TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
MONDAY, 8/12/2019 7:00PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCILWOMAN PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCILMAN ABSENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Edwin & Nina Derks, Dan & Sue Colwell, Nancy & Larry Meyer, Thomas & Mary Mulroy, Lawrence Meyer (Ashville Bay residents); Clayton & Helen Emick; Louis Rieg; Geoffrey A. Carlson; Pete & Lynn Smith; Gary Miller; Charlie & Wendy Klinginsmith; Dave Stapleton, Attorney; Howard Peacock, Justice; Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Stephanie Gibbs, Deputy Town Clerk; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- MOTION # 92 OF 2019
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 7/8/2019 PUBLIC HEARING AND TOWN BOARD MEETING AS PRESENTED BY THE TOWN CLERK. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Centennial Celebration Picnic 7/13/19 – Good Time!
Mr. Yates read a letter from Muriel (former Town Council member) and Ralph Bramble stating how much they had enjoyed the Centennial Picnic and thanking the town for all the work that went into it. Mrs. Bramble won 1st Place for her lemon meringue pie at the picnic.
- Groundbreaking Ceremony New Town Building 7/29/19 went well – Empire B&D has begun site excavation
Mr. Yates said the ceremony was very well attended and many had spoken, including Cathy Young.
He thanked all who had participated.
- Special meeting Town Board; Planning Board; Zoning Board of Appeals – Tues. 8/13/19 7:00 PM
- Early Voting for Chautauqua County
Mr. Yates said this is new in Chautauqua County and the voting sites will be at Board of Elections in Mayville; Chautauqua County Fair Grounds 4-H Bldg., Dunkirk; and Chautauqua Mall, Lakewood. He said the Clerk has hand out cards with the dates; times and places on her counter and all the information is at www.votechautauqua.com .
- Blair Smoulder – Thank you for the work done at the Veterans Memorial (flower garden, etc.)
Mr. Yates said a special thank you to Mr. Smoulder for “keeping an eye” on the grounds and for all the work he has done at the Memorial, especially on the planter for the Town lilies.
- Councilman McNeill
Mr. McNeill announced that Councilman Senske is not present as he had to be out of town at a business meeting. He also stated that Highway Superintendent, Dan Strickland is not present as he was in hospital after surgery.
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
- Gary Miller – Proposed memorial for Marlene Miller at Lighthouse Park
Mr. Miller said his parents owned the Lakeside Auto Court Cottages for many years. He said his mother is deceased and his father will be retiring and moving soon. He said he lives out of the area and would like to place a more permanent memorial at the park as opposed to the current lilac bush in her memory. He said he would like to replace the bench that was taken from the park with another that will be hardscaped. He said he would pay for the entire cost of the project including the composite bench, anchoring and foundation. He provided a photo of the bench style and said it would be 6’.
There was discussion as to where the best location for the bench would be.
Mr. Yates said the bench would certainly get a lot of use.
Mr. Sena said yes, it would nice to have a new bench as the old ones are getting tired.
Mr. Miller asked if it was alright to have the bench shipped directly to the town.
Mr. Yates said that would be fine.
- MOTION # 93 OF 2019
- YATES MOTIONED TO ALLOW GARY MILLER TO PLACE A MEMORIAL BENCH IN MEMORY OF HIS MOTHER, MARLENE MILLER AT LIGHTHOUSE PARK. FURTHER, THE EXPENSE OF THE PROJECT WILL BE PAID SOLELY BY MR. MILLER. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA; MCNEILL; ORTMAN; YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Geoff Carlson “The Bread Box” – request to have bake stand at 4 corners Ashville on Saturday’s from 10 AM – 2 PM
Mr. Carlson said he owns a bakery and currently he has a place at the Lakewood Farmers Market on Thursdays from 10 AM – 2 PM. He said he would like to do the same at the 4 corners of Ashville as stated above next to Munsee’s Corn Stand in order to expand his business. He said currently he is making breads and other baked goods. He said his stand is an easy up pop up tent and table.
There was further discussion and the board noted that care would need to be taken when placing his stand to allow for parking off the road. Liability insurance was discussed, and Mr. Carlson said he does have that insurance and would provide copies of his permits as required.
Mr. Lawson said an application for the permit would need to be completed.
