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League of Women Voters of New Castle, NY

P.O. Box 364, Chappaqua, NY  10514.    e-mail: lwv.newcastle@gmail.com

Observer Notes
New Castle Town Board June 13, 2006-Sept. 25,2007


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The League of Women Voters of New Castle is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages citizens to play an informed and active role in government. Basic to all our activities is observing how government at all levels is working. League observers attend local public meetings and provide the following reports.  The League needs more observers, even if available only part time--if interested, plase email lwvnewcastle@optonline.net

On this page are observer notes of some New Castle Town Board meetings:
In 2006: June 13, June 27, Sept. 26; in 2007: April 17 and Sept. 25.
A separate page has earlier notes (Town Board Feb.-May 2006)

For Chappaqua Central School District:
Board of Education observer notes for 2007
Board of Education Dec. 2005-through 2006;  

Chappaqua Library Board observer notes 2005-2006 .


Joint Board of Education and Town Board Meeting Sept. 25, 2007

Summary: The Boards heard a number of brief reports including those on emergency preparedness, New Castle Cares, NCCTV, and the status of the Summit-Greenfield plans. As information was presented, members of both boards had an opportunity to respond and to raise issues for further investigation.


Town Board Members Present:  Supervisor Janet Wells, Deputy supervisor Barbara Gerrard, John Buckley, Elise Kessler Mottel, Robin Stout
Board Members Present: President Janet Benton, Robert Gursha, Susan Habermann, Jay Shapiro, Jeffrey Mester
Faculty Present: Asst. Superintendent John Chow, Asst. Superintendent Dr. Lyn McKay

The Boards heard brief reports from several groups:

Jason Chapin, of New Castle Cares reported on a number of their activities for the past year. They have been involved in updating the Parent Guide for Middle School and High School, promoting Skate Park activities, and have sponsored meetings to raise parental awareness of high-risk behaviors in children. Mr. Chapin asked for School Board support for administering a youth survey for grades 6 to 12 to help analyze risk factors in the community. It would cost about $1200 and would require training teachers to administer the survey. Janet Benton and other Board of Education members raised issues about the amount of academic time needed to train teachers and to administer the survey. Mr. Chapin will present more information at a future Board of Education meeting and the Board will consider the issue further. Janet Wells lauded the work of the New Castle Cares group but was uncertain of the Town Board’s role in supporting the group.

Ms. Wells updated the school board on the status of the Summit-Greenfield plans for the Readers’ Digest property. The Town Board has taken the role of lead agency and is awaiting a scoping document from Summit-Greenfield. On Oct. 10, Summit-Greenfield will make a presentation to the Board of Education.

John Buckley reported on emergency preparedness. The ambulance corps, police, CERT, PTA and other town organizations are involved. Communications is a major concern and the hope of having a command center in town was raised. A second concern is having auxiliary generators at each school. Currently only 2 schools have generators. Janet Wells reported that in the storm last spring, Metro-North had called to alert Chappaqua that train routes would be ending there, leaving approximately 6,000 to 8,000 riders stranded and probably taken to Bell School. Although this event did not materialize, it highlighted problems with our current preparedness plans. Ms. Benton also expressed concern about generators, since without them, schools would not be able to shelter students in emergency situations.

Ms. Wells announced that the North Greeley path is a dead issue since several property owners have refused to consent to easements on their properties.

Ms. Wells announced that after double engineering studies, the Town Board feels that a basketball court would be too expensive. They are hoping that the Recreation Commission will find alternative funding.

Ms. Wells raised the question of town use of school facilities and fields. The original agreements are dated and there is confusion about costs and availability. A committee will work on those issues.

Carrie Krams, station manager of NCCTV reported on their activities. She asked about more funding, more space at the high school, and ideas for programming beyond the current PTA programs. Dr. McKay reported that the school district had looked into expanding the current NCCTV space and found that it would be very costly. Ms. Benton talked about the possibilities of other programming but said it had not been a focus of the Board of Education. Dr. McKay offered the possibility of grappling with developing other programming.

The Boards also briefly discussed school dismissal problems, agreements about police help at the schools, and library staff parking.

