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Town Board Minutes 10/9/2007


Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; John Lubrant; Police Lieut.; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller, and Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways.

        A public hearing was held regarding the Town’s proposed Agency Plan for Section 8 Rental Assistance.  
        Mr. Mastrianni described the firm that administers this Federal program which increases affordable housing for Town residents at no cost to the Town.  Families can choose private units instead of living in public housing.  Applicants are screened and preferences are given to citizens who live or work in Niskayuna or the elderly or disabled.  They also administer the Family Self Sufficiency Program and a Home Ownership Program.   
        When no members of the public wished to heard, Supervisor Smith closed the public hearing.

        clip_image001.gif, had already spoken with Councilman Chapman at length about issues on Cornelius Avenue.  She presented a petition signed by almost every resident of Cornelius from Ray Street to Hillside School.  The group requested the investigation of the installation of a sidewalk on at least one side of Cornelius Avenue beginning at Ray and terminating at Hillside School.  They believe it is important that the children be able to walk safely to school and due to heavy traffic in the morning and afternoon, a side walk is necessary to achieve that goal.  They asked that the Town Board investigate all necessary details required for installation of a sidewalk and apply for funding through the Safe Routes to School Federal Program and any other programs that might offset the cost of a sidewalk.  
        Safe Routes to School is an on-going federal program that has allocated $125 million to be distributed to States to improve routes to schools and other traffic problems like speed management as it relates to pedestrians (web site:       
She read that $7 million is being allocated to New York State in 2007, with more money in coming years.  Cornelius Avenue residents have seen a troubling increase in the numbers of cars using this street and the amount of cars speeding.  All parents on the street are frustrated.  Even though the children live so close to their school they cannot safely walk to school due to the traffic heading to the school and using Cornelius as a cut through.  The number of people working at the school has increased significantly which has increased traffic in the morning.  Small school buses from several other districts are delivery BOCES students.  Parents often prefer to drive their children to school which also increases traffic especially in the morning.  They have noticed that these drivers are often speeding.  It is a frequently used cut through for drivers passing from Rt. 7 and Balltown Road to Van Antwerp and all locations in old Niskayuna.  Speeding also occurs on weekends.  
        After numerous complaints to the school district about cars and buses entering dangerous bottlenecks and mixing with pedestrian children at the entrance of Hillside School, the district added funds to add a new loop to separate bus traffic from parent drop off and pick up cars.  They will also install a cross walk to encourage safer crossing.  
        We have the facilities bond showing cooperation on behalf of the school district so we have the residents, the Town, and the School District on board.  She can’t imagine an area of higher need because this road is the direct route for two schools.  
        The sidewalk must be built in the right-of-way.  Councilwoman Freund inquired about restricted parking which may be problematic due to resident’s cars.  The parking seems more of a problem than lack of sidewalks.  
        clip_image001.gif, stated that in the past nine years he has seen traffic increase substantially on Cornelius Avenue as a cut through.  He would like the Town to change the Yield Signs on Gurenson, Shirl, and Plum Streets intersections with Cornelius to Stop signs.  Drivers are constantly speeding around the corners and placing children at risk.  They would like to have the Town consider adding or moving another 20 mph School Zone sign on the end towards Ray Street due to the closeness of St. Helen’s School.  This would be a deterrent of speeders.  They would also like the Town to consider either a gradual speed bump or speed dip to slow down traffic and requested that the Police do more regular ticketing or speed monitoring.  
        They encouraged the Town to institute more active patrols, especially at 7:30 a.m. and requested that the Board visit Cornelius at 7:30 some morning and watch the speeding traffic and people using it as a cut through. He has been hit by a car while walking his children to school and he won’t let his children walk to school any longer.  
Councilwoman Kasper stated there is a definite need because cars are parked on both sides of Cornelius and the residents have her support to alleviate this problem.  She has seen more and more children not being able to walk and more and more cars filling up the street.  Grant applications will get points based on cooperation between the school and municipality.  Safe Routes’ goal was to have a safe route to walk to every school in Town.  In preparation for the grant we already have a Safe Routes Advisory Committee in place so we will be ready to go as soon as we get the guidelines.  
Councilman Chapman stated that DOT hopes to get their safe routes off the ground soon and they are still working on a point system for grant applications.  CDTC will be the group that applies for the grants.  New York has $32 million with 90% for infrastructure and 39.5% will go to New York City which leaves only $17.5 million for the rest of the state.  Another option, if there was a lot of support on the street, would be the formation of a sidewalk district which the homeowners would have to pay for which is a sure way of getting the sidewalk.  It would take 51% of the homeowners with 51% of the assessed valuation to form a district.  It makes sense to apply for the grant first.
Supervisor Smith stated that they could do both simultaneously and get the cost estimate for a special sidewalk district.  The petition is in effect already which could be used while looking at the potential for State and Federal funding.  He will pass along this information to his successor.  He will ask the Police Department to patrol this area and request parents to slow down their speed.  

