The regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope was held at Town Hall on September 8, 2015 at 7:30pm with the following present: Supervisor Chad Volpe, Councilman Matt Howell, Councilman Gary Ketcham, Councilwoman Janet Sutherland, Councilman Dominick Cambareri and Town Clerk Kathleen Myers.
OFFICIALS PRESENT: Highway Supt. Hassenmayer, Police Chief Rickard, Attorney G. Plotsky.
The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Volpe at 7:30pm following the Pledge of Allegiance. Supervisor called for a moment of silence in remembrance of 9-11. He asked for cell phones to be turned off/silenced.
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT PRIOR MEETING MINUTES:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell seconded by Councilman Cambareri that the minutes of the 8-17-2015 meeting as submitted by the Town Clerk are approved. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
- Complaint re: 40 Newton Drive
- Letter from Angela Sommella re: summer rec program
- 2015/2016 OC Snow & Ice Agreement
- Copy of Pilgrim Pipeline resolution
- 2015 Tax Collector’s settlement
- 9-11 ceremony – Town of Deerpark town hall
- Resolution for Freedom Hill Farm
- Letter from Atty. R. Golden re: Cornell Coop. Ext. 4-H Facility & Use of Alcohol
- KC Engineering letter re: Old school
- Annexation resolution re: Village of Otisville
- Resolution for General Code re: Access to public records policy
- MHFC report
- 4-H Insurance cert. re: fire works
POLICE DEPT. by Chief Rickard:
Chief Rickard reported:
- That an arrest was made for the car larcenies. Victims have been coming and identifying their property.
- He wants to give Tony Coppola credit for his work on the Graham Tower/Fire Tower. He got the county to raise the antennae 50’. He hopes to see a difference
- The garage building is done; Dean’s guys did great job
- Need to get quotes on the doors for the pole building
- Spoke re: videos on Facebook. Ryan Veety will put videos on the website- on the police page
- He mentioned the cars but Dean will discuss in his report.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT by Highway Supt. Hassenmayer:
- He noted the county snow/ice agreement. There’s been no increase in 6 years. Salt has gone up 23%. He rallied other supts. to meet with the county re: towns getting increases. They are giving $50/mile increase this year which = 1%. He suggests waiting until meeting.
- Auction closed last week with 5 items: tractor $4,300, radar unit $155, Car lights $155, 2010 Crown Vic $2,525, fridge from old school $252.50 & freezer $12.00. Need to accept these bids. Paul recommends rejecting the car bid; book value is approx. $8,000.
- He will be picking up the dumpsters for the police dept. & Senior Center tomorrow.
- Spoke re: football storage shed – he’s not in favor of it
- Building is on the rise. Last year 2 driveway permits were issued. This year we’ve issued 7 & there’s a 9 lot sub-division in the works off Maple Lane.
- Supervisor Volpe asked for a parking lot update. Dean: paving should be starting Friday here. When done they’ll move over to police building.
Supervisor Volpe asked how the bid process works. Dean stated: County bids out all kinds of materials start of every year. Ie: stone, blacktop, blacktop in place, blacktop in place not for highway. Anything they use we have the option of buying off their bidding process for the same price as they get. Councilman Cambareri: through the office of NYS General Services they put everything out to bid. Any municipality can buy off state/county or other municipal bid as long as it has a bid number that it was bid out – you’re allowed to buy off that price.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT by Highway Supt. Hassenmayer (continued):
- Supervisor Volpe will speak with Kelli re: moving the antique fire truck out of highway via budget modification.
- Supervisor spoke re: emergency meeting with Frankie, Dean, Mayor and Chad re: fall ball and fields not being returned to original condition from the fair.
- Supervisor asked Dean with clean up coming and the senior center basement filled with stuff from football, not-for-profit and political stuff. He will send letters to those who have stuff there. They spoke re: 4 old voting machines. Dean added: clean up starts Oct. 8th.
PLANNING BOARD: No report – meeting is next week.
HIDDEN VALLEY (Councilman Ketcham):
Everything is running smoothly. Supervisor Volpe added: KC Engineering couldn’t come tonight. Next meeting they will come with their recommendation for the Hidden Valley extension.
MOUNT HOPE FIRE (Chief Doty):
Report read into record. Brush truck now in service. Supervisor Volpe added that the town needs to be on insurance for the 4-H fireworks. John will update certificate.
