Board of Trustees
The Village of Baxter Estates
2 Harbor Road, Port Washington, New York
February 5, 2009
Mayor Frederick E. Nicholson
Trustee Charles Comer
Trustee Ray Keenan
Trustee Douglas Baldwin
Trustee Alice M. Peckelis
Treasurer Laurence Tuck
Village Attorney Christopher J. Prior
Village Clerk Yvonne Whitcomb
Also Present (for portions):
Carol Bonnie, Ed Bonnie and Stuart Rosen
Mayor Nicholson opened the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes:
The Mayor asked for a motion to approve the December 2008 and January 2009 minutes of the regular meetings of the Board of Trustees. Trustee Peckelis identified two typographical errors in the January 8, 2009 minutes concerning the public hearing on the fire contract. Upon motion made by Trustee Keenan, and seconded by Trustee Baldwin, the minutes of the December 2008 meeting as presented by the Village Clerk were unanimously approved. Upon motion made by Trustee Comer, seconded by Trustee Keenan, the minutes of the January 8, 2009 regular meeting of the Board of Trustees were unanimously approved with the corrections identified by Trustee Peckelis.
Parking on Locust Avenue.
Mayor Nicholson noted the presence of Carol Bonnie and her son, Ed Bonnie, residents on Locust Avenue, and invited them to address any issues they might like to raise before the Board proceeded with its agenda. Mrs. Bonnie and Ed Bonnie raised their concerns with respect to parking restrictions on Locust Avenue. Mrs. Bonnie noted that an elderly family member who visits her regularly during the day received a parking ticket for violating the one hour parking restriction on the north side of Locust Avenue. She and her son expressed their views that such restrictions adversely impact residents who live on Locust Avenue, as the parking restrictions make it very inconvenient for guests to visit them and park on the street and avoid being ticketed. The Board explained the long history in the Village with resident complaints concerning parking on Locust Avenue, including complaints as to commuters parking on the street, library patrons and employees parking on the street, and counter-balancing concerns as to the imposition on the residents when parking is restricted. Trustee Baldwin noted that the present restrictions reflect the Board’s best judgment as to how to accommodate all of the many concerns that have been raised from time to time concerning parking on Locust Avenue.
The Mayor stated that changes come about when residents make their opinions known to the Board. Mrs. Bonnie advised the Board that she intended to speak with her neighbors and might return to the Board with recommendations. The Board welcomed her input.
Independent Audit Report for Village Financial Statements:
The Board discussed the draft of the financial statement report prepared by Skinnon Faber, the independent auditors for the Village. Trustee Peckelis noted that she had reviewed and approved proposed language changes made by the Village Attorney at her request at the last meeting, and recommended that the proposed language change be forwarded to Skinnon Faber and Heck. The Board directed the Village Attorney to forward that language to Skinnon Faber and Heck.
Abstract of Claims:
Village Treasurer Tuck presented the abstract of claims to the Board. The Board reviewed and discussed same. Upon motion made by Trustee Comer, and seconded by Trustee Keenan, the Board unanimously approved the abstract of claims for the General Fund, totaling $24,221.93, as presented by the Village Treasurer.
Purchasing and Procurement Policies:
The Village Attorney observed that recent changes to state law require that names and titles of municipal officials responsible for purchasing decisions be set forth in the procurement policy required to be maintained by the Village under General Municipal Law Section 104. The Board inquired as to the status of the amended procurement policy, approved at the January 2009 meeting by the Board, in format acceptable to the Village Attorney. Although the Village Attorney recalled circulating a draft to the Village Clerk after the January 2009 meeting, the Board members advised him that none of them had received a copy. The Village Attorney stated that he would forward a copy directly to the Mayor for his review, and then to the Board members, so that the final form could be ratified at the March 2009 meeting of the Board.
Budget Work Session:
After discussion, the Board scheduled its budget work session for February 28, 2009 at 8:00 AM. As the budget work session is a public meeting, the Village Clerk should take all steps ordinarily taken in order to advertise a special meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Billing and Collection Regarding BZA Applicants:
The Board discussed with the Village Treasurer and the Village Attorney the status of account balances generated by BZA applications. The Mayor directed that all files be reviewed, to ascertain whether applicants have been properly notified that amounts were due to the Village. The Village Treasurer noted that the Village Assistant Clerk will organize the files and locate correspondence or other evidence of notifications to applicants.
