Draft Minutes – February 3, 2018

Village of Dering Harbor, Trustee’s Meeting Minutes 2/3/2018 *Draft
3 February, 2018
10:00 AM


In Attendance: Mayor John T. Colby; Trustees: Betsy Morgan, Patrick Parcells, Ari Benacerraf.
Village Attorney: Wayne D. Bruyn.
Village Residents: Bridgford Hunt, Brad Goldfarb, Alfredo Paredes, Stephanie Deutsch, EricDeutsch, Jonathan Cary.
Also Present: Reporter: Richard Lomuscio, Attorney representing Timothy Hogue and Marian Brownlie: Daniel P. Barker. Court Reporter: Donna L. Ritzmann

I. Meeting called to order

Mayor’s Opening Comments : More than half way through the fiscal year I want to discuss ethics, judgment, and financial stability. The Village should hold itself to a standard where board members and committee members work for the residents. The residents in turn work for each other and the Town making Dering Harbor an integral part of our island and the greater East End community.

As a bull-moose progressive — in case anyone was wondering; my middle name “Theodore,” named for my father, born in the year of the great Theodore Roosevelt’s sudden death— I am committed to the bond between employer and employee that serves not just the employee but adds intrinsic value to the Village. This value is born from trust that only derives from the people. It can’t be measured by time clocks, overtime wage reports or union agreements, but rather the fundamental truth of human nature. The human condition of trust has been on the run of late but perhaps if we have the courage of conviction and remember good character taught us by our parents and grandparents we can work together to resolve open concerns.

I feel strongly that anyone serving in a public capacity must leave their personal animosity at home.

How else can you represent the people?

How else can you learn from this public service?

How will you be able to benefit the Village?

Remember the Village doesn’t work for you…you work for the Village.

You as a public official bring value to the Village and must remain unbiased. If not, an ugly truth hiding in the underbelly of human nature may serve to add value to you at the expense of your neighbor. How then can an applicant making a good faith appearance before a board, remain confident that their concerns will be heard?

With that in mind and embracing a fundamental element of fairness I ask two residents to resign their board seats or drop their recent litigation. I also ask that one other resident who remains as a litigant against the Village remove the Village as a defendant. Remember, that bringing action against the Village serves to lower values for all residents and raises our litigation costs. It ties the board up in complex ways bearing unintended consequences, when the board requires deliberation on other matters. If you have a disagreement with a neighbor, I am certain there are other ways to work through any difficulty besides litigation. Also, that whether you win, lose or draw, your attorneys will benefit at your expense. Like a portfolio manager—whether the market rises or falls—a commission he doth make.

We must appreciate the value-added by living in the Village whether you agree or disagree with board policy. Whether you agree or disagree with the efficacy of our water works, and whether you agree or disagree with Village Code. We are Village residents, residents of Shelter Island, and it is incumbent on everyone to participate in Village government. You always have a voice here.

Our forecasted running deficit from the approved budget largely centers on higher litigation expenses and water system repairs—water system repairs as a harbinger of capital improvement. Most of the road maintenance expenses will be recovered from CHIPS money, but one way to cover higher unplanned costs in a municipality is by deferring payment of expenses into the next fiscal year giving us time to plan tax receipts accordingly. We do not have an operating reserve or general credit line but only by a board resolution may we allocate a portion of prepaid tax receipts to cover current year expenses. We must not let litigation expenses coupled with the cost of code modification undermine hard-earned tax payments.

We’ll have options on the table at the first budget review planned for the March and April meetings. There will be some revenue gains from newer assessments offset by litigation costs, loan interest, and maintenance costs. The Trustees as the legislative branch, will review, modify, and approve a budget for Fiscal 2019.

I should emphasize that we all need to embrace our employees and each other to settle differences while building value for ourselves and our children. Again I appeal to common sense and reason to carry the day.

