Board of Trustees

Village of Baxter Estates

315 Main Street, Port Washington, New York

February 3, 2011

7:30 PM

 

Present:†††††††††† Mayor Frederick E. Nicholson

`†††††††††††††††††††††† Trustee Charles Comer

††††††††††††††††††††††† Trustee Douglas Baldwin

††††††††††††††††††††††† Trustee Alice M..Peckelis

††††††††††††††††††††††† Trustee Michael Taylor

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Village Attorney Christopher Prior

††††††††††††††††††††††† Treasurer Laurence Tuck

††††††††††††††††††††††† Village Clerk Yvonne Whitcomb

 

 

Also present:Port Washington Fire Department members; Jeff Cole, Donald Alexander, Thomas P. McDonough, Robert Kropack, Charles Cella, Michael Tedeschi, Jane Weiss, Tricia Trapp, Emilio Frometa

 

Open Regular Meeting 7:30p.m.

 

Meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Trustee Peckelis.

Public Hearing 7:35PM

Mayor Nicholson opened the Public Hearing duly advertised in the January 27, 2011 issue of the Port Washington News, to consider the proposed contract with the Port Washington Fire Department for service from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011 at a cost to the Village of $116,259.00.

Mayor Nicholson introduced himself and each of the Board members, the Village Treasurer, the Village Clerk and the Village Attorney.He then invited the numerous representatives from the Fire Department to identify themselves.Chief of Department Tom McDonough, Board of Directors Chairperson Jane Weiss, Board of Directors Chairperson Bob Kropacek, Assistant Chief and Incoming Chief of Department Jeff Cole, and approximately 4 other individuals identified themselves for the record.

 

Department Chairperson Weiss noted that the Village should already have received the Department Budget Guide.She noted that the Departmentís computer system was down, and they were unable to produce call records for the hearing.Ms. Weiss told the Board that those records would be furnished to the Village when ready.

 

Ms. Weiss then described the increase to the budget for the Fire Department for 2011, which results in increased costs to the Village and all other municipalities contracting with the Fire Department.She noted the need to install computer dispatching systems in department vehicles, the need to purchase a new truck for the incoming chief, and the newly mandated comprehensive medical exams required for all volunteer members of the Department.She noted that, in prior years, only certain members were required to have exams each year, and that an exam would be deemed effective for a 3 year period.The National Fire Protection Association has imposed the new mandates which involve full physicals, x-rays, blood tests, etc.Chief of Department Tom McDonough noted that the Fire Department is working with very cooperative medical personnel, and that these tests, the market value of which is probably $500 or more, are being provided to the volunteer members for $165 per test.Chief McDonough noted that the exams not only protect the volunteer members, but also enable the Department to avoid potential fines from PESHA for non-compliance.Another item of added costs for the Department for 2011 are new rules relating to the replacement of turn-out gear.Where 20 sets of gear were being replaced per year previously, under the new rules, the Department must replace 60 sets per year, as all sets become unusable under new regulations after 10 years.

 

Mayor Nicholson then asked the Department to specify the increase that the Village is being asked to pay.Department Chairperson Weiss noted that the increase for the Village of Baxter Estates is 4.5%.In response to Mayor Nicholsonís question, Chairperson Weiss noted that, in 2010, there was actually a 1% decrease from the amount payable by the Village in 2009.

 

Mayor Nicholson then asked whether significant capital expenditures were contemplated that might lead to significant increases in next yearís budget and fire contract amount.Chief of Department McDonough noted that a new ladder truck had been ordered, and its delivery is expected within one year.That vehicle will be financed, and so there is a mortgage line in the budget to address that capital expenditure.

 

The Mayor then inquired as to the impact of new development in the community on the Fire Department.Chief of Department McDonough noted that any increase in the developed area obviously increases the burden on the Department.McDonough noted that new buildings are compliant with the latest fire safety requirements under the New York State Building Code, but, nevertheless, there are more structures, property and persons to protect.

