West Seneca Town Board Meeting Minutes 10/19/2009
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.
17-A MINUTES TO BE APPROVED
17-B HELD OVER PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. Re: “A PUBLIC HEARING TO HEAR ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AND CITIZENS FOR OR AGAINST THE ADOPTION OF LOCAL LAW NO. 4 OF THE YEAR 2009 AMENDING CHAPTER 13 OF THE WEST SENECA TOWN CODE ENTITLED ‘CODE OF ETHICS’” in the Town of West Seneca.
Supervisor Piotrowski advised that this matter was scheduled for an additional work session on November 2, 2009 at 6:30 P.M.
1. Supervisor Piotrowski re Assessor’s Office
Motion by Councilwoman Bove, seconded by Councilman Clarke, to table this item.
On the question, Councilwoman Bove stated that in 2005 Town of Hamburg Assessor Robert Hutchinson was asked by the Town of West Seneca to help with some problems in the Assessor’s Office. He spent approximately three months in that office and in his report stated that, “It is evident that the West Seneca position demands an experienced full-time person.” Mr. Hutchinson talked about different issues involving records management, practices and procedures, and staff development. Councilwoman Bove recently spoke with Mr. Hutchinson to get his opinion on what the town was looking to do with the Assessor’s Office and although he thought the shared services agreement could work out well, he also thought there could be problems if West Seneca was not ready for it. Mr. Hutchinson suggested an audit by himself and possibly two other people that have no financial or political interest in the town to do a technical evaluation and look at what has and has not been done since 2005. He would also contact the International Association of Assessment Officers to get their recommendation. Mr. Hutchinson offered to put together a proposal to assess the Assessor’s Office and could possibly have that ready by the end of next week. Councilwoman Bove also spoke with some realtors who were concerned that since the town had not had a revaluation since 1986, there could be a segment of the residences that would be hardest hit and that could be the seniors. Therefore, Councilwoman Bove thought this item should be tabled for further study on whether the town is ready for a shared service agreement.
Supervisor Piotrowski thought the experts with no financial interest were the representatives from the NYS Department of Real Property Services and they had analyzed the Assessor’s Office and proposed sharing services with Lancaster. This had nothing to do with reassessment and they were merely trying to share services with another town. Supervisor Piotrowski commented that the residents were tired of delays and studies and they wanted action. This was a simple action suggested by a higher authority and he thought it was necessary.
2. Town Attorney re Mutual aid agreement for emergency management services
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Supervisor to sign the attached Local Emergency Management Mutual Aid Assistance Memorandum of Understanding.
On the question, Town Attorney Shawn Martin advised that this agreement was signed on an annual basis and outlined the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the various parties that are engaged in mutual aid agreements between the towns.
3. Town Engineer re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $4532.64 to Duke’s Root Control, Inc. for root control service in the sanitary sewers.
4. Highway Supt. re Disposal of equipment
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize the Highway Supt. to dispose of the following pieces of equipment that are no longer in service:
5. Highway Supt. re Bid date for purchase of wood waste reduction grinder
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to set a bid date of Monday, November 2, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. for receipt of bids on the purchase of a wood waste reduction grinder.
6. Highway Supt. re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $3370.37 to Valley Tire for tires.
7. Highway Supt. re Title change for Scott Funk to Sanitation MEO
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Scott Funk as Sanitation Laborer and appoint Scott Funk as Sanitation MEO at a rate of $18.26 per hour, effective October 7, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
8. Highway Supt. re Termination of Michael Shearer as part-time Sanitation Laborer
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to terminate Michael Shearer as part-time Sanitation Laborer effective October 9, 2009 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel.
9. Chief Gehen re Bid award for police vehicles
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to award the bid for purchase of four (4) police vehicles to Towne Ford, 3535 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park, NY 14127, at their low bid of $64,421.71, noting that these vehicles will replace older vehicles that are included as trades.
10. Chief Gehen re Purchase requiring Town Board approval
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize payment of $1710.69 to Sewing Technologies Uniform Company for uniforms.
11. Chief Gehen re Attendance of Det. Fallon & Caruana at Fire Investigator training seminar
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize Detective Captain Larry Fallon and Detective Robert Caruana, to attend the 35th annual Fire Investigator training seminar, November 4 – 6, 2009 in Montour Falls, New York, at a total cost not to exceed $450.
