Saturday, August 31, 2019

Benson highway work continues

Benson TB Aug 20 2019

Benson highway work continues
By Pete Klein
BENSON--Highway Superintendent George Blowers reported at the August 20 meeting of the Benson Town Board that paving has been completed on River Rd. for this year.
He said the County will be grinding that part of Benson Rd. it just paved and put another base coat on top of it.
Blowers reported he has received all his WEX cards for fuel.
The possibility of hiring a third worker for the highway department, either full or part time was brought up, but no action was taken.
In response to questions asked in a letter from resident Frank Fernandez, the board responded with a letter stating that Supervisor John Stortecky did not tell Superintendent Blowers to clean up the yard behind the town barn. Neither he (Stortecky) nor any board member has the authority to tell the elected highway superintendent of a town to do anything.
Also, Blowers did request permission of the board to dispose of a tractor and the board gave its permission.
Fernandez wanted to know the legal procedure of town for sending things for scrap.
He was given the paper trail in hard copy of the transactions referred to.
Councilman David Pincombe discussed comparing Health Insurance Companies regarding costs and coverage.
All archived town records have been moved to upstairs room at the Town Barn on Town Barn Road.
In the case of the 2018 Justice Court Grant, $4,000 will be returned as it was not used before Aug, 31, 2019.
NYMIR’S report on non-mandatory street signs (children at play, etc.) was discussed.
A question remains on the amount of the 2019 attorney retainer used and the amount of that remaining.
Pincombe reported on gathering information on the Reed Family, including photos, etc.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes provided by Benson Town Clerk Jeanne Cox.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Long Lake says saplings are not trees

LLTB Aug 28 2019

Long Lake says saplings are not trees
By Pete Klein
LONG LAKE—Environmental groups hate any motorized transport within the Adirondack Park and managed to get a judge to rule that the construction of the Connector Trails would cause too much timber to be cut on State Land.
When the Long Lake Town Board met on August 28, the board passed a Resolution in Support of the Amicus Brief being prepared for the 5 Towns (Indian Lake, Long Lake, Minerva, North Hudson, Newcomb) for the appeal of the Connector Trails on State Land.
This resolution authorizes attorney Mark Schachner to file an Amicus Brief on behalf of the 5 Towns in support of overturning the recent ruling that the construction of the Connector Trails would cause too much timber to be cut on State Land. This decision came about due to the Appellate Court redefining what constitutes timber and the definition now includes saplings and other small trees. This resolution includes approving $5,000 in funding for legal fees.
The resolution passed unanimously.
The board approved an Environmental Impact Statement for the purchase of some property from St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. This is an unlisted action and therefore this qualified for a negative declaration.
The board then passed a resolution approving the purchase price of the parcel of land from St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg at $500 and establishing the terms and conditions of the easement and authorizing the Town Supervisor and Town Attorney to move forward.
This resolution approved the purchase price of the lands at the Catholic church parking lot at $500 and sets forth the terms and conditions of the easement being given to the Town. It also authorizes the Town Supervisor and Town Attorney to move forward with this purchase since the town received the maps and descriptions from the Town’s Surveyor John Deming last week.
Dale O’Hara has requested an adjustment to his water bill. O’Hara indicates that this property has been vacant for 2 years. He was requesting that his water bill be reduced to Vacant Building Status with a charge of $75 rather than the Standard Rate of $170.
The board approved the adjustment.
The board authorized the Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism to apply for a New York State Historic Markers Grant through the William G. Pomery Foundation,
This resolution approves Alex Roalsvig to apply for a fully funded grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation to erect three historical markers in the Town. This was amended to include five markers.
The next Town Board Meeting will be Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Long Lake Town Hall

Editors note: This story is based upon the notes of Deputy Supervisor Sean Curry.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Speculator concerned about septic tanks

Speculator VB August 12 2019

Speculator concerned about septic tanks
By Pete Klein
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on August 12, Town of Lake Pleasant Supervisor Dan Wilt and Mayor Jeannette Barrett presented a LPSA letter received regarding Harmful Algae Bloom and Faulty Septic Tanks, and the importance of being proactive in protecting our lakes. They provided an Inlet Local Law regarding certification of preexisting septic systems
At the last meeting of the Town of Lake Pleasant Board it was proposed the Town adopt a similar local Law to Inlet that outlines the specifics for homeowner upkeep and inspection of their septic systems as a preventative measure in protecting our lakes.
Supervisor Wilt came to the Village Board Meeting requesting the Village also adopt the Law.
Trustee Eric Craven stated it was his understanding the village is under the town and those laws that are adopted by the town must also be enforced within the village unless the village chooses to put in place a law stricter in scope.
Bob Benkovich stated that in our zoning laws there is verbiage for septic systems, and we should look at the zoning law as well.
Mayor Barrett and Supervisor Wilt explained that in adopting a similar local law as Lake Pleasant, this will allow us to take corrective and preventative actions to protect our lakes.
Edward Scharpou, WWTP Chief Operator, submitted a written report as follows.
The monthly reports for June are done. Correspondence with DEC regarding SPDES technical review.
Flows to the plant have begun to slow down. We will take the outside plant offline shortly and prepare for construction.
We have continued pumping biosolids to the bays with a borrowed polymer machine. Once ours is built it will be installed however it will most likely not be used until next year.
Mid-summer plant smells have been questioned and we have done our best to eliminate the problem.
The biosolids have been applied to the Land Application site.
Sampling for the SPDES technical review will occur the week of the 19th.
We are on track for our September 9th deadline for bidding agreement. This is a resolution that must be made at the meeting. Plant design is nearly finished and will be sent to EFC for approval prior to bidding.
DASNY has what has been asked from us for grant funds of $500,000 to be released. It is being sent in for financial review currently.
The Monthly report has been sent out. August samples have been sent out.
Sampling for Nitrate, Secondary Inorganic Chemicals, and Disinfection Byproducts/Stage 2 will occur on the week of the 19th as required by DOH.
All R900s but two have been installed in the Village they should be done this week.
Meters will begin to come out shortly some have to be checked for inaccurate readings. Once they are removed, we will send them to be tested as they are still under warranty.
Quotes for the Pump to be replaced have come in slightly higher than anticipated. I have budgeted 25,000 for replacement. Layne (27,995.00), Hawk (26,741.50).
Mayor Barrett commented there is no interest on the current EFC sewer bond.
Scharpou stated the pump presented by Slack is slightly more expensive than expected but that it is of better quality and will be a better investment. With this company you buy the polymer then they give you the machine. The projected date for replacement of the well pump is the end of September.
Claire Craven submitted a written Transition Report and reviewed it with the Board. Additional commentary was made as follows:
Craven reviewed an excel spreadsheet comparing the written ledger accounts and the former software program’s balance sheet in order to come up with approximations for End of Year Closing discussions.
As best as can be determined, funds for the 4th of July Parade Committee were held within the Village General Fund account. An excel spreadsheet was found noting $8,829 as the amount held.
Craven asked for Board confirmation as to the accuracy of the amount and intent of funds and then recommended a separate designated checking account for 4th of July Parade Committee or explore the creation a 4th of July Parade Committee under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce, separate from the Village. Trustee Letty Rudes asked, and all agreed, to have the Office of General Services or the New York State Accounting Services consulted prior to any decision on transfer of funds to ensure correct processes and procedures be taken.
In last year’s Audit, it states that no reserves have been designated for any specific accounts.
It was noted that the 2018 Audit report stated that the Village would make a resolution for a minimum unrestricted fund balance of at 10% of the general fund operating budget After looking back at previous years board meeting minutes, there is no documentation that the decision to do so was agreed upon by the board. In researching the validly of this statement, the Office of the State Comptroller recommends two (2) months spending.
Trustee Eric Craven made a motion to move the water bond interest funds presently in the General Fund to the Water fund. Trustee Mark Donecker seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously.
Trustee Craven presented a finalized draft for the new Vendor Law.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to approve the vendor law as presented, pending a final meeting with attorney Katie Smith confirming language.
Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
A comment from the last meeting regarding the responsibility of the Kiosk was retracted due to its inaccuracy.
Claire Craven suggested we contact the Lake Pleasant School about the Kiosk being an 8th grade project.
Crystal O’Brien, Clerk-Treasurer, will meet with the Chamber and school to work out a plan.
Mayor Barrett commented that she has applied for a Grant for a map with local points of interest. If the Village is awarded the grant, the map will be added to one side of the Kiosk, leaving the other side open for local news, events and updates.
Trustee Craven made a motion to approve the Firefighter Application for Mr. Eric Knowlton-Page. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Barrett reported that she received information on a grant for historical markers. She has handed over the information to Mr. Hoffman as historical markers should be investigated by the Historical Society. Therefore, the Village itself will not be looking further into the grant but left it to the discretion of the Historical Society.
Mayor Barrett reported two grants the Village has applied for have been turned down; however, there were others still in play and we would continue to apply for any eligible grant possibilities that could benefit our Village and its residents.
Robert Hoffman asked what other public events might be exempt from the new vendor local law, as the Historical Society hosts the Apple Festival in the fall and Scharpou mentioned Family Fun Day sponsored by Hamilton County. It was noted the verbiage states public events approved by the board to allow for these and other special events.
Mayor Barrett publicly thanked all of those who stepped up and filled in for her in her absence, in which she is extremely grateful.