 

Mayor Nicholson observed that some large developments may require a Fire Department to purchase new equipment to enable the Department to serve, for example, tall buildings that cannot be reached by current Fire Department equipment.Mayor Nicholson suggested that any such specific burden should be imposed upon the developers.Chief of Department McDonough noted that he agrees with the logic, but that attempts by the Department in connection with development projects before local government agencies in the past had led him to conclude that such costs cannot be imposed on the developers.

 

Mayor Nicholson then asked whether there were any ways in which the Village Board might assist the Fire Department in protecting residents.Chief of Department McDonough requested that the Village advise its residents to dig out hydrants.The current snowy conditions in the community have lead to significant blockages of hydrants, as well as increasing the number of responses that the Fire Department must make.Chief McDonough noted that, for the first time, in 2010, the Department made more than 3,000 calls.In fact, in the last week of December, the Department had to make 100 calls, and that was when significant snows had already been deposited on the streets and around the hydrants in the community, including the Village.

 

Mayor Nicholson inquired as to the nature of the increased number of calls.The Department representatives mentioned alarms, weather, ambulance calls and particularly carbon monoxide alarms.Trustee Taylor suggested that the issue of carbon monoxide alarms be addressed in the Village newsletter.Incoming Chief of Department Cole responded that the Department would provide the Village with an article relating to carbon monoxide alarms.Trustee Taylor then inquired as to the inter relationships between the Fire Department and other local emergency organizations.Chief McDonough noted that the community wide plans are in place and effective.He suggested that the Village urge its residents to join the Civilian Emergency Response Team, which is of assistance to the emergency services agencies when they are needed.

 

Trustee Baldwin observed that some hydrants have been blocked significantly by snow deposited by snow plow operators.Mayor Nicholson stated that he would bring this matter to the attention of DeJana Industries, which has the snow plow contract with the Village.Trustee Peckelis noted that it is probably not DeJana operators who are plowing snow around hydrants.She suggested that the private snow plow contractors used by residents to clear their driveways are probably responsible for such issues.

 

Trustee Taylor inquired as to the relationship between the Port Washington Office of Emergency Management and the Fire Department.Chief McDonough responded that the entities are totally different, with different purposes.He noted that as Chief of the Fire Department, he sits in on the meetings of the Port Washington Office of Emergency Management, as do the chiefs from the Plandome Fire Department and the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department.However, it is the purpose of the Fire Department to protect life first, and then property.The Port Washington Office of Emergency Management deals with other issues arising out of emergencies, coordinating evacuations, providing medicine, food and water, and the like.

 

Trustee Baldwin then updated the group on an issue that he raised at last yearís public hearing on the 2010 fire contract.He noted his concerns about the manner in which Fire Department trucks returning from an event operate, as he had observed instances where he felt they were not following the rules of the road.Trustee Baldwin inquired as to whether the Department had introduced education for its members addressing this issue, as he had not observed any problems in recent months.Chief McDonough noted that new laws in effect mandate that Department members wear vests during events, which enhances safety and allows the members to control traffic at events.He noted that the Department members are more conscious of the public in connection with this issue.When Trustee Baldwin inquired as to whether specific training is in place, Chief McDonough responded that safety is consistently reinforced through education throughout the Department.

 

Trustee Peckelis then inquired as to what she referred to as an apparent $82,000 loss reflected on the most recently filed tax returns for Atlantic Hook and Ladder.The Fire Department members in attendance were uncertain as to that item, and advised the Village that they would check with the accountant for the Fire Department and advise the Village at a later date.

 