 

Joint Town Board/ Planning Board Meeting and
Town Board Work Session  April 17, 2007

Town Board Members Present:  Janet Wells, Supervisor; Barbara Gerrard, Deputy Supervisor; John Buckley, Elise Kessler Mottel, Robin Stout

Planning Board Members Present:  Robert Anesi, Chair; June Blanc, Susan Carpenter, Laurie Droughton Matthews.  Absent:  Robert Brownell

Note:  A joint meeting with the Planning Board was scheduled for 6:30 and posted as such on the Town website, but the announcement Board at Town Hall showed a Town Board meeting at 7:30.  As a result other members of the public only arrived at the later time and missed most of the session with the Planning Board.

Joint Meeting with Planning Board

A joint meeting with the Planning Board began with introductions.  Susan Carpenter, a newly appointed member of the Planning Board, attended for the first time.  She replaces Tom Curley, who resigned. 

The proposed Law on Residential Building Floor Area was the first item on the agenda.  A new draft has moved away from using the word, or concept, of ratio and just expressed the Maximum Permitted Floor Area for each lot area in terms of square feet based on a mathematical formula.  It was felt to be more specific and thus easier to understand and interpret.  Attics have been taken out of the calculation, but garages and basements are left in.

Barbara Gerrard commented that they "need to get something on the books" that is concrete and specific.  It can always be tweaked and amended if practice shows a need for that.  Robert Anesi said that the rules were needed but should not be too strict in order to allow the Planning Board to use discretion when needed.  This led to a question that was raised but not resolved at this meeting: Should all site plans be subject to Planning Board approval, or perhaps only certain properties?

The Town Planner discussion began with Elise Kessler Mottel providing background in describing the needs revealed by the Reader's Digest property proposals, to have someone coordinate all aspects of the process and guide the Town Board on the whole picture. Other towns with planners have been interviewed and each has done it differently.  Some are still left to be interviewed.

Mr. Anesi spoke of the need to have someone help in leading the future planning aspects since the Planning Board feels more like a "Reacting Board" than a Planning Board.  Ms. Gerrard noted the need for better connections among the Town Board, Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and other town boards. A coordinator is needed to see the whole picture on issues like parking, affordable housing, etc.

Planning Board members were concerned about the role of Frederick P. Clark Associates [long-time planning consultants to the Planning Board].  There was a feeling that those services should not be replaced right now.  The point was also made that applications should undergo more review before applicants came before the Planning Board in order to save time and money for all.  However, it would not be possible for one person to do everything.  Town Administrator Jerry Faiella suggested a working group be set up to look at the details and develop a plan.

The Joint Planning Board/Town Board session was then concluded, and the Town Board Work Session was convened.

Town Board Work Session

Residents of Taylor Road came to discuss the tree removal and replacement program prompted by the need to remove 21 of the extensive alley of trees because of safety hazards.  A report by Cornell Cooperative Extension reviewed the situation and offered a number of options.  Con Edison has been conducting a major trimming and removal operation throughout the county in order to protect their power lines.  Residents offered a number of pleas and suggestions to preserve the look of their area, but there are also some difficult factors and expenses involved in any solution acceptable to them.  There are limits to what the taxpayers can finance to preserve this neighborhood.  The Town Board will have to resolve these questions.

Chair Joyce Kerulo and Ed Habermann of the Recreation & Parks Commission were present to discuss with the Town Board the proposal to change from a Commission to an Advisory Board.  Reasons mentioned by Supervisor Wells for suggesting the change were that the seven-year term in the experience of the Town Board seemed to be an obstacle to attracting members; that seven members required seven-year terms; and that there were issues with respect to town property and staff reporting relationships.

Commissioner Habermann reiterated his belief that an Advisory Board or Committee by definition had only the ability to advise the Town Board and leave the decisions to them. Chair Kerulo raised the question of whether there was some middle ground which would allow the Town Board to get what they wanted short of making the change to an Advisory Board.

The overlap of functions between the Recreation & Parks Commission and the Environmental Advisory Boards was cited as another reason for integrating them under Town aegis.  It was noted, for example, that trail maintenance on town properties is not under the jurisdiction of Parks Department.  It was suggested that perhaps members of the Environmental Boards should have representation on the Commission to help that integration.

