TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
MONDAY 1/11/2021, 7:00 PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCIL PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCIL PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCIL PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Dan Strickland, Highway Superintendent; Howard Peacock, Justice; Clayton & Helen Emick; Robin Miller, Bookkeeper; Gayle Martin; Anne Golley, Assessor; Dale Robinson & Kelly Johnson, Attorneys; Wendy Klinginsmith; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
- PLEDGE & Moment of Silence in Remembrance
- MINUTES: 12/14/20 & 12/28/20 (Year End)
- MOTION # 1 OF 2021
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE MINUTES OF THE 12/14 AND 12/28/20 BOARD MEETINGS AS PRESENTED BY THE CLERK. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Southern Tier West Renewal and Class offerings (Virtual)
- Association of Towns (AOT) 2021 Training School and Annual Meeting 2/14-17/21 (Virtual)
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
Mrs. Emick said some of the board members speak so low that it is difficult to hear them. She asked if it is possible to get a single ceiling microphone to help with the issue.
Mr. Yates said we would look into that.
- Received 3 Resumes for Board Vacancy
Mr. Yates said 3 resumes had been received but one person had removed theirs today. He said they are in his office and he encouraged those present to take them for review. He said the remaining candidates are both good choices. He said we will move forward on a decision after interviews with those candidates.
- Letter from Dr. Crum – Cheney’s Point
Mr. Yates said Mr. Crum’s letter was to the DEC and he is expressing his hope that the DEC will not allow herbicide treatment until later in the summer as it can negatively affect the fisheries, etc.
- Alliance Grant Update
Mr. Yates said he had called and spoken to Randy. He said none of the grant funding from the foundations has been released at this time. He said for the year 2021 the Alliance will only be funding $90,000 for the herbicide treatment program and it will be distributed equally among the towns. He said they are still hopeful we will get the $36,000 grant for Ball Creek Restoration Project.
- County Wide Shared Services
Mr. Yates said this had been a well-attended large zoom meeting which included all the towns. He said there was discussion of what a good job the local highway departments have been doing during this time. He said there was discussion of:
- Possible merging/sharing Dog Control Officers in towns
- To go county-wide with Zoning and Code enforcement instead of town-wide for uniformity
- CHAUTAUQUA CO. REAL PROPERTY TAX SERVICES – 2021 Tax Warrant Received and
Legal Notice Posted
Special Districts $336,717.77
General Fund $328,284.00
Total to Supervisor $1,138,075.77
Total to Chaut. Co. $2,681,637.89
TOTAL WARRANT $3,819,713.66
- Assessor – November Property Transfers – Assessed Value $2,438,800.00; Sale Price $3,271,000.00 (+$832,200.00)
- Tim Baron Signs
Mr. Yates said Mr. Baron has offered to redo the signs at Veterans Park that were damaged.
Mrs. Thomas said he requested the town cover the cost of the materials, but he would do the work gratis. She said she was sure he will provide some type of draft design for the town prior to the project.
- Town of Harmony – Notice of Hearing Local Law #1-2021 amending the Zoning Law to add Sec. 614 Solar Energy System
- OLD BUSINESS:
- WESTSIDE LAKE SEWER UPDATE
Mr. Yates said the last mailing of 176 easement letters will be sent out next week to property owners. He thanked Mrs. Thomas for her notary services to help speed the process along. He said it appears they will be ready to go out to bid in March or April.
- NEW BUSINESS:
- REVIEW/ADOPT 2021 REORGANIZATION SCHEDULE
Mr. Yates said the minimum wage has been increased to $12.50/HR. He briefly reviewed other minor salary, position, and term changes. Mileage will be $.56 per mile. There were the following changes to committees: Police Commission committee has been eliminated. He said the Employee Handbook needs to be reviewed and he would be open to suggestions on meeting times to discuss this with the board members. Times and dates were discussed to hold an advertised work session.
Mr. Strickland suggested that an employee representative from the Highway Department be invited to attend during any discussion of the highway portion. He said he is not talking about a negotiation, but just input.
Mr. Yates said he would like to meet with the board first, but they would entertain the idea.
It was noted that Mr. Keefe’s appointment to the Board of Assessment of Review expired 9/30/2020 and needs to be updated.
Mrs. Thomas said she would contact Mr. Keefe.
There was discussion of the need to swear in every employee each new year.
Mrs. Thomas said that the most recent opinion is that the oath taken by an appointed or non-elected employee need only be performed when they are first hired and remains in effect until they leave employment. Those appointed to Boards (i.e. ZBA, PB, etc.) must take an oath at the beginning of their appointment/reappointment each time it occurs. It was noted that Helen Emick and Dick Johnson’s appointments need to be updated.
