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September 30, 2013
Supervisor’s Column: Week of 9/30

This past Sunday we held the Family First Penfield 5K Challenge XI. The weather was perfect for the 200-plus runners and walkers who participated. I would like to congratulate all the winners from the various divisions. I would also like to thank everyone who participated because you are all winners in contributing to our overall “community wellness.” This event was made possible by Family First Federal Credit Union, the YMCA, Nalgene (Made in USA), PCR Timing Services, and the Penfield Recreation Department.

Right after the 5K event, the Recreation Department held its first annual “REC”reate Wellness Day designed for residents to sample some of their most popular programs. I personally participated in spiritual wellness by spending time with Usha Shah, who is running a program on the “Healing Power of Meditation Using Sound Energy” from September 30 to November 4 at the Community Center. For more information on this program please consult your Rec Brochure on page 32, or go to www.penfieldrec.org. Additionally, Usha shared with me that there will be a “Hope and Health Expo 2013” on Saturday, October 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information on this event, please log on to www.hopeandhealtheexpo.com. If you mention “Usha” or “sound energy” you will receive 50% off the regular admission price of $10.00.  

The third annual National Plug in Day was held at the Community Center this past Saturday and was sponsored by Nissan, the New York State Electric Automobile Association, and the Town of Penfield. Many electric vehicles were on site for viewing and test driving. I would like to recognize Bob Kanauer, a member of the Town’s Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee and the Conservation Board, for his work and support of this event. This is an annual educational event to learn about various makes and models first-hand from experienced owners.
I am reminded that The Barn Owl’s 1st Birthday Party Celebration will be held this Saturday, October 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. As I look at the schedule, the day is filled with exciting events and activities. The day opens with meeting the Big Owl Mascot, at 10:30 a.m. there is story time with Pickles the Hedgehog, followed by Krittr Kris and her Raptors till noon. From 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. there will be a WEC Live Animal Program. Now you cannot have a birthday celebration without cake and punch, a piñata and games, and of course an Owl Mask Craft. Stop by early and stay late for door prizes, raffles, in-store specials, refreshments and more. All events are free!

Have you ever thought about watching or participating in a soap box derby? The Greater Rochester Soap Box Derby will be coming to Penfield this weekend, October 5 and 6, for rally races. What are rally races? They are races held in various locations around the United States. If you accumulate 180 points from these rallies, you get to go to the World Championships in Akron, Ohio. The races will be held at the Penfield Town Hall all day Saturday and Sunday; please consider stopping in and watching the some of the events and the work that these young drivers and their parents do to shave a thousandth-of-a-second off their times for a winning car. This is the third annual event in Penfield and the program continues to grow. For more information about how to get started in soap box derby racing contact Mark Scuderi at mscuderi@rochester.rr.com. I hope to see you out at the races!

One last reminder because we seem to have so many great things going on this coming weekend, don’t forget the Fall Recycling Day on Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the DPW Complex at 1607 Jackson Road. This is not a “junk drop-off,” rather a recycling day. Electronics (TVs/computers & more), secure document shredding, metals, clothing, and brush. The next drop-off event will be the traditional Spring Drop-off in May. Also, if you have an old bike, consider taking it to the Community Center at 1985 Baird road for the third annual Penfield Rotary, R Community Bikes and Penfield “up-cycling event.”

Until next week…I hope to see you at one of the many events this weekend!

Tony
supervisor@penfield.org

 


September 30, 2013
Penfield Guest Columnist Week of 9/30: Mark Valentine, Planning Department Head

On behalf of the Planning Department, it is my honor to be this week’s guest writer for the Supervisor’s column. We have been very busy as a department this year with many new applications for development and re-development throughout the town. The Planning Department handles the intake and processing of all new project proposals and facilitation of information among the town, planning, and conservation boards and developers.

Our department also works on special projects to help plan for the future of the town of Penfield. One such project you may have heard about is the creation of a new Mixed Use Zoning District Ordinance. In 2011 the Town of Penfield adopted its fifth Comprehensive Plan. During the public participation portion of that process, public feedback emphasized the need for residential options beyond traditional single family housing widely available throughout the town.

Mixed use developments have proven to be more sustainable communities when compared to typical suburban conventionally zoned single-use districts. Given the rise in costs across the board, the town needs to make every effort to promote tax-positive development. A well-designed, compact development is considered highly sustainable because of its reduced development footprint, effective use of costly infrastructure, reduced costs associated with energy use and transportation, and increased access to amenities. Additional benefits of mixed-use developments include greater variety of housing stock, strong neighborhood character and sense of place, and more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

Many indicators have shown that housing market demands have shifted. There is now a desire for neighborhoods that can offer alternatives to the isolated layouts of conventional zoning. Important findings in our recent Comprehensive Plan show we need to provide housing options for our younger and older residents, as well as singles and families with a range of income levels. We also need to create opportunities for our senior residents to “age in place” in their current, familiar neighborhoods.

To follow through on recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan, the town has initiated a Mixed Use zoning project for two areas; the first is located along Route 250 (south of Penfield Center Road/north of the Eastside Y) and the second is at Manitou Lake (former Dolomite Redman Sand Quarry on Old Penfield Road). Steering committees are in place for both districts, and project areas are intentionally loosely defined and shown on projects maps as a “bubble.” Exact boundaries and decisions regarding specific parcels will ultimately be made by the Penfield Town Board after reviewing steering committee recommendations.

To read more about the project’s funding and steering committees guiding the project, please visit www.penfield.org and click on “Mixed Use Districts” under quick links on the left side. All steering committee meetings, which are open to public observation, are listed on the website. Meetings are posted as they are scheduled. To receive email updates on the project, email planning@penfield.org and write “Add to Mixed Use Email List” in the subject line. We notify the distribution list each time we add new information to the webpage.

