Monday, November 18, 2019

Hope adopts 2020 town budget

Hope TB Nov 11 2019

Hope adopts 2020 town budget
HOPE--The November 11 meeting of the Hope Town Board began with a motion by Councilperson Dianna Downing, seconded by Councilperson John Stuart Jr., to open a public meeting regarding the 2020 Preliminary Budget for the Town of Hope.
Supervisor Steven Tomlinson led the discussion by distributing copies of the 2020 Preliminary Budget to all town board members. To summarizes the changes for the upcoming budget, Supervisor Tomlinson reviewed the following:
The General Budget will see $260,134.00 raised by taxes in 2020. The Highway Budget will see $203,630.00 raised by taxes in 2020. With all increased revenues for 2020, the Town of Hope budget will raise 1.94%, which is 0.06% below the NYS tax cap.
Councilperson Dianna Downing had asked for a $600 increase to the line item supporting summer recreation programs for the kids that attend from the Town of Hope. This change was made after the Tentative Budget was distributed and Supervisor Tomlinson noted that change was in the Preliminary Budget. Councilperson Downing went on to add that she asked the people who run the programs that they monitor more closely what school district the kids belong to. Given the unique situation that some kids in Hope go to either Northville or Wells schools, respectively on where they live in town, they should also attend the summer recreation programs within their respected school districts.
On a motion by Councilperson William Witts, seconded by Councilperson John Stuart Jr., the board approved closing the public hearing for the 2020 Preliminary Budget for the Town of Hope.
Supervisor Tomlinson asked if there was any further discussion on the 2020 budget. There were no further questions or comments from town board members. With no further questions or comments, Supervisor Tomlinson requested the approval to adopt the 2020 Final Budget for the Town of Hope.
On a motion by Councilperson William Witts, seconded by Councilperson Mark Stuart, the board approved adopting the 2020 Final Budget for the Town of Hope.
Town Clerk Jill Dunham will have a signed copy on file for the public at her office. A signed copy will also be made available to Supervisor Tomlinson to distribute to Hamilton County officials.
Supervisor Tomlinson started the discussion regarding the Halloween storm that flooded much of Hope and eroded many roadways, by thanking Highway Superintendent Colson and his crew for their hard work and dedication to open roads, repair many sites and keep things open in town. Tomlinson also thanked the Fire Department for their help and dedication to work alongside the Highway Department and ensure safety for all. He went on to explain to the town board about the initial hours of the storm, the rescue of four residents, the flooding, and the fear of losing life and town equipment. This led to heavy discussion on things that could have gone better, different and what changes the town needs to make should an emergency like this arise in the future.
Tomlinson, along with Superintendent Colson explained in detail the damage that occurred on town, county and state roads within the town.
Late last week, Tomlinson, Colson and some other town officials met with Senator James Tedisco and visited sites of heavily damaged roadways. Through this meeting and a meeting with Hamilton County Highway Superintendent Tracey Eldredge, enough material was secured and delivered to the Town of Hope to fix these areas that the disaster caused damage to. New York State has picked up the tab on this material.
Superintendent Colson also added that when this is officially declared a State of Emergency, the Town of Hope will be able to submit proof of paperwork and receipts and receive 75% of spent money on the disaster back. This led Supervisor Tomlinson to further go on that the town needs to be better prepared. Failures like communication, availability for the public and their needs and safety for first responders were just a few things he wants to address. He would like to look further into Emergency Preparedness plans and see what needs to be updated and makes changes as necessary. He states no one person is to blame, but changes need to happen so the town is better prepared. We were lucky with no loss of life, but it is clear to him that this could have happened in a matter of seconds and the town was not capable to handle such loss. He added that we were literally helpless at a critical time and this needs to change. So, with this, he has asked that the town board members and officials meet with him for a workshop. After discussion, a date and time was agreed upon. The workshop will take place Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 9:00 at the Town Hall. After an initial brief discussion, he would like to tour all town facilities and devise a Plan of Change. This leg of the meeting will include the Fire Chief of Hope Volunteer Fire Department. All members plan to attend and agree with Supervisor Tomlinson that changes need to occur.
Supervisor Tomlinson handed out a copy of a letter that Code Officer Mike Stewart sent to a landowner. This matter has been continued complaints that have been addressed two times prior in recent weeks. At this time, Code Officer Stewart advises the town board that he has notified the sheriff’s department due to an unruly tenant at the property. For his own safety, he will no longer go there, but instead contact the Sheriff’s Department if he needs to. The town board supports him in this decision.
