Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 13, 2017
The Board of Trustees met on July 13, 2017 at 7pm. Trustee Moon was absent.
New PT Police Officer:
Mayor McFadden commented that historically, the practice had been to have one Trustee finish the interview process for officers but this had not been done in recent years. He has re-implemented this process, so at least one Trustee will have the ability to touch base with the recommendations coming up from the Police Force. In this case, Trustee Moon was in charge of the interview, which he completed and the candidate has received a strong review. Unfortunately, Trustee Moon was not present and the Board did not have the paperwork detailing the Officer’s name, so the vote was tabled until they could locate that information.
On behalf of the Police Department, Officer Dan Sutherland delivered the following report for the month of June:
Non-Criminal Incidents – 250
Criminal Incidents – 1 – closed by arrest – aggravated unlicensed operation (driving
with a suspended license)
Accident – 1
Uniform Traffic Tickets Issued – 18
Traffic Warnings Issued – 6
Fire Calls – 3 (including automatic alarms)
Intrusion Alarms – 4
Medical Calls – 5
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Assists Given to the New York State Police – 2
Vehicle Tags Issues – 1081 (820 resident and 261 non-resident)
Vehicle Tags Returned – 0
Approximately 1000 vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate.
Meg Vaught noted that since the department had stopped making a count of the exact number of vehicles that enter the Village via the Front Gate each month, the number of vehicle tags issued has increased at what seems like an alarming rate. She suggested that the monthly totals were always right around 1000, and wondered why they were issuing so many tags.
Deputy Mayor McHugh explained that the number provided as a part of the monthly report was cumulative and not a monthly tally.
There was a collective response of relief with this answer, with many individuals confessing that they had also been confused.
Dena Steele noted that in a previous meeting the Grant Writer had made mention of weaponry that would be coming to the Department via a program with the Department of Defense, specifically long guns. She wondered why the Village needed these weapons and what they would be used for.
Officer Southerland responded that this was a question for the Chief.
The Mayor added that they would follow up with Chief Melchior and report back.
With regard to vehicle tags, the Deputy Mayor noted that the non-resident tags would be changing next month and would be mirror opposite of the resident tags. Resident tags are a white background with green lettering and the new non-resident tags will be a green background with white lettering.
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department had been busy patching roads and getting ready to do some oil & chip work. The roads that they are planning to oil & chip are Ontio Rd, West Lake Stable Rd., part of Lorillard Rd., Ridge Rd., Pepperidge Road, East Lake Stable Rd., Circuit Rd. and Club House down past the Race Track.
Mayor McFadden wondered if it was the Village’s practice to post this information on the website, commenting that if it was not, he would like to.
Deputy Mayor McHugh inquired as to who had made the decisions with regard to which roads would be receiving this service.
Superintendent Voss responded that he had made the selections.
“The thought process being that it is cheaper to maintain and better for drainage?” inquired the Deputy Mayor.
Superintendent Voss explained that the oil & chip would prolong the roads. The roads that he has chosen are in somewhat better shape. There are some roadways that will need to be paved, but he has not made the determination as to which ones yet.
Mayor McFadden suggested that Trustee Barnett, as DPW liaison, might want to work with the Superintendent to develop a long-term plan for road resurfacing. This is something that the Village has never done before, but he feels it could be beneficial to have a 5 or 10-year plan in place. It was agreed that this would be done.
Mayor McFadden then inquired as to whether there were any plans to resurface West Lake Rd as it runs along the lake near the South Gate.
The answer was yes, although the complete road way will not be resurfaced.
Another road that is in line to receive a cap on it is West Lake, coming down from Turtle Mountain to where it empties out by the lake.
Mayor McFadden then inquired as to whether or not the DPW report was posted monthly to the Village website.
The answer was no.
The Mayor requested that this be done moving forward.
Steve Barba, a long time employee of the Village, will be retiring at the end of July. Mr. Barba is a water/sewer operator who has been working in the Village since 1979. He will need to be replaced although the new employee will not necessarily need to be licensed.
Mayor McFadden requested that Trustee Barnett, the Superintendent and the Village Clerk touch base about the proper procedure for getting the opening out into the public arena to gather candidates and resumes, making sure that it matches with the Civil Service description. It was agreed that this would be done.
Finally, Superintendent Voss requested permission to hire two part-time summer workers at a rate of $10 per hour. The first is his son, Matthew Voss, and the second, Dustin LeBar, the son of another DPW employee. This was discussed in terms of possible nepotism issues however, ultimately, Mr. Nugent advised the Board that as the positions are not Civil Service, there was not an issue.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of hiring the two gentlemen as proposed.
Dam Construction Update & TAB/Dam landscaping:
The project Engineers were not present however Deputy Mayor McHugh provided a report. Moving forward, an update/report will be provided bi-monthly from the Engineer and posted to the Village website so that residents can keep abreast of the project’s progress. To date, 6.9% of the project has been completed at a cost of $252,000. There have been no change orders submitted. The only issue that has arisen thus far is that the contractor has asked the engineer to review the stone overlay of the parapet wall.
The Deputy Mayor then read aloud a detailed construction report. The Mayor inquired as to whether things were moving along on schedule and Deputy Mayor McHugh responded that things were s both on schedule and on budget with nothing unforeseen.
Mayor McFadden then stated that there had been a request from the Tree Advisory
Board to recommend a change to the vegetation on the embankment behind the dam.
Dena Steele added that at a recent meeting when the engineer had been present, they had talked about removal of the trees and what would be planted on the slope, which is going from a step to a 45-degree angle. The Engineer informed them that as long as the area was mowed once or twice a year they could put grasses and native flowers there.
The TAB checked into this and found a fairly inexpensive seed that could be broadcasted there, which will bloom throughout the season and is very easy to maintain. It is a Native Steep Slope Mix with Grain Rye. Detailed information can be found here.
Mayor McFadden wondered who would maintain the area, the TAB or the Village?
Ms. Steele responded that once it had been established, all that would be required was mowing, which is something that the Village would be doing anyway.
The Mayor then wondered if this would alter the budget in any way.
The Deputy Mayor responded that he did not think it would. The plan called for hydro seeding of the area. He wondered, however, whether the Engineers and/or the DEC had signed off on it.
Ms. Steele reiterated that the engineer had told her that as long as the area was mowed bi-annually, there should not be any issue.
Mayor McFadden commented that if they encountered any resistance from either the DEC or the Engineer, the Board would let Ms. Steele know. His recommendation was to move forward with approval.
Ms. Steele wondered whether or not they might be able to do something similar on the Southeast slope next to the Pond #3 dam.
The Deputy Mayor wanted to know whether TAB was paying for this or if the Village was expected to pay.
Ms. Steele responded that it would depend on how much seed was needed, but that it was pretty inexpensive and she did not feel there was going to be a huge surface area. They will be able to refine the cost once they know what the surface area will be.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving The TAB’s request and Mayor McFadden requested that the approved plans for the DAM be updated to reflect the change.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of having at least 2 members of the BAR get involved in the engineering review of the stone parapet wall.
Mayor McFadden thanked everyone in the community for their support and or turning out for the election. He also thanked the new Trustees along with Trustee McHugh for all of their support during the election. He congratulated them all, further commenting that since the transition had begun, he could already tell that it was going to be a very collaborative, independent, hard working Board. The time thus far has been, in his view, very productive. “People are willing to listen to each other and I am really looking forward to working with them. I think it is going to be a terrific two years.”
There were no immediate comments. Mayor McFadden stated that the Board would be talking about both the Village Website and the Police contract negotiations. He wondered if anyone had any start-up questions with regard to these items.
Sally Sonne commented that for “many many years” she had requested that the minutes be posted for all Board meetings be posted on the Village website. She feels that people do like to look back and sometimes people cannot make to the Village Office during their operating hours.
The Mayor responded that this used to be done, but then it had stopped and nothing had been done over the past few years. He further commented that he was speaking for the entire Board when he said that he agreed with her and that they would try and do this effective immediately. All new minutes will be posted immediately moving forward and then they will go back and try to work on the archives.
Mary Graetzer inquired about Girvin Ferlazzo, the Police Contract negotiation lawyer who was listed on the Reorganization Document.
Mayor McFadden responded that he would address this when they reached the Police Contract on the agenda.
Audrey Perry inquired as to who the “website person” was.
The Mayor responded that the Village has an existing website that has been in effect since former Mayor Tom Wilson was in office. Although they had worked on a replacement website, Mayor McFadden stated “the election came and that has sort of fallen by the wayside.” They are now planning to look at improving the existing website as well as entertaining companies that work specifically with municipalities. Such companies can often offer a plethora of services such as online payments, video streaming, archiving of records etc. It will be a matter of price. He has already begun looking at several websites and would be happy to submit these links on the Village website where anybody can look at them and make comments. The Village is in no rush to spend a lot of money. “Our website is perfectly adequate and if we start putting up minutes and other things from all the Boards, I think this is a great step in the right direction.”
Trustee Gluck commented that it was his understanding that the current website was not capable of handling substantial amount of minutes. He asked Village Clerk, Debbie Matthews, to confirm this.
Ms. Matthews responded that it was not an issue of whether or not the website could handle the minutes, but more one of getting them up there as it is actually a word press blog and nobody had given her instructions as to how to do it and she couldn’t figure it out on her own.
The Mayor responded that he could be helpful with this. If it turns out that it is not capable, that will be a different matter that they will have to deal with. That being said, there are archived minutes dating back to 2004 that are currently up there.
Village Website – Mayor McFadden noted that this had just been discussed as a part of the Public Comment section. He further commented that no votes needed to be taken and that he would continue to explore options and the post his findings to the Village website for anybody to look at and then make comments.
Police Contract – The Mayor admitted that he was just beginning to get involved with this. About a year ago the Village hired negotiator Michael Richardson and when he reached out to him for an update, the Mayor learned that Mr. Richardson felt that things had slowed down significantly and that the Village was at an impasse. He indicated that he was ready to move on, as he did not feel he had much more to offer. Mayor McFadden asked Mr. Richardson to update him as to the specific issues before making the decision to move on and Mr. Richardson then indicated that if the Village could bring on Girvin Ferlazzo, with whom he has worked on numerous police contracts before, he felt he could get things done within 30 days or less.
As a result of this, the Mayor has proposed that the Village move forward with this, pending the fee schedule, which has yet to be obtained. The Plan is to take a look at the prices, and if affordable, placate Richardson in order to get things done. The decision will be made next month.
Lakes Update – The Deputy Mayor reported that AE diving had been doing a vacuum harvesting of milfoil exclusively in Tuxedo Lake, with a focus on the high traffic areas including the Village Boat Club and the Tuxedo Club. They have also been going around the barrier curtain at the south end of the lake cleaning and making sure that the barrier is in tact. Solitude Lakes Management will be coming on Monday July 17 to do a cursory overview of everything. They will be looking at all 3 lakes. The Wee Wah is “a bit of a lost cause” with the dam project ongoing but Pond #3 needs a lot of attention as the milfoil has become rampant there.
Tuxedo Lake is scheduled to be stocked in the next week with bluegills and sunnies; 4-6 inches in length.
The Village is ¼ way into the CSLAPS program and things are running smoothly.
Two Tuxedo Lake front property owners have agreed to put in berms along their properties in order to reduce soil erosion as well as geese trespass. This is good news, although those properties without berms will surely see an incremental increase in geese.
Ms. Steele wondered if by “berm” the Deputy Mayor really meant vegetative buffer.
The answer was yes.
The Mayor wondered what kind of challenge the Village faced in convincing lake front property owners across the board to put in the buffers.
“We’ll see what good neighbors do,” responded Deputy Mayor McHugh.
Traffic Booth Kick Off – Noting that there had been limited time to transition things over, Mayor McFadden commented that he felt the best way to get things started would be to “kick around” a budget. Once a budget has been established they can begin talking to other professionals that they will be including in an effort to “get this thing done immediately.” He feels there are a lot of creative ideas waiting in the wings, but a budget is needed first. He asked the Deputy Mayor to report on what funds the Village currently had for this project and what this might allow them to do.
Deputy Mayor McHugh responded that he could add very little insight save the $80,000 they had left over from the insurance.
Both Mayor McFadden and Ms. Matthews replied that it was actually $67,000.
Mayor McFadden mentioned that the Deputy Mayor had made reference to short term loan.
Deputy Mayor McHugh responded that he was not comfortable commenting on that at the moment.
Mayor McFadden wondered if they might want to be working towards a $150,000 project.
The Deputy Mayor responded that this was realistic. His issue is that there had been multiple individuals suggesting multiple amounts and to be honest, he did not think they had a clue as to what it was going to cost.
The Mayor responded that he did not disagree but in terms of getting somebody on the design, he felt they needed to provide a budget range. This would have to be a bit of a moving target as the design gets underway but without a budget it’s hard to move forward.
Trustee Barnett suggested that they get together, layout the issues and come up with a reasonable goal.
Deputy Mayor McHugh agreed, commenting that he also agreed with Alan Yassky in terms of the need to first scope things out and then come back with an estimated cost idea.
Trustee Gluck wondered if they didn’t need to start with the project first in terms of what the booth would look like and where it would be and how it would be configured etc.
The Mayor agreed, commenting that this would be part of the program and they have begun working that. He reiterated the need for an overall budget, stating that architects and contractors may or may not want to work on the project based on its, budget. He cautioned that they did not want to repeat the mistake they had already made, which was to build up a ton of momentum and expectation based on loose drawings only to have it come in way off budget, bringing them back to point zero. He feels they should start out with a budget range that can be worked towards. If they don’t like the design or what that money gives them, then that will be another discussion. He believes it is important that they need to hold the designers and the architects to within a certain budget. On another note, he reported that there was a resident who had reached out to him and expressed willingness to contribute money to the project and had also indicated that there were other residents who would be willing to contribute. He suggested that while the Deputy Mayor and Trustee Barnett were looking at the numbers, he would follow up on this to see if it were a legitimate offer and then they could have a discussion. He further intimated that the donation could be as much as $100,000 and that the resident in question had requested that, if donated, the funds be specifically allocated for the booth. Period. There would be no strings attached to the donation, but the resident in question did mention that they were also hopeful that the Village might be able to come up with some strong technology features to include.
Dena Steele commented that the Mayor had mentioned in a previous meeting that there was not a proper design for the project, so she wondered when he spoke of the numbers that the Deputy Mayor and Trustee Barnett would be looking at, if they included design fees.
The answer was yes. A total budget including all design elements, contingencies and equipment is needed. The previous design did not include any equipment or technology. The Mayor suggested that once a budget has been established, the Village could create an RFP and hopefully get some confident people to come in and bid. “A lot of architects and construction people don’t like to come in and work on projects that aren’t defined.
There are too many options for overage. There are too many options that they won’t get paid for what they do, and when the drawings aren’t completed, they are just going to put in a high number because they want to cover their tush.” He reiterated the need for a budget, suggesting that without one, they were sure to get “walked all over.” With a budget in place, he feels that they can get on top of the project very quickly, with progress to be posted on the Village website.
Trustee Gluck commented that he felt they needed to start someplace and perhaps starting with a number and working towards getting the project to coalesce around that, perhaps moving it up or down or even sideways….would be a good start. Currently there is no concrete design nor is there a list of criteria.
Mayor McFadden responded that he felt the normal procedure would be to write up a program of requirements that would include specifics in terms of size, accessibility, location and materials. He also feels that the BAR should be included in the process from the beginning and that they should try to include a professional contractor or estimator early on as well in order to ensure that they can afford what is being designed.
Sheila Pompan wondered why they couldn’t just start with what had existed previously.
She noted that the majority of residents had voted in favor of rebuilding the booth over a year ago and nothing had been done. The structure was knocked down and destroyed because of an accident. She wondered why things had to be so complicated.
The Mayor replied that he would be open to the idea of rebuilding on the same footprint.
He further commented that things were really not getting complicated more they were having to start all over again as nothing had been accomplished. Regardless, he still believes that a budget must be established.
Mary Graetzer suggested that they would also need to decide what kind of equipment they wanted to put inside the booth, as this would dictate its’ size.
The Mayor agreed, and commented that this would all be factored into the program and the budget.
Chauncey Rodzienko suggested that there were a number of different residents who possessed the various skills needed to work on the project.
“Including architecture?” inquired Mayor McFadden.
The answer was yes.
The Mayor responded that there was still an issue of prevailing wage to consider.
Mr. Nugent confirmed that this applied to construction phase but not the design, which is considered Professional Services.
“There are people who go in and out of that gate every day and they have the wherewithal and the means to make it happen,” stated Mrs. Rodzienko.
The Mayor wondered if Mrs. Rodzienko had somebody particular in mind that they should speak to.
Mrs. Rodzienko responded that she would rather wait and pass this information along outside of the meeting.
Mayor McFadden was receptive to this, stating that he would then pass the information along to the Board.
Audrey Perry stated that should they decide to go with the same design, she hoped they would make the structure stronger and safer, considering the previous one had been plowed over by a vehicle with the occupant nearly killed.
Mayor McFadden responded that he couldn’t agree more. He further commented that the current plan, which had come in way over budget, had metal reinforcement poles for protection, but he felt this might be able to be done with boulders on both sides.
The Deputy Mayor agreed and stated that he would get together with Trustee Barnett to review the finances and would report back to the Board.
“Do you think we might not have enough money for it?” inquired the Mayor.
“Well, we don’t have enough money for it,” responded Deputy Mayor McHugh. “The question is what can we do given the finite resources we have.”
“Alright,” replied the Mayor, “I think you’ll give me that number and then we are going to come up with a way to get the money we need, because we have to build it. It’s just the way it is.”
“Right,” agreed the Deputy Mayor.
There was none.
Enter Executive Session:
The Board then entered into an executive session for the purpose of discussion regarding pending and current litigation, discussion regarding the status of the Police Contract negotiations and discussion regarding matters leading to the employment of a particular person.
New PT Police Officer (revisted):
Following their executive session, the Board voted unanimously in favor of hiring part time officer Max Serene.
Before returning into an executive session to further discuss matters leading to the employment of a particular person, Mayor McFadden thanked Ms. Matthews for all for all of the hard work she had done over the course of the last week.
The Deputy Mayor seconded this and the Board applauded.
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Village Board of Trustees Reorganization Meeting July 13, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees held their annual reorganization meeting on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Trustee Moon was absent.
Mayor McFadden opened the meeting by thanking the new Trustees as well as Trustee McHugh for all of their support during the election. He congratulated them all, further commenting that since the transition had begun, he could already tell that it was going to be a very collaborative, independent, hard working Board.
He then presented the Board with the reorganization document, which they proceeded to review in full. Notable changes include the appointment of Trustee McHugh as Deputy Mayor, the appointment of Patrick Donaghy as Chair of the Board of Architectural Review and Christian Bruner as a BAR member. The BAR and the Planning Board have requested Burke, Miele, Golden & Naughton LLP as their Attorneys however, a fee schedule has not been made available yet and therefore, the Board agreed to wait and vote on this at next month’s meeting. It was also agreed that they would put off voting on the attorney that has been selected for police contract negotiations for the same reason.
There have been some small changes to the rules of procedure, most notably that moving forward any one Trustee or the Mayor may call a Special Meeting (previously, two Trustees were needed) There was a discussion with regard to meeting minutes and the need for the Village to turn these around in a more expedient manor. It was agreed that moving forward meeting minutes in draft form would be posted to the Village website no later than 14 days after each meeting.
Dena Steele inquired as to who would be managing the Lakes/Environment as she did not see a Trustee Liaison listed on the document.
It was agreed that Deputy Mayor McHugh and Trustee Gluck would take on this responsibility.
Trustee Barnett stated that he would be recusing himself from the vote as it pertained to the Planning Board as his wife, Joann Hanson, is the designated appointee.
Mayor McFadden responded that he could recuse himself if he wished, but it was not necessary. Board Attorney Brian Nugent concurred.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the Reorganization Document.
To review a copy of this document, click here.
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Tuxedo Village Fire Department Report
Report by the TVFD:
The topics will likely include the following:
- identifiable numbering signage on residences in the Park,
- access from the North Gate,
- water sources,
- turnarounds at the east and west sides of the dam during the repair period,
- volunteers, and
- clearance under trees on roadways.
Liaison is Allen Barnett
A meeting will be held next week TBD
Submitted to the Mayor for the Record By Gardiner Hempel
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Agenda for Village Reorganization Meeting July 13, 2017
Click here to view the agenda
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting July 13, 2017
1. Call to order
3. New PT Police Officer Police, DPW & Building Reports
4. Mayor’s Comments
5. Public Comments
6. Old Business Village Website Police Contract Dam construction update & TAB/Dam landscaping
7. New Business
Traffic Booth Kick Off
8. Public Comment
9. Enter Executive Session Reasons for Entering Executive Session - Discussion regarding pending and current litigation. Discussion regarding the status of the Police Contract negotiations. Discussion regarding matters leading to the employment of a particular person.
10. Reenter Public Meeting
11. Village Vouchers
And any other matters that may come before the board.
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 21, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees met on June 21, 2017. All members were present. Trustee McFadden arrived 30 minutes late.
Mayor Guinchard began by congratulating Trustee McHugh and Trustee-elect Paul Gluck on their victories in the recent Village Election. She went on to also congratulate Trustee McFadden, noting that the race for Mayor was currently a tie, and that they would have to “see how that goes” moving forward. She then thanked Deputy Mayor Guazzoni for his years of service on the Board.
The retirement celebration for officer Jim Ascione has been delayed for a month. As things have been very busy in the Village recently on all fronts, it was agreed that the extra time would allow for a better celebration.
The closing for the recently acquired Village bonds is scheduled for June 22. The Village did very well at auction, coming in at 3%. Mayor Guinchard believes this will save the Village roughly $20,000 a year in interest. She announced that a phone call with their auditor would be taking place during the meeting so that he could go over how the transfer of funds would work once the wiring came in so that they could get everything into the Capital Fund.
David du Pont inquired as to the maturity of the bonds and was informed that there were 2, one at 30 years and the other at 15.
Ratify Insurance Renewal – Mayor Guinchard made a motion for the Board to deny the Terrorist Rider that accompanies their insurance policy. Trustee McHugh noted that the policy was effective June 1 and had been signed on May 26. He wondered what exactly the Board was approving, since the documents had already been signed. “If the Mayor’s got the authority to do it, why do we need to rubber stamp something that happened over a month ago?” he asked.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that it might have something to do with the allocation of the expenditure.
Trustee Moon commented that it was an issue of timing, further suggesting that what the Mayor was asking for was their authority to make her signature good.
“It’s up to Debbie,” responded the Mayor.
Ms. Matthews indicated that in past, she had signed it.
“So we don’t need to sign it then,” responded Trustee McHugh.
Ms. Matthews replied that they did not need to sign it but that they should be aware of it.
“We are,” stated Trustee McHugh.
Trustee Guazzoni inquired to the amount of the expenditure
The answer was $71,000, between both the Water and General funds.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that this was a substantial amount of money and he felt there should be a resolution.
Trustee McHugh disagreed, stating that he would be happy to officially recognize it but he did not want to authorize something after the fact. “That is my pet peeve,” he commented.
Ultimately, a motion was made that the Board honor the Mayor’s signature and they voted unanimously in favor of adopting it.
Tuxedo Fire Works Request – The Tuxedo Club has requested permission to host their annual fire works display on July 3 with a rain date of July 5. Gardner Hempel of the Tuxedo Park Fire Department noted that the department would be present with a truck in case anything went awry. Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to the police security, noting that the Village picked up the tab for this and wondering what the cost would be, noting that last year it was somewhere between $3-4,000. Chief Melchiore informed the Board that there would be 6 maybe 7 officers on duty, depending on the traffic. Historically there have been 10.
Trustee McHugh inquired as to whether there was anybody from the Club present.
The answer was no. They sent their request in the form of a letter.
Trustee McHugh then commented that the previous year when the request had been made, the Board had expressed some concern with landscaping at the Club, specifically in terms of clear cutting trees, and the Club had agreed to provide the Village with a landscaping plan, which they subsequently did. Since that time, however, they have continued to ignore the landscaping plan and have done nothing but increase and cut more trees down. “The leverage, obviously, is this, but nobody is here to present it. I don’t think we should preclude it, but I do think we need to impress upon them the importance of a landscaping plan and living up to the landscaping plan they presented to us a year ago.”
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the request.
Bond Update – The Board then took a phone call from Andrew Arias of CooperArias, which is the Villages’ accosting firm. Mr. Cooper walked them through the bond closing and the process for how the monies would be transferred into the Capital Fund and made available for use.
Fish Stocking – Trustee McHugh reported that it was going to cost the Village $1,500 to stock the lake with bluebells. He checked with Allied Biological and they had no issues with it, although they advised that there should be a more coherent policy moving forward with regard to fish stocking. The fish have been purchased and the Village awaits delivery.
Mayor Guinchard suggested that moving forward, fish stocking should be coordinated with the efforts of Solitude Lakes Management way ahead of time.
Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to how many fish would be put into the lake.
Nobody had an answer, although Trustee McHugh suggested that it might be in the neighborhood of 1,000.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of the stocking.
Other Business – Mayor Guinchard reported that both Denise Spalthoff and Desiree Hickey would be receiving training to become Notary Publics. The cost of this training is roughly $65 per person in addition to the purchase of a textbook. Denise will train in August and Desiree in September.
A resolution has been reached with regard to an improper practice charge that was filed against the Village by the PBA and a settlement proposed. The charge alleged that officers were prevented from going into Rockland County during work hours and that the Village engaged in mutual “tour swaps.” The Village has answered these charges and denied any impropriety and agreed to make changes. Chief Melchiore noted that he had not seen the proposed settlement and requested to view a copy prior to any vote on behalf of the Board. He further suggested that as the document pertained to a contractual issue, he would like the opportunity to sit and discuss it with the attorney if necessary. A copy was provided to him and the Board agreed to revisit the topic later in the meeting.
CHA – Dam Update:
Mike Quinn of CHA provided the Board with an update on the Wee Wah dam project.
The project officially kicked off on June 5. Prior to the kick-off the Village DPW was instrumental in tree removal as well as relocating a sewer line beneath the roadway and also cutting and capping a waterline that is no longer in use. Both Pond #3 and the Wee Wah Lake have been drawn down to “construction pools.” Silt fencing and rattlesnake barriers have been installed and KT WILDLIFE has supplied an education and encounter protection plan. Although it is expected that the barriers will keep rattlesnakes away from the worksite, workers have been trained as what to do if they should encounter a rattlesnake. This past week, work has began clearing and grubbing the downstream side of the dam. Wee Wah Road has been closed to all pedestrian traffic across the dam and will remain closed for the duration of the project (scheduled to be completed sometime in the first half of 2018) Once completely cleared, an “appreciable amount fill” will be brought in for the purpose of reducing the steep slope on the backside of the dam and downstream embankment.
Noting that fill has been a “hot button issue” in the Village, Trustee McHugh inquired as to the source of the fill and more specifically whether or not it had been vetted.
The response was that the fill would be entirely clean and comprised entirely of quarry material.
Within the next month a cofferdam will be installed in front of the spillway structure after which the contractors will de-water the area behind it in order to expose the full height of the auxiliary spillway. They will then analyze the condition of the in spillway’s base. Mr. Quinn noted that there is an add-alternate in the contract in case they discover any issues during this analysis.
Trustee McFadden wanted to know the details and amount of the add-alternate.
Mr. Quinn explained that it was $42,000 for sheeting, but he reiterated that they would have to wait for the analysis to come in before they would know if it was necessary.
New York State requires a monthly update on the status of the permit and the project and Mr. Quinn noted that the Village would be provided with a copy of this letter as well as a personal update at meetings on a monthly basis as the project progressed.
Trustee McHugh wondered how construction vehicles were accessing the site and whether or not they were entering the Village via the Sewage Treatment Plant.
The answer was yes. A construction trailer has also been put in place in the parking lot of the DPW facility.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss inquired as to whether there was anything that CHA needed from his department.
Mr. Quinn responded that they could use more solid barriers on the dike side in order to prevent pedestrian traffic, further commented that despite the current signage, people were still coming down there. Different types of barriers were discussed, as was an increase in signage.
Superintendent Voss reported that in addition to prep work for the dam project, the department had been busy patching holes in the roadways, cutting grass and dealing with various tree issues. There was a water main break on Tuesday, June 20 in the wooded area between Tuxedo and East Lake Stable Roads, resulting from a crack in a 6-inch pipe. Once they were able to locate the break, the necessary repairs were made.
Mayor Guinchard commented that there were a lot of potholes in the section of Club House Road that runs along the Race Track property.
Superintendent Voss acknowledged these, commenting that they working on potholes and that much of this work was weather dependent.
Water Billing – Since the departure of John Ledwith, Denise Spalthoff has been put in charge of water billing and she has busily been trying to make heads and tails of things despite a lack of training. There was a lengthy discussion with regard to several accounts in the town that have been in arrears for a long time and what do about them. In several cases, there have been so many penalties applied to these accounts that the penalty fees are larger than the water fees themselves.