Yours most sincerely,
John T. Colby Jr., Mayor
Dering Harbor, 2/3/2018

II. Review and Approval of the Minutes of the 2 December 2017 and 20 January 2018

Attached to the December 2, 2017 minutes is the resolution granting the license for the holly hedges, ARB Section, Section 11, passed by the Board.

Motion to accept December 2, 2017 minutes by: Ari Benacerraf
Motion seconded by: Betsy Morgan
Motion carried unanimously

Attached to the January 20, 2017 minutes is the resolution to be added under Section 5, Water Works Report, authorizing the Mayor to enter into contract relations with H2M stating “Resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign a contract with H2m, $495,000 to accept that contract authorizing John to execute on behalf of the Village”. Resolution authorized Mayor to return the contract which is the replacement of water storage tank on Yoco Road effecting construction. All voted in favor of said resolution,

Patrick requested that John be allowed to sign up to $738,000 because he has to be able to communicate with the electric and tank contractors.
Wayne offered a correction that the contract is with Statewide AquaStore Inc and that H2M is the Engineer. And that the exact amount of the contract is $498,820. No other corrections.

Motion to accept January 20, 2017 minutes by: Betsy Morgan
Motion seconded by: Ari Benacerraf
Motion carried unanimously

III. Old Business (Motion to Open Old Business)

Language prepared by Wayne Bruyn on the revised fence law.

Motion to open Old Business by: Betsy Morgan
Motion seconded by: Patrick Parcells
Motion carried unanimously


(Motion passed, Public Hearing Scheduled for 2 December 2017, Adjourned 2
December 2017)

Motion to close the public hearing by: Patrick Parcells
Motion seconded by: Ari Benacerraf
Motion carried unanimously

Wayne described the new fence-hedge law as the same regulation on fences that is currently on the table however as directed by the board with limited review. Regulation would provide that there cannot be a hedge greater that four feet in the front yard or along the street line and that the stem of the trunk has to be setback at least four feet from the street right-of-way and that as a landowner you are required to maintain that hedge at four feet, subject to corner clearance requirements and that any hedge more than 20 feet from the street line or any vegetation thereafter is not regulated whatsoever and any hedges in the side or rear yards are not regulated at all as well. If one wants to put a four foot hedge in the front yard they would be required to send a letter for the record, no review, no approval and no further ARB review. Ari clarified that preexisting; nonconforming hedges are exempt. Mayor Colby asked what happens if a preexisting hedge falls on the madacam, does the village have the right to cut it down? Wayne replied that it depends on if it is a street right-of way or not in which case there is nothing preventing the village from doing so. Mayor Colby asked what happens if hedges are planted on village property? Wayne replied that it is up to the village to maintain. Wayne clarified that any zoning requirement, zoning code is prospective, going forward it can only regulate new matters. And that anything that is existing is preexisting. Ari asked for clarification; Preexisting, nonconforming hedge damaged in a storm can be replaced? What is the procedure to reconstitute that hedge? Wayne replied that he suspected the landowner would have the right to replace it.
Discussion ensued around next steps to take. Wayne stated that there are two things the board could do. 1. Is informal – get comments and try to legislate. If you want to legislate you have a law that we have on the table, at least schedule it for a public hearing, it can be referred to the planning board. I recommend that you do so. It then has to be referred to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, they have to give their advice and recommendations which were all incorporated into your public hearing process where you get the public comment, thereafter the question is what does the board do? You can modify the law, table it, close the hearing and do nothing or if you make significant changes, it would have to be re-noticed at another date. Patrick asked Mayor Colby, can we send any of our local laws to the Suffolk County Planning Commission for comment? Mayor Colby replied, We have. Patrick pointed out that in the legislative account section it sites the Architectural Review Board will continue to review structural fences and walls. Wayne confirmed. Discussion ensued around how Wayne came to this version. The proposal under consideration, if one wanted to do something in variance to the standard, for example wanted to plant a six foot hedge in the front yard or something closer to the street, then one would have to go to the ZBA. Patrick stated that he feels that a hedge is an architectural element and would be more comfortable with the ARB making determinations about heights and setback and materials rather than the ZBA who has a very clearly defined set of rules in the end that have to prove hardship etc.  Wayne replied that there are two drafts right now. One draft has the provision going to the ARB and one does not. If the board wanted they can schedule the other draft which is more inclusive and if they later decide to take it out doing so would not require re-noticing or otherwise, but it would be reducing what the scope of the law is. Mayor Colby stated that the confusion is that there are two different versions which are competing. Patrick brought up the discussion of a non living hedge. Wayne stated that no matter the hedge/fence the authority of the ARB is to approve or deny a hedge/fence and that if someone does not like the decision, they can sue the ARB. The trustees are removed from the decision. Discussion ensued around “public scenic views”. Wayne clarified the difference between a public and a private view. Private views are not an element that the ARB should be taking into account. Discussion ensued around groupings of plantings that do not constitute a hedge. Wayne clarified that what is before us now is a row barrier along the front yard which constitutes a hedge.