Issues with respect to the Recreation Commission's Master Plan project were discussed.   Supervisor Wells pointed out that a survey was sent out without checking the content with the Town Board (it contained errors); and that only the Supervisor was interviewed by the consultants and her replies were not kept confidential.  The consultants had included in a May 2006 Memo some pros and cons of making the change from a Commission to an Advisory Board.  Therefore the Commission should have been aware that this was on the table.  The Town Board thought that the Commission had been kept up to date by the consultants, while the Commissioners responded that the consultants they had hired met for the first time with them "a week ago." 

The Board members then convened an Executive Session to discuss some of the personnel aspects of the situation.


 

New Castle Town Board Meeting September 26, 2006

Present:  Town Board:  Janet Wells, Supervisor; Robin Stout, Elise Kessler Mottel, Barbara Gerrard, John Buckley
Others:  Clinton Smith, Town Counsel; Genaro Faiella, Town Administrator; Penellen Paderewski, Deputy Town Administrator; and Jill Simon Shapiro, Town Clerk

The meeting began with several announcements:

1.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Westchester County has provided material that is available at the reception desk in Town Hall.

2.  The Civil Air Patrol will hold a meeting at Westchester County Airport on September 30th.  The topic for discussion is the important role of aviation and space travel for America’s current and future success.

3.  Material has been posted on the Town website relating to legal information for seniors and their caregivers.

4.  The annual Halloween Ragamuffin Parade will take place on Sunday, October 22 in downtown Chappaqua.  The rain date is Sunday, October 29, and the parade will be held in the Bell School if it rains that day as well.                       

5.  On September 29, at 3:00 PM at Town Hall, there will be a memorial service for Linda Peterson, former Receiver of Taxes, who passed away on September 10th.  Her husband and family intend to attend the service.

Supervisor’s Report

 The Supervisor reported on several matters, including the following:

1. Green flyers have been distributed, announcing the scoping meetings in connection with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be prepared by the developers who purchased the Readers Digest Property.  Those sessions will be held at Town Hall on September 26th, after the conclusion of the Town Board meeting, and on October 4th from 3:30-5:30 and 7:30-9:00 PM.  The Board encourages residents to come to the sessions to learn about the development and  to provide to the Board issues that residents believe should be discussed in the DEIS.  Written comments may also be submitted to the Board.  [After the meeting, the deadline for submitting written comments was extended to 5:00 PM on Friday, October 13th. 

2.  The Project for Public Spaces is the facilitator hired by New Castle to assist in developing a hamlet plan.  Planning workshops will be held at the Bell School on October 14th from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM and on November 2 from 6:00-9:00 PM.

3.  The planners the New Castle hired to assist the Board with its responsibilities regarding the development of the Readers Digest property will hold two identical “visioning” workshops.  These workshops are tentatively scheduled for November 16 in the evening and November 18 in the morning.  The dates, times, and locations will be finalized and posted on the Town website.

Town Administrator’s Report: The Town Administrator reported that work is proceeding on the construction of a sidewalk along Route 120 North.

Public Hearing On Cablevision:  The hearing was postponed until November 14th.

Public Comment/New Business

1.  Advanced Life Support System Consortium:   A resident asked the Board to justify its decision to renew the Town’s contract to participate in the Northern Westchester consortium providing ALS services and how much more the Town would pay to participate in the consortium than the amount she understood the dedicated fly car would cost.  She also expressed concern that the Board has not made progress on establishing an ALS Committee.

2.  Millwood Task Force
On behalf of the Millwood Taskforce, a representative reported that the Millwood Fire Commissioners had passed the proposed budget.  The new budget reduces the amount of tax revenue to be deposited in the reserve fund, which in turn reduces the taxes that current residents will pay.  The Task Force representative said the Fire Commissioners expressed concern that current residents were bearing too much of the cost of future Fire Department needs.  He also reported that two meetings of the Commissioners has been moved from the fourth Monday of the month to Wednesday, October 25th and Wednesday, December 20th.  He reminded the Board that the Millwood Task Force meets on the first Thursday of every month at Firehouse #2. 

