Monday, February 17, 2020

Speculator starts budget planning

Speculator VB Jan 27 2020

Speculator starts budget planning
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on January 27, it began planning for next year’s budget.
Trustee Mark Crary recommended the Village establish a budget committee. After some discussion, it was agreed that a budget committee should be created with the Mayor as the budget officer. The committee will include Trustee Crary, Crystal O’Brien, Trustee Karen McComb and Trustee Donecker. Roger Blanchard and Edward Scharpou will be included in the budget planning and will attend meetings as they are needed. Committee meetings will be public and posted accordingly.
Trustee Crary presented a schedule of the Budget Process along with a sample budget worksheet. The first Budget Workshop will be held by Feb. 24 at 6 pm, one hour before the Board of Trustees meeting with the second workshop on March 9 at 6 pm. The budget is due on March 31, followed by the public hearing on April 13 and will formerly be adopted on April 27.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to have a budget committee established which shall include Mayor Barrett as Budget Officer, Trustee Crary. Trustee Donecker, Trustee McComb and Crystal O’Brien, Clerk Treasurer as members. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Roger Blanchard Jr., DPW Superintendent, submitted a written report. He also commented that the schedule of DPW activities will be centered on snow maintenance for the next 60 days in addition to the preparation of next year’s budget.
Sidewalks on Route 8 have been reimbursed. Dean Carnevale from NYSDOT is working with the Village to coordinate the road shoulders with the second half of the sidewalk replacements.
Sidewalks are in the process of being cleared of snow for pedestrians. Sidewalks are attended to after road snow removal is completed.
Weather has had impact for snowmobiles, but DRAG has provided enough signage for the trails within the Village as well as an updated insert in the trail maps for the new changes in routes.
Signage for the ice-skating rink has been posted. Lights are now on until 9 p.m. for night skating.
Crystal O’Brien’s presented the Clerk - Treasurer report and said she is looking to move forward with paperless billing for National Grid, Frontier, Verizon and other accounts as an efficient solution to managing bills.
Trustee McComb made a motion to proceed with the introduction of paperless billing for National Grid and all applicable accounts paid for by the Village of Speculator. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion was passed unanimously
Monthly department meetings with DPW, WWTP and Village Clerk-Treasurer were implemented to advise on current issues, planning and updates to keep all departments on track with one another. The meeting included a review of the preliminary budget for 2020-2021 including assignment of liability insurance premiums across DPW, Water and Wastewater.
Mayor Barrett gave an update for the Halloween Storm Emergency including the information that follows: The Village met with NYS Department of Homeland Security to discuss our claim to FEMA. Mr. Blanchard (DPW) and Mr. Scharpou (WWTP) will be collecting information including, but not limited to engineering reports, debris, emergency services, use of machinery and administrative hours.
The Village’s FEMA application was filed, and approval is pending. NYSDHES has assigned two representatives to guide us through the process. Once accepted we should expect an exploratory call within 7 days to assign a “FEMA delivery manager”, followed by two on-site meetings 21-days and 60 days later, by which time all damages must be identified. Due to the possibility of snow at the beach at the 60-day point, there will be measures to push this assessment until the beach can be viewed in its entirety.
Verizon Small Cells - Mayor Barrett and Bill Farber, Chair of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors met with representatives of Verizon to discuss a Master Licensing Agreement (MLA) and plans for small cell towers. The poles will be placed, at no cost to the village and there will be no charges for removal or repairs. The MLA is closely aligned with the FCC Declaration ruling, as required. The Verizon poles will not be exclusive to Verizon since this is a municipality. Once the agreement has been signed and fully executed, Verizon will proceed with their building within 1 year. The other measure to improve the cell service is to raise the tower on Oak Mountain, currently with the APA.
LED Street Lights Buyout - We have not heard from National Grid yet. Mayor Barrett will be contacting them for a follow-up
LOSAP Transition for Fire Fighters. Attorney Terry Hannigan advised the resolutions and referendums will be ready by next board meeting. There will be a modest savings in the administrative costs due to no need for actuarial reports with the new plan.
Mike Tracy from the SVFD came to express the need for a Heavy Rescue Fire Truck. The department has been moving towards wilderness and ice rescue requiring additional space for equipment. There is limited room for equipment on the current 1999 E-76 Pumper Truck. The SVFD has arranged for a 2003 Heavy Rescue truck to be swapped for their current truck. The new truck will have exhaust work done, as well as SVFD lettering, new upholstery and a 1-year warranty. No charges to the Village will be incurred as it is a straight trade. It will also save around $1,000 a year as it will not require pumper truck-related inspections or maintenance. The truck is currently located in Alabama at Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus. The SVFD asked for approval from the Board to proceed with the swap. Trustee Rudes enquired if additional training is needed for the added rescue procedures such as ice/water rescue, to which Mr. Tracy confirmed that SVFD personnel are being trained. Trustee McComb enquired about the possibility of creating a map of the backroads and camps located in Speculator Tree Farm in the event there is an emergency and the Ambulance or Rescue truck would be needed. Mr. Tracy will be looking into this with Sheriff’s department.
Trustee McComb made a motion to approve the straight trade of the 1999 KME Freightliner Commercial Pumper E-76 Rescue Truck for a 2003 American LaFrance Eagle Heavy Rescue truck from Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus that includes a 1-year warranty and SVFD lettering at no cost to the Village of Speculator; and authorize the Mayor to sign the requisite agreement with Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion passed unanimously
A review of the current employee handbook is in progress to make necessary updates from its last review in December 2010. This process will take course over a series of board meetings. The initial review highlighted employee performance, probationary period, workplace behavior and other personnel categories. It was left off at section 5.12 for the next meeting.
The two DEC grants filed for the Point and the WWTP have been rejected. We will review the scoring and apply for two Northern Borders Grants.
A meeting with the Fire Tower Committee will be held to discuss options for procurement with the DEC Smart Growth Grant. Since the Hooker Hill Fire Tower was deemed irreparable; the Committee is looking for alternative towers to bring to the board. There is an opportunity to acquire one of the first fire towers erected in NYS and well as the first Fire Tower in the Adirondack Park; the tower stands 49 feet high.
Mayor Barrett will be working with the Census Bureau on the boundaries for the Village of Speculator.
A group of middle school students are looking to offer their assistance with a service project from February 15-17. Gary Rhinehardt from Dackland Radio suggested Lake Pleasant Central Library. He expressed their need for help at the Library in addition to offering a comfortable environment for students during the February month.
The Planning Board Meeting scheduled for February 28th has been cancelled.
Cheryl Paestella made a comment for the Village of Speculator to consider applying for a decentralization grant for the Arts. She expressed an interest to apply for the grant to help fund music on the Point and mentioned she knew of two sponsors from non-profit organizations that would be interested. The grant would be for the Summer 2021 season. Mayor Barrett conveyed much interest and requested she send the web address for further information.
Gary Rhinehardt from Dackland Radio asked if the Village would want to record Budget meetings since they will be made public? It was agreed the meeting should be recorded and will not exceed 1 hour.
Shorty Hoffman asked if the changeover to paperless billing will increase the chances of the Village of Speculator getting hacked? Trustee Rudes advised there is insurance for cyber security to handle this situation. Mayor Barrett assured him that there are multiple security steps in place to prevent computer related fraud.

This article is based upon minutes provided by Deputy Village Clerk – Treasurer Stacey Farina.

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