Meadow Winds solution
Failure of the Meadow Winds developer to finish the job has left residents fuming and Town of Newburgh leaders scrambling for an alternative answer, Supervisor Wayne Booth said Wednesday night.
“The developer who developed the majority of Meadow Winds has abandoned the job, he actually has filed bankruptcy,” he said. “There are certain portions of the road, mainly West Meadow Winds and a finished portion of East Meadow Winds that are incomplete; along with the last private road, Orleans, which has eight units that are near completion, the foundation for six more, and then, an additional four units after that.”
Booth said there are an additional two lots for single family homes involved.
“We’ve been talking with and negotiating with a developer that is purchasing the rights from the County, because not only is the project being foreclosed on, the property was taken for taxes.”
“Our goal is to see this development to a conclusion,” Booth said during the board’s audit meeting at Town Hall. The Town is negotiating with other potential investors, he said. He said he also wanted to be sure that Orleans Road is completed “to our satisfaction.”
Booth identified the developers as contractor Ray Yannone and investor Wayne Corts.
“We’re going to see a finished product this time,” the supervisor vowed.
The first part, Booth said, was to get West Meadow Winds “totally redone, reclamated and repaved.
“We’re doing things in steps,” he said. “We’re coordinating that with the first eight units that are nearly ready to go.”
Town engineer James Osborne said that the board was being presented with “an outline” of what the new developers are proposing.
The Town has tried to be trusting with other developers struggling to finish local projects in the past and it hasn’t always worked in the Town’s favor.
“We don’t want to go down the road hand-in-hand [with the developer],” said Osborne. “We’ve done that in the past and it hasn’t been successful,” he said.
“What we want him to do is finish a certain amount of work. When that work is acceptable by the Town, that entitles him to get certificate of occupancy for a certain number of units.
“Then he does the next chunk of work and he’s entitled to the certificate of occupancy that are tied to that portion of work. Then he finishes Orleans Road, which is the last section, a private road, and he’s entitled to COs for the last four units,” Osborne said.
“The way that this is laid out is that we’re not giving him anything until he has already given us a substantial amount of work. In rough numbers, we’re talking West Meadow Winds complete gets him eight COs for the building that’s essentially done.
“The nice thing about that is he gets to get them done quickly and gets to put the money back in his pocket; then he does East Meadow Winds; he gets the next six COs for the building that the foundation is in the ground. We will then have addressed the public improvements for the development.
“And the last four COs he does not get; he’s not even entitled to apply for them until Orleans Road is complete per the site plans, which is paving, landscaping, final installation of all improvements.”
Orleans Road is in pretty good shape, Osborne said. The water and sewer are in, as well as drainage. It was one of the last thing the previous developer had done sparing it from being run over by construction equipment.
Osborne suggestion to the board was for them to approve the proposed agreement, which is to be finalized by Town attorney Mark Taylor.
Deputy Supervisor Gil Piaquadio and Councilman George Woolsey Sr. voiced a preference for requiring a substantial bond that the work ends up being done, but Osborne said that the Town is protected by the fact that the developer can’t realize any profit until the Town signs off on completed work.
“We’ve been through two developers,” Woolsey complained “and I’m walking on eggs with those developers,” he said. “Everything we’ve given [in the past], we’ve gotten stabbed in the back.”
“That’s why we’re not giving anything until the work is done,” Booth interjected.
“Complete the job and then you get the payoff.”
Osborne said that the Town will have extra leverage this time because the new developer’s name will be on the agreement.
“We’re not letting him dictate terms and conditions,” Osborne said. “We’re dictating terms and conditions.”
“I don’t know about that if you don’t have bonds,” said Woolsey.
“We don’t need bonds if the work is done,” Booth countered, repeating that the developer won’t get his COs until after the work is completed.
“We have to stand firm and say we’re not negotiating,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Greene said.
In the end, the board requested Taylor draft an agreement that the board will consider at one of its next metings.
The board then turned its attention to its liability insurance coverage.
