TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
MONDAY, 7/13/2020 7:00PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCILWOMAN PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Julie Conklin; Grace Gisslin; Anne Golley, Assessor; Dale Robbins, Kelly Johnson, Attorney; Art & Ted Lauer; Eileen Levy; Jim Gibbons; Clayton & Helen Emick; Katie Zimmer, Court Clerk; Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Howard Peacock, Justice; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- PLEDGE & Moment of Silence
- MINUTES: 6/8/2020 & 6/19/20 (Special Mtg.)
- MOTION # 59 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 6/8/2020 AND 6/19/2020 TOWN BOARD MEETINGS AS PRESENTED BY THE TOWN CLERK. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
- Helen Emick – Re Hogan’s Hut
Mrs. Emick said 3 times this week she had been almost hit at the STOP sign at Hogan’s Hut which
no one seems to see. She asked if it was possible to get another sign or something because someone will be hurt there.
Mr. Yates said this has been brought up to Mr. Strickland this week and asked if he would like to comment. He noted that there have been a number of complaints related to that area.
Mr. Strickland said he has intentions on putting up a second STOP sign on the other side.
Mr. Sena asked if a line could be painted on the road to indicate you should stop.
- Art Lauer – resident at Woodlawn will air his concerns about Air BnB/Transient Rentals
Mr. Lauer said there has been an issue with a residence that is used for transient rentals. There was discussion of the distinction between Bed & Breakfasts and Transient Rentals. He said the family is using the home as an income source and there have been issues with overcrowding; motor homes; noise from large parties, etc. that are not appropriate in the area.
Mr. Lawson said a B&B is owner occupied and they are renting out rooms and serving meals. He said in the R-1 District there is a very fine line and transient rentals are not allowed, but these rentals have been happening for many years. He indicated that Mr. Lauer should come and see him, and he can gather more information about the situation and problems, and he can go further with it at that point.
Mr. Yates said if there is a disturbance of the peace, it is the right of other owners to call the police and make a report.
Mr. Senske asked if this is the only home renting out.
Mr. Lauer said no there are other homes but there have been no issues with them.
Mr. Senske said if the town is going to enforce the law, it must apply to everyone (i.e. send Violation Letter).
- Building up-date
Mr. Yates said they are starting to prime paint the interior of the building and are also doing some painting on the outside. He said we are still waiting for the flagpole. He said the board needs to discuss the placement of a dedication plaque to Sally P. Carlson and suggested putting it on a boulder near the flagpoles. He said the building itself will have just the Town of North Harmony on it. He said he is open to suggestions on this. He said we are still looking at moving in around the end of August.
Mr. Senske asked where we are on the budget for the project.
Mr. Yates said we are just beginning to expend funds from the $800,000.00 BAN and we are on track and on budget.
Mrs. Miller said at this time we are shy about $73,000 of having spent our DASNY funding.
Mr. Senske asked if a spread sheet of expenditures could be provided to the board for review.
Mr. Yates said he would email that to all the board members.
- Ferry up-date – Repairs Begin
Mr. Yates said they will be moving a crane in tomorrow to lift the Ferry out of the lake and onto the shore for repairs to the hull and deck. He said the town has closed Ferry Park, the road and the landing until the project is completed. He said Greg, owner of the auto court has agreed to keep an eye on things as there will be a lot of equipment there. He said they are talking a timeline for repairs of 6-7 weeks, but he feels it may go much quicker.
- CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
- Complaints from residents about transfer station operations – Resolved?
Mr. Yates said he had taken a copy of the Beichner Contract/Specifications up to the transfer station on Saturday a week ago. He said the specifications were highlighted as to the agreed upon performance of their duties. He asked if there were any complaints about their service this past Saturday.
Mr. Sena said they were sitting in their chairs and making no effort to help anyone when he was at the station.
Mr. Robbins suggested that he start by sending them a letter and this was agreed upon by the board.
Mr. Sena said if they are concerned about COVID they should be sitting there with masks and gloves and they are not wearing either. He said this is disturbing especially since we pay a 3rd person in the summer to help people with their trash and he watches elderly people dragging their bags to the truck. He said they do not even attempt to look as if they are busy.
