TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING AGENDA
MONDAY, 05/11/2020 7:00PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
RICHARD SENA, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCILWOMAN PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
Others Present: Dale Robbins & Kelly Johnson, Attorney; Pierre Chagnon, Legislator; Dan Strickland, Highway Sup’t.; Brad Lawson, Zoning CEO; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Clayton & Helen Emick; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
Mr. Yates opened the Conference Call meeting at 7:00 PM with a roll call of attendance.
- MOMENT OF SILENCE:
Mr. Yates said in light of the COVID19 Pandemic and the difficulties that many people are experiencing he wanted to ask for a moment of silence to reflect on our blessings.
- MINUTES: 4/14/20
- Amend Resolution/Motion # 40-2020 – Increase the Highway fund vouchers $ 71,679.35 ($173,384.14 total Hwy Fund) for the annual payment for Workman’s Compensation Insurance as budgeted.
Mr. Yates said this amendment is requested because the County was late in providing the payment information.
- MOTION # 43 OF 2020 (Amending Motion #40-2020)
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 4/14/2020 BOARD MEETING WITH THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENT REFLECTING AN INCREASE IN THE HIGHWAY FUND VOUCHERS OF $71,679.35 FOR THE ANNUAL PAYMENT FOR WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION AS BUDGETED.
Highway Fund Vouchers in the amount of $173,384.14
- SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0).
THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
DALE ROBBINS, ATTORNEY
- SOUTH CHAUTAUQUA LAKE WATER DISTRICT
Mr. Robbins said currently North Harmony has received a grant of $45,000 to do a feasibility study for a water district. He said in order to move forward by law and by the previous resolution by the board, we need to make a legal Request for Proposal (RFP) to entities interested in performing that study. He said ultimately the board has the opportunity to review those proposals and make a decision as to what organization the town wishes to employ. He said the town is not obligated to take the lowest bid or the closest bidder; it is obligated to make a decision on what it finds in the best interest of the town after review of proposals. He said it is not a standard bidding process but a process to get research and studies done for the town to their satisfaction at a reasonable price. He suggested that the board authorize the Supervisor or Town Clerk to advertise for RFP’s for the Feasibility Study to be returned prior to the next board meeting.
Mr. Senske asked if the criteria are already laid out and asked how we could expect bids if there are no criteria.
Mr. Robbins said we have a broad outline of the criteria in the report we received from CPL.
Mr. Yates said we have received a lot of help from the County on this and there should be enough information to go to bid on this pretty quickly.
Mr. Sena asked about the other municipalities that are involved in this water study.
Mr. Robbins said they are all a part of this when the feasibility study is completed, but North Harmony is the Agent for the grant for the study.
Mr. Sena said we had participated in a study some time back with Jamestown and asked if this goes beyond that.
Mr. Yates said that was in 2006 so of course things have changed and yes our study will go beyond that up to Chautauqua.
Mr. Sena expressed concern that although other municipalities will benefit, North Harmony will be ultimately responsible.
Mr. Robbins said he understands that this has a possibility of becoming a County Water District, with an opportunity to get additional funding as it goes forward.
- MOTION # 44 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR AND TOWN CLERK TO ADVERTISE FOR REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR THE CONDUCT OF A WATER FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE SOUTH CHAUTAUQUA LAKE WATER DISTRICT. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
PIERRE CHAGNON, LEGISLATOR
Mr. Chagnon said the following occurred at the April Legislature meeting:
The April meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature was our second month meeting by a Zoom meeting. The April meeting was further challenged by conducting two public hearings virtually. It wasn’t easy, but we got through it.
- We authorized a hangar lease agreement at the Chautauqua County Jamestown Airport with Luscombe Aircraft Corporation for the purpose of producing new recreational aircraft and repairing and refurbishing legacy aircraft.
- We authorized the submittal of a Community Development Block Grant application to support the development of ‘Lodge at Chautauqua Lake’, located on Route 394, Chautauqua Lake in Mayville.
- We extended the 2020 tax foreclosure redemption date due to the COVID-19 crisis. Initially set for April 15 and extended by Governor Cuomo to June 18, we extended it to August 7.
