Present: Carl Stuendel, Bruce Dolph, Cathy Magarelli, Mike McCrary, Linda Burkhardt, Bill Layton, Ric Coombe and counsel Jeff Baker.
Others attending: Marge Miller, Aaron Bennett, Karen Rauter, Rick Weidenback, Frazier
1. Call to order: 6:20 PM
2. Minutes – Nov 17, 2014 – Moved to accept Bruce Dolph; second by Linda Burkhardt; passed unanimously.
3. Privilege of the Floor – none taken.
4. Presentation by Karen Rauter (Sullivan County SWCD) on the Rondout Neversink Stream Program gave a presentation on the LFA in the Towns of Denning, Claryville and Neversink. Sent RFP to 15 to 20 engineering firms. Received 4 bids. Originally came in at $62,000, but in the interim the study area was expanded; total now is at $82,000. They are proceeding similarly to Delaware County SWCD. They developed committees in each town to help drive the program. In a side note Karen announced the DEP is hiring a LFA coordinator to assist the stream programs. Buyouts in Sullivan County are not yet settled. She does not see a high probability of buyouts and relocations as most terrain is in the headwaters. Study areas are from bridge to bridge; they are trying to identify those areas that can reconnect floodplains. Area was a tanning area with a large number of sawmills. The stream management program is integrated into the program. They have about 40 sites from the stream program that will be reviewed in the process to see if that program can help offset some costs of the flood mitigation effort. Funding should be in place by February, but do not expect that any of the projects to be completed in 2015, unless some identified in an LFA become eligible through the stream program administered by the Sullivan County SWCD.
5. Bottling Plant Issue: Request for CWT Support – Cathy reported that Niagara was denied the $10.8 million they were seeking for the project and it is not clear if the project is moving forward, so at this time there is no point in discussing this further by the CWT. Additionally the Town of Ulster has assumed lead agency under SEQRA and has issued a positive declaration so the Town of Woodstock’s concerns may be addressed in the EIS. There was considerable discussion about what the role of CWT should or should not have been regarding this issue. Ric Coombe and Jeff Baker were of the mindset that based upon the information available at this point this project really did not fit the mission of the CWT. Jeff Baker reiterated that the mission of the CWT is to help communities regarding regulatory issues involving the State, Feds and DEP. Cathy informed the group that Woodstock’s issue was not that of a plus or minus of Niagara, but one of protecting the water supplies of residents in Woodstock.
6. Carl raised the potential for a conflict of interest by the Town of Woodstock to hire Jeff Baker to represent them related to the Niagara project. A little context may help here. Jeff was approached and hired by the Town of Woodstock after the last CWT meeting to advise them on the Niagara project. At the time of consideration by the Woodstock Town Board, Jeff advised them that he did not think that the Niagara proposal fit within the CWT’s jurisdiction. Jeff apologized for not informing Carl about being hired before Carl learned about it in a phone conversation with David Warne. After substantive discussion the main concern is to be sure that a conflict of interest does not arise and the best way to avoid it is make sure that everyone is aware of circumstances like this that arise. Members felt concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest are best served by a policy of complete openness. “Good disclosure is paramount” (Ric). Jeff agreed, so going forward every effort will be made to make communications clear to all parties.
a. Status of Flood Mitigation Program:
i. Water Supply Permit Change – Nothing new to report. It appears the language issue is not fully resolved at the State.
ii. Reg. Relief position paper – Carl reported that Kevin is making progress and is working with Jeff to finish the paper. One component of regulatory relief includes a long term strategy of legislative reform, but the main focus of the paper is on speeding up the permitting process so as to enable a quicker and smoother transition for applicants. Establishing sets of shovel ready projects would be one way this could be achieved. Carl indicated that Kevin agreed to attend the January meeting to discuss the paper. He said that Kevin is trying to develop a toolbox for communities to use that will provide the steps and sequence a community would follow for potential relocation efforts.
iii. Inundation and DEP’s new FBO Selection Criteria document — Jeff summarized and pointed out that it all hinges on local involvement. Generally, there did not appear to be any serious concerns. There is not a deadline for comments to be submitted. Michelle voiced her concerns regarding the amount of time it is taking to get this settled. Apparently, she has a 90 year old resident whose home is about to fall into a stream and the COE has had to recommend it be condemned. How does she deal with that? The general sense of the discussion related to that issue, was that she should move forward with the project because it wouldn’t need a full blown LFA, if any significant analysis.
Another point discussed was from page 3, Erosion Hazard. It was felt more clarity may be needed that the inquiry would be taken to the affected municipality by the Outreach Lead or other parties. The City or any other entity who is contacted would direct people to the Outreach Lead who in turn would bring the inquiry to the respective municipality.