Steering committees expect to make their final recommendations to the town board in the coming months. A public hearing will be scheduled towards the end of the year as we finalize the district ordinance. In the meantime, we will keep the webpage updated with the project status.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have about Mixed Use Zoning. Contact the Planning Department at 340-8640 or planning@penfield.org. Katie Evans (Town Planner), Zach Nersinger (Planning/Environmental Technician), and I are happy to discuss this project and answer your questions.


September 26, 2013
Weed Control Treatment for Athletic Fields

Weed control treatment for Veteran's Memorial Park fields is scheduled for Monday, September 30 (rain date Monday, October 7).  Fields and surrounding areas will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, September 30 and October 1. Fields will re-open on Wednesday, October 2. Please use the grassy areas at the amphitheater and soccer fields during this time, as they will not be treated. 


September 26, 2013
Supervisor's Column: Week of 9/23

Penfield Supervisor’s column week of September 23, 2013

In speaking with Penfield Librarian Bernadette Brinkman, she was delighted to update me with the results of the recent book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Penfield Public Library. It is a great story, with more than $27,000 raised to fund programs and enhancements to library services not otherwise allowed for in their operating budget. Some of the items funded in past years include year-round programming for all ages including Summer Reading Game activities; special programming for “Spring into Arts;” technology upgrades for new wireless hot spots; and an accessibility scooter to allow use of library facilities by patrons with mobility challenges. The Friends work year-round to provide an attractive sale for the community. They were assisted by other community members including students from Penfield High School and other town employees from Recreation and Public Works who contributed efforts to ensure the sale’s success. Congratulations to the Friends of the Penfield Public Library on another very successful event in support of the library.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 Business Expo sponsored by the Brighton-East Rochester-Fairport/Perinton-Pittsford-Penfield-Victor-Webster Chambers of Commerce. This sold out trade show and networking event was held at the Penfield Country Club and was a great opportunity for small and large businesses to share information, exchange ideas, and identify solutions to business and community needs. This was the second annual expo and it continues to grow and expand in popularity. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.

Let’s give a special shout out to Jennie Hansen of Penfield who in July became the 2013 Lake Placid Ironman Female Champion; she will be representing Western New York in the Ironman’s international competition next month. Jennie will compete against the best women in the world in the super bowl of Ironman racing in Kona, Hawaii. The Ironman competition includes a 2.4 mile swim, a bike segment of 112 miles, and then a 26.2 mile marathon run…and will take 9.5 hours to complete. Jennie, as you complete your training and head to Hawaii, “do well…E ho omaika i.”

I am reminded of Penfield Rotary’s Fall 2013 Charity Euchre Tournament to be held Sunday, October 6 at the Legacy Willow Pond with a check-in at 1:30 p.m. and a start time of 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20/person if purchased by October 4 or $25 on the day of the event. Prizes awarded to the top 100 players based on scores from eight games. Prizes include a 32” flat screen TV plus two 50/50 drawings. All proceeds will benefit Camp Haccamo for children and adults with a wide range of disabilities and other Penfield Rotary programs. For more information on the tournament, contact Christian at 451-4143 or Chris at 944-0688.

Reminder…Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. is the new Fall Recycling Day for electronics, secure document shredding, clothing, metals and brush. There will be a ribbon cutting at 9:15 a.m. for the new St. Pauly Textile Shed located at the DPW Facility, 1607 Jackson Road.

Important dates and events in history: September 23, 1806 – Lewis and Clark return from exploring the Louisiana Territory; September 25, 1789 – The United States Congress adopts the Bill of Rights (containing the 1st ten amendments) and sends it to the states to be ratified; September 29, 1789 – The United States Army is established.

Until next week, enjoy what is shaping up to be Indian summer, it puts us that much closer to spring!

Tony
supervisor@penfield.org


September 25, 2013
3rd Annual Bike Drop in Penfield October 5

Penfield Rotary and the Town of Penfield will sponsor a Community Bike Drop on Saturday, October 5 at Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd. from 10 am until 2 pm.

Keep those old or unwanted bikes out of our landfills by donating them to a good cause. All bicycles collected will be donated to R Community Bikes, Inc. for redistribution to needy children and adults. All types of bikes are needed, including children’s tricycles, toddler plastic bikes and bike parts. Receipts will be available.

“The Bike Drop is a great partnership between the Town of Penfield, Penfield Rotary and R Community Bikes,” said Director of Penfield Recreation Chris Bilow. “The event has been very successful the past two years; we’ve collected over 500 bikes to date. I look forward to the continued support of Penfield residents this year.”

The first 100 people to donate a bike will receive a coupon for a free Kiddie cone from Bill Gray’s, and everyone who donates a bike will receive a coupon for 50% off a bike tune-up at Bike Zone.

R Community Bikes, Inc. is a grassroots 501c3 organization that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to Rochester’s most needy children and adults.

For additional information, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655 or email Linda Kohl, Penfield Rotary at lkohl58@aol.com.


September 25, 2013
New Fall Recycling Day October 5 at DPW Complex

The Town of Penfield will host a one-day recycling event Saturday, October 5, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at its Public Works Complex, 1607 Jackson Road. Penfield residents may recycle electronics and metals, destroy confidential documents, dispose of residential brush, and donate clothing.

Partners for the event are Regional Electronic Recycling of Rochester (www.ewaste.com), Eco-Green Park certified document destruction (www.eco-greenpark.com ), and Alpco metals recycling (see www.alpcorecycling.com/metals-recycling.html#ferrous for metals that will be accepted.) The DPW will also accept brush (no grass) on-site.

There will be a ribbon-cutting at 9:15 a.m. for a recently installed St. Pauly Textile Shed at the public works complex. Residents are encouraged to bring donations of clothing, shoes, belts, purses, linens, blankets, towels, and drapes on October 5 and throughout the year.