- We adopted a motion in support of New York State reexamining the 2019 Bail Reform Law and a motion declaring May 3 – 9, 2020 as Correctional Officers and Correctional Employees week in Chautauqua County.
- In light of the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will certainly involve reduced sales tax and occupancy tax revenue, pending state funding reductions, and stress to cash flows the County Executive formed a committee that meets twice weekly to address financial concerns. The committee includes the County Executive, Finance Director, Budget Director, Human Resources Director, County Attorney, Legislator Nazzaro, and myself. Much work remains to be done, but so far we have identified a long list of budget amendments for the Legislature to consider that will offset nearly $4.2 million of reduced sales tax and occupancy tax.
- Pierre Chagnon – Westside Chautauqua Lake Sewer District project update
GHD, the project engineers, have completed base mapping, preliminary layout, field survey, geotechnical investigations, regulatory permitting, lift station and force main preliminary design.
The engineers Basis of Design report has been reviewed, adjusted, and approved by the district board of directors. Work will now commence on preparation of detailed plans and specifications along with easement descriptions and filing. The engineers anticipate bidding the construction work next spring with construction beginning next summer.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Strickland said currently all highway employees are back to work as of 5/4/20 with the exception of one who has a knee issue. He said another employee was off last week with flu symptoms and subsequently had a COVID test which was negative. He said he has decided not to spend town highway funds for oil and stone (normal expenditure is $100-120,000) until the end of summer or perhaps not at all, due to the unknowns of sales tax revenue. He said they will be doing a lot of low budget maintenance: ditching, tree work, patching, graveling dirt roads, and others repairs as they occur. He said regarding CHIPS funding, NYS has advised that highways spend their funds early and he plans to go with nova chip possibly on Spooner; section on Morley; upper end of Bly Hill, but nothing is firm yet. He said we are at the end of a 3-year agreement on our loader. He said we used to replace them every year for a minimal amount of money. He said the last one we purchased has not been traded because the market was flooded with one year loaders. He said we ordered a loader late last summer and he plans to use CHIPS funding at a cost of $30,000.00 for that purchase as it is allowed. He said we have had no maintenance cost on loaders since we got involved in the program in 2015. He said currently they are working on Warner Road which is seasonal and in very poor condition. He said they received a deal for some free gravel from a National Grid job on Swede Rd. substation and are quickly preparing Warner Rd. to lay that gravel. He said they will start a drainage job at the new town building as soon as they complete that.
Mr. Senske commended him on efforts to save $100,000 on oil and stone. He said it is good to look for areas to cut and not adversely affect employees.
Mr. Strickland said many of the highway superintendents have been discussing budgets and expenses to determine ways to be cautious during this time.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O.
Mr. Lawson said he had issued 2 permits (Jim Gleason, Magnolia-Stedman and Watson Rd.) for roof work where they were leaking. He said most people he has spoken to understand the situation and have been very compliant. He said they have been sending information for review so that when things do reopen he will be able to issue permits quickly.
There was discussion of Amish working on projects.
Mrs. Miller asked Mr. Lawson about permits for Dave Munsee’s Corn Stand and Jeff Carlson’s Bread Box. She said she had sent him an email this afternoon. Mr. Lawson said he would look into it and asked if the board was comfortable issuing those permits as in past years.
- Munsee, Corn Stand; Carlson Bakery Stand 4 corners Ashville
Request to continue operations contingent on current certificate of liability insurance
- MOTION # 45 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE USE OF TOWN PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE FOUR CORNERS OF ASHVILLE BY DAVID MUNSEE, CORN STAND AND JEFF CARLSON, BREAD BOX, PROVIDING THEY OBTAIN PERMITS; STATE TIME LINE AND HOURS OF OPERATION; PROVIDE CURRENT CERTIFICATES OF LIABILITY INSURANCE. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0).
THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said she has returned the 2020 tax roll to the county along with our final payment. She said of the adjusted warrant of $3,659,932.34; the amount collected was $3,459,030.66; total unpaid returned to the county was $200,901.68 (approx. 5.49%). 2019 unpaid was 3.9%. She said the NYS DEC will roll out a new DECALS online hunt/fish licensing program on 6/1/20 which will require an entire new program and license printer.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates reviewed his report for April 2020 for those present.
