Friday, August 16, 2019

Wells plans for hydro plant work

Wells TB July 8 2019.

Wells plans for hydro plant work
By Pete Klein
At the July 8 meeting of the Wells Town Board, Supervisor Donald Beach reviewed cost and duration of estimates from Adirondack Mechanical Services, LLC, Gansevoort, at the Hydro Plant to disassemble, inspect wear parts, replace seal material and clean remaining parts for 1.
Existing Hydraulic Power Units (HPU) only and Existing HPU and turbine components. The proposal include labor, procurement of material, lifts, equipment and tools to complete the work.
HPU Only Pricing $5,766. HPU Turbine Components $24,947.
A complete cleaning is recommended every 5 to 6 years for the safety of the plant. The last time full maintenance was done was in 2005. Councilperson Saltis feels that FERC will require this for the re-licensing, and we should look to include in next year’s budget.
Beach reported on the Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant for June 2019. Revenues totaled $14,354.38; expenditures totaled $199.76.
Councilperson Andrew Lauria questioned why there is such a high balance in the checking account, shouldn’t funds be in the Money Market earning a higher rate of interest. Supervisor Beach said the interest rate is the same for the checking and money market and it’s easier for him to manage the money going into one account. Councilperson Lauria would like to know what the interest rate is in both accounts.
The Board reviewed the Building Code Enforcement Officer’s report for June 2019. Mike McElroy gave each Board Member his letter of resignation effective September 30, 2019.
Highway Superintendent Clay Earley reported that Craig Rd. paving is almost complete. Due to National Grid working on the Windfall, it has delayed the paving work to be done there.
Councilperson Tim Hunt asked about the pond at the lower end of Town. Supervisor Beach explained that in 2017 it was dug up for the purpose of finding a culvert which could not be located. It was left open and in 2018 the property owner filled it in. Beach would now like to purchase a new 100 ft. 15-inch culvert at a cost of $659 and three couplings at $6.59 each. The County will let us use their small excavator. Early added it will take about two weeks to order the culvert. The Board agreed to move forward with the project.
Hunt asked about problems with the magnetic switch at the dam. Beach explained it is tripping after he and Dave Brenan inspected the problems. He has taken pictures and forwarded them to the electrical contractor, Rob Simpson who will order parts and do the necessary repairs.
Councilperson Vanessa Saltis reported the Summer Rec is in its second week. During the first week, 31 to 34 children attended and the second week with slightly less due to a basketball camp in Speculator. Some activities planned are visiting the Historical Society Museum and Perry Lanes. Swimming lessons will begin this Friday from 1 to 3 and a second afternoon may be added if there are enough participants.
Councilperson Andrew Lauria reported on moving ahead on what’s best for our Lake as the first organizational meeting of the group formed should take place before the next board meeting.
Councilperson Bill Stuart said new outlets have been installed in the pavilion. He has received good reports regarding this year’s lifeguards and the geese are less of an issue this year. Supervisor Beach added the ribbon/strip that is set up along the shoreline is working well to keep the geese off the beach.
Jean Frederick asked if there were certain requirements for individuals running for Town Supervisor. Beach said as far as he knew, anyone could run for Supervisor. She then asked if other Towns had requirements and if so, could we. Councilperson Lauria added that Towns do have the right to define requirements for their elected positions but would require a referendum and public vote. Currently the State Public Officers Law has no requirements.
Marlene Rust said if a person is convicted of a misdemeanor, they may not be able to hold the Office of District Attorney.
Marlene Rust said a pontoon boat has been parked at the beach for over a week. Kids have been seen on it and she feels if something happens the Town will be liable. Supervisor Beach knows the owner who lost their dock and will speak to the them and ask that it be removed.
Holly Hite said we cannot choose to ignore the State Law where a motorized watercraft cannot be within 100 feet of a designated swimming area which clearly the Town beach is.
Keith Lauria introduced himself as a representative of the Fire Company and asked for help regarding the dry hydrants that aren’t working. Is it a Water Department issue? Supervisor Beach will tell George Paige that the dry hydrant by the dam is a priority and needs to be fixed. Keith offered manpower from the Fire Company if needed, Superintendent Earley said his crew can assist if needed. Councilperson Hunt asked if that’s the only one not working, the one in front of the Welch residence. Supervisor Beach said that is working at a minimum and should be replaced also.
Vince Abbott-Forgione would like to know the entire costs of the dam repairs recently done by Herm Busse as it does not seem to be listed in the monthly Hydro Report. Supervisor Beach said he could not to give him an accurate number right now, but it is under disbursements in the General Fund and he will get back to him with that number. Councilperson Saltis believes it not one bill but multiple. Supervisor Beach said that is the case and he will need to go back to the individual invoices and add them up.
Roy Grisenthwaite commented that for 6 months income on the dam is approximately $71,000 plus and therefore should finish the year at approximately $142,000 plus. He suggested a dedicated fund to report repairs and expenses. Supervisor Beach explained there is a separate line item in the budget under the General Fund.
Dee Parker recalled 25 to 30 years ago when the dam became operational the Town Board decided it would be part of the general fund to help keep taxes down.
Rebekah Crewell thanked Superintendent Earley and the Highway Department for the new sand at the beach. She was recently at the Speculator Town Beach which was a nice experience but how proud she is that Wells Town Beach is much nicer.
She said she is hearing scuttlebutt, gossip that the Board may have concerns regarding the Towns finances and budget. At what point would the Board talk about this publicly or in Executive Session. Councilperson Lauria responded that the budget and financials are all public information. Executive Sessions are typically held for employee related issues. There are checks and balances currently in place and Jen Woodward did a great job explaining the error with last month’s abstract. Supervisor Beach explained that he pulled a report sooner than he should have that caused the error on the abstract. He sees no problem with the current finances. He filed the annual AUD report in March after receiving an extension from the Comptroller’s office and has not received an email that anything is incorrect. He added it’s a learning process. Councilperson Lauria reviewed the AUD just last week and Don and Jen were able to answer questions he had. Crewell asked if the State or an Attorney has been contacted to complete an audit. No, that is not the case. Councilperson Lauria said an option is for the Board to contact the Comptroller’s Office requesting an audit as a proactive measure. Supervisor Beach suggested if that is what the Board wants, they should request the audit beginning from the time the last audit was done. He also added the fact that he is glad he ran for the supervisor’s office and has decided not to seek reelection due to health issues only.
Highway Superintendent Earley suggested the Supervisor prepare a quarterly/year to date financial report compared against the budget for next month’s meeting. Supervisor Beach said he would do that.
John Margies wanted to clarify the State Comptroller’s office has not come to the Town to require an audit.
Betty Lou Orr commented on the fact that she went to the dump last Saturday and everything was full. She went back Sunday, and everything was emptied and is thanking the Town for that.

Editor’s note: This story is based upon the minutes of Town Clerk Maryellen Stofelano.

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