Village Election Results
Allen Barnett - 81
Maureen Coen - 76
Write-Ins - 8:
Phillip Tavani - 3
Sally Sonne - 1
Gary Pompan - 1
Larry Darby - 1
Susan Goodfellow - 1
Panda Bear - 1
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustees Meeting June 20, 2018
Click here to view the notice.
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Meet the Village Trustee Candidates
Village elections will take place next Tuesday, June 19, from 7am-9pm in the Village Hall. This year there are two candidates running for two open Trustee seats. They are Allen Barnett, (Prudent Planning Party) and Maureen Coen (Namaste Party). In an effort to help the community get to know the candidates a bit better and understand where they sit on key issues, TPFYI asked both to submit brief statements. Here are there unedited responses in the order they were received:
It has been an honor to serve as a Village Trustee for the last year and I am pleased now to be running for a two-year term. I would like to first acknowledge the leadership of Mayor David McFadden and the dedication of my fellow Trustees McHugh, Gluck and Moon. Together we have formed an effective and cohesive Board with whom it has been a pleasure to work. Personally, I have tried to apply my experience as a former Chief Financial Officer to the governance of the Village. There are serious long term issues facing the Village. My primary focus has been and will continue to be on three areas, which I believe if addressed could improve significantly the long-term health and wellbeing of Tuxedo Park
- Creating understandable and transparent Village financial statements;
- Developing a long-term plan for the maintenance of Village infrastructure;
- Instituting professional human resource policies.
First, the Village’s financials need to be transparent and easily understood by the public. This year the Trustees’ focus was ensuring that the operating budget was under control. I am pleased to report that when all of the final bills are accrued, the FY 2018 general fund will be approximately $150,000 (or 3.6%) under budget.
However, to improve the financial management of the Village as well as public oversight, our financials need to be formatted to make them easier to understand. The required New York State financial reporting for Towns and Villages produces reports that are difficult for the general public to understand, interpret, or compare on a year to year basis. This year I intend to develop summary reports that will clearly show the financial condition of the Village and propose, beginning in September, to do consistent quarterly reporting at the Board Meetings.
Second, a key issue facing the Village is the maintenance of its aging infrastructure. This year our efforts have been on addressing deferred maintenance issues in the Water Department. Deputy Mayor McHugh and I identified two areas where proper maintenance had not been performed for a number of years: the Ridge Road water tanks and the two processing filters in the Water Plant. Among other problems, we discovered that one of the plant filters had been off line for well over a year, leaving nothing in reserve. In an emergency that could have left the Village without its water supply. By the end of June, the necessary repairs will have been completed so that we have back-up systems.
I believe that the problem is that there is lack of consistent reporting on how the Village is maintaining its infrastructure. Prior efforts have been made to do long- term planning but, with two-year administrations, these efforts have too often been inconsistent.
This year I propose that we “inventory our infrastructure” and develop a comprehensive long- term plan with priorities and estimated costs for maintenance. This plan would then be reviewed at least semi-annually at public meetings. Appropriate and consistent preventative maintenance is critical to avoid expensive future fixes. I believe having an informed public is also critical; the residents of the Village need to clearly understand the problems and hold future Boards accountable in addressing them.
Third, we need to develop proper human resources practices for the management of Village employees. We have excellent and dedicated employees. However, we are lacking the basics of good human resource management. At the present time, other than the sterile Civil Service descriptions, there are no private sector style job descriptions, performance reviews, or statements of responsibility and authority. Without these, Village employees have faced inconsistent and changing expectations with the continual turn over in the Village Trustees. In the worst case, this can lead to a situation such as the recent action taken against one employee on the basis of allegations, which upon examination by the Board of Trustees, the Village’s auditors, and the New York State Controller’s Office were found to be unsupported.
I propose to enlist some of the Village residents who have experience in human resources to put in place for the non-union employees of the Village appropriate procedures and structure. I believe this will improve the efficiency and productivity of our employees and ensure that we can attract the best employees going forward.
While Maureen Coen and I are running unopposed, it is still important that you vote on June 19th to establish a base of support for our efforts. I sincerely request your support in person or by absentee ballot.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.
Education/Degrees: Juris Doctorate, MBA in Management and BA in Political Science.
Vocation/Employer: I am currently working as a Managing Director for Credit Suisse, a Swiss banking institution, with responsibility for capital and liquidity management in Credit Suisse’s Asia Division. Over my 18 years at the bank, I have held numerous roles, including Treasurer of the Fixed Income Department.
Prior to my current employment, I worked as a Managing Director at Moody’s Investors Service rating various types of structured transactions, and, prior to that position, I was a lawyer in a NYC law firm practicing corporate law.
I am very happy to report that I am retiring from my career on Wall Street in just a few weeks.
Years of residency in Tuxedo: I have lived in Tuxedo since 1998.
Volunteer Work in the Village of Tuxedo Park: For the past 5+ years I have served as a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and I am currently a Governor for The Tuxedo Club. I have also served as a member of the vestry at St. Mary’s for six years and as a trustee for the Tuxedo Park School for eight years. I am currently a Director on a local development corporation for the Town of Tuxedo.
Briefly, why are you running for Village Trustee?
Having lived in Tuxedo Park for twenty years and having served on the boards of many of the institutions in this community, I know and love our special and unique Village—and there are many things to love. What I have learned over the years is that for our community to thrive we have to support and celebrate each other and build upon the great work that has been done to date in making Tuxedo Park an easy, friendly and desired place to live.
Working closely with the Town of Tuxedo to preserve, enhance and enrich our Village today and in the future is a key goal of mine.
I would be honored to serve you as your trustee with these goals at the forefront.
In addition to bringing my legal background and business experience to the Board, I am willing to listen, analyze, work hard and get things done. I strive to be a rational and open-minded advocate for the community.
What are the most important issues currently facing the Village and if elected how would you propose to address them?
Like many municipalities in our area, there are a number of serious issues that continuously have to be addressed. In our case, amongst the most pressing issues are our aging infrastructure, which is well past its useful life, and invasive plants that are rapidly spreading in our lakes and reservoir. We have to address these issues, which could be expensive, while trying to avoid increases in real estate taxes. This means we need to look for opportunities to be more efficient in our current expense base—which is where I would like to focus my attention if I were elected your trustee. Over the last several years, most people that work in banks have become very skilled at expense reduction and optimization.
Among other things, I would focus on looking for opportunities to partner on shared services and explore receiving additional State grants.
The current administration is thoughtful, works well together and is working hard to address these issues. I would be honored to serve with them.
Many thanks to the hard working people behind TPFYI that are dedicated to keeping all of us informed by providing us with unbiased information.
I hope to have your support at the election on June 19th.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
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Notice of Village Board of Trustees Specail Meeting June 7, 2018
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 16, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, May 16 at 7pm. Trustee Moon was absent.
The Village was badly beaten up by the storm on May 15. Mayor McFadden drove around the Village the following morning and witnessed tremendous damage as a result of downed trees. Furthermore, he noted that a majority of the wires that were not brought down during the storm are also covered with trees. “I really don’t know how we are ever going to get out of this,” he stated, adding that he would be
meeting with executives from O & R next week to discuss how to avoid brown outs and black outs moving forward and what can be done to speed up the time between an incident and a recovery. He will report out the results of that meeting as soon as possible.
Next the Mayor announced that moving forward, in lieu of having the DPW, Police and Building Department read their reports during the meeting, these reports would be posted to the Village website. If for any reason this becomes problematic or the residents are unhappy with it, they can always revert to back to the old process of in-person reporting.
To view a copy of the DPW Report, click here.
To view a copy of the Building Report, click here.
To view a copy of the Police Repot for the month of April, click here.
Mayor McFadden inquired as to whether any of the audience members had questions for the police.
Meg Vaught commented that on the morning prior, while waiting for the bus with her children, she had witnessed an SUV with tinted windows and without a Village tag slowly driving through her neighborhood and taking photographs of two houses in particular. When the vehicle did a U-Turn and continued taking photos, she took a photo of the car from behind, capturing its license plate, after which she called the gate to report the incident. The officer on duty explained that he was aware of vehicle and further informed her that the driver was from “some insurance agency” and was there to taking pictures as a method of checking proof of occupancy. Mrs. Vaught thought that this seemed strange and after talking with the police, she contacted both homeowners and let them know about the incident. One of the homeowners subsequently called their insurance company, who had no idea about the incident, and had not sent the driver. Mrs. Vaught wanted to know why such a person would have been allowed into the Village and whether anybody could pull up to the gate, say they were with an insurance company and be allowed access.
Officer Taback agreed that the incident sounded strange but suggested that since the officer on duty had knowledge of the vehicle, that there would be a log detailing the situation. He told Mrs. Vaught that he would look into the situation and follow up with her the next day.
TAB - On behalf of The Tree Advisory Committee, Chair Chiu Yin Hempel provided the Board with a brief report/update on the committee’s efforts over the last several months as well as their plans for the future.
To review a copy of this report, click here.
Financial Report - Commenting that in the past the presentation of Village financials had been very opaque and rarely, if ever, reviewed in monthly meetings, Trustee Barnett drew everyone’s attention to the new financial report. Copies were circulated to audience members. (Click here to view a copy) What the new report is intended to do is to provide residents with a clear idea as to exactly where the Village is spending money. Outlined in the report was the 2018/19 budget, which will go into effect on June 1. The report is organized in an easy to navigate form, consisting of two columns (item and expense) that are grouped into various categories. The idea behind it is to give residents a clear picture of how much is being spent on various items in a clear way that is easy to understand, without having to navigate through the entire line-by-line budget. Moving forward the report will be revised and presented on a quarterly basis along with budget-to-actual comparisons. The hope is that it will make things much easier for residents to understand.
In looking at the Police Personnel expenses, an audience member wanted to know how many part-time and how many full-time police officers were employed by the Village.
The answer was 4-full time officers and 25 part-time.
Trustee McHugh added that in looking at the period of June 1, 2017 through May 16, 2018, the Village was running out of surplus for the year. They estimate that they will come in $170-200,000 below budget. These monies will go into the reserves.
Water Department – Trustee McHugh reported that the work on water filter #2 has been completed and the filter is now up and running. Initial tests showed that TOC levels are lower/better than they have been in the last year. Efforts will now be focused on refurbishing filter #1, the cost of which is anticipated to be roughly $70,000. With regard to the Ridge Road Water Towers, one tank has been entirely refurbished and all holes repaired. They are currently running tests that will allow the Department of Health to sign off on the project and then it will be up and running. It has been refilled to capacity. They will not begin work on the second tank until the fall when water consumption tapers off.
The Wee Wah Dam/Pond #3 – Pond #3 has been drained over the last 10 days and water levels have stabilized at a lower level, where they will be kept for the next 2-3 weeks while they repoint and refurbish the northern side of the dam. There are also two 30 foot pipes, 24 inches in diameter that need to be plugged with cement before the engineer can sign off and the project presented to the DEC for approval. The Wee Wah dam is 86% complete. There is a problematic knife gate valve that may need to be taken out and sent back to the manufacturer. Additionally, some of the stones for the auxiliary spillway, which were cut up in Massachusetts, are the wrong color and the Village has refused to accept them because they are non-conforming with the approved design. They are currently in dispute with the construction company with regard to this. The Village has provided them with a “work-around solution” and they are waiting to hear whether or not it will be accepted and what will ultimately happen. This situation has created an additional delay. In framing out the expenditures, Trustee McHugh explained that the bond issuance for the project was 3.65 million. Thanks to the grant writer, the Village received $100,000 in funding and then there were prior residual bond issuances to the tune of $183,000. The total dollar spend was roughly $3,918,000. To date, the Village has spent just under $3.1 million with the construction company. The project was supposed to be at a point of substantial completion in December of 2017, but as a result of this not occurring, significant engineering costs have been incurred in terms of oversight, totaling $393,000. The total engineering bill with CHA for the project is currently just under 1 million. Things have gotten a little contentious with the construction company in terms of the timing on refilling the lakes. Substantial completion has now been delayed several times. Trustee McHugh added that the Village wants to ensure that they end up with a finished product that they can be proud of and if this is at the expense of not filling the lake right away, “so be it” because having the project completed in the right way will ultimately be their collective legacy.
Trustee Gluck added that the engineers had been very helpful and instrumental in keeping the project on track to the maximum extent possible given the issues with the construction company.
Mayor McFadden added that although the Village had clearly spent a lot of money on these projects, the amount that they had saved because of the hard work and dedication of the Trustees could and should also be counted. He thanked them all for their strong efforts.
Sue Heywood commented that when she awoke that morning she had no power, no cable and no internet, so she used her cell phone to call the police at the front gate, but there was no answer. She then got into her car and went down to there and was told by the officer on duty that the department was also without power and telephone. Mrs. Heywood wondered why they did not have a backup system. She further noted that she lived alone and expressed concern that should she have a health issue in a situation like this, there would be no way of contacting anyone.
Mayor McFadden agreed with Mrs. Heywood, further commenting that one of the issues they faced was that there was only one provider of internet serving the entire Town and when there was a failure, everyone was impacted.
Mrs. Heywood questioned the lack of telephone service.
The Mayor responded that the department phones had been working.
Mrs. Heywood asserted that nobody had answered when she called.
Mayor McFadden suggested that perhaps the officer had been on another line, and asked Sgt. Taback to comment.
The Sgt. responded that the department did have three phone lines and that they also had also had a generator to provide back-up power.
Again, Mrs. Heywood noted that when she had traveled down to the station she had been told that the department was without telephone.
“I apologize that he said that,” responded Sgt. Taback. “They absolutely did.” He assured Mrs. Heywood that he would look into the situation and follow up with her the next day.
Mrs. Heywood added that she felt very vulnerable living alone in situations like these and Sgt, Taback responded that he understood and that this was why he checked up on her every time there was a major storm.
Trustee McHugh reiterated that the police telephone system was not internet based. The fact that the phone was not answered when Mrs. Heywood called is a separate issue and the Sgt. will look into it.
“So if I fall down the stairs in a situation like this,” countered Mrs. Heywood, “I have no hope of getting any assistance?”
“That is not necessarily the case, Ma’am,” replied Sgt. Taback. “Unfortunately, every time the power goes out, 400 people call the police station. We have 3 lines and 1 officer on duty. Typically, calls go through. I apologize that yours did not go through. I am going to look into it and will follow up with you.” He further suggested that in case of emergency, Mrs. Heywood should call 911, which would alert not only their department but the State Police and the County Sheriff as well.
Mayor McFadden concurred.
Bryna Pomp wondered whether the mayor could provide an update on the resolution of the power situation.
Mayor McFadden responded that no time frame had been provided. Again, he mentioned that he would be meeting with O & R executives the following week to discuss storm response time among other things, but in the meantime, trucks were currently in the Village although no estimate has been provided as to when they might have the issues resolved.
Mrs. Heywood wondered what the specific problem was.
The Mayor responded that there were roughly 10 large trees that had come down on wires in various locations around the Village. Tuxedo Park was not the only area that was badly hit by the storm and O & R is shorthanded and unprepared to handle to scope of work ahead of them. “You would think that they would have back-up departments and companies that would loan them men and trucks,” he continued. “Our DPW has been working very hard to clear the roads, but when live wires are down it is a different story. These were significant trees that fell. O & R is in the Park now so it is just a matter of when they can get it done. I hope it is soon.”
Mrs. Heywood wondered whether the entire Park was out.
Building Inspector John Ledwith responded that the south end appeared to have power as well as part of Mountain Farm Road. He further stated that he had taken part in a phone conference with the Officer of Emergency Management earlier that day. Unfortunately, O & R had not been able to provide any time estimates for restoration, although they assured everyone that crews were actively working.
Mrs. Pomp noted that she had noticed that the gate arm at the South Gate had been left open.
The Mayor replied that he had spoken to the officer in charge the night before who had informed him that initially there was no power to operate it. The decision was made to keep the gate open and they had placed a second officer on duty and increased patrols to compensate.
Moving on, Mrs. Pomp noted that earlier that week she had sent Mr. Ledwith a note regarding a very unsightly and overgrown property near to where she is living that is invested with invasive species that are known to harbor white-footed mice, which are loaded with ticks. She wondered what could be done about properties such as this.
Mayor McFadden responded that the Village had all of the appropriate codes in place to cover property maintenance issues such as this. Tickets can be issued. That being said, he recognized that there were probably issues in varying degrees on a large number of Village properties. When complaints are made, the inspector takes a look and if warranted, enforces the law. On another note, the Mayor informed Mrs. Pomp that the foxes she had been complaining about were not rabid.
Mr. Pomp wanted to know if it was just one fox they had been seeing or many.
“There are a whole bunch,” responded the Mayor.
Sgt. Taback interjected that the police had shot two earlier in the week that were rabid.
This was met by a gasp from the crowd and Trustee Barnett wanted to know how they had determined that the animals were rabid.
“Typically when they are out during the day and rolling around with foam coming out of their mouth, it is an indication that they are rabid,” replied Sgt. Taback.
Mrs. Vaught commented that at the Trustee meeting the month prior, Dena Steele had read aloud a blurb describing the foxes and clearly noting that their presence during the day did not mean they were rabid.
Sgt. Taback reiterated that the animals had been rolling around on the ground with foam coming out of their mouths.
Getting back to the original comment regarding derelict properties, Trustee McHugh informed Mrs. Pomp that the Building Inspector had been working with the Village attorney to craft language for property owners whose properties were severely delinquent that the Village intended to “go after,” and one of them is the property located near the Pomps.
Mrs. Hempel noted that there was a particular invasive on the property that needs to treated with herbicide because when cut, it multiplies. She feels that it is important that whoever does the final cleanup is aware of this.
“Oh I am so glad. It looks awful,” responded Mrs. Pomp.
With regard to the stonework on the Wee Wah dam, Tom Salierno wondered whether the discolored stone had been intended for the lake side of dam.
The Mayor responded that it was the circular piece at the top on the lake side and that it would be in one of the most visible spots. He further encouraged Mr. Salierno to go and take a look at it, suggesting that he would easily be able to understand why it had been rejected. “We tried so many different way to make it work,” he continued “but we finally had to reject it.”
Before moving on to new business, Mayor McFadden noted that the Village had recently made an arrangement with the Town of Tuxedo to relocate all of the road salt from the DPW facility to another facility on the other side of Warwick Brook Road.
Telephone Extension for Court Clerk – Trustee Barnett explained that currently, the telephone calls for the court clerk were coming in on the main Village lines and this ultimately detracts from the amount of the time that the Village staff can spend doing their own work. Therefore, they have proposed that a separate extension be added for the court clerk, who will then be responsible for calling to retrieve the messages. Following minimal discussion, this was approved unanimously by the Board.
Repaint South Gate House – John Ledwith reported that there is a fair amount of work that needs to be done at the south gatehouse. The roof needs to be replaced. They have collected some estimates but would like to fine-tune these a bit as they are “a little bit steep.” They have also collected three estimates for repainting the exterior of building. Following some discussion it was agreed, at the recommendation of Trustee McHugh that they would go with the middle estimate as this particular contractor has experience working in the Village and is known for their excellent work. Trustee McHugh added that there was a new tenant living there and the Village would be netting $8-9,000 a year from this, which would free up some funding to invest in maintenance of the structure. The Board then voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with the painting at an amount not to exceed $6,000.
License Plate Reader – The Village is working towards upgrading both gates and part of this involves installing license plate readers. They met with two different vendors and have chosen the more cost effective option with half of the cost to be funded out of this years budget and the other half next year. This will result in a dollar spend of $28,080 this year. The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead with the purchase.
Authorize Bidding for Chipper – The DPW is in need of a wood chipper to assist in clearing the roads and limiting the amount of material they need to move around. They have put together a set of generic specs and would like to set a bid opening date so that they can move ahead with the purchase. Funding will come from the generous donation that was made to the Village by the late Alex Salm. The Board voted unanimously in favor of moving ahead and a bid opening date of June 12 at 2pm was set.
Levy Unpaid Water Bills to June Village Tax Bills – The Board voted unanimously in favor of levying unpaid Village water bills to June 2018 tax bills.
Tuxedo Club Fireworks Request – Following a brief discussion regarding payment of overtime police and insurance, the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Tuxedo Club’s fireworks request for July 3 at 9:30pm.
Approve Renewal of Village General Liability Insurance - Trustee McHugh noted that there were “a couple of people” who were in the insurance business living in the Village and the feedback last year when the Village removed Terrorist Insurance had been that given the nominal fee, it had been a foolhardy decision. The Terrorist insurance coverage adds $1,400 to the overall cost of the policy. Trustee McHugh recommended they reinstate it. Following minimal discussion, the Board agreed that this would be a good idea. Trustee Gluck further suggested that the Village had not shopped this policy around in a number of years and that they might consider doing so next year. The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the renewal of the Liability Insurance at a premium cost of $74,879, of which $19,000 will come the water fund. Additional they approved the additional purchase of Terrorism Insurance at a cost of $1,390 for the year.
Appoint Part Time Police Officer –The Chief is recommending that the Board appoint Brian Benjamin as a part time officer in the Village. As per protocol, and interview has been scheduled with Trustee Moon. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the appointment.