Village Justice Court:
The Village Treasurer presented the Board with a summary of revenues and expenses relating to the Village Justice Court. The Board noted that expenses exceed revenues, although trend reflects a pick-up in revenues in the most recent time periods. The Board discussed the fact that the primary purpose for the Village Justice Court is to enhance the ability of the Village to enforce its laws, while, at the same time, consistent enforcement should lead to an increase in revenues that would exceed any corresponding increase in expenditures. The Mayor noted that he would consider this matter.
Delinquent Property Taxes:
The Board then discussed with the Village Treasurer the status of delinquent property taxes owing to the Village. The Board members discussed with the Village Attorney the possible means of obtaining the delinquent taxes. The Village Attorney advised that foreclosure proceedings are not advisable, as the cost outweighs the amounts to be obtained. The Village Attorney noted that, ordinarily, Village taxes continue as a lien against affected property, with interest and/or penalties accruing thereon in accordance with law, and that, upon any transfer of property, such taxes must be paid for any transfer to go through.
The Board asked the Village Attorney to research whether there are other possible means of obtaining delinquent taxes without waiting for the sale of the property. The Village Attorney noted that he would research the matter and report back to the Board.
Engagement of Skinnon, Faber and Heck as Outside Auditors:
Village Treasurer Larry Tuck reported to the Board that Skinnon Faber and Heck proposed to continue as auditors for the upcoming year.
Approval of Election Inspectors:
Upon motion made by Trustee Baldwin, and seconded by Trustee Comer, the Board unanimously resolved to appoint Angela Smith and Cynthia Wrobel as Election Inspectors, and to appoint Marilyn Sacrestano as an alternate inspector.
Consideration of Proposed Law Restricting Second Hand Merchandise:
The Village Attorney advised the Board that he received a telephone call from a representative of the Port Washington Police , which is recommending that the Village adopt a law similar to that enacted by the Town of North Hempstead to restrict transactions of second hand merchandise within the Village. Mr. Prior reported that the Port Washington Police believe that, without such restrictions, which involve licensing and recording of transactions, transactions in stolen merchandise are easier to accomplish, and jurisdictions without such laws may become havens for businesses engaging in such transactions. Mr. Prior underscored the police’s suggestion that the havens are not necessarily for merchants who seek to engage in such transactions, but, rather, persons who patronize such establishments and engage in transactions with the proprietors of those establishments, who may be victimized unwittingly by such patrons.
The Board members and the Mayor noted that this issue had not come before them in their memory. The Board members expressed the desire to learn more for the purpose of cooperating in an effective manner to address any potential problems. The Mayor asked counsel to contact the Port Washington Police and ask that a representative might visit with the Board to explain the problems.
The Board Members noted that a law such as the one enacted by the Town of North Hempstead, with its extensive licensing, registration, and recording requirements, would be onerous if adopted by the Village of Baxter Estates. The Village attorney suggested, if the Village desired to proceed with such a law, that it might pursue an inter-municipal agreement with the Town of North Hempstead under which the Town might assume the performance that otherwise would be required of Village personnel.
General Code Update:
The Village Attorney presented to the Board a cost estimate from General Code to incorporate into the Village code book the various local laws enacted by the Village since codification in 2005. The estimate by General Code is between $2,900 and $3,445. The Board Members noted that other laws are likely to be enacted, and asked whether it might be wise to wait until possible new laws are considered before sending the presently enacted materials to General Code. The Village Attorney recommended that the Board act now and bring its Code up to date. The Village will likely always be in a position of having laws that it is considering adopting, and far too much time, in the opinion of the Village Attorney has passed since the Code Book was brought up to date. The Board Members all agreed that action should be taken now. Upon motion made be Mayor Nicholson, and seconded by Trustee Baldwin, the Board unanimously resolved to expend not more than $4,000 to update the Village’s Code Book, in accordance with General Code’s estimate.
Possible Subjects for Future Legislation:
Trustee Baldwin suggested that the Board consider regulation of boats and storage pods within the Village. In addition, Trustee Baldwin suggested that the Village consider a rampant growth law, and noted that the Village Building Inspector advised him that such a law has been enacted by the Town of North Hempstead.
The Village Attorney noted that he had not ascertained whether villages within the Port Washington Garbage District should become parties to any flow control agreements proposed by the Town, or whether the Garbage District could do so on behalf of all jurisdictions contained therein. The Village Attorney noted that he would research the issue and report back to the Board.
Upon motion made by Mayor Nicholson, and seconded by Trustee Baldwin, the Board voted unanimously to enter into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.
At 10:36 p.m., the Mayor stated that Executive Session had concluded, and that no action had been taken by the Board in Executive Session.
There being no further business before the Board, the Mayor moved that the meeting be closed. Said motion was adopted unanimously.