TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
MONDAY, 8/10/20 7:00PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCILWOMAN PRESENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Dale Robbins & Kelly Johnson, Attorneys; Will Ortman, S&CCLSD Board Member; Dan Strickland, Highway Superintendent; Jay Kuntz & Martha Anderson, Ferry Committee; Clayton & Helen Emick; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Howard Peacock, Justice; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- MINUTES: 7/13/20
- MOTION # 70 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 7/13/20 TOWN BOARD MEETING AS PRESENTED BY THE TOWN CLERK. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, ORTMAN, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
Mr. Emick commented that a grim picture has been painted by the County regarding revenues this year. He said the County is not collecting bed tax from Air BnB because there is no agreement yet on rental properties and this tax has been in existence for years.
Mrs. Emick said they would like to thank Mr. Strickland for painting the line at the Stop sign by Hogan’s Hut.
Mrs. Thomas said she had requested and just received from County Finance a listing of all persons in North Harmony who pay the Occupancy Tax and there were only about 20 people on the list.
- Building up-date
Mr. Yates said the water from the Fire Hall has been hooked up to the new building. He said Spaeder will be in next week to hook up tanks and Castor will install a chlorinator for the water fountain which is per NYS regulations because of the Court facility. He said they are working on installing the ceilings; the painting is done; tile will be set in the bathrooms; and cabinets installed. He said we should be complete and ready to move in by the end of the month. He said they have spoken to DFT about IT and with a three-day advance notice they will move/install all computers.
- Jay Kuntz – Update on Bemus Pt. Stow Ferry
Mr. Kuntz said on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Sea Lion Project Ltd., all the volunteers and friends of the Ferry wished to thank the Town for allowing them to park the Ferry on town land at the Stow landing. He said on Friday 8/7/20 Hohl Industries basically finished their work. He said one of their Quality Control Engineers did 2 tests on the patch on the bottom (13’x8’) dye and ultrasound and both passed with no problems. On Sunday, a flood test was done by pumping approximately 300 gals. of water into the hold to see if there were any leaks around the patch and it was dry as a bone. He said on 8/18/20 the NYS Inspector Christen Johnson will inspect just the patch. He said that portion of the work needed is complete. After the NYS Inspection there is a required inspection by their insurance carrier. Further work will include painting the interior of the hull; bottom of hull will receive another layer of cold tar patch and there will be additional cosmetic painting. He said the Ferry will not be ready for public use in 2020. He said there is still a major project that cannot be done until it is in the water, which is putting the wooden deck on top of the metal deck. Pressure treated lumber has become very expensive and hard to get during C-19. He said they don’t know when the lumber can be obtained (either very late fall or early spring before deck can be installed).
Mr. Sena suggested they check with Advantage Lumber in Buffalo for IPE which is a sustainable hardwood that lasts much longer than pressure treated.
Mr. Kuntz said the weight of the material is an issue because the Ferry has already grounded on the Stow side because it is shallow.
There was further discussion of ideas and sources for decking material.
Mrs. Emick asked about donations, financing, and reports of expenditures on the project and where that information is available for those who wish to donate.
Mr. Kuntz said there is an annual report that outlines all that information through their 501-3C. He said he would contact Chris Flanders who has that information and get it to Mrs. Emick.
Mrs. Ortman thanked Mr. Kuntz, Mrs. Anderson and all the volunteers on the Ferry for the fine job they are doing.
- Will Ortman – Update on Westside Sewer District Extension
Mr. Ortman said Phase I is on schedule with 60% of Design documents having been received and will be reviewed this week. Mailings have been sent to all affected property owners and door notices hung announcing the public meetings to present an overview of the project is scheduled for Thursday, 8/20/20, from 4-5 PM & 7-8 PM, at Ashville Fire Hall, 5338 Stow Rd. He said seating is limited to 40 persons and they must contact South & Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts to make reservations to attend. The meetings will also be available via Zoom. He said if things stay on track the bidding for the project will begin in the Spring of 2021 and construction will begin later in May. He said items to be discussed with property owners are how lines will go down; grinder pumps; and easements that may be required of some owners. He said the easements are important because they will allow sewer district employees to go onto properties and service the equipment. He said if a person does not sign the easement, the sewer will still go through, but the owner will be responsible for maintenance of the line.
Mr. Emick asked about the cost to property owners who have financial issues.
Mr. Ortman said there is a $950.00 yearly fee that will be payable quarterly. He said roughly half that cost is for maintenance of the sewer lines and equipment and the other part goes to pay the debt on the 30-year project financing cost. He said as more people hook up to the sewer in following years, the portion of the payments going toward the debt will decrease for property owners due to the increase in hookups by new users.
There was discussion that hook up to the system is not optional. There was also discussion of the actual cost of a private septic system being very high because a sand filtered system to remove phosphates is required (especially true on the Lake).
Mrs. Ortman said regarding the cost of hook up, there has been ongoing discussion for options for individual assistance which will hopefully be available for those in need.
Mr. Yates said there is no intent to financially cripple those in the district and the answer to that question would be best directed to the Sewer Board and the County because it is their project. He said he would contact the County tomorrow for more information regarding this. He said the last he heard we are locked in the project for $8 million of the $16.8 million dollar project.
Mr. Ortman said we have committed funding for that mostly through grants and the 30-year financed balance at 0% interest.
- CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
- CHAUTAUQUA CO. SALES TAX RECEIVED 3RD – $143,021.56 (only down about $20,000 from 2019 revenues)
Mrs. Miller said we budgeted Sales Tax for 2020 at $542,600.00 and have received to date $457,817.00 (balance to meet budget is $84,782). Last year final sales tax received in November was $185,355.00 so we are looking for $84,000.00.
- Assessor – June Property Transfers
Mr. Yates said it was a slow month for property transfers, but it resulted in an increase in assessment of $29,200.00.
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Hadley Bay – Muck issue – permit application went to Army Corp of Engineers
- Yates said the permit is still out with the Army Corp of Engineers. He said we will join with the Alliance (CLWMA) to seek a grant for North Harmony. He said if the Corp of Engineers grants our permit it will be for 2 years. He said if we get the grant and permit from the DEC, we will address the Hadley Bay issue when the ice comes off the lake next spring and before docks are put in. He said they will work with mobitrac’s and will probably need a little assistance from the Highway.
Further information located under New Business: CHAUTAUQUA LAKE & WATERSHED MANAGEMENT ALLIANCE – 2020-2021 Consolidated Local Funding Grant Application.
- Water District Study – Clark Patterson Lee (CPL)
Mr. Yates said he Mrs. Ortman, Mrs. Miller, Mr. Robbins, and Mrs. Johnson had attended a Water District Study meeting at the Ashville Fire Hall on 8/7/20 at the invitation of CPL.
Mrs. Ortman gave an overview of those in attendance and said basically they had discussed the quality and quantity of the water in our area and it appears that there are a lot of people who need this. She said Mr. Chagnon talked about an emphasis on not just water to North Harmony and Chautauqua, but also to Mayville. Mr. Chagnon said that any type of NYS funding is pretty tough right now but a regional approach to secure grants might be feasible. She said they discussed the chemicals that are in some private wells and said there will be a survey coming out for residents to answer questions related to their water supply and to get an idea of how supportive residents would be in this action. She said it was a general discussion and it was nice to have stakeholders giving input.
Mr. Yates said the study should be very revealing. He said North Harmony had done a study in 2006-07 and we just did not have the tax base to move forward with water. He said a key issue is that Mayville does not have a good supply of water.
Mrs. Ortman said they have two treatment plants and one is not so good. She said Mr. Shedd indicated that infrastructure would be key to the development of our corridor.
Mr. Yates said the feasibility study would give us a lot of answers.
