February 28, 2011 Supervisor's Column Week of Feb 28
Effective March 14, 2011 the Assessor's Office will move from 1587 Jackson Road (the Don Mack building) to the second floor of the Town Hall on Atlantic Ave. Over the past year I have had the opportunity to observe many of our residents coming to the Town Hall to conduct business, and then need to drive over to see the Assessor on Jackson Road, and in some cases return again to the Town Hall to complete their business. This was not convenient or productive for our customers. Having the Assessor's Office at the Town Hall in the same facility as Building/Zoning, Planning, and the Town Clerk makes a lot of sense for all our residents.
As we start to get some break in the winter weather, our Highway crews are starting to spend more time working on drainage, roadway and sight distance tree trimming. We have also begun work on Sherwood Fields Park located on Penfield Road just east of Harris Road, adjacent to Penfield Fire Station #2. Our goal is to complete the final grading of the primary trail, prepare the ground for the "Don Cranson Bridge" crossing the Commission Ditch, and start to place park signage. We plan to officially open Sherwood Park on or before June 1. It has taken us a bit longer than planned; however, the end result will be a wonderful new park for residents of all ages to enjoy.
This time of year I begin to receive calls and emails asking about plow damage and our schedule for repairs. Our Highway crews typically do not start this work until mid-April to ensure the snow for the season has truly ended. There is no need to call to report damage as the crew for the various plow routes will typically repair their route. As we get closer to spring and begin this work I will keep you updated via this column and on our website at www.penfield.org .
The Council of Governments, which is made up of all the towns, villages, County of Monroe, City of Rochester, and representatives of the School District Association meet on a regular basis to address areas of common interest and reform. The three areas we have targeted are health care, economic development, and mandates. Some of communities (Penfield is one of ten) formed a consortium in 2010 which resulted in savings in health care costs at a time when they were rising significantly. Our goal is to continue to pressure our state lawmakers to reform state government, reduce the waste, cut costs of mandated services, and reduce spending. Certainly a tall order for a group that has not lived within its means for decades; however, locally will need to keep the pressure on for all our residents!
The Health Care Consortium held a kick-off meeting for our Employee Wellness Program this past week. I have the honor and pleasure to chair this committee for the Consortium. Our goal is to provide wellness tools and resources, health management programs, and other healthy living choices for all of our employees. If we can help someone stop smoking, lose weight, reduce blood pressure, or assist in other ways to keep employees healthy and at work, everyone wins. Employees will have a better quality of life and health care costs could be reduced. It looks like its more exercise for me and better eating habits; I know my doctor will be pleased!
At this time of the year we start to receive applications for seasonal jobs. If you have an interest in working at the Recreation Department, Highway, or Parks and Facilities, please contact the Personnel Office (340-8671) or go online at www.penfield.org and click on Departments, then Personnel.
Save the date...Tuesday, April 12 is the 2011 "Living Next to Storm Water Ponds" public information meeting. Details will be mailed out to those directly impacted and an announcement of the presentation will be posted on our website. The 2010 meeting proved to be beneficial to both residents and Town Staff.
Until next week, I look forward to seeing you out in this great community!
February 23, 2011 Supervisor's Column Week of Feb 21
Facebook and Twitter have become an easy and great way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), they have also opened up an opportunity for burglary and scams! Think twice about letting people know you are on vacation or out of town; while you may be keeping your friends updated as to what you are doing, you are also letting others know your home will be empty. Please be cautious when posting your updates...you never know who might be checking! Also be selective when choosing a "friend" if you do not actually know the person. Be wary of messages from friends or strangers who want to direct you to another website with a hyperlink. Make sure your computer's operating system and antivirus and firewall are up to date. Social networking is a great communication tool, as long as you take steps to keep your sensitive and important information private.
Last Friday more than 60 friends and family members gathered to honor Tom Falk, who retired at the end of 2010 as a volunteer member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Tom served our community on this board for 35 years, and was Chairman for almost 30 years! During this time, Tom helped to quadruple Penfield Recreation program offerings, supported two referendums to purchase the Baird Road School and to expand it to what we know today as the Community Center which houses the Recreation Department, Library, and Town Courts. Tom was also very active in the ‘70s and ‘80s to secure land and help develop the Penfield Little League Complex at Veterans' Park at the Town Hall. Penfield is known for its great quality of life, healthy active lifestyles, and thoughtful sustainable living...one of the main reasons for this is because of the kind of involvement and leadership that residents like Tom Falk provide this great community year after year, and decade after decade. Thank you Tom for all your dedicated service to Penfield!