- MOTION # 94 OF 2019
- SENA MOTIONED TO ALLOW GEOFF CARLSON TO OPERATE A BREAD STAND ON TOWN LAND LOCATED AT THE 4 CORNERS OF ASHVILLE ON SATURDAYS FROM 10 AM – 2 PM. FURTHER, APPLICATION FOR PERMIT MUST BE SUPPLIED TO THE ZONING C.E.O. ALONG WITH PROOF OF LIABILITY INSURANCE PRIOR TO OPENING. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (4): SENA; MCNEILL; ORTMAN; YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Ashville Bay Rd. Neighbors – Concern over proposed tree cutting and erosion – Edwin & Nina Derks, Dan & Sue Colwell, Nancy & Larry Meyer, Thomas & Mary Mulroy, Lawrence Meyer (Ashville Bay residents)
Tom Mulroy said he and those present have a problem involving trees on the road that a new resident has had marked for cutting to create a view of the lake. He gave background on the Ashville Bay roads and said he would refer to the private roads as the upper and lower road. He said all present live on the lower road and their homes are on the lake. He said 25-30 stair steps are required to have access down to the lower road and said the upper road used to be the old trolley traction line. He said they were notified recently by a surveyor who was marking trees that the new owner of 2570 Rt. 394 intends to cut trees located in a pie shaped wedge of land between the two upper and lower roads. He said they have all reviewed their surveys and deeds and have concluded that the resident at 2570 Rt. 394 has no interest in the property that is marked for cutting. Mr. Mulroy said the traction line property reverted to the individual owners after it was abandoned, and this is clearly stated in their deeds.
He said 3 of the neighbor’s properties present abut the 2570 property. He said the history of the road is one of flooding (see TB minutes 2009) because some of the drainage ditches on the upper road get clogged and they are concerned that removing the trees will cause further instances of erosion and flooding for those owners below. He said they had hand delivered a copy of a letter from the affected residents to Dale Robbins, Attorney for the owner of 2570 regarding this. They also contacted the owner of 2570 who indicates that since the town does not maintain the private road, it is abandoned, and she can cut the trees if she wishes. The neighbors are concerned that since the trees are tagged, someone will come and start cutting before this issue is resolved.
Mr. Stapleton asked if there is a quit claim to tell her she needs a permit to cut anything that involves a large portion of land that might require some type of SPEDES permit from New York State.
There was further general discussion on how the tree cutting can be prevented prior to legal resolution.
Mr. Lawson said he could certainly contact the owner of 2570 Rt. 394, Ms. Borst. He said he had gone down when the previous owner Benson had clear cut some of the land, and basically, they had just reclaimed what had been neglected lawn. He said he had advised them to leave the vegetation in the ditch to slow down the runoff going downhill. He said if someone could provide a phone number for Ms. Borst, he would contact her tomorrow and let her know that there could be no further cutting until a plan is provided to him. He said in the long run Mr. Stapleton is right and the neighbors may need an attorney to straighten the issue out.
Mr. Stapleton said the common law rule is that if you start to divert water in any way that might damage your neighbor’s property, they are entitled to an injunction and damages.
It was also discussed that Ms. Borst had brush hogged the lower lot which would increase runoff and the only thing now between them and the lower residents is the bank of trees in question.
Mr. Stapleton said they could probably get a quick injunction to show cause in a week to 10 days and have the court set up a hearing to determine the correct owner of the property before any trees are taken down.
Mr. Lawson said he would do what he could in the meantime to stop the process. He said he would call Ms. Borst tomorrow and he will send a letter to her requesting information and stating that no action is to be taken regarding the trees until he has been provided the information.
One of the neighbors indicated that he had posted “No Trespassing” signs on the property and listed all the legal owners’ names on them.
Pete Smith – Quigley Park
Mr. Smith commented that Routes 5 and 20 both seem to have public water in sparsely populated areas, and he is envious.
Mr. Yates said we will be getting public water. He said Chautauqua Institution wants public water for backup and we are in the process of seeking funds for a feasibility study to extend water from where the BPU water currently ends at Sunrise Cove through North Harmony to Chautauqua Institution and potentially to the Village of Mayville. He said the grant funding has been applied for and we should hear late November or early December on the results.
CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
1. Chautauqua Lake – Weed Conditions (Eel weed complaints)
Mr. Yates said we have had a bloom of eel weed from the Ferry to the bridge. He said eel weed is normally present in the lake but historically it has been closer to the shore and not so far out into the channel. He said the herbicide treatment was effective at taking the milfoil and curly pond weed out, but when that happened it left the area vulnerable to the proliferation of eel weed which is very hard on boat motors. He said he contacted the CLA and they said they would not cut in areas that have been treated with herbicides. He said after further phone calls the CLA is cutting the weeds. He said it has been documents using GPS and photos for consideration in next year’s actions. He said when you go in and remove one thing in nature, you may open the door for another thing to move in. He said most people are happy with the results of the herbicide treatment, but we still need the CLA and the harvesting program.
Mrs. Ortman said as a lake property owner, they have seen eel weed, but never this prolific. She said killing off the other weeds gave this weed the space to thrive heartily.
