Posted by: Dawn Powell | June 23, 2011

Putnam Valley Town Board – June 2011

Putnam Valley Town Board Regular Meeting – June 2011

 Earl talked about potholes, said nothing about retiring.  And nobody’s talking about tailgates.   John
Landi talked about the Lake Oscawana septic pumpout law. Forty houses have not complied.

Bob was back, so there was an executive session on possible litigation, no litigation specified.  Legal counsel, however, was not present.

They added stream monitoring and cleaning to the agenda, as well as waiving civil penalties.

Sam O talked about the legislative fight against NYC and enforcement of MS4, that is, they are
fighting against paying for cleaning up NYC’s water.  There was a lot of money given to the county
for protecting NYC’s water, but none of it was spent in PV. Wouldn’t there theoretically be more money coming for more protection?  Or is it that NYC wants more say about how their money is spent?  I think the first
course of action should be changing the name.  Isn’t MS4 really indicative of how out of touch government is with the public? Who came up with that name, and how much did they really want the public to know when they give the program that name?  It is municipal separate stormwater sewer systems…..  Give me a break.  It has to do with flooding and drainage and stormwater, etc.  We should be able to come up with a more public friendly name.

Sam O is very happy with the paint job that was done by the county on the Oregon Corners bridge, and
said that the bent rail would be fixed.
He was also impressed with the job done around the sign, on the stream buffer without a DEC permit, by the “friend of Bob’s.”  I guess that’s how you get an approval for a use that is not in the code.  You become
a friend of Bob’s.  SamO didn’t mention the no DEC permit part. The friend of Bob’s is Maple Leaf.

SamO said that they are awaiting a decision from Judge Nikolai, but I could have sworn he said that
they had gotten a decision, when he expressed his dismay that the decision could be appealed.  Huh?  The subject of  that anticipated decision is the garage at Oregon Corners.  Now Sam O is talking
about making it into Cornerstone Park.  What happened to his Dunkin Donuts idea?

The legislature has to make cuts in the DOH, social services, youth programs – Pegasus, a program for
kids affected by alcoholism, all this due to cuts from the state.  He talked about unfunded mandates.  So did Bob. When Dr. Fuchs was talking about the school budget, the state funding was only slightly less than the mandates,
so are they really unfunded, or do the schools and local pols just want to decide for themselves how to spend the money? The legislature has requested that they not enact the tax cap until there is mandate reform.

I’m not a fan of the tax cap.  It doesn’t do what the public wants done, but I don’t know how you can get elected officials to cut back.  And for the governor to say that local government should be more frugal when the state is the source of so much pork…  I do understand that the complete dysfunction of the Senate makes it difficult for the governor to make any changes, but we need to start doing some things right. The tax cap isn’t it.

So if out of control spending bothers Bob, maybe he should give back his $250K from Leibell.

Wendy called all the right people and got them to agree to some to PV to talk about the stream problems –
protection of the Peekskill Hollow Creek, flooding onto private property, cleaning up the stream buffer and bed. They want to have more than one meeting, but Bob and his buds don’t want to give it that much time.  So in September there will be a meeting at the library with the DEC, City of Peekskill enforcement. Hudson River Estuary, and anyone interested in taking care of the streams.  Thank you Wendy! Let’s get the TB uninvolved
and have more such meetings.

John Landi wants a limited manure law to go after certain landowners. Isn’t the law supposed to apply equally to all?  He did mention proper management, which really is the point.  The example raised (of good manure management) is Cimarron Ranch.  Imagine that.  When Mr. Zutt mentioned that he wanted the guy  in his
office to take over the Kaspar litigation, he said something about a receivership.  There has been some talk
around town for awhile about the town having taken over, or taking over the Kaspar property.  There has also been some talk too, about just what the legal mechanism is that would allow that to happen.  But this is Putnam Valley under the Tendy regime, so litigation is all secret.

Wendy had said something previously about talking to American Farmland Trust about best management
practices.  When I’ve seen them, they’ve been very good about balancing agricultural and environmental needs, so Wendy does it again!  John said that he wants to deal with it on a case by case basis, a concept that was raised again during the meeting.  The problem is that selective enforcement and favoritism really don’t work, even though it seems like it has for a very long time in Putnam Valley.

The Bell Hollow Bridge plan will cost $6800.  Bob said that the work would be done by Earl and his crew, but Earl will be gone as of June 30.  The response to the resolution being called was, “not yet,” as opposed to “Second for discussion.”

