A Work Session of the Clarence Town Board was held February 2, 2005 at Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, NY.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock called the meeting to order at 9:00 P.M. Members of the Town Board present were Council Members’ Ian McPherson, Scott Bylewski, Joseph Weiss, and Bernard Kolber. Other Town Officials present were Deputy Supervisor Anne Case, Director of Community Development James Callahan, Town Attorney Steven Bengart, Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Assistant Engineer Tim Lavocat and Deputy Town Attorney David Donohue.
Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc.
Bob Miller and Charles Goetz, representatives from Nussbaumer & Clarke presented background and traffic analysis for the Town’s Master Plan. Bob Miller stated that there are three phases of traffic studies that Nussbaumer & Clarke have been involved in. There are components in the Master Plan that relate to the study. The first phase of the traffic study was very comprehensive including an entire inventory of roadways, current and future traffic and existing conditions. They looked at supply and demand, several agencies including the Town, County and State provided traffic counts. There are approximately 600 people moving into the town yearly. Looking at normal growth based on the census, they looked at the roadway systems, the links between intersections and the difference between the existing conditions and the 2015 forecast.
Phase II of the study was more detailed. A model of the town was developed plugging in traffic counts and roadway capacity. They looked at one of the priority intersections and developed a project that was submitted for federal funding. Eighty percent is funded under federal aid under CMAQ and twenty percent, which is a local match, is being paid by Erie County.
Phase III was a review of the model and some minor adjustments were made based on review of some of the subdivisions. A project justification package was developed and submitted for Shimerville and Roll Road to look at intersection improvement.
In review of these projects, alternatives are being looked at. It might start with control and demand such as controlling development, land use and transportation decisions pertaining to transportation facility suppliers. There are impact studies scheduled to be done which will be implemented into the model. There is a land use access management plan for Transit Road and access management techniques being done along the Transit Road corridor. Beyond that, they are looking at intersection improvements such as a two way stop, 4-way stop signs, turning lanes, signalization or roundabouts. The last thing you want to do is widen roads with more lanes.
Mark Lenters provided information and data on Roundabouts - an alternative being considered at Shimerville and Greiner Road. There have been a significant number of accidents at this intersection to warrant mitigation.
A roundabout is an unsignalized circular intersection engineered to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay. Over the last few decades, thousands of roundabouts have been installed in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Recently, they have gained support in the US as an alternative to traffic signals.
Roundabouts are compact however, they can accommodate large trucks. Roundabouts follow the “yield and entry” rule in which approaching vehicles must wait for a gap in the circulating flow before entering the circle. Roundabouts involve low speeds for entering and circulating traffic. Lower traffic speeds reduce crash frequency and severity for all users. Pedestrian crossing distances are shorter. Roundabouts are used as an alternative to traffic signals.
Disadvantages associated with Roundabouts include higher upfront costs, the intersection has to be reconstructed taking up more space. Platoon traffic flow is impacted in closely spaced signal networks. They are difficult for the visually impaired to cross and the construction stage is complex.
Councilman Bylewski stated that the NRTC Study has underestimated the number of people coming into Clarence. Councilman Bylewski further commented that he felt the Shimerville/Greiner Road intersection was more of a rural type setting and perhaps a Roundabout would be better placed on Goodrich Road where Roll Road and Old Goodrich Road intersect to accommodate the traffic that will be generated from future development in that area.
Councilman Kolber stated that the data from the four way stop at Shimerville and Greiner Road has not been analyzed. Mr. Miller stated that the 4-way stop works now but may not be the answer in the future with increased traffic flows. The effort is try to maintain the rural character of the Town. Putting traffic signals throughout the town is more urbanizing than putting roundabouts.
Councilman McPherson stated that our obligation at all levels of government, particularly the one closet to the problem is to look at every conceivable potential solution. The more we learn about it the better prepared we will be to make a decision.
Bob Rogers is unable to attend the meeting today. He will schedule a meeting with department heads regarding commercial driver licenses.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock
Sprint gave us a courtesy call that they will be doing maintenance at the Sprint towers at 8480 County Road on Wednesday, February 9 th from 9:30 P.M. until 3:00 A.M.
Clarence Fire District has contacted Supervisor Hallock expressing an interest in coordinating Day in the Park. Councilman McPherson will put Clarence Hollow President Don Boyd in contact with Joe David from the Clarence VFC.
Camille O’Reilly has resigned from cleaning the Engineering and Building Department offices. However, she will still clean the Highway and Sheriff’s offices. Several of the part time clerks were contacted regarding the position and Jenna Snyder has expressed an interest.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to appoint Jenna Snyder Custodian P/T, effective February 7, 2005 at an hourly rate of $11.26 per hour. On the question, Councilman Bylewski asked if this was an equivalent salary or is it the rate she is being paid now as part time clerk. Supervisor Hallock stated that the rate is higher, to coincide with the higher rate that the custodian gets. It is the rate that Camille O’Reilly was being paid and it is in the budget. Supervisor Hallock will announce the appointment at the next Town Board meeting however she will make the appointment today as the position becomes available on February 7 th. Upon roll call - Ayes: All: Noes: None. Motion carried.
