A Work Session of the Clarence Town Board was held on October 4, 2006 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 Board present were Council members Scott Bylewski, Bernard Kolber and Patrick Casilio. Councilman Weiss was absent. Other Town Officials present were Highway Superintendent Ted Donner, Town Attorney Steven Bengart, Director of Community Development James Callahan, Director of Administration & Finance Pam Smith, and Town Engineer Joseph Latona.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to enter into Executive Session pursuant to § 105 (1) D to discuss pending litigation, Therialt vs. Town of Clarence. Upon roll call Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Weiss. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to adjourn the Executive Session at 9:25 AM. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Weiss. Motion carried. No action taken.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock
Supervisor Hallock announced that the Tentative Budgets were distributed last week.
Town Engineer Latona stated that he is meeting the surveyor tomorrow and the Town Board must decide the boundaries for the Arboretum what areas are to be put in a Conservation Easement. The amount of work to be done is commiserate with the area. After much discussion, it was decided that Mr. Latona will use his discretion and get a rough copy of the initial survey and then discuss the boundaries.
Supervisor Hallock again discussed the memo from Parks Crew Chief John Burns regarding the football league and Sunset Park. Supervisor Hallock was unaware that the new field that was created for the football league at the Main Street Park was not being utilized and that is why there are so many problems at Sunset Park. Councilman Casilio has had several discussions with the league president about calling games during rainy weather and splitting the games between Sunset and the Main Street Park field. The leagues concern is that the concession stand is at Sunset Park. Councilman Bylewski stated that he understands the concerns about the concession stands but this is town property. Councilman Kolber stated that the league installed a permanent walk-in freezer/cooler on a concrete pad without Board approval or any permits, new lights were also installed. The patch of trees they want to remove is the only buffer between the two houses that are there and it is the only treed area left in the park. Supervisor Hallock stated that before anything else goes forward, there would be significant relief if the league split the games between Sunset Park and the Main Street Park; other town sport leagues do it.
Councilman Casilio had a conversation with League President Bob Blackmore requesting utilizing Town Security helping pedestrians cross Wehrle Drive. Councilman Casilio informed Mr. Blackmore that the Town could not do that. Our officers are not trained for that and that the league should consider hiring off-duty police officers. Councilman Kolber suggested that if any sports team damages any fields after they have been warned to stay off the field should be held responsible for the damage they cause.
Swormville Volunteer Fire Company
Representatives John Gaulocher, Richard Linde, Don Daigler, Dick Acquino and CPA Gary Krull from the Swormville VFC presented their budget requests to the Town Board.
Mr. Gaulocher stated that Supervisor Hallock informed him that she would entertain a 3% increase. Anything above and beyond that would be considered if it could be justified. Mr. Gaulocher is requesting a 6% increase over last year's budget however; Supervisor Hallock stated that the budget request is actually 12 ½ % over last years budget. Last year's budget request was $176,209.62, this years budget request is $198,315.
John Gaulocher stated that Swormville VFC received funds to purchase $142,000 worth of SCBA equipment (air packs) through a FEMA Grant. The air packs will become obsolete in ten years and federal dollars will probably be non-existent 10 years from now. The fire company feels that it would be prudent to start a reserve fund of $10,000 a year because those units will probably cost $200,000 in ten years.
The fire company feels that is would be fiscally responsible to make an extra $14,000 mortgage payment per year. This will save the taxpayers approximately $139,000 dollars over the life of the mortgage.
They also received a FEMA Grant to purchase new turnout gear and a reserve has been set up for that as well.
Along with their budget submission, the fire company forecasts the need for approximately $1,785,000. for motorized equipment reserves by the year 2010. They raised their budget request from $75,000 to $85,000 when in reality they should be setting aside $105,000 per year for this fund.
