A Work Session of the Clarence Town Board was held on January 31, 2007 at Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, NY.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M. Members of the Town Board present were Council members Scott Bylewski, Joseph Weiss, Bernard Kolber and Patrick Casilio. Other Town Officials present were Town Attorney Bengart.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock
A Work Session is scheduled for February 7, 2007 at 9:00 A.M. A power point presentation will be given relative to video cameras. A resident from Boncrest will also be present with a generator demonstration. The generator sits on top the pole and will power a video camera.
Youth Director Dawn Kinney will give a report on the Needs Assessment Survey at the February 14th Town Board meeting under Department Reports.
Supervisor Hallock received notice from the DEC that as a result of the October 2006 storm, the Town received a grant in the amount of $6,000. for trees. John Burns checked with the DEC and the money can be used for both street trees and replacement trees for the Parks.
Supervisor Hallock had previously announced that she wrote Joe Dash (Dash's Market) a letter welcoming him to Clarence. He called to thank Supervisor Hallock for the letter and said he expects to be open between May and August 2007.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Kolber to approve the transfer of $3,600. from Account A1355.1 Personal Services to Account A1355.434 Professional Services for the year 2006. Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bylewski. Motion carried.
The IDA incentivized Arthur Fuerst's project at their January 25, 2007 meeting.
Last year the Town Board passed a Shift Resolution when Coby was leaving Clarence and moving into an Empire Zone in Buffalo. According to the law, they have to have a Shift Resolution from the Town saying that the company that is leaving can not find suitable property in Clarence. MetalMart International, Inc. located at 8340 Main Street is relocating to the Tonawanda Empire Zone; a public hearing will be set for February 14 however it will have to be published in the Buffalo News at the applicant's expense.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to set a Public Hearing for Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 8:05 P.M. pursuant to NYS General Municipal Law Article 18-B Section 959(a) (iii) to solicit comments regarding the relocation of MetalMart International, Inc. located at 8340 Main Street in the Town of Clarence, New York into the Tonawanda Empire Zone. On the question, applicant will be asked to reimburse the cost for publication. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bylewski. Motion carried.
Councilman Bylewski arrived.
Several months ago the Board discussed an energy audit. Wendell Duchscherer will work with the Town; they will apply to NYSERDA for half the costs of the study. Highway Superintendent Ted Donner had budgeted for a new furnace for the main garage. Supervisor Hallock asked Superintendent Donner to hold off until we get an audit.
Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc. delivered the Final Design Report for the improvements project for the intersection of Greiner and Shimerville Road. Plans are available for review in the Supervisor's Office, Town Clerk's Office and the Library. The preferred alternative for this intersection improvement project is identified as the roundabout alternative. The roundabout alternative has been selected because it meets and exceeds all the prescribed objectives identified for evaluation of the project alternatives and is the least expensive of the alternatives that meets the objectives. Construction is expected to be completed in 2008.
Part time Clerk Lynn Minter asked to be removed from the part time clerk pool, she is moving out of town.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to appoint Julie Hoffmeister Clerk PT effective 2/1/07 at the budgeted rate of pay. Julie's husband Bill Hoffmeister is our part time animal control officer. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
A Department Head meeting was held today. It was noted that Pam Smith can produce monthly overtime reports. Some departments have submitted their performance measures.
County Legislature Mike Ranzenhofer has informed Supervisor Hallock that a County Committee has approved the feasibility study for consolidating sewer districts and he expects the Legislature to approve it also. The Control Board is also expected to approve the contract as it generates efficiency.
Sgt. Delgato is nearly finished with his assessment of the bike path. His assessment will include recommendations about cameras and lighting.
The Zoning Code amendments are being voted on in two weeks. Supervisor Hallock asked that everyone review the changes so they are prepared for the public hearing.
Steve Bengart, Joe Latona, Jim Callahan and Supervisor Hallock met today regarding the Eastern Hills Corridor Project. $900,000 has been secured from Congressman Reynolds which would cover part of Phase I. Town Attorney Bengart suggested the Town submit a letter requesting support for this project to all newly elected state officials and inform them that this is a bill that Congressman Reynolds has sponsored. The application has to be submitted by February 16th. Town Attorney Bengart will draft a letter. Councilman Bylewski will contact the state officials.
There are several pictures in the Clubhouse depicting Glacier National Park. The pictures will be appraised for insurance purposes. Councilman Casilio has the name of a local art appraiser however; he suggested that this person be interviewed to see what type of art he specializes in. The person that will be appraising the Rohlf's Clock can also appraise the artwork. Town Attorney Bengart spoke to Floss Insurance Agency about increasing insurance coverage.
