Board and the Board of Architectural Review.  Noting that there were two items relating to this on the agenda, she suggested that if a survey was going to be done of prior applicants that it might be productive to have both the Planning Board and the BAR take a quick look at the survey…not to tilt it one way or the other….but to ensure that it was reflective of the processes that have been in place.  With regard to a comment about stopping engineer payments for BAR reviews, she noted that there were some on-going applications that were mid-stream that require engineering.  The Planning Board will be  meeting on December 8 to look at revisions to the law and welcome any input from the Mayor or the Trustees prior to that time.
Stuart Mcgregor commented that he felt there was nobody at the meeting who knew more about the WWBC than he did.  The Beach Club was actually started in 1936 and both of his Grandfathers were instrumental in starting what was known as The Tuxedo Community Club with the help of Hans Christian Sonne, George Amory and George Grant Mason.  His mother was the first treasurer. His aunt was a treasurer for 30-some years and he  spent his summers at the WWBC as did so many others from both the Park and the Hamlet.  “Back in 2018 I provided you with a proposal and a letter, knowing that the Beach Club was coming to an end because for 30 years it has been a source of friction between the Park and the Hamlet.  I also feel that times change.”  He went on to say that he supported the concept of what had been proposed.  “The parameters you have with respect to who can be members I believe is reasonable at this point in time.” However, he added that he was deeply disturbed by the speed and manor in which the entire thing had come about so that the Board was prepared to vote on an agreement that evening.  “One lifeguard…who is going to rake up all the goose poop in the areas along the beach as well as the picnic and activities areas?  Back in April I made the suggestion that we form a committee with the Village so that we could have a report prepared by the of the year….so that we could vote on it and know what was going to happen in 2022 instead of stringing it out as has been done for the last 10 years.  As a result, I got an email from you asking if I would be interested in being on the committee and I was.  I have intricately involved with the WWBC although not on its Board because I am not a full-time resident of the Park, although I spend all of my summers there, and have owned a house there since the 1980s.  I never heard back from you on that!  A committee of 2? I believe this is being run by you and I am not sure there isn’t another agenda!  Certainly, there needs to be much more done with respect to changing what is now a club that operates with no cost to the Village what-so-ever.  A premium of $25 a guest?  That’s absolutely incredible!”
Carol Anne Nicholson stated that she was opposed to part of the new gate system plan, specifically the idea of allowing residents unlimited registration.  “I think you will find households with a very large number of family-owed vehicles.”  She went on to express her disappointment with how concerns with the WWBC had been handled.  “Since the Mayor and the Board of Trustees like to tally ‘Yays & Nays’, please put me down in the ‘Nay’ column for both the gate and the NYS Pool proposal.”
Elizabeth Cotnoir noted that she agreed with Mrs. Nicholson on both points.  She wanted to know what the benefit to residents would be from making the changes at the WWBC.  She echoed concerns over the decline in services, further commenting “the pool management proposal itself says ‘please note lifeguard will not be permitted to perform any duties that interfere with their ability to supervise patrons in the lake or beach area.’  It was brought up before that the lifeguard, who needs to keep their eyes on the beach and on the water, would also be responsible for people coming and going as well as the various other duties assumed by multiple staff members in the past.  With the Front Gate, I have the same feeling.  I’m not really sure how it benefits the resident.  It’s still one lane.  We would still need to wait behind, like we did this afternoon, a visitor while they receive their directions.  I know from experience with EZ Pass that people go fast.  I’m not really sure what the hurry is. So, I am actually against both the Front Gate EZ pass service and the WWBC for these reasons.” 
Sally Sonne commented that she agreed with both Mrs. Nicholson and Ms. Cotnoir.  She offered her gratitude to all the people who had worked at the WWBC over the past two summers, nothing that they had worked extremely hard and done a great job and her view deserved to be both thanked and congratulated.  “There are problems and I think we do some changes,” she stated, but expressed concern with the management group that had been proposed further wondering what advantage they would bring to the table.  “They don’t know the players.  They don’t know the people.  They don’t know us.  They don’t know the place and I think this could really result in many problems.  We’ll just be forking out a lot of extra money which maybe we could be using to enhance some of the facilities at the club.  I’m just against it.”
JP Rattazzi expressed concern over the cost and limit that had been proposed for guest passes at the WWBC.  “A lot of the people who go to the Wee Wah are people who can’t afford alternate options like putting a pool in their back yard,” he stated.  He suggested that in charging $25 per guest, many larger families would be outpriced and that it seemed as though the message that was coming from this price increase was that perhaps these groups should consider swimming elsewhere.  He worries that people will be more likely to pursue other dangerous options such as unsupervised lakes in the woods or the cliffs above the Ramapo known as Bubbles, where a girl almost died two years ago. “It just seems like it isn’t in the best interest of families,” he stated.  He also wondered about the “ancestor clause” for joining that had been proposed.  “It feels like eventually that would be phased out,” he said “so that new-comers who move into the Hamlet will not be able to join the Wee Wah and eventually the Hamlet will be phased out entirely.  Raising the prices, hiring only one employee, the speed with which this proposal was circulated…it feels like a squeeze.  Not only should there have been more time but we should also understand why this is happening and if Hamlet members are going to be squeezed out, what they will they do.”
Jill Swirbul commented that both she and her husband Jason supported all of these comments and were fully against what had been proposed.  “If it aint broke, don’t fix it,” she stated. 

Consent Agenda:
Trustee Kasker asked that the following items be removed for discussion as part of the regular agenda:

  • Approve 8 hours of professional services for Cooper Arias LLP to do a pre-budget audit in preparation for the 2022-2023 budget.
  • Approve 15 additional hours for Desiree Hickey to assist Elizabeth Doherty with the backlog of billing applicants fees for the village engineer and architect
  • Approve waiving applicants fees for the village engineer and architect for several residents
  • Approve written survey of past applicants before the BAR, BZA and PB to seek constructive comments for improving the application process.
  • Authorize the Mayor to send all water bills 60-90+ days overdue to a collection agency.
  • Resolve to place a temporary short-term moratorium on applicant billing for village engineer and architect through the BAR.

The remaining items on the consent agenda were then unanimously approved. 

