AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 10TH DAY OF AUGUST, 2004, AT THE NISKAYUNA TOWN OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK , THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT;
LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
RICHARD A. HOLT, COUNCILMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR
Others present: Barbara Nottke, Deputy Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; Rich Pollock, Superintendent Water & Sewer; Amy Houlihan, Assessor; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; John Lubrant, Police Lieut.; Frank Gavin, Highway Superintendent.
Supervisor Smith announced a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan meeting conducted by the Schenectady County Planning Department to be held Thursday, August 19 at 7 p.m. The Plan would be used during natural disasters such as storms. The Planning and Town Board members are requested to attend.
Secondly, G. E. Global Research has made another commitment to maintain their facility in Niskayuna and are going ahead with further expansion which reinforces their commitment to the Town and the region.
A Public Hearing was held regarding a Special Use Permit for 1760 Union Street, and a presentation was made by Dean DeVito who represented the developer. This is a 1.4 acre parcel bordering Union Street and Eastern Parkway. They are proposing a 12,394 SF single story office building to be used by Caldwell Banker. Their site plan conforms to parking, green space regulations and they have received a positive recommendation from the Planning Board. Access to the building will be from Union Street and Eastern Parkway. Exists and entrances will be from both directions of Union Street and the site will contain a water feature within the landscaping. The site is close to the Van Antwerp intersection that s a problematic area, but the County has not commented on this
When no members of the public wished to be heard, the Supervisor closed the public hearing.
Town Clerk’s Business
The minutes of the meeting of June 29, 2004 were approved as presented.
Privilege of the Floor
Sally Embly, 2392 Rosendale Road, spoke on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Schenectady County and stated that part of their mission is broadening the public’s access to information about local government. They believe public access TV provides vitally needed coverage of decision making on key community issues. Commercial broadcast media and public radio and TV do not often cover Town government yet some of the most important issues effecting citizens are decided at this level. The League believes that residents should be able to see their elected leaders in action. Local citizens can watch proceedings on Channel 16 of the Schenectady County Legislature, the Rotterdam Town Board, Schenectady City Council, and Metroplex. Because City Council
meetings are aired live, residents have appeared at City Hall to add their voices to a particularly lively debate.
Ms. Embly stated that now is an ideal time to expand public awareness and involvement in local government. She requested that the Board seriously consider having the Niskayuna Town Board meetings televised on Channel 16. Rotterdam pays about $100 per month for this service.
She also recommended that the Town join other County municipalities in hiring a strong negotiator for the upcoming franchise renewal with Time Warner Cable. The local unit has one of the most advanced electronic infrastructures in the U. S. but it has not been challenged to share its resources with other localities it operates in. Because of its obligation to pay municipalities 5% of gross subscriber revenues, Time Warner should be required to include funding for upgraded public access and connectivity. Niskayuna’s current contract expires on October 20, 2004. By joining other Towns she believes we will enhance our own bargaining position and also strengthen Schenectady Access Cable Council as a vital community resource.
Supervisor Smith stated that people have inquired about televising our Town Board meetings and there is no problem but they have never come back to the Board. The Town is in the process of looking at our options regarding franchise negotiations. We have talked to consultants, have attended meetings, have talked to Time Warner. The Public Service Commission (a free service) will meet with the Town Board on August 24 to discuss what they can do. He has not heard that joining with everybody serves our best interest. It seems to come back to getting another cable access channel. We have a cable access channel in Niskayuna that we got from Time Warner on our last negotiations and we want to upgrade that. There are a number of issues that have to be resolved but the Board is doing
our due diligence by looking at our options.
Ms. Embly felt that the point of having a single negotiator would be to have an advocate. She understood that the Public Service Commission will give us answers to questions but don’t necessary tell us what we could get if we push. Niskayuna would be working with the other Towns and they hope to have more progressive policies as far as consolidation and collaboration. The League would like to see more cooperation rather than less. Ideally if Channel 16 were just for government issues they could get rid of a lot of the junk that is broadcast now. Ms. Embly suggested that one of the things we might consider negotiating is a small additional fee per subscriber that would go to operation expenses.
