A Work Session of the Clarence Town Board was held on February 7, 2007 at Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, NY.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.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, Director of Community Development James Callahan, Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Highway Superintendent Ted Donner, Parks Crew Chief John Burns and Director of Administration and Finance Pam Smith.
Councilman Weiss asked if anyone has talked to the baseball association about the vacant parcel at Memorial Park. It was discussed that baseball should be informed of what is going on since the Sports Coalition has promised two more fields to baseball. Supervisor Hallock received an e-mail from TCBA asking when they would be getting the two additional fields. Councilman Kolber stated that the baseball association seems to have an adequate number of fields if you look at the number of fields and the utilization per number of teams/players. They are actually lower than the softball group. Baseball and softball got four fields in the build out; soccer got their fields as well. All three gave up their stipends from the town. Supervisor Hallock stated that this is something for the Sports Coalition to look at.
Supervisor Hallock stated that we have to start with the fill regardless and when we have had the opportunity, we got the spoils from the pond at Town Hall and the spoils from Main Street. We may have an opportunity to obtain more fill.
Councilman Kolber stated that we have an issue that has developed with the town football league outgrowing the fields that they currently use. They can not keep going there with the way things are going. Supervisor Hallock stated that a motion was made at the January 31, 2007 meeting regarding a temporary fix for one year for the football league.
Superintendent Donner stated that the objective of this meeting is to discuss fill for the vacant parcel at Memorial Park.
Councilman Kolber looked at the availability of obtaining spoils from the Transit Road project he contacted the DOT to find out who the contractor is however, before he pursues this further; he wants to make sure the Town can receive the spoils.
Town Engineer Latona presented a diagram of Memorial Park showing the little league diamonds at Memorial Park. There is a cleared area to the east of the last ball diamonds that has some fill. Mr. Latona staked out and did a calculation of the entire parcel. Currently a section of 350' wide x 650' deep is cleared; we have approximately 40% of the fill that is needed. Approximately 39,000 cubic yards is needed. There is a 350' wooded area to the east that the Town also owns. The wooded area is wet. The entire parcel is approximately 700 x 700. Two more little league diamonds could be created on the cleared area if we can get enough fill however, long term we have to look at a pavilion and a storage facility for equipment. Mr. Latona stated that the town owns more property that he had previously thought. We can keep proceeding with the fill issue but someone has to be in charge of it, we need to get equipment and we need a long term plan. The Sports Coalition has been involved since day one however they are under the impression that they will be getting two more diamonds.
Councilman Bylewski stated that besides the two proposed diamonds that are to be created and besides the pavilion, storage facility and parking area, is there room for anything else on the remaining half of the property. Town Engineer Latona stated that we can put a football field to the rear of this site however, trees will have to be cut down and you would need on average about 4 ½ feet of fill. The land is very wet; it is not official wet lands. Further back on the property are federal wet lands, there are no state wetlands. You can build right up to a federal wetland however; it would have to be delineated. If any more building is going on this site, Town Engineer Latona estimated that you will need approximately 80,000 cubic yards of fill.
Councilman Kolber indicated that the DOT will be producing a lot of fill coming off the Transit Road project. Town Engineer Latona stated that before any fill can be brought in, the site would have to be prepared. The topsoil has to be scraped back, brush needs to be cleared out and even though it has been very cold, the ground is not frozen. We also have to have a means of getting to the site so the roadway and the ball diamonds are not damaged.
Councilman Casilio stated that this is the time to get free fill because it is wet and no one wants it so we should be prepared to accept it at this site to get the project done. This could take years to fill so we should get to a point where we can start accepting fill. Town Engineer Latona stated that the free shot rock could be used as a base for an access road for the trucks to get in to dump.
Town Engineer Latona stated that someone has to coordinate this and we need equipment.
Councilman Kolber stated that if we try to do this in the summer, the fields are being utilized by the different sports teams and by people using the bike path.
Town Engineer Latona stated that the shot rock that is available for free right now is covered in snow so you can't tell how big it or if it is usable. Councilman Kolber stated that the contractor would load the material.