The Recreation Advisory Committee has been working on parameters for planting trees at Memorial Park.
Councilman Scott Bylewski
Councilman Bylewski has several TEQR recommendations that he will announce at the February 14th Town Board meeting.
Planning Board Chairperson Pat Powers is requesting approval to attend the annual NY Planning Federation Conference in Saratoga Springs. Councilman Bylewski will confirm how many people will be attending and if there is enough money in the budget.
Councilman Bylewski distributed copies of Performance Measures he has received to date from Engineering, Planning, Recreation and the Youth Bureau. He asked the Board to review and submit any comments or recommendations to the departments that have submitted. It was discussed at the Department Head meeting that those departments that have not submitted Performance Measures should do so.
The disbanding of the Traffic Safety Board was discussed. The Town Attorney and the Planning Board were to work on the language as to what that body or entity could be. Town Attorney Bengart stated that he has not discussed this with the Planning Board but he is of the opinion that this should not be a formal board. If it was formalized, there is a potential liability issue. It was further discussed that Highway Superintendent Ted Donner would address requests for street signs. New subdivisions and commercial properties with non-public access roads is still an issue that needs to be addressed. There may be access issues that Superintendent Donner does not want to get into.
The Town Board received a letter from Kate Berchou regarding speeding on Strickler Road. Town Attorney Bengart will respond to Mrs. Berchou letter and inform her that the Highway Department will do a traffic study this spring or early summer.
It was discussed that Councilman Casilio will remain the Traffic Safety liaison. Any traffic safety request or concerns that come in should be forwarded to Councilman Casilio and he will then forward them to Highway Superintendent Donner.
Councilman Joseph Weiss
Director of Administration and Finance Pam Smith is working on a FOIL request and will supply the information requested regarding utilization numbers and water consumption numbers.
Councilman Weiss met with IDA members Mary Powell, Clayt Ertel and Michael Buettner to discuss the Economic Development Officer position. The job requires someone who is highly motivated with a real estate background. The salary is $30,000 annually but could increase. This person would be an employee of the Chamber of Commerce and will work out of the Chamber of Commerce building.
Councilman Weiss discussed the Deer Abatement Program; there were problems with obtaining the permits this year. Councilman Weiss and John Jondle met with Jason Engle the program consultant for Amherst. They feel that the time has come to open up the “blacked out area" in Clarence (Transit to Ransom and Greiner to Wehrle) to archery only. The consultant who has a very good relationship with the DEC could be hired for $65hr. He feels that the DEC would allow the “blacked out area" to be opened up however the approval has to come from Albany. If the law allows, the area would be opened to Clarence hunters only. Councilman Weiss will forward a contract for the consultant position to Town Attorney Bengart for review.
Councilman Bernard Kolber
The Library Board is requesting an emergency generator to keep the sprinkler system charged. Town Engineer Latona had previously thought that the generator that was removed from the Building/Engineering Department could be used at the Senior Center however; he has informed Councilman Kolber that it would not be adequate. Mr. Latona was working on a report regarding this. Supervisor Hallock stated that she would like to see the report before making a decision on the emergency generator for the Library.
Councilman Kolber e-mailed the Board regarding a Grant writer. He would like to work with certain fire companies to direct them/help them obtain more outside funding. It was noted that Swormville and Clarence VFC have received significant amounts of grant money. The grant applications are filled out and submitted by members of the fire companies. Councilman Bylewski stated that the Board has offered to meet with the fire company, to go over the funding and help them with the application process through the town's grant writer. Some fire companies are more motivated than others.
We currently have a contract with grant writer Lucy Curley that is set to expire.
Councilman Casilio suggested that the Board meet with the fire companies this spring to see where their budgets are, discuss the process with them and address any concerns they may have with the process. It was suggested that their budgets be based on the amount of money each fire company obtains through grants. We will look at their budgets much more favorably if they help themselves.
Councilman Kolber suggested obtaining prices for alarm systems for several town owned buildings particularly the Clubhouse and even some of the pavilions. Councilman Kolber will work with the Parks Department to obtain prices. The sprinkler system for the Clubhouse will come under our Capital Improvement Project Program.
Councilman Patrick Casilio
Councilman Casilio thanked everyone for attending the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year dinner.
Councilman Casilio will discuss the Avoidable Alarms year end report at the February 14th meeting. Supervisor Hallock suggested Councilman Casilio get the committee together to review the report and address some of the repeat offenders and possibly consider changing the law.