Recycling day replaces the former “Fall Drop-off” of unwanted household items. In recent years the town has been providing residents with more sustainability-focused services aimed at recycling and “upcycling” of unwanted materials. Private trash haulers typically collect many materials that were traditionally brought to Fall Drop-off. The town will host its traditional Spring Drop-off May 15-17, 2014.

Supervisor Tony LaFountain commented, “The amount of material brought in for Fall Drop-off has been dwindling in recent years as we have provided popular alternatives to the landfill. Resident demand for recycling opportunities and protection from identity theft is increasing; this event is tailored to those interests.” He adds, “I am huge fan of Monroe County’s Ecopark near the airport, it’s an amazing year-round facility for disposal of unwanted items. All county residents have access.”

Recycling Day runs concurrent with the Town of Penfield and Penfield Rotary bicycle collection event for R Community Bikes at the Community Center on Baird Road. Residents with recycling and shredding who also wish to donate bicycles may leave them at the public works complex; the town will direct donations to R Community Bikes.

Recycling Day is for Penfield residents only. Proof of residency will be checked at the gate. Please direct questions to the Department Public Works, 340-8710, Monday-Thursday 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


More on Ecopark
Monroe County’s year-round Ecopark facility is located at 10 Avion Drive near the airport. Ecopark is a joint effort between Monroe County and Waste Management that provides county residents with a “one-stop drop-off” to dispose of or recycle many items including hard Styrofoam packing material (not foam trays used for meat or produce), cooking oil/grease, fluorescent lights, clothing, sneakers, sharps and syringes, and more. Ecopark offers regular collections Wednesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. all for NO FEE. Ecopark also offers many special collection days for household hazardous waste and pharmaceutical and medication disposal. For more information and details, log on to www.monroecounty.gov/ecopark .


September 23, 2013
Guest Columnist Week of 9/23: Jim Costello, Business Development Director

The town of Penfield is primarily a residential community with roughly 13,000 parcels of land within its borders. Of those, only about 380 parcels are zoned for commercial and industrial uses. The overall vacancy rate is usually very low (around 3-5% of all such parcels). The town’s business community is healthy and property owners generally take good care of their properties. Unfortunately, there are a few in need of some tender loving care that are quite visible as we pass by.

As you drive by some of Penfield’s vacant properties—like the former Mobil gas stations on Bay Road/Empire Blvd., and at Browncroft Blvd/Creek Street, the former Clean Town Dry Cleaning site, or the former Ozzie’s Restaurant on Penfield Road—I’m sure you are asking, “Why isn’t the town doing something about this?” Please let me assure you the town is, and has been, working feverishly for several years to re-establish these sites as vital commercial properties. It has been a long and arduous task to reach this goal.

In the case of the two vacant gas stations, both sites have long been contaminated with petroleum products, primarily from gasoline seeping from underground gas tanks despite being removed long ago. To make matters worse, the sites no longer comply with federal and state standards. As a result, their marketability is lower value than a “clean” site would be, and the cost to remediate can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars even before the site can be demolished or refurbished for commercial purposes! Here’s some good news: The remediation process has begun at both of these service station sites under the direction of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Once remediated, they will again become viable commercial properties.

The former Clean Town Dry Cleaners site on Penfield Road is contaminated with dry cleaning fluids that had been stored on the site for decades. The NYSDEC is in the process of determining what measures are necessary to remediate the site to make it viable once again. This has been a long and painstaking process. Once the NYSDEC determines the most appropriate course of action, the site will be remediated and again become marketable.

These environmental issues are not unique to the town of Penfield. Every community that has former gasoline service stations and dry cleaning establishments has the same problems and must go through the same processes that we do to restore the sites to marketable commercial use. Because gasoline service stations have traditionally been sited at our community’s busiest intersections, they create the most visible eyesores in town.

In the case of the former Ozzie’s restaurant on Penfield Road, the key issue hindering its function as a commercial site is the lack of on-site parking or parking in close enough proximity to make it a safe, attractive commercial destination. This issue should improve soon; earlier this year the Penfield Town Board approved an Italian restaurant for the site, subject to adequate off-site parking. The Penfield Fire District stepped forward and offered to permit the restaurateur the use of a portion of its parking lot to support the refurbishment and revitalization of this site. Thanks to Fire District’s generosity, you will soon see major exterior renovations and hopefully a new dining establishment at the Four Corners around the holiday season.

What about derelict residential properties? In some cases, these situations are even worse to deal with because owners have abandoned their properties. Over the last several years this has become a more common occurrence than one might think. The Town of Penfield continues to work with property owners and their lending institutions to ensure that properties are maintained to a degree that such maintenance complies with the requirements of the New York State International Building Code and the Penfield Zoning Ordinance.
In many cases, properties are abandoned but have not yet gone into foreclosure, leaving them in limbo in terms of their maintenance. Trying to find a property owner who has left the area with no forwarding address is no easy task. Once a property owner’s lending institution is determined, we find the lender is typically located out-of-state and unaware the property is in need of maintenance. Many times it is not easy to get the lender’s maintenance teams to tend to the property on a regular basis, if ever. In these cases, the Town of Penfield contracts yearly with landscapers through a biding process to maintain such properties. When this happens, lawns are periodically mowed and the cost of is attached to the property owners’ tax bill.

The Town of Penfield works diligently on a daily basis to ensure that Penfield remains a visually attractive community and that property values are maintained from neighborhood to neighborhood. Sometimes it takes longer than we would all like, but we will remain vigilant in our efforts to improve and eliminate blighted areas.


September 20, 2013
Town of Penfield hosts "National Plug In Day" Sept. 28

The Town of Penfield will join 100 cities and towns nationwide to celebrate “National Plug In Day” on Saturday, September 28, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at its electric car charging station on the south side of the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Road.