Trustee McFadden commented that he could not recall the Board having given any direction to Mr. Ledwith over the course of the last year with regard to what to with these types of bills. He acknowledged that there had been discussions, but suggested that the Board had never set forth a proper instruction as to what to do. He noted that some of these accounts had been in arrears for years and further stated that he believed it had been the responsibility of the Board to provide direction as to how these should be dealt with.
Trustee McHugh begged to differ, commenting that they had given him directive by telling him that when bills ran higher than $100,000, that he was to be pro-active and send certified letters to these customers. If the customers then made a concerted effort to make monthly payments, then the Village could entertain the idea of reducing the penalties. There are three accounts that are exceptionally high and he suggested they maintain this practice in dealing with them.
The Mayor proposed that they offer a reduction in penalties up front, or possibly waive the penalties altogether noting that in two of the cases, the penalty fees accounting for almost 90% of what was owed.
Trustee McHugh responded that he felt they should first a concerted effort on the part of the customers to make regular, scheduled payments before they agreed to waive any fees. He feels they need to see a pattern of behavior that they are encouraging rather than simply waving the fees and walking away from these large sums of money.
Ms. Spalthoff noted the currently, no penalties had been applied to the accounts because she had not yet received the necessary training.
The Mayor commented the contract for training had already been signed and training will take place soon.
Trustee McHugh wondered when the next water bill would be sent out.
Superintendent Voss noted that John Bello was currently ready meters and that the report typically went out around the first of July.
Mayor Guinchard stated that the bills were going to be a few weeks late this time around.
Trustee McHugh commented that he was under the impression that the Board had authorized the purchase of an electronic device that would read the meters with the data to be transferred into a computer where it would interface with the water department software. He wondered if this device had been purchased.
The answer was no. Mr. Bello noted that there were compatibility issues between the device and the Village system. This was discussed at some length and ultimately it was agreed that Mr. Bello would do some further research and report back to the Board prior to the purchase of the equipment, which was authorized in at May meeting.
There followed a lengthy discussion with regard to one particular account in the Town.
The issue being that over a 5-quarter period, it was notated a lot more gallon usage than was actually used. For some reason, the accurate numbers were never transferred into the computer and the water company was billing the customer for $8,000 when the actual cost should have been $875.
Trustee Moon wondered how this mistake had occurred.
The Mayor responded that the situation had been going on for a year, with the customer having first complained on June 30 of 2016. She added that it had subsequently been determined that there was no leak.
Noting that it was somewhat difficult to discuss without divulging the name of the customer, Trustee McHugh commented that there had, in fact, been a leak at the location in question and that the water department had repaired a leak there.
Both Mr. Bello and Superintendent Voss confirmed that this was true.
The Mayor suggested that the leak had occurred prior to the meter readings.
Mr. Bello suggested that the leak had occurred in an area that would not have registered on the meter reading. Trustee McHugh then wondered how old the debt was and when the meter readings had been taken.
The Mayor responded that any previous debts had been paid in full when the property in question changed hands. The readings are recent and reflect a period of time when the facility has been closed.
Trustee McHugh asked Mr. Bello for his opinion as to whether or not the information was correct.
Mr. Bello responded that he wasn’t sure and that he would have to review the information before he could respond.
A detailed review of the readings ensued.
The Mayor suggested that after the property changed hands, the customer claims that they never received a bill and has been able to provide an email train detailing their requests for a bill. Ultimately penalties were forgiven because of the bill had not been received. A few months later, in August of 2016, the customer received and enormous bill, and waged a complaint, which was never addressed. Recently, the Mayor took it upon her self to meet with this customer, after which she reviewed the bill with Mr. Bello, identified the discrepancies, did the math and recognized the errors.
The process by which Mr. Bello reads the meters and enters the data was then reviewed and discussed.
Given that it appears to have been a mathematical error, Trustee Moon suggested that Mr. Bello put together a summary of the situation to include a recommended correction, which the Board could then approve. This way, there would be an official document in the system.
The Board continued to discuss the status of unresolved accounts.
The Mayor suggested that there were some, where the customers had paid money but the money had not been entered into the computer system and they couldn’t find it.
Trustee McHugh suggested that these customers needed to provide valid proof of payment and the Village would take it from there.
Trustee McFadden suggested that they put together some sort of procedural manual outlining the various processes for this department, noting that there was somewhat frequent turn-over on the Board and that it would probably be helpful to have an official guide clearly notating the various directives that have been given to the department. In his view, a clear set of guidelines would provide for a more efficient operation. He then inquired of Ms. Spalthoff as to what instructions she had been given specifically for depositing checks when they come in. Specifically he wanted to know if she had been given instructions by the Board to deposit the checks within a certain amount of time or a specified number of business days.
The answer was no.
Trustee McFadden noted that this had been an issue with Mr. Ledwith and he wondered why they had not implemented any sort of policy to deal with it.
Mayor Guinchard responded that Ms. Spalthoff was not the one who deposited the checks, rather this was the job of the Village Clerk, and that they had implemented policy.
Trustee McFadden wanted to know what it was.
The answer was that checks needed to be deposited within 72 hours.
“The law is, property taxes have to be deposited within 24 hours. Anything other than that, the comptroller said 72 hours max,” stated the Mayor.
Trustee McFadden then thanked Ms. Spalthoff for all of her efforts noting that he was aware things had been complicated.
“She’s done a great job,” stated Mayor Guinchard.
“When you inherited these books, how many errors did they contain?” inquired Trustee Guazzoni.
Ms. Spalthoff noted that there had been multiple errors, ranging from mis-entered information to customers who had not received bills and some accounts where bills were not generated at all. Some of these, she noted, were due to incorrect billing addresses.
Trustee Guazzoni further suggested that there had been some mislabeling of the accounts, suggesting that some commercial accounts had been labeled as residential and visa versa. He further suggested that Ms. Spalthoff would have to go through each account one-by-one in order to determine their accuracy. He inquired as to what percentage of the errors had been corrected to date.
The answer was roughly 50%.
Trustee Moon expressed his gratitude to Ms. Spalthoff for all of her efforts, and asked for confirmation that the Village was not accepting any currency.
The answer was no, they are not.
Trustee Moon then suggested that moving forward they should put a procedure in place for dealing with situations where, in Ms. Spalthoff’s absence, customers might leave currency in the officer paper-clipped to their water bill. If this should occur, these funds must be deposited immediately.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of giving Ms. Spalthoff the authority to execute water billing corrections up to $75.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of May:
Complaints – 208
Arrests – 1
Motor Vehicle Accidents – 4
Traffic Tickets – 39
Traffic Warnings – 1
Intrusion Alarms – 6
Medical Calls - 4
Assists Given to Town Police – 1
Assists received from Town Police – 1
Vehicle Tags Issued – 1,059
With regard to the stipulation settlement presented earlier, he noted that the Department agreed with Part 1, paragraph 1 but did not agree with paragraph 2., regarding mutual exchanges with full time or part time officers. Part time Police officers are not subject to the benefits and terms of a bargaining unit between the Police Officers and the Village of Tuxedo Park. This is not what was discussed.
It was agreed that this would need to be reviewed with the PBA and the attorneys. The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign the agreement once all of the parties had reviewed it and were in agreement.
There were no public comments.
Building and Grounds Report:
Engineer Pat Hines reported the following for the month of May:
Building Permits Issued – 5
Buildings Actively Under Construction That Have Been Reviewed – 4
Tree Issues – 6
Municipal Searches (with follow-up) – 3
Complaints under Review – 2
Trustee McHugh inquired as to the nature of the tree issues.
Mr. Hines responded that these originated with a resident calling with complaints regarding specific trees that were either hanging over Village roadways or on a neighboring property posing a threat of some kind.
With regard to properties where there are dead trees within 50 feet of the roadway,Trustee McHugh then wondered if the Village was going after homeowners in an effort to have these either remediated or removed.
The answer was that this was being done only when a complaint was received from a neighboring property.
The Board then went through the engineering proposals for the waterline replacement, drainage and paving on Clubhouse and Continental Roads as well as the water tank rehabilitation project on Ridge Road.
During the course of the discussion, it was decided that the area of the Club House Road repairs would be extended at the top of the Road by 300 feet. Road closures were also discussed and it was revealed that residents living on Club House road might have their driveway access impeded during the daytime but that access would be restored every evening by 5pm.
Following a somewhat lengthy review and discussion of the various plans, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the following 4 projects as proposed:
- Club House Road – drainage & pavement project - $15,000
- Water Line Replacement – Continental Road to Laurel Road - $12,500
- Pavement replacement – Continental Road to Laurel Road - $12,100
- Village Water Tank Rehabilitation Project - $13,550
Trustee McHugh reported that the CSLAPs program is commencing on Tuxedo Lake and in Pond #3. It has been determined that the program will not take place on the Wee Wah Lake this year as the depth of the water there is only 4-6 feet.
Milfoil removal, which will be done in high concentration areas in conjunction with Solitude Lake Management’s consultation, will commence within two weeks. Mapping of Milfoil in Tuxedo Lake will take place in the month of July.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to whether or not there was a high concentration of milfoil growing in the area of Tuxedo Lake just in front of the Regna property.
The answer was yes. There is a high concentration here as well as in the area by the Tuxedo Club.
Trustee McFadden noted that the problem had gotten significantly worse in these areas and he suggested that some sort of barriers be installed to prevent boating activity there. He suggested that there were many non-resident members of the Tuxedo Club who were renting party boats and driving them everywhere as they are unfamiliar with the Lake and its issues.
Moving on to technology, Trustee Guazzoni suggested that the Village’s computer systems were antiquated and need to be replaced. This was discussed at some length, with Trustee Guazzoni proposing that they spend $7,000 to replace all 5 machines.
Ultimately it was agreed that they should take a look at all of the Village computers, including those at the Police Department and DPW facility and put together a proposal detailing the cost of upgrade and replacement.
Approval of minutes:
The Board went through several sets of minutes dating back to the month of February. There ensued a lengthy discussion with regard to the executive sessions and whether or not they should change the minutes to reflect what had been discussed, given the recent lawsuit that has been filed against them. Ultimately it was decided that the minutes should not be altered, because they couldn’t rightfully change what had happened, however dated asterisks will be added with a brief description of what was discussed in each executive session to the extent that the law requires. Moving forward the Board will be more descriptive when entering executive session and Mr. Nugent suggested that he could provide them with a list of acceptable verbiage for a range of executive session topics that are in line with the types of things they might need to be discussing.
The Board then entered into an Executive Session for the purpose of discussing an Article 78; Madden vs. The Village of Tuxedo Park.
Trustee McFadden stated that he would be recusing himself from the session.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 21, 2017
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
a. Ratify Insurance Renewal
b. Tuxedo Fire Works Request
4. CHA - Dam Update
5. DPW Report
a. Water Billing
6. Police Report
7. Public Comments
8. Building & Grounds Report
9. Committee Reports
10. Approval of Minutes
11. Audit of Claims
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting, May 17, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm. All members were present.
The meeting began with a moment of silence in remembrance of long time Village Resident Ingrid Warren, who passed way recently.
Officer Ascione’s Retirement - Police Officer Jim Ascione has retired, effective May 31, 2017. Mayor Guinchard announced that preceding the next regularly scheduled meeting in June, at 6:30pm, there would be a reception in his honor.
Wee Wah Fishing Club Agreement – Following a brief review, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the agreement.
Water Levy – Mayor Guinchard made a motion that 2017 unpaid Village water accounts, totaling $41,534.89, be levied onto 2017 Village Tax bills, as has been the Village practice historically.
Trustee Mcfadden inquired as to whether the list of outstanding accounts had been prepared prior to or after the dismissal of John Ledwith.
Mayor Guinchard responded that it had been compiled that morning.
Trustee McFadden wondered who had done the work.
The answer was Denise.
Trustee McFadden then wanted to know whether the Village had made any settlements or entered into negotiations with any of the outstanding account holders since Mr. Ledwith had left.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that Denise was not authorized to make any settlements.
Trustee McFadden then wondered if any of the Trustees had made any such negotiations.
“I don’t think we do that,” responded the Mayor.
“We don’t have the authority,” added Trustee Guazzoni.
Trustee McHugh identified an error in the report as presented, indicating that one of the accounts was fully paid with the owner having sold his house and departed. He wondered how it was possible for the system to have missed a payment in full.
“That’s a whole other issue that we are dealing with,” responded Mayor Guinchard.
“What do you mean?” inquired Trustee McFadden.
“She is finding that there are some errors in the system,” explained the Mayor.
“In the system or in the work?” asked Trustee McFadden.
“In the work,” replied both Mayor Guinchard and Trustee Guazzoni together.
Trustee McFadden then wanted to know who was overseeing Denise in order to ensure that the information produced was accurate.
The Mayor responded that she had been speaking with her and that Denise had also been working with the Harris Company directly, before going down the list to see which accounts had been paid. The Harris Company is the company responsible for the software used.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered if there were any financial penalties for having the bills levied.
The answer was no.
He then wanted to know when the levy would occur adding “there are certain people who are here tonight who are also on this list. Should we give them the opportunity to come in tomorrow and talk with Denise?”
“It doesn’t make a difference if it goes on their tax bill,” commented Trustee McHugh. “Some people chose to do it that way.”
The Board then voted unanimously in favor levying the unpaid bills as proposed.
Statement Regarding John Ledwith-
Commenting that she knew that many residents had been looking for an official statement from the Village with regard to a recent employee matter, Mayor Guichard read aloud the following:
“As you know, John Ledwith was an employee of the Village of Tuxedo Park, having the Civil Service title of Deputy Clerk Treasurer for the term May 31, 2017 through the term May 31, 2017. (TPFYI understands that this does not make any sense, however it is what was clearly stated by the Mayor) Mr. Ledwith will not be reappointed to that position at the expiration of his term on May 31, 2017. Mr. Ledwith was assigned additional part-time positions with the Village of Tuxedo Park, but did not hold those titles under Civil Service as is required by Orange County Human Resources and State Civil Service law as interpreted by the Department of Civil Service. Accordingly, Mr. Ledwith cannot and will not be assigned to those positions going forward. I have received numerous requests for information about the basis for the Board’s action in this regard. What follows is the Villages response in its entirety at this time: During the period of January 5 to January 6, 2017 the New York State Comptroller conducted a risk assessment of the Village. Subsequently, the Village hired a CPA to conduct a forensic audit of various Village financial transactions. Based on the forensic audit report, among other information and after conferring with legal counsel, Mr. Ledwith’s assignment to the positions other than Deputy Clerk Treasurer was terminated by a majority of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park, effective May 12, 2017. However it should be noted that Mr. Ledwith was an employee at will and no reason was required to terminate him from his pending assigned positions nor is there any legal entitlement to reappoint to the position of Deputy Clerk Treasurer at the end of an appointed term. Further, with respect to the assignments of Building Inspector and Assessor, Mr. Ledwith was a ‘hold-over’ since July of 2016 and had not been appointed to any such positions by the Village. On May 16, 2017 a full audit of the Village of Tuxedo Park operations was commenced by the New York State Comptroller. Due to the existence of this pending review of the Village’s operations, possible litigation concerns and based upon best practices in the field of Human Resources, the Village of Tuxedo Park will make no further statement regarding Mr. Ledwith’s separation at this time. It is critically important to know that no formal criminal charges or civil proceedings have been commenced against Mr. Ledwith. This is the complete Statement of the Village of Tuxedo Park in this matter. No other statements are authorized by the Board. No negative inferences should be drawn against Mr. Ledwith as a result of the Village’s actions. Further this statement should not be construed to validate the existence of any specific fact or allegation that is being investigated by the New York State Comptroller or any other Government agency. The Village will provide further information to the public if and when it is deemed necessary and appropriate. Thank you so much.”
Trustee McFadden stated that he would like to make a comment.
“There are not comments at this time,” responded the Mayor. “I would like to move on to the Police Report, can you wait a moment?”
“It’s actually on this topic,” replied Trustee McFadden.
“Police report?” called out Mayor Guinchard, ignoring Trustee McFadden’s request altogether.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of April:
Non-criminal Complaints – 246
Criminal Complaints – 2
Arrests – 1
Motor Vehicle Accents – 3
Uniform Traffic Tickets Issued – 7
Warning Tickets – 4
Fire Alarms – 6
Intrusion Alarms – 10
Medical Calls – 2
Assists given to outside agencies – 4
Additionally, 1053 vehicle tags were issued.
Trustee McFadden commented that he had never been consulted with regard to the statement the Mayor had made about John Ledwith. The Statement clearly identified itself as the official statement of the Village Board, however for what it is worth he would like it known that he has no comment on it. He was not privy to it and it is not his statement. With regard to the forensic audit report, he stated that for the last couple of months he had been asking for a copy of the report and after numerous requests, did not received it. He was told that it was not finished or that it was been reviewed by the attorney. The Trustees were only issued a copy of the report a couple of hours before the meeting where it had been determined to fire Mr. Ledwith. The report that was provided to the Trustees was not on company letterhead, so he does not even know the identity of the company who compiled it. To him it appeared as though it had been cut and pasted onto other paper. He has since asked both the Village attorney and the Mayor for a copy of the original, on company letterhead. He has also asked for the price and the engagement letter for the forensic report. To date, he has received no response to these requests. With regard to the Comptrollers report, he stated that it appeared as though this was not the first time that the Village had acted on such a report. He has never seen any comptrollers report that required any actions including this most recent one, so he has no idea what is being referred to when they talk about the Comptroller’s report and the activity that they are asking the Village to conduct.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that Trustee McFadden only visited the Village Hall once a month. He pointed out that Village Hall was open every day from 9-4. He tries to stop in 2 to 3 times per week. All the files are open for Trustee McFadden’s review, but he only comes once a month. “There is a difference between somebody not serving him something on a silver platter and something not being available to him. You actually do have to come to Village Hall, open up the books, open up the files and educate yourself a little bit. This type of grandstanding is just a little bothersome.”
“These were all items discussed in executive session,” responded Trustee McFadden. “None of them are available in the Village Office.”
“They are available for Trustees,” suggested Trustee Guazozni.
“No they were not!” asserted Trustee McFadden.
“To be fair Claudio,” commented Trustee McHugh, “ The water report audit was not available in the Village office. I asked Debbie for a copy of it and she said there is no such thing. So I beg to differ.”
“And I am standing with a FOIL request,” stated JoAnne Hanson from the audience, “that says ‘ please be advised that at this time a 2017water bill audit, formal written letters from Heather Morris of Orange County Civil Service and written correspondence from New York State regarding risk management money handling in administration have not yet been received in the Village Office.’ “
“The Trustees have mailboxes that should be used for such documents,” suggested Houston Stebbins. “None is asking for things on a silver platter.”
Trustee Moon asked Mrs. Hanson whether or not she had made a formal FOIL request.
“Absolutely,” responded Mrs. Hanson.
“My view is that if you made a FOIL request, it should be disclosed,” responded Trustee Moon. “Those documents should be disclosed to Mrs. Hanson.”
“It’s saying that they haven’t been received in the office,” pointed out Mrs. Hanson.
Trustee McHugh suggested that as a Trustee, when the attorney is asked for information, he has an obligation to respond to the inquiry. He went on to say that Trustee McFadden had asked three simple questions with regard to the engagement letter, fee structure and the full report. Neither he nor Trustee McFadden had received any communication back with regard to these requests, nor has the Village been billed as of yet for said audit.
Village Attorney Brian Nugent stated that for clarification purposes he wanted to point out that he was not the records officer, rather he was in charge of appeals. Records requests go first to the Village Clerk and if there is an appeal, which he has not seen, it would then come to him.
Nancy Hays wanted to know who exactly had seen the reports in question.
“All of the Trustees have seen them,” responded Trustee Guazzoni. “Please do not fall for the grandstanding.”
“All the Trustees have it,” reiterated the Mayor.
“The doors are open to the Village. All the files are open to everybody, you just have to show up more than once a month,” stated Trustee Guazozni.
“If they are requested, they should be provided,” responded Mrs. Hays.
“Yes, that is true,” replied Trustee Guazzoni.
Mayor Guinchard reiterated that all of the Trustees had all of the documents.
“We don’t have an engagement letter, nor do we have the bill,” stated Trustee McHugh, “and we have a partial report that we don’t know is a full report. That is where we currently stand right now.”
“That is a full report, correct?” the Mayor inquired.
“We don’t know because nobody has acknowledged that,” replied Trustee McHugh. “When you get a full report and it doesn’t state what date it was issued and it’s not signed by the person who does it, it leaves one questioning the credibility and the veracity of what you are receiving. That is all I am saying.”
Mr. Nugent stated that the only report he had seen had the name of the group on it. It is not on letterhead, but the group’s name is on there and it is dated.
“Brian, I have asked numerous times for that information and you are just giving it to me here at this meeting,” stated Trustee McFadden.
“What information?” responded Mr. Nugent.
“That it was the full report and that there were no other originals.”
Mr. Nugent suggested that Trustee McFadden had asked this question during an Executive Session and that he had responded at that time, pointing out that the report was not on a graphic letterhead.
Trustee McFadden then wondered why the report had been accepted in this form, not on letterhead and without a signature.
Mr. Nugent responded that he was not aware whether or not it was required that there be a logo on the report in order for it to have been submitted.
Trustee McFadden suggested that it was a matter of good business practices.
Mr. Nugent responded that this was another issue. He further reiterated that there was no other version of the report in existence that he had seen.
Trustee McFadden then wanted to know if Mr. Nugent had the engagement letter.
Mr. Nugent responded that he believed that he did and that he had thought that this had been provided. Again, he stated that he was not the records officer. The Clerk is the appropriate person to ask.”
“Every time I have asked, it has been referred to you by the Mayor,” stated Trustee McFadden.
There followed a discussion about the Comptroller’s report and the Risk Assessment, with the Mayor asserting that the Trustees had seen the report and Trustee McHugh arguing that they had not.
Mayor Guinchard explained that the process was as follows: “They come in for a risk assessment. They then either give you a report from that and they are done, closed and they go away…OR….the find reason that they need to come in. They send the list, which Debbie received on March 1. This should have been circulated to all of the Trustees.”
“It was not,” stated Trustee McHugh.
“We don’t know when they come back in because obviously they do their own scheduling,” stated the Mayor. “They come in unannounced…you get a phone call that says ‘we’re coming’ and you make yourself available for the entrance interview. They came to Debbie yesterday. Now everything begins. That’s just how they work. The risk assessment is over and now we are into the audit.”
Mr. Nugent added that the report would be the last thing to come in after which the Village would have the opportunity to respond to recommendations and/or findings issued.
Trustee McHugh then wanted to know specifically what had been said within the Village Statement regarding Mr. Ledwith pertaining to risk assessment.
In response, the Mayor began reading from the statement “Subsequently, the Village hired a CPA to conduct a forensic audit of various Village financial transactions.”
“We hired a CPA to conduct a water audit,” stated Trustee McHugh. “It was in executive session. It’s not ‘various things.’ It’s a water audit.”
Mr. Nugent suggested there were various transactions within the Water Department.
Trustee McHugh commented that the statement as issued, did not make it clear that the various village transactions referred to the Water Department and he wanted to confirm that this was the case.
The answer was yes.
Trustee McHugh then asked the Mayor to review what she had said in the statement with regard to the Comptroller.
“On May 16, 2017 a full audit of the Village of Tuxedo Park operations was commenced by the New York State Comptroller,” replied Mayor Guinchard.
“You said March 1,” responded Trustee McHugh.
The Mayor explained that March 1 had been the date on which they had sent a letter asking for various information to the Village Clerk. The timeline of interaction with the Comptroller was then reviewed.
Joanne Hanson stated that she would like to read into the record the letters that were sent to the Trustees on behalf of the Planning Board and the Board of Zoning Appeals. She also inquired again about her FOIL request, noting that the response she had received indicated that they requested materials did not exist in the Village Office. She suggested that obviously there was a letter in existence and that she felt this should be publicly available.
The Mayor agreed with this.
“You are also indicating that this water audit is also publicly available. It’s been received. The Board of Trustees has it.”
“Yes,” responded the Mayor.
“So, it is publicly available and we can all get a copy and take a look at it?” inquired Mrs. Hanson.
Mr. Nugent responded that the entire audit was not available as certain information would be redacted, briefly outlining the types of information that would need to be redacted.
There followed a brief discussion regarding which information the Village Clerk actually had in her possession and could make available to the public.
Mrs. Hanson then stated again that she would like to read two letters into the record.
“It is very important to me that this individual be able to find subsequent work, so let us not mention his name that can be Googled by his next employer when he goes for an interview,” stated Trustee Guazozni. “The more we talk about this individual, the harder it is for him to…. Just redact his name please.”
Mrs. Hanson responded that Trustee Guazozni had already made this point with her and all the same, she felt comfortable reading the letters aloud as they contained praise for the individual in question. She feels that any future employer would be thrilled to read the letters.
She proceeded to read aloud two letters, one from the BZA and the other from the BAR formally requesting that that the Board reinstate Mr. Ledwith as Village Building Inspector.
Kathy Norris inquired as to whether the former Building Inspector had been licensed and if so as what.
Mayor Guinchard responded that he was licensed as a Building Inspector Code Enforcement, but he is not on the Village’s Civil Service.
As a point of clarification, Mr. Nugent pointed out that Code Enforcement was the only position for which State certification was required. Mr. Ledwith was certified.
Mrs. Norris the stated “In law, selective enforcement occurs when Government officials such as Police Officers, Prosecutors, Regulators, and Building Inspectors, exercise enforcement discretion, which is the power to choose whether or how to punish a person who has violated the law. The Biased use of enforcement discretion is usually considered a legal abuse and a threat to the rule of law. So, can the Village of Tuxedo Park be sued by residents for a Building Inspector approving something not to code?”
Mr. Nugent responded that he would prefer not to speculate on potential situations.
“But can they sue a Village?” Mrs. Norris inquired again.
“Usually not,” replied Mr. Nugent. He went on to explain that anyone who is in a position that is discretionary in nature cannot be forced to either do or not do something where they have that discretion. Of course, if there were a back pattern where one particular person were being targeted and constantly dismissed in court and there was some personal issues and other factors as well, that person could certainly bring an action, which more than likely would be against the individual, but the Village could be named.
Mr. Niblo wondered whether the individuals who had signed the letters read by Mrs. Hanson were active members of the two Boards.
The answer was yes.
He went on to suggest that there was a common denominator in the letters in that all of the individuals they represented had worked with Mr. Ledwith for a certain amount of time. He feels there is a bias there, as when one works closely with somebody for 22 years, they get to know that person on a personal level. “You expect maybe wheels to be greased for you a little bit, some a little bit more than others, but I can tell you as a new owner that built a house here, I got none of that. I was buried. John gave us suggestions and then he sat here and said nothing when we were told we couldn’t do it. We needed a well put in and we needed a septic system put in. He told us that there was no way that we could run a line for that long for that amount of money that it would cost to hook up to the water and the sewage….and we came here to the Planning Board meeting and he sat there like a dope and everyone said ‘no no! You shouldn’t have bought the property if you couldn’t afford to do the installation.’ I have talked to other people who say that John was a bully to them. My wife….is there something about when women are by themselves and husbands are not around to talk rough to them? You didn’t go through it! There is a common denominator here! All of you were on one board or another and got to know him and there was a friendship there but other people, who don’t know him, who can’t support his job or speak up to help him keep his job… He cancelled meetings on you if you forgot to do things. I’ve been there.”
“Selective enforcement,” called out Kathy Norris.
“I have a comment about the Gate House,” stated David duPont “or the lack there of.”
He went on to say that he assumed that when the booth had been removed from its former foundation the Village had received monies from both the driver’s insurance as well as their own insurance. They had been making reasonable progress in terms of rebuilding efforts but now, it seems as if nothing is being done anymore. He wondered whether the current Trustees had a specific timeline in mind for when the new booth will be built.
The Mayor responded that an RFP had been completed and they received 1 bid. Without prevailing wage, the cost was $400,000 and with prevailing wage it was closer to $600,000. Chief Melchiore, John Ledwith, the Architect and the Mayor had a meeting and it was agreed that the bid was extreme. Upon further investigation, they discovered that smaller companies had not bid on the project because they felt it was not worth their time and effort for such a small but important project. In order to make the project worth their while, the larger companies need the cost to be higher and this is why they believe there was only 1 bid and It was as high as it was. So now, they have gone “back to the drawing Board.” They all love the proposed architecture as it matches the existing buildings, and would like to find a cost effective way to maintain that integrity. The architect and John Ledwith have been researching other ways to do this. The community wants the booth, but the Mayor does not believe that they want to spend $600,000 on it, so the bid was rejected by the Board. At the same point in time, they had also been wrapped up in the bidding and bonding for the Wee Wah dam project, so they had to “triage a bit” in order to get the other project going. Now they feel they are back on track and can commence working on finding a solution for the booth.
Trustee McHugh added that there is nothing in the budget for the next fiscal year for the project. There is, however, a left-over $70,000 “slush fund” that has been specifically allocated for the project. If something can be done for $70,000 with prevailing wage and everything factored in, then it can be built. If it cannot be done for this amount, then it cannot be built given the fact that they have not budgeted for it.