Mr. Sena asked if there were any minutes of the meeting available.
Mrs. Miller said she had taken some notes at the meeting.
Mr. Sena said in the future it would be nice if the entire board could be notified of these types of meetings, so they at least have the opportunity to go if they wish. He said he had been interested and involved in the infrastructure for the town for a long time.
Mr. Yates said maybe the board members could call him once a week and he would discuss with them what is going on. He said he is pretty busy, and a lot of things are happening in the town very fast. He said Mrs. Ortman and Mr. McNeill keep in touch and once again asked them to contact him once a week.
There was further discussion that this was not a public meeting and there would be additional meeting opportunities.
Mr. Yates said the meeting was called by CPL, the engineering company, and who was called was at their recommendation.
- James Gibbons and Town ROW at Connelly Park – Resolution?
Mr. Robbins said he had reviewed the materials that the Clerk had provided, and he had gone down and looked at the ROW. He said he didn’t think the board would ever want to officially move on the issue of parking there. He said it has been used for parking but the minutes do not say that someone has the right to park there; there is nothing that says someone has the right to go on the property or doesn’t have the right to go on the property. He said the town has the right to govern all those things. He said from a conservation standpoint, the area is pretty effective. He said the town has assumed the responsibility for the environmental easement that is there but that is all.
Mr. Strickland asked if the Highway is responsible for maintaining that. He said there are currently trees in there that need to be cut and in another couple of years there will be even larger trees that need cut.
He said the mitigation project there was built with rock, gravel, and limestone and after 15 years of growth it cannot be maintained without removing the trees. He suggested that he would just cut the trees and leave the stumps for stabilization.
Mr. Robbins said he really could not answer that question.
There was further discussion and it was decided to table the matter for further talk to include Dave Spann.
Mr. Yates asked if the board felt it was necessary to pass a resolution regarding Mr. Gibbons parking on the ROW. He said personally, Mr. Gibbons is moving the grass; his car sits there seasonally, and he sees no problem with it. He said the land is not really developed for anyone to use it for lake access and it just seems to be a gray area.
Mr. Sena said Mr. Gibbons has been maintaining the area for many years and he does not see that it harms anyone for him to park there.
Mr. Yates said Mr. Gibbons would like some type of resolution, so he does not have to continue coming before the board every few years on this issue.
Mr. Lawson said he thinks part of the problem is that property owner’s upland of the ROW think they have ROW to cross it and he does not believe anyone does.
Mr. Yates said the only reason the town had taken over the ROW was to maintain the ditch and the buffer project. He said it was not taken over to provide public access to the lake.
Mr. Robbins asked if the town had a deed to the property.
Mrs. Thomas said the survey had been filed with the county, but she was unaware of any deed documents.
There was discussion if there was anyone who had access to that area through deeded lake rights, they had not come forward. It was determined that more research would need to be done on this.
The board agreed that no action would be taken on this issue at this time.
- DEDICATION/MEMORIAL FOR SALLY P. CARLSON
Mr. Yates said we will be putting up a memorial/dedication for Mrs. Carlson at the new building. He said there is a square at the site and on the far side of that square is where we intend to put the flag. He would like to place a triangular boulder or rock by the flagpole and commission a plaque to place on the boulder honoring Mrs. Carlson. He asked those present for any ideas on this, (i.e. wording, etc.).
Mr. McNeill noted that the plaque should not contain too much wording.
All present agreed they approved the boulder idea.
Mr. Sena said at the dedication, Senator Young had mentioned naming the building after Mrs. Carlson, and suggested something should be on the plaque about her securing the grant funding for the project.
