AT A REGULAR MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF NISKAYUNA DULY CALLED AND HELD ON THE 21ST DAY OF DECEMBER, 2010, AT THE NISKAYUNA OFFICE BUILDING, ONE NISKAYUNA CIRCLE, NISKAYUNA, NEW YORK, THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS WERE PRESENT:
Jonathan McKinney, Councilman
Denise Murphy McGraw, Councilwoman
Liz Orzel Kasper, Councilwoman
Julie McDonnell, Councilwoman
Joe Landry, Supervisor
Also present: Barbara Nottke, Deputy Town Clerk, Peter Scagnelli, Town Attorney, John Lubrant, Chief of Police, Paul Briggs, Deputy Town Attorney, Matt Miller, Deputy Town Attorney, Frank Gavin, Superintendent of Highways, Paul Sebesta, Comptroller, Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water and Sewer, Kathy Matern, Town Planner and Bill Lawrence, Computer Network Coordinator.
TOWN CLERK’S BUSINESS
The minutes of the meeting of October 26, 2010 were approved as presented.
Public Hearing No. 1: considers amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Code to provide for the installation of a stop sign on Empire and Lishakill Roads.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the public hearing.
Public Hearing No. 2: considers amendment of the Vehicle and Traffic Code to provide for the installation of a stop sign on Napa Court and Ravine Road.
When no members of the public wished to be heard, Supervisor Landry closed the public hearing.
Speaking for fellow Town employees and members of the armed forces, Master Sergeant Doug Anderson, United States Air Force Reserve and Niskayuna Town Police Officer, recognized Patrolman Nick Pardi, Staff Sergeant, United States Army National Guard, also in attendance, retired Police Sergeant, Gary Brown, Master Sergeant, Air National Guard, and Patrolman Jordan Kochan, Senior Airman, Air National Guard. Master Sgt. Anderson and Sgt. Pardi would like to thank members of the Highway and Water and Sewer Departments as well as the staff of the Justice Court for all their support this past year and during their recent deployments. They wish to thank Chief Lubrant and the Niskayuna Police Department for the support given them and their families while they were deployed overseas.
In honor of the men and women of the Niskayuna Police Department and Chief John Lubrant, they made a presentation of flags which were previously flown over Iraq and Afghanistan to the Town.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
Linda Rizzo, 2229 Fairlawn Parkway, had concerns about town taxes. Too big an increase might be too much for some residents to afford, yet too little an increase now might create an even larger increase in the future.
Lorene Zabin, 2455 Brookshire Drive, was bothered by the fact that a part-time employee took a personal leave. She wanted to know if that was with pay or benefits.
Noticing nothing posted advertising for a new budgeted position, she asked why that hasn’t been filled. Supervisor Landry informed her that nothing would nor could be done about that until after January first.
She asked about Town personnel helping at Niska-Day and whether or not they were volunteers.
She asked about the registration process for programs in the Recreation Department and wanted to know whether financial statements were available for
these programs. Councilwoman McDonnell replied the finances are outlined in the budget.
Leslie Gold, 1919 Pawtucket Avenue, referring to a resolution to accept a bid for sodium fluoride, feels that the Town should save that money and omit that chemical from the water. It is her opinion residents are being medicated without consent.
She questioned the reason for the increase in dog license fees. Councilwoman Kasper explained the increase is because the Town is absorbing the extra cost of administering the licenses at the local level. Ms. Gold said she hopes the new tags will say the dogs are from Niskayuna and have a traceable identification number. Councilwoman Kasper assured her they would on both counts.
She did not agree with Supervisor Landry on the policy of not answering questions at Town Board meetings.
Richard Fisher, Berkley Avenue, questions the priorities of the Town Board and whether they prioritize the needs and values of the town. He believes our taxes are too high. He feels that we do not have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. The Town Board should start planning next year’s budget now and with more spending cuts.
He feels we should make our senior citizens a priority as they represent the best of our community. He applauds those that have decided to remain and retire here given the higher taxes, making the point that seniors retiring to other states to escape our higher taxes take their nest eggs to spend and invest outside New York.
Economic Development, Historic Preservation and Environmental Conservation Committee: Councilman McKinney reports that construction will be starting soon at Mansion Square with a new road going in. Several leases have been signed so we should see some activity in early Spring.
Public Works and Transportation Committee: Councilwoman McGraw reports that an agreement was reached with DEC on the Order and Consent. She wished to thank Rich Pollock, Superintendent of Water and Sewer, who did a terrific job and Deputy Town Attorney, Paul Briggs, who negotiated an outstanding agreement.
The highway crews are ready to plow as winter storms are on their way. Frank Gavin and his team are also working on other projects around town this winter in preparation for next summer.
