Here's a look at what happened at Tuesday night's Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees work session.
Fire Chief Lobbies for New Pumper Truck
Fire Chief John Korzelius opened the meeting with a presentation to the board about the need to the replace a 20-year-old pumper truck.
Korzelius submitted a detailed description of a customized fire truck with an estimated price tag of between $600,000 and $620,000.
"When people hear that number, they panic," said Korzelius. "But if you bond it out over a few years, it’s not that bad."
Korzelius noted that he intends to pay a consultant out of his fire department budget to make sure the village will get exactly what it needs.
"The consultant will tell us what we need and not what we want," said Korzelius.
"We don’t want to make the mistake that Tarrytown made when it bought two trucks that wouldn’t fit in the garage," said Trustee David Schroedel.
Mayor Wray wondered if the truck could be used for a few more years and added that "we are not opposed, but we want to make the right decision."
The Board asked Korzelius to come back with more information, such as a history and cost of repairs made to the truck and how much it could be sold for.
Previously the Village sold a fire truck on EBay for $20,000 while the trade-in value was only $5,000.
"No offense to anyone here, but I don’t want to be put on the back burner," said Korzelius. "I know how politics work."
Korzelius ended by noting that the Fire Department will hold an open house with demonstrations on Beekman Avenue on October 9, "so people can see their tax dollars are well-spent."
Surplus Vehicles to be Sold
Department of Public Works Department General Foreman Richard Gross provided the Board a list of village-owned surplus vehicles that need to be sold such as an EMS truck, a backhoe, police cars and others.
"All the items are in disrepair and not worth fixing," said Gross. "We are not allowed to toss or give the stuff away."
The Mayor asked that a resolution be added to the next Trustee meeting to declare the vehicles surplus. The vehicles will be advertised and sold. Previously the village netted approximately $15,000 from the sale of surplus vehicles.
A request by the Ecuadorian Society for a parade on Sept. 4 was briefly discussed and will be granted during the next Board meeting.
Police DWI Enforcement
Police Chief Greg Camp requested signature on a five-year agreement with Westchester County for enhanced DWI enforcement. Under the agreement, the Village will get reimbursed at a rate of $75 per officer per hour for added DWI patrols during peak periods such as weekends. The previous agreement expired in December 2010. The issue will be added to next week’s Board meeting agenda.
Mayor Wray said Village Hall needs updated cash management systems to better accommodate cash payments for water bills, recreation fees, and taxes to eliminate the kind of fiscal discrepancies such as in the Morse after-school program.
"We shouldn’t even accept cash for large amounts anymore," said Trustee Evelyn Stupel. "It’s not the way the world works anymore."
"So we are going to inconvenience the public due to our procedural incompetence?" asked Trustee Schroedel.
Village Treasurer Sara DiGiacomo said individual departments are responsible for collecting and documenting money and then providing reports to the Finance Department.
"Every department has a different way of doing it," she said.
Trustee Barbara Carr pressed DiGiacomo to make streamlining and unifying procedures with the departments a priority.
After School Program
Trustee Bruce Campbell announced a new "cost neutral" fee structure for the Morse after-school program previously cut from the budget. The program, which had cost about $150 per student, will now cost $190 for Sleepy Hollow students and $275 for Tarrytown students with a $50 per-month sibling discount.
Campbell said the program cost the Village approximately $77,000 and that the new fee structure would raise at least that much.
"Any overage will be reinvested into the program," he said.
Recreation Supervisor Robin Pell presented a list of 37 names of individuals who she said agreed to sign-up for the program, at least two of whom paid in advance.
Under the new agreement, participants have to pay for care on the first of the month and will be expected to enroll their children for the entire 10-month school period. If the program does not fill up (40 spaces are allocated) it remains to be seen if the Village will reinstate it.
"Forty people have to sign-up and pay by August 20," said Trustee Barbara Carr. "If they don’t, we don’t have a program."
Mayor Wray indicated he was willing to grant more leeway since it is summer and people may be away. But Trustee Carr was adamant about a strict payment schedule.
"This program has been going on for 26 years with little or no board oversight. It has lost money and there is ‘grayness’ to the program’s accounting. I want to be clear. I don’t want everyone coming down here at the end of the month to pay. People need to pay by August 20th."
Participants are now required to pay the first and last month's tuition in advance. If they withdraw from the program before 10 months have elapsed, the last month's tuition is forfeited.
"We tried really hard to make this program break even," said Trustee Campbell. "I’m confident that it will do that."
Campbell noted that the Village Treasurer will make regular reports to the Board about "what’s going on with the program."
Pell said parents appreciated that the Board took another look at the issue.
"When I called people, they were so excited and felt bad that it was confrontational," she said. "You did a great thing. Thank you very much."
The Board approved the new fee structure with only Trustee Schroedel voting no.
"I cannot vote for this program because I still think the math is fuzzy," said Schroedel. "I also believe that it is a duplication of services."
Trustee Schroedel said that due to an increase in the amount the Village must pay for water, water rates were increased by 5.68 percent as of August 1. The new rates are:
0-500 cubic feet $26.50 per 1000
501-3000 cubic feet $47.50 per 1000
3001-6000 cubic feet $58.00 per 1000
6001 -1200 cubic feet $76.00 per 1000
12001- and up $127.00 per 1000
Trustee Schroedel said that the tiered payment structure continues the Village policy of encouraging water conservation. He said 65 percent of the village falls into the first two tiers of usage and that those who use in excess of 6000 cubic feet are almost all commercial.
The rate hike will generate approximately $98,000 for the Village over one year.
Saving Sleepy Hollow’s Post Office
The Board approved a resolution in support of maintaining services at the Sleepy Hollow Post Office and appointed local resident John Edwards to spearhead efforts aimed at saving the post office. .
"This is outrageous," said Mayor Wray. "We need our own post office. We are not part of Tarrytown."
Edwards said he has been working since 1979 to restore Sleepy Hollow’s 10593 zip code.
"They have never shown how eliminating our zip code saved them money," he said.
Edwards said Sleepy Hollow only agreed to give up its zip code because the postal service agreed not to close the Sleepy Hollow post office.
"They are now in violation of that agreement."
Mayor Wray asked Edwards to incorporate his points into a letter which will be sent to Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
Board Takes Two Weeks Off
The Board agreed to cancel two meetings in August. The Board will only meet on August 9 and August 30 and return to its regular schedule in September.