TOWN BOARD MEETING
 DECEMBER 20, 2001

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held at the Town Hall on Broadway in Port Ewen, New York on Thursday December 20, 2001 at 7:30 PM with the following persons in attendance:

Supervisor Ray Rice
Absent: Councilman Marshall Courtney
Councilman John Loughlin
Councilman Peter Beisel
Councilman Gloria VanVliet

Recording Secretary: Diane L. McCord
    Town Clerk, RMC

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Supervisor Rice made the following announcements:

Leaves may be brought to the Highway Complex or the Transfer Station.

No parking is allowed on any road in the Town of Esopus from Nov. 1st to Mar. 15th between the hours of 10 PM to 6 AM

Final 2001 Town Board Meeting will be held on December 26th at 6:30 PM in the Town Hall.  The purpose of the meeting is to pay the end of the year bills.

Organizational Meeting and Swearing In Ceremony will be held for 2002 at 2 PM on January 1st in the Town Hall.

PUBLIC COMMENT: None

TOWN BOARD RESOLUTIONS:

1.  DISCUSSION OF ANNUAL PROPERTY REEVALUATION

Assessor Dan Terpening explained a proposal for an annual partial property evaluation to be done each year.  We had a full property assessment in the year 2001.  NYS is giving us icing on the cake if we do an annual reassessment each year for five years and do approximately 20 percent of the Town each year...(.making 100 percent in five years).  The other 80 percent would be trended up or down according to the market.  Annually NYS will give us $5 per parcel each year for the reassessment.  Dan Terpening is recommending it because “it is the right thing to do”.  If we go to this annual reassessment NYS promises they will give us 100 percent equalization rate.

The Assessor showed an example of the assessment and sales price of several properties which were transferred within the last week:

Assessment  Sales Price
Bayard St.          $59,900    $89,610
Canal St. (vacant)           6,600      35,000
Minturn St.          26,400      40,000
Union Center Rd.        102,500     172,000
Anna Lane         115,000     169,000
Rt. 9W Broadway          86,000     102,000
Old Post Road          14,000       18,000
Maple St.         100,000     115,000

There is a big trend upward in values throughout the county.  If the trend continues and we did not do a reassessment each year we would end up with an equalization
rates that is very low and as a result we would be picking up a bigger portion of the taxes for both school and county taxes according to the Assessor.

Councilman Peter Beisel thanked the Assessor for coming and asked how he would select the first twenty percent and would you continue until the whole town is done?
Twenty percent is done each year according to Dan Terpening, however, it does not have to be exactly twenty percent.  You must, however, cover 100 percent in five years.  As to choosing which twenty percent....we are doing an analysis.  It does not have to be done by areas...it can be done by types of homes i.e. raised ranches, colonials.  There has been no decision yet on which area or type of home will be assessed first.

Councilman Loughlin asked why the City of Kingston did not have a revaluation?
Assessor Terpening stated they have not had one since 1988 and he is sure some are paying more in taxes than they should.

Councilman VanVliet asked if the Town of Esopus is hurt by reassessment in anyway and if any of the towns that keep reassessing are hurt?  Yes.  Dan Terpening explained they are guaranteed 100 percent equalization rate and our equalization rate will drop as a result of not doing it.  Councilman VanVliet asked with the City of Kingston not reassessing......why doesn’t the State require that they reassess?  Dan Terpening said the State will do an analysis and eventually the City will be forced to reassess.  This has happened in Sullivan County.   Councilman VanVliet gave an example.....if there was a house in Kingston assessed at 50,000 and it is worth $100,000 does the State have a formula in place?  The Assessor answered yes,  Kingston is approximately 50% assessment and he believed they are still paying their fair share.

Supervisor Rice stated it was his understanding that NYS would bear the cost of the reassessment?  Their reimbursement would cover the additional cost of the reassessment.  The last town wide reval cost approximately $10,000.