Editor Note: Story based on the minutes from Crystal O’Brien, Village Clerk - Treasurer

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Steamboat Landing has new owners
By Pete Klein

Blue Mountain Lake--At 11 a.m. on September 6 there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the official opening of Steamboat Landing with new owners of the historic accommodation in the Hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake in the Town of Indian Lake.
Established in 1886 as a boathouse, Steamboat Landing was the birthplace of the Tuscarora, a 75-foot steamboat dubbed “the Queen of the Adirondacks.”  The Tuscarora was launched here in 1900 with whiskey and cigars supplied by William West Durant. Once steamboat service was retired from the lakes, the boathouse became rooms and cabins for rent, a restaurant and most recently served as an outfitter store.
Today, thanks to the love, talent, hard work and entrepreneurship of the Vander Molens, Jeff, Sarah and Ethan, Steamboat Landing is the most recent, historic, accommodation offering in Blue Mountain Lake.
Having roots in Blue Mountain Lake that go back to 1973, this family trio has infused their love of the area into an array of guest accommodations found in the Main Lodge, Pilot House and Guest Cabins on the waterfront of Blue Mountain Lake.
“One of our favorite things about Blue Mountain Lake is being able to share it with others. We have had incredible adventures and have amazing memories in Blue with family and friends. We want this to continue for our guests and ourselves. At Steamboat Landing, we are ready to enjoy this beautiful place with our guests, with the hope that their visit will play an essential role in helping to create their own memories. We hope that Steamboat will be a place that our guests can escape to; where they can relax and enjoy the beauty of Blue Mountain Lake and the Adirondack mountains. The accomplishment of this is our dream for Steamboat Landing”
For more information, visit

Ranger Report Aug 28 2019

Ranger Report Aug 28 2019

WELLS--On Aug. 20 at 11:57 a.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from Hamilton County 911 for a 38-year-old female hiker from Gloversville who was injured while hiking Auger Falls. Passing hikers reported the woman was injured and that she required assistance for an unstable lower leg injury.
Forest Rangers David Kallen and Andrew Lewis responded to assist and were on scene by 12:30 p.m. When the hiker was located, she was with fire department personnel and her leg had been stabilized by EMS. A vertical technical rope rescue was set up to haul her up to a ledge. Once the woman was up on the ledge, she was carried to the trailhead by Forest Rangers and emergency personnel. The hiker was loaded into a waiting ambulance at 2:45 p.m. and transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3:15 p.m.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Special meeting planned for Golf Course Rd

