TOWN BOARD MEETING
APRIL 15, 2004

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held on Thursday, April 15, 2004 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 Secretary: Diane L. McCord, Town Clerk, RMC

Supervisor Rice called the meeting to order.

Pledge to the Flag

Announcements

1. Canine Census this spring.  We will be conducting a canine census to encourage our residents to license their dogs.  A representative of the town will be canvassing the town looking for un-licensed dogs.  The owners of such dogs will be subject to a $5.00 penalty in addition to the license fee which for most dogs is $3.50.  The purpose of licensing dogs is to insure that the dogs have current rabies shots.  It is not a revenue generating project for the town.  If your dog is un-licensed bring proof of rabies vaccination and the license fee to the Town Clerk’s Office and you can avoid the $5.00 penalty.

2.  Insect Repellent - The weather is beginning to warm up and the tick season has started.  As we all know Lime Disease is quite common in this area and the ticks are already out.  The Town Clerk’s Office has free insect repellent available provided by the Ulster County Health Dept.  I would encourage anyone who may be exposed to ticks to pick up some of this free repellent.

3.  2004 “Great River Sweep”.  For the past five years Scenic Hudson has sponsored a campaign to clean up the Hudson River.  This year, as we have in the past, the Town of Esopus will participate in the “Great River Sweep” by cleaning up the shore line at Sleightsburgh Park.
If you would like to help cleanup come to the park on Saturday, April 24th.  We will start at 10 AM and I will be delighted to see anyone else who is interested in helping out to clean up the river.

Public Comment:

Wallace Nolen - Esopus: Wallace Nolen typed a four page letter to the Town Board members dealing with the problems that he believes  need to be addressed.
 
1.  Wallace Nolen complained that the Town Clerk implementation of fees such as $10 for certified copies, is illegal.

2.  The Town Clerk has refused to allow Wallace Nolen to scan in to his computer the Town Code and stated the Committee on Open Government states that unless there is a contract between the Town and a vendor it is illegal to prevent the scanning of the documents.  Wallace Nolen claims he would need only little space to scan in the records.

3. Inspections - Wallace Nolen claims on the property 652 and 654 Broadway in Ulster Park there was all kinds of junk, including junk cars, garbage as well as other violations which he was cited for.  Nolen filed a FOIL in the court and he had no court documents.  Today he received a copy of Section 113.5 which spells out the language that is suppose to be used but which has not been used.    The garbage situation - garbage is all over the roads.  Why are the Highway sponsors not adhering to the clean up of the roads?    An ordinance should be adopted and enforced.  Regarding junk cars, there are 600-700 in violations of the ordinances.  Unless there is a signed complaint the Zoning Enforcement Officer will take no action on their own.  The Town Board needs to pass a Resolution to accept anonymous complaints.

The property at 652-654 Broadway has never had a Certificate of Occupancy, a Building Permit, no inspections although there are violations, assuming the Town of Esopus has complied with my FOIL request, where are the documents?   Since the Town has changed inspectors quite frequently, in comparison to other communities, it would be common sense these records would be kept.  There should be signed documents.  Wallace Nolen suggested the Town Board should take a look at his detailed letter.

Joseph Aivaz - Port Ewen: Joe Aivaz asked if the Town Board had selected a real estate agent for the Town Hall land?  Supervisor Rice stated the Town Board had contacted a number of local real estate agents.

In February the Town Board went into Executive Session to determine which architect would be chosen to view the four properties then under consideration for a Town Hall.  The person selected is an architect and a member of the Planning Board.  Does that present a problem with a conflict of interest.  Supervisor Rice stated no.

Joe Aivaz asked if there was more information on the four properties?  Supervisor Rice stated no.  Mr. Aivaz continued........In December the Town Board pointed out that a decision would be made soon.  There is little time for the planning and design stages for a new Town Hall is going to take quite a while.  The acquisition could take three months or so.  If the DOT goes through its final design phase and gets approval will the town be delaying the whole operation?  Councilman Lange mentioned the NYSDOT could start the project at either end of the town, giving the town more time.  Supervisor Rice said the DOT could accommodate the town schedule.  Their schedule is slipping and so it the towns’.

Noise Ordinance.....has the Town Board consider an ordinance.  Supervisor stated the Town Board has chosen not to enact one because they are problematic to enforce.  Doesn’t this give the Sheriff more backing to enforce laws?  Noise is becoming a real problem in the area.  Reconsider your stand on a noise ordinance.

