Executive Board Meeting – June 15, 2015

Members present: Carl Stuendel, Bruce Dolph, Catherine Magarelli, Linda Burkhardt, Tony Coiro, Bill Layton and Counsel Jeff Baker.
Others present: Rick Weidenbach, Molly Oliver, Marge Miller and Frazier.

1. Call to order 6:15PM.

2. Minutes – May 18, 2015 – Motion to approve the minutes by Linda Burkhardt, second by Bruce Dolph with the recommended modifications.

3. Privilege of the Floor – Carl introduced and welcomed Molly Oliver, as the new Assistant to the Commissioner, Department of Watershed Affairs. Members then introduced themselves.

4. Regulatory relief –
a. In order to give more time to other agenda items, Carl requested that at tonight’s meeting we skip further discussion of the relocation regulatory relief tools. He also asked that we postpone discussing Kevin Young’s new relocation-toolkit/plan-of-action document until Kevin is available to review it with the board. Counsel Jeff Baker concurred and suggested that the discussion would be better pursued when new board members are in place. Jeff also suggested that the CWT Board consider hiring Carl part time as a staff person. Carl could do some of the work Jeff is currently doing. Carl graciously expressed his appreciation for the idea. He will think about it. Although there was not a resolution, board members appeared fully in favor of exploring this idea. Jeff will draft a position description.

b. Review of May 27, 2015 meeting between DEP and Full Moon Resort. In attendance from the City were four DEP regulators and one member of NYC Legal and from Full Moon were the two owners, their engineer, and their legal counsel, Kevin Young. Also in attendance were Leo LaBuda from CWC and Carl and Bruce from CWT. Carl asked Bruce to share his impression of the meeting. Bruce said this meeting was called because Full Moon is currently a grandfathered NCRA, and they are hoping to update and modernize their space. They will not be changing or adding additional content or quantity to the septic, but DEP thinks that they need to bring the septic systems into compliance with current regulations because their changes constitute a change of use. Bruce also expressed how intimidating it would be to have five DEP staff going through every building and every room of a business. He felt the meeting will result in positive outcomes for Full Moon, but, all in all, this action by DEP against Full Moon was unnecessary. Bruce’s own opinion is that if the City is going to force these unnecessary changes, then they need to pay for the changes, including attorney’s fees.

i. Next steps- CWT will continue to pursue this specific issue and other unjustified and arbitrary assumptions and subsequent overzealous regulatory enforcement by DEP staff.   There was some discussion about availability of funding from CWC for such cases as Full Moon from the Catskill Fund for the Future (CFF). The problem being that grants are not being issued and most small businesses are financially challenged to the point that they couldn’t even afford a low interest loan.   There was also a discussion about a change in use issue at the farm stand on Route 28 in an old satellite bank office. It has since been resolved but at the cost of the farmer who wanted to use the facility to sell his goods.

c. White paper – There was some discussion about speaking to the State about their thoughts regarding the white paper submitted to DOH by CWT regarding the scope-of-work of the Expert Panel mandated by the 2014 Midterm FAD.   Carl may contact DOH. This lead to a brief discussion on the forthcoming FAD and what should be pursued.

5. CWT/ CWC Report on the April 23 meeting. Carl discussed the meeting. Discussed the contractor/ subcontractor/sub-subcontractor vetting by DEP is problematic. Jeff and Carl went to the meeting on June 10th with the stream teams for the five watershed counties. All the issues Rick W. had raised at previous CWT meetings were corroborated by SMP representatives from the other counties.  Jeff will develop a narrative that reflects the June 10th meeting for the forthcoming meeting with DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush at his quarterly partnership meeting with CWC, CWT, WAC and Delaware County.   Jeff recommended that design templates should be created and shared among the stream programs.   In Delaware County, one 1,400 foot of reach of stream has been in design for two years and still not at 60% in the 30-60-90 review process.   This delay is due to a .167% difference in storm flow calculations between the SWCD and DEP. WAC is now considering giving up pursuing the streambank stabilization funding from SWCD because their staff can design four ag BMPs in the same amount of time it takes to design one for the streams.   There are differences even within individual counties. Greene County has been held as an example of good design practices, but the City will not allow Greene County to share their templates with the other stream programs (and Green County has not been required to do 30-60-90 review). There have been four years of continuous delay in holding a meeting to discuss engineering issues such as the development of templates to be shared with the stream programs. In the forthcoming meeting the CWT will focus on bottlenecks and how to clear them up so projects can get out of design and on to the ground.   More importantly the overall theme will be to approach the City from a partnership perspective. Both parties are going to lose if the design and permitting process is not sped up. An example was cited that it took $18,000 in design costs for a project that cost just $8,800 to construct.