Trustee McHugh inquired as to whether the Village was at capacity for part-time officers.
Sgt. Taback responded that they had been approved for 25 and with that evening’s appointment they were at 24. They will be returning next month with one more, which will bring them to capacity.
Approve AE Diving Contract – Trustee McHugh explained that this contract would cover vacuum harvesting of the Eurasian Water Milfoil. They will be coming for 30 days at a rate of $1,500 per day. The contract has been reviewed by the Village Attorney and is awaiting a signature from AE. The Village is still waiting for feedback from both Solitude Lakes Management and the Village Lakes Committee in terms of the best way to make use of the services this year.
Mrs. Heywood inquired as to when they would be starting their work.
The answer was Monday.
Mrs. Heywood responded that she and Jim Hays had recently ridden around the lake on a boat to see whether or not the milfoil had begun developing and it has not. Although it will definitely be coming, they believe the water is still too cold at this time.
Trustee McHugh responded that they could easily delay the harvesting and push it back a couple of weeks if necessary.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to execute the contract.
Approve Solitude Contracts – Trustee Gluck explained that the Village has in place contracts with Solitude both for general consulting services and for the application of Copper Sulfate if needed and herbicides if requested to all three lakes. These contracts allow for ongoing analysis over time as well as services when requested. The contracts were originally executed in February, but never formally approved. Therefore, the Board will merely be ratifying contracts, which have already been signed. The Board voted unanimously in favor of this action.
Mrs. Heywood wondered whether anything had been determined with regard to using herbicides.
The answer was no.
Mrs. Heywood then reported that she had called Greenwood Lake, where Solitude has been employed since 2014, and had discovered that they were using herbicides there “big time.”
Mayor McFadden added that there was also information available online with regard to a herbicide project on the Croton Watershed. He then reiterated that there has been no decision made with regard to the use of chemicals or herbicides in any of the lakes.
As a caveat to that, Trustee McHugh disclosed that they had permitted on both Pond #3 and the Wee Wah for Cutrine Plus to treat harmful algae blooms should the evolve. Permitting has also been secured in case they decide they want to chemically treat the milfoil in either of those lakes. This being said, he further noted that the window that would allow for this was decreasing dramatically as a result of the delay in the completion of the dam, so the likelihood of it happening is greatly diminished and “exceedingly remote” as the water levels will not be high enough.
Approve CHA EWA #9 – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving an extension of oversight/engineering services from CHA from May 21 to June 15 (which is when they hope to see substantial completion on the dam project) for a sum not to exceed $29,500.
Mrs. Vaught inquired as to whether or not the Village would be able to bill the construction company for any of the additional oversight expenses they have incurred as a result of all the delays.
The answer was Yes. The contract specifies a substantial completion date and clearly states that if work is not completed by that time the penalty is $2000 per day. Once the project has been completed, the Village will pursue this recourse.
Approve Truck Financing – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the DPW purchase of a 2019 Ford F50 dump truck with plow on New York State bid in the amount of $55,200.63. The truck will be financed for 5 years at 4.47%.
Wee Wah Beach Club Request – Trustee Gluck noted that another victim in the delay of the dam’s progress is the swim season at the Beach Club. There is substantial uncertainty as to when the project will be sufficiently completed so that the lake level can rise again, and in light of this the Beach Club is asking the Village Board to consider allowing them to have a series of single day events (Father’s Day, 4th of July, Annual Family Camp-out) for which they would be able to purchase and provide insurance for the day (without swimming.)
This was briefly discussed. Beach Club Board Chair Bonny Takeuchi explained that the Club was planning to offer free membership to the 2016/2017 members for these events with any guests to be paid for upon arrival. There will be no new members accepted this year. The club views this as a way to retain a presence so that next year, when the water level is back up and the diving board has been reinstalled, folks will want to join. Ultimately it was determined that the requested would be granted conditional upon the substantial completion of the dam, which would allow for traffic to flow in both directions to and from the beach.
Ellen Gluck wondered whether Alex Salm had been formally recognized for his generous donation to the Village.
The answer was not yet, but they intend to do so once the first piece of equipment has been received.
Trustee Barnett congratulated Meg Vaught on her election to the Board of Education the day prior. This was met by a round of applause from the audience.
use from the audience.
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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting May 16, 2018
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 18, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees met on April 18, 2018 at 7pm. All members were present.
Mayor McFadden began by stating that he wanted to reiterate that he was in full support of rebuilding the traffic booth. They had hoped to complete the project last November, with the majority of the Board behind the project, however they received an estimate of $200,000 from the engineer, which put things on hold. The Mayor is aware that some of the Board members are not supportive of the project and so he felt it would be prudent to poll the Board publicly, putting their comments on the record, so they would know where everyone stood and would then be able to make an appropriate plan for moving forward. His goal is to apply for some sort of loan from the bank that would cover the cost of the project. He is also aware of a citizens’ movement to raise money for the Booth and to date there has been one $50,000 anonymous pledge.
Trustee Barnett commented that he felt that the booth was both a symbolic and unifying aspect of Tuxedo Park and he would like to see it replaced. He has three concerns. The first has to do with safety. Due to safety concerns, the current plan calls for all stationary, bulletproof windows, which he feels would spoil the intimacy and the personal connection that previously existed. Secondly, he wonders whether or not the Police Department is agreeable to having a booth. Finally, there is a question of financing. There has been a lot of discussion regarding whether or not the project should be financed all at once or over time. His preference would be to pay for the project over time with borrowing, which would hopefully be reduced by donations and contributions from residents.
Trustee Gluck stated that he felt it was “a little too amorphous” at the moment. There exists the concept for a booth. He likes coming home and being greeted personally, by name. He does not have any confidence that this kind of experience would be repeated with the current configuration of the booth as proposed. There exists a number, $200,000, but he does not know what this number does. He does not know how the project would be funded or what the financing terms would be. He feels it would be better if they had something a little bit more concrete in terms of a feasibility study or statement that would indicate what they would be pursuing. Financing is difficult. Municipalities cannot just go out and get loans, they have to do a bond and these can be difficult and very expensive. All of these things need to be sketched out and looked at in comparison to other alternatives. Once that has been done, they will be able to have a meaningful discussion.
Mayor McFadden inquired as to what Trustee Gluck felt some of the alternatives might be.
Trustee Gluck responded that one alternative would be doing nothing. He feels things have improved dramatically both entering and leaving the Village. Another alternative would be an island with use of technology. A third alternative is a different configuration, which involves routing traffic around the Keep in another direction.
Trustee Moon stated that he had been in favor of what he called “the drive through ATM” or an island with technology. Intuitively he feels this would be less expensive and also safer for the police. However, the results of the resident survey showed that the people favored having a manned booth at a ratio of 3:1. “I’m just a Trustee. I’m here to protect assets and help people. If the people wanted a manned booth, that’s fine. I’m glad to support that.” He went on to say that he was greatly concerned about the cost of the project. “We don’t have any extra money people.” This is a bad budget year. Next year’s budget might be lighter as there are several single-year expense items in the 2018/19 budget that probably will not exist in later budgets, however if there were to be private funds put towards the project this would be the best solution in his view. A manned booth seems to be what the people want and this would satisfy the Village’s budgetary constraints.
Trustee McHugh commented that he had always felt that the booth survey had been fundamentally flawed because there had been no costs associated with it. “Asking people what they would like without a dollar cost associated with it seems a bit irresponsible.” He feels that a fundamental change took place when the gate guards were dismissed and replaced by police officers. He believes there needs to be a dialogue about bringing back the gate guards and not using the officers if they are going to move ahead with a manned booth, which he personally is not in favor of. He thinks that technology can solve a lot of the existing issues and they are presently doing several things in this regard. For example, they are installing more cameras near The Keep and improving the intercom system. These things do not preclude a booth, but what they are trying to do is to enhance the service element without bankrupting the Village, which he feels is the most prudent thing to do. When he looks at the litany of things that the Village has to deal with, the booth is low on the list. They are looking at a tax re-assessment, I & I obligations that have been deferred from previous budgets, significant water losses and a pumping station that is working at 85% capacity, issues in the Lakes and recent correspondence from residents suggest that nobody is interested in a tax increase. Something has to give and in looking at the list of issues the Village faces, he feels that the booth should not be at the top.
Mayor McFadden thanked the Trustees for their comments and indicated that the Board would be discussing the issue further in the future.
Next, the Mayor commented that earlier in the week the Village had been contacted by the folks who were working on an arrangement with TPS to bring students down to the Racetrack for an educational session and tree planting in celebration of Arbor Day on April 18. There was a discussion regarding insurance and indemnification. Mayor McFadden felt strongly that parents of the participating students should be given a form to sign because of the tick problem in the racetrack. He did not feel that the indemnifications that were in place were not sufficient. “We do not want to mess with ticks!” Referencing a 42 million dollar lawsuit made by a woman who went to Hotchkiss and received a debilitating tick bite while on a fieldtrip, the Mayor stated that he had offered TPS an alternative to the original plan, which involved closing one of the roadways to traffic in order to allow students to stand outside the racetrack for their lesson. In the meantime, he reached out to the Headmaster, who was in agreement and had already devised some alternatives for the students.
Finally, the Mayor reported that the Board was in receipt of a fair number of letters from residents asking them not to go above the tax cap and not to pass the legislation, which would allow them to do so. He felt that all the letters were very good and he agrees with many of them. Several authors cited the fact that many other municipalities stay within the cap however, according to Mayor McFadden; many of these same municipalities do pass the legislation in case they do end up needing to exceed the cap. He assured Residents that passing the legislation does not mean that the Board intends to exceed the cap. They took a very conservative approach to the budget with a line-by-line analysis. They analyzed both the DPW and police budgets, requesting revisions and reductions from both departments. Responsible cuts were made to the general budget, but they did not mess with the comptroller’s essential rules and regulations as they relate to reserves and things of that nature so that the Village retains the proper amount of reserves in order to maintain the proper accreditations. In fact, the Village just received an upgrade in its’ financial status from the comptrollers office. “We tried to put everything in there without kicking anything down the road and I believe that we have a very thoughtful budget and we don’t need any incentive to come in below the cap. We are very confident in the work that we have done. We had a very productive public hearing on Monday with excellent questions.” He does not feel that passing the legislation will put them on the road towards “slipping down a slippery slope,” and therefore they are still intending to present it.
Public Hearing For Local Law Intro D3 of 2018:
Click here to listen to an audio recording of this hearing.
The public hearing for Local Law Introductory D3 of 2018 was continued to Friday, April 27 at 8am.
Public Hearing For 2018-19 Tentative Budget:
Click here to listen to an audio recording of this hearing.
The public hearing for the 2018-19 budget was closed. Written comments will be accepted through Friday, April 20.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of March:
Non-Criminal Offenses – 380
Criminal Offenses – 2
Motor Vehicle Accidents (property damage only) – 2
Traffic Tickets Issued – 7
Warning Tickets Issued – 6
Fire Alarms – 5
Intrusion Alarms – 3
Assisted from other Police Agencies – 3
Resident Vehicle Tags Issued – 892 (YTD)
Non- Resident Vehicle Tags Issued – 297 (YTD)
Miles Patrolled – 2,596
Additionally, approximately 1,300 per day enter the Village via the Front Gate.
The Department met with Trustee McHugh along with a representative from a license plate reader organization. The Department’s proposal is to install readers at both the Front and Back gates. The readers would provide an accurate count of vehicles coming into the Village, while collecting plate numbers. The department will then be able to tell if the plates are suspended or revoked, etc. Additionally, resident plates can be programed into the readers, as can those of any individuals who might not be allowed entry. The numbers go into both State-wide and Nation-wide databases, where they can be checked for criminal activity, and the Department of Motor Vehicles also has access to them. This would be a major security enhancement for the Village. A proposal from the company is expected soon and once it has been received, the Department will present it to the Trustees.
Trustee McHugh added that the functionality of the readers would allow them to program the gate arm to automatically lift for resident plates. This might not be beneficial at the Front Gate, where there is a single line of traffic, but would make a difference at the Back Gate. “The technology is there if we want to do the dollar spend,” he added.
As DPW Superintendent Jeff Voss was not present, no report was given.
Building Department Report:
As John Ledwith was not present, Trustee McHugh provided an over-view of the Building Department report, which can be reviewed by clicking here.
Wee Wah Dam – The project is at 85% completion. Work is beginning on the curved wall of the auxiliary spillway. This portion of the work has proven to be a bit contentious with the contractor, who originally estimated that the repairs would cost $120,000. After roughly 3 months of “acrimonious meetings” the Village has opted to “go with time and materials on that” and the work is proceeding. In terms of expectations, the DEC visited and assessed the site and with the exception of cracks in the floor of the auxiliary spillway, they are pleased with the work. The Village will either need to do a chemical grout injection or repoint sections of the floor in order to address the cracks. Significant completion on the project is expected anytime from May 10 – May 18. This means that the DEC will come back and assess before signing off on the structural rigidity of the dam, which will allow the Village to begin putting water back into the Wee Wah. Assuming average precipitation rates it should take 20-40 days to refill the lake. On top of this, the Village will need to drain Pond #3 4-5 feet in order to repoint the dam wall between that lake and the Wee Wah. This work will be delayed until significant completion of the Wee Wah dam at which point the water from Pond #3 will be moved into the Wee Wah, helping it fill up faster.
In an effort to put a little clarification on the discrepancy of $120K+ that is being argued by the contractor, Mayor McFadden wondered if the issue could bring work on the project to a halt.
The answer was no. The Village attempted a global settlement, which has not progressed terribly well. They then decided to move forward with time and materials given where the project stood in terms of the scope of work.
Given the risk assessment, the Mayor wondered whether Trustee McHugh felt the Village could be moving towards litigation.
Trustee McHugh responded that while the Village would not welcome such a lawsuit, they felt very confident in their position on all the issues and he believes that the contracting document supports their stance.
Trustee Gluck added that in terms of filling up the Wee Wah, they are anticipating a level of 492 feet, which is much higher then the Village has seen in many years. To put this into context, two summers ago (which is the last time there was swimming permitted in the lake) the level was at 486 feet, and it is currently at 481. All of the time estimates that have been provided for when the lake will fill are subject to normal rainfall patterns and deviations there of. “It’s cutting it pretty close in terms of a high level swim season,” he commented, adding that there was a degree of comfort that given normal rainfall there would be at 486 feet by the end of May, which again was where it was two summers ago.
Trustee McHugh stated that the contracting work with the engineer firm would be ending on April 30 and an additional work authorization would need to be approved in order to allow them to work through May 18. This will cost $24,500.
Mayor McFadden wondered where this would fit into the contingency and Trustee McHugh responded that it was still within. To date, just over half of the $250,000 contingency has gone to engineering expenses. The problem at hand is that while the engineer can recommend to the contractor how the work should be done, they cannot dictate this, and the contractor has not kept on schedule.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the additional work (engineering expenses and project management) at a cost of $24,500.
Risk Assessment/Summary Review of Village Litigation – Village Attorney Brian Nugent provided the Trustees with a review of litigation that is not covered by the Village insurance carrier. Sean Madden brought an article 78 against the Village concerning denial of FOIL requests in June of 2017. This included a declaration that the Village had violated FOIL and direction that they comply with the request. Additionally, Mr. Madden requested that former Trustee Guazzoni cease using his personal e-mail server and a few other items. The Village moved to dismiss the petition in December of 2017. In January of 2018, Mr. Madden filed a cross-motion to disqualify Feerick Lynch MacCartney from representing the Village. On April 2 the judge issued a decision dismissing the Madden petition in all respects and denying the cross-motion. Typically, the next step would be an appeal, or things may just rest where they are.
Earlier this year the former Mayor, Mary Jo Guinchard, and her husband brought an Article 78 against the Village arising from a small claims assessment review. This was a SCAR proceeding. Challenging this, on April 6 the Village submitted a motion to dismiss. There was opposition received from the Guinchards, to which the Village replied on April 11. Everything has been fully submitted and the Village awaits a decision.
Finally, there was an action brought by Rob Zgonena and former Trustee, Claudio Guazzoni against the Village. This was a summons and complaint filed by their attorney, which claimed that Mayor McFadden had signed a consultant agreement with John Ledwith without Board authorization. When the complaint was first received, in an effort to avoid further litigation, Mr. Nugent sent a letter to the opposing attorney because there was a public meeting and certified resolution at which the signing of the agreement was authorized. A copy of the certified resolution was also sent. There has been little to no communication from the opposing attorney since. An adjournment allowing them to confer with the Board was requested but they did not receive a response. Therefore, they filed a motion on behalf of the Village to get the adjournment and this was granted. The judge also imposed a $100 penalty for not granting the adjournment in the first place. Following this, a motion was filed on April for dismissal. A copy of the resolution was provided, including an affidavit from Trustee Gluck, who made the resolution at the meeting and was present when it was passed. The return date is April 27. Opposition papers are expected by April 20, after which the Village will have an opportunity to reply before the matter is fully submitted. Mr. Nugent fully expects the entire issue to be dismissed as there is “no issue to even litigate.”
In closing, Mr. Nugent added that while there are certain strategy issues and things that are for Attorney/Client privilege, everything he had just been disclosed concerned public documents which had been filed with the courts and were available to everyone.
Code Red – Mayor McFadden reported that while the Code Red system had been run by the Board in years prior, he had decided to turn it over to the police because he felt they were the proper authority to be running it. However there were two Code Reds recently that he feels were more subjective. He has spoken with the Sergeant and these types of calls will not be happening again.
Mary Graetzer commented that she had been unable to attend the Solitude Lake’s Management presentation the week before, but she has read Dena Steele’s “excellent” report on TPFYI and had listened to a recording of the meeting and felt the need to come down and make a very short and simplistic statement. In reviewing the meeting notes one word kept rising to the top for her and that was “reservoir.” It really concerns her that anyone is considering putting chemicals into the reservoir and messing with the drinking water when there has not been any long term study to show what the effect on humans might be. “I just came down here to plead with you,” she commented, “please don’t screw with our drinking water.”
Trustee Moon responded that he had spoken to Susan Goodfellow about this issue and he feels that there has not been enough discourse about putting chemicals into Tuxedo Lake. There needs to be more study and more discussion.
The Mayor, and Trustee Gluck agreed with these sentiments.
With regard to the milfoil in Tuxedo Lake, Rikus Vanderlee inquired as to whether there existed any evidence that the hand pulling by divers was actually working.
Mayor McFadden responded that there were metrics. The Board has an analysis done by Solitude Lakes Management that provides an overall scope of the issue and details where the weeds are located and whether they are intermingled with other types of growth. Last season they focused their efforts on clearing the areas closest to the two major boat launches on Tuxedo Lake as disturbance in these areas churns up a lot of seeds which in turn causes the weed to spread. There were good results from this. Moving forward, they will be asking the divers to provide estimates as to how many pounds a day per diver are removed. He went on to say that Solitude has also completed follow-up testing of the areas where pulling has taken place so that they can determine how successful the effort has truly been. “It’s not an exact science. Anyone will tell you that it can grow back. You’ve got to get the crown and so on and so forth. As you know, we have such a devastating problem.”
Trustee McHugh commented that they had received a presentation from Solitude, which suggested that the vacuum harvesting is not working and is a waste of money. “They (Solitude) have a very strong opinion and I think the general sense is that nobody in this audience, and nobody on this Board is leaning towards doing anything that they are recommending with regard to our drinking water. We are looking for alternative opinions and a second opinion to see what we get and see what alternative options there are.” He likened it to receiving bad news from a physician, noting that when this happens, frequently second opinions are sought. “We would be happy to spend $10,000, and I think it would be $10,000 well spent, getting a second opinion which either gives us comfort or it gives us prospective, and then we can figure out a course of action.”
Mr. Vanderlee responded that he knew very little about it, but he felt there had to be others who had solved this problem.
Mayor McFadden responded that indeed there were and that there were many options from dredging, to harvesting, to attempts to freeze to chemicals. The studies have been done to determine where the weeds are and what their density is in various locations. Now it is a matter of getting a second opinion and determining how to proceed. “Solitude Lakes Management feel that the horse has left the barn because it has grown so significantly from a small saturation to a major saturation.” They are suggesting that chemical treatments on an every-other-year basis over the course of 2-3 years will get the job done. They feel this would not be harmful to the drinking water. “We will not be making any move other than harvesting on the lake this year. We have time to get these second opinions and try to line up a long-term lake plan for next year.” He went on to add that the Trustees had been receiving terrific input from the Lakes Committee, headed up by Jim Hays, and that he was confident that they would be able to come up with a solid plan. There is an issue of expense. Harvesting is quite costly. They will be monitoring the Wee Wah closely, as there was a freeze while the water level was drawn down and they want to know if this had any effect on recurring growth in that lake. They are also considering doing a test of 6 acres using the chemicals in Pond #3 to see whether or not it is effective. For now, they plan to retain a harvesting strategy in Tuxedo Lake again focusing on the two main launch area “because the more you churn the more you spread.” They are also consider implementing further boating restrictions to keep folks out of areas where the milfoil exists in high concentration, such as near the Dam, the Regna House and at the south end of the lake. They are also considering requiring boaters to carry nets for the purpose of removing floating fragments, which can actually be very effective. Additionally they are looking to give the Building Department and DPW the authority to remove other invasive plants growing along the shoreline. One other thing that has been strongly recommended to them is to begin creating berms and vegetative barriers along lake front properties to catch run-off and prevent erosion. There are some residents who are agreeably moving in this direction, while there are others who have completely stripped their properties.
