West Seneca Town Board Meeting Minutes 05/04/2009
Supervisor Wallace C. Piotrowski called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with 30 seconds of silent prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Absent - None
Supervisor Piotrowski read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or an emergency.
The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Patrick Paladino, former Erie County Legislator Raymond Dusza, and former U.S. Congressman Jack Kemp.
7-A MINUTES TO BE APPROVED
7-B LEGAL NOTICES
1. Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: “OF THE ADOPTED CHANGE IN THE ZONING ORDINANCE FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 3218 & 3224 TRANSIT ROAD, BEING PART OF LOT NOS. 51 & 52, CHANGING ITS CLASSIFICATION FROM C-1 TO C-2(S), FOR A NEW CAR SHOWROOM” in the Town of West Seneca, received and filed. (Transitowne Kia)
7-C TABLED ITEMS
1. Moran rezoning request
Received and filed.
2. Appointment of Town Attorney, Deputy Town Attorney & Town Prosecutors
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to remove this item from the table.
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Graber, to appoint Gregory J. Perla, as Town Attorney at an annual salary of $40,000 effective May 4, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Graber, to appoint Shawn P. Martin, as Deputy Town Attorney at an annual salary of $25,000 effective May 4, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
7-C TABLED ITEMS
3. Credit card policy
Remained on the table.
4. Ice rink engineering services proposal
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to remove this item from the table.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to accept the professional engineering services proposal submitted by Carmina-Wood-Morris, 487 Main Street, Suite 600, Buffalo, NY 14203, in the amount of $30,000 for providing professional engineering services on the Ice Rink Study, noting that funding will be under 1.7141.0445.
5. Bid date for Collins Avenue Reconstruction Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to remove this item from the table.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to continue with the bid process for the Collins Avenue Reconstruction Project with the understanding that there will be curbs only, no sidewalks, for Collins Avenue north of Mineral Springs Road.
On the question, Councilman Graber stated that the residents of Collins Avenue north of Mineral Springs Road submitted a petition stating that they were opposed to curbs and sidewalks on their road. It was explained to the residents that curbing is important for snow removal and storm water runoff, but the sidewalks were removed from the project.
1. Supervisor Piotrowski re Special election
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to open discussion on setting the particulars for the Special Election scheduled for June 3, 2009.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that the Town Board has had over a year to consider dates, times, locations, and the text of the proposition and they should be in a position to schedule these at this time. The Erie County Board of Elections forwarded to Town Clerk Patricia DePasquale the cost of running a Special Election which is required because the Town Board did not schedule it during last year’s Primary or General Election where no additional cost would have been incurred. The cost to run the Special Election with five polling locations from 8:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. would be $6710.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to schedule a special meeting for May 13, 2009 at 7:00 P.M. at the West Seneca Town Hall to discuss and set the criteria for the Special Election to be held on June 3, 2009, noting that the newly hired Town Attorney and Deputy Town Attorney need to get up to speed on this issue.
On the question, Councilwoman Meegan questioned if this would give Town Clerk Patricia DePasquale the 20 days required by the Election Law.
Councilman Graber responded that Thursday, May 14th was 20 days from the Special Election.
2. Supervisor Piotrowski re Reassignment of White Collar Laborer Michael Demma to Sewer Department
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to reassign Michael Demma, White Collar Laborer, from the AmeriCorps assignment to the Sewer Department to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of John Kelly.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski stated that Michael Demma is a town employee that has been on loan to AmeriCorps since 2000 and AmeriCorps reimburses the town for his salary and health insurance, although when Mr. Demma retires in the future AmeriCorps will not be reimbursing the town for his retirement and pension. Town Engineer George Montz was seeking to fill a position in the Sewer Department and received resumes; however, Supervisor Piotrowski did not believe it would be right to fill the position and then have that person bumped by Mr. Demma at some point in the future. This was not addressed in the grant agreement signed by Councilwoman Bove and needed to be addressed at this point. Supervisor Piotrowski further commented that the town should not have a policy of lending its employees to other groups while keeping them on the town payroll.
