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Town Board Minutes 2/26/2008


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

        Schenectady County Legislature’s Susan Savage and Brian Gordon presented the Town with a check for $80,000 from the County for playground equipment for River Road Park.

        Public Hearing No. 1 - on proposed Local Law 2 (2008) which would amend an Ordinance regulating the collection of leaves, branches, and underbrush regarding the use of containers for curbside yard waste pickup.
        Councilwoman O’Donnell noted that last year the Town did about 35-40 pickups at each home throughout the year excluding our leaf pickup in the fall.  In an average shift, each employee picks up about 800 cans and the amounts collected have been increasing.  This is a lot of repetitive motion which allows opportunities for injuries.  Most residents pack the cans reasonably but some people do not.  When thinking about alternatives they are aware of the strain and injuries to employees which prompted this suggestion to go from cans to bags.  They are not looking at cutting the service, but are looking for alternatives.  

        XXXXXX, 2229 Fairlawn Parkway, (representing ACT, the Association of Concerned Taxpayers), stated it appears the Town is starting to cut some services that were provided previously.  She wondered why the Town doesn’t notify residents who do not follow the regulations rather than doing away with a service and wondered why are we cutting services when we also raising taxes.

        XXXXXX, 2513 McGovern Drive, stated that the rules already in place could easily be enforced particularly with regard to weight of the cans.  We have more debris because the trees are growing and going to paper bags is tantamount to a secondary tax.  100 bags could be used in the fall alone and for many people this is a substantial expense.  Bags are cumbersome to use and for the elderly they would require two people, one to hold the bag and the other to fill them.  The proposal requires that the bag be sealed at the top which is not easily done as they open easily.  Many bags wait for days to be picked up and if it rains the bags can be broken and scattered.  He urged the Board to consider his comments and not add another burden on the many people who use the cans responsibly and instead consider a more strict enforcement of the current regulations to avoid a major change in the services provided to them.

        XXXXXX, 2012 Regent Street, is in opposition of the proposal as it goes against the core of recycling and promoting a green environment.   Bags are cumbersome to use compared to cans especially cans with wheels or handles.  It should be easier for the workers to lift cans with handles rather than bags.  Cans only entail one extra step compared to bags. Bags are not as sturdy, are easily torn by twigs, can get wet, and are expensive. With taxes being raised 10% she doesn’t appreciate being forced to take even more out of her pocket if she wants to continue to have the service of yard waste pickup.   Service may not be reduced but her pocketbook will be reduced and she urged the Board to reject this proposal.

        XXXXXX, 1034 Vrooman Avenue, stated that environmentally leaves disintegrate faster when they are lose rather than in bags.  Bags aren’t easier to lift than cans and residents have invested in cans.  If cans are too heavy, workers should leave a note for the homeowner that the weight needs to be cut.  

        XXXXXX, 1130 Palmer Avenue, felt some cans get heavy with rain water.  He suggested that they be put out and put away on specific days rather than being left out.  

        XXXXXX, 2171 Grand Boulevard, currently uses both cans and bags and is opposed to this ordinance.  If residents were more careful about the weight of the cans it shouldn’t be a problem.

        XXXXX, 2216 Almeria Road, suggested that workers use weight belts which protect workers backs and can cut down on worker’s compensation claims.

        XXXXXXX, 1014 Highland Park Road, felt that the handles on the plastic cans make it very easy to be picked up and much easier than picking up bags.  Bags could contain hidden weight that is more easily seen in a can.  He invested in cans and doesn’t see that it makes sense to tax him more for trying to reuse a product rather than buying a new product which incurs a manufacturing cost and has an effect on the environment.  

        XXXXXX, Rosendale Road, has 100 employees and is concerned with worker’s compensation and disability but is against this proposal.   If we want to protect our employees and give good service the rational thing to do is to be more careful with the weight of the cans or bags.  We want to protect backs and keep taxes down.

        XXXXXX, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, has a concern about the employees and if we continue with cans we need to do an education campaign.  Drainage holes in the bottom of the cans help drain away rain.  Residents must be made to obey weight limits.