This free event is being coordinated by Bob Kanauer, an electrical engineer, member of the Town of Penfield’s Energy & Environment Advisory Committee, and owner of LTHS Solar. The New York State Electric Automobile Association is the local sponsor; national sponsors include the Sierra Club and Nissan. For those that have an electric car and would like to be part of the event you can register at http://www.pluginday.org. 

Visitors will see the newest electric vehicles, have an opportunity to speak to local experts on electric vehicle technology, see how electric vehicle charging stations operate, and drive / ride in some of the vehicles.

The Town of Penfield installed the first publicly available electric vehicle charging station in Monroe County at the Penfield Community Center in April 2012. Bob Kanauer donated the equipment and project engineering; the town installed the fully handicap accessible enclosure, providing labor and materials including wood, pavers and conduit. A meter for the charging station is located inside the Community Center.  In May of 2013 the Town of Penfield installed a second public electric vehicle charging station at the town hall complex on Atlantic Avenue. 

“The Town has taken a proactive approach to help support residents with sustainability” said Penfield Supervisor Tony LaFountain. “The installation of our public charging stations is one of many steps we have taken to be good stewards of the environment. Their use continues to grow and expand each month as more residents invest in electric and hybrid vehicles.”

Penfield’s public charging station supports electric cars like the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric, Nissan RAV4 EV, Tesla Roadster, Honda Fit EV, Smart for Two EV, and more. The cost of electricity for the charging station is about 33 cents per hour. A one hour charge while visiting the Penfield Community Center would typically yield about 14 miles of charge to a car’s battery. It would take roughly three hours to fully charge a vehicle. 

For more information on National Plug In Day go to http://www.pluginday.org .


September 19, 2013
Supervisor's Column: Week of 9/16

Over the weekend I had the honor of attending an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Riley W. Wehr from Troop 312 sponsored by the Penfield Presbyterian Church. For Riley’s Eagle project, he constructed four eight-foot benches and a scorer's table for the Charles Finney School where he is a senior this year. The school is using these benches and table for their athletic field sporting events. On behalf of the entire community of Penfield, I would like to recognize and congratulate Riley for attaining the Eagle rank; his parents Scott and Michelle, and the rest of the Wehr family, should be very proud of this accomplishment.

Last week I had the opportunity to join the DiMarzo Family, owners and operators of seven Legacy Retirement Communities across the county, as they held a ribbon-cutting and open house for the newly refurbished Grande’ Vie Living Center and welcomed Village Wood to the Legacy Community. Last week was also National Assisted Living Week with a theme of “Homemade Happiness.” The DiMarzo family, lead by Anthony DiMarzo, has a focus on seniors and senior living. In Penfield we are fortunate to have several of the Legacy Communities, including the very first Legacy which is Willow Pond and the newest Village Wood. I ask that all Penfield residents extend their appreciation to the DiMarzo family for their dedicated service to our community’s elders.

Grossmans Garden and Home Center is now hosting the Penfield Farmers Market every Sunday featuring locally homegrown produce and handcrafted products from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Savor fresh vegetables, fruits, breads and pastries, jams, oils and vinegars, New York State wine, farm-fresh dairy and meats... and much more! Come spend time at Grossmans Garden and Home located at 1801 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road and enjoy the farmer’s market experience!

The Family First Penfield 5K Challenge XI will be held Sunday, September 29 with an 8:00 a.m. check-in and a start time of 9:00 a.m. sharp. There are more than $1,000 in prizes, and the first 250 runners will receive a commemorative t-shirt. The race begins and ends at the Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Road. The course is certified to be accurate by the USATF/RRTC #NY04023KL.

Following the 5K the Penfield Recreation Department will host “REC”reate Wellness Day from 10:00 a.m. to noon also at the community center. Come see how Penfield Rec can help you plant your roots of wellness by trying a sampling of some of their most popular programs. Instructors will be offering preview classes for you to try. This event is FREE and open to all ages!

The third annual Penfield Community bike drop will be held Saturday, October 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the community center, 1985 Baird Road. This program is sponsored by the Penfield Rotary and Penfield Recreation. Bikes will be donated to R Community Bikes, Inc., a Rochester based organization that repairs and distributes bicycles free of charge to Rochester’s needy children and adults. For more information, please log on at www.rcommunitybikes.net. Receipts will be provided documenting all donations.

2014 budget update…the 2014 tentative and preliminary budget are online at www.penfield.org. Click on ‘Departments’ on the left column and then on ‘Finance’ for all the details of the proposed general, highway and library budgets. There is also a power point presentation that provides an executive summary of the 2013 year-to-date budget and the 2014 proposed budget. The Penfield Town Board will conduct a public hearing on October 2 at 7:30 p.m. to hear all interested parties on the proposed budget.

Until next week, I hope to see you out in our great Penfield community!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org


September 18, 2013
Developments affecting Time Warner Cable subscribers

September 18, 2013
Dear Municipal Official:

I am writing to you as part of our ongoing efforts to keep you apprised of developments affecting Time Warner Cable subscribers in the Western New York Division.

