Friday, January 31, 2020

Speculator Halloween Storm update

Speculator Halloween Storm update

SPECULATOR—At the Speculator Village Board of Trustees meeting of January 13, Mayor Jeannette Barrett gave an update for the Halloween Storm Emergency as follows.
Bruce Jordan from the NY Office of Emergency Services reviewed the overall response during the Halloween storm, identifying what was done well and where improvements are needed. Overall, our first responders did an outstanding job. A need was identified for central emergency communication for residents which has been addressed by adding the ability to sign up for NY alert on the Village Website. NY Alert contains critical emergency-related information, including instructions and recommendations in real-time by emergency personnel and will allow the ability to post critical information on this notification system. Loss of communication was also highlighted with respect to land lines going down, and then cell service going down with the lack of backup. American Tower had submitted a permit application to place a generator on Oak Mountain well over a year ago without any results. Mayor Barrett followed up with American Tower and was told it was not cost effective with respect to maintaining it. However, after further discussion of the needs of our region, they have agreed to revisit the situation.
On December 20, 2019, FEMA approved Disaster Declaration for Hamilton, Herkimer, Fulton, and Saratoga Counties. The federal government has not approved assistance for individuals. NY Assemblyman Robert Smullen, NY Senator Jim Tedisco and Congresswoman Elyse Stefanik have all asked for reconsideration of this decision.
If we are approved for project funding, the volunteer hours logged will be used as a credit for the Village portion of any FEMA grant.
Trustee Mark Crary, Crystal O’Brien and Mayor Barrett had a teleconference with the Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) agents to go through actuarial tables for the plan which is currently fully funded. This information will be used for further discussions with the LOSAP lawyer. The changes will require a referendum to terminate the present program and to reinstate the new one.
Trustee Crary made a motion to approve a resolution to approve the change from a defined benefits plan to a defined contribution plan to take effect January 1, 2021. Trustee McComb seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Barrett and Katie Smith, Village Attorney, reviewed the Verizon Master License Agreement (MLA), and raised a few issues. In general, the issues raised included; the MLA is very broad and open ended, the definition of ROW as it is used, term of agreement (15years with option to go up to 30 years) and exclusivity for Verizon on Municipal property. Last week Mayor Barrett met with representatives from the County and Town to identify the common areas of the Master License Agreement needing to be addressed. Mayor Barrett will be setting up a meeting to address these matters and to have an agreement drafted which is more specific and suited to our situation. This week representatives from Verizon will be in town to evaluate potential sites for small cell towers.
Edward Scharpou, WWTP Chief Operator, submitted a written report.
Scharpou explained the mandated disinfection, planned for in Phase two of the Wastewater Treatment Plant contract, needs to have plans completed by 2022 and in operation by 2024. He has started the process with Lamont to begin Phase two since it takes several months to really get the project going. A preconstruction meeting for contract one of phase one and a contract two of phase one meeting have been scheduled.
After a webinar on government contracted LED lighting options and pricing, Scharpou believes he can replace all lighting at the plant for between $400 and $500 dollars, reducing the cost of replacement by a couple hundred dollars.
Clerk Treasurer Crystal O’Brien’s presented the Clerk Treasurer report.
She said the transition to Gold Certification for NYS Employee Retirement System halfway completed and making good progress. Weekly update webinars help remind the transition group of the deadlines coming up and the resources available.
O’Brien has completed the reports for Job code, HR transactions and earning codes. All will allow her to give a more descriptive report in the Retirement system. This is especially helpful for record keeping purposes. A phone conference with one of the representatives helped adjust a few codes. With the low number of employees, the process has been simple and easy to complete. The next step is to update our portal, which includes adding all optional employees, validate all employee records and demonstrate the ability to properly record data.
O’Brien is in the process of completing and submitting many quarterly and annual reports due by the end of the month.
The residents of Woodward Drive have asked for the streetlight at the end of the road to be shutoff. They have provided a petition signed by all residence on the street. O’Brian said she has contacted National Grid and the removal of the light will be at no cost to the Village.
The General Election absentee ballot application has been provided to the web developer to add to our website and all pertinent election deadlines have been added to the calendar for ease of access and reference. A resolution designating March 18, 2020, as Election day due to St. Patrick’s Day falling on the second Tuesday of March, designating the polling place to be at the Village Hall from 12 pm to 9 pm and appointing Toni Morrison and Shirley Smith as Election Inspectors with Thomas Basnight as an alternate was presented.
A motion to accept the resolution for Village Election Designation of Election Date, Registration Day, and Appointment of Election Inspectors was made by Trustee Rudes. The motion was seconded by Trustee Crary and the motion was passed by all.
