Minutes of August 12, 2014 Town Board Meeting
Category : Town Board
This Regular Meeting of the Brant Town Board was held on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at the Brant Town Hall, located at 1272 Brant North Collins Rd, Brant, New York at 7:30 PM.
Leonard K. Pero, Supervisor
Chad Kaczmarek, Councilman
Jeffrey Gier, Councilman
Mark DeCarlo, Councilman
Donald Clark, Councilman
William J Trask, Sr. Town Attorney
Barbara J. Daniel, Town Clerk, Recording Secretary
Also present and signed in were:
Joseph Ostrowski Planning Board Chairman
Lynda Ostrowski, Secretary to the Boards
Donald Hepkins, Chief of Police
Joseph DeCarlo, Assessor
Janice Ross, Planning Board
Neil Ross, Planning Board
Ronald Kobel, resident
Lee Brunelli, resident
Debra Ritz, resident
Brian Rott, resident
Al Butlak, resident
Mike Boismenu, resident
Denny Kane, resident
Brian Campbell, SUN reporter
The meeting opened at 7:30 PM with a pledge to the flag.
MINUTE APPROVAL JULY 8, 2014 Regular Town Board meeting. Councilman Gier motioned to accept the minutes of the July 8th, 2014 and was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
SUPERVISOR’S FINANCIAL REPORT: Councilman Clark moved and was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo to accept the Supervisor’s June 2014 Financial Report as presented. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
BUDGET MODS PRESENTED: None presented
TOWN CLERK’S / TAX COLLECTOR’S FINANCIAL REPORT: Councilman Gier moved to accept the Town Clerk’s June 2014 Financial Report and the closing Tax collection report. He was seconded by Councilman Kaczmarek. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
COURT CLERK’S JUNE 2014 FINANCIAL REPORTS FOR JUSTICES CROUSE & BORNGRABER REGULAR AND BAIL ACCOUNTS: Councilman Kaczmarek moved to accept both reports for June 2014 Financial Reports for the Bail and Regular account. Councilman DeCarlo seconded the motion. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S REPORT: Code officer Gary Brecker was arrived to present his July Report. Councilman DeCarlo motioned to approve the reports as read, and was seconded by Councilman Gier. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
Code Enforcement Officer Brecker notified the Board that the new owner of Brant Auto Parts junkyard is requesting a Special Use permit to conduct the same operation as the previous owner. Nothing about the way the operation is conducted will change. He asked the Board to give their blessing on the transfer of the Special Use Permit. Supervisor Pero made a motion to approve the transfer, but Attorney Trask stated that if it is in the interpretation that the code enforcement office that the transfer does not require Board approval provided the operation is not going to change, then no public hearing would be necessary. If it the Code Officer interprets that the transfer requires Board approval, then a public hearing would be needed. Code officer Brecker stated that no changes will be made.
DOG CONTROL OFFICER’S JUNE 2014 REPORT: Dog Control Officer Barbara Daniel presented her June Dog Report, which was tabled last month. Her July report is tabled until next month. Councilman Clark motioned to accept the June report as read, and was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
POLICE REPORT JULY 2014: The July 2014 police report was read by Chief Donald Hepkins. He also noted that the Brant Police provided a funeral escort for the funeral of Bill Sager, Jr. Supervisor Pero moved to accept the July Police report, and was seconded by Councilman Kaczmarek. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
APPOINTMENT OF PART-TIME PATROLMAN: Chief Donald Hepkins requested the appointment of Michael L. Petritz as part-time patrolman. Supervisor Pero motioned to approve the appointment and was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo. A roll call vote was taken: Supervisor Pero-aye, Councilman DeCarlo-aye, Councilman Kaczmarek-aye, Councilman Clark-aye, Councilman Gier-aye. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
PLATE READER PURCHASE APPROVAL: Supervisor Pero then acknowledged that the Town had been approved for a grant from Senator Grissanti’s office in the amount of $15,600.00 towards the purchase of a plate reader. The actual cost of the reader is $21,000.00 but the Town also received a donation of $1,500.00 in addition to the grant. Based on this, Supervisor Pero motioned to approve the purchase of the reader. The Town would pay the balance. Councilman Kaczmarek seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken: Supervisor Pero-aye, Councilman Kaczmarek-aye, Councilman Clark-aye, Councilman Gier-aye, Councilman DeCarlo-aye. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
TOWN CLERK MONTHLY ACTIVITY REPORT FOR JULY 2014: The Town Clerk’s monthly activity report for July 2014 was read by Clerk Daniel. The Town Clerk’s report also announced that the Town had been approved for a Records Management Grant ($38,649) to purchase equipment and labor to scan all Town maps, Site Plans, and historical items, etc. Councilman Gier moved to accept the report as read, and was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
SPECIAL REQUEST FROM SNI EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER: The Town Clerk notified the Town Board that she had recently received a letter from SNI childhood learning center requesting to be able to use the Town Hall parking lot as a Bus Stop for their Head Start program for the 2014-2015 school year. Attorney Trask advised the Board to seek input and recommendations from Evans Agency. He also advised that a Hold Harmless clause be part of any agreement. The Town Clerk will forward the letter of request to Evans Agency prior to a Board vote.