LPTB Aug 5 2019

Special meeting planned for Golf Course Rd.
By Pete Klein
LAKE PLEASANT—When the Lake Pleasant Town Board met on Aug 5, the town board agreed to invite the deeded right of way owners, new owners of 175 Golf Course Road and the new owner of the former Intemann property to a special meeting.
Councilperson Nancy Seifts proposed the following resolution: Be it resolved until such time as the Town of Lake Pleasant no longer owns the Right of Way at 175 Golf Course Road, the property owners with a deeded Right of Way over this property must abide by the terms of their deed and the Town signage pertaining to this property. Be if further resolved that personal property must be removed within 30 days, or it will be removed by the Town of Lake Pleasant.
Robert Peck 2nd so the resolution could come to the floor.
Councilperson Seifts feels it is a liability issue and that people are ignoring the Town sign, Councilperson Christine Meixner agreed with Seifts.
Councilperson Meixner moved to table the Resolution until the next Town Board meeting on August 19, 2019.
Town Supervisor Dan Wilt will send a letter to the ROW owners about the Special meeting that will take place before the regular Town Board meeting.
The board approved.
Highway Superintendent Randy Lavarnway reported the brush pile in Speculator has been chipped. This was done in one day, so there is a large pile of chips if anyone wants them.
His crew has been working on Long View Drive getting ready to pave. Black top is not for another 2-3 weeks. The Crew has also been ditching Gilmantown Road with the rented excavator equipment. The last air-conditioner in the Primary Care has been updated so all three conditioners have been done.
Lavarnway is waiting on permits to extend the parking lot at Perkins Clearing. Randy received the snowmobile map from Lyme that has a bypass trail around Carpenter Hill. The Town and DEC will be reviewing this.
Councilperson Seifts asked if there could be something done about the sidewalks in front of the Town Municipal Center.
Lavarnway doesn’t know if there is money in the budget, he will look. Councilperson Seifts feels there is a liability issue.
The new tandem truck is going back to the dealer under warranty to do some minor body work and details that were missed at the dealership.
Supervisor Wilt asked the Board if they were interested in a local law requiring septic systems to be inspected before a property is sold between the owner and buyer. The Town of Inlet has a local law.  Supervisor Wilt will get a copy of the Town of Inlets local law. Councilperson Meixner was familiar with Inlet’s local law and that it has been effective in addressing septic issues. Lake Pleasant Zoning Officer Bob Benkovich thinks it a good idea especially in keeping our lakes clean. Bob Benkovich said the septic service firms would to the inspections and a copy would be sent to the Town.
There was an email sent from Chris Turner asking the Town to pay for a new UV light for his water system. After much discussion the Board felt that they are only liable for the salt removal from the water system not the removal of bacteria.
The board agreed that the town is liable for the r/o systems only and turner’s bulb was not part of the salt removal system.
The board passed a resolution stating the board will not pay for the UV light at requested by Chris Turner as it is not part of the R/O system that removes the sodium chloride from their water.
The 2019 2nd Quarterly report was handed out by Donna Benkovich Director of Adirondack Speculator Region Chamber of Commerce. Donna also attached copies of the ads that were printed for various activities in the area.
Councilperson Meixner commended Donna on her expertise and energy; she is an asset to the Chamber.
The Board agreed to send someone to a Cyber Security seminar that is be given by NYMIR Aug 21 from 9-11 a.m. in Johnstown Supervisor Wilt will see if Account Clerk Kathy Aird will attend.
Joy Eliezer, who owns a deeded ROW to 175 Golf Course Rd., wants the property closed to all who do not have deeded ROW’s. She feels that she and other ROW holders are pay double taxes on the ROW property. She would like a sign saying, “For Use by ROW Owners Only.”
Councilperson Meixner feels it was an oversight by the previous Board decision to “No Trespassing” to be added. Superintendent Lavarnway does not think the Town can forbid trespassing on land it owns. Supervisor Wilt will investigate this further by contacting the legal firm that originally did the wording.
ROW owner Stephanie Smith, speaking for some of the ROW owners that want to acquire the property, said she agreed there are canoes and other stuff on the ROW that no one knows who owns them.
ROW owner Ed Schwann said his deeded ROW no longer feels the ROW adds value to his property so his property taxes should go down.
Neil McGovern feels the ROW should be in executive session with an attorney for the Town present. McGovern also feels the septic local law is way overdue. He asked Supervisor Wilt if the County is acting on his proposal to stop health insurance for all County officials including the 9 Supervisors.
Supervisor Wilt said it had been tabled. Neil McGovern said the Town Board should put the Town paid health insurance back in the 2020 budget if the County decides to do away with it.
Robert Hoffman said that the Town Museum had had 25 visitors one day between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and that the book “The Quiet Years” by Minnie Patterson Stanyon has been reprinted. William Paestella said the septic system inspections are a good idea and asked Supervisor Wilt to send the information to the Village Mayor.
Assemblyman Robert Smullen was present to let the public know the NYS Assembly is in session from January to June and from July to December he will be getting out to all the different towns in the district. If anyone wants to talk to him, he has an office in Johnstown, Herkimer and Albany.
Town Clerk Deborah O’Rourke reported Town employees were given a sexual harassment and discrimination training on Thursday.
Councilperson Cris Meixner asked if the Town has hired an auditor yet. There has been no quote yet but hopefully by the next meeting they should have someone.
Betsy Bain asked Donna Benkovich how much money was raised at the memorial service for Genevieve Zeiser; she believes that $600 went to Speculator Ambulance, $600 to Mountain Valley Hospice and $450 to Albany Medical Center’s Anatomical Gift Program.
Lavarnway said there were complaints from some people because the garbage pickup was changed a little due to training that was being given in the afternoon. The recyclable paper says that all garbage should be put out by 7 a.m. People are still putting garbage out in black bags and recyclables need to be separated. Lavarnway would like to see the Town go to a Single stream system so much easier for everyone.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes of Deborah O’Rourke, Town Clerk.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Roads and parking dominate Inlet meeting