- BAN PAYMENT AND RENEWAL – NEW TOWN BUILDING
Principal amount: $800,000.00 Principal payment: $160,000.00
Interest payment @ 2.65%: $ 21,200.00
TOTAL PAYMENT $181,200.00
Principal Renewal $640,000.00 @ 2.65%
- MOTION # 71 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO MAKE PAYMENT ON THE BAN FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A TOWN BUILDING (2019) AS FOLLOWS. FURTHER, THE SUPERVISOR IS AUTHORIZED TO SIGN ANY AND ALL DOCUMENTS TO RENEW THE BAN AS INDICATED.
Principal amount: $800,000.00 Principal payment: $160,000.00
Interest payment @ 2.65%: $ 21,200.00
TOTAL PAYMENT $181,200.00
Principal Renewal $640,000.00 @ an interest rate to be established with M&T Bank
- SENSKE SECONDED.
There was discussion of the nature of the loan, which is a bridge loan, you must spend the funds to receive the funds from the loan. We are still receiving reimbursements from DASNY.
YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- CHAUTAUQUA LAKE & WATERSHED MANAGEMENT ALLIANCE – 2020-2021 Consolidated Local Funding Grant Application –SUBMISSION DEADLINE: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 by 4 PM ET
Mr. Yates said along with the Hadley Bay grant application to CLWMA he is joining with the County, with the help of Dave McCoy for once again going with the DOT on the erosion issue at the bridge. e said Mr. Strickland had been down last year clearing out debris and they seem to be willing to give the Highway Department an access there. He said there is a lot of erosion there and the DOT at this time does not feel that there is enough erosion to cause a structural impact on the bridge. He said they are not willing to do any of the work. He said there is a ton of sediment built up under the bridge and there are erosion ditches that are 7-8’ deep. He said what they will be looking for in the grant is to build weirs in the stream. He said the intent is to apply for CLWMA Consolidated Local Grant Funding to address both the Hadley Bay muck issue and Erosion mitigation under the bridge.
ANNE GOLLEY, ASSESSOR
Mr. Yates said Mrs. Golley’s report indicated that in August they are working on filing the School Assessment rolls and the rolls will be used to calculate the tax rates for each municipality for the upcoming September School Taxes. They have forwarded the final copy of the North Harmony Assessment Roll to the County Real Property Tax Service for tax bill creation.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
The Court Report for the month of July 2020 was read into the record.
COURT REPORT FOR MONTH OF JULY 2020
August 10, 2020 Board Meeting
$20,986.50 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 2020. We opened 438 new cases and closed 145 cases.
Mr. Peacock said they would begin to hold Court again on 8/27/20 and at this time they are looking at over 100 cases. He said a court session had been held on 8/6/20 for arraignments only. He said out of the 8 cases scheduled, only 2 showed up.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Strickland the Highway has been very busy. He said the Shared Services has been working amazingly well this year. He said they have done a lot of shoulder work on Spooner and Butts Roads before they did NOVA Chip. He said they would be helping Harmony do Button Valley Road tomorrow. He said he still has $72,000 left in CHIPS, but they had rolled money over last year. He said even if the funding must come from the Highway, they will try to get the road behind the new building done at an estimated cost of $10,118.69. He said they will be using Busti’s paver for the job. He said he had measured 5 ½ miles for oil and stone at a cost of approximately $63-65,000. He said if he has the boards support and since he feels more comfortable with sales tax revenues received, he would like to proceed with the oil and stone.
Mr. Yates said this is an important part of the maintenance of the roads.
JOHN STOW, DCO
Mr. Yates said Mr. Stow’s report indicated that there had been a call for a dog bite on Butts Rd. Mr. Yates said the owner of the dog would be contacting the Clerk because the dog was not licensed. He said Mr. Stow has given the owner 2 weeks to be compliant. He said the bite was not bad, just some bruising, and it was the person who was bitten decision not to proceed with any action. He said currently the dog is in quarantine at the owners’ home. Mr. Stows report indicated that any further incident with the dog will result in a court appearance ticket.
Mrs. Thomas asked if the County is aware of the incident.