Mr. Lawson said they are not even helping people throw their bags into the truck. He said everyone he has spoken to says this is the case and he has told them to just set their bags down by the truck.
Mr. Robbins asked if the town has cameras there and suggested it would be a good idea.
Mrs. Emick said she has a picture of one of the employees sitting in the shelter playing on his phone
and would provide it to Mr. Robbins.
- Jan Bowman – Concerns over the cutting of the Water Garden at 4 Corners Water Quality Improvement Project
Mr. Yates said he received a phone call from Dave McCoy and has received several emails from Jan Bowman regarding this. He said this will be partially discussed in the upcoming Executive Session. He said there are concerns about the state of the gardens. He said some of the trees may not survive damage done with a Weed Wacker and the gardens are decimated. He said he personally will undertake some repairs to the garden at no cost to the town (i.e. plantings, etc.).
Mr. McNeill suggested contacting Blair Smoulder who grows lilies, about getting some plants from him. He said he was sure he would be willing to help.
Mrs. Thomas said Mr. Smoulder hybridizes and creates new strains of lilies and has them registered.
- James Gibbons and Town ROW at Connelly Park
Mr. Gibbons said he has been a resident in North Harmony for 29 years. He said someone had complained to the town about where he parks his 1973 Volkswagon on an undeveloped town street adjacent to his garage on Winona Ave. right of way. He said he had been through this about 10 years ago and most recently met with Supervisor Yates at the location. He said he parks his car there because there are three cars already on his property while they social distance from New York City and Buffalo. He said in 2012 at a town board meeting the town agreed he could park there as he is not interfering with anything. He said the complaint indicated that he is interfering with persons who might wish to use the public ROW to launch a kayak or canoe into the lake. He said that area is a watershed and environmental buffer owned by the town. He again stated the town permitted him to park there. Mrs. Gibbons said she has never seen anyone launch a canoe or kayak there.
Mr. Yates said basically the road is a cow path that is one lane only. He said the area was the first watershed project for runoff by the County and Soil and Water as well as other entities had been involved. He said Attorney Stapleton had been instrumental in designating the area a town ROW. He said the area by the lake is trees and brush that do a good job of slowing the runoff, but the shore is about 2 ½ – 3’ of boulders going down to the water so there is no launch area or beach and it is really not designed for public use. He said just because it is a town ROW does not mean everybody has access to it.
Mr. Robbins said it is town property and asked if it is specifically a ROW.
Mr. Yates said yes.
Mr. Robbins said he would like to review it.
Mr. Yates said his sense is that the complaint has come from development above Mr. Gibbons property and he would like to resolve this issue, so it does not keep coming up.
Mr. Gibbons said in 2012 there was a complaint that he had a car parked there while someone was trying to sell a house. He said the town had posted a sign stating “Fire Lane Do Not Block” at the location. He said twice he allowed someone to park there and the complainant had called the NYS and County police on his family both times. He said two days later he attended the town board meeting. He said no one can produce a deed that indicates any type of lake access, yet properties are being advertised for sale as having deeded lake access rights on the Town ROW. He said he had been the champion behind getting this strip of land acted upon after uphill neighbors destroyed the vegetation that naturally slowed runoff. He said he had worked with the Highway Superintendent at that time. He said the area is an important ecological buffer and he has maintained it for 29 years. He said he would really like to get this resolved once and for all and stated he is just doing what the town allowed him to do by parking the Volkswagon on the property.
Mr. Sena said he recalls the situation and believes that at that time the town did put a stop to the advertising of “deeded lake access” through the town ROW. He said he also believed it was stated at the meeting that because it is a town ROW anyone has the right to walk there. He said he believes Mr. Gibbons vehicle was parked on the side and did not prevent walking access at that time.
Mr. Gibbons said his concern is for the future.
There was further general discussion and Mr. Strickland stated as Highway Superintendent he saw no issues with the land use as it stands, and it is a beneficial buffer for the lake.
