Sunday, November 24, 2019

Elliot Lane hot topic at village meeting

Speculator VB October 28 2019

Elliot Lane hot topic at village meeting
SPECULATOR--Roger Blanchard, DPW Superintendent, submitted a written report and commented as follows: Sand is hauled to the Town Garage where they have an agreement to mix in a little salt for Village use. There is still sand available at the Village Garage for resident use.
The sign at the park will be taken down in the next few weeks to prevent damage from winter elements.
Blanchard said that to best of his knowledge, Elliot Lane has been maintained on and off since he started in 1985.
Attorney Smith presented the Board with documentation from 1998 requesting reimbursement of .12 miles from New York State CHIPS funding, the mileage was confirmed and has not changed since. The road, even after much discussion, was explained to be Village property prior to 1999. Although the land surrounding Elliot Lane was sold in 1999, it was a public road owned by the Village, therefore it could not be handed over in a private sale. Since the sale, the 0.12 miles of Elliot Lane has been maintained by the Village by filling potholes, pick up trash, plowing snow and fire hydrant upkeep for well over ten years. According to New York State Village Law 6-626 which states “All lands within the village which have been used by the public as a street for ten years or more continuously, shall be a street with the same force and effect as if it has been duly laid out and recorded as such.” In the case of Elliot Lane, the road has been maintained by the Village and has remained on New York State DOT Village Highway Inventory List since 1998 without change. The width of the road is grandfathered and does not have to meet Village standards.
This is the first time since 1998 paving has happened on Elliot Lane due to its low traffic and Blanchard not wanting to waste resources when other Village roads needed paving. Responding to a question from Trustee Craven, Attorney. Smith affirmed the paving of the full length of Elliot Lane was appropriate. Trustee Donecker asked for an apology from those members of the Board for their accusations.
Crystal O’Brien presented the Clerk - Treasurer report and Claire Craven presented the completed AUD Report. Additional commentary was made as follows: The new village website was presented to the Board and is ready for public viewing.
View at
When presenting the AUD report to the Board, Craven thanked the NYS OSC for sending an auditor to assist in compiling the data. The auditor confirmed the old accounting software appeared to be used by the former Clerk Treasurer like a checkbook and not in its full capacity as accounting software and the handwritten ledgers were not updated following completion of each year’s AUD making it difficult to follow. Given the extenuating circumstances in completing this year’s AUD, the Auditor recommended the completed report be reviewed and signed off prior to submission to NYS OSC.
Mayor Barrett made the Board aware of Village law 4-408 requiring an audit and a legal notice being sent to the paper stating the AUD has been filed and is available for review.
The Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Plant Upgrade Project Contract #1 is waiting for approval by the EFC on removing painting from the bid and renegotiation with Rozelle. Mayor Barrett is waiting on an update from Mr. Becker with Lamont.
The contract and insurance information for the removal of the tree on the Point will be sent to the Clerk’s office in the next few weeks.
LED Street Lights: Since the quote given for the purchase of Street lighting from National Grid was not acted on, Mayor Barrett will request updated pricing.
Street Addressing enforcement alternatives are being discussed between the Fire Department and the Fire and Building Code Inspector.
After vendors from the Bear and Wine Fest were not able to use their credit card payment software and the excessive lack of Verizon coverage this fall; Mayor Barrett sent a letter to the Assistant Secretary of Economic Development requesting help with this issue. After many tries, she was successful in contacting them and a call from Verizon was received shortly after. Speculator and Lake Pleasant have been put on the 2020 build plan. Verizon service is planned to improve in two ways – (1) raise the tower by fifteen feet which requires an APA permit, and (2) adding several small cell towers to the area through the DOT. Verizon submitted a Local Government Notice to the Zoning Officer to complete for the APA permit.
The revised handbook will be sent to the Board members via email the week of November 6. For those who cannot print, there will be a copy available in their mailbox at the Village Hall.
Trustee Craven asked for the Board to revisit approving the minutes from October 15 after the discussion on Elliot Lane has been closed to give Trustee McComb and Trustee Rudes the opportunity to change their vote.
Bill Paestella asked why Elliot Lane does not show up on the Hamilton County tax map? Mayor Barrett responded that she has contacted the Hamilton County Real Property Tax Service and has been informed they do not make changes unless requested. Mayor Barrett has requested Elliot Lane be reflected on the Tax Map.
Neil McGovern commented on the rate for the 1996 USDA Bond and the impact it has on a small municipality. With being both a resident and a business owner for many years in Speculator the water sewer bill in his opinion is the most choking bill in the village. Regarding the use of the private property on either side of Elliot Lane, he suggested that all discrepancies should be taken up with the owner. From his perspective, minutes of Board meetings should be available to the public “un-sanitized” by the Board.
Lisa Eckhoff thanked Claire Craven for all the work she has done in the past few months and appreciates the new website presented by Crystal O’Brien, suggesting the possibility of recording the meetings and making them available on the website.
Trustee McComb commented that she had changed her position regarding the recording of board meetings by Dackland Radio and asked to revisit it. Mayor Barrett agreed to explore it.

Editor Note: Story based on the minutes from Crystal O’Brien, Village Clerk - Treasurer

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