There had been a discussion of the ag district public hearing which happened Monday night, and whether
or not the Board was going to respond to the request for input.  Bob said he had sent the county ag board a
letter back in March, and commented on one property.  So if Bob responded, apparently there was no
need for further discussion.  I was appalled that the county notice listed only the parcel numbers, and that 3 of those for PV were wrong.  I translated the properties for inclusion into real information, but have not had time to
translate the properties that were not being included.  I don’t know if the County Legislature is continuing the discussion.

The county Ag District gives those parcels included in it immunity from certain local zoning laws, and
has put the towns in the position of having to haul property owners into court to get compliance.  That is the only
thing that the district does.  Agriculture property tax exemptions are a different process.  So if we could dispense with this cumbersome and ill conceived part of the process, we could spend the time, energy and
money doing something to promote agriculture.

Bob said that the excess  manure properties board other peoples’ horses, as if that makes them not an agricultural use. I don’t understand.

There was some discussion of whether or not the TB needed to accept Earl’s resignation for him to retire.

Sue Manno is going to go out to bid for 84 catch basins and filters for Lake Oscawana.  So I wonder who is paying her salary, the town taxpayers or the district taxpayers. I don’t really wonder.  I know that it is the town.  Hmmmm….

Then, there was that other discussion of case by case enforcement. The waiver of fines imposed for building without a permit.   Bob believes that he can judge intention, so if it was not the intention of the person to do the wrong thing, then they get off.  Gene gave some lip service to the problem with this method.  If you don’t
mean to exceed the speed limit, then why should you get a ticket?  Jackie thinks we should give residents a
break in this economy, so I’m wondering why even bother with building permits?  And you can put up an above ground pool without a permit, because Bob says it’s only a pool, and Bob C. doesn’t even know that you need a permit.  Enlarge your stairs, finish your basement.  It doesn’t matter, as long as you didn’t mean it.
Just get rid of the law.  This is embarrassing.

And whether or not you need a permit to build a fence is still up in the air.

John Landi said that the building department gets to impose a fine of its own. Huh?  Then why do we have to go through this process.  Does he ask them what their intention was?  I am not without sympathy
for those who bought properties where changes were made, but what the TB is doing now is inane.

The town is being hit with an increase in Workers’ Comp because their risk management is poor.  State Insurance Fund won’t take the town because of that.  No loss.  SIF is a really tough company to deal with.
So there will be a 26% increase with the carrier who will take us, and the amount isn’t budgeted.

Bob Tendy’s nephew is going to work for Parks and Rec for the summer, and Bob recused himself from
the vote, except the jobs go to friends and relatives and are not even listed under employment on the website, so what difference does it make if he recuses himself?  Someone should FOIL all those Parks and Rec employment changes that they won’t talk about at the meetings.

John Landi wants an amnesty program for the 783 outstanding open building permits.  See what happens when you leave Bob in office for 9 years?  Mr. Landi says that probably half of those were just not marked as closed, but that still has to be determined.  Couldn’t you guys at least hire a plumbing inspector and a separate fire inspector, so that some of this work can get done?

John mentioned the new assessor?  Is that our assessor or has something happened that we don’t know about?

One of the outstanding building permits is 18 years old!

Gene went on about the Lake Peekskill district meeting.  There were only 6 people there.  But why would
anyone bother when the TB has been so unresponsive.  There was a time when LP had vigorous meetings, but not with this crew.

There will, however, be an important meeting on the last Saturday in July at the Lake Peekskill Community
Center.  Aquatic Restorations will be talking about a whole lake plan for restoring the lake.

Other than that, Gene talked about the same stuff, untagged boats at Carreras Beach, the veterans’
monument (btw it was not vandalized), and leaf bags left out.

They are also talking about a ridiculously high amount for the roof at the community center.  $16,000 was mentioned.  There is no excuse for not maintaining it properly.  It shouldn’t have been leaking
until there is extensive damage. There isn’t enough money budgeted for it.

And the hours will be changed at Carrerras Beach.  Gene said some residents want it, but only one has expressed that.  Still, why not?  If there is one person who cares, let him have it.  The hours will be 10-3 instead
of 12-5.

Remove your bagged leaves or they will issue a violation.  Compost.

Mill Ponds water was discussed.  The water district has to comply with NYC and Yorktown water regulations, and enforcement is up to Yorktown, but the TB hasn’t let go of it. They said that the needed repair would cost $10k-$15k.  At that price, why not just drill a well and disconnect.  I’m sure that there is something that says that they can’t, but this method isn’t working.

Sam O mentioned that Rita is retiring from the hardware store as of August 1.  We will miss her.

Adopt cats.  Buy bagels. Save sea turtles.




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