As liaison to Detention Pond & Drainage, Councilman Casilio has been given the Tonawanda Creek project. Before the County considers a traffic circle at Shimerville and Greiner Road, they should fix Tonawanda Creek Road.
Disaster Coordinator David Bissonette is talking with the Senior Center as to possibly using the facility for a shelter in the event of another disaster.
Councilman Bylewski spoke with the Youth Advisory Council about getting their facility sub-committee started and eventually have a meeting with the Senior Center facility sub-committee to keep the interest going on a Community Center.
Councilman Casilio will be meeting with the new Senior Center Director and Janet Vito to discuss the scheduling of our Parks Department and the five hours they work there everyday. The Town budgets $70,000 a year for parks employees to work at the Senior Center.
Labor Management discussions are on-going.
Councilman Casilio will move forward on getting appraisals for the artwork in the Clubhouse and the Rohlfs Clock.
There will be a power-point presentation from an alarm company at the February 7th morning Work Session. A gentleman will be here to demonstrate the potential use of generator run cameras.
The Morelando Committee met last week and will meet again on Saturday. They are looking at potential light poles to replace the downed poles in the Harris Hill area. Our SEMO grant has been submitted.
Councilman Casilio advised the Morelando Committee about the sidewalk improvements that will begin this spring.
Councilman Casilio will be meeting with our Disaster Coordinators and Erie County on February 27th to discuss the Reverse 911 System that the County offers. Supervisor Hallock stated that she is on the board of trustees for the Public Safety Campus. There has been a lot of work done on the Reverse 911 System and they will give it to the Town for free. The Towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga and Tonawanda are going with the County's system. Our current system costs the Town $300. monthly.
A resident in the Loch Lea area has contacted Councilman Casilio about starting a garbage district in that area. A group of homeowners in the Boncrest area has done this in their neighborhood.
The Traffic Safety Committee has not been formally dissolved however the committee members have not been reappointed. Councilman Casilio will act as liaison between residents and the Highway Superintendent regarding traffic and signage concerns.
Town Attorney Bengart stated that the exit road near the Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church should not be dedicated until there is a project and everything else is squared away.
Clarence Girls Softball is requesting the Town waive the building permit fee for their proposed project however; the fee was not waived for Clarence Soccer Club. Clarence Soccer has many code violations against their newly constructed building and should not be operating out of there until the violations have been rectified.
There is a problem that has surfaced in the Harris Hill area where there are no mailboxes; however paper boxes are now being put up. Several residents have complained however the Town does not have a law prohibiting paper boxes. If the residents do not like the paper boxes, they can take them down. Councilman Casilio feels the paper boxes do not fit the neighborhood; there are no mailboxes, just the paper boxes.
Councilman Casilio has several items to discuss in Executive Session.
Supervisor Hallock has not received a response from NYSEG regarding the placement of bi-centennial banners on light poles.
Town Attorney Steven Bengart
Town Attorney Bengart received a telephone call from Mark Ziemba attorney regarding the pole barn at 8290 Stahley Road. The pole barn has been taken down. The attorney wanted to know if the Town would dismiss the charges against his client Mark Ziemba based on that fact. Town Attorney Bengart indicated that part of the complaint against Mr. Ziemba was that the property would be cleaned up as well.
Pam Smith notified those employees receiving cell phone reimbursement that this is taxable and you will receive an amended W2 forms.
A resident that volunteers her time working with Animal Control Office Jerry Schuler at the animal shelter is requesting permission to take pictures of the animals and place an ad in the Clarence Bee indicating the animals are available for adoption. She will also contact different businesses and veterinarians asking them to sponsor these ads. The Town Board was in agreement with this.
The last issue the Town had regarding the Janora contract has been resolved. It has been written in the contract that a real estate fee being paid to Hunt.
The Town will implement a “best practice" policy to ensure that all probationary employees are properly evaluated and to make sure that if the Supervisor is considering terminating a probationary employee he/she is aware of the time frames and dates by which such must be done. This will be monitored by Director of Administration and Finance Pam Smith. This will be brought up at the next department head meeting to inform all department heads that this is the policy. When a person is hired, Pam Smith should calendar in the appropriate time periods but the department heads should be aware of it also in case there is a problem they can deal with it within the probationary period.
There was a discussion regarding Sunset Park. Councilman Weiss and Supervisor Hallock drove around Sunset Park and Councilman Weiss met with Clarence Football League. The park is not only being utilized by the football league but the lacrosse team (spring & summer program), approximately 150 cheerleaders and the neighborhood children use the park as well. The football league does not need more fields, they need more parking. Councilman Weiss initially met with Highway Superintendent Ted Donner and Town Engineer Joe Latona last fall to discuss potential parking areas that would be skimmed out and discussed laying gravel that would be used for parking. With the Wehrle Drive project being done, it created more room so no trees would have to be taken down. The area near the tennis courts and if we can obtain permission, the area that NYSEG owns would be utilized for parking as well. NYSEG indicated that they would be willing to work with the Town.