PLANNING BOARD REPORT: Planning Board secretary Lynda Ostrowski read the minutes of the July 22nd Planning Board meeting. The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for August 26, 2014. Attorney Trask will attend the next meeting. Councilman DeCarlo motioned to approve the report as presented, and was seconded by Councilman Gier. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
ZONING BOARD REPORT: No meeting was held.
RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT: The Recreation program ends August 15. Nothing to report.
PARKS COMMISSIONER’S REPORT: Supervisor Pero addressed the opening of the small grove walls to allow more room within the grove. He also noted that the groves need more parking room for renters. The wading pool has a crack and Allen Nolan is repairing it. The parking and speed limit signs are now up in the park.
TOWN HISTORIAN REPORT: No Town Historian minutes were presented.
FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORTS: No Reports were received. Councilman Gier noted Brant at Woodlawn for the championship.
SENIOR’S REPORT FOR JULY 2014: No Senior report received.
SUMMERFEST REPORT: Supervisor Pero announced the final figures on the Brant Summerfest. He reminded the Board that they had originally approved the spending of $5,000.00. But when all the figures were accounted for, $1,277 was placed back in the Town’s account which brought the Town’s final cost to host the Brant Summer Festival to $3,272.63.
RECREATION/POOL: Supervisor Pero noted that the Pool will be closed on August 24 and Recreation program will end on August 15th.
EXIT MEETING WITH NYS AUDITOR JASON (NYS COMPTROLLER AUDIT): Supervisor Pero addressed a meeting he had with Jason of the NYS Comptroller’s office. In short, he noted no material discrepancies in monthly amounts reported to Comptroller by the Court Clerks. Six items were addressed in the audit. Supervisor Pero has until August 29th to respond to the audit report. He is awaiting the Court Clerk’s responses. Supervisor Pero will submit a response and then await a corrective action response from the Comptroller’s office.
AMENDMENT TO PART 11 OF THE EMPLOYEE MANUAL:
Supervisor Pero read a resolution drafted by Town Attorney William Trask regarding the deletion of a certain part of the recently adopted Employee Manual:
WHEREAS, on May 13, 2014 the Brant Town Board adopted the Town of Brant Employee Manual which contains a drug and alcohol testing policy, which contains a Part 11 entitled “Drug Free Awareness Employee Assistance Program”.
WHEREAS, THE TOWN OF BRANT has no resources available and does not reasonably anticipate budgeting to provide such program, the Town Board hereby wishes to correct the Employee Manual to eliminate such provision;
NOW THEREFORE Let it be said,
RESOLVED, that Part 11 of the Drug and Alcohol testing Policy provision in the Town of Brant Employee Manual adopted May 13th 2014 entitled “Drug Free Awareness Employee Assistance Program” is hereby deleted in its entirety and any other reference in the Employee Manual or any Town of Brant Human Resources material to such programs are hereby deleted as well,
AND IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that all employees shall be notified of this amendment in a manner designed to provide prompt and accurate notice of the deletion of such provision from the Employee Manual. Dated August 12, 2014.
Supervisor Pero made a motion to adopt the amendment of the Employee Manual as quoted above, and was seconded by Councilman Clark. A roll call vote was taken: Supervisor Pero-aye, Councilman Clark-aye, Councilman Kaczmarek-aye, Councilman Gier-aye, Supervisor DeCarlo-aye. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
ADDENDUM TO CURRENT AG DISTRICT PERMITTED USES LAW: Supervisor Pero noted that he received the SEQR (Type 1) paperwork from the Town Attorney. A copy to be sent to the Department of Environment and Planning. A public hearing won’t be called without hearing back from Erie County Planning.
HORIZONTAL DRILLING LAW: Attorney Trask noted that the law drafted by the Planning Board was almost verbatim to the one adopted by the Town of Dryden. He noted that the law had been challenged. Trask noted that the law is so broad that outlaws the existing gas wells, so more work on the law must be done before moving forward. Trask noted two good things about the law are:
1.) Prospectively prohibits High Volume Hydrofracking
2.) Prohibits the use of dry wells to inject waste water which contains contaminants/chemicals.