Dena Steele commented that there had been many reports of residents encountering red foxes during the daytime as of late. Red foxes frequently come out during the day. This does not in anyway suggest that they are rabid or that there is anything the matter with them. She read aloud from “The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife,” which explained the often brazen behavior of these animals in relation to humans. Simply put, they are out in the day because they feel comfortable in their environment and they do not pose a threat.
As a follow up to her report about placing ads in the Photo News for open Board positions in Town the month prior, Michele Lindsay reported that there had been a great response, resulting in 10 great applicants. She encouraged residents to remain informed and follow the process as it moves forward. She suggested that what could happen was that all areas of the Town could have representation on the Boards. Currently, there is only one person from the Park and one person from Northern Tuxedo serving on the municipal Boards. Noting that there had been some obvious concern expressed that evening with regard to the future of the Village, she further encouraged residents from the Park to come to the Town Board meetings and inform themselves with regard to what is happening there as this could be helpful.
Mayor McFadden suggested it would be great if residents from the Town attended the Village meetings as well.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that she wasn’t sure that residents from the Town knew they were welcome at Village meetings.
Meg Vaught pointed out that legally The Village was a part of the Town, but the Town was not a part of the Village. This was met by murmurs of agreement from the audience.
Mrs. Lindsay next commented that as liaison to the school, she had attended the school Board budget workshops and felt that they had been extremely easy to follow and open. She feels the school Board is to be commended for really trying to do the best they can under the circumstances. They are also interviewing educational consultants in an effort to make the best decisions in terms of how to move forward.
Mayor McFadden then asked Mrs. Vaught if she was still on the school board. Her answer was yes. He asked her if she was running again and she responded that she was. “You have my support,” he stated.
“Thank you,” replied Mrs. Vaught.
EAF & Lead Agency Status – Local Law Introductory D1 and D2 of 2018:
Mr. Nugent indicated that some of the SEQRA documents had not gone out while the public hearings were open. He advised that the Board re-open the hearings and pass a resolution declaring lead agency status for the Village on both laws. The hearing would remain open until the next meeting, which would provide the public with time to review the documents if they want. The Board can then close the hearing and vote on the laws. The Board was in agreement and this was subsequently done.
Snow Plows – As reported last month, there was some damage to private property as a result of plowing. The Village has since collected all the information and is in the process of establishing a repair strategy.
Mrs. Vaught noted that her next-door neighbor, who was frequently not in residence, had experienced significant damage to a stonewall along Ridge Road. She wondered if this had been included in the plan, as she was not sure anyone had been home to report it. It was determined that it had not been noted to date, but the Mayor assured Mrs. Vaught that they would take a look and add it to the plan.
Mr. Vanderlee wondered why the plow drivers who made these errors in first place were not responsible for reporting them. He does not feel it should be the responsibility of the homeowner to report the damage inflicted upon them to the Village in order to have them repaired.
The Mayor agreed, adding that they had requested that moving forward the DPW keep a log showing which drivers were in which parts of the Village during each time period. The Village will be making the necessary repairs. They plan to notify their insurance company to see if any of the work can be covered that way.
Trustee McHugh added that plowing was a tough job and that everyone had expectations with regard to wanting the narrow roads cleared.
Discuss Police computer/printer – There are two computers, one dead and one failing, in the Police department that need to replaced. In the process, they are hoping to obtain a wireless printer as well, which will allow the department to communicate with other agencies. Total cost is expected to be under $2,500. Currently there is no money left in the police budget to cover this so they would need to find money elsewhere and transfer it over.
Debbie Matthews suggested that the Police had not used up all of their uniform allowance and that the funding could come from there.
Chief Melchiore suggested that the uniform and cleaning allowances were contractual and could not be used. He further commented that there was some money available in the current budget but he would not know exactly how much until next month.
The purchase of the computers and printer was then unanimously approved and it was agreed that this would be temporarily allocated to line item 2131-5, until they could get a more accurate picture as to where the funds would come from.
Town of Tuxedo Recreation Request – As in previous years, the Town of Tuxedo is requesting use of the Wee Wah Beach Club in connection with their summer recreation program. They have sent a request letter and as per the Village’s existing agreement with the Beach Club, the request must be approved by both the Club and the Village. The process has been reorganized and streamlined a bit this year in that technically speaking, the Recreation Department will be contracting directly with the Beach Club and agreeing to follow their rules and regulations. The Beach Club will be responsible for overseeing this process. They will provide the required insurance certificate.
Trustee McHugh commented that he was not “too enthralled” about allowing kayaking on the Wee Wah given the extent of the milfoil issue. Closing off the swimming area was one thing but unfettered access to the entire lake was another. Secondly, he wondered how they would know what the Beach Club would do with the $4,800 paid to them by the Recreation Department. What is the accountability process there?
Trustee Gluck responded that the Beach Club annually provides a closing budget and a statement of how they expend their funds. He would expect that the $4,800 would go into their operating budget and they spend it as reported later in the year. He does not believe that there is a requirement that they have an advanced statement of their proposed budget before the season.
Trustee McHugh wondered when they could expect to see the Beach Club budget.
Trustee Gluck replied that they annually provided a statement of expenditures at the end of each season. With respect to Trustee McHugh’s first concern, Trustee Gluck commented that he felt both the Beach Club and the Town should be made aware of the situation with the water levels and uncertainties regarding milfoil. At the present time the lake has been lowered and there is no milfoil issue. If a situation develops it is within the Village’s jurisdiction to place whatever restrictions they feel might be appropriate on boating.
There followed a lengthy discussion with regard to the process of steam cleaning boats before they enter the Village Lakes, past, present and future. The Mayor is proposes that moving forward, the Village initiate a logging system in order to keep track of those boats that have been cleaned.
The Board then voted in favor of approving the Town’s request with Trustee Barnett abstaining.
Announce –Bulk Trash Pick Up Day – Saturday, May 19 beginning at 8:00am:
Bulk trash pick up day in the Village will occur on May 19. All items must be curbside by 8am.
Award Bid on DPW Surplus Dump Truck – The Board voted unanimously in favor of awarding the sole bid received for the DPW surplus 2018 dump truck to A Better Deal Inc. (Dover, NJ) in the amount of $10,001, with payment to be made to the Village via a certified check.
Resolution – Westin & Sampson Proposal for I & I – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the proposal from Westin & Sampson for engineering services relevant to the Village sewer and wastewater infrastructure, improving planning on an as-needed on-call basis for time and expenses at the rates, terms and conditions as specified in the provided schedule.
Trustee McHugh added that this was a function of the Village having been deficient during the current fiscal year. The previous engineer was meant to take it on, but did not and in light of this, the Village felt it prudent to go back and bring themselves up to speed with Westin & Sampson who did the initial proposals and RFIs.
This is purely a fact finding mission to determine where the Village is, what still needs to be done and what the best course of action will be. Then they will go out to bid. These are consulted fees associated with that.
Resolution – Purchase of Wood Chipper as Approved by the Executer of the Salm Estate – The Board voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a wood chipper as approved by the executer of the Salm Estate. The wood chipper will be stored at the DPW facility and the Village is hoping to use the wood trips to enhance trails throughout the Village.
Resolution – Appoint Election Inspectors for June 19 Village Election – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Jay Bonnell and Kurt Haug as voting machine operators, Desiree Hickey and Diane Sanford as table inspectors and Jean Hung as alternative table inspector at the rate of $225 for the day, which is 6am-9:30pm.
Resolution – Invasive Species- Trustee Gluck explained that the resolution at hand would direct the Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer to work with Village property owners with respect to developing a plan to mitigate fragmites. Fragmites is an invasive species that looks a lot like cattails. It appears in two spots on the reservoir and there is also a patch of it by the Wee Wah. It can grow 20-30% per year and is much easier caught and dealt with earlier than later.
The Mayor inquired as to whether the mitigation costs would be at the expense of the Village or the property owners, given that the fragmites in question is growing on the shorelines and the Village owns the lakes.
Trustee Gluck responded that he believed that the expense would be to the property owner up to the shoreline of the lake.
Following some further discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.
Discuss Purchase & Financing of New Dump Truck – Trustee McHugh noted that the purchase would be subject to the close and receipt of funds on the sale of the surplus truck. The Board then voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a 2019 Ford F550XL with regular cab 4X4DRW 145WB60CA in green gem and a price of $55,263. Financing to be determined.
Discuss 2019-2019 Cooper Arias Contract Renewal (Village Accountant)- The Board voted unanimously in favor of renewing the contract with Cooper Arias. Everyone has been thrilled with their work and it is the collective belief of the Board that they are a good value in terms of cost.
Commissioner and Board of Commissioners – The Mayor appointed himself as Village Police Commissioner.
Following up on comments made earlier by Michele Lindsay, Meg Vaught reported that that this year’s school budget has been reduced by nearly 5%. Additionally, the Board has agreed to give almost $400,000 back to the taxpayers over the course of the next 7 years. The reason the money will be returned over a 7 year period is because the annual tax cap is determined based on the prior year’s budget. Therefore, if they returned the money in one lump sum, they could wind up with not enough funding in the following year.
The Mayor responded that this was terrific news and thanked Mrs. Vaught for her hard work.
Also thanking Mrs. Vaught for her work, Trustee Moon inquired about the educational consultants.
Mrs. Vaught explained that the Board had interviewed a total of 3 consultants the week prior and were expecting to make a determination the following night at their regular meeting.
Trustee Moon wondered whether the consultant had been charged with creating a strategic plan.
Mrs. Vaught replied that the BOE had been approached by community members, who were concerned about the future of the high school and its viability moving forward. The community group had suggested that the BOE split the cost of a study with the Town of Tuxedo, however the BOE ultimately decided to assume the responsibility themselves. An RFP was subsequently put together, tasking companies with analyzing the current program and costs there-of in comparison with those in the surrounding districts and to present various options for the district moving forward in terms what would the best way to educate children in the community. It asks for current comparisons but also takes into account the proposed development and asks for projections based on that development both in terms of enrollment as well as tax dollars and home values for the next 10-15 years if possible. The results of the study along with the options and recommendations presented will hopefully provide the BOE with a strong foundation for a strategic plan. The RFP is available online for review on both the school’s website and TPFYI.
Mayor McFadden inquired whether the BOE felt the size of the school was inhibiting home sales in the community.
Mrs. Vaught responded that speaking for herself only, she felt it depended on the way in which the school was being presented to prospective buyers. It is an extremely small school, but the program is very strong. This year’s graduating class has already been accepted into over 65 colleges and universities, many of which are ranked in the top 100 nationally. State test scores are rising each year and the Elementary school has the highest scores in Orange County. There are people who are looking for small schools and are coming into the community for this program.
Trustee Moon added that just this year his son had received a $125,000 scholarship to Rensselaer Poly Tech. Although there was some turmoil in the school immediately following the departure of Greenwood Lake, he feels it has rebounded and that the academics have always been strong.
The Mayor agreed, commenting that both of his sons had attended.
Mrs. Vaught encouraged everyone to come and educate themselves first hand by attending meetings rather than believing the multitude of rumors and false information that tends to fly around the community via email each year at budget/election time.
Trustee McHugh inquired as to where the BOE had found the $400,000 to give back over 5 years and also where the 5% savings in this year’s budget had come from.
Mrs. Vaught responded that the $400,000 was the result of expenditures having been overstated in previous budgets. Of the total overstated amount, $400,000 will be returned to the taxpayers. Another portion will be put into the District reserves, bringing them up to 4%, as advised by comptroller in order to ensure strong economic health. The Board is looking to put an additional $350,000 into two different reserve funds (Repair & Capital Projects) to help them address a plethora of Capital projects that need to be done, such as roof and boiler replacement and repairs to the front steps at the high school. These reserves must be established by proposition and the intent is to put the propositions on the ballot in May. Once the propositions have been approved, the BOE must seek further voter approval before they can actually use the funds in the reserves to for a capital project. The 5% reduction comes mainly from the elimination of debt service in this year’s budget as well as efforts to restructure some things and cut back on some employee hours.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether the debt service would return in subsequent budgets and the answer was yes, the debt will be worked back into the budget gradually over time.
Trustee McHugh wondered if there was any assumption with regard to revenue coming from Related in the budget.
The answer was no. Mrs. Vaught further indicated that Mr. Dance seemed “pretty staunch” in his position with regard to the high school and she personally did not feel that he had any intention of budging on the issue, much less remitting payment to the District once the building began.
Trustee Gluck wondered if there were anything formal or informal that sets out the different view on the cost per student and what the numerator and denominator should be.
Mrs. Vaught responded that there were State generated numbers online and that she would be happy to share these with the Trustees via email as a follow up. While she personally believes the numbers are still somewhat high (roughly $18,000 per student) as a result of the lower enrollment, they are nowhere near the $56-$58,000 range that has been quoted recently both in community emails and the Times Herald Record.
Trustee Moon added that New York Law requires a medical safety net for students with disabilities and that this is very expensive. “It’s not just education,” he stated, adding that less than 25% of the school budget was discretionary.
Moving on, Mayor McFadden noted that before closing the meeting he wanted to briefly address the sewer, which he thinks they might want to consider for the upcoming tax year. He had previously suggested establishing a sewer district, but upon further research discovered that a Village could not do a sewer district. However, a Village can establish an assessment of who pays what portion of the costs and then allocate the costs accordingly.
Mr. Nugent added that moving to a unit-based user type of system would provide several benefits. One of these relates to the tax cap calculation because those funds would not count towards the calculation and this might give them some more room.
Mayor McFadden asked Village Clerk Debbie Matthews what the overall cost of the system was, which was ultimately split equally between the property owners.
Mrs. Matthews answered that if debt payments were included, the figure would come to somewhere between $350-400,000. This represents operating expenses and salaries and it accounts for roughly 8% of the total budget. The debt comes from a direct loan the Village took to construct the sewer plant.
Commenting that the Village would not be able to make any sort of profit off the move, the Mayor asked the Trustees to think about this as they moved forward into the next year.
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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting April 18, 2018
Click here to view the agenda for this meeting
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Special Village Board of Trustees Meeting/Public Hearing on Tentative 2018/19 Village Budget, April 16, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Monday, April 16, for the purpose of conducting public hearings for Local Law Introductory D3 of 2018 and the Tentative 2018/19 Budget. Trustee Moon was absent.
Public Hearing - Local Law Introductory D3 of 2018 (Tax Cap Override):
While the Tentative budget remains just under cap, the Board recognizes tha,t as a result of public input they may wish to add some additional items. For this reason, they are proposing Local Law Introductory D3 of 2018, which will allow them to raise taxes above cap if necessary.
Click here to listen to an audio recording of the hearing.
Public Hearing -2018-2019 Tentative Budget:
Click here to view a copy of the tentative budget.
Click here to listen to an audio recording of the hearing.
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Solitude Lake Management (SLM) presentation, By Glenn Sullivan, Certified Lake Manager “Tuxedo Lakes; Village of Tuxedo Park, April 11, 2018
Mayor David McFadden introduced Mr. Sullivan who began that he was there “to talk about lakes… about what he saw as problems”. Using a powerpoint presentation, Mr. Sullivan started with a brief description of the three Village lakes’ watershed covering 8.24 square miles. 2/3rds of the 8.24 square miles is feeding the Wee Wah so greater impacts from watershed are felt in that lake.
Mr. Sullivan described the SLM process:
· - Identify problem, he noted as a lake manager, he focuses “in lake” and not on the watershed. He sees the lakes’ major problems are algae and Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM). Tuxedo Park needs to address EWM and algae
· - Review data/info-CSLAP, SLM, Phydro
· - Discuss options focusing on plant and algae situation
· - Review recommendation.
In answer to Dena Steele’s question of how he defined “a real blue-green algae problem” Mr. Sullivan responded that blue-green algae blooming in summer at the height of warmest weather was problematic; an every year algae bloom in the fall was normal in a deep lake like Tuxedo Lake.
A Wee Wah Lake Bathymetry map was presented. Bathymetry maps for Tuxedo Lake and Pond No. 3 are needed .
Wishing to avoid a political discussion, Mr. Sullivan noted that a warming trend encourages algae growth, and that more algae can be expected in the future. Also contributing to favorable conditions for algae growth in Tuxedo Lake is the nutrient load, “whatever that is,” permanently at bottom of Tuxedo Lake .
Claudio Guazzoni asked why nearby Sterling Lake does not have blue-green algae blooms or EWM. Mr. Sullivan was not familiar with situation in Sterling Lake, noting simply that EWM has to be introduced. Many factors contribute to algae blooms.
Mr. Guazzoni questioned the impact of salt from roads on the Village lakes. Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that road salt does change lakes’ chemistry and can have an impact.
He felt there might be some lawn fertilizer runoff contributing to Tuxedo Lake nutrient load, however, he suspects that most of the nutrient is “internally loaded”.
Jeff Marchand asked about the impact of fish population. Mr. Sullivan described the fish as part of the food chain and explained how the fish imbalance contributes to non effective grazing of photoplankton. Photoplankton is eaten by zooplankton which in turn is eaten by small fish which in turn are eaten by larger fish. Inadequate or inappropriate fish populations contribute to algae bloom.
Susan Goodfellow asked about the impact of accumulating levels of CuSu (Copper Sulfate) on fish populations. CuSu is a heavy metal and does not biodegrade, leeching into soil. Mr. Sullivan’s impression is that the little amount of CuSu used in Tuxedo Lake would not increase soil levels. CuSu could be impacting oxygen levels through the decay of biomass though he does not suspect that is happening in Tuxedo Lake.
Mr. Sullivan outlined the “problems that the Village wants to address:
· - Tuxedo Lake
- Algae blooms (the mid summer ones)
· - Little Wee Wah Lake (Pond No.3)
- Algae blooms (plankton and mat algae)
· - Wee Wah Lake
- Algae blooms?
- Swimming conditions
Mr. Sullivan repeatedly stressed “unmanaged EWM negatively affects water quality.” When EWM grows to surface and is allowed to develop into mats, water movement stops, resulting in warming water, creating attractive substrata for algae growth and worsening water conditions.
Turning to a review of Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) data, Mr. Sullivan was not aware that all three lakes were part of Tuxedo Park’s CSLAP program and not just Tuxedo Lake. Presenting 2016 and some 2017 CSLAP sampling results (full 2017 results are not yet available) for Tuxedo Lake SLM’s concerns are:
- Clarity—below average, particularly in July
- Total phosphorus—above average, up in July, increasing productivity
- Total nitrogen—above average, up in July
- Chlorophyll A—above average up in summer, spiking in July.
Ms. Steele pointed out that the CSLAP Results for 2016 started in July after one of the worst algae blooms that she had seen in almost thirty years of observing Tuxedo Lake had occurred the month prior. The bloom looked like blue latex paint. Both nitrogen and Chlorophyll A were above average in July, probably reflecting the earlier significant algae bloom.
None of the results addressed salinity, observed Ms. Steele, an increasing concern for promoting blue-green algae blooms. She wondered if the Village was monitoring salinity levels as research is showing alarming increases in freshwater lakes. Mr. Sullivan responded that they were not directly ,monitoring other things not included in his summary of results. Questioned about trends in salinity levels, SLM will look at 2017 CSLAP results for salinity level trends and comment later.
Mr. Guazzoni questioned the dramatic increase in phosphorus. Mr. Sullivan noted that algae growth will increase phosphorus levels. When algae dies, phosphorus levels should go down.
Presenting charts on Tuxedo Lake: secchi depth, plants perception, and temperature, years 2008-2016., Mr. Sullivan explained that trends are all going in the wrong direction: decreasing clarity, rising water temperature, and greater impairment from below and at surface plants. Bottom lake temperatures experienced a sharp increase and this could be a real concern.
Carlyn Cappella asked about when the monitoring the lakes had first begun, which Mr. Sullivan suspected started with the CSLAP effort.
Next, Mr. Sullivan presented maps of plants in Tuxedo Lake and the maps from 2011 and 2017 showing the spread of EWM. He described the methodology using a weed rake at 140 sites to understanding lake plant communities. Tuxedo Lake has native water celery, excellent for wildlife, southern naiad, and bass weed, best fish habitat. Tuxedo Lake does not have a lot of native plant coverage in littoral zone (where sunlight still reaches lake bottom). The continued spread of EWM could crowd out what modest native plant distribution is existing in Tuxedo Lake.
Mr. Guazzoni asked about planting native plants and Mr. Sullivan responded that only eelweed has been successful.
Highest density of EWM is at the dam and south end of lake, David McFadden asked why. The flow of lake water towards dam and high organic material at south end of lake might explain high densities. Mr. McFadden asked if other lakes were infested with Tuxedo Lake EWM fragments, flowing into Pond No. 3 and Wee Wah. Mr. Sullivan answered, “Sure.”