Other Matters

The Board acted on a variety of other matters, including the following

1.  It authorized the Supervisor to sign certain change orders and a license agreement.

2.  It awarded contracts for culvert replacement and residential refuse collection, recycling, transfer, and disposal.

3.  It approved the renewal of a contract regarding yearly rental rates for equipment; the hiring of an auctioneering firm to conduct an auction to sell certain Town vehicles and equipment, and the related list of items to be auctioned; and the purchase of Historic Landmark plaques by the Town Historian.

4. It authorized specific Town employees to attend conferences applicable to their positions and approved specific expenditures related to those conferences.

5.  It authorized the American Cancer Society to hold a bake sale on October 10, 2006 at Town Hall.
6. It took a variety of other administrative actions, including the acceptance of the resignation of the Court Clerk, who is retiring; the approval of the appointments of a new Court Clerk and a new member of the Millwood Task Force; and the approval of the settlement of certain cable franchise legal fee litigation.
The meeting was adjourned, after which the first scoping session on the Readers Digest property Draft Environmental Impact Statement was held.


New Castle Town Board Meeting June 27, 2006

Town Board members present:  Supervisor Janet Wells, Elise Kessler Mottel, Barbara Gerrard, John Buckley

Others present:  Town Counsel Clinton Smith, Town Administrator Genaro Faiella, Deputy Town Administrator Penellen Paderewski, and Town Clerk Jill Simon Shapiro

Announcements:

There is no Town Board meeting on July 5th; the next meeting will take place on July 11.  On that date, there will first be a joint working session for the Town Board and the School Board, followed by separate meetings of the two Boards.

New Castle Cable TV is sponsoring a film and video festival. New Castle residents of all ages and levels of experience are invited to submit short films and videos.  The application fee is $20.  The application can be downloaded from NCC’s website, www.ncctv.org.

The gazebo concerts, sponsored by the Recreation Department, will take place on four consecutive Wednesday evenings, at 7 PM, starting on July 5.   They will be held at the Recreation Field adjacent to Town Hall or, in the case of rain, in Bell.  Residents are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, and dinner.  Detailed information about the concerts is available on the Town website.

The law now requires that cell phones be recycled.  Used cell phones can be left at the Recycling Center.

The skate board park in the train station parking lot is now open daily from noon to 5 PM. 

The Town Board officially welcomed the New NCCTV Station Manager, Carrie Kram.

The lecture sponsored by the Westchester Polio Survivors Club that was held at the Congregational Church was filmed by NCCTV and is being shown several times a day.  Also CSPAN Book TV will broadcast the lecture.

The Women’s Bar Association, in partnership with Hudson Valley Bank, is sponsoring a collection of old cell phones and chargers to be made available to victims of domestic violence to call for help.

Board member Elise Kessler Mottel praised the New Castle Police and Fire Departments for their assistance after a car accident.

A test of the Emergency Alert Sirens is scheduled for June 28th, between 10 and 11 AM.  All 156 sirens within a 10 mile radius of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant will sound.  There may be additional test blowing of the sirens during the day.  If there is a real emergency, the sirens will be followed by emergency radio bulletins.

Supervisor’s Report: 

The Supervisor reported on several matters, including the following:

On June 19th, Supervisor Wells went to Albany in support of the application that had been made to New York State requesting a segment tax rate for those New Castle residents who are in the Ossining School District.  These residents were granted special tax rates in 2004 and 2005, and it has been determined that they are again eligible in 2006.  A decision is expected on July 27th.

Members of Town government attended a seminar on June 19th regarding Westchester County’s preparations in anticipation of a bird flu pandemic.  Additional information gathered at a meeting of all New York State Town managers has been provided to the Board.  The World Health Organization has confirmed human-to human spread of the virus.  Supervisor Wells will meet with emergency responders in Town to discuss preparation for a crisis, including dissemination of educational information, material on the steps that individuals can take to prepare, and how the emergency responders will allocate responsibilities among themselves.  Supervisor Wells reported that the fire, ambulance, and CERT groups are already well organized.  She hopes to have material on this issue available for the public in time for Community Day.