Attorney Trask offered to work with the Planning Board to adjust the Town’s current code before completing the SEQR process.
HAZMAN EVENT REMINDER AUGUST 30TH: Supervisor Pero reminded those present about the upcoming Hazman Event which will allow residents and (nonresidents with a fee of 50 cents/lb) to dispose of Hazardous items such as old paint, oil, medications, etc. The event will be held on Saturday August 30th. He noted contributors brought the cost down to approximately $500.00. Donators included GOYA, Bestway Disposal, Gugino Lawn Equipment, Pero Farms, Erie County Sheriff’s.
RENTAL OF WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEMS: We were loaned a water purification system from Crystal Rock for the break room. Two companies quoted units. Crystal Kleer quoted $46.98/mo. and Crystal Rock quoted $23.98/mo. Supervisor Pero requested the Board approval of the leasing of four units, which will replace the bottled water units. Two for the Town Hall, One for the Sr. Community Bldg., and one for the Highway Garage at a cost of $23.98/month times four. Councilman Kaczmarek made the motion and was seconded by Councilman Gier. A roll call vote was taken: Councilman Kaczmarek-aye, Councilman Gier-aye, Councilman Clark-aye, Councilman DeCarlo-aye, Supervisor Pero-aye. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
LETTER OF CONFIRMATION OF APPOINTMENT OF JUSTICE MICHAEL COOPER: Supervisor Pero read a letter from Uniform Justice Court. Per Section 106 of the Uniform Justice Court system, Michael Cooper has been appointed until December 31st of 2014 or until a new Justice has been elected or appointed by the Town Board, as fill-in Justice in the absence of the deceased Justice Linda Crouse.
2008 SUV EXPEDITION IS NOW READY TO SELL: Supervisor Pero noted that the surplus SUV is now ready to be put online on an auction site for bids.
HONORING JUSTICE LINDA CROUSE ON SEPTEMBER 20, 2014: Supervisor Pero announced that a memorial service honoring Justice Linda Crouse who recently passed away will be held on Saturday September 20, 2014. He then read what will be inscribed on her plaque.
2014-15 SCHOOL TAX OFFICE RENTAL AGREEMENT: Supervisor Pero read the terms of the annual agreement for the rental of the spare office located across the hall from Brant Police Department. The signed agreement will be filed in the Town Clerk’s office. Rent of $500.00 per month shall be due beginning September 15, 2014 and be paid monthly ending November 30th, 2014. Supervisor Pero motioned to approve the agreement, and was seconded by Councilman Gier. A roll call vote was taken: Supervisor Pero-aye, Councilman Gier-aye, Councilman Kaczmarek-aye, Councilman Clark-aye, Councilman DeCarlo-aye. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
PAVING OF TOWN HALL PARKING LOTS: Supervisor Pero asked the Board to authorize him to negotiate a BAN for the cost of paving the Town Hall parking lots. Councilman Gier noted that there are drainage issues that need to be resolved before any work can start. But he added that the must be competitively bid out with prevailing wage. The project must be filed with the Department of Labor. Trask will also check with Bond counsel. The Board should seek Engineering feedback and then get back to the Town Attorney with figures for Bond Counsel. Supervisor Pero was concerned about the delay in his ability to negotiate the BAN. Attorney Trask noted that the Board can hold a special meeting if needed.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES: None presented
TOWN BOARD REPORTS:
COUNCILMAN GIER: Met with D.O.T. regarding the Route 249 paving project. He and Councilman Kaczmarek met with the Police Chief about new hires, and to discuss the Town’s contract with the Chief.
COUNCILMAN KACZMAREK: Met with the Chief of Police. The new bathrooms at the recreation building are working great. Also looking into holding a “Drive-In” movie some night within the next month at the park.
COUNCILMAN CLARK: Nothing to report
COUNCILMAN DeCARLO: He discussed the concert turnout at the Park, 27 people attended. This concert followed the senior picnic. He added that parking was an issue for the senior concert goers due to football parking.
Discussion continued about the parking problem at the Rec Build. Supervisor Pero assigned Councilmen DeCarlo and Kaczmarek to the duty of fixing the parking problem.
• Discussed the meeting he had on July 9th with DOT and Suit-Kote regarding the Rte. 249 project. They will not be surfacing with oil and chips as originally planned.
• Announced that Route 5 would be paved from the water tower to Kennedy beginning in September.
