Over two hours of residents expressing their frustration at the stormwater flooding of the last two or three storms, some were actually residents in the vicinity of Whitetail, but Supervisor Tyksinski 'forgot to mention" one little thing about work to be done in Whitetail Meadows.
Let's back track a little. The issue of stormwater from the Whitetail development first came into discussion at the "May 15, 2002 town board meeting.
We first heard of Mr. Barkett at the August 6, 2003 town board meeting when it was mentioned that he and his attorney approached the town board and asked that they create a stormwater district in Whitetail.
By September 3, 2003, a public hearing was held and a resolution was adopted creating the stormwater district in Whitetail.
Minutes of the "September 3, 2003 town board meeting state:
At the August 20, 2003 Town Board meeting, the Board had received information from Bond Counsel that a prior Town Board had created a town-wide storm water drainage district; however, since that meeting, Attorney Rossi has been told that the Town doesn’t have a town-wide district and so it’s appropriate to go forth with this district in the event the Town needs to perform some work in the future; only the people in the district would share in the cost of improvements – only those benefited, said Attorney Rossi [emphasis added].The district was comprised of the owners of property within the Whitetail Meadows subdivision.
The next time we heard of Mr. Barkett was in 2008 when we FOILed records from the town because we heard via the Stormwater Committee that Mr. Barkett was submitting invoices to the town for the purchase of a lot and work that his company had supposedly performed to install a stormwater detention basin on the lot in his development that he was billing the town for because, we were told, he had an agreement with Roger Cleveland.
According to those documents, sometime in 2006, during the Earle Reed administration, then Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland apparently made a "gentleman's agreement" with John Barkett, the owner of the Whitetail development. That was just about the time that the town was expecting to bond $2 million for stormwater.
The discussion regarding the agreement to purchase the lot never came to the town board prior to the agreement made between Roger and Mr. Barkett. A resolution was never adopted by the Earle Reed admnistration to purchase the lot. In fact, there is no trace of any paperwork other the the bills submitted to the town by John Barkett. It was in every sense of the term, a "handshake" deal made behind closed doors. The bills never got paid during the Earle Reed administration.
Enter Supervisor Tyksinski in 2010. After several executive sessions and many discussions during Stormwater Committe meetings, Supervisor Tyksinski finally convinced most of the town board in April 2012 to approve $35,000 to be paid to John Barkett to purchase a lot where the detention basin was supposedly constructed by Mr. Barkett, but not maintained by either the town or Mr. Barkett.
End of story....UNTIL...
the recent storms. Now all of a sudden, since Highway Superintendent Rick Sherman is too busy with other stormwater clean-up duties to complete the work needed on the detention basin that will supposedly alleviate the flooding in the area of Whitetail Meadows, Supervisor Tyskinski said that Rick Sherman suggested that the man for the job is none other than John Barkett, the developer of the Whitetail Meadows subdivision; the person who approached the town board in 2003 and asked that a Stormwater District be created in his development to cover the cost of future improvements necessary to alleviate flooding.
Tyskinski says Barkett will be paid a discounted rate of $110 per hour to do the work in his own development.
Councilman Backman suggested that a ceiling be put on the amount to be paid to Mr. Barkett and when the ceiling is reached, the town board will review before any further work is allowed. No one agreed with Councilman Backman.
Councilman Miscione suggested that Highway Superintendent Rick Sherman be given the authority to oversee the work and determine the hours needed to get the job done. The vote was unanimous...Highway Superintendent Rick Sherman will oversee the work of developer John Barkett and determine the amount of work needed to complete the job.
We sincerely hope that this alleviates the problem for the residents being severely affected by the run-off from this development. They definitely need the relief; however, we have to ask...just how much is this going to cost and where is the money coming from? Councilman Paul Miscione asked last night if it would come out of Rick Sherman's budget, but Supervisor Tyksinski was vague in his answer.
AND...what happens if this "fix" doesn't work? Who is responsible....Mr. Barkett for doing the work...OR...the town because they own the property where the detention basin is located?
What is troubling is the fact that this is an open-ended contract that did not go to bid. The work is to be done by the developer in his own development; work that should have been done when the development was created or paid for by the Whitetail Stormwater District.
Did Superviosr Tyksinski forget to bring this subject up during the main part of the meeting or was the "packed audience" of frustrated and angry town residents a good reason to forget? You decide...here is the video after the executive session of the meeting, when the board reconvened the public portion of the meeting.
For those that are interested, we are also posting the video [almost 2 hours] of residents' comments regarding their flooding problems.