Town Administrator’s Report:

The Town Administrator reported on several matters, including the following:

The Route 120 sidewalk project is currently underway.  Road work takes place between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM. 

The grant request for funds to construct a sidewalk along Route 117, from Route 120 to Old Farm Lake Road and a path to South Greeley Avenue has been filed with the State Department of Transportation

Westchester County has received a report assessing proposed flight pattern changes at Westchester County Airport.  The changes will result in significantly increased flight noise in certain parts of New Castle, in some cases exceeding FAA limits.  The Town intends to respond.  One resident suggested that the echoes of fireworks set off around the July 4th holiday would give a good example of the impact of increased flight noise.  A member of the Millwood Taskforce raised a concern that the new flight plan permits flights over the Indian Point Nuclear Plant.  The Town did not receive notice of the report until a few days before the July 1 due date for comments.  The Town will ask for additional time to respond.

Cablevision Public Hearing- Adjourned to July 25th

Public Comment/New Business

The Town Board members received thanks from Town residents in the Ossining School District for their efforts to secure a more equitable tax rate.

Autographed copies of the book by the polio survivor who spoke at the Congregational Church are available at the Second Story Book Store.

The County Emergency Response Team (CERT) is working actively with Town employees to determine their roles in the event of a crisis.  CERT is hoping to have a meeting and to get more residents involved.  In light of the recent storms in town, CERT believes that residents should be shown how to deal with downed electrical poles.

A resident in the West side of Town raised concerns about the biotic corridor scheduled to be built between Croton and Highlands.   This corridor will result in more rules regarding wetlands and could affect construction, increase the difficulty and cost of getting variances, and have an adverse impact on property values.  She complained that the Town did not contact residents who own parcels of land large enough to be affected by the corridor.  She believes that the issue of biodiversity is being addressed solely in the West side of New Castle while other communities have involved the entire town.  She asked the Board to provide to Town residents more information on the biotic corridor and in the future to include landowners in discussions.

A member of the Millwood Taskforce updated the Board on the situation regarding the use of Firehouse #1 as a Millwood polling place.  Firehouse #1 will no longer be used as a polling place. One district that had voted in the firehouse will now vote at West Orchard School.  The other district will vote at Firehouse #2, assuming approval for that location is obtained.

Residents spoke about the proposed development of the Readers Digest property.  The issue was raised that the proposed density for the Readers Digest property is too great in light of the Town’s Master Plan.  The stakeholders in this development are not just the neighbors of the property, but all residents because they will be affected by the increase in density.  Ideas for alternatives should be solicited from all Town residents. It was suggested that the Board consider imposing a moratorium on all development, have a planner meet with all the stakeholders in this property, and propose a comprehensive recommendation.

 The issue of the Advanced Life Support system was raised in light of a report that it took an ambulance 10 minutes to reach the site of a fatal car accident.  The for-profit alternative provider has promised a three-minute response time. The Board said that the Advanced Life Support Committee had not yet been formed, but should be part of the Town’s emergency planning.  The Board also said that the ALS contract with the consortium of northern Westchester towns was still in negotiation.

Other matters

Authorization for Public Hearing-Extension of Water District.  A public hearing will take place on July 25th on a proposal to include all of Hudson Hills, the firehouse on Route 134, and four private homes in the water district.

Authorization to Adopt a Public Declaration regarding Chappaqua Crossing-tabled

Authorization to use Town Property.  The Saw Mill River Audubon Society was authorized to hold a bird seed sale in the Town Hall parking lot on October 14th and 15th.  These dates represent a change from the dates on which the Society was originally authorized to use Town property.

Authorization to Hire a Part-time Assistant in the Comptroller’s Office-postponed

The Supervisor was authorized to sign a $9,000 cash bond agreement to ensure the completion of certain site improvements.

The Town Board authorized the Recreation & Parks Department to request bids for a new truck.

The Town Board approved several resolutions including resolutions to approve conference attendance by Town employees, to release a CD in response to the completion of a certain subdivision, and to hire 5 seasonal employees for the Department of Public Works. 

The Board accepted certain audited vouchers and the monthly report of the Court Clerk and approved the June 6th Town Board minutes.


