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Town Board Minutes 8/26/2008


        Others present::  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Eric Dickson, Town Attorney; Kathy Matern, Planner; Matthew Yetto, Jr. Engineer; Lew Moskowitz, Chief of Police; Amy Houlihan, Assessor.

        A Public Hearing was held to consider the adoption of proposed Local Law 7 which would establish a Fair Housing Policy for the Town.
        When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the public hearing.

        XXXXX Lynnwood Drive, thanked the Board for their contributions on the Board.  He had researched our web site for minutes of public hearings, committees, and agenda meetings, and he could not find anything except approved Board meeting.  He asked that the Board consider posting these minutes in addition to what they are already posting on the web.
        Regarding the new well project, he had previously expressed his concern that the water rate (which had held steady at $1.40/1,000 gallons from 1995 to 2000) had increased by 78% to $2.50/1,000 gallons.  He felt this increase was due to poor management of the well field.  In 1994 when we first replaced the wells we took out the 24” wells and replaced them with much smaller large house wells.  They are a lot less expensive to put in and they last almost as long as the big wells, but they needed to be redeveloped every three to four years and needed to be replaced every 12 year which was explained at the time of the project.  
        He is concerned that the new project failed to solicit engineering design bids where the Town would have received free conceptual designs and cost estimates from a number of firms and could have then chosen the best.  He is also concerned that a new water meter pit was added to each well when there was already an existing indestructible Venturi orifice water meter in each of the wells which is the gold standard.  A water meter wears out, has to be replaced, they are expensive and this was an unnecessary cost. The bid required the well drillers to also put in a meter pit in the meter which is not something well drillers do so he understood that we only got one bid.  Most well drillers are not construction firms so by adding this to the bid, we did not get good pricing on the wells.  During the bid process he is sure potential bidders would have told us that.  This could have and should have been corrected before the bids were finalized.
        In the past he doesn’t remember seeing a project that was approved with only one bid which tells the Town that something is wrong.  In the past he thought the Town’s policy was to throw out a singular bid.  
        He thinks if our in-house engineering department can’t do the work and we need an outside consulting firm to do it, that we should get competitive bids.  It doesn’t cost us anything and we get the advantage of getting free conceptual designs.  If we go out for bid on these relative simple projects why not just cut out the engineering department completely which he suggested at the last budget hearing.  This would be an immediate 10% savings to the tax rate.  We can either do the work in house or do it outside, why pay for both?  He thinks the Town made a mistake when we retained engineering services on an as-needed basis.  It makes sense for small projects but for major projects we should get competitive bids.   As a result of accepting the lone bid for the well, he thinks the project costs two to three times what it should have.  
        Regarding the new water line project, he is concerned that the Town seems to changing a long-standing policy where everyone in the Town pays to install and maintain the water and sewer line in front of their property.  He believed that in 2004 the Supervisor proposed that the Town combine the special districts into a single district which was not executed.  In 2006 the Town proposed a $4.7 million water improvement in Hillside Commerce Park (apparently to be paid by everybody) until it was questioned why everybody was being asked to pay.  Now the Town is proposing a $1 million water improvement in the area of Lishakill & Rosendale Road and he feels this is the same issue being raised for the third time.  He doesn’t see any evidence of any special district being proposed and he presumes that it will be paid for by the entire water district.
        There is a section of water pipe on Lishakill that is of poor quality and it fractured more frequently than other pipes in the Town.  When he proposed to replace it the Town Comptroller and Attorney started that the special district was still active even though they had paid off the bond issue that put in their water line initially.  If a new pipe was installed there would have to be a new bond issue in that that same initial district would have to pay for it.  To get around this, we proposed to put in a water line at the end of the Lishakill connection across to a new subdivision that was being built through some land that was undevelopable and across the creek so there was no issue that the water line was going to generate increased value to residents that are on either side of the water line.  
        He questioned if the Town is doing a $1 million pipe going down a residential road and value.  The history of the Town has always been to form a special district and ask them to pay.  He requested that this policy continue and thinks it is a good policy.  He was always asked to certify that everybody in the district benefited from the improvements and there wasn’t anybody that was going to benefit that wasn’t in the district.  This was certified and part of the documents to form the special district.  If this is a town-wide district he would like to have this document sent to him.

        XXXXX Rowe Road, requested an update on the Rowe Road flooding situation, and the engineering study that they requested. Supervisor Landry responded that Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways, found an issue with the grading of the culvert.  In the immediate future, they will be extending the culvert out within the next two to three weeks, putting in additional pipe and having an over-flow junction box installed which will be accomplished next week.  They are in the process of trying to solicit bids for an engineering study for the whole water shed area.   