Noting that the Town of Newburgh’s loss experience has risen, the Town Board Wednesday night approved a contract for another year of coverage with U.S. Specialty Insurance Co. at a cost of $323,674.15.
That represents an 8.5 percent increase over U.S. Specialty’s bid for this year’s coverage, which was $306,000, but ended up costing the Town $298,231, according to Cathy McCarty, executive vice president of William S. Smith & Son insurance company. William A. Smith handles the Town’s insurance coverage.
McCarty provided board members with copies of the Town’s loss-run experience, along with an explanation of their pricing.
“I went to NYMIR (New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal) this year to get a quote,” she said, “as well as the quote we got with the current carrier and I’ve laid it out side by side,” she said.
“I’m kind of saying your current carrier, U.S. Specialty, has gone up – they’ve gone up about 8.5 percent and they have imposed a general $15,000 liability deductible this year which you have not had general liability deductible for the past three years with them.
“Prior to going with them, you did have a $25,000 general liability deductible. The reason why they’re doing that is because the loss experience has been running a little bit high.’
McCarty said the NYMIR quote “came in really high.”
Their quote was $475,014.14, she told the board.
“I said ‘I don’t think you’re going to get it with this kind of pricing. Can you do any better? And they said, ‘no,’ because of the losses they didn’t think they could do better than what they offered.”
She pointed out what she said she thought were the most important differences between the insurance bids.
“They both have the same building blanket amount, the same property deductible, both provide flood and earthquake coverage, however the coverage doesn’t really apply in the high coverage zones,” she said.
She said each company has “throw-in” coverage. One gives coverage on this, the other on another. U.S. Specialty this year is putting computer coverage under property coverage, she said. The change that creates, she said, is that computer coverage will now be subject to a thousand dollar property deductible. In the past the deductible was only $250.
“I don’t recall any computer losses,” she said, “and I’ve been writing the coverage for 10 years.”
What really clinched the contract for U.S. Specialty (in addition to their much lower bid) was inclusion of dam failure coverage.
“They weren’t sure if they were going to, but when Jim [Osborne] provided me with a schedule of how you’re going to address the recommendations [they had made] they agreed to do it.
“NYMIR would not.”
She said she saw that as a “kind of big, big thing.”
During the conversation about insurance, McCarty said she had confirmed with U.S. Specialty that the Town is covered for its Fourth of July fireworks display which to be held yesterday (July 3).
McCarty also noted that U.S. Specialty included a million dollars in uninsured motorist in its coverage.
In other actions, the board:
Approved a $1,500 expenditure for two special events at Chadwick Lake. The money will come from a T-38 account that comes from public donations;
Approved expansion of the rear parking lot at Chadwick Lake;
Referred a request for a Grandview Drive water main extension to town attorney Mark Taylor;
Agreed to allow the New York State Bridge Authority to hook up to a town water hydrant while Bridge Authority workers sandblast the bridge. The Town will ask the Authority for a deposit against water use;
Released $85,000 of a $100,000 landscape security for Brighton Green;
Authorized the hiring of an outside attorney to represent the Town in a case where Town attorney Taylor has a conflict;
Approved the expenditure of $5,100 for a Board of Review assessor (this had been approved previously but no record of the approval could be found);
Annual laboratory services were approved for the Town’s water supply;
Payment of $7,725 to Clark Patterson Services for work establishing damages during Hurricane Irene;
On the recommendation of Town engineer James Osborne, authorized up to $35,000 in change orders related to the Delaware Aqueduct Tap project;
Approved the purchase of $1,700 worth of furniture for the DPW department as well as $1,297 for purchase of a computer for the same department;
Approved the purchase of a sweeper for the Town at a cost of $119,995 with a trade-in of $10,000 allowed. The chassis of the existing sweeper will be transported to North Carolina and house the new unit, saving the town nearly $100,000 of what a totally new sweeper would run. The unit will be returned to the Town by early fall.
By ALLAN GAUL