Friday, December 13, 2019

Speculator village board meetings to be broadcast

Speculator VB Nov 25 2019

Speculator village board meetings to be broadcast
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on November 25, Trustee Karen McComb asked for the board to revisit the option of having Dackland Radio record and broadcast Village Board Meetings. Although she was opposed in the beginning, she has spoken to many people in Lake Pleasant who feel broadcasting the Town meetings is beneficial to them and many people from Speculator feel it would also be beneficial for the Village Board to do the same.
Gary Rhinehart charges a fee of $39.99 per month with an additional charge of $9.99 for special meetings. He records the meetings and broadcasts them a few days later. For the Town this is the Thursday after the Board Meeting at 7 pm. Rhinehart will then add the recording to YouTube as a method of archiving. After a lengthy discussion the board approved Rhinehart recording the meetings and broadcasting on Dackland Radio.
McComb made a motion to have Dackland Radio record Board of Trustee meetings at a cost of $39.99 per month starting December 9, 2019 with broadcasting of the meetings on the following Thursday at 7 pm and a copy of the recording to be provided to the Clerk – Treasurer. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Jeannette Barrett asked Bryan Moldt to present options for Employee Insurance.
Moldt presented three Employee Insurance options for the Village. All options are offered by MVP Health Care, which is the current provider for the Village. The current health care offered for employees is going up 5.8% and will cost the Village in the coming year a total of $101,283.24. The presented plans are all EPO (exclusive provider organization) plans with an embedded deductible. The individual employee deductible and 85% of the family deductible will be funded by the Village through an HRA (health reimbursement arrangement). Of the three options presented, the MVP EPO 2 w/ HRA is the proposed option for the Village with a savings of $4,377.28 after funding the HRA. This is a national coverage plan with a $800/$1,600 embedded deductible. The employees’ out of pocket expenses begin after the $800 deductible is met. The Village will also be looking to fund a POP plan through Upstate Agency for $99 dollars per year. This plan will allow all deductions to be taken out pretax and will not be subject to tax at the end of the year. There are many other benefits with the MVP Health coverage, and employees will be made aware of these benefits during the open enrollment meeting on November 26, 2019. MVP Gold coverage will stay the same.
Trustee Eric Craven made a motion to approve the MVP EPO 2 plan with a fully funded deductible with the option of a 20% buyout distributed through the year in each pay period and buying a POP plan. Trustee Karen McComb seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Roger Blanchard, DPW Superintendent, submitted a written report and made the following comments.
Garbage pickup for businesses will be moved to Thursday for the winter months due to the Transfer station closing Fridays. The transfer station has had a few issues from the public and does not want any employee working alone. To prevent anyone working alone, they are closing Fridays and will be open on Saturdays.
Trustee McComb asked if the DPW could use sandbags for the skating rink.
Blanchard agreed using sandbags could work and advised he would order them this week so they can get the skating rink at the Pavilion finished as soon as possible.
The Winter banners for the Village have been damaged by winter storms and need replacement. Blanchard would like to replace all five to keep them unified and the board agreed.
The tree has been put up at the four corners and is ready for the Tree Lighting on Black Friday.
Crystal O’Brien presented the Clerk - Treasurer report and commented as follows:
Three out of the four artist’s work are displayed at the Village Hall. The fourth artist had considerable storm damage from the Halloween Storm and will hopefully be bringing their artwork in the next week. As soon as we have all artwork displayed, we will put a notice in the paper and on our website.
O’Brien completed two webinars last week one for Enhanced reporting with the NYS retirement system and another through OSC for Commonly Misunderstood Concepts of Budgeting. The Enhanced reporting webinar was the first step in the transition to enhanced reporting for New York State Retirement. The changeover is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. After completing the webinar, there was a survey and a phone conversation to establish when would be best time for the Village to start with the transition. It is O’Brien’s hope to start the transition as soon as possible.
The Budgeting webinar was helpful in preparing for next year’s budget and understanding the dos and don’ts of municipal budgeting. Additionally, O’Brien has signed up for two election webinars, scheduled in December; as these webinars will give her valuable information to help in the coming election.