DAVE PARKHURST - PORT EWEN: I am trying to understand this equalization rate and the way it works.  If we are at 100 %, the State is saying our
values are being carried at 100% of value based on the fair market this year.  If NYS put in an equalization rate all they are doing is equalizing so that everyone is paying the same amount anyway.  Why does it become so important, other than to try and spread the job out over a period of time?  Why does it become so important to reach 100 %?  In Dan Terpening’s experience, prior to becoming Assessor, the Town had not had a reval in some time and our equalization rate was dropping like lead and the samples the State was using in sales were not always sales that reflected the market in the Town of Esopus and that is when the problem comes in with the equalization rate... the method they use to arrive at the equalization rate.  Dave Parkhurst continued.....what you are saying is the State may use the worst possible examples for the equalization rate and thereby costing the taxpayer more than if we did the job in the first place?  Dan Terpening said you might say that.

Supervisor Rice hates property taxes but it is the law and it is the only way of the Town raising funds and he is for anything that makes the process more equitable.
 
ERNIE GERMANO - ULSTER PARK: Since there is no formula as to which portion of the Town will be reassessed  how do you decide which 20% will be reassessed?  The Assessor explained there is a program to run to compare the assessments to the recent sales in the different neighborhoods that we have the town split into.  There is also a way to do it by the type of house.  A program can be run  to see what type of residence needs to be readjusted.

According to the Assessor in growth analysis we are usually grouped with Rosendale because we do not have enough sales in one town to do a trending.   We have never adjusted assessments according to trending before.

Dave Parkhurst asked the Assessor....supposing the condos were run in the first year and we know the condos have gone up tremendously in value, will that affect the other 80%?  Dan Terpening said the program will take all the sales within Rosendale and Esopus and figure out what the trending is upward or downward for those two towns as a whole and values will be raised or lowered accordingly.

RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE ANNUAL UPDATE OF THE PROPERTY TAX ROLLS

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, as follows

WHEREAS, Section 305 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law mandates uniform and equitable assessments; and

WHEREAS, rapidly changing property values within the Town require continual reevaluation to maintain equitable assessments; and

WHEREAS, New York State Real Property Services will reimburse the Town for the major portion of the expense of the reevaluation, if done on an annual basis;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the town Board authorizes the Towon Assessor to work with New York State Real Property Services to accomplish annual updates to our assessment rolls.

Resolution offered by Councilman John Loughlin
Resolution seconded by Supervisor Ray Rice

Supervisor Ray Rice   Aye
Absent: Councilman Marshall Courtney
Councilman John Loughlin  Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

Ernie Germano questioned why the Discussion of Annual Property Reevaluation as listed on the agenda was voted on at this point?  Supervisor Rice stated it was listed as discussion because he didn’t know if the Town Board would have all their questions answered by the Assessor who was requested to attend this meeting.
Mr. Germano believed the Councilman should have public input prior to their vote.
Councilman Beisel stated there was discussion at the Workshop Meeting regarding this matter and stated at the last town wide revaluation there were no questions from the public and the Town Board is elected to make these decisions.

2.  RESOLUTION REAPPOINTING PAUL KRISTOFY TO THE
     ASSESSMENT BOARD OF REVIEW

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, as follows:

WHEREAS, Paul Kristofy’s term on the Assessment Board of Review has expired, and Mr. Kristofy is willing to continue to serve on that board,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board appoints Paul Kristofy to the Assessment Board of review for a term of 9/30/01 to 9/30/06.

RESOLUTION OFFERED BY COUNCILMAN PETER BEISEL
RESOLUTION SECONDED BY SUPERVISOR RAY RICE

Resolution offered by Councilman Peter Beisel
Resolution seconded by Councilman John Loughlin

Supervisor Ray Rice   Aye
Absent:  Councilman Marshall Courtney
Councilman John Loughlin  Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

4.  RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF BILLS       RECEIVED SINCE THE NOVEMBER 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         #701-759  $31,610.73
HIGHWAY FUND         #336-364    17,853.48
STREET LIGHTING         #12                              3,286.45
PORT EWEN SEWER         #156-172                     5,322.61
          PORT EWEN WATER            #258-275      9,605.12

TOTAL....................................................................$ 67,678.39

Resolution offered by Supervisor Ray Rice
Resolution seconded by Councilman Peter Beisel

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Absent: Councilman Marshall Courtney
Councilman John Loughlin   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel    Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

Supervisor Ray Rice made a motion to accept the November Town Board Minutes and Councilman John Loughlin seconded the motion.  All Town Board Members present voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

Correspondence received since the November Town Board Meeting was made available and is on file in the Town Clerk’s Office.

