West Seneca Town Board Meeting Minutes 10/05/2009
Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with 30 seconds of silent prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Absent - None
Supervisor Piotrowski read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or an emergency.
16-A MINUTES TO BE APPROVED
16-B HELD OVER PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. Re: “A PUBLIC HEARING TO HEAR ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AND CITIZENS FOR OR AGAINST THE ADOPTION OF LOCAL LAW NO. 4 OF THE YEAR 2009 AMENDING CHAPTER 13 OF THE WEST SENECA TOWN CODE ENTITLED ‘CODE OF ETHICS’” in the Town of West Seneca.
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to table this item.
16-C LEGAL NOTICES1. Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: “OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO HEAR ALL CITIZENS INTERESTED IN THE USE OF FEDERAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FUNDS” in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to open the public hearing.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that the Town of West Seneca receives Community Development Block Grant funds annually from the federal government and they are administered by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. There is open competition for the funds from all communities in Erie County. The Town of West Seneca belongs to a consortium with other communities and they review the value of individual projects in each of the towns. In the past, West Seneca has received funding for roads and curbs, handicapped access to the library, construction at the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center and many other projects. Town Engineer George Montz recommended the following projects: 1) $100,000 to be applied toward the $1.3 million cost for reconstruction of French Road; 2) $100,000 to be applied toward the $600,000 cost for reconstruction of Columbia Parkway & Belgia Place, including roads and sidewalks.
16-C LEGAL NOTICES
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, questioned why community development block grant program requirements were not posted on the town website and newspaper and why the Town Board proposal was not reported along with the public hearing notice. She thought it would make it more understandable to residents that might want to think about participating.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that they could make modifications to the text of the advertisement and make a referral to view the voluminous document in the Town Clerk’s office.
Mrs. Minklei agreed but noted that not everyone can get to the Town Clerk’s office during the day. She suggested a press release in the local newspapers to get the information out. Mrs. Minklei commented on the importance of keeping the public informed and thought that citizens would like to be involved in the community. She hoped the board members would do everything possible to encourage citizen involvement.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to close the public hearing.
1. Supervisor Piotrowski re Erie County Community Development Block Grant projects
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to sign, submit and execute a contract with the Erie County Community Development Block Grant (ECCDBG) program for the following projects upon approval of ECCDBG:
1) $100,000 in CDBG funds for the French Road Reconstruction Project to be matched using $1,300,000 in cash to be raised from the proceeds of a bond and $140,000 in in-kind services to be provided by the Engineering Department;
2) $100,000 in CDBG funds for the Columbia Parkway Road Reconstruction Project and Belgia Place Road & Sidewalk Reconstruction Project, to be matched using $600,000 in cash funds to be raised from the proceeds of a bond and $70,000 in in-kind services to be provided by the Engineering Department.
2. Supervisor Piotrowski re Water Quality Improvement Grant Program
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution authorizing the Supervisor to sign, submit and execute a contract with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the installation of sanitary sewers on both sides of HiView Terrace to eliminate a point source pollution problem resulting from the septic systems.
On the question, Councilwoman Meegan thanked Town Engineer George Montz for going through with this and commented that it was a great move in the right direction for Mill Road Creek.
Councilman Graber questioned if local funding would be from a new Special District for HiView Terrace.
Mr. Montz responded that it will either be a sewer district extension or a new West Seneca Sewer District will have to be created for that area. He will be discussing this with Town Attorney Shawn Martin.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to recess to Executive Session at 7:55 P.M. to discuss Communications Item #3 prior to acting on it.
The Town Board returned from Executive Session at 8:05 P.M.
3. Supervisor Piotrowski re Memorandum of Agreement with CSEA
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to execute a Memorandum of Agreement between the Town of West Seneca and the Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. that the title of Bookkeeper to the Supervisor shall be added to Appendix A and Appendix B of the collective bargaining agreement (Town of West Seneca White Collar Wage Schedule) and shall be placed in Group #4; and further, authorize the Supervisor to execute a Memorandum of Agreement between the Town of West Seneca and the Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. that the title of Real Property Appraisal Technician shall be added to Appendix A and Appendix B of the collective bargaining agreement (Town of West Seneca White Collar Wage Schedule) and shall be placed in Group #3.