VILLAGE OF OTISVILLE (Trustee Loeven):
- Resolution was passed at their last meeting re: joint public meeting between village & town re: annexation of public property behind fire house. Property owned by State of NY. Village has been working with them for about 1 year and they will deed it to village but it needs to be annexed into village 1st. Original property drawn up was less than 100×200. State asked for it to be squared off. Tentative date for joint public hearing was Oct. 7th at town hall. In order to meet time limits from when their resolution was passed she was told that was the date. Councilwoman Sutherland did not receive any information regarding this. Supervisor stated the resolution was received yesterday or Friday. Ms. Loeven clarified this is property behind the fire house has been used for parking for a long time but actually belongs to NYS. They were willing to change the property line and deed it to the village so they could expand the parking lot and pave it. To do that the property needs to be in the village so 1st it needs to be annexed into village. They will then deed it to us.
- She spoke re: antique fire truck. Village board feels it is significant part of the history of the Otisville fire company. They would like to see it remain within the township as part of the historical society.
Supervisor Volpe stated he & Paul drove over to see football shed. Does not have flat roof. He agrees with Dean. Thinks it would be a liability. He called the man from the meeting last time. There was discussion about moving the container to behind the town hall. All other board members are not in favor of it being on football property. At this time, Supervisor Volpe asked Dean about the other trailer at park and moving it off park property. Dean has no way of moving it. He has been in touch with Sue Marshall about moving it. She’s trying to get someone to move it. It belongs to the Otisville fair.
ORANGE COUNTY 2015-2016 SNOW & ICE AGREEMENT:
This was tabled until next meeting.
PILGRIM PIPELINE RESOLUTION: Need time to review.
RESOLUTION FOR FREEDOM HILL FARM:
RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD
OF THE TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope understands the importance of Agriculture to the economy of the Town, County, State and Country; and
WHEREAS, economic forces from both the increasing value of the agricultural land and the cost of bringing goods to the market have made farming an occupation with a very low return; and
WHEREAS, Freedom Hill Farm is an active organic farm which operates a 30-head dairy operation and grows hay, corn and other vegetables; and
WHEREAS, Not-for-Profit organizations regularly utilize the farm as an educational resource to teach low-income youth about dairy and vegetable farming; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope believes that the purchase of development rights of Freedom Hill Farm would keep the farm active and help establish a critical mass of agricultural land which could help maintain the viability of this farm as well as others within the Town of Mount Hope;
NOW THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the TOWN OF MOUNT HOPE, Orange County, New York wishes to apply to the State of New York for funding to help purchase the development rights of the Freedom Hill Farm, further identified as Section 13, Block 1, Lot 21.1; Section 13, Block 1, Lot 21.2; and Section 14.1- Block 63, Lot 1 on the Tax Map of the Town of Mount Hope
Copies of this resolution to be forwarded to all elected officials of the State of New York whose district includes the Town of Mount Hope.
Motion to adopt made by Councilman Howell; Seconded by Councilman Ketcham
Ayes: 5 Nays: 0 Absent: 0 Dated: September 8, 2015
Lucy Joyce thanked the board for being supportive and coming to ribbon cutting. She asked if the invite to the Bountiful Harvest was received. It is on 9-26 at the Education Center. She introduced Rick Golden. They have a request for the town to not consider the education center as part of the parkland as per the town. That would mean they are solely responsible for all activities there ie: fundraising. They have a 99 year lease with the town. The bountiful harvest celebration is on the 26th and we’d like for guests to share in food and beverage ie: craft beers and wines. Their insurance company is very strict. Mr. Golden spoke. They would like a one day exception for this event. Mr. Plotsky stated that he believes said it would be okay to grant a one time exception. Ms. Joyce would be pleased with that. Councilman Cambareri is concerned with getting sued should something happen. Mr. Golden: it’s not a foregone conclusion that you are getting sued. You’d be named in the suit but not necessarily would you need to be. The insurance that Cornell would get would defend/indemnify the town. There would be no expense nor liability to the town. Cambareri: asked about amending a local law to allow this to happen. Golden: you don’t have to amend a local law.