The football league has indicated that they would spread their schedules throughout the week; the national anthem will be played only once, the speakers will be moved and the volume decreased.
Councilman Kolber stated that looking five or ten years down the road, where will the football league be and what are their needs going to be. Councilman Weiss stated that his proposal does not address that. Councilman Kolber felt that the Town would be spending a fair amount of money on a short term interim fix. Councilman Weiss stated that he and Ted Donner will work with Buffalo Crushed Stone about the possibility of getting stone.
Councilman Kolber stated that the proposal he was putting together is looking at relocating the football league to another site. Councilman Kolber felt that a new site could be ready in 2008 and that the league could be temporarily split and relocated to different sites for the 2007 season. Councilman Kolber stated that Parks Crew Chief John Burns has other locations to relocate the fields to. Councilman Weiss said that it takes approximately three years to get a field in playing condition.
Councilman Weiss left the meeting.
Supervisor Hallock stated that this is all very exhausting. Sometimes a department head says one thing to one person and then tells another person something else. Too much time is being spent on this one item and the amount of e-mails that have circulated about it is exhausting. Some decisions have to be made; the field at Memorial Park will not be done this year
Supervisor Hallock stated that Councilman Kolber's idea for the fill at Memorial Park is a good idea however he will have to address it with the Sports Coalition as the land has been promised to baseball. Highway Superintendent Ted Donner e-mailed everyone indicting that his department can not do the work at Memorial Park at this time as he had first thought. FEMA has indicated that because the Army Corps of Engineers did not come in and clean out our creeks and streams (after the October 2006 storm) that if the highway department does it, they can be reimbursed.
Councilman Kolber suggested the town hire a contractor to clear the land at Memorial Park in order that the free fill can be brought to that site. Councilman Casilio stated that whether the town uses this field for football or not, we should have a plan to get that particular site cleaned up and work on filling it however it could take 2 – 3 years to fill it. Councilman Kolber stated that the site is not designed to accept any fill right now because the topsoil has not been striped off the site. Councilman Bylewski stated that we are not going to have an answer for Memorial Park other than we need to meet with the Sports Coalition if we are going to change anything. As to Sunset Park, Councilman Bylewski feels that what Councilman Weiss has come up with as a temporary solution will not affect any trees. The only trees that may be affected is the area that will be impacted by the drainage being installed anyway. Supervisor Hallock noted that the football league planted ten trees last year and they are willing to do so again this year.
Councilman Casilio had concerns with the proposed parking lot #2 butting up against houses without any buffer. He would rather see it directed toward the Harris Hill Road side. Further, Councilman Casilio feels that the football league should be split, as it stands now there is too much activity at that park. John Burns suggested the smaller divisions move up to the Main Street Park.
Supervisor Hallock stated that Councilman Weiss met with the football league and came up with the number of attendees on weekends and number of parking spaces required and that is how he came up with his proposal.
Councilman Bylewski stated that as a temporary fix, we move ahead with Councilman Weiss' proposal. However, long term we need the Park & Recreation Master Plan and we need mini Master Plans for each of the parks. As a temporary fix, there is not much more that can be done at this point.
Councilman Kolber stated that if they split the leagues and have them play at two different locations, parking will be split in half. Councilman Casilio stated that there are always parking problems even for baseball games, it is a small neighborhood park that has been turned into a sports park.
Councilman Bylewski stated that long term, it may end up that Sunset Park will see reduced usage but for the interim we proceed with a temporary fix to make sure we can accommodate football.
The Recreation Advisory Committee did discuss the situation and they felt it should be reviewed by the Sports Coalition.
Councilman Bylewski stated that we need closure otherwise we just go around in circles. Supervisor Hallock stated that the proposed gravel parking lots are temporary and will not permanently affect the usage at the park. Councilman Casilio stated that he is also in favor of putting temporary gravel down; he is concerned that someone will be hurt if the Town does not do something about the parking.
Councilman Kolber stated that he did not have a problem with the temporary gravel if it is scaled down but what do we need if we scale it down and separate the leagues usage.
The football league indicated that their costs are so much higher than baseball. Equipment is more expensive and eats up all their entrance fees. They have a low bank account balance and make all their money at the concession stand.