Recently I had the honor to present my second "State of the Town" address to the community. The update included accomplishments in 2010, goals for 2011, an update on financials, capital projects, wellness, business vitality, and energy programs. I wish to recognize and thank the entire Town Staff for their energy and support they provided over the last year. To the 100+ volunteer residents who serve on our boards and committees, your efforts benefit this community in so many ways each and every day. Lastly, to my fellow elected officials, your commitment and interest in our town and residents is second to none. If you did not have a chance to see the "State of the Town" address and would like to see the actual presentation or view the PowerPoint material please log on to www.penfield.org to view. And as always, if you have any questions or ideas as to what we can do better to make Penfield an even more desirable community than it is today, please contact me.
Spring will make an appearance in Penfield very soon, last week we had a taste of what lies ahead. It is not too early to start thinking about reserving you garden bed at the Community Victory Garden on Five Mile Line Road. This is a great opportunity for families, service organizations, and others to grow their own organic vegetables, flowers and herbs for their consumption or for the needy in the community. For more information, you can attend an informational meeting on March 3 at 7 PM or contact the Recreation Department at 340-8655 or go to www.penfield.org and click on Parks & Recreation.
February 18, 2011 Town Seeking Zoning Board Member
The Town of Penfield's Zoning Board of Appeals is seeking a new board member to serve a term that expires December 31, 2012. The Zoning Board of Appeals is responsible for considering requests submitted by residents and property owners for zoning variances and special permits as outlined in Town Ordinances. The five-member board meets on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the Town Hall.
To apply, please submit your letter of interest and qualifications to the Penfield Town Clerk by 5:00 PM, Friday, March 4. Submissions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org , mailed to Town Clerk, 3100 Atlantic Ave., Penfield, NY 14526, or delivered in person to the Town Clerk's office in the Town Hall.
February 14, 2011 Penfield Supervisor's Column Week of Feb 14
Final reminder...all exemptions must be filed with the Assessor's Office by Tuesday, March, 1 before 5 PM. Renewal exemptions and enhanced STAR exemptions for senior citizens must be filed by March 1st as well. If you have any questions about exemptions, please contact the Assessor's Office between 9 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday at 340-8610.
It was brought to my attention that long-time Penfield resident and businessman John Boychuk recently turned 98 years old. His grandson Michael Hartman surprised him with a pizza party which was enjoyed by all. John, on behalf of the entire community of Penfield, thank you from everyone you have served over the years from your tailor shop in the Four Corners and Happy Birthday!
Hannah Ely, a senior at Penfield High School, recently traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska with her team to compete in the US Curling Junior National Championships. Hannah's team was on one of two women's teams representing the Eastern US region. For their first-ever ever trip to Nationals, the team of four met their goals on the ice and finished above their ranking, which is a wonderful accomplishment. The trip was complete when the team was able to see a Northern Lights show that the locals hail as one of the best in recent history. I continue to be amazed with the diversity of interest and activities our residents are involved in throughout the US and worldwide. Congratulations Hannah on this season's achievements!
Several times a year, I have the opportunity to meet with our various service organizations. I spent time last week with the Pen-Web Rotary to discuss all the great things going on in the town. In our short time we discussed business vitality, new housing starts, energy conservation programs, enhanced communications, the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan, and Public Works Projects for 2011. I wish to thank Pen-Web Rotary for their hospitality and I would like to recognize all Rotarians who volunteer locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto "Service Above Self."
The annual "indoor hike" was held last week, hosted by the Penfield Trails Committee. The auditorium was filled with many residents from across the County to participate in this program that featured Tim Cawley, Director of the Rochester Museum & Science Center Outreach - Science Education discussing "The Unique Environment of Western NY State." The Penfield Trails Committee was created in 1997 as an advisory committee to the Parks & Recreation Board. In addition to leading hikes and providing educational programs, this committee is involved with building new trails and maintaining more than 15 miles of existing trails within the town. For more information on this committee or other boards/committees within the Town of Penfield, please log on to www.penfield.org and click on Boards. There are plenty of opportunities to become involved, we would love to have you more involved in your community.
