DRAFT MINUTES OF
TOWN BOARD MEETING
OF THE TOWN OF SARATOGA,
30 FERRY ST.,
March 10, 2008
Supervisor Thomas Wood opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance
at 7:00 p.m.
Roll call: Ruth Drumm, Town Clerk, called the roll. Supervisor Thomas Wood- present, Councilman Fred Drumm - present, Councilman Charles Hanehan- present, Councilwoman Betty Koval - present, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – present.
Also present: Highway Superintendent Dave Hall, Tax Collector Jim Gorham, Justice Jack Ditch and many other interested members of the public.
Recognitions/Presentations/ Bid openings/ Public Hearings:
Supervisor Thomas Wood reported that a committee met last Thursday and reviewed the first draft of the law amending the Zoning Ordinance by adding provisions regarding construction of wind energy facilities. Many changes were suggested. It was decided after looking at wind maps of the town that commercial turbines would not be feasible. They decided to remove commercial wind turbines and to concentrate on non-commercial turbines that individuals would want to construct. The committee will meet again to further revise the law and have it ready for the April meeting when another public hearing will be held.
Public Hearing: Local Law #3 of 2008 – Amending the Zoning Ordinance by adding provisions regarding construction of wind energy facilities.
Proof of Notice in the Saratogian having been furnished, Supervisor Thomas Wood opened the public hearing on Local Law #3 at 7:12 p.m.
Wayne Bakken, who has a hybrid system, suggested that the board distinguish between climbable and non-climbable towers when planning safety regulations of wind turbines. He also added that he is able to shut it off and he is able to take his turbine down during storms with high winds.
All having spoken who wished to do so, Supervisor Thomas Wood closed the public hearing at 7:15 p.m.
Approval of Minutes: A motion was made by Councilwoman Betty Koval
and seconded by Councilman Michael McLoughlin to accept the minutes of the February 11th regular meeting, and the February 28th special meeting as written. Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
Town Clerk’s report for February 2008: Fees paid to the County Treasurer for Dog Licenses $55.22. Fees paid to the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets for the spay/neuter program $12.00. Fees paid to New York D.E.C. for hunting and fishing licenses $27.39. Fees paid to the New York State Health Department for Marriage licenses $0. Dog license fees to Supervisor Thomas Wood $159.78. Clerk fees to Supervisor Thomas Wood $127.11. Total State, County, and Local Revenues received were $381.50.
Zoning Officer’s report for February 2008: Zoning Officer Gil Albert reported: 5 Building Permits, 14 Building Inspections, 2 CO’s, 2 Complaints, 3 misc., 1 Building Permit renewal, and 2 Orders to Remedy were issued. A check for $1,558.60 was given to Supervisor Thomas Wood.
Zoning Officer Gil Albert reported that the building at 1390 Rt. 9P owned by Calvin Gong has been stabilized and the second story removed. There is a Court date set for 3/18/2008 to deal with the remaining problems.
Dog Control officer’s report for February 2008: Supervisor Thomas Wood read the report for DCO Ed Cross. He answered 26 complaints, traveled 126 miles, issued 11 warnings, responded to 2 dog bites and 3 summonses were issued.
Town Court report for February 2008: The following were closed: 89 Vehicle & Traffic, 9 Criminal/Penal Law, 5 DEC/ENCON, 3 Dog cases, 1 DWI, 0 Town & Village Ordinance, 1 Small Claims/Civil, 0 Evictions, 0 Bench trials, 1 Divestiture Form (case transfers) sent to County Court, 9 attended the Science of Speed School, 0 Defendants sentenced to probation, 135 hours of community service issued, 30 days of jail time issued, 2 Orders of Protection issued, and $5,938.00 in fees were paid to the NY State Comptroller.
Tax Collector’s report: Tax Collector Jim Gorham reported that he has collected $2,244,295.13 on 2,518 parcels through March 4th, 2008 plus $1,860.75 in penalties and $12 in notice fees. On March 4th, 389 second notices were mailed.
Historian’s report: Supervisor Thomas Wood read Sean Kelleher’s report.
The Historians' office has been slow this past month. We are working on finishing up the American Battlefield Protection Program grant on Fort Hardy – a draft report is being reviewed. I have done some primary research on the troops in Saratoga during the French and Indian War – what is interesting is Saratoga hosted Lord Loudoun who was the British Commander of all armies in America, Major Robert Rogers of Rogers Rangers, and a company of Stockbridge Indians. (Which is noteworthy in part because they served with the Americans at the Battles of Saratoga).