Gary Krull gave a brief analysis of required reserve for vehicle replacements. On December 31, 2005 the fire company had $1,000,000. cash on hand, right now there is $925,424 cash on hand. One piece of equipment has already been replaced this year. Beginning with current cash on hand and the estimated monthly operating costs from October 2006 thru February 2007 the cash balance will be depleted to $750,424. Looking at reserve requirements set up by the fire department to replace equipment, they are looking at their need in the future, which is why these reserve funds are set up.
Councilman Kolber said that from information he had obtained, the state is going to start doing audits of fire protection districts. Richard Linde stated that the fire protection districts are going to be required to submit financial statements to the state comptroller. They will not be auditing every fire protection district. Councilman Kolber said he heard that the state is looking for major purchases to be bonded going forward over the life expectancy of that equipment vs. using a replacement reserve fund. The reason being that when a new piece of equipment is purchased, it is the tax payers at that point in time that should be paying for it over the life expectancy usage. Councilman Kolber stated that present day tax payers are then paying for future services. Mr. Gaulocher stated that since the fire company started, it has been Swormville's policy to pay cash for everything. They are one of the most conservative fire companies in the entire town. Councilman Casilio stated that Clarence VFC has a cash only policy as well however, should a homeowner be paying for something that they may not see for 20 years from now.
Don Daigler stated that their present mortgage is at 4.1%. In ten years that could double so it is beneficial to make an extra payment each year. All commercial loans are 10-year renewable. Councilman Bylewski asked if there was a cap on the interest rate and what does it cap out at.
Councilman Kolber asked if Swormville knew where they stood with their budget with the Town of Amherst. John Gaulocher indicated that Supervisor Mohan cut the fire companies budgets by 10% (this years current figures were cut 10%). The fire companies are going to present their requests tomorrow to Supervisor Mohan at a special meeting and Councilman Kindle is going to make a motion to approve all the budgets as presented. The funding will come out of the drainage fund which is over funded by 59%. Amherst Councilman Kindle has indicated that he had the majority of the Town Board behind him.
Richard Linde asked what alternatives does Swormville VFC have if this keeps happening, where the Town of Amherst does not give them their requested budgeted amount and they get their requested budgeted amount from the Town of Clarence. How can this be corrected without hurting the fire department or the Clarence tax payers.
Councilman Bylewski asked if anyone knew how many other fire companies statewide straddled two jurisdictions. John Gaulocher did not have an exact number but indicated that there were numerous companies.
John Gaulocher stated that their 12.5% budget request is basically in reserves. The vehicle replacement program is 20 years for a pumper, 15 years for a rescue truck, 10 - 15 years for the ambulance and the chief's vehicle is every three years. Currently Swormville has a truck that is 23 years old that they can not even give away. They know that these vehicles will have to be replaced in the future. Swormville has arrangements with East Amherst regarding the utilization of their equipment. Councilman Kolber questioned whether it would be better to lease the chief's vehicles. John Gaulocher stated they purchase them off state contract and then they resell them. That money gets put into the equipment reserve fund.
The Town Board commended Swormville VFC for the presentation they gave last evening.
Councilman Bylewski stated that he would like to see the projections going forward and one thing that would help him would be a vehicle replacement schedule and what the residents would have to pay if the vehicles were not replaced.
The Town of Amherst increased Swormville VFC budget by $8,700 this year. Their budget was cut $13,000 last year.
John Gaulocher stated that the company has $90,000 in reserve that they can not touch because of litigation.
Councilman Kolber said that he appreciates all Swormville VFC does, he can not justify a 12.5% increase in one year. John Gaulocher stated that he can understand that and that it is all in the reserves. They held the line at 3% on everything else. The gas bill and insurance went up more than 3%.
Councilman Bylewski questioned the reserves and the extra mortgage payment. He would like to see what the cap is and how often the mortgage is reviewed.
Director of Community Development James Callahan
Director of Community Development James Callahan received an e-mail from Tyson Smith giving the status of the Adequate Public Facilities Law.
The Master Plan amendments are being reviewed by TEQR. Jim Callahan is anticipating an action at the October meeting after which it will be forwarded to the Town Board for adoption.
