Friday, August 14, 2020

Wells plans for storm damage grants

 Wells TB July 13 2020

Wells plans for storm damage grants


WELLS—When the Wells Town Board met on July 13, Ryan Frykholm, Municipal Disaster Consultants, updated the board with the status of the various damage inventory sites within the Town. Currently there are 48 sites that are now able to be processed further into the grant process. The virtual site inspection process has been streamlined and both FEMA and NYS are satisfied with the Town’s documentation. There are multiple levels of options and variations that relate to a FEMA Public Assistance project and he is providing this information to Supervisor Mauro and Highway Superintendent Clay Earley, so they can make informed decisions.

Councilperson Lauria asked to confirm are we still at the initial projection of damages at $2 million. Ryan believes now it is close to $2.35 million and added Superintendent Earley has been very efficient completing projects on his own. The Hydro plant was so submerged that it may not come back to its pre flood condition. Ryan addressed the Insurance claim verses FEMA claim. If insurance were to cover a theoretical $1 million in damages, the Town would submit the insurance deductible to FEMA for reimbursement. If accepted by FEMA, then the Town would pay the 25% (local share) of the deductible. If no insurance coverage were available, FEMA would then hypothetically cover the $1 million in damages. In that case the Town would be responsible for the 25% or $250,000 (local share). To determine with better accuracy, the best path forward, the Town has reached out to Continental Machinery from Dallas, Texas who has national recognition as a forensic damage firm for industrial insurance claims. The Town is hoping to receive within the next couple of weeks their determination of the specific flood related damages that occurred. Councilperson Crewell asked about how the Town was to finance the FEMA projects and eventually the local share. Ryan explained that many Towns often pursue a Bond Anticipation Note. This requires legal work and he advised that we speak with the Town Attorney and contact our banking institution. Ryan answered a question relating to what happens if the Highway Department performs work at a savings from originally budgeted. Example: if FEMA obligated a project for $20,000 and the Highway Department completed the work for $18,000 the $2000 savings stays within the Highway Department budget. This only applies to “small projects” (those under $130,000). On a “large project” (those over $130,000) it is a different scenario. Example: if FEMA obligated a project for $150,000 and the Highway Department performs the work for $142,000 then FEMA would only reimburse the actual cost of the work performed.


On a motion of Councilperson Hunt, seconded by Councilperson Crewell, the following was APPROVED by all.

WHEREAS, the Town of Wells has recently been suffered the effects of a severe storm, and

WHEREAS, the Town anticipates undertaking a significant vegetative debris removal work project that will require the use of heavy equipment that is not currently owned by the Town, and

WHEREAS, the project will be managed and directed by the Town of Wells Supervisor and undertaken by a contracted provider of heavy equipment, with an operator, selected through this Request for Bid process,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Supervisor and the Town Board are authorized to publish a Request for Proposals (RFP Request) to obtain bids from qualified contractors to provide heavy equipment with operators and a general laborer to the Town of Wells on an as- needed basis for a period of six months or other such agreed upon term as stated in a contract executed by the selected bidder and the Town of Wells.


On a motion of Councilperson Hunt, seconded by Councilperson Saltis, the following was TABLED by all.

Two quotes were received by the deadline. One from GPI, one from Barton & Loguidice which did not contain a price quote. It was decided to table the resolution and run another legal ad for Request for Proposals Authorizing Supervisor to Enter into Engineering Services Contract for 2020 (Subject to Attorney Approval). Deadline for proposals is July 30, 2020.


On a motion of Councilperson Saltis, seconded by Councilperson Hunt, the following was APPROVED by all.

WHEREAS, pursuant to Agriculture & Markets Law Sections 108, 115, 115A, 119, 120, 122 and 126, the Board has appointed Robert Zemken as Dog Warden/Animal Control Officer for 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Board has determined that compensation for this position is $1,000 per year, paid in quarterly payments of $250.00 per quarter, NOW THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Supervisor is authorized to pay the Dog Warden/Animal Control Officer a total of $1,000 per year, payable in quarterly payments of $250.00 per quarter.


Supervisor Nick Mauro reported on the Lake Algonquin Hydroelectric Plant for June 2020. Revenues totaled $20,813.16; expenditures totaled $5,668.40. Year to date, revenues $64,631.50, expenditures $66,767.82.


Supervisor Mauro reported the Town has a landlocked piece of property which was brought to his attention from a bordering homeowner who is concerned that a tree on that property may fall and cause damage to her. Laurie Abbott, Hamilton County Real Property Tax Service office provided Supervisor Mauro with a deed and map of the parcel. It borders property owned by Lee Smith, Jennifer Williams, Jane Bovee and another individual. He asked the Board if they had any interest in auctioning of the property as it has no value to the Town. Councilperson Hunt said yes and should contact the Town attorney. Councilperson Lauria thought it was also a good idea and would get the parcel on the tax rolls. Supervisor Mauro will research more and determine a value for auction.


