Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.
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City Council Updates by Mayor Douglas French
Beaver Swamp Brook Adjudicatory Hearing
The City has long had concerns about flood impacts from development at the project Homerun site in Harrison at the end of Osborn Road and has sought to better understand the engineering data and assumptions that were made in the planning for the project. An interim decision was issued from the New York State DEC Commissioner that found that the Administrative Law Judge was proper in finding that the City did not make a valid argument under SEQRA. However, the arguments under the Environmental Conservation Law were considered viable issues that will proceed to an adjudicatory hearing and the City will be able to review the project assumptions and data.
Rye High School Construction Project
The City reviewed traffic, parking and pedestrian safety issues with the upcoming High School expansion project from our engineering consultant at our last meeting. Alternate drop offs and traffic patterns around the school as well as additional parking accommodations and crossings will all be a part of the decisions, coordination and communication to the community as we head into the School year. Most recently, the School District has requested that the City temporarily lift the ban on seasonal parking (May 1st to September 30th) on Apawamis Avenue for the duration of the construction project to allow for the parking of construction workers. Also, additional parking has been created at the “Snow Field”.
School Crossing Guard Program
The City has long had difficulty in hiring and maintaining a full complement of crossing guards often resulting in other police personnel filling vacant spots – over 200 times annually. With the recommended increase in crossing guards in this year’s budget and the additional needs with the School expansion project, the City has hired a firm to manage the program under the auspices of the Police Commissioner. All City Management Services (ACMS) would assume all responsibility for crossing guard services, including recruitment, staffing vacancies, training, background checks, equipment, supervision, and management. ACMS carries its own liability insurance coverage.
Conflict of Interest Policy Changes
The City has asked the Board of Ethics to review its recommended changes to its current Conflict of Interest procedures. The City has proposed instituting a Conflict of Interest form which would be filed yearly by public officials and select employees within the City. In addition to changes to the local law to reflect the addition of the Conflict of Interest form, also being reviewed is the updated Oath of Office card for Boards and Commissions, a bid packet conflict of interest form for vendors, a non-collusion statement for bid packet, and a non-collusion statement for purchase orders/claim forms — none of which have ever been part of the City’s policy, but are being incorporated as part of the overall remedies from the Rye Golf Club.
Rye Free Reading Room Bond Funds
The Bond referendum approved by City residents on November 6, 2012 included funding in the amount of $176,000 for capital projects to be completed at the Rye Free Reading Room. The projects include: the installation of sprinklers and a fire alarm system, ADA and flood control improvements. The City has approved an inter-municipal agreement which addresses the receipt and disbursement of these bond funds to the library in accordance with City policies and procedures.
Flood Monitoring and Warning System
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a call for projects to be funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to assist local governments. These efforts are aimed at increasing the State’s resiliency, mitigating the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters, and reducing hardship. The City has submitted the project Blind Brook Stream Gauge Monitoring and Flood Warning System with an estimated project cost of $225,000. If approved, FEMA provides 75% funding of $168,750; the City must provide the 25% match funding in the amount of $56,250.
Rye Golf Club Work Sessions
The City held another public workshop with the Rye Golf Club Commission, the Rye Golf Club Strategic Committee, Club members and the public. Fundamental to the discussion were two prevailing questions in connection with the Club – should the City be in the restaurant business; and, if so, what is the proper level of governance to run the operation? A five-point plan was put together last fall to restore public trust after a decade under the former Club Manager: Tighten up financial policies and procedures; institute tighter conflicts of interest procedures; get the Club up and running for the season and review performance; determine a long-term strategic view for the Club; and, put the proper governance model in place. Discussions and steps have been taken in each of these areas including the make-up of the Golf Club Commission. As with other Boards and Commissions, the City is looking to have some oversight by having some seats Mayor-appointed and Council confirmed to supplement the member-selected Commission since the public at-large still holds all liability.