May 17, 2018: The Official Town Board Meeting: taxpayers get to speak! Taped broadcast is on channel 22 and on Youtube.

This “Official”  5/17/18 Union Vale Town Board Meeting was able to be viewed live and is on tape on Channel 22 and also on You Tube. The first Town Board Meeting of each month is still not broadcast or on tape or YouTube, and no constituent participation of any kind is permitted. Why, you wonder? So do I. Call Ms. Maas and ask her to explain her reasoning.

Ms. Maas began by saying that prior to the meeting starting, the Town Board had two public hearings:

The first was a public hearing to amend the Town Code by removing the Procurement Policy.

First taxpayer speaker Bill Mc Cabe: Although he understands updating the fees and removing them from the Town Code, he has trouble understanding the presence of “H” in the procurement policy which appears to contradict “G” in that policy. Letter “H” appears to remove accountability from the rest of the procurement policy and to set up an atmosphere in which unfair favoritism could flourish.

Ms. Maas said Councilperson Kelly had already notified the town about this yesterday. Ms. Maas said letter “H”  would be fixed. Mr. McCabe said that letter “H” opens the Town to possible cronyism. Ms. Maas agreed. Ms. Maas said Mr. McCabe was right.

Tom Beissinger spoke to agree with Mr. McCabe and to note that lack of documentation would destroy a competitive market. Ms. Maas agreed and said that the Town lawyer had noted two other issues that needed to be fixed and that revision would be done.

The Second Public Hearing was on Storm Water Management

Second Public Hearing on Storm Water Management was introduced by Mr. Kolb who explained that he is the Storm Water Management Officer– a result of the Clean Water Act of 1972.  Storm related issues are overseen by the Town, including highway projects. There are  annual report  and  public hearings required. The basic idea is to protect water quality and ensure best management policies.  All the information presented tonight can be found on the Union Vale Web Site and is also kept in the office of George Kolb. Mr. Kolb said this is an unfunded mandate, and Ms. Maas and Mr. Welch agreed. Mr. McCabe asked whether this oversite involved stream protection. The answer is that this involves any kind of water body, and the county did pay for mapping of these bodies of water. Mr. Kolb said he would work with both Highway and Recreation in inspecting and maintaining these bodies of water. Public hearing is closed.

At 7:41 pm the Official Union Vale Town Board meeting of May 17, 2018 was begun with a salute to the flag.

  • minutes were approved
  • Ms. Maas made a motion to approve the MS4 document for 2018
  • Mr. Wisseman then rose to report on his highway work. He said that this year he did not need to spend the usual 15-20 thousand dollars on buying dirt for the the dirt roads ( Ed. note: Mr. Wisseman said after saying this, “Sorry, Scott.” Apparently this was an inside joke. But it does make me wonder who this Scott is, did the Town always buy dirt only from him?  And what was so different about this year’s dirt supply?)
  • The street sweeping will start on Monday. Ms. Maas wanted to ask about the culverts on Cutler. Mr. Wisseman said he will talk to her about this. Mr. Wisseman said he has about 440 thousand dollars left. Quinlin Rd., Jordan Court, part of Still Rd., and Deer Pond Rd. are on the list to be re-paved.

The Town Hall will be closed on Saturday,5/19/18 because the parking lot will be paved.

Last year’s Board made a good decision in contracting for this last year before oil prices went up.  Motion to accept 284 as Mr. Wisseman outlined it. Motion carried.

Europa McGovern and Saving Money through Green Energy Use

  • Special Guest: Europa McGovern–She works for a NYCERTA funded program and was in Union Vale last year speaking with Council member Dave McMorris. Her program works with local government to encourage use of renewalable energy which lower energy costs. This is her update.
  • There are ten high impact actions which qualify a Town to enter this grant program. She is available to help communities work on completing these actions. When a town completes four actions, the town is eligible to receive some grants
  • .First action: Already Union Vale  has a resolution to complete bench marking ( monitoring large building energy use)
  • Second Action: Union Vale has already adopted a unified solar permit and already received some grant money for this
  • Third: certification of Town representatives in the program- Town officials have already done this by attending workshops
  • Fourth action is to be decided–

 1. Possibly  the Town could upgrade based on bench marks–10% reduction in energy- and generate reports about the upgrade

2.The Town could pursue creating Clean fleets- use alternative fuel  or vehicles–some monies are available– charging stations for vehicles must be publicly accessible– public is charged through subscription fee to use vehicle charging station–the town’s making money is therefore a possibility– grants are possible

3. Climate smart community certification and pledge– probably not achievable by town at this point.

4.   Starts with a resolution– town has drafted one. In Ulster County there are already twelve which have taken the Climate Smart pledge, and there are now 16 out of 28 communities in Dutchess which have thus far taken this pledge.

5.  Another possibility for the future is to have town become default supplier of electricity. Some towns have already done this. This can be an aggregation of towns which then buy megawatt blocks.This results in lower electrical costs and more use of green electricity.