        XXXXXX, 1543 Dean Street, is concerned that the ordinance requires that the bags be fastened and asked for clarification on what type of fastener could be used.  The cost issue is important to him as a senior citizen.   Filling a bag is much harder than filling a can and bags are harder to move to the curb without handles or wheels.
        Councilwoman Kasper noted messages from Stuart Lindsey, Harris Drive, and John Adamac who are both opposed to this ordinance.  
        Supervisor Landry has received 20-30 phone calls and 10-15 emails or letters that he will distribute to the Town Board.  
        When no other members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the public hearing

        Public Hearing No. 2 – on proposed Local Law 3 (2008) which would amend the Vehicle and Traffic Code of the Town regarding the installation of traffic control signs on Village Road at Meadow Lane and on Townsend at Meadow Lane and the modification of a speed limit control sign on Rosendale Road.
        Councilwoman Kasper stated that this was requested by a neighbor who is concerned about two intersections and distributed a map of the subdivision showing existing stop signs.  For Rosendale Road, the posted speed limit is actually 5 mph faster less than the ordinance calls for so this will coordinate the sign with the ordinance.  
        XXXXXX, 1911 Little Hill Road, endorsed the stop signs on Village Road for safety reasons.     
        When no other members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the public hearing.

        Public Hearing No. 3 – on proposed Local Law 3 (2008) which would amend the Vehicle and Traffic Code regarding alternate parking on Palmer Avenue.
        Councilwoman Kasper stated that there is a concern that emergency vehicles have a difficult time navigating the street because of the cars parked on both sides.        Cars that park near Stewart’s would not be governed by this since they are within City limits.  The Police Chief will be working with the City Police Chief about this section.  From Plum Street to Grand Boulevard residents often need to use street parking.  From Grand Boulevard to Van Antwerp School will not be affected.  Two residents have reported that this change will be a hardship for them.

        XXXXXX, 1130 Palmer Avenue, doesn’t want Palmer Avenue to be made an example in Niskayuna to be the only street that has alternative side of the street parking.  This ordinance would be very inconvenient for them.  They do not like speeding traffic and if parked vehicles are removed, cars will speed more.  This is a standard size street like Regent, Baker, and others and he wondered if they too should get alternate side of the street parking.  If so, he would like to have a referendum on the issue.  He would be very angry if this is passed.  

        XXXXXXX, 1045 Palmer Avenue, finds Palmer Avenue to be a thoroughfare for people coming off of Grand and Eastern Parkway.  Cars parked on Palmer have been hit parked on Palmer but to do alternate side of the street will only make it easier for people to speed.  She suggested making it a one way, lower the speed limit, or install a stop light at Plum.  She thinks this proposal will make it less safe with higher auto speeds.

        XXXXXXX, 1081 Palmer Avenue, has heard of this proposal in prior years, and also a proposal for a one way with Van Antwerp Road in the opposite direction.  He would like to see documentation that emergency vehicles cannot get through Palmer.  He hears emergency vehicles on the street almost every night.  It is a thoroughfare and traffic has increased through the years and he has had his car hit.  He believes this parking proposal will cause more speeding as parked cars force people to slow down.  He has gotten hit four times because people don’t pay attention and if we make it an easier access it will only get worse.  

        XXXXXXX, 1073 Palmer Avenue, has witnessed a fire truck that could not get down Palmer.  Something needs to be done about the speed, and they definitely need access by emergency vehicles.  He has also had three damaged mirrors.

        XXXXXXX, 2012 Regent Street, sees the need for emergency vehicles to be able to access this road.  If the Board favors supporting the emergency vehicles instead of the residents of the street, she suggested alternating sides for weekdays and weekends so cars don’t have to be moved every day.  

        XXXXXXX, 1098 Palmer noted that in fourteen years he has only noticed one time when an emergency vehicle had difficulty entering the street.  Traffic is incredible on the street and he thinks the speed limit should be enforced.  He is opposed to this proposal.
        When no other members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the Public Hearing.

        Supervisor Landry announced that in response to several requests, the Board will start Town Board meetings at 7 p.m. and Privilege of the Floor will be extended at Agenda Meetings.  

