TOWN BOARD MEETING

MARCH 18, 2010

 

A regularly scheduled Town Board Meeting was held on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 7:30 PM at 284 Broadway in Port Ewen, New York with the following persons in attendance:

 

                                                                Supervisor John Coutant

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett

 

                                                                Recording Administrator:  Diane L. McCord, Town Clerk

 

Supervisor Coutant called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

 

PLEDGE TO THE FLAG

 

Public Comment:  None

 

1.  Ulster County DPW Shared Services

 

The Supervisor updated the audience on what was happening with Ulster County DPW Shared Services.

A meeting was held with the Supervisor, Highway Supt. Alan Larkin, Robert Sudlow, Ulster County Deputy County Executive and David M. Bolles, Deputy Commissioner of Ulster County DPW on March 5th.  The meeting was held to discuss the Ulster County proposal to participate in Shared Highway Services with the goal of reducing duplicate layers of local government and to encourage fiscal savings for municipalities and taxpayers.  Minutes were taken for we wanted a clear picture of what was being presented. 

 

One highlight of the meeting was if the town does not elect to do the entire county road system, we could choose what roads we want to plow and cut the weeds on.  The county will still be responsible for the maintenance on the roads one hundred percent.  Ulster County wants a one year contract and each town has been offered a different amount of money.  They are willing to pay Esopus $4,700 a mile in the winter and $2,000 a mile in the summer.  At this time we are not making a decision.  The Highway Supt. will work up the costs.  Prior to making a commitment, we will contact our CPA to make sure we are not taking a loss.  It was mentioned, at this meeting, there would be a loss of county employees and that statement does not sit well with this Town Board.  The Supervisor explained in the County Budget there are four part time psychiatrists at the cost of $900,000.  It seemed to him the budget could be cut elsewhere.  With the towns taking over the roads there is a savings of one million dollars, however, county employees will be lost. 

 

Figures came in today from the county.  We are in the process of analyzing these figures.  The county will give the Highway Superintendents a stipend.  This would, therefore, reduce the taxes in the town.  The county did admit, each town was being handled separately as far as dollars and cents were concerned.  The county was not happy with minutes being taken at this meeting.  A copy of the minutes will be available to anyone who asks.

 

Supervisor Coutant said Ulster County Executor Michael Hein and himself are not on the same keel.  Recently, the county received stimulus money and decided to pave Rt. 28.  The Supervisor challenged why this was done and River Road, which has been neglected for twenty years, was not touched?  If there is a problem with our water treatment plant, the county will be in trouble.

 

Another county meeting was held with the towns today and Highway Supt. Al Larkin attended.  The numbers presented do not work for any of the towns.  We have twenty miles of county roads in the Town of Esopus.  If we hire two men there will not be enough money to pay them.  It is not just the plowing of the roads but the mowing, trimming and what about storm damage control.  The Supervisor asked for a meeting with the Highway Supt. for the following day to review the figures from the county. 

When will the winter season and the summer season begin?  There is a $2,700 differential.  Highway Supt.  Al Larkin said you will have the same problem you had with elections where the costs rose dramatically.   Councilperson Freer again stated we are very concerned with the job loss of county employees.  We must make the right decision for our taxpayers.  

 

Saturday, March 20th there will be a meeting, open to the public, sponsored by the League of Women Voters regarding the Ulster County Shared Services. 

 

Diane Shaver was offended by the remark made by the Supervisor regarding four psychiatrists being paid $900,000 for part time work.  Ulster County Mental Health people are overworked and understaffed.

 

2.  Randolph Horner –Solar Energy

 

Randolph Horner told those present, our display of solar energy is now 100 percent and he is proud to say at 3:33 PM on Friday, March 12th we began our inter-connect with Central Hudson.  We have been in the low sun period but as the sun gets higher our tracking arrays will maximize the amount of electricity we make.   Our system is the largest system in the entire state territory and is a model state site.

The system is complete.  There are only two items on this project that are incomplete.  The building is where the inverter sits.  The solar panels depend upon a very large contraption to change the direct current to alternating current and then it inter-connects with our buildings needs.  Joe Hurwitz designed this building where the inverter sits and it will be a miniature of the Town Hall building.  The estimated cost of the building is $13,700 and it is eight by twelve foot and has enough room for a second inverter if needed.

 

Our legislature has just passed a law to raise the ceiling of what we are able to produce in solar energy.  We have used only half of what was in the Capital Fund project.  The State Law allows us to put 52 percent of our needs through the grid.  As it stands the legislation is on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.  This law would allow us to have one hundred percent solar energy.  We are ready for the additional power. 

 

Our landscaping project will go forward and allow for us to mow the grass in between the solar panels.  Our IT person, the Supervisor, and the Town Board have planned for us to report how much money and energy we are saving.  That is something to be proud of and positions us to apply for additional grants.

               

Last Saturday in New Paltz at the State University there were 320 people attending a meeting on solar energy.  Most people in attendance were municipal people along with many who were interested in supporting energy replacement.  Pictures of our solar arrays were shown and a display was given by our manufacturer Alteris Renewables.  Our architect Joe Hurwitz brought a model of this building. 

