What's going on in Germantown?

Notes on the Town Board Meeting of April 22nd, 2013

The Meeting was called to order at 7 PM by Joel Craig.  Supervisor Roy Brown was absent because of a conflicting meeting, but was expected to arrive sometime during the meeting.  Mike Mortenson, Don Westmore and Joan Snyder were in attendance, as well as Charlene Diehl, the Town Clerk and Tal Rippleyea, the Attorney.

The motions to accept the Minutes of the past meeting and to approve the payment of the audited bills were voted unanimously: All Aye. Mike Mortenson says they didn’t receive the e-mail with the information about the bills to pay and hopes the office will go back to the original way of handling the information.

Charlene advises that there will be new hours for the Town Clerk’s office on Mondays and Fridays the hours will be from 9 AM to 11AM.

Department Reports:

Highway Dept: Mike Mortenson says that the road sweeping has been completed; road shoulders are being trimmed along Best Lane and Viewmont. Culverts are being checked. Various parking lots have been repaired.  The Town has received additional CHIP funds in the amount of $10,353.00 from the state to be used on various road projects. There has been some work on the Anchorage landing.

Sewer: George Sharpe, Jr. says there was an average flow of 24.000 gallons per day for the month, 3 dig requests.  Stewarts had a sewer line collapse problem and they had to repair the line from their building to the main line connection.

Parks/Maintenance: Anthony Cidras reports the new LED lights have been installed and are a big improvement. He has been working on cleaning up the Ball Fields. He has filed a request for NY State Workforce Funding for a summer worker.  Last year’s experience was very positive. He says the chip pile has been moved close to the trail head closer to where it is commonly used. The Town has had two community cleanups.  The Roadside cleanup generated 500 lbs of garbage; the Riversweep generated over 1,000 lbs, not counting the tires and metal that was picked up.  He thanks the Overington Family, the Cub Scouts, and all others who assisted in the work.

Anthony requests permission to purchase a posthole digger. Now he has to borrow it from the highway department and yet he can use it for many small jobs OTHER than digging postholes, such as planting and other tasks.  Cost is $1,189.00 plus $308.00 for the complete rig.  Money is available in his budget.  Board: All Aye

Police Department: Roger Rekow reports that there were 148.25 hours of patrol service last month, and included the following actions: 23 tickets, 30 warnings, I parking ticket, 1 DWI citation, 1 Aggravated Vehicle Operation, 1 criminal mischief, and 1 grand larceny [the patio furniture theft]. Patrol visits were: 33 Cheviot, 33 Anchorage, 33 Schools. 30 Palatine Park, and 18 Dales Bridge.

Committee Reports:

Economic Development: Bruce Bohnsack reports that after much discussion there will be 2 kiosks placed on Main Street just East of Otto’s Market on a part of the lawn of Fingar Insurance.  They will purchase a bench for the area carved out for this civic amenity. There will be a place for flyers and brochures to be placed as well as for notices about events, meetings, etc. They want to be sure they coordinate with the sidewalk changes so they don’t have to move or re-do their work.  Joel says he hopes it can be in place for the summer high-use season. The Economic Development Committee met with School Board President Eric Mortenson and other school officials to discuss the need for greater communication and more coordination between the Town and The Schools.  The new Town sign has been designed and Norman Mintz, who has designed it, needs to get together with Board members to finalize the project.

Park /Committee: The committee raised almost $1,000.00 from their recent Sub Sale.  They are planning a Community Picnic on July 20th complete with lawn games and music to enjoy.  More later!

Old Business; Joel reminds residents that they are still looking for volunteers for the Planning Board, the ZBA and for the Ethics Committee.

New Police AR15 Rifles: The Police Department has requested to purchase 2 new AR15 Automatic Rifles at the cost of $750.00 each. Discussion by Board Members:  Mike Mortenson has discussed this issue with other Police departments Administrators.  He had leaned towards a NO vote but recent events have changed his mind.  Joel said he was concerned about training and how these rifles would be used. Don Westmore said he was appalled about the increasingly powerful weapons in use in the Country. The decision to purchase two additional firearms bothered him.  He said such arms would have been no use in the past event in Boston, nor in a train.. [A reference to the two arrested in Canada who planned to take arms on the train from Montreal to New York City] However, if there are to be such weapons in the town it is better that they are in the hands of the police and he will reluctantly vote yes.  Joan Snyder said that if the Police say they need them they should have them.  All vote Aye.