Mr. Sena said Mr. Geist has decided that his health has improved and he would like to continue to serve on the Planning Board. There was no letter of resignation received from Mr. Geist.
- MOTION # 2 OF 2021 (COPY OF SALARIES/APPOINTMENTS ATTACHED)
- SENA MOTIONED TO ADOPT THE 2021 SALARIES AND APPOINTMENTS SCHEDULE AS REVIEWED WITH CHANGES AS NOTED. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- AUTHORIZE SUPERVISOR TO SIGN COURT SECURITY AGREEMENT FOR 2021 WITH SHERIFF’S DEPT. (not to exceed $8,000)
- MOTION # 3 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR TO SIGN THE COURT SECURITY AGREEMENT WITH THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT FOR 2021. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Request for Mining Permit on Open Meadows Rd. – Tri-James Services, Inc.
Mr. Yates said that Tri-James is attempting to open a gravel pit at the end of Cheney and Open Meadows Road. He said it will be an approximately 9.6-acre pit and the DEC has asked the town to allow them to be Lead Agency on the SEQR for this action.
- MOTION # 4 OF 2021
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO RESOLVE THAT NYS-DEC BE GIVEN LEAD AGENCY STATUS ON THE SEQR FOR THE MINING PERMIT REQUEST OF TRI-JAMES SERVICES, INC. TO BE LOCATED AT CHENEY AND OPEN MEADOWS ROAD. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
Mr. Yates said this would be a topic at the Planning Board meeting tomorrow night. He said the DEC will be coming back to the town for recommendations of which he has a few. He said Ball Creek is a sensitive area and also Cheney Swamp which are critical environments.
- Spectrum – Cable Franchise Agreement
Mrs. Thomas said she had received an email from Mark Meyerhoffer, Sr. Director of Government Affairs with Charter Communications. She said previously the town has had 2 franchise agreements through Time Warner Cable which has now become Charter/Spectrum. She said they indicated one of the agreements expired in 2018 and the other will expire in April, 2021. Franchise fees are 3% and 5% respectively. Charter wishes to discuss this with the town in renewal discussions. She said they have provided a draft agreement which she has forwarded to Mr. Yates and Mr. Robbins.
Mr. Yates said after Mr. Robbins has reviewed the draft they will have a conference call with Charter to discuss this further.
- REVIEW / REAFFIRM: PROCUREMENT POLICY / EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK / (includes Violence in the Workplace and Code of Ethics)
- MOTION # 5 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO REAFFIRM THE PROCUREMENT POLICY AND EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK (INCLUDING VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE AND CODE OF ETHICS) OF THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- AUTHORIZE HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT TO:
Bid for Materials – County & State
Attend Highway School
- MOTION # 6 OF 2021
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT TO POST ROADS; BID FUR MATERIALS – COUNTY AND STATE; ATTEND HIGHWAY SCHOOL. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- AUTHORIZE SUPERVISOR / BOARD TO:
Sign Agreement to spend highway funds
Renew the Shared Service Contract with Chautauqua County
Authorize all other Officials to attend meetings and school as budgeted
- MOTION # 7 OF 2021
MRS. ORTMAN MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE THE SUPERVISOR / TOWN BOARD TO SIGN THE AGREEMENT TO SPEND HIGHWAY FUNDS; RENEW THE SHARED SERVICE CONTRACT WITH CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY; AUTHORIZE ALL OTHER OFFICIALS TO ATTEND MEETINGS AND SCHOOL AS BUDGETED. MR. SENA SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- RE-APPOINT HELEN EMICK TO ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS AND DICK JOHNSON TO PLANNING BOARD
- MOTION # 8 OF 2021
- YATES MOTIONED TO APPROVE THE FOLLOWING REAPPOINTMENTS:
HELEN EMICK – ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (1/1/2021 – 12/31/2027)
RICHARD JOHNSON – PLANNING BOARD (1/1/2021-12/31/2027)
MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- AUDIT OF 2020 TOWN BOOKS
- Office of Court Administrator – Letter requesting results of Audit of Justice Court 2020 books by 3/1/21
It was discussed that Mrs. Ortman had already audited the Town Clerks books and Mr. Senske would take them tonight as second auditor. Mr. Yates noted that when the Court Clerks books were ready, he and Mr. Sena would perform that audit. Mrs. Miller said that her books are ready for audit and there was discussion that by town law it should be completed by 1/20/21.
- Request for Extension of time to file Annual Update Document for 2020
Mrs. Miller said the Supervisor has signed a letter to the Comptroller requesting an extension of time to complete the annual report. She said she does this every year.
