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Town Board Minutes 4/12/2010


Jonathan McKinney, Councilman
Denise Murphy McGraw, Councilwoman
Liz Orzel Kasper, Councilwoman
Julie McDonnell, Councilwoman
Joe Landry, Supervisor

        Others present:  Helen Kopke, Town Clerk; Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer; Paul Sebesta, Comptroller; Kathy Matern, Town Planner; Lori Peretti, Coordinator of Community Programs; Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways.

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

        Resolution 2010-87 authorizes the Town to undertake various Town road, park, bike path and related facility paving projects and related site work and the issuance of serial bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $870,000.
        The resolution was approved with a vote of four ayes (Councilwoman Kasper voting no).  Councilwoman Kasper objected to bonding the paving of Blatnick Park and the Skate Board Park. These are not as important as the Aqueduct House and the Water & Sewer Garage which are of the utmost importance.  The Aqueduct House is a viable group who is waiting to use this facility and this would give much better access to the river.  She agrees that the Highway and Bike Path paving should be bonded and proposed an amendment to bond for $820,000 and postpone on bonding the other $50,000 for the projects she noted. There was no second for the amendment.
        Councilwoman McDonnell addressed Councilwoman Kasper’s concerns and stated that all of the projects included are considered important.  She believes the demolition of the Aqueduct House was not put on this bonding because of the need for a SEQR review, but agrees that it is an important project, important location, and is a priority.  
        She understood that we don’t bond for Police vehicles but we always know that these are priorities and always include them in the operating budget each year. Regarding need, we currently have a Skate Board Park which is causing issues for the Town and residents.  We have a number of individuals who are not residents that are vandalizing the property.  There are issues with picking up trash and defacing equipment.  The Police have had to respond to calls and it is something that is important to address.  
If we have a park we want to be able to use it and have it available to our residents. This proposes that we take the Skate Board Park, remove the skate board equipment, put in boards and expand the size of the paved area so that it can be used for inline skating, winter ice skating and used by community groups for practices.  This gets rid of the safety issues that we deal with the equipment at the park, and allows the space to be useable.  It is unfortunate that the Skate Board Park was not a success but leaving it vacant and not addressing the issues would be irresponsible on our part.  This will allow residents, summer camp program participants, and people to use it for a good purpose.  If our hockey and lacrosse clubs get involved, there are possibilities for revenue or have them help us maintain the facility.  
Councilwoman Kasper stated that the Skateboard Park was always going to be taken down.  The Park was to be cleaned out and blacktop left until we worked on it.  She doesn’t see that putting in another park will eliminate the garbage or vandalism. She is in total favor of taking the park out now.  It should not have happened.  This is too new of an idea and there are other things that need to be looked at.  She questioned what the maintenance will be and who will supervise it.  Everybody in Town believes that Recreation is most important.  This has to do with the money we spend during this crisis and she cannot support this.
Councilman McKinney stated that there has been a lot of discussion behind the scenes and he is voting for this but has issue with not paying cash for this rather than bonding.  If we have the cash we should pay for it rather than putting it bonds.  
Councilwoman McDonnell recently received the estimated amounts for the paving of between $30,000 and $33,000; the fencing estimate is approximately $12,000; and the remaining funds would be for the boards.  What we do now for maintenance is far more than would be required once the equipment was taken and the boards put in.  In the summer there shouldn’t be much maintenance at all since it is just a paved area.  In the winter there would be some requirements to maintain the ice and we could enlist the help of the organizations that might use it (she has heard that some GE employees would like to skate on their lunch hour).  She has heard that lots of people miss a place to skate.  This is not out of the blue but is coming from people that are looking for certain things and that our current Skate Board Park is not working.  
She thinks this is an appropriate project for bonding because it has a useful life of over time and is a capital expenditure.  She feels it is important to maintain cash on hand for things that we might need in the future such as pension costs and other operating costs coming.  We are bonding for paving the bike path, roads, and equipment which gives us the advantage of spreading these costs over time.  We are lucky to have a municipal rate and are able to bond at a very low interest rate.  It is a sensible way to go when you have a project that has a useful life over time.   
Councilman McKinney stated that according to the Comptroller the money in the parkland fund is not available to use for pensions.  There is cash in the parkland fund that cannot be used for anything but parks and can be used instead of bonding.  

        Resolution 2010-88 authorizes the Town to acquire various equipment and to undertake various capital projects such as: a Building Department vehicle; a mower; Recreation Center lights, highway garage equipment (crane, tire changer) and upgrade the Town Hall air conditioning system for an aggregate amount not to exceed $150,200.  
        Resolution 2010-89 authorizes the Town to acquire various Town highway maintenance and operations equipment such as a highway garage wash pump/wash pad; one packer; one backhoe, and any other directly or indirectly related equipment for an aggregate estimated maximum not to exceed $203,000.

        Resolution 2010-90 authorizes the acquisition of various equipment for sewer and water districts such as a dump truck; pavement roller with trailer; flow meters; various water valves and various water meters for an aggregate amount not to exceed $620,000.

        Resolution 2010-91 authorizes the advertising for bids for the purchase of a new or used cab and chassis with a 20 yard packer body; a new or used 4x4 backhoe with extended boom; a new or used 3 to 5 ton asphalt pavement roller with or without trailer; and a new or used ten or twelve wheel dump truck.
        Councilwoman McGraw thanked staff members for their help with the bonding issues being address by the Board today.
Councilwoman Kasper requested that it be on the record that she disapproved of the 9 a.m. Monday morning meeting to spend this kind of money.  She knew legally we could hold the meeting, but thinks it is wrong to hold this type of meeting on a Monday morning instead of in the evening, although she knew there was a time crunch.  She also requested that the Board try to keep its original meeting schedule and avoid switching meeting dates.
        Supervisor Landry responded that putting the meeting together took a lot of work and they accomplished accommodated everyone.  He and his secretary spoke to everyone within the last week trying to get everyone to provide him with their schedule so the meeting could be scheduled.  
        Councilwoman McDonnell knows that an evening meeting was a priority and the Supervisor tried to schedule the meeting several different evenings but there were issues with having it in the evening.  It is difficult to get five peoples schedules together and thinks it was most important that all elected Town Board members were in attendance to vote on this and unfortunately it had to be in the morning.  She knows that an attempt was made to come up with evening alternatives first.

        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
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