After talking with Mrs. Benkovich at the Chamber and Mayor Barrett, many new people and visitors are not aware of the skating rink and summer public use of the Pavilion and new signage will help to increase awareness. A proposal for a “Speculator Pavilion” and a “Skating Rink/Public Park” sign was made, with the suggestion that the public park sign is reversable; one side for the skating rink with hours provided and one side with public park and hours provided. Both signs would be hung on the front of the pavilion above the doors and would be visible from the road. KC Morrison suggested the dimensions to be 24 inches x 96 inches to allow for visibility. In his experience, a sign of that size and made of materials that weather well range from $325 to $350, with more specific details he could give a better quote. The procurement policy would be followed in the purchase of any signage. After discussion about signage budget it has been advised to add this to the 2020-21 budget.
Anthony Alfieri came to the board to discuss business owners coming to him in the last month about the sidewalk being opened to snowmobilers. Mayor Barrett updated the Board with the information that an alternative trail was established soon after the December 9 meeting, alleviating the urgency of the original petition presented to reopen the sidewalk trail closed in light of an access trail through Lakeside Licks being closed with late notice.
Alfieri asked for a board vote on the matter; however, Katie Smith, Village Attorney, advised there is only a need for a vote if a trustee makes a motion, otherwise what is in place now stays. All trustees agreed at this point there is no need to open the sidewalk to snowmobiles, but the local snowmobile clubs should continue to explore alternatives to allow better access to all businesses in the Village.
On December 13, the Village received a Notice of Claim from Moose Creek Holdings, LLC. Attorney Jonathan Schopf has been recommended by Mrs. Smith and he has been retained by the Village in the past. Mayor Barrett spoke with his references which included the Supervisor of Hoosick where he is retained as the Town attorney and the Fulton County Regional SPCA where he is their general counsel. He is experienced in municipal matters. Mayor Barrett made a resolution to retain Schopf Law, PLLC as External Litigation Counsel. After much discussion on the amount of the retainer and the ability of it to be refunded if not fully used the Board decided to approve the resolution.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to approve the Resolution for the Retention of Schopf Law, PLLC as External Litigation Counsel. Trustee Crary seconded and the motion was passed by all.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the US Dept Of Transportation has amended their regulations to establish requirements for the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This took effect on January 6, 2020. The clearinghouse is a secure online national repository, the purpose of which is to identify in real-time CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements. It will be used by trucking employers, state and municipal agencies, and law enforcement officials. This also requires employers to query the system to determine if current or prospective CDL drivers have had a violation prohibiting them from performing safety-sensitive functions covered by the US DOT. This information follows the driver regardless of how many times they change employers or apply for a CDL in a different state. The Village is in compliance with the Clearinghouse regulation and all drivers have signed a release for the requisite testing and queries of the Clearinghouse database. The Clearinghouse rule is reflected in the updated Employee handbook.
An ice and water rescue Mutual Aid Agreement between the Speculator Volunteer Fire Department and Speculator Volunteer Ambulance Corp. was presented to the Board. The SVFD have previous and ongoing training in ice and water rescue and with the SVAC providing the equipment this will be a great partnership.
An SVFD new member application for Bill Ralph was submitted for approval. Mr. Ralph is coming onto the department as a driver and pump operator.
Trustee McComb made a motion to approve the SVFD new member application for Bill Ralph. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
A draft copy of the Employee handbook, not updated since Dec 13, 2010, has been provided to the Board and department supervisors. Updates are based on prior board-approved changes, review by Former Trustee Craven who has extensive experience in compensation and human resources, board resolutions, state mandates, and input from our insurance provider, Bryan Moldt. In addition, other handbooks from municipalities were used as reference. Review of updates will begin at the next scheduled Board meeting.
The ability to clean the sidewalks of snow down to the concrete was brought up by Trustee Donecker. Unfortunately, the machine used is slightly larger than the sidewalks. Rendering it impossible for the machine to clean all the snow. Talk of purchasing a slightly smaller machine with both a snowblower and sander will be discussed in the future.
Bill Paestella asked if the Village is being sued for paving Elliot Lane. Smith explained that any ongoing litigation cannot be discussed at this time.
Neil McGovern is trying to re-establish SPARC and asked if meetings could again be held at the Village Hall. He brought up the ability of adding a LED sign in the Village like the one in Wells. The board was responsive to having a LED light in the Village and agreed to discuss the matter later.

Note: This article is based upon minutes provided by Crystal O’Brien, Clerk-Treasurer.

No comments:

Post a Comment