Trustee Guazzoni interjected that the Village had put over $700,000 into savings accounts. He added that there are two savings accounts, one that belongs to the Water Company and one that belongs to the Village. They have a combined $700,000. “We can have a resolution any day to pull any amount of money for a particular project. We are looking to build this at a cost that is decent. Maybe we can break it up into little pieces. It’s a matter of doing the work…and I’m gonna say, you’ve got three people here working and if more people care to do a little bit of the work than this thing would get done.”
The Mayor added that there are parts of the project that will have to be much different than what they were insured for because of building code. “They will pick up the prevailing wage. Reasonable cost.” She added that she had called them and addressed this issue directly and they had agreed to cover it. Whatever reasonable bid the Village obtains (and $600,000 doesn’t seem reasonable to any of them) they will then look at that, evaluate it and provide the Village with the “extra bump” to help. The architect believes that it can be built for roughly $100,000. The issue appears to be that in Orange County there is not a pool of contractors that are willing to do this small of a project with prevailing wage.
Lili Neuhauser inquired as to who had built the bus station in town.
The Mayor responded that she did not know.
Alan Yassky stated that the cost of the bus station had been roughly $80,000.
Trustee McHugh commented that the Village had a ballpark $400,000 general surplus. The Water Company has even more than that. They cannot ask residents from the Town to pay for the booth, so they will not be taking from the Water account. “What we are talking about is ….we have $400,000 which is 10% of our budget and we are doing the largest bond issue in our life and we are praying to God that we can get this thing executed, so we are not going to be pilfering money from that in light of the fact that we need to prepare ourselves given we’ve got an 8% cost overrun on the dam project.”
The Mayor agreed that the Village could only use monies from the General Fund, adding that these monies were really only supposed to be used for emergencies. With regard to the dam she went on to say that they contractor they had chosen was, in her view, really qualified and she finds it very disrespectful when they are getting ready to engage into a 4 million dollar project to speak ill of somebody who is getting ready to put their shovel in the ground. The project has already begun with work on the sewer lines. It is happening. It is a price fixed amount with contingencies built in. The Village is doing well with the interest rates. The Engineer working on the project is “amazing.” They are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to oversee the project. “So to say that this project is not a good project, I think is really a slap in the face to not only the engineer but the company who won the bid.”
“I never said anything like that. You are intimating….” Responded Trustee McHugh.
“I didn’t say you did,” retorted the Mayor. “I just said it was said.”
“You said you were commenting on my comment,” stated Trustee McHugh.
“I apologize,” stated Mayor Guinchard. “I meant the money part.”
“The other thing is that there were several bids for the dam. They ranged from $6,000,000+ to the winning bid of $3.7. All of them were qualified.” She went on to suggest that the Village was very fortunate in that the historical integrity was allowing them to keep the architecture of the dam. “We are not rebuilding the dam. We need a great stone mason and a great concrete outfit and the company who won the bid….that’s their specialty. All the components are there. So I don’t want you to not have the confidence that we are spending this kind of money blind. That’s not happening. There is nobody on this Board who has ever been told that they could not be part of the process. I love it when any of the Trustees want to get involved because that’s much easier for me and it also lets them know what’s going on. But, if they choose not to get involved, I cannot babysit them and we have some Trustees that have preferences to do some things and not others and some that prefer just to do whatever. I’m not going to criticize whatever they choose to do, but if they don’t choose to be involved in a major project, I cannot sit there and give them every moment, item by item, conversation by conversation that goes on for me…from meeting with the Governor to meeting with CHA and driving back and forth and trying to get grant money. There are so many components! Please have confidence in that! If you don’t want to like the person doing it, fine, but please have the confidence that the system does work.”
“I would like to gently rebut Trustee McHugh,” stated Trustee Guazozni. “We have a constant argument here about whether it is the job of the Police to protect what is on only the land, or both the land and the water. Is it the job of the police to protect our water tanks, or not? If it is the job of the police to protect the water tanks and our water supply and our water company than the water budget should be paying for part of the booth.”
This was met by a loud, mumble of protest from the audience.
Bringing the conversation back to the booth, Gary Pompan commented “We had a vote of the residents of the Village who approved by a huge majority having the booth.” He wanted to know how, both procedurally and administratively, after that occurred that there had been no discussion or provision in the budget for 2017/2018 for the project. He appreciates that they might not have known the exact amount but feels that there should have been a marker or some contingency put in. He believes it is absolutely clear that the Village cannot use any of the Water Company reserves for Village projects because they will be sued by non-Village participants in the company. “Whatever reserves, if they are adequate or not….for the Village…that’s actually what the whole point of the New York State Comptrollers audit. In fact if anybody goes on the website, they can view every municipality in the State of New York having been audited whether they are deficient or not. How that has anything to do with John Ledwith and how it has anything to do with this forensic audit, I think needs to be very clear in the minutes that one has nothing to do with the other. If you go back to the forensic audit, any competent audit accounting firm is going to give you a detailed engagement letter, which we need to see, because the report that comes needs to be on letter head, needs to be signed by the firm and needs to be something that matches what the engagement letter says. I have worked for an accounting firm for 31 years and anything less than that would be absolutely unacceptable to any client and in fact if the Village accepted that, I would say that is a deficiency in the Board’s approach to this. You’ve got to have the engagement letter. It should be available to the public so we can see what was done, what they were asked to do and whether those procedures actually matched up. Going back to the booth, the question I still have is, how is it possible that procedurally nobody put anything into the budget and now whatever the amount is, whichever administration is going to have to deal with this, they are going to be short.” He went on to suggest that the fiduciary responsibility of the Board had been to take and dictate what the residents what the residents requested and wanted.
The Mayor responded that the $75,000 could not be in the budget and had to be in its’ own account.
Mr. Pompan wondered if this was in the Capital Budget and whether it had been earmarked.
Mayor Guinchard informed him that it had been earmarked and was a part of the Capital Budget. This is available for all residents to review if they would like to.
Trustee McFadden commented that they had done the survey and the results made it very clear that the majority of residents wanted a booth. Following this, there was a transaction with a paper road, where there was a donation of $300,000+ that was earmarked for this project in exchange for the sale of the road. There were, however, a lot of unforeseen contingencies with the repair of The Keep and that dug into the fund significantly. The Mayor and the architect had been in agreement that the construction of a new booth would cost roughly $80,000 and the Board had been assured that it could be done for this amount. The project was subsequently put out to bid. Trustee McFadden noted that he had stated on the record numerous times that the drawings were not bid drawings…rather they were design drawings at best and when design drawings are distributed to a contractor, they do a CYA and return with a higher price because they have no idea what the final design is going to look like. There was nothing specified on the drawings with regard to the interiors, no equipment etc. The Village came full circle with a bid that was understandably high given the circumstances and then on the record the Mayor stated that they would be brining the project “in house” meaning that Alan Yassky was going to do the project and get it done for $80,000 in 4 weeks. He does not believe it can be built for $80,000 nor does he think it is a 4-week project. The drawings need to be completed and until that time, there is nothing to discuss. It is not in the budget. He feels it will not be built for $75,000 and that something would have to be done in terms of a seismic shift in order to get it built at this point in time.
Mr. Pompan noted that the project architect had done all the work for free. Stating “you get what you pay for,” he suggested that this was probably not the right approach to have taken. He further suggested that it might have been prudent, when going out on the bond offering, to maybe get an extra couple hundred thousand as opposed to now having to wonder where they will be able to get the money and if the project will ever get done, which he feels is an absolute shame.
The Mayor responded that the Village could not have added another couple hundred thousand to the bonds as they were already “tapped out.” She further suggested that they had needed to prioritize and that while the Village was able to operate without a Booth, they could not do so without water tanks.
With regard to the donation, she pointed out that the funds had been given for the repair of the Keep. Trustee McFadden was present for that process. When the money was brought forward it was for the Police buildings and because the Keep was having to be restored. She further suggested that she had never provided any exact figure for the project commenting “If Trustee McFadden wanted to really get involved, he could have gotten involved! He could return emails! He could return phone calls! He could return texts! …all of which he does not. There is nothing that keeps a Trustee from getting involved.”
Trustee Guazzoni agreed commenting that nobody had really “taken this project by its horns” in the last two months. “ Our plates are very full over here,” he said motioning to himself and the Mayor, “and over here, nothing happens,” he concluded motioning to Trustee McFadden. “It’s easy to grandstand once a month.”
Alan Yassky commented that the plan for the booth that had been drawn does not fit on the site. He is absolutely convinced that it cannot be built. He has priced it out. He believes they could end up with a booth on the $140-150,000 range. The project as most recently proposed pushes so far back that trucks will be able to enter through the Front Gate without hitting either the overhang of the booth or the overhang of the Keep. He believes it needs to be redesigned with workable drawings.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered how long Mr. Yassky felt it would take to complete the project.
Mr. Yassky suggested that it would take two months and that the Gate would need to be closed for almost a month.
“What amazes me,” commented the Mayor “is that so much work has been put into this…and the criticisms that come out of the audience. Nothing keeps you from participating with solutions. I love solution making! It’s so easy to criticize an individual, but its so much harder to stand up and help with solutions. I can say that in this room the only ones that step up to the plate are Mr. Salierno and Mr. Alan Yassky.”
“That’s not fair,” responded Mr. Yassky.
“But I am just saying to really dig your heels in for this project or for any of the major projects“ Mayor Guinchard continued. “A lot of people were criticized or maybe give a suggestion, but really to dig in. It takes everyone’s positive attitude. We have this amazing community…we really do! There are amazing members of this community with lots of great resources and many of them volunteer on all aspects. We have committees that are very active that do a lot of things that you may not know about…Pilgrim Pipeline, the Budgets, the Finances, Tree Advisory Board, The Trail Committee….there is so much good that comes out of this community. I really would encourage us to move forward to get things moving on and to get them going because we could sit her criticizing, but let’s turn the page and find something right and get it going. That’s what this community is about!”
Barbara duPont commented that it was her understanding that since the Police had taken over the Gate that the training now dictated that they must ask visitors where they are going and if they provide an address, they are let in. She has had countless people visit here whereby she has called the Gate and provided the name of her guest, her name and location where they will meet, but when they arrive she discovers that either the Gate was wide open and they were not stopped, or so long as they provided an address they were admitted with no further information required. She is wondering about the security of this community, which is the reason a lot of residents move here and is something they cherish. She feels it has been dramatically changed from the way it used to work and yet she does not believe there has been any public discussion about it.
The Mayor asked Chief Melchiore to address this comment.
Detective Taback responded, commenting that he could speak directly to the question about training as this is something he is responsible for. He feels things are much safer now than they were in the past. “I know what they do because I train them to do it and I sit there with them,” he stated.
Noting that she had a great deal of respect for the Department and everything that they did, Mrs. duPont stated that she was constantly told by visitors that they had not been asked for the name of the person they were visiting when entering the Village. Rather, they are asked if they know where they going and that was it.
Chief Melchiore stated that before leaving the meeting, he would take Mrs. duPont’s name and number so that they could check on this matter and follow up with her directly.
Mrs. duPont thanked the Chief, commenting that she appreciated this, but further wondered if they could explain exactly what the procedure for non-resident visitors entering the Village was.
The Chief reiterated that he would take Mrs. duPont’s name and number and they could set up a meeting to go over the protocols.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that when and if something like this occurs, residents should report it right away.
“Do they want calls all day? Everybody has a story like this!” stated Mary Graetzer.
“If they do, they should report it,” responded Mayor Guinchard. “If there is something wrong, I encourage you to call.”
Mrs. duPont commented that her perception was that there had been a change and that it was no longer necessary for residents to call the Gate to let them know when they were expecting visitors, who they were and where they were going. She wondered if this were in fact true and if visitors were simply being allowed entry with only a name and/or address.
“No,” replied Mayor Guinchard. “If you’re not on First Call and they say your name, they will open that gate and let them in. If you are on the First Call, they will look on that list.”
“My understanding from the time we moved here 20 years ago was that either you called and left the name of who’s coming in, or if you didn’t do that, they would call you and say ‘is this person legitimate?’ “
“It’s never been like that since I’ve been here,” stated the Mayor. “I was asked if I wanted to be on the First Call list.”
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that Mrs. duPont add her name to this list.
Mr. Pompan wondered if the list was actually still in effect. “I’m on first call and I have never gotten a call since the new Police Department took over.”
“Really? I am called,” asserted Kathy Norris. “If somebody goes to the Gate and asks for me, they call me immediately. They don’t let them in.”
“Well you are the lucky one then,” responded Mr. Pompan.
The Chief reiterated that he would look into the situation.
Lili Neuhauser inquired about the DPW and Police contracts and asked for an update.
Mayor Guinchard responded that the DPW contract was done and that the Board would be discussing the contents of it during executive session, before coming back out and voting on it.
“It’s done now?” inquired Mrs. Neuhauser.
The answer was yes.
“So, on April 12, when you said it was done, was it done then?”
Mayor Guinchard responded that it had been. “Lili, listen to me for a minute. DPW was done in April. They had to vote. All the employees have to get together to finish voting.” She further indicated that this was the first meeting of the BOT since that vote had occurred, and now the Board would be voting on it.
Trustee McFadden wondered what would happen if the DPW were to vote no.
The Mayor responded that this was a question for the attorney adding “if you wanted to know, you should have called me and asked me.”
“Go to meetings once in a while,” added Trustee Guazzoni.
Paul Gluck commented that he wanted to turn back to the subject of John Ledwith and his termination. Stating that he understood that they were not taking any comments, he asserted that he had a few he wanted to make. He read allowed the following, which is part of an online petition formed by residents in the wake of Mr. Ledwith’s dismissal. “Our Village employees deserve to be treated fairly. Terminating an employee is a drastic act. Just because, in theory, an employer can act to fire an at-will employee “for no reason” does not mean that it is the right thing to do. If there is a basis for firing an employee – particularly one of Mr. Ledwith's tenure and history – it should be clearly articulated, documented, and communicated to the employee.
With Mr. Ledwith's absence, the Village, the functioning of its Boards and the success of its ongoing projects – including a major Dam project and a potential rebuilding of the Front Gate – are in danger of being disrupted by the loss of a valuable, perhaps critical, resource.” He further commented that the petition made reference to the fact that there does not appear to be any determination of malfeasance, theft or other serious illegal activity and calls on the Board of Trustees to reconsider their decision to fire Mr. Ledwith and to consider that any transgression could be dealt with in a manner more consistent with Human Resources best practices. In it’s short life online, this petition has been signed by 81 residents including former Mayors, former Trustees, the Chairs and most members of the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Board and many others in this community who have worked with John and found him to be, while perhaps not perfect, a good employee. Mr. Gluck hopes that the Board will not take any action that would prevent a future administration from returning him as an employee if that is the course of action that administration decided to take.
Jim Hays seconded these remarks, further stating that many of the current Trustees were “fairly green” as Board members and that it was possible that they might overreact to a situation, which is understandable. This kind of overreaction can be corrected. He asked the Board to go into an executive session and reconsider their decision in this matter further commenting “you have picked up a hornets nest and a it’s going to come back. You have done many good things and there is lots of good energy but this, I think, was a mistake. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who have had trouble with John. That’s understandable. It’s difficult to be a Code Enforcement Officer and not have some people object to what you’re doing if you’re enforcing the code. That can happen. In general, it is the Board’s responsibility to support the Building Inspector and to support the Assessor and not undermine him. He needs to have a certain amount of independence. He should not be at the bidding of the Mayor. He’s not the servant of the Mayor. He is an independent person who has a legal responsibility to uphold the code and for that he needs your support. If you fire him, that leaves a big question for the next Building Inspector. Is that going to happen to him? How independent can he be if for some reason….and we don’t know what the reason was….and that makes it very difficult for us. Please go into executive session and reconsider. I think it’s important and I think it would be the best for all of you if you do. If you don’t, which you may not, then there will be a lot of questions that are asked and I think there should be an investigation into his firing. One or two Trustees can initiate this investigation and I think it should happen. There are a lot questions that need to be asked. Some of those questions have already been asked, but I have a list of 8, which I want to read into the record.” Noting that some of these questions had already been posed, Mr. Hays then read allowed the following:
- Did the Board of Trustees vote to fire John Ledwith? When? What was the resolution and who voted in favor and who against? If any Trustees abstained or did not vote, why? What were the terms of the termination given to John? How did John respond?
- Was John given a reason why he was being fired at or before the time he was told? If so, what was it? If not, why not?
- One Trustee has been reported as saying that the Board engaged a forensic accountant to review John’s performance of his duties in relation to the Village Water Department? Is this correct? Who was the firm, when were they engaged, what was their scope for work, and what was their report? Was there a written report? If so, please make it publicly available. If not, why was there no written report? Did they make a recommendation regarding John’s termination? If so, what was it?
- Did the Board or the Mayor make a determination that John was guilty of misconduct or was incompetent? If so, what was the misconduct or conduct found to be incompetent? Was John accused of any dishonesty or illegality? Was John informed and given an opportunity to explain? If so, what was the explanation he offered and why was it insufficient?
- When was John’s last performance review? Was the same or similar misconduct or incompetence noted in his performance review? Was the performance review generally favorable or unfavorable?
- Did the Board seek legal advice regarding the conditions under which it was permissible to remove John from each of his positions with the Village before he was fired? Was that advice in writing? If so, please make it publicly available. If not, why not?
- Was the Board advised that John was not entitled to the protections of Section 75 of the Civil Service Law which provides in substance that an employee in the non-competitive class with five years of continuous service may be removed only for misconduct or incompetence?
- Did the Board obtain before John was fired any advice from employment professionals regarding how the Village could find a replacement for John in his various functions and the likely cost? If so what was the advice? Has such advice been sought since then?
“I hope it won’t come to all of this, but it will come to all of this…..please reconsider,” pleaded Mr. Hays, handing a copy of his questions to the Village Clerk. “It was a horrendous move for somebody who has been here for 22 years. How many Boards of Trustees have served with John? How many Mayors have served with John? And none of them felt that his performance rose to a level where he should be fired. He may have made some mistakes. We all do. I am not arguing that he didn’t make mistakes…he probably did! We all make mistakes. But were they at that level? I think in the minds of most of the people in this community it has to be very egregious to fire him and do it so precipitously. Thank You.”
This was met by a loud round of applause from the public.
Trustee Guazzoni responded “Had it not been serious, we would have waited until June 21 to terminate him. Just think about that. Secondly, you are requesting a lot of information that could really hinder this individual from getting his next job. I personally care about this individual and his not been impeded from further employment. Please keep things off of the internet and off of searchable engines. Your petition is very searchable on Google. Use his initials please.”
Mr. Gluck suggested that the petition was actually quite favorable to Mr. Ledwith and rather that it reflected poorly on the Village for having acted the way they did.
Commenting that he had previously determined not to speak on this issue but could no longer help himself, Alan Yassky stated “Claudio, I sat here at the reorganization meeting in 2016 and you jumped on his bones from day 1. You didn’t want to reappoint him. You didn’t want any part of him. We’ve got the tapes inside and I’m sure we could bring them out and listen to them. You went on for 30 minutes, where you wouldn’t reappoint him…where you wouldn’t do this or you wouldn’t do that. Bottom line, I want to ask two questions. 1. If my company is ever audited, and they find something wrong, they don’t go after the employees….they go after the employer. You guys are the employer. If you didn’t like what was set up in the books, you damn well should have changed it! PERIOD. You were the supervisors. 2. I’d like to know if anyone that voted against him, or anyone on the Board applied for certiorari formal or informal to have their taxes reviewed that John turned down. That’s a serious charge! That is a serious conflict of interest, if you asked for one and were turned down. I know you were turned down Claudio.“
“I wasn’t turned down,” responded Trustee Guazzoni. “I didn’t get one and I wasn’t turned down. I had to go to Article 78.”
“Bottom line is, I think there is something very wrong if you have an employer going to an employee and asking for a special favor…reduce my taxes….with the implication being that if you don’t, you’re in trouble,” alleged Mr. Yassky.
“That’s not what happened,” asserted Trustee Guazzoni.
“Well, it may or may not be, but the implication is there,” responded Mr. Yassky.
“You could grieve publicly,” suggested Mr. Hays.
“Couldn’t you say the same thing if you needed an approval for your house and you’re a Trustee? Isn;’t that bias?,” inquired Mr. Niblo. “John if you approve this you are going to lose your job. It’s the same thing! It should be separate then! That’s the way it should be.”
“Or your boat house….right Alan,” added Trustee Guazozni.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” responded Mr Yassky.
“Yeah, exactly,” retorted Trustee Guazzoni.
“Because that’s another lie you have been working on,” alleged Mr. Yassky.
“This is turning out to be a little too combative,” suggested the Mayor.
Trustee McFadden commented that with all due respect he felt there was a something with regard to which he needed to defend himself, but the Mayor asserted that with all respect she wanted to move on.
“No,” stated Trustee McFadden. “There is something I need to say.”
“I would like to close the Public Comments. We will move on to the DPW,” stated Mayor Guinchard. “I’m so sorry.”
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department had been very busy with work on the Wee Wah Dam. They have been working on both water and sewer mains there. Additionally, both he and John Bello attended CSLAPS training the previous week.
Mayor Guinchard wondered if there had been any resident volunteers who completed the training as well.
The answer was no.
The Mayor then asked Trustee McHugh if there was a reason why there had been no volunteers at the training.
Trustee McHugh responded that they had been encouraging volunteers however the theory behind their process was that they were trying to institutionalize things for the purpose of ensuring continuity throughout. What they are going to try and do is to encourage students who are interested to go out with either Superintendent Voss or Mr. Bello when they are performing the work, so they can learn that way.
The Mayor pointed out that both the Superintendent and Mr. Bello were also Village residents.
Village Engineer Pat Hines agreed, commenting that they had discussed this with the NY Federation of Lakes, that in order to keep the program going the Village would be utilizing Village Employees.
The Superintendent also reported that he had recently attended an Orange & Rockland seminar on Smart Readers that would be installed in Orange and Sullivan counties beginning in 2018. Three months prior to installation, Orange and Rockland will come and give a presentation about the program to the Village, if the Village so chooses.
Trustee Guazozni wondered whether this would cost the Village anything.
Superintendent Voss responded that there would be a rate change. He added that they are hopeful that it will help decrease the length of power outages amongst other things as the readers relay information to O & R every 15 minutes.
Mary Graetzer wondered if they would be installed in the Town as well as the Village.
The answer was that they would be installed throughout Orange and Sullivan counties. They have almost completed installation in Rockland.
Trustee McHugh then pointed out that the DPW had lost an employee that was not replaced and that the department had also come in under budget for the fiscal year. Additionally, they had been tasked with helping the Tree Advisory Board and had done a wonderful job and now have been asked to take on the CSLAPS program, which they have done without protest. With all of this in mind, he suggested that the Community owed the DPW a tremendous amount of gratitude.
This was met by a loud round of applause.
Building and Grounds Report:
Engineer Pat Hines reported that over the course of the last 3 weeks the Building Department had performed 3 municipal searches, worked on 2 tree complaints, handled 1 property maintenance complaint, worked on a dock permit, having 2 building permits under review, issued 1 referral letter to the BZA, worked with Version to review some potential small cell tower sites, and have 4 pending complaints to be reviewed over the next several days.
Trustee McHugh inquired about current building projects that had been approved by the BAR and were in the construction phase. He wondered whether these were being monitored.
The answer was yes.
Mayor Guinchard added that things were progressing right on schedule with the bond issuances.
Mr. Hines commented that they had also been working on an issue with the chemical storage tank at the Water Plant. They are looking to change over to a non-hazardous product. They have done some preliminary testing with not very satisfactory results, so they are continuing to work on it.
Lakes Update - Trustee McHugh provided a brief update on the lakes, reporting that divers had installed a fragment curtain earlier that day in Tuxedo Lake. CSLAPS will begin in June. Solitude Lakes Management will complete a survey in early June and mid-June they will do suction harvesting in high traffic areas.
Mayor Guinchard suggested that they needed to vote on authorizing Superintendent Voss to move forward with a copper sulfate treatment if needed.
Trustee McHugh countered that what they actually needed to vote on was Solitude’s annual Lake Consultant contract. This includes $870 per month consulting fee with up to 7 hours per month. Additional hours are $145 per month. Having Solitude attend a meeting will cost $250 and site visits are $360. What they would like to do is get the consulting fee up and running so that they can start analyzing the CSLAPs data and providing recommendations…then dovetailing this with the mapping of Tuxedo Lake.
Mayor Guinchard wondered who would initiate Copper Sulfate treatments if needed.
Trustee McHugh responded that these treatments cost $2,000 and they could decide upon that if and when they were needed.
The Mayor recommended that they approve the consulting as well as one treatment, which would allow Superintendent Voss the flexibility to move forward if needed without having to chase down paperwork.
Dena Steele inquired as to what reports Solitude would be giving, specifically whether there would be a monthly, written report detailing what they had done and found.
Trustee McHugh responded that they had the survey and things would be framed moving forward. He would like a monthly report that dovetails in with the CSLAPS so that they have a hard copy that everyone can see.
Ms. Steele wondered if providing these written reports was built into the contract.
Trustee McHugh responded that it was not, but they could amend the agreement to add this.
It was agreed that this would be a good idea.
With regard to Pond #3 and the Wee Wah, Jim Hays wondered if anything would be done in these lakes, noting that the Wee Wah is in critical shape due to the low water levels.
Trustee McHugh responded that this would be addressed following the site visit. They will be forming a resident based committee and once this has been done, they will complete a collective walk of the three lakes in order to more clearly define what they are looking to do and develop an approach.
Mr. Gluck wondered if Solitude would be looking at the data that the Village has collected via CSLAPS and the Water Department and providing an assessment.
The answer was yes. “What we are trying to do is get a trend analysis and a living document so that everyone can see it,” noted Trustee McHugh.
Mr. Hays wondered whether the Gate was speaking to landscapers about the use of phosphates.
Chief Melchiore responded that they were not.
Mr. Hays suggested that they should. “We went through all of this months ago,” he continued. “This should be done early in the season when they do it! That should have been happening two months ago and it should certainly happen now!”
Mayor Guinchard added that she and Superintendent Voss had been investigating different ways of treating the roadways during the winter as the use of salt near the reservoir is a concern.
She then proposed that with regard to the proposed contract they only approve 1 copper sulfate treatment. If it is in Tuxedo Lake this will cost $3,865 and if it is in the Wee Wah $1,375 and Pond #3 $895. Due to construction on the dam, the Wee Wah will not need a treatment. Solitude will be consulted before any such treatment.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of this.
They then voted unanimously in favor of hiring Solitude Lakes Management at the fee structure aforementioned by Trustee McHugh with the addition of a requested written report.
Herbert Dock - The Board then briefly reviewed the Herbert dock application, which was recently approved by the BAR and has now been referred to them for the issuance of a Building Permit.
Following the brief review, the Board voted in favor of approving the application with Trustee McHugh recusing himself and Trustee McFadden abstaining.
CHS-EWA – CHS has presented their EWA # 6 in the amount of $301,000. At the request of Trustee McFadden, the Mayor provided a brief breakdown of this. At the end of the project the as-built survey is updating the emergency plan, end of the as-built is $23,800. Any instrumentation that is needed, $2,500 and other estimated material testing up to $6,000. When added to the existing approved numbers, this brings the total to $301,000.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the EWA.
Grant Writer - Noting that the conversation during Public Comments had been very spirited in nature, Grant Writer Fred Rella that the community had come together beautifully at the Arbor Day celebrations at the Race Track at the end of April. He feels that it is possible for people to come together for the good of the community.
Moving on to the Wee Wah Dam, he noted that when he first started working in the Village this project had a projected cost of $2,000,000, but it was now up to $4,000,000 +. CHA has been paid almost $500,000 since October of 2015. The Bond is $3,650,000. The State of New York has not had any grants for dams since 1996. There are 5,800+ dams in New York State. 40% of these are in need of repair. This dictates that they needed to look at non-traditional routes for getting funding for this project. They were lucky enough to get two small grants of $50,000 each through the Municipal Facilities and Capital Improvement Program. Mayor Guinchard attended an event in Woodbury at which the Governor was present and she managed to catch his ear and inform him of the project. As a result, a meeting was held with the Governor’s regional representative, which was followed by a meeting with the Deputy Secretary of the Environment up in Albany at which a presentation was given. The presentation was given at a crucial time as Albany was in the process of developing their budget. Since this time, they have learned that the Governor has set aside $100,000,000 for dams for the first time since 1996! The money will not be available until the fall of 2017 and the Village will have to apply for it, but it is very good news that they were able to get up there and make progress in this way. It will not only benefit the community of Tuxedo but many communities in the area.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to how much the Village would be applying for.
Mr. Rella responded that the monies could not be used for work that had been completed prior to the availability of the grant, so they will have to wait and see where they are in the fall when the monies become available.
Mr. Rella further reported that the Village would be receiving 3 license plate readers…once for each Police Vehicle. The New York State Police will be paying for the scanning equipment, installation and printer.
Trustee McHugh wondered why the readers were going into the police vehicles instead of being installed at the Village entrance.
“There’s no grants for the entrance,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether the scanners could be converted.
The answer was no. The reader will have to go into a vehicle.
Lastly, with regard to the 103DOD program, which provides surplus equipment via the Department of Defense, Mr. Rella reported that both Chief Melchiore and Detective Taback had worked diligently and had been able to acquire some weaponry and would be going out for ammunition as well.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to what type of weaponry had been acquired.
