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Will governor withhold funding?

PENN YAN—A letter from Sen. George Winner was discussed during the meeting of the Penn Yan Village board Feb. 17. Winner’s letter notified the village that funding for member item projects was withdrawn by Gov. David Paterson. Winner’s letter said, in part, “...a recent action by Governor David Paterson, working in concert with the Democratic leadership of the state Senate and Assembly, has eliminated the 2008-2009 Senate Republican Member Item account….So, it stands now, the projects in Penn Yan will not receive funds. As you know, this account would have been used to reimburse you for the project as outlined in the Member Item grant which was approved through the adoption of legislation by both houses and received final approval by Governor Paterson in April 2008.” Winner said the action was undertaken on a purely partisan basis as only Senate Republican-sponsored funding will be eliminated.
The letter noted the action, “Has put an unfair financial burden on the many organizations, including yours, that have put their trust in the legislative member item Process. In my strong opinion, it’s simply wrong for Governor Paterson and the Legislature’s Democratic leadership to break previously made state commitments, and the appropriation authority for these projects was clearly approved by the Legislature and the Governor last year.” Winner encouraged communication with Gov. Paterson to protest the action.
Two projects which were promised funding have already been completed. Osgood said there is still $14,800 in expenses that were authorized, but that the village has not received funds for. The two projects that were approved for funding are $40,000 for a sidewalk at the end of East Main Street near Meadowside Apartments and $10,000 for work on Jacob’s Creek near the former Owl’s Nest building on Seneca Street.
In other business:
• Trustee Nancy Taylor, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, announced the management committee had met with the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) and the PBA had accepted a compromise on the health insurance policy that covers members. The plan offered by Excellus BlueCross/BlueShield that was formerly in effect was dropped by Excellus and the new plan offered contained different figures for co-payments. Trustee Robert Hoban said he thought the personnel committee handled this type  of issue and after discussion, Marchionda said there was missed communication regarding which committee was responsible for working with the group. Marchionda said he, vice-mayor Willie Allison and Taylor had talked with PBA members and the group agreed to the compromise. Hoban said he thought what was offered by the personnel committee was better than the current contract. He said he wanted to sit down and talk to the PBA, noting discussions had been going on for a long time. After extensive discussion, Taylor suggested the management committee and personnel committee get together and “crunch numbers.” Hoban said, “We are compensating them well for their drugs. To me it’s not worth $400 a year. I feel $200 is fair.” Hoban berated Taylor for not attending meetings of the personnel committee in recent months. Following the meeting, Taylor said she did not attend those meetings because, “I don’t like being bullied.”
Trustee Bob Church, who is not a member of either the public safety or personnel committees, said, “What I see is two committees; one supports and one does not. I don’t know enough without looking into the numbers. I don’t see how I can vote. I don’t want to see it voted down because that wouldn’t be fair to the police department.” Marchionda, who had made a motion to approve the agreement, withdrew his motion. He named Church, Taylor and personnel committee chairperson Richard Steward to a committee to work on the issue and asked them to come back to the village board next month with a recommendation.
• Penn Yan village trustees heard a review of the sewer law from engineer Bob Elliott at their meeting Feb. 17. During the meting, the State Environmental Quality Review for a proposed local law to amend the sewer chapter of the village code was approved.
• Public hearings were held back to back on two local laws. The first was on a proposed amendment to Senior Citizen Tax Assessments  while the second was regarding amending the Veteran’s Exemption for Real Property Assessments. No members of the public attended the hearings and both were approved later in the regular meeting. The Senior Citizen tax assessments will be in line with Yates County figures.
• Municipal Utilities Board chairman Rom French spoke to the board about water main breaks. He presented a chart that detailed both new work and water main breaks in the village since 2002. Areas identified as “big problems” were also indicated. French spoke of the need to have  shovel ready projects for the Federal stimulus project.
• A resolution regarding the Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) was not acted on. Some board members had problems with  content of the document as presented.
• Mayor Douglas Marchionda Jr. told the board that papers have been signed for the sale of the Basin Street property which formerly housed the police department. He noted the assessment on the property determined by the town of Milo was $169,200. This amount was higher than the board thought the property would be assessed at.
• The 2007-08 audit was approved.
• Trustee Robert Hoban said he wants a complete breakdown of costs on the firehouse project including all expenditures.
• Trustee Michael D’Abbracci, who is chairman of the recreation committee, spoke to the board about the parking lot at the boat launch off Keuka Street. He said, “We are looking for the best solution for charging, possibly a season pass.” Village residents would use it for free or at a minimum charge. Discussion followed about the implementation if regulations are imposed. Village attorney Ed Brockman told the board the village needs to calculate pay back. Village recreation director Dan Doyle commented, “We must be careful. It’s a state funded site and we must follow all the rules.”
• Village clerk/treasurer Shawna Wilber told the board that the truck that was advertised on eBay had not sold at or above the village’s reserve amount. After discussion Wilber was authorized to negotiate with the individual who bid on the truck online to see if they are still interested in purchasing it.
• A Memorandum of Understanding between the village, the Police Benevolent Association and Officer Kirk Crandall was approved after an executive session that followed the January board meeting. At issue was one week of paid vacation.
• A request from Penn Yan United Methodist Church for a Community Worship Service at Indian Pines Park on Easter Morning, April 12 at 7 a.m. was approved.
• A request from the Saturday Farm Market to use the east side of main Street between Jacob and Elm Streets was approved for the reason that runs from mid-May until mid-October. Hours will be from 6 a.m. until 12:30  p.m.
• The next meeting of the Penn Yan Village board will be at 7 p.m. March 17 in the village office on Elm Street in Penn Yan.


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