Friday, September 18, 2020

Speculator stays vigilant on COVID

 Speculator VB August 24 2020

Speculator stays vigilant on COVID


SPECULATOR—When the Speculator Village Board of Trustees met on August 24, Mayor Jeannette Barrett advised the board that currently in our region, COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Hamilton County stays low with only sixteen (16) cases while other counties around us, including Herkimer, Fulton and Warren counties continue to increase. Hamilton County currently has 10-11 quarantined from direct contact with someone that tested positive and approximately 150 quarantined travelers. In the coming weeks there are several scheduled testing sites, including one at Lake Pleasant school on September 9 to test teachers, staff, and students.

All our categories for FEMA from the Halloween Storm have been submitted. The Village has been reimbursed for debris, and all virtual sight inspections have been completed. FEMA has also accepted the submitted project for COVID-19 expenses, which will allow the Village to receive reimbursement of 75% for extra expenses exceeding a total of $3,500 due to COVID-19. This includes any extra supplies, PPE, extra expenses for COVID, management time for the Clerk – Treasurer, extra personnel related to COVID-19, etc. As of right now, the disaster period remains open ended, so we will keep a running tally of all potential expenses.


Roger Blanchard gave a written Department of Public works report. Additional commentary is as follows:

In the last month the DPW activities have included: roadside clean up, shoulder work, mowing and trimming grass as needed, garbage and recyclables, prepare sidewalks for paving, work on paving Black Bear Run, replace a culvert on Elm Lake Road, fix pot holes and maintain the dirt section of Elm Lake Road.

In the next 30 days, the beach will be closing, sidewalks will be paved, roadside ditches will be cleaned out, Black Bear Run will be paved, finish playground work, ready the trucks for winter, pick up benches and trash cans, cut hanging brush along roadsides, garbage and recyclables.

Additional items discussed were the missing road sign for Chalet Drive has been ordered. Blanchard will be contacting the State DOT to get an estimated time for the repair of the shoulder on Route 8.

Trustee Karen McComb mentioned the problem of goose excrement at the Point and suggested we contemplate ways of keeping the geese off the Point next year. Trustee Crary asked if there could be any repairs done to the road to the brush pit. As this is a Lake Pleasant road, Mr. Blanchard would contact Mr. Randy Lavarnway.


Crystal O’Brien gave a verbal Clerk-Treasurer Report as follows:

Village Elections are just three (3) weeks away and as of today, there have been no change, postponement, or additional executive orders regarding the Village Elections. A reminder has been sent out by email to the election inspectors and the candidates. A NYCOM webinar for clarification on the processes for the September Elections was to be held that Wednesday.

NYCOM’s Fall Training School has gone to an all virtual platform this year with a reduced registration cost. With the reduced price and the online platform, it will allow the Deputy Clerk – Treasurer to also attend. Since the Spring conference for Mayors was canceled, Mayor Barrett has also expressed her interest in attending the fall training school. Additionally, the Office of the State Comptroller has moved their Accounting schools online, Mrs. O’Brien hopes to take advantage of this online schooling and attend both the basic and advanced government accounting schools.

The Beach inspection occurred on August 11, violations for Beach Closed signage was addressed within the following week and a violation on the buoys will be addressed in the next year. The beach had to close on Sunday, August 23. Lifeguards have put equipment away for winter. DPW will put away any remaining items for the winter was.


A correction was made to the agreed upon water fees. The charge for the road crossing using the Boring machine was increased to $750 due to improperly omitting some of the expenses to pick up and drop off the machine.

Trustee Rudes made a motion to correct the cost of the road crossing fee when using the boring machine to $750. Trustee McComb seconded and the motion passed with the following vote: aye – Barrett, Crary, McComb and Rudes; nays – none; Donecker - Absent.

The Village is still awaiting regulatory tribal approval for the Verizon Small Cell Towers

Grant expenses are being submitted to DEC for the Fire Tower. There is a remaining $35,000 owed to Mr. Vilegi, but the DEC has informed us we must pay out the remaining expense before being reimbursed. At this time, the Village is waiting for an estimated timeframe for reimbursement to pay the remaining amount owed to Mr. Vilegi. Mayor Barrett expressed she has had a couple of people interested in helping with fund raising of the remaining monies needed for the fire tower. Mr. Vilegi and Lori Ranken have expressed their interest in holding the kickoff meeting soon through Zoom.

Over the last two weeks Mayor Barrett was able to contact National Grid about the LED Street Light conversion. At this time, it would cost about $2,300 to $2,400 to convert to LED light bulbs, but we would get back about $5,200. The LEDs will shine straighter down and have the capabilities of attaching a shield preventing the light from shining into homes. More information on the conversion is being sent to the Mayor.


A resolution allowing certain municipal officials and village employees to attend one or more NYCOM Fall Training School for cities and villages and/or OSC government accounting schools was presented to the Board. This resolution is normally apart of the Organizational Meeting, but with the postponed election the organizational meeting will not happen until after Fall training school.

Trustee McComb made a motion to approve Resolution Number 14 of 2020 - Resolution to Approve Attendance at Schools and Conferences. Trustee Rudes seconded and the motion was passed with the following vote: aye – Barrett, Crary, McComb and Rudes; nays – none; Donecker - Absent.


Mayor Barrett attended the yearly Consolidated Health District meeting for Speculator and Lake Pleasant. This meeting was to go over the budget for the Consolidated Health District including the Health Center. Items covered under this budget include, the GAVAC contract, Nathan Littauer annual fee, BTI treatment for the rivers and streams, and health activities within Lake Pleasant and Speculator. Lake Pleasant also received a donation of $10,000 over the past two years for the CHD which they will be using to refurbish the floors in the Health Center.

Lake Pleasant currently has a Job Posting for the administration of BTI treatment for the rivers and streams. Interested parties should contact the Town of Lake Pleasant.

The NBRC Grant Application regarding the water department was rejected again. We will continue to apply since we are in a different situation now. Additionally, NBRC has grants for recreation and bike trails Mayor Barrett would like to apply for. Oak Mountain has created a Mountain Bike Trail which is growing in public interest. The Brister Brook trail was explored a few months ago but determined to be to be too extensively damaged from logging to revitalize. With that in mind, and collaboration with DEC, Mountain Bike Trail experts, Oak Mountain, the Town of Lake Pleasant and Volunteers, other potential trails were explored, and ideas of creating a potential trail route connecting the pathway, the Speculator Bike Loop, Oak Mountain and Moffitt Beach as well as connecting the Fawn Lake Trail and Piseco Airport. The Trail systems like these will draw many to the area and benefit the community in multiple ways.


Bobbi. Hoover commented testing for COVID at Lake Pleasant School is not mandatory for teachers or students at this time.


Trustee Rudes made a motion to enter executive session at 7:45 PM to discuss the notice of claim from Moose Creek Holding LLC. Trustee McComb seconded and the motion passed with the following vote: aye – Barrett, Crary, McComb and Rudes; nays – none; Donecker - Absent. Trustees McComb, Rudes and Crary, Mayor Barrett and Village Attorney Smith entered executive session.

Trustee Rudes made a motion to exit executive session at 7:58. Trustee Crary seconded and the motion passed with the following vote: aye – Barrett, Crary, McComb and Rudes; nays – none; Donecker - Absent.

Trustee Rudes made a motion to refer the Moose Creek Holdings LLC matter to our insurance company and will terminate the services of Mr. Schopf. Trustee McComb seconded and the motion passed with the following vote: aye – Barrett, Crary, McComb and Rudes; nays – none; Donecker - Absent.

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

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