The answer was long rifles.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of extending Mr. Rella’s contract from June 2017 to May 2018 at a rate of $2,000 per month or $24,000 a year.
Trails Committee- On behalf of the Trails Committee Trustee Moon reported that the Fox Hill trail had been walked a few weeks ago and was in good shape. Work is being done to connect the wild life sanctuary to the trail system and this is almost completed.
Trustee McFadden reported that nothing had changed since his last report with regard to term limits. In terms of Village properties, he reported that he had been working with Mr. Ledwith and this had been very helpful. He wondered if he should work with Mr. Hines moving forward.
The Mayor responded that he should and further inquired as to which properties had been looked at what had been done so far.
Trustee McFadden replied that everything had been put on hold since the departure of Mr. Ledwith.
With regard to the Village website, Trustee Guazzoni reported that the new site had gone live, but remained as a Beta version. It can be found at www.tuxedopark.online. He would love comments and suggestions. Once comments have been received, the old website will be pointed to the new one. There will then be 4 ways to access the new site.
Trustee Guazzoni next reported that he had been working with Verizon wireless and that a location had been determined for the installation of a new cell tower. “If all of the community doesn’t have 5 bars, I will be very surprised,” he stated. It might take more than one antenna, but the goal is to bring 5 bars of Verizon wireless to all residents. This is important because it limits radiation to the brain during cellphone usage.
Mary Graetzer inquired as to where the property was located.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that they were looking at Village owned properties such as the Ridge Road water tanks and the Water Plant. The rent is $3,000 per antennae.
“Do we all have to convert to Verizon?” inquired Trustee McFadden.
“I didn’t knock on AT & T’s door yet,” responded Trustee Guazzoni. “Maybe you can do that.”
The Board then adjourned into an executive session to discuss contracts and employee matters.
When they restarted the meeting after their session, the following actions were taken:
- Approval of the purchase of a water meter reading device which will interface with the Village’s current software for a price up to $2000.
- The settling of two water bill accounts
- Approval for Mayor to sign the DPW contract/memorandum of agreement to run from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2020.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting, May 17, 2017
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Police Report
5. DPW Report
6. Building & Grounds Report
a. Herbert Dock Request
7. Committee Reports
a. Grant Writer
8. Solitude Lake Management Contract
9. Public Comments
10. Audit of Claims
11. Approval of Minutes
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Special Village Board of Trustee Meeting To Be Held Monday, May 8 at 9am
Please be advised that the Board of Trustees will hold a special Board of Trustees meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 8, 2017 for the purpose of authorizing the Orange County Real Property Tax Service to assist the Village with its current 2017 Village tax billing and any other necessary functions as required by NY State and Orange County for 2017 property tax billing. The meeting will be held in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987. Please note that Trustee John Moon will be attending via Face Time from 570 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10022
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Deborah A. Matthews
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Special Board of Trustees Meeting April 28, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Friday April 28 at 7pm.
Trustee Moon was absent.
Board attorney Brian Nugent participated via conference call.
Mayor Guinchard opened the meeting by announcing that the Board had a few “housekeeping” issues to attend to before moving on to their agenda.
The first of these was two create two seasonal civil service positions for the DPW so that they can hire summer help. Historically, these employees have made $10 per hour, but the pay rate has not been set yet. The Board voted unanimously in favor of creating the positions.
Secondly, the Mayor proposed that they create another civil service position for a part time assessor.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to what the background was with this, wanting to know specifically what the Village’s plan was and who this person would be.
The Mayor explained that they would not be voting to hire a person but rather to create the position with Civil Service.
Trustee McFadden wanted to know if this person would be hired to replace John Ledwith.
Trustee Guinchard responded that the Village has never had a Civil Service assessor before, even though they thought that they had.
“So what’s the basis of it and why are we doing it?” inquired Trustee McFadden.
Mayor Guinchard called on Mr. Nugent to explain how the process worked with Civil Service.
Mr. Nugent explained that the Village did not currently have a proper assessor with Civil Service. If they wanted to fill this position, they would need to create it.
“We thought it was in existence. They told us it wasn’t in existence, so we have to create it,” summed up Trustee Guazzoni.
Trustee McFadden inquired of Mr. Nugent as to any additional costs that might be associated with the position change.
Mr. Nugent responded that there was no cost involved in creating the position.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that the position should have been created back in 2006.
Mr. Nugent concurred.
Trustee McHugh inquired of Village Clerk Debbie Matthews how the Village had managed thus far without having this position and whether or not the State had ever come down on the Village for it that she was aware of.
She responded that she had not seen anything of this nature.
“Well….now that they know….” commented Mayor Guinchard. She then inquired of Ms. Matthews as to what the State might be able to do to the Village if they did not create the position.
Ms. Matthews suggested they ask Mr. Nugent this question, which they did. Trustee Guazzoni also wanted to know what consequences might be for the Village since they had had somebody acting in this position for years without the proper designation.
Mr. Nugent responded that he did not believe there would be any consequence. Moving forward, without the official title, Mr. Nugent advised that the State could withhold certification of payroll. This being said, he further stated that in his experience the State wanted to work with municipalities and not against them.
Trustee McFadden wondered whether the Village was required by law to have this a Civil Service position.
Mr. Nugent replied that the Village was not required to have an assessor and that they could choose to have the Town assessor perform the duties. If they do not want to use the Town’s assessor, they would need to create the position. Mr. Nugent was not sure what the consequences might be for personnel if they refused to create the position.
Trustee McFadden reiterated that what he wanted to know was whether or not the Village needed to create a Civil Service position in order to hire their own tax assessor.
The answer was yes. Mr. Nugest further advised that any municipal position has to have a Civil Service title, except for elected officials.
Again, Trustee Guazzoni wanted to know whether Mr. Nugent felt the Village would be subject to penalty because the position had not been created in 2006, but the Village had utilized personnel that they referred to as the tax assessor for the last 11 years.
The answer was no.
From the audience, Planning Board Chair Joanne Hanson inquired as to whether or not the public would have the opportunity to ask questions about this.
“No. Not right now….just so we can keep moving,” responded the Mayor.
“Why not?” inquired Ms. Hanson asked. “When?” chimed in another audience member.
“There are no public comments tonight. This is a special meeting on the budget,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
“You are not talking about the budget,” stated Gardner Hempel.
“You are talking about the assessor and the legal questions regarding it,” added Mrs. Hanson.
“I don’t think we are going to have public comments tonight,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
Mayor Guinchard suggested that they either had to create the position or use either the County or Town assessor.
Trustee Guazzoni echoed these sentiments, repeating what the Mayor had just said verbatim.
Trustee McFadden stated that he would be abstaining because this issue had been brought up for the first time only minutes ago and he had not had the opportunity to fully examine it.
The Mayor suggested that they could table it, if Trustee McFadden preferred.
“I don’t think we have a person in mind,” added Trustee Guazozni.
Trustee McHugh requested that Mr. Nugent write something up for the Trustees detailing what the Village’s options were so that they could make an informed, intelligent decision at their meeting.
It was agreed that this would be done.
Next, Mayor Guinchard announced that there were two Solitude Lakes Management contracts to be considered. The first is for a plant survey of Tuxedo Lake and the other is for an aquatic plant algae control of Tuxedo Lake.
Trustee McHugh explained that the first contract would cover a plant survey of Tuxedo Lake, replicating the work that was done in 2011 and evaluating the extent of the milfoil. Once this has been evaluated, Solitude will present the Village with an estimate in terms of what it would cost for chemical treatment, should they choose to go that route vs. the mechanical route the Village has been employing to date.
The survey will cost $4,050, which is the same amount that was spent previously for this study.
The second contract is open ended but free. This one asks for permission and will provide a cost structure and table of all the different pesticides or chemical treatments they might use and what the cost is on a per acre basis.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the first contract, but decided to table the second one.
Resolution – 2017-2018 Tentative Budget:
Mayor Guinchard explained the following:
“When we passed the budget on April 19, there is actually a way that the comptroller wants the tax caps to be looked at by a formula that is online and you have to actually do part of your budget online now. So when that’s done….it formulates it.”
She went on to say that the auditor had taken a look at this, along with Ms. Matthews and had discovered some things that needed to be done for a prior year as well “because that’s how it is done now going forward with the Comptroller.” With this, she reported, there was a decrease for residents as taxpayers, but this needs to be calculated and done correctly. The Mayor then circulated a copy of the calculation to the Trustees for their review. She then announced that the levy would be going from $3,608,453 to $3, 593,828.
She then made a motion to rescind the motion they had made on April 19, adopting the General Fund.
Trustee McHugh commented that his issue was this pertained to an inter-fund transfer of $12,000 from the water fund to the general fund. His philosophical problem here is that residents in the Town pay into the water fund and therefore, he believes those funds should stay in the water surplus and not be moved over to the general fund.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that this was a good point. He then proceeded to outline, presumably for the audience’s benefit, the manner in which the General Fund and the Water Fund exist as well as to recap of what Trustee McHugh had just said. He went on to suggest that the reason the money was being transferred was to cover administrative fees associated with the Water Company, which is technically run out of the Village Office using Village equipment. He further commented that New York State allows up to $1,000 per month to be transferred to cover administrative fees, covering costs such as computers, phones, and everything else they use in the Village Office.
Trustee McHugh countered that the Water Department already had phones and other administrative bills that the Village had already paid for these and these were appropriately accounted for within the budget.
“But what happens in this office is not appropriated for,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.” “Debbie’s time and the manager of the Water Company and the computers and the air conditioning and the internet and the lights and heating this place in the winter.”
“I think we allocate personnel time for that,” responded Trustee McHugh. He went on to indicate that he had also noticed that they had “jacked up” and taken more money from the appropriated surplus. “so there has been two changes.”
“No, we brought it down,” responded Mayor Guinchard.
“No, you took it from $65,940 to $67,482,” he replied referencing the budget before him.
The Mayor indicated that this needed to be done in order to balance things out.
Finally, Trustee McHugh noted that the budget did not account for rebuilding the Police Booth.
The Mayor concurred.
“So the budget for 17/18 does not include the Booth and we have $70,000 left over to do the Booth, if we can do the Booth,” stated Trustee McHugh.
“That is its own fund,” replied Mayor Guinchard.
Going back to the $1,000 per month transfer from the Water Fund to the General Fund, the Mayor noted that the auditor had told them that if the Village used employees in the Village office to stuff the bills and putting postage on them, they should be doing an inter-fund transfer to cover these costs.
Trustee Guazzoni commented that they should have been doing this all along but were not. “We are just being more transparent,” he stated.
This was met by widespread laughter from the public.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of rescinding the General Fund budget adopted on April 19 and approving the new, revised budget.
Next they addressed the Water Fund, voting unanimously in favor of rescinding the budget they adopted on April 19, and approving the revised version.
Resolution – Modify 2016-2017 Adopted Budget:
Mayor Guinchard explained that the auditor had recommended that they modify the adopted 2016/2017 Water Fund budget to include the $12,000 inter-fund transfer for the purpose of reimbursing the General Fund for administrative costs.
Trustee McHugh commented that he would like to see the recommendations from the auditor before he voted on this issue. “I prefer to see it in advance, before the meeting,” he added.
It was then agreed that this would be tabled until the next meeting.
The meeting was then adjourned.
Lili Neuhauser inquired of the Mayor as to whether or not the audience would be allowed to make any comment on the situation with John Ledwith.
“There is no public comment. We were just doing a budget session,” responded Mayor Guinchard.
“So from this point forward, if it’s inconvenient, we’re not going to able to ask questions about the people we pay the salaries for?” Mrs. Neuhauser replied.
“This meeting is adjourned,” stated the Mayor.
“Truly I think that you owe this community some sort of explanation.”
Mayor Guinchard suggested that she allow the Village Attorney to respond to this line of questioning and proceeded to call him on the phone.
“We are paying the lawyer’s fee too,” shouted Manda Sanandaji. “So why don’t you get him there and we can ask him the question.”
“But Brian is not the one who fired him, Mary Jo. It’s not a Brian question,” suggested Nancy Hays. “We are asking you directly.”
By this time, Mr. Nugent had answered the telephone and Mayor Guinchard asked him to address the issue at hand.
“Mary Jo, with due respect, the question was for you and not for the attorney,” called out an audience member. “You are the one that fired John and we would like an explanation as to know why.”
“Brian?” responded Mayor Guinchard, adding “the lawyer has stated that we cannot discuss employee matters in public. We can only discuss it in Executive Session.
Brian, can you explain that we cannot discuss employee matters in a public venue?”
Mr. Nugent responded that this was a true statement.
“I believe you can call an Executive Session and invite anybody you want to,” suggested Gardner Hempel.
The conversation with Mr. Nugent was then terminated.
“Wow…you’re not going to go there, are you?” demanded Mrs. Neuhauser.
“No,” replied the Mayor.
“That’s really great Mary Jo. You guys are just wonderful. Nice Job,” Mrs. Neuhauser responded.
“We cannot discuss employee matters.” The Mayor reiterated.
“You are talking about transparency? This is not transparent!” called out one audience member.
“We are the taxpayers! We pay the taxes and we are entitled to know why,” stated Mrs. Sanandaji.
“What is your name, Maam?” inquired Trustee Guazzoni.
Mrs. Sanandaji responded, identifying herself and indicating that she and Trustee Guazzoni knew one another. She further suggested that Mr. Ledwith had worked for the Village for 22 years. “I don’t know when you came. I have lived here since 1979 and I feel that I am entitled as taxpayer, who has been living here since I was 29 years old, to know why you fired this guy. Tell me why.”
“The official reason that we fired him was no reason,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
This was met by a chorus of laughter combined with cried of disbelief from the public.
“In this way, the Village cannot be sued,” continued Trustee Guazozni.
“Don’t hold your breath,” called Mary Graetzer.
Trustee Guazzoni indicated that there was more to the story that would come out as time went on.
Mrs. Sanandaji commented that Mr. Ledwith had been a loyal employee of the Village for years.
“Be patient. Two weeks from now we can tell you the full story,” responded Trustee Guazozni.
“In light of the bonds you are taking out and the projects we have in front of us, you think it is prudent to go forward without this man and his wisdom of 22 years?” asked Mrs. Neuhauser.
“We cannot discuss….” began the Mayor.
“Tactical error you guys,” suggested Mrs. Neuhauser.
“Lili,” responded Trustee Guazzoni, “this employee’s wisdom closed Tuxedo Road for two years.”
“That’s not a point that matters, sir,” suggested Ms. Hanson.
“Oh, now you’re putting that on him,” Mrs. Neuhauser stated. “That’s nice Claudio!”
“It wasn’t him alone, Lili,” replied Trustee Guazzoni. “None of the roads were closed…uh….you know…”
“I would like to talk just structural matters,” stated Mrs. Hanson. “Are we allowed to have a Building Inspector who also the assessor, and can you please give us the statute that refers to this?”
Mayor Guinchard indicated that she had Ms. Matthews had spoken to Civil Service and had asked them whether a full time employee could be a Building Inspector. She asked Ms. Matthew to expand on the conversations they had had with Civil Service.
Ms. Matthews responded that Civil Service had told them that they could create a position to accommodate the situation.
“….and what was their comment when we were trying to accommodate?” inquired the Mayor. “That everything was a conflict.”
“There is an inherent conflict between somebody who is…” began Trustee Guazzoni.
“No,” interrupted Ms. Hanson. “I am asking for the statutory prohibition.”
“Well, we were asked not to do it. We didn’t…” began Trustee Guazzoni.
“It’s the rules that they put on Civil Service. It’s how it is. Orange County,” stated Mayor Guinchard.
Ms. Hanson responded that she had read all 49 pages of the Orange County Rules and had not seen this statute anywhere.
“State rules,” interjected the Mayor.
“I think what the audience is asking for is the legal statute that you are moving forward on,” suggested Ms. Hanson. “You are trying to create an independent assessor position.”
“The County Law is stronger than the State Law,” responded the Mayor.
“You have made that statement. I have read the entirety of the County rules today, and I have read the description of Building Inspector. I’ve read the description of….”
“It can’t be vested in the same person,” interrupted Trustee Guazzoni. “I cannot tell you why. There is a letter of opinion.”
“A letter of opinion….not a statute,” responded Mrs. Hanson.
Trustee Guazozni suggested that the letter of opinion explained the statute.
“Can we please, as a Village, see that letter so that we can assess it?” asked Ms. Hanson.
Trustee Guazzoni stated that the reasoning behind the split of power between the Tax Assessor and the Building Inspector was that information gleamed from being a Building Inspector could not be used on the tax assessment side. “You do not have to allow the Tax Assessor onto your property. If you say ‘stay off my property’ to the Tax Assessor, he has to stay off of your property. He can look at your property from afar. A Building Inspector, when he is on your property, he cannot use that information and give it to the Tax Assessor. You can’t do that.”
Ms. Hanson responded that she appreciated this discussion but what she was trying to understand was whether or not there was a legal statute or a prohibition.
“It’s really kind of a simple thing,” stated the Mayor. “You can have a Building Inspector. You can have a Tax Assessor. You can have many positions in the Village, but there are certain positions you can’t hold at the same time.”
“and I am saying…where is the Statute?”
The Mayor explained that every employee has to be part of Civil Service. Certain positions can be combined, but others cannot. “Debbie and I have been on the calls with Civil Service for….a year and a half? Well…since we got the Chief.”
“Those powers were invested in the same person in 2006 by McFadden when he was Mayor,” suggested Trustee Guazzoni “and he didn’t check with New York State, He didn’t check with Orange County,…he just…..”
Ms. Hanson stated that she felt she was asking a fairly straight forward question. She reiterated that she had read the entirety of Orange County’s rules and was asking for the specific statute to back up what Trustee Guazzoni and the Mayor were suggesting.
“I am no lawyer,” stated the Mayor “but Civil Service pretty much said that we could not do it.”
Ms. Hanson wanted to know who the Mayor had spoken to at Civil Service.
The Mayor responded that Ms. Hanson should call them and ask. She felt certain that they would confirm the fact that the Village was not allowed to combine these positions.
Ms. Hanson responded that she would be happy to call Civil Service. “I believe that page 27 of the Orange County Rules says that one can create a special position. So, the question is, is there a statutory prohibition against combining the Assessor and Building Inspector?”
Mayor Guinchard suggested that Ms. Hanson should speak to Mr. Nugent and go through all the legalities involved as there are Case Studies to support this. “I cannot explain to you more on these issues. There are certain positions….”
“So we fired John because of this?” inquired Mrs. Neuhauser.
“No,” responded Trustee Guazzoni. “We fired John because of no reason.”
The Mayor suggested that she and Ms. Matthews had been working on the Civil Service situation for over a year.
“Do you feel good about what you have done?” Mrs. Neuhauser asked.
“It was very difficult,” replied Trustee Guazzoni. “Lili, he and you closed the road for two years…so stop it.”
This was met by a cry of outrage from the public.
“We cleaned up your mess,” continued Trustee Guazzoni.
This angered the Public even further.
“Now you are pushing it way too far,” cried Mrs. Neuhauser.
“Oh Come on,” stated Mrs. Sanandaji. She went on to suggest that clearly it was “very easy” for Trustee Guazzoni to drop other people’s names, but it was entirely inappropriate for him to call an ex-Mayor out for something that had nothing to do with the issue at hand.
“It’s John Ledwith’s and her fault,” replied Trustee Guazozni. “both of them. They share responsibility.”
“Oh nice Claudio,” shouted Mrs. Neuhauser. “Be a man! Seriously! Unbelievable!”
Mayor Guinchard attempted to bring things back under control by stating that anyone employed by the Village had to be on Civil Service.
“Stop yourself now,” suggested Gardner Hempel. “Save yourself.”
“We saved the future of the Village,” countered Trustee Guazzoni.
Chiu Yin Hempel commented “I am not a political person, but given the fact that you guys are so convinced that on the issue of Tax Assessor and Building Inspector cannot exist in one person and you cite that there are statutes to this effect, conversations to this effect, is it not possible for the sake of transparency (which is the word for government these days) to email one of us as a representative that precise statute and the precise numbers of the people that you have consulted with so that we can actually see for ourselves and convince ourselves that this is the case. Even if you are right and we can’t have the Building Inspector and the Tax Assessor exist in the same person, what Debbie just said is that you could create a new position that can reclassify it or whatever it is. In my limited life as an executive, not government….I have never been in government and looking at this I have no desire, but in the executive world, which I hope is not that far away from government otherwise we would have a hell of a government, is that a person can leave for broadly three reasons: 1. Cause, which is like embezzlement, sexual harassment, murder and kidnapping. 2. Performance, which would be subject to job description, performance reviews, warnings etc. or 3. Redundancy/reorganization issues.”
“You left out a forth reason,” suggested Trustee Guazzoni.
“No reason?” inquired Mrs. Hempel.
“At will, yes,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.
“The entire New York State is at will,” suggested Mrs. Hempel. “We minimized the risk to the Village,” stated Trustee Guazzoni. “We have done everybody a favor. You will see in the future.”
“I would submit,” added Paul Gluck “that there are a number of people who believe that the risk to the Village is significantly greater today than it was three weeks ago.”
There was a chorus of agreement from the public.
“As a lawyer I think you should get the file, look at the file and don’t opine before you open up the file,” responded Trustee Guazozni.
“As a lawyer, I think the administration should hand that file over to a select committee of the community and let them take a look at it.”
_________O’Sullivan wondered whether the dismissal of Mr. Ledwith had been a unanimous decision of the Board.
“It was a unanimous decision of the people who were here voting,” replied Trustee Guazzoni.
“Answer the question!” called out various members of the public.
“There are five trustees…” stated Mr. O’Sullivan.
“Of the five, one had to go home early and the other left in the middle of the discussion. It was a unanimous decision of the three people who were here.”
“Given the seriousness of the issue at hand,” suggested Mr. O’Sullivan, “would you not say that all five should have remained for the vote?”
“No,” replied Trustee Guazzoni. “One went home and the other left.”
This elicited several cries from the audience suggesting that the issue should have been tabled without the benefit of a full Board to vote on it.
“You tabled many things that were of far less significance than this tonight,” suggested Rob McQuilken. “This is a very big issue.”
“I would just like to make a comment very quickly,” stated Mayor Guinchard. “We hear you. We have more information than you have. I am not going to discuss an employee because I think that is not appropriate. We cannot discuss, as I am sure many of you are in corporations and have your own businesses, we would never discuss an employee matter in a public manner that goes on the internet. It is just not appropriate at all. I don’t know of any company…”
“Actually,” responded Mr. McQuilken “it has ended up that there is a great deal of speculation and gossip that is all over the internet in the absence of any clarity from you.”
“That is unfortunate,” replied the Mayor. “I did not put anything out at all. You didn’t see a thing from me on the internet.”
“Well it was somebody who claims to be privy to a lot of sensitive information that is now, in a half-assed way, circulating in the public. That’s not acceptable,” responded Mr. McQuilken.
“Well, that isn’t acceptable,” agreed Mayor Guinchard. “I can’t stop you from writing something. As citizens you can write anything you would like to write. I can’t stop you. All I know is, I did not put anything out. I would never put something out on an employee. That’s just wrong.”
__________ O’Sullivan commented that she and her husband were new Village residents and that they had filled out a form so that they could receive information form the Village and in so doing, they provided their email address. “Two days ago,” she stated “I received the most hateful e-mail about this situation before I knew anything from somebody I’ve never heard of….somebody who is not here and not on the Board and I am wondering….how did she get my e-mail address?”
“How did she get your e-mail address?” echoed the Mayor. “I have no idea.”
Sheila Tralins then commented “I appreciate all of your dissatisfaction with this, but I am an employment lawyer for a living and frankly, it is not respectful to the employee to discuss them in public positively or negatively in this situation.
Although I appreciate you all have good thoughts for him and some don’t. Second of all, you have to protect the Village and we don’t have the facts at this point. As much as I appreciate John’s longevity, he was helpful to me, I don’t have all the facts to be able to draw a conclusion on results taken by the Board and perhaps there’s threatened litigation and in that case we just have to protect the Village. As much as it is unpalatable to many of you, and I can appreciate that, legally their hands are tied.”
“The employment issue is completely separate from structural issues,” suggested Ms. Hanson.
“I don’t know how she got your e-mail address,” asserted the Mayor to Mrs. O’Sullivan. “You have not even allowed it to go to the Village yet. I can tell you that realtors have your email address, whoever you did transactions with, closings….I have no idea.”
“I respect that the Board is not in a position to discuss a personnel matter,” stated Mr. O’Sullivan, “but I do have the very strong concern that I live in a Village where I see a Board of Trustees acting in a capricious or malicious manner towards any employee or, for that matter, towards any person. It seems to me, on the surface at least anyway, that’s been capricious. Whether it has been malicious or not I do not know, but it is certainly capricious.
“It’s very very important capricious and arbitrary prosecution of people within this Village,” stated Trustee Guazozni. “We are very cognizant of that and it is something that we have been looking at for the past two years. Trustee John Moon is a corporate Lawyer. He did not come to this meeting because he could not be here. Those words that you said are very key in the discussion. We can’t share anything right now. Have some patience. Maybe 2 or 3 weeks from now we will be able to share more. Just have some patience. That is all we are asking.”
“Mary Jo said you were going to address the structural issue,” commented Ms. Hanson. She went on to state that she had reviewed minutes from the month of January whereby the Board had been looking to create the position of part time Building Inspector and that it seemed clear that they felt it important to make certain structural changes and that these have impacted Mr. Ledwith in terms of his job. “We don’t have to talk about what John did or didn’t do,” she stated “whether it was satisfactory or not. But we can talk about what the law allows in terms of combining various rolls.”
The Mayor responded that since “way before January” the Village had been looking at different ways to make the situation work.
Ms. Hanson suggested that this brought them right back to the base issue of wanting to know where the specific statue existed that prevented these rolls from being combined.
“It’s not only statute, it’s case law,” replied Mayor Guinchard.
“You know Greg Stevens?” inquired Trustee Guazzoni. “Give him a call tonight. He will give you a huge opinion on this. He know exactly where these things are.”
“He’s a lawyer?” inquired an audience member.
“No, he’s the Tax Assessor,” replied Trustee Guazzoni.
“No he’s not” chorused several members of the audience.
The conversation regarding the statue defining the combination of these position continued for several minutes, with Ms. Hanson presenting a copy of the Orange County rules and she and Mayor Guinchard disagreeing with interpretation there of. Ms. Hanson believes that it is possible to apply for and create a special position to account for this.
Allan Burnett suggested that the Village request an opinion letter on this issue.
“Allan has a good point!” responded Mayor Guinchard. “We’ll have Brian do an opinion letter. We’ll have him put the case laws in and all that because I think that what he should do is for all the positions…so that everyone knows.:
“I too am an attorney and I have written opinion letters,” stated Mr. Barnett.
Again, the Mayor referenced having had several phone calls with Civil Service on this matter.
“It’s very disturbing that you have moved on something when it hasn’t been nailed down…that there is a statute that says that the positions as they were were not legally.”
“They’re not,” asserted the Mayor.
“They told us,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
“Verbally?” inquired Ms. Hanson, further wondering if there was anything in writing.
The answer was no.
“What we are asking is that, beyond talking to Greg Stevens, is there some need to separate the roll of Building Inspector from that of Assessor and we would like to get some legal justification for that.”
“We were asked to do this,” stated Trustee Guazzoni. “We were asked to structure it a certain way.”
Again, Mr. Barnett pushed for the legal opinion letter.
“I am concerned that Brian will write it the way the current Board tells him to,” stated Ms. Hanson.
“Actually, if you have the opinion letter, than another lawyer can look at it and evaluate the facts,” replied Mr. Barnett. “and I would also like to have a situation ‘how do you cure a defect’ because I cannot believe that under New York Civil Service Law that there’s not some way to cure a defect that has being going on for a number of years and has been in the record and everybody knows it…and that the only solution is to terminate. I think you will find in New York State Civil Service, having been a CFO in an insurance company, that the law protects the employees and there are methods to cure defects.”
“You are summarizing incorrectly,” suggested Trustee Guazzoni. “He wasn’t let go because of this deficiency. This deficiency occurred…. Assume you are running a hospital…and it happens….how many times do you see that a Doctor has been operating for five or six years before they find out that…”
“Claudio, I’m sorry, you are slandering John,” interrupted Ms. Hanson “You are comparing him to a malpractice mistake.”
“Well….yes I am,” admitted Trustee Guazzoni.
Ms Hanson then asked for the name and number of the individual the Mayor had spoken with at Civil Service and this information was provided to her.
“Can I say something?” asked Ms. Matthews. Permission was granted.
“John is on the civil service list as Deputy Village Clerk,” she stated.
“but not for the other jobs,” added Trustee Guazzoni.
“But he has been submitting documents. I have seen them in the Orange County Record under both titles,” asserted Ms. Hanson.
“I know. He didn’t get caught. McFadden set it up incorrectly. I don’t know what else to say,” responded Trustee Guazozni.
“I appreciate that Civil Service wants you to define the positions,” commented Ms. Hanson “but that doesn’t say that they cannot be combined and occupied by that person.”
“They have to know who occupies them,” suggested Mayor Guinchard.