Mrs. Emick asked if it was possible to go to these organizations (CLA & CLP) and ask them to put their personal issues aside and support the people who are paying for their services.
Mr. Yates said they are trying to do that with the County Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). He said he has gone to the Chautauqua Institution and asked them for financial help with the issue. He said personally he is more in line with the Institution in their stewardship of the lake. He said they have promised him whatever he needs (mobi-trac, harvester, etc.) to help with the situation. There was further general discussion of ways to control runoff to the lake and the steps needed to implement that.
2. ZBA Minutes 7/24/19
- Chautauqua Co. DOH – Letter re Empire State Development, Consolidated Funding Application (CFA #93455) for Water Extension Study
(discussed during public comment)
4. Muriel & Ralph Bramble – Thank you for all the work and wonderful day at Centennial Picnic
5. Tamara Miles (CLP)
Mr. Yates said Ms. Miles is a grant writer for the CLP and is requesting the town sign a letter of support for the Town of Ellery to act as lead agent for SEQR for 2020 herbicide treatment. He said he does not want to sign because Ellery did not sign the MOA, and the purse strings are being controlled by the CLP. He said he feels it is important for all the towns to participate in the MOA or it will continue to fail.
- OLD BUSINESS:
- BPU Sewer Pump issue at Sunrise Cove not resolved yet
Mr. Yates said there has been correspondence with the Sunrise Cove Association, BOCES and the BPU. Nothing has been resolved yet, but hopefully some consensus can be reached that will not require a tax line item to address the issue.
- Audit Bookkeepers Books
Mr. Yates stressed the need for the board members to find time to complete the audit.
Mr. Sena said he still feels that we need to have an independent audit since we have not had a state audit in years. He said and independent audit will assure that we are clean if the state does audit.
Mrs. Miller said she had invited the Comptroller in when she started in 2005 and they were too busy on Long Island working with school districts. She said earlier this year she had an agent from Buffalo come in and say that her supervisor did not feel the town was at risk for, nor did it warrant a Comptroller audit. She said the DASNY Grant will most likely result in an audit, because they are state grand funds. She said the Fire District had an independent audit and it cost over $5,000.00.
Mr. Sena said we had the court independently audited 2 years ago and it did not cost that much.
Mrs. Miller said it cost about $2,000 or greater and no report was offered from the auditor.
Mrs. Thomas said there is a report on file in her office.
Mr. Yates said before he took the supervisor position his attorney suggested that there be an audit. He said once he got here, based on the way things are going, he did not feel it was necessary.
- Incomplete Asbestos survey from Mitchell Property from H.H. Rauh
Mr. Yates said they had not completed the house but had not surveyed the barn yet. He said the area of asbestos in the house was less than 70 square feet. He said Rauh had provided an estimate for complete demolition at prevailing state rate cost is $19,200.00. He said if it can be done contractually it will be about $14,000.00 and he would check with the Association of Towns on that.
Mr. Sena asked if there could be a savings on this by using the towns landfill credits.
- NEW BUSINESS
- NYS Dept. of Taxation & Finance – Assessor term (6 yr.) expires 9/30/2019 – Re-appoint?
Mr. Yates said he and Mrs. Thomas had been visited by Steve Sorg who is the new Appraiser for the town, replacing Kim Wilson who has taken a position with the County Real Property Tax office.
Mrs. Thomas said a decision needs to be made no later than the September board meeting.
No decision was made.
- Request to put Memorial for Marlene Miller at Lighthouse Park
(Addressed under Public Comment)
- Authorize Justice Peacock to submit an application for JCAP Grant Funding from the Unified Court System in the amount of $30,000.00
- MOTION # 95 OF 2019
MCNEILL MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE JUSTICE, HOWARD PEACOCK TO APPLY FOR JCAP GRANT FUNDING FROM THE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM IN THE AMOUNT OF $30,000.00. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA; MCNEILL; ORTMAN; YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
Meeting with SPECTRUM to discuss services for phones; internet; security; etc. at New Bldg.
Mr. Yates said he met with one of Spectrums construction personnel regarding their services. He said they currently offer phone, TV and satellite internet. He said they are arranging a meeting with a sales representative. He said he does not believe they can compete with DFT for security or alarm system.
5. Employee Sexual Harassment Training using Chaut. Co. Chamber of Commerce (10/9/19 deadline)
Mrs. Thomas said employee training must be completed by NYS deadline of 10/9/19. She said she had attended a meeting at Town of Chautauqua and Kevin Sixbey, CCCC, presented a program of online/interactive training through membership in the Chamber (cost $320.00/yr.). She said the membership comes with access to numerous programs related to human relations and employer/employee trainings through their website. She said some of the towns are already using their program and many others expressed interest in using it. She said she had discussed it with Mr. Yates and their program is what North Harmony will use. She said currently she is developing a list of employee information and emails so that a data base can be created and affected employees can be trained. The program also provides a certificate upon completion of the online course and provides employers with updates of the status of training.