Regular Agenda:
Approve 8 hours of professional services for Cooper Arias LLP to do a pre-budget audit in preparation for the 2022-2023 budget – Trustee Kasker inquired to the scope of work and specifically which budget line number it would come from.  Mayor McFadden responded that this was a consent agenda item and that these things would be resolved after the meeting.  “That level of detail isn’t required for this consent agenda,” he stated.  “Would you like to make some comment about what line item you would like to see it in?  I mean, we have accounting fees…so it will come out of the accounting fees.” 
“Then why can’t we put it in the resolution?” inquired Trustee Kasker.
“Because we are not doing that level of detail in the Consent Agenda,” replied the Mayor.
“Well, I think we should,” stated Trustee Kasker.  “I want to know what I am voting for.”
“You are voting for 8 hours of professional services from Cooper Arias,” responded Mayor McFadden.
“And what are they going to be doing?  What are they going to look at?” asked Trustee Kasker.
The Mayor responded that the idea was to have them take a look at the budget now so that they could determine whether there was anything that needed to be corrected before the next budget year. 
“Because this is a transition year,” added Trustee Shaw, indicating that this was the first budget that Elizabeth Doherty would be working on. 
Following this discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this.
Approve 15 additional hours for Desiree Hickey to assist Elizabeth Doherty with the backlog of billing applicants fees for the village engineer and architect -  Trustee Kasker noted that there was 15 hours of backlog, but also included in the consent agenda was a request to do a moratorium on billing.  “We have months of backlog that we are still working on,” responded Mayor McFadden, “and moving forward we are going to stop it, so she wouldn’t be doing any billing during the moratorium.”
“She’s doing backlog through which date?” inquired Trustee Kasker.
“I don’t have the exact date,” responded Mayor McFadden. 
“It’s our job to know what we are voting on,” stated Trustee Kasker.
“I am here every day,” stated the Mayor, “talking with people, looking at these accounts.  You’re coming in from the side and saying…”
“I’m a Trustee, I’d like to know.  I have some responsibility,” Trustee Kasker asserted.
“Alright look.  You are micro-managing the process,” scolded the Mayor.  “Denise needs to catch up on billing.  Elizabeth is too busy.  I don’t know the dates!”
“When does the moratorium start?” inquired Trustee Kasker.
“We just passed it, unless you took that out too,” quipped the Mayor.
“I did…because how long does It last?” inquired Trustee Kasker.  “Is it 30 days?  45 days?”
“I don’t know exactly how many days it’s going to be,” snapped Mayor McFadden.  “Just don’t vote for it if you have a problem with it.  If you have a problem that we can’t knock it down to 5 days or 2, then just don’t vote for it.  Come on…we have to move along here.”
“We have to do the Villages work,” asserted Trustee Kasker.  “This is not that hard of a discussion.  Should we just pick a 30-day moratorium? Then we can look at it again next month.”
“No,” responded the Mayor. “I’m not going to get it done sooner than that and I am not going to lock myself into a date because I have to meet with different people.  JoAnne and John will work it out.  I’ll let you know if it’s an issue.”
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this.
Approve waiving applicants fees for the village engineer and architect for several residents -
“How much are we talking about?” inquired Trustee Kasker.  “Which residents?  Why?  We don’t waive fees without being specific.  We never do it for water bills, why would be do it for anything else?” 
Trustee Shaw suggested they table it.
“No. No. No.” stated Mayor McFadden.  “We’re going to waive these fees.”  He then asked Building Inspector John Ledwith to address it. 
Mr. Ledwith responded that there had been 3 people who received bills for professional services that exceeded what they had put in escrow.  Some of these bills called for 5 or 7 hours of engineering review time that they felt might be excessive given the fact that the applicant had submitted plans that had already been signed and stamped by either an architect or an engineer.  The Mayor added than another example had been somebody who submitted an application for a pool and a neighbor had written a letter outlining their concerns about potential noise.  The applicant responded with a letter stating that they did not feel it would be noisy.  Subsequently the engineer charged a fee for reviewing both letters.  “It’s inappropriate,” stated the Mayor.  “It’s got to be changed.  It’s the reason that people are very upset with our process.  We’re going to correct it.  We’re going to meet with the engineers and the architects and we’re going to go over it and that’s all the detail I have for you right now.”
“I appreciate that,” responded Trustee Kasker.  “I think it’s appropriate for me to have that level of detail.”
“And I would have told you if you had called me last week, or yesterday or today,” replied the Mayor. 
Trustee Kasker requested that the language in the resolution be changed to indicate that it applied specifically to three residents.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving this.
Approve written survey of past applicants before the BAR, BZA and PB to seek constructive comments for improving the application process – Trustee Kasker inquired as to who would be working on this and whether or not the Board would be able to see it before it went out.
The answer was that the Mayor would work in conjunction with Joanne Hanson, the BAR and John Ledwith would be writing the survey and then it would be sent out.  “I see no reason to bring it to the Trustees for a vote.,” stated Mayor McFadden.
“Is it going to cost any money?” wondered Trustee Kasker.
The answer was no. 
After changing the language in the resolution to identify who would be drafting the survey, the Board voted unanimously in favor of it.
Resolve to place a temporary short-term moratorium on applicant billing for village engineer and architect through the BAR – Trustee Kasker asked for a deadline on this. 
“I’m not putting a deadline on it,” replied Mayor McFadden. 
This was approved by a 3-1 vote with Trustee Kasker voting against. 
Resolve to place a temporary short-term moratorium on applicant billing for village engineer and architect through the BAR – Trustee Kasker indicated that as per a conversation he had with the Village attorney prior to the meeting, this would need to be tabled until they could have an attorney/client session to discuss. 
“So you’re not ready to send people to collection?” inquired the Mayor.
“No,” responded Trustee Kasker, “we need to have a discussion with the attorney before we do that.” 
This item was tabled.
Resolve to accept the recommendations of the Wee Wah Park Committee to hire NYS Pool Management to manage the 2022 summer swimming season for the Village and Hamlet Members – “I have heard everyone’s comments and I have taken them seriously,” indicated Mayor McFadden.  “We are only dealing tonight with hiring the firm.  We are not talking about rates, complete personnel, cost of guest fees, all those kinds of things.  In the letter that I sent to the WWBC we asked for a transition.  We assume that you are going to help us make that transition.  You brought up a bunch of very good points tonight that have opened my eyes in terms of what we would want to go back to the company for.  Several contradictions that you brought up I think were valid…we should definitely speak with NYS Pools about these things.  There’s plenty of openings in the future to set rates.  One comment that I do want to address directly is the increase in the cost of membership.  As Bonny mentioned, minimum wage has gone up and we also know that eggs and milk and gas and everything else has gone up.  There hasn’t been an increase in your membership fees for years.  It does make sense to ask for an increase.” 
“I would like an opportunity to respond since you are talking about voting on this tonight,” stated Jennifer Darling, “and from my prospective I can tell you that we have had an increase.  For us it’s a substantial increase.  Because of Covid we had to hire a Covid monitor.  We went from 2 people full-time to 3 people full-time.”
“We’re actually not going to vote on any of this tonight,” responded the Mayor.  “We are only voting on the award of the contract.”
“You’re talking about awarding the contract,” responded Mrs. Darling, “but you didn’t have it available to share with us…so I am asking if all the Trustees have even read the contract.”
“Yes of course,” replied Mayor McFadden.
“Then why was it not made available to us until 5:45pm yesterday?” she inquired. 
“One of the reasons that the committee has recommended this vendor,” stated the Mayor, “is because of their willingness to be flexible…their responsiveness.  They are located in Suffern or Mahwah.  They have excellent references.  I don’t think this is the time to micromanage their agreement.  I think it’s a great time to work with the WWBC and say ‘what have you learned that you can share with us to help improve this agreement?’ “
“We would have welcomed that opportunity,” suggested Mrs. Darling.  “You put two people on that committee.  Neither of which are Beach Club members.  Those people never reached out to us despite our standing up at prior meetings and asking for that.  The time for us to make recommendations about the number of lifeguards”
“We hope to have those conversations with you and the company,” interrupted Mayor McFadden.
“But you are awarding a contract to somebody…”
“Yes…who has told us they are very flexible, that they will talk about other personnel.”
“I don’t think you should be awarding a contract right now,” she cautioned.
“Well, I appreciate your concern,” the Mayor interrupted again.  “I feel strongly that it is a very good company and they will work with us and all of these items will be straightened out.  One thing you seem to be doing is talking down the membership.  It’s almost as though you are telling people not to join this club because it is going to be expensive and will have less services.”
“I am not saying that at all,” protested Mrs. Darling.
“Well let’s all work together to get it to a point where everyone is happy with the service,” suggested Mayor McFadden.  “Who can argue with hiring a third party company to take on all the hassle and burden and renegotiating?  We can all just go and enjoy it.  It’s going to be a real success and there’s going to be a lot of new members joining and we will work it out with your help…if you would like to give it to us, we would appreciate it.  We’ll take all of your critique and comments and suggestions.  The problems you have with the agreement…we’ll rework the agreement.  This individual is $31,000 compared to $35,000…lowest and most reliable.  I am confident after talking to this and listening to the comments that the committee made…and what’s wrong with a two person committee by the way?  All of our committees are two people.”
“You didn’t have anybody who had experience with the WWBC on the committee,” interjected Trustee Kasker.  “It’s ridiculous!  And you had volunteers that wanted to help and you didn’t bring any of them on.”
“That’s only part of the story,” argued the Mayor, “because the committee is not done.  As I said in the letter, they completed the first phase, which is recommending.  The next phase is working together for a transition.  That’s the next phase.  That’s when I would bring on other people.  You are micromanaging the committees process.”
“This is taxpayer money at the end of the day,” suggested Mrs. Darling.
“No,” responded the Mayor, “It’s not because this is going to all be raised.”
“How are you going to raise it?” asked Mrs. Darling.
“By membership…hoe do you raise it?” retorted the Mayor.
“We don’t provide services until after we get the money,” suggested Mrs. Darling.
“Yeah well…we’re going to start selling tickets immediately,” stated the Mayor. “Did you read my letter?”
“Yes I did,” replied Mrs. Darling, “but you don’t want to talk about rates tonight and yet you are going to start selling tickets immediately.”
“Listen,” retorted Mayor McFadden, “You’ve made your point.  I counted 24 or 25 people that are against it and there are 600 people in the Village.  You have 1 Trustee and 20 people who are against it.  I have to take that into consideration.  There are a lot of people who are really looking forward to it.”
“Where were they tonight?” wondered Mrs. Darling. 
“They aren’t going to come and complain,” responded the Mayor. “There were articles on TPFYI telling people to come and complain.  Everyone who wanted to complain, did it.”
“I don’t agree with that,” asserted Mrs. Darling.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” responded the Mayor, “but we are ready to vote. We have looked at all the memos and we are comfortable with the recommendation of this company.  If you want to pull back and not work with us down the road, that’s your decision.  I think that that’s not appropriate, but it’s up to you.  We would like your expertise. We would like to transition over.  That’s it.  I am not going to take any more questions on this.”
Trustee Kasker commented that he had no idea what problem they were solving in hiring this company.  “We have the Wee Wah Beach Club that has been doing this for decades.  I have no idea why we are paying somebody to do something when we have volunteers who do it for free without any complaints.  I don’t know what the extra administrative burdens are going to be.  Are we expecting Elizabeth to now collect money for the membership fees?  I don’t know.  I do want to commend the WWBC Executive Committee for reacting on a Friday 5pm email, which is what politicians do in Washington DC when they have bad news.  They dump things at 5pm on Friday.  I could not believe that this happened and I want to commend you for jumping through hoops and getting together and writing a very thorough response in just 5 days.  I can’t believe that Trustees can vote on something like this that’s going to change decades of tradition with 5 days of notice.  I think it’s a farce that this committee had no members from the WWBC.  I think that the Board has not decided on a full, comprehensive plan as to what the Wee Wah Park is going to look like and it shouldn’t vote on a contract with an outside entity until the Board either agrees or votes to have a way forward.  Last season the WWBC paid the Village $4,000 and we are now expected to pay $30,000 plus additional hidden costs that have been pointed out tonight and I don’t understand why we can’t just keep it a simple transaction of the WWBC volunteers do their thing and we get a check.  I recommend that the Park Committee be given a charter, approved by the Board and include at least 7 members, at least 3 of which are members of the WWBC , and all residents of Tuxedo Park.  And I have HUGE concerns about the indemnification and lack thereof. I can’t believe anybody in any business would sign a contract with the indemnification clause that is in the NYS Pools contract.  I also want to thank Ava Rattazzi for speaker tonight.”
The Board then voted 3-1 I favor of accepting the recommendations of the committee and moving forward with the contract with Trustee Kasker voting against.
“Unbelievable!” stated Trustee Kasker.
“Trustee Brooke is not here,” noted Trustee Shaw.
“He supports it,” stated the Mayor.
Resolve to accept vehicle charge plan presented to pay for the new gate opening system dated November 12, 2021 – Commenting that he believed there were a lot of people in the Village who did not have a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the system, the Mayor called on Police Chief Dave Conklin to make a brief presentation about it. 
Chief Conklin explained that the goal of the system was to enhance security and despite some of the rumors that had been going around, it was not an Easy Pass system.  Rather, it is a camera that reads license plates.  The license plates are submitted into a database and when a car pulls up to the gate, it there is a plate match within the system, the gate will open.  There will be parameters surrounding the dates and times and who is allowed access through which gate.  It is a robust system that will allow the PD a lot of control.  “It’s definitely going to enhance security because people are going to be pre-vetted.  When somebody comes to the gate and it opens automatically, we know that we vetted that person.  Right now, if somebody pulls up to the gate and says they are going to the Tuxedo Club, we open the gate and they go through.  They are not vetted.  All non-residents will have to produce a Driver’s License in order to be put into this system. We will know who these people are.” 
The Mayor commented that he had heard some people express disappointment because they like being able to pull up to the booth and talk to the officer on duty.
The Chief noted that this would still be possible with the new system.  “Just because the gate opens doesn’t mean you have to drive right through,” he commented. 
Contractors can be added to the system with parameters for up to three weeks and this period can be extended if necessary.  Employees of the Club or the School who no longer work for those institutions can be deactivated in the system. Currently, many ex-employees refuse to return their stickers and there is not much that the Village can do about it. 
Questions were asked surrounding what would happen for individuals who are not in the system.
The Chief responded that these individuals would be vetted. The process for this was discussed and questions were raised over whether or not the officer on duty would have to leave the booth to fully vet unregistered vehicles.  The Chief asserted that there were two officers on duty at all times and between the two of them, they would be able to manage the process. 
Audrey Perry commented that currently when she was expecting a guest she would call the gate and inform them who was coming and then when that person arrived, they would be admitted.  She wondered if the process would be the same with the new system.
Chief Conklin responded that it would.    
“Or, if you wanted to,” suggested Mayor McFadden, “you could put in their license  plate and they could drive right though.”
Chief Conklin was asked whether the system would be connected to law enforcement databases that would flag vehicles for suspended registration or having been reported as stollen, etc. 
The Chief replied that currently there were plate readers at both gates that were connected to a law enforcement database and that the department already received these types of alerts.  The new system is just a camera and a database and is not connected to any other criminal justice systems.
The Chief has put together an FAQ which will be posted to the Village website.
Additionally, there is a list of about 30 contractors who access the Park every single day.  These people will be put into system. 
Residents who have weekly domestic service people coming in will also be able to register these guests with specific parameters.
The Mayor commented that there were residents who did not want to get rid of their tags for nostalgic purposes.  He suggested that they could still produce and either give or sell these tags to residents, however they would not trigger gate access. 
Chief Conklin encouraged any residents who had additional questions or concerns to reach out to him directly.
With regard to fees, the Mayor noted that as the cost of the system was not in the budget, he has proposed a one-time fee  for residents, which would cover the cost of installation and equipment.  This will be roughly $30 per household, which will allow an unlimited number of registered vehicles.  Patrons of the School, Club and Church currently pay $90 per car for their sticker and plate.  Because of this high cost, many of these people do not opt to purchase the sticker. Mayor McFadden is proposing a reduced fee of $29.95 per year for unlimited vehicles and is confident that there will be a higher buy-in at the new rate.  Employees of these entities will pay $14.95 per vehicle.  Another option is for the entities to pay a lump sum fee to the Village and then provide them with a spread sheet of the plate numbers.  Seasonal people (WWBC, Fishing Club) will pay a fee of $9.95 per family/membership for unlimited vehicles. 
To those residents who have indicated that they do not want to pay $30 to enter the Village when they can enter for free now, the Mayor stated “We are not coming in for free.  We have police salaries, road maintenance and wear & tear, repair on the existing gates.  A large part of what we pay in property tax…every time you drive through that gate, you’re paying.  So, this is a one-time fee per family/property owner/renter.”  Other methods of paying for the installation were briefly discussed. “I’ve got to be honest with you,” stated the Mayor, “only 3 people have complained to me about having to pay the $30, so I don’t see any reason to start pulling things out of the budget.” 
Trustee Kasker commented that there were currently 11 budget lines that exceed their appropriations, totaling roughly $400,000.  “That’s $400,000 that wasn’t budgeted for that was spent and we are only 6 months into the fiscal year,” he stated.  “My question is, what makes this $20,000 for the license plate reader so special that we have to charge residents a fee?  What’s more important…getting people registered or getting a fee from them?  I think the Chief would agree that the more people who are registered, the safer we are and the more effective the system is.  Right now ,there is a $30 obstacle that is going to piss people off…and I have talked to more than 3.  If I am one…I have talked to more than 2…and people have commented tonight as well.  In the end this is a benefit to the Police Officers more than it is to the residents.  It clears up their in-booth requirements.  Now there is one less thing for them to do because of this system.  I don’t think we should have to pay for that additionally.  We don’t need to fund it now to get it going.  We can get it going without charging anybody anything and we would be  safer for it.”
“We have to pay for it,” countered the Mayor.
“Let’s look at the budget and see if there is money in there,” responded Trustee Kasker.  “Why don’t we cut in half the number of fire hydrants we are planning to replace and not charge the residents and automatically enroll them?”
Trustee Shaw agreed that the money could come out of the fire hydrants.
Following some further discussion, it was agreed that they could pull the expense out of the budget thus eliminating the need for residents to pay for the system.   
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of accepting the revised plan.

Following approval of budget transfers, the Board entered into an executive session to discuss employment matters of a particular person, the PBA collective bargaining agreement and a legal matter.

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 17, 2021

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting November 12, 2021

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 29, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 25, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Monday, October 25, 2021.  All members were present.
The meeting began with three public hearings. 

Public Hearing on Local Law No. 2 of 2021 – A Local Law to opt-out of allowing cannabis dispensaries and on-site cannabis establishments within the Village of Tuxedo Park:
There were no comments from the public and the hearing was closed.

Public Hearing on Local Law No. 3 of 2021 – A Local Law to review site plans in the Village of Tuxedo Park:
Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hanson commented that while she felt that there were elements of the current Planning and BAR process that could use modification, the proposed law is too broad and lacks a mechanism for the Planning Board to refer matters to the BAR when and if they think it is appropriate. While it makes sense in her view  for commercial, educational institution and new home applications to go before the Planning Board as part of their process, the way the proposed law is  drafted all applications with a site plan would be required to go before the Planning Board and she this could be quite cumbersome for those who are just looking to do a renovation.  If the Village is concerned about larger renovations, they could consider adding a regulation pertaining to the expansion of  foundations, but even this might not be worth it in terms of the impact to applicants as the renovate.  Noting that her thoughts and opinions were entirely own and not representative of the Planning Board, Ms. Hanson further commented that it was were understanding that New York State law would require any proposed zooming changes to be reviewed by that board before going into effect.  She suggested that another iteration of what has been proposed would be valuable. 
Jake Matthews commented that recently plans involving the movement of driveways/parking pads had come before the BAR.  He suggested that perhaps this was something that should fall under site plan review. 
In an effort to provide some quick background as to the genesis of the proposed law, Mayor McFadden commented that the Club had recently filed an application involving cut & fill and storm drainage among other things.  In his view, this should have gone before the Planning Board but the way the code is currently written if there is an existing structure on the property that already has a Certificate of Occupancy, the application must go to the BAR.  The Village has been gathering information and feedback from each of the Boards as to what has been proposed and the Mayor feels it is likely that the hearing will remain open to allow more time for comments and possible redrafting. 
Trustee Brooke commented that what was being proposed should not be entirely relegated to the situation at the Club, which was only one example of a relevant issue.  It is his hope that during the review period, the Village is able to come up with the framework where all of the pieces can be netted together to provide a more resident-friendly process for everyone involved.  “We need to have a situation here where Residents can embark on improvements to property where the Boards are not overwhelmed and discretion is afforded to the Building Inspector in many of the issues that should not have to go before a Board.  I don’t understand with the amount of development in this community why the BAR has to meet twice a month.  There’s just not that much going on and there are things that they are considering that they probably should not be considering, such as minor issues.  I would trust that when we look at this law, we look at it in the context of the broader issues which have to do with reallocating powers and delegating more power to the Building Inspector.”
Mayor McFadden agreed with Trustee Brooke, suggesting that they also include a comprehensive review of the Design Guidelines, which are over 15 years old.   Materials in particular have come a long way and there are good synthetic materials that simply did not exist when the Guidelines were written.
Trustee Brooke suggested that they should consider empowering the BAR and the Building Inspector to have discretion over materials and other similar issues.  What he would like to see is a law that is written to provide more power to the people who are running the Village so that Public Hearings and redrafting are not required each time a small change is desired. 
The Mayor noted that the Planning Board had been split into two Boards in 2006, which is when the BAR was created.  The Design Guidelines were subsequently written in 2008 and since that time there have been no changes.  It is time for updates in his view.
BAR Chair Sheila Tralins commented that she agreed with JoAnn Hanson, further noting that she was glad the Trustees were planning to allot more time to consider and make the proposed changes.  The BAR is not philosophically opposed to sharing some of the authority for some of the actions that come before it and they do appreciate that at certain times site decisions intersect technical and aesthetic.  The last thing everyone wants is to complicate the process and require the applicants to attend more meetings while the applications bounce around between boards.  She feels that they need to be very specific with regard to those things that they assign the Building Inspector to take jurisdiction over but generally speaking, she agrees that the Guidelines could allow for changes in materials as well as certain other small projects to be done without requiring BAR approval.
Trustee Kasker thanked both Board Chairs for their comments, which he noted were insightful and helpful.  Regardless of whether or not the law requires it, he would like for the Planning Board to formally consider what is being proposed and provide collective feedback.
Planning Board Chair JoAnn Hanson suggested that in order for that Board to provide productive feedback, they would need to see the next iteration of what is being proposed, after which they would be happy to give a formal, collective comment.
Trustee Kasker noted that Board members do receive a lot of comments about the cumbersomeness of the process and that he hoped that in continuing the hearing more residents would come forward with their thoughts and opinions on creating a more streamlined process that would allow more homes to be built more quickly.
Following some further discussion, the public hearing was continued until November 17.