“Trust us, we acted in the best interest of the Village,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
“The structure of the jobs and whatever aside,” stated Mrs. Hempel, “I want to pick up one point that Barbara duPont just said. At the Trustees meeting where you decided to let John go, two of the Trustees left. This is a very serious Human Resource position of an employee who has worked in the Village for 23 years and whom a lot of us have had positive working experience with…very closely and not as property owners but as Planning Board Chair, ex-BAR Chair, current Planning Board members, a former Mayor, Gary Glynn and the entire BZA. Given the seriousness of the matter, why didn’t you guys table it so that the other Trustees could abstain or vote no, or bring about further discussion, instead of voting 3-0.”
“One walked out and the other had to go home,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.
‘They left right at the vote,” added the Mayor.
“This is not funny. We acted in the best interest of the Village. It is us who are in a position of privilege in the Village who view John Ledwith in a certain way. Others who are weak….others who have no voice…there are 100 other people who view John Ledwith 180 degrees to what you said. It is us who have to check our privilege. We have to check our privilege.”
“Are you calling Village residents weak?” inquired Meg Vaught.
“Some of them are,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.
“I think there are some of the Trustees who are pretty weak too,” suggested Mary Graetzer.
“Exactly,” agreed a fellow member of the Public.
With this remark, the meeting dispersed.
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Village Board of Trustees to Rescind Recently Adopted Budget in Favor of Revised Version on April 28
A special Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Friday, April 28, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of rescinding the 4/19/17 vote on the Village tentative budget and re-voting on a revised budget. The revised budget can be found on the Village website: http://tuxedopark-ny.gov/
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 19,2017
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, April 19 at 7pm.
All members were present.
Moment of Silence – Mayor Guinchard called for a moment of silence in memory of long-time Village resident Valerie Napolitano who passed away last month, as well as Officer Dustin James of the Village of Walden Police Department, who passed away on April 18 in an accident at the age of 31. Officer James was a former partner to Detective Taback and was also involved with many of the other officers on the Village force. Additionally, she asked that “for those who have suffered from various acts of violence around that we have all been hearing about on the news over the last week or so” also be remembered.
Resolution – Planning Board/BZA Training Hours – Both the Village Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals are looking to reduce their mandated training hours from 4 to 1. Planning Board Chair Joanne Hansen explained that the reason for the requested reduction is that currently, much of the training these Boards receive pertains to commercial zoning, which is irrelevant in the Village.
Trustee McHugh inquired as to whether the training was State mandated and who provided it. He wondered if there would be a “spoke” course option available to the Board members should they decide to move forward with the reduction.
Mrs. Hansen explained that the training was mandated, but that municipalities had the power to reduce the requirement. She further commented that she was in constant receipt of various training offerings and felt that it would not be difficult to find appropriate one/ones to pursue. There are a range of different options, but they come primarily from the State. In the past, they have completed trainings specific to SEQRA and environmental review. They been able to successfully tailor it from year to year depending on what the Boards are working on.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered if there were online courses available.
The answer was yes.
Trustee McHugh wanted to know whether or not all Village Board members were currently in compliance with the mandates and who was in charge of monitoring this.
Mrs. Hansen responded that she could only speak for the Planning Board and that they were in compliance. She added that historically they have used a combination of methods (books, online courses etc) to fulfill the requirement.
Trustee McHugh then wondered whether or not it might be beneficial for all new Board members to complete the 4 hours of training during their initial term, while veteran members would be permitted to do the 1 hour as maintenance.
Mrs. Hansen replied that it would depend on the background individual Board member as to whether or not something like this would be beneficial. While the 4 hours would probably be appropriate for somebody who did not have any background, many of the new Board members already have a wealth of experience and would not, in her opinion, require the lengthier training.
Mayor Guinchard suggested that this decision could be left up to the Board Chairs and handled on a case-by-case basis.
Trustee McFadden commented that it seemed to him as though requiring more than an hour, even for a new member, would basically be a waste of time as most of the other courses are not relative to the Village, which is restricted to residential zoning.
Trustee Moon thanked Mrs. Hansen and her colleagues for their community volunteerism, further commenting that if the Trustees could assist them by unburdening them from irrelevant training, he was happy to support it.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the resolution.
Resolution – Appoint Election Inspectors-
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing the following election inspectors for the June 20, 2017 Village Election at the rate of $200 per day:
Jay O’Nell & Kurt Hog – Voting Machine Operators
Donna Dumont & Brooke Ing - Table Inspectors
Alternate – Desiree Hickey
Resolution – Raise Garage Rentals from $100 to $115 per month (8 units)-
Commenting that the garage rental rates have not been raised in approximately 4-5 years (currently $100 per month) Mayor Guinchard proposed that the Board vote to raise them by $15 monthly.
Trustee McHugh wondered why they were only increasing the rate by 15%. He wanted to know who had determined this amount.
Mayor Guinchard responded that she and the Village Clerk had made the determination.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether all of the garages were occupied and if so, why they were not increasing the rent to $200 per month.
The Mayor responded that she felt that would be too heavy of an increase.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to the total number of units.
The Mayor informed him that there 8 in total and that there is a waiting list for them.
Trustee McFadden then wanted to know what the new revenue would be on an annual basis.
Mayor Guincahrd noted that new revenue would total $1,440.
Given that there is a waiting list, Trustee McHugh suggested an increase to $150 per month.
“Make Sally Sonne Happy,” he quipped. “She thinks they’re cheap.”
Trustee McFadden commented that this reminded him of the boat tax that boat owners have been forced to pay, many of them on top of lake-front taxes, and therefore, he would be voting against it. He believes the increase would be “nickel and diming’ the people who are renting the garages. He is also opposed to a significant increase.
The Board then voted 3-2 in favor of the increase, with Trustees McHugh and McFadden voting against.
Announce – Bulk Pick Up Date – Saturday, May 20-
Bulk Pick Up Day in the Village will be Saturday, May 20. Items must be curbside by 7am. Trustee Guazzoni reminded everyone that items such as batteries, paint, yard waste and car parts were excluded from the pick up.
Resolution – Arbor Day Proclamation Renewal-
The Board voted unanimously in favor of renewing the Arbor Day Proclamation for 2017 and authorizing the Mayor to sign said document.
Mike Santoianni of Clubhouse Road commented that last year in the newsletter it had been stated that Club House Road would be resurfaced and re-engineered because of the drainage issues, which is why they held off on repaving in the fall. He pointed out that there had been quite a few roads that were re-engineered with gravel, bedding, drainage and various improvements throughout the Park. He is not sure why the Clubhouse Road improvements need to go to a bond referendum, because the residents who live there have been paying taxes all along and it has always been part of the plan to resurface the road. He further stated he was not sure that people realized how much damage heavy rains cause in that area because layering and layering and layering macadam has changed both the pitch and height of the road. The old clay tile is only half there. There is no drainage pipe. There are a few catch basins, but the road is getting inundated from as far up as Circuit Road through crushed pipes that come down. It is a big issue that has to be looked at and although the DPW has been on top of it for years now, it remains an infrastructure issue. As he understands it, there is currently a discrepancy amongst the Board as to whether or not this work should or should not be added to the bond issue, but he would like to know whether or not the project is going to move forward will full engineering to properly re-grade so it is not constantly high and going into the downhill side of Clubhouse Road. There are at least 4 or 5 residents living there who have to put out sand bags whenever there is a big storm. Residents on Clubhouse Road Ext and the upper section of Continental Road are also victims of erosion, and there are potholes like craters there!
Trustee McFadden stated that the bond specific to these repairs had passed the month prior.
Mayor Guinchard added that Village Engineer Pat Hines would be calling into the meeting at 8:10pm to go over in detail what would be happening with the roads. The roadway is going to be completely rebuilt. She reiterated that the portion of the bond relevant to this work had passed 4-1 at the last meeting, however in order to move forward, they need the entire bond to pass and be encompassed together due to the high cost of issuing bonds. That being said, she acknowledged that it was extremely important to them that this work get done.
Mr. Santoianni asked for clarification, wondering if this meant that the work would be happening or if something else had to occur amongst the Board before the work could be authorized.
The Mayor responded that this discussion would take place later in the meeting. She cautioned that if the other sections of the bond did not pass, it would be extremely expensive to do this work on its own, however she alone cannot make that decision. It would have to be a discussion amongst the entire Board.
Mr. Santoianni responded that he would like to point out for the Board’s consideration during this discussion that he had added up all of the assessed value and full market value, based on the tax documents, and Clubhouse Road alone, if one adds up the property contribution, is between 10-12 million dollars. For a short distance, there is a large contribution that has been repeatedly deferred on this road. The residents there understand why this has occurred and that more than repaving, the road needs to be rebuilt, but other roads of similar length, such as Laurel Road, have been completely re-engineered within the last year and the residents paid for it.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss clarified that Laurel Road had not been re-engineered. It was re-graded.
Mr. Santoianni apologized for his error, but pointed out that the road had been graded with drainage installed along the sides and new pavement. These three components were done to a roadway with only 4 homes on it. This work was necessary no doubt. Noting that he might be ignorant to what full re-engineering might entail, he commented that if Clubhouse Road were to receive new drains, re-grading and repaving, its residents would be happy.
Mayor Guinchard noted that all of this and more needed to be done on Clubhouse. She assured Mr. Santoianni that the project is being given the attention that it needs. The problems there go much deeper than simply re-surfacing.
Trustee Guazzoni noted that the bonds would need a super-majority vote (4 or more in favor) in order to pass.
Mr. Santoianni responded that he hoped there was a “Plan B” in place as the water was still coming down the road regardless.
Trustee McHugh inquired of Superintendant Voss as to which Village roads, if any, had been re-built during the past fiscal year.
The answer was none.
Trustee McFadden commented that it was his understanding that the bond they had approved the previous month had already started its process. He asked Village Clerk Debbie Matthews if she could explain this process to the audience.
Mrs. Matthews responded that the Notice of Adoption had been published in the paper. It must be posted for 30 days and after this, a second notice called an Estoppel Notice is posted for 20 days. After that, if the Board approves moving forward, the Financial Advisor puts it out for bid. She further cautioned that doing a small portion of the bond only, such as what was approved the month prior, did not pay as there was no market for bonds of this small size.
Chief Melchiore briefly introduced Officer Ryan Smith, who is new to the Village.
He then reported the following for the month of March
Non-Criminal Complaints – 264
Property Damage Accident – 1
Traffic Tickets Issued – 6
Traffic Warnings – 1
Fire Alarms – 3
Burglar Alarms – 7
Medical Calls -2
Assists Given to other Police Departments – 1 (Department was not named)
Vehicle Tags Issued – 1,042
Mayor Guinchard stated that the Chief had been using his own vehicle to transport himself to the many meetings that he attends (911 Center, Sheriff’s Dept, DA etc) She asked that the Board approve reimbursement at a rate of .54 per mile with a cap of $100 per month.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this.
The Chief is in receipt of several different brochures from the DA with regard to various methods of security. Some of these include violence, seniors, and home camera enhancements. There are many safety/security services available. She advised anyone with questions about any of these things to contact the Chief.
Trustee McFadden asked if the information could be posted to the Village website.
The answer was yes, a link can be provided.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the big snow storm at the end of March had kept the department very busy. After widening the roadways, they had some repairs to do to some of the equipment and when those were completed they began the task of cleaning up the damage that is caused annually by plowing. Additionally, they finished the last of the necessary tree-removal for the WeeWah Dam projects. They also did some work down at the South Gate House, painting the upstairs, which will eventually be used by the Village for storage and they built an evidence cabinet for the Police Department. They began the process of sweeping the roadways, but the sweeper broke down. The Superintendent has since repaired this equipment and work will resume shortly. There is more work to be done at the dam with capping a water main and installing a new sewer main. This work will begin very soon.
Mayor Guinchard thanked Superintendent Voss and his department for all of their hard work, noting that they had completed most of the tree mitigation for the Dam project, saving the Village a ton of money and they complied with all the residents’ wishes in the process, which has resulted in zero complaints!
Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to how the Village had faired with road salt over the course of the winter.
Superintendent Voss responded that they were slightly over budget. He guestimated $1-2,000.
The Mayor then reported that she and the Superintendent had “been given a new way of treating roads possibly with another municipality outside within New York and New Jersey.” They will be reporting back within the next month or so with regard to these findings as they analyze specifically what it would entail.
Building & Grounds Report:
Building Inspector John Ledwith was not present and therefore, no report was given.
To view a copy of the report for the month of April, click here
Mayor Guinchard noted that the Village would possibly be obtaining a mini Verizon cell tower that should improve cell service within the Village and will generate some revenue as well. ($5,000 per year) The Tower will not be visible with an antenna of only 2 and ½ feet and they are considering installing it by the water towers. The contracts are currently under review by the Village Attorney.
Trustee Guazzoni reported that a beta version of the new Village website has been launched and can be found at www.tuxedopark.online. They are currently receiving comments while transferring all of the pertinent information over. Eventually, the plan is to redirect the old address to the new site. There will be 4 ways to access the site (the current .gov address being one of them) but the actual host address will be tuxedopark.online.
Trustee McFadden thanked Trustee Guazzoni for spending his personal time working on the development of the new site.
Mayor Guinchard then thanked Trustee McHugh for his work with the WeeWah Beach Club. He has been meeting with the Club to figure out the milfoil mitigation amongst other issues. The Village is hopeful that the Club will be able to operate this season, despite dam repairs, and will keep everyone updated as things move forward.
Trustee McFadden stated that his reports were the same as they had been in March. The Term Limits is in the same hands and they are waiting for everything to finish with Building & Grounds.
On another note, Trustee Guazzoni commented that there were a number of yellow Dead End signs on various roads around the Village and in view of “less signage is better than more signage” he wondered if they could find a way to remove these, unless they are absolutely necessary.
The Mayor suggested that Trustee Guazzoni meet with Chief Melchiore and discuss this further.
Presentation – Solitude Lakes Management:
Before turning things over to Glenn Sullivan of Solitude Lake Management, Trustee McHugh reported that leading up to this meeting, there had been a lot of dialogue back and forth with Solitude and he had done his best to alert them to the issues in an attempt to frame the discussions. In general, Trustee McHugh would like to formalize the process, whereby Mr. Sullivan will be coming either once a month or every other month to provide the Board with trend analysis. Between 2003 and 2016 the Village has spent $335,000 on the lakes. This includes Copper Sulfate treatments, milfoil pulls, Princeton Hydro, CSLAPS, various permitting, stocking of fish and Watershed Assessment Associates. This year alone the Village has spent $60,000 and they anticipate spending an additional $25,000, which will encompass milfoil pulling, installation of the barrier on the south end of Tuxedo Lake and Solitude Lake Management fees. In terms of what will be happening this year and in the next fiscal year, Trustee McHugh reported that they would be continuing with CSLAP, however the program will be led by DPW employees who are residents of the Village. Volunteers can and are encouraged to be involved, but the program will be the responsibility of the DPW. A milfoil pull will be taking place and the barrier on Tuxedo Lake will also be re-installed. The DPW will continue to regularly clean the screen between Tuxedo Lake and the Tuxedo Lake Dam in an effort to minimize the spreading of milfoil into Pond #3. The Village has also begun a dialogue with lake shore residents regarding the installation of berms on their properties to address erosion issues as well as geese. There has been some traction on a low key basis, which is a positive thing. Finally, they have hired a certified Lakes Manager. (Mr. Sullivan) With regard to WeeWah specific issues as they pertain to the lakes now that they have been lowered/drained and the best way to eradicate and/or manage the milfoil issue, Trustee McHugh has given Mr. Sullivan all of these questions and asked him to speak to these issues in particular. Without further ado, Trustee McHugh then introduced Glenn Sullivan of Solitude Lake management.
Mr. Sullivan began by providing a little background on himself. A 20-year certified Lake Manager, Mr. Mr. Sullivan was the owner of Allied Biological until 2015, at which point, that company merged with three others to form Solitude Lake Management. The last time Allied spent a considerable amount of time in the village was back in 2012 when they conducted some plant surveys and bathymetric mapping in an effort to document the lakes and their plant composition. Since that time, their involvement has been reduced and they have become more of a consultant to the Village, working on algae analysis prior to and after Copper Sulfate treatments as well as the occasional treatment itself. For most of the lakes that they manage, it is fairly normal that they are there 2-3 weeks over the course of the season. In communities where there are multiple lakes, they are generally there on a weekly basis. From their prospective, the Village is a very “hands-off” community with respect to its lakes and they believe a more “hands-on” approach should be adopted. They would like to see better direction and more continuity. Some of these measures were mentioned earlier by Trustee McHugh, specifically CSLAPS, which they would like to see run in a more consistent and manageable way. CSLAPS is a huge asset to the Village as it would cost a considerable amount of money for a private company to complete this kind of work.
Milfoil seems to be the largest lakes-related issue that the Village currently faces. Over the past several years, a large sum of money has been spent on management practices and this is likely to continue, as they suspect the level of milfoil has not decreased. One of the things Solitude strongly recommends is re-mapping the aquatic plants in order to provide an accurate idea of what is actually there. This will also allow them some prospective in that they will be able to compare what is there now to what was there in 2012 and therefore determine whether or not the management practices that have been employed have been effective. Without this kind of hard data, they cannot make solid recommendations. Tuxedo Lake is a deep lake with a very small littoral zone. (The littoral zone is the area in which plants can grow) Even though it encompasses a relatively small portion of the lake, it still requires management. Anytime Solitude sees invasive plants come into a lake system, they want to attack it aggressively because otherwise, they could be looking at decades of maintenance. The Village is still on the upside of the milfoil expansion, but in order to eradicate it, he cautioned that they might want to think about being more aggressive.
Mayor Guinchard inquired as to exactly what he meant when he suggested a more aggressive approach.
Mr. Sullivan responded that his impression was that the extent of the milfoil in Tuxedo Lake probably exceeds current management efforts. Hard harvesting is fantastic when there is only a 1/10 of an acre infested. It is expensive, but it works. Once the smaller scale of this particular type of management has been exceeded, it is no longer cost effective and the problem persists. This is why they feel it is crucial that the Village move forward with mapping. If the mapping shows that they are ahead of the problem, that would be great, but he suspects that this is not what it will say.
Mayor Guinchard then wanted to know what the next step would be should it turn out that the hand pulling was not aggressive enough to control the issue.
Mr. Sullivan responded that milfoil is spread by fragmentation. Any kind of physical or mechanical management practice runs the risk of spreading the problem. As careful as they might be, if they are cutting with a harvester and collecting it, there is still going to be fragmentation. “I know nobody wants to hear it but, milfoil is typically managed with herbicides because that is the best method for that particular plant.”
Trustee McHugh wondered if this could be done on a reservoir.
The answer was yes.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to whether or not this was approved by the DEC.
The answer was yes.
“I don’t think anybody has ever recommended that to us before,” commented Trustee McFadden. “It’s a shame.”
“It’s something that if you really want to get after your milfoil….it’s probably what you should be thinking about,” replied Mr. Sullivan.
Trustee McFadden wondered whether use of the herbicide would be less expensive than divers/hand harvesting.
The answer was over time, yes, but initially, maybe not. The cost would depend on the scale of the treatment. That being said, it would probably be less expensive than the hand harvesting.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered if Mr. Sullivan could harbor a guess as to how many milfoil plants were currently growing in Tuxedo Lake.
His response was “a couple million.”
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that if there were currently a couple million plants in existence, clearly hand harvesting was not working.
Moving on to the issue of copper sulfate, Trustee McHugh asked Mr. Sullivan if he could speak to this, noting that the previous year the lake had turned turquoise for a couple of weeks and that this had been a big cause of concern throughout the community.
Mr. Sullivan explained that there were certain times of the year and certain water qualities that cause copper sulfate to change the appearance of the lake in that way. The chemical still works and in fact, in that very application the cell count on algae went from 1500 down to less than 100. The application worked, but there was an evident change in appearance. There are other products that can be used. Copper sulfate is used because it is the cheapest, it is widely available and because the New York DEC has an exemption in their laws that makes it usable without a permit in a public water supply. There are better, copper based algaecides, which are liquid and better for the marine life. He feels it would be relatively easy to acquire a permit for one of these and he cautioned that the Village might even have to do this because new DEC regulations require that with a copper sulfate treatment people downstream must be notified. Additionally, there is another New York State law that states that nothing can be done in the lake for 24 hours (fishing, swimming, drinking) following a copper sulfate treatment. These regulations make it harder to use copper sulfate at the moment. The other products however, while easier to use, cost more money. There is a third, peroxide based product available which is effective on some types of algae, but costs considerably more and does not work as well, although it does provide an alternative to copper.
Trustee Moon inquired about the CSLAPS data, noting that he had taken a look at it on the website and was impressed by both the volume and granularity. Although he does not understand most of it, he noted that some of the data points seemed to be anomalous. He wondered whether or not Solitude had come up with any preliminary conclusions about trends to the lake with respect to voluminous data that had been presented.
The answer was not yet.
Jim Hays wondered whether the chemical treatments would actually kill the milfoil or just knock it back.
Mr. Sullivan responded that it would kill the milfoil, but whether or not it killed the root crown was different. In most cases, the plants are killed for one season, but when they come up again the following year, they need to be zapped again. There are potentially years of root crowns sitting in the sediment. The process is to let them come up and then kill them until they have exhausted the supply.
Mr. Hays wondered how long this would take.
The answer was usually 3-5 years, but the scale changes considerably over that time, with notable reductions from year-to-year. In order to work however, the approach must be aggressive, with the plants being attacked as they come up and before they can create new root crowns.
Mr. Hays then noted that the Village was an a particularly important moment with the WeeWah as the water levels had been lowered substantially and much of the bottom, which was once covered with milfoil, is now exposed to the air. He walked the bottom just this past weekend and it appeared as though most of the milfoil had completely disintegrated in the areas that have been exposed. He wondered whether or not the milfoil would die off completely under these circumstances.
Mr. Sullivan replied that if the Village were to refill the lake and keep it filled, the milfoil would certainly come back in those areas from the root crowns, which are still in the sediment.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether root crowns exposed to freezing temperatures were killed.
The answer was that under the right circumstances, a deep freeze can and does kill some of the root crowns.
Mr. Hays wondered whether treating the root crowns with herbicide while the water was drawn down might be an effective method of eradicating it.
Mr. Sullivan informed him that the DEC would not allow a dry application on a water course like that.
Trustee McFadden wondered whether or not Mr. Sullivan felt they should add something into the budget based on his initial assessments.
Mr. Sullivan responded that much of his assessment had been based on antidotal information and before he would suggest something like that, he would need more information. He recommended that the Board think about what direction they wanted to take based on what he had told them.
Dena Steele commented that algae is really a result of excess nutrients and the Village has repeatedly been told that storm water run-off was the main source of nutrients in the Lakes. There are phosphate fertilizer restrictions in place, but there continues to be an abundance of nutrients entering the lake from a variety of sources. She wondered if this was something the Solitude would look at because the Village could keep doing copper sulfate treatments, but as long as they keep allowing the influx of nutrients in the lake, the problem would not be addressed.
Mr. Sullivan responded that the fact that Ms. Steele knew these things already indicated that she knew what the best practices were that the Village should be taking. There are certain things that have already been presented within the CSLAPS reports and further studies are not necessary in order to determine what needs to be done. Reducing the amount of road salt as much as possible is one such suggestion. Use of phosphate-free fertilizers and the elimination of geese are also recommended. It is important to keep in mind however that there are also nutrients on the bottom of the lake and these could be the nutrients that are causing the algae problem. Long term, if the problem persists, they may need to consider taking a look at the bottom of the lake. He does not believe the Village is at that point though.
Sally Sonne inquired as to the name of the milfoil herbicide that was being recommended.
Mr. Sullivan responded that there were several, some of which include Sonar, Aquathal K and Komeen. There are a dozen or more. It is a matter of finding the one that best fits the situation.
Mike Santoianni asked Mr. Sullivan if he had any experience working with the matting process for eliminating milfoil.
The answer was yes. The mats provide limitation by area and effective in controlling any plants that are underneath it. The longer the mats are in place, the more effective they will be. If a rotation is done on a 6 week basis, within that time frame the plants that were originally killed off will begin to re-grow after the mat has been moved. It is an effective small scale solution.
Mayor Guinchard commented that in another project the Village was working on with above ground invasive plants, there was a machine that fractured the plants and prevented some of them from coming back. She wondered if there was something like this that could be employed under water.
The answer was yes, but because milfoil spreads through fragmentation, this would not be an effective method of removal. Mr. Sullivan further cautioned that regardless of what action was taken, every spring the milfoil plants would fragment and spread on their own.
MHE – Pat Hines – Infrastructure Report:
The Mayor introduced Village Engineer Pat Hines, who participated in the meeting via conference call.
She further reported that there are two components to the bonding project that the Village has been working on. One of these is the rebuilding of Continental and Clubhouse roads. This is a full engineering project and MHE has already been onsite for a couple of months doing preliminary work.
The second component pertains to the Village water tanks, of which there are 3. Two of these are fiber glass and one is concrete. All three are in need of repair and restoration, which will be costly. The roads will fall under a 15-year bond while the water tanks fall under a 30-year bond. Mr. Hines has completed an analysis, complete with cost guestimates for these projects. Hard copies will be circulated to the Board as soon as possible, but in the meantime, Mayor Guinchard asked him to provide a verbal overview.
Commencing with the Clubhouse Rd. project, Mr. Hines reported that the conditions had been evaluated and that the recommendations were for roadway reconstruction. Because of the pitch of the roadway, combined with the numerous driveways there, extra attention will be needed in order to avoid impacting the driveways while making sure that water is directed properly within the limited space that exists. In total, roadway reconstruction combined with the installation of new/upgraded drainage system and a 10% contingency/design fee is expected to cost the Village $175,594.
Moving on to Continental Road, Mr. Hines explained that there was a water main replacement component to this part of the project in addition to the reconstruction of the roadway. This will require a separate bid. The water main replacement, added to the 10% design/contingency fees is expected to cost $195,923. The road reconstruction will cost $195,205.
Mayor Guinchard added that these monies would come from the water fund.
Trustee McHugh asked Mr. Hines to clarify which section of Continental Road would be reconstructed.
The answer was the portion running from Clubhouse Road to Lorillard Road.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to whether these estimates would be put out for formal bidding.
The answer was that portions of them would be.
Trustee McFadden then asked Mr. Hines, based on his expertise, whether be believed that the bond in its current amount would cover the entire project or if there would be left over expenditures.
The answer was that the project will exceed the bond amounts.
Trustee McHugh wondered if there were a reason why the Clubhouse Road project was commencing at the intersection with Stable Road and not at the top of the hill.
The answer was that this is where the drainage issues originate from.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether or not the entire road would be repaved, including the upper portion.
The answer was yes. The DPW should be able to do this work.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether or not there would be a weight limit on the lower portion of the road after the work had been completed.
The answer was no.
The Mayor commented that many communities limited certain weights of trucks during the thawing season to allow for lesser impacts on the roadways. She asked Mr. Hines if he would recommend something like this for the roadways in question.
The answer was no.
The discussion then turned to the water tanks. Mr. Hines reported that he had been provided with a Field review that had been completed by Statewide Aquastore regarding the fiberglass tanks and they are recommending interior reconditioning of the tanks as well as exterior reconditioning, to including various protective natures and safety hardware. The total estimated cost of this project, which will need to include prevailing wage, as well as engineering costs $130,124.
The third water tank, which is located on Potucket Road, may need to be replaced entirely. The situation here has not yet been fully assessed however. It will need to be drained and analyzed.
Once the tanks have been relined and/or replaced, Trustee Guazzoni wondered how long they would be good for.
The answer was 15-20 years.
Trustee McFadden asked for clarification that the third tank might need to be replaced entirely.
Both Trustee Guazzoni and the Mayor assured him this was the cheaper option.
Mr. Hines reiterated that the situation had not yet been assessed.
Trustee McHugh inquired as to the order of magnitude cost.
The answer was $200,000.
In an attempt to further clarify what was being discussed, Trustee McHugh asked Mr. Hines whether he was correct in asserting that what was being presented tonight was estimates based on the review of another companies field study. He further asked for confirmation that nothing had been done at the Potucket tank.
The answer was yes. Mr. Hines stated that engineering studies would have to be done moving forward.
There followed a brief conversation with regard to the water tank on Potucket Road as it will relate to the Overton Subdivision. Ultimately, it was determined that they do not have a proper water analysis for the subdivision yet, although it is believed that water pressure is more of an issue than volume in that area.
Mayor Guinchard commented that some of the money to pay for these projects would come from the water fund and the Village would have the ability to try for water infrastructure grants as well.
Award Dam Bid:
Engineer Mike Quinn reviewed the 4 bids received for the dam project with the Board and provided them with his recommendations.
In summation McNamee Construction had the lowest bid. CHA has checked their references and everything appears to be in order. They feel comfortable recommending them for the job.
Trustee McFadden asked Mr. Quinn if he had worked with them before.
Mr. Quinn responded that he had not. He further commented that he was encouraged by the fact that McNamee had experience with stonework and bridge restoration. This kind of work will be a big piece of the project.