 

There was discussion about home owners being able to have solar energy through low cost loans taken on municipal bonds.  There was further discussion about how it is important to know about this unique opportunity for our communities to issue municipal bonds and have taxpayers pay for them as a group or a district.   According to Randolph Horner, the Town of Esopus would like to be the first to offer this type of loan to our residents.  This type of loan is being done in the Town of Bedford, New York.

 

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill was the speaker at the SUNY event and he spoke about the Town of Esopus and how our project was the first municipal project to have solar energy in our area.   This week Randolph Horner has had a number of meetings to access grants.  The Governor invited Randolph to a Town Hall Meeting.  Through this meeting it was mentioned many new jobs for New York State will come from the solar energy.  Randolph will give another high level briefing to the Governor’s staff.  Last Tuesday Randolph attended the Climate Northeast Forum to meet high government officials to discuss the climate issue.  A report will be rendered and he believes they have been extremely helpful in enhancing our grant seeking and funding streams.  Randolph Horner was also authorized to go to the New York State Association of Towns Meeting.  We are pursuing municipal funding streams to add solar energy to the Water Treatment Plant.   We were completely successful in receiving a grant for solar energy for the Library.  The Town Board recognizes our treatment plant uses $52,000 of electricity a year.  If we can save a portion of that amount we may be able to stabilize our water rates and that is our target.  A grant has been submitted to Albany and Randolph looks forward to this. 

 

3.  Ulster County Resource Recover Agency

 

Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency is holding a Household Hazardous Waste, Pharmaceutical Waste and Electronics Collection Event on April 17, 2010 from 8 AM to 2 PM at 999 Flatbush Road in Kingston, New York.  By offering alternatives for the safe disposal of household hazardous waste, Ulster County is taking a proactive role in protecting the environment by preventing these items from ending up in landfills or contaminating water sources and wastewater treatment plants.  Also being accepted at the event are electronics for recycling for a $7.00 per carload fee; computers and their components, VCRs/DVD players, keyboards, printers, monitors/TVs.  Residents will also have the opportunity to discard their unused and/or expired medications.

 

4.  Anti-virus Purchase

 

A letter has been received from our IT person Kevin Rentfrow in which he describes the computer workstations in the Town Hall as using a variety of Anti-virus software.  Kevin has contacted Sunbelt Software and we can receive a three year license on 16 workstations for $467.72.

 

Supervisor John Coutant made a Motion to authorize Kevin Rentfrow to purchase Anti-virus Software from Sunbelt Software at a price of $462.72 and Councilperson Gloria VanVliet seconded the motion.

All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

                                                               

5.  Resolution – Environmental Board

 

Be It Resolved, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, State of New York as follows:

 

Whereas, there is a vacancy on the Town of Esopus Environmental Board,

 

Therefore, Be It Resolved, by the Town of Esopus Town Board, Karyn Grieco be appointed as a member of the Environmental Board to fill a two year term to expire December 31, 2011.

 

Resolution offered by Councilperson Donna McAuley

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Wayne Freer

 

                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

Resolution duly adopted.

 

6.  Resolution – Secretary Appointment – Environmental Board

 

Be It Resolved, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, State of New York, as follows:

 

Whereas, the Town Board wishes to appoint Karyn Grieco as Environmental Board Secretary,

 

Therefore, Be it Resolved, the Town of Esopus Town Board approves the appointment of Karyn Grieco as Secretary to the Town of Esopus Environmental Board.

 

Resolution offered by Councilperson Wayne Freer

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Gloria VanVliet

 

                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

Resolution duly adopted.

                                                                               

7.  Personal Leave Resolution

 

Be it Resolved, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, County of Ulster, State of New York, as follows,

 

Whereas, the Town Board has carefully reviewed and considered the Personal Leave Section 804 of the Employee Policy Manual,

 

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board has determined that employees will be given twenty-one hours of Personal Leave per calendar year, not to be carried over to the next year, with no monetary value.  Personal Leave is to be approved by Department Heads.  Requests for Personal Leave are to be submitted in writing one day prior, except in an emergency situation. An audit trail must be established and maintained by the Bookkeeper.

 

Resolution offered by Councilperson Kyle Barnett

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Donna McAuley

 

                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

Resolution duly adopted.

 

8.   Resolution – NYS Town Clerks’ Association

 

Whereas, the Town Clerk and Deputy Town Clerk are members of the New York State Town Clerk’s Association,

 

Whereas, the New York Town Clerks’ Association will hold their annual training conference in Saratoga on April 25 through April 28th,

 

Whereas, the amount of expenditure has been adopted in the 2010 budget,

 

Therefore, Be it Resolved, the Town Clerk and Deputy Clerk are authorized to attend the New York State Town Clerk’s Association Conference.

 

Resolution offered by Supervisor John Coutant

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Donna McAuley

 

                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

 

 Resolution duly adopted.