Public Hearing on Local Law No. 4 of 2021 – A Local Law to revise dock and boat sizes on Wee Wah Lake in the Village of Tuxedo Park:  Mayor McFadden announced that the draft law had not been completed and therefore, they were not prepared to move forward with the hearing.  The Hearing was subsequently opened and extended to November 17.

The regular monthly meeting was called to order at 7:15pm.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden noted that it was nice to be back from his vacation out West.
Reports:
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Construction Report
Click here to view the Police Report
Lakes Committee – Committee Chair Jim Hays reported that the summer season had ended and with it the CSLAP sampling program.  The CSLAP program was run by a number of volunteers from both the Village and the Town.  The majority of the Village volunteers are elderly (one in their early 80s and one in their late 80s) and therefore it is time to bring on some younger Village residents.  Mr. Hays is hopeful that these volunteers will come forward.  Anyone interested should contact Sue Heywood at 845-351-3473.  Over the winter months, Mr. Hays will be analyzing the data and putting together a short report about what it indicates about of the health of the Village Lakes and whether or not the program should be continued in the future.  Last winter Mr. Hays prepared the beginning of a Watershed Management Plan for the Village which made a number of corrective recommendations.  One important recommendation was an analysis of the storm water management system.  This is important because if it can be determined where the water is coming from it can perhaps be determined where the pollutants are coming from and this can perhaps be mitigated in some way. To his knowledge no funds were committed to this effort in the current budget, but if funds could be made available this fail, it is a good time to begin this work.  If not, hopefully funds for this work can be included in next years’ budget. 
Climate Smart Community Task Force – Reporting on behalf of this group, Mr. Hays thanked DPW Superintendent Voss and John Ledwith for their help in gathering data as well as other information to be used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions by Village Government operations for the year 2018, which has been chosen as the baseline year.  Down the line there will be subsequent inventories as well as recommendations to the Board as to how these emissions can be reduced.  Most of the time reductions in emissions equate reductions in spending.  While there may be some upfront costs for this work, ultimately there will be savings and the committee will be able to judge whether the savings justify the costs of the recommendations.  The Task force could use more volunteers. 
On another note entirely, Mr. Hays noted expressed concern over dead trees throughout the Village which are overhanging Village wires.  He noted that O & R had done quite a bit of branch trimming as part of their on-going project, but they had not removed any dead trees that overhang the wires.  He wondered if perhaps they could be convinced to do some of this work. 
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss noted that many of these trees had been identified and were scheduled to be removed.
Trustee Brooke added that O & R had policies in place that prevented them from removing certain tress depending on their size and the direction that they lean.
With regard to his committee reports, the Mayor assured Mr. Hays that he would put out a Village-wide bulletin seeking volunteers.   
Communications Committee – On behalf of Committee Chair Paola Tocci, Mayor McFadden read the following into the record:
On October 1, Sheila Kobrick, Member of the Communications Committee, met with Grant Preston of Crown Castle. Grant Preston showed images of potential fiber build coming from the North end of Tuxedo into the Village. This potential fiber build would extend to the Club and to the Tuxedo Park School. Crown castle will look into providing redundancy on this network which would prevent an interruption of services as a result of an "Act of God" which would bring down power lines. This redundancy would cost more and Crown Castle will provide more details regarding this option.
Crown Castle mentioned that they can also assist with a separate project by working on the DAS(Distributed Antenna System) which would improve cellular service in our area. They will contact their Carrier Group to see if providers are interested in providing cellular service to our area. This system would consist of placing small antennae throughout the area rather than a large cell tower. Some examples of where these antennae would be placed are on the club roof, water tower, etc...to provide improved cell phone coverage for cellular calls in emergencies. Crown Castle believes that having the fiber built into the Village "will be a huge benefit for having cellular carriers interested in providing services in our area".
Another meeting with Cron Castle is being planned for early November.
Police Reform Committee – The police reform committee met on September 15, 2021.  All of the goals laid out in the police reform plan have been met.  Community service initiatives such as the prescription drug disposal, Hope not Handcuffs, Project Child Safe, the addition of Officer complaint and compliment forms to the website and vacant house-checks were also added.  The group also discussed the idea of organizing community/police interaction during events such as Coffee with The Chief and Child Bike Safety.  Suggestions are welcome.  The new security booth provides an automatic gate opener and this was also discussed by the committee.  The next quarterly meeting will take place in December or January. 
Welcome Committee – The Welcome Committee has communicated with all of the active real estate agencies in Tuxedo Park for input on the Welcome Packet.  They continue to develop content for the packet and have been working in conjunction with the Village Clerk (who is also on the committee) to obtain the necessary materials. 
Wee Wah Park Committee – The committee is collecting three bids from professional aquatic management companies for co-management consideration.  All three offer lifeguard services, safety zones, rescue audits, scheduling, programing and event registration, cleaning checks, maintenance & repair status.  They had intended to seek a co-management proposal from the Wee Wah Beach Club, but were surprised to learn that they had submitted a lease proposal for the 2022 season indicating that they are not interested in a co-management proposal.  The committee is also in the process of looking at new designs for the park.  They have two, highly qualified, landscape design architect firms that are very excited to have the opportunity to be involved with such a beautiful project.  They expect to receive preliminary design concept drawings within a few months.  With Board approval it is their intent to choose a winner for the park design and request taxpayer funding for a detailed design and renderings.   In addition, they plan to begin fundraising efforts soon and will keep both the Board and the community appraised of their progress.
Automatic Gate System – Distribution and Payment Plan / Alternate Automatic Gate Opening System Distribution and Payment Plan -  Trustee Kasker reported having met with Chief Conklin to address some immediate concerns he had with the original plan for the new license plate reader/automatic gate system.  If all goes according to the updated plan, non-residents who are employees of Village organizations (TPS, The Club, the Beach Club) and or customers/members of those organizations would pay a $60 fee per year to enter the Village. The technology will allow the Village to limit access during certain parts of the year, and therefore, the billing can take place on a quarterly basis at a rate of $15 per quarter.  So, for example, a parent of a student at TPS, who would only be accessing the Village from September until June, would only have to pay $45 as opposed to $60, while members of the Beach Club would only have to pay $15 for access during the summer months.  Contractors and residents would not have to pay.  Trustee Kasker estimates that this could produce an annual revenue of close to $30,000.  A camera will be mounted on a pole to be installed on the median at the Front Gate.  The current access stickers will be phased out over time.
Trustee Kasker wondered what would happen if the camera were to go down.  Without the use of stickers, how would the Police effective regulate access?
Mayor McFadden responded that the system had manual over-ride and that if the camera were to be out of service for whatever reason, the Police would have to do the best they could to restrict access to the appropriate people. 
Trustee Kasker commented that there are a lot of things that he likes about the system.  In particular, the Village will be able to collect and amass solid data reflecting how many vehicles are  accessing the various locations and when and how many vehicles are entering the Village via the Main Gate vs. the South Gate.  This is valuable information for the Village to have.  That being said, he wondered what the benefit of the system would be to the residents.  “Right now when I pull up to the Gate, it opens and I go home… and with this system, when I pull up to the Gate it’s going to open and I am going to go home.  So what is the benefit for the taxpayers, and in the Mayor’s plan for residents to have to pay a fee to come home,” he wondered.
“We want to increase and improve security in the Village,” replied Mayor McFadden.  “Right now, the standard operating procedure is that one states a name and address that they are visiting and the Gate opens.  This new system requires a license plate, so we expect a large increase in security of non-residents coming through and a less stressful situation on the Police Officers.  In terms of the residents, it’s very obvious what the benefits are.  If your license plate is in the system, you go right through.  You don’t wait.  It would be great if we had a separate lane.  We don’t, but that’s the benefit.  You mentioned the taxpayers.  From the very beginning the system is intended not only to pay for itself, but to build a reserve for a special Safety & Security fund for the Police to administer at the Gates.  In addition to that, every single vehicle that comes through will have to have a license plate registration.”  He went on to explain that there would be an accompanying Ap and that registered users would be able to enter license plate numbers for temporary access or domestic help.  “There’s a lot of flexibility that has been all clearly laid out in the Chiefs memo to the Board,” he noted.
The TekWave system was unanimously approved by the Board at their last meeting.  “That was also going to be paid for by fees,” stated the Mayor.  But when signing the TekWave agreements he discovered that the kiosk that was to be installed at the South Gate was going to cost an additional $8,000 and this, in addition to the high vendor installation price, motivated him and the Chief to explore other options.  As a result, the Board has been presented with an alternative system, which is essentially just a license plate reader.  This new system is both more cost effective and more efficient and therefore the Mayor is suggesting they switch. 
Trustee Brooke wondered where and how the data that was collected would be used.  He stated that he had read an article about a community where a system like this was employed and the data was subsequently run against crime databases and this created discord within the community.  His original support for the system came from the fact that he is all in favor of using technology to dimmish manpower and strain on the Police Department.  He wondered whether the data collected would be solely for use within the Village or if there would be a connection to a larger database. 
Chief Conklin responded that in 2016 the Village had purchased two license plate readers with one installed at each gate.  These are connected to a larger law enforcement database.  When a car comes through the gate, if it suspended by DMV or if somebody connected with that plate is wanted for a crime that alerts the officers and they take police action.  This system has been in effect since 2016 and will remain in effect.  The only database associated with the new system will be an internal server that reads license plates and checks the system to ensure that the plate numbers are approved for access.  The information is not shared with any other databases. 
Trustee Brooke responded by suggesting that perhaps the associated expenses should be picked up by the tax rolls rather than the residents as the Mayor has proposed.  Residents already pay a substantial amount in taxes.  He likened it the Wee Wah Beach Club, referencing a plan (which has not yet been publicly discussed) to provide the Beach Club with $25,000 of taxpayer money to be used for property enhancement and in exchange, all Village residents would be granted access to use the property.      
Trustee Scherer commented that he felt the proposed system made sense from a security prospective.  “Right now, we really have no idea who is coming into the Park, other than people who have tags,” he noted, further suggesting that having all of the data on who was entering where and when would hopefully help the Village to make smarter decisions moving forward.  To the extent that it can create better efficiency, the system should ultimately pay for itself over time.  While he is open to having a discussion about it, he wondered if there was actually a need to charge the Taxpayers.
Mayor McFadden responded that the use of the system would increase security for residents because it would allow them to focus on non-residents.  Additionally, residents will be able to enter the plate numbers of their guests into the system via an Ap, allowing them access without having to stop at the Gate.  Further, the Ap can be set up to alert them when their guest has passed through the Gate.  “For these conveniences there is a cost to implement the system.  There is a man hour cost.  There is a labor cost.  There is an annual fee of $6000 to run the database and so forth. In talking to people, I have talked to they are more than happy to pay a $15-$20 fee for the 3rd and 4th and 5th car as a processing fee.  It’s a one time fee.  So for example, my family would pay for 2 cars….$29.99 per car…one time…for processing to offset the labor cost and the expense of the system.  After that, the third car would be $15.95 and it goes on.  Relatives can now get a tag…it’s a one-time fee.   Everyone except contractors and domestics.  None of those people pay.  I am more than happy to put this out to the public and ask them if they are willing to pay a one-time processing fee and we can use that as feedback.  If they are not willing, we will adjust.  I think the point is that all of us can sit here and speculate.  Anecdotally, people have told me it is no problem…then again it might be.  What I would like to do tonight is just approve Safe Passage and move forward and then in terms of admin, we can kick it around.  I had hoped to have proposals in place in time for this meeting but it did not happen.  That is why we are sitting around now at the last minute debating this.” 
Trustee Shaw commented that what she liked about the Safe Passage proposal is that they would charge by household and not by the number of cars.  She doesn’t feel that those residents who happen to have a lot of cars should be penalized and that if they proceed with charging the residents, it should be by household and that non-residents should be charged by number of vehicles.
The Mayor responded that this was an interesting idea.  He suggested they do a resident survey.  He believes that it is only fair and equitable that those residents who have more cars would pay more of the processing fee, but there is plenty of time for them to go out to the Public.
Trustee Brooke suggested that they should support the system and then tinker with the plan until they found something that would be agreeable for everyone.  Perhaps each family would be granted two cars for free and pay a fee for additional vehicles.
Noting that the plan called for all vehicles entering the Village to be added to the database, Trustee Kasker wondered how this would be enforced.  Would operators of vehicles not in the system be forced to fill out a form upon entry?
Chief Conklin responded that vehicles not in the system will be directed to park in the lot by the Keep and that the officer would come out of the booth with a tablet and vet the vehicle in order to provide a temporary pass.  “Meanwhile if residents come up, the gate is going to open and close for efficiency.” 
Trustee Kasker wondered whether the Chief was in support of the residents having the power to enter guests on an Ap. 
The Chief responded that if this were to become an issue, they could easily disable the service. 
Trustee Brooke commented that if he were to have a bunch of people coming over for dinner, he would not want to have to collect their license plate numbers beforehand in order to allow them access.  He would prefer to let the gate know that he had multiple people coming.
Trustee Kasker noted that he was aware of an HOA that had to disengage this same service because it was being abused by their residents.  “I’ve seen this happen before,” he stated.  “The line of people that are going to have be in process that aren’t registered is going to be an enormous burden on the Police unless this is thought all the way through.  I am not 100% convinced that this is right and I am adamant that unless we have an agreement that residents aren’t going to pay that I am not in favor of this system.  I don’t want to kick this can down the road and say we will talk about it later. I may be the only no vote, but I am a no vote now until I know that residents don’t have to pay a fee. The question is…I show up to come home and I don’t feel like paying a fee…what are you going to do?  Are you going to not let me come in the gate?”
“No, you just can’t come in automatically,” replied the Mayor.  “If you want to be that guy, be the guy!  Whatever…don’t pay.  If the Village decides to charge a fee and you don’t want to pay…you can protest it!  I don’t know.  What do you want me to say?”
“The other thing to think about,” countered Trustee Kasker, “is that all these systems are on HOAs and private businesses.  They don’t have schools and country clubs that can generate revenue.”
Mayor McFadden responded that this was not true, indicating that the one of the references they had called had a Club inside of it. 
Chief Conklin commented that one of the issues that the Village had struggled with for years was getting tags back after residents either moved out or employees of the Club and the School had moved on from those jobs. “There are so many TP stickers floating around out there.  They are like collectors’ items.”
Trustee Kasker pointed out that the stickers had expiration dates. 
Chief Conklin replied that resident stickers never expired and the last time they had been updated was 7 years ago.  “You have those tags floating around out there.  You see them all over the place and it gets confusing after a while.”
Trustee Brooke commented that the suggestion that those individuals who were not in the system would have to park to the side and then have an officer come over and collect information was exactly the sort of thing that would turn him against the system because it was a cumbersome process.  He believes that vehicles should pull up to the gate, provide a name and destination, be photographed and allowed to enter.  This is essentially the way the current system works and he does not want to institute a system that is going to be more cumbersome that what exists.  He believes that they can put in the system as-is and adjust to it, but he wants to be something that is not burdensome to the residents.  “If you are taking somebody like a plumber who has got to go sit and wait to put in all their information…. I’m never going to ask guests who are coming to a dinner party for their license plates…ever!!”
“You do not have to do that,” responded the Mayor.  “If somebody says that they are going to your house for a dinner party and you decide that you don’t want to be somebody that would register their car, they’ll wait and another person who puts their guests in will drive right through when the gate lifts up.” 
“If that’s the way you are seeing it,” stated Trustee Brooke, “I am changing my vote to a no, because that is cumbersome to the police and user-unfriendly to residents.  The current system works reasonably well.”
“No, it doesn’t,” stated the Mayor.
“What are our crime statistics here?” asked Trustee Brooke. 
“We have people coming through and we don’t know who they are,” the Mayor replied.
“What is our crime statistic?” Trustee Brooke asked again.  “What are the numbers?”
“It’s good, but we would like to make it better,” stated Mayor McFadden.
“What are the numbers?  Don’t give me ‘it’s good!’  Give me a God-damned number and I’ll know what investment I want to make to protect our safety.  My sense is that I want this to be a user friendly community.  I don’t want to create hostility towards coming and visiting.  I want to create land values that can go up.  The idea of having people wait while some policeman, who is letting all these cars I, has to break and go down…that is just not constructive for how a community should work.”
Mayor McFadden reiterated that should the officer need to leave the booth to register a visitor, everyone who was already registered would still be able to pass through.
Trustee Scherer reiterated that he was supportive of technology.  That being said, he feels that the issue raised by Trustee Brookes is an interesting one.  There are a lot of parties in the Village and sometimes they are large.  It is not unheard of for somebody to have 30 or 40 guests and he understands the reluctance to ask people for their license plate numbers.  What about individuals who don’t know their license plate numbers because they are traveling by Uber?  He wondered if there might be a work-around to the issue.  The system that they are putting in place should make people’s lives easier and not more cumbersome.  In his view, there has to be a better work around then pulling people off to the side and inputting information via tablet.  The risk is that they would have to pull 15 cars over at the same time as they are arriving at the Village for a party.  “Again, I’m supportive of the system.  I think we are raising valid issues tonight that need to be addressed.  I think that Trustee Brooke raised one that is legitimate and frankly somewhat unique to Tuxedo Park.  We like to have big parties.”
Trustee Shaw noted that she was receiving comments from residents and that she felt there could certainly be a hybrid where residents would register their vehicles and then if they were going to have a party on a given date, they would simply call the gate and tell them that they were expecting a large number of cars.  “As long as they know that there is an event and that people are all traveling to the same location, I don’t see why we couldn’t work it out.” 
Trustee Scherer suggested that perhaps they could develop codewords for specific events. 
Trustee Shaw added that she felt it was “sort of creepy” for residents to register cars that did not belong to them.  “For sure residents should register their cars if they want the automatic gate access and if they don’t want to register, then they will have to stop every time,” she added, reiterating that she felt they could develop some sort of hybrid solution.
Mayor McFadden suggested that there would be residents who were expecting deliveries who would want to be able to enter the appropriate information and then receive a text message when the delivery vehicle passed through the Gate.  He feels there is definitely room for some compromise when it comes to registering for a party. 
Chief Conklin commented that the whole point of the visitor management system was to allow every day guests automatic access via registration.  For a big event, visitors would come to the gate as normal. 
Trustee Brooke noted that if it didn’t work, he would be the first one to recommend that they disable the system and go back to what they had in place previously.  He is very concerned that the proposed system is going to be both cumbersome and user-unfriendly.  Provided that the police work with them to develop a work-around then they can go forward with it.
Chief Conklin noted that the administration of the system had not yet been put in place and that the only thing they were discussing was whether or not the Village wanted to move to this type of a system.  “As far as whether we are going to allow residents to enter guests…that is a decision that the Board needs to make,” he stated. 
Following some further discussion, it was suggested by Trustee Brooke that the Chief was aware of the concerns and that they should accept what was being proposed and moved on.

