BOT Meeting Recap Feb 13, 2023
The contributions of our Volunteer Fire Department were front and center this evening
The Fire Department’s Apparatus Committee - composed of 10 members with a cumulative 225 years of experience: Ex-Chief Robert Pecchia, Assistant Chief James Barney, Lieutenant Nicolas Barreto, Ex-Chief Felix Hughes, Ex-Chief Rob Deshensky, Ex-Chief Vincent Keck, Ex-Captain Charles Deshensky, Ex-Captain Thomas Hensler, Ex-Captain Felix Hughes Jr and Firefighter Kris Walters have been hard at work developing specifications for a new Engine; Engine 41 for Columbia Engine & Hose Company No.2. Assistant Chief James Barney made the presentation about a new vehicle. The Village has an all-volunteer fire department with 195 Members.
The National Fire Protection Agency, which guides Fire Departments regarding equipment standards, recommends that apparatus older than 20 years be removed from front-line service. In 2011 Fire Department created a plan to replace equipment/trucks on a five-year schedule, which was delayed due to the Covid Pandemic. The current vehicle being replaced is Engine 41, 26 years old, which will become a reserve vehicle.
Also due to Pandemic delays, production time has increased significantly and if ordered now, it will not be delivered until June 2025. The cost is $1,474,600 (with price increases of more than 20% since 2020).
Additionally, in December Governor Hochul signed legislation that permits any local government to provide a 10% Village real property tax exemption to volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers who are certified as having served a minimum of two years or have accrued more than 20 years of active service and own and reside in the residence. The Village Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on the matter.
LMC Media Conversation
Another vital important local organization LMCMedia was a focus, with several members of LMCMedia’s Board in attendance. The Village of Larchmont has opted out of the once tri-municipal relationship, leaving the Town of Mamaroneck and Village of Mamaroneck as LMCMedia’s remaining partners. The Town of Mamaroneck would like to restructure the partnership. All parties are concerned with the dwindling cable franchise fees and are eager to support LMCMedia’s work which includes coverage of local municipal meetings; school sporting events, community events as well as original programming, local news and nurturing of budding filmmakers and content producers. More discussion to follow.
Capital spending plan was discussed at Work Session for adoption at the regular Meeting
Following up on a January 30, 2023 work session devoted to the proposed Five Year Capital Budget and Plan, the Board of Trustees acknowledged that the Village’s infrastructure, including the Police Station, Court and Village Office complex on Prospect Avenue, have been neglected and that the staff has been working on a 5 year Capital spending Plan for approximately 100 projects.
The Resolution adopted did not identify a specific amount but listed 20 “priority” projects and the budget impact was not stated or evaluated. Trustee Lucas asked what the impact would be on the Village operating budget and was told that a conservative estimate would be $90,000 in principal and interest payments for every million bonded. For example, bonding $10 million would add $900,000 to our annual operating budget.
The Board of Trustees agreed to move this item to regular meeting where they voted to adopt a 5 Year capital spending plan which will add an undetermined amount of debt to the Village.
Traffic Commission Recommendations
Upon recommendation from the Traffic Commission, the BOT removed parking restrictions on Guion Drive off South Barry Avenue that were still in place from an ongoing remediation project and removed parking spaces on Mt. Pleasant Avenue near Stanley Avenue for the purpose of pedestrian safety.
In an ongoing discussion of an extension to a Wireless Telecommunications Facility in the Industrial Area, the BOT hired a consultant with expertise in negotiating better financial outcomes for municipalities. Trustee Yizar-Reid is concerned with the health issues related to wireless signals. Trustee Lucas agreed and is also concerned with insurance liability issues related to those health concerns.
The Village’s multi-year effort to rehabilitate the sanitary sewer system continues with a focus on for Grove Street and Carroll Avenue in Rye Neck and Hill Street in the Town of Mamaroneck.
The Village Manager proposed taking back the administration of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers from the Town of Mamaroneck and BOT authorized further exploration. He further proposed regulations to require utility companies to remove “double” poles which are unnecessary, unsightly and often block sidewalks.
Trustee Young proposed an effort to recruit businesses to the Village which would involve a public/private partnership with landlords, business owners and the Village administration; and a resolution to set such a goal will be introduced.
The Board of Trustees went into Executive Session to discuss an appointment to the Committee for the Environment, the Village Prosecutor and the renewal of the Village Manager’s Contract (which expires in January 2024). No votes were reported out.
The Regular Meeting was dominated by a long and contentious Public Hearing on the extension of Board of Trustee terms from 2 to 4 years and the moving of elections from odd years to even years (the Federal and State Cycle). See “Board Yields to Public Pressure” Article in this issue. Several residents commented about the incivility by members of the Board of Trustees which was hotly disputed by some board members.
Other highlights included scheduling a February 27, 2023 public hearing to limit defense costs in ethics board hearings.A local law to amend Village “Fees” (including adding a fee for the pubic to challenge a decision of the building inspector) was adjourned till February 27 as the wrong copy was attached to the agenda.