        Transportation:  Councilwoman O’Donnell, stated that the Highway Department is currently working on their budget and working on a presentation based on the results of their survey on yard waste pickup bags versus cans. No date has been set for the next meeting.
        Education & Recreation Committee:  Councilwoman McDonnell met on August 6 and discussed the summer playground program, planned for the fall youth soccer program which will begin on Saturday, September 6, as well as other fall programs including a new youth tennis instruction which will begin on Friday, September 5 (open to youth ages 5 to 11).  Next meeting will be held the second Wednesday in September (10th) (instead of the first Wednesday) and will posted on the web site.
        Public Works:  Councilwoman Freund reported that their next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3, 7:30 a.m. The well development project is progressing.  The well expected to have 300/gallons per minute, turned out to produce 500/gallons per minute.  
        We had two water breaks over the weekend:  Consaul Road and Rosendale Road near Mohawk Road.
        Parks & Senior Recreation:  Councilwoman Kasper noted that they met on August 11 and found through sign-ins that their senior program draws about 45-50 per program.  She feels the senior center is being well used with lunches drawing about 25-35 seniors.  They have increased the fee for lunch to $4 starting in September due to the rising cost of food.    
        Police & Safety sponsored the 20mph speed limit on Cornelius Avenue.  The Becker Street playground equipment has arrived and will be installed within the month.
        She and the Supervisor have surveyed property off Albany Street to provide for a pocket park for this area.  Supervisor Landry has talked to the County Manager and Chair of Legislature and hopefully within the next few months the land could be turned over to the Town.  
        Economic Development/Historic Preservation/Environmental Conservation Committee will meet Thursday, September 4 at 4:30 p.m.
        Finance & General Government will meet Monday, September 8 at 6 p.m.

        The following resolutions were approved with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.
        Resolution 2008-157 approves Local Law 2008-6 which amends the speed limit for Cornelius Avenue, Nicholas Avenue, and Plum Street to 20 mph.

        Resolution 2008-158 authorizes the fee for fall tennis lessons at $56 per person.  

        Resolution 2008-159 makes appointments to the Recreation Program for persons listed with their rate of compensation and position.

        Resolution 2008-160 calls for a public hearing September 23, 2008 at 7 p.m. to consider the application of Sigmund LTD for the reuse of 1747 Union Street as a gas station and convenience store.

        Resolution 2008-161 establishes fees for the Building Department effective immediately.

        Resolution 2008-162 authorizes the Supervisor to execute all necessary documents in connection with a grant application seeking monies from the CDTC Bicycle and Pedestrian Spot Improvement Program offered by the NYS Department of Transportation for the construction of sidewalks on Cornelius Avenue between Ray Street and Hillside Elementary School.

        Resolution 2008-163 calls for a public hearing for September 23, 2008 at 7 p.m. to consider the enactment of Proposed Local Law No. 8 which would establish a “Cold War” exemption for certain veterans.

        Resolution 2008-164 certifies to the NYS Office of Real Property Services the current base proportions to be used as class tax shares for municipal and school district tax levies.

        Resolution 2008-165 certifies to the NYS Office of Real Property Services the adjusted base proportions to be used as class tax shares for municipal and school district levies.

        Resolution 2008-166 authorizes Assessor Amy Houlihan to attend the NYS Assessor’s Association Annual Seminar on September 21-24, 2008 at a cost of $225 plus lodging, meals and mileage, a portion of which to be reimbursed by the NYS Office of Real Property Services.

        Resolution 2008-167 authorizes advertising for bids for the sale of 20 acres of vacant land owned by the Town in the vicinity of the Recreation Center.

        Resolution 2008-168 approves the purchase of services in connection with the hauling and placement of asphalt on Buckingham Drive from HMA Contracting, in the amount of $4,977.83.

        Resolution 2008-169 authorizes the Superintendent of Highways to purchase maintenance parts required in connection with the operation of the Highway Department’s leaf machine from Old Dominion Brush Co. at a cost not to exceed $9,500.

        Resolution 2008-170 authorizes the purchase and installation of a fence around the Berkeley Avenue detention pond from AFSCO Fence Supply at a cost not to exceed $9,000.

        Resolution 2008-171 authorizes the Superintendent of Highways to sell through public auction the used vehicles and miscellaneous equipment no longer needed.

        Resolution 2008-172 authorizes a change order in the contract with Lash Contracting Company, for Consolidated Water District No. 1, for the installation of larger diameter wells at a cost not to exceed $22,323.

        Resolution 2008-173 authorizes the purchase of three valves at the Water Plant from Temp-Press at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

        Resolution 2008-174 authorizes the lease and installation of a pump for Water Well No. 8 from Layne Christensen Company, at a cost not to exceed $1,600.

        Resolution 2008-175 adopts the Annual Plan for 2008 for operation of the Town’s Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program.

        Resolution 2008-176 authorizes the acquisition of various Highway equipment and the issuance of serial bonds in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $173,000.

        Resolution 2008-177 authorizes the purchase of two compound water meters from Ti-Sales at a cost not to exceed $5,672.38.

        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.