Thursday, February 27, 2020

Speculator plans to buy a fire tower

Speculator VB Feb 10 2020

Speculator plans to buy a fire tower
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on February 10, Mayor Jeannette Barrett reviewed options for a Fire Tower acquisition after the initial Hooker Hill Fire Tower was deemed irreparable.
The first option being the Makomis Fire Tower, a 49-foot-high, fully restored Fire Tower erected in 1916 on Makomis Mountain in Essex County. It is one of the first steel towers to be erected in the Adirondacks and has the potential to be registered with the National Historical Society. The cost for the Makomis would be approximately $120,000. The second option is a 120-foot-high fire tower from Pennsylvania that holds no historic value. The Makomis Fire Tower has a 17’x17’ square footprint.
The proposed site is to be behind the Pavilion, near the entrance to the Nature Trail and is compliant with local zoning ordinances. Its location will not impede snowmobilers, Cross Country skiing, the nature trail or any other activities, and will promote tourism to the local economy. The DEC Smart Growth Grant is in the amount of $100,000. Further costs to support the construction of the fire tower will raised through local grants, sponsors and fundraisings. Payment for the fire tower can be made in installments up until the fire tower has been erected. A Bridge Loan would be available through Hamilton County IDA if needed. There was further discussion pertaining to accessibility, insurance and engagement of other Village and town organizations.
Trustee Mark Donecker made a motion to accept the fire tower grant contract to October 31, 2022 for the Makomis Fire Tower with the designated modifications including in kind service, reduction in grant administrative costs and purchase of the tower, and the proposed site of the Fire Tower, Trustee Mark Crary seconded and the motion passed unanimously
Trustee Karen McComb made a motion to accept the proposal with the condition for the ability to pay 70% down initially, with the remaining funds paid half at delivery and half at construction. Trustee Letty Rudes seconded, and the motion passed unanimously
Bob Benkovich submitted a written report Additional commentary was made as follows: There were slightly fewer building permits issued by the Village in 2019 compared to 2018. Permits for 2019 were mostly new residential, commercial building and alterations including upgrades. In addition, Certificates of compliance and occupancy were issued and adhered to NYS Building Codes.
The new year is currently on a slow track for permits and building work orders.
Ed Scharpou, WWTP Chief Operator, submitted a written report Additional commentary was made as follows: Scharpou discussed water sampling for phosphorus and chloride. Other activities include repairs and cleanup from recent ice storms along with documentation for FEMA, and 2020-2021 budget planning. An order for LED light bulbs has been put on hold and the order will include DPW as a combined order.
The Annual Land Report is 90% complete.
With the completion of the DMR/SPDES report, there is discussion of implementing new SPDES testing over 36 months rather than the standard 12 months.
The hauler’s permit was applied for and will cost $375 This permit is required by the DEC for hauling potentially hazardous materials.
Scharpou presented a change order for a pump upgrade. The proposed pump is more efficient and will allow for a more consistent flow into the WWTP despite the wide range of variability in flow from the pump station 1. The new pump will cost more than what was budgeted, however there are significant savings on the controls for the pump resulting in an overall net change of approximately $1,400.00 which falls into the allowance for the project. Lamont Engineers will provide a more complete breakdown and rationale for the change order.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to approve a change order for a new efficient pump for the WWTP. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion was passed unanimously. Mayor Barrett will sign the change order.
Crystal O’Brien presented reported she has been focusing on preparing for the upcoming Budget season with accounting software. Although it has been a time-consuming process initially, it will allow for a more efficient way of budgeting in future years.
Trustee Crary has offered his assistance with the preparation.
Hamilton County has received notification their FEMA application was received; the application for Speculator is still pending.
A resolution will be considered next board meeting as well as the requisite referendum required to modify the LOSAP program. This will be on the ballot for approval.
Version Small cell MLA has been reviewed by the Village attorney and is under review by the town attorney and will be finalized soon.
LED Street Lights – Buyout is still waiting for feedback from National Grid and NYPA.
Employee Handbook Review and Update - A continuation of the review of the employee handbook highlighted Personal Appearance, Solicitation and distribution, Personal Liability, Workplace attendance. Matters regarding employee compensation, holidays, overtime and vacation time were discussed. The handbook was left off at Medical Insurance for the next meeting.
Trustee Donecker made a motion to cap sick leave at 30 days or 240 hours for new employees hired after changes made to the handbook, Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion passed unanimously
Speculator Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) new application: Richard “Dickie” Mayers will be a pump operator as well as a driver. He was on the Speculator Volunteer ambulance core previously and has served SVFD in the past.
Trustee McComb made a motion to accept Richard “Dickie” Mayers as new member of the SVFD, Trustee Crary seconded and the motion passed unanimously
Proposed Reserve Fund Policy by Trustee Donecker
Trustee Donecker created a draft general policy regarding reserve funds under the guidelines of the NYS Comptroller. This policy is necessary to maintain reserves and fund balances in the general, water and wastewater funds for the Village. The policy outlines classifications, general rules on allowed reserve funds, spending policy for fund balances, periodic review and annual report and capital reserve funds. Trustee Rudes revisited a matter regarding the principal for water bond that was in the General Fund and that was recently moved to the Water Fund after consulting with NYS OSC and NYCOM. There was discussion as to why it was originally placed in the General Fund with regards to Village-wide the fire service. The NYS Comptroller’s Office confirmed the SVFD is under contract for the entire village, regardless of the water district, and that water bond interest must be paid for out of the Water fund. The Reserve Fund Policy will be reviewed, and resolutions will be presented at the next board meeting.
Mayor Barrett spoke with Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) Executive Director, Rich Grogan about reviewing our prior grants to increase our probability of acquiring the grant in the future.
Gary Rhinehardt of Dackland Radio commented on meetings, stating if he is unable to put a meeting up on Thursday due to a power outage, it will be available as soon as power is restored.

This article is based upon minutes provided by Stacey Farina, Deputy Village Clerk–Treasurer

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