Trustee McFadden wondered whether they had worked on any similar projects, specifically a dam of this scope and scale that the Village might be able to look at.
Mr. Quinn responded that they did not have a dam that the Village could look at however, they had done projects in the 8.4 million and 4.1 million dollar range.
Trustee McFadden wanted to know if they had ever worked on a dam before.
The answer was no. Mr. Quinn added that this did not concern him however. They are familiar with the concrete work and the earth work that will be necessary.
Trustee McFadden expressed his concern that because McNamee had never worked on a dam before, the Village might have to get more involved in terms of supervision, for which they would end up relying on CHA, which would in turn increase the fee.
Mr. Quinn responded that the way things are currently set up, they will have full time inspections and will be monitored on a daily basis in order to ensure that they remain on track. He does not foresee any issues with a lack of oversight.
Trustee McFadden then inquired as to whether or not any of the other contractors had constructed a dam of this size.
Mr. Quinn responded that Servidone and Legacy, the two highest bidders, did have experience.
Trustee McFadden replied that what “jumped out” at him was the fact that the two companies who had experience with this kind of work had significantly higher bids. These bids are 5 and 6 million dollars while the bids from the non-experienced companies are 3.9 and 3.6 million.
Mr. Quinn noted that the second lowest bidder had dam experience, but not with a dam of this size.
Trustee McFadden reiterated his concern that the companies with experience had much higher bids.
Trustee McHugh commented that McNamee had provided them with a list of projects they had worked on; 17 in total. Of these 1 was 8 million, 2 were 2 million and all the others were below 2 million with many of them hovering around the $200,000 mark. To him, this is a bit of a red flag which suggests that this project is a “big nut” that they are trying to go ahead with and they don’t necessarily have the experience. This is a concern.
Mr. Quinn responded that the bridge construction and bridge rehab projects on the list demonstrated that they had the skill set necessary to do the project. They also have experience with stonework. His impression in speaking with them and reviewing their credentials is that they have more full service, although they are admittedly small.
Trustee McFadden indicated that their small size was of concern to him. He suggested that once they opened the dam up, it was possible that they might discover a brand new scope of work that they would have to deal with. If something like this should happen, he wondered whether or not they would be able to throw the necessary manpower at the project, given their small size. Would another sub-contractor be necessary? He suggested that the larger companies would probably be able to handle a contingency such as this. He further wondered whether there were contingency numbers built into the bids and what percent they constituted. He asked Mr. Quinn if he felt there should be a number built in for change orders throughout the process.
Mr. Quinn responded that these things were indeed built in.
The contingency numbers and various aspects of the bids as they relate to specific aspects of the project were then discussed in some detail at length.
Trustee McFadden reiterated his concern about McNamee’s small size. He wondered what would happen if they were to fall behind schedule.
Mr. Quinn replied that while the timeline was definitely tight. The work itself did not require a lot of men. He believes that if they languish, it will be because of a changed condition.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that the job at hand was “not brain surgery.” He reminded the Board that these people would be rehabilitating the dam, not building a new dam. This work requires an average skill set. McNamee has bridge experience.
Mayor Guinchard wondered what the next steps of the process would be if they decided to move forward with McNamee.
Mr. Quinn responded that the next step would be to award the bid and move ahead with an agreement. Once the agreement was signed, they could establish a start date and begin to move forward.
Following some further discussion the Mayor made a motion to award McNamee the project at a total base bid of $3,651,931.
Trustee McFadden stated that he had quite a few issues with this. The Village has spent 15-20 years lining this project up and to hire a company that has never worked on a project of this nature and who comes in as the lowest bidder in all probability due tot his lack of experience, would be a big mistake. He suggested that they skip the two lowest bidders altogether and go with the lowest qualified bidder.
Again, Trustee Guazzoni pointed out that they were not rebuilding the dam, rather repointing and refurbishing it. He believes that the skill set required matches correctly with McNamee.
Trustee Moon commented that he appreciated the concerns expressed by his colleagues, however he believes Mr. Quinn had answered these concerns in a reasonable fashion.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether there might be some functionality to pull back on some aspects of the project if necessary, specifically the parapet wall, should they need to in order to ensure that the dam portion of the project was completed.
Mr. Quinn responded that they would be stressing the need to get out of the water by the end of 2017 so that the Village could resume functionality of the lake. The restructuring of the roadway and the construction of the wall can wait until 2018. He further stated that while he understands Trustee McFadden’s concerns, he believes that McNamee has the necessary skill set to complete the job.
Following some further back and forth between Mr. Quinn and Trustee McFadden, the Board voted 4-1 in favor of awarding McNamee the bid, with Trustee McFadden voting against.
The Board entered into a conference call with their bond council Kevin Roach, bond Advisor, John Shoffer, bond advisor and Maureen Coen, Chair of the Village Finance Committee. Finance Committee members Shelia Tralins and Claude Guinchard were also present.
The discussion was lengthy. The end result was that the Board voted unanimously in favor of issuing two bonds as follows:
- $3,635,000 – for the cost of the construction, reconstruction or addition to various river relating reservoirs located in the Village.
- $400,000 – for the cost of the construction, reconstruction, widening or resurfacing of various highways, roads, streets and parkways located in the Village.
To listen to this discussion, follow the links below.
Bond Discussion Part 1
Bond Discussion Part 2
Bond Discussion Part 3
Continuation of Public Hearing on 2017-2018 Tentative Budget:
Mayor Guinchard opened the discussion by explaining that the tax cap was now being calculated in a new way with the auditor through a program with the comptroller, which allows them to pull the information in the same way every year and should prevent any future errors from occurring. This year’s cap is $3,607,889. The budget has come in at $3,606, 859, which is $1,400 below the cap. The Village will only be using $65,940 out of surplus and the Mayor commented that she had tightened up the budget even more in an effort to avoid having to pull additional surplus funds. Trustee McHugh pointed out that although the budget indicates that the surplus will be drawn down, assuming everything else is constant, the Village will actually be replenishing the surplus to do a settlement over property and an insurance claim. The surplus will actually increase as of May 31 by $60-70,000, which will keep things flat and bring the total reserve to roughly $400,000. The Mayor concurred with this statement, further commenting that she hoped the replenishing of these funds might help the Village to get back their AA+ rating.
There was a short debate with regard to the monthly stipend paid to the Village Justice, with Trustee Guazzoni suggesting they reduce it from $400 to $1 and Trustees McHugh and McFadden arguing against this. Trustee McHugh commented that philosophically speaking, he was dead set against it. If the Justice should decide that he does not want to accept a salary, he is welcome to donate it to the Tree Advisory Board or make some such donation. Trustee Guazzoni argued that the Trustees worked for no salary and he believes that the justice should do the same.
Trustee McHugh argued that eliminating the salary would basically be precluding anyone from outside the community from becoming judge.
Village Clerk Debbie Matthews pointed out that the current judge is not a Village resident.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that Trustee McHugh was assuming that the justice was working for the $400 monthly stipend.
Trustee McHugh confirmed this.
Mayor Guinchard stated that they had lowered the salary just as they were forced to lower many things across the board. It was lowered by $480 annually.
Again, both Trustees McHugh and McFadden asserted that they disagreed with this decision. Trustee McHugh suggested that, as crass as it might sound, the Judge had the same return on investment as a judicial appointee, such as Grant Writer Fred Rella, does.
Trustee McFadden suggested there were other places to take this money from.
The Mayor disagreed and inquired as to where exactly Trustee McFadden suggested they take it from.
Trustee McHugh commented that they were $1,400 under the cap as it was.
Trustee Guazzoni disagreed with this statement.
The Mayor asked Mrs. Matthews to add the $480 back in and recalculate the cap.
Trustee McFadden suggested that what was being proposed was arbitrary.
“No, we are making everything equal,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.
“So you are giving him a decrease while our employees are getting raises. How does that make everything equal?” asked Trustee McHugh.
“He is an elected official,” responded Trustee Guazzoni.
Trustee Moon interjected and stated that the Police Chief had spoken with him earlier in the day and raised the issue of a $3,000 traffic counter.
“It’s in there,” responded the Mayor.
“No, it’s not in,” exclaimed Trustee McHugh. “What we agreed to was the updated technology to get your interface on your systems for $16,500. I did not want a traffic counter. I wanted a license plate reader, which effectively should do both of those functions. So we agreed to go with a license plate reader. We did not agree on a counter.”
“It’s back in, Alan,” stated Trustee Guazzoni. “We re-instated it today.”
“I’m sorry….you took $480 form a judge who gives you revenue and you threw in $3,000? Why do we need a counter.”
“We need a counter,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
Trustee McHugh asked the Chief to explain to him why the counter was needed vs. a license plate reader.
The Chief responded that most of the complaints that they received within the community pertained to either speed or traffic.
Mayor Guinchard interjected that earlier that day she had nearly been run off the road by a speeder. “They were going so fast and they did not even stop to see if I was ok. It was unbelievable. I almost flipped my car. I was very shaken up.”
The Chief continued on to say that more and more of the complaints that are coming through are traffic related and the department has no real way to determine how to measure these things. The traffic counter will allow them to determine the type of vehicle and the direction of travel, as well as the date and time of day. He believes it will help them to crack down on both speed and traffic accidents. It will also allow them to monitor specific situations in order to better determine where traffic issues exist. The counter can also be used to help control the coastal roadways around the lake with skidding, oil in the road, etc. The license plate reader on the other hand, is a stationary tool and is more limited in its capabilities.
Trustee McHugh argued that it would be able to tell them how many residents were coming into the Village each day.
“In one location only,” replied the Chief. “And there is no way to document or investigate speeds or traffic control. It will not be a novelty or a luxury item”
“He needs a traffic counter. You are not a Policeman, you don’t know.” Trustee Guazzoni commented.
“Well you’re not a judge,” retorted Trustee McFadden. “Just like we want attract part time police officers, we should raise the judges wages so that we can attract better judges. They are a revenue base for the Village.”
Trustee McHugh stated that he understood the Chief’s argument and while he did not agree with it, he was going to back down.
Again Trustee McFadden made a plea for raising the judge’s salary.
The Mayor then stated that the Board would need to step into an executive session to briefly discuss a contractual matter.
A 20-minute executive session followed.
When the meeting resumed, the Public Hearing was continued.
Stating that she was speaking on behalf of Mr. Gluck and Mr. Santoianni, who had left while the Board was in executive session, Meg Vaught inquired as to what the anticipated percentage of tax increase would be for the 2018/2019 budget as a result of the bond resolutions.
The answer was that the Board really had no way of determining this as there were too many factors at play.
“Somewhere between 0-100%” quipped Board Attorney Brian Nugent.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of adopting the 2017/2018 budget at $3, 855,310. The assessed evaluation will be $65,992. The percentage change in tax rate per thousand will be .917977. The percentage change in appropriations will be 3.2447%. For the record, the Mayor stated that without the bond, it would have been a $3,709,706, which would have been under what was adopted the previous year. The general fund appropriations is $3,935, 310.
Next, the Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the 2017/2018 water fund budget at the amount of $813,026 with the total water fund appropriations being equal to that at $813,026.
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Public Hearing for 2017/2018 Village Budget, April 12, 2017
Click here to listen to Part 1
Click here to listen to Part 2
Click here to listen to Part 3
Click here to listen to Part 4
Click here to listen to Part 5
Click here to listen to Part 6
Click here to listen to Part 7
Click here to listen to Part 8
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 19, 2017
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
a. Moment of Silence
b. Resolution – Planning Board/BZA Training Hours
c. Resolution – Appoint Election Inspectors
4. Public Comments
5. Police Report
6. DPW Report
7. Building & Grounds Report
a. Report on Booth
8. Committee Reports
9. Presentation – Solitude Lake Management
10. Public Comments
11. Award Dam Bid
12. Bond Resolutions
13. Continuation of Public Hearing on 2017-2018 Tentative Budget
14. Approval of Minutes
15. Audit of Claims
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Tentative Village Budget 2017/2018
Click here to view.
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Race Track Nature Preserve Presentation April 8/Public Hearing on the Budget April 12
Please be advised that the Tree Advisory Board is giving a presentation on the Race Track Nature Preserve to Village residents on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at the Village Hall. The Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of holding a public hearing on the Village 2017-2018 Tentative Budget and any other matters that may come before the Board. Additionally, the regular monthly Board of Trustees meeting will be held on the third Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. All meetings will be held in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Deborah A. Matthews
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Mayor’s April Newsletter
Click here to read.
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 15, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 15 at 7pm. All members were present.
Mayor Guinchard began by expressing her gratitude to both the Village Police Department and DPW for all of their hard work during the recent blizzard. She also thanked residents for staying indoors and keeping off the roadways. She then announced that neither DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss nor Building Inspector John Ledwith would be present at the meeting but their reports would be circulated.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of February:
Non-criminal Complaints – 235
Criminal Complaints – 5
Arrests – 4
Motor Vehicle Accidents – 1 (property damage only)
Uniform Traffic Tickets Issued – 7
Warnings – 8
Fire Alarms – 2
Intrusion Alarms – 9
Medical Calls – 5
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Assists Given to the Town of Ramapo Police – 1
Vehicle Tags issued – 1035 (781 – resident 454 – non-resident)
He then introduced Officer Matthew Jackson, who is new to force. Officer Jackson is in training and will be out and about with Detective Taback shortly.
Mayor Guinchard then asked the Chief to explain the Village’s thank you to the Red Cross, which has been posted to the Village website, and what it meant.
The Chief responded that the Red Cross had given the Village a cargo trailer full of emergency items for the emergency shelter including 150 cots, 150 blankets, a shelter kit, a cooking kit and a mental health kit. These resources will be shared with the Town of Tuxedo as well.
The Department is also working on revamping the “wellness reports” for seniors and residents in need of medical equipment. The lists will be updated and then the department will routinely contact these individuals to make sure that everybody is in good condition.
The Chief then echoed Mayor Guinchard’s appreciation to the community for keeping off the roadways during the recent storm, which allowed the DPW to do a solid job plowing and sanding. There were no motor vehicle accidents reported and no vehicles towed.
Resolution – Bid Award – Sludge Removal Services:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of awarding the contract to Residual
Management. This is a new company for the Village, but they were the lowest bidder and DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss is confident that they are a good choice.
Resolution – The Village Election will be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in the Village Hall from 7am to 9pm. Positions for Mayor (2 years), two Trustees (2 years each) and one Village Justice (4 years):
The Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution.
Dam Presentation by CHA:
Mayor Guinchard introduced Mike Quinn of CHA, who has been working with the Village on the dam project for almost 2 years. The project is finally “shovel ready” and the BID documents will be advertised starting March 16. A full set of plans and specs are available for review at the Village Office. The project will be funded via bonds, and the Finance Committee has been working diligently on this. Mr. Quinn’s presentation will be posted to the Village website within the next few days for review. The presentation addresses the necessity for doing the project, the DEC’s involvement, communication to the Village and its residents, traffic and road closures, the long-term viability of the project, annual inspections, necessary maintenance, the 10-year engineering assessment, the start date for the project, what it will look like, work to be done by the DPW and erosion control. There will be a CHA construction trailer at the DPW while the project is underway and this is where construction meetings will take place. Work will be performed on both the Wee Wah and Pond #3 dams and is expected to begin at the end of May 2017, concluding sometime in late 2017/early 2018.
A copy of Mr. Quinn’s detailed presentation can be viewed here.
Following the presentation, the Trustees were given the opportunity to ask questions.
Mayor Guinchard inquired as to who would be bidding on the project and whether they (CHA) had specific contractors that they were familiar with in mind for the work.
Mr. Quinn responded that CHA would be contacting several of the companies that they have worked with and found to be good contractors. He hopes that these will be the lowest bidders.
The Mayor responded that she was hopeful that CHA would be able to steer the Village away from poor contractors based on their many years of experience in the business.
Mr. Quinn replied that it was all but impossible to steer the bidding process but they feel that much of the detail that is in the contract drawings should scare off many of the local outfits as there will skill requirements that are unique to certain contractors. The dewatering piece alone is not a trivial matter and will command experienced workers.
Trustee Guazzoni commented that it seemed to him that the Village had three options as follows:
- Do nothing and the current dam deteriorates
- Tear down the dam and go back to “having a stream the way it was in 1850.”
- Rebuild the dam to spec and return the two lakes to their historical levels.
Should the Village decide to do nothing, he wondered whether the DEC would come in and breach the dam or if they would allow it to fester.
Mr. Quinn responded that the dam was on the DEC’S radar as there was a long history of starts and stops with this project. They are happy to see the progress that the Village is making and in their view, the dam has a compliant owner. Should the job be ignored and fail to move forward, the result would be an enforcement action whereby the State would begin going through the necessary legal channels in order to compel the Village to do what must be done. In this case, the two options would be that either the Village breaches the dam or State forces them to either breach it or bring it into compliance.
The Mayor pointed out that if the Village were to breach the dam, many properties would be damaged and/or destroyed as a result.
Trustee Guazzoni replied that he was fully aware of this, but he wanted to make sure that residents understood the options when looking at the costs associated with the project. As currently proposed, it is expected to cost 3.8 million. This breaks down to roughly $700 per family per year for 30 years in order to maintain a nice lake. Trustee Guazzoni feels that this is a very small amount to pay for this.
Mayor Guinchard commented that unfortunately, the previous Village engineer had not provided “the entire picture of everything” when putting together their plans. Not only was there a lot more involved than what was originally presented, but the previous plans did not call for full restoration of water levels in the lakes and this was not acceptable to the current Board. Environmentally speaking, she then asked Mr. Quinn to discuss any endangered species that might be adversely affected by the project, specifically listing rattlesnakes and bats.
Mr. Quinn replied that they had already taken down many of the trees and that this was done mainly in an effort to help the bat population, as they burrow under the bark during the warmer months. They will also be erecting a rattlesnake barrier fence.
Trustee Moon inquired about CHA’s communications with the DEC. Mr. Quinn indicated that threatened and endangered species was one topic they had communicated about, but he asked Mr. Quinn to explain the nature and extent of other topics that had been discussed.
Mr. Quinn responded that in order to do any sort of work on a dam, a dam modification permit was required. He has been working with Scott Bramer in the central office on this. The Engineering Assessment, the Engineering Design Report and the permit drawings have all gone through him and he has signed off on the project. In terms of the Environmental piece, they have been discussing the project with “fish and wildlife people” in order to make sure that when they lower the lake, they keep it at a level that will ensure the safety of the various species within and avoid any sort of fishkill. They are still waiting on the region to provide them with a Notice of Complete Application.
“So, to the best of your knowledge the DEC is satisfied with this plan?” inquired Trustee Moon.
The answer was yes, although they are still working out some of the details with regard to the rattle snake barrier.
Trustee McHugh asked for confirmation that all of the necessary paperwork had been filed with the DEC Region 3.
The answer was yes.
He then referenced an additional $367,000 fee, noted in the BID document, which is for project management. To date the Village has spent $434,000 with CHA. He wondered if this was already a big chunk of that number or if the Village should be expecting to pay it over and above everything else.
Mayor Guinchard noted that Pond #3 had been out of Inspection and that ultimately two inspections, one at each dam, had been required. These totaled roughly $60,000. Then there were 3-4 EWAs (Extra Work Authorization) that needed to be done and this cost $369,000. Then there was a #5 EWA for $98,000.
Mr. Quinn concurred with this.
Trustee McHugh wondered if this then meant that there would be an additional $800,000 added on to the total cost.
The answer was yes.
The Mayor then provided a brief, detailed breakdown of costs to date.
Trustee McHugh commented that at the 2/16/16 presentation the project cost had been estimated at 2.2 million. This figure was revised in April to 2.586 million. In November, Pond # 3 was added, brining the total to 2.853 million. His concern is that between February and April the number was bumped up 15% due to cost over-runs. The numbers that were used were from April 2016, but it is March 2017. He wondered whether Mr. Quinn was concerned about this.
Mr. Quinn explained that the 2.8 figure had not included any of the construction/engineering services or general conditions, which is typically 10% of the construction value. When these costs are included, the number jumps from 2.9 to 3.5.
Mayor Guinchard added that this information had been clearly broken out in the book, had Trustee McHugh read it.
Trustee McHugh responded that he had read the book and that “the numbers are the numbers.” He suggested that a 25% “kicker” had been added, which is how the current figure was arrived at and this was, in his view, indisputable but this does not make a difference. He was really more curious to gauge Mr. Quinn’s confidence level more than anything else.
Mr. Quinn replied that there were initial preliminary estimates, but the engineer’s opinion cost added a vast level of detail to the project that was missing from the earlier reports.
Trustee McHugh countered that the report they had received on December 19, which included the Engineer’s report within it, had for the most part been the same 2.85 million. Then a 25% kicker to cover cost over-runs was added.
Mr. Quinn advised that on top of material and labor costs there was an additional General/Material Conditions cost of roughly 10%. Contractors need insurance, they have to pay holidays, etc. Soft costs such as these account for the 10% bump up. On top of this there was a 7% contingency for design changes or unperceived conditions. This amounts to another “couple hundred thousand.” Then there are engineering oversight costs. Mr. Quinn believes they have been entirely up front with regard to costs.
Trustee McHugh responded that the numbers were what they were. His concern is more with the potential for further unforeseen price hikes. “If it’s 25%, great. If it’s double or triple that, then we have a problem.”
Mr. Quinn responded that he fully understood this concern. He further stated that while he could not guarantee that there would not be unforeseen costs, their estimates were based on years of experience and they believed them to be as accurate as possible.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to when the Bids would be opened.
The answer was April 12.
Trustee McHugh wondered how long the project would take to complete the project once they had broken ground.
Mr. Quinn responded that they had set a substantial completion date of March 2, 2018 and final completion of April 6. This is predicated on starting the project sometime in the last two weeks of May.
Trustee McHugh wondered how much of the project would be done in March of 2018 and the answer was 90%. “We don’t want to lose two seasons of WeeWah. We’re not going to have use of the Wee Wah lake this summer, but the goal is to have the work completed and the lake filled a year from now,” stated Mr. Quinn.
Mayor Guinchard asked Mr. Quinn to explain what people would be able to see and what would be changing as a result of the project.
Mr. Quinn responded that the existing stone masonry would not be torn down or removed. Most of the additions will be either internal to the spillways or below water level. There will not be a lot of visible change. The one significant enhancement/change will be the addition of a parapet wall, which will run along the dam side of road. This will be covered with granite.
Turning to the audience, the Mayor asked if there were any additional questions for Mr. Quinn.
Former Mayor Houston Stebbins inquired about the structure of the Bid documents and specifically whether they had been broken into labor vs material, with the Village buying the materials in an effort to avoid 8% sales tax.
Mr. Quinn responded that they had not. Procurement of materials would take place throughout the project.
Mr. Stebbins wondered why the contractors could not act as the Villages agent, buying on behalf of the Village in order to avoid the sales tax.
Following some discussion it was determined that this structure had already been established and was made clear within the existing documents.
Mr. Stebbins commented that typically contractors added a profit margin on materials as well as labor. He suggested that this be examined and the Village should remain aware of it.
Mayor Guinchard replied that they would do so.
Dena Steele commented that Mr. Quinn had suggested that the dam had been classified based on the existing properties below it. She further stated that the Town of Tuxedo had been discussing the possibility of installing solar panels there or possibly a pool or moving the ambulance corps. She wondered if these things might change the classification.
The answer was no. The dam is already at the highest possible classification.
Ms. Steele then wondered whether there was any sedimentation build up at the base of the dam because of the Warwick Brook and Pond 3.
Mr. Quinn responded that the borings did not show a great deal of sediment.
Ms. Steele then wanted to know how storm water runoff would be handled once a parapet wall had been installed and whether there would be gaps to allow water to flow back into the Wee Wah.
The answer was that the water would all flow away from the parapet towards the downstream side of the dam.
Ms. Steele inquired as to whether the existing masonry was granite.
The answer was yes.
Finally, Ms. Steele wanted to know what would be acceptable landscaping below the dams as trees were not acceptable. She wondered whether shrubs and grasses could be planted there.
Mr. Quinn explained that the slope needed to be mow-able so that the dam could be easily accessed. Tall grasses can be planted there and then mowed down.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether or not the Tuxedo Club might be able to plant grasses along their property abutting the Tuxedo Lake in order to help prevent erosion. This was briefly discussed.
Bond Resolutions for Dam and Infrastructure Projects:
Mayor Guinchard introduced John Schopfer, Financial Advisor and Kevin Roche, Esq.- Bond Counsel, who joined the meeting via conference call. Representing the Village Finance Committee, Maureen Coen presented the Board with a bonding plan for the Dam and other pending Village Infrastructure projects.
The Mayor explained that once the resolutions were passed, the Village would have 10 days to publish them. They will take 30 days to become effective. There is then another 20-day period during which the resolutions are still subject to legal, constitutional challenges. Once these two time periods have elapsed, there is a 1 week period during which the Village looks to offer the bonds and then there is a week after that when they go to auction and then close.
Commenting that best business practice would be not to sign any contracts until all the various time periods had elapsed, Trustee McFadden wondered how many days in total they would have to wait before they could commence the project.
The Mayor responded that is the resolutions were passed that evening the best-case scenario for getting started would be the very end of May. There is a total of 64 calendar days that they must wait once the clock starts ticking.
Ms. Coen then outlined the Finance Committee’s plan, which basically consists of issuing three bonds for three projects: the dam, the reconstruction of Club House and Continental Roads and the relining of three water tanks. The committee is suggesting dual purposes of each of the bonds just in case there are over-runs and/or savings. They are trying to avoid a repeat of the Village’s current situation, in which there are bonds issued but the proceeds can only be used for specific purposes as authorized by the resolutions and some of these purposes are not broad enough to cover what is needed, so the proceeds are sitting there in escrow and the Village is paying interest on them.
There followed a discussion of the various costs of the various projects and how the various estimates had been reached and the numbers for the bonds determined. The proposal for the bonds was then laid out in some detail.
The first bond will be a 15 year/life for $300,000 with an average life of 9.1 years. This will cover the restoration of the roads at a cost of roughly $150,000 apiece.
The second bond will be a 30-year for $606,000, with $135,000 to cover the water distribution and the remaining for various items related to the dam project. This is done in case the dam in comes in under cost, then these monies can be used for other projects throughout the Village. Average life on this one is 19.2 years.
The final bond for the dam rehabilitation works out to $2.864 million.
Ms. Coen noted that these numbers had been based on estimations and would need to be adjusted accordingly.
In order to get the process rolling, the Board must adopt bond resolutions, however since they do not yet know what the actual costs will be, the usual practice is adopt the resolution with a price cap that is higher than the anticipated cost. The Village is not required to spend the cap amount, but this way they will not have to repeat the bond process should the actual costs come in higher then the current estimates. The committee is recommending a cap of an additional $50,000 on the water distribution bond and $100,000 on the dam restoration. They feel the $300,000 for the roads is a fairly firm number and can stay as-is.
Interest rates were then briefly discussed.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered what the Village’s rating was on the bonds, considering thier checkered past.
The answer was AA-.
The Mayor and Trustees then thanked the Financial Committee for all of their hard work in putting everything together.
The Board then moved ahead with each resolution individually.
The first was for a $300,000 bond for roadwork.
Trustee McFadden commented that he felt it would be remiss to the taxpayers not to mention something that he had discovered recently, which is that Governor Cuomo has put 2 billion dollars aside to assist Villages and Towns with various municipal projects.
The Mayor responded that she was aware of this and was already in conversation with the Governor’s office about it. The plans have been sent and Fred Rella, the Village Grant Writer, is working with them.
Trustee McFadden next commented that the Village does not have any actual bids for any of the projects at hand and that he would prefer to wait a month until they had these bids in hand before moving forward with the bonds.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested they add 20% to the cap.
Trustee Moon commented that because it was an “up to” cap-type of resolution, he would be ok with Trustee Guazzoni’s suggestion, but he would also be ok with the proposed $300,000.
Trustee McHugh commented that the estimate for the work was based on the engineer having walked the roadways with the Building Inspector and come up with a ballpark figure. He wondered whether there was any hard data on paper or if they were basing it on the verbal estimate.
The answer was that they were basing it on the verbal estimate, but there will be a more refined figure prior to actual the issuing of the bond.
The nature of the project was briefly discussed.
This was followed by a discussion about what would happen if the Board decided to approve some of the bonds and not others.
Trustee McFadden reiterated that the State has set aside money to assist communities with these types of project. There is a good example n Auburn, where they received $2 million. If the Village were to be successful in acquiring some of this money, it could negate the need for the bonds. Again, he suggested they wait until they had received some answers from the State and also until they had some solid bids for the projects at hand.
Trustee Moon pointed out that interest rates are moving against the Village and that voting in favor of these resolutions was a green light for the process in general. They would not be committing to taking on any debt, it would simply be moving the process forward. He feels it would be “deeply unwise” to table the resolutions.
The Board voted then 4-1 in favor of approving the resolution for moving forward with the first bond for the reconstruction of Club House and Continental Roads in the amount of $330,000 (adjusted as per Trustee Guazzoni’s suggestion) with Trustee McFadden voting against.
Next, they moved onto the second bond resolution in the amount up to $650,000 for the water supply/distribution.
Trustee McHugh inquired as to what kind of estimates they had for this work.