Time Warner Cable’s agreements with programmers and broadcasters to carry their services and stations routinely expire from time to time. We are usually able to obtain renewals or extensions of such agreements, but in order to comply with applicable regulations, we must inform you when an agreement is about to expire. The following agreements are due to expire soon, and we may be required to cease carriage of one or more of these services/stations in the near future where these services are offered:

A&E, A&E HD, Bio, Bio HD, Crime & Investigation, History Channel en Espanol, History Channel, History Channel HD, History International, E!, E! HD, G4, G4 HD, GOL TV, GOL TV HD, Lifetime, Lifetime HD, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Movie Network HD, Lifetime Real Women, Music Choice, NHL, NHL HD, NHL Center Ice, NHL Center Ice HD, Sprout, Style, Style HD, YouToo, WONS-LP

Time Warner Cable may reposition Movieplex to the movie tier of service

In addition, from time to time, we make certain changes in the services that we offer in order to better serve our customers. The following changes are planned:

  • GSN (Game Show Network) will be added on or about September 12, 2013
  • QVC Plus will be added on or about September 24, 2013
  • ESPN 3D will be dropped on or about September 30, 2013
  • We SD & HD will be added to Rochester Central on or about September 30, 2013
  • CBS Sports Network will be added to Digital Basic Tier on or about October 1, 2013
  • There will be a NHL Center Ice free preview on October 2-19, 2013
  • There will be a TV Japan free preview on October 7-20, 2013
  • There will be a NBA Full Court free preview on October 29 to November 5, 2013

Some of the new services listed above cannot be accessed by CableCard-equipped Unidirectional Digital Cable Products purchased at retail without additional, two-way capable equipment.

Sincerely,
Chris Mueller
Director, Government Relations
Time Warner Cable - WNY


September 16, 2013
Guest Columnist Week of 9/16: Robert P. Beedon, Town Comptroller

I am happy to be a guest columnist this week and share information concerning the Town of Penfield’s 2014 budget process. You will see the process of developing the Town of Penfield’s annual budget occurs over several months and includes detailed reviews of every department. As town comptroller I work closely with the supervisor and department heads throughout the process until the budget is adopted and filed with Monroe County. I am pleased to share that year after year, town department heads present well-considered plans that strive to lower costs and preserve services. I can also report that year after year the town is challenged by costs handed down to us from the state.

The 2014 budget process began May 5, 2013 when the supervisor’s “call for the budget” was submitted to all department heads with a June 28, 2013 deadline. Each department head was given a spreadsheet featuring accounting data for their department including 2012 actual expenditures and the 2013 Adopted Budget. Department heads were asked to add details on where they expected their budgets to be at the end of this fiscal year, December 31, 2013. Next, they added 2014 figures to all budget categories. This first pass of budget planning was submitted electronically to the town supervisor and me, your town comptroller.

Throughout the month of July the town supervisor and I met with all department heads to review and discuss their priorities and 2014 budget submissions. Adjustments were made following these reviews. After that process, the supervisor and I held meetings in August with the Penfield Town Board to review the proposed 2014 budget in detail. There was more back and forth with adjustments to priorities and plans leading to the next phase of planning in which the supervisor and town comptroller formally present the proposed budget to the Penfield Town Board and community. At this time the budget is known as the “Tentative Budget.” This presentation was done at the town board meeting on September 11, 2013 along with a power point presentation and a copy of the budget detail. The budget was also made available for public review at this presentation.

As of this presentation of the “Tentative Budget” to the town board and community, the budget becomes known as the “Preliminary Budget.” The town comptroller sends legal notice announcing a public hearing on the Town of Penfield 2014 Preliminary Budget. This year’s public hearing is scheduled for the October 2 town board legislative meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Penfield Town Hall auditorium. Public comments on the Preliminary Budget will be taken at this session through October 9.

The town board will review public input October 2-11 and prepare the 2014 “Final Budget.” The town board is scheduled to adopt the 2014 Final Budget at its October 16 legislative session.

The day after adoption (this year, October 17) the town comptroller sends two copies of the Final Adopted Budget to the County of Monroe. This act concludes the preparation of the Town of Penfield’s budget.

As you can see, developing the town budget it is an ongoing process that takes six months from beginning to end. You, as residents of Penfield, can have a voice in this important process by reviewing the preliminary budget and participating in the public hearing on October 2. Copies of the 2014 Budget Tentative Budget, Preliminary Budget, and Final Budget will be on our website (www.penfield.org), at the Penfield Library, or the Town Comptroller’s office at the town hall. I am available to discuss the budget in detail with any resident at 340-8621 or beedon@penfield.org .


September 12, 2013
2014 Tentative Budget Presented

Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain and Finance Director Robert Beedon presented the 2014 Tentative Budget proposal to the Penfield Town Board and community Wednesday, September 11.

“I know every elected official has received the same feedback from their customers, the residents of their respective communities, and the message is to better manage costs, control spending, and reduce the size of government in all ways,” said Supervisor Tony LaFountain. “What amazes me is that while everyone acknowledges the message, they continue to increase spending and tax rates. The Penfield Town Board has heard your message clearly, and has taken steps—and will continue to take steps—to further cut costs and reduce spending. We can no longer talk about government reform; we must demand it at all levels and everyone needs to actively participate to fix the problem.”

The proposed 2014 budget of $15.8 is less than the 2013 budget. Major impacts on 2014 expenses include the full funding of retirement cost at 20% of salary, a 12% increase in workers compensation cost, a 12.5% increase in medical cost, and a 10% increase in general liability insurance cost.

The town tax rate will remain flat at the 2013 level of $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed property value, marking the fifth consecutive year at the $2.64 level. Penfield’s property tax rate remains one of the lowest in Monroe County. The Town of Penfield receives approximately $0.08 of each tax dollar (8 cents).

Unfunded mandates continue to be the source of most local government budget problems. Supervisor LaFountain achieved the flat tax rate with ongoing cost-reductions that include selective replacement of retiring employees; use of more seasonal contract labor; forming more and broader partnerships with other communities to leverage cost reductions; further technology upgrades and process improvements; and exploration of more aggressive outsourcing of tasks and duties. Additionally, for the fifth year, all elected and appointed officials will receive no pay increase in 2014.

The Penfield Town Board continues to review a multi-year budget with projections and expected changes for the next three years based on the dynamics of unfunded mandates and other cost pressures that continue to impact all budgets. The town board bases its outlook on conservative estimates for revenues and a review of the town’s long-term plans and projects. This multi-year outlook continues to be unique among municipalities in Monroe County.

