AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA, DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 13TH OF NOVEMBER, 2001, AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, AT 7 P.M. THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT:
HONORABLE WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN COUNCILMAN
LIZ ORZEL KASPER COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH SUPERVISOR
ABSENT PATRICIA A. DONNELLY COUNCILWOMAN
SCOTT M. HORTON COUNCILMAN
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
When no members of the public wished to speak, the Supervisor closed Privilege of the Floor.
The Town Board approved each of the following resolutions by a vote of three ayes with Councilman Horton and Councilwoman Donnelly absent from the meeting.
Resolution 2001- 261 authorizes the advertisement for bids for the purchase of liquid chlorine, sodium fluoride, potassium permanganate and dry polymer.
Resolution 2001-262 rescinds Resolution 2001-175 of July 20, 2001 and authorizes the purchase of two new Wallace & Tiernam Depolox III Plus fluoride and chlorine analyzers from Delmar Service Contractors at a cost not to exceed $6,506.
Resolution 2001-263 authorizes Anvil Fence & Supply to install a 10 foot high chain-link fencing with barbed wire and secured entries in the area surrounding the water tower and standpipes and the Water Filtration Plant of Consolidated Water District No. 1 at a price not to exceed $51,198.
Resolution 2001-264 authorizes the execution of an Outside Sewer User Agreement for John W and Michele L. Cosselman, owners of 3357 Consaul Road.
Resolution 2001- 265 authorizes the removal, inspection, and reconditioning of a booster pump at Water District No. 3 pump station at a cost not to exceed $4,400 by Layne Christensen Company.
Resolution 2001-266 approves the Preliminary Budget of the Town for the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2002.
E-mail from Councilwoman Donnelly was read by the Deputy Town Clerk Nottke in which Councilwoman Donnelly expressed regret at her absence for the budget vote. She stated that, for the most part, the budget was a good one, however, she disagreed with a full time Supervisor at a rate of $53,800 per year. She objected that this issue was not voted on and discussed by the entire Town Board. If a four-year term is presented, she hoped that it would be brought to the public. She has enjoyed her four-year term and appreciated the opportunity to serve the Town.
Councilwoman Kasper commented that it was unfortunate that issues brought out on campaign literature did not come out prior to the election. She stated she is a full time teacher but she has always been able to handle the Deputy Supervisor position. There were a lot of references to the full time position in the budget discussions. She was not part of any closed meeting and all Board members expressed themselves about this issue at public meetings. The night of the public hearing, no member of the Board spoke against this item. She did not speak at that time because she agreed with the full time position and salary. Some members of the public said the salary was not enough. There was no need for her to speak because the sentiments expressed by the public
duplicated her own feelings about the issue. She thinks it is sad that elected officials do not say in public what they feel and what they believe in. They need to listen to the public and also tell the public their views and together work out the best for the Town. The only time comments were made about the budget was through campaign literature. At the beginning she, and her appointed person to the committee, were leery as to whether the Town needed a full time Supervisor. She and her appointee came to the realization that it is a full time job and the proposed salary was right.
Councilman Chapman stated he intends to support the budget and he particularly liked adding funds to the highway reconstruction budget and the two-thirds police officer for the schools. He supports a full time Supervisor, as did the five-member committee who studied the issue and who reported to the Board in February. Their report has been available in Town Hall since then and the news media has had numerous articles on this issue. Voters had ample notice that a full time Supervisor was being considered and included in the Preliminary Budget. Most speakers at the Public Hearing spoke in favor.
Supervisor Smith is confident that the budget before the Board tonight will serve the residents well. It represents 2.1% tax increase, which is below the cost of living. Changes have been made and savings have been realized which will continue. A full time Supervisor’s salary was included in this years salary which he did not believe was hidden in the budget. There were numerous articles in the newspapers and discussions by the Board. His opponents who suggested it was sneaky attended budget work sessions, voted for the Preliminary Budget, sat through the public hearing and in all cases said nothing about it. Yet, on the campaign trail literature suggested that he was sneaking through despite the numerous discussions that took place. The electorate was
fully apprised of the issue and this was expressed on Election Day. The people agree that we need a full time Supervisor to run the Town to insure that this $14 million corporation working with 120+ employees has someone looking after it on a daily basis. They want someone who they elect who is accountable to them, not someone who is part time and appoints a person to run the Town day-to-day. We have been affirmed on Election Day in this regard. The budget is a good one that will serve the Town well.
Supervisor Smith also commented that a local paper suggested that the move to a full time Supervisor should have been done through referendum. The newspaper was informed that this is illegal and our Town Attorney has researched the matter.
Town Attorney Eric Dickson stated that it is very clear that the Town Board can only put certain issues up to a referendum and a Town salary is not one of them. An extension of any officer’s term, for example the Supervisor’s term, would make a referendum mandatory. Other referendums are permissive, but the Town Board cannot put any matter up for referendum that is not authorized by Town Law or a specific statute. Town salaries are committed to the discretion of the Town Board. Our system is designed that the Town Board makes all Town salaries, for officers and the Supervisor. The Attorney General has also given an opinion that it is not permissible because it isn’t authorized by statute no matter how good their intentions. The Town Board members may be
personally liable for the costs of the referendum if they went ahead and did so without statutory authority.
Supervisor Smith stated that he understood that salaries of officers are established and published and require a public hearing. The Issue was publicized in the press through the last seven to eight months. The Town has a good budget and we are on good footing into the year 2002.
Resolution 2001-267 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2002 for Consolidated Water District No. 1
Resolution 2001- 268 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2002 for Consolidated Sewer District No. 1.
Resolution 2001- 269 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2002 for Sewer District No. 6.
Resolution 2001- 270 adopts the Assessment Roll for 2002 for Drainage Districts No. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17.
Resolution 2001-271 adopts the Assessment Roll for Lighting District No. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
Resolution 2001-272 adopts the Budget for 2002 for Park District 1, 2, 3, 9, 10. 11, 12, and 13.
Resolution 2001- 273 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a lease agreement with Pitney Bowes for an automatic mail machine for 51 months at a monthly cost of $182.78.
Resolution 2001-274 authorizes the advertisement for bids for the purchase of various materials for Public Works for 2002.
Resolution 2001- 275 takes action to authorize advertisement for bids for the purchase of compostable bags.
Resolution 2001-276 takes action to call for a public hearing December 4 at 7 p.m. to consider various changes to the Official Map.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board the meeting was adjourned by the Supervisor.
Barbara Nottke, Deputy Town Clerk