Board in Brief: recapping the Sep. 27 North Salem Town Board meeting

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The North Salem Town Board held their regular meeting on Thursday, September 27. Here’s what members discussed:



Salaries and bonuses

The Board authorized a ‘step increase’ in salary for deputy town clerk Andrea Ekezian. Government employees are paid more based on their length of service. The Board approved a $1,000 increase for Ekezian effective October 1, 2022.

Karen Futia was granted a longevity bonus by the Town for her years of service. “This is something everybody in Town gets after they have been here a number of years,” Town Supervisor Warren Lucas said. Board members approved a $1,500 bonus in acknowledgement of Futia’s 15 years of service. “She’s just a wonderful person to work with and she does a wonderful job as the assessor,” Lucas said.

Colleen Casale was appointed as a full-time Recreation Department assistant with a salary of $50,000, effective October 3, 2022. “We’re looking forward to working with Colleen,” Lucas said.

Volunteers

Andrew Middlebrook, the director of stewardship for the North Salem Open Land Foundation, was appointed as a volunteer to assist the Conservation Advisory Council with easement inspections on an as-needed basis.

Peach Lake water & sewer

The Town budgeted approximately $60,000 to pay for repairs and installation of a pipe assembly unit at the Peach Lake sewer plant. The Town awarded the bid to RAM Industrial Services to complete the work.

Also related to Peach Lake water systems, the Town authorized a $38,460 spend to purchase 15 pumps needed to replace aging or failing existing pumps. “Grinder pumps have a mean time to failure of about 12 years,” Lucas said. “We’re 11 years in.”

Senior citizens

The Town contracted with JTR Transportation in the amount of $1,060 to transport the North Salem Senior Citizens Club to their Hudson River cruise excursion on October 27.

Conservation Advisory Council

Town Board members congratulated Katherine Daniels for her leadership of the Conservation Advisory Council, which was recently awarded bronze certification from New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program. “It’s an honor and a privilege to work with the team who got that done within a year,” Daniels said. “We’re going to work toward silver certification of course but it’s a huge lift.”

Additionally, The Board authorized a $450 payment to Hannah Myers for her work creating an educational climate video for the Town. The video includes Nina Eisenman, board chair of the North Salem Open Land Foundation, talking about the greenhouse gas inventory that she conducted for the Town.

North Salem Arts Festival

Town Board members disagreed over procedures for approvals and permitting for the upcoming North Salem Arts & Food Festival, scheduled for Saturday, October 15 at Gazebo Park in Croton Falls. Planning Board chair Cynthia Curtis asked Lucas whether the Town had the necessary Health Department permits. Lucas responded “As far as I know.” Curtis pressed, “who has them?” but Lucas did not respond.

Katherine Daniels expressed her concerns about how planning and approvals were progressing, saying, “I have not seen all of the sign offs. I feel like we have established this procedure and we really should follow them. I just hope going forward we’ll be a little more thoughtful and purposeful about it.”

Daniels ultimately declined to support the resolution to approve the request and permit for use of facilities for the festival, saying, “I’m saying no because I really think we should have done this right.” The resolution passed by a 3-1 vote.

3 Owens Rd (former Schoolhouse Theater)

Board members discussed the ongoing renovation work at 3 Owens Road in Croton Falls. The building, which will serve as a senior and recreation center for the Town, is getting a new roof, doors, insulation and an updated electrical system which the Board hopes will accommodate a geothermal heating and cooling system. Previously, work was done to remove asbestos in the building. Kelleher Contracting was awarded the bid for $391,656 to complete insulation and other work at the building. The Town will fund the work through the issuance of bonds.

Lighting & signage regulations

Board members discussed the public feedback to proposed updated local laws regarding signage and lighting. To date, holiday lights were the biggest concern among residents. No consensus was reached among the Board, though members discussed the merits of excluding holiday lights from lighting regulation versus extending the length of time lights can be up on a Town property. An initial draft of the updated guidance had limited holiday lights to a 30-day period.


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