Inlet TB August 13 2019

Roads and parking dominate Inlet meeting
By Pete Klein
When the Inlet Town Board met on August 13, all things regarding roads and traffic were high on the agenda.
Highway Superintendent Hansen reported on the numerous projects/work being done in town. He stated that they hauled and spread gravel in the Moose River Plains (MRP), chip sealed Uncas Road, installed culverts, work done on end of Limekiln Lake Road, MRP to the Rock Dam is open, graded Evans Road, Gilbert Road and Uncas Road. He thanked Heather and Jerry Levi and the Marina for use of the trailer and ramp.
Hansen had contacted the State regarding changing some of the numerous crosshatch spots through town. Nothing can be changed per federal guidelines.
Supervisor John Frey added that many have asked about the possibility of more crosswalks through town. It has been investigated and for the flow of traffic, no additional crosswalks can be added at this time.
Peggy Brownell asked about extending town parking lot because of the parking issues in town. That is still being discussed, in addition to someone securing the lot in front of The Wood’s Inn to secure more public parking.  Discussion regarding parking issues followed.
Frey read a letter from the DOT stating that they performed the requested speed study on Uncas Road and because of the road being dirt/loose gravel in part, they will not post a speed limit at all because the limit may still be considered unsafe.
Hansen stated that more work will be done in MRP, they will assist Parks with the new roof on the town hall, install a culvert in the turn around on Gilbert Road and numerous other projects are scheduled before winter.
There have been many issues still with too many people parking on Sixth Lake Road, causing congestion.
Councilman Townsend made a MOTION to pass the resolution read by Supervisor Frey prohibiting parking trailers on Sixth Lake Road.
The motion was approved.
Supervisor Frey added that trailer parking is permitted in Fern Park. Superintendent Hansen will secure more signs making the parking regulation clear.
Peter Funk reported that a resident had dialed 411 in Eagle Bay to determine transfer station that would serve him, and it told him the Inlet Transfer Station.  We will investigate this issue.
Hours for transfer station are still 9-6 closed for lunch from 12-1, open 7 days a week. After Labor Day, we will go back to a staff of 2.
Received the new 30-yard container
Superintendent Hansen added what a great job the employees have been doing at the recycling center, members of the public concurred.
Chief Ron Johnston spoke regarding comments/complaints that parking tickets need to be written. He explained his officers have been diligent about writing parking tickets and are writing many. He added that he would really appreciate a phone call to the police department with any complaints/concerns regarding public safety or police presence. Chief Johnston added that he would appreciate the communication through his office, rather than on social media. He understands the frustrations and they are doing their best not to scare off tourism by writing everyone an infraction, but certainly wants to have presence for public safety.
If you have any issues for the police department, please call 315-357-6699 and he will be happy to discuss your concerns.
Peggy Brownell asked why an officer drove by a tractor trailer parked halfway in the road. Chief Johnston explained that oftentimes they are responded to a call or complaint and cannot write a ticket at that time.
Supervisor Frey added that he has asked employees to not post negative comments on social media.
Codes/Zoning Officer Aimee VanWie reported that the new boat storage building on Corr Road was approved and met all requirements. There were concerns about the increase in traffic and use of that road. It will be seasonal increases and measures are being taken to not cause damage to the road for residents further down.
The master plan is about finished and should be ready for a public hearing regarding the changes on September 10 at 7:45 pm.
Councilman Brownsell made a motion to hold a public hearing regarding the master plan on September 10 at 7:45 pm.
The motion was approved.
Supervisor Frey would like to thank everyone involved in the hard work on the Master Plan. The Master Plan is available on the Town of Inlet Govt website.  Gary Zawatski added that he thinks that the new items of the Master Plan should be in bold or highlighted so the public can find what changes are proposed.  Councilman Brownsell stated that he would really like to see us discuss and consider some type of light pollution ordinance.
C&S and Hamilton County still doing studies and research to file for an APA permit to get any height above the 90 ft tower currently being proposed. The APA will never give permission for a 200 ft. tower, but anything we can get above 90 is desired.  Looking to have engineers put the proposed towers in pictures to file for the permit. 
CAP 21
6th LAKE BOAT DOCK - Working on getting plans and 3 bids to submit to the NYS Comptroller’s office for approval to submit to DEC for new dock design.
Town Clerk Yvonne Lutz read a Thank You Card from CTS for our continued support, read a letter from Erik Grimm thanking the Town for the new tree in Fern Park in memory of his mother, a letter from John Kalil with his agenda for the flag raising ceremony for the town flag in memory of Peter Kalil, Sr.  and a letter from FCLA asking for continued support.
Frey reported on the need to obtain more info regarding the metes and bounds of Gilbert Road and need to update our abstract for the land swap with David Corisanti, at a cost of about $700.
The well driller stated that the casing on the current well is acceptable and will do what is needed to get a well certification for the DOH
It was reported the town is moving forward with material and replacing a portion of the Town Hall roof that is needed.
Gary Zawatski recommended that we have signage that states we have overflow parking at Fern Park available.  Peggy Brownell stated she would love to see a Farmers Market/Flea Market at Fern Park.  Supervisor Frey stated that residents should attend the Fern Park committee meetings, which discusses future ideas of the park. 
Peggy Brownell asked about a fencing off the problem area, just as she has seen it done in Stillwater.  Councilman Levi asked if we could obtain a nuisance trapper.
Peggy Brownell asked how we are moving forward on the Townsend Trail. We are still looking to secure two easements beyond Deerwoods Drive. She asked how far we can go at this point and Superintendent Hansen answered that we are working on securing easements and waiting for paving to be completed.
Supervisor Frey thanked Peggy Brownell for her information on the South Inlet bridge. The State still has the work slated and is a $6.7 Million project. Supervisor Frey mentioned that the topcoat is supposed to be done by the end of August and at that time, should know if they extend the culvert at Bottle Creek. Superintendent Hansen has reached out to DOT to discuss the culvert extensions.
After holding an executive session, a motion was made by Councilman Townsend that there will be no food or drink (except water) permitted in the meeting room, SECONDED by Councilman Levi
The motion carried.
The Senior Room can be used if needed for food and beverage.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes of Yvonne Lutz, Town Clerk.

Grants help improve emergency communications

Supervisors August 26 2019

Grants help improve emergency communications
By Pete Klein
LAKE PLEASANT—The Hamilton County Board of Supervisor met in special session on August 26 to consider two resolutions regarding emergency communications. One would authorize the purchase of equipment for Interoperability Project – SI16-1005-D00 and the other would authorize an application for the 2019 Statewide Interoperable Communications Formula Based Grant.
WHEREAS, Hamilton County has received a grant from New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) in the amount of $471,640 contract C198644, for communications interoperability, and
WHEREAS, one phase of the communications project is to establish a simulcast dispatch system with dedicated frequencies for Sheriff, Fire and EMS, and
WHEREAS, working in conjunction with the consultant, C&S Companies, Hamilton County Office of Emergency Services has received a quote from Eastern Communications, LTD/Capital Digitronics under NYS Contracts PT67040 and PT67542 in the amount of $323,489.60 covering the required equipment, antennas, installation, training, 7 year service/maintenance plan, and
WHEREAS, this purchase is for the existing Lake Pleasant, Oak Mountain, and Blue Mountain communications sites, and
WHEREAS, the current NYS contract for Harris equipment expires at midnight on August 26, 2019, and the next contract has not yet been put in place, therefore, be it RESOLVED, that the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors authorize the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Services, in conjunction with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, to submit a Purchase Order to Capital Digitronics, Albany NY, with $323,489.60 to be charged to Account No. A3645.0419 SI16-1005-D00 through the County audit process upon receipt of the equipment, and the Treasurer be so notified.
The resolution was approved
WHEREAS, the Hamilton County Sheriff and the Hamilton County Director of Emergency Services recommends the County apply for the 2019 Statewide Interoperable Communications Formula Based Grant for Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office communications upgrades, amount to be determined by the NY State Office of Interoperable Communication at the time of award, be it
RESOLVED, that the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors hereby authorizes the Hamilton County Director of Emergency Services to complete and submit said grant application by the deadline of September 9, 2019.
The board approved the resolution.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wells Central School accepts fuel bids