Public Comments:
Marc Citrin commented that he was speaking on behalf of the Wee Wag Beach Club, primarily with regard to the report that had been provided earlier and specifically pertaining to the reference therein that the Beach Club had submitted a 2022 lease and therefore the committee did not believe it had been necessary to contact them to discuss the possibility of co-management or some other arrangement for the summer of 2022.  “On August 18th I stood before you (Mayor and Trustees) and I asked specifically on the record for the committee to contact me or the President of the Wee Wah Beach Club to begin negotiations with respect to the summer of 2022.  August came and went.  September came and went and here we are in October.  Pursuant to the 2020 lease, the terms required us to submit a proposal for a lease for 2022 by October 31. So, by mid-month, having not heard from the Committee or anybody from the Village to begin the negotiating process, I felt it was necessary to put forward to the Board a proposal with respect to 2022. I am here today to tell the Board that we are still ready, willing and able to engage in substantial negotiations with the Committee or any designee of the Board with respect to a renewal of the license agreement for 2022.  I want to make it clear that the fact that they did not reach out to us was not our fault because we were waiting for a call because we had asked for a call…and that call never came.  So, I would respectfully request that the Mayor, the Board or a representative of the committee reach out to either myself or the Beach Club President Bonnie Takeuchi or Vice President Jennifer Darling to engage in negotiations.”  He further commented that he appreciated the suggestion made earlier by Trustee Brooke with regard to the allowing Village residents full access in exchange for a grant funded by taxpayer money.  Noting that he was not committing to this, he suggested that this was the type of discussion they were hoping to engage in.  “All we ask is that you sit down with us and we begin a conversation so that hopefully we can reach fair and just resolution and renew this agreement for next summer.”
Jake Matthews thanked the Board for their earlier discussion regarding the automatic gate access.  He believes that Trustee Brooke raised some strong points.  “Really, what are the crime statistics here?  I understand that the police force has a very difficult job in vetting everybody that is coming through the gate and there are thousands of trips a month, but if you look at private communities in the area, every one of these communities that has a gate is jammed up in the mornings because contractors are coming through.  If you look at Smoke Rise down in New Jersey or Mansion Ridge up in Monroe…this is a natural scenario when you have a gated community with a rush hour.”  He encouraged the Trustees to think the system through very carefully and if approved to take a close look at how they were going to set it up so that it doesn’t become a burden to both the Police Force and the residents alike.  “There is one channel through that main gate and it is difficult if you are pulling cars to the side.  It’s a small parking area.” Further noting that they had only just reinstated the Booth, Mr. Mathews suggested that to institute another new system right away could be putting a lot on both the residents and the police force.  He implored the Board to proceed carefully and with caution. 
Claudio Guazzoni commented that he wanted to be fully supportive of the Mayor.  He stated that he had been the one to set up the automatic license plate readers back in 2016 and he believes that if the Trustees are  not aware of the crime statistics in the Village, they should have a private conversation with the Police Chief and the Mayor.  “There are TROs out there.  My house has been burglarized.  The Mayor’s house has historically  been burglarized.  We want this to be a safe community.  That someone with tags from two or three years ago that don’t expire is allowed back into the Village does not make it safe for anyone.  So I just want to express my full support for the Mayor here with the automatic gate opener.” 

Consent Agenda:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving all the items on the consent agenda as noted on the published meeting agenda with the exception of the contract for the Gate Opener and with the addition of the expenditure of $2,850 for a new transfer switch for the generator at the Village Office.
Replace Tekwave with Safe Passage as Auto Gate Opener Vendor:
The Board voted 3-1 in favor of making this change with Trustee Kasker voting against. 

Regular Agenda:
Resolution to Pass LL-2 of 2021 – Marijuana Opt-Out – The Board voted unanimously in favor of passing LL-2 of 2021 pertaining to marijuana opt-out.
Resolution Authorizing W&S to Produce Concept Diagram for DPW & Office Relocation- Mayor McFadden noted that he had circulated a list of proposals that the Village has received from their engineers for relocating the DPW & Village Office to a piece of property owned by the Town.  In order for the Village to determine how much land to ask the Town for, they need to have a professionalize analyze the type of layout they will need and how many square feet they will require via a concept diagram.  The lowest price they received for this service was $3,900 and that Mayor would like to move forward. 
Commenting that he was unsure as to how the Town property was currently zoned, Trustee Kasker inquired about the legal process wondering whether they would purchase the property as-is and then re-zone it.  Mayor McFadden responded that the Town would re-zone it.  Trustee Kasker wondered whether the property would be annexed and then re-zoned.  He further noted that the Town was currently updating their zoning code and that he wanted to make sure that the property could in fact be rezoned before the Village invested money into it.   “They are doing a re-zoning,” stated the Mayor, “and they are very much interested in maintaining the baseball field integrity and other areas along that front because they want to zone it for commercial and they see that as a potential way to expand our Hamlet.  If it doesn’t encroach on that, we will be able to discuss it.  It’s a catch-22.  We can’t do that until we know how much land we need.  There is a risk.  If the engineers come back to us and say that we need to encroach into the baseball diamond, it’s a dead deal.”
Trustee Kasker noted that the bottom line was that if they moved forward with this, the Village Office and DPW would become part of the sewer complex.  “The question for the Town is…who is going to build next to a sewer plant anyway, so let’s let the Village do what they want with it,” he stated.    The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the expense. 
Discuss Retaining W & S to Explore a Grant for a Solar Farm on Village Property for Resale and Credit to the O & R Power Grid – Mayor McFadden commented that he had been thinking about this idea while on his recent vacation and felt that the Village should explore it.  Resident and Candidate for re-election to the Town Board Jay Reichgott also brought up the idea of Hydro and related grants.  Trustee Kasker recommended that they also bring Jim Hays into the conversation.  “We have a lot of Village property that is unbuildable and could be out of the public view,” stated the Mayor.  Trustee Brooke commented that they should explore it but one of the issues would be whether or not O & R was committed to changing policy with respect to buying power from people who have done this.  Trustees Shaw and Scherer were both supportive of the idea. 
Wee Wah Park Committee Contact Drawing – The Wee Wah Park Committee has gone out to several landscape architecture firms to receive some concept drawings for the park in terms of its’ potential.  The Mayor wrote the RFQ.  The companies have been asked to compete and therefore the drawings will be provided at no charge.  The firms have visited the site and the committee anticipates receiving the drawings within a month.  The next step would be to discuss with the Trustees moving forward with one of them and establishing a strategy for moving forward.  Would the Village be willing to pay for this?  Would they be looking for donations?
Trustee Kasker asked the Mayor what the proposed foot print for the project is.
Mayor McFadden replied that currently it was the existing property but if the DPW is relocated the potential is there to expand and add a phase 2 “which would make it spectacular,” he commented.  All of the Trustees were in favor of moving forward.
Discuss Proposed 2022 Revocable License Agreement Presented by Marc D. Citrin on Behalf of the WWBC Executive Committee- Mayor McFadden stated that the WWBC had sent a proposal for the 2022 season.  Noting that the Trustees had all heard both the Committees report as well as Mr. Citrins’ response, the Mayor stated that he felt the situation spoke for itself.  “Personally, I would have preferred that if the WWBC was interested in negotiating that they had made that identification in the cover letter, which they didn’t, but it’s not big deal,” he commented.  His recommendation is that they ask the Committee to interface with the Club to see what they had in mind in terms of negotiations.  He feels they should be open and willing to negotiate with them for next season.  The Village has a number of options and he feels that they pursue them all and that the WWBC should be part of that pursuit.  Trustee Brooke suggested that he could discuss his ideas with Committee Chair Denise Tavani.  He suggested that she should look at what the Club has proposed, mark it up and present it to the Board and they could opine from there.
Trustee Kasker stated that he felt it was in the best interest of the Board to not continue this policy discussion through the budget process.  “Let’s get our crap together, figure out what the solution for the Wee Wah Beach Club is before January when we are knee deep in budget discussion and tax assessments and we have little time and patience for dealing with the WWBC and so we don’t run into what we did last year…where we are trying to launch the summer season and we are still knit-picking over how the Beach Club is going to be run.  60 days…wrap it up…it shouldn’t be that hard.”
Trustee Brooke agreed, commenting that it was a document that they could build on and that they simply move forward and get it done.  “I don’t want to re-build the Wee Wah Beach Club.  There are a bunch of people who want it and they are Town people and Village people and that’s great,” he stated.  “I would like to improve it by making a grant to them and in exchange for that grant creating a simpler system where everybody in the Village is a member..and I guarantee you that there will be greater usage of the Wee Wah Beach Club by the Village if that occurs.”  He stated that he would call Denise Tavani by the end of the week and ask her to interact with Marc Citrtin and they would take it from there. 

Other Business:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting a proposal for a 5-year tax exempt lease purchase of one freight liner M2106 and hydraulic spreader for the DPW at a cost of $148,031 and one police interceptor at a cost of $47,895 with 5 annual payments of $43,260.98 will be made and charged to budget code 3120.22 and $10,815.24 charged to 5130.2, which equates a fee of $32,4445.74. 

The Board then entered into an executive session to discuss the employment matters of three persons as well as an ongoing legal case. 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting October 25, 2021

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VIllage Board to Hold Public Hearings on 3 New Local Laws Monday October 25 @ 6:30pm

On Monday October 25  the Village Board of Trustees will hold 3 public hearings related to three proposed pieces of legislation.


The First (Draft Local Law #2 of 2021) is a local law opting the Village out of allowing retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments within the Village.
The second (Draft Local Law #3 of 2021) seeks to amend the Zoning Code so that the Board of Architectural Review will no longer have any authority over the review and approval of project site plans, placing this responsibility solely in the hands of the Village Planning Board. The third (Draft Local Law #4 of 2021) aims to modify the size of boars permissible on Tuxedo Lake while also enacting further provisions governing the erection of docks and size thereof.  

