TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
TUESDAY, 10/13/20, 7:00 PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
RICHARD SENA, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCILWOMAN ABSENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Howard Peacock, Justice; Dale Robbins & Kelly Johnson, Attorney; Dennis Hagg; Ellie McNeill; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Clayton & Helen Emick; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- PLEDGE & MOMENT OF SILENCE
- MINUTES: 9/14/20
- MOTION # 93 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 9/14/2020 TOWN BOARD PUBLIC HEARING AND MEETING AS PRESENTED BY THE TOWN CLERK. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
- Letter of Appreciation from Bob Schaefer – Woodlawn resident
Mr. Yates said Mr. Schaefer thanked the Highway Department for all the drainage work they had done there over the summer.
- Building up-date – T. and phone service will be transferred on the 21st of this month
Mr. Yates said we will do a soft move of the Town Clerk, Court Clerk and Bookkeepers offices on Wed., the 21st. He said the Highway Department will be helping with the moving. He said things are coming along well.
- Set North Harmony Halloween Hours (Sat. 10/31/20 5-7 PM)
Mrs. Thomas said at this time Governor Cuomo has not prohibited trick or treating so it will be pretty much up to individual families how they proceed. She said the Post Journal requests this information every year.
Mrs. Johnson suggested that it be included that everyone should follow CDC guidelines for trick or treating.
Mrs. Thomas said she would be sure to include safety guidelines on the website.
- M&T signatures
Mr. McNeill stated for the record that due to the absence of two of our M&T Bank Card Signature holders, Nancy Thomas and Louise Ortman during the period of 9/16 – 10/13/20, and the requirement of internal controls, there is only one signature (Robert Yates) on those checks issued during that time.
Mr. Yates said the Comptroller’s office advised that signature stamps are acceptable to use only if the person issued the stamp is in the office supervising its use. He said otherwise using the stamp is a big no no.
- CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence has been received by the Supervisor and is available for review:
- Todd Button, Chaut. Co. Finance – Sales Tax Report
This payment is 35% MORE than last year’s payment and the QTD is now 4% MORE than last year. The final payment for this quarter is expected to be received next week, 10/13/20.
- Foil Request for Names of Landlords in TONH – Brian Bush, Amguard
Request name, property, mailing address, and phone number of every rental property in town
Mrs. Thomas said she had responded to the request and forwarded that to all the board. She said since the Town does not address this in zoning, there is no permitting process and gave them information on who to contact at County Finance for information related to the Occupancy Tax.
- Assessor – August Property Transfers – Assessed Value $619,500; Sale Price $753,900 (+$134,400)
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Plaque for Sally; Dedication
Mr. Yates read two submissions for the plaque wording and said if anyone had other ideas to please bring them forth quickly as he would like to have Jamestown Memorial start work on it.
- Permissive Referendum ? Mitchell & 3445 Old Bridge rd. property
Mr. Robbins said this process would begin once an offer is accepted as in any real estate transaction; the offer is then subject to permissive referendum on petition as outlined in Town Law Article 7. § 90. – 94.
Mr. Yates asked if the board was agreeable to the sale of the current town building and the 3 lots associated with it; the Mitchell property; and the Gravel Pit on CR 33 Panama-Stedman Rd. (possible interest by Snowmobile Club).
All agreed and it was discussed that a realtor should advise us, and we should update or provide new appraisals on the properties. It was discussed that we had previously had the Town Building 3 lots appraised by Holt in 2017 at a value of $62,000 and the Mitchell property by Holt in 2015 with a hypothetical split off of the house and barn as one parcel ($105,000) and the rest of the land as a second parcel ($152,000) for a total value of $257,000.00.
- MOTION # 94 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO SOLICIT APPRAISALS ON THE FOLLOWING PROPERTIES OWNED BY THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY FOR POSSIBLE SALE:
Mitchell Property – 332.00-2-11 (house and 2 acres?)
Gravel Pit CR33 Panama-Stedman Rd. – 364.00-2-21
Town Building 3 lots – 332.16-1-42, 43 & 52
- SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Transfer Station
Mr. Yates said he has no further information on the transfer station other than the fact that Beichner’s is not interested in renewing their contract. He said he had made some phone calls but no one is interested at this time. He said Busti has purchased their own compactor at a cost of $30,000.00 and he will visit there on Thursday with Jesse Robbins and Mr. Beichner. He said they run their station 3 days a week.
He said Mr. Beichner and his partner indicated that in order for them to possibly continue the contract it would take a 10% increase and a reworded contract.
Mr. Sena said it will have to go to bid.