        XXXXXXX, 2229 Fairlawn Parkway, stated that the first contact for residents when calling the Police Department are Dispatchers and she felt that Dispatchers are vital to the Town.  The Dispatchers give advice and help people in emergencies and they contact Police and Fire Departments to inform them what problem has arisen and its location.  She has a problem with lowering their salary increase from 4 to 2%.  They are the most vulnerable because they are non-union and they are the most vital and she considers our Police and Fire employees to be the Town’s most vital employees.  They do not want to see our Police or Fire Department (or those they depend on) to see positions or things cut in their area to save money.  Residents have a right to good police and fire protection.  
        Cutting salaries in the budget is a one time shot and the Board cannot continually cut the salaries or lower increases for employees.  They need a continual source of revenue and lowering the increase is not a continual source of revenue.  Right now our only source is property owners.
They believe the Board can’t claim they can’t get anything done because of political partisanship.  They should be able to resolve some of these problems.  They have talked about cutting services by going from cans to bags.  Paying taxes at the bank is an inconvenience and she asked how much the Town is saving by this change.  
        We need to consider being responsible to the taxpayers not to continually raise taxes and she hopes we are not looking at large tax increases with the reassessment.  She asked to look for a continual source of revenue that is not going to be just through property owners.  St. James Square is dying and Hannaford Square is bringing in very little.  She felt that the Town can be active in bringing in good businesses and if they are they should let residents know.  It shouldn’t be a guessing game. Either the Board is for change or the status quo, business as usual.   
Supervisor Landry stated that St. James Square is an important issue for the Town and they have met with Ray Gillen from Metroplex and he has met with the owner.  There are some items in the works that hopefully will come out at our next committee meeting and presented to the members.  They are seeing how they can work with Metroplex in a much more expansive way.  

        XXXXXXX, 2455 Brookshire Drive, was pleased about the change of time for the meetings and she requested two meetings per month.  Tonight, the Board Room was overcrowded, we had three public hearings, there were 23 items on the agenda, and we have a resolution authorizing something that happened last week.  This tells us that we are not current with the month’s business of the Town.  
        Regarding the change from cans to bags, residents spoke out at the Public Hearing that they don’t like this proposal.  What is the point of speaking at an agenda meeting if the Board will not be responding to residents?

        XXXXXXX, 1079 Winne Road, stated that for the past 40 of the 50 years she has lived on Winne Road she has had to deal with a bad water problem.  The whole road is affected but it is worse at the end where she is located.  She stated that a Town plumber suggestion several years ago didn’t make any difference that she could notice.  Her bath tub and her water are orange and her clothes get yellow and orange from the washing machine water.  The Town assured her that it is safe to drink but her family has encouraged her to buy bottled water.  
They are used to coping and they don’t complain but after 40 years, she is complaining.  It was very bad when they first had the wells put in and then it got a little bit better.  The last six years it has been terrible.  Clothes have been ruined, and residents have had to replace their sinks, toilets, and tubs.  She hoped the Board could have something done about the problem and she distributed pictures to the Board.  
        Supervisor Landry stated that Richard Pollock will talk to Mrs. Pierce about a resolution the Board will be voting on tonight.

        XXXXXX, 1071 Winnie Road, also has had orange water for 40 years.  Flushing has been done but the problem still exists.  He has seen orange diapers hanging on the clothesline and his wife’s hair has turned orange if she washes it in their water.  He is hoping that the Town can do something about this.  Mr. Pollock has cooperated and visited but nothing has worked so far.  

        XXXXXX, 2421 Troy Road, (with the Friends of Stanford Home), urged the Board to consider a land use moratorium.  The type they are asking for would limit the range of properties that would be included, rather than a time limit.  It needs to be seriously considered because our Comprehensive Plan does not have certain items in it dealing with open space and other criteria such as historic preservation.  Other Towns around us have enacted such moratoriums.  
        She will ask the library to set up a special file for resident’s use.  She has also installed a large picture of the Stanford House in the Town Hall Rotunda.  
        There being no other members of the public who wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed Privilege of the Floor

        Transportation/Highway Committee:   Councilwoman O’Donnell stated that the Transportation/Highway Committee is working on their paving schedule for the spring, preparing for the spring with equipment and rental purchases such as seeds and fertilizers.  They continue to improve the train station and have ordered replacement doors and are considering adding power.  The bid opening for the renovation of the Grange will be at the end of the week and they have a grant request for a wash bay.  Next meeting is Friday, March 7.

        Education & Recreation Committee:  Councilwoman McDonnell stated they are currently working on establishing priorities for the Youth Programs.  They have had several meetings with sports clubs and the school district regarding use of fields for spring sports.  This has been made more challenging by the school construction projects especially the high school.  She has met with the Community Education Coordination for the school district to find ways to coordinate programming to try and bring the information together.  The committee will meet on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center on Aqueduct Road.  She encouraged parents, club sport members, and representatives of the school district to attend the meeting.  They wish to centralize information on all youth opportunities in Town no matter who provides these opportunities.  They want to provide on line registration for Town programs and establish communication and get ideas and feedback from residents on the programs we have and what additional program that the Town should be exploring.