Mr. Senske said if it a public ROW owned by the town and if someone wishes to walk down there if they choose or try to put in a kayak, etc. they should have the right to do that and if someone is parking their vehicle that is in some way impeding that it is not right. He said if Mr. Gibbons was granted by motion a right to park there in 2012, you still cannot deny others access to that property as it is a Public ROW.
Mrs. Gibbons asked why the highway does not maintain it and asserted that any maintenance has been performed by their family (i.e. grading, gravel, etc.). She stated that the only useful part of the road that is not drainage ditch is about 18’ wide.
Mr. Robbins said because it is not 50’ wide as is standard and required for highway maintenance of roads.
Mrs. Thomas said she would research the minutes for further background information on the situation.
Mr. Gibbons asked if someone would contact him with any results.
Mr. Yates said someone would contact him.
- Letter 7/1/20 from Todd Button, Chautauqua Co. Finance – Re Sales Tax – Quarter to date revenues are 13.61% less than last year
Mr. Sena asked if there were year-to-date figures on that.
Mr. Yates said no.
- Letter from Chautauqua Co. DPF 6/9/20 – regarding Proposed Solid Waste Flow Control Law for Chautauqua County (if adopted, eff. 1/1/21)
Mr. Yates said he objects to this law as it forces everyone to bring all trash to the landfill with no exceptions to maintain a revenue flow to the county.
Mrs. Thomas said especially as the county has been trying for some time to build out their operation onto more acreage in Ellery and they also continue to take trash from outside states.
- Assessor – May Property Transfers – Equalization rate for North Harmony is 89.8%
- Julie Conklin – Request to set up vendor spot at 4 Corners Ashville
Mrs. Thomas said Ms. Conklin would like to set up a spot on the town property at the 4 Corners much as the Corn Stand and Bake Stand have done.
Ms. Conklin said she operates a small business out of her home that sells candies, baked goods, small crafts, produce, and eggs. She said she would like to start by setting up a 10×10 tent on Saturdays to see how things go. She said she has a business license, insurance, and a food exception. She said she has spoken to Mr. Carlson who has the Bake Stand.
Mr. Sena asked if there was room for another stand and asked if there would be any issue with traffic. It was further discussed that there is extra parking available at the Ashville Church across the road.
- MOTION # 60 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO ALLOW JULIE CONKLIN TO SET UP A SMALL STAND AS OUTLINED ABOVE AT TOWN OWNED PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE 4 CORNERS OF ASHVILLE WITH THE CONDITIONS THAT SHE OBTAIN THE PROPER PERMIT AND PROVIDE PROOF OF INSURANCE TO MR. LAWSON. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY,
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Hadley Bay – Muck issue – permit application went to Army Corp of Engineers
Mr. Yates said he is still waiting for the permit for this. He said the DEC sent the permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers and we have no word yet. He said as soon as we get the OK, we will move forward with the project.
- Mowing of Town Properties – dismissal of Craig Stevens and hiring of Nathan Short
- CPL RFP – Water Study Grant – Motion
Mr. Yates said in response to the Legal Notice request for qualifications on the Town of North Harmony Water Study Grant only Clark Patterson Lee (CPL) has responded in a timely fashion. It was noted that Tolman Engineering had called about it 2 weeks after the final date to receive requests.
- MOTION # 61 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE PROPOSAL OF CLARK PATTERSON LEE (CPL) IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $45,000.00 TO UNDERTAKE THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY WATER DISTRICT FEASIBILITY STUDY AS OUTLINED IN THE REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS SPECIFICATIONS. THIS ACTION ALSO INCLUDES THE TOWN OF CHAUTAUQUA, VILLAGE OF MAYVILLE AND CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION AS CO-APPLICANTS WITH THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY ACTING AS LEAD AGENT. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY,
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Appointment of North Harmony Assessor – Anne Golley – introduction and motion
Mr. Yates introduced Mrs. Golley and said he would like to proceed with her appointment.
Mrs. Golley said she has been employed with the Town of Ellery since 2004 and has been their Assessor since 2013. She said she had been approached regarding performing Assessor services for North Harmony and Chautauqua when Kevin Okerlund retired on 6/30/2020. She said she had done some North Harmony field work under Assessor Deanna Wheeler many years ago. She said as far as a revaluation, she only does that at the request of the town when they feel it is needed.
