Friday, August 9, 2019

Speculator applies for water quality grants

Speculator VB July 8 2019

Speculator applies for water quality grants
By Pete Klein
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on July 8, Mayor Jeannette Barrett presented two resolutions for DEC Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grant Applications, due July 26, and noted the projects will not be in competition with each other. Both grants are considered high priority projects allowing for 75% funding with a 25% match consisting of cash contribution and in-kind services from a local source.
One grant is for WWTP Disinfection to support the state-wide mandate, the requirements of which will be reflected in our updated SPDES permit. The grant would also cover any unfunded portions of the current project. The amount would be determined after assessing the overall impact to the Village.
Trustee Eric Craven made a motion to accept the resolution to submit WWTP Disinfection Grant Application. Trustee Mark Donecker seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously.
The second grant is for shoreline stabilization for Osborne Point Park, which has been severely impacted by shoreline erosion leading to the breakdown of the retaining wall and increased sedimentation in Lake Pleasant and the Sacandaga River.
Trustee Letty Rudes made a motion to accept the resolution to submit the Grant Application for Osborn Point Stabilization Project. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Trustee Craven submitted a resolution for correcting IRS filings for failing to report imputed income for health insurance for dependent child(ren) up to age 30 for years 2014-2018.
Additional commentary was made as follows.
As discussed several times in past meetings, employer provided medical insurance for dependent children past their 26 birthday is taxable income to the employee parent. The Village has not been following IRS regulations for the past 5 years as the former Clerk/Treasurer failed to include this income in the affected employees' W2. Corrected W2-C's have been prepared and are being mailed. Even though the cost of the over age 26 insurance was over $40,000 to the Village, the total imputed income is approximately $30,000 as the IRS begins taxing the insurance the year after the child turns 26. Unfortunately, the IRS requires the village to pay the full FICA tax and puts the onus on the Village to collect the employees' half directly from the employees. The total cost to the village is $6,000, including penalties and interest. The IRS documentation was assessed and amended by Philip Beckett CPA. The details are outlined in the Resolution.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to accept the resolution for amended tax forms for years 2014-2018. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Trustee Craven submitted a resolution to reimburse earned but unpaid vacation benefits for one employee due to improper administration.
As previously discussed, the finance committee took a deep dive review of the vacation accruals. All employees needed minor adjustments, but one employee had very large and ongoing bookkeeping errors on his vacation over several years. This resulted in him being shortchanged on vacation of nearly a full month. If the earned but not granted vacation this time is simply added to his outstanding vacation balance, it would be immediately canceled as his vacation bank is at the maximum 240 hours.
The fair and equitable remedy is to reimburse him for his earned but never granted vacation, which amounts to $2,900 including the Village's half of the FICA tax. The details are outlined in the Resolution.
Trustee Craven made a motion to accept the resolution to reimburse vacation benefits. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Edward Scharpou, WWTP Chief Operator, submitted a written report.
Scharpou is in the process of acquiring quotes for a new polymer machine.
He is waiting for Glens Falls lab for DEC sampling requirements quote; quote for approximately $1,000 already received from Phoenix lab.
Pump 1 valve cannot be rebuilt. Replacement valve will be pushed into 2020 to budget for replacement.
Water sampling for Speculator Beach and Camp of the Woods is normally completed in August.
Claire Craven submitted a written Transition Report and reviewed it with the Board. Additional commentary was made as follows.
Scharpou to propose a new revised base rate structure for those who are on Village water but live outside the village and those who only have sewer.
Any rates or surcharges are to be applied to all those who qualify, and they will be notified accordingly.
During a discussion on the relevy of unpaid water/sewer bills with Village taxes, it was agreed that a letter will be sent to Camp Merryland Association, informing them that unpaid water bills for individual camps will be relevied with their collective tax bill as this was not done in the past.
CODE ENFORCEMENT REPORT: Mr. Benkovich, Code Enforcement Officer, submitted a written report.
LED Street Lights - NYPA Updates and information sent and will be reviewed by Mayor and Board
Mayor Barrett presented a Fireman Application for John Foley.
Has been approved by Speculator Fire Department.
Trustee Karen McComb made a motion to accept the Fireman Application. Trustee Craven seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Barrett thanked Donna Benkovich, RaChelle Martz and the parade committee for pulling together such a wonderful Parade and Fourth of July celebration.
Donna Benkovich thanked the Mayor, the Board, Roger and the DPW Employees and the Clerks for their help in the execution of a wonderful Fourth of July Celebration.
Robert “Shorty” Hoffman asked, “where do we have sewer outside the village?”
After some discussion it was noted that there is no sewer outside the village.
Scharpou stated that it was a miss communication and that the residence listed are in the village but have sewer only, no water. Corrections will be made.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes as provided by Village Clerk Treasurer Crystal O’Brien.

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