***Motion to schedule a public hearing on the amended Local Law, 2018 fences/hedges***

Motion to adopt by: Betsy Morgan
Motion seconded by: Patrick Parcells
Motion carried unanimously.

Wayne will send the revision to the board this afternoon, to be noticed on Monday for the public hearing at the March meeting. Wayne requested Betsy email the revision to residents, Patrick requested to have it put on the website.

IV. Ways and Means (Financial Report and Review of Invoices)

(1) Audit Committee Report.- delivered by Jonathan Cary. Jonathan used the audits for ’15, ’16 and ’17 as a basis for review. He also used the Village of Dering Harbor statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in accounts and fund balance, the annual financial report which goes to Suffolk County each year to create a one page summary. Currently the village received approximately $320,000 in receipts, $11,000 in state aid and in ’17 $57,000 and in ’16 $83,000 in capital and operating grants. The village spends all it receives. Wages are approximately $165,000, legal $60,000 and insurance $30,000, various operating expenses of $84,000. That leaves the village with a $20,000 deficit. Every two years we have an additional expense of $35,000 to the fire department and a bond repayment of $21,000. That brings the deficit to $75,000. The water tank will be another $24,000 which brings the deficit to $100,000. Patrick added that there was $50,000 spent this current fiscal year on repairing the existing water tank. Mayor Colby added, you tax everybody once before the fiscal year starts based on your anticipated expenditures for the year and hope that you can balance the budget every year. If you look at actual comparisons, the legal expenses are over budget by $23,000 and the water repairs over budget by $30,000. Those are the two big differences constituting the bulk of the deficit for this year. Litigation is getting worse not better. We do not have a general loan, credit line or reserve from which to draw. We did not expect the water problem nor the legal expenses. Every time we do legislation, redraft local laws, it costs money. We are defending a couple of lawsuits and realistically need to readjust the budget. We have a new assessment, the Sunshine property that will come into the revenue stream for next year. Once we get the latest numbers from the town we can calculate the assessment. We have to push some of the current year expenses off into the next fiscal year which is why I appealed for reason and sanity to happen with this litigation. I’m hoping that anyone who has a suit against the village just please drop it. You’re paying the taxes for it, we’re all paying taxes to fund litigation that’s unnecessary frankly. And it’s hurting the village, it’s hurting our values, hurting the value of our properties, it’s creating a strife between neighbors and I’m asking for it to stop. Ari stated that the legal issues were not the only expense the board has to look at. Each line item needs to be viewed with a critical view and see where the board can and cannot itemize given the circumstances. Patrick asked about the timing of the ’18 budget. Mayor Colby responded that typically the budget is prepared in April however this year he will present the board with a preliminary budget in March so the board has a month to look over the budget and vote on the budget in April. Mayor Colby mentioned that the village has prepaid tax receipts of about $70,000 could be used only by board resolution should the village need money and not want to defer certain expenses. In the meantime we will only pay the essential bills. We can then budget and plan for paying the deferred bills in the next budget cycle and also budget for more legislation should we want to make more changes to the code. In the future we should only change code in a year where there are provisions in the budget to do so. Betsy asked where we were on selling the extra truck and the related insurance? Mayor Colby stated that Richie wanted to use it for fall cleanups. Mayor Colby has offered for Richie to purchase the truck. Mayor Colby will speak to Richie and get the truck off of the insurance policy quickly. It would save the village roughly $1,000 per year. Jonathan ended by stating that there are two ways to close the budget gap. Either increase revenues or decrease expenses. He suggested that perhaps we outsource what we used to in source or maybe take lower services in the village as a general matter. Or the village seek grants from the state. Jonathan was not sure what the procedure is to get operating grants from the state but pointed out that the village has some operating needs and that it could make a petition to the government and get a grant, that that seemed to be one avenue that could be pursued to alleviate the budget shortfall of ’18. Mayor Colby thanked Jonathan for his report. In the board package was included a copy of the Audit as prepared by Nawrocki & Smith and received just before Christmas, 2017. Net losses as summarized by Jonathan were $14,684 for the fiscal year ’17. Mayor Colby put the audit forward for discussion. No discussion.