        clip_image001.gif, was informed by Attorney Dickson that the notices of appeal have already been exchanged between the parties and the Town is appealing the court’s decision regarding the Special Use Permit for Ingersoll.   

        clip_image001.gif, had hoped that the Board might withdraw their appeal for Ingersoll.  Attorney Dickson stated that the first appeal they received was from the developer who has a right to appeal and once he does, it goes to the Appellate Division.  If any party to the litigation wants to appeal part of a court order they have a right to appeal.  Nothing will be done until the appeal is settled. In his opinion, the owner of the property could not touch the property because there is a pending application for development and while that is happening, until the environmental questions are settled they cannot get a permit of any sort.  They can’t put a shovel in the ground which is not to say they couldn’t withdraw their appeal and their application, but there is no evidence of their intention to do so.  If they did, they could do anything any other property owner could do. They could clear the property and request site plan approval for one large building.  
Last we heard, the property is still owned by the Ingersoll Home, John Roth has a contract to purchase it, and Ingersoll is planning to move in February 2008.  

        When no further members of the public wished to heard, Supervisor Smith closed Privilege of the Floor.

        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes, unless otherwise noted.
        Resolution-2007-210 authorizes the standardization of all water meters purchased by the Town or its water districts to be water meters manufactured by Neptune Technology Group, Inc.

        Resolution 2007-211 authorizes the purchase of a liquid ring compressor with motor for use on the primary digester gas mixing system from Dekker Vacuum Technologies at a cost not to exceed $7,100.


        Resolution 2007-212 authorizes James Burgess to attend the 2007 Conference on the Environmental sponsored by the New York Association of Environmental Management Councils and the New York Association of Conservation Commissions on October 19-21, at a total cost of $220.

        Resolution 2007-213 reappoints Frank Feiner to membership on the Board of Assessment Review for a term to expire September 30, 2012.

        Resolution 2007-214 approves Local Law 9 (2007) and amends the Code, Chapter 134, Illicit Discharges, Activities and Connections to Separate Storm Sewer System.

        Resolution 2007-215 calls for a public hearing on the Preliminary Budget for October 23, 2007 at 7 p.m.  The resolution was approved with a vote of five ayes, with Councilman Chapman voting no.  
A vote to hold a Special Meeting on October 16 to call for this public hearing was defeated with 3 no’s and 2 ayes with Councilwoman Kasper and Councilman Chapman voting aye.

        Resolution 2007-216 calls for a public hearing October 23, 2007 at 7 p.m. regarding the 2007 Budgets for Consolidated Water District 1, Consolidated Sewer District No. 1, Sewer District No. 6, Drainage Districts, Lighting Districts, and Park Districts.

        Resolution 2007-217 authorizes Valerie Peters and Mary Ann Ruscitto to attend the New York Office of the State Comptroller Advanced Accounting School on November 13-15 in Oneonta, at a cost of $80 each.

        Resolution 2007-218 holds Town employees harmless for an increase in a co-pay plan for MVP medical insurance from $20 to $25 effective January 1, 2009 and designates Charles F. Herman & Associates as administrators.

        Resolution 2007-219 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement for Workers’ Compensation administrative services with PMA Management Corporation, at a total cost of $8,000.

        Resolution 2007-220 authorizes the Supervisor to sign a public benefit services agreement with the County of Schenectady for the River Road Park playground improvements.

        Resolution 2007-221 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a sale and exchange of a paper street off North Ravine Road known as Avenue A to Thomas J. Loehr, for $3,000.

        There being no further business to come before the Town Board, Supervisor Smith adjourned the meeting.

                                        Helen Kopke, Town Clerk


One Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309
Phone: (518) 386-4500 Fax: (518) 386-4592 | Hours: M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.