Highway Superintendent Donner has limitations with availability of equipment depending on snow plowing or salting.
Councilman Kolber stated that using town trucks would not be the most efficient way to go and suggested hiring outside contractors to truck the shot rock to the site. Town Engineer Latona stated that if we hire outside contractors, we then get into the bidding process and prevailing wage etc. which complicates things.
Highway Superintendent Ted Donner stated that the first thing that must be done is to prepare the site. You can not contract to have anyone bring anything in as it stands now. He further suggested that the back area be cleared first. There is approximately 900 yards of brush that has to be removed. Ted has a call into the DEC to get a permit to burn the brush.
Town Engineer Latona stated that we all have the same goals; we have to be careful of municipal finance controls, the weather, equipment availability etc.
Councilman Bylewski stated that the site has to be prepared and it appears that it can be done in-house but questioned how long it could take to prep the site. Highway Superintendent Ted Donner stated that under good conditions, the brush would have to be burned; Joe Latona is laying out the boundaries however the Board has to determine how much of the site you want to consume. Depending on that, several trees will have to be cut down. The site can not be filled unless you cut the trees, get the stumps out and the brush cleared. Once the brush is cleared, the topsoil has to be pushed back. The concrete that was dumped on the site will have to be buried, and then you can bring the fill in. A parking area would have to be prepared to bring in the equipment.
Town Engineer Latona stated that in the past, the town has dealt with contractors that let us use their equipment. Town employees run the equipment and we get charged for the running time. Mr. Latona stated that we have to have money that we can legally access and pay for this under municipal finance.
Councilman Kolber stated that we have $8,500 in our Recreation Fund. Supervisor Hallock stated that it was previously designated to pay off debt service.
Highway Superintendent Ted Donner stated that it will cost approximately $2,000 for the dozer for the prep work (that does not include labor) for the 650 x 350 section. Not everyone is going to allow the town to use their equipment. In the past, Milherst and Cold Spring Construction Company have allowed the use of their equipment, they monitor the usage. The remaining portion is wet and we would have to wait for it to dry up as there is no where to drain it. That water goes to Strickler Road to the north and then flows to the low area on Keller Road where there have been drainage problems.
Councilman Bylewski stated that it appears that we have to prep the land for fill. We have to get the Sports Coalition together to begin a discussion as to what they want to do with the two ball diamonds and the remaining portion of land. We have the restraints regarding the pavilion, storage facility and parking that we want to see included but would take away from the ball diamond area. Another area of concern is the fact that trees will have to be cut down and what kind of impact would that have with the park land and the drainage. Town Engineer Latona stated that one would impact the other; you can not have a tree in the outfield.
Councilman Kolber stated that to put the two diamonds on this site, you would need more than 350' because the outfield of a 75' baseball diamond is 300' x 300' unless you stacked them front to back. The way it is proposed is side by side. The other issue that comes into play is that even if the site is filled and ready, the cost of fencing alone for those two diamonds will cost approximately $250,000 and that money is not available anywhere.
Councilman Casilio stated that even if the site was ready for grass in April – which is almost impossible without spending a lot of money, it would still take two years before the fields would be ready to be played on, you need two growing seasons.
The football league is not part of the Sports Coalition. They said they would not be involved because the facilities at that time were adequate for the foreseeable future. Baseball was promised two more diamonds; they gave up land for girl's softball. Councilman Kolber stated that girl's softball gave up their $8,000. stipend to gain their four diamonds. The money to build out those diamonds is not there and it will not be there for the foreseeable future. Supervisor Hallock stated that baseball gave up $34,000 to combine, that was a little less than half of the cost of the debt service on the $980,000 that we borrowed to finish the fields. We are still paying on the original borrowing. Between the two borrowings, we pay $141,000 a year on the debt service for Memorial Park. We pay the Parks Department $130,750. to maintain the ball diamonds, $68,700 to maintain the soccer fields and $14,600 to maintain the football fields besides the debt service.
Town Engineer Latona stated that two new diamonds will cost approximately $200,000.