• He has begun to work on the budget
• He completed the Lake Erie Water Shed survey
• Southtowns Community Enhancement Coalition took Senator Grisanti on tour, using the Rural Transit Van. The tour started at the Evans Town Hall and ended at Desperados
• Announced that the Southtowns Community Enhancement Coalition is going to hold a Barn Dance on October 4th.
• Noted the Audit meeting with auditor Jason
• During a recent Supervisor Summit meeting he talked to someone about Laser lines for snow removal $2,400.00 (help single manned plow trucks accuracy)
• He spoke with other supervisors at the Supervisor’s Summit meeting and they are stating that their wage increases are at approximately 2%.
• Noted that he has brochures for anyone interested regarding the problem with Giant Hogweed. If a human touches it, they will get a severe burn. He would like to set up an informational event each month about items such as this to inform.
• Noted that he wants to set up a committee with Councilmen Gier and Kaczmarek to track the Town’s fuel usage. Tracking where it is going.
• Supervisor Pero announced he attended 14 meetings in July
• Set Local Disaster Meeting at 7 pm on Monday September 8th and the 27th of August for the 2015 Brant Summerfest meeting.
DRIVE-IN MOVIE NIGHT: Supervisor Pero then noted that someone purchased the old Drive-In location near Shop and Save in Angola. They are looking for ways to defray the cost of a proposal to bring back a Drive-In Theatre to the location. Lake Shore Youth Football wishes to host a “Drive-In movie” night at the Brant Park to raise money through donations. He asked the Board to approve the event to be held sometime in September. Supervisor Pero motioned to approve the “Drive-In Movie” night event. He was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo. A roll call vote was taken: Supervisor Pero-aye, Councilman DeCarlo-aye, Councilman Kaczmarek-aye, Councilman Clark-aye, Councilman Gier-aye. 5 ayes, 0 nays. MOTION CARRIED.
RECOGNIZED PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR:
Mike Boismenu of Lotus Bay Estate Drive wanted to make the Town Board aware of his deep concern over a fence which has been installed at 1 Lotus Bay Estate Drive, which he feels is impacting the safety of other homes on the road. He stated it was installed prior to obtaining a building permit, and it is higher than code allows. He added that it impairs the road right of way. He then presented a letter from the Farnham Fire Department stating that the chief visited the location and discovered they wouldn’t be able to get fire equipment around the corner to other homes.
Supervisor Pero explained that the Board is not responsible for the way the Code Enforcement Officer interprets the Code. He is aware of his concern, and he is reaching out to Ellen Gingrich about the Town taking over her roadway as a right of way that would allow people to come straight down to Lotus Bay Estate Drive. Right now this road is open, but in the winter, she normally closes it. He has a meeting with Ellen regarding her allowing the Town to take over the care of the road to allow straight passage as a right of way for those on Lotus Bay Estate Drive. Supervisor Pero asked CEO Brecker if he wanted to add to the discussion about the Road.
CEO Brecker instead responded to the letter from the Fire Chief. He stated that he had contacted all 3 fire chiefs to see if they could assess the location, and he received no response from them. Supervisor Pero then reiterated that it is not the Town Board’s responsibility to interpret the code. It is the sole discretion of the Code Officer. And if they are not ok with his interpretation, they need to seek a meeting with the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Attorney Trask interjected that if someone puts up something that hinders access to emergency vehicles and it is done on private property, as Lotus Bay Estate Drive is, that’s a private matter. He then advised Mr. Boismenu to talk to his attorney about a private nuisance action against his neighbor who may have obstructed access for emergency vehicles. This is not a public matter.
Mr. Boismenu asked “Wouldn’t it become a public matter if a permit were granted, issued by the Town.” Attorney Trask responded “I don’t know”. Boismenu then asked is it fair for this Town to issue a permit for an unsafe action? Aren’t they conflicted in agreeing with that if they issued the permit.” Trask responded, “If Mr. Brecker, who is the Code Enforcement Officer, and who has the primary obligation and right to interpret the code, if it was his determination that a permit was to issued there, as the Supervisor said, the Town Board has no say over that. That is an administrator function, solely for Mr. Brecker. If residents there, neighbors feel there is a problem with the action that Mr. Brecker took in issuing the permit, they need to talk to legal counsel of your own about whether there is a way of challenging that. I’m not here to advise you on that and I won’t. Mr. Boismenu responded, “So what you’re saying is, the Town issues an unsafe permit and now we have to seek legal counsel.” Attorney Trask responded “You’re saying that or you’re alleging that.” Mr. Boismenu responded that he is alleging it because the Fire Chief sent him a letter stating he won’t be able to get the emergency vehicles down the road to respond to an emergency.