4. Supervisor Piotrowski re Crop Walk
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve the request of the West Seneca Community of Churches to hold their annual Crop Walk on Sunday, October 18, 2009 from 2:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. beginning at Ebenezer United Church of Christ.
5. Supervisor Piotrowski re NYS Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 303b
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to recognize that the Erie County Legislature has designated November 1 – 30 as the annual thirty-day time period within which a landowner may request predominantly viable agricultural land to be included into a certified agricultural district in accordance with Section 303-b of the NYS Agriculture & Markets Law and note that application forms are available in the Supervisor, Town Clerk, and Assessor offices.
6. Councilwoman Meegan re Funding for safety related equipment
Motion by Councilwoman Meegan, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to create a budget line for the purchase of safety related equipment for the Highway, Buildings & Grounds and Sanitation Departments.
On the question, Councilwoman Meegan stated that the Safety Committee has been meeting regularly for the past 15 months and putting together training sessions for Highway and Sanitation Department employees concerning blood borne pathogens and disposal of syringes. They will be doing a campaign for the public to inform them that they are welcome to dispose of those items at the highway garage. The employees’ clothing allowance will also be looked at, but the current funds will be used to continue the Safety Committee programs along with purchasing monitoring, flagging & shoring items. Councilwoman Meegan noted that years ago the town established a $50,000 safety fund, and although the town no longer supports that fund, the current fund will lower workers compensation costs resulting from reduced employee injuries over a 5-year period.
Councilman Graber questioned if this will be included in the 2010 budget.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that this line item will be in the 2010 budget. They were also in need of reflective shirts and tear away vests for working with the chipper. Grant money will become available in April 2010 and the town was applying for it, but they had to secure additional funds to purchase some items.
7. Councilwoman Meegan re Request for use of soccer complex for tournament
Motion by Councilwoman Meegan, seconded by Councilman Graber, to approve the request of Thomas & Patrick Kaleta, HITS Foundation, to host a soccer tournament at the soccer complex August 14 – 15, 2010.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski questioned if the cost of running this function will be determined.
Councilwoman Meegan responded that Recreation Director Robert Walsh will be furnishing the fees for the soccer complex and Buildings & Grounds Supt. Steve Amoia will be furnishing the cost of personnel that will work at the soccer complex those days. That figure will be proposed to the Kaleta family.
8. Town Engineer re Hydrant addition on South Fisher Road
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve an additional annual hydrant fee of $229.08 for Erie County Water Authority for addition of one hydrant and valve assembly on South Fisher Road at the I-90 toll barrier.
9. Town Engineer re Purchase of equipment for lift station maintenance crew
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the purchase of a Panasonic Toughbook Model 30 mobile data terminal and other accessories for the lift station maintenance crew at Plant 6 from I-Evolve Technology Services at the NYS contract price of $4399.96.
10. Highway Supt. re Title change for Kevin Zimmerman to Sanitation Laborer
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Kevin Zimmerman as Sanitation Motor Equipment Operator and appoint Kevin Zimmerman as Sanitation Laborer at a rate of $16.95 per hour effective September 23, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
11. Highway Supt. re Termination of Mark Januszkiewicz as part-time laborer
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Mark Januszkiewicz as part-time Sanitation Laborer effective September 25, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
12. Highway Supt. re Status change for part-time laborers to part-time seasonal
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of the following part-time permanent laborers in the Sanitation Department to part-time seasonal effective April 13 – September 13, 2009, noting this change was not approved by the Town Board at the May 4, 2009 meeting:
and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
13. Chief Gehen re Purchase of radar units
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the purchase of seven (7) Genesis II Select K-Band, single antenna radar units from Decatur Electronics, 535 West Eldorado, Decatur, Illinois 62522, at a cost of $1284 each for a total cost of $8988 less $2380 for trade in of old units in the police vehicles for an actual expense of $6608.
