A Work Session of the Clarence Town Board was held February 4, 2004 at Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, NY.
Supervisor Hallock called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. Members of the Town Broad present were Council Members' Ian McPherson, Scott Bylewski, Joseph Weiss and Bernard Kolber . Other Town Officials present were Director of Community Development James Callahan, Assistant Director of Community Development James Hartz, Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Civil Engineer Tim Lavocat, Engineering Aid Martin Root, Senior Building Inspector David Metzger, Town Attorney Steven Bengart, Highway Superintendent Ron Witnauer, and Town Assessor David Folger.
TVGA Consultants Jerry Stewart and Ellen Nicoloff
The process begins with planning and obtaining aerial photography at a specific altitude. This altitude is determined by the type of mapping and the desired level of detail to be shown. The next step in the process is to obtain ground control for the mapping. This control is used to provide the horizontal and vertical component of the mapping. The Control is provided at predetermined locations in a specific pattern so that the final mapping product will meet National Map Accuracy Standards.
Global Positioning System (GPS) is used to obtain the Ground Control for many projects today. However, some projects require more conventional methods due to the specific requirements of the project. For larger projects, "Analytical Aerotriangulation" is used to supplement the GPS. This process uses mathematical algorithms to create additional control points.
After the Aerial Photography, Ground Control and Analytical Aerotriangulation tasks have been completed, the Digital Mapping begins. The aerial photography is placed in an Analytical Stereo plotter. The Ground Control data is entered into the computer and the equipment is setup for the mapping process. The mapping technician compiles the date according to the required specifications for the project.
The Digital Orthophoto process begins in the same way as Digital Mapping. First the aerial photography and ground control are obtained. After these tasks are completed, the film is scanned into a digital format. The digital image files are scanned at a specific resolution which is determined by the intended use of the final Digital Orthophotography. This process removes the distortion and inaccuracies from the image.
A GIS consists of a number of layers. The number of layers depends on the intended use of the GIS. GIS is a very powerful tool which can be used for many planning and engineering purposes. Some examples are: engineering design options, utility monitoring, land use classification, land cover classification, public presentations, emergency 911 services, tax assessment, tax parcel identification, public and private planning and much more.
Town Assessor Dave Folger asked if TVGA is able to get utilities from National Fuel. Mr. Stewart stated that this can be done; they have had to struggle to get information from them. This is not something you can typically see from the air. Mr. Folger stated that National Fuel will not give us the information, their concern is sabotage - once the information comes through our office, it would become public information.
Ellen Nicoloff gave a presentation of several files already set up with actual data. The most important part is keeping the information current and correct. The basic plotter that TVGA is providing at this point at the completion of this project will not have all the tables created, this would be created as part of a separate project or the town could create them.
Town Engineer Latona stated that part of the initial motivation behind pursuing this is to generate a ditch map for the entire town. The Highway Department uses it mainly for clearing ditches and keeping them open. One of the first products is going to be the ditch map and well as mapping infrastructure that will show all of the retention basins as well as storm sewers. Mr. Latona stated that he plans on sitting down with the Disaster Coordinators as well to coordinate information.
At Rapids Road and Tonawanda Creek Road Bridge, a depth gauge has been installed for Tonawanda Creek. We have tied the elevation of the depth gauge to our flood maps. We can now plot flooded areas based on that elevation.
To date, the entire town was flown on April 24, 2003. Since that time, all the aerial photography has been provided, they have provided the ground control, all the permanent monuments have been installed, and analytical aero triangulation has been completed. Based on priorities, the entire project depending on the start to finish of each phase will be completed at the end of this year. The project is done in phases, each phase will be reviewed by Mr. Latona to be sure that the information that has been provided is accurate.
Town Engineer Latona stated that when a new development goes in, you can just fly over that specific area and incorporate that data. You don't have to fly the entire town every five years.
Councilman Weiss asked if the developers could bear financial responsible for adding a development. Jerry Stewart stated that some towns are making it mandatory for developers who put in new shopping malls or new buildings etc. to provide this data to the town.
Assistant Director of Community Development James Hartz asked how this program differs from the states program. Jim Stewart stated that the difference was the photos were not as clear in the states program.
Town Assessor Dave Folger asked if Erie County GIS mapping system is tied in with the state program. Jerry Stewart stated that they have been working with the state and they have also been working within the municipalities. If you want to put some of this information on the internet, Erie County will help you with that.
Mr. Folger further questioned what we do with the digital data we now have in place. Mr. Stewart stated that you would have to do a conversion, the existing data will be on hard copy and that can be scanned. This is not a difficult process, however it can be very time consuming.
Any data that TVGA provides for the town can not be released to anyone without permission from the town. TVGA does not release data in a format that could be changed. Some municipalities charge $100 fee to provide data.
Wetland delineations will be included; this is part of the mapping process.