        Senior Recreation Program - Councilwoman Kasper announced the next meeting will be Monday, March 3 at 9:30 a.m.  They are looking into expanding the senior program and are gathering statistics on the use of the program and bus.  They are looking into resurrecting a call back system for senior who are house bound.  
        The Police & Safety Committee will meet after the Chief of Police returns on Saturday.  

        Public Works Committee - Councilwoman Freund announced that C. T. Male has produced a report on our water wells.  The Board will be acting on our Hazard Mitigation Plan tonight which includes the cooperation of all seven municipalities of Schenectady County.  There is a water pipe replacement in the works for Winne Road and Adam Drive and the Town will install 540’ of pipe.  Gloria Duck will be retiring after 19 years with the Public Works Department. The next meeting is Wednesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m.

        Finance & General Government – Supervisor Landry announced the next meeting is Monday, March 10 at 6 p.m.  

        Economic Development – Supervisor Landry announced the next meeting is Thursday March 6, at 6 p.m.


        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.

        Resolution 2008-32 approves the Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Town.

        Resolution 2008-33 appoints Patricia Rodriquez, James Frawley and Michelle Mazuryk as ad hoc members of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  This resolution was approved with a vote of four ayes, with Councilwoman Kasper abstaining.

        Resolution 2008-34 approves Local Law 1 of 2008, and amends the Code, Chapter 220-29C Permitted Uses.

        Resolution 2008-35 retains C. T. Male to perform the necessary survey work, mapping and preparation of an easement for the proposed construction of a sidewalk at the Raymour & Flanigan Plaza at 480 Balltown Road, at a cost not to exceed $2,100.

        Resolution 2008-36 calls for a public hearing March 13 at 7 p.m. to consider the appropriation of $500,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to the Capital Projects Fund for Consolidated Water District No. 1 to be used to finance the cost of the drilling and installation of four new wells, piping, wiring, and meters.

        Resolution 2008-37 authorizes Paul Sebesta, Steve Swinton, Carol Connor and Barbara Pidgeon to attend the Annual Meeting of the Association of Towns.

        Resolution 2008-38 appoints Richard J. Keller, Jr. to the position of Water & Sewer Maintenance Supervisor in the Water & Sewer Department effective March 17, 2008 on a provisional basis.

        Resolution 2008-39 appoints Gloria A. Duck, to the position of part-time Confidential Secretary, effective February 29, 2008 and terminating on April 30, 2008, without benefits, at a salary of $24.9891 per hour.

        Resolution 2008-40 modifies the Purchasing Policy for 2008.

        Resolution 2008-41 authorizes Police Chief Lewis Moskowitz to attend the 2008 Annual Business Meeting on Combating Community and School Violence sponsored by the Middle Atlantic Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network on April 21-25, 2008 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at a cost of $125.

        Resolution 2008-42 approves the purchase of one new 2008 Chevrolet Impala, for the Police Department, from Hoselton Automall, at a total cost not to exceed $18,250.

        Resolution 2008-43 authorizes the purchase of a Hydromatic Explosion Proof Grinder Pump for the Katerina pump station at a cost not to exceed $4,325.

        Resolution 2008-44 authorizes the purchase of 540’ of water main pipe, fittings, and fire hydrant and rental of a fusion machine for the installation of a water main between Winne Road and Adam Drive, at a cost not to exceed $7,000; retaining paving services at a cost not to exceed $6,100; authorizes the purchase of seed, mulch, topsoil, crusher run and related materials for the restoration, at a cost not to exceed $2,600, and authorizes and approves the complete water main installation and restoration for a total project cost not to exceed $15,700.

        Resolution 2008-45 authorizes the repair and payment of the associated bill for parts and labor for the front-end loader used by the Water & Sewer Department in the amount of $2,655.40.

        Resolution 2008-46 authorizes the Comptroller to make transfers of funds in the 2007 Budgets that are necessary to close the accounts as of December 31, 2007.

        Resolution 2008-47 appoints Morris Auster to the Planning Board & Zoning Commission for a term of office terminating December 31, 2008.

        At this time, Supervisor Landry made a motion for the Board to go into Executive Session to discuss labor negotiations.  The motion was unanimously approved by the Board.

        There being no further business to come before the Town Board, Supervisor Landry 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.