(2) January disbursement report for review.
(3) Operating Statements, Period Ending 31 January 2018.
(4) Review of Final FY 2017 Audit Report submitted by Nawrocki Smith

Motion to adopt Final Audit Report by: Betsy Morgan
Motion seconded by: Ari Benacerraf
Motion carried unanimously

(5) Bond Resolution Review, see attached.

Motion to accept the bond resolution as presented by: Patrick Parcells
Motion seconded by: Betsy Morgan
Motion carried unanimously

Instruct the Village Clerk to notice bond resolution in the paper.

V. Water Works Report (Current System Usage and Tank Upgrade Status)

(a) Water Tank Contract, counsel’s recommendation to execute.
Patrick stated that Statewide AquaStore will be providing the tank, H2M will oversee the construction of the tank. Although it is estimated to take 120 days from signing of the contract to the end of the process, it is his experience as a real estate developer that it may take longer. Patrick stated that he felt it was time to bifurcate the process. Patrick felt that actual administration of the contract and the building of the tank getting us from where we are now to the end would be best done by Mayor Colby as he is more available, has more experience and better understands the process and would be the best person to oversee the whole construction management process. Patrick would like to shift his focus to working on a grant for meters and changes in the way the water system is managed. Patrick stated that we have approximately $70,000 left on the grant which does not need to be repaid, and then can begin to draw on the $475,000 as needed, Lisa can manage but needs to be sure that work not completed is not paid and to be prepared for a principal payment due September ’18 on the drawdown. $20,000 is the negotiated amount that H2M should be paid. Wayne recommended a meeting of Patrick, John and any other board member who would like to be present with H2M and AquaStore to solidify the logistics. Mayor Colby clarified, that the process begins upon signing of the contract and runs 120 days. First a slab is put in for the base. Then the tank comes in sections from Illinois, ring by ring which are lifted one section, one circumference at a time by persons trained to do that. Patrick added that the actual construction of the tank takes about 60 days. Mayor Colby added that there would be no change to the wells or electrical service. The new tank will be able to run on the existing infrastructure. A question was raised concerning the sulfer content of the water. Mayor Colby stated that the sulfer was coming from the heavy usage of water for irrigation. Four residents are using village water for irrigation. At present with no irrigation, the number is down to 89, considered to be perfect.

(b) Irrigation well application, Rose, 24 Shore Road, Referred from Building Inspector.