There’s an exception provision in your current local law that allows you to grant exceptions. We’re asking for an exception for the 9-26 event and then we can continue the dialogue going forward as to the larger issue of the ongoing ability to do this. Atty. Plotsky: clarified that the town board may grant any exception to any provisions of the chapter upon written request setting forth the relief desired on the basis for that request. The board can also establish conditions to that exception. The board may want to authorize the exception to the local law for the 9-26 event be conducted on this property specifically for the purpose of permitting the sale/consumption/distribution of alcoholic beverages that have been created in Orange County or using Orange County products directly. Councilwoman Sutherland asked of this was a tasting? Ms. Joyce: we can make it what we want. Milk and apple cider will be available as well. Unopened bottles would be available for sale and as prizes. Councilman Howell asked about safety mechanism being in place? Ms. Joyce: their insurance requires that in other extension associations who have properties you either need to be a tips trained bartender or a caterer with a liquor license. Our caterer is Catherine’s in Goshen. They are prepared to be the one to say ‘sorry, I’m not sure you should have another one’. They know how to do it without getting you belligerent or upset. Councilman Ketcham thinks we should allow the day. Councilman Howell is concerned with someone getting 3 sheets to the wind, drive home and kill someone. He wants to lay his head down at night and not have to worry about that. Mr. Golden: that’s why the people that have the liquor license have that responsibility. Supervisor Volpe: it’s the busiest road for children. The park is on that same road. Ms. Joyce: This would be ending the day at dark with fireworks. Sutherland: how many people will Cornell have there? What other precautions will you have? Ms. Joyce: 150-200 guests and about 20-25 staff will be there- including board members. Sutherland: Will there be police presence? Chief Rickard stated there will be regular staff. We’ve not been asked to provide anything else. Sutherland: would like to see the exemption granted for that evening. Howell: what is the time frame? Ms. Joyce: 5:00pm to 9:30pm. Howell: the caterer would be in charge of underage? Joyce: yes. Mr. Golden: we would tell them we want this strictly enforced.
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE ALLOWING ALCOHOL @ SEPT. 26TH BOUNTIFUL HARVEST:
MOTION offered by Councilman Ketcham 2nd by Councilwoman Sutherland to authorize a one day only, Sept. 26, use of alcohol at the Cornell site. All in favor – Ketcham, Sutherland, Howell. Opposed: Volpe, Cambareri. (Insurance certificate to be provided.)
- Yonskie spoke re: Supervisor Volpe asking him to look at the local law with dog control. We go along with state ag & market laws. The barking section we may want to look at. He suggested that we look at the fine structure. He mostly gives warnings at 1st offenses. He gave some suggestions ie: at large should be $100 1st offense. Councilman Cambareri: where do we compare to other towns? Yonskie: ridiculously low. Guidelines he gave to Chad were the same as Deerpark. Councilwoman Sutherland: asked for copies for the board. Supervisor Volpe: he will get that for her. We have to have a public hearing. Yonskie: if you’ve been reviewing my reports, you’ll see I give a lot of warnings. If he goes back – he gives a citation. Supervisor asked if everyone wanted to move forward with this. Councilman Ketcham: wants to increase the fees. Atty. Plotsky: 1st you have to introduce the local law. David could have it drafted by the next meeting. At that meeting you set the public hearing.
Councilman Cambareri stated they are getting dates together for KC to meet with them.
2016 TENTATIVE BUDGET:
Supervisor Volpe stated to board members that the 2016 Tentative Budget is ready. Town Clerk passed them out. He would like to schedule budget meetings at that time. After discussion the board agreed on 9-21 at 6pm to meet with the departments and 9-28 for line by line at 7pm. He wants to be on target for a 10-19 public hearing.
RESOLUTION TO SCHEDULE BUDGET MEETINGS FOR 9-21-15 & 9-28-15:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd by Councilman Cambareri to schedule budget meetings on 9-21-15 at 6:00pm and 9-28-15 at 7:00pm. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
Supervisor Volpe spoke re: everyone receiving the resolution in their emails. Once we are online with general code. 99% of what you want you will have access to online. For General Code to finish the process we need a resolution for access to public records. Atty. Plotsky: this is standard and required.
RESOLUTION FOR GENERAL CODE – ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS POLICY:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd by Councilman Cambareri to approve Access to Public Records Policy enacted. Copy on file in town clerk’s office. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE FIREWORKS AT CORNELL BOUNTIFUL HARVEST:
MOTION offered by Councilman Ketcham 2nd by Councilwoman Sutherland to approve the fireworks at6 the Cornell site on Sept. 26th. Insurance certificate to be provided. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried. (Councilman Cambareri requested a written clean-up plan.)