John McMichael - Ulster Park: As a member of the Planning Board, the person in question who is an architect is a valuable member of the Planning Board.  Any member of the Town Board or any board is liable to have a conflict of interest at some time or another, however, it is up to the person to refuse themselves from a decision.  An architect is an valuable person to have on the Planning Board because he brings with him a knowledge of construction and design.

Town Board Resolutions:

1.  First reading for the Prior Notice Local Law - Local Law No. 1 and Local Law No. 2

Supervisor Rice stated, “Our insurance carrier has requested that the Town update our Prior Notice Local Law.  The purpose of a prior notice law is to ensure that the Town is aware of a problem and has had the opportunity to correct the problem before it can be held liable for the condition.  For example, if someone steps in a hole in the roadway, the Town cannot be held liable if the town had not been notified of the existence of the hole.

Our current prior notice law covers only “highways, bridges and culverts” our new law will cover bridges, streets sidewalks, crosswalks, and culverts.

To pass this new law it is necessary to pass a law (Local Law #1 of 2004) repealing our existing law and enacting the new law known as Local Law #2 of 2004.

The law is rather lengthy, therefore, I will forgo reading.  All the Council members have reviewed the laws and copies are available to the public and the laws will appear in the minutes.

We will have public hearings on these laws next month before the regular Town Board Meeting.  The hearing for local law #1 will be at 7:15 PM, Thursday 20, 2004 in the Town Hall.  The public hearing for Local Law #1 will be at 7:20 PM, Thursday, May 20, 2004.

After the public hearings the laws will be forwarded to the Secretary of State.”

Supervisor Ray Rice stated Local Law No. 1 for the year 2004 regarding the repeal of Local Law #9 for 1985, Sections 88-1 88-2 and 88-3, requiring prior notice of defective highways, bridges or culverts is available in the Town Clerk’s Office for review.

Supervisor Ray Rice stated Local Law No. 2 for the year 2004 regarding Notice of Highway Defects providing for written notification of defects and obstructions on town highways, bridges, streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, and culverts in the Town of Esopus be enacted by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus.  Copies of this local law are available for review in the Town Clerk’s Office.

 LOCAL LAW #1

A Local Law to repeal Local Law #9 of 1985, 88-2 and 88-3, requiring prior notice of defective highways, bridges or culverts.  Town of Esopus Local Law #9, Sections 88-1 and 88-3 are hereby repealed.

 LOCAL LAW #2

 Notice of Highway Defects

Local Law No. 2 of the Year 2004

A Local Law providing for written notification of defects and obstructions on town highways, bridges, streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, and culverts in the Town of Esopus.  Be enacted by the town Board of the Town of Esopus.

SECTION 1.

No civil action shall be maintained against the Town or Town Superintendent of Highways, no other employees or officers thereof, acting in such capacity, for damages or injuries to person or property sustained by reason of any highway, bridge, street, sidewalk, crosswalk or culvert, being defective, out of repair, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed unless, prior to the occurrence resulting in such damages or injuries, written notice of the defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition of such highway, bridge, street, sidewalk, crosswalk or culvert was actually given to the Town Clerk or Town Superintendent of Highways, and there was a failure or neglect within a reasonable time after the giving of such notice to repair or remove the defect, danger or obstruction complained of.

No such action shall be maintained for damages or injuries to personal property sustained solely in consequence of the existence of snow or ice upon any highway, bridge, street, sidewalk, crosswalk or culvert, unless written notice thereof, specifying the particular place, was actually given to the Town Clerk or Town Superintendent of Highways and there was failure or neglect to cause such snow or ice to be removed, or to make the place otherwise reasonably safe within a reasonable time after the receipt of such notice.

SECTION 2.

The written notice hereunder shall contain at least the following information:

A.  Name and mailing address of the person giving notice.
B.  A precise statement as to the nature and extent of any defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition or the existence of snow or ice upon any highway, bridge, street, sidewalk, crosswalk or culvert within the Town of Esopus.
C.  The approximate date that such condition first became known to the person giving the notice.
D.  The exact location of such condition, giving wherever possible reference to a street address or addresses, utility pole numbers or such other geographic reference as will aid the Town in properly locating such condition.

SECTION 3.

The Town Superintendent of Highways shall transmit in writing to the town clerk within five days after receipt thereof all written notices received pursuant to this local law and subdivision 2 of section 65-a of the Town Law.  The Town Clerk shall cause all written notices received pursuant to this local law and subdivision 2 of section 65-a of the Town Law, to be presented to the Town Board within five days of the receipt thereof or at the next succeeding town board meeting, whichever shall be sooner.

SECTION 4.