Wells Central School Board of Education Meeting August 21, 2019

Wells Central School accepts fuel bids
By Pete Klein
WELLS—The Wells Central School Board of Education met on August 21 and accepted fuel bids as follows.
The board accepted the bid of $1.985 p/gal for No. 2 Fuel Oil, in the amount of $1.925 p/gal with a differential of $.06 from GA Bove and sons. The motion was made by Dorman Reese, seconded by Ken Hoffman, and carried 5-0.
The board accepted the bid of $2.141 p/gal for low grade gasoline, in the amount of $1.891 p/gal with a differential of $.25 from GA Bove and sons. The motion was made by Dorman Reese, seconded by Rachel Lauria, and carried 5-0.
Superintendent Thomas Sincavage reported the Capital Project will be getting an evaluation from National Grid regarding the transformer. Paperwork has been filled and hopefully they will come out soon to do their assessment. He is hoping that the project will be out to bid in the next week.
The Harvard Proving Ground Grant conferences are coming up and Sincavage reported the district will send him to a Statewide Conference in Syracuse in October and then to the National Conference in March.
Sincavage presented the Title I Parent Meeting which is a schoolwide program that the district receives grant funds. The grant is used to help fund salaries and benefits for two special education teachers. He provided the school district parental involvement policy, discussed the assessment and progress programs currently in place, along with the various methods of communication that the school district uses to reach parents. This is in place to work collaboratively with parents and students to get the best possible results for our children.
Jessica Damphier listed the enrollment at 147. However, there were six new students enrolled in the past few weeks, bringing the current enrollment to 153.
The Wells Central School Board of Education received a letter from the Wells Seniors requesting a bus on September 11 for a trip to Warrensburg to attend the Warren-Hamilton County Senior Picnic. The motion was made to approve by Dorman Reese, seconded by Rachel Lauria, and carried 5-0.
There was a comment from a guest regarding the Wells Senior trip to the Warrensburg that the picnic also included booths about health and services that the Office of the Aging offers seniors. The guest also commented that sex trafficking has been in the news lately and they suggested that sex trafficking education/awareness be taught in the schools since, it has become an epidemic.
Sincavage noted the sexual harassment education is done and he would see where awareness could be incorporated.
The board approved the 2019/2020 Tax Rate as follows: Arietta: 10.892753, Hope: 11.712638, Lake Pleasant: 10.892753, and Wells: 11.712638. The motion was made by William Stuart, seconded by Dorman Reese, and carried 5-0.
The Wells Central School Board of Education approved the 2019/2020 Tax Warrant as presented. (Each Board member in attendance signed the warrant). The motion was made by Dorman Reese, seconded by Ken Hoffman, and carried 5-0.
The board approved the following tuition to be charged to the Lake Pleasant SD for students who choose Wells as their high school: $7,000 for students in grades 9-12 who attend full days in the Wells school building; $2,333 for students in grades 9-12 who attend a full time BOCES program or FMCC as an early admission student. The motion was made by Ken Hoffman, seconded by William Stuart, and carried 5-0.
The board adopted the updated Board of Education Code of Conduct and DASA Policy on preventing discrimination based on hair style or other race related traits. The motion was made by Ken Hoffman, seconded by Dorman Reese, and carried 5-0.
The board approved the 2019/2020 Student Handbook as presented. The motion was made by Rachel Lauria, seconded by Ken Hoffman, and carried 5- 0.
The board approved the 2019/2020 Faculty Handbook as presented. The motion was made by Dorman Reese, seconded by William Stuart, and carried 5-0.
The board approved the Emergency Response Plan, as presented. The motion was made by Dorman Reese, seconded by Rachel Lauria, and carried 5-0.
The board approved the updated Mentor Teacher Program as written and proved by Susan Chittenden, Mentoring Coordinator. The motion was made by Rachel Lauria, seconded by William Stuart, and carried 5-0.
The board reviewed the Calendar of Events.
The board approved the 2019/2020 List of Substitutes as presented. The motion was made by William Stuart, seconded by Rachel Lauria, and carried 5- 0.
The board appointed Mark Ellis as Clerk of the Works for the upcoming building project, subject to agreement upon the terms of such appointment and execution of a contract between the parties. The motion was made by Ken Hoffman, seconded by William Stuart, and carried 5-0.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes as provided by District Clerk Rachelle Dwyer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Indian Lake Central makes repairs and plans for more

ILCS BOE Aug 20 2019

Indian Lake Central makes repairs and plans for more

INDIAN LAKE—The Indian Lake Central School Board of Education met on August 20 made ready for the new school year by starting with holding a public hearing to use repair reserve funds for expenditures on parking lot and tennis court repairs that took place this summer.
Without any objections from the public, the board approved spending up to $25,000 for repairs done to the Crow Hill parking lot, which was done through shared services with the Town of Indian Lake.
Superintendent/Principal Dave Snide said, “We believe that it will be less than $25,000. We were responsible for paying for the materials and the rental of the machine.
Snide also reported on the following.
Concerning the proposed building project - Roof, Windows, Remaining Asbestos Abatement - The total for the project is $2,488, 613 which includes the following potential items are three items - Resurface Roof Coating (20 Year Warranty), Replace Roof Fascia on 1935 Building, Replace Roof Ladders, Abate Basement/Crawlspace, Replace All Exterior Windows, Reconstruct Classroom Ceiling Window and Reconstruct Classroom Ceiling (Two Phases).
The full project has a tax impact of $14/$100,000. The project has two levels of priorities.
Snide said, “Although none of the items are in the luxury category, the board is looking at cutting some of the items to potentially doing some of the items at a different time in order to cut down the cost of the project.
“Although the roof is in pretty good shape, we are past the warranty date. It doesn't need to be a total replacement right now, so we are able to use a coating method that has been proven and has been used locally on schools. The windows have seen their life expectancy with issues with windows not being able to stay open to not being able to open them due to the ballasts needing to be replaced at a significant cost.
“So, again, there is nothing romantic about the potential project, it is necessary to preserve the building and keep the kids safe.”
Snide also reported soccer is underway with all four teams.
The board approved the Tax Rate resolution for 2019-20: The Board of Education of the Indian Lake Central School has been authorized by the voters at the Special Meeting held on May 14, 2019 to expend the sum of $6,705,567 for the 2019-20 school year.
The board approved the Bus lease agreement with the Town of Indian Lake.
The board approved the bus maintenance agreement with Minerva CSD.
Shop labor will be billed to Minerva at the rate of $40.00 per hour for mechanic and at the rate of $30.00 per hour for a helper when needed.
The board approved the Parent/Teacher Handbook for 2019-20.
The board approved the Code of Conduct for 2019-20.
The board approved the AIS (Academic Interventional Services).
The board approved the following fundraisers: 9th grade Pizza Sales (Fall), 10th grade Pizza Sales (Fall), 11th grade Pizza Sales (Spring), 12th grade Pizza Sale (Spring).
Typically, each class provides concessions at a basketball game.
The Travel Club should provide a minimum of five fundraisers/year including Tricky Tray. Possible Fundraisers: Magazine Sales, Winter Festival Dinner, Circus, Budget Vote Dinner, Antique Show Concessions, Yankee Candle Sales, Concession-Basketball Games, Citrus/ Flower Sales, Superbowl Subs, Antique Show, Flower Sales.
The board approved the District Safety Plan.
The board approved setting tuition for out of district student Tuition of Out of District Students at $2,000.
The board approved the claims audit for June 1-30, 2019 and July 1-31, 2019.

Smokey the Bear visits Hamilton County

Smokey the Bear visits Hamilton County

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE--On August 14, Forest Ranger Jason Scott and Smokey Bear visited the Adirondack Museum to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday.
Ranger Scott and Smokey Bear spent the evening with visitors from throughout the United States and demonstrated to young and old alike how quickly a fire can spread when left unattended. This stop was one several events being held throughout the state to celebrate 75 years since the 1944 launch of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign, the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history, with a message for everyone about how “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”

Tedisco attacks Cuomo and DMV

NY DMV New License Plate Tax

Tedisco attacks Cuomo and DMV


On August 20, Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) called on the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to revoke its new $25 license plate tax on motorists.

The DMV HAS announced plans to replace the existing blue-white and gold license plates with new plates starting in April 2020. Motorists will have to pay a $25 license plate replacement fee on top of their existing registration renewal fees. If you want to keep your current license plate number, you will also have to pay an additional $20 fee.