Our Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is in need of two student representatives. Any students from the Penfield School District or a Penfield resident in the Webster School District are welcome to apply. What are the criteria to be a student rep? A student who is at least a freshman, willing to attend one meeting a month, has the ability to bring the pulse of the students' parks and recreation interests to the table, and wants to help make this great community of Penfield even better. If you have an interest or know of someone that may have an interest, please contact Chris Bilow at 340-8666.
This is getting to be a regular closing paragraph for me as we welcome another birth...I would like to congratulate Councilman Rob Quinn and his wife Michelle on the birth of their second child, a son, Robert IV. Everyone is doing well, especially big sister Mae...congratulations Michelle and Rob on behalf of the entire Town Staff.
Until next week, keep the faith...spring is really coming, honest!
February 11, 2011 Ice Dams A Major Problem for Homeowners
Drive through almost any residential neighborhood this winter and you cannot help but notice the number of houses with massive icicles hanging from roof edges. While this may create a beautiful wintry scene, ice buildup on roof edges can create some very ugly problems for homeowners. “Ice dams often lead to snow melt water leaking into a house and causing extensive damage” says Kimie Romeo of the Center for Environmental Information This winter’s weather has set up perfect conditions for the formation of ice dams. “When moderate to heavy snow is combined with several days where daytime temperatures stay between 15 and 29 degrees, you have ideal conditions for creating ice build-up on house roof edges” says Romeo.
Ice dams occur when heat and warm air escape from the living areas of a home into unheated attics. The escaping heat and warm air build up in the attic and increase the temperature enough so that the snow on the roof above the attic space begins to melt. The melt water flows down the roof until it comes to the overhang at the roof edge. Since there is no escaping heat under the overhang, the melt water freezes and creates a thick layer of ice. This layer of ice creates a dam behind which a puddle of water from newly melted snow forms. Eventually this water works its way under roof shingles and into the house.
Few homeowners are aware that ice build-up on roof edges is a symptom of poor construction practices. “Warm air leaking out of the house and into the unheated attic, inadequate levels of attic insulation and insufficient attic ventilation are the root causes of roof ice dams” says Romeo. While these issues are most often seen in older drafty homes with poor insulation levels, they are not uncommon in newly built homes.
What should you do if your house is showing signs of excessive ice buildup on roof edges? Romeo says there are two issues that need to be addressed.
1) In the short term, the roof may need to be cleared of snow and the buildup of ice may need to be removed from the roof edge to prevent snow-melt water from backing up into the interior of the house. Many roofing contractors provide this service. Working on a snow and ice covered roof is very risky, so homeowners should be certain the firm they hire is experienced in doing this type of work and fully insured.
2) At some point the underlying causes of the problem need to addressed. While this does not need to be done immediately, the homeowner may want to have those problems identified and fixed before the next winter season arrives in order to avoid future ice damming problems. This will usually require the services of a home improvement contractor that understands basic building science and how to apply that basic knowledge to address building performance problems such as excessive ice buildup. Contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute have the knowledge and needed diagnostic equipment to find and fix the problems that cause ice dams.
The best way to avoid ice dam problems in newly constructed homes is to purchase an ENERGY STAR labeled home. ENERGY STAR home builders pay attention to good construction practices that ensure a home will not have ice damming problems. ENERGY STAR labeled homes will also be more comfortable and less expensive to heat and cool.
February 10, 2011 Penfield couple still in running for 'I Love Lucy' wedding
There are only four days left to cast an online vote for local couple Jessica Battaglia and Benjamin Bianchi, who are in the running to win an expenses-paid I Love Lucy-themed wedding courtesy of mediaonebridal.com.
The Penfield pair - fans of the long-running CBS series starring husband-and-wife team Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz - is competing in the online video contest against four other contestant couples from across the country.
Grand-prize winners in the Lucille Ball Hometown Wedding Giveaway will receive a 1950s Lucille Ball-inspired wedding at the Tropicana Room and three cocktail receptions at the Desilu Playhouse and Museum in Jamestown, Chautauqua County. They will also receive a seven-day honeymoon in Niagara Falls.
Jamestown is Lucille Ball's hometown, and home to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center.