- Annual Update Document (AUD) for the NYS Comptroller reviewed and accepted 4/30/20
- MOTION # 46 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE SUPERVISOR AND TOWN CLERK REPORTS AS PRESENTED. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- F-35 Fighter Jets Flyover Chautauqua Lake Tuesday 12:15 PM in Honor of First Responders and 2020 Graduates
- Robin Miller requested from the Chautauqua County EMS and received hand sanitizer.
Also requested a wall dispenser for hand sanitizer, face masks and disposable gloves and a Laser Thermometer. All free of charge.
Mr. Yates commended and thanked Mrs. Miller for her efforts.
- New Town/Court Building up-date
Construction on hold, Highway Dept. will be completing drain from new building to ditch on eastside of Stow Rd.
Mr. Yates said we had been hoping to begin construction again on the new building on 5/15/20, but he received a recent email that will not happen.
Mr. Chagnon said the Governor’s update indicates we are a part of the Western Region and it is not eligible to reopen anytime soon.
Mr. Sena said he had called Senator Borrello and had spoken to Assemblyman Andrew Goodell for quite some time regarding construction issues. He said evidently you can appeal to the state on work projects on an individual basis whether they be essential or non-essential. He said he has seasonal homes; homes with bathroom torn out; and other jobs that he is going to appeal to the state on. He said he understands that many appeals have been approved. He asked if that might be a possible option for the new building.
Mr. Yates said we have been pretty steadfast in our efforts to lead by example and keep the project closed. It was discussed that the new building has no exposure but is also considered non-essential. He said he would discuss it further with Mr. Lawson to see if the town is interested in making an appeal to the state.
Mr. Robbins said if the town intends to appeal, he recommends the board give the Supervisor the authority to file an appeal on behalf of the town.
- MOTION # 47 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO FILE AN APPEAL THROUGH NYS CHANNELS IF NECESSARY, TO CONTINUE THE TOWN/COURT CONSTRUCTION PROJECT. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Ferry up-date – On Hold
Mr. Yates said Mr. Hohl, whose assistance is critical to the project, has stated that when things do open back up again after NYS on Pause due to COVID 19, he will have to prioritize his own business and may not be in a position to work on the Ferry this year as earlier planned. He is, however, still on board for future assistance when things settle down.
- Kevin Okerlund – North Harmony Assessor retiring effective 6/30/20
Will strive for shared services as the town has done in the past. We will be interviewing candidates in the near future.
Mr. Yates said he has spoken to other towns including Ellery, Busti, and Chautauqua about future assessing needs and this will be an ongoing conversation.
- Roadside Clean up
Thank you to Greg Michalak and Dan Thomas who have been volunteering their time to do roadside trash pickup in the town. Currently they have worked on Donelson, Wall St., Stow, Morley, Tom’s Point Trail, Carpenter Pringle and North Maple.
Mr. Yates said they had done a good job and especially on North Maple where the Cummins truck and tipped over. He thanked them for their efforts.
- Town of North Harmony Memorial Day Service has been cancelled
Mr. Yates said he had spoken to the County Executive and Mrs. Thomas had contacted other towns and most are cancelling their services.
Mrs. Thomas said the Lakewood American Legion Post normally provides the Color Guard for our service at Veterans Park. She said she spoke to Mr. Hinsdale from the Post and he indicated that the Color Guard will still perform this service at our park and others, but will not provide a timetable to prevent gatherings during the Pause Order.
- Grievance Day will be held on Wednesday 5/27/20 at the Town of Chautauqua from 3-5 PM and 6-8 PM
Mr. Emick, Board of Assessment Review, said from what they know at this point the five board members will sit in a room wearing masks and observing the 6 ft. social distancing measures. He said individuals questioning their assessment will telephone in to present their case.
The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
- Letter 5/7/20 from Todd Button, Chautauqua Co. Finance – Re Sales Tax
Mr. Yates said the letter indicated that due to the pandemic the sales tax revenues may be approximately 28.90% less than last year.
- Chautauqua County ACH Invoice Payment – Sales Tax for invoice date 4/23/20 received in amount of $153,113.19 (increase over last year $16,129.80)
Mr. Yates said this was very surprising to him and Mrs. Miller during this time.
