February City Council Preview

City Counselors

These guys can’t get enough of each other…coming off a three-day annual planning retreat, City Council gets back to their normal order of business with the regular monthly meeting for February.  Here’s what’s on tap:

Wastewater Treatment Ordinance Update

What it is:  The City’s wastewater treatment plants are regulated by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Every five years, the EPA conducts a review of plant operations and City regulation related to industrial treatment.  The EPA has made several recommendations for updates to the treatment ordinance.  As part of that review, staff has made an additional recommendation, encouraging Council to seek cost recovery for water quality testing generated by a specific user.

Why it’s important:  In addition to the critical nature of compliance with federal and state regulations, it is imperative that we protect our asset in Seneca Lake; which provides safe drinking water to our residents, and serves as an economic generator for tourism and industry.

What action is City Council taking:  Staff is recommending approval of the proposed changes.  This requires two readings by City Council.  This is the first of two readings.

Discussion Regarding Keeping of Backyard Hens

What it is:  At its January meeting, City Council heard the annual egg report from the Geneva Egg Co-Op.  As part of his remarks, Co-op founder Jeff Henderson requested that City Council take another look at a previously proposed ordinance permitting the keeping of hens in yards throughout the City.  Councilor Camera requested that the conversation be advanced for discussion this month.  City Council will review a proposal that provides for the keeping of hens within certain guidelines, including limitations on the number of hens on each lot, setbacks, licensing, and restrictions on other fowl.

Why it’s important:  Any ordinance permitting the keeping of hens will require a zoning change.  The ordinance provides for detailed recommendations as to appropriate standards for keeping of hens, which City Council will need to evaluate and consider in their deliberations.  The proposed ordinance would allow for henkeeping in all districts, dependent upon size of lot (in residential districts, 1 hen per 1,000 sq. ft. of lot area; in non-residential districts, 1 hen per 400 sq. ft. of lot area).

What action is City Council taking:  No action is scheduled for this item, as staff is seeking direction from City Council on requirements to be included in any ordinance change.  Council may direct staff to bring forward formal changes at a future meeting.

Discussion Regarding Parking of Boat Trailers on the Lakefront

What it is:  Based upon feedback from Lakefront Park users, staff is working to manage parking considerations for all vehicles at the park.  Staff is proposing a parking permit system, which would provide for no-cost permits for residents and daily permit fees for non-residents for boat trailers at the City’s boat launch.  Trailers parked with no permit would be levied a fine under the City’s vehicle and traffic ordinance.

Why it’s important:  As usage increases at Lakefront Park, it is critical that we balance the needs of all users, including boaters, visitor center users, and general park enthusiasts.  This measure manages the volume of parking for a significant user base at the site.

What action is City Council taking:  No action is scheduled for this item, as staff is seeking direction from City Council on requirements to be included in any ordinance change.  Council may direct staff to bring forward formal changes at a future meeting.

City Manager’s Performance Evaluation/Performance Incentive

What it is:  According to my employment agreement, City Council is charged with providing annual feedback on my performance.  Council completed that work earlier this year, and is prepared to consider a resolution affirming that my performance met or exceeded expectations.  In conjunction with this, Council will also consider providing a compensation increase for 2017.

Why it’s important:  In addition to being a contract term, it is critical that Council use community values to determine if our staff is advancing the goals of the City.  As head of the City’s staff team, this evaluation provides feedback on the previous year’s work, and guidance moving into 2017.

What action is City Council taking:   Council will be asked to vote on a resolution confirming the performance rating, and authorizing an increase in salary and other compensation.

Resolution Authorizing Application for Tree Maintenance Grant

What it is:  The State of New York has released a grant program to support maintenance of urban forests.  The City’s application will include requests for funds to support tree pruning, educational programming for volunteer pruners, small tree care materials, and an intern to support the program.

Why it’s important:  The City’s urban forest increases property values, treats rainwater, and provides for reductions in energy costs for homeowners when appropriately placed and maintained.  These funds will assist us in maintaining the urban forest to maximize these results.

What action is City Council taking:  City Council will be asked to consider a resolution supporting the City’s application for funding.

Resolution Declaring Certain Items as Surplus

What it is:  From time to time, City equipment is of such an age or condition that it is no longer useful for municipal services.  In order to dispose of it, City Council must determine that no continued public value can be derived from use.

Why it’s important:  This oversight ensures that municipal property contributes the maximum public value before being sold or destroyed.

What action Council is taking:  City Council will consider a resolution determining that the equipment has no further public value, and authorizing staff to dispose of it.

City Council will also be taking up appointments to Boards and Commissions, including Planning and Zoning Boards and the Recreation Advisory Commission.

As always, the meeting is held at the Public Safety Building, 255 Exchange Street, and is open to the public.  Meetings are broadcast live on Finger Lakes TV, and rebroadcast throughout the month.

 

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