Derelict Properties:  Town Attorney says the town is now in the position to take the next legal steps to clean ou one of the properties.  The other one has made an effort to remedy the situation, but needs to be followed up to see that cleanup is completed. The Board agrees to take the next step with an All Aye Vote.  In addition they vote to approve the Zoning Officer’s request to authorize and serve a summons to a property owner. All Aye.

Town’s Summer Recreational Program: The program will be essentially the same as it was last year. [Last year’s Program was very successful. The Town has apparently lined up adult supervision/administration to replace Austin who ran it last year].* See additional information at end of this report.

Lasher Park Kayak/Canoe Project:  Don Westmore presented plans to establish facilities for a launching area for Kayaks and Canoes that will enable Germantown to be included in the recreational maps of the Hudson as a destination for these small craft as they ply the Hudson River.  He has lined up basic support from individuals and an association of Kayakers.  He hopes it will be included in the “Hudson River Valley Ramble” which takes place on the four weekends in September.  He hopes that Germantown could host an event.  More information will follow.

Bruce Bohnsack asks the Town to help with the installation of a new replacement GTEL web camera, which will be a considerable upgrade of what is currently set up at the Shore. The new camera will provide continuous motion and in full color.  He needs to install a Fiber Optic connection and would like the Town’s permission to place it on a more suitable location on the side of the building rather than keeping it attached to the pole where it is now.

He also asks if the Town could host the site for “12526.BIZ” on its website. They seemed to be agreeable to both of these suggestions, but no vote was necessary..

Roy Brown still has not arrived so Joel Craig goes over the items he has information about as the “Supervisor’s Report”;

 The Sidewalk Project.  There are only 2 properties left to map out for the final design and after that the engineering can begin the actual work on the first segment. [“Shovel Ready?]

He notes that there will be a review conducted by the Town Attorney prior to the next Planning Board meeting to begin at 5:30.  The regular meeting will begin at 7 PM. * See further information at the end of this report.

The Town is concerned about the condition of the new roof on the Garage.  The wrong nails were used and the holes are rusting out.  The roof was done only 2 years ago and the Town is looking for what their options are to get it redone properly without a cost to the town.

The Financial Audit is progressing.  The firm should be able to present its report to the Board in 6 weeks.

The Playground work is completed and all paths are clear and filled with chips.

Public Comments:

Tom Bower, former chairman of the ZBA rose to speak;  He was very distressed to see the number of fully-grown mature trees that have been cut down, apparently to make room for the new soccer field.  He feels that the cutting has ruined the barrier between the parkland and the houses and road (and its noise) that border the park. He also feels that the family that donated the land would be heartbroken to see the destruction of the quiet woodland just to satisfy soccer players. He says the trees were a town asset that cannot easily be replaced.

There was no reply from any of the Board Members.

The Board adjourned for an executive session at 7:55 PM and most attendees and I departed.  However the Board came back and re-convened the meeting, Roy now being present to take the following action. From notes from Don Westmore:

1.    Summer program.  On recommendation from the firm hired to restore Palatine Park lake, and with agreement by the Parks Commission, the Board decided to suspend swimming until next year to allow more aggressive treatment, including thoroughly cleaning the inlet and outflow channels.  These measures will make subsequent maintenance easier and more effective.  None of the measures use chemicals.  Roy will investigate offering alternative swimming lessons at nearby facilities, to be funded partially with savings from not having to hire lifeguards.

2.    Roy and Don had a highly constructive meeting with the Parks Commission, Little League President Meacher, and Soccer League President (?) to discuss reconfiguring the ball fields to accommodate both sports’ needs more effectively, as well as refurbishing or replacing the snack bar building.  We requested a more detailed set of requests, including a notional drawing of how the reconfiguration would look, divided into immediate needs and longer term goals.  Meacher promised to provide a five year plan that he said aimed to make Germantown a more important venue for Little League games, perhaps including night games under lights.  It was also noted that the number of soccer players has increased, while Little League numbers have fallen.

The meeting was adjourned about 8:30 PM

The next Town Board meeting is scheduled for Monday May 20, 2013 at 7 PM.

Additions, corrections welcomed

Kay Abraham 537-5404


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