Supervisor Mauro researched what could and could not be done as far as larger gatherings as the region reached Phase IV. A meetings was held with the Wells Improvement Group and Supervisor Mauro, it was decided the Old Home Days activities will be limited to the parade at 1pm and fireworks at 10 pm. Something is better than nothing and look forward to Old Home Days 2021.


The Board reviewed the Building Code Enforcement Officer’s report for June 2020. The Board received Kevin Helm’s letter of resignation effective July 31, 2020. The Town Clerk will place an ad which will run two weeks in the Hamilton County Express advertising for a Building Code Officer. Resumes will be directed to Supervisor Mauro with a deadline of August 1, 2020.


The Board reviewed the Town of Wells Water Department for June 2020. George Paige is working with Gary Bureau on a leak at Garth Weiss’s residence on Gilmantown Rd.


Councilperson Saltis acknowledged the good job cleaning up the beach and boat launch. Supervisor Mauro said a new 16 ft. dock will be installed at the boat launch soon.

Councilperson Crewell commented how it was impossible to park at the boat launch parking lot over July 4 weekend. Supervisor Mauro will keep a closer eye on the situation. Possibly add signage, No Overnight Parking.

Supervisor Mauro reported that signage for Water Buildings #2 and $3 have been ordered. Water Building #1 sign has been removed from the tree and mounted properly on the building.

Councilperson Crewell has made multiple calls and left messages with Slic, the Town’s current cable provider regarding their poor service. She has also made inquiries to Spectrum to see if they could be a cable provider. Spectrum would have to purchase from Slic to become the Town’s service provider. She will continue to research.

Councilperson Crewell spoke with Town Justice Murphy regarding the Code Enforcement Officer position. He suggested as a Board, review what the State regulations are and enforce any noncompliance with fines and penalties. Especially important as we look for a new candidate.

Councilperson Hunt asked if anything could be done about the Verizon cell service. Is poor service due to more usage with more people in Town or possibly the heavy foliage? John Margies suggested going to the County Board of Supervisors to press the issue.

Councilperson Saltis updated the Board on Summer Rec which is successfully happening online with scavenger hunts and craft videos. She is happy and proud of the Counselors. Supervisor Mauro added, he was sent the link from Mindy Morrison and thought the program has been well executed considering the situation.

Councilperson Lauria reported he attended a Friends of Lake Algonquin Association meeting last week and will have more to report next month.

Supervisor Mauro reported that Councilperson Lauria recently requested copies of the December 2019 and January 2020 bank statements as part of an internal audit of the annual AUD and have you found anything of suspicion and asked why he was conducting an audit. Councilperson Lauria said that when he attended the Association of Towns Newly Elected Officials Training it was recommended that the Board conduct an internal audit which he has completed in previous years. He continued by stating that this document offers the broadest financial picture of the Town as it is required to be submitted to the State Comptroller Office. Councilperson Crewell asked Councilperson Lauria if he thought it was necessary to reconcile accounts monthly and if other municipalities performed these tasks. Supervisor Mauro hoped that if he did find anything of suspicion that it would be brought to his attention as Supervisor of the Town.

Councilperson Hunt then stated to Councilperson Lauria that it was the Finance Committee’s responsibility if any to conduct an audit. Supervisor Mauro asked that Councilperson Lauria focus his attention on Buildings and Grounds as he is a member of that committee.

Councilperson Lauria asked that Supervisor Mauro clarify his expectations for Buildings and Grounds subcommittee and apologized if his actions appeared not to be transparent. He explained that the primary responsibility of every board member is the financial well-being of the Town and stated that he would continue to uphold that fiduciary responsibility as long as he held office.

Councilperson Hunt asked the status of the Town Picnic, most likely will be cancelled. Superintendent Earley commented that you can now have gatherings up to 50 people, could we keep it 50 and under. Supervisor Mauro said we would discuss further at the August Board Meeting.


Kevin Cafaro asked why there is not a buoy in front of the dam this year. Supervisor Mauro said new ropes and buoys have just been purchased and will go up shortly.

John Margies asked if there are any other landlocked properties that the Town owns. No. He also thanked the Highway Department for the assistance cleaning up the Jolie Montaigne Beach entrance and mounting the kiosk at the boat launch.

Sharon Grisenthwaite said the Wells Town Beach is closed, why are people allowed to park. Supervisor Mauro was not comfortable with barricading the parking area which would cause to much traffic on Rt. 30.

Roy Grisenthwaite said the rental home next to them had over 20 people occupying the property this week with cars and trailers parked in the Community Hall parking lot.

Pam Gilroy said the sign, No Overnight Parking has disappeared at the boat launch parking lot. She also brought to the Boards attention that the small island across from her property is her property not public. Unfortunately, people have been abusing it. She will be putting up signs, private property.

This article is based upon minutes provided by Maryellen Stofelano, Town Clerk.

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