At the end of February, the Parks Department meets with all the sports directors of all the sports teams to set some ground rules. After what happened last year with the soccer fields, it is more important than ever. If anyone has any thoughts, suggestions or recommendations they should let it be known before the meeting. There is a question regarding the Soccer Club lease. The Soccer Club has a ten-year lease that started in 1998; if the ownership of the fields change (which will happen when the Town buys the fields from the school district) will that change the lease.
Town Attorney Bengart stated that there is a boundary line issue regarding the soccer fields in question. Town Engineer Latona researched this and the drainage issue has been resolved. Town Attorney Bengart stated that he will continue with the purchase of the fields as long as the Town Board was in agreement with the boundary line agreement that would give up the 20 feet and the current homeowner retain the title to the piece of property in question. The Town Board questioned how far back the boundary line went. Town Attorney Bengart stated that he has been having difficulty obtaining information from the schools attorney.
Upon reviewing the survey-map, it appears that the first 333’ is the private landowner,
Town Engineer Latona stated that it does not affect the drainage. The landowners have maintained the 20’ in question. The Town Board was in agreement to authorize Town Attorney Bengart to proceed with the purchase once he gets an acceptable boundary line agreement.
Judge Sillars will be attending the Association of Towns meeting in NYC. Approval will be given at the February 9, 2005 Town Board meeting.
Supervisor Hallock has one item to discuss in Executive Session regarding collective negotiations.
Councilman Ian McPherson
Councilman McPherson had no report.
Councilman Scott Bylewski
Councilman Bylewski announced that because of his wife’s illness, he will not be attending the Association of Towns meeting in NYC.
There is an issue regarding the law firm of Freilich, Leitner & Carlisle. Robert Freilich is leaving and the firm is dissolving. The Town has been dealing with Tyson-Smith and Planning Works. From what has been determined from the correspondence, Robert Freilich is the one leaving and Tyson – Smith and whoever else will be forming a new partnership. Freilich, Leitner & Carlisle is recommending that we remain with Tyson-Smith. Tyson is drafting the Adequate Public Facilities Law.
Councilman Bylewski attended the Youth Center board meeting; the board members have several concerns regarding the transition such as what would be the equivalent six-month payment to the Youth Center. It was Councilman Bylewski’s understanding that Bob Hoag was going to look into the cash flow to see what the six months would be. As to their other expenses, they are looking into replacing some video games.
The Youth Center Board is reviewing the Youth Director applications and will provide a recommendation by February 19 th, 2005.
The Historic Preservation Committee has received four applications and will act on three of the four at the February 9, 2005 Town Board meeting. The forth application will be acted upon at the February 23, 2005 Town Board meeting.
Councilman Joseph Weiss
Councilman Weiss expressed his dismay at the lack of leadership and preparedness after attended a meeting in Amherst with Erie County Sewer District #5 regarding the sewer billing. He forwarded his concerns to the Town of Amherst.
Councilman Weiss received bids from two insurance consultants; there is a $2,000 difference between the two. Councilman Weiss will review the bids with Director of Administration and Finance Pam Smith.
In meeting with Mr. Cimato regarding the extension of sewers to service the proposed Fox Trace East Subdivision and possible extension to Meadowbrook Road it was mentioned that there is a plan to increase capacity within ECSD #5 by developing a diverter near the Klein Road/Transit Road sewer to reduce the amount of sewage entering the Dodge Road sewer. At the meeting it was identified that this diverter would add an additional 700,000 gallons per day to the capacity of the district.
There is an agreement being negotiated between Amherst and ECDS#5 to implement a wet weather relief at Klein Road to divert flows off of the Dodge Road interceptor. The exact quantity that would be diverted is under evaluation and would continue to be fine-tuned after implementation of the diversion.
Councilman Weiss questioned how Mr. Cimato would know the exact number would be 700,000 gallons. Town Engineer Latona stated that the 700,000 gallons is an overflow number. Again Councilman Weiss questioned how Mr. Cimato came up with the 700,000-gallon number. Director of Community Development James Callahan questioned who the responsible agency is for installing the diverter and if the installation of this facility is subject to SEQRA. Town Engineer Latona stated that Erie County is responsible for the installation of the diverter. Councilman Bylewski stated that all governmental actions are subject to SEQRA.
Councilman Weiss has received notice from Congressman Reynolds regarding continued funding for the Fire Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act. The FIRE Act authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to appropriate grant monies to local fire departments. The Federal competitive grants are available to fire departments that meet specific criteria outlined by the program. Congressman Reynolds has provided three training sessions to assist with the application process and to discuss important changes to this year’s funding.
Parks Crew Chief John Burns is requesting a Transfer of Funds to close out the 2004 year. This will be announced at the February 9, 2005 Town Board meeting.