“I don’t have an issue with updating the design of New York’s license plates or replacing the plates that are peeling, but taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the inferior product that the state has produced. The state’s new $25 ‘license plate replacement fee’ and the $20 fee for people to keep their current license plate number is the latest example of the nickel and diming of taxpayers. It’s no wonder that New York State is consistently ranked number one for highest taxes in the nation, first for places where millennials are fleeing from, and atop the list as one of the worst places to retire,” said Senator Jim Tedisco.

“More than 189,000 people escaped from New York over the last year and one million over the past decade. These new DMV plate fees will certainly accomplish one goal: getting more New Yorkers to hit the road – permanently!” said Tedisco.

“New York is known as the ‘Empire State’ and its slogan, as the new license plate design shows, is ‘Excelsior’ or ‘ever upward,’ but we soon may be known as the ‘Empty State’ for ‘ever higher taxes and fees.’ The DMV should revoke this license plate tax scheme now!” said Tedisco.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Long Lake Central readies for new school year

LLCS BOE August 13, 2019

Long Lake Central readies for new school year
By Pete Klein
Superintendent's Update
The Long Lake Central School Board of Education meeting held on October 11 2918 Superintendent Noelle Short spoke to the board about the Five-Year Facilities Plan. All items on the Scope of Work prepared by Mosaic Associates were discussed, including tennis court replacement, security upgrades, and infrastructure repairs.
When the Board met on August 13, Shortt provided the board with a Mosaic’s timeline for the project.
The timeline shows Mosaic estimating the State Education Department will give its approval sometime this fall, followed by bidding on the project in May, 2020, start work on the project in June 2020, with completion sometime by the summer of 2021 at the latest.
Short also reported mental health services will be available for students, starting September 10.
First day of school is set for Wednesday, Sept. 4.
The board ruled on the following items presented to it at the meeting.
The board approved an update of the Code of Conduct.
The board approved a Policy Statement for Free and Reduced-Price Meals or Free Milk for 2019-2020 School Year.
The board approved the Tax Warrant for 2019-2020 School Year.
The board approved that Any Certified Coach from Long Lake CSD or Indian Lake CSD to Substitute Coach on an Emergency Basis.
The board approved to Rescind the June 13, 2019 Appointment of Hayden LaMere as Long-Term Substitute Effective July 25,2019.
The board approved the 2019-2020 District Wide Safety Plan.
The board approved Dana Goetze as Athletic Coordinator.
The board approved Chris Sass as Technology Coordinator.
The board approved Heather Kilpatrick as K-12 Teachers Aide.
The board approved Michele Gannon as 2019-2020 Yearbook Advisor.
The board approved Kristin Delehanty as 2019-2020 Elementary Soccer Coach.
The board approved Carey Pooler as 2019-2020 Arts and Education Coordinator.
Emily Farr was approved as a substitute teacher. Eric Knox was not.
The board decided to pay $100 per day to all certified teachers, including those certified in other states.
The board reviewed the School Safety Plans.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Dusty roads hot topic in Hope

Hope TB Aug 12 2019

Dusty roads hot topic in Hope
By Pete Klein
When the Hope Town Board met on August 12, resident Colin Hershey addressed the board with a concern regarding the condition of River Road. He stated his family has multiple residents at the location well known as Hearts Delight. They have been there since 1891. He went on to say the Pitbladdo family has always had a very good relationship with the community and Town of Hope. He said his family has watched almost all roads in the Town of Hope get paved, except the River Road. He said it is very dusty and the dust rolls in and covers their homes. He would like to know the cost to pave the road and if it is possible that it can be done.
Town Supervisor Steven Tomlinson stated the project is very expensive and funds are not available. Highway Superintendent Zachary Colson gave the breakdown of the cost quote he obtained. He states that cost to be estimated at almost $200,000 for about 1 mile of road. Councilperson Mark Stuart asked what the town could do and what has it done in the past for dust control. Colson stated he obtained Calcium from Hamilton County Highway Department and put that down today. He said this was normal practice in the past as well. He stated this should hold up for about one month.
Resident Allen Dunham asked if crushed stone would help. Councilperson John Stuart, Jr. added that the crushed stone, over the years, has broken down into the dust that is present today. Causes of this are raking, traffic and sunlight, all things that are present as part of normal road maintenance.
Resident Gladys Pitbladdo said the town board told her husband that they wanted to pave it a few years ago. She would like to know what has changed. She went on to add that the dust is bad for those with asthma. As far as maintenance, she said her family must go out and hand pick the stones off the lawn every spring from where the plow pushed them up into their yards. She stated that her family is willing to help with any grants if there are any available.
Supervisor Tomlinson and Superintendent Colson both explained that CHIPS money has decreased over the years and that just to pave a one mile stretch of road, would cost half of the town budget for a year. They went to talk about priority projects, such as a current emergent one on the River Road not too far from the Pitbladdo residence. There is a major washout and the town is working with Hamilton County to find a way to get the money for that project.
There was further discussion on this, and it ended with Supervisor Tomlinson telling the Pitbladdo family that he appreciates their presence and he has heard their concerns. He advises he really is trying to find a better solution to fix the River Road. He has some phone calls out and some people to talk with and he will keep them apprised as to the outcome of those further discussions.
Resident Ron Batcher asked who he must contact to get his address to appear correctly on GPS. After some tabletop discussion, he was advised to contact the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and the Postal Service. They may be able to further assist him.
Highway Superintendent Zachery Colson presented the board with his written reports as follows: “We paved the topcoat on the section of Creek Road that we did the full depth reclamation on last year.
“With the help of the county we ditched the whole Scribner Hill Road. Now we are going to put a couple of under drains in and grade the road to get the water to shed of properly. We have graded all the other roads.
“I rented a man lift and we will be using it to cut brush over the next month.
“I ordered the dumpster for the Transfer Station. We will be picking it up in a few weeks.
“We ordered all the new picnic tables for the pavilion and assembled them. They are in place for use now.”
Councilperson Mark Stuart asked if anyone talked to Tracey Eldredge regarding the Solid Waste Grant that will pay for half of the dumpster.
Supervisor Tomlinson stated he already did and has given him the Preliminary Copy of the bill.
Superintendent Colson also added that he had just found out that Northville Central School may need to use the field at the pavilion again this year. If so, more clay needs to put down and he said the Highway Department would help again. He just needs an answer from Leslie Ford. Councilperson Dianna Downing will reach out to her and find out what is going on and get an answer.
Code Enforcer Mike Stewart reported on the following: “I made multiple inspections at property owner Dennis Lynch’s of 860 NYS RTE 30 regarding trash, junk and junk vehicles. The property has made much progress toward substantial compliance. There remains an RV that was legal to have on the property but is being removed and has been pulled out of the woods for pickup and a pile of scrap metal that was collected and piled for pick up. The two converted buses there, are registered and therefore are allowed and there is one unlicensed vehicle that is permitted under the law. I expect completion of the clean up within two weeks.
“I have been continuing to talk with the Reffitt’s of 323 Hope Falls Road and am waiting to hear from their contractor regarding a ramp and bathroom modifications.
“I issued a permit to John Pertell for an addition and alterations being made at 639 NYS Rte. 30.
“I conducted a final inspection for a CO at Ron Batcher’s new house on
NYS Rte. 30 – a few items remain to be completed.
“I conducted a fire safety inspection at the Alpine Inn.
“I have been inspecting the foundation for the Vandenberg house on Rice Rd.”
Town Clerk Jill Dunham passed around a list of items needed for the upcoming 4th Annual Town Picnic and what she needs to be received by town board members. She handed Superintendent Colson about 100 Town Picnic flyers to hand out at the Transfer Station over the next few weeks. The picnic will take place on Sunday, September 15, 2019 from Noon until 4 PM. Ms. Dunham also advised that she will be collecting donations to raffle as prizes at the picnic this year. Donations can be dropped off at the town hall on Wednesday evenings.
Supervisor Tomlinson will be having a meeting with Fire Chief Peter Robinson on the building project. They have an engineering coming in. Once on paper, Supervisor Tomlinson will present it to the town board.
Jill Dunham stated that on Saturday August 10, she came to the town hall to do some work at 10:30 in the morning and found it wide open. The door was unlocked an open. The lights were all on and her office was unlocked and opened as well. After asking everyone present, she would like someone to ask if it was the judge or his court clerk and address the reason for concern as to why this can’t happen. There are cameras around the building, but no footage is available. The cameras stopped working after the last storm. Supervisor Tomlinson was aware of this and he will call someone to fix them.
Barbara Horton (formerly known as Barbara Wadsworth) called, inquiring if she can sell cemetery plots. Jill advised she could. Ms. Horton was given two plots (hers and her daughters) in a settlement of divorce. There were three plots in the original deed. However, all that is on record is a deed with no money transfer attached to a copy of the divorce decree stating that these two plots were to go to Ms. Horton. The town board advises that they are interested in buying these plots back and will do so by purchasing them for the price of today’s plot, which is
$100 per plot. Jill will reach out to Ms. Horton to advise her of this offer.
Supervisor Tomlinson states he has talked to Tracey Eldredge, Hamilton County Highway Superintendent, about how we increase CHIPS money. He states Tracey said they are willing to give back Bennett Road to the town. Superintendent Colson will look at the numbers with Supervisor Tomlinson as to if this would be a benefit to the town or not.
Supervisor Tomlinson handed out the 202 Budget Request Forms to all town board members. He stated that over the next two weeks he will be plugging numbers in for the 2020 budget to prepare for a public hearing.
Councilperson John Stuart Jr. – Councilperson John Stuart Jr. stated that he received a couple of compliments about the work done on Creek Road. Everyone that called said it looked nice. He also states he would like to see a Garden Club started. Town Clerk Jill Dunham will investigate starting one and see if she can interest from more folks in town.
Councilperson Dianna Downing asked if anyone knew if Hamilton County was going to fix the sides of the roads in Hope Falls. Superintendent Colson will see if the town guys can do it and then get reimbursed by the county.
Councilperson William Witts states everything is fine at the Recycling Center and Court.
Town Clerk Jill Dunham asked when the new Welcome to Hope signs would be coming.
Superintendent Colson states he is waiting for a response from NYS as to whether they can be placed where he would like to put them.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon meeting minutes provided by Town Clerk Jill Dunham.

