Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Town Just Keeps On Spending

Never ceasing to amaze the informed, Mr Feiner has done it again. At Tuesday’s Town Board work session, issues concerning the Theodore Young Community Center pool’s water temperature and its subsequent closing on December 26th were discussed. They reopened the pool that following Saturday. Mr Feiner, cunning and shrewd, asked about the newly installed solar water heaters. He also asked if it was an auxiliary heating system  to the pool. The responses, while legitimate and polite, basically reiterated what he should already know. As Mr Carter had stated previously, the solar heating panels only heat the water for the showers, not the pool. Then they discussed problems with the boiler. This was also discussed at the previous work session when Mr Carter complained that Mr Feiner cut $10k from his maintenance line which he had anticipated using for preventative maintenance. Smart move. Mr Feiner then asked these three junior people, not Mr Carter, how much a new boiler would cost? Amazing. Mr Morgan mentioned there are a lot of factors involved with evaluating the boiler. They plan to contact Victor Carosi about a price for a new boiler.

Closing the pool due to the pool’s water temperature being below 78° was also in question. A discussion ensued but there was never an answer furnished as to why and how the pre-described temperature was actually chosen. As a rule, when the pool is closed, it is not due to temperature. Then it was brought up that there is a roof leak due to the installation of the HVAC system and solar panels as well as a ventilation issue. Naturally, Mr Feiner said we should get regular reports from Victor Carosi so we can decide whether to take the contractors to court. The final solution may be about going to court, but initially there should be tighter control and inspections of the projects, the work done and the crews involved, dare we say like a real project in the private sector? Since the Town’s contractors appear to be the same ones over and over, they know they will not be challenged or brought to court. Mr Sheehan discussed with someone in the audience that there was still a punch list of things to be completed before final payment is made. So you can actually have a discussion with someone sitting in the audience.

At the meeting, it was said that the Library’s compressor just “blew” in the children’s room section of the library according to this same person. He added that this is some years after the project was completed. That cost will be about $30k. We understand that mechanical devices fail and yet it seems the library’s HVAC systems have never worked properly.

The next issue was waiving the $100 Generator Installation application fee for the installation of fixed (as opposed to portable) home generators. Specifically, the Town Board is proposing to waive the $100 application review fee leaving in place the building, plumbing and electrical permit fees. Normally, if wetlands and steep slopes are involved there are fees for those as well. As Building Inspector John Locido stated, we have fees for everything. Sadly, he’s correct.

Apparently the Town is involved in another summary judgement lawsuit, with Wilson-Elser, after the Town caused damage on private property. Mr Sheehan stated that the request was made in December for another $25k for a private law firm to represent the Town. $25k had already been voted on at the previous meeting. And, a resident tells us a third $25K was also approved previously, bring the grand total for attorney fees to $75k! Mr Lewis said it was foreseeable as the demands from the wronged party and the Town’s offer are very disparate and they are now nearing the trial stage, set for February 10th.

The Fortress Bible Church guilty verdict settlement bond was then discussed. Mr Sheehan questioned voting on the bond issue without publicizing it properly. Specifically, he stated since we knew this was happening, why was it not on the agenda previously produced at the end of last week? Mr Feiner said the vote was it had to be done immediately and Comptroller Bart Talamini, said the time stamp must be present before the wire transfer of funds to be legal. Mr Sheehan still protested because the bond issue was not a surprise and should have been on the agenda. Since Mr Sheehan was resistant to just letting this go unchecked, Mr Talamini told him (and the group) that they would not be able to bond the $2.2 million if they don’t vote immediately. Mr Feiner started to make one of his inaccurate comments about having this be a better deal than before to justify keeping this on the agenda. Mr Sheehan told him that wasn’t the point. It was then discussed to hold a special meeting to vote on the bond issue.

Another surprise was that Mr Feiner changed the terms of the payment from what was originally laid before the public to what will actually happen with this bonding. The Town will need to finance $5.5 million of the $6.5 million Fortress Bible settlement. Mr Feiner decided to change the original five-year payment schedule to a ten year period as taxpayers had originally been told. Utilizing ten years instead of five will lower the per year tax increase to the already abused taxpayers, but cost more in the long run and drag out the pain for twice the period of time.

As the meeting continued, Mr Feiner actually asked Mr Sheehan how he planned to vote? Mr Sheehan stated he didn’t know how he was going to vote yet, but again, that wasn’t the point. Then it was publicized that a super-majority was needed to pass the bond. The room went momentarily silent. Mr Feiner, like a dog with a bone, believes that Mr Sheehan is going to vote against the bonding. Subsequently, if that happens, it remains to be seen what Ms Juettner does with her vote. We’re in agreement that she will vote in favor because she is equally guilty as Mr Feiner in this case. It was finally determined to hold a special meeting at 9PM on Thursday for the vote.

Amnesty was the next agenda topic. Town Tax Collector Ann Povella said the Town collected just over $4 million. There was 20, 944,000 million outstanding on September 30th. There were a couple of large ones and many small ones collected. Apparently some people didn’t make the date to file under the amnesty program and now Mr Feiner wishes to extend that grace period. Ms Povella stated we collected interest up to the 31st. Some people also came in to inform the Town they couldn’t pay. The list of fore-closable properties has gone from about 550 to 350 to 300 properties. The comment was made that some of the foreclosable properties are actually telephone poles, which the Town cannot foreclosed on. So the big debate was whether or not the Town extends the grace period or not, and move forward with foreclosure.

Even after being found guilty on seven counts of discrimination, this Town Board is still engaging in fast and furious behavior, doing as they please. Town Board work sessions, Town Board meetings, committee meetings, steering committees and more. It doesn’t much matter whats right or wrong. It’s still like the wild, wild west. It needs to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

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