Supervisor Hallock stated that we are not ready to take the fill from the Galleria Mall construction site to fill the site at Memorial Park. Highway Superintendent Ted Donner has indicated that he would prefer not to start this project until the middle of April. Town Engineer Latona stated that we should begin by looking at a liquid funding source. He will get the boundaries staked out and then he and Superintendent Donner will begin to talk to contractors about equipment. Until the snow melts, we can not get back to the rear portion of the site to be able to burn the brush and we can't do anything to the front section until the topsoil is pushed back. There is no room to dump fill right now. Highway Superintendent Ted Donner asked if there was money available to rent machinery. Supervisor Hallock stated that there is $8,300 in the Recreation Fund; we would have to earmark it for that. Town Attorney Bengart stated that we should also look at the cost of tree removal. Town Engineer Latona stated that we have to prioritize. Councilman Bylewski stated that Phase I we can easily handle, Phase II is long term. As we are working on Phase I, we need the Sports Coalition to regroup to start thinking long term about Phase I and Phase II.
Councilman Weiss stated that the football league has not out grown their facility at Sunset Park; they are just in need of adequate parking. The proposed fields at Memorial Park will take three - five years to get ready not to mention all the trees that will have to be taken down.
It was decided that Town Engineer Latona and Highway Superintendent Ted Donner will work together with Supervisor Hallock to ready the site at Memorial Park for fill.
Councilman Bylewski stated that as we are dealing with the Sports Coalition, although they are the ones that have a strong interest in this project, ultimately it is up to the Town Board to make the final decision. We need their input and should get their input, but in the end, the Town Board makes the final decision. Town Engineer Latona suggested a Town Board member sit in on a meeting with the Sports Coalition and explain the process to them.
Councilman Kolber stated that if the site if filled and is ready, there is no $200,000 anywhere on the horizon in order to build out baseball fields however, to clear this site, level it and put football playing fields in you have green open space. Basically all you are doing is delineating fields; they may need a small snack bar/ pavilion/storage area. This could be deemed a temporary site which would cost nothing to then change over when money became available for baseball. Councilman Weiss stated that the concession stand is critical to the football program. Councilman Kolber stated that both baseball and softball want a snack bar for this area.
Councilman Kolber will meet with the Sports Coalition before the February 27th recreation meeting.
Councilman Casilio stated that for several months, the town has been working on looking at wireless security systems for the bike path and we have also talked about video cameras for the parks and possibly highway department. When video cameras were installed at the Main Street Park, it ended the vandalism problem.
Craig Thrasher has been in the emergency response business for 37 years, he has been teaching and running programs in the public sector. He left Ecology and Environment because of a difference of opinion in 2000, he felt that they should be focusing more on counter terrorism however, they did not feel it was going to be an issue for the federal government. He then retired but then returned as a consultant shortly after the 9 -11 terrorist attack. Mr. Thrasher has been doing consulting for Ecology and Environment, the federal government and NYS Office of General Services and the NY City Office of Emergency Management. His background is one of what is referred to as a deterministic thinker. We are probabilistic thinkers primarily because when there is a problem, you have some time to deal with the problem, time to conceptualize the solution to draft some performance specifications, to then send those specifications out to vendors. A probabilistic thinker has a restricted amount of time and you use probability to determine what you are going to do. Fire fighters and police officers are deterministic thinkers, if anything can happen, it will happen so they have to be prepared. That is why fire companies and police agencies try to build everything into a fire truck or police car.
The Town is in the process of trying to resolve some kind of threat to the community. The bike path incident is a classic example. The town has discussed installing cameras along the bike path. Mr. Thrasher concern is that the town has a long term plan in place that will allow us to integrate all the things we are doing into a meaningful plan for the prevention of death, injury or damage resulting from unexpected naturally occurring or man-made events.
There are several video recorder cameras placed in the town buildings. A person coming into the building sees the camera, it will become a deterrent. That is all well and good if the deterrent takes place within a confined space. If you are dealing with parks or the bike path and you start installing cameras as a stand alone solution to a problem, you are going to be reactive in that plan. Those cameras are not going to be monitored full time; it is very expensive to monitor them. Several vendors Mr. Thrasher is working with can build in special rules for cameras so that they are self monitoring, they will look at a fixed picture, record the information and if something in that particular picture does not fit the model, then the camera will react to that and will send a signal to someone.