The Town Clerk shall keep an index, record, in a separate book, of all written notices which he or she shall receive the existence of a defective, unsafe, dangerous or obstructed condition in or upon, or of an accumulation of ice and snow upon, any town highway, bridge, street, sidewalk, crosswalk or culvert, which record shall state the date of receipt of the notice, the nature and location of the condition stated to exist and the name and address of the person from whom the notice was received.  The record of such notice shall be preserved for a period of five (5) years from the date it is received.

SECTION 5.

For the purposes of this law, the terms “highway,” “bridge,” “street,” “sidewalk,” “crosswalk,” and “culvert” shall include, but not be limited to, every grating, opening, drain, sewer, pier, dock, park, recreational facility, parking lot, path, step or stairway and any other means of access of every kind, nature and description whatsoever leading thereto or therefrom, which is owned, controlled and maintained by the Town of Esopus.

SECTION 6.

If any clause, provision or any part of this law shall for any reason be held invalid or unenforceable, such determination shall have no effect on the remaining clauses, provisions and parts of this law, which shall remain in full force and effect.

SECTION 7.

All laws, including Town Law section 65-a, local laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations and parts thereof are hereby repealed and superceded to the extent to which they are inconsistent with the provisions of this local law.

SECTION 8.

This local law shall take effect immediately upon its filing in the office of the Secretary of State.

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2.  Resolution to Authorize Attendance of the Highway Superintendent at the Cornell Local       Highway School April 15, 2004

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

Whereas, the Local Highway School will be held at Cornell, June 6th through 8th, 2004,

Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Highway Superintendent be authorized to attend, with the expenses to be paid from the Highway Dept. Budget.

Resolution offered by Councilman Michael Lange
Resolution seconded by Supervisor Ray Rice

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

Resolution duly adopted.
 
 3. Resolution to Authorize Engineering Services for a Proposed Water Main Replacement

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

Whereas, the NYSDOT will be conducting extensive renovation work on Rt. 9W in the hamlet of Port Ewen, and,

Whereas, the Port Ewen Water District has 1,500 feet of deteriorated 6" main which could be replaced with a 10" main at a significant savings if done concurrently with the highway renovation,

Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the Port Ewen Water Superintendent to contract with Brinnier and Larios, to prepare plans and specifications for the water main replacement at a cost not to exceed $16,080.

Resolution offered by Councilman Wayne Freer
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.  Resolution to authorize attendance of the Assessor at the Cornell Assessor’s School

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

Whereas, the Local Assessors School will be held at Cornell, July 19th through July 23rd, 2004

Therefore, Be that the Assessor be authorized to attend, with the expenses to be paid from the Assessor’s budget.

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

Resolution offered by Councilman Wayne Freer
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.

5.  Resolution Supporting the Local Government Records Management Program

Whereas, the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund was created in 1989 to provide technical assistance and grants to establish, improve or enhance records management programs in New York’s more than 4,300 local governments, and

Whereas, a sunset date for the LGRMIF was established in the original legislation to permit its operation as a give-year experiment, and

Whereas, the New York State Legislature in 1995 has twice extended the sunset date, most recently to December 31, 2005, and

Whereas, the LGRMIF has effectively supported essential advisory services and 6,300 grants totaling over $113 million to improve the management of records for over half of all NYS local governments,

Whereas, the LGRMIF and the programs it supports continue to operate at a high standard of excellence and provide direct and significant benefit to local governments at no cost to the taxpayers, and

Whereas, the Town of Esopus has benefitted from technical assistance, training, publications and four grants totaling $88,535 supported by the LGRMIF, and

Whereas, the LGRMIF continues to be critically important in the fulfillment of many records and information related responsibilities of the Town of Esopus, therefore,

Be It Resolved, that the Town of Esopus supports the elimination of said sunset provision of December 31, 2005 in order to make the LGRMIF permanent.

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

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

Resolution duly adopted.

6. Resolution to make adjustments to the 2004 Budget

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

Whereas, adjustments to the 2004 Budget are required in order to properly reflect changes in certain accounts,

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the transfer of the following amounts from the indicated accounts and Fund Balances to the indicated active accounts.

From:     Amt.  To:

A1990.4 Conting.  $250.06  A1010.4 Town Board
  225.00  A1920.4 Municipal Assoc. Dues
1446.00  A8889.4 Bridge Street Lights

DA599 Fund Bal.  $17,331.00  DA5130.2 BobCat Skidsteer

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.

7.  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:
   Balance
General Fund #041225-041286  $29,547.68  $912,166.28
Highway Fund #042104-042129    22,236.08    852,320.88
Capital Fund
Street Lighting #046004       3,891.05      30,166.19
Port Ewen Sewer #043031-043048      4,321.57    463,565.29
Port Ewen Water #044085-044113    16,072.91               510,228.31

Total......................................$76,069.29
 
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 adopted.