12. Town Clerk re Rezoning request for 2900 Seneca Street
John Hasse stated his proposal to enclose the equipment on display outdoors at Schaub Equipment Rental with an 800 sf showroom addition. There will be a new gable roof and a new façade over the entire lower portion of the building, which will be a tremendous improvement over the existing building. Parking has been an issue at this location and the proposal included the addition of 7 to 8 customer parking spaces. Mr. Hasse stated that the owners also park some of their equipment across the street and some of the bigger pieces may still be parked there.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to refer the rezoning request for 2900 Seneca Street to the Planning Board for their review and recommendation.
13. Town Clerk re Rezoning & special permit request for 2952 Seneca Street
Patrick O’Neill of RC Replacement Services stated his request for a rezoning and special permit for a retail used car lot at 2952 Seneca Street
Councilwoman Meegan questioned how many vehicles will be on site and where they will be parked.
Mr. O’Neill responded that this will be primarily Internet sales with possibly five cars parked on site behind the building. Vehicles will be purchased as needed from an auction and customers will then pick the vehicle up at this location. He will also be registering the vehicles for customers.
Supervisor Piotrowski questioned why Mr. O’Neill could not purchase an existing facility in town that already permits this type of business.
Mr. O’Neill responded that the only reason was the cost and he already owned this property.
Councilman Clarke questioned if the car sales would create a problem for the other businesses since there was only one driveway that supported two businesses.
Mr. O’Neill stated that this would not be a problem.
Councilwoman Meegan questioned if the Town Board could place a limit on the number of vehicles being stored on site.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski advised that with the special permit the Town Board could place whatever stipulations they deemed necessary.
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Supervisor Piotrowski, to deny referral of the rezoning and special permit request for 2952 Seneca Street to the Planning Board.
14. Code Enforcement Officer re Budgetary transfer request
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to approve a budgetary transfer request in the amount of $2352.44 from Acct. #01.3620.0149 Salary of Electric Inspection to Acct. #01.3620.0200 Equipment in the amount of $2352.44.
15. Supervisor Piotrowski re Designation of Halloween
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to designate Saturday, October 31, 2009 between 6 P.M. and 8 P.M. as the official night for trick-or-treat, noting that residents are asked to please leave their porch lights on to provide lighting and safety for the children and drivers are urged to use extra caution.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
TRANSFER OF SCHOOL STREET PROPERTIES
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, referred to the two properties on School Street that were turned over to WNY AmeriCorps and the future transfer of the Metz house and asked the following questions: 1) Who purchased the properties for the town, for how much money, and where did the money come from; 2) Were there any stipulations as to how the properties were to be used (Mrs. Minklei noted that the Historical Society was under the impression that the Metz house was being fixed for them); 3) Was the $95,000 from Community Development Block Grant funding for 20 School Street ever used, what was the understanding that it was to be used for, did the County consortium know it would be handed over to AmeriCorps, and is the town receiving anything in return; 4) Shouldn’t there be a public hearing before such transactions take place.
Town Attorney Shawn Martin understood that these transfers were discussed last October and votes were taken at that time. He would look into this and also get answers to Mrs. Minklei’s other questions.
Mrs. Minklei recalled that the transfers were discussed briefly and votes may have been taken, but there was no public hearing and she questioned whether a public hearing was required.
Councilman Graber did not believe a public hearing was required to sell property, but Mr. Martin will look into this question.
BLACKTOP PLANT ON UNION ROAD
Brownie Michalczak, Warren Avenue, commented on the noise and dust being created by the stone crusher at the blacktop plant across Route 400 and was concerned about the fumes being emitted into the air.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski advised that this was in litigation a few years ago and the business is located in the industrial park in an M-1 zoning district which allows that type of business. He had responded to some noise complaints at the site, but they were not crushing stone.
Mr. Michalczak stated that they start the crusher at 10:30 P.M. and it is very noisy.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
BLACKTOP PLANT ON UNION ROAD (continued)
Mr. Czuprynski responded that it is not the crusher. They are making blacktop and that will occur for another week or two while they are working on the NYS Thruway because they are only allowed to work between 6 P.M. and 6 A.M. They bring in what is being cold milled off the road, stockpile it on the far side, and then start making blacktop. Mr. Czuprynski stated that he has been there a few times, but will check on the operation again and report back.