Discussion from the above comments evolved to the subject of clarity on how the program would work with regard to where towns would turn to for resources. Tim Cox gave a presentation explaining the CWC’s programs in the Flood Mitigation efforts at the Project Advisory Committee held at the Walton SWCD offices on December 11th. Frazier asked Tim for his opinion regarding where the boundaries begin and end between the programs managed by the Districts/CCE Ulster and CWC in terms of services provided and funding. Tim’s response, in Frazier’s opinion, when considering education and outreach efforts by all involved flood mitigation projects would not be consistent. Frazier expressed during the CWT meeting that it doesn’t appear that the CWT, Stream Corridor Management Programs and CWC are all on the same wavelength. Frazier feels that while this program is new and iterative, communities need consistent explanations from the City, Stream Programs and CWC programs to minimize confusion. The September 20, 2012 Agreement in Principle adequately outlines some of those boundaries, but a couple of portions are still unclear. This is to be expected for a variety of reasons.
Rick Weidenbach, offered that the LFA process will help sort it out. Rick suggested that everyone should be at the table when projects are discussed so that communities can better understand which source of money or monies best suit the needs of their projects. Ric Coombe expressed concern that all watershed parties should be on the same wavelength and that the boards of the CWC and CWT need to discuss any confusions. All agreed with Ric and Rick. While Frazier agrees with both Ric and Rick, Frazier’s point is simply that during education and outreach early on, every effort should be made to make sure the message is consistent regardless of the source. Bruce felt that Tim’s response on 12/11 left him with the opinion that a community could go to either the Stream Programs or the CWC to get the same services and products. That is not how he understands it. He felt that Tim’s opinion made it sound like it was competitive, which was not the intent of the Sept 20, 2012 document nor does that document lead one to conclude that. The funding sources and products should be complementary.
Jeff Baker indicated that if what Tim was trying to express is the CWC’s understanding, then he would argue that his view is incorrect. The Sept 20, 2012 document tried to delineate these, but unfortunately left some of the points a bit unclear.
Aaron reported that the CWC is putting together a position paper expressing their interpretation of how the flood program is intended to work.
In the meantime a discussion about this should take place between CWT and CWC boards to assure both are moving in the same direction. Apparently, Frazier was asked to develop a draft position for consideration by the CWT based on the discussion above.
b. Kurt Ossenfort Proposal – Jeff Baker – no comment back from Ossenfort on the contract.
c. Below Dams Activities
i. Delaware – The UDRTC is formalizing. Going to PA DEP tomorrow to discuss to engage them in the projects and processes. Laura Bomyea is meeting with the UDRTC very soon to formalize the inter-municipal agreement.
ii. Esopus – Aaron- One item is to do a stream management plan for the Lower Esopus. Hogill Farm in the Town of Hurley is doing a major riparian restoration. Very large organic farm. Also interested in developing a nursery.
iii. Schoharie – no comment.
d. Dues – Carl reported that Kelly provided two sheets. Carl stated the 2014 gap has been closed quite a bit. Essentially all current. Sheets for who owes dues for 2015 is there for information as well.
e. Hydro-electric on the Cannonsville – it was reported that some initial discussions have begun between NYCDEP and the DCEC. The initial discussion was very positive. No details yet.
f. Clarification of Mike Brandow and Dixie Baldrey CWT Executive Committee membership status. Mike McCrary indicated that Dixie believes she is still an alternate. Dixie’s email is email@example.com. Mike Brandow’s standing is in question. Jeff Baker indicated he would check in to it.
Ric Coombe presented the treasures report and warrants.
Checking account balance – $1,204.89.
Saving account balance – $98,280.31.
One warrant to pay to Young/Sommer. $1,837.50.
Motion to accept the treasurers report and pay the warrant made by Bruce Dolph, seconded by Bill Layton. Passed unanimously.
8. Correspondence – none reported.
9. Other – Carl reported that on Dec 8 Kelly has sent out a doodle poll to set up a meeting between CWC and CWT board members. He indicated that Mike Triolo thinks they should meet quarterly. The only ones who have responded so far are Carl and Bruce. Carl will contact Mike to encourage the officers of CWC to respond. Jeff recommended the meeting just stay centrally located to keep it easier as these discussions are between the CWT and CWC on policy and inter-organizational relationships and roles, not a public meeting looking for input.
10. Adjourn: Move to adjourn Linda Burkhardt, seconded by Cathy Magarelli. No discussion. Passed unanimously.