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Town Board Minutes 9/28/2010

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

Also present: Helen Kopke, Town Clerk, Peter Scagnelli, Town Attorney, John Lubrant, Chief of Police, Matt Miller, Deputy Town Attorney, Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water & Sewer, Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways, Bill Lawrence, Computer Network Coordinator, Amy Houlihan, Town Assessor

The minutes of the meeting of August 31, 2010 were approved as presented.

A Public Hearing was held to consider a local law to create a real property tax exemption for certain physically disabled persons. When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the Public Hearing.

        XXXXX Fairlawn Parkway, has two comments. Having read about the public hearing on dogs, and being an animal rights activist, commented that there is a cat problem in Niskayuna. She understands that cats can be outside, but believes it unfair that there is no paperwork to show proof of vaccines when they are digging up backyards and feral cats are attacking and killing wildlife. It has been her observation on the other hand that most dogs in town are kept on a leash by responsible owners who pick up after them. She feels the law is heavy handed on dog owners while cats running free create a possible hazard. She would like to see the matter addressed.
        Secondly, regarding bonding for an ice rink, she considers $50,000 frivolous spending. With people losing jobs in this economy, she does not believe we should be looking at this type of spending. She would like to know where the tax cuts are. She would like to hear some discussion of where the Town is going to cut back to lower taxes. Her recommendation would be to think twice about an ice rink and think first about cutting.

        XXXXX Brookshire Drive, also wanted to talk about the $50,000 ice skating rink and about the $110,000 skateboard park the town put in several years ago, which she felt was not successful. Even though there was a grant from the County for that park, she said the Town put in a sizeable amount of money as well. She wants to know why we are going ahead with another skating rink when we already have a County ice skating facility. She also feels that this is being done at a bad economical time.
Having watched a Town Board Meeting on TV, she saw that an inheritance was given to the Senior Center and wanted to know if that might be used to help purchase a new bus for the Center.
        She congratulated the committee handling the application for rehabilitation of The Grange. It is wonderful to see that it is on the National Historic Registry and she looks forward to seeing more information about that soon since she is a member of the National Historic Society.
        Last Saturday, on Fairlawn there were runners as part of an event. She feels that although there were guides on the road, the runners were not to the side and she did not see any signs. She would have liked to have seen some signage warning traffic of the event.

        XXXXX Pawtucket Avenue, is also interested in seeing something done about regulating cats. She is not a cat owner but is disturbed by the neighborhood cats fighting and killing birds in her yard.
        In these economic times, she hears talk of consolidation and would like to say that she does not support consolidation of neither the Police Department nor the Assessors Office. The Police are responsive, do their jobs well and are accountable. She would like to see it stay that way. As for the Assessors Office, she stated, that with the first three rules of real estate being location, location, location, when you look at the big picture of county-wide consolidation, you are going to lose a lot. This town, being dependent upon its neighborhoods, having the property values we have, we are quoting disaster if we go that route.


Public Works Committee and Transportation Committee:  Councilwoman McGraw reported that everything on the Whitney Drive Drainage Project has been addressed, referencing a particular resident that had some outstanding issues. She spoke with that resident about his portion of the project and he is very pleased with the outcome. Thank you to the Water and Sewer Department and the Transportation Department for all they have done for that resident.  
Regarding the Ray Street Project, this has been a unique effort with the Water and Sewer and Highway Departments working overtime with cooperation from our friends at National Grid, the Transportation Department at the School District and St. Helen’s toward completion.  She complemented Frank Gavin, the Highway Department and the Water and Sewer Department on their accomplishment despite several issues. As the project is almost complete, it will be beautiful with more grass and many new trees.
She reminds us that loose brush pick-up begins next week. Loose leaf pick-up will begin the first week of November.
Congratulations and thank you to Rich Pollock and the Water and Sewer Department for the successful completion of a very comprehensive audit, for which they were well prepared.
        As for water meters, they are continuing to install them and the project is moving right along.

Public Safety Committee: Councilwoman Kasper reported that a new dispatcher for the Police Department is being hired.
        She thanked Helen Kopke, Town Clerk for a comprehensive study concerning the new dog licensing law.
        Police Safety Committee meeting meets Friday, October 8th in the Paul Schaefer Room.

        Economic Development, Historic Preservation & Environmental Conservation Committee: Councilman McKinney reported they are looking into purchasing a bus for the Senior Center. In Economic Development, the CVS Project is moving forward, but they are postponing until next year. At Stanford Crossings, the building is being prepped to be moved, which should happen in the next few weeks.

        Education, Parks & Recreation: Councilwoman McDonnell reported that Fall Soccer opened the first weekend of September with the highest participation she had ever seen. The Niskayuna Soccer Club is teaching ‘Skills & Drills’ to pre-K children, a new offering for which families previously had to go to Colonie.
The Fall Fun Run was a huge success, double the number of participants from last year. There were over thirty local sponsors. She would especially like to thank the largest sponsor, the Niskayuna Community Foundation, who provided the Town with a grant. All the local sports clubs were there as well to participate and provide information on youth programs.
Looking ahead to Winter Programming, the Committee is working with the Junior Warriors Basketball Program to offer this program to the Town. It was formerly offered through the coaches and with the Town offering the program, the online registration system will be available and they will be able to reach more residents.
At meetings, the Committee is talking with many sports clubs and groups, in particular, the Softball Club, the Rowing Club, the Soccer and Lacrosse Clubs.
There was a presentation on Trail Development and Maintenance by John Brown from the Conservation Advisory Council, which was very impressive. The Committee would like to put a priority on doing some future work in that area.
The next meeting is to be announced.
Supervisor Landry commented on the fact that enrollment in Recreation events have doubled and credited the increased participation in programs as a plus to the staff at the Recreation Department and to those programs and activities that continues to keep our youth involved.
Councilwoman McDonnell, responding to an earlier comment about letting people know about the Fun Run race in progress, said letters were sent ahead to residents in the area about the race, along the race route, balloons were given out to be put on mailboxes to mark the route, there were race marshals on almost every corner, police officers rode alongside runners on bicycles, the route was marked and painted with arrows and there was a pace car leading the race provided by Metro Ford.


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

        Resolution 2010-200 designates a stormwater management officer.

        Resolution 2010-201 authorizes modifications to the Town purchasing policy.

        Resolution 2010-202 authorizes issuance of a request for proposals for a dental plan.

        Resolution 2010-203 calls for a public hearing on a local law to amend the Town Code regarding the licensing of dogs.

        Resolution 2010-204 authorizes the disposal of certain surplus town equipment through public auction.

        Resolution 2010-205 appoints a Maintenance Supervisor in the Water and Sewer Department.

        Resolution 2010-206 modifies Building Department fees.

        Resolution 2010-207 authorizes the purchase of desktop computers for use by the town administrative offices.

        Resolution 2010-208 authorizes advertising for bids for a drainage project on Fox Hollow Road.

        Resolution 2010-209 authorizes the purchase of an e-mail archiving system.

        Resolution 2010-210 employs additional persons in the Recreation Program and designates certain independent contractors.

        Resolution 2010-211 authorizes the purchase of a vac-con hose.

        Resolution 2010-212 appoints a person to the position of clerk in the office of Receiver of Taxes.

        Resolution 2010-213 appoints a person to the position of Civilian Police Dispatcher.

        Resolution 2010-214 thanks Frank B. Mogavero for his many years of dedicated service to the Town of Niskayuna.

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

                                                                        Helen F. 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.