TOWN BOARD MINUTES
 December 16, 2004

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held on Thursday, December 16, 2004 at the Town Hall in Port Ewen, New York at 7:30 PM with the following persons in attendance:

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

Recording Administrator: Anne Hiller, Deputy Town Clerk

Pledge to the Flag

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

Announcements:

The Town of Esopus is looking for volunteers for the Recreation Board.  This is a working board and they take part in the recreation events.  They help us determine the policy of the board.  Councilman Germano questioned why we were asking for volunteers when the board is being revamped?  Supervisor Rice stated he was not asking for appointments he was asking for volunteers for we are going to have some sort of board he would assume?  Councilman VanVliet said this would be like a pool to draw from.

The Supervisor announced the availability of a part time clerical position in the Building Dept.   There has been an advertisement in the Daily Freeman.

Public Comment:

Barbara Patrick - Esopus: On Monday Barbara Patrick spoke before the Town Board because it came to her attention that there are some board members who were targeting Debbie Lamb, who is not a Republican,  she is a Democrat and I don’t think politics should be a part of this as I said Monday.  As far as she was concerned, Debbie had always done a credible job on any of the boards she has ever served with.  When you are going over to a new Building Inspector the timing is inappropriate.  Barbara Patrick is building a new house in March and is looking for some continuity and someone who knows what they are doing in there.  Frankly, Barbara thinks she has done a good job and she would like to see her continue.

As far as the Wildlife Conservation Service, a presentation was made Monday evening, where they talked about the Manhattan Conservation Alliance.  The Town is suppose to write letters on their behalf, however Barbara Patrick is not in favor of this.
 
Mike LaManna - I live here in Esopus.  I built a new house this year for my in-laws and placed a couple additions on my old house.  Debbie and staff in the Building Dept. have been very helpful and knowledgeable.  I feel Debbie is an asset to this town.  Supervisor Rice read a letter from Mike and Karen LaManna into the record:

“To Whom It May Concern:

We have been residents and taxpayers in the Town of Esopus for the past five years and we have just learned that you are trying to do away with Debbie Lamb’s position.  We feel that Debbie is an asset to this town.  She has a lot of knowledge about the zoning codes and building matters.  Debbie works hard for the town and goes out of her way to help resolve matters.  It would be a terrible loss for the Town of Port Ewen to lose Debbie.  Never mind that she should loose her job at Christmas time.  Karen and Michael LaManna”

Tom Gordon: Debbie has helped us a lot in several homes that we have put up....way beyond what she had to.  I am not into the politics of the town....I guess it is economic reasons that you are doing away with her job and going with three part timers.  It is the way I understand it.  I can foresee it wouldn’t be as efficient as it had been.  She has helped us a lot more than she had to.

Julie Melancon:  I have known Debbie for the last two years and I think, especially at this time, in this town’s point in history, it is very important to have the continuity in the Building Dept. that Debbie demonstrates.  With the new storm water regulations that are going on with the DEC Debbie has an established link,  she works with Janet Sandosky and that continuity going forward is very valuable.  As Barbara said before, it is very important to call one day and get one person and call the next day and get another part time person,  it doesn’t show a level of professionalism that we need.  I also think Debbie is on the Environmental Board and is very helpful there.  She knows a lot of history and a lot of background.  In the past five years she has been there she brings a lot of background information and she is a great resource for this town.  As a new Building Inspector comes in you will need someone with that history to work from and to move forward with.

Anne Gordon - Port Ewen: As I said on Monday night, I feel very strongly that by getting rid of Debbie’s job you are sending a wrong message to the employees of the Town of Esopus.  You are saying to them that loyalty doesn’t count, that good service doesn’t count, that competency doesn’t count, all of these can be snatched away and handed off to part timers to do less than a satisfactory job.  Why would you want to change now when our town is approaching one of the biggest growth periods in its’ history when we need professionalism, loyalty, and good sense in the Building Dept. office, which we have now?  Why would you want to change?

James Lamb - Port Ewen: On the announcement availability of a part time clerical position....did it now change to three positions?  Supervisor Rice stated he simply ran an ad for a part time clerical position.  Jim Lamb continued.....Last Monday he attended the Workshop Meeting and did not get any responses....I wanted to know what brought all this out?  What is the real issue here?  Can someone from the Board enlighten me for myself and for the people in the room?  What is really going on here?  Councilman VanVliet stated we don’t really have to answer that.....we will talk about this in Executive Session.  This is a personnel issue and it is not necessary for this Board to discuss this with you this evening.  Jim Lamb said you are going to eliminate a full time position in this town.  Councilman VanVliet continued....that would be up to the Town Board, we are the Executive Body and we would make the decision and it is not necessary for us to defend our position...we have good reasons and that is all we are saying.

Debbie Lamb -  I give you full access to let the public know - you have done too much in private.  If there is something I have done wrong you have not discussed it with me.

Jim Lamb: Gloria VanVliet mentioned all this about Debbie would be talked about in Executive Session....I think the Board has talked about her enough in Executive Session.  Councilman VanVliet said we have told you what we are going to do.....we are re-organizing the Building Dept. so it will be much more efficient and safe for the people of Esopus as well.  Jim Lamb asked what was unsafe?  Councilman VanVliet said we do not, at this time, have a full time Building Inspector which the Councilman wanted three or four years ago but the present Administration Mr. Supervisor or the Board did not want a full time Building Inspector, they were happy with part time.  We need to make the Town of Esopus a safer place by putting in a full time Building Inspector.  There was heated debate on this issue.

Councilman Ernie Germano: The last time we had a full time Building Inspector was in the year 2000 and when he passed away he was not replaced the full time Building Inspector.  At that time building permits amounted to 3 million dollars in sales in the year 2000.  Now we are over eleven or twelve million dollars a year and we have been doing this basically with two part time building inspectors.  Now we realize we need to hire a full time Building Inspector.  Some of the other problems .......I am concerned about doing what is best for the Town of Esopus.  In general depending on where you live in the town you may not get the same services and I am paying the same amount in taxes.  Councilman VanVliet disagreed stating those of us who live in the Port Ewen Water and Sewer District and we pay a lot more than you do.  The Building Dept. in this town is one in which the taxpayers deserves to go in and get the proper service they need.  Right now, it is our responsibility, to keep the taxes down.  The taxes this year were kept at zero.  Now the Building Dept. is open from 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm, six hours a day.  By eliminating the full time position and going to part timers we are going to be able to increase the coverage from 35 hours that the full time person was working to 51 hours.  What I would like to do is increase the hours of the office, not closing at lunch time.  Now we are paying over $31,000 for a full time person.  $22,000 and $8,000 in benefits.  Debbie Lamb stated maybe Councilman Germano had not seen that their office brought in more than $32,000 - $33,000 than was projected this year?  That covers my job.
 
Councilman Germano explained we have interviewed a Building Inspector on the top of the Civil Service list and he runs an office and he specifically said he does not want clerks answering any questions other than how to fill out the application and this is from an experienced person.  We do not need someone who will give zoning information or any of those other things which they are not qualified to answer.  Jim Lamb asked who handles the office questions when the building inspector is not available?   The clerk takes the application, takes a message and gives it to the Building Inspector.  Jim Lamb stated you just want some dummy working there?  No, we want a clerk working there stated Councilman Germano.  Councilman Germano stated this move will increase the hours in the office, we will have a full time Building Inspector and we are going to do it all for the same amount of money we have now.  I am looking out for the citizens of the Town of Esopus and it is unfortunate that someone will have to lose their job.

Jim Lamb:  I did not get any of these answers on Monday.  I am sure it is not motivated in any other way other than to help us taxpayers.

Councilman Germano: Took exception to this Republican/Democratic thing.  It has nothing to do with it.  There are a lot of Democrats up for reappointment.