He warned of the continued spread of EWM around the whole lake through annual natural ragmentation, but not knowing exactly the littoral zone of Tuxedo Lake he could not be sure of how bad it could be.
Length of EWM plants depends on clarity so in Tuxedo Lake could grow to 15-20’, creating its own advantage by clarifying the water
Mr. Sullivan did not elucidate about the impact of road salt. Chiu Yin Hempel asked the impact of erosion along shoreline and why some areas were more receptive to EWM. Mr. Sullivan felt organic material accumulating at the south end of the lake and littoral zone would contribute to a favorable EWM habitat. He has not looked at the shoreline.
Mr. Sullivan reviewed three methods of plant control:
· - Physical
- Mechanical Harvesting
- Suction/hand harvesting
- Benthic barriers, low tech approach, cost prohibitive $20,000 to cover an acre, will “sediment” over if not maintain properly, nothing grows underneath, best for personal dock area.
Mr. Sullivan explained that “harvesting” spreads Milfoil through creation of fragments, so most physical methods were not recommended especially if the infested area is greater then five acres. Mr. Sullivan dismissed the DASH methodology of harvesting which focuses on capturing fragments through not hand feeding the plant into the vacuum and triple filtering the water.
Ms. Steele questioned the SLM’s opinion of harvesting reading from a Paul Smith College study, “Cost and Effectiveness of Hand Harvesting to Control the EWM Population in Upper Saranac Lake, NY:
“Results indicate that hand harvesting is a viable management technique for achieving whole-lake control of Eurasion watermilfoil; …” “…Hand harvesting has been used successfully in Lake George…”
Ms. Steele pointed out that the people working on Upper Saranac Lake had found hand harvesting to be so effective in getting on top of the EWM that they are using it now in Fish Creek. She did not understand Mr. Sullivan’s opinion. He suggested she ask how much of Lake George was being managed and who was paying for it. He further suggested that the government was paying for it and not homeowners in most cases. He estimated a cost of $5,000 to $10,000 an acre and looking at Tuxedo Lake’s map, he did not think hand/suction harvesting was an acceptable management tool. Tuxedo Park has already spent $184,000 on EWM removal which “did not get us anywhere”. Ms. Steele suggested that perhaps the Village had not been aggressive and dedicated in its harvesting approach. Upper Saranac Lake had an aggressive three year plan, raising money through a foundation to achieve an acceptable level of EWM that could be maintained by continued hand harvesting at a reasonable cost (now at $90 an acre). Upper Saranac Lake recognized that the best that could be hoped for was achieving an acceptable maintenance level since EWM could never be fully eliminated once introduced, maintaining for perpetuity unless chemicals are applied every year. Mr. Sullivan said Ms. Steele should look into the details to see what he was talking about to which she responded she had already looked into the details.
Mrs. Goodfellow questioned how the Village had applied the funds used in the harvesting effort, whether there had been a consistent program in place and how effectively was it implemented. Mr. Sullivan did not respond.
· - Biological
- Grass carp, eat milfoil after eating natives and not easily approved by NYS DEC except for small ponds
- Herbivores, insects which feed on EWM, sometimes suppress EWM, not a reliable management tool
When asked about intentionally drawing down the lake to dry and freeze plants, Mr. Sullivan responded that to have any success of delaying growth and suppressing EWM six weeks of contentious freezing temperatures are needed. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of the necessary prolonged cold to freeze the lake bottom and kill the plants. EWM roots are in the top two- three inches of lake bottom.
Jim Hays asked how one could tell if EWM had been killed and Mr. Sullivan thought that one could dig up and check, but he was not sure. He has seen delays in EWM sprouting in spring after an intentional drawdown but never an elimination. Shoreline ecology is negatively impacted by drawdown.
Asked about torching exposed weeds, Mr. Sullivan did not know results and guessed the NYS DEC would not approve burning . Ellen Gluck asked about weeding EWM out of lake after a drawdown. Mr. Sullivan thought this could be done with a huge effort because of the thousands of individual plants. Mr. Libby asked whether the Village was going to monitor the Wee Wah after the recent drawdown. Mr. Sullivan agreed that the current level of the Wee Wah provides a test case and should be surveyed.
Mr. Sullivan queried cost of hand harvesting but gave no comparison of alternative methods costs for five-ten years of management.
Greg Libby asked about growth cycle and wondered whether EWM was growing now. Mr. Sullivan responded that it was and that one could see the EWM plant dormant but not dead even under ice.
Mr. Sullivan reviewed timing and negatives of using herbicides for plant control:
- best in Spring, early summer
- Uptake highest during growth
- Less biomass decay
- More available dissolved oxygen, colder water temperatures hold more oxygen
· - Negatives—ecological and lake use
- Plant decay uses oxygen—SLM test first
- Less plants = more algae-sometimes in eutrophic lakes (Tuxedo Lake is trending to a eutrophic state though not enough of a nutrient load to shift)
- Plant removal changes where the fish can be found
- Herbicides have irrigation restrictions
- NYSDEC Region 3 restricts swimming for a day
- NYSDEC has obstructive permit requirements
- NYSDEC requires notices based on dilution (downstream impacts)
Mr. Hays asked whether these herbicides biodegrade and what is their lifetime. They do biodegrade and their half lives vary from a week to three months. Mrs. Goodfellow asked if the herbicides can sink to bottom or get flushed out.The answer was that some flows out, but a majority stays in lake and is absorbed by plants. Some will fall to bottom and decompose. Herbicides have different breakdowns.
Mr. Sullivan was confident of the efforts of the NYS DEC to review all herbicides after EPA approval, and while not prepared to guarantee the water quality after treatment felt the Village should rely on the expertise and diligence of the NYS DEC.
Mr. Sullivan presented herbicides for plant control:
· - Sonar, can use in drinking water reservoir, says so on label, a common product for EWM, last for two to three years, breaks down plants ability to protect itself from sunlight, slow process
· - Aquathol K, needs to be 1200’ from drinking water intake
· - Navigate
· - Rodeo
· - Renovate, and Navigate make plant “outgrow its food”, selective to broadleaf plants
· - Komeen/Nautique, Cu based, good for six weeks
· - ProcellaCOR EC, newest, registered in most states, not NY, lowest toxicity , very selective in killing plants, will stay where you put it.
“All of the above are used in NY lakes with permits. All of the above can be used in potable water reservoirs.”
Asked about spraying plants after a drawdown of lake, Mr. Sullivan said this would not be effective as plants would not be active and absorbing the herbicides when they were not under water.
Christopher Gow asked what Croton Reservoir was using for hydrilla infestation. SONAR was expected to be used.
Dolores Marchand asked about Rodeo and Renovate and the troubling discoveries after years of related Roundup use. How long have these products been studied? SONAR has been used since 1983 and application rates have been decreased. All these herbicides have to have an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which the public can read. Mr. Sullivan indicated that Rodeo does not have the hard surfactants that make Roundup dangerous in water.
Mr. Guazzoni asked about water filters removing chemicals and application of herbicide. Activated carbon filters are usually needed to remove for most chemicals. Liquid herbicides are sprayed on surfaces or injected into water through drop hoses. Granular herbicides are distributed by a spreader. He does not recommend night application or application on a windy day.
Mr. Libby asked about tenting which Mr. Sullivan felt was effective in small areas.
Mrs. Hempel asked about effectiveness of herbicides: will the EWM come back?
Mr. Sullivan rhetorically asked if herbicides were a silver bullet. “No,” he said, “ too many variables for a silver bullet to exist.” Most lakes who manage EWM do so over time:
· - Year one-apply SONAR, EWM gone
· - Year two-still gone
· - Year three-starts to come back
· - Year fourth-retreat with SONAR
Mr. Hays asked if maintenance can be done by pulling. Areas with circulation will experience faster regrowth. Some clients do try to reach a level where hand harvest is adequate. Herbicide treatment does require follow-up.
Mr. Sullivan does believe that herbicide use had better control days results then other methods, i.e., one day of application “have control of invasive”.
Mr. Sullivan reviewed algae control methods:
· - Algaecides
- Copper sulfate (no permit)
- Earthtec (no permit) more expensive then Cu based algaecides
- Other copper algaecide
- SeClear algaecide, binds with phosphorus and sinks to bottom, probable ALUM sulfate and does not release
- Greenclean algaecide, peroxide based, preventative proactive algaecide, weekly application suggested, need permit, 10x more expensive then CuSu
- Sonic solutions
· - Aeration, both below surface for deeper bodies of water and above for small shallow ponds (3 to 6’), lack of oxygen at bottom of lake encourages release of nutrients promoting algae growth
· - Nutrient Inactivation, use of Alumium sulfate
· - Biomanipulation
Mrs. Goodfellow asked about the NYS DEC rationale for requiring CuSu sediment sampling. Mr. Sullivan said NYS DEC responded to one employee expressing concerns about the build up of Cu in sediment. Plus research ,though not in NY , is showing higher Cu in sediment which can effect microvertebrates and zooplankton.
Mrs. Goodfellow asked about SeClear, which has not been forthcoming about their formulations and also about other herbicides. Mr. Sullivan responded that one would always know the active ingredient but EIS is based only on formulation.
Mrs. Hempel asked about the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) process after Mr. Sullivan suggested reading for comfort on impact of different herbicides. He said an EIS was a large body of evidence, a lot of EIS are done by Washington University.
Mr. Sullivan, without a bathmthymetry map showing the exact contours of Tuxedo Lake, was unsure of EWM infestation (15 acres or not) or size of littoral zone (could be 50 acres).
Mr. Libby asked about cost per acre of herbicide application. SONAR (and all herbicides) pricings can range from $250 to $1500 an acre depending on the individual project.
SONAR does not have drinking water restrictions. Navigate has a weeklong restriction.
Mr. Hays asked about the relationship of development around lakes and algae blooms. Vacationing in the Adirondacks for a lifetime he has not seen an algae blooms in the Adirondacks. He acknowledged that trees are everywhere, no lawns, and forested shorefronts are required by the Adirondack Park Agency. Doesn’t algae have to be related to development? Mr. Sullivan acknowledged development is a factor. At the recent Governor Cuomo launch of the Harmful Algae Bloom initiative, episodic events (an example is rain water funneled into a storm water system that picks up chemicals from roads, yards, roofs and empties into waterbodies instead of being absorbed into a forest floor or slowed down and absorbed by long grasses) were recognized as becoming more common and having a greater impact. Development increases those episodic events. Speaking only to the low density of housing in Tuxedo Park but not how the handling of stormwater was changed, Mr. Sullivan suggested that the Park’s low housing density is a big plus.
Ms. Steele said if the Park were to be created today, Tuxedo Lake would not have houses around it with increasingly more lawns running down to the lake but rather a chain link fence with a large vegetative buffer surrounding it. Tuxedo Park’s accessible reservoir is unusual and is one reason why the Village is so protective of its lakes. “We, the residents of Tuxedo Park, are protecting the lakes, not the NYS DEC.”
Ms. Steele also asked about the cost of the Wee Wah aeration, initial and maintenance. (See below for answer.)
Nutrient inactivatio is the addition of aluminum sulfate to bind with phosphorus,stopping release into water body.
Ms. Steele asked about the chemistry of the Village lakes, existing and with the addition of more chemicals through herbicides. How do they know what is going on chemically in the lakes now (road salt, goose poop, etc), how do they know how these new chemicals (herbicides) will impact the chemistry and how do they monitor? Mr. Sullivan stated that the Village water department is watching now, testing, He has seen reports that show a process to take the harmful things out of the water before they reach the residents. CSLAP is looking as well. Ms. Steele expressed her concerns that a lot was going on chemically in the lakes and that perhaps they are not fully aware of: studies showing increasing salinity in freshwater bodies, Princeton Hydro at a recent PRISM workshop noting that CuSu treatments could actually be encouraging blue-green algae. She continued that the Village’s drinking water reservoir does not have the normal protections (vegetative buffers, chain link fences, etc) so the community has to be more protective. Mr. Sullivan responded that he could only make recommendations but he could not make the Village manage the lake. If the Village decides to let the lake go… Ms. Steele said she was not proposing that at all. She does not want to see decisions made without a full understanding of the nature of the lake. Mr. Sullivan feels that the Village has a pretty good picture. He thinks that the (2009) Princeton-Hydro report was pretty thorough and provided a good overview of the situation. One of his recommendations is to continue CSLAP, which he feels is a very valuable tool.
Mr. Libby reviewed the usually budget driven fish stocking, which has been occurring since the Park’s creation, and wondered whether the Village had been doing it wrong. He asked if the Village should be directly harvesting the herring. Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that he is not a fishery biologist and believes stocking trout makes sense in keeping herring population down. He did not know if harvesting would be beneficial, not having a fishery survey to go on. In years past, fishery studies had been recommended. The Village could hire SLM to do a fish study or the Village could just monitor and consciously document what the fishing community is catching. The information would be valuable. He could not say whether harvesting herring or stocking trout was better. Nevertheless, he is suggesting that the Village stock trout for another year.
Ms. Steele pointed out that when asked about biomanipulation (specifically stocking of Tuxedo Lake and the effects ) in April of 2014, Chris Doyle of Allied Biological (a predecessor company of SLM) recommended that before undertaking any sort of biomanipulation, the Village should conduct more studies, especially a fish study. Also, at the same time, the NYS DEC wrote in reference to blue-green algae blooms in Tuxedo Lake “ Theoretically, it is possible that an ecological link between the fish populations in the lake and the algae blooms MAY exist”. Ms. Steele queried about the benefit of a fish study before more money was spent on stocking the lake. Mrs. Goodfellow also felt a better understanding of the fish population would make subsequent actions of the Village more effective.
2018 Plans/ Mr. Sullivan’s recommendation:
· - Make suction harvesting very targeted, to save money for a better method next year.
· - Continued use of Algaecide CuSu of control algae- based on low cost, no permit needed in drinking water reservoir,. Would rather the Village use SeClear but more expensive
· Regularly monitor phytoplankton June to September at least every other week, not waiting until DPW becomes concerned and sends sample to SLM, samples would cost $150 and would evaluate the likelihood of an algae bloom.
· - Survey/map plants at end of season and be prepared for action in 2019
Mrs. Gluck asked about managing phragmites, sooner as opposed to later. Mr. Sullivan stated that phragmites would only increase 10-20% in a year and he did not want to overwhelm the community with another herbicide application. Mrs. Gluck suggested plastic tarp covering phragmites. Mr. Sullivan said cutting down, removing biomass and covering would treat for a season but he would not promise eradication.
Mr. Guazzoni asked what experience SLM had with artificial lakes. 95% of SLM clients are manmade.
Pond No, 3
· - Herbicide with Navigate (granular 2, 4-D) to control EWM in half of the surface area (5-6 acres) as a “test case” so the community could become comfortable with use of herbicides. Navigate will not harm native plant. From what he saw last year a couple of times , the pond needs EWM control.
· - Apply Algaecid eCutrine Plus (liquid chelated copper to control filamentous algae)
· - Permits from DEC before an application (permit has been applied for. NYS DEC contacting residents on or near Pond No. 3) to allow flexibility in proceeding.
· - Survey lake before and after EWM treatment. Expect results in 6 to 8 weeks.
Mr. Sullivan feels that the Village should have a “no surprise” herbicide experience. No better way to manage EWM.
There will be no need to notify folks downstream as the area to be treated is less then 7 acres. 7 acres or more of treatment would require downstream notification. Mr. Sullivan deliberately structured his recommendation to avoid additional notifications. Tuxedo Park lakes are part of the Ramapo River watershed.
When asked by Ms. Steele about EWM fragments continuing to enter and re-infesting Pond No. 3, Mr. Sullivan suggested incoming water from Tuxedo Lake should be filtered to catch fragments.
Audrey Perry asked about the absence of pine trees along Tuxedo Lake which in former years dropped a carpet of pine needles in lake not leaves, wondering whether the Village should take down deciduous trees. Mr. Sullivan said it would be worse as the trees provide cooling shade in the shallowest part of the lake. He is not sure if the Village needs more trees.
Wee Wah Lake
· - Survey lake to assess plant growth and impact of drawdown
· - Village should monitor algae growth by observations and pass on to SLM
· - Install aeration a beach area, one compressor and 3 diffusers, $7,000 to install $500 to 1,000 annual maintenance and plus electricity
· - Plan to control for 2019
Long-term Strategy for EWM & HABs (harmful algae blooms)
· - Use systemic herbicides purposefully for 2 years. Mr. Sullivan emphasized the need to be more aggressive upfront and suggested three years of herbicide treatmentfor best results.
· - Encourage native plants—bass weed, eelgrass
· - DO NOT harvest plants or lower lake annually (creates a different lake eco system and weather unreliable)
· - Nutrient reduction actions
· - Increase community education/awareness
· - Increase plankton monitoring
· - Treat pro-actively (Earthtec, SeClear)
· - Maintain water treatment facility
· - Manage fisheries
Referencing the use of suction and hand harvesting in the Adirondacks, Mr. Sullivan suggested that the lake associations were not spending their own money and physical harvesting created jobs in the Adirondacks. He mentioned the use of herbicides as opposed to hand harvesting in Minerva Lake.
Mrs. Goodfellow asked why Adirondacks continues to use harvesting methods and relevant current research. Mr. Sullivan responded that he is not a research person but has years of experience on which to base his decision. Mr. Sullivan is confident that the herbicides are well tested by EPA providing a level of confidence. Nancy Hays asked, “if this was the old EPA or the new EPA?”
He feels there is not enough financial incentive for herbicide companies to cheat with aquatic plant herbicides.
.Mrs. Hempel recommended SLM walk around lake to see shoreline vegetation and stressed the need for a plan, specifically a three year plan addressing preventative measures not just treating symptoms. Mr. Sullivan responded that prevention is too late for EWM, but there are prevention methods for algae.
Ms. Steele who recently spoke to a town council person, David Labar, in Minerva, read from her notes of the conversation,
“ starting in 2016, Minerva hired Aqualogic to DASH harvest (EWM) and it was a ‘game changer’…tackling the most dense areas, feeder beds…By 2020 they hope to be in a maintenance mode..” Mr. Sullivan asked about cost which was a $1,000 a day.
SLM highlights steps in Princeton Hydro 2009 Lakes Management Plan
· - Phytoplankton/Zooplankton monitoring
· - Fishery survey
· - Educational information for residents
Pond No. 3
· - Bathymetric survey
· - Stormwater retrofits, Mr. Sullivan observed that the Village should annually clean retrofits for maximum protection of lakes, otherwise a waste of original investment
Wee Wah Lake
· - Treat with Greenclean Pro, as needed
· -InsItall beach aeration
· - Conduct bathymetric survey-done
· - Address stormwater mgmt. at DPW yard
· - Install salt storage facility
· - Streambank buffers Mr. Sullivan’s opinion of the good condition of the buffers was corrected; according to audience, the buffers are actually in poor condition
· - Phosphorus free fertilizer ordinance -already done by Village
· - Education on Canada geese
Mr. Hays asked about vegetative buffers along lake which Mr. Sullivan thought was a good idea. Lawns to the water are generally bad. Some type of buffer is an absolute benefit.
Diane Larsen asked about application of lime on lawns to deter geese. Mr. Sullivan did not know about lime. He is familiar with a grape based substance which if consistently applied discourages geese who do not like taste.
Mr. Sullivan presented summaries of three comparables, two residential communities and one corporate headquarter. None of the lakes were drinking water reservoirs, but all were manmade. At the corporate headquarters, a 6-10 foot shoreline aquascaping has proved effective in deterring geese. He will provide photographs.
Comparable: Borough of Scenic Lakes and Distinctive homes” (Borough Mountain Lakes) has weekly monitoring April through September of multiple lakes, ranging in size from half an acre to 80 acres and three dates in summer to test water quality and phytoplankton. The other residential comp, “Community of Forested Lakes” had monthly lake surveys and summer biweekly phytoplankton testing in all five lakes and have been controlling EWM, other weeds and algae for 25 years. Both residential comps had storm-water management activities including redirecting storm-water away from main lake.
There were no reservoir comparables as any SLM reservoir clients are only treating algae not EWM.
Mr. Libby asked if SONAR were to be used on Tuxedo Lake should the Village recommend bypassing the lake for water during application process. Mr. Sullivan responded that If SONAR were to be used, he would be completely comfortable using the water supply. If the Village were using Aquathol K there would have to be drinking water restrictions. Mrs. Goodfellow asked if he was so comfortable with SONAR, would SLM guarantee our reservoir water quality and resident health?
Mr. Gow asked about preventing new invasives from coming in lakes. Mr. Sullivan felt that not having a public boat launch and the Park steam cleaning were effective preventative methods. No other private lake requires steam cleaning. Perhaps signage at the boat launch would be helpful. The Village could also inspect once a year for invasives. SLM would charge $4,000 for this service, or the Village could do it themselves. Educating residents on identity of invasives is also very important.
Post treatment of chemical requires vigilance of root crowns and further treatments.
Mr. Sullivan is more concerned about unpredictable biologicals then well studied herbicides.
Boaters pulling out fragments found in lakes will be helpful in reducing infestation.