Councilman Graber stated that the Town Board had instructed Mr. Montz to advertise this position in the West Seneca Bee, Buffalo News, and on the town’s website. The position required someone with special skills to operate the multi-million dollar sewer system. Mr. Kelly was in charge of the sewer system and the individual Mr. Montz was seeking would also be in charge of the sewer system. Mr. Demma was never asked if he wanted the job and Supervisor Piotrowski never talked to Mr. Montz about this. Mr. Montz had interviews scheduled for tomorrow morning with individuals that were qualified to fill this position. Councilman Graber did not want to put someone in the position that did not have the skills, did not know anything about the sewers, had no electrical background, and also put them in charge of the sewer system.
Mr. Montz agreed and stated that they had discussed in Executive Session the qualifications for this position which included a lot of mechanical and electrical ability. He had received several resumes and would be interviewing these individuals over the next week.
Councilman Graber stated that the Sewer Department is a multi-million dollar operation. There are million dollar pumps, buildings, and emergency electric generators, so they need an individual with both mechanical aptitude and a high level of knowledge for safety so they do not get electrocuted while working on the pumps. Councilman Graber noted that this was not an entry level job; it was the person in charge job. Mr. Kelly, who retired from this position, was a good employee, had over 20 years experience, and came to the town with a lot of mechanical and electrical experience.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that she agreed with Councilman Graber’s comments, but in fairness to Supervisor Piotrowski, his concern was what a White Collar Laborer was and knowing that the title for this position was White Collar Laborer and there were three. Mr. Demma was subcontracted out to AmeriCorps by the town and if AmeriCorps moves from the town in the next few years Mr. Demma could come back and bump whoever is hired for this position.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that Councilman Graber does not respond to his phone calls, so the only way he can get his thoughts on a topic is to put an item on the agenda and find out his intentions that way.
Councilman Graber questioned if Supervisor Piotrowski ever called him on this issue.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that he called Councilman Graber many times and he has never returned his calls over the past year, so he did not call him on this issue. He put the item on the agenda to bring it up for discussion, because Mr. Demma would have bumping rights to any of the three White Collar Laborers in the Sewer Department whether they have the experience or not. If Mr. Demma wanted to come back to work for the town he could bump the person with the lowest seniority irrespective of any qualifications Mr. Montz may put on the job description. Supervisor Piotrowski questioned Councilman Graber’s position on what will happen in the future when AmeriCorps leaves and Mr. Demma comes back to work for the town.
Councilman Graber stated that he had asked Mr. Montz that when they hire an individual to be in charge of the Sewer Department, that person also be instructed and mandated to train the other two individuals that lack the experience and knowledge to take over at this time, so in the event something like this happens or if the individual leaves on his own or retires, they will have someone in-house that possesses the skills to take over.
Supervisor Piotrowski understood this to mean that Councilman Graber wanted the new person to train the other two employees and then be bumped by Mr. Demma when he returns to work for the town.
Councilman Graber stated that Supervisor Piotrowski was speculating. The issue at hand was the Sewer Department, not AmeriCorps or Mr. Demma, and they would deal with that when it happens. The sewer operation costs the taxpayers $7 to $10 million each year and they would not turn it over to someone with no skills in sewers. Councilman Graber stated that although there could be an issue down the road with AmeriCorps and Mr. Demma, it was not the issue at this time. The current issue was who was going to run the Sewer Department.
Supervisor Piotrowski noted that it would be an issue if at some point Mr. Demma comes back to work for the town, has no experience to work in the Sewer Department, and bumps the person in charge when he is not qualified.
Councilman Graber agreed that Mr. Demma was definitely not qualified for the position.
Councilman Clarke stated that Supervisor Piotrowski never contacted him on this issue, but he had talked to Mr. Montz and received the same information as Councilman Graber.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to amend the motion and receive and file this item.
3. Supervisor Piotrowski re Memorandum of agreement with CSEA
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to receive and file this item.
4. Supervisor Piotrowski re Participation in Labor Management Healthcare Fund
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Graber, to adopt the attached resolution approving participation of the Town of West Seneca in the Labor Management Healthcare Fund.
On the question, Councilwoman Meegan stated that she had previously asked Councilwoman Bove why AmeriCorps was part of the Labor Management agreement and Councilwoman Bove’s response was that they always were. Councilwoman Meegan stated that she still did not understand why AmeriCorps was part of this agreement.
Councilwoman Bove stated that at this point AmeriCorps buys the insurance through the town and pays the town for it. They have been part of the town for a number of years and will continue. The Blue Collar, White Collar and PBA are in three separate groups and AmeriCorps was put in a fourth group.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that this would be a fourth group with 17 members. She questioned if their loss experience was their own loss experience or if it would be shared with the town and have any effect on the town’s rates.