CANISIUS FIELD ON CLINTON STREET
Don Grasso, Lexington Green, stated that he noticed the West Seneca Police directing traffic at the Canisius field on Clinton Street and questioned if the town was being compensated for that service and if police vehicles were used.
Chief Gehen responded that the officers directing traffic were being employed privately through Canisius College and they were not on town time. He advises patrol officers to make periodic checks to ensure there are no traffic issues, but Canisius has employed several officers to work off-duty at the games.
Mr. Grasso commented that Canisius is a school, but there are no school signs or speed limit signs for the school along the road. He questioned who was responsible for putting signs up and also if it was legal to park on that area of Clinton Street.
Chief Gehen advised that Clinton Street is a state highway and that would have to go through the NYS Department of Transportation. Signage was not a requirement; the school would have to request it. Chief Gehen further stated that if there are no signs that prohibit parking it is legal to park.
PARKING OF BOATS/TRAILERS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow Drive, stated that after the Executive Session at the last meeting the Town Board mentioned something about parking trailers/boats on private property and she asked for an explanation.
Councilman Clarke stated that this was brought up quite a few years ago and a decision was made at that time not to pursue this issue until that section of the ordinance was looked at and updated. Currently it is very vague and needs to be revised.
Mrs. Lucachick referred to a property on Union Road that at one time had a boat, a Winnebago, a trailer for snowmobiles, a plow, and stacks of firewood. She hoped the Town Board would not reduce the code too much because if everyone had even one of these items in their yard the neighborhoods would be very unattractive.
Councilman Clarke stated that they did not intend to eliminate that part of the code and were still concerned about eyesores in town. They just wanted a little leniency on people that have a nice boat or camper that they use on weekends.
Mrs. Lucachick thought that if someone is able to purchase a boat or camper they should consider where they will store it.
Don Grasso, Lexington Green, commented that the code states that no vehicles, etc. shall be “stored” in a driveway, but the legal definition of store is putting something inside a building so the code does not make sense and needs to be rewritten. Mr. Grasso stated that he has a trailer, it is a registered motor vehicle, and the Police Department told him it was legal for him to park it on the street 24/7.Councilman Graber noted that the code states you cannot park in the front yard setback.
ISSUES OF THE PUBLIC
SUGGESTION FOR LCD PROJECTOR IN MEETING ROOM
Karen Lucachick, 61 Greenmeadow Drive, stated that she attended the Planning Board meeting last week and since there are no visual aides in the meeting room she asked to see the plans being presented by one of the applicants. Mrs. Lucachick thought that Chairman Niederpruem was irritated by her request and although the applicant was very kind and showed her the plans, she encouraged the Town Board to get some type of equipment to make presentations more visual to the audience.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to recess to Executive Session at 8:10 P.M. to discuss several litigation issues and one employee matter.
The Town Board returned from Executive Session at 9:20 P.M.
ELIMINATION OF DOG CONTROL OFFICER TITLES
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to eliminate the position of Dog Control Officer and Asst. Dog Control Officer effective October 19, 2009.
FINAL BUDGET HEARING SCHEDULED
Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to schedule the final budget hearing and vote for Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 7:00 P.M.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski questioned why the final budget vote was being scheduled for after Election Day.
Councilman Graber responded that they needed time to fully understand the proposed budget and determine what changes needed to be made.
JUDGE’S RULING ON DOWNSIZING
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to authorize Town Attorney Shawn Martin to file an immediate appeal and seek a stay if Judge Siwek rules that the adoption date for the Special Election is on June 9, 2009, which is contrary to the position of the West Seneca Town Clerk and West Seneca Town Board, and if Mr. Martin has scheduling conflicts or needs assistance, authorize him to hire an appellate counsel to immediately process the appeal and stay.
On the question, Supervisor Piotrowski stated that this matter was in litigation because the Town Board did not put the effective date in the language on the ballot, as well as scheduling the election on June 3, 2009 as opposed to an earlier date in May which would have avoided this litigation. He thought the Town Board should follow through on the will of the people who overwhelming voted by a 2 to 1 margin to reduce the town council this year.
PRESENTATION OF COMMUNICATIONS BY BOARD MEMBERS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
JUDGE’S RULING ON DOWNSIZING (continued)
Motion by Councilman Clarke, seconded by Councilwoman Bove, to amend the motion and table this item.On the tabling motion,
Motion by Supervisor Piotrowski, seconded by Councilwoman Meegan, to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC