Tuesday, August 15, 2017

O Sole Mio with English translation...

What a wonderful thing a sunny day
The serene air after a thunderstorm
The fresh air, and a party is already going on…
What a wonderful thing a sunny day.

Subtitle of the blog...if you think it's going to be easy getting solar energy while Tyksinski is in office, THINK AGAIN!

At the August 9, 2017 town board meeting, Councilman Reynolds finally brought forth the recommended changes to the solar energy code for the Town of New Hartford. If you remember, Councilman Reynolds asked to form a committee to review the current solar energy code.

As I have written many times, people are desirous of using solar energy, but New Hartford's code only allows 10 kw of solar energy which is not enough to make it cost effective for the average homeowner.

Tyksinski said he has no problem with solar energy (watch his mannerisms on the video below) and the board voted to hold a public hearing at the September 13, 2017 town board meeting. September 13 would be the day after the Republican Primary and Supervisor Tyksinski is hoping to get your vote to stay in office for a third term. Saying he is against updating the town's solar energy code wold not be wise and he knows it!

Here's the problem, folks...

Before a public hearing can be held regarding a local law, town code states:
Report of Planning Board.

A. All proposed amendments, supplements or changes originating by petition or by motion of the Town Board shall be referred to the Planning Board for a report and recommendation thereon. In undertaking such review, the Planning Board shall make inquiry and provide recommendation concerning the items specified below:

(1) Whether such change is consistent with the purposes embodied in this chapter as applied to the particular districts concerned.
(2) Whether adequate public services and other support facilities exist or can be created to serve the needs of any additional development that may occur as a result of such change.
(3) The indirect implications of such change in its effect on other regulations.
(4) Whether such proposed amendment is consistent with the underlying objectives of the Town Comprehensive Plan.
(5) Whether such proposed amendment is consistent with the character of the community.

B. The Planning Board shall submit its report within 45 days after receiving such referral. Failure of the Planning Board to report within the required time shall be deemed to be a recommendation of approval of the proposed amendment.
That's right, all changes to town code have to be presented to the Planning Board for their recommendation before the town can proceed.  No mention of that fact at the town board meeting!

I attended last night's Planning Board; discussion of the proposed changes could have been part of the agenda, but apparently there was no effort to make it happen. One would think if Tyksinski was truly in favor of changing the code, last night was his chance to prove it. But, there was no mention of the proposed solar energy code changes.

At the end of the Planning Board meeting, the town attorney did question "what about the 3rd item for the agenda?"

He was told there is no third item. Was the town attorney under the impression that the local law was going to be presented to the Planning Board last night? I don't know.

Do I believe that Tyksinski is going to do everything in his power to stall Councilman Reynolds proposed changes? You bet I do!

According to the Planning Board secretary, so far there are no items filed that would require a September Planning Board meeting to be scheduled, but it is still early. Will there be a Planning Board meeting prior to the September 13th town board meeting? It's doubtful!

With careful planning on Tyksinski's part, he could play "delay games" until after the November election when he might feel safe to vote "no". If you have watched town board meeting movies, you will see that he is definitely not in favor, but he was "forced" to say "he has no problem with it" at the town board meeting because he knows he was being recorded.

Anyway, good job Councilman Reynolds! The people want these changes...Tyksinski can delay the adoption of the law, but he is only 1 of 5 votes so he can't stop it from happening.

Here is a copy of the proposed local law that I FOILed from the town clerk this morning.

Here's the portion of the meeting regarding the proposed solar energy town code changes:

I will venture a guess that the cause of the delay Tyksinski recites at the next town board meeting is because the town's contracted engineers, Barton & Loguidice, did not get back to Tyksinski in time (wink, wink) so Tyksinski couldn't get the local law to the Planning Board for review. Therefore, there will not be a September 13, 2017 Public Hearing.

I will keep everyone informed of the public hearing date, if and when it is scheduled.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Say What, Tyk?

At the July 12, 2017 town board meeting, Tyksinski led the town board down a dark road and left the residents affected by flooding in the Grange Hill Road area under water!

Tyksinski talked the board into rejecting the one legitimate bid for the project; convinced them there was no time to re-bid the project and presented his "Plan" for how the work could be completed.

Councilman Richard Woodland asked Tyksinski why Spinella did not bid for the work; Tyksinski replied he didn't know about the bidding until it was too late to submit a bid.

Councilman Reynolds interjected...Twice?

Tyksinski replied, "Twice, what?" Councilman Reynolds said, "Twice he had the opportunity to bid it and he didn't?" Tyksinski shrugged his shoulders.

Finally, the board caved in to Tyksinski's bully tactics used to convince them to hire Spinella by "piggy-backing" off the county list; the "plan" was adopted.

Problem is, as reported in the Observer Dispatch, the town cannot "piggy-back" off the county for the job.

Here is the snippet of the town board interaction on July 12, 2017 with Tyksinski saying Spinella didn't know about the bid until it was too late:

Truth is, Mr. Spinella did pick up a bid packet on July 3, 2017; a week before the bid opening on July 10, 2017 and the same day as the one legitimate bidder picked up his bid packet! Spinella had more than enough time to submit his bid; but he didn't.

Instead, according to the Observer Dispatch article, Spinella supposedly sent an email to Tyksinski and behind the scenes a plan was developed to reject the one bid and sign a contract for Mr. Spinella to do the work.

They have a name for that where I grew up...

The town board was duped by the two people they should have been able to trust and the Grange Hill Project is now on hold until who knows when!

When the town attorney and town supervisor sit at the head of the table and give assurances to town councilmen that what the councilmen are being asked to adopt is legal, the councilmen have little choice but to accept their recommendation. If the councilmen can't trust the two most experienced people at the board table to give them sound advice, who can they trust? This is not the first time that town board members have been given misinformation in order to sway a vote the way Tyksinski wants it to go.

Below is the entire video of the Grange Hill Road project bid. I have already posted it once; if you haven't viewed it yet, I urge you should to take the time to listen to how Tyksinski pushes the board to do his bidding even if it is not in keeping with law.

Perhaps they do not realize that I have been attending board meetings for many years. I know that the town clerk requires all contractors who pick up bid packets to fill out a form so she can keep track of who has picked up a bid vs. who submits one. It took a simple FOIL request to get the information I needed.  Who picked up a bid packet?

If you are a Republican voter in the Town of New Hartford, I would advise that you make sure to vote at the September 12, 2017 Republican Primary and send a message to Tyksinski.

Change is needed at the head of the table! Get out and vote!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

To market, to market...

Subtitle...How many bid openings does it take to get just the "right" bid?

Let's face it...the Aug. 8 stormwater informational meeting was merely a "dog and pony" show during an election year.

Over the past several years, the town board has had three (3) separate bid openings for the Grange Hill Road Project; a project that has been promised, but not delivered on.

Supervisor Tyksinski assured everyone at the August 8, 2017 Stormwater Informational Meeting that he feels their pain. Sure he does! How do you explain that the last bid on the Grange Hill Road project was once again rejected on July 12, 2017; eleven days after the July 1 stormwater devastation that left some residents homeless!

But, this time on July 12, 2017, Tyksinski had "a plan"...he received an email from Mr. Spinella with an offer Tyksinski just couldn't refuse!

After assurances from the town attorney and town supervisor that it is proper to "piggyback" on the county bids for the job, town board members voted to go with a yet to be prepared contract with Spinella for about half the price quoted by the lone bidder; a contract that to-date has never appeared before the town board for approval.

By now, I am sure you have read two articles in the Observer Dispatch that pretty much sums up the situation regarding the Spinella contract. The project can't be done that way! It has to go out to bid! Of course, unless Tyksinski comes up with another "plan".

So, no one will probably be surprised when I tell you that another bid for stormwater clean-up, this time “Emergency Response Contract - July 2017 Storm Damage”, was opened; accepted and before the night ended was rejected at the August 9, 2017 town board meeting! Why?

First, they accepted the low bidder which was recommended by Supervisor Tyksinski which is quite unusual that Tyksinski makes that recommendation when his favorite bidder is not the low bid. The vote was unanimous to accept the low bidder.

The board meeting continued with several other pieces of town business being discussed.

Several minutes later, the topic turned to the auditing of the town bills for payment and the town councilmen were questioning the lack of the town supervisor's signature to pay some bills for other emergency work.

I guess the town attorney was scrutinizing the bid sheets while other town business was being discussed because, the town attorney, Herb Cully, started questioning Councilman Paul Miscione regarding the fact that he believed the low bid which was already accepted did not comply with the bid sheet.

I am surprised that a July 24, 2017 bid opening was not scrutinized prior to the low bid being accepted at an August 9, 2017 town board meeting, but apparently it wasn't.

The questioning continued with the highway superintendent being called to the front of the room. For a few minutes, I thought I was sitting in a court gallery watching the proceeding of a court case involving town bidding procedures.

There seemed to be a lot of confusion at the table as to how to proceed; Tyksinski didn't really have much to say.

However, it did appear that the other three bidder's paperwork apparently did meet the town attorney's approval and were in line with the bid specs.

Councilman Messa asked, if the low bidder really didn’t fill out the bid sheets properly, but the other bidders did, why can’t we reject that bid and take the next low bid. The next low bid would have been...you guessed it...Spinella.

After much discussion back and forth, the board decided to reject all the bids because it was determined that the bid specs were “lacking; wanting; and not clear”. I would have guessed that a firm like Barton & Loguidice would have the ability to write a proper bid spec given that the highway superintendent gave them direction, but I guess not. The bid spec which was used for the initial bidding was not available at the town board meeting; only a copy of the new bid specs.

Anyway, the board decided to reject the first bids and go back out to bid again with the new, more concise bid specs. Tyksinski tentatively scheduled an August 24th “special” meeting to vote on the new bid; said meeting will either be in the board room or in Tyksinski's office. I wonder if holding a board meeting in the supervisor's office is in line with the Opening Meetings Law? It always amazes me when Tyksinski and Cully decide to be picky about seeing that town business is conducted in compliance with laws.

The bids were not totally disclosed to the public, but Councilman Miscione was concerned that once again the bids are known to the bidders which could skew the next bidding. Right you are, Councilman Miscione!

How many times do bids have to be requested, rejected and re-bid before no one bids on projects in New Hartford except Mr. Spinella? This is getting to be the normal way bids are conducted in the Town of New Hartford and it is disturbing. Bidding in our town has become a comedy routine, except that it isn’t funny. Just by watching the town supervisor's demeanor as these discussions take place, there is little doubt that there is something going on. What a clusterduck!

Here's the video of that portion of the August 9, 2017 board meeting. You be the judge, if you can follow their reasoning!