Monday, April 30, 2007

Belated Blog

I meant to write a blog earlier this month but with a lot going on, and then the storm, I am pretty far behind. Well, some things to bring you up - to - date on:

Regarding the N’oreaster of the 16th - I must commend the work of our Highway and Police Departments in fixing our roads and maintaining order through some difficult times. In addition, I cannot say enough about the fire people and first responders - volunteers - who went way above and beyond the call of duty to help those people devastated by the storm. We have sent the first report to the county for FEMA; our initial estimates show approximately 1.4 million dollars in damage in East Fishkill. I visited the FEMA website and it appears that Dutchess County has not yet been designated a Federal Disaster – but I know the information was sent to that agency yesterday (Friday, April 27th) so, hopefully, it will be soon.

Reval - Our Assessors have been working overtime and weekends to review and correct (if necessary) property valuations compiled by MJW, the contractors that are doing the Southern Dutchess Revaluation. As I am sure everyone is aware, we are not happy with the performance of the contractor that was hired in 2004 – but our Assessors have been fantastic in reviewing nearly 2,000 individual properties. I do not know if other Town’s Assessors are doing the review work that ours are doing, but our people have been terrific.

Brettview Water – this is a tough one. First, a well report on well #2 at the Brettview pump house indicates that the level of MTBEs has dropped dramatically and that now the well may be approved by the Department of Health to be brought back on line with the installation of filters.
We had been in discussion with our engineers regarding a supplemental water source in the area of the Brettview pump house to help supply that area, and Presidential Way, with consistent / clean water for quite some time. Last summer, after waiting for a couple of months for approval from the Dutchess County Dept. of Health, we were finally able to drill our first test well; unfortunately we were unable to find water at that location. At the next meeting with our professionals and people familiar with the water in the area we determined (partly from the results of the first test well) that there is probably no deep water at the site. Reviewing the historical data and the well report from the Wappinger well fields across the stream we do feel that there may be water at a depth of, say, 40 to 80 ft. deep. Water at this depth (due to stream influence) would require filters, which our engineer said is no problem.

Unfortunately, the well driller – who did a fine job – told me that due to the type of equipment they use, they would not be able to drill what is referred to as a “sand well” at that depth. I was then directed to another well driller who was supposed to be very good and last Fall discussed the drilling of a series of test wells at the depth of 40 to 80 ft. at the site. I saw the gentleman at a meeting in December and he told me that he would be out to find water at the end of January…then it was February…then March. Finally in April a small drill rig was dispatched to the site and drilled a series of 20 ft. deep holes. At the site I was told by the rig operators that they had consistently found water between 13 and 20 ft. deep (with the water table so high it is questionable that this would be a reliable source) – but that they could not go deeper that 20 ft. due to rock. I was surprised that they could go no deeper and I was told that they would need another rig and to talk to the owner of the company. ‘ not very happy about that one!

I have since spoken to another well drilling company who had actually done work at the site when it was privately owned and we will be meeting to discuss the possibility of developing a supplemental source at the 40 to 80 ft. depth. I hope that we can find the additional source so that we can move ahead with the supply of clean / consistent water to the neighborhood.

IBM Waterline - The work has begun on the IBM Waterline to supply water to the Shenandoah Superfund site. Immediately after taking office I was told by our engineers that we should discuss with IBM the installation of a larger pipe so that after the Town is operating the water line, we can provide water to other areas such as Wiccopee, Lake City, etc. I did this and the larger pipe is being installed – but, when I spoke with the folks in Fishkill (who are supplying the water) about future purchase of additional water they asked me about storage. Hmmm…I am not an engineer, so when I contacted ours I was told that, yes, we would have to find additional storage. After sixteen months in office and numerous discussions and e-mails – nobody had told me that we would need storage capacity also. Now we will have the larger water main, yet no storage capacity to allow us to use it! I am currently exploring alternate storage proposals.

The East Fishkill Open Space Committee – I established this committee 2 months ago and they have now held three meetings and one field trip. We are currently evaluating properties to preserve and funding mechanisms to do so. I hope to have an attorney at the May meeting to discuss enabling legislation for funding and a representative from the Dutchess Land Conservancy will be meeting with us in June.

The Senior and Workforce Housing Committee - has received the first draft of local laws to allow different types of housing aimed at providing workforce and senior housing. In fact, due, in part, to the efforts of this group we have seen developers proposing the type of housing that will serve the needs of our workforce and our elderly. I hope to have draft laws ready for the Town Board in the next couple of months.

Local Laws - I hope to adopt our Wetland Protection, Steep Slope Stabilization, and Lot Count Formula Revision Laws in June. We have been receiving significant resistance from certain parties – but I feel that these laws are not only necessary – they simply make sense (really, should a developer get credit in the lot count for building a house on wetlands – when they wouldn’t be able to build there in the first place!).

In January of 2006, we appointed an in-house Town Attorney. I think that this was an excellent move and I cannot tell you how valuable, with his years of municipal experience, Mr. Wood is to our government. In January of 2007 we appointed a Town Comptroller. Ms. Christine Mitchell had been our Finance Manager – now with her knowledge of our Town finances and the authority of Comptroller we are implementing changes to our organization to better maintain financial discipline. On April 26, 2007 we appointed an in-house Town Engineer. I am proud to welcome Mr. Scott Bryant, PC to our team. It is my feeling that a Town of this size could certainly use the services of a Town Engineer to oversee many of our projects (hey, regarding the IBM waterline, he would have known that we need storage in addition to a larger water main!). I am excited that we are making the changes necessary to address the issues that face our Town and move us into the 21st century.

Just got my reassesment back!After raising the value of my 9yr old unfinished raised ranch over $100, a year.(Not to mention the raise every year since I built it!)I recive a notice that the town will drop off $500.Is that supposed to be a joke or a mistake! Please respond, Thank you for your time. Danielle Garlepp
Re: Brettview Water

I remember hearing in a meeting(prior administration) that Brettview was ultimately going to be connected to the Dutchess County/IBM water line. Either connected directly or through an adjoining water district that would connect. Has there been any talk or plans that can update this information? Thanks.
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