O’Brien reported on November 12 that she received an annual Notice of Premium Due in the amount of $100 from CNA Surety for a NY Road Opening Bond for a 1997 project. After talking with Roger Blanchard and asking both CNA Surety and NYS DOT, there were no specifics found on the bond. Additionally, NYS DOT had no record in their archives for this bond. NYS DOT has sent the Village a letter stating this Bond is no longer needed and can be released.
EFC approved the removal of the painting from the Rozell contract for the WWTP Upgrade Project 1 Contract 1. Mayor Barrett has signed an acceptance of contract and it has been sent to Rozell for approval. Once everything is signed, we can start on the project.
Trustee Donecker reported the middle tree on the Point was removed last week.
Mayor Barrett sent a letter to National Grid a few weeks ago, we are still waiting on the National Grid Buyout for the LED Street light project.
An update of the Halloween Storm was given by Mayor Barrett. In the last two weeks, representatives from NYS Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, FEMA and the Small Business Association have visited to assess damages to residential, business and public property. If FEMA declares Hamilton County a disaster area, qualifying projects may receive a 75/25 match for damages with an additional 12.5% from New York State. Documented volunteer hours related to the Halloween storm (SVFD and Mayor) would be used towards the Village’s portion. At present that amount is over $18,000. If FEMA does not declare a disaster area, then there are other possible grant opportunities available.
The Speculator Volunteer Fire Department asked the finance committee to look at the LOSAP pension to assess the design and funding. The plan is funded at about 85% as the Village contributions have been lower than recommended by the actuary. We are looking to change the program from a Defined Benefit (DB) plan to ad Defined Contribution (DC) plan to take advantage of a more aggressive investment mix, involving the stock market which is up 28% this year. In addition, this was discussed with the SVFD to which they agree to move forward with the DC option. It is recommended to consult a pension lawyer before making any changes. Any changes must be made by January 1, 2020.
Trustee McComb made a motion to engage a pension lawyer with up to $3,000 in Fees to advise on the viability of moving the SVFD LOSAP fund from a Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution program, and to conduct necessary financial due diligence with the fund’s actuary. After this full review the finance committee will seek final Board approval to move to a DC plan or remain in the DB plan effective June 1, 2020. Trustee Craven seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Barrett presented a letter received from the attorney representing Mr. Samson regarding Elliot Lane. Upon advice by Counsel, this will be discussed during Executive Session at the next board meeting when Mrs. Smith can be present. Mrs. Smith provided a memo summarizing public documents of Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes which included: the Board declared Elliot Lane a public road (12/1/97): Elliot Lane was intended to be reserved from the sale of property to the Lemon tree (8/17/98) but was not; the Board could not sell a public road without abandoning or discontinuing the road (Highway Law §205), which was never done, therefore Elliot Lane remains a public road.; and the Board again declared Elliot Lane a public road on 9/28/17 . In addition, DPW has continued to maintain the road, and the Village confirmed to NYS DOT that Elliot Lane is a Village public road each year since 1998 and Elliot Lane is on the CHIPSs list to date and has not been removed.
Trustee Donecker brought to the Board a conversation he had with Anthony Alfieri regarding the snowmobile trail across from Mountain Market. Property owner of this section has discontinued access for personal reasons. Alfieri has created a petition for snowmobiles to have access to the sidewalk from the Speculator Fire Department to Mountain Market. Access to the sidewalks is needed because the River Trail is not always accessible at the beginning and end of the snowmobile season, therefore Mountain Market is not easily accessible without the access across the street. This would reduce the number of snowmobilers through the village and potentially hurt businesses like Mountain Market, Sunrise Diner and Village Motorsports. After much discussion about why the sidewalk has been closed to snowmobiles, the impact of snowmobiles on the sidewalk for the Sunmount Adult Daycare Facility, and the potential hinderance of access for pedestrian residents, the Board agreed to invite Mr. Alfieri to the next board meeting to discuss this matter and any alternatives.
Robert Hoffman made a comment on changing employee insurance; in his experience with the Village MVP Health Care has always been the best provider for the employees.
Bobby Lyn Hoover made a comment to again state she has always known Elliot Lane to be private past the Morrisons.
Hoffman asked if there would be storm damage repairs to the Point and the Jetty near the Beach. Mayor Barrett affirmed that these areas were highlighted to the FEMA and NYS State assessors for repairs.

This article is based upon minutes provided by Crystal O’Brien, Village Clerk

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