Williamsville School District has said their participation hinges on the Town agreeing to defend them in the event of a law suit. Town Attorney Bengart has already advised the Board against this. It should be noted that in Clarence Central's Memorandum of Understanding we agreed to hold them harmless" which is different and does not involve the type of liability for the Town as would an agreement to defend.
Parks calculation was based on assessed values single family home fee of $398/lot. This would cover the cost of the land (only) associated with parks based on the Town's existing level of service of 14 acres/1,000 population.
Fire Flow: No agency has been willing to accept responsibility for this facility. Councilman Bylewski suggested this issue be reviewed in the TEQR/SEQR process.
Fire/EMS: The Fire/EMS companies have, at least preliminarily bought into the concept of evaluating capacity vs. demand annually. Councilman Bylewski will have to review this again with the fire chiefs; the presidents are more on board with the idea because some of them have been involved with the APF Ordinance.
Roads: No agency (county or state) has been willing to accept responsibility for these facilities. It was discussed that these issues be reviewed in the TEQR/SEQR process.
Councilman Scott Bylewski
Councilman Bylewski made the Board aware of an ongoing issue about getting cable television service to Salt Road. Councilman Bylewski has not heard back from Time/Warner about the possibility of having them come in as an agenda item where they will meet with the Salt Road residents to explain the issue and the cost involved. As far as Time/Warner is concerned, the density does not exist for them to be compelled to cable that area per the franchise agreement.
Several residents on Salt Road near Hunts Corners paid Adelphia Cable the added cost to bring out the cable and took care of it that way.
Councilman Casilio stated that he reviewed the Historical Survey and noted some things can be removed from the survey.
Councilman Bernard Kolber
During Swormville VFC presentation last week, they talked about dead-end fire lines and dead-end fire issues. Councilman Kolber stated that he lives on a long dead end street that is served by a portion of only a 6" water main. From an engineering standpoint, Councilman Kolber would like to find out what lines can be looped where there may be flow issues. Town Engineer Latona will discuss this with Erie County Water Authority to see if they have a data base with this information.
Councilman Kolber is working with the Historical Society about getting sprinklers installed in the building.
Councilman Patrick Casilio
Councilman Casilio stated that he would like to get the sewer issue with the Town of Amherst resolved. Councilman Bylewski stated that counsel is having a difficult time communicating with the Town of Amherst.
Councilman Casilio commended the area fire departments and parks security for the good job they did over the weekend.
Councilman Casilio has called both police agencies to schedule regular meetings to keep the Board abreast of what is going on within the Town. Councilman Casilio further stated that he is pricing possible enhancement to video systems throughout the town and the parks.
Town Attorney Steven Bengart
Town Attorney Bengart distributed a letter to the Town Board from Renaldo & Palumbo regarding the Rubino development. They are requesting that in advance of SEQR and the in and out of district issue that the Town Board meet with the DEC, EC SD#5 and the Town of Amherst representatives to try to resolve the issue in advance. Councilman Kolber stated that Town Attorney Bengart has previously made a recommendation on this issue and he felt the Board should go forward with that recommendation. Prior to this, the DEC did not agree to Lead Agency status however, they have now and they would like to meet with the Town prior to taking any action on SEQR. Town Attorney Bengart has recommended the Town Board rescind the Positive Declaration. Councilman Bylewski questioned how does this parcel being sewered help the Harris Hill area and does it conform to the Master Plan. Town Attorney Bengart stated that would be reviewed in the SEQR process. Set back from the road was also an issue with this project along with whether this was an Open Space incentive or a regular subdivision.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Kolber to enter into Executive Session pursuant to § 105(1) A matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed, § 105(1) F the appointment of a corporation. Town Attorney Bengart had one attorney client item to discuss. Upon roll call Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Weiss. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the Work Session was adjourned at 10:50 A.M.
Darcy A. Snyder
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Casilio to adjourn the Executive Session at 11:05 A.M. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Weiss. Motion carried. No action taken.