The answer was that they have an oral estimate up to $135,000 for the water tank relining. The rest of the money is for dam-related expenditures.
Trustee McHugh commented that he would be voting no.
Trustee Moon reiterated that in light of the fact that approving the resolution was initiating a simple process by which the Village can get more specific bids and acquire more information in an environment of rising interest rates, he believes it is their duty to vote yes on behalf of their constituency and conduct further investigation. He voted Aye.
Trustee Guazzoni agreed with Trustee Moon, commenting that moving ahead with these resolutions did not mean they would have to draw the money down. He also voted Aye.
Trustee McFadden commented that the Village did not have any solid bids for the project at hand. Additionally, he pointed out that there was a possibility they could obtain grant monies, which could alleviate the need for the bonds altogether and would be great for the taxpayers. Again, he suggested they wait a month until they had more solid figures. He voted No.
Mayor Guinchard voted Aye and initially declared that the resolution had passed, before correcting herself and pointing out that they needed a super majority in order to pass the resolution, meaning that 4 of them would have to vote in favor.
Finally, they moved on to the third resolution for a bond in an amount up to $2.970 million for dam rehabilitation.
The Mayor reminded everyone that they would need a super majority in order to move forward.
“We don’t want to pull the water restoration out of the Milfoil budget,” commented Trustee Guazzoni.
Trustee McHugh then wondered why the Water Department wasn’t issuing the bonds.
He was informed that the Village was the party responsible for issuing bonds.
Trustee Moon commented that he wanted everyone to be clear that the vote they had just taken would take a huge chunk of funding away from the dam and could make the entire project unworkable. Now that they all knew a super majority was needed, he wondered if either Trustee McHugh or Trustee McFadden wanted to reconsider their vote.
“The vote has been taken,” stated Trustee McFadden. “I knew it was a super majority.”
Trustee Moon countered that the engineer had informed them earlier that the DEC was concerned about the auxiliary spillway breaching. Moving forward with these resolutions is a simple way to permit the process to move forward. He urged Trustees McHugh and McFadden to reconsider their votes and allow the projects to move forward and collect bids.
Trustee McFadden responded that he respected what Trustee Moon was saying but he felt that there was no urgent or immediate danger that the DEC was going to come down on the dam. The bids will be in by April 12. Interest rates went up .25% earlier that day and he does not feel there will be another “bang” in the next month. He reiterated his feeling that they should table the vote until next month after the bids had been received.
Trustee Guazzoni commented that there was a big part of the dam project that requires water pipes to be redirected and a lot of this money would be going towards that.
Without the funds, it will be extremely difficult to move forward with the project. Having said this, he suggested they vote on the second resolution again.
Trustee McHugh commented that he understood the circumstances quite clearly. His personal opinion is that he would like to see the bids before they pass the resolution because he does not feel the numbers proposed are even remotely close to what they will actually have to borrow and he feels moving ahead based on the wrong numbers would be “a worthless exercise at this juncture.” He believes the dam construction numbers will be closer to five million. On April 12 they will have their bids and then they can vote.
The Mayor asked bond council to confirm what this would do time wise to the project.
The answer was that the project would be delayed roughly 6 weeks.
The Mayor expressed her concern with this, commenting that May and June were critical months to be working and that things could get pushed back into the following winter when inclement weather could be a hindrance.
Trustee McHugh responded that this may or may nor be the case. They have no way of knowing. They have no concrete numbers to give them any basis for moving forward.
He is not comfortable giving a free option out to a contractor and essentially saying “this is the maximum amount the Village will pay.” He believes this method “communicates completely the wrong thing.”
Trustee McFadden commented that he agreed.
Trustee McHugh stated that he understood Trustee Guazzoni’s points, but he was still voting no.
Trustee Moon stated that he understood Trustee McHugh’s points and appreciated his thoughtful analysis. He voted yes.
Trustee McFadden voted No.
The Mayor Voted yes, commenting that the Village had already hired a reputable engineer who had a history of sound estimates. She feels they need to allow for the project to move forward. She expressed concern that the DEC might interpret their failure to move forward that evening as an attempt to “put blocks” on the project and not fund it.
Trustee McHugh responded that this was an absurd suggestion and that they were fiduciaries of the Village and as this is the largest bond issuance in Village History, they had a responsibility to make sure the money was spent soundly. They need to get an indication of what the price levels are. Should the project come in at 10 Million, it won’t matter what the DEC says, they will have to “enact Trustee Guazzoni’s draconian approach and return to a stream.” Nobody wants this, but it is a possibility. He does not believe they are sending any message to the DEC other than that they are acting as responsible stewards of the Village.
The Mayor countered that she agreed, but they were in the midst of budgeting and this would throw a wrench into that process.
Trustee McHugh responded that they had already agreed that they would be putting a debt service of $205,000 on it. They needed to “hope to hell” the bids came in below that. They have budgeted for it. If it doesn’t go through, they have $205,000+ that they take out of their budget.
There was some discussion as to whether or not this could be done.
There was also further discussion regarding the DEC and their potential reaction to the resolutions not moving forward that night.
Trustee McFadden suggested that a delay of one month was not a “deal killer.” He further commented that he did not understand anyone’s “super urgency” to get this thing done that night as opposed to once they had the bids in front of them in April. It would never be presented that way by the engineer, who has the relationship with the DEC, that the bonds were not going to be issued. Rather he would explain what the issues are, and he is confident that the DEC would “play ball” with the Village.
Trustee McHugh stated that in his view the most compelling argument was that the Village had spent $434,000 on the dam with CHA since retaining them. If this doesn’t show their intent to move forward with the project, he doesn’t know what does.
Again, Mayor Guinchard made a motion with regard to the third bond.
Again, Trustee McFadden commented that he felt they should wait until the bids had come in, so that they would know exactly where they stood. He does not believe one month will cause a huge delay.
Trustee Guazzoni commented that he did not feel they would be able to move forward having authorized only one of the bonds. He expressed concern with the delay commenting that cement needed to be cured at a certain temperature and they would be losing critical work-time, which could ultimately increase the costs. If they do not like where the bids come in, they do not have to pull the money down. Approving the resolution is simply an authorization to move forward and collect bids.
Trustee McFadden suggested that Trustee Guazzoni was employing a “scare tactic” by suggesting that the project could drag over into the following year. “There’s a lot of fat in the construction schedule. I’m sure our engineer could crack the whip and even bring in extra people if necessary so that we wouldn’t have to wait a year.”
Trustee Moon reiterated his earlier points. If the bids don’t come in where they want them to, they can stop the process. He views it as “no harm/no fowl” to get the ball rolling.
Trustee McHugh reiterated his earlier point that he did not feel the DEC would take failure to move ahead that evening as a foot dragging effort, siting the amount of money the Village has poured into the project over the last several years.
The Board voted 3-2 in favor of moving forward, but without a super majority the resolution did not pass.
The Mayor then wondered whether they should move forward with the first bond given that the second two had not passed, suggesting it would not be cost-effective for the Village to do so.
She was advised that it would not be cost-effective.
Trustee Guazzoni then stated “I just feel very sorry for the people who live on Club House and Continental Roads tonight. 3 of us tried to get their roads paved”
“Four of us did,” interjected Trustee McHugh.
“Unfortunately, they are going to have to wait,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
There was then some discussion regarding what they should do next, given that one of the resolutions had passed and the other two had not.
Trustee McHugh stated that he was hoping everything could just be put off to the April meeting, by which point they would have the numbers and could responsibly approve everything.
In response to Trustee Guazzoni’s remarks, Trustee McFadden commented that the road bond had passed, so for Trustee Guazzoni to suggest that residents on Club House and Continental Roads would not have their roadwork completed, was in his opinion inaccurate.
Trustee Moon commented that the residents of Club House Road are an important constituency. That road has been a mess for a long time and he feels their voices should have been heard.
“Here! Here!,” chimed Trustee Guazzoni.
“To say that their voices won’t be heard is to imply that we are not looking out for their financial interest,” responded Trustee McFadden. “Unless we have bids, which will be an accurate determination of how much taxes people are going to pay that live on Club House, then I think it makes a lot of sense to wait until the bids come in.”
The Mayor responded that she felt they did have a rough idea of what it would cost based on the experienced opinion of the Village DPW.
“We owe it to the taxpayers,” replied Trustee McFadden.
The Mayor countered that she felt they also owed it to the taxpayers to move these projects forward in as expedited a manor as possible.
“The bond passed! Why haven’t the Club House people’s voices been heard?” asked Trustee McFadden.
“I’d like to say that Continental and Club House Roads are in dismal condition,” stated Trustee Guazzoni. “I think that the people living there have been more than patient and hopefully they’ll remember who is supporting the rebuilding of the roads and who is not.”
“It was passed 4-1,” stated Trustee McFadden.
Mayor Guinchard reminded everyone that there would be a budget workshop on March 22 from 6-9pm. At the beginning of the workshop there will be a discussion regarding health insurance and the agent will be present.
Trustee McHugh reported that Solitude Lakes Management would be coming to give a presentation. He has been working with them using the February 2014 template. The Board will be provided with a general overview of what they are thinking of presenting and asked to provide feedback. AE Diving was in the Village last week to install the barrier at the South end of the Tuxedo Lake in hopes of getting ahead of the curve and minimizing any floating milfoil they might have coming down the lake. Even though the lake had thawed, the barriers, which were stored over the winter by the DPW, were so heavy that AE was worried they would sink their boats. Therefore, hey will be coming back in April. The divers did go in the water to observe where the largest amount of milfoil was settling and earmark what they anticipated would be necessary this year. The best-case scenario was 55-65 days worth of vacuumed harvesting, with one session in the spring and another in the fall at a rate of $1.080 per day. They have also obtained barrier matt quotes as well for possible installation at the Wee Wah Beach Club and in Pond #3. The DPW is in the process of obtaining prices for iron rods, which would allow them to move the mats around. He will have estimates on these costs at the next meeting.
The Public hearing for the budget will take place on Wednesday April 12 at 7pm.
The Mayor is in receipt of a letter with regard to garbage disposal for weekend residents and the possible reinstallation of a dumpster at the Village Office for this purpose.
Following some discussion, it was agreed that things had improved immensely both in terms of litter on the ground and, more importantly, lurking bears since the dumpster had been removed and therefore, it would not be reinstalled. The Mayor suggested that if anyone had a better solution, they were open to suggestions.
Trustee Guazozni reported that there had been a soft launch of the new Village Website to all Village Committee members the week prior. There have been a lot of comments and changes have been made. A new version will be launched to a limited group this week in beta form for further comments.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether or not the prose had changed.
Trustee Guazzoni responded that it had changed a number of times according the input of various people. He wondered why Trustee McHugh was asking.
“It was very flowery,” responded Trustee McHugh. “I prefer factual rather than flowery prose.”
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting March 15, 2017
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
4. Dam Presentation by CHA
5. Police Report
6. DPW Report
7. Building & Grounds Report
8. Committee Reports
9. Public Comments
10. Approval of Minutes
11. Audit of Claims
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Village Board of Trustees Budget Workshop/Special Meeting March 8, 2017
Please be advised that the Board of Trustees will hold a budget workshop on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. followed by a special Board of Trustees meeting at 8:00 p.m. The special meeting is for the purpose of approving dam and infrastructure bond resolutions, authorizing the bid process for the Wee Wah dam project, and any other matters that may come before the board. Both meetings will be held in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Deborah A. Matthews
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 15, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, February 15 at 7pm. All members were present.
Mayor Guinchard began by reminding all residents that they should remember to check the Village website during storms as the Village received a lot of important, useful information from O & R, which they in turn post there.
Next, she announced that Patrick Donaghy has resigned from the Board of Architectural Review. She thanked Mr. Donaghy for his years of service, further commenting that the BAR is currently interviewing applicants and hope to have 2 new members to fill the vacancies by March.
Resolution – Change Planning Board Meeting Dates – The Village Planning Board would like to move their bi-monthly meetings from the 1st and 3rd Monday to the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. The Board voted unanimously in favor of this change.
Resolution – Restricting the Possession of Firearms and other Dangerous Weapons inside Village Hall – A resolution restricting the possession of firearms and other dangerous weapons inside Village Hall was proposed. Addressing the Chief of Police directly, Trustee McFadden noted that the Chief had expressed to the Board a lot of the issues and holes that currently exist in Village security and he had asked them to purchase a lot of special equipment, which they have begun doing. He therefore wondered why the Chief would support something like this.
Chief Melchiore responded that it would be easier for everyone involved to prevent the possession of firearms inside of Government Buildings. He further commented that this has been done elsewhere.
“It has?” responded Trustee McFadden.
“Yes,” replied the Chief
“Why are you recommending it now?” inquired Trustee McFadden
The Chief responded that he felt it would be easier for them to protect people and that either they needed to pass a resolution of this nature or the department would have to ask the municipality to purchase a metal detector. He feels the resolution would be better. “We don’t want to restrict the use of fire arms in households or in public areas….just inside the government building.”
“You don’t?” called out somebody from the audience.
“So will there be a full time police officer here for the entire meeting?” inquired Trustee McFadden.
The Chief responded that he was present most of the time at the meetings and that he had promised the Mayor and Trustees that if he could not be there, there would be a representative of the department present.
“And you are carrying now?” asked Trustee McFadden.
The answer was yes.
“So, we are going to be guaranteed that somebody will be here with a weapon?”
The Chief replied that unless there was an emergency call, there would be an officer present at all meetings.
“Well, that doesn’t sound like 100%,” replied Trustee McFadden,
Chief Melchiore responded that he could assign an officer to be present; until any such time that an emergency might occur.
Trustee McFadden wondered if this in turn would constitute overtime.
The Chief assured him that it would not.
The Board then voted 4-1 in favor of approving the resolution, with Trustee McFadden voting against.
Resolution – NEAMI Third Party Agreement – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the NEAMI Third Party Agreement. NEAMI is the third party administrator handling the claims for Perma, which is the insurance company who deals with Workman’s Compensation for the Village.
Dam Presentation at April BOT meeting – The Board agreed that they would prefer to have a dam presentation from CHA (engineers) at their March meeting. This will be arranged.
Race Track Presentation – Proposed Special Meeting April 8 @ 11am-
The Tree Advisory Board would like the Board to hold a special meeting on Saturday, April 8 at 11am for the purpose of hosting a presentation by Larry Weiner Assoc., who are the landscape architects working on the Race Track.
TAB member Christopher Gow explained that the presentation would provide detailed information with regard to both the long-term vision and methodology behind the project. The reason for the Saturday meeting date is to allow as many residents to attend as possible. After a brief discussion, it was determined that the Board did not need to schedule a special meeting in order to host this presentation at the Village Office and that everyone was in favor of scheduling the presentation as requested.
Governor Cuomo’s Consolidation Plan - Mayor Guinchard asked Board Attorney Brian Nugent to briefly explain Governor Cuomo’s proposed Consolidation plan, further suggesting that everyone should Google it and educate themselves as what is being proposed could potentially have negative impacts on the Village. The Mayors in Orange County will be meeting on Friday February 17 to discuss it.
“It’s terrible,” interjected Trustee Guazzoni.
Mr. Nugent explained that the proposal is suggesting that municipalities will not receive aid and incentive funds from the State unless the legislature enacts his proposed consolidation statute. The Statute as proposed would have each County create a plan for consolidating Government services within and submit it, and if they do not do it or its not accepted, it can then be put to a vote…and if it fails they have to do the same thing the following year and try to come up with a new plan. Most people are upset for two reasons. First, the Governor is basically tying up the funding that would normally be distributed to local municipalities for general incentive and aid and attaching it to the passing of the Statute. In other words, he is in a way holding the Legislature hostage by saying that the municipalities will not receive the money unless they enact his consolidation proposal. Secondly (and most problematic for Villages and Towns) the Counties would be the ones who were responsible for designing the plans for consolidation and not the Villages and Towns that would be affected. The proposal is in the early stages, but the Governor is hoping to see it on the ballot in November.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered if consolidation could mean folding the Village into the Town.
Mr. Nugent responded that it could mean a lot of things; folding Villages into Towns or consolidating Water Departments and/or Police Departments, all at the discretion of the County and not the individual municipalities. How exactly it would be done, Mr. Nugent doesn’t know, but this is the grand plan.
“So it is by coercion and not by mandate,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
Mr. Nugent responded that it would be mandated in the sense that all of the associated costs would be absorbed by the local municipalities.
Trustee McFadden wondered what the likelihood of the proposal passing was.
Mr. Nugent replied that he felt the likelihood of anything happening this year was very slim. There has already been some pretty heavy pushback on it and there are a host of potential legal issues as well. He thinks it will probably wind up being tied up in litigation even if it does pass.
Mayor Guinchard added that there had already been a big press conference in opposition to this held in Albany. Mayors across the State are holding meetings and representation from the Town of Tuxedo will be accompanying her to the meeting on the 17.
From the Audience, Dena Steele inquired as to whether there were any specified size requirements pertaining to potentially folding Villages into Towns.
The answer was no. Mr. Nugent cautioned that the consolidations would not necessarily be Villages into Towns, but could focus more on Departments. They are looking to see an increase in shared services, such as County police forces and larger water departments and street departments.
Water Quality Discussion – by Village Engineer Pat Hines (McGoey, Hauser & Edsall)/ CSLAP Discussion:
The Mayor introduced Village Engineer Pat Hines, who explained that he had been asked by the Mayor to take a look at some water quality issues in the three lakes within the watershed. He was able to generate information from the Village clerk’s office and the Water Department records, which he used to put together a basic overview as follows:
In 2011, there is documentation indicating that Eurasian Milfoil was discovered in all three lakes. (For those who do not know, Eurasian Milfoil is an aggressive invasive species) The Village began addressing this by hiring a firm called Aquatic Invasive Management and through swimming and scuba diving, they were manually harvesting the plants from each of the lakes during the summer months. Reports show that this has been fairly successful. In checking to see what other effective measures might be employed, Mr. Hines discovered that some other municipalities have introduced grass carp into their lakes as a method of control, but this is not a viable solution as milfoil is not one of their preferred foods and they would eat the more native vegetation first, leaving behind the invasive plants to reproduce. Milfoil is an aesthetic issue. The plant will grow until it covers the surface of the water. If the Village intends to control this, Mr. Hines believes that the method they are currently employing is the most valid one. The Milfoil is not limited by depth in the two smaller lakes, so these run more of a risk of being completely over taken, where as Tuxedo Lake is deeper, which helps limit the growth more to the shoreline areas. The Village is also working with Solitude Lake Management (formally Allied Biological) who perform periodic sampling in the lakes with regard to algae and phytoplankton. This is done to maintain aesthetics and keep the lake from turning green from algae during the summer months, but the sampling also monitors the need for copper sulfate treatments. These treatments help to maintain the aesthetics but also helps to avoid taste and odor issues in the potable water, which could result from the algae blooms. Mr. Hines recommends continuing these treatments.
In 2012, as a result of the issues at the mulching facilities in the Town, the Village hired Watershed Assessment Associates and they performed macroinvertebrate (insect/larva) surveys in the watershed tributary to Tuxedo Lake. They did three samples on Warwick Brook, Patterson Brook and the Potting Shed. The results were very positive. The report recommended a bi-annual screening beginning in 2016. Mr. Hines does not know if this was done, but feels that the sampling provides a good baseline and also is a good way to get a quick health check on the water feeding into the lake. He recommends that it be continued.
In looking at the last 4 years worth of annual reports on the treated portion of potable water, he noted that there have been no violations of any of the Health Department standards for the testing of that potable water, which is a good thing. The treated water quality is very good and there are no issues there. This is a result of the depth of the lake and the intakes being deeper in so that there are no issues with any of the other components that might exist elsewhere in the water.
The discussion then turned to the CSLAP program.
Mayor Guinchard noted that Village had been extremely lucky for a long time to have volunteers such as Susan Goodfellow and Sue Heywood and a number of others. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find volunteers who are willing to maintain programs like this over a long period of time. For something as important as the reservoir, the Board does not want to have anything fall through the cracks. Additionally, they want to make sure that there is consistency with gathering and keeping the data if they are unable to procure volunteers. This leads them towards having a professional take control. They do not wish to take away the volunteers and believe that they can find a place for them somewhere, but if they utilize professionals, they can ensure there is a placeholder to keep the program running. The DPW can be utilized as they already have experience with sampling, and Mr. Hines or Solitude can provide more specific directive as to where they should being taking the samples from. Again, she expressed her gratitude to all the volunteers for the 10+ years they have put in helping with this initiative. The data that they have collected has proved invaluable in assessing the current situation. She also thanked Trustee McHugh, who has served as Liaison on this initiative, further commenting that he would continue in that role,, however now he would be working directly with Mr. Hines in coordinating the efforts.
From the audience Sue Heywood asked for clarification as to whether or not the CSLAPS program was being abandoned and if not, whether the Village had applied for it this year. She further suggested that although they did not have the pool of volunteers they used to, two individuals could successfully run the program quite easily if they are willing to put the effort into it. She and Susan Goodfellow were able to do this for years. Although she had to drop out for a period of time last fall, she is prepared to work on it again.
Trustee McHugh responded that what they were trying to do was to both professionalize and institutionalize the program. This way, everything will be constant and there will be an impartial third party involved in case, God forbid, something were ever to happen with the Pilgrim Pipeline or anything like that.
Mrs. Heywood countered that the resident volunteers involved with CSLAPS were present in the Village almost all of the time and even though they were only physically testing for 4 months, two times a month, in between they were able to keep their eye on the lakes and if problems arise, they contact the appropriate entity. She believes these two efforts should work in conjunction with one another and does not feel that the Village should abandon the volunteers.
Mr. Hines responded that CSLAPS also feels that it is important to maintain the volunteers, as it is actually a volunteer based program. The data that is collected by the program over time can be used to track trends in the water quality, so there is a definite benefit in continuing the program. He spoke with the director of the program, who was both happy and encouraged to hear from him, as they were unsure if they Village wanted to continue with the program due to sporadic participation over the last year. He did discuss the idea of having the DPW get involved in order to jumpstart the program back into productivity and was told that this would be ok but that ideally they would prefer volunteers to run the program. Anyone who performs their samples must attend their training. One great thing about the program is that because it is significantly funded by the DEC the laboratory testing is much less costly than it would be otherwise. Currently the Village pays $370 a year for all the testing on the two smaller lakes, which is significant savings and probably represents the cost of a single sample otherwise. For Tuxedo Lake, the Village pays $470, as they have to take two sets of samples in both shallow and deep water. In looking at the data there are some current trends that show that since 2008 the phosphorous levels in the lake have been increasing. This is a clear water quality issue. The level of conductivity is also increasing. There is definite value to this data and to the practice of tracking it long-term in an effort to protect the watershed.
With regard to Pilgrim Pipeline and the issue of any potential spill Mr. Hines advised
that currently the data that the Village is collecting is not geared towards this and that the sampling that is being done is not identifying petroleum products or any other chemical type spill in the lakes.
The Mayor interjected that Mr. Hines would be working with the Village with regard to the Pilgrim Pipeline and would be assisting them with the SEQRA process. She went on to say that there are a lot of different things happening and various conversations that are occurring between Town and Village Officials and Engineers and Planners concerning the Pipeline. She encouraged anybody who had any questions about what was happening to pick up the phone and call the Village Office or one of the Trustees or herself and inquire. “To say your officials are not doing anything is absolutely false because there is a lot going on,” she commented, “especially town-wise because part of the Town and that is where the project is potentially being proposed. We have to work with the Town because they are the ones who really direct a lot of things as well, because they are worried about the water also.”
Trustee Moon commented that he would like to thank Mrs. Goodfellow for raising this issue. He believes it is very important that residents speak up and let them know when things are not going as they should be. In this case they were able to jump on it right away. He then noted that Mr. Hines had talked about increases in phosphorous and electro-conductivity. He wondered what sort of plans they were planning to devise to study and reverse these trends.
Mr. Hines responded that currently they were not seeing high action levels and there have been no specific algae blooms related to either. The conductivity could be associated with chlorides and ice control (salt). Looking at these kinds of issues within the watershed (control and use) could prove helpful. This was discussed for several minutes.
Christopher Gow inquired about the importance of buffers between the roadways and people’s lawns and the lake.
Mr. Hines responded that buffers were great and that maintaining vegetation along the shoreline was really the best way to keep phosphorous out of the water because it will stick to that vegetation.
“So we should encourage homeowners not to have their lawns go right to the lake. They should have a buffer zone.”
“Right,” responded Mr. Hines. “A lot of phosphorous comes from the homeowners that are applying the Chem Lawns and over use of spray on fertilizers. Any of that stuff that runs off is a big contributor to phosphorous and nitrates in the lakes.”
“That’s not supposed to be used,” stated Dena Steele.
Lili Neuhauser then inquired as to what the Village could do to mandate those residents who are living on the Lake, because clearly some of these behaviors are occurring and they need to be stopped.
Trustee Guazoni suggested that any type of grass fertilizer contains phosphorous and therefore “anybody who has a bright green lawn is guilty of throwing phosphorous into our lake. It’s not only the people at the lake’s edge.”
Mr. Hines agreed with this assessment. He went on to say that although there had been an increase over time, the phosphorous numbers in the lake over all were relatively low. This is the main reason the algae blooms have not been out of control.
In response to Mrs. Neuhauser’s question about how they should move forward, the Mayor stated that she had been talking with the Chief because the first line of defense is the Front Gate. She wondered if there were any other measures they could take to make the community more aware of the situation.
Mr. Hines responded that a lot of it comes down to education on the use of these types of chemicals. A mailer with the water bills (or other such Village wide mailings) can be effective.
“We do that already,” stated Mayor Guinchard.
Mr. Gow wondered how wide the buffer of vegetation between people’s lawns and the lake should be.
“The wider the better,” responded Mr. Hines. “There is really no minimum, but the more natural vegetation you can have and distance to the lake, certainly helps. It provides cooling, and shade is important in shallow waters as it effects oxygen levels in the water which in turn effect algae blooms.”
“It’s a clear case of prevention is cheaper than a cure” stated Mr. Gow.
Dena Steele commented that one of the concerns she had had for a while is that when it comes to lakes management, the Village seems to focusing off-and-on on anecdotal evidence and has stepped away from professional management and a long-term game plan and the long term schedule of regular testing of a variety of different things. She personally found it very upsetting that within 12 months the Village had application of Copper Sulfate three times, and the third time the lake looked unbelievable! It was not only an algae bloom, but there was Ciano Bacteria as well. “This is our drinking water and we are putting in a heavy metal” she commented. “This is not something I feel terribly comfortable with. “ She wondered what Mr. Hine’s firm’s credentials and expertise were in providing the Village with guidance and whether their role would be outlining a management for protecting the lakes moving forward. CSLAP is just one part of this. There is a big scope. “What do you recommend in the long-term schedule of protection?” she inquired.
Mr. Hines responded that he had only been reviewing it for the past 4 days and did not feel he could answer that question. His firm does work for various municipalities that have reservoirs and help them with various management plans.
There followed a brief debate with regard to how many copper sulfate treatments there had been over the course of the last year with Ms. Steele suggesting that there had been 3 over a 12-month period and Mayor Guinchard asserting that there had only been two during the course of the fiscal year.
Ms. Steele suggested that the Village was in need of “cutting edge” help.
Mr. Hines indicated that Solitude Lakes Management (formerly Allied Biological) was monitoring the lakes based on the phytoplankton and algae they are finding they are making recommendations.
“I don’t think we had any problems with Ciano algaes,” stated Trustee Guazzoni.
Jim Hays disagreed commenting that it was the Ciano bacteria or “blue/green algae that had turned the lake such a latex blue color.”
Trustee Guazzoni countered that the Village had tested the water and been advised that dead algae had been the cause of the de-coloration.
Mr. Hays reiterated that another name for this was Ciano Bacteria and that this is what was causing the issues with color. He further stated that while Mr. Hines seemed to be suggesting that there weren’t any major problems, last summer during one of the algae blooms the CSLAPS volunteers had sent a letter to the Board cautioning the algae was so thick that the scum near the shore could be dangerous and that people and animals should stay out of the water.
Mr. Hines responded that his comment had been in relation to the drinking water and not the use of the lake for recreational activity.
Mr. Hays then stated that he was also very concerned about the Milfoil problem. He has some experience in the Adirondacks and there are Adirondack lakes that have become so clogged with the invasive that property values around them have gone to zero. The Milfoil in the Village lakes is spreading and they have yet to do a survey to determine what the extent is, but there are places in the Wee Wah and Pond #3 that are completely covered. It is getting very thick. In his view the Village needs a long-range plan to beat it back and it’s going to cost a lot of money. The longer they let it go however, the more it is going to cost and the lakes could become unusable.
Village Grant writer Fred Rella commented that the Department of Environmental Conservation had an invasive species grant that was due March 27. It is both terrestrial and aquatic and it is $100,000. He will be working with Mr. Gow and the TAC on the terrestrial one and had been planning to ask Trustee McHugh about pursuing it for the Milfoil Issue as the monies could be used for either the physical or chemical removal of Milfoil and the hiring a firm to help remediate these issues and prevent it moving forward.
