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August 30, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of August 30
Update ...budget 2011! As you read this, I am approximately twelve days away from presenting my Tentative Budget to the Town Board for 2011. Once I have presented the Tentative Budget, the budget amount for 2011 cannot be increased; it can only be decreased as required by Town Law. As I have put this budget together, I have struggled with holding the line on taxes, balancing sound fiscal responsibility, and providing the necessary services to the residents of Penfield in light of rising costs. What I know is that there is a need for all levels of government to change the way we do things and the services we provide. There is no evidence this will happen at the Federal or State levels; therefore, local governments must be the leaders. Not everyone will be happy with some of the changes proposed; however, we need to help our residents by reducing government at every level.

As I mentioned last week, we will look for every revenue source possible, we will encourage the right kinds of business to come to Penfield, and we will work with other governmental agencies and the private sector to ensure our tax dollar goes as far as possible.

How many times a week do you travel through the intersection of Five Mile Line and Whalen Roads? I hope you have enjoyed the Community Garden as part of the Penfield in Bloom Program. This garden has matured so much over the last year and is a real show piece for this area of Penfield. Co-president Laurel Tarcinale shared with me that many local greenhouses were able to donate annuals and some new perennials, adding color and filling in some of the vacant spots. These generous donations by the green houses across this great community do not come as a surprise; their commitment to Penfield is second to none. Please consider supporting these businesses.

On behalf of the Penfield in Bloom Community, they would like to recognize the Nature Craft Garden Club members and spouses who have worked for seven years to provide Penfield residents with a site of beauty at this location. And to the Penfield Business Association, thank you for providing a new bench so that residents can sit and admire the garden as they walk in the area. What a great community effort...thank you!

We recently held a meeting on "Making Sense of Leaf Management." Very soon this fall chore will be upon all of us in some way, shape, or form. The Town Board wanted to discuss alternatives to disposing leaves in the landfill. There were a number of expert guests on hand to address concerns and suggest options for residents other than the town providing this service. Over the years we have found that half our residents are willing to pay extra in their taxes for curbside pick up, and half the residents do not want the service or costs!

This meeting was presented as a result of an action item from the Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee who wanted to provide some history, education, resources, and alternatives to leaf pick-up. I would like to recognize and thank everyone that attended from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Monroe County, Waste Management, Beyond Hardware, Home Depot, and several local landscapers. The Town continues looking for alternatives, working with the private sector to provide services at a cost less than what government might spend to provide the same service.

ATTENTION...ATTENTION...due to primary day which is September 14, the ever- popular traveling Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will not be at the Town Hall that day. Please plan on taking care of you DMV needs on one of the other Tuesdays during the month. Normal Tuesday service will resume Tuesday September 21.

Save the date, it's just around the corner, Tastin' the Blues, September 18 from 12-4 PM at the amphitheater. There you'll find great blues music, chili judging, and beer sampling. What a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Penfield and to round out the 2010 Amphitheater program at "Pen Rocks"!

Remember the 2010/2011 school year is just around the corner and children will be walking and waiting for the bus, please use care on our roadways for the safety of all Penfield's students.

Until next week, have a happy Labor Day weekend!

Tony
340-8631


August 23, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of August 23

Update...budget 2011! The comptroller and I continue to review the 2011 budget submissions line item by line item, and have gone back to most of the department heads looking for ways to further reduce spending. We will look to use a portion of fund balance to help offset rising costs of materials, health care, maintenance and equipment. While Penfield has the fifth lowest tax rate of the 19 towns in Monroe County, we continue to look for further ways to manage our costs.

One way to help offset the tax rate directly to single family residents is by looking to develop more mixed uses on a controlled basis within, and adjacent to, our six commercial districts. Today, approximately 92% of the town's land is zoned for residential uses and approximately 5% is zoned commercial or industrial. On Monday, August 30 at 7:30 PM the Town Board will hold a public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan in the Town Hall auditorium. This plan is intended to provide an overall framework for future public and private investment in our community, as well as serving as the foundation upon which planning and policy decisions are to be based.

In this plan, the Town will seek to develop new mixed-use areas which will be a blend of commercial, residential, or community uses. Doing so would add the potential for additional tax revenue for the Town. While many residents have been involved with the development of this Comprehensive Plan, and several comments have been received to improve on the plan to date, I am encouraging everyone to read through the document and to comment either online at www.penfield.org or by attending the public hearing.

I recently attended The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester's (BCCR) seventh annual Terri Schmitt legislative reception. The Rochester Coalition is beginning their thirteenth year as the only full scope organization in the area focused exclusively on Breast Cancer. Their mission is to work more closely with the Greater Rochester area towards eradicating Breast Cancer. As a husband, a father of two daughters, and a grandfather of two grand-daughters, this is a very important interest of mine. For more information on this wonderful organization and the work they do for the residents of our community, please log on to www.bccr.org .

Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 12 from 12-5 PM to "Celebrate the Glen Festival" at Corbett's Glen. This event will feature a Glen Artwork Exhibit, 1928 Corbett's Glen Film Debut, guided nature and history tours, historic photos, the new Glen Cookbook, Corbett House tours, and more. While today this historic nature park is located within the Town of Brighton at Penfield's southwest border, its historical roots and public enjoyment extended to nearby Penfield parcels along Allens Creek, as we know from historic maps and photos. Additional details on this event for location and parking can be obtained at www.corbettsglen.org .

I remind everyone that the Pen-Rec fall brochure was recently mailed to every home in Penfield; if you did not receive this publication, please contact our Recreation Offices at 340-8655 or log on to www.penfield.org  to sign up online for all the wonderful programs offered. Also, the August newsletter for "Renew Penfield" is available online. Check it out for what's new, saving money, and buying green!

I recently completed the "Walk Around Penfield" fitness program sponsored by Penfield Recreation in conjunction with our wellness partner Wegmans. This was an eight-week program designed to track your daily steps. If you averaged 5,000 steps a day, you will have walked around Penfield and have completed a "full marathon." There were some members of the Town Board (who shall remain nameless) who believed they would out-walk the supervisor; well I am pleased to report that did not happen...enough said on this topic, I will look to challenge them to another wellness event. Cardiovascular exercise such as walking can reduce the risk of heart disease; improve heart function and muscle tone, and lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of stroke. Remember, walking is an activity the entire family can enjoy; give up a little screen time for some scenery time!

Until next week, be well...

Tony
www.supervisor@penfield.org

 

 


August 16, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of August 16

Update...budget 2011! We anxiously wait what the state budget holds for local government, not only was it 125 days late, we understand that they were able to manage a spending increase of 2.4% by pushing more costs and increased fees to towns, villages, and school districts.

At the local level, the government closest to the people is where we can better control costs by providing services truly needed by residents. Mandated and unfunded services and programs will continue to be our challenge. My commitment to all of you is to provide the best value budget with the lowest costs to the taxpayer. As a reminder, my tentative budget will be presented at the September 15 Town Board meeting; this meeting will be broadcast live on PCTV Channel 12 and repeated over the next several weeks. Copies of the tentative budget will be available at the Town Hall and Library.

Several months ago the Town Board held a special meeting to discuss the Sign Ordinance which was adopted close to 30 years ago. Many sections were outdated and for different reasons not consistently enforced. Town staff, upon receiving feedback from the Board and residents at a public information meeting, spent the past six weeks drafting a revised Sign Ordinance. Next steps include a final review to ensure all the concerns and questions raised have been addressed. The Town Board will then schedule a public hearing in late September or early October for our residents and businesses to comment on the revisions. Our goal is to adopt the new Sign Ordinance by November. I want to thank the staff involved for their efforts; this is a very important piece of legislation that impacts most everyone in our community.

Speaking of the Town Ordinance, town staff recently explored updating the entire document by working with General Code, a company that specializes in online code management. General Code currently supports more than 2,700 municipal governments throughout the US, and currently works with all but three towns in Monroe County and the City of Rochester.

General Code was selected to provide a maintenance-free product containing the current and complete text of the Town Code online including an electronic index, bookmarking searches, personalized links, enhanced navigation, multi-code searching, ties to New York State material and much more. This service will give staff and residents user-friendly access to a complex document that at times can be very intimidating. Adding this tool to our business practices will increase transparency, reduce staff time for research and processing of code information, allow builders, engineers and architects to self-serve thereby improving our productivity, and ensure that time-sensitive material is consistently updated. We are hoping to have this up and running by end of year. More details will follow over the next several months. For those who would like to read more about this product, log into www.generalcode.com .

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the annual day camp staffer's breakfast. This program is held the last week of camp and is an opportunity to thank all of the staff members for having such an impact on the youth of our great town. This group of young men and women coach, mentor, parent and befriend our children and grandchildren for the week or weeks they attend the program. A representative from each camp receives a special recognition from their respective group. At the end of the program one staff member receives the "Phil Palmer Award" given in honor of a camper, staff member, brother, and son who tragically was killed at a very young age. Congratulations to this year's award recipient, Emily Urckfitz.

Dates to mark on your calendar include: Homearama in Penfield, this event ends Sunday August 22; Tastin' the Blues, September 18 from noon to 4 PM at the Amphitheater; Penfield Recreation Halloween Activities on October 15, 6 PM at Rothfuss Park; and the Heritage Festival, October 16 at Rothfuss Park - more details to follow.

A reminder: If you did not receive your fall copy of the Pen-Rec Brochure in the mail, please contact the Recreation Department at 340-8655 or go online at www.penfield.org .

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer with family and friends, hopefully they are as good as the last several months, see you around our great town!

Tony
340-8631

 

 


August 11, 2010
Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing Monday, August 30

The Town of Penfield is seeking public input on its 2010 Comprehensive Plan and associated Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS). Residents are invited to attend a public hearing on Monday, August 30 at 7:30 PM at the Town Hall. Representatives will present a history and overview of the Comprehensive Plan followed by an overview of the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) that pertains to the plan.

After the presentations the Town Board will open the meeting to receive public comments on both documents. Town staff will be present to assist the Town Board and residents as needed. The purpose of this public hearing is to receive public input, no actions are being taken.

Following the public hearing the Town Board will review and consider all public comments to determine if modifications are necessary to the Comprehensive Plan or DGEIS. Adoption of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan is expected in the fall after Town Board and public review.

"The Comprehensive Plan process has been inclusive and thorough. We are in the final months of a two-year development process. Public input between now and September 17 is vital to making Penfield's next decade the very best it can be," said Supervisor Tony LaFountain.

Attendees are encouraged to review the Draft 2010 Comprehensive Plan and DGEIS before attending the presentation. Go to www.penfield.org  and follow the link from the home page "quick links" to review the Draft Plan and DGEIS, submit comments, learn more about the process, read meeting minutes, and find associated documents. Hard copies are available at the Town Hall and Penfield Library.

Written comments on the Comprehensive Plan and DGEIS are welcome and should be submitted by email, postal mail or fax by 5:00 PM, Friday, September 17.

Penfield TV will broadcast this meeting live on Penfield’s Government Access Cable Channel 12, 1399, Digital 5.12 and it’s WebTV feed.  Live meeting participation is accepted in person, by phone (585) 340-8771, or online.

For information on the 2010 Comprehensive Plan and process, please contact Katie Evans, Town Planner at 340.8682 or Jim Costello, Development Director at 340.8642.

Background
The Town of Penfield updates its Comprehensive Plan about every 10 years. The Plan functions as the legal foundation for all land use decisions, defines the community's vision, provides guidelines for development, and establishes goals and objectives for the next 10 to 15 years. The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee worked on the two-year project from May 2008 until their presentation of the Draft Plan to the Town Board on April 21, 2010. The committee was chaired by County Legislator Debbie Drawe and assisted by John Steinmetz of Steinmetz Planning Group and Matt Ingalls of Ingalls Planning and Design as consultants. The volunteer committee was made up of a cross-section of 20 Penfield residents.

 

 


August 9, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of August 9

Update...budget 2011! We continue to look for creative ways to absorb those costs that trickle down from higher levels of government or from general inflation, as well as addressing the loss of revenue from mortgage tax, sales tax, and interest earnings. I commend our department heads for being creative to reduce costs and looking for no-cost options. I have asked our Facilities Director to give the Town Board an update on potential capital costs for all of our facilities over the next three to five years to ensure we are funding capital reserves appropriately to reduce or eliminate the need for borrowing in future years. That meeting will be held Wednesday, August 25 at 7:00 PM, everyone is welcome to attend. Costs are still slightly up for 2011; however, we continue looking for further reductions.

The RepARTee Gallery and the Penfield Art Center recently held the official opening of the "Artistic Impressions of Penfield: A Bicentennial Celebration." The Town Board had an opportunity to hand out the awards in four categories: those that did an exemplary job of capturing a sense of "place" and the essence of Penfield; Merit Awards; Juror's Awards; and the Best of Show. Fifteen different artists were recognized while many others have their work on display. Congratulations to Kristina Hutch Matthews for "Wishes Adrift" which was selected by the judge, Peter Giopulos as best in show. Additionally, the Hutch family received the Jeffrey S. Crane Historic Preservation Award. This award is granted in memory of Jeff Crane to individuals who have cared for Penfield's past through the "Preservation of a Structure with Historic Significance." The bicentennial art celebration runs through September 24, stop in Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00-5:00 PM to see all the wonderful paintings on display.

Paula Metzler and I attended the 1st Annual Penfield/Webster Challenger Picnic and Baseball Tournament last weekend, and what a success! The Webster program has been in existence for ten years, while this is Penfield's first year. I could never capture it as well as Steve Pellow, President of Penfield Little League and Chairman and President of the Kids miracle Making Club, Inc., who said, "...some of those hits went two feet, some went over the fence! It wasn't the distance; it was the cheers they each received as they hustled to first base that made it so great - some running on their own, some with a buddy's help, some in wheelchairs. So to those very special people who helped make this a great community event, Eastway Wegmans, Penfield Little League Board of Directors, Friends of Penfield Little League, the Challenger Division Sponsors, and the Webster Challenger Commissioners...thank you." Paula and I will speak on behalf of the entire Town Board to say the picnic and tournament was a big success; this is another reason Penfield is such a wonderful and caring community.

The Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee will be hosting an informational meeting on alternatives to leaf disposal. The committee wanted to tackle this issue prior to this fall when our residents are faced with a yard full of leaves and looking for different or better alternatives for disposal other than bagging. The program will cover items such as composting, mulching, commercial pick up options, and more. We will be inviting Cornell Extension of Monroe County, Town and County representatives, Waste Management, and commercial operators. The tentative date is Thursday, August 26 at 7:00 PM in the auditorium at the Town Hall. We will be issuing a formal press release and posting more details on our website at www.penfield.org .

I was recently asked about four-day work weeks and if the Town would consider implementing them either as a trial or permanently. I am pleased to report that the Highway, Parks, and Sewer Departments have been on four-day work weeks since June 14 as part of a pilot program. Most of these employees work four ten-hour days and have Friday off. We do have a few facility employees working Tuesday through Friday to cover the needs of the Town Hall and Community Center. The benefits we have seen to date are shutting buildings down for three days versus two, thus saving gas and electric. Additionally, we are setting up and taking down one less day per week which has helped with productivity in paving, sewer repairs, and facility maintenance. We agreed to a three month pilot and will then evaluate the benefits of cost and productivity. More details will be shared in the September time-frame.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Tony
www.supervisor@penfield.org

 

 


August 2, 2010
Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of August 2

Update...budget 2011! We continue to make progress on the budget. As reported last week spending is up slightly, we have been able to trim a small percentage off the original submissions without compromising any services at this point. Our next steps will be to review programs to see what we might cut based on participation, community interest, or services offered by the private sector. Any time something is cut it will impact some number of residents. My goal is to be realistic, provide the "required governmental services" for the community, and to balance in some quality of life programs and services our taxpayers have requested in the past. Not an easy task considering most of the residents I speak to on a weekly basis want taxes to be reduced, or at the very least to remain flat.

I've had a few reports of Penfield Highway Department equipment being seen at Penfield High School and Monroe Community College (MCC) - what's up with that? Each year as we prepare our budget not only do we project costs, we also project revenues. Do you know our Highway Department is recognized for its quality work and is a revenue source for the Town? Each year, other entities request the knowledge and services of this department. This year we have been hired by both the school district and MCC for parking lot, roadway milling and paving projects. We provide a high quality job at a competitive price, thus saving taxpayers on many fronts. We continually balance schedules to receive this revenue to help offset our costs to Penfield residents while making sure our own roadway, drainage, sidewalks and other projects are completed.

What is the status of the Comprehensive Plan? Did it get adopted and I missed it? Currently we are on step 24 of a 38-step schedule of required tasks. The draft generic environmental impact statement (DGEIS) public comment period is underway from now until September 10. A public hearing will be held on the Comprehensive Plan and DGEIS on or around August 23. The Town Board is committed to adopting the plan by the end of October. To stay current with the timeline and status of the plan, please log on to our website www.penfield.org  and click on "Comprehensive Plan."

It's been a while since I mentioned the activities of the Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee, so I thought it would be good to highlight a few things we are looking to tackle to cut costs, reuse, renew, and educate. We continue to look for outlets to give away the remaining CFL light bulbs to Penfield residents. If you have any thoughts or ideas, we would love to hear them. The committee is working on a wind energy and solar power policy; recycling totes have been placed in all our parks; we are reviewing energy audit recommendations; and we have identified several educational opportunities to include leaf disposal, tip of the week, and updates to www.renewpenfield.org. I would like to recognize the entire team for their efforts: Mark Valentine, Susan Foor, Phyllis Ely, Robyn Miller, Sabrina Renner, Pietro Furgiuele, Bob Kanauer, Bob Brumbaugh, Annie McCarthy, and Bob Haak...thank you!

Dates for the calendar: "Saturday on Stage" at the amphitheater, Rick Holland Evan Dobbins Little Big Band August 7; Summer Play "Our Town" at the amphitheater August 13 and 14; Homearama August 14-22; and Bicentennial Art Exhibit at the Penfield Arts Center now through September 24. For more details on these programs and many more going on in this great community, log on to www.penfield.org .

As I have mentioned before, I welcome any thoughts or ideas of topics you would like me to cover in this column. My interest is to give our residents plenty of opportunities for communications about what is going on in the Town. This column is one of several very important forums to share that information.

I look forward to seeing and hearing from you!

Tony
340-8631

 




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