TOWN OF ESOPUS TOWN BOARD MEETING
 DECEMBER 18, 2003

A regular meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held on Thursday, December 18, 2003 at the Town Hall on Broadway in Port Ewen, New York with the following persons in attendance:

Supervisor Ray Rice
Councilman Marshall Courtney
Councilman Gloria VanVliet
Councilman Wayne Freer
Councilman Peter Beisel

Recording Secretary: Diane L. McCord, Town Clerk, RMC

Pledge to the Flag

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

Announcements:

There are dogs available for adoption from the Town of Esopus Kennel.

The final Town Board Meeting will be held on Monday, December 29 at 7:30 PM to pay the end of the year vouchers and to discuss the 2004 appointments.

Public Comments:

Anne Hiller - West Esopus: The town Christmas decorations are lovely.  The tree, as you enter town, was placed there by Patti Huber and Bernice McNierney with decorations placed in conjunction with the Town of Association Businessmen’s Association.

RESOLUTION ADJUSTING 3% INCREASE
 
Supervisor Ray Rice - “As has been publicly announced the Town Board agreed to a 3% pay increase for all town employees.  Concerns have been expressed that the manner in which the pay increase is proposed to be administered is not equitable to all employees.

By way of explanation, there has been a long standing practice in the highway and water/sewer departments to determine the amount of raises for certain job titles by calculating the increase based on the highest paid employee in those job titles and applying that amount to the other job titles.  The intent of this practice was to maintain a 25 cent per hour differential between the job titles.

The individuals who work in these departments typically are crossed trained and skilled in all the job requirements of the various job titles, therefore it is desirable that the job titles receive similar compensation.

The practice results in some job titles receiving a trivial additional increase (from 1 to 4 cents more than the 3%).

(Supervisor Ray Rice offered the following resolution):

In the interest of equity to our employees, I would offer a resolution that we drop the practice of calculating the highway and water/sewer payments based on the highest paid employee in that category and apply a 3% increase to all town employees.”

The Resolution was seconded by Councilman Peter Beisel.

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Councilman Marshall Courtney  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

Comments from the Town Board included:

Councilman Marshall Courtney stated if this resolution puts the issue to rest he was in favor.
Councilman Gloria VanVliet wants equity and fairness for everyone.  This issue happened to come out this year and she would like to be fair to every employee in this town and if someone is deserving and if we are preparing a budget and we state we are giving a 3% raise, it should be across the board.

1.  RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE SETTLEMENT OF THE WEITZE TAX             CERTIORARI LAWSUIT

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

WHEREAS, Mr. and Mrs. Weitze have bought a tax certiorari proceeding against the Town,

WHEREAS, the lawyers for both parties have suggested a compromise wherein their assessments for the years 2001, 2002, and 2003 will be reduced by 10%,

WHEREAS, the Town of Esopus Assessor and the Town Attorney believe that this settlement is in the best interests of the Town,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board authorizes the Supervisor and Kellar and Kellar to accept the negotiated settlement and to execute the appropriate documents memorializing same.

RESOLUTION OFFERED BY COUNCILMAN WAYNE FREER AND SECONDED BY SUPERVISOR RAY RICE.

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Councilman Marshall Courtney  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

2.  RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE ASSESSORS ATTENDANCE AT A NYS       ASSESSOR’S SEMINAR

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

WHEREAS, the New York State Assessor’s Association will conduct a one day seminar on income evaluation as it relates to STAR and other exemptions on January 13, 2004 in Albany, New York,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board authorizes the attendance of Town Assessor Dan Terpening with the expenses to be paid from the Assessor’s budget.

Resolution offered by Councilman Marshall Courtney
Resolution seconded by Supervisor Ray Rice

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Councilman Marshall Courtney  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

3.  RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE SETTLEMENT OF THE DEKOSKIE       LITIGATION
 
BE IT RESOLVED, by the Town Board of the Town of Esopus, in the County of Ulster, as follows:

WHEREAS, the Town of Esopus has been presented with an offer to settle the claims of Mr. Douglas DeKoskie regarding water damage to his property on River Road,

WHEREAS, the Town Board has discussed this proposed settlement with the Town Attorney and believe that the settlement is in the best interests of the taxpayers of Esopus,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Supervisor is authorized to sign the settlement agreement on behalf of the Town of Esopus.