Councilwoman Bove responded that AmeriCorps was buying the insurance through the town and suggested that Councilwoman Meegan contact Labor Management with any questions.
5. Supervisor Piotrowski re Lease of postage machine
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to sign a 63-month lease agreement with Advanced Business Machines in the amount of $180.80 per month with a down payment of $4666 for a Hasler IM480 postage machine to replace the current postage machine which lease has expired, noting that this is under NYS Contract #PC61727.
6. Supervisor Piotrowski re Appointment to Library Board
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to accept the resignation of Gail Hoppe as Trustee to the West Seneca Library Board and appoint Brad K. Mazon as Trustee to the West Seneca Library Board effective May 5, 2009.
7. Supervisor Piotrowski re Appointment of Evelyn Hicks to Erie County Environmental Management Council
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to accept the resignation of Alan J. Kerner as the town’s representative on the Erie County Environmental Management Council and appoint Evelyn Hicks, 276 Seneca Creek Road as the town’s representative on the Erie County Environmental Management Council.
8. Supervisor Piotrowski re Memorial Day parade
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to approve the request of the West Seneca Veterans Committee to hold the annual Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 25, 2009 with assembly in the Southgate Plaza parking lot at 10:00 A.M., step-off at 10:30 A.M., and the parade route down Union Road to the Veteran’s Memorial in front of the library.
9. Deputy Town Attorney re Southtown’s Umpire Association agreement
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to execute the Southtown’s Umpire Association contract for the 2009 softball season.
10. Deputy Town Attorney re Outside legal service
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to receive and file this item.
11. Deputy Town Attorney re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $3797 to Drew & Drew, LLP for the search and survey on the Jacob’s estate oxbow property.
12. Town Engineer re Bid date for Spray Pool Water Treatment Project
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of May 26, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for receipt of bids on the Spray Pool Water Treatment Project, Job No. S-0902.
13. Town Engineer re NYSEG backup generator agreement for Warren Avenue Lift Station
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to sign the NYSEG backup generator agreement for the Warren Avenue lift station.
14. Highway Supt. re Bid date for pickup & disposal of paper recyclables>
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of May 22, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for the pickup and disposal of paper recyclables using two (2) ninety-five (95) gallon wheeled totes serviced once per week at the following locations:
Highway Department, 39 South Avenue
15. Highway Supt. re Bid date for purchase of snow plows and dump body
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of May 22, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for the purchase of one (1) 8’ stainless steel straight plow, one (1) 8½’ stainless steel v-plow and one (1) 9’ dump body.
16. Highway Supt. re Bid date for purchase of field rake
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of May 22, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for the purchase of one (1) field rake for the Buildings & Grounds Department.
17. Highway Supt. re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $2100 to George’s Collision for vehicle repairs.
18. Highway Supt. re Corrected status change for part-time Sanitation employees
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of the following part-time laborers in the Sanitation Department to part-time seasonal at a rate of $7.15 per hour effective April 13 – September 13, 2009:
and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
19. Highway Supt. re Corrected effective date for status change
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to change the status of Thomas Ignatowski, 159 Westminster Road, from part-time seasonal laborer to part-time laborer at a rate of $7.40 per hour effective March 27, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
20. Highway Supt. re Termination of Jerren Myers as part-time Sanitation laborer
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Jerren Myers, 34 Partridge Lane, as part-time Sanitation Laborer effective April 29, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
21. Code Enforcement Officer re Topsoil removal permit for Buffalo Air Park
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to grant permission to Aviation Consultants of WNY Inc. to remove 1000 yards of topsoil from Buffalo Air Park located at 4500 Clinton Street, West Seneca, at a cost of $600 for the permit fee, noting that this is in accordance with their letter dated April 11, 2009 and no shredding of topsoil is allowed on site.
22. Recreation Director re Bid award for arts & crafts supplies
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to award the bid for arts and crafts supplies to S & S worldwide for Item Nos. 1 – 36 at a total bid of $4717.11.
23. Councilwoman Bove re Corrected rate of pay for Senior Fitness Trainer Theresa Kuebler
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set the salary for Senior Fitness Trainer Theresa Kuebler at $17.50 per hour effective April 6, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove noted that attendance at the senior fitness center has increased steadily and revenue is now over $1000 per month.