- MOTION # 95 OF 2020
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO GO OUT TO BID FOR OPERATION OF THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY TRANSFER STATION. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- CLWMA – LOCAL GRANT FUNDING APPLICATIONS
- Herbicide Treatment
Mr. Yates said Mr. Sena had handled the application for herbicide treatment and asked how that had worked out.
Mr. Sena said it had gone very well. He said they had been very helpful and had many questions based on last year’s applications. He said they had applied for around $50,000.00 last time and stayed with that amount. He noted that the decision to actually apply herbicides does not need to be made at this time, but the request for funding does. He said he had spoken to them at length about what types of actions the grant funds can be used for as some people are not that thrilled about herbicides. He said in the future some other possible actions such as the types of studies Bowling Green is doing could be requested and used to help fund them and other projects. He said the Alliance is very interested in this type of request. It was noted that the Bowling Green project lost a $25,000 sensor in Chautauqua somewhere around Hadley Bay.
Mr. Yates said that type of grant is known as “In Lake” studies. He thanked Mr. Sena for his efforts.
- Ball Creek
Mr. Yates said he has applied for $116,000 for Ball Creek. He said he and Whitney Gleason have worked very hard on this and done extensive field work on measurements, etc. He said this is known as an “Out Lake” type of grant. He said he wanted to especially thank Ms. Gleason for her help on this grant application.
- Logging at Town Properties, Butts Rd. & Gravel Pit CR 33
Mr. Yates said the logging has been completed at both locations. He said they left a little bit of wood and there will be qualified people going in to see that the job is cleaned up.
Mr. Sena agreed they had done a good job and had left a lot of large trees. He said the dozer work with scalloping done on the hillsides were very impressive.
- NYMIR – Free Sexual Harassment Training – We have till the end of October to complete
Mr. Yates said all town/highway employees are mandated to complete it.
Those who have previously taken the course must provide certification for the records.
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Fire Alarm Contact List – Cell contact numbers will remain the same even when the officials change
- Southwestern Regional Emergency Medical Service Council; support or oppose
Mr. Yates said we had received a letter requesting our support. He said the EMS at the County are trying to recover their funds through a contract allowing billing of town/residents for ambulance services. He said our Fire Department does not think it is a good idea at this time and they would probably be willing to discuss this further with the town. There was discussion of the EMS Fly Car and its role in this proposal and it was noted there have been no costs to the AFD associated thus far.
Mr. Robbins said if the town is interested in seeing how it works, Randolph had converted to this type of service approximately 6-7 years. He said they still have volunteers that drive the vehicles, but the EMS services are provided by paid professionals. He said they seem to be happy with the results and noted that Lakewood is also entertaining the idea.
There was general discussion of call times, coverage area, EMT availability, etc. and all agreed this subject merits further study as it will affect us all in the future. There was brief discussion of the future of local fire departments and the certification hours required for all volunteer jobs, especially EMT’s.
Mr. Sena suggested that any recommendation/motion regarding this be held until the next public meeting. All agreed.
- Garage rental and agreement with Nate Short for cleaning
Mr. Yates said Nathan Short expressed interest in the old car parts located in the Raynor garage. He said with the boards’ approval Mr. Short will clean out the entire building, excluding the voting machines and the lumber, in exchange for the parts. He said if that happens, Will Ortman would like to rent the garage for boat storage for the winter with the understanding if the building is sold, he would have to vacate.
Mr. Sena asked how much we would rent it for. He said perhaps we can talk to Phil Strand of 394 Storage. He charges per foot on boats and Mr. Sena said his boat cost about $360 per season to store.
Mr. Yates said that would be about $50/month. He said we will probably be selling it come summer, but would be glad to have someone using it.
Mr. Sena said we should not do anything that will undercut a local businessman and we should charge at least what Mr. Strand does. He asked if it is just one boat.
Mr. Yates said he believes it is 2 boats.
Mr. Sena said then it should be $50 per boat.
There was further general discussion and Mr. Yates said Mr. Ortman will enter into a “Hold Harmless” agreement with the town on the building use if he decides to rent.
- MOTION # 96 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO CHARGE $50 PER BOAT PER MONTH FOR THE RENTAL OF THE RAYNOR GARAGE/TOWN PROPERTY SPACE. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Budget 2021 Public Hearing will be Thursday, 11/5/20, at 6:30 PM
Mr. Robbins said with respect to the Water and Sewer Districts, the town needs to determine what it is they are seeking to collect, and include those amounts in the budget with the amount to be payable for each unit within that Special District. He said both sewer districts and water districts are coded for BOCES & Sunrise Cove. In relation to the Sewer Districts it appears it will average a cost of about $6,000/yr. (was $5,000 last year). He said if you divide that in half and put $9,000 into BOCES and the same into Sunrise Cove District (average cost to each Sunrise Cove house of $360) and full cost of $9,000 to BOCES, it should cover things. He said he suggests this because from experience it appears that lines on that sewer system plug up every summer and it will require pump replacement, line repairs, etc. He said we should not get into a position where people are paying in 2021 for this because by that time people should be connected to the main new sewer and they will resent paying $1,000 for the main user fees and $360 for repairs.