8.  Motion to accept the minutes of the March Town Board Meetings

A motion to accept he minutes of the March Town Board Meetings was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Ernie Germano.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

9.  Resolution to Appoint a Replacement to the Assessment Board of Review

At 8 PM Supervisor Ray Rice made a motion to enter into Executive Session to review applications for the opening of a position on the Assessment Board of Review.  This motion was seconded by Councilman Michael Lange.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.
 

At 8:05 PM Supervisor Ray Rice made a motion to adjourn from Executive Session and Councilman Wayne Freer seconded the motion.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

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

Whereas, the Town of Esopus Assessment Board of Review has a vacancy resulting from the resignation of Les Braunstein,

Whereas, the Town Board has solicited and received applications for this position,

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that after reviewing several very qualified applications, the Town Board appoints Lorrie Morse to the Assessment Board of Review for a term expiring September 30, 2004.

Resolution offered by Supervisor Ray Rice
Resolution seconded by Councilman Michael Lange

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

Resolution duly adopted.

Public Comment:

Robert Richter - Esopus: Robert Richter asked about the Spinnenweber property that had been donated to the Water Dept. to build a water tank.  Supervisor Rice explained there was a title problem and the attorney is still working on this but as of this time we do not have the funds to build a tank anyway.  This is something for the future, it is not something to be done in haste.

Councilman Gloria VanVliet: Councilman VanVliet spoke to Supervisor Rice and stated that our thirty days is now up in searching for additional property for a new Town Hall.  Will we have an additional meeting to discuss properties we now have?  Our architect was unable to complete his study because we did not have the properties in place.  Supervisor Rice said there was an additional piece of information our architect is in search of. The size of other town halls built recently in Plattekill and Highland will give us a better idea of the cost and what we can expect in funding.  A meeting will be scheduled as soon as we have this information and the public will be notified.
 
Susan Wick - St. Remy: Susan Wick works for the St. Remy Cemetery.  There is a new public health law regarding cemeteries whereby a signed receipt is necessary for the funeral homes for each body brought into the cemetery.  Under this law..rural cemeteries with volunteer staff will be abandoned. to the towns. The Town Board may be asked to give their support to the cemeteries.      12

Anne Gordon - Port Ewen: Anne Gordon had questions regarding the Ulster County Safety Net issue.  Supervisor Rice explained Ulster County pays a half of the welfare costs and the towns are responsible for the other half.  Ulster County is the only county that does not pick up the whole cost.  The City of Kingston has requested the policy be changed for they believe they are picking up more than their fair share, however, Supervisor Rice has a problem changing because the City of Kingston gets more of a share of the sales tax.

Robert Richter - Esopus: Robert Richter asked what was the responsibility of Mark Reiker and Hank Pittner?  Supervisor Rice answered Mark Reiker is the Building Inspector and Hank Pittner the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

Joseph Sills - Ulster Park: Joseph Sills questioned the policy of having building and zoning complaints signed before they can be acted upon because there are many violations throughout the town.

Topics raised:

The proposed new water main will replace a six inch line with a ten inch line.  Will that increase in the pressure increase the water flow?  There will be no more volume or pressure but there may be more flow in the ten inch section.

The water tank location is being abandoned?  No, it is just moving at a slower pace.

What are the hours budgeted for the Building Inspector and Zoning Officer?  The town budgets 17 hours per week.

What is the problem with the proposed water tank property?  The land given by John Spinnenweber to the Port Ewen Water District has a title problem.  Eliminating this problem could take one to five years, however, the district would not have the funds to build a new water tank at this time anyway.  Are there grants available?  According to Supervisor Rice.....no.

Councilman Ernie Germano: Councilman Germano asked Supt. Don Kiernan about replacing the water main.  There have been breaks on Rt. 9W and he assured me the new material used today is made of concrete and would not break and this would be a plus to install new lines.

Announcement of the availability of correspondence and reports of committees

The correspondence for March 2004 is available for review.  The following reports have been filed in the Town Clerk’s Office:

Town Clerk Report dated March 2004
Fire Inspectors Report dated March/April
Assessor’s Report dated March 2004
Building Inspectors Report dated March 2004
Planning Board Minutes dated March 2004
Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes dated March 2004
Port Ewen Water and Sewer Minutes dated March 2004
Waterfront Advisory Report
Environmental Advisory Board dated March 2004

A motion to adjourn was made by Supervisor Ray Rice at 8:27 PM seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane L. McCord, Town Clerk, RMC