Town Engineer Joseph Latona
A Public Improvement Permit process requires inspection of any facilities that are going to be turned over for public use. Mr. Latona has found it necessary to include the private sector as well because storm water from the private sector impacts the public as well as drainage. We make the private developers supply us with a deposit that pays for the inspection of the private installation. We are then assured we have the pavement, the drainage and the sidewalks.
Councilman Kolber stated that the Public Improvement Permits process has one firm designing it, inspecting it and reporting on it. Someone has to act in the interest of the town. Town Engineer Latona stated that the inspector does that.
Mr. Latona presented a report for the total number of building permits that were issued by the Building Department for 2003. A total of 936 permits were issued generating a total of $455,052.in revenue for the town.
Town Engineer Latona stated that we have run into a situation where there are some properties that are in two sewer districts. One example is a house that has no sewer at the street; the frontage is in Clarence Sewer District #2 the rear in Clarence Sewer District #6. The homeowner gets billed for both sewer districts. In SD#2 even if you do not have sewer, you pay an interceptor charge. Every year he argues that he is out of the district so he should not have to pay. This particular individual has dividable lots that could be in the sewer district in the future. Another scenario is where we have properties that are in two sewer districts that have a sewer in the street which means they are using that sewer. The rear of the property is in a redundant sewer district. Mr. Latona is suggesting a modification to the sewer ordinance. If the property is within two sanitary sewer districts and has sewer service, the sewer charges shall be commensurate with the charges of the sanitary sewer district providing the sewer. If the property is within two sanitary sewer districts, both without sewer service, the sewer charges shall be proportional to the area of the property within and commensurate with the respective sewer district charges. Should a sanitary sewer be installed in one of the districts the property will be charged for sanitary sewer service from the sewer district providing the sanitary sewer as well as the charges for the non-sewered property in the remaining district.
Mr. Tirone asked why we would want to change the local law for something that has been litigated, there is case law, there is property tax law distinguished and there are assessor manual standards for this type situation. This would be no different then a property that sits on a street corner and has frontage on two streets and is being charged frontage. Why should we amend our local ordinance when we are not going to cover every problem.
Town Engineer Latona will table the amendment to the sewer ordinance until Town Attorney Bengart can research case law.
Town Engineer Latona will set public hearings at the next Town Board meeting.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock
At the March 5, 2004 morning Work Session, the new director of Clarence Library Roseanne Butler Smith will be in attendance to speak about the library.
Supervisor Hallock received a resolution forwarded to her by the Village of Farnham regarding the Indian Treaty. The Town Board had no interest in addressing this.
Supervisor Hallock met with the Avoidable Alarm Committee. A hand out was distributed giving a summary of avoidable alarms billed so far this year, a history of chronic offenders, a schedule of suggested fees and a copy of the law. The law was put into effect in 1995 and was enforced in 1999. As of January 20, 2004 there have been 516 avoidable alarms of which 342 were first time offenders. The first three offences are free; a letter is mailed along with a copy of the law.
There are numerous chronic offenders who would rather just pay the fine than fix the problem. The committee is suggested an increase in the fee schedule. The first three alarms are free, alarms 4 - 6 will be billed $35 each and every alarm after that will add $10 per alarm. This is not to produce revenue; it is to get their attention. A public hearing will be set at the next Town Board meeting.
Town Engineer Latona stated that historically the Building Department has not required concrete testing. The Residential Code of NY State requires the specified compressive strength of concrete, including weathering potential to meet certain minimum standards. The standards are applicable to: basement wall, foundations and other concrete not exposed to the weather, basement slabs and interior slabs on grade, except garage floor slabs, basement walls, foundation walls, exterior walls and other vertical concrete work exposed to the weather, porches, carport slabs and steps exposed to the weather and garage floor slabs.
The Town of Clarence Building Department is requiring the testing of concrete for seven day and twenty-eight day compression strength. A minimum of two cylinders for seven day and two cylinders for twenty-eight day should be tested. Basement slabs, carport slabs etc will be required to provide "batch tickets" from the concrete supplier. Basement walls and foundations will require cylinder testing.
Until the department receives the test results and compliance with applicable code requirements has been determined, the department will not issue a Certificate of Occupancy or a Certificate of Compliance for the work that was performed in association with an issued permit.
In cold weather, care must be taken that foundations are not placed on frozen soil, nor should such foundations be placed in freezing weather unless a method of ensuring that the underlying soil is free of frost is employed and the foundations are properly protected against the weather.
This requirement is applicable to all construction in association with building permits that are filed on or after February 13, 2004.
Supervisor Hallock announced that the February 25, 2004 Work Session will begin at 6:00 P.M.
Supervisor Hallock met with Town Historian Mark Woodward regarding the Bi-Centennial Committee. Supervisor Hallock will announce openings on the committee and request that anyone interested submit an application.
There is a new program available through the Industrial Development Agency called the 0 - 10 Small Business Growth Fund. Supervisor Hallock set up a meeting for Monday, March 1, 2004 @ 7:00 P.M. in the Town Hall. Paul Leone from Erie County IDA will explain the program. Everyone is invited.