Joanna Pickering and John Conlin are evaluating the house at 5329 Green Valley to see what portion can be saved. Once that determination has been made, John Wargo will give us a price between the cost of demolition and the cost of removal. Once a figure is reached, they will meet with Ken Frey. A donation of $10,000. has already been received to help move the house. The next determination will be where to move the building.
Councilman Weiss attended the League of Woman Voters luncheon regarding a discussion on sprawl and its costs. Councilman Weiss was asked why the town accepts roads from the developers. The developers should put together their own associations because the more we build infrastructure, the more it costs taxpayers. Town Assessor Dave Folger has said the system is broke. Councilman Weiss commented that it would make sense that if you put in a development whether it is an open development or large-scale development the cost of the roads would be brought up at concept plan. Director of Community Development James Callahan stated that the Town Board always has the discretion of accepting public roads for dedication in the subdivision process. Councilman Weiss stated that the taxpayers are baring the cost. More roads mean more plows and manpower. We just added $200,000,000 to our assessment and still our taxes are going up. Also, Councilman Weiss suggests taking a strong look at cutting down the number of building permits issued per year to 100 or 75. The impact on the town is tremendous. The school district is looking at spending $35,000,000 to add classrooms to the high school and renovation work at the Middle School. If any more big developments go in, these school improvements will not be adequate.
Councilman Bylewski stated that the implementation of the Adequate Public Facilities law would help with these concerns.
Councilman Bernard Kolber
Councilman Kolber has received two applications for the vacancy on the Library Board. The Library Board will review the applications and make a recommendation to the Town Board.
Councilman Kolber attended the Recycling Committee meeting on January 31, 2005. The overwhelming unanimous recommendation from the Recycling Committee is that the Town pursues forming garbage district and look into the cost involved. If we don’t like the bids that come in we don’t have to pursue it but at least we will have the district in place. Nathan Neal has helped form garbage districts in several areas.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock and Councilman Kolber have met with Amherst, Cheektowaga, Lancaster and Newstead. All the towns pay less than what our household pickup rates are ranging from approximately $125 - $135 per year per household. Currently, Clarence households pay over $200. yearly. Councilman Kolber feels that by forming a garbage district, we will be able to see a savings for the majority of residents that pay for garbage pickup.
Councilman Kolber is recommending the hiring of Nathan Neil, he will be able to get the process started. Town Attorney Bengart will speak to Nathan Neil; he already has been given authority to hire him.
Councilman Kolber stated that if the Town wants to keep a semi - rural nature to Clarence, it would take a fight. The traditional subdivisions that are being presented are changing the entire character of the Town.
Councilman Bylewski stated that if the roads are built to Town specification, the Town might have to maintain them. Town Attorney Bengart will review.
Town Attorney Steven Bengart/Deputy Town Attorney David Donohue
The Clarence Senior Center has inquired whether they can reduce the age requirement for members from the requisite 60 years of age down to 55 years of age.
The Clarence Senior Center’s By-Laws currently provide that all members must be at least 60 years of age. Reducing the age requirement in the By-laws may be executed by amending Article III of the By-laws to reflect the change.
A potential problem arises in amending the By-Laws to permit the reduced age if such amendment contradicts any funding requirement currently imposed upon the Clarence Senior Center. Any source of funds used by the Clarence Senior Center to construct and operate the facility or to implement programs offered by the facility may impose restrictions on how the funds may be used and may bar the use of funds if such funds do not solely benefit individuals 60 years of age or older. The Older Americans Act is a federal program that provides among other things funding to states, counties or local area agencies to support programs for older individuals. This federal act provides that the programs must apply to persons age 60 years and older.
The Erie County Department of Senior Services offers two programs: the E.C. Nutritional Program, which provides lunches to seniors; and the E.C. van, which provides transportation for the elderly. Another program that is offered is the AARP Tax Program, which provides free tax service for persons over 60 years of age.
The nutrition program offered does not necessarily prohibit the Senior Center from reducing its membership age requirement. Individuals under the age of 60 may purchase meals at an increased price.
Therefore, the Clarence Senior Center may reduce its age limit for members as long as it does not run afoul of any of its other funding sources. The Senior Center should review its sources of funds to determine if the funds place any restrictions on how the funds may be used. If programs provided at the Clarence Senior Center have age requirements, then some type of monitoring to ensure persons of the appropriate age are receiving the appropriate benefits should be considered.
Councilman McPherson stated that the Clarence Senior Center’s funding consists of the stipend they receive from the Town, County grants and activity revenue. The County nutrition program is run separately. Any County resident can come to the Senior Center and participate in the nutrition program however membership is different.
Deputy Town Attorney David Donohue stated that the Senior Center might have to change two different portions of the membership criteria. Councilman McPherson stated that the idea is to expose the Senior Center to more people and increase participation and membership.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Kolber to enter into Executive Session pursuant to § 105 (1) F of the Open Meetings Law to discuss collective negotiations pursuant to Article 14 of the Civil Service Law (the Taylor Law). Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:00 A.M.
Darcy A. Snyder
Deputy Town Clerk
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to adjourn the Executive Session. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.