HOWARD PEACOCK, JUSTICE
Mr. Peacock read into the record the following report:
COURT REPORT FOR MONTH OF DECEMBER 2020
January 11, 2021 Board Meeting
$24,481.00 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 December 2020. We opened 215 new cases and closed 160 cases.
Katie A Zimmer
January 8, 2021
Mr. Peacock said Mrs. Zimmer’s books will be ready for audit as soon as she receives her final 2020 bank statement. He said the court is still closed for any walk ins but the office is operating.
DAN STRICKLAND, HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
Mr. Strickland said the Highway has been doing extensive tree work on Eggleston Hill Road.
Mrs. Emick commented that the highway does a good job on their road.
BRAD LAWSON, ZONING C.E.O. (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates reviewed Mr. Lawson’s report. He said Mr. Lawson continues to recover. There was discussion that the pig farm issue in the R-1 District of Ashville has been successfully laid to rest. He also said Mr. Lawson has been working with Mr. Leighton at Hadley Bay Road after the fire at that property. He said he will probably be coming before the ZBA in regard to this. Mr. Lawson indicated he would provide a full year end report next month, but did provide the following info:
- Building costs $2,067,400.00
- Permit fees $ 4,040.00
ANNE GOLLEY, ASSESSOR
Mrs. Golley said they are still performing field work. She said she would like to connect with Mr. Lawson to obtain more building permits.
In January, the office has been continuing with fieldwork, and receiving exemption renewals back into the office. ALL EXEMPTIONS MUST BE FILED BY 3/1/21.
Tax bills have been sent out and the office has been fielding phone calls and providing any apportionment’s if needed.
Thank you for your continued support of the Assessor’s Office.
JOHN STOW, DCO
Mr. Yates read the report for those present:
I have not had any dog calls the last two months. I did have 2 phone calls which resulted in the owner being located shortly after.
NANCY THOMAS, TOWN CLERK (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mrs. Thomas submitted a 2020 Year End Report of fees received by the Town Clerk in the amount of $24,352.93 which has been submitted to the Supervisor. She said tax collection is under way and the office is very busy.
- MOTION # 9 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE 2020 YEAR END TOWN CLERKS REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR (Copy of Report in Minute Book)
Mr. Yates reviewed the December, 2020 Supervisor’s Report for those present.
- MOTION # 10 OF 2020
- ORTMAN MOTIONED TO ACCEPT THE DECEMBER, 2020 SUPERVISORS REPORT AS SUBMITTED. MR. SENA SECONDED.
Mrs. Miller reported that the following funds have been received:
- Per Capita Aid $11,821.00
- 2nd Mortgage Tax Pmt. $32,984.87
- CHIPS $68,836.17
Mr. Strickland noted that CHIPS only gave them 80% this year and some towns spent theirs up front before they learned of the reduction in funds. He said this has caused them a lot of budgetary issues. He said he did not do that and was very careful of his budget so the town does not have this issue. Those present thanked him.
YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- New Building
Mr. Sena asked if there were any items still hanging on the new building.
Mr. Yates said Empire still has to complete the following: wraps for pillars on front and still waiting for stove and microwave (on back order). He said Citadel had brought in yet another thermostat for Nancy and Katie’s offices and it seems to be working. He said everything else in the heating and cooling system seem to be working now and hopefully it will stay that way when we get into summer and use the air-conditioning. Spaeder Plumbing – we are awaiting one bib apron on an exterior hose. The expansion tank on the boiler was added at no charge. Culligan has installed a tank of 100% chlorine at a cost of about $70/mo. The pump will be serviced every 2 weeks and that should clean up our water significantly. There may be some savings through piggy-backing with the AFD. He said Sullivan Electric has completed their part and done a very fine job.
- Appraisals on certain Town Properties
Mr. Yates said he will be meeting with an appraiser on Thursday and they will review the Old Building (3 lots); Mitchell’s; and the Gravel Pit on Panama-Stedman. He said the Fire Department has asked if the town would include their property on S. Maple. He said the market is very strong for real estate at this time.
- General Fund Vouchers; Highway Fund Vouchers; Capital Fund Vouchers
- MOTION # 11 OF 2021
- SENSKE MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $38,444.06 AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER. MRS. ORTMAN SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 12 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE HIGHWAY FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $13,966.23 AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER.
- SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 13 OF 2021
- SENA MOTIONED TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE CAPITAL FUND VOUCHERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $4,537.95 AS REVIEWED AND AUDITED EARLIER.
- SENSKE SECONDED. YES (4): SENA, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- Executive Session if necessary
MOTION # 14 OF 2021
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. SENA, SECONDED BY MR. SENSKE, AND NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:10 PM.
Nancy M. Thomas