Supervisor Pero reiterated his desire to work with Ellen Gingrich to allow the Town to take over her roadway to allow straight access to the homes in question. Attorney Trask then advised that to allow the Town to “take over” a private road will open a new can of worms. The Town would need at least a 45 foot right of way (3 rod), and it has to be improved to Town Highway standards before the Town can take it over. So it’s not a simple for the Town to take it over.
Denny Kane, president of the Lotus Bay Home Association spoke next: He wanted to elaborate on the discussion of Mr. Boismenu. He stated that he wanted to focus on the issue at hand which according to him, the installation of an illegal fence. He also claimed that it was constructed before the permit was issued. He added that the fence is higher than code allows. He listed other problems with the fence such as the obstruction of the view of a neighboring home, and the obstruction of the view of the lake for 28 or 29 home owners on Lotus Bay Rd. He mentioned the problems with making Lotus Abode Rd a public Rd. He questioned where the money to fund the purchase of the roadway and bring it to code would come from. He continued that those living on Lotus Bay Road would not want a public Road to run behind their homes. He stated when they brought the smallest emergency vehicle; they had a very hard time negotiating the right turn. He is worried they will get stuck in the winter and blocks other vehicles for the emergency.
Supervisor Pero acknowledged his concern but reiterated the limitation of the Town Board to force someone to take their fence down. He then advised him to seek a ruling from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Code Officer Gary Brecker noted that this was the first time he knew of the Fire Chief visiting the location. Brecker noted that it is not a fence which code limits to 6 feet. This is not a fence, it is a screen. He felt the setback was more than adequate and in his opinion, it does not affect their easement. He then added that the beginning of the fence is not a problem because the pillars that are there have been there for many years, and there has never been a problem with that first turn. He advised them to appeal to the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Kane stated they have no desire to do so. CEO Brecker asked why he wasn’t invited to attend the Fire Chief’s visit to the location. He invited three fire chiefs to examine the location and he did not hear back from them.
Mr. Kane mentioned again his concern for the safety of the residents. His main concern tonight is to put the Town of Brant on notice that this unsafe condition exists and the Town could be held responsible in the event of an emergency. Attorney Trask reiterated that this is private property and is therefore not as clear of a matter. Attorney Trask responded that if the Code Officer issued a permit based upon certain assumptions about the safety access and it turns out that safety access is not what he thought it was going to be, the Code Officer could make modifications to the permit. But the Code Officer should have access to all the information such as the Fire Chiefs concerns.
Supervisor Pero read the following correspondence:
• Letter from Office of Real Property Tax Services – equalization rate is now at 94% as of August 8
• William Watson offered labor and installation of a pool cover for $350.00
• Sales Tax 1.66% above the payment made at this time in 2013
• Letter from Time Warner
• Letter from Senator Grisanti regarding good budgeting for our Seniors (EPIC for discount meds)
Supervisor Pero read the following Abstract:
Abstract 8 of 2014
*Prepaid and unpaid as of August 12, 2014
Gen Fund Town wide Vouchers Totaling: $35,001.75
Gen Fund – Part Town Voucher Totaling: $58,168.11 (includes Farnham Ambulance $42,602.00)
Highway T.W. Vouchers Totaling: $253.37
Highway P.T. Vouchers, Total $43,528.45
Fire Protection: Vouchers: Totaling: $0
Street lighting: Voucher totaling: $2,006.37
CD Capital Projects: Vouchers none, Totaling: $0
Lotus Bay Sewer Dist 1: Vouchers: None
Brant Farnham Sewer Dist: Vouchers: none, Totaling: $0
Brant Water Dist 1: Voucher: none – Totaling $0
Special Grant Fund: unpd: None, Totaling:$0
Three pay periods:
General Town Wide Payroll 6/15/14 – 7/26/14 Totaling: $90,833.72
General Part Town Payroll 6/15/14 – 7/26/14 Totaling: $964.20
Highway Payroll TW 6/15/14 – 7/26/14 Totaling: $351.18
Highway Payroll PT 6/15/14 – 7/26/14 Totaling: $11,878.32
Councilman Clark motioned to payment of Abstract 8, and was seconded by Councilman DeCarlo. 5 ayes, 0 nays. No roll call vote was taken. MOTION CARRIED.
At 9:16 PM, the entire Town Board motioned to adjourn in memory of the recently deceased Michael Daniel and Billy Sager, Jr. The balance of the Board seconded the motion. MEETING ADJOURNED.
Respectfully submitted by,
Brant Town Clerk