The Mayor called for questions. The Building Inspector has approved the well application.
Motion to accept the irrigation well application for the Rose property located 24 Shore Road as approved by the Building Inspector: Patrick Parcells
Motion Seconded by: Betsy Morgan
Motion carried unanimously

VI. Village Roads and Maintenance Report

Snow Removal and repairs needed for GBCC road section.
Mayor Colby reported: Richie is on vacation, Gene Shepherd and Hap are filling in for Richie. During the last anticipation of snow, the roads were salt/sanded. There is a section of road going up Gardiner’s Bay Country Club that has been eroding over the last couple of years, the macadam’s cracking. It needs to be repaired at some point. There is some CHIPS money available for that. Mayor Colby will look into it. Jay Card suggested raising the level of the road. Mayor Colby will coordinate with Richie to repair.

VII. Report from MS4 committee and annual DEC filing update.

MS4 Committee joined with Town of Southold. Mayor Colby reported: As a result there will be more resources available than either the village or town has tom manage MS4 reporting requirements. At present Mr. Collins, the engineer for Southold Town has been maintaining the requirement for the village. This body oversees, municipal storm runoff into Dering Harbor and the estuary, road runoff, sewer overflow, hoses spitting into Dering Harbor.

VIII. Report from Village Greens and Improvement committee.

No report

IX. Planning Board Review

No report

X. Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Review

No report

XI. Architectural Review Board (ARB) Review

Could not get quorum for January meeting regarding Sunshine complaint. Mayor Colby stated that he is waiting to hear back from George Butts, Building Inspector who is looking at Sunshine’s compliance with the approved ARB plans versus what was actually constructed. If there are variances, the applicant would have to come before the ARB seeking more approvals for anything done differently, any deviation from the existing plan or they could choose to correct the variation.

XII. Community Reports

(1) Shore Road Naming Committee, Jim Goldman, chair.
Betsy reported that Clora Kelly has volunteered to go through a list of all of the names of all of the roads on Shelter Island and come up with suggested names that aren’t duplicative in any way of names that are already being used. Cora will then present names for consideration.

(2) Resident Comments.
Stephanie Deutsch raised the issue of compliance, difficulty getting answers to problems as they occur during construction, and getting code enforced. Stephanie stated that the code needs to be much more straightforward and clear, easy to interpret so that plans aren’t on the table that are subject to threat of litigation and bullying. Also the enforcement of construction per plans. Stephanie pointed out that the Sunshine driveway is directly across from hers which was not so on the plan. Patrick agreed that the ARB needs a lot of work, that it lacks clarity and definition in the standards and that there is a lot that can be approved. The board is looking into hiring a building inspector who lives on island and would be more assessable. Stephanie mentioned that there was garbage left for a year in front of her house that no one could do anything about. Bridg stated that there seemed to be a special problem with enforcement but not sure that it should be refined or improved on the ARB level as the ARB is supposed to opine on review of the look and feel, make a decision after which there needs to be a different enforcement agency. Stephanie added that to the extent that the ARB code is clearer, there will be less issues on enforcement. Betsy stated that the less ambiguity in the guidelines, the better everything will run, the less problems we will have. We need clarity in everything. Stephanie raised the issue of the siding used. Mayor Colby pointed out that a CO had yet to be granted. Patrick added, The ARB should grant the approval for the building permit, the building inspector ensure that whatever is on the plan is executed and if not, the code enforcement officer site for code violations. The language for the ARB is deficient and should be worked on. Patrick suggested that Stephanie or her committee divvy up the responsibilities, gather language from other villages to devise guidelines. Stephanie requested that the decision not be made independently but will be shared with the ARB. Mayor Colby stated that the information should be shared with the ARB to decide. In the end, applicants have to go back to the ARB with any deviations minor or significant. It is up to the ARB to approve those deviations or not.

XIII. New Business (Motion to Open New Business)

Motion to adopt by:____________
Motion seconded by: _______________
In Favor: ___________________________
Against: ___________________________

(1) Executive Session, litigation matters.

Motion to go into executive session: Patrick Parcells
Motion seconded by: Ari Benacerraf
Motion carried unanimously.

(2) Employee matters.

XIV. Date for Next Meeting – Saturday, 3 March 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

Motion to adjourn by: Ari Benacerraf
Motion Carried unanimously

XV. Motion to Adjourn