New Castle Town Board Meeting June 13, 2006

Town Board members present:  Supervisor Janet Wells, Robin Stout, Elise Kessler Mottel, Barbara Gerrard, and John Buckley

Others present:  Town Counsel Clinton Smith, Town Administrator Genaro Faiella, Deputy Town Administrator Penellen Paderewski, and Town Clerk Jill Simon Shapiro

Announcements:

1.  Presiding at this meeting will be a young man whose parents purchased “Be Supervisor for a Day,” donated by the Town to a Chappaqua School Foundation auction.

2.  The gazebo concerts, sponsored by the Recreation Department, will take place on four consecutive Wednesday evenings, at 7 PM, starting on July 5.  

3.  The law now requires that cell phones be recycled.  Used cell phones can be left at the Recycling Center.

4. New Castle Cable TV is sponsoring a film and video festival. New Castle residents of all ages and levels of experience are invited to submit short films and videos.  The application fee is $20.  The application can be downloaded from NCC’s website, www.ncctv.org.

5.  The skate board park in the train station parking lot first opened on weekends from noon to 5 PM.  As of June 24th, it is open 7 days a week, from noon to 5 PM.

6.  Road work began on June 14th to construct a sidewalk from Marcourt Road to the Route 120 bridge.  It is anticipated that the sidewalk will be completed before schools reopen in September.

Supervisor’s Report:  

The Supervisor reported on several matters, including the following:

1.  An application has been sent to New York State requesting a segment tax rate for those New Castle residents who are in the Ossining School District.  These residents were granted special tax rates in 2004 and 2005, and it has been determined that they are again eligible in 2006.

2.  Certain Board members will attend a seminar on June 19th about the preparations required in anticipation of a bird flu pandemic.  In addition, all Town employees and first responders will attend local or regional training workshops sponsored by the National Incident Management System.

3.  On July 11, the Town and School board will hold a joint work session from 7PM to 8PM, after which each Board will hold its own separate meeting.

4.  Police Chief Breen and was honored for his efforts to protect the citizens of Westchester from the potential health risks from the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.  He has also been named to the New York State Homeland Security Board. 

5.  The Board congratulated Deputy Town Administrator Penellen Paderewski on her Honorable Mention award for the New Castle Weight Watchers program.

6.  The Board made a tribute to Antonio Correia, NCCTV’s director, camerman, and all around master facilitator for his success in building the station, providing effective and interesting coverage of New Castle, and cooperating with requests from various groups to televise specific events, such as the call-in Candidates’ Nights sponsored by the League of Women Voters.  Under Antonio’s guidance, NCCTV has won 20 awards in the last 2 years.  Antonio is moving and the board presented him with Community Emergency Response Team gear, including a vest and knapsack of emergency supplies.

Town Administrator’s Report:

The Town Administrator reported on several matters, including the following:

1.  In connection with the construction of the Route 120 sidewalk, the route has been laid out and warning signs have been installed.  It is not anticipated that the entire road will have to been closed during the construction, but there will be times when the only one lane will be open.

2.  A grant request will be filed with the State Department of Transportation for funds to construct a sidewalk along Route 117, from Route 120 to Old Farm Lake Road and a path to South Greeley Avenue.

3.  On May 24th, there was a meeting with the Lawrence Farms Neighborhood Association to discuss the installation of a culvert.  The members will also discuss whether to seek approval for constructing a sewer line with two connection points to the County sewer line.

4.  On May 31, there was a meeting with the property and home owners affected by the Allen Street project.

Presentation by Project for Public Spaces

            The Board has selected a facilitator, Project for Public Spaces, to assist the Town in formulating a hamlet plan.  Meg Walker, a representative from PPS attended the Town Board meeting and made a presentation.  For a description of that presentation, see the Local Planning Update on the home page under Chappaqua Hamlet Plan.

Public Hearings

There was a public hearing regarding a proposal to change the permitted duration for parking from one hour to two hours along certain areas of Greeley Avenue.  After the public hearing was closed, the Board unanimously approved the change.

There was a public hearing to consider the extension of the Brevoort Road Sewer District to include an additional house.  After the public hearing was closed, the Board unanimously approved the extension.