24. Highway Supt. re Title change for Michael Scarpello to Auto Mechanic
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Michael Scarpello as Highway Laborer and appoint Michael Scarpello as Highway Mechanic, Group 5, Step 1, at a rate of $22.79 per hour effective May 5, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
25. Highway Supt. re Title change for Jeffrey Bunn to Highway Motor Equipment Operator
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Jeffrey Bunn as Highway Laborer and appoint Jeffrey Bunn as Highway Motor Equipment Operator, Group 2, Step 4, at a rate of $23.10 per hour effective May 5, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
26. Highway Supt. re Title change for James Alba to Sanitation Motor Equipment Operator
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate James Alba as Sanitation Laborer and appoint James Alba as Sanitation Motor Equipment Operator at a rate of $18.26 per hour effective May 5, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ON OAKHILL DRIVE
Cynthia Locklear, 46 Oakhill Drive, referred to a petition submitted earlier this date concerning the steadily declining property maintenance at 52 Oakhill Drive. The property had become a public nuisance, a safety, health and security hazard, and a fire hazard. Ms. Locklear thought there were about six to eight code violations at the property. Since last summer, she and several other neighbors provided information to the Code Enforcement Office on the condition of the property. The property owner was frequently cited, failed to appear, and also failed to correct the problems. The petition submitted contained 21 signatures and asked that the Town Board look at the problem, review their powers and authorities under the Town Code, and hopefully help the residents by taking corrective measures to remove and rectify the problems. The property had bags of litter, garbage and refuse. The back deck was dilapidated and had collapsed stairs. The in-ground pool in the back yard was opened last season, never treated with chemicals, and turned into a steaming cesspool that then went untended over the winter. Now that the snow melted it was in even worse condition. There was an abandoned junk vehicle in the driveway and the foundation of the house was crumbling so bad that the supporting I-beam was visible from outside the house.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that Ms. Locklear submitted the petition and supporting documents this morning and he furnished copies of these documents to Chief Gehen and Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski.
Mr. Czuprynski stated that there had been some warrants out for the property owner’s arrest, but no one could find her until today when the Town of Amherst arrested her. She will be brought back to West Seneca tomorrow and stand trial in town court. The town will be at the house tomorrow and they will try to get rid of the car and everything around it. He was not sure what to do with the pool because if it is drained they will have to keep draining it.
Supervisor Piotrowski suggested that they get advice on what to do from the new Town Attorneys.
RECONSTRUCTION OF OLD FRENCH ROAD
Tony LaForte, lives in the French Quarters mobile home park on Old French Road and commented on the condition of the road. He understood that the economy was hitting the towns hard but stated that it was terrible driving down the road. The Highway Department cold patched, but it was still rough on the residents and their automobiles. Mr. LaForte asked if there were any plans to repave the road in the near future and suggested that the town get together with the Town of Cheektowaga and repave the entire road.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
RECONSTRUCTION OF OLD FRENCH ROAD (continued)
Highway Supt. Matthew English stated that he had discussed this with Town Engineer George Montz, but they did not want to put a lot of money into the road if the new People Inc. project would be using it as a construction road. If they did not intend to use Old French Road as a construction road, the town would be looking into milling and paving it.
Mr. LaForte further questioned the status of the STAR program and whether it was being eliminated.
Supervisor Piotrowski responded that they had not yet received any information on this.