In addition, we are working on setting up a partnership to purchase a machine that will digitally scan microfilm. Our long term goal is to create digital copies of the old local newspapers especially the Schuylerville Standard that can be researched using a key word search and would be available on the internet. We are partnering with the Old Saratoga Historical Association and we are working to extend the partnership.
Deputy Historian Pat Peck reported that through a grant opportunity with the NYS Archives she is working on an exhibit on the history of the centralization process and resistance to centralization of the little district schools in the Town of Saratoga. The display should be available in a couple of months.
Assessor’s report: Assessor Victoria Hayner reported:
February was a busy month in the Assessor’s Office. We received all exemption applications up until March 3rd. Thank you to all the property owners for their prompt response to filing of their applications. It has been a privilege to meet so many of the town’s property owners in the past few months.
We continue entering our sales and for the month of February we had 7 valid sales and 5 non-valid sales. Of these sales 9 sales involved residential property and 3 sales involved vacant lands.
In continuing my education and fulfilling State requirements, I took the Ethics class which is now required of newly appointed Assessors. I will be continuing to take a variety of courses as they become available.
Field review was done in February and on March 1st for taxable status. We reviewed our new construction and building permits so that values will be set according to their percent of completion on March 1st. We will be continuing to update our files with pictures as we receive Certificates of Occupancy from the building inspector throughout the year.
March will be busy with setting new values on properties that have been under construction during the past year and for properties whose owners have stopped by and had discussions with me regarding their assessment. Our assessment roll will be set by mid-April for public inspection after May 1st.
Supervisor’s report: Supervisor Thomas Wood presented his financial report as follows:
GENERAL FUND – TOWNWIDE (A FUND) YTD 2/29
Balance on hand Feb. 1 $698,826.48
February Revenues +505,090.64 531,542.78
February Disbursements -37,023.20 109,670.87
Balance Feb. 29 1,166,893.92
GENERAL FUND – OUTSIDE VILLAGE (B FUND)
Balance on hand Feb 1 $141,956.00
February Revenues +100,051.79 140,944.32
February Disbursements -6,767.46 11,859.28
Balance Feb. 29 $235,240.33
HIGHWAY FUND – OUTSIDE VILLAGE (DB FUND)
Balance on hand Feb 1 $454,473.17
February Revenues + 60.93 75,686.02
February Disbursements - 48,842.02 95,596.92
Balance Feb. 29 $405,692.08
YOUTH RECREATION & SERVICE Feb 29 $641.84
HIGHWAY EQUIPMENT RESERVE Feb. 29 $45,535.66
BUILDING RESERVE Feb. 29 $1,217,440.23
PARKS Feb. 29 $52,685.20
RISK Feb. 29 $28,610.45
Highway: Highway Superintendent Dave Hall reported that they have been busy keeping the roads clear, patching the roads, cutting trees, and cleaning up storm damage. The new Gradall has arrived and a 2 hour safety seminar on its use will be given at the end of the month by the dealer. The old Gradall is being put out for bid and the sealed bids will be opened at the April meeting. Councilman Charles Hanehan asked Dave how the salt situation is. Highway Superintendent Dave Hall responded that we are holding our own. The county has gone over their quota and it is being distributed load by load to those who need it. We have not gone over our quota. We are mixing sand and salt in a 50/50 ratio.
Public comments on agenda items: No one commented.
Landfill: Supervisor Thomas Wood reported that we have contracted with Phoenix Environmental Laboratories to do the testing at the dump and we should have a report by the end of March. He added that the landfill must be monitored for 30 years after closing. We will be testing until about 2022.
Insurance: No report.
Youth: No report.
Councilwoman Betty Koval reported that the Schuylerville Senior Citizens met on February 12th. They were entertained with a comedy routine following the business meeting. The February 25th meeting was cancelled due to bad weather. Their next meeting is tomorrow.
Park Committee: Supervisor Thomas Wood reported that the committee did not meet in February. He noted that the website for the park is up, and is www.schuylerpark.com. He added that the Quaker Springs Fire Department assisted in the burning of debris at the park site in February.
Quaker Springs Fire Department: Stephen Bodnar addressed the board. He reported that the fire department responded to 8 calls in February. Hartford Steam Boiler inspected and passed the boilers at the firehouse. As much material as possible was burned at the Schuyler Park site on Rt. 29 on February 23rd. New gear lockers have been built in the firehouse by the firemen. The new truck should be to the fire department by April 1st. Gear for four new firefighters has been ordered at a cost of about $6,400. Two officers completed Live Fire Training on February 16th. All spring maintenance on the trucks has been completed by firefighters. The Fire District’s books have been audited and found to be O.K. The plans are complete for the substation and should go out for bids within two weeks with construction starting in May. There are still questions on the standpipes and who is responsible for keeping them clear. Supervisor Thomas Wood responded that he will follow-up with Town Attorney William Reynolds to see what is needed to clear up the issue. Stephen Bodnar added that 200 dinners were sold at the Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner on Sunday.
SLA: Doug Niles inquired about the new County water system pipeline and the permits on the upper Hudson pipeline. Supervisor Thomas Wood responded that when the permits were originally issued they were issued to the county and when the Water Authority took over the system DEC had a few questions but they are now satisfied and the permits have been transferred to the Water Authority.
Supervisor Thomas Wood reported that the NYS Department of Transportation has responded to the safety concern at Route 32 & Wilbur Road. They did a field review taking into consideration signage, site distance, and accident history and determined that there is no cause for further action at this time.
On a motion by Councilman Fred Drumm and seconded by Councilwoman Betty Koval the following Resolution # 08-45 – Extension of Saratoga Country Inn PUD until May 12, 2009 was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
WHEREAS, on February 14, 2005, the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga granted final approval for the Saratoga Country Inn PUD, by amending the Zoning Ordinance of the Town, and
WHEREAS, Article X, Section 3(J) of the Zoning Ordinance provides that approval for a PUD development project shall become null and void if construction has not begun within two years of the Town Board approval, and
WHEREAS, due to circumstances beyond control of the owner and applicant, said construction work has not begun as planned, and for good cause shown to the Town Board, it is therefore
RESOLVED, that there is hereby granted an extension of time until May 12, 2009 within which construction work must begin for the Saratoga Country Inn PUD and such construction must be completed on or before eighteen (18) months of issuance of the first building permit, and it is further
RESOLVED, that if the aforesaid time limitations are not met, then the approval for this development project shall become null and void.
Supervisor Thomas Wood explained that over the last 3+ years the 17 member building committee has met and reviewed modular construction proposals, ways to fix or build at the present town hall site, and the purchase of the corner school. He stated that it is time to make a decision and present it to the voters.
On a motion by Councilman Charles Hanehan and seconded by Councilwoman Betty Koval the following Resolution #08-46 – Purchase of Real Property was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga, following several years of study and planning, has determined that there is a need in the Town of Saratoga for a new town hall to house Town government functions, and
WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the best option to satisfy this need is to purchase an existing building located at 12 Spring Street, Schuylerville, NY, for the sum of $4,300,000., and
WHEREAS, the Board further has determined that it would be in the public interest to submit this decision to the electors of the Town of Saratoga at a special election, it is therefore now
RESOLVED, that the Town of Saratoga purchase the real property premises known as 12 Spring Street, Schuylerville, NY at a price of $4,300,000. to use such property as a town hall, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Town issue bond obligations in the total amount of
$3, 300,000. to help finance said purchase, and be it further
RESOLVED, that a special election be held in the Town of Saratoga on Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at which the polls will be kept open between the hours of Noon and 8:00 p.m., for the purpose of voting upon the following proposition:
Shall the Town of Saratoga purchase the real property located at 12 Spring Street, Schuylerville, NY for use as a Town Hall at a price of $4,300,000, and shall $3,300,000 of such cost be raised by issuing bonds of the Town?
Supervisor Thomas Wood added that there will be an informational brochure mailed to registered voters in the town along with making it available at local businesses and the town hall. He added that he will also put it on the town’s website. There will be open houses scheduled at the corner school building on April 1st, 11th, 15th, and 26th. Special tours of the building and presentations will be arranged for organizations by request.
On a motion Councilman Fred Drumm and seconded by Councilman Michael McLoughlin the following Resolution #08-47 – Special Election was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga has duly enacted a resolution setting forth a referendum question to be placed before the electors of the Town of Saratoga concerning the purchase of real property located at 12 Spring Street, Schuylerville, NY, and
WHEREAS, Section 82 of the Town Law requires the Board to adopt a resolution designating the date, time and place, for conducting a special election and setting forth the proposition to be voted upon, it is now therefore
RESOLVED, that a special election will be held in the Town of Saratoga on Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at which the polls will be kept open between the hours of Noon and 8:00 p.m., for the purpose of voting upon the following proposition:
Shall the Town of Saratoga purchase the real property located at 12 Spring Street, Schuylerville, NY for use as a Town Hall at a price of $4,300,000, and shall $3,300,000 of such cost be raised by issuing bonds of the Town?
The polling places for such election will be as follows:
Districts 1 and 2 at Saratoga Town Hall, 30 Ferry Street, Schuylerville, NY
Districts 3 and 5 at Quaker Springs Fire House, 107 Blodgett Road, Schuylerville, NY
District 4 at Village of Victory Village Hall, 23 Pine Street, Victory Mills, NY
All legal residents of the Town of Saratoga, 18 years of age and over, shall be qualified to vote at such special election.
On a motion by Councilman Fred Drumm and seconded by Councilman Charles Hanehan
the following Resolution #08-48 – Support of NYS Property Taxpayers Protection Act was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
WHEREAS, the tremendously high property tax burden on New York families and businesses is the number one issue facing our community today, and the sheer cost of living in New York has forced many residents and businesses to leave, thus slowing the economic engine of the state; and
WHEREAS, young people are finding it difficult to purchase homes, seniors are struggling to maintain their homes, and businesses are facing immense challenges to create and retain jobs; and
WHEREAS, New Yorkers face the highest property taxes in the nation, and when measured as a percentage of home value, nine of the top 10 property tax rates in the entire country belong to counties in New York; and the State must act now to thwart the detrimental effects that high property taxes are having on local governments; and
WHEREAS, Assembly Minority Conference Members have introduced the “New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act” (Assembly Bill 8775-A), which puts forth new and innovative ideas for property tax reform that limit the amount school districts can raise annually through local tax levies to four percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less; in addition the Act would relieve municipalities and school districts of unfounded mandates, reduce county Medicaid costs, strengthen financial accountability over school tax dollars, promote local government efficiency, and encourage local option insurance pooling; and
WHEREAS, The “New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act” will help fix New York’s broken property tax system, providing homeowners, businesses and municipalities significant and lasting relief from the crushing burden of skyrocketing property taxes; and now, therefore, be it
WHEREAS, that this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to acknowledge New York State’s property tax crisis and urge the immediate passage and chaptering of the “New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act”, which will help local governments reinvigorate New York’s economy by providing incentives for people and businesses to move and stay here; and be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to the Governor of the State of New York, the Temporary President of the New York State Senate, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Assemblyman Roy McDonald and Senator Joseph Bruno.
On a motion by Councilman Charles Hanehan and seconded by Councilman Michael McLoughlin the following Resolution #08-49- Financial Advisors - Professional Services was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
RESOLVED, that the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga authorizes hiring the professional services of Fiscal Advisors & Marketing Inc., 35 Ginger Terrace, Clifton Park, NY, to serve as Financial Advisors for the Town of Saratoga regarding the pre-referendum planning and the implementation of the financial plan for the acquisition of a town hall. Payment in accordance with their proposal will not exceed $17,100.
Supervisor Thomas Wood reported that the town has been notified that Regatta Pub LLC, 120 Broad Street, Schuylerville, NY 12871, has applied for a liquor license.
On a motion by Councilman Fred Drumm and seconded by Councilwoman Betty Koval the following Resolution #08-50 – Regatta Pub Liquor License Waiver of 30 day hold was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
WHEREAS, the Town of Saratoga acknowledges that a Liquor License Application is being filed by the Regatta Pub, 120 Broad Street, Schuylerville, NY, and in order to hasten its approval, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Town Clerk is authorized to send a written waiver of the Town of Saratoga’s rights to the 30 day hold and that the Town of Saratoga Town Board consents to the processing and issuance of the license by the New York State Liquor Authority.
Supervisor Thomas Wood reported on the following:
v Department of Social Services – additional funding is being made available to the 2008 Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The program will remain open until at least May 15th. Questions about the HEAP program can be directed to Deborah Osborn, Director of Eligibility, at 884-4140.
v Economic Stimulus Payments – Individuals who might not otherwise be required to file a 2007 tax return will need to file a return this year to receive the stimulus payment. Some low-income workers and recipients of Social Security, certain veterans’ benefits, and certain Railroad Retirement benefits may qualify for the stimulus payment.