The following reports of Boards and Commissions are on file in the Town Clerk’s Office:

Monthly Report of the Town Clerk dated November 2001
Port Ewen Water and Sewer District Monthly Report dated November 2001
Port Ewen Water and Sewer District Monthly Report dated October 2001
Report of the Highway Supt. dated November 2001
Planning Board Minutes dated November 29, 2001
Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes dated December 18, 2001
Building Dept. Report dated November 2001
Building Dept. Report dated October 2001
Fire Inspection Report dated November 2001
Dog Control Officers Monthly Report dated November 2001
Dog Control Officers Monthly Report dated October 2001

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Wilson Tinney - Port Ewen: “There is only one more meeting scheduled for this year.  I think over the last six years the Town Board has done a remarkable job.
The Town parks have been upgraded, the Sleightsburgh Spit has been developed, the park down on the River Road.  We have privatized the Transfer Station eliminating three full time jobs with benefits, saving over $40,000.  I am sure that FOCUS on Esopus will have comments, when you talk about the adjustments to the budget, they will have comments and Ira will say remember folks this is your money they are spending.  When it came to privatizing the Transfer Station he voted against it.  We have one of the best Highway Department in the State, in my estimation.  It is a non-union group and they have made the equipment themselves, they made the hoppers for the sanders and they have developed various pieces of equipment that would have cost much more if we had to buy it.  If they had gone union we would have to hire ten more people on the Highway Dept. for they would all have to be specialized.

We have an Assessor here that has proven his capabilities to us.  Although I was critical of him sometimes I find he has done a remarkable job because as he explained property is selling for much more than it is assessed at.  A reval was to go into effect in 1995 but the previous Town Board decided not to put it into effect until we were elected and blamed it all on the new Board.  By not putting this into effect Barbara Patrick and Bob Richter each saved many thousands of dollars on their taxes.  I have never heard FOCUS on Esopus give any credit to the Town Board.  In six years there has been no raise in taxes and still have given the employees a raise each year and not reduced services in any form.  I think a lot of credit goes to Ray and the Town Board, Art Cross, Dan Terpening, who are a heck of a group in our Town and I am proud of them.”

Supervisor Rice stated before we close this meeting I have to mention that this is
last regular meeting for Peter Beisel.  Peter chose not to run for reelection this year.
He has been a very valuable member of our Board.  Peter exhibits really exceptional common sense.  Peter is certainly capable to asking the hard questions and he is also not bashful about answering hard questions.

Supervisor Rice stated  “You have been a real credit to our Board and it has been a pleasure to have you.  I would like to present you with a plaque presented to Peter Beisel in recognition to your service to the Town of Esopus as Councilman and Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  We really appreciate your service.”

I thank you for those kind words and I would like to thank the voters in the Town of Esopus who had the confidence in me to elect to the Town Board.  It has been a pleasure to be here.  I have been on the Town Board for the last three years and five years prior to that on the Zoning Board of Appeals.  It is my hope and belief that I was able to contribute to both those Boards and I have enjoyed my time there.  Now I step aside with a clear conscience knowing that the Town is in very good hands.  I don’t know how Wayne Freer is going to do yet but I am sure he will do fine.  As for the other three Councilman they are all capable and very conscientious.  They all do what they think is best for the Town.  They all vote their conscience.  We have Ray Rice who in my opinion I think is an excellent Supervisor and I think the residents in the Town are fortunate we will have him for at least a few years and hopefully longer than that.  It is not quite goodbye I will have one more meeting and after that I will be an interested spectator.  Thank you.

A MOTION TO ADJOURN WAS MADE AT 8:10 PM BY SUPERVISOR RAY RICE AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN PETER BEISEL.  ALL TOWN BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane L. McCord
Town Clerk, RMC