TOWN BOARD MEETING
      MARCH 17, 2005

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held on Thursday, March 17, 2005, at 7:30 PM in the Town Hall on Broadway in Port Ewen, New York with the following persons in attendance:

Supervisor Ray Rice
Councilman Gloria VanVliet
Councilman Wayne Freer
Councilman Michael Lange
Councilman Ernie Germano

Recording Administrator: Kristy L. Nelson
          Deputy Town Clerk

Supervisor Rice called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.

Pledge to the Flag

Announcements:

· The 8th Annual Great River Sweep will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2005, at 1:00 pm at the Sleightsburgh Park.
· A Public Hearing on the Cablevision Franchise will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2005 at 7:15 pm in the Town of Esopus Town Hall.  At this time, Supervisor Rice read the legal notice to be published in the Daily Freeman regarding the same.  He then explained that Cablevision is interested in supplying 25-30 customers on Swartekill Road who are not covered by Time Warner, and Time Warner is not interested in supplying coverage to them, but in order to allow Cablevision to legally provide it, the Town has to go through a formal franchise agreement and the public service commission.
· The Town will be advertising the availability of positions, Program Director and Counselors,  for the Summer Recreation Program next week.

Public Comment:

At this time, Resident Debbie Silvestro read a statement regarding Sojourner Truth and noted that it was time to reclaim the Town of Esopus’ legacy and history by naming the park that the NYS DOT has proposed to build in memory of Sojourner Truth.
 
Next, Resident Roscoe Pecora respectfully requested that the Town Board request and look at the proper information from the Water Dept. regarding the costs for replacing the pipes along the 9W corridor when it is being torn up.  Supervisor Rice noted that the Port Ewen Water Superintendent was already working on this matter and has discussed the same with an engineering firm.  He added that he was sure the Board would have firm figures before it was time to sign any contracts.

Resident Barbara Hill asked what the status was of the Pocket Park.  She added that she was saddened that this was not moving along faster and hoped that this was not being turned into a partisan type of issue.  Supervisor Rice stated that he also hoped this wouldn’t become a partisan issue and noted that as far as the status goes, the Town Board is still waiting to gather more information since there have been other proposals for naming the park.  He added that, time wise, the DOT won’t start construction on the 9W improvements until the summer of 2006 and realistically the park will not exist until 2007.  Supervisor Rice stated there is no real press to come to any decision at this point in time, and he strongly believed that there will be a decision before the summer is over.  He felt this would give the Board time enough to look at all the various requests from the public.

At this time, Resident, Property Owner and Business Owner Sal Silvestro read a statement listing some of the people who have endorsed, to date, the dedication of the future pocket park to Sojourner Truth.  In concluding, Mr. Silvestro noted that the Esopus Town Board has not endorsed dedicating the future pocket park to one of the Town’s most famous and deserving historical figures, Sojourner Truth.  Supervisor Rice noted that was a compelling list that Sal Silvestro read.  Mr. Silvestro stated that the list is much larger, but he didn’t have time to complete the same.  Ernie Germano suggested, regarding the list read by Sal Silvestro, that one take the people on it, add them up, subtract that from the 10,000 people who live in the Town of Esopus and tell him if you have a majority of the residents who want that park for the next 50-100 years.  Councilman Germano noted that this was why he hasn’t made a decision.

Next, Veronica Berry stated that she thought the idea of naming the pocket park for Sojourner Truth was supposed to go in front of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee first before any decisions are made.
 
Town Board Resolutions:

1.  Resolution to Authorize Participation in the Submission of a Grant Proposal to
     the Hudson River Greenway (March 17, 2005)

Be it Resolved, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, as follows:

Whereas, The Town of Esopus Library is interested in partnering with the Town of Esopus in a joint application for a Greenway Grant for improvements to the proposed Port Ewen Riverside Trail.  The proposed trail will be the implementation of several of the policies contained in the Town of Esopus Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.  This project will result in improved tourism,  recreational, and educational opportunities in our Town.

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the Supervisor to assist in the grant proposal to Greenway, and the Towns obligation to this project, if the grant request is successful, will not exceed $5,000.

Resolution offered by Supervisor Ray Rice
Resolution seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer

Supervisor Rice            Aye
Councilman Freer  Aye
Councilman Germano Aye
Councilman Van Vliet Aye
Councilman Lange  Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

Roscoe Pecora thanked the Town Board for their cooperation on this matter.  Marion Zimmer, the spark plug for this grant, was thanked for her hard work regarding the same.
 
2.  Resolution Requesting Modification of the Current Method of Financing Public
     Education (March 17, 2005_

Be it Resolved, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, as follows:

Whereas, The residents of the Town of Esopus have collectively considered the local issues of greatest concern to them and identified high property taxes as one of the highest priority among them; and

Whereas, funding for local government services, including public education is provided primarily through a tax on the estimated value of property; and

Whereas the welfare of Esopus homeowners is jeopardized by the rapid increase in the costs of public education and the inability of many homeowners to pay these increased costs; and

Whereas the increasing burden of public education on taxpayers also impacts on the ability to raise other taxes to provide services and to fund Town-specific and local initiatives important to the well being of the community,

Therefore, the Town Board of the Town of Esopus appeals to the New York State Legislature to implement new measures for financing public education including the following suggested actions:
 
1) Decrease the revenue raised from property taxes
2) Ensure equity in a formula for funding public education based on the taxpayers’
     ability to pay.
3) Eliminate unfunded educational mandates.
4) Increase the percentage of educational funding derived from state lottery and
    gaming activities
5) Increase the enhanced STAR exemption for our town’s neediest citizens
6) Regain lost tax revenue from the above actions through income tax.
 
Resolution offered by Supervisor Ray Rice
Resolution seconded by Councilman Ernie Germano

Supervisor Rice            Aye
Councilman Freer  Aye
Councilman Germano Aye
Councilman Van Vliet Aye
Councilman Lange  Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

Supervisor Rice noted that this resolution was essentially petitioning the legislature to make changes and noted that there is a movement all across the state for Town Boards to petition the legislature with very similar resolutions.  Copies of this resolution will be forwarded to Governor Pataki, Senator Joseph L. Bruno, Senator William Larkin, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.

3.  Resolution Authorizing the Payment of Bills Received Since the March Board Meeting.

Be it Resolved, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, County of Ulster as follows:

Whereas, the Town of Esopus has been presented with vouchers for payment, and these vouchers have been examined and approved by the Town Board,

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the following vouchers be approved for payment:

General Fund  #051144-051218  $74,872.51

Highway Fund  #052065-052091  $15,398.28

Street Lighting  #056003   $  4,236.12

Port Ewen Sewer  #053026-053035  $  5,601.97

Port Ewen Water  #054058-054086  $14,044.90

Total.....................................................................................$114,153.78

Resolution offered by Supervisor Ray Rice
Resolution seconded by Councilman Gloria VanVliet

Supervisor Ray Rice  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer  Aye
Councilman Michael Lange Aye
Councilman Ernie Germano Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

4.  Motion to Accept the Minutes of the February Board Meetings

A Motion to accept the minutes of the February Town Board Meetings was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Gloria VanVliet.  All Town Board Members were in favor.  Motion Carried.

Public Comment:

· Councilman Germano reminded Supervisor Rice to announce the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt to be held on Sat., March 19th, at noon at the Esopus Highway Garage.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer at 7:55 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristy L. Nelson
Deputy Town Clerk