Councilman Kolber stated that girl's softball would like a concession stand at the Main Street Park also. They have been operating out of a trailer and would like to take the Braunscheidel Pavilion and turn it into a concession stand. Councilman Kolber suggested adding on to the back of the pavilion. This could serve girls softball and football. Both groups play different times of the year and could utilize the same facility and make the best use of that park.
Councilman Bylewski stated that as it stands right now, it does not sound like there will be a field in place or a concession stand in place for this upcoming season. Again, as a temporary fix for the 2007 season and for safety purposes he suggests going forward with Councilman Weiss proposal of the temporary parking areas. We need a long term solution but that won't happen today or within the three month period of time that football will need to set their schedule.
Councilman Kolber questioned how much money the football league makes on their concession stand. Councilman Bylewski stated that was not the issue, we are addressing the usage of the park for the upcoming season. There are safety issues for the parking and it is a temporary fix.
Parks Crew Chief John Burns has indicated to Councilman Kolber that he could lay out a football field right away at the Main Street Park; it would not be a problem at all. John feels that the Main Street Park is the better place to relocate football, the soil is better draining. He could even lay out a field in the lighted portion where girl's softball plays. As far as concession stands, they could get a trailer.
Councilman Casilio suggested that if the Board decides to put in temporary parking lots, the Parks Department should handle the scheduling to be sure it gets spread out.
Councilman Kolber asked what a suitable, economical short term fix would be noting that safety is the main concern for everyone. If the league is split between the two facilities (Sunset Park and the Main Street Park), how much parking would be needed.
Councilman Bylewski stated that the park is also used for lacrosse camp, archery lessons, summer recreation program, soccer practice, golf practice etc. Again, Councilman Bylewski stated that we are talking about safety and he is in favor of a temporary fix as presented for the 2007 season. Based on the math that was presented and the fact that it does not affect the treed areas which was a primary concern. Any trees that are affected would have been affected because of the drainage issue any way.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to approve the temporary solution at Sunset Park for the 2007 season as presented by Councilman Weiss. On the question, Councilman Casilio suggested consideration be given to putting some type of a buffer between the parking lot that butts up to the houses on Sunset Drive, possibly moving the parking lot closer to Wehrle Drive. Further on the question, Councilman Bylewski suggested that an adequate temporary buffer be put in that would be acceptable to our town Landscape Committee. Councilman Casilio is requesting some type of consideration for the residents possibly locating the parking area five or ten feet from the property line. Town Attorney Bengart suggested taking a look at the configuration of the parking so as to take into consideration the neighbors to buffer as adequately as possible including but not limited to a green belt. Further on the question, Councilman Kolber felt that this was being “slammed down the neighborhoods throats with no consideration and no concern for the people in the neighborhood that have obviously expressed a concern for it. It is a major alteration of their park, it is putting parking in their back yards which we would not allow a business to do and yet we are doing it". Supervisor Hallock stated that for the record, we have given some concessions regarding the noise, and the national anthem because of the neighbors and their concerns and this is a temporary fix it is not a permanent solution. Councilman Bylewski stated that for the record, we have considered the neighbors feelings on this, to say that we have not it a mischaracterization. Maybe Councilman Kolber feels that we have not taken the neighbors feelings into consideration but Councilman Bylewski disagrees because he has heard from the residents and this is a decision that as a Town Council member is a temporary decision. It is not the greatest, it is not the best in the world, it is not what he would like in a perfect world but for a temporary fix, it is what we have to go with. Councilman Kolber stated that we do not even know what the needs are splitting the group and making them play in other locations. Councilman Casilio asked if we should put a three year or five year limit on this. Councilman Bylewski stated that this is a one year fix. Upon roll call - Ayes: Councilman Casilio, Councilman Bylewski, Supervisor Hallock; Noes: Councilman Kolber. Absent: Councilman Weiss. Motion carried.
Councilman Kolber left the meeting.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to enter into Executive Session pursuant to § 105(1) F of the Open Meetings Law to discuss the discipline of several individuals and the appointment of an individual. Section 105(1) E Collective negotiations pursuant to Article 14 of the Civil Service Law (the Taylor Law). Upon roll call – Ayes: Councilman Casilio, Councilman Bylewski, Supervisor Hallock. Noes: None; Absent: Councilman Weiss and Councilman Kolber.
There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 8:30 P.M.
Darcy A. Snyder
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to adjourn the Executive Session at 9:10 P.M. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Weiss and Councilman Kolber. Motion carried. No action taken.
Councilman Bylewski announced that at the next regular Town Board meeting, February 14, 2007, he intends to present a motion to appoint the citizen members of the Public Safety Committee.