Supervisor Rice: Supervisor Rice summarized the Town Board will want justification for eliminating this full time position.  Some of that is based upon hours, some based on the dollar savings....more service for the dollars and also this is done so we can afford to have a full time inspector.  There have been several rationalizations.  Some members of the Town Board are not happy with the way Debbie has run the office and the realities are this Board has the prerogative to not reappoint Debbie.  You can beat about the bush but they are not happy with the way Debbie runs the office and they have the votes to do it.

Councilman Germano: Councilman Germano disagreed with the Supervisor and said he  liked the way you are trying to get yourself out of this.  If it wasn’t for your lack of Supervision for the last four years, we wouldn’t be in this position we are in today.

Sal Silvestro - Port Ewen: I would like to clarify something.  You made a comment about taxes increasing.  Councilman Germano stated last year there was a tax increase.  Supervisor Rice stated there has not been a tax increase in the general fund for the last nine years.  The Highway tax did increase.  There hasn’t been tax increase according to Councilman Germano because you have taken away services from the general public.  We used to have a town clean up day.  You could bring it yourself one day a year.  For me to go to the dump it costs $20.  That is how the taxes are kept down.  Supervisor Rice said the service to the landfill was eliminated because of the UCRRA.

A Motion to enter into Executive Session was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Michael Lange at 8:00 PM to interview candidates for the Building Inspector.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

A Motion to adjourn from Executive Session was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer at 9:30 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

Town Board Resolutions

1.  Resolution to Create Handicapped Parking Space

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

Whereas, the Town of Esopus Town Hall requires a handicapped parking space for individuals with disabilities utilizing the facilities in the hall,

Whereas, approval from Ulster County is required for the creation and marking of a handicapped parking space on Salem St., a County Road,

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the creation of a handicapped parking space and requests that Ulster County approve the designation of a parking space situated as follows:

On the North side of Salem Street.  Beginning 95 ft. from the curb line on the West side of Rt. 9W, and ending 120 feet from the curb line on the West side of Rt. 9W.

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.

2.  Resolution to establish a Building Department Position Title

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

Whereas, to be in compliance with Ulster County Civil Service requirements the Town of Esopus must adopt a new position title for Building Inspector,
Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the creation of the position of “Municipal Code Officer/Building Inspector II”, title number “0T001201003" for the combined position of building inspector and code enforcement officer.

Resolution offered by Supervisor Ray Rice
Resolution seconded by Councilman Ernie Germano

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 increase recreation fees for new development

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

Whereas, the Town of Esopus is undergoing significant residential growth,

Whereas, this residential growth will place an increased burden on the Town’s limited park and recreational facilities,

Whereas, the recreational fee charged to developers has never been increased and is grrossly out of synchronization with surrounding communities,

Whereas, the Town Planning Board has recommended that the fee be increased to $1,000.00 per lot,

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the Town Attorney to draft the required changes to our local laws to reflect a $1,000.00 Recreational fee to be charged for each residential unit.

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.
 
John McMichael - This is for subdivisions over three lots?  Yes answered Supervisor Rice.
However, the Supervisor would like to make it effective on each dwelling unit.

4.  Resolution to reserve fund for future replacement of the Town Hall

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

Whereas, the Town of Esopus Town Hall is antiquated and does not provide sufficient space for Town offices and programs,

Whereas, it is fiscally prudent to reserve funds for the replacement,

Therefore, Be it Resolved, that the Town Board authorizes the transfer of $200,000 from the General Fund Balance to the Capital Reserve Account for Town Hall Replacement.

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

Supervisor Ray Rice   Aye
Councilman Michael Lange  Aye
Councilman Gloria VanVliet  No
Councilman Wayne Freer   Aye
Councilman Ernie Germano  No

Resolution duly adopted.

