Saturday, January 18, 2020

Text of Speculator VB Dec 9, 2019

Eric Craven resigns for village board
SPECULAOR—At the December 9 meeting of the Speculator Village Board of Trustees, Mayor Barrett read the resignation letter of Trustee Eric Craven. Trustee Craven felt that as his speech continues to deteriorate, he believes he is not as effective as he should be, and it has become a hinderance. He also believes it is unfair to the Board and the public to have Mayor Barrett repeat his words. With the meetings being broadcast by Dackland Radio it would become confusing for those listening, therefore he was reluctantly resigning to allow another member of the community to serve in his absence. Mayor Barrett accepted his resignation noting the many contributions Trustee Craven has made during his brief tenure in the areas of budgeting, finance and medical insurance. Mayor Barrett appointed Mark Crary to fill the term left vacant by Trustee Craven, to run through April 2020. Mark Crary signed the Oath of Office at the time of appointment.
Edward Scharpou, WWTP Chief Operator, gave a six-month update on his budget, as of now, all expenses are accounted for and his budget is right on track with no expected overages.
Mayor Barrett informed the Board there was a Bookkeeping and Reporting Services proposal from Lamont Engineers for the WWTP project that would be covered under the administrative costs of the grant. They would provide these services at a cost of about $250 per month or $3,000 annually.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to approve the agreement of Bookkeeping and Reporting Services with Lamont Engineers in connection with the Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrades. Trustee McComb seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Crystal O’Brien presented the Clerk - Treasurer report as follows:
Donna Benkovich from the Speculator Regional Chamber of Commerce approached Mrs. O’Brien with an idea of a skate sharing program for the skating rink at the Speculator Pavilion. With this program Benkovich hopes to expand the use of this recreational facility by giving those who do not have skates the opportunity to still use the rink. The Chamber would acquire skates by donation and hang them at the pavilion for the winter season. After discussion on the liability of having donated skates for anyone to use, Benkovich stated they would post a sign with the skates stating the skates are provided by the Chamber of Commerce to be used at your own risk. The Board agreed to try this program for the 2019-20 winter season.
Trustee McComb made a motion to try a pilot program for the 2019-2020 winter season for the utilization of donated skates sponsored by the Chamber at the Speculator Pavilion for participants to use at their own risk. Trustee Crary seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
No new information on the LED streetlight project.
Governor Cuomo has filed the request for FEMA support to the Federal Government with regards to the damage from the Halloween Storm and we await the decision.
Mayor Barrett had spoken with Croote of the Hamilton County Soil and Water Department to evaluate three sites within the Village for the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP). The sites were the Point, the Public Beach area and the Marion Avenue Culvert. Unfortunately, NCRS rejected these sites stating that EWP funds may not be used to repair coastal erosion to beaches and shoreline and the culvert is not an imminent hazard. Hamilton County Emergency Services has scheduled a review meeting on February 13 for the Halloween Storm. Mayor Barrett, Supervisor Wilt and Barbara Taylor will also be meeting to review the Emergency Operation Plan for the Village and Town developed earlier this year.
Anthony Alfieri was invited to the meeting to present his petition to open the sidewalk from the Speculator Fire Department to the Four Corners to snowmobiles. The matter became a problem within the last two weeks ago when the DRAG volunteers were informed the snowmobile trail across the Marsh’s property, providing access to Mountain Market was being closed. The trail on Marsh’s property was part of the BAT (Business Access Trail) and without it, snowmobilers do not have easy access to Mountain Market and several other businesses on Route 30. Alfieri stated he had spoken to many of the businesses on Route 30, including Cedarhurst, Charlie Johns, King of the Frosties, Mountain Market and Sunrise Diner, who expressed their businesses have been impacted since the strict closure of the sidewalk to snowmobiles in 2014. With the closure of the current trail across from Mountain Market, these local businesses would be more severely impacted. Alfieri suggested lifting the ordinance for the 2019-20 winter season only, allowing the snowmobile groups much needed time to establish a trail for the 2020-21 season. Part of the proposed future trail would be on Town of Lake Pleasant property behind businesses on the east side of route 30. Creating this trail takes time and cleanup which they said could not be done with snow on the ground. Trustee McComb stated she had spoken to a small group who live in the Village and walk the sidewalks, they all said, except for icy conditions, they enjoy having the ability to walk in the winter without being close to traffic. Additionally, Mayor Barrett cited legal responsibilities that included Local Law #1 of 1990 and Local Law #1 of 2019 prohibiting the use of snowmobiles on plowed sidewalks, Section 46 of the NYS Highway Law directing Cities, Towns and Villages on their responsibility for maintaining sidewalks, direction from the Attorney General stating that Villages are authorized to adopt regulations restricting snowmobiles on the sidewalks, and Municipal Home Rule Law specifically authorizing the municipality to adopt laws to protect public safety. Mayor Barret also mentioned the enormous liability issues for the Village stating that snowmobiles on the sidewalks force pedestrians to walk in traffic which is a major issue with insurance carriers as this would force pedestrians to walk in traffic. A lengthy discussion of other viable options ensued with the Board asking Alfieri and the present business owners to explore the alternative routes with local snowmobile clubs before there is any decision made on temporarily opening the sidewalks to snowmobilers. The discussion was then tabled to the December 23 Board Meeting with the possibility of holding a special meeting if the Holiday interferes.
Mayor Barrett presented the ability to work with Verizon to bring small cell towers into the Village. After witnessing the nonexistent cell service at the Bear and Wine Festival and Oaktoberfest, Mayor Barrett contacted the Assistant Secretary of Economic Development to create a solution to our growing need for cellular service. Verizon is approaching the problem with two possible solutions; 1 raising the cell tower 15 feet requiring APA approval; 2 adding small cell towers in key areas that will increase the capacity for cell service. Verizon has been unsuccessfully negotiating with the NYS DOT for ROW access. Mayor Barrett suggested the use of Municipal property in Speculator and Lake Pleasant. Following a call between Verizon and Mayor Barrett, Town Supervisor Wilt and Hamilton County Chairman Farber, the Town of Lake Pleasant and the County Board of Supervisors have agreed to proceed provided there is no cost to the municipality and county.
Trustee McComb made a motion to enter into a lease agreement with Verizon allowing the installation of utility poles of small cell towers on Village property and that there would be no cost incurred by the village but those would all be borne by Verizon. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Out of several grants submitted this year, the award of a $100,000 DEC Smart Growth Grant for the restoration and reconstruction of a fire tower was granted to the Village of Speculator. At the time of the application, Mr. Lane had offered to donate a fire tower which has since been deemed unusable, but the Village will be looking for another fire tower for the project. Having a fire tower in Speculator would be a major attraction with the renewed interest in fire towers and easy accessibility from the pavilion area. If we accept the grant, we would be responsible for some costs provided through in-kind services.

This article is based upon minutes provided by Crystal O’Brien, Village Clerk – Treasurer.

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