Present: Stephen Walker, Ric Coombe, Bruce Dolph, Toni Coiro, Carl Stuendel, Michael McCrary, Linda Burkhardt, Catherine Magarelli, (Town of Woodstock candidate for CWT Executive Committee), Jeff Baker, Counsel.
Others Present: Michelle Yost, Aaron Bennett, Dean Frazier.
1. Call to order: 6:15 PM
2. April 21, 2014 meeting minutes. Motion to approve Dolph, second by Walker. Passed.
3. Privilege of the floor:
a. Michelle Yost announced there were still seats available for the May 30 bus tour and that on Saturday May 24th there will be a memorial for Pat Meehan on Windham Days.
b. Linda Burkhardt inquired how to nominate Cathy from the Town of Woodstock to become a member of the Executive Committee. Jeff Baker described the process to accomplish that. She would need a nomination from the Town Board before the CWT Executive Committee could act.
c. Carl Stuendel circulated copies of the handout for the Watershed Agricultural Council’s April 23, 2014 Ag Farm Tour and rack-cards detailing how WAC sets priorities for Agriculture Conservation Easements. Carl declared the tour was excellent.
a. Meeting with DEP: CWT letter – regulation enforcement. Dave Warne of NYCDEP responded quickly to the letter. He indicated that he would be assembling a group of DEP staff to meet with the CWT on this topic. DEP is still discussing internally and expects to get back to the CWT in a week to ten days.
5. Volunteer Flood Buyout Program
a. DEP – Final Draft of the Flood Buyout Program has been released. CWT did comment on the document. Some comments were adopted, notably the less controversial ones.
b. Degree of Planning Services. There is agreement among existing stakeholders that at this time NYC funding does not provide for normal comprehensive planning in communities. Funding for planning and consultant services is available by project. The delineation between the needs for the projects derived from the LFA and how those fit into a more comprehensive community plan is not necessarily clear, in practice. Stakeholders agreed to seek additional funding in this process, however given the nature of the process and difficulty in separating the impact of a given project or projects from the LFA in the context of a more comprehensive plan, that in the future the CWT should pursue with DEP a discussion with the justification for additional funding regarding this planning matter, from the City of New York. It was suggested that perhaps the rules for CWC Catskill Fund for the Future could be modified to cover the more comprehensive planning/ consultant costs. The respective stream corridor management programs have money to cover costs except for comprehensive planning and the CWC program language, consistent with the Stakeholders agreement, does not allow for funding comprehensive planning costs.
a. Status of:
i. Contracts – CWC, Stream Programs – Jeff will check into the concern about a 14 month wait before seeing any money. Some DEP staff have stated that there will not be an interruption in services between contracts so that work will continue. Aaron Bennett said communities in Ulster are ready to go with buy-outs as soon as funding is available and/or the program rules are finalized implying that a delay in contracting would be very discouraging to people already under duress.
ii. CWC Relocation Program Rules – Approved May 6. CWT Executive Committee opened the floor to discussion of these program rules. Dean presented some of the concerns arising at the Friday May 16, 2014 Core Group Meeting hosted by Delaware County Department of Watershed Affairs and stated that these comments would be submitted to the CWC. Carl said that the program rules approved May 6 were still awaiting the language from the city for project costs and terms for residential relocations (Section 17:02:03-4.c) and that these would be taken up at the June 3rd CWC Board meeting. He, therefore, recommended any comments on the current rules be submitted before the June 3rd CWC meeting. Aaron Bennett expressed concern regarding the 20 year threshold, in that the standard may not be able to be met should the program start be delayed beyond 2016 and not include the
2006 1996 floods.
Carl asked how many of the CWT Executive Committee members had regular conversations with their counterparts on the CWC Board of Directors? Responses indicated that contact was minimal at best. He recalled for the Executive Committee that Georgianna Lepke of Neversink, former President of the CWC Board, had recommended to CWT that her board meet with the Executive Committee on a quarterly basis at the regularly scheduled CWT meetings to simply stay in touch and to discuss topics of mutual concern. Carl said he thought this was a good idea, but one that was never pursued. He said with the board’s permission he’d like to reach out to Mike Triolo to explore this further. Ric Coombe supported this and reminded everybody that once upon a time there was a closer relationship between the two organizations. He wondered why we even had to submit formal comments to CWC about the program rules. He would like to see us get back to the place where we could share our concerns in an informal setting. Jeff Baker concurred, saying that was the original intent when the CWC was formed as a result of the Coalition’s negotiations with the City that led to the MOA in 1997.
iii. WSP Changes. In discussions between Carl and Jeff Graf, Jeff indicated that the DEP will be convening a meeting of the large stakeholder group to discuss the language changes needed to the WSP that will enable the Flood Mitigation-Voluntary buyout program to be compliant with the WSP and meet the needs of the buyout program. Jeff has been in touch with Corporate Counsel discussing what the needed changes may be need.
iv. FAD – Final released May 7, 2014 No one has yet read it all the way through thoroughly, though with a cursory review it appears to reflect all that has been agreed to plus a couple of new additions such as an evaluation by a Blue Ribbon Panel as to its effectiveness in protecting the water supply. Also, Phoenicia WWTP is still possible.
b. Proposing Relocation Meeting – Carl announced that given the deadline for CFA grant applications in all counties, this meeting would not take place until after June 16th.
c. Kurt Ossenfort proposal – still no response.
d. Watershed Inspector General – Watershed Inspector General (WIG) issue regarding a Windham development project. Stephen reported the developer is in abeyance at this time. Indicated the delays and lack of resolution has caused him to stop. Jeff has been and will continue to discuss the matter with Kevin Young and Dan Ruzzo.
e. Outreach – see privilege of the floor.
f. Below Dams Activities
i. Delaware River Below Dams Initiatives – Frazier reported the UDRTC is moving forward. Has meetings scheduled with the DEP Deputy Commissioner to discuss opportunities for more uniform releases. The UDRTC will hold a meeting to introduce their, concerns, mission and objectives.
ii. Consent Order – Esopus – Aaron reported that environmental groups seem more receptive to going back to the use of ALUM to precipitate turbidity. Apparently, the environmental concerns of ALUM are less than existing alternatives.
7. Warrants and Treasurer’s report:
a. Treasurer’s report. Saving Balance $88,590.27; Checking balance $1,000.15.
Motion to accept Michael. Second Linda. Passed.
b. Warrants. Two warrants totaling $2,772.91.
Motion to approve Stephen; Second Linda. Passed.
8. Correspondence – None reported.
a. Steve Walker and Carl informed the committee about being contacted by AP Reporter Michael Hill. Steve said he told them that the new FAD programs could be seen as another set of tools available to coalition towns.
b. 8PM – Motion to go into Executive Session by Ric Coombe for the purpose of discussing the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
second by Bruce Dolph. Passed.
Motion to come out of Executive Session; Time 8:10PM by Ric Coombe;
second Bruce Dolph. Passed.
10. Motion to adjourn 8:12 PM: Steve Walker; Second Bruce Dolph. Passed. Time 8:12PM. Passed.