- Board Work Sessions – Schedule for mid-June
Mr. Yates said he would like to start scheduling some work sessions with the board as there will be ground to cover on projects that are upcoming when things begin to re-open.
- Fake News – letter which was handed over to the Sheriff’s Department. 5/6/20
Mr. Yates said many towns including North Harmony had been mailed a letter very similar to the one sent to the Courts last fall. The letter was fraudulent and was forwarded to Sheriff Quatrone at his request.
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Special District -BAN Sunrise Cove & BOCES, reference to be made by Robin Miller
Mrs. Miller said she received an email from the Assessor’s office regarding the issue earlier this year with the charges for the Sunrise Cove BOCES Road Push being omitted from the tax roll. She said also the Sunrise Cove/BOCES Maintenance Reserve was omitted due to an issue with code assignment. She said the email assured and confirmed that those account codes are solid and will be included in the 2021 Tax Warrant.
- National Grid – notification of towns choice of Plymouth Rock as ESCO supplier effective 4/2020 – 4/2022 at a rate of $0.04898/kwh (15% savings approx.. $1,010.00/year)
Mrs. Thomas said our contract with Constellation Energy at $0.057/kwh has expired and our new contract obtained with information provided by Association of Towns (AOT) and NY Municipal Energy Program (NYMEP) is effective. She said National Grid was formally acknowledging this and it should save the town some money.
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Munsee, Corn Stand; Carlson Bakery Stand 4 corners Ashville
Request to continue operations contingent on current certificate of liability insurance
Discussed previously under Reports.
- E.O. Appointment – Benjamin Carlson as full time M.E.O. effective 5/11/20
Mr. Yates said we have a full time temporary highway position that is moving to a full time position.
Mr. Strickland said the position started approximately 7 months ago as part time and has advanced to full time.
- MOTION # 47 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO APPOINT BENJAMIN CARLSON AS A FULL TIME M.E.O. FOR THE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AT A RATE OF $18/HR ($27/OT) EFFECTIVE 5/11/20. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Hadley Bay- Shoreline muck issue
Mr. Yates said there is a severe shoreline muck issue as in the past at Hadley Bay. He said they are calling it a nutrient removal project. He said he met at the location with Mark Stow, Chautauqua Co. DOH; CWC; Representative from Chautauqua Co. Soil and Water; and Don Emhart. He said he also spoke with Mr. Horrigan from the CLWMA and they would like to help on this project. This said this situation has been going on as long as anyone can remember, but this year the ice brought a lot of debris up and it has become anaerobic bacteria which is highly toxic (causes E.coli, etc.). He said the intent is to use mobi-trac’s to get the material pushed on shore so it can compost and break down; it will then be leveled off toward the lawns and the area will be replanted. The ultimate goal is to convert the anaerobic material to aerobic material which is a healthy bacterium. He said Mr. Spann will develop a plan to submit to the DEC and hopefully with Mr. Stow’s endorsement regarding the health issue, things will move quickly to get this resolved this year. He said when that is complete he will help the Hadley Bay Home Owners Association develop a plan to get this done every year.
- Wendy Ryan, Erosion problem
Mr. Yates said this issue came to his attention back in the fall. He said a resident in Ashville on Rt. 474 has a serious erosion problem from a tributary stream that comes down by the Llama Club, crosses over Rt. 474 and feeds into Goose Creek. He said we are trying to find funding to get this problem mitigated. He said last year they lost 8 feet of their lawn and currently only have about 7 feet of soft soil protection before it affects their foundation. He said the erosion is about 10 ft. deep and he is working with Dave Spann at Soil and Water to see if they can’t get some large material (stone and boulders) in there at a cost of about $8,000.00. He said the highway and county could hopefully share the work before this problem gets worse and remediation will ultimately benefit the lake by preventing additional silt and sediment from getting to the lake.
- General Fund Vouchers
- MOTION # 48 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $11,066.71 AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Highway Fund Vouchers
- MOTION # 49 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE HIGHWAY FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,376.77 AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 50 OF 2020
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENA, SECONDED BY MR. SENSKE AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:10 PM.