Wells plans for hydro plant work

Wells TB July 8 2019.

Wells plans for hydro plant work
By Pete Klein
At the July 8 meeting of the Wells Town Board, Supervisor Donald Beach reviewed cost and duration of estimates from Adirondack Mechanical Services, LLC, Gansevoort, at the Hydro Plant to disassemble, inspect wear parts, replace seal material and clean remaining parts for 1.
Existing Hydraulic Power Units (HPU) only and Existing HPU and turbine components. The proposal include labor, procurement of material, lifts, equipment and tools to complete the work.
HPU Only Pricing $5,766. HPU Turbine Components $24,947.
A complete cleaning is recommended every 5 to 6 years for the safety of the plant. The last time full maintenance was done was in 2005. Councilperson Saltis feels that FERC will require this for the re-licensing, and we should look to include in next year’s budget.
Beach reported on the Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant for June 2019. Revenues totaled $14,354.38; expenditures totaled $199.76.
Councilperson Andrew Lauria questioned why there is such a high balance in the checking account, shouldn’t funds be in the Money Market earning a higher rate of interest. Supervisor Beach said the interest rate is the same for the checking and money market and it’s easier for him to manage the money going into one account. Councilperson Lauria would like to know what the interest rate is in both accounts.
The Board reviewed the Building Code Enforcement Officer’s report for June 2019. Mike McElroy gave each Board Member his letter of resignation effective September 30, 2019.
Highway Superintendent Clay Earley reported that Craig Rd. paving is almost complete. Due to National Grid working on the Windfall, it has delayed the paving work to be done there.
Councilperson Tim Hunt asked about the pond at the lower end of Town. Supervisor Beach explained that in 2017 it was dug up for the purpose of finding a culvert which could not be located. It was left open and in 2018 the property owner filled it in. Beach would now like to purchase a new 100 ft. 15-inch culvert at a cost of $659 and three couplings at $6.59 each. The County will let us use their small excavator. Early added it will take about two weeks to order the culvert. The Board agreed to move forward with the project.
Hunt asked about problems with the magnetic switch at the dam. Beach explained it is tripping after he and Dave Brenan inspected the problems. He has taken pictures and forwarded them to the electrical contractor, Rob Simpson who will order parts and do the necessary repairs.
Councilperson Vanessa Saltis reported the Summer Rec is in its second week. During the first week, 31 to 34 children attended and the second week with slightly less due to a basketball camp in Speculator. Some activities planned are visiting the Historical Society Museum and Perry Lanes. Swimming lessons will begin this Friday from 1 to 3 and a second afternoon may be added if there are enough participants.
Councilperson Andrew Lauria reported on moving ahead on what’s best for our Lake as the first organizational meeting of the group formed should take place before the next board meeting.
Councilperson Bill Stuart said new outlets have been installed in the pavilion. He has received good reports regarding this year’s lifeguards and the geese are less of an issue this year. Supervisor Beach added the ribbon/strip that is set up along the shoreline is working well to keep the geese off the beach.
Jean Frederick asked if there were certain requirements for individuals running for Town Supervisor. Beach said as far as he knew, anyone could run for Supervisor. She then asked if other Towns had requirements and if so, could we. Councilperson Lauria added that Towns do have the right to define requirements for their elected positions but would require a referendum and public vote. Currently the State Public Officers Law has no requirements.
Marlene Rust said if a person is convicted of a misdemeanor, they may not be able to hold the Office of District Attorney.
Marlene Rust said a pontoon boat has been parked at the beach for over a week. Kids have been seen on it and she feels if something happens the Town will be liable. Supervisor Beach knows the owner who lost their dock and will speak to the them and ask that it be removed.
Holly Hite said we cannot choose to ignore the State Law where a motorized watercraft cannot be within 100 feet of a designated swimming area which clearly the Town beach is.
Keith Lauria introduced himself as a representative of the Fire Company and asked for help regarding the dry hydrants that aren’t working. Is it a Water Department issue? Supervisor Beach will tell George Paige that the dry hydrant by the dam is a priority and needs to be fixed. Keith offered manpower from the Fire Company if needed, Superintendent Earley said his crew can assist if needed. Councilperson Hunt asked if that’s the only one not working, the one in front of the Welch residence. Supervisor Beach said that is working at a minimum and should be replaced also.
Vince Abbott-Forgione would like to know the entire costs of the dam repairs recently done by Herm Busse as it does not seem to be listed in the monthly Hydro Report. Supervisor Beach said he could not to give him an accurate number right now, but it is under disbursements in the General Fund and he will get back to him with that number. Councilperson Saltis believes it not one bill but multiple. Supervisor Beach said that is the case and he will need to go back to the individual invoices and add them up.
Roy Grisenthwaite commented that for 6 months income on the dam is approximately $71,000 plus and therefore should finish the year at approximately $142,000 plus. He suggested a dedicated fund to report repairs and expenses. Supervisor Beach explained there is a separate line item in the budget under the General Fund.
Dee Parker recalled 25 to 30 years ago when the dam became operational the Town Board decided it would be part of the general fund to help keep taxes down.
Rebekah Crewell thanked Superintendent Earley and the Highway Department for the new sand at the beach. She was recently at the Speculator Town Beach which was a nice experience but how proud she is that Wells Town Beach is much nicer.
She said she is hearing scuttlebutt, gossip that the Board may have concerns regarding the Towns finances and budget. At what point would the Board talk about this publicly or in Executive Session. Councilperson Lauria responded that the budget and financials are all public information. Executive Sessions are typically held for employee related issues. There are checks and balances currently in place and Jen Woodward did a great job explaining the error with last month’s abstract. Supervisor Beach explained that he pulled a report sooner than he should have that caused the error on the abstract. He sees no problem with the current finances. He filed the annual AUD report in March after receiving an extension from the Comptroller’s office and has not received an email that anything is incorrect. He added it’s a learning process. Councilperson Lauria reviewed the AUD just last week and Don and Jen were able to answer questions he had. Crewell asked if the State or an Attorney has been contacted to complete an audit. No, that is not the case. Councilperson Lauria said an option is for the Board to contact the Comptroller’s Office requesting an audit as a proactive measure. Supervisor Beach suggested if that is what the Board wants, they should request the audit beginning from the time the last audit was done. He also added the fact that he is glad he ran for the supervisor’s office and has decided not to seek reelection due to health issues only.
Highway Superintendent Earley suggested the Supervisor prepare a quarterly/year to date financial report compared against the budget for next month’s meeting. Supervisor Beach said he would do that.
John Margies wanted to clarify the State Comptroller’s office has not come to the Town to require an audit.
Betty Lou Orr commented on the fact that she went to the dump last Saturday and everything was full. She went back Sunday, and everything was emptied and is thanking the Town for that.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes of Town Clerk Maryellen Stofelano.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Speculator plans fresh start for fiscal data