Supervisor Smith stated that this is the consultant’s view and not what the Public Service Commission told the Board. The consultant is paid $120,000 per year and is now in their fourth year negotiating for Troy which is quite an expense. He would also like to see more cooperation but that doesn’t mean that everything is a winner. We have a responsibility to decide which issues are in the best interest of the Town and the County.
Matt Hogan, 2 Knolls Road, stated that residents on his street are concerned about people entering the JCC parking lot from Providence. Many people do not use the right of way and go straight through the curve in the road. He asked the Board to consider putting a stop sign in to prevent an accident. There have been several close calls.
Supervisor Smith stated that they have considered this in the past and that Knolls Road is not an intersection per se so it would not be a legal stop sign. He talked to Lieut. Lubrant and asked him to check if there is something else that can be done there. Mr. Hogan believes that people think it is a low volume street and they continue to drive straight through the intersection. Some maps indicate that Newport (which is on the other side of Providence) continues across – so this street could actually Newport and Knolls comes down. Now, from Providence, one side is Newport and the other side is Knolls. It is still a T intersection.
Councilman Holt stated that stanchions were placed at Mayfair Road which then becomes a square intersection. Also, coming out of B’nai B’rith, they moved a stop sign to Knolls Road. He suspects that people who ignore the Children at Play and the fact that there is an entrance driveway sign will probably ignore a stop sign. The outside hope is that this street is actually Newport or we can rename it Newport and make a T intersection. Then a stop sign can be put up as opposed to putting up a stop sign in the middle of the road.
Sally Lester, Troy Road, was distressed by small signs on posts that are popping up around Town. She noticed one on Balltown Road near Story, at the corner of Balltown and Union Street and at St. James Square. Supervisor Smith has instructed the Zoning Enforcement Officer to take these signs down as he sees them. Mrs. Lester asked if Highway Department workers could also take them down.
Mrs. Lester asked if the Town was still mowing the grass along Troy Road. According to Frank Gavin, the Town had done it the last couple of years and now the State does it. A grant was received a few years ago to clean up the area where Union Street meets Route 7.
Chareen Tate, 78 Lori Drive, thanked Bill Chapman for speaking at last night’s Planning Board meeting and bring up alternatives to a cut through road at Lori Drive. J. & E. Cerone has submitted a second subdivision proposal that would be adjacent to the Cerone/Paulson subdivision. This second subdivision allows for two access points on Lishakill Road for the two new subdivisions, therefore, there would be no need for the cut through road. The residents of Lori Drive are asking the Planning Board to consider a pedestrian walk way which will also provide emergency access via Lori Drive without a cut through road. She distributed some recent articles from the Gazette.
Ms. Tate noted articles that refer to traffic on Hillside and Providence Avenues, with Supervisor Smith quoted as saying traffic is a serious problem. This will become a problem with making Lori Drive a cut through street. The residents asked that the Supervisor consider the impact of cut through traffic flow in their neighborhood from Route 7 which is much busier than Balltown Road.
The second article refers to the Rotterdam Town Boards decision to block a Planning Board plan which would have created a cut through road. They asked the Board to support them, get involved with both subdivisions and say no to the cut through road which will bring increased traffic to them and threatens the safety of their children. The third article was an editorial from the Gazette.
Councilwoman O’Donnell clarified that the Rotterdam Town Board expressed consensus that they would not accept the road, but there was no formal vote because there was nothing for them to vote on.
Mike Ambrosino, 63 Lori Drive, knows that the Town Board is aware of the concerns of Lori Drive residents regarding the Paulson-Cerrone cut through connector road. The Rotterdam Town Board and residents recently faced a situation similar to ours. He feels that the Rotterdam Board acted in the best interests of the residents and did not support the new road.