Village has been reactionary in treating algae and EWM is not part of a managed plan.
Ms. Steele asked what is the benefit of only doing half of Pond No. 3? Mr. Sullivan wants to see impact before treating the whole lake.
Mrs. Hempel asked for a three year strategic plan with variables, likely commitments, the preventative and so on, so far. Mr.Sullivan suggested that the Village start following Princeton Hydro plan. Mrs. Hempel highly recommends that Mr. Sullivan walk around the lakes to understand impact of topography. SLM is working on a longer-term plan but still has variable the Village does not understand. She stressed the need for a better vision. Mrs. Goodfellow feels the long-term plan should acknowledge current research especially as there is no guarantee being given by any one about the long term health of the lakes.
When asked about filtering water flowing into the lakes, Mr. Sullivan suggested an ordinance maintaining a six-foot buffer. Members of the audience suggested much wider.
Mr. Hays noted that the method Mr. Sullivan was recommending of multiple years of herbicide applications has not been done very often. Mr. Sullivan agreed but feels that his proposed method is likely to have better results.
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From The Mayor's Desk April 11, 2018
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PRESENTATION BY SOLITUDE LAKES MANAGEMENT – This Evening, Wednesday, 4/11/2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Village Hall. Q&A regarding the conditions of our lake, and drinking water, and Milfoil saturation.
PUBLIC HEARING ON TENTATIVE BUDGET - April 16, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
The Board of Trustees has approved a Tentative Budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
As proposed, the Budget is narrowly within the "tax cap". The Budget is a work in progress and may be revised following the public hearing. To provide flexibility, the Board has also proposed a local law which would allow the budgeted tax levy to exceed the tax cap. A hearing on the proposed local law will be held on April 16, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., immediately prior to the hearing on the Tentative Budget.
Village Proposes Local Law Allowing Tax Levy To Exceed Cap
Although as currently proposed, this year’s Village Budget is narrowly within the “tax cap,” in order to provide flexibility, the Board of Trustees has proposed a local law which would allow the budgeted tax levy to exceed the tax cap. A public hearing for both the proposed local law and the Tentative Budget will take place on Monday, April 16 at 7pm.
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Public Hearing on Tentative 2018/19 Village Budget - April 16 - 7pm
The Board of Trustees has approved a Tentative Budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
As proposed, the Budget is narrowly within the “tax cap”. The Budget is a work in progress and may be revised following the public hearing. In order to provide flexibility, the Board has also proposed a local law which would allow the budgeted tax levy to exceed the tax cap. A hearing on the proposed local law will be held on April 16, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., immediately prior to the hearing on the Tentative Budget.
Click to view: 2018-2019 Tentative Budget
Click to view Introductory Local Law: Local Law Introductory D3 of 2018-Overriding Tax Cap
Click to view public hearing notices: PH Notice Local Law Introductory D3 of 2018 and Special Meeting & Budget PH on 4-16-18
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Board of Trustee Meeting March 28, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 7pm. All members were present.
Mayor McFadden opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending. The Village is in a triad period of responsibilities with the budget process underway and the final assessment rolls for 2018-19 about to be concluded.
On behalf of the DPW, Superintendent Voss reported that the March 7 snowstorm of 30" was a brutal one. In their efforts to keep the narrow Village Roads clear, there was some damage done by the plows. Minor damages also occurred following the storm as the department used the loader to move large piles of snow. Thankfully, none of the damage was major and the Supervisor stressed that sometimes in situations such as these, things like this are inevitable.
Mayor McFadden responded that he had he had put out a note to the public earlier that day suggesting that the Board would try and find a way to help monitor the situation and find out under what conditions the property damage issues had taken place as a way to help with safety. To this end, he would like to propose a resolution, however he noted that before doing so he would like to gather feedback and suggestions from the Superintendent. He further suggested that a driver’s log might be appropriate, but recognized that there were Union rules that needed to be accommodated and other things to be taken into consideration as well. He asked Superintendent Voss whether he might be able to compile some thoughts in time for the next Board meeting at which point they could discuss it further and move things forward with the involvement of the public. Superintendent Voss agreed to do this and all of the Trustees agreed that this was a sensible approach.
Work on filter #2 at the water plant continues and is going well. Currently they are waiting for parts and media to come in. The exterior work on the Ridge Road tanks is done. Next they will isolate the tanks and drain them one at a time so that work on the inside can commence.
There followed a discussion about road salt. Trustee Gluck inquired as to how much more had been used this year as opposed to last year.
The Superintendent responded that he did not believe it was much, maybe 100 tons. Ordinarily at the beginning of the winter, the department has a full barn of salt, but this year they started the season with nothing. He thanked Mayor McFadden for authorizing the purchase of 100 more tons of salt prior to the recent snowstorm.
The Mayor added that the timing of the purchase was important as it allowed the Village to save some money.
Superintendent Voss concurred, adding that the Village had saved roughly $500.
Trustee McHugh wondered where they would be at the beginning of next season and Superintendent Voss replied that the barn would be roughly 25% full (provided there are no further storms this season)
On behalf of the Police Department, sergeant Taback reported the following for the month of February:
Non-Criminal Complaints – 291
Criminal Complaints – 9 (8 closed by investigation, 1 closed by arrest)
Property Damage Accidents – 2
Uniform Traffic Tickets Issued – 19
Warning Tickets Issued – 4
Fire Alarms – 2
Intrusion Alarms – 2
Medical Calls – 3
Assists Given to The Town of Tuxedo Police – 1
Assists Given to The Orange County Sheriff – 2
Assists Received – 0
Resident Vehicle Tags Issued (YTD) – 892
Non-Resident Vehicle Tags Issued (YTD) – 292
Patrol Miles Traveled - 18,077
Additionally, approximately 1,300 vehicles entered the Village via the Front Gate on a daily basis.
Mayor McFadden inquired about the number of overtime hours worked and Sgt. Taback responded 18.
The Mayor noted that this was a significant improvement over previous months and the Sgt. agreed. The Mayor further noted that they would be approving a new part-time officer later in the evening and he asked the Sgt. whether he had met him.
Sgt. Taback responded that he had met him and completed his background check. Officer William Vanson is a 25 year vet of the NYPD, currently assigned to the Civil Unit. He is a resident of Rockland County but lives within 10 miles of the Village. Officer Vanson was present at Ground Zero and is a family man, married with two sons. “An all around great guy,” added the Sgt..
Mayor McFadden agreed that it sounded like he would make a strong addition to the Village force.
Dena Steele inquired after the jaw bone that was discovered in the Wee Wah several months back and wondered whether there had been any progress in determining what had happened there, noting that they last she had heard, the bone was post 1830, but that there had been no further details.
The Sgt. responded that the case was open and ongoing. There are five agencies involved with the Village Police leading the investigation. He further stated that at the current time he could not provide any further information other than that they had recovered human remains that were consistent with a jawbone and tooth.
Ms. Steele wondered if they had any sense as to when the case would be resolved.
Sgt. Taback responded that a lot of it would depend on DNA results. There are several types of DNA and while they have received some preliminary information, they have learned very little and are awaiting further results.
Trustee Moon added that the reason they had been able to date the remains as being post 1830 was because the tooth had a filling in it, and prior to 1830 teeth in the United States were not filled.
Click here to view a copy of the Building Report.
It was recently discovered that the Village did not allocate any money in the 2017/18 budget for sewer improvements. Prior budgets allotted approximately $200,000 for this project to cover both evaluations and repairs of the system and to comply with DEC agreements that were made several years ago.
The Mayor inquired as to what the agreements were.
Mr. Ledwith responded that the Village had tentatively agreed to conduct an ongoing evaluation and make repairs to the system in order to help reduce in the amount of inflow and infiltration.
Mayor McFadden asked who had signed the agreement.
Mr. Ledwith replied that nothing had been signed. Rather there was a meeting and some correspondence between the Village and the DEC several years back, in which the Village agreed that they would continue to make repairs to the system in the amount of $200,000 annually, however nothing had been allocated to the project in 2017. Because of this, nothing has been done and the Village is a little bit at risk as a result.
Trustee McHugh commented that the Village had spent $200,000 in 2016 to make repairs to the system on Club House Road. Nothing was spent last year, but the Village is committed to another $400,000 spend over the next few years as per an agreement that was reached between Engineers Westin & Sampson, the DEC and the Village. $200,000 had tentatively been placed into this year’s budget in order to honor this commitment.
The Village is anxiously awaiting draft plans for the Pond #3 Bridge from their engineer. They are hopeful to be able to utilize the DPW to complete a majority of these repairs over the summer. Additionally, they are awaiting some technical background from the engineers so that they can move forward with replacing some of the wooden components on the Tuxedo Lake Spillway, which have rotted out over time.
The Ridge Road water tank project is about 40% complete. Both tanks have been cleaned outside. All seams have been resealed. The missing bolts covers and safety placards have been installed. Upcoming plans include emptying one tank at a time over the next 2-4 months to allow for leak detection inside the tanks. They are hopeful they will find some leaks there that will help to justify why the Water Department is losing so much potable water. They will also clean the inside of the tanks and install a protection system at that time, which will prevent long-term corrosion.
The Water Department is losing 60-70% of the potable water it produces and this has been the case for some time. It was discovered somewhat recently that the Village had been using potable water to clean the sewage filter, which is not necessary and so this practice was abandoned, but it did not alleviate the issue.
The Mayor wondered whether they were using different companies to go through system by system, in order to determine where the leaks were.
The answer was yes.
He then wondered what percentage of the system had been covered.
The answer was 0.
Next he wanted to know if they had looked at the piping that ran under Tuxedo Lake.
Trustee McHugh replied that A&E diving had taken a look along the pipe pathway in order to see whether there was anything obvious with regard to damage. He went on to explain that they had been attempting to prioritize and deal with “low hanging fruit” first. To this end they had begun with the work on Filter #2, followed by the maintenance and on water towers. Next they will begin to quarter off different sections of the Park and look closely at the meters so they can see what they have billed vs. what they are pumping. They are still in the early stages of the project.
Trustee Barnet commented that in his view, the issues at the Water Department were some of the most serious issues facing the Village. “We have two water filters. We are supposed to have one in reserve and one active with frequent rotation between the two. We had one that was down for at least two years, which meant that if something had happened to the other one, there would have been no water in the Village. This is a very serious issue. The major tanks where the water is pumped and stored were purchased 20+ years ago and there has been no maintenance on them. There are hydrants that don’t work! Over 60% of the water we produce is not accounted for….lost! The sewers are also antiquated.”
The Mayor agreed that these were obviously very important projects.
There followed a discussion about various leak detection studies that had taken place over the past several years. Trustee McHugh noted that unfortunately in a couple of cases the Village had dropped the ball on moving forward after reports had been issued.
Trustee Barnett suggested that they could use a system of regulators to help them determine what the specific issues are. “For example water goes under the lake, so you set up a regulator where it goes in, and when it comes out you can see how much water was lost in transit under the lake. There are ways of addressing this and we are going to do it.”
The Mayor added that over the past couple of months as things had been unfolding a the water plant, they had begun digging through all sorts of files and had come across many agreements and engineering reports that had been compiled but not acted upon and they were working to bring all of these things to the surface and have them put into the system in a fool proof way on a real time basis so that future Boards would be able to access the information. Violations are being addressed first and any remaining projects that were never addressed will be become budget issues.
Mr. Ledwith next reported that most of the work on filter #2 has been completed. They are waiting for two more critical pieces, which are expected to arrive the week of April 9. By the end of the month the project should be complete with the filter back up and running. Water will be thoroughly and carefully tested before being pumped back into the system.
Trustee Barnett asked for a total estimated cost of this project.
Mr. Ledwith responded that the painting had been roughly $50,000, the parts $20,000 and the technician $5,000. In total roughly $75-80,000.
The Mayor pointed out that if the Village had kept up with regular maintenance, it was likely that none of the work would have been necessary.
Finally, Mr. Ledwith reported that work had been picking up at the Wee Wah dam since the winter weather has begun to subside.
With regard to the proposed Verizon cell tower, Mr. Ledwith is still waiting for a response from the company concerning a balloon test.
Planning Board, Board of Architectural Review and Board of Zoning Appeals updates were then given.
Mayor McFadden noted that Deputy Chair to the BAR, Julia Simet, had recently resigned her post after many years and that as a result that Board is looking for a new member. Interested parties should submit their resume to Debbie in Village Office.
Grant Writer – Grant Writer Fred Rella began by reporting that the New York State Environmental Facility Corps runs a 25% grant program for sewer type projects once or twice per year. He feels that the $200,000 project could be a good contender, although he noted that generally projects under a consent order get the highest priority and the Village is not in this position.
Arbor Day is coming up on April 27. This year, the Village will be commemorating the event on Wednesday, April 18 in conjunction with Tuxedo Park School. Students will visit the racetrack for a lecture after which they will plant saplings. Additionally, there will be a tree planting ceremony at 11:30 am to which all the Board members are invited. Each year, the Village must pass a proclamation acknowledging Arbor Day with a celebration of some kind. Mayor McFadden read this proclamation aloud and signed it.
Both the Mayor and Lakes Committee member Dena Steele had asked Mr. Rella to investigate the possibility of grant monies that could be used to aid with Milfoil abatement. After checking with several agencies, the unfortunate bottom line is that there are not any specific grants available at this time however, Mr. Rella believes that once the State of New York has passed their budget, Senator Bonacic will be offering a 70% grant opportunity for equipment, which might be applicable.
Mayor McFadden asked that Mr. Rella work with Lakes Committee Chair Jim Hays on this and it was agreed that he would do so.
Officer Taback then reported that he and Mr. Rella has worked together on some grants several years back which had finally come to fruition. The Police Department will be getting car computers for two of their vehicles, which will help to streamline ticket writing and report taking. They were also able to obtain $10,000 worth of recording equipment for use with felony cases. (taking statements, etc.)
Trustee McHugh inquired after the license plate readers, which they had been actively pursuing.
Mr. Rella responded that the grant had been awarded for the equipment to mount the readers in the vehicles as well as free installation and the last he had heard the Chief was planning to pick it up and make arrangements for installation.
The Mayor noted that they had been discussing the idea of sharing some services with the Town and as a part of this discussion, Mr. Rella had been planning to investigate the idea of a shared DPW. He wondered where things stood with this.
Town Board member Michele Lindsay responded that a preliminary discussion had taken place and Mr. Rella added that they needed to iron out more details before they could determine exactly what could be done. Cleanup of the Town property is still underway.
Mayor McFadden commented that if they could come up with something that would work for everyone, the State would love it and it would be much easier to obtain grants.
Town to a Village Update – Mayor McFadden asked Mrs. Lindsay if she could speak to the Town’s possible conversion to a Village, noting that he was basically in the dark and that it had not been clarified to him what the benefits might or might not be for both municipalities.
Mrs. Lindsay replied that the Town Board had only had one meeting and one preliminary presentation on the subject. The genesis of the project is that they have been trying to get the transportation law changed in Albany so that they can prohibit officially and legally prohibit pipelines from passing through, which is a right currently held by Cities and Villages alone. The Bill made it through the Assembly but was stopped in the Senate. If they cannot change the law, they figured they would explore what things might be like if they could become a coterminous Village and Town. It has to be a resident driven initiative and cannot be lead by the Town Board, which means everyone needs more education as to the overall impacts and Mrs. Lindsay believes that this needs to be the next step.
The Mayor wondered whether there were any petitions currently circulating.
The answer was no. Mrs. Lindsay feels that most people don’t really understand what is being proposed and that before petitions can be circulated, education is necessary. They just need to figure out how to educate the public without driving the initiative at the Board level.
The Mayor suggested that Trustee Moon might be able to work with representatives from the Town to learn more and then in turn educate the Village Board.
Trustee Gluck added that there were a lot of legalities involved and that they had asked the Village Attorney to reach out to the Town Attorney in order to get a better idea of how things like voting and taxes would work.
Village Attorney Brian Nugent commented that he had spoke with the Town attorney. What the Town is proposing that citizens do is to use two different State Statutes, the incorporation of a Village and then the simultaneous consolidation of the new Village and the Town of Tuxedo into one entity. One of the problems Mr. Nugent sees is the issue of having a coterminous boundary. He feels that the Town attorney is looking at this boundary as the outer boundary of the Town of Tuxedo. The problem is that with the Village of Tuxedo Park in the middle, there is another boundary there that is not coterminous. Incorporating a village around another village is not a process that has ever been done anywhere else in New York State. Always before it has either been a Village annexing all of their land into a town or a Village was created in one swoop, but there was no Village in the middle. If it happened it would be the first time that the two statutes would be occurring simultaneously.
Trustee Gluck wondered whether people in the Village of Tuxedo Park would be voting for two mayors…one in the Park and one in the other Village.
Mr. Nugent responded that be believed the plan would allow the residents of Tuxedo Park to vote for the Mayor/Supervisor of the new entity.
The Mayor noted that the whole thing sounded very complex and he felt they should all be proceeding with caution.
Eagle Update - Dena Steele reported that the eagles were back on their nest for the 6th season. They had been there up until the March 7 Nor’easter, at which point they abandoned the nest, however they returned last week.
Lakes Committee – Committee Chair Jim Hays reported that at the end of February he, Dena Steele and Susan Goodfellow had attended a meeting in New Paltz about harmful algae blooms. The Governor, who is quite concerned about this issue all over the State, has organized a group to study in some detail 4 or 5 lakes and to come back with some proposals for the most effective ways to combat the blooms. There will probably be some money available for grants. A report is due in May and the Lakes Committee will continue to monitor the situation to see if there are any opportunities that the Village might be able to take advantage of. At the February meeting of the BOT, Audrey Perry expressed concern over water levels marginal to her property near to the south end of Tuxedo Lake and it was suggested that the Lake Committee take a look at the issue. They did so and it was determined that the water in the culvert stretching to South Gate Road is flowing in the direction of the Lake while south of the gate it is running in the direction of the golf course. There is an accumulation of leaves in front of the culvert and it was agreed that there was a good possibility that if the leaves were cleared out, the water between the gate and the lake would flow south, away from the Lake, which is the ultimate purpose of the culvert. While this will not make a big difference, it will likely lower the water levels in the land across the street from Kent Krober’s house. Mr. Krober was contacted and is agreeable to the clearing. There is some confusion over whether the water effecting Mrs. Perry’s property is in the Village or the Town and once this has been determined, the Town/DPW will take a closer look at that situation.
Finally, the committee has decided to reach out to other communities in the surrounding areas that are facing similar lakes issues for suggestions and feedback that might be helpful to the Village. They have also begun discussing the issue of road salt and how it may be affecting the reservoir. Dena Steele commented that she had recently taken a look at some of the milfoil studies that had been given to the committee, but she found the studies to be dated and not terribly relevant to the Village in terms of the size and depth of the bodies of water on which they were focused. She has since been doing a lot of research both on the Internet and speaking to a variety of experts in the field and has learned two important facts. The first is that there is no silver bullet in the eradication of milfoil. Both short and long-term plans will be necessary in order to keep the invasive at bay. Secondly, if the Village decides to move forward with aquatic plants pesticides treatment, they will need to determine what they plan to do afterwards to monitor the situation, both in terms of the chemical levels in the water and regrowth of the milfoil. What will their response be to apparent regrowth? In 2-3 years, it is expected that the invasive will be back with a vengeance as all the organic material will go down to the bottom of the lake and form a nutrient bed there. While she looks forward to hearing from Solitude Lakes Management and what they are suggesting, she cautioned that there are some big concerns with aquatic pesticides and a lack of good comparisons in terms of other reservoirs where similar treatments have been done.
Mayor McFadden agreed that there were many variables that needed to be considered and that the Village was facing a fairly grave issue with the milfoil. In addition to the multitude of issues that have already been laid out, assuming that chemical treatment was the best treatment method, it has been discovered that it would cost $1.5 million to treat all three lakes 1 time. Pricing is done by acre. There are many big decisions that have to be made. The Board is hard at work on their budget and will be presenting it to the community for feedback in the near future. It is a discussion that everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in. There are a lot of things that have gone unaddressed that will need to be looked at. This year the presentation of the budget will be done in a way that will allow residents to separate the necessary annual operating costs from some of the bigger “wish-list” type items/projects while also considering some items that could possibly be shaved off if need be. The process will be transparent as possible and the goal is to ultimately give taxpayers choices, instead of having the Board make all of the definitive decisions.
Board member Alan McHugh commented that Solitude Lakes Management would be presenting to the Village on Wednesday, April 11 at 7pm.
Ms. Steele wondered whether Solitude had presented to the Board any alternatives to dealing with the Milfoil, detailing risks and costs and suggesting a follow-up plan.
The answer was no.
Ms. Steele then wondered what then would be put into the budget.
The Mayor responded that the Village had a contract from Solitude, which had been received in January. At that time, they specifically asked the lakes management company what the alternatives would be if the Village had ultimately missed their window to eradicate the milfoil and the response was chemical treatment.
"They said that in the plant survey based on our objectives,” responded Ms. Steele.
“What are the Village’s objectives?”
