AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 22ND DAY OF MARCH, 2005, 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: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; John Lubrant, Police Lieut., Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; and Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways.
TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
The minutes of the meeting of March 8, 2005 were approved as presented.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Bob Balansek, President & CEO of Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, requested Board support to ask Congress and the President to enjoin the further implementation of Part 412 of Volume 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations and to review and revise the “75 percent rule.” This rule originated twenty years ago to distinguish a rehab hospital from an acute medical-surgical hospital and contained ten diagnosis that represent most of patients they treat. As long as 75% of their patients were discharged under this specific diagnosis, the facility would still be considered a rehab hospital. This rule was never enforced or updated and it is now difficult to stay within the 75% rule.
Over the next several years, this rule would cause serious harm to the rehab industry because it would not allow them to treat many patients that have diagnosis that did not exist many years ago such as post knee or hit replacement surgery, severe pulmonary disease, and some post cardiac surgery. These are examples of the kinds of patients that the federal government is saying that Medicare should no longer cover or quality rehab hospitals to cover. The County Board has already passed a resolution urging the President and Congress to do what they can to reverse this position.
Supervisor Smith stated that in trying to reform Medicaid with this rule they have earmarked $80 million in savings but it will really transfer the cost to primary care hospitals so there will be no net savings. Mr. Balansek stated that they have not studied the net savings at all, but have only looked at what they would not pay the rehab hospitals. Patients with these conditions will still need treatment and the cost of doing that down the road may be more.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Road, was pleased that the Board would be supporting Sunnyview. She found the ruling upsetting because Sunnyview is such a fine rehab facility and because an alternative for patients who cannot go to Sunnyview might be a nursing home where the focus is not on rehab but on having beds filled.
There being no further members of the public who wished to speak, the Supervisor closed Privilege of the Floor.
The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2005-76 authorized the purchase of flow monitoring equipment for the Water & Sewer Department, from Systemation, at a cost not to exceed $4,600.
Resolution 2005-77 calls for a Public Hearing April 5, 2005 at 7 p.m. to consider a petition for Extension No. 154 to Consolidated Water District No. 1, Vly Point Condominium Development.
Resolution 2005-78 calls for a Public Hearing April 5, 2005 at 7:05 p.m. to consider a petition for Extension No. 110 to Sewer District No. 6 for Vly Point Condominium Development.
Resolution 2005-79 appoints Daniel R. Bean, to the position of Water & Sewer Maintenance Worker in the Water & Sewer Department, effective April 11, 2005.
Resolution 2005-80 appoints Steven F. Noyes, to the position of Sewage Equipment Mechanic at the Wastewater Treatment.
Supervisor Smith explained that Noyes is a current employee who recently pled guilty to a misdemeanor for falsifying a document in the course of conducting his private business. There is no evidence that any Town records were falsified.
This current appointment does not create a new position and no Treatment Plant License is required to perform his duties. Councilman Chapman stated (and Councilman Holt agreed) that Noyes has been a valuable employee in the past and retaining his skill is a good step for the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Resolution 2005-81 authorizes Kathy Matern, Town Planner, to attend the Advanced Zoning & Land Use Conference to be held in Albany, at a cost of $329.
Resolution 2005-82 authorizes a modification to the agreement with Schindler Elevator Company for an additional $4.77 per month for a total monthly charge of $163.91 for the contract year January 1, 2005 through December 51, 2005.
Resolution 2005-83 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement with Labor Ready to provide seasonal laborers at a cost of $13.50 per hour with a 4 hour minimum per day, effective March 22, 2005.
Resolution 2005-84 appoints Geoffrey Stroebel, to the part-time position of Youth Court Coordinator in the Justice Department at a salary of $12.00 per hour, without benefits, not to exceed 15 hours per week, effective March 24, 2005.
Resolution 2005-85 appoints Carol M. Connor, to the position of part-time Clerk to the Town Justice, without benefits, not to exceed 20 hours per week, effective March 23, 2005 at a salary of $10.00 per hour, to terminate on April 11, 2005.
Resolution 2005-86 calls for a public hearing April 5, 2005 at 7:10 p.m. to consider amendment of Section 55-9 of Chapter 55 Alarm Systems, Emergency of the Code of the Town.
Resolution 2005-87 requests that the U. S. Congress and the President enjoin the further implementation of Part 412 of Volume 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and to review and revise the “75% rule.”
Resolution 2005-88 accepts bids for furnishing of labor and materials relative to the paving of certain streets in the Town.
Resolution 2005-89 authorizes Frank Gavin to attend the 2005 Highway School on June 5-8, 2005 in Ithaca, New York at a cost of $85.
Supervisor Smith described a letter he had written to Ed Kosiur, from the Schenectady County Legislature, regarding the Town’s response to the County’s Youth Employment Program. The Town feels the intent of the program is a worthy cause and is an important initiative for communities that may not have active youth employment programs. Niskayuna has provided extensive services for youth employment for a number of years. Town staff work year round to develop private sector employment for youth, and placed 164 youths in private pay jobs in 2004. The Town Board is interested in the educational component of the county’s plan, and although we are not budgeted for participation this year, next year the Town could include a budget initiative and participate in this part of
Councilman Chapman commented he would like to continue looking at the County’s program. Councilwoman O’Donnell is concerned about transportation issues for youth.
Regarding the Cerone/Paulson subdivision, Supervisor Smith informed the Board that Kathy Matern has met with the Project Leader and Engineer to discuss traffic and drainage issues. Ms. Matern will request information in writing from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the detention ponds.
The Supervisor is also concerned about a quote he recently read from the Mr. Ryan, the County Superintendent of Highways, that the “Town can’t systematically dump traffic onto County roads.” Smith stated that the Town is not “systematically doing anything.” All subdivision proposals affecting County roads are sent to the County for review, and no concerns have been raised about past proposals. Regarding Mr. Ryan’s comment that Lishakill Road is substandard, the Town has four subdivisions on Lishakill whose plans were submitted to the County for review. Mr. Ryan was not at the public hearing for this proposal or for the recent subdivision proposal off Consaul Road. Also, it was recently discovered that drainage culverts along Lishakill have not been cleaned for many years, which could have
caused much of the drainage issues recently brought up by residents.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board, the meeting was adjourned by the Supervisor.
Helen F. Kopke, Town Clerk