February 7, 2011 Supervisor's Column Week of Feb 7
Recently I spent time with Penfield Librarian Bernadette (Bunny) Brinkman talking about all the wonderful things the library offers our great community. She reminded me that February is "Love Your Library Month," and how can we not love the Penfield Library? It has it all-a helpful and friendly staff, programs for all ages, and a warm and inviting setting. There are many programs during school break week February 21 - 25 to mark on your calendar. A number of them caught my eye including "Teens Read Away Your Fines," "Read for Great Prizes," "Meet Mr. Beau the Clown," "Stuffed Animal Pet Show," and "Family Game Day." For these and many more program offerings please refer to the Recreation Brochure or log on to www.penfield.org and click on departments, then on Public Library.
Speaking of the library, I am reminded by our Town Historian and Local History Room Coordinator Kathy Kanauer, who is located at the Penfield Library, to please remember the Local History Room as you are cleaning out your basements and attics. If you come across photos or documents of the early Penfield years, please consider dropping them off to be scanned into our records. Preserving Penfield history for future generations is a gift that will keep on giving!
On Wednesday February 16 at 6:30 PM, I will give the "State of the Town Address" to the residents of Penfield. Everyone is welcome to attend, it will be held at the Town Hall in the auditorium. I will discuss accomplishments from 2010 and lay out our goals for 2011. Subjects to be covered include financials, Penfield Business Districts, staffing, capital projects, projected impact of the Governor's 2011-2011 budget and special programs and projects. If you cannot attend due to schedules or other commitments, the session will be live on PCTV government access and WebTV and will be replayed throughout the end of February and early March.
Today many of us carry a cell-phone. I am recently reminded to encourage all of our residents to make sure that under the "contacts" list in our phones to include an I.C.E. (in case of emergency) number reference. In the event a paramedic or other caregiver needs to contact a family member or friend of an injured person it can save valuable time and resources.
I was encouraged by the Governor's executive budget plan to transform New York. There were four key steps identified: redesign how the budget is created; make it a management exercise not a budget exercise; bring all stakeholders to the table; lead by example. Now the words need to become actions. There is a 10 billion dollar deficit today! The taxpayers of New York cannot and should not accept increased borrowing or raising taxes to address this problem. All levels of government must cut spending and reduce costs. Government must run like a business and government must have the discipline to spend within its means for the good of the taxpayers. Penfield will continue to be a leader in managing costs and reducing government.
The Town will be holding its second annual "Living Next to a Storm Water Ponds" in late March or early April to share educational information with residents, listen to their concerns, and discuss the care and maintenance of storm water ponds. The discussion will be lead by the Town Engineer with support from the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District. Further details will be posted on the website, in this column, and on PCTV over the next several weeks.
I would like to congratulate PCTV Coordinator Dave Renner and his wife Sabrina from our Recreation Office on the birth of their first child last week, a little boy. Other than new and different sleep habits and meal times, everyone is doing well...congratulations Sabrina and Dave on behalf of the entire Town Staff.
The Penfield Town Board voted to adopt the 2010 Comprehensive Plan at its Legislative meeting February 2 following a two-and-a-half year consultant-led process that included committee planning, public meetings, public input and an environmental impact study. Residents were encouraged to, and did, participate throughout the entire project.
The Town of Penfield updates its Comprehensive Plan about every 10 to 15 years. The Plan functions as the foundation for future 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 project from May 2008 until their presentation of the Draft Plan to the Town Board on April 21, 2010. A public input period and final Town Board review followed the committee's submission. 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.
"Town representatives, consultants and residents were thorough and innovative in their work on this Plan. They were consistently focused on the best future for our community," said Supervisor Tony LaFountain. "Now the Town Board and staff will work together to prioritize implementation of recommendations of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan."
Highlights of the Plan include addressing the needs of the Town's aging population by providing a variety of housing options designed to meet the abilities and lifestyles of senior citizens. The Plan also places a strong emphasis on fiscal responsibility. The Town Board recognizes the direct relationship between property taxes and land use and will continue to ensure that land use decisions do not result in an unnecessary financial drain on town taxpayers. Another major policy initiative is to allow additional mixed use development within the town. These areas are intended to offer a unique blend of residential, neighborhood commercial, governmental, and recreational opportunities. Any mixed use development should be designed to blend with the character of surrounding uses.
Over the next decade, the Town will look to this document as guidance in decision making that will continue to provide a very high quality of life to its residents.
The 2010 Comprehensive Plan and supporting documents are available at www.penfield.org . Follow the link from the home page "quick links." Hard copies are available at the Town Hall and Penfield Library.
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.