Town Board Meeting 2/13/18

The meeting was called to order at 7PM. All board members were present. Motions were made to approve the minutes of the Town Board reorganization meeting and the regular meeting, and to pay the audited bills. These motions were approved.

The Town Clerk submitted a letter written by Carol Neville opposing the Commercial Events Law. It will be placed on file in the Town Clerks office.

The department reports were submitted.

  • Maintenance
    • dog control: two complaints, one court appearance
    • painting ongoing, ordering summer supplies, applied and received ( ? ) for lake, lighting issue in parking lot ongoing
  • Highway
    • Snow and ice removal, 2009 International broke down, using another town truck. Columbia Tree Service spent one and a half days cutting dead trees and hazardous limbs. Updated snow ordinance will wait until next year
  • Sewer
    • 27,000 gallons per day
    • Four call -before -you- dig requests
    • Call placed to CMO for replacement of valve in pump station #1
    • Working on finalizing plans for new sewer connections in district
  • Police
    • No activity
    • 5 hours last month
    • Certificate from Senator Marchione thanking police officers
  • No History Department report
  • All reports were accepted as read

Local Law No.1 extending the real property tax exemption for cold war veterans was unanimously accepted.

The Comprehensive Plan has been referred to the Columbia County Planning Board. It is expected to be returned in two weeks. After it is returned a date will be set for a public hearing.

A motion was made to approve a resolution to refer the Commercial Events Issue and the Solar Farms Issue to the Planning Board before final action is taken by the Town Board. The Town Board stipulates that a) the Planning Board will have nine months to complete each report, and b) final action will not be taken until the Planning Board has submitted its reports to the Town Board. The motion was approved.

Brittany Dufresne updated the review of the fee schedule for building permits. She has been working with the town building inspector, and has researched fee schedules of other similar towns, and compared the existing ones to the proposed schedule. There was some discussion of what should require a permit, and what a reasonable fee would be. More information needs to be reviewed by the Board, and with the code enforcement officer. A public hearing will be scheduled after the Board finalizes their recommendations. Steve Reynolds requested that fees charged by the Planning and Zoning boards also be reviewed.

Street light update: Have work order from National Grid. Riser now will be on pole #40.


New Business

Motions were made to accept the following. All motions were accepted.

  • Town policy on payroll
  • Town policy on security cameras
    • Cameras need to be upgraded
  • 2017 year-end department reports
  • Audited fiscal year 2017 Town Justice reports

Presentation on Waste Water Treatment Plant by Mary Beth Bianconi, partner, Delaware Engineering

  • Treatment plant is 20 years old
  • Certain components are at end of useful life
  • Plant needs to be upgraded
  • Upgrade will be made with concrete components that have the longest useful life
  • Cost is about $2.5 million
    • Eligible for subsidized long term financing (30 years at just under 2% interest) and–
    • Can apply for a grant to cover up to 25% of the principal cost
  • If not within the town sewer district, will not be paying for the upgrade
    • There will be a public hearing to review and amend the map of the sewer district to be sure that it is accurate, and includes the correct parcels that are in the district
  • Anticipate upgrade to begin in 2019
    • There will be no interruption in treatment or service during construction
  • With long term, low interest financing plus the grant, will be saving a lot on cost of the upgrade

Motions made, and adopted

  • To adopt a Resolution and Order accepting a Map, Plan, and Reported of 12/7/2017 (“Extension Report”) regarding Sewer District No. 1 pursuant to Section 209-d of Town Law
  • Motion to set date and time of March 13, 2018 at 6:45pm for a public hearing regarding Sewer District, to authorize the Extension Report
  • Motion to appoint Richard Hinkein to Columbia County Traffic Safety Board
  • Motion to appoint Thomas Shannon to History Committee
  • Initiative to restore the ball fields and parks was discussed. A motion was made, and accepted, to have a Town Board workshop to discuss how to proceed with restoring both the fields and parks.

Supervisor’s report

  • Training for Planning Board and Zoning Board members was completed
  • Temporary lighting for the municipal lot is still a work in progress
  • Next Town Board meeting on March 13, 2018 at 7pm

Invitation for the Public to Address the Board

  • A member of the Germantown Sportsman Club wanted to make the Board aware that the concession stand at the ball fields was built with money donated to the club by the family of a Germantown resident who was killed in a car accident. He also offered that Club members may be willing to help with the restoration of the ball fields.
  • A question was asked about the status of the Comprehensive Plan. The Columbia County Planning Board meets on Feb.20, and will review it, and make recommendations at that time. Then, a public hearing will be held before the Town Board votes on it.
  • Three letters were submitted to be read into the record, opposing zoning changes that would permit commercial venues.
  • A question was asked about why the town planner did not attend the last Planning Board meeting. The town lawyer noted that the Escrow Account was low in funds and needed to be replenished by the applicant (Primax), which was done. The lawyer stated that the account then had adequate funds to pay the consultant. Steve Reynolds reported that he had been informed before the last meeting that the escrow account contained $240, and this information was given to the planner. The planner concluded that there was no funding for him, so he did not attend the meeting. The planner did submit an invoice for discussions that he had relative to the meeting. Steve stated that they are working on establishing clear procedures to address information flow problems. Margaret Della Cioppa stated that there was an occasion when the escrow account was depleted by $15,000. In addition, on a number of occasions it took several months for the planner to be paid. Supervisor Beaury stated that submitted bills need to be audited by the Town Board, and that can take several months.
  • Ginette Picicci-Oehlke stated the reason for the Commercial Events Law is to help families afford to keep their homes and land. Supervisor Beaury reiterated that the matter has be referred to the Planning Board for thorough review and consideration.
  • Attorney Marissa Weiss, of the Hudson law firm Whitbeck Benedict & Smith presented the contents of a letter and attachment she submitted to the board. Her firm has been retained to represent property owners on Church Avenue with regard to the Commercial Events Law. Ms. Weiss addressed several legal misrepresentations made to the Town Board at the last meeting. She stated that a chart presented by Ms. Picicci-Oehlke, claiming that Germantown was one of only three municipalities out of twenty in the area that prohibited commercial events, was “patently untrue”. She thoroughly researched the laws of the other municipalities referenced in the chart and found that many actually prohibit such events. In addition, she stated that municipalities that do allow events have restrictions and constraints, and that most codes limit events to certain districts. Most of the municipalities referenced in Ms. Picicci-Oehlke’s chart do not have clear cut zoning or procedures for regulating such events.

The Board then moved to Executive Session, and the general meeting was adjourned.