Town of East Hampton
Town Council Regular Meeting
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Eaton E. Smith Meeting Room – Town Hall
Present: Chairperson Melissa Engel, Vice Chairman Thomas Cordeiro and members, Christopher Goff, Scott Minnick, John Tuttle and Susan Weintraub. Also present were Town Manager Jeffery O’Keefe, Recording Secretary Cathy Sirois, members of Boards and Commissions, citizens and members of the press.
Not Present: William Devine
Call to order and Pledge of Allegiance: Chairperson Engel called the regular meeting to order at 6:340 p.m. All stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes:
A motion was made by Mr. Cordeiro, seconded by Mr. Tuttle to approve the minutes of the following meetings, all voted (6-0):
- Town Council Special Meeting, November 12, 2008
- Town Council Public Hearing, November 12, 2008
- Town Council Regular Meeting, November 12, 2008, with an amendment to the Report of Town Manager indicating indicating that Mr. O’Keefe will request the Town Attorney draft a right of first refusal.
2008 Girls Varsity Cross Country Team: Mr. Tuttle read a proclamation for the 2008 Girls Varsity Cross Country Team and Mr. Cordeiro read a proclamation for William Wilkie, Coach of the East Hampton High School Cross Country teams for their success in the Class SS State Championship. A standing ovation and round of applause was given to the team and their coach.
A motion was made by Ms. Weintraub, seconded by Mr. Goff, to move Public Remarks after Special Presentations. Voted (6-0).
A. Sergeant Michael Green reported that the East Hampton police officers attended a seminar presented by Chief Darren Stewart on Police Officer Standards and Community Police & Ethics Training. Topics included officer conduct and problems that can arise in the line of duty. Personal stories related to various situations were presented. Every two years the officers go through recertification training which includes this type of program.
B. Dr. Judith Golden, Superintendent of Schools, reviewed a summary of comparisons and a summary of the Teacher’s Contract which included salary and insurance information. The Council has the option to vote to approve the contract or if not voted upon, the contract is automatically ratified on November 28, 2008.
John Ciriello, 30 Childs Road and Chairman of the Lake Commission, commented that he disagrees with Mr. Tuttle’s comments regarding the requests for water sample reports. He noted that the data is given to ENSR and is compiled and sent to the town in a yearly report.
Mike Filanda, 87 Quiet Woods Road, commented on the drainage project on Quiet Woods Road. He feels it is a safety problem with the trench on the side of the road and he still has limited access to his property. He met with the Town Manager and Town Engineer. Mr. O’Keefe noted that the Town Engineer will look at the 500 feet of trenching and see if piping can be installed in certain spots. The Town Engineer will be present at the next Council meeting.
Todd Schrager, 66 Main Street, noted his concern for the Village Center businesses when Main Street is closed on both ends at times due to construction. He asked if the water tower property will be cleaned up. Mr. O’Keefe noted that an RFP is currently being put together for the clean up. Mr. Schrager also commented that he was disappointed that the fertilizer ordinance was not put in place.
Ruth Tegge, 5 Niles Street, asked again to have the streetlight reinstalled on Niles Street. She noted that pedestrians use the street all the time and feels it is dangerous being so dark. She noted the streetlight was taken out two years ago. She spoke to CL&P and they indicated that it costs approximately $10 per month to operate. The hardware is still in place. Ms. Engel noted that the streetlight will be replaced and an item will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting about the other streetlights that were removed.
Scott Sanicki, 102 Quiet Woods Road, asked who inspects the drainage project on Quiet Woods Road. He noted that the road near the ditch is very soft and could be a safety concern and there could be concerns when the town plows near the ditch. The ditch will not be visible. Ms. Engel noted that this will be addressed at the next meeting
Mary Ann Dostaler, 56 William Drive, commented on the progress of the Streetscape initiative. She also commented that a recent Rivereast article was incorrect and that the Streetscape project and the DOT project were planned to coincide.
- Road Acceptance – Seven Hills Phase III/Forest Hills Estates/Hardin Estates: Mr. Minnick recused himself from this topic. Mr. O’Keefe reported that the roads listed were recommended for approval and the bonds were recommended to be reduced by the Planning & Zoning Commission on November 5, 2008. The Town Engineer also reviewed and made a recommendation for approval. A motion was made by Mr. Cordeiro, seconded by Mr. Tuttle to approve the acceptance of Seven Hills Phase III which includes Pocotopaug Drive, Island View Terrace and Auburn Knoll; Forest Hills Estates which includes Hyde Farm Terrace; and Hardin Estates which includes Anderson Way, and reduce the bonds to 10% of the original amounts, pending attorney approval. Voted (5-0).
Mr. Minnick returned to the meeting.
- Commission & Liaison Reappointment Discussion: Chairperson Engel noted that after the results of the functional assessment of boards and commission is completed, there may be liaison changes. She asked that the Council members think about new liaison appointments they may want. Mr. O’Keefe also noted that the consultant will be contacting all Town Council members and a town governance meeting will be held in January.
- Creation of Lake Improvement Implementation Task Force: Mr. O’Keefe explained that the Lake Commission is working on the Lake and Watershed Management Plan but although the report is not yet complete there is enough data available that would suggest where work could be started to address some of the problems identified. Mr. O’Keefe feels it would be in the best interest of the town to form a task force to begin making progress on the areas already identified. A lengthy discussion ensued between Council members and the members of the Lake Commission in attendance as to whether the task force was necessary. A motion was made by Mr. Cordeiro, seconded by Mr. Goff, that the Council implement a Lake Improvement Implementation Task Force with a membership including a member of the Lake Commission, one or two
members of the Town Council, one or two members of the community at large, a member of the Friends of the Lake, the Town Manager and the new Public Works director. Voted (4-2) Mr. Minnick and Ms. Weintraub against.
Brandon Goff, Middle School liaison, reported the following:
- The basketball season has just gotten underway, teams have been selected and the cheerleaders and mascots are getting ready to support the teams
- The LifeSkills class spent the day baking pies for the Thanksgiving holiday. Staff members placed orders and the students practiced their math and direction following skills as they made more than 40 pumpkin pies
- The Student Council is starting a new fundraising project in December. It is called “How much would you pay to see…?” It involves staff members volunteering to do a variety of funny or goofy stunts. Donations will be given to the Connecticut Humane Society and non perishable food will be collected for the Food Bank.
- The 6th grade recently completed a program with the school counselors related to study skills, organizational strategies and test taking methods to help them this year and in the future
Eric Harper, High School liaison, reported the following:
- The Youth Forum held a teen-relationship-abuse program
- The band marched in the Hartford Veteran’s Day parade in early November
- The drama club put on a production of Spoon River. It was a great turnout and the play went smoothly
- The recreational flag football league is in full swing. The program consists of approximately 80 students and staff members.
- Winter sports are starting up soon
- The Interact Club will be involved in the Breakfast with Santa put on by the Rotary Club on December 6th
- In homerooms, Interact has set up a program where each homeroom will adopt a child for Christmas. The students will get a wish list from the child and the students will buy items on the list to give to the child for Christmas
- Four students were recognized in the National Merit Scholarship program, Kyle Doney, Justin LaFountain, Reilly Price and Tyler Raddatz
- The school guidance department is in full swing with the college application process for the class of 2009
Old (Continued) Business:
- Budget Policy Statement: Mr. O’Keefe recommended creating an ad hoc committee to draft the Town Council’s budget policy statement. Chairperson Engel noted that there will be a Tri Board meeting planned (date to be determined). Comments for changes for the budget policy statement should be forwarded to Mr. Cordeiro prior to the December 9th Town Council meeting.
Report of the Town Manager: Mr. O’Keefe reported the following:
- A second part time animal control officer has been hired.
- The first phase of the water testing on South Main Street is complete. The monitoring of the recovery is underway. Approximately 40% of the eligible residents participated.
- The Town Attorney has forwarded a draft of the right of first refusal to the property owner of the property at Route 66 and Main Street.
- The property at 127 East High Street has until December 15th to be cleaned up.
- The design of the construction at Route 66 and Route 196 is approximately 70% complete. The final is scheduled for late 2010.
- The letter from the Department of Transportation is drafted and is awaiting approval for Route 151.
- Brownfields Steering Committee: Carla Sylvester was originally appointed to the Redevelopment Agency but wanted to be appointed to the Brownfields Steering Committee. Her appointment will be adjusted to place her on the Brownfields Steering Committee. Mr. Cordeiro left her a message to see if she would like to serve on both Redevelopment and Brownfields.
- Ethics Commission: Interviews were completed for the two full time vacancies on the Ethics Commission. Robert Kilpatrick will be appointed through April, 2009 and James Valad will be appointed through April, 2011.
A motion was made by Mr. Goff, seconded by Mr. Tuttle, to approve the Brownfields appointment and the two Ethics Commission appointments noted above. Voted (6-0).
The appointments application will be adjusted to include the Commission on Aging and to remove the interview times.
A letter will be drafted to the Ethics Commission indicating that the request for additional alternates will not be acted upon at this time.
The Appointments Sub Committee will review the Lake Commission applications and narrow down the list of those to be interviewed.
The Water Development Task Force and the Facilities Implementation Task Force did not meet.
Mr. Tuttle noted that a letter was sent to Gary Johnson of the Department of Public Health regarding the completion of the Village Center Water System.
Mr. Tuttle noted that the Clean Energy Task Force met on November 13th. Craig Bradway of DCS Energy was in attendance regarding solar energy and the Memorial School roof. At the next meeting on December 11th, David Hurwit will be present to discuss wind turbines.
Mr. Goff reported that the Land Acquisition Sub Committee met and reviewed town owned property. The Assessor and Jim Carey will be working on a map of the properties. Ruth Plummer of Parks & Recreation attended the meeting as well.
Mr. Goff reported that the Senior Tax Initiative Task Force met and reviewed ideas. They are hopeful to be able to produce recommendations after the next meeting.
Mr. Cordeiro attended the Lake Commission meeting. He thanked the Lake Commission for their recommendations on the type of applicant they feel would be best for the Lake Commission.
Mr. Minnick attended the Inland Wetlands Meeting. He commented that three applications related to the lake watershed area were not given to the Lake Commission prior to the Inland Wetland meeting approval. Based on the Lake Commission ordinance, the applications should be sent to them by the Inland Wetlands Commission. He noted a lack of communication between boards and commissions.
Ms. Weintraub attended the Conservation Commission meeting. She noted that Patience Anderson did a wonderful job putting a package together for the commission members to encourage liaisons to various land use boards. Conservation is working on the inventory of open space. Ms. Weintraub handed out information on the UConn Nemo program.
Ms. Weintraub attended the Streetscape Steering Committee meeting. They did a live demo of the light fixtures for the Streetscape project. The lights chosen will require a DOT waiver before moving forward.
Ms. Weintraub noted that she attended a forum with Donna Ralston and JoAnn Ewing related to senior tax options.
Mr. O’Keefe will ask Chief Reimondo to be present at the next Council meeting to discuss the streetlights that were removed.
A motion was made by Mr. Cordeiro, seconded by Mr. Tuttle, to approve the Board of Education 2007-2008 Additional Appropriations and the 2007-2008 End of Year Transfers. Voted (6-0). Mr. Jylkka noted that these appropriations and transfers are done every year.
A motion was made by Mr. Cordeiro, seconded by Mr. Goff, to approve tax refunds in the amount of $2,893.03. Voted (6-0).
Bids and Contracts: None
Communications and Announcements:
An invitation was received from Monica Kangley to all Council members to participate in the holiday parade on December 7th.
A letter was received regarding Kevin Timothy Simmons reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. A proclamation will be prepared prior to the Eagle Scout Court of Honor on Sunday, January 11th. A Council member will try to attend the ceremony. Mr. Simmons will also be invited to the first Council meeting in January if he has not yet returned to college.
The December 23rd Town Council Meeting will be cancelled due to the holiday.
Michele Larsen, 6 Niles Street, asked about the report from the State Traffic Commission regarding lowering the speed limit on Niles Street.
Scott Sanicki, 102 Quiet Woods Road, asked that Student Reports be moved earlier in the agenda; asked if the Council is required to meet twice a month; asked if the Clean Energy task force is looking at harnessing river and dam energy; asked if the documentation provided to Council members can be made available to the public prior to the meeting possibly in electronic versions and asked about the Town Council email address.
Irene Curtis, Wangonk Trail, commented that she and two other Lake Commission members attended a conference at UConn about invasive weeds. The chairman of the Lake Commission also attended two other conferences.
Tom Wells, North Main Street, noted that Lake Commission reports are available on the website. He also noted that originally he was enthusiastic about the Lake task force but after hearing the comments tonight he would like to withdraw his enthusiasm. He commented that while he was speaking he was interrupted three times. He feels that people should be allowed to complete what they are saying.
John Ciriello, 30 Childs Road, noted that he is disappointed in the Town Council. He will bring the task force up at the next Lake Commission meeting but was disappointed that the Council would not let them have a meeting where the whole commission can look at it. He feels there should have been more discussion. He would like to see the Town Manager and liaison at their meetings.
Mary Ann Dostaler, 56 William Drive, asked if the appointment of Carla Sylvester was done? It was noted that action was bundled for all appointments. She asked if the Task Forces created by the Council would be reviewed by the consultant. It was noted they can be included. Ms. Dostaler asked who will be appointed to the task force? She commented that the Board of Finance will be busy during budget time and may not have time for the task force. Ms. Dostaler noted that it is too bad the Lake Improvement Implementation Task force started off on the wrong foot.
Tom Wells, North Main Street, commented that communication is very important. He noted tonight was a good example of how not to spend time. He feels the Town Manager should be at the Lake Commission meetings.
Patience Anderson, 17 Anderson Way, noted that she is the liaison to the Conservation Commission. She asked that the information on the town owned property be shared with the Conservation Commission. They are working on an inventory of open space. She wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Scott Sanicki, 102 Quiet Woods Road, asked if the GIS system will identify open space? Ms. Engel noted that will occur. The system is in the process of being completed.
A motion was made by Mr. Tuttle, seconded by Mr. Cordeiro, to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m. Voted (6-0).