Mayor McFadden admitted that other than “taking care of the problem” the Village did not have an objective or a plan at this point. This has unfortunately been the case for several years. It is their goal to develop the objectives and create a long-term plan.
Ms. Steele wondered if this plan would be for the milfoil or the entire lakes system.
The answer was the entire ecosystem.
"But in 2009 Princeton Hydro did a long-term plan and in 2014 Solitude’s predecessor suggested that the Village should pick up the Princeton Hydro plan and follow it.”
“This is another perfect example of something that was presented and never implemented,” responded the Mayor.
Ms. Steele suggested that there were still aspects of that plan which might have some value.
Trustee McHugh agreed that there was a tremendous amount there. The action items however, were never acted upon. “We’ve had studies, and there have been recommendations and very few of the things that have been recommended have been acted upon.”
“What a shame,” stated the Mayor. “We are all in this together. There have been a number of proposals and different Board members etc. etc. and we are where we are. It’s all I can say. No pointing fingers….it is what it is. I have confidence that we are moving in the right direction because we have a good Lakes Committee and we have a Board that’s willing to listen…and a Board that is trying to uncover all of these matters and juggle them all at one time. I would say the lake is the most critical of them.”
Mr. Rella suggested that there had been $100,000 in the budget this past year for milfoil and that he believed that, since there was no silver bullet solution, it would more than likely have to be a blend of activities moving forward. A good harvesting machine can be purchased for $50-70,000. These machines can clear an acre every 3-4 hours.
Mayor McFadden pointed out that when Trustee McHugh had been elected there was only $50,000 in the budget for the milfoil issue and that based on pleading and begging, that number had been increased to $100,000 over time.
Trustee McHugh commented that people using the lake were a big part of the problem. To this end, they are looking to increase the boat fees and have created a line item in the budget for Lake Fees. Whatever is collected on the boat fees will be specifically earmarked for the lakes.
The Mayor suggested that there were other things they might be able to do as well, such as enacting a moratorium on boating within a certain distance of the shore based on mapping.
Mr. Hays commented that one suggestion that might help would be to require boaters to keep a pool skimmer in their boats for the purpose of removing floating green fragments from the water. Milfoil spreads by fragmentation and if it is pulled and allowed to float around and sink, new plants come up.
Ms. Steele commented that they also needed to be diligent about inspecting the boats and making sure they were steam cleaned. It’s not just the Milfoil. The Lake is susceptible to other invasives. She worries that folks have been fairly casual about putting kayaks in the water and that these could be a problem.
Mayor McFadden stated that he was going to work on some language as part of part of some “very strict guidelines” to be put out prior to boating season and that this would include instructions pertaining to privately owned kayaks.
Ms. Steele wondered whose responsibility it was to make sure that the boats were properly inspected.
The answer was the Lake Warden.
RFP for Village-wide Reassessment – Trustee Moon reported that the RFP would be completed over the coming weekend and subsequently shared with the Board. It is his goal to put the document out the following week.
Short-term Rental Discussion/Clarification – Trustee Moon noted that during the public hearing for Draft LL #1 of 2018 (short term rentals) the previous week there had been some discussion regarding Judge Sibel’s decision in the Hanson case and he wanted to clarify. During the hearing Ms. Steele pointed out that the Village had spent $400,000 to defend it’s self and the gates from the lawsuit brought by Mr. Hanson. Part of the judge’s decision in that case noted that the exclusivity of the Village Roads was not unconstitutional. Trustee Moon read this portion of the decision aloud, explaining that if there was going to be an “anti-transient rental law” and/or other resolutions that would affect ingress into the Village that they would be doing their best, in a practical way, to keep the Village a “private place,” because under the law, this is what protects the gates.
The Mayor agreed with this, commenting that this was a major component in what was being considered.
Nancy Hays wondered whether or not they had considered increasing the allowed rental period more than 30 days.
The Mayor responded that currently it stood at 30. Increasing the time period would require another public hearing. Currently a vote has not been scheduled. The deadline for submitting written comments is April 5.
Wee Wah Dam Update – The project is at 80% completion. There will be three concrete pours over the next two weeks, which will “really move the needle” but the biggest issue remains water management. The rain event in January adversely affected the cofferdam. There has been a learning curve of sorts with the contractor, who is used to roadwork and not dam work and there has unfortunately been a fair amount of dispute between the contractor and the engineer with regard to means and methods. The contractor gets to ultimately dictate what happens and can ignore the engineer. The net result of this is that the contractor is suggesting that substantial completion will done by the end of April, meaning that the Village can begin to raise the water level in that lake. The engineer, however, does not agree with this timeline and is suggesting that substantial completion will be in mid-May. Substantial completion means that the concrete work is done and the DEC has signed off on the dam work. Completion of the parapet wall, installation of the capstones and facing of the walls would be done at a later date. The bad news is that there was a budgeted $200,000 for cost overruns when the project began. $108,000 was spent on additional engineering and management. When the project was initiated last June, substantial completion was supposed to be December of 2017 and now it is 4 months past that date. The Village has agreed to an additional $46,000 in add-ons that have resulted from the work. There are two very contentious issues; the auxiliary spillway has been deemed unsafe by both the contractor and the engineer because the mortar had disappeared allowing for plant growth. The contractor and the engineer cannot agree on a remediation cost with one suggesting $21,000 and the other $118,000. The second issue has to due with the January rain event, when 4inches of snow fell on top of a foot of snow that was already on the ground. This resulted in a 5 and ½ foot increase in the level of the Wee Wah , which flooded the cofferdam. The Village authorized $15,500 to help clean up the mess, but the contractor is no longer identifying it as a “one-off” event and is now identifying two other events, one in February and one in March, with material differences in cost. Given all of the discrepancies, the worst case scenario is that the Village will wind up being over their budgeted overrun amount by $100,000.
Mayor McFadden added that the contractor had come in to the project in a very competitive manor as the lowest bidder and that as a result, the Village had an obligation to award them the contract. However, every step along the way they have been pushing for increases which is bringing the overall costs up to where it probably should have been in the first place. Trustees McHugh and Gluck are working very hard to keep the project on budget and fight the costs where possible but at the end of the day “it will be what it will be.”
This type of aggressive bidding to win a contact is not uncommon. The Village is doing the best they can to keep things on track.
Trustee McHugh added that the good news was that the project would be completed shortly and that the quality of the work was being continuously monitored by the DEC. The disputes are financial.
Michele Lindsay commented that there would be a press release in this week’s Photo News asking residents to submit resumes for Zoning, Planning and Architectural Review Boards in Town. They are hoping to see more participation from the Village as currently only 1 person out of 15 members on these three Boards is a Village resident. The Tuxedo LDC met on March 27 and began the process of distributing some of the money. Historically funds were given to the Train Station, the Bus Station and the Historical Society, which leaves the LDC with just a little over $690,000 to distribute. Just a little over half of this was awarded to Tuxedo Hudson ($350,000) for beautification of the IGA building. The present plan calls for the bulk of the building to become an antique store and then there will be a market and café as well. Mr. Bruno has applied for a liquor license for that location.
Somebody inquired over what the fate of the Junction property would be.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that the Junction would remain as-is for the time being and that the property might end up being converted into a parking lot if needed. “It’s going to be great,” she continued, “because the main entrance will be on store road and there will be places for tables and chairs outside.” The other application before the LDC is for the Take-a-Break property. The new owner plans to completely rebuild the facility. His main business is pizza but he also plans to continue the ice cream.
Mary Graetzer added that there is also a couple who are planning to put an ice cream parlor in the other half of the building where Dan Castricone currently has his insurance office.
Mrs. Lindsay concurred, further stating that this business would be called Tuxedo Dairies and that the owners have not applied for any LDC money to date.
Garage Rental Agreements – At the February meeting the Board authorized and approved a revised garage license agreement. Subsequent to this there have been some recommendations to include a provision to add policy for future adoption of policies, rules and regulations as well as some other changes. Comparable rentals in the area were looked at and Trustee Gluck is recommending a rate of $150 per month. (rate is currently $110 per month)
Trustee McHugh added that given the issues they have had with some renters being in arrears, they are initiating a rental security deposit as well as a process for eviction should non-payment become an issue with a particular renter.
The Mayor commented that part of the driving force had been that there was one resident who had been in arrears for over two years and that, with the guidance of the attorneys, the Village had been forced to padlock the unit until payment was received. This prompted them to examine and revise the agreement.
Following some further discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the new agreement subject to some minor changes to be executed by the Village Attorney and Trustee Gluck.
Award Sludge Removal Services Bid – The Board voted unanimously in favor of awarding the bid for sludge removal services to Residual Management Services DBA Earth Care, who was the lowest bidder and current vendor at the rate of .1069 per gallon for a contract period of 1 year.
Resolution – Village election on June 19, 2018 and polls open in Village Hall 7am-9pm – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving a resolution, which set the Village Election for June 19, 2018 in the Village Hall with polls to be open from 7am-9pm. The election will fill two open Trustee positions.
Authorize advertising for bids on surplus DPW equipment – bid opening 4/10 at 2pm – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving a resolution, which authorized the Village Clerk to bid the DPW surplus 1998 Chevrolet pick-up truck and the 2008 Chevrolet dump truck with a bid opening date of Tuesday, April 10 at 2pm.
Appoint Part Time Police Officer – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the appointment of William Vanson as a Part Time police officer in the Village at a rate of $24 per hour.
Schedule public Hearing on 2018-2019 tentative budget-April 16 at 7pm – The Board voted unanimously in favor of scheduling a public hearing on the 2018-2019 tentative budget for April 16 at 7pm.
Trustee Gluck suggested that an additional budget meeting should be scheduled for the following week for the purpose of pulling the budget into a form that is ready for public presentation.
Following some discussion, a meeting was set for Friday, March 29 at 9am.
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Public Hearings On Village Draft Local Laws 1 & 2 and Budget Workshop, March 21, 2018
From The Mayor's Desk March 28, 2018
The job the DPW and staff did clearing our roads was a net positive this year but unfortunately, we have been informed by several homeowners that plowing may have caused minor property damage – primarily stonework and mail boxes. If we can confirm said damage occurred, the Village will cover the costs. Because the Board of Trustees is concerned with the safety of our DPW employees, residents, and property, we will track the work requirements of the employees tasked with snow removal. I will introduce a Resolution this evening for Board review, requiring for the first time, a detailed Daily Drivers’ Log to be kept by Mr. Voss, DPW Supervisor.
The continued public hearings on Introductory Local Law D1-2018 (short term rentals) and Introductory Local Law D2-2018 (non-utility pole devices) held on 3/21/12018 were closed. There will be a 15-day period after the close of these public hearings to allow for written submissions from residents. Deadline date for submission is 4/5/2018. No vote is currently scheduled on either Local Law.
Our Budget analysis for 2018-2019 is underway. There is a line item this year that could substantially increase our property taxes (Milfoil management). That said, the proposed budget will be available to you in the near future, followed by a Public Hearing. In advance, we are happy to discuss our general approach. At your request I can touch on it this evening.
I hope you will attend.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustee Meeting March 28, 2018
Click here to view the agenda for these meetings
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Public Hearings On Village Draft Local Laws 1 & 2 and Budget Workshop, March 21, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, March 21 at 7pm for the purpose of continuing public hearings for Draft Local Laws 1 & 2 of 2018 and also a Budget Workshop. Mayor McFadden and Deputy Mayor Gluck were both absent.
Following lively hearings, both public hearings were closed. The Board will continue to receive written comment on both Draft Local Laws for the next 15 days.
To listen to an audio recording of the hearings, click here.
After the conclusion of the public hearings, a budget workshop ensued, featuring a projected presentation of the budget in a preliminary form.
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From The Mayor's Desk - March 20, 2018
The fial 2018-2019 Tax Assessment Roll will be released to the public prior to the Orange County deadline of 04/01/2018.
32 residents grieved.
14 of the 32 received lower assessments.
18 of the 32 were not changed
3 total residents applied for Exceptions (2 Veterans, 1 Fireman)
2 residents were granted Veterans Exceptions.
1 resident was granted provisional Fireman Exemption.
Possible Board Meeting Cancellation
Tomorrow's Public Hearings may be postponed due to weather conditions. Please check the Village website beginning at noon tomorrow for information. http://www.tuxedopark-ny.gov
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From The Mayor's Desk - March 5, 2018
When I saw how substantial the snow was falling on Friday; particularly combined with high winds, I knew it was just a matter of time before we would have extensive power outages in the Park. I reached out to O&R and turned up my heat because I knew we would need it if we lost power. Pepperidge Road was fortunate enough not to lose power, but many of you were not.
Equally frustrating is calling O&R to report outages only to be passed from one extension to the next, and then to be told that there is no record of your earlier calls. Fortunately, most of you have your power back on now but some of you still don’t. Please know that we are working hand in hand with O&R to get 100% of the homes back on line today.
The Mayor and Police have a direct line to O&R executive management and the Police are the best source for updates. Last evening, we were still dealing with considerable damage to lines from trees down. 4 crews, 2 supervisors, and 3 range assessment teams were in the Park through the weekend. As of this morning, our police were diverting repair units to individual areas and homes that are still affected.
We plan to meet with members of the O&R to assess what happened during the storm and why some areas were out, and others not. Acting upon our findings, we will be able to reduce the number of annual outages.
Be sure you are a member of Code Red to receive alerts from the Police Department about our progress. Please sign up on the Village Website http://www.tuxedopark-ny.gov
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Village Board of Trustee Meetings February 21, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm. Trustee Allen Barnett was absent.
There were none.
The DPW is getting low on road salt and they have already exceeded the amount budgeted for by over $2,000. ($50,000 was budgeted.) Superintendent Voss is concerned and would like to order two more loads while they are still available.
Trustee McHugh wondered whether it might be possible to borrow salt from the Town.
Superintendent Voss responded that he could look into this, but cautioned that the Village would have to budget more in the following year to repay the debt.
Trustee Gluck suggested that if they were to purchase now and build the supply up, it would provide a cushion/base for next year, which could be beneficial.
Superintendent Voss commented that he had enough salt to get through one more significant storm. Following some further discussion it was agreed that they would investigate the possibility of borrowing and the associated costs involved in order to determine what the most cost-effective way of obtaining the salt would be. Trustee McHugh was authorized to approve the expenditure at an amount not to exceed $10,000.
The DPW is in need of a new dump truck. The department lost a truck roughly 3 years ago due to a cracked frame and it was never replaced. Superintendent Voss has obtained a preliminary bid price from the County, (there is no State bid for this anymore) which is roughly $53-54K. The earliest the Village can order would be mid-March.
Mayor McFadden wondered if this would be a new or used vehicle.
The answer was new.
There followed a discussion as to whether it would be more cost effective to buy a used vehicle.
Trustee McHugh stated that while it might be possible to obtain a used truck, he did not feel it advisable. He believes the Village would be better off purchasing something new and turning over their fleet in a more responsible way. He noted that they had recently experienced issues with the police cars, which had been run into the ground to the point of having no residual value and were costing the Village a ton in maintenance. He feels they would be better off trading in older vehicles for newer models.
Funding for the vehicle in question was then discussed. Trustee McHugh suggested that they further investigate the value of their surplus vehicles before determining how to move forward with funding and it was agreed that this would be done. It was further agreed that they would fully evaluate the DPW fleet for the purpose of creating a schedule of repair/replacement moving forward.
Finally, the Superintendent reported that the department has been busy working at the water plant with one of the filters; emptying it, pressure washing it, changing some valves and getting it ready to be painted. Additionally they repaired a water main break on Patterson Brook Road.
Building Department Report:
Click here to review the Building Department Report for February.
Meg Vaught inquired about the Pond #3 Bridge, noting that it was currently closed to traffic.
Building Inspector John Ledwith responded that the bridge was currently closed due to work that was being done on the dam, and not because of issues with the bridge itself. That being said, there does appear to be a need for some work there, so they have asked the engineer to draw up some preliminary designs for decking on the bridge.
Mrs. Vaught wondered when the bridge would re-open to traffic.
The answer was that the bridge would be open as soon as the piping work was completed, which should be soon.
Trustee McHugh added that it would be open once the pipe had been buried and gravel installed, but paving would likely not take place until May. There is a hump in the road there, which will remain for the time being but this is not considered to be critically dependent in order to get dam certification.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of January:
Non-Criminal Reports – 310
Property Damage Complaints – 2
Uniform Traffic Tickets Issued – 8 Warnings – 7
Fire Alarms – 4
Intrusion Alarms – 1
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo: 1
Assists Received From the Town of Tuxedo: 1
Resident Vehicle Tags Issued: 892
Non-Resident Vehicle Tags Issued: 227
Miles Patrolled: 2, 483
Nancy Hays commented that she had been under the impression that the Police Department would be looking into streetlights that were not working at intersections, however the one at the end of her street has been out for sometime.
Chief Melchiore responded that there were approximately 18 lights that were out and that these had been repeatedly reported to the O & R. While the department holds the bulbs at the police facility, O & R need to be ones to replace them.
Mrs. Hays wondered whether or not there was not something more that could be done.
Chief Melchiore assured her that it would be readdressed.
Mrs. Vaught commented that she had noticed that the Chief had replaced the number of vehicles through the front gate with the number of miles patrolled in his report and she wondered if they were still counting the number of cars that entered the Village on a daily basis.
The answer was yes. Approximately 1,300 cars per day enter the Village via the Front Gate.
Committee and Liaison Reports:
Wee Wah Dam Update – Trustee McHugh reported that they had been experiencing major issues as a result of the January 12 storm event, during which there was a tremendous amount of rain followed by snowmelt. The event caused severe flooding in the cofferdam area and as a result, work ceased. There has only been a 3% move in project completion since Christmas. The project is currently 74% complete. The good news is that the logs have been removed in the dam, the two valves have been opened up fully, the cofferdam has been re-secured, the elevation has been increased and the pit area has been sump-pumped out. The outfit responsible for the rebar, the parapet wall and pouring of the concrete is due back in the Village on February 22. The bad news is that the completion date has been pushed back. The project was originally slated to be finished on March 2 and the revised schedule now suggests that significant completion (which equates to DEC certification that will allow the Village to elevate the lake back to its historic level) will be achieved by April 16. The downside to all of this is that as a result of the delays and water issues, CHA will require additional oversight costs totaling $54K. This amount will keep CHA in place to monitor the progress of the project with onsite supervision through the month of April. It will be pro-rata should the project finish sooner.
Mayor McFadden wondered whether the 54K was included within the contingency.
The answer was yes. The contingency was $220K and to date, including the 54K, they have used 2/3 of it.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the additional $54K for continued construction inspection services related to the Dam project.
Mrs. Vaught commented that one of the most frequent questions she had been receiving as of late at TPFYI was whether or not the Wee Wah Beach Club would be open for swimming in the summer of 2018. She wondered whether the Village might consider a general update on their website with regard to new projected completion date for the project and how this might impact the beach.
Trustee McHugh responded that he and Trustee Gluck had met with the Beach Club roughly a month prior to discuss their needs and potential methods of dealing with the milfoil in order to make the swimming area viable. With regard to the scope of work and project completion, the destruction of the cofferdam has pushed things back about a month. Unfortunately there has been a significant division of views between the contractor and the engineer as to the best approach to solving the problem, and this has added to the delay. As soon as they have a more affirmative schedule in place, they will share it.
Water Department Update – The Village water system is supposed to be a redundant one, with two operating filters, however this has not been the case for quite some time. There are a plethora of problems with water filter #2 and it has not been working. The Village obtained a quote for draining the tanks and removing the media that came in at $60K. Mr. Ledwith did not feel this was a good price and suggested that the job could be done “in house,” which it subsequently was. Next, a technician was brought in to run the facility in order to trouble shoot what is needed for the repair. It was determined that the filter needs to be repainted at a cost of $53K. (work must be completed using both a certified vendor and product) The media will cost $9,000, but the freight is a substantial part of that cost so they are recommending the Village invest $20K, which will save them money in the long run on shipping. (They can store the excess product until needed.) Replacement parts are expected to cost an additional $10,000 and once they have been received the technician will need to come back to make sure that everything is installed correctly and the backwashes are done prior to issuing a clean bill of health for filter #2. Once this has been done, the Village cane switch over from filter/tank #1 to filter/tank #2 and begin work on refurbishing filter #1.
Mayor McFadden inquired as to the anticipated costs of repairing filter/tank #1.
Trustee McHugh replied that they would likely be fairly identical to the costs associated with filter #2, minus the cost of the media they are pre-purchasing. The total estimated cost of filter/tank #2 is $91K while filter/tank #1 is expected to be closer to $80K. He added that this was delayed and deferred maintenance that the Village had not been keeping up with and it was not something they could avoid.
The funding will come from the “Cap X” which is $575K, of un-appropriated reserves from prior bond issues.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the expenditure to approve water filter #2 at a cost not to exceed $91,160.
The Ridge Road water tanks pose another pressing issue. The tanks are in excess of 20 years old and no maintenance has been done. There are multiple leaks and although plugs have been installed, new holes have emerged. Overall maintenance and integrity enhancement is estimated to cost $79,040. This includes interior tank reconditioning.