Copies of the draft local laws can be viewed here:



The meeting will begin at 6:30pm and will be accessible via the Village’s Zoom Room, with an access link to follow.  

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 21, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Tuesday, September 21 at 7pm.  All members were present.  Trustees Shaw and Scherer participated virtually.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden opened the meeting by apologizing for the events that transpired when the regularly scheduled meeting had been hacked the week prior.  He further reported that Chief Conklin had contacted the DA following the incident, but had learned that ultimately the Village was at fault because they had not properly secured the meeting through their zoom settings.  Village meetings are public, and thus the access link must be made available and once the hackers were inside the meeting, they were within their First Amendment rights to say whatever they wanted to, no matter how vulgar.  After the meeting was cut off, the Board approved the consent agenda as well as two other time-sensitive items prior to adjourning.  All other items were tabled and added to the agenda for the Special Meeting. 

New Business:
Approve the Quote for the Automatic Gate Opening System for the Main and South Gates –
Following some discussion with regard to funding, the Board unanimously approved quotes for an automatic gate opening system at both the Main and South gates as well as new vehicle tags for residents.  The costs are as follows:  Main Gate System - $8,820, South Gate System - $11,450,  Vehicle Tags - $23,000.   The system will create the need for new vehicle tags as there will now be active tags and passive tags.  The passive tags are akin to what is currently used, while the active tags will be for residents/property owners and will stimulate automatic opening of the gates.  The active tags cost $10.50 each.  “We believe that re-selling them and marking them up will pay for the system, the tags and potentially a fund dedicated to security at the gates,” stated the Mayor.  This is to be determined by a plan that is forthcoming from Trustee Kasker and Chief Conklin, which will be reviewed and adopted by the Board.  For the purpose of clarification, Trustee Kasker added   “I think tax payers have some obligation to pay for the security.  We do that with the Police Force and  I want people to buy the tags, but I don’t want the Village to profit from the tags.”
Mayor McFadden countered that even if the Village chose not to charge for the tags, the residents would still be paying in the form of their taxes. 
It was agreed that this discussion would be continued once the plan had been presented. 
A member of the public inquired as to why the system at the South Gate cost more than the one at the Front Gate.  Mayor McFadden responded that the system at the South Gate was operated via a kiosk and that it would contain a number of additional features.  For example, when they are expecting guests, residents will be able to log into an APP and enter the appropriate information which will allow their guests South Gate access. 
Air Scrubber Presentation.-  Announcing that he had recently partnered with a company called Polera, VillageAflac representative Joseph Brennan presented the Board with information regarding an air scrubber, which he made operational during the meeting.  The machine is capable of sanitizing all hard and soft surfaces in a 2000 square foot space within one half hour.  It also reduces SARS Covid-19 within 3 minutes air-born after it has been switched on.  It was agreed that the Mayor and one other Trustee would meet further with Mr. Brennan and a representative of Polera to learn more about the equipment. 
Tree Advisory Board – Representing the Tree Advisory Board, Christopher Gow informed the Board on various types of invasive species, both harmful and benign, including Sumac, tree of heaven, devils walking stick and Japanese knotweed among others.  Samples of each were presented as part of the presentation. 
Public Comment:
There was none.

New Business Continued:
Approve the Quote for Upgrading of Security Cameras at Main and South Gates:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving quotes for the upgrading of security cameras at both the Main and South Gates as proposed by Chief Conklin.  The costs are as follows: Main Gate Camera - $4,300, South Gate Camera - $4,000.
Approve New Payroll Vendor Payserve- Following a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the new payroll vendor Payserve.  The cost of the service is essentially the same as what the Village currently pays, but it is much more efficient. 
Approve the Village Identity Signage for the Main Gate – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving new identity signage to be installed at the Front Gate.  The sign will look much like what was historically there and will cost $3,245.  Click here to view the design.
Discuss Swimming and Other Matters at Wee Wah Lake Park – Commenting that he would like to have a discussion on swimming at the Wee Wah, Mayor McFadden stated that any swimming there requires a permit from the  Department of Health.  The current permit held by the Wee Wah Beach Club has expired.  Additionally, life guards are required, however the Mayor would like to avoid this and instead institute a swim-at-your-own-risk policy.  This would only be possible under certain circumstances and the Village would have to receive a formal exemption from the Health Department.  The Mayor has asked the Village Attorney to contact the Health Department and investigate the exemptions.  “The pros of not having lifeguards are many, including expenses and opening longer hours,” he stated, further inquiring whether the Board would like him to pursue the exemption strategy.
Trustee Brooke suggested that in the absence of lifeguards, swimming should be prohibited.  The park can be used for gathering and BBQ, but swimming is  prohibited unless it occurs during Wee Wah Beach Club operational hours.
Mayor McFadden responded that they could do this, however there are residents who are interested in swimming now and so he was inquiring on their behalf. He asked Brian Nugent, Village Attorney, to further outline the issues.
Mr. Nugent explained that if the Board was looking to have swimming “at your own risk” outside of Beach Club hours ,it would likely require a variance from the Department of Health, assuming the Village holds a permit for a bathing beach. If swimming is prohibited aside from when the Beach Club is operational, then nothing needs to be done as there is already signage posted at the property indicating that swimming is prohibited unless there is a lifeguard on duty.  He added that he could not guarantee that the Village would be able to acquire a “swim-at-your-own-risk” variance, but all the same the Board first needs to decide what it is they want, and then they can pursue it.    If the Village wishes to maintain a beach on the property, they will also require a Department of Health permit and the DOH regulations require lifeguards for swimming. 
For clarification purposes Trustee Scherer asked Mr. Nugent to confirm that if the Village posted a sign that said no swimming without lifeguard and then somebody went swimming anyway and got injured, the Village would NOT be liable, however if they did not post such a sign and somebody went swimming and got injured, the liability would fall on the Village. 
Mr. Nugent confirmed that if there was no signage it was more than likely that the Village would face the risk of liability. 
The Mayor suggested that there was, in his view, precedent for getting a waiver.  “You can currently swim in Pond 3 if you are a resident of Pond 3 year-round, without a lifeguard and at your own risk.  Also if you own property on the Wee Wah, you can swim in the Wee Wah right now at your own risk.  So, what I would hope to ask the Department of Health is, based on that, is there a reason why we need lifeguards for people who would like to swim but do not own property on the Wee Wah.”
Mr. Nugent pointed out that the distinction was the beach.  If the Village maintains a bathing beach, which requires a DOH permit, that is where the regulations come in, but if you are just a lake, without a beach, none of these requirements are relevant.  The beach is what is regulated by the State.
“Swimming in the Wee Wah at this time is one of the most wonderful things in Tuxedo Park,” stated Sally Sonne.  “I have lived here a long time and this is a game-changer!  It is fantastic!”  She further noted that there was a select group of residents who were swimming now utilizing light-weight  buoys to swim into the middle of lake.  They like to access the water via the beach because it is convenient and they can park there.  If they are unable to continue the practice, she understands that they will have to find access from another spot but she is hopeful that it will become something they can do from the beach at their own risk.  “We’re very careful,” she stated.  “We are swimmers and I don’t think anyone would swim there who isn’t a swimmer.  I think it should be almost required to have one of these flotation buoys.  They are really cheap and can be purchased at Amazon.  It is a game changer.  It is wonderful.  The best thing I have done in Tuxedo Park  in all the time I have been here.”   She added that she hoped the Board would do everything they could to make it possible.  “It’s nice to have things in Tuxedo Park that people can enjoy.”
Jay Reichgott commented that swimming along in cold water was definitely a risk in his view.  “Wear something bright so we can find you in the spring,” he joked.  He continued on to say that it was very unclear at the moment what the rules are at the property. “There is a sign that says no swimming without lifeguard.  Very clear.  There are people who are swimming.  There is a use of the Park by village residents and their guests, which is always allowed except when the Beach Club is operating, but there aren’t any rules about what is and what is not permitted at the Park.  For example, are dogs allowed to run free at the Park and who is supposed to clean up after them?   Who is picking up all of the cigarette butts…and all of the other things that go along with a public space? We don’t want to wind up in a tragedy of the common situation where everything goes to hell because everyone is sure that “that guy”was supposed to take care of it. 
It would be useful, especially while this process is in flux, if we have some guidance form the Trustees and the Mayor as to what is and is not proper there.”
The Mayor responded that the park was currently open from sunrise to sunset.  People need to take away their own garbage.  The noise ordinances are in effect.  There is no leash law, but people are supposed to clean up after their dogs.  There is a dispenser at the entrance of the park that provides baggies for picking up dog excrement.  The Board can certainly discuss any further rules and regulations and consider a variety of things such as signage and so forth.  The DPW has been instructed to clean the bathrooms and the Village is stocking them with toilet paper, hand sanitizer and paper towels.  The Bathrooms will remain open until the wintertime, when the DPW will take responsibility for closing them up.  “Right now I don’t see any urgent matters that would cause destruction or harm to the park,” he commented adding that he took Mr. Reichgott’s comments to heart and would look into them.
Trustee Brooke suggested that perhaps the best thing to do would be to install a single sign near the entrance letting people know that swimming was only permitted when life guards were on duty and that they needed to pick up after themselves and their dogs.  One simple set of rules to be agreed upon by the Trustees, signed off on by the attorney and posted.
Mayor McFadden and Trustee Kasker agreed with this suggestion.  With regard to the issue of swimming, Trustee Kasker added that he appreciated both Mrs. Sonne’s and Mr. Reichgott’s comments.  Although there are some obvious dangers associated with it, there are other Village residents who own property there who already doing it and there is nothing the Village could or should do about it.  “We have to let adults be adults,” he stated, reiterating the importance of clear signage. 
Approve payment of $711.02 to Resident Ed Cromey as Reimbursement for a Vehicle Accident with a DPW Vehicle – There was a differential between what was paid and what was unpaid following an accident involving a DPW vehicle and the involved resident, Ed Cromey, is asking the Village to make it up.  The Mayor suggested that the money would come directly out of the DPW Budget and if the DPW Superintendent wished to then address that with the employee in question, it would be his prerogative to do so.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the reimbursement.
Accept Resignation of Police Officer Louis Roman – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting Officer Roman’s resignation. 
Approve a Resolution Authorizing Legal Counsel to Execute Extension of December 23,  2015 Agreement Between The Village of Tuxedo Park, Michael Bruno and Alexander Jakowec -
Mr. Nugent has requested that the BOT pass a resolution authorizing him to extend the MOA. 
The process has been somewhat dragged out and the Village still needs to schedule a joint hearing with the Town of Tuxedo on the annexation petition for the parcels that were to come into the Village regarding Michael Bruno.  Mr. Nugent will work with the Town to try and schedule the hearing at the Town Hall prior to one of their Town Board meetings.  He has been in touch with Mr. Bruno’s attorney, who is agreeable to the extension.  The annexation ties into the acceptance/issues with the roadway that runs along one of the parcels that Mr. Bruno now owns which is outside the Village but adjoining the Village boundary. Part of the deal was that he would Annex this property  (he inherited Tuxedo Farms’ obligation to do so back when they owned it.). Extending the MOA won’t do anything except to allow time for the Village and the Town to schedule the necessary joint hearing which will move the process forward. 
Mayor McFadden inquired as to whether the Village had the ability to decide not to sell the paper road at this point, or if it had already been sold.  “Can the Trustees intervene without intervening in the Annexation of the property?” he asked. Mr. Nugent responded  that he would have to look at the specifics of the agreement but that he believed annexation had to occur before that portion of the road could be transferred.  “So, if we were to pass this resolution giving you the option to extend it, would that in any way prejudice a vote by the Trustees not to transfer the paper road?” Mayor McFadden asked.  The answer was yes.  Mr. Nugent recommended that if there was a question of not moving forward with the transfer, that they consider holding off on the extension until he could further investigate/review the agreement.  The Mayor then stated that there were people in the Village who felt that the Village should not be selling the paper road and he did not want to move forward in a way that might prejudice the Village against voting against selling the road.  Ultimately, the Board voted in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign the extension subject to an attorney-client-privilege session and confirmation that the Brook Farm Road  parcel does not have to be transferred under the agreement if it is executed. 

The Board then entered into an executive session to discuss possible litigation and the employment of a particular person.

 

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 21, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 15, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, September 15 at 7pm.  Board member Josh Scherer was absent.

Mayors Comments:
Mayor McFadden reported that functionality at the booth continues to improve.  A camera has been positioned on vehicle tags, allowing the officers in the booth to more clearly see them.  This will facilitate better efficiency.  The Board will also be discussing the possibility of an automatic gate opener, much like an EZ Pass System, to be installed at both the Front and Back gates.  The Mayor thanked the Chief and his officers for all of the extra time they have put in on this project, learning the new system and making do with construction while they have been on the job. He also thanked DPW Chief Jeff Voss and his team for the excellent work they have been doing on a series of special projects put in place by the Village and tied to improving the daily quality of life for residents.  Some of this work includes the installation of a Garden at the Front Gate utilizing left over granite from the dam project as well as planters in both the front and back of the booth. 

Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Construction/Building Report
Click here to view the Town Liaison Report

Mayor McFadden commented that should any residents see a gas-powered motor on Tuxedo Lake, they should know that this is the Village Lakes Manager, who has requested permission to use a gas powered motor to conduct his annual survey.  This will cut down on the billable time and therefore the Mayor has authorized it.

On Behalf of The Tuxedo Park Garden Club, president  Bryna Pomp announced that the annual fall plant-a-thon will take place on Saturday, October 5 beginning at 9:30am.  Club members will be In various spots throughout both the Village and the Town including the Front Gate, the Centennial Wall, the Club Triangle, the South Gate, the Post Office, the Library and the Town Hall.  They will be planting both perennials and annuals.  The Saturday prior to Thanksgiving, the Club will be hanging holiday wreaths in both the Village and the Town as well. 
On behalf of the Village Welcoming Committee,  Mrs Pomp reported that the group would be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss implementation of the initiatives that the Village has undertaken in this capacity.  A section of the new Village website has been dedicated to the committee.  With so many new residents in the Village, Mrs. Pomp feels that this could not have been timed better. “Everyone is really appreciative of receiving much of the information that they need to facilitate their lives in the Village from one source,” she stated. 
Mayor McFadden added that the group had also discussed the idea of paying new homeowners a visit for the purpose of introducing themselves and answering any questions they might have.

At this point in the meeting, unidentified  hackers broke in and began spewing a wide array of profanity while broadcasting pornographic images across the screen.  This continued for some minutes before the Village finally disconnected from the meeting entirely. 
After disconnection, the Board voted to approve the items listed on the consent agenda.  They also addressed two time sensitive items including approval for the writing of a Sewer System Operating and Maintenance Manual by our Village Special Engineer Weston & Sampson as required by the EPA and the awarding a vendor contract to install a new valve in the water system on East Lake Road before deciding to end the meeting.  A special meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 21 beginning at 7pm at which time the remainder of the agenda items will be discussed. 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting September 15, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 18, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.  Trustee Paul Brooke was absent and Trustee Tinka Shaw joined by Zoom.

Click here to listen to a recording of this meeting

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Public Hearing for Local Law Introductory #1 of 2021 (pertaining to Resident use of the Wee Was Lake) August 18, 2021

The Board of Trustees held a Public Hearing on Local Law introductory #1 of 2021, A Local law to repeal and replace village law § 65-4, rules and regulations applicable to Wee Wah Lake., on August 18, 2021 at 6:45pm.  Trustee Paul Brooke was absent and Trustee Tinka Shaw joined by Zoom.

To listen to a recording of the hearing, click here.  

The public hearing was closed, after which the Board voted in favor of adopting the law, a copy of which can be found here.

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting August 18, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 21, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on July 21, 2021.  All members were present.  Trustee Josh Scherer attended remotely via Zoom from Santa Monica, CA.

Mayor’s Comments:
There were none

Reports and Minutes:
The reports and minutes were unanimously approved by the Board.
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Construction Report
Click here to view the Water Report
Click here to view the Justice Repot
Click here and here to view the Treasurer’s Reports

Building Inspector John Ledwith gave an update regarding on-going Engineering projects with Westin & Sampson.  Click here to view this update. 

Mayor McFadden asked DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss to comment on the on-going hydrant flushing project.  Superintendent Voss responded that things were progressing well. The department expects to be done in the Village by Monday, July 26 at the latest and then they will begin work in the Town. 
Trustee Brooke inquired about a recent water leak that had been discovered behind the Gulf Station.  He was informed that a large leak had been discovered at the Service Station line, approximately 450,000 gallons per week.  Fortunately, they were able to locate and repair the issue within two days. 

Public Comments:
There were none.

Old Business:
Discuss Eurasian Watermilfoil Eradication – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mayor McFadden to sign an agreement with Solitude Lakes Management allowing the use of the herbicide ProcellaCOR in Tuxedo Lake, Pond #3 and Wee Wah Lake to assist with the eradication of Eurasian Water Milfoil.  The schedule will be determined by lakes manager A.J. Reyes of N.E.A.R. in conjunction with Solitude lakes Management and shared in advance with the public.  As Mr. Reyes is working with Lakes Committee Chair Jim Hays to develop a 10-year management plan for the Village lakes, and in deference to this, the herbicide use will only be approved for one year in hopes that they can dove-tail into the long-term plan once it has been completed.
 Trustee Kasker commented that it was his understanding that there was still a permitting process to undergo.  Mayor McFadden concurred, further commenting that Solitude Lakes Management  was currently pursuing the Special Permit required from DEC.  “If this season when we get the permit is not the appropriate time to do the treatment then we will wait until next spring,” he stated.  “The decision will be made when we get the permit.” He further reported that earlier that month, in between meetings, he had approached Trustees Shaw and Kasker for their oral permission to write a down payment check to Solitude Lakes Management so that they could move forward with pursuing the Special Permit as “time was of the essence.”  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of retroactively approving that payment.
Discuss Village Land Use of SECTION 104, BLOCK 1, LOT 34, and totaling 8.6 Acres (otherwise known as the Wee Wah Beach Club & Village DPW Properties) – The Mayor opened the discussion by stating “The idea is to have the attorney draft a local law allowing the Village residents to use the facility during the summer when the WWBC is under lease to that property.  Right now they are mutually exclusive.”  He then read the following resolution into the record: Draft Local Law #1 of 2021 – Use of Village Property: Be it resolved that the Board of Trustees is scheduling a public hearing on Wednesday August 18 at 6:45pm for the purpose of hearing comments on Draft Local Law #1 of 2021. Trustee Kasker commented that it was his understanding the New York State Park Law did not allow exclusive use of parkland anyway so this would likely be a good way to get the Village books in line with State Law. 
Trustee Brooke inquired as to whether or not anybody living in either the Town or the Village had the ability to join the Wee Wah.
Mayor McFadden responded that Town Membership was limited to those who reside in the Hamlet, but anyone living in the Village could join.
Trustee Brooke next wanted to know whether or not the Village would be making a contribution to help improve the facility in exchange for the open access as proposed.
“This could lead to something like that,” responded the Mayor.  “It actually is saying that since the typical hours of the WWBC are 1-8pm, 7 days a week,  Memorial Day through Labor Day, between the hours of 8am-1pm no one in the Village is allowed to use the facility.  So this law is going to revoke that and allow us to have full access…and it sets the stage for discussions with the WWBC for operating next year.  It’s something that we need to do to take this off the books.”
Trustee Brooke wondered whether the allowable hours for the WWBC would change to be in synch with what had been proposed and if they would remain the same.
The answer was that they would remain the same.
The Trustees then voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution.
Discuss Gatehouse Construction – The booth project is well underway and the Village has received favorable feedback from residents.  In order to counteract the increased costs associated with labor, outdated bids, inflation of prices associated with construction materials, vendor costs and extras, the Mayor requested that the village raise the budget cap from $125,362 to $135,000.  This is necessary because it is evident that they will exceed the previously approved budget amount.  The good news is that taxpayer dollars will not be used as the Village has received donations that cover the overages. 
The Trustees voted unanimously in favor of approving the increased budget.
Trustee Brooke inquired as to whether or not the project had been approved by the Board of Architectural Review.  The answer was yes.

New Business:
Discuss Landscaping of Village-Owned Properties – The Mayor has been meeting with Trustee Shaw, Building Inspector John Ledwith, DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss and others to discuss potentially doing some work at Village-owned property at the south end of Tuxedo Lake.  They were thinking maybe it would be nice to put a small, environmentally friendly park there where one could sit and rest while walking around the lake, or potentially have a small picnic, etc.  There is nothing to vote on at this time, but the idea is being considered and the Mayor is looking to get some public input.  They are also looking at and discussing the upkeep of Village-owned triangles.  Additionally, they are looking at replacing guiderails along West Lake Road just past its intersection with Eagle Mountain Road.  The current guiderails are made of metal, are quite old and in questionable condition.  The Village is considering replacing them with timber rails, similar to the ones along Tuxedo road.
Audrey Perry inquired as to whether or not taxpayer money would be utilized for the triangle upkeep, further noting that historically the Tuxedo Park Garden Club had taken care of this task and it had been funded via donations. 
Mayor McFadden responded that the work is currently done by the DPW so there would be no use of taxpayer funds,  but they would love to work with the Garden Club on any of the aforementioned projects.  He suggested that initial contact with the Club had already been made but was unsure as to what the outcome of that had been.    
Mrs. Perry suggested that they get in touch with Father Rick Datos-Robyn who is the current Garden Club Chair.
With regard to the proposed park at the south end of Tuxedo Lake, Mrs. Perry reported that Garden Club historically considered a similar initiative however there were members of the Club who were against the idea due to the number of people who might come through the back gate and use it.
Mayor McFadden responded that this was definitely a valid  concern, reiterating that the idea was only in the discussion phase and that security was certainly an important issue that would have to be considered.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of discussing the employment of a particular person, the DPW bargaining agreement and public safety.

 

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Village Board of Trustees Annual Reorganization Meeting July 21, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees held their annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, July 21 at 6:30pm.  All members were present.  Trustee Joshua Scherer attended remotely via Zoom from Santa Monica, CA.

The meeting began with the ceremonial swearing in of newly elected Judge David Hasin and Trustee Paul Brooke.

The Mayor then briefly read through the proposed appointments and designation categories.  There were no objections from any of the Trustees.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the appointments and designations.

Click here to view a detailed  copy of what was approved.

 

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Agendas for Village Board of Trustees Reorganization and Regular Monthly Meetings July 21, 2021

Click here to view the Reorganization agenda

Click here to view the Regular Monthly Meeting agenda

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Village Lakes Discussion with AJ Reyes of N.E.A.R June 24, 2021

Click here to listen to a recording of this presentation/discussion

Click here to view a copy of the visual presentation along with the Q&A

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 16, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 7pm via Zoom. 
Trustee McHugh was absent

Mayors Comments:
Mayor McFadden opened the meeting by thanking soon-to-retire Board members Paul Gluck and Alan McHugh for all of their hard work on behalf of the Village further noting  that each of them had brought unique skill sets to the table and that their shoes would be difficult to fill.  He then congratulated the Board members elect Josh Sherer and Paul Brooke as well as Judge Hasin, commenting that he was looking forward to working with everyone and accomplishing good things for the Village.

Reports and Minutes:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Construction Report

On behalf of Town Board Liaison Michele Lindsay, Trustee Gluck reported the following:
There will be a Tuxedo Arts and Music event this coming Friday (June 18)  from 6-8pm in the Train Station.  A number of talented, local artists have been painting a variety of historical structures and landscapes around Town this week and this culminates in Friday evening’s event where the artwork will be on display and guests can meet the artists and also purchase the paintings if they are so inclined.
There will be a meeting of the Tuxedo Farms LDC on June 24 at 10am.  This meeting will address the Hamlet sewer system.  Village residents who are hooked into that system are encouraged  to attend.
Lastly, Supervisor English is currently in discussions with Related and other parties regarding Tuxedo Farms and moving forward with some variation of the project.  These discussions remain on-going.
The Mayor asked Trustee Gluck if he could elaborate on this, particularly as it pertained to a new configuration of the project, wondering if the property would be zoned for the same use.
Trustee Gluck responded that while he was not privy to the discussions, as he understood it there have been conversations about some other configuration for the project moving forward.  Time has marched on and the way it was originally proposed may no longer be workable or appropriate.  Current discussions are focused on what another configuration might look like and how it would satisfy the growth needs of the Town while remaining attractive to a developer. 
Mayor McFadden replied that this was the first time he was learning of this and he considered it to be a real “eyebrow raiser.”  He openly wondered what direction they might be going in, how it would affect the Village, whether there would be additional Planning Board or SEQR requirements and if there would be a change to the density or the zoning.  He pledged to gather information and make a report to the community as soon as possible to the extent practical. 
Trustee Gluck commented that he felt this had been in the public purview for some time, with open discussions at the Town Board meetings about how things might move forward.  He does not feel there is anything new at this point in time.
Trustee Kasker asked Board attorney Nugent for confirmation that any subdivision layout changes would require a public hearing. 
Mr. Nugent responded that either an amended or new site plan approval would be needed and that the applicant would have to go before the Planning Board.
Trustee Kasker thanked Mr. Nugent adding that he didn’t think they should make any assumptions about what might be going until it has risen as a formal application or change. He cautioned that nothing is certain until it Is actually put on paper and put before a public body.

Consent Agenda:
Trustee Shaw asked to remove item “I” pertaining to the Wee Wah Beach Club’s request to replace their playset.
Trustee Gluck asked to remove the approval of the police Department rules and regulations as he had not had enough time to review it and therefore intended to abstain, but did not want to have to abstain on the entire consent agenda.  This item was tabled.
Approval of the interceptor financing for a truck purchase was removed and tabled.
An item authorizing the Mayor to sign the DASH harvesting contract was removed because the contract has already been signed.
The rest of the consent agenda was approved unanimously. 
There followed a conversation about the proposed playset at the Beach Club. Trustee Shaw commented that what had been proposed appeared to be a residential set and she wondered whether this was permitted for a park under the Village code. 
Trustee Kasker responded that there are regulations that cover parks and the Villages subsequent duties in terms of inspections.  He suggested that so long as the Code Enforcement Officer/Building Inspector felt that the proposed set was suitable, they should defer to his judgement.  The Board then voted unanimously to approve the playset. 

Public Comments:
There were none

New Business:
Request of Wee Wah Beach Club to Extend Membership – The Wee Wah Beach Club has requested permission to expand their membership beyond the 2019/2020 membership lists as previously negotiated. 
Trustee Kasker noted that he did not have any issues with what had been proposed by the Beach Club Board.
Trustee Shae disagreed, suggesting that she felt the Beach Club was “picking and choosing” their membership and if they were to let a select group of people in they would ultimately have to let everyone in.  She feels they should stay with what was negotiated. 
Trustee Gluck agreed with Trustee Shaw, noting that the Board had undergone extensive and lengthy discussions on this topic during the negotiation process.  “it’s a little disappointing to see this revisited so shortly after we competed the agreement,”  he stated, further noting that he meant no disrespect to anybody who was on the list of prospective memberships or to anybody else,
Mayor McFadden agreed with Paul and Tinka, stating that he felt they should have restricted the membership to the 2020 list and utilized the North Gate for traffic purposes.  He further suggested that if they were to allow this group of people to join, there was no guarantee that the Beach Club would not come back next month with another list. 
On behalf of the Beach Club Marc Citrin commented that they understood that the negotiations had been extensive and although there had been some dissatisfaction expressed by members of the Board, they were pleased to be able to operate.  The Club also appreciates the Board’s approval of their expenditures  to make improvements to the property.  With that said, they believe that allowing for an additional 8 memberships form the Town would not be an overreach for the Beach Club.  Noting that he understood based on the comments that had been made that proposal would likely not pass, he further stated that the Beach Club would like to continue the discussions when meeting with Trustee Shaw and her committee when discussing the future of the Beach Club through next year and beyond.
In the interest of clearing the record, the Mayor responded that a committee lead by Trustee Shaw had not yet been established. 
Mr. Citrin replied that they were prepared to meet whenever the committee was assembled and ready. 
Mayor McFadden asked Mr. Nugent to speak to the issue of possible discrimination as raised by Trustee Shaw. 
Mr. Nugent responded that the type of discrimination they were talking about was not really a category of discrimination.  Rather it is based on prior membership dates and is not a protected class.  The Village has it within their power to set a number for these categories and memberships.  He suggested that rather than being discriminatory, the question was whether or not it was arbitrary in deciding which individuals would be offered membership.  This is a matter for the Village to decide. 
The Board then voted 3-1 against allowing the new memberships.
Signage – There was a brief discussion about Village Signage, but ultimately the discussion was tabled.