At the last two Planning Board meetings, Ms. Gold mentioned that the Town Board had asked the Planning Board to look into several issues. He asked the Town Board to ask the Planning Board to support the residents by looking at the alternatives that are being presented. The ones presented showed two roads coming in off Lishakill that would allow two ways in and out of the development so they would not have to a paved road from Lori but a simple connector, crash gate, pedestrian walkway would serve as another emergency entrance.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes, unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2004-223 authorizes advertising for bids for the purchase of a dehumidification system for the Water Filtration Plant.
Resolution 2004-224 authorizes the purchase of a 40 yard roll-off container for the Transfer Station and Recycling Center from Wastequip Con Fab, at a cost not to exceed $5,500.
Resolution 2004-225 authorizes the Supervisor to retain environmental services from Clancy Environmental Consultants at a total cost not to exceed $1,720 to perform the necessary testing of the wells at the Water Filtration Plant.
Resolution 2004-226 takes action to correct a City water billing error for the year 2000 and to authorize payment of $76,739.95.
Resolutions 2004-227 takes action to authorize the sale of unneeded vehicles from various departments and be sold on consignment through the Schenectady County Highway Department and Alex Lyons Son.
Resolution 2004-228 certifies the current base proportions to be used as class tax shares for municipal and school district levies.
Resolution 2004-229 makes permanent appointment to Anna K. Dwyer, to the position of Information Processing Specialist I in the Water & Sewer Department effective August 23, 2004 at a Grade 8, at a salary of $23,989 per year.
Resolution 2004-230 authorizes the purchase of an HP Laser Jet 4200dtn printer for use by the Planning and Building Department from ATEC Group, at a total cost of $1,900.
Resolution 2004-231 authorizes the purchase of Latitude D800 processor and a Canon i80 Color Bubble Jet printer for use by the Police Department from Dell Computer Corporation, at a total cost of $2,705.03.
Resolution 2004-232 authorizes the Supervisor to retain Chazen Companies, to perform the necessary structural inspection of the existing salt storage shed at the Highway Garage at a total cost not to exceed $2,000.
Resolution 2004-233 accepts a bid for removal of a fence at the Babe Ruth softball field at Blatnick Park at a cost not to exceed $7,000; and for equipment and labor for the installation of fencing for the Babe Ruth softball field at Blatnick Park at a cost not to exceed $32,000.
Resolution 2004-234 accepts a bid from Afsco Fence Supply Company for all materials, equipment, and labor necessary to install fencing, posts, and mounting materials for two softball fields at the River road Park, at a cost of $28,000.
Resolution 2004-235 authorizes the purchase of Martin infield mix from Martin Stone Quarries, at a total cost not to exceed $9,500.
Resolution 2004-236 authorizing retaining Fredericks Landscaping, to provide the equipment and labor necessary for the removal and hauling of the existing infield mix and to replace, grade and redefine two softball fields and remark an additional softball field at River Road Park at a cost not to exceed $4,000.
Resolution 2004-237 authorizes the purchase of approximately 800 youth and adult fall soccer t-shirts from JCB Specialties, at a total cost not to exceed $3,000.
Resolution 2004-238 appoints Amanda Stella as a Rec Attendant in the Recreation Program effective retroactive to July 24, at an hourly rate of $8.00.
Resolution 2004-239 calls for a public hearing September 7, 2004 at 7:05 p.m. to consider amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Code to provide for a no parking area between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 1 pm and 2 pm. Weekdays on Via Del Mar between Almeria Road and Nott Street.
Resolution 2004-240 calls for a public hearing September 7 at 7:10 p.m. to consider amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Code to provide for a no parking area between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays on Clifton Park Road between Almeria and Nott Street.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, Supervisor Smith declared the meeting adjourned.
Barbara Nottke, Deputy Town Clerk