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Healthy Choices for Families

 
Town Board Minutes 6/12/2007
AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 12TH DAY OF JUNE, 2007 AT THE NISKAYUNA OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT:

LIZ ORZEL KASPER, COUNCILWOMAN
WILLIAM R. CHAPMAN, COUNCILMAN
MARIE P. FREUND, COUNCILWOMAN
DIANE P. O’DONNELL, COUNCILWOMAN
LUKE J. SMITH, SUPERVISOR

        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney, Lew Moskowitz, Chief of Police; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; John Lubrant, Police Lieut.; Stan Fiminski, Police Lieut.; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Public Works.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
        A public hearing was conducted to hear public comment on the proposed enactment of a local law entitled Under Aged Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages and/or Use of Drugs at Private Parties.
        8282007_110633_0.png, informed the Board of the history of the Social Host Law.  Long Beach, Long Island was the first to pass this legislation because some residents were allowing alcohol to be consumed by under-age people.  It was found that there is a loophole in the New York State law that parties can be broken up by police, but no one can be held responsible if police are called and they cannot determine who purchased the alcohol.   
13 other communities across the State have enacted this legislation and the Environmental Prevention Task Force of New York State is encouraging passage of the ordinance.  If a resident is away from home and a police are called to a party, the child who formulated the party would be held responsible.  Mrs. Brennan hoped that this legislation is approved by Niskayuna.  It is another tool for parents and law enforcement to prevent alcohol related incidence.
There is published research that youth’s brain are not developed up until age 24 and if individuals start drinking before age 14 they are four times as likely to become addicted.  Drinking up until their early 20’s effects their brain development.  The word use “environmental” was used in the name of the organization in terms of prevention after research has found that “just say no” does not work.  Teaching some kids about drugs gives risk-takers an invitation.  What has worked with tobacco is changing the environment in which people live. Changing the legal consequences changes the community environment.    

        8282007_110633_0.png, is an N-Cap representative who supports this ordinance.  She believes that this law will help prevent someone other than her, making the decision to serve her under-age son alcohol.  She wants to be in control of what her 17 year old son does and decide if he is ready.  The issue of control is clearly stated in the legislation and defines control.  Parents serving alcohol to their own children is not prohibited and is allowed under New York State law.

        8282007_110633_0.png, expressed her concerns with various aspects of the proposed legislation such as 1) the “finding” that alcoholic beverages are harmful to persons under the age of 21 and that no research was cited in the proposed ordinance; and 2) she wondered how it would be proved that “persons should have known” that alcohol was being serviced to under-age individuals.  She is concerned that this could be used by a child to get back at an adult.  
Councilman Chapman stated that written information was submitted by the New York State Environmental Task Force which stated that adults are not responsible for hosting a party if they are away from home and youth hold a drinking party without their knowledge.  A teen or another person in control of the house could be cited for hosting the party in addition to possessing alcohol.  Under other state statute and case law, the owner of a home may be held liable for injuries and other consequences that occur regardless of whether the homeowner is present.  The new bill will allow law enforcement officials to intervene to address the issue of under-age use of alcohol and minimize damage to a home owner’s property.  
 Ms. Gold stated that she thinks the Police are looking for a tool but we need to not overburden them with trying to evaluate situations where they are not going to have all the information.  They will have to make their best call but there should be better guidance.  She felt that in general, given what the County legislature will be approving shortly, we are becoming involved in legislation that is very negative, assumes the worst about everybody but is not accomplishing much of anything other than adding another layer of offenses and criminal activity but not addressing the underlying problem.  The DARE program was supposed to keep kids off drugs and alcohol and she wondered what is being done to get at the issue.  
She feels this is “feel good” legislation lacking any rational basis and lacking the studies that you would expect to find in place when assertions are made.  In other parts of the world, kids are taught to drink responsibly.  She doesn’t feel this legislation accomplishes anything and doesn’t address the underlying issue and she would like to see more effort put into doing that.  She understands this is larger than the Town Board can tackle but this should be the focus.
Councilman Chapman stated that this offers the Police Department a tool that they don’t currently have and puts parents on notice that they will be liable if they are not careful about social activities at their homes.  He believes it does address some concrete approaches.  

PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR

        8282007_110633_0.pnge, inquired about which water lines would be replaced or rehabilitated this year.  She reported that she and her neighbor have experienced rusty water on Pawtucket Avenue for years.   

        8282007_110633_0.png, reported that the Dean Street Park is becoming a second dog park.  Dogs are running without control by their owners and owners are not cleaning up after their dogs.  Supervisor Smith stated that we are stepping up our enforcement of the leash law in the parks because of the dog park.  The Chief was asked to monitor the situation.  Ms. Stacey was encouraged to call the Police Department when she sees unleashed dogs.  

SPECIAL DISTRICTS
        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes, unless otherwise noted.
        Resolution 2007-137 calls for a public hearing June 26 at 7:05 p.m. to consider Extension No. 162 to Consolidated Water District No. 1 for Fieldstone Estates, P. U. D.

        Resolution 2007-138 calls for a public hearing June 26 at 7:10 p.m. to consider Extension No. 117 to Sewer District No. 6 for Fieldstone Estates P.U.D.

        Resolution 2007-139 calls for a public hearing June 26 at 7:15 p.m. to consider Drainage District No. 30 for Fieldstone Estates P. U. D.

        Resolution 2007-140 authorizes the replacement of the high-pressure water pump on the vac-con truck used by the Water & Sewer Department and accepts the proposal of Keuka Business park, at a cost not to exceed $7,000.

GENERAL RESOLUTIONS

        Resolution 2007-141 appoints Gary R. Brown, to the position of Police Sergeant, at a rate of $66,185.

        Resolution 2007-142 calls for a public hearing June 26 at 7 p.m. to consider amendment of the Code of the Town to increase the  impoundment fee to $35 for the first impoundment.

        Resolution 2007-143 authorizes Chief Lew Moskowitz to attend the 114th Annual IACP Conference Law Enforcement Education & Technology Exposition on October 13-17 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

        Resolution 2007-144 authorizes Amy Houlihan to attend the New York State Assessor’s Association Annual Seminar on July 16-20.

        Resolution 2007-145 authorizes the Supervisor to renew a software maintenance agreement with P & J Computers, at a total cost not to exceed $949.75.

        Resolution 2007-146 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a contract with Joan Eddy as its listing agent for the sale of two Town owned cinder block cold storage buildings located on Aqueduct Road and on East Street.

        Resolution 2007-147 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a contract for the sale of a 5,027 square foot parcel of Town owned real property located on East Street to Steven and Karen Kast for the sum of $1,000.

        Resolution 2007-148 employs additional persons in the Niskayuna Recreation program and authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement for summer recreation programs.

        At this time, the Board voted to go into Executive Session to discuss a contract matter before the Board.
        There being no further business to come before the Board, Supervisor adjourned the meeting.
 

                                                Helen Kopke, Town Clerk


 
One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
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