Resolution offered by Councilman Marshall Courtney
Resolution seconded by Supervisor Ray Rice

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Councilman Marshall Courtney  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

Councilman Courtney stated when the Town Board met with Mr. DeKoskie and his attorney Mr. Pisani they certainly had a great deal of sympathy for Mr. DeKoskie and the situation.  It is not clear whether the Town of Esopus is responsible that is an open question that a number of attorneys could have differing opinions on.  The Board agreed to a resolution that would be a one time fix only in the interest of getting the work done as quickly as possible.  The settlement agreement has not been executed but it is the understanding of this Board that the town is not embarking on a long term maintenance agreement, this is a one time fix.  If there are any future problems the town will not be “on the hook”.  The minutes should reflect that even though the settlement agreement has not yet been executed.

Supervisor Rice commented that it was necessary to begin the work so that there was no further damage to the property but there is still a significant amount of work that must be done and will not be done until next spring and this agreement will be in place before that work is complete.

4.  RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE AN INCREASE IN TRANSFER STATION FEES

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

WHEREAS, the costs of operating the town Transfer Station far exceed the fees charged to the users of the Transfer Station,

WHEREAS, the current per bag fee of $2.00 has been in effect since 1996 and is less than the bag fee of the majority of surrounding towns,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town authorizes an increase in the bag fee from $2.00 to $2.50 per bag effective 1/1/2004.  Current bag coupons which have been purchased by our residents will not be subject to the increase.

RESOLUTION OFFERED BY COUNCILMAN WAYNE FREER AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN PETER BEISEL

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Councilman Marshall Courtney  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

5.  RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF VOUCHERS 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  #733-786   $28,322.71
HIGHWAY FUND  #337-360       6,536.23
CAPITAL FUND  #33-34     29,895.08
STREET LIGHTING  #12        3,691.81
PORT EWEN SEWER #150-161       3,756.22
PORT EWEN WATER #274-276     13,337.83

Total....................................$ 85,539.88

RESOLUTION OFFERED BY SUPERVISOR RAY RICE
RESOLUTION SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN GLORIA VANVLIET

Supervisor Ray Rice    Aye
Councilman Marshall Courtney  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  Aye
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Peter Beisel   Aye

Resolution duly adopted.

6.  MOTION TO ACCEPT THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER BOARD MEETINGS

A MOTION TO ACCEPT THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER TOWN BOARD MEETINGS WAS MADE BY SUPERVISOR RAY RICE AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMAN MARSHALL COURTNEY.  ALL TOWN BOARD MEMBERS VOTED IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED.

PUBLIC COMMENT:
 

Robert Richter - Esopus: Robert Richter asked for details on the four parcels available for the proposed Town Hall?  Supervisor Rice answered:

1.  Spinnenweber property on Rt. 9W and Bowne St.(4 acres)
2.  NYS land on the corner of North Broadway in Sleightsburgh
3.  The Medrex property is up for sale on Rt. 9W (5 acres 23,000 sq. ft. existing building)
4.  The Silver property (10 acres) on Rt. 9W south of Lindy’s

Three properties are offered without charge but there is a cost for Medrex.  Mr. Richter asked if Medrex is moving out of town?  Supervisor Rice said they have needs for a different building.
Specifics are needed for the Spinnenweber property.

They have a 23 acre parcel and are offering the town four acres, however we need to know the exact boundaries.  A decision must be made shortly by the new Town Board.  All the properties are in the water district and all the properties except for the Silver property are in the sewer district.  One property is not favored over another property.  We have asked for professional help.  No contracts have been given out.  We do not know the costs to fulfil the requirements.  We need an idea if there are problems with the sites which we may not be aware of.  We need to know the cost to develop these sites.   Mr. Richter asked if there were funds to have some do the preliminary work?  Supervisor Rice stated we have $150,000 in a Capital Funds.  Councilman Gloria VanVliet asked if we had heard from Mr. Spinnenweber’s attorney?  Supervisor Rice has heard nothing from the attorney.

Correspondence and Reports of Committees:

Correspondence for the month are available for inspection.  The following reports of committees have been received:

Town Clerk’s monthly report for November.
Highway Supt. monthly report for November
Environmental monthly report for November
Port Ewen Water/Sewer report for November
Planning Board Minutes for November
Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes for November

A MOTION TO ADJOURN WAS MADE AT 7:52 PM BY COUNCILMAN MARSHALL COURTNEY AND SECONDED BY SUPERVISOR RAY RICE.  ALL TOWN BOARD MEMBERS VOTED IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane L. McCord
Town Clerk, RMC