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT BIDS FOR ITEMS ON AUCTION INTERNATIONAL:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd by Councilman Ketcham to accept the bids for the following items on Auctions International: tractor $4,300, radar unit $155, Car lights $155, fridge from old school $252.50 & freezer $12.00. (Car to be bid out again.) All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
RESOLUTION TO SURPLUS AND DESTROY OLD VOTING MACHINES:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell 2nd by Councilman Cambareri to surplus and dispose of old voting machines in the basement of the senior center. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICES DISCUSSION:
Supervisor Volpe spoke re: public hearings. He referred to Aug. 28th and a notice published that the ZBA was going to have a meeting. There were lots of calls. No one knows where the notice came from. There was no ZBA meeting on the 28th nor did they plan to meet on the 28th. Meetings will be put on the sign out front. Anything town related can go on there. After calls to the town attorney there was a tentative date set for Sept. 11th. Atty. Plotsky: the town was sued by Dragon Springs Buddhist Inc. related to ZBA action or inaction. The 1st challenge in the lawsuit was that an application was filed with ZBA and no action or hearing was conducted. In addition to responding to lawsuit, it’s been done and pending in the court. Based upon negotiation with the court and the other side, it’s being held in abeyance while other things happen. In order to address that part of the lawsuit Aug. 16 or 17 he coordinated with assistance from the planning board/ZBA secretary an emergency meeting of the ZBA where 4 out of 5 members were present. It was a preliminary meeting to review an application filed by Dragon Springs & it was to schedule a hearing. At this meeting only the ZBA, secretary and I were present. Applicant did not appear. ZBA met picked the 1st available date for everyone to meet. A hearing was set for 9-11-15 at 7pm. No hearing notices/publications have happened because after the hearing was scheduled, the immediate response was ‘we can’t be ready by then’. Mr. Plotsky’s answer was ‘that’s fine but the town is not delaying this any further’. If they wanted an extension for time to make some submission then you have to request it. The same time that was happening with counsel, court was also intervening. So the short version is: on or before Sept. 15th the applicant will file an amended application with the ZBA. What they asked for in their original application would not have gotten them what they wanted. On or before Oct. 15th they will make a submission to ZBA. All ZBA members will be advised. It’s likely we’ll have a ZBA meeting not on an emergency basis. The primary purpose of that meeting will be to schedule a public hearing.
PUBLIC MEETING NOTICES DISCUSSION: continued:
Oct. 15th there should be a submission by the applicant, all ZBA members will receive it and I will receive it. There will be a copy at town hall for review. The public hearing is based on my availability is likely to be Oct. 26th or 29th. That date will be determined at the meeting of Sept. 15th. You’ll have 30 days notice. It will be on website. Anyone who wants to come – can come. They may file an application with the planning board to run at the same time as the ZBA meeting. Planning board approval may not be required depending on the ZBA vote. Basically, lawsuit in Supreme Court is being held in abeyance. We are doing what we can to insure everyone follows the law. He suspects the application will be modified. There is no meeting on Sept. 11th.
TOWN FINANCES DISCUSSION:
Supervisor Volpe spoke re: town’s finances. He is the budget officer. He clarified the town surplus. We’ve spent some money updating some of the buildings. Everything has been done in moderation and well planned out. In 2013 the town surplus was $1.589 million all in capital accounts. The capital accounts at the end of 2014 was $1,551,730. With budget modifications up to date we have $2,328,925. At the end of 2014 we surplused $739,000 into capital accounts. He asked for any questions. Councilman Cambareri: The figures you quoted, does that include money in CD’s? Supervisor Volpe: yes, we put 1.2 million dollars in CD’s. The way Dominick and I set it up was to open a CD every day for 30 days. It’s money that the town doesn’t need right now. That’s why the taxes were lowered this year. We shouldn’t be surplussing that much money every year. Cambareri: how much will we make in interest this year? Supervisor: the rates are bad – about $50,000 at about ¾%. Camabreri: we were able to surplus $739,000 this year? Supervisor: yes at the end of 2014. He asked for board members to have a couple dat
RESOLUTION TO AUDIT THE CLAIMS:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell seconded by Councilman Ketcham to approve the following bills for Abstract 18:
GENERAL A:#430-463$ 64,053.40
GENERAL B:#61-64$ 10,436.05
All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
- Loeven: 9-17 will be a senior trip. Dean is hoping to have the new parking lot lined by then. She spoke re: senior center parking lot and senior exercising/meetings. Dean will coordinate. She spoke re: updating their dog law. She will forward a copy to Supervisor Volpe.
- Cook: Spoke re: surplus budget. He asked if the $739,000 would be used for the old school and if furture surplus could be dedicated for the old school. Supervisor Volpe: not sure what the tax payers are going to want to do. Cook: it’s town money. Supervisor: it was brought up, an LLC taking over the school, it was brought up to tear it down, brought up to re-do room by room. If we’re down to 4 things & we can put a price & projection with it and have a couple public hearings and have people come and then put it up to a vote. He hears from 2 people/week that want to keep the school. He hears from 2 people/week asking why do we still have it? It’s a small amount of people. Cook: is there money in the 2016 budget for the school? Supervisor: we have a buildings line. Have we actually earmarked money for the school? We haven’t. Councilman Cambareri asked for an explanation of surplus money & dedicated funds. Supervisor: once money is surplussed everything has to be earmarked. If we wanted to add on to town hall in 10 years, it’s fine to earmark money until then. He’s hoping within a meeting or 2 to have earmarks appropriately done. Some of it is outdated. Mr. Cook spoke re: pensions for elected town officials. He would like to do away with that. Supervisor: there’s nothing through the town board at all. It’s done through the county. If you’re an employee of the town, you have the option of joining the retirement system for Orange County. You pay into that. If you were lucky enough to work 20 years you basically are tiered. Councilman Cambareri explained the credit system formula to Mr. Cook. Mr. Cook stated that he is opposed to the Pilgrim Pipeline.