The Board then entered an executive session for the purpose of discussing the employment of a particular person, DPW contract negotiations and several water & sewer customers.

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 16, 2021

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Agenda for Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 24, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 19, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 7pm via Zoom.  All members were present.

Mayor’s Comments:
Mayor McFadden opened the meeting by thanking all of the Village employees for their hard work in assisting him with closing out the budget as well as the booth construction project and DPW bargaining agreement negotiations.  “You really bring so much to the table,” he stated.  “It wouldn’t be the same community without you.”

Monthly Reports:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report
Click here to view the Water Department Report
Click here to view the Treasurer’s Report

There were no questions or comments on the reports.

Public Comments:
Jim Hays inquired about the on-going Orange and Rockland project.  He wondered why raising the wires by 10 feet was an advantage and further whether or not customers could expect a rate increase as a direct result of the infrastructure upgrades.
Mayor McFadden responded that the utility company has indicated that they were spending quite a lot of money on damages related to falling trees and that this investment will make it such that they will not need to come in as frequently for repairs.  Raising and strengthening the wires in combination with tree trimming, should also drastically cut down on the number of blackouts and brownouts in the Village.  There has been no association with the rates.  There is information about the project posted to the Village website and in addition the Mayor offered to send Mr. Hays information as presented by O & R about the project at previous Village meetings.   Mr. Hays responded that this would not be necessary, but further noted that he was skeptical about the project. 
On behalf of the Tree Advisory Board Chiu Yin Hempel announced that on Saturday June 5 there would be Spring Celebration to which everyone in the Village will be invited.  The event will be hosted by both the TAB and the Tuxedo Park Garden Club and will feature guided walk-and-talks along the meadow paths in the Race Track from 10-11am followed by a tree planting ceremony in honor of all he Race Track Nature preserve Stewards, recently retired Village Clerk Debbie Matthews and Coco Labar of the DPW and soon-to-retire Advisory Board Liaison Alan McHugh to thank them for contributing to the success of the preserve and for encouraging the planting of trees.  This will be followed by a Peony picking garden party at the Maxwell Family garden on Summit road.  Email invitations will be going out shortly.  In addition, the TAB is seeking BOT approval to replace the current notice board with a more appropriate one and to install an additional notice board at the north entrance of the preserve.  There will be no cost to the Village.  Images of both the current board and the new ones were presented for review.
Trustee Kasker inquired as to whether the new notice board at the main entrance would be installed in the same location as the old one.
The answer was yes.
Commenting that he was sure it would be ok, he further noted that there were a lot of signs at that particular intersection including a historic marker, a do not enter sign, a stop sign and a one-way sign among others.  As the proposed notice board is larger in size he suggested that they should put some thought into its placement considering the area was already somewhat cluttered with signs that were less aesthetically pleasing and in his view do not reflect the historic nature of the Village.  He recognizes that many of the aforementioned signs were transportation type signs but he feels there are some better alternatives and this new sign, while beautiful, would be one more thing to look at amidst the sign clutter. 
There followed a discussion about the historic marker.  Trustee Kasker asserted that it had been installed on a curve too close to Tuxedo Road, which is in his view a dangerous location.  Additionally, he has some concerns with the aesthetics, particularly the sign pole. 
Mayor McFadden noted that he had received a call from a resident who wondered whether the historic marker would have any bearing on the public’s ability to access the site and the impact that might have on the Village gates.
The idea of relocating the sign was considered, with Trustee Gluck suggesting that perhaps they should tie the approval of the proposed message boards to a plan to relocate the marker. 
Mrs. Hempel stated that the TAB would be willing to move the notice boards further into the Race Track in order to ensure that they were not visible from the roadway.  They would like to install them prior to the June 5 event.
Following some further discussion, the Board unanimously approved the installation of the new message boards and it was agreed that Trustees Kasker and Gluck would meet with members of the TAB to discuss possible relocation of the historic marker. 

OLD BUSINESS:
Resolve to approve CCTV work to be performed on the Pond No: 3 sewer line as a recommended by W & S – There was a lengthy discussion with regard to the proposed project and whether or not it should be put out for competitive bid.  Trustee McHugh also expressed concern at not having received any updates pertaining to the Villages  SPDES permit and compliance issues.  He believes these items must take priority above all else.
  Stating that he had no issues with the concept of competitive bidding, Mayor McFadden expressed frustration that the Trustees had waited until “that last minute” to suggest it, further commenting that the information had been before them for months and that the bidding process would slow the project up substantially.  Trustee Shaw suggested that perhaps Westin and Sampson could re-bid it out to their subcontractors in hopes of procuring a better price, which would alleviate the need to develop an RFP and should speed the process up. 
“If we are going to buy a new police car, we don’t go to the dealership that we use the most, let them describe their price and then go with it,” Stated Trustee Kasker.  “If we are spending $50,000 + on a police car, we get additional bids.  I look at this as analogous to that.  Westin and Sampson is recommending that they sub out the work for $63,000 to CCTV some  pipes.  I don’t think we go to Westin and Sampson and ask them for another price.  We go to another engineering firm and ask them how much they would charge to do the scope of work that Westin and Sampson already wrote for us, which we already paid them for.”
Trustee McHugh agreed, commenting  that as Village fiduciaries it was their responsibility to go out to competitive bid in order to ensure that they were getting the best and the most reasonable service for the lowest price. 
When asked for his thoughts by the Mayor, Building Inspector John Ledwith noted that it had been extremely difficult for the Village to locate areas in the system where there was inflow and infiltration and being that they had found some, he felt they should try to resolve the issues expeditiously without too many additional studies.
Mayor McFadden then suggested that Mr. Ledwith reach out to the engineer to see if he was available to join the meeting and answer some questions, which he did.
Once Westin and Sampson was on the line, Trustee McHugh inquired about the status of the work to alleviate the SPDES permit violations and subsequent DEC compliance issues.  He was informed that this work was substantially complete.  The project was successful overall and they will be providing a report shortly to both the Village and the DEC.  Next steps were then briefly outlined and discussed.  Next, the discussion turned back to the estimated cost of the CCTV project and the concept of competitive bidding.  After a detailed review of the proposed costs, the Board voted 4-1 in favor of moving ahead with the project with Trustee McHugh voting against due to the lack of a competitive bidding process. 
Resolve to approve GIS & Mapping & Engineering Fees -  The first part this project entails the Village DPW locating catch basins throughout the Village and determining their interconnectivity.   This must be done before the engineers can do their GPS work.  Having the DPW complete this initial task, as opposed to using a subcontractor, will save the Village money.  Trustee Gluck suggested that prior to approving the project and engineering fees, the DPW should complete their portion of the work.  If the DPW is unable to determine interconnectivity, they may have to rethink the process. He further suggested that the project seemed a bit pricey in his view at $20,000 given the amount of work that the DPW had to complete first and that in his mind this might not be the best use of Village funds at this particular point in time.    The Engineer responded that if the DPW were to be unsuccessful in locating a substantial amount of the system then they would not mobilize but would rather reengage in discussions.  Following some further discussion, the topic was tabled and it was agreed that the Mayor, Trustee Shaw and Building Inspector Ledwith would meet to further discuss with the intent of bringing something more solid before the Board at their next meeting. 
Next Trustee McHugh asked the engineer to provide a brief overview of the water controls that were installed at the water plant and the reason behind them. 
The engineer explained that the primary control panel that operates the water treatment plant, which is the Village’s drinking water, was antiquated and outdated.  There were a number of computer cards that were failing and the DPW was no longer able to get parts.  Working in concert with the BOT, they determined what was needed and put together a bid package.  This past week a new control panel was installed and things have been transferred over successfully.
Resolve to Approve the WWFC Licensing Agreement for the 2021 Season – Mayor McFadden opened the discussion by reporting that he had successfully negotiated an increase in the licensing fee up to $1000 as well as a $500 donation for milfoil mitigation.  Additionally, there had been some discussion with regard to reverting to the 2020 membership and there was give and take on this issue.
Trustee McHugh commented that his issues with the WWFC highlight the issues with the Wee Wah Beach Club.  In looking at the membership of the fishing club, there are 70 members of which only 8 are village residents.  The Beach Club also has 60 non-Village residents.  “I really don’t understand hoe we have an uproar about the Wee Wah Beach Club and not the fishing club when you have a disproportionate amount of people from the Village not being members there.  The Fishing Club is year round and the Beach Club is only open for 4 months.  So ,I am baffled by this whole thing.  We have not advertised or asked for resident input with regard to this, but the issues with traffic and everything are even more germane with regard to the Fishing Club over the Beach Club.”
The Mayor responded that the difference was that the conversation surrounding the Beach Club pertained to who managed Village property and whether people want to invest in it or not while the Fishing Club conversation did not.  He further suggested that in his opinion the two clubs should share the cost of utilizing the North Gate for their non-resident membership.
Trustee Gluck asserted that he did not feel they should get into this discussion again, further commenting that he was happy to welcome the fishing club.  Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the agreement.

NEW BUSINESS:
Consent Agenda – The Board approved the following items in one motion as part of the consent agenda:

  • Resolved to accept resignation of Part-Time Police officers Joseph Saetta, (effective
  • immediately), Vincent D’Amato (effective May 20) and Brian Benjamin (effective
  • May 16)
  • Resolved to approve request to hire Part-Time Police Officer Johnny A. Gonzalez
  • Election Day, June 15, 2021: Resolved to approve Chris Moog as a Table Inspector
  • to take the place of Jennifer Weiss who had to cancel. Payment is $225 for the day.
  • Election Day, June 15, 2021: Resolved to approve Linda Hackett and Skip Briggs as alternate Table Inspectors if there are more cancellations. Rate of pay is $225 for the
  • day.
  • Election Day, June 15, 2021: Resolved to approve Jim Pearson as an alternate
  • Machine Operator if there is a cancellation.
  • Resolved to appoint Campbell Langdon to the Board of Zoning Appeal (BZA) to replace the Hold Over seat of member Mary Darby. The appointment term is through 6/30/2025.

Trustee McHugh noted that they had seen a lot of part-time police officers leave and he inquired of Chief as to where their numbers were and the level of success in terms of filling the void.
Chief Conklin responded that although the number of part-time officers had decreased from 20 to 17 , all of the officers currently working were pulling a minimum of 2 shifts per week and that the department was doing well.  He anticipates hiring one more officer next month, after which they should be fully staffed. 
Following a brief discussion regarding the proposed budget transfers, the Board entered into an executive session to discuss the DPW Bargaining Agreement, legal matters, and the employment of a particular village employee.

 

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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 19, 2021

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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting & Budget Workshop April 28, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Wednesday, April 28 at 3pm via ZOOM  for the purpose of discussing the lease agreements for the Wee Was Beach Club and the Fishing Club as well as to conduct a budget workshop. All members were present.


There was a lengthy discussion regarding the management of the Wee Wah Beach Club.  Mayor Mcfadden proposed a new system of management under which the Village would assume management of cash disbursements, Village funds, memberships, and improvements while the Beach Club would be responsible for day-to-day operations.  Ultimately this plan was rejected by the majority of the Board and an amended version of the lease agreement, negotiated with the Beach Club  by Trustee Gluck the week prior, was approved.

Click here to listen to a recording of the discussion in full.

The discussion regarding the Fishing Club lease was tabled.


The lease discussions were followed by a budget workshop which resulted in the Boards' approval/adoption of the 2021/22 budget.  It is expected that a copy of the approved budget will be posted to the Village website in the near future.

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Notice of Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting & Budget Workshop April 28, 2021

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Village Board of Trustees Public Hearing and Regular Monthly Meeting April 21, 2021

The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, April 21 at 7pm via Zoom.  All members were present.

Click here to listen to a recording of the public hearing

Mayor’s Comments:
There were none

Monthly Reports and Minutes to the Board & Public:
Click here to view the Police Report
Click here to view the Water Department Report
Click here to view the Building Department Report
Click here to view the DPW Report
Click here to view the Treasurer’s Reports