The Town Board then introduced, voted on , and accepted Resolution 18 to Adapt to a Changing Climate Resolution. This resolution recognizes that the use of various substances by humans has contributed to an increasingly warm earth and an unstable world climate. The Town of Union Vale adopts the Climate Smart Pledge. John Walsh suggested sending a copy of the resolution to the Planning Board. This resolution was read aloud.

Town Supervisor’s Report: We collected $161,949 in timely tax payments and late fees. Recreation Dept. took in $ 64,000 for its camp registrations. FEMA sent storm damage money to the town.

We at this point are at 40% of each department budget amount.

The Board is still working on the final wording of the Procurement Policy and next is the Employee Manual. Cash audits are complete and the annual update report is ready. The Town implemented pay check reform and hired a pay check provider.  Last month 8 employees signed up for deferred compensation plan by which they contribute on a pretax basis. May 15 is Peace Officer Day, but two council members had to be out so that will be done next month.

Mr. McMorris: Memorial Day Services on the Green at 9:00 am.

Mr. Walsh: went to new Vassar Hospital, high-tech, more with neo-natal and heart care- 545 million dollars were spent. This should be open next year.

Ms. Maas announced that Millbrook High School Girls soft ball team went to state and won. Parade on Franklin St. in Millbrook.

Mark Covielo has resigned from County Legislature. The candidates to replace him will be interviewed next Monday, and then the Town of Beekman will interview. Both Town Boards vote for the replacement to start on May 29,2018.

Shredding day is next Wednesday. Grievance Day for Taxes is May 23 also.

Public Comments on Agenda Items:

Bill McCabe: The sign law making distinctions between two areas is good. Is there any attempt on the part of the Board to address strobe lights in neighborhoods, such as Christmas lights? Also although the previous Boards have made commitments to deal with political signs, nothing has yet been done. Bill reminds us of that.

Ed Kaich: Our Community Day is June 2,2018, Saturday. This committee of volunteers is working to put together a number of family oriented activities. “We are trying to get community members back involved with the community. “Every thing is volunteer based. Friday, June 22 is our Community Night, a tail gate and fireworks. Ms. Maas thanked Jessica from Recreation for making beautiful banners.

Jake         then reported about the Parks– new flag pole– ball field.

Recycling: Tom St. Onge said there were 21/2 tons of garbage picked up in the Earth Day week. Tom wants to keep this record breaking pace up, so he will continue to have the center provide clean-up bags.

Jessica: Recreation: Community Day- pool opens just for that afternoon.–visit for details. June 25 the pool opens full time. June 8 is registration for several activities, so check out the website. Miles of Hope in April had a fine turn-out. The full moon hike was also great. Twenty people turned out for the Godfrey Park Day.

Old business-digital sign law: the county will give Union Vale its thoughts on signage. Eventually there will be a public hearing on this. (Ms. Maas did not mention election signs.)  Mr. Walsh spoke about the progress of placing handicapped parking. Some of the green areas near the Senior Center will become handicapped parking. Much of this money comes from a federal government grant. Ms. Maas then introduced a resolution to contract with engineers. The engineering survey is $12,000. The county allocated only $4,000. for engineering in their budget. Morse Associates is the engineer firm.

Dutchess County SPCA got a subpar report, its second in  a row,  for its facility in Red Hook. Possible suggestion for future is to build dog runs locally.

Ms. Hittsman then talked about Verbank Gas and Provisions. She ran the naming contest.  Only three people entered. Sharon Slocum’s Sprout Creek Station was chosen ( Ed. note: the original rules required “Verbank” be in the name. Just wondering? Also is the new name in any way ironic, based as it is on the name of the tributary which many believe is in danger of pullution from oil?).  This name choosing, Lizette said, was a way to bring our community closer.

Possibility of a Town Center–zoning, master plan discussions, a lot of work, but we need to do research. We could start discussing this.

Resolutions of Local Law #3- eliminate Chapter 24 article 64.–read and passed.

An Efficient Way to Do Shoddy Work

Resolution approving the procurement policy: — Dave asked whether this vote should be done before the policy is changed. Ms. Maas said it makes no difference. Dave withdrew his objections.– (Ed. note–  So, under the guidance of Ms. Maas and with the agreement of Mr. Walsh and Mr. McMorris (who did at first question this, but then deferred to the other two), this flawed language, which the Supervisor agreed contradicted itself, was passed. Language has value. On other occasions, the Town Bd. has even adjourned to Executive session to deal with issues, but this time a bill, which everyone agreed was not acceptable, became Town Policy. This idea of having closed Work Meetings does have a cost: there is less input and less time to consider other views.  Also rushing through a vote on a topic covered in a public meeting at the beginning of the meeting at which the vote on that topic is scheduled to take insures that there is no opportunity to make adjustments, even if everyone agrees that adjustments must be made. This is an efficient way to do shoddy work, not an acceptable way to run a town.–What do you think?)

Next Town Board meeting (no video recorded documentation and no citizen input allowed) is on June 7,2018.

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