With its history of fiscal discipline, the financial world consistently recognizes Penfield as one of the most financially responsible towns in New York State. Moody’s Investors Service graded Penfield’s credit rating an excellent Aa2, one of the highest in the county and state. This rating allows Penfield to secure low-interest financing for capital projects (sewers, roadways, bridges), and assists with cash flow throughout the year. The Moody’s rating also reflects Penfield’s history of stable financial operations and strong management practices.

As of September 12, print copies of the 2014 Tentative Budget will be available at the Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Road or by contacting the Office of the Comptroller in the Penfield Town Hall, 3100 Atlantic Avenue, in Penfield. The Tentative Budget will be available online at www.penfield.org (see Finance Dept.). A public hearing to receive comments on the Preliminary Budget is set for October 2. The Penfield Town Board reviews comments through October 11.

PENFIELD 2014 BUDGET TIMELINE

April to September 2013 - Town Supervisor, Finance Director and Staff conduct budget work sessions; prepare 2014 Tentative Budget

September 11, 2013 - Town Supervisor, Finance Director present a summary of the Tentative Budget to Town Board and community; document made public for review (during this period, Tentative Budget becomes the Preliminary Budget)

September 11-October 9, 2013 - Public comment period

October 2, 2013 - Public Hearing on 2014 Preliminary Budget; public comments received

October 2-11, 2013 - Town Board reviews comments, develops a Final Budget

October 16, 2013 - Town Board Legislative meeting, adoption of a Final 2014 Budget; Adopted Budget made public

October 17, 2013 - Town presents Penfield Adopted 2014 Budget to County of Monroe


September 11, 2013
A Message from Supervisor LaFountain
Today is the twelfth anniversary of September 11th, when this country was brutally attacked and many lives were lost and families impacted. I would ask all of our residents to take a minute to reflect on this terrible event in our history and remember all of those individuals who lost their lives. We will not falter. We will not fear. We will not fail. We will not forget!

September 11, 2013
Supervisor’s Column: Week of 9/9

2014 budget update…this Wednesday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m. Town Comptroller Bob Beedon and I will present the 2014 Tentative Budget to the town board and the Penfield community. There are several ways for you to participate in receiving information and details about the budget. If you are in the area of the town hall please stop in and listen to the presentation live. If you are a cable subscriber tune in to channel 98.4, or you can log on at www.penfield.org to watch streaming video of the presentation. The full budget detail will be online at the start of the presentation for those that want to review the information. The town board will hold a public hearing on the budget on Wednesday, October 2, and the board will accept public comments through October 9. The 2014 budget is slated to be adopted at the October 16 town board meeting.

Last week I was invited to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the new Incognito’s Menswear in the Four Corners Business District. While Incognito has been a long standing business of more than 27 years in this area, the business recently moved next door to a greatly expanded space with two levels of clothing to support your business, casual, wedding, or prom needs. Incognito is locally-owned by Randy Barkin and is a premium men’s resale clothier and tux shop. Congratulations to Randy and his team on their new location, and remember, “healthy businesses make a healthy community…shop locally.”

Also last week, I attended the Webster Montessori School’s grand opening of its expanded school on Five Mile Line Road. Classroom space has more than doubled and there are great new multi-use spaces and gathering areas for students and teachers. So what is a Montessori education? In feedback I have received from Councilman Rob Quinn, who is a Webster Montessori School board of trustees member with two children enrolled in the program, the Montessori approach calls for a strong foundation to be laid for the maturing of children in areas of physical, emotional, academic and social progress. This foundation produces a starting point for all future learning. It was wonderful to see the school filled with so much energy from students and teachers. Congratulations to Principal JJ Griebel, the board of trustees, and the entire team for making the Webster Montessori School part of the Penfield Community. Good luck and enjoy your 2013-2014 school year.

I was recently reminded by East Penfield Homeowners’ Association President Dave Woodward that the group will be holding its annual picnic on Sunday, September 15 starting at 2:00 p.m. (dinner 5:00 p.m.) located at 1865 Salt Road (the Rothfuss Family Farm). Everyone is welcome to attend and join in on the fun. If you have an interest, contact Sue at 377-3850 for more details and to make your reservation. I hope to see some of you there!

Mark your calendars for “Fall Recycling Day” on Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the DPW Complex at 1607 Jackson Road. This event replaces Fall Drop-Off. This year we will recycle electronics, offer secure document shredding, provide a clothing drop-off, metals collection and brush drop-off. Watch for additional details at www.penfield.org. A traditional resident drop-off will be held in the spring of 2014 (date to be determined).

One last reminder…the Friends of the Penfield Public Library’s 37th annual used book sale is underway September 10-14 at the Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Road. For all the special promotions during this five day event, please log on to www.penfield.org and under “calendars” click on “community events.” Money raised from this sale goes towards supporting special programs and equipment for the library throughout the year. Please help make this the best event to date!

Until next week, stay cool and enjoy the warm weather!

Tony

340-8631

 


September 9, 2013
Guest Columnist Week of 9/9: David Renner, Cable TV / Website Coordinator

Lights! Cameras! Action! Many of you know us as PCTV, Cable 12 or 15, or more recently as Town of Penfield TV. Our cable industry format is known as Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Access Television. Many confuse PEG with PBS, the Public Broadcasting System. PBS programming is typically produced for a nationwide audience, whereas PEG Access focuses on local, community-based content made by the community, for the community.