Prior to the passage of this resolution, Supervisor Rice had suggested increasing the amount to be transferred from $200,000 to $300,000 due to the increased income from the mortgage tax from Ulster County $202,000 and sales tax check $34,000.  If this was not done at this time Councilman VanVliet asked if it could be done later and Supervisor Rice answered yes at any time.  Councilman Germano thought we should wait.  He was not aware of this mortgage tax money coming in until late this afternoon and would like to investigate.  Information is needed in advance.

5.  Resolution to authorize 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 to 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:

A1110.4 Court Contr.  $ 3,084.62  A1110.1 Court Personnel
A1110.2 Court Equip.  $ 2,500.00  A1110.1 Court Personnel
A599 Fund Balance   $14,493.70  A1050.2 Town Hall
         10.00  A1450.4 Elections
          85.86  A1620.403 Office Supplies
    1,890.85  A1670.4 Postage
    3,328.39  A3620.1 Town Hall Bldg.
    5,701.96  A5010.1 Highway Personnel
         95.59  A6140.4 Home Relief
    4,244.59  A7140.1 Recreation
    2,800.00  A7141.4 HUD Administration
       338.84  A8010.1 Zoning
         32.63  A8011.4 ZBA
       331.50  A8020.1 Planning
    5,184.63  A8160.4 Transfer Station
    3,812.00  A9010.8 NYS Ret.
    2,447.27  A9060.8 Health Ins.
DA599 Highway Fund Bal.         114.23  DA5142.4 Snow Removal
L1 599 Light. Dist.          515.05  L15284.4.1 Port Ewen Light Dist.
L4            525.96  L45182.4 Rifton Light. Dist.
SS599            860.00  SS9010.8 NYS Ret.
SS599            835,65  SS9060.8 Health Ins.
SW599        5,361.01  SW8310.4 Water Dept. Contract.
SW599        8,789.00  SW9010.8 NYS Ret.

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 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:

Remaining Balance
General Fund #041799-#041845  $40,799.85  $57,631.77

Highway Fund #042392-#042414      9,010.32  $130,484.43

Street Lighting #046012       3,980.34           593.19

Port Ewen Sewer #043142-#043154      3,640.71      29,869.77

Port Ewen Water #044289-#044303      8,795.29           947.61

Total..........................................................................$ 66,226.51
 

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.

7.  Motion to accept the minutes of the November Board Meetings

A motion to approve the minutes of the November Board Meetings was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

Public Comment:

Jim Lamb - From the November 17th Minutes in the year 2000 Jim Lamb read an excerpt regarding Building Inspector Peter Ungerland’s request to have Debbie Lamb be appointed as his assistant with the support of Councilman VanVliet.

A Motion to enter into Executive Session to interview another Building Inspector Candidate was made by Supervisor Ray Rice and seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer at 9:00 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

A Motion to adjourn from Executive Session was made by Supervisor Ray Rice at 9:25 PM and seconded by Councilman Michael Lange.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

Councilman Germano made a Motion at 9:25 PM to enter into Executive Session to discuss an appointment to the Building Dept.  Councilman Gloria VanVliet seconded the motion.
All Town Board Members voted in favor.

A Motion to adjourn from Executive Session was made by Supervisor Ray Rice at 9:40 PM and seconded by Councilman Germano.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

A Special Meeting was scheduled for Thursday, December 30th at 7:30 PM to discuss appointments.  The Town Clerk will advertise.

Announcement of the availability of correspondence and reports of Committees.  The following Reports have been received:

Town Clerk Report for November 2004
Highway Supt. Report dated October and November
Building Dep.t Reports June amdned, Aug., Sept. and Nov.
Zoning Board of Appeals October and November and Special Mtg/ in September
Dog Control Sept, Oct. and November
Planning Board Minutes dated Sept. 23 and October 19th
Port Ewen Water and Sewer Board October
Assessor’s Office Report dated October and November
Recreation - September
Waterfront - August

A motion to adjourn was made by Councilman Michael Lange at 10 PM and seconded by Councilman Wayne Freer.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane L. McCord
Town Clerk