Friday, May 15, 2020

Speculator Town Board updated on Wuhan Virus

Speculator VB April 27 2020

Speculator Town Board updated on Wuhan Virus
SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on April 27, it received the following report on the Wuhan China Virus (COVID-19).
Plans to reopen regions on New York will be determined over the next few weeks as announced by Governor Cuomo. Hamilton County was ranked the most vulnerable from a demographic perspective, in relation to age of citizens, number of generations and the number of people in each household. However, they rank 28th in the state for medical risk factors. There are currently no quarantines in the County.
Hamilton County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Bill Farber, has been meeting with the NYS DOH committee to devise an agreement that would be regionally viable for our businesses and municipalities that would be approved by the State.
Erica Mahoney, Hamilton County DOH, sent a message to second homeowners as a reminder to self-isolate when coming into the area and suggested long term stays rather than overnight for rental units.
Mayor Jeannette Barrett spoke with Susie Lupert, Executive Director NYS Camp Association, to discuss the upcoming summer camp season. They are waiting for guidance from the CDC and NYS DOH regarding childcare guidelines to move forward with recommendations. Lupert believes the decision for summer camp will be within the next 2 weeks and urged camps to not make any decisions until they hear from the NYS DOH.
FEMA assistance will be available due to the impact of COVID-19. There is the potential loss of Village revenues with decreased business activity, camps, and tourists in the area this summer.
NYCOM is leading efforts for obtaining Federal funding at the local government level. There is currently no local funding provided for the federal stimulus package, however, there may be an opportunity in round 4 for state and local aid. Under Governor Cuomo’s updated Financial plan, there is a projected 16%-20% drop in sales tax revenue and $8.2 billion in cuts to all the state’s local aid programs, if there is no additional federal assistance received from the state. We are currently working on getting our name on petitions asking for aid and assistance.
Speculator has completed its submission for FEMA on schedule. There was a discrepancy in the calculation of wages/fringe benefits that has since been corrected. The projected reimbursement was slightly lower than previously thought. These figures have been adjusted in the 2020-2021 budget numbers.
Roger Blanchard, DPW Highway Superintendent, submitted a written report Blanchard’s report was presented by Trustee Donecker as Blanchard was not present due to COVID- 19 virus procedures. Additional commentary was made as follows: Spring cleanup has begun on the roads, parks and buildings and will continue over the next 60 days. There will be planning and evaluation for roads to be paved under the CHIPS program. Most specifically hauling in Item 4 stockpile culverts. A Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H&H) study was suggested by FEMA and NYSDHSES to see if there is need for a larger culvert by Letters Creek that would be supported, in part, under FEMA corrective measures. This will be done in collaboration with Hamilton County Soil and Water and supplement the engineering report as a safety check in the event of a future flood.
There have been delays on acquiring the 5500-pickup truck for DPW and there is a possibility that the new truck will be moved to the 2020-2021 budget. The dealer will be contacted to evaluate the matter.
Trustee Karen McComb commented on the great job that has been done with the “Welcome to Speculator” sign. Mayor Barrett also expressed gratitude towards all Village workers during PAUSE NY.
Mayor Barrett suggested the need for more permanent signs to be posted for COVID 19 awareness on keeping distance. However, it is too early to tell for the upcoming season.
Crystal O’Brien presented the Clerk Report. Additional commentary was made as follows: O’Brien attended the webinar for elections on the postponement due to COVID 19. Currently, the Board of Elections is pushing for a June 16 election date to avoid interfering with the primaries. No change to the ballots will or can be made, and the postponement will not interfere with term dates. Those elected will be in office until their end date of April 2022. Those currently in office will extend their position until the new election has taken place. An executive order by Governor Cuomo will allow anyone to fill out an absentee ballot for those who are or fear becoming sick. Absentee ballots will be accepted up until the day before election day, however requests for mailed ballots must still be made 7 days prior to election day. No new resolutions are required. The Organizational meeting will be at the next regular scheduled meeting. Terms can start once everything has been finalized.
To comply with Executive orders on Open Meeting Law, O’Brien has worked with the web developer to create an addition to the website to include recording and transcriptions of the Board Meetings. This can be located on the Meetings tab. This will be carried out until NY PAUSE is over. As usual, meeting recordings are also be available on Dackland Radio on the Thursday following a Board Meeting.
Trustee McComb made a motion to approve Financial Report #8. Trustee Mark Donecker seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Trustee Letty Rudes made a motion to approve and pay Abstract #21 for $21,748.49. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.
There has been a delay in the application for APA. A presentation to the community from Fire Tower historians and experts is planned for Thursday August 20th at the Pavilion. The Village is looking for interested persons to lead fundraising efforts for the Makomis Fire Tower project.
Speculator is awaiting the final plans for the small cell tower from Verizon.
After an error in the National Grid buyout calculations was corrected, the cost for LED’s would be $4,000 more than previously thought. Discussion with NYPA and ANCA are in effect to consider potential savings with bulk purchases with other towns. Mayor Barrett, Trustee Donecker and Nancy Bernstein from ANCA will hold a meeting with NYPA, to be addressed at the next Board of Trustees meeting.
2020-2021 BUDGET
No further input from the public was made except for the modifications for the FEMA reimbursement.
Trustee Mark Crary made a motion to approve the 2020-2021 Budget. Trustee Donecker seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Electronic Sign - Ryan Marshall from the SVFD asked for permission to write a grant proposal to cover the cost for an electronic sign to be placed over the new garage. He met with Dave McComb, Zoning Director, and there appears to be no zoning issues at this point. The sign would be used for community service, announcements, recreational events, and emergency information. No cost to the Village would be incurred as the grant would be a 90/10 split, the 10% cost would be covered under the SVFD budget allowance. Permission was granted to Marshall to write the proposal. Should the grant be awarded, further discussion and approval by the Board would be required.
Discussion on the employee handbook was continued with Section 8.5. Highlights included: Clarification that part -time hours are less than 40 hours per week; Health insurance covering dependent children up to the age of 26; Medical Insurance begins on the day of employment for those eligible as well as an insurance buyout for employees who decline coverage ($70 per pay period). Under Section 8.7 Retiree medical coverage: a change has been made to apply a premium to those who leave Hamilton County that will be due each month. This will allow retirees to take their coverage anywhere in the US. Other issues in the handbook, including sexual harassment, drug testing, smoking safety and workplace violence were addressed. This concluded the review of the Employee handbook. A revised handbook will be available for final review and approval at the next Board of Trustees meeting.
Speculator Fly-in - If PAUSE NY has been lifted in time, the 48th annual Speculator Fly-In will be held May 29th, 30th and 31st. The turnout for the event is not usually overwhelming in number and social distancing will be implemented.
NBRC Grant – We are exploring opportunities to acquire additional grant monies for the WWTP to improve testing and modifications to the plant.
A meeting with the DEC is planned to discuss opening bike paths and multi-use trails as well as applying for grants to their restoration, maintenance, and improvement.
Insurance payment was received for reimbursement for Moose Creek Holding legal fees to date.

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

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