Trustee McHugh pointed out that the Water Department continues to experience massive water losses and that addressing these issues within the system and completing the necessary maintenance would hopefully start to result in less water losses.
The Mayor inquired as to what percentage of the water pumped was not billed for due to loss.
John Ledwith responded that it varied, from month to month but remained firmly between 45-65%.
Trustee McHugh added that they had recently discovered that clean water was being used to clean the sewage treatment plant and that this had been re-engineered so that moving forward water from the Wee Wah will be used for this purpose. He further commented that they felt it important to move forward with all of the proposed maintenance now, ahead of the summer, which is the peak time for water usage.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the $79,040 for refurbishment of the Ridge Road water tanks.
Police Contract – The police contract has been finalized. Trustee Moon reported that after much negotiation, they have established “a very fair” contract with the Union. A significant part of this is that the officers will now begin contributing to their healthcare costs. Pay increases are either in line with or far below what neighboring communities are paying to their unions. Part and parcel to the negotiations were a number of labor union complaints and these will all be resolved and split straight down the middle. There were certain things pertaining to personnel practices and the Chief believes he can handle these and that the Village will remain protected as a community under these circumstances.
Lakes Committee – On behalf of the Lakes Committee, Jim Hays reported that
following a recent meeting, the committee had determined that they believed they could be most useful to the Board by focusing their attention on a limited number of prioritized issues. To this end, they decided on two, the first being the rapid spread of Eurasian Water Milfoil throughout all three lakes and the second the blue/green algae blooms which also effect all three lakes. The committee also recognizes that Solitude Lakes Management has just issued a report on the Milfoil in Tuxedo Lake and have made some recommendations. The committee is recommending that the Board ask Solitude to come and give a physical presentation outlining their recommendations for dealing with both the milfoil and the blue/green algae on two time scales, which include both the immediate time scale for the upcoming season as well as a more long-term scale for the next five years.
This idea was briefly discussed.
Trustee McHugh commented that Solitude had been tasked with such a presentation months prior. The delay had to do with them obtaining empirical data from CSLAP.
He further suggested that once Solitude is ready to present, he felt it would be more beneficial to have a meeting dedicated solely to this purpose, rather than to have the presentation within the confines of a regular monthly meeting of the Trustees.
Mayor McFadden added that they would also need to review and discuss the costs associated with Solitude as they headed into budget season, further wondering whether or not the presentation would have a price tag associated with it.
Trustee McHugh responded that the Village already had a consulting contract with Solitude and that the cost of the presentation would be nominal in the scheme of things. He further commented that the Village had taken some steps with regard to milfoil. They announced last year that they were planning to do a chemical treatment in Pond #3 at the recommendation of Solitude and based on the results of this would determine whether or not they should proceed in a similar fashion with the other lakes. The permitting has been completed so that they can move forward with the treatment this year. It is extremely costly though. To treat Wee Wah, would cost roughly $150K and this years budget allowed only $100K for the lakes.
The Mayor wondered whether they should continue to wait for CSLAP to provide data prior to scheduling a meeting with Solitude.
Trustee McHugh responded that he felt it would make sense to move forward without the data at this point. It was agreed that he would work with Mr. Hays to determine a date.
Trustee Moon suggested they consider scheduling the meeting for a Saturday morning when more residents might be able to attend.
Audrey Perry inquired as to whether the Lakes Committee had spent any time discussing or looking at Summit Brook, which historically fed into the south end of Tuxedo Lake. The brook is no longer running and it appears that the water has seeped onto Village property where it now sits.
Mr. Hays responded that while ultimately this could fall within the scope of the Lakes Committee, he felt there were currently more pressing issues for them to contend with.
Dena Steele commented that she had recently attended a forum on ecosystems at Kerry Institute focusing on road salt and fresh bodies of water. She found it to be very alarming and has since shared some of the information with Superintendent Voss. What she found particularly disturbing was the effect that road salt can have on the chemical composition of fresh bodies of water over time. In a 500 meter buffer to a fresh body of water, if 1% is impervious service there are raising levels of salinity and what they are finding is very close association with cyanobacteria, which leads to blue/green algae blooms. The Village really needs to stop the flow of stuff into the Lake!. There is already phosphorous and nitrate going in there and very little has been done to manage this on a long-term basis. Additionally, the lake is treated annually with copper sulfate. She is very concerned by the idea that they might now be adding a herbicide to the mix. She feels they need to remain on top of understanding the chemical composition of the Lakes and that they need to hold Solitude to this standard as well.
Mayor McFadden suggested that Ms. Steele should confront Solitude with this directly at the upcoming meeting.
Ms. Steele responded that she felt everyone needed to be on top of it. There are a number of things that can be done with regard to the salt issue which affects 70% of fresh water bodies in the country. There are various blades that can be purchased for plowing and calibration is extremely important. Additionally, there is a website called Clear Roads that is utilized by many States, including New York.
Trustee Gluck asked Ms. Steele if she would share any written information/reports that she might have with the Board directly and she agreed.
Secondly, Ms. Steele noted that with the warmer weather bears are out and about. There was an unfortunate incident involving a dog in New Milford, and she cautioned that residents should be careful with birdfeeders, dogs and especially children, as bears are often crabby and hungry when the first wake up.
Finally, she reported that the eagles are back on their nest on Eagle Mountain. As some may recall, last year the nest failed and main difference she saw between last year and the year before (when the nest was successful) was that the Village now has trails open on both sides of the mountain. She requested that people not use the trails on the east side of the mountain, as tempting as it may be, until the chicks fledge in July.
Mayor McFadden responded that he would be happy to post information about both the bears and the eagles to the Village website and inquired of Ms. Steele as to whether she would be willing to help put these postings together.
With regard to the eagles, Trustee Gluck commented that the DEC had looked at the trail and its proximity to the nest and had determined that the buffer was sufficient. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful and he volunteered to inform the Trail Committee with regard to this issue.
Susan Goodfellow commented that she shared Ms. Steele’s concerns with regard to developing a clear understanding of the ecology of the lake, which is a very sophisticated subject. She feels that the Village really needs to have somebody with the appropriate certification, such as a lakes biologist, taking charge and “directing traffic.” The issues that were identified earlier by Mr. Hays are two very concrete problems that have broad implications for the way the lake functions. Certainly the cyanobacteria has been an ongoing issue with surface blooms occurring right up until the time that the lake froze over. She believes that part of the mandate ought to be that the oversight of all the pieces should be in the hands of individuals who are appropriately accredited. There is a very important role for volunteers, but the Village needs broader professional, scientific assistance to make sure that the decisions are based in science and not on personal interest or whim. Some of the things that have occurred in the past few years have not been based in science and have cost the taxpayers money and she feels these trends need to be reversed.
Mayor McFadden responded that he felt one of the things they should do was to put a long-term plan in place that would extend beyond elections.
Mrs. Goodfellow agreed and further commented that she thought there were opportunities to set up conservation committees that would be ongoing to take a look at some of these issues and good help to end the problem of politicization of lakes matters.
Trustee Moon asked for an update on the RFP for an independent assessor.
Board Attorney Brian Nugent responded that it had not yet gone out and that there were a few items that the Board would need to review and make decisions on.
At the Mayor’s prompting, Trustee Moon explained that the Village had decided at the beginning of the year to put out an RFP for the appointment of an independent assessor to do a complete review of the Village’s assessment rolls, which has not been done since the 1970s. This was the result of the discovery of some “anomalies” in the assessments and they want to make sure that everyone pays a fair amount of taxes.
Mayor McFadden added that typically municipalities do a total reassessment every 4-7 years and Tuxedo Park has not done one since the 1970s. The roll was published on the website this year, where everyone could see that some individuals appear to be paying a lot compared to others. The Board feels it’s time for a total, new reassessment where everyone starts at zero and then an independent, outside professional will come in and evaluate the situation in order to provide a solid foundation. Then, in 3-4 years, based on market values, building permits and sales, the Village can entertain the idea of another assessment. “I think that would give everybody a sense of comfort, because it’s one of those things that everyone talks about and I think this is a terrific way to make that adjustment,” commented the Mayor.
“For example,” commented Trustee Moon, noting that the information he was about to provide was public as per the grievance hearing the night before “one person is being taxed more than double the assessed value by the Village than he is by the Town. One person with landlocked raw land is being assessed at several times more than all of her neighbors who also own raw land. We need to rationalize the system.”
Resolution – Rental Agreement for Garage Units – The Village maintains garage units, which are essentially rented to residents for storage or sometimes for vehicles. They do not, however, have anything in place in writing with respect to the use of the units, restrictions on what can and cannot be stored there, etc. Therefore, a draft license agreement has been drawn up outlining some parameters and conditions on the use of the units and ramifications for non-payment and things of this nature for which there currently is no policy. Following some discussion with regard to the cost of the units and the billing cycle, the board voted unanimously in favor of approving the agreement subject to the determination of a reasonable rental rate.
Resolution – Declare two DPW Vehicles Surplus – The Board voted unanimously in favor of declaring two trucks as surplus. Trustee McHugh noted that one of the vehicles was the dump truck that had been discussed earlier in the evening. They are hopeful that it can be sold for a decent price, which will offset the cost of a new truck, but if they are not satisfied with the bids they receive, they will bring it back into the fold. The other vehicle is an old pick-up truck.
Resolution – Authorize Bidding for Sludge Removal and Set Bid Opening Date – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the bidding for sludge removal services at the sewer plant and the water plant with an opening date of March 18.
Resolution – Amendment of Orange County Urban County Agreement – The Board discussed this amendment at some length, with Mr. Nugent explaining that it was a County Agreement that pertained to “HUD Funding.” The amendment adds an emergency solutions grant as one of the things that the County will be taking control over. Ultimately, the Village is not eligible for any of the funding and it was not clear that there was any benefit to their signing the agreement, although historically it has been done. The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Mayor to sign the agreement, subject to council contacting the county to determine what the consequences of not signing it might be.
Peter Regna inquired as to whether or not the Board intended to discuss the Airbnb
The Mayor informed Mr. Regna that the issue had been discussed earlier in the evening at a public hearing and that this hearing had been continued to March 21 at 7pm in order to allow for further comments. He invited Mr. Regna to comment, but cautioned that since the hearing was not currently in session, his comments would not be a part of that record.
Mr. Regna noted that he would hold his comments for the hearing and thanked the Board for all of their hard work in service to the Village.
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Village Residents Turn Out For Pubic Hearings
On Tuesday, February 21 the Village Board of Trustees held two public hearings for Draft Local Law Introductory #1 (Short Term Rental Draft Law LL) and Local Law Introducttory #2 ( Utility Pole Local Law (Devices in Right-of-Way) Draft Law LL) of 2018.
To listen to an audio recording of these hearings, click here.
Both hearings remain open and have been continued until the next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting on March 21, 2018 at 7pm.
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Agenda for Village Board of Trustee Meetings February 21, 2018
Click here to view the agenda for these meetings
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Tuxedo Lake 2017 Aquatic Macrophyte Survey Report
Click here to view the most recent report on Tuxedo Lake from from Village consultant Solitude Lake Management
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From The Mayor's Desk
The 2018 Tentative Village Assessment Roll and forms for the 2018 Grievance Day are linked below and are posted on the Village Website (http://www.tuxedopark-ny.gov). Grievance Day is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM in the Village Office.
2018 TENTATIVE VILLAGE ASSESSMENT ROLL
Click to view roll: 2018 Tentative Village Assessment Roll
Click to view legal notice: Legal Notice - 2018 Tentative Village Assessment Roll
Click to download forms & info: 2018 Grievance Forms & Info
2017 FINAL VILLAGE ASSESSMENT ROLL
Click to view: 2017 Final Village Assessment Roll
Prior to our entering our Regular February Board Meeting, we are holding two Public Hearings on Wednesday, February 21st at 6:00 PM at the Village Office to hear comments on two Draft Local Laws. linked below and posted on the Village Website (http://www.tuxedopark-ny.gov) - Short Term Rental Draft Law LL and Utility Pole Local Law (Devices in Right-of-Way) Draft Law LL. The Board will have a 15-day period after the close of the final Public Hearing(s) to allow for written submissions from residents unable to attend. However, we encourage you to attend the Public Hearings and Regular February Meeting.
Finally From the Mayor's Desk today; The Village Budget Calendar for Fiscal Year beginning June 1st, 2018 is posted on the Village Website (http://www.tuxedopark-ny.gov).
For Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes and Resolutions Click to view.
Official Village Website - http://www.tuxedopark-ny.gov
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February 8 -A Good Day for The Village of Tuxedo Park
February 8 was a good day for the Village! According to their website, they are in receipt of a $18,744 grant for Village courtroom upgrades as well as a $100,000 private donation from the estate of the late Alex Salm for the DPW! Additionally, the final POlicE contract has been signed.
Visit the Village website here for additional information.
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Village Board of Trustees Considers Two New Local Laws
At 6pm on Febraury 21, The VIllge Board of Trustees will hold two public hearings for the purpose of collecting feedback from the community on two newly proposed local laws.
The first of these is a law restricting/prohibiting short-term rentals (AirBNb etc) in the village. A draft of the legislation can be viewed here.
The second law pertains to posting signage and/or other devices on utility poles. A draft of this LegiSlation Can be viewed here.
Please take a moment to review these drafts and if you have any questions or concerns plan to attend the hearings on February 21. If you are unable to attend the hearings, the BOT has announced thatthey will be accepting written comments for 15 days after the hearings have been closed.
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Village Budget Calendar
Click here to view the Village Budget Calendar
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Village Board of Trustees to Hold Two Public Hearings February 21
The Board has scheduled two Public Hearings on Wednesday, February 21st at 6:00 PM at the Village Office to hear comments on two Draft Local Laws – Regulating Short Term Rentals and Non-Utility Devices in Public Rights-of-Way and Easements. The Board will have a 15-day period after the close of the Public Hearings to allow for written submissions from residents
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Village Adds BOT Minutes and Resolutions Page to Website
The Village has added a new sub-page to their website for approved BOT minutes and resolutions. Check it out here.
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Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 17, 2018
The Village Board of Trustees met on Wednesday, Januar,y 17 at 7pm. All me,,mbers were present.
Over the holiday, the Board held an emergency meeting to discuss the SALT component of the new tax law for New York State residents.. They thoroughly and meticulously studied all options for residents to prepay their 2018 property taxes prior to December 31, 2017. Because the Village’s tax warrant is not issued until June, they could not accept prepayments. However, they did receive prepayments from residents hoping the Governor would issue a second Executive Order that would allow the village to benefit from prepayment. The checks have not been deposited and are being returned soon because they are obligated to do so by municipal law and guidance from the State Comptroller’s office. The latest update is that Governor Cuomo just announced three alternatives to the SALT tax: 1) the tax department would create one or more state operated charitable funds to receive taxpayers’ contributions for healthcare and public schools whereby taxpayers would receive a tax credit to lower their state income tax liability and also be able to deduct the amount from their federal taxes; 2) local governments could be authorized to trade tax credits for charitable donations as a substitute for some local property tax payments; and 3) the tax department proposed the creation of a new a payroll tax where there would be a shift of some or all of the state income tax liability of employees for whom federal deductibility of state and local taxes is capped to a payroll tax.
Chief Melchiore reported the following for the month of December:
Non-Criminal Complaints – 334
Criminal Complaints – 5
Arrests – 3
Motor Vehicle Accidents with Property Damage – 5
Uniform Traffic tickets issued – 5
Warning Tickets Issued – 5
Fire Alarms – 6
Intrusion Alarms – 7
Medical Calls – 6
Assists Given to the Town of Tuxedo Police – 2
Assists Given to the NYS Police – 1
Assists Received from the Town of Tuxedo Police – 3
Vehicle Tags Issued (YTD) – Resident – 892 / Non-resident – 227
Additionally, approximately 1,300 vehicles passed through the Front Gate on a daily basis.
In response to a comment that was made at the December meeting with regard to the general visibility of patrolling officers throughout the Village, the Chief reported that during the month of November 2,970 miles of patrolling was done and for the month of December 2,516.
As Superintendent Voss was not present, the report was not given.
Trustee Gluck expressed his gratitude to the DPW for their strong effort and great work in keeping the roads clear during the recent snow events.
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Water Department – The Mayor reported that as a part of their “deep dive” into some of the systems, they had discovered that the seasonal meters on 10 accounts were not billed. They are in the process of seeking payment. With this in mind, the Mayor suggested that the additional funds might afford them the opportunity to reconsider the current water rates, however he cautioned that this was only an idea that was being discussed and that nothing was promised. Additionally, following the issues with the water in December, Trustees McHugh and Barnett paid a visit to the water plant where they made some observations that will require action.
Trustee Barnett stated that they had been looking at the Water Department from two different standpoints; accounting and maintenance. From an accounting standpoint it is his belief that the Village needs greater transparency for the accounting reports. He believes that the residents represent shareholders in a corporate sense and with this in mind, one of the goals moving forward is to present quarterly financials in which the balance sheet and income statement are tied. Right now, the Village cannot do this because the income statement does not tie neatly into the financials for a variety of reasons. He and Trustee McHugh have been working with the accounting firm to change this and put things into a much more simple and transparent system. There is a lot of financial expertise in the Village and he believes that if they can present financial statements that are both clear and concise, people will ask the right questions. He looks forward to this practice in 2018. Speaking to the current situation, he praised Denise Spalthoff for her hard work in clearing up the “H receivables.” Denise has collected roughly $30,000 in outstanding bills. The system in the Village begins with meter readings, which are done by hand and then transcribed into a system. Unfortunately, this leaves room for error. While there are ways to automate the process, they are cost prohibitive so what the Village has done is to set up the system in a way so that it will flag unusual consumption reports so that they can investigate ASAP. It is a way of catching some mistakes at their onset. The billing system has become a lot smoother and more efficient.
From a maintenance standpoint, the water plant has 2 filters, which purify the water as it comes out of the Lake, however, one of them has been out of service for over a year and a half. The reason both are needed is not only for backup (should the one in use go down) but also to allow for regular maintenance as normal maintenance cannot be done on a filter that is in operation. Therefore, the one operating filter is in need of routine maintenance, which they have not been able to perform as there is no backup. Getting the second filter up and running is a priority and they have reached out to the engineers for more information about what will be involved and how long it will take. The other issue is the two water tanks located on Ridge Road. Together these tanks house just short of 1,000,000 gallons of water. These are 50-year tanks that were purchased 25 years ago. To the best of the Trustees’ knowledge, they have not been maintained in the last 25 years. A priority for the spring therefore is to empty the tanks and complete the necessary maintenance, after which they will get them onto a regular maintenance plan. They have asked Superintendent Voss and Water Dept. Head John Bello to put together a list of all the mechanical things in Department and then to prioritize them according to their maintenance needs so that they can develop a multi-year maintenance plan. This will allow the community to hold the Village accountable for the upkeep of this infrastructure. Beginning in about a month, the Village will open the Water Department to residents on Saturday mornings for a window of time, during which they can visit the plant and educate themselves as to what goes on there.
Noting that there was some surplus in the water department funds, Mayor McFadden inquired about funding for the equipment repairs.
Trustee McHugh responded that they anticipated roughly $300,000 in surplus this year in addition to borrowings of over $100,000. Refurbishing the water towers is expected to cost $100,000, assuming they don’t find anything that needs to be fixed on the bottom of the tank. Refurbishing the second filter at the water plant will also cost close to $100,000 as will maintenance on the one in use. Speaking to the Mayor’s earlier suggestion, Trustee McHugh commented that the likelihood of a reduction in water prices was very remote; however, the likelihood of an increase is equally as remote since they are working very hard to capture leaks and get the entire system on a more proactive system of maintenance.
Trustee Barnett added that there was $500,000 available still in bonds that the Village could draw from.
Grant Writer Report – Grant writer Fred Rella suggested that there was a New York group called the Environmental Facility Corp. (EFC) that would be handing out grants over the course of the next two months for water and sewer projects. It is not a lengthy process. He will investigate further in order to determine whether or not any of these projects at the Water Department might qualify.
The Village has received verbal approval on their Tree City USA application. Written notification will follow shortly.
With regard to the WeeWah dam, a check for the $100,000 in grant monies awarded last year will be issued on January 31.
The Village applied for the Justice Court Assistance Program for a few items, primarily benches for the Village Court to replace the folding chairs currently in use. Mr. Rella reported that notices have gone out and if the Village had not received theirs already, it would surely arrive in the next day or two.
Finally, Mayor McFadden has asked Mr. Rella to work with the Town of Tuxedo in exploring grant opportunities for a new DPW facility. He will be reaching out to the Town to discuss possible locations among other details.
Town Update – Speaking to the topic of grants, Michele Lindsay commented that she had received a plethora of questions regarding the grants that Michael Bruno had been awarded from the State. For the sake of clarification, Mrs. Lindsay explained that the first grant Mr. Bruno had been awarded, which was for both Tuxedo and Sloatsburg as a joint project, was still in the administrative phase and that no actual monies had been awarded to date. She feels that there may be some misunderstanding within the community about this and wants to make sure that everyone knows what is happening.
Mayor McFadden inquired as to whether or not Mr. Bruno was giving a presentation to the community that evening.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that he had rescheduled it so as not to conflict with the Village meeting. She further commented that she believed there were a number of things that Mr. Bruno was hoping to clarify with this presentation.