Speculator VB July 22 2019

Speculator plans fresh start for fiscal data
By Pete Klein
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on July 22,
Business Manager-Deputy Clerk Claire Craven reported that at this time she had no indication there was anything untoward regarding overall village expenditures and receipts; however, when anyone performs a job for over 30 years they have unique processes and make multiple entries and notes that only they would need to understand, given they were the only one that looked at the data.
After two months of rechecking every manual ledger back to June of 2018 to try and follow all the notes and work within the multiple pathways of transfers between general, sewer, water and trust accounts in the accounting software, she could not with 100% certainty stand before the board and give a full accounting.
It was recommended with the new software implementation over the next two weeks, the village make a clean break and start fresh with 2019-20 fiscal year data.
The board agreed to the recommendation of the Bonadio group to complete the annual report due to the state of New York for a fee of $3,000.
Trustee Letty Rudes made a motion to have the Bonadio group complete the annual report within the previously approved $10,000 audit budget if possible. The motion was seconded by Trustee Eric Craven and passed unanimously.
Rudes recommended the village have a full audit done so it can have an independent review of the financials given the former clerk had been in the position for over 30 years and the last audit of any financials was when the Village owned and operated Oak Mountain many years ago.
Rudes made a motion for a full audit to be conducted by either the Comptroller’s office, or a private firm if funding can be secured. Craven seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
After receiving a letter from the Village regarding imputed income on over age 26 medical insurance, a former employee and spouse came to Village Hall today indicating they had never authorized their child be added back into their Village-provided medical coverage beginning January 2014 after he had been removed in May 2013 when turning 26; and that the child was not living in their home and was insured by his own employer from 2014-2017.
In response to Rudes’ questions, payroll information shows the reduced payroll deductions when the child was removed 5/31/2013 but then the deductions increased back to family coverage on 1/1/2014 until 6/2017; and there was a letter from the former Clerk-Treasurer to the former employee in his personnel file noting the child was dropped in 5/2013 but no documentation noting a reversal in 2014. MVP is being contacted for any documentation and the board will be kept apprised of the situation.
Highway Superintendent Roger Blanchard Jr. reported as follows:
An accident report was filed today for an employee stung by bees and transported to the hospital; he was treated and expected back to work tomorrow.
CHIPS reimbursements should be in process for Marion Avenue.
Overtime being reviewed and managed to stay within annual budget.
LED Street Lights - Revised financials have been received by NYPA and are under review by the Finance Committee in preparation for further Board discussion soon.
Trustees will come to the office to have their personal devices prepped for the new email system.
A motion was made by McComb and seconded by Rudes to accept the email policy as presented.  The motion passed unanimously.
A first draft of a Vendor Licensing Local Law is under review by the board.
The proposed law was discussed at length noting it would provide a framework to allow the Village to consider licensing for-profit vendors who are not Village-based established businesses to sell items at Village sanctioned events. The intent would be to attract and support patrons to Village events without economically advantaging vendors who do not have the fixed cost of Village taxes compared to local “brick and mortar” businesses have the fixed cost burden of Village taxes – the discussion of the board at its next meeting will be to determine the appropriate licensing fee structure in consideration of the differences in fixed costs.
Lynne Brown commended the village for picking up after the fireworks and parade this year. She also thanked the village for the continued efforts at maintaining the Point and the placement of the new handicap accessible table. Collie Smith also commented on the cleanliness of the village after the festivities.
Neil McGovern requested the village join the town and county in emailing and calling DOT contacts to ensure timely repair of the large potholes on Route 30 coming into Speculator due to safety concerns. He also asked the board to look closely into the payout of the LED light proposal and complimented the board in adopting the new Email Policy and considering the Vendor Licensing Law.

Editor Note: Story based on the minutes from Crystal O’Brien, Village Clerk - Treasurer