Education, Parks and Recreation Committee: Councilwoman McDonnell reports the Winter/Spring brochure has just been printed and there are a number of program offerings including a new High School ski program; trips for middle school children; an extensive menu of programs for elementary school and pre-K children. The committee is currently working on Spring programs and continuing to work with the many sports clubs: i.e. crew, soccer, lacrosse and softball to facilitate their programs.
Public Safety Committee: Councilwoman Kasper reports that the committee has been busy with the new roads going in, bringing in four new stop signs.
The new dog licensing law is ready. She wishes to thank Deputy Town Attorney, Matt Miller for all his work putting that together as it had to be done before the end of the year.
She is very proud of the Niskayuna Police force; of those men that have served and come back safely; of those in the force that worked hard to pick up the slack in the absence of the men deployed. The two new dispatchers will be attending school soon in order to work solo. The police cars are running well and the department is in very good shape.
The following resolutions were passed with a vote of five ayes unless otherwise noted.
Resolution 2010-268 authorizes the purchase of certain equipment for use in the water and sewer department.
Resolution 2010-269 accepts bids for the purchase of various materials to be used by the Town in its public works operations during 2011. Councilwoman Kasper asked Superintendent of Highways, Frank Gavin whether he had seen a big increase in prices to which Mr. Gavin replied the prices had remained surprisingly stable this year.
Resolution 2010-270 authorizes the purchase of chemicals to be used by the Town in its public works operations during 2011. Richard Pollock, Superintendent of Water and Sewer spoke to the Board about the various chemicals used in the water department to address corrosion control in the pipes and other issues. He explained how the plant monitors the levels of the chemicals to ensure the correct amount is going into the water. The water is monitored daily on site and also tested regularly at an independent lab.
Resolution 2010-271 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into a contract with the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady, Inc. for the impounding and care of dogs during 2011. Councilwoman Kasper explained this is mandated by the state; the Town must have a contract for someone to pick up dogs that are loose or stray. At $8,000, it is costly, but it is one of the expenses covered by dog license fees. Supervisor Landry added that while researching this, they found that some other towns were paying more by contracting with veterinarians or other private entities and that our contract with the local shelter was the best solution.
Resolution 2010-272 authorizes certain budget modifications.
Resolution 2010-273 authorizes the Supervisor to enter into an agreement with the County of Schenectady.
Resolution 2010-274 authorizes the Supervisor to execute an agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Paul Briggs, Deputy Town Attorney addressed the Board concerning this issue. The consent order requires the Town to submit a five-year plan by mid-January on how we will remediate the infiltration of the storm water and sanitary sewer system. There is a fine of $7,500. Any projects submitted to the Town before December 3rd would not be affected by the building moratorium.
Resolution 2010-275 authorizes a modification to the fee schedule associated with the impoundment of vehicles.
Resolution 2010-276 authorizes the Superintendent of Highways to extend a contract for one year commencing January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
Resolution 2010-277 authorizes the purchase of a microfilm reader for use in Town Hall.
Resolution 2010-278 calls for public hearing to amend Chapter 155 of the Code of the Town of Niskayuna entitled Licensing of Plumbers. Councilwoman McGraw clarified that you can do your own work in your own house, but you must be licensed to be hired to work in the Town.
Resolution 2010-279 calls for public hearing to amend Chapter 173 of the Code of the Town of Niskayuna entitled Sewers.
Resolution 2010-280 accepts easements adjacent to Fox Hollow Drive. Councilwoman McGraw wished to point out, since she is the sponsor of this resolution, that one of the homeowners mentioned in this resolution happens to have the same last name and that they are in no way related to each other.
Resolution 2010-281 authorizes the carry-over of vacation time by a member of the Police Department. Councilwoman Kasper explained the reason for this is because this officer came back from being deployed and there was not enough time left in the year to use his vacation time. Therefore, board approval is needed to carry over his time.
Resolution 2010-282 authorizes the purchase of a computer server for use in Town Hall.
Resolution 2010-283 approves a college course and authorizes reimbursement for future educational expenses by a member of the Police Department.
Resolution 2010-284 authorizes the hiring of an engineering firm for a project at the wastewater treatment plant.
Resolution 2010-285 modifies the fees for the licensing of dogs.
Resolution 2010-286 authorizes the Superintendent of Highways and the Superintendent of Water and Sewer to make purchases through available state contracts.
Resolution 2010-287 retains the services of a contract operator for the Water Treatment Plant. Councilwoman McGraw explained this is an on-call position previously held by someone who could no longer work the hours because of conflicts with another job. This individual has the qualifications and is available to work those hours needed. It is a coincidence that he has the same last name as the Engineer in the Water Department as they are not related.
Resolution 2010-288 authorizes the renewal of a software maintenance contract.
At this time, Supervisor Landry made a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss employee issues, which was seconded and approved.
There being no further business to come before the Town Board Supervisor Landry adjourned the meeting.
Barbara A. Nottke, Deputy Town Clerk