Town OKs Funds for Sheldrake, Pump Station & Software

Upcoming: Myrtle Boulevard Street Closing for Parking Deck Work

by Judy Raab

(February 10, 2009) On a cold winter night, the Town of Mamaroneck Board meeting opened with Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe reading a proclamation warmly praising Leonard Verrastro. He is retiring after twenty-eight years of service to Mamaroneck Village and the greater Westchester community, including eleven terms as Mamaroneck Village clerk/treasurer prior to becoming Village manager in 2003.

The board moved on to discuss and, in some cases, vote on a variety of items – some new to the agenda and some familiar, including: improvements near the Sheldrake River; LMC-TV and the move to digital broadcasting; and street closings in conjunction with construction of a parking deck on Myrtle Boulevard.

Funds Authorized for Sheldrake River Improvement Project

The board unanimously authorized a transfer of funds for the Sheldrake River improvement project, which includes the area between Lansdowne Drive and Hickory Grove Drive. The estimated cost of the project is $250,000. The state will contribute $125,000; the Town will contribute $95,000 in services (such as municipal employee labor) and $30,000 for additional expenses, such as supplies and materials.

Also at the Board:

Home Rule Request: The board, once again, voted unanimously to petition the State Legislature for authority to issue on-street parking permits for residents of the Washington Square area. For the past two years, the request has failed to pass.

Buying a Bus: The board approved the acquisition (for $1.00) of a seniors’ bus from Westchester County. This will make it easier to find drivers, since the Town, unlike the County, is not required to employ drivers with commercial licenses.

Water Filtration Plant on Hold: Supervisor O’Keeffe reported that an order to build a costly new plant is in abeyance while alternative solutions are pursued. She is hoping to get help with this from Larry Schwartz, until recently Westchester’s deputy county executive and now Governor David Patterson’s chief operating officer.

Signs & Signals for Chatsworth Avenue/Myrtle Boulevard: A bid for new lights and overhead work will go out shortly and “count-down” lights are on order. Application of new traffic rules are delayed pending installation of the new equipment.

2 New EMTs: The board authorized hiring two per diem emergency medical technicians for the ambulance district effective January 21, 2009. Supervisor O’Keeffe expressed some concern that paying for these services was not in keeping with the intent that this be a volunteer organization. Mr. Altieri explained it has sometimes been hard to find volunteers for holidays, and the Town has had to hire independent contractors for coverage.

Next Board Meeting: February 25.

The project will include the planting of new shrubbery and trees and the construction of rip-rap walls (stone or artificial stone walls without mortar) to contain the banks of the river. Small swales will be installed to reduce river bank from water running off adjacent streets. Work is expected to begin this spring.

Supervisor O’Keeffe acknowledged it has taken a long time to realize this project but believes it will be successful. Councilwoman Nancy Seligson, concurring, stated she expects it will be a longer-lasting project than the prior one.

Cablevision Digitization Impacts LMC-TV

At the request of Supervisor O’Keeffe, Councilman David Fishman (a member of the LMC-TV Cable Board of Control ) gave a brief history of the federal government’s mandate of a move from analog to digital television broadcasting (postponed from February 17, 2009 to June 12 of this year) and the effect it will have on residents who do not subscribe to either Verizon or Cablevision’s digitized formats. The supervisor had received comments in the past two weeks from residents, especially seniors, who watch LMC-TV via Cablevision but have been advised they would need to get a “box” to continue doing so.

Previously, LMC–TV was available in the analog tier and households that took Cablevision’s least expensive package could receive the channel with an analog set at no extra cost. However, in October, Cablevision switched LMC to digital mode, which required those with analog sets to use an extra converter box. The box was free until December, but now requires a rental fee of $6.95 per month.

This box is different from the one needed to get digital signals with an analog set that is not subscribed to Cablevision or Verizon FiOS. (See: Digital TV: A Clear View from Larchmont for more on converter boxes.)

In a subsequent conversation, Mr. Fishman said the Town is considering making live coverage of Board meetings available over the Internet in the future, a service not yet available.

Public Hearing & Bond Resolution for Town Sewer District Improvements

After a public hearing (at which there were no comments from the audience), the board unanimously approved a resolution to bond $66,000 for improvements to the design, assembly and installation of a programmable control panel for the Baldwin Avenue pump station near Memorial Park. The current panel is only operable manually.
This improvement is distinct from the board’s recent request for $750,000 in state funds for upgrading pumps and other apparatus at the station.

Myrtle Parking Deck Construction and Street Closing

Mr. Altieri announced that northbound lanes of Myrtle Boulevard (between Madison and North Chatsworth Avenues) will be closed for five to seven days for work to proceed safely on the new parking deck. He will send out a preliminary notice of the impending closing this week and a follow-up notice once the definite closing dates are determined. He assured the board that appropriate signs, detours and policing of the area will be in place. In addition, he is requesting that the Thruway Authority erect an electronic warning to deter motorists from exiting I-95 at Exit 17 while the work is being performed.

Electronic Data Management Software System Authorized

After some discussion of parameters, the board unanimously approved an agreement with General Code LLC for the purchase and installation of Laserfiche, an electronic data management system, for the maintenance of town records. The system will allow for greater efficiency and resolve problems of finding storage for paper records. The initial cost ($37,881) will be financed through a bond. Service support costs for the second year ($5,621) will come from the operating budget. The system will be installed initially in the Clerk’s office and then expanded to other Town offices.

No hardware (scanners, servers) purchases are included in the agreement. These will be purchased , at a cost of $20,000, through the Town’s capital improvement plan and will house multiple systems in addition to Laserfiche.

Councilwoman Seligson was excited by the “coolness” of the system and procedures it will support, and Councilman Ernie Odierno was impressed with its ability to save staff time. However, Supervisor O’Keeffe was concerned about security and the possibility of needing more staff to maintain and operate the system. Town Clerk Christine Battalia assured the board that the system would have sufficient security controls and backup and that the digitizing of documents would be handled effectively.