The concept of reacting to a problem based upon video imaging that is being used as a deterrent, is not as good as the prevention side. In the fire service, they talk about the number of fires being prevented but the bottom line is the amount of structural fires that have occurred both in this township, throughout Erie County and throughout the United States has significantly decreased because people were proactive, they put prevention programs in place. Predictive monitoring - you have some concept of your what your hazards are, what your vulnerabilities are and what your vulnerable resources are and you put together a plan for monitoring those. In the process of monitoring them, you can build rules into the video monitor or some other kind of monitor.
Mr. Thrasher stated that he is not opposed to Crime Watch Programs, but you can not have people walking around at all hours. The town has a hazard mitigation plan in place, in the process of developing the plan the town looked at certain types of hazards but does the plan look at all of our vulnerable resources and what needs to be done in the long term to begin to protect those resources. Like many towns, the migration of problems into the town is very distinct; we are getting the problems of the city. Our resources are going to be at risk, not just the bike path but the children of the community including schools, ball parks and town parks.
On a grander plan, how does a camera or cameras protect these resources. We should not be myopic in what our project is; we are thinking probabilistically, we have many people saying the bike path has to be made safe. Mr. Thrasher would not like to put in place a program that just sets up two cameras; he would rather have a plan in place that uses digital imaging for some of our problem solution, some type of community awareness and community activity for our problem solution. The federal government (Emergency Response Core) is encouraging communities such as Clarence (Elma has already begun the program, the towns of Aurora and East Aurora will begin shortly) to bring in community members to help solve problems beyond the Town Boards. You then have a group of people thinking deterministically to solve the problems of safe guarding their resources.
Councilman Bylewski mentioned that the Town of Clarence has formed a Public Safety Committee that will develop a comprehensive safety program. Supervisor Hallock stated that "this is just one piece of the whole picture".
Mr. Thrasher suggested the integration of sign in/sign out stations along the bike path. It would help to determine who is using the bike path and how much money we can expend on that particular resource. If you tie that together with a camera that monitors each station, you have people who come up to the station and sign in, or you may have someone who will not sign in for whatever reason. There would be a stationary video camera and anyone who did not sign in, a picture would be taken of that individual and an alarm would be sent. At some point, someone could then review all the pictures of people who would by-pass the sign in station.
Typically, a standard fixed camera has a working distance of no more than 10 meters. After 10 meters, anyone in a court of law could question whether the person on the camera is who you say they are. You have to purchase fairly expensive cameras in order to get the kind of resolution you need to obtain. The bike path is 11 miles long, and if you figure the useful distance is approximately 1000 feet you now have 2000 feet between cameras, is the bike path always straight or are there some blind spots that a true predator would be able to delve out. By putting in a camera system, you create false expectations on the part of the public and you will create blind spots and false sense of security on the part of the Town Board if you do not have some other plan in place - part of a comprehensive safety plan.
If you want cameras, what are your performance specifications and your technical specifications and most importantly, what do you want the camera to do for you. If the camera does not perform for you, what is the value of putting up a camera. The lack of success that Mr. Thrasher has seen locally is that people put technical specifications together without performance expectations.
Mr. Thrasher suggested that the town rein back some what, get the Public Safety Committee involved and look at all our vulnerable resources. Earmark the money that you will spend on the cameras because it may not be an urgency, it may be much more advantages for the town to put this together in an entire plan.
If you build a sense of security by installing cameras, you force the predator outside the operating range of the camera because there is no other entity to grab him because it has not been put together with other things. At the same time the residents will feel more secure however, the worst part of that is their high expectations of the town providing for their safety.
Supervisor Hallock stated that we are not only concerned about the bike path but several town facilities as well because of some criminal mischief several years ago.
If the Board so chooses, Mr. Thrasher would be hired on an hourly basis as a consultant. He will submit his proposal for his services.