Mr. Yates said he had left it in Mr. Stow’s hands as he is our DCO.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of report in Minute Book)
Mr. Lawson reviewed his report for those present. He said he is working on some complaints and will be investigating and taking photos. He said the Planning Board will be discussing a project for a restaurant/brew pub called Big Moose Brewing Restaurant in Stedman tomorrow night. He said he has sent Mrs. Golley some back permits from 2006 – 2014 and 2020 permits to date to double check.
- PROPOSED LOCAL LAW TRANSIENT/COMMERCIAL USE OF DWELLING UNITS
Mr. Lawson asked if the board has discussed the law. He said he would really like to get something done on that law this year so that it will be in place next year.
Mr. Sena said it has been brought up a few times and by passing this law we allow for the that use which is not allowed under current law. He said this would allow for more people to register for the Occupancy Tax and would provide more revenue for projects needed around the lake. He said we really should adopt this and the only thing he might add to the law would be that property owners renting their homes individually or through VRBO, Air BnB, etc. must complete the Certification of Registration, Application for Certificate of Authority to Collect Occupancy Tax if that is appropriate.
Mr. Robbins said the town could include that if it wants to do that.
There was discussion of methods of enforcement of the registration (i.e. copy of Registration submitted with permit application, etc.).
Mrs. Thomas said if the town issues a permit for that use, it should be able to supply a copy of that permit to the County Occupancy Tax authority.
There was further general discussion of the law as it relates to violations and compliance.
Mrs. Emick said the town could require that all Permit Applicants provide a copy of their Occupancy Tax license as issued by the county. She said from experience, she knows that a copy of that registration form is supposed to be posted in all homes that are transient rentals.
- MOTION # 72 OF 2020
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO HOLD A SEQR & PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #1-2020 – ENTITLED TRANSIENT / COMMERCIAL USE OF DWELLING UNITS ON 9/14/2020 AT 6:30 PM AT THE ASHVILLE FIRE HALL LOCATED AT 5338 STOW RD. ASHVILLE. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
Mr. Kuntz had a discussion with the board about a neighbor (Russo-Gradel) fence that is located directly on the property line next to them. Mr. Lawson said he would look into it.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said she had received from Chautauqua County a Certificate of Satisfaction on the 2020 Tax Warrant. She noted that new Hunting/Fishing licenses went on sale today. She said that there had been an article in the P.J. indicating that Tax Foreclosure redemption date of 8/7/2020 has been extended to 4/15/2021. The 5% penalty will still be imposed and there will be a 1% interest per month charge.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates said today he received information pertaining to the video projector and screen for the Court. He said the original price of $2,500.00 that our electrician, Dan Sullivan put in a CAD 6 wire port so all we need for our projector, screen and mounting hardware is $1,447.15. He asked for authorization to order that equipment. Mr. Yates said this will be a savings of over $1,000.00.
- MOTION # 73 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO PROCEED WITH THE PURCHASE OF A PROJECTOR, SCREEN AND MOUNTING HARDWARE AT A COST OF $1,447.15 FOR THE NEW TOWN BUILDING. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
Mr. Yates gave an overview of the Supervisors report for those present.
- MOTION # 74 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE TOWN CLERK AND SUPERVISORS REPORTS AS PRESENTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 75 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE FOLLOWING PAYMENTS ON VOUCHERS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED AND AUDITED BY THE TOWN BOARD AS FOLLOWS:
GENERAL FUND $32,329.77
HIGHWAY FUND $165,548.38
CAPITAL FUND $127,768.00
- SENA SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Emick asked to comment and expressed his opinion that all Town Board members should be included in meetings related to town business. He also said there should be minutes provided.
There was discussion that this meeting was not called by the town and CPL did the inviting so if there were minutes, they were their responsibility.
Mr. Yates thanked everyone for their comments.
- MOTION # 76 OF 2020
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENA, SECONDED BY MRS. ORTMAN, AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE HEARING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:40 PM.
Nancy M. Thomas