6. Preparing for the FAD – See 4c above for a part of this.

7. Pursuant to SC 10f of the 2010 WSP the status of hamlet designations can be reassessed and re-voted on by towns and villages every five years and the first window is from 12/24/15 – 6/23/16. Jeff will send a letter at the appropriate time to all involved municipalities.

8. Amendments to the Real Property Tax Law as referenced in paragraph 80 of the MOA and Paragraph 19 of the Water Supply Permit. Senator Bonacic introduced legislation in 2011 but it was never approved. The main substantive amendments are:
* Getting rid of the 12/31/16 sunset date for City obligation to pay taxes on watershed CEs;
* City paying taxes on Ag easements even if the land is ag assessed; and
* Allowing municipalities to change the allocation factor for a parcel before 20 years from when it was first set.
Jeff Baker will investigate this further.   Frazier noted that Assemblyman Crouch showed interest in sponsoring it for the Assembly.

9. Preparing for the 25th Anniversary of CWT – It was simply noted that the CWT should be reaching out to the community and perhaps holding an event. It was proposed to hold the event in the “Pocket Park.” A Pocket Park is a clearing along the reservoir that is open to the public.

10. Updates:
a. Flood Mitigation Program
i. Water Supply Permit Change – it appears as of today the recently released language circulated is acceptable. Jeff will review as soon as possible.

ii. Inundation/Erosion and DEP’s new FBO Selection Criteria – New language was released in the past few days. That too, appears satisfactory, but Jeff will review. All comments are due June 25th. All comments should go to Jeff.

iii. June 10 Meeting with Stream Program Planners – Jeff Baker – was reported on Item 5 above.

b. Kurt Ossenfort Proposal – Jeff Baker – still in the works.

c. SUNY-Delhi DACUM June 24 – Carl expressed his pleasure over the development of a curriculum at SUNY Delhi to meet the opportunities and needs of employers impacted by the special challenges brought on by the City’s WR&R and very exacting environmental standards. The meeting is scheduled for June 24 and key people have agreed to participate. SUNY is trying to re-establish their civil engineering degree program.

11. Below Dams Activities
a. Delaware – A brief report was given that two grants appear to have been awarded. Official written notification is imminent. Meetings with NYC and NYS Assemblyman on Staten Island went very well. They said they would provide support to DEP Commissioner Lloyd to pursue more and improved consistent releases below the dams. Paul Rush has made a statement supporting a thermal standard protocol for releases.

b. Esopus – no report.

c. Schoharie – no report.

12. Election – nominations, etc. – All nominations are in. Ulster County has only one nomination and Sullivan has no nominations. When all the ballots have been cast, Jeff will call the winners on July 16th to give them notice to attend the next CWT meeting on July 20th.

13. Treasurer’s report and warrant(s).
Bruce Dolph moved to accept the treasurer’s report and pay the voucher.   Second by Bill Layton. Passed.
Payment to Young Sommer for $1,765.20.
Checking account balance:   $1,000.16.
Savings account balance: $97,293.03.

14. Correspondence –
a. Correspondence from New Bedford. The CWT has no say on issues East of Hudson.

b. Carl noted Marge Millers letter seeking the formation of a land trust to acquire developable parcels along town, county and state highways to preserve key parcels of land as locations to locate flood buyout participants. Jeff had questions for Marge. He and Marge will have a discussion before the July Board Meeting, where Marge will discuss the proposal. Either the town will have to issue a bond for the purchase of key properties or they will need to explore the option of getting financial support from NYC.   Carl thanked Marge Miller for the use of the Middletown Town Hall for the stream team meetings.

c. Carl also read a letter from Michael McCrary. Mike expressed his dismay of a misspelling of his name on a ballot along with some other errors. He was also concerned about the paucity of nominations from Greene County. Jeff explained the nomination process by village and town boards in reference to Mike’s letter.   Carl went on to finish Mike’s letter: “The ugliness of stormwater regulations . . . has affected a small project in Jewett to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.” “[S]o far we [on the issue of overzealous regulatory enforcement and certain overzealous regulators] have waffled like a bunch of spoiled children.” “It is time to man the barricades, close the flow of water to the City and let the chips fall where they may.” (Some members thought they could hear the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background.)

15. Other –
PAC Meeting June 11.
Paul Rush Quarterly meeting June 17.
(Many thanked Linda and Catherine for their service.)

16. Adjourn- Motion by Tony Coiro, second Linda Burkhardt. Surprisingly there was no discussion. Passed unanimously.