A Clarence resident has a generator that could be placed on a pole to power video cameras; it uses both wind and solar energy. If the Town Board so wishes, a generator could be set up on a pole to demonstrate how it works, the details will have to be worked out with the Parks Department.
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 matters leading to the discipline of a particular person. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to adjourn the Executive Session at 10:32 A.M. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
The Work Session resumed at 10:32 A.M.
Town Engineer Joseph Latona - Sanitary Sewers
Town Engineer Latona has called Erie County DEP several times specifically Tom Whetham. Mr. Whetham was meeting with the County Executive regarding Clarence appointment to ECSD #5 Board. He was suppose to get back to Mr. Latona but has not and at this time he is in NYC and unavailable. Erie County Sewer District #5 take over of Clarence Sewers (Clarence Sewer Districts #2, 6, 7 & 9) is directly related to the Clarence appointment to the ECSD. The RFP Clarence Trunk Sewer and parallel sewer status is also tied into the appointment to ECSD #5 and the take over of Clarence Sewers.
Town Engineer Latona has called the Town of Amherst Engineering Department regarding the Wastewater Treatment Contract with the Town of Amherst. Their report was that the supervisor does not like the formula that is in the contract with Erie County and is looking to disrupt the contract with Erie County as well as initiate future discussions on our contract relative to the formula. Town Engineer Latona spoke with legal counsel Jim Coniglio; Mr. Coniglio has not heard anything from Amherst legal department. We had a draft contract which according to Mr. Coniglio was sent to Amherst. We have not received any response relative to the legal substance in that contract.
Town Attorney Bengart stated that we are okay with the general formula and the contract presented as long as it is more specific as to personnel and other issues that Pam Smith wanted. Town Engineer Latona stated that he has to go through the formula with Pam Smith and Jim Coniglio as it applies to Clarence because there are some issues that do not apply like charges for pump stations and Amherst agrees, we have to eliminate that sector. Also, more specific language has to be added to the contract.
Councilman Bylewski stated that the last formula that was presented, Amherst was requesting Clarence pay 10% of their Town Board's salary for administering as it pertains to treatment not infrastructure. (It pertains to 10% of their salary as it pertains to Plant 16).
Councilman Kolber questioned what percentage of Amherst total treatment volume is coming from the Town of Clarence; Pam Smith stated that approximately 1 ½ % flow comes from the Town of Clarence. Town Engineer Latona stated that it is not all monitored in one place. It comes through Erie County and it also comes through the Peanut Line. Erie County bills the Town of Clarence; it is not part of the discussion or negotiation with the Town of Amherst.
Town Attorney Bengart will contact the Town of Amherst to find out the status of the contract.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock
Supervisor Hallock asked Pam Smith to get her the information to go forward with the Wendell Duchscherer energy audit for the highway garage.
Councilman Scott Bylewski
Councilman Bylewski contacted three citizens for appointment to the Public Safety Committee; all three are still interested in serving on the committee and will be appointed at the February 14th meeting.
The amendments to the Master Plan have been circulated. There is another amendment regarding the federalist style. The Parks & Recreation Master Plan will be considered an addendum to our Master Plan and will also be reviewed.
Supervisor Hallock wrote a letter to the Task Force relative to the arrest of the bike path rapist expressing the gratitude the Town of Clarence and WNY feels for their fine work.
Councilman Joseph Weiss
Councilman Weiss stated that he has not heard anything regarding the school hookup to sewers. Councilman Kolber stated that he spoke with Mr. Coseo and he indicated that they "are getting closer".
Councilman Weiss talked to a consultant regarding the deer abatement program. Before the town spends any money, the consultant will talk to the DEC to see if it is even possible to open up the blacked out areas to archery only.
Town Attorney Bengart
The Marinaccio case was heard in front of Judge Sedita. Because of miscommunication on the part of Michael Perley, Mr. Bengart was not in court. Mr. Bengart advised Mr. Perley that he wanted a full report at their expense. Mr. Bengart was to receive the report today however, as of this afternoon it still had not arrived.
There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 11:00 A.M.
Darcy A. Snyder