Transfer law on top of Middletown heap

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By Geoff Samuels
Now that the Middletown 2013 budget is “in the bag,” board members at this months’ gathering tackled the few remaining issues with a decided sense of holiday spirit. After a quick approval of last months’ minutes, the meeting was off and running.

Local law #6 concerning the permitted use of the Middletown Transfer Station was first up for discussion. Deputy Supervisor Mike Finberg questioned whether refuse brought in by commercial haulers might include some that was “snuck in” from out of town without paying the extra $150 fee.

Supervisor Marge Miller replied that haulers should have to carry a route list with them so that the origin of the garbage could be checked at the Transfer Station, adding that there was no absolute way to determine where garbage was actually coming from. Finberg thought her idea was “a reasonable one.”

Board member Jake Rosa wanted to know whether fines for potential violations had been established, and also stated that routes including the Town of Hardenburgh would be acceptable at the station while those that included parts of Ulster County would not.

Having already settled the major issues for new Transfer Station regulations at previous meetings, the board adopted the law unanimously with the general agreement that these and a few remaining items such as new signage at the station could be ironed out without much additional work.

Next, the $5,000 consulting agreement between the Town of Middletown and the MARK project, in accordance with a provision in the 2013 budget, was added to the list of the boards’ approvals. “This formalizes our relationship with our designated economic partner,” explained Miller. The agreement is based on one already in existence between the Village of Fleischmanns and the MARK board, but contains updated reporting requirements and a change in the method of payment.

A moment of gaiety amongst the board members was followed by a more serious mood as they immersed themselves in the issues of administrative policy and procedures. Miller said that Delaware County had recently updated their drug free workplace and sexual harassment policies, and that Middletown had previously adopted those policies for the sake of simplicity. Copies of those documents were passed out to the board members for review in preparation for future discussion on any potential policy changes.

The procedure used in selecting alternates for both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals was next up, and a lively debate ensued. Board Member Brian Sweeney expressed his opinion that an alternate on one of the boards should be first in line to fill an opening on that board. “I think if they meet the requirements, there should be some reward for having been an alternate,” he said. Later he added, “…to me, when we appoint someone as an alternate, ultimately, we’re saying…you’re going to be on (that) board.”

Rosa voiced his concern about appointments being made “automatically” replying, “If it’s just a warm body that we put on there because we had to…there was a time when warm bodies were put on the board because there was nobody else that wanted to serve…I think that could be dangerous.” Finberg quipped back, “I don’t know how we’re going to be able to define what a warm body is.” Everyone in the room broke out in laughter at that.

The discussion turned serious again with members of the board pondering a multitude of different ideas and wordings that could be used in a new policy statement. The central issue continued to revolve around how much control the board should retain in the case of appointing an alternate, and whether it was even necessary to have them at all.

Rosa expressed his doubts about their necessity and maintained that he had never seen an instance where an alternate was actually needed to form a quorum. Finberg expressed his reservations about not having alternates explaining, “…we can fast forward to the time that, either because of personal conflict and/or lack of attendance due to legitimate reasons, we (planning or zoning boards) can’t do business,” adding later that he would ere on the side of having alternates ready “so that we don’t have a monthly meeting where somebodies application is postponed for any legitimate reason.”

Miller tabled the discussion at that point saying that she would like to present all these ideas again to the board next month but maintained that it would be her preference to keep final authority in these matters vested in the board.

A special (and last) board meeting of the year was set for 7 pm on Thursday, December 27th to finalize 2012 business. Board member Rosa made a motion to change the date to Tuesday. “But that’s Christmas!” Miller exclaimed. “That’s right,” said Rosa to yet another round of laughter; “I’ll be ready to get out of the house by seven.”

The meeting was soon adjourned with the first board meeting of the New Year being set for 7 pm on Tuesday, January 8th.

18 4- to review at organizational meeting items like drug testing for commercial drivers – county has drug free workplace – review by board before organizational meeting
Rules for planning board – 4-5 alternate to (planning board) board local law #1 from 2003. Alternates should be next in line if they have shown up – Finberg – most senior should be next in line. ROSA “automatic could mean “warm body” could get on board” Finberg “if we have no one else, we would accept warm body – need some policy” Miller “need to consult – not automatic – Finberg “alternates would have priority”
Do other towns have alternates? Finberg – “ I would ere on the side of having alternates so that business could go on” 4-18
Miller looking into single phone system for Middletown, instead of about 7

Miller – 4-24 Del. Co budget was over 3.9% - Middletown to get roads back to maintain?
“not fair to Middletown who pays more to the county than other towns”
Check – 4-27 Femahas paid for highway dep work up until recently 4-500K
Some work is now stuck in the pipeline.

1-8 the rosa – hardenburgh is acceptable. – no route can be in Ulster county

Finberg – “we had talked about what types of signage is apropropriate. Sweeney to roger “my sense is your not happy with the (150) fee for out of town Miller “it’s a small fee that hasn’t been changed in a number of years
Local law #6 is adopted 1-12
Pay raises voted in 2-1 7 on list

13 Budget amendments 2-6 on page 2 of budget take from bridges “retirement went up quite a bit”
Fund balance is in surplus. Budget changes passed
14 3- long term crs grants - middle town can stretch grant by getting from del. Co. S&W
4-9 chairs point of view, develop civic interest

“Work together” was passed.
17 interperative center 3-4