14. Chief Gehen re Status change for part-time Public Safety Dispatchers to part-time seasonal
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of part-time Public Safety Dispatchers James McCullough, James Kavanaugh, and Derek Vasquez to part-time seasonal effective October 1 – 31, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
15. Chief Gehen re Appointment of Timothy Maciejewski as part-time Clerk Typist
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to appoint Timothy D. Maciejewski as part-time permanent Clerk Typist effective October 7, 2009 at a rate of $12 per hour and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
16. Comptroller re Budgetary transfer request
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve a budgetary transfer request of $13,990 from Contingent Account #1.1990.0480 to Historical Property Repairs & Maintenance Account #1.7520.0452 to cover the cost of a new roof and gutters on the historical building.
17. Assessor re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the purchase of a 2004 Ford Taurus, VIN #1FAHP53U14A113164, with 75000 miles from Liberty Auto Sales at a cost not to exceed $6750, noting that this vehicle will replace a 1997 Chevy Cavalier used by the Assessor’s Office.
18. Recreation Director re Appointment of Renee Hatch as part-time Recreation Attendant
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to reappoint Renee Hatch as part-time Recreation Attendant at a rate of $7.50 per hour effective October 9, 2009 through May 31, 2010 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
19. Recreation Director re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $7496 to West Seneca Youth Baseball for umpire fees.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
RENAMING OF BRIARWOOD PARK
Ken Hansen referred to his previous request to rename Briarwood Park in memory of his daughter Amanda and suggested that instead it be renamed to Children’s Memorial Park to honor all the children that passed away in West Seneca.
Councilwoman Meegan suggested Harlem Road Park instead since it had walking paths.
Mr. Hansen thought that Harlem Road Park was overcrowded and would not be a good place for the parents to go to be alone and remember their children. Briarwood Park was quieter and more private.
Supervisor Piotrowski questioned if Town Attorney Shawn Martin had drafted something for the Town Board to adopt on this issue.
Mr. Martin responded that he had talked to Mr. Hansen and individual board members on this issue. The proposal was for a tree with an appropriate plaque to be planted at a section of Harlem Road Park. There were parts of that park that were private and it would allow for a greater number of parents to have a memorial for their children.
Councilman Graber was in favor of renaming Briarwood Park to Children’s Memorial Park and agreed with Mr. Hansen that it was more secluded and private.
Mr. Hansen stated that the parents were willing to get together funding to help pay for the signs and form a committee to work with the town on the renaming. They wanted it to be a beautiful park when it was done and reflect the lives of their children.
Mr. Martin stated that he will draft a resolution for the next Town Board meeting.
REQUEST FOR FENCE BETWEEN COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Dennis Falzone, 3825 Clinton Street, lives next to TK’s Pizzeria and requested that a fence be constructed to screen headlights, the dumpster, etc. He understood the business was responsible for putting up the fence and approached the owner about it, but Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski went out and told the owner he didn’t have to. Mr. Falzone stated that he continued to pursue this and on June 29th the owner was advised that he had to put up a fence. A subpoena was hand delivered by Mr. Czuprynski and the owner was supposed to go to court, but it was cancelled. Mr. Falzone was unhappy with the conduct of Mr. Czuprynski and thought that this had gone on too long. He asked for the Town Board’s assistance in this matter.
Supervisor Piotrowski apologized to Mr. Falzone for having to come to the Town Board on this matter and stated that Town Attorney Shawn Martin and the board members will look into this situation and get back to him.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AT BOARD MEETINGS
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow Drive, thanked Supervisor Piotrowski for the new format of the annual budget, noting that it was online and very readable. She was happy that someone finally listened to the citizens and responded to their request. Mrs. Lucachick further referred to the previous Town Board meeting when the residents sat for 1.5 hours while the Town Board held an Executive Session and when they returned only a sketchy explanation was given of the amended grant agreement with AmeriCorps. The residents did not understand what had occurred until they read it in the Buffalo News and West Seneca Bee. Mrs. Lucachick thought it was a lack of respect, inconsiderate, and rude and hoped the Town Board would not do that again.
Councilman Graber stated that the previous Town Board used to hold Executive Sessions prior to the Town Board meeting, but they were informed they had to wait until the Town Board meeting was called to order and then recess to Executive Session.