YOUTH BUREAU/AMERICORPS ISSUES
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, stated that Andrew Jarczyk was unable to attend this meeting due to a prior obligation, but he asked her to read the following statement for him: “I would like to commend Councilwoman Sheila Meegan on the hard work she has put in to creating credit card policy for the town. I have seen that most of the attention has focused on expenses charged to the Youth Bureau and AmeriCorps accounts. I would like to bring to your attention a third account that I believe needs to be looked into. During my employment with the town last year, I became aware of an expense account titled, ‘Charles Burchfield Center’. This is an account that no past employee nor Burchfield Nature and Art Center (BNAC) board of directors member knew existed. I filed a Freedom of Information (FOIL) request for copies of the appropriation ledgers for this account for years 2005 thru present. Unfortunately, 2006 was not included when I received the information. The Charles Burchfield Center account totaled $36,500 in 2005. In 2007, it totaled $44,000. For some reason in 2006 it totaled $62,600. I questioned what the $20,000 difference was and why this report was not included in response to my FOIL request. I would also like to point out that in 2005 the account was overspent by $4200 and in 2007 was overspent by $15,000. With regard to the expenses themselves the gas, electric and telephone line items I find no problem with. What concerns me is the line item ‘Other Expenses’. In 2005 and 2007, $22,000 was appropriated to this line, and in 2008 $37,000. In reviewing these documents, I have found changes to this account totaling $31,786.23 that I believe to be questionable. As with the Youth Bureau account, there are charges labeled ‘commercial card services’, ‘Home Depot credit service’, ‘Xoar Communications’, ‘George’s Collision’, ‘Orchard Park Leasing’, and ‘Max Pie Flooring’. In speaking with past employees and BNAC board members, we could not figure out what these charges were or how they were applied to the Center. I chose a few expenses at random and put in another FOIL request asking for receipts of these expenses to show what they were. Unfortunately, neither the Comptroller nor the Deputy Town Attorney could supply me with those receipts as they were not available in the Comptroller’s Office.”
Supervisor Piotrowski asked that Deputy Town Attorney Shawn Martin review the FOIL requests submitted by Mr. Jarczyk.
Mrs. Minklei stated that Councilwoman Meegan also has a copy and she may be able to get the answers.
Mike Lowe, Southgate Drive, referred to the upcoming audit of the AmeriCorps/credit card issues and questioned if it will be a forensic audit that goes back into the history of both the AmeriCorps and Youth Bureau. He had requested an audit with the previous Town Board and questioned some of the expenditures.
Councilwoman Meegan advised that the NYS Comptroller’s Office will be doing a risk assessment and help the town implement policies and procedures for credit card policy, which the town does not currently have. They are also going to look at other items within the Comptroller’s Office. They had not stated that they would be doing a forensic audit.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
YOUTH BUREAU/AMERICORPS ISSUES (continued)
Mr. Lowe suggested that all departments that have used credit cards be audited going back one or two years to see how they have been used so it does not appear that one individual or department is being targeted. He suggested that the state auditors give this a brief overview while they are here. Mr. Lowe finished Mr. Jarczyk’s letter as follows: “I was, however, supplied with the vouchers submitted for reimbursement of commercial card service expenses which were submitted on West Seneca Youth Bureau/AmeriCorps letterhead, signed by the Youth Bureau Director. I have asked Mrs. Minklei to turn over my findings to Councilwoman Meegan and Comptroller Bielecki in the hopes that they will review this information. I question how the Comptroller can reimburse expenses without seeing the receipts. I question why Mr. Lazzara was allowed to seek reimbursement for expenses under this account, and I question why the method of payment, commercial card services not the actual expenses themselves, were listed as expenses on these reports. I would ask that these accounts be carefully reviewed and should any expenses be improperly charged to this account, that it would be recouped and applied to support for the Charles Burchfield Center as it was originally appropriated.”
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow Drive, stated that after reading the newspaper this morning it appeared that Mr. Lazzara surrendered one credit card. Seemingly he has more that he is in charge of as the Director of the Youth Bureau and he would be responsible for all the cards. Mrs. Lucachick questioned why he did not collect all of the cards to turn in and suggested that he do so since he is in charge of that department.
Amy Carpenter, 406 Woodward Crescent, referred to a previous Town Board meeting when it was mentioned that the town anticipates a fairly significant deficit for the next budget and questioned what actions the Town Board was taking to help mitigate it.
Supervisor Piotrowski stated that he had directed the department heads to begin looking at ways to reduce expenses for the upcoming year so they will not have to incur a deficit.
Councilwoman Meegan further noted that the department heads will soon be receiving packets from the town’s auditor, Wayne Drescher, to start the budget process now rather than waiting until August.
PROPOSAL FOR USE OF ST. BONAVENTURE SCHOOL
Mary Lou Dietrich, 156 Bellwood Avenue, stated that about 18 years ago she addressed the Town Board concerning the Bellwood School and asked that the property on the east side not be rezoned because it was the only parking area for the building. The school was an eyesore and added to the problem of empty buildings and stores in the neighborhood. Mrs. Dietrich asked that the Town Board consider the possibility of purchasing St. Bonaventure School to be used for recreation, youth activities, office space, or rental to the school district for the pre-k program. She did not want to see it sit vacant forever like the Bellwood School has. Mrs. Dietrich stated that this part of town has never been a priority and there were a lot of children and senior citizens that could use the building for recreational activities. She suggested reviving a recreation and youth commission to oversee the youth programs and equipment.