Supervisor Hallock has two items to discuss in Executive Session.
Financial Consultant Daniel Tirone
Supervisor Hallock suggested setting up the parameters. However, Mr. Tirone was not saying he is willing to work under any conditions. He would like to know what the parameters are so he can respond to them. It is Mr. Tirone's perception that the town is taking micro-views on things without anyone taking a macro view.
Councilman McPherson stated that he has been working on sewers with Dan Tirone, Town Engineer Latona and others year after year and have made tremendous advancements. Councilman McPherson would like the ability to call Mr. Tirone anytime he wants regarding sewer issues and get his input.
Councilman Weiss stated that he felt one of the problems may have been that perhaps more than just Councilman McPherson, were picking up the phone at too many times regarding inconsequential things that maybe could have been handled in-house. Councilman Weiss stated that we need to sit down with Mr. Tirone and define the parameters so everyone is not just picking up the phone and calling him for every situation that arises.
Mr. Tirone stated that he did not feel he should be the control board, that should exist with the town.
Town Engineer Latona stated that everything he sits down with Mr. Tirone ultimately ends up around money - how are we going to get it within the scope of simple finance, when do we need it, how is it going to get paid, whether it is going to be paid for through the town, through taxes, bonding etc.
Councilman Bylewski stated that this is something that has to be worked out; this problem has been ongoing and must be addressed.
Councilman McPherson stated that there is already a procedure in place. There are certain people who have the ability to pick up the phone and call Mr. Tirone. They sign the voucher when they call Mr. Tirone regarding sewers or whatever else he does people sign vouchers for it. If there is a problem, let the person who signed the voucher justify it.
Supervisor Hallock stated that in December, she received a voucher for $4,000 or $5,000. for Capital Projects. She is the liaison to Capital Projects and Chief Fiscal Officer and she was not made aware of it.
Mr. Tirone stated that he can not exist as the Towns control board. The Town Board has to be the control board. Unless we can start out with the agreement that he needs these levels of approval and he will be reimbursed for the time it takes to get the approvals.
Town Engineer Latona stated that the financing for the hollow project is very complicated and very sensitive because of multiple grants and funding etc. It takes some thought to come up with answers.
Mr. Tione stated that there is no definition of what a financial consultant is. He has resources and business plans and things that he needs to do to continue his business and he has to make sure he acts responsibly every place he goes. He needs to know where his responsibility begins and where it ends.
Supervisor Hallock stated that the Town was criticized by the Office of State Controller for using an outside consultant too much and at the time, the recommendation was to do more in-house. A Director of Administration and Finance was then hired.
Mr. Tirone stated that he does not know why the town can not solve problems in house and he does not want to be put in that position.
Councilman Kolber stated that he supports Mr. Tirone's expertise. However; he feels there needs to be some sort of management level and control.
Councilman Weiss stated that you have to justify why you are calling Mr. Tirone and not everyone should be picking up the phone every time they have a question.
Mr. Tirone stated that he sat with other supervisors and past administrations and told them that they need somebody like Mr. Tione in house.
Councilman McPherson said it should be discussed who would be authorized outside of the Town Board and various department heads to contact Dan Tirone and incur charges.
Town Attorney Bengart stated that the Town Board has to come up with a policy as to who is authorized to contact Mr. Tirone.
Councilman Bylewski stated that he would like to see this done with all legal and professional services. If we are not being charged a flat fee and work is done on an hourly basis Councilman Bylewski feels the town needs more detail on the bill as to what services were performed on what project.
Supervisor Hallock stated that we need detail on the vouchers so we know where the money should be allocated from.
Councilman Bylewski suggested that if Mr. Tirone is present at an Executive Session he should list the section number.
Mr. Tirone stated that he needs to know what is meant by sewer and the scope of that. There is a sewer BAN coming due in August, is that his responsibility? There are sewer budgets and the operating budgets - is that his responsibility? Mr. Tirone needs to know what his scope of work includes.
Supervisor Hallock stated that the Town Board will discuss this further.
Councilman Kolber left the meeting at 11:05 A.M.
Councilman Ian McPherson
Councilman McPherson has two items to discuss in Executive Session.
The Snow-Removal Task Force meeting is scheduled for the same time the Municipal Review Meeting is scheduled.
Confidential Secretary Karen Jurek has created a snow-removal data base. The program was designed similar to the Avoidable Alarm program. It features last year's information, resolved complaints and outstanding complaints.
Supervisor Hallock was with a group of Supervisor's and Mayors and everyone has an issue with snow removal on state roads.
Councilman Scott Bylewski
Councilman Joseph Weiss
Town Attorney Steven Bengart
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 employment of a particular person, the employment of a corporation and 105 (1) A matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Kolber. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the Work Session was adjourned at 11:20 A.M.
Darcy A. Snyder Deputy Town Clerk
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to adjourn the Executive Session at 12:02 P.M. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Kolber. Motion carried. No action taken.