Supervisor Tomlinson also distributed the monthly report delivered by Code Officer Stewart. It reads as follows: “I issued no new permits for October. I am working with the property owners of two properties located on the Old Northville Road to obtain needed information to issue permits for the buildings currently under construction. Both are being cooperative. I have sent an order to remedy to the property owner of 750 State 30 regarding a shed being constructed and a mess in the yard again. I drove by today and it looks like the shed is coming down. I met with a couple of homeowners regarding flood damage and met with the disaster response team from the State.
Supervisor Tomlinson advises that Bryan Moldt from Upstate Agency was unable to attend the town board meeting due to inclement weather. Supervisor Tomlinson states he is researching information, and is looking to Mr. Moldt for that information, regarding cyber security. Tomlinson states that he does not have a lot of information collected and still does not have a clear understanding of what exactly cyber security will do. He understands the purpose but is looking for further details. Mr. Moldt sells insurance regarding cyber security and since we handle other insurance obligations with Upstate Agency, this was where he started.
Some councilpersons asked if Brian McIntosh, who handles our computer needs, would be able to help answer a lot of the questions and further guide us. Councilperson Downing will head this up and Reach out to Mr. McIntosh for further assistance. There will be further discussion at the next board meeting.
Supervisor Tomlinson presented the town board with an APA application for Charles King (G.H. Wood). He explained the details of the permit. Also, there is nothing new that what has already been occurring with this sand pit. Mr. King has stipulations to follow on times and days of the week in which he can haul the sand and agrees to this. The town board sees no concerns with the permit. Supervisor Tomlinson asked for a motion giving him permission, as the Town Supervisor to sign the permit.
On a motion by Councilperson Mark Stuart, seconded by Councilperson Dianna Downing, the following resolution was adopted by all.
Highway Superintendent Zachery Colson states that he and his crew have been working a lot of overtime to repair and open all town roads. He stated that prior to the flooding all town equipment was serviced and ready for the winter. He said that also, prior to the disaster, he and his crew were able to move things around and clean up areas of the transfer station. He says this came in handy for all the road material that has arrived for road repairs. He needed this space for the material to be stored until it can be used. He stated that continued road repair is happening and will be in the days ahead and winter weather has also arrived. His crews are handling everything and doing a good job.
Jill Dunham states she has met with the NYS Disaster Relief people, Red Cross, FEMA and Hamilton County Public Health regarding the disaster. She advises that if anyone has or knows someone that has damage to property, loss of wages, or anything else related to the disaster, to come see the team at the town hall by November 12r, they can reach out to Hamilton County Public Health with support, questions and further assistance. Jill went on to explain how helpless as the town clerk she felt in this storm. In the future, she would like to see a community center that can fulfill the needs of people in this town for at least a 48-hour window.
Councilperson Mark Stuart: Nothing to add. He agrees with all that has been said and thanks all that were involved in the rescue and relief of the disaster.
Councilperson William Witts: Thanks all for their efforts and hard work.
Councilperson John Stuart Jr: Asks if bottled water has a shelf life. The answer was yes. He asks that even so, the town purchase bottled water to have on hand. He added that the River Road repair that occurred prior to the disaster looked great and he was impressed at how well it weathered the storm.
Councilperson Dianna Downing asked when repair to Hope Falls Road might occur. Superintendent Colson explained that they would be getting to it, but the town roads are coming first. She also inquired about Detour Signs and why there were not any. Technically, NYS shut Route 30 down and since no other state roads exist, detour signs were not put up. What people chose to use as a detour was on them. She also said she received a complaint on Transfer Employee(s) having personal acquaintances “hanging out” and blocking paths for other to offload garbage. She has asked Superintendent Colson to speak to this person regarding that. He states he will.
Supervisor Tomlinson said he received a check in the amount of $500 as a donation to the Town of Hope from Historian Eliza Darling. She received a monetary award from the magazine, Adirondack Life, for an article entitled “Old Wives’ Tale: Exorcising the Witch of the Adirondacks. The award was for a total of $1,000. She has donated half of this award to Hamilton County and the other half to the Town of Hope.
Supervisor Tomlinson would like a resolution to approve him to deposit this money into the General Savings Account.
On a motion by Councilperson Dianna Downing, seconded by Councilperson Mark Stuart, the following resolution was adopted.
Fire Chief Peter Robinson thanked all that were involved with the disaster for their hard work. He went on to add, that given the situation and what could have happened, things went well.
Joanne Robinson added that a big thank you goes out to Supervisor Tomlinson for all his hard work and dedication during the disaster.

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

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