 

9.  Sojourner Truth Memorial Fund

 

The Sojourner Truth Memorial Park is coming right along and we have a very active committee said member Tim Allred.  The plans will become bigger and better.  The following letter was written to the Supervisor from the Sojourner Truth Memorial Fund:

 

“On March 10, the Sojourner Truth Committee, both ministers and working committee, drew up the attached document, confirming the type and subject of the proposed memorial – a bronze statue, showing Sojourner Truth as a pre-teen.  We feel this represents her as she was when she lived in Port Ewen.

 

With the approval of the Town Board, we will be ready to commence our fund-raising drive and our search for a sculptor.  In addition, we are preparing signage to tell the story of her life and plan for a formal dedication of the park when the sign is ready.

 

We would like to meet with you to discuss our plans.  I will call you to select a date.  Your continued support is much appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

 

Anne Gordon”  

 

Supervisor Coutant stated the Town Board supports the efforts of the Committee.  Councilperson Kyle Barnett concurred but questioned why the Town Board needs to approve the fund raising efforts? 

Tim Allred explained that the Town has no responsibility to raise funds.  The Sojourner Truth Ministers’ Committee was first charged with raising the funds for the memorial.  “The Working Committee will take what steps are necessary to responsibly choose a sculptor and will present our recommendation to the Minister’s Committee.  The cost of the statue, any supplemental improvements to the site and related signage will be raised by the Working Committee with the approval of the Ministers Committee and the Town Board through the Ulster County Community Foundation.  Let it be resolved that the Ministers’ Committee approves the above recommendation about the form of the memorial and supports continued involvement of the Working Committee in seeing this project to its completion.”  Councilperson Gloria VanVliet asked how much will the Committee need for this statute?  Presently, the Committee does not know because before we can start, Tim Allred said we needed Town Board approval.  Most probably they will choose a consultant to advise them on how to proceed with this fund raiser.  There are several area sculptors who may be interested in this project and he expects an approximate amount will be in the neighborhood of $200,000.  How we will raise the money for this is a compelling issue. 

 

Tim Allred said people in general do not know that Sojourner Truth was born here in the Town of Esopus.  This is a great story and we have multiple sites in Town where Sojourner lived and worked.  Sojourner was named Isabella and born into slavery to a Dutch family and lived on the Hardenburgh Road.  She spoke the Dutch language.  In 1808 her father asked for her to be sold to the Schryver Family who had a tavern on the Corner of Broadway and River Road.  She slept in the basement.   She tells her

story of how happy she was to be here.  Tim Allred told how she would walk from the tavern to Sleightsburgh and take the ferry to the Strand in Kingston to trade liquor for molasses.  We depict her as a child full of hope and expectations.  She went on to fight for her son who was sold out-of-state- and took legal action at the County Courthouse in Kingston to recover him.   Councilperson Kyle Barnett looks forward to the progress.  It will be a great source of pride.  Councilperson Freer said we would like you to go ahead with the fund raiser.  We will work up a new resolution.

 

10.  Bathroom Damage


We must fix the damage caused last Monday in the downstairs ladies room when one of the doors was slammed into the wall breaking the plaster.  We must insure that it does not happen again. 

 

11.  Budget Adjustments

 

None.

 

12.  Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills Since March 2010

 

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF BILLS SINCE

MARCH 2010 VOUCHERS

 

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,

 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the following vouchers be approved for payment:

 

General Fund                    101111-101168                                  $  92,834.52 

Highway Fund                   102034-102063                                  $  98,019.44 

Capital Fund                      105007-105010                                  $  65,900.50

Street Lighting                  106003                                                  $    4,966.95 

Port Ewen Sewer             103026-103040                                  $  41,055.70

Port Ewen Water             104045-104075                                  $  93,760.23

 

Total……………………………………………………………………………..$396,537.23

 

Resolution offered by  Supervisor John Coutant

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Kyle Barnett

                                                                Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye

                                                                                               

Resolution duly adopted.           

 

13.  Court Grant Money Received for Bench

 

We received a check in the mail today for $29,084.99 as payment on a 2009 court grant used toward the court bench.  This money will go back into our capital fund.  The first grant was written in 2008 but was not approved.  A second grant was submitted in 2009 after being rewritten upgrading some of the furniture and including some equipment to take credit cards for fines.  The initial cost of the bench was $33,000. 

 

14.  Approval of Minutes

 

Supervisor John Coutant made a Motion to approve the February Minutes and Councilperson Wayne Freer seconded the Motion.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

15.  Reports and Communications

 

Correspondence for the month of March are available in the Town Clerks’ Office as well as the following reports of Boards and Committees:

 

Town Clerk Monthly Report for January 2009

Planning Board Minutes dated Jan. 28, 2010

 Assessor’s Report dated March 8, 2010

 Supervisor’s Monthly Report dated March 2010

Port Ewen Water & Sewer Board March 9, 2010

 

A Motion to adjourn was made by Councilperson Donna McAuley and seconded by Councilperson Wayne Freer at 9 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

 

                                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                                                                Diane L. McCord

                                                                                                                Town Clerk