Mr. Yates said Mrs. Golley’s services will mean a substantial savings to the town of approximately $17,000.00.
Mrs. Golley noted that the Town of North Harmony will not be responsible for any NYS retirement benefits or other benefits as noted in page 2; item 6. 1st sentence, of the Agreement.
It was noted that on the retirement of Kevin Okerlund, North Harmony cancelled the contract for Assessor Services with the Town of Busti.
Mrs. Thomas said NYS ORPTS Assessor appointments are for 6 years. Mr. Okerlund’s term of appointment through the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services had begun after Assessor Holcomb’s retirement on 7/31/2015, on 8/1/2015 and expired 9/30/2019 (essentially Mr. Okerlund operated as TONH Assessor without an ORTPS appointment from 10/1/19 – 6/30/20). She said if appointed Mrs. Golley’s effective dates would be 7/13/20 thru 9/30/25.
- MOTION # 62 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO APPROVE AND FILE THE APPOINTMENT OF ANNE GOLLEY AS TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY ASSESSOR WITH THE NYS OFFICE OF REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES EFFECTIVE 7/13/2020 – 9/30/2025. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- MOTION # 63 OF 2020
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO SIGN THE AGREEMENT WITH THE TOWNS OF ELLERY AND CHAUTAUQUA FOR ASSESSOR SERVICES OF ANNE GOLLEY AS AMENDED BY THE REMOVAL OF THE FIRST SENTENCE IN ITEM 6. PAGE 2., EFFECTIVE 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
Mr. Peacock read the following report into the record.
COURT REPORT FOR MONTH OF JUNE 2020
July 13, 2020 Board Meeting
$ 4,483.00 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 June 2020. We opened 160 cases and closed 41 cases.
Mr. Peacock said traffic court is not being held yet and they are using mail as much as possible.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Strickland said the highway has been very busy doing lots of drainage work. He said they hope to do some oil and stone but are still waiting for funding news. He said they had been very happy to help Sherman, Clymer, and Mina with shared service projects especially as they had helped our town so many times. He said the drainage project at the new building is complete.
Mr. Yates said pertaining to the voucher for the hydrant at Sunrise Cove, we will pay that bill but will call our insurance company about reimbursement.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Lawson reviewed his report for those present.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said the NYS DEC has introduced a new Hunting/Fishing Licensing Program and she is getting that set up on computer and hooking up the new license printer.
JOHN STOW, DCO
Mr. Yates said Mr. Stow’s report indicates that he handled 3 dog calls this month.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates reviewed his report for those present.
- MOTION # 64 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE MONTHLY REPORT FOR JUNE 2020 OF THE TOWN CLERK AND THE SUPERVISOR AS PRESENTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- MOTION # 65 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE PAYMENT OF THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER:
- GF Vouchers $14,842.11
- HWY Vouchers $16,912.41
- Capital Fund Vouchers $144,399.45
MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- Executive session to discuss employment issues
- MOTION # 66 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADJOURN AT 8:17 PM AND ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS THE EMPLOYMENT HISTORY OF A PARTICULAR PERSON. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The Board returned from Executive Session at 8:58 PM and the meeting resumed.
- MOTION # 67 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO TERMINATE THE CONTRACT OF CRAIG STEVENS FOR MOWING AND OTHER ASSOCIATED DUTIES ON THE GROUNDS THAT HE HAS DEFAULTED ON THE CONTRACT; BREACHED ITS TERMS THROUGH NEGLIGENT, INADEQUATE, AND IMPROPER ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE RESULTED IN A DETRIMENT TO THE TOWN AND ITS PROPERTIES. THE TERMINATION OF THE CONTRACT IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Mr. McNeill left the meeting due to health constraints.
- MOTION # 68 OF 2020
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO CONTRACT WITH NATHAN SHORT, LAWNS-N-MORE FOR MOWING SERVICES FOR A PERIOD OF 3 MONTHS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 69 OF 2020
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENSKE, SECONDED BY MR. SENA AND WITH NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 9:02 PM.
Nancy M. Thomas