December 1968 marked the launch of the first community access cable channel in America: DCTV in Dale City, Virginia. On November 15, 1984, Penfield’s first cable TV show aired live from the Village of Fairport TV studio. The half hour call-in talk show was hosted by Joan Brandenburg, community program director. Guests included Penfield Town Board members Don Wink and Maggie Hession, Librarian Carolyn Smith, and Steve Fowler from the recreation department. They discussed Penfield’s new library and community center being created in the former Baird Road School. Space for Penfield Community Television was included in the plans, and the studio opened in 1985.

Since 1985, significant technology changes have affected how individuals stay informed and connected. Penfield TV has also changed how it captures, processes and distributes content. Today it is easier than ever for you to share your programming with the Penfield Community. Quick fact: Penfield TV receives more than 100 pieces of new media each month from community producers. Penfield’s Public Access channel is your public access channel and is here for you to program with your own original works. Share a hobby, passion, or community topic; is your child involved in sports, dance, or being recognized for an achievement? Is your group holding a community event, sale or fundraiser? These types of videos, announcements and more are welcome. Contact us at www.penfieldtv.org or (585) 340-8661 to learn more about this powerful community service.

Recently, many cable TV subscribers are being negatively affected by changes to digital cable TV. Do you tune to channels 4, 12 or 15 and see nothing? Does your picture quality look poor, pixilated or freeze? Welcome to digital cable TV. To increase bandwidth capacity, cable companies are aggressively moving analog content to digital. New digital channels are being encoded at low data stream rates, affecting picture and sound quality. Time Warner Cable has recently converted Penfield’s PEG Access channels to digital, resulting in poor picture quality; many residents cannot receive local programming.

What can you do? If you own a digital TV directly connected to a cable TV coax cable, rescan your channels. Time Warner Cable relocated your PEG programming to channels 98.3, 98.4 and 98.5. It is a good habit to rescan your TV at least once every three months. You may be surprised at the additional channels you may gain.

If you own an analog TV you will need a Set Top Box (cable box) or a Digital Adapter (DA). Once installed, you can locate your PEG channels at their original channel line up: 4, 12 and 15.

If you are experiencing poor picture quality, please contact Time Warner Cable customer support at (585) 756-5000 or 1-800-756-7956. Due to the sensitivity of digital signals, old cable wiring, inadequate cable splitters, weather damage or even squirrels could be responsible. Links to Time Warner Cable are available at www.PenfieldTV.org.

So you don’t have cable but want to view Penfield TV? No problem! All meetings and some community events are streamed live and are available for replay online. DVDs are also available at the Penfield Public Library.

Your feedback is important to ensure we are providing the proper quantity and quality of programming. Please tell us about programming your family views at pctv@penfield.org or stop by our studio at the Penfield Town Hall, 3100 Atlantic Avenue. Tours for individuals and groups are available by reservation.

I want to thank many of you for your hard work, volunteering, viewer feedback and support that have made Penfield Access Television a nationally recognized PEG Access station. I look forward to new opportunities that will continue to make Penfield a leader in Public, Educational and Government Television.

renner@penfield.org

www.PenfieldTV.org

(585) 340-8661


September 4, 2013
A Canoe Ride through History
Penfield Recreation’s Daytime Education at Recreation (DEAR) program will sponsor a historic canoe ride on Sunday, September 15.
Rides will leave every two hours, beginning at 12:00 pm, from Bay Creek Paddle on Empire Blvd.

Join Rene Robert LaSalle on his historic war canoe ride through Ellison Park’s wetlands. The ride will explore LaSalle’s passage through Irondequoit Bay. The quiet, gentle ride through the marsh will also include naturalist Dick Freitas who will be on board to point out birds, water fowl, and geology.

The rides are each $22.00 per person and are expected to last an hour and a half.

Advanced registration is required for this program and began August 26. 

REGISTER online
Mail in REGISTRATION

September 4, 2013
Time Warner Cable’s agreements with programmers

September 4, 2013

Dear Municipal Official:

I am writing to you as part of our ongoing efforts to keep you apprised of developments affecting Time Warner Cable subscribers in the Western New York Division.

Time Warner Cable’s agreements with programmers and broadcasters to carry their services and stations routinely expire from time to time. We are usually able to obtain renewals or extensions of such agreements, but in order to comply with applicable regulations, we must inform you when an agreement is about to expire. The following agreements are due to expire soon, and we may be required to cease carriage of one or more of these services/stations in the near future where these services are offered:

CBS Sports Network, CBS Sports Network HD, Sports HD, E!, E! HD, Flix, G4, G4HD, GOL TV, GOL TV HD, Lifetime, Lifetime HD, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Movie Network HD, Lifetime Real Women, Music Choice, NHL, NHL HD, NHL Center Ice, NHL Center Ice HD, Sprout, Style, Style HD, TMC SD/HD & West, TMC Xtra SD/HD & West, YouToo, WONS-LP

In addition, from time to time, we make certain changes in the services that we offer in order to better serve our customers. The following changes are planned:

  • GSN (Game Show Network) will be added on or about September 12, 2013
  • QVC Plus will be added on or about September 24, 2013
  • ESPN 3D will be dropped on or about September 30, 2013
  • We SD & HD will be added to Rochester Central on or about September 30, 2013

Some of the new services listed above cannot be accessed by CableCard-equipped Unidirectional Digital Cable Products purchased at retail without additional, two-way capable equipment.

Sincerely,
Chris Mueller
Director, Government Relations
Time Warner Cable - WNY


September 3, 2013
Supervisor’s Column: Week of 9/2

Now that school is back in session and the fall routine is settling back into a familiar norm, I cannot refrain from thinking about the holidays. I know—you are all thinking ‘don’t rush the year any more than it has already been flying by!’ I think about the holidays because of the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf (PEFS) and the work this dedicated group of volunteers does to serve more than 80 families on a weekly basis. PEFS exists entirely on donated food and monetary donations, and volunteers are grateful for weekly donations from Wegmans and Tops Friendly Markets. The PEFS is located at 1618 Jackson Road across from the Penfield DPW complex. You too may drop off donated items every Wednesday morning from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. or they can arrange for a volunteer pick-up. For more information you may call 234-0799 or log on to penfieldfoodshelf@gmail.com. The current wish list of needed items includes boxes of cereal, condiments (ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise), pasta and sauce, canned fruit, coffee and tea, and laundry and dishwashing soap. Thank you in advance for helping PEFS to help the residents of our community.

