FEBRUARY 19, 2010


A regularly scheduled meeting of the Town of Esopus Town Board was held on Thursday, February 19, 2010 at the Town Hall on 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 RMC, CMC


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




John Spellman – 33 Old Post Road


After checking the Town Minutes on line and being concerned with the Highway Department and how the County wants to consolidate and how that will affect us;  We read in the Minutes about the people on Black Creek Road wanting the CSX train moved. 


I would like to bring you up to date on when CSX built the second rail.  I went to the Public Hearing held at the old Town Hall when CSX wanted to build the second rail.  I spoke at the Public Hearing and was assured this was a passing rail only by the NYSDOT Attorney.  It took CSX seven days a week, fifteen hours a day for months to build the second rail.   A month after the second rail was in, the trains were left to idol twelve hours a day.  Our house is the closest to the railroad some 340 ft. away.  We have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees.   We have been in contact with Kevin Cahill’s office and, Hillary Clinton’s Office.  We have had decibel meters installed in my home where the noise level is so loud that if we lived in Kingston the house would be condemned.  We have had environmental studies done.  After all this we spoke with our neighbor Sean Murphy, an attorney, and it is like fighting “City Hall”.  We have been told this is a federal issue and will not change.


Supervisor Coutant called John Gaylord in Selkirk, New York with CSX but was not able to contact him.  I have tried to call him back several times.  He is aware of what we are doing here and I have been told he could turn this situation around.


Mr. Spellman continued….He wanted to come here tonight so that the train does not creep back up.  The engineer refuses to walk one hundred yards.  Councilperson Gloria VanVliet asked if Mr. Spellman was still bothered by the train?  Yes.  She asked if he incurred thousands of dollars of expense?  They will tie you up forever in court.  No one else is allowed to run equipment like they do…they go all night long.


Mr. Spellman continued on about the County consolidation issue.  He attended the budget hearing the year before last when the taxes went up.  This was the 2009 Budget Hearing.  The big increase was in the County Taxes.  When he heard the county may give the roads over to the town and the town would

have to take the responsibility of the plowing and the maintenance….who will clean the catch basins?  This will be a shuffling issue.  I appreciate the Town Board looking out for the taxpayer.  Supervisor Coutant said this will be another consolidation like the Elections where it costs the town so much more.  Councilperson VanVliet said when the Town Clerk ran the elections the costs was $13,000 when the county took over the cost went to $50,000….she did a good job and still does.


Legislator Carl Belfiglio – He commended the Town Board, with the help of consultant Randolph Horner, in trying to get Stimulus Money.  No other town is trying as hard to reduce costs to the taxpayers.  In the past, this entirely Republican Town Board is concerned about taxes and the environment.  You are in capable hands with Randolph Horner. 


Leg. Belfiglio had concerns with the Shared Services Initiative.  When he thinks about shared services he thinks of the town providing services and the county doing something for the town.  The county wants to relieve itself of plowing the roads and the maintenance of the roads.  It is more of a municipal agreement.  There are 62.3 miles of roads in the Town of Esopus.  The county has 19.8 miles of roads.  That is a total of 80 miles of highway to plow, salt and sand.  The increase in town expense is major and it increases the responsibility of the town by one third.  Road maintenance will increase our need for new hiring of employees by our Highway Dept. and will decrease the county maintenance crew while increasing the liability for the town.  Leg. Belfiglio has two agreements from two different counties and in each of these agreements the county has the town sign a waiver and it will cost more for the road maintenance.  In the County of Ulster jobs are a concern.   The county will reduce jobs and the town will be hiring more people.  He is not in favor of this agreement as proposed.


Highway Supt. Al Larkin stated this is a transfer of responsibility and the town taxpayers will pay more.  The county this year proposes a savings of 1.9 million dollars from its’ personnel budget.  Wayne Hoyt, an employee of the County Highway Dept., reminded those present there will be an increase in engineering costs, administrative costs as well as liability costs.  Whatever the agreement  the county proposes….take a good look at it.  The 1.9 million dollars savings in personnel will be used someplace else and Mr. Hoyt is not in favor of this.  Supervisor Coutant stated any agreement from the county would have to be endorsed by the County Legislature.   Individual towns can refuse to sign the agreement.  Councilperson VanVliet asked if Legislator Belfiglio would openly oppose the signing of the agreement?  Yes.  The towns were given 45 days to look this over and the county does not even have a contract at this point.  Highway Supt. Al Larkin believes only four towns are in favor throughout the county with fifteen opposed. 


6.  Birchez Update


Steve Aaron appeared before the Town Board in the interest of our continuing our open dialogue and to recognize the hard work the Town Board has had with us in  making Birchez at Esopus a success.


A reference was made to the Port Ewen Water and Sewer Board making the following motion:


A Motion was made by Larry VanVliet and seconded by Kevin Rentfrow to approach the Town Board to consider the following request:  Birches at Esopus has not complied with numerous requests to complete the requirements necessary for the Port Ewen Water and Sewer District to take over the Birches’ Pump Station.  If these requirements are not met by April 1, 2010, the Port Ewen Water and Sewer Board recommends that the Esopus Town Board consider that this pump station not be taken over by the Port Ewen Water & Sewer District.                     


The following items need to be pursued:


1.  Block Heater on generator

2.  Electrical Inspection

3.  Copies of invoices for pumps and generator

4.  Right of way or whatever to cross Birches property to access station

5.  Alarm and electric turned over to Port Ewen Sewer District

6.  Electrical drawing of where power feeds for pump station are located within Birches

7.  Easements, that were asked for by Planning Board, for water lines that are located on building lots.


Steve Aaron was accompanied to the meeting by his Attorney D. Danitelli, Lou Naccarato and John Mallen.  Mr. Aaron explained the pump station, as the board knows, is part of a significant amount of infrastructure.  We installed it at our own cost.  The pump station, because it is a mechanical item, requires additional items which Supt. Don Kiernan has asked us to do.  We are on the same page with Supt. Kiernan and we are not suggesting his requests are wrong.  I have brought the specifications from the manufacturer and the block heater is recommended when the regular temperature falls below ten degrees below zero.  We talked to the manufacturer today and they are of the opinion it is not required.  Ultimately, the generator is fully functional and has been fully functional since it has been installed.  The Supervisor said $1,700 for a block heater seems excessive.


We did a formal submittal which was approved by Supt. Kiernan.  We have accommodated all the Building Inspectors’ requests, even though many were not required.   We believe the only thing that may require some led time and will require some interaction with the Town Attorney is the specific easements.  We have provided a Metes and Bounds map which we gave to the Planning Board.  We will need easements for the water lines going into the single family lots and the other is the actual easement for the pump station itself.  Aaron’s Attorney asked if there was a form to proceed with so that we could start and we could present our Metes and Bounds and attach it to it?   Larry VanVliet asked, “let’s make sure the easement is wide enough”.  It should be twenty five feet from the center line. 


The Port Ewen Water and Sewer Board voted on setting a date and we would like the Town Board to set that date so that we all understand where we want to be by April 1st.  Steve Aaron had a copy of the transmittal that has the manuals and the invoices in it.  We will give Supt. Kiernan another copy.  The Supervisor had no problem with the April 1st deadline, except for the part that has to be done by the two attorneys.  Steve Aaron said they would provide the information to the Town Attorney.  Councilperson Barnett saw no problem with our attorney drafting a couple of easements provided he has the Metes and Bounds within a month.  Larry VanVliet could not speak for the Water and Sewer Board, but the recommendation was April 1st  and he would like the Town Board to cooperate.


Councilperson Freer was concerned with the easements.  Does your information include drawings?  We will have our surveyor do a graphic and a text document describing access, location of the facility and the other one for the water lines.  Councilperson Freer asked Steve Aaron’s attorney if the drawings would be done and the easements done?  We will move as quickly as possible.  Steve Aaron said it appeared we were not acting responsibly and that may have to do with the man Supt. Kiernan was working with is no longer with us.  Supt. Kiernan reached out to me last week and said Masters was not getting back to him and that is because he no longer works for me.  The other thing is these are the requirements that the town made for us to take ownership and we have been maintaining the pump station at our own expense.  The worst thing that could happen is you do not take it.  It is not like we are not in compliance.  Let us see what happens in the next few weeks.  This was a misunderstanding.  If we could stay in touch over the next few weeks and we could work on this then the board does not have to take action.  That is what I would respectively request at this time.  Councilperson Barnett said what Birchez attorney is proposing is reasonable.  We can revisit this one month from now.  Maybe next month we can set a deadline if necessary.  Larry VanVliet said we do get to ten degrees above zero.  Councilperson VanVliet said Steve Aaron will put the jacket on the unit.


A Motion to table the Recommendation of the P. O. Water & Sewer Board for Birchez was made by Councilperson Wayne Freer and seconded by Councilperson Donna McAuley.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.


Speaking to Steve Aaron the Supervisor said it has been sixteen months since Birchez opened.  The “Scuttlebutt” has it that you have increased your rates to your clients by five percent.  Our agreement states if you raise your rates we get more on our PILOT and Mr. Aaron agreed.


1.  Solar Energy Update with Randolph Horner (Letters) Feb. 27, 2010 Meeting


Our Solar Project Manager Randolph Horner explained we are very close to turning on our solar power project.  The matter is in Central Hudson’s hands.  This is the largest solar system in Central Hudson’s entire territory and they have internal procedures and regulations to follow as well as the Public Service Commission procedures.  There was a nice article in the Daily Freeman about our solar system.  The good news is we have momentum in this town and we are noteworthy. 


Both the Assembly and the Senate have worked on changing the state law to allow for municipalities to provide one hundred percent of their electrical needs through alternate sources as opposed to purchasing it through the local utility.  The Governor is expected to sign this bill.  At this time, the Town of Esopus will have 52 percent of their electrical needs through solar power.  The solar array is complete.  The electrical contractor has wired it to the panel but Central Hudson has to approve it.  We will stay on top of this day to day.  As soon as possible when Central Hudson gives the green light Alteris will test the array and we will turn it on.   


Randolph Horner has done a study of the electrical needs at our Port Ewen Water Treatment Plant and put together a phase one program.  It is proposed solar panels on top of the building be purchased with a Stimulus Grant which we signed and Randolph drove to Albany.  If approved, this will stabilize the water rates for the taxpayers in the district.  Randolph has also engineered the Town of Esopus Library with a plan for solar panels.  Esopus will become the “Leader” in Solar Energy in the State.  We do not

know how many grant applications came in.  Money is being distributed and we hope we will be



On another related topic…..Randolph Horner said because of the sponsorship of the Town Board Randolph did  attend the Association of Towns Meeting in New York City.  The Hilton had thousands of people but I was very active.  Whatever the outcome of the grant proposal, there are very influential people and State Agencies who want to green up our infrastructure including the Dept. of State, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation.  $432 million has been distributed for waste water plant projects.  Forty projects received forty million.  NYSERDA is distributing the grants for the Federal Government. 

On November 2nd we submitted the grant for the Town of Esopus Library and we still have not heard back.  At this meeting I was able to talk with Senator Schumer and pointed out we are leading in solar energy.  Saturday, Feb. 27 at the New Paltz College there will be a meeting and we may be center of the showcase.  They are still talking about solar energy and we have already done it.  We are now part of their program. 


There was a question about the town joining the state as a Climate Partner and Mr. Horner said joining would not obligate us to anything.  In this instance when the funding programs seek to help communities with energy and this saves the taxpayers money.  In New Jersey they have a rebate program and those communities may be earning extra incentives.  We are making a civic effect to do better and it helps you to get grants.  I am always just a phone call away.


Councilperson Gloria VanVliet asked about the small building where the inverter sits and asked why it has not been completed?  We are building this unit for one third the cost and the man who I recommended has been ill.  The building needed to get to this point.  What is left to do is to complete the skin of the shell.  It is structurally complete.  The man is now out of the hospital and he has the materials because he wants to finish.  Randolph has been minding the little building.  It will be very photogenic.  It will be a minor Town Hall look-a-like.  Randolph Horner thanked the Town Board for their efforts.


 3.  Eagle Scout Award


Town resident Marko Louis Lazin is being awarded his Eagle Scout Award on Saturday March 27, 2010 at the Rosendale Recreation Center in Rosendale.  His Eagle Project was the restoration of the interior of the Old Rock Schoolhouse, a one room school house up the road from his home in Rifton, New York.  The interior of the schoolhouse building had begun to deteriorate.  Due to weather conditions, leaks in the building and poor ventilation, the interior of the building was damaged.  Marko organized the repainting and repair of ventilation to prevent future moisture damage.


The Town of Esopus Town Board is proud of Marko’s achievement and the Town Clerk will present a Certificate of Achievement on behalf of the Town Board at the Awards’ Ceremony. 


4.  Personal Leave – Amend Section 804 – Policy Manual


This item will not be discussed tonight since two of the councilpersons were not able to attend the Workshop Meeting where it was discussed.


5.  Resolution – Environmental Board Appointment


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, the Town of Esopus Town Board approves the appointment of Sean Fitzgerald as a member of the Environmental Board.


Resolution offered by Councilperson Wayne Freer

Resolution seconded by Councilperson Kyle Barnett


                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett


Resolution duly adopted.


6.  Birches Update


Previously discussed in the beginning of the meeting.


7.  Resolution – Supervisor’s Appointments (Debbie/April)


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


Whereas, Roxanne Pecora, Chairperson for the Town of Esopus Planning Board wishes to appoint April Oneto as Planning Board Secretary and to perform other assigned duties as requested.


Therefore, Be it Resolved, the Town of Esopus Town Board the Planning Board Chairperson’s appointment of April Oneto as Secretary to the Town of Esopus Planning Board.


Resolution offered by Councilperson Donna McAuley and seconded by Councilperson Gloria VanVliet.


                                                                                Supervisor John Coutant

                                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet

                                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer

                                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley

                                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett


Resolution duly adopted.


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 Supervisor wishes to appoint Debbie Kain as his Bookkeeper/Secretary during his term of office,


Therefore, Be it Resolved, the Town of Esopus Town Board approves the Supervisor’s appointment of Debbie Kain as his Bookkeeper/Secretary.





Resolution offered by Councilperson Donna McAuley

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.


8.  Payment of 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                    101037-101110                                  $  40,513.46

Highway Fund                   102007-102033                                  $  39,358.90

Capital Fund                      105005-105006                                  $    1,855.14

Street Lighting                  106002                                                  $    5,848.92

Port Ewen Sewer             103008-103025                                  $  40,046.61

Port Ewen Water             104019-104044                                  $  41,215.61




Resolution offered by Councilperson Wayne Freer

Resolution seconded by Supervisor John Coutant


Supervisor John Coutant                              Aye

                                                                Councilperson Gloria VanVliet                  Aye

                                                                Councilperson Wayne Freer                       Aye

                                                                Councilperson Donna McAuley                 Aye

                                                                Councilperson Kyle Barnett                        Aye


Resolution duly adopted.           


9.  Approval of Minutes


A Motion to approve the Minutes of the previous meeting was made by Councilperson Kyle Barnett and seconded by Supervisor John Coutant.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.


10.  Communications and Reports


The Communications for February are available for review in the Town Clerk’s Office.  The following Reports of Committees and Boards are available for review:


Town Clerks’ Report for January 2010

Building Department Report for January 2010

Waterfront Advisory Board Minutes dated  October 27, 2009 and December 22, 2009

Waterfront Advisory Board Minutes December 22, 2009

Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes dated January 2010

Environmental Board Minutes dated Jan. 21, 2009, Feb. 18, 2009, May 20, 2009, June 17, 2009, July 15, 2009, August 17, 2009, September 16, 2009, October 21, 2009, and, December 16, 2009.

Supervisor’s Report dated January 2010

Assessor’s Report dated January 2010


A Motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Councilperson Donna McAuley and seconded by Councilperson Wayne Freer at 8:50 PM.  All Town Board Members voted in favor.  Motion Carried.


                                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,



                                                                                                                Diane L. McCord

                                                                                                                Town Clerk, CMC, RMC