Public Comment/New Business

Cost of Facilitator for Hamlet Plan

            The Board is currently negotiating the contract with Project for Public Spaces and cannot provide information at this time regarding the cost of the facilitator.

Millwood Taskforce

A representative of the Millwood Taskforce, expressed the view that it was valuable for students to observe the process of local government and suggested that arrangements be made to provide high school students with opportunities to participate in Town government.

He also presented to the Board a letter regarding the decision of the Millwood Fire Commissioners to eliminate Firehouse #1 as a polling location for elections because of concerns that the building is unsafe and the difficulty of moving the fire engines out of the station on election days.  The Board suggested that the letter be sent to the County Board of Elections, which is responsible for all election issues, including the designation of polling places.

He also thanked the League of Women Voters for sending postcards to remind voters that the elections to select members of the School and Library Boards were taking place.

Preparation for Public Health Emergencies

Concern was expressed about the extent to which the Town is prepared to deal with a serious public health crisis.  There is a serious risk that the County will experience a serious pandemic, which will overwhelm currently available hospital and medical resources.  Coordination among all emergency workers, Town employees, and residents is essential to assure that New Castle is as well prepared as possible.  The resources and facilities of the local schools may be needed to help deal with an influx of residents who require assistance.  It is important that efforts commence immediately to prepare for a potential emergency.

Department of Recreation

The Department of Recreation was congratulated for its fine work and innovative programs.  Concern was raised that there are currently three vacancies on the Board, increasing the work load of the current members and creating a risk that there will be difficulty getting a quorum at certain meetings.  The Board commented that it has not received any communications from the current Chair of the Department informing it of difficulties arising as a result of the vacancies.  The Board has received applications for the positions, but has held off appointing new members because of the impending completion of the Town’s Master Plan.  That Plan may contain recommendations regarding the Department of Recreation, and the Board wants to take those into consideration in making new appointments.  It may be difficult to achieve the desired diversity on the Board considering that the term is seven years.

Development of Readers Digest Property

Clinton Smith, Town Attorney, announced that the Town’s special counsel has told the developer’s attorney that no scoping hearings regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be held until the Fall.

Authorization for Supervisor to Sign 

The Board authorized the Supervisor to sign several contracts, including the following:  a service contract with ERC for maintenance of office equipment, a contract with the Westchester County Office of the Aging under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to provide meals for homebound residents, a contract with James J. Hahn to provide supervision for the Route 120 sidewalk construction project, a contract with New Castle Auto Center to repair police vehicles, a modification to the contract with the New York Department of Transportation regarding reimbursement for snow and ice removal, and a retainer agreement to hire special counsel to deal with certain personnel matters.

Authorization to Approve 

The Board approved several resolutions, including resolutions appointing the Board as the lead agency for overseeing development of the Readers Digest property; approving an application to the Transportation Enhancement Agency for funds to construct a sidewalk along Route 117, from Route 120 to Old Farm Lake Road, and a path from Route 117 through the Greeley woods to South Greeley Avenue; adopting a Cyber Security Citizen Notification Policy;  approving a waiver of a tax penalty, a waiver from the noise ordinance for a pool party at the Mount Kisco Country Club, a refund of a street opening permit bond, and requests to use Town property by the Saw Mill River Audubon Society for a seed sale in the Town Hall parking lot and by the Chappaqua Quakers for an exhibit in the circle in front of the train station; and approving a budget transfer for the purchase of a new copy machine 

Appointments 

The Board approved the appointments of a police sergeant, summer interns, and a Town Prosecutor.  It also authorized a reappointment of a Court Attendant because the original resolution contained an incorrect job title.

Authorizations to Bid 

The Board authorized the Town Administrator to seek bids for a drainage and sanitary sewer project for Lawrence Farms South.

Correspondence

The Board authorized the Town Administrator to send letters to the NY State DOT regarding the Route 120 bridge design and to the NY State DEC regarding storm water drains.
Acceptance of Reports 

The Board accepted the monthly reports of the Town clerk, the Receiver of Taxes, and the Building and Engineering Department.


Updated Oct. 27, 2009 by Valerie Castleman

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