Mr. Yates said the budget hearing will be set for 11/9/20 before the regular board meeting.
Mr. Senske said this is his 3rd budget year on the board and Mr. Yates set office hours for budget workshops. He questioned whether a Town of North Harmony Board Member has any input in the budget process.
Mr. Yates said he has an input and he had taken that input last year. He said he is giving him an opportunity for input this year. He asked Mr. Robbins if it is or is not true that the Supervisor can pass the budget without the approval of the Board. Mr. Yates said that is what he understood when he had asked Mr. Robbins earlier and that is what he relayed to Mr. Senske.
Mr. Robbins said the board has to approve the budget and he is unsure what happens if the board does not act on the budget. He said what the Supervisor does do which no one else really can, is to formulate that preliminary budget.
Mr. Yates asked if the Board all had a budget.
All board members present said no they did not.
Mrs. Miller said the budgets are in their boxes at the office.
Mr. Yates said he would like the board to review the budgets this week and if they find fault, they will set up a workshop if necessary.
Mr. Senske said this is a different process that usual.
Mr. Yates said no one is asking the board to vote on any budget tonight.
Mr. Robbins said this is just legal notice stating that the Preliminary Budget has been received and the town will set a Public Hearing date no later than the Thursday after Election Day. It does not mean the budget is now set in stone.
There was general discussion of the board’s involvement in the process and it was noted that with COVID this has been a year with many difficulties and challenges. It was decided that a work session should be held to review the preliminary budget.
Mr. Yates said he realizes there are time constraints and stated that there are a lot of numbers needed to formulate the budget that were not available and there are still some, particularly insurance, that we still do not have. He said he feels once the board members review the budget, they will be quite pleased.
Mr. Sena asked if we would be under the 2% Tax Cap.
Mr. Yates said he would not raise the taxes. He said we can have meetings and he is not intending to forgo the boards input or bulldoze anything over their heads. He stated it is a good budget and he is comfortable with it.
Mrs. Miller said the public hearing must be held no later than the Thursday following Election Day and can be adjourned, but not beyond 11/15/20.
- MOTION # 97 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING AND MEETING ON THE 2021 PRELIMINARY BUDGET THURSDAY, 11/5/2020 AT 6:30 PM. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 98 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO HOLD A SPECIAL MEETING TO REVIEW THE TENTATIVE BUDGET ON WEDNESDAY, 10/21/2020 AT 6:30 PM. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
Mr. Peacock read the following report into the record.
COURT REPORT FOR MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 2020
October 13, 2020 Board Meeting
$28,974.00 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 September 2020. We opened 338 new cases and closed 185 cases.
There was brief discussion of a dangerous dog situation that has been ongoing.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Yates said Mr. Strickland’s report indicates that shoulders on Spooner and Bly Hill Roads have been completed. They will complete their patching this week. The driveway for the New Town Building has been completed by the highway out of their budget at a cost of $3,000. He said they will be marking the curbs and other areas at the new building for plowing.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates reviewed Mr. Lawson’s report for those present.
JOHN STOW, DCO
Mr. Yates said Mr. Stow’s report indicates that he picked up three dogs on Carpenter-Pringle. He was able to contact the owners who appeared at the offices and licensed all of them.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas said she had nothing further to add to her written report.
- MOTION # 99 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE TOWN CLERKS REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 2020 AS PRESENTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
General Fund Savings Bal. $383,406.05
Capital Fund Savings $230,534.42
All Funds Highway $400,921.62
Mr. Yates stated balances due on the building are $111,863.31 and will be the final payment excluding the 5% held on all contracts. He said we are really in good shape.
- MOTION # 100 OF 2020
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE SUPERVISOR’S REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 2020 AS PRESENTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 101 OF 2020
- MCNEILL MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER:
GENERAL FUND $66,746.61
HIGHWAY FUND $53,869.28
CAPITAL FUND $33,355.23
- SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, MCNEILL, SENSKE YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 102 OF 2020
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENA, SECONDED BY MR SENSKE, AND NONE BEING OPPOSED THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:30 PM.