Trustee Peckelis then inquired as to paid staff of the Fire Department.She noted that the current budget calls for $290,000 in paid personnel costs.Chief McDonough noted that no full time hire had been made, but there are a few part timers hired to cover for the full timers when they are on vacation.In response to a question by Trustee Peckelis, Chief McDonough noted that there is no trend to increase the number of paid employees. However, he did note that the Department has expensive equipment and buildings that must be maintained, and that the Department must pay for that maintenance, and for snow plowing its own facilities, checking the air packs used by the members, and that Department paid employees are responsible for handling these matters.He noted that those paid employees also supplement the response by the volunteer members when there are events, particularly when the weather is poor.On occasion, the Department must use its own plow equipment to enable it to access the scene of an event.As an example, he pointed to a shut-in whose home alarm goes off.Nobody has shoveled the house, and so Department personnel must shovel to access the building and remove any persons, if required.Paid personnel may need to be on the scene in those events.Chairperson Weiss then noted that the salary increase for paid employees was 4%, including health care.She noted that there is one full time person in the office and one part time employee in the office.Mayor Nicholson asked for any insights into next yearís budget.Chairperson Weiss noted that the only major item on the horizon is the truck described previously, but that will be financed, and so will not be a material hit in any one year.

 

Mayor Nicholson asked whether any members of the public or any of the Trustees had additional questions.Hearing none, the Mayor asked for a motion to close the hearing.Upon motion duly made and seconded, the resolution to close the public hearing was unanimously adopted.

The Mayor thanked the representatives of the Fire Department for a their presentation.  Mayor Nicholson announced that the Public Hearing on the 2011 Fire Department contract was closed.

On motion of Trustee Comer, seconded by Trustee Peckelis, it was unanimously RESOLVED that the Village accept and, through the Mayorís signature, sign the contract from the Port Washington Fire Department for the year 2011 in the amount of  $116,259.00.

 

Regular Meeting 8:12PM

1.                  Village Clerk

 

A.      Minutes

 

On motion of Trustee Comer, seconded by Trustee Peckelis, it was RESOLVED that the reading of the minutes of the December 2, 2010 Board of Trustees Meeting be waived and they be and hereby are approved as presented by Clerk Whitcomb.

 

Mayor Nicholson†††††††† Abstained

Trustee Comer††††††††††† Aye

Trustee Baldwin†††††††††† Aye

Trustee Peckelis†††††††††† Aye

Trustee Taylor†††††††††††† Aye

 

On motion of Trustee Comer, seconded by Trustee Peckelis, it was RESOLVED that the reading of the minutes of the December 15, 2010 Board of Trustees Meeting be waived and they be and hereby are approved as presented by Clerk Whitcomb.

 

Mayor Nicholson†††††††† Aye

Trustee Comer Aye

Trustee Baldwin†††††††††† Abstained

Trustee Peckelis†††††††††† Aye

Trustee Taylor Aye

 

On motion of Trustee Comer, seconded by Trustee Taylor, it was RESOLVED that the reading of the minutes of the January 9, 2011 Board of Trustees Meeting be waived and they be and hereby are approved as presented by Clerk Whitcomb.

 

Mayor Nicholson†††††††† Aye

Trustee Comer Aye

Trustee Baldwin†††††††††† Abstained

Trustee Peckelis†††††††††† Abstained

Trustee Taylor Aye

 

 

 

2.                  Treasurer

 

A.†† Abstract of Vouchers

 

On motion of Trustee Comer, seconded by Trustee Baldwin, it was unanimously RESOLVED that the Abstract of Audited Vouchers, dated February 3, 2011, for the General Fund, totaling $29,417.53, be and hereby is approved as prepared by Treasurer Tuck.

 

Trustee Charles Comer excused himself at 9:00 PM.

 

 

 

B.      Village Audits

 

On motion of Trustee Baldwin, seconded by Trustee Peckelis, it was unanimously RESOLVED that the Skinnon, Faber and Heck Village Audit for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2010 be approved.

 

On the motion of Trustee Baldwin, seconded by Trustee Peckelis, it was unanimously RESOLVED that the Village engage the services of Skinnon, Faber and Heck to perform an independent audit of the financial affairs of the Village for the fiscal period commencing June 1, 2010 and ending May 31, 2011 and to prepare an inventory of Village assets for compliance with GASB, for a fee not to exceed $6,100.00 for the General Fund in accordance with the proposal submitted.

 

 

 

 

There being no further business before the Board, on motion of Trustee Baldwin, seconded by Trustee Peckelis, it was unanimously RESOLVED that the meeting be and hereby is adjourned at 10:00PM.

 

 

 

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