It was hot all day Monday and it didn't get any cooler inside Pelham's Village Hall during last night's Board of Trustees meeting.
The meeting began with public comments, but a lot of discussion had obviously taken place before Mayor Edward Hotchkiss called the session to order in a filled meeting room. Most of the session was devoted to routine business, but pressing grants deadlines for a proposed Greenway to be built at the unused Westchester and Boston railroad site led several community members to speak to the board. Some were vehement.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Susan Mutti of Highbrook Avenue, who is a member of the Westchester and Boston Site Committee, spoke but was interrupted by Trustee Joseph Marty, who stipulated that she was speaking as an advocate for one plan, a Greenway, and not as a representative of the committee. Marty was careful to praise her work with the committee.
Mutti expressed dissatisfaction with the Board of Trustees for not signing an application for eligibility allowing the committee to apply for grants.
Later in the evening, Mutti again spoke to the board about possible errors she said she found in a report about remediating safety concerns with the W&B bridge. Though several board members engaged her at this point, eventually Mayor Hotchkiss deemed the discussion too technical and asked her to finish her argument. She left visibly and audibly upset with the board.
Several other members of the community also spoke about the W&B green space, expressing worry about access to the proposed park through Pell Place.
Use of the green space has been in discussion since 2001, when Berger Lehman Associates' conducted an inspection of the Railway Bridge and authored a report on the matter.
Board Approves Bonds to Complete DPW Building Construction
In other business, the board approved a request to authorize issuing an additional $126,500 in bonds to finish construction of the Department of Public Works building. The additional money would be used to pay cost overruns in the construction, as well as bonding fees on the total amount of bonds to be issued for the construction.
The board also authorized Fire Chief William Stone to begin the work of creating a new Lieutenant position in the Fire Department. It is expected that the position would be filled from within the department.
The move is intended to save money on overtime and allow more predictable duty rotations within the department. It would pay approximately $83,000 a year and could save as much as $40,000 in the summers, when overtime is highest. Currently, a fifth lieutenant has been appointed temporarily, but according to law the appointment can only be for 90 days.
Village Administrator Robert Yamuder presented a review of the past year's income, expenses and general fund balance.
Town revenues last year exceeded projections by approximately $19,000, but expenditures exceeded budgeted projections by about $130,000. The general fund began in fiscal year 2011 with a little more than $631,589 and ended with approximately $520,000.
Yamuder cited record snowfalls, fire department training and overtime, and an unforeseen pension increase, among other things, for the loss.
A written report on the town’s finances will be issued following an audit that is currently underway, Yamuder said.