- Fairweather: spoke re: fire truck. He submitted a letter to the town clerk that the historical society will provide the fire truck a home. And take good care of it. He is now co-president of historic society with Nancie Craig. He also gave a petition to town clerk re: fire truck being moved over to the historical society at no cost. 94
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: cont.:
Mr. Fairweather: we already have the original hand pumper from the 1890’s. We will provide it a good home, maintenance and care. Supervisor: is there a place to keep that inside? Mr. Fairweather: yes. Supervisor: asked if it would be non-operational? Fairweather: they would keep it in operational condition. There’s nothing majorly wrong with it. Dean’s guys did a great job when we acquired it.
- Dodd: spoke re: old Chevy. The truck was bought by the Village of Otisville. Pump & chemical tank was bought by Town of Mount Hope in 1926. That was the 1st motorized truck to be in Orange County. It should go to historical society. It’s quite a piece of history.
- Ketcham: spoke re: Cornell. One of the greatest things here & it would benefit all of us to always help them. He spoke re: 7 Peaks. Atty. Plotsky has nothing to report. Ketcham: hopes that Mount Hope stays on top of that. Ketcham: spoke re: Dragon Springs 30 acre solar farm being in our resource preservation zoning. He’s come month after month asking same questions. How did they get to the point of having a permit almost issued to them with no planning/zoning review? The county should be involved. It’s up the road from me. Supervisor: asked Dan Golebiowski when he 1st heard about this 30 acres. Mr. Golebiowski: about April. He didn’t know they were coming to ZBA when he received paperwork from Kathleen about the lawsuit. Councilman Ketcham did not see Dragon Springs at a planning board meeting.
- Furman: Spoke re: Dragon Springs. He doesn’t know how it got to the point where it causes so much tension in this town. 164 acres was just annexed to Satmar community. Concerns are it’s going to happen here at some point. We have to protect our town. Meetings should be ‘blasted ‘. Do a referendum tonight. Put it on website. Councilman Cambareri asked what was hidden? Furman: No one knew about this. I ask at every meeting. We have yet to get an answer about it. I know more about 7 peaks than any of you here. Cambareri: you think our planning board did something wrong? Furman: somebody did. It should be open about what’s going on. Furman spoke re: pole barn being built a different way than on the permit. Atty. Plotsky: pole barn was built perpendicular to original design. They were given 2 options: take down the pole barn or do something else. They elected to do a lot line – which is completely legal. Building is now conforming. It was always a religious permit.
- Dodd: asked about enacting a law about organized religion taking only so much land out of tax rolls. Supervisor doesn’t know. Atty. Plotsky: it has to do with the classification of use. You can’t do that. Supervisor: let’s look into it.
- Cook: spoke re: solar panels and classification of use. Sounds like more than they will need. Atty. Plotsky: that discussion was already had. That’s why I said I believe their application will be drastically modified. I can’t tell you what they intend to do. He spoke of tax free religious use. F. Ketcham: sitting in Deerpark meetings – they are looking for approval on buildings they already built. Their site plan is open. It’s not controlled in Deerpark. How can we control it here. Mr. Dodd still wants the town to pursue the law.
Councilman Cambareri: thanked Tom Yonskie for his work and reports. Parking lots look good.
Councilwoman Sutherland: thanked Paul and the department for the great job with apprehending the car larceny guy. She asked when the meeting was with Jamie Cody regarding the condition of the fields after the fair? Supervisor Volpe: the Thursday after the fair. He asked if Frank got the other field done. Doty: ‘A’ field is done. ‘C’ will be done tomorrow.
- Yonksie: Appreciates the help of the police when he needs them.
RESOLUTION TO ADJOURN:
MOTION offered by Councilman Howell seconded by Councilman Ketcham to adjourn the meeting at 9:21pm. All in favor: Howell, Ketcham, Volpe, Sutherland, Cambareri; carried.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 21, 2015 at 7:30pm.
Kathleen A. Myers