Privilege of the floor:
The following residents voiced their concerns and comments regarding the new town hall proposition to the board:
Bob Stokes voiced concerns regarding the 9% town property tax increase, difference in appraised value and purchase price, operating costs in the future, and should the town become a landlord.
Robert Hall voiced concerns regarding the town going into debt with the economy as it is, the difference in assessed value between private ownership vs. municipal ownership, and asked if we need a building that is 5 times what we have now. Supervisor Thomas Wood responded that with the present building sinking, doing nothing is not an option. There are five tenants with leases at the school and that will help generate revenue to offset the bond payments. Siena College and Historic Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson have expressed interest in leasing space at the school building. The remainder of the building will be used for town offices. There will be much needed space for the court, where state mandates require large spaces and for public safety, holding areas for prisoners. A larger space for the State Police, Probation, senior needs, record storage, along with offices for the building department, planning department, tax collector and bookkeeper who all share the same common area now. There will also be room for future expansion.
Dave Roberts thanked the board and building committee for all their research and review of all the options and stated that they are doing the right thing with the school as it is a magnificent building that with its presence relays the message that town government is there to serve you. He added that there is no way you could build that building for what Sonny Bonacio is asking for it. He noted that the 9% increase is only in the town tax rate of $1.50.
Doug Niles asked if the school will have a generator. Supervisor Thomas Wood stated yes, that it will have a 150 kw automatic standby power generator. Doug stated that the school is a fortress, there is no comparison to stick built construction, and with a generator it will make a great shelter.
Brian Huber voiced concerns that the expected dollars generated by the leases are not realistic. Supervisor Thomas Wood explained that there is an automatic escalator of 3% and triple net built into the leases. The tenants are under 3 to 5 year contracts and have expressed a desire to continue as tenants. The cost of renting in Schuylerville is much less than in Saratoga Springs, $9 vs. $30 per square foot. Sonny Bonacio stated that the 3% escalator is pretty standard.
Gil Albert voiced a concern that the tenants at the school may not stay when the property taxes go up which will cause their rent to go up since their leases have triple net.
Gail Sullivan noted that even residential rents in this area have increased greatly in the last 4 years.
Peg Hall asked the board to give the people as much information as they can.
Jim Miers, NIMS Coordinator, stated that as they rewrite the disaster plan they have looked at segments of the population that are not mobile and the school’s location, standby power, and its welcoming and sturdy presence makes it ideal as an emergency shelter and town hall. It’s the ideal building for Public Safety. He added that from an environmental standpoint, it is being friendly to the environment since we are not cutting down trees etc. to build a brand new town hall.
Dave Hall asked the board to consider the future costs of maintenance.
Sonny Bonacio stated that the three other town hall proposals were all on land owned by the town. He added that included in the school’s selling price is the lot, the adjacent lot and the updates for the municipal spaces. He said that the appraiser hired needed other like buildings in the town to compare it with and there are none. Sonny added that the school building has had new electrical, plumbing, heating & air conditioning, insulation and roof put on within the last 5 years.
Steve Bodnar stated that at first he was in favor of the highway garage location but after all the committee’s review of information, he now feels that with the school, what we’re getting for our dollars is a really good deal, it’s ready to go, sturdy and secure, a no brainer.
Roger Sherman asked if new voting machines will be in place in November. Supervisor Thomas Wood responded that the county controls what machines will be used and he does not believe new machines will be ready for the November election.
v Agenda meeting – Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
v Regular town board meeting – Monday, April 14, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Audit the Bills: On a motion by Councilwoman Betty Koval and seconded by Councilman Michael McLoughlin the following Resolution #8-51 - Approving the payment of bills in Abstract 3G was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
RESOLVED, by the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga to authorize payment of the bills listed in Abstract 3G (03/10/2008) in the following amounts: General A $24,450.27, and General B $1,759.60, and Highway Outside DB $184,550.74 (includes $155,000 for 2006 Gradall) for a total expense of $210,760.61.
A motion to adjourn at 9:30 p.m. was made by Councilman Charles Hanehan and seconded by Councilwoman Betty Koval. Supervisor Thomas Wood – aye, Councilman Fred Drumm – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan - aye, Councilwoman Betty Koval – aye, and Councilman Michael McLoughlin - aye. Carried 5 – 0.