September is National Preparedness Month, a time for all families to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies and update or make a family disaster plan. If you have to leave your home due to a gas odor, fire, or other emergency, do you have a location for everyone to meet? Do you have a plan to contact family members that are not at home? If you lose power for a period of time do you have extra food and water for family members? These are just some of the things you should be thinking about to prepare yourself for an emergency. For more information regarding emergency preparedness, consider visiting www.redcross.org.

Speaking of the American Red Cross, I learned over the weekend that there were 15,382 open blood donation slots in August throughout New York. Many well intended people signed up to make a donation; however, because of busy schedules, summer activities, travel or simple forgetfulness, appointments were not kept. Each open slot represents a pint of blood that hospitals are counting on to be available for patients in need. If you have recently donated, thank you. If it has been a while since you have donated, or if you have never donated, please consider giving the gift of life to another person. The next blood drive in Penfield will be held on Saturday, September 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Faith Lutheran Church, 2576 Browncroft Blvd. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to schedule your appointment.

Events and activities to add to your September calendar:

  • Saturday, September 14, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., guided hike at Smith Pioneer Cemetery. Meet just south of Sweets Corners Road and north of Atlantic Ave, look for the hike signs and parking attendants.
  • Saturday, September 14, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., Tastin’ the Blues at the amphitheater behind the town hall in Veterans’ Park. Chili cooking contest, samples of locally brewed beer, music and more.
  • Sunday, September 15, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., a canoe ride through history with Rene Robert LaSalle located at Bay Creek Paddle on Empire Blvd.
  • Sunday, September 29, 8:00 a.m. registration, 9:00 a.m. race for the 11th annual Family First Penfield 5K Challenge starting at the Community Center on Baird Road.
  • Sunday, September 29, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for the first RECreate Wellness Day at the Community Center. The event will showcase some of the many wellness programs being offered by the Recreation Department throughout the year. This is a free event focused on family wellness!

Until next week, watch out for all those “little people” at the bus stops and crossing roadways to catch the school bus. Remember, it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus that has its flashing lights on and its STOP sign displayed. Please do not be distracted by talking on your cell phone or texting!

Tony

supervisor@penfield.org

 


September 3, 2013
Guest Columnist week of 9/2: Rose Iascone, Human Resource Director

The question often arises about how to seek employment with the Town of Penfield. There are multiple answers to that question that vary by type of position; I will describe employment classifications and procedures in this column.

As a public employer, the Town of Penfield must comply with New York State Civil Service hiring regulations. This requirement is intended to ensure that positions in government employment are filled by qualified applicants. Under Civil Service law, the Civil Service Commission of Monroe County handles the administration of regulations concerning the “classified” service, which includes (1) competitive class, (2) non-competitive class, (3) labor class, and (4) exempt employees. The Commission does not have jurisdiction over “unclassified” service which includes elected and certain appointed officials.

Of course, persons in elected positions are chosen by popular vote. The Town of Penfield has eight local elected officials: the town supervisor (who also counts as one member of the town board), four council or town board members, two town justices, and the town clerk.

A competitive position is one that is practicable to determine the merit of applicants by competitive examination. In order of highest scoring, a list of eligible candidates is established by Monroe County Civil Service. The Town of Penfield must hire from the civil service list according to very specific criteria. Generally, the person hired must appear in the top three names on the list. A provisional appointment to a competitive class position may be made only when there is no existing eligibility list.

Some department head positions are competitive. A person hired for a non-competitive exempt position is usually appointed by either the town board or town supervisor as provided by New York State law. The deputy town clerk is appointed by the town clerk, and the town justice clerks are appointed by the town judges. By law, the assessor serves a six-year term and is required to complete training requirements annually to remain certified.

The labor class position is a non-competitive entry level position for personnel hired in the Department of Public Works. Anyone interested in a labor position may submit an application or resume to the Human Resources Department at the town hall.

Finally, the appointed Library Board selects the Library Director and library personnel.

Most of the information above pertains to full-time or part-time regular year-around positions. The town also hires for many seasonal positions depending on the time of year and department.

All new employees must complete a probationary period of one year before a permanent appointment is made.

A list of upcoming civil service exams is available on the Monroe County website at www.monroecounty.gov. A civil service exam application must be completed and submitted to Monroe County Civil Service, Human Resource Department with the required fee by the deadline date in order to apply to take an exam. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements in order to apply as outlined in the civil service job description posting.

Testing frequency varies by type of position. For example, a more common high demand test, such as “Office Clerk 111,” is given at somewhat regular intervals. Tests for more specific positions, however, such as “Building Inspector” are given less frequently, depending on the need throughout the county.

The Penfield Library has reference materials on the different Civil Service exams that can be helpful to anyone considering taking a Civil Service test.

All hiring is coordinated through the Human Resource Department with final review and approval by the Penfield town supervisor.

The Town of Penfield has a stable workforce that provides residents with experienced and highly trained personnel. We accept resumes and have applications available at the Penfield Town Hall, or you may obtain an application by visiting www.penfield.org.  Once received, applications and resumes will remain on file for one year and be given consideration when a position becomes available. Under all circumstances we are required to work within the Civil Service system.

The Town of Penfield is an equal opportunity employer that complies with county, state and federal fair employment laws and regulations.

For more information on Town of Penfield hiring practices, call our Human Resource Department at 340-8671.




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