PIERRE CHAGNON, LEGISLATOR
Mr. Chagnon said the following occurred at the July 2019 Legislature meeting:
- We presented a commendation to the Falconer/Cassadaga Valley boys 1,600 meter relay team for their State Championship.
- We unanimously tabled a resolution to accept funds from NYSDOT for the rehabilitation of a hanger at the Chautauqua County Jamestown Airport. We challenged the Department of Public Facilities to find a way to provide the required local share without dipping into the reserve for capital.
- We unanimously tabled a resolution to adopt the SEQR findings for 7 projects recommended for 2% Occupancy Tax funding in 2020, after it came to light that the stromwater management project in the Town of Ellicott was already under construction and nearing completion.
- We adopted a resolution committing the required local match for a NYSDEC grant application for a Bemus Creek Sediment Trap project.
- We tabled a resolution to provide 3% Occupancy Tax Off-Cycle funding to construct educational kiosks at the Chautauqua Hometown Heroes Veterans Memorial, with most Legislators preferring the request to go through the standard 3% Occupancy Tax review process.
- We passed two motions, opposing construction of wind turbine farms on Lake Erie and opposing the NYS Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act which will permit undocumented individuals who are present in the United States illegally under federal law to obtain a New York State Driver’s License.
KEVIN OKERLUND, ASSESSOR
Mrs. Thomas said Mr. Okerlund’s report indicated that due to issues at the State with transmission some residents of North Harmony who had submitted the newly required Income Verification Program (IVP) form had been removed from their Enhanced STAR qualified status list. Mr. Okerlund stated that the majority had been reinstated and the rest will be contacted directly by the State to work out any issues. He also indicated that the assessment roll has been filed with Chautauqua County for school tax bills to be
mailed the first part of September. Mrs. Thomas said she had already received calls from residents who had received letters from the state indicating their STAR was in jeopardy and after speaking to the Assessor’s office was hopeful that all our residents would be reinstated with no further issues.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
Mr. Peacock read the following report for those present:
COURT REPORT FOR MONTH OF JULY 2019
August 12, 2019 Board Meeting
$30,084.00 in fines, fees, and surcharges was collected by the Court and given to the Town of North Harmony CFO for the court cases reported to the NYS Comptroller for July, 2019. We opened 199 new cases and closed 190 cases.
Mr. Peacock noted that if the town does get JCAP Grant funding discussed earlier, the court has a time limit of 160 days to expend those funds.
Mr. Yates said he is optimistic that we will be ready to move into the new building by the end of January 2020.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Yates gave a brief report as Mr. Strickland is in Hospital. He said the highway has had a tough summer with all the rain. He said they have cleaned out trees, etc. from Ball Creek in CWC area and in the area of Deputy Clerk Gibbs property.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Lawson reviewed his written report for those present. He said permits are picking up and there are 2 large projects in the works that the board may see: a warehouse/office building up by the I-86 Interchange and the other at Grandview with a smaller sub-division. He said they have met with him and done their sketch plan reviews and they are working on their site plans. He said he also issued a permit for a new home in Chautauqua Escapes.
Mr. Yates said a sign would be placed at the new town building site explaining what is going on at the job and what is required. Our permit will also be displayed there.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said she and other local town clerks had been advised that a grant for records management they had applied for through Southern Tier West and NYS Archives was not funded. She said they will try again next year. She said she and Mrs. Gibbs had worked very hard on reviewing and submitting over 129 omissions/corrections to the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) this past winter. She said of those 113 were accepted by the Census Bureau for addition to the list. She said hopefully these will add to population counts for North Harmony as all our federal funding is based on demographics, population, etc. provided by the Census report.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates reviewed his report for those present. He noted that we will be closing on our M&T bridge loan toward the end of this month.
- MOTION # 96 OF 2019
SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING MONTHLY REPORTS AS SUBMITTED:
MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA; MCNEILL; ORTMAN; YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 97 OF 2019
MCNEILL MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $30,237.33 AS AUDITED AND REVIEWED EARLIER. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA; MCNEILL; ORTMAN; YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
MOTION # 98 OF 2019
MR. MCNEILL MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE HIGHWAY FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $14,621.50 AS AUDITED AND REVIEWED EARLIER. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA; MCNEILL; ORTMAN; YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 99 OF 2019
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENA, SECONDED BY MR. MCNEILL, AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:35 PM.