Changing the subject, the Mayor inquired after the joint Town/Planning Board design committee that had been put together to review the changes in materials proposed by Tuxedo Farms this past fall.
Mrs. Lindsay responded that it had not been a committee but rather joint workshop session with members of the various Town Boards. The proposed changes were approved by the Board December and therefore they were no longer working on this.
The Mayor wondered whether or not they had been able update the language in the document at all.
Mrs. Lindsay replied that they had gotten some changes in, however they did not have enough time to examine the design guidelines before the vote was taken.
Verizon Tower – Mayor McFadden reported that the Village had received some site planning from Verizon as to where they are proposing to put the equipment, which is near the water towers on Ridge Road. In speaking to some of the neighboring property owners, the Mayor has discovered that there is a high level concern with what is being proposed. Therefore, he suggested that they ask Verizon to provide them with a couple of alternative sites after which they could set up a public meeting with either the BAR or the Planning Board where neighbors would have the opportunity to come and make comments and engage themselves in the process.
Trustee McHugh commented that Verizon had already looked at a number of sites over the course of the past couple of years and had narrowed it down to the Ridge Road water towers. He suggested they do a balloon test in order to analyze the potential visual impact of what is being proposed.
Mayor McFadden wondered whether there might be a spot on Eagle Mountain for the Tower.
Building Inspector John Ledwith suggested that the issue there was access and electricity.
Orange & Rockland – The Village is in receipt of a letter from the utility company informing them that tree removal would be taking place around the lines beginning January 29. Copies of the letter will be circulated among the department heads and it will also be posted to the Village website so that residents can know where they will be working and when.
Trustee Gluck commented that earlier in the year it had been suggested that perhaps Mr. Ledwith could do a “drive through” with O & R in order to determine whether there were any significant trees that could be dealt with otherwise.
Trustee McHugh responded that O & R had already done this work and that what remained was for Nelson Tree Service to come in and do the actual removal. Superintendent Voss will meet with them weekly in order to make sure that nothing contentious is being removed.
WeeWah Dam – Very little work has been completed on the project over the course of the last month due to the weather. Both the freezing temperatures and the thaw that occurred with the rain and warmer temperatures have halted work. The project remains at 73% completion. March 2 was meant to be the completion date however this is no longer achievable. They are waiting to determine exactly how much more time will be needed, but their guess is that the project will be done in early April.
The Booth – At the December meeting the Board discussed the ideas of possibly using technology installed in a kiosk as an alternative or continuing on with the construction of a new booth as originally planned after having received an estimate of $200,000 for the reconstruction. Both ideas are still being entertained. In the meantime, the Mayor had suggested that he would look into fundraising for the project, which he did. He discovered that neither he nor any of the Trustees can participate in coordinating a fundraising effort. That being said, efforts are under way, being led by a group called Friends of The Traffic Booth and $50,000 has been collected to date.
Meg Vaught noted that at the December meeting there had been a discussion about the Town’s investigation into becoming a Village at the end of which it had been agreed that the Village Attorney would reach out to the Town Attorney in an effort to learn more about what was being proposed and what the potential impacts to the Village of Tuxedo Park would be. She wondered whether there was anything new to report.
Village Attorney Brian Nugent responded that he had not yet met with the Town Attorney. He is in receipt of the initial materials, but they have not had a chance to discuss it yet. Michele Lindsay added that the Town Board had only discussed it one time during their December meeting and that they did not have any new information to date.
With regard to the Verizon Tower, Claudio Guazzoni commented that there had been a second site proposed, which was down at the water plant, pointing up.
The Valley runs from north to south and is currently being fed by a mega watt tower on the west side of Route 17 near the old Red Apple Rest. This covers the north side of the Village fairly well, especially at elevated sites. The issues are more at the South end.
Michele Lindsay added that Orange County 911 is looking to upgrade a tower out in Maple Brook and there is a possibility that cell towers will be installed there when that work is done, which would also help with reception at the South end of the Village. She wondered whether or not cell towers needed to go through the SEQRA process.
The answer was yes.
Next, Claudio inquired about “the bacteria in the water,” noting that tonight was the first he had head about it. He wondered when the tests had come out.
Trustee Gluck explained that there had never been any bacteria in the drinking water. What they found was a byproduct of the purification process, (TOC) which if not dealt with can lead to the formation of other compounds (not bacteria), which could potentially be harmful. These compounds were tested for and not found.
Mayor McFadden added that this had been disclosed and discussed at length by Superintendent Voss at the December meeting of the Trustees.
Trustee McHugh further commented that the Village had received a notification from the Department of Health in December, at which point they were told that all water users must be notified by January 4 and they were. The test in question was completed in September but they were not notified until December. Two more tests have subsequently been conducted and show that everything is back in conformity.
“Wouldn’t it be better to notify the residents immediately that there was something wrong with the drinking water?” inquired Mr. Guazzoni.
“We did notify the residents immediately,” responded Trustee McHugh.
“As soon as you knew, you notified the residents?” Mr. Guazzoni inquired again.
“That is correct,” affirmed Trustee McHugh.
Trustee Barnett pointed out that page two of the minutes from December meeting of the Trustee clearly talks about the issue.
Assessor Position – Trustee Moon recalled that the Board had passed two resolutions regarding assessments. The first was to hire a certified real estate assessor for the upcoming assessment cycle. The second one was to have a more comprehensive project that would review the Village assessment rolls in general. This leaves the Village with one practical problem. Grievance Day will take place on February 20. The Village published an RFP and got some excellent candidates but there is not enough time to conduct interviews, hire somebody and get them entirely on board in time for residents to have their assessment as well as the opportunity to prepare to grieve. The Board attorney has advised the Trustees that upon resolution the Trustees can form an Assessment Board.
The make-up of this Board was discussed at some length in terms of how many members it would have and whether or not the meetings had to be public under the open meetings law. Following this, the Board voted unanimously in favor of forming the Assessment Board, with all five of them as members. The Board of Assessors will meet on Saturday, January 20 at 9am. The meeting will be open to the public, but there will be no comment period.
Announce Grievance Day – Grievance Day will take place on Tuesday, February 20 from 5-9pm in the Village Hall.
Discusssion/Resolution – Dedication of a Portion of Ridge Road – Mr. Nugent explained that the parcel of land in question has a property line that runs partially through Ridge Road. The property owner would like to deed this portion of the Road to the Village (without any cost to the Village) The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing council to move forward by informing the resident’s counsel that the Village will accept title to the portion of the road and that they can proceed with the necessary paperwork.
Resolution – Authorize Village Court use of Town Court Room – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Village Court to make use of the Town Court Room for an upcoming jury trial.
Resolution – Appoint BZA Chairman – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Houston Stebbins as BZA Chairman for a term ending June 30, 2018.
Resolution – NEAMI Third Party Agreement Renewal – The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing Mayor McFadden to sign the NEAMI (workman’s comp third Party Agreement Renewal.
Resolution – Adopt NYSHIP Excelsior Plan Option – Mayor McFadden explained that adopting this plan as an option was part of the body of the Police Contract. Following some minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting it.
Draft Local Law – Air BNB – The Board has been working on a draft law to address Air BNBs. Changes to the Village Code will be needed and therefore a public hearing will be necessary.
Mr. Nugent suggested as a matter of housekeeping that they remove the name Air BNB from meeting agendas and discussion titles moving forward as it is really a trademark and the law will focus on short-term rentals in general.
It was agreed that this would be done.
The Mayor reported that he had done a recent survey of the public with regard to Air BNB as part of another mailing and had requested comments. To date he has received 15-18 responses which have been circulated to the Board. He estimates that 1/3 of the responses were pro and 2/3 against. The comments are available for FOIL if anyone is interested.
Trustee Moon provided a bit of history, explaining that the Board had looked at a use of the “transient rental prohibition law” sometime ago when Mayor Guinchard was in office. At that time, New York had passed a statute however, since it involved expression in the form of advertising for rentals, it implicates the first amendment. Because of this, they decided to wait until the constitutional challenges had passed the law because they didn’t want to violate the constitution. The challenges have since passed. They then took the New York State law and modified it for Village conditions, mostly with a view towards nomenclature, using language form the Village Code rather than the NYS statute. They then sent it to the attorney to draft into technical form. Essentially, the legislation prohibits advertising for a rental in the village for a period less than 30 days (with a few caveats that allow for caregivers, relatives and friends to stay provided there is no commercial transaction.)
Trustee Gluck added that the legislation was drafted with the notion being that anything less than 30 days would be a prohibited, short-term, transient rental that could not be advertised for via a commercial website, or engaged in at all. He suggested that perhaps they could discuss altering the amount of time to either 15 days or two weeks, which he would be a proponent of. The legislation also carves out a place for medical caregivers, who can stay for compensation. Aside from that however, as it is currently being proposed, any other compensatory rental arrangement for some period of time, whether it be 30 or 15 days, will not be permitted under the code. He added that the legislation was really in the hands of the community and if they decide that they want to allow short-term rentals for whatever reason, they should come forward and speak their minds. His current sense is that this is not something that the community wants to see as a whole and that people like preserving the residential nature of the community as it is now. That being said, he encouraged residents to come forward and let them know how they felt about it.
Trustee McHugh wondered when the proposed legislation would be distributed to the community for review.
The Mayor responded that it would have to be distributed at least 7 days prior to the Public Hearing. He then commented that 10 years prior he had rented his house to the Silvays, who then entered the leasee program at The Club. There was a transaction involved. He wondered whether something like this would no longer be permitted under the new law.
Trustee McHugh inquired about the length of time that was involved, suggesting that if it was less than 30 days, it would not comply.
Mayor McFaddon responded that he did not remember. He went on to say that he had rented his boat house out for two weeks to a Village resident. He wondered whether this type of activity would be prohibited.
Trustee Moon responded that electronic advertisement was prohibited. He was not entirely sure as to whether or not the actual transaction was allowed. “The New York law speaks to only advertisement.” He added.
Trustee Gluck wondered whether the New York law prohibited both the advertisement and the underlying transaction.
From the audience, Claudio Guazzoni commented that there were actually two New York State laws. “The first covers the actual deal, and the second law the advertisement,” he stated.
Trustee Moon commented that he felt it was good to have some rental activity in the community as often times people begin by renting a house and then they end up buying one. There is a program at the Club and there are also situations where people have work done on their homes and need to stay elsewhere in the Park while it is going on. Some rental activity is good! The difficulty he sees is twofold. First, there is an issue of quality of life and neighborly conduct and secondly the Gates. The Village is a permanent, residential community.
The Mayor added that having commercial businesses of any kind within the Village was not allowed and therefore running an Air BNB or any other similar type of transient rental, is already prohibited by the Code.
Trustee Barnett wondered why they would consider prohibiting advertising only rather than to flatly prohibit leasing for less than 30 days.
Trustee Moon responded that he felt the answer was enforcement. “It’s easy to check Air BNB and type in Tuxedo Park, but you don’t want to be stepping around in people’s back yards to see if they have a transient tenant.”
Trustee Gluck commented that he believed the underlying act was also prohibited in New York State and that recently they had added advertising as an enforcement mechanism.
“We could also charge $1,000 for a special tag for your car,” quipped the Mayor.
Mr. Nugent advised that if they wanted to target advertising only, they could certainly do that but in this case, the draft law targeted both the advertising and the underlying action.
Richard Witte commented that he believed there had been a short-term rental across the street from his house and a resulting issue had been the lack of parking. The tenants and their visitors were parking on the street, which was problematic.
He suggested that the legislation should include language, which requires adequate parking for rentals.
Mayor McFadden responded that this was a good idea and encouraged Mr. Witte to submit this comment in writing if he was unable to make next month’s public hearing.
Claudio Guazzoni commented that in 2015 New York State had passed a law forbidding short-term transient rentals of less than 30 days and to enforce this (there were a lot of loopholes) in 2016 they passed a second law prohibiting advertising by internet, print, word of mouth, real estate agent or tour group. The second law was passed in order to enforce the first. He suggested that the Village do the same thing and that they include both residential and non-residential buildings.
“I don’t want somebody renting a boat house for 10 days and then running over my dog.”
Mayor McFadden encouraged Mr. Guazzoni to submit these comments in writing if he was unable to make the public hearing.
With regard to the timetable, Trustee Gluck suggested that he would like to provide the public with more than just the minimum amount of time required by law to review the draft and form opinions.
Mayor McFadden agreed, suggesting that they could put it out as soon as it was ready.
Trustee McHugh commented that he felt the law needed to have “teeth” and wondered what the penalty would be for those who were noncompliant. He further suggested that he felt the penalty should be significantly more than whatever the individual was potentially renting for. He feels this element needs to be modified in order to make it sufficiently punitive so that if people are caught, it has “a bite.”
Following some further discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of officially introducing the legislation (named Local Law Introductory D1) and setting a public hearing for February 21 at 6pm.
The law will be available for public review by February 7, 2018.
Draft Local Law – Regulate Non-Utility Devices in Public Rights-of-Way and Easements- Mayor McFadden kicked off the discussion by stating that similar to the way in which the Village maintains some control over what goes on homes in the Village via the design guidelines, they feel that they should also maintain some control over what goes on utility devices. (telephone poles) Under the proposed legislation, residents will have to go through a permitting process in order to put something up.
Michele Lindsay asked for an example, aside from something posted to a telephone pole, of what the law would regulate.
Brian Nugent responded that telephone poles were the main thing, although the law would regulate anything that is not already regulated as electrical transmission equipment. The Village can regulate anything that goes on the pole that is not part of the electrical system. The way the law currently stands, O & R could enter into an agreement with anybody they choose to place things on the poles and the Village would not have any control over it.
“For example” the Mayor further commented, “if we wanted to put up a period light on a pole, in addition to getting approval from O & R it would also need to pass through the BAR. Another might be if there is a resident who is having a party with a lot of out-of-town guests, rather than putting up arrows, which sometimes stay up for a period of time, they would have to call the code enforcement officer for approval.”
Mr. Nugent advised that it was really about visibility and that the legislation would put into place a permitting process for hanging things on utility poles. They are not intending to prevent people from hanging things on the polls altogether, merely they are attempting to regulate what goes up in an attempt to preserve the visual integrity of the Village.
“So if I lose my cat, I can hang a flyer on a telephone pole? “ inquired Meg Vaught.
“You can, you just need to get approval,” responded Mayor McFadden.
“Do I need a permit?” inquired Mrs. Vaught.
The answer was no, only an approval would be needed.
Mrs. Vaught then wondered if this was akin to the situation that occurred recently in Mahwah with telephone poles.
Mr. Nugent responded that the issues were different but there was some overlap in the sense that what was in question there were visible, white attachments to the poles. If somebody wanted to put something like that on poles in the Village, under this legislation, the attachments would be required to blend in with the pole.
Mrs. Vaught wondered if they would be drafting and adopting specific regulations or guidelines.
Mayor McFadden responded that applicants would have to go through the existing BAR process.
Trustee McHugh inquired about TPS and whether or not this legislation would preclude them from putting event signage on telephone poles.
Mr. Nugent advised that the legislation was drafted for attachments that were permanent and not temporary. Anything posted for less than 30 days would not be prohibited under the law.
Following some further discussion a public hearing for Local Law Introductory D2 was set for February 21 at 6:01pm.
Jane Garofano noted that the date set for Tax Grievance, February 20, fell during President’s Week, during which time many people were away. She wondered whether or not this date was set in stone and whether or not residents had to physically be present in order to grieve.
The answer was no, physical presence is not required. The date is set by the State of New York. There is a form that must be submitted and it will be reviewed on that day.
Secondly, Mrs. Garofano inquired as to why the current administration was not circulating any sort of newsletter to the residents.
The Mayor responded that this had been his decision. “I really feel like you can read the minutes as well as the great work of the reporters at TPFYI and that my role is to communicate with you when there is an important issue.”
“It’s nice to get communication from The Mayor,” responded Mrs. Garofano.
“It’s a lot of work,” interjected Claudio Guazzoni.
“Well, that’s’ why I don’t run for Mayor,” replied Mrs. Garofano.
The Mayor wondered how everyone else felt on the subject.
Mr. Guazzoni suggested that a monthly newsletter would be nice, but noted it took a lot of work.
“It’s always been done, so I think people are used to it,” commented Mrs. Vaught.
“It’s always been done,” echoed Mrs. Garofano.
“It hasn’t always been done,” replied Mayor McFadden. “Tom Wilson didn’t do it.”
“You are comparing yourself to Tom Wilson?” inquired Mr. Guazzoni.
The Mayor suggested that monthly letters could ultimately prove divisive.
Mrs. Garofano wondered if he couldn’t draft some sort of overview so that residents did not have to physically attend meetings or search for information online in order to know what is going on.
Mayor McFadden suggested that they collect email addresses and send information electronically as it was a laborious undertaking for the clerk to send out a large mailing.
Trustee McHugh interjected that they had been trying to populate the Village website with more information and they would like to encourage residents to utilize this as the Village’s main medium of communication.
Trustee Moon suggested that an easy approach would be to approve the meeting minutes in a timely fashion and circulate them by email to those residents who opt-in.
Following some further discussion, The Mayor stated that he would take a stab at it and he invited Mrs. Garofano to come back to them with any and all feedback in the months ahead.
Claudio Guazzoni commented that he wanted to talks about the state of taxes and SALT and the fact that taxes were no longer deductible. He stated that he had come to the October meeting and raised the point only to be rebuffed by the Mayor, who claimed that the proposed changes would never pass through the Senate.
“I never said that!” responded the Mayor.
“I’ll let you hear it on tape at the next meeting,” replied Mr. Guazzoni. “Outside of a hastily arranged emergency meeting with half an hours’ notice,” continued Mr. Guazozni, “what else are you doing to lower our taxes and take this burden off the taxpayer’s back, because it seems like the budget is going to be a lot larger this year than it was last year.”
“Is than an anecdotal comment?” inquired the Mayir.
“No, I’m asking what else are you doing outside of….”
“First of all,” interrupted Mayor McFadden, “it wasn’t a last minute, half hour, emergency meeting. It was December 27, where we all sacrificed our time during the Holiday. I don’t know if you appreciate that or not, but I know a lot of people did. We had hundreds of emails thanking us for what we were doing.”
“Ok, what else are you doing besides that?” asked Mr. Guazzoni.
“Regarding?” responded the Mayor.
“Regarding lowering our taxes, because they are non-deductible, Mayor. I told you that in October.”
“If I had only listened to you,” quipped the Mayor, “things would be running so much better.”
“I know. Sucks when you don’t finish college doesn’t it,” retorted Mr. Guazzoni
“What we are doing,” interjected Trustee Barnett, “is systematically looking at issues that have not been addressed for a long time, including the previous administration. We are starting with accounting procedures. You can’t understand a budget unless you understand the accounting. We will have clear accounting so that everybody understands what is being spent and why. I think that you cannot save money unless you have a maintenance schedule. We don’t have a maintenance schedule. We need to define priorities in maintenance and than have people hold us accountable. We have had reports going back for lord knows how long showing that we ‘re losing around 50% of our water on average. We can’t account for it. Alan and I are focused on that. One of the several things we found is that there is a filter, that plugs into the sewer that has been using clean, purified water to clean out the sewage filter. Once the dam is finished, we are going to start using Wee Wah Lake water for this purpose. We think that this is going to significantly reduce the loss of water. If you can account for more of your water, you save money by not manufacturing as much.”
“It just seems to me that the budget this year is going to be a lot more than it was last year. I mean, you have all these consultants on the books,” replied Mr. Guazzoni.
“How can you say that? How can you say it? You have no numbers! You’re guessing. You have no idea,” stated Trustee Barnett.
“I’m just saying, you cannot deduct….” began Mr. Guazonni
“Claudio, have you got any clue what you are talking about?” inquired Trustee Barnett.
“All of you should put some time in and sharpen the pencil and try to lower the budget by 10%.,” stated Mr. Guazzoni.
“What in the hell do you think we have been doing?” responded Trustee Barnett.
Trustee Gluck then interjected that he felt this would be a good point in time to thank Mr. Guazzoni for his remarks and move on.
“So you are doing nothing about it,” stated Mr. Guazzoni.
“That is not true,” replied the Mayor.
“All right….we’ll see when the budget comes out,” responded Mr. Guazzoni.
“I am really amazed at how much work all of you guys do,” Richard Witte commented to the Board. He went on to raise the issue of school taxes, stating that he felt that the Village was being overwhelmed by them. He suggested that some States have begun using a portion of their sales tax to help to alleviate the burden of school taxes. He wondered whether or not this was a possibility in New York, noting that ultimately it was a political solution that would involve both the County and the State, but he felt it was good one.
Fred Rella then commented that he was a property tax expert. Municipalities hire him and he assists with grievances. He has represented several thousand homeowners over the course of the last several years. He offered his help to the Board for he upcoming assessment season if they were interested.
The Mayor thanked Mr. Rella for his offer, commenting he had had no idea that he was in this line of work.
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Agenda For Village Board of Trustees Meeting January 17, 2018
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