SIDEWALKS ON COLLINS AVENUE
Jeanine Sobczak, 441 N. Collins Avenue, thanked the Town Board for taking into consideration the residents’ petition against sidewalks on their street.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
YOUTH BUREAU/AMERICORPS CREDIT CARD ISSUE
Councilman Clarke referred to the credit card issue and agreed that it should be checked out and something done about it. He stated that last Friday he went to Supervisor Piotrowski’s office and the Comptroller’s office looking for verification and proof that these things were being done and the answers he received were poor. Councilman Clarke asked to see the documentation Councilwoman Meegan received from the Comptroller’s office to make the statements that were made.
Councilwoman Meegan offered to show Councilman Clarke all the documentation she received on this issue.
Councilman Clarke commented that it was policy on the Town Board that when one board member received documentation from a department, all the board members would receive a copy of it.
Councilwoman Meegan agreed but stated that she did not ask the Comptroller’s office for the information, she researched it by herself and she would be happy to furnish the other board members with the information.
Councilman Clarke thought that Councilwoman Meegan’s statements were misleading concerning the gas purchases and the hotel stays because the gas was purchased in Rochester, so they did not have access to the town’s gas pump, and the hotel stay was for Washington, DC.
Councilwoman Meegan responded that this will all be reviewed by the NYS Comptroller’s office. The Youth Bureau was using the credit cards for all types of expenditures and the Town Board should be concerned because the cards were being used by people who are not employees of the Town of West Seneca and they are using them at their own discretion.
Councilman Clarke stated that the board members would be concerned if they had the information and Councilwoman Meegan should have informed the entire Town Board not keep things a secret from the other board members or take it to the media.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that she was doing her job and three weeks prior to this item being on the agenda she asked the other board members who authorized a PIN number for the credit cards. No one could answer her and she thought that was very curious since no one knew but there were cash advances being taken on the credit cards.
Councilman Clarke thought that Councilwoman Meegan was insinuating there were criminal acts taking place and he suggested that this issue be referred to Congressman Higgins’ office.
Councilwoman Meegan stated that she was not insinuating criminal acts.
Motion by Councilman Clarke, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to have Congressman Higgins’ office research AmeriCorps policy and report back to the West Seneca Town Board.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
YOUTH BUREAU/AMERICORPS CREDIT CARD ISSUE (continued)
Councilman Graber stated that according to Mr. Lazzara they were in the process of completely removing their use of credit cards from the Town of West Seneca and were hoping to have it done by this week. They will then have their own credit cards for their own use and it will no longer be of a concern to the town. Councilman Graber referred to past statements about the AmeriCorps owing the town $2 million and stated that to date $45 million was sent from the federal government through the Town of West Seneca for the AmeriCorps and the town received payment for 100 percent of that amount. Over the last 15 years the town advanced $45 million and received $45 million and that was how the grant process worked. Councilman Graber commented that AmeriCorps was a very valuable program and provided very valuable services.
Councilwoman Meegan did not believe that anyone was questioning what AmeriCorps did and she thought their work was admirable. The question people were having was that the Town of West Seneca was the only municipality in the United States that funds AmeriCorps and they were looking for accountability. The credit cards were a concern because there were many people that were not employees of the town using them. According to the NYS Comptroller’s Office, the town would not have any way to receive reimbursement on the charges if they chose not to pay because there were no policies or procedures in place. Councilwoman Meegan noted that just because something has been done in the past, that does not necessarily make it right.
Councilman Graber requested clarification on Councilwoman Meegan’s statement that West Seneca was the only municipality in the United States that funded AmeriCorps.
Councilwoman Meegan responded that the Town of West Seneca advances money to AmeriCorps and receives no interest from them.
Councilman Graber stated that he would research how many other municipalities advance money and present that information at the next meeting.
RENAMING OF RIDGE ROAD TO FATHER BAKER BOULEVARD
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adopt the attached resolution in support of renaming Ridge Road in the Town of West Seneca “Father Baker Boulevard.”
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC