Saturday, January 18, 2020

Text of Speculator VB Dec 9, 2019


Eric Craven resigns for village board
By PETE KLEIN
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.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER-WASTEWATER REPORT
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.
CLERK – TREASURER’S REPORT
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.
OLD BUSINESS
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.
NEW BUSINESS
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.
BOARD ROUND TABLE
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.

Audio Speculator VB Dec 9 2019

Friday, January 17, 2020

Text of WCS BOE Jan 15 2020 .

WCS BOE Jan 15 2020


No fiscal stress at Wells Central.
By PETE KLEIN
WELLS—WCS Superintendent Thomas D. Sincavage reported at the Jan 15 meeting of the Wells Central School Board of Education meeting that the School District received the fiscal stress and environment stress scores from the Office of the State Comptroller. The district had a perfect score of 0, indicating no fiscal stress. The score of Environmental stress was 8.3; any score below 30 indicates no environmental stress. The Board was pleased with these ratings.
Sincavage stated the One District One Book program started last Friday, January 10 with a kickoff party. This year the school is reading “Life According to Og the Frog”. This book is written by the same author as the “Life According to Humphrey” series and is told from the Frog’s perspective. This is the districts fourth year using the program.
The next item was the Capital Project. The first contractor meeting was held on December 23, 2019. Contractors will start working on the school over the February break. The next contractors meeting will be held on Monday, January 20. The school district received a proposal from Mosaic Associates to complete a building condition survey which is required every 5 years. The school district uses these surveys to plan for future capital projects.
Lastly, Sincavage gave the early look at 2020/2021 Budget. He is still waiting on preliminary State Aid figures which should be released after January 22.
The January Enrollment Report by Jessica Damphier listed the current enrollment at 146.
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Jeremy J. Siddon, Building Principal, gave the Athletic Director’s Report. He noted that the winter sports season was underway. Several games have been rescheduled due to the weather. The most up to date schedule is available on the school’s website. The school district is using the remind app to notify parents of any changes. Parents and the community can contact the school to sign up for the notifications. There is also a sports app for smartphone users on the school district website that has the updated game schedule.
NON-RESIDENT TUITION
The Wells Central School Board of Education established the non-resident tuition rate for the 2020/2021 school year as follows: $7,000 for full-time students and $2,333 for early admit non-resident students who attend a full time BOCES program or FMCC as an early admission student. Additionally, it is noted that parents are responsible for any FMCC tuition and no WCS transportation is provided. The motion was made by Rachel Lauria, seconded by William Stuart, and carried 5-0.
OTHER APPROVALS
The Board approved the mileage reimbursement rate of the IRS approved rate of 57.5 cents per mile, retroactively to January 1, 2020. The motion was made by Ken Hoffman, seconded by Rachel Lauria, and carried 5-0.
The board appointed Mosaic Associates to complete the mandated 2020 Building Condition Survey and accepted the proposal in the of amount $2,235 as presented. The motion was made by William Stuart, seconded by Dorman Reese, and carried 5-0.
The board approved the fire inspection reports for the main building and the bus garage dated January 7, 2020 as presented. The motion was made by Ken Hoffman, seconded by Rachel Lauria, and carried 5-0.
The board reviewed the Calendar of Events. Sincavage noted the Honor Roll Celebration this quarter would be a breakfast and welcomed the Board Members to attend.

This article is based upon the minutes provided by Rachelle Dwyer, District Clerk.

Audio WCS BOE Jan 15 2020

Hope Town Board gets Organized

Text of Hope Town Board gets organized

Hope TB Jan 13 2020


Hope Town Board gets organized
By PETE KLEIN
HOPE—The Organizational and Regular Board Meeting of the Town of Hope, Hamilton County and the State of New York was held at the Town Hall, Route 30, Hope, New York on the 13th day of January 2020. Supervisor Steven Tomlinson called the meeting to order with the Pledge to the Flag at 7 p.m.
STATE OF THE TOWN ADDRESS
Supervisor Tomlinson addressed all board members and public guests that were present. He recapped 2019. In doing so, he thanked Superintendent Colson for all he does. Some examples he used were the new garbage pickup, the continued successful Annual Clean Up and the amount of brush cutting that was completed. He added that Highway Department added a new truck and are waiting for the delivery of a second one.
Supervisor Tomlinson stated that the Town of Hope and its board members have successfully kept the town budget under the 2% state tax cap for 3 years in a row.
Supervisor Tomlinson gave end of the year fund balances. He was happy with the balances even with increasing the Fire Department budget, added building projects, equipment repair and preventative maintenance.
He went to add that at a County level, garbage now goes to Mud Road and this seems to benefit all the towns. He stated there is still a waiting period as Mud Road looks to change over to Single Stream recycling and when this happens, the Town of Hope will have changes in the way that recycling is currently done.
Supervisor Tomlinson states he is happy with the community involvement with the Town Picnic as it grows each year. He looks forward to adding community events possibly in the future.
He stated an area the Town lacks in, is an Emergency Preparedness Plan and this will be worked on starting ASAP.
Supervisor Tomlinson recapped the Halloween Storm of 2019. He states he has an upcoming meeting with other county reps with FEMA and will be given the results of reimbursements. Superintendent Colson will be joining him at the meeting. He states at the point, NYS has donated the material to fix the roads and this project will begin in the spring. Hamilton County Highway Department will be assisting.
ORGANIZATION RESOLUTIONS
Supervisor Tomlinson asked if anyone wanted to make changes to the regularly scheduled meeting dates and times. All town board members agreed to keep it the same.
Resolved is that the date and times for the Regularly Scheduled Town Board Meetings will continue to be the second Monday of each month, starting at 7 p.m.
Resolved that Supervisor Tomlinson has been approved to pay town salaries.
Resolved that Zachery Colson, Highway Superintendent has been authorized to spend up to $2,000 without approval of the Town Board.
Resolved that the travel allowance rate will be $0.58 per mile.
Resolved that the official bank for the Town of Hope will be NBT Bank.
Resolved that the official newspaper for the Town of Hope will be The Leader Herald.
Resolved that Supervisor Tomlinson has been authorized by the Town Board to pay power, phone, payroll, retirement monies, and other contractual expenses before audit is made.
Resolved that the following committees have been approved.
Buildings: - W. Witts and M. Stuart
Cemeteries: - J. Stuart and D. Downing
Highway: - M. Stuart and J. Stuart
Landfill/Transfer Station: - D. Downing and W. Witts
Parks and Recreation: - D. Downing and M. Stuart
Resolved that Dianna Downing has been appointed to the position of Deputy Supervisor.
Resolved that Supervisor Steven Tomlinson has been appointed to the position of Budget Officer.
Resolved that Jaret Welch has been appointed to the position of Deputy Highway Superintendent.
Resolved that Jill Dunham has been appointed Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Resolved that Marleen Webster has been appointed to the positions of Deputy Town Clerk, Deputy Tax Collector, and Deputy Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Resolved that Mike Stewart has been appointed Code/Building Inspector for the Town of Hope.
Resolved that the ambulance contract between the Town of Hope and Northampton Ambulance Service has been reviewed and approved for the year 2020.
Resolved that the fire contract between the Town of Hope and Northville Fire Department has been reviewed and approved for the year 2020.
Resolved is the approval of the current Town of Hope and Town of Benson Transfer Station contract.
Resolved that an agreement by and between the Towns of Hope, Benson, and Wells for assessment purposes has been approved.
BUILDING/ CODE OFFICER’S REPORT
Supervisor Tomlinson distributed copies of the Code Officer’s Report given to him by Mike Stewart, Town of Hope Code Officer.
All fire extinguishers should be inspected and maintained – this was in process as we walked through the building.
The Town Hall should have a combo smoke/carbon monoxide detector installed.
The outside combustion air should be hooked up to the furnaces.
All outlets in the garage should be GFCI protected.
A proper receptacle and cord should be installed for the welder.
Disconnected wiring should be removed.
An exit light and emergency light combo should be installed over the back exit in the Town Hall and an emergency light should be installed in the truck bays.
PURCHASE OF DUMP INSERT FOR THE FORD PICKUP
Supervisor Tomlinson distributed copies of quotes, given to him by Superintendent Colson, of dump inserts available for the Ford pickup. The board discussed this in length and chose two similar designs that were similar in price and gave Superintendent Colson approval to purchase one of them, at his choice, for the Ford pickup.
On a motion by Councilperson John Stuart Jr., seconded by Councilperson Mark Stuart, the following resolution was ADOPTED Resolved that Zachery Colson, Highway Superintendent has been authorized to purchase a dump insert for the Ford pickup truck.
APPROVE THE PURCHASE OF A 2020 GMC PICK UP
On a motion by Councilperson William Witts, seconded by Councilperson Mark Stuart, the following resolution was ADOPTED. Resolved to purchase 2020 GMC pickup.
APPROVE THE PURCHASE OF A NEW PLOW FOR THE 2020 GMC PICKUP
On a motion by Councilperson William Witts, seconded by Councilperson Mark Stuart, the following resolution was ADOPTED. Resolved to purchase a new plow for the new 2020 GMC pickup.
TOWN OF HOPE WEBSITE
Supervisor Tomlinson advised that Mike Stewart is willing to take over as Administrator of the Town of Hope website. He is very familiar with website work and has a good working relationship with Digital Towpath, owner of the website. He has many ideas to transform it into a user-friendly site for the community to use as great informational resource. All town board members were in agreeance.
On a motion by Councilperson William Witts, seconded by Councilperson John Stuart Jr., the following resolution was ADOPTED Resolved was the approval to make Mike Stewart the Administrator of the Town of Hope website.
HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT
Highway Superintendent Zachery Colson presented the board with the following for his monthly report:
We cleaned up all the bottles and cans that were lying on the ground and in the bottle building. There were two large loads that we hauled down to a redemption center in Amsterdam.
Our new pickup truck is here. This Friday it goes down to have the plow put on it and I will be scheduling it to have the letters put on it.
We discussed the possibility of logging the property once before and I still have the forest lot analysis. With permission, I would like to contact another forester and have an up to date analysis done. Once the analysis is completed, we can talk about logging the property.
This was discussed by the board members and they all agreed to have Superintendent Colson call a forester to get another analysis.
We received approval for our gateway sign on Route 30. I am waiting on our insurance company to send me the Certificate of Insurance. Ince that is received, I will send in the permit for work and we will put the sign up this spring.
I completed the permits for the work on the River Road. This was in the spring we can get working on the washouts as fast as possible.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN
Supervisor Tomlinson discussed further the need to put an Emergency Preparedness Plan in place as soon as possible. He advised he wants to set up a work night to begin on this. It was agreed that all board members would come to a work session at 5:30 p.m., prior to next month’s meeting on February 10, 2020.
CLERK’S COMMENTS
Jill Dunham stated tax season is under way and there are no concerns. She has also completed her training to be able to do Electronic Death Certificates. There are some minor details to get on the NYS DOH site that she is working directly with DOH to do so. This should be completed by the end of the week. Jill also requests that the railing coming into the town hall be removed for safety reasons and the ground be made flush with the walkway. One last request from Jill was made. She requested the doorknob be replaced to the building as the current one is too hard to open and lock. Superintendent Colson advises that he bought a new one and will have it installed the next day.
PUBLIC COMMENT
JoAnne Robinson spoke and advised that her and her husband took two loads of bottles to the Redemption Center. They will be continuing this weekly in hopes to stay up with the returns. She did state that due to ice and unsafe conditions, they were unable to get to them prior to now. Superintendent Colso0n added that he also took two loads to a Redemption Center and is awaiting the check from those returns. Supervisor Tomlinson added, with the blessing from the town board, that they will deposit that check and write a check made out to the Fire Department once they receive the monies from the Redemption Center. Pete Robinson asked if the building could be moved back up to the Transfer Station. He added that him and his wife would pick the returnable up weekly and during open Transfer Station hours. Superintendent Colson agreed to do this.
Pete Robinson asked if the town board was still moving forward at looking at the fire department for a place to renovate and make a new maniple office location. Supervisor Tomlinson stated plans to move ahead with a project in 2020 are continuing and he will hopefully have final answers to the details of that project soon.

This story is based upon minutes provided by Jill Dunham, Town Clerk.