Trustee Guazzoni stated that he was in agreement with Mr. Hays and that he had been to lakes in Minnesota where they had let the problem go and then either have to invest in matting or purchase a harvester for 2.5 million dollars. “We do this now, or we buy the harvester later,” he cautioned.
Mr. Hines stated that the company that had been performing the physical removal of the Milfoil has been mapping the issue. All of these results have been provided to Solitude. Pond #3 was surveyed and harvested. The Wee Wah was surveyed but divers were not employed there because of the on-going dam project.
The idea of matting was then discussed. Trustee Guazozni wondered whether the intended to use matts in the Wee Wah Trustee McHugh responded that if they wanted to make swimming at the Wee Wah Beach Club enjoyable, they should consider using matting in that area.
Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to how many matts would be needed.
The answer was 3-4.
Trustee Guazzoni then stated that the Board was considering doubling the Village budget for Milfoil.
The conversation then turned briefly to the south end of Tuxedo Lake and the barrier curtain, which had been installed to prevent the Milfoil there from spreading. It has been relatively effective.
Mrs. Neuhasuer wondered what the Village was now looking at spending vs. what they had been spending when they were keeping the problem relatively under control under Mrs. Goodfellow’s leadership.
Trustee McHugh responded that Mrs. Goodfellow had spent a lot of money on studies, but with regard to physical removal it was considerably less.
Mrs. Neuhauser replied that there had not been as much milfoil to remove.
Trustee McHugh agreed, but further suggested that they had experienced warmer temperatures and fewer rainfalls.
Mrs. Neuhauser reiterated her belief that the Village needed to be “really tough” with the residents in terms of phosphorous. Beyond the science, she believes that the Village can be doing much more to educate people and help prevent the problem from getting worse.
Trustee Guazzoni suggested that there were a lot of residents who enjoyed “very green, sparkly, emerald lawns.”
Mayor Guinchard commented that the new divers they had employed this past year thought that the previous divers, hired under Mrs. Goodfellow’s leadership, had done a horrible job because they harvested in cloudy water, which ultimately made the problem worse.
Mrs. Nuehauser responded that she was not looking to place blame on any one person or group and that they needed to determine how they were going to move forward.
The Mayor suggested that there were a lot of different factors at play and that it was not just one issue that could be tackled.
Mrs. Neuhauser wondered whether there should be a police presence on the lake.
The response was that this had actually been done in the past and that in fact, the Police Department had issued some tickets to individuals who were caught boating at the south end of the lake after the lake after the restrictions had been put in place.
The Mayor suggested that education was a key factor and that they should be working with the Tuxedo Club and the Boat Club on this. Also people should not be moving docks around regardless of grandfathered status.
Mr. Gow suggested that the DEC had a great presentation about invasive species and he wondered if they should organize one to be hosted at the Tuxedo Club.
Mayor Guinchard wondered how they could be sure they were capturing the correct audience and further suggested that it might be helpful to have multiple presentations for different audiences.
Mrs. Neuhauster commented that Landscapers were a big part of the problem.
Mrs. Heywood suggested that all trucks needed to be stopped and inspected for chemicals at the Front Gate.
Mr. Hays asserted that there was already a resolution on the books in the Village banning the use of phosphates and that Landscapers caught using it are supposed to lose their rights to work in the Village. He feels that if this is made clear in the springtime as they enter the Village via the Front Gate, that they will not want to take the risk.
Mayor Guinchard wondered whether the Village would be in their rights to turn away any truck with phosphorous on board.
Chief Melchiore advised that this would not be possible because many companies will have the chemicals on their trucks for other stops that they might be making outside of the Village on any given day. He further suggested that what they could do create more commercial vehicle checkpoints. They are already working on a program to advise the contractors on a bunch of ordinances anyway, so they will make this a part of that. They are also going to meet with their Environmental Conservation Officer as well as the Lake Warden and the Tuxedo Club. They are going to both educate and enforce.
Peter Regna noted that in “cruising the web” he had stumbled upon a material called Aquaside, which appeared to be a pellet that kills milfoil. He wondered about the viability of this type of treatment.
Trustee Guazzoni advised that the use of herbicides required a severe permitting process because of the reservoir. Additionally, the two smaller lakes feed into the Ramapo River.
Ms. Steele reiterated her concern that the Village had been employing antidotal practices, such as stocking the lake with certain fish, rather than creating a long-term plan to combat and control the problem.
Trustee McHugh argued that Solitude Lakes Management had advised them that they had been doing things backwards and that since that time, the Village had been following their recommendations for moving ahead.
Mr. Hays suggested that when the Board moved forward with things like this, it was important for them to openly communicate with the residents so that they were aware that plans were being made and that the Village intended to promulgate them, because frankly he felt that people had no idea and that it appeared as though nothing was being done.
Again, Trustee Guazzoni suggested that the Village would be doubling their Milfoil budget.
“We are discussing it,” interjected Trustee McFadden.
Mrs. Neuhauser wondered how much this would amount to (the doubled figure)
The answer was $100,000 for one calendar year. It is anticipated that it will take 3-5 years to get the problem under control. $52,000 was spent this past year.
Mayor Guinchard commented that she felt they should double the budget for the coming year, but then evaluate the situation on a year-by-year basis.
Ms. Steele stated that she felt the grants referenced earlier by Mr. Rella could be a great thing.
Trustee Guazozni then wondered about the dangers associated with Copper Sulfate.
Mr. Hines indicated that he could not provide this information.
The Mayor asked Mr. Hines to speak briefly to the quality of the drinking water and Mr. Hines reiterated that there were no problems and that the water treatment plant was doing a great job with no violations over the course of the past 4 years.
Mrs. Neuhauser noted that she had been seeing a lot of the older vehicle tags throughout the Village and she wondered what, if anything, the Village was intending to do about this.
Mayor Guinchard responded that while the Police could stop these individuals at the Front Gate, they could not legally confiscate the old tags.
Trustee Guazzoni noted that the older tags were also being honored at the South Gate.
Chief Melchiore responded that this was going to stop and that all vehicles with outdated tags would be stopped and sent around to the Front Entrance.
Trustee Guazzoni stated that if the Village were to receive an electronic license plate reader, the tags would not be necessary. They are currently awaiting news of a grant that would allow them to obtain this equipment.
Michele Lindsay provided the Board with a brief Town Board Update. A public hearing on the Town’s proposed Comprehensive Plan was held the night prior and they received many comments. They will continue to receive written comments until February 27, after which they will probably be taking all of the comments and channeling them into some sort of workshop style meeting for the purpose of incorporating them into the plan.
A meeting with the Department of Transportation has been scheduled and the Town has been working with the Village of Sloatsburg on the Complete Streets Initiative. Sloatsburg recently received a fairly hefty grant to assist them in making improvements to the Route 17 corridor through their town and Tuxedo is hopeful to be receiving some funding as well. The two municipalities would like to work together on the initiative in order to maintain some continuity. One idea they have been discussing is a “Road Diet” which would turn 17 into a 3-lane roadway, with the center lane utilized for turning only.
The County will be installing a new 911 tower in Maplebrook and there has been a push to add Verizon cell service to this, which would improve reception for their many customers in the area.
Next, Mrs. Lindsay thanked the Board for posting her letter regarding the Pilgrim Pipeline to their website. She indicated that currently there was a big push among all Towns and Villages long the Hudson River is to get representatives in Albany to amend the transportation law to add Towns. As the law currently stands, villages and cities have the ability to ban the pipeline but towns do not. She and Supervisor Rost recently met with Senator Bonacic to see if he would be willing to sponsor the amendment in the Senate, but unfortunately the Senator has stated that he is not in a position to do so.
Moving forward, once the DEC announces that the process is beginning, the Town will be holding more SEQRA related workshop meetings.
Trustee McFadden wondered, should the Federal Government come through with funding for any infrastructure type projects, whether there was anyone in the Town that was aware of how to get involved with this and applying for this type of funding and if the Village might want to get involved in this.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that she supposed they would need to wait and see what kind of infrastructure projects the funding would applicable to.
Trustee McFadden suggested there could be funding for things like bridges, tunnels and roads, with a private sector/government sector partnership. While it may be too early, he felt that it might be important to get involved and in his view, the motivation might need to come from the Town.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that a ½ interchange at Route 17A was still in the Comprehensive Plan. She felt it might be a good exercise to have specific infrastructure projects identified and suggested that she would speak to the Highway Department about it.
Trustee Guazozni asked for an update on Tuxedo Farms.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that they were still busy with grading the property and laying some of the basic infrastructure. They have indicated that they would like to start building in the spring, however they are looking for a number of waivers from the Special Permit as approved in 2010. Some of these include the use of Vinyl siding and non-operational window shutters along with a change in the size of front door posts. The Farms will be presenting all of the requested waivers at the next Town Board meeting on February 27 and Mrs. Lindsay encouraged everyone to attend.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of January:
Criminal Complaints – 4
Non-Criminal Complaints – 251
Arrests – 1
Vehicle Accidents - 3
Traffic Tickets Issues - 12
Traffic Warnings Issued – 10
Alarms – 10 (3 Medical)
Assists Received from other Police Departments – 2
Vehicle Tags Issued - 1,024
Declare Equipment as Surplus – the Board voted unanimously in favor of declaring some old computer equipment as surplus. This equipment will be destroyed.
Police Officer Appointments & Retirement - The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the retirement of Officer Jim Ascione, effective May 31, 2017.
They also voted unanimously in favor of appointing 2 new part-time officers, Ryan W. Smith and Mathew J Jackson. Both have completed the first phase of the Police Academy and will be sponsored by the Village for the second phase, which includes firearms training. The officers will cover the cost of phase two along with the necessary ammunition and the Village will provide the firearms. Upon completion, they will be certified as Police Officers and will be officially hired by the Village. There will be agreement whereby the officers must remain with the Village for at least 1-year and should they leave prior to that, they would have to reimburse the Department for any expenses accrued.
Trustee McHugh inquired about the deer culling.
Detective Taback responded that he had completed a distance survey, which is a part of what is needed to obtain a culling permit. Understory and foliage are a large part of this as well. There are approximately 63 deer currently living within the Village, 20 of which are does. They do not recommend a cull for this year. The threshold is 14 does per square mile. Next year, a cull will be needed.
The DPW has been very busy responding to issues associated to the wide range of weather that has occurred over the last several weeks. In addition to this, they have begun removing trees on and around the Pond #3 dam in preparation for the work that will be done there. Use of a tree service will be necessary in order to remove some of the larger trees. They have also been busy cleaning and removing debris from the area across the street from the DPW facility.
Mayor Guinchard reported that she had asked Superintendent Voss to provide her with an estimated cost per inch for snow and ice remediation and that this has been very helpful. She thanked him for his efforts in this regard.
The Superintendent noted that the Village is currently at the threshold for the amount of salt they put in for. When they reach 120% of what was filed for, the price increases by 10%. He advised that they might want to increase these amounts in next year’s budget.
Trustee McFadden inquired as to how much had been budgeted.
The answer was that $50,000 was budgeted and $48,000 has been spent to date.
Building & Grounds Report:
Projects Updates – Building Inspector John Ledwith reported that the Village was continuing to work on lining up the necessary license agreements for those people who have property adjacent to the Pond #3 and Wee Wah Lake dams.
Working with John Kinnear they have finalized the plans for the Booth renovations. 6 sets of the plans have been distributed to interested contractors.
There were some issues with a communication line between the water plant and the water tanks, which were repaired.
Mr. Ledwith also met with representatives of Verizon with regard to a possible micro tower in the Village, possibly to be installed at the Ridge Road Water Tanks. This is new technology that would involve a tower to be installed on top of an existing poll. This addition would only be able 2 feet in height and 1 foot in diameter. The tower would be “fairly invisible” although it would have to extend slightly above the treetops. Mr. Ledwith feels that it would be a net positive for the Village monetarily.
Mr. Ledwith also met with a representative from the water company to discuss some ideas on possibly replacing the water meters, which is an idea that has been touched on periodically over the past two years.
Ms. Steele wondered whether Mr. Ledwith was coordinating with Mrs. Lindsay with regard to the emergency tower that was being installed in Maplebook as they will also be installing a Verizon tower in that location.
Mr. Ledwith responded that what would be installed in the Village was not an emergency tower but rather a Micro Boost Station.
Ms. Steele replied that she understood that what was being proposed was not an emergency tower, however if Verizon was already planning to install something on top of the emergency tower in Maplebrook, it might alleviate the need to install an additional boost station within the Village.
Mr. Ledwith responded that the boost station would be free of cost for the Village and that both towers would surely be of assistance to customers in the Village.
Update by Grant Writer Fred Rella – The Village was awarded an additional $50,000 for the Wee Wah Dam through the State Municipal Facilities, sponsored by Senator Bonacic. Mr. Rella and the Mayor will also be meeting with the Senator on a date yet to be determined to discuss the idea of more significant funding for the dam project. Congressman Maloney submitted a request to the Senator via a callout that he put to certain communities for projects. The projects that Mr. Rella has put in for are the dam repair work, a DPW truck, a wood chipper, Milfoil control and eradication and a license plate reader and SUV for the Police Department. The Congressman was instrumental with the Dam Safety Act and the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act in which $433 Million dollars were recently allocated for this purpose. Currently, the method for disseminating these funds is being determined but Mr. Rella feels that because he is the Village’s Congressman and he is well aware of the situation that exists with the Wee Wah Dam and it’s connection to potable water for so many people, that the Village has a good shot at getting something substantial out of it.
Two tree grants will be filed at the end of February. The first is for a tree inventory to be done in the Village and the second is for the actual acquisition of trees. Each grant is in the amount of $50,000. The Village cannot acquire the trees unless they do the tree inventory first, so the two go hand-in-hand.
Tree Advisory Board – Mr. Gow provided the Board with a brief update on the Race Track Nature Preserve. In order for them to achieve their goal for the space, which is to create a self-sustaining preserve that will not require watering or much maintenance at all, they must first remove the invasive species that currently exist there. This is quite costly. To date, TAB has not received any grants, although they are working on this. Landscape Architect Larry Weaner, who is working on the project, just received $500,000 in State Funding and $130,000 in Federal funding in order to assist with invasive species removal on another project he is doing just over the Hudson River, so they are hopeful. In the meantime, TAB has raised $128,000 from past and present Village residents and they are looking to acquire permission from the Board to utilize $100,000 of these funds before the growing season starts to begin eradicating the invasives. Again, the methodology for the project will be outlined by Larry Weaner himself during the aforementioned presentation on April 8. Mr. Gow further reported that Arbor Day would take place on Saturday, April 29 at 2pm down at the Race Track. They will be unveiling a plaque identifying the founding stewards who have donated $5,000 towards the project as well as awarding a prize in honor of the individual who has helped the most this year. At 5pm, at the Cheymore Gallery, a limited addition print of the Racetrack, created by Gallery Owner, artist and life-long Village resident Mae Shore, will be unveiled. The print will also be available at a gallery in New York City.
Following some minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of allowing them to move forward with using the $100,000 to get the invasive removal underway.
Mayor Guinchard added that TAB had been asked to speak at the conference for Tree City USA in Albany next month. Chair Hempel has put together a beautiful presentation and everyone is very excited to attend.
Finance Committee – Trustee Moon reported that the committee has been interviewing new auditors. The previous auditors have been on board for at least two decades and they feel it would be a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes involved.
Secondly, the committee is working to enhance internal controls. “Our internal controls are fine,” stated Trustee Moon “We do not mean to cast any dispersions or impune anybody’s integrity.” He went on to say that are looking at things such as the handling of currency. Making FOIL requests or photocopies is one thing, but handling larger amounts of cash is something the Village might look to avoid.
Mayor Guinchard added that they had already begun enhancing some of the controls and although they were planning to wait until they heard back from the comptroller and the auditors before making more detailed enhancements, there are three things they would like to put into place immediately.
The first is that moving forward the Village will no longer be able to accept cash for more than $20. Secondly, Trustees will be authorized to sign deposits and bank statements, and finally once vouchers are signed, checks must be compared directly to them and signed off on by the Mayor.
Following some discussion, these three things were approved unanimously.
Trustee Liaison Updates:
Trustee McFadden reported that with regard to Term Limits, he had put in some suggestions to Attorney Brian Nugent and in his opinion this is ready to bring to the floor whenever the Board wishes to talk about it.
With regard to Village property use, he commented that as had been discussed in other meetings they were waiting for the budget to be ready before they began making recommendations.
As for the sewer system, specifically the idea of different types of properties with different types of uses, some in the Town that are using the Village sewer system etc., he and Mr. Ledwith made a report to Mr. Nugent several months ago and so, whenever the Board wants to bring that to the floor it is ready for discussion.
Regarding the Ridgeline Law, in speaking with the Planning Board and BZA, both groups felt strongly that there were no changes needed in order to prevent the type of drilling and noise that occurred last summer. This can be done under current law now that they have been educated and have an understanding of what they could have stopped but didn’t (recommending different drill techniques and things of this nature) They feel that they do not need any new legislation or changes to the code.
With regard to the new Village website, Trustee Guazzoni reported that the latest beta would be ready for a soft release within a few days and could be expected to go live next week sometime.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting February 15, 2017
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
a. Resolution - Change Planning Board Meeting Dates
b. Resolution - Restricting the Possession of Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons Inside Village Hall
4. Water Quality Discussion - by Village Engineer Pat Hines (McGoey, Hauser & Edsall)
5. Trustee Liaison Updates
6. Police Report
a. Declare Equipment as Surplus
7. DPW Report
8. Building & Grounds Report
a. Projects Updates
9. Committee Reports
a. Update by Grant Writer Fred Rella
10. Pilgrim Pipeline Update
11. Public Comments
12. Approval of Minutes
13. Audit of Claims
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 18, 2017
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.
Trustee McHugh was absent.
The meeting began at approximately 7:15pm following an attorney/client session.
Mayor Guinchard opened the meeting by reminding everyone to be extremely careful with regard to ice, noting that she had recently fallen and injured herself, resulting in emergency surgery.
Grievance Day – Grievance Day will take place on Saturday, February 21 at the Village hall from 5-9pm.
Budget Workshop Dates – The Board scheduled budget workshops for the following dates and times: February 15 from 5-7, February 21 from 4-5pm, March 8 from 6-9pm, March 15 from 5-7pm and March 22 from 6-9pm.
NYCOM 8th Grade Essay Contest – Mayor Guinchard announced that the New York State Conference of Mayors is inviting all eighth grade students currently enrolled in a school located in a city or village in New York State to participate in a statewide essay contest addressing the topic “If I were Mayor, I would….” Copies of the flier outlining the details were sent to TPS as well as to Meg Vaught for distribution both in George F. Baker as well as on TPFYI. Information has also been posted to the Village website. The deadline for submissions is March 8.
Recognition of Outstanding Ambulance Corp Member – The Mayor will be attending the annual Ambulance Corps dinner next weekend, at which she will be presenting a certificate in recognition of an Outstanding Ambulance Corp member.
A resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign off on the license agreements for the easements involved with the WeeWah and Pond #3 dams was unanimously passed.
A resolution regarding indemnification for Board members was briefly discussed and unanimously adopted. The resolution was an affirmation of the Village Board’s current position concerning the actions of individual Village Board members, which essentially states that the Board members are indemnified in so much as it pertains to their role as Board members, but if any of are found guilty of something pertaining to their actions as an individual, they are on their own legally. Individual Trustees do not have the power to act for and/or on behalf of the Village. Statements published to others by individual Trustees do not constitute statements made by the Village or the Board of Trustees excepting specific authorization by resolution of the Trustees. The disclosure of confidential information discussed during executive sessions is a violation of New York State municipal law and if could result in removal from office if knowingly made. Finally, the resolution publicly denounced and affirmed its opposition to any statements made by any Trustee that is defamatory or slanderous toward any person and expressed its opposition to the disclosure of confidential information acquired during executive session.
A copy of this resolution can be viewed here.
Trustee Liaison Reports:
There were no Trustee Liaison reports.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of December:
Criminal Complaints – 0
Non-Criminal Complaints- 153
Automatic Fire Alarms – 2
Other Alarms –11
Medical Calls – 3
Traffic Tickets Issued –32
Traffic Warnings Issued – 5
Vehicle Tags Issued – 1,010
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 3
Assists Received from the Town of Tuxedo Police –0
Assists Given to the New York State Police – 2
Additionally, an estimated 1000 vehicles enter the Village via the Front Gate every day.
Appointment of Part Time Police Officer – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing part-time police officer Sean Grady at a rate of $23.52 an hour effective January 23, 2017. This brings the total number of part time officers in the Village to 17.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss reported that the department has been keeping very busy with various tasks. The roadways have required a fair amount of salting recently due to the high number of small snows/ice. Additionally, because the weather has been fairly mild, they have been able to sweep some of the roads. A dumpster was filled with scrap metal at the DPW facility and will be picked up shortly. They have also been working with the Police Department on various tasks at the station and have been assisting the Tree Advisory Board with the placement of logs along the stream beside Tuxedo Road. Finally, there was one water leak, which they dutifully repaired.
The Village’s sledge howler contract (waste water management plant) expires on March 31 and Superintendent Voss requested that the Board set a bid opening date for this, further suggesting that they consider having it coincide with the bid opening for the Booth project.
For the benefit of the public, Mayor Guinchard explained that the sledge howler was a something that the Village needed to do annually as part of their regular maintenance at the Waste Water Management Plant.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of setting a bid opening date of March 1 at 2pm.
There followed a brief discussion about the Village’s fuel contract and when it was set to expire. It was agreed that this information would be reviewed in order that any necessary action could be taken in a timely manner.
Superintendent Voss then reported that the previous Friday he and Chief Melchiore had traveled to the RED CROSS where they picked up various disaster preparedness items, which are now being stored in the South Gatehouse. Some items received include 50 cots, blankets, 25 coats and hand warmers. Chief Melchiore added that in the near future the RED CROSS would also be sending the Village a 20-foot trailer loaded with additional disaster supplies. These resources will be shared with the Town of Tuxedo.
The Chief went on to note that online disaster training has begun in the Police Department. He expressed his gratitude to Superintendent Voss and the entire DPW for all of their work in assisting his department with all of this.
Mayor Guinchard further expressed her gratitude to the Superintendent, noting she felt it was important to thank publicly for his assistance during her accident, as the ambulance would not have been able to reach her without his help.
Building and Grounds Report:
A copy of the building and grounds report can be viewed here.
Building Inspector John Ledwith reported that by the end of the week he anticipated that 6 of the 8 license agreements with regard to work on the both the WeeWah and Pond #3 dams would be in place by the end of the week. Additionally, the Village in conjunction with Chiu Yin Hempel and the Tree Advisory Board has filed an application with Trees for Tribs for some plants and shrubs to be used in stabilizing the soil along the WeeWah Lake near the DPW facility. He has also been working with Orange and Rockland on a plan to relocate utility wires that currently run into the Village right at the Front Gate. The wires would be rerouted up the hill across from chase bank to Nursery Road and then back into the Village further up along Tuxedo Road just before the first, big sweeping curve the right. The rerouting of these wires will help to clean up the front entrance and improve the overall aesthetic there.
Proposed plans for the Booth are available for public review at the Village Office. The Board intends to set a bid opening date of March 1 for this project.
Home sales in the Village have been active.
Finally, the Police Department conducted some visits to a few derelict properties, which have become, for all intensive purposes, attractive nuisances. The Building Inspector noted that he would like to discuss this with the Trustees further in an executive session as he believes these particular homes are detracting from the property values around them.
Trustee Guazzoni inquired as to how many telephone poles would be removed as a part of the O & R wire relocation.
The answer was 4.
He further noted that a directional sign for Route 17 had been installed right near the intersection of Park Ave. and Tuxedo Road and he wondered if it might be possible to remove it.
From the audience, Town Board member Michele Lindsay responded that she would inquire about this.
Set Bid Opening Date for Booth Project- The Board voted unanimously in favor of setting a bid opening date of March 1 at 2pm for the booth project.
Project Updates – Wee Wah Resolution – The Board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution authorizing the Mayor to submit a written request to the DEC for the downgrading/reclassification of Pond #3 to from a B to an A. (low hazard) In brief, this reclassification would allow for a reduced inspection schedule which would ultimately save the Village money.
Trustee Guazzoni wondered whether the DEC was considering the Wee Wah and Pond #3 as one body of water.
The answer was no. For a number of reasons, most notably it’s proximity to the railroad; the Wee Wah Dam has recently been reclassified and raised to a C.
Trustee Guazzoni noted that the real estate market in the Village was currently strong, with 30 properties having been sold in the last year and 30 more currently on the market. 20 of the properties sold fetched priced of over 1 million with one exceeding 4.5 million. 10 or 11 of the houses currently on the market have a 2 million dollar price tag attached.
In general, property values are going up and people seem to making return profits on their investments. He believes that the Village is being rewarded for decent management practices in the past year.
Michele Lindsay briefly updated the Board with regard to 4 important Town related issues.
First, the Town Board will hold a public hearing on the updated comprehensive plan Monday January 23 at 7pm. This plan was last updated in 2010. Notable changes include some zoning updates (historically, zoning was not made to comply with the comprehensive plan) as well as various other small “tweeks.” The basic goal, given the financial situation in the town, is to diversify the tax base. Tuxedo Farms will double the amount of housing in the Town and so they are looking to diversify the tax base beyond housing.
Secondly, the Town has been moving towards a community choice aggregation for electricity. The Town will have to pass a local law allowing the company that does aggregation to collect data on usage so that they can put together a proposal for the town with regard to supply prices. At this time, they are looking at residential and commercial entities. The company is signing up several towns and will then negotiate prices. It is an opt-out program, which means anyone can opt out at any time. It is renewable based. The company is called Good Energy. It’s not a huge savings, but is a savings none-the-less. If the Village wanted to proceed with a similar plan, they would need to pass their own law.
Trustee Guazzoni and Mayor Guinchard noted that the Village had also met with them last year.
Next, Mrs. Lindsay reported that the Related Companies are seeking several waivers from the Smart Code the Tuxedo Farms project. Specifically, they would like to allow for Vinyl siding. Additionally, they would like to change the some of the rooflines and are also hoping to move away from fully functional shutters. The Town is looking to put together a workshop meeting to be attended by the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board and Architectural Review Board for the purpose of reviewing and discussing the proposed changes. This meeting will be open to the public. A date has not yet been set.
Finally, with regard to the Pilgrim Pipeline, Mrs. Lindsay reported that under the Pipeline tab on the Town Website there was information regarding a state-wide call in that will be running next week where residents can place a call to Governor Cuomo asking him to put a stop to the project. Click here to access this information.
Mayor Guinchard added that both the Village and the Town had been working hard behind the scenes to combat the pipeline. She further noted that there seemed to be quite a few rumors floating around the community about all of this and she encouraged anyone who might have a question about it to go directly to the source rather than to rely on the rumor mills.
Trustee Guazzoni commented that he had heard that the Quarry Field property was being rezoned for residential and commercial use. He wondered if there was any truth to this.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that the Town owned the property in questions and she believed the intent was to use it for recreation, although they had been considering it as a potential location for a solar field. She does not believe it has been re-zoned but will check.
Audrey Perry commented that there was an old, sign located near the South Gate that reads “Entrance for residents only. All others please use main gate.” The sig is old, dirty and on the wrong side of the road, which makes it difficult to see. She suggested that perhaps if the sign were updated to include some different, more decisive language and then installed on the correct side of the road, it might be more effective in deterring unwanted traffic back there.
Trustee Guazzoni agreed that the sign needed to be replaced and further suggested that there should be two signs, one on either side of the road. He also agreed that the language should be updated and more matter of fact. He has already been working on this. It will be taken care of.
While on the topic of the South Gate, Mayor Guinchard noted that the new long arms had been installed. She inquired as to whether or not the supports would be installed in the near future.
DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss responded that they needed to do some concrete work in order to put them in and that this would be done in the near future.
Meg Vaught inquired as to the status of the new Village website.
She was informed that it was completed and ready to go, although a launch date was not provided.
Finally, Mayor Guinchard noted that the Village was looking to initiate some sort of Police Officer appreciation, similar to what is done by the ambulance corps and the fire department. She has begun conversations with the Chief as to how to appropriately move forward with something like this.
The Board then entered into an Executive Session, after emerging from which they voted on two additional motions.
Authorize Signing of Agreement
A motion was made by Mayor Guinchard, seconded by Deputy Mayor Guazzoni that the Board authorize the Mayor to sign a memorializing agreement with a resident concerning a prior dispute over a utility installation.
Vote of the Board: 4 ayes, 0 nays
The motion was passed by a 4-0 vote
Create Part Time Position
A motion was made by Mayor Guinchard, seconded by Deputy Mayor Guazzoni that the Board authorize the creation of a part time building inspector/code enforcer, if necessary.
Vote of the Board: 3 ayes, 1 nay (McFadden)
The motion was passed by a 3-1 vote.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 18, 2017
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Mayor's Update
a. Announce Grievance Day - February 21, 2017 from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
b. Set Budget Workshop Dates
4. Trustee Liaison Updates
5. Police Report
6. DPW Report
7. Building & Grounds Report
a. Projects Updates
8. Committee Reports
9. Public Comments
10. Approval of Minutes
11. Audit of Claims
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