Public Comments on Reports, Old and New Business Items:
With regard to the Wee Wah Beach Club, Jay Reichgott commented that he felt the question of who should run the facility was a good topic for discussion however, he expressed concern with the timing.  With the swimming season just 6 weeks away, even if things were to operate as they always have in the past, management would have to scramble in order to pull things together for a timely, Memorial Day opening.  Were the Village to take over management of the Club, there would surely be a somewhat substantial learning curve involved and this would likely delay the opening.  This begs the question ‘when is the best time to enact change?’  He suggested that the Village should allow the Club to operate this year as it always had and then begin a more in-depth conversation about the future in the fall of 2021.
Mayor McFadden thanked Mr. Reichgott for his constructive comments.
Elizabeth Cotnoir stated that she agreed with Mr.Reichgott, further suggesting that it was much too close to the Club’s opening date to effectively institute major change.
Mary Graetzer commented that she whole-heartedly agreed with this sentiment.  Making the kind of changes that have been proposed would require many careful conversations and, in her view, 6 weeks before the Club is supposed to open is not the time to have them.  The Wee Wah Beach Club as it currently exists has been consistently managed in the same way for the last 87 years and for many, to have Village take things over entirely, would be perceived as a loss and in turn a blow.  If there is a way that the Village can invest and make things cheaper for the Club and its members, she wondered why they wouldn’t just do it and leave the management as it is.
Mayor McFadden inquired as to why the change might be perceived as “a blow” to some.
Mrs. Graetzer replied that the perception for many of the Town members was that the Village and its residents did not believe the current management to be competent enough or good enough at running the Club successfully.
Mayor McFadden made a comparison between the Beach Club and the Village Boat Club, an organization run by Village taxpayers.  He noted that the Boat Club had been successful in contributing to the improvement of the facility.  They have paid for their own docks, the maintenance there-of and the installation of a stone wall along the water’s edge all on their own accord.  On the contrary, he suggested that the Beach Club “hasn’t even offered a dime for improvement of the space.”
Mrs. Graetzer responded that this was not true and that over the years the Beach Club had offered and paid for many improvements to the property including refurbished bathrooms, playground equipment, picnic tables, grills, benches, landscaping and more.  Additionally, they annually undertake a clean-up of the property, where members gather and work to clear sticks and brush and refuse both prior to and post operating season.  For the past few seasons, a variety of reasons such as low levels in the lake and Covid-19 have negatively impacted the Club’s membership, which in turn makes it impossible for them to afford any major property enhancements.
The Mayor responded that he had been judging the lack of effort based on what he saw currently and what had seen since becoming an elected official.  He further indicated that he was disappointed in the Club’s offer of $1,000 to lease the property, which is in his view very low.  The Village spends quite a bit of money on Wee Wah with Milfoil maintenance and the employment of a Lakes Manager.  He further suggested that he felt that some of his negotiations with the Club had been misrepresented.  He believes that his initial offer (which he would be happy to put back on the negotiating table) was a win/win for everyone involved.  Under that proposal, the Village would take control of both the finances and the physical property, immediately investing $5-$10,000 into improvements while the Beach Club would continue to manage the things on a day-to-day basis.  “If we take it on,” he continued “the membership would probably have to adjust to the fact that it may not open on Memorial Day and so forth.  There would be a definite learning curve, but we have to consider what has been offered to us on the table.  There is potential of a resident donating money to a Village managed Club.”  When Mrs. Graetzer inquired about the issue of Hamlet membership, the Mayor replied “The fact of the matter is that any three members of any Village Board…past, present or future….could eliminate the Hamlet membership by a vote.  There is nothing in the local law that prevents that.  So, whether the Beach Club is running the facility or the Village runs it, the security is no different.”  He added that there was also a clause in the lease agreement which acknowledged that at any time during the season, the Trustees could shut down the Club with a vote.  He reiterated his belief that his initial proposal was a win/win and further noted that along with it he had offered a 5-10 year guarantee of the current Hamlet membership, but that this had been rejected by the Beach Club for reasons unknown to him. He then explained that there was a potential offer of $100,000 from a Village resident and that if they were able to secure that money it would allow the Village to hire a beach manager to assist with everything.  He doesn’t understand why people seem threatened by the idea of this.  In his view, the Beach Club is located on Village owned property that is underutilized in terms of its potential.  Not only should the leasing amount be greater than $1,000, but that the Club should also be asked to put forward a commitment to improve the property in the amount of $2-5,000 annually.
Mrs. Graetzer responded that while she understood what the Mayor was saying, she felt strongly that the kind of changes being considered should not be made quickly. She suggested that they should allow things to remain as they have always been for one more summer and then formally begin the conversation in September when everybody can understand and agree without the pressure of trying to get things up and running quickly.
Aoife Clarke agreed with Mrs. Graetzer.  She feels both sides are getting quite heated and fears that the restructuring debate could  inhibit the Club’s ability to open on time.  She acknowledged that some people in the Park were concerned because they paid taxes on the Village owned land while many in the Hamlet were in fear of having their membership revoked.  She implored the Board to wait until the Fall to continue discussions of restructuring.
Jenn Darling identified herself as the Vice President of the Beach Club’s executive Board.  She stated that it was entirely unfair for the Mayor to suggest that the Club had not made any improvements to the property.  They recently replaced the floating dock at an expense of $5,000.  Last year they had money set aside and had intended to replace the playground structure, but were required by the Village to spend several thousand dollars for a Police Officer to man the North Gate on weekends so that non-resident traffic, totaling roughly 10 cars per day, could be diverted.  She further asserted that the Beach Club had not rejected the Mayor’s proposed 5-10 year guarantee of the current Hamlet membership.  Rather, she explained, they had told him that  they believed that there was not enough time to properly analyze things and carefully work through all of the details prior to opening for the summer.  She noted that the reason the $1,000 lease amount had been proposed is because that is the amount that has historically been in the budget.  The Club very much wants to enhance the property and it is their intent to install a playground there, which would in turn be dedicated to the Village.
Speaking to last year’s requirement that non-resident members access the Beach Club via the North Gate on weekends, the Mayor defended the rule, suggesting that 10 cars per day made a combined 20 trips down the Causeway, and this constituted preventable wear and tear and on the roads in his view. 
Mr. Reichgott asserted that Wee Wah Beach Club only occupied the property for 3 months out of the year and for the other 9 months it was a Village Park.  He believes it is not unreasonable to expect that the Village would fund the maintenance of the property in much the same way they do the Racetrack Nature Preserve.  He feels that the Beach Club should be asked to  provide maintenance and enhancements only to those areas that are utilized exclusively by the Club.
Mayor McFadden countered that unless they joined the Beach Club, Village residents were unable to swim there during the summer months.  He suggested that he had even considered the idea of opening a separate Club for Village residents, to be operated during the AM hours before the current Club opened for the day.
Beach Club President Bonny Takeuchi provided the Board with some historical perspective, which outlined in some detail how the Club had come to be on hard times.  For decades the Beach Club an enjoyed a robust membership of 250 annually.  The Club paid the Village $5,000 to lease the property and the two entities coordinated, working hand-in-hand together to fund many improvements.  When the Village commenced work on the Wee Wah Dam repairs, the water level in the lake was drastically reduced, which had an unfortunate effect on the swimming area and the diving board had to be removed as a result.  Additionally, water quality questions surrounding the fish kill in 2012 and algae blooms in the lake as well as the increasing presence of Eurasian Water Milfoil had a direct impact on the ability for members to swim at varying times over the years.  There was one season when swimming was not permitted at all.  Under these circumstances, the Beach Club membership began to decline.  With fewer memberships, the Club has had less money to invest in the property.  Last season proved to be especially taxing as they had to hire a Covid-19 monitor, purchase a fair amount of Covid related equipment and cleaning supplies, and pay an officer to man the North Gate on the weekends.  The Club estimates they spent approximately $9,100 on these things, which is money they could have otherwise invested in the property. 
The Mayor responded by apologizing and noting that he wanted to formally “walk back” his comment about the Club not investing in the property, which he had based on his own personal, more recent experiences there. He further wondered whether it would be “that bad” if the Village were to take it over so long as the current Hamlet membership was retained.
Mrs. Takeuchi responded that the current Hamlet membership was limited as the Village had not allowed the Club to admit new members from the Hamlet for several years.  Of the 74 Hamlet members, more than 1/3 of them are over the age of 70.  She suggested that there are new families living in the Hamlet who might enjoy membership.
Changing the topic entirely, Claudio Guazzoni congratulated the Board on completing the budget process, thanking them for all the time they had invested into the long, arduous process.  He is “a little annoyed” that taxes will likely be going up and is hopeful that next year they can work a bit harder to either keep taxes steady or decrease them.
Mayor McFadden thanked Mr. Guazzoni for his comment, further noting that Board members and department heads had worked very hard to create a budget that came un under cap.  As time goes by, costs do increase but he believes they have done a responsible job of budgeting and is pleased to see monies being set aside for critical infrastructure and engineering projects.  That being said, he noted that there is always room for improvement.

Trustee Updates:
Trustee Gluck reported on two upcoming Webinar events which have been sponsored by the Tuxedo/Tuxedo Park Climate Smart Task Force.  The first is a Recycling Webinar entitled ‘Today’s Recycling Market and Best Practices’ which will take place on April 22 at 7pm and the second a Webinar focused on Climate Change entitled ‘Climate Science and Solutions’ presented by C-Change Conservations on April 28 at 7pm.  Both programs can be accessed via the Town’s WebEx portal.   

Consent Agenda:
Before approving the consent agenda, the following two items were extracted and briefly discussed:
Resolution to Waive the Building Permit Fee for Painting Applications – Building Inspector John Ledwith explained that as there was little-to-no engineering, architectural or legal work involved with a change in paint color, it was recommended that the permit fee be waived for applicants.  Although there will be no associated permit fees, these applications will still have to go through the appropriate BAR process. 
Resolution to Approve to Purchase of a New Police Vehicle – Chief Conklin explained that there had been an “unforeseen event” with one of the current vehicles when it was brought in for service and discovered that the engine was in need of costly repairs.  The vehicle is old and out of warrantee and it will likely cost more to keep repairing It over time than it would to move forward with a new one. 

Following these discussions, the consent agenda was unanimously approved.

New Business:
Discuss the License Agreement Between the Wee Wah Fishing Club and The Village – The Club has submitted a proposal, which has been circulated to the Board.  The Mayor has scheduled a tour of the facility and would like to discuss with them the idea of repairs as well as contributions to lake maintenance.  Trustee McHugh noted that the Club had paid to stock the lake and had worked in conjunction with the DEC to do so.  Additionally, they financed repairs to the dock. He recommended they table their decision until the next meeting which would allow time for the Mayor and any interested trustees to visit the facility and clarify and questions they might have.  Following some further discussion, it was agreed that this is what would be done. 
Discuss The License Agreement Between The Wee Wah Beach Club and The Village & The Offer of a $100,000 Donation Organized by a Resident for a Village Managed Beach Club That Would Include Last Year’s Hamlet Members and Village Residents for the 2021 Season- Mayor Mcfadden invited each of the Trustees to comment. 
Trustee Shaw indicated that she felt the proposed $1,000 lease payment was way too low.  She feels the idea of having the Village run the Club is an interesting one and believes that they could generate a fair amount of interest from Village Residents.  She compared it to the Village Boat Club, which she feels is very well organized.
 Trustee Gluck noted that he was a member of the Village Board Club and further  commented that is in his view that club was “the epitome of a volunteer organization,” whereby all of the members pitch in to get things done at a minimum expense without government assistance.  A lot of this same spirit is also reflected in the Beach Club.  He applauded the Beach Club for making things work, particularly for the way in which they got things together and running during Covid.  He also commended the Mayor and Trustees for their work in trying to make the facility better for the Village.  He feels there is room for improvement all across the board.  Many of the comments pertaining to capital improvement have a great deal of merit.  Having said this, even if he believed it was the right move for the Village to step in and reorganize things, he would be “scared to death” to take on that project now, 6 weeks out from the start of the swimming season, when it is so far out of their comfort zone.  Without seeing any sort of budget or proposal for the options that have been suggested, he believes managing the process would be a nightmare and therefore he echoed the sentiments of many of those who spoke before him, suggesting that they take more time to have these important conversations in the future, but keep things largely the same for the upcoming season.  6 weeks is not enough time to put in a whole new management structure.  There is enough  time however  to negotiate the current agreement and he recommended reconsidering the requirement that non-residents use the North Gate for access on the weekends as well as the overall leasing fee and the  amount of money the Club should be asked to put into capital improvements for the facility.
Trustee McHugh noted that the Wee Wah Beach provided access to swimming in the lake for residents and in that regard, he feels they should move forward with getting the necessary permitting in place in order to open the facility on time and ensure a viable season.  With regard to the structure, he feels that he needs more clarity, particularly as it pertains to the potential donation. The current Hamlet members have shown a commitment to the facility and he believes they should be given the opportunity to stay members.  If the Village can effectively enhance the facility and make it a destination for more Village residents, he supports that as well.  “Let’s move this forward and get it open this year sooner rather than later and work through the details over the next couple of weeks to see if there is a common ground that everyone can live with and is happy with.”
Trustee Shaw interjected that she felt they needed to look further into the insurance before they proceeded in any way to make sure that the Village had the proper coverage.
Trustee Kasker commented that most members of the Beach Club probably didn’t care about who ran things so long as they could pay their fee and utilize the beach. To him, whatever affords the Club’s members the ability to do this at a fair price is paramount.  If the Village was able to run the facility and significantly cut the cost of the membership, that would be one thing but he is not sure they are there yet.  There are more insurance requirements for swimming than there are for general liability.  In a recent letter to the Board, one resident made some valid points pertaining to risk.  The way things stand currently, if somebody has a significant accident the Village is not primarily responsible.  He would like to know what the insurance rates for the Village would be with the added coverage included.  Additionally, running the Beach Club would require the Village to hire and cover more employees.  Trustee Kasker favors shrinking the number of Village employees as opposed to increasing it.  He also noted that with no Parks and Recreation Department in place, the Village did not have anyone to run facility.  This is one reason why having both the Boat Club and the Beach Club as independent organizations makes sense as they assume their own administrative burdens.  Village employees are tasked with taking care of all Village residents, not specific groups and/or Clubs that are focused on putting a boat on the water or swimming in one of the lakes.  There are 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  This leaves a whole lot of time for any and all Village residents to use the property for free.  Most municipalities have a code provision which states that if they have a subdivision and they do not have land for parks, they have to pay a fee.  It is the Village’s obligation to have a park for their residents, but it is not their obligation to have a swimming hole for them.  A swimming facility is a special use the requires extra cost and the people who want to use it should have the burden of that cost.  “The bottom line is that there is a whole lot going on and I don’t think residents deserve the right to swim for free, which is what you seem to alluding to in some of your comments.” he stated. 
“I wasn’t alluding to that,” responded the Mayor. 
Trustee Kasker went on to say that he felt additional analysis on the business side was needed before the Village was ready to move forward with managing the Club and until this has been done, he is not ready to act on it.   He is happy to discuss the idea  further however.  He feels they should be striving to provide a better beach for less money.  In the meantime, as they are not faced with an emergency situation, he believes they should proceed as normal. 
Mayor McFadden suggested that currently the Club pays upwards of $7,000 in insurance costs and if the Village only had to get a small supplemental package, they could save a few thousand, which would be money that could immediately be invested in either lowering the cost of membership of making capital improvements.  “As a Village we can use income to make improvements,” he stated, “and that has its own momentum.  If we were to take over the management, I would see it as a transition.  I would think we would have to ask the membership to be patient with a potential start date with disruption because if we were going to be putting money into improving, there might be days when a part of the park was closed or cordoned off.  It could be a little hectic.  We could consider extending the hours potentially.  In the scenario I was looking at we could take the $30,000 membership from last year and put it into some of our own Village funds.”  He further stated that his position was that he would like to see a dual situation where the Village would work together with the Beach Club and share responsibility…use it as a learning session for moving forward and then analyze it at the end of the year to see where we did and didn’t succeed. He also feels the Village should  commit  to putting another $5-10,000 into the budget now to make improvements as a sweetener. He reiterated that under his proposal, the Beach Club would  manage the day-to-day operations and therefore there would be less liability for the Village. 
“I think the Board has  five kind of diverse positions,” stated the Mayor.  “I believe my position is clear.” He then suggested that Trustee Gluck liaison with the Beach Club to further negotiate these details while they waited for more clarity on the potential donation.
Trustee Gluck replied that he would be happy to interact with the Beach Club but he felt they needed to make a determination as to whether or not they would be negotiating something similar to what  had done in years past or if they looking to negotiate something entirely different.  If it is the former, he believes they could pull things together quite quickly but it’s the later,  he has some concerns with their ability to accomplish anything fruitful. 
Following some further discussion, it was agreed that Trustee Gluck would meet with the Beach Club and that