Mrs. Lucachick stated that the residents waited to hear the outcome of the Executive Session, but were not given the same information that was given to the newspapers after the meeting. The residents attend the meetings because the want to participate in their community, but often they cannot even hear what is being said.
PROPOSAL TO EXPAND TEXT MESSAGING LAW
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow Drive, suggested that the Town Board consider expanding the text messaging law to be a fineable crime as other legislators have done.
Kelly Klein, 46 Organ Crescent, stated that she fought for the “No Text Messaging” law and what was adopted was not what they wanted. They did not want a secondary law; they wanted a primary law. They also want an education component and stiff penalties. Mrs. Klein was still working with Assemblyman Schroeder to get this passed but did not realize that the Town of West Seneca could also do something and asked what she could do to help this along.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that this item would be on the agenda for the next Town Board meeting.
Amy Carpenter, 406 Woodward Crescent, referred to the streetscape project that was brought up at the last meeting and recited excerpts from a Town Board meeting in June 2006 when this topic was discussed. At that time, Mrs. Carpenter had commented to the Town Board that the project was going nowhere without a plan and former Town Attorney Timothy Greenan stated that they had a plan and suggested that she go to his office to review it. The board members had petitioned Congressman Brian Higgins to devote a substantial amount of money to fund the project and if the money was made available they would make serious plans for the project. Mr. Montz stated at the last meeting that there was no plan, but Mrs. Carpenter questioned if there was a plan.
Mr. Montz did not believe he had said there was no plan and stated that he reviewed several items that were discussed, such as decorative crosswalks, trees with tree grates, brick pavers between the sidewalk and curb, and other miscellaneous items. There were some preliminary ideas, but nothing was set in stone yet.
Mrs. Carpenter understood this but questioned if the citizens would be involved in the process, and if so, how they would get involved.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
STREETSCAPE PROJECT (continued)
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that at the last meeting Councilwoman Meegan indicated there will be a citizens committee and a meeting will be set. They had not decided who will be on the committee, but had talked about each board member designating one resident to meet with Mr. Montz and the board members and review the plans. Supervisor Piotrowski stated that the project Mr. Montz referred to was not the same one that was discussed in 2006.
Councilman Graber stated that the town was actually awarded $1.8 million for the project, but something happened and the government never paid the town.
Mr. Montz stated that right now the figure was $1 million and it was an 80/20 match with 80 percent being the federal share and 20 percent the local share. In addition, 75 percent of that will be covered under another state program, so instead of $200,000 the town will probably only have to pay approximately $50,000.
Mrs. Carpenter questioned if the local share would be in cash or in-kind donations and if the money had to be used by any designated time.
Mr. Montz thought that it was in cash and currently there were no time constraints.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that the Town Board had to accept the federal funds and have the NYS Department of Transportation oversee the project and that was done at the last meeting. The next step was to have the committee draft the final proposal and then that will have to be approved by NYS. Construction will then take place next year.
Mr. Montz further noted that all the work had to be done inside the State right-of-way, which was limited to the back of the sidewalk to the back of the sidewalk. They could not do work on private property because it would involve another year process in acquiring the land and the additional expense would be considerable.
Mrs. Carpenter questioned if more information could be made available on the town’s website to keep the residents better informed.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that the Town Board would take that suggestion into account and try to devise a formula to let the residents know more details.
Councilwoman Meegan further suggested to Town Attorney Shawn Martin that any minutes from committee meetings be posted on the town’s website.
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, stated that the town has a Master Plan that was adopted by the Town Board and it talks about a town center project. The $1 million could go toward that major project and she thought committees should be set up for the first priorities in the Master Plan and let them work toward this. That way they would be working toward something in the larger plan instead of always just doing little projects that don’t fit together. Mrs. Minklei thought it was fine if each board member appointed a citizen to serve on the committee, but also asked that the meetings be announced and open so other interested parties could attend and listen.
STATUS OF SCHOOL STREET PROPERTIES
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, questioned the status of the School Street properties.
Town Attorney Shawn Martin advised that two of the properties had been transferred and the paperwork was being finalized with the Erie County Clerk’s Office. On one of the properties they had to determine the status of the grants and whether anyone would have to satisfy or repay the grants.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
STATUS OF SCHOOL STREET PROPERTIES (continued)
Mrs. Minklei questioned who the properties were being transferred to.
Mr. Martin advised that 16 & 20 School Street were transferred to AmeriCorps. They were awaiting documentation from NYS on the grant funds before transferring 12 School Street to AmeriCorps.
Mrs. Minklei was disappointed that the Metz house at 12 School Street was being transferred to AmeriCorps and noted that there was a recommendation in the Master Plan to allow someone to purchase it and possibly give them tax breaks for preservation to maintain it as a historic building.
Frank Russo, Parkside Drive, questioned how much the Town of West Seneca paid to remodel the Metz house.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that after they did the remodeling, changed the windows, etc. it lost its value as a historical house.
Supervisor Piotrowski advised that there was a $50,000 grant from NYS for the remodeling along with additional AmeriCorps funds, so no town funds were spent on the project.
CLARIFICATION ON AGENDA ITEMS
Frank Russo, Parkside Drive, referred to Item #3 on the agenda and the addition of two employees to the bargaining unit, one in the Assessor’s Office and one in the Comptroller’s Office. He noted that a few years ago the animal control officer was added to the bargaining unit for job security and that caused a problem when the town wanted to consolidate the department. Right now the Assessor’s Office had two full-time employees and Mr. Russo questioned if both will be needed if they merge with the Town of Lancaster Assessor’s Office.
Councilman Graber stated that two full-time positions would be necessary even after the merger.
Mr. Russo referred to Item #6 on the agenda concerning safety equipment and thought it should be mandatory that they wear gloves. He further referred to Item #7 and the use of the soccer complex for a tournament and stated that they fought to get the soccer park back for the kids of West Seneca and the neighborhood back to normal.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that the soccer tournament would be held to raise money for Roswell Park for the children.
Mr. Russo stated that he was not opposed to organizations raising money for a good cause, but the town was slowly allowing out-of-town organizations back in to use the soccer park for tournaments and he hoped it didn’t escalate.
USE OF BURCHFIELD NATURE AND ART CENTER
Johanna Guenther, 140 Neubauer Court, stated that she grew up in a city in Europe that prizes culture, music, and art. She commented that the Burchfield Nature & Art Center (BNAC) was a jewel for the Town of West Seneca, yet they did not honor it as such. Mrs. Guenther was at the BNAC for a performance and thought it was truly a disgrace. She commented that the BNAC had an opportunity to become self-sufficient and she hoped that no other town offices would be moved into it. Mrs. Guenther encouraged the appointment of a citizens committee to report back to the Town Board on the first priorities spelled out in the Master Plan regarding Gardenville, the BNAC, and the town center. She hoped the Town Board would give the BNAC the chance to become all it could be.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
ACCESS ROAD FOR PRINCETON ESTATES
Johanna Guenther, 140 Neubauer Court, referred to the Princeton Estates subdivision that was approved a few years ago and noted that the attorney representing the developer had stated that Neubauer Court would not be an access road; they would come from Fisher Road. Mrs. Guenther stated that concrete trucks loaded with bricks pass her house daily and she recently found out there are two signs stating “access road” on Neubauer Court so anyone can drive through to the new subdivision. She commented that Neubauer Court is a residential street and the contractors should be using Fisher Road to access the subdivision.
CANISIUS’ FIELD ON CLINTON STREET
Dave Monolopolus, 97 Lexington Green, stated that Saturday there was a Canisius/St. Joe’s game at the sports field on Clinton Street and there were so many cars parked along the road it would have been impossible for fire apparatus to get down the road. Also, he understood that according to the Town Code they were not allowed to advertise within the stadium because that would make it a business, yet New Era was being advertised at the stadium.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to recess to Executive Session at 9:00 P.M. to discuss personnel matters with the Police Chief and Highway Supt.
PARKING OF BOATS/TRAILERS ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Councilman Clarke stated that he had received numerous calls from residents with boats, campers and trailers concerning notices issued by the Code Enforcement Office. He noted that this section of the Town Code needed to be updated and suggested that the notices be stopped